Category Archives: People

Jay Hajj helping Beruit

See the long article in today’s Globe about Medfield resident Jay Hajj going back to his hometown to help after the explosion –

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DEVRA FIRST

‘People say: You came from Boston for what? I came for this.’

After the explosion in Beirut, chef Jay Hajj returns to his hometown to volunteer with World Central Kitchen

By Devra First Globe Staff,Updated August 18, 2020, 4:08 p.m.4Jay Hajj returns to his hometown to volunteer with World Central Kitchen

0:50After the explosion in Beirut, chef Jay Hajj returns to his hometown to volunteer with World Central Kitchen

On Aug. 4, a massive explosion in Beirut killed more than 150 people, injuring and displacing many others and devastating the city. Lebanon was already in crisis, its economy and currency in collapse, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the United Nations World Food Programme, since October 2019, as the Lebanese lira lost about 80 percent of its value, food prices increased 109 percent. Hunger was a serious problem even before the blast.

Jay Hajj on the ground in Beirut.
Jay Hajj on the ground in Beirut.COURTESY OF JAY HAJJ

Read the full article here – https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/08/18/lifestyle/people-say-you-came-boston-what-i-came-this/?p1=StaffPage

Town House office hours

Town Administrator Kristine Trierweiler and other town employees are moving their office functions outside, to encourage resident interaction and use of the town services.  This afternoon Kris (left) and Kathy VandenBoom, Director of Human Resources, were holding court in front of the Town House front entrance.

20200812_Kristine Trierweiler office hours

During my visit, I waited in line behind Matt McCormack and his son, and then this user dropped off his vote by mail request in the USPS mail box on the table, went inside to sign the Town Clerk’s warrant for the upcoming primary election, to sign the weekly town spending warrants, and to pick up the Medfield Foundation’s mail.

Kris posts on Twitter when the outside office is available – it has recently been several times a week.  Look for them out front.

Carol Steinberg, attorney & disability rights advocate

My friend and attorney colleague, Carol Steinberg, got a great write up in today’s Boston Globe from Joan Vennochi, for what Carol does advocating for disability rights. I liked the photograph in the Globe’s print edition better, as it shows Carol in front of the door to the Governor’s office, which is being blocked by two of his staff, when Carol and friends refused to leave until they got to speak with him.

In addition to practicing law as a plaintiffs’ personal injury attorney, Carol writes, served on the state’s Architectural Access Board, serves on the ABA Committee on Disability, and is a strong advocate for disability rights. I have learned a lot from our doing cases together and tagging around with her.

OPINION

Wanted: allies in the fight for disability rights

‘We don’t have allies. It’s just people in wheelchairs,’ said Carol Steinberg.

By Joan Vennochi Globe Columnist,Updated August 5, 2020, 10:13 a.m.6

Attorney Carol Steinberg, an advocate for people with disabilities, spoke in front of the State House at a 2015 rally.
Attorney Carol Steinberg, an advocate for people with disabilities, spoke in front of the State House at a 2015 rally.PAT GREENHOUSE/GLOBE STAFF

When the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act turned 30 last month, Carol Steinberg was doing what she always does: pushing hard for more accessibility for people with disabilities.

RELATED: James T. Brett: Let’s celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act by reforming it

As Beacon Hill lawmakers took up a major economic development package — which includes money for affordable housing — Steinberg was lobbying to add language that would require that buildings constructed before 1991 that are being converted into apartments must include units that can be adapted to the needs of senior citizens or people with disabilities. The amendment, sponsored by state Senator Michael Moore of Millbury, was not adopted. Given the crush of last-minute amendments, Steinberg knew it was a long shot. But the outcome was still a disappointment — especially as it came a few days after the headlines and hoopla over the 30th anniversary of the ADA. But Steinberg, who has been fighting for this measure for at least 10 years, isn’t giving up. She said she owes it to previous generations of disability activists.Get Today in Opinion in your inboxGlobe Opinion’s must-reads, delivered to you every Sunday-Friday.Sign Up

“They fought so hard,” said Steinberg, a lawyer who uses a wheelchair due to multiple sclerosis. “Their fight is not over. We have to carry on their legacy.” She is also motivated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has been devastating to people in nursing homes. More than 60 percent of the people who have died of COVID-19 in Massachusetts resided in such facilities. If there were more accessible housing, more people could live independently and more safely, said Steinberg.

In the response to the other pandemic that has been sweeping the nation — systemic racism — Steinberg sees a model for disability activists. Since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, doing nothing in pursuit of racial justice — while claiming not to be racist — is no longer acceptable, assuming it ever was. Allies are needed. The same is true in the fight for disability rights. “We don’t have allies. It’s just people in wheelchairs,” said Steinberg.

People like Steinberg are forces of nature, and you know it the minute you meet them. I first encountered her in October 2019, when she and a band of fellow activists gathered at the entrance to Governor Charlie Baker’s State House office suite, trying to get him to pay attention to a variety of accessibility issues. During the several hours they hung out in hopes of meeting with the governor, I spoke to them about the help they said they needed to make housing more accessible. In December, Baker did meet with them but didn’t commit to any specific housing policy.

RELATED: Joan Vennochi: Governor’s office gives ‘the runaround to people who can’t run’

“Please don’t say anything bad about Governor Baker,” said Steinberg, who remains hopeful he will embrace her mission. So, in the interest of her protecting her optimism, I won’t. What I will say is that there are some champions, like Moore and state Representative Christine Barber of Somerville, who are seeking compromise with opponents who believe accessibility costs too much money. More champions are needed.

The biggest obstacle to progress may be those who do nothing. Nothing great happens without a groundswell of support. That was certainly true of the ADA, which was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush on the South Lawn of the White House. “More than 2,000 people, many in wheelchairs, cheered from the lawn. Activists had waited years for this moment,” wrote The New York Times in a special section on the recent ADA anniversary. Considered one of the country’s most comprehensive civil rights laws, it prohibits discrimination and is supposed to guarantee that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else.

Yet, 30 years later, the gap between that sweeping promise and the experience of living with a disability is huge. That’s why Steinberg is on the front lines, pushing for the kind of change that will make buildings accessible to all. It’s a simple goal that has proved difficult to achieve. More allies would definitely help the cause.


Joan Vennochi can be reached at joan.vennochi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @joan_vennochi.

Barbara Leighton, and her legacy

From the Medfield Patch –

A 100 Year Life Well-Lived, Extraordinary Woman, Barbara Leighton

Leighton left a legacy of service to Medfield over her 100-year life, but also ensured her legacy will live on through her planned gift…

By Colleen M. Sullivan, Patch MayorVerified User Badge
Jul 22, 2020 11:00 pm ET|Updated Jul 22, 2020 11:02 pm ET
  • Barbara Leighton (2016)Barbara Leighton (2016) (Courtesty Photo)

The following provided by the Kingsbury Pond Gristmill Committee and MFi.

Barbara Leighton: A 100 Year Life Well-Lived…One Extraordinary Woman

Medfield native Barbara Leighton was a woman before her time due to her interests and achievements over her long life. As reported last July when she celebrated her 100th birthday, Ms. Leighton grew up in Medfield doing the physical work of men such as chopping wood, tapping maple trees and clearing brush, plus she was an outdoors person who enjoyed fishing and hunting! In addition, Barbara’s love of Medfield and history collided to make her an unofficial historian for our town, holding archeological digs for middle school children at town historical sites for decades, donating 7.4 acres of conservation land in 1989, serving for years as both the curator of the Medfield Historical Society and caretaker of the Peak Househttps://4900f88a3514d9e2f0df188d4d007260.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

But Barbara really put her Medfield history interests and out-sized skills together at the Kingsbury Pond Gristmill where she worked for decades doing everything from scrambling up ladders to hammer roof shingles, to replacing and renovating windows and other elements, helping to make it another Medfield historical gem. Dick Judge, Chair of the Kingsbury Pond Gristmill Committee relayed, “As an original member of the Gristmill Committee, just one of the many projects Barbara undertook was about thirty or so years ago. She took apart a ruined fireplace brick by brick, cleaned the bricks, and then used them to build a brick floor in the Gristmill…that still exists today!”

Dick Judge further noted, “Without Barbara’s incredible decades of dedication to our circa 1718 grist mill, I fear not only would it literally have fallen to pieces, but she served as a constant reminder of how one person’s conviction and example can motivate so many of us to save and preserve such an important and beautiful Medfield historic site.”

Kingsbury Pond GristmillKingsbury Pond Gristmill (Courtesy Photo)

The Kingsbury Pond Gristmill Committee (KPGC), a Medfield Foundation Initiative, is a group of adult volunteers dedicated to preserving, maintaining and improving one of Medfield’s most visible historic buildings built around 1718 by Captain Joseph Clark. Located on Spring Street (Rt. 27S) at the serene Kingsbury Pond. The committee hopes to reopen the mill for people to see how milling has progressed through the years.

After Ms. Leighton passed away last August, she ensured her life’s work will continue because in her estate she left a significant planned gift to the Kingsbury Pond Gristmill Committee, through the Medfield Foundation, for the amazing work the team has done on the facility. Thus, Barbara Leighton’s unique legacy as an extraordinary woman whose influence and service-oriented life’s-work over an impressive 100 years in Medfield will extend for many years beyond what would have been her 101st year.

Medfield High School Class of 1936 in front of what is now the Pfaff Center. Barbara Leighton is the second from the left in the front row!Medfield High School Class of 1936 in front of what is now the Pfaff Center. Barbara Leighton is the second from the left in the front row! (Courtesy Photo)

Evan Weisenfeld, President of the Medfield Foundation, said, “This large planned gift from the estate of Barbara Leighton means generations of people in Medfield will continue to enjoy the Kingsbury Pond Gristmill, and volunteers now can continue its preservation.”

He continued, “Furthermore, the Medfield Foundation urges you to thoughtfully consider making gifts in your estate plans to support our town through the Medfield Foundation and its signature programs and community initiatives such as the Gristmill and other town landmark preservation efforts, the Legacy Fund, Public Need Fund, and many others, to ensure your unique legacy continues the work of ensuring Medfield is a great place to live now and in the future.”

In this time of change, when many people are revisiting their wills, please consider making provisions to better our town via planned giving to the Medfield Foundation, Inc. Residents considering planned donations in their estates to MFi can designate a specific initiative or sector of interest, or the Legacy Fund, an endowment fund that leaves a lasting legacy for our town’s future needs.

Barbara Leighton left a legacy of countless examples of service to Medfield over her 100-year life, but also ensured her legacy will live on through her planned gift to the Kingsbury Pond Gristmill through the Medfield Foundation.

Would you please consider leaving a lasting gift in your estate planning?

There are many ways to donate today, too! Just check out the website: https://www.medfieldfoundation.org. You will find a complete list of current campaigns such as the COVID-19 Support Fund and Summer Camp Fund, plus information about MFi, signature programs, community initiatives, and much more.Ring  |  Featured AdvertiserMichael Wondered How a Tree Got in His Yard, Ring Video Had the ClueWhen a downpour took his neighborhood by surprise, Michael was happy to have the Ring Video Doorbell in the eye of the storm.Watch Now

For information about Medfield Foundation planned gifts and more please email info@medfieldfoundation.org, phone (774) 469-0260, or mail Medfield Foundation, c/o Medfield Townhouse, 459 Main Street, Medfield, MA 02052.

The Medfield Foundation (MFi) is a 100% volunteer run 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable corporation whose mission is to enrich the lives of Medfield residents, build a stronger community, and facilitate the raising and allocation of private funds for public needs in the town of Medfield.

Will Bento in TV 25 story on police academy at FSU

Medfield resident William Bento is featured in the Boston25News.com story below.  Will is enrolled in the police academy at the Fitchburg State University, and is on a list to become an officer in the Medfield Police Department.  Look carefully and you can see the MPD patch on his shoulder in this news story.

The Medfield Bento’s are a police family, as Will’s sister, Michelle Manganello, is an officer in the MPD, serving as the town’s School Resource Officer, and Will father, David Bento, is a Lieutenant on the Sherborn Police Department.

will Bento

Local police recruits learning new lessons in era of reform

Local police recruits learning new lessons in era of reform

 

FITCHBURG, Mass. — Just as police departments across the state are experiencing reform right now, so are the police academies, where future officers are learning what it takes.

Boston 25 News has been closely following recruits for months, and spent the day at the Fitchburg State Police Academy, to see how educators there are dealing with the civil unrest head-on.

The recruits recently got candid lessons from current officers on protecting and serving the community, including Harvard, Massachusetts Police Chief Edward Denmark.

“There have been times where I’ve used force in my past and a lot of that was anger,” Chief Denmark told the recruits. “I got so wrapped up in what my task was in that moment, as opposed to what my purpose was in the bigger picture.”

 

The recruits are also dissecting mistakes officers around the country have made in hopes of avoiding similar situations. For example, recruits had to write a two-page essay on what the four officers did wrong in the George Floyd incident.

“When we spend 15 weeks here, you do what you’re told here when you’re told to do it and nothing more. I think it can be challenging to get out on the street and confront a veteran officer, but those are the skills that we are learning here to be able to step up and make those tough decisions,” Medfield Police recruit William Bento told Boston 25 News reporter Wale Aliyu.

 

Fitchburg State University Police Academy has a model of training and educating the recruits simultaneously, which they say is the first in the country.

“Research has shown that educated officers have less ‘use of force’ incidents, they have less deadly force incidents, they are better problem solvers,” academy director Lisa Lane McCarty said. “To their credit, this is not a great time to be going through a police academy. And they have these faces on that say ‘they will be the change,’” she added.

 

 

In the five-year program, the 21 recruits will get a criminal justice bachelors, a master’s degree, a police certification, and first-hand lessons on the ethics and nuances of policing.

 

“They need to understand the limitations of some of the things that we have tried or even some of the things people are suggesting now,” Chief Denmark said. “How is a certification going to change the way someone feels in their heart and their mind? It’s not going to. It may help to make sure we have the right education. But at two in the morning when a fight starts in the middle of the street that doesn’t matter.”

 

Four of the recruits already have jobs waiting for them. Benjamin Torrence will be joining the short-staffed Haverhill Police Department, and says as an officer of Color, he feels the pressure to bridge the gap.

 

“I do feel the pressure, but I know I’m not alone,” Torrence said. “I’m excited, my fellow recruits are excited, to get out on the street to make a difference.”

With calls to defund, and dismantle entire departments, these recruits know their goal is to provide change, one interaction at a time.

 

“We want to be able to change peoples’ perspective if they have a negative outlook on this job,” Bento said.

 

“This is all fear-driven,” said Chief Denmark. “This is cops fearing people which causes them to have heightened fear and feel they need to use force. And communities of color don’t trust the cops based on the history of this country. This goes far beyond policing so they’re afraid.”

Melissa Coughlin, RN reflects

The following letter from Melissa Coughlin, RN, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital nurse and a Town of Medfield Board of Health member, appeared in the Medfield Patch –

Thank you Medfield

Today I reflected on all that we have been through and I am proud of us, Medfield.

I need to say, Thank You.

We still have a long uncharted road ahead of us, so it too early to say thank you. I do not think so. Would saying a premature thank you cause any harm? I think not. I believe it is never untimely to share appreciation and love.

So here it goes. On April 1st I sat in front of my laptop terrified for our future. I typed out this plea, “APRIL 2020 will define how this pandemic plays out. THIS MONTH. Please help by making the decision you will be proud to talk about in 10 years, 20 years, and 30 years from now. This is it; we are here. No second chances”

Today I reflected on this statement. So much has happened in the past two and a half months. I am left with an enormous sense of gratitude and pride for this town, my friends, my family, and my colleagues.

In April, we were prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. We were debriefed about how to triage patients by a certain metric to see who would get the ventilator and who would not. As health care workers, we did not get an extra point if it came down to it. They told us this. We lost sleep, we lost weight, we lost time with our loved ones. We were forging into the unknown. We were scared.

You cheered for us. You made us lunches. You dropped off signs that said “HOPE”. You paraded down our streets and honked your horns. You sent us cards. You sent us coffee. You sent us gifts. You took our pictures because we did not know what tomorrow would bring. You gave us an invisible armor that we will never forget. You gave us confidence to face the uncertainties and the fears.

You did what we all thought was impossible. You quarantined. You stayed in your homes. You survived over 60 cancelled school days. You home schooled. You became teachers and teachers became known as heroes that they have always been. You did not get to be in that play that you had worked so hard for. You postponed weddings. You cancelled trips. You missed COA events. You graduated from your cars! You did it.

You learned about ZOOM. You learned to a new way to communicate. You learned what an empty calendar feels like. You learned to have dinner around the table. You learned about few new Netflix’s shows. You learned to watch sunsets from the tailgates of your cars. You learned to slow down.

You made it possible for us to gather our PPE, make room for our ICU patients, and most importantly you made it possible to have enough ventilators so we never had to decide if that healthcare worker would or would not get one.

Medfield continues to hold onto to one of the lowest number of cases in the MetroWest because of you. https://www.mass.gov/doc/weekly-covid-19-public-health-report-june-17-2020/download.

As I said, we still have a new and unfamiliar road ahead of us, but I believe its okay to stop and reflect. Look at what we have done! We have done what once felt impossible.

We are writing the town’s history books Medfield, and I am proud of the story we are telling. What the next chapters will look like continue to be up to us. Let us maintain behaviors that we will have the privilege to talk about in the years to come.

*I am a Medfield Board of Health Member, a bedside nurse at The Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, and a Medfield “townie”. This article is my opinion and not that of the BOH or the BWH*

 

George Lester Proclamation

George Lester Proclamation

George Lester was honored at the Select Board meeting last night for enumerable services to the Town of Medfield, and most especially for twenty-five years of serving on the Planning Board.

Lester 2020

Mike Standley 1928-2020

Mike Standley died last month.  What appears below his photo is the nomination of both Mike and Caroline Standley for the 2015 Medfield Foundation Volunteer Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award written by Richard DeSorgher.  And indeed, the Stanley’s were awarded that 2015 Medfield Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

I first met Mike when our service on the Zoning Board of Appeals overlapped, later we worked together on the Friends of the Dwight-Derby House, Inc., and he eventually recruited me as part of a crew he had assembled, to build a section of the Bay Circuit Trail behind the Wheelock School.  Mike had strong opinions about open space, all things historical, and what he regarded as proper design.  From the trail building I also recall that he had loppers with the longest handles I ever saw – for all the more leverage – and it seemed appropriate that Mike would have the ultimate tool. I believe I am correct that it was because of Mike’s aesthetic preference that no canopy was ever permitted to be built over any gas pumps in Medfield.

Mike’s obituary can be found here – https://robertsmitchellcaruso.com/book-of-memories/4134888/Standley-Burgess/index.php

The following was from Richard DeSorgher’s submission of his 2015 nomination – “I am nominating the Standleys as a couple, not as an individual, for throughout their long marriage, they have been one unit; where you saw one, you saw the other. As a life-long resident of Medfield, I know of no other couple, who together, have done so much for the town of Medfield, and they do so without fanfare or publicity. In each of the 13 different town boards and commissions they have served on (not to mention the many private and non-profit boards), they have contributed in extraordinary ways that have impacted the town. They did not just serve on these boards and committees, they led them.
They are a class-act in every sense of the word. Medfield would not be Medfield today without the Standleys.”

Mike Standley

Carolina Standley grew up in Kentucky and Burgess in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. Burgess served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was in the same troop as Medfield’s former police chief, Bill Mann. From Bill Mann he heard about a beautiful place called Medfield, Massachusetts. After their marriage Caroline and Burgess moved to a rented house on Remsen Avenue. In 1954 Burgess and Caroline Standley moved from their rented 10 Remsen Avenue house into the caretaker’s cottage, which they purchased from the breakup of the former McElwain estate on 75 Elm Street. The barn on the grounds of Holiday Farm had been moved to the rear of the caretaker’s cottage and was part of the Standley’s 40-acre property, called 75 Elm Street. Here the Standleys settled, raised a family and became two of the most respected citizens in town.

Clearly no one fits Thomas Jefferson’s description of the “active citizen” more than Caroline and Burgess, known by almost everyone as Mike. For 61 years, the Standleys have given their heart and soul to the town of Medfield. Between the two of them, they have served on the Library Board, Planning Board, Historical Commission, Historical Society, Historic District Commission, Master Plan Implementation Committee, Medfield State Hospital Reuse Committee, Medfield State Hospital Preservation Committee, Town Hall Renovation Committee, Conservation Commission, Open Space Planning Committee, Long Range Planning Committee, Committee to Evaluate Senior Tax Work Off Program, and Zoning Board of Appeals. They have been the driving force, and I mean the driving force, behind every, and I mean every, piece of open space purchased by the town. Of special impact were their efforts for the town obtaining all the Noon Hill property, which is an invaluable treasure of over 400 acres of conservation land, forest and trails now under town and Trustee control. Their efforts in saving the Charles River flood plain and having it turned over to the Army Core of Engineers has also turned out to be an invaluable treasure for the town of Medfield and an ecological bonus and flood protection for the City of Boston and all the towns down river from Medfield. The Army Core purchase included all the lands along the Charles River that pass through Medfield.

They have been vocal participants at every town meeting since 1954, and have been in the forefront in trying to save Medfield’s historical character, including the purchase of the Dwight-Derby House. Mike was the first chairman of the Dwight-Derby Committee, Inc., both were instrumental in having the town save our oldest house and what we believe to be the 20th oldest house in the United States. They have been a leading force behind charities more numerous to list and active participants with the Trustees of Reservation.

As active members of the Medfield Historical Society, they have opened up their home for socials, fundraisers, programs and on a special occasion to host the donors of the Richard C. Derby donations. Richard C. Derby was killed in the Battle of Antietam during the Civil War and, a collector finding his pistol, diary and other written material, brought it from North Carolina to Medfield and presented it as a gift to the Society. The Standleys opened their home for a spectacular “thank you dinner” for the donors and Medfield history buffs.

Five years after moving into the caretaker’s cottage and with a growing family, they secured an architect from Boston’s Royal Barry Wills Associates to enlarge and preserve the caretaker’s cottage. The result was the addition of two bookend sections on each side of 1910 caretaker’s cottage. Mike and Caroline personally hand planted 1000 trees on the property; 500 Red Pines and 500 Spruces. Today, almost 61 years later, those trees provide an ecological forest that abuts the town’s water wells. The barn has been preserved and converted into a guest house, garage and loft office space. They have placed their property in a conservation trust, so the land around our water wells will always stay in a natural state; financial loss to the Standleys but ecological gain for the residents of Medfield

Through their care and with Caroline personally mowing all of the lawn and extensive open grassland, the once rustic caretaker’s cottage has been transformed into a beautiful home on a breathtaking setting; Medfield’s own Monticello, cared for by a couple who have had a positive impact on the town in so many areas; an impact that has made our town a better place in which to live and an impact that will benefit future generations of Medfield residents.

An appreciation of our town employees

town seal

An appreciation for a job well done

I have been thinking this morning about the Town of Medfield employees who provide we residents with the services that allow our lives to continue with as much semblance of normalcy as possible at all times, but most especially in these truly unsettling circumstances we are currently experiencing. Our water goes on, public safety continues to serve us, the Transfer Station even added Sunday openings, and all the town government systems continue to function, if behind a digital curtain, all so that we residents can continue our lives.

The town employees are providing essential services, so while they likely share the same unease that envelopes us all, they continue to work their jobs.  I wanted to publicly share with the Town of Medfield employees my sincere appreciation for their efforts  and to thank them.

I am extremely appreciative of what all the town employees are doing now, working under difficult circumstances – I want to let them all know just how much this one resident, one who tries hard to observe closely the functioning of the town government so as to understand it as well as possible, truly appreciates what our team of town employees are accomplishing for we residents.

Join the Angel Run team!

angel-run-2016

The Medfield Foundation’s Angel Run is seeking individuals to assist with the following parts of the annual family friendly race in December, to work with seasoned volunteers:

  • Marketing co-chair
  • Post Race Party co-chair

Join the team, share the fun, and do some good for your hometown!

Email to info@medfieldfoundation.org with interest.

angel run runners