Friday, October 3, 2008
News from surrounding towns
The following news items were extracted from material available online at: www.wickedlocal.com.
• No Child Left Behind. Concord-Carlisle High School Principal Peter Badalament, who serves as the chairman of the Advocacy Committee for the Massachusetts Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), met with Congresswoman Niki Tsongas at her office in Washington, D.C. on September 16. During this visit with other educators from across Massachusetts, Badalament provided feedback on reauthorization of the controversial law - No Child Left Behind. (“High school principal meets with Tsongas,” September 16)
• Monitoring school bus rides.Lincoln public schools are installing cameras in all school buses to monitor inappropriate behavior. This installation was not initiated due to any incident, but to enhance security in order to encourage more students to ride the bus. (“Schools to install cameras on buses,” September 17)
• Billerica gets first hydrogen refueling station in Massachusetts. A hydrogen-fueled car can travel between 350 and 400 miles on a full tank. These are electric vehicles that produce electricity from hydrogen that is stored in their tanks; the cost of one gallon of hydrogen is roughly $4. With this being a fairly new concept, there is a shortage of local gas stations with hydrogen supply facilities. To meet this need, a local company in Billerica called Nuvera Fuel Cells has unveiled the first hydrogen refueling station in Massachusetts. (“This gas is greener,” August 13)
• Civilian flaggers to replace police on state road projects. With limited budgets to handle transportation projects, the state has passed a new regulation to limit the use of police presence at all state-funded road and bridge construction sites. (See “Carlisle Police share detail costs with Selectmen,” page 1.)
Under this regulation, police must be present only on roads with speed limits greater than 45 miles per hour, or on roads with traffic of more than 4,000 vehicles per day. Using civilians with a flag to perform the same role as police in guiding traffic flow would “save the state between $5.7 million and $7.2 million annually,” according to the Executive Office of Transportation.
The estimated earnings of the flaggers are between $31 and $38 an hour, while Boxborough officers earn $44 per hour for detail work, and Acton officers earn $39 an hour. The concern raised by Boxborough Patrolmen’s Union is that this move would jeopardize the safety of the traffic and working crew. (“Cops criticize detail changes,” September 25)
• Lexington. The Economic Development Task Force produced a report addressing several questions about commercial growth and the process of balancing this growth with the needs of the rest of the community. The task force concluded that there is a potential to increase the commercial tax income in Lexington by a total of $55 million over the next ten years by adopting recommendations on zoning and mitigating traffic congestion. (“Report: Economic growth possible, but will require road work,” September 18).
• Cash offered to offset 40B traffic impact. A proposal to build a 350-unit affordable housing complex is underway in Concord. Although all units will be located in Concord, the access point to this housing will be through the Old Powder Mill Road in Acton. This is expected to draw an estimated 2,200 cars per day through Acton, and to offset this load, the developer has offered to pay $800,000 to Acton. (“Selectmen consider $800K offering,” August14) ∆
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