SHIRLEY -- Opening the selectmen's meeting Monday night, Chairman Andy Deveau brought a couple of breaking news items to the public's attention.

First, he noted a memo from Fire Chief Dennis Levesque thanking two of his officers and three firefighters for volunteer service above and beyond their local departmental duties.

Lts. Neal Guthrie and Brandon O'Connor and firefighters Brian Callahan, Matt Callahan and Brandon Taylor joined a group of other area firefighters who went to New York City to help out with the massive cleanup after Hurricane Sandy. The super storm devastated coastal cities such as Atlantic City and seasude New Jersey and Manhattan.

"I have relatives in New York," Deveau said. "The damage is unbelievable." The Shirley firefighters "donated a day of labor," and their efforts are appreciated, he said.

Next, Deveau offered "sincere congratulations" to Ayer-Shirley Regional School Superintendent Carl Mock and members of the Regional School and Building Committees and to the voters of Shirley and Ayer who came out to support the school project.

The reference was to the Nov. 17 election in which Ayer and Shirley voters, collectively and respectively agreed that the $56.6 million high school renovation and addition project should move forward and approved debt exclusions to help pay each town's share of the local cost.

"These folks worked very hard to inform and educate the public and build a consensus" for one of the most important decisions to come before the town in recent years, Deveau said, adding congratulations for a job well done.