Around the Towns: Amherst – Merrimack

Plans to correct dangerous Pine Road intersection

Residents seemed to react favorably to the state’s plan to align Old Manchester and Pine roads where they meet at Route 101.

Mike Dugas, from the state Department of Transportation, presented the plan during Monday night’s selectmen’s meeting. Old Manchester Road will need to be extended 300 feet to the east to be directly across from Pine Road.

The intersection is considered dangerous because cars turning left onto Old Manchester and Pine roads have no place to stop and wait for traffic to clear before they can turn. The improvements would add a turning lane.

State Rep. Lee Slocum was killed at the intersection in 2006 when his car was rear-ended on Route 101 while he waited to turn left onto Old Manchester Road.

Slocum’s widow, Jill, was pleased that Dugas said the project is moving forward and would probably be completed at the end of the year.

“I think it will help,” Jill Slocum said. “It’s not perfect but it’s a big improvement.”

Slocum and Liz Overholt advocated for a lower speed limit on that stretch of 101 because it would reduce the intensity of accidents.

Dugas said he would bring those comments to the state’s attention.

The project would cost about $300,000 and the state would pay the entire tab, said Dugas.

Remember the old man

An extensive collection of “Old Man of the Mountain” memorabilia is on display at the Merrimack Historical Society.

Merrimack residents Bob L’Heureux and Ron Ketchie have temporarily donated to the society their collections of books, shirts, post cards, photographs, plates, cups, trinkets and more.

The display is free and open to the public on Tuesdays from 6-8 p.m. and by appointment.

On Sept. 16, L’Heureux and Ketchie will present information on their memorabilia, plus a video they shot during preservation efforts years ago.

The display and discussion are at the historical society at 520 Boston Post Road in the No. 12 schoolhouse.

‘Yak it up

One way to enjoy summer is on the water, and Merrimack residents are being offered an opportunity to do that for free.

Merrimack Valley Paddlers is offering free kayak classes on Naticook Lake at Wasserman Park. All ages and levels of experience are welcome. First-timers can ask questions and try paddling. More experienced kayakers can learn to “roll,” network and plan trips.

The group will supply kayaks to beginners.

Classes are held Tuesday nights through Labor Day from 5 p.m. to dusk.

For more information about the paddlers, visit

For other questions, call the Merrimack Parks and Recreation Department at 882-1046, or e-mail

Kindergarten plans get fresh look

LYNDEBOROUGH – With new directions from the state concerning kindergarten in all school districts, the board of the Central School will form a new study committee to prepare a warrant article for district meeting in March.

Earlier this week, Superintendent of Schools Leo Corriveau told board members the state will “pay 100 percent of standalone construction” of a new kindergarten room or building, and “75 percent of a modified design,” such as part of a larger addition.

“We recommend going ahead with a plan,” Corriveau said.

Because of the limited time available, the new study committee will update former plans to conform with new state standards and determine new costs.

Board Chairman Geoff Brock said there were still “a lot of unanswered questions from the state.”

The board will next meet on Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. Anyone interested in the study may attend that meeting at which the new committee will be formed and given a charter.

Elevated mold levels found at school, officials to test again

LYNDEBOROUGH – Testing for mold at the Central School earlier this summer has proved “inconclusive,” according to Principal Susan Tussing.

She is now wondering, she told the school board on Monday, “if it makes sense to wait until fall or winter when the building is closed up, to get a more accurate reading.”

The board agreed to do that.

According to a report, the tests were made in May following complaints from a parent that her son was complaining of headaches while at school. Air samples were taken in three locations, she said: the boy’s classroom, the resource room, and an outside control sample.

The samples were analyzed by Pro-Lab.

The classroom and outside air showed slightly elevated levels of mold, a type associated with moisture and which can affect ceiling tiles, dry wall, any absorbent organic material.

Symptoms of this exposure are usually runny nose, eye irritation, cough, congestion, and aggravation of asthma.

Tussing said the student complained of headaches to his parents but did not approach the school nurse.

She also noted that the school walls are cement block, not drywall, and the only “organic” material could be in the ceiling tiles.

She also noted that the student would be in a different classroom this fall.

Staff writers Karen Lovett and Daymond Steer and correspondent Jessie Salisbury contributed to this report.