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Northampton council to honor human rights activist Arky Markham, recognize police officers

The council is poised to mark Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, as Arky Markham Day in honor of the 98-year-old Northampton resident and retired social worker. Markham will be honored Saturday at the Smith College Conference Center for her life’s work dedicated to championing human rights and social justice.

The party for Markham is a fundraiser for the Markham-Nathan Fund for Social Justice, which offers grants to a variety of local social justice groups and projects.

Meantime, top brass at the Police Department will be on hand to present awards to department personnel for meritorious service, unit citations, certificates of commendation and letters of merit.

In other police business, the council will swear in a new police lieutenant, Alan C. Borowski; a new commander of the detective bureau, Detective Lt. Jody Kasper; and a new police officer, Michael W. Graham. Borowski and Kasper are being promoted to fill vacancies.

The council meeting begins with public comment at 7 p.m. in the Puchalski Municipal Building. In other business Thursday, the council will consider:

∎ Release of executive session minutes from Aug. 5, Aug. 15 and Sept. 5.

∎ Appointments of Patricia E. Healey, 21 Longfellow Drive, and Elaine Reall, 12 East St., to the Council on Aging.

∎ Requests to approve financial orders to reprogram $10,000 appropriated in 2010 for electrical upgrades at Memorial Hall to be used for flooring and painting upgrades in the same building, and $29,200 left over from a 2006 parking garage painting project to be used for a waterproofing and stair repair project in the garage.

∎ An order authorizing the mayor to continue to lease the former Vernon Street School property at 56 Vernon St. to Community Action for use as a Head Start school. Community Action will be responsible for a minimum $300,000 capital investment in the building during the 10-year term of the lease.

∎ A second vote authorizing the city to enter into an inter-municipal agreement with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments.

∎ A second vote to transfer $8,661 from a reserve for personnel account to the Board of Health’s permanent salaries account to pay for additional hours per week for the public health nurse.

∎ Second votes on land conservation measures, one to help preserve 8.5 acres of farmland in the Meadows and another to expand the Broad Brook Greenway with the addition of a 9-acre site.

∎ A warrant from City Clerk Wendy Mazza to schedule a biennial municipal election for Tuesday, Nov. 5.

∎ An order authorizing the mayor to petition the state to allow the city’s Retirement Board to exclude two Lilly Library employees from mandatory membership in the retirement system because they will not be eligible for pension benefits.

∎ A pair of ordinance amendments prohibiting parking at all times on a portion of the east side of Bates Street and on the north side of a portion of Meadow Street.

∎ A ordinance amendment deleting the Northampton Center for the Arts board of directors from city ordinances. The board will still exist, but will no longer be appointed by the mayor and approved by the council, a practice that hasn’t happened in years.

∎ A second vote to merge the Historic District Commission into the Historical Commission.

∎ A second vote on a zoning ordinance amendment to allow residential uses on the first floor of the Central Business District. The allowance is for areas that don’t abut a road.

∎ An order to lease seven parking spaces for use of trash disposal containers. The spaces are located in the Strong, Masonic, Armory and Fasano lots and would be leased for the next five years.

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