The city recently initiated an online billing and payment system. Through the online platform, provided by City Hall Systems, residents can quickly search for and pay real estate, water, excise and personal property tax bills by owner name, bill number, street location, or parcel number. Additionally, they can create a personal account to set up automatic payments, schedule future payments, and manage their payment methods. The online system can be accessed through a link on the city’s website, www.chelseama.gov/Public_Documents/ChelseaMA_WebDocs/epayments
. City officials said the electronic billing system is being offered as a convenience to the public and to help the environment. “We had been looking for the right payment platform for our residents and finally, we found it,” City Manager Jay Ash said in a prepared statement.
At least four and possibly more petitions will come before residents at the May 13 annual Town Meeting seeking street acceptance for roads in town. Planning coordinator Katrina O’Leary has developed a process accepted by the Board of Selectmen to bring the streets to Town Meeting for official acceptance. While there are temporary mechanisms that allow the town to plow and maintain streets built as part of new developments, official acceptance is a necessary step in creating clearly defined public ways owned and maintained by the town. Town Administrator Ira Singer said there are currently petitions for Dolan Drive, White Lane, Ross Lane, and Warren Drive.
Sawyer Free Library director Carol Gray recently announced her retirement after 16 years at the library. The resident of the Lanesville section of Gloucester joined the library staff in 1998 as assistant director and on three occasions served as acting director before gaining the top position in 2007. In a press release, David McAveeney, chairman of the library’s board of directors in 2006-2007, said Gray brought stability to an institution that had nearly lost state certification because of financial uncertainty. “She was the one who kept the place afloat,” he said in the release, which also said that Gray played a role in creating a new strategic plan, keeping technology current with Internet resources and e-books, and broadening the library’s English as a second language program to reach more residents. Gray intends to stop working in March, though with accrued vacation time her official retirement date will be in April.
The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development has designated the Montserrat College of Art as part of the state’s Creative Economy Network. The network is a regional attempt to speed up the economic growth of the Commonwealth’s creative industries. “Montserrat is proud to be named the North Shore regional leader of the Creative Economy Network in Massachusetts,” said Stephen Immerman, president of Montserrat College of Art. “We look forward to working with our partners across the region to facilitate collaboration and promote opportunities for creative and innovative business to grow and thrive on the North Shore.” According to the state, the creative industries include innovative video game companies, cultural nonprofits, design, marketing and architecture firms, and also the people who write books, film movies, create art, and record music.
Marblehead teenagers who are looking for work will have the opportunity to meet potential employers at the annual Marblehead Teen Job and Resource Fair on Wednesday from 9:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at Marblehead High School, 2 Humphrey St. According to Gene Cornfield, president of Marblehead for Teens, 300 teens attended last year’s event, where companies and nonprofit organizations had 100 job openings. For more information, contact Susan Hauck at 781-990-7035.
Seventh graders at Rockport Middle School are running a fund-raiser, called Pennies for Patients, through the end of February to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Students have been collecting change throughout the month and will donate the money to the society to fund research.
Local resident Matthew C. Sullivan recently was promoted to lieutenant commander in the Navy. Sullivan, who served two tours on the USS Gettysburg and now serves at the Pentagon, grew up in Andover and graduated from The Pike School and Phillips Academy, class of 2000. He received his bachelor’s degree from Boston College and his master’s from The Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, Calif.
Northern Essex Community College is seeking submissions for its sixth annual peace poetry contest. Students in kindergarten through grade 12 from public and private schools, as well as adults affiliated with the schools and Northern Essex students, are invited to participate in the contest by creating and submitting original poems about peace. The deadline for submissions is March 15. Some 80 poems and accompanying artwork will be selected for a small book of poetry that will be published in late spring. In addition, some entrants will be invited to take part in a poetry reading from 6 to 8 p.m. May 2 in the Hartleb Technology Center on Northern Essex’s Haverhill campus, 100 Elliott St. Last year’s contest attracted about 1,000 entries from 48 schools. The contest is coordinated by Northern Essex English professor Paul G. Saint-Amand,a Vietnam War-era veteran and Gloucester resident who has made it his personal mission to promote peace. Northern Essex students are collaborating on the contest and have designed posters and award certificates, will participate in judging entries, and will host the public reading. Entries may be submitted to email@example.com
or NECC Peace Poetry Contest, 100 Elliott St., Spurk 317H, Haverhill, MA 01830.
The city is inviting residents to take part in its second annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast and Roast. The event, hosted by City Councilor Tom Gould, will be held March 15 from 9 to 11 a.m. in the Wiggin Auditorium in City Hall. The event will feature Irish music and good-natured roasting of the city’s political figures. Peabody’s Irish Person of the Year will also be announced. The cost is $30, with all proceeds going to Haven from Hunger, the nonprofit that operates a food pantry and a meals program in Peabody. Those interested in attending are asked to send a check payable to the City of Peabody to: St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, City Hall, 24 Lowell St., Peabody, MA 01960. The checks should be sent by March 4 and include the number of guests in the party. For more information, call the mayor’s office at 978-538-5704.
A probable cause hearing is set for March 11 for a Lowell man charged with home invasion and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. According to police, on Dec. 14, Michael Degree and a codefendant, 20-year-old Siam Thach, allegedly forced a 14-year-old Corbett Street resident into his home at gunpoint. A witness told police that the boy had been shot in the head, grazed by a single bullet. Degree has a lengthy criminal record and was held on $50,000 bail after his arrest. Thach, the alleged shooter, faces charges of assault with intent to murder as well as carrying and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling and unlawful possession of ammunition.
A disbarred Lawrence lawyer has been sentenced to three years in prison and five years of probation for stealing more than $1 million from clients over a four-year period. Phillip Thompson, 35, was also ordered to pay $986,000 in restitution. Between 2007 and 2011, Thompson is said to have manipulated refinancing transactions in his real estate practice, bilking several clients out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Among his victims were an elderly couple owed an insurance settlement following a house fire, a family refinancing their home, and a Lowell bank used for his business. The Middlesex district attorney’s office began investigating Thompson in 2011, indicting him on charges later that year and in 2013.
The city is inviting residents to take part in a free book swap on March 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Senior Center, 5 Broad St. Organized by SalemRecycles, the event is an opportunity for households to recycle their unwanted books, greeting cards, and commercial CDs, DVDs, and videos. All materials will be free for the taking. No actual swap is required; participants can donate materials, take them, or both. All books are accepted for donation, even textbooks. Anyone donating materials can drop them off on March 14 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., or from 9:45 a.m. to noon on the day of the swap. This marks the 11th time the city has held the book swap, which is intended to promote reuse of books and other media materials. SalemRecycles is the city’s all-volunteer recycling committee.
Nomination papers are now available for this year’s town election, set for May 6. The deadline to take out and return papers is March 25. Voters this year will fill eight townwide seats, including one on the Board of Selectmen and two on the School Committee. The others are town moderator, three seats on the library trustees, and a seat on the Housing Authority. Voters will also elect 51 Town Meeting members, including 48 for regular three-year terms and three to fill vacancies. The clerk’s office is also asking those who have not already done so to return their 2014 town census forms, noting that inclusion in the census is needed to remain on the active voter list.
Preliminary figures indicate that the town will see both increases and decreases in its yearly assessments to regional schools. Assessments to the Pentucket Regional School District are again expected to rise; early figures show a minimum increase of $388,536 for West Newbury, $277,687 for Merrimac, and $294,942 for Groveland, according to school representatives. Meanwhile, representatives of Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School said that, although they expect an overall budget increase of 4 percent, West Newbury’s contribution would drop marginally to $205,000. That figure includes the town’s $13,552 share of a one-time capital expenditure for a machine-shop item.
The town clerk’s office has released the list of candidates for the upcoming town election, which is scheduled to take place March 25. The election features only one contested race. Three candidates will vie for two open seats on the Board of Selectmen: Incumbents Tracy M. Watson and Donald B. Stewart will face challenger Adam Sapienza, festival manager at Smolak Farms. This is his first run for public office. The winners will serve three-year terms. The last day to register to vote in the town election is March 5. For more information or to register to vote, contact the town clerk’s office at 978-688-9501.
Newburyport resident David J. LaFlamme has been named chief executive officer of North Shore Bancorp., parent of North Shore Bank, which is merging with Saugusbank. The merger of the banks will be completed during the next several months, according to a statement posted on North Shore Bank’s website. Saugusbank’s president and chief executive officer, Kevin M. Tierney Sr., will assume the role of president and chief operating officer of both the bank and its parent company. Upon completion of the merger, North Shore Bank will grow to almost $700 million in assets and will operate out of 11 full-service locations.
The MBTA and the state highway department will hold a neighborhood meeting on Monday for residents of the Broadway/Winthrop Street area. Officials will discuss details of noise and retaining-wall issues related to the Green Line Extension Project. The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m, at St. Clement School, 579 Boston St.
Stoneham Theatre has been nominated by the Independent Reviewers of New England for nine awards. Jenna McFarland Lord is nominated for best set design for transforming the Stoneham stage into a Cambridge pub for “Distant Music.” Michael Buckley also was recognized for his work in “Distant Music”; he is nominated for best actor in a play. Stoneham Theatre’s production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” is nominated for three awards: Ephie Aardema is nominated for best actress in a musical; Andrew Giordano for best supporting actor in a musical; and Stephanie Granade for best supporting actress in a musical. Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” scored the most nominations for Stoneham Theatre: Jeff Adelberg is nominated for best lighting design; Nathan Leigh for best sound; Esme Allen for best supporting actress in a play; and Alexander Platt for best supporting actor in a play. The awards, founded in 1997 to celebrate theater excellence in the Boston area, will be awarded April 7 at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts. For more information, visit www.irneawards.com
The Reading Police Department has received a $5,000 grant from the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division to crack down on under-age drinking. The funding comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the US Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The grant will enable officers to conduct party patrols and compliance checks, enabling the Police Department to monitor, analyze, and, when appropriate, take legal action against minors who circumvent the law and individuals and businesses that enable them to do so. Since 2006, there has been a multifaceted effort spearheaded by police, town, and school leaders working in partnership with the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse to address alcohol compliance and under-age drinking.
Residents are invited to a community event to help local families in need. On March 9, People Helping People is holding a Wine Tasting and Charity Auction hosted by Café Escadrille, 26 Cambridge St., The event, from 2-5 p.m., will include hot and cold appetizers in addition to wine. All proceeds will benefit People Helping People. The nonprofit charity organization operates Burlington Community Food Pantry, which provides free food items once a month to income-eligible Burlington families from its location at 10 St. Mark’s Road. In 2013, the pantry distributed about 110,000 pounds of food. It also has programs that provide free Thanksgiving meals and holiday gifts for children at a Wish Tree in Burlington Mall. In 2013, some 180 families received Thanksgiving meals and 1,000 gifts were distributed to close to 200children. Tickets to the March 9 event are $40. They can be purchased from Janet Sullivan Fitzgerald at 781-244-9519 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or at several local stores. For more information, go to www.peoplehelpingpeopleinc.org.
The Pioneer Charter School of Science is holding open enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year. The school serves seventh- to 12th-grade students at two campuses, one in Everett and the other in Saugus. The Everett campus serves Chelsea, Everett, and Revere, while the Saugus campus serves Danvers, Lynn, Peabody, Salem, and Saugus. As with all other charter schools, Pioneer is tuition-free and open to all Massachusetts students, but residents from the districts served by each campus receive priority placement. Families can apply for enrollment through an online application on Pioneer’s website, www.pioneercss.org, or submit a paper application. A lottery will be held if needed to select students for enrollment. This year’s lottery is scheduled for March 13 at the Everett campus. Students who do not receive spots will be placed on a waiting list and will be contacted as openings become available. For information, parents can call the school at 617-389-7277.
The city is holding a special election on Tuesday to take up a referendum on Mohegan Sun’s proposed casino at Suffolk Downs. Voting hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mohegan Sun is seeking a state license to build a $1 billion resort casino development on 42 acres in Revere owned by Suffolk Downs. A previous proposal by Suffolk Downs and Caesars Entertainment for a casino in Revere and East Boston was rejected by East Boston voters last Nov. 5, the same day Revere voters endorsed it. Under a host agreement that was signed Dec. 23, Mohegan Sun would pay Revere $33 million up front, and minimum annual payments from $25 million to $30 million. Applicants for casino licenses must secure a host agreement and support from a local referendum.
Malden has hired a crime analyst to help the Police Department identify emerging crime patterns. Robert McIntire will review the city’s police reports daily with the goal of identifying crime trends and hot spots of illegal activity in Malden. “If burglaries are reported in a certain area of the city or a pattern emerges of items being stolen from cars, Rob will analyze the data to predict whether or not another incident is likely and when it may occur,” Police Chief Kevin Molis said in a prepared statement. “This will assist us with long-term solutions.”
Local resident Doreen Dove, an image consultant and personal stylist, will lead a session at the upcoming “Better After 50s, She Did It/Boston” event, which is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 24 at Babson College in Wellesley. The event is designed to empower women to achieve greater fulfillment in their relationships, careers, and lives as a whole. The daylong conference will include a morning session that aims to motivate women to invigorate their careers, generate new ones, and develop meaning and purpose in their work. The afternoon session will center on women’s health and wellness, with mind-body workshops and strategies to boost energy and reduce stress. Dove will coach women on how to use style as a tool to take strategic control of their image, to enhance not only their figures but also their state of mind. BetterAfter50.com
is an online magazine dedicated to helping women step into the next phase of their lives. For more information or to purchase tickets to the event, visit www.shedidit.com.
The North Shore Community College Alumni Association is seeing nominations for its annual Distinguished Alumnus Award, which recognizes outstanding alumni. Any interested party can submit a nomination on behalf of an alumnus of North Shore Community College, which has campuses in Lynn and Danvers. Candidates for the award will be chosen on the basis of integrity, professional accomplishment, and community or college service. The award recipient must be able to attend college’s commencement on May 22. Letters of nomination can be submitted through March 14 to the NSCC Alumni Office, One Ferncroft Road, P.O. Box 3340, Danvers, MA 01923. For more information, contact Sandy Rochon, the alumni coordinator, at 978-762-4000, ext. 5481, or by e-mail at email@example.com
Somerville is offering to trade some gardening and chicken-keeping know-how to people willing to volunteer at gardening projects around the city. The city and Somerville-based urban agriculture company Green City Growers are seeking applicants to participate in a program that will train 20 residents in urban growing techniques in exchange for 30 hours of volunteer service in garden projects. The Urban Agriculture Ambassador program is returning this year after running as pilot program in 2013, and will be held on four consecutive Saturdays from March 29 to April 19 , according to the city. Participants will learn how to build raised garden beds, plant and harvest, and troubleshoot pests, and will receive an introduction to bee- and chicken-keeping. The partnership between the city and Green City Growers seeks to share knowledge about growing food in an urban environment and increase access to healthy food and nutrition education. Somerville residents can apply to the program until March 10 by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
or by submitting an application that can be picked up at public libraries in the city.
Safe Steps For Teens Task Force on Thursday will present “Sexting, Snapchat & Selfies: What Parents Need To Know About Teens Online.” Parents of public school students are invited to attend the workshop, which will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the project room at Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School. The task force formed two years ago to promote healthy dating relationships among middle and high school students.
The community is invited to take part in a citywide reading program. Through Woburn Reads 2014, residents are encouraged to read a common book and attend related special events from early March through early April. The program is being organized by the Friends of the Woburn Public Library. The group organized a Woburn Reads program once before, in 2010. The selected book this year is the novel “The Art Forger,” by B.A. Shapiro, a literary thriller in which artist Claire Ross is asked to copy a Degas stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The library has multiple copies of the book available for borrowing. The opening event will be “Stealing Rembrandts,” a multimedia presentation cohosted by the Woburn Historical Society on March 6 at 7 p.m. at the high school. Anthony Amore, director of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, will talk about famous art heists, including the 1990 Gardner theft. Woburn Reads 2014 is funded by donations in memory of resident Sheila Joyce Greenlaw. With the exception of a field trip to the museum, all events are free.
A proposed zoning bylaw regulating the location of medical marijuana dispensaries in town is among a number of zoning measures developed by the Planning Board that are expected to come before the May 5 annual Town Meeting. The medical marijuana bylaw would allow dispensaries along a section of Main Street that runs roughly from Capitol Avenue to Old Boston Road. The other proposed bylaws include measures to revise the town’s flood plain district; and to allow for and regulate the location of solar energy facilities in town, according to Steven Sadwick, the town’s community development director. As many as eight zoning proposals sponsored by private residents may also come before Town Meeting. Included are three that would revise bylaws relating to automotive uses, one that would rezone land on Livingston Street from residential to heavy industrial, one that would allow more flexible site design in an existing office research district, and three that would make technical changes to rules governing accessory or in-law apartments. The Planning Board intends to hold a public hearing on all the zoning proposals, tentatively scheduled for April 7.
The School Department is holding a focus group of parents, students, and other community members to offer input into the selection of a new high school principal, on Tuesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of the school, 60 Farm St. Participants will be invited to offer thoughts on what qualities they would like to see in the next principal. Kim Smith, the current principal, is leaving at the end of June after being appointed assistant school superintendent, effective July 1. A separate focus group of high school staff is also being held on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the School Department is holding a parent information meeting on the plan to establish an early childhood center at the Doyle School. The meeting will be held on Thursday at the Woodville School, 30 Farm Ave. For more information, contact Ann Mannino, the early childhood coordinator, at 781-246-6400, ext. 6656.
The Dracut School Committee has unanimously accepted a proposed budget presented by School Superintendent Steven Stone, calling it a working document to be finalized at future meetings. The fiscal 2015 budget calls for a 4.83 percent increase to cover what Stone calls critical-need staff positions, some of which were eliminated in 2012, and transportation costs. If approved, the increased budget would reinstate elementary school physical education, art, and music specialists, a special education teacher, a paraprofessional, and others. Two custodians would also return to the district. Stone said they will be needed with the new Dracut High School encompassing an additional 65,000 square feet of space. That school is scheduled to open in September.
New England Biolabs chief scientific officer Richard Roberts has joined the faculty of Northeastern University as a professor based at the Marine Science Center in Nahant. Roberts is a biochemist and molecular biologist credited with the codiscovery of split genes — research that advanced the knowledge of DNA and for which he received a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1993. According to a press release, the appointment coincides with relocation of the marine DNA repository called Ocean Genome Legacy to the Nahant facility. Director Dan Distel said the legacy project is like a DNA library that catalogues samples of organisms from all over the world, to be made available to scientists for research. It was founded in 2003 as a nonprofit organization based at Ipswich-based New England Biolabs, which remains a major sponsor.
The town of Salisbury is seeking a volunteer for its Board of Health. The terms of all five board members expired by the end of last year, and in January, Town Manager Neil Harrington asked the members to formally resign after conflict over what Harrington called “philosophical differences” regarding implementation of some regulations. Tom Hughes was the only health board member to resign. Those interested in the position are asked to send a letter of interest and resume to Harrington at Town Hall, 5 Beach Road, Salisbury, MA 01952, or NHarrington@salisburyma.gov.
The police departments in Georgetown and Groveland are hosting a free seminar in Red Cross Disaster Preparedness Education for Adults next Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. at the Georgetown Middle/High School, 18 Winter St., Georgetown. Attendees will learn about the American Red Cross, how to prepare family, pets, and property for disasters, and about volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross. For more information, contact Georgetown Police Chief Don Cudmore at 978-352-5700 or email@example.com, or Groveland Deputy Police Chief Jeff Gillenat 978-521-1212, or JGillen@grovelandpolice.com
The annual screening for preschoolers in the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 28. Parents interested in enrolling their 3-to 4-year-old child in the Hamilton-Wenham integrated prekindergarten program are asked to call the student services office at 978-468-5303 to schedule an appointment for screening.
Susan Lucas, director of operations for the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce for the last nine years, has resigned to take another position. Lucas leaves at the end of next week for a position with the Den-Mar Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rockport, a chamber member. While she said she is looking forward to the new job, Lucas also said: “I’m really going to miss working with chamber members and the community. I will miss that.”
The Yentile Farm Development Committee has announced the make-up date for the postponed public design workshop. The workshop has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Wilmington High School cafeteria. The workshop will feature a brief presentation about the 20.3-acre property, its layout, and the challenges and opportunities of the Cross Street site. Participants will break into groups and develop their own recreational facility layout using a map of the property and templates of various types of activities. The ideas and information gathered from this workshop, the first in a series that will take place during the project’s concept-and-design phase, will help to inform the final design. The workshop is expected to last about 90 minutes. Light refreshments will be served.
Town Administrator Bill Gustus has interviewed four candidates for the vacant town clerk’s position and is expected to make a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen at the board’s meeting next Monday. The position has been vacant since clerk Amy Summers left in January to take the same position in Stoughton. The board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, Summer Street.
The Planning Board at its meeting Thursday will continue a public hearing into a proposal by Lahey Hospital & Medical Center to locate a backup diesel generator at its 29 Burlington Mall Road building. Lahey seeks approval of a minor engineering change to its site plan, and also approval of a special permit it needs to store diesel fuel in a water resource district, according to Don Benjamin, the town’s senior planner. In another continued hearing, the School Department is seeking approval of its plan to make improvements to the high school parking lot, including restriping, repaving, and modifying the entry way. The board will also resume discussion of a proposed zoning change to expand the areas in town where parking garages are allowed. It will continue a hearing into a proposal by Muller Glen LLC to make minor engineering changes to its site plan for Holly Glen, a development of 32 single-family homes now under construction off Muller Road. The change would provide for the homes to be heated by propane gas instead of natural gas. The board will also resume a public hearing into a request by Verizon Wireless to place equipment on an existing 190-foot cell tower owned by American Tower at 51 North Ave. Verizon is seeking approval of minor engineering changes to the site plan to place its antennae on the tower and to install ground-level equipment.
Fire jugglers are coming to Union Square for a winter festival that will also feature ice sculptures and activities for kids. A Different Spin, a group of entertainers that spin and juggle torches and other items to music, will take to an outdoor stage for the event called Fire & Ice: A Winter Festival in Union Square. The festival will be held Saturday, March 1, from 3 to 6 p.m., and will also feature ice sculpting demonstrations by Don Chappelle of Brilliant Ice Sculptures. Black Magic Coffee and the Frozen Hoagie food truck will provide refreshments at the festival.
The Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce honored 19 local business owners and companies with Community Partner Program Awards at its annual meeting Jan. 30. The distinction is given to chamber members that support the chamber and the community throughout the year through events, sponsorships, and volunteerism. The award winners for 2013: Denise Benard of Salon Muffie; Dennis Frazier of Cooling Unlimited Inc.; Francine Coughlin of Bark ’n’ Roll Canine Care; Julie Centrella of Aine’s Boutique; Alex Williams and her sister Jackie Williams of Axle Color Studio; Jennifer Donaghey of Em-belle-ish; Burbank YMCA; Don Douglass of Douglass Edgerley & Bessom Funeral Home; Kathi A. Spurr, a certified financial planner with K.S. Financial; Leah McCann of Salon 77; Leslie McGonagle of Reading Gymnastics Academy; Lisa Ferraguto of The Jewelry Vault; Michael Bonnell, manager of Bertucci’s restaurant in Reading; Pat Lee, owner of Horseshoe Grille and Hillview Country Club; Reading Municipal Light Department; Reading Co-operative Bank; The Savings Bank; William F. Crowley of the Law Office of William F. Crowley; and John Murphy, who received the award for his work with the chamber while employed by Reading Cooperative Bank, a post he left earlier this year. The chamber also honored past treasurer David O’Neil of Century 21 Spindler & O’Neil with a president’s award for his tenure as treasurer. For more information, visit the chamber website at www.readingnreadingchamber.org
Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” S. Stapczynski has released his proposed spending plan for fiscal 2015, which begins July 1. Stapczynski’s recommended budget shows an increase of $7 million, or 4.5 percent, to $164.6 million. The proposal is based on projections showing that new growth remains strong at $1.5 million. Under the proposal, the budgets for town departments and divisions will increase an average of 3.5 percent, mainly due to contractual obligations. Fixed costs total $26.4 million in the proposed budget, which is an increase of 4.3 percent over the current fiscal year; health insurance is the largest expense in this category. To view the budget proposal, visit the town website at www.andoverma.gov.
Wenham, Hamilton, and the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District took another step toward creating a shared public facilities and infrastructure department when they recently received a $90,000 Commonwealth Community Innovation Challenge Grant for the hardware and software needed to create the department. The state grant program attempts to create incentives for regionalization. This is the second grant for the two towns and the school district, which received a Commonwealth grant of $30,000 in 2013 to allow the University of Massachusetts to help plan the framework for creation of a regional department. “The school district and the towns are committed to moving forward to design and implement a new paradigm for the management of all public facilities, infrastructure, and grounds maintenance, including routine and preventative building maintenance, capital repairs and overall infrastructure improvements,” said Wenham Selectman Patrick Wilson. “The potential savings to the citizens of Hamilton and Wenham and the opportunities to increase quality and efficiency are substantial.”
Darrell Lockwood, superintendent of schools for the Masconomet Regional School District, recently announced his intention to retire at the end of the fiscal year, June 30. Lockwood, 60, is in his fourth year as superintendent. The Masconomet School Committee planned to meet last week to appoint a consultant to assist in the search for a new superintendent.
The long-vacant Woolworth building is expected to be demolished this spring to make way for Harbor Place, a mixed-use development that will house a satellite campus for the University of Massachusetts Lowell as well as several restaurants and stores. The 1.5-acre waterfront building will feature a seven-story commercial building with ground-floor retail shops and riverfront restaurants, as well as a pedestrian corridor to a new Merrimack River boardwalk and public plaza. The redevelopment project is being led by Merrimack Street Ventures LLC, a partnership of two nonprofits, the Greater Haverhill Foundation and the Planning Office for Urban Affairs. Redevelopment of the Woolworth building, which has sat empty for more than 40 years, “will prove to be the most significant development project in the city of Haverhill,” state Representative Brian S. Dempsey, a Haverhill Democrat and chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said in a written statement, noting that Harbor Place “will change the downtown landscape while promoting one of our city’s greatest resources in providing access to the Merrimack River.” For more information on the project, visit the city website at www.ci.haverhill.ma.us
Peabody is partnering with Clark Farm on a community-supported agriculture program. In a CSA, a local farm invites customers to purchase shares of their harvest at the start of the growing season. Those purchasing a share receive a weekly supply of fresh fruits and vegetables and other products throughout the season. The city offered a CSA program last summer with another farm. As was the case last year, the products will be delivered weekly to the Peabody Institute Library at its main library at 82 Main St. and at the West Branch library, 603 Lowell St., for pick-up by the shareholders. Clark Farm, located in Danvers, features fruits and vegetables that are naturally grown without pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. Shareholders will receive an array of vegetables from the farm, including lettuces, kale, beets, carrots, onions, shallots, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and summer squash. They will be supplemented by fruit, maple syrup, preserves, cheeses, and other products from other New England farms. The 20-week program begins June 10 and will cost $300 for a small share and $500for a large share. For more information and to sign up, contact Bill Clark at 978-790-3303, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MSPCA at Nevins Farm is offering a lecture titled “Starting Your Own Backyard Flock” from noon
to 3 p.m. next Sunday
in its Rogers Education and Training Room. Topics will include establishment of a successful flock, nutrition and housing, basic handling, and safety. Intended for animal professionals, farm bird enthusiasts, and members of the public, the lecture will be followed by a choice of hands-on learning events at the farm’s chicken coop. Participants need only register for one hands-on session; they are scheduled for March 8, April 6, and May 4. Two $10 donations are required, one to register for the lecture and one for the hands-on day. For more information, call 978-687-7453.
An attorney representing a methadone clinic in Lowell said his client will continue to plan for a move into a new building, despite a complaint filed with the city Zoning Board of Appeals over its new location on the Lowell-Chelmsford line. David Daly, president and chief executive of Daly General Contracting and PrideStar EMS, has cited concerns about the new clinic, ranging from pedestrian safety to traffic flow and negative effects for the neighborhood as a whole. He has filed an appeal through his attorney representing his businesses, which are located on property abutting the proposed clinic site. Habit OpCo, the clinic, is leaving its current Hall Street location because of an expired lease with the Wannalancit Mills complex.
The city has expressed interest in purchasing Camp Paradise, the 12-acre camp at the corner of Cole and Foster streets that was listed for sale for $1.4 million last summer by the Girl Scouts of Massachusetts.
Beverly Parks and Recreation director Bruce Doig said he has toured the property and he planned to meet with Girl Scout representatives late last week to discuss a sale. Doig said the property would be ideal for student nature trips and could serve the four city-run summer day camps that now operate at Lynch Park.
US Representative John F. Tierney will hold an open forum at Salem State University on Tuesday. The free forum is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. in Veterans Hall in the Ellison Campus Center on Lafayette Street, on the university’s North campus. Tierney, a Salem Democrat and a Salem State alumnus, will discuss the crisis in Syria and the neighboring region; veterans affairs; and the National Security Agency and privacy concerns related to its surveillance practices. The forum is being organized by Salem State’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Bates Center for Public Affairs, the Political Science Department, the School of Social Work, and the Peace Institute.