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Believe-it-or-not Thanksgiving stories

2014 November 22
by Jerry Reilly

I don’t know if it’s because I ran a story telling event last night or because someone just has a great story to tell but I just got a request to run a believe-it-or-not Thanksgiving story thread.   I’m game.

An early peek into the Andy Levin era

2014 November 21
by Greg Reibman

Just a few weeks into his new job, new Newton TAB editor Andy Levin is already showing us that he’s not worried about making friends. Consider, for example, his recent editorial about opposing a plastic bag ban and even more significantly his willingness this week to challenge the opposition to the Austin Street project.

 …the intensity of opposition to the proposed redevelopment of the Austin Street parking lot seems a bit unjustified.

..some people seem opposed to change, no matter how well planned it may be, especially in their own neighborhood. Their anxiety is understandable, even if I don’t share it. But Newton has continually evolved as a city and change is inevitable.

 I happen to agree with Levin on Austin Street. But even if  I didn’t, I’d still be happy to see the TAB slowly edging back towards its fearless roots, a tradition that dates back to when one of my first mentors, Russell Pergament, began The TAB back in 1979.

Consider this a dress rehearsal for those family arguments on Thanksgiving

2014 November 21
by Greg Reibman

Just a reminder to join us for an evening of conversation (along with “Oh, yourrr Terry Malloy!!!) with the Village 14 family of bloggers at our Bloggers Night Out party happening at Mick Morgan’s (118 Needham St, Newton) this coming Monday Nov 24, 7-9 p.m.

Come talk politics and Newton and meet the people behind the comments. Lurkers welcome.

Let me tell you a story … Friday night

2014 November 20
by Jerry Reilly


Tomorrow night, Fri Nov 21, is the first Nomad Story Slam at Gregorian Rugs in Lower Falls  This community storytelling event is loosely modeled on the very popular MOTH Radio Hour and the theme of the night will be “on the road“.

Joining us for the event, will be Newton Mayor Setti Warren who will be telling a story of his own.

If you want to tell a story yourself (5 mins, true, and connected to “on the road”) then arrive a little early (7:00 – 7:15).

Otherwise just come to listen to stories in the fabulous Gregorian Rugs, a beautiful Oriental rug showroom in the historic mill building in Lower Falls.  We’re counting on a bit of that Arabian Nights magic to rub off those beautiful rugs and onto the tales that will be told.

The event is being presented by the new Newton Nomadic Theater.  Tickets are $10 and are available at or at the door

Learn about adaptigation tonight

2014 November 19
by Nathan Phillips

John Tourtellotte at the Auburndale Community Library photo credit: Liz Padula

Last week I attended a sea level rise symposium, and was struck at how ingrained it is to think of climate change mitigation (reducing the causes) and adaptation (responding to the consequences) as two completely distinct concerns.   For example, the National Climate Assessment and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change both neatly put adaptation and mitigation into separate categories.  What this does is make the costs of climate change action appear to be a double whammy and an almost insurmountable job.

I came up with the term “adaptigation” because there are economically profitable ways we can both mitigate and adapt with the same action, but few of the experts seems to recognize it (mostly they just say we have to do both).  One example is distributed solar or wind power.  It both reduces emissions, and simultaneously provides local resilience against failure of our large scale, vertically integrated energy infrastructure, which Superstorm Sandy and Katrina – fueled by warming oceans – exposed as vulnerable.  In fact, locally generated energy is not only good for the local communities; it ends up benefiting the larger grid.

Based on the turnout at last Sunday’s NewtonSolarChallenge workshop (pictured above), Newton seems ready to take the next step in  energy independence and climate adaptigation.  If you missed it, you have another chance this evening, 7pm, at the Auburndale Community Library.

Aldermen reject teardown moratorium

2014 November 18
by Gail Spector

The Board of Aldermen last night rejected the proposed one-year moratorium on the demolition of one- and two-family houses, according to a story by Jim Morrison on Wicked Local Newton.

And, according to some eyewitnesses on Twitter, things got intense:

Well, Well, Well

2014 November 18
by Sallee Lipshutz

We may soon be asked to support some fundamental changes in the manner that water, sewer and storm water rates are to be calculated for residential, commercial and non-profit property owners in the City. The BOA Public Facilities Committee and the City have been addressing issues of fairness and equitability, while being extremely sensitive to the potential for any financial burden that might be imposed on our most economically fragile citizens.

But…in all the presentations and calculations I have noticed something missing. Not Wells Avenue, but wells. The kind that people can and have installed on their properties. (I believe Health Department permits indicate that there are 200-300 already in service in Newton, with more being dug.) read more…

Billy Meleady saves the day (again)

2014 November 18
by Jerry Reilly

BillyThis past Sunday was the final performance of the Newton Nomadic Theater’s production of “Faith Healer” at Dunn Gaherins pub in Upper Falls.  It was a fabulous night and a great performance.  Sitting in the audience that night was actress Brooke Adams who has starred in films, TV and Broadway shows.  She is a personal friend of “Faith Healer’s” Billy Meleady (Teddy the manager) and she is married to actor Tony Shalhoub (TV’s Monk).  Both Ms. Adams and her husband are in town to perform in Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s production of “Happy Days” which opens tonight at Babson College.

Sunday night Brooke Adams had a great time at Dunn Gaherins and loved the show.  Monday morning Billy Meleady got a phone call from her.  Her husband, Tony Shalhoub, was sick and wasn’t going to be able to perform in Happy Days on Tuesday night.   Could Billy step in for Tony Shalhoub?  He would have only a day and a half to read more…

Retired Newton Police Chief William Quinn has died

2014 November 17
by Gail Spector

The Newton Police and the Newton TAB are reporting that former Newton Police Chief William Quinn died this weekend at age 86.

On behalf of Village14, I extend our condolences to the Chief’s family and to his former colleagues and friends at the Newton Police Department.

City’s response to TAB allegations re: Open Meeting Law violations

2014 November 17
by Gail Spector

Given that Emily Costello was all over this issue, I do not understand why she didn’t release this document in September when she received it. It contains Matt Hills’ explanation as to what happened regarding the posted meeting times, the lack of detail in the minutes, and the agenda for the meetings.

Regarding meeting agendas: It’s interesting to note that only the first one listed collective bargaining as its reason for meeting. In the following two meetings, Hills realized his mistake and listed personnel matter. Remember, among other things, Costello accused the School Committee of meeting secretly three times.

Want some energy democracy?

2014 November 16
by Nathan Phillips

Fossil energy money won big on election day, from defeating the bottle bill to a new Keystone XL – cheerleading congress and a Senate Chair on Energy who says global warming is a hoax.  Millennials, who see more clearly where we’re headed than many of their elders, voted at a dismal rate.   I believe this may have been more out of a sense of hopelessness than apathy.  I share that sense of powerlessness some times.

That’s why direct energy democracy is so, literally, empowering.  Solar panels physically decentralize and democratize our energy system and constitute an irrevocable physical vote for clean energy and a stable climate.   And while investor-owned utilities and their fossil industry allies are fighting tooth and nail to slow the spread of wind and solar in states all across the country, the business, resilience, and environmental case for solar and wind are too powerful to stop.

Newton has just launched its third and most homegrown solar initiative, the Newton Solar Challenge, which you can learn more about today at 4pm at the Auburndale Library, or this coming Wednesday evening at the same place.

Newton homeowner and Barnraise Energy principal John Tourtellote is one of the partners in this effort, and discusses this program over at the I Love Newton blog.

Newton School Committee revises minutes from Fleishman plagiarism incident UPDATED

2014 November 14
by Village 14

The Attorney General’s office had previously deemed the original notes insufficient, The TAB’s Jenna Fisher reports.

 Update:  Full copy of the revised minutes posted here.

Further update: City’s response to Newton TAB’s complaint to AG regarding violation of Open Meeting Law.