Thursday, February 28, 2019

cardboard only pilot cart program

From a post on FB.. 

If you want to try using a new cart for only cardboard, send an e mail to: with your name and address and phone number. 

It appears that we can't educate the residents enough to collect clean recycling. We now will have a separate cart, picked up the same day as your regular scheduled trash day. This proves the point about the value of recycling cardboard. What I don't get yet is, will it be a different truck that will pick up cardboard? I haven't seen it advertised anywhere else which seems odd. I'll ask Mike Cannon to find out.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Chapel is sold... watch what happens next

Andy Rose accepted the terms in the sale of the Chapel with the Town. I suspect, the warning about the possible contamination of the land where the gas station was, brought forward by Mike Hugo, was not enough to stop the sale. Mr. Rose plans to move it to where the old gas station was next to the pizza shop and take down the office building. The move of the Chapel will allow the Town to do it's restructuring of the intersection (making it wider) and allow enough space to put in a new bigger CVS store on the corner.  The next step will be for the planning board to approve the use of the land (former gas station)
At the last Council meeting, they voted 7 to 2 to ask the city not to sign the agreement until the Mayor weighs in. Richardson and Sisitsky voted against the idea.
With the pending approval of B3, mixed use, zoning regs, along Water street would be a building with retail space and 49 apartments above. Behind that would be a 4 story building with 117 apartments.
There are no real guarantees in this project. Mr. Rose is still tied into a master lease making even the empty plaza a revenue stream. He has already indicated he (Rose) would sell of f the development rights to an outside developer. I've not talked with anyone who thinks 166 apartments are a good thing for our community.
I'm not sure what can be done now to rein in the size of the project. It all boils down to the Council who will have to approve the zoning changes. And if they don't, I believe Rose will have to go to the ZBA for an variance.
If any of our readers think this is good for Nobscot... post your thoughts

From the MWDN..

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Two meetings tonight... worth attending

The Planning Board will continue the public hearing for the B3 zoning changes tonight at 7PM in the Alblondi room, Town Hall. It's 6th on the agenda and it's expected to reveal the traffic study by our Town engineer. I'm not sure if they will be voting to send the by-law to the City Council tonight. Worth recording as well... if you want to go to the Nobscot meeting at Heritage at 7PM. This is NOT a government meeting, but some politico's will I'm sure be there.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

More wrong doing at the State Police

The Globe reports today about guns that are seized at the airport and what happens to them. I wrote about a similiar case involving the State cops and how guns that were supposed to be destroyed, ending up being sold to private parties last year.
Now we have a member of the coastguard who had an antique black powder pistol in his back pack while going through TSA inspection. They confiscated the gun which was made before 1900 and summons the passenger to court to face a illegal possession of a firearm. During the court hearing Judge Richard Sonnott indicated that the law doesn't apply to guns made before 1900. In June of last year, the judge ordered the antique gun be returned to the owner. It was then learned from the State Police that the gun had been destroyed along with seven other guns. State Police Major Charles Atchison Troop F was in charge in January when the judge said, " I have serious questions about the way evidence is being handled". This department (which is the group who patrols the airport) is the same group who have been the major contributor of bad cops scamming the state is bogus time sheets, has been ordered not to destroy any evidence without a court order.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

B3 Zoning approved for Nobscot by planning board

So the public comment period is over, the planning board voted to send the proposed by-law changes to the Council.  I see no reason why any of them would vote it down... unless.. a majority of the area residents took a stand against 150 apartments, with retail. That intersection will only get harder to get trough during some parts of the day and night.

Friday, February 15, 2019

No retaliation from DeLeo... Robinson is on 2 committee's

The wait is over and Bob... or Bobby as his close friends call him, has picked the committee assignments and for once, there's decent news from the House. Maria was picked for.. get this.. the Marijuana Policy committee and appropriately for technology and intergovernmental affairs... sounds like a dating service for elected officials.
I would have thought Maria would serve us better if she were on the Energy Committee and the other would have been Economic Development and Emerging Technology.  Renewable energy will play a substantial part of our economy in the coming years.  Hopefully she will still take part in any legislation that will help us away from fossil fuels.

Here’s the full list of Senate leadership postings and the full list of House leadership postings.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

one more trooper pleads guilty

I never get tired of writing about the State Troopers pleading guilty of being greedy in the over time scandal that has shown how corrupt our top dog coppers are in real life. Suspended Trooper Heath McAuliffe agreed to plead guilty to collecting 7,860.00 for overtime hours between August 2015 and August 2016. The feds are recommending 6 to 12 months in jail.

fire at Windsor Green

I was just pulling into the CVS plaza when I smelled smoke. Got out of the car and saw black smoke over the roof top of the Middlesex Savings Bank. The fire house doors were closed and then they opened and an ambulance came out, but no ladder truck. I went in bought my VD card and came out to see a large aerial truck, I believe from the Rte 9 fire house drive past the intersection to the complex.
In the MWDN, Chief Dutcher is quoted as saying, "The fire had a good head start  because smoke detectors in those two units were not tied into the fire departments alarm system? " There was definitly some delayed notification and it got a head start on us".
My question that I've asked Chief Hicks yesterday in an e mail was, were is the ladder truck that's supposed to be in Nobscot?  Could that be the reason the fire got a head of them? If there is no ladder truck, how do FFF's respond to fires who are stationed in Nobscot?
Last night at the finance sub committee meeting, the fire department asked to replace the ladder truck with a new one at 778,000.00, as part of their capital requests. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A kid rings the door bell

and when I opened the door, a taller  male, 15 year old, white kid, riding a bike, asked if I wanted to have him remove the snow at the end of the driveway for 5 or 10 dollars... HOLY SNOW FLAKE BATMAN... in all the years I've lived here, no one has ever asked to shovel snow on this street. I didn't even attempt to run the snowblower, even with 15 HP, with all the water in the snow and the warm temps, I'd be wasting fuel. So there was a few scoops of water soaked snow at the end of the driveway. And it's melting by the hour.
But I did ask him to come back when there's real snow and he said he would. I'm going to ask if he liked to run the snowblower if I can't.

It is refreshing and heart warming to see a young kid, thinking of a way to make a buck and help some old folks. I'm betting he's a good student in school and has parental guidance. 

From Commonwealth Magazine... House plays follow the leader

Massive vote switch shows how lawmakers do what DeLeo wants

ON JANUARY 30, in the midst of a debate over the rules to govern the legislative process on Beacon Hill, a vote took place that revealed a lot about the way the House runs.
The vote was on a technical issue dealing with the way bills are handled as the legislative session comes to an end, when time runs short and political brinkmanship is the name of the game. Rep. Bradley Jones Jr. of North Reading, the Republican minority leader, spoke in favor of the amendment and asked for a roll call vote.
Rep. Thomas Petrolati, Democrat of Ludlow, who was presiding over the session, allotted three minutes for the roll call and punched in no votes for himself and House Speaker Robert DeLeo. A wave of no votes quickly filled the electronic voting board in the House chamber, but then a video of the proceedings captures Petrolati realizing something was wrong. “It’s a yes?” he asks. “Switch’em. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.”
Suddenly, the no votes of Petrolati and DeLeo were switched to yes votes and then at least 63 other Democrats (and one unenrolled lawmaker, Rep. Susannah Whipps of Athol) followed suit, switching their votes from no to yes. As Bob Katzen of Beacon Hill Roll Call reports in an exquisitely detailed report, it was a case of follow the leader.
“To the reader and viewer, this appears that these 63 Democrats simply watched how DeLeo and Petrolati voted and blindly followed their lead and voted no. And then switched to yes when DeLeo and Petrolati switched to yes,” Katzen reported. “Did these 63 even know what they were voting on? Did they care? What would cause them to switch their votes other than they decided to follow the ‘suggestion’ of the speaker?” Katzen sent emails soliciting comments on what happened to each lawmaker in the chamber that night, but only a handful responded. DeLeo and Petrolati said nothing.
Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa of Northampton told Katzen she voted yes initially and stood by her vote. “I was as surprised as many watching from the gallery that many changed their vote after the speaker’s vote was cast,” she said. “As a first-year representative at my first formal session, I had not witnessed something like that before.”
Rep. Russell Holmes of Boston, a leading DeLeo critic, said the vote captured how Beacon Hill works. “Welcome to the House of Representatives,” he told Katzen. “This is exactly how the House runs itself and the members should be ashamed. The speaker is like a shepherd leading a flock of sheep.”
The vote switching fits a narrative of the House as an institution where power is concentrated at the top – in the speaker’s hands.
“Historically, it wasn’t always this way,” said Phillip Sego, a former Sierra Club lobbyist who recently authored a withering critique of the concentration of power in the House in December. “Nevertheless, in the past 40 years, speakers have become increasingly autocratic….Each successive House speaker has exploited the potential, under the state constitution, to amass tremendous (and despotic) power to the office.”
According to Sego, the means of amassing power is the leverage a speaker holds over members through his ability to appoint selected lawmakers to leadership positions that come with stipends. Sego said committee appointments, aides, and office space are also used to entice lawmakers to the speaker’s side.
“Various representatives trade their fealty for positions of authority,” Sego said. “Those who oppose the Speaker (or who simply annoy him) will get terrible committee assignments, one staffer, and cramped, dank offices hidden away in the State House basement. These committees do little, have few bills, and have no authority. Meanwhile, powerful committee chairs get additional staff, nice offices, and the opportunity to hobnob with leadership members.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Fuller has a project manager

Good decision to hire an at-risk manger to keep the project on track.
From the MWDN:
“The construction manager at-risk will be a partner both in the design and construction phases. By bringing them on during the design phase, they’ll be at the table,” said Project Manager Joel Seeley.
The firm will provide guidance on construction logistics and traffic concerns as well as cost estimates for each phase and ways to minimize obstacles before building begins. During construction, the firm will act as a “construction partner,” by making sure the site is safe and “building the building to the quality that meets and exceeds all of our expectations.”

Monday, February 11, 2019

Vaping at FHS.... and a student survey

If you haven't heard... the High school has a vaping problem according to a student survey. This survey was presented to the School Committee last week and those of us who live in district 4 got a letter from Adam Freuderg. It was also sent out from Patch.

Somewhere along the line, like many issue's, the truth is somewhat left out. For instance, Patch reports that the majority of High School students find students vaping in the bathrooms. The reality is only 408 students took the voluntary survey out of 2177 total student population at the HS. The survey reports 39.5% or 161 students said yes to the question on vaping in bathrooms. 170 answered sometimes and 77 students said never. In another question: Do you avoid bathrooms to avoid seeing students vaping?, 129 students or 31.6% answered yes, a whopping 181 answered no and 98 answered sometimes. In another question students were asked if the have been offered a vaping pen: 144 or 35.4 % answered yes, 263 or 64.6% said no. Surprisingly so, Keefe Tech was not a part of the survey.
Mr. Freudberg is jumping on vaping like he did and continues to try to stop the pot shops from coming to Town.  Today, the Baker administration is proposing increases taxes on vaping products to slow down or stop teenagers from vaping. This legal product is beneficial to those who want to quit cigarettes and is only sold to people over 21 and is also a way from sick people who don't or can't smoke cannabis to effectively get their medication.
Kids should not be smoking butts, pot or anything else in the bathrooms and the only way we could stop it completely is to have live bathroom monitors. But at the end of the day, are kids over dosing on nicotine? are they robbing the elderly to get a vap cartridge? Do they smuggle them into school in laces where the sun doesn't shine?
So the question for today is... is vaping really a problem in our school bathrooms?

Vaping & Substance Use Prevention Letter

Disclaimer: this is my own effort to do something as someone concerned about vaping.   This is not a formal School Committee action. 

Letter to be sent after the 2/6 School Committee Meeting where the Student Advisory Council will discuss vaping

February 7, 2019

Dr. Scott Gottlieb                                           Attorney General Maura Healey
Commissioner                                                Commonwealth of MA
Food and Drug Administration

Mayor Yvonne M. Spicer                               Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Tremblay
City of Framingham                                       City of Framingham

Dear Dr. Gottlieb, Attorney General Healey, Mayor Spicer, and Dr. Tremblay,

The vaping crisis is a major national crisis and is one that I believe can only be addressed with complete coordination and a whole of government approach across the federal, state, and local governments.  Therefore, I am writing to you all together to express my personal views on this important topic as each of you have the individual capacity to act in multiple different ways in your respective leadership roles to support what I know is a mutual goal - to make impactful change to keep vaping devices away from anyone under 21.

This week at a meeting of the City of Framingham’s School Committee our students presented about vaping in their high school.[1]  Their survey reported that:
      39.5% of students often found and 41.7% sometimes found students vaping in the bathroom
      35.4% of students have been offered a vaping pen
      31.6% of students replied yes that they avoid the bathrooms to avoid seeing students vaping, and 24% replied sometimes to the same question.  55.6% of Framingham High School students often or sometimes avoid the bathroom at their school.  These statistics are a major concern to me. 

This supports recent national data reflecting the astronomical trends.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) last November there has been a 78 percent increase in vaping by high school students, with 3.6 million high school and middle school students now using e-cigarettes.
      Among high school students, current e-cigarette use increased from 1.5% (220,000 students) in 2011 to 20.8% (3.05 million students) in 2018.
      Among middle school students, current e-cigarette use increased from 0.6% in 2011 (60,000 students) to 4.9% (570,000 students) in 2018.[2]

Additionally according to the Surgeon General Warning, “teen vaping is the fastest-growing youth abuse epidemic on recent record.”[3]  And a recent National Youth Tobacco Survey showed that more than 20 percent of high school students admitted to using an electronic cigarette within the last 30 days – up more than 77 percent since 2017.[4]  Another recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine also shows that e-cigarettes do not help the vast majority of participants to recover from nicotine addiction.  Data shows that it merely moves the addiction from cigarettes to e-cigarettes.[5] 

The trends are one thing.  The physical and mental health effects of vaping are another as, “the Surgeon General has concluded that e-cigarette use among youths and young adults is of public health concern; exposure to nicotine during adolescence can cause addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain.”[6]  There is also no solution to the addiction of minors.  According to Dr. Susanne Tanski from the American Academy of Pediatrics Tobacco Consortium, “There is unfortunately virtually no data on how to treat an adolescent with e-cigarette dependence.  As things currently stand, there is not a single randomized controlled trial that has tested strategies to help teens quit e-cigarettes, and there is a significant need for research in this area.  We simply do not know yet if our traditional approach to cigarette cessation will apply to adolescent vaping cessation.”[7]

In addition, when adolescents attempt to quit vaping, many of them are hampered by withdrawal
symptoms which include anxiety and difficulty concentrating.  Student anxiety is such a concern in Framingham, that last year the city formed a multi-agency Framingham Youth Development Coalition, which is administered by our Board of Health.

So what can government do to educate and ultimately do all we can to protect our youth, while also balancing the free market rights of industry?  Here are my ideas for the federal, state, and local levels.


Thank you Dr. Gottlieb for calling out the e-cigarette industry for not doing enough to restrict sales and marketing to minors.  I agree with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.  It is now time for the FDA to require e-cigarettes to be regulated like regular cigarettes.  While this process is underway, I encourage the FDA to immediately take all non-FDA approved e-cigarettes off the market in stores as well as online.  Further delay would be detrimental to the health of our nation’s children.  Can you please take steps to make this happen?  History will look back at that decision as a transformational one which will change lives for the better.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

For the Attorney General’s Office:
      I encourage the Attorney General’s Office to strengthen existing regulations on age limit requirements by adding and enforcing two factor age validation for all online sales of vaping products and paraphernalia.[8]  Additionally, I encourage the office to look into banning online sales of all vaping products, including accessories and equipment - similar to how there is an existing prohibition on online/mail orders of alcohol.

City of Framingham

For the Mayor’s Office:
      There are direct ties to vaping and adult-use marijuana.  Therefore, as the legality of adult-use marijuana is so new in Massachusetts, I encourage the Mayor to start small and only authorize 1-3 Host Community Agreements.  This will allow us to see how implementation works and evaluate all impacts on our community, including the accessibility of products to those under 21 years of age.
      In each Host Community Agreement I support language requiring all individual vaping canisters to be labeled.  It is my understanding that a package of multiple canisters is required to be labeled, but the individual ones are not.  I would suggest that such individual canisters be produced with a distinctive color in addition to the labeling, so that parents and school officials can detect marijuana use easier.  Let’s require an extra layer of labeling so it is clearly visible to all stakeholders when canisters have marijuana in them.
      Language matters.  Locally I recommend we change the way we label and speak about marijuana outlets in Framingham.  Instead of using the term “recreational marijuana”, let us all commit to call it “Adult-use marijuana store” versus “Recreational Marijuana Store”.
      Dedicate a portion of the community impact fee to substance use prevention education efforts, an effort which can be managed together through a partnership between the Board of Health and Framingham Public Schools.
      Ensure that the city’s credit rating will not be negatively impacted due to the federal versus state policy differences around adult-use marijuana stores.

For the Board of Health:
      Examine the City of Somerville model to restrict sales of electronic nicotine delivery systems (e-cigarettes) and menthol cigarettes to 21+ adult-only tobacco retail stores.  Framingham currently allows retail locations to sell these products.  Also restricts flavored products from being sold in retail locations and solely allowed in adult-only locations.
      Also examine new and proposed regulations in Needham, Malden, Ashland, Winchester and other communities to find the best fit for Framingham.
      Promote and encourage wide local distribution of the Cannabis Control Commission’s new Education Guide on vaping and adult-use marijuana products coming out in 2019.

For the Superintendent:
      Research the feasibility of installing vaping detectors at Framingham High School and the three middle schools.  Determine placement and costs for these detectors, and develop policies around discipline and supports for students with nicotine addiction.
      Utilize substance use prevention resources in our school's curriculum, and begin teaching our students about this topic consistently across the district earlier than 5th grade.
      Create The 84 Chapter at Framingham High School (a statewide movement of youth educating peers and community members about the influence of the tobacco and vaping industries) and apply to their grant opportunities.
      Partner with regional networks and non-profits to ramp up education efforts for parents, guardians, students, educators, and the community.
      Framingham FORCE and other local non-profits
      Interfaith Community
      Team up with the Board of Health to present on the dangers of substance use including vaping, resources for families, and more at all annual “step up orientations” (elementary student transition events to prepare for middle schools, and middle school transition events for high school

Thank you all for your attention and consideration.  Only through a whole of government approach can we balance the free market and rights of those 21 and older, with common sense regulation to ensure our students and youth are protected to the best of our ability.