Firefighters from Across the Nation Pay Their Respects to Watertown’s Fallen Firefighter

The sorrow of bagpipes echoed through Watertown for the second time in three years. On Wednesday, thousands of firefighters gathered to pay their final respects to fallen firefighter Joseph Toscano. Tosacno’s funeral was held at St. Patrick’s Church at 11 a.m. Firefighters from across the state, and as far away as California, lined Main Street in Watertown Square to salute Toscano as his casket was brought to the church atop a Watertown Fire Engine. Toscano died suffering a medical emergency while battling a two alarm-blaze at 29 Merrifield Ave.

Watertown Board of Health OKs Keeping of Chickens and Bees With a Permit

The Watertown Board of Health voted unanimously to approve a regulation creating Hen and Honey Bee permits Wednesday, as well as updating the regulation governing the keeping of animals. Boston, and Somerville have passed similar regulations for hens and honeybees and Cambridge is currently looking into it, town consultant Donna Moultrup said. The permit, which must be renewed annually, is designed to promote sustainability and local food production, a draft of the regulation read. Though residents can apply for the permits immediately, they won’t go into effect until May 1. The Board of Health spent the past 2 years consulting with experts, as well as the Watertown Bee Committee as they developed the regulations, Board Chairman John H. Straus said.

Gift from Ernie Boch Jr. to Watertown Schools Will Make Sweet Music

Watertown students will be making some sweet music on some new instruments thanks to a gift of $10,000 worth of new music equipment given to the Watertown Public Schools by Ernie Boch Jr.

The Norwood-based automotive dealer recently donated 18 pieces of new music equipment for the music program through a grant from his charity Music Drives Us. Boch visited Watertown High School Wednesday to present a plaque commemorating the award, and to listen to the 30 member high school band perform. He said that he started the charity 10 years ago to supplement budget cuts to school music programs.

“Every study tells us that if you study music at a younger age it makes you a better person in many, many ways,” Boch said. “It actually rewires your brain. It helps you learn a second language easier, music is a second language.

First Draft of Filippello Park Renovation Disappoints Council, Residents

Watertown residents and officials expressed were disappointed by the initial plans for a new dog park a Filippello Park Tuesday. The town got its first look at the preliminary concept plan for the Filippello Park playground located at the Grove Street entrance of the park during a public meeting at Town Hall. Peter Centola, director of Recreation and consultant Glenn Howard of CDM Smith unveiled the plan, which includes a new dog park, two basketball courts, a picnic area, and a large oval green space. Howard said that they were limited in what they could do because they can’t disturb the soil below two feet because parts of the land used to be a landfill, and parts of the site where the basketball courts will be is still used to dump snow during the winter. Councilor Tony Palomba said that the dog park that was presented wasn’t the state of the art dog park the Dog Park Task Force had planned, or that the council had envisioned when if passed a resolution incorporating a dog park be placed at Filippello Park is possible.

Council, Residents Talk About Qualities They Want in Next Police Chief

It was nearly a full house in the Town Council Chambers Wednesday, as officials and residents gathered to discuss what they’re looking for in their next police chief. The Committee on Public Safety held a public meting to discuss the design of the assessment center that will be used to narrow down the pool of candidates for the new police chief, and to give residents and officials an opportunity weigh in on the process. Town Manager Michael Driscoll and Public Safety Consultants LLC, the firm hired to design the center, were in attendance to explain the process and hear what audiences members were looking for in their next chief. Chief Wayne Sampson of Public Safety Consultants said that getting feedback was an important part of designing an assessment center unique to Watertown. “Generally speaking, throughout Massachusetts the duties of a chief of police are generally the same, but there is some uniqueness in each community,” Sampson said.