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Tree hearing

SHIRLEY — John and Margaret Normandin, of 98 Lancaster Rd., have asked for permission to have a 42″ oak tree removed from the front of their property because, they said, the tree has interfered with access since their driveway was moved.

The selectmen approved the couple’s new driveway after the Orchard Estates development moved in next door. The developer, GFI, has agreed to pay to have the tree removed.

In accordance with state law, a tree hearing was held July 16. The Normandins weren’t there, nor were any abutters, and there was no correspondence indicating anybody objects.

The tree is in “average” condition, records show, and its removal won’t have a negative impact on its surroundings.

The board voted to grant the Normandins’ request. — M.E. Jones

SPACO wants all ComCast money

SHIRLEY — Jackie Esielionis, representing Shirley Public Access Corp. (SPACO), said the group “normally” submits a bill to the Board of Selectmen, which receives money from ComCast, the town’s cable provider, to pay it.

At the board’s request, SPACO now provides a statement of expenses, which typically overshoot the group’s income, she said. So far, SPACO has submitted bills for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2006, and the first of FY07 that include expenses for about $20,000, she said, while ComCast checks for that period total $25,000. SPACO wants the lot.

She said SPACO means to submit quarterly statements and get back all ComCast checks, in full. The arrangement apparently aligns with the selectmen’s view, and at the July 16 meeting, the board voted to transfer $25,247.25 to SPACO’s account. — M.E. Jones

MCI fields issue pending

SHIRLEY — With a home-rule petition hearing pending in the Legislature, the Board of Selectmen has voted to sign a one-year lease with the Department of Corrections for the use of MCI playing fields.

The petition was launched after MCI suddenly changed the parameters of a long-standing agreement with the town, said board Chairman Leonardo “Chip” Guercio. Three years into a 10-year agreement, they “back-tracked” and asked for a one-year lease, he said.

Now, the town has asked the state to settle the matter with a 20-year lease. There’s no word yet, said town administrator Kyle Keady. — M.E. Jones

Schedule 19 formalized

SHIRLEY — Schedule 19 lays out percentage apportionments for town services charged back to the School Department. Items on the list include town administrative work done for the schools, building maintenance and other shared services.

At the town auditor’s suggestion, the selectmen voted to formalize the format that’s already used. The numbers may change and usually do, said town administrator Kyle Keady. Those numbers can be “plugged in” accordingly, he said. — M.E. Jones

Cyclists’ complaints resolved

SHIRLEY — Reading through the Board of Selectmen’s correspondence at its July 16 meeting, Selectman Enrico Cappucci said a bicyclist, William Mullen, had raised the issue of a section of raised railroad tracks that span Ayer Road by the Bemis Co.

The tracks, an old railroad siding that’s no longer used, are dangerous and a hazard to bicycle riders, said Mullen. Some cyclists have been injured after slamming into the tracks, despite a posted warning sign.

Department of Public Works Director Joseph Lynch said Bemis claimed ownership of those tracks during its expansion project and would take care of the matter.

“It’s agreed to bury the track,” he said, but Bemis doesn’t want to remove it because “once a siding is gone, you can never get it back.” — M.E. Jones

Town pit open next Saturday

SHIRLEY — Due to extensive tree damage during a recent storm, the town pit on Patterson Road, west of the railroad tracks at the intersection with Ayer Road, will be open to receive tree debris next Saturday.

Department of Public Works Director Joseph Lynch said residents may discard limbs, branches, even whole trees there.

“If it fits in your truck, you can bring it,” he said. — M.E. Jones

Two-day liquor license granted for church bazaar

SHIRLEY — The Board of Selectmen has approved an application from St. Anthony’s Church for a two-day liquor license Aug. 3 and 4, from 5 to 10 p.m. The license allows alcoholic beverages to be served during the annual bazaar held at the church on Phoenix Street. — M.E. Jones

Final FY07 tranfers

SHIRLEY — The Board of Selectmen have finalized transfers totaling $16,609 for fiscal year 2007. The funds were transferred from reserve funds, free cash and various department surpluses and will cover over-budget expenses for the last fiscal year, including added legal fees. — M.E. Jones