Monthly Archives: December 2011

Thermal imaging of homes

The Board of Selectmen approved the Medfield Energy Committee’s suggestion to have Sagewell proceed with its mass thermal imaging program in town.  over a couple of days Sagewell will drive all streets with a special infrared camera, which will produce a thermal image of each home.  The homeowners can then view that thermal image  on-line, to see where heat is escaping from the front façade of their home.

Those homes that can most benefit from energy upgrades will get postcard invites to take action, via referrals to MassSave certified contractors, but all home owners can view only their own home photo.  An opt out is provided.

Energy Comm. reports

“NSTAR is arranging for an ASHRAE Level 2 energy audit to be conducted on the Medfield library building (HVAC and lighting) by EMA at no cost to the Town!  Once it happens, it takes one month before a report is delivered with a formal debriefing.”

96 unit 40B on West Street

This is the executive summary I received at last night’s selectman meeting, which was submitted this week by The Gatehouse Group, LLC about its proposed 96 unit rental 40B development on West Street that they call The Parc at Medfield, at the old Potpourri site.

Friday meeting with DCAM

Last Friday, the town administrators and I met with Commissioner Carole Cornelison and her staff about the status of the Medfield State Hospital environmental clean up.  The attached agenda lists the topics covered.

The big news was that

  • the Clark Building is coming down in January,
  • that three new sets of experts have been hired to review the plans and make suggestions, and
  • that the cost to clean upthe C&D area as DCAM suggests is $1.6m with 30 year monitoring costs of $2.6m, versus $5.5m to do the clean up as the town suggests.

The agenda is at

Foxborough PB considers RR & casino Thursday

The Foxborough Planning Board is meeting this Thursday night at 7 PM at the Ahern Middle School Auditorium at 111 Mechanic Street  in Foxborough to discuss a series of zoning articles that allow a commuter rail station, wind turbines, indoor and outdoor resort, conference, and entertainment facilities, hotels, multi family dwellings, etc.

The hearing on these articles begins at 8 PM. Please call if you have any questions.

Joanne Muti
Legislative Aide
Office of Representative Dan Winslow
Phone: 617-722-2060
Fax:     617-722-2849

State House
Room 33
Boston, MA 02133

Budget school

Mike Sullivan held his annual budget school for the Warrant Committee members on Saturday and this selectman.  All nine Warrant Committee members attended, noting that they always get something new each year.

I asked and Mike agreed to post the materials he handed out (an inch thick) on-line for residents who want to learn the details of how our town’s sausage is made, as well as some other budget detailed documents he had not copied for attendees.

Weekly Political Report – Week Ending December 2, 2011

This Week in Massachusetts

Attorney General Coakley files lawsuit against 5 major banks
On Thursday, Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a lawsuit against five major, national banks alleging they engaged in misleading loan practices and pursued illegal foreclosures on Massachusetts properties. The lawsuit against Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Citi, and GMAC alleges they used fraudulent documentation, illegally foreclosed on properties that their banks did not hold mortgages on, and also engaged in so-called “robo-signing”. She further alleges that in order to enable mortgage loan sales, the banks sidestepped the state’s land recording system with the intention of avoiding registration and recording requirements which include the payment of fees. In turn, the banks criticized AG Coakley for stopping settlement negotiations. The lawsuit brought on by AG Coakley is the first in the nation legal action against the five major banks regarding foreclosures.

According to Poll, Warren Leads Brown in U.S. Senate Race
According to a new public opinion poll, U.S. Senate hopeful, Elizabeth Warren (D), holds a 4 point lead against incumbent Senator Scott Brown (R) in a hypothetical match up for the 2012 election. The poll, which was conducted from November 9th to 22nd, showed Senator Brown leading Warren by 18 points among independent voters and Warren leading Senator Brown by 15 points among women. Voters trusted Warren over Senator Brown, according to the poll, on several issues including the economy, health care, and taxes, while selecting Senator Brown over Warren on the issue of terrorism. Warren, who is the leading candidate to be the Democratic nominee to face Sen. Brown still must win the state primary election next year.

Congressman Frank will not run for re-election
United States Representative Barney Frank stated on Monday that he will not run for re-election. His stated that his decision was impacted by his newly redrawn district which expanded his district to include 350,000 more people – in cities and towns new to him. He stated on Monday that he would prefer to advocate for his policy priorities outside of the Congress than to introduce himself to new voters.

Governor Patrick wants ’12 Primary Date Changed Again
The 2012 Massachusetts primary, rescheduled once already by the Legislature to avoid a conflict with Rosh Hashanah, now conflicts with the closing night of the Democratic National Convention when President Barack Obama will likely accept his party’s nomination for President. Governor Deval Patrick, who has been active in Obama’s re-election effort, said this week that he wants to change the date of the 2012 state primary election again to avoid this scheduling conflict. Secretary of State, William Galvin responded that he does not support moving the state primary election to an earlier date again. The state primary election is required by state law to be at least seven weeks before the general election. for Medfield?

I just email Ken,Bobby, Mike and Kris to again suggest that they implement SeeClickFix in town. Mike had dismissed it before out of fear that there would be crazy requests, to which I suggested that we all still use email despite getting spam.

I had first learned of SeeClickFix at a conference on using technology in government (Gov 2.0) a couple of year ago, and at that time the Boston DPW was reporting huge employee time savings from use of a similar smart phone system they implemented, because they now worked off project lists generated from resident input rather than having employees out physically canvasing the city for things that needed attention..

Crowd sourcing to make Medfield better.

Arsenic in apple juice

FDA reconsidering limits on arsenic levels in juice.

The AP (11/30, Jalonick) reported that the Food and Drug Administration “is considering tightening restrictions for the levels of arsenic allowed in apple juice after consumer groups pushed the agency to crack down on the contaminant.” On Wednesday, FDA deputy commissioner for foods Michael Taylor said the agency has already begun increased testing and research on arsenic in apple and other juices, and is seriously weighing lowering the amount of arsenic allowed. A Consumer Reports study released Wednesday found that nine of 88 samples of apple juice from grocery stores exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s 10 parts per billion standard for drinking water. Consumer groups argue that FDA’s current “level of concern” standard for arsenic in apple juice of 23 parts per billion “is too high and isn’t enforced with enough urgency.” The Consumers Report study calls for reducing the levels to as low as 3 parts per billion.

Reuters (11/30, Keiper) added that the report’s findings were put online and will be featured in the January 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine

Janice D’Arcy wrote in a Washington Post (11/30) blog posting, “Given that arsenic can be organic and harmless, or inorganic and dangerous, perhaps the most troubling finding is that most of the arsenic found in the juice was inorganic.” She noted that Consumer Reports’ parent, Consumers Union, “is suggesting that parents restrict juice consumption to children up to 6 years old to no more than six ounces per day. For older children, it recommends no more than eight to 12 ounces a day.”

HealthDay (11/30, Gardner) reported that inorganic arsenic is “known to cause bladder, lung and skin cancer. It can also up the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and some reports have stated that arsenic exposure can affect brain development in children.”

Jeannine Stein wrote in a Los Angeles Times (11/30) blog posting that the Consumer Reports study “comes just months after television host Dr. Mehmet Oz proclaimed results from his own investigation showed that arsenic levels in apple juice were unhealthful. The Food and Drug Administration claimed Oz’s statistics were faulty and said juice was safe to drink. Apple juice contains a certain amount of organic arsenic, and what Oz found, they said, represented the total amount of arsenic and wasn’t an accurate reading.” It adds that, in light of the Consumer Report study, “Oz may feel vindicated.”,0,7800816.story