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FROM THE REGION.

COLUMN: FROM THE REGION

Holden

Princeton Street bridge may reopen next week

HOLDEN - The Princeton Street bridge, which was closed in April, could reopen next week if the weather cooperates.

The bridge was closed after an inspection by the state Department of Transportation determined it was unsafe for all traffic, including emergency vehicles.

Originally, the bridge was expected to be closed only through the end of May, but an additional inspection determined it needed deck repairs, drainage repairs and the installation of a waterproof protective barrier.

Once the barrier is installed, the road surface needs to be repaved, and then the bridge can be reopened, according to officials.

Town Manager Nancy Galkowski said the barrier has to be installed on a dry surface, so the timetable for the work is weather-dependent.

"Depending on the weather, we anticipate the bridge will be open next week," Mrs. Galkowski said. "We appreciate the patience of the residents during the repair work."

Leominster

Retired superintendent chosen for interim post

LEOMINSTER - A retired Shrewsbury school superintendent has been selected as interim superintendent to replace Nadine Binkley, who will retire July 20.

The appointment of Anthony J. Bent, currently interim superintendent in the Masconomet Regional School District in Topsfield, Middleton and Boxford, was approved by the School Committee at a special meeting Wednesday night.

Donna DiNinno, vice chairwoman of the school committee, said yesterday Mr. Bent will serve full time for the 2010-11 school year, and his contract is still under negotiation. Also, she said, the committee must request a critical-shortage waiver from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, because Mr. Bent is retired.

Last year, he was a subject of a WBZ TV I-Team investigative report about a loophole in a state law - the critical-shortage waiver - that allows school superintendents, unlike other public employees, to continue to draw large public salaries while collecting a retirement allowance by serving in interim posts.

Twenty such waivers were granted in the 2008-09 school year. The waivers are used, according to school officials, to draw experienced, respected superintendents who are able to step right in and keep school systems running smoothly until the permanent posts are filled.

Mr. Bent, a past president of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents and the Worcester County Superintendents' Association, was Shrewsbury's superintendent for 15 years before he retired last year. Before going to Shrewsbury, Mr. Bent held teaching and administrative posts in Dedham, Wellesley, Newton, Lexington, and Watertown.

Fitchburg

Sterling resident hired as building inspector

FITCHBURG - A Sterling resident who served as clerk of the works on projects for Shrewsbury, Spencer, Sterling and Westminster has been named Fitchburg's new building commissioner.

Robert W. Lanciani of 237 Worcester Road, Sterling, was appointed by Mayor Lisa A. Wong to replace Building Commissioner Michael A. Gallant, who was laid off in February.

Mr. Lanciani was selected by a committee that included city councilors; representatives from the Health, Public Works, and Fire departments; the wiring inspector and the director of human resources.

In Shrewsbury and Sterling, Mr. Lanciani oversaw the building of new fire stations, and in Westminster he was clerk of the works when the town hall was built. He also served as acting building commissioner in Spencer and serves as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician for the Sterling Fire Department.

Since February, he has been serving as Fitchburg's alternate building commissioner.

Brookfield

Voters to act on budget items

BROOKFIELD - Residents have back-to-back special and annual town meetings to wade through, beginning at 6:30 p.m. today in the elementary school on Central Street.

The seven-item special town meeting relates to closing out finances for fiscal 2010, which ends June 30. The 30-article annual session deals with the town's operating budget for fiscal 2011, which starts July 1. The proposed budget is $7,063,432 million and compares with a fiscal 2010 budget of $7,012,692 million, a difference of $50,740.

At the special town meeting, voters will be asked to correct action taken at the 1985 annual town meeting relative to the designation of scenic roads in town. There is a reference to the East Brookfield town line in the prior action that should be corrected to read North Brookfield town line.

The other six items involve transferring money from various town accounts to other town accounts.

Other articles seek money for the development of a historic landscape and preservation plan for the Town Common at Routes 9 and 148 and the creation of a five-member Agricultural Commission to encourage the pursuit of agriculture in town.

Shrewsbury

Grass and leaves can be dropped off

SHREWSBURY - A yard waste drop-off program will be available to residents tomorrow, July 17, Aug. 14 and Sept. 11, from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at the Highway Department barn at 211 South St.

The service is being provided by the Highway and Public Health Departments.

Yard waste that will be accepted is limited to grass and leaves because of Department of Conservation and Recreation rules for controlling the spread of Asian longhorned beetles.

Region

Public can comment on education standards

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will vote July 21 on whether to adopt the Common Core State Standards, and

the public can weigh in on the standards now. The standards and survey are on the department's website at www.doe.mass.edu/candi/commoncore.

The Common Core attempts to set uniform standards for what students should be expected to know in math and English language arts. States applying for federal Race to the Top funds have been asked to sign on to the standards.

In Massachusetts, which has been a top performer on national tests, critics worry the standards will not be rigorous enough.

Those critics include the Pioneer Institute's Jim Stergios, who wrote in a recent blog entry that the state's Race to the Top application reads in places as if adopting the standards and a common assessment are foregone conclusions.

State Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester said in a press release, "It makes little sense for 50 states to have 50 separate sets of standards. The Common Core Standards deserve full consideration and a thorough review to determine if they can help build on our already strong standards and increase expectations nationally."

The state plans to appoint independent panels to review the standards and will help the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education hire an out-of-state expert to compare the Common Core standards with Massachusetts' revised state standards. If the board approves the common standards, Mr. Chester plans to reconvene the panels to recommend additions to the Massachusetts standards that would be unique to the state.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jun 18, 2010
Words:1113
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