Joan Wilder: Journalist, Writer, Editor

Boston Globe news briefs

The following are a few examples of the news briefs I write for the Boston Globe every week. More can be found by searching my name on the Globe’s website at boston.com/bostonglobe.

March 9, 2008
WALPOLE
RADIO CHAIN – Ever wonder how amateur radio operators communicate in emergencies when mass power sources are down? “Our equipment is simple;…we have batteries and we relay, radio to radio,” said Roger Turner, director of Walpole Emergency Management and a member of the town’s Emergency Management Communications Group. Members use shortwave radio technology to interface with tens of thousands of similar groups throughout the world, and make up a civilian communications network able to operate when all else fails, as it did during Hurricane Katrina. For those wishing to learn more about emergency communications, the group is holding a workshop April 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Walpole Senior Center. The workshop is free, with lunch included, although donations will be accepted. To reserve a spot, call Turner at 508-660-7365. – Joan Wilder

Feb. 21, 2008
AVON
School officials have submitted an article for the Annual Town Meeting in May requesting funding to expand the Butler Elementary School parking lot in the hope that project details can be completed in time to keep the article in place as an issue to be decided. Town Meeting articles must be submitted well before the meeting date, and are sometimes filed before a proposal is detailed — in order to secure a place at the meeting. “The school has always needed additional parking,” said Town Clerk Jean Kopke, adding that the problem became much worse when the school department in 2006 began charging fees for busing and parents started driving their children to school. Although officials hope to get a portion of the project’s projected $475,000 price tag from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, that is as yet unknown. Town meeting last year approved funding to conduct preliminary engineering on the project. –Joan Wilder

Feb. 21, 2008
FOXBOROUGH
The town’s dog park, at Cocasset River Recreation Area, , was closed last Thursday when a judge in Boston’s Land Court ordered an injunction against it after group of residents who live near the park filed a suit against the town claiming that siting the dog park in the recreation area violates town bylaws. The court will hold a hearing on the issue tomorrow. The park, which was built last year, has sparked a battle between its proponents and opponents that has been ongoing for almost as long as the park has been open. –Joan Wilder

Feb. 21, 2008
WALPOLE
Among many municipal, state, and federal economic deficiencies Town Administrator Michael Boynton cited in his budget message for the upcoming fiscal year is a dramatic decrease in Walpole’s revenue from new growth. According to Boynton, 278 new residential construction permits were issued between 2003-2005 and that number decreased to 74 between 2005 and 2007. This rapid decline resulted in an immediate reduction of about $500,000 in tax revenue over the two years. Among the many cuts in department budgets called for in Boynton’s budget, is the elimination of the economic development & grants officer position, effective July 1. –Joan Wilder

Feb. 10, 2008
FOXBOROUGH
Construction on the 250-unit affordable housing development off Central Street, which has been in the works for more than three years, is expected to begin in March when the building department issues it permits, said Building Commissioner William Casbarra. The project, approved under the state’s 40B legislation — which allows builders to bypass local zoning if 25 percent of their development is deemed affordable, has been held up in litigation with Mansfield over tying into that town’s over-burdened sewage treatment facility. Because the development is all apartments, its entire 250 units will be counted toward the town’s stock of affordable housing — even though only 25 percent of them will rent at affordable prices. —Joan Wilder

Feb. 3, 2008
FOXBOROUGH
While Town Clerk Marie Crimmins will know which candidates Foxborough voters chose as Democratic and Republican presidential nominees soon after the polls close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, a mistake on the Democratic town ballot may keep Crimmins and other election officials counting votes until the morning comes. Along with choosing their party’s presidential nominee, voters can vote for state and town party committee delegates, which are usually listed by name on the ballot. Due to an error beyond Crimmins’ control, the 35 spaces on the Democratic ballot that should list members of the Democratic Town party are blank and designated as write-in spaces. How long it will take to count the write-in candidates will depend on how many write-ins there are, said Crimmins. –Joan Wilder

Jan 27, 2008
WALPOLE
Sen. James Timilty, (D), was among the co-sponsors of an amendment tagged onto a bill approved by the state Senate that would prohibit the building of power plants within a mile of playgrounds, schools, churches, residential areas, and certain environmentally sensitive areas. To become law, the bill would have to be approved by first the House of Representatives, then survive conference committee — comprised of members of both houses — and receive the governor’s signature. –Joan Wilder

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