WESTBOROUGH – As 2021 winds down, the Community Advocate is taking a look back at major stories that shaped the past 12 months.
From COVID-19, to a new school, 2021 has been an eventful year in local news.
Read on for our recap of this year’s top Westborough stories…
EDITOR’S NOTE: Click each subheadline to see a collection of articles on each of this year’s top stories.
Students transitioned from the old Fales Elementary School building to a new structure on the same property this fall, marking a major step forward in a long running effort to replace the old Fales school.
The new building boasts a number of renewable energy measures, including geothermal systems and solar panels on its roof.
Students are now settling in as demolition crews work to dismantle the old school.
Health care giant Mass General Brigham first pitched plans for a new ambulatory care clinic in Westborough this spring.
The clinic would be situated in the Westborough Office Park and would be part of a larger expansion effort by MGB involving other facilities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Westborough public officials have voiced support for the expansion, joining others in the community in celebrating MGB’s efforts.
MGB has also faced opposition, though, with some arguing the expansion would lead to an increase in health care costs in the region.
The family owned E.L. Harveys & Sons was acquired by the much larger company Waste Connections in September.
E.L Harveys boasts a 110-year record in town, providing a number of waste hauling, transfer and recycling services in area communities.
Waste Connections is a publicly traded waste management company. Though it also has headquarters in Texas, it has listed its facility in Ontario, Canada as its primary headquarters on federal Form 10-K filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
COVID-19 lingers through 2021
The community navigated another year of COVID-19, this year, playing a major role in the region’s vaccine rollout before handling later coronavirus case surges and local debates about masking and other virus precautions.
Westborough was, indeed, the host of a vaccine clinic through parts of the spring and summer. Operating out of the Double Tree hotel off Route 9, that clinic came together through the collaboration of several area towns.
Community members celebrated a major dip in case rates over the summer before seeing such rates rise through the fall and into this winter.
Westborough High School and Gibbons Middle School briefly transitioned to a flexible masking model earlier this month, acting on a state waiver that gave Westborough local control over its school masking policies.
The schools transitioned back to mandatory masking prior to the holiday break, though.
As the School Committee voted to move forward with that flexible masking model on Dec. 1, the town instituted a mask mandate in municipal buildings. That mandate will remain in place until at least Jan. 10.
The Westborough High School girls volleyball team won its way into a state championship match against Hopkinton this fall.
Though the Rangers lost that final match, the team captured the attention of many in town, not only winning games, but doing so in dominant fashion. They racked up at least 17 3-0 shutout wins over various opponents and claimed other honors such as the CMADA tournament championship on their way to the state title game.