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Closings and Openings in Newton

2014 July 29
by Chris Steele

The past few years have generally been good for retail in Newton’s village centers, especially with all of the new restaurants coming into the City. Even so, we have also lost stores that have been part of our community for quite a while. We NvillePethave also lost a few new additions that seemed like they were locally loved, but which didn’t quite make it.

Newtonville Pets have announced that they will be closing soon, and Waban’s Freeze will shut its doors today for the last time.  Newbury comics closed its Newton Store on Needham Street a few months ago. All appear to be closing for very different reasons, but it does mean that we have empty storefronts in our village centers and commercial corridors.

Economically, times are better than they have been in a while.  We see this in all of the different development projects that are either going on now or which are being discussed around the City.  However, is the small village merchant feeling the same prosperity?

I have spoken with many of the local business owners and have my own opinions about what is andFreeze is not working.  What do you think about our local shops and merchants? What challenges do they face that we can and should address as a City?

Also, what would you like to see go into the vacant storefronts? What kinds of stores would you be willing to shop at and support?


Much skepticism at Austin Street meeting

2014 July 29
by Julia Malakie

AustinStAerealIt’s taken me awhile to make this audio user-friendly by adding tracks, so I’ll keep the post short.

There was a woman who is really excited by the project. Just one little issue — 80 units is ‘crazy.’ How about 20?

Here’s the audio.

Some aldermen attended. I saw and talked to Emily Norton, Brian Yates and Greg Schwartz, and was told Ruthann Fuller was there, and maybe a fifth but I don’t remember. So correct me if I’ve left anyone out. Oh, and the mayor was there, the whole time. Don’t want to forget the mayor like Matt Hills.  ;-)

Storytellers Wanted

2014 July 28
by Jerry Reilly

WhatsYourStoryThe Moth Radio Hour started on NPR about 5 years ago and has been wildly successful.  The format is simple – regular people tell a true story from their personal experience.  If you’ve ever heard the radio show, its compelling listening.

The Moth story phenomenon seems to have spread quickly with regular Moth events in cities across the country.  In addition to the official Moth events it seems to have read more…

Austin Street meeting tonight

2014 July 28
by Village 14

Note: This tread was originally posted one week ago and has been moved up as a reminder.

The second input session for the Austin Street project will be held at the Newton North High School cafeteria is tonight Monday, July 28 from 7-9 p.m.

This session will include a summary report of the input received at the firstcommunity input session as well as a presentation and discussion of the Greenman Pedersen Inc. (GPI) parking study conducted in the Newtonville village area.

As usual, after the meeting, come back to Village 14 and continue to talk about it here.

How should Newton move forward following the David Fleishman plagiarism revelations?

2014 July 28
by Greg Reibman

Last week on Wicked Local, School Committee Chairman Matt Hills suggested that the School Committee was ready to move on from the David Fleishman plagiarism incident and return its focus to other issues facing our schools.

MattHills-pictureThis is “a very serious issue,” Hills said. “But we’ve acted appropriately. The decision is done. It’s behind us now, and everyone – including the superintendent – is moving forward.

Hills clarified his comment to me in an email this weekend, saying he meant the committee is moving on but that it was up to the community to determine how, when or if it wants to move on.

I think that’s a reasonable position, although I know some will disagree.

(However, I do think there’s some issues related to how the SC deliberated this; why Fleishman’s remarks weren’t made public sooner;  and whether the SC followed proper procedures that I hope the TAB, The Globe and perhaps the Secretary of State, will thoroughly investigate. But that’s a topic for a different thread.)

But the topic I’d like to discuss here is: Where do we as a community go from here? While some may clamor for Fleishman to be fired, it’s read more…

Friday afternoon quarterbacking: What David Fleishman might have done

2014 July 25
by Greg Reibman

As I noted in a comment earlier, this week’s revelations surrounding Newton Superintendent of Shools David Fleishman’s plagiarism is a conundrum for our community.

On the one hand, I think Fleishman is a terrific superintendent and I want him to continue leading our school department.

On the other hand, he’s a role model and the unattributed use of someone’s work is an offense our schools rightly take seriously.

More troubling to me is the near-month gap between when it became clear that this took place and when it became public.  Fleishman’s disappointing non-apology acknowledgment doesn’t help.

I realize it’s very easy to suggest what someone should have done after read more…

Get your hands dirty at the Allen House!

2014 July 25
by Kara Robbins

AH_Front_WebIf you’ve ever driven down Webster St. in West Newton you have probably noticed the Nathaniel Allen House and wondered “what is that?!” Besides being a beautiful property with impressive educational and historic roots, it is the Newton Cultural Alliance’s rehabilitation and rejuvenation project. The ultimate goal for the property is to establish it as a dynamic center for arts and culture. There is an enormous amount of planning and fundraising to do and approvals to obtain before we get there so, in the meantime, we’re starting the sweat equity campaign!

On Wednesday we had our first Yard Cleanup Day and it was a great success! There is another one tomorrow, Saturday, July 26 from 10am-2pm (though someone will be there starting at 9 if you’re an early bird). Consider joining us! We’re pulling weeds, removing trash, making way for new landscaping, and generally beautifying. Bring your favorite yard tools (especially gloves). Brute strength is also welcome!

There’s no experience necessary! I, for one, can hardly identify a dormant flower from a weed but the inimitable Julia Malakie was there Wednesday and she showed me the evil garlic mustard weed and I made it my job to find every last one and pull it up!

The Nathaniel Allen House is located at 35 Webster St (intersection of Webster and Cherry St) in West Newton. There is parking available in a lot on the Cherry St side of the house plus plenty of parking in West Newton. After you spend some time in the yard you can reward yourself with one of the delicious fresh lemonades from the stand at the new Elm St Farmers Market – sounds like a satisfying Saturday!

Questions? Call NCA at 617.332.4300.

AH_Yard_72314_3    AH_Yard_72314_1


Here’s some of the media coverage of the Fleishman speech

2014 July 25
by Greg Reibman

Here’s a sampling of the coverage related to Newton School Superintendent David Fleishman’ plagiarizing Gov. Deval Patrick in a commencement speech read more…

Newton School Committee fines Fleishman, here’s the statement

2014 July 24
by Gail Spector

Statement from School Committee on Fleishman graduation speech:

July 24, 2014

The Newton School Committee has discussed the recent issue regarding Superintendent Fleishman’s high school graduation speeches.  We have accepted the Superintendent’s acknowledgment to us and have determined that the appropriate action is that he be fined one week of salary.

We first became aware of the issue on June 27.  The School Committee and its Chair had several calls and meetings with the Superintendent and met in Executive Session in June and July.  We agreed with Superintendent Fleishman’s acknowledgment as to what, in retrospect, he should have done, and we determined an appropriate action.

David Fleishman has had a strong career as an educational leader, and we have seen exceptional growth and progress in our schools during his four years as Newtonís superintendent.  We are eager to move forward with David as the superintendent of the Newton Public Schools, and we look forward to many more years of working together.  We have many important opportunities and serious challenges ahead, and we are confident that David is the right leader to continue moving our system forward.

Newton School Committee

Matt Hills, Chair

Margie Ross Decter, Vice-Chair

Ellen Gibson

Margaret Albright

Angela Pitter Wright

Diana Fisher Gomberg

Steve Siegel

Ruth Goldman

Statement from David Fleishman

2014 July 24
by Gail Spector

Superintendent David Fleishman released the following statement this afternoon about the Lion’s Roar’s suggestion that he plagiarized Governor Deval Patrick during his graduation speech to Newton South High School:

July 24, 2014

As someone who writes a range of pieces that are distributed to the broader public on a regular basis, I am well aware of the importance of citing appropriate sources. ~I am also cognizant of the notion that public officials need to be as careful in their spoken remarks as they are in their written remarks-something that too often gets lost. ~ The recent article in the Lion’s Roar is an invaluable reminder of the importance of doing so and I am appreciative of their work in highlighting this issue.

In retrospect, I should have cited the Governor in my remarks as I did David McCullough Jr. ~In my judgment, it is essential that public officials not only accept critical feedback but acknowledge when we have made mistakes. ~Because I believe in accountability and transparency, I have requested that some type of action be taken by the School Committee and it be made public.

David Fleishman

Superintendent of Schools


Lions Roar questions originality of Superintendent Fleishman’s commencement speech

2014 July 23

If you have trouble reading the document below, try this link.

Videos from the two events are on the jump. read more…

Quigley wants to put land sale and 40B on ballot

2014 July 23
by Greg Reibman

Sarah Quigley, one of the opponents of the Austin Street development is hoping to put two non-binding questions on the ballot this fall, Jenna Fisher from the Newton TAB reports.

But why wait until November? Here’s your chance to vote here.

Question 1

Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote for legislation to require that a majority of the voters in a municipality approve the sale of any municipally owned real estate containing more than 7,500 square feet of land?

Question 2

Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote for legislation that would allow elected officials, in communities that have taken steps to promote affordable housing at a local level, to have binding input regarding density, required parking, and other project characteristics to the extent that those changes would help to protect existing neighborhoods and businesses from negative impacts on infrastructure and public services, when a zoning board of appeals is deciding whether to approve an application for a comprehensive permit to build affordable housing in that locality under Chapter 40B of the General Laws?