NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

July 2, 2013

Weather's looking perfect for fireworks on the 4th

Amesbury City Notebook
Mac Cerullo

---- — The annual Fourth of July fireworks display at Woodsom Farm is scheduled for Thursday at sundown, and so far the weather forecasts for the day are looking fairly promising.

As of yesterday afternoon, Thursday’s forecast is calling for a high of 88 degrees during the day with a 30 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms throughout the area. There will also be a nice breeze coming in from the southwest, but it will be very humid as well, according to weather.com.

It is expected to cool off considerably as the day wears on. By sundown the forecast predicts temperatures around 70 degrees with partly cloudy skies and a 10 percent chance of rain. Presuming that it doesn’t rain earlier in the day, it should be an ideal night for fireworks at Woodsom Farm, which will come as welcome news for event organizers after the logistical ordeal they endured last year.

Last year the fireworks display was postponed because forecasts were predicting inclement weather on the Fourth itself. The fireworks were moved from Wednesday to Friday, and the decision to postpone turned out to be a good call after a huge storm rolled through Amesbury right at sunset and dumped heavy rains across the region.

The fields had all dried up by Friday, and with perfect weather, residents were able to enjoy an ideal night for the fireworks.

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After a hectic month of June that included over a dozen meetings, most of which related to the city budget and the proposed salary increases, the City Council is finally getting a bit of a rest this week as locals turn their attention away from municipal matters and toward a relaxing holiday weekend.

But before the councilors have a chance to get away themselves, there is one last Ordinance Committee meeting tonight that will address a piece of legislation that got lost in the shuffle during last month’s hubbub.

Council President Anne Ferguson has proposed an amendment to the city code that would require grant applications that require a match from the city to be submitted to the city clerk’s office and to the council at the time of filing. That would keep the City Council in the loop if the grant were to later necessitate a funding request from the council.

The Ordinance Committee will discuss the issue tonight, and depending on how the discussion goes, it could also be brought forth for a public hearing at next week’s full meeting of the City Council.

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Residents interested in running for office in Amesbury this fall have until the end of this month to pull nomination papers from City Hall, and early indications suggest that we could be seeing one of the busiest elections in years for mayor and for City Council.

But for other elected positions like the School Committee and Planning Board, that hasn’t been the case.

As of yesterday afternoon, only current School Committee members Tom McGee and Peter Hoyt have pulled nomination papers to run for re-election. None of the other current members have pulled papers yet, and no new challengers have either. The same is true for the Planning Board, Library Trustees and Housing Authority members, where nobody has indicated a desire to run at this point.

So what happens if not enough people end up pulling nomination papers by the deadline?

“If nobody pulls paper by the 26th, then at the November election, whoever gets the most votes for that seat will get the seat if they so choose,” said City Clerk Bonnijo Kitchin.

Kitchin said she expects every seat will have at least one nominee, but it wouldn’t be unprecedented if a couple wind up needing to be filled by write-ins.

“We’ve had it happen before, where there might be four seats open and only three people take out papers, then it’s the top vote-getter,” Kitchin said. “Then what happens is I have to send them a letter saying they’ve got the most votes and they have to get back in touch with me and say yes or no.”

The deadline to pull nomination papers is Friday, July 26, at 5 p.m., and after that candidates will have until Tuesday, July 30, at 5 p.m. to submit their papers with the appropriate number of signatures to be certified by the Board of Registrars.

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Just a reminder that City Hall will be closed Thursday for the holiday and will reopen on Monday, July 8. Anyone who has a pressing issue to attend to at City Hall this week is urged to stop in by Wednesday.

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

Tonight

City Council Ordinance Committee, 7 p.m., City Hall Auditorium.

Cultural Council, 7 p.m., 14 Cedar St., Artist Studios.

Thursday

Fireworks, Sunset, Woodsom Farm.

Monday

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

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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.