Highlights from the Northborough Board of Selectmen reports

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By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer

Northborough – The Northborough Board of Selectmen individual member reports from the September 28 meeting focused on community acknowledgements, a new hire, change in town hall hours, traffic concerns, Halloween guidelines, liaison committee reports, a proposal for a new agenda item to discuss citizen concerns, and November election information.

Community acknowledgements: Selectman Leslie Rutan shared a letter she received commending two teenage boys, Mike Cashel and Johnny Meschisen, who jumped into action to help a neighbor with bee allergies who was stung and was anaphylactic. The boys administered an EPI pen and handled things quickly until emergency personnel arrived.

The Northborough Education Foundation was acknowledged for a successful Welcome Back Pinwheel campaign to raise funds for teacher grants.

Board Chairman Jason Perreault said it was “certainly a very good turnout from individuals and local businesses to provide the funding for that and just excellent to see the pinwheels out in front of the K-8 schools.”

Several Selectmen thanked the Applefest Committee and participants who did their best to provide activities for the annual festival.

Selectman Scott Rogers thanked residents who have been engaged in activities and in the decision making process of the town and encourages all to continue to watch meetings remotely, ask questions and offer constructive comments.

He also wants people to continue to be mindful of their health and the health of others and as part of that he encouraged people to receive their annual flu shot.

New hire: Town Administrator John Coderre announced that Kristin Black will start as the new Health Agent on Tuesday, October 13. She currently holds that role in Uxbridge.

Town Hall hours: Starting on Monday, October 12, the Town Hall will resume its pre-COVID hours of Monday/Wednesday/Thursday 8 am-4 pm, Tuesday 8 am–7 pm, and Friday 7 am-12 pm.

The building is still not open to the public, but in-person meetings can be arranged.

Traffic concerns: Rutan voiced concerns regarding traffic issues especially in terms of passing traffic near St. Bernadette’s School on Route 20 as cars sit on the shoulders heading into the school driveway and parking lot.

Chief of Police William Lyver said there is increased traffic enforcement in the mornings and afternoons at that location.

“Everyone is in a hurry to go nowhere apparently and it is a matter of breaking out the citations and the dollar signs,” he said. “It’s just human driver behavior and that can only be modified so much.”

Proposal for a new agenda item: Selectman Julianne Hirsh asked the Board to consider adding a new standing agenda item to give them the opportunity to discuss topics for the next meeting’s agenda. This would be in an effort to address citizen concerns that are coming to Board members and to comply with open meeting laws.

“We have been receiving a lot of emails about various neighborhood issues and we have received a lot of good public comments, but it seems like those concerns are not formally addressed,” she said. “I think emails and public comments that address any neighborhood questions or problems should be discussed publicly. It may be that we have no authority to do anything with said problem, but at least this could be clarified.”

Presidential election information: Selectman Tim Kaelin reminded residents to vote in the upcoming election. Early voting will be held at the Northborough Senior Center (119 Bearfoot Road) Saturday, October 17-Friday, October 30. In-person voting will be held on Tuesday, November 3 at Robert E. Melican Middle School (145 Lincoln Street) from 7 am-8 pm.

Halloween guidelines: Halloween is not cancelled, but there are state guidelines to keep safety a priority.

“It’s a lot of common sense, but the bottom line is if you don’t feel comfortable either participating handing out candy or trick or treating door to door due to your personal health concerns, then you shouldn’t do it,” said Coderre.

Honoring town military service: Applefest banners lining Route 20 will be replaced by banners recognizing Northborough residents who have served the country. The Hometown Heroes Program is being coordinated by Boros Cares 4 Troops (www.bc4t.org).

Liaison reports: The Cultural Council is coordinating its Virtual CultureFest to keep people connected to the arts during a pandemic. Applications are being accepted at http://nccculturefest.org. Northborough Cable Access Television will broadcast the event November 6-8.

The White Cliffs Committee met with the architects and reviewed estimates on the reuse scenarios– hospitality/event space, municipal use, and residential use.  Due to the high cost projections, the Committee will meet again to discuss a modified option.

The Historic Commission noted that the renovation of the Gale General Store received the Robert K. Kuehn, Jr. project award by Preservation Massachusetts. The award recognizes “extraordinary projects that meld collaborative partnerships with creative and cutting-edge ideas for the rehabilitation and active reuse of historic buildings.”

The Community Affairs Committee will host its first annual Jack-O-Lantern stroll October 30-November 1. Details can be found at https://northboroughcac.weebly.com.

Kaelin was appointed by the Board of Selectmen to represent the Board on the new Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He reminded interested residents to apply for the volunteer openings available on that Committee, as well as for any seats open on other town boards or committees.

View all town information at www.town.northborough.ma.us.