For selectmen, 10 is the limit

It took selectmen all of 30 seconds to pass a motion that could save the board time all year long.

In the spirit of the new year, Selectmen Chairman Brian Major asked the board to take on a resolution that all meetings in 2008 be adjourned by 10 p.m. Without deliberation, the motion was passed 5-0 on Monday night.

| Brian Messenger

Give a pint, get a pound

Not only will folks who donate blood at the Jan. 15 American Red Cross blood drive at Temple Emanuel help save lives, they'll also receive a coupon for a free pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee.

The coffee retail chain has paired with the Red Cross, donating the coupons to sweeten the deal for donors.

The drive is Tuesday, Jan. 15 at the Temple Emanuel, 7 Haggetts Pond Road, Andover. Donor hours are 2 to 7 p.m. Walk-in donors are welcome; appointments can be made by calling 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.

The Red Cross states that nearly 2,000 units of blood are needed each day to help those in need locally. It is a constant challenge to collect enough blood to meet the needs of hospital patients year round.

It only takes about an hour of time -- and one small pinch -- to become a hero to someone in need. Anyone 17 or older, weighing 110 pounds or more and feeling in good health may be eligible to donate blood. Call 1-800-448-3543 or visit for more information or questions about donating blood.

-- Bethany Bray

Got books?

Lots of kids received new books this holiday season, meaning families are looking for places to put them all.

Zoe Gates of Andover has a great solution. The Pike School sixth-grader is collecting used children's books, which she donated to a national program that distributes books to underprivileged children, so people can make some space for their new books and help a good cause.

Zoe donates the books to Reach Out and Read, and her previous book drives have helped Children’s Hospital in Boston.

Two years ago, she collected 500 used books. Last year, she wrote to the elementary schools in Andover and the students at the schools donated nearly 5,000 used books to her book drive.

Zoe is at it again. She's teamed with Girl Scout troops in Andover and North Andover to collect used books. If you have used children's books, contact Zoe and her mom, Joan Gates, at They will arrange a time to pick up your volumes.

| Judy Wakefield

with photo: jtfkpt77

Oh captain, my captain

West Middle School students gave outgoing Principal Denise Holmes a unique and fitting retirement gift on her last day: a radio-controlled electric plane that they designed themselves. Under Holmes' watch, the school added an engineering lab in which students use planes to study science.

A close look at the plane showed that Holmes is pictured at its controls. The plane is signed by teachers and administrators and includes the message, "Thanks for helping us take off."

Assistant Principal Steve Murray has taken Holmes' place at the helm of West Middle School. His first day as principal was last Wednesday, when students returned to school after the winter holiday.

Town Meeting idea? Get it together soon

Although Town Meeting isn't for several months, time is running out for normal townspeople who want to have something voted on during the affair.

The warrant for the Annual Town Meeting will close Friday, Jan. 18. Call the town clerk's office at 978-623-8257 for information on how to obtain private warrant article forms or go to the town clerk's office at 36 Bartlet St., Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A copy of the private warrant article form and information on how to file a private warrant article can also be obtained on the town Web site,, under "Town Meeting."

Handling the multitudes

With the advent of e-mail and electronic cards, the traditional Christmas card might be slightly less popular than before, but mail volume is still heavier around the holiday season, according to the Andover Post Office.

While letter volume has gone down in recent years, Internet shopping has kept package count high.

A postal supervisor estimated that nearly 10,000 packages were shipped through Andover during the three weeks leading up to Christmas this year. He said approximately 80,000 other pieces | including holiday cards, advertisements and bills | were handled.

| Angela Marie Latona, correspondent

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