Today the Hanson Highway Department reported that a water main broke on Holmes Street. Traffic was delayed and some residents experienced interruption in their water supply. There are some reports that water has been returned to the residents local to Holmes Street.
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Baker charter cap raise costly for WHRSD, Whitman-Hanson School Committee says
The School Committee on Wednesday, Oct. 14 approved a change to National Honor Society eligibility as well as hearing concerns by school officials concerning Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to raise the cap on the number of charter schools in the state.
The committee also heard an update on the high school’s advanced placement (AP) program.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ruth Gilbert-Whitner testified at a Statehouse public hearing on Gov. Baker’s charter school legislation Tuesday, Oct. 13.
Begun in 1993, charter schools were originally capped at 25 innovative schools.
“Clearly, that’s not what has happened over time,” Gilbert-Whitner said in her report to the School Committee. “Yesterday the testimony I read really focused on the impact to W-H.”
The district is charged based on the per-pupil cost multiplied by the number of students attending charter schools. With 30 students from Whitman and Hanson attending South Shore Charter and Rennaissance Carter School in Boston, the loss to the district’s state aid — after about $26,000 charter school reimbursement — is about $309,000 Gilbert-Whitner said.
“Interestingly, [$309,000] is the same cost that we had to cut from our library program,” she said.
She also noted that, of the 30 local charter school students, only one has ever been enrolled in W-H schools.
“They never even come to see what we’re about,” Gilbert-Whitner said. “Clearly the choice to go to a charter school probably doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the quality of education.”
South Shore Charter is a Level 2 school. Gilbert-Whitner reminded the committee that W-H is a Level 2 district with three Level 1 schools.
Charter school faculties are not required to have union representation or to provide services for all special education students, and not all teachers working for charter schools are certified.
“Each and every student in the Commonwealth deserves a high-quality education, not a dual system of publicly funded education that charges traditional districts for circumstances beyond their control and requires them to operate school systems under a vastly different set of regulations,” Gilbert-Whitner testified in Boston.
“There should be choice,” she told the committee, “ but clearly, there should not be a different set of rules for everyone.”
W-H accepts school choice students and currently enrolls 28, ranging from freshmen to seniors as well as night school students, but sending districts are charged less under that program.
“Choice money has been extremely beneficial,” Principal Jeffrey Szymaniak said, noting it has allowed the hiring of some long-term substitutes for teachers out due to long-term illness.
Szymaniak also argued successfully for a change in National Honor Society (NHS) eligibility to bring W-H onto the same level as other schools in the state. The committee voted 9-0 to approve the change. Member Fred Small was absent.
NHS guidelines had required an unweighted 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale or a 4.3 on a weighted 5.0 scale for AP courses. Students taking AP classes, but not earning an A or B despite doing well overall academically might be penalized if they fall below a 3.5 GPA, Szymaniak said. The rare occurrence affected four seniors in the Class of 2015.
“The national standard for the NHS is a 3.0,” he said. “I did some digging, called my peers on the South Shore and the average unweighted GPA for the National Honor Society at our local schools is a 3.3 or a 3.4, so we kind of picked the middle ground.”
He advocated a change to 3.35 for W-H requirements.
“This will put us on an equitable playing surface,” Szymaniak said. “It’s not dumbing-down the rigor, it’s not dumbing-down anything.”
The change goes into effect immediately and induction has been moved to November so this year’s seniors can apply.
Guidance Counselor Ruth Carrigan and AP students Erika Badger and Joshua Spicer joined Szymaniak in outlining the success of the W-H AP program.
Prior to the district’s participation in the Mass. Insight to Edcuation grant program in 2012, AP participation was often open to only top-scoring academic students, according to GilbertWhitner. The grant has since expired.
“With the grant program, we were able to expand and it’s just gotten better and better,” she said.
Szymaniak started by reading an email by an alumnus, now studying at Suffolk University, to his W-H science teachers.
“I’m sitting in my environmental science lecture and not paying attention because I don’t have to,” the student wrote to teacher Brian Dukeman. “Your AP course completely prepared me for this class. … I already know every single thing my professor is talking about because of your awesome teaching.”
The student was able to skip all the required freshman science courses because he passed the AP biology exam “with flying colors” and is the only freshman in the class he is now taking, required of environmental science majors.
“That’s just a piece of what AP brings,” Szymaniak said. “AP at Whitman-Hanson gives all students an opportunity to not only take a college class, but to potentially earn college credit.”
He credited the training and commitment of W-H teachers, as well as dedication of students for the success of the AP program in which the school is on track to administer 648 AP exams to 392 students — a quarter of all high school students.
“I congratulate our students for taking on the challenge,” Carrigan said. She reported that alumnus Nate Almeida, who spoke at the recent AP kickoff breakfast, told current students that the 19 college credits he earned in AP courses have saved him $25,000 in college costs.
This year, Badger and Spicer are both taking four AP courses for a total of eight each during high school — Spicer in literature, calculus, computer science and physics and Badger in calculus, environmental science, biology and literature.
Both lauded their teachers as well as peers for inspiring them and pushing them to succeed in the AP classes.
“Although you have to be at a certain level, there’s so much help here at W-H that — whether it’s your teachers or your peers or your guidance counselors — it’s almost as if anyone can come into it and succeed.”
Szymaniak said the goal is for every W-H graduate taking at least one AP course, “or at least attempting the class,” so they are truly college and career ready.
The School Committee in Whitman-Hanson made updates to WHRSD gift policy, and to the guidelines on building use
The School Committee has approved changes to building use and donations policies in order to provide more uniformity and fairness.
Building use changes include a requirement that adults sign voluntary school release forms, as well as an annual statement from group representatives that the forms are signed and that outside groups may not use or place an “undue burden” on facilities support staff.
Regulations have also been updated, including cancellation fees and limitations to availability of facilities when events would interfere with school functions.
“With this particular packet, you are going to have the do’s and the don’ts, what’s expected from you and what you can expect from the district,” said Chairman Bob Hayes.
Donations policy involves an avenue through which funds can be earmarked for use by a specific school.
“It became very clear that some of our policies contradicted each other,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ruth Gilbert-Whitner.
Donors are advised that, as public education is the taxpayer’s responsibility, gifts must be for supplemental materials and programs, not supplanting the regular curriculum or faculty salaries. Gifts also become property of the district, even if they are directed at an individual school.
Each school has a revolving account managed by the Business Office.
“They should not come with strings attached, unless they are presented that way to [the School Committee] that they need to come and be used only for a specific program or a specific school,” Gilbert-Whitner said.
Several such donations were accepted by the committee Wednesday, Oct. 14:
- Donations in memory of Patricia Duval requested to be directed to the school by the Duval family — once all donations have been received the school’s officials will update the committee of the total amount and use of the funds;
- $400 from Shaw’s Supermarket Charitable Foundation for the Indian Head School to purchase technology items;
- $400 from Shaw’s Supermarket Charitable Foundation for the Maquan School to purchase technology items;
- $4,087.20 from One Zero Financial Systems to purchase 15 ChromeBooks and their management licenses for the Indian Head School. The gift has been vetted by the Technology Department.
- $1,265 from the Monday-Tuesday Night Volleyball Group in lieu of gym fees for the girls’ volleyball team to fund registration fees for students unable to afford them.
Donations, if any are received, of $35,000 or more that could be intended for a capital expense — and that could involve bidding laws or legislation — must also be addressed and analyzed to determine how it would involve those regulation, the superintendent explained.
“I’m kind of hoping that somebody watching tonight donates $100,000 to each one of the schools,” Hayes quipped.
Grants sought for the district must also be approved by the district before applications are filed.
“We are trying to be very strict about any technology that people are trying to get for the district, whether it’s through fund-raising or grants really needs to go through the Tech Department,” she said. “We want to make sure we can support it and that it’s in compliance with other things that we have.”
In-kind donations must also fit into the curriculum. Donations of time, however, do not need School Committee approval.
Whitman Fire/Rescue hosts 2015 open house
WHITMAN — Families spent a bright and sunny Columbus Day exploring fire equipment, target practicing with a brush fire hose and learning how to safely exit a house in case of fire as Whitman Fire and Rescue hosts open house.
Informational brochures were available in the fire station, as well as red oven mitts in keeping with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) theme of “Prevent Kitchen Fires.”
Face-painting and free pizza from Papa Gino’s were also featured.
But the main message of the day was the importance of placing smoke detectors in every bedroom of the home.
“This is the ‘Hear the beep where you sleep,’ message,” said Whitman Fire/Rescue SAFE Officer Thomas Ford. “[NFPA] is trying to get people to put smoke detectors inside the bedrooms nowadays.”
Past guidelines called for the alarms in hallways outside of bedrooms, Deputy Chief Joseph Feeney said.
The department will take the Safety Awareness and Fire Education (SAFE) trailer around to Conley and Duval schools for an offical fire safety presentation, but on Monday the kids were laughing and running into the trailer over and over to experience the “smoke” and climb down the escape ladder.
Volunteers with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) were also on hand to guide visitors through their vehicle and explain their role.
Joseph Bauer of Whitman and his children chatted with CERT members Cathy Costello and Paul Moss.
Michael Bauer, 11, asked about the kinds of fires for which the CERT team offers support to firefighters. Costello said it could be anything from large brush fires to house fires. They also aid in large incident response, such as train accidents.
“We do first aid and give them food and keep them hydrated,” she said of the team’s role at emergency scenes. “We’re always prepared.”
Members’ availability is scheduled around work schedules, although some, like Moss, are retired.
“We also do sheltering, so if you guys lose your power, we come in and set up a shelter to keep people warm,” Costello said.
WHRHS promotes Credit For Life Fair to increase Student financial literacy
It’s no joke — come April 1, 2016 Whitman-Hanson Regional High School plans to become the latest school on the South Shore to host a Credit For Life Fair as part of a financial literacy program. WHRHS promotes Credit For Life as a way to increase student awareness of credit scores and the pitfalls of credit card overuse.
WHRHS business teachers have attended Credit For Life Fairs offered at Brockton, Plymouth South and South Shore Regional Vocational Technical High School, where Whitman and Hanson students have been participating in the fairs during their senior year for a half dozen years now.
“We are very happy for the progress that’s being made and we’re very excited because we’ve been trying to do [a Credit For Life Fair] for years,” WHRHS business teacher Lydia Nelson said at the inaugural planning meeting with a handful of parents and educators on Thursday, Oct. 8. “It’s more than time for W-H to do it.”
The next planning meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 5 in the high school library.
The critical need right now is to have enough volunteers at each of about a dozen information booths to keep nearly 300 students circulating in order to complete the fair between 9 a.m. and noon.
Brockton uses 80 volunteers for its fair.
“We have plenty of time and we’re on target. We just need to ensure we have all the volunteers,” Nelson said. “If the volunteers aren’t in place, then we’re not going to be able to move forward.”
The Oct. 8 meeting kicked off with a YouTube video of a Quincy High School Credit For Life Fair, followed by a discussion of logistics and volunteer and resource needs.
“We’ve been working very hard and this is the year we’re going to get it,” business teacher and DECA Advisor Nina Consolini said of the Credit For Life Fair.
Some of the few parents attending the planning meeting, all of whom now work in jobs involving finance, noted that they graduated high school without working knowledge of how to balance a checkbook, and that little has changed.
“I see people now that … the things they did years ago are kind of catching up with them,” said parent Peggy O’Toole, a financial planner.
“Would any of the kids be allowed to drive without some sort of drivers’ education or some sort of hours? No,” Nelson said. “But yet, we expect our kids to graduate and know how to handle themselves in the financial world.”
The fair generally begins in an assembly during which state legislators and educators speak briefly on the importance of financial literacy and how to fill out paperwork.
State representatives Josh Cutler, D-Duxbury, and Geoff Diehl, R-Whitman have already committed to appear as keynote speakers during the pre-fair assembly. Cutler’s district includes Hanson.
Students are provided a fictitious job and income profile, then report to a gymnasium — or, in some cases, a hotel ballroom when the fair is held off campus — where they circulate among stations to learn lessons about budgeting for housing, transportation, insurance, retirement, food and other costs of living. They must balance their budget with the main credit counseling station, staffed by representatives of a partnering bank, before they finish.
That is one of the key volunteer needs for the W-H Credit For Life Fair at this stage. HarborOne partners with schools in Brockton and Plymouth and Rockland Trust partners with SSVT, for example.
Students generally dress professionally, often as a requirement set by the school.
WHRHS Junior Achievement Heroes already sends Business Honor Society members to first and second-grade classes to teach financial literacy. W-H also offers a financial literacy elective, but educators see the need for a broader program.
A bill now before the state Senate — S279 introduced by state Sen. James B. Eldridge, D-Acton — and supported by Nelson could even make high school financial literacy programs mandatory.
“People just automatically think, ‘Well it’s finance, it must be math,’ and that’s not the case,” Nelson said. “The way this bill is written, depending on how the school district can manage it and [national] standards for financial literacy are met, there’s no reason that a district can’t incorporate it into the subject matter as appropriate — in our case it’s business.”
Nelson testified in support of the bill during a public hearing last month.
“Kids are required to take math and English and other courses, but sometimes we forget about financial literacy and it’s a life skill,” agreed business teacher Julie Giglia. “This is a program that can really help if it’s required for everybody.”
Other schools might handle it differently. SSVT, for example organizes the Credit For Life Fair through its Mathematics Department to instill financial literacy. In Virginia, according to Nelson, it is taught across the curriculum.
Hanson Town Administrator search continues as a finalist’s withdrawal prompts salary, benefits change and re-post
HANSON — With one of three finalists withdrawing for personal reasons, the Town Administrator Search Committee Tuesday night recommended, and Selectmen agreed, that the job be re-posted with a $10,0000 increase in salary range — pending Town Meeting approval — and a more detailed job description and outline of benefits.
The current salary range is $95,000 to $110,000. The Search Committee would like to see it increased to between $110,000 to $120,000.
Hanson Town Administrator search continues as the Search Committee, which has not released information about the finalists, would like to retain the remaining two as it renews the posting. Interim Town Administrator Richard LaCamera said he would check with town counsel to see if such a move would be permitted.
“We as a committee would not want to release those [names of finalists] yet,” Search Committee Chairman Ken McCormick said. “We’d like to keep it under executive session privilege. We’re not moving them forward yet, so I don’t think it would be right to send their names out right now.”
LaCamera supported that position, while he doubted it would be permitted to hold the remaining two finalists.
“You’re certainly doing the right thing by not making them public because it’s not fair to them,” LaCamera said.
Selectmen, after the meeting, said that they don’t know who the three finalists were despite discussion around town regarding their identities.
“I don’t want to know at this point,” Selectman James McGahan said, indicating he preferred to await an official notification from the Search Committee prior to the board’s interviews with finalists.
The first search brought in 22 applications, from which four were invited to interview and the three finalists were selected. One of the four had voiced issues with job description and qualification matters so he withdrew, followed by one of the finalists as the committee was preparing to present a list to Selectmen.
“The committee’s feeling is we need to get it right and give the town the best possible candidates out there — and enough of them to make your decision,” McCormick said. “We didn’t feel that two is enough.”
One option discussed in an executive session of the Search Committee Tuesday was to start again. The other option was to go with the remaining two finalists while posting for additional candidates, which they decided to recommend to Selectmen.
“We don’t want anything less than three,” McCormick said.
“Hopefully, the two candidates will still be around,” Selectman Kenny Mitchell said. “When we started this process, we knew the salary might be an issue.”
McCormick admitted that is a concern.
In other business, Selectmen voted 5-0 to hire Leah Guercio, 164 Reed St., as Assistant Supportive Day Program Coordinator at the Senior Center.
LaCamera and COA Director Mary Collins both recommended Guercio, who has 30 years’ experience as a nurse, for the post in the program where she has been a volunteer for five years.
“Every day that she is there, you know that she is present,” Collins said. “I know it from the way [clients] are reacting.”
Collins lauded Guercio’s compassion, sense of humor, common sense and experience.
Low-turnout primary decides Nov. 3 ballot, Diehl to face Brady, Raduc
Two area state representatives will face off, along with unenrolled candidate Anna Grace Raduc of Halifax, on Tuesday Nov. 3 as they vie to fill the 2nd Plymouth and Bristol District seat left vacant by the death of state Sen. Thomas P. Kennedy, D-Brockton, in June. this positions Geoffrey Diehl to face Michael Brady and Anna Grace Raduc.
State Rep. Michael D. Brady, D-Brockton, handily defeated businessman Joseph Lynch, also of Brockton, in the Tuesday, Oct. 6 special state primary. Brady took about 90 percent of the Democratic votes.
State Rep. Geoffrey Diehl, R-Whitman, was also on GOP ballots, but faced no opposition. There were no candidates listed on either the Green/Rainbow or United Independent Party ballots in Tuesday’s primary.
“For me, today was just another day on the campaign trail,” said Diehl as he chatted with Whitman selectmen Dan Salvucci and Brian Bezanson who were working a Diehl sign-holding post across the street from the Whitman Town Hall polling place. “My focus is November.”
Voters may also have been looking ahead to November as both Whitman and Hanson saw a turnout of about 3 percent of registered voters cast ballots.
In Whitman, where 384 of the town’s 9,631 voters cast ballots, Democrats backed Brady with 141 votes to Lynch’s 29. Hanson saw 232 of about 7,000 voters turnout to give Brady a 115 to 15 win over Lynch.
The margin was similar throughout the district.
Brady garnered 2,533 votes in Brockton, 94 in Easton, 88 in East Bridgewater, 49 in Halifax, 219 n Hanover and 18 in Plympton. Lynch received 355 Brockton votes, 12 in Easton, 8 in East Bridgewater, 7 in Halifax, 33 in Hanover and 2 in Plympton.
Neither Brady nor Lynch were available for comment on the primary result, but Diehl, who received 96 votes in Hanson and 208 in Whitman expressesed gratitude to voters.
“The response to the campaign has been overwhelming,” Diehl stated. “When I am door-knocking people are thanking me every day for repealing automatic gas tax hikes.”
He also stressed the differences between his tenure as a representative for the 7th Plymouth District he has served since 2010 and Brady — the 9th Plymouth representative for seven and a half years.
“I am the only candidate in this race who has cut people’s taxes,” Diehl said. “My opponent has voted to increase taxes every time. He doubled tax on alchohol, raised the gas tax, sales tax, utility taxes, supported increasing income taxes, and voted for higher fees.”
Diehl pointed to his accomplishments, including the automatic gas tax repeal and work against legislative pay raises and opposition to taxpayer contributions to balance cost overruns for the Olympics.
While Brady is strong in Brockton where he has served on the school committee and 13 years as a city councilor, Diehl’s best chance is considered by political observers to be centered in the surrounding suburban communities.
Town Meeting votes to block paid town workers from seat on board as Hanson approves Selectmen restrictions
HANSON — Hanson approves Selectmen restrictions as new by-law will be added to the books preventing paid Hanson town employees from running for a seat on the Board of Selectmen.
The by-law extends to prohibit office holders from working as paid employees for one year after leaving office, grandfathering in those already elected.
Voters at special Town Meeting Monday approved by a vote of 58-48, the measure — warrant Article 25 — proposed by selectmen.
Wearing pink T-shirts emblazoned with “I am Article 25,” hand-written in fabric paint, Building Department Administrative Assistant Anne Marie Bouzan and a handful of other Town Hall employees, made a statement against the proposal from the audience.
Bouzan, also a union steward who ran for Selectman this spring, spoke vigorously against the article.
Proponents countered that the by-law was needed to ensure against potential bias, a tie vote on matters on which town employee/selectman could not vote, and as protection against “human nature.”
After Town Meeting adjourned, Bouzan expressed disappointment at the vote, but suggested she wasn’t through with the fight just yet.
“I’m a little disappointed,” she said. “I’m thinking that I still have time — they’re going to have to go through the state to make the by-law go through — and if we can appeal it somehow at that point I think I will.”
Selectman James McGahan said after the session that he understands it is already hard to fill some elected positions, but said the by-law is necessary to prevent potential conflicts of interest.
“We’re trying to be proactive in avoiding the problems that Hanson’s had in the past,” he said. “Hanson has a rich history of some inappropriate people in the wrong places. … Who’s going to police it? … The problem is human nature.”
He did say that he thought Bouzan would be an excellent selectman.
“Hopefully someday it’ll work out that she can do it,” he said. “I think she will.”
Bouzan had stressed during debate on the article, that she had consulted the State Ethics Commission before running for a seat on the Board of Selectmen.
“I informed her of my duties and my role as a town employee,” Bouzan said of a 45-minute phone conversation with a State Ethics Commission lawyer. “I told her everything about my position.”
The lawyer had, verbally and via email, informed Bouzan that she could serve as selectmen without conflict so long as she not participate in discussions or votes on matters in which she had personal financial interests, although she could participate in collective bargaining negotiations in her role as union steward.
“I could negotiate the town administrator’s contract because he is not my direct supervisor,” she said. “If you take tonight’s articles, I could have voted [as a selectman to place or recommend] on every single article on the warrant as printed.”
She then asked for an answer from the Board of Selectmen to a pointed question: “Why couldn’t someone that’s working for the town run as selectwoman for this town?”
Selectmen Chairman Bruce Young countered by asking if Bouzan had informed the Ethics Commission that she sits across the negotiating table from the town administrator during contract negotiations.
Moderator Sean Kealy then cautioned against getting bogged down in debate over the specific situation that gave rise to the article.
“I prefer to talk about this article on its own without getting into a rehash,” he said.
Resident Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett of 83 Bay State Circle noted that state ethics laws are very clear about conflicts of interest and asked Town Counsel Jason R. Talerman if the article is necessary and whether school district employees are included as “town compensated” positions covered by the by-law.
“Do you think this is redundant or is this something you think you’d recommend the town adopt?” she asked. “Can we get a list of who this impacts?”
Talerman declined to voice an opinion, but noted there are parts of the by-law covered by state laws.
“I’m really going to stay out of it,” he said. “For other relationships in this proposed by-law, that are not covered by the ethics law, but really just follow the practice of many communities, which really hold the office of the Board of Selectmen as something that shouldn’t commingle with any other office in the town.”
McGahan said school district employees were not included in the by-law. While Talerman said he’d have to look more closely at the regional agreement, but tended to agree with McGahan’s interpretation.
“There are a lot of incredibly good town and municipal employees that I trust,” said Joseph O’Sullivan of 625 West Washington St., urging the Town Meeting to vote against the article. “I would love to have their experience … in a variety of different offices in this town.”
John Norton of 31 Indian Path agreed, noting that out of more than 7,000 registered voters in town, it is already hard to attract people to the idea of running for public office.
“Anything that diminishes people wanting to get involved in town government, is a mistake,” Norton said. “There is no reason. We have the strongest state ethics [laws] in the country and a ton of conflict-of-interest laws that I’ve run into even in a non-compensated position. It’s just redundant, it’s silly and it seems to be aimed at a couple of people.”
McGahan agreed there are a lot of good people in town, but warned “all it takes is one person or a couple to do the wrong thing and really throw things in the wrong way.”
Resident Tom Dahlberg of 66 Hillcrest Road agreed with McGahan.
“We don’t need problems in Hanson,” he said. “In the 40 years I’ve lived here we’ve had our share of problems to resolve at Town Meeting. Tonight, we have an opportunity to keep a problem from happening. It isn’t one that might happen. Given the history of the human race, it’s a problem that will happen if we don’t pass this article. It’s just a matter of when.”
Talerman, who said there are varying versions of the proposed article in place across the state, but couldn’t say how many of the 351 communities in Massachusetts have them.
“It’s not uncommon to go beyond the conflict of interest laws and place limits on whether people can hold two elected positions or an elected and appointed [one],” he said.
A proposal to amend the article to allowing a minimum of one seat on the Board of Selectmen to be held by a town employee was declined.
Golden-colored plaques line an interior wall of the Dr. John F. McEwan Performing Arts Center at WHRHS, showcasing accomplishments of alumni who have achieved unique and purposeful careers.
One is for Claire Folger, formerly of Whitman, and a graduate of the Class of 1981, who was nominated for the Wall of Fame as a still photographer who works in film production. Her career credits have continued to develop immensely since 1996 with regular jobs on local films shot in Boston and surrounding towns.
As a still photographer, Folger’s work is used for movie posters and marketing materials for online media and promotions by studios such as Warner Bros.
Her usual day is 12 hours, five days a week and she is committed to approximately three months during a filming project.
On set her workspace is tight, yet defined, next to the cameramen and sharing space with the director, and sound operator.
Her photos are recognizable as they are from the actual film. The posters gracing movie theaters is her work in its completed stages.
Her timing is key in her ability to produce the photo that contains all of the right components.
“Sometimes I just know when to take a photo and when not to take a photo, “she said.
Folger defined a typical set as being “absolute silence” when a scene begins.
“Everyone has settled in. The only sounds are the actors performing their lines,” she said.
The “behind-the-scenes” work of movies, even for Folger, can be exciting although she has an intense focus while in work mode. In past movies, she has had the opportunity to photograph at Fenway Park in night scenes and the CIA building, which she was in awe over the interior architecture.
In 2005 she worked on the film “Gone, Baby, Gone” with Ben Affleck and an epic photo of Kate Hudson’s blue hair in “Bride Wars,” in 2009. Folger said the movie was great to shoot.
“I worked with real Vera Wang wedding gowns. They had favors and props, which were all in the movie.” she said. “As part of my job- props, things that are involved in the movie those are the things I also photograph.”
Folger’s stills are now prominently featured in movie theater lobbies as posters of Johnny Depp in “Black Mass,” a film about James “Whitey” Bulger, directed by Scott Cooper.
“It is a very serious role and he (Depp) was chilling watching him on set. There were so many fantastic actors in the movie,” she said.
She looks to capture the relationship between actors that the filmgoer will see as well as the behind-scene glimpses into the process of production.
“I also capture the director … watching him work is also my job — the coaching of the actor,” Folger said. “I am always looking for the nice moments. I like to take pictures of people and show the enjoyable process of film making.”
She also fondly recalls photographing architecture, such as the Charlestown Bridge, and scenic shots through the city during filming of “The Town” (2010). Other recognizable posters, such as the “Nuns with Guns,” based on the Charlestown money heists, sometimes capturing skyline shots and neighborhoods give color and placement to the films’ surroundings.
She has fond recollections of the Charlestown Bridge at dusk with lights draping the bridge her scenic landscapes making the cut for the final posters.
During filming for “Gone Baby, Gone,” she photographed an orange sunset, which also made the posters for the film, but after five hours of filming on a rooftop she found the sunset over the Boston skyline captivating. Noticing the details around her has become her perfected craft.
Folger grew up one of five children. She said she was inspired artistically by her father who recently passed away.
“Eugene Folger — Gene — he was a big influence,” she said. He was a businessman in town, the owner of Folger’s Camera shop, where he fixed cameras and developed film. She recalls being able to practice on different cameras that her dad let her use. She would take photos of friends and learned how to develop film in their basement. She loved photography but most of it was just having fun.
Her mother Margaret was a lifelong Whitman resident until recently and was active in town. She was a long time lecture reader at the Holy Ghost Church.
Following high school, when she was voted class artist at W-H, it was probably unexpected that she chose biology as her college major, she said.
She attended South Eastern Mass. University and earned a science degree in biology.
“I was always interested in art. In conjunction with my sciences I took many art classes drawing, art history and painting,” she said. “You always think you are making the right decision at the time in your career.”
Folger worked as a research technician at Boston University Medical School for 27 years in the anatomy department as an electron microscopist. She work with high powered microscopes, which in similarity she used her visual skills albeit in different ways. She started her own photography studio as well as working on movies for several years balancing three jobs.
“I realized I wanted to continue in a career move and take my work to the next level,” she said.
Her photography career is unique and often draws fascination. People are always intrigued when you work with celebrities, she said. It is also uncommon that in her profession she did not relocate to New York or Los Angeles, both booming regions for the movie industry.
“It took a long time before I got paying jobs,” she said. Nearly ten years later she finally saw continuous income and stability. She joined IATSE the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees film union as well as the Cinematographer Guild in 2000.
Her first job on a small film as a still photographer was
“Darien Gap” with director Brad Anderson. It went to Sundance Film festival in the mid 1990’s and did very well, she said.
His next film “Next Stop Wonderland,” Anderson brought her on board as she slowly changed careers. She worked again several years later with Brad Anderson co- writer and director of “Session 9.”
Allotting her time for three months during shoots usually a film will wrap up a year before it goes into movie theatres.
Folger’s most recent work, “Central Intelligence,” film from this summer she completed on the north shore with Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart will be released next summer.
“The Finest Hours,” a Disney production movie was completed last fall in Quincy and Chatham. It is a true story of a shipwreck and dramatic rescue due to be released in early 2016.
Some of Folger’s most recognizable work includes stills for: “Black Mass” (2014) Warner Bros. Director: Scott Cooper; “Argo” (2011) Warner Bros. Director: Ben Affleck. 2013 Academy Award Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Editing;
“Ted” (2011) Universal. Director: Seth MacFarlane;
“The Finest Hours” (2014) Walt Disney Pictures. Director: Craig Gillespie;
“August: Osage County” (2012) The Weinstein Company/ John Wells Company;
“The Town” (2010) Warner Bros. Director: Ben Affleck; as well as dozens of other films, television series and individual episodes.