Category Archives: People

Town loses stellar VSO, Ron Griffin

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Ron Griffin to Retire as Veterans Service Officer

Ron Griffin emailed town officials yesterday to confirm his long planned, and much deferred, retirement as the town’s Veterans Service Officer, leaving huge shoes to be filled.

First and foremost, I want to thank Ron for his exemplary and expansive service to the Town of Medfield, its veterans, and really, by his extension of the scope of the VSO work, to all of our residents.  It has been one of my great pleasures to see how he used that VSO position to make so many things happen to honor the veterans, but also to involve so many facets of the town in the process.  Thanks to Ron the Blake Middle School students now meet annually with veterans, Medfield Foundation volunteer of the year honorees receive flags flown over the Capital, the town this year is honoring Vietnam War vets, and the town now celebrates all veterans on Veterans Day with a breakfast in their honor served by the Medfield High School students from their Warriors for Warriors club.  Also, through his Legion connections, housing for veterans is now being explored at the Legion.  Ron is clearly a leader of both vision and action.

The defeat of Ron’s motion to amend the Veterans Service Officer budget at the annual town meeting (ATM) was the low point of that meeting.  That was when I first learned that the Warrant Committee was not supporting that funding request, and the issue had not been discussed by selectmen.  In hindsight, I wish I had added a plea for support on its behalf, since the expanded position could have coordinated with Medfield Youth Outreach and the Council on Aging to serve those most in need in Medfield (see Ron’s proposal below).

Below are Ron’s email, and then Ron’s previously presented plan for the expanded VSO position.  Maybe a future town meeting, as a tribute to Ron Griffin and his extraordinary service to all Medfield residents, will enact his recommendations:

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April 27, 2017

Dear Selectman Pete Petersen, Mike Marcucci, Gus Murby and Town Manager Mike Sullivan

In October of 2015 I submitted my intention to retire at the end of that fiscal year.  I gave advance notice so as to give the town time to prepare a solution to the states full time service officer requirement and to find a suitable replacement.  When neither was accomplished by the end of that fiscal year, I agreed to continue in my position until December 2016 with the understanding that the town would be able to find a replacement and achieve state compliance by that time frame.  Now the 2018 fiscal year is approaching and to the best of my knowledge there has been no advancement by the town to fill the position nor actions planned to secure compliance to the State’s General Law.

This places me in the intolerable position to abandon my post, which I will do at the end of this fiscal year.

As the position of Veteran Service Officer carry’s with it appointments to the Memorial Day Committee and Committee to Study Memorials, I am resigning from those committees as of July 1, 2017.

As the town moves forward to find solutions to serve it’s veteran population I fear it will encounter difficulties.  If the town tries to fill the position and not also meet compliance with State law, the appointment will be rejected by the State.  In addition the state might freeze certain Veteran reimbursements through the Cherry Sheet until the town is in compliance.  The State is under some pressures to take actions on the few communities that are not in compliance with State Law in providing Veteran Services.   I fear Medfield will become the example used to prod other communities into compliance.  I also fear that the veteran community statewide along with the media, will strongly vocalize and condemn the town for its non-actions to bring the town into compliance with the state law.  I also fear the Town of Medfield will be depicted as hostile community to veterans.  This will greatly sadden me, as I know the Town of Medfield is one of the most supportive veteran communities in the state.

It is also possible that none of my fears will materialize.  However it is these undesirable real fears along with a strong concern to insure that the valuable services provided by this office continue without interruption that has motivated me to continue my duties throughout this past fiscal year.

Please understand, I regret the actions I am taking now.  I trust you can agree that I have done all that I could to insure that an orderly transition of my position was achieved.

Until then, I remain at your service.

Ron Griffin
Medfield Veteran Service Officer

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March 22, 2017 Subject - VSO Job description expansion - Office of Veteran and Community Services I am very aware that the following is not within the context of my responsibilities and has not been solicited. However, it is being offered with the intent of advancing the town toward compliance with State Law requiring the Town of Medfield provide full time access to Veteran Service Officer services. I fully agree that the current Medfield veteran population is in rapid decline and not large enough to warrant full time services, however the law uses town population to determine the requirement. Last year I submitted a budget for a full time position and I have done so this year as well. So I would like to offer rational to expand the duties of the VSO, while preserving its primary function. I met with Warrant Committee member Tom Marie to discuss my 2018 budget proposal and essentially had this same conversation. The VSO Position administrative overview The veteran Service Officer must be the primary function of the VSO position, however others duties may be assigned. The VSO position must be occupied by a veteran. The VSO position requires subject knowledge and certification on general areas specific to veterans and their families. Providing knowledge and information the VSO identifies benefits and guides clients through various matrices toward acquiring them. The pathway mostly consists of benefit explanation, developing the correct documentation and delivering it to the correct resource. The VSO does not determine, deny or ratify benefits and is non judgmental in offering assistance to any individual. However, the VSO does administer Massachusetts Chapter 115 benefits. Expanding VSO duties Where much of a VSO’s expertise is in subject explanation, documentation development and resource identification it is probable that these skills can be used on other non veteran related programs needed by the town’s citizens. Generally NEEDS based programs do not require unique expertise and many community programs may only require the dissemination of information. Needs based programs already exist that are managed by various town departments, sometimes under-utilizing the expertise of the person managing them. All to often, citizens are denied assistance because they simply do not know it exists. Often our citizens most in need of services are the least able to acquire them on their own. Because discussions about these services are provided in a confidential private setting, there is little visibility that these assisting services ever took place. Generally the community population who are not exposed to these services are seldom aware of the their need nor of their importance. Each of you probably have had an experience with one of our citizens who had an issue and had no idea where to turn for help. My experience is that generally what is missing is an understanding of the problem. Yes, occasionally our bureaucratic systems do error and when they do, it is usually very difficult for an individual to correct. In today's society, little can be accomplished without computer knowledge and internet access. Paper forms are now restricted and agency's often defer to web based solutions. More often computers are the decision makers and generating correspondence while the human analysis works to understand the computers choice rather than applying a solution. Often agency's do authorize electronic access to their systems that help identify individual issues. There is a BOLD line that separates assisting in a situation and owning that situation. I do not propose that this position administer any benefit (other than Chapter 115). That bold line is too easily crossed due to a natural compassion that develops with the client. While it is appropriate to provide guidance toward appealing undesirable results, it is not appropriate to participate in the appeal as that would require specific professional expertise. Development of VSO knowledge and skills can easily take more than a year. Knowledge development of non Veteran needs assistance will be substantially less. Identification of non veteran based services can be developed independently, but the following programs are offered as potential candidates. Non- Veteran Needs based services already provided by Medfield (The following is a collaboration list identified by Dawn Alcott, Chelsea Goldstein-Walsh, Cheryl Lavallee and Ron Griffin) Assistance with filling out applications: SNAP (formerly the food stamp program) Mass Health Other health insurance through health care connector SSI/SSDI when appropriate Department of Mental Health Department of Developmental Services SHINE (Medicare) Fuel Assistance Assistance with locating food resources: SNAP Medfield Food Cupboard A Place to Turn Natick (individual or family can go every 2 months for 2 weeks of food with a new social service referral each time…we have many families involved in this United Way program and we do their referrals every two months) Abundant Table Home Delivered Meals (if over age 60) (this is common when a senior is in the home of a family we serve) Assistance with financial help SMOC Housing Home Committee Angel Run Fund (we screen many referrals for ARF…usually 2-5 per week) Fuel Assistance (as SMOC representative for Medfield Community both MYO and COA do applications for residents) Assistance with obtaining basic necessities (clothing, furniture, etc.) New Life Home Refurnishing: (Furniture Resource)Must be referred by social service agency. That agency coordinates client visit on their behalf. This is a once in a life time referral…so it is a thorough and complete as possible process. Dress for Success Boston: (Clothing) Social service agency referral needed. A woman returning to the work force or changing careers can get one interview suit/outfit and an additional outfit following hire. Other agencies: ARC of Southern Norfolk County (for respite funds to hire caregivers and other programs) I hope you will consider the information provided as an opportunity to better utilize the VSO position to better serve all of our citizens. Ron Griffin Medfield VSO20170322-rg-veteran and community services position march 2017_Page_2

Richard DeSorgher leaving town

This email today from the Medfield Historical Society President, David Temple, announcing that Richard and Julie DeSorgher are moving to Mashpee –

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Upcoming programs, Mr. Medfield History exits and more!

Your Monthly News & Updates                   April 2017
Exit Mr. Medfield History

It is hard for me to get my head around this idea, but lifelong resident Richard DeSorgher — Mr. Medfield, Mr. Medfield History — and his wife, Julie, just announced they are selling their Lawrence Circle house and moving to Mashpee. The 25th Medfield History Day Trolley Tour coming up on June 17 will be the last.
“You’re famous and beloved here. Why move away now?” I asked him.

 Richard DeSorgher lecturing
Richard DeSorgher lecturing at the meeting house.

“There is no Mashpee Historical Society, but there’s a lot of activity around Mashpee, and we’re looking forward to our new life there.

“After we move, I plan to drive to Medfield — it’s only an hour and 10 minutes from Mashpee — once a week to spend the day with my mother. I’m not moving to the other ends of the earth, and I’ll keep plenty of contact with Medfield as Julie and I carve out a new life in Mashpee.”

The Early Years
Richard is the third of child of Lee and Ruth DeSorgher and the first born after they moved to 23 Summer Street, Medfield, the family homestead now owned by younger sister Eileen and husband Brian Flynn. Richard has two older siblings, Lee of Holliston, and Nancy of Brewer, Maine. His father, Lee Sr., Mr. Medfield Hockey, died in 1996; his mother now lives in Tilden Village on Pound Street.

Richard graduated from Medfield High in 1970 and went to UMass-Amherst, where he majored in history and minored in English and education.

An Uneasy Start
When he graduated from college, the United States economy was in the post-Watergate period known then as stagflation: high unemployment combined with inflation. Gas lines and a slump in the U.S. manufacturing industry. American automakers struggled mightily — they had to meet new safety and emission standards, so cars of the early 1970s became costlier, bigger, heavier, thirstier, clumsier, slower, and crankier…and less competitive with the Japanese. And don’t forget bell bottoms, double knits, overdone hair, and other fashion atrocities.

In Medfield, the student population was down. It was a bad time to be a rookie looking for his first teaching job. Richard started as a substitute and was then hired as a social studies teacher at Medfield Junior High. At one time he was even shifted into the English department — and while he was an English teacher he was ironically voted Medfield’s History Teacher of the Year!

How did he become so interested in history?

There’s more to this story, click here>>

 

 

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Upcoming Events

 

Rendezvous with History — Discovering Who’s Who in the House Next Door

Presenter John Temple.

Monday, April 3

7:30 pm
First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
26 North Street, Medfield

John Temple shares fascinating stories about past owners of his house and asks, “What about yours?”

John Temple grew up in Medfield and now lives with his wife in a 200-year-old NRHP-listed house in Barnstable on Route 6A, at the corner of Rendezvous Lane.

He writes, “A few years ago a chance encounter with an old photo unlocked a century’s worth of history involving a very colorful family that summered here from the 1880s to the 1970s. It included a celebrated admiral in the U.S. Navy and a daughter who married into diplomatic service on behalf of the Romanov dynasty of Imperial Russia… not to mention the admiral’s great-great-great-great granddaughter, who stopped by for a visit a couple of years ago. Join us as John shares these stories.

For more details, click here>>

 

Recent Events

 

Student Curators Present Disney-Medfield Connection

Student curators Evan Springer and Camille Kerwin

This year’s student curators, Evan Springer and Camille Kerwin, presented a program about the Disney-Medfield connection on Monday, March 7.

Ours is the only city of town anywhere named Medfield. Walt Disney used to visit his good friend Justin Dart and Dart’s wife, the 1930’s actress Jane Bryan, in the 1950s. The Dart family lived at Holiday Farm in Medfield, on Elm Street between the grounds of Wheelock Elementary School and Adams Farm. Disney would occasionally fly in and land his private plane at the Darts’ private airstrip. Today, this airstrip has been converted into some of the soccer fields behind Wheelock School. Portions of the airstrip are still present today.

Disney chose Medfield College as the name for a fictitious institution that was the location for several of his movies, including The Absent-Minded Professor. The cornerstone of Medfield Middle School, formerly Medfield High School, has a quote from Walt Disney inscribed on it: “Our greatest natural resource is in the minds of our children.

 

People and Places of the Past

 

 

Pat Reardon walking in Medfield, 1999. Photo courtesy Pat Reardon.

In Step with Pat Reardon

 

by Tim Flaherty

Are you overwhelmed from hearing about all the natural misfortunes like global warming with the polar glaciers melting, the creeping sea level now flooding Miami, Florida and the terrible devastation left by the tornadoes in some of the southern states? If those events don’t get you down then surely, how about the war in Syria? Or Trump’s favorable comments about Vladimir Putin?

News like this makes it refreshing to see a guy like my friend Patrick Reardon getting back to basics, striding purposefully around the streets near the center of town or around the condo complex of Medfield Gardens at 89-91 Pleasant Street.

When it’s cold, Pat simply puts on a heavy winter jacket with a hood and thermal gloves — nothing elaborate. When it’s a little warmer, his University of Tallahassee sweatshirt from Building 19 or his UNLV sweatshirt from Lord’s.

Until a few years ago, to ward off hostile dogs, Pat would always carry his trusty shillelagh — “the black thorn cane cut from the briarwood tree” — but he gave it away to a little girl in Ireland. There are fewer dogs in today’s walking routes.

Pat was born in Galway, Ireland, second of six children. As a child, he attended a Christian Brothers elementary school. Part of the curriculum included daily beatings, which he said would not have happened if his father had been a doctor or a teacher instead of a laborer. He said the most sadistic brother left the order, got married, and drove two of his sons to suicide.
In 1956 Pat was shipped off to Norwood to live with his father’s sister. He learned to be a machinist at Boston Trade, worked in an unhealthy plastics plant on California for a time in the 1960s, and came back to Massachusetts to work for R. B. Bradley, a real estate and property management company.

He saved his money and invested in real estate in the U.S. and Ireland, and he lives comfortably. He said he “rode the Celtic tiger” and did particularly well in the Irish real estate boom about 10 years ago, and he went back to live there for a couple of years.

What does he think about on his daily jaunts?

To read the rest of the story, click here>>

 

Jim & Patti Schwartz – Medfield Foundation 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award

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Jim & Patti Schwartz – 2017 Medfield Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award

Jim and Patti Schwartz were selected as to receive the 2017 Medfield Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award last month by the judges.  Jim and Patti were nominated by Gus Murby, with input from the other leaders of Boy Scout Troop 89, per Gus.

Jim and Patti, plus all the remarkable eight other Medfield volunteers who were nominated this year will be celebrated at the reception next Sunday, March 19 at 3PM at The Center. The public is invited to attend.

Brothers Marketplace generously sponsored the 2017 Medfield Foundation volunteer awards and support was also received from the Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation.

Below is the nomination submitted by Gus Murby.

 


 

This recommendation is submitted as a combined recommendation for both Jim and Patti Schwartz, primarily for the involvement they have had over several decades as adult leaders in Medfield’s Troop 89 Boy Scout Troop. Jim and Patti have functioned as a seamless team throughout that time in working to meet the needs of the troop. The intention of this recommendation is not just to recognize them as two individuals worthy of consideration for this award, but to recognize their collaborative partnership over all this time and to acknowledge the extraordinary impact that partnership has had on the success of Troop 89 over an extended period.

 

Jim Schwartz has been a life-long volunteer leader with the Boy Scouts of America who has, over the past 23 years, held leadership positions with Medfield Troop 89. Extending from his own personal scouting career where he earned Eagle Scout rank, Jim started his career as a volunteer adult leader back in 1969 as an Assistant Scout Master in Troop 662 in Cheviot, Ohio. Jim subsequently filled a number of adult leadership positions over the ensuring years in both Ohio and Herndon, VA, where Jim was the founding Scoutmaster for a new Boy Scout troop. Over the course of his four years as Scoutmaster of the newly formed Herndon Boy Scout troop, 5 scouts earned the rank of Eagle Scout – a remarkable achievement for a troop that had just formed. Jim first started serving as a volunteer adult Boy Scout leader in Medfield Troop 89 in 1994, serving as an Assistant Scoutmaster from 1994 – 2003. In 2003, Jim took on the job of serving as Troop 89’s Troop Committee Chairman, a position he held from 2003 through 2016.

 

The job of Troop Committee Chairman is a critical one for ensuring the ongoing success of a Boy Scout Troop. The Boy Scout Troop Committee effectively functions as a Board of Directors for a Boy Scout Troop, but the role of the committee involves more than just formal oversight. The Troop Committee, and the Troop Committee Chairman, in particular, works closely with the Troop Scoutmaster to ensure the troop has the funding, equipment, leadership, and standards that are needed to ensure the troop operates in a manner that offers meaningful development opportunities for scouts while maintaining high standards of safety and decorum. In this role, because of his extensive experience in scouting, Jim has been a unique source of insight, judgment, and practical advice on what is needed to run a highly effective scouting program. The effectiveness of Jim’s insight and experience can readily be seen in the high enrollment the troop has maintained over the years; the numerous high adventure trips that the troop has offered to its more experienced scouts; and in the number of scouts who have achieved the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout. Over the course of Jim’s tenure with Troop 89, a total of 73 scouts have earned the rank of Eagle Scout – a number that far exceeds the average number of scouts a Boy Scout troop would expect to produce.

 

The value of Jim’s experience can also be seen in the successes of a long line of scoutmasters in the troop who were able to “come up to speed” very quickly by tapping Jim’s corporate memory around troop operations and Boy Scout administrative procedures. During the time he has served as Troop Committee Chairman, Jim has worked with 5 different scoutmasters to help them fully assume their responsibilities as Scoutmaster.

Beyond his formal, long-standing role as Troop Committee Chairman, Jim also served as a key leader on 5 different Boy Scout High Adventure trips (2003 Northern Tier canoe trip, 2004 Philmont backpacking trip, 2005 Allagash canoe trip, 2006 Seabase Sailing trip, and 2008 Philmont backpacking trip). High Adventure trips are ambitious outdoor adventure trips designed to challenge older, more experienced scouts by introducing them to more physically and mentally demanding activities, usually in geographically remote locations. Because of this, the responsibilities of the adult leaders on these trips are significant. They include the need to meet the high physical demands of the trip; the need to make sound judgments in situations where access to outside help is limited; and the need to be prepared to handle medical emergencies that could arise during the trips. Being an adult leader on these trips requires a degree of personal commitment and confidence that goes well beyond what is required on a more routine “weekend campout”.

 

Finally, Jim has provided a consistently strong role model for the scouts in the troop. His organizational skills are legendary, even among those scouts who don’t at first understand why paying attention to detail is important, or who don’t really know how to effectively communicate to adults and others. The skills they learn from Jim’s example have a direct impact on their future ability to be successful in their jobs. While Jim sets a high standard for scouts in these areas, he also provides a model to scouts as a person who remains calm in the face of difficulty; respectful even in circumstances where there may be disagreement; and good-natured, even in the face of offensive or insensitive behavior. Through Jim, scouts can see how the tenets of the Boy Scout Law play out in real life in how a person should conduct himself.

 

Patti Schwartz began her career as a volunteer adult leader with the Boy Scouts of America 32 years ago when she became a Cub Scout Den Leader in Downington, PA. Over the next several years, Patti continued her service as a Cub Scout Den Leader, and subsequently as a Cub Scout Committee Chairwoman in Herndon, VA. Since 1996, Patti has been a member of Troop 89’s Troop Committee where she has taken on major responsibilities as the troop’s Good Turn Coordinator (the person who coordinates and organizes virtually all of the troop’s organized service activities), Advancement Chairperson (the person most directly responsible for monitoring, encouraging, and processing scout rank advancements at all levels), and Eagle Court of Honor Coordinator (the person directly responsible for organizing and coordinating Eagle Courts of Honor). From 1996 to the present, Patti has also served as a Merit Badge Councilor for Troop 89, and she has served as a volunteer adult Girl Scout Leader in Medfield.

 

During the time that Patti has been working as a volunteer leader in Troop 89, she has also volunteered her time supporting several other organizations and activities in Medfield. Of particular note, Patti has been active for many years in St. Edward’s Prayer Shawl Ministry as part of the “One Family Knitters” group. As a member of “One Family Knitters, Patti has also participated in St. Edward’s support of several charitable organizations knitting hats, scarves, baby sweaters and “premi” baby hats. She has also volunteered for numerous Special Olympics competitions in the area and has supported the Angel Run in Medfield for several years. Because of the breadth of activities Patti has been involved with here in Medfield; she has been able to create synergistic opportunities that tap the capabilities of one organization to serve the needs of other organizations. A good example of this is her volunteer work with the Medfield Food Cupboard where, in addition to providing direct personal support to the Food Cupboard, she has also used her position as the Good Turn Coordinator for Troop 89 to obtain help from scouts to stock the food cupboard, as well as to provide scouts who are working on the Cooking merit badge with the opportunity to bake pies at Thanksgiving in support of the Food Cupboard’s holiday support activities. In doing this, both organizations wound up achieving important goals of their programs.

 

It is well recognized in Medfield that the town’s Boy Scout program has been an important pillar supporting the development of Medfield’s youth into responsible adults and civic-minded citizens. Jim and Patti Schwartz have devoted an extraordinary amount of time to support Boy Scouts over decades, the last 23 years of which have been focused on supporting Boy Scouts in Medfield. Over all of that time, each of them has provided a stellar example of what it means to be a responsible, caring citizen.  Jim has demonstrated deep strength in both the “administrative” context of a troop committee working month in and month out to ensure that Troop 89 has a vibrant  scouting program, and as an  on-the-ground adult leader in multiple challenging high adventure settings where decisions, often made under pressure, can be anything but routine. Patti brings a caring, supportive disposition to Troop 89 that has made a huge difference in what numerous scouts have gotten out of scouting, as well as what they have achieved by way of rank advancement. While Troop 89’s success at developing scouts into Eagle Scouts is impressive as a troop accomplishment, it is safe to say that Patti has had a big hand in getting a significant number of scouts “across the finish line”; just by helping them see the possibility and get organized to realize it.

Perhaps the best summary expression of the contribution that Jim and Patti Schwartz have made to Medfield over the years is captured in the tribute that was paid to them at a Troop 89 troop meeting this past fall —

In Boy Scout troops we are fortunately often blessed with adult leaders who are willing to step up and accept the challenge of leading and inspiring groups of Boy Scouts over the course of their scouting careers. The task these adult leaders accept goes beyond merely administering the scouting program and guiding scouts through various rank and merit badge requirements. These adult leaders take on the challenge of modeling for scouts what they hope these scouts will become as they move through their scouting careers and mature into responsible, caring, honest, and competent adults.

Most of the time, these adult leaders are active in Boy Scouts while their own sons are Boy Scouts. Quite understandably, at the point that their sons have completed their time as Boy Scouts, these adult leaders move on to other chapters in their lives and other endeavors. On some rare occasions, however, an adult leader is motivated to remain committed to playing a leadership role beyond the time that his or her own son is a scout. On even rarer occasions, two adult leaders from the same family maintain this commitment and devote themselves to helping a large number of scouts mature into responsible adults. The experience level, insight, and the sterling quality of the role model they provide to scouts makes this rare occurrence invaluable to any troop that benefits from their involvement. Jim and Patti Schwartz have been that rare resource for Troop 89. Their patience with scouts during troop activities and rank advancement, along with their unfailing upbeat tone provide visible evidence that it is possible to be friendly, courteous, kind – and disciplined and thorough in getting things done. This lesson may have come more easily to some scouts than others, but it is a lesson that will serve all scouts well throughout their lives.

Jim and Patti, we salute both of you and will be ever grateful for the contribution you each have made to all of our scouts in Troop 89. Thank you so much for your steadfast commitment over these years and the lasting impact you have had on this troop!

 

For all the reasons cited above, I and the other leaders of Boy Scout Troop 89 strongly recommend Jim and Patti Schwartz as solid candidates for the Medfield Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement award.

Jean Mineo, Medfield Foundation 2017 volunteer of the year

Jean Mineo

Jean Mineo – 2017 Medfield Foundation Volunteer of the Year

Jean Mineo was selected as the 2017 Medfield Foundation volunteer of the year just last month by the judges.  Jean was nominated by both Chris McCue Potts and Minta Hissong, a first having the same person nominated more than once in one year.  Jean and all the remarkable eight other Medfield volunteers who were nominated this year will be celebrated at the reception next Sunday, March 19 at 3PM at The Center. The public is invited to attend.

Brothers Marketplace generously sponsored the 2017 Medfield Foundation volunteer awards and support was also received from the Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation.

Below in the order they were received are the nominations first by Chris McCue Potts, and then the one by Minta Hissong.


 

It is no secret that Jean Mineo is the “chief cultural Officer” for the town of Medfield — past, present and future! Her past work includes making possible innovative and visually interesting community art, including a sculpture trail at MSH site, power boxes painted with historical or other images relative to Medfield, and outdoor pianos for all to enjoy. Additionally, Jean founded the Cultural Alliance of Medfield so that the town would have an active cultural projects/events/advocacy organization to supplement the grant-making role of the Medfield Cultural Council. Her current work involves a number of initiatives, from making the vision of the Straw Hat Park and Holiday Stroll both a reality — and highly successful ones indeed evidenced by Town Meeting support for park funding, and the enormous turnout and positive feedback on the 2nd annual Stroll!  For both endeavors, Jean had to oversee all aspects — from fundraising, volunteer and partner recruitment, political navigation, logistical details, publicity and so much more.  Through it all, Jean always does it thoughtfully, with a calm and focused demeanor, and in a way that inspires others to get involved. Rarely does Jean get frustrated when confronted with a hurdle or challenge (which is sure to happen) — she just focuses on what needs to get done to keep things moving forward.

A hugely beneficial initiative that Jean led was the town matching initiative for Medfield Cultural Council funding for local nonprofits. For very little money (but big impact), Jean successfully made the case for the match, rallied residents to turn out for the Town Meeting vote (and speak up), and then played a role in making sure residents knew what kind of impact the doubling of available funding could have on local cultural groups and projects, including Zullo Gallery, Gazebo Players, Medfield Music Association, Medfield Public Library, and others.

Jean’s current efforts serving on the Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee, have the potential to provide future payoff with expansion of the town’s cultural offerings. She has spent countless hours pulling together local cultural groups and representatives who have a shared vision for the huge impact cultural initiatives/a cultural focus could have at the MSH site. Her work has required endless meetings, bringing in unpaid expertise for a visioning session, rallying the community to support the hiring of a paid consultant to conduct and report back on a feasibility study, and building relationships and navigating all levels of town politics, and the work is ongoing. Jean even launched an artistic competition for the creative reuse of the old waterworks gears from the MSH site!

Jean’s commitment to Medfield’s cultural vitality and overall town character, and the impact her time and energy has made on our community, is nothing short of amazing.

In terms of impact and results, consider this:

1) The thousands of people who have visited and enjoyed the Straw Hat Park so far…including all of the attractions that were in place prior to the official ribbon-cutting in the fall of 2016. This includes piano players, sidewalk chalk art viewers, and so many others wanting to envision the possibilities!

2) The thousands of people who have taken part in the Holiday Stroll for the past two years – whether volunteers, residents, out of town visitors, or artisans selling their works or providing services. The Stroll helped deepen the sense of community that is so strong in Medfield, and helped to lift so many spirits. The community-wide event also helps to support the livelihood of many artists, and also showcase Medfield’s own
artistic talents, including visual and musical.

3) The thousands of people who drive or walk by and appreciate all of the various community art Jean has made possible through the Art in Public Places initiative (via Medfield Foundation).

4) The tens of thousands of people who will benefit if MSH redevelopment includes one or more cultural components – this would include residents, visitors and contributing artists.

As a testament to Jean’s work as former head of the Medfield Cultural Council, the Massachusetts Cultural Council awarded her with a Leadership Circle Award in 2015, and the town recognized her contributions with a special event at the Zullo Gallery. https://www.mass-culture.org/lca_honorees.aspx

In addition to all of Jean’s cultural work, she served on the MAP board (including president) and has also been actively volunteering with community projects sponsored by United Church of Christ in Medfield (prior to and separate from working there).

Jean Mineo is long overdue for the Volunteer of the Year Award. Let’s make 2017 her year!

 


 

I am nominating Jean Mineo for the volunteer of the year award. Jean serves on many boards, organizations, and donates hours of her time to our town. I will focus on one of her big accomplishments of 2016, the Straw Hat Park. This park would not have been created but for Jean’s vision, drive, patience, knowledge and fortitude. I was lucky enough to be on the Straw Hat Park committee with Jean from the beginning when we first started meeting in December of 2013! Jean worked tirelessly from the beginning when in the summer of 2013 she started gathering ideas for the park with public art in the space. From there the selectman gave her permission to gather a team and see what could be done with the pocket park. Jean spent hours and hours on administration, attending meetings, meeting with key players in town, surveys, PR, social media guru, fundraising, speaking at town meetings, and finally working with the tradesman to get the work done. It was her project and she kept plugging away when politics and obstacles got in the way. I watched her work from behind the scenes and her dedication to our town is second to none. She always had a way to make it work. The Straw Hat Park is a beautiful new space in our town that is already getting a lot of use. This creation of this space from dirt/grass to our new park is because of Jean’s work and she deserves to be formally recognized. Thank you for the consideration.
-Minta Hissong

No town administrator evaluation tonight

Kristine Trierweiler just emailed that the Selectmen are doing the evaluation of the town administrator at our next meeting, February 7, not this evening.  Sorry – my mistake.

Town administrator evaluation

The Board of Selectmen are being asked to evaluate the town administrator tonight based on his goals and the goals of the selectmen from 2015, so I thought it might be useful for people to see what those goals were stated to be.

The selectmen prepared its goals first in October 2015, with selectman DeSorgher crafting the final combination for each of our separate inputs into the consensus document below.  Then Mike drafted his goals in November 2015, which essentially track the selectmen goals.

Draft Board of Selectmen Goals 2015-2016 I. Communications 1. Promote and encourage a collegial and supportive atmosphere for all volunteer committees and boards, ensure that their voices are heard and their work recognized. Promote and encourage supportive atmospheres with the Board of Selectmen and our Town Administrator, Superintendent of Schools and all department heads and employees 2. Improve the town's web site, including putting the town budget on-line 3. Working with the Assistant Town Administrator, explore ways to better inform town citizens on the happenings at town hall and on town-wide events, projects, plans, etc 4. Keep the annual calendar current and on-line II. Planning 1. Work towards completion of a town-wide master plan 2. Have ongoing discussions with the Town Manager and Assistant Town Manager as to the current and future makeup of the management staff of the Town 3. Work with all town department heads and committees to get five-year plans 4. Develop an affordable housing plan 5. Adopt the Green Community Act 6. Expand solar power in the town and increase recycling rates 7. Become a Tree City that is progressive and not in name only, adding money in the budget for tree plantings 8. Ensure that the town continues to provide a high quality of education to its children and provides a high quality of municipal services to its citizens in the most cost-effective manner possible. III. Capital Projects 1. Provide direction as the Town moves forward with the clean-up and redevelopment of the State Hospital Grounds. Support and encourage the State Hospital Redevelopment Committee as they move forward with a plan to redevelop the site 2.Provide support and direction to the Permanent Building Committee as they proceed with the construction of a new Public Safety Building IV. Finances 1. Ensure that the annual budget process and town meeting move forward in a productive and cooperative manner that is always in the best interest of the citizens of Medfield 2. Work to implement a three-year budget forecast, seek savings and increase revenue and work towards property tax relief for senior citizens 3. Complete union contracts on time. 4. Analyze overtime expenditures. 5. implement a 20-year capital improvement plan V.Downtown 1. Promote and encourage the development of a robust and pedestrian-friendly downtown area that will entice the public to embrace our small businesses and help them to grow and thrive 1. Work with the Chief of pol ice on traffic and parking issues 2. Support, plan and follow-up on the recommendations from the Downtown Summit and from the Downtown Vision and Action Plan 3. Complete Straw Hat Park 4. Open dialog on Design Review and Sidewalk Master Plan

DRAFT Medfield Town Administrator Goals 2015-2016 I. Communications 1. Schedule Town Boards and Committees to meet with Board of Selectmen on a regular basis to discuss opportunities, plans and obstacles in providing services to Town residents. 2. Investigating new website companies, working with Community Compact for transparent budgeting options 3. Creating opt in email communication system through the website 4. Maintain a running three month BOS calendar of and post it to the Town's website. II. Planning 1. Include funding in fy17 budget to prepare town-wide master plan and work with Planning Board and Town Planner to prepare. 2. Continue to work with Selectmen, Personnel Board and Town boards and commissions to plan, recruit and hire management staff. For fy16 plan for a transition in the Public Works Department. 3. Department heads, boards and committees will be asked to prepare a five-year operating and capital plan, as well as an estimate of budgetary requirements. 4. A draft Housing Production Plan was submitted to the Selectmen at the beginning of 2015. For fy16, ask the Board of Selectmen, the Planning Board and the Housing Authority to refine and adopt an Affordable Housing Plan based on this draft. Also, ask the State Hospital Re-use Committee to include provisions in its re-use plan for an affordable housing component addressing the Town's 40B requirements and a plan to provide moderate income 55 and older housing and/or assisted living housing. 5. The Town has adopted four of the five components necessary to qualify for Green Community Act status. An article will be placed on the 2016 Annual Town Meeting Warrant to adopt the fifth component, the "stretch code". 6. Ground has broken on the town's first public solar project at the wastewater treatment plant. It is expected to be completed and on line by the spring of 2016. Following up on that project, begin the plan for installation of a solar array on the roof of the town garage and the public safety building. 7. Medfield is a progressive Tree City. In addition to the 350 trees the Public Works Department planted and maintained during the Town's 350th Anniversary celebration, the Town has been active planting trees along Main and North Streets. This year the DPW and the Tree Warden have planted 12 trees on Green Street and seven trees in Vine Lake Cemetery and has been replacing existing trees as needed. Certain restrictions established by the Americans with Disabilities Act for accessibility and the Department of Transportation requirements for bike paths, have created problems in planting street trees on older roads, with narrow widths, but whenever possible the Tree Department replaces, plants new trees and does whatever it can to encourage Tree City standards. In addition, the Planning Board requires tree planting in new subdivisions. This year the new Public Safety Building will include substantial tree plantings along Dale Street and the Tree Department will continue to evaluate trees at the Medfield State Hospital site. 8. The Town has worked cooperatively with the School Department to fund, facilitate and support quality education. The combined Information Technology Departments, the coordination of energy and facilities improvements, coordination of snow removal operations to keep school closings to a minimum, conversion of the accounting system to provide for better financial reporting are testament to this. For this year we are working with the school department to achieve compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act reporting requirements and to avoid high fines for not achieving compliance. The facilities manager will be working with the Library, the Council on Aging and the Public Works Departments to improve the efficiency of operations and develop reliable maintenance procedures to reduce the need for costly capital expenditures and to reduce the costs of energy usage. Among items to be looked at are roof and portico repairs at the library, solar power at The CENTER at Medfield and the DPW garage. Ill. Capital Projects 1. Continue to work with the State Hospital Redevelopment Committee and the MSH Building and Grounds Committee 2. In addition to the weekly on-site construction meetings, monthly meetings are held at the Town Hall to update the full Permanent Planning and Building Committee on the progress of the new Public Safety Building. To date the project is on time and within budget. Financing was completed during the summer to take advantage of the low interest rates. Town departments will provide assistance as requested. IV. Finances 1. Will hold annual financial program for the Warrant Committee in October and focus on fund accounting in order to give the Warrant Committee members an understanding of the Town's broad financial picture. Also, schedule an early budget meeting with the Selectmen and the Warrant Committee to get a head start on the fyl 7 budget process. 2. I will prepare a three year budget forecast. While cities and towns are very limited by state control of taxation, I will explore new opportunities to seek new revenues and will work to cut expenditures. 3. Police contracts are up for renewal next year and we expect they will be completed on time. Fire contracts are several years past due for renewals. We thought we had reached agreement with the negotiating team, but the membership rejected the proposed settlement. We will try to get the fire union back to the bargaining table and finish negotiations, but the fire union has shown little interest in doing so. 4. We will prepare an analysis of overtime expenditures, if requested by the Board of Selectmen. 5. Will submit an article for funding of a 20-year Capital Budget for the 2016 Annual Town Meeting Warrant. V. Downtown 1. Replace the Main Street/Route 109 railroad crossing. Construct the Ed Doherty Memorial at Meeting House Pond. Work with developers of downtown projects (Macready, Borrelli, Larkin family and the owners of the North Meadows Road strip mall) to complete their projects, along with landscaping improvements, parking and other amenities. Assist Medfield Cable TV with their move to the downtown and renovation of its new quarters. 2. Work with Police Chief and Town Planner on a MAPC sponsored 109 traffic study. Work with developer of old Ord's Block to add 12 public parking spaces on Townowned land off Janes Avenue. Get the North Street reconstruction project moving. 3. Work with Town Planner and Economic Development Committee on the Downtown Summit and work to implement its recommendations. 4. Complete Straw Hat Park during the summer of 2016. 5. Set up meeting with Planning Board, Board of Selectmen, Historical Commission and Town Counsel to explore development of a Design Review bylaw. Review past Selectmen's votes on sidewalk types/locations and work with DPW, Police Department and School Department and residents to develop a priority list for new sidewalk construction.20151117-ms-town-administrator-goals_page_220151117-ms-town-administrator-goals_page_3

Chris McCue joins Patch

From Chris McCue, who joins Colleen Sullivan as an official “Star Patcher” correspondent for Medfield Patch, and has contributed her first piece covering the Oct. 24 School Committee meeting:  “Throughout my writing career and 20-plus years in Medfield working with all the local media outlets, it has been sad to witness the departure of many talented editors and reporters, and as a result, the loss of consistent, credible coverage of town government. My goal is to provide great transparency with the new Open Government feature in Medfield Patch where I can apply my journalism training to provide residents with facts and information from public documents and when available, Medfield.TV coverage. News tips are welcome, and can be e-mailed to christine.mccue@verizon.net.”

 

http://patch.com/massachusetts/medfield/school-committee-tackles-hefty-agenda