Monthly Archives: October 2021

Nicholas Kristof sign off after 37 years

I really enjoyed reading this today –

NYT

A Farewell to Readers, With Hope


By Nicholas Kristof

Mr. Kristof was a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and reporter for The Times for 37 years. He is now a candidate for governor of Oregon.

My life was transformed when I was 25 years old and nervously walked into a job interview in the grand office of Abe Rosenthal, the legendary and tempestuous editor of The New York Times. At one point, I disagreed with him, so I waited for him to explode and call security. Instead, he stuck out his hand and offered me a job.

Exhilaration washed over me: I was a kid and had found my employer for the rest of my life! I was sure that I would leave The Times only feet first.

Yet this is my last column for The Times. I am giving up a job I love to run for governor of Oregon.

It’s fair to question my judgment. When my colleague William Safire was asked if he would give up his Times column to be secretary of state, he replied, “Why take a step down?”

So why am I doing this?

I’m getting to that, but first a few lessons from my 37 years as a Times reporter, editor and columnist.

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In particular, I want to make clear that while I’ve spent my career on the front lines of human suffering and depravity, covering genocide, war, poverty and injustice, I’ve emerged firmly believing that we can make real progress by summoning the political will. We are an amazing species, and we can do better.

Lesson No. 1: Side by side with the worst of humanity, you find the best.

The genocide in Darfur seared me and terrified me. To cover the slaughter there, I sneaked across borders, slipped through checkpoints, ingratiated myself with mass murderers.

In Darfur, it was hard to keep from weeping as I interviewed shellshocked children who had been shot, raped or orphaned. No one could report in Darfur and not smell the evil in the air. Yet alongside the monsters, I invariably found heroes.

There were teenagers who volunteered to use their bows and arrows to protect their villages from militiamen with automatic weapons. There were aid workers, mostly local, who risked their lives to deliver assistance. And there were ordinary Sudanese like Suad Ahmed, a then-25-year-old Darfuri woman I met in one dusty refugee camp.

Suad had been out collecting firewood with her 10-year-old sister, Halima, when they saw the janjaweed, a genocidal militia, approaching on horseback.

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“Run!” Suad told her sister. “You must run and escape.”

Then Suad created a diversion so the janjaweed chased her rather than Halima. They caught Suad, brutally beat her and gang-raped her, leaving her too injured to walk.

Suad played down her heroism, telling me that even if she had fled, she might have been caught anyway. She said that her sister’s escape made the sacrifice worth it.

Even in a landscape of evil, the most memorable people aren’t the Himmlers and Eichmanns but the Anne Franks and Raoul Wallenbergs — and Suad Ahmeds — capable of exhilarating goodness in the face of nauseating evil. They are why I left the front lines not depressed but inspired.

Lesson No. 2: We largely know how to improve well-being at home and abroad. What we lack is the political will.

Good things are happening that we often don’t acknowledge, and they’re a result of a deeper understanding of what works to make a difference. That may seem surprising coming from the Gloom Columnist, who has covered starvation, atrocities and climate devastation. But just because journalists cover planes that crash, not those that land, doesn’t mean that all flights are crashing.

Consider this: Historically, almost half of humans died in childhood; now only 4 percent do. Every day in recent years, until the Covid-19 pandemic, another 170,000 people worldwide emerged from extreme poverty. Another 325,000 obtained electricity each day. Some 200,000 gained access to clean drinking water. The pandemic has been a major setback for the developing world, but the larger pattern of historic gains remains — if we apply lessons learned and redouble efforts while tackling climate policy.

Here in the United States, we have managed to raise high school graduation rates, slash veteran homelessness by half and cut teen pregnancy by more than 60 percent since the modern peak in 1991. These successes should inspire us to do more: If we know how to reduce veteran homelessness, then surely we can apply the same lessons to reduce child homelessness.

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Lesson No. 3: Talent is universal, even if opportunity is not.

The world’s greatest untapped resource is the vast potential of people who are not fully nurtured or educated — a reminder of how much we stand to gain if we only make better investments in human capital.

The most remarkable doctor I ever met was not a Harvard Medical School graduate. Indeed, she had never been to medical school or any school. But Mamitu Gashe, an illiterate Ethiopian woman, suffered an obstetric fistula and underwent long treatments at a hospital. While there, she began to help out.

Overworked doctors realized she was immensely smart and capable, and they began to give her more responsibilities. Eventually she began to perform fistula repairs herself, and over time she became one of the world’s most distinguished fistula surgeons. When American professors of obstetrics went to the hospital to learn how to repair fistulas, their teacher was often Mamitu.

But, of course, there are so many other Mamitus, equally extraordinary and capable, who never get the chance.

A few years ago, I learned that a homeless third grader from Nigeria had just won the New York State chess championship for his age group. I visited the boy, Tanitoluwa “Tani” Adewumi, and his family in their homeless shelter and wrote about them — and the result was more than $250,000 in donations for the Adewumis, along with a vehicle, full scholarships to private schools, job offers for the parents, pro bono legal help and free housing.

What came next was perhaps still more moving. The Adewumis accepted the housing but put the money in a foundation to help other homeless immigrants. They kept Tani in his public school out of gratitude to officials who waived chess club fees when he was a novice.

Tani has continued to rise in the chess world. Now 11, he won the North American chess championship for his age group and is a master with a U.S. Chess Federation rating of 2262.

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But winning a state chess championship is not a scalable way to solve homelessness.

The dazzling generosity in response to Tani’s success is heartwarming, but it needs to be matched by a generous public policy. Kids should get housing even if they’re not chess prodigies.

We didn’t build the Interstate System of highways with bake sales and volunteers. Rigorous public investment — based on data as well as empathy — is needed to provide systemic solutions to educational failure and poverty, just as it was to create freeways.

In this country we’re often cynical about politics, sometimes rolling our eyes at the idea that democratic leaders make much of a difference. Yet for decades I’ve covered pro-democracy demonstrators in Poland, Ukraine, China, South Korea, Mongolia and elsewhere, and some of their idealism has rubbed off on me.

One Chinese friend, an accountant named Ren Wanding, spent years in prison for his activism, even writing a two-volume treatise on democracy and human rights with the only materials he had: toilet paper and the nib of a discarded pen.

At Tiananmen Square in 1989, I watched Chinese government troops open fire with automatic weapons on pro-democracy demonstrators. And then in an extraordinary display of courage, rickshaw drivers pedaled their wagons out toward the gunfire to pick up the bodies of the young people who had been killed or injured. One burly rickshaw driver, tears streaming down his cheeks, swerved to drive by me slowly so I could bear witness — and he begged me to tell the world.

Those rickshaw drivers weren’t cynical about democracy: They were risking their lives for it. Such courage abroad makes me all the sadder to see people in this country undermining our democratic institutions. But protesters like Ren inspired me to ask if I should engage more fully in America’s democratic life.

That’s why am I leaving a job I love.

I’ve written regularly about the travails of my beloved hometown, Yamhill, Ore., which has struggled with the loss of good working-class jobs and the arrival of meth. Every day I rode to Yamhill Grade School and then Yamhill-Carlton High School on the No. 6 bus. Yet today more than one-quarter of my pals on my old bus are dead from drugs, alcohol and suicide — deaths of despair.

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The political system failed them. The educational system failed them. The health system failed them. And I failed them. I was the kid on the bus who won scholarships, got the great education — and then went off to cover genocides half a world away.

While I’m proud of the attention I gave to global atrocities, it sickened me to return from humanitarian crises abroad and find one at home. Every two weeks, we lose more Americans from drugs, alcohol and suicide than in 20 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan — and that’s a pandemic that the media hasn’t adequately covered and our leaders haven’t adequately addressed.

As I was chewing on all this, the Covid pandemic made suffering worse. One friend who had been off drugs relapsed early in the pandemic, became homeless and overdosed 17 times over the next year. I’m terrified for her and for her child.

I love journalism, but I also love my home state. I keep thinking of Theodore Roosevelt’s dictum: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,” he said. “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.”

I’m bucking the journalistic impulse to stay on the sidelines because my heart aches at what classmates have endured and it feels like the right moment to move from covering problems to trying to fix them.

I hope to convince some of you that public service in government can be a path to show responsibility for communities we love, for a country that can do better. Even if that means leaving a job I love.

Farewell, readers!

Angel Run

The Angel Run is coming!

Last call for shirts!

The Medfield Foundation Angel Run will be held on Sunday, December 5. It’s a 5K / Run / Walk community “fun raiser” and family event. The route is filled with decorations and festive highlights. Bring your friends, the kids, the dog, the stroller and Grandma too. Wear your festive holiday gear and and help raise funds for Medfield families in need. 

Early Bird Registration is $25 and includes a commemorative shirt, but ends soon on November 1.  

Standard Registration is $30 and runs until November 19, but does NOT include a shirt. 

Go to MedfieldFoundation.org for more info and to sign up.

Please spread the word!

We hope you’ll join us!

MSBA approves new school

Deborah B. Goldberg James A. MacDonald John K. McCarthy
Chairman, State Treasurer Chief Executive Officer Executive Director / Deputy CEO
40 Broad Street, Suite 500 ● Boston, MA 02109 ● Phone: 617-720-4466 ● www.MassSchoolBuildings.org
October 27, 2021
Mr. Michael Marcucci, Chair
Medfield Board of Selectmen
459 Main Street
Medfield, MA 02052
Re: Town of Medfield, Dale Street Elementary School
Dear Marcucci:
I am pleased to report that the Board of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (the “MSBA”) has voted to approve the Dale Street Elementary School Project in the Town of Medfield (the “Town”) to replace the existing Dale Street Elementary School with a new facility serving grades 4-5 on the Wheelock Elementary School site.
The Board approved an Estimated Maximum Total Facilities Grant of $19,165,418, which does not include any funds for Potentially Eligible Owner’s or Construction Contingency Expenditures. In the event that the MSBA determines that any Owner’s and/or Construction Contingency Expenditures are eligible for reimbursement, the Maximum Total Facilities Grant for the Dale Street Elementary School Project may increase to as much as $19,599,995. The final grant amount will be determined by the MSBA based on a review and audit of all Project costs incurred by the Town, in accordance with the MSBA’s regulations, policies, and guidelines and the Project Funding Agreement. The final grant amount may be an amount less than $19,165,5418.
Pursuant to the MSBA’s regulations, the Town has 120 days after the date of the MSBA’s Board vote to acquire and certify local approval for an appropriation and all other necessary local votes or approvals showing acceptance of the cost, site, type, scope, and timeline for the Dale Street Elementary School Project. After receipt of the certified votes demonstrating local approval, the MSBA and the Town will execute a Project Funding Agreement, which will set forth the terms and conditions pursuant to which the Town will receive its grant from the MSBA. Once the Project Funding Agreement has been executed by both parties, the Town will be eligible to submit requests for reimbursement for the Dale Street Elementary School Project costs to the MSBA. The Project Scope and Budget Agreement signed by the Town and the MSBA will form the basis for the Project Funding Agreement.
We will be contacting you soon to discuss these next steps in more detail, but in the meantime, I wanted to share with you the Board’s approval of the Dale Street Elementary School Project in the Town of Medfield to replace the existing Dale Street Elementary School with a new facility serving grades 4-5 on the Wheelock Elementary School site.
I look forward to continuing to work with you during the MSBA’s grant program process. As always, feel free to contact me or my staff at (617) 720-4466 should you have any questions.
40 Broad Street, Suite 500 ● Boston, MA 02109 ● Phone: 617-720-4466 ● www.MassSchoolBuildings.org
October 27, 2021
Page 2
Medfield Project Scope and Budget Authorization Board Action Letter
Sincerely,
John K. McCarthy
Executive Director
Cc: Legislative Delegation
Kristine Trierweiler, Medfield Town Administrator
Jessica Reilly, Chair, Medfield School Committee
Dr. Jeffrey J. Marsden, Superintendent, Medfield Public Schools
Michael LaFrancesca, Director of Finance and Operations, Medfield Public Schools
Lynn Stapleton, Owner’s Project Manager, Leftfield LLC
Gina Gomes-Cruz, Owner’s Project Manager, Leftfield LLC
Lawrence Spang, Designer, Arrowstreet Inc.
File: 10.2 Letters (Region 4)

Medfield storm update

Text just now from Town Administrator, Kristine Trierweiler –

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Dale school no power. One of the wells off elm too. Big tree down on Harding is on power lines so need an Eversource tree crew to come and remove. Eversource won’t come out until wind gusts are reduced

SBC Community Forum 10/28 at 7PM

From Susan Maritan for the School Building Committee –

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Here is the Zoom info:

To join this meeting remotely use this link:

https://medfield-net.zoom.us/j/81811271412?pwd=eWhwekR4NmYrTWtKd1BqUThqR0I5UT09

Enter Password: 169765

HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES $3.65B SPENDING PLAN FOR ARPA AND STATE SURPLUS  

From the Massachusetts Municipal Association this afternoon –

HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES $3.65B SPENDING PLAN FOR ARPA AND STATE SURPLUS  

October 25, 2021  

Dear Osler Peterson,  

Today, the House Committee on Ways and Means announced a $3.65 billion spending plan that draws from two revenue sources: the state’s multi-billion dollar fiscal 2021 surplus and its allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act’s State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund.  

The House proposal (H. 4219) targets seven major categories: housing, environment and climate change mitigation, economic development, workforce, health and human services, education, and food insecurity.   House members have until 3 p.m. on Tuesday to file amendments, and debate is scheduled to begin on Thursday. After the House approves its proposal, the Senate is expected to offer its own bill in the coming weeks.  

The following are the highlights of H. 4219:  

Housing The $600 million proposed for housing programs includes targeted investments in supportive housing production, public housing maintenance, homeownership assistance, the CommonWealth Building Program, and affordable housing production.  

Environment and climate The bill includes $350 million for environmental infrastructure and development spending, with a focus on environmental justice communities. Targeted investments include Marine Port Development and Offshore Wind, environmental infrastructure projects aimed at bolstering communities’ climate resiliency, water and sewer infrastructure improvements, greening the Gateway Cities, and upgrades to state parks and recreational facilities.   Of the $350 million, $100 million would go to low-income, environmental justice and urban communities to improve climate resiliency. A $100 million water and sewer infrastructure component also prioritizes projects that support environmental justice populations and those disproportionately impacted by the public health emergency.  

Economic development With $777 million allocated for economic development, the House proposal includes a $500 million investment in the Unemployment Trust Fund, aid for the recovery of the cultural sector of the economy through the Massachusetts Cultural Council, funding for the YouthWorks summer jobs program, tax relief for small businesses, and money to help close the digital divide and assist in the resettlement of Afghan refugees.  

Workforce The bill would focus $750 million on workforce issues, including $500 million for premium pay bonuses for essential workers who worked in-person during the state of emergency, as well as funds for the Workforce Competitive Trust Fund and career technical institutes and vocational schools.  

Health and human services The bill targets relief for financially strained providers, such as hospital and nursing facilities, and investments in workforce initiatives, behavioral health programs, technical infrastructure for community health center improvements, prison reentry grants, and community-based violence prevention.  

Education The House proposal seeks to address disparities in public school facilities, including $100 million for HVAC grants to be distributed through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education under the guidance of the Racial Imbalance Advisory Council. Additional education investments include higher education capital projects, the endowment incentive program, special education needs, and pathways to educator licensure for Black, indigenous, and people of color.  

Food insecurity The bill includes $78 million to address food insecurity, focusing on infrastructure grants.  

In June, Gov. Charlie Baker proposed his plan to spend roughly half of the Commonwealth’s State and Local Coronavirus Relief Funds, and in August, the governor filed a separate supplemental budget bill to spend a large portion of the fiscal 2021 state surplus. The Legislature passed a scaled-back supplemental budget — signed by the governor on Oct. 21 — that delayed decisions on how to spend much of the state surplus.
twitter linkedin   Massachusetts Municipal Association 3 Center Plaza Suite 610 Boston, MA 02108 (617) 426-7272 | Email Us | View our website       Unsubscribe from MMA Legislative Alert Emails  
Higher Logic

SBC Community Forum at 7PM on 10/28

From Susan Maritan for the School Building Committee –

Medfield Master Plan

Email this afternoon from Sarah Raposa, Town Planner –

The Medfield Planning Board is pleased to approve the Medfield Master Plan and sincerely thanks the Townwide Master Planning Committee members as well as the hundreds of residents, town board/committee/commission members, and staff that participated in the nearly  two-year process. The Board is in the planning stages of developing a “master plan summit” meeting where pertinent town entities can periodically assess the Plan’s progress with implementation, and make adjustments, as necessary. 

A VISION FOR MEDFIELD’S FUTURE: A Medfield that…

retains its small-town feeling, even enhances the community’s feeling of being close knit, by welcoming newcomers and increasing communication between the Town and its residents, holding more festivals and events and using social media to communicate and stay connected.

… has created a range of formal opportunities for people to meet, to involve themselves in athletic and non-sports activities in a new and expanded Recreation Center/ Community Center, which provides family activities, and programs and other opportunities to for the community to gather. Intergenerational interaction is encouraged. Additional programs geared at older adults and teens support their specific needs for socializing and recreating.

… has continued to improve its downtown so that it is a vibrant living room for the Town’s residents to dine, shop and run into each other. The center has become more pleasing aesthetically and presents an improved pedestrian experience.

… reuses its vacated State Hospital and it is now a vibrant and vital part of the Town. The chapel has been converted to a cultural and arts center, the historic buildings have been renovated for a variety of uses, and the historic landscape provides opportunities for recreation including hiking, kayaking on the Charles River and enjoyment of the beautiful views.

… preserves and promotes its historic features by protecting historic structures and telling and promoting Medfield’s unique stories in a number of ways.

… connects and acquires additional open space and it is made available to residents for passive and active recreation. Natural features such as woods and lakes are protected for residents to enjoy.

…addresses traffic safety and congestion issues by providing alternatives to travel by automobile including safe and pleasant pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure as well as public transportation options.

… continues to support excellence in education by maintaining state-of-the-art schools and supporting the library in its efforts to provide life long learning and programing for all ages.

… attracts residents from diverse socio-economic, ethnic and racial backgrounds, celebrates this diversity, enriching the lives of all its residents.

… supports older adults who wish to age in place by expanding programming that provide opportunities for socializing, health and wellness, and transportation. Also provides appropriately designed and located, smaller and moderately priced housing units in which to downsize.

… provides a variety of housing types that are attractive to young adults, those who live with a disability, seniors, and others wishing to live independently or common quarters.

… diversifies its tax base so that more funding is available to pay for updating and expanding facilities and services, local jobs are created and more establishments locate in Town to expand the available goods and services and “things to do.”

…supports the expansion of its cultural and arts community, making it more accessible to all and integrating it into the Town’s creative economy.

…provides wholesome activities for teens, including places for them to “hang out,” activities and programs that help them reduce stress and prevent substance abuse and other unhealthy behaviors.

… attains sustainability and future resiliency goals including becoming carbon zero, increases its use of renewable energy sources, continues to recycle, is mindful of water usage, and implements other measures to protect the environment and mitigate for negative impacts of climate change.

…improves transparency and communication in town government and continues to engage citizens in decision-making and recruits a broader cross-section of volunteers. Public facilities are well-maintained, a preventive maintenance plan is systematically implemented, and state-of-the-art services are provided to all residents. 

Sarah Raposa, AICP

Town Planner
459 Main Street
Medfield, MA  02052
Office Phone: (508) 906-3027

Work Cell: (339) 206-1773
sraposa@medfield.net  

www.town.medfield.net

Drug Take Back Day – this Saturday

From Medfield Cares About Prevention (MCAP), a Medfield Foundation initiative –

TOMCAP information and survey

From the Town of Medfield Climate Action Plan (TOMCAP), working group of the Medfield Energy Committee –

After reading the fact sheet below you can access the questionnaire at https://tinyurl.com/23tnp6vv.

Medfield Plans to Decarbonize
to Meet Our Net Zero by 2050 Goal
The Medfield Energy Committee is asking all residents to complete
a questionnaire so your thoughts, concerns and ideas can be
included in the development of the Town of Medfield Climate Action Plan TOMCAP.
n After reading the fact sheet below you can access the
questionnaire at https://tinyurl.com/23tnp6vv.
n It will take approximately 5 minutes to complete.
n If you want to participate in the development of the
TOMCAP please email us at TOMCAP@Medfield.net
Please pass this on to friends and neighbors!
This event is not sponsoreed or endosed by the Medfield Public Schools.
Medfield Emissions InventoryResidentialBuildings 39.1%PassengerVehicles 41.6%C&I Buildings and Manufacturing Industries 12.3% Municipal Buildings 3.0%Commercial Vehicles 1.6%Other 0.5%Wastewater Treatmentand Discharge1.2%Municipal Vehicles 0.5%Waste 0.2%(2017 Baseline)Town of MedfieldCLIMATE CLIMATE TOMCAP@medfield.net ACTIOACTIO N PLANN PLAN
Medfield is Planning for Decarbonizing
Medfield voted to support a Net Zero 2050 Goal and to develop a Climate Action Plan to reach that goal (Town Meeting, May 2021).
This public outreach effort by the Medfield Energy Committee (MEC) aims to inform and engage residents in developing the Town of Medfield Climate Action Plan (TOMCAP).
What is Net Zero carbon emissions?
The Medfield Net Zero 2050 goal is in line with Federal and Massachusetts goals and strategies. "Net Zero" means that we reduce most greenhouse gas emissions and offset the rest. Most reductions will be achieved through personal actions that are voluntary and make economic sense.
What strategies are available to reduce our emissions significantly?
Medfielders can remove the most carbon by driving an electric vehicle, installing a heat pump to heat and cool your home, reducing energy needs (insulation, high efficiency lighting and appliances) and supporting
electricity made from renewable sources.
When do I act?
The best time to make low carbon choices is at natural transition points, such as when you need replace your car, upgrade your heating/cooling system, or renovate your home.
Why “electrify everything”?
Massachusetts has already moved away from coal-generated electricity. Our local grid is substantially less fossil-fuel intensive than previously and is mandated to continue to improve. The consensus path, at all levels, to continue to reduce carbon footprint is to “Electrify Everything”.
Why buy an electric vehicle (EV)?
In Medfield, the largest source of GHG gases is from our cars (42%). To significantly reduce our carbon footprint, most new cars will need to be electric. Starting in 2035, only EVs can be sold in Massachusetts.
EVs are already quiet, clean, highly efficient, over all less expensive, require less maintenance, offer huge
public health benefits and new options are becoming available.
What about our homes?
In Medfield, running our homes produces close to 40% of our carbon emissions. We can reduce our
energy needs, use heat pumps for heating and cooling needs and shifting to renewables.
1. Get a free MassSave energy audit and use their incentives and rebates to insulate your home and get the highest efficient lighting and appliances.
2. Electrify your HVAC. Heat pumps are currently the most efficient technology for heating and cooling homes. MassSave offers substantial incentives for installing heat pumps.
3. Install solar panels directly or support solar installations through a community solar program. This can be profitable while supporting the transition to local renewable electricity.
Want to get started? Find information & resources on the Action Portal at SustainableMedfield.org
If you want to engage with the TOMCAP process, email us at TOMCAP@Medfield.net
Where do Medfield’s carbon
emissions come from?
The MEC carried out a
Greenhouse Gas Inventory
of Medfield, pictured on
the right. The vast majority
of carbon emissions come
from our cars and our
homes (81%).
Please take our
informational questionnaire
Use https://tinyurl.com/23tnp6vv to access the Questionnaire
This fact sheet will be a handy
companion to the questionnaire.
Thank you!
Medfield Emissions InventoryResidentialBuildings 39.1%PassengerVehicles 41.6%C&I Buildings and Manufacturing Industries 12.3% Municipal Buildings 3.0%Commercial Vehicles 1.6%Other 0.5%Wastewater Treatmentand Discharge1.2%Municipal Vehicles 0.5%Waste 0.2%(2017 Baseline)Town of MedfieldCLIMATE CLIMATE TOMCAP@medfield.net ACTIOACTIO N PLANN PLAN