Whitelam Books Opens
Town Meeting Gets Down to Business
The first article of the Subsequent Town Meeting, held on November 13 was the submission of reports. The first report was a brief one given by Town Manager Robert LeLachuer, updating the members of Town Meeting about a bylaw passed by Town Meeting last year. The bylaw prevented the establishment of commercial marijuana establishments in Reading. The bylaw had to be approved by the legislature to take effect. LeLachuer reported that Reading’s legislative delegation asked that it be withdrawn because new state laws about the establishments had been passed, making the Reading bylaw superfluous. [More]
Town Meeting Thanks Long-Time Members
Town Meeting gave a standing ovation of thanks and appreciation to Jack and Peg Russell, long-time town meeting members, when it convened on Monday, November 13.
Mrs. Russell has been a town meeting member for 37 years. She was member of the League of Women voters, was instrumental in ”studying, probing and changing the way the town conducted its business” and was one of the first to move for a town charter. She served on the finance committee during the years of implementation of Proposition 2 1/2, was a elected to the school committee and recently served on the study committee to make changes to the charter.
Mr. Russell has been a member of Town Meeting for 44 years. He was a member of the board of public works before the town charter was adopted and was instrumental in the sale of the town landfill. He also helped guide the early development of Walker’s Brook Drive, especially the negotiations with TASC in the placement of its office building. When the new charter expanded the board of selectmen from three to five members, Mr. Russell was elected to the larger board and helped with the implementation of the new charter and the hiring Reading’s first town manager. More recently, Mr. Russell has been a member of the bylaw committee, the downtown parking task force, the economic development committee, and was the director of logistics for the first several Fall Street Faires.
Town Meeting Member Russell Graham commented “Their legacy of service to this community is remarkable. Everywhere you look, you see the direct impact of this . . . dynamic duo” Graham continued stating that the couple always “conducted themselves with grace, courtesy and respect.” The Russells are “taking a new direction” and will soon be leaving town.
State of the Schools Address
State of the School Address from Town Meeting
Posted by RCTV on Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Superintendent John Doherty recognizes the recipients of the 2017 Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Award for Academic and Community Excellence
On Monday evening, November 13, at Town Meeting, Superintendent of Schools John Doherty recognized Reading Memorial High School Seniors, Erin Kwon and Mathias Kool during the State of the Schools Address for receiving the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Award for Academic and Community Excellence. Only two students can receive this award and the criteria include strong academic skills, participation in extracurricular and community service activities, and are currently in the top five percent of their graduating class. [More]
Town Meeting Approves Plastic Bag Ban
Town Meeting voted on November 16 to approve Article Ten of its warrant, which is a ban on single-use, thin film plastic bags for retail use in Reading. This was a result of an instructional motion from Town Meeting last May that directed the Climate Advisory Committee to investigate possible solutions to the plastic bag issue and return to town meeting with a bylaw that addressed the issue. David Zeek, chair of the Climate Advisory Committee, presented the motion. Zeek indicated that the committee had conducted conversations with local businesses and had held a public hearing on the proposed bylaw prior to presenting it to Town Meeting. [More]
Selectmen Survey Results Revealed
Jayne Miller, Town of Reading Business Administrator, gave a presentation of the results of the board of selectmen’s override survey at a special Board meeting held on November 14 at the Reading Memorial High School Library. There were 2,488 survey responses, which is 13% of the registered voters in town. Most of the surveys were completed on the Internet, though 81 were filled out on paper and manually entered into the system. For purposes of presentation, the results of the survey were divided into three groups: those who said they voted yes on last year’s Proposition 21/2 override ballot question; those who voted no, and those who said that they did not vote. [More]
In June 2017, Selectmen began working on drafting language for a survey to better understand residents’ interests and concerns regarding a Proposition 21/2 override election that failed in October 2016. The language was finalized and Town Hall staff administered the survey. The survey was offered online through Survey Monkey. Paper copies were distributed to the public at Town Hall, the Pleasant Street Center, and the Library. Surveys that were returned were manually entered into the online survey so as to capture responses within the data sets. The survey opened online on August 1 and closed at 7PM on September 5. 2,488 responses were collected through three modalities: 1,780 collected through the website link (which was the most shared link), 627 through the social media link posted on Facebook and Twitter, and 81 manually entered surveys from paper hardcopies.
Previously, the comments from Question 13 were released, but those comments represented less than half of the total comments (2,787) made on the survey. [More]
Reading Rotary and Interact Club Sponsor Thanksgiving Breakfast Before Game
The Reading Rotary Club and RMHS Interact Club will be sponsoring a Thanksgiving Day Breakfast on Thursday, November 23rd (Thanksgiving Day) from 8:00-10:00 a.m. in the Reading Memorial High School Cafeteria. The cost is will be $10.00 for 12 years and older, $7.00 for children 5-12 years old, and free for anyone under 5. This year the Reading vs. Stoneham Football game is at Reading Memorial High School and tickets will be on sale at the breakfast.
Shop the Block Coming November 30th
Things you want, things you need, holiday shopping closer to home than you think
Now in its 15th year, Reading’s Shop the Block will kick off the holiday season on Thursday, Nov. 30th. Many Reading businesses will open their doors from 5-9pm that evening in an effort to encourage residents to spend their holiday shopping dollars close to home. The Shop the Block initiative began as an effort to encourage shoppers to forgo malls and online stores and keep their business in downtown Reading.
Shop the Block is intended to promote awareness of Reading as a shopping destination offering stylish, affordable things, including artisan-designed accessories and wearable art, home decor items, gems and semi- precious-stone jewelry, wine and gourmet delicacies, glassware and pottery, and clothing, accessories and gifts for children & four-legged friends– many of them one-of-a-kind. The effort serves to remind shoppers of the importance of a vibrant downtown shopping district.
Shoppers are encouraged to grab a bite to eat at one of Reading’s numerous restaurants, and begin their stroll along Main & Haven Streets. Participating businesses, many of whom are offering exclusive Shop the Block specials, will be designated with a festive red bow on the door. Shoppers will also enjoy holiday entertainment as they explore all that Reading has to offer.
Shop the Block will take place Thursday, Nov. 30th from 5 to 9 p.m. in downtown Reading. For updates, please check the STB Facebook page, Shop the Block Reading Mass.
Reading Community Singers Announce Holiday Concert
Reading Community Singers Holiday Concert December 2nd & 3rd
Posted by RCTV on Friday, November 17, 2017
The Reading Community Singers are happy to announce their concert schedule for the upcoming holiday season. Making Spirits Bright is not only the title of our show, but our job as well. Come celebrate with us as we sing some holiday favorites and some new, exciting pieces too. Your spirits will rise as you listen to ‘Christmas Bells are Ringing’ and “A Hanukkah Wish.’ A smile is sure to cross your face as the Chorus renders ‘Text Me Merry Christmas’ and Handel’s ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ is always exciting. You can even join in on that one!
Mark your calendar now for either December 2, 2017 at 7:30 pm or December 3, 2017 at 3:00. Both performances will take place at Old South United Methodist Church, 6 Salem Street, Reading. Tickets are available on line at readingcommunitysingers.org or by calling Kathleen at 781-249-3444. Join us for a fantastic time and help in Making Spirits Bright this holiday season.
Assessing News and Notes
Most notably, the BOS acted on our new Reading Senior Circuit Breaker Program by determining the rate of relief at double the amount of the income tax credit thereby saving qualified seniors an average of 30%. 195 seniors applied for this new form of tax relief and 182 were granted. Most seniors qualified for the $1,070 income tax credit and they will receive $2,140 off of their FY 2018 tax bills. There were other seniors that did qualify but received much less. Their FY 2018 tax bill credit will also be double the amount of their income tax credit. Those credits will be applied to the Fiscal Year 2018 actual tax bills; $1,070 off of the bill due 2/1/2018 and again for the bill due 5/1/2018. [More]
RCB Sponsors Thanksgiving Dinner for Reading and North Reading Seniors
Reading Cooperative Bank (RCB) is happy to announce that its Charitable Foundation has donated $3,000 to the Hillview Country Club to help support the annual Thanksgiving dinners for Reading and North Reading seniors. The Hillview Country Club’s Elderly Dinner is a way to show appreciation to those elderly members of the community by bringing them together for some holiday cheer. The annual event is being put together by the Council on Aging, whose mission is to identify the needs of senior citizens and encourage programs to address those areas of interest.
“The Hillview Elderly Dinner is a perfect conduit for supporting the seniors in our community,” said Shanna Cahalane, VP/Director of Marketing at RCB. “These citizens carry with them the history of our towns, preserving and sharing those memories for future generations. Supporting organizations that give back to them during the holiday season is both an honor and a privilege.”
The Hillview Country Club hosts a variety of outings throughout the year for members of the community and local businesses. This will be the ninth year they’ve held the Elderly Dinner. Reading seniors are invited to attend the annual Thanksgiving dinner at the Hillview Country Club in North Reading on Saturday, November 18th. On Saturday, doors will open at 12:15 PM and dinner will be served at 1:00 PM. North Reading seniors are invited to attend the dinner on Sunday, November 19th. The doors will open at 12:45 PM and dinner will be served at 1:30 PM. Both events are free and open to all residents over the age of 60.