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October 24, 2013

Keeping an eye out for the good book

PEABODY — It’s all in your point of view.

During a meeting on Tuesday with the Board of Registrars, School Committeeman Ed Charest asked City Clerk Tim Spanos, “When do you put the good voter book together?”

The good voter book? Spanos was clearly puzzled.

“We all call it the good voter book,” Charest explained, gesturing to his colleagues. It is the annual listing, aka the nosy book, a thick cataloging by the clerk of everyone in Peabody who is registered to vote.

“Never heard that term before,” said Spanos. Of course, he doesn’t run for office either.

You can stop screaming

For ice cream, that is. At least you can if City Councilor Anne Manning-Martin gets her way. Her idea is for the city to contract with vendors to sell ice cream and other goodies on the city’s bike path. Thus, weary hikers and bikers can get the energy boost they need to get back to the car.

She made the suggestion during last week’s meeting of the council’s finance subcommittee as Mayor Ted Bettencourt was promoting a $7.6 million spending package that includes more paths around a refurbished Crystal Lake.

“A great suggestion,” the mayor told Manning-Martin. “I love it.”

Paper trail

Mayor Bettencourt’s $7.6 million spending package also includes funds for computers in the office of the city clerk. The machines are aimed at helping get quick results.

That raised a concern for Councilor Arthur Athas.

“Wait a minute,” he said. “We’re going to have a computerized vote?”

But City Clerk Spanos explained that the software won’t preclude the age-old process of marking your ballot.

“I am in favor of the paper ballot,” Athas said.

“I am too,” Spanos said.

MCAS on average

Superintendent Joe Mastrocola began a discussion of MCAS scores at Tuesday’s school board meeting with a recorded statement from controversial and influential educator Diane Ravitch, who cautioned that too many tests are having a detrimental impact on student brains. In years past, Ravitch held precisely the opposite view, recommending testing as a way to measure student performance and force teachers to shape them up.

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