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Globe Northwest Community briefing

Andover school cited by EPA

March 29, 2009
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ANDOVER
The Environmental Protection Agency said earlier this month that it has cited Phillips Academy as part of an ongoing enforcement effort against facilities with oil storage capacity that do not adequately prepare and fully implement spill prevention plans as required by the federal Clean Water Act. Such problems can carry penalties of up to $157,500, the EPA said. The private boarding school was also cited for not filing hazardous chemical inventory forms as required by the federal Emergency Planning and Right-to-Know Act, according to the EPA. Phillips officials have since prepared the prevention plans and filed the requisite hazardous chemical inventory forms, according to the EPA.

- Richard Thompson

CHELMSFORD
ANTHEM SINGER WANTED - One talented artist will beat out the competition to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the opening of the town's Fourth of July celebration. Applications for the first round of auditions for Chelmsford Stars Come 4th are online at www.townofchelmsford.us. The forms must be submitted to Town Offices, 50 Billerica Road, by 4 p.m. on April 17 in order to take part in the auditions on May 12 at 7 p.m. at Old Town Hall, 4 North Road. The first-place winner will be awarded a cash prize of $500 at the final competition on May 27 at the town's Performing Arts Center, 190 Richardson Road. Smaller cash awards will go to the runners-up. For more information, call 978-250-5201.

- Joyce Pellino Crane

DRACUT
DOG CHARITY EVENT - Wignall Animal Hospital is sponsoring a dog charity event at Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown, N.H. The Dracut-based hospital and Pets In Need Animal Rescue will host Evening at the Vineyard: A Cause For Paws to raise money to fund the proposed new offices and shelter for Pets in Need. Donations to the event's silent auction are still being accepted and tickets remain on sale for $50 per person. The event will also feature a free wine tasting, hors d'oeuvres, and a cash bar. The charity gala will be held April 17 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the vineyard, at 226 Main St. in Sandown. For more information, including tickets and donations, e-mail PINDogs@gmail.com. - Rocco Colella

DUNSTABLE
RESOURCE CENTER - Situated at its new offices at Colonel William Prescott School, the Groton-Dunstable Special Education Parent Advisory Council has opened a new resource center, which will serve as a guidance headquarters for district parents struggling with questions about their child's education. The resource center includes "a variety of resources, meeting space, and an activity corner for kids," according to the district newsletter. The resource center is in the lowest level of the school.

- Matt Gunderson

GROTON
VACATION CRACKDOWN - School officials at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School are trying to clamp down on family vacations during scheduled school days, as the volume of requests skyrockets this spring. As a result of the spike in the vacations, which school official say prevents students from keeping up with their course work, the school administration is going to report all days missed due to family vacations as non-excused absences, a "policy which will be strictly enforced," according to a school newsletter. The newsletter said more families are taking vacations now to take advantage of low travel prices.

- Matt Gunderson

LOWELL
RETIREMENT INCENTIVES - The City Council is holding a special meeting Tuesday to discuss and vote on a retirement incentive program for city employees. City Manager Bernard Lynch is asking the council to approve a proposal that would give employees a $5,000 bonus if they retire within a set time frame. The move would help the city close an expected $12 million budget deficit for the next fiscal year and avoid some layoffs. The proposal went before the council last week but members wanted more time to review the package, said Mayor Edward "Bud" Caulfield. The council will meet at 5 p.m. in City Hall.

- Jennifer Fenn Lefferts

METHUEN
MAYOR NOW TWITTERS - Everybody likes to gab, but Mayor William M. Manzi III really likes to tell you what's on his mind. Manzi not only has his own blog, billmanzi.com, but he also has a Twitter feed at twitter.com/billmanzi. Featured recently on both sites was the city's recognition by the clean-government group Common Cause for the third year in a row for having a municipal website that tells all. Among other things, the city's website has live webcasts of meetings of the City Council and other panels, including the School Committee, of which Manzi is chairman. On his blog, Manzi also posts video and commentary on national, state, and local politics.

- Connie Paige

NORTH ANDOVER
WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL - Students and staff at Merrimack College in North Andover will face off against the Celtics team of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association from 7-9 p.m. on April 15 at Merrimack's athletic complex. The Celtics are members of the New England chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America. The event is being staged by the college's Center for Academic Enrichment to raise greater awareness for the physically disabled. The competition is free, open to the public, and made possible through a Stevens Foundation grant.

- Brad Kane

PEPPERELL
LOW-FLOW TOILETS - The Pepperell and Groton housing authorities last week received grant money to purchase 42 environmentally friendly low-flow toilets, according to state Representative Robert Hargraves, a Groton Republican. Pepperell will receive $17,313 in grant money; Groton will get $14,839. The money was received as part of a Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development program designed to lower water consumption across the state.

- Matt Gunderson

TEWKSBURY
STEP BACK IN TIME - Always wanted to meet Susan B. Anthony? This might be the next best thing: Sally Matson, an actress who has toured the country playing the role of the women's rights leader, is scheduled to discuss Anthony's life at the Tewksbury Public Library on April 11 from 2 to 3 p.m. For more information, call 978-640-4490.

-Richard Thompson

TYNGSBOROUGH
HEAR 'OZ' IN SPANISH - Next month, students at the Innovation Academy on Tyng Road will present "The Wizard of Oz" with a twist: the production will be performed entirely in Spanish. Only a handful of tickets remain for the April 14 performance at 9:15 a.m. Another performance at 6 p.m. on April 15 of "El Mago de Oz" is sold out, according to the school's website at www.MurdochSchool.org. The play will be performed by seventh- and eighth-graders who are studying Spanish. Order forms for the $4 tickets are online.

- Joyce Pellino Crane

WESTFORD
BUSY RACE FOR SCHOOL PANEL - The School Committee race has attracted four candidates for three seats. Incumbents Margaret Murray and John Moran are running again. Also competing for three-year seats are Kenneth Teal and Angela Harkness. Betsy Andrews, the third member of the School Committee whose term is ending, did not file nomination papers. The townwide election takes place on May 5.

- Joyce Pellino Crane

NEW HAMPSHIRE

BEDFORD
SPEEDING CRACKDOWN - State Police pulled over 17 drivers for speeding through the Bedford toll booth on Route 3 during a 20-minute period on March 20. Most of the drivers were traveling in excess of 35 miles per hour. The tickets were written to kick off a period of stepped-up enforcement at Granite State tollbooths, where speeding has become more of a problem since the institution of the EZPass automatic toll collection system. - Tom Long

BROOKLINE
BUDGET TRIMS - Frugal voters at Town Meeting found several ways to trim the town budget for the next fiscal year. Among the cost-cutting measures were decisions not to provide funds for a new fire truck and police cruiser, which trimmed $200,000 from the proposed budget of $4.3 million.

- Tom Long

HOLLIS
FARMER TO TEND ORCHARDS - The town has found a farmer to operate 175 acres of town-owned apple orchards on Route 122. The town bought the property several years ago to protect it from development. Until last year it was leased by the Lievens brothers, owners of Woodmont Orchards in Londonderry. The land has since been leased to Lanni Orchards of Lunenburg, Mass. - Tom Long

HUDSON
SUIT IS DROPPED - The town's School Board has elected to drop its lawsuit to avoid instituting public kindergarten in September. The move came after a Superior Court judge ruled that the town must have a plan in place for public kindergarten in September despite the town's suit that challenged a state law that requires kindergarten in the fall on the grounds that it is an unfunded state mandate. At an emergency meeting on Tuesday, the board vote unanimously to drop the suit. The town hopes to begin registration for kindergarten on Wednesday. - Tom Long

NASHUA
BUSINESS DEAL - An investors group that has been prodding Pennichuck Corp. to resolve its dispute with the city has increased its holdings in the company. Last week, Pennichuck announced that Gamco Asset Management Inc. has increased its holding in the company from 15 to 20 percent. The company will also allow Gamco to seat two nominees on its boards of directors, which will expand from nine to 11 members. Gamco is owned by Wall street financier Mario Gabelli, who had threatened a proxy fight to get the corporation to sell the entire company to the city of Nashua, which has been trying to take over the company's subsidiary, Pennichuck Water Works, by eminent domain. - Tom Long

AROUND THE REGION

BURLINGTON
PLAYING FIELDS PROPOSED - New playing fields will be going in at the site of the former Wildwood School. The old elementary school building has been razed and town officials have been debating how to reuse the 14-acre property. Selectmen chairwoman Sonia Rollins said the board has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Recreation Commission to use the property for the next eight years.

- Jennifer Fenn Lefferts

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

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