SeeClickBloat: Water Weight

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday’s blog post regarding the Weiss Farm site walk with the Conservation Commission resulted in a number of great responses, both via email and in the post’s comment section.

There are a few I will share, and I wanted to start with this one from Selectman Ann Marie O’Neill:

Hi Liz,

Your pictures on SCY are very compelling and definitely help to illustrate how grave the situation is at Weiss Farm. Thanks for sharing your talent to reach more people.

One thing all citizens of Stoneham need to understand, whether they live near Weiss or not, is the sheer magnitude of this development. Below is the prototype for Weiss Farm – the Commons of Lynnfield. Note that the building is too large to fit in the photo.

There are 3 of these buildings planned for Weiss. The photo below is the Corcoran development in Lynnfield along Route 1, a major highway. This is the model for Weiss Farm, the only difference is that the development on Route 1 is actually SMALLER than what is planned for Weiss.

Now imagine the weight of three of these buildings, a clubhouse, a pool, and a parking lot which will accommodate almost 500 cars on the site at Weiss. What do you think will happen to the water when this weight is put upon the site? If anyone has a good camera and can take photographs of the Commons at Lynnfield and blow them up to truly illustrate what we are facing, more people might take notice.

Thank you,

Ann Marie O’Neill

LynnfieldCommons

SeeClickSwamp: A River Runs Through It

IMG-20150425-04108Funny enough, this somehow turned into Weiss Farm Weekend. Between the site walk with the Conservation Commission on Saturday morning, followed by the Boston Globe article that references the proposed Weiss Farm development a “Con” to considering living in Stoneham, I for one experienced quite the “eye opener” to what’s in the works on Franklin Street.

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about or why this topic is “Yikes-worthy,” take a look here for the history.)

To give some perspective on how massive this proposed project is, Stoneham residents Joan Lemire and John Peterson put two rectangles that represent full-sized soccer fields on the space planned for building. The “fields” are approximately 115 yds x 74 yds. As an FYI regarding the plans’ alterations by the developer, the parking lot was changed with a new row replacing a set of buildings (thank you for sharing, Joan and John!):

Weiss Farm Soccer Small

Here are the original plans, sans rectangles:

Weiss Farm Orig Small

It had been several days since the last rainfall when we took the walk yesterday, and yet the first thing that struck me was how wet and mushy the ground was. Soon I was to find out just how soggy things really were back there. I took a series of photos, which I’ve shared below, but what I’d love is for people who can please help explain the impact to the surrounding properties. I don’t know enough about wetlands and such to comment effectively. For now, the photos will speak for themselves:

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These next two photos are extremely disturbing because through the brush is pretty much a garbage dump. None of us went in there, but I hope someone is investigating what type of waste is back there:

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SeeClickGreen: Happy Earth Day!

Since today is Earth Day, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to celebrate two of my personal “hometown heroes:” Stoneham residents Cameron Bain and Cindy Hemenway.

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For several decades, Cameron was the one lone soldier who fought to make our community a better place:

Thank You Mr. Cameron Bain
By Frank Pignone (Open Post) May 19, 2014

Today May 19 marks the Anniversary each year of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. In our Town we enjoy our own wonderful and well run organization. It is here all because of one caring man who many years ago as a young man had a dream of starting a Boys Club in his community for our children. That Man was Mr. Cameron Bain who, with his beautiful family still lives in Stoneham. One day it all began when he walked out the door of his home using his car, his feet, trains, buses, and talking with banks, town and state governments, and investors all on his own time and I’m sure getting discouraged from time to time. But this man went on , not to be denied. Character, Courage, and Commitment as he possesses is often futile to combat as we visualize in all great champions of any endeavor. He dreamed and he built and it is now a very positive and useful experience for our young and the participation of adults as well.

You may also know of Mr. Bain’s dream of having a Bikeway and Greenway in Stoneham along the old Railway here in town. Once again, obstacle after obstacle; fight after fight ; even with his own government in battles he should never have had to fight. Once again however; all the forces against him learned no person can be defeated when God is on your side with a man of Goodness, and well meaning intent for his selfless commitment to his community and its people for a better place to live.
Mr. Bain, I’ve known you since we were very young. I respected you then, and I’ve been in awe of your character. You may feel secure in knowing that today, this whole community says ‘Thank You’ sir for living your life as a True American and a Hero and Legend in the Town of Stoneham which you have lived for and loved all of your life. And, we love you and your precious wife and family right back. May God Bless you in health and happiness in your days ahead and I can’t wait until I see you take the ‘First’ Bicycle Ride on ‘Your’ Bike Path. I’ll probably break out in tears knowing what is in that fabulous Heart. Be Well my Friend.

Cindy Hemenway is a passionate community member, Greenway supporter/ activist and has also become a dear friend. I have watched her and Cameron work together tirelessly over the last few years to make the Bikeway/ Greenway become a reality.

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Because of neighbors and role models like Cameron and Cindy, my little Vanessa is already passionate about and playing an active role in making Stoneham a better place.

10460245_10152296780677399_4778705668597810901_n July 19, 2014 Greenway/Bikeway Clean-Up Organized by Cindy Hemenway

The work of one, then a few has grown into a major, community-changing effort. A “happy Earth Day” and heartfelt “thank you” to all of the members of the Stoneham Tri-Community Bike/Greenway Committee: Cameron Bain, Dorothy Bergold, Mary Furrier, Bill Murphy, Julie Shulman, Mark Warren, Anthony Wilson (Chair), Dolly Wilson!

It’s amazing what the inspiring work of a group can do to unify a community.

ThankYou

Happy Earth Day!

HopeyChangey

SeeClickVictory: A New Era for Stoneham

VictorsSigns LGWow, what a day! Actually, what a past few years!! The hard work and tireless passion for our Town has paid off with three victories tonight. Congratulations to Tom Boussy, Caroline Colarusso and Larry Means!!

And what these election results really translate into is a HUGE win for The Town of Stoneham. Our community deserves to keep moving in the right direction. It started three years ago with one man saying, “Hey, we deserve better.” That was followed by one woman saying, “I agree.”

Today marks a huge leap forward with the continued work of Larry Means as Town Moderator and the addition of Caroline Colarusso as Selectman. Tonight I’m even prouder to be a part of the Stoneham community.

SeeClickCampaign: Show Me the Money

ShowMoneyOCI thought I was done posting about tomorrow’s election for the night, but then I received a rather unsettling email:

—— Original message——
From: Bob Sweeney
Date: Mon, Apr 6, 2015 7:56 PM
To: Charles F. Houghton;
Cc: A group of residents whose privacy I’m respecting
Subject:Re: Please vote tomorrow. Follow-up to last meeting request.

Bob Sweeney,,Erin Sinclair,let’s get stoneham back to where it belongs

On Apr 6, 2015 5:54 PM, “Charles F. Houghton” wrote:
Just a reminder: Tomorrow is Stoneham’s Town election. As always please remember that all politics is local. Please get to the polls and vote!

What, exactly, does “back to where it belongs” mean? Terrorism against residents and elected officials? Or continued defiance against the law?

I posted earlier about how our community deserves continued transparency and accountability. So that leads me to my next question:

Why is it that Bob Sweeney has not reported his campaign financials? And I don’t just mean this year. As it turns out, he either failed to report or provided woefully incomplete financial records for each time he ran for Selectman.

This not only is as wrong and insulting to us residents as not bothering to show up to the Candidates Live Forum, it’s also ILLEGAL. You can read the Massachusetts’ Office of Campaign & Political Finance explanation in full right here. Of particular interest to me is this portion:

Violation of any provision of this section shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or both.

Last I checked, Stoneham is a Town within the State of Massachusetts and no Selectman candidate is above the law. And yet Bob Sweeney seems to think he is with his non-reporting and his sloppily emailed one-liner of “Bob Sweeney,,Erin Sinclair,let’s get stoneham back to where it belongs.” I don’t like what he infers regarding he and his daughter Erin. (As a side note, I do like Erin a lot. I just don’t appreciate that Bob Sweeney sounds as though he plans to use his daughter to push his own agendas.)

I’m looking forward to receiving some answers from the Office of Campaign & Political Finance.

SeeClickVote: Boussy & Means

Less than 24 hours to go! Tomorrow, April 7, 2015, vote to re-elect Tom Boussy for Stoneham Selectman

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…and vote to re-elect Larry Means for Town Moderator

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In case you haven’t seen it, I invite you to read this email regarding both candidates from Selectman Ann Marie O’Neill.

In her words, regarding Tom:

Personally Tom Boussy has my vote. Three years ago Tom stepped forward as a complete unknown. Tom questioned why we weren’t doing better as a community, why our services were decreasing and our fees increasing. In three short years Tom brought unprecedented reform, budget transparency, and innovation to Stoneham. I would like to see our community continue in this direction.

Ann Marie’s thoughts on Larry:

The Moderator is another important, contested position up for election. The Moderator presides over Town Meetings, is required to keep order, and have an intimate understanding of Robert’s Rules of Order – the practice Stoneham abides by during Town Meeting. In addition the Moderator appoints members to the Finance and Advisory Board and the Bike Committee. Current Town Moderator, Larry Means, was the only candidate to show up for this portion of the Candidate Forum. I have seen Larry keep order during meetings that were spirited. He is fair, respectful and understands the format to which our town subscribes. Larry has my vote!

See you at Town Hall tomorrow!

SeeClickClear: We Deserve Transparency

TransparentVoteBoussy LGTomorrow is Election Day in Stoneham! I’m excited to get out and vote to re-elect Tom Boussy because he’s the one with the proven track record for transparency and delivering on his promises:

In Tom’s words:

Upon my election in April of 2012 I pulled up my sleeves and began to work.

Town Website

The first problem I wanted to fix was the town’s website which was outdated, featured stale content and hampered communication with our residents. I formed a sub-committee with former selectman Rich Gregorio to re-launch the website.

I worked with our team to improve functionality and make the website more user friendly and relevant. Once we had the web site rebuilt, we could work to keep citizens informed on matters large and small. We were able to launch email alerts and we strive to make information more accessible.

SeeClickFix

Next, I sought to give residents a more direct voice. I discovered a web-based tool called SeeClickFix. I formed a team with Selectman Ann Marie O’Neill to launch this tool, which gives residents an opportunity to report issues online and then follow their issue through to completion.

Open Check Book

Soon after, I saw that the City of Woburn had received a grant to implement a new program called Open Checkbook. I learned there was a second round of funding available that would allow new communities to use this too. Open Checkbook allows residents to access and view each and every financial transaction that takes place in the municipality.

I worked with our Town Administrator and Town Accountant to win the grant for Stoneham to access the Open Checkbook program. As a result, at our most recent annual town meeting we had a 45 page budget available for review before the town voted on a $67,000,000 Budget. I continue to work to bring Stoneham current with today’s technology so that we will maintain our competitiveness in the future.

Fees / Trash

Last year I worked on a sub-committee with Selectman Vallarelli with the goal of containing trash removal costs, which were spiraling out of control.

Trash is contentious in any town and Stoneham was no different. Stoneham needed to reform its program and through hard work and compromise we were able to increase services by adding unlimited weekly recycling and save the town over $200,000 a year.

A great byproduct of this initiative is promoting environmental conscientiousness by increasing recycling from 13% to approximately 25%. Further, we were able to reduce the trash fee from $260 a year to $150. I worked with our Town Attorney to have a home rule petition passed by the State House to put the trash fee directly into a revolving account so that the trash fee would only be used for trash and not funneled into our free cash account or used for any other purpose.

Remember, my fellow Stoneham neighbors, we get the government we deserve on Election Day when we choose whether or not to vote. We deserve a Selectman that works in the best interests of our community. We deserve a leader that has gone above and beyond to fulfill his promises during his first term. We deserve the one candidate that has tirelessly worked to move Stoneham in the RIGHT direction.

We deserve to re-elect Tom Boussy.