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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.”

POLL: Ballot Question One (Eliminating Gas Tax Indexing)

2014 October 17
by Greg Reibman

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

Question one would eliminate the requirement that the state’s gasoline tax, which was 24 cents per gallon as of September 2013, (1) be adjusted every year by the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index over the preceding year, but (2) not be adjusted below 21.5 cents per gallon.

If you can’t reduce the number of aldermen you can at least reduce how much they drink

2014 October 15
by Greg Reibman

Ted Hess-Mahan posted this on Twitter tonight. Maybe if they’re really thirsty, aldermen meetings will end sooner

More on Newton North’s gym floor

2014 October 15
by Jerry Reilly

Today’s Boston Globe had an article by Ellen Ishkanian about the problems with gaps developing between some of the floorboards in the gym.  According to the article, no decision has been made yet about whether the floor will need to be replaced.    They’re going to watch it over the winter .  If it’s eventually determined that it does need to be replaced they’d do the work next summer.  The city’s Chief Financial Officer Maureen Lemieux was quoted as saying “Right now, honestly, we’re still not sure”.

The article said that Commissioner of Public Buildings Joshua Morse put the price tag at $117,000.   That’s roughly 1/2 the price mentioned in Julia Malakie’s earlier post here on Village 14.  Julia’s number came from a bid solicitation that the city put out on 9/11/14 that showed both the “Est. Low Value”and “Est. High Value”as $225,00.

It still not clear too me what that $225,000 figure represents and why it’s twice the price mentioned by Joshua Morse.

In any case, its sounds like the city believes that there’s still a good possibility that the floor may not need to be replaced after all.


Soldiers’ Stories – Sept, Oct

2014 October 14
by Jerry Reilly


Newton’s newly restored Civil War Soldier’s Monument was just re-dedicated this past spring.  It was built in 1864 to commemorate the Newton men that died in that war.

Each month this year, Katy Holmes from Newton’s Planning Dept  has been compiling  biographies,  from all available records, for each soldier who’s name appears on the monument.  Throughout this year, Katy has been releasing biographies on the month of each soldier’s death.

Here are five more Newton Civil War soldier’s stories:

read more…

Coming Soon – The month long Newton Festival of the Arts

2014 October 14

NewtonFestivalLogoOK, not too soon but …. big plans are afoot for a month long Newton Festival of the Arts, next May at locations all over the city.  The festival will span everything from music, dance, visual arts, theater, film, to culinary arts and will feature a full calendar of events for the entire month of May 2015.

The Mayors Office of Cultural Affairs and Newton Community Pride are the umbrella organizations pulling it all together.  They’re working with 40+ Newton arts organization so far and new ones continue to be added.  If you’re involved with any Newton based arts group and want to take part, contact Linda Plaut ( to be part of the festival.

Our brand new Newton Nomadic Theater just signed up this morning to throw a Nomad Story Slam at Gregorian Rugs in Lower Falls as part of the festival.

If you want to help get the Newton Festival of the Arts off the ground, go shop at Whole Foods today and 5% of your purchases will be donated to the festival.

It sounds like it should be one month long, art infused, Newton party.

Medical marijuana dispensary approval one step closer

2014 October 13
by Gail Spector

The Land Use Committee last week unanimously approved the special permit for Garden Remedies, the medical marijuana dispensary slated to open on Washington Street in Newtonville, according to a story by Ellen Ishkanian in yesterday’s GlobeWest. The full board will vote on it next week.

I was happy to read that Alderman Norton is no longer opposed to the dispensary special permit. She was quoted as follows:

“I had great concern, particularly related to security and the amount of cash that would be at the site. To my mind, those have been largely addressed.”

Who wants some good free stuff?

2014 October 13
by Jerry Reilly

bulbs2There’s a pretty amazing FREE service available to anyone in Newton (actually in all of Massachusetts) who pays NStar or National Grid utility bills.   A small sliver of our utility bills goes towards energy conservation efforts.   Here in Newton this is administered by  Energy Smart Newton.   Go to their web site and you can sign up for a free energy audit.  Someone will come to your house, check it all out, and pinpoint the various places where you could make a dent in your energy (electric, heating ..) bills.  Better yet, read more…

VIDEO: Everybody agrees with each other on ‘Common Ground’

2014 October 13
by Greg Reibman

Here’s the anticipated video of the latest edition of Ken Parker’s NewTV program “Common Ground” featuring Alderman Amy Sangiolo, former Alderman Rodney Barker, Matt Yospin and Steve Feinstein discussing historic preservation (specifically, the proposed demolition moratorium) and the six ballot questions (casino gambling, paid medical leave, gas tax for bridges, bottle bill, sale of municipal property, and Chapter 40B reform).

No disrespect to the four guests on this program but I think Parker needs to work harder to find participants with more diverse views if he wants to make his “common ground” premise work.