Monthly Archives: November 2011

BCRT

The ad hoc 4 town Bay Colony Rail Trail group met yesterday with representatives from the MBTA.  Turns out the MBTA has turned over to towns over two dozen old rail lines, and all the procedural glitches have been pretty much worked out by now.

The process of the towns obtaining the old Bay Colony Railroad right of way is easy and straightforward, with the exception that Bay Colony still holds the freight rights to the line and it needs to abandon the line, which it is willing to do, just not pay to do.  Reports were that it will cost $10-15,000 in attorney fees to effect the abandonment.

Study committees are getting active in Dover and Medfield.  Needham already has creation of the Bay Colony Rail Trail as a listed priority on its trails master plan.

Email From: Health & Homeland Alert Network (HHAN)

Subject: HHAN Alert (Minor) Seismic Activity in Massachusetts

The following is an alert message from the Massachusetts Health and Homeland
Alert Network:

Title:       Seismic Activity in Massachusetts
Group:       MEMA
Time Sent:   2011-11-30 11:00:58
Severity:    Minor
Sensitivity: This message does not contain sensitive information
Alert ID:    nvitwduyuncq2s3z5qp8wa9iditfrfch

Alert Message:
At 1:07 AM today there was a small 0.8 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 7
kilometers 2 miles NNE of Wilmington, Massachusetts.  There are no reports
of damage associated with this event.  This message has been sent by the
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

Bay Colony Rail Trail post re Iron Horse Preservation Society

The Iron Horse Preservation Society (IHP) is currently the inexpensive way to get a rail trail built.  IHP will build the trail in exchange for the salvage value of the rails.  Greg Hills posted this for the ad hoc four town groups working on the BCRT.
Greg Hills: Good PPT presentation on the Danvers experience with Iron Horse Preservation Society. Presented at the DCR rail trail conference by Kate Day on 11/12/11: http://www.mass.gov/dcr/stewardship/greenway/pdfs/…

Thanksgiving tradition – the Norfolk Hunt Club

Starting around 8:00 AM on Thanksgiving morning, the riders and the hounds of the Norfolk Hunt Club gather at the race course on North Street.  There are usually three dozen riders and just as many dogs.  I am told that there is a blessing of the hounds, but I have never seen it.  There is, however, plenty on which to feast the eyes and lots of activity of interest, as the dogs expectantly and jitteringly bunch together, while all the while eager to start running, surrounded by four riders assigned to keep them in place.  Riders milling near and at times amongst the grounded people.

Then around 9:00 AM the hounds are released by the Master of the Hounds and the hounds are off down the hill towards Dover, followed by all the riders, and both disappear only make a big loop and reappear back in front of the assembled crowd, and before disappear again, this time down a trail into the town’s Sawmill Brook Conservation land.

The Hunt can then be meet across from the Medfield State Hospital, where they often stop.

A wonderful and special Medfield Thanksgiving tradition.

Governor likes idea of municipal power plants

Email about municipal power companies from John Nunnari -

PATRICK: “I LOVE THE IDEA” OF MUNICIPAL LIGHTING FACILITIES
Gov. Deval Patrick said Tuesday he likes the idea of municipally managed electric facilities that could compete with larger utility companies. “I love the idea of local and community-based utilities and if that requires an update in the legislation, I can’t imagine not supporting it,” he said, adding, “I obviously want to get into the details.” Patrick described the utilities’ response to an October snowstorm as a “calamity” and said he doesn’t believe prolonged outages that resulted were because of the utilities’ size. “I do think it depends … on what the level of consistent investment in the infrastructure has been. All the utilities had terrific plans … in place. For the first 48 hours, they were moving along at a pretty great clip. In the third day it just started to fall apart.”

John

Ps. Just as I was hitting send on this e-mail, the power went out for a ½ a second. I had to wait for the machine to reboot before I could finish hitting send. Would that meet the definition of irony???

John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
Executive Director, AIA MA
617-951-1433 x263
617-951-0845 (fax)

MA Chapter of American Institute of Architects
The Architects Building
52 Broad Street, Boston MA 02109-4301
www.architects.org

SHERC Chair’s email to DEP’s Mark Baldi re DCAM claen up at MSH

Mark:
On Saturday, November 19, I inspected the Medfield Sate Hospital grounds and have the following concerns:
1) There is a pile of concrete of more than 1500 cubic yards by the Salvage Yard (see attached picture). This concrete waste was accumulated as part of the RAM for the Salvage Yard, in fact, DCAM specifically includes concrete waste in the Salvage Yard RAM Plan, in addition to having filed a demolition permit with the Department of Public Safety.  If DCAM has filed an RAO for the Salvage Yard, please request immediately of DCAM that the RAO be retracted until such time that the RAM activities, including the solid waste (concrete) has been removed. It is the responsibility of the LSP, in certifying that response actions are complete with an RAO, that such wastes are removed, not “stockpiled on site”.  Creating enormous solid waste piles during response actions is not “outside” the MCP.  In addition, it appears that since I last visited the site, excavated manholes and concrete beehive structures have been added to this pile, and this raises a concern about what might be on the stained surfaced within these structures, now having been added to the pile. Please request of DCAM a schedule for removal of this concrete, I believe all of it will need to be crushed on site into smaller pieces because the pieces are of a size not acceptable to receiving facilities.  If crushing on site is required, please request that DCAM communicate with the town regarding same.

 

2) There are many broken windows at ground level at the Clarke building. These are a safety hazard as someone could enter through a broken window, or be injured trying to climb in. Many upper windows are also broken, but those at ground level pose the greatest risk and have not been addressed. This building is NOT secure at ground level.
3) There is a substantial accumulation of white lead paint chips and dust on steps of the male employees home (West Hall). The front area of this building should be taped off with lead hazard tape, until remedial efforts can be made on the entrance. See attached picture.
4) There is a broken lock on large sliding barn door of the stable building on its west side, allowing entrance, there is also a 55 gallon drum on its side in field opposite the stable/main garage building.
5) There is a large soil pile (greater than 1000 cy) with plastic sticking and out of it, in the paved area near the CCA area. Please ask DCAM to clarify what this soil is from and when will it be removed. I’m concerned that the plastic sticking out is the former liner to the CCA area buried soils. Please ask DCAM to provide sampling results for this soil pile.
6) There are large (over 100 cy) and growing piles of recent barn wastes at the Odyssey house. I have a concern that these barn wastes are a potential threat to stormwater runoff quality.  Please ask DCAM who at DCAM is responsible for allowing these wastes to be accumulated on site under the eyes of security.
I will call you after the holiday to follow up on these areas of concern.
John Thompson
Chairman
Medfield State Hospital Environmental Review Committee

DCAM seeks extensions – meeting set

DCAM has asked for extensions of time to deal with pending appeals, while DCAM “reevaluating” the options for the C&D clean up.  Copies of those letters follow.  Mike, Kris and I will meet with Carole Cornelison on 12/2/11 to discuss the status of the MSH clean up and reuse.

============================

November 18, 2011
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs
Central Regional Office
627 Main Street
Worcester, MAO1608
Attn: Phillip Nadeau
Section Chief
Bureau of Resource Protection, MassDEP-CERO

RE: IRA Plan & Superseding Order
Former Medfield State Hospital
45 Hospital Rd., Medfield, MA The “Site”
RTN 2-3020799

Dear Mr. Nadeau:
For your information, DCAM is currently reevaluating potential remedial options for the remediation ofthe C&D area. DCAM is also meeting with the project Stakeholders.

Because we are undertaking this public process, DCAM requests that the DEP stay the superseding order of conditions proceedings, notwithstanding 310 CMR 10.05 7 fj, until DCAM has had an opportunity to conclude our meetings with the Stakeholders. DCAM expects to conclude our Stakeholder meetings by the end of January, 2012.

We believe that the outcome ofthese Stakeholder meetings will have a bearing on this appeal process and anticipate submitting additional information to DEP on or before February 29, 2012.

DCAM appreciates your guidance and stewardship ofthe site.

Sincerely,

Sandra R. Duran
Director of Building Maintenance and Operations

================================================

November 18, 2011
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Executive Office ofEnergy & Environmental Affairs
Central Regional Office
627 Main Street
Worcester, MAO1 608
Attn: Mark B. Baldi
Section Chief, Audits
Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup

RE: IRA Plan & SPD Deadlines
Former Medfield State Hospital
45 Hospital Rd., Medfield, MA The “Site”
RTN 2-3020799

Dear Mr. Baldi,
DCAM is in receipt of your letter dated October 26, 2011 which requires Division of Capital Asset Management DCAM to submit an Immediate Response Action IRA Modification for the Former Medfield State Hospital the Site.

As you are aware, the Site is a designated Public Involvement Plan PIP Site. As such, all response actions are subject to a minimum 20 day comment period by the community.  We are currently preparing the IRA Modification, which will convert the current IRA Plan to an Assessment Only IRA Plan. We intend to present to the community at our upcoming public meeting scheduled for December 8, 2011. Following that meeting we will provide the community with a copy of the IRA Modification Assessment Only IRA Plan for their review and comment.

Our goal would be to submit this draft modified Assessment IRA Plan to the DEP by Friday, December 16, 2011. Given the upcoming holiday season, DCAM will
recommend extending the comment period to 30 additional days. Given the  comment period and the time necessary to respond to any comments and perhaps modifying the Assessment Only IRA Plan to accommodate these comments, we respectfully request an extension of DEP’s deadline from November 21, 2011 to February 24, 2012 to submit the final document.

DCAM is currently evaluating potential additional remedial options. DCAM is also meeting with the Stakeholders. Because we are undertaking this extensive public process, DCAM requests that the DEP imposed deadline for submission of a Revised Phase III – SPD Area and Power Plan Area Remedial Evaluation be extended until February 29, 2012. Similarly as with the modified Assessment only IRA, the Revised Phase III is subject to a minimum public comment period of 20 days and we are requesting adequate schedule to provide a Draft Revised Phase III to the community, receive comments and make modifications to the Draft Revised Phase III, as appropriate, based on the comments. We will then submit a Final Revised Phase III Report to DEP.

For your information, DCAM has contracted with a bioengineering firm to evaluate the bioengineered riverbank armoring as requested. Information from this evaluation will be contained within the Phase III upon submission.
DCAM expects to conclude our Stakeholder meetings by the end of January 2012.  Furthermore, DCAM expects to provide an implementation schedule to DEP along with its Phase III submission on or before February 29, 2012. The Phase IV submission will be prepared in conjunction with the Phase III and will be available for submission on or before March 30, 2012.

DCAM appreciates your guidance and stewardship of the site.

Sincerely,
Sandra R. Duran
Director of Building Maintenance and Operations

Weekly Political Report – week ending 11/18/11

The Weekly Political Report is prepared by a political consulting group, Rasky/Baerlein, and shared with me by John Nunnari.

=======================================

Last Wednesday night marked the end of formal Legislative sessions in Massachusetts for 2011. For the next 7 weeks, the Legislature will meet in informal sessions, during which only non-controversial issues may be taken up. The Legislative session will resume on January 4, 2012 and run continuously through July 31, 2012. Because Massachusetts operates on a 2 year legislative session schedule, and employs a “carry over” provision, all bills that are not passed into law in 2011 automatically carry over to the 2012 session, while maintaining their status in the legislative process.

 

Bills enacted by both House and Senate last night were sent to Governor Deval Patrick, who has 10 days to sign the bill or send it back to the Legislature with vetoes or amendments. See below for an overview of the major activity in the last week.

 

Expanded Gambling Bill Sent to Governor’s Desk
The House and Senate completed enactment votes to the legislation authorizing licenses for three regional, resort-style casinos and one competitively bid slot parlor. A last-minute amendment to the bill reduced funds targeted under the legislation for the racehorse industry and boosted local aid funds. On Wednesday, a Patrick administration official confirmed that Gov. Patrick is likely to sign the gambling proposal less than a week after he receives it.

Congressional Redistricting Bill Sent to Governor’s Desk
The House and Senate enacted legislation that redraws the state’s Congressional districts to reflect the loss of one seat. The bill was sent to the Governor’s desk Wednesday afternoon.  Under the proposed map, the districts of Congressmen William Keating and Stephen Lynch would change dramatically, putting the two into the same district unless Congressman Keating moves to his summer house on Cape Cod, something that he announced earlier this week that he would do. Cape Cod would be part of a new, incumbent free district that would stretch from the Cape and Islands across Plymouth and Bristol County to Fall River. Western Massachusetts communities currently represented by retiring Congressman John Olver would be split among the two districts currently represented by Congressman James McGovern and Congressman Richard.
Pension Reform Sent to Governor’s Desk
The House and Senate enacted legislation that makes several reforms to the state’s pension system. The bill aims to save the state $6 billion over 30 years by raising retirement ages and reducing benefits for future public employees. The bill was laid before the Governor on Tuesday.

Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation Sent to Governor’s Desk

The House and Senate enacted  compromise legislation that establishes the crimes of trafficking persons for sexual servitude and trafficking persons for forced services, each of which would carry a 15-year sentence. If signed into law by Gov. Patrick, Massachusetts will become the 47th state to put a trafficking law on its books.

 

Transgender Rights Bill Sent to Governor’s Desk
The House and Senate enacted a bill adding transgender persons to the state’s anti-discrimination laws. The bill was laid before the Governor on Wednesday.

 

Omnibus Crime Reform Passed in the House, Requires Senate Negotiation to Advance

The House passed legislation reforming the state’s parole and sentencing laws, including a ban on parole for three-time violent felons. The Senate passed its own omnibus crime bill last week that includes several additional provisions, including measures to update wiretap laws, to reduce certain mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug crimes and to bar certain felons from possessing handguns. The House had made the decision to focus on repeat violent felons in order to tackle the issue before the beginning of the seven-week recess. Senate President Murray indicated that the Senate planned to insist on its expanded version of the crime bill rather than agree to the “stripped down” version passed in the House.

 

 

John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
Executive Director, AIA MA
617-951-1433 x263
617-951-0845 (fax)

MA Chapter of American Institute of Architects
The Architects Building
52 Broad Street, Boston MA 02109-4301
www.architects.org

Charles River Link Trail

I discovered the Charles River Link Trail yesterday while jogging, and followed a new trail that has been constructed connecting the picturesque Hemlock covered high ground that overlooks the Charles River at Rocky Narrows (one of my favorite spots) downstream towards Dover.

The trail starts along the Bay Circuit Trail where Hospital Road intersects the Medfield State Hospital’s Power Plant Road, and continues 16 miles to Newton.  The website has trail maps, and says  the trail was completed in 2009.

http://www.charlesriverlink.org/

Deer cull

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the deer culling has been hugely successful thus far, and a lot of the hunting season remains.  18 deer have been culled so far, one less than the 19 Dover got in its whole first year of deer culling a year ago.  More bucks than does have been taken.  The deer are reported to be  covered with hundreds of ticks.

Recent reports have many ticks still active, despite the colder weather.