The Top 11 Foxboro Stories of 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, we look back at some of the top stories from the past 12 months.

While these lists are usually include the top 10, the amount of stories in Foxboro this year meant we had to go one step further and do a top 11.

It was certainly an interesting year for Foxboro. Major stories included the messy departure of the town manager, a bowling alley that had more trouble coming to town than expected, an attempted murder, and a deadly dragging down Route 1.

We also saw the community come together when they rallied to keep the Hazeldines in their home and to support Lawton's Family Farm in the wake of possible regulations or even a ban on the sale of raw milk.

And while we understand there are many news stories that hit Foxboro this year, we're bringing you the headlines that had the most readership. Tell us in the comments section below what you think the year's biggest Foxboro news story was. 

Here is Foxborough Patch's top 10 stories of 2013:

11. A Deadly Dragging On Route 1

How the body dragging under one’s vehicle could not be noticed was a mystery to many but that’s what happened during a late Monday night on Route 1 in November.

After an alleged conflict at the Arbor Inn in Wrentham on Route 1, Moses Acloque of Norwood left the motel in his truck. Authorities said two employees tried to stop him. One was pushed to the side while the other was dragged up Route 1 to Chickie Flynn’s in Foxboro.

Acloque is free on bail but will face homicide charges.

10. The Glen Saltis Murder Case

Residents were shocked to find out that resident Glenn Saltis attempted to kill his ex-wife in the home they once shared on Memorial Day of this year.

After being recovered from the Neoponset River, Saltis was arraigned from his hospital bed, with the case eventually going to Dedham Superior Court.

Saltis eventually pleaded guilty to multiple attempted murder and assault charges in October and must serve 3-4 years in a Massachusetts prison, wear a GPS monitoring device for two years, serve five years probations, and will have to complete 45 weeks of a batterers counseling program. He also must stay away from his ex-wife.

9. Upsets on Election Night

A pair of newcomers surprised voters during town elections with surprised victories in the selectmen in school committee races.

With two selectmen seats on the line, Jim DeVellis was reelection but John Gray pulled off an upset, taking the second seat from Lynda Walsh.

In the school committee race, Katie Adair was reelected and Stephen Udden beat longtime committee member Martha Slattery and former member Kate Kominsky to join the five-member board.

8. A New Town Hall Fails Again

While practically everyone agrees that something needs to be done about town hall, what should be done is a question that has been asked for years.

Support and opposition for a new town hall has been as even as even can get. The advisory committee voted 4-4 on the article to use $550,000 to create the plans and blue prints for a new town hall and the article received the support of voters by one vote at November’s Special Town Meeting. The article however, needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

A new plan may come up in the future but for now, town hall will remain as is.

7. Invensys Tax Break Passes Town Meeting

Of the 26 articles at May’s Annual Town Meeting, arguably the most important article approved was Article 28, the Invensys TIF agreement, which grants the company with over 100-year-old roots in town a tax break to invest $33 million into renovating its existing buildings on Mechanic Street and Neponset Avenue and retain at least 900 jobs in Foxborough.

"At the end of the day it is really quite a simple proposal," said now former Foxborough Town Manager Kevin Paicos on the Town Meeting floor. "Invensys is going to spend $33 million for improvements of their buildings. It takes time to realize profit from that investment so they asked us to forgive some of the taxes up front in the first few years so they can offset some of that investment until it begins to produce revenue for them.

"It’s a simple way to have a partnership between a town and a business. ... The most important thing is that Invensys, which has had a partnership with this community for over 100 years remains in the community. This is truly a partnership and truly a win-win."

To read more about the proposal that was approved, click here.

6. Town Insurance Snafu Nearly Affects Stadium Events

In the fallout of the Paicos departure, the selectmen were left dealing with the issue of insurance for town employees working stadium events. With the town's liability increased from $7,500 per claim to $50,000 in the wake of the formation of the Weldner-Dutton case, the town was left looking for a policy that could provide a lower deductible.

While the Kraft Group could not buy insurance for the town, an offer to search for a plan on behalf of the town that could be purchased by the town for their employees stalled when an authorization letter that was supposed to be signed by Kevin Paicos went unsigned for months. The late signing of the form left the town rushing to find a solution before the start of the Gillette Stadium summer concerts.

Looking for a solution until a new plan could be found, the selectmen demanded the Kraft Group to front the money in the interim, something stadium officials were not obligated to do or could do legally.

The selectmen also made the entertainment licenses for Revolution matches and concerts conditional on the deal getting done. 

While a New England Revolution took place without the blessing of the selectmen and without incident, a new deal was reached before the first concert that gave the town the same amount of protection.

5. Saving the Hazeldine’s Home

Thanks to the kindness of friends in Foxboro and beyond, a nearly one-year nightmare for John and Julie Hazeldine ended with a dream scenario.

With the couple falling behind on their mortgage and John unable to work due to complications from a stroke in 2008, the Hazeldines received over 400 donations totaling about $43,000 were received along with plenty of volunteers to work on the house.

Using the money, the Hazeldines were able to recover their home and remain in Foxboro.

4. Raw Milk Wars in Foxboro

More people were probably interested in a board of health meeting that ever before when board member Eric Avedon requested a public hearing to explore the possibility of regulating raw milk in Foxboro and even debating if the product should be sold in town.

The regulations would have effected only Lawton’s Family Farm, the only supplier of raw milk in Norfolk County.

Support for the Lawtons was so strong that the first attempt at a public hearing forced a delay after the meeting room at the Public Safety Building hit capacity with more outside the room waiting to get in.

When the meeting was finally held, public testimony and convinced two out of the three board of health members to keep the sale of raw milk legal in Foxboro under state and federal regulations.

3. The Departure of Kevin Paicos

He left for National Guard duty in late May but when he never came back, many in Foxboro were left wondering where in the world was Kevin Paicos.

After an agreement to not renew Paicos’ contract beyond June, 30 2014, Paicos and the selectmen took it one step further. Weeks of silence by the selectmen was broken in early August when it was announced that Paicos would serve the rest of his contract on paid administrative leave and Town Clerk Bob Cutler, who was named the acting town manager, would continue to serve in that capacity until a new town manager was found.

A screening committee is currently reviewing applications with a decision expected to come in January.

Paicos’ retirement was a short one. He is currently serving as the town administrator of Jamestown, RI 

2. Life According to Sam

For many who were introduced to Foxboro's Sam Berns for the first time though his documentary Life According to Sam and public appearances, it was their first look at what the rapid aging disease progeria is. With a documentary on HBO, it seemed like Berns was everywhere, from interviews with Katie Couric to hanging out with Bob Kraft, Berns' 2013 was one to remember.

It was also a good year for funding progeria research. Kraft's challenge to match his $500,000 donation resulted in $1.18 million for research.

Recently, Life According to Sam was one of 15 documentaries shortlisted for an Oscar nomination.

1. Residents Rally in Support Over Splitsville

It had the support of residents, businesses on Route 1, State Rep. Jay Barrows, and State Senator Jim Timilty, and Police Chief Ed O'Leary, but for selectmen John Gray, Lorraine Brue, and Ginny Coppola, public safety concerns and Howl at the Moon's involvement as the provider of live entertainment was enough to deny Splitsville at Patriot Place a liquor license transfer from the Dana Farber Field House in early November.

The 3-2 vote came as a shock considering the support for the bowling alley and the Kraft Group's agreement to work with Chief O'Leary to improve and help mitigate the costs to better coordinate weekend details at Patriot Place.

Aside from the casino debate of 2012 in Foxboro, very few issues have caused residents in Foxboro to organize and demand action from their elected officials in massive numbers. Later in November, the board was presented with a petition containing over 900 signatures demanding the board to reconsider the vote.

Supporters of Splitsville liked the idea that the establishment could be a place for the family in the day and could still be popular with adults in the evening.

Some proponents however, inaccurately believed the project which features 12 lanes, a dining area, a bar, and a stage featuring musicians employed by Howl at the Moon was a plan to put a bowling alley and a Howl at the Moon club in one space. The amount of OUIs in Foxboro, on par with towns like Lowell and Peabody was also cited without taking into consideration if the arrests came from Patriot Place, other parts of town, or after major stadium events.

With accusations of open meeting law violations causing chairman Mark Sullivan to halt all talks between the town and the Kraft Group until the board can publicly address the alleged violations, it does not look like anyone will be hitting a strike or a 7-10 split at Patriot Place any time soon.

Do you like the list or did we get it wrong? Tell us in the comments section what you think was the biggest story of 2013 in Foxboro.


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