News Briefs: Hopkinton Police Department set to add trio of officers

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Hopkinton Police Department set to add trio of officers

The Hopkinton Police Department presented three candidates to the Select Board at its Jan. 30 meeting. The town has budgeted for two positions, and town manager Norman Khumalo told the board that the third position will be funded with money allocated from the Legacy Farms host community agreement.

The three candidates will become full-time officers upon the completion of their academy training, which they are set to begin in April.

One applicant is a familiar face to the department, as Brittany Firth worked as a part-time dispatcher in Hopkinton for almost three years. Last fall she began working full-time as a dispatcher for the Ashland Fire Department. She is a spring 2019 graduate of Framingham State University’s honors program with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and a minor in psychology.

John Giardina is a 29-year-old who attended Curry College and worked three years as a special state police officer at Boston University Medical Center, among other positions.

Nathan Wright holds a bachelor’s degree from Fitchburg State University and a master’s from UMass-Lowell. He served in the Army for about eight years, including a peacekeeping mission in Egypt, and the newlywed has been working as a campus police officer at the College of the Holy Cross.

“They’re all excellent candidates,” Hopkinton Police Chief Edward Lee said. “One of the things I’m excited about is adding a little more diversity to our police department. With [Firth] we’ll now be up to three females on the Police Department, which is kind of rare in law enforcement.”

Added Lee: “As you all know we lost Linda Higgins, who was a great officer in our Police Department, to retirement. We’re trying to fill her legacy.”

In other police news, the HPD announced on Feb. 4 that it had received state certification from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission.

According to a press release from the HPD, certification is a self-initiated evaluation process by which police departments strive to meet and maintain standards that have been established for the profession, by the profession. These carefully selected standards reflect critical areas of police management, operations, and technical support activities. They cover areas such as policy development, emergency response planning, training, communications, property and evidence handling, use of force, vehicular pursuit, prisoner transportation and holding facilities. The program not only sets standards for the law enforcement profession, but also for the delivery of police services to the citizens of the commonwealth.

The HPD was assessed in August by a team of commission-appointed assessors.

Arakelian in race for Republican State Committee

Hopkinton resident Leda Arakelian recently announced that she is running for Republican State Committee in the Second Middlesex and Norfolk Senatorial District. The election is March 3.

“I am proud to be running on the same ballot as President Donald Trump,” Arakelian said. “I am committed to growing the GOP and recruiting strong candidates. The State House is tilting more and more to the extreme left. We cannot become a sanctuary state for illegals, so I will be working hard to defeat Democrat incumbents with fresh-face Republicans.”

Republican State Committee members are elected every four years on the Republican Presidential Primary. There is one man and one woman elected from every senatorial district to the 80-member committee. Their jobs are to promote and grow the GOP locally and recruit top-notch Republican candidates within the district.

The Second Middlesex and Norfolk District includes the towns of Framingham, Medway, Holliston, Hopkinton and Ashland as well as parts of Franklin and Natick.

“Massachusetts is not a lost cause,” Arakelian said. “We can rebuild. I am willing to put in the long hours and hard work to make it happen.”

Arakelian is a married mother of three children with a B.A. in American studies and language arts, and has lived in Hopkinton for more than 25 years. She currently works as a clinical accounts manager at Visiting Rehab and Nursing in Mansfield.

Arakelian, whose husband has served in the military, has been very active in Hopkinton, volunteering in the schools both in the classroom and with leadership roles and fundraising. Arakelian also has volunteered in activities such as food drives, sending care packages to troops deployed overseas, assisting the elderly with yard cleanups, helping with her children’s scouting organizations, and fundraising for the Friends of the Hopkinton Seniors.

Arakelian has been an active member of the Hopkinton Republican Town Committee (HRTC) since 2003, volunteering to work on local candidate elections. She has also served as HRTC secretary and membership outreach coordinator.

Cultural Council announces grants

The Hopkinton Cultural Council announced its 2020 grant recipients, awarding full or partial grants to 11 of 26 applicants. Recipients include Marathon Quilt Guild, Hopkinton Women’s Club, Hopkinton Garden Club, Hopkinton Center for the Arts, Hopkinton Senior Center, South Asian Circle of Hopkinton, 26.2 Foundation and the Hopkinton Public Schools.

“It is exciting to see the enthusiasm for arts and cultural events in our community growing each year,” said Hopkinton Cultural Council chair Sterling Worrell.

Other members of the Hopkinton Cultural Council (municipally appointed) who helped decide which activities to support are Jonathan Meltzer, Ilana Cassidy, Rick Jacobs, Darlene Hayes, Amy Groves, Meena Kaushik, Tom Phelan, Laura Stacey and Andrea Wilk.

The organization will hold its annual grantee reception on April 1.

“I look forward to meeting the grantees at the reception each year, learning about their projects and supporting the arts in the Hopkinton community,” said Massachusetts state Rep. Carolyn Dykema.

The Hopkinton Cultural Council also announced it will be the presenting host and overse the return of Art on the Trail in early summer.

“The Hopkinton Trails Club enthusiastically supports the return of the Art on the Trail event,” said Hopkinton Trails Club representative John Ritz. “The previous iterations of the event introduced the Center Trail to many folks who would not otherwise have discovered this wonderful open space resource, and many of them have returned on their own over the years to enjoy it. It is a great use of this trail, and an effective promotion and celebration of our town and its natural treasures. We look forward to seeing the event return.”

The Hopkinton Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 local cultural councils serving all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts.

Library staffers approved

At its Feb. 4 meeting, the Select Board approved the town manager’s appointment of two new senior assistants at the Hopkinton Public Library.

Cailin Chenelle has worked in children’s services at the Bolton Public Library since January 2015. She holds a B.A. in writing with a minor in cultural anthropology from Ithaca College and an M.A. in writing, literature and publishing from Emerson College.

Erin Bassler has been the assistant circulation librarian at the Wellesley Free Library since January 2017. She also is a correspondent for the Telegram & Gazette newspaper in Worcester.

PJB food pantry changes

Residents are able to access the Project Just Because food pantry and the PJB gluten-free food pantry every other week by visiting the location at 109 South Street Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. This new procedure replaces the online forms.

Also, if there is a need to have items dropped off at someone’s house because of illness, disability, etc., PJB can provide this service. Contact the PJB office at pjboffice@comcast.net or 508-435-6511 to arrange a delivery.

Fuel assistance available

Anyone interesting in applying to the South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC) for fuel assistance this heating season should contact the Outreach Department at the Hopkinton Senior Center. The Outreach Department assists individuals and families of all ages in Hopkinton with this application.

The program runs through April. The income guidelines are set by the state ($37,360 for a household of one, $48,855 for a household of two, etc.). SMOC assists whether a home is heated with oil, natural gas, propane, electricity or wood. Outreach also can also assist those who received assistance last year and are applying for recertification.

For more information call the Senior Center at 508-497-9730 and ask for the Outreach Department.

Baypath announces educational series

Baypath Humane Society recently announced its 2020 programming series, which is being sponsored by Middlesex Savings Bank.

A free webcast about canine separation anxiety will be held March 14. Renowned separation anxiety specialist Malena DeMartini has brought hope to many families whose pet suffers from this heartbreaking condition. During the webcast DeMartini will explain how the resolution of separation anxiety is possible. Contact humaneeducation@baypathhumane.org to reserve a spot.

Safe animal handling talks are available to local elementary schools. Baypath community liaison Michelle Kreell was trained in the nationally recognized lesson plan American Humane Society’s KIDS Initiative (Kids Interacting Safely with Dogs) and is a member of the Association of Professional Humane Educators. She teaches children K-12 things dogs need to be happy, healthy and comfortable. Contact Michelle at community@baypathhumane.org to learn how a school can participate.

A low-cost vaccination and microchipping clinic will give pet owners a variety of affordable, preventative care services to protect the health and well-being of their dog or cat. Watch the Baypath website soon for date and location.