Pilot projects to calm traffic

Like the saying about the weather — everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it — so it goes with Needham residents’ seemingly endless complaints about traffic and reckless drivers and the impression that nothing is ever done about it. On Tuesday, traffic and safety were front and center at the Select Board meeting, when Public Works Director Carys Lustig described multiple town efforts designed to improve traffic safety through traffic calming and road diet strategies. In back-to-back segments of the meeting, Lustig described pilot locations at High Rock and Oak streets and provided an overview of a…

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Harvest Fair connects community

Harvest fairs traditionally celebrate the fall gathering of the crops. But in Needham the Harvest Fair is a gathering of the community, highlighting local organizations and businesses — with the crops provided by the Needham Farmers Market. Nearly 100 exhibitors will fill Greene’s Field on Sunday, Oct. 1, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the annual event. Hosted by the town and the Charles River Chamber, the fair has been a tradition for some 30 years. “It has changed and grown in new and exciting ways through the years,” says Paula Jacobson, executive director of the Charles River Y…

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Town takes new look at seal

The Select Board voted to establish a committee to review the town seal and, if appropriate, amend or replace it.  This is no easy task. The current seal depicts two English settlers receiving a deed to the land of Needham and Wellesley from Chief Nehoiden, the historical figure who has lent his name to roadways in Needham and surrounding towns. It is replete with historical and geographical inaccuracies.  “This is essentially our founding story,” said Gloria Greis, director of the Needham Historical Center and Museum. “The costume is wrong. The tipi is wrong.”  Native people in Massachusetts resided in a…

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Latina’s last seating

Latina Kitchen & Bar brought South American flavor to Needham for more than four years, but it will soon be pouring its final drinks and serving its last pabellon criollo.  Residents have been vocal about their dismay, many sending owner Antonio De Trizio messages asking why he chose to sell the business when it is doing well. He said…

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Library showcases young artist

Eleven-year-old Maxim Tulebaev says the first picture he actually remembers drawing was a snake in the bushes. He credits his friend Declan with helping him. Maxim was only in preschool at the time, but it seems that was the beginning of something big for the budding artist. This month he became the youngest artist to showcase work in the…

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Poet Tree

Driving by you wouldn’t catch it, but walking on Parish Road, you’ll see a poetry box attached to a tree in a resident’s front yard. In the box, under glass, is a poem posted there and changed regularly by homeowner Karen Shehade.  Shehade said she grew to enjoy poetry through her husband’s suggestions, church sermons and community education classes.…

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Art’s closing garage doors

After 46 years of performing tune-ups, replacing dead batteries and figuring out where that scary knocking noise is coming from, Arthur Ficcardi Jr. says it’s time to “chill a little.” Art’s Automotive Repair on Clyde Street will close its garage doors for the final time Oct. 16.  Ficcardi, a Needham native who taught a course on automotive repair while…

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Boards & Briefs

Select Board settles on plan for long-term DPW improvements

The Select Board voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with a long-term plan to upgrade DPW facilities over the next decade.

The board signaled its strong preference for one of the four options presented by the Permanent Public Building Committee (PPBC) at its Sept. 12 meeting. Its vote allows the PPBC to do a more thorough analysis of that particular proposal, including more detailed and likely much higher cost estimates.

“It makes a lot of sense, particularly because it’s phase-able,” said the town’s director of design and construction Hank Haff of the option chosen by the board. “It is constructed on sites that are currently utilized by DPW functions.” 

Preliminary cost estimates are in the vicinity of $65 million with a timeline that could extend beyond a decade. The addition of soft costs for design, engineering and other elements not part of the physical program could increase that total by upwards of 25%.

State Sen. Rausch to hold Town Hall meeting on Monday

State Sen. Becca Rausch will host a town hall meeting Monday, Oct. 2, at 6 p.m. at Needham Town Hall. Joined by local officials, she will provide updates on legislative matters of interest to her constituents and offer an opportunity for discussion. 

Rausch represents 11 towns comprising the Norfolk, Worcester and Middlesex district in the Massachusetts Senate. Needham is the northernmost community in her sprawling district, which extends south to Plainville and west to Milford. The meeting is intended for residents of Needham and other communities in the district’s northern region.

Town to start charging for charging

The Select Board held a public hearing Tuesday on the rates it plans to set for the public to charge electric vehicles at town-owned and operated charging stations that are currently free to the public.

This policy will apply to EV charging stations owned by and/or operated on behalf of the town. It currently has six stations but more are likely to be added in the future.

The fee is based on the town’s current cost of electricity, which averages 22 cents per kilowatt hour. The policy proposes a 15% markup to cover related costs such as maintenance, leading to a proposed fee of 25 cents per kilowatt hour. 

There is also a proposed charge of $3 per hour for users who overstay their time, with time limits varying by location.  

The board expects to finalize the policy and rates at its Oct. 10 meeting. 



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Is there a will for the way?

The Select Board learned the results of a feasibility study on the construction of a trail link between Newton Upper Falls and Needham and discussed…

Farm to field visitors on Saturday

[EDITED 9/22: Due to inclement weather, Needham Community Farm’s Open House/Open Farm has been POSTPONED to next Saturday, Sept 30 between 1PM-4PM.] The Needham Community Farm, a collaborative effort…

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