ADAM SWIFT

Five Peabody educators leave quite a Legacy

By ADAM SWIFT

PEABODYDonna Costa, Elaine Marshall, June Kessel, Lorraine Benoit, and Sister Christine Gubisch will be honored with George Peabody Legacy Awards for their lasting impact on the education of students during the fifth annual ceremony on Thursday.

“Congratulations to the 2017 George Peabody Legacy Award Recipients,” said Peabody Mayor Edward Bettencourt. “This is a richly deserved honor for a group of outstanding people who have given so much of their time, energy and talent to the great cause of education.”

The city’s namesake, George Peabody, was a successful, self-educated entrepreneur who became the world’s first international philanthropist.

His wish to promote a spirit of harmony and goodwill in society lives on today in the Peabody Education Foundation’s annual awards.

The Peabody Education Foundation is an organization of community members, business leaders, and educators seeking to enhance the quality of public education in the city.

The five winners were selected from among dozens of nominations made by the public and met the criteria of having a lasting impact on education, effecting change for the good of the people over a significant amount of time, being an active member in the Peabody community and a tireless advocate for local students, and living or working in the city.

“These are all great people, and these are all people, who for the last five years, have been recommended and nominated,” said David Gravel, city councilor and Chairman of the Peabody Education Foundation. “We are looking forward to having a great event.”

Bettencourt also praised the role the Peabody Education Foundation has played in supporting the city’s schools.

“The foundation offers excellent programs as well as access to advanced technology which helps our students prepare for the next step in their education and their careers,” the mayor said.

Costa has worked for the city for more than 40 years and is currently a business teacher; Marshall was a psychology teacher at Peabody High School from 1974-2008; Kessel was a special education paraprofessional at the high school and noted volunteer; Benoit was in the school system from 1968-2003 and helped pave the way for women’s sports at the high school; and Gubisch headed the elementary and early childhood programs at the Carmelite for 35 years.

Tickets for the ceremony at the Wiggin Auditorium at City Hall are $35 and can be purchased on the Peabody Education Foundation’s website. The event starts at 6 p.m. and includes a light meal and a cash bar.

Peabody must plant more money at Brooksby Farms

FILE PHOTO | SPENSER HASAK
Mama and her baby lamb, residents of Brooksby Farm in Peabody.

By ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — The city-run Brooksby Farm is more popular than ever, and with that popularity have come some increased operating costs.

The farm manager and the city’s recreation director are requesting a transfer of $45,000 from the farm’s revolving fund to cover additional overtime costs and part-time wages for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The City Council’s finance committee is slated to consider the request at its meeting on Thursday.

“Contributing factors include increased minimum wage and the upturn of customers, from school children and families to the elderly,” Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. stated in a letter to the council. “The farm has become even more popular and will generate over $1.5 million in revenue for FY 2017.”

The farm operates outside the city’s general budget via a revolving fund, with money coming in from Brooksby Farm profits covering the cost of its operation. According to the letter from Bettencourt, there is currently a balance of $481,885 in the Brooksby Farm revolving fund.

The popularity of the farm; which features animals, a store, and apple picking in the fall; has increased because of word of mouth, good reviews, and the ever-present role of social media.

“This popularity has caused an increased need in dedicated staff to provide more direction, safety and to assure that all patrons have an enjoyable experience while visiting the farm,” said Bettencourt.

In addition to the personnel costs, there’s also a request to use $94,200 from the revolving fund to buy a new John Deere tractor and loader. The existing equipment at Brooksby can no longer handle the workload without continuous breakdowns and costly repairs, according to Bettencourt.

Adding a new, state-of-the-art tractor to the fleet will let the farm dedicate one tractor to spraying the orchards.

The other tractors will be used to take care of plowing and harrowing, laying plastic and planting the gardens, and mowing and property maintenance.

Help for Haiti in Peabody

PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
Mark and Anne Tomchik, foreground, take part in the 42nd annual Walk for Haiti, sponsored by the Faith and Concern organization of affiliated churches in Peabody.

By ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — On one of the most holy days on the Christian calendar, the annual Walk for Haiti brought a message of hope and faith for those who have faced untold struggles.

Good Friday was the 42nd year that Faith and Concern, a local ecumenical organization with a mission of improving the lives of the Haitian people, held the walk in Peabody.

“Our priority has been education in schools, employment training programs, and community development,” said Sister Nancy Rowen, member of Faith and Concern’s board of directors.

Faith and Concern’s work in Haiti includes training two generations of women in Port-au-Prince for domestic employment and the establishment of eight grade K-12 schools in towns such as Roche a Bateau, Sau D’Eau, and Lilavois.

Brad Smith, who has traveled to Haiti numerous times on behalf of Faith and Concern and other organizations, talked about the hardships and tragedies the people of the island nation have faced.

“It was very hard for me the first few years I went down there,” said Smith. “People can say that this is really hopeless, and what you are doing is just a drop in the bucket. But you know what? With every drop, the bucket isn’t empty anymore.”

The massive earthquake of 2010 killed more than 300,000 and displaced more than 1.5 million people. Last October, Hurricane Matthew struck southwest Haiti, decimating crops, livestock, and the fishing industry. Smith said unemployment stands at nearly 70 percent and few children go to school.

“Every natural disaster seems to hit Haiti, and they seem to hit every year,” said Smith. But he said there even with a litany of disasters that could crush most, the people of Haiti persevere.

“These people in Haiti have hope because of people like you, because of the NGOs (non-governmental agencies), where people get 100 percent of these efforts you’re doing,” Smith told those taking part in the fundraising walk. “There is hope, and the biggest hope is because you people have given what you’ve given.”

A number of familiar faces took part in the walk, including former mayor Michael Bonfanti and Jackie Torigian, widow of former mayor Peter Torigian.

“I’ve done this for the last 18 years,” said Bonfanti. “It’s a nice group and they have a good mission, and Brad (Smith) is the real deal.”

Who gets a pass in Nahant?

By ADAM SWIFT

NAHANT — Just how many people are coming across the Causeway to get Nahant parking stickers?

At the next selectmen’s meeting on Thursday, March 16, board members are looking for answers from town administration about how many town parking stickers are issued each year, and how many are going to non-residents. The conversation was kicked into gear at last week’s board meeting, when selectmen were asked to consider a request to issue free parking permits to town volunteers.

“There are many people down on Short Beach who brag about having a sticker and do not live in Nahant,” said selectman Enzo Barile. “If we are going to consider this, I want a full accounting of every sticker that goes out, whether the board of selectmen give them away, whether the police give them away.”

Barile said that he doesn’t want to get rid of the town’s ability to hand out day passes to non-residents, particularly for relatives of people who live in Nahant. However, he said that when he was younger, relatives would usually borrow the car of the Nahant resident if they wanted to park near the beach.

Originally, the stickers were given for free to all residents, but the town began to charge for beach stickers to pay for guns for the police department, said selectman Chairman Richard Lombard.

Now, Barile said, it can be hard for residents to find parking spots near the beach in the summer, sometimes at the expense of cars from off Nahant. He added that the stickers can be purchased by anyone who pays an excise tax in Nahant, and that someone can register their car in town without living there.

On some busy days in the summer, Barile said he has been at Short Beach and someone will ask him “How can a car down there with a Connecticut license plate have a sticker?”

According to the town website, yearly parking stickers are $10 and are for use by residents whose cars are registered and garaged in Nahant. The sticker is required to park in lots and spaces around town, including lowland/Short Beach; Northeastern/Canoe Beach; Town Wharf lot; and Bailey’s Hill designated spots.

Applications for the current year’s stickers opened on March 3 and are valid through March 3, 2018.

Town Administrator Jeffrey Chelgren said he will have information about how many parking passes were issued last year, as well as how many registered cars there are in town at the board’s next meeting.

“They give out one day passes with no dates on them,” said Barile, noting that issue also has to be addressed this year. “We need a full accounting … I just don’t want it to get out of control.”

Repeal of Affordable Care Act lamented in Lynn

PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
State Senator Thomas M. McGee attended a meeting hosted by U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton at Lynn Community Health Center to hear from constituents who are at risk by President Trump’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

By ADAM SWIFT

LYNNU.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass) has been one of the most vocal national critics of President Trump’s new administration, making appearances on the cable networks and sparking debate across the country.

On Saturday morning, Moulton brought a local focus to a national issue, taking part in a roundtable on the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly referred to as Obamacare, at the Lynn Community Health Center.

“It’s an incredibly important issue in the community and in the country, as the Republicans in Washington intend to repeal the ACA but have nothing to replace it with,” said Moulton.

During the hour-long discussion, Moulton heard from about a dozen community members, Lynn Community Health Center staff, and local businesspeople about how they have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act and their fears if it is repealed.

The Lynn Community Health Center serves 39,000 people annually, according to Lori Abrams Berry, the center’s CEO. Before the ACA passed, 40 percent of those people had no insurance. Today, that number is under 15 percent, Berry said.

That increase in the number of patients who have insurance has a huge impact on the ability to run and fund the health center, Berry said.

State Sen. Thomas M. McGee noted how former Governor Mitt Romney laid the foundation for the ACA in Massachusetts.

“It was embraced by the governor at the time and it was not embraced by the Republicans down in Washington, which was pretty interesting,” said McGee. “They were the ones who came up with the mandate so we were able to pay for it. We were able to insure over 96 percent of the people in the Commonwealth, and our challenge with the ACA under attack is what’s it going to mean for what we’ve been able to do to keep the insurance that we have in Massachusetts.”

With a repeal, McGee said Massachusetts could be in line for losses of billions of dollars in health insurance costs. He said the state could be especially hard hit when it comes to emergency room costs.

“From the legislative perspective, we used to spend hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for the patients who didn’t have insurance who went to the emergency room,” McGee said. “All the hospitals were being inundated and we were really struggling with those costs, we were actually subsidizing those costs as a legislature and a Commonwealth into the hospitals that were giving that care. Obamacare has created a great opportunity to bring those costs down, bring people out of the emergency rooms, and find a better way to care for people.”

While the politics of the ACA was never far from everyone’s mind at the roundtable discussion, it was the personal stories that had the greatest emotional impact of the morning.

Deb Debski has been battling a rare autoimmune disease that was destroying her liver and needed a transplant in order to live. While she said she is doing well now, she was in the hospital earlier this week.

“I told my doctor that I had this discussion coming up and that he had to let me out,” Debski said. “I’m very thankful for the Affordable Care Act. I had $17,000 in medications during the past year, and I paid $75.59. These are medications that I need to take twice a day in order to live.”

Debski said she is extremely upset that the ACA could be repealed with nothing to take its place.

“It would be an incredible hardship to decide whether I can eat or take my medicine,” she said.

Moulton said that Democrats in Congress are open to changes in the ACA, and that he is open to changes in the ACA that could improve it.

“But, we can’t just throw it out and not have a replacement,” Moulton said. “That would be disastrous and you clearly heard that from so many people. We want to hear these stories because we care so much about you, we want to be able to say this to our Republican friends in Washington, but I think it is even more powerful when you convey it directly.”

Saugus’s Wong: Rep, restaurateur and Tai Chi master

PHOTO BY ALENA KUZUB
State Rep. Donald Wong teaches a group exercise, while Karen Barbarisi of East Boston listens, during an introductory Qigong class at Breakheart Reservation on Saturday.

By ADAM SWIFT

SAUGUS — Breakheart Reservation has always been a popular spot for joggers, hikers, and families looking to let the kids burn off some energy.

But on Saturday morning, there was a slightly more reflective form of physical activity in the Christopher P. Dunne Visitor Center, thanks to state Representative Donald Wong (R-Saugus) and the Friends of Breakheart Reservation. Wong led two guided lessons in Tai Chi and Qigong (pronounced chee gung) as a fundraiser to help support future Friends events at the reservation.

“Qigong and Tai Chi are exercises that are good for your body, but do not strain your body,” said Wong.

The exercises focus more on circulation, or the life force moving through your body, Wong said.

“They are good for all ages, and unlike medications, you don’t have side effects,” he said. “The main thing is that it helps with your circulation, the better your circulation, the better your health.”

While there was no charge for those who took part in Saturday’s lessons, donations for the Friends of Breakheart Reservation were accepted. Wong said he believes in the mission of the Friends and is a strong supporter of Breakheart Reservation as a wonderful resource for people who live in the area.

“I hope everyone gets to know the location so we can get some donations and do more programs,” Wong said.

Those who took part in the lessons were a mix of seasoned Qigong and Tai Chi practitioners as well as regular visitors to the reservation.

“I’m a local resident and I love coming to Breakheart Reservation every week,” said Lena Thain of Saugus. “It is a great asset for the neighborhood.”

Deborah Scearbo of Winthrop said the Qigong and Tai Chi lessons were a wonderful way to combine the beauty of Breakheart with the benefits of the ancient practices.

“Tai Chi is a wonderful form of exercise and relaxation,” said Scearbo.

And with Wong leading the lessons, Scearbo, Thain and the others were able to take advantage of the wisdom and knowledge of someone who has spent decades learning and teaching Tai Chi and Qigong.

Wong told the students the story of how he spent three years overseas looking for a certain monk to teach him Tai Chi and Qigong, only to return home and find that the monk had transferred to Chinatown in New York City.

For the next 10 years, Wong said, he would make the drive to New York City at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning after closing up the family restaurant, the Rte. 1 landmark the Kowloon, to practice with the monk.

The learning imparted upon Wong was appreciated by those who came to have their spines gently stretched and their circulation flow on Saturday morning.

Saturday’s event was co-sponsored by the Friends of Breakheart Reservation, the DCR, and Qi Farm.

Regiment marks anniversary of Glover’s death

PHOTO BY REBA SALDANHA
Seamus Daly of Marblehead’s Glover’s Regiment, gives a eulogy at Glover’s tomb on Burial Hill to mark the 220th anniversary of Gen. John Glover’s death on Saturday.

By ADAM SWIFT

MARBLEHEAD — If it were not for the actions of General John Glover and his regiment of Marblehead mariners, there’s a good chance we’d still be living under the rule of British monarchs.

On three occasions during the early days of the American Revolution, Glover’s Marblehead Regiment stepped into action to help make the dream of freedom from tyranny a reality.

On Saturday evening, the modern-day Glover’s Marblehead Regiment held a memorial march, in Revolutionary period garb, from the Old Town House to Burial Hill to honor the 220th anniversary of Glover’s death in 1797. The regiment was reformed in 1974 to celebrate the Bicentennial and is a group of living historians and custodians of the role of Marblehead in the Revolutionary War.

The regiment has marched for more than four decades to honor Glover’s life and death, and Captain Seamus Daly of Glover’s Marblehead Regiment said it is one of a number of events it undertakes to keep the memory of the general and Marblehead’s role in the Revolution alive.

“The regiment was famous for three events in 1776,” said Daly. Those events included the evacuation of 9,000 Continental troops and all of their equipment, guns and horses from under the nose of the British regulars from Long Island, the  fighting of a holding action against the British attempting to cut off Washington’s army in Manhattan, and the famous crossing of the Delaware on Christmas night to surprise the Hessian garrison at Trenton.

On Saturday evening, the regiment marched by lamp light to Glover’s tomb at Burial Hill, followed by several dozen local residents.

At the cemetery, the regiment offered a military salute to Glover, and Daly recounted the exploits of the role the general and his men played in the Revolution.

“We gather here to commemorate the life of General John Glover, a true hero of the Revolutionary War,” said Daly. “This event focuses on General Glover and his men in the events of late 1776, however, it is also right that we pay deference to his other war service when he came back after the war.”

Glover was an early and enthusiastic supporter of the Revolution, quickly rising from colonel to general of the regiment that came to bear his name. His commitment to the war led to the loss of his personal fortune.

“But after the war, Glover was not done with public service,” Daly said. “He served six terms as a town selectman and two terms in the state legislature.”

After the ceremony at Burial Hill, the regiment returned to the Old Town House with a stop in Glover Square.

Lynn supports a food pantry for Sacred Heart

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Amanda Tran and Andrew Medrano, volunteers from Lynn Classical, carry old chairs from the second floor of the former nunnery at Sacred Heart Church on Boston Street.

By ADAM SWIFT

LYNN — From local students to the Rotary Club to scores of community volunteers, there has been an outpouring of help and support to bring a new food pantry to the former nunnery at Sacred Heart Church on Boston Street.

The food pantry, which is expected to open in March under the direction of Catholic Charities North, will serve the communities currently served by Sacred Heart, St. Mary’s Church, and the Lynn Family Mission. Since the closing of the St. Mary’s food pantry 1½ years ago, the three groups have worked with the Greater Boston Food Bank to provide to those in need one Saturday per month in the St. Mary’s parking lot.

“The whole idea is that there is a great need in the city of Lynn,” said Bob Fioccoprile, the project manager for the Sacred Heart site. “The Greater Boston Food Bank has been a great help bringing in food and people to help direct the site (in St. Mary’s parking lot).”

Food and essential supplies have been provided to about 18,000 people since the organizations have been operating out of the St. Mary’s parking lot, Fioccoprile said.

Once renovations are complete, the food pantry will be open one or two Saturdays per month, and possibly a few nights per month. It will be run by Catholic Charities North Executive Fran Troutman, who also oversees about a half-dozen other food pantries across the North Shore.

But it is taking a lot of work to get the Sacred Heart location ready to open in March. Luckily, dozens of local organizations and volunteer groups have been lending a hand.

On Saturday morning, students from Lynn Classical’s Interact Club showed up to help clean out the building, sand, and paint. The Interact Club is a community service organization for students aligned with the Rotary Club.

Dina Capano, a Classical history teacher who oversees the Interact Club, said the project at Sacred Heart is a way for the students to see an ongoing community service project from beginning to end.

Classical senior Suzanne Musema said she first got involved in community service projects through Girls, Inc.

Many of the students said it was worth getting up early on a Saturday morning to help out a worthy cause.

“Working and being part of the community has been instilled in me,” she said. “I cherish being able to make a difference.”

Senior Glendy Alvarez said she also likes to be involved in the community and helping make people happy through her efforts.

“I love helping the community,” said senior Elizabeth Tobon. “I live five minutes away, and it feels great to do something great for a great cause and give a hand to the community.”

Fioccoprile said he was thankful for all the groups that have lent a hand to make the food pantry a reality.

Ray Bastarache, president of the Rotary Club of Lynn, busy scraping paint off the ceiling on Saturday morning, said he and the other Rotary members were happy to help.

“I’ve been in the loop for the search for a permanent site,” said Bastarache. “They can’t continue to operate outside, and we knew this would be an appropriate site.”

United in protest on the steps of City Hall

PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
Heidi Bethancourt of Lynn holds a sign protesting President Donald Trump during a rally on the steps of City Hall Friday night.

BY ADAM SWIFT

LYNN — Lynn says no to Trump.

Or at least that was the message unfurled on a banner in front of City Hall Friday night, as about 50 people gathered to protest the policies of the newly inaugurated president.

The event was organized by Lynn United for Change, and for many who attended, the evening was an opportunity to let the incoming administration know that their voices will be heard.

“I am here to support my community,” said Eliud Alcala, who was holding up one end of the Lynn Says No to Trump banner. “We need to hold (Trump) accountable.”

Alcala was one of a number of those who spoke against Trump’s proposed immigration policies, which he said are an insult to all who have, or have had friends, family and ancestors who have immigrated to the United States.

Others on the City Hall steps held smaller signs supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and offering sentiments such as “the election is over, but the struggle continues.”

Paula Phipps and Julie Letourneau said they felt compelled to come to the Lynn United for Change event because they are part of the community.

“We want to do something to be proactive and show our support,” said Phipps.

Letourneau said turning out to have her voice heard on inauguration day felt more productive than staying home and being silent.

In addition to the signs, there were several short speeches from members of Lynn United for Change, as well as some sporadic chants of “what do we do when Trump attacks? We stand up and fight back.”

Isaac Simon Hodes of Lynn United for Change said he understood that Friday was a tough day for many of those who oppose Trump and his policies.

“We also know from experience that we don’t mourn, we organize,” said Hodes, who noted that Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy has been public about her support of Trump. “We want to show the mayor that she does not speak for the people of Lynn.”

Ella Thomas of Lynn United for Change said that no victories gained through political struggle or protest happened overnight.

“We have a way to go, but we know we can do it,” said Thomas.

While there were several people walking near City Hall voicing their support for Trump, there were a number of others who offered honks and words of encouragement as they drove by.

“I love you guys,” shouted one woman. “(Expletive) Trump.”

End of the line for Ship in Lynnfield

By ADAM SWIFT

LYNNFIELD — In one form or another, the Ship has sailed on Route 1 in Lynnfield for nearly a century.

But now it looks like approvals are falling in place for a new retail plaza to replace the distinctive landmark.

The town Planning Board approved a plan for the property at 24-38 Broadway, pending zoning board approvals for several variances related to signs and lighting on the property.

“We plan to demolish the existing ship facility, which has been there since the 1920s,” said Ted Regnante, the attorney representing the Ship Mall, LLC, which owns the Ship building and the neighboring building, which is leased to the Christmas Tree Shops. “It’s useful life has expired, and the building is in need of substantial renovations.”

The cost of those renovations would exceed the cost of the plans to tear down the existing building and replace it with the new plan. Under the new plan, there will be two buildings. The first will house two retail spaces and one coffee shop with a drive-through. The second will be a freestanding bank with a drive-through.

Together, the two buildings will total about 12,500 square feet. There will be no changes to the building that houses the Christmas Tree Shop, Regnante said.

Regante said his client is currently in negotiation for an upscale coffee shop for the plaza.

“We can’t announce who it is tonight, but it is not a Dunkin’ Donuts,” he said. “You can probably guess who it is, but I can’t confirm or deny that.”

There will be some changes to the parking and driving patterns in the parking lot, including opening up an entrance to the plaza on Daley Road, just off Route 1. Overall, Regnante said 310 parking spaces are required for the site, including the Christmas Tree Shop, and 380 will be available.

“There is a huge parking lot in the rear that is almost never used,” Regnante said. “We will be requesting that all employees park there to free up spaces in the front.”

Planning board member Alan Dresios raised concerns about plans for signs and lighting in the proposal. He said the plans call for signs with interior lighting, but regulations in the light industrial district do not allow for signs with interior lights, but rather signs lit by a single spotlight.

Regnante suggested that Dresios and the planning board make a summary of its suggestions for lighting and signage so that they can try to accommodate any issues when they go before the zoning board for a variance next month.

Planning board member John Faria said he had no problems with the plans presented for the Ship site, provided the proposals receive the necessary variances before the zoning board.

Not everyone in town is content to watch the Ship’s demolition.

Steve Todisco, chairman of the Lynnfield Historical Commission, said on Friday that he has been made aware of a clause in the town charter which may allow for the designation of the Ship as a historic landmark.

He said the Historical Commission will be meeting at 6:20 p.m. on Tuesday at Davio’s Restaurant to discuss potential steps for preserving the building.

First Night a first for Swampscott

PHOTO BY SCOTT EISEN
Acrobat Li Liu performs at Swampscott’s First Night festivities Saturday. More photos on Look!, page A8. 

By ADAM SWIFT

SWAMPSCOTT — Nearly 500 people turned out for the town’s inaugural First Night celebration at Swampscott High School Saturday and given the reaction to the family friendly event, no one expects it to be the last.

First Night Swampscott is an idea that’s been in the works for some time, according to Danielle Strauss, recreation director.

“When my kids were really young, we would have to pack them in the car and bring them into Boston for First Night,” said Strauss. “I really felt that there should be no need to do that and that we could do something in Swampscott.”

With an expanded event’s budget for the recreation department this year, Strauss said the first thing on her to-do list was to take First Night Swampscott from an idea to a reality.

Saturday’s event ran from 2-6 p.m., with arts and crafts projects, a photo booth, a balloon drop and well-received performances from Chinese acrobat Anna Lee, magician Mike Bent with his AbraKidabra show and the Rainforest Reptile Show.

Bent had his young crowd laughing and oohing and ahhing in amazement as he put his own spin on some magic classics (the quarter behind the ear gag), and seemed surprised by his own powers to make the peanut butter and the jelly containers switch places.

Swampscott resident Donald Waugh and his daughter Hannah, 3, were busy at the arts and crafts table in the cafeteria.

“She’s extra excited about the animal show, and about the arts and crafts,” said Waugh. “There’s a great sense of community, getting everyone together.”

Marblehead resident Kevin Hayden agreed that First Night Swampscott, with the attendance heavy on children and young children, was a great way to bring New Year’s fun closer to home.

“There are lots of family friendly activities indoors,” he said. “It’s great to see the support from the community and to see friends and be social.”

Strauss said she was happy to see a good turnout for the event.

“It’s a great way for a family to spend an afternoon for New Year’s Eve,” she said. “The turnout has been great.”

A cool way to start the year

PHOTO BY SCOTT EISEN
The Polar Plunge at Fisherman’s Beach in Swampscott was Sunday.

By ADAM SWIFT

SWAMPSCOTT — Compared to some years, it was downright toasty for the annual Polar Bear Plunge at Fisherman’s Beach on New Year’s Day.

Still, it takes a special brand of commitment to take a dip in the Atlantic when the wind is whipping and the thermometer is hovering around 40 degrees.

“It’s a really fun community event,” said Jill Hartmann, whose husband Mike helped start the event 11 years ago. “There’s a core group who has been doing this every year.”

While there was a definite chill in the air Sunday morning, as is to be expected in January, Hartmann said it was a big improvement over the year when the temperature hovered around a bone-chilling 20 degrees below zero.

Hundreds of polar plungers of all ages lined the shore as the countdown began.

For Marblehead’s Braiden Kilroy, 11, this is the second year he’s taken the plunge.

“My dad does it every year, so now I come to do it, too,” he said.

His dad, Dave, said the polar plunge is a great way to start the new year.

“It’s the right way to start the year with a refreshing dip,” said Dave Kilroy. “Later today, I’ll be taking a 45-minute ocean swim.”

Pat O’Neill of Swampscott was doing his best to keep warm before the plunge, and didn’t seem like the type who would be adding an additional ocean swim to his day’s activities.

“It’s for a good cause,” he said. “I’m not really much of a winter person, so this kind of shocks me into it.”

The Annual Polar Bear Plunge is sponsored by the Swampscott Yacht Club and has raised more than $100,000 for local charities over the years, according to Hartmann. This year’s dip raised money for the Swampscott school district’s newly created SWIFT and HARBOR programs and the Russell J. Hopkins Children’s Fund.

Two of the younger swimmers, Geneva Kelleher, 7, and Elizabeth Curry, 6, were quick to bundle up to counteract their chattering teeth after running out of the Atlantic.

“I’m glad I did it but it was really chilly,” said Kelleher.

The Swampscott polar plungers weren’t the only ones to get cold and wet for a good cause on New Year’s Day.

In Nahant, they were “Freezin’ for a Reason” at Short Beach.

The Lynn event was organized by George and Stephanie Sonia, and Patricia, Mario and Nicholas Capano. This year, funds will be donated to “Homes for Our Troops,” which builds mortgage-free, specially adapted homes nationwide for severely injured veterans post 9/11, to enable them to rebuild their lives.

Donation driven (literally) by Ruff Ryders

PHOTO BY SCOTT EISEN
From left, David Mover, Fred Kenawy, Anthony Terenzi, Salvation Army Captain Meghan Brunelle, President of the North Shore Ruff Ryders Mark Tempesta and his son Mark, Stacie Miller, Lio Echevarria and Bryant Newson with donated toys from the North Shore Ruff Ryders in the lobby of the Salvation Army in Lynn on Saturday.

By ADAM SWIFT

LYNN — Don’t be fooled by the name. The North Shore Ruff Ryders are anything but rough when it comes to giving during the holidays.

The local motorcycle riding lifestyle group dropped off a trailer full of toys for kids in need at the Salvation Army Saturday on Franklin Street.

For Salvation Army Captain Jeff Brunelle, the donation of games, athletic equipment, stuffed animals and more came at just the right time.

“Especially at this time of year, the donations are particularly important,” said Brunelle. “We’ve already done our main distributions, but as people get their last paycheck before Christmas or get closer to the holidays, they might realize that it has come down to paying the January rent or buying Christmas presents. This is a great way to replenish our supply for those people who come in at the last second so that we don’t have to turn anyone away.”

North Shore Ruff Ryders President Mark Tempesta said his group is more than happy to give back to the community. This is the second year the organization has collected toys for kids in need, and the response grew tremendously this year, he said.

The North Shore Ruff Ryders collected toys and money from raffles during a recent fundraiser at Celley’s Pub on Western Avenue.

“We do it because there are needy families out there, and what better way than to hold an event where you can have a couple drinks and listen to some music,” said Tempesta.

Pub owner Neil Celley played a big part in donating the space for the fundraiser, Tempesta said. And while the North Shore Ruff Ryders’ 16 members donated to the cause, he said they were also fortunate to get donations from a number of Celley’s regulars, and other people from the community who stopped by to drop off donations and money.

“It was at least twice as big as last year,” said North Shore Ruff Ryders Vice President Brian Newsom. “The city of Lynn and the people around here take good care of the kids.”

In addition to the toys donated during the Celley’s event, Tempesta and the other group members went on a shopping spree with the money they collected from raffles.

“A lot of times, the older children’s needs aren’t met, so we wanted to make sure we took care of them,” said Tempesta. “We were getting Nerf guns, footballs, Monopoly games. The adults were going crazy.”

Tempesta said he hopes the North Shore Ruff Ryders are able to hold an even bigger donation event next year.

Swampscott’s spirit parades around town

PHOTO BY CORINNA SPINALE
From left, Officer Candace Doyle, Toys for Local Children chair Cathy Kalpin, and Officer Mike Bowden were surrounded by a record number of toys donated to TLC.

By ADAM SWIFT

SWAMPSCOTT — The stockings were hung on the trolleys with care, with hopes that brightly lit Jeeps from across the North Shore would soon be there.

It was another festive annual Swampscott Holiday Parade Saturday evening, as floats, music, and yes, police and fire vehicles, and those decorated, illuminated Jeeps from across the region added to the spirit of the season.

The annual event is hosted by the Swampscott Police Association.

“The police department has been a big supporter of this,” said Abby Rogers of Toys for Local Children. She said there is still time for anyone who is interested to drop off toys at the schools or the police station to help bring a little joy to local kids in need.

Members of Toys for Local Children put the last minute touches on their float before stepping off from the Swampscott High School parking lot shortly before 5:30 p.m. The local group has been collecting toys for kids in need at the Swampscott schools, as well as at the Johnson Elementary School in Nahant.

Swampscott Police Detective Ted Delano said it was probably the biggest parade the town has ever seen, “There must have been thousands of people on the streets,” he said. Ninety percent of the Swampscott Police Department volunteered their time for the event and Delano wanted to send his thanks to the officers and the community for the turnout and support.

While the Swampscott police and fire departments understandably had a big presence during the parade, several other nearby departments took part, including the Salem Police Department with its mobile incident vehicle.

“We were asked to take part, and we were happy to with the biggest behemoth we have in our fleet,” said Salem Police Captain Conrad Prosniewski.

Prosniewski might be an old hand at taking part in parades across the North Shore, but for the Swampscott Titans cheerleading squad, taking part in a holiday parade was a first-time experience for many of them.

“I’m looking forward to being on the float with the other cheerleaders,” said squad member Christie Spillane.

“We really want to support the local community,” said Ed Nolan of the Wicked Jeeps Massachusetts chapter. Nolan said the organization has 44 chapters across the country with a goal of having fun and supporting worthy causes. “We do a lot of toy drives, and we are trying to make the community a better place. We were asked  by Swampscott to take part this year, and I think we have 33 Jeeps here.”

The nearly three dozen Jeeps did make for an impressive display as holiday tunes rang out from the back of several floats and trolleys that made their way along the parade route. In addition to lights of every color, many of the popular off-road vehicles saw a potpourri of Santas, snowmen, and reindeer peeking from the sunroofs.

Following the parade, the fun didn’t stop, as the Recreation Department hosted music and family events on the Town Hall lawn.

Peabody raises intended to achieve goal of parity

Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt

By ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — The heads of the city’s parks and building departments are getting substantial bumps in pay.

Last week, the city council approved Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr.’s recommendation to raise the salaries for the building inspector and for the Parks, Recreation and Forestry director to $99,634.

“The mayor presented a competitive salary analysis submitted by Human Resources,” said Councilor-at-Large David Gravel. “His recommendation was to change each position from the current level to $99,634 to make them consistent with other department heads in the city.”

Ward 5 Councilor Joel Saslaw voted against the salary increases. He said he has no issue with the department heads, Albert Talarico in the building department and Jennifer Davis in parks, but questioned the need for such a hefty salary increase.

Previous to the council vote, Talarico earned $82,484 and Davis $81,782.

“My good conscience could not approve what would be a 25 percent pay raise in just eight months,” said Saslaw. “Do I believe they are entitled to a raise? Absolutely I believe they need a raise; but in this day and age, to face my constituents and say I approved a 25 percent pay raise, I don’t know many people who get those kind of pay raises these days.”

But Gravel said that in the business world, when something is wrong you have to make it right.

“If something is not fair, you have got to make it fair if something is not competitive,” he said. “You’ve got to protect yourself in your investments. It’s my opinion that when something is totally out of whack, you have to bring it to where it ought to be.”

Gravel said he also has to defend the salary increases to voters across the city.

“I’m not afraid to tell any one of my constituents why I supported this because I believe this is the right thing to do,” said Gravel. “I voted in support of this because I believe it is the right thing to do.”

Saslaw said he didn’t believe the department head salaries were that “out of whack.”

He added that even a double-digit increase might be justified, but not the increase as voted in by the council. Saslaw cast the lone vote against the increase, although Councilor-at-Large Anne Manning-Martin and Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz were unable to attend the meeting.

The salary increases were effective Oct. 27, with no retroactive pay. There will also be two percent  increases effective July 1, 2017, bringing the salaries to $101,626.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Peabody artist adds color to Greenway

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Deanne Healey, the president of Peabody Cultural Collaborative, left, and Peabody Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr., unveil the sign made by artist Yetti Frenkel at the entrance to the Peabody Independence Greenway in  Ross Park.

By ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — A new sign welcoming residents to the Peabody Independence Greenway represents a true mosaic of cultures in the city.

Monday morning, the Peabody Cultural Collaborative (PCC) unveiled a new mosaic sign at the Ross Park bike path entrance. The main portion of the sign was designed and created by local artist Yetti Frenkel, while the scenes along the outer edge were created by a wide array of Peabody residents.

“This is one of the first projects the collaborative undertook,” said Deanne Healey, the PCC’s president. “It’s difficult to underestimate the importance of public art.”

The PCC provided the opportunity for Peabody families to create mosaic tiles for the project at its booth during the 2014 International Festival. With the community mosaic tiles in hand, the PCC issued a call for artist proposals during the winter of 2014-15, and selected Peabody artist Frenkel to create the central image for the project and to incorporate the community tiles as its border.

“This was a real community effort,” said Frenkel.

To get ideas for the central image, Frenkel walked the greenway, coming across the red-winged blackbirds, dragonflies and flowers which dominate the central image.

Frenkel then drew out the images for the sign before cutting the pieces of glass and piecing the sign together. She then got help from a welder friend to construct and place the sign holder near the entrance of the bike path.

“Now that we know how to do it, we will hopefully have these all over Peabody,” said Frenkel, who has also created artwork for the Peabody Institute Library and communities including Brookline, Burlington, Everett, Kingston, Lawrence, Lynn and Swampscott.

Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. said the new sign is a welcome addition to Ross Park.

“This is really one of the busiest parks in our city,” he said. “We have the playground area and we have some wonderful fields, and to be able to add to this is very special. We are very fortunate to have wonderful community partners and people who care for our city.”

The total project cost was $20,000, with grant contributions from the Peabody Community Preservation Committee, Rousselot and Lahey Medical Center.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Gloucester man sought in fatal Lynn shooting

PHOTO BY JORDAN AVERY
There was a heavy police presence in Breed Square Friday night following a fatal shooting. Police have issued a warrant for a Gloucester man.

By ADAM SWIFT

LYNN — A Gloucester man is being sought in the fatal Friday night shooting of a Lynn man in Breed Square.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Sean Chandler, 29, whose last known address is in Gloucester, in connection with the fatal shooting of Donald Yancy, 38, of Lynn, according to the Essex County District Attorney’s office.

Lynn Police responded to 6 Breed Square, Apt. 1, at approximately 10:15 p.m. Friday, after they had been told a man had been shot there. Upon arrival, they found Yancy with a gunshot wound to the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the district attorney’s office.

The victim and suspect were well known to each other and witnesses reported the pair had a disagreement immediately prior to the shooting, according to the DA.

Say Ngauv, a Breed Square resident, said he saw many police cars and flashing lights on the night of the incident and thought there might be something serious going on. He’s lived on the street for more than three years and called it a “very good neighborhood.”

“I was surprised it happened here,” he said of the shooting.

Chandler is 5’11 and weighs 180 pounds. He is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached, according to law enforcement officials. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact Lynn Police.

The Essex County District Attorney’s office is investigating, with assistance from State Police detectives assigned to the DA’s office and Lynn Police.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com. Gayla Cawley contributed to this report.

Manning-Martin touts corrections

Anne Manning-Martin, the Republican nominee for Essex County Sheriff, has been endorsed by Gov. Charlie Baker.

By ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — Anne Manning-Martin is touting her experience in the world of corrections and as an elected city official in her campaign as the Republican nominee for Essex County Sheriff.

Manning-Martin is squaring off against Democratic nominee Kevin Coppinger, Lynn’s police chief, and independent candidates Mark Archer and Kevin Leach in the race to replace current Sheriff Frank Cousins on Nov. 8.

On the municipal government side, Manning-Martin has served as a councilor-at-large in Peabody for the past nine years. Before that, she was on the school committee for eight years.

Manning-Martin’s experience in corrections stretches back even further, with 13 years working for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department before moving to a management position with the state Department of Corrections a dozen years ago. She is the deputy superintendent of the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital correctional facility in Boston.

Experience has become one of the major issues in the race, and Manning-Martin said she is the only candidate with the qualifications to run the sheriff’s department from day one.

“(Coppinger) is touting his experience with the police, because that’s what he knows,” said Manning-Martin. “I’ve worked in corrections for 25 years and this is what I know, and I know his experience is not transferrable to managing prisons.”

She said a police officer’s job is to take offenders off the street and put them in jail, while the sheriff’s job is to provide the offenders with the programming and treatment they need so that when they are released from jail, they will be better than when they went in and less likely to commit crimes.

“I’ve been doing that work, that’s my career,” Manning-Martin said. “I’m not looking to retire. The sheriff’s position is an extremely important public safety position one should aspire to and not retire to.”

Manning-Martin refers to Coppinger’s intent to collect his police pension as well as the sheriff’s salary if he is elected.

“The Lynn police chief has made it clear that he plans to file for retirement after he is elected sheriff, where he will begin to collect his pension of $150,000 annually,” she said. “Although I could do the same and collect my pension when elected sheriff, when I am elected, I will not do that. That is wrong, and flies in the face of the public service I have dedicated 25 years of my career to, and that I am aspiring to continue my career in as sheriff of Essex County.

During her career, Manning-Martin said she has managed and supervised hundreds of employees, from corrections officers and staff to vendors, volunteers and people working in religious services and educational and treatment programs.

On the issue of budgetary experience, Manning-Martin points out that Coppinger is a department head whose budget is largely at the discretion of the mayor.

“The mayor is responsible for formulating the city’s budget,” she said. “She gives directions to the department heads, and it is through her vision exactly how much is allocated to each department.”

As a city councilor, and before that, a school committee member, Manning-Martin said she has scrutinized, reviewed and approved budgets.

“The role of city officials scrutinizing the budget should not be minimized, they have a direct line to the citizens footing the bill,” she said.

When it comes to those who have endorsed her run, Manning-Martin also makes a distinction between herself and Coppinger.

“The chief claims he wants to take the politics out of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, and yet he calls on Washington insiders and elitists to endorse his candidacy,” said Manning-Martin. Coppinger has been endorsed by both the state’s U.S. senators, Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey. “I find that beyond disingenuous and very telling.”

Manning-Martin has been endorsed by Gov. Charlie Baker, as well as local state legislators such as Brad Hill, state Minority Leader Brad Jones and a host of local selectmen, school committee members and city councilors from across the county, including fellow Peabody City Councilor Jon Turco.

“My endorsements are from real people with real life experience who work for their constituents and know the communities,” she said. “They want someone who has been in the trenches and rolled up their sleeves and fought for them.”

If elected, Manning-Martin said her goals are to work with Baker and the 34 cities and towns in the county to battle the opioid crisis and to provide the communities with the support they need to treat people with substance abuse and mental health issues.

“I will work with the communities that have been hardest hit and provide them with the resources they need to re-incorporate inmates upon release to the community,” she said.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Archer, Leach make independent runs

Mark Archer is a Lynn native and retired Massachusetts State Trooper who is currently practicing law.

By THOMAS GRILLO and ADAM SWIFT

In addition to the Republican and Democratic nominees, two Independent candidates are looking to become the next Essex County Sheriff.

Mark Archer is a Lynn native and retired Massachusetts State Trooper who is currently practicing law.

After graduating from Lynn Tech in 1980, he joined the plumbers’ union and then started his own plumbing business in Lynn in 1985. He joined the State Police in 1988, working as a road trooper and then an undercover narcotics officer. While in the State Police, he earned a law degree.

Archer said he will bring his unique experience to bring change to the sheriff’s department.

“The House of Corrections lacks accountability and transparency,” Archer said. “The time for change is now, and I bring 20 years of experience in all aspects of law enforcement to the House of Corrections.”

Currently, Archer said people are being warehoused in the system without proper contact with loved ones and without programs and services to help reduce recidivism.

Archer is endorsed by the State Police Association of Massachusetts, the Commissioners and Officers of the Massachusetts State Police, former DEA agent and Democratic sheriff candidate Paul L.D. Russell, the retired deputy superintendent of the Middleton House of Corrections Jerry Robito and the New England Police Benevolent Association.

Kevin Leach, a retired county commissioner and Northeastern University graduate, said he’s qualified to be sheriff because he has 40 years of criminal justice and law enforcement experience that started with being a police officer in 1975.

Most recently he served as foreman of the Essex County Grand Jury.

“That’s where we indict the murderers, the rapists and the robbers,” he said.  

As Essex County Commissioner, Leach oversaw a $50 million county budget, supervised and appointed department heads, negotiated and approved collective bargaining agreements with labor unions and worked with legislators, mayors and judges on many issues.

While Leach said he likes Coppinger, one of his opponents, and has few disagreements with the Lynn law enforcement officer, voters should vote for him.

“Kevin’s a good man, I have nothing bad to say about him,” he said. “But I’m an Independent and I have more experience with the county system and I have actual sheriff’s office experience as deputy sheriff superintendent.”

Leach said he supports Question 4, the legalization of recreational use of marijuana, and won’t vote for Hillary Clinton. He hasn’t decided on whether to vote for Donald Trump.

“I will make that decision in the voting booth,” he said.

Archer said he intends to work closely with the employees of the sheriff’s office to set a positive tone, boost and maintain morale, and establish a high level of trust. He said he plans to build on the strengths and achievements of the current sheriff and department, but will also aim to evaluate the effectiveness of all of the services that the department provides to the county.

Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com. Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Peabody City Councilor hailed as a visionary

City Councilor Tom Gould is being honored by local nonprofit Bridgewell for his work with developmentally disabled children.

By ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — Attend almost any charity event in Peabody, and odds are good you’ll hear a hearty thank you to Tom Gould.

The city councilor and owner of Treadwell’s Ice Cream has donated to countless causes through the years, many with a focus on helping children and adults with disabilities.

On Friday, Nov. 4, Gould will receive the Visionary Leadership Award at the Imagine the Possibilities Gala. The gala is hosted by Bridgewell, a local nonprofit dedicated to supporting and helping people with developmental disabilities and other life challenges.

“Through his advocacy and service, Tom has worked to create a community of inclusion and compassion for people with disabilities,” said Bob Stearns, Bridgewell’s president and CEO. “Many individuals in our care call him ‘coach’ for his work supporting local athletes in the Challenger League. We are excited to honor Tom for his ongoing effort to make a difference in the lives of those with a range of life challenges.”

In addition to his work running the Challenger League, which supports athletes ages 5 to 18 who have physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities, Gould is being honored for serving on Peabody’s Commission for Disability and providing a welcome space for children with disabilities at Treadwell’s.

“I’m extremely honored,” said Gould. “There are so many more people who are deserving. I am thrilled to be thought of in this way.”

Gould and his friend Neal Price brought the Challenger League to Peabody 27 years ago. “I was coaching Little League for my children’s team when someone came up from (Little League headquarters) Williamsport (Pennsylvania) talking about Challenger Baseball,” he said.

In the early years, there were about a dozen kids taking part in baseball several months out of the year. Now, Gould said, there are 30 to 50 kids taking part in baseball and basketball programs, making it a nearly year-round enterprise.

Gould said all that he does for the community, whether as a volunteer, business owner or elected official, wouldn’t be possible without the support of his family, especially his wife, Sharon. He said he makes it a point to try to help people the best he can every day, especially those with disabilities.

“I’m involved in a number of organizations, and they are all focused on helping people,” Gould said. “They get up every day and face a number of challenges, so I’m just trying to do what’s right.”

The 2016 Imagine the Possibilities Gala is at the Seaport Hotel in Boston on Friday, Nov. 4. In addition to Gould, Bridgewell is honoring Marylou Sudders, secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, with the Excellence in Service award.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Peabody RMV hopes live on

By ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — Peabody is still in the running as a possible location for a new North Shore Registry of Motor Vehicles branch.

Two Peabody sites were among the six that were submitted in the latest round of requests for proposal to lease space for an RMV location.

Since early summer, the state has been looking for a replacement for the RMV branch at the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers. The state shuttered that location due to the extensive work needed to upgrade heating, cooling and ventilation systems.

In August, the state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) rejected two lease proposals, one in Peabody and the other in Beverly due to cost and size considerations.

The latest DCAMM RFP brought in six bids, including one of the Peabody bidders from August, an additional Peabody site, two sites in Danvers, one in Beverly and one in Wakefield.

Wakefield-based Yebba Realty Ventures once again put in a bid for an 8,300-square-foot space at the Bonkers Plaza it owns on Lowell Street. The proposed rent for the first year at the site is $538,550.

The new bidder out of Peabody was Nordlund Associates Inc. for a 9,000-square-foot space at the former St. Thomas School building on Margin Street. The proposed first year’s rent for that site is $390,000.

State Rep. Thomas Walsh (D-Peabody) has made a big push for bringing an RMV branch to Peabody, but said the most important thing for local residents is to have a North Shore location.

“It’s more important that the registry is up on the North Shore,” he said. “It’s been an extra cost for business owners to have to run to the Revere and Wilmington branches.”

The Danvers proposals are on Route 1 at the Big Lots/Ann and Hope strip mall and at the Stop & Shop plaza. State Rep. Ted Speliotis (D-Danvers) said either of those locations or the Bonkers Plaza site would be most convenient for the majority of his constituents (which includes West Peabody).

Until the new office is selected and retrofitted to accommodate the RMV, Speliotis said the AAA office on Route 114 at the TJ Maxx plaza as well as the Saugus location on Route 1 are available for members to renew their licenses and registrations.

Site visits for the six locations will now be scheduled by the state before a final decision is made.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

SWAMPSCOTT COACH QUITS AFTER ARREST

By Adam Swift

SWAMPSCOTT — The boys high school soccer coach has resigned after being arrested in Lynn on Wednesday.

Eric Robinson, 34, of 19 Overlook Ridge Drive in Revere pleaded not guilty in Lynn District Court Thursday to a charge of committing an unnatural act.

On Friday, Superintendent Pamela Angelakis’ office confirmed that Robinson had resigned as the boys soccer coach. The School Department had no further comment.

Robinson was arrested shortly before 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday after allegedly picking up a woman in an area known for prostitution activity on Union Street.

According to a police report filed in court, Robinson and the woman, Glenna Tress Maher, 29, homeless of Lynn, drove to the entrance of High Rock Park and engaged in a sex act in the car near the park.

According to the police report, Robinson and Maher parked at the end of the circular traffic island near the foot path to the park. The park was open and there were several families with small children in the area.

The pair made no effort to conceal their act and “chose to park their vehicle in a well-lit area that was highly frequented by pedestrian and vehicular activity,” according to police.

Two Lynn officers approached the car and arrested Robinson and Maher without incident. Maher was also charged with committing an unnatural act.

Robinson is due in court again on Dec. 12 for a pretrial hearing.

The Swampscott boys soccer team’s record sits at 9-3-1 and has already qualified for the state tournament. The team was scheduled to play at Saugus Friday night.

Peabody agency takes center stage

Northeast Arc CEO Jo Ann Simons says the nonprofit is now at a place where its programs work to serve the needs of the community. Photo by Bob Roche.

By Adam Swift

PEABODY — There’s Broadway, there’s Off Broadway, and coming soon, there will be Off Peabody Square.

Thursday night, Northeast Arc unveiled the Foster Street space that will be the home of its Black Box Community Theater Project.

The North Shore nonprofit, which helps people with disabilities become full participants in the community, is looking to renovate the space at the rear of ArcWorks Community Art Center and transform it into a community theater.

The plan is to open up the space for Northeast Arc programs, as well as to the Peabody and North Shore arts and theater scene in general, according to Tim Brown, Northeast Arc’s Director of Day Services.

“We began plans to repurpose the space about a year ago,” said Brown. “We thought the theater would fit with the arts center.”

At the heart of Northeast Arc’s programs are a spirit of inclusion, where people with disabilities work in the community where they live.

That spirit of inclusion and community is a driving force behind the theater project, as a long list of Peabody officials and movers and shakers have thrown themselves into the support of Northeast Arc’s theater project.

“This brings the face of Northeast Arc into the community,” said City Councilor Tom Gould, who did double duty as Thursday night’s master of ceremonies. “This is so welcomed. We also lack a theater, and this will bring one to the downtown.”

Those who turned out to support the project were as adamant that Northeast Arc bringing a theater to Peabody is as positive for the city as the city’s support is a positive for the nonprofit.

“This has been a fun project to work on,” said City Councilor and state Rep. Tom Walsh. “There are a lot of different meanings to this. It’s exciting for the downtown and the revitalization of Peabody Square. Audiences will be able to take advantage of our local restaurants, and it’s a great reuse of the space. There is really no downside.”

City Council President Peter McGinn said the theater will be a great asset for local performing arts and economic development.

“It’s a needed venue on the North Shore and will be a tremendous asset for the city,” he said.

Jo Ann Simons, Northeast Arc’s CEO, said the nonprofit is now at a place where its programs work to serve the needs of the community. She said the goal of a black box theater is to take a simple space that can be used by a variety of performers and performance groups.

When the renovations are completed, the theater will provide employment opportunities for local actors, musicians, set builders, ticket sellers and concession workers. The space will also provide recreational opportunities for as many as 7,800 local youths and adults annually.

Thursday night’s reception was about showcasing the progress and potential of the theater space. Now the challenge is to raise the money needed to make that potential a reality, according to Susan Ring Brown, Northeast Arc’s development director.

There is a $500,000 fundraising goal for the project, with sponsorship opportunities ranging from the sponsorship of an individual seat for $5,000 to naming rights for the theater for $100,000.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Helping hand for Lynn youth group

Antonio Gutierrez (Item file photo)

By Adam Swift

LYNN — Antonio Gutierrez has made it his life’s mission to reach out to local youth in need of help.

But on Saturday night, Gutierrez and his organization, Lynn Youth Street Outreach Advocacy (LYSOA), will be getting help from a high-powered friend.

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Salem) will be the keynote speaker at the Inaugural Gala Fundraiser for LYSOA on Saturday night.

The event takes place from 6-10 p.m. at Gannon Municipal Golf Course at 60 Great Woods Road. Tickets are $75 per person or $100 per couple and are available online at www.lysoa.org or by calling 781-560-3071.

Gutierrez, the non-profit’s youth outreach advocate, and Teresa DiGregorio, the executive director, run a tight ship to provide relief to distressed and underprivileged youth and to combat juvenile delinquency.

LYSOA provides advocacy and outreach services to all high-risk youth, young adults and their families in the community,” said DiGregorio. “We organize and conduct outreach activities, encouraging involvement in community development, assists in job searches and juvenile community service.”

Over the years, Gutierrez said the organization has helped hundreds of kids facing tough choices. He’s been on the frontlines of the city, working with the court system and the police department’s gang units.

“I want people to understand that you come from gang involvement to change your life,” he said, echoing his own life story. “Good people trusted me and have worked with me.”

In addition to Moulton, Gutierrez and DiGregorio will speak about the past, present and future of LYSOA and three young adults will highlight the successes they experienced thanks to the organization.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Lynn residents sentenced in jailhouse drug conspiracy

By Adam Swift

LYNN — Two Lynn residents who were convicted of stuffing a person full of drugs to smuggle them into the Middleton House of Corrections were sentenced Wednesday in Salem Superior Court.

A third person convicted in the conspiracy is scheduled for sentencing next week, according to the Essex County District Attorney’s office.

Justice Gonzalez, 25, Kyrikoula “Carol” Iliopoulos, 28, and Darrell Wheeler, 27, were all convicted on Sept. 21 of conspiracy to violate drug laws following an eight-day trial.

Gonzalez was sentenced to three to five years in state prison and Iliopoulos to two and a half years in the House of Corrections. Wheeler will be sentenced on Oct. 24.

Gonzalez, while in pre-trial custody in the Middleton House of Corrections, conspired with his co-defendants to smuggle heroin, marijuana, prescription medications and other contraband into the jail for the purpose of selling it to other inmates, according to a release from the DA’s office.

Gonzalez made plans to post bail for an inmate, put drugs in him and send him back into jail so Gonzalez could sell the drugs inside the jail. In April 2014, Iliopoulos posted the $300 bail for an unnamed inmate and brought him to a location in Lynn, where drugs and contraband were placed into his body cavity, according to the DA.

Iliopoulos then “surrendered” him to the Haverhill District Court. When he returned to the House of Corrections, the man asked to be housed with Gonzalez, which created suspicion among corrections officers.  Corrections officers found he was full of drugs which were eventually recovered.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com

Derby queens on a roll in Lynn

It’s more about teamwork and empowerment than it is hip checks and elbows for the girls of the Boston Junior Derby who take to the track on Linden Street in Lynn. (Photo by Scott Eisen) 

By Adam Swift

LYNN — Roller derby dreams never die. But sometimes, it takes the next generation to make them a reality.

“I was going to try out for the (St. Paul, Minn.) Atomic Bombshells, but before tryouts, I found out I was pregnant,” said Natalie Grace, who now lives in Stoneham. Fast-forward several years, and Grace’s daughter, Dagny, was watching the Drew Barrymore roller derby movie “Whip It.

“She asked ‘Where can I do that?’” Grace said. “I was not sure that kids could do that, but I looked it up.”

Sure enough, girls can do that. And they can do that right here in Lynn, thanks to the Boston Roller Derby’s junior derby league. Boston Junior Derby is a volunteer-operated, skater-run roller derby league that aims to bring the empowering sport of flat track roller derby to the Boston area for girls and gender expansive kids ages 7-17.

Dagny is now in her second season in the league, and on the track she is known by her derby name of Bashionista.

Asked what she likes best about the sport of roller derby, Dagny said it’s pretty simple.

“I like to go really fast,” she said. “I just know that I really like it.”

The junior derby league started as an offshoot of the adult Boston Roller Derby League about three years ago in Somerville before they rolled into their current Linden Street location.

“There were a lot of junior roller derby leagues coming up at the time, and there was a need for one in Boston,” said Abby Cirella, who goes by the derby name Debbie Downher. Cirella has skated with Boston Roller Derby for the past two years while pulling double duty as a coach for the junior derby twice per week.

While there are still some who think of roller derby as a violent sport just this side of professional wrestling, Cirella said there have been big changes in the game since the 1970s.

Junior derby gives girls a chance to learn a sport, work together and express themselves.

“It teaches girls how to use their voice and work together for a goal,” said Cirella. “It’s about building confidence. Personally, I see in some girls that they get to use their bodies in ways that are different than how they are told how to use them.”

The younger girls learn the basics of the sport, including skating technique and how to stop and go. For the older girls, some safe contact is added into the mix, according to Cirella.

“There are rules for junior derby, they do not hit the way the grownups do,” she said. But when the girls turn 18, Cirella said they can easily transition into the grownup league.

Sofia Canale-Parola, a senior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, had a background in ice skating and was looking for a new sport to try when she heard about the junior derby from some of her friends.

“I like the community, it’s uplifting and positive,” said Canale-Parola, whose derby name is Uncanny Valley Girl. Earning a derby name is a momentous distinction, and the monikers almost never disappoint.

Fellow Cambridge Rindge and Latin student Sydney White’s derby name has a bit of a literary bent. White, who goes by Sylvia Plathogen on the flat track, was in eighth grade when she and Caroline Daily (aka Lilo and Stitches) saw a poster for an adult Boston Derby League game.

“She forced me to go,” White said. At the game, they visited the booth for the junior derby, and almost immediately, they were both lacing up the skates.

“I like that we are all working toward the same thing,” said White. “You don’t feel any judgment. If you fall down, it’s cool.”

Falling down is not a minor concern, Daily added.

“You really learn to keep going and persevere,” she said. “I was constantly falling down at first.”

Isabel Thorndike, known as Rosie the Rib Breaker, learned about the junior derby after picking up a flier at a Pride Day event in Boston. A student at the Windsor School in Boston, Thorndike was a little apprehensive about not knowing anyone else in the league.

But Thorndike soon developed a tight bond with the core of skaters from Cambridge Rindge and Latin across the river.

“When I met those guys, it was the best part,” Thorndike said.

As Cirella runs the skaters through their drills on a Saturday morning, she said she learns as much from the girls as they do from her.

“I think the girls really enjoy being different, whatever that means to somebody,” she said. “Some come from families full of boys, and they get to play a sport like their brothers. And they get to be different from their peers.”

Anyone interested in learning more about Boston Junior Derby or finding out how to sign up for the league can visit www.bostonjuniorderby.com.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Lowell man busted on drug charges in Peabody

By Adam Swift

PEABODY — Bail was set at $250,000 on Monday for a Lowell man arrested on drug charges after his car was pulled over on Margin Street Friday.

Edgardo Rivera-Alvarado, 41, of 978 Gorham St. in Lowell, was charged with possession with intent to distribute a Class A drug, possession with intent to distribute a Class B drug, failure to stop for police, forged motor vehicle document, motor vehicle operator failing to self identify, operating after license revoked, arrestee furnishing a false name during booking, and on a warrant out of Essex Superior Court for cocaine trafficking.

Alvarado was pulled over during an undercover narcotics operation by Peabody detectives Eric Ricci and David B. Murphy, according to Det. Michael Crane. During the stop, Ricci and Murphy saw signs of an electronic hide/hidden compartment in the car’s interior.

With the help of the Danvers police canine unit, it was determined that drugs were in the car. An expert in vehicle hides from the Everett Police Department was called to the scene to help out, and heroin, cocaine and $3,400 in cash was found in the hidden console of the car.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Revere neighborhood under siege

A police officer points his assault rifle toward a second floor window as a SWAT team enters 22 Francis St. in Revere on Sunday during a long standoff. (Photo by Scott Eisen)

By Gayla Cawley and Adam Swift

REVERE — Residents described Francis Street, where a standoff lasted several hours Sunday morning, as a quiet neighborhood, not prone to attracting any police activity.

But neighbors like 58-year-old Coleen Pino were surprised to wake up to police surrounding a nearby residence.

The situation began with a report of shots fired inside an apartment at 22 Francis St. at 4:30 a.m. After numerous attempts by police, the occupants refused to answer the door, according to Revere Police Lt. Detective John Goodwin.

“It was like a war zone,” Pino said.

Pino, who lives next door at 26 Francis St., said she woke up to police officers on the bullhorn telling people to come out with their hands up. She said it was startling, describing it as almost like being on a television show, but then realizing that it was reality right outside her window.

She said the SWAT team and police had guns drawn the whole time, pointed at the house. She said a few people came out on their own, but tear gas had to be used to get the last person out. The other residents in the building were evacuated, which she described as the women and children.

Goodwin said Revere and State Police secured the scene, surrounding the building until the North Metro Special Operations Unit arrived. Five people came out voluntarily and one person refused. The Special Operations Unit entered the apartment and removed the non-cooperative person, he added.

David Procopio, a State Police spokesman, said police responded to a report of a possibly armed and barricaded person inside the apartment.

Pino said her apartment was used by the SWAT team at their request. A SWAT member asked permission to use her second-floor kitchen window to be at gun range with the dwelling next door.

She lives at her home with her in-laws and brother and they all had to clear out, barricading themselves in the basement for several hours. She said it felt weird, like they were more desensitized and curious at first, before starting to fear for their safety.

Pino said her in-laws have owned her home for more than 37 years and she’s lived there almost five years. She said the neighborhood is usually nice.

“It’s been nothing but a family-oriented neighborhood,” she said.

By about 8:30 a.m., police started clearing the scene.

The incident is under investigation by the Revere Police Department and a search warrant was executed at the residence during the afternoon. The search yielded no weapons and no arrests were made, Goodwin said.

Further investigation was required because responding officers believed they could smell gunpowder and the occupants’ refusal to come to the door caused concern, but there is no conclusive evidence of a gun being fired, Goodwin said.

Another neighbor, Michael Delsonno, said waking up to the news surprised him, also describing the residential neighborhood as quiet. He woke up to a phone call from the landlord, a police officer in Waltham, who was wondering what was going on. He flipped on the news and saw something about a standoff.

Delsonno, 55, said he’s been a tenant there for almost a year now and nobody’s ever bothered him.

“I was actually pretty shocked,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting anything, but you never know. Things happen in Revere.”


Gayla Cawley can be reached at gcawley@itemlive.com. Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Not two bad

On Oct. 17, 2014, The Item turned a page.

By Bill Brotherton

People are always telling me to “Have a good one.” I’m not quite sure what that means. Have a good day? Have a good life? Have a good night’s sleep?

There’s a lot of good in my life these days. Near the top of the list, I recently rejoined The Item after 18 years at the Boston Herald, where I ran the Features desk and wrote about popular music. This is my second stint at The Item, where I learned the business from Red Hoffman, John Moran, Fred Goddard, the Gamage family and others in the 1980s and ’90s; and where I’ve worked side-by-side with some incredible journalists, including current News Editor Thor Jourgensen and Sports Editor Steve Krause.

I began my Item career with Ted Grant and Jim Wilson. Ted was a sports writer and now owns the place. Jim was a young photographer back then, and recently “retired” as deputy director of the photo department at the Pulitzer prize-winning Boston Globe. Today is his first day as chief operating officer of The Item.

Beth Bresnahan, a lifelong Lynner, is CEO of The Item and we consider her as the most significant hire of all. The impact she makes on a daily basis is remarkable.

Why would Bresnahan leave the high-profile job as executive director of the Massachusetts Lottery, the most successful in the country, to run this newspaper?

Why would Wilson leave the Globe to work at a paper with a daily circulation that’s about 230,000 less?

Why would I leave a job where I interviewed rock stars and reviewed hundreds of concerts? Why would anyone leave that job?

What gives? There’s no way a newspaper the size of The Item should have this pool of talent.

It’s because we want to reimagine newspapers. It’s why I’m here.

Today is a momentous day at The Item. Two years ago today, Ted (full name: Edward Michael Grant) and Essex Media Group (EMG: coincidence? I don’t think so) bought The Item from Hastings & Sons Publishing Co., which had owned the paper since 1877. Grant, the publisher, recruited six associates to invest in the operation and serve on its board of directors.

Each of the so-called EMG 7 has either a direct connection to the city or to the paper: Ed Cahill, who grew up on Cherry Street in Lynn, is a partner of HLM Venture Partners and is the son of Ed Cahill, the longest-serving sports editor in The Item’s history; John Gilberg has developed, owned and managed property in the Lynn area since 1989; Gordy Hall has run the Hall Company Inc, a real estate management firm, since forming it in 1981; Monica Connell Healey is a daughter of the legendary Bill Connell and wanted to “give back to the community that meant so much to my father”; Pat Norton, a lifelong Marblehead resident now retired, was managing director of PD-FAB LLC; and Mike Shanahan,who grew up in the Wyoma Square section of Lynn, is CFO of SevOne, a 450-member network software company. Shanahan is chairman of EMG. Shanahan, just out of Holy Cross, and Grant, just out of Boston College, met while both worked as sports writers at The Item; Shanahan covered high school hockey, and Grant covered high-school basketball.

The EMG 7 appreciate the history of The Item. Cahill spoke for the group when he said “We grab the wheel and initiate change. That’s what this group is about, to be a successful media company in the 21st century.”

Grant views it as “a 138-year-old start-up.”

“Our job,” he says, “is pretty straightforward: We’re to hold up a mirror to our communities. We’re to be neither positive nor negative, simply factual.”

The group undertook the most comprehensive survey of readers in the history of the paper, and learned that Item readers were more loyal to their paper than is the industry norm. We listen to our readers and respond accordingly. Grant cites a line from “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by The Beatles: “With every mistake, we must surely be learning.”

“Do we get everything right?” Grant asks. “No, but we’ll keep working at it until we do.” He encourages readers to give feedback, good and bad particularly bad. “It’s the only way we’ll get it right,” he says.

When Grant walked into the old Item building on Exchange Street on Oct. 17, 2014 to address the staff, The Item was EMG’s sole asset. Today, EMG is one of the most ambitious, dynamic media companies in New England, maybe the country.

Throughout America, media companies are cutting back and slashing jobs. EMG is bucking the trend. It’s growing. In addition to the six-day-a-week Item, which covers eight cities and towns (Lynn, Lynnfield, Nahant, Marblehead, Peabody, Revere, Saugus, Swampscott), EMG also publishes the Peabody and Lynnfield Weekly News, a twice-monthly real estate guide and two quarterly glossy lifestyle magazines (01907 and ONE) that were started by Grant and his team. EMG has also developed an innovative mobile-first website and is about to relaunch the long-dormant, beloved North Shore Golf magazine.

And next month, Essex Media Group makes its boldest move yet, starting up an every-other-week Spanish-language newspaper, La Voz (The Voice), under the direction of Carolina Trujillo, a native of Colombia who most recently held a management position at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Trujillo is building relationships with the city’s Latino and business communities, with hopes that La Voz will evolve into a weekly newspaper. “I appreciate the trust and leadership of Beth and Ted. I feel really supported … and the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive,” Trujillo says. The ambitious plan also includes a Web-based product, a strong social media presence and live daily news reports.

Starting tomorrow, The Item introduces Scene, with a Lifestyle-oriented focus that will report on the region’s burgeoning arts/culture and restaurant community, gradually beef up its Food, Look! and Real Estate pages and establish a weekly Travel section. The Scene pages will be my responsibility.

Jourgensen, The Item’s award-winning news editor, has been with the paper for more than 28 years. He’s never enjoyed his job more. … or worked harder. Every day is like the first sip of water when you’re thirsty, he says, adding that more than ever the stories The Item covers reflect residents and what they mean to the city. He is quick to praise the staff, from longtime Item staffers like Krause, Owen O’Rourke and Ryan York to veteran reporters like Thomas Grillo and Adam Swift and young reporters who have really developed, such as Gayla Cawley and Bridget Turcotte. Also, a Sports department with an abundance of promising young talent and the newest member of the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame, Anne Marie Tobin. Thor’s news meetings are fun; everyone on the staff participates and there’s lots of laughter. And he even breaks into song on occasion.

He is most excited about La Voz, which will give a voice to Lynn’s Spanish-speaking community. “I can’t overemphasize how important this is for Lynn. We are giving a voice to people who have an elemental role in this city, the middle class of the future,” says Jourgensen.

Krause, the Item’s second-longest-serving sports editor, has been with The Item since 1979. He said the March 2015 move from its longtime home at 38 Exchange St. to new space at 110 Munroe St. was significant, a new beginning.

Wilson grew up on Collins Terrace in East Lynn and still sees himself “as a Lynn kid in jeans and sneakers.” The opportunity to rejoin a paper that remains independently owned and share his experience with young journalists thrills him.

“Bill,” he said to me, “you and I went to the big-city papers to learn all we could … and now we’re back to help the next generation. I talked with Ted the day he bought it. I saw the risk that Beth took. I saw the risk that you took. That was enough for me. I wanted in.”

It’s like the band is getting together again. The Item’s mission statement is to inform, educate, provoke thought and prompt a smile in reflecting the communities we cover. Every staff member aims to do just that.

Thomas Wolfe said “You can’t go home again.” What a misguided fool! Tom Wolfe said “Put your good where it will do the most!” He was right. Peter Wolf said “I musta got lost, somewhere down the line.” The Woofa Goofa nailed it. I was lost; now I’ve re-found happiness at The Item.

It’s great to be home.

Peabody wants liquor licenses evenly poured

By Adam Swift

PEABODY — Officials are in favor of adding up to 20 new liquor licenses to spur local business, but want to make sure the valuable ducats are distributed fairly throughout the city.

City councilors expressed their support for a home rule petition with the state legislature to increase the number of liquor licenses on Thursday night. But the council wants Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. to add language that would make sure a certain number of the licenses are set aside for separate districts of the city so businesses in no one area are left out in the cold.

In 2014, similar legislation added 10 liquor licenses, bringing the city’s total to 11 beer and wine licenses and 70 all-alcohol licenses.

“All of us have had a discussion about possible growth in the city, not just downtown, but in other sections of the city,” said Bettencourt. “We want to try to attract restaurants, pubs and eateries to the city, but there are also restaurants that exist in Peabody that have to be successful.”

The mayor said there are several existing restaurants that have beer and wine licenses, but are looking to upgrade to all-alcohol licenses. And with a number of new restaurants already on the horizon, Bettencourt said the press for liquor licenses will only increase.

“If liquor licenses are not available, a restaurant will move to the next city or town,” said Bettencourt. “They bring in real estate taxes, meals taxes and jobs to the city.”

When the state legislature approved the 10 liquor licenses in 2014, five were tied specifically to the downtown, and the remaining five were set aside for specific addresses in the downtown.

Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz said he expects a big run on the new liquor licenses if they are approved by the state legislature.

“Are we opening these up to the entire city, or should we still save some for the downtown?” he asked.

Bettencourt said he would be up for having the liquor licenses divvied up by districts, including the downtown, along Route 1 and in and around Centennial Park. He said he would work on language to that end to bring back to the city council for final approval at its Oct. 27 meeting.

Several councilors also expressed concern about businesses selling liquor licenses when they no longer need them. Councilor-at-Large David Gravel said that there have been instances where liquor licenses have been sold for six-figure sums, hampering the ability of smaller restaurants to get their hands on them.

Bettencourt said that the 20 licenses he is requesting through the state legislature would revert back to the city when they are no longer in use.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Moulton shares vision for Lynn development

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton answers questions and discusses his goals during a Wednesday morning meeting with Lynn business owners at  Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee. Photo by Paula Muller.

By Adam Swift

LYNN — Improved public transportation and mixed-use development along the waterfront are among the keys to economic development in Lynn, according to U.S. Rep Seth Moulton (D-Mass).

Moulton was the featured speaker during a roundtable discussion with the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs Committee at Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee on Munroe Street Wednesday morning.

The congressman told local business and political leaders that Lynn has been a priority in the district since day one.

“We recognize the potential in the city,” Moulton said. “The fundamentals are so strong in Lynn.”

Moulton ticked off several of the points that make Lynn desirable for development and business, including waterfront property and its proximity to Boston. As he has mentioned in the past, Moulton noted that Lynn is the same distance from Boston as Brooklyn is to Manhattan.

Leslie Gould, the chamber’s president and CEO, got the ball rolling with a question about the deteriorating condition of the MBTA garage in Central Square. Moulton took the ball and ran with his desire to see public transportation improvements that would help economic and residential development in Lynn and on the North Shore.

“I recently met with (state transportation secretary) Stephanie Pollack, and learned that we can build on top of the garage, it is able to support construction above it,” said Moulton. “New housing should be on the table; it’s an interesting opportunity.”

One of the biggest steps to increase opportunities for Lynn residents and businesses is the improvement of the public transportation infrastructure. Moulton said he’s a huge advocate of the north-south rail link that would connect North and South stations as well as the extension of the Blue Line to Lynn.

With those steps, access to the airport and to Boston from the North Shore would be drastically improved, Moulton said.

“The South Boston market is the fastest growing job market, but you can’t get there from Lynn,” said Moulton. He added that the new General Electric corporate headquarters in the Seaport district will bring in 800 employees, but that very few of them are likely to look for affordable housing in Lynn because of difficulties getting from that area of the city to the North Shore.

Asked about the development of Lynn’s waterfront, Moulton said he’s in favor of mixed-use development combining residential and commercial properties.

“It’s unbelievable the amount of undeveloped land on the waterfront, there’s tremendous potential,” said Moulton. “I strongly believe in mixed-use development. I don’t want it to be all condos focused on Boston, people ought to be able to walk out their front doors and walk to restaurants and other businesses.”

James Cowdell, executive director of the Lynn Economic Development & Industrial Corp., said Moulton is more than talk when it comes to supporting Lynn.

“He’s the only congressman in my lifetime who has had a full-time person dedicated to Lynn and economic development,” said Cowdell.

Moulton said he will continue to make Lynn a priority, and praised the city and business leaders who have helped start a real turnaround in the city.

“The perception is changing about Lynn,” said Moulton. “In the commercial real estate community, there is a growing buzz.”


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Peabody gins up case for 20 more liquor licenses

By Adam Swift

PEABODY — A home rule petition filed with the state legislature to allow as many as 20 new liquor licenses in the city could help open up downtown development, said a city councilor.

“I’m supportive of any move that will give us the ability to lock up restaurants and other businesses that are looking at the downtown,” said Councilor-at-Large David Gravel. “We are competing with areas in surrounding communities like Salem, Beverly and Danvers, and unless there are liquor licenses, we won’t get the caliber of restaurants that will be able to survive.”

In August, Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. submitted a request to the council for approval of a home rule petition to increase the number of all-alcohol liquor licenses in Peabody by no more than 20.

The council’s Legal Affairs Committee is taking up the issue at its meeting on Thursday night. If the committee approves the request, it will be forwarded to the Committee of the Whole for approval. At that point, Bettencourt would be able to file a home rule petition with the state legislature.

In 2014, similar legislation added 10 liquor licenses, bringing the city’s total to 11 beer and wine licenses and 70 all-alcohol licenses. But the 2014 legislation did put caveats on where the new licenses could be used, including setting five aside for the Northshore Mall.

If the latest home rule petition gets approved, Gravel said he hopes it is with more leeway than the 2014 license increase.

“On Main Street and Walnut Street, there are a lot of buildings with potential for restaurants if they had a liquor license,” he said.

Gravel said there are already examples on Main Street of how liquor licenses have helped improve local business.

“Look at the difference it has made with Maki Sushi,” he said. “They were struggling before they got a liquor license, and now they are doing a robust business.”

In the long run, Gravel said liquor licenses should ultimately be licensed by the cities and towns, and not the state.

“It’s my firm belief that the licenses should be locally controlled, and not by the House of Representatives,” he said. “Cities control their own zoning and special permits.”

State control of the liquor licenses can lead to a tight secondary market for the licenses that can leave mom and pop businesses out in the cold. Gravel pointed to the example of Trader Joe’s purchasing a license in this market for over $200,000 several years ago.

“When Trader Joe’s wanted a full liquor license, it paid a hefty price,” Gravel said. “Liquor licenses should be no different than other licenses issued by the city.”


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Pine Hill stuck in the middle

Pickering Middle School (Item file photo)

By Adam Swift

 

LYNN — Residents in the Pine Hill neighborhood are firmly against building a new school near Breeds Pond Reservoir off Parkland Avenue, as well as a second potential site at Gallagher Park.

Nearly 100 members of the Pine Hill Civic Association and assorted concerned neighbors met at the Hibernian Hall Thursday night to discuss the evolving nature of plans to replace the deteriorating Pickering Middle School on Conomo Avenue.

“This is our little slice of paradise living in Pine Hill,” said neighborhood resident Don Castle. “We don’t want anyone changing or disrupting our neighborhood with a big school.”

While the residents, as well as three city councilors who attended the meeting, are firmly against the building of a new middle school at either the Parkland Avenue or Gallagher sites, the whole issue could be a moot point by late this morning.

The Pickering Middle School Building Committee is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. this morning, with discussion centered on the Parkland site.

The building committee was set to focus on legal documents identified by the city law department tracing historic ownership of land proposed for the school construction.

In August, the building committee approved constructing two middle schools to replace Pickering. One school would house 652 students at the Parkland site, while a larger school for 1,008 students would be built on McManus Field on Commercial Street.

The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), which would fund a portion of the project, has to approve the potential middle school sites.

City attorney James Lamanna said the law department became aware of documents from 1893 last week suggesting that the Pine Grove Cemetery Commission obtained a loan and purchased the land where the new school could be constructed.

Ward 5 Councilor Dianna Chakoutis, Ward 6 Councilor Peter Capano and Councilor-at-Large Brian LaPierre all reiterated on Thursday night that they are against seeing a new school built at either the Parkland or Gallagher locations.

Castle also brought forward the possibility of a taxpayer initiative legal action against the city to intercede against the taking of the Parkland Avenue land, if that option does move forward.

“I thought Parkland Avenue was off the table, and that’s a move in the right direction,” said LaPierre. “I want a new middle school, and it would be great to have two new middle schools.”

LaPierre said he wants to see a new school at McManus Field, and possibly a smaller school on Magnolia Avenue near the current Pickering School.

A drawback to the Magnolia site is that there is a Massachusetts Water Resources Authority pipe located on the property that provides water to Swampscott and Marblehead. Relocating the pipe could cost as much as $800,000, according to city officials.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

The Pipes are calling in Peabody

 Lyn Tasso, warms up before North Shore Pipe Band’s practice begins. (Photo by Paula Muller) 

By Adam Swift

PEABODY — It’s a Monday evening at the Portuguese American War Veterans Post, and it’s not too hard to find where the North Shore Pipe Band is practicing.

The distinctive sound of the bagpipes fills the basement hallway outside the band practice room. At a slightly lower volume, the band’s drummers tap out a distinctive shuffle beat beneath the sound of the pipes.

The North Shore Pipe Band evolved out of the Peabody Fire Department Pipe and Drum Band when that group dissolved in 2011.

Today, the band is comprised of 17 pipers and four drummers. It performs in competitions across New England, marches in parades and performs before audiences across the region. They’ve even played at Symphony Hall with legendary Irish band The Chieftains.

For Pipe Major Cindy Carrancho, her involvement in Scottish and Irish pipe and drum bands stretches back over three decades.

“When I was a kid, I was in a pipe band in Gloucester, the St. Peter’s Pipe Band,” said Carrancho. “When that band dissolved, I wanted to keep going. I love the teaching, and the playing, of course.”

Carrancho was involved with the Peabody Fire Department band, and carried her love for the pipes over to the North Shore Pipe Band in 2011.

“We have a really varied group,” she said. “We have people in the school department, nurses, firefighters, retired people and lawyers.”

The group is as varied in its geographic makeup as it is in its vocational background. While the band has its share of members from the North Shore, it also brings in musicians from as far away as New Hampshire, Western Massachusetts and the South Shore.

During the summer, the band takes part in competitions across New England.

“We do the parades to raise money to compete during the summer season,” said Carrancho. “This group really likes the competitive aspect.”

Liz Jones, who first became involved in the pipe and drum life through the all-female, now defunct Blue Belle Highlanders of Saugus, agreed.

“I like to practice and work toward the competitions,” she said. “If we were just doing parades, I would probably lose interest.”

For several other members, Carrancho is directly responsible for bringing them into the world of traditional Irish and Scottish music.

“Cindy roped me into playing the bagpipes, and then I started doing private lessons when we were with the Peabody Fire Department Pipe and Drum,” said Patrick Cheney.

For Cheney, hooking up with the bagpipe crew also led to his current career.

“Ultimately, that’s how I ended up as an EMT/paramedic,” he said.

Ryan Whitley, a drummer and one of the younger members of the band, has a family connection to the band.

“My dad was in the band with Cindy when it was the Peabody Fire band years ago,” said the senior at Acton-Boxboro High School. “He had to step away when he had kids, but four years ago, Cindy contacted him and wanted him to rejoin, and he brought me along.”

Whitley had played saxophone in the school band, but had never played drums before. He said he took to the new experience and has kept at it for the past four years.

“It’s fun, I like the people, and I like the competitions and working together to collaborate for a common goal,” he said.

While the bagpipers outnumber the drummers by a considerable margin, drum instructor Archie Florentino said he is always looking to narrow that gap.

“We’re always looking for new drummers,” he said. “I like to teach new students.”

The North Shore Pipe Band is willing to take on all levels of new drummers, from those who have never picked up a stick to those who have played other types of music.

“Playing Scottish and Irish music really adds to other kinds of musicality,” he said. “The vast majority of music we play is a shuffle-rhythm tempo, like your heartbeat.”

For experienced drummers, playing in a pipe and drum band is especially helpful for blues players and other drummers looking for a little more swing in their playing. But Florentino said he’s happy to take on all comers who are interested in joining up.

“If you have no experience, I’ll be happy to teach you from soup to nuts,” he said.

There may be more of a need for drummers at the moment, but that doesn’t mean Carrancho won’t welcome new bagpipers to the mix. And as with the drummers, she said it doesn’t matter if someone who is interested has never blown a note in anger before.

“It takes a lot of practice and lots of commitment to learn new music on a regular basis,” Carrancho said. “But we can teach right from scratch if someone wants to learn.”

Those who are interested in playing should know that the bagpipe is far from a run-of-the-mill instrument that you can pick up and is ready to go at a moment’s notice.

“It’s a very temperamental instrument,” said Carrancho. “It likes the rainy and wet weather. We’re playing sheepskin bags, so they have to be seasoned to keep them moist and airtight. If they are not seasoned, then they will dry out and the air will leak out of them.”

Anyone who is interested in learning or playing pipes or drums for the North Shore Pipe Band can contact Carrancho at northshorepipeband@gmail.com.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

A new edition for Peabody distributor

Christian Book Distributors celebrates the opening of their 70,000-square-foot expansion in Peabody Wednesday with a ribbon cutting. Item photo by Owen O’Rourke.

By Adam Swift

PEABODY — Most ribbon-cutting ceremonies gather together a couple of company bigshots and local dignitaries posing for the cameras.

But that’s not how Peabody’s Christian Book Distributors does business. For the ribbon-cutting of its new 70,000-square-foot warehouse expansion project on Summit Drive, each of the company’s nearly 500 employees were encouraged to grab a pair of scissors and cut off a piece of the ribbon to take home.

Even with the ribbon stretching nearly 350 feet across the length of the new four-story addition, it was hard to squeeze all the workers into the picture.

The opening ceremony was the culmination of a year-long effort to expand resources at the book distribution center, which employs hundreds of people from across the North Shore.

“This much-needed expansion to our warehouse will help us immensely with the management of our inventory, as we no longer have to navigate our way through four off-site facilities to locate product to fulfill our customers’ orders,” said Ray Hendrickson, president and CEO of Christian Book Distributors. “We are extremely happy to have the new space up and running in time for our busy Christmas season. We are especially thankful to the city of Peabody for working with us on permitting, Citizens Bank for financing, Dacon as general contractor, SMMA as architect and Fraser Project Management as a consultant in the building process.”

From concept to completion, the warehouse project sped along in less than a year, almost unheard of for a project of that size.

Hendrickson was especially appreciative of the relationship his company has with the city.

“Before we built the original building 20 years ago, we went to another city which was so against it,” he said. “After nine months, we gave up and went to Peabody, which was excited about the opportunity.”

That willingness to work together extended to the plans to get the warehouse expansion off the ground.

“We are fortunate in Peabody to have Christian Book Distributors as one of our flagship companies,” said Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. “They employ hundreds of our residents, and I have close friends who work here. Christian Books has always been a company the city can go to to assist with events, and they always step up.”

Even though the $8 million warehouse addition is up and running, Kevin Hendrickson, Ray’s son and the company’s chief operating officer, said there is little time to rest.

“We definitely have our work cut out for us before the Christmas season,” he said. “We need to get as much of our product in as possible.”

Christian Book Distributors is the largest religious catalog/internet company in the world, sending out more than 65 mailings of unique catalogs to millions of customers each year. Customers have access to more than a half-million products, including Bibles, church supplies, gifts, toys, games, CDs, DVDs, academic references, commentaries and more.

While the company is a leader in its field today, it comes from humble roots in Lynn. Ray Hendrickson and his brother started the business in their parents’ Lynn home in 1978. The Item even played a role in the company’s early history.

“When we first started out at our parents’ house, we used to use the typesetter on the fifth floor of the old Item building (on Exchange Street),” Hendrickson said.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Jimmy Fund game a hit in Peabody

Peabody’s own John Tudor, who pitched for the Red Sox and Cardinals; former Yankee third baseman and Medford native Mike Pagliarulo; and former Sox ace Bill “Spaceman” Lee got together before the annual Labor Day charity game at Emerson Park. Item photo by Adam Swift.

By Adam Swift

PEABODY — Even with the 86-year World Series drought in Boston long ended, the hurt Red Sox Nation felt can still stretch through generations.

Such was the case Monday morning, as for the 60th year, a team of Peabody and Lynnfield police all stars faced a squad of major league old-timers, including former Sox players Bill “Spaceman” Lee, Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd and Peabody native John Tudor in a charity event.

“My dad said he should have pitched game 7 of the World Series,” Jack Quimby, 10, said after getting an autograph from Boyd at Emerson Park. Of course, there never would have been a need for a game 6 in 1986 if it wasn’t for, well, we don’t have to really dwell on that so much anymore.

While there were still some ghosts of the Curse of the Bambino Monday morning, the overwhelming attitude was one of joy and giving.

For 60 years, the local police squad has taken on the North Shore celebrity old timers in the Annual Labor Day Charity Baseball Game. The game has traditionally raised money for the Jimmy Fund, and now also raises funds for the Cops for Kids with Cancer organization.

Boyd said he enjoys coming up every year to pitch in for the event.

“I like to give back,” he said. “It’s always a good time.”

Boyd said Tudor is the one mainly responsible for getting the old-timers together, adding that he will always lend a hand and come up from his Providence home on Labor Day for the event.

Tudor, who was drafted and played for the Red Sox before helping the St. Louis Cardinals reach the World Series in 1985 and 1987, said he has lost track of how many times he has played in the Peabody charity game.

“I’m just here for the cause; it’s a good cause,” said Tudor. “It’s been around for a long time and it would be a shame to let it die. I’ve been getting the team together for the past 10 years, and for the last eight or nine years, it’s been a major league-level roster.”

Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch was Beverly’s Meghan Fessenden. Meghan is the sister of Riley Fessenden. In May of 2013 at the age of 6, Riley was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Esthesioneuroblastoma (ENB). Riley died in July, but her family and supporters continue to raise awareness and fund to help end all forms of cancer through the Riley Rocks campaign.

Among the highlights for local law enforcement were Lynnfield police officer and Peabody High football and baseball coach Mark Bettencourt taking the mound and Peabody Police Lt. Sheila McDaid singing the national anthem. McDaid got some words of wisdom on performing in front of a crowd from Boyd before the game.

Peabody Police Chief Thomas Griffin said the game is a great event for the city.

“It’s important to give back to the community and to the Jimmy Fund,” he said.

Griffin said he was happy to watch the game rather than play.

“Let the young guys do it,” he said.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Water emergency declared in Peabody

FILE PHOTO

PEABODY — A water emergency was declared on Tuesday due to the summer’s prolonged drought.

The high water usage has caused low water pressure in some neighborhoods and the city’s drinking reservoirs are down, according to Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr.

Peabody officials are working with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority for a temporary emergency connection through the Lynnfield Water District to provide additional potable water to the city.

Under the mandatory water restriction, officials are asking residents to conserve H2O by watering their lawns every other day by sprinkler or hose. Houses on the odd numbered side of streets may water lawns on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only from 6 to 9 a.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Residents on the even numbered side of streets may water their lawns during those hours on Tuesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Hand watering by pail or water cans is allowed at any time. But hoses may only be used during scheduled times.

Cars may only be washed during scheduled times, no Sunday watering is allowed and hydrants will not be flushed.

If the drought continues or worsens, Bettencourt said additional water restrictions may be put in place.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Peace be with them in Peabody

Relay runners from the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run passed through Toledo, Ohio earlier this summer. The torch run is scheduled to pass through Peabody on Tuesday afternoon.

BY ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — Days after the lighting of the Olympic flame in Rio, a different kind of torch relay promoting peace will make its way through Peabody.

The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run is an international torch relay that travels the world to encourage goodwill, harmony and friendship, according to Prakhara Harter of the New York-based nonprofit.

A team that has covered nearly 10,000 miles during a four-month journey across the U.S., Mexico and Canada will pass through Peabody on Route 1 Tuesday afternoon, Harter said. The group has a dozen runners with three vehicles supporting them.

“The peace run has been really exploding, not just in the United States, but in 140 countries across the world,” said Harter. “We just had our first run in the islands of the South Pacific, and we keep adding new cities and countries.”

The Peace Run was inspired by spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy as a way to give people a way to express their hopes and dreams for a harmonious world, according to Harter.

During the relays, the runners visit schools and youth organizations to promote self-esteem and friendship.

“Everyone who participates takes a step toward peace,” said Harter. “It’s an opportunity for people to express themselves when they pick up the torch and bring it forward.”

The international team of runners from eight countries is slated to cover 44 miles from Salisbury to Boston on Tuesday, Aug. 9. They departed from New York City in April and will reach the finish line of their 10,000 mile continental trek later this month.

Since the inaugural run in 1987, Harter said more than 5 million people have participated in the events which take place every other year.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Security main concern for old Marshall School

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
The old Marshal Middle School.

BY BRIDGET TURCOTTE AND ADAM SWIFT

LYNN — While the shuttered Marshall Middle School is slated for demolition, some school committee members say the building is a target for thieves and vandals.

At its Thursday night meeting, the board requested a report on the status of the Porter Street building from Michael Donovan, the city’s director of Inspectional Services.

The request came after committee member Donna Coppola said the school has been broken into, heavily damaged and pipes removed.

“The biggest concern is that it’s still our property,” she said. “If people are going in there, what happens next? It’s our building, we should know if it is secured.”

Police Lt. Rick Donnelly said police investigated a breaking and entering at the school earlier this month.

But Superintendent Catherine Latham disputed her claim. She said while there have been some break-ins and copper piping taken from the school, the building is secure.

“The security system still works,” Latham said. After entering the building with other school personnel recently, they were greeted by police within five minutes.

Latham said the school department is removing materials such as flags and clocks out of the building as needed. She said desks will be moved to other schools and the district’s principals and teachers have been invited to take anything they need.

The city has no planned use for the building. The state has given Lynn $3.5 million to demolish the facility.


Bridget Turcotte can be reached at bturcotte@itemlive.com and Adam Swift at aswift@itemlive.com.

Bully pulpit in Peabody

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Peabody’s Jerry Halberstadt, who authored legislation on bullying, reviews his soon-to-be-published book on the subject.

BY ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — A Peabody man’s experience paved the way for a measure establishing a study commission on bullying in public housing that was passed by lawmakers Sunday.

Five years ago, Jerry Halberstadt, 80, launched the Stop Bullying Coalition to help stem the tide of abuse against elderly and disabled public housing residents.

He knows first hand what it’s like to be bullied. When he moved into public housing in Peabody, Halberstadt said a group of residents controlled the building.

“Their attitude was that if they did not like you, they would get rid of you,” he said. “It was a reign of terror. People were being bullied, harassed and forced out of their houses. I pulled together a group where I was living to create a more tolerable environment.”

In “Stop Bullying” a book Halberstadt is writing, he tells the story of how he was bullied, using a lightly fictionalized version of Peabody he refers to as Riverby.

The perpetrators of bullying had a clique that I call the New Guardians,” Halberstadt wrote. “They were saying that they wanted to get rid of the riff-raff in the building, they wanted to get rid of the two Jews, myself and a friend. They had a record of harassing people they didn’t like and managed to drive them out of the building, or get the management to evict them. The resident service coordinator laughed off my report and management did not feel they should get involved in disputes among tenants, despite their obligation to assure ‘peaceful enjoyment.’”

Eventually, Halberstadt was urged to file a bill in the Legislature to address the issue.

State Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem) said Halberstadt prompted her to file the measure.

“This constituent came to me seeking to be a voice for those who were afraid or unable to speak for themselves and it has been an honor to partner with him and sponsor this legislation to address the issue.”

The legislation, which is awaiting Gov. Charlie Baker’s signature, is the first of its kind in the country.

“The task is to study and seek remedies for bullying in multi-family housing,” Halberstadt said. “The primary focus is with elderly people and people with disabilities, the two most vulnerable populations. If I am on the commission, I’ll look to learn from people to better understand the problem and hope to find people who have solved those problems and share those ideas.”

The 19-member panel will include House and Senate leaders, executives of state agencies and members appointed by the governor to represent the interests of management and residents. The group will hold hearings to gather testimony and make a report by the end of next year.

While Halberstadt introduced the original legislation through Lovely, he had high praise for the many legislators, especially those on the North Shore, who had a hand in crafting and passing the bill.

Michael Kane, executive director of the Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants, credited legislative leaders for recognizing that bullying is an epidemic in subsidized housing, especially afflicting the elderly and people with disabilities.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Peabody state-rep race is in the pipeline

BY ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — It’s experience versus a call for change in the Democratic primary for the 13th Essex District state representative seat.

For two decades, Theodore Speliotis (D-Danvers) has represented the district consisting of Ward 6 and a portion of Ward 5 in Peabody, as well as Danvers and a precinct in Middleton.

He faces a challenge from West Peabody resident and health-care publishing executive Bob Croce in his first run for state representative. He has run for City Council and School Committee in the past.

Croce said he’s running to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline that would have run through a portion of the city. Earlier this year, the energy giant withdrew its plan for the natural gas pipeline project.

Speliotis failed to protect the interests of his constituents during the pipeline fight, Croce said.

“I reached out to other elected officials, and (Peabody) Mayor (Ted) Bettencourt and state Senator (Joan) Lovely jumped right in,” said Croce. “I reached out to the representative (Speliotis) and he was not interested in discussing our efforts. That was the first thing that did not make me real happy.”

But Speliotis said he has never wavered in his opposition to the pipeline.

“I did not support a pipeline in the Ipswich River bed, I did not want it in our river and our water source,” said Speliotis, adding that he attended more pipeline meetings than his opponent.

Though he did not support the pipeline project, Speliotis said there is a need to expand access to natural gas to increase competitiveness in the market and lower prices for consumers.

Croce said the incumbent’s stance on the pipeline was the impetus he needed to run for office.

“I went from a concerned citizen to a candidate intending to run for state representative,” said Croce. “I want to put the public back in public servant.”

If elected, Croce said he will be accessible and put the interests of voters first.

“There is no more establishment politician than Ted,” said Croce. “After 30 years, you do tend to fall into the establishment.”

But Speliotis said his legislative experience is a plus, giving him more responsibility on Beacon Hill and the ability to do more for the residents of his district.

“There is some truth that political officials lose touch, but I do not think that is me at all,” he said.

The representative points to his role in several major initiatives in Peabody, including working with state leaders to help pave the way for the new Higgins Middle School and championing funds for advanced placement programs at the high school.

“Last year, the Washington Post placed Peabody High School in the top two percent of competitive high schools in the country because of its rigorous classes,” said Speliotis. “These are the kinds of things I’m interested in and care about.”

While Croce said the public is moving towards more anti-establishment candidates, Speliotis said he considers it a strength that he is able to create consensus.

“I have the ability to cross over to all sorts of folks,” he said. “That’s been a benefit and what I think people want in this age. People want us to work together, especially seeing the dysfunction in Washington.”

Still, Croce said he is comfortable positioning himself as an outsider.
“I’ll spend more time in the district than on Beacon Hill and hold neighborhood meetings to help people in the district,” he said. “People want a different approach. I’m not a politician. I’m fed up with the establishment.”

The primary is on Thursday, Sept. 8. There are no Republican candidates running for the 13th Essex seat this year.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Corrections not new for would-be sheriff

Anne Manning-Martin.

BY ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — With her experience, Anne Manning-Martin said she is the one candidate in a crowded field who will stand out in the race for Essex County Sheriff.

Manning-Martin, one of five Republicans on the Sept. 8 primary ballot, said she did not plan to run for the office until Sheriff Frank Cousins decided not to seek re-election. Cousins, a Republican from Newburyport, has held the office for the past 20 years. He earns $151,709 annually.

“I thought Sheriff Cousins would hold that office for years,” said Manning-Martin. “He has done such a good job moving the department forward.”

While she was surprised Cousins was retiring, Manning-Martin was not hesitant about stepping into the race once he made his announcement.

“The opportunity presented itself after 20 years of his good service and it was a natural step for me,” she said. “I’ll hit the ground running with my experience in corrections and municipal government.”

On the municipal government side, Manning-Martin has served as a councilor at large in Peabody for the past nine years. Before that, she was on the school committee for eight years.

Manning-Martin’s experience in corrections stretches back even further, with 13 years working for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department before moving to a management position with the state Department of Corrections a dozen years ago. She is the deputy superintendent of the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital correctional facility in Boston.

“I have a huge head start with my qualifications, having spent 25 years in corrections,” she said. “It’s not something you pick up on quickly. There are too many moving parts with classification, security and budget issues.”

Manning-Martin said she will continue to expand many of the programs Cousins has advocated for.

“The opioid crisis will continue to be a focus, but it can’t be the only issue,” she said. “We cannot forget domestic violence, property crime and violence in the community. Criminal justice is about multitasking, we need to address all the issues simultaneously to better society.”

A large part of the sheriff’s role is managing the county’s correctional facilities, including the Essex County House of Corrections in Middleton.

“Within the walls, we need the right people in the right posts,” she said. “We need qualified, honest, smart people in those roles. There are thousands of individuals who either live there or work there, and they all need to be safe.”

But she said the sheriff’s role goes beyond what happens behind the jail walls. The department works with the community, as well as police and public works departments and state organizations, to improve the quality of life for all residents.

Manning-Martin pointed to her experience as an elected official who responds to the needs of her constituents as preparing her for the community service aspect of the job. As a school committee member, she said she was instrumental in bringing full-day kindergarten to Peabody, and as a city councilor, she supported GreenPeabody, which addresses environmental issues.

“If I didn’t believe I was the most qualified person for this position, I would not be running,” Manning-Martin said. “I have vast experience in every area of the position. I’ve been doing the job for years and managed hundreds of corrections officers and corrections professionals, holding staff and inmates accountable.”

Manning-Martin said she has budget experience as an elected official and as a manager of a corrections facility.

“There will be no learning curve with me,” she said. “I’ll be there on day one with experience and commitment to the community and to public safety.”

The other candidates on the Thursday, Sept. 8 Republican primary ballot include Kenneth Berg, a law enforcement officer from Danvers; Jeffrey Gallo, a lieutenant in the Essex County Sheriff’s Department; James Jajuga Jr., an attorney and Methuen police lieutenant; and Craig Lane, a sergeant in the sheriff’s department.

The six Democratic candidates on the ballot include William Castro of Methuen, a sergeant in the Essex County Sheriff’s Department; Lynn Police Chief Kevin Coppinger; Michael Marks of Lynn, Middleton Jail superintendent; Edward J. O’Reilly of Wenham, a defense attorney and former firefighter; retired Middleton Jail deputy superintendent Jerry Robito; and Paul Russell Jr. of Andover, a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

Independent candidates Mark Archer, an attorney and former state trooper, and Kevin Leach of Manchester-by-the-Sea will join the Republican and Democratic primary winners on the Tuesday, Nov. 8 general election ballot.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Walsh tries to drive RMV to Peabody

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Peabody City Hall.

BY ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — The city is still in the running as a potential location for a Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) branch.

The owners of the Bonkers shopping plaza at 535 Lowell St. were one of two bidders on a state Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) request for proposals to replace the closed RMV branch at the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers. The second location under consideration is on Dunham Road in Beverly.

In June, the state shuttered the Danvers location due to the extensive work needed to upgrade heating, cooling and ventilation systems.

Even before the doors were officially closed at the Liberty Tree Mall, state Rep. Thomas Walsh (D-Peabody) led the call for the state to take a hard look at Peabody for a new RMV site.

“It’s no secret to the RMV that I would like to see it in Peabody,” said Walsh. “But the final decision on the merit of the bids is now up to the state’s Department of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, he said.

The Peabody bid was made by Yebba Realty Ventures of Wakefield, which owns and is planning a major redevelopment of the Bonkers Plaza.

“I’m pleased that the group placed a bid,” said Walsh, noting that the plaza is close to the highway and would be convenient for customers across the North Shore.

Yebba bought the plaza for $5.75 million in 2013 and plans to rebrand the renovated shopping center as Peabody Commons.

“I think this is a positive step for their development to reinvent the property and positive for Peabody residents and residents across the North Shore,” said Walsh.

Walsh said the developers will be able to build out quickly on Lowell Street.

“Since the Liberty Tree Mall branch has closed, it has forced residents to travel further for services,” he said.

As DCAMM weighs the merits of the two sites, the RMV has expanded hours at its Revere and Wilmington branches and is encouraging customers to go online.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Sheriff hopefuls spar in Lynn

PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
Republican sheriff candidate Anne Manning-Martin answers questions from the audience at St. Stephen’s Church on Thursday.

BY ADAM SWIFT

LYNN — Candidates hoping to replace Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins touted their plans to reduce recidivism and improve prison conditions on Thursday night.

Three Republicans and one independent candidate attended a forum at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church hosted by the Essex County Community Organization and Neighbor to Neighbor.

“Contact with the family is the most important element in reducing recidivism and keeping families intact,” said Anne Manning-Martin, a Peabody city councilor and a deputy superintendent for the Department of Corrections.

Manning-Martin said female prisoners are especially vulnerable to being separated from their families since the majority are either detained or held while awaiting trial in Framingham.

“They do not belong there,” she said. “They need to be closer to their families and they should be doing misdemeanor time in Essex County.”

Her top priority if elected is to make sure that women who are doing time or awaiting bail are incarcerated in the same county in which they and their families live, she said.

James Jajuga Jr., a Methuen police lieutenant and attorney, said keeping families together is important. But he said that issues in jails and prisons are a microcosm of the outside world and that issues related to the breakdown of families must be addressed.

Craig Lane, a sergeant in the sheriff’s department, said while there is no facility for sentenced female prisoners in Essex County, the region does have a detox center for women.

“At least if we can keep the substance abuse (cases) out of Framingham, it’s a step in the right direction,” he said.

Mark Archer, an attorney and former state trooper, said the prison population, especially for women, can be reduced by expanding the electronic bracelet monitoring program.

All of the candidates also spoke of the need to fix substance abuse and mental health problems by working with community groups to help people before they need to be locked up.

Republican candidates who did not attend Thursday night’s forum included Kenneth Berg, a law enforcement officer from Danvers, and Jeffrey Gallo, a lieutenant in the Essex County Sheriff’s Department.

The six Democratic candidates on the ballot include William Castro of Methuen, a sergeant in the Essex County Sheriff’s Department; Lynn Police Chief Kevin Coppinger; Michael Marks of Lynn, Middleton Jail superintendent; Edward J. O’Reilly of Wenham, a defense attorney and former firefighter; retired Middleton Jail deputy superintendent Jerry Robito; and Paul Russell Jr. of Andover, a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

The state primaries will be held on Thursday, Sept. 8.

The Republican and Democratic nominees will be joined on the Tuesday, Nov. 8 general election ballot by Archer, who is running as an independent, and unenrolled candidate Kevin Leach of Manchester-by-the-Sea.

Cousins decided not to run for re-election this year after two decades on the job.

A forum for Democratic candidates will be held next Thursday night.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Lynn seniors make life a carnival

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Tiffany Nash, who was the fortune teller at the Element Care carnival, waits for customers.

BY ADAM SWIFT

LYNN — There were no elephants, but there was plenty of popcorn, a bean bag toss and even a fortune teller during Element Care’s carnival on Monday.

Since 1995, Element Care has provided complete health care to low-income people over 55 through its All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly program.

“The carnival creates a lot of camaraderie,” said Rachel Wilson, activity coordinator. “A lot of the people here are low-income and do not have a lot of people to look out for them. The carnival brings some sunshine into their lives.”

The carnival was a first-time event for Wilson, her co-workers and the program participants. But it fit with the kind of services that happen daily, she said.

“The idea is to keep these people in the community and as independent as possible with the services we can provide,” said Hector Rivera, site coordinator.

Those services include social services, occupational and physical therapy and dieticians in addition to health care. But just as important are the kind of activities and social programs that happen every day, in addition to the special programs like the carnival and a fashion show held last fall, he said.

“I’ve been coming here for the last four or five years, I love it here,” said James Chavous, a program participant. “It’s a second home. I know all the people here.”

Ethel Barry, another program participant, praised the staff and nurses for all they’ve done to keep her going.

“I’ve had nine surgeries and I’m 70 years old, but I’m fighting back,” she said.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Peabody house case could take uncivil turn

PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
The property at 2 Washington St. in Peabody, which has been taken over by the city.

BY ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — A Gloucester developer is suing the city for nearly $2 million after his building was taken by eminent domain.

The city seized the landmark O’Shea Mansion earlier this year from Empire Design & Development to prevent its demolition and to pave the way for future development. The company was paid $425,000 for the property at 2 Washington St.

Michael Corsetti, the firm’s manager, declined to be interviewed. His attorney, Saugus attorney Peter Flynn, filed a complaint in Essex Superior Court seeking $1.8 million in damages from the city.

Flynn said he is also considering filing a civil rights claim against the city. The attorney pointed to several steps the city has taken that, he said, unfairly targeted Corsetti.

“I believe my client was denied his civil rights and not given due process,” said Flynn. “The city took specific steps with only this property in mind.”

Last fall, it appeared that the mansion was facing the wrecking ball. At that time, the city was ready to seize the property from Northeast Community Bank. But as that was about to happen, Empire Design purchased the property from the bank for $350,000, according to county records. The city proceeded with the taking, paying what city officials said was the market value. The property is assessed at $957,100.

Last week, the City Council approved the hiring of Boston attorney John Leonard to assist the city with the eminent domain case.

At the council meeting, Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. said he believes the city has a strong case.

“I feel good about the direction the city took,” said Bettencourt at the meeting. “I think the city is handling this properly and we want to mount a vigorous defense.”

Flynn disagreed that the city handled the matter properly. He points several actions against Corsetti when his client purchased the former mansion from the bank last fall. Those moves began when the property went under agreement in September, Flynn said.

He said two weeks before Empire was to buy the property, the City Council targeted the property and amended the demolition delay period to 365 days, up from 90 days, in historic districts.

“He was targeted because the city does not want the O’Shea mansion torn down, although my guy owns it,” Flynn said.

In addition, Flynn said the city raised the assessed value of the property after Corsetti’s purchase. In 2015, when Corsetti bought the mansion, Flynn said the property was assessed at $890,000. In 2016, the assessed value rose to $957,100.

While Corsetti was planning to demolish the mansion, Flynn said plans were underway for the type of mixed-use residential and restaurant development city officials have been calling for in the downtown.

The taking of the property on top of the “double whammy” of the city demolition ordinance and the increased property tax burden was a shock to his client, Flynn said.

“He was totally unaware there would be a taking,” said Flynn. “He had no idea he would be the target of eminent domain.”

Bettencourt declined comment.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

East Boston man drowns in Saugus

BY ADAM SWIFT

SAUGUS — An East Boston man drowned at Breakheart Reservation Monday morning.

The 35-year-old man was found submerged near some rocks where he was trying to get out of the water, according to the Essex County District Attorney’s office. He was pulled from the pond by Saugus police and emergency services and taken to Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The man’s name was not immediately released by the DA’s office. He was swimming with his 8-year-old son and 9-year-old nephew in an area marked “No Swimming,” according to Essex County DA’s spokeswoman Carrie Kimball-Monahan.

The DA’s office is investigating the death, but no foul play is suspected, according to Kimball-Monahan.

Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Peabody fights for a landmark

PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
The property on 2 Washington St., in Peabody, which has been taken over by the city.

BY ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — The city has hired a Boston law firm to help fight a lawsuit over its taking of the former O’Shea Mansion.

The city seized the historic building at 2 Washington Street by eminent domain earlier this year from Empire Design & Development LLC. The Gloucester-based company was paid $425,000 for the property.

But in a lawsuit, Empire Design is seeking nearly $1.8 million. The city took the property to renovate the mansion as part of the downtown revitalization and prevent its demolition.

On Thursday night, the City Council approved hiring John Leonard, a partner at Menard and Walsh, at $325 per hour.

“Given his experience and the available funding through the legal department, I consider this a proper course especially in light of the prospect that our solicitor will be needed as a fact witness to substantiate the propriety of the process accessed to effectuate the taking,” said Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. at the council meeting.

Last fall, it appeared that the mansion was facing the wrecking ball and the city was ready to take the property by eminent domain from Northeast Community Bank. But as that was about to happen, Empire Design purchased the property from the bank for $350,000, according to county records. The city proceeded with the taking, paying what city officials said was the market value. The property is assessed at $957,100.

Bettencourt said he believes the city is in good legal standing.

“I feel good about the direction the city took,” said Bettencourt. “I think the city is handling this properly and we want to mount a vigorous defense.”

The mayor said it is too early to say how much the city will pay for Leonard’s legal assistance. But he estimated it could be as much as $50,000.

Empire Design could not immediately be reached for comment.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Latino association means business

PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
President and CEO of the North Shore Latino Business Association, Frances Martinez, and owner of Rincon Macorisano, Basilio Encarnacion, speak in front of the North Shore Latino Business Association on Sutton Street in Lynn.

BY ADAM SWIFT

LYNN —  The North Shore Latino Business Association has seen its share of landmark events during its five year history.

At its first annual dinner, the nonprofit welcomed guest speaker Ruben Guerra, president of the Latin Business Association of Los Angeles. And in 2014, U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez visited the group’s office.

But last week, the association saw one of its biggest dreams realized as it closed on the $100,000 purchase of the 1,600-square-foot office it has been renting at 33 Sutton Street for five years.

As owners instead of renters, president and CEO Frances Martinez said the association is in a stronger position as an anchor for the Latino business community in the city.

“We are looking forward to being part of a city that is definitely growing and has a very bright future for its business sector,” said Martinez. “We are very happy to be home in this place, especially in downtown Lynn.”

The group began a capital campaign to help raise funds to buy the office in December. Martinez thanked the community and association members who donated to the campaign and helped make the purchase a reality.

Local attorney and School Committee member Jared Nicholson assisted on the legal side of the transaction.

“It’s really exciting stuff,” he said. “It shows they are here to stay and are set up to be a real anchor in the community.”

The purchase was also made possible through loans from Lynn’s Community Credit Union and the Economic Development and Industrial Council.

Martinez said she expects to see the support for the association from the business community and city officials continue to grow.

“When we started the organization there was a huge need, especially for those who have a language barrier,” she said. “There was not a way to support this group of businesses.”

Today, the association has nearly 300 members. Martinez said membership is not limited to Latinos and about 15 percent of the members are non-Latinos.

“The association means a lot to the city,” said Basilio Encarnacion, one of the nonprofits co-founders and the owner of Rincon Macorisano on Washington Street. “It’s good for the community and all its businesses.”

The association’s membership is predominately based in Lynn. But Martinez said that now that they are secure in a permanent home, there will be greater opportunities to expand on the North Shore.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Peabody council won’t permit Verizon cell

By ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — For the second time in two years, the City Council nixed plans for a Verizon Communications Inc. cell tower.

On Thursday night, the council voted 8-1 to deny a special permit for a cell tower at 38 Coolidge Ave.

In 2014, the council denied a special permit for one at Michael’s Limousine on Lynn Street. Verizon is appealing that decision in state land court.

After denial of the Lynn Street tower, Verizon worked with the city on the Coolidge Avenue site. Verizon attorney Chris Swiniarski said a tower is needed to fix coverage gaps in South Peabody.

But at a public hearing in May, several residents who live near Coolidge Avenue said a 130-foot tower would be too obtrusive for the neighborhood. At that time, councilors and Swiniarski discussed the possibility of working with the Peabody Municipal Light Plant (PMLP) on a distributive antenna system. In this way, wireless providers use smaller antennas atop utility poles instead of enormous cell towers.

At Thursday night’s meeting, it initially looked like the city and Verizon were taking a step in the direction of a utility pole-based antenna system.

City Solicitor Michael Smercynski said the PMLP had agreed to put out a request for proposals for a distributive antenna system that could be shared by all cell providers.

“This news means we now have an alternative to provide this wireless carrier and others down the road to address significant gaps in coverage without building towers,” he said.

But Swiniarski said the alternative was no alternative at all.

“As I understand it, the PMLP voted to reject our proposal for pole top antennas, and someday, at some point there will be a build out that we could someday use,” he said. “That’s not sufficient for the gap coverage. You can call it what you want to call it, but it’s not a solution and not going to solve the problem we have tonight.”

Councilor at Large Thomas Gould said he believed the city was taking steps to address Verizon’s needs.

“I’m willing to take the risk and reject the cell tower here on Coolidge Avenue,” said Gould.

Ward 1 Councilor Jon Turco said the city has done extraordinary work over the past two months to address Verizon’s concerns.

“PMLP has bent over backwards in the last eight weeks to get this resolved,” he said. “At this point, no matter what we do, I think it won’t be good enough for Verizon.”

Councilor at Large Anne Manning-Martin cast the lone vote against denying the special permit, raising the specter of a second Verizon lawsuit against the city.

“My fear is that we are going to have not zero, not one, but two cell towers,” said Manning-Martin. “I’m afraid that the council will come off as not being cooperative.”

She said it could look like the city was taking a “not in my backyard” approach toward Verizon by not meeting federal regulations which require that gaps in telecommunications coverage be addressed.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.