Thursday, December 29, 2005

Illegal Mortgage Broker Ordered to Cease Business

The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation announced on December 21, 2005 that the Division of Banks had directed Boston Financial Group, Inc. (d/b/a BFG Mortgage), owned and operated by Jose de la Rosa in Jamaica Plain, to "cease engaging in the business of making or soliciting mortgage loans from Massachusetts consumers."

The Division of Banks took this action when it learned that Boston Financial Group had misrepresented itself as a licensed mortgage broker. The company is not licensed to do business in the Commonwealth as a mortgage lender or as a mortgage broker.

Consumers can verify the license status of a mortgage lender or broker at the Division of Banks' website, or by calling its Consumer Hotline at 800-495-2265.

Looking for Todd Gross? He's on the Web!

If you miss the accurate forecasts and indepth weather discussions that were the hallmark of former WHDH Meteorologist Todd Gross, you're in luck!

Todd has just debuted a fabulous new blog, Todd Gross New England Weather, with forecasts updated at least twice daily, maps, charts, analysis, astronomy highlights, school closings, reports from local weather spotters throughout New England, and links to other sources of information to please even the most fanatical weather junkie.

Todd hopes to eventually get back on the air in the Boston market, but in the interim, his site is the next best thing.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Hudson artist Marc Albanese creates watercolor home portraits in a "classic American Realism" style, as seen here.

Samples of his strikingly beautiful work can be seen at his website, along with his original landscape works that are available for acquisition.

Marc can work from a photograph, but prefers to see his subjects in sunny daylight. Prices for his custom home portraits start at $225 for a watercolor painting and $150 for a pencil drawing.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Attention Harvard Stable Owners

The Harvard Board of Health reminds local horse owners that they must obtain an annual stable permit, pursuant to a state law that requires such permits in any town with a population of 5000 or more.

There is no cost to apply for a permit, but the Board of Health will charge stable owners a $25 late fee if their permit applications have not been filed by the February 1st, 2006 deadline.

Stable permit applications are available online, through the Town website. The Board of Health has office hours on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:00-11:00am. They can be reached at: 978-456-4106, or by Email at:

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Proposed Sale of Princeton's Fernside Inn

According to The Landmark, McLean Hospital of Belmont intends to purchase Princeton's much-admired historic Inn, Fernside, if it receives approval from the Town's Planning Board to convert the Inn into a residential rehabilitation and education center for patients who are in the process of recovering from substance abuse-related problems.

Fernside, located on Mountain Road, not far from Wachusett Mountain, has been on the market since September, 2003, when it was initially listed at $2.2 million. It was subsequently reduced to $1.99 million when it was relisted in September 2004, andwas reported as having been put provisionally under agreement earlier this fall.

The Landmark reports that there will be no structural changes to Fernside, and that McLean anticipates that the facility will accommodate no more than 10 clients at any given time.

Princeton's Planning Board is expected to rule on McLean's application within the next two months.

Red and Blue Towns?

If you'd like to get a sense of the political leanings of the people in your town and those around it, you can check out Matthew Kane's Following the Dollar, a Google map "mashup" that takes Federal Election Commission records on political party contributions and superimposes them on U.S. maps, by zip code. Kane uses blue pushpins to show Democratic contributors, and red ones for their Republican counterparts.

This fun-to-use tool was described in Damon Darlin's post, Know Your Neighbor, on The New York Times' new real estate blog, The Walkthrough.

Harvard's FY 2006 Tax Rate

The state has certified Harvard's 2006 tax rate at $10.89 per $1000 of valuation. The new rate represents an 8.8% increase from the FY 2005 rate of $10.01.

The Harvard Assessors' website has not yet been updated to reflect the change, but it does have the town's property database and all real property assessments for 2005.