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Computer burnout slows flow of water bills

The town’s nearly four-year effort to upgrade its municipal billing and payment systems has not been a smooth ride. This became evident in recent months as the town delayed and staggered issuing water and sewer bills to allow time to recover from a significant computer failure that occurred in mid-September 2023. The computer that failed contained data needed to prepare both the town’s property tax bills and its water and sewer bills. “The failure came about because of an overheating problem and the computer died,” Deputy Town Manager Dave Davison explained to the Select Board last month.  The property tax…

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County works to limit mosquito-borne disease

It wouldn’t be summer without a mosquito or two crashing your cookout or tagging along on your hike. More than 50 species of mosquito live in Massachusetts, but according to entomologist Kaitlyn O’Donnell of the Norfolk County Mosquito Control District, “We really are only focusing on about a dozen that bite people and spread disease.”  Mosquitoes themselves are not the cause of disease, it’s the viruses they inject into the bloodstream when they bite. The NCMCD uses an integrated pest management approach to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses. In Massachusetts, the two viruses people worry about are Eastern Equine…

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Charles River cleanup an ongoing mission

The Charles River winds around Needham like a liquid necklace. Today it’s a peaceful oasis free of crowds, a gem cherished by boaters, walkers, birders and fishermen. However, the river once was a cesspool of sewage, trash and pollutants. “The cleanliness of the river shows how people can do extraordinary things when they try,” Emily Norton, executive director of the Charles River Watershed Association, told an audience at the Needham library last month in a presentation sponsored by the Friends of the Library.  The polluted and unsafe water of 70 years ago clearly required visionary action, as Norton illustrated with…

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Settlement reached in Junior Football and Cheer fraud case

An agreement was reached to settle the fraud allegation complaint brought against Rhiannon Heckman, former president and cheer coordinator of the Needham Junior Football and Cheer organization and her husband, Caley Heckman, a former board member. The Heckmans were alleged to have engaged in a scheme to defraud NJFC by taking $61,540.54 of its funds beginning in 2022 and…

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Survey reveals underage betting at Needham High

In March 2023, online sports betting became legal in Massachusetts for people age 21 and older. According to Needham High School rising seniors Michael Roach, Sean Concannon and Tommy Barker, however, the age restriction has not stopped underage betting among Needham youth. In their survey of 60 NHS students, 45% said they have gambled online.  The research assignment was…

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Rotary hosts eighth annual Needham Carnival

Next week Needhamites can expect rides, fried food and good old-fashioned fun at the eighth annual Needham Carnival sponsored by the Rotary Club of Needham. The carnival will run from Thursday, July 18, to Sunday, July 21, at Needham High School’s upper lot. “There are a lot of children’s rides, kiddie rides and a lot of family rides. And,…

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The Fourth of July parade and July 3 fireworks, all organized and funded by the Needham Exchange Club, drew thousands to town for the annual two-day celebration./ Credit: Needham Observer

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Gutekanst renewed as Superintendent of Schools

The School Committee voted unanimously to offer Superintendent of Schools Dan Gutekanst another three-year contract at its June 18 meeting. Gutekanst said that he was…

Local biographer recalls baseball giant

“People ask who’s the greatest player of all time. I contend that Babe Ruth was the most dominant baseball player of all time,” said author…

A Parade Tradition

Each July Fourth, families line up along the town’s parade route — often returning to their special spot year after year — to watch marching…


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