NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

January 7, 2013

A reinstated Thomas ready for patrol this week

Salisbury Town Notebook
Angeljean Chiaramida

---- — After 19 months away from the Salisbury Police Department, 24-year veteran officer Mark Thomas will be back patrolling locals roads starting Wednesday, according to police Chief Tom Fowler.

Following a lengthy appeal through the police union, on Oct. 31, an independent arbitrator ordered Thomas to be rehired after he was fired last Feb. 3 by Town Manager Neil Harrington on two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer. Ruling he’d been fired “without just cause,” the arbitrator ruled Thomas, 46, get his job back and be made whole for lost wages and benefits.

The town undertook a months-long investigation into Thomas’ behavior, resulting in a 115-page report that Harrington has said led to his actions. The investigation stemmed from allegations that surfaced against Thomas, made by his fellow officers at the Salisbury Police Department. The procedure took place about a year before Fowler took over as Salisbury’s chief.

Fowler said, like any officer who’d been away from police work for more than a year, Thomas has spent the past 40 days since he was reinstated getting up to speed on law enforcement issues he missed during his time away from police work. He also spent 40 hours riding with a department field training officer, Fowler said.

“Any officer separated for 19 months needs to get caught up on training and legal updates, and be firearms qualified again,” Fowler said. “(Thomas) will start on Wednesday. He’ll be on the 3 to 11 shift, our busiest shift; that’s where I need him. Based on the needs of the department, he’ll be on patrol. As I told the selectmen recently, we need more patrolmen.”

Fowler added Thomas’ reinstatement has gone well so far.

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At 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, the Boys and Girls Club of the Lower Merrimack Valley will hold tryouts for its basketball travel team. All those who love basketball are welcome to attend to try to earn a place on the team. Youth do not have to be members of the club and can be from any town.

Teens who just want to shoot some hoops with friends can also drop in to the club’s open gym, available each day beginning at 5 p.m. Again, members and nonmembers are welcome.

For more information on the Boys and Girls Club, visit its 18 Maple St. location, call at 978-462-7003or surf over to its website at www.bgclmv.org.

Scholarships for income-qualifed Salisbury families are still available at the town Planning Department. Call 978-463-2266 for more information.

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With flu season hitting many hard, the Salisbury Family Connection is hosting a Cold and Flu Teddy Bear Clinic at Salisbury Elementary School from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Everything is free and intended to provide information on how kids can stay healthy during the cold and flu season. Each child will get a small gift provided by the hospital, a healthy snack and enjoy kid-friendly fitness activities.

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Salisbury Town Census is in the mail and Town Clerk Wilma McDonald urges all residents to fill it out, make any applicable changes and return it her office as soon as possible.

Many state and federal grants, as well as state aid, depend on the population figures determined by the town’s annual census. In addition, failing to return the census will affect residents’ eligibility to vote. As a result, it’s very important for residents to respond.

Census forms may either be mailed back or dropped off at the town clerk’s office at Town Hall.

For convenience, the census mailing also included 2013 dog license forms, McDonald said.

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Sea Spray Garden Club will be meeting Monday, Jan 14, at 7 p.m.at the United Methodist Church, 8 Lafayette Road.

The speaker this month is Linda Corapi of Gardens Galore in Stoneham. The topic is “All about Irises.”

Light refreshments will be served and the club always welcomes new members. Please call 978-388-4848 for more information.

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The Salisbury Lion’s Club urges residents to Give a Pint and Get a Pound on Friday when it sponsors a community blood drive from 1 to 6 p.m, in conjunction with the American Red Cross and Dunkin’ Donuts, at the Hilton Center, 43 Lafayette Road.

Each donor will receive a voucher for one pound of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, as well as snacks, fruit juices and bottled water.

Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood and every pint donated could save up to three lives. The Red Cross is urging the public to make an appointment to donate blood by calling 1-800-RedCross (1-800-733-2767) or visit www.redcrossblood.org.

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Residents and businesses with electronics to dispose of have an opportunity to do that from 9 a.m. to noon on Jan. 16 when Arc of Greater Haverhill/Newburyport offers an Electronic Recycling Drop Off event at the Newburyport Recycling Center, located at One Crow Lane

This project not only promotes responsible electronic waste disposal, but also provides services for people in the region with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Anything with a cord is accepted, and although the disposal of some items, like keyboards and mice, are free, there may be fees up to $25 involved for some items. For example, the fee for CPUs is $5; for computer monitors, the fees range from $10 to $15, depending on the size. For very large TVs, the fee is $25.

Styrofoam and packing peanuts are also welcome.

For more information contact Laurel Hanke at 978-373-0552, ext. 213.

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Angeljean Chiaramida covers Salisbury for the Daily News and can be reached at 978-462-6666, ext. 3271, or at achiaramida@newburyportnews.com.