Businesses

Wayne Alarm: Fire system up to code?

SAFETY TIP OF THE DAY

SPONSORED BY WAYNE ALARM AND HONEYWELL.

At Wayne Alarm, we always make sure our customers and clients are fully prepared in case of any emergency. And with warmer weather fast approaching, it is important to make sure your fire system is still reliable, inspected, tested and maintained. A quarterly check on your system can make a huge difference in your safety. So how can homeowners or business owners keep their systems updated? Follow these tips below:

  • Make sure Wayne Alarms fire system is up to date with its detection alarm. Without this feature, the system would fail to notify you if smoke appears or to dispatch the firefighters to save your home and evacuate your family.
  • Check your fire exits to make sure doors easily open and no objects are blocking the exits. It’s also important to ensure that it is properly marked and everyone will have no trouble finding it.
  • Make sure there are no flammable objects or substances in or near the exits. If so, it is best to store them away in the right place to prevent any fire.

On average, there are over 374,000 residential fires and over 2,000 deaths. Don’t let yourself become a statistic. These additional tips could make a huge difference to avoid any fire.

  • Smoking – If you smoke, make sure you do so in areas where it is not prohibited. Or if you smoke, make sure it is only fire-safe cigarettes. Since fires and deaths result from fires that have started in a living/family rooms, or bedrooms, it is better to smoke outside instead. Most importantly, keep lighters, matches and cigarettes out of reach of children.
  • Electrical – When using electrical kitchen appliances make sure they are put into a receptacle outlet one at a time, as the outlet can dangerously heat up.

Call us today to schedule for a free in-home consultation.

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www.waynealarm.com

Wayne Alarm: Fire system up to code?

SAFETY TIP OF THE DAY

SPONSORED BY WAYNE ALARM AND HONEYWELL.

At Wayne Alarm, we always make sure our customers and clients are fully prepared in case of any emergency. And with warmer weather fast approaching, it is important to make sure your fire system is still reliable, inspected, tested and maintained. A quarterly check on your system can make a huge difference in your safety. So how can homeowners or business owners keep their systems updated? Follow these tips below:

  • Make sure Wayne Alarms fire system is up to date with its detection alarm. Without this feature, the system would fail to notify you if smoke appears or to dispatch the firefighters to save your home and evacuate your family.
  • Check your fire exits to make sure doors easily open and no objects are blocking the exits. It’s also important to ensure that it is properly marked and everyone will have no trouble finding it.
  • Make sure there are no flammable objects or substances in or near the exits. If so, it is best to store them away in the right place to prevent any fire.

On average, there are over 374,000 residential fires and over 2,000 deaths. Don’t let yourself become a statistic. These additional tips could make a huge difference to avoid any fire.

  • Smoking – If you smoke, make sure you do so in areas where it is not prohibited. Or if you smoke, make sure it is only fire-safe cigarettes. Since fires and deaths result from fires that have started in a living/family rooms, or bedrooms, it is better to smoke outside instead. Most importantly, keep lighters, matches and cigarettes out of reach of children.
  • Electrical – When using electrical kitchen appliances make sure they are put into a receptacle outlet one at a time, as the outlet can dangerously heat up.

Call us today to schedule for a free in-home consultation.

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www.waynealarm.com

Wayne Alarm: 4 reasons to get Total Connect

SAFETY TIP OF THE DAY

SPONSORED BY WAYNE ALARM AND HONEYWELL.

There are times when security alarms aren’t enough to secure our homes and our business, and with technologic advances, using video security changes that. It adds extra security by allowing you to see what is happening around your home and motion activated events that can occur in and around your business. Here are four reasons why having a video surveillance is the best monitor to have.

  1. Wayne Alarm has notifications set up that work with video surveillance. If your camera detects a motion activated event, you are then automatically notified with an e-mail of the event or push notification on your mobile device, which allows you to monitor what occurred at a real time and date.
  2. Wayne Alarm Systems uses Honeywell Total Connect Cameras, allows you to stream videos live straight from the Total Connect directly to your phone, tablet or computer giving you an extra layer of protection. The cameras are portable, so changing locations to monitor new areas is easy. With infrared technology, which enhances your ability to see in the dark, records 10 second clips of a motion activates event and then sends it to you to investigate.
  3. With new technology such as SkyBell, we can help prevent break-ins into your business and home. When you’re a SkyBell owner, you receive a ring whenever the doorbell is pressed, or even have it alert you whenever it senses motion such as someone walks up to your front door. This allows you to remotely stream live video from your iPhone or iPad and interact with whoever is at your front door directly via two way communication. With extremely durable functions for weather, it gives you high definition video and full color night vision.
  4. There is strong data that suggest surveillance of employees in small business can boost productivity and profits. Allowing you to stay in control of dishonest claims, maintain the safety in your work environment and allows you as the manager to spend more time in more productive ways.

Having the best security is a top request everyone seeks for their home and business. With Total Connect video, it gives you enhanced security that allows you to stay on top of whatever happens in your environment, and giving you the added layer of protection that you want.

 

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Wayne Alarm: Spring security check-ups

SAFETY TIP OF THE DAY

SPONSORED BY WAYNE ALARM AND HONEYWELL.

Regular maintenance can help increase the life expectancy of your alarm system and insurance coverage, too. It is known that  security providers require monthly or yearly maintenance. However, you can do a self-maintenance as well. Older systems should be checked every three months, whereas newer systems are checked every six months. When doing check-ups, remember to notify your provider that it is just a test, so emergency support aren’t dispatched.

  • Fire and Smoke Detectors – According to The National Fire Alarm Code, smoke detector are required to be inspected annually. To ensure its proper functionality, check it by pressing and holding the button labeled “test.” In doing so, an alarm will sound. Remember to always follow along to the instructions instructed in the manual that can also give you help in keeping it up to date. Another tip is cleaning it with a vacuum cleaner(at least once a year) to remove any particles that couple affect the smoke alarm performance.
  • Video Surveillance –  If using video surveillance is one of your top security strategies, it can definitely use regular maintenance. To ensure a clear picture and uninterrupted feed, clean off the camera lens with a lens wipe and cleaner, and simply dust the camera’s exterior clean. Check daily for correct date and time that is often displayed on the monitor, sometimes brief power outages might require it to be reset.

Checking your system in your business is just as important, too.

  • Checking fire alarms in your businesses is just as important. Have it inspected to check if everything is up to date. If it is not being tested regularly, it could be more susceptible to false alarms.

Regularly checking if your security system is functioning properly can make a huge difference and can be useful in a time of emergency. Don’t hesitate to check on your system today, and reach our customer service for further questions.

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Doing it by the book in Malden

ITEM FILE PHOTO
The new Little Free Library at 67 Ashland St. in Malden.

Malden is headed in a great direction with the efforts by Malden Arts, Malden Reads, and Friends of Oak Grove to bring neighborhood libraries back to the city.

The three groups are starting small to achieve a big objective. They want to set up a Little Free Library basically a wooden cabinet mounted on a pole and stocked with books in every city ward. The little libraries will employ the honor system to allow readers to take a book and leave a book.

The library initiative seeks to reverse a decline in library resources that it is not unique to Malden. The days of a formidable-looking librarian checking out a stack of books to a library patron or acquainting young readers with the Dewey Decimal System has gone the way of the overhead projector and the neighborhood fire box.

Modern libraries lend out books, but they also circulate DVDs and music and provide computer and Wi-Fi access. Books aren’t about to go the way of the horse and buggy, but younger readers want to access literature via an app or download.

Malden’s Free Little Library concept flies in the face of high technology even as it acknowledges the transformation of the traditional library into an institution meeting a modern world’s demands.

Lynn’s three beloved branch libraries closed more than 10 years ago and the main library on North Common Street remains one of the city’s architectural gems. The library’s dedicated staff has embraced the online world and provided patrons access to online resources.

Bringing back a good read in Malden

Believe it or not, Malden once had 11 neighborhood libraries with some located in local firehouses. The Little Free Library concept mirrors the neighborhood library tradition and provides Malden residents with an opportunity to start a conversation about the role libraries play in a community’s life.

Libraries are a place to enjoy relative solitude but they also serve as community gathering places. Lynn’s library hosts summertime activities that get kids out of the house and off the streets and allows parents and children to enjoy activities together.

Multiple libraries are expensive operating propositions for municipalities in an age of budget cuts. The buildings, the heating bills, and the staffing costs are bigger than most municipal budgets can absorb.

But the Free Little Library campaigners in Malden understand that libraries, even on a small scale, can become community focal points for people to meet and exchange ideas. They are replicating an idea started in 2009 that has spread across the country for the simple reason that it is fun and makes sense.

It will be great if the library-in-a-box concept taking root in Malden can spread to other local cities and towns and prompt community organizations, even businesses, to find more space for libraries.

Even a room with a book shelf and table and chairs is a place where people can relax for free and community concerns can give way to free-flowing exchanges.

Swampscott awarded for use of green power

SWAMPSCOTT — Swampscott has been recognized as a top user of green power, as only one of two Massachusetts municipalities to appear on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Communities list.

The town appears for the first time on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) list at No. 37, town officials said. Wellesley is the other Massachusetts town.

Swampscott is using nearly 17 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which represents 24 percent of its total power needs. Swampscott’s choice to use green power is helping to advance the green power market and support clean renewable energy alternatives, officials said.

“I’m extremely proud of the direction our town is taking to move toward a greener future,” said Naomi Dreeben, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, in a statement. “It’s exciting to not only see Swampscott gain this recognition, but more importantly that we’re leading the way. Swampscott is currently one of only two communities in Massachusetts to receive the designation.”

The town’s green power use is through the community’s electricity aggregation program, Swampscott Community Power. The program was developed with support from the consulting team of Bay State Consultants and Peregrine Energy Group, approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities in 2015, and the first electricity supply agreement to provide greener power to residents and businesses started in January 2016, officials said.

Let’s hear it for Jim Hughes

The program, a town electricity program that gives residents and businesses an electricity supply alternative to National Grid, while also helping to support the town’s sustainability efforts, provides 100 percent green energy and ensures that customers have choice because of a three-tier structure and transparency in the supply costs, officials said.

The community power program is an electricity aggregation, a form of group purchasing where a municipality selects an electricity supplier on behalf of its residents and businesses. The program impacts the electricity supply charges on their National Grid bill, officials said.

“Swampscott is proud to be recognized by the U.S. EPA for our green power use,” said Peter Kane, director of community development, in a statement. “Town Meeting members agreed with our desire to bring price-reliable electric supply in 2012 and we married that with the community’s focus on greenhouse gas reduction by developing the aggregation program.

“By making the choice to use clean, renewable energy, our community becomes more sustainable, while also sending a message to others across the United States that using green power is a sound business and community decision. It’s an important tool in reducing one’s carbon footprint in the fight against climate change.”

Green power is zero-emissions electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass and low impact-hydro. Using green power helps build demand for the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps users reduce their carbon footprints, officials said.

Town officials cited stats from the EPA that shows Swampscott’s green power use of nearly 17 million kWh is equivalent to the electricity use of nearly 2,000 average American homes annually.

Wayne Alarm: Small business security tips

SAFETY TIP OF THE DAY

SPONSORED BY WAYNE ALARM AND HONEYWELL.

In 2010 there were roughly 28 million small businesses in the entire United States of America. While this number has fluctuated within the past 6 years, the fact is that we have a ton of small businesses out there. As a small business owner, so much of your time, money and energy has been developed to simply make your business run every day.

Whether you are providing a service or product, staying on top of your business security is extremely important. Below are some tips that you should make sure are implemented into your business plans.

Adequate Lighting: Having enough lighting is very important for not only inside your building but it’s also important for the outside of your building. During the night and especially when you leave, be sure that you have enough lighting both inside and outside of your business. Lighting which covers your doorways and parking lots will help keep away any potential threats.

Emergency Plans: Whether you are at home or in the office, you should always have emergency plans for different situations. Know what to do in the case of fire, robberies, theft, or major storms.

You should also keep your team in the loop so they understand and know what to do in each situation.

Strong Passwords: People often use passwords that are easy to remember but stay away from obvious ones that others can guess. Also, try to change them up. 47 percent of people actually use the same password for 5 straight years, so other people most likely know what you are using.

Public Wifi: You may not know it, but public Wifi is extremely unsafe for mobile devices. Hackers can actually go through it to attack person accounts. Never do any of your banking and online transactions on a public network.

Video Surveillance: Video cameras placed in and outside of your business are extremely helpful in order to give you proper security, limited shrinkage, improved customer service as well as other operational efficiencies.

Burglar & Theft Protection: When your business is closed and everyone is home for the night, it’s important that someone is looking out for you. With a Wayne Alarm security systems, your business can be monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For more information on keeping your business secure, please feel free to reach out to Wayne Alarm at (781)595-0000 or fill out an online contact form.

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Street closings a Federal case in Lynn

COURTESY PHOTO
Federal Street will be closed to through traffic until 5 a.m. June 5.

By MATT DEMIRS

LYNN — Delays when commuting around Federal Street and Magrane Circle in Lynn are expected to continue through Monday, June 5.

Department of Public Works Commissioner Andrew Hall is asking drivers to seek alternative routes since the roadways will be closed to all through traffic, although access to businesses will remain.

These closures are to allow for a rapid reconstruction of one intersection and one roadway segment in a short period of time.

Police details will be stationed to detour drivers through construction zones, in addition to the variable message signs and well-marked detour signs. The construction will take place in two phases.

In phase 1, Federal Street will be closed from Marion Street to Western Avenue between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Western Avenue will have one lane of traffic in each direction during construction.
South Street will be local access only from South Common Street to Western Avenue.

Roadwork is anticipated to be complete on Friday, June 2.

In phase 2, Federal Street will remain closed from Marion Street to Western Avenue. Western Avenue will be closed to all traffic from Spencer Street to Centre Street.

Medford could become park place

Work begins Friday, June 2 at 7 p.m. and will continue around the clock all weekend with anticipated completion by Monday, June 5 at 5 a.m.

South Street will be local access only from South Common Street to Western Avenue.

Detour locations will be Mall Street and Centre Street for southbound traffic and Summer Street for northbound traffic.

Closures will also affect MBTA bus routes through the construction zones. Hall asked drivers to check with the bus routes to see how they will be affected.

All anticipated completion times and dates are weather permitting.

Ward 5 City Councilor Dianna Chakoutis said people she knows are looking past the traffic snarls to the opening of the new Federal Street Market Basket. The store is scheduled to open in August.

“Everyone’s excited,” she said.

For additional information, the public can visit the city of Lynn Department of Public Works website at http://www.ci.lynn.ma.us/.


Matt Demirs can be reached at mdemirs@itemlive.com

Mulling a school move in Peabody

By ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — The City Council is supporting the lease of downtown office space for school administration, but some councilors question how that move will affect long-term plans for the district.

Thursday night, the council voted 7-3 to enter into a lease for 6,000 square feet of office space at 27 Lowell St. With the lease, about 18 school administrators will move from their current offices at the otherwise unused Kiley Elementary School in West Peabody.

“This will benefit the city in a number of ways,” said Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. Having the office for the superintendent, assistant superintendent, finance director and other administrators downtown puts them closer to a greater number of students and families and should help spur local businesses, the mayor said.

The new offices will also provide a more professional setting.

“The conditions at the Kiley School are subpar,” said Bettencourt. “It is a substandard building that we have concerns about and not a professional space worthy of the talent working in the school administration offices.”

The office space at 27 Lowell St. is owned by Luciano Dinis of Peabody. The rent for the first year of the lease, according to the agreement, is $6,000 per month. That rate rises to $6,500 per month in July of 2018, and $7,000 per month in July of 2019.

The majority of the lease costs will be offset by energy saving costs at the Kiley School, Bettencourt said. The city currently spends about $90,000 per year on utilities at the Kiley, he said.

While a number of councilors supported moving the administrators out of a subpar building and closer to City Hall, there were questions about how the move would play into the potential future renovation of the Kiley School.

Ward 1 Councilor Jon Turco said the city sent a statement of interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) for the renovation of the Kiley School. If the MSBA gives the okay, the state could reimburse up to 56 percent of the potential $15 million in renovations needed to bring the school back online as classroom space.

Nahant students reel in Aquarium award

Using the Kiley School for some special education and early childhood education programs would free up space at other elementary schools in the district and help ease overcrowding, according to Bettencourt.

If the reimbursement is not approved by the MSBA, Turco said the district could be faced with larger redistricting issues.

“The issue I have is that we are moving the school administration out of the Kiley in hopes of getting the MSBA loan to renovate the Kiley and maybe move some kids out of the Brown and other schools,” said Turco. “If that doesn’t happen, I’m asking (Bettencourt) as the chairman of the School Committee and the mayor to look at redistricting and see what we can do to alleviate overcrowding in the schools.”

Council President Joel Saslaw suggested the council hold off voting on the lease for 60 days to see if the MSBA approves the Kiley proposal. The state agency is expected to make a decision on the statement of interest in July, according to Bettencourt.

Turco also questioned why the city was looking to lease the former Lowell Street law offices when the building was up for sale just over a year ago for about $550,000.

“You had said you were looking to relocate for several years,” said Turco. “The total lease amount over five years is approximately the same amount as the purchase price for the building. Why didn’t we just purchase this building so we would have something to show for it after five years?”

School administration and the mayor considered purchasing the building, but Bettencourt said there were several factors that played into making leasing more desirable. He said the cost of upgrades to the Lowell Street building would significantly add to the cost, and that he also did not consider the move a long-term solution to housing the school administration. Future renovations or additions to the high school could include space for district administration offices, the mayor said.

Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz voted against the lease, saying he would rather see the schools utilize existing space at the high school or another school rather than leasing new office space.

Saslaw and Councilor-at-Large Anne Manning-Martin also voted against the lease agreement.

Wayne Alarm: What small businesses should know

SAFETY TIP OF THE DAY

SPONSORED BY WAYNE ALARM AND HONEYWELL.

When starting a small business, safety concerns and state, or federal regulations for your business can be overwhelming. To help your business thrive, here are a few regulations to keep in mind:

  1. Client’s personal information should always be private and should be an important issue to have. In 2010, The Massachusetts Data Protection Plan created stricter and stronger privacy regulations. It allows businesses that collect and retain personal information from its customers to be seriously implemented. Personal information including social security number, driver’s license numbers, and financial accounts that include debit or credit card numbers can create a huge risk of unwanted private breaches. It is an issue that many small businesses aren’t aware of and should be at the top of their concerns in learning ways to prevent it, by ensuring employees are regularly proceeding with the rules given.
  2. Computers. Computers can easily be breached and hacked if precautions are not taken. It’s important to follow compliances such as following Windows update for operating system patches or using daily antivirus software to ensure that your computer system is not functioning as it should, but also being checked for possible malfunctions or breaches.
  3.  Credit card fraud has been known to be one of the top reasons for identity thefts. As of October of 2016, measures were put into place to increase the use of chip cards, giving customers and clients double security. This change allowed a decrease in the possibility of fraud from issuing banks to merchants who have yet to install EMV terminals.
  4.  4. The renovation, repair, and painting rule for public and commercial buildings is a rule that covers residential housing and is now being expanded to commercial buildings. While it is issued to protect people from exposure of lead dust, it’s main concern is towards small business. Small businesses who operate their business outside of their homes, or own the buildings where their business is located can face higher costs as well.

 

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A new chapter for Saugus author

ITEM PHOTO BY SPENSER HASAK
Michael Coller is running for Saugus selectman.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

SAUGUS — A private investigator and author of two controversial books is seeking a spot on the Board of Selectmen.

Given his law enforcement and investigation background, Michael Coller said he feels confident he can thoroughly research anything that comes before the board and make a well-informed decision in the town’s best interest.

“If you all have the same feelings to vote as one body, what’s the difference between having five different selectmen or just one,” said Coller. “I’m not challenging anyone on the board but I think finer points could be brought out. I’m hoping to create a little more degree of independence.”

Coller is on the Conservation Commission and Library Board of Trustees. He was born and raised in Saugus and graduated from Bridgewater State University with a degree in management.

He has worked as a security professional for 23 years, focusing specifically on large retail firms, criminal investigations, asset protection, and firearm licensing.

In his spare time, he enjoys writing. He takes pride in a series of books he’s working on, the Bruno Johnson series. He’s currently working on the third installment, which follows the main character, a private investigator, as he returns home to uncover political wrongdoings in local government.

Characters in the second book “Bruno Johnson: Against the Grain,” include Missiles, known for her “voluptuous breasts years ago (which) were worthy of being dipped in bronze. However, they now look like tube socks with baseballs sunk in the bottom;” Alisa, “a tiny peanut sized gal with what appeared to be fried eggs for breasts;” and Sue the Moo, who is “as big as a cow with four wrecking balls attached to her body. Two stuck on her chest and the other ones jammed in the seat of her pants.”

Labor of love in Revere

Coller maintains that while the plot of the books may mirror local politics, the similarities are “purely coincidental.” He admitted he changed the names of characters in his book to protect the identities of real people but called his work fictional.

Like himself, he said Johnson is a character who refuses to knock on doors; he just opens them.

“I surely have the creativity to research what I need to research to come to a sound decision that will benefit the town,” he said. “This town shouldn’t be a stepping stone. I’m looking for a balance between property taxes and commercial taxes. As far as a new high school, it’s only going to help our property values. I don’t have children in the schools but I support a new high school. It’s going to help our town.”

If elected, Coller hopes to contribute to the revitalization of the town’s waterfront and Cliftondale Square.

“I went to Saugus High School with some of the people who own businesses (in Cliftondale Square),” he said. “It’s not as prominent as Saugus Center with the library and Town Hall. I think it’s gotten kind of dreary while Saugus Center is more welcoming. It needs some work. When I grew up here, it was as busy or busier than Saugus Center.”

Last year, a study of the square using a $10,000 Massachusetts Downtown Initiative grant found that 72 percent of the square’s businesses are independently owned. With more than 192,000 square feet of commercial space, the 66 existing businesses are underutilized, with some retail stores seeing fewer than 30 customers a day.

Coller worked as a commercial fisherman in Saugus, Gloucester, and Boston while putting himself through college and said he has an understanding for the importance of improving the waterfront area.

Town Clerk Ellen Schena said potential candidates can take out papers to run for office in July. Board of Selectmen candidates will be required to obtain 50 signatures and return the papers by Sept. 19.


Bridget Turcotte can be reached at bturcotte@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.

Labor of love in Revere

ITEM PHOTO BY SPENSER HASAK
Mayor Brian M. Arrigo hands out high-fives as he gets ready to cut the ribbon for the brand-new playground.

By MATT DEMIRS

REVERE  Children crowded the front gate, their eyes fixed on the green and purple play structure and merry-go-round.

Minutes later, the ribbon was cut at the new playground at the Lincoln School.

Hundreds of students, parents, elected officials, volunteers, and residents gathered behind the elementary school as Mayor Brian M. Arrigo welcomed everyone to the park.

“I look forward to seeing all the happy faces on the playground,” he said. “None of this would be possible if it weren’t for the teamwork from everyone in our city to make it possible.”

Elle Baker, an organizer for Revere on the Move, whose mission is to encourage exercise and healthy eating in the community, spearheaded the project.

“We are excited to be bringing a brand new community living space,” she said. “Playgrounds promote sharing and physical activity. Now that is accessible to everyone.”

Ward 3 Councilor Arthur Guinasso told the children they should be happy.

“It was the parents who came out to the city government and said we need a place for our kids,” he said.

Revere businesses, officials, teachers, and parents built the playground, turning the dream into a reality.

Derek Paicentini, a parent of two Lincoln School students, volunteered to help build the play structure along with dozens of other parent-volunteers eager to create a place for their kids to enjoy.

Baker: I like Tom — but I’m with Judy

“It means the world to be able to have this playground. It was all worth volunteering,” he said. “I’m so excited.”

Florinda Cacicio, a playground supporter and mother of Lincoln School students, said she is happy the playground is finally here.

“This is something that will bring the community together,” she  said. “We plan on using it frequently.”

The number of parents at the opening ceremony nearly outnumbered the amount of students, said music teacher Lance MacDonald, adding that he was impressed with the turnout.

“There are more parents here today than there are at parent-teacher conferences,” he said.

Stacy Whittredge, a third-grade teacher at the Lincoln School, said she is happy that the new play area will give her students something to do at recess.

“Going from nothing to this means a lot to us,” Whittredge said.

Marcella Bonfardeci said her mother was thrilled for the opening of the playground.

“My mom is excited because my brother went here and she believed that we needed a safe place to play,” she said.

Before the playground’s construction, students played on the dirt field and basketball court, according to second-grader Caleigh Joyce.

Her friend, Chloe O’Neil, chimed in, “I’m really excited to be able to be able to have recess on the playground for the first time tomorrow.”


Matt Demirs can be reached at mdemirs@itemlive.com

Wheelabrator Saugus being taken to court

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Wheelabrator Saugus is pictured in this file photo.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

SAUGUS — Conservation Law Foundation is taking Wheelabrator Saugus, Inc., to court for failure to monitor and track water quality in the area surrounding the company’s ash landfill.

In a letter dated Monday, May 22, staff attorney Heather Murray wrote on behalf of the foundation that it intends to file suit against Wheelabrator in federal court. Monitoring the water quality is required by the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Murray wrote.

“The Saugus ash landfill sits at the heart of a thriving community, yet landfills of this type are infamous for releasing lead, mercury, and other cancer-causing chemicals in our air and water,” said CLF attorney Kirstie Pecci in a statement.

Wheelabrator’s approximately 140-acre site is located at the confluence of the Saugus River and Pines River and within the boundaries of the Rumney Marshes Area of Critical Environmental concern.

Peter Kendrigan, general manager of Wheelabrator Saugus, said the company complies with state and federal regulations.

Lynn woman asks ‘When is enough enough?’

“The assertions by CLF are false, demonstrate a lack of understanding of the regulations, and appear to be designed only to interfere with Wheelabrator Technologies’ application with the state Department of Environmental Protection to continue operating the monofill,” he said in a statement.

The CLF notice states that because the landfill was originally used for solid waste, soil acidification has likely already taken place and could continue to take place, increasing the risk for leaching. It adds that the landfill is the only unlined landfill in the state and that its coastal location makes it “extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts such as sea level rise and damaging storm surge.”

“Despite this significant hazard, the landfill has operated for decades without monitoring its impact or creating an adequate barrier from the families and businesses that call Saugus home. It’s time for Wheelabrator to answer for its years of neglect and finally commit to water quality monitoring as the law requires and the community demands.”

“Wheelabrator is an environmental services company that processes post-recycled solid waste from eastern Massachusetts municipalities and businesses into clean, renewable energy,” said Kendrigan in a statement. “Protecting public health and the environment is our highest priority and we operate in a manner that is protective of the environment. We are in full compliance with stringent state and federal air, water, and solid waste regulation, and our operating permits have been maintained and renewed without excepting in Saugus.”

A copy of CLF’s notice is available at www.clf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/2017-05-22-FINAL-Wheelabrator-Saugus-Notice-Letter.pdf


Bridget Turcotte can be reached at bturcotte@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte

Wayne Alarm: August Smart Control Lock

SAFETY TIP OF THE DAY

SPONSORED BY WAYNE ALARM AND HONEYWELL.

There are moments when we leave in such a rush from our homes and business that we leave without our keys or even forget to lock our doors, only to remember hours later when it could already be too late. With technologic advances, Wayne Alarm provides another easier way to secure your home or business with ease. Here’s why you should call up Wayne Alarm and request the August Smart Control Lock.

The August Smart Control Lock allows you to never feel guilty for not unlocking your door, again. The smart control lock is a deadbolt lock that syncs to your phone wirelessly, allowing you to control anyone who comes in and anytime the doors are locked. With this specific use you are able to grant access to your family and friends, or you can also provide them with temporary access. The system uses different key codes to allow you to see who entered at what time and from where they did. With all these different features, it also sends you notifications straight to your mobile device.

This device works just as great for your small business, too. If employees forget to secure a specific door and you’re not in the office, a quick look at your phone can easily lock your doors for a sense of ease. It also has a cool feature where you can set up a schedule and only choose who is allowed to go in at the time. If someone unknown walks in, you’ll be notified instantly.

Feel free to give us a call at (781) 595-0000 for more information, or fill out our online contact form.

 

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I am the best person for the job, McGee says

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
State Sen. Thomas McGee stands with his brother, Shawn, and former babysitter Mae DeLuca.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — State Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) launched his bid for mayor Friday night before more than 300 enthusiastic supporters at the Knights of Columbus.

“My name is Tom McGee and tonight I proudly kick off my campaign for mayor of Lynn,” he said. “I am running because I love our city and the values the city of Lynn represents.”

The 61-year-old senator will face incumbent Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, a Republican, who kicked off her campaign for a third term last month.

Consider the progress we’ve made, Kennedy says

McGee’s daughter, Katherine, 19, introduced her father.

“He never missed a softball game, a dance recital, a golf match or a swim meet and I know if I really needed him he would jump in his car and make the six-hour drive to Villanova,” she said. “One of the things I admire most about my dad is his love for Lynn. He has lived here his whole life and always showed Thomas and me all the wonderful qualities Lynn has. I don’t think it’s possible for his heart to hold more love for this city.”

McGee was elected to Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1994 to represent West Lynn and Nahant. After four terms, he won a seat in the Senate in 2002 in a district that includes Lynn, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Nahant, Saugus and Swampscott.

Lynn teacher joins the march

Michael O’Connor, a Lynn firefighter for 22 years, said he is a strong McGee backer.

“He’s been a lifelong friend,” he said.  “I think he’ll move the city in the right direction.”

Janet Dolan, a Nahant resident, said McGee has always represented the district, including Nahant, very well.

“He’s very visible, very open to help, if anyone is in difficulty I think he’s very reliable,” she said.

David Condon, chairman of the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association, said his group has been a longtime supporter of McGee.

“We’ve had a very good working relationship over the years and he will make a difference as mayor of Lynn,” he said.

McGee said this is a critical time for the city as it faces an enormous budget challenge.

“Our city is at a crossroads and the next four years will be critical in determining Lynn’s future,” he said. “Under current leadership, our city is faced with an emerging fiscal crisis that threatens public safety and erodes people’s confidence in Lynn’s ability to manage its own affairs and jeopardizes our potential for attracting new families and businesses. We need to harness all that Lynn has to offer.”

McGee said he’s the right person for the job.

“I believe I am the best person to lead our city at such a critical time,” he said. “I ask you to join me in working for the betterment of this city.”

In the race for cash, McGee is way ahead. In the most recent filing with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign Finance. McGee reported a balance of $69,170 while Kennedy had less than $13,000.


Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com.

Help is on the way for Lynn startups

COURTESY PHOTO
Kevin Oye and Trish Fleming mentor an EforAll entrepreneur assistance at their Lowell headquarters.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN In the 1960s, the city’s downtown was a bustling center of activity and there’s at least one person who is convinced it can be again.

Kevin Moforte, executive director of Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll), a Lowell-based nonprofit whose mission is to assist startups, has turned his attention to Lynn.

“The downtown used to be an economic powerhouse and it  offers lots of potential for startups to thrive,” he said. “Lynn is surrounded by many high-end communities, and if the city was revived, could attract them as customers.”

Launched in 2010 by Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande, a billionaire businessman, the center has been responsible for the launch of 200 startups in Lowell, Lawrence, Fall River and New Bedford. Now, it’s Lynn’s turn.

“We want to help people in Lynn kick off businesses with a local touch so they’re in tune with the community,” Moforte said.

The nonprofit offers a small business accelerator to foster entrepreneurial growth. The intensive 12-week program promises to prepare entrepreneurs for the many responsibilities they will face, with mentors who have lived the startup dream and made it a success. There are also small cash grants up to $5,000 to help businesses get off the ground.

“Entrepreneurs are talented people with hopes and aspirations, but need help,” he said. “Our training offers the nuts and bolts of running a business: How to define your product, find customers, pricing, when to hire a lawyer,  how to register the business, how to budget and project cash flow.”

North Shore Comic Con on Saturday

In addition, the participants work with mentors, successful local business people who have done well and want to help the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The second way to get help from EforAll is to win a “Pitch Contest” like the one scheduled for June 14 at KIPP Academy at 6 p.m. Set up like “Shark Tank” without the teeth, three winners will receive cash prizes, mentoring and expert training.

Thomas L. Demakes, CEO of Old Neighborhood Foods and William Mosakowski, CEO of the Public Consulting Group, which was founded in Lynn, provided an undisclosed amount of money to bring EforAll to the city.

“Starting a company is complicated,” Demakes said. “So many people take the plunge, but they’re simply not prepared to do what it takes to make a new business thrive. This is our opportunity to give something back.”

Former state Treasurer Steve Grossman, who serves as CEO of Inner City Capital Connections, the nonprofit that assists small businesses, including those that are minority-, women- and immigrant-owned, said EforAll has made a difference bringing startups to life in the Bay State’s older cities.

“They are smart, have lots of resources and they bring together thought leaders,” he said.  “They will help accelerate the startup culture in Lynn.”

Moforte is no stranger to the startup community. Before immigrating to the U.S., he opened a soap company in his native Dominican Republic.

“We made high-end soap by hand with coconut oil, cocoa butter, rum and sugar cane and sold them to tourists for $4,” he said. “But making the soap was only a fraction of what I did, the rest of the time I was chasing lawyers, trying not burn out and sometimes chasing the rabbit down the wrong hole. I wish I had an EforAll.”


Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com.

Wayne Alarm: 4 reasons you need ZWSTAT

SAFETY TIP OF THE DAY

SPONSORED BY WAYNE ALARM AND HONEYWELL.

Your house is at a perfect temperature. You’re enjoying a nice movie under some blankets and comfortably cuddled on the couch. The very last thing any of us wants to do is to get up from our comfy spot just to adjust the temperature, enough to where it’s not overwhelming throughout the night.

However, wouldn’t you enjoy a thermostat that catered to your preferences and can still be controlled through your Total Connect app on your phone or your computer?

Honeywell is known to have the best thermostats in the  industry for a couple of decades. More recently they have switched to devices that are specifically tailored to smart homes. This gives you just the perfect amount of comfort in a safer way. With the newest adaptive intelligent recovery technology, a z-wave enabled thermostat, can reduce your monthly energy bills dramatically. This feature allows you to “learn” how long it takes for the furnace and/or air conditioner to reach its programmed settings, detecting when to reach it at a specific time! The z-wave enabled technology can provide a cost savings at approximately 33% of your annual heating and cooling costs. In the long run, the system basically pays for itself and provides  you with the ultimate temperature comfort.

Features like creating a keypad lockout for homes and businesses — keeping unauthorized personnel from changing the temperature — allow you to keep the comfort in your home or business a little easier. It also includes temperature settings which can be altered depending the temperature in your home or business, and even providing you with an alert reminder to keep up on maintenance. For instance an alert to change air filters and humidifier/dehumidifier filters, which only maximize performance can be handy. ZWSTAT also provides fan circulation – moving air when heating or cooling isn’t required, automatically helping you eliminate hot and cold spots.

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Wayne Alarm: Here’s why Nantucket needs us

SAFETY TIP OF THE DAY

SPONSORED BY WAYNE ALARM AND HONEYWELL.

Wayne Alarm Systems has provided the best security and sense of comfort to our customers and several local businesses for the past 40 years. While we serve the Greater Boston area with reliable and top quality security, in 2012, Wayne Alarm saw a need for security on the island of Nantucket.

Nantucket is known for their cobblestoned streets lined with high-end boutiques and restaurants, it’s antique cedar shingled buildings, and let’s not forget the beautiful dune backed beaches. However, without proper security, its residents and its beauty can fall to terrible accidents and events we all wish to prevent. Wayne Alarm wants Nantucket to keep its beauty safe, and that’s why Wayne Alarm is here to help.

While keeping you in control, Wayne Alarm will provide you with top security in detecting fire and carbon monoxide for your home. With small mom-and-pop shops all throughout the island, security should be top priority. With Wayne Alarm, burglary and theft prevention security gets so much easier, instantly ensuring the security of your visiting tourist and loyal customers. Our fully installed commercial security systems features the access control systems which includes:

  • Performing a facility or area lockdown from any PC or proximity reader
  • Running a myriad of custom reports when you need to know who accessed what area and when
  • Interface your video security with your card access system

Wayne Alarm can also expertly install your top video surveillance systems that can be accessed and managed for your home or business all through the Total Connect App. This gives  the homeowner complete access and control in lighting, thermostat control, and all your access to locks from anywhere on the island with just the use of your phone, computer or tablet.

With a full-time locally based company, Wayne Alarm Systems is the only UL Listed, FM Approved, 5 Diamond Certified Alarm Monitoring provider in the island. Wayne Alarm will take care of the worry for you and provide you a peace  of mind. All while you enjoy the beauty that Nantucket has to offer.
More information reach us at (508) 825-9200 or fill out our contact form.

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Wayne Alarm: Utilizing security technology

With Wayne Alarm security systems, your business is monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year by trained and certified professionals.

Security technology is constantly being developed and are considered one of the top securities to have in businesses as well as in homes. At home, you are able to monitor what and who goes in and out your home, if alarms are in place and if doors and windows have been shut tight  before leaving the house. With businesses, it’s no different and similar protocols should be taken regularly. Here are a few reasons why using the best security technology can help you manage your business:

  1. Businesses today are subject to security threats and vandalism. Technology can easily be used to protect confidential executive decisions, financial data, client information, etc. By having computers and servers with passwords, businesses can ensure projects and information won’t be stolen.
  2. Using systems such as Wayne Alarm Access Control, keep you and your employees safe at all times. With the access control, you are able to have interface video security with your card system. It also includes the feature of creating a map with active icons for system status, control doors, and even show employee photos as they go through protected doors. For businesses, features that have integrated motion detectors, glass breaks and panic buttons help track and assign alarm conditions in case of an emergency.
  3. Video surveillance can be beneficial for businesses! Monitoring shoplifting and making sure everything else stays in place, having video surveillance gives you 24/7 security at all times. With surveillance, you can also receive an e-mail or video notification sent straight to your mobile device.

There are several advantages of having a modern security set-up in businesses that can and need to be taken advantage of. Protecting your assets shouldn’t be compromised. At Wayne Alarm, we understand that and help protect you and your business.

Wayne Alarm: Video can help reduce thefts

SAFETY TIP OF THE DAY

SPONSORED BY WAYNE ALARM AND HONEYWELL.

In any business, there is always that inevitable problem: theft.

Some data suggest surveillance of employees in small business can boost productivity and profits. Allowing you to stay in control of dishonest claims, maintain the safety in your work environment and allowing you, as the manager, to spend more time in more productive ways. Using video surveillance is an effective method for putting a stop to thieves from stealing your belongings, wares or information. In any event, it can also help alert the police, as well as provide footage, which can help aid in identifying the thieves.

With lots of options you can take to reduce theft, however, having video surveillance saves you time and effort all while helping you decrease theft in your store. With Wayne Alarm video surveillance, you get 24/7 video surveillance specifically for your business.

In specific places, you increase your overall security that can oftentimes be overlooked. Here are some places where placing video surveillance in your store could be beneficial:

  • Front and back doors:  Not only are you able to identify who comes in and out of your business and when they leave, but it also helps when your business is closed. Having a monitored entrance system can detect any suspicious event during off  hours. Specifically your stores back entrance – placing it here can help deter anyone attempting to exit unnoticed. It can also help with any blind spots that might be hard to view, allowing you to be aware of any suspicious event.
  • Installing cameras in areas where your most valuable items or expensive equipment are, can help diminish losses. For example, placing a camera by the cash register can allow them to work more effectively by giving you a view from above, allowing you to directly monitor any exchange of cash, both limiting employee and customer theft.

With video surveillance, you’re also able to ensure to your customers that you care about their safety and well being too. Call us for a free consultation today and speak with a caring representative.

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AG: Company violated state wage laws

BOSTON — A Peabody construction company has been cited by the state Attorney General’s office for failing to pay the proper prevailing wage rate to employees for work performed on public projects, as well as other violations of state wage laws.

DANCO Management, Inc., of Peabody, and its owner, Daniel Tremblay, were issued four citations totaling $293,812 in restitution and penalties for failure to pay the prevailing wage, failure to make timely payment of wages, failure to submit true and accurate certified payroll records, and failure to keep true and accurate payroll records, according to a release from Attorney General Maura Healey’s office.

“Our prevailing wage laws ensure a level playing field for contractors who perform work for public entities, including municipalities, schools, libraries and housing authorities,” stated Healey in the release. “When contractors skirt these laws, they not only cheat employees out of their wages, they undermine the competitive business environment of Massachusetts.”

Now’s your chance to tour Lynn’s waterfront

The attorney general’s Fair Labor Division began an investigation after receiving a complaint from an employee who claimed he was paid below the prevailing wage for work he performed for DANCO on a public works project. The investigation found that DANCO and Tremblay failed to pay 14 employees the proper prevailing wage rate for carpentry work performed over a 13-month period in four Massachusetts counties. Tremblay also deducted money from employees’ hourly prevailing wage rates for fringe benefits (i.e. health and welfare and pension contributions) that were not provided to the employees.

The attorney general’s Office issued citations against Ronan Jarvis, former owner of MC Starr Companies Inc., and R&A Drywall, LLC and owner Allan S. Vitale for similar violations.

Wayne Alarm: Access control for your business?

SAFETY TIP OF THE DAY

SPONSORED BY WAYNE ALARM AND HONEYWELL.

Your small business is gaining more and more customers, and you wonder if you should increase your security? Having top security is a must for many small businesses. Finding the right fit that meets the needs to each of your worries can be a difficult process, along with many test trials. However, what’s great about Wayne Alarm’s access control, is everything you need is directly at your disposal. With access control, you’re able to have complete control.

By switching to access control you are then able to:

  • Facilitate or lock down a specific area from any PC or proximity reader. If you have a specific area that isn’t accessible for  your employees or customers, you can block entrance to the area so that no one comes in unless they are authorized to.
  • Interface your video security with your card access system. With this feature, you’re able to monitor specific areas during any time of the day.
  • Create a map with active icons to annunciate system status. This includes your ability to control doors, a call up video, as well as having it show employee photos as they pass through protected doors. This can give you a sense of comfort to know who is exiting in and out of your business.
  • Run custom reports when you need to know who accessed what area and specifically when they did.

Access control comes with support and monitoring which ensures that your business, big or small, stays locked down and secure at all times.

Feel free to give us a call at (781) 595-0000 for more information, or fill out our online contact form.

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LaPierre launching re-election campaign

COURTESY PHOTO
Brian LaPierre is seeking re-election.

LYNN — City Councilor at-large Brian LaPierre  launches his re-election campaign Wednesday, May 17 at the Knights of Columbus in Lynn from 5-8 p.m.

LaPierre, a 43-year-old father of two, said he has carved out a spot on the council as a problem solver and an effective voice for the city over the past two years.

“I feel like I have been an outspoken and effective advocate for anyone who requests city services and will continue to work with my colleagues in city government to keep Lynn moving in a positive direction,” he said.

He said Lynn “is in a unique position to really accelerate over the next two years.

Push for 2nd charter school renewed in Lynn

“I am asking Lynn residents to join my family and I on this journey again so we can reach new heights as a community,” LaPierre said.

LaPierre lists as his council accomplishments: Responding to more than 1,000 constituent requests; making Lynn a more pro-business friendly city; creating new sources of revenue with medical marijuana dispensaries; combating the opioid crisis with Narcan-equipped emergency vehicles, and fighting to solve the net school spending crisis that still looms over both the city and school budgets.

“I look forward to building on the success of our first campaign two years ago, as I continue to meet new residents and reconnect with long-time Lynners, I am honored and privileged to serve the city I love so much,” said LaPierre.

 

Swampscott means business on licenses

By GAYLA CAWLEY

SWAMPSCOTT Town officials have requested an increase in all-liquor licenses in Swampscott, which they hope will attract new businesses.

“We’re hoping that we can receive a few additional licenses, so we can continue to focus on economic development and bringing additional investments to Swampscott,” said Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald.

Town Meeting members on Monday will be asked to authorize the Board of Selectmen to petition the General Court for special legislation allowing the board to issue eight additional all-liquor licenses.

“This article would provide additional business opportunities in our commercial districts, such as Humphrey Street and Vinnin Square, where eating establishments would like to operate with a liquor license,” the warrant article reads. “The 14 existing licenses are currently granted in full.”

The town’s newly updated Master Plan calls for some strategic focus on Humphrey Street, Vinnin Square and the railroad station neighborhood, in terms of revitalizing some of the businesses and restaurant opportunities, Fitzgerald said. He said the increase would bring the right investments to Swampscott, and would bring a robust business quarter in those areas.

Fitzgerald said a few weeks ago, the Board of Selectmen issued the town’s last all-liquor license, which encompasses alcohol, mixed drinks, beer, wine and cordials. The town also offers beer and wine licenses, and a temporary beer and wine license, he said.

Illegal loaded handgun off the streets

Last week, a restaurant applied for a liquor license that the town doesn’t have, Fitzgerald said. He said the increase would be an opportunity to bring new investments or new opportunities to Swampscott that would be lost to another community that has the licenses available.

He said existing restaurants in town may want to apply for the additional liquor licenses, but the primary focus is on attracting new businesses to Swampscott. In addition, Fitzgerald said as officials look at ways to reduce the town’s overall residential tax rate, finding ways to increase the commercial tax rate will be part of that discussion.

If the article is approved by Town Meeting, Fitzgerald said the town would work with the legislative delegation, and the increase would have to advance to General Court for a vote by the legislature. Over the years, he said the legislature has seen fit to grant communities additional licenses.

Naomi Dreeben, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, said the full liquor licenses are given out by the state based on the population in the town. Swampscott has 14, based on about 14,000 residents. She said the board is asking for an exception because “this is the kind of business that can succeed in Swampscott.” Restaurants would really like to have full liquor licenses, she added.

“The businesses that we want to encourage are interesting eateries,” Dreeben said. “We need the liquor licenses to bring those to town.”

Gayla Cawley can be reached at gcawley@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

 

Bringing a good thing to Lynn

General Electric is bringing good things to life by breaking ground on its new headquarters in the former warehouse district near Boston’s South Station. Gov. Baker, quoted by the State House News Service on Monday, called the groundbreaking “one more step forward in the continuing evolution of Massachusetts as a global player.” What does GE’s big plans for Boston mean to the North Shore, specifically, Lynn?

A GE executive on Monday said the firm is looking forward to forging collaborations with area community colleges. Thinking about that comment in the context of North Shore Community College and Salem State University spurs excitement and inspiration.

General Electric’s aviation manufacturing presence in Lynn helped write the city’s history and the River Works plant is still a major city employer. Imagine if GE’s 21st century commitment to evolving technologies takes on life in Boston and expands outward, swamping the North Shore and Lynn with brilliant minds and the economic ramifications of their inventions?

GE Vice President Ann Klee employed high-tech jargon Monday when she was quoted by the News Service praising Boston’s “great innovation ecosystem.” She used that phrase to explain why it made sense for GE to move its headquarters.

That explanation can be interpreted in different ways. The most obvious interpretation is that GE finds Boston to be an attractive location because of the large number of universities and associated research facilities in the city.

GE + NSCC = A bright future

By extension, Cambridge and Route 128 for decades have attracted research and development manufacturers tapping into Boston’s academic brainpower to fuel their production. Lynn’s River Works, at first glance, conjures up images of skilled factory workers making jet engines. But a deeper look at the West Lynn plant reveals engineers designing next-generation engines and facilities potentially becoming future sites for the “innovation ecosystem” highlighted by Klee.

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton has talked about the River Work’s value as a possible location for technology-oriented businesses incubated in Boston and searching for affordable space where they can grow and prosper.Congress

Moulton is an imaginative thinker but his ideas are rooted in a business background; before winning a seat in Congress, the Marine veteran focused his boundless energy on the high-speed rail industry. Rail transportation is an industry GE has helped to expand and it is an important component of the type of transportation-driven economy Moulton and state Sen. Thomas M. McGee frequently highlight.

The News Service on Monday reported how state Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash, worked with other top officials under the codename “Project Plum” in 2015 to woo GE to Boston.

Ash is well aware of Lynn’s economic potential and it is not a stretch to imagine him pointing GE in Lynn’s direction once company executives decide how communities around Boston can benefit from the headquarters relocation.

With North Shore Community College stepping onto the technological cutting edge by expanding its Lynn campus and Lynn schools working for years with River Works volunteers, Lynn is poised to benefit from GE’s decision to make Boston the center of its corporate universe.

 

Happy Khmer New Year

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Sokhema Chhorn waits to perform onstage as a bridesmaid.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

LYNN — The year of the monkey is out and thousands are expected to gather at Lynn Common today to bring in the year of the rooster.

The Khmer Cultural Planning Committee is throwing the 10th annual Khmer New Year Community Fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The New Year is traditionally celebrated in Cambodia over three days on April 13-15, but more commonly celebrated during the weekend in present-day United States, said City Councilor Hong Net, who is also a member of the committee.

Net, a Cambodian native, said the holiday is a celebration of the changing seasons and that farmers can finally harvest their crops.

“They plant rice and crops, so now that the monsoon season is over, they start to harvest,” said Net. “They celebrate and consider it a new year.”

Light at the end of the tunnel on Lynnway

To kick off the day-long event, at about 8 a.m., a parade of people dressed in angel and other traditional costumes will arrive. Starting at 10 a.m., there will be tables with popular Cambodian food offerings, including beef sticks, coconut and cane juice, fried rice and chicken, said Net.

James Cowdell, executive director of Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC), will be the featured guest speaker. Net said Cowdell will talk about attracting small investors and people who want to open small businesses to the city.

The afternoon will be filled with traditional dances, games, music, a fashion show, and live bands. In Cambodia, residents celebrate by filling the streets with dancing and games.

Lynn has the second largest Cambodian population in Massachusetts with roughly 7,000 people, said Net. Lowell takes the lead with about 35,000 people, or about 30 percent of its population, being Cambodian, he said.


Bridget Turcotte can be reached at bturcotte@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.

Commonwealth loss could be Medford gain

By STEVE FREKER and THOR JOURGENSEN

MEDFORD — Sale of a two-acre state sign shop could set the stage for economic development locally, state officials said Thursday.

The state Department of Transportation (DOT) is moving forward with the sale of a parcel located at 300 Mystic Avenue with bids due by June 9.

“Our administration is proud to promote local economic growth and opportunity through the redevelopment of underutilized state properties,” said a DOT statement quoting Gov. Baker. “By ensuring the Commonwealth is “Open for Business” with the sale of properties such as the Mystic Avenue parcel, we can continue strengthening our cities and towns and allowing our resources to provide benefits and jobs to citizens throughout Massachusetts.”

Currently used as a DOT sign shop, the site is an example of the Baker administration’s “Open for Business” initiative launched in 2015.  The initiative seeks to develop state-owned vacant or underutilized assets so they may have more productive uses to benefit the local economy, including office space, retail and housing.

To date, 24 state-owned assets have been sold or leased and when fully executed, will generate $428 million in revenue, more than 2,000 new housing units, 600 new jobs, 450,000 square feet of commercial space, and $12.3 million in annual, local property tax payments.

“This location is in the immediate vicinity of several local businesses, transportation options, and notable attractions and is a prime piece of real estate within the City of Medford,” said Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin. “By leveraging our existing state assets in innovative ways that put them to the best use, we can continue supporting our local communities and facilitating growth and opportunity across the Commonwealth.”

The effort to convert the state site into a local economic opportunity comes after a nearly eight-month-long drive to build a multi-story residential development at the site of a former auto repair shop on Salem Street has come to fruition for  Boston-based developer.

Taking a pulse in Swampscott

The Medford Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday night unanimously approved the site plan submitted by developer Milan Patel of HHC One Salem LLC to build a three-story, 16-unit residential building at 236-240 Salem St.

The vote concludes what had been a largely contentious process in which neighbors and abutters of the site, as well as a Medford City Councilor, balked at several other previous proposals for the site submitted by the developer, all of which called for bigger projects in both units number and stories.

All of the objections raised by locals at neighborhood meetings and board meetings were directly related to the size of the structure. Concerns were also raised on increased traffic in the densely populated neighborhood located a block from the Route 93 overpass, just before Medford Square.

The original plan, first floated in August, 2016 was a five-story, 25-unit complex. When objections were raised, the developer came back with a four-story, 19-unit plan, then the present three-story change which was ultimately approved. The developer had tried to sell the idea of the larger structure because of the cost of cleaning up contaminated soil left over from the former brake shop.  According to records given to the Zoning Board, that cleanup came in at just under $500,000.

“I want to thank everybody – the team, the community – we all pitched in and I think this was a great effort. Their voices were heard,” Patel said.

There is still an appeal process for those who remain opposed to the decision. If no appeal is filed in the 20-day period now under way, or if one is filed and then denied,  the developer will seek to acquire a building permit and be allowed to start  construction.  

A number of those in attendance at Monday’s meeting were seen shaking their heads and heard murmuring after the vote was taken. No public comment was requested nor made before the vote.

 

Bellavance has a plan

By ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — Curt Bellavance sees municipal planning as a way to help improve communities.

As Peabody’s new community development and planning director, Bellavance will be using his knowledge and experience to help better his hometown of 24 years.

“It will be great to be in Peabody,” said Bellavance, who recently resigned as Tyngsborough’s town administrator after he was offered the planning position. “When this role came up, it was perfect for me and my desire to help.”

Bellavance replaces Karen Sawyer Conard, who stepped down late last year to take the top job at the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission. He said he hopes to continue much of the progress Conard made during her seven years, especially in the downtown.

“There’s a lot that’s been done in the downtown, but I don’t want to forget about the Centennial Industrial Park and all the other businesses that have been in Peabody for some time,” said Bellavance.

Family Engagement Fair at Marshall Middle

Retaining the businesses that are already in the Tanner City and bringing in new industry are among Bellavance’s goals.

“There are also the everyday challenges in the community, large and small,” he said. “And the mayor mentioned that he has a list going.”

Before working as town administrator in Tyngsborough, Bellavance was the director of economic and community development in North Andover. He said he took the town administrator job as a way to expand his horizons and try something new.

“I missed the planning aspect, although there was no planner in Tyngsborough and I did work on a lot of the planning projects,” Bellavance said. “I found that was the most enjoyable part of my job, and decided that I would rather do it full time rather than part time.”

Bellavance said he expects to start in Peabody on May 8.

There were about 35 applicants for the position, with a search committee interviewing about a dozen candidates. The full-time position was posted with a salary between $102,000-$112,477.

A city of two tales

PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
Hoana Cortez and Robert Miller stand April 17 at a vigil for the two men shot on Exchange Street.

To paraphrase Dickens, it was the best of times and the worst of times in Lynn this week.

The worst was first. An Easter Sunday shooting in Central Square that left one dead and another hospitalized.

Then came the best. Bookended by a Monday night vigil at the shooting site and Thursday night’s gathering at Zion Baptist Church to show solidarity for Prince Belin and remember the late Leonardo Clement, four unrelated events took place simultaneously Tuesday:

Friends of the late Wendy Meninno Hayes gathered to remember a woman who defined her life with charity and friendship; the city Humans Rights Commission hosted a City Hall forum entitled, “Focus on Asian Americans;” the committee behind the successful April 6 kickoff of “Beyond Walls” met to plan the next steps for a downtown revitalization effort that envisions murals and classic neon signs lighting up the city’s center by July; while experts who make a living out of reimagining cities converged on the Lynn Museum and let their imaginations roam free in the “Visions for Lynn” discussion.

One night in Lynn.

Perhaps the most startling was the Visions discussion. Designers and academics let their minds wander on a long leash and imagined the city’s waterfront becoming a sort of futuristic Venice with canals. They conceived a pedestrian-friendly wastewater treatment plant, the Lynnway Learning Lab — a futuristic high school with rooftop gardens — and a public safety facility doubling as a community gathering place.

Visions and Beyond Walls demonstrate the imagination that is the fuel propelling a new vision for downtown.

Beyond Walls hits $50K goal at fundraiser

All of this might sound like so much idle speculation by academics and hopeful residents — until state Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash’s perspective is factored into the equation.

Commenting in the Boston Globe’s Sunday Magazine on April 16, Ash called Lynn one of those “gritty blue-collar North Shore communities that are poised to move up a notch or two or three.”

Ash’s comments merit close examination, especially when they are spotlighted against the backdrop of Beyond Walls and Visions.

Lynn could be one of the ‘top spots to live’

The former Chelsea city manager knows what it takes to revive a city. As the state’s top development chief, Ash joined Gov. Charlie Baker, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, Mayor Judy Flanagan Kennedy, Lynn’s state delegation and city development officials in creating the LEAD (Lynn Economic Advancement Development) team in November, 2015, to bring federal, state, and local resources to bear on revitalizing Lynn.

His remarks to the Globe are proof positive he feels that commitment is ready to pay off.

By accenting all that is positive about their city, Lynn residents are drawing a map for success and they are narrowing the focus on the city’s problems. Lighting downtown and adorning it with murals and sculpture offers an opportunity to step back and ask, “OK, what needs to get fixed downtown?”

The answer may come in the form of public safety proposals, revamped zoning ideas or other innovations rivaling the ideas offered by the academics who gathered on Tuesday at the Lynn Museum.

During her life, Wendy Hayes helped provide the answer through the selfless charity she showed Lynn residents. A Saugus native with a brilliant smile who died last August, her legacy and memory lives on with friends who knew her as the co-owner with her husband, Rolly, of Rolly’s Tavern on the Square.  

Lynn’s diversity can also provide the answer. More than 10 percent of people who live in the city are of Vietnamese, Khmer and Laotian descent. They built businesses, bought homes and Tuesday’s commission meeting is a first step to giving them the chance to contribute positive ideas.

The great news about positive ideas is that they spur imaginations and generate additional ideas. The energy that filled downtown and the city this week is proof that only imagination defines the realm of possibility for Lynn.

Election fight looms in Lynn’s Ward 1

COURTESY PHOTO
Pictured is Ward 1 City Councilor Wayne Lozzi.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN Wayne Lozzi, the seven-term city councilor from Ward 1, has a race on his hands.

Courtesy photo

Pictured is attorney William O’Shea.

Two opponents have pulled papers. William O’Shea, an attorney, and Jesse Warren Jr. have set their sights on the post.

“Now that my children are grown and coaching youth sports is in the past, I have a lot of time on my hands,” said O’Shea, 53. One the things that puzzles O’Shea is why KIPP Academy, the city’s charter school, can build a new high school to serve 450 students for $20 million, while the plan defeated by voters last month called for construction of two middle schools for $188.5 million.

In March, voters rejected a 652-student school on Parkland Avenue and a second facility for 1,008 students on McManus Field.

“The city wanted to build one public school for nearly $90 million while a charter school can build it for one fourth the cost,” he said.

O’Shea also wonders why the city’s tax rate rises annually and yet there’s a budget shortfall.

In addition, O’Shea questioned why the city has a methadone clinic on the Lynnway and a homeless shelter downtown.

“We can’t attract new businesses or residents with those things in the middle of downtown,” he said.

Still, he is not sure how to solve that issue.

“I don’t have the particular answers, but as an attorney, I find solutions,” he said.  

Lozzi, 60, who has served on the council since 2004, said he is seeking re-election because he loves the job, and is proud of the work he’s done.

“I’ve accomplished quite a bit as the ward councilor,” he said.  Among his proudest projects, he said, is reconstruction of the city’s parks.

“When I first ran, Gowdy,  Flax Pond and Magnolia parks were in deplorable condition,” Lozzi said.  “Now, we have a new Flax Pond playground, Gowdy was mostly done with private funds at no cost to taxpayers, Magnolia has a fairly new tennis court and Lynn Woods Park playground has been remodeled.”

Lozzi noted that the council’s initiative to move the high tension wires off the waterfront and a zoning change for the Lynnway are key to modernizing the city and spurring development.

North Shore Community Promise: free tuition

While Lozzi acknowledges the city’s financial picture is grim today, he said it’s short term.

“Historically, the city has gone through these phases where we are up and down,” he said. “I don’t want to assign blame, we need to look forward and continue to provide good services to the residents despite these difficulties.”

While the city needs new sources of revenue, Lozzi said he opposed to the imposition of a local option meals tax that would raise about $600,000 annually.

“Raising taxes is a last resort and I’m not sure I would support it,” he said.

Still, Lozzi supported the plan to build two new middle schools by raising taxes.

“I voted yes because I felt strongly that we need a new Pickering Middle School,” he said.

On the question of whether the city will need to lay off city workers to balance the budget, Lozzi said the jury is still out.

“I hope we can avoid them,” he said. “If there is any question about layoffs, that falls onto the mayor’s desk and she has to answer those questions and inform the council and residents.”

Warren could not be reached for comment.


Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com.

 

Businesses joining to help Saugus schools

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

SAUGUS — Local businesses will raise money for Saugus Public Schools for the 25th year in a row.

The 2017 Taste for Education fundraiser will be Monday, May 1 from 6-9 p.m. at the Danversport Yacht Club in Danvers. The annual event is sponsored by the Saugus Business Education Collaborative.

Guests mingle while tasting menu items from participating restaurants. The evening is billed as an opportunity for business owners to meet and form relationships with each other. Last year, more than 330 people attended and more than $17,000 was raised for the fund.

Each Saugus elementary school principal chose to use the money to purchase Chromebooks for students.

Nahant Town Meeting chases ambulances

Among the dozens of local restaurants, caterers, chefs and businesses participating this year are Kelly’s Roast Beef, Kowloon Restaurant, Prince Pizzeria, Victor’s Italian Cuisine, The Tumble Inn Diner, Fuddruckers, J & M Specialty, Caryn’s Sports Bar, Piantedosi Baking Company, Inc., Out of Asia,  Sweet Deal, Teresa’s Italian Eatery, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, Edible Arrangements, The Lenox Hotel, and Casa Vallarta.

SBEC president John Smolinsky will serve as the master of ceremonies. Perfect Parties will provide music and Balloonatics will bring the balloons. The evening will also feature several raffles, silent, and live auctions.

Tickets are $45 and can be purchased at each of the public schools, the Saugus Public Schools Administration Building and North Shore Bank’s Route 1 branch.

 

‘It was our duty to stand up for our values’

By AVERI KAPLOWITCH and OLIVIA SCHAUER

Averi Kaplowitch, left, and Olivia Schauer.

“She and all her weird Jewish friends” … Olivia

“Is he going to Israel for Christmas vacation?”… Averi

“Is the name of your summer camp Auschwitz?”… Olivia

“Do you live in little Israel?”… Averi

“You go to sleep-away camp, you must be Jewish” … Olivia

“I didn’t think Jews were allowed to go trick or treating” … Averi

These are a few of the questions and comments Olivia and I have heard over the years, sometimes from friends and sometimes from strangers. While these comments struck a chord in us, we never repeated them to anyone, other than to our parents. We didn’t think our friends had any idea that what they were saying was hurtful or offensive. We let it go because we didn’t want to cause waves.  

Lately, however, we have noticed that these comments are happening more often and the kids who are saying them are now older, more mature, and should know better.

A few days before Christmas vacation, I (Olivia) was faced with a very difficult situation. I came across a disturbing picture on social media. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was seeing things correctly. WAS THAT A SWASTIKA … made out of pennies? Why was someone using materials for a chemistry lab to make this vicious symbol of hate? Why would an anti-Semitic image be posted on a site I use every day? Additionally, how could someone I considered a friend post it? And why was another friend of mine in the picture with this symbol on a chemistry lab tray in front of him? I was both confused and uncomfortable.  

I showed the picture to my friend Averi. She was appalled. We were both scared and initially hesitant to get involved. Although we did nothing wrong, we feared we would be blamed and be considered “the school snitches.” We were quickly reminded that as Jewish girls, we could not sit back. We had to speak up. We had a responsibility to make others understand why this act was so hurtful.  

Olivia and I (Averi) pondered how we could make a difference at Marblehead High School and in our community. Our parents suggested we contact the Anti Defamation League (ADL) and ask them about bringing in a program that would teach diversity to the entire student body. Our school principal introduced us to Team Harmony, a club which focuses on promoting a harmonious school climate. Students work with other students to teach acceptance and equality. We learned the ADL had a program called A World of Difference.

Averi and I researched The World of Difference program. This program trains faculty and students about how to deal with issues of discrimination of all types. Armed with the training, students will be well-equipped to educate their peers. While the program seemed ideal, we ran into one problem, funding! There simply wasn’t enough funding to cover the cost of the program. Our parents, members of the community, local businesses and the Marblehead High School PCO  came together to raise over $7,000 in a matter of a few weeks. Our dream would become a reality!

The Irish know about ‘receiving end of bigotry’

With the ongoing support of Marblehead School Superintendent Maryann Perry, the Marblehead Police Department, Principal Dan Bauer and Team Harmony Advisors, Meredith Reardon and Candice Sliney, Olivia and I were able to bring the ADL to Marblehead High School. The ADL came to MHS in September of 2016 to kick off The World of Difference Program.

Team Harmony’s two advisors attended a training during the summer and 30 students from MHS received an intense training on three Sundays in October. Team Harmony is now using their newly acquired skills to educate other students at Marblehead High School. Averi and I are optimistic that something good would come out of this terrible experience. Since December of 2015, our community has encountered additional acts of anti-Semitism and bias. Swastikas have been found in classrooms, on basketball courts, on bleachers, windows and sidewalks in neighboring towns as well. Unfortunately, we continue to hear more anti-Semitic and bias remarks, both in our community and in other communities throughout the Commonwealth.

Olivia and I believe it was our duty to stand up for our values, speak up against those who are against us, and speak out against all forms of anti-Semitism and hate.

Most importantly, Averi and I hope that by addressing these issues and taking action, other people will learn from us and become less afraid to speak up for what is right. The two of us have and will continue to make a world of difference in our community and the world. We will continue to fight against all forms of discrimination!


Olivia Schauer and Averi Kaplowitch are Marblehead High School juniors.

Lynn police warn of possible charity scam

The Lynn Police Department wants to make the public aware of a possible scam involving fraudulent charity and advertising collections.

Suspects are collecting money on behalf of The Jimmy Fund for Kids and The Volunteer Fireman, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. The victims are commercial businesses that believe they are paying for advertising space, the post said.

As of Wednesday, there are no reported victims of the scam in Lynn, but the department says they have received reliable reports there may be suspects collecting checks for the scammers in Boston, Burlington, Fitchburg, Jamaica Plain, Lynn, Natick, and Revere.

Edward Blake sworn in as new deputy chief

Don’t become a victim of the scam, the department warns. Never give out any of your personal information over the phone and always request something in writing so you can verify the information before making any kind of donation.

If you have been a victim of this scam or have any information to share, contact Lynn police at (781) 595-2000. Cellphone users can also text an anonymous tip to police by texting the word “tiplynn” and information to tip411 (847411). You can also call the anonymous tip line at (781) 477-4444.

 

Viviano runs for Nahant board of selectmen

COURTESY PHOTO
Pictured is Stephen Viviano.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

NAHANT — Stephen Viviano, a Revere firefighter, has his eye on a seat at the Board of Selectmen’s table.

“I’m definitely aggressive,” he said. “I’m 31 and the best thing I’ve got going for me is being motivated. I have seven rental properties; 14 units, and a full time job. Diving in and getting things done is something I’d be good at. The community as a whole — it’s a beautiful place. But there’s a lot that can be done.”

Viviano moved to Nahant at age 5 and attended the Johnson Elementary School. He has served as a firefighter for six years and has maintained and constructed rental properties in Nahant and Danvers. He lived in Danvers while working on his multi-family units but moved back to Nahant about five years ago.

Viviano is running against incumbent Richard Lombard, who holds the record for the longest-serving selectman in town with 38 years under his belt.

Now that the Causeway has been enhanced, Lombard said his final mission is to change the look of the entrance to town. He doesn’t want to step down from his post until he’s finished the job, he said.

Lombard runs to add to record

The Short Beach Master Plan includes burying above ground electrical wires in Little Nahant from Seaside Pizza on Nahant Road to the Nahant Police Station and eliminating poles on the ocean side. Overgrown weeds behind the park will be cleaned out. A Memorial Pond will be uncovered. The road leading into town will be lined with trees and benches. Gas lamps will replace existing light poles.

When Viviano took out papers, he said he was unaware that Lombard would be running for another term. But that doesn’t mean he’s still not up for the challenge.

“I hesitated when turning the papers in,” he said. “I know Richie Lombard has been a selectman forever. He was always a nice, friendly guy. I thought his last time running would have been his last time. I don’t want to pose as the young kid going to run against an old veteran. I wanted to do the town a good service. There are changes that are long overdue and I really do love the town; I care about it a lot.”

While Viviano said he respects Lombard’s work on the board, he believes he has as good of a chance to be elected as anyone else running for the first time.

“I want to get involved,” Viviano said. “I think there’s a lot of Nahant that can be improved and a lot that can be preserved. I’ve invested a lot of money in the business district. I’d like to get some business back and revitalize the so-called downtown area. There’s a lot that Nahant can do better.”

If elected, Viviano said he would make improving town parks and playgrounds and revitalizing small businesses downtown his priority.

He’d like to attract businesses to the downtown area that would be able to thrive in a town with a population of about 3,000 people, but would also like to see any prospective businesses benefit Nahant residents.

“One big thing Nahant cares about is they don’t want to let outsiders in,” Viviano said. “I agree that the town is too small to have general traffic coming in. I wouldn’t want something that would bring in unwanted guests. The roadways and infrastructure, I don’t think could handle it. My primary focus would bring in business that the community can utilize, appreciate and keep in business.”

Viviano said Ocean House Surf Shop, which has a location in Swampscott, is interested in one of his commercial properties. He sees value in bringing in the business because they offer activities for children and adults that fit with the lifestyle offered by the coastal town.

He’s hoping to bring back a dry cleaner at another property, he said.

Owning property in town has taught him about building on a flood plane, he said. His interest in the town’s flooding problems grew from there. He hopes to help the town with preventative maintenance. Viviano believes the town’s parks and playgrounds should be improved for the youth population, which he believes is shrinking. He questions whether more parents are opting to send their children out of town to private school because the population is wealthier than it was when he was a child, or whether residents are unhappy with the Johnson School.

Finally, he hopes to bring Fourth of July festivities back to Short Beach, rather than Bailey’s Point.

“It’s based on Fire Marshal’s law that the fireworks have to be 500 feet from any house but that could easily be accomplished with a barge,” he said. “Where they are, people get stuck standing on Willow Road or Tudor Beach. Neighbors probably don’t appreciate everyone cutting through their yards. I haven’t gone to the fireworks in three or four years because of it. It’s just too congested. When I was younger, (watching) the fireworks at Short Beach was a town thing.”

Viviano said he’s also interested in filling an open position on the Planning Board.

Town Clerk Peggy Barile said two members are stepping down and two are up for reelection. Only one member, Mirjana R. Maksimovic, has chosen to run for reelection.

The last day to register to vote is Friday, April 7. Residents can visit Barile at Town Hall from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.


Bridget Turcotte can be reached at bturcotte@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.

Residents aim to shape Saugus open space

By LEAH DEARBORN

SAUGUS — Residents are pitching in to formulate a plan for the future use of open space in town.

An Open Space and Recreation Plan Community Forum was held at Town Hall Auditorium on Thursday night, presenting an opportunity for residents and business owners to discuss their hopes and concerns regarding public recreation areas.

Emma Schnur, regional land use planner for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), said that once adopted, a formal Open Space Recreation Plan (OSRP) will be valid for seven years. The process for drafting a new one began in October.

One of the benefits of an approved plan, she said, is that the town will become eligible for state funding. The most recent OSRP spanned the years of 2005-2010.

Schnur took some time at the beginning of the forum to outline the definition of open space and where it exists in town. She said the majority of open space in town is permanently protected.

Breakheart Reservation, Rumney Marsh, the Saugus Iron Works and Prankers Pond were all part of the presentation, as well as Vitale Park, Stackpole Field, Veterans Memorial Elementary School Playground and Stocker Playground.

“Stocker Playground could use a facelift,” said Schnur after noting the recent improvements to the playground at Veterans Memorial.

Cugno eyes Medford council seat

Following the presentation, attendees were encouraged to share their comments in writing or by leaving stickers on several charts outlining possible goals.

Allen Panico came to the forum to suggest Stocker as a potential site for a skate park. Melanie Ebert said she’s particularly interested in seeing improvements to some of the playgrounds.

“I travel for work, so I see all these great playgrounds in other towns … Then to come here, it’s very depressing,” she said.

Written requests asked for trash barrels and pavement on the bike trails, or complained that too many people smoke around the parks.

Some of the charts showed interest in increasing access to open space for people with disabilities and expanded water-based recreation, such as kayaking or swimming.   

Joan Fowler said she probably would’ve attended the forum even if she wasn’t on the Conservation Commission. She said that of the conservation space in town, she’s particularly fond of Breakheart, but she doesn’t have a stake in a particular future use for any of the sites.

“Whatever Town Meeting decides,” she said.


Leah Dearborn can be reached at ldearborn@itemlive.com.

Businesses asked to warm up to summer jobs

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN Despite this week’s blizzard, the first day of summer is just three months away.

Savvy youth are already seeking jobs to fill their vacation months with work and pockets with cash. But they need employers to step up.

Now in its 13th year, FirstJobs is a community-wide effort to provide work experiences for youth in 19 local communities by the North Shore Workforce Investment Board. The Salem-based nonprofit is a one-stop career center with an office in Lynn. They are seeking private sector businesses and nonprofits that can employ youths.

“We are greatly concerned that young people are not working,” said Mary Sarris, executive director. “At one time, the employment rate for teens was more than 50 percent, but it has dropped to below 30 percent.”

The summer employment program is designed to provide first-time summer employment opportunities for youth between the ages of 14-21 for eight weeks during July and August.

Youth are recruited and trained by FirstJobs. They connect local businesses needing summer help with youth seeking employment.

The cost is $1,760 to hire a teen to work 20 hours per week in July and August at minimum wage, $11 an hour.  

Hiberian 5K just days away

For employers unable to hire a teen, they are asked to consider a tax-deductible contribution to the program. Donations allow them to place teens at nonprofits.

Job readiness workshops are required of participants applying to grant-funded positions and recommended for all youth. The job readiness workshops prepare them for skills needed to succeed once they gain employment.

“We teach them about dress codes, what to do if they’re going to be late or absent, things important to know for their first job,” Sarris said.  

Last summer, the program provided 597 youth with jobs at 180 private sector and nonprofit employers. Among the companies to offer teens work were: Dunkin’ Donuts, North Shore Animal Hospital, Empire Loan, Hampton Inn and Starbucks.


Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com.

Harrington spreads goodwill overseas

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Members of the Harrington School Student Council, from left, Leylani Kem, Dania Benavides, Rachel Washington and Pauwill Deng pack a box of supplies.

By DAVID WILSON

LYNN — A thoughtful gesture by third- to fifth-graders at Harrington Elementary School is about to go overseas.

Principal Debra Ruggiero’s cousin, a lieutenant colonel in the Army, volunteers for, and checks in with the Missionaries of Charity orphanage in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Ruggiero, looking for someone to take the lead on a possible project, contacted Harrington ESL teacher Nicole Zarkades.

One of the teacher-leaders for the school’s student council, Zarkades said the 27 members began to write letters and draw pictures for troops and children at the orphanage.

But the children at the orphanage were also in “dire need” of toiletries and art supplies, she said.

So in an undertaking that Zarkades said began around Christmastime, students wrote letters to local businesses asking for assistance.

Osborne Medical Supply, East Boston Savings Bank and Century 21 Hughes responded. The three businesses “were instrumental in ensuring that these supplies were collected through their generous donations,” a press release said.

Included in three boxes — that Zarkades said she could barely lift — are toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, soaps, towels, hairbrushes, hair accessories, and more. Art supplies include coloring books, crayons, markers, and chalk, she said.

The boxes are being shipped out today. Zarkades said Friday she’s unsure how long it will take for the boxes to arrive at the orphanage, but it’s something she hopes can continue.

In fact, if the children write back to the Harrington students, a pen-pal program could be in the works, she said.

Tech scores $333,000 in workforce funding


David Wilson can be reached at dwilson@itemlive.com.

 

ICE rumors send chill through North Shore

PHOTO BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN President Donald Trump’s high stakes effort to target millions of undocumented immigrants has frayed the nerves of many North Shore residents.

“There’s tremendous fear, uncertainty and confusion over what is happening with the administration’s crackdown and it’s not just people from Muslim countries,” said Denzil Mohammed, a director at the Immigrant Learning Center, a Malden nonprofit that educates the public on the contributions of immigrants.

During the campaign, Trump promised to end immigration as we know it. This week, the president equipped the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, with the tools to potentially remove millions of undocumented residents from the country. The administration said serious criminals will be a top priority, but some are not so sure.

“People are worried and many of us are trying to figure out how to protect our families,” said Jose Palma, a Lynn resident who immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador nearly 20 years ago and works as an organizer at Neighbor To Neighbor, a local advocacy group. “Everyone is talking about what we should do if immigration enforcement officers show up at our homes and what kind of documents we must have to keep us safe.”

Day without immigrants hits Lynn

Juan Gonzalez, a Guatemalan native and founder of the American Latino Committee, said rumors are rampant about raids that may have been held in Lynn.

“The chief of police has assured me that this is not true, but people are still on edge,” he said.

Through a spokesman, Deputy Chief  Michael Mageary said no ICE raids have been made in the city.

Typically, ICE agents notify the Lynn Police Department before coming to the city and inform them about any actions they intend to take, according to Lt. Rick Donnelly.  

If an arrest is to be made, a Lynn police officer would accompany the ICE agent and the suspect would be taken to the police station for documentation before being sent to a federal facility, he said.

“We will assist ICE if they have a warrant, but we are not immigration officers and we don’t knock on doors asking residents if they are here legally,” Donnelly said.

An ICE spokesman confirmed the agency is not conducting any operations in Massachusetts.

Still, as part of its work, ICE officers target and arrest criminal aliens and other individuals who are in violation of the country’s immigration laws, the spokesman said.

Gov. Charlie Baker said Massachusetts is part of a global community and he has no plans to change enforcement measures when it comes to immigrants.

“We benefit enormously from the presence, the intelligence and vitality of foreign-born people in the commonwealth and we are going to work hard to remain a welcoming place for everyone,” Baker told The Item. “We have no intention of changing any of our policies.”

Mohammed said there’s confusion among newcomers over Trump’s aggressive immigration policies.

“Everything is happening so fast,” he said. “Many immigrants are questioning their futures in this country. Think of how damaging it would be for local economies of big cities where immigrants have moved in and are helping to sustain and rebuild them.”

A report by the Partnership for a New American Economy, a coalition of mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms, found that Massachusetts immigrants play a key role in the state as taxpayers and consumers.

In 2014, immigrant-led households in the Bay State earned $36.8 billion, 15 percent of all income earned by Massachusetts residents that year, the survey said. With those earnings, the state’s foreign-born households contributed more than one in every seven dollars paid by residents in state and local tax revenues, payments that support schools, police and fire protection, the study found.

Through their individual wage contributions, immigrants also paid about $4.6 billion into the Social Security and Medicare programs that year, researchers found. By spending the money they earn at businesses such as hair salons, grocery stores and coffee shops, the study said immigrants also support small business owners and job creation in the communities where they live.

The White House press office did not respond to a request for comment.


Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com.

Lynn on taxes: pay or lose

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — Scofflaws take notice.

If the city gets its way, businesses who fail to pay their local taxes or have outstanding municipal fees or fines will lose their operating license.

Under the proposal that will be the subject of a public hearing next month, Lynn officials are seeking to revoke the license of any firm that is more than 60 days late in paying its personal property or real estate taxes.

“Our message is we will take their license away and force them to pay up or close,” said Ward 3 City Councilor Darren Cyr, chairman of the Ordinance Committee.

If the measure passes, any time a business applies for license renewal, the tax collector will provide information as to whether the establishment is up to date on their tax payments. If they are delinquent, the application will be denied until they pay. Typically, renewals come up on a yearly basis.

James Lamanna, the city’s assistant city solicitor, said the way the ordinance is written now, establishments must be delinquent for a year before the city can take action.

“Cities now have the option to reduce that to two months and that’s what we’re seeking to do,” he said. “It’s not uncommon for businesses to be behind in taxes.”

Revere springs another leak

Chief Financial Officer Peter Caron, the city official behind the proposed change, said he did not know how many businesses owe back payments or how much is due.

The idea for the change started two years ago when the city seized the White Eagle Cafe on Summer Street for nonpayment of more than $20,000 in taxes, he said. Lynn ended up owning the bar.

“That’s when I said this is crazy, we have to pay closer attention to this,” Caron said. “Now, it’s more heavily enforced and the council’s Licensing Committee has been aggressive with applicants, telling them to go pay your bills, come back and we’ll consider renewing your license.”

Still, Caron said, this is not an attempt to generate new revenues. It’s a new tool because the one year period before the city could revoke a license has been ineffective, he said.

“One year of nonpayment is just too long a time period,” he said.  


Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com.