Week in Review: Power Outages from Hurricane Sandy, Kraft Group No Longer Negotiating with Town, Local Sports and More
A recap of this week's headlines from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2.
Miss anything in Foxborough this week? Here's your chance to sit back and catch up on some Patch. Below is a recap of this week’s biggest headlines on Foxborough Patch:
After nearly three years and no progress on a comprehensive deal between the town of Foxborough and the Kraft Group to expand Patriot Place, the company has decided to walk away from the negotiating table.
“We are unfortunately no closer to a deal than we were three years ago,” said Dan Murphy, vice president of the Kraft Group’s Business Development and External Affairs. … “At this point we don’t want to waste the [Board of Selectmen's] time and don’t want to waste our time and we just don’t see that there is a likely solution so we respectfully ask [the Board of Selectmen] to take no action on the negotiating committee.”
Murphy cited the two dissolved negotiating committees and the Oct. 16 debate amongst selectmen as to whether the town should even meet with the Kraft Group as reasons for the company’s decision not to pursue further negotiations at this time.
“We spent a lot of time looking at the last meeting on Oct. 16 and realized with that meeting and prior meetings their have been hours of debate at this table whether to meet with us at all, whether it should be an open session, a private session, whether members of the board should be part of it or residents should be part of it and I think what it’s done for us is it has given us a chance to take these last two weeks and pause for a bit and say we are unfortunately no closer to a deal than we were three years ago,” Murphy said.
One year after two storms each caused multi-day power outages throughout Foxborough, residents must prepare to face a similar scenario in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, according to Foxborough Town Manager Kevin Paicos Monday night.
“Although Foxborough itself sustained what appears to be little damage, severe damage to transmission lines, which feed power to Foxborough sub-stations has occurred,” Paicos said following a conversation with National Grid president Marcy Reed. “Primary among these is the so-called Union Loop, which has suffered damage to 5 of its 12 sections. In addition, damage has occurred to at least two cross-country transmission lines, which feed power to Foxborough.”
So what does this mean?
“National Grid advises that loss of power to portions of Foxborough is likely to be a multi-day event,” Paicos said. “Residents are urged to plan for this contingency and to closely monitor the news outlet from which you received this message for updated information as it become available [Tuesday morning].”
Foxborough Board of Selectmen chair James DeVellis is angry – as are many of the residents – following the town’s third significant power outage over the last year caused by a storm.
“This is the third time now and I’m sick of it,” DeVellis said. “I’m tired of it. The same thing being said now [by National Grid regarding the power outages] was said last year.”
DeVellis and other Foxborough officials vented their frustrations to National Grid liaison Tom Coughlin Tuesday, calling the power outage situation a bad running “joke” for the town.
“When the newspapers and television crews set up on our Common the day before [the storm] to say, ‘I wonder what’s going to happen to Foxborough,’ it’s almost a joke,” DeVellis said. … I don’t know what it is about Foxborough that makes it the big joke of electricity but it can’t continue.”
According to Coughlin - and explained by Town Manager Kevin Paicos - what it is about Foxborough that makes it susceptible to power outages is the Union Loop.
“The primary problem to the extent that we were out of power until now is not local trees,” Paicos said. “Primary problem is outside of town borders and is once again the so-called Union Loop, which sync large transmission lines like the giant 200-foot towers that you see come into a large sub-station in Attleboro. From Attleboro, another line known as the Union Loop, which is literally a loop, distributes power like spokes off a wheel. Our power comes from that Union Loop.”
National Grid liaison Tom Coughlin's first order of business Tuesday at Foxborough's emergency Board of Selectmen meeting at Town Hall was not to update the town on the status of its power outages but rather to issue an apology.
"I think I have to start out by saying on behalf of National Grid I apologize to the town for any erroneous information," Coughlin said. "That’s something we are going to have to get really good at."
The "erroneous information" Coughlin is referring to was the percentage of power outages in Foxborough Monday night caused by Hurricane Sandy. The number was reported by National Grid to Foxborough Fire Chief Roger Hatfield as high as 75 percent of the town without power. That figure forced Foxborough Schools Superintendent Debra Spinelli to close schools Tuesday.
But by daylight Tuesday morning, 85 to 90 percent of the town had been restored of power, including Foxborough's schools, which was frustrating for Spinelli.
"Also have to apologize to Superintendent Spinelli for the decision she made based on what we told her,” said Coughlin.
Aside from power outages, which continue to be a significant issue in Foxborough, the town weathered Hurricane Sandy very well, according to Foxborough Fire Chief Roger Hatfield.
“Overall, as you look at the community, we had a lot of success,” Hatfield said. “We didn’t have a lot of damages like we did last year.”
Hatfield said the storm caused relatively minor damage, most notable to three structures.
A section of roof blew off of Chace Lumber storage area on Washington Street
A tree came down onto an apartment building at Walnut Park Apartments on 12 Fuller Rd.
A couple of trees came down on houses and five trees came down on power lines.
Hatfield added there were no injuries reported during the storm.
Foxborough Chief of Police Edward O’Leary said the police department received over 100 calls related to the storm Monday with the majority of them reporting downed power lines, tree limbs and alarm activations.
Foxborough’s Department of Public Works reported most of its efforts were focused on debris and tree removal. DPW director Roger Hill said the debris was much less than what the department saw during last year’s storms and his crews were able to keep the roads in good shape throughout the Hurricane Sandy.
On Tuesday, Massachusetts State Trooper Mark Hannon assigned to the Foxborough Barracks, arrested a 26-year-old man, Hieu Dien, of Everett, on Route 95 in Mansfield and recovered approximately 20 pounds of marijuana from a cedar-lined box.
Trooper Hannon was on patrol on the southbound side of highway when he observed a white 2009 Lexis sedan operating at a high rate of speed. Hannon pulled the vehicle over and immediately detected a strong odor of marijuana. He also observed marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the center console of the sedan.
Upon further investigation, 16 individually wrapped, vacuumed-sealed packages were discovered to contain a substance to be consistent with marijuana. The weight of the marijuana was approximately 20 pounds with a street value of approximately $30,000. Also seized was approximately $2,100 in US currency.
The arrested individual was charged with:
-Failure to Keep Right; and
-Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana.
Hurricane Sandy may take Foxborough's power but it won't take the town's trick-or-treating.
Foxborough Fire Chief Roger Hatfield and Police Chief Edward O'Leary said Tuesday that Sandy's impact on the town will not have any effect on the status of Halloween.
"Halloween should not be impacted," Hatfield said. "I can’t see how it would be impacted by this as far as we can see at this point."
Said O'Leary: "Halloween is on."
Foxborough Fire Chief Roger Hatfield finally delivered the news he has been waiting for since Monday night ... Foxborough will be fully restored of power by Wednesday night.
"We are completely up and running other than seven homes," Hatfield said.
The areas still without power as of 5 p.m. Wednesday are:
- Old Colony Road
- Hope Avenue
"Both of those roads had telephone poles destroyed," Hatfield said. "Both of those roads have new telephone poles and we are just waiting for a crew to come out and attach all the wires to it."
That is expected to happen later Wednesday night, which would restore power to the remaining seven homes without.
Hatfield's news came shortly after National Grid president Marcy Reed said the utility company was ahead of schedule on its original restoration estimates, which had Foxborough projected to be without power until Friday night.
Hatfield commended all the men and women at National Grid, especially National Grid's liaison to Foxborough, Tom Coughlin as well as Foxborough Fire Deputy Chief Steve Bagley for all the hard work and effort they put in to restoring the town.
"I commend National Grid, Tom Coughlin and Steven Bagley for their commitment to the town," Hatfield said. "I’m happy we are [nearly fully restored of power] and I appreciate the folks of Foxborough being patient and working with all of us to make this right."
As of 8:53 a.m. Tuesday, National Grid is reporting on its power outage map that 1,664 customers in Foxborough are without power.
Town Manager Kevin Paicos said he received "extremely frustrating" news from National Grid Monday night when the utility company said the town should prepare for multi-day outages.
Foxborough officials are meeting again at Town Hall Tuesday morning to discuss the town's status and hear an update from National Grid.
Foxborough Fire Chief Roger Hatfield corrected his earlier statement to say it is in fact nearly 75 percent of the town without power as of Monday night.
"Need to correct the numbers," Hatfield said. "37 percent is the number of people with power in Foxborough so over 70 percent of the town is currently without power."
Patch recently caught up with Foxborough resident Trish Matthies, the owner of The Healing Moon Wellness Center on School Street to learn more about her business and what she offers to the community. Here’s what she had to say.
Foxborough cruised past East Bridgewater, 28-8 Friday on senior night at Ahern Field. Next up is a showdown with Hockomock League Davenport Division leader Sharon on Nov. 10.
Foxborough High School sophomore Liz Holmes was the heavy favorite entering Saturday's 2012 George King Hockomock Cross Country Championships and she did not disappoint, winning the league title in the girls' race with a time of 18:39.15.
Foxborough lost 1-0 to Cohasset in the first round of the MIAA Div. 2 South State Tournament Friday at Foxborough High School, ending the Warriors' season.
Foxborough restaurant has one of Top 100 restaurant wine lists in the country, according to OpenTable.com.