Globe Northwest Community briefing

Acton's stimulus plan

March 29, 2009
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The Board of Selectmen has decided to submit nine projects, whittled down from an initial 41 options, worth a total of approximately $44 million for federal stimulus money. "We chose projects that would produce jobs," said board chairwoman Lauren Rosenzweig. "And it was important that we end up with a long-range resulting economic benefit to the town." Included in Acton's wish list are sewer projects in West Acton, work on both the Assabet River and Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, an affordable-housing site, a new senior center, bridge and infrastructure improvements, and new heating systems in Acton's fire stations. - Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

DEADLINE TO REGISTER NEARS - April 7 is the last day to register to vote with town clerk Ann Callahan for the April 27 town election and the spring Town Meeting on May 11. The only contest is for the Board of Selectmen. Incumbents Gary Luca and Carolyn McCreary are joined by Pauline Conley in vying for two three-year seats. The Town Meeting, for which warrant articles are now being prepared, will be convened at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the high school, located off Washington Street.

- Davis Bushnell

FREE TAX HELP - The Council on Aging is offering seniors and other moderate-income residents free help with tax preparation through the AARP/IRS Tax Aide/Tax Counseling for the Elderly program. In one-on-one sessions, certified volunteer counselors will help prepare state and federal returns and also answer questions. Tax preparation sessions will be held weekday mornings from now through April 10 at the council's offices at 12 Mudge Way. For an appointment and to find out what paperwork to bring, call 781-275-6825. - Nancy Shohet West

BRICKS FOR SALE - The Friends of the Council on Aging are selling engraved bricks for the walkway of the new senior center, which is set to open this summer. Bricks can be purchased in memory of a loved one, in honor of a person or event, or in support of the Beech Street Center and the Council on Aging. Order forms are available at the Council on Aging office, the town clerk's office, and the Belmont Public Library. Forms are also available online at For more information, call 617-484-5501. - Jennifer Fenn Lefferts

INCUMBENTS RUN AGAIN - Selectman James F. O'Donnell Jr. will seek another three-year term in the April 4 election. Competing for the seat is Andrew N. Deslaurier. School Committee member Kimberly J. Conway is running against Thomas Mandile for another three-year term. Three candidates are seeking two three-year seats on the Planning Board: They are Michael P. Moore and incumbents Edward R. McLaughlin and Vincent D. MacDonald. Scott W. Winchell is unopposed for reelection to another three-year term as town moderator.

- Joyce Pellino Crane

AIRPORT VEGETATION AT ISSUE - Boxborough's Airport Study Committee is reviewing proposed legislative and regulatory changes of the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission regarding vegetation near airports. The Airport Study Committee is an advisory group that monitors any information regarding the Minute Man Air Field in neighboring Stow. Some of the privately owned airport's property rests in Boxborough, said committee chairwoman Anne Canfield, and abuts heavily used town fields. Proposed changes include vegetation management to keep the airport, runways, and low-air space free of any interfering vegetation, and including wording that would allow removal of any interfering vegetation, said Canfield. - Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

PLAYING FIELDS PROPOSED - New playing fields will be going in at the site of the former Wildwood School. The old elementary school building has been razed and town officials have been debating how to reuse the 14-acre property. Selectmen chairwoman Sonia Rollins said the board has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Recreation Commission to use the property for the next eight years. Rollins said the commission will be putting out a request for proposals seeking a recreational planner. The planner will review the site and determine how many fields can fit into the space.

- Jennifer Fenn Lefferts

TRASH PARTY INVITATION - Residents are encouraged to don work gloves and roll up their sleeves for the annual townwide Trash Party next Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers of all ages will be clearing the roadways, woods, fields, public places, and private yards of the winter's trash. Free refreshments and trash bags will be provided to all volunteers at the Trash Party headquarters at Center Park, near the rotary on Lowell Street. - Nancy Shohet West

PLAYGROUND GETS NEW LOOK - The Emerson Playground off Stow Street is getting a face lift. The playground will be closed through April 30 while new equipment is installed. The old wooden and metal equipment, which dates to about 1990, was starting to deteriorate and cause splinters, said Laura Lunig, the town's assistant recreation director. The $150,000 project will include a climbing wall, three climbing rocks, three slides, and a tower, and the equipment will be made of recycled plastic and metal. The project is funded through the town's capital budget.

- Jennifer Fenn Lefferts

DOG LICENSE DEADLINE - The deadline for annual dog license fees is Tuesday. The fee for a spayed or neutered pet is $15; otherwise, it is $25, town clerk Janet Vellante said. She also noted that the Nashoba Associated Boards of Health will provide rabies immunizations for dogs and cats from 9 to 10 a.m. on April 11 at the Highway Department garage, 47 Depot Road. The fee is $10. - Davis Bushnell

ELDER DRIVERS SEMINAR - When should an older person stop driving? At a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Lexington, panel members will examine this question, looking at the medical, social, and legal implications for older drivers, their families, and their caregivers. Speakers will include Dr. Elizabeth Dugan, an associate professor in geriatric medicine at the University of Massachusetts and author of "The Driving Dilemma"; Alzheimer specialist Charlie Zoeller; Bryan Reimer, a researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AgeLab, and town officials. The April 9 event will start at 9:45 am, with refreshments at 9:30 am. For more information, call 781-861-8433. - Connie Paige

OPEN-SPACE UPDATE - Littleton's Open Space and Recreation Plan Implementation Committee is in the process of updating the town's Open Space and Recreation Plan, which was drafted in 2003, and is looking for public input. Having an up-to-date plan makes the town eligible for funding through various state grant programs dedicated to open space and recreation. The committee has published a survey and asks residents to complete and submit their responses by April 1. The survey can be found on the town's website at - Nancy Shohet West

PARKING RULES TO CHANGE - On April 2, the winter parking rules in Medford will no longer be in effect. The rules now prohibit people from parking their cars on the odd-numbered side of the street from midnight to 7 a.m. If the city has a declared snow emergency after April 2, the emergency parking rules still apply. - Brad Kane

A HIP IDEA - Imagine wearing a lightweight belt lined with an airbag and a built-in motion sensor that could help prevent serious injuries from an accidental fall, by sending a signal to emergency personnel when it detects an imbalance in acceleration, equilibrium, and velocity. That's the concept behind Hips For Life, which was submitted by four third-graders from the Batchelder School in the 2009 Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Awards program. The students - Guiliana Peppe, Cassie Mirasolo, Emily O'Sullivan, and Jordan Thibedeau - were selected earlier this month as one of 24 regional winning entries out of more than 4,000, and the group will move on to the national stage of the competition in May.

- Richard Thompson

NATURE WALK - Still haven't made plans for Earth Day? Look no further than the Reading Town Forest, where children's librarian Rachel Baumgartner will lead a nature walk on April 22 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Children age 4 and older, accompanied by an adult, can participate in the event. Registration can be done over the phone, starting Saturday, by calling 781-942-6705. - Richard Thompson

DPW CHIEF LAID OFF - In a desperate attempt to save some cash, the town laid off its public works director on March 17. The chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Enrico Cappucci, said public works director Joe Lynch was let go because the town has no money to pay him. Lynch's salary was $79,000, Cappucci said. Shirley has talked with the town of Harvard about the possibility of regionalizing the public works director's position, he added. - Julie Masis

NETWORKING EVENT - The Stoneham Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of Stoneham in a networking event on April 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., said Sharon Iovanni, the chamber's executive director. Iovanni is asking chamber members to donate promotional items, key chains, small toys and games, and office supplies, which will be used as incentive awards for children in the club. Cost for admission is $10 for chamber members and $20 for nonmembers. - Bella Travaglini

VOTING DEADLINE NEAR - The last day to register to vote in the upcoming town election is Friday, and the town clerk's office is staying open until 8 p.m. that day to accommodate registrants. Town elections are scheduled for April 25. On the ballot is one race for the Board of Selectmen, and then single-candidate campaigns for two seats on the Wilmington School Committee, one seat on Shawsheen Valley Technical High School's School committee, and the office of town moderator. - James O'Brien

TOWN LAUDED BY STATE - Common Cause Massachusetts, at a State House event earlier this month, honored the town of Winchester for posting at least six local governance documents on its website, said town manager Melvin Kleckner. Winchester is one of 118 municipalities to receive a 2009 e-Government Award. The event is part of Common Cause's ongoing Massachusetts Campaign for Open Government, which periodically reviews the Internet presence of all 351 cities and towns. - Bella Travaglini

PET STORE OPENING DELAYED - The opening of the PetSmart store in Woburn has been delayed from May 16 to August, company spokeswoman Jennifer Simmons said. The store is opening on 112 Commerce Way, which is a retail complex next to the Industri-plex Superfund cleanup site that also includes a Chipotle Mexican Grill and a Bob's Discount Furniture. As the PetSmart opening has been delayed, so has the recruitment process for employees to work at the store. The hiring for full- and part-time positions will begin four to six weeks before the opening. - Brad Kane

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