The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 27, 2009

News from surrounding towns

The following news items were extracted from material available on the Internet:

Artificial Turf. Concord Board of Selectmen were told by Dr. Laura Green, senior scientist and president of Cambridge Environmental, that the lead present in the new artificial turf fields at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School does not pose a health threat. “I’m quite confident, both because the total lead content is very low and the bioavailability is unmeasurable.” Lead may be used to color artificial turf, but is thought to remain bound to the plastic. The town is planning to test the fields annually to ensure that the lead is not present in dust form, which could pose a health risk.

The subject came up when a Boston Globe story reported last fall that the artificial turf had been tested and found to contain lead levels above 13,000 parts per million (ppm). This result was in conflict with tests done by others as well as a retest by the Globe. Results obtained by the manufacturer showed levels below 250 ppm. The town of Concord arranged for additional testing that showed 416 ppm, and the Globe in January reported that their follow-up testing showed 294 ppm. (“Scientist: Tests show turf fields are safe,”, February 11)

Concord Academy tragedy. A 16-year old Concord Academy junior from Wellesley died Sunday, February 15, after being found unresponsive face-down in a stream in Andover where she had attended a party. She had walked away from the party at 5 a.m.; police were later called, and began a search two hours later. She was found around 10:30 a.m. and taken first to Lawrence General Hospital and then to Children’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead in the evening. (“Wellesley girl found in stream later dies,” Boston Globe, February 16; and “DA: No parents at party before death,” Boston Globe, February 18)

Farming. As the popularity of purchasing local produce grew during the five years between 2002 - 2007 over 1,500 new farms began operation in Massachusetts. Agricultural sales jumped from $31 million to $42 million during that time period, though the total farmland acreage “stabilized.” Farms in the state average about 70 acres in size. (“Big gains in small farms,” Boston Globe, February 22)

Libraries up. Public libraries in Acton and Boxborough are experiencing “significant increases in circulation” as people look for inexpensive activities close to home. Boxborough’s Sargent Memorial Library has seen circulation rise 28% in the past few months, while Acton circulation figures have risen between 14% - 21%. “In economic storm, more residents look to libraries,”, February 19)

Seniors. The number of senior citizens in Westford has increased 160% in the last 15 years and is expected to grow another 50% in the next decade. The town is considering a $4 million expansion to the Cameron Senior Center, which occupies a former school building. (“Senior-center expansion sought for graying Westford,” Lowell Sun, February 22)

Housing. Westford’s Zoning Board of Appeals approved the 208-unit Graniteville Woods 40B development, which is to include 41 affordable units. The proposal met opposition when proposed in 2006 as a 248-unit development. As an alternative to development, the town considered but ultimately rejected the idea of buying the property for $7.4 million. (“Graniteville Woods approved by board,”, February 18) ∆

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