The Mayor’s Briefing: Egg Hunt Tomorrow

On Saturday morning, the Beansprout Toy Shop and Beanstalk are sponsoring an Egg Hunt for children 3-8. Come to Fred Green Field at 10 a.m. sharp to enjoy the egg hunt and children’s activities and meet the Easter Bunny! We suggest you park at the Knoll or on Tremont Street, as there are also events going on in the high school.

Here’s what else is going on around the city:

DPW
This is a red recycle week
The next metal pickup will be on Tuesday, April 9
Next week there will be curbside yard waste pickup

Events
April 4, 6:30-9 p.m., Melrose Marketplace, women’s shopping night, Memorial Hall. Sponsored by the Melrose Chamber of Commerce; a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Melrose YMCA Growing Stronger Together Campaign.
April 6, 9 a.m., CommuniTree Community Art Event, Melrose Common
April 7, Melrose Symphony Orchestra Family Concert. Pre-concert instrument “petting zoo” starts at 1:30, concert at 3. Tickets are $10 for adults, $3 for children under 18, available online or at Sweet Thoughts or Miter Biter.
April 12, 10 a.m., Kids Club, featuring Kidzfun, Memorial Hall

Library
The library will be closed on Sunday, March 31.

Meetings
April 1, 7:30 p.m., Board of Aldermen, Finance Committee, Aldermanic Chamber
April 1, 7:45 p.m., Board of Aldermen, Aldermanic Chamber
April 2, 7 p.m., Human Rights Commission, Mayor’s Conference Room
April 2, 7 p.m., Memorial Hall Board of Trustees, GAR Room, Memorial Hall
April 2, 7:30 p.m., Library Board of Trustees, Trustees Room, Melrose Public Library
April 3, 5:30 p.m., Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, Mayor’s Conference Room
April 4, 7 a.m., Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational School, Budget Subcommittee, 100 Hemlock Road, Wakefield
April 10, 7:45 p.m., Board of Appeals, Aldermanic Chamber

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Solar Energy, Solar Education

Chris Ludlow commented that our solar PV installation on the roof of Melrose High School would be a great opportunity to educate our students about renewable energy.

Done!

It’s not quite the career training that Chris suggests, but our provider, Ameresco, has a Solar PV Educational Program designed to teach students about the benefits of renewable energy, the science behind the technology, and the theory used in system design, which is certainly a good starting point and will hopefully pique some students’ interest in pursuing a career in renewable energy.

The program is designed to provide teachers at all grade levels with teaching materials that include background and technical information as well as lesson plans. The materials are classified by grade level, and the units are independent so teachers can pick and choose among the topics.

The curriculum includes 15 topics that range from an introduction to renewable energy to analysis of actual data. The topics include

  • Renewable Energy
  • A History of Solar Photovoltaic Power
  • Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Basics
  • Electromagnetic Radiation
  • Solar Irradiance
  • The Earth’s Path
  • The Sun’s Angles
  • The Photovoltaic Effect
  • Solar Cell Types
  • Electrical Basics in PV Wiring
  • Cell Parameters and I-V Curves
  • Factors Affecting Performance
  • Inverters
  • Design Process
  • Data Analysis

For students with an interest in technology and renewable energy, this program provides a solid background as well as exposure to some of the thinking behind solar technology.

Come Join Our CommuniTree Community Art Project

CommuniTree Art Flier

I would like to invite everyone who reads this to participate in the CommuniTree Art Project on April 6 and April 27-28.

This two-part project combines caring for our community by cleaning up our parks and creating as a community by transforming trash and found objects into an art installation.

I think this is a fantastic idea, and I am doubly pleased that we are supporting it with a Messina Grant. This is a creative solution that raises awareness of a problem while simultaneously taking direct action to solve it. I look forward to seeing the CommuniTree in many venues around town, always serving as a reminder to take pride in our community and treat our public areas with respect.

The first part of the project is a community-wide park clean-up, which will take place on the morning of April 6. Community participants and pre-determined team leaders from PTOs, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and other organizations will meet at Melrose Common at 9 a.m. to get supplies and assignments, then head out to collect trash and recyclables from Melrose parks. The groups will reconvene at the Common at 11 a.m.

Local artists and members of the public are invited to transform the collected and recycled items into art objects to adorn a grove of tree sculptures at the Melrose Arts Festival at Memorial Hall on April 27 and 28. This art installation will celebrate our efforts to care for our community and inspire others to do the same. The CommuniTrees will be hosted by schools and other community locations throughout the month of May.

The project is being carried out by Kris Rodolico and Jen Blesso of Follow Your Art, a community art studio in Melrose dedicated to providing opportunities for personal creative expression and creative community awareness/social action, as well as Melrose Solid Waste and Recycling Coordinator Jessie Schmitt and Melrose Energy Efficiency Manager Martha Grover. It is supported by a Melrose Messina Fine Arts grant as well as by the Melrose Arts Festival and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

For more information, contact marthasg@verizon.net or jschmitt@cityofmelrose.org.

Deadline Extended for Public Comment on the Woodland Road Changes

I received an e-mail from Friends of the Fells today alerting me that the comment period on the DCR’s plans to modify the historic parkways of the Fells has been extended until Tuesday, April 9. If you share our concerns, please send your comments to ken.kirwin@state.ma.us. Comments should include the project reference number: 15027.

My thoughts on the proposed changes are here.

Here is the text of the e-mail from Friends of the Fells.

Fells Development Alert UPDATE!

Two Week Extension for Comments on DCR Changes to Fells Historic Parkways

The Friends of the Fells has learned that the Department of Conservation and Recreation has requested a two week extension of the public comment deadline on its plans to modify Fells historic parkways later this year in the vicinity of the Langwood Commons redevelopment project.

The new deadline for public comments is Tuesday, April 9th.

This parkway modification plan is the subject of litigation commenced in 2009 in Superior Court. The case was sent back to the Superior Court in 2011 after the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the appeal filed by a group of citizens, the Friends of Fells, and the City of Medford properly stated a claim that the collaboration between DCR and the Langwood Commons developers may be an improper plan to segment the work so the developers could avoid environmental (MEPA) review for their redevelopment project.

DCR is now attempting to circumvent the pending litigation by starting the parkway changes before the Court rules on whether a more comprehensive MEPA environmental review is required for the redevelopment project.

The plaintiffs in the litigation have filed a motion asking the Court to issue an injunction to prevent DCR from proceeding with the plan until the legal appeal is decided.

In its ENF filing DCR now acknowledges the connection between its planned Fells parkway work and additional traffic expected from the development project, but then asks the state to waive all its prior decisions which required a full public review of all potential development related impacts.

DCR parkway alteration plans include:
• removal of seventeen Fells Reservation trees
• adding traffic signals in two locations
• removing the entire length of one of the two Woodland Road southbound traffic lanes

Despite thousands of additional daily traffic trips from the development project, DCR’s ENF states that the parkway changes will not add to the roadway carrying capacity. To review details of the proposed parkway changes click here.

If this attempt to narrow MEPA environmental review is successful, DCR and the developers will have prevented the public from commenting on how the parkway work relates to impacts from the additional 4,500 daily traffic trips generated when the Langwood Commons housing and office project is completed.

In addition, DCR has not addressed concerns raised by the Massachusetts Historical Commission that the parkway alterations would adversely affect the historic character of the historic parkways. A letter sent in September 2012 by the MHC to DCR stated that the proposed parkway changes would compromise the “integrity of the design, setting, materials, and feeling of the historic parkway.”

DCR appears to want to fast track its Fells parkway alteration scheme by urging the state’s environmental secretary to allow only the minimum time for review and comment. Public opposition to closing comments beyond the orginal March 26 deadline has been successful in obtaining a two week extension. But to-date there has been no evening meeting scheduled by DCR so that the public can have the opportunity to review plans for DCR’s alterations of the parkways.

Full environmental review is required to allow sufficient time for a thorough public process and review of all impacts from the planned development project and proposed parkway changes.

Taking action:

New comment deadline, please act now! Send comments to MEPA by Tuesday, April 9.

Send email to bill.gage@state.ma.us

Address your email message to EOEEA Secretary Richard Sullivan, c/o Bill Gage and add MEPA reference #15027 to the subject line:

  • Request a full environmental review of planned Fells parkway alterations and development traffic impacts.
  • Request that DCR withdraw its parkway modification plans until Fells litigation is settled.
  • Request that the an evening public review session should be scheduled by DCR.

Thank you!

The New Senior Van Is Here!

seniorvan1

Our new senior van is up and running! The van was purchased with a $40,000 grant from the Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation and an additional donation from the Friends of the Aging, and we are paying $20,000 annually for the driver. This van will provide a critical service to Melrose seniors, providing rides to medical appointments, affordable shopping, and social events, and I want to thank the Bayrd Foundation for partnering with the City to make it a reality.

Yesterday, I met with members of the Council on Aging, as well as the Friends of the Aging, Council on Aging Director Dawn Folopoulos, Board of Aldermen President Bill Forbes, and Henry Kezer of the Bayrd Foundation, to take a look at the new bus.

seniorvan2

seniorvan3

New Faces on the Veterans Services Advisory Board

Last week, I had the pleasure of reappointing the existing members of the Veterans Services Advisory Board to new terms and appointing two new members. I would like to take the opportunity to introduce them here and highlight some of the work the Board has done recently.

The current members of the board are: Chairman Bob Driscoll, Daniel O’Shea, Michael Galvin, Anthony Gilardi, Jeffery Ugino, James Kelly, Warren Leger, Michael Batchelder, James Keane, Michael Buggy, Marie Ryan, and Anne Hackett. I want to thank the Board for all they do, and especially Chairman Driscoll for his leadership.

Scott Forbes is a decorated Air Force veteran with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan who returned from overseas duty less than six months ago. He immediately sought to get involved with Veterans Services in the City of Melrose and is a great addition to the Advisory Board given his dedication and experience. He brings an additional voice to the Advisory Board that includes our recently discharged population and their inclusion in benefit delivery and event planning processes. He has also been instrumental in helping to raise funds for the Operation Thank You trip to Washington, DC, scheduled for this May.

Lisa Lord is a history teacher at Melrose High School and also volunteers her time mentoring students in the archiving of veterans’ history to include her annual Veterans in the Classroom events and cataloguing veteran participation in our annual Washington, DC, trips. In her free time, she started the Melrose Veterans Memory Project, an online museum that aims to honor our City’s veteran population by cataloguing artifacts, storing oral histories, and recording monuments and events throughout the city.

in the past year, the Melrose Veterans Services Advisory Board has been instrumental in the following:

  • Planning the proposed restoration for the City’s World War I Memorial at The Knoll;
  • Fund-raising and logistics for Operation Resolve and Operation Thank You Washington, DC, trips;
  • Planning and logistics for the Memorial Day Parade, Veterans’ Day events, and other events that honor our city’s veterans;
  • Numerous Job Fairs and activities to promote veteran employment, especially for our recently returned veterans;
  • working with Alderman Frank Wright to pass and promote the Veterans Volunteer Tax Work-Off Program, which will begin this year;
  • Assisted in the passage of local legislation offering property tax relief to soldiers deployed in support of overseas operations;
  • Fund-raising and awareness for the local veterans’ relief fund, Wounded Warrior Project, care packages for deployed soldiers, and other projects.

Solar Energy Proposal for Melrose High School

MHS Solar

If the Board of Aldermen approves a proposal put forward at the Appropriations Committee meeting next week, we will be able to start collecting solar energy on the roof of Melrose High School.

Under the proposal, Ameresco will install and maintain, at its own expense, a 301-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system on the roof of Melrose High School. Melrose will purchase all the electricity generated by the system at a specified rate, starting at 8.16 cents per kilowatt-hour in the first year. Since the solar rate is lower than the utility’s rate for electricity, this will result in considerable savings for the city—a savings of $19,500 in the first year alone.

Not only will this save the city money, it will be a hedge against energy price volatility in the future, and it provides a local source of renewable energy using available roof space.

Technical assistance for the project is being provided by Cadmus, with funding of $10,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and $5,000 from Green Communities.

The full presentation that was made to the Board of Aldermen last week is below.

BOA Solar PPA Presentation_032113