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  • School vision logo

    New school year -- old educational questions

    Education. We pretend it begins for youngsters in September, when the leaves turn, but it continues through all of our season, every minute of every day, for everyone. Learning persists for two reasons -- human curiosity and technological change (you can't stop either one, but notice which is first). Shouldn't a third factor be classroom teachers? Good ones can have a lifelong effect, but our curiosity is the best guide, as technology draws us, often in too many directions, in the classroom that is everywhere. As Arlington schools open Tuesday, Sept. 2, what happens there is sliver of the educational story, albeit a key one for residents. Still, let's take a quick look at the new school year -- and then peer more broadly beyond it. Opening-day info >> ...

  • Pondering Our Future logo

    Spaced out? Many artists, but resistant owners

    Does Arlington have the imagination to embrace co-working? The town is trying to find out and held a forum in June attended by about 30 people. Read a summary of comments from some of the attendees here >>  See what properties in town may be available here >> Following publication, Eric Love, present at the forum, provided a brief critique. His LARP Adventure Program, aims to spur imaginations. ...

  • Arlington election logo

    Primary letters -- all welcome -- 8 ask you to vote for Berwick

    YourArlington welcomes letters to the editor from Arlington residents for all Massachusetts candidates whose election would have an impact on the town. Email them to sprague.bob at gmail.com. Here are eight supporting Don Berwick, who is seeking to be the Democratic nominee after the Sept. 9 primary. Send letters supporting any candidate in the primary. 'It's not just talk' Don Berwick, Democratic candidate for governor, speaks boldly about values and making Massachusetts a beacon for the nation. It’s not just talk -- he has met bold goals throughout his career.  Don is a creative leader with wise judgment and deep executive experience in complex bureaucracies, including as President Obama’s head of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, that vast $800 billion federal agency.  His vision includes single-payer healthcare for Massachusetts, and he is the one candidate who understands how to make that happen; and, why it must happen, as rising healthcare costs consume o ...

  • Film reviews logo

    Review, ‘Life of Crime’: Leonard’s crew back at shenanigans

    This review by Tom Meek, a writer living in Cambridge, was originally published at Cambridge Day, a YourArlington partner, and is republished with permission. His reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in The Boston Phoenix, The Rumpus, Thieves Jargon, Film Threat and Open Windows. He is a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere. You can follow Tom on Twitter @TBMeek3 and read more at TBMeek3.wordpress.com. Elmore Leonard, the beloved master crime and western novelist, transcended seamlessly the divide between pulp and celluloid. His career is littered with great novels that became great movies (“Get Shorty,” “Jackie Brown” and “Out of Sight” to name a few), a smattering of original screenplays (“Joe Kidd”) and even took a few turns as producer. Cormac McCarthy might be his only peer. ...

  • Image of leaves

    Searching for an Arlington poet laureate: YOU?

    Are you a poet -- and you do know it? What have you written? Anything published? Inquiring minds want to know. Rumor has it that Arlington could have its own poet laureate, perhaps next year. Could that be you? ...

  • Arlington election logo

    8 ask you to vote for Berwick; letters for others welcome

    YourArlington welcomes letters to the editor from Arlington residents for all Massachusetts candidates whose election would have an impact on the town. Email them to sprague.bob at gmail.com. Here are eight supporting Don Berwick, who is seeking to be the Democratic nominee after the Sept. 9 primary. Only candidate to oppose casinos   I write in support of Don Berwick for governor. I support Don because he is the only candidate for governor opposed to casinos. In a strong field of likable candidates, this is decisive for me. I saw the Detroit casino pull the life out of the Greektown neighborhood there, so that it looked like a bombed out war zone. ...

  • Chris Loreti, former Redevelopment Board member

    Loreti to seek Town Meeting article targeting assessors' fiasco

    Loreti The following opinion column by Christopher Loreti of Adams Street was first published in The Arlington Advocate, on Aug. 14, under the headline "It’s Time to Professionalize Arlington’s Board of Assessors." The full column, which includes a paragraph about YourArlington deleted from The Advocate's version, is republished here with permission. In January 2012, the state Department of Revenue provided to Arlington a “Town and School Finance Analysis,” which included several recommendations for restructuring town government. The report contained two recommendations related to the Board of Assessors. The first of these recommendations was that the town make the director of assessments position an appointment of the Town Manager instead of the Board of Assessors. The second was that the town consider changing the Board of Assessors from an elected to an appointed board. The actions of the Board of Assessors in recent months make it clear that the town needs to move forward w ...

  • Domestic-violence logo

    New law curbs domestic-violence reports: What about sexual-assault case?

    A new law, signed Aug. 8 by Governor Patrick, requires law enforcement to keep domestic-violence cases off public police logs initially, and the Arlington police department is complying. That means details about domestic violence reported to police are not immediately available to the media -- or to you. Had the law been in effect June 1, information about a sexual-assault case in East Arlington would have been delayed. Chief Fred Ryan reached out to area media outlets Aug. 12, alerting them about the law and asking for feedback. He explained: ...

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 Tuesday Sept. 2, 2014 |  5:14:32 p.m.
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Henry Oldsm Jan. 14, 2013, leaf-blower hearingSteve Harrington, Jan. 14, 2013, leaf-blower hearing


FOR, AGAINST: Henry Olds, left, speaks in favor of the bylaw Town Meeting adopted last May. Steve Harrington opposes what he calls a ban, as Selectman Kevin Greeley listens.


The ongoing conversation about leaf blowers continued Monday, Jan. 14, as 24 residents spoke at a Town Hall hearing before about 50 people aimed to gather opinions before a final warrant article is proposed for Town Meeting.

Opinions ranged from a call by Barbara Costa for a quiet respect, which drew no applause, to a loud declaration from Joe Cabral, which did. "People living in apartments are trying to ruin this town," the 85-year-old said.

Between those extremes, Town Meeting members Gordon Jamieson and Chris Loreti offered advice about specific changes. Jamieson handed a new proposal to the committee.

Town Meeting logo

Landscaper blows leaves with a gas-powered unit

9 favor keeping bylaw; 7 back no restrictions

In all -- and in some cases the final tally depends on how you interpret the words of some speakers -- nine favored keeping the bylaw restricting gas-powered leaf blowers adopted last May, challenged in a July special election and supported by the attorney general in October.

Seven speakers favored no restrictions. Five backed measures described by moderator Kevin Greeley as a compromise. Three offered comments that made it unclear where they stood.

As to the latter, Town Meeting member John Deyst, an MIT professor, asked two essential questions about proposed restrictions -- about real expenses to landscapers as well as pollutants. "I want hard data," he said.

Representative summary of comments

Here is a representative summary of comments expressed Jan. 14:

Stephen Harrington, a Precinct 13 Town Meeting member who pushed for a Special Town Meeting in October, said leaf blowers should not be banned, claiming Town Meeting has been taking up this issue since 2008. He said he had contacted the EPA and said "no one will tell me" whether leaf blowers lead to a public health hazard. He said restrictions would cost him $3,000.

Ilene Rosin of Academy Street urged paying better attention to definitions, noting that the bylaw Town Meeting adopted last May involves restrictions and is not a ban.

Eric Berger congratulated selectmen for continuing to study the matter, as the Special Town Meeting in October voted to do. He said he favors a compromise. He said restrictions would drive up costs at Spy Pond Condo, where he lives, and that "noise abatement is a legitimate issue."

Steven DelBanco of Oak Hill Road, in deciding whether something might harm his family's health, said: "I go by the smell test." He was referring to what people physically experience when leaf blowers stir up dust.

Henry Olds of Bartlett Avenue said he backs retaining the adopted bylaw focused on climate change. "We have to play a role," he said. He referred to that day's uncommonly warm temperature. "It was a beautiful day, and I didn't have to breathe the fumes" of leaf blowers.

Mark Kaepplein, a 23-year resident and a one-year Precinct 7 Town Meeting member, said he favored "honoring the leaf-blower "mandate," which he said was reflected in the July 19 Special Election vote. No votes topped the yes by an almost 2-to-1 margin in the special election held to decide a bylaw restricting leaf blowers, but the number of no votes, 5,589, did not reach the 20-percent benchmark required by state law.

Cuts own lawn, believes in democracy

Bob Valeri of Wheaton Road said he cuts his own lawn and believes in democracy. He agreed with Kaepplein about the mean of last July's vote and expressed concern about the burden a bylaw would place on law enforcement.

Near the end of the hearing, which lasted an hour and 40 minutes, Gary Tibbetts, vice chair of the leaf-blower committee and a landscaper, asked to speak to answer questions raise. After committee chair Diane Mahon and Greeley conferred, it was decided that public comment had been sufficient and that committee members need not speak.

As of the Jan. 14 hearing, 58 written comments had been received.

The Town Meeting Leafblower Committee welcomes opinions until 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4. Its next meeting is set for that night. Send brief comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


LINKS:

Main leaf-blower page on town website
Proposed bylaw described at the hearing as a "compromise" (.PDF)

Committee members:

Diane Mahon, chair
Jill Snyder, secretary
George Adleman
Carol Band
Nancy Butts
Joe Cusce
Bill Downing
Charles Grandon
Richard Horan
Joe Kerble
Maria Romano
Michael Ruderman
Kevin Greeley (ex-officio member)

Minutes of two meetings: 11/28, 12/10


This story was published Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. Your comments are welcome at the link below the story. You must sign your full name.

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