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Select Board roundup: New police officer introduced; amendment to leash law proposed

by | Dec 20, 2022 | Business, Featured: News, News, Police & Fire

Nick Walker

Police Chief Joseph Bennett (left) applauds after the Select Board approved the hiring of Nicholas Walker as a police officer. PHOTO/HCAM SCREENSHOT

Nicholas Walker was introduced as the town’s newest police officer at Tuesday’s Select Board meeting. Walker, 27, is set to graduate later this month from the Boylston Police Academy.

A native of Hopedale, Walker most recently served as a dispatcher in Hopedale and Mendon.

Walker said he chose to become a police officer in part to set a positive example for his 4-year-old son, adding that he’s excited to work in Hopkinton.

“I wanted a community that supports their police department and also has a strong partnership, a police department that really focuses on community policing and community engagement and involvement,” he said. “I think that Hopkinton is going to be a perfect home for me.”

Small business assistance available

Khumalo announced that the town has $100,000 to offer via an economic recovery support grant for local small businesses that were adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each business can apply for a $5,000 grant.

Businesses must be in Hopkinton, have 25 or fewer employees and have been adversely impacted as a result of COVID-19.

“As we always say, small local businesses are a valuable part of this community, and we know that they did face unprecedented hardships during the pandemic,” Khumalo said. “Therefore, we’re very pleased that through our partnership with senate President Karen Spilka’s office we are now able to offer this funding to provide some form of stability to small businesses.” …

Meanwhile, Khumalo said the town received applications from 37 families for its COVID-19 support fund and distributed $1,600 to each household.

“Due to the very strong demand, we have now extended the deadline indefinitely,” he said.

Amendment to leash law proposed

The board voted to open the Town Meeting warrant Jan. 1 and close it on Jan. 31.

The board also voted to place on the warrant an amendment to the leash law. Currently, dogs are required to be leashed between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. The amendment would extend the leash requirement for the entirety of the day when a dog is not on its owner/keeper’s property. As per the current law, it would not apply to hunting dogs, guide dogs or therapy dogs under direct command of their owners/keepers, nor dogs used in law enforcement.

Tennis Club gets alcohol license

A general all-alcoholic license was issued to the Hopkinton Tennis and Swim Club, which is planned for a location off Lumber Street. The club has received a permit since 2016, and some board members questioned if an annual license should continue to be awarded while little progress has been made on the facility.

“I’m going to want to know a date certain next year when it’s going to open if I’m going to extend it,” Select Board member Muriel Kramer said.

A representative from the company indicated via a letter to the board that site work recently began, although Town Manager Norman Khumalo said he did not believe any building permits had been issued.

Hoyt Memorial 5K planned for May

A parade permit was issued to the Hoyt Foundation for the first Dick Hoyt Memorial 5 Mile Road Race, which is scheduled for May 27 at 10 a.m. The start will start and end at Marathon School, with partial road closures that will be discussed with the Police Department. …

Boston Marathon invitational entries were assigned to the Hopkinton Freedom Team, Hopkinton Parent Teacher Organization and the Hopkinton Women’s Club. The three organizations were passed over after last month’s raffle for the 50 numbers that the Boston Athletic Association distributed to the town, but the BAA was able to make three more numbers available.

Misc.: Budget work continues; appointments approved

Regarding the town budget, which is to be presented to the Select Board in January, Khumalo noted that following an updated budget from the School Department, the town now needs to trim $2.8 million to reach a balanced budget. Previously, the gap was $1 million.

“Therefore, we will be looking closely at both the potential sources of funds as well as the budget requests to develop some options for addressing the shortfall,” Khumalo said. …

The appointment of Ayako Barnum as a senior library assistant was confirmed by board members. She has been working at the library since July as a temporary assistant. …

Keerthika Deepala was appointed to a fill a vacancy on the Hopkinton Cultural Council, while Randall Kramer was appointed to fill an open spot on the Veterans Celebration Committee. …

The board accepted the resignations of Patricia Srodawa from the Council on Aging (effective Dec. 31) and Linda Muri from the Veterans Celebration Committee. …

The board approved a request from Eversource to install seven new poles on Clinton Street to “allow for improvements and upgrades for the increase and improvement of reliability for electric service” in town. The board added a condition that there be no double poles.

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