Archive for the ‘Boston Globe’ Category

0% Loan to Help Reduced Your Carbon Footprint

Don’t miss an opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint.  It saves you money and helps the environment – a win for all!

The following is a reprint from the Boston Globe (Staffer Chris Reidy) – appeared originally on June 27, 2012

More residents are taking out Masss Save zero-percent heat loans

The recent heat wave did not slow down applications for the Mass Save zero-percent heat loan program that helps defray costs for local home owners looking to shrink their carbon footprints, said Conservation Services Group, a national energy services company headquartered in Westborough.

In May, Massachusetts residents took out about $3.6 million worth of Mass Save loans, up from $1.24 million for the same month a year ago, Conservation Services Group said. Among the reasons for the increase: Word of mouth has increased awareness of the program along with ongoing marketing efforts for Mass Save.

The Mass Save loan program was launched in 2006 by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources as a way to help overcome the cost barrier to adopting energy saving upgrades. The loans are designed to help Massachusetts residents pay for energy efficiency upgrades to their homes. Residents can apply for these loans through the utilities that provide them with gas and electricity.

(Conservation Services Group counts NStar and National Grid as among the utility companies that make up its clients. Conservation Services Group implements the Mass Save program for National Grid and NStar.)

In some cases, National Grid or NStar will include a mention of conservation rebate measures in the monthly bills it sends out to residents. If a resident expresses interest, he or she can line up a home energy audit. The audit is conducted by Conservation Services Group, which then makes recommendations and helps the resident apply for a loan with a regional bank or credit union that is a participant in the heat-loan program.

Improvements covered by the loans include upgrades to a home’s insulation, heating system, and air conditioning system.

In a statement, Conservation Services Group chief executive Stephen Cowell said: “The Mass Save Heat loan initiative is one of the most successful programs of its kind. In fact, 2011 may have been the single largest year for residential energy efficiency financing in the nation – ever. And we’re well on our way to another successful year.”

Bedford MA – Seniors Cultivate Earth-Friendly Values

I am always looking for stories about communities.  Many times people are looking to move into a community and these stories help them decide if the community is the right fit for their family.  Bedford lies next to the towns of Lexington, Burlington, and Concord.

This is a great story in the Boston Globe by correspondent Nancy Shoehet West who talks about a wonderful senior community – Carleton Willard that sits on the grounds of a former farm.  You can read the full piece at http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/05/13/bedford_seniors_demonstrate_that_the_environmental_movement_isnt_only_for_the_young/?page=1

Among the approximately 350 residents in their 70s, 80s, and beyond living at the continuing care retirement community of Carleton-Willard Village in Bedford, suggestions from their adult children are a frequent topic of conversation.

But resident Peggy McKibben  may command a little bit more attention than some of her peers when she passes along wisdom from her son, especially if the topic is sustainability or conservation. She is the mother of renowned environmental activist and writer Bill McKibben, author of numerous books including “The End of Nature,”“Enough,” and most recently “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.”

Bill McKibben is also the founder of 350.org, an international initiative to raise awareness about climate change and reduce carbon emissions to slow the rate of global warming.

A few months ago, when Peggy McKibben read about an event that 350.org was planning for May 5 called “Connect the Dots,” with projects and rallies scheduled worldwide, she knew that several of her friends at Carleton-Willard Village would want to participate with her.

“The idea behind ‘Connect the Dots’ is to map out the world using red dots to show the dramatic damage caused by catastrophic events related to climate change, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis, and using green dots to show the ways in which people are practicing sustainable living,” Peggy McKibben explained.

It wasn’t the first time that a group from the retirement community had undertaken an environmental initiative.

In October 2010, when 350.org promoted its first major climate impact awareness day, residents at Carleton-Willard established the center’s composting program, which is still thriving today.

McKibben sent out an e-mail to gauge interest in “Connect the Dots,” and then held called a meeting.

Several who showed up were enthusiastic gardeners. Carleton-Willard already offers residents and staff access to individual garden plots. The group came up with an idea: What if they joined together in a gardening project, one that could eventually provide food for their own community?

After a little bit more discussion, the concept solidified: The group would plant cherry tomatoes, with the goal of serving their harvest in the Carleton-Willard dining halls later this summer.

Carleton-Willard staff responded enthusiastically: chief executive Barbara Doyle applauded the idea, and the buildings and grounds workers said they would help with tilling and other jobs requiring heavy lifting.

Those who assembled for the meeting were quick to find ways they could pitch in. Mary Waters Shepley offered her own garden plot for the project, and found a collection of tomato hoops they could use. Esther Braun,  the informal overseer of Carleton-Willard’s composting program, said she would ensure the garden would have an ample supply of enriched soil from her project.

“We all consider ourselves environmentalists, and we’re all very committed to making Carleton-Willard be as much of a community as possible,” McKibben said. “We also thought it was going to be a fun thing to do together.”Continued…

Five Communities Join Forces – The Middlesex 3 Coalition

This story was carried in today’s Boston Globe http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/05/10/bedford_signs_on_to_rte_3_pitch/ as Bedford becaomes the 5th community to join in on this venture to market these communities along Route 3.  With so much competition in the marketplace to attract businesses this is one way to strengthen economic development in the area

An effort by five area communities to jointly market their combined stretch of Route 3 to prospective businesses is picking up speed.

The partnering municipalities — Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, and Lowell — have devised a brand name – Middlesex 3  — for their shared highway corridor, along with a logo.

The communities recently formed a nonprofit – The Middlesex 3 Coalition  – to spearhead the initiative, and have begun recruiting businesses and other groups to join them.

“We expect this thing will grow,” said Billerica town manager John C. Curran,  noting that a website for the coalition is coming and that the communities in the next several months will be discussing the hiring of a director for the group.

The effort grew out of discussions among Bedford, Billerica, and Burlington officials five years ago about marketing their shared region. At the suggestion of state officials, the talks were expanded to include Chelmsford and Lowell. The state then funded a study and the results, presented in 2010,  formed the basis of the current initiative.

Curran said a common push to promote that section of Route 3 would benefit all five communities.

“One of the struggles we have is that when you hear about Route 3, a lot of people think of the South Shore,” he said. “This is Middlesex County, that whole Merrimack Valley area. So we’ve gone through this whole exercise to determine what’s the best way to identify the area. Ultimately, what we came up with was Middlesex 3.”

The logo, a rendering of a map of the five communities with a roadway running through it, was designed by a Shawsheen Valley Regional Technical High School student, Shelby Rivers of Billerica.

“The mission is to promote the region as an area for economic development,” Curran said.

A particular goal is to build on the progress the area already has seen in attracting life science and emerging technology companies, Curran said, citing as examples EMD Serono and E Inc. Corp.,  which have facilities in Billerica.

The region has much to offer prospective companies, Curran said.

“The whole Merrimack Valley area that encompasses these five communities is rich with diverse labor resources,” Curran said. “You’ve got high-end professionals in this area, and also other types of labor, such as the medium-level technicians that many life science companies are looking for, and just the general labor force as well.”

The region is also home to the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Middlesex Community College, and Shawsheen, all three of which have programs teaching the skills that employers are seeking, Curran said.

Bedford town manager Richard Reed  said that a regional marketing approach makes sense because “companies that are coming to Massachusetts are thinking about the state and the region . . . where they want to be. I don’t think they are looking at it specifically as this community or that community.”

He said where they choose to locate within a region depends on the availability of sites.

But at least one local official is uneasy about the regional effort.

Burlington Selectman Ralph Patuto  said that its location on the Middlesex Turnpike, Route 3, and Route 128 makes Burlington the most attractive community to developers of the five involved in the initiative.

“We are a highly visible area. My concern is if this is really going to be beneficial to Burlington to be with a group that we are competing with,” Patuto said. “As far as I’m concerned, we are the economic engine out of that group of cities and towns.

“How do you sit down in a room with competitors and draw up common goals and objectives,” he asked, when all five communities are concerned about their own tax and job bases?

Curran said joining forces to market the region does not mean the communities will cease to compete for a particular business. “Each one of the communities hopes they are going to pick them,” he said of companies seeking a location. “But at the end of the day, they are not going to pick any of us if we don’t try to attract them to the region.”

“It’s really a great message to send to the business community that you have communities in the corridor coming together and putting on this type of effort going forward to provide jobs and other opportunities in this region,” said Chelmsford town manager Paul E. Cohen.

Bernard Lynch,  Lowell city manager, also sees promise in the coalition. “This initiative reflects both the increased collaborative spirit among the communities along the Route 3 corridor as well as our collective recognition that our economies are highly integrated with one another already,” he said in a prepared statement.

New business can also translate into more people buying homes and strengthening the home market as well. 

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary             Woods Real Estate  Joan@WoodsRE.com     www.JoanParcewski.com/                                                                                            

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Lexington (MA) Town Meeting Approves Zoning Change – A Reprint from Boston Globe – 5/10/12

Whenever you are considering moving to a town, it is always important to keep up on important news.  Each town/city has a different form of government.  In Lexington they have a town meeting form of government.  According to their town website http://ci.lexington.ma.us/towngovernment/abouttm.cfm

Lexington’s Town Meeting is composed of no more than 203 members, including:

  • Elected members: 21 citizens elected from each of nine precincts for three-year staggered terms;
  • At-large members: the Board of Selectmen, Town Counsel, Town Clerk, the School Committee chairman, the Appropriations Committee chairman, and representatives to the General Court (state representatives and state senators);
  • The Town Moderator, elected annually to facilitate all town meeting sessions and preserve order and decorum.

This article appears in today’s Boston Globe – http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/lexington/2012/05/town_meeting_approves_inn_near.html

 

In a vote that drew an unusually large crowd of spectators, Lexington Town Meeting approved a zoning change Wednesday that will allow the creation of a 22-room inn near the Battle Green.

More than 120 people filled what is usually a near-empty gallery at the meeting in Cary Hall and many of those who remained after 3 ½ hours of debate let out a loud round of applause when Town Meeting voted 138 to 44 in favor of approving the zoning changes.

The vote created a commercial district that will enable Trisha Perez Kennealy to create a 22-room inn called the Inn at Hastings Park located on property at 2027 Massachusetts Ave.

The inn will have a restaurant that seats 54 people and the lodging rooms will be housed in three buildings, including the old Dana retirement home, the Issac Mullikan house and an old Casket Factory.

Many neighbors of the property, which had been zoned for residential use, voiced opposition to the plan, saying it would create traffic, doesn’t offer enough parking and will disrupt what is otherwise a quiet area.

Speaking from the citizen’s gallery above the Town Meeting floor, Carol Rose said the plan for the inn is too big and the use is too intensive for the site.

“Concerns raised by the neighborhood have been largely disregarded in the final plan,” Rose said.

The concerns were echoed by Peter Kelley, the lone selectmen who opposed to the inn. “It does not fit, it does not belong here,” Kelley said.

But after an extensive review of the project and numerous revisions to the plan, the majority of town officials said they are confident the inn will not cause any major disruptions for the neighborhood.

Selectwoman Deb Mauger said if problems arise, they can be addressed every year when the inn must return to the town to renew its license.

The inn will sit less than a half a mile from the Battle Green where the first battle of the Revolutionary War occurred, and Dawn McKenna, chair of the town’s Tourism Committee, said the facility will provide a much-needed place for visitors to stay.

“Can you imagine the marketing opportunity for sleeping in a casket factory?” McKenna said.

 

 

 

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