Around the Towns:

Contest may lead to cash to improve drinking water overseas

A group of environmental entrepreneurs that wants to expand its project need votes to make that happen.

Merrimack High School students Jane Starke, Noelle Joubert, Melia Robinson and Julie Phelps are among 30 finalists in the nation who could win one of 15, $10,000 prizes to improve drinking water in developing nations.

In May, after watching a video in school about contaminated drinking water killing 6,000 children a day, the group started a project called “Pure Water Vending.”

The teens secured a donation to buy a vending machine, which has been placed at Broadway Bound Performing Arts Center in Merrimack.

In addition, the group earned a $1,000 grant from the United Way to cover start-up costs, water bottles, supplies and materials.

Most vending machine proceeds are donated to Pure Water for the World, an organization that provides sustainable clean drinking water to families through filter installation.

Now, the group hopes to win some major cash in the contest, sponsored by Best Buy, to purchase and install four or five more vending machines.

The winners will be chosen by votes through the Internet or cell phone text.

People can vote once each day during December by texting BBYV17 to 32075 or by going to http://www.genv .net/bestbuy.

Cemetery work may start soon

Trustees will likely approach voters with a warrant article next year asking for $15,000 for design work on a new cemetery at Cemetery Fields because the town’s two cemeteries, Cricket Corner and Meadowview, will be full in about four to five years, according to Peter Bergin, chairman of the cemetery trustees.

A warrant article asking for the same amount failed last year.

“We have to do something,” said Bergin. “This is the time to get rolling.”

Cemetery Fields is the name for a parcel on Merrimack Road that the town bought in the early 1990s for a future cemetery.

It has been used for athletic fields and a playground, but only following a legal battle over whether the usage violated the deed.

An out-of-court settlement was reached that the town would have to remove playground equipment and playing fields from Cemetery Fields by 2014, or sooner if the need for graves before that date.

Recreation director Nancy McMillan said the town is working on a “plan B” to compensate for the loss of the athletic fields, which she says are used by many teams.

When the renovations are complete, the new name of the land on Merrimack Road will be Forest View Cemetery.

Resource inventory

The Wilton Conservation Commission’s Natural Resources Inventory has been completed after a three-year process. The GSI mapping was done by David McGraw of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

On Monday, commission members Lynne Draper and Spencer Brookes displayed a collection of maps and overlays to selectmen.

The materials will be kept by the planning board.

The inventory catalogs important natural resources of regional importance.

McGraw will be in Wilton on Monday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m., to present the completed program to planning and zoning officials and interested residents, Brookes said.

Cutting costs

Lyndeborough Selectman Andy Roeper said last week that the board was continuing to look into the possibility of lowering the cost of heating oil that was negotiated last fall.

That price was locked in at just over $4 a gallon when there were predictions of fuel oil reaching $5 a gallon. “No one expected the drop in price,” he said.

Town Administrator Jim Bingham said a news article reporting that the Fred Fuller company had agreed to renegotiate prices would give him “a starting point with our own supplier (Irving Oil).”

Bone marrow drive set

Bedford resident Bob Johnson’s world was turned upside down recently when he was diagnosed with leukemia.

The father of three and grandfather of six likes to spend his time singing in his church choir, playing cards, fixing things around the house and being with his family.

But lately he’s had to focus on fighting the disease. And to do that, he needs a bone marrow transplant.

That’s why his family is hosting a bone marrow drive, where people can join the bone marrow registry, on Saturday, Dec. 13, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Hampshire Hills, 50 Emerson Drive, in Milford.

Those who join the registry will fill out a few forms and have noninvasive cheek swabs done.

Each person who joins has about a 1-in-200 chance of getting a request to be a donor, according to Catherine Claeys of the National Marrow Donor Program, which will be managing the drive.

“Then, they’ll be asked to come in for testing and a physical exam,” Claeys said.

For more information about the Dec. 13 bone marrow drive at Hampshire Hills, call Johnson’s daughter, Jen Parkhurst, at 396-8797.