|Webster Police Get a Turn|
Thursday, November 20, 2008
So I've Heard
Drive along Route 12 in the vicinity of Oxford High School, and a fair-sized building project can be observed. It will be the new Oxford police station. Go over West Main Street in Dudley to that town's new municipal building - actually a complete rehab of the former Dudley Junior High School - and a police facility anchors the complex.
Make it a two-towns-out-from-Webster tour and relatively new police stations can be found in Southbridge, Charlton, Auburn, Leicester and Uxbridge. This puts Webster near to, or last, regionally, in providing modern facilities for its police force.
Brian J. Perry, chairman of the newly reorganized Webster police station building committee, says it's time get things rolling, meaning a new police station and rehabilitation of the existing headquarters for the fire and/or emergency services departments, or whatever agency the town might desire.
Police housing needs have simmered for a decade. The original police station building committee seemingly had municipal blessings at one point, but priorities were assigned to school construction proposals: Witness the new Webster Middle School.
Other building projects are in the wings, most notably a new or expanded public library, but Mr. Perry, treasurer of the Webster Five Cents Savings Bank, is ready to advance the building committee's case for a new police station. Others on the police headquarters panel are Selectmen Robert J. Miller and Mark G. Dowgiewicz, Fire Chief Gordon B. Forrester, Police Sgt. Rodney K. Budrow, and Randall V. Becker, treasurer of Commerce Insurance Co.
"It's our turn," says Mr. Perry.
When plans were first advanced for the new Webster-Dudley Boys & Girls Club, proposals included a regulation ice hockey arena.
The building opened earlier this year on Dudley's Oxford Avenue, and it has everything a youth organization might want, but there's no ice rink. It was scissored from the plans, reportedly because of a water supply problem. Dudley couldn't guarantee the significant amounts required for ice maintenance equipment.
The arena would have served the men's and women's ice hockey programs at Nichols College, and probably others. One of the scaled-back consequences can be gleamed from the hockey schedules just released for the Bison squads. Home games will be played at the ice rink behind Burriville High School in Rhode Island. Directions "from campus" required eight lines of type in the printed schedule.
Webster selectmen want to buy an acre behind Mount Zion Cemetery to expand the town cemetery. The price tag is something like $250,000, but the town's top board thinks the Cemetery Department will ultimately turn a nice profit if the purchase is approved.
Where, then, is the acre? I asked cemetery and parks foreman Kevin Esposito, who replied: "It starts at the wooden fence (split rail) to the back of Mount Zion, goes 100 feet toward Leo (sand and gravel) Co., and left to a silt pond. There are stakes marking it."
John J. McNally Jr. was a Webster resident when President John F. Kennedy named him to a White House position in 1960.
Mr. McNally lived in South Carolina and briefly in Georgia after retiring from government service, returning to this area, to Auburn, some months ago. He was in Washington for the transition of power from President Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration to the Kennedy White House.
He'll review details to a presidential transfer for college groups at Assumption College in Worcester, at Framingham State College and at Nichols College in Dudley before President-elect Barack Obama takes office Jan. 20.
Incidentally, Mr. McNally rates Mr. Obama's appointment of Illinois Rep. Rham Emmanuel as chief of staff as a good move. "He'll serve President Obama very well," says Mr. McNally, like Kenny O'Donnell served President Kennedy. Mr. O'Donnell was "tough as nails," he remembers, adding Mr. Emmanuel has a similar reputation.
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