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Here’s why Lisle Baker and Jim Cote voted no on Newton’s medical marijuana facility

2014 October 21
by Greg Reibman

The TAB’s Jim Morrison has posted a story about last night’s historic 21-2 vote by Newton Aldermen Monday in favor of approving a special permit for Garden Remedies, the medical marijuana dispensary to be located on Washington Street.

Jim’s article quotes the two aldermen who voted no on what could conceivably be the first medical marijana clinic in the state, following overwhelming votes in support of the clinics both statewide and in Newton in 2012.

Alderman Lisle Baker voted against the special permit for several reasons, including discrepancies between information Garden Remedies submitted to the state and information it submitted to the city, traffic concerns, plus the fact that buying, selling and using marijuana remains a federal crime.

“In good conscience,” Baker said, “I cannot support the item.”

Alderman Jim Cote, who voted in favor of the special permit as a member on the Land Use Committee, voted against it as a member of the full board.

“It’s a new law, but it doesn’t mean we have to support the law,” Cote said. “As a parent of 10, I can’t support the introduction of a substance to a community that isn’t legal in the country.”

New TAB editor Andy Levin introduces himself

2014 October 21
by Greg Reibman

The TAB’s new editor isn’t new to Newton. Here’s Andy Levin’s inaugural column.

Newton Resident on the Front Lines of Ebola

2014 October 21
by Chuck Tanowitz

Despite the hype in the US about Ebola, the real battle is happening in Africa. It’s there that people don’t have the resources to fight the disease as effectively as we do here in the US.

One Newton resident, Steve Hatch, is on the front lines of that “war.” He penned a great essay before he left about why he’s doing this work, that appeared in the New York Times. The Times also chronicled his daily life there and last night, Anderson Cooper had the privilege of speaking to him.

If everything goes well Steve will be home to his wife and children in November. My friends and I have a bottle of nice bottle of scotch waiting for him.

Newton Aldermen approve medical marijuana clinic on Washington Street

2014 October 20
by Greg Reibman

The will of Massachusetts voters prevailed over fear tonight when Newton Aldermen voted to allow Garden Remedies a special permit to operate a medical marijuana clinic at 697 Washington Street. The vote was 21 in favor with two (Baker and Cote) opposed.

It’s another Upper Falls party

2014 October 20

20140916_152044For the last two years, two Upper Falls businesses, Dunn Gaherins and Better Life Food, have put together the fabulous Feast of the Falls. It’s a remarkable catered dinner for 300 people at one long table in Hemlock Gorge.  The tickets are handed out free to residents of the Upper Falls neighborhood and the neighbors loves it.

Well they’re at it again.  Dunn Gaherins and Better Life Food are going to underwrite the final performance of the Newton Nomadic Theater’s critically acclaimed production of “Faith Healer” and give all the tickets away free to the residents of Upper Falls.

Both Dunn Gaherins and Better Life Food  have been sponsors of the new theater right from the start.  As they watched this first production take off they were tickled to see this new Upper Falls based theater gain traction. “How cool is it that we’ve got a fabulous read more…

A first for Newton schools?

2014 October 20
by Nathan Phillips

All of Newton’s public schools are named after men*. But four of Newton’s public schools aren’t named after anyone. Isn’t it time to honor a notable Newton woman? Who would you choose?

*Albert Angier, Edward Bowen, Charles Burr, John Cabot, Ben Franklin, Horace Mann, Abe Lincoln, John Eliot, David Mason, Marshall Rice, Frank Spaulding, Cyrus Pierce, Adin Underwood, John Ward, Thomas Williams, Frank Zervas, Henry Bigelow, Charles Brown, Frank Day.

POLL: Ballot Question Four (Earned Sick Time)

2014 October 20
by Greg Reibman

Ballot Question Four would entitle employees in Massachusetts to earn and use sick time according to certain conditions. Employees who work for employers having eleven or more employees could earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year, while employees working for smaller employers could earn and use up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time per calendar year.

Read more about the proposed law here.

New Newton Highlands Google group

2014 October 19
by Jerry Reilly

Many villages and neighborhoods across the city have “listserves” or Google Groups for linking residents together for talking about everything from neighborhood development projects, to lost dogs, to recommendations for babysitters.   They are a great way for neighbors to stay in touch and know what’s happening in the area.

A new one’s recently been set up in Newton Highlands.  Anyone can join, so if you’re interested in keeping a tab on what’s going on in the Highlands, go to and sign yourself up.


POLL: Ballot Question Three (Casinos)

2014 October 19
by Greg Reibman

Careful the way Question Three is worded can be confusing. Here’s the details.

This proposed law would (1) prohibit the Massachusetts Gaming Commission from issuing any license for a casino or other gaming establishment with table games and slot machines, or any license for a gaming establishment with slot machines; (2) prohibit any such casino or slots gaming under any such licenses that the Commission might have issued before the proposed law took effect; and (3) prohibit wagering on the simulcasting of live greyhound races.

The proposed law would change the definition of “illegal gaming” under Massachusetts law to include wagering on the simulcasting of live greyhound races, as well as table games and slot machines at Commission-licensed casinos, and slot machines at other Commission-licensed gaming establishments. This would make those types of gaming subject to existing state laws providing criminal penalties for, or otherwise regulating or prohibiting, activities involving illegal gaming.

Growing Newton’s transportation sharing economy

2014 October 18
by Nathan Phillips


Projects like Zervas should be informed in part by innovations in the transportation sharing economy, where mobile apps put excess capacity of seats, cars, and parking spaces to practical and efficient use Here are some examples:

Zipcar (fleet car share)
relayride (peer car share)
Spot (private parking space share)
uber/lyft (peer ride share)
scoot networks (electric scooter share)
hubway (fleet bike share)
nuride (peer ride share)

POLL: Ballot Question Two (Expanded Bottle Bill)

2014 October 18
by Greg Reibman

Here’s the next in our series of Village 14 Blog polls related to the question on the Nov. 4 statewide ballot.

Question two would expand the state’s beverage container deposit law, also known as the Bottle Bill, to require deposits on containers for all non-alcoholic non-carbonated drinks in liquid form intended for human consumption, except beverages primarily derived from dairy products, infant formula, and FDA approved medicines. The proposed law would not cover containers made of paper-based biodegradable material and aseptic multi-material packages such as juice boxes or pouches.

There’s a lot more to the proposed law. Go here to read the full proposal and arguments.

Study: Millennials really are different from us baby boomers

2014 October 15
by Greg Reibman

This report was done in Maryland but Nathan Phillips suggests that perhaps it should be applied to the way we think about Austin Street..

“Millennials are different from their parents, and those differences aren’t going away,” Maryland PIRG Director Emily Scarr said in a statement. “After five years of economic growth with stagnant driving, it’s time for federal and Maryland government to wake up to growing evidence that millennials don’t want to drive as much as their parents did. This change has big implications and policy makers shouldn’t be asleep at the wheel.”