Recent headlines from Globe North.


Winthrop school construction underway

Construction of a new Middle/High School in Winthrop reached a milestone when the first steel beams were recently erected. The $80.2 million project involves building a new 187,917-square-foot school building on what was until recently the Main Street site of the high school. To accommodate the project, the district implemented a temporary plan this past fall. The Pauline Street building that served as the middle school now houses the high school and the eighth grade. The sixth and seventh grades are occupying part of the Cummings Elementary School, while the third grade is at the Gorman Fort Banks Elementary School. The project, which broke ground last June, began with demolition of the old high school, followed by site preparation for the new one, said Mary Lou Osborne, co-chairwoman of the School Building Committee, who added that the steel beams provide the first visible sign of the building to come. The Massachusetts School Building Authority is reimbursing the town for 60 percent of the project’s eligible costs, or up to $42.5 million. Voters in 2013 approved a debt exclusion, or temporary tax increase, to pay the town’s share of the project. The new school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.


Changes to trash collection in Westford

Acting on a recommendation from the town’s Recycling Commission, the Westford Board of Selectmen has voted to reduce the limit on the number of bags/barrels that may be collected weekly from each household. The new limit of three trash receptacles, down from the current limit of five, will go into effect Feb. 1. The selectmen also voted to reduce the price of bulk item stickers from $10 to $5, a change that also will go into effect Feb. 1. The bulk item stickers are required to dispose of items too large to fit in a barrel, such as carpeting and furniture. And finally, selectmen are recommending that residents purchase containers no larger than 32 gallons when they need to replace their trash bins. For more information, visit the Westford Recycling Commission website at


Haverhill group seeks to transform vacant school into arts center

Organizers of an initiative to transform the vacant Cogswell School on South Main Street in the village of Bradford into a vibrant community arts center are seeking public support for their bid to purchase the century-old property. The city requested proposals for the property late last year and received two responses, one for high-density housing and the other from the the Cogswell Art Center Committee. The committee’s bid includes a three-year, lease-to-purchase agreement with a “ticking calculation” that increases the purchase price each year. “We wanted to show that we had incentive to close on the property as soon as possible,” said Danielle Smida, a member of the Reinvent Cogswell Initiative. The group plans to apply for grant funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to acquire the building; however, the application can not be submitted until a purchase-and-sale agreement is signed. The Cogswell Art Center Committee has started an online petition at to show the city that the group’s proposal has community support. To date, the petition has garnered more than 600 signatures. To learn more, or to sign the petition, visit

Cape Ann

Cape Ann birding weekend starts Friday

The sixth annual Cape Ann Winter Birding Weekend is scheduled for Friday to next Sunday. The Elks at Bass Rocks, 101 Atlantic Road, Gloucester, will serve as the event’s headquarters. Cape Ann is recognized worldwide for its concentration of winter seabirds, and each year the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, along with Mass Audubon and several other sponsors, schedules a series of events for all levels of birders. This year’s events include a nature artists’ workshop, featured speakers Robert Buchsbaum (Mass Audubon) and Jim MacDougall, a live owl presentation by Eyes on Owls (, and an ocean-going bird-watching excursion aboard 7 Seas Whale Watch’s Privateer IV. For more information, visit the chamber website at


Everett residents required to shovel sidewalks

Everett is requiring property owners to do their part to keep the city’s sidewalks clear of snow. The City Council recently approved a mandatory snow shoveling ordinance that will be effective starting Wednesday for a two-year trial period. Under the measure, which was proposed by Mayor Carlo DeMaria, owners of residential, business, and all other properties abutting a paved sidewalk would be required to shovel that sidewalk when it snows. Included would be properties owned by the state, city, nonprofits, and houses of worship. Those failing to comply will receive warnings for the first two offenses, a fine of $25 for the third offense, and a $50 fine for each subsequent offense. “Not removing the snow can cause a very real danger to pedestrians, especially the elderly and children walking to school,” DeMaria said in a prepared statement, citing also the need to ensure that public safety crews have unimpeded access to homes during emergencies. “We are confident that the trial period will allow us to test the effectiveness and fairness of a snow shoveling ordinance so that we can establish a real solution to the issue.” The ordinance exempts those who are unable to shovel because of a disability, and elderly residents who qualify for senior tax exemptions.


Saugus moves toward funding for school building project

Saugus has cleared an initial hurdle in its bid for state funding for a high school building project. The Massachusetts School Building Authority recently voted to accept the school into its “eligibility period,” the initial phase in the agency’s capital funding pipeline. The vote begins a 270-day period during which the district must meet preliminary requirements to become eligible for an invitation to undertake a feasibility study. The town is proposing to construct a new school to replace the existing building, which was opened in 1954. But following requirements of the school building authority, the town would be required in a feasibility study to examine a whole range of options for addressing the school’s physical needs. From that analysis, the town would select a preferred option. “The eligibility period is a critical step in the [authority’s] process of evaluating potential work on Saugus High School,” Jack McCarthy, the agency’s executive director, said in a statement. “We look forward to our continued partnership with the district as it enters the eligibility period.”


Repair work at Somerville rail bridges to start

Repair work at rail bridges will start this month in preparation for the Green Line Extension project, which will bring several new stops to Somerville. The city said in a prepared statement that construction on the Broadway Bridge in Ball Square, which is expected to last until May, will require closing the southbound vehicle and bicycle travel lane as well as the sidewalk. Two-way vehicle travel will be possible in narrower lanes. A schedule of work sites and dates can be found at, or by calling 311. Residents and businesses in the affected areas will be notified if street closures or other disruptions may be expected. To sign up for alerts, visit


Winter farmers market open in Winchester

Mahoney’s Garden Center at 242 Cambridge St. in Winchester is hosting its annual winter farmers market. The market is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday through March 14. Shoppers will find a selection of fresh farm produce and goods crafted by local artisans under the cover of warm greenhouses. Staples at the winter market include root vegetables, herbs, fruits, cheeses, meats, granola, seafood, breads, and wines, as well as a variety of soaps and handmade jewelry. For a complete list of vendors and dates, visit Mahoney’s also will have gardening experts on hand to answer any indoor gardening questions. For more information, visit or call 781-729-5900.


ABCD takes over heating assistance in Greater Malden

A Boston antipoverty agency is inviting residents from seven area communities to apply for fuel assistance this winter. Action for Boston Community Development recently assumed administration of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program that serves thousands of families and seniors in Malden, Medford, Everett, Melrose, Stoneham, Winchester, and Woburn. The program had until now been offered in those seven communities by Malden-based Tri-City Community Action Program. But because Tri-CAP is facing financial difficulties, the state asked ABCD to take over management of the program in the Malden area, according to officials from the Boston agency. The ABCD, which traditionally provides fuel assistance to about 20,000 households in Boston, Brookline, and Newton, expects to serve about 6,000 households in Greater Malden. “We urge our neighbors in these towns north of Boston who need help with their heating bills or are running out of oil to seek assistance right away,” John J. Drew, president and CEO of ABCD, said in a prepared statement. Residents of the seven Greater Malden communities can get fuel assistance by applying in person at ABCD Malden at 110 Pleasant St. between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or by calling 781-322-6284. They can also call that number to schedule appointments to fill out the form at designated sites in the six other communities.


New Gloucester mayor names chief administrative officer

Gloucester’s new mayor, Sefatia Romeo Theken, recently appointed James Destino as the city’s chief administrative officer. Destino is a former City Council president and longtime business owner in Gloucester. He replaced Sal DiStefano Sr., who was appointed to the vacant economic development director position. Romeo Theken become Gloucester’s mayor via a unanimous City Council vote Jan. 8, after Carolyn Kirk left to become the state’s undersecretary for economic development.


AAA Burlington office expanding Registry services

Members of AAA Southern New England will soon be able to conduct some of their Registry of Motor Vehicle business at the AAA office in Burlington. The state Department of Transportation is expanding from six to 12 the number of AAA locations in the state that provide certain Registry of Motor Vehicle services. Seven offices in all are being added to the list, but one in Boston has dropped the service, for a net gain of six. The Southern New England group is providing the services at 10 of its offices, while Pioneer Valley AAA is offering it at two others. The AAA Burlington office, at 34 Cambridge St., will begin offering Registry services in the next month and a half. Frank DePaola, acting secretary of the state Department of Transportation, said, “Essentially doubling the Registry transactions offered and doubling the locations greatly increases our reach to our thousands of mutual customers.” The Registry services offered include renewing or getting a duplicate license or ID card; registering passenger vehicles or commercial vehicles under 55,000 pounds; vehicle registration amendments and transfers, and obtaining duplicate titles. For a complete list, go to


Billerica School Committee considers reconfiguring grades

The Billerica School Committee is seeking public input as it considers whether to alter the existing grade configuration of the town’s public schools in conjunction with a high school building project. The potential change would involve building a high school that houses grades 8-12 and creating physical separation between the younger students in it (grades 8-9) and older ones (grades 10-12), according to a statement released by Superintendent Timothy G. Piwowar. If the change is implemented, it would require Billerica’s middle schools to become grade 5-7 buildings, while the elementary schools would house students in kindergarten through grade 4. The School Committee has scheduled three public forums to discuss the potential changes. They are scheduled for Jan. 28; Feb. 26; and March 17. All three forums are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the Billerica Town Hall Auditorium at 365 Boston Road. The School Committee at its March 23 meeting is expected to decide whether grade configuration changes should be made.


Council appoints Mangan to fill vacant seat

The Everett City Council last Monday appointed Michael J. Mangan to fill a vacant councilor-at-large seat after a judge rejected a bid by another contender, Joseph P. Marchese, to block the move. The vote was 10-0 with Ward 3 Councilor Michael K. Marchese, who is Joseph Marchese’s brother, absent from the meeting, according to city clerk Michael Matarazzo. The seat became vacant when Joseph McGonagle resigned last month as a result of his election as a state representative in November. Mangan was the first runner-up for councilor-at-large in 2013, finishing sixth in the race for five seats; Joseph Marchese, who like Mangan is a former alderman, finished seventh. The city charter requires the council to fill a vacancy with the runner-up in the previous election within 30 day, as long as the person received at least 20 percent of the the ballots cast. In the 2013 race, Mangan tallied 2,096 votes, and Marchese, 1,479 votes, with 7,379 ballots cast. Marchese filed suit and sought a preliminary court injunction to halt the appointment of Mangan and require himself to be appointed instead, on the grounds that Mangan agreed to pay $8,000 to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance after an audit identified multiple violations of state campaign finance law. But a Middlesex Superior Court judge recently denied the injunction request, opening the way for Mangan’s appointment.


Reading police lieutenant retires

Reading Police Lieutenant Richard Robbins has retired. A member of the local police force for 31 years, he had been the department’s executive officer for the past seven years, according to Deputy Chief Mark D. Segalla. During his tenure, Robbins made many connections in the community. On Jan. 5, his last official day with the department, Robbins’ friends and colleagues gathered in the department’s community room to celebrate his many years of service to the town. In his retirement, Robbins looks forward to more time for gardening.


Medford office building to be overhauled

The Davis Companies has acquired the Medford office building One Cabot Road and plans a major overhaul of the facility, the Boston-based real estate firm recently announced. Constructed in 1989, the 308,946-square-foot structure is next to the Wellington Circle MBTA station. The firm said it planned a full upgrade of the building’s mechanical systems and common areas. The five-story property is currently 90 percent leased with tenants that include Agero, Expedient, Partners Healthcare, and First Marblehead Corp. In addition to office space, it features a cafeteria, a fitness facility, and parking that includes 170 covered executive spaces. It is also a five-minute walk from the MBTA station and adjacent to the Wellington Greenway, a 2-mile path along the Mystic River. “We’ve seen growing demand from tenants for amenity-rich office solutions that are close to Boston and Cambridge and readily accessible to public transportation,” Quentin Reynolds, the Davis Companies’ managing director of acquisitions, said in a statement. “We believe One Cabot has genuine appeal to a wide array of tenants being priced out of Cambridge, the Financial District, and the Seaport, as well as from those tenants wanting to move into the city from the suburbs.”


Vacant Swampscott buildings are focus of forum

A public forum Jan. 28 will focus on what to do with four vacant buildings owned by the town of Swampscott. The properties are the former police station and former senior center, both on Burrill Street; the Machon School on Burpee Road; and the Greenwood Avenue School. According to Town Planner S. Peter Kane, the meeting is planned as a brainstorming session at which attendees can bounce ideas and other input off one another. The forum is scheduled for the cafeteria at Swampscott High School, 200 Essex St., from 7 to 9 p.m. For information, call 781-596-8829.


Somerville offers energy efficiency survey

Somerville residents who are interested in making their homes more energy-efficient are asked to take a brief online survey on the city’s website. Answers from the survey will inform potential programs that would offer residents options for solar energy and other ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the city said in a statement. The survey will be available at through Feb. 21. The city has also announced its search for a residential weatherization energy management partner to help oversee energy-efficiency improvements on that front. For more information, contact program manager Russell Koty at 617-625-6600 ext. 2568,or e-mail


Salem’s Tucker to collect $85k as he moves from police to State House

Newly sworn-in state Representative Paul F. Tucker, who retired as Salem’s police chief Dec. 31 in order to assume his seat as a state representative, will receive $85,842 for unused vacation, sick, and holiday time from his nearly 32-year tenure with the Police Department. The money was owed to Tucker as a result of contractual obligations, according to Lisa B. Cammarata, the city’s human resources director. The City Council recently appropriated $80,694 from the city’s retirement stabilization fund to cover his sick and vacation buyback pay, calculated from 52.5 vacation days and 90 sick days. Tucker is also receiving $5,148 for unused holiday pay through the police department budget. Tucker served as chief beginning in Oct. 1, 2009. The Salem Democrat was elected last November to represent the 7th Essex House district. “This was a benefit when I started 32 years ago; they laid out the benefits and this was one of them,” Tucker said. “I’ve been very fortunate I’ve been healthy. I left with several hundred sick days on the books and got paid for 90 of them,” referring to the maximum he was eligible for in a buyback. “The rest of the check is vacation and holidays; everyone gets that.”


2 selectmen seats on ballot in Ipswich town election

There will be two seats on the ballot for selectman at this year’s annual Ipswich town election — one for a full three-year term and another to fill the unexpired term of Shirley Berry, who is leaving in May. Berry cited a head injury she suffered in 2013 as the reason for her resignation, effective May 18. Incumbent Nishan Mootafian is up for reelection and has not said if he will run. At this point, no one has taken out nomination papers for selectman, according to Town Clerk Pam Carakatsane. Nomination papers for those interested in running for selectman or any other town position are available at the town clerk’s office at Town Hall, on Green Street, through March 31.


UMass Lowell libraries to host local history series

The University of Massachusetts Lowell libraries have announced plans to host a free, four-part reading and discussion series featuring local experts and authors on the history of Lowell and Lawrence, focusing on selected books from Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” and “Postcard History” series. The sessions are scheduled to kick off Jan. 27 with UMass Lowell history professor Robert Forrant’s discussion of his book, “Lawrence and the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike,” and continue Feb. 20 with “Lowell: The Mill City,” led by UMass Lowell librarian Martha Mayo. On March 11, a discussion of “Lowell Firefighters” will be led by the book’s author, Lowell Fire Captain Jason Strunk. The series concludes April 9 with “Lowell: The River City,” led by UMass Lowell librarian Tony Sampas. All sessions are scheduled to run from 7 to 9 p.m. in the O’Leary Learning Commons at 61 Wilder St. Support for the series is provided by the UMass Lowell Center for Arts and Ideas. For more information or to preregister, visit, or contact Sara Marks, UMass Lowell’s instruction and outreach librarian, at 978-934-4581 or at


College gives Wenham money for police cruiser

Wenham recently recognized a $39,000 gift from Gordon College to purchase a new police cruiser. The vehicle replaced one that the Police Department took off the road. The item was a one-time gift, said Board of Selectman chairman Jack Wilhelm, who noted that Gordon also gives the town an annual payment based on the number of runs made to the college by the town’s fire department.


Dracut seeks buyer for town house

The town is seeking an eligible buyer for an affordable 1,145-square-foot town house at 43 Joseph Ave., in the Riverside Landing Development. Built in 2005 and restricted to lower-income owners under the state’s Chapter 40B affordable housing law, the unit now up for resale features a spacious living room and dining area, a large master bedroom, and a finished loft that could be used as an additional bedroom. The property has an in-unit laundry, a large deck, a one-car garage, a storage room, and central air conditioning. It is listed at $191,500 The successful buyer must be a first-time homeowner and meet certain income guidelines: the income limit for a household with one member is $44,750; for a couple, $51,150. For more information or to download the Affordable Housing Resale Application, visit the town’s website at and click on the link to the “Affordable Housing Opportunity” from the homepage.


On 10 days of Christmas, Burlington handicap parking rules vigorously enforced

Motorists who violate handicap parking rules were recently targeted in a holiday season enforcement program by Burlington Police. During the five days preceding Christmas and the five days following it, Police Chief Michael R. Kent assigned two officers each day to enforce disabled parking laws throughout town, including at the Burlington Mall and other busy shopping centers. Police wound up issuing 154 tickets to motorists who parked illegally at designated handicap spaces, and 15 for misuse of a disabled parking placard. The pilot enforcement program, Operation Acccess, was headed by Police Sergeant Gerard McDonough, in cooperation with the Burlington Disability Access Commission. “It is disappointing that this pilot program was such a success, because it means a lot of people are violating the law,” Robert Hogan, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said in a prepared statement. “Abuse of disabled parking spaces is wrong, and it goes against the very spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed to ensure that the disabled have the same access to programs, services, stores, and restaurants as everyone else.” Police expect to run a similar program next holiday season “but will also focus their efforts on education, to prevent this from being a problem in the first place,” said John Guilfoil, a spokesman for the department.


Apartment complex in Melrose nearly completed

Wood Partners is nearing completion of Alta Stone Place, a 212-unit apartment complex it is developing at the former Boston Rubber Shoe Co. mill site on Washington Street. The project involves renovating a four-story brick and wood-beamed mill building to house 93 units and constructing three new buildings to house the remaining 115 units. The firm recently announced that it had leased all 67 units in the first two new buildings and was actively marketing 52 more homes in the third. The renovated building is expected to be ready for occupancy next month. The Boston Rubber Shoe Co. built its mill at the site in the late 1800s, producing boots, shoes, and other footwear. In the 1940s, the property was sold to a division of Firestone, which manufactured latex at the site. The project, designed by the architectural firm, Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype, retained many of the original features of the mill building, including copper gutters and rainspouts, fine brick detailing, expansive windows, and exposed wood beams. A century-old smokestack is now the centerpiece of the community’s garden area, and plaques explaining the site’s history are being installed.


Somerville workforce development program partners with job listing site

Somerville’s workforce development program for low-income, out-of school young adults has partnered with a website that allows businesses and residents to post part-time employment opportunities and one-off jobs. The city said in a prepared statement that the website “Help Around Town” can be used by all residents, but employers can give preference to applicants in Pocket Change, the city’s workforce development program.” Pocket Change aims to connect these young adults, ages 18 to 24, to full-time jobs and reduce their chances of unemployment. Through the website, Pocket Change participants get alerts when new jobs become available and case managers help them to apply and follow up. Case managers can also track communication between job applicants and employers, and job posters can contact the case managers to provide feedback. For more information, visit, or contact Amanda Maher at 617-625-6600 ext. 2528,or by e-mail at


Saugus state representative joined in trip to Japan

State Representative Donald H. Wong recently traveled to Japan as part of a delegation of five state legislators from diverse Asian-American backgrounds and different parts of the United States. The Saugus Republican and the four other participating lawmakers visited Tokyo and Kyoto as members of an Asian-American Leadership Delegation. Wong, a former Saugus selectman, is a third-generation Chinese-American. The other delegation members were from Hawaii, New Jersey, Washington, and Texas. During their trip, they met with Japanese and American government officials including Yasuhide Nakayama, the Japanese state minister for foreign affairs; Naoki Takashima, Tokyo Metropolitan Government president; Jason P. Hyland, deputy chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Tokyo; and Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa. They also met with a university president, business leaders, the Japan Foundation, and American and Japanese scholars. In Tokyo, the delegates participated in a panel discussion, “Diversity in Leadership: The Journey of Asian-American State Legislators.” The American Leadership Delegation program is funded by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and is run by the United States-Japan Foundation in collaboration with the National Asian Pacific American Caucus of State Legislators, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.


New planning and conservation director for Wilmington

The town of Wilmington has hired a new planning and conservation director. Valerie Gingrich is scheduled to start in her new position Monday. In a statement e-mailed to the Globe, Town Manager Jeffrey Hull said Gingrich brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the public realm and an impressive track record on projects ranging from single parcels to highly complex, multi-parcel master plans. Gingrich comes to Wilmington from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, where she served as a regional planner. While working for the state agency, Gingrich reviewed and drafted approvals for municipal harbor plans, including the Wynn Casino development proposed for the city of Everett. Prior to working at Coastal Zone Management, she was a planner for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, where she served as a citywide waterfront planner and as the South Boston neighborhood planner. Gingrich has her master’s degree in planning from MIT and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Gordon College. She succeeds Carole Hamilton, who recently retired. Hamilton had served in the position since 2004.

West Newbury

Academies at West Newbury school thriving

The first-year academies at Pentucket Regional High School are drawing rave reviews from students and teachers. Under the program, students at Pentucket — which serves Groveland, Merrimac, and West Newbury — are allowed to take a series of classes under the umbrella of arts; movement, science, and athletics; and safety and public services. “The opportunity to design a sequence of courses allows us to explore and study the subject in a really deep way,” said principal Jonathan Seymour. One interesting component is job shadowing, which exposes students to the wide array of careers in each area. “That really helps us,’’ said Seymour, “to explain that question to our students: ‘Why are we learning this?’” The Pentucket Regional School District screening committee recently approved two additional academies, currently in development: one focused on business, finance, and entrepreneurship and the other on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).


Wenham seeking volunteers in hunt for town administrator

Wenham is seeking volunteers to serve on the screening committee to find a new town administrator. Mark Andrews left in December to take a similar post in Pepperell. Interested citizens willing to commit to a series of meetings, some of which will be held during the day, are asked to send a letter of interest to, or to the Board of Selectmen at Town Hall, 138 Main St., Wenham MA 01984. The board has already hired consultant Alan Gould of Meredith, N.H.-based Municipal Resources Inc., to assist the effort to replace Andrews. Board of Selectman chairman Jack Wilhelm said the board hoped to review the letters at its Jan. 20 meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.


Two Ipswich school trusts merge

Two trusts established years ago to support Ipswich’s schools have pooled their resources. The Feoffees of the Grammar School in the Town of Ipswich Trust, currently valued at approximately $26 million, announced last week that the trust has assumed management of one that backs the Manning School. The Manning Fund, originally established by Joseph Manning in 1857 , is currently valued at $419,777, Joe Tragert, secretary of the larger fund, said the Manning Fund has been well managed but its trustees felt it would be better served by merging with one invested and managed by professionals. “It was a forward-thinking move to make that suggestion,” Tragert said, adding that “the intentions of the funds are essentially identical.”


Haverhill sells former Winter Street School building

City officials on Dec. 31 sold the former Winter Street School building in the city’s Lower Acre neighborhood, netting the city $303,250. The property, at 165 Winter St., was acquired by 165 Winter Street Apartments, LLC, part of the development arm of the Boston-based Planning Office for Urban Affairs, the nonprofit developer affiliated with the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston that also restored the award-winning Hayes Building on Granite Street. When completed, the Winter Street apartment complex will feature 12 units of affordable housing. The development team received about $750,000 in historic rehabilitation tax credits from the Massachusetts secretary of state’s office, in addition to funding from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, the department’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, and federal HOME funds. The city also used federal funds to complete an environmental cleanup of the site. “I’m thrilled to get this highly visible vacant property back on the tax rolls,” Mayor James J. Fiorentini said in a prepared statement, saying that the project will help Winter Street’s ongoing restoration while providing quality-built, affordable rental housing in the Lower Acre. Construction began this month and will take most of the year to complete. Many of the building’s historic features will be preserved.


Union members ratify agreement with Everett hospital

Members of the union representing about than 230 caregivers at Whidden Memorial Hospital in Everett recently announced they had overwhelmingly ratified a new contract agreement with the hospital that will provide them with a minimum starting pay rate of $15 per hour effective July 1. The union, 1199SEIU, said the contract also provides wage increases to unionized workers at all experience and pay grade levels, and would continue a Labor-Management Quality Committee. David Cecere, director of media relations for Cambridge Health Alliance, which owns the hospital, said by e-mail that the alliance “has a longstanding relationship with our 14 unions representing approximately two-thirds of our workforce. We cannot comment on specific contract details while we have negotiations pending with some of our other unions. In the ongoing dialogue with our labor unions, we are constantly looking for ways to fairly compensate our employees while ensuring that we are appropriately allocating resources to allow us to continue our critical role as a safety net hospital system.”


Finalists named for Billerica school building project designer

Three finalists have been named in Billerica’s search for an architectural firm to design the town’s high school building project. They are: Dore & Whittier of Newburyport, which drafted the Billerica School Department’s master plan in 2012 and has completed several school projects in Massachusetts, including the new Bancroft Elementary School in Andover; Perkin + Will, a global firm with a Boston office and a portfolio that includes several Massachusetts projects, including buildings for Wentworth Institute of Technology and the Mass. College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences; and Symmes Maini & McKee Associates of Cambridge, which designed the Parker and Ditson elementary schools in Billerica and several Massachusetts high schools, including those in Tewksbury and Swampscott. The Massachusetts School Building Authority designer selection panel selected the finalists from a field of nine applicants. The three firms are scheduled for interviews with the panel on Jan. 13. The school building authority has partnered with the town of Billerica to find the most educationally appropriate and cost-effective solution for the educational and facility needs at Billerica Memorial High School, which opened in 1955.


Meeting Jan. 10 on Hamilton business district

The Hamilton Development Corporation has scheduled the last of three public meetings to help form a vision for the town’s business district from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Hamilton-Wenham Public Library. The group was formed to support planned economic development in town through the use of public and private sector funds, promoting sustainable long-term growth and economic health. The goal of the meeting is to take guidance and input from abutters, merchants, and other residents to help the HDC, Planning Board, and other town leaders develop design standards and zoning.


Manchester-by-the-Sea library director retiring

“When I took the job, I said I’d do it for 10 years,” said Dorothy Sieradzki. So after 10 years as director of the Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Library, she’s retiring on April 5. “It’s been really enjoyable,” she said. Sieradzki, 66, started as a part-time librarian in 1994, and became full-time four years later. Since she became director, the library has increased program hours without increasing payroll (it is now open on Sunday); hired a young adult librarian and increased services in that area; updated its collections; and renovated “every room in the library,” she said. Tim Browne, chairman of the board of library trustees, is leading the committee to find her replacement. The library is planning an open house-reception for Sieradzki in late March.


New snow removal rules in Somerville

Somerville has instituted new guidelines on snow removal, including doubling the fines for failing to clear snow in a timely manner. Property owners must clear the sidewalks abutting their property according to the following schedule: if snowfall stops after sunrise, the sidewalks must be shoveled by 10 p.m.; if snowfall stops after sunset, sidewalks must be cleared by 10 a.m. Fines for failing to shovel within the allotted time have doubled to $50 for the first offense; $100 for the second offense; and $200 for the third and subsequent offenses. After the third offense, the city has the right to clear the sidewalks and to lien the affected property to recover costs for labor, resources, and time. The city is also seeking Somerville youth for its annual Snow Shoveling Assistance program, in which young people are paired with senior citizens or residents with disabilities who need help shoveling. They will be paid by the residents at a fixed rate per storm. For more information, contact Sonja Darai at 617-625-6600, ext. 2406,or e-mail

Malden, Medford

Hoff’s Bakery to move from Medford to Malden

A Medford bakery plans to move to an expanded site in Malden with the help of local and state tax breaks. Hoff’s Bakery currently occupies 30,000 square feet at 1 Brainard Ave. in Medford. The firm is planning to invest $19.5 million to purchase and renovate a 100,000-square-foot facility at 35 Green St., provided it is able to finalize purchase of the building and secure needed permits, according to owner Vincent Frattura. The building is now occupied by Asahi America, a thermoplastic valve manufacturer relocating to a larger facility in Lawrence. Malden is supporting the Hoff’s Bakery project with a five-year special tax assessment — or property tax break — valued at $573,470. The state Economic Assistance Coordinating Council recently approved the tax break while also awarding Hoff’s $875,000 in state investment tax credits. Hoff’s was founded as a small bakery in 1983 and has grown from a product line of locally sold cheesecakes to a manufactured line of gourmet cakes, tortes, desserts, brownies, dessert bars, and mini pastries. The project will enable the bakery to create 70 new net full-time jobs while retaining its existing full-time workforce of 78 employees.


Saugus interviewing for new town manager

A search committee in Saugus is reviewing applications for the town manager position. The deadline to apply was Dec. 19. The three-member search committee will review the applications and conduct interviews of selected candidates. The panel will then choose three to five finalists for the Board of Selectmen to interview in open session before making an appointment. Ellen Faillea, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, said she was hopeful the board will be ready to make a selection by late January or early February. The board last Oct. 29 fired Scott Crabtree, citing alleged financial missteps and managerial offenses. In a letter to the board at that time, Crabtree’s attorney said his client vehemently denied the allegations. Robert Palleschi, a former finance committee chairman, is serving as temporary town manager. The search committee consists of former selectman Peter Rossetti; Richard Macdonald, who was formerly town manager in Duxbury and inspectional services director in Saugus; and Joshua Dellheim, a Saugus resident who is front office manager at the W Boston Hotel.


Stoneham to vote on bikeway easements

A Special Town Meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Jan. 12 in Stoneham Town Hall, where voters will be asked to consider four articles, including a request by the Stoneham Bikeway and Greenway Committee to authorize the Board of Selectmen to secure temporary construction easements needed for creation of the Tri-Community Bikeway Greenway. The 6.63-mile multi-use trail would wend its way through Stoneham, Woburn, and Winchester, giving residents a safe place to walk, jog, bicycle, and roller skate. The Stoneham portion of the trail would end at the south side of Gould Street, before Recreation Park. Other issues to be considered include proposed changes to the town’s zoning bylaw; a request to add a section to the town code prohibiting discharge of water onto public ways and property; and a request to increase the budget for the Stoneham Public Library by $10,000 to replace outdated computer, printer, and IT equipment. To view the warrant, visit


Sal’s Pizza to donate proceeds to YWCA Haverhill

During January, Sal’s Pizza on Winter Street in Haverhill will donate 55 cents to YWCA Haverhill for every 19-inch cheese pizza sold. Each pizza will be sold for only $5.55, a savings of $7.44. The restaurant, at 95 Winter St., is just a few steps from the YWCA, at 107 Winter St. “We could not be more grateful to Sal’s for supporting the YWCA through this promotion,” said Mary B. O’Brien, YWCA executive director. “This is an opportunity not only to raise funds for the important work the YWCA does, but also to raise awareness about our services in the Greater Haverhill community.” Founded in 1891, YWCA Haverhill is now part of the YWCA of Greater Lawrence. The nonprofit provides community-based domestic violence and sexual assault victim services; year-round, school-age child care; and many programs for women and girls. This year, the YWCA also plans to open 10 single-room housing units for low-income women from the area. For more information, visit or call 978-374-6121. To reach Sal’s, call 978-521-7575.


Library may open temporary location at West Boxford branch

Town and library administrators are at work on several issues that will help determine how soon the Boxford Town Library can move into temporary headquarters at 188 Washington St., the location of its West Boxford branch. The library’s main branch at 10 Elm St. was closed in December because of air quality issues in the building. On Dec. 22, the Board of Selectmen voted to move the operations to the West Boxford branch location, but without the modular addition that library personnel had requested. Depending on how soon the operation can be moved, it may not be necessary to open a mini-library at Town Hall as was previously planned, library director Patty DiTullio said. Selectmen plan to discuss a long-term library solution at their Jan. 12 meeting at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.


Hamilton dedicating new fire truck

An open house and dedication of a new ladder truck are scheduled today for the Hamilton Fire Department today at the Public Safety Building, 256 Bay Road. Ladder 4 will be dedicated to the late Robert McRae, who served as a firefighter for 40 years, including a decade as chief. McRae, who died in November, also operated Mac’s Shoe Repair on Willow Street from 1950 until he closed it earlier this year. The open house is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with the dedication at noon. Purchase of the truck for $940,000 was approved at Town Meeting in October.


Phillips Academy in Andover donates $500k to youth center

The trustees of Phillips Academy in Andover have approved a gift of $500,000 to the nonprofit Andover Youth Foundation to underwrite completion of a multipurpose room at the Cormier Youth Center, which is under construction on Bartlet Street. Head of School John Palfrey would like the gift to inspire others to join the effort to raise the additional $500,000 still needed to complete the project, a joint venture between the town and the foundation. “We’re thrilled to be able to support the youth center and to see the school’s founding principle of non sibi [not for self] animated in the energy and dedication of those behind this important project,” Palfrey said in a prepared statement. Besides the multipurpose room, the 21,000-square-foot center will include a gymnasium, classrooms, video lab, fitness room, kitchen. and the town’s Youth Services Department offices. The project broke ground in August and is scheduled to open in the late spring.


Somerville to hold Grand Union ceremony Jan. 1

The annual Grand Union flag-raising ceremony, which commemorates the raising of the country’s first official flag atop Prospect Hill on New Year’s Day in 1776, will be held on Jan. 1 at noon in Somerville’s Prospect Hill Park. The city said in a prepared statement that a rocessional led by a General George Washington reenactor on horseback will leave from the City Hall concourse at 11:30 a.m. The afternoon’s program will include songs and readings, as well as a military salute. Members of the public are encouraged to wear traditional Colonial clothing. Light refreshments will be served, and Colonial-era tricorner hats, miniature replicas of the Grand Union flag, and historic Somerville books will be on sale.


Malden receives $6 million for redevelopment project

The state is providing Malden with a $6 million grant to support its planned Malden Center redevelopment. The project calls for replacing City Hall and the police station with a mixed-use development; reconnecting Pleasant Street; relocating City Hall within the new development complex; and building a new police headquarters. The grant, and a previous $3 million award — both provided under the state’s MassWorks Infrastructure program — will help fund the estimated $30 million cost of building a new police station and purchasing space within the new development. The city plans to cover its costs through the sale of City Hall and the police station to the developer and a $12.5 million bond, according to Mayor Gary Christenson’s office. Jefferson Apartment Group, the selected developer, plans to invest an estimated $100 million for the project, which calls for building 234 market-rate apartments;, 25,000 square feet of retail space; 42,000 square feet of office space; and 276 parking spaces on the site. It will also reconnect Pleasant Street, which was divided when City Hall was built in 1975.


Rates go down, but tax bills will rise in Everett

Average single-family homeowners in Everett will see their property tax bills rise by $183 this year, based on the rates recently set by the city. Under the rates, which must be approved by the state Department of Revenue, residents would pay $14.61 per $1,000 valuation, down from $15.04 per $1,000 in fiscal 2014. The commercial rate is $39.45 per $1,000, down from $40.95 per $1,000 last year. The tax bill for the owner of an average single-family home assessed at $259,275 would be $3,788, compared with $3,605 in fiscal 2014. The average tax figure does not take into account the residential exemption the city gives to owner-occupied homes, which this year is $886. Officials said the increase on single-family homes is needed because residential values grew at a higher rate than commercial ones. Under the city’s split tax rate, businesses pay 75 percent more than if there was a single rate.


Wilmington Middle School principal search begins

The search for a new Wilmington Middle School principal is underway. The district began to advertise the position earlier this month and is forming a screening committee to review the background of applicants. The screening committee is to be charged with interviewing qualified candidates and recommending a handful of semifinalists to Superintendent Mary C. DeLai, who will then choose a short list of finalists, likely by late February. At that point, parents and staff will have an opportunity to meet with the top candidates and ask questions. As she weighs her final decision, the superintendent will consider written and verbal feedback from staff and parents. DeLai is hoping to choose a principal by the end of March and complete contract negotiations in April. The new principal would take the helm July 1. Interim principal Ralph Olsen has said he is not interested in the permanent job.


Parking meters to begin in Medford

Medford’s new parking program is set to begin in early to mid-January, with “pay by plate” multispace parking meters. Medford until now has not had any parking meters. Under the system, drivers enter their license plate number into the meter when they insert their coins or credit cards, enabling enforcement officers to more accurately determine how long a given vehicle has been at the spot. The city’s vendor, Republic Parking System, earlier this month began installing the parking kiosks. The first phase of that work was completed Dec. 19 and the overall installation is set to be finished by Jan. 2. The objectives of the program are to deter illegal parking, and ensure timely turnover of spaces to benefit business districts. The charge for parking will be $1 per hour or 25 cents for 15-minute increments. Residential permits for 2015 are now available for purchase online and starting Monday, also can be obtained at the city’s parking management office, 557 Main St. Commuter permits, for Medford residents only, also be bought beginning Monday. For more information, go to, call 781-874-0051, or e-mail


Gloucester Police growing beards for Special Olympics

Beards are prohibited on the Gloucester Police Force, which is making an exception for its “Growing Hair cuz We Care” fund-raiser. Through January, Chief Leonard Campanello and 25 other members of the department will be sporting facial hair to raise money for Special Olympics Massachusetts. Each officer will donate $75 to grow a beard or other facial hair, and female officers and employees interested in participating may streak their hair, another dress code violation. The department is hoping to raise $1,500. Those interested in donating can call Campanello’s office at 978-281-9775.


Liberty Street in Danvers to be closed at causeway until fall

Danvers commuters and business owners got bad news earlier this month when Public Works director David Lane told the Board of Selectmen that the Liberty Street causeway would be closed until September 2015. Department of Transportation inspectors found more damage than anticipated in and around a culvert that was scheduled to be replaced. The causeway is on a well-traveled portion of Liberty Street that goes over the Crane River, between High and Elliot streets (Route 62) near the Riverside Elementary School. For the next few months, the causeway will be open only to pedestrians, Lane said. Detours have been set up for traffic to go around the work zone.


Haverhill ‘Possible Dreams’ event set for Jan. 26

Team Haverhill, a volunteer action group, is inviting local business owners and residents to its annual Possible Dreams event, hoping to spur ideas for fostering positive change in Haverhill. The event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Jan. 26 in the Technology Center at Northern Essex Community College, 100 Elliott St. The discussion, dubbed “Sparking Creative Connections,” is designed to foster a communitywide conversation, bringing together people from across the city to share ideas and build relationships to help shape Haverhill’s future. This year’s discussion will include a new opportunity for participants to try out an idea and see if it gains traction. Attendees will be given the chance to declare a topic, kick-start a 30-minute conversation with others who share their interest, and then report back to the overall group. That report may include a next step, such as a follow-up meeting to test the feasibility of their idea or develop an action plan. Projects that are initiated at the event may be publicized by Team Haverhill. Possible Dreams is free and open to the public, but advance registration is encouraged. For more information or to preregister, visit


Ipswich library director to retire

Victor Dyer, director of the Ipswich Public Library since 1999, has announced his intention to retire in January. After stints in Chicago and as assistant director of Marblehead’s Abbot Public Library, Dyer took the position in Ipswich just as a major addition/renovation project was finished. During his tenure the library has expanded its hours and services, particularly in the children’s area, and added new collections, Wi-Fi, and the annual communitywide “Ipswich Reads . . . One Book” initiative. “I love to see engaged and excited children who come to be read to or to choose books for themselves, to visit the fish or to create something to bring home to their parents,” Dyer said in a release. “I love to have a patron tell me that she discovered among the new books something unexpected that gave her great pleasure. I love to see a patron sitting down with a staff member who patiently teaches him how to download books to his Kindle. I love to see people from Ohio who crowd into our archives in the fall to track down family members who emigrated west in the 19th century.” A reception for Dyer is scheduled Jan. 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the library, 25 North Main St.


Area workforce board is awarded $415,000

State officials announced last Monday that the North Shore Workforce Investment Board would receive $415,000 in funding, part of a nearly $2 million commitment to support manufacturing workforce training across the state. The funding will be used to support adult job training programs at community colleges, and is expected to benefit about 280 unemployed or underemployed workers statewide. Training will include mathematics and core manufacturing courses, including those that cover the fundamentals of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Microsoft software, and manufacturing. The workforce investment board is based in Salem and serves 19 communities: Beverly, Danvers, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Lynn, Lynnfield, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Middleton, Nahant, Peabody, Rockport, Salem, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield, and Wenham. State Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki joined Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rachel Kaprielian and state Senate Majority Leader Stan Rosenberg to make the announcement at the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative Pioneer Valley Summit, held at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Everett awarded $307k grant as ‘green’ community

The state recently designated Everett a Green Community, a status municipalities can earn by undertaking certain steps to become more energy-efficient and to expand their use of renewable energy. As a result of its designation, the city was awarded a one-time non-competitive grant of $307,175 to undertake green energy projects. To secure the funds, the city by next Jan. 14 will have to submit its project plan to the state Department of Energy Resources for approval. The city is likely to use the grant funds to convert traditional streetlights to energy-efficient LED ones, according to James Errickson, Everett’s director of planning and development. The Metropolitan Area Planning Council assisted Everett in applying for its new status and is now helping the city develop its plans for implementing the grant. Everett will be able to compete for additional grants later. . Thirteen communities in all recently received the state’s Green Communities designation. Across Massachusetts, there are now 136 such communities.


Further upgrade to Lynn Common planned

The city plans a major upgrade to part of Lynn Common with the help of state and federal funds. The state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs recently awarded the city $400,000 for the project, which will be carried out in the small section of the common closest to City Hall. The remaining costs of the $580,000 project will be funded with $180,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant money, according to James Marsh, the city’s director of community development. The work, set to break ground next June and be completed late next fall, calls for updating the original cast iron fencing surrounding the small common area, installing electrical conduits for future antique-style lighting, and upgrading the concrete walkway. The city will also plant trees and install cast iron benches. Officials said the work will complement $1 million in recently completed improvements to the Frederick Douglass Bandstand and surrounding area, part of the larger section of the common. The state money was awarded through the help of the Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities program. Previous PARC grants helped fund recent improvements to Keaney Park, Flax Pond Park, High Rock Tower and Reservation, and Neptune Boulevard Park and Splash Pad.


Tornado relief fund coming to a close

The organization administering the Revere Tornado Relief Fund will soon be concluding its work. The city created the fund to assist residents and property owners who sustained property damage from the tornado that struck last July 28. The nonprofit established to manage the fund announced recently that it planned to distribute assistance awards this Monday and Tuesday at City Hall — recipients are asked to bring a photo identification — and close out the fund Dec. 31. Approximately $250,000 was raised in the relief effort. More than 170 applications were received, of which 125 to 150 were found to qualify, according to the office of Mayor Daniel Rizzo, who initiated the fund drive. Recipients will be provided with $500 to $2,500 in aid to cover insurance coverage deductibles. No additional applications are being accepted and any donations received after Jan. 1 will be returned. Rizzo plans to present a final update on the relief effort at the State of the City address, set for Jan. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. “The relief fund was a true collaborative effort, and I am happy to see that mission of the organization was fulfilled,” the mayor said in a prepared statement.


Online service helps Somerville residents track water usage

Somerville residents can track their water usage online and set up alerts when water use exceeds their budget. The city said in a prepared statement that residents can create such alerts through text message, e-mail, or voicemail with the AquaHawk Alerting service, which could save them money when leaks are caught early. Users can create a monthly water budget and receive alerts if their usage is trending above it. AquaHawk will also send an alert when a potential water leak is found or if it seems that a faucet or hose has been left running. For those who prefer it, the Water Department will continue to call residents to alert them of excess usage. To sign up for an account, visit For more information, contact the Somerville Water Department at 617-625-6600, ext. 5850, or e-mail


Winchester trash program moves to second phase

The town is expanding its Save Money and Reduce Trash (SMART) pilot program and is now accepting applications from Winchester residents who would like to participate in the second phase of the initiative. The program offers participants a way to control household disposal costs at the town’s transfer station. It rolled out in January with 500 households participating, and will expand to 700 in 2015. Participants will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis. Those selected pay a reduced sticker fee of $50 for the year and purchase standardized bags sold at the transfer station for trash that will be dropped at a location designated for SMART participants only. Current participants who wish to continue in the program must re-enroll. Currently, all households, regardless of size, pay the same fee of $180 per year for trash disposal and recycling. Under the SMART program, smaller households that generate less trash would pay less by using fewer bags. Households that typically generate more trash can still save money by recycling more. The goal of the program is to reduce the town’s disposal costs. Residents may register for the program on the town’s website,, by mail, or in person at the town clerk’s office. For questions on SMART, call the town clerk’s office at 781-721-7130.


Chelmsford awarded $26,000 to help homeless veterans

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the US Department of Veterans Affairs announced plans Dec. 8 to award $96,943 in rental vouchers to public housing agencies in Massachusetts to help 16 homeless veterans find permanent supportive housing. The award includes $25,783 in rental vouchers for the Chelmsford Housing Authority. In all, 1,984 vouchers totaling just over $13.5 million were awarded to housing authorities in 39 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. The vouchers are being provided through the HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program, which combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by VA. The latest award comes two months after the two agencies awarded $1.9 million in vouchers in Massachusetts to assist more than 225 homeless veterans across the state. As HUD approaches its 50th anniversary in 2015, Secretary Julian Castro said in a statement e-mailed to the Globe that his agency is committed to “providing targeted assistance to those in need to ensure that every veteran has a home.” Since 2008, more than 68,000 vouchers have been awarded and over 74,000 homeless veterans have been served through the supportive housing program, according to Kristine Foye, a spokeswoman for HUD’s New England office.


Essex seeks Council on Aging director

Essex is seeking its first Council on Aging director. Resumes are being accepted until Dec. 30 for the position, created at November Town Meeting. “Up until now,’’ said Town Administrator Brendhan Zubricki, “people have just volunteered to coordinate things,” including members of the Council on Aging including its chairman, Keith Symmes. The director will be responsible for managing operations at the senior center, writing grants, producing a newletter, and working with all town departments and the state’s Executive Office of Elder Affairs. Requirements include a BA/BS degree or equivalent experience, plus at least three years of managing programs for the senior population. The pay is $22.50-$29.50 an hour commiserate with experience. Resumes may be sent to Symmes at or to the Essex Senior Center, 17 Pickering St., Essex MA 01929. Job descriptions are available by e-mailing Symmes or by calling the center at 978-768-7932.


Danvers-based foundation names new CEO

David Edwards was recently named president and CEO of the Danvers-based Essex County Community Foundation, which manages charitable funds for donors and provides grants, services, and education to nonprofit organizations in the county. Edwards brings nearly 15 years of expertise in the philanthropic and nonprofit sector, including the past eight as a principal with Sutherland~Edwards LLC, a consulting firm that has worked with more than 40 community foundations and nonprofits. Currently based in Vermont, he’ll be relocating before the Jan. 12 start of his tenure. “I am passionate about community philanthropy and have always believed that people should give where they live,” Edwards said in a prepared statement. “A community foundation is one of the most effective vehicles to enable that to happen.”


Swampscott is awarded $70k flood control grant

Swampscott was recently awarded $70,100 to address flood control issues under a state grant program that this year awarded $1.5 million to address issues related to coastal storms, erosion, and sea level rise. As part of its Climate Change Coastal Resiliency and Flood Control Plan, the town will use storm surge and sea level rise inundation models to assess vulnerabilities of the municipal infrastructure and climate change impacts. Engineers will then deveop conceptual solutions and policy recommendations to help protect residents, property, and infrastructure from extreme weather and climate change impacts. The project received funding as part of the state’s Coastal Community Resilience Grant Program, administered by its Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Coastal Zone Management office. “These forward-thinking local projects will result in important, on-the-ground strategies to protect essential infrastructure and natural resources from the impacts of sea level rise and increased intensity of storms,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett in a prepared statement.


Lawrence, Newton mayors team up to help food pantries

During a news conference Dec. 5 at the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, mayors Dan Rivera of Lawrence and Setti Warren of Newton announced a partnership to help keep local food pantries stocked this holiday season. Working with United Way and United Parcel Service, the partnership builds on an annual citywide food drive in Newton to help support food pantries in both cities. Items including canned fruit and vegetables, toothpaste and diapers for both infants and adults are being collected through Dec. 30 at about 40 locations throughout Newton. The partnership was launched following a Globe report on food pantry supply shortages in Lawrence, where a growing number of families are relying on the city’s food pantries for basic necessities.

Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea

Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea get funds for storm projects

Gloucester and Manchester-by-the-Sea were among local communities that will receive significant state funding in 2015 for projects that aim to reduce risks from coastal storms, erosion, and sea level rise. Gloucester was awarded a $310,000 grant for floodplain and habitat restoration on the Little River, including creation of a salt marsh, as part of $1.5 million in funding under the state’s Green Infrastructure for the Coastal Resilience Grants Program. Manchester-by-the-Sea was awarded $154,950 for the evaluation of the capacity of bridges and culverts in the Sawmill Brook watershed, and to prepare design plans, construction estimates, and a permitting strategy for infrastructure improvements, as part of $1.5 million in funding under another state effort, the Coastal Community Resilience Grant Program. Both are administered by the state Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Coastal Zone Management office. “Our region is leading the nation in developing sustainable strategies to strengthen natural resources to confront coastal storms and erosion,” said Senator Bruce Tarr, a Gloucester Republican who also represents Manchester-by-the-Sea. “By fostering better salt water flows and healthy marshes, this grant funding makes an important investment in long-term protections that are proactive, effective, and more easily maintained than many manmade structures.”


Library seeks to get more girls interested in computer-related jobs

The Peabody Institute Library is trying spur more girls to consider careers in computer-related fields. The library has initiated a partnership with Girls Who Code, a national organization working to advance gender parity in computer-oriented professions. Just 23 percent of programmers and 34 percent of Web developers are women, according to the National Center for Women Information Technology, citing a 2012 US Department of Labor survey. In a pilot initiative, the library will in January create a new Girls Who Code Club. Through the club, which will run through the end of the school year, girls in grades 6-12 will learn to code and create websites, games, and apps. They will also undertake a culminating project to benefit the Peabody community. Those interested in joining are invited to an informational session Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the main library, 82 Main St. The meeting will include a talk by Jalon Fowler, who has worked in the technology field for 16 years and will serve as the volunteer instruction for the club. The library hopes to continue the club with another session next fall. For more information or to register, call teen librarian Cate Merlin at 978-531-0100 ext. 14, or register online at


Chelsea, Peabody senior facilities merging

Two nonprofit senior living organizations serving communities north of Boston are joining forces. The Chelsea Jewish Foundation and Peabody-based Aviv Centers for Living announced recently that Aviv has become part of the foundation. They both offer long- and short-term skilled nursing care facilities, assisted living residences, and services such as home and hospice care. With the inclusion of Aviv, the foundation says it is now the largest senior living nonprofit group north of Boston. Through its residential and other programs, the foundation has been serving about 500 people overall and Aviv about 300. Before the merger, the foundation had about 600 employees, Aviv approximately 400; all will be retained. “This is a tremendous opportunity to serve the growing senior population in Greater Boston, and combining only expands and enhances our ability to support and serve the community,” the foundation’s president, Adam Berman, said in a prepared statement.


Somerville issues warning after 2 pose as city workers

City officials have issued a warning to residents after two men who claimed to represent the Somerville Water Department gained access to a home on Dec. 1 at approximately 6 p.m., and stole property. The city said in a prepared statement that although this appears to be an isolated incident, residents should be aware that any employee of the Water Department who needs access to a property will always show identification. “If someone claiming to be from the Water Department attempts to gain access to your home and cannot provide identification,’’ the statement said, “do not let them in, and call 911 immediately.”


Shawsheen Valley Tech in Billerica gets $250k grant

Greg Bialecki, the state’s housing and economic development secretary, visited Shawsheen Valley Technical High School in Billerica on Dec. 3 to announce that the school has received a $250,000 grant to purchase equipment and expand its welding and metal fabrication program. At Shawsheen, the new equipment will give students the opportunity to learn the basics of metal fabrication and joining technologies, proper mechanical cutting operations, and metal forming techniques in accordance with industry standards. As a result, said Bialecki in a statement e-mailed to the Globe, they will be given “the educational training and hands-on applications that are needed to prepare students for careers in the 21st century global economy.” In addition to benefiting its traditional high school students, the new welding and metal fabrication equipment also will allow Shawsheen to expand its adult education and workforce development programs and support a collaboration between Shawsheen and Keolis Commuter Services, the MBTA commuter rail management firm, to train new workers to maintain and improve rail service throughout the region. Funding for the program is provided by the Commonwealth’s Capital Plan, a five-year plan that includes $10 million in funding to benefit Massachusetts career technical schools and community colleges.


Medford could see its first dog park

City Councilor Michael J. Marks and a group of interested residents are working with Mayor Michael J. McGlynn to establish the city’s first dog park, a place where Medford’s canines would be free to romp under their owners’ supervision. According to Marks, the city has tentatively identified a location: 1.5 acres of land along the Mystic River adjacent to Hormel Stadium and behind the McGlynn School. He said the spot is ideal, noting that it is centrally located, has ample parking, and is handicapped-accessible. “We feel certain that avid and loving dog owners will embrace the park not only for its appeal as a place where dogs can socialize, but as a meeting ground that brings together their owners in a common bond of interest,” Marks said in a statement. The estimated $250,000 to $300,000 cost would be covered in part through $60,000 that city received in 2011 from a contractor to mitigate the impact of a state highway project. The city hopes to cover the remaining costs through a grant it plans to seek from Stanton Group, a private organization that helps fund dog parks. For more information, visit


‘Four Rock’ property purchased by nonprofits

The Essex County Greenbelt Association and Merrohawke Nature School announced last month that they would acquire the 28-acre Four Rock property on Boston Road in Newbury, which includes the historic Devil’s Den limestone formation. The purchase price was $225,000. Since 2012, the nonprofit school has operated year-round programs at Four Rock, including a kindergarten afterschool program, and teen wilderness and summer programs. Working with the Essex-based land trust, it was able to raise private funds and received an $85,000 conservation partnership grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Once the purchase is completed, the land will be open to the public for wildlife observation, outdoor recreation, and continued educational programming. In a prepared statement, Greenbelt executive director Ed Becker said the purchase “will not only protect at-risk acreage with unique historical significance and safeguard critical wildlife habitat, but it will also provide an opportunity for us to nurture the current and future generations of environmental stewards in the Greater Newburyport community through our partnership with Merrohawke Nature School.”

North Andover

Work begins on North Andover fire station

North Andover leaders gathered at the intersection of Chickering Road and Prescott Street Nov. 25 to celebrate the official groundbreaking for the town’s new fire station. The new station, designed to accommodate modern fire equipment, will feature four bays, a training space, and the department’s barracks. Town Meeting allocated $5.94 million for construction earlier this year. The station is expected to be completed by next fall. It is one of several projects included in the town’s municipal facilities master plan. Adopted in 2012, the plan strives to improve and consolidate the town’s existing municipal and school facilities, thereby eliminating rental costs. Other projects included in the plan: Renovation of the town’s former police station into a new school administration building; renovation of its former fire department headquarters at Town Hall into a new office for the Community Development and Planning Department; and expansion of the town’s senior center. For more information about the master plan, including a flow chart and funding schedule, visit and click on the tab for the “Facilities Master Plan” on the homepage.


Danvers selectman joins state ethics board

Danvers Selectman David Mills was recently appointed to a five-year term on the State Ethics Commission. Mills, a retired appeals court associate justice, was tabbed to replace outgoing member Paula Finley Mangum by Governor Deval Patrick. Mills, of counsel with the Boston-based firm of Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster, formerly was an assistant district attorney in Middlesex County and a former assistant attorney general. As an appeals court associate justice from 2001 to 2012, Mills was the principal author of more than 100 published decisions. The commission has jurisdiction over state, county, and municipal employees, administering and enforcing conflict-of-interest and financial disclosure laws. Mills, Danvers town moderator from 1998 to 2001, has been a selectman since 2013.


Salem State expands overseas opportunities

Salem State University recently signed three new agreements that will expand opportunities for its students, faculty, and alumni to study, teach, and conduct research abroad. One of the agreements will enable university seniors or recent graduates to teach English and study Italian at public institutions in the Piedmont region of Italy for up to a full year. The agreement follows a previous one in 2009 that provided Salem State with similar opportunities in Italy’s Lombardy region. Saverio Teker, director of the education office of the Consulate General of Italy in Boston, participated in a signing ceremony at Salem State for the recent agreement. In another agreement, Salem State formally established an exchange program with the Netherlands’ Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. The program began unofficially this past spring when 28 students and three faculty members from the sport management and marketing program at Rotterdam University journeyed to Salem to participate in a student symposium on sports marketing. The third agreement created a collaborative program between Salem State and Germany’s University of Mannheim. Salem State now has 57 such arrangements, in countries ranging from Liberia to Poland, Brazil, China, and Iraq.


Tree lot opens to benefit Andover youth programs

Continuing a 12-year, all-volunteer tradition, the Andover Skate Park at 80 Shawsheen Road has been transformed into a “Lot of Trees” to benefit the Andover Youth Services programs, the Cormier Youth Center, and a local scholarship fund that benefits graduates of Andover High School and Danvers High School. The tree lot is open seven days a week until Dec. 22, from 3 to 8:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. This year, the Andover Youth Foundation is selling fresh balsam trees from New Brunswick, Canada; North Carolina Fraser fir trees; and a wide selection of wreaths, holiday centerpieces, and kissing balls. For each tree sold, $1 will be donated to the Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship Fund, which helps high school graduates become teachers. In past years, the tree lot has raised funds to support worthy causes such as improvements to the skate park, a holiday gift drive, local scholarships, and more.


Beverly’s Atomic Cafe moving, doubling in size

A landmark Beverly business will move to the site formerly occupied by another landmark Beverly business. Atomic Cafe, which has operated at 265 Cabot St. since 1996, plans to move across the street to 268B Cabot Street, which formerly housed a section of the Casa de Moda, the iconic retailer that closed in June after nearly 45 years. The move, planned for February, will allow the coffee roasters to more than double in size from about 1,100 square feet to approximately 2,500 square feet, according to John Mahoney, co-owner with his brother Andrew. The move was aided by Beverly Main Streets, a nonprofit that promotes downtown Beverly, which made Atomic Cafe the first recipient of a retail incentives grant, a new program designed to attract retailers to the area or help existing retailers expand. The Mahoneys also operate Atomic Cafes in Newburyport and Marblehead, and a wholesale distributorship in Salem.


Burlington’s looks to future at forum

As part of its effort to update Burlington’s master plan, the town’s prime blueprint for future development, its planning board is inviting the community to a public forum. Burlington’s existing plan was last updated nearly 20 years ago. Tuesday’s event, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the library of the Marshall Simonds Middle School, 114 Winn St., will begin with an open house, followed by a short presentation on the master plan process and focused discussions. Topics covered will include open space and recreation, economic development, traffic circulation, land use, housing, town services and facilities, and natural and cultural resources. The session is the latest in a series to solicit ideas from the public on the document. As part of the update, the board held community walks in different parts of town in September and October. The public is also welcome to contribute ideas through Twitter, Facebook, and Neighborland, a community-focused online platform. For more information, go to the town’s website,, click on the Planning Department, and “Master Plan Information.” The planning effort is targeted for completion by the end of next year.


Chelsea manager search underway

Chelsea has begun the task of selecting a new city manager. Jay Ash, who has held the post since 2000, is resigning to become housing ans economic development secretary for governor-elect Charlie Baker. The City Council recently agreed to hire the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management at UMass Boston to serve as its consultant in the search, said council president Matt Frank. Councilors have begun a series of meetings to see what community members would like to see in a new city manager, and plan to hold roundtable talks with representatives of city businesses and organizations to solicit their input. Frank said it’s anticipated that the council will choose deputy city manager Ned Keefe to serve as interim manager when Ash departs. No set timetable has been established for finding his permanent replacement, but Frank said his goal is the council’s final spring meeting in mid-June. “It’s a big task,” Frank said, adding that the 6-foot-7-inch Ash leaves “big shoes to fill, literally and figuratively. . . . We really need to go one step at a time. Step one is talking about what kind of city we want to be going forward.”


Somerville selling vital records online

Somerville residents may now purchase certificates recording births, marriages, and deaths online though the city clerk’s office. The city said in a statement that residents may use a major credit card or electronic funds transfer to order up to three birth certificates or marriage certificates per transaction, and up to 10 death certificates per transaction. All certificates are $15 each, with a $1 charge per order for processing and mailing. Certified copies of all documents will be sent by first-class mail to the address specified in the order. If the record is unavailable, a refund will be issued. To order online, visit the city’s website at and click “Pay Online” at the bottom of the page.


Winchester school superintendent finalists named

Following a national search, the Winchester School Committee has selected four finalists to succeed Interim Superintendent William H. McAlduff Jr. as leader of the 4,440-student school system, according to committee chairman Christian Nixon.They are Judith Evans of Shrewsbury, who since 2008 has served as superintendent of the Medway public schools; Bradford Jackson of Wilmington, Holliston public schools superintendent since 2004; Jennifer Price of West Newton, principal of Newton North High School; and Anne Wilson of Natick, superintendent of the Sudbury public schools since 2011. A search advisory committee voted unanimously to advance the four finalists for the School Committee’s review. Each candidate is scheduled to visit town this week, with opportunities for teachers and administrators to meet with them: Jackson on Monday, Evans Tuesday, Price Wednesday, and Wilson Thursday. Parents and community members also will have a chance to meet each candidate at McCall Middle School. Jackson, Evans, and Wilson will meet and greet the public from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on their respective days in Winchester; Price from 7 to 8 p.m. on hers.


New Gloucester fish plant will create 200 jobs

An Illinois-based fish processor has purchased a 65,000-square-foot plant in Gloucester.