Paul working for you.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

March 31st Superior Court pipeline hearing date postponed!

March 31st Superior Court pipeline hearing date postponed!

                                           from The New Yorker magazine

Mass. Attorney General Maura Healey's request for postponement of Thursday's Superior Court Hearing in Pittsfield has been granted. The hearing has been changed to be a strictly procedural meeting to set the schedule, so a show of public support is not needed at this time. In this case, Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. is suing the Commonwealth and its Department of Conservation & Recreation to gain the right of eminent domain to access land in Otis State Forest to store gas for the Connecticut Expansion pipeline project. 

As we wrote previously, Otis SF is protected by Article 97 of the state's Constitution. Granting of eminent domain would set a critical precedent for the large number of land parcels protected by Art. 97 along the proposed NED pipeline route--which includes Franklin County and the Millers River watershed. The CT Expansion project will provide no gas for MA. For more info click here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Opinions, Opinions...

April 21, 2009

Breaking New Ground in Dover Amendment Law: Massachusetts Court Dismisses Neighbors’
Appeal of Zoning Board Decision Permitting Light Towers on College Athletic Field

Last month Mintz Levin won a victory in Massachusetts Superior Court that promises to have positive repercussions for all academic and religious institutions in Massachusetts who seek to benefit from the land use protections of state law commonly known as the Dover Amendment. The Dover Amendment is the 1950 Massachusetts statute that requires local permitting authorities to give more favorable treatment than what is conventionally required to the land use and zoning applications of, among others, nonprofit educational institutions and religious organizations.

Specifically, the Dover Amendment states that “[n]o zoning ordinance or by-law shall prohibit, regulate or restrict the use of land or structures for religious purposes or for educational purposes on land owned or leased by the [state], or by a religious sect or denomination, or by a nonprofit educational corporation” — except that reasonable restrictions in eight specified areas may be imposed so long as these restrictions do not unduly hinder the religious or educational use. Those eight areas of permissible zoning restriction are: bulk of structures, height of structures, yard sizes, lot area, setbacks, open space, parking and building footprints.1

The court decision, Murdoch v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of Wenham et al.,2 significantly limits the bases for appeal by plaintiffs seeking to overturn a local zoning board’s approval of a use authorized by the Dover Amendment. Under the 14-page opinion, a plaintiff challenging a local Dover Amendment approval, in order to have legal standing to sue, must credibly allege that he is aggrieved in one or more of the areas in which the statute specifies the protected educational or religious use may be reasonably regulated. If the only credible evidence a plaintiff can bring forward relates to impacts the Dover Amendment was not designed to protect, the court held, he is without legal standing and his appeal therefore must be dismissed.

Library Director Charged With Taking $50,000

Library Director Charged With Taking $50,000
Former Stevens Memorial Library boss Cheryl Paul-Bradley indicted
News staff photo by Damien Fisher The Stevens Memorial Library
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News staff photo by Damien Fisher The Stevens Memorial Library
TGN file photo Cheryl Paul-Bradley
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TGN file photo Cheryl Paul-Bradley
Damien Fisher
News Staff Writer

ASHBURNHAM  The former director of Ash­burnham’s Stevens Memorial Li­brary is now under indictment for allegedly stealing $50,000 from the library.

Cheryl Paul-Bradley, 54, was indicted by the grand jury convened at the Worcester Superior Court on two counts of forgery, two counts of uttering false checks, and three counts of fraud or embezzlement by a municipal official. She is alleged to have diverted more than $50,000 in checks intended for the library. Paul Jarvey, spokesman for Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said Monday that no arraignment date for Paul-Bradley has yet been scheduled.

Paul-Bradley is listed as a Troy, New Hampshire, resident. Her number is unlisted and she could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Paul-Bradley resigned from her position of 30 years in 2014, after an audit of the library turned up financial red flags. Auditors from Worcester ac­counting firm Greenberg, Ro­sen­blatt, Kull & Bitsoli found a number of discrepancies in Paul-Bradley’s record-keeping system including missing receipts from vendors, paying in cash, having an Athol Savings Bank account opened in her and a former trustee’s name, as well as having more than $30,000 cash in envelopes at the library, according to their report.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Red Rover, Red Rover . Send DOVER Right Over !

Red Rover, Red Rover,
 Send DOVER Right Over!

In the Town Administrator's report at the Selectmen's meeting March 28th, some interesting news was reported regarding the Elementary school.

Town counsel was contacted and has reviewed the Dover Amendment as it applies to Templeton's Zoning bylaws and the height of the elementary school. It appears the hearing with the Zoning Board of Appeals regarding the variance for the height requirement for the new school will be unnecessary. Because your input and our zoning bylaws don't really matter.

Funny how Town Counsel was asked to review the Dover Amendment in regard to the elementary school and yet Town Counsel did not review the $50 million dollar contract to build the school. 

We live in interesting times!

Toward the end of the selectman's meeting, there was some discussion about naming the Elementary School. One suggestion was to name it the Narragansett Elementary School. Kate Fulton, a member of the Advisory Board, would like to see the Elementary school named after Stephen Hemman.

Please contact the Selectman's Office with any and all name suggestions for the Elementary school. Public input is encouraged.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Annual Town Meeting Warrant Will Open Tonight

New England Tradition

There is an agenda item to open the warrant for the Annual Town Meeting in May.

Time to get those Citizen Petitions ready!

Currently gathering signatures for the following citizen petitions:

Proposed Citizen Petition:
To see if the Town will vote to amend By Law Article VI – Contracts by Town Officers and add  a new Section 4 to read as follows :  All contracts  with a value of  $100,000  or more shall be reviewed by Town Counsel before said contracts are signed.
If you believe that the $50 million dollar contract for the Elementary School SHOULD have been reviewed by Town Counsel BEFORE it was signed, well then, this is a citizen petition you should support!

Meetings the Week of March 28, 2016

Meetings the Week of March 28, 2016

Monday 3/28/16
BOS                                 E. Temp                      6:30 pm
Cap. Planning                  E. Temp.                     6:30 pm

Tuesday 3/29/16
Elem. School                   E. Temp.                      6:30 pm
MRPC                             Fitchburg                     7:00 pm

Thursday 3/31/16
Sr. Center                        Sr. Drive                       6:30 pm

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Auditor: Ashburnham Budget Has Little Leeway

Auditor: Ashburnham Budget Has Little Leeway
Doneen Durling
News Correspondent

ASHBURNHAM — The Ashburnham Board of Selectmen met with the Advisory Board for a formal review of the Town Audit delivered by Auditor Bill Fraher and were informed that money was tight, but seemed well spent.

Fraher told the board that in general, the audit went well this year.

“There were no material corrections to the general ledger, there were no material weaknesses or reportable conditions in the management letter, and the management letter is getting smaller as the years go by, so that is good.”

Fraher said according to his findings, Ashburnham had a very tight year.

“You don’t have a lot of wiggle room in the budget.

I do know that in 2015 there were some type of appropriations for the sewer fund and a few other things.”

Fraher advised that the thing to focus on is the reserves.

He said a lot of his towns try and target 8 to 10 percent.

He said the funds going to capital and stabilization ac­counts have remained steady in the 5 to 6 percent range.

Advisory Board Chairman Bill Johnson asked about the light plant accounts mentioned in the audit’s management letter.

Fraher said that the management letter is written to certify the town’s financial status. He said that while going through the audit, they see things that need pointing out so towns might consider a better way, and those are mentioned in the letter.

“You had no material weaknesses and no significant deficiencies.

4 Vie For 2 Spots As Templeton Selectmen

4 Vie For 2 Spots As Templeton Selectmen
Tara Vocino

TEMPLETON There is a contested race for the Board of Selectmen with four candidates running and only two spots open for three-year terms in the May 2 annual town election.

Those running include: inc­umbent Douglas E. Morrison, of 270 Gray Road, Templeton; Jef­frey P. Bennett, of 77 Par­tridgeville Road, Templeton; John C. Caplis, of 7 South Main St., East Templeton; and Julie M. Farrell of 24 Myrtle St., Bald­winville.

Bradley E. Lehtonen, of 40 Depot Road, East Templeton, is seeking re-election for a three-year term on the Board of Assessors. Elizabeth J. Crocker, of 689 Baldwinville Road, Baldwinville, is a candidate for re-election on the Board of Health in a contested race against newcomer Farrell, who is also seeking a spot on the Board of Selectmen.

Incumbent Michael G. Kirby, of 45 Fessenden St., Baldwinville, is running uncontested for a three-year term on the Cemetery and Parks Commission.

Another incumbent, Michael I. Morgan, of 35 Baldwinville Road, Templeton, is running unopposed for a three-year term on the Community Preservation Committee.

Newcomer David F. Smart, of 14 South Main St., East Templeton, is seeking a three-year term on the Light and Water Commission.

Derek W. Hall, of 47 Orchard Lane, East Templeton, who currently serves as moderator, is running unopposed for a one-year term.

John P. Buckley, of 4 Peaceful Pines, Templeton, is seeking re-election for a five-year term on the Planning Board.

Robert L. Dennis, of 35 Liberty St., Baldwinville, is hoping to have another three-year term on the Sewer Commission.

Lori J. Mattson, of 73 Laurel View Road, Templeton, and Daniel F. Sanden, of 440 Highland Ave., Phillipston, are both running for re-election to three-year terms on the School Committee.

March 30 is the last day for candidates to withdraw nomination papers.

According to Assistant Town Clerk Cheryl Kasper, the last day for candidates to obtain nomination papers was March 10.

The last day to submit them was March 14.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Don't Look Behind THAT Curtain -School Budget Calculations

Don't Look Behind THAT Curtain -School Budget Calculations

Below is information provided by Bernard Heaney regarding the calculations involved for the Narragansett Regional School Budget and Templeton's Minimum Contribution and Target Share. This information was accurate as of June 29, 2015. Since June 29, 2015 the voters of the Town of Templeton have approved a $50 million dollar elementary school.

June 29, 2015 


To:Taxpayers of The Town of Templeton 

From:Bernard Heaney, Baldwinville, MA 


On April 2nd The Gardner News published quotes from the Superintendent of Schools, saying that Templeton’s support was nearly $800,000 below Target in FY14.  Since the truth is we were actually $618,712 over the Target, I contacted The Gardner News (TGN) writers and owner a total of five (5) times, trying to get them to print a letter to the editor correcting this or to print a retraction.  A copy of this letter to the editor (not printed in TGN) has been on this “blog previously (see Pauly’s Blog posting May 1, 2015 titled “Bernard J. Heaney 716 Baldwinville Rd Baldwinville”). 

Since TGN refused to address this false information, using data from the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) website, I prepared a handout for Annual Town Meeting titled, “Has Templeton Supported the Narragansett Regional District ?”. (see Pauly’s Blog posting June 24, 2015 titled “School Funding Document Compiled by Bernard Heaney”)  

Last month, at Annual Town Meeting and during discussion of Article 5,FY 2016 Operating Budget & Salaries of Town Officials”, the school committee chairwoman and one selectman made statements that were not true, contradicting this “handout”. 

Statement No. 1 
by Selectman John Columbus: 
Regarding the town’s support, relative to meeting the Target amount, Mr. Columbus stated that the Target, “… is way up here”, holding his hand over his head, and we are way down here.”, holding his hand below his waist.  This “Open Letter” will prove that the selectman was not correct. 

Statement No. 2 
by School Committee Chairwoman Raeann Trifilo: 
During discussion on the floor regarding the town’s financial support of the school budget, a citizen asked if the “Minimum Required Contribution” on the DESE calculation sheet included required payments for “Monty Tech” or was it just for Narragansett.  Ms. Trifilo was given the floor and stated that the Minimum Contribution figure did not include Monty Tech.  This “Open Letter will prove that the Chairwoman was not correct. 

                                                                                                                       page 1 of 4 
Page Break 
June 29, 2015      Open Letterpage 2 of 4 
Inaccurate Information at ATM 

Statement No. 1 
by Selectman John Columbus: 
Regarding the town’s support, relative to meeting the Target, Robert Columbus stated that the Target, “… is way up here”, holding his hand over his head, “ and we are way down here.”, holding his hand below his waist. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

School Concerns Voiced

School Concerns Voiced
People ask about playground use, parking and bike paths
News staff photo by Tara Vocino Sonia White was concerned about the park, bike paths and traffic congestion at a community forum regarding the Templeton Elementary School at Narragansett Regional High School on Wednesday.
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News staff photo by Tara Vocino Sonia White was concerned about the park, bike paths and traffic congestion at a community forum regarding the Templeton Elementary School at Narragansett Regional High School on Wednesday.
Tara Vocino

TEMPLETON  Abutters to the new Templeton Elementary School and other town residents attended a community forum at Narragansett Regional High School on Wednesday, where they asked questions and posed their concerns.

Sonia White, who lives on the corner of South and Wellington roads, is concerned about the park that will be built there, Gladys Park.

“No one in town can use the public playground,” White said.

“Moving a playground on school property means that other people can’t use the playground.

If they’re not CORI checked, they can’t go on the property.”

Interim Superintendent Dr. Steve Hemman’s response was that she and others could use it since she runs a daycare called Home Away from Home.

White said the playground should be available to everyone, not just a select few.

She also asked about if bike paths were on the opposite side of the sidewalks.

Project Manager Tim Alix said that the bike paths will be part of the road.

White said it’ll make parking more congested.

“It’s very involved,” White said.

“You don’t just have a mom and dad anymore.

You have stepparents and boyfriends and girlfriends.

Six cars for one family.”

White said people will park on the side of the road, in her and her neighbors’ driveways, while littering the area with juice boxes.

She said that the school doesn’t fit in Templeton, adding the architects don’t live around there.

Hemman replied that this is where they stand and the forum was so that residents could voice their concerns.

When in Doubt, Get It Out!

Communities that Have Rejected Fluoridation Since 2010

Compiled by the Fluoride Action Network

Most developed nations, including the vast majority of western Europe, do not fluoridate their drinking water. Cities that do not fluoridate their water include: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Basel, Berlin, Copenhagen, Florence, Frankfurt, Geneva, Glasgow, Helsinki, London, Montreal, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Tokyo, Vancouver, Venice, Vienna, and Zurich.

Since health authorities in North America have refused to let go of the fluoridation paradigm, local communities are doing the work for them. Since 2010, over 150 communities have rejected the practice, including large communities like  Calgary, Alberta (pop. 1.3 million), Windsor, Ontario (pop. 279,000), Portland, Oregon (pop. 900,000), Wichita, Kansas (pop. 385,000), and Albuquerque, New Mexico (pop. 500,000), Bucks County, Pennsylvania (385,000), and in 2014, Israel (over 7 million).

As summarized by the New York Times:

“For decades, the issue of fluoridated water remained on the fringes. . . . But as more places, like Fairbanks and parts of Canada, take up the issue in a more measured way, it is shifting away from conspiracy and toward the mainstream. The conclusion among these communities is that with fluoride now so widely available in toothpaste and mouthwash, there is less need to add it to water, which already has naturally occurring fluoride. Putting it in tap water, they say, is an imprecise way of distributing fluoride; how much fluoride a person gets depends on body weight and water consumed.”

 Chart Below:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Microsoft's Twitter Chat Robot Quickly Devolves Into Racist, Homophobic, Nazi, Obama-Bashing Psychopath

Microsoft's Twitter Chat Robot Quickly Devolves Into Racist, Homophobic, Nazi, Obama-Bashing Psychopath

Tyler Durden's picture

Two months ago, Stephen Hawking warned humanity that its days may be numbered: the physicist was among over 1,000 artificial intelligence experts who signed an open letter about the weaponization of robots and the ongoing "military artificial intelligence arms race."

Overnight we got a vivid example of just how quickly "artificial intelligence" can spiral out of control when Microsoft's AI-powered Twitter chat robot, Tay, became a racist, misogynist, Obama-hating, antisemitic, incest and genocide-promoting psychopath when released into the wild.

For those unfamiliar, Tay is, or rather was, an A.I. project built by the Microsoft Technology and Research and Bing teams, in an effort to conduct research on conversational understanding. It was meant to be a bot anyone can talk to online. The company described the bot as “Microsofts A.I. fam the internet that’s got zero chill!."
Microsoft initially created "Tay" in an effort to improve the customer service on its voice recognition software. According to MarketWatch, "she” was intended to tweet “like a teen girl” and was designed to “engage and entertain people where they connect with each other online through casual and playful conversation.”

The chat algo is able to perform a number of tasks, like telling users jokes, or offering up a comment on a picture you send her, for example. But she’s also designed to personalize her interactions with users, while answering questions or even mirroring users’ statements back to them. 

This is where things quickly turned south.

As Twitter users quickly came to understand, Tay would often repeat back racist tweets with her own commentary. Where things got even more uncomfortable is that, as TechCrunch reports, Tay’s responses were developed by a staff that included improvisational comedians. That means even as she was tweeting out offensive racial slurs, she seemed to do so with abandon and nonchalance.

Some examples:

Templeton Cuts School Budget

Templeton Cuts School Budget
A few teachers and other staffers to be eliminated
News staff photos by Tara Vocino Speech language pathologist Kelly Dolan urged School Committee members not to cut behavioral specialist Jodi Kirby’s position at the School Committee meeting on Wednesday.
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News staff photos by Tara Vocino Speech language pathologist Kelly Dolan urged School Committee members not to cut behavioral specialist Jodi Kirby’s position at the School Committee meeting on Wednesday.
Tara Vocino

TEMPLETON  The Narragansett Regional School District started off the budget process with a projected deficit of $593,946 in its operating budget for fiscal 2017 and they’ve whittled it down to $12,904.

According to Business Manager Ann Marie Geyster, the budget subcommittee recommended a $19.4 million budget to the School Committee last Wednesday.

The budget process began in December, and it has been ongoing since then.

In order to make up for this shortfall, a few items had to be cut.

“We aren’t going to hire a fifth-grade teacher or a high school business teacher,” Geyster said.

“We don’t have money to fund them.”

That amounts to budget reductions: $36,708 for the fifth-grade teacher and $50,928 for the business teacher.

Among other reductions, substitute teachers’ salary was cut by a few thousand dollars along with a few thousand in library supplies.

They also plan to add $160,000 in School Choice students.

Speech language pathologist Kelly Dolan went before the School Committee on Wednesday to discuss her colleagues’ concern about losing the behavioral specialist position.

That amounts to a $14,102 budget reduction.

Dolan called Jodi Kirby, the behavioral specialist, part of the glue that holds the school together.

“What is going to happen when we don’t have this position anymore,” Dolan asked.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

2 Templeton School Meetings

2 Templeton School Meetings

TEMPLETON — The Templeton Elementary School Building Committee invites the public to a forum being held on Wednesday, March 23, at 7 p.m. in the Kiva of Narragansett Regional High School, 464 Baldwinville Road, Baldwinville.

This will be an informative session at which the architects and project manager of the elementary school building project will present an update of what progress has been made and a timeline of things moving forward.

There will also be a School Choice meeting Tuesday, March 22, at 6 p.m. in the Kiva, lobby and library at Narragansett. Administrators will talk to parents and provide information about the school offerings and educational experiences.

Templeton OKs New Water Tank

Templeton OKs New Water Tank
Most of the cost will be paid through a loan
‘The existing tank is about 60 years old. It’s served all of its useful life.”
— John Driscoll, Municipal Light and Water Plant general manager

Tara Vocino

TEMPLETON  All of the articles at Special Town Meeting on Monday passed with some discussion, including a measure to demolish and rebuild a water storage tank in East Templeton.

Fifty-six voters came out.

The Water Department offered to pay for the meeting, as there was a debt authorization article on the warrant for the $1.2 million water tank.

The vote to demolish and rebuild a water storage tank initially passed by a 2/3 vote when a request was put in for a hand motion.

It passed again, 41-11. Municipal Light and Water Plant General Manager John Driscoll went to the microphone to express why the loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture was needed for the 500,000 gallon water storage tank on Johnson Avenue in East Templeton.

“The existing tank is about 60 years old,” Driscoll said.”

It’s served all of its useful life.”

Driscoll said the tank offers important fire protection, holding half a million gallons.

“Half of that was used in the last fire,” Driscoll said.

He said it’s also a compliance issue.

“If we don’t do anything about it, the paint will bleed into the water,” Driscoll said.

“It was last painted in 1997, and it has to be painted every 15 to 20 years.”

Driscoll explained that over time, the chemicals in the water eat away the paint.

However, only .2 percent is used for drinking water.

The majority of the water is used for showering, washing dishes, and laundry.

He said if they don’t comply, it’s a matter of time before fines set in, and the water is shut off.

The water rates won’t increase. It will be funded 80 percent through the loan and 20 percent through grant.

Resident John Worden went to the microphone, also in favor.

“It’s a very necessary project, equalizing water pressures,” Worden said.

However, resident Richard Chartier went to the podium to speak against it.

“We ought to wait until Annual Town Meeting when more people are here to vote on it,” Chartier said.