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News from the Town of Needham

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Good morning, Needham!

Valentine’s Day is Monday and we’re joining the Charles River Chamber of Commerce in encouraging you to show your favorite local restaurant — and retailer! — some love. Consider grabbing take-out or dining in at one of Needham’s great local establishments. You can browse the list of local restaurants and shops on the Chamber’s website.

A head’s up for later this month, too. All Town buildings will be closed Monday, February 21, 2022 for the President’s Day holiday.

COVID-19 Update

Governor Baker Announces School Mask Mandate to End 2/28

Governor Charlie Baker announced Wednesday that effective Monday, February 28th, the state will no longer require students in grades K-12 to wear masks in schools. Masks will still be required on school buses per federal order and local school districts will have the option to keep their own mask mandates in place if they wish.

Needham Public Schools Superintendent Dan Gutekanst said Wednesday in a tweet that he will update staff and the community on next steps around masking in Needham schools early next week.

Needham Fire Responds to Electrical Fire at Harvey’s Hardware, Response Prevents Major Downtown Fire

A job well done by the Needham Fire Department and others for quickly responding to and extinguishing an electrical fire at Harvey’s Hardware, a Needham Center mainstay for nearly 70 years.

On Friday, February 4th, Needham Fire arrived at Harvey’s within a minute of being dispatched. Workers had noticed water and sparks coming from the electrical service. When they arrived, firefighters saw smoke and found an electrical panel on fire. While firefighters used dry chemical extinguishers to keep the fire at bay, until power is cut from an electrical panel, it will continue to burn. Smoke increased as the fire continued, though fire personnel were successful in keeping nearby materials and merchandise from igniting.

Unlike some retail establishments, hardware stores have a large amount of combustibles and other products on their shelves. According to Fire Chief Dennis Condon, if store employees had not witnessed the fire and called the Fire Department, the potential for a major downtown fire would have been significant.

Once power was shut off to the area, firefighters quickly smothered the flames with additional dry chemicals and fans were brought in to mitigate the smoke.

“Without the quick notification by the employees of Harvey’s Hardware and the swift response of Needham Fire personnel, the outcome might have been devastating to the community,” Condon said.

In total, 21 Needham firefighters responded to the scene.

The Town was also aided by the Westwood Fire Department, whose firefighters served as the Rapid Intervention Team (RIT). RITs are used at all building fires in case firefighters get lost or trapped in smoke-filled environments. This is a precautionary tool used to better protect firefighters as situation may deteriorate.

The Town was also covered by Mutual Aid partners from Westwood, Dedham, Newton and Wellesley. The Town’s Building and Electrical Inspectors also responded to the scene. Thank you to all those who worked together to protect the community.

Community Invited to Participate in Discussion Series “Connection: Cops and Community”

Residents and community members are invited to join Town leaders for “Connection: Cops and Community,” a three-part discussion series that will examine policing in Needham and foster greater understanding and dialogue between police and the community. The series will engage participants in conversations around race, diversity, equity, and inclusion. The series includes a discussion on policing in Needham; the Needham Police Departments philosophy, partnerships, and approach to working with youth and a third session driven by the community, expanding on issues covered in earlier conversations, exploring the relationship between law enforcement and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, and discussing issues around policing that are most urgent in the public’s mind. Participants in the first two sessions and community members will be asked to provide feedback on topics of interest to help shape this third session.

The events are being organized by members of the Needham Select Board, Human Rights Committee, Needham Diversity Initiative, Needham Unite Against Racism Initiative (NUARI), Needham Police Department (NPD), and Town leadership. Registration for these in-person events is requested for planning purposes.

Connection: Cops and Community Event Details

History of Policing: Then and Now
Tuesday, March 1
7:00 - 8:30 PM
Center at the Heights, 300 Hillside Avenue

Youth & Police Panel Discussion
Tuesday, April 5
7:00 - 8:30 PM
Center at the Heights, 300 Hillside Avenue

Community Conversation
Tuesday, May 17
7:00 - 8:30 PM
Center at the Heights, 300 Hillside Avenue

Register for the series

Learn About Notable Needhamites, Hosted by Needham Free Public Library Trustees

Emery Grover – William Nehoiden – Cutler Park – Derwood Newman? You see their names on our streets and buildings, but do you know who they are or why the Town has honored them? Needham has been the home of many accomplished – even world-famous – people. Needham’s Gloria Polizzotti Greis, Executive Director of the Needham History Center, will help fill in the blanks about some of the Notable Needhamites (past and present) whose efforts and accomplishments have shaped Needham and our world.

This event will be held Sunday, February 13th at 2 pm via Zoom. Please register to receive the Zoom link to attend.

This program is sponsored by the Trustees of the Needham Free Public Library in memory of former director Vivian D. McIver.

Register for the program

Center at the Heights Staff Seeking Input on Future CATH Programming as COVID-19 Cases Decline

As we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Aging Services Division is seeking input from those who participate or who wish to participate in Center at the Heights (CATH) programming. Your feedback will help the staff determine how best to structure programs and activities so that people can once again enjoy all the CATH has to offer.

Take the CATH survey

Reminder - Join Rep. Denise Garlick for Her Annual Report to the Community

State Representative Denise Garlick will provide her Annual Report to the Community this month, where she will share her accomplishments from 2021 and her priorities for 2022. This presentation will be held virtually.

Tuesday, February 15th
7:00 - 7:30 P.M. - Presentation
7:30 - 8:00 P.M. - Q & A

Please register on her website to receive the Zoom link. You can also watch live on The Needham Channel - Verizon: Channel 30, Comcast: Channel 99, RCN: Channel 13.


***Meetings are linked to the relevant agenda***

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Board of Health, 5 pm, Town Hall, Select Board Chambers and via Zoom
Council on Aging Board of Directors, 5 pm via Zoom and at the CATH
Conservation Commission, 7 pm via Zoom
Needham Housing Plan Working Group, 7:15 pm via Zoom

Friday, February 11, 2022

Needham Planning Board, 8 am via Zoom
Domestic Violence Action Committee, 9 am via Zoom

Monday, February 14, 2022

Pollard School Council, 2:45 pm, Pollard Middle School, Media Center
High Rock School Advisory Meeting, 3 pm, High Rock School

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

School Committee - Sub-Committee for Negotiations, 3:30 pm, Needham High School, Library Classroom

Events shown as listed on the Town calendar as of 2/10/22. Don't forget to check out the Needham Meeting and Events calendar for updated information.

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Town of Needham
1471 Highland Ave.
Needham, MA 02492

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Town of Needham, MA · Needham Town Hall · 1471 Highland Ave. · Needham, MA 02492 · USA