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Video: HCAM News 5-8-2015

On this edition of HCAM news I talked with school committee candidate Brian Karp, Jeff Doherty of Angels Garden center talks about overcoming a brutal winter and we have Hopkinton Hillers baseball highlights but first during the 1st week of May it was town meeting time in Hopkinton and on day one, weed control in Lake Maspenock was the big debate.

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!

2015 Town Meeting Ballot Questions Explained

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Question 1: Shall the Town of Hopkinton be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-half, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to construct a new Department of Public Works headquarters facility?

Help Us Govern Hopkinton

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The Town of Hopkinton is encouraging all residents who are interested in helping govern Hopkinton to apply now to any board of committee. If you have been curious or interested in giving your time, expertise or perspective on behalf of your community, now is an excellent time
to get involved!

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Video: Water-Sewer Manager Eric Carty and Owner of Weston Nurseries Peter Mezitt talk Rain Barrels

The water & sewer department is working with local businesses to help encourage water conservation. Water & Sewer manager Eric Carty and owner of Weston nurseries Peter Mezitt talked about how the purchase of a rain barrel can help reduce water consumption. Hopkinton residents are also being offered a discount on rain barrels.

Water & Sewer Manager mentioned that Weston Nurseries, Angels Garden Center and Evergreen Garden Center are working with the town to raise awareness for water conservation; "we're unfortunately mandated by the state, to put on water restrictions every year". Carty mentioned that the garden centers are working with the town to show how patrons can water their gardens properly while being cautions of water use.

In the video below, owner of Weston Nurseries Peter Mezitt and Water & Sewer Manager Eric Carty show how to properly use a Rain Barrel.

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Video Segment: Meet the Parks and Recreation Commission Candidates

HCAM and Hopkinton Women's Club presented "Know your Vote" which featured candidates in this years town election. Parks and Recreation Commission unexpired term until 2017 is one of two contested races. Candidates Laura Hanson and Robert McGuire spoke during the live broadcast about why they are running.

You can see the Candidate statements below and the video of the candidates introducing themselves.

Laura Hanson Candidate Statement Below:
Hello Fellow Hopkintonians,

My name is Laura Hanson and I am a candidate for the Parks and Rec department.

I have lived in Hopkinton for 16 years, and although this is my first foray into any kind of public office, I have been involved with the town since I moved here. I graduated from Colgate University, where I was captain of the Women’s Rugby team and a head Instructor for the Outdoor Rec department. I was a Special Ed Instructor, and ran the Infant Daycare at Lovelace Hospital in Albuquerque, NM. I enjoy working with kids and parents to provide the best experience for both. I am a mother of three kids, and love volunteering at school. I have been involved in Scouting for thirteen years; as a Cub Scout den leader, a Girl Scout troop leader and a Scout committee member. I have been committed to Scouting For Food as a town wide committee member and a unit coordinator for both Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. I am a certified CPR instructor, and I support the continuing education programs Parks and Rec has to offer. I strongly support Project Just Because, Baypath Humane Society and Serenity House, all wonderful organizations which our community benefits from.

In many of the activities my family and I have participated in, Parks and Rec has played a key part. It offers sports and outdoor activities, as well as continuing education. I believe that Hopkinton is a wonderful community that gives back to its children and its citizens, and I see the Parks and Rec department as an excellent resource offering opportunities for growth and development for Hopkinton citizens of all ages.

I work hard to get things done, and I consider every side of a situation. As I am a newcomer to politics, I hope to bring a fresh and open-minded approach. My children are still in the school system, so I am available and actively involved on a daily basis. I believe that by working together we can offer programs and opportunities that benefit all residents of the community, while still being fiscally responsible.

I would be honored to be a member of the Hopkinton Parks and Recreation Commission, and I promise to do all I can to help this department serve the community in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Thank you for giving me this chance and your vote!

Bob McGuire Candidate Statement Below:

Hello Hopkinton!

My name is Bob McGuire and I am a candidate for Parks & Recreation Commissioner. My wife, Valerie, and I have lived in Hopkinton since 2000, raising our four children ranging in age from 13 to 17 years old. We have embraced all this wonderful community has to offer and I am committed to giving back for the many opportunities it has afforded our children and ourselves.

For the past 15 years, it has been a privilege to donate my time to Hopkinton Youth Soccer, Hopkinton Little League, the recreation and travel basketball programs as a coach or assistant coach. In addition to volunteering in the athletic programs, I’ve also volunteered my time as a member of the Zoning Advisory Committee (ZAC), Hopkinton 2020 Vision Committee, and the Hopkinton Chamber of Commerce, serving as President for two years. Last November, I was honored to be appointed to the unexpired Park and Recreation seat, for which I am now a candidate. The last 5 months have provided me an opportunity to learn firsthand all that the Park and Recreation Department does and it is impressive. It’s a great organization that truly puts a priority in offering as many programs as possible for not only our youth but also for citizens of all ages. Consider the public outdoor ice rink on the grounds of the Middle School this winter. It had been a vision for many years and was finally realized because of the commitment of the members of the Commission. The rink provided a free outdoor opportunity for fun for families and these are the types of offerings that cultivate community and healthy choices.

I am excited to continue to support and further develop the program offerings with Jay Guelfi and his team as Park and Recreation Commissioner. My skill set, my enthusiasm for the town, my knowledge of the commission, and my appreciation for the value of physical fitness make me an ideal candidate for the position. I respectfully ask for your vote. I’d truly appreciate your support.

Please vote on Monday, May 18th.

Editorial: School Committee Candidate Brian Karp makes Statement about New Gymnasium Roof

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A New Roof, But At What Cost?

The High School gymnasium needs a new roof, but at what cost? Faulty installation of solar panels and inadequate repair of leaks by the installer have precipitated this need at a cost of over $500,000.

According to the Metrowest Daily News, when the town was in negotiations with the installer, Borrego Solar, school officials calculated that it would take 20 years for the town to save $500,000 ($25,000 annually).

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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.

Town Meeting Day 3 Updates

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View the Motions File by clicking the PDF above.
Article 29 - Community Preservation Recommendations - (Amended Divided into 2 motions) - Passed
(Motion 1: $123,268 for Open Space, $133,268 for community housing, $407,000 from community preservation fund) (Simple Majority Needed) - Passed(Motion 1: Part C Amended - Susan D. Gozzaldi changed to Degozzaldi, Open Space preservation commission changed to Hopkinton Area Land trust) - Passed
(Motion 1: Part D Amended - Open Space Preservation Commission changed to Hopkinton Area Land Trust) - Passed

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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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