NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

February 11, 2014

City Council to fill District 2 vacancy tonight

Amesbury City Notebook
Mac Cerullo

---- — The City Council will fill numerous vacancies on various local government bodies tomorrow night in what is expected to be an otherwise quiet evening.

The main vacancies that need to be addressed are on the Planning Board and the City Council itself. The Planning Board will meet with the council in a joint session early on to fill its vacancy. The two applicants for the position are Robert LaPlante of 60 Merrimac St. and Dave Haraske of 8 Moody St., who unsuccessfully ran for District 6 city councilor last fall.

Once the Planning Board vacancy has been filled, the councilors will then fill the vacant District 2 City Council seat, which was left unfilled after former Councilor Christian Scorzoni moved out of district during last fall’s election season, making him ineligible to retain his seat after winning re-election.

The two candidates to succeed Scorzoni are Mary Louise Bartley, who unsuccessfully campaigned for the seat as a write-in candidate this past fall, and Kevin Shute, who is the son of former fire Chief Bill Shute.

The council is also expected to approve two appointments being requested by Mayor Ken Gray. Gray is seeking to appoint John Donnell of 14 Cabot Court to the Historical Commission and Cynthia Taibbi of 114 Elm St. to the Cultural Council.

The only public hearing on the agenda likely won’t require much debate, as Gray is requesting that the council accept a $64,306 grant that was recently awarded to the Amesbury Council on Aging by Tufts Health Plan to support the Senior Center’s Amesbury Caregiver Essentials program.

In addition, there will be five new proposals read as first readings that will be forwarded to committee and taken up for a final vote at a future council meeting.

The first is an order to grant an easement to National Grid so that new electrical equipment can be installed to service the Amesbury fire station.

The second, third and fourth bills all deal with the upcoming Route 150 improvement project, with one requesting that the City Council appropriate sufficient funds to acquire property interests along the project route and the others requesting that the city alter the layout of Hillside Avenue and Sparhawk Street.

The last bill is an order that the council accept $200,000 from the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, which would be used to fund additional site assessment and remediation work at Heritage Park recommended by the project’s LSP.

Tonight’s meeting will be held at City Hall auditorium starting at 7 p.m.

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The 2014 Lake Attitash Winterfest will be held this Saturday at the state boat ramp in Merrimac. The festival is being organized by the Lake Attitash Association, but all are welcome and you don’t need to be an association member to attend.

The festival will run from 1 to 4 p.m. and include skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowman making, human dog sled racing, a tug of war and more. Activities will depend on snow and ice conditions that day.

The Lake Attitash Association is providing music, hot chocolate, hot cider, s’mores and gas grills. Guests should bring a potluck item for sharing, your own beverage (no alcohol) and a chair if you’d like.

Any questions should be directed to event coordinator Larry Wolfe at 978-384-8056. Help is still needed for organizing and running the event, and volunteers who can help in any way are urged to email or call.

For updates or cancellation information, go to www.lakeattitash.org.

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As many of you may have read in the sports section yesterday, I’ve been promoted to sports editor of The Daily News. While this is obviously a very exciting opportunity for me, the downside is that I won’t be covering Amesbury anymore.

I wanted to take a moment to thank everybody I’ve worked with in Amesbury over the past year and a half for accepting me into the community and for treating me well, even when I wrote stories that weren’t necessarily flattering.

I also wanted to thank you, the readers, for reading my work and for helping to make Amesbury a great city. I’m happy to call Amesbury my home and I’ll be looking forward to watching the community continue to grow over the next few years, especially as Heritage Park, the Route 150 project and the Whittier Bridge projects all come to fruition.

For the time being, press releases and article ideas about Amesbury can be emailed to ndn@newburyportnews.com.

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

Tonight

Conservation Commission, 9 a.m., City Hall auditorium.

City Council, 7 p.m., City Hall auditorium.

Planning Board, 7 p.m., City Hall auditorium.

Wednesday

Amesbury High School Student Council, 7 p.m., high school cafeteria.

Thursday

Amesbury High School Council, 6:30 p.m., AHS Principal’s Conference Room.

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There are no meetings scheduled over the week of Feb. 17 due to school vacation week.