NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

April 30, 2013

Surprise! There's an election today

Amesbury City Notebook
Mac Cerullo

---- — Is it just me, or has this election season been unusually tame?

By this point last November, we were already up to our eyeballs in commercials, advertisements and wall-to-wall political mudslinging on seemingly every channel on television.

It wasn’t much better during the primary season, and my recollection is it was largely the same story in 2010 when Scott Brown and Martha Coakley went at it the last time there was a special election for the U.S. Senate.

True, the primaries during that race may not have been as intense as the general election was, but the fact is that today is an election day, and from what I’ve seen, that might come as a surprise to a lot of people.

Polls will be open in Amesbury at the high school from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and voters will have the opportunity to choose from either the two Democratic candidates, U.S. Congressmen Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch, or the three Republic candidates, former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez, former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and state Rep. Daniel Winslow.

The winners will face off in the June 25 special general election to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry.

Even if this is the first you’re hearing about it, make sure you get out and vote!

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With the warm season finally here, the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce is preparing a database of street performers for future outdoor events this summer.

The Chamber announced that any insured and licensed performers are welcome to submit contact information and a brief description of what they do, as well as a picture, short video and/or sound clip. Prospective performers should also include the average cost of a performance of one to three hours, and the Chamber noted that it often produces events on a shoestring budget.

Chamber director Melissa LaChance asked that all information be sent to her email at melissa@amesburychamber.com with the subject line “I’m a Street Performer.”

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Lake Attitash is continuing its ongoing battle against invasive weeds this summer, and several residents have joined the Lake Attitash Association’s new Weed Watcher Program, the association announced earlier this week.

The association has organized 25 volunteers into 12 teams that will inspect the lake monthly and report on Eurasian milfoil or other invasive weeds they find in their assigned sectors. Teams will use their own boats or kayaks and are equipped with view-scopes, or devices for looking underwater, the association said.

The volunteers will also have color photographs of weeds, maps and small buoys for marking at suspected locations. A 23-page handbook from the association will guide the volunteers in surveying for weeds and reporting their results.

Invasive weeds have been a problem in Lake Attitash for a number of years and at one point threatened to destroy the lake’s native ecosystem by choking off the growth of important native aquatic plants.

Efforts to reverse the problem have largely eradicated the weeds from the lake, but there are still concerns that visiting boats could reintroduce the weeds to the lake. The association has asked that boaters wash their boats before putting them in the lake, and the Weed Watcher program is intended to deal with any weeds that do appear.

The association said more volunteers are welcome, and training will be conducted on May 18. This session will be open to the public in case other residents wish to join the teams or learn how to spot invasive weeds in their own area of the lake.

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On Saturday, May 11, the local post offices will be participating in the 21st annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive to benefit area food pantries, including Our Neighbors’ Table and Community Action, Inc.

The drive is being conducted by the National Association of Letter Carriers, who note that the drive comes at a time when most food pantries have exhausted their supply of food from the holidays and need to restock their shelves for the summer.

All non-perishable food items are being accepted, and the most needed items include peanut butter, jelly, canned tuna, canned chicken, pasta sauce, baked beans, canned meals, macaroni and cheese, canned fruit, canned vegetables, boxed juice, healthy granola bars, trail mix, dried fruit, cooking oil, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, shelf-stable milk, applesauce, cereal, pasta, shampoo, deodorant and large-sized diapers.

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The following meetings are scheduled this week and are open to the public:

Today

State Primary Election for vacant U.S. Senate seat, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Amesbury High School

Monday

Conservation Commission meeting, 6:30 p.m., City Hall Auditorium

Historical Commission meeting, 7 p.m., 9 School St.

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Mac Cerullo covers Amesbury for The Daily News. He can be reached at 978-462-6666, ext. 3238 or by email at mcerullo@newburyportnews.com. Follow Mac on Twitter at @MacCerullo.