Briefs

Recent headlines from Globe North.

Everett

Luxury apartments replace Charleston Chew factory

City and state officials recently helped celebrate the near-completion of a new luxury apartment development on the site of the former Charleston Chew factory. The Batch Yard is a three-building complex of 328 market-rate units on Charlton Street in the city’s Lower Broadway section, about a half-mile from the site of the planned Wynn Resorts casino. Post Road Residential of Fairfield, Conn., is carrying out the $90 million redevelopment, which is now partly occupied, according to city officials. The former factory had been vacant since 1985, when production moved to a Nabisco facility in Cambridge. The development was given the tagline “The Sweeter Side of Living” in honor of the site’s historic use. Post Road Residential also incorporated features in the project recalling the candy maker, including reclaimed wood from the original buildings, art pieces with the Charleston Chew theme, and the placement of the original factory sign on the roof-top deck. In a statement, Mayor Carlos DeMaria Jr. called the Batch Yard “the perfect blend of Everett’s past and future. We are proud to have it open its doors in our city.”

Medford

Forum to discuss casino’s environmental impact

Area residents have a chance to learn about the environmental issues associated with the Wynn casino project planned in Everett. The Mystic River Watershed Association is holding a public forum on the potential environmental effects of the project at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Winthrop Street Function Hall at Tufts University, 51 Winthrop St. Among the topics will be the developer’s plans to clean up the long vacant and contaminated site of the casino on the banks of the Mystic River. “This waterfront development could have huge implications for the Mystic River and its waterfront lands,” Beth MacBlane, outreach and communications director for the watershed association, said by e-mail. “We hope the public will enjoy this opportunity to hear directly from the development team to learn more about this project and prospective environmental impacts.”

Reading

Library relocating for renovations

The Reading Public Library will be housed in a smaller, temporary space at Walker’s Brook on General Way in November, between Market Basket and the Reading Athletic Club. The 31,000-square-foot library site, once home to the old Highland School, closed Oct. 11 to make way for construction of the long-awaited renovation and addition of the building. Online library services and some adult programs will continue throughout October. Children’s programs will resume in November at other locations around town, according to library director Ruth Urell. Reading voters on April 1 approved a $3.5 million debt exclusion, or temporary property tax increase, to fund the project. It was the second tax hike approved by local voters for the project, which is expected to cost $18.3 million. Last year, Reading voters approved a $9.8 million debt exclusion for the work. Plans call for the library to be renovated and an addition totaling more than 9,000 square feet to be built to address structural and systemic issues.

Somerville

City looks to build new fire station on Somerville Ave.

The city is seeking to acquire a vacant lot on Somerville Avenue for the location of a new fire station. Somerville officials have submitted an order to the Board of Aldermen asking to take the property at an appraised value of $4,875,000. The city said in a prepared statement that building a station on that site would help improve emergency response time, particularly to the Beacon Street and Washington Street areas. The Fire Department also could provide more training on the site, including programs that the department cannot currently run because it lacks an adequate training facility. The cost of acquiring the site and constructing the new station is expected to be offset by selling the Lowell Street station site and portions of the current Public Safety Building block in Union Square.

Beverly

Public hearing on shopping center plan draws crowd

Residents filled a meeting room at the Beverly Senior Center on Tuesday for the start of the Planning Board’s public hearing on a proposed 65,000-square-foot shopping development near the Brimbal Avenue-Route 128 interchange. “The focus [Tuesday] night was on getting the facts,” said Planning Board chairman John Thomson, who estimated that 100 people turned out for the 2½-hour meeting, which included a one-hour presentation and then lots of questions from the board and residents. The state and city are planning to significantly rebuild the interchange, and many in the community have registered concerns about an increase in traffic. Developer CEA Beverly, LLC released a traffic study that estimated greater traffic volume than previous studies, but the city has hired its own traffic engineer to review that study. The Planning Board also will hear from the city’s Parking and Traffic Commission, which plans its own review on Nov. 7. The Planning Board plans to continue its hearing on Nov. 18.

Newbury

Byfield Methodist church to close

Leaders of the Community United Methodist Church in Byfield are hoping that the Nov. 16 final service is also a celebration of its nearly 200-year history. “We hope a lot of people come back to say goodbye to the church and relive the good moments they had there,” said Heidi Fram, 65, a member of the church’s Board of Trustees, who remembers first attending Sunday school there 58 years ago. The church, at 6 Central St., has operated since 1827 and the current building was constructed in 1902. With an aging congregation and at a time when fewer people are attending services on Sunday mornings, Fram said that attendance on a typical Sunday had dropped to 12 to 15 people. The church is planning to continue several of its activities, such as serving meals to the elderly and recovering addicts, but leaders expect members to make their own choices on where to attend Sunday services. The final service is scheduled for 10 a.m., with brunch to follow.

Billerica

$4.2m settlement reached on Superfund site

The US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Justice have reached a $4.2 million settlement with Boston and Maine Corp. and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority for partial reimbursement of EPA’s past costs and for full payment and performance of future cleanup work at the Iron Horse Park operable unit 4 Superfund site. The settlement between the parties calls for B&M and the MBTA to perform $2.7 million in remediation work. The remedy addresses site-wide ground water and localized sediment contamination. The two companies will also pay 100 percent of EPA’s interim and future response costs, and approximately $1.5 million of EPA’s past costs. “EPA is very pleased to reach a settlement ensuring that future cleanup costs to address contamination at Iron Horse Park is not borne by US taxpayers, but rather by responsible parties,” Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office, said in a prepared statement. Work to address other contamination at the 553-acre site was conducted under two previous operable units, and work on the third operable unit is ongoing. Contaminants detected most frequently include volatiles, semi-volatiles, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, asbestos, and metals. The remedy includes excavation of contaminated sediment in B&M Pond; monitored natural recovery of contaminated sediment in other locations; and long-term monitoring of contaminated ground water. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/ironhorse.

Gloucester

EPA penalizes Marine Railways for violating Clean Water Act

Gloucester Marine Railways Corp. will pay $30,000 for an environmental education project along with a fine of $20,000 for alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act at its 3.3-acre Gloucester shipyard. The US Environmental Protection Agency announced this month that the railways will fund a project to raise awareness of Clean Water Act requirements in the maritime community, to be implemented by Maritime Gloucester and Ocean Alliance, two local nonprofits. Prior to 2011, the corporation allegedly discharged “waste water from boat-washing operations into Smith Cove without authorization, and additionally discharged contaminated stormwater without a stormwater permit and without employing ‘best management practices’ to minimize the impacts of such stormwater discharges,” according to the settlement. “We have a lot of company in the shipyard industry for this problem,” said Viking Gustafson, general manager for the railways. “It’s been decades in the making, but we’re talking about past practices. The negotiated settlement is a good resolution. We’ve also made tremendous progress over time.”

North Andover

North Parish completes renovations, holds dedication

North Parish of North Andover on Oct. 19 held a building dedication and open house to celebrate completion of the comprehensive makeover of its meetinghouse, which includes a fully accessible religious education and staff office wing. The dedication ceremony was held as North Parish celebrates the 369th anniversary of the founding of its congregation. The new addition combines the architecture and historic features of the original building, including a working Paul Revere bell, with modern features, such as elevator access to the second level. The new building also expands the available meeting space, which is used for concerts, Girl Scout meetings, and other community gatherings. Windover Construction was the contractor on the project. David Torrey of Torrey Architecture in Boston was the architect. For more information about the regional Unitarian Universalist congregation, visit northparish.org.

Salem

Cigarette butt recycling program begins

The city is launching a program to collect and recycle cigarette butts. Salem has become the first municipality in New England — and one of the first in the nation _ to team with TerraCycle on the firm’s butt recycling initiative. Salem last week was set to begin installing dozens of cigarette receptacles in the city, primarily in the downtown. The waste will be collected regularly by city workers and shipped to TerraCycle. The New Jersey-based firm takes the butts and recycles them into various industrial products, such as plastic pallets. The only cost to the city is up to $8,000 it will be spending for the receptacles, according to Dominick Pangallo, chief of staff to Mayor Kim Driscoll. There is no cost to consumers. Citing an estimate by the organization Keep America Beautiful, city officials noted that 38 percent of all roadside litter in the country is tobacco-related. As an incentive to recycle, for every pound of cigarette waste collected, TerraCycle will donate $1 to the Salem Main Streets downtown revitalization program and $1 to Keep America Beautiful.

Essex

Ballot question would raise surcharge

The ballot for the Nov. 4 state election includes a ballot question on an amendment to increase the Town of Essex Community Preservation Act surcharge. Town Meeting previously approved the increase of the annual real estate tax levy for the CPA to 1 percent on May 5, and the election is required to fully approve the change. Currently, the surcharge is .5 percent, as it has been since adoption of the CPA in 2007. The question is the fifth on the state ballot.

Danvers

Proposed demolitions subject of meeting

The Danvers Preservation Commission is holding a public hearing this Wednesday on whether the town should delay the demolition of two historic homes. One is the Porter House, at 487 Locust St., and the other the Mackey Funeral Home building at 22 Conant St. A developer has applied for a permit to demolish the Porter House to make room for a proposed project of 16 single-family homes. The Archdiocese of Boston has applied for a permit to raze the funeral home building to create 36 parking spaces for the adjacent St. Mary of the Annunciation Church, according to Susan Fletcher, assistant director of the town’s Department of Planning and Human Services. Under a town bylaw, the commission can delay for up to six months the demolition of a structure it determines is of historical significance in order to work with the property owner on ways to preserve it. The commission has found that both buildings are historically significant, and Wednesday’s hearing will focus on whether it should determine they are worthy of preservation. Built about 1665, the Locust Street house was historically known as the Porter-Bradstreet Homestead. It is the last surviving private, rural Colonial homestead in the town and is one of less than 400 surviving buildings of its type in the country, according to a description of the house written by Richard B. Trask, the town’s archivist. Erected in 1894, the funeral home building, known as the Albion F. Welch House, is one of the few late 19th-century high-style dwellings still surviving on a main thoroughfare in the Danvers business district, according to Trask, who called it a “wonderful example of the Queen Anne Revival architectural style.” Wednesday’s meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Daniel J. Toomey room at town hall.

Medford

New meters on way to business areas

Mayor Michael J. McGlynn recently contracted with a Tennessee-based firm, Republic Parking System, to install new “pay by plate” multi-space parking meters in five business districts. Medford currently doesn’t have meters, but that will change in those districts in the next few months. Under pay-b- plate systems, drivers enter their license plate numbers into meters when they insert coins, enabling enforcement officers to more accurately determine how long specific vehicles have been parked. Officials said their objectives are to deter illegal parking and ensure timely turnover of spaces to benefit business districts. The program also involves comprehensive enforcement of parking rules by the contractor, including neighborhood permit parking. The charge at meters will be 25 cents for 15 minutes. The contract is for seven years with an option to renew for three more years. Republic will make an annual payment to the city starting at $300,000 in the first year, rising to up to $700,000 in the second and subsequent years. It will also pay the city a percentage of its gross revenues, according to city solicitor Mark Rumley and budget director Stephanie Burke. Responding to feedback from businesses, the city made several changes to the plan, including adding two 30-minute free parking spaces and four paid single-space meter spots in each of the five business areas. The city will also dedicate $250,000 of its annual parking revenue to improvements in those districts.

Gloucester

Icelandic group covers the waterfront

A group representing Iceland’s biotech industry toured Gloucester last Tuesday, meeting with state Senator Bruce Tarr and business leaders, including Jon Von Tetzchner, the Icelandic native who founded software company Innovation House, before visiting Maritime Gloucester, Gorton’s Seafood Gallery, and Gorton’s Seafood. The group sought to connect with experienced local entities that have developed businesses and markets and have a network in life sciences, said the trip's coordinator, Eva Rún Michelsen of Reykjavik-based Iceland Ocean Cluster, which links firms in ocean-related fields. The group also planned to visit Boston, Dartmouth, Mass., and Portland, Maine.

North Reading

Schools hosting music troupe

The Young Americans, a nonprofit music, dance, and performance troupe devoted to teaching, funding and encouraging music education across the country, will visit North Reading public schools Sunday through Tuesday. The town is the only Massachusetts stop on the Young Americans 2014 Fall International Music Outreach Tour and “Turn Up The Music” campaign. About 300 North Reading students in grades 3 to 12 will participate in two days of performing arts workshops, culminating in two shows on Tuesday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. that will mark the debut performances for North Reading High School’s new 650-seat performing arts center. “When Young Americans came to North Reading six years ago, hundreds of students participated, to great success,’’ Allison Kane, the high school’s performing arts director, said in an e-mail to the Globe. “We are thrilled to welcome them back to celebrate our new performing space and to support music education and teamwork in North Reading.” Founded in 1962 by Milton C. Anderson the Young Americans performance troupe is now said to be the oldest and largest youth music advocacy group in the world. The cast comprises 45 performers between the ages of 18 and 23. They tour both in the United States and worldwide, staying in the homes of local residents. Tickets to the performances, at $10 for adults and $8 for students, will be sold from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday and Monday at the high school arts center. For more information about the troupe, visit youngamericans.org.

Somerville

Help rename road, fast

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone is asking residents to send suggestions for a new street name, and quickly. The city has decided to rename the lower portion of Great River Road in Assembly Square, as the present street setup can be confusing to visitors and emergency personnel. Ideas will be collected until Wednesday, and the five best will be put up for a vote. Curtatone will then choose between the two most popular options. The city is asking that residents try to think of names that have a Somerville connection, reflect the city’s future, and do not sound similar to other street names in town. Ideas can be submitted by e-mail to mackerman@somervillema.gov or by dialing 311.

Burlington

Bow-hunting returns to Route 3 site

For the second year in a row, the town will allow bow hunting for deer in the 250-acre property along Route 3 known as the landlocked forest. The site is so named because Burlington residents can only access it through Bedford and Lexington. During the state season for deer, which starts Monday and runs till year’s end (with Sundays excluded), up to 30 archers will be allowed to pursue their quarry at that one site in town. Selectmen last year adopted rules that allowed for bow hunting under specified conditions intended to ensure the safety of others. Hunters must obtain town bow hunting permits on top of mandatory state licenses. They must also hold bow-hunting certificates and pass a town-administered archery proficiency test. Up to 30 permits can be issued, 20 of them reserved for town residents. About 10 archers plan to hunt this year, said John Keeley, the town’s conservation administrator, with hunting allowed from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Among other rules, hunters can only hunt deer, must have their town permits visible, and must wear blaze orange between Dec. 2 and Dec. 31. The forest will remain open for others throughout hunting season. The conservation department, which is running the program, can be reached for questions at 781-270-1655.

Reading

Opioid abuse forum Thursday

State Senator Jason Lewis, the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse, and the Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition will present a regional dialogue on opioid abuse Thursday. Residents of the 5th Middlesex district and neighboring communities are encouraged to attend and share their thoughts and feedback. The event is scheduled to take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Hawkes Field House at Reading Memorial High School, 62 Oakland Road. It will kick off with a 30-minute panel presentation on the opioid epidemic followed by a group discussion focused on actions people can take to combat it. In addition to Lewis, the panel discussion will feature Penelope Funaiole, Mystic Valley Opioid Abuse Prevention coordinator, and Erica McNamara, director of the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse. “Opioid addiction in the Commonwealth has reached a crisis level, and we need to take aggressive steps to prevent and treat addiction,” said Lewis, a Winchester Democrat, in a statement e-mailed to the Globe. “With no community and no family immune to the reach of this epidemic, it is critically important that we engage all members of our community to be informed and take action.’’ Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to McNamara at emcnamara@ci.reading.ma.us.

Andover

YMCA receives $1.2 million gift

The Andover/North Andover YMCA announced last Tuesday that it has secured a $1.2 million gift and will name the new family pool being built as part of the Y’s expansion in honor of Jane Cronin, the Y’s former aquatic director and the late wife of the Y’s Hurricanes swim team coach, Carlton Cronin. Jane Cronin died after a car accident many years ago. The gift was from the Glancy family of Andover. “The YMCA does great things for lots of people across the Merrimack Valley, and with a bigger and better footprint, it will provide still more services to more people,” David Glancy said in a statement. “YMCAs are full of Jane Cronins — people working hard, touching lots of lives of people of all ages, from all backgrounds.” Added Carlton Cronin: “This gift will create endless possibilities of quiet stories of impact for every sector of the community which most of us will never even hear about or imagine. With this gift, Jane can still do good work.” To date, with the Glancy family gift, the YMCA has been able to raise over $7 million, a significant milestone for its Andover/North Andover expansion. “This being the largest gift in the history of our YMCA is both an extraordinary gesture and a strong endorsement for the good work we do,’’ said Stephen Ives, president and CEO of the Merrimack Valley YMCA. “Our community is excited about what we are doing and we have very strong momentum. The best is still yet to come.’’ The initial phase of the construction project, including the renovation of the pools and existing locker rooms, will be completed shortly. The full completion date is planned for October 2015.

Beverly

Study sees more traffic near new plaza

A new study estimates that traffic at a proposed shopping plaza near the Route 128-Brimbal Avenue interchange in Beverly could be significantly greater than what was forecast in a previous one. The building of the plaza, anchored by a Whole Foods Market, is linked to a two-phase plan to reconfigure traffic patterns and improve roads in the area, but opponents have argued that the plaza and other businesses will bring too much new traffic to an already congested area. According to the study conducted for CEA Group, the plaza would generate 161 new vehicles at peak weekday morning hours and 408 at peak afternoon hours. A previous report had estimated that there would be 64 new vehicles at peak morning hours and 238 at peak afternoon hours. The developer is seeking a special permit to build the development, and the planning board will hold a hearing on the proposal as part of its Tuesday meeting at 7 p.m. at the Beverly Senior Center, 90 Colon St.

Salem

Cookie-maker is ready to expand

A local bakery is preparing to expand with the help of state and city tax relief. Jacqueline’s Gourmet Cookies, 96 Swampscott Road, plans to purchase and renovate an adjacent 11,130-square-foot building. The $4.7 million project, which also includes the cost of machinery and other equipment, will allow Jacqueline’s to add 50 new full-time jobs to its existing full-time staff of 110. The city is supporting the project with a tax-increment financing agreement, which provides the company with a break over five years on a portion of the new taxes resulting from its investment. The state Economic Assistance Coordinating Council recently approved the city’s tax break while also providing Jacqueline’s with $478,181 in state investment tax credits. The company produces frozen cookies sold to hotels, cruise lines, and food service distributors across the country. Founded by Jacqueline Hazel in her kitchen in Revere in 1986, the bakery moved from Malden to Salem in 2006 and in 2013 expanded its 25,000-square-foot headquarters to 40,000 square feet. The company is embarking on its latest expansion due to increased demand for its products, said Marc Hazel, the company’s president and chief executive and a son of Jacqueline Hazel. “Jacqueline’s is extremely appreciative of the city and state assistance,” he said. “Having this tax relief will enable us to reinvest in our business and in our employees.”

Beverly

Fourth building proposed at former Parker Bros. site

Cummings Properties has entered the site plan review process for a proposed building at 52 Dunham Road. The building would be the fourth on the 54-acre property that is the former home of the Parker Bros. game company. Cummings has rehabilitated the former Parker Bros. headquarters, built a garage, and is currently completing the foundation for a five-story building at 48 Dunham Road. The proposed structure at 52 Dunham Road would be of similar size, said Steve Drohosky, company vice president.

Swampscott

School measure takes a hit

The proposed consolidation of Swampscott’s elementary schools was dealt a setback last week, but could have another life. The plan for a new $52.6 million Swampscott elementary school gained a majority of the votes at Monday’s Special Town Meeting, but not the two-thirds majority needed to pass. A Proposition 2½ debt exclusion vote on the new school remains on the ballot for the Nov. 4 election, and the Board of Selectmen could call another Special Town Meeting to revisit the project if it passes in the election. “People are talking about options, but there aren’t any decisions made yet,” said Joseph Crimmins, who headed the project committee. Town Administrator Tom Younger, however, thought a second Town Meeting vote unlikely. “There is not any consideration of a second Town Meeting to my knowledge,” Younger wrote in an e-mail. Under the proposal, the new school would be built behind Swampscott Middle School at 207 Forest Ave. The Massachusetts School Building Authority would reimburse the town approximately $16.8 million of the project’s cost. If the plan passes, the owner of a single-family home valued at $460,000 would pay an additional $221 in property tax annually. During the Town Meeting roll call vote, the article gained a majority, 140-98, but spending articles require a larger margin. Board of Selectman chairman Matt Strauss could not be reached for comment.

Melrose

City, unions agree on health insurance extension

The city recently reached agreement with its 12 employee unions on a six-year extension of Melrose’s membership in the state’s Group Insurance Commission. Melrose in 2009 became one of the first communities to sign up with the state’s health insurance system. The city took advantage of a 2007 state law that allowed cities and towns to enroll in the larger state system as a way to control spiraling health costs. The new agreement extends the city’s membership in the state plan to June 2021. It also provides for a reduction in the city’s share of employee premiums from 87 percent to 84 percent, effective July 2015. The city’s share of the premiums of retirees not receiving Medicare will also decrease at that time from 87 percent to 85 percent, though the city will continue to pay 70 percent of premiums for retirees enrolled in Medicare. The agreement provides for a one-month “premium holiday” for all employees in December 2015, according to Marianne Long, the city’s human resources director. Mayor Robert J. Dolan hailed the agreement in a statement, saying it “provides stability for our employees.’’ Melrose saved $3 million in premium costs when it joined the state plan, and its membership in the network has enabled it to contain costs since, according to Dolan.

Somerville

Monster Mashed-Up street fair next Sunday

The city is hosting its annual Monster Mashed-Up event next Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. along Somerville Avenue, from Lowell Street to Union Square. Approximately 7,000 people are expected to attend the free event, which will feature a costume parade, 150-pound carved pumpkins, and Milk Row Cemetery tours. The event is part of the SomerStreets series, described in a city press release as “Somerville’s take on the internationally renowned Open Streets concept, closing busy city streets to vehicles and opening them up for cycling, walking, dancing, running, and other modes of activity.” For more information about the event, including road closures and bus detours, visit somervillema.gov/somerstreets, or call 857-523-9017.

Everett

Mandatory sidewalk shoveling pushed

Residents would be required to shovel sidewalks outside their homes under an ordinance proposed by Mayor Carlo DeMaria that is set to come before the City Council on Tuesday. Fire Chief David Butler and Police Chief Steven Mazzie both support the mandatory show-shoveling ordinance as a public safety measure, saying it would help ensure that emergency responders have access to homes. “We have always battled the ongoing issue of sidewalks around private properties not being shoveled,” DeMaria said in a prepared statement. “Unfortunately, this causes a very real danger to pedestrians, especially the elderly and children walking to school, and is something that we must address.” The ordinance would apply to all sidewalks, including those outside businesses, nonprofits, houses of worship, and city- or state-owned property. It provides for a waiver for residents who are elderly or have physical disabilities. Violators would be subject to a fine, though the amount is still being finalized.

Newburyport

Waterfront change advocate steps down

Newburyport Forward, a group formed to support the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority’s efforts to complete Newburyport’s waterfront development with an expanded park and limited taxpayer burden, has announced that founder and president David Strand of Plum Island has resigned as president. In a statement e-mailed to the Globe, Strand said his decision to step down was fueled by differences of opinion as to how the authority’s 4.2 acres on the central waterfront should be developed. “When I formed Newburyport Forward, it was because I thought the [authority] board at the time had a community-minded and economically viable plan that needed some support to see it through and finally end the debate,” Strand said. “There’s talk now among city leaders and the [authority] of a scaled-down and phased approach. This won’t end the divisiveness or solve the financial and urban design problems, in my opinion. So it’s time for me to move on and focus on other priorities.” There are no other changes to the group at this time. Newburyport Forward created a Facebook page in February 2013, and it has attracted more than 1,250 fans since then.

Chelmsford

Police group donates to cancer charity

The North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council Police Foundation Inc. has once again donated a portion of its annual fund-raising proceeds to Cops for Kids with Cancer. The charity was founded in 2005 by John Dow, a retired Boston police captain who died two years later of cancer, and his wife, Joan, to support children with the disease as they undergo treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. During a ceremony held earlier this month at the Chelmsford Police Department, outgoing foundation vice chairman and retiring Chelmsford Police Chief James Murphy presented a check for $5,000 to Cops for Kids with Cancer chairman Robert P. Flaherty. The donation will help Cops for Kids provide emergency assistance to the families of pediatric cancer patients and special wishes for teens, who are too old to be served by the Make-a-Wish Foundation. “Cops for Kids with Cancer is a charity that hits close to home for just about everyone in a given community, and [the foundation] is proud to support their amazing work,” Murphy said in a prepared statement. The police foundation provides training and education to officers in northeastern Massachusetts, and has supported charitable causes using money raised through an annual golf tournament and other fund-raisers.

Hamilton

Town nears contract with planner

Pending successful contract negotiations, Patrick Reffett will become the first town planner in Hamilton history. The town agreed to create the position at annual Town Meeting in 2013. Reffett, hired by Town Manager Mike Lombardo, is currently community development director in Natick.

Region

Four more towns join coalition

Middlesex 3 Coalition, a regional partnership focused on economic development, announced during its Oct. 3 advanced manufacturing forum at Riverview Technology Park in Billerica that four more towns have joined the coalition: Lexington, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, and Westford. In all, nine municipalities are now members of the group. The others are Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, and Lowell. Together, and with the support of the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the coalition members strive to bring more businesses to the Route 3 corridor, retain local jobs, diversify the tax base, and enhance the quality of life through collaboration by promoting the competitive advantages of the area and advancing its economic vitality. Formed in 2012, the Middlesex 3 Coalition is a nonprofit entity. Its board of directors includes municipal, business, educational, financial, and real estate leaders. Richard Reed, Bedford town manager and president of the coalition, said he is excited the coalition is growing, noting that municipalities need to work together across their borders and combine their resources to maximize benefits for their citizens.

Winchester

Climate change summit at Jenks Center

Sustainable Middlesex is scheduled to host “The Preparedness Panel” from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Nov. 1 at the Jenks Center, 109 Skillings Road , to examine all aspects of community life that will be affected by climate change and extreme weather events. Boston radio and television host Jim Braude is scheduled to be moderator. The panel will include Kathleen Baskin, director of water policy with the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; Suzanne Condon, associate commissioner of the state Department of Public Health and the department’s director of the Center for Environmental Health; Marie Jordan, senior vice president of network strategy at National Grid; and Cynthia McHale, director of the insurance program at Cerese, a nonprofit that fosters sustainable business practices. Brian Swett, chief of environment and energy services for the city of Boston, is scheduled to give the keynote address. For more information, e-mail fredyen@att.com.

Revere

High school earns innovation award

MassINChas selected Revere High School’s three-year-old advisory program as one of five recipients of its 2014 Gateway Cities Innovation Award. The independent think tank, through its Gateway Cities Innovation Institute, annually presents the awards to recognize creative initiatives that help strengthen the state’s Gateway Cities. Created as part of an overhaul of the high school in 2011, the advisory program assigns each student a faculty member to serve as an adviser for all four years. “Advisors build strong relationships with students and families, allowing them to support both the academic and social-emotional growth of their students,” MassINC said of the program. It noted that the program was instrumental in the school’s recognition with an award this past spring from the National Center for Urban School Transformation at San Diego State University. The Gateway Cities Innovation Award will be presented to this year’s recipients at University of Massachusetts Boston in November.

Hamilton

Town Meeting rescheduled to Oct. 20

Special Town Meeting, originally scheduled for Monday, has been rescheduled to Oct. 20 after a fire truck failed inspection. The Board of Selectmen opted to put the purchase of a new $950,000 quint — which performs the functions of a pumper and ladder truck — into a revised budget, to be voted on at the Town Meeting. The purchase will not require a Proposition 2½ override. The Oct. 20 meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School.

Wilmington

Yentile Farm design workshop Thursday

The Yentile Farm Development Committeecq is scheduled to hold another interactive public design workshop Thursday on the current concept design for a community recreational facility at the former farm, a 20.3-acre property along Cross Street between Routes 129 and 38. The workshop begins at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at Wilmington Middle School. The site contains wetlands to the northeast and southeast and is partially located within a flood plain, restricting development opportunities. The committee began with a communitywide survey in 2012 and held two interactive public workshops earlier this year that established the emerging vision of a community facility that supports recreation for all ages, with a balance of active and passive recreational options. The concept design may be viewed on the town website at wilmingtonma.gov. For questions, contact the town manager’s office at 978-658-3311 or e-mail ydc@wilmingtonma.gov.

Chelsea

New middle school plan gets state funding

The proposed construction of a new Clark Avenue Middle School has taken a major step forward with the Massachusetts School Building Authority agreeing to contribute 80 percent of up to $37.6 million toward the $57.3 million project. Funding awards by the School Building Authority are contingent on the community authorizing the full project cost. The City Council is expected to consider a vote on that funding at an upcoming meeting, according to City Manager Jay Ash. He said the city will not ask voters to approve a tax increase, but instead will use “existing resources and prioritize future dollars to cover the debt service requirements for our share of the project.” The existing school, at 8 Clark Ave., was built in 1926 and has deficiencies in its major building systems, according to the School Building Authority. The plan calls for replacing it with a 115,235-square-foot building for an estimated 670 fifth- to eighth-grade students. “The good news is our enrollments continue to go up, said Ash. “People are happy with our schools and want to educate their children in our school system. The bad news is that we don’t have up-to-date facilities to provide that education.”

Somerville

City to transform waste site to ARTFarm

The city has announced it will begin work to transform the former waste transfer site on Poplar Street into a community space. Somerville has been granted $415,000 to revamp the 2.2-acre site into the “ARTFarm for Social Innovation,” a space that “cultivates social innovation through art, urban agriculture, and cultural diversity,” the city said in a prepared statement. Built mostly out of reused shipping containers, the site will be used as a hub of innovation for farm- and food-related activities. The city aims to open Phase 1 of the site — which would include gallery space, a performance area, and community gardens — by late spring. “The excitement and positive discussion already surrounding ARTFarm is tangible, and brings a lot of new energy and ideas to this gateway to our city,” Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston said in the statement.

Danvers

Marquis retires after 35 years as town manager

After 35 years as the town’s manager, Wayne P. Marquis officially retired Friday.Selectmen on Sept. 29 chose Steve Bartha, assistant town manager in Avon, Conn., as his successor. “It’s been more than a job,” said Marquis, now 61, “I live in the community. I was raised here in this community. I raised my children here, so my commitment runs deep.” Although he has returned to private life, “I don’t intend to take off,” Marquis said. “I plan to continue to live in Danvers and to be involved in the community.” Otherwise, his only plans are to enjoy his retirement. “As my wife says, there are 35 years’ worth of deferred projects for me to tackle around the house. I have two wonderful grandchildren who live in Topsfield and I want to be part of their lives for the next few years. It’s been wonderful and it’s been a privilege to serve my hometown, unimaginable. I’ve done the best I could. Hopefully, I leave the town in good shape for [Steve Bartha] . . . let him bring it to the next level.”

Gloucester

Promotions in police, fire departments announced

New executive officer positions in both the police and fire departments have prompted several recent promotions. At a Sept. 25 ceremony, Mayor Carolyn Kirk swore in Assistant Police Chief John McCarthy; Lieutenants Michael Gossom and William Leanos; and Sergeant Brian Aiello to the Police Department. Assistant Chief Thomas Aiello, Lieutenants Dominic Barbagallo, Daniel Kennedy, Sean Ketchopulos, Douglas MacArthur, Robert Rivas, Jamie Santos, and Thomas Sayess; Firefighter/Paramedic Jack Brancaleone; and Firefighter Jason Thibodeau were promoted in the Fire Department.

Haverhill

Haverhill rated among state’s top 5 small cities to live

Money Magazine’s 2014 recent rating of best cities rated Haverhill as one of the top five small cities in which to live in Massachusetts. Haverhill was rated fifth behind Newton, Brookline, Cambridge, and Framingham. Medford placed sixth and Somerville eighth among cities in the state with populations between 50,000 and 300,000. The magazine considered several factors in compiling its list, including the local economy, housing market, schools, and health care. “This is fabulous news for our city,” Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said in a prepared statement. “About a decade ago, Money Magazine rated the Haverhill-Salem, N.H. area as one of the top places to live in New England. To my knowledge, this is the first time they have rated the city on its own as in the top five. . . . We believe that this designation will help us attract more business and more jobs to our city.”

Wenham

Gordon College given one year to report on sexual orientation policy

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges has given Gordon College until September 2015 to report on its internal review of campus policy regarding gays and lesbians. In July, D. Michael Lindsay, president of the Christian college, was one of 14 religious leaders who sought a religious exemption from a planned order barring federal contractors from discriminating in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation. According to a joint statement from the association and the college, Gordon has put together a 20-member working group to study the matter, though any change in policy would have to be made by the college’s board of trustees. The commission has asked Gordon to submit its report at the end of the process “to ensure that the college’s policies and processes are nondiscriminatory and that it ensures its ability to foster an atmosphere that respects and supports people of diverse characteristics and backgrounds, consistent with the commission’s standards for accreditation,” according to the statement.

Amesbury

Symposium fights against bullying

Parents and others can gain more insight into the problem of bullying at every age at an antibullying symposium Friday from 8 to 10 a.m. in Amesbury City Hall’s auditorium. There will also be an antibullying rally from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Upper Millyard amphitheater as part of the Amesbury Fall Festival. The events are part of a monthlong, townwide program titled “Be a Buddy, Not a Bully,” sponsored by Amesbury Chevrolet and organized by the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce with support from the city of Amesbury and Flatbread Company. During the month, which is also National Bullying Prevention Month, children in Amesbury will have the opportunity to sign a pledge promising not to be a bully and to stand up for anyone being bullied.

Ipswich

Scammers targeting electric customers

Ipswich Municipal Light Co. is warning about scammers who call customers and threaten them with termination of services if they do not make a payment within a few hours of the call. According to a press release: “These calls have been made outside of normal business hours in an effort to keep the customer from verifying the legitimacy of the call.” The alert advises customers that the department would not perform such an action without proper written notification, and only during normal business hours. For more information, call the utility at 978-356-6635.

Somerville

Union Square T station work to cause traffic delays

Traffic delays are expected in the next few months as construction work begins on the Union Square MBTA Green Line station, according to a statement from the city. Crews will be removing contaminated soil, demolishing existing buildings, and restoring the property to a smooth finish. The projects will take approximately three months, with a goal completion date of mid-December. From Monday through Friday, trucks will arrive on the site from Somerville Avenue no earlier than 6:30 a.m. and their engines will be turned off before 7 a.m. They will not start leaving the site until 8:30 a.m. Two police details will be used when there are trucks arriving and leaving, with one officer at the Somerville Avenue entrance to the site and another at the intersection of Prospect and Bennett streets. For more information, contact the city’s senior economic planner, Amanda Maher, at 617-625-6600, ext. 2528 or amaher@somervillema.gov.

Westford

Business group seeks charter members

The Westford Business Association is seeking charter members. The group, which was officially formed at a meeting on June 23, has started activities. Founding members represent both large and small businesses and nonprofit organizations from diverse fields, including real estate, technology, banking, and retail. The new business group strives to provide dialogue with the town in a unified voice and promote Westford as a viable business location and will provide its members with networking, mentoring, and education opportunities. For more information on membership, contact membership chairwoman Cheryl Serpe at Cheryl.Serpe@ebtc.com or Dan Bush, chairman of the Westford Business Association, at dbush@lowellhabitat.org or by calling 978-846-2214.

Burlington

Residents may cast votes for Burlington Reads book

The public library is inviting residents to help choose the book for its next Burlington Reads program, which will be held in March 2015. Burlington Reads is a communitywide reading program in which the library encourages residents to read a common book and attend special events related to it. Four titles are being considered for the next program. Residents can cast their votes through Oct. 25 on which of the four they favor. The one receiving the most votes will be featured. The books are “The Book Thief,” by Markus Zusak; “Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions,” by Ben Mezrich; “The Orphan Train,” by Christina Baker Kline; and “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” by Cheryl Strayed. To vote, fill out a ballot at the library or go to burlingtonpubliclibrary.org.

North Reading

Planning underway for Holiday Lighting Festival

The Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce is planning festivities for the annual Holiday Lighting Festival. Events will take place in both towns. The chamber is seeking new committee members for the festival and corporate sponsors. The committee is scheduled to meet at 8 a.m. Thursday in the Reading Cooperative Bank, 180 Haven St., in neighboring Reading. Future meetings will take place both in Reading and North Reading. Sponsorship opportunities start at $100 and range from vehicle banners to character sponsorships. This year’s festivities will feature Frosty the Snowman and Olaf from Disney’s “Frozen.” The event, a tradition for more than 20 years, will also include hay wagon and trolley rides. And, as always, Santa will visit both towns. For more information, contact Leslie McGonagle at 978-664-0099 or e-mail her at gymnast@readinggymnastics.com.

Billerica

Turkey Trot to benefit education is Nov. 16

The third annual Turkey Trot to benefit the Billerica Partners for Education is scheduled to take place Sunday, Nov. 16, at the Marshall Middle School, 15 Floyd St. The event will kick off with a Tot Trot at 9:45 a.m., followed by the 5K walk/run Turkey Trot at 11 a.m. The Tot Trot is a free race for children ages 11 and younger. Registration fees for the Turkey Trot are: $25 for participants 14 and 64 years of age if they preregister, $30 the day of the race; $10 for students 13 and younger; and $15 for seniors 65 and older. Billerica Partners for Education is an all-volunteer, nonprofit group that was formed to help improve the educational experience for the town’s public school students. Along with the Billerica Health and Wellness Committee, the Billerica Substance Abuse Prevention Committee, and the Billerica Anti-Bullying Committee, the group works to help raise awareness of, and funds for, the issues of healthy living and healthy decision-making for all youths in town. For more information or to register for the Turkey Trot, visit billericapartnersforeducation.org.

Lynnfield

Tricentennial fireworks Oct. 12

The Lynnfield Recreation Department will sponsor fireworks on Sunday, Oct. 12, as part of the town’s ongoing tricentennial celebration. The fireworks will be shot off from King’s Rail Golf Course, near the MarketStreet Lynnfield development. They can be viewed from many areas in town, including the middle school and Huckleberry Hill Elementary School. For more information, call the Lynnfield Recreation Department at 781-334-9488.

Region

Veterans services director starts Monday

Ryan Lennon, a third-generation paratrooper who served in Iraq, has been selected as veterans services director for the Eastern Essex District Department of Veterans’ Services. Lennon, who is scheduled to start on Monday, recently held the same position in Lexington and Bedford. He will replace the late Terry Hart, longtime district director, who died earlier this year. The district provides services for veterans and their families in Essex, Georgetown, Hamilton, Ipswich, Newbury, Rowley, Wenham, and West Newbury.

Dracut

Officials hear pipeline presentations

The issue of a gas pipeline through Dracut is heating up as two companies, Kinder Morgan and TransCanada, made presentations last month to town officials. Portland Natural Gas Transmission System, a subsidiary of TransCanada, and Tennessee Gas Pipeline, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, are proposing to bring additional gas supply to northeastern Massachusetts and Maine from drilling sites in northern Pennsylvania. Both companies' pipeline systems come together in East Dracut at a location owned by Maritimes Northeast known as the Dracut Interconnect Joint Facility

Lowell

Two-year-old law could help make parking garage happen

A new city parking garage in the Hamilton Canal District is one step closer to becoming a reality, thanks to a bill that became law almost two years ago. US Representative Niki Tsongas filed the bill seeking to allow the National Park Service to exchange land with the city, state, or the UMass Building Authority. Now that such a deal is possible, plans are in the works for a land swap that would use park land for a 950-space garage on Dutton Street. The structure would include first-floor retail space and high ceilings able to accommodate National Park Service buses.

Somerville

Former acting police chief retiring from Somerville force

The former acting chief of police, Charles Femino, has announced his retirement from the Somerville Police Department, according to a statement from the city. Femino has accepted a position as the chief of the Campus Safety Division at Endicott College, and will serve the Beverly, Gloucester, and Boston campuses. He was the acting chief from December 2013 to September 2014 while the city conducted a search for a permanent police chief. Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said in the statement: “Charlie has been a tremendous asset to our police force, and a true leader in every sense. He has served this city with pride and professionalism, most notably during his 10-month tenure as acting chief, and we are fortunate to have had Charlie as a member of our team for the past 30 years.” Femino has also served as sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and deputy chief.

Wakefield

Students read enough books, win ‘Superintendent’s Challenge’

School Superintendent Steven Zrike and Town Administrator Stephen Maio recently took a joint plunge into the waters of Lake Quannapowitt to celebrate a reading accomplishment by Wakefield students. This past spring, Zrike issued a “Superintendent’s Challenge,” in which he pledged that if Wakefield students read a combined 10,000 books during the summer he would have his head shaved and dive into the lake alongside Maio. The students met the goal and the two officials made good on the pledge. Before a crowd of students, school staff, and parents at Colonel Connolly Beach Park, Zrike had his head shaved by students and then he and Maio plunged into the lake. About 1,500 students from six schools participated in the challenge, reading more than the targeted number of 10,000 books. “We are so proud of the Wakefield students who accepted this challenge,” Zrike said in a prepared statement.

Winthrop

Forum on women’s health

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, a Winthrop Democrat, is inviting the public to his annual Women’s Health Forum, scheduled for Oct. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cummings Elementary School, 40 Hermon St. This year’s keynote speaker will be Leslie Gaydos, a morning anchorwoman on New England Cable News and host of the NECN show “Does It Work?” The forum will also feature free flu shots, blood pressure testing, and a raffle. A number of local health providers will also be present to provide information, and light refreshments will be served. The event is free, with no reservations required.

Woburn

Innovation Series planned for city’s tech companies

The public library and the Woburn Business Association have joined forces to plan an Innovation Series dedicated to showcasing the city’s science and technology companies. The series will feature an event on the first Thursday of each month this fall. Each will include networking from 6 to 7 p.m. and presentations from two science and technology company leaders from 7 to 8 p.m. The programs are designed for those looking to land a job in technology fields or anyone interested in learning about the products and services the local companies offer. At the kick-off event, scheduled for Thursday, Tammy Grabar of Myriant Corp. and Phil Lohnes from Nantero will be the guest speakers. The programs are free and open to all. Registration is encouraged. To sign up or for more information, go to the events calendar on the library’s website, www.woburnpubliclibrary.org.

Melrose

Flags at half-staff for Winchester’s Patrick Gill

Patrick Gill, the late Winchester High football captain, played in his last high school football game on Sept. 19 at Fred Green Field at Melrose High School. Around 7 a.m. the next day, Gill was killed when the car he was driving crashed into a tree near the intersection of Manomet Road and High Street in Winchester. Gill, who was 17, had scored a 60-yard touchdown in Winchester’s 39-21 loss to Melrose. In his memory, flags flew at half-staff on Melrose city and school buildings last week. “The people of Winchester, his classmates, and in particular his family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers at this time,” Mayor Robert J. Dolan said in a statement posted on the city’s website.

Malden

Chamber holding raffle for Boston sports events

The Malden Chamber of Commerce is holding an Ultimate Sports Fan Holiday Raffle. Winners will receive two tickets to attend home games for each of Boston’s favorite sports teams: the Boston Red Sox; Boston Celtics; New England Patriots; and Boston Bruins. The price is $25 for a single raffle ticket or $100 for five tickets. The winning ticket will be drawn Dec. 4 at the chamber’s holiday networking party. For more information or to purchase a raffle ticket, e-mail info@maldenchamber.org or call 781-322-4500. Raffle ticket proceeds will be used to support chamber events and activities. The terms and conditions of the raffle may be viewed on the chamber website, maldenchamber.org.

Everett

Dates released for fall yard waste collection

The city’s annual fall yard waste collection will be held on five Saturdays: Oct. 11 and 25 ; Nov. 8 and 22; and Dec. 6. Yard waste must be placed curbside by 7 a.m. on the collection day to be picked up. All materials must be in brown paper bags or in barrels — no plastic bags. The yard waste that can be left curbside includes leaves, grass clippings, and small branches. Large branches, rocks, dirt, and broken pots will not be accepted. Stickers should be affixed to each barrel. They are available free at the mayor’s office or in room 40 in City Hall. Stickers are not needed for paper bags. Residents can arrange for collection of large branches by calling 617-394-2382. For questions regarding the program, contact Jon Norton, the city’s recycling coordinator, at 617-394-5004.

Reading

Local business owner appointed to National Retail Federation

Reading resident Erin Calvo-Bacci, owner of The Chocolate Truffle in Reading and Bacci Chocolate Design in Swampscott, has been appointed to the steering committee of the Small Business Retail Council of the National Retail Federation. According to David French, senior vice president of government relations for the retail trade association, the council will provide small retailers with a forum to advocate for policies that are important to independent businesses. Calvo-Bacci was chosen for the committee because of her advocacy for and dedication to small-business ownership. A member of the Retail Association of Massachusetts, as well as a small-business owner and business consultant, Calvo-Bacci attended the National Retail Federation’s national summit in Washington, D.C., last summer as part of the federation’s retail advocacy group to share discuss how political issues such as taxation and health care reform affect the retail industry. The group lobbied Congress to amend the Affordable Care Act to level the playing field for small businesses in Massachusetts, in order to retain state rating factors used prior to the act becoming law. “I am a retail advocate because I know healthy businesses create healthy communities,” Calvo-Bacci said, noting that the retail industry provides 22 percent of the jobs in Massachusetts. “We are the Main Street businesses that support the community through jobs and philanthropy.”

Stoneham

Applicants sought for town planner position

The town is seeking qualified applicants for the position of town planner. The person in the position plans, coordinates, organizes, and manages the town’s planning and its efforts to balance growth and development while preserving Stoneham’s character. A minimum of a master’s degree in planning with at least three years of relevant work experience, or a bachelor’s degree with at least five to seven years of relevant work experience in planning or a related field, is required. The town planner works under the supervision of the town administrator, coordinating efforts and expediting communication among town department heads on planning and capital improvements. He or she also secures and administers grants related to planning, community, and economic development. The application deadline is 4 p.m. Oct. 15. Interested individuals may send a resume and cover letter to Virginia Ray, human resources director, Stoneham Town Hall, 35 Central St., Stoneham, MA 02180. For more information, visit the town website at stoneham-ma.gov.

Saugus

Garden Club begins celebrating 70th anniversary

The Saugus Garden Club recently launched a yearlong celebration of its 70th anniversary. The kick-off event, held at St. John’s Episcopal Church, began with the serving of an anniversary cake and included a talk on ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging. The club began in 1945 and has been a member of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts and the National Garden Club since 1949. Its community activities include a monthly program for children at the public library; gardening projects at local nursing homes; maintaining a butterfly garden at Breakheart Reservation; maintaining the Blue Star Memorial Monument at Veterans Park; and participating in a National Garden Club program in which member organizations contribute to planting trees after natural disasters.

Medford

No pool water in storm drains

Swimming pool owners are reminded that draining pool water into city storm drains is prohibited by a city ordinance, according to an advisory issued by Medford’s Department of Energy and the Environment. If chlorine and other pool chemicals were to drain into the system, they would harm the water quality of Wright’s Pond, the Mystic River, and other public waterways. Pool owners are advised to dechlorinate pool water before draining it onto a lawn, brick patio, or other porous surface.

Somerville

Applicants sought for energy and climate commission

The city’s Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change is seeking to fill three commissioners’ posts. The commission advises the city and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and Environment on issues such as climate change and energy policy. It typically meets one weeknight per month at 7 p.m., and is composed of seven Somerville residents. Appointments are for three years. The city is looking for Somerville residents with a background in energy, climate change, and community outreach to apply by submitting a letter of interest. Members of the community who are interested in sustainability and have experience in community engagement are also encouraged to apply. Applicants are encouraged to attend one or more of the commission meetings before submitting a letter of interest. For more information, contact Oliver Sellers-Garcia at 617-625-6600, ext. 2106, or e-mail ogarcia@somervillema.gov.

Newbury

Selectmen hear update on Plum Island summer issues

Resident Ellen Daly recently updated selectmen about concerns she raised this summer related to various issues on Plum Island. A problem with overflowing trash receptacles at the entrance to the beach on Plum Island Boulevard was addressed immediately, she said, with the Plum Island Foundation increasing trash pickup to twice a week through September. Building Commissioner Sam Joslin made sure a jagged pole and broken glass at the entrance sign was fixed, and will be working to post “meaningful and attractive” notices in the glass cabinets, Daly said. She also said that the Plum Island Foundation would look into creating a public-private collaboration akin to the Merrimack River Beach Alliance.

Ipswich

Appraisal event with lecture Tuesday

The Trustees of Reservations will host an appraisal event Tuesday, followed by a lecture on the life of author Jane Austen at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, 290 Argilla Road. Visitors may bring up to three items for free evaluation by Freeman’s New England — whose appraisers have been featured on the PBS “Antiques Road Show” — from 1 to 4 p.m. There will be expert appraisers in the following areas: fine jewelry and watches; American art; modern and contemporary art; European art and old masters; American furniture, folk art and decorative arts; English and continental furniture and decorative arts; Asian arts; Oriental rugs and textiles; and silver and “objets de vertu” (Freeman’s will not appraise coins, stamps, sports memorabilia, collectibles such as Hummels, firearms, swords, or knives). At 6:30 p.m., Castle Hill and the Royal Oak Foundation will host “Jane Austen at Home,” a lecture by author and editor Kim Wilson. According to a press release, Wilson will present an illustrated talk exploring Austen’s world, her physical surroundings, and the journeys she took during her lifetime, using new photography, archives, and contemporary illustrations. She will also address the domestic settings of the author’s stories by linking her novels to homes where she lived, places she visited, and locations where she attended school, ending with her final months in temporary lodgings in Winchester, England. While on the property, visitors can take guided tours of the 59-room mansion, on the half-hour. For more information on the appraisal event, call Kelly Wright of Freeman’s Auction at 617-367-3400, or e-mail kwright@freemansauction.com. To register for the Royal Oak lecture “Jane Austen at Home,” call 978-356-4351 or go to thetrustees.org/royaloak.

North Andover

Dedication held for new veterans housing building

A dedication ceremony was held Sept. 27 for Freedom House, the first housing for veterans to be built in North Andover in 50 years. Once run-down and in foreclosure, the three-story building at 138 High St. has been renovated and now houses three apartment units. Last year’s annual Town Meeting approved $461,894 for the project. Financial support has also come from the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center and North Andover home funds, money provided by the federal government. Freedom House will allow three local veterans and their families to stay in North Andover, according to a press release issued by the North Andover Patriotic Observance Committee to announce the dedication ceremony. The committee said it is hopeful Freedom House will be the first of several housing units for veterans “to address the growing national problem of homelessness among our valued veterans and their families.”

Essex

Mum sale to help beautify town

The Essex Merchants Group, Essex Division of the Chamber of Commerce, and the Essex Enhancement Committee are selling mums to local businesses and residents, to be displayed in storefronts, on porches, and in yards to beautify the town. Colorful mums are available for $5 each to anyone interested in taking part in the fund-raiser. Those wishing to maintain a public site or make a donation to the fund may send a donation to Bob Coviello, Main Street Antiques, 44 Main St., Essex, MA 01929. For more information, call or write Coviello at 978-768-7039 or robertcoviello@hotmail.com.

Marblehead

Flu clinic slated for Oct. 8

The Board of Health will conduct its first fall flu clinic at the Marblehead Community Center on Oct. 8 from 9 a.m. until noon. The clinic is open to people who are 18 and older. Please bring an insurance card. For more information, contact public health nurse Tracy Giarla at 781-631-0212.

Danvers

Free first-aid training for mental health problems offered

DanversCares is presenting Mental Health First Aid training, a national education program that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to the signs of mental illness and substance-use disorders. The free eight-hour certificate program will be held from 8 a.m. to noon on Friday and on Oct. 10 at the Peabody Institute Library of Danvers. Registration s required by Tuesday. To sign up, contact Danielle LaRocque at daniellelarocque@danvers.org or call 978-777-8932, ext. 2443. DanversCares is a community coalition managed through the School Department that works to prevent substance abuse and related risks facing Danvers youth. The training is being offered with the help of a Behavioral Health Services grant from the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Salem

City may be awarded funds for new livable streets program

The city is one of 10 communities statewide that are eligible for funds from the first year of the state Department of Transportation’s Complete Streets program. The City Council adopted a resolution in June that committed Salem to implement Complete Streets planning in current and future transportation project. Complete Streets, sometimes referred to as “livable streets,” are roadways designed for safe and convenient access by users of all ages and abilities, across different modes of travel. The Department of Transportation recently announced that it will be making available funding for the first year, likely at a level of $3 million to $5 million. “Many of the elements in the Complete Streets philosophy are already part of the city process as we conduct most roadway improvements, but this policy will help raise the bar and ensure that all applicable projects have a Complete Streets perspective incorporated,” Mayor Kimberley Driscoll said in a prepared statement.

Beverly

Golf benefit for high school set for Monday

Beverly High School will host a golf outing and dinner/auction social Monday at Beverly Golf & Tennis Club. Proceeds from the event will benefit the high school and will go toward providing teaching supplies for student enrichment programs, school library resources, science and technology programs, curriculum support resources, guest speakers, field trips, career seminars, and college fairs. For more information, e-mail bhsptogolf@gmail.com.

Topsfield

Fair’s junior pageant scheduled for Saturday

This year’s Topsfield Fair Junior King and Queen Pageant — for children between the ages of 5 and 8 — will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday on the Trianon Stage at the fair. Those wishing to enter a child may download an application from the exhibitor’s handbook section of the fair’s website, topsfieldfair.org/exhibitorhandbook.php. Contestants should dress in casual attire, and will be interviewed on stage and judged according to general appearance, conduct, and personality. The fair opens Friday and runs through Oct. 13.

Tewksbury

Clean-up day is next Saturday

A town clean-up day will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Organized by the town’s Beautification Committee, volunteers will pick up litter along some of the town’s main roadways. The focus will be on Main Street, Route 133, South Street, and Shawsheen Street. Participants are asked to check in at the parking lot of Tewksbury Country Club, 1880 Main St., where they will be provided with trash bags and gloves and assigned a clean-up location. They can work as teams or as individuals. All volunteers will be entered into a free drawing for prizes. For more information or to sign up for a specific clean-up location, go to goo.gl/V9YJ3v or e-mail clean.up.tewksbury@gmail.com.

Lawrence

Cultural Council grant application deadline set

An Oct. 15 deadline has been set for organizations, schools, and individuals interested in applying for grants from the Lawrence Cultural Council that support cultural activities in the community. Subjects can include arts, humanities, or science programs. Examples of projects that could be considered for funding include exhibits, festivals, field trips, and short-term artist residencies, performances, workshops, or lectures in schools. This year the council will award approximately $55,240 in grants. Funds are allocated through the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which is supported by the state. For specific application guidelines, e-mail lawrenceculturalcouncil@gmail.com or visit mass-culture.org/lcc.

Andover

Schneider Electric opens new continental headquarters

Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, earlier this month celebrated the opening of its North American headquarters at 800 Federal St. Governor Deval Patrick and state and local officials on Sept. 10 celebrated the company’s new research-and-development campus in Andover. Dubbed the Boston One Campus by Schneider Electric, the facility encompasses 240,000 square feet in two buildings and has been designed to create an environment that encourages collaboration with customers. The campus features a discovery center, where visitors may experiment with several of the company’s energy management solutions through simulated demonstrations using 65-inch interactive panels, and an engineering laboratory space known as StruxureLabs, where Schneider Electric engineers test and validate products. The campus incorporates approximately $8 million of Schneider Electric’s own energy-management products and is expected to curb operating costs 30 percent in its first year. About 750 Schneider Electric employees work at the facility. The company’s headquarters had previously been outside Chicago. Schneider Electric, which has operations in more than 100 countries, chose to build its new research-and-development hub in Andover based on the strength of the region’s energy and education sectors, Patrick said.

Lynn

Former Ford principal honored at party

Claire Crane, who recently retired as principal of Ford Elementary School, was honored at a party organized by the Highlands Coalition and the Friends of High Rock Reservation. More than 300 people attended the free event, which was held outdoors at High Rock Park. Crane was principal at the Ford School — located in the Highlands neighborhood — since 1989, part of a 52-year tenure with the Lynn School Department. Crane, a Nahant resident, plans to remain involved with education, at Salem State University. For many years, she has served as an adjunct professor at Salem State, teaching evening classes in English and psychology. She has now shifted to teaching those classes during the day, Crane said this past week. She is also volunteering to help with creating Salem State’s community schools program. Crane is a 1960 graduate of Salem State.

Winchester

Officials urge residents to sign up for Winchester Aware

Town officials are asking residents to sign up for Winchester Aware, the town’s emergency notification system. The system alerts residents to emergencies and other important community news. Local officials use it to provide essential information quickly in a variety of situations, including severe weather, fires, flooding, unexpected road closures, or the evacuation of buildings or neighborhoods. Time-sensitive messages are sent to residents’ phone numbers or e-mail. Alerts may also be sent to hearing-impaired residents who use special receiving devices. Residents may sign up for Winchester Aware on the town website at winchester.us.

Burlington

Weekly walks in neighborhoods

The Planning Department is inviting the public to join in a series of weekly walks it is holding throughout town to help people learn more about special features of Burlington’s neighborhoods. The walks, part of the ongoing effort to develop a new master plan for the town, are being held on successive Wednesdays from 5-6 p.m. Three of them remain. The first will be held this Wednesday starting from the Francis Wyman Elementary School, 41 Terrace Hall. The second will be on Oct. 8, starting from the high school, 123 Cambridge St. The final one will be held Oct. 15, beginning at Pine Glen Elementary School, 1 Pine Glen Way. For more information, contact Don Benjamin or Josh Morris in the Planning Department at 781-270-1645 or planning@burlington.org.

Gloucester

Ground-breaking ceremony for elementary school

Town and school officials and representatives of the Massachusetts School Building Authority participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the West Parish Elementary School earlier this month. The authority is contributing 59.7 percent of eligible expenses for the $39.5 million construction project. The building will be the first new elementary school building built in Gloucester in 60 years, said Mayor Carolyn Kirk, who noted that it was funded with no Proposition 2½ override. Massachusetts Treasurer and School Building Authority chairman Steve Grossman and executive director Jack McCarthy were among those attending the Sept. 17 groundbreaking, along with Kirk and other city and school officials.

Haverhill

Free education forum aims to reduce gun deaths

Community Action Inc. is working to educate families on actions they can take to reduce deaths by gun violence. A free public education forum is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St. The forum will feature speakers from a number of organizations, including John E. Rosenthal from Stop Handgun Violence; Ann Krantz from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America; and Ann Marie Crowell from Mothers on a Mission Inc. Crowell’s 12-year-old son, Brian, was killed on Christmas Eve 1997 in an accidental shooting at his friend’s house. According to the Brady Campaign, using statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of eight children and teens are killed by guns every day in the United States, and Americans are 20 times more likely to be killed with a gun than people living in 22 other countries of similar wealth and population. For more information on the upcoming forum, visit momsdemandaction.org.