Congrats to New Head of Mass. DEP  
Thursday, January 6, 2011

Town Clerk Robert T. Craver capped his pen, smiled, and declared, “an excellent appointment, just excellent.”

The comment was about lawyer Kenneth L. Kimmell’s selection to head the state Department of Environmental Protection, effective with the new year.

Mr. Craver, long the chairman of Citizens for a Clean Environment, knows a lot about Mr. Kimmell, the lawyer who represented the citizens group and the town of Webster in the long battle to stop plans for a mega-landfill in Douglas at the Webster line.

“It took us 10 years to beat that environmental challenge (to Webster Lake), and Ken was with us the better part of nine years,” said Mr. Craver. “He was a big part of our ultimate victory.” Pausing a couple of seconds, the Webster clerk added a single word: “Yeah.”

Still, he didn’t appear surprised by the Kimmell news, as someone who has followed the career of another. He knew Kimmell had served the state since 2007 as general counsel for environmental affairs.

A lot of area people were involved in the long battle to scuttle regional landfill plans, some longer than others, but all with great conviction and determination, and I didn’t find any C/FACE members who rejected Mr. Craver’s “Yeah.”

So, make “belated thanks and congratulations” the Webster message for Kenneth L. Kimmell, the new director of theMassachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Webster native Richard “Dixie” Tourangeau, the Boston-based baseball historian, is going back to the 1900s, searching for information about old-time baseball player Joseph Marcustry and the park that carried his name. The West Street field is now the Webster Little League complex.

Mr. Tourangeau has Slater Mill diamond rosters from the 1920s, and the effort is to flesh out identities. The Slater Co., with textile mills off South Main Street, North Main Street, and at Worcester Road, was the town’s largest industry. Names include Sid Crawford, Sam White, Billy Forand, Laramie, Berry, Bachand and Douglas. I’m guessing Paul Douglas, also known as Dowgiewicz, and incumbent Webster Selectman Mark Dowgiewicz’s grandfather, helps on the Douglas entry. He was a gas company installer by the time I came to know him.

Another question traces to the 1912 grand opening of Fenway Park in Boston. Mr. Tourangeau wonders if anyone from this region was there.

Massachusetts recently approved a law banning text messaging while driving, starting fines at $100 for a first offense.

This is one of the pains of progress, but it ought to apply as well to pedestrians in some circumstances, like text messaging while walking on a travel way without sidewalks.

Here’s an observation from a recent cold morning. A pedestrian dressed to combat the elements, with a heavy jacket and a tight-drawn hood, was on Thompson Road, walking in the highway, through the curves north of the Colonial Club Restaurant. He’s texting and wanders from the side to the road, right into a line of traffic.

The motorists swerved left to avoid the pedestrian playing “Where am I?” Even the slightest contact and she’d have been at risk for an insurance surcharge.

The Webster Lions Club knows how to run a Christmas tree sales lot. While a good location helps (on South Main Street), the quality of their offerings, along with specific days and hours, help as well. They were sold out this year two days before Christmas. The sales trailer was renovated and the sales area whisked clean. Profits go to Lions Club charities.

Town Surveyor Stanley A. Duzlak was at the east wing to Webster’s Town Hall on a recent morning, searching documents from a records depository, when I happened along.

A friendly discussion followed. A thought appeared to cross Mr. Duszlak’s mind as he stood and looked out a window to the public library and the Veterans Home on Veterans Way, or what had been Church Lane for generations.

He wondered about the Veterans Home, or the Marble House, as it is sometimes known. This follows because the building, converted for veterans’ quarters in the mid-1920s, was originally on Main Street at Church Street.

One of several properties purchased by the town when an addition to the former Bartlett High School, the Town Hall and auditorium were built, the big 2-1/2 -story building was moved cross lots to its current location, Mr. Duszlak knew. The question was how.

Stan’s source, the late A. Rodney Klebart, a longtime town engineer, was certainly accurate. “He said it was moved by a horse.” This squares with stories that I’ve heard, but I couldn’t answer Mr. Duszlak’s “How?’ The late John Gajewski remembered that the Veterans Home had been raised on skids or rolls and moved by a horse that circled the moving building, inching it along.

That’s as close to Mr. Duszlak’s “How?” as I’ve ever come, but it doesn’t nail mechanics to the process.

-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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