Reminder From Police: Hide Valuables in Vehicles at Trailheads

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHamilton police want to remind residents as summer approaches – and there’s more activity on local hiking trails – to take simple sense steps to prevent crime when parking at trailheads.

There have been a few car break-ins already this spring at the Bradley Palmer State Park parking lot and the Appleton Farms Grass Rides parking lot, both located on Highland Street.

It is important to not leave any valuables visible inside your vehicle when you park it, police said. Purses, wallets, laptop bags or anything else that looks like it could be expensive shouldn’t be left in the car or should be put out of sight.

Hamilton Police Lt. Scott Janes recommends that hikers, even before they get to the parking lot, should put things away in the glove box or center console or cover it up under a jacket or blanket. The best bet is to put it in a locked trunk. And always make sure your vehicle is locked when you leave it.

All three car break-ins this spring in Hamilton have occurred when the thief smashed a rear window to gain access to the vehicle. Typically, thieves are only looking for small items which can easily be pawned for cash, police said.

In summary, be cautious when heading out to enjoy the outdoors this summer because police don’t want your adventure ruined at the end.


Registration Now Open for Citizens Fire Academy Happening This Spring

hamilton-fire-academyThe fourth Hamilton Citizens Fire Academy will be held this spring and registration is open now.

The Hamilton Fire Department will run the academy from 6:30-9 p.m. for nine consecutive Thursdays from March 30 to May 18. Graduation will be on May 25.

The Citizens Fire Academy will familiarize citizens with the operation and function of the Hamilton Fire Department. Classes will cover various topics that will include a history and overview of the department, fire safety, protective clothing, portable fire extinguishers, fire apparatus and equipment, auto extrication, special operations and more.

Classes will be taught by members of the Hamilton Fire Department, Hamilton police officers and dispatchers.

The academy will also include a trip to the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy on a Saturday and a trip to Bradley Palmer State Park to see a fire tower.

There is no charge to attend the academy but the class size is limited to 20 people. Preference will be given to Hamilton residents. Academy participants must be 18 years old or older or have a parent’s signature if under 18. The deadline to submit an application is Monday, March 13.

Academy applications can be picked up at the Hamilton Fire Department, 265 Bay Road, Hamilton or by calling Fire Chief Philip Stevens at 978-468-5560. Applications are also available online or picked up at the Hamilton Town Clerk’s office at Hamilton Town Hall.


Proposed Tower, Spurred by Town Bylaw Changes, Would Cover West Side of Hamilton

The 110-foot tall cell phone tower planned near Asbury Street will help increase cell phone service on the west side of Hamilton, helping add Verizon Wireless coverage at Pingree School, Bradley Palmer State Park and areas along Asbury and Highland streets, the project manager told the Hamilton Planning Board on Tuesday night.

Smart phone

A formal application for the proposed tower at 434 Asbury St. has not yet been submitted by Blue Sky Towers and Verizon Wireless to town officials, but the tower plan is already undergoing federal review and permitting.

The new tower would cover a 1 to 2-1/2 mile radius, said project manager James George, and may reach to the downtown area. The companies have yet to submit propagation maps showing the expected coverage range but it will as part of the later formal special permit application to the Hamilton Planning Board.

While Blue Sky is co-developing the tower with Verizon Wireless, George said there will be space to lease to up to four additional cell phone providers. He said it is possible T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint may all locate an antenna on the pole “in time.”

“Most of Hamilton is void of coverage,” George said, adding that he has been working in Hamilton for the past 18-24 months to find a location for a new tower.

Later, he said a recent change to the town bylaws allowed the project to move forward – increasing the allowed height of a tower to 110 feet and reducing the fallzone to 200 feet from 500 feet.

George said he has also been seeking out new cell tower sites in neighboring Essex, Ipswich and Wenham in addition to additional locations in Hamilton.

In addition to the tower, the project would include a 100-foot by 100-foot fenced in area on the ground where equipment buildings would be located. The closest home is 370 feet away from the tower, George said.

The project will need a special permit from the Planning Board and undergo site plan review from the Zoning Board of Appeals to be built. The project’s attorney, Earl Duval of Lynnfield, said an application will be filed within a month. He said Blue Sky and Verizon Wireless will likely seek 1-2 waivers, including asking not to fly a test balloon for three days and instead fly it for one morning and then create images showing what the tower will look like.

When the application is filed and a public hearing is scheduled, Duval said a project engineer from ProTerra Design Group and a radio frequency engineer from Verizon will attend. Patrick Reffett, the Planning and Inspections director for the town of Hamilton, said public comment will be taken by the Planning Board during the hearing. He asked Blue Sky to present images showing what the tower will look like from nearby Canter Brook Farm and Asbury Street.

Day One of ‘Operation Swift Response’ Underway, Simulates Hurricane Rescue

Day one of “Operation Swift Response” is underway at Bradley Palmer State Park in Hamilton on Monday.

Operation Swift Response 3Operation Swift Response is a training drill that simulates a full-scale search-and-rescue after a Category 5 hurricane.

The exercise includes the Essex County Technical Rescue Team, as well as other technical rescue teams from eastern Massachusetts, along with members of the National Guard.

It is a two-day training exercise that is scheduled to run until 8 p.m. on Monday and then again from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Bradley Palmer State Park, which sits in Hamilton and Topsfield.

“The overwhelming event will require teams from unaffected parts of the state be brought in by military helicopter,” according to a description of the planned drill. “Patients will be extricated from various environments and evacuated to the base of operations.”

Hurricane Rescue Drill Will Mean Low-Flying Military Helicopters Over Hamilton

A portion of a multi-agency technical rescue drill dubbed Operation Swift Response will be happening early next week in Hamilton at Bradley Palmer State Park.

Military Helicopter

Operating Swift Response is designed to simulate the response to a Category 5 Hurricane striking the eastern side of Massachusetts.

The drill is scheduled to occur on Monday, June 8 and Tuesday, June 9 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“There will be low flying National Guard helicopters in the area during that period, which will land at Bradley Palmer,” said Hamilton Fire Chief Phil Stevens.

The drill is designed to be a full-scale exercise and will also be taking place at “designated incident locations” elsewhere on the North Shore and on the South Shore. The two-day drill is designed to practice a mass search and rescue by deploying and operating at a large scale search and rescue incident; operational coordination by demonstrating interoperability between all district rescue teams and the National Guard while operating in a disaster environment and operational communication by demonstrating interoperability among all agencies using federal channels and cross band patching.

The Essex County Technical Rescue Team, which has apparatus stationed at the Hamilton fire station, will go to work with a simulated wide area search, entering the area in military helicopters. They will have limited resources to complete their missions.

“The overwhelming event will require additional Technical Rescue Teams from unaffected parts of the state be brought in by military helicopter,” according to a description of the planned drill. “Patients will be extricated from various environments and evacuated to the base of operations.”