Friday, July 16, 2010
News from surrounding towns
The following news items were extracted from material available on the Internet.
• Bottled water ban nixed. Concord’s bottled water ban bylaw “does not constitute a valid bylaw subject to the attorney general’s review and approval,” according to a letter from Assistant Attorney General Margaret Hurley to Concord’s Town Clerk. Bylaws must be approved by the attorney general to become law. However, Concord voters have the option to try again. Jean Hill, who crafted the bottled water bylaw, plans to propose a new version, this time seeking help drafting the language of the bylaw.
The bottled water bylaw received wide attention after being written up in the New York Times. “Ninety-five percent of the good the bottle ban could accomplish has already been accomplished,’’ Chair of the Concord Selectmen Jeffrey Weiand Wieand said. “It’s made the sale of plastic bottles a national and even an international issue.’’
Concord may be the first town in the U.S. to try to adopt a ban on bottled water, but the Australian town of Bundanoon voluntarily gave up bottled water a year ago, after a 355 to 1 vote at a community meeting. The Bundanoon action was part of efforts to keep an outside company from extracting water from within the town boundary. Organizers promoted the creation of filtered public water fountains, some stores in Bundanoon began offering chilled, filtered water and reusable water bottles were given to elementary students. (“Concord will probably try again with bottled water ban: Town Meeting to be in April,” July 12, www.bostonglobe.com) and (“Concord gets advice from Bundanoon on bottled water,” July 8, www.wickedlocal.com.)
• Water restrictions. Concord residents are being asked by the Public Works Department to conserve water by voluntarily refraining from outdoor water use, including pools and lawn irrigation. Due to the recent dry hot weather, increased demands on the town’s water system are about equal to the supply capacity with all town water sources in use. According to Concord DPW Water Superintendent Alan Cathcart, the last similar water advisory curtailing occurred three or four years ago. (“Concord ‘state of water supply conservation’ remains in effect,” July 9, and “Concord public works issues water advisory,” July 6, www.wickedlocal.com.)
The recent hot, dry weather is affecting area farmers. Chelmsford’s Jones Farm is trucking in irrigation water after a pond dried up. The town is restricting outdoor water use in residential areas. (“Holy Crop! Farmers pray for respite from heat,” July 8, www.lowellsun.com.)
• Museum embezzlement. Former chief financial officer of Harvard’s Fruitlands Museum, Peggy Kempton, has been sentenced to three to five years in state prison for embezzling over $1.3 million between 2002 to 2008. The prison term is to be followed by an additional 10 years of probation. (“Former Fruitlands’ CFO sentenced,” July 2, www.harvardpress.com.)
• Child assault. A 19-year-old former Concord-Carlisle Regional High School student, Gregory Collison, has been arrested and charged with assault and battery on a 12-year-old girl. According to police, the girl was walking on Minot Avenue in Acton, at about 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 8 when Collison allegedly got off his bicycle and grabbed the girl, who escaped unharmed and ran to a friends’ house. He then rode away and was arrested later that day. He was arrested last fall in connection with bomb threats at the high school. (“Preteen assaulted on Minot Avenue in Acton,” July 9, www.wickedlocal.com.)
• New nanotech center. The University of Massachusetts at Lowell is planning to build a $70 million, 84,000-square-foot research facility. The LEED-silver-certified Emerging Technology and Innovation Center is to house research programs in biomedicine, electro-optics and plastics engineering. (“UML set to construct new nanotech center, July 1, www.lowellsun.com). ∆
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