Adorable Golden Retriever Puppy Sleeping in the Yard
During the second week of Annual Town Meeting, Article 28, a citizen petition spearheaded by Pam Baker, proposed prohibiting pet stores from selling “puppy mill” animals (dogs, cats and rabbits) in Lexington. No such stores currently exist in town, but the motion seeks to ensure they can never operate here to prohibit any profit in town from selling animals raised in inhumane, commercial breeding facilities. (Courtesy of Envato Elements)

Good morning and welcome to this week’s LexObserver news roundup. 

Will next week conclude Spring Town Meeting, or will it stretch on into the final week of April after the LPS spring break? There’s no way to be certain – but we’re at least halfway there, with four sessions down and anywhere from two to four remaining this month. 

We have one quick announcement for you: Next week, this newsletter is going to look a little different! The content will be the same, but we plan to experiment with some small aesthetic changes, and will be excited to hear your feedback.

Now, this week’s news:


Week of April 9: Lexington News Roundup

Reported by Sophie Culpepper


  • LPS review panel recommends change in afterschool program vendor from Lextended to Kidsborough; School Committee will discuss recommendation Monday.
  • Session #3 Town Meeting Highlights: Additional Climate Action Plan funding approved; Amendment to Article 12a means safety signage at Hartwell Ave approved, but branding signage rejected; roundabout proposed in Article 12n, Battle Green Streetscape Improvements, moves forward.
  • Session #4 Town Meeting Highlights: Memorial for former TMM David Kaufman; non-binding Zero Waste Resolution, Humane Pet Store Bylaw, Nexus Studies Citizen Petitions all pass by wide margins.
  • Next week at Town Meeting, zoning is likely to take center stage: Understanding OSRDs, and where Articles 38 and 39 stand.
  • This week’s School Committee meeting: Early-stage ideas for updating LHS graduation requirements include reducing science, social studies requirements from four to three years, which would bring them in line with state requirements.
  • COVID-19 Weekly Update: Small increases in town, school cases this week.
  • (We’re leaving out Community Announcements today since this edition is a little long…)

LPS review panel recommends change in afterschool program vendor from Lextended to Kidsborough; School Committee will discuss recommendation Monday

  • Lexington Public Schools is recommending the School Committee award its three-year contract for K-5 afterschool programming to a different organization from previous years. After a review panel including an elementary school principal and four elementary school parent volunteers received proposals and presentations from four vendors, including their final price proposals, they are recommending Kidsborough as the recipient of the contract to rent space and provide services beginning July 1, 2022, according to an update to LPS K-5 families from Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations David Coelho. 

  • The announcement has surprised many LPS parents, community members and staff at the district’s longstanding nonprofit partner program, Lextended Day. Run by a Board of Directors of parents from each elementary school, Lextended has partnered with LPS to run K-5 afterschool programming at all elementary schools for about a decade, and had previously served many students as the Bridge Extended Day Program since 1981. “We want to recognize and extend our appreciation to LextendedDay for their many years of service to the children and parents of the Lexington Public Schools,” Coelho wrote in his update to families, adding that though “change is often difficult…Kidsborough is excited to get started.” 

  • According to Lextended Executive Director Heather Hartshorn, Lextended received the news March 31. “We had no indication that the LPS was unhappy with any aspect of our services and programs,” she said. Their contract was previously extended for a year in 2021 due to the pandemic, she added.

  • COVID-19 has posed substantial challenges to Lextended’s operations for the past couple of years; Hartshorn is “very proud” of the program’s delivery of services and effort during the pandemic, she said. After closing during spring 2020, Lextended Day was able to operate out of the Follen Community Center for part of the 2020-21 school year when LPS could not offer physical space for the program. Pre-COVID, the program served about 840 students, Hartshorn said – but between the transportation burden for families of reaching the Community Center and other pandemic impacts, Lextended was serving fewer than 20 students for much of the 2020-21 school year from that location, she estimated. 

  • During the current 2021-22 school year, Lextended has gradually gained back many of the students it lost, Hartshorn said. Last September and October, they faced the same staffing challenges as organizations nationwide; for the first two months of the school year, they did not have enough staff to serve all community members in need of services and kept a waitlist. They had recruited enough staff to serve all families in need of care by November, Hartshorn said. By January 2022, Lextended was back to about 70% of its typical number of students, Hartshorn estimated – serving over 500 students. Still, continued COVID impacts, such as the long wait for approval of a vaccine for young kids, have impacted and continue to impact program demand, she said. 

  • While Lextended will continue to offer care for the rest of this school year, they expect to close at its end, and to lay off their nearly 60 employees, Hartshorn said. “We had new employees start the day of the decision,” she added, while some others have worked for Lextended for over 20 years. “Our mission for 40 years has been serving children and families of Lexington…that’s our only mission,” Hartshorn said. “I think a nonprofit based in the community is an important part of our civic fabric.” 

  • The review panel comprising an elementary school principal, four parent volunteers with students in LPS elementary schools and Coelho reviewed presentations and asked each vendor the same set of questions, according to Coelho’s update. “This process was done to elicit responses to ideas and issues that were important to parents who utilize or will utilize these services for their children,” he wrote. Per the posted Request for Proposals for afterschool structured elementary student care, evaluation criteria considered to select a program for LPS include: the length of a provider’s experience operating after school programs; the qualifications and experience of the after school program director overseeing the program; qualifications and experience of the after school program site directors for LPS; and overall program offerings. LexObserver could not reach Assistant Superintendent Coelho for further comment by press time. 

  • The School Committee is scheduled to discuss and approve the contract, and decision-making driving the recommendation, at their meeting Monday, according to their posted agenda at press time.



Session #3 Town Meeting Highlights: Additional Climate Action Plan funding approved; Amendment to Article 12a means safety signage at Hartwell Ave approved, but branding signage rejected; roundabout proposed in Article 12n, Battle Green Streetscape Improvements, moves forward


  • More funding for the Climate Action Plan: Article 7 appropriates funding to move the Town’s previously approved Climate Action Plan forward — specifically, $50,570 for planning and conducting outreach to update the Sustainable Action Plan with a Climate Action Plan. It passed by 99.4% of votes (174 yes; 1 no; 4 abstaining).


  • Municipal capital projects: The brunt of Monday’s session was spent discussing and voting on funding for various municipal capital projects — sub-articles of Article 12 — related to e.g. street signage, bicycle and pedestrian planning, road and sidewalk reconstruction and parking lot improvements. A question about the merits of funding branding signage under Article 12a generated the most debate among these projects.


  • Support for safety signage, but questions about branding signage: Hartwell District Signage (Article 12a) originally proposed appropriating $65,000 to add new safety and marketing-related signage on Hartwell Ave. and the jughandle on Bedford St. Town Meeting Members mostly agreed about the need for safety-related signage here, but disagreed about whether branding signage advertising “Hartwell Innovation Park” was necessary or appropriate. 


  • Proponents of this branding signage suggested such signage could help advertise Lexington’s commercial corridor to potential developers — with the hope of attracting the tax revenue they would bring at a time when Lexington is on the cusp of undertaking a new or renovated high school expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. But some TMMs expressed concern about mixing the branding and safety signage objectives. Additionally, some pointed out that at Annual Town Meeting 2021 (last year), Article 45 to officially create “Hartwell Innovation Park” by amending current zoning was referred back to the Planning Board — and has yet to be reintroduced and approved. This article should be approved before any signage is put up, they contended. 


  • Town Counsel Mina Makarious clarified that the Select Board does have the authority to refer to and brand the existing commercial district as Hartwell Innovation Park regardless of the status of Article 45. Town Meeting voted 116 yes, 52 no, 10 abstaining to adopt TMM Matt Daggett’s (P2) amendment removing branding signage from Article 12a — deciding by 69% to focus only on safety signage for the time being. Article 12a as amended ultimately passed with a wider margin of support: 160 in favor, 9 against and 10 abstaining (by 94.7%), well over the 2/3 majority required. Final version as amended here.


  • Pedestrian and biking: Article 12b, a Town-wide Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan, requests $65,000 to fund this plan, which would compile existing conditions data and identify and prioritize future street and sidewalk improvements while working toward the Town’s sustainability goals. Article 12b passed with 169 votes yes, 2 no and 3 abstentions (98.8%), also well over the 2/3 required.


  • Traffic mitigation: Article 12c, traffic mitigation plans for South Lexington and Forbes-Marrett, appropriates $175,000 to fund these plans for both the South Lexington Transportation Management Overlay District and for the Forbes-Marrett District. These plans are useful in part because they help justify traffic mitigation payments from private developers, and generally outline strategies for supporting safety and decreasing congestion in these areas. Article 12c passed with 173 votes yes, 1 no and 2 abstaining (99.4%).


  • A roundabout to improve road safety: Article 12n, Battle Green Streetscape Improvements, appropriates almost $5M ($4,975,000) to establish a roundabout at currently dangerous intersections by the Battle Green. The Town intends to complete this project prior to the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Lexington in 2025. It passed with 167 votes yes, 2 no and 4 abstaining, by 98.8%.


  • Touching up parking lots: Article 12o, municipal parking lot improvements, appropriates $60,000 for the survey and design of the municipal parking lot by the Town Office Building and near the police station. It passed with 162 votes yes, 3 no and 7 abstaining (98.2%). Similarly, Article 12p appropriates $100,000 to redesign public parking lots in downtown Lexington currently in fair to poor condition. It passed with 146 votes yes, 15 no and 10 abstentions (90.7%). For both Articles 12o and 12p, a few TMMs asked that the Town consider implementing solar panels as part of any parking projects as one way to shift the Town toward renewable energy.


  • An improved sidewalk: Finally, Article 12q appropriates $75,000 in survey and design funding for part of the Cedar St. sidewalk, with construction funding to be requested at a future Town Meeting. It passed with 159 votes yes, 5 no and 6 abstentions (97%).


Session #4 Town Meeting Highlights: Memorial for former TMM David Kaufman; non-binding Zero Waste Resolution, Humane Pet Store Bylaw, Nexus Studies Citizen Petitions all pass by wide margins


  • In memoriam: Wednesday’s session of Town Meeting began with a memorial and moment of silence for David Kaufman, who passed away this February after decades as an active Town Meeting Member. In a moving tribute, Moderator Deborah Brown said that Kaufman’s service-filled life embodied the Quaker adage “let your life speak.”


  • Non-binding Zero Waste Resolution moves forward: Article 27, a non-binding Zero Waste Resolution, is a citizen petition asking the Town to come up with a plan to reduce waste as soon as possible – especially in order to protect the environment and individuals living near waste-processing facilities. Several members of the public, in addition to TMMs, voiced support for this article, though a few asked for more detail about what specific actions could be taken to mitigate waste and who on Town staff would act on this article. One of the article proponents, Hien Nguyen, responded that many evidence-based strategies exist for waste reduction; the resolution’s goal is to push the Town to take a look at which of those strategies it can and should adopt, she said. Nguyen also noted that multiple Town Staff members supported the resolution, as indicated in signatures from e.g. Director of Public Works Dave Pinsonneault and Sustainability and Resilience Officer Maggie Peard of the Lexington Waste Reduction Task Force Letter of Support. Article 27 passed by 97.7% of votes, with 170 yes, 4 no and 8 abstaining.


  • Preemptive action against puppy mill complicity in Lexington: Article 28, a citizen petition spearheaded by Pam Baker, proposed prohibiting pet stores from selling “puppy mill” animals (dogs, cats and rabbits) in Lexington. No such stores currently exist in town, but the motion seeks to ensure they can never operate here to prohibit any profit in town from selling animals raised in inhumane, commercial breeding facilities. Article 28 passed by 98.9% with 177 votes yes, 2 no and 5 abstaining, making Lexington the 10th municipality statewide to adopt such a bylaw, per the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.


  • Gathering data to determine appropriate community housing surcharges for developers: Wednesday’s third citizen petition, Article 26, appropriates $75,000 to hire consultants to conduct two linkage fee nexus studies. These are basically data-driven studies about impacts of and appropriate Town compensation for both residential and commercial development impacts on housing demand. Linkage fees, community housing surcharges approved in two previous Town Meeting articles currently pending state approval (Article 6 from STM 2020-2 for residential development activities, and Article 36 from ATM 2021 for commercial development activities), would compensate the town for e.g. the increase in housing prices impacting the entire community expected from an increased demand for housing in town arising from a new development. Data from these studies would help the Select Board understand exactly how much money developers should be paying the Town in linkage fees for residential and commercial developments, respectively, according to proponent Matt Daggett (P2). Article 26 passed by 93.3% of votes, with 168 yes, 12 no and 4 abstaining.


  • Articles 16g and 16h both proposed public facilities capital improvements. 


  • Planning for unplanned equipment failure: Article 16g proposed borrowing, as and if needed, $500,000 for extraordinary repairs and modifications to building systems and equipment at Lexington High School. Due to the age of equipment, most of which has a 20-year life cycle and is 22+ yrs old, “unplanned equipment failure is expected,” per Director of Public Facilities Mike Cronin’s presentation. Article 16g passed by 98.8% with 171 votes yes, 2 no and 5 abstaining.


  • A new, renewable-energy water heater: Article 16h proposed appropriating $31,000 in free cash for design and engineering of a replacement for the water heater for the sinks and showers at the Town pool facility. The current heater is nearing end of life and “showing wear and tear” according to Cronin, and the Town does not want it to fail in the middle of summer during peak use. The Town is also using the necessary equipment replacement as an opportunity to investigate renewable energy alternatives to the current fossil-fuel-powered water heater. Article 16h passed by 94.7% with 161 votes yes, 9 no and 4 abstaining.


  • Cost of living adjustments for retirees, and other financial articles: Town Meeting also passed three other financial articles, which each received over 99% of votes in support: Article 19, appropriating funding to and from stabilization funds; Article 21, amending the FY2022 operating, enterprise and Community Preservation Act budgets; and Article 24, adjusting the base on which cost of living adjustments (COLA) for retirees are calculated from $14,000 to $15,000.


  • Town Meeting will convene again next Monday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m.


Next week at Town Meeting, zoning is likely to take center stage

  • There are several important articles scheduled for debate next week, including:

  • Monday: STM 2022-2 Article 2, to appropriate nearly 2 million dollars to fund a Lexington High School Feasibility Study following the district’s long-awaited invitation into the Massachusetts School Building Authority eligibility period to build a new or renovated high school.


  • Monday: STM 2022-2 Article 3 (“Amend General Bylaw to Allow Remote Participation at Hybrid Town Meetings”) and ATM Article 34 (“Allow for Select Board to Call Remote Town Meeting”) both propose changes related to allowing hybrid Town Meetings beyond the state’s authorization of remote participation, which is set to expire in July. “STM2-3 provides the process for how Lexington will integrate remote participation at its Town Meetings; ATM-34 provides for state authorization for Lexington to hold hybrid and fully-remote Town Meetings through its bylaws,” per the articles’ presentation.


  • Wednesday, time permitting: ATM Article 31, Building Energy Use Disclosure (BEU-D), would amend the Town’s general bylaws to require reporting, disclosing and assessing the energy and water use of large buildings. This article would apply to about 120 buildings in town, including municipal buildings and buildings with more than 25,000 GFA.


  • But most of Wednesday’s session is expected to center around a few different zoning articles. If you’re a reader who has not had the chance to closely follow the complex threads of debate on Town listservs or in public meetings about these articles, we hope this high-level(ish) breakdown is useful:

Article 35 – Open Space Residential Developments return for round 2:

  • What are OSRDs? As written in Article 35, Lexington’s Open Space Residential Developments proposed bylaw amendment combine a few different elements which should all, in theory, benefit the Town: Open space, historic preservation, increased housing density (adding diversity to the Town’s housing stock), and some inclusionary housing. First, as the name suggests, a required percentage of the developable site area must remain open land – specifically, at least 35%, as well as 15% of Common Open Space (which could be e.g. collective recreation space – it doesn’t have to be totally undeveloped). OSRDs differ from conventional subdivisions with single-family houses – which mean they allow for denser developments which could diversify Lexington’s housing stock. A minimum percentage of inclusionary dwelling units is also required under Article 35.


  • Some skepticism from the Historical Commission about historic preservation: Historic preservation is incentivised because the developer is rewarded for it under OSRD stipulations: In exchange for preserving a historic building on their site, the developer is not required to preserve as much open land. Specifically, they can reduce the open land by two times the site coverage of the historic building being preserved. That said, the majority of Historical Commission members voted against supporting Article 35 on Tuesday; member concerns included a sense, for instance, that OSRD developers might obstruct the historic structure being preserved with their new development on the same site – even though Article 35 explicitly states that historic preservation should include “consideration for siting, sight lines, and landscaping” in its purpose section. TMM and longtime former Planning Board member Richard Canale (P9) shares the Historical Commission’s concern: “With an OSRD, there’s no saving of the context,” he said. “You can have a historic house and stick a bunch of townhouses right in front of it.”


  • Deja vu: OSRDs were proposed as Article 15 during Special Town Meeting 2021, and failed by just a couple of votes, with 85 votes in favor, 88 against and 3 abstaining on a motion requiring a simple majority to pass. This law requires a simple majority, rather than a ⅔ majority, due to a major set of reforms passed by Governor Charlie Baker early last year “to adopt zoning best practices related to housing production by a simple majority vote,” including those that allow OSRDs by right. 


  • Changes include a minimum land tract size: The motion has been subject to a few different changes since November. For instance, the new motion specifies that an OSRD must be located on a tract of land of at least 70,000 SF. Some TMMs say that larger tracts of land align better with the state’s vision for this development’s applicability; others worry that the minimum land tract size will limit where OSRDs can be built, and say that there’s environmental merit to preserving smaller portions of open land, too.


  • Site plan review or special permit? Debate about this article is likely to center around a couple of questions. Among them: Should OSRDs be allowed “by right” under site plan review, or should the Planning Board have veto power on developments in the form of a special permit process? Most, but not all, current Planning Board members argue that a special permit process would dissuade developers from making use of OSRDs at all. But Planning Board member Robert Creech disagrees; on the contrary, he thinks Special Permit is not a major inconvenience for developers, and will help the Town level with developers to make their projects as beneficial as possible to the Lexington community. That’s one of the main reason’s he is proposing an amendment to switch from Site Plan Review to Special Permit for OSRD approval. One procedural detail worth noting: If Creech’s amendment were adopted, this article would require a ⅔ majority instead of a simple majority, because it would no longer fall under Baker’s “by right” stipulation.


  • Are OSRDs too easy or too hard for developers? In a way, the site plan review v. special permit issue is a proxy for a bigger question that may drive debate Wednesday. Some Town Meeting Members think OSRDs could open up the floodgates of development in town, and that without checks like the special permit process on developers’ pursuit of profit, this bylaw could wreak havoc. “We have developers who are responsible and who want to have good projects. And we have some who just want to make money,” Canale said. In fact, he thinks that in the worst case scenario, passing OSRDs (without the special permit process check) could make it harder to pass additional zoning reforms to create more affordable and inclusionary housing in the future – because one “bad” development could increase community distrust of all development innovation. But, other TMMs fear the opposite problem: What if OSRD, a proposal which, at this point, has been in the works for months, passes at Town Meeting on Wednesday…and then never gets used by developers because it’s actually not convenient or profitable for them anyway? That’s what concerns TMM and Lexington Cluster Housing Study Group Member Barbara Katzenberg (P2). The small Cluster Housing Study Group, comprised of just two TMMs and a local affordable housing developer has been digging into what OSRD could mean for the Town since Special Town Meeting last November. “This idea that it’s going to be a…boondoggle for developers…we just don’t believe it,” Katzenberg said. Instead, she thinks something has to give: “Our worry is that we’re going to make this beautiful thing that is kind of a pile of wish lists for all of us. And it’s going to sit on the shelf looking beautiful – and not getting used by anyone.” In one meeting this week, current Planning Board Chair and committed Article 35 proponent Charles Hornig summed up the dilemma: “Time will have to prove who is right,” he said.


  • Article 38 – development at 128 Spring St: Article 38 requests rezoning and approval of a Preliminary Site Development and Use Plan for the 95 Hayden and 99 Hayden Avenue Properties, which would amount to a massive construction and commercial project. Jeanne Canale, one of the South Lexington Civic Association’s directors, is hoping to see a few changes incorporated into the Memorandum of Understanding to accommodate project neighbors and the Town further – including more money for housing (about $100,000), more noise mitigation guarantees in terms of agreed limits to ambient and construction noise, and appropriate parking space payment, she said. Canale doesn’t necessarily oppose the development itself, but believes specific impacts on residents can be mitigated further by these and other changes to the draft MOU. Canale also wishes that the process to engage and inform community members about the project had been more effective at reaching all residents, she added. While she believes the process of communicating the development planning took place in good faith, she has observed that many people remain totally in the dark about the massive project on the horizon in their neighborhood, she said – partly due to the process unfolding around the holidays. Comments on the draft MOU were due this Wednesday, so Canale does not yet know which of her feedback will be incorporated into the updated draft.


  • Article 39, controversial lab development proposed for 475 Bedford St., is withdrawn by the applicant: Article 39, a proposal to rezone a residential area for a commercial development at 475 Bedford St., had the potential to bring in millions in property taxes for the Town as noted in a memo from Town Manager Jim Malloy – a desirable outcome with two major capital projects on the horizon, in his view. At the same time, it was bitterly opposed by many neighbors; for instance, a petition opposing the lab gained 316 signatures. In public meetings, residents expressed dismay and frustration about anticipated noise, light, traffic and environmental impacts, among others. The project developer, Cresset Lexington LLC, had made efforts to address and mitigate some of these concerns with concessions in its draft Memorandum of Understanding, agreeing e.g. to pay parking and traffic mitigations, as well as agreeing to pay for shades to block light and committing to limit noise. But two intractable issues were impossible for any MOU to mollify. First, many residents argued that 475 Bedford St. would be an ideal location for an affordable housing unit, rather than a new lab. Second, residents didn’t just oppose the inconveniences expected from increased traffic, light and noise; they opposed the fundamental change to the residential feeling and character of their neighborhood. So this week, the project proponent submitted an updated motion to refer Article 39 back to the Planning Board. LexObserver could not reach Edward Nardi or another Cresset representative for comment by press time about why exactly the article was withdrawn, and whether they still plan to pursue this development at a future Town Meeting.


This week’s School Committee meeting: Early-stage ideas for updating LHS graduation requirements include reducing science, social studies requirements from four to three years, which would bring them in line with state requirements


  • At Monday’s Lexington School Committee meeting, LHS Principal Andrew Stephens and Director of Secondary Education Jennifer Gaudet presented some early-stage ideas for updating the LHS graduation requirements. You can view their full presentation here.


  • Revisiting these graduation requirements is a longstanding topic of interest for the School Committee and community members alike; these requirements have not been updated for decades, and are more stringent in many ways than the MassCore requirements.


  • Stephens and Gaudet said that in revisiting the requirements, they especially hope to accomplish three big-picture goals: Address and narrow equity gaps; redefine student success; and cultivate greater student agency in their own learning.


  • Specifically, they suggested two changes to the current required curriculum in the interest of these goals: Reducing both the science and social studies requirements from four years to three years, potentially beginning with the class of 2027. This would bring these requirements in line with MassCore, and could give students who wish to craft more individualized courses of study based on their interests the room to do so, they said.


  • Both administrators and School Committee Chair Kathleen Lenihan stressed that Monday’s presentation was a first step in reviewing these graduation requirements; they intend to revisit this topic at future meetings and gather much more community feedback. Stephens and Gaudet also specifically recommended forming a community input team on this topic.


  • During an opportunity for public comment, two parents who are SEPAC members expressed some concerns about how these changes might affect special education students. They stressed the importance of community input from and on behalf of special ed students about these new requirements, a comment Principal Stephens welcomed. They also applauded LHS and the School Committee for starting the conversation about updating graduation requirements.

COVID-19 Weekly Update: Small increases in town, school cases this week

  • This week, Lexington had 46 new recorded COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, just barely up from 43 the previous week. 

  • At Lexington Public Schools, as of Thursday, 44 staff or students were absent who had tested positive, while just six staff or students were on quarantine. That’s an increase from the week before, when 33 students and staff were absent who had tested positive. Cases remain low overall.

That’s a wrap for today. Was this roundup useful to you? What do you want to see in this email next week? Let us know, and please ask your friends to sign up and donate too! Reach out to with tips and questions anytime. As always, you can also check out and share our website, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages. Thanks so much for reading and have a great weekend!

With gratitude,
Nicco Mele, Sophie Culpepper, Sarah Liu, Vivian Wang and Seiya Saneyoshi
LexObserver Team

Join the Conversation


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *