2011 Review: Other top stories

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* In a move that was met with mixed reviews by residents, town officials opted to forego the popular downtown block party, traditionally held in September, in favor of a July 4th celebration and fireworks display. The event was also moved from Canton High School to the Galvin Middle School. Unfortunately, many residents missed the second half of the fireworks display after it was briefly postponed for safety reasons.

* Dr. Matthew Israel, the founder and longtime head of the Judge Rotenberg School in Canton, was forced to sever all ties to the school after being indicted by a grand jury on charges of destroying evidence and misleading a witness. The charges stemmed from an incident in 2007 at a JRC group home in which two students received dozens of skin shocks based on a prank phone call. In the wake of Israel’s departure, state lawmakers, led by Senator Brian Joyce, have intensified their efforts to ban the school’s controversial practice of “aversive therapy,” which has been declared a form of torture by the United Nations. The Patrick Administration has also stepped in with a proposed ban; however, JRC officials have vowed to challenge any regulation changes in court.

* The discovery of E.coli bacteria in the town’s water supply prompted the Board of Selectmen, in consultation with state health officials, to issue a boil water order on September 27 for all Canton homes and businesses. Much to the surprise of residents, the order remained in effect for the next six days as town officials waited for clearance from the state. The town then got another surprise when the source of the contamination was revealed: a bird’s nest and carcass on top of a water storage tank on Indian Lane. During the boil water period, dozens of town workers helped distribute thousands of gallons of free water to residents during a weekend giveaway at 135 Will Drive.

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