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Video Segment: Fiscal 2016 Operating Budget Discussion Works through the Weeds

A big turnout was on hand Day 1 of the Annual Town Meeting to speak about how Weed control is handled on Lake Maspenock. $60,000 was part of Article 2: FY 2015 Supplemental Appropriations but motioned to be part of Article 8: Fiscal 2016 Operating Budget.

In the early goings of the operating budget discussion, former Selectmen Ron Clark questioned budget increases over the past 2 years; "the big budget buster is general government, up 43% in 2 fiscal years, if you sort of drill down into the background here, you have the town managers position going up by 28% over 2 years, finance-director, accountant up 18% over 2 years, treasure collector up 96% over 2 years, legal up 20%, human resources up 95%, information technology up 90%, including a 72% jump this year." Clark wanted the selectmen to answer why the big jump over the 2 years and the need for an assistant town manager. Clark later stated; "I would hope they come back next year at level funding..43% over 2 years compared to the general government going up 7% over 2 years, that's quite a big increase. I would hope next year that they come in at a level budget, same increase or less." Selectmen Todd Cestari stated that in situations such as the technology budget that funds from other areas were used; "due to numbers shifting from one bucket to another, it looks as though there's a greater increase but then there's a deduction from another bucket."

The discussion over how Lake Maspenock should be treated got underway shortly after and lasted over 2 hours. Throughout the 2 hours plus of discussion most were for the treatment of the lake without the herbicide Diquat. A few speakers stated that too many elements and nutrients were being added to the lake such as fertilizer from lawns, a Hopkinton student doing a research paper on Diquat said the herbicide has negative affects: "The herbicide in question has affects of cataracts in the eyes, has affects of liver and kidney disease and we're going to be sending our children for swimming lessons in the lake only 24 hours after the herbicides are put in the lake, I don't understand how this could be safe." One speaker who owns a veterinary hospital spoke of the affects herbicides could have on dogs; "46% of dogs are getting cancer...I never saw that 30 years ago."

A few were in favor of the use of herbicides to treat weeds on the lake, one lake resident with 2 children who after seeing the problem the weeds are causing joined a weed management committee. She was for the use of herbicides to treat the lake after seeing her 3 year old be entangled with weeds when trying to swim in the lake; "we did a lot of research and we went around too a lot of lake associations who have done this in the past... the herbicides we are using have been around for decades, we've done a lot of research on them..when people look at the side affects, you're looking at a label on the actual bottle.. I think it's time we use this to regain control of our lake." Representatives from the Lake Maspenock Preservation Committee also spoke support of using herbicides. They stated that much research was done on dozens of surrounding lakes and diquat has been used since the 1960's and proven safe by organizations including; United States Environmental Protection Agency and MassDEP.

In the end amendments giving the Board of selectmen control over weed treatment and $60,000 going towards lake treatment WITHOUT the use of pesticides won the majority. Treating the lake without pesticides won a standing vote 150-90.

The overall Article 8: Fiscal 2016 Operating Budget Discussion continued into a good portion of Town Meeting, Day 2 and passed after $60,000 towards an assistant town manager was cut out.

To see highlights of the discussion of Weed Treatment on Lake Maspenock, watch the video below.

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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.

Road Closure 135 in Ashland Beginning Wednesday 5/6

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Beginning this morning 5/6, Rte 135 will be closed in both directions between Olive Street and Woodland Road daily from 9am to 2pm (approx) as Eversource performs gas main installation in the area.

The construction is expected to last for at least the remainder of this week and possibly next week. Detail officers will be present and detour signs will be set up to assist.

The following detours have been set up for motorists:

Town Meeting Day 2 Updates

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View the Motions File by clicking the PDF above updates.

Article 8 - Fiscal 2016 Operating Budget - (Motion to delay to Day 2 as first item passed Day 1) - Passed
Amendment proposed for Article 8 - Reduce the amount appropriated to Total General Government by $60,000 to $3,592,778 ($60,000 in budget for Assistant town manager position) - Passed (Total Operating Budget: $72,388,886.06 Passes)

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Video Segment: School Committee Candidates spoke with HCAM News

Interview with School Committee Candidate Jean Bertschmann can be seen in the first video.
Jean Bertschmann Candidate Statement below:

"Dear Fellow Hopkinton Residents:
I am happy to announce that I will be running for re-election to serve for a third term on the School Committee in the May town election. It has been a privilege to serve on the School Committee for the last six years, and I hope to continue that service for the next three. I will continue to support the work of the ESBC in identifying a solution to the educational and operational constraints of Center School; implement our recently adopted Strategic Plan; improve communications and collaboration between the schools and the community; and partner with our outstanding Superintendent and leadership team to carefully plan for and manage the anticipated growth in the town.

My husband and I made Hopkinton our home more than twenty-three years ago, and it has been an ideal place to raise our four daughters, all of whom attend or have graduated from the Hopkinton Public Schools. We feel blessed to live in such a wonderful town and believe strongly in serving the community through volunteer work. In addition to being elected to the School Committee, I have been appointed to leadership roles in many other town organizations and committees, including my current role as Chair of Hopkinton’s 300th Anniversary Celebration Committee.

I was first elected to the School Committee in 2009. Since then, I have worked diligently with my School Committee colleagues, school administrators, and school staff to provide an excellent education to students at all levels, at a reasonable and responsible cost to the town. I have worked collaboratively with other town leaders to support school budgets that align with the initiatives prioritized in our Strategic Plan while shrinking the school portion of the town budget from 57% to 53.6%. Our per/pupil expenditures are significantly lower than our peer districts. We have pursued creative new initiatives which have generated thousands of dollars in revenue for the schools, reduced energy costs, identified other efficiencies throughout the district, and enriched the diversity of our student population. Hopkinton continues to earn and enjoy its reputation as an innovative district at the leading edge of education. State and national rankings of our school district continue to rise. I am proud of the value that the administration, staff, and School Committee continue to provide to the town in terms of public education, and I am honored by the tremendous support the town gives to the schools. It truly is a collaborative effort.

The next several years promise additional growth for the town. My decades of direct involvement in the schools and across the community have provided me with a deep understanding of the strengths and challenges of the district. In addition, I have worked continuously to build strong, collaborative relationships with school and town staff, boards, and committees. Hopkinton is again on the precipice of growth, and it is critical that town leaders build on our experience to continue to successfully manage this growth and continuously improve the educational experience for all of our students. I bring that knowledge and experience to the School Committee.

I welcome the opportunity to continue to serve the town as a member of the School Committee and I respectfully ask for your support in the May 18th election. Polls are open at the Middle School from 7 am to 8 pm.

Jean Bertschmann
Hopkinton School Committee
[email protected]
508.435.5195 Facebook: Jean Bertschmann for School Committee,
Photo courtesy of Kathleen Culler, Culler Photo, LLC,

Interview with School Committee Candidate Jon Graziano can be seen in the 2nd video.
Jon Graziano School Committee Candidate Statement below:

"Dear Hopkinton Residents:
I am pleased to announce that I am seeking re-election to the Hopkinton School Committee this May. I’m extremely proud of the work that the School Committee has done in my first term. I believe that my experience and my approach to problem-solving have proven effective. These will continue to be essential while collaborating with other town boards and departments to face the challenges that our district will confront in the coming years.

During my three years on the Committee so far, I have helped bring about vital and exciting improvements. We have stabilized the leadership of the district with the hiring of Dr. Cathy MacLeod as Superintendent and supported her decisions around her leadership team. In collaboration with the Administration and citizens of the town, we created and adopted a strategic plan that sets the priorities of our district for the future. We have improved programs and services to reflect the changing needs of our students, including Full Day Kindergarten, expansion of curricular and extracurricular opportunities at the middle and high schools and improvements to the core academic programs that meet the increased expectations for our students.

We have increased the transparency of our budget process and fiscal management practices. We adopted extensive finance policies that guide all fiscal activities in the district while providing clear explanations for how issues such as end of year balances and revolving accounts are handled.
I'm particularly proud of the accomplishments of the Elementary School Building Committee, on which I serve as the School Committee representative. We have advanced through the MSBA process while keeping the town well informed of the project's progress to ensure we reach a solution the town can support. We have partnered with town stakeholders and state agencies to ensure that we are able to propose the most responsible and cost-conscious option to deliver the educational model for our youngest learners. Our communication and outreach process will help ensure that the community can support the final option when it is presented to Town Meeting.

I'm running for re-election because I believe there is more work to be done. The needs of our district are rapidly changing. The growth in our town is both a credit to and a challenge for our school district. We will need to be creative and forward thinking to ensure that we can meet not only the needs caused by our growth as a town but the increased expectations being placed on students. I believe that, in my three years on the committee, I have proven that my approach to understanding and solving problems and my willingness to consider all sides of the issue before making a decision make me the right candidate for the challenges we will face over the next three years. I respectfully ask for your vote on May 18th for the privilege of serving the town as a School Committee member for three more years.

Jon Graziano
8 Kimball Road

Interview with School Committee Candidate Brian Karp can be seen in the 3rd video.
Brian Karp School Committee Candidate Statement:

"Dear Hopkinton Residents,
My name is Brian Karp, and I am pleased to announce my candidacy for School Committee. My decision to run came after the School Committee approved the 2015-2016 school calendar eliminating traditional days off for religious holidays. I believe that the School Committee's action erodes family values − values that help make our community strong.

My family has lived in Hopkinton for nearly 10 years and in that time we have embedded ourselves deeply into the community. I have been a Girl Scout Co-Leader, served on the HPTA as the Elmwood School Art Room Volunteer Coordinator, and served two years on the Zoning Advisory Committee (ZAC) and four years on the Planning Board. My wife Kelly has been a Girl Scout Volunteer and a member of several book clubs. She is a member of the Hopkinton Running Club and plays for the Hopkinton Women’s Softball League. Both of our daughters attend Hopkinton Middle School and are active in Girl Scouts, community sports, and dance. I have supported the efforts of the Elementary School Building Committee over the past two years, and I want to help make sure that the replacement for Center School accommodates changes in our town in a cost-effective manner.

As a parent, I want the Hopkinton schools to continue to excel. As a taxpayer, I want our town officials to be fiscally responsible. I believe that with community involvement, a welcome and open discussion at committee meetings, and fiscal transparency we can provide the excellence in our schools that we want for our children while keeping property taxes in check.

The election on May 18th will have a big impact on the future of our schools. Please come out to vote. I respectfully ask for your support.

Brian Karp
23 Nicholas Road
508-954-4312 "

Hopkinton Garden Club Plant Sale on May 16th Supports Civic Projects

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The Hopkinton Garden Club will hold its annual Plant Sale on Saturday, May 16th from 8 a.m. to noon on the Town Common. Please stop by to choose from our wide selection of perennials from Club member gardens; perennials, herbs and vegetables from select wholesalers; and new this year colorful annuals in pots and hanging baskets for continuous blooms throughout the summer. To add some whimsy to your garden, we’re offering glass flower decorative art, and our popular “gardening basket” raffle.

Eleanor Roosevelt Discussion at Senior Center

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On May 21, at 12:30 pm at the Hopkinton Senior Center, Gary Hylander will discuss Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt’s life was a long and complex process of self-discovery.   Growing up as a shy and awkward child, she found her voice and confidence in the politics of the New Deal. Nicknamed "Eleanor Everywhere" by the press, she traveled where her stricken husband could not go.  Mrs. Roosevelt changed forever the role of First Lady.  Diplomat, social activist and political visionary, she is remembered today as one of the nation's most beloved public figures.

Plant and Book Sale

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Time to plant your gardens and fill your bookshelves!

Plant and Book Sale at the Hopkinton Senior Center, 28 Mayhew St. on Friday, May 22 from 9:00 AM-2:00 PM and Saturday, May 23 from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM.

Town Meeting Day 1 Updates

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Town Meeting Update: Motion to move Article 30: Open Space mixed use overlay district to be heard after Article 10 fails standing vote.


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