BREAKING NEWS: Last night the School Committee met with an Executive Session on the agenda, followed by a return to open session to vote on the Superintendent's contract. Following the Executive Session the meeting reconvened and voted to adjourn. As a result, as of tomorrow, July 1, there are no contracts in effect for either the Superintendent or the Assistant Superintendent.
MORE BREAKING NEWS (12:07 PM): A Worcester man who works in the Southbridge school system will face federal child pornography charges after his arrest by FBI agents Tuesday. Scott Peeler was arrested at his home at 28 Trinity Ave. in Worcester on Tuesday, the FBI confirmed.
Peeler faces charges of attempted production of child pornography; attempted receipt of child pornography; attempted coercion and enticement of a minor; and attempted possession of child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. Peeler will be arraigned in Worcester Federal Court on Tuesday. Southbridge Public Schools confirmed that Peeler works for the schools. Peeler also works part-time in a non-patient care position at Adcare, a drug and alcohol rehab facility, the company confirmed. The district's website lists him as a middle school faculty member. Witnesses said they saw investigators carrying computer drives, bags, totes and videotapes out of the home.
My name is Zachary Tucker, and I am a proud resident
of Southbridge. It has come to my attention that on June 22, 2015, The Council
will be voting on the first amendment of the Casella Extension Agreement. I firmly urge the Council to vote no. There
are several facets to this contract which I feel deserve much more thorough
examination, and once given I have no doubt the Council will find a NO vote is
the only responsible option at this time.
am writing to the members of the Town Council as I will not be in attendance at
Monday night’s meeting.
am writing about the final agenda item, item 34, the motion to accept the first
amendment to the Casella contract. In
subcommittee there were a lot of agreed upon terms to include in the contract,
and I’m confident that a lot will be added without any outside input. However, I implore you all to take the
following into consideration when voting on this item.
money allotted to the proposed pre-treatment facility: How is this money being utilized? What kind of facility will $2.5 million
build? Where are the designs that
constitute this money and how do we know that more money will not actually be
needed to complete this venture? To my
knowledge, no preliminary engineering plans have been presented to represent
this estimate. There needs to be some
kind of justification for this specific amount.
Today’s Southbridge News carries an article by Town
Councilor Gus Steeves expressing his views on the proposed amendment to the
‘First Amendment’ we should not invoke
by Gus Steeves
“The devil’s in the details” is a common cliché, but
in some documents, it’s really an understatement.
Multiple demons jump out of the newly proposed
“First Amendment” to the landfill site assignment, which is currently being
considered by the Council. General Government talked about it Wednesday and I
expect it to be on Monday’s full council agenda, but both were after this
lot of parents are tired of being told how technology is screwing up their
Moms and dads of the digital age are well aware of
the growing competition for their children's attention, and they're bombarded
at each turn of the page or click of the mouse with both cutting-edge ideas and
newfound worries for raising great kids.
beneath the madness of modernity, the basics of raising a moral child haven't
Parents want their kids to achieve their goals and
find happiness, but Harvard researchers believe that doesn't have to come at
the expense of kindness and empathy. They say a few tried-and-true strategies
remain the best ways to mold your kids into the morally upstanding and
goals-oriented humans you want them to be. Here are six practical tips:
Of the 351 cities and towns reporting, Southbridge, with an unemployment rate of 6.5%, was tied with Hinsdale for the 15th
highest unemployment rate in Massachusetts for the month of April. Of course Southbridge has a labor force almost eight times the size of Hinsdale's.
other communities with higher rates were either resort communities on Cape Cod
or of inconsequential size. Five are dramatically larger than Southbridge. Only
North Adams, with a rate of 6.6%, is
comparable to our town.
If there was any good news to be found in this fact
it was that from March of 2015 the rate of unemployment in Southbridge declined
by 1.3 percentage points. However, this was accompained by a 1.4% decline in the available labor force. On balance, Southbridge remained firmly ensconced
in the top 5 percent of pockets of unemployment in the state.
A 1995 Connecticut law requiring a permit or license
- contingent on passing a background check - in order to purchase a handgun was
associated with a 40 percent reduction in the state's firearm-related homicide
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun
Policy and Research, part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public
Health, compared Connecticut's homicide rates during the 10 years following the
law's implementation to the rates that would have been expected had the law not
been implemented. The large drop in homicides was found only in firearm-related
killings, not in homicides by other means, as would be expected if the law
drove the reduction.
Tonight at 6:30 the General Government subcommittee
will meet in the Rice Conference Room in the Town Hall. On the agenda is the
First Amendment to the Extension Agreement for the Operation of the Barefoot
Road Sanitary Landfill, and Refuse and Recyclables Collection and entertain a
motion to submit to the Council for ratification.
Forking over $233 million that should have been
covered by insurers, MassHealth violated state and federal regulations and
should seek to recoup the improper payments, according to an audit released
In the largest-dollar audit of Auditor Suzanne Bump's
tenure, the office found another $288 million in "potentially
unnecessary" fee-for-service payments that could have been avoided if the
agency tightened procedures.
My name is Kristen Auclair, and I am running for
Nearly 30 years ago, I was born at Harrington
Memorial Hospital right here in town, and have called Southbridge home ever
since. I graduated Southbridge High
School at one of the arguably worst times to graduate Southbridge High School
in the top 10% of my class. My daughter
is currently at West St school, and I see her graduating from Southbridge High
School as well.
I have for years listened to other residents speak
of a hustling and bustling Main St, where Southbridge was the place to go on a
Thursday night. I have listened to stories of the American Optical glory days,
the trollies in town, cinemas, The Rez, the great Sesquicentennial celebration
of 1966 and so much more in our rich history.
At tonight’s meeting the Town Council took up the
capital budget. This is a long needed as well as long neglected element of the
town’s finances. Its very size is an indication of the extent to which the town
has neglected its capital stock.
During the discussion of this matter the Council
sidetracked once again into a discussion of its prior decision not to raise
That discussion centered on whether or not it was
wise to incur additional debt obligations. It was estimated that doing so would
increase the cost of these projects by an additional $240,000 over the ten year
life of the bond. Councilor Steeves argued that it made no sense whatsoever to
finance the cost of these projects through debt when it could be done through
taxation within the levy limit without the associated interest cost.
moved my family from New York to Southbridge approximately 34 years ago I found a viable small town that
had been recently awarded the title of an "all American-city". It had
a vibrant economy which was starting to be plagued by a double digit
inflationary national banking
interest rate. On the other hand it still had a high community participation ratio
by all groups religious, political, including the business community.it was a
confident community that apparently
worked as a team.
There was a time when the local newspaper was the go
to source for information about local events. Not only was its role respected
but timeliness was a treasured virtue.
That era has essentially passed.
The local paper still serves a role as the
compendium of upcoming and recent events. But anything related to the reporting
of breaking news has been abandoned.
The local paper was also the forum for residents to
express their opinion about matters affecting the community. That function has
also, in large part, disappeared.
Aside from reporting on and providing picture
spreads of community activities, the local paper serves functions related more
to its own survival rather than to the interests of the local citizenry. It
provides an outlet for local advertisers and legal notices. It also provides
what little is left as an entry point for those interested in a career in the
dwindling field of print journalism.
On June 8th there was a Committee of the
Whole meeting of the Southbridge School Committee.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the impact
of the level-funded budget approved by the Town Council.
The clip below is extracted from a much longer video
of the entire meeting, recorded by Bill Bishop. In it Superintendent Stanton
lays out the positions that she plans to cut to accommodate the approved budget.
Those wishing to see the entire meeting video can
find it HERE.
Candidates for public office in the upcoming
Southbridge town election are invited to submit statements of their positions
on issues of concern to them and Southbridge residents.
In addition to highlighting areas of policy concern,
candidates should also include information on their education, prior public
service, occupation and any other area that might be of interest to voters.
Please include a recent photo of yourself in JPEG or
PNG format for inclusion in your article.
Address responses to email@example.com. Articles will be
reproduced in the form that they are submitted without editing other than to
fit the format of this blog. All articles will be headlined [NAME] candidate for [POSITION].
Massachusetts hospitals have the highest rate of preventable catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) in the U.S..
According to data compiled by Becker's Hospital Review, hospitals in the Bay
State have a standardized infection ratio for catheter-associated urinary tract
of 1.696 - the highest in the country.
"These infections cost the system millions of
dollars in wasted health care spending and are a key indicator of the quality
of care in our state’s and our nation’s hospitals," said David Schildmeier
in a released statement. "The specific RN to patient limits called for
under the new Massachusetts ICU staffing law have been linked to dramatic
reductions in these types of infections."
The successor to School Committee member Brent
Abrahamson’s seat on the School Committee will be appointed by a joint meeting of the Town Council and
the School Committee.
According to the Town Charter:
SECTION 2 - VACANCIES
3-2-1: Vacancies in the elected town boards
established under this charter shall be filled by the town council in joint
convention with the remaining members of the respective board within sixty days
unless a regular town election shall occur within one hundred and twenty days,
but only until the next town election.
The Brewster selectmen acknowledged Tuesday that
they could not clone Town Administrator Charles Sumner, who will retire in the
fall after 29 years on the job, and then they voted unanimously to hire North
Kingstown, Rhode Island, Town Manager Michael Embury.
Other candidates on the top of their list were
Christopher Clark, the town administrator of Harwich since 2013, and Ronald San
Angelo, town administrator of Hanson since 2013.
Embury became the clear leader after the selectmen
reported results of their interviews with colleagues of the three finalists.
Selectman Patricia Hughes said the staff in North
Kingstown said Embury had good judgment and good balance in his life. The town
planner there said Embury gave him the tools to do his job and that North Kingstown
was innovative in planning.
Candidates for Town Council and School Committee
will have an opportunity to introduce themselves and their ideas to the voters
through debates scheduled for next week. This year there are six candidates
running to fill three seats on the Town Council and five candidates seeking
three spots on the School Committee.
According to Southbridge Republican Town Committee
Secretary Bob Chernisky, "These debates have been a valuable contribution
to the past several town elections and they've been very well received by the
community. The debates allow voters to get a good look at the candidates before
they have to go to the polls and make their choices."
Saying that the public should be able to choose a
third person to serve on the School Committee in the next town election, School
Committee member Brent Abrahamson announced that he would resign from the
committee tomorrow. His remarks came during the Members Forum segment of the meeting.
Ronald San Angelo interviewed yesterday for the Town
Administrator position in Brewster. Last week San Angelo was offered the
position of Town Manager in Southbridge.
Mr. San Angelo, the former mayor of Naugatuck,
Connecticut, and a former Connecticut legislator, said he called Southbridge
Town Council Chairman Shaun M. Moriarty to let him know that he would be
interviewing in Brewster because the process had been months in the works.
Overlooked by many in the recent turmoil over the
proposed restructure of Southbridge Middle/High School and the search for a new
Town Manager has been a developing crisis in the Southbridge Fire Department.
The situation was highlighted at the recent regular
meeting of the Town Council as the result of an appearance by union President
Appearing before the Council during citizen’s forum,
Mr. Lamica inquired about launching a department audit similar to that
performed on the Police Department in 2013.
Our newly selected Town Manager, Ronald San Angelo,
was hired as Town Administrator for Hanson, MA, in 2013. His three year
contract is set to expire in 2016 if he is given notice that it will not be
renewed by June 30 of this year. If he is not given notice that contract is
automatically extended until June 30, 2017.
Mr. San Angelo has been actively seeking other Town
Manager or Administrator positions in recent months. He has been in his current position for just under two years. He has at least
one year remaining on his current contract. I sought to understand the reason
for his seemingly aggressive job search.
Bruce R. Young is one of five selectmen in Hanson
MA, and Chatrman of that body. On his FaceBook page Mr. Young posted a few comments over the last month
that may shed some light on this conundrum. They are reproduced below
unedited by me. The word "edited" in the text appears in the original. (Those who wish can see the originals HERE.)
The Town Council selected Ronald San Angelo to be the next
Town Manager for Southbridge by a vote of 8 to 1. Councilor Monique Manna voted for candidate Daniel Knapick.
The vote came after the Council completed a series of interviews
with three finalists that also included Michael Embury in addition to Mr. Knapick.
San Angelo was state representative of Connecticut’s 131st
District, which covers Oxford and parts of Naugatuck and Southbury for 10 years
until 2002 when he ran unsuccessfully for Secretary of the State in
Connecticut. He lost to Susan Bysiewicz. San Angelo, a Republican, then ran for
mayor of Naugatuck, defeating current Mayor Bob Mezzo, a Democrat, and
third-party candidate Peter Jurzynski. San Angelo then defeated Democrat Curtis
Bosco in 2005.
The latest tax-collection data appears to underscore
the belief that this year's state budget problems were not due to revenue
With one month left in fiscal 2015, tax collections
are running $389 million above the benchmark used for budgeting purposes,
thanks to $1.84 billion in May receipts that followed the state's first-ever $3
billion month in April.
Turtleboysports.com is a blog in Worcester that
covers a wide range of issues.
Yesterday they printed an article about Councilor
Albert Vecchia’s fingering of the Southbridge School Committee. Here is their
take on that as well as a few other things in Southbridge.
I look at the crooks and spinsters who run Worcester’s government and think to
myself, “It can’t get much worse than this,” I always read some story about
Southbridge and realize it could definitely be worse. As much of a shitshow as
our School Committee is, at least we don’t have city councilors showing up for
SC meetings just to give them all the middle finger.
According to The Worcester Telegram, Superintendent of
Schools Sheryl Stanton observed, “With the [restructure] proposal defeated, …
more money will be needed in the budget to fill gaps the district has with
instructional coaching for staff, positions it needs for English Language
Learners, to develop a discipline program and support for students, and to
create positions around truancy and attendance problems.
She said the team would have to go back to the drawing board to reassess goals
as a committee and district.”
By a vote of four to two the School Committee defeated Acting Superintendent Stanton's plan to restructure the Middle/High School.
Voting against the proposal were Chairman McLoughlin, and members Raymond Page, Christopher Olivo and Jill Congdon. Voting for it were members Brent Abrahamson and Erin Quinney. Committee Vice-Chair Kara Donovan abstained.