Wellesley Chief argues in favor of police body cameras

Terry Cunningham, Wellesley police chiefThe Boston Globe is running an interesting pro/con package this weekend in which Wellesley Police Chief Terrence Cunningham and Newton Police Officer Richard Clements debate the use of body cameras by police officers. Cunningham is in favor, arguing in part that it will give the police a fair shake in a world where many police encounters are recorded by passersby. Clements takes the opposite view, airing concerns that it would give cops less discretion in dealing with borderline infractions.

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Santa scrambles through Wellesley

Wellesley SantaGood hustle by Santa in these days leading up to Christmas. Saw HER running through Wellesley Square near the fire station on Saturday AM.

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Town of Wellesley buying North 40 from Wellesley College for $35M

North 40 pine treesThe Town of Wellesley has agreed to buy the North 40 property from Wellesley College for $35M, largely ending the first act of a drama that has riled up neighbors, put the school on the defensive and sparked broad thinking about where the town goes from here on its schools, recreation and housing. The town had been one of 5 final bidders.

The Townsman reports that a Town Meeting will be held Jan. 20 to sort out purchasing details, expected to include community preservation funds and a debt exclusion.

The town has explored various uses for the land — housing, a school, recreational facilities among them — if it were to buy it.

Save the North 40 supporters are rejoicing at the news:

You should be able to catch a recording of the Board of Selectmen meeting on Wellesley Media soon (they live streamed it).

Here’s a note from Wellesley College about the deal:

Dear Friend of Wellesley College,

I would like to thank you for your interest in the future of the North 40. I am writing to you because you asked to receive information and communications related to this parcel of land, and so I wanted you to know that our Board of Trustees has selected the Town of Wellesley’s bid to purchase the North 40 for $35 million. Later today, the College and the Town will jointly announce this decision to the public.  

We are very excited about this development, especially to share the news that under this agreement more than half of the North 40 property will be preserved in perpetuity as open space. As you may know from prior communications, the College received 13 proposals for the purchase of the land. There were offers that would have generated more revenue, but our long-standing history of constructive partnership with the Town led us to choose its proposal. We are delighted that the Town’s proposal is so responsiveness to the issues of open space, sustainability, and impact on neighbors and Town services.

Over the past seven months, the College has received input from its constituencies about the future of the North 40. The terms of this agreement include many of the considerations raised by interested parties, including:

  • Maintenance of at least 50 percent of the North 40 acreage as open space in perpetuity;
  • Preservation of the portion of the property south of the aqueduct as natural, forested open space, which provides a natural buffer for the campus along Route 135;
  • Agreement by the Town not to put a road within 1000 feet of the College’s existing Route 135 entrance;
  • Provision for the future of the community gardens, including the Regeneration student farm;
  • Protection from light pollution per the International Dark-Sky Association guidelines;
  • Adoption of standards for sustainable development on the property equivalent to the College’s own, which target LEED Gold; and
  • Inclusion of the College’s voice in Town planning for the future of the land.

We encourage you to visit our website for more information and details on the sale of the North 40.  

A spokesman for the Town, Selectman Don McCauley, noted that the Town is extremely pleased to have reached this agreement, saying that, “Acquisition of the North 40 will enable the Town to control the future development of this important parcel in a thoughtful manner, and provides great opportunities to preserve open space, satisfy municipal needs and ensure continued access to recreational land for Wellesley residents.”

We anticipate that this sale of land will become final as soon as late spring, after a number of contractual requirements are met. These include the approval of the purchase at Special Town Meeting, likely scheduled for early 2015; a due diligence review by the Town; a vote by residents to approve the necessary funds; and a successful bond offering.

The land came to sale after the College sought and was granted the right to sell the North 40 by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in May 2014. The College has acquired an additional 180 acres of land since the time of the Durant Indenture and Will, including 10 acres in 2010; this acreage provides significant College expansion opportunities if needed. By selling the North 40, Wellesley will gain additional financial resources to support its current campus renewal plan, which is dedicated to meeting the future academic and residential needs of the College through the renovation of its historic and beloved buildings and campus.  

Over the past months, neighbors, alumnae, faculty, and students have voiced many different opinions on the North 40-and for that we are grateful. It is clear that we all share a deep attachment to Wellesley’s campus, and we believe that this outcome best balances the needs of the College and our greater community.

 I wish you well during this holiday season.

Sincerely,

Ben Hammond

Vice President for Finance and Administration

Wellesley College

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Wellesley businesses that came and went in 2014

Bocado restaurant wellesley

Bocado delectables

The Wellesley retail landscape underwent significant changes in 2014, highlighted by the opening of two restaurants and the closing of a longtime ice cream shop.

Bocado Tapas & Wine Bar opened this fall on Church Street where Paper Source formerly lived, and Sweet Basil sister restaurant Juniper replaced Milestone in Wellesley Square at the midway point of the Boston Marathon course this past summer. The eateries, taking advantage of more restaurant-friendly Wellesley bylaws, complement and provide fresh competition to Blue Ginger, Alta Strada, Cafe Mangal and other places to dine in town.

Oh, and let’s not forget Sam’s Hot Dog Cart, which rolled onto the scene this summer, often parking near Hunnewell Field and at Morses Pond.

White Mountain Creamery WellesleyThe most notable restaurant loss was that of White Mountain Creamery, which went under in October under murky circumstances that have left former workers frustrated and former patrons saddened.

Wellesley also got a fresh infusion of health-related businesses, including the Bar Method fitness studio and Btone Fitness in Wellesley Square, and the newly-opened Steve DeMasco Shaolin Studios martial arts school on Linden Street. What’s more, a CrossFit studio is on the way in early 2015.

New businesses designed to help you pretty-fy your home included Florijn in Wellesley Square, Eldred Wheeler Furniture in Linden Square and Terrazza in Church Square. And to make sure you’re comfy: A Sleepy’s in Linden Square.

Glowgolf

Glowgolf

For kids, a Glowgolf mini golf facility opened in Linden Square, and the quirky Toys in Box 3D printing shop.

Also new in town this year:  North River Outfitters, a clothing store; Mathnasium learning center; and Fulham Salon.

And what would a year be without a new CVS to gloat about? We got another one, our fourth in town (See: “Opening day at Wellesley’s amazing new family-friendly wonderland!”)

With arrivals come departures. The Odd Fellows building in Wellesley Square has kept some of its lettering, but Btone moved in and the fraternal lodge is out.

Crossing Main, which had moved from Wellesley Square to Linden Square a few years back, vacated its space and Eldred Wheeler moved in.

As mentioned above, Milestone gave way to Juniper. Also on the food front, the John Dewar butcher shop met its end in January.

The Gifted Hand, in business for 40 years, ended its run in Wellesley, with Terrazza starting a new tradition in its former space.The Gifted Hand, Wellesley

 

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Tis’ the season in Wellesley to blame Verizon

post office sign about verizon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verizon is having a rough go of it of late in Wellesley, with the latest example being in evidence at the downtown post office.

Not only are Wellesley Square post office patrons dealing with the usual long lines of the holiday season, but the queues have been particularly slow at the downtown office this week due to what’s described on a makeshift sign as computer problems caused by issues with Verizon’s network. I overheard an employee discussing the problem (“we keep asking them to get the wires up out of the ground, where they keep getting wet…”) with a patron before I bailed on the stagnant line. The employee noted hearing about a local school also suffering from Verizon issues.

These problems come on the heels of Wellesley Media alerting customers at the start of the month that it could not provide live streaming and other services due to a Verizon issue that has since been resolved.

November ended/December started with some Wellesley residents being among the 400,000 Massachusetts households stripped of Fox25 TV during Verizon’s dispute with Cox Media.

We inquired at Verizon to find out if any of the problems might be part of a larger issue with the network in town, but a corporate spokesman says there are no major network problems in Wellesley.

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Wellesley artist crafts challenging games

31C3lnt+STL._SL100_In a recent effort to seek out local shopping angles, we found out about Wellesley resident, artist, and inventor David Copplestone, whose company markets executive toys, games, and decorative accessories under the name Copplestone Designs. Copplestone’s products are designed to have a sculptural look of a work of art while challenging the game player to, for example, use just the right combination of force, angle, and slope to achieve the ring-tossing goal as in the case of the “Orbiter” game.  Players will need to practice patience while they get the hang of this challenging pendulum device game that is designed to demonstrate the laws of motion.

A1ZIBlCVTaL._SL1500_The game that really caught our eye, however, was the Putting Rail. If you’re looking for the perfect gift to help your golf friends improve their putting at the Wellesley Country Club, this hand-crafted executive toy may well put you into the gift-giving Hall of Fame. The Putting Rail features a convex top surface that demands the putter hit the ball straight, allowing the golfer to become more adept at completing smooth and consistent strokes.  Although the rail is only four feet long, compact enough to easily fit into a corner of the golfer’s office, its convex top surface allows it to simulate much longer putts. The golf aid can be played competitively with up to six players or used by just one golfer with a little obsessive energy to burn.

Order Copplestone’s products, which run in the $40 – $250 range, from Amazon.

In addition to crafting games, Copplestone is an accomplished painter who in the past has exhibited 55 of his works at the Wellesley library.  Walk through his 2010 exhibit on youtube.

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Wellesley parking meter enforcement guy looks downright downtrodden

Wellesley square parking meter guyI was almost moved to tears Tuesday morning seeing who I’m pretty sure was the Wellesley parking meter enforcement guy wandering around Wellesley Square seemingly in a fog, barely able to look at the meters covered with their 2-hours-of-free-parking hoodies. Keep your head up pal, it’s almost over!wellesley parking meter free 2 hours

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Season of Asking & Giving in Wellesley

Christmas cards are outnumbering requests for donations at our house so far this holiday season, but it’s a pretty close race.

Local organizations have also hit up The Swellesley Report to pass along requests to people to consider making charitable donations before year-end:

* Wellesley Friendly Aid is pleased to announce that its annual fundraising campaign is underway.  

Friendly Aid’s annual campaign is the single, largest source of funding supporting its many programs helping Wellesley residents and families. 

 Among these programs, Friendly Aid provides needed financial aid to Wellesley families experiencing emergency or hardship situations.  We fund scholarships to send children of Wellesley families in need to summer camp and summer educational enrichment programs and provide food vouchers to low income families for the holidays.

Please be as generous as you can in supporting Friendly Aid’s Annual Appeal.

For more information or to donate online, visit our website at wellesleyfriendlyaid.org or call 781-235-3960.

Peter Johannsen, President, Wellesley Friendly Aid

 

(Another way to contribute to Wellesley Friendly Aid is to support Scott Spencer a resident of Katy, TX who will be running the 2015 Boston Marathon to raise money for Wellesley Friendly Aid.  Spencer, who has run the marathon 9 times, has extended family who are Wellesley residents and says “Wellesley offers the best and most enthusiastic support on the course”. )

 

*  The Wellesley Education Foundation (WEF) is proud to announce its annual Board of Directors’ Holiday Matching Gift Challenge. This season, WEF’s board members have aggregately collected $20,000 to be able to offer to local education supporters a dollar-for-dollar match for every donation made to WEF in December. Last year’s inaugural and pilot Challenge was so successful, resulting in nearly $40,000 in donations for WEF, that the Wellesley Education Foundation has incorporated this Holiday initiative into its annual plan.

The Wellesley Education Foundation board of directors is a working and governing board. The Holiday Matching Gift Challenge is an effective means for the WEF board to present to the community its deep commitment to the Wellesley Public Schools through both volunteered time and financial contributions. This year’s Challenge amount of $20,000 is an increase of over 10% from the amount collected last year.

For education supporters, the Challenge is credible way to show support for the Wellesley Public Schools through a donation whose impact will double through this matching gift program.

Additionally, donations are tax deductible – another bonus for donors.

Through the Wellesley Education Foundation, over $1.6 million has been awarded in grants and assistance to educators in the past 10 years. In the recent past, WEF has funded and championed numerous WPS projects and initiatives including: 1:1 Technology Initiative launch at 7 elementary schools and WMS; Electricity curriculum enhancement for WMS; Leveled Literacy Intervention kits for elementary schools; Keyboards for WHS music department; 10 Mindstorms NXT robot kits for WHS computer science classes; Expansion of Shakespeare curriculum for WMS; and more.

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  • Upcoming Wellesley Fundraisers

    Upcoming Wellesley Fundraisers