Candidates for Newtonville Area Council 2015

The following people are candidate for the Newtonville Area Council.

Current members are indicated by a *

Lois Biener             62 Prescott St
Peter Bruce            11 Claflin Pl
Joy Huber*            27 Whitney Rd
Marc Kaufman*    553 Walnut St
Wayne Koch*        64 Greylock Rd
Thomas Kraus*    480 Walnut St
Colleen Minaker   32 Bemis
Helen Nayer          75 Grovehill Ave
Susan Reisler        11 Claflin Pl
Helene Sroat*       60 Wildwood Rd
Tim Stone*            5 Briar Lane
John Vasilakis      75 Grovehill Ave

Lois Biener


Lois Biener has lived on Prescott Street in Newtonville for over 30 years. She came for the convenience to Boston and stayed for the beautiful streets, excellent schools, and most of all, the sense of community that exists here. Over the years she has tried to further all those assets through organizing block parties, working to save Cabot Woods, helping to establish the Newtonville Historic District, and chairing a City taskforce on burying utility lines and enforcing City ordinances regarding wires and poles. She is running for the Newtonville Area Council because at this important juncture we need people on the council who are willing to become knowledgeable about the options we face, be open to considering various views, and to participate in civil discussions about alternatives. A senior research fellow at the Center for Survey, she hopes to offer her survey expertise to help the Council get an accurate sense of attitudes and needs of Newtonville residents.

Peter Bruce

Peter Headshot

My family moved to Newton twenty years ago. We have enjoyed wonderful neighbors, excellent schools and sports, and great natural beauty. I want to preserve what’s best about Newton and improve it by: stimulating resident participation shaping the future of our community; promoting bottom-up planning with other villages and fighting overdevelopment and; increasing transparency in government. I have a Ph.D. in Political Science from MIT, and a decade of experience teaching American Politics. I also studied survey research at U Conn, and was a researcher at its Roper Center for Public Opinion. I have since worked as a freelance researcher, writer, and cab driver. I served in the U.S. Army 1967-1970 (Honorable discharge). I helped organize a group petitioning against the Austin Street Project. I have attended numerous City and NAC meetings, and become educated about development issues. If elected, I will serve the best interests of Newtonville residents and businesses.

Joy Huber*

J Huber

Joy Huber has lived on Whitney Rd., in Newtonville, for 25 years. Her three children attended Newton public schools. She has a Ph.D. in economics from Boston University. She led the effort to create the Newtonville Area Council, and was its first president. Under Joy’s leadership, the Newtonville Area Council has taken responsibility for Newtonville Village Day, which has brought businesses, community groups, and citizens together to celebrate and promote Newtonville. Joy has also been active in the Austin Street development process. She analyzed additional parking data to assess the validity of the Austin St. parking study, evaluated the Austin St. proposal including touring a similar building built by the Austin Street Partners Development team, attended and spoke at multiple meetings. Her efforts, and that of the Newtonville Area Council, have been instrumental in improving the Austin St. proposal to meet the needs of Newtonville.

Marc D. Kaufman*


I am currently president of the Newtonville Area Council (NAC) and have been involved in all NAC activities for the past 2 years. They include a survey of Newtonville residents, critiquing the Austin St. development process and developer proposals, working to implement improvements to the commercial section of Walnut St. (wider sidewalks, adding benches, landscaping), lobbying for the new Indigo Line on the MBTA’s Framingham tracks, participating in Alderman Land Use Committee hearings on Austin St., critiquing other proposed developments in Newtonville, and helping the NAC to be a forum for citizen voices and concerns in the city. For the next 2 years, I want to critique the many development proposals in Newtonville and help to align them to the village’s vision. In the past, I was a member of the Design Review Committee for Newton North, and served on the school councils at Newton North, Day and Cabot schools

Wayne Koch*


Koch is a practicing architect specializing in the higher education and commercial sectors. He has lived on Greylock Road in Newtonville with his wife Lisa Kamisher for the last 24 years. Their two sons attended Cabot, Day and graduated from North. Wayne’s public and professional service includes serving on the Newtonville Area Council for two years, Newtonville Historic Commission for five years as well as the Boston Society of Architects Board of Directors. Wayne has significant experience in working with client groups and planning boards to achieve consensus and hopes to continue his work on the NAC with a focus on the quality of the built environment, helping to make Newtonville a more vibrant and beautiful place to live, work and shop.

Thomas Kraus*

Kraus_Tom_8p_4CTom Kraus has been a Newtonville resident for 38 years. His three children attended Newton Public Schools. Currently he is Vice President of the Newtonville Area Council (NAC). Tom believes that citizen input and transparent government are essential to the integrity and quality of government decision making. Tom took a leadership position on the NAC, contributing to the design and analysis of a citizen-survey on the Austin St. development. As part of the NAC, Tom focused on issues of parking, and is concerned that the current proposal would negatively impact our businesses. He also volunteered for the working-group on construction parking, should the proposal prevail. Tom’s technical background and analytical skills have enhanced the NAC’s ability to collect and assess data and encourage data-driven decision making. Tom brings both historical knowledge and business understanding to the NAC. Tom looks forward to helping maintain and enhance the village character of Newtonville.

Colleen Minaker


When my late husband Ken Minaker accepted a clinical research position at the Beth Israel hospital we moved from Toronto to Newtonville with our children. The village offered a unique respite from the rapidly growing city we left. Quickly we grew to love Newton and its friendly villages.
As I talk to neighbors here and surrounding villages they tell me they want to preserve the village character. The role of an area councilor is to listen to residents and business owners and represent their views. I will support local businesses and oppose loss of public land for out of scale development. Our village needs amenities for easy shopping, dining and strolling. Trees, gardens and benches will help the village become a relaxing destination. Over the years I have learned about city government while serving on the Newton Conservators, the League of Women Voters and many local political campaigns. In the years ahead I shall devote my time to the residents of Newtonville who look for leaders to listen to their concerns during these challenging times of intense pressure for village development.

Helen Nayer


We moved to Newtonville in 1971, drawn by the village’s greenery, excellent schools. My children graduated from the Newton schools to which they walked. The village center then, as now, included thriving businesses changing from the hardware store, Brigham’s then to the yoga studio and lively restaurant scene today. Less pleasant changes: neighborhood schools surplused, sold leading to overcrowded classrooms, tax increases, mega-schools. Public property surplused again without our consent, our village targeted for over-development, urbanization, loss of green space. I am running for NAC to support residents/ business owners in achieving a vision for Newtonville arising from the people who live/work in Newtonville.My background: B.A., International Relations; Brevet, Dijon, France; M.S., RPI Technical Writing- Communications; retired Marketing Executive, Digital Equipment Corp.; regional director of a women’s professional-cultural society, and president of my church’s charitable organization. I ask for your vote and will advocate for our village if elected.

Susan Reisler

Reisler-HeadshotMy husband and I have lived in Newtonville over 20 years and raised our son here. Having grown up in the South Bronx, I really appreciate Newtonville’s beauty, scale, and friendliness. I am running for Newtonville Area Council to preserve Newtonville’s essence as we move forward. I am so concerned about the impacts of the Austin Street proposal that I (and like-minded friends) have collected almost 1500 petition signatures against it. If I am elected to the council, whose monthly meetings I’ve attended, I intend to ensure that neighborhood views help shape village development. Outreach, public meetings, and surveys are all important. As a technical writer, I always worked collaboratively to produce excellent, award-winning documentation. Now retired, I will collaborate again, this time to address issues of density, traffic, and parking. I also support Beautiful Newtonville’s efforts to make Walnut Street more inviting. I would so appreciate your vote. Thanks!

Helene Sroat*

sroatHelene Sroat wants our village to be an inviting place where people come to run errands, meet others, eat, drink, walk, and sit outside and enjoy themselves. She will advocate for more attractively designed sidewalks, plantings and public space as well as sufficient parking. Helene has a PhD in architectural history and a long standing interest in improving the built environment. She has done an extensive design review of the public plaza component of the Austin Street development. Helene and her family live on Wildwood Ave. in Newtonville. Her children attend the Horace Mann and Day Middle Schools. She has been a member of the Newtonville Area Council for two years and is currently serving as its treasurer.

Tim Stone*

Tim Nov 17 LinkedIn HeadshotIn his first NAC term, Tim Stone led development of the resident survey for the proposed Austin Street development. If re-elected, Tim will work to ensure that the City and Board of Alderman meet their obligations to account for resident feedback when considering whether to proceed with the development, and if so, only if the project significantly improves downtown public space, visual appeal, and sustainability for independent businesses without increasing traffic congestion. As founder of Beautiful Newtonville, a non-profit organization, Tim also secured a City commitment to revitalize Walnut Street’s commercial district with new sidewalks, benches, and lighting. Finally, he led Beautiful Newtonville’s collaboration with residents, businesses, City government, and Newton North High School students, which beautified the Washington Street commercial district with flower planters and the newly renovated bus shelter. He lives on Briar Lane with his wife and son, a rising junior at Newton North High School.

John Vasilakis

VasalikisI moved to Newton 12 years ago from upstate NY and enjoyed participating in Newtonville’s village life. After attending NAC meetin
gs as an observer the past year, I decided to run for the council to represent fellow residents. My goal is to encourage improved communications between residents and the City and increase participation by residents in decision-making on village projects. Development projects, in particular, must be better planned keeping the neighborhoods in mind; we must maintain open space to better keep our ‘garden city’ reputation. I was president of the parish council of my church. I now serve on the Board of the Greek Institute, a Cambridge cultural center, and involved in organizing various programs. My background includes a PhD in Mechanics and a career in research. I was an adjunct professor at RPI. Now retired, I would like to work on behalf of the residents and businesses of Newtonville.