WILMINGTON — The main items for consideration at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Monday night pertained to a new recovery coach, parcel 13A at Cross Street and Main Street, and Chas Fiore’s spectacular Christmas lights.
Wilmington Health and Recovery Coordinator Samantha Reif introduced Recovery Coach Erin McCauley who’s joining her and working across towns to facilitate weekly recovery meetings and providing tools and resources to anyone struggling with substance abuse.
Reif also mentioned that the funding for the position was secured after a two-year grant for a recovery coach in the police department ran out. She listed McCauley’s professional experience and trainings, although she’s not yet fully licensed but planning to be soon.
Police Chief Joe Desmond added that the town proved the value of the program and made this position possible. Chairman Jonathan Eaton mentioned the board highly respects Reif’s work and wishes there were less of it to be done.
Greg Bendel said, “Wilmington takes its commitment to helping people battling substance abuse very seriously.”
Jomarie O’Mahony agreed that the work that Reif does is helping to keep the community safe in a time with elevated struggles.
The discussion moved on to the donation of a plot of land called parcel 13A which is located at the intersection of Cross Street and Main Street. Town Engineer Paul Alunni said the area is being donated by the person who owns 613 Main St.
He showed an image of proposed realignments thanks to the property donation which would make a better T intersection and connection to the Butters Row bridge. The board voted to accept the donation of this plot for $1.
They next welcomed Chas Fiore, a Wilmington resident and Shawsheen Tech graduate who recently won ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight.” Fiore said that he’s enjoyed decorating his house with lights and has expanded in the past few years beyond just the house to include the driveway with Hollywood-inspired facades.
The board congratulated and thanked Fiore for the display.
“For once there was good traffic,” Gary DePalma said.
They shared that his Christmas lights have brought positivity and joy to the year and given folks somewhere to go when they can’t go to very many places.
After that, they moved on to several memos in communications. The first two regarded the state’s rollback to phase three step one, which limits outdoor gatherings to 50 and indoor capacities to 40 percent. The next piece of communication came from Health Director Shelly Newhouse on the agreement for the health department to provide COVID vaccines.
There were two communications concerning the breaching of the plastic membrane/temporary cap on the contamination area at the Olin Superfund site. The first was from Olin to the Environmental Protection Agency, and the second was from the town’s environmental consultant GeoInsight to the same.
Town Manager Jeff Hull shared that GeoInsight’s letter included a suggestion for a more durable liner to make up the containment cap than the EPA has proposed.
Jomarie O’Mahony’s communication item discussed the updates to the MBTA service plan, with commuter rail service ending at 9 p.m. on weekdays and no weekend service at all. She also said that the MBTA believes these schedule changes could be long-term with the increasing ability to work remotely.
The final item of communication came from Kelly Magee Wright on behalf of Minuteman Services sharing the fiscal year 2020 breakdown of services given to Wilmington residents.
The board considered the library’s requests to use the Swain Green for a Shakespeare performance and the summer bash; the 2021 licenses for restaurants, auto repair and vehicle shops, and other businesses in town; and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission’s population estimation form.
All but one restaurant in town renewed their common victualer or alcohol license, and all of the proposals and licenses were unanimously approved.
In announcements, O’Mahony stated that accusations regarding her supposed “lack of residency” in Wilmington are shameful and inappropriate. She maintained that she’ll remain a Wilmington resident and continue to serve on the board until the voters decide otherwise. Gary DePalma also spoke on her behalf to say that she’s an honest woman about whom these comments shouldn’t be made.
Some of the other announcements made were about the Santa Parade Food Pantry donations and the We’re One Wilmington Virtual Festival of Trees which were both successful despite necessary COVID-19 changes. Several board members shared that they hope 2021 will be a better year than 2020.
Hull said, “Stay positive. Test negative.”
The Salute to Service for Ken Cripps was the final item of the evening. Their next meeting will be on Jan. 11 at 7 p.m.