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Osler “Pete” Peterson

617-969-1500 – Newton

February 2017

Attorney Photo

Troubling News On Traffic Safety

Injuries and deaths from vehicle crashes have always been a major problem on U.S. roadways. But as a nation, we have made steady progress over the past four decades, thanks to education and many safety innovations. Then came reports in 2015 and now 2016 that this trend has been reversed.

So far, safety experts are still scrambling to pinpoint just exactly what is causing the upswing. But as we discuss in this must-read issue of “You Should Know,” those of us who work to protect the rights of people injured in vehicle crashes know the common culprits all too well.

Experts Looking for Answers to Rising Traffic Injuries, Deaths

Pedestrian AccidentAccidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists are also on the rise.

Cheaper Gas, Better Economy, Distracted Driving Among Contributing Factors

For decades, auto accidents have trended downward. Road fatalities steadily declined from more than 50,000 annually in the early 70s to just over 30,000 in recent years. Credit goes to many advances in safety, including:
  • Crashworthy vehicles that better protect those involved in a crash
  • New technologies like anti-lock braking, vehicle stability controls and self-driving sensors that prevent accidents in the first place
  • Education programs and tougher laws aimed at seatbelt use, teen drivers and driving while impaired.

But starting in 2015, road safety hit the skids when the number of people lost in crashes jumped 7.2 percent from 2014, the largest percentage increase in 50 years. And the news for 2016 may even be worse as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently projected an 8 percent increase in traffic deaths for the first nine months of 2016 over 2015.

Some safety experts have blamed the increase on more drivers traveling more miles. Longer commutes and more road trips, coupled with cheaper gas and lower unemployment, adds up to more drivers on the road. Even those not in a vehicle are at a higher risk as car-pedestrian and bike fatalities have risen as well.

But NHTSA’s Administrator Mark Rosekind said he and his colleagues can’t accept that a better economy means more people are going to die on our roads. “We still have to figure out what is underlying those lives lost,” he said. To that end, NHTSA and the National Safety Council joined forces to launch the Road To Zero campaign in October, which aims to end all traffic fatalities in the U.S. in the next 30 years. This campaign provides grants to non-profits that help research and implement innovative highway safety measures.

Car Crash? There’s an App For That

The spike in traffic fatalities and accidents is often blamed on the use of smartphones. According to the latest data from the Pew Research Center, almost 80 percent of U.S. adults own smartphones. More than 600,000 of those people are operating a smartphone while driving at any given time.

Texting and driving have proven to be a dangerous combination, with 78 percent of distracted driving-related crashes attributed to a texting driver. However, dangers from non-texting apps that encourage driver interaction have also arisen.

The messaging app Snapchat features a speed filter that tells users how fast they are traveling, which some have argued encourages drivers to travel at unsafe speeds. A man who suffered a traumatic brain injury during a recent collision is suing both the other driver for her recklessness as well as Snapchat for encouraging the teen to drive at unsafe speeds. Waze, a navigation app, rewards users for reporting traffic jams and roadside obstructions while driving. The “Gotta Catch ’Em All” mentality of Pokémon Go has caused accidents when users ignored safety to play the game.

Protect Yourself and Others

Traditionally the six root causes of serious accidents are driver inattention, fatigue, impaired driving, speeding, aggressive driving and adverse weather conditions. With those factors in mind, here are some tips you can use to prevent traffic accidents and protect yourself and others:

  • Silence and put away all phones for the duration of your drive.
  • Keep your eyes on the road and leave the distractions at home.
  • When buying a new or used car, prioritize safety ratings and purchase cars with safety features. Also be sure to run a recall check on your car at
  • If you are a pedestrian or bicyclist, pay attention to vehicle traffic even if you have the right of way. A distracted driver could mean disaster.
  • Follow all posted speed limits and wear your seat belt.
  • Always drive alert, awake and sober.
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Rep. Garlick’s letter on Patch


I just saw this on Patch – thanks Denise for including me in your statement, and thanks Laura for posting the letter.

The hard work to maintain a safe harbor that precludes unfriendly 40B’s has only just begun, and it will be a long slog for the Town of Medfield to arrange to get the 21 Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI) units built each year to maintain that safe harbor.  I spoke with the Department of Housing and Community Development this week about expanding Tilden Village, and the financing (primarily 9% tax credit financing was recommended) to accomplish that expansion appears neither easy, nor fast.

Town officials are having their first meeting next week with the town’s new affordable housing consultant, so hopefully we will soon craft a plan that gets the town to the 10% affordable housing level.

Letter to the Editor: Medfield 200 unit – Mega 40B

Medfield Meadows

This week we celebrate leadership, teamwork, strategy, perseverance and a positive outcome. Patriots? Sure. The Town of Medfield – Absolutely! The denial of the site application for “Medfield Meadows,” the 200 unit Mega 40B proposal, was the result of the work of Medfield’s committed citizens, elected leaders, Town staff and MassHousing.

The successful work of the Dale Street group was rooted not only in their neighborhood issues but in their ability to organize, understand the process, gather significant information, mobilize fellow community members and share their concerns with and for the Town.

The “Town” represented by the Board of Selectmen actively listened and was willing to act. The Board of Selectmen was engaged and thinking innovatively, exercising resources to strengthen the team effort, and charging the staff with the process and preparation of materials. Perhaps one of the finest moments I have ever witnessed in local government occurred at the packed public hearing when the consultant for the developer deflected a community member’s question by saying, “We’ll take that up with the Town.” Chairman “Pete” Peterson paused and looked out at the hundreds and hundreds of concerned citizens gathered in the hot, overcrowded auditorium, his fellow Selectmen at his side, the Town staff present and prepared, with the whole Legislative delegation in attendance and responded, “We are the Town.”

MassHousing is tasked with an aggressive charge of helping to develop affordable housing, which is needed in our Commonwealth. MassHousing’s mission statement says it will focus on the needs of its customers and the people and the communities it serves, while demonstrating values of respect, collaboration and integrity. Throughout the process MassHousing was observing, listening, analyzing documents and relevant materials, revisiting the site and meaningfully engaging in the process.

The denial of the site application opens a window for Medfield to control its own destiny in terms of affordable housing and meeting the community’s needs. The Medfield Housing Production Plan is the way in which the Town, can and should move forward on its own terms.

I stand ready, always, in partnership to support the Town – its citizens, the elected leaders and staff. I join with you all in honoring this moment of good government and celebrating Team Medfield!



State Representative Denise C. Garlick

13th Norfolk District (Medfield; Precinct 1 and 2)

Pacemaker data leads to arrest

From the ABA Journal –

Data on man’s pacemaker led to his arrest on arson charges

Pacemaker xray.

Police charged a Middletown, Ohio, man with aggravated arson and insurance fraud after data on his pacemaker was inconsistent with his claims about his physical activity when his house burned down.

Police said they charged Ross Compton, 59, after obtaining a warrant to search the pacemaker, report WLWT and the Journal-News. Police Lt. Jimmy Cunningham told WLWT that one of the key pieces of information was the pacemaker evidence.

Compton told a 911 dispatcher that when he discovered the fire, he packed some belongings; broke the glass of his bedroom window with a cane; and tossed his belongings outside.

Police examined the heart monitor’s recorded data about Compton’s heart rate and cardiac rhythms, and concluded that the information didn’t match his claims. A cardiologist reviewed the data and said it was “highly improbable” that a person with Compton’s medical condition could collect and remove the items in such a short period of time. Police also said the fire had multiple points of origin and that gasoline was found on Compton’s shoes and clothing, according to WLWT.

Compton told WLWT that the charges were “utterly insane” and he had no motive to burn his house down. “This investigation has gone way out of control,” he said.

Electronic Frontier Foundation staff lawyer Stephanie Lacambra told SC Media that cases like Compton’s raise privacy issues.

“Americans shouldn’t have to make a choice between health and privacy,” Lacambra said. “We as a society value our rights to maintain privacy over personal and medical information, and compelling citizens to turn over protected health data to law enforcement erodes those rights.”

MEC on 1/12


Draft minutes

Medfield Energy Committee

Jan 12, 2017


Fred Bunger presiding, Jerry McCarty, Cynthia Greene, Lee Alinsky, Fred Davis, Paul Fechtelklotter (taking minutes)


  1. December 8 meeting minutes accepted. Fred B. will make effort to put all 2016 meeting minutes in a single location for easier access.


  1. Annual report – FB.

Made minor updates to the draft report. Still awaiting updates for the solar projects – Fred B will submit revised report once he receives them.


  • Green Communities –FB:


Fred B spoke with Kelly on Medfield’s application status. He received very positive feedback but no official response.

Axxum confirmed that there is money available for her to assist with our application for initial grants after Medfield receives confirmation of achieving Green Community status.

The expected deadline for submitting the grant application is 3 March. Jerry will be “on point” for the grant submittal with MEC support.

The MEC will have to identify priorities for spending the ~$148K in grant money, using Table 2 of the Energy Reduction plan as the starting point. Retro-commissioning of the High School and Blake are likely to be high on the prioritized list of projects since it will likely be difficult to secure funding for those projects in a competitive grant scenario.

Jerry has received preliminary pricing for retro-commissioning and EMS software upgrades from vendors and should have more data points by our February meeting.  The costs were highlighted at the December MEC meeting and total ~$80K. He is also just starting to develop a list of items to include in his capital submission to the town.

Jerry is getting bids for replacing halogen lights at the library, weatherizing windows at the library, and replacing an exterior door at the library. Fred D. volunteered to assist with the library lighting effort.

Fred B. will make sure that committee members have the final version of Table 4 that was included in our Green Communities application package.


  1. LED streetlights – FD:

Fred D. walked through his analysis of typical maintenance/support contract terms that Medfield should put in place if the town owned the lights.

New funding sources and grants have recently become available that will reduce the net cost of the replacement effort from ~$89K to ~$67K

There are limited funds available so it is important to move forward quickly.

Fred B. will send Fred D’s package and data to Jerry and Mike Sullivan. He will also write a letter to the Board of Selectman on behalf of the MEC to start the process.

Should the project go forward, Medfield will still have to choose an LED technology. We can either leverage MAPC to make a recommendation or do it ourselves.  A suggestion was made to engage Westwood for advice since they recently went through a similar effort.


  • Town Solar – JM:


DPW Solar: No change in status since the last MEC meeting. Still engaged with Solect (who is the SRECs aggregator, solar maintenance, and reporting), who advised town to wait until next round of solar programs.


Public Safety Solar: everything is set but still waiting for ACA approval, which should come before 19 January.


  1. Solarize Medfield Status:

Tabled until February meeting.


  1. Other business.

Tabled discussion on best way to archive committee materials until February meeting.


Meeting adjourned around 9:15.

Storm impacts


  1. town offices are closed today.
  2. emergency #s for Eversource and Verizon



Election candidates