Wednesday, April 30, 2008

3 candidates

I can't take credit for this but thought it was good enough to be blogworthy ;)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Berlin St again

Berlin got paved for the first time in a long time (20 years?) last year, coincident with Dave D's company doing some work for him at his development on Wallace. So Lynch did a nice job (I might add) on Wallace and Berlin last year while they were working on his place. Finally my cars shocks might have a chance to last more than a year or two ;).

Well it turns out our HWY department "forgot" to curb this road in the area of Dark Brook, which you figure, happens from time to time.

Only issue is, THIS road has terrible drainage (actually no storm drains or sewer, with a lot of sand etc running right into Dark Brook) which leads to and is already leading to undermining of the newly paved surface. If you're not familiar with it, "Berlin hill" is a pretty hefty grade and there is a small stream at the bottom of essentially a natural gully.

Our TA was down there the other day it turns out, which is nice. Maybe something will get done about addressing it. Otherwise, all that money the town just spent (with some overruns) will be for a crumbling road.

The core issue is it would have been nice to do storm drains on this road to address some of this. Maybe once the storm water plan comes out we can get some commitment from the town on this because otherwise everything deteriorates rather rapidly. But at least they should address the need at hand or we'll have a bad situation in another year or two.

Monday, April 28, 2008

No charter change for TM

I for one as a TMM am disappointed the charter change isn't on the warrant.

Its been a year, but it looks like it could be ANOTHER year before we vote on this. Another year of business as usual and stonewalling?! Yarg ... the wheels of gubmit don't move very quickly do they? Maybe they'll propose a special town meeting for this and get things moving but don't hold your breath - could be next May before anything happens.

Sorry folks it's Monday ....

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Central Mass day at Fenway

Here's a link to register for Central Mass day at Fenway, May 18. Drawing is held next week and is limited to people in our geographic area.

Sox tickets are so hard to come by these days so if you're a fan like me you're always looking for a chance for tickets. Here's your chance to cheer on the champs!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dump your clear plastic baby bottles

Apparently all the major retailers are for fear of toxins leeching into junior's drink. Time to recycle em I guess ....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Short note of congratulations to Mario Fraioli

Auburn man finishes 51st in yesterday's 112th Boston Marathon!! That's world class!!

Fraioli finishes in 2:30:24
Mario Fraioli of Auburn led the Sunday Telegram’s five “Faces in the Crowd” across the finish line yesterday.

Fraioli, the former Auburn High standout and Stonehill College All-American, ran a 2:30:24, good for 51st overall and 29th amongst American men.

Earth day

This day for what used to be called ecology has actually had quite an effect since it started in 1970. Before the first Earth Day there was no EPA, no Clean Air act, and little focus on protection of drinking water. In the US this really put us ahead of places like Europe which for the longest time had no equivalent of the EPA for environmental considerations like we did in the 1970s. They did eventually when the German Green Party(and later around the world) the brought issues of nuclear proliferation and pollution as well as social injustice to the forefront in the 1980s.

Consider the world before and after in a few examples - with the advent of ban on lead paint and gasoline and car catylyzers (all of which were fought tooth and nail by the big 3 auto makers) our air quality and lead levels (measured in children's blood and environment) were much worse than today. Our cars are more efficient and safer also now.

Bald eagles were near extinction thanks to DDT, and wolves and other species were also endangered. Both of those are now off or soon to be removed from the endangered species list.

With the focus now on global warming thanks to Al Gore's 20 something years of advocacy and Nobel prize we stand at the dawn of a new era in global cooperation, both out of necessity and when you read the data determined self-interest.

What it comes down to according to clever folks like Amory Lovins from Rocky Mountain Institute is that unclean practices usually indicate waste, and an opportunity for saving resources (including money). I think if we're wise we'll get out in front on global warming, energy conservation and cleanup issues locally and as a nation. We can't afford to pollute, squander and waste like in years past.

I'm encouraged by even local candidates who seem to get it on these topics, and when I speak with community activists like Bob Platukis (you need to be online Bob in this day and age!), who has been investigating wind energy for the town. Change does start small, but the effects scale and can make a global difference.

There's still work to do also on the health front - the rise in asthma may be linked to increased ozone levels due to air pollution. There's evidence an increase of smog leads to premature death according to recent information. Being at the crossroad of so many highways we should take note of this.

On a town level, don't forget btw to bring your mercury to the BOH (daily) and other household hazardous materials on Saturday May 3.

Here's a couple more links:

The Freecycle network is a networking site for promoting reuse.
Find recycling centers near you with this link.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Patriots day, marathon day

It's been a few (12) years since I ran it. Good day for it too - kind of cool and light breezes.

Here's a link to how things are progressing. Looks like it could be a record. Funny but they used to start things at noon, they started at 10 this year.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pentagon report calls war in Iraq a debacle

Here's the story and the Pentagon report.

It was published by the university's National Institute for Strategic Studies , a Defense Department research center.

It's amazing they would admit this.

Maybe they are preparing the way to bow out. I just hope and pray for a speedy resolution to this conflict which has cost us so much blood and treasure ....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A mess in Holden caught on tape

Quite a fiasco has gone down following the HS fight broadcast on the internet.

Now there's threats of retaliation - given their ages these kids will be lucky if they're not charged with assault as adults.

I think it demonstrates the power of video in our culture especially when posted publicly on the net. Youtube is littered with videos like this. I'm sure law enforcement and prosecutors lick their chops when something like this happens because I'm pretty sure it prejudices people against the aggressors.

I'm glad we don't have any of this in OUR town ... (yeah I know it could happen anywhere ;).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A word on Eleena's candidacy

My wife's blog is at

I've added a link on this site.

In short, check her out. She's bright, inquisitive and has some good ideas for improving the schools, effectiveness of the school committee as well as getting the town to work together with respect to school issues. She's a mom, Simmons College alum class of 90-somethingmumble with double major in graphic design and advertising. I won't pretend to speak for her nor really promote specific ideas of hers explicitly as she's her own person and an independent woman.

I will say that communication of information and managing processes (like the long term strategic plan) are two of her strengths.

Definitely give her a look and listen. Frankly, she was a little nervous at the Camp Gleason event. I thought the questions were clearly geared for the incumbents. But that's just an introduction anyway - check her site out and give her consideration with your vote.

New wind power in Auburn? Yup - all 385 feet of it!

Worcester Envelope is considering a huge windmill tower on their property.

I'm very encouraged in one sense, but cautious. A 400 foot tower would be a potentially VERY imposing structure. I think we need to see a rendition of the views from around town for this - with a balloon test at a publicized time at the proposed height to see where it could be seen around town. After all the "Auburn hills" are part of what gives our town its character and inviting nature.

I'd also like to see the TOWN get out in front on this, to save us taxpayers money. The article claims it would be cash flow positive in 10 years. If rates go up that could be sooner ... and then you're making money after that.

This is something our public sector should take a cue on from this private sector company. On the whole - I think we can demonstrate real leadership as a town on green power and renewable energy with proposals like this!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Salmonella warning from Mass DPH for certain cereals

Got this from another town's website.

Malt-o-meal, which has been linked to salmonella recently.

Foreclosure city - Youngstown story

Things are worse than here out there - foreclosures up 178%!

In a related story, they're considering a registration of scrap metal down in Rhode Island to prevent some of the ransacking and removal of copper pipe and wire in unoccupied homes down there. Check this link for more.

Apparently this is the new currency among thieves because the price has quintupled in recent years and it's easy pickings to get rid of the stuff at scrap yards for some quick cash.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Income by zip shows Auburn up slightly

Interesting to compare towns wrt income in this link. It covers from 2001-2005.

Our town fell here (lower middle in increase, up 13%):

Zip codeCity or townNumber of returns, 2001Average income, 2001Number of returns, 2005Average income, 2005% change in avg. income, 2001-5

01501 Auburn8,080$48,0828,059$54,45213.2

You can sort by various factors. Kind of depressing to sort by largest increase in income you get something like this (Rich getting richer)

02465Newton (West Newton)3,941$97,7075,455$207,217112.1
02479Belmont (Waverley)22$37,59125$69,12083.9
02468Newton (Waban)1,703$126,1092,685$230,40082.7
02467Newton (Chestnut Hill)5,417$133,0017,167$239,38080.0
01965Beverly (Prides Crossing)228$236,066233$414,50275.6
02459Newton (Newton Center)5,864$107,7778,649$177,31064.5
02481Wellesley (Wellesley Hills)4,576$226,1806,625$364,28161.1
02461Newton (Newton Highlands)2,193$81,2023,360$129,61559.6
02457Wellesley (Babson Park)126$11,44497$18,26859.6

Remember 2001-2005 did have a period of contraction thanks to the 2000 stock bubble (my case) and 9-11 and Katrina aftermath.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pancreatic cancer awareness

Good article today about this.

This is a killer disease, easily one of the most deadly forms of cancer you can get. My mom died from it back in '99 as well as my dad's ex college roommate, who was the president of American University in Cairo.

Basically when they tell you you have it, you can make funeral arrangements. As I understand, it goes undetected until it's too late. Your pancreas is near your liver and spleen and usually tumors form in the head of the pancreas and quickly grab major blood supply from a nearby artery. From there it's very hard to remove and keep it away. Once it metastasizes to liver or lung you're in a losing battle.

Something needs to be done to combat this and any gifts you can give or awareness we can bring is certainly needed and appreciated by those of us who have known its horrors. My mom was in excellent health for her age when she got it, exercised, ate right, and wasn't overweight.

The doctors at Umass prolonged her life for quite a while, enabling her to make my wedding. They are creating a fellowship for research on the disease at Umass from the funds raised.

Roger Belhumer's place will be participating next week:
Participants and dates for this year’s Pansies for Progress campaign include:

Auburn: Bells Lawn and Garden, 201 Southbridge St., April 12 and 13.

Here's the pancreasalliance also.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Evergreen solar growing, house off the grid locally

The Marlboro-based solar energy supplier plans to expand and add 350 new jobs!

We should get out front in the new "green" economy here in town.

Along those lines, here's an example in Westport of a house that's completely off the grid. Between geothermal (not hot springs btw) and wind energy the place cost more up front but will pay back in about 7 years. After that the extra power generated is all gravy ($$ in the bank).

Thursday, April 3, 2008


I'm often referring to our neighbor to the east of Worcester - well here's a blog aimed at town issues there. I added a link to it also on the side.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Want a smarter kid? Talk to them

Babies who are spoken to more develop better verbal skills