Why Local Newspapers Are So Important

Foxboro Reporter

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 7/2017

“The truly literate and involved American should be reading the local newspaper. Weekly newspapers and the internet are also vital to maintaining an educated citizenry. We must ensure that they continue to flourish because they are all important resources for maintaining a healthy democracy.” — John W. Whitehead, “Why Local Newspapers Are the Basis of Democracy,” Huffington Post, 5/14/2009

Years ago when I was a kid, and sold papers for the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald was very close to folding.

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End of Summer 2016: Thoughts on a variety of topics

Entering Foxboro SignBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 9/2016

This past March was the 20th anniversary of the date I started writing for this newspaper. Then, and now, I consider it a privilege and one I do not take for granted and something I hope I will be doing for a long time to come.

Sometimes, an idea for a column is so strong that I will literally race home to write it. Other times, a piece may take days or even weeks to organize and compose my thoughts in the way I want to present them.

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Saying goodbye to Aubuchon Hardware in Foxboro

Aubuchon Hardware Foxboro
Aubuchon Hardware Foxboro

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 7/2016

Last Friday, July 22, Aubuchon Hardware Corporate came to the Foxboro store and told everyone it was their last day and the store was closed.

The town of Foxboro is poorer because of it.

It is a fact that businesses come and go. No matter where you live, we all have seen businesses last for generations, and some last only a year or two.

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Taking time to appreciate the American Flag and reflect on its promise

American Flags on Foxboro Commonby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 5/2016

It’s Saturday morning, and like so many others around town I am running errands. Driving on Mechanic Street I spot them – the American flags all along the sidewalk, encircling the common, and also running down parts of Mechanic and Central Street.

The flag’s “magical” appearance several times a year – Memorial Day, founders day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Labor Day and when needed – don’t happen by magic – the flags are carefully and respectfully placed by a nameless benefactor or benefactors* – one of the many people who do something for this town behind the scenes.

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Foxboro 2016: The dog park is back!

Sun Chronicle Photograph of the dog park; Satchel Pooch ('Get Fuzzy' Character by Darby Conley) added by the author who had WAYYY too much time on his hands.
Sun Chronicle Photograph of the dog park; Satchel Pooch (‘Get Fuzzy’ Character copyright by Darby Conley) added by Bob who had WAYYY too much time on his hands.

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 4/2016

It’s not often that “PLAY NICE” is the core of two consecutive op/eds, but here we are.

If you’re new to Foxboro, the collective groan you just heard is the announcement that the dog park is back in the news.

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Thoughts on the upcoming Foxboro Town Election, 2016 and the lost art of conversation

ballotby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter, 3/2016

At this writing, it has been just a few hours since the deadline for candidates to submit their papers to Town Hall to be part of the election that will be held on May 2.

While the presidential election has already drained me, I care deeply about the annual Foxboro election. While there IS an argument to be made that one vote really doesn’t count in a presidential election due to the Electoral College, EVERY vote cast in the local election can make a difference.

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We Are All Patriots — Thank you Pats for an amazing 2015-2016 season!

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By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper, 2/2016

A year ago, in 2015, before the AFC game, I wrote a column in this space saying thank you to the New England Patriots and their organization for a great season and for all they do for us.

I deliberately published the piece BEFORE the game – I wanted to emphasize that regardless of that outcome, we are so proud of our Patriots.

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Be part of the LIGHT this holiday season in Foxboro

12274676_10153413171093547_1147151410462871176_nBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 11/2015

Recently, we had a special Diwali celebration at lunch time at work. Diwali, also known as the “festival of lights,” is an ancient Hindu festival. Among other things, it celebrates the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.

I was very moved by the beauty of the celebration. Many people dressed in beautiful gowns and robes, and they explained the origins of the holiday, how they celebrate it, sang a song, and treated us to AMAZING Indian cuisine.

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Finding hope through the darkness of shootings — National Night Out (Rescheduled due to Thunderstorms)

03-Christmas-Still-Life---CandlesBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reorter 7/2015

Last week, for the first time in many years, I wrote a full column for this space, and then proceeded to, as they say in the newspaper business, “kill it.” – The reason? It was so dark, and so sad, that it was – uncharacteristically for me – completely bereft of hope.

The impetus for the column came when I was asked to add the announcement of the candlelight vigil — for the four Marines and one sailor who were murdered — to be held the following Sunday on Foxboro Common — to several Facebook pages.

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Top 10 reasons to come to Foxborough Founders Day!

Founders Day Montage - Rick Haddad Photo
Founders Day Montage – Rick Haddad Photo

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter, 6/2015

From the home office in Foxborough Massachusetts, and with grateful appreciation to David Letterman, here are the top 10 reasons Foxborough Founders Day is awesome and how you can make a difference!

  • NUMBER 10: THE PARADE! The Foxborough Founders day parade is an exceptionally impressive spectacle. Yes, we have all been to parades in our lives, but this one is uniquely OURS because Foxborough-based organizations and businesses are encouraged to participate – and they do!
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A challenge to the voters of Foxboro: READ your local newspaper, speak up, and VOTE on election day!

The Foxboro Reporter
The Foxboro Reporter

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 4/2015

Greetings friends. Before I begin this op Ed, I need to make the usual disclosure:

First, I am not an employee of the Foxboro Reporter, or the Sun Chronicle. I am what is called a contributor or stringer – I have been writing columns in this space since 1997, then and now I consider it a great privilege to share my words with such a large audience; it is a partnership I cherish and one that I hope continues for many years to come.

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Father Steve Madden leaving Saint Mary’s Foxboro in 2015

Rev. Stephen J. Madden, pastor of St. Mary's Church in Foxboro.   (Photo by Christine Igo Freeman, Foxboro Reporter)
Rev. Stephen J. Madden, pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Foxboro.  (Photo by Christine Igo Freeman, Foxboro Reporter)

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper 1/2015

And also sent, along with a personal letter, to His Eminence Seán Patrick O’Malley OFM


“Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words” – Father Steve Madden, quoting Saint Francis of Assisi.

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” — Meister Eckhart

Today I need to use words to convey my feelings because I know of no action that can get my message across in a better way — my heart is broken, and I am not alone.

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Train line extension, Olympics… What’s happening in Foxboro?

Foxboro Commuter Rail Station, January 2014. Photo by Robert Gillis
Foxboro Commuter Rail Station, January 2014. Photo by Robert Gillis

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 1/2015

Before I begin this OP/ED, I think it appropriate to make the following statements: number one, I am NOT implying or accusing anyone of any wrongdoing. Number two, I have every respect for the Kraft organization, and believe that our number one tax payer is an enormous benefit to the town of Foxboro. Number three, I am NOT implying or saying that our selectmen have done anything wrong.

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A little Christmas miracle as the Foxboro Jaycees decorate Foxboro Common

Let there be light -- Jaycee David Fisler, left reacts as the power is restored to the common at the exact moment Paul Lanza places the angel on the Foxboro Common bandstand.  Photo by Robert Gillis
Let there be light — Jaycee David Fisler, left reacts as the power is restored to the common at the exact moment Paul Lanza places the angel on the Foxboro Common bandstand. Photo by Robert Gillis

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 12/2014

This story begins with a very nice affirmation. Christmas miracles – they still happen.

And it should be noted before I go further I swear this is true; and there are witness and photographs!

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This is not the Foxboro I remember — that’s a good thing (progress takes time!)

Foxboro Town Hall (2014)
Foxboro Town Hall (2014)
Foxboro Town Hall (2014)

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 10/2014

This is not the Foxboro I remember.

Good golly Miss Molly how many times have we heard/read that?

It seems like every week there’s a battle brewing about this or that change to the town, and the latest debate/discussion/battle is town hall. But like most hot-button issues, our town hall issue will be settled at some point in the future, and we will move onto something else.

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