Chicago

Moulton: Trump, honor our commitment to Haiti

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Pictured is U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.).

Commentary by SETH MOULTON

The United States has always stood as a place of refuge in times of crises, especially for our neighbors.

This week, as we honor Haitian Flag Day and the Trump Administration considers whether or not to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to the tens of thousands of Haitians living and working in the United States, we must honor that commitment to our neighbors.

Haitians have a long history here in the United States, from fighting alongside American soldiers in the Revolutionary War, to explorer Jean Baptiste Point du Sable who founded Chicago, to the tens of thousands of Haitian refugees across America, including 84,500 in Massachusetts, who have built their lives here, and contributed to our communities.

This week, the Trump administration will announce whether or not they intend to currently extend TPS for 50,000 Haitian refugees in the United States to enable them to stay while their country tackles insecurity, economic desperation, and health crises.

In the past several years, Haiti has suffered from a series of catastrophic disasters: a devastating earthquake that destroyed 50 healthcare centers and crippled an already-overwhelmed medical system; a cholera epidemic, which killed over 7,000 Haitians and infected at least 530,000, or 5 percent of the population; and Hurricane Matthew that killed 546 Haitians, resulted in nearly $2 billion in damages, and rendered nearly 200,000 Haitians homeless. One of these natural disasters would have crippled Haiti’s already-vulnerable population. Taken together, they have been devastating.

RAW celebration hits close to HOME

Since the program launched in 2010, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended TPS benefits to Haitians multiple times, most recently in August of 2015 — before Hurricane Matthew. The merits of doing so again are apparent — we must allow people to live and work in the United States while Haiti continues to heal.  

Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has not only delayed the process, but taken the unusual step of directing DHS to compile evidence of crimes committed by Haitians and sought to obtain evidence of Haitians with TPS taking advantage of public benefits. Given the sheer disregard for immigrants that this Administration has shown, this is sadly not surprising.

The reality is that applicants for TPS already undergo exhaustive criminal background checks and are required to be fingerprinted and re-checked against criminal databases again when the status is extended. Furthermore, Haitians with TPS are simply not eligible for federal benefits such as SNAP, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or other assistance programs.

There is bipartisan support for the extension of TPS for Haitian refugees, including from Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Republican Congresswoman Mia Love. During a September 2016 campaign stop in Little Haiti, then candidate Trump said to citizens and refugees there: “Whether you vote for me or not, I really want to be your biggest champion.”

I urge the president to keep his promise to the Haitian community and extend TPS. It is not only a responsibility to the Haitian people, our neighbors, but in keeping with the values we uphold as Americans.


Seth Moulton represents the sixth district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

 

Signs of the times in May Day march

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Marchers move down Andrew Street.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — In what was described as the city’s biggest May Day rally in years, more than 200 protesters lined City Hall Square on Monday to support immigrant and workers rights.

As Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” blared over speakers, activists held signs that read: “Everybody is an Immigrant,” “Nobody is Illegal,” “Housing is a Human Right,” and “No to Gentrification.”

“We have an administration in Washington who does not treat us with respect,” said Maria Carrasco, a Lynn School Committeewoman. “Silence is not an option. We must demand respect with dignity. We are human beings who are here and we are staying here.”

The annual May Day celebration had its roots in Chicago in the late 19th century, as unions lobbied for fair working conditions, better wages, and the eight-hour work day with strikes and demonstrations nationwide. People from all backgrounds celebrated Lynn’s history as a home for immigrants and as a leader in the fight for dignity, respect and a living wage for workers.

Carrasco said without immigrants, many service industry jobs would go unfilled.

“Nobody will do the jobs that we do,” she said. “Nobody will clean hotels or work in restaurants if we don’t do it. At the same time, we must demand that employers respect us with good pay.”

Jeff Crosby, president of the North Shore Labor Council, told the crowd that today’s worker challenges are about fair wages and embracing immigrants.

“In Chicago in 1886 workers dreamed of justice and eight-hour day so they could have time for their families and church,” he said. “Today, workers dream of a $15 minimum wage and a city without hatred where everyone is welcome regardless of where they’re from. We dream of fair pay for our teachers who educate our kids. They should not have to compete with police and firefighters for crumbs.”

Bettencourt announces re-election bid

Among the marchers were dozens of Lynn teachers who protested the lack of a contract.

The three-year deal, which expired last summer, called for a two percent raise annually for the last three school years.

“We are celebrating our students and protesting the lack of progress in the negotiations,” said Brant Duncan, president of the Lynn Teachers Union.

He acknowledged that these are tough times for the city as Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy has asked department heads to trim their budgets.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing different organizations in the city being pitted against each other,” Duncan said. “The city is obligated under law to meet the minimum spending requirements and we are very mindful that the city has reached agreement with other unions this year with raises of between 2 and 2½ percent.”

In February, the firefighters reached a $2.5 million deal that provides a retroactive 2 percent raise for each of fiscal years 2015 and 2016, a 2.5 percent hike for 2017, another 2 percent for 2018 and on June 30, 2018 they will collect another 1 percent.

Last year, the $2.2 million four-year police contract called for an 8 percent retroactive pay, a 1 percent boost for 2014, a 2 percent increase for 2015, 2016 and 2017 and a 1 percent raise for 2018.


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

Students share at poetry slam

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Student judges Felicia Reppucci and Connor Gagne raise scores during the poetry slam.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

SAUGUS — A piece about a girl who lost her father to his heroin addiction took first place in the seventh grade age category of Belmonte Middle School’s poetry slam Wednesday night.

Performed by Aiva Brusgulis, the poem’s persona talks about her father’s demons and how they eventually became her own.

“How could you be so blind to not see that I needed you here with me?”

Brusgulis ended the night with a score of 29.9 out of 30.

Sixth grader Yessenia Guevara, with 30 points, and eighth grader  Olivia Tamanga, with 29.7 points, also took first place.

A poetry slam is a competition during which artists read or recite an original piece of work — either alone or in teams — before an audience, according to Poets.org. The work is judged on both the manner and enthusiasm of its performance and the content or style. A panel of two teachers and three students judged the work.

The competition structure stems from poet and construction worker Marc Smith, who performed at a Chicago jazz club in 1986.

Love live in Lynn

There were two dozen students going head to head and English Language Arts teacher Terrie Bater said this year’s competition is the first to be held school-wide.

“Last year, I coordinated a smaller version, which was held for just students on one of the seventh grade teams,” Bater said. “The students really enjoyed creating poetry and presenting it in the slam format so this year, the event was opened up to the entire school.”

Lauren Robinson earned an honorable mention for her poem about Syrian refugees; also Ruby Mower for her poem “The Absence of You,” which judges said had the most powerful imagery; and Brennan Donahue for having the bravery to share his poem about the aftermath of suicide.

Giorgia Fiore recited her poem “Dancing with the Ribbon,” which is about her grandmother and two uncles’ battle with cancer.

“It gets tied around you and sometimes it doesn’t unravel,” she said.

Prizes were donated by Banana Splits and Barnes and Noble and awarded to the top poet in each grade.


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

Daniel G. Lannon, 59

STAMFORD, Conn. — Daniel G. Lannon, 59, of Stamford, Conn., beloved husband of Cindy Lannon, died unexpectedly on the afternoon of April 5, 2017.

Dan was born Nov. 23, 1957, in Lynn, then lived in Chicago and Boston before settling in Connecticut and ultimately Shippan. He attended and supported his beloved Bowdoin College in Maine before later receiving his MBA from Columbia University in New York. He worked at IBM and various technology startups for more than 30 years and was currently self-employed as an investment manager. Dan was an avid traveler, devoted husband, father, and friend.

In addition to his loving wife of 32 years, he is survived by his daughters Katherine and Jennifer Lannon; his brothers, John and Thomas Lannon; their wives; his wife’s family; and numerous aunts, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

He is predeceased by his parents, John and Katherine “Kay” Lannon.

Service information: Family will receive relatives and friends on Tuesday, April 11, from 4-8 p.m. at BOSAK Funeral Home, 453 Shippan Ave, in Stamford, CT. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, April 12, at 10 a.m. at Our Lady Star of the Sea, 1200 Shippan Ave, in Stamford, CT. Interment will immediately follow at Woodland Cemetery, 66 Woodland Place, in Stamford, CT.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the: American Heart Association, PO Box 417005 Boston, MA 02241-7005 or https://donatenow.heart.org/.

The family would also like to thank the dedicated first responders of the Shippan Fire Department for all their incredible efforts.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the BOSAK Funeral Home, 453 Shippan Avenue, in Stamford, CT. If you would like to leave an expression of sympathy for the family online, you may sign the guestbook at Bosakfuneralhome.com or visit the funeral home Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bosakfuneralhome to share memories with his family.

Vecchione signs with NHL’s Flyers

FILE PHOTO
Saugus native Mike Vechione has signed a contract with the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL. 

By STEVE KRAUSE

This has been a banner week for Saugus’ Mike Vecchione.

Earlier this week, Vecchione, a senior at Union College, was announced as one of three finalists for college hockey’s Hobey Baker Award, often called the sport’s version of football’s Heisman Trophy honor.

Friday, he was signed to an entry-level contract to the Philadelphia Flyers National Hockey League organization. Vecchione, who played his high school hockey with Malden Catholic, is said to have chosen the Flyers over the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning. The decision was difficult, he said in a conference call as reported by philly.com, the online site for the Philadelphia Inquirer, “but in my gut, I wanted to go to Philly. I couldn’t be happier. It’s a dream come true.”

Vecchione, a center, was a freshman at Union when the Dutchmen won the national championship in 2014. Shayne Gostisbehere, a defenseman on that championship Union team, is a member of the Flyers who helped recruit Vecchione to team.

“He just told me he’s coming here and I’m pumped,” Gostisbehere said.

Vecchione, 24, recorded 29 goals and 34 assists for 63 points, all of which are career highs, to lead the Dutchmen, and finished tied for first among all NCAA players.

His 29 goals led all ECAC players and ranked second among all NCAA players.

Vecchione led the NCAA with 21 multiple point games and seven game-winning goals.

Through four seasons at Union College, Vecchione recorded 71 goals and 105 assists for 176 points in 149 games and is the all-time leading scorer for Union. He served as team captain in the his final two seasons.

He attended Flyers Development Camp in 2016.

EliteProspects.com describes Vecchione as “a strong and speedy two-way transition winger who possesses good puck and passing skills, and is equally adept at finishing plays as he is creating them. All-in-all, an offensively minded two-way winger that can produce strong numbers due to his patience and responsibility in all three zones.”

The Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced next Friday in Chicago, site of this year’s Frozen Four NCAA Division 1 men’s hockey tournament.

 

Vecchione named Hobey Baker Award finalist

FILE PHOTO
Mike Vecchione of Union College is one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. 

By STEVE KRAUSE 

Saugus’ Mike Vecchione who, as a freshman, helped lead  Union College to a national NCAA men’s hockey championship, is one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award.

The award is considered college hockey’s version of football’s Heisman Trophy.

Vecchione, a forward, played his high school hockey at Malden Catholic, where he was a senior captain for the Lancers’ first of four straight Super 8 championships.

Union was one of the 16 schools that competed in the NCAA Division 1 hockey tournament, but the Dutchmen lost in the first round to Penn State. They were defeated by Cornell in the ECAC semifinal.

Vecchione is joined by Northeastern forward Zach Asto-Reese and Denver defenseman Will Butcher. The winner will be announced at 6 p.m. Friday, April 7, from the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier in Chicago, site of this season’s NCAA Frozen Four.

“It’s an honor to be a part of the Hobey Hat Trick alongside two elite players,” Vecchione said in a statement released by Union. “I’m extremely proud to represent Union in Chicago. I want to thank my family, friends, teammates and coaches who have always supported me and who ensured that I would never be complacent.”

Vecchione, a captain for this year’s Dutchmen, is the all-time leading scorer in Union history with 175 points, and its all-time assist leader with 104. This season, he was an all-ECAC Hockey First Team.

Vecchione currently holds the program’s single-season record for points (62), and is the NCAA Division 1 active career leader in points (175) and goals (71), and is tied for the lead in shorthanded goals (7).

Vecchione was the first player in Union’s Division 1 era with two 50-plus-point seasons. He is also tops in Division 1 with 21 multiple-point games.

This season, Vecchione tied for the ECAC scoring title with 40 points, led the league with 17 goals, four shorthanded goals and four game-winning goals. A center, his faceoff percentage was 60.2 percent, also tops in the ECAC.

In addition, Vecchione was second in the ECAC with a plus-minute rating of plus-16, and was also the No. 2 assist leader. He registered at least one point in 20 of 22 league games.

Accolades this season also included the Hockey Commissioners Association Division 1 Player of the Month (October) and ECAC Player of the Month (October and November), and NCAA Hockey First Star of the Week (Oct. 25 and Nov. 8). Also, he was the ECAC Hockey Player of the Week four times, and in January was featured in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd. Twice, he was featured on ESPN’s nightly Top 10 plays.

Vecchione almost did not attend union. As a junior at Malden Catholic, he committed to play for the University of New Hampshire with the stipulation that he do a year of junior hockey first. When the Wildcats asked him to do a second year, he withdrew and switched to Union.

Golden age for the silver screens

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE LYNN MUSEUM
Beden Hardware at 95 Munroe St. was once Theatre Comique.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

LYNN — With the 89th Academy Awards approaching, The Item is reeling back the history of the theatre in the city.

According to the Lynn Museum’s records, 24 theatres existed in the city between the turn of the century and the 1970s. Director Drew Russo said the last to close the curtain was the E.M. Loew’s Open Air Theater on the Lynnway in 1977.

The drive-up style cinema was opened in July 1937, just four years after the very first of its kind was launched in Camden, N.J.

“The theatre was once the primary source of entertainment — it got our grandparents through the great depression,” Russo said. “We had up to six theatres in the city at one time yet we haven’t had a movie theatre here in 40 years.”

Cinemas began dropping off in the early 1950s. The last freestanding theater closed in 1972. The Capital Theatre, originally called the Central Square Theatre, ran x-rated movies in the last years of its reign. It was located on Union Street near where the Capital Diner sits today.

The Strand Theatre opened at 287 Union St. in 1915 and showed Lynn’s first talking full length movie, “The Lion and the Mouse,” in August of 1928. In 1929, it was transformed into Warner Theater and in 1967, to E.M. Loew’s Theatre until it closed in 1971.

The vacant lot near Cal’s News, the neighborhood hub of lottery ticket sales, was once Olympia. The theatre drew crowds from 1908 to 1952. While touring the country, Helen Keller stopped to speak at Olympia.

Beden Hardware at 95 Munroe St. was once Theatre Comique. The name was  changed to The Mark Comique in 1908 and then The New Comique in 1940. It closed in 1943 and was razed in 1946, though remnants of the building’s facade and staging could seen decades later.

One street over was The Gem, Lynn’s only burlesque house, at 133 Oxford St.

Dreamland at 16 Andrew St. was condemned in 1929 and turned into a service station in 1934. The Lynn Auditorium was at 21 Andrew St.

Paramount Theatre at 169 Union St. opened in 1931 and closed in 1964. It shared the iconic design of many cinemas constructed in the 1930s and was nearly identical to Chicago’s Gateway Theatre.

An exhibit at the Lynn Museum showcases a row of seats comparable to what would be found in that era, and a car speaker from the Open Air Theatre that was donated by Jamie Marsh, the city’s community development director.

“We found it in the stage room at the auditorium (at City Hall),” he said. “I initially thought it was some sort of intercom system but it was one of the speakers that you would roll down your window and put on your door for the Open Air Theatre.”

Marsh said he and Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy share a vision of making Lynn more of a destination for entertainment. Over the past year, The Lynn Auditorium has hosted about a dozen musicians, drawing in crowds of 2,000 on a regular basis, he said.

But the city was known for more than just its entertainment facilities. Stars have emerged from the city of sin, some collecting up to four Oscars.

Actor Walter Brennan won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor four times; In 1937 for his role in “Come and Get It,” 1939 for “Kentucky,” 1941 for “The Westerner” and 1942 “Sergeant York.”

Another Lynn native, Estelle Parsons, won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Blanche Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde in 1967. She was also nominated for Best Supporting Role in “Rachel, Rachel” in 1968.

While Telly Savalas was born in Long Island, N.Y., he later moved to Lynn and went to Lynn Public Schools. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1963 for his role in “Birdman of Alcatraz” but sadly, did not win. But he did champion the Cobbett Junior High School spelling bee in 1934. He didn’t receive his award until a 1991 Boston Herald article highlighted the oversight.


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

Krause: Quick games are an exception

By STEVE KRAUSE 

When the situation cries out for an intentional walk this summer during a Major League baseball game, pitchers will no longer be required to throw four obvious balls outside the strike zone.

Instead, the batter will proceed to first base.

If this is supposed to be the “shot heard ‘round the world” in the fight to streamline the game, it’s not quite the same as whatever happened on Lexington Green in 1775 … or even at the Polo Grounds in 1951. Not even close.

First of all, an intentional walk takes maybe 20 seconds. Second, it’s not as if there are a tremendous amount of intentional walks during the course of a game that would cause it to drag because of them.

So this is window dressing — a cynical way to delude the “baseball-games-take-too-long” crowd into thinking MLB is doing something about it.

Are the games too long? Yes. This may not be so evident in the summer, when sitting at Fenway Park on a gorgeous evening for 3 1/2 hours would seem to be such a chore. But it’s exactly that during the postseason, especially toward the end of October, when you’re sitting in a ballpark in Cleveland or Chicago on a bone-chilling night. It is then you start wondering about ways to shorten the game. And the first thing you’d think of would not be to eliminate the four pitches in an intentional walk.

Baseball fans need to understand the game has evolved, which is one reason it’s taken longer to play. Some of that has to do with how the game is played in 2017 and some of it is beyond the players’ control — such as the extra 34 minutes it takes to complete a televised 9-inning game due to the between-innings commercials.

As one who has watched the game evolve into the something resembling Ken Burns’ baseball documentary in terms of the time it takes to play a game, I’d say the biggest reason for this is the constant cat-and-mouse between pitchers and batters. Who steps off. Who steps out. Who holds the ball. Who throws to first base four or five times between pitches.

Next are the incessant pitching changes in the late innings, something I find almost as irritating as foul-fests in the late stages of college basketball games (something the NBA has helped alleviate by awarding two free throws for all over-the-limit fouls instead of one-and-ones).  

I call this the “Tony LaRussa-ization” of baseball, because it’s LaRussa who, back in the 80s, decided that he had to resort to situational pitching: lefty vs. lefty, righty vs. righty. The next time you go to a close game, check out how many pitching changes there are in the late innings and keep track of all the time it takes for these guys to come in from the bullpen, warm up, and start pitching.

Third is the modern trend of “working the count.” This has its genus in the fact that pitchers love strikeouts today whereas there was an awful lot more pitching to contact 30 and 40 years ago. The objective is to get the hitter out. Who cares whether he strikes out or hits a ground ball to the shortstop?

But because at-bats involve more pitches now than they did in the 1960s and 70s, and because in so doing they nibble at the plate in an attempt to be too fine, hitters have become more selective, and also more adept at fouling off pitches. All of that takes up time.

My question is how are you going to eliminate any of this? The answer is you’re not. They have become necessary components in the game today because that’s where the game has taken us.

And this includes the two or three minutes between innings for commercials too. When I was growing up, weekend games were televised. Weekday/night games were not — unless, as was the case in 1967, it became necessary to do so.

Once the Red Sox signed a deal with Channel 38, though, that began to change. Now that they’re on cable, they’re all televised. If you think that’s going to change now, you’re delusional.

But if you think it’s any different anywhere else, the average NFL game is neatly squeezed into three-hour blocks during the regular season, but almost always goes over, especially when it’s close. This year’s Super Bowl lasted about 3:45 (granted, that included overtime).

College football games generally last longer. Quick games in all sports these days are the exception and not the rule.

 

Day without immigrants hits Lynn

PHOTO BY THOMAS GRILLO
Casa Antigua was one of many Lynn retailers to close Thursday for “A Day Without Immigrants.”

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN Jose Reyes didn’t go to work yesterday.

A Dominican Republic native, Reyes joined “A Day Without Immigrants,” a national movement by immigrants, who vowed to stay home Thursday and show how critical they are to the nation’s way of life.

“We are a nation of immigrants and we have to show everyone that we are the moving force of this country’s economy,” he said.

The broker for RE-Yes Real Estate is just one of hundreds of North Shore workers who stayed home in reaction to President Donald Trump.

“I understand the president is trying to protect the country, but his approach is wrong,” he said.  “Lots of people are responding to this protest. The rights of all people should be respected.”

The massive protest has sparked walk-outs in Lynn, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Houston, Chicago and New York. It comes in response to Trump, whose administration has pledged to increase the deportation of immigrants living in the country illegally. Trump campaigned on building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and blamed high unemployment on immigration. As president, he’s called for a ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries from coming into the U.S.

Frances Martinez, CEO of the North Shore Latino Business Association, said more than 150 of Latino businesses in Lynn, including barber shops, beauty salons, auto repair and markets, closed as a result of the work stoppage.  

“We are here and if we were not part of the economy it would harm this country,” she said.  

Gilcia Garcia, a manager at American Food Basket, a neighborhood supermarket on North Common Street, stayed home.

“Most of our customers are immigrants, I am an immigrant and we are showing our solidarity,” she said. “Most immigrants come to the U.S. to work very hard because we don’t have opportunities in our home country that we have here.”

William Sanchez, co-owner of Casa Antigua in the downtown, which serves Guatemalan, Salvadoran and Mexican food, closed his restaurant to support the protest.

“Immigrants should not be portrayed badly by politicians,” he said. “We work every day and are here to have a better life for our children.”

Brian Murphy, distribution manager at Publishers Circulation Fulfillment on the Lynnway, said his newspaper delivery service is feeling the impact of the strike. Five carriers failed to report to work to on Thursday.

“They didn’t show and they didn’t call, we’re overwhelmed,” he said. “Five people may not seem like a lot, but it’s significant and spread my staff very thin.”


Associated Press contributed to this report. Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com

Two locals named Baker Award finalists

COURTESY PHOTO
Mike Vecchione is one of two local college athletes who is up for the Hobey Baker Award.

Two Lynn-area college hockey players are among the initial list of Hobey Baker Award nominees — the first part of a four-step process that culminates at the NCAA Frozen Four final when the winner is revealed.

Saugus’ Mike Vecchione, a senior at Union College in New York, and Jake Kulevich of Colgate are both on a list of 66 players, who will be whittled down to 10 players by March 15.

Fans are encouraged to vote for their choices prior to March 5, and can vote once a day through March 5.

After March 15, a committee will choose three finalists, known as the “Hobey Hat Trick.” The winner will be announced during the weekend of the NCAA finals, which will be held this year April 6-8 at the United Center in Chicago.

Vecchione, who attended Malden Catholic, had committed to the University of New Hampshire, with the stipulation that he complete a year in junior hockey first. However, when UNH asked him to do another year, he decommitted and enrolled at Union. As a freshman, Vecchione helped the Dutchmen win a national championship.

Kulevich, grandson of former Marblehead athletic director Alex Kulevich, is Colgate’s captain. A defenseman, he has gathered 14 points on three goals and 11 assists. Kulevich’s 11 assists are tied for his career high, while his 14 are one shy of tying his career-high and his three goals are just two shy of tying his career-high. Also, his 11 assists are most on the time

Kulevich became the 29th defenseman in program history to record 50 points with an assist at Arizona State on Dec. 3.

President Obama says goodbye in tearful speech

PHOTO BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Barack Obama wipes away tears while speaking during his farewell address at McCormick Place in Chicago.

By JOSH LEDERMAN & DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press

CHICAGO — President Barack Obama bid farewell to the nation Tuesday night in an emotional speech that sought to comfort and encourage a country on edge over economic changes, persistent security threats and the election of Donald Trump.

Obama’s valedictory speech in his hometown of Chicago was a public meditation on the trials and triumphs, promises kept and promises broken that made up his eight years in the White House. Arguing his faith in America had been confirmed, Obama said he ends his tenure inspired by America’s “boundless capacity” for reinvention, and he declared: “The future should be ours.”

His delivery was forceful for the most part, but by the end he was wiping away tears as the crowd embraced him one last time. He and wife Malia hugged former aides and other audience members long after the speech ended.

Reflecting on the corrosive recent political campaign, Obama said America’s great “potential will be realized only if our democracy works. Only if our politics reflects the decency of our people. Only if all of us, regardless of our party affiliation or particular interest, help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.”

He made only passing reference to Republican Donald Trump, who will replace him in just 10 days. But when he noted the imminence of that change and the crowd began booing, he responded, “No, no, no, no, no.” One of the nation’s great strengths, he said, “is the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next.”

Earlier, as the crowd of thousands chanted, “Four more years,” he simply smiled and said, “I can’t do that.”

‘Political payback’ in Swampscott?

Soon Obama and his family will exit the national stage, to be replaced by Trump, a man Obama had stridently argued poses a dire threat to the nation’s future. His near-apocalyptic warnings throughout the campaign have cast a continuing shadow over his post-election efforts to reassure Americans anxious about the future.

Indeed, much of what Obama accomplished over the past eight years — from health care overhaul and environmental regulations to his nuclear deal with Iran — could potentially be upended by Trump. So even as Obama seeks to define what his presidency meant for America, his legacy remains in question.

Even as Obama said farewell to the nation — in a televised speech of just under an hour — the anxiety felt by many Americans about the future was palpable, and not only in the Chicago convention center where he stood in front of a giant presidential seal. The political world was reeling from new revelations about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about Trump.

Steeped in nostalgia, Obama’s return to Chicago was less a triumphant homecoming and more a bittersweet reunion bringing together Obama loyalists and loyal staffers, many of whom have long since left Obama’s service, moved on to new careers and started families. They came from across the country — some on Air Force One, others on their own — to be present for the last major moment of Obama’s presidency.

Seeking inspiration, Obama’s speechwriters spent weeks poring over Obama’s other momentous speeches, including his 2004 keynote at the Democratic National Convention and his 2008 speech after losing the New Hampshire primary to Hillary Clinton. They also revisited his 2015 address in Selma, Alabama, that both honored America’s exceptionalism and acknowledged its painful history on civil rights.

After returning to Washington, Obama will have less than two weeks before he accompanies Trump in the presidential limousine to the Capitol for the new president’s swearing-in. After nearly a decade in the spotlight, Obama will become a private citizen, an elder statesman at 55. He plans to take some time off, write a book — and immerse himself in a Democratic redistricting campaign.

Running a marathon in Swampscott

COURTESY PHOTO
Water Stream organizers playing video games, from left, Stefano Hernandez, Shazivan Kordha and Tristan Smith.

BY GAYLA CAWLEY

SWAMPSCOTT — Five Swampscott natives and college students will host a live streaming video game marathon to combat the water crisis.

Stefano Hernandez, 20, a student at the University of Massachusetts, said the second annual Water Stream will be held at noon on May 14.

The 24-hour online charity event is intended to raise money for the Thirst Project, a youth-led nonprofit dedicated to providing clean water to the needy.

Shazivan Kordha, 19, and Tristan Smith, 20, students at Salem State University, Jesse Tuttle, 20, a student in Chicago, and Angel Sandoval, 21, comprise the other members of the team. Along with Hernandez, they will be join gamers to play a wide variety of video games, attempt challenges and create awareness about the need for clean water in the world.

“The Water Stream blends video games and philanthropy in an unprecedented way to combat the startling fact that 663 million people on the planet lack access to the most basic commodity of all — clean water,” Smith said in a statement.

Last year, they raised more than $3,000. This time, the team hopes to raise twice as much, or about half the amount needed to pay for a $12,000 water well. Hernandez said each well serves about 500 people. A $25 donation to the Water Stream gives one person clean water for life.

The donations will also go towards implementing wells and filtration systems so communities worldwide can access water. People in the U.S. don’t seem to know too much about the water crisis, he said. But they are becoming more aware as a result of the controversy in Flint, Mich., where dangerous lead levels were found in the water.

He said the idea for the event came from wanting to tap into the untouched market of video games for charity efforts. Hernandez said Smith initially found out about the Thirst Project and thought it was a good idea to play video games for awareness. Often, he said people have the perception that gamers are lazy.

“There are a lot of caring people who are into video games that can make a positive impact,” Hernandez said.

The Water Stream organizers have also joined the Thirst Project’s “Students for Swaziland” initiative, to rid that country of thirst by 2022.

Hernandez said people in the developing African country can’t go to school because they are walking miles to bring jugs of water back home daily.

Gamers participating in the stream will provide entertainment for people who can tune in for free at attwitch.tv/Shiny_Catnip. To donate to the Water Stream and learn more about the cause, visit my.thirstproject.org/WaterStream.


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

Chicago rocked Lynn Auditorium Friday

Photo By BOB ROCHE
Members of the band Chicago, Robert Lamm, left, and Lee Loughnane, share the stage at the Lynn Auditorium on Friday night.

By ERIK LAWLESS

LYNN — En route to being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, in April, Chicago made a pit stop, after a stint in Asia, at the Lynn Auditorium on Friday night. Throughout their nearly two hour and forty-minute show, the nonet delivered, as expected,  to a packed crowd with their rock, jazz and Latin inspired hits that  covered some five plus decades.

The show opened with a few of their classics, including the soulful vocal, horn driven “Questions 67 & 68” and “Dialogue Part 1 & 2,” with lyrics calling for the need for change in the ‘70s and featured images of protests of police brutality , the Vietnam War and political icons of that era on the backdrop.

As the crowd settled back into the journey, trombonist James Pankow flexed his showmanship muscle by taunting the crowd and invoking the usual recognition of “Massachusetts, how we doing…?” After assuring the crowd they were in the right place to hear hit after hit, he let loose his stage antics and energy, menacing other band members with the arm of his trombone, as if a bull charging a matador throughout the night.

The rest of the nearly one hour and fifteen-minute first half saw the band playing plenty of their love songs, including acoustic-driven, “If You Leave Me Now.’’ They also played several upbeat songs, including “Now” from their most recent album, “Now  Chicago XXXVI”, which featured a tight groove by bassist Jason Scheff, along with strong vocal performances by him, guitarist Keith Howland and  keyboardists’ Robert Lamma and Lou Pardini.

Perhaps the most exciting moment of this half, which helped break up a building monotonous trend, was a wild, Latin-inspired jam, morphing from “I’ve Been Searching So Long”. Pankow climbed up to the percussion rig and whaled on timbales, leaving saxophonist Walter Parazaider and  trumpeter Lee Loughnane to steer the melody. Loughnane also featured a screaming trumpet solo, channeling his inner Arturo Sandoval.

Following their progressive, tempo shifting “Make Me Smile” and rock-waltz “Color my World,” the first set of the show ended.

After a 15 minute intermission, the second half began with the band remembering their roots by playing their “Old Days,” where pictures of current and former members appeared in the background. Following that was one of their longest tenured songs, the jazzy, big band-sounding “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”

The band also sprinkled in some of their rocking treasures, which got people on their feet cheering and singing, such as “Saturday in the Park” and “I’m a Man”. This  featured, under dancing strobe lights, an electrifying Latin-inspired drum break by percussionist Walfredo Reyes, Jr. and drummer Tris Imboden.

Chicago concluded the carnival of hit parade songs with “25 to 6 to 4”, arguably their heaviest guitar driven song. But,  be it up against curfew or the sound man pulling the plug to begin breaking down equipment, the heavy intro of guitar was barely audible. Additionally, the percussion sound seemed to collapse, as well. Only when the horn section joined in, did the sound seem to return to a balance, even though the guitar remained muffled throughout.

Make no mistake, this is a horn-driven band—at least that was the presentation, and they continue to do it very well. Finally, for a band that has long shared a bill with contemporaries Earth,Wind and Fire, one could be left to wonder why there was no memorable mention or tribute to the recent passing of EWFs founder, Maurice White.

 

Swampscott native sells sports website

This screengrab from barstoolsports.com shows a press conference on Thursday in New York City announcing the sale of the website to the Chernin Group.

BY GABE MARTINEZ

NEW YORK–The controversial Boston-based website Barstoolsports.com has been sold to an outside media group.

Swampscott native Dave Portnoy, the former majority owner of Barstool Sports, sold his shares of the website to the Chernin Group.

“About six months ago negotiations started taking place,” said Portnoy. “We were approached by a friend of former Kentucky Wildcat quarterback Ja­red Lorenzen who was interested in investing in Barstool.”

Quickly after this initial approach, Portnoy met with Mike Kerns, who is the Chernin Group president and former head of social media at Yahoo. The pair met in Boston, where Kerns pushed for the investment.

Barstool has been ap­proached about investment many times throughout the last five years. Portnoy, or as he’s known to the website’s loyal readers, El Presidente, was worried that the site would change its tone and content if an outside investment came in.

“I would not have done the deal if I was even .0001 percent worried that the site was going to change,” said Portnoy. “The reason they’re attracted to us is they love our voice, and their No. 1 concern was keeping the brand the same.”

Portnoy always had confidence that the Chernin Group would have the best vision for Barstool.

“The first time we met them I thought these could be the people that were going to buy us.”

Barstool Sports has bloggers all throughout the Northeast, with verticals in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, The Baltimore-Washington metro area, Iowa and one site focusing on colleges.

With the new investment, the majority of Barstool employees will relocate to New York City. Portnoy and The Chernin Group believe that having all of the employees in a central office will produce better content.

Although Portnoy will no longer have total control, he along with his team at Barstool will remain in control of their content. The website, which is popular with young men between the ages of 18-34, focuses on sports, girls, gambling and viral videos.

Portnoy, who lives in Boston with his wife Renee, will be making the move to New York with his employees. The avid sports and horse gambler is excited to be living close to Belmont Park.

Saratoga is about as far away from New York as it is Boston, but I will definitely be making it to Belmont,” said Portnoy.