Business

2015 Town Election Results

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The town elections results are in! (Official numbers will be released tomorrow but the results are expected to be similar if not the same.)

In the one of two contested races Laura Hanson edged Bob McGuire for the Parks and Recreation unexpired term to 2017, 785-756.

In the school committee race, Jean Bertschmann and Jon Graziano captured the available seats. Bertschmann tallied 1,092 votes, Graziano 1,099 while Brian Karp came up short with 841.

All 6 questions passed!

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Legacy Farms Age Restricted Housing Plan Passes by 1 Vote

In the case of Article 30 on Day 3 of the Hopkinton Town Meeting, every single vote counted. Article 30 (Amend Open Space Mixed Use Overlay District to replace 200,000 sq. ft of commercial with 180 restricted units) or as many refer to as OSMUD featured about an hour and a half debate, 2 standing counts to end debate and 3 more standing counts to conclude the vote. It required a 2/3rd majority vote to allow Legacy Farms to convert 200,000 sq ft. (approx 20 acres) of commercial space to 180 age restricted housing units on the north side of Legacy Farms and by one single vote, the article passed.

It took 3 standing counts to get to the final tally. It failed the required 2/3rd majority in the 1st count with 82 against, 157 for, than a 2nd count took place and Article 30 passed with 166 for and 82 against but then a 3rd count was requested and resulted with 171 for and 85 against, the Article passed by one single vote (perhaps setting a town meeting record??).

The attractions to the proposed article included the fact if children lived in the housing units, the homeowners association would have to pay the town $9,000 per child, if they attend Hopkinton Public Schools. $1,860,000 is going to be paid towards improvements to the town ($750,000 toward town-wide trail network, $750,000 towards downtown, $360,000 to public safety) and $1,500,000 annually paid to the town. Roger MacDowell of Legacy Farms also presented there would be around an 80% reduction in traffic.

Chair of the Hopkinton youth commission, Hopkinton native and teacher Margie Wiggin liked the fact it would cut down on industry and bring more income to the town. Resident Connie Wright, thought the location made more sense for a residential property over commercial, she asked; "why would we put a commercial development near our state park and far away from major roads."

The most common consensus of the naysayers to the article were that the commercial space would be more beneficial, the towns water system could not handle the residential growth and the location could be dangerous with gas tanks near by. "This seems to be changing the will of what we approved with years of planning and debate." said one resident against the article. Resident Wendy Zimmerman stated; "It's within the blast zone of the gas tanks, i'm not really fond of putting a home there, I would rather put a business there that is vacant 12 hours a day." Zimmerman also wasn't comfortable with the density, (approximately 9 homes an acre) "we can't support that density, we are not on the Quabbin reservoir, all of our water comes from wells, public and private."

To see highlights of the debate watch the 1st video.

To see a humorous opposition to the article watch the 2nd video.

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Video Segment: Jeff Doherty of Angels Garden Center talks overcoming Brutal Winter

After a brutal winter it's been difficult for a lot of business's to get ready for spring Jeff Doherty of Angels Garden Center said things are coming a long but running a bit behind; "we're having a real tough time with getting mother nature to corporate with spring, we're about 4 weeks behind." Jeff mentioned the Center had to reschedule a lot of deliveries until later; "I think we need a coupe real nice, warm sunny days in the 60's to convince them that they can do planting outdoors, or at least convince them they can get out in the yard and do a cleanup."

Jeff mentioned that they started off the season selling pansy's because they do great in the cold; "my mom and dad when they started the business 60 years ago, planted pansy's in the ground in the fall...we used to sell our 1st crop of the year which were hardy pansy's for 50 cents for a till of 6 plants, things have changed considerably since then, we still start off our season with pansy's because they just love the cold."

Jeff mentioned that with the few glimpses of warm weather things have started to pick up and the staff is excited for the season to come. For more watch the interview below.

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Video Segment: Planning Board Member Frank D'Urso and Roy MacDowell of Legacy Farms Debate Article 30

On HCAM's "Point of Order" Planning Board Member Frank D'Urso and Roy MacDowell of Legacy Farms debated Article 30 on the town meeting warrant. If passed Article 30 would allow 200,000 sq feet of commercial space to be replaced with 180 age restricted units on the North Side of Legacy Farms. Several years ago it was voted to allow commercial space in the parcel.

MacDowell in support of article 30 stated some of the benefits of the plan would be a significant increase in net revenue; "the generation of net revenue on a commercial basis on that particular parcel would be $160,000 a year, under our proposal doing age restricted over 55 housing, that parcel with some adjustments in the number of single family homes in the project would bring the net revenue to 1.5 million dollars a year." MacDowell also argued their would be less traffic; "we all know commercial properties generate more traffic than residential." MacDowell expressed that schools would not be affected negatively; "they'll be no school age children attributable to the budget so it won't have an affect on school children, if anything they'll be slightly less school children because we're eliminating 35 single family homes." MacDowell summarized the benefits of Article 30 passing; "when we look at the big picture of less traffic, significantly more revenue and no negative impact on the school systems, I think its a very wise proposal."

Planning Board member Frank D'Urso argued against the plan; "one of the reasons I am against it is because I think the commercial space is a key part of what a lot of people voted for several years ago." D'Urso believes that the original plan is better for the town and safer; "I think the original plan to put office space there is more viable and safer for people." D'Urso's 2 main points were that traffic would be relieved from 135; "Wilson street is going to be a lot more accessible for traffic because the legacy park north road will take a lot of traffic off of 135 and bring it on to Wilson street and Route 85." D'Urso also argued that putting 180 age restricted homes near the gas tanks in the area could be dangerous; "it's more of a concern if you have 180 age restricted homes packed in an area right near the gas tanks." "I would like to retain the original plan from seven years ago and put office space in there... bring more jobs to Hopkinton and increase the commercial tax base and reduce the residential tax base."

For more watch the video below.

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Video Segment: Snappy Dogs is back open!

Just over a month ago Colella’s Supermarket closed their doors and a few weeks after that, Crosspoint Associates of Waltham purchased the property. With the property changing hands, this put the future of the well known locally owned Snappy Dogs hot dog stand in jeopardy, just a couple weeks before they were due to open, owners Lisa and Teresa received word that for the time-being they can open in their usual spot, the Collela’s Parking lot, last week they had their 1st day and a great turnout was on hand.

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Video Segment: Weston Nurseries Opens for Spring

With the arrival of spring, it will soon be time to once again fix up the garden and the yard. Owner of Weston Nurseries Peter Mezitt stated getting ready for the season is progressing nicely but was a little delayed;. "We have a lot of changes going on at Weston Nurseries...we couldn't really start that until the first week of April." Some of the changes that will be occurring at Weston Nurseries this year include defining the sales area with a fence and backdrop; "we're going to stock the right plants closer to where people park so it's easier to shop here this year." Mezitt also talked about how the various plants will have more detailed signs to make it easier for customers to navigate the options; "I think we're doing a better service to customers if we give them good displays with good signage so that they'll have better questions when they're ready to ask questions." Weston Nurseries recently added hard-scaping products to their selection such as stone choices for patios or walls, lamp posts, hitching posts, mailbox posts and fire-pits.

Despite the brutal winter weather slowing down the spring season, employees are hard at work renovating and setting up the stock to get Weston Nurseries ready for what hopefully will be a great spring and summer for gardening and yard renovations.

Snappy Dogs is Back Open Monday

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Despite the closing of Colella's, Snappy Dogs hotdog stand announced on their facebook page, they will open for the season again Monday at their usual spot.

The post was as follows; "Good news, Snappy fans. Snappy Dogs will open for the season NEXT MONDAY, APRIL 13TH in our usual spot!!!!!!!

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Video Segment: Golden Pond Welcomes New Executive Director

Golden Pond Assisted Living located at 50 West Main Street in Hopkinton recently welcomed in their new Executive Director Dr. Barry Zeltzer. Dr. Zeltzer brings with him to Golden Pond over 20 years of industry experience. "I have approximately 20 years of experience in elder care administration, I have a PHD in Gerontology and I've done a lot of work with the memory impaired and developing programs to improve the quality of life. I find it fascinating to come on board to an organization such as Golden Pond, to work with the community and develop partnerships so we can bring in creative programming to help people age in place."

The staff at Golden Pond is excited to have Barry Zeltzer aboard, the staff likes the fact that the new Executive Director is hands on and gets to know his employees and the residents. "He actually walked into the kitchen and said good morning, he went out of his way to say good morning to little old me, I find that was quite nice of him, he's very hands on." commented Chef Kelsey Smith. "CNA Home Health Aid" Michaela Murphy and "Assistant Dining Room Manager" Allison Decoff also enjoy how Dr. Zeltzer goes out of his way to interact with the staff and residents. Murphy commented; "he's come into the dining room for lunch and he sat down with the residents and talked to them over meals and asked them how everything is going."

"Health and Wellness Director" Marilyn McLean has been with Golden Pond about 8 years and is excited to be part of Dr. Zeltzer's team; "I'm excited everyday to come to work, it's sort of like being in high school and you're tired but you don't want to miss anything so you don't take any days off." "Sales & Marketing Senior Director" Kris Leardi is looking forward to enhancements in the Golden Pond programming; "he's a person that we feel has tremendous vision for the future of Golden Pond, his focus is primarily programming...to really enhance our programs so that each part of our community benefits by his experience and knowledge, bringing in outside resources that we haven't tapped into but also really using our staff and utilizing them to the best of their abilities, I think he has a lot of enthusiasm and excitement for what's ahead for Golden Pond and what we're trying to do here."

Dr. Zeltzer praised the dedication, work ethic and commitment of his staff, in addition to enjoying working with the Golden Pond team, Dr. Zeltzer takes pleasure in interacting with the residents; "My favorite part about the work that I do is being with the residents, enjoying their smiles and trying to do whatever I can too make a difference in their quality of life."

For More Information, Watch the video below.

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Video Segment: Colella's Owner Dale Danahy Honored by School Committee

Colella's Supermarket was a landmark in Hopkinton and was one of the favorite local spots in town by many. If you're a local in Hopkinton chances are you visited Colella's and saw someone you knew. Colella's closed in March after about 70 years of service. Owner Dale Danahy and the Colella's staff have helped or provided lot space to over 30 Hopkinton organizations including the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Hopkinton Fire Department, Hopkinton Police Association and the 300th anniversary committee. (See more organizations Colella's helped here: http://www.colellas.com/community.html).

Colella's recently sold to Waltham based Crosspoint Associates for $3.3 million marking the official end of an era in Hopkinton. Dale Danahy was recently honored and recognized for her community involvement at the School Committee Meeting. Member Jean Bertschmann gave an emotional tribute; "you've worked so hard as a member of the community to support the chamber of commerce, to support so many organizations... get the school's into better compliance for people with physical disabilities." Bertschmann summarized Colella's relationship with the community perfectly; "Colella's really set the gold standard as a model of a family business, run by a family that includes the entire town in their family."

Dale Danahy spoke of the memories of seeing the community socializing in Colella's "it was great to see your neighbors shopping, when people didn't see their neighbors in the neighborhood but you would see them shopping." Despite Colella's closing Dale still plans on being a part of the Hopkinton community and supporting local organizations; "I will continue being in the town as a volunteer, I intend to go to the senior center, project just because, hang out at the library and read books that I have boxes of that I never had the time to do, do some traveling, I'm not going anywhere i'll still be around town." Danahy also stated that they tried to count how much money they donated to the community and that they stopped counting after they got over $1,000,000.

To see the tribute check out the video.

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Video Segment: BU Students Volunteer at Greyhound Friends

A number of Boston University students are spending their spring break volunteering at various locations throughout the country. A handful of volunteers from Boston University chose to help out Greyhound friends in Hopkinton. The students helped shovel paths for the Dogs and cleaned up Greyhound Friends. The students volunteered as part of an alternate spring break program in which students can choose to volunteer at locations around the country to give back to the community. Boston University Junior and Co-Coordinator of the program Gemma Forest explained; "Currently there are a bunch of BU students out all over the country...it's a lot more of an affordable trip as well, so it's the perfect option." Freshman Co-coordinator Ryan Distaso also helped spread the word about the program and chose Greyhound friends to help out the animals; "it's part of our job to spread the word to get people interested in giving back and doing community service." Director of Greyhound Friends Louise Coleman was grateful for the help of the volunteers. Louise explained that it is great to have the volunteers and see young people volunteering during their vacation time. Louise also mentioned that Greyhound friends is always looking for help from volunteers including physical labor or computer work. Greyhound Friends can be reach at www.greyhound.org, greyhndfds@aol.com or 508-435-5969.

For more Information on the BU volunteers watch the first video.

All the snow has made it a tough winter throughout the region. Greyhound Friends has had many obstacles of their own including frozen gates, employees needing to stay overnight to take care of the Dogs and a lot of snow cleanup. Director Louise Coleman gave HCAM News an update on how Greyhound Friends has fared throughout the copious amount of snow that fell this winter. "it's been a terrible winter for working here and when it's been cold and awful all the gates are frozen, so you have to get a hammer to open the gates...when it's cold the dogs don't want to go out, they go out and run back in, it just makes all the usual practicalities of life much more difficult." Louise mentioned that she is grateful for staff members she has willing to stay overnight, her plow and volunteers helping with dog food drives. Louise also mentioned that Greyhound Friends was able to install a generator this year as well. "The Dogs are all warm, safe, happy and we'll just keep plugging along."

To see the full update, watch the 2nd video.

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