NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

March 27, 2013

Selectmen OK upgrade of ambulance service

Merrimac Town Notebook
Warren P. Russo

---- — Merrimac took another step forward in the rejuvenation and modernization of the community by approving the Fire Department’s request to upgrade its ambulance service from basic life support to advanced life support. The $8,000 investment required for emergency medical equipment, which the department will fund out of its existing budget, will enable faster response to medical emergencies, while reducing dependence on the resources of neighboring towns.

Fire officials estimate that the change will save as much as five minutes on a typical emergency medical response by not waiting for an ambulance from Amesbury, or as much as 15 minutes when waiting for assistance from as far away as Newburyport. As a plus, Merrimac will be able to bill for ambulance services and retain the funds instead of reimbursing other towns.

The Merrimac Fire Department’s request to upgrade its emergency care from intermediate to full paramedic was unanimously approved by the Board of Selectmen at their meeting Monday.

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The Merrimac Senior Center will host a Candidates & Issues Forum on Thursday, April 4. All are welcome, no cost or registration is required, and residents may quiz the candidates on any topic. Presentations will explain the new emergency radio system and the Senior Center budget.

“This is a great opportunity to ask questions and find out what’s going on in town,” said Selectman Laura Mailman, who is also director of the Senior Center.

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The 10th Annual Senior Center Golf Tourney is scheduled for Friday, August 16, at Apple Hill in East Kingston, N.H. Fee is $90 for those aged 65 and over, $99 for others, including golf cart rental, 18 holes of golf and dinner. All funds will go to support Senior Center programs. Volunteers are also welcome.

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Next Monday, selectmen will discuss and vote on proposed Town Meeting warrant articles. Residents are encouraged to attend and express their opinions at Merrimac Town Hall at 7 p.m.

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The Planning Board may be a lonely place for awhile, as its one open seat has gone begging for candidates. Current member Ron Barnes’ term expires on May 6, and if no one runs as a write-in candidate, the Board of Selectmen will appoint someone to serve until the next election. Community organizers interested in the next presidential election are urged to run.

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Opening Day at Merrimac’s Broad Street Yard Waste Site is April 13, and it will be open every Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., weather permitting. Leaves, grass and clippings are allowable, but no sticks, branches, garbage or bags will be accepted.

Brush will be accepted only on April 13, 27; May 4, 18; June 1, 15, 29; July 13, 27; Aug. 3, 17, 31; Sept. 14, 28; Oct. 5, 19 and Nov. 2, 16, 30. No roots, dirt, trash or trunks over three inches in diameter will be accepted, and sticks and branches must be neatly piled.

Located on Broad Street between the intersection of East Main Street (Route 110) and Dunkin’ Donuts, the yard waste site is for residents only and is not for commercial use. Residents can purchase an annual town sticker at the selectmen’s office by presenting a valid vehicle registration and $10 per vehicle.

Containers are available for disposal of electronics and white goods, at no additional fee, but items containing refrigerant are not acceptable.

Christmas comes but once a year, and so does Christmas tree drop-off day, so mark calendars for Jan. 11, 2014, at the Mill Street site.

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U.S. Rep. John Tierney, D-Salem, will make a rare appearance at Merrimac Town Hall on Thursday, April 4, from 9 to11 am. He will respond to questions regarding his voting record, congressional conflicts of interest, the economy, why Obamacare does not apply to Congress, Benghazi, taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal immigrants, the country’s current direction and other topics.

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The Merrimac Community Blood Drive is scheduled for Monday, April 22, at the Merrimac Public Library.

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Any resident who is interested in serving on the board of directors of Merrimac’s Parks & Recreation Department is urged to contact Jennifer Penney at the selectmen’s office. Due to the retirement of a board member, there will be an open seat as of April 30.

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The Third Annual Coast to the Cure bike ride to benefit Neurofibromatosis Northeast is scheduled to pass along River Road and Middle Street in Merrimac on Saturday, Sept. 7.

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Warren P. Russo covers Merrimac for The Daily News. He can be contacted at warrenrusso@live.com.