Greetings parents, guardians, students, faculty and other stakeholders.

Commencement 2012On behalf of this professional learning community and its educators, it is a pleasure to welcome you to today’s commencement exercises. I am pleased that you were able to leverage your resources in such a way as to join us today.

Our strategic plan for this afternoon is for you to invest your attention in several empowering speeches, followed by the distribution of diplomas in a sequential format. Our data-informed target is to complete implementation of today’s action-items in time for all stakeholders to arrive at their individualized celebrations in a timely fashion.

And now, I should like to address our soon to be former stakeholders, our graduates.
Continue reading ‘Commencement Address’

Wakefield, Massachusetts pays tribute on Memorial Day

The morning fair skies that greeted those attending 2015 Memorial Day ceremonies at the West Side Social Club gave way to increasing clouds by the time the town’s afternoon program got underway on Veterans Memorial Common. But Monday’s sean_curansummer-like weather helped to draw large numbers of Wakefield citizens to honor those who died in service of their country.

The WSSC observance got underway promptly at 10 a.m. at Moulton Park with Sean Curran presiding. Curran, a US Marine Corps veteran of Desert Storm and a Lieutenant with the Wakefield Fire Department, told of the “extremely emotional experience” he had when visiting Pearl Harbor while he and his wife were honeymooning in Hawaii.

“How would our country and this world be different,” Curran asked, “if everyone remembered that our freedoms come at a very high price.”
Continue reading ‘Honoring Fallen Heroes’

Every time there’s a low-turnout local election or Town Meeting (or both, as we recently had in Wakefield) talk inevitably turns to ways to improve voter turnout and participation. On the surface, it seems like a noble idea.

magic_mountain“How can we make voting easier?” people wonder, as if voting were a task akin to climbing Mt. Everest. All kinds of ideas are proposed. Allow online voting, some say. Others advocate “early voting.” Instead of one Election Day, people could vote any time that’s convenient for them over a period of a month.

Our recent annual Town Meeting drew 320 voters, which seems like a lot by recent standards. But the number was greatly inflated by those who came only to vote for the school budget increase and then quietly slipped out once that passed. By the time the meeting was winding down at 10 p.m., the usual 180 or so regulars were left doing the grunt work.

I’m now convinced that there’s nothing wrong with that.
Continue reading ‘The Simple Art of Voting’

Size Matters



Does size matter?

Yes, it does. But if you’re a member of the Wakefield Zoning Board of Appeals, there’s a limit to the number of hours you want to spend talking about it.

Size is the biggest issue for many opponents of the Brightview Senior Living facility that Shelter Development is proposing to build on Crescent Street. They think that the 130-unit combined assisted-living, independent-living and memory care facility is just too big for the site.
Continue reading ‘Size Matters’

The Big Ask


Wakefield School Department officials have acknowledged that their requested 11.4 percent budget increase for FY 2016 is “a big ask.”

The largest piece of that increase is $1,176,875 (3.8 percent) for “contractual salary obligations.” Another $658,174 (2.1 percent) is for SPED tuitions and $628,218 (2 percent) goes to fund salaries related to the newly instituted full-day kindergarten. An additional $378,956 (1.2 percent) is slated for other new positions. A combination of amounts for items like curriculum, technology, transportation and utilities make up the remaining 2 percent of the requested budget increase.

gerard_leemanIn return, what Finance Committee chairman Gerard Leeman and other FinCom members wanted was a comparatively small “ask.” They wanted a commitment – or at least an affirmative statement – from someone in the School Department leadership that they would hold budget increases to 4 percent for each of the next three years.

Evidently, that was too much to ask, because School officials couldn’t quite bring themselves to utter those words.
Continue reading ‘The Big Ask’

There will very likely be a ballot question in 2016 seeking to legalize recreational marijuana in Massachusetts. We know this because the activists who in 2012 successfully perpetrated the “medical” marijuana scam are the same people who are now working on the 2016 ballot question to make pot available for recreational use.

marijuanaSo much for their deep concern for the sick.

You’d have to be very naïve to believe that medical marijuana was anything but a foot in the door toward full legalization.

Thankfully, to date not a single medical marijuana “dispensary” has opened in Massachusetts. We can only hope that the recreational pot business meets with a similar level of success.
Continue reading ‘The high road to hell’

Wakefield, MA eliminates winter ban on overnight on-street parking

snow_carLast December, I wrote about a storm brewing on Wakefield social media related to the winter parking ban. The ban, which has been in effect so long no one can remember when it started, prohibits overnight parking on the street from Dec. 1 to April 1 in order to facilitate snow plowing and ensure public safety.

It appears that the Board of Selectmen heard the calls to do away with the winter-long parking ban. On March 23, 2015 the Selectmen voted 5-1 to abolish the ban after one of the worst winters in living memory and despite the strong objections of Public Works Director Richard Stinson.
Continue reading ‘Winter Parking Ban Revisited’



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