All politics is local: Two locals — Gubernatorial candidate Joe Avellone and Treasurer candidate Mike Heffernan — took a run at statewide offices. Neither won, though a slew of Wellesleyites were called on to advise new Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker as he transitions into office. Locally, Gig Babson ended her nine-year streak on the Board of Selectmen by choosing not to run in March.
Booze flows: Fells Market became the first store to sell wine and beer in town history following new bylaws allowing a limited number of supermarkets and specialty stores to do so. Roche Bros., and others followed. No more slinking off to the liquor stores bordering Wellesley now for many residents.
Firefighters feted: Wellesley firefighters were recognized for their late 2013 heroics in saving a dog from the icy Charles River by earning an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show in early 2014. She offered them free cruises for their efforts, but alas, state laws didn’t allow them to take her up on that.
North 40 drama: The town’s biggest drama of the year involved Wellesley College airing plans to sell its property along Weston Road and Rte. 135 to help pay for big campus renovations. Neighbors, including community farm plot holders, fired up opposition to the move, pushing at the very least for a conservancy to take over and preserve the land. In the end, the town bought the property, with exact plans for the North 40’s uses to be determined. The North 40 debate would prove to be just one of several controversies swirling around Wellesley College in 2014, with transgender issues, Jewish life and the Sleepwalker statue keeping the school in news headlines throughout the year (on the lighter side, Stephen Colbert gave the school a little shout-out).
Keough out, Chisum in: Andrew Keough, Wellesley High’s principal for 7 years, had been itching in recent years to graduate to a superintendent’s role and finally got his wish — in Easton. One of Keough’s sidekicks, Jamie Chisum, took over as WHS principal. Though Wellesley High’s top celebrity, English teacher David McCullough, Jr., grabbed the most headlines as he converted his 2012 You’re Not Special commencement speech into a book released this year. Okay, enough of that Yik Yak — schools also got a boost from voters, who approved a $3.4 override in May.
STEM, STEM, STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) is all the rage in education, and Wellesley has plenty of residents involved in the field who helped bring a great new science fair to town during the spring. A sequel is planned for 2015. Furthering the cause, a new superintendent’s advisory committee on STEAM (add an A for Arts) has been formed.
Underwear man: Sculpture Tony Matelli’s scantily clad “Sleepwalker” statue creeped out some on Wellesley College’s campus, leading to petitions, a social media frenzy, follow-on art projects and a whole lot of photo opps. Vandals ended the sculpture’s stay on campus, stripping graduating students and their parents from grabbing commencement day selfies with the tighty-whitey guy.
Farmed out: The Wellesley Farmers’ Market that had operated in the Whole Foods parking lot for the past couple of years went dark in 2014, though organizers did air hopes of returning.
Marathon joy: The Boston Marathon made its triumphant return through Wellesley and into Copley Square a year after the bombings.
Environmentally minded: Dozens of Wellesley residents were bussed into NYC for the big Climate Change march, while closer to home, bunches of residents bought into solar panels.
Water worries: Residents were inconvenienced for a couple of days in August after a positive E. coli test at a town reservoir led officials to warn people to boil their water before using it. Some had fun with the mini water crisis. No related sicknesses were reported and no lawns were harmed from what we heard.
Fuller Brook Park do-over: The Fuller Brook Park rehabilitation project got underway, with various segments being worked on and closed off, in an effort to curtail erosion and ensure the park that cuts through town will be around for generations of the future to enjoy. Don’t take it for granted: The Park is listed on the National Register of HistoricaPlaces.