Week in Review: Mansfield Teen on Ellen, Commuter Lot Could Shut Down, and More!

A review of the top local stories read on Mansfield Patch

Mansfield Teen's Viral Video Gets the Attention of Ellen DeGeneres

A viral video of a Mansfield teen apparently has a fan in actress and daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. After seeing the video, DeGeneres invited local resident and Syracuse student Hannah Melton to appear on the April 18 edition of her talk show.

“I love Ellen and was thrilled to be on her show.” said Melton. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m grateful to be part of it.” 

Melton has become an Internet sensation after her mother took video of her under anesthesia from having her wisdom teeth removal. While recovering from the procedure, Melton was convinced that she was Hannah Montana.

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Asia Grill and Sushi Entering Third Year

Bobby Lau first started in the restaurant industry in Rhode Island over 20 years ago, and now he’s still wearing multiple hats at the Asia Grill and Suishi in Mansfield.

“That was like a family restaurant, you do everything and have different hats, a manager, a dishwasher, janitor, that was a good experience,” he said. “You learned the different facets of the business, front back and all over.”

Lau said he first started working at the Bejing Garden, and started his own business in Mansfield about three years ago.

“Mansfield is a great family town,” he said. “I like the customers here. We’re very close to Boston and Rhode Island. I have people coming as far away as Cranston and New Bedford.”

He added the loyalty from his customers is a great feeling.

“People come from everywhere,” he said.

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TELL US: Do Corporate Logos Belong on Event Banners Around Town?

When the Tri-Town Chamber of Commerce places their banner over Rt. 106 to promote their Monte Calro night fundraiser, it will against the practice of the selectmen to not approve banners featuring corporate logos.

The 3-2 vote to allow the banner to hang near the North Common came after a discussion with members of the Tri-Town Chamber of Commerce and the selectmen over if there is a place for the logos of businesses that sponsor events on banners.

The banner in question is for the chamber’s Monte Carlo night and contains logos for businesses that are sponsors for the event.

Selectman Doug Annino came out the strongest against the logos, citing a fear that it could lead to Mansfield becoming “logoville.”

“If you want to display your logo or sign, you pay for it. I take offense to entities that want to promote things donated,” Annino said.

Selectman Kevin Moran took the opposite stance, arguing that the banner is fine as long as it is done in a tasteful manner. The topic of what is tasteful however, did made chair Olivier Kozlowski wonder what exactly the standard would be.

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Mansfield Selectmen Threaten Commuter Rail Lot With Shutdown May 1

In less than one week, local train riders could arrive at a Commuter Rail parking lot on Chauncy St. and wonder why they are unable to park in the private lot.

While approving commercial parking lot licenses for 2013, the selectmen voted 3-1 to renew the license for a lot owned by A-C Intermediate at 75 Chauncy St. pending the payment of money owed to the town by the lot's owner. 

Currently, the operators of the parking lot owe the town $7,151 in real estate taxes and have not paid taxes on the land for three consecutive quarters.

The resolution allows the lot to pay their taxes before their current license expires on May 1 without the need for the selectmen to approve a new license at their next meeting which does not take place until the evening of May 1.

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Proposed Balanced School Budget Looks to Add New Positions

Superintendent Brenda Hodges revealed a balance school budget this week when the Mansfield School Committee held a public hearing for the fiscal 2014 school budget.

Coming in at about $42.5 million, the budget was the work of the committee, Hodges, and Town Manager Bill Ross who worked together to set priorities and figure out a budget that would work financially.

"This has been an interesting exercise to work together on this rather than doing it separately and fighting it out in the media,” Ross said.

The new budget does include savings from retired teachers but does take into consideration the hiring of 12 desired positions that would cost $635,000

While Hodges hoped to get all of the new positions in the budget, lower than expected funding from the state’s Chapter 70 program will force additional cuts to make sure the budget is balanced. 

“We know we won’t get all 12 of them but we do believe we’ll get most of them,” Hodges said.

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After controversy and concerns over security and safety during last year’s Comcast Center concerts, the selectmen voted 4-0 to approve a new entertainment licensing agreement for the concert venue featuring new security and emergency measure.

The vote completes months of work by the Comcast Center, Mansfield fire and police, and Selectmen Olivier Kozlowski and Jess Apowitz to create a new entertainment license agreement that would improve safety measures taken by the 19,900 person venue.

“It’s been a long run and this document has gotten pretty comprehensive. We want to hopefully have a nice venue for people to go to, enjoy entertainment, be safe, and have Comcast (Center) succeed and do well,” Apowitz said.

This year, there will be a centralized command center than will place police, fire, EMS, and Comcast Center security in one room, making sure everyone is on the same page at the same time. All emergency calls will go into that room, streamlining the process of dealing with an incident or an emergency.

In addition to security, Sturdy Memorial Hospital also approved of the new centralized system and will provide an on-site doctor for this season’s shows.

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