Friday, October 29, 2010
News from surrounding towns
The following news items were extracted from material available online.
• Technology. Bedford-based iRobot Corporation gave Bedford High School students a demonstration of robot capabilities to raise interest in careers in science and technology. As part of the demonstration, the robot traveled the school hallways and climbed a flight of stairs. (“iRobot inspires Bedford High students with demo,” www.wickedlocal.com, October 20.)
• Capital projects. A new facilities master plan for Lexington Schools calls for roughly $120 to $138 million in capital expenses over the next decade, a $20 to $40 million increase over previous estimates. According to School Superintendent Paul Ash, one reason for the change is the anticipation that it may be difficult to obtain state aid for a planned renovation at Lexington High School. (“School projects could cost over $100 million in next 10 years,” www.wickedlocal.com, October 21.)
• New building. Construction began in August on a new $8.5 million meeting and performance hall at the Fenn School. The building will include a large auditorium as well as a wing with music practice and instruction rooms. (“Construction begins on new meeting/performance hall at Fenn in Concord,” www.wickedlocal.com, October 4).
• School repairs. Billerica Town Meeting recently approved an appropriation of $775,000 from free cash to be used to replace windows at the high school. Partial reimbursement is being sought from the Massachusetts School Building Authority. If the state provides aid for the project, any unused town funds will be used toward future school facility projects. (“Equipment purchases and school repairs passed at Town Meeting,” www.wickedlocal.com, October 8).
• Rare plant found. The Swamp Loosestrife, Decodon verticillatus, was discovered this summer in Stony Brook in Westford. Also called Water Willow, the native perennial has pinkish-purple flowers and grows to a height of eight-feet. It is unusual in Massachusetts and grows in swampy habitats. It may be found mixed in with Purple Loosestrife, which is an abundant and invasive non-native plant. (“Rare water willow found in Westford’s Stony Brook,” www.wickedlocal.com, October 7).
• Open space. Acton residents have voted to buy the roughly 12-acre Caouettee-Simeone land located on Stow, Maple and Martin Streets and have authorized funds to cleanup hazardous materials on a portion of the farm away from the agricultural land. A wooded area contains soil polluted with lead and arsenic, probably caused by burning coal at a factory located on the property 200 to 300 years ago. The cleanup and $1 million purchase will be funded by a combination of Community Preservation Act funds, other town funds, a $100,000 donation from the Steinberg-Lalli charitable Foundation and $10,000 from the Acton Conservation Trust. (“Residents face vote on land buy,” www.bostonglobe.com, October 24, and “Acton voters approve Caouette-Simeone land purchase,” www.wickedlocal.com, October 25.)
• Green grant. The town of Lincoln is to receive a Green Community grant of $140,000 to facilitate energy savings in both public and private buildings. A goal of the town’s Green Energy Technology Committee is to reduce residential energy use by 20%. Participating households will be given a free “kill-a-watt” meter to monitor household power consumption. (“Lincoln receives $140k Green Community grant,” www.wickedlocal.com, October 21.)
• Farming grant. A U.S. Department of Agriculture grant of $63,657 has been awarded to The Food Project in Lincoln. The grant is part of the government’s Farmers Market Promotion Program to encourage local marketing of agricultural products and to help poor families purchase more fresh local produce. (“Lincoln farmers markets to receive $63,657 in federal grant,” www.wickedlocal.com, October 20.)
• Town Administrator blogs. Summaries of Selectmen’s meetings and information on various municipal issues are posted two or three times a month by Littleton Town Administrator Keith Bergman on his blog, accessible online at: www.littletonma.org/content/3465/default.aspx.
• Town survey. Concord is in the bi-annual process of surveying a sample of residents on their satisfaction with municipal services, including Police, Fire and Waste Disposal. According to Town Manager Chris Whelan, 375 families are being surveyed. (“Town notes,” http://concord.patch.com, October 11).
• Job assistance for seniors. The Billerica Council on Aging is offering a Wisdom Works program for seniors seeking employment. The four-session program covers topics such as resume writing, search tips, using web-based job listings and social networking sites, and how to prepare for interviews. Billerica began hosting the program last spring and to date has helped about 20 seniors. Wisdom Works was developed by the career management consulting firm Keystone Associates of Burlington.
(“Job program helps elders re-enter the workforce,” www.wickedlocal.com, October 7). ∆
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