Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

March 28, 2013

News in brief: Short items of news from around the region


The Andover Townsman

---- — League of Women Voters reschedules budget forum to April 10

The date for the League of Women Voter’s annual budget forum has been changed to Wednesday, April 10.

The League of Women Voters of Andover/North Andover says that residents can prepare for Annual Town Meeting by attending the forum on April 10 at 7 p.m. in the School Committee Room, 36R Bartlet St., Second Floor of the School Administration Building. The budget forum brings together leaders of town government to discuss issues and answer citizen questions about the FY 2014 budget.

“Jon Stumpf, Finance Committee, will provide an overview of the key drivers of revenues and expenses and discuss components of the budget. Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski and Superintendent Dr. Marinel McGrath will present notable changes in anticipated revenues for FY2014 and look at specific cost increases as well as efficiencies and cost reduction efforts. Paul Salafia, Chair of the Board of Selectmen, and Paula Colby-Clements, Chair of the School Committee, will discuss the general budget situation and look at issues requiring resolution prior to Town Meeting,” according to the League. “Each year, the League organizes this opportunity for residents of Andover to interact directly with town leaders in order to learn more about the budget, ask questions, and voice concerns in advance of Town Meeting.”

The forum will be televised live and taped for rebroadcast on Andover TV, Comcast Channel 99 and Verizon Channel 43.

Residents may make presenters aware of concerns they would like addressed at the forum by emailing questions in advance. Additional questions will be taken from those who attend in person and can be emailed in during the forum. Whether you plan to attend in person or watch from home, send your questions to: VoterServiceAndover@lwv-andovers.org.

MSL’s annual Animal Rights Day

Massachusetts School of Law will host its seventh annual Animal Rights Day on Saturday, March 30 beginning at 8 a.m. at the law school at 500 Federal St. in Andover.

The event is free and open to the public.

Legal issues related to animal rights and animal cruelty will be addressed by recognized legal experts in the field of animal rights law.

A police dog demonstration will be presented by the Essex County Sheriff’s department.

Kids’ activities will also be available, including an Easter Egg Hunt with the Easter Bunny, face painting, animal crafts, and Boo the Pony.

The Andover Fire Department will be on hand with a fire truck to demonstrate its equipment to attendees.

NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled American, an organization that provides independence to people who are deaf or have a disability through the use of canine assistance, will also be at the event, as will BlueDog, a local company that provides a full range of canine-related services.

A complimentary breakfast at 8 a.m. will kick off the event. A complimentary lunch will also be provided.

Copies of the “Please, Can We Keep the Donkey?” book, written by MSL professors Diane Sullivan and Holly Vietzke, will be on sale at the event. All proceeds from book sales will benefit the Shadow Fund, established by MSL to assist animals with medical needs.

Although not required, MSL organizers request an e-mail from anyone interested in attending at animallaw@mslaw.edu, with “Plan to Attend” in the subject line.

For more information call MSL at 978-681-0800.

Rep. Lyons calls for state-level reform, not spending

State Rep. James Lyons of Andover has joined fellow Rep. Marc Lombardo of Billerica in calling for the Governor Deval Patrick “to show his own political courage to end political patronage in his administration.”

In a press release the two say that under the Patrick Administration, there has been an explosion of six figure patronage jobs.

“Governor Patrick calls his $2 billion dollar tax hike ‘a generational responsibility.’ Governor Patrick has been irresponsible in his oversight of the tax dollars of the hard working families in the Commonwealth,” Lyons said in the release.

“We need reform in state government, not unending tax hikes,” said Lyons. “Every day news reports chronicle the scandals in the administration’s drug labs, lack of oversight of pharmaceutical manufacturing, and political job hires. It’s time to put a halt to these failures.”

New IRS YouTube video

With the April 15 tax filing deadline approaching, the Internal Revenue Service created a new YouTube video to provide taxpayers more details and tips to check on their tax refund. The new video, How to Use the Where’s My Refund?, offers in-depth information about how the redesigned “Where’s My Refund” tool works on IRS.gov, according to Media Relations Specialist Peggy Riley.

The IRS expects this video will also be a helpful resource for taxpayers. The refund video is one of several YouTube videos the IRS created to help taxpayers navigate this year’s filing season.

Andover recognizing National Public Health Week

The Andover Health Department has announced activities for the month of April set to bring attention to National Public Health Week. Public Health Week celebrates the work local health departments do on a day-to-day basis to care for the citizens they serve. The theme for 2013 is “Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money.” ROI stands for “Return on Investment.”

The Public Health Museum in Tewksbury also is holding several events that are free and open to the public. Visit their website for the schedule: publichealthmuseum.org.

As part of the effort, upcoming Andover health events include the following:

The Andover Health Department will hold a cholesterol screening program on Thursday, April 11. Call for details and appointment.

Adults wishing to be vaccinated against pneumonia and TdaP (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis) can call for details and appointments.

Blood pressure clinics will be conducted every Wednesday at the Andover Senior Center from 2 to 3 p.m. on a walk-in basis.

A Sharps Disposal Day, in conjunction with the Andover Police Department and a DEA Medication Disposal Day, will be held on Saturday, April 27 at the West Middle School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A public health display and information table will be set up at the Memorial Hall Library.

Residents seeking further information may call the Andover Health Department at 978-623-8295.

Greenscapes groups seeks pet-owners’ help

Did you know that unscooped dog poop can pollute local waters? This spring, the town of Andover is partnering with the Greenscapes North Shore to make people more award of the importance of picking up after one’s pets.

Greenscapes North Shore is made up of three organizations from across the North Shore — Salem Sound Coastwatch, the Ipswich River Watershed Association, the Eight Towns and the Great Marsh Committee. A release from the group says dog waste has twice as much bacteria as human waste and notes that rain washes these bacteria into the nearest bodies of water —untreated.

Children are especially vulnerable to the parasites, viruses and bacteria involved. The symptoms are: flu-like, vomiting, diarrhea, ear infections, rashes and fever.

To spread the word about the importance of scooping after one’s pet, the Greenscapes Program has created an information card for Andover citizens with facts and tips about how to keep dog waste out of our waters. These cards are available at local veterinary offices and at the town clerk’s poffice where dog owners come to purchase dog licenses.

The Greenscapes effort seeks to have pet owners always bring bags and put filled bags in a trash can, never in a recycling bin or a storm drain.

Gently used children’s items for sale

Nashoba Valley MoM, a nonprofit organization, will hold a sale of gently used children’s items on Saturday, April 6 from 8 a.m. to noon at Central Congregational Church, 1 Worthen St., Chelmsford.

Items for sale include baby equipment, toys, clothes, books and more. Only cash accepted. For more information, visit nashobavalleymom.org or call 978-376-2939.

Wildlife refuge seeks volunteer wardens

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, located on Plum Island, is looking for volunteer plover wardens for the 2013 plover season. Beginning in April of each year, the entire refuge beach is closed to all public entry to provide undisturbed nesting habitat for the federally threatened piping plover. The Volunteer Plover Warden Program significantly contributes to the breeding success of these birds.

Plover warden orientation will be held this Saturday, March 16 from 9 a.m. to noon at Refuge Headquarters, 6 Plum Island Turnpike, across the street from the Joppa MA Audubon building on the turnpike. The public is welcome to attend this meeting with no obligation to volunteer. Anyone interested in this opportunity or other types of volunteer positions for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Parker River, is encouraged to call the Refuge at 978-465-5754 ext. 208 for more information.

2013 Priceless Prom Gown Program

Teens looking for some help in attending their prom have a local organization to which they can turn: the Priceless Prom Gown Program.

Upcoming boutique dates for the Priceless Prom Gown Program will be held April 6 and 27 from noon to 5 p.m. The program’s boutique is located behind the Everett Mill in the historic Stone Mill at 15 Union St. in Lawrence.

The PPGP is a non profit 501(c)3 program that is in its seventh year that helps local high school students to attend their proms who otherwise might not be able to do so due to financial hardship or family circumstances.

“Local financially challenged teenagers are encouraged to come and choose the perfect prom gown and accessories for a nominal donation of $10. We even have a few tuxedos for the boys,” the group says in a release. “We are proud to be able to offer this opportunity through the help of private and local business donations and tireless volunteers.”

For information about Priceless Prom Gown Program, or to make a donation, visit the website pricelesspromgownprogram.com or contact carol@pricelesspromgownprogram.com.

GLCAC Inc offers free tax services to low/moderate-income families

Free tax services for low- to moderate-income families and individuals are available from the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council Inc., which is participating in the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.

GLCAC Inc.’s volunteers will offer free tax help to people earning $51,000 or less and who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.

The tax preparers will also help families file for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which could mean a tax refund for families.

Tax return services will be available Tuesdays and Thursdays between 4 and 8 p.m. through April 11.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 978-620-4669. Clients are expected to bring financial records to their appointments, and if filing jointly, both individuals must be present. A full list of required records is available at glcac.org.

Andover Choral Society seeks new singers

The Andover Choral Society invites new members to join it for its final concert of the group’s 83rd season.

A gala performance of arias, choruses, and ensembles from favorite operas will be presented on Sunday, April 28, at 3 p.m. at the Rogers Center for the Arts at Merrimack College. Professional Boston-area soloists will add to the festivities.

The rehearsals are Mondays at 7:20 to 9:30 p.m. at Christ Church, 25 Central St. in Andover. For more information call 603-893-5636. The Andover Choral Society is sponsored in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Help replace veterans’ grave flags

On Sunday, April 14, Andover veterans, cadets, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and interested citizens will meet at 11 a.m. at Spring Grove Cemetery off Abbot Street to replace 3,600 flags on the graves of deceased Andover veterans.

The process takes about 90 minutes and affords an opportunity to see parts of Andover’s history up close., according to the town veterans services office.

In case of inclement weather the flags will be placed on graves at 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 21.

For more information, call the Andover Veterans Services Office at 978-623-8218.

Mass. boating basics course

The Massachusetts Environmental Police and Andover Sportsman’s Club will offer a boating basics course at the Andover Sportsman’s Club, 655 Middleton Road, North Andover.

Classes are April 30, May 7, 14, 21 and 28 from 7 to 9 p.m. Participants must attend all classes.

Students must be at least 12 years of age. Youth 12 through 15 years of age who successfully complete the course will be issued a safety certificate allowing them to operate a motorboat without adult supervision, as required by state law. This course will also satisfy the state requirements for personal watercraft users who are 16 or 17 years of age.

All graduates will be issued a safety certificate.

Registration is required at mass.gov/ole.

Cholesteral screening for town residents

The Andover Board of Health is holding a cholesterol screening clinic on Thursday, April 11, from 9 a.m. until noon. An appointment is necessary. The clinic is for Andover residents only.

The simple finger stick test costs $5 and does not require fasting. For an appointment call the Andover Health Department at 978-623-8295.

This program is made possible through a grant from the Andover Home for Aged People.