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Special Town Meeting Features Humor and Strange Question

This past Monday night's Special Town Meeting offered Town Meeting Members a chance to inject a little humor into an otherwise cut-and-dried session, as well as a chance to ask, well... what appeared to be a strange question.

Article 10, for instance, asked to appropriate $200,000 for new fire doors at the Stacy Middle School. Michael Visconti said he heard some of the doors were missing. "I've lived in several houses over the past few years, haven't missed one yet," he quipped, and then questioned how a door can get lost. To light laughter, he asked whether students were taking doors home in their backpacks.

Michael Walsh, School Committee chair, replied in a deadpan manner that the funds would replace all the fire doors – to bring them up to current safety codes – and he did not know if any of the doors were missing.

And, Article 32 requested a $300,000 appropriation as Milford's share of fixing the Fiske Mill Rd. bridge that it shares with the Town of Upton. "Can you make the bridge shorter?" Jamie Wheelock asked, so that the project would qualify for a state grant. That question provoked both laughter and more than a few strange looks from the audience.

"We cannot make it smaller," Highway Surveyor Scott Crisafulli answered. While the state offers funding for bridges between 10 and 20 feet long, this one is 23 feet long, he said. Enlarging the abutments to reduce the length of the bridge would cost about $1.5 million and is not practical, he added.

Wheelock also questioned whether a requested $28,000 for an opioid abuse outreach program would have any "drastic effect" on the opioid epidemic effect "beyond symbolism," and commented that addicts know what they are getting into when they use heroin and other drugs.

Selectmen Chairman William Buckley said many people do not know what they are getting into, often moving from prescribed painkillers to heroin use. "You have to get them at a time of crisis," Police Chief Thomas O'Loughlin said, noting overdoses in town have risen from 25 in 2014 to 44 last year and already 65 this year. There was one death by overdose in 2014, four last year, and 13 so far this year, the chief said.


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