Officials object; land trust expresses disappointment
UPDATED, March 26: The long-dormant Mugar site along Route 2, once considered for a Star Market, and since 2000 protected by Town Meeting votes, is awakening from slumber.
Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine told selectmen Monday, March 23, that Oaktree Development of Cambridge plans 219 units on seven of its 17 acres with conservation protection for the rest of the tract.
The 40b project would have to be considered by the town's zoning Board of Appeals, not the Redevelopment Board.
Chapdelaine said he expressed "serious concerns" about flooding in a meeting with Oaktree representatives, as did Planning Director Carol Kowalski, contacted the next day.
The president of the Arlington Land Trust, a group that had negotiated unsuccessfully with the Mugar family to protect the land for conservation, expressed disappointment.
Gwendolen G. Noyes, an Oaktree founder and senior vice president of marketing, said March 24 that before the company presents plans, its civil engineer is working on water issues. Knowing the "history and acrimony" over the site, she noted three primary benefits of the company's plan:
Service Tuesday at DeVito-O'Connell
UPDATED, March 27: William M. Dotson, at left, a 91-year-old pedestrian, was struck and killed by a vehicle on Mass. Ave. in East Arlington Monday, March 23, various local media sources have reported.
Globe, March 25: Neighbors mourn kind soul
Word on the Street, March 25: Avenue claims another life
This was the second death of a pedestrian on Mass. Ave. since Dec. 19, 2013, when a North Cambridge woman was struck in the crosswalk near Sabatino's and died the next day.
Just before 11 a.m., Arlington police responded to the report of a pedestrian stuck by a motor vehicle at 164 Mass. Ave. near Milton Street. Chief Frederick Ryan said the victim appears to have been walking in a crosswalk when he was struck. The pedestrian was taken to Mass. General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
He was struck by a 2000 Honda Civic driven by a 60-year-old Woburn woman, who police have not charhed and have declined to identify.
CSV tops The Fam in annual 'fun-raiser'
Town Hall was a hive of activity Sunday, March 22, as hundreds of spectators swarmed in to cheer on 25 teams at Arlington Education Foundation’s annual trivia bee. More than 16 local businesses showed their support for public education in Arlington by sponsoring the event and donating a total of $6,900.
Victory was sweet for Team CSC, at left, a group of friends (Dana Simon, Marylou Carr and David Cleary) who won in a sudden-death pesticide round against The Fam (family members Rebecca Steinitz, Mara Steinitz and Sam Putnam).
The winning question? "What country won the gold medal in both men’s and women’s hockey at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi?"
Team CSC answered correctly, with Canada, and flew home with the coveted trivia bee crown.
Many teams donned creative hats and costumes. Thompson School’s team Green with Envy won the award for best costume with team members Jason Loeb, Eric Eddy and Peter Thompson clothed in bright green Spandex shirts and head coverings representing their school’s environmental stewardship culture.
In addition to testing their trivia knowledge, teams also had to prove their engineering know-how.
UPDATED, March 27: Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine told selectmen at their March 23 meeting that work on the Mass. Ave. Corridor project is to resume the week of March 30. He said work will initially involve sidewalks on the north side, as contractors move toward Capitol Square.
He said a public meeting about the project will be held in early May.
Word on the Street : Mass. Ave. at heart of master plan
A town update March 26 says, in part, that "work for the first several months of construction will be similar to operations last summer and fall focusing on sidewalks, utilities and traffic signals. Milling and paving operations on Massachusetts Avenue are not expected to begin until later this summer.
"During the week of March 30, saw cutting along the north (left side when facing toward Cambridge) side of Mass. Ave. will begin where it left off at the beginning of last winter. Likewise, survey work will take place to allow for repainting of markings to direct further saw-cutting, curb-line relocations, and utility pole relocations.
"Beginning during this week, utility pole relocations by Eversource (formerly NStar) may get underway and continue through the three weeks covered by this look ahead. Weather permitting, sidewalk excavations, curb shiftin, and paving will start again in the area of Grafton Street/Mass. Ave. and progress toward Alewife Brook Parkway. Work by a utility crew will also take place to repair preexisting faults in the storm drainage lines under Mass. Ave.
Back memorial for MacMurray, letters objecting to MBTA weighting, airplane noise
Selectmen have voted to support a motion to involve their board in the process of appointing four at-large members of the Community Preservation Committee.
The 5-0 final vote Monday, March 23, was to show overall board support for Town Meeting Article 11 following a rehearing of the issue.
Selectmen Kevin Greeley urged the rehearing, saying selectmen recommendations for candidates were needed because the Community Preservation Act uses taxpayer money. Differences expressed at the March 9 board meeting appeared to have largely evaporated.
Two votes preceded the final one, following member Diane Mahon's request:
-- 5-0 to support Greeley's motion to include selectmen with the town manager in appointing members; and
-- 4-1, to have 45 days to establish the committee; Mahon, who was opposed, wanted 30 days.
For background about this issue, read Town Counsel Doug Heim's memo below.
In other business, the board approved, 5-0:
After the Stratton School closes for renovation, expected in June 2016, its students will have to be relocated, and officials are looking into portable classrooms, the superintendent has told parents.
Kathleen Bodie plans to meet with the Stratton PTO on Wednesday, April 1, to discuss what is expected to occur during the 2016-17 school year, now that the town Capital Committee has voted to recommend the funding of the renovation project to Town Meeting.
In an email to parents and guardians, she wrote: "As the reality of moving forward with a renovation project at Stratton becomes more certain, both excitement and interest in project details is growing. Until quite recently, there has not been much information to share with parents as the project moved through the Capital Committee process." Now, the committee has recommended the renovation's funding as well as relocation costs.
Last year, a Stratton building committee was formed to develop a renovation plan to provide parity with the six elementary schools -- all of which have been rebuilt or renovated. The panel represents teachers, parents, administrators, the deputy town manager as well as representatives from the School Committee, Capital Committee, Finance Committee and the Permanent Town Building Committee.
The Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) honored Rep. Sean Garballey, at left, Democrat of Arlington and West Medford, and state Sen. John Keenan, Democrat of Quincy, with Legislator of the Year awards during its 37th annual legislative reception. House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Democrat of Winthrop, and Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Democrat of Amherst, presented the awards.
A state representative since 2008, Garballey has led the effort in advocating for increased funding for Department of Developmental Services' (DDS) family support and respite services and DDS Day and employment services. He has also been the legislative sponsor in increasing budgetary support for Turning 22 and was successful in making sure that the program Best Buddies Massachusetts received state budget support.
Last legislative session, he also championed the Real Lives Bill, alongside Rep. Tom Sannicandro, Democrat of Ashland. Garballey serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.
"I am both honored and humbled to be recognized as the Legislator of the Year," Garballey said in a news release. "I hope that this event will highlight not only the needs of an underserved population within our Commonwealth, but also the hard work of their family members, and the herculean efforts undertaken by those who work in this field."
Sandy Hook initiative leader, Mass. officer to speak
Parents and guardians of students in the Arlington public schools are invited to a presentation of new protocols for school safety set for 7 p.m. Monday, April 6, in Lowe Auditorium, Arlington High School.
The safety protocol, new to Arlington, is known as ALICE, which represents current best practice for safety in the K-12 public schools. Here is what the acronym stands for >>
The presentation will describe ALICE in detail and why the public schools have decided to adopt it, Superintendent Kathleen Bodie and Frederick Ryan, chief of police, said in an email.
You will also learn how it will be taught to students and their teachers across the district, as well as to parents and guardians.
This school year, Bishop Elementary School, Ottoson Middle School and Arlington High School will be trained in the new procedures. Next school year, Brackett, Dallin, Hardy, Peirce, Stratton and Thompson elementary schools will adopt the new procedures.
To help introduce ALICE to the community, we have invited two guest speakers: Michele Gay and Lt. Scott Sencabaugh.
Twenty works by students at Arlington High and Ottoson Middle School have won awards in the 2015 Scholastic Art Awards competition, including gold and silver key awards.
Lia Bernhard won multiple honors in the Scholastic Writing Awards.
The Arlington public school visual art department announced the 20 winners frpom two schools and said the competition is considered one of the most prestigious student art competitions at the state and national levels. Panelists look for works that best exemplify originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.
Bernhard, a senior at Arlington High, earned a gold key, the highest honor, and three honorable mentions. She will continue to compete nationally. Donna Eidson sponsored her submissions.
Others Arlington writers honored were Sophie Fischer Frank, Cambridge Friends School, silver key; Olivia Takacs, gold key, and Alex Wheeler, honorable mention, International School Of Boston; and Gabriel Braunstein, Walnut Hill School, silver key, honorable mention.
At Arlington Catholic High School, Mahima Menghani of Waltham won a silver key writing award.
The following art teachers were involved in the Arlington public schools: David Moore, Nancy Muise, Annie Rebola-Thompson, Emmy Osterling, Alecia Serafini, Brian Corey and Polly Ford.