Funding to be sought for Quiet Zone

Although the final dollar amount has yet to be determined, Town Meeting will be asked to provide significant funding to advance the long-planned Quiet Zone that could eventually eliminate the mandated use of train horns along the commuter rail line. Establishing a Quiet Zone involves upgrading safety ratings to levels that will no longer require sounding horns, which have proven irksome to hundreds of residents. Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick said funding will be sought at May Town Meeting for a “diagnostic review” covering all five public crossings as well as a design for Quiet Zone upgrades for the Oak, May, Rosemary…

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HONE burns the midnight oil

Katie King warned them. The deputy town manager told the nine-member Needham Housing Working Group (HONE), that their Feb. 15 meeting would be lengthy — and she was proved right when they adjourned after midnight.  The meeting involved more than five hours of intense work on adjusting existing zoning rules to satisfy the town’s MBTA Community Law requirements. The group took deep dives into more than a dozen zoning districts and made recommendations on plans that must be brought before Town Meeting in late October in order to meet the law’s December 2024 deadline for compliance. The committee was guided…

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Public Health adds peer recovery coach

Angi MacDonnell has firsthand experience of both sides of substance use and recovery. She had already been working in the town’s Public Health Division in substance-use prevention. Now, she’s taking on an additional part-time role as Needham’s first peer recovery coach, in a pilot program that began in January and runs through June. This role is one of the ways that Needham is directing the funds from the National Opioid Settlements, which can be spent on substance-use prevention, treatment, harm reduction and recovery.  MacDonnell sat down with the Needham Observer’s Jennifer Tirnauer recently to discuss her new role. What is…

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Signing Off

Needham center lost a bit of its history on Monday when the iconic Harvey’s Hardware signs were taken down from the building that housed the landmark hardware store for nearly 60 years.  Founded by Harvey Katz in 1953, the business moved to the corner of Great Plain Avenue and Chestnut Street in the 1960s. It operated there until February…

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Homes to replace house of worship

With a dwindling number of parishioners and volunteers and increasing expenses, members of Grace Lutheran Church at 543 Greendale Ave. made the difficult decision to begin the process of Holy Closure more than two-and-a-half years ago. After nearly 65 years serving its mission in Needham, the members held their final liturgy last September. The church was demolished and the…

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Winter sports wrap-up

As the high school winter sports season winds down, here’s how NHS student-athletes fared in postseason competition over the past week.

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Boards & Briefs

Early Voting for Presidential Primary

The Presidential Primary in Massachusetts is March 5, and Needham is offering early voting opportunities from Feb. 24 through March 1 at Town Hall. 

These are the dates and times that registered voters can vote in person at Town Hall:

  • Saturday, Feb 24  9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Monday, Feb 26  9 a.m.-5 p.m. 
  • Tuesday, Feb 27  9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb 28  9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb 29  9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Friday, March 1  9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Voter registration deadline

Anyone not yet registered to vote has until Feb. 24 to register to be eligible to vote in the Presidential Primary. That is also the last date to change party enrollment.

Any U.S. citizen 18 or older living in Needham can register to vote at the town clerk’s office in Town Hall at 1471 Highland Ave., Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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