A proposal to widen Route 18 over a 4-mile stretch from Highland Place in Weymouth to Route 139 in Abington has received a hostile reception from small business owners, town officials, and residents who say they’ve been ignored in the planning.
The $30 million project is designed to improve traffic, but at a public meeting held by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation last week in Weymouth, state officials heard objections on issues including removal of trees and the forced relocation of some residents.
The plan would add an 11.5-foot-wide lane in each direction, creating four lanes in that stretch of Route 18. The project also calls for a temporary bridge to carry traffic while the almost 80-year-old bridge over the MBTA’s Old Colony railroad tracks is replaced.
“The key function for this project is to relieve traffic congestion while maintaining neighborhood safety and ensuring wetland protection,” said Martin Leelman, the project manager from MassDOT’s Highway Division.
But many of the meeting’s attendants do not agree, especially residents of the Clarendon Street and Thomas Road neighborhoods in Weymouth who made up most of the nearly 70 people who attended.
Diane Brodsky, who lives along Route 18 in South Weymouth, said the plan does not take into account the impact on residents in the area.
“If this project goes through, I’ll probably be forced to sell my house, and there’s nothing I can do. Apparently, I have no rights,” Brodsky said, visibly upset. Addressing the panel of transportation officials running the meeting, she said, “None of you live here or will be affected by this, and you don’t care about the residents who live around here.”
According to a MassDOT brief given out at the meeting, the state will take many residents’ homes or portions of land to accommodate the expansion. Appraisers from the Massachusetts Right of Way Bureau will offer homeowners a “fair market value” for their property, after which the owners can either move or relocate their existing home to a site away from construction.
Moreover, the highway division will cut down trees in some residents’ back yards to make room for the bridge construction, an action that Russell Hatch of Weymouth said will increase noise.
“The trees provide a barrier from the sound of the commuter rail and the highway. If you cut the trees down, the noise level will be insane,” said Hatch, who has lived on Clarendon Street for 17 years.
Tim Johnson from Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc., one of the noise consultants for the project, said a preliminary sound analysis projecting future noise levels until 2030 did not bear out Hatch’s statements.
“The overall sound level is not normally affected by some amount of trees. Our measurements didn’t find the future sound levels would be above the noise abatement criteria,” Johnson said.
The state highway department and the Federal Highway Administration determined that they must consider noise-reduction measures once noise level reaches 67 decibels. Johnson said the noise created by expansion project “would be well below” this threshold.
Still, Hatch and his wife, Denise, remained resolute and encouraged the crowd to sign a petition pushing for a sound barrier to be built along the neighborhood side of Route 18.
Karen Johnston of Clarendon Street took issue with building a temporary bridge, saying it would encroach on her back yard and destroy the neighborhood.
“I’m alarmed that you’re not thinking about the inconvenience it will be to people who live around the area,” Johnston said. She urged the planners to build the bridge on the other side of Route 18, saying, “You should go back to the books.”
But because protected wetlands lie to the east of South Weymouth, building the bridge on the Clarendon Street side would contaminate the environment and put some endangered species at risk, according to Ali Tali, a project manager at HNTB Corp. who helped design the temporary bridge.
“The existing bridge was built in 1935 and its structure is no longer sufficient, but because of a sharp skew in the structure, it cannot be removed or repaired in pieces,” he said.
He added, though, that the bridge plans are still being formed.
Leelman said the MassDOT highway division will work with residents affected by the plan to better include them in the planning.
MassDOT will submit final design plans by the winter of 2014 and construction is scheduled to start at the end of 2015.Leelman expects construction to be completed by 2018.
BOSTON — Claiming victory in a Democratic primary campaign interrupted by the Boston Marathon bombings, U.S. Rep. Edward Markey told cheering supporters Tuesday night that he would work for compromise in the U.S. Senate without surrendering his core beliefs.
“In the Senate, I will work with Republicans to seek consensus when possible, but I will not compromise our principles,” Markey told some 500 supporters gathered at the Omni Parker House hotel in downtown Boston.
With 97 percent of precincts reporting, the Malden native won the nomination with 57 percent of the vote, leading fellow congressman Stephen Lynch, who claimed 43 percent of the vote in what was a predicted low turnout by voters.
Former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez, a Cohasset businessman, took the GOP nomination with 51 percent of the vote. Former Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan came in second with 36 percent. State Rep. Dan Winslow of Norfolk was third with 13 percent.
Markey and Gomez will square off for the June 25 general election.
Markey offered praise for his Democratic opponent Lynch, who he met for several acrimonious debates during the brief primary campaign to fill the seat vacated by now Secretary of State John Kerry.
“Stephen Lynch and I are brothers in the Democratic Party. He is a warrior,” Markey said, taking the podium after being introduced by Massachusetts’ senior senator, Elizabeth Warren, who was elected to her seat in November.
“I know a man with a vision that says we invest in infrastructure because we invest in our children. That man is Ed Markey,” Warren said.
The rowdy crowd packed into the historic Boston landmark, shouting “Markey! Markey!” and waving campaign posters. Attendees schmoozed with legislators between bites of hors d’oeuvres and sips of wine, while Stevie Wonder played over the speakers.
Markey held a lead over Lynch during the four-month campaign, often maintaining an advantage in the double digits after receiving endorsements from Caroline Kennedy, Boston City Councilor At-Large Ayanna Pressley, and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.
Treasurer Steve Grossman, who first met Markey while they were both serving in the Army Reserve, also threw his support behind the candidate.
“In the 43 years I’ve known Ed, he’s always told me he wanted to run for office to change the face of communities,” Grossman said while standing on the floor of the ballroom. “He’s been empowering people since his first day in office, and he’ll continue to empower people in the Senate.”
Among the party’s attendees were employees from AFSCME’s Council 93, a union of state, county and municipal employees based in Boston.
Union spokesman Jim Durkin said the group endorsed Markey because of his voting record on a number of major issues, including President Barack Obama’s health care bill.
Lynch, a former steelworker and union official, had voted against the health plan.
“When people think of unions, they often think ‘special interest,’ and that may be true to an extent,” Durkin said in an interview at the celebration. “But they’re special because affordable health care and adequate funding for essential services are a big part of who we are.”
After a five-month-long dispute with former town manager John D’Agostino over his severance package, the Abington Board of Selectmen has voted to grant D’Agostino three months’ pay after the end of his tenure.
In January, D’Agostino threatened to sue to town, saying the board was trying to avoid paying his severance package after a 3-2 vote not to renew his contract due to “nonfeasance.”
Under the pact he signed with the board in 2010, D’Agostino is entitled to severance pay if his contract is not renewed, but exceptions such as nonfeasance would void the board’s responsibility to pay him the extra money.
Instead of engaging in a legal battle, the board rescinded its vote, which restored D’Agostino’s right to 90 days of severance pay. D’Agostino, whose contract expired on April 23, was paid about $120,000 yearly.
Selectman Kevin Donovan said the board cited nonfeasance, or failure to perform legal duties, because D’Agostino “had failed to act in harmony with members of other town committees.”
Though Donovan declined to go into further detail, he said, “There’s a whole host of items I could point to” regarding tensions between D’Agostino and other town committee members.
In a phone interview last week, D’Agostino took issue with Donovan’s assertion.
“I’ve always gotten along with the other committees in town. I’ve given Abington three years of what I believe to be good service. There wasn’t anything I was obligated to do that I failed to do,” he said. “I suspect the selectmen board was just looking for a reason not to renew my contract.”
Donovan said the vote not to renew D’Agostino’s contract “was made on solid ground.”
There was talk in town that the Board of Selectmen decided not to renew the contract because D’Agostino had applied for a city manager position in Key West, Fla., in April 2012 without informing the board — an action that would breach the terms of his contract.
However, both D’Agostino and Andrew Burbine, the board’s chairman, said that was not true.
“I did apply for a position, but I informed the board in an e-mail and a phone call,” D’Agostino said.
Burbine confirmed D’Agostino’s statement. “The fact that he applied for another position didn’t have anything to do with why we decided not to renew his contract,” he said.
D’Agostino’s last work day was Friday. New Town Manager Richard LaFond will be paid $140,000 annually, about $20,000 more than D’Agostino made in the job.
The School Building Committee has chosen Ai3 Architects LLC to study how the town can best use renovations to solve overcrowding in elementary schools and space limitations at the middle schools. The committee intends to apply for state reimbursement for about 50 percent of the project’s cost. But first, the Massachusetts School Building Authority requires Abington to conduct a feasibility study. After the examination is completed in early 2014, Ai3 will present designs for construction, which will be open for public comment. Visitwww.asbc.us for updates.
The Board of Selectmen last week signed the employment contract of the new town manager, Richard LaFond. LaFond’s base salary will be $140,000 a year, with a $5,000 stipend for traveling to conferences, $3,000 for the use of his car, and $60 a month for cellphone usage. The new contract follows a battle between the board and the outgoing town manager, John D’Agostino. D’Agostino threatened litigation after the board voted not to renew his contract due to nonfeasance, a move that would prevent D’Agostino’s severance pay. On April 8, the board rescinded its vote and will provide D’Agostino with the three months’ severance pay he is entitled to under his contract. D’Agostino’s last day is April 26, and LaFond will officially start in Abington on May 6.
School Superintendent James Hayden on Tuesday released a preliminary fiscal 2014 budget of about $37.5 million for the town’s public schools. The $2 million increase from the expenditures for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, would slightly increase the salaries of teachers, administration, and custodial staff, but cut building maintenance, equipment repair, and the salaries of auxiliary school nurses. The School Committee will hold a budget hearing Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Savage Center to get feedback from the public. A copy of the proposed budget is available at www.norwood.k12.ma.us.
Boston Globe featured the highlights of the hunt’s timeline, and the story recalling everything, but below is my live feed recounting what was happening while on lockdown in my Allston apartment. I aggregated news from all major news outlets including NBC, WBUR, Channel 7, The Boston Globe, and AP.
Tuesday, April 23: The Boston Globe reports the death count rises to 282.
Monday, April 22: Tsarnaev is awake and in communication with authorities through writing. He admits to planting the bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, along with his brother Tamerlan. He is charged with conspiring to use weapon of mass destruction against persons and property in U.S. resulting in death. Specifically he’s charged with one count of using an improvised explosive device (IED) against persons within the United States resulting in death, and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death. The statutory charges authorize a penalty, upon conviction, of death or imprisonment for life or any term of years. Tsarnaev had his initial court appearance today from his hospital room.
10 pm-rest of the night: Bostonians rejoice in the Boston Common at the bomber’s arrest.
9:01 pm: Boston Mayor Tom Menino: “We got him.”
8:56 pm: Officials report Tsarnaev is “alive and in custody,” but his condition is unknown.
8:50 pm: Tsarnaev needs and is given immediate medical attention.
8:45 pm: Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev emerges from the boat and is taken into custody.
8:34 pm: Boston Globe reporter says police brought in negotiator to talk Tsarnaev out of the boat. The negotiator said, “We know you’re in there. Come out on your own terms. Come out with your hands up.”
7:56 pm: Police set off flashbangs to disorient Tsarnaev, giving police enough time to move in.
7:50 pm: Multiple reports smoke coming from the boat, possibly a small fire, or police using gas to smoke him out of the boat.
7:48 pm: Reported that the boat has a 40-gallon tank of gas. Tsarnaev is inside, moving.
7:44 pm: Police are reluctant to move in because they’re unsure if Tsarnaev is wearing a suicide vest.
7:29 pm ctd.: Police were also able to locate Dzhokhar Tsarnaev because the boat’s owner noticed pulled-back the shrink wrap on the boat and blood on the side of the boat. He also noticed a ladder leaned against the boat that wasn’t there before. The owner went over to the boat to discover Tsarnaev bleeding in the boat.
7:29 pm: Police believe suspect is hiding out in a parked boat in a Watertown backyard. They located him using heat-sensing technology used in surrounding helicopters flying above the scene.
7:06 pm: More shots fired near Franklin Street in Watertown.
7:04 pm: The Boston Globe reports bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pinned down in Watertown.
6:15 pm: Col. Tim Alben says at a press conference that he’s not 100 percent sure Dzhokhar is in Boston, but it’s likely because he “has ties here.”
6:08 pm: Stay-at-home ban is lifted; MBTA service resumes.
6:00 pm:Dzhokhar’s real Twitter account is confirmed, @J-tsar. Around this time, person details of the 19-year-old emerge. His friends and classmates weigh in.
5:39 pm: No explosives found at the apartment on Norfolk Street in Cambridge.
4:15 pm: The Boston Globe reports that Dzhokhar ran over his brother’s injured body in a hasty attempt to escape.
2:34 pm: Police cancel hunt for the car mentioned below.
2:17 pm: Connecticut are looking for a second car, a 4-door green 1999 Honda Civic with license plate number 116GC7.
1:33 pm: Kurt Schwartz, the undersecretary of Homeland Security, tells people to go home if they’re taking shelter in their place of work.
12:30 pm: The uncle of the Tsarnaev is interviewed outside his home in Maryland, says his nephews “are losers.”
11:45 am: Photos emerge from a Boston University magazine story featuring Tamerlan Tsarnaev. In one of the captions, he says, “I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them.” Link
10:50 am: Taxi service resumes.
10:45 am: Car believed to be used to help the Tsarnaev brothers escape is found, unoccupied.
10:16 am: Connecticut police look for grey Honda CRV with Massachusetts license plate number 316 ES9.
10:15 am: News breaks that bombing suspect studied at UMass Dartmouth for a short time. The campus evacuates.
10:00 am: Police fear Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could be wearing suicide vest.
9:36 am: The name of the slain MIT police officer is released by Suffolk DA: Sean Collier, 26, of Somerville.
9:23 am: An explosive trigger is found on the Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother.
9:15 am: AP speaks with Anzor Tsarnaev, the father of both Boston Marathon bombers. He describes Dzhokhar as “an intelligent boy” and “a true angel.” Link
8:45 am: Police call into a house on Willow in Watertown through loudspeakers.
8:15 am: All taxi service in Boston is suspended.
8:05 am: Gov. Deval Patrick expands lock-down to entire city.
8:00 am: Logan Airport remains open, but security is extremely tight, and about a third of flights are cancelled.
7:20 am: Police evacuate Norfolk Street in Cambridge, where the suspects allegedly live. Meanwhile, the SWAT team searches Watertown.
7:15 am: Bentley, Simmons, Berklee, Wheelock, Wentworth and Emmanuel Colleges cancel classes as well.
7:00 am: Law enforcement officials confirm the two suspects are brothers.
6:45 am: AP reports bombing suspects are from a Russian region near Chechnya.
6:00 am: Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern, Suffolk University, Emerson, Harvard, UMass Boston, as well as all Boston Public Schools cancel classes for the day.
5:50 am: “Shelter in place” rule is put in place, meaning Boston residents are instructed not to leave the building they’re currently in. Applicable to Watertown, Belmont, Newton, Allston-Brighton and Cambridge.
5:45 am: All MBTA service is shut down & no vehicles are allowed in or out of Watertown.
5:20 am: MIT cancels classes for the day.
5:12 am: Police release photo of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at Seven 11 in Cambridge to help the public keep an eye out for him.
4:22 am: The Boston Globe reports suspect #1 Tamerlan Tsarnaev robbed a convenience store. Later correction-Tsarnaev’s never robbed a store.
4:08 am: BPD Commissioner Ed Davis confirms Tamerlan Tsarnaevis dead.
3:50 am: Police start going door to door in Watertown.
3:30 am: Watertown residents are instructed to stay indoors and not to answer their doors, except to police officers.
3:00 am: Officials block off 20-block perimeter in Watertown, searching for bombing suspect.
2:30 am: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escapes on foot, is still on the loose and described as “armed and dangerous.”
2 am: Tamerlan Tsarnaev is in police custody, but is severely injured.
1:30 am: Suspects throw explosives at police officers in Watertown, sparking a massive shoot-out.
1 am: News spreads of a carjacking. Cambridge descends into chaos as the suspects speed off toward Watertown with stolen car.
Friday, April 19, 12:30 am: Suspects stop at a local Shell station to fill up on gas.
Midnight: MIT police officer is transported to the hospital, but dies upon arrival. Transit police officer is in serious condition.
11:50 pm: Police launch full-blown manhunt around Cambridge and MBTA Red Line.
11:35 pm: MIT police officer shot, according to Cambridge dispatcher, as well as one MBTA police officer.
11:00 pm: Gunshots heard on MIT campus near the Stata Center.
Thursday, April 18, 5:20 pm: Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said law enforcement officials don’t have a suspect in custody yet, but with the help of spectators documenting the marathon, images and video footage of the brothers at the marathon are also released. Additionally, Jeff Bauman, a bombing victim who lost both his legs during the explosion, helped identify the bombers. He woke up from unconsciousness, asked for a pen and paper, and wrote a note to the FBI reading, “bag, saw the guy, looked right at me.”
Thursday, April 18: The FBI releases the names of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, “black hate” and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, “white hat.”
Wednesday, April 17: Generous Bostonians contribute to state-wide Google Doc offering their homes anyone displaced by the bombings to stay. The American Red Cross in Massachusetts announced they no longer need blood donations, as they have exceeded what is needed to help the wounded.
Still the names of the dead are released: Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager from Medford, MA; Martin Richard, 8, from Dorchester; Lü Lingzi, a 23-year-old Boston University graduatestudent from China.
Tuesday, April 16: In a coordinated effort by the FBI with federal and local police squads, officials set off a number of controlled explosions around the city of suspicious packages left alone on the street and in buildings. The stretch of Boylston Street from Berkeley Street to Massachusetts Avenue is blocked off in order for bomb squads to investigate the area. The Copley Square MBTA stop is shut down.
Monday, April 15, 2:49 pm: Two bombs exploded at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon on Boylston Street. Three people were killed and over 100 were wounded. The FBI takes over the investigation.
BOSTON - Bostonians have a reputation for speaking their minds.
And they had plenty to say Wednesday, just a block from where the Boston Marathon bombings killed three people and wounded or maimed almost 200 others.
Reactions ranged from shock and anger to expressions of unity and Beantown pride on a day when rumors swirled that a suspected bomber had been nabbed, or whose image at least was captured on surveillance video.
No one seemed to know for sure.
For Nan Hass Feldman, an interior and landscape painter, the first step was trying to comprehend the attack.
“It was hard for me, and is still hard to wrap my brain around how someone could be so incredibly cruel, how a person could be so filled with evil that they’d want to hurt innocent people,” Feldman said while walking back from artists co-op Fenway Studios on Newbury Street.
Feldman said she listens to the radio all day as she paints, but lately has been taking walks “to get away from all the noise.”
Eleni Perates, who was around Downtown Crossing at the time of the attacks, reacted with disbelief.
“It’s shocking that a terrorist attack happened here. It’s bizarre to see military tanks parked in the Common, a park that’s usually so beautiful and peaceful,” said the Peabody resident who works in Government Center.
William Thomas, a homeless man, was panhandling outside the Boylston Street Walgreens, and said he was just feet from one of the explosions.
Thomas, who wasn’t injured in the explosion, was outraged, and expressed profanely what should be in store for the bomber.
“I’m horrified and angry someone would do this. If I ever got a hold of the person who did this …,” said Thomas, who was born in Chelsea.
South Shore resident Christopher Nawoichik tried to stay positive.
On the corner of Newbury and Fairfield Streets, two blocks from the Boston Marathon finish line, the Marine veteran played a flute for the people walking by.
“I thought I’d come out and play some music to lift people’s spirits,” Nawoichik said.
Bill Rosenblad of Newton shared Nawoichik’s intentions, and said he was confident Bostonians would bounce back from the attack.
“I would say that we’ll survive this - but, we’ll more than survive it, we’ll be fine. This city is strong.”
Boston politicians shared the outpouring of pride.
At a news conference Tuesday, Mayor Thomas Menino said: “Boston will overcome.”
And in email sent out Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said: “The people of Boston, like the marathoners, are resilient and resourceful. We cannot be broken by a cowardly act of terror. We will come back from this.”
Armored trucks on Boston Common, demands to display and scan IDs to get inside college buildings, a prohibition on off-campus visitors. It all added up to a mounting sense of unease Tuesday for Emerson College sophomore Chris Paredes.
Emerson remained closed the day after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday.
Paredes, a Texas native, said he received calls from just about everyone he knew back home following the attack.
He said the concern brought comfort at a time when most would feel a need to be close to family.
So on Monday, when local students raced home, Paredes rallied with his Emerson friends to cope with the tragedy.
“The friends I have here make me feel comfortable,” Paredes said.
Throughout Boston, the city’s college student population was deeply affected by the marathon bombings - from the death of a Boston University student, to several others who were injured, to the thousands who witnessed the calamity.
Officials announced Tuesday that one of the three killed in the explosions was a Boston University graduate student and another BU student had been seriously injured, along with seven Emerson College students who were treated for minor injuries.
BU, among many of the area’s 60 colleges and universities, held memorial services and vigils throughout the day. Emerson was closed to provide a day of “reflection and healing.”
Many students said they found comfort in the camaraderie among runners and spectators in the minutes following the blasts.
“The thing that stuck out the most was the people who ran toward the explosions instead of away from them,” said Chris Schretzenmeyer, a Boston University junior from New Fairfield, Conn.
“The officers, civilians, marathon runners and spectators who ran to see what they could do to help are heroes, and I am proud to be in a city with so many people willing to help. There are still amazing people out there who would set their own life aside to help others in need,” Schretzenmeyer said.
Now, some of the tens of thousands of college students in the city hope to offer their bit of solace by staging a memorial walk of the last five miles of the marathon course on Friday from Boston College to downtown Boston. More than 10,000 people have RSVP’d to the Facebook event.
“I think it shows how the community came together in this time of chaos,” said Boston College senior Alicia Blose. “It’s been as positive a reaction as you can ask for in the wake of such a tragedy.”
Walk from BC
Within a day of the tragedy, students at Boston College began inviting other students in the area to walk “from BC to Boston to stand united. For anyone who did not get to finish, for anyone who was injured, and for anyone who lost their life, we will walk. We decide when our marathon ends,” according to the Facebook description.
“Boston Marathon: The Last 5” will be held at 4:30 p.m. Friday beginning on the Boston College campus.
Emerson junior Nick Reynolds and freshman Chris Dobens recognized that some may feel helpless in the aftermath of such a tragedy, so they tried to think of a way college students could help.
The pair turned to inktothepeople.com where Reynolds designed blue and yellow T-shirts - the marathon colors - with the words “Boston Strong” written on the front.
Ink to the People has agreed to absorb all costs of the shirts that will be on sale for $20, Reynolds said.
Proceeds will be donated to a charity to help aid the victims of the attack.
“We’re hoping one will emerge for victims, but we’re open to a more general charity, like the Red Cross,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds and Dobens chose to sell T-shirts as a fundraiser to display their love for Boston.
“We were looking for a way people could give and help and also show their Boston pride and rally together behind something positive,” Reynolds said.
Kassmin Williams contributed reportage to this article.