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Some 7,000 students in Haverhill, Mass.--rated as one of the worst places in the country to live--have written to the editors at Time magazine to tell them it just isn't so.

A cardboard box of the handwritten essays was delivered to Time Inc. in Washington after the magazine ran an article about a new book, Places Rated Almanac, which ranks the quality of living in 227 metropolitan communities based on housing, climate, terrain, health care, environment, crime, transportation, education, recreation, art, and finances.

Readers are "left with the impression that Haverhill is an armpit," says the lawyer representing radio station whav, which sponsored the essay contest. The station, with the backing of the mayor, the president of the city council, and the superintendent of schools, has asked Time's editors to do a report on the methodology of the study by authors Richard Boyer and David Savageau, both Massachusetts residents.

Students praised Haverhill for its stores, restaurants, bowling alleys, and skating rinks. One pointed out that the town has "four seasons of the year." Essays with titles such as "Why I think Haverhill is the best place to live in the U.S.A." mentioned its friendly people, facilities for the elderly, and blend of rural and metropolitan characteristics.


The Very Rev. Charles H. Clark has been appointed rector--or headmaster--of St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H.

Mr. Clark, an Episcopal priest, is now dean of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University. He will assume his new position in June, succeeding William A. Oates, who is retiring after 39 years at St. Paul's.

Independent schools such as the 125-year-old St. Paul's, Mr. Clark said, "are being challenged today to reaffirm their traditional objectives."


The superintendent of schools in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho has turned down a raise, saying he wants to set an example for other employees in the district.

"These are tough times," Barry Steim said in explaining why he declined a 10-percent increase in his $46,700 salary. Shutdowns in northern Idaho's lumber and mining industries, together with a decline in construction, have depressed the area's economy.

"I've been treated well here, and I couldn't in good conscience ask for more," added Mr. Steim, who took the job five years ago.

Teachers may likewise have to "back off" from the 10-percent pay increase for 1982-83 that was negotiated three years ago, Mr. Steim added. The only alternatives, he said, are cuts in instructional school programs and in sports.

The president of the Coeur d'Alene Education Association, Russell Bailey, said he thought teachers would be willing to take a realistic look at the needs of the district. But since the final state appropriation has not been set, Mr. Bailey said, he could not predict how much smaller an increase they would accept.


Citing personal reasons, Utah Superintendent of Public Instruction Walter D. Talbot, 58, has retired effective June 30.

A native of Panguitch, Utah, Mr. Talbot began his tenure in 1970 after six years as a deputy superintendent in the state department of education.

His administration saw the passage in 1977 of a requirement that students pass a minimum competency test to earn diplomas.

In the same year he began a program of "individualized instruction" in the secondary schools. Under this plan the students and parents meet with counselors at the beginning of their secondary school career to plan a long-range program.

Mr. Talbot said he wants to write and possibly teach after retiring.

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