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VILLAGE 14 POLL: Ward 3 aldermen contest

2014 August 1

Four candidates — Francis Azzarto, Barbara Brousal-Glaser, Jeanne Marrazzo and Maria Manning — will compete Sept. 9 in a run off election for the Ward 3 Aldermen’s seat left vacent following the death of alderman Sal Salvucci.

The TAB’s Jenna Fisher published short profiles of each candidate this week.

Who do you support? Vote in our poll and make your pitch in the comments section.

Candidates, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section too! (And tell us if you have a website, I could only find one for Brousal-Glaser.)

Superintendent Fleishman apologizes to school families

2014 July 31
by Village 14

Newton’s Superintendent of Schools David Fleishman emailed this letter to school families today…

July 30, 2014

Dear Families,

By now, many of you have read or heard media reports regarding the controversy surrounding my graduation speeches this past spring.  The students, families, community and faculty deserved far better from me and it is hard to put into words my deep regret and sorrow over my actions.

First, it was inexcusable that my graduation speech included several phrases and thoughts that were similar to the radio excerpts I heard from Governor Patrick’s speech.  It was essential that Governor Patrick be credited and cited for his words, and while it was not my intent to be so careless and intellectually dishonest, this was a very serious omission on my part.  I am terribly sorry for what I have done and for letting the community down.

Second, I apologize for not putting greater thought and time into my speeches.  As one who typically devotes considerable energy to both my written pieces and speeches, I learned a tough lesson about doing things in a sloppy and hasty manner.

Perhaps the most painful aspect of this episode is my failure to lead by example, something that I take very seriously.  I fully recognize that trust and confidence is an essential aspect of successful leadership and I am very sorry for what has been lost.  I am fully aware that it is up to me to restore such trust and confidence in the community and I will do everything possible to make that happen.

In the field of education, we often talk about learning from failures.  I can assure you that I have learned from mine.  As I have said many times, I consider it a great privilege to lead such an excellent school system and look forward to continuing to address the important opportunities and challenges ahead.


David Fleishman

Newton TAB editorial comes down hard on School Chair Hills

2014 July 30
by Greg Reibman

Without actually ever using the work “plagiarism” today’s Newton TAB editorial criticizes Newton Superintendent of Schools David Fleishman for never actually saying he was sorry for having “lifted phrases” (The TAB’s word choice) without attribution from Gov. Deval Patrick.

But the editorial comes down even harder on  School Committee Chairman Hills and for the way he has overseen the controversy.

When a teacher came to Hills in late June with the allegation School Superintendent David Fleishman had lifted phrases from a speech given by Gov. Deval Patrick at Boston University without citing his source, the school committee acted like the worst of corporate boards – hiding what they knew while they met secretly three times, apparently to discuss damage control.

There is no evidence the board encouraged Fleishman to come forward, or that he considered doing so. Instead, the school committee apparently circled the wagons to protect their “CEO.”

This is by far the harshest criticism of  an elected official we’ve seen in the TAB since Emily Costello became editor in 2012.   After you’ve read it. come back here and discuss.



Steamers loses a customer

2014 July 30
by Greg Reibman

Felix DoubrontI was sorry to hear that Red Sox pitcher Felix Doubront was traded to the Cubs today but probably not as much as the folks at Steamers in Nonantum are.


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?


Bike4Life ride to raise funds for LivableStreets

2014 July 29
by Adam Peller

Bike4Life logo
The event is a celebration of the life of Bob Zeeb, a longtime Newton School administrator who died in a tragic bicycling accident in 2009. This year’s ride will benefit LivableStreets, an advocacy group for safe streets and vibrant communities. It will take place on September 13, starting and ending at Auburndale Park. There will be 24- and 40-mile routes and also 4- and 8-mile routes for kids. See the Bike4Life website for details.

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.

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