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POLL: Your choice for State Treasurer in the Dem primary?

2014 August 27
by Village 14

Three candidates — State Sen. Barry Finegold, state Rep. Tom Conroy and Brookline businesswoman Deb Goldberg — are competing for the Democratic nomination for State Treasurer on Sept. 9. Who are you voting for and why?

Weeks Field is closed…but for what and for how long?

2014 August 26
by Greg Reibman

That’s the question Mary Ann Hill aka @saltwaterhill tweeted this morning.

She later tweeted this photo to Village 14 …

Owly Images

Is it time to finally move Newton’s high school start times?

2014 August 26
by Greg Reibman

Yet another study and round of news reports are reviving the issue of later school starts for teens. Here’s a story from the Wall Street Journal.

and here’s a study from the National Sleep Foundation.

there’s even a website called

(Cue Mike Striar)

Newton’s Gracia Leydon Mahoney places 4th in Youth Olympic Games

2014 August 26
by Greg Reibman

Gracia Leydon Mahoney,  a recent Newton North graduate, finished fourth in the women’s 3-meter springboard contest Monday at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. Here’s the TAB story and the Herald’s story.

You can watch the full event here (you can see one of Leydon Mahoney’s dives at about the 53:00 mark)…

and here’s a recent story that aired on Channel 4

City responds to column about the Newton’s LED street lights

2014 August 26
by Greg Reibman

Rob Garrity, Newton’s Director of Sustainability has a written a response to the TAB column by Jeff Hecht who believes Newton selected the wrong type of LED bulbs for it city street lamps.

The new lights provide a “truer” color than the old High Pressure Sodium lights, greatly assisting visibility and enhancing public safety. In addition, the new LED lights are more trained which better illuminates the roadway and casts less of a glare into homes. Individual concerns about specific fixtures and light intrusion can usually be addressed with a minor adjustment.

If you build it, they can afford it

2014 August 22
by Greg Reibman

135 wells aveSometimes in the middle of the debate over 135 Wells Ave.  Austin Street  and similar projects in  neighboring communities, the discussion will turn to:

But who is possibly going to want to live in those places and be able to afford the rents?

One answer is: Tech workers.

Or so this survey in the Boston Business Journal suggests.

The innovation economy is hot and, in many cases,  the people who work in read more…

BLOG POLL: How much weight should we give to online polls, surveys and even dots?

2014 August 22
by Greg Reibman

In her latest op-ed column in the TAB, Austin Street development opponent Kathleen Kouril Grieser announced that the (still mysterious) anti-development citizens group Newton Villages Alliance has just created an on-line poll “to clarify how Newtonville envisions Austin Street, going forward.”

This new survey follows an often-cited poll  conducted by the Newtonville Area Council in February, which Kouril Grieser dismisses because it had “bias built into survey questions,” as well as the city’s own Austin Street Dotmocracy .

A similar survey was conducted recently in Newton Highlands and Waban to gauge feelings about the Zervas School Expansion Project (analyzed here by project critic Steve Feinstein).

And, of course, this blog, and  the TAB Blog have used online polls for years in Newton about everything from school naming rights to what someone’s day job is to killing bears to this musical show down .

I’ve never suggested taking our online blogs  seriously.  And certainly anyone who has compared the results of Village 14′s various election-related polls knows that they are far from true barometers of anything except perhaps which campaign has (a) the most time on its hands and (b) knows the most about clearing cookies. (Although this one proved to be spot on!)

So how seriously should we take these things?  Naturally, we’ve created a poll to find out!

Governor’s Council debate: Devaney vs. Shapiro

2014 August 22

Here’s a somewhat entertaining debate between the two Democrats — Marilyn Petitto Devaney and Charlie Shapiro — seeking their party’s nomination for the Governor’s Council on Sept. 9.

Newton Villages relaunches its website (and doesn’t keep its members a secret)

2014 August 19
by Greg Reibman

nvaThe advocacy group Newton Villages, which calls itself “A City-wide Coalition to Improve our Village Centers,” was formed in 2009 but has been inactive for a while.

But perhaps in response to all the recent development developments — as well as the recently formed citizens’ group Newton Villages Alliance (which says its about “Preserving the Character and Scale of the Garden City”)  — Newton Villages has just relaunched its website.

And unlike the mysterious NVA, this group isn’t shy about divulging who is on its steering committee or perhaps that it enjoys beer and watching Channel 4.

Hecht: Newton used the wrong type of LED bulbs

2014 August 18
by Greg Reibman

Jeff Hecht,  a science and technology writer who lives in Auburndale,  wrote about Newton’s new street light replacement program, in the Newton TAB last week.

When we returned from vacation at the end of July, the LED street lights we found in our Auburndale neighborhood were a huge disappointment. The new LED bulbs emit an extremely harsh, glaring bluish light that intrudes into our house. The lighting that reaches the ground seems several times brighter than the old street lamps, much brighter than is needed at night. The glare washes out the sky. When I went outside on a night with a few clouds, I could see only a handful of stars and the moon looked dim in comparison with the glaring streetlights.

….This is not just a problem of appearance. The body’s daily rhythm of alertness and rest depend on receptors in the eye that respond to blue light. As the sun rises higher in the sky, the fraction of blue light increases and we become more alert; as the sun sinks low, the fraction of blue light drops and we get ready for sleep. Too much blue light at the wrong time can disrupt some people’s sleeps. Animals have a similar sensory response, so bright bluish streetlights will disrupt their diurnal rhythms. Bright night lighting can also affect plants.

Ice Bucket Challenge – Is Our Children Learning?

2014 August 15
by Doug Haslam

I’m going to assume that most people who come to this blog have heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge – essentially, it is one of those social tagging games, where you ask three friends to do something silly, and they have to ask three friends. In this case the silly thing is to dump a bucket of ice water over your head and post a video of yourself doing it. This incarnation of the Challenge was created by former BC athlete Peter Frates to raise awareness of ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and encourage donations to the ALS Association. All noble and for a good cause- in fact, it has been reported, as this Challenge spread throughout the Web, that more than $4 million dollars have been raised, compered to less than a third of that in the same period last year.

What does this have to do with Newton?

I found out about the Challenge through my son. I didn’t know at the time that it was based on read more…

Governor’s Council and Ward 3 Alderman debates Sept. 3

2014 August 14
by Village 14

Join NewTV and the League of Women Voters of Newton (LWVN) for an evening with the candidates for the Governor’s Council (3rd District) and for Ward 3 Ward Alderman.  Audience members can watch the debates live from the NewTV conference room.  The debate will also be shown at a later day/time on NewTV’s Government Channel and on the web at

Send us your questions!  NewTV and LWVN want to hear from you about the issues and questions you read more…