All posts by Amy Ritterbusch

eHop Board Member 2007-present

Candidate Endorsement Policy

Town Election 2017 Word Cloud

As we head into election season, eHop would like to remind our readers of our candidate endorsement policy:

The primary mission of eHop is community education on funding and policy issues pertaining to the Town of Hopkinton, Massachusetts including the Hopkinton Public Schools. Hence, eHop will strive to provide voters with accurate and detailed information on candidates running for state and local office, with a focus on each candidate’s position on both town and school-related issues.

It is eHop policy not to endorse candidates for public office. eHop board members are at liberty, however, to endorse candidates independently.

When eHop collects information from candidates for voter education purposes, eHop may add editorial comments to clarify candidate claims or statements that eHop deems to be deceptive or misleading, or that require further explanation.

On our Blog/Website:

Any eHop Board Member running for elected office in a contested race will not write or edit any blogs regarding the office for which they are running, including but not limited to our annual Candidate Q&A.

On Facebook:

In addition, due to eHop policy not to endorse candidates for public office, any endorsements for specific candidates will be deleted from our Facebook page.

Candidates are welcome to email a candidate statement or a link to their campaign website, which we will be happy to post to our website along with info about all the other candidates. Please send to amyritterbusch@ehop01748.org.

Read our full policies and guidelines…

Overview of the eHop Spotlight on Traffic & Pedestrian Safety

Thank you to Director of Public Works, John Westerling, Chief of Police, Edward Lee and Director of Land Use & Town Operations, Elaine Lazarus for being panelists at the eHop Spotlight on Traffic & Pedestrian Safety on 2/6, and also a shout out to Kelly Grill & the Hopkinton Center for the Arts for the use of their beautiful space and to Mike Torosian & HCAM-TV for recording our show for those unable to attend.

Key Contact Info:

Enforcement/Interim Solutions:
Hopkinton Police Department, 508-497-3401 (non-emergency)

Long-Term Vision:
Board of Selectmen selectmen@hopkintonma.gov, 508-497-9701, Meets every 2nd & 4th Tuesday of the month in Town Hall

Road Repair:
Department of Public Works, 508-497-9740

Student Safety:
Dr. MacLeod, Superintendent, cmacleod@hopkinton.k12.ma.us, 508-497- 9870
School Resource Officer, schoolresource@hopkintonpd.org

Strategic Initiatives:

Downtown Corridor Project:
Dave Daltorio, Town Engineer, ddaltorio@hopkintonma.gov, 508-497-9738

Hayden Rowe Corridor Study:
John Westerling, DPW, jwesterling@hopkintonma.gov, 508-497-9740

Sidewalk Master Plan:
Planning Board/ Elaine Lazarus, elainel@hopkintonma.gov, 508-497-9700

Development/Long-Term Planning:
Planning Board, Meets every 2nd & 4th Monday of the month in Town Hall. Elaine Lazarus, Director of Land Use & Town Operations, elainel@hopkintonma.gov, 508-497-9700.

eHop Spotlight on Traffic & Pedestrian Safety

In the wake of several serious pedestrian accidents and growing concern about traffic, eHop will hold a public forum titled eHop’s Spotlight on Traffic and Pedestrian Safety on Monday, February 6,  7:00 – 8:30 pm at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts, 98 Hayden Rowe Street, Hopkinton.

eHop Spotlight on Traffic & Pedestrian Safety – Quick Facts Video

Special Town Meeting Results Day 2 (unofficial)

IMG_2252

Article 1: Periodic Charter Review: Report and Recommendations – PASSED as amended below

  • Amendment: June Harris of the Board of Library Trustees made a motion to amend Section 4-5c “Library Director – The Town Manager shall annually set goals for the Library Director with input from the Board of Library Trustees.” PASSED on 1/30/17
  • Amendment: Carly Grant made a motion to add welcoming and inclusivity language to the preamble. “The Town of Hopkinton welcomes residents of all races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, gender identifications, and sexual orientations; the Town of Hopkinton, further, is committed to providing a climate of safety and acceptance to all residents. The Town of Hopkinton will actively address and resist acts of discrimination, bullying, or intimidation.” PASSED on 1/30/17
  • Amendment: Christine Dietz made a motion to amend the proposed charter which would keep the Town Clerk elected, rather than appointed by the Board of Selectmen. PASSED on 1/30/17
  • Amendment: Phil Cohen, a member of the Board of Health, made a motion to allow boards and committees with appointing authority to fix the compensation of their appointees. PASSED on 1/30/17
  • Amendment: Frank D’Urso made a motion to make the Town Treasurer an elected position. (The Town Attorney helped to draft the wording before Town Meeting Day 2.) FAILED
  • Amendment: Jim Ciriello made a motion to have a requirement that the Town Manager be a resident of Hopkinton, within 6 months of appointment to the position. (The Town Attorney helped to draft the wording before Town Meeting Day 2.) FAILED
  • Amendment: Frank D’Urso made a motion to create an elected position of Ombudsman. FAILED

Article 2: School Building Project (addition of 4 classrooms to the school building project currently underway) – An additional $1.5 Million – PASSED Unanimously

Article 3: Acquisition of Property at 61 Main Street for Downtown Corridor Realignment – PASSED 96 to 22 on 1/30/17

Article 4: Authority to Negotiate Solar Agreements – PASSED on 1/30/17

Meeting adjourned at about 8:55 PM

Special Town Meeting Results Day 1 (unofficial)

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Motion to defer action on article 2 (School Building Project) until 7:00 PM on day 2, Tuesday, January 31 – PASSED 107 – 42

Article 1: Periodic Charter Review: Report and Recommendations – DEFERRED

  • Amendment: June Harris of the Board of Library Trustees made a motion to amend Section 4-5c “Library Director – The Town Manager shall annually set goals for the Library Director with input from the Board of Library Trustees.” PASSED
  • Amendment: Carly Grant made a motion to add welcoming and inclusivity language to the preamble. “The Town of Hopkinton welcomes residents of all races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, gender identifications, and sexual orientations; the Town of Hopkinton, further, is committed to providing a climate of safety and acceptance to all residents. The Town of Hopkinton will actively address and resist acts of discrimination, bullying, or intimidation.” PASSED unanimously
  • Amendment: Christine Dietz made a motion to amend the proposed charter which would keep the Town Clerk elected, rather than appointed by the Board of Selectmen. PASSED
  • Amendment: Phil Cohen, a member of the Board of Health, made a motion to allow boards and committees with appointing authority to fix the compensation of their appointees. PASSED
  • Amendment: Frank D’Urso made a motion to make the Town Treasurer an elected position. – The Town Attorney needed time to draft the wording that would accomplish what Mr D’Urso intended. So a motion was made to defer voting on this amendment until Tuesday after article 2. DEFERRED This means that the final voting on the Town Charter will be delayed until Tuesday.
  • Amendment: Jim Ciriello made a motion to have provision in the charter to have a residency requirement for the Town Manager.  The Town Moderator asked that Mr Ciriello work on the wording with the Town Attorney and bring his amendment back tomorrow. DEFERRED

Article 2: School Building Project (addition of 4 classrooms to the school building project currently underway) – An additional $1.5 Million – DEFERRED until 1/31/17

Article 3: Acquisition of Property at 61 Main Street for Downtown Corridor Realignment – PASSED 96 to 22

Article 4: Authority to Negotiate Solar Agreements – PASSED

Meeting ended at 10:15 PM, to continue at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, January 31 at Hopkinton Middle School, when articles that have been deferred with be discussed, starting first with article 2. Keep an eye on the Town Twitter for weather cancellations.

Special Town Meeting Begins Monday at 7:00pm

Hopkinton Town Clerk

Hopkinton Special Town Meeting Day 1
Monday, January 30 at 7:00-11:00pm
Middle School Auditorium
There are 4 articles to vote on the warrant. Town meeting will repeat the following evenings 7:00-11:00pm until all the articles are voted. We expect Special Town Meeting to last at least 2 evenings. The first motion of the evening is expected to be a vote to defer action on article 2 (new school) until 7:00 PM on day 2 (Tuesday 1/31/17), but we cannot be sure if the motion will pass. Stay tuned.

As usual eHop will be covering Town Meeting live on social media to let you know the results of each vote as it happens. Follow us @eHop01748 and look for the hashtag #HopSTM17

Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn

Useful Documents:


List of Articles with Links & Details:

Hopkinton Town Clerk

Article 1: Periodic Charter Review: Report and Recommendations

To hear the Report of the Charter Review Committee, submitted pursuant to Section 7-6 of the Town’s Home Rule Charter, and to see if the Town will vote to adopt the recommendations of the Charter Review Committee as set forth in a proposed Charter. Three key changes being recommended:


Addition of Classrooms to New School
Article 2: School Building Project (addition)

Article 2: School Building Project (addition of 4 classrooms to the school building project currently underway) – An additional $1.5 Million


61 Main Street Downtown Corridor
Article 3: Acquisition of Property at 61 Main Street for Downtown Corridor Realignment

Article 3: Acquisition of Property at 61 Main Street for Downtown Corridor Realignment

To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to acquire, by gift, purchase, or eminent domain, a fee or other interest in all or any portion of the property located at 61 Main Street and designated on the Assessors Map as U16-250-0, said land to be used for purposes of realigning the intersection of Main Street (Route 135) and Cedar/Grove Street (Route 85) in order to improve the flow of traffic on Main Street and enhance public safety.


Solar Panels

Article 4: Authority to Negotiate Solar Agreements

To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to negotiate payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) agreements for solar energy projects in the Town of Hopkinton in accordance with Section 38H of Chapter 59 of the Massachusetts General Laws.

Town Meeting 101

Town Meeting 101 Photo Essay (2 min. video)
You do not need to bring anything to Town Meeting. However, many people find that bringing a notebook and pen or pencil is helpful to make notes during the discussions. No food or drink is allowed in the Middle School Auditorium. There is a drinking fountain outside the auditorium. Many people also find that something to occupy one’s hands is helpful. If you are a knitter, for example, bring a small project. There are plenty of padded stationary folding auditorium style chairs, which are reasonably comfortable. But remember you’ll be there for a long time, so wear comfortable clothes.

Town Meeting begins at 7:00 PM in the Middle School Auditorium. Enter by Grove Street and please allow time to park and walk to the building. As you enter the Middle School, head to the left to the cafeteria to sign in. To actually vote in the auditorium, you must be a Hopkinton resident registered to vote and you must sign in at the voter table. Your name will be checked off and you’ll be given a small piece of paper marked “Voter Pass.” Hold on to this slip of paper; you will need it when it is time for the votes to be counted! You’ll see a table of handouts and fact sheets regarding all the proposed articles to be voted on from the town boards and committees. There is some terrific information here that may answer many of your questions. Listening devices for the hearing impaired will be available, please ask when you check in.

Assistive Listening Device

You do not have to be present for the entire town meeting to vote, though the more that participate in whole, the more balanced the democratic process. A quorum of 100 people is required to open the meeting. There is no set time to check in. The meeting will be broadcast live via HCAM TV (Comcast 8/Verizon 30/Streaming live at www.hcam.tv), but you MUST be present to vote. You just need to check in prior to the vote, whenever you arrive. You only have to check in once, and you can come and go from the auditorium as you please. You can text (with phone switched to silent mode) from within the auditorium, although there is minimal cell coverage. Step outside to make a phone call.

The Board of Selectmen (Brian Herr, Chair) presides over the meeting, which is facilitated by the Town Moderator (Thomas Garabedian) and recorded by the Town Clerk (Connor Degan). The format of the meeting itself follows procedures set out in the Town Bylaws, page 35-37 (similar to Robert’s Rules of Order). Articles are presented, motions made, discussions ensue. Sometimes it can be a little confusing if an amendment comes up, so keep your ears open. Listen carefully — and you’ll learn a lot. There are 4 articles on the warrant (agenda) for Hopkinton’s Special Town Meeting on January 30, 2017.

The committee or board presenting each article may make a brief presentation before each article. The Town Moderator, Thomas Garabedian, will facilitate a question and answer period for registered residents. If you choose to ask a question or comment on an article, step up to one of the microphones located in the auditorium aisles. Wait for the moderator, to recognize you, then state your name and address, and keep your comments brief, civil, and to the point. The comment, question and answer period will end when either #1 the moderator sees that no one else is waiting at the microphone to speak or #2 a voter comes to the microphone, is recognized by the moderator, and says “I move the question” or “I call the question.” The motion to end debate must then be seconded and then adopted by a ⅔ vote.

As for the actual voting, most votes start as a voice vote. The moderator asks all in favor and all opposed. If the voice vote sounds close, it will go to a standing count. The moderator will ask all in favor to stand up. Now is the time to get out that piece of paper! Hold out your Voter Pass and remain standing until the counters for your section have indicated that your vote has been recorded.

Although you can leave at any time, we recommend you do NOT leave until the meeting is officially adjourned. Someone may ask for a recount, and if a large group has already left, the outcome could be different, especially if the original vote was close. If you have any other questions about Town Meeting, please ask!

Citizen’s Guide to Town Meetings from the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

eHop to Hold Forum on Traffic & Pedestrian Safety

In the wake of several serious pedestrian accidents and growing concern about traffic, eHop will hold a public forum titled eHop’s Spotlight on Traffic and Pedestrian Safety on Monday, February 6,  7:00 – 8:15 pm at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts, 98 Hayden Rowe Street, Hopkinton.

Hopkinton’s population has increased by 15% in the past decade1 and the average number of vehicles per household has increased from 2.03 to 3.4 in that same time frame2. Looking ahead, a 2014 report by BETA Engineering says that traffic along Main Street is expected to grow as much as 79% during the 5- 6 pm peak driving hour between 2012 and 20223. According to Hopkinton’s 2016 Draft Master Plan, the Town has reached a critical mass of traffic and pedestrians which needs to be addressed, at least in part, by separating pedestrians and vehicles where possible.

Traffic impacts everyone in Hopkinton — commuters, local drivers, bikers, runners, and walkers.  In response, town officials have been working on several long-term improvement projects that are expected to come up for a vote at Town Meeting 2017.  “We hope to educate residents about these important ongoing initiatives and encourage an open dialogue with town leaders to find ways that we can all work together to improve the safety of our streets,” said Amy Ritterbusch, President of eHop.  Featured panelists will include Police Chief Lee, John Westerling, Director of the Department of Public Works, and Elaine Lazarus, Director of Land Use and Town Operations.

This will be the second forum in eHop’s Spotlight Series.  Launched in October 2016, the first forum focused on the drought and water conservation.  eHop is a Hopkinton based 501(c)(4) nonprofit whose mission is to provide timely and factual information about key town matters with the goal of increasing government transparency and fostering civic engagement.

Traffic Back-Up at HHS arrival time
Drivers backed up half mile on Route 85 south in Hopkinton and using Maple Street as a cut through during middle and high school morning drop off hours.
Route 135 Traffic Backup
Traffic back-up on Rte 135 west, Hopkinton.
Crosswalk in 20 MPH School Zone
Route 85 crosswalk by EMC Playground in Hopkinton where the speed limit slows
to 20 MPH approaching Hopkins School.

Continue reading eHop to Hold Forum on Traffic & Pedestrian Safety