Top 10 Newsmakers in Tewksbury for 2012
Who were the folks making headlines in town -- for better or worse?
There was plenty of news and plenty of newsmakers in Tewksbury in 2012. It would be easy to make a list of the Top 50.
Instead, we've limited it to 10 people we felt made significant headlines, good or bad, during the past 12 months.
Do you feel like we got it right or did we snub anyone. Let us know.
10. John Sullivan -- The developer/landlord made news early in the year when he announced plans to demolish Ames Castle, a source of conflict with the town for many years. In November, he sold the property to developer Marc Ginsburg who did demolish the historic home to make room for a small subdivision.
9. Ed Sullivan -- A year after running unsuccessfully for a seat on the Board of Selectmen, Sullivan ran against Nancy Reed for a seat on the Planning Board, with the same results. Just a few months later, Sullivan died unexpectedly at age 50. He will be remembered for many contributions to the community, particularly in the area of youth sports.
8. Richard Montuori -- Montuori is a fixture on this list, as he continues to make headlines for his shrewd fiscal planning and management skills. From brokering a deal to re-organize town recreation programs under the umbrella of the School District to rebuilding the Stabilization Fund to deftly handling contract negotiations, Montuori continues to impress even the most cynical residents.
7. Anne Marie Stronach -- It only seems like Anne Marie Stronach is on every board and committee in town. Over the past year she has been heavily active on the High School Building Committee and the Green Committee, on top of her responsibilities as a selectman. It shouldn't have surprised anyone that something had to give. In November, Stronach announced she would not be seeking a third term on the Board of Selectmen.
6. Scott Wilson -- While he has been maintaining a lower profile over the past several months, Wilson was at the center of Tewksbury politics early in the year. He successfully ran for re-election to the Board of Selectmen in April, despite being chairman of the controversial Special Act Charter Committee. In May, town meeting voters shot down a recommendation by the committee that Tewksbury should transition to a Town Council form of government.
5. Brenda Regan -- Welcome to your new job as principal of Tewksbury High. Your first responsibility will be helping over 1,000 students adjust to a brand new high school building. No pressure or anything. It helped that Regan, a former assistant principal at the Ryan School, was also serving on the High School Building Committee.
4. Jamey Cutelis -- It's been a busy year for Cutelis, and getting busier. As Chairman of the High School Building Committee, he was deeply involved in the opening of the new Tewksbury High. In April he was elected to a seat on the School Committee. He has recently been named to the new Elementary School Building Committee.
3. Tewksbury High Boys Cross Country Team: Champions! That says it all. The team captured their first-ever Division 3 State Title. Hard work, determination, raw talent and excellent coaching made it happen.
2. Police Chief Timothy Sheehan: Under Sheehan's command, the Tewksbury Police Department has cracked down on drug trafficking, drunk driving and burglaries in town. The statistics speak for themselves:
- Building checks are up almost 70 percent and burglary reports are down over 30 percent from 2011.
- Drunk driving arrests are up nearly 50 percent.
- Traffic citations are up around 65 percent and accidents are down almost 20 percent.
- Overall arrests are up about 10 percent.
1. Russ Caswell: It's a story that has grabbed national attention. The Federal Government, with the help of Tewksbury Police, are trying to seize the Motel Caswell and the property it sits on because of what they claim is a pattern of drug activity and violence at the motel going back many years.
But Russ Caswell is refusing to back down or give up his family's business. Aided by a national law firm that specializes in property seizure cases, he is asserting his innocence and is battling the federal government in court. The case went to trial this fall and both sides are now waiting to hear the judge's decision.