Select Board roundup: Kudos for Town Meeting; yard sign theft an issue; HPD adds officer

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On Tuesday the Select Board held its first meeting since Annual Town Meeting, which went off without a hitch on Saturday morning.

Town Meeting was moved outside, under a tent in front of Hopkinton High School. It took just over two hours to get through the 22 articles on the warrant.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the community of Hopkinton for a successful Annual Town Meeting,” Town Manager Norman Khumalo told the Select Board. “I’ve been with the community now for 11 years, and Town Meetings come in different forms. This last Town Meeting was somewhat challenging given COVID-19. What was not surprising to me was the way Hopkinton came together successfully to deliver what I thought was a fantastic performance.

“I want to thank the volunteers who work on town boards for countless hours getting us ready. I also want to thank town staff who spent the last 11 months preparing for this Annual Town Meeting; therefore failure was not an option.

“Last but not least, the cooperation and understanding from town residents dealing with us relative to the social distancing, wearing of masks as a way of keeping everybody safe was amazing. Again, job well done, the legislative process went effectively, and most spectacularly all of this happened because of the amazing residents that we have here in Hopkinton.”

Ritterbusch: Leave yard signs alone

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Select Board member Amy Ritterbusch expressed disappointment with yard signs being taken from residents’ property as well as signs being placed on lawns without consent. She said she lives on a main road and has experienced both issues during her 16 years in town.

Ritterbusch said the signs that have been taken range from those supporting the police to those promoting Black Lives Matter.

“This discord in town doesn’t further anyone’s cause,” she said. “I urge people to stop taking signs. Tensions are high and it’s really not funny. If you disagree with someone there’s plenty of other things you can do. You can do something positive for your own cause [or] you can have a conversation.”

Misc.: New HPD officer welcomed

Cody Normandin was approved to be the town’s next police officer. Normandin completed police academy training last week and is set to start on the job Wednesday, Chief Joseph Bennett said.

“I’m super-excited to be here and I can’t wait to get started,” said Normandin, who graduated from Fitchburg State. …

The Select Board approved a gift of $690 to the Police Department from Chakradhar Konapala, Kanthisri Chimirala and the Legacy Farms North Community.

Select Board member Irfan Nasrullah offered thanks to the Legacy Farms group.

“The HPD is a shining light, and I’m really proud of our Police Department so I just like to see that support,” Nasrullah said. “So thank you.” …

The Select Board acknowledged Gerard Berthelette, assistant foreman for the Department of Public Works, who retired after 16 years of service to the town.

“He is the epitome of when you have somebody that leads by example,” said Tedstone, calling Berthelette an acquaintance. “He is a very hard worker, a wonderful person, a massive asset to the DPW, and that’s going to be a tough one to replace. …

Earlier Tuesday Select Board chair Brendan Tedstone, Khumalo and assistant town manager Elaine Lazarus attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Lykan Bioscience on South Street.

“It is one world-class facility that they’ve built,” Tedstone said. “And also it seems that it’s a world-class organization.” …

The board met in executive session to discuss pending litigation regarding the Seaboard Solar development in the forest behind 71 Frankland Road. Fawn Ridge Road residents Scott Ober and Thom Robertson have indicated their intent to sue the Planning, Board following the board’s decision to issue a special permit to Seaboard Solar.

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