UPDATED, April 17: Work on the Mass. Ave. Corridor project resumed the week of March 30, and the town has issued an expected schedule for the next three weeks, as contractors move toward Capitol Square.
A public meeting about the $6.84 million project is expected in early May.
Word on the Street: Mass. Ave. at heart of master plan
A town update April 17 says:
With spring advancing and temperatures warming the pace of construction on the Mass. Ave. Corridor Project is accelerating, with work underway on both sides of the avenue.
For this three-week look-ahead, readers are reminded that sides of Mass. Ave. are given when facing toward Cambridge and that sidewalk work has been staggered to ensure that one untouched or already reconstructed sidewalk is always available to pedestrians.
Eversource, formerly NStar, will be relocating utility poles within the work zone in the first week covered by this message.
During the week of April 20, work will not take place on Monday in observation of Patriots Day.
An Arlington leader can change his mind, and Charlie Foskett has. After spelling out a lengthy argument in March to the Finance Committee questioning the way the school administration is handling special-education funds, Foskett said he planned to ask Town Meeting to cut $1 million from the school budget proposed for next year.
Then this month the vice chairman of the Finance Committee decided to go along with the vote of the board, which approved the planned school budget, by a vote of 13-4-1.
His desire to cooperate with the committee has history: He said that during his tenure on the Finance Committee, the only time he has acted against its vote that he can remember was on the Park Circle Fire Station, in 2005.
Before changing his mind about fiscal 2016 school budget, which Town Meeting will take up this year, Foskett told the Fincom on March 25 that the administration is "playing footloose and fancy-free with taxpayers' money"in ways that are contrary to the plan aimed at controlling costs following the 2011 override.
Among other goals, that plan called for annual limits on increases for town and school budgets of 3 1/2 percent and a 7 percent for special education. The plan worked well for three years and was extended to 2020. This year the town's Long-Range Planning Committee has proposed some changes to those targets.
Three of four consultant reports about the fate of the Wright-Locke Farm, near Arlington, have been received by Winchester officials.
The financial consultant plans to issue her report to selectmen on Tuesday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall.
Dodson Flinker, the town's development consultant, has recommended that the selectmen adopt the land trust bid because of "the proposals adherence to the town's criteria and its lack of impacts on the site's historic, visual, environmental and public access features."
Selectmen plan to discuss the bids and the process going forward.
UPDATED, April 14: Word on the Street, a blog by Adam Auster, reports that dozens of East Arlington residents and others stood for two hours on Mass. Ave. on Monday, April 13, at places where pedestrians died after they were struck by motor vehicles.
The main aim was to highlight please for safety on Mass. Ave., the town's main thoroughfare, which is undergoing reconstruction from Pond Lane to the Cambridge line.
Read the summary and see photos here >>
UPDATED, April 15: Public art is coming to Spy Pond Park this May. Created by Arlington Public Art, and sponsored by Arlington Recreation, the temporary exhibit titled "Elements," will feature sculpture by 12 local artists who have used the site to inspire their work.
A free outdoor reception will be held Saturday, May 9 from 3 to 5 p.m. with artist talks at 3:30.
The exhibit will continue through May 31 and will be on view 24/7 along the path cutting through Spy Pond Park.
Artists are Adria Arch, Freedom Baird, Gary Duehr, Milan Klic, Maria Ritz, Michael Dewberry, Kevin Duffy, Tim DeChristopher, Margot Stage, Mosaic Oasis, Susu Wing, and Suzanne McLeod.
Michael McGlynn, the state’s longest-serving mayor currently, in his 28th year leading Medford, announced Monday, April 13, that he is not seeking reelection in the fall.
His statement, reported by InsideMedford, does not say why he is stepping down or what he will do next.
McGlynn told The Globe that he had "grown weary of frequent skirmishes with the seven-member city council." Expected to seek reelection and facing no opposition, he made a decision that shocked residents.
Former selectman, School Committee member served from 1972-2005
UPDATED: Charlie Lyons, an institution in Arlington politics since 1972, plans to retire as superintendent at Shawsheen Valley Technical High School in Billerica,
The Lowell Sun reported April 8 that Lyons, superintendent/director of the school since 1987, aims to leave by year's end.
"I was shocked," School Committee Chairman Kenneth Buffum said of Lyons' announcement. "He's been a great superintendent and director. It's difficult to replace him."
By retiring in December, Lyons, 62, said he wanted to give the School Committee enough time to recruit candidates and hire a new superintendent. His contract requires him to give at least four months' notice.
Lyons could leave sooner if a replacement is installed before December.
Lyons was an Arlington selectman from 1981 to 2005 and was known during that period, one that felt the impact of cuts in town and school services from Proposition 2 1/2, for his financial expertise. Elected selectmen chairman five times, he helped devise the five-year plan that supported voters in a 2005 override.
Before he was a selectman, he served on the School Committee. According to his Shawsheen biography, he was the first 18-year-old in the country elected to a town or city position when Arlington voters chose him to the school panel in March 1972. He served on the Arlington School Committee through 1979, elected as chairman in 1977.
"Charlie was a master of turning dreams into possibilities," Paul Schlichtman, a member of the School Committee, wrote April 8. "He saw connections that nobody else could see, he was one of the most strategic thinkers I have ever met. You couldn't be in the same room with him wiithout learning something, and it was always fun.
Leanne Rodd of Arlington, a longtime member of the Chamber of Commerce, is launching the Boston office of FlexProfessionals, staffing company specializing in part-time and flexible placements, here.
As of now, she is the sole employee of FlexProfessionals in the metro Boston area, an account executive who operates from a home office. "We plan to add two to three staff members over the next year, and open an office, at a location to be determined," she said.
Launched in 2010, Rodd says this Virginia-based niche company "is becoming a 'go-to' talent source for entrepreneurial and small businesses looking for cost-effective ways to support their growth."
Its business model focuses on connecting small- and medium-size business owners looking for professional staff with job seekers who are looking for part-time or flexible employment.
"Arlington and surrounding towns without significant commercial business bases are great places for businesses and part-time employees to connect," she said.
Arlington, in particular, has a high number of small businesses and "solo-preneurs," based on Chamber of Commerce membership, and often these business owners work part time to supplement their income.
An Arlington resident has launched a new line of business books that includes one about interviewing, and it has been named as a finalist in the career category of Foreword Reviews' 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award.
He says the book "has already helped hundreds of early, mid, and even tenured professionals in growing their careers."
As job recruiting picks up this spring, Berdiev asks you to consider reviews he provided about his 256-page book from near and far: Janet Z. of Arlington calls it a "very handy book for the job hunter and even the hiring manager. What's particularly unique about this book is that it addresses the challenges faced by job seekers at all stages of their career."
The San Francisco Book Review says the author "is truly an expert in his field, and he has shared his knowledge in ways that not only are useful and helpful but engaging and interesting to read."
UPDATED, April 6: Six modular classrooms will be situated at Ottoson, Hardy and Bishop schools to accommodate Stratton students while their school is renovated in 2016-17.
Superintendent Kathleen Bodie told the School Committee Thursday, March 26, that the six classrooms would accommodate two Stratton grades at each site. Fourth and fifth graders will be at Ottoson.
Bodie met with the Stratton PTO on Wednesday, April 1, and discussed what is expected to occur during the 2016-17 school year, now that the town Capital Planning Committee has voted to recommend the funding of the renovation project to Town Meeting. The town Finance Committee endorsed the plan March 25.
Links to Stratton plans
"Locating the older Stratton students’ classrooms at Ottoson brings an additional benefit to the district," Bodie said. "Given the district’s enrollment growth over the last few years, the middle school will require additional classroom space in 2017-2018 to accommodate the larger numbers of students moving up from the elementary schools."
Stratton students would be bused to the three schools.
Currently, all of the grades at Ottoson are under 400 students. The public schools' current third grade has 473 students; second grade, 464 students; first grade, 479 students; and kindergarten, 513 students.
She said the modular classrooms installed at the middle school will be designed for many years of service, which provides time for the town to consider options for the middle school.
She said the three sites designated for modular classes could change when the project goes out to bid. That is expected in the spring, because such classrooms must be ordered a year in advance.
The administration has not determined which grades will be at Hardy and Bishop. The supported learning program will move to Peirce School for 2016-17.
The schools involved could change, but, as of now, she said, "We're pretty set on sites."
The locations were chosen in the light of the fact that modular classes have to be connected to a building and have the flat area nearby on which to be situated.
A tight construction scheduled. Renovated Stratton has to be ready to open in September 2017.
Asked whether classrooms would be leased or purchased, Diane Johnson, the schools' chief financial officer, said that is not yet known.
Of the prefabricated modular classes, which comply with the America With Disabilities Act, Bodie said with a smile, "They're air-conditioned."
Bodie noted that parking needs at Ottoson will have to be addressed to accommodate a structure there.
Johnson said the longer-range view of enrollment shows continued increases, with 600 live births in Arlington.
A study of space needs in the light of the schools’ enrollment increases is expected to be conducted this summer by HMFH of Cambridge. The architectural firm designed the rebuilt Thompson School. A report is expected by September.
AHS rebuild support, Sanborn donation
The committee voted to support an updated statement of interest for state funding help to build a new high school. The letter is the second attempt in two years to secure funding from the state School Building Authority, which chose other schools in 2014. A response to the second request is expected in December.
In other business, the School Committee heard:
* A presentation by two representative of the Elizabeth and George L. Sanborn Foundation for the Treatment and Cure of Cancer Inc., during which they presented a check for $35,000 to support antitobacco education in schools. The group has donated $578,190 since 2000. Evelyn Smith-DeMille and Laurie August spoke.
* Bodie report that the Finance Committee listened to a 3 1/2-hour presentation of the fiscal 2016 school budget on March 23 and then endorsed the spending plan two days later. "They had very good questions, particularly about special education," she said.
* Sixth-grade teachers at Ottoson Middle School discuss a pilot about one-to-one iPad instruction in their classrooms. They said touchscreen computers eased document-sharing and collaboration.
This summary was published Monday, March 30, 2015, and updated April 6, to add liok to Stratton project.