Media Coverage - Articles & Editorials

Copyrighted content is reproduced on this website with permission of the publishers.

Mouse over and click on banners for direct link to the media websites.

2003 Local Elections ~ Coverage on Mayoral Candidates, City Council Candidates, School Committee Candidates & Ballot Referenda
Information is the currency of democracy. Please vet the information and vote on November 4! ~ Campaign Results

Mayor, council face hot elections - The Daily News, November 3, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. Voters tomorrow will be settling hotly-contested races for mayor, councilors-at-large, and a handful of ward councilor seats. And in a less-feisty battle, voters will also be selecting a new crop of candiates to fill empty seats on the School Committee. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Voters will elect one mayor, 11 city councilors, and three members of the School Committee. The mayor and city councilors serve two-year terms.

Two questions on Port ballot - The Daily News, November 3, 2003, byline Kate Spinner.
Two ballot questions face voters tomorrow -- one that could reduce property taxes and another that will call for a lot-by-lot analysis of Plum Island homes.

Question 1: Property owners this year may have noticed an increase in their local taxes as a result of the Community Preservation Act that was passed by voters last year. The act places a 2-percent surcharge on property taxes. The average homeowner's bill went up about $50.

Question 2: Voters will be asked if they think the city should perform a "lot-by-lot" analysis of Plum Island's compliance with Title 5 -- a state law that regulates the distance between water wells and septic systems, and the horizontal difference between the bottom of a septic system and the water table.

Newburyport Ballot - The Daily News, November 3, 2004. The list of candidates and ballot questions that will appear on tomorrow's Newburyport city election ballot.

Don't forget to vote today - Port voters head to polls with a plethora of choices - The Daily News, November 4, 2003, byline Kate Spinner.
City voters headed to the polls today to elect a mayor, 11 city councilors and three School Committee members. Polls close at 8 p.m. In addition to electing city officials, residents will also be voting on two ballot questions. Question 1 seeks to reduce the tax burden of the Community Preservation Act tax, and Question 2 calls for a lot-by-lot analysis of septic systems on Plum Island.

Newburyport Election Results at a Glance - The Daily News, November 5, 2003.

Clancy sweeps Lavender - The Daily News, Novmber 5, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. Running on a promise to bring stronger leadership and better planning to the city, Mary Anne Clancy swept incumbent Mayor Al Lavender out of office in yesterday's election. Clancy, 44, a Newburyport native and vice chairman of the School Committee, received 3,334 votes -- roughly 53 percent -- to Lavender's 2,744. Some 51.5 percent of the city's voters made it to the polls yesterday.

Both ballot questions defeated - The Daily News, November 5, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. Voters rejected two ballot questions yesterday: one asking to reduce the Community Preservation Act's property tax surcharge and the other to conduct a lot-by-lot analysis of Plum Island properties.


Council to get a new look - The Daily News, November 5, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. The City Council will take on a new look next year with six fresh faces.


Coverage on Mayoral Candidates - Primary through General Elections
Place your bets! - Merrimack River Current, September 5, 2003, byline Rob Marino. With the preliminary election less than two weeks away, Newburyport's mayoral hopefuls are jockeying for position - but who will come out on top? What do Al Lavender, Bob Kelleher, Mary Anne Clancy and Bert Reed have in common? Not a whole heck of a lot beyond the fact that all four Newburyport residents are seeking to claim the most important seat at City Hall - the mayor's throne.

Mayor candidates stake out their turf - The Daily News, September 9, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. The candidates for mayor have staked their territories on issues they say are critical to the city -- taxes, crowding in schools, a new downtown parking garage and the fate of the Plum Island water and sewer project.


Candidates debate on city's future - The Daily News, September 10, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. From communication and leadership to funding projects while keeping taxes in check, four mayoral candidates -- Mary Anne Clancy, Robert Kelleher, Alan Lavender and Bert Reed -- articulated their views in a debate last night. Topics of debate centered around the city's future -- its taxes, its management, its infrastructure and school needs, its recreational opportunities, and the continued diversity of its population. A preliminary election will be held Sept. 16 and will narrow the four candidates to two. Those two who receive the highest votes in the preliminary will go on to campaign until the night of the general election on Nov. 4.

Lavender tops campaign receipts and expenditures - The Daily News, September 11, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. The four candidates for mayor filed campaign reports with the City Clerk this week, a required step preceding the preliminary election scheduled for Sept. 16. Reports are also required eight days before the municipal election on Nov. 4.


Port preliminaries tomorrow for mayor, two council seats - The Daily News, September 15, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. Voters head to the polls tomorrow to narrow down the field of candidates running for mayor and two ward seats on the City Council. Four people are seeking the city's highest elected office, but only two will make it past the preliminary election. The same goes for the four people hoping to gain election to the city council in Ward 6 and and three in Ward 1.

The two people in each race who receive the highest number of votes will go on to compete in the general election on Nov. 4. On that day, voters will elect a mayor, 11 city councilors, and three School Committee members.


Clancy tops field in Port preliminary - The Daily News, September 17, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. By a margin of 41 votes, Mary Anne Clancy finished in first place in the preliminary election for mayor yesterday. Close behind her was incumbent Mayor Alan Lavender. City Council President Bert Reed finished third and Robert Kelleher finished fourth. Clancy and Lavender will square off in the general election Nov. 4.

Clancy tops mayoral ticket - Merrimack River Current, Friday, September 19, 2003, byline Rob Marino. Voters Tuesday chose current Mayor Alan Lavender and challenger Mary Anne Clancy to move onto the Nov. 4 election in the race for mayor, bidding adieu to mayoral candidates Bert Reed and Bob Kelleher.

Mayoral candidates outline their goals - The Daily News, October 22, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. Tonight Mayor Alan Lavender and his challenger for re-election, Mary Anne Clancy, will debate issues facing the city in an attempt to give the community a glimpse of where they stand and which candidate is best suited to tackle the duties of mayor for the next two years. The election is Nov. 4.


Candidates debate style, leadership - The Daily News, October 23, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. On many issues the two candidates for mayor have a lot in common, but both say it's their style that differentiates them. Mayor Alan Lavender and his challenger Mary Anne Clancy debated topics last night that ranged from parking on the central waterfront and controlling development to managing the city's finances and planning for the expansion of elementary school classrooms. The debate, sponsored by the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Newburyport Adult Education and The Daily News, was moderated by Daily News Editor John Macone.


Clancy bests Lavender in money-raising - The Daily News, October 29, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. In the months before the preliminary election, incumbent Mayor Alan Lavender received more campaign contributions than his three opponents. The tide has turned; now Lavender's only remaining challenger, Mary Anne Clancy, has received more campaign money, according to state-mandated financial reports filed Monday. During the previous reporting period Lavender raised approximately $11,300 in campaign funds, while Clancy raised about $9,000. Contributions to Clancy's campaign since the September preliminary have increased by $9,500. Lavender raised an additional $6,200. Now, both candidates are handling similar amounts of money in their quest for election to the mayor's post. Voters will go to the polls Nov. 4. (The campaign finance reports cover the period from Aug. 29 to Oct. 17.)

Signs for Newburyport candidates crop up in Newbury - The Daily News, October 30, 2003, byline Jennifer Lawinski - While Newburyport buzzes over the upcoming elections Nov. 4, campaign signs are dotting the roads of the Newbury section of Plum Island. Some are scattered along the roadside near the dunes or in front of empty rental houses. Others are displayed by Newbury residents to show support for Newburyport candidates whose politics or personalities they agree with — even if they won’t be voting for them.

Board wants mayor to return campaign cash - The Daily News, November 1, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. The Sewer Commission says it has made Mayor Alan Lavender return a $500 campaign contribution given by Maritime Landing’s developer “to avoid the appearance of any inappropriate actions by the mayor.” But Lavender says he’s done nothing wrong, and is accusing the commission of “pre-election rhetoric.” The mayor has also accused the board of holding an illegal non-public session Thursday to discuss the matter, and will likely ask the district attorney’s office to investigate the meeting.

The October 31, 2003 issue of the Merrimack River Current printed letters from the incumbent Mayor Al Lavender and mayoral candidate Mary Anne Clancy concerning an issue related to the Rail Trail on the publication's Opinion page. [Letter submitted by Mayoral candidate Mary Anne Clancy (Mayor put the Rail Trail project in jeopardy; Letter submitted by Mayor Al Lavender (Sale won't interfere with Rail Trail project).]
Coverage on City Council candidates (six Ward Councilor seats and five at-Large City Councilor seats)

To our readers - Merrimack River Current, Friday, September 12, 2003. Overview of upcoming political perspectives: As part of the Current's election coverage, a questionnaire was sent out to all 23 candidates for City Council, querying them on a number of issues facing Newburyport ... This week, the responses from candidates in wards 1 and 6 will be featured since those wards are having a preliminary election this Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Ward 1 - Responding Candidates: Michael E. Ferrick, Jeremy P. Gillis, David J. McFarlane
Ward 6 - Responding Candidates: Thomas S. Farrell, Steve Hutcheson, Michelle Robbins
Note: As a result of the 9/16 preliminary elections, Ward 1 candidates Jeremy Gillis and incumbent David McFarlane and Ward 6 candidates Thomas S. Farrell and Steve Hutcheson will move on to the November 4th general election.
McFarlane and Gillis to compete for Ward 1; Hutcheson and Farrell in Ward 6 - The Daily News, September 17, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. David McFarlane will continue to battle, against mainlander Jeremy Gillis, to retain his seat as city councilor in Ward 1. In Ward 6 Steven Hutcheson -- who narrowly lost election to one of the five at-large posts on the council in 2001 -- will compete against political newcomer and life-long city resident Thomas Farrell in the Nov. 4 general election.

Water and sewer project splits candidates for Ward 1 - The Daily News, September 12, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. The race for the Ward 1 council seat will give voters in that district a chance to voice their opinions on the controversial Plum Island Water and Sewer project.

Four vying for Ward 6 council seat - The Daily News, September 12, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. The most contested seat on the City Council this year is in the western end of town, Ward 6. Four people are vying for the office, but only two will make it past the preliminary election. T he preliminary will be held on Sept. 16. The candidates who receive the first and second highest number of votes from residents of the ward will continue to campaign for the general election scheduled for Nov. 4.
To our readers - Merrimack River Current, Friday, September 19, 2003. As part of the Current's ongoing coverage of the election, this week's issue is spotlighting the candidates running for City Council in wards 2, 3 and 5. For Ward 2, incumbent Greg Earls is running up against challenger Charles Nichols. In Ward 3, James Shanley is running unopposed. For Ward 5, current At-Large Councilor Joseph Spaulding and candidate Bruce Vogel are running head-to-head.

Ward 2 - Responding Candidates: incumbent Gregory Earls, Charles Nichols
Ward 3 - Responding Candidate: James Shanley, running unopposed
Ward 5 - Responding Candidates: incumbent Joseph F. Spaulding, Bruce Vogel

Just the 10 of us - Merrimack River Current, Friday, September 26, 2003. The Current wraps up its coverage of the City Council race this week by spotlighting nine of the 10 at-large candidates who responded to a questionnaire distributed to all City Council candidates last month. Five will win, five will lose in race for at-large seats.

Publication of the written responses the Current received from the following at-large candidates: Barry Connell, David Erekson, Donna Holaday, Clete Kijek, Janet Marcus, incumbent Audrey McCarthy, Sheila Mullins, current Ward 6 Councilor Thomas O'Brien and Chip Wyser. At-large candidate John Kostandin did not respond.

Candidates in a heated race for Ward 1 City Council seat - The Daily News, October 27, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. The candidate elected to the Ward 1 council seat could make a big difference in the future of this ward. On Nov. 4, voters in Ward 1 will decide whether to keep incumbent David McFarlane or support political newcomer Jeremy Gillis. (Includes candidate profiles/question & answer.)

Ward 2 race big decision for downtown - The Daily News, October 28, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. The upcoming election in Ward 2 will determine if incumbent Gregory Earls stays put or political newcomer Charlie Nichols takes over representing the people who live in or near the center of downtown Newburyport. (Includes candidate profiles/questions & answer.)


Shanley unopposed in Ward 3 - The Daily News, October 29, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. Ward 3 candidate James Shanley is guaranteed to be one of the new faces on City Council next year. Shanley is running unopposed for the Ward 3 seat currently held by Karen Kelley. A Newburyport resident for the past eight years, Shanley said he decided to run for office because he enjoys politics and being involved. In addition, Shanley said Kelley's decision not to seek re-election also prompted his interest in the seat. (Includes candidate profile/question & answer.)


No challenger for Fowler in Ward 4 - The Daily News, October 29, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. Ward 4 Councilor Erford Fowler is finishing up his 10th year on City Council. Fowler said when he saw that most of the current councilors were choosing not to run for office, he wanted to continue. "I felt it might be better to stay on," Fowler said. Fowler is running unopposed for the Ward 4 seat. The lifelong Newburyport resident said he can be helpful in the transitional phase of the new council next year. (Includes candidate profile/question & answer.)


Spaulding and Vogel vye for Ward 5 seat - The Daily News, October 30, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. The candidates for the Ward 5 seat have opposing viewpoints on many of the city's big issues, ranging from parking to the Plum Island water and sewer project. Two-term councilor Joseph Spaulding, who has been both an at-large and ward councilor, wants to return to the Ward 5 seat. Spaulding's challenger Bruce Vogel is predominantly known for his active role in the city's Youth Commission. Ward 5 encompasses much of the city's remaining open space, as well as the Crow Lane landfill and the Low Street sewer line replacement. Here's a look at the two candidates and the issues they believe need attention in the city. (Includes candidate profiles/question & answer.)


Candidates for Ward 6 council seat - The Daily News, October 31, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. With current Ward 6 councilor Thomas O'Brien vying for an at-large seat this election, it opens the door for two newcomers in Ward 6. Running for the Ward 6 seat are Steven Hutcheson, who ran unsuccessfully for the council in 2001, and newcomer Thomas Farrell. While both candidates share some similar views, how they would approach issues varies. Here's a look at both candidates and why they chose to run for office, as well as some important issues they'd like to address if elected. (Includes candidate profiles/question & answer.)

(At-Large) Candidates agree on many issues - The Daily News, October 29. 2003, byline Kate Spinner. From parking to Plum Island, the 10 candidates for five councilor-at-large seats agree on many issues. During a polite forum, moderated by Louis Rubenfeld of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce last night, candidates responded to a number of questions The forum was held at the Firehouse Center for the Arts and attracted about 50 people. Among other issues, Rubenfeld asked councilors how they would address downtown parking problems, whether or not they support the Plum Island water and sewer project and how they would maintain city services in light of anticipated decreases in state aid. There are 10 candidates running for five at-large seats in the Nov. 4 election.
Ten candidates run for five at-large seats - The Daily News, October 30, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. There is a full field of people running for city-wide council seats. On Nov. 4, voters will be asked to choose five at-large councilors out of a list of 10. Following is a glimpse of each of the 10 candidates, in the order they appear on the ballot. (Includes candidate profiles/question & answer.)
Coverage on School Committee Candidates

Four vying for three School Committee seats (an introduction for all four profiles) - The Daily News, October 20, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. The Nov. 4 election will give voters a chance to place three fresh faces and viewpoints to the School Committee. With current School Committee members Ruth Garvey, Bill Heenehan, and mayoral candidate Mary Anne Clancy stepping down this year, four newcomers to Newburyport politics are vying for those seats ... (Hyperlink to the each of the following profiles on) The candidates for School Committee include Brian Cummings, of 11 Elm St., Andrea Jones, of 20 Merrill St., Victoria Pearson, of 43 Moulton St. and Mark Wright, of 325 High St.

School Committee candidates discuss the issues - The Daily News, October 21, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. The first and only School Committee candidates forum last night focused on a variety of issues facing the schools, including facility needs, budgeting, and improving relations not only with the community, but with the City Council as well. The forum attracted about 35 spectators.

Newburyport Election 2003: Four vie for three school seats - Merrimack River Current, October 31, 2003. With the Nov. 4 election less than a week away, Newburyport voters will have many decisions to make about the city's future, including who will serve on the School Committee ... Four residents - Brian Cummings, Mark Wright, Andrea Jones and Victoria Pearson - are vying for the three seats on the School Committee ... In conjunction with the informational "Meet the School Committee Candidates" night held Oct. 20 and organized by the various parent-teacher organizations in the community, the Current this week includes written responses to the eight prepared questions the candidates responded to at last week's forum. The questions, prepared by the various parent-teacher organizations prior to the forum, hit upon such topics as middle school curriculum and facilities, elementary school building needs, high school fees and budgetary issues. Direct online link to the candidates' responses: Brian Cummings, Andrea Jones, Victoria Pearson and Mark Wright.


Election will bring change for School Committee - The Daily News, October 31, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. One of the quietest election races in the city may well end up producing some of the biggest changes. On Tuesday, voters will elect three new faces to the seven-member School Committee. Three incumbents who have frequently voted in sync are stepping down ... That leaves three members who have served two years apiece — Bruce Menin and Richard Sullivan Jr., who had often sided with one another, and Laurie Naughton. Over the past year, Menin and Sullivan had unsucessfully challenged the committee to change the way it does business ... Menin, Sullivan and Naughton say it’s clear that now the voting dynamic will change, though they are unsure whether that means there will be more unanimity.


Coverage on ballot referenda (and related issues)

RE: Referendum to reduce the CPA surcharge

Voters asked to reduce preservation tax - The Daily News, October 24, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. Due to the efforts of citizens frustrated with the taxes they pay, a ballot question will ask voters on Nov. 4 if they would like to see a reduction in a preservation tax that was passed last year. The Community Preservation Act (CPA) that voters approved last year, places a 2 percent surcharge on property taxes. The money collected through the surcharge is matched yearly by the state and can only be used for affordable housing, open space, or historic resources. The new ballot question asks voters to reduce the surcharge to a half-percent. Those who want to see the surcharge lowered say residents cannot afford any more taxes.


Community Preservation Act deserves city's support - The Daily News, October 28, 2003, Editorial. The Community Preservation Act will come before Newburyport voters again on the Nov. 4 ballot. The question this time is not whether to accept or reject it. It has already been accepted. This question is now one of degree: Do voters want to maintain a 2-percent surcharge on their property taxes, as the initial vote established, or cut that to a 1/2 percent? It is appropriate, especially in an economic climate that continues to be uncertain, to give voters an option. With many homeowners struggling to maintain their financial stability, even a modest surcharge on their property taxes can be difficult to pay. But it also seems appropriate to let this law do what it is intended to do, and raise the money it needs to do it. Let's leave it at 2 percent (which will cost the average homeowner about $50 a year).


CPA: How low should we go? - Merrimack River Current, October 31, 2003, byline Rob Marino.
The question before Newburyport voters Tuesday will not be whether to adopt the Community Preservation Act. That was accomplished by a narrow margin of 122 votes last November. This time, the ballot question will seek to reduce the 2 percent surcharge on property taxes to 0.5 percent.

RE: Referendum to conduct a lot-by-lot survey (and related PI project issues)*
* For an overview of the Plum Island issue, review the series Lawrence Eagle Tribune online -
8/11/03 issue: An Island Divided
--- 8/12/03 issue: Murky waters/Title 5/Plum Island Voices
Public hearing date set on PI legislation - The Daily News, September 26, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. The Plum Island water and sewer project's special state legislation took two steps forward yesterday: A public hearing on the bill was scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 7, at the Statehouse, and Newburyport's state Rep. Michael Costello and state Sen. Steve Baddour signed onto the legislation. (10/8 news coverage of the hearing - 10/15 piece on susequent favorable vote)


An island not unto itself - Merrimack River Current, Friday, October 3, 2003. Mouth of the River: Undercurrents column. State officials see the revamped legislation as a step in moving the project forward, but they're willing to take into account the community's perspective. We said "take into account," but it's not clear if the tide of public opinion will go in one ear and out the other. If you were to poll the area's state legislators, we think they'd be glad to see the pipes sunk below the bridge to Plum Island tomorrow.

PI lot-by-lot survey could cost $150,000 - The Daily News, October 7, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. City officials are wondering what the cost of a lot-by-lot analysis of Plum Island properties would actually be, if voters approved the survey at the Nov. 4 election. A ballot question on Nov. 4 will ask voters whether the city should perform a survey of each parcel of property on Plum Island similar to a study done in the Provincetown. The survey would determine which properties on the island comply with the Title 5 laws that regulate the space between septic systems and water wells. The survey would also indicate which properties do not comply, but could become compliant as well as which properties cannot become compliant. (The Provincetown study reportedly cost $40,000.) Newburyport Sewer Superintendent Brendan O'Regan said at a Plum Island Work Group meeting last night that the cost of the survey could be more like $150,000.

PI Residents plead for clean water - The Daily News, October 8, 2003, byline Meredith Warren. At a public hearing yesterday that lasted close to six hours, dozens of Newbury and Newburyport residents and town officials with a stake in the Plum Island water and sewer project stated their case to lawmakers who are considering a bill that would push the project forward. Project proponents and opponents and lifelong island dwellers and newcomers took turns testifying with personal stories, statistics and numbers about how much it would cost taxpayers and Plum Island residents to extend water and sewer lines to the island.


Selectmen won't pay to oppose PI project - The Daily News, October 9, 2003, byline Erin Crouteau. A few weeks ago the Salisbury Board of Selectmen pledged that they would do what they could to oppose the Plum Island water and sewer project as proposed -- but they didn't think that meant spending thousands of dollars ... At Monday night's selectmen's meeting Harbor Commission Chairman Reggie Santos informed the board of a letter he'd received from Harold Humphrey, a former Salisbury Sewer Commissioner and vocal opponent of the Plum Island project. The letter asked the commission to pony up $10,000 to pay for an engineer to testify against the project ... The selectmen didn't take a vote on the proposal, but instead informally decided not to spend $10,000 to hire an engineer.


Favorable vote expected to push PI legislation - The Daily News, October 15, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. After an emotional and long public hearing last week on the Plum Island water and sewer project's legislation, the state's Joint Committee on Local Affairs and Regional Government voted unanimously in favor of the legislation yesterday. The favorable vote could now propel the legislation favorably through the House and Senate.


PI sewer extension appeal on hold - The Daily News, October 15, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. Dealing a blow to opponents of the Plum Island water and sewer project, a state administrative law judge removed a key claim regarding a sewer extension permit appeal last week. The permit would allow Newburyport to pump wastewater from the island, including Newbury properties, to its treatment plant. The permit is the last of several components of the project that is being contested by opponents. All other disputes have been settled or dismissed.

Lavender bows out of candidate forum - The Daily News, October 16, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. A forum for mayoral candidates last night turned out to be quite one-sided not because it was held by the Democratic City Committee, but because only one candidate -- Mary Anne Clancy -- decided to attend. After returning home from another campaign-related event last night, Mayor Alan Lavender said he was disappointed the forum went on without him. He said he informed Karen Hudner of the Democratic committee last week that he would not attend ... In addition to the chamber debate, Lavender said there are other debates he intends to attend on Plum Island and at Clipper Way condominiums.
PI ballot question draws ire - The Daily News, October 17, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. ... Voters will be considering the non-binding question in the Nov. 4 city election. Over the past few weeks, city officials and the ballot question's author, Jeffrey Robertson of Low Street, have been sparring over what the ballot question is intended to do, and whether it is worth the time and money it would require. The proposed ballot question reads, "Shall the city of Newburyport conduct a lot-by-lot analysis like that performed by the Barnstable County Department of Health in Provincetown, Massachusetts, to determine which properties are already or could become compliant with Title 5 in the Newburyport portion of the proposed Plum Island Service Area?" Title 5 is a state law regulating septic systems. Robertson acknowledged on Wednesday that the Newburyport lot-by-lot survey is different than what was done in Provincetown ... Sidebar: The cost of the study is unknown.

Plum Island project: Past, present and ... - Merrimack River Current, October 17, 2003. Opinion/Sitting In piece by State Rep. Harriett Stanley. "When the Local Affairs Committee unanimously recommended passage of the Plum Island legislation earlier this week, the proposed Plum Island water and sewer project moved closer to reality. It's taken a long, long to time to get to this point. For public health reasons, the goal of providing clean water to Plum Island has been a topic of debate in local parts for at least 30 years ... and some Plum Island natives would say 50 years. For those who think the Plum Island project is more about power and politics than it is public health, the hearing was a real wake-up call."

The following letters to the editor were published on the Opinion page of the Merrimack River Current in issues dated October 3, October 10 and October 17, 2003 --- including a letter submitted by a proponent of the lot-by-lot referendum which detailed broader concerns about the Plum Island water and sewer project and the ensuing letters that countermand some of the assertions in that original letter.

- Jeff Robertson's October 3rd letter in support of the lot-by-lot study
- Brendan O'Regan's October 10th letter, "Feedback" refuting what he cites as "out-and-out falsehoods"
- Kent McLeroth's October 10th letter, "A lot of questions about lot-by-lot survey"
- Robin Gurlitz's October 10th letter, "No one can regulate conscience"
- Heide Holmes' October 10th letter, "Check web for Title 5 facts"
- Jeff Robertson's October 17th letter responding and reiterating his position

[Caveat: Jeff Robertson's October 17th letter makes a vague comment about the "surprising opinions" voiced by George Heufelder (Director of the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment) during the October 9th lot-by-lot study informational forum. Read the caveat on the 2003 Elections information page and the 10/17 Daily News article and 10/30 Daily News editorial for more insight. Voters should tune into the Channel 9 cable broadcast of the videotaped forum and listen critically to Director Heufelder's comments --- not only concerning Provincetown circumstances, but how he himself might address the Plum Island situation. And do take note of the "sidebar" conversation between George Heufelder and one of the Plum Island panelists --- when the former cautions the latter that (based upon extensive testing) even the leading edge alternative systems do not ensure safe potable water from adjacent wells, especially after the first year or two of use. Please refer to the external links on the subject and check back to the Comity 2003 elections webpage from time to time for current "inflo" on related issues.]
Both sides of PI project come to Salisbury - The Daily news, October 21, 2003, byline Erin Croteau. Last night's (Salisbury selectmen's) hearing to discuss the Plum Island sewer project got off to a rocky start ... 20 people representing both sides of the issue came out last night to discuss their view of the project with Salisbury officials. The selectmen have already publicly come out against the project -- which would allow residents of Plum Island to tie into Newburyport's wastewater treatment plant. People in Salisbury fear the project would place more pressure on what they believe to be an already strained Newburyport wastewater treatment plant, causing further pollution to the Merrimack River, which the two communities share.

Maximum overdrive? - Merrimack River Current, October 24, 2003, byline Rob Marino. As concerns continue to be raised about the capacity of Newburyport's wastewater treatment plant, the city's sewer super insists the plant is well within its limits. Is the Newburyport wastewater treatment plant up to snuff? Perhaps Newburyport Sewer Commissioner George Succi said it best recently when he went before the Salisbury Board of Selectmen to discuss the plant's capacity. "Well, it depends on who you ask," Succi said.


How the treatment plant works - Merrimack River Current, October 24, 2003, byline Rob Marino. So how does the Newburyport wastewater treatment plant actually work? Well, there's a lot more to it than meets the eye. However, once getting past the tricky terminology and discovering that a "muffin monster" doesn't involve either muffins or monsters, the nitty-gritty of the plant's day-to-day operations aren't so complicated to understand. As Sewer Superintendent Brendan O'Regan points out, the treatment of wastewater at the plant involves both a physical-chemical and a biological process - as well as a lot of recycling. "Things are constantly in motion," O'Regan says ...


Flats not likely to open - Merrimack River Current, October 24, 2003, byline Rob Marino. The Newburyport Wastewater Treatment Plant may meet --- even exceed --- clean-water standards set in its permit. Still, the water it releases isn't clean enough to reopen Merrimack River clam flats near the plant. Ant that's not likely to change. Simply, it would cost too many clams to reopen the beds. Sewer Superintendent Brendan O'Regan told the Salisbury Board of Selectmen at a recent meeting.


Cost haunts 'lot-by-lot' question - The Daily News, October 28, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. How much will it cost to do a lot-by-lot analysis of the Newburyport section of Plum Island? With a week to go before the Nov. 4 election, neither the author of a ballot question that seeks to do the analysis, nor city officials who oppose it, say they know for sure. Estimates have ranged from $100,000 to more than $150,000. City officials such as Mayor Al Lavender say whatever the cost, it won't be born exclusively by Plum Islanders. City taxpayers will pay the bill.


PI project speeds toward Statehouse approval - The Daily News, byline Meredith Warren. A controversial bill extending water and sewer services to Plum Island is expected to pass the House and Senate Thursday on its way to what its backers hope will be a speedy final approval by Gov. Mitt Romney. The bill signing is one of the major hurdles to be crossed before breaking ground on the $22.9 million project. Lawmakers have been rushing to get the bill signed by Romney before a Nov. 6 deadline when Newburyport is scheduled to make its first $40,000 principal payment on the project. The legislation would postpone that payment for several years until the project is nearly finished and residents are paying the city for the betterments.


Lot-by-lot question is badly conceived - The Daily News, Editorial, October 29, 2003. Next Tuesday, Newburyport voters will be considering a ballot question next week that, if passed, will put in motion a lot-by-lot analysis of the septic systems in the Newburyport section of Plum Island. The question seems to have been created with good intent, but when you start to dig into its details, it becomes clear that it is an ill-conceived and misleading question. It should be voted down.


Lot-by-lot...or not? - Merrimack River Current, October 31, 2003, byline Rob Marino. The ballot question as to whether a lot-by-lot analysis should be conducted has been taking a lot of flak from critics. "This is the most useless question that I've ever heard," said Councilor at-Large John Pramberg ... Despite claims from some, including city officials, that the question defeats its own purpose and lacks any concrete direction, Low Street resident Jeff Robertson still stands by his efforts to get the question on the ballot ... Nevertheless, Robertson wants Newburyport to follow Provincetown's lead, to see if every lot on Plum Island complies with Title 5, the state's septic system control statute.


Letter: "Can you tell 'it' from shinola" - Merrimack River Current Opinion page, October 31, 2003. Letter from George Succi, clarifying his remark quoted in the Current article on the Newburyport Wastewater Treatment Facility of Oct. 24.

Site Design by Bright iDear   Copyright © 2002-2007 All Rights Reserved
Website:  Email: