Tuesday, September 30, 2014

BSU Wednesday Night Blues Jam!!

When: Wednesday night October 1 from 7:00-9:00.

Where: Bridgewater Dining Room (located in the Rondileau Campus Center)

The Bridgewater State University Music Department would like to welcome the musical community to our bi-weekly Wednesday night music sessions. This is an opportunity for you (as a student, faculty member, or community member) to join the BSU music department in a night of relaxed and supportive music making. Depending on the night, we will be hosting a jazz ensemble, drumming group, Irish music and have plans for several others. Feel free to join in on the fun!

Our next session will feature professional guitarist Chuck Ochs. The BSU Music Department will supply coffee, lemonade, and snacks. See you there.

Running Scared 5K

(Click photo for a larger version)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Volunteer Projects Enhance the Bay Circuit Trail in Easton and Bridgewater

 On Wednesday, September 17, volunteers from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (Blue Cross) got outdoors with the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) to improve the Bay Circuit Trail. The efforts of more than 50 Blue Cross volunteers resulted in the maintenance of a Bay Circuit Trail segment in Easton, as well as a new roadside park installation and property cleanup at a historic landmark and Bay Circuit gem in Bridgewater. These projects improved public outdoor recreational access and promoted awareness of the beautiful, natural lands that the Bay Circuit Trail traverses.

The project was part of Blue Cross’ fourth annual company-wide Service Day. Close to 3,200 employees volunteered at 45 different community sites across the state to beautify recreational areas, prepare meals, assemble food and clothes items, and enhance educational facilities, among many other activities. AMC also received a $5,000 grant.

At Stanley Iron Works Park, a Town of Bridgewater public conservation property and landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, a barbed wire fence covered in poison ivy used to disguise the tranquil, scenic parkalong High Street. In preparation for the work day, the town opened up a section of old fencing, and Blue Cross volunteers erected a roadside sign and benches to welcome visitors into the site.

Volunteers with AMC also removed overgrown vegetation around the existing park entrance by the Town River and historic Iron Works building, set back off High Street. The property coaligns with a local land and river connectivity project, the Nuckatessett Greenway.

The Bay Circuit Trail & Greenway links parks and open spaces in 57 Eastern Massachusetts communities, from Plum Island and Ipswich to the Duxbury and Kingston shore. The trail spans 34 Boston-area cities and towns and provides close-to-home recreation that includes walking, biking, snowshoeing, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing, and many sections are accessible by public transportation.

Ongoing volunteer support is needed, and the public is invited to join free, introductory trail stewardship events that are taking place on Saturday, October 18 in Acton, MA; and November 1 in the Bridgewaters area. To register, visit theAMC website at www.outdoors.org/volunteer

In 2012, the Appalachian Mountain Club and The Trustees of Reservations, two of Massachusetts’ largest and oldest conservation organizations, began working together with the Bay Circuit Alliance on the completion, enhancement, and long-term protection of the recreational trail and greenway.

The Bay Circuit Alliance: Since its founding in 1990, the Bay Circuit Alliance (BCA) has served to organize and direct the effort to realize the Bay Circuit Trail vision and mission. More than 230 miles of multi-use, passive recreational trail have now been dedicated, thanks to the contributions of hundreds of volunteers in 40 cooperating towns. The Alliance is a partnership of organizations and individuals, public and private, working to complete the Bay Circuit Trail and Greenway. BCA’s membership consists of six regional, four statewide, and more than 40 local member organizations, plus many interested individuals. Learn more at www.baycircuit.org.

The Appalachian Mountain Club: Founded in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of America's Northeast. AMC helps people of all ages and abilities to explore and develop a deep appreciation of the natural world. With chapters from Maine to Washington, D.C., guidebooks and maps, and unique lodges and huts, AMC helps people get outdoors on their own, with family and friends, and through activities close to home and beyond. We invite the public to support our conservation advocacy and research, youth programming, and care of 1,800 miles of trails. 
The AMC has over 32,000 members and four chapters in Massachusetts, and maintains more than 600 miles of trails in the state, including the Appalachian Trail, the New England National Scenic Trail, and the Midstate Trail.
More information is available online at www.outdoors.org.

The Nunckatessett Greenway: The Nunckatessett Greenway is a network of land & water trails where history and nature meet.  The Greenway connects the Town River and the Bay Circuit Trail to public conservation areas, educational, and urban centers in West Bridgewater and Bridgewater, Massachusetts. The collaborative trail project is governed by representatives from both towns, Bridgewater State University, the Bay Circuit Alliance and their many partners including the Wild & Scenic Taunton River Stewardship Council, National Park Service,and the Appalachian Mountain Club.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bridgewater Academy Lions Club's Dining for a Cause

Join the Bridgewater Academy Lions Club at their "Dining for a Cause" event on September 30th from 5-10 PM at The 99 Restaurant at Campus Plaza. The 15% proceeds from this event will benefit Massachusetts Lions Eye Research Fund, Inc.

The Bridgewater Academy Lions Club hopes that people interested in supporting this event will print out the flyer and bring it with them when they order. All the details are on the flyer. For any questions, please feel free to email bwateracadlions@verizon.net.

GBWOT to Host Hot Mess Concert at Vets Club

On Saturday, November 22nd from 7:00-11:00 PM Greater Bridgewater Women of Today will be hosting a concert with Boston area favorites Hot Mess at the Bridgewater Vets Club located at 85 Cottage Street in Bridgewater! Hot Mess is a seven-piece party band with roots that run deep into the Boston Music scene. Boasting drums, keyboards, guitar, bass & both male & female vocalists, Hot Mess can serve up a wide range of "OMG, they sound JUST like the original band" & "Oooooh I love this song"!

Admission cost is $25.00 per ticket and the group asks that each person bring a canned good for donation to our local food pantry. For tickets please email: Kaross1@comcast.net or greaterbridgewaterwot@yahoo.com or message the group on their Facebook page. Please note that groups of 10 may reserve a table for this event. All proceeds will benefit our Family in Need Fund. The GBWOT Family in Need Fund has been established to help assist local families experiencing hardships. 

To date, GBWOT has helped more than 30 families in various ways, including supplying gift cards to families with an immediate family member in the hospital, providing photography services to families with a terminally ill parent, providing meals and Christmas gifts to families with a parent s recently passed away, donating gift cards to family who lost their home in a fire, and much more. 

GBWOT is volunteer organization that performs community service, raises funds to support local and national charities, and foster friendships. GBWOT meetings are open to the public and are held on the third Monday of the month. For meeting location in Bridgewater email: greaterbridgewaterwot@yahoo.com To access event flyers and for more information on the group visit: www.mawt.org/gbwot or find them on Facebook.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Denise Sheppard, Consultant

Around the Common is pleased to welcome Denise Sheppard as our newest Bridgewater Business Listing. We ask that when looking to partner with a business to please keep your spending local.

Denise Sheppard brings more than thirty-eight years worth of professional experience in the relationship business. Nearly thirty of those years were spent as a psychologist working with people of all ages and from all walks of life. Both leadership and interpersonal skills were developed and refined during those years.

For the past seven years Sheppard has put these skills to use in the service of the nonprofit community as a Consultant, Grant Writer & Speaker. Whether your organization can benefit from Board training, assistance with a development plan, grant writing, or a speaker for your next conference, Denise Sheppard can help you. 

Whether you are in need of an Interim Development Director, Grant Writer, Grants Planning, Board training, a strategic plan, development audit, or strategies to increase individual donations, Denise Sheppard can help you increase your bottom line so that you can continue to focus on your mission.

For more information about how Denise Sheppard can assist you, please visit her website by clicking here.

Upcoming programs at Bridgewater Public Library in the Children’s room

Friday, October 3 @ 10:30-11:00 a.m.:  Drop in story time with Mrs. Davis.  All ages welcome.  Stories, songs and finger plays. No registration required.

Monday, October 6 @ 4:30-5:30 p.m.: Lego Club.  For ages 6+.  No registration, parent must remain in building.

Tuesday, October 7 @ 9:30-10:30 a.m.: Triumph Inc.’s “Read Together, Grow Together” Drop in story time with Miss Nicole.  Recommended for ages 3-5. Siblings welcome! No registration required.

Friday, October 10 @ 10:30-11:00 a.m.:  Drop in story time with Mrs. Davis.  All ages welcome.  Stories, songs and finger plays. No registration required.

Saturday, October 11:  Registration for Halloween Story and Craft begins.  Ages 5+.
Monday, October 13: Closed for Columbus Day.

Tuesday, October 14 @ 9:30-10:30 a.m.: Triumph Inc.’s “Read Together, Grow Together” Drop in story time with Miss Nicole.  Recommended for ages 3-5. Siblings welcome! No registration required.

Wednesday, October 15 @ 7:00 p.m.:  Join us for a scary short movie.  30 minutes long, rated PG.  Call the library for title.  (Hint:  Toys are almost sold, cowgirl to the rescue). All ages welcome, no registration, parent must remain with child.

Friday, October 17 @ 10:30-11:00 a.m.:  Drop in story time with Mrs. Davis.  All ages welcome.  Stories, songs and finger plays. No registration required.

Saturday, October 18 @ 10:30-11:30 a.m.: Children of all ages are welcome to read to Jasper, a registered therapy dog. Children are invited to bring their favorite book to read (or share pictures from) or choose one from the library. The Read to a Dog program provides a non-judgmental reading environment. This is a drop-in event.

Monday, October 20 @ 4:30-5:30 p.m.:  Pumpkin painting!  Bring your own pumpkin to the library to decorate.  Paints and decorations supplied.  No registration, ages 3+ with adult.

Tuesday, October 21 @ 9:30-10:30 a.m.: Triumph Inc.’s “Read Together, Grow Together” Drop in story time with Miss Nicole.  Recommended for ages 3-5.  Siblings welcome! No registration required.

Friday, October 24 @ 10:30-11:00 a.m.:  Drop in story time with Mrs. Davis.  All ages welcome.  Stories, songs and finger plays. No registration required.
Monday, October 27 @ 4:15 p.m.:  Halloween craft and story time for ages 5+.  Registration is required, begins October 11.

Tuesday, October 28 @ 9:30-10:30 a.m.: Triumph Inc.’s “Read Together, Grow Together” Drop in story time with Miss Nicole.  Recommended for ages 3-5. Siblings welcome! No registration required.
Wednesday, October 29@ 6:15 p.m.:  Join us for a movie!  90 minutes long, rated PG.  Call the library for title.  (Hint:  Friends try to help an alien get back home) All ages welcome, no registration, parent must remain with child.

Friday, October 31 @ 10:30-11:00 a.m.:  Drop in story time with Mrs. Davis.  All ages welcome.  Stories, songs and finger plays. No registration required.

Monday, November 3 @ 4:30-5:30 p.m.: Lego Club.  For ages 6+.  No registration, parent must remain in building.

Tuesday, November 4 @ 9:30-10:30 a.m.: Triumph Inc.’s “Read Together, Grow Together” Drop in story time with Miss Nicole.  Recommended for ages 3-5. Siblings welcome! No registration required.

For more information, call the library at 508-697-3331.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Support the Music Boosters

Music Boosters are the students at Bridgewater Middle School & Williams Intermediate School who are in band & chorus. Proceeds will help reduce the costs for band & chorus events to students in the Williams Intermediate and Bridgewater Middle Schools.

NOTE: Every passenger will receive $10.00 food credit for any restaurant (or free buffet) in Foxwoods and a $15.00 credit towards gambling on your Foxwoods rewards card. If you don't have a Rewards card one will be provided upon arrival at Foxwoods. RESERVATIONS MUST BE MADE NO LATER THAN SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28th

Merchant Fair

Plan on attending the Merchant Fair on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 4, 10-2, Central Square Congregational Church (on the common) in Bridgewater. Scheduled to be there are Solar City, Mary Kay, Thirty-One, Mia Bath & Body, Yellow Ribbon Gifts, homemade bread, scarves, cookies, quilted handbags & accessories, cub scout Pack 35, handmade soy wax candles, Chloe & Isabel jewelry, children's tutus and headbands, Silpada jewelry, Tastefully Simple, Lia Sophia, Usborne Books, and Next Step Living. And free coffee! Stop in for a cup! Great opportunity to do your holiday shopping!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bridgewater’s Path to Downtown Revitalization ―Five Years and Counting

Here is the narrative given to Town Councilors at Tuesday Night's Town Council meeting. It is a time-line-history of steps taken that have led to the Downtown Revitalization Plan. 

The actual plan is available on the Town web site at http://www.bridgewaterma.org/newspage.cfm?page=index&NewsID=39

There will be a public meeting with Councilors, the Planning Board and others to discuss the plan on Monday September 30, 6:30 at the Senior Center.

A time-line-history of major milestones and steps taken in preparation for the draft master plan for Downtown Revitalization[1] by the Cecil Group.
Presented for the Town Council’s first reading on September 23, 2014

After 5 years of increasingly productive work, the Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC) (advisor to the Town Manager), is pleased to present for first reading the Cecil Group’s draft Bridgewater Downtown Revitalization Master Plan.

As with much planning, there is nearly unanimous agreement that Bridgewater’s Downtown presents problems; most agree on those problems: traffic, parking, vitality, traffic, parking and traffic.

Agreement on solutions is not as unanimous. The Cecil Group and the CDAC have vigorously sought Town employee, resident and business perspectives in the creation of the draft plan. Not every suggestion has been used but each has been heard, appreciated and valued.

The over-arching goal of the plan is to revitalize the downtown and create vibrancy by making it a destination. Thus, traffic calming, pedestrian and biker safety, multi-use (residential and retail) buildings, parking organization, signage and wayfinding rose to the top as priorities.

The goal is for Bridgewater’s downtown to serve a variety of needs for residents of all ages and university students, making Bridgewater’s Central Square a place to “Go-To” not “Drive-Thru.”

Here is a brief summary of the 5 years’ work leading to the draft plan:

August 2009: Under Interim Town Administrator, Jeffrey Ritter and Board of Selectmen Chair, Christopher Flynn, convened a meeting at BSC to discuss a Bridgewater vision

May 2010:       Under Town Manager Troy Clarkson and Board of Selectmen Chair Christopher Flynn, Bridgewater 2020, Focusing on Solutions, formed as a joint effort with BSU and Bridgewater.
·         Three sub-groups were formed: Communication, Downtown Improvements and Land Use.[2]
·         Sixteen citizens volunteered to serve on the ad hoc Downtown committee. [3]
January 2011: A $1,000 peer-to-peer grant proposal to DHCD requesting support for the Downtown Initiative Committee as was written but not funded.

Throughout 2011:      The Committee was re-named Downtown Revitalization Committee with a Chair appointed by the Town Manager (see footnote #2—need for a chair)
·         Full Committee site visits were made to Falmouth and Norwood,
·         Downtown Bridgewater was defined: Around Central Square and down Broad Street to the Campus Plaza (both sides of the street),
·         Information about vital healthy downtowns was gathered from both written documents and in-person presentations,
·         Public engagement strategies were initiated and given priority status,
·         A consultant offered free advice on the CDBG grant application process (4/4/11),
·         The new Town Council’s Development Committee supported half the cost of consultant services (the other half to come from BSU) for a professional CDBG grant writer. Approval 4/6/2011,
·         Presentation of the Development Committee’s recommendations re: funding for a CDBG grant writer and the formation of the Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC) was presented to the full Town Council which voted to approve on 4/13/2011,
·         The CDAC continued to compile various reports, documents and plans to support a Community Development Strategy for a CDBG application,
·         An agreement was made to partner with Middleborough in an application for a Community Development Block Grant that would include both Housing Rehabilitation and creation of a Plan for Downtown Revitalization. (August 2011),
·         Committee members and the Highway Superintendent undertook documentation of conditions in a downtown target area for a Slums and Blight application; a consultant help consolidate information and write the application (Summer and early fall 2011),
·         The death of our colleague and Middleborough Community Development Director, Anna Nalevanko on 9/17/11 was both personally sad and strategically difficult for the CDBG grant application; DHCD granted an extension for the Middleborough/Bridgewater application,
·         Outreach throughout the fall included presentations to Business Association, on Cable 9, at Senior Center Congregate lunches, Food Pantry’s, SERVE and area churches; flyers were placed at the Library, Town Hall, Academy Building, Health Agent and the Director of Inspectional Services distributed them at locations he inspected. The outreach helped recruit for a Housing Rehabilitation waiting list.
·         September 22, 2011, Community Development Strategy Public Meeting, Bridgewater Senior Center, polling survey of attendees,
·         October 4, 2011, Community Development Strategy Public Forum took place at the Memorial Building just prior to the Town Council meeting. Councilors were given a special invitation to attend,
·         A Presentation of the Middleborough/Bridgewater CDBG plan was made to a public audience (carried on Cable 9) 11/21/2011,
·         Middleborough-Bridgewater Community Development Block Grant application: Approved by the Town Council on 11/22/2011 Vote of 9-0.

Throughout 2012 Middleborough/Bridgewater Community Development Block Grant application was submitted (Due December 16, 2011 but granted a special exception extension until February 2012),
·         Notification received that the Slums and Blight application has been accepted by the state positioning Bridgewater well for additional funding,
·         Notification of application failure (June 2012),
·         Discussions with Norwood to partner for new CDBG application
o   Acceptance of Bridgewater by Norwood as its partner for the CDBG FY ’12 application,
·         Engaged consultant to write Norwood/Bridgewater CDBG grant application,
·         Community Development Strategy complete 9/27/2012.

Throughout 2013:      Norwood/Bridgewater CDBG grant application submitted on February 15, 2013.
·         Award notification received in late July 2013―Housing Rehabilitation and Downtown Plan,
·         Confirmation of BSU contribution of $20,000 toward the downtown planning initiative,
·         Confirmation of Bridgewater Savings Bank contribution of $30,000 toward the Housing Rehabilitation effort,
·         Work on an RFP for Downtown Revitalization Plan.

Throughout 2014
·         Finalization and posting of the RFP for Downtown Revitalization Plan,
·         Review of Proposals 2/11/14,
·         Interviews of top bidders 2/26/14; Recommendation to the Town Manager re: Planning Grant award, 3/4/2014,
·         Award of Downtown Revitalization Plan Project to Cecil Group/Nelson Nygaard; Kick-off meeting 4/3/2014,
·         Numerous public and private meetings to gather information/suggestions to refine the Revitalization Plan:
o   Meetings were scheduled with all relevant Town Boards, Committees and Commissions
o   Data was gathered from all studies within the last 15 years relevant to the Downtown
o   Private meetings were held with some town leaders and downtown business owners/property owners
o   A large public workshop scheduled for 7/24,2014: Walking/bus tour of the downtown followed by a light dinner and presentation by the Cecil Group and Nelson-Nygaard,
§  Promotion of the workshop: Cable 9 scroll, Bridgewater Residents’ Facebook page; Bridgewater 02324 Facebook page; Bridgewater Savings Bank Facebook page; flyers to all town Boards, Committees, Commissions, employees and Town Council Members; large posters at downtown businesses (Baldi’s Pizza, Better Bean, Bridgewater Florist, Bridgewater Savings Bank, Brunos, Cape Cod Pizza, Just Desserts, Library, My Sister and I, Roche Brothers, Senior Center, Sugar Cane and Town Hall); Bruno’s and Baldi’s put flyers in all home deliveries on July 19, 20 and 21 or until flyers run out,
§  Nearly 70 residents attended the workshop,
§  Polling was done and used in the final draft Plan,
o   Town Employees and Council invited by the Town Manager to a special presentation of the Plan at a luncheon on 8/18/2014,
o   Special presentation to the downtown business and property owners 9/22/2014,
§  Flyers hand-delivered to each business in the Central Business District,
§  Invitations with flyers mailed to each property owner through the Town offices,
§  Invitations to the full Bridgewater Business Association through their e-mail list,
·         Release of the final draft of the Downtown Revitalization Master Plan 9/19/2014,
o   Available on the Town website,
o   Posted on Facebook pages: Bridgewater Residents (3,000 members), Bridgewater 02324 (1,400 members); Bridgewater Downtown Community Development Master Plan,
o   Posted on Councilor Colombotos’ Precinct 5 web page,
·         Upcoming: Combined Committees (Town Council, Planning Board, others) for public comments and formal presentation of the draft plan (September 30, Sr. Center, 6:30 PM)

Presented on September 23, 2014 to the Bridgewater Town Council by the Community Development Advisory Committee to Town Manager Michael Dutton.

Committee Membership:
Shirley Krasinski, Chair, Peter Colombotos, Marilee Kenney Hunt, Karen Jason, Nancy Koczela, Susan McCombe. Jennifer Goldson, staff.

[1] The draft Bridgewater Community Development Master Plan should not be confused with the Town’s Master Plan’s draft updates for the downtown.
[2] Editorial Note about ad hoc citizen committees: To sustain, committees need leadership. Two of the three sub-groups vanished quickly. By insisting on an appointed chair, the Improving Downtown sub-group eventually became the Community Development Advisory Committee, has championed two CDBG grant applications, created a state-approved Slums and Blight Inventory and tonight has the honor of presenting to you the Downtown Revitalization Plan for Bridgewater. Leadership matters.
[3] Original members of the Downtown Improvements-group were: Ray Ajemian, Peter Colombotos, Chris Delmonte, Marilee Kenney Hunt, Shirley Krasinski: Patty Lawton, Tricia Leighton, Katherine Light, John Lucas, David Matton, Susan McCombe, David Moore, Anna Nalevanko, Sally Sloan, Frank Sousa, Robert Vazza. Anna Nalevanko served faithfully until her death; Katherine Light was an active participant until her employment moved her out of town and she was replaced by Nancy Koczela.