Community briefing

Getting ready to plug in

August 28, 2011

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Anticipating that more environmentally conscious motorists could soon make the switch to electric cars, town planners are looking into installing charging stations in a couple of parking lots. Senior planner Lisa Schwarz said officials have identified parking spaces in the Andover Village and Park Street lots as potential locations for stations. Town planners hope to partner with a sponsor to fund the installation, and have the company doing the installation also maintain the stations, Schwarz said. The fee for using the space would be equivalent to a parking meter fee, she added. The next step is to find out how many residents already have electric vehicles and how many plan to purchase one, so that officials can estimate projected growth numbers. The goal is to have the charging stations installed by the spring. Schwarz is encouraging those who own or plan to own an electric vehicle to e-mail her at

-Katheleen Conti

AIR YOUR GRIEVANCES - The Board of Selectmen is inviting local residents and business owners to a public input session at the Chelmsford Senior Center, 75 Groton Road, at 7 p.m. Sept. 19. This is an opportunity for community members to voice their opinions, express concerns, or ask about town issues. The selectmen are also interested in hearing ideas for improving the town. No decisions will be made at the public input session. - Brenda J. Buote

HONORING PAT TOOMEY - The town is holding a reception from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall to honor Pat Toomey’s four decades of volunteering for the community. Selectmen agreed to schedule the event at the suggestion of Andrea Daley, a lifelong friend of Toomey’s who is also active in town affairs. At the reception, selectmen plan to present a certificate to Toomey, who has been in ill health, expressing appreciation for her many contributions to the town. Toomey also will be presented with a similar proclamation from the state House of Representatives, provided by state Representative Theodore C. Speliotis. A past member of Town Meeting, the Planning Board, and the Zoning Board of Appeals, Toomey has also served on the Balanced Growth Committee, the Open Space and Recreation Committee, and committees that planned the town’s 250th anniversary celebration and planned for the future of the former Danvers State Hospital site. A retired Peabody teacher, Toomey has also been a Campfire Girls counselor, and a member of the former Star Dust Drum & Bugle Corps and Friends of the Library.

- John Laidler

THREE TOP STUDENTS - Georgetown High School principal Peter Lucia recently announced that Erik Augustine, Melissa Myles, and Sarah Erlandson have been named Commended Students in the 2011 National Merit Scholarship Program. About 34,000 such students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2011 competition for National Merit Scholarships, Commended Students placed among the top 5 percent of the 1.5 million who entered the 2011 competition by taking the 2009 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

- David Cogger

OVERDOSE VIGIL - The first public vigil for families of victims of overdoses will be held on Wednesday at 7 p.m. next to the Cut Bridge on Stacy Boulevard. Gary Langis, a member of the Gloucester Overdose Vigil Committee, said that names of the victims will be read at the vigil. For more information, call Langis at 978-835-3602.

- Steven Rosenberg

OLDEST RESIDENTS HONORED - The Hamilton Historical Society this week presented the Boston Post Cane to Helen Goggin, 99, and Albert Coonrod, 95. The award is presented annually to the oldest male and female in town. The custom began in 1909, when Boston Post canes were given to Boards of Selectmen in several New England towns by the Boston Post newspaper (which folded in 1956), to be presented to the town’s oldest living male. The tradition was expanded to include the oldest living female in 1930. - David Rattigan

BRADFORD POST OFFICE MAY CLOSE - Citing a decrease in demand, the US Postal Service is casting a critical eye on some 3,700 retail offices across the country, including the one in Bradford. Release of the list of post offices under review came just weeks after the Postal Service embraced new regulations making it easier to close some of the nation’s 32,000 post offices. According to a statement released by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, some communities that lose retail locations may become home to a village post office, smaller automated stations, or a local vendor selling stamps and flat-rate boxes.

- Brenda J. Buote

WALK FROM OBESITY - Lowell General Hospital will be sponsoring the 2011 Walk from Obesity, beginning at 10 a.m. Sept. 24 at the Sampas Pavillion on Pawtucket Boulevard. Part of a national event, the walk is a fund-raiser aimed at raising awareness of obesity in children and adults. Proceeds will benefit research and education initiatives for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation and the Obesity Action Coalition. Last year, Lowell General was one of the top 12 fund-raising groups across the country, with one team member finishing among the top three individuals. This year’s event also will include a health fair, prizes, and music. For more information, visit

- Karen Sackowitz

SCHOOL OPENS SEPT. 6 - Marblehead schools will open Sept 6. At the high school, freshmen should report at 7:55 a.m. and all other students should arrive at 9:30 a.m. At the middle school, all students should report by 7:50 a.m. Students at the Village School should arrive by 8 a.m.; the Eveleth and Coffin schools will open at 8:05 a.m.; and the Glover, Gerry, and Bell schools will open at 8:15 a.m.

- Steven Rosenberg

CELEBRATING THE HARVEST - The Middleton Farmers’ Market will celebrate a healthy harvest with festivities including cooking demonstrations, dance instruction, face painting, a magic act, and live music. The event will be held Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the parking lot at Angelica’s Restaurant on Route 114. For more information, contact Linda Friend at

- David Cogger

HAZARDOUS WASTE DAY - Curbside trash and recycling service will be delayed by one day next week. The city of Newburport and towns of West Newbury and Merrimac will host their annual household hazardous waste day from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 10 at the Newburyport Department of Public Works, 16 Perry Way. The event will be held rain or shine, providing residents of the three communities an opportunity to safely dispose of hazardous materials in an environmentally responsible manner. The maximum amount that a resident can dispose of is 25 gallons or 25 pounds of material. Clean Harbors Environmental Services will be on hand to accept oil-based paints (no latex products), varnishes, pesticides, spray cans, and other household hazardous chemicals. The cost is $24 per 10 gallons, or $44 per 25 gallons. Residents may also dispose of mercury-containing waste, such as batteries, thermometers, and thermostats, at 7 cents per foot. Televisions and computer monitors also will be accepted for a fee. Commercial and industrial waste will not be accepted. For more information, visit - Brenda J. Buote

North Andover
POLICE MOVES - The Board of Selectmen unanimously accepted the temporary elevation of two members of the Police Department Monday as a result of Paul Gallagher’s promotion to chief. Charles Gray was promoted from sergeant to provisional lieutenant to fill the vacancy left by Gallagher. Officer Daniel Crevier was appointed to provisional sergeant to fill in for Gray. Both will serve in those positions until permanent appointments are made, Gallagher said. The next round of civil service exams for the positions is scheduled for Oct. 15. Test results could take at least six months to receive, Gallagher said. Because of the high-ranking nature of the lieutenant’s position, candidates who pass the civil service test also will have to undergo a series of practical exercises, known as an assessment center, that relate to the duties that come with the position, Gallagher said. -Katheleen Conti

DEADLINE FOR VOTERS - City Clerk Timothy Spanos is reminding residents that Wednesday is the deadline to register to vote for the city’s Sept. 20 preliminary election. The clerk’s office will be open until 8 p.m., to accommodate last-minute registrants. Anyone with questions regarding absentee voting or voter status can call the clerk’s office at 978-538-5750. The preliminary election will feature balloting for two positions: a five-way race citywide for two Municipal Light Commission seats, and a three-way battle in Ward 3, where incumbent counselor Rico E. Mello is vying against challengers Thomas K. Serino and Steven W. Jennings. The preliminary will reduce the commission field to four candidates and the Ward 3 race to two.

- John Laidler

TOWN CLERK RETIRING - Fred Frithsen, town clerk for 37 years, plans to retire on Sept. 1. The Board of Selectmen recently appointed Pat Brown, the current assistant town clerk, as acting town clerk to serve until the spring 2011 annual town election.

- David Rattigan

START YOUR (GREEN) ENGINES - The second annual Green Salem Business Challenge is underway. The challenge is a friendly competition and recognition program in which participating businesses pledge to do everything they can to reduce their environmental footprint, adopt green practices, and increase environmental awareness among their employees, patrons, and the general public. Awards go to businesses following the best practices in each of four sized classes. All businesses that take part in the program earn a window sticker designating them a participant, with special sticker recognition given to the winners. The deadline to enroll is Friday. Mayor Kimberley L. Driscoll and other city officials will honor this year’s winners at an awards ceremony Sept. 15 at 4 p.m. inside Old Town Hall. For more information or to enroll, go to - John Laidler

FLIGHTS TO NEW JERSEY - Scheduled air passenger service is returning to Portsmouth International Airport. Streamline LLC will begin offering fights to Atlantic City and Trenton, N.J., beginning next month. Plans call for five flights to each city each week as well as five return flights to the Port City on 30-seat Embraer Brasilia aircraft. A one-way ticket is expected to cost about $200. The last commercial carrier at Pease was Skybus, which went out of business in 2008.

- Tom Long

O’MARA NAMED ADMINISTRATOR - The Board of Selectmen has chosen one of its own to become the new town administrator. James O’Mara immediately stepped down as chairman of the board. He also will be leaving his full-time job as superintendent of the Hillsborough County Department of Corrections in Manchester. O’Mara will replace Gary MacGuire, who retired as town administrator July 8. O’Mara is expected to start the job in late September or early October.

- Tom Long

Around the Region

Malden, Melrose
CONTRACTOR FOR PINE BANKS - The Pine Banks Foundation recently selected Quirk Construction to build new athletic facilities at Pine Banks Park. The Georgetown company’s winning bid of $1.69 million was more than $200,000 under the initial estimate for the project, which calls for construction of a regulation-size running track, a multipurpose field inside the track, a new grass softball field, and more than 100 new parking spaces. The 107.5-acre park in Melrose and Malden is managed by the foundation’s seven-member board, which includes representatives of the two cities and a descendant of former Malden mayor Elisha S. Converse, who in 1905 bequeathed the land for use as a public park. The total cost of the project, including design and engineering, is $2.75 million. Malden and Melrose will each cover $1 million, with a $500,000 state grant and a $250,000 grant from the Baird Foundation funding the rest. Melrose is covering its share with $1 million in revenues from the Mount Hood Golf Course. The softball field is scheduled to be completed by the spring and the rest of the project by the fall of 2012.

- John Laidler

NEW PARK OPENS - The city is inviting residents to visit a new public park recently constructed in Medford Square on Clippership Drive. Located adjacent to the Mystic River, the park includes two seating areas, walkways, decorative lighting, and landscaping, along with two historical interpretive panels that trace the role of the Mystic River in the development of the city. The construction of the park complements a recently completed project to reconstruct Clippership Drive, which runs along the river from the Craddock Bridge to Riverside Avenue. The $165,000 park project and the $1.6 million road project were funded through a combination of federal stimulus money, federal funding earmarks, and state grants, according to Lauren DiLorenzo, the city’s community development director. She said the projects are part of an overall effort to expand public access to the river. - John Laidler

WEIGH IN ON WETLAND RULES - Local officials are asking residents to complete a survey regarding the town’s wetlands bylaw and regulations. The survey was drafted by an ad hoc committee formed recently by the Board of Selectmen to recommend changes to the existing wetlands regulations. Town leaders would like to simplify the permit application and enforcement process without compromising the resource protection offered by the regulations. The 30-question survey asks whether the current bylaw and regulations are too restrictive, and seeks feedback on the permitting process. To complete the questionnaire, visit

- Brenda J. Buote

AIRPLANE NOISE ABATES, FOR NOW - Thanks to a construction project at Logan Airport, planes that regularly take off and land over Somerville have quieted, and so have complaints, said mayoral spokeswoman Jaclyn Rossetti. The Massachusetts Port Authority has started a six-month project to extend the safety zone on Runway 33L, and the work is blocking all takeoffs and landings on that Logan strip through September. The quiet might be short-lived. Massport spokesman Matthew Brelis said there was no reason to expect the number of 33L departures would change post-construction. “The project in and of itself will have no impact on runway capacity,’’ he said.

- Danielle Dreilinger

WALK TO FIGHT OVARIAN CANCER - Sisters Against Ovarian Cancer is planning its fourth annual fund-raising walk. The 5-mile route will begin and end at the Stone Zoo, stepping off at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 10. The group has raised $140,000 to support research into treatment for ovarian cancer. Preregistration is encouraged; on-site registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the walk. Those who preregister are asked to check in by 9 a.m. The registration fee is $20. The walk honors Marie Spinale, founder of the group, who died of the disease in 2009. For more information, visit

- Brenda J. Buote

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