By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 8/2017
“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
In this digital age, it is very likely you are following everything that’s going on in Washington right now.
by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter, 10/2013
Tom Sawran passed away last week, and if you’ve lived in Foxboro for any length of time you probably knew him. He was a paradox to be sure, but I liked Tom, and I respected him, and as a Jaycee mentor he taught me a lot.
While other tributes for Tom will likely come in from those who knew him best — his children, his family, his very closest confidants, I thought I would talk about the man from a Jaycee and Foxboro family perspective, and why his passing is a loss for us all in the chapter and the community at large.
by Robert Gillis Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 5/2013
Each year around this time, I’ve made it a tradition to write a piece about spirituality, about faith, religion, or clergy who have made a difference in my life. While this column is not “church chat” and is intended toward folks of all faiths (or none), I’d like to talk today about three members of the clergy who make a difference, and encourage you, if you are so inclined, to thank your clergy or spiritual leaders as well.
by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 4/2012
As a Foxboro Jaycee, I was so honored to be the moderator for candidates night — yes, I was nervous but my main goal (beyond not passing out) was too ensure that things ran smoothly, ensure the candidates were all treated fairly, got their say, and that the information got out.
It was a welcome opportunity to “step out of my comfort zone” and be in front of the camera instead of my usual filming behind the camera.
by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 2/2012
It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon and I’m gassing up my car and a National Grid truck pulls into the lot. And then I realized, when was the last time I even thought about what happened to Foxboro last year, when we had two power outages in two months, and both outages lasted over five days? And as I drove away I thought — what happened?
By Robert Gillis Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City paper 10/2011
A few years ago I attended a family wedding. During mass, several of my other cousins and extended family were looking at each other during mass, unsure of when to sit, stand, and so on. I overheard my favorite cousin Michelle whisper, “Just do what Bobby does, he knows.”
I was flattered by that comment and the perception that I was such an expert on the customs of mass, but I also felt some guilt.
Mary Cicciu passed away November 10, and Foxboro has lost another of its rare gems.
I met Mary on Founders Day in 1995, at the senior’s tent on Booth playground, where her friends were celebrating her 84th birthday. I was immediately taken with her — she was special, and although I saw her infrequently, I just adored her.
Oh my Lord, what a feisty woman. She was short; very petite, but that small body held a fire and passion for life that people half her age have trouble finding.
(After many letters to the editor, I submitted this, my first full-length column to the Reporter. After it ran, I approached editor Jeff Peterson about a regular, bi-weekly column, and he agreed we’d start with three, the first which ran a month later on April 25, 1996.