Monday, October 24, 2011

Essex Happenings October 25 2011

Essex Happenings, October 25, 2011

News from Two of Essex Heritage’s Foremost Education Partners

In the last couple of weeks, I have read two very interesting stories about activities and news being made at two of the most active Essex Heritage education partners. The two partners were the two community colleges in this region. The news that I want to comment on is above and beyond recent indications that the student population at both North Shore Community College and Northern Essex Community College have reached new highs. The first story concerned a new building that is nearing completion at the North Shore Community College where I am pleased to serve on the board that helps raise financial support for the institution. The college supports campuses in both Danvers and Lynn. The big news announced recently concerned a new innovative building being constructed on the Danvers campus. The new $31 million Health Sciences and student services building has just been dedicated and the building is a state of the art first ever State zero energy project constructed by the Commonwealth. The new building is equipped with numerous solar panels and a green roof top garden that includes plantings that will promote insulation and help to gather rainwater that will help fulfill toilet needs. In addition 500 feet below the building are sixty geothermal wells that are part of an energy efficient heating and cooling system. In every room in the building light sensors have been installed that will automatically turn lights off or down when natural lighting is sufficient. The educational experience for the students in the medical and health program will be equally as efficient as for the first time all of the health related college programs will be offered under a single roof. The college has even constructed systems that if the energy needs for the heath building are exceeded by the energy efficient systems, excess energy can be diverted to other campus facilities. The college has even thought past campus needs and if unused energy is created after the college needs are fulfilled, an arrangement has been constructed to sell the excess energy to the Town of Danvers Electric Company. Energy efficient classrooms and labs along with water coolers that allow for bottle filling have been added. The College has also created a green team of faculty and staff that will work to educate students and the public on sustainable initiatives. There is one more project still scheduled for the campus and a parking garage to help handle the ever increasing student population will be constructed in the future.

In the northern section of the county, Northern Essex Community College that operates two campuses in Haverhill and Lawrence had a recent sensational announcement of their own. The college has announced that a federal grant in the amount of $2.7 million over a five year term has been received. The funding that the grant will provide will be used to expand student services on the inner city Lawrence campus. The funding that is part of a larger national effort will be used to expand educational opportunities and achievement for Hispanic students that make up a major percentage of the population of the Lawrence campus. The college expects to use the grant to enhance services already being provided at the one stop career planning and advising center and to increase services to be launched at the student center. These new enhancements will bring a greater focus on programs offered at the urban campus in downtown Lawrence. The college is also about to begin construction on a new Health and Technology Building that will be built on a site in the downtown acquired from the City this past June. The new facility is expected to be ready for use in the fall of 2013. The grant will allow for a small increase in staff that focuses on the needs of the growing minority population of the College.

It is certainly clear that the two Community Colleges in this region are playing an important role in the process of educating low to middle income students and the students that are graduating from these two institutions each year will be an important resource for employers in this region well into the future.

Vanity Plates for Baby Boomers Proposed

I recently heard a reference to the following concept on a TV news report and searched for relevant information on the Internet in an article prepared by the METRO-WEST DAILY NEWS IN 2011.

If the concept as outlined below were to become a reality, it would certainly be a wonderful boost for local Councils on Aging and since for the most part, most of those organizations are normally under-funded, the revenue produced could be put to good use in local communities. I am not sure what the chances of passage of this proposal might be, but as a member of a local Council on Aging board, this information is presented in the hope that the concept might become a reality

Baby on board? How about baby boomer on board?
It may be taboo to ask people of a certain vintage how old they are, but legislation pending on Beacon Hill would give baby boomers the option of telling the world they aren’t spring chickens by putting up the money for a special license plate.
Exactly what the baby boomer plate would depict or say is unknown. The design will be selected through a contest judged by a five-person panel appointed by the state’s secretary of elder affairs.
That assumes that the Legislature goes along with the idea, and the governor signs it into law.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sarah Peake, D-Provincetown, would allow the Registry of Motor Vehicles to issue a Baby Boom Generation license plate and distribute the revenue to a special fund for local councils on aging.
A completely unscientific sampling of people walking near the State House on Wednesday found mixed interest in the plate.
“That’s a great idea,” said Robert Zaykon, a financial planner from Newton. “I very well might do it. They have Red Sox and Cape Cod plates. Why not have the boomers?”
Colin Blair, a state researcher from Arlington, said he would not buy the boomer plate, especially to display his age.
“They can tell it’s not a teenager driving,” said Blair, who has a Right Whale Environmental plate. “Why would anyone want to be identified?”
Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964.
The plate would cost at least $30, in addition to the regular registration fee of $90 for two years. All special license plates now sold by the Registry cost an extra $40, except the Olympic Spirit and Cape Cod plates, which are $50.
The Executive Office of Elder Affairs would distribute proceeds to the councils on aging in direct proportion to the number of plates registered within each council’s jurisdiction. The money could be used for salaries, health screening and volunteer development, according to the bill.
Maureen Firnrohr, a medical office secretary from Marshfield, had her doubts about this and other aspects of the plates, saying she wouldn’t pay the extra money.
“A lot of government money never really reaches the towns,” she said. “It would be nice if the money goes to where it’s intended.”
Copyright 2011 The MetroWest Daily News. Some rights reserved

Town of Danvers Change Rubbish Collection Rules

The news that we see almost every day in local newspapers clearly points out that some of the most difficult decisions that have to be made by community leadership is the disposal of rubbish and the cost of that disposal. It has long been known that every day consumers purchasing more and more products the marketing sources are packaging in a manner that makes disposal difficult. In addition, the cost of securing and developing sites where this material can be disposed of is also becoming most problematic. With those conditions in place, one can easily see why so many local communities are charging the way they collect refuse and the resident charges associated with that collection.

The latest community to address this issue is the Town of Danvers. That community will now limit the amount of rubbish that can be collected at a residence each week and will also refuse to pick up any rubbish at all unless there is a collection of re-cycled material also at the curb each week. By increasing the amount of re-cycled material will hopefully cut down on the regular rubbish to be collected and therefore reduce costs to the Town. That plan will workas in the condominium project where I live and serve on the management board we instituted a voluntary re-cycle program, that has produced some revenue and has certainly reduced the cost of our rubbish collection program.

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