children

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

School responds to hair policy uproar

SCREENSHOT FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Mystic Valley Interim Director Alex Dan speaks with the media.

Response from MYSTIC VALLEY REGIONAL CHARTER SCHOOL

As you may know, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Attorney General’s office has reviewed our uniform policy in response to a parent complaint about the policy’s prohibition on artificial hair extensions. That review included a meeting on Thursday, and has led to a preliminary course of action that is described below.

We wish to thank Attorney General Maura Healey for the productive clarity and guidance provided by her office. In prompting students to focus on what they have in common, our uniform policy is central to the success of our students.

It helps provide commonality, structure,and equity to an ethnically and economically diverse student body while eliminating distractions caused by vast socioeconomic differences and competition over fashion, style or materialism.

The uniform policy compels students to train their attention inward, on character and core competencies that allow students to pursue rich, happy lives.

Mystic Valley’s uniform policy has remained largely unchanged since the school was founded. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the school’s governing body, has reviewed it at least six times in the last 15 years, as part of each of the school’s three renewal visits and for three consecutive years while the school was on conditions.

In each of its reviews, DESE identified no concerns. Our formula consistently delivers top results. Our African-American students have higher MCAS and SAT scores than African-American students from all other districts in the region, and nearly all attend college.

Our dropout and attrition rates for African-American students are not only lower than those in sending districts, but they are lower than Caucasian rates. The role that our uniform policy plays in these results, and those of all our students, is not insignificant.

Of course, despite the vast importance of the uniform policy on the performance of our students, the policy must comport with our long-held commitment, as stated in our parent-student handbook and on our website, to offer the same advantages, privileges and courses of study to all students, regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.

Malden school suspends hair extension ban

Some have asserted that our prohibition on artificial hair extensions violates a “cultural right,” but that view is not supported by the courts, which distinguish between policies that affect a person’s natural “immutable” characteristics and those that prohibit practices based on changeable cultural norms.

You should know that we categorically rejected an order from the DESE, which was influenced by media reports, to cease all disciplinary actions associated with our entire uniform policy. We believe that following this directive would have disastrous consequences on our ability to create the structure and equity central to the success of our students, and that it would fundamentally alter the nature of the environment you chose for your children.

Attorney General Healey’s office did not assert the existence of a “cultural right” and, instead, based its opposition to the hair policy on its concern that the policy’s impact may fall disproportionately on African-American students.

To remedy its concerns, the attorney general’s office requested that the school stop disciplining students for violations of three specific components of the uniform policy’s hair section.

The school had already determined, eight months before the current complaint, that we would not enforce the provision against hair that was more than two inches in height, based on productive conversations with members of our community, according to our standard internal complaint procedure.

This change was made well before any outside interest group or government agency raised a concern for the first time earlier this month, that our state-approved policy might be impacting any class of students unfairly. It should also be noted that in cases where a student had a substantiated religious or medical conflict with our policy, the school adjusted its policies to accommodate those concerns.

While we believe there is precedent confirming that our policy would withstand a legal challenge and data showing that we have implemented the policy in an equitable manner, we do not wish to engage in a legal battle that would further divert the focus and energy of our faculty and students, siphoning financial resources from the school and the students it serves.

For these reasons, the board of trustees of the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School has voted to suspend enforcement of the hair section of its uniform policy for the remainder of the school year.

As we undertake our annual review of the uniform policy for the coming school year, we will work collaboratively with the attorney general’s office to make sure that the policy is consistent with our long-standing commitment to the rights of all our students. Mystic Valley remains committed to implementing the mission of the school and all of its underlying principles.

 

Lynn artist inspired by inspiring others

ITEM PHOTO BY SPENSER HASAK
Lynn artist Michael Aghahowa speaks about what inspires his art.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

LYNN — A Lynn artist with a knack for giving back to the community delivered the student commencement speech at his graduation from Montserrat College of Art Friday.

Michael Aghahowa, 23, and the first male in his family to graduate college, was chosen by his peers to deliver the speech during the commencement ceremonies.

Montserrat, located in Beverly, is a nonprofit, independent art school accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.

When he started school, he quickly found the lonely artist stereotype to be true, he said. His classmates kept to themselves and he found it difficult to form relationships. In an effort to get people together, he created flyers inviting everyone to his apartment for pancakes.

“I figured if people won’t come out for each other, they’ll definitely come out for breakfast. So I invited everyone to my house,” he said.

The pancake feast was well attended and quickly became a weekly tradition. Even as he crossed the stage at graduation, freshmen he had never met knew him as the pancake man, he said.

“I’ve always been about getting people together,” he said. “Everyone has differences. We’re all different. But as long as we can understand each other we can respect each other.”

The philosophy is what drives much of his work.

The paintings featured in his senior show included a portrait of his family sitting around the dinner table. He’s depicted as a younger child to express that time can change. Before the internet, he said his family would more commonly sit down and have a conversation. As someone who values a sense of community, family dinners are something he wishes he could get back.

Another piece is a self-portrait inspired by Jim Crow propaganda with large red lips.

I am the best person for the job, McGee says

“These pieces — I feel like if I make them about me and you can get an understanding for how I feel, you can respect me,” he said.

In the midst of pursuing a degree in illustration and painting, Aghahowa, who grew up on Sachem Street, volunteers at Raw Art Works and Gregg Neighborhood House.

A RAW alumnus, he was first exposed to the program in middle school, but remembers its annual block party from long before.

“Art therapy is an interest of mine,” he said. “I really like working with children. I can walk down the street and see a green car against a red building and get excited about it. Kids look at things like that and they get excited too. They have that creative perspective. Plus I can just be goofy and it’s fun. It’s a break from hanging out with adults.”

Aghahowa was partly inspired to create art by cartoons. He said he wanted to create something that made people happy the same way that cartoons made him happy as a child.

Working with children in kindergarten through grade 8 at the Gregg House, Aghahowa said it feels good to be a positive male influence.

“A lot of these kids are thinking about college and they have so many hopes and dreams,” he said. “For them to see me doing something so nontraditional — I just keep telling them that if there’s something they want to do, if they want to go to school, they should do it.”

Montserrat, though a scholarship fund provided by New England Biolabs, provides scholarships each year to students from RAW.

A volunteer in more than seven of RAW’s programs, he most recently played a part in creating the HOME exhibit, which was unveiled Thursday. His piece, a key with the word zesty printed on its side and a crown as the tooth, is representative of his mother and grandmother because he was raised by queens with zesty attitudes, he said.

Aghahowa said as he and his classmates move on with their lives, he hopes they’ll take the values of respecting people for their differences and keeping an open mind, and spread them throughout their communities.


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

Entertainment, education at ‘Harrington Reads’

ITEM PHOTO BY SPENSER HASAK
Amanda Kennedy’s K-2 class looks on as Lynn Museum Executive Director Drew Russo reads “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.

By STEVE KRAUSE

LYNN — There’s something unnerving and empowering standing in front of a room full of fifth-graders telling them about the joys of reading.

That would seem to be a conflict of emotions, but it’s true. It’s unnerving because you see all these faces, and all these people of different shapes and sizes and nationalities just waiting to hear the pearls of wisdom coming out of the mouth of a man upon whom they’ve never laid eyes. You can only hope you don’t disappoint.

And it’s empowering because children from one generation to the next don’t change very much. Their minds are like sponges. They absorb a tremendous amount and they retain it. They may all look at you with blank faces, but the wheels are turning inside.

It was into this maelstrom of humanity I walked Friday morning at the Harrington School. It was “Harrington Reads” day, in which people with a certain degree of visibility go into the classrooms and read to the students. The idea is to reinforce to them the value of reading, not only as entertainment but for education as well.

I got a fifth-grade class — a great age. And before we got down to it, I wanted to give them my view of why I think it’s so important to develop good reading habits. It’s because beyond entertainment or education, books provide a portal into the hearts and minds of their characters much better than television and movies. I asked how many of the fifth-graders understood what “portal” meant, and no one answered. Rather than tell them, I had them write it down and then told them to look it up in the dictionary. Perhaps I should have told them to Google it, but the subject of the day was books, not computers!

I was able to read them three books. The first was called “Horn for Louis,” and it was about legendary jazz trumpet player Louis Armstrong. In the book, young Louis, who hung around dance halls so he could listen to jazz, pines for a cornet hanging in a pawnshop window. He dreams of nothing more in life than to play that cornet.

Louis scrimps and saves to raise the $5 he needs to buy it, but just when he’s finally earned the money, his mother comes to him looking for some of it so she can give his sister a proper birthday party. Crushed, and almost certain he’ll never get that cornet, he gives his mother the money she needs.

In return, she gives him enough money to buy the cornet.

What was nice about reading this story to the kids in the class is that quite a few of them knew that Louis Armstrong sang the ever-popular “What a Wonderful World,” which means that could relate to the story a lot better.

I think it also resonated with them that I told them I was old enough to remember seeing Louis Armstrong on TV.

Haitian flag raised outside City Hall

Next, we tackled the moon landing in “The Moon over Star.” A little girl on a farm pretends she and her cousins are the ones speeding toward the moon in July 1969, and then watches the landing on TV with interest while her cynical, hardened grandfather scoffs at the notion of a space program in a time when so many people on this planet are needy.

But when she tells him she, too, wants to be an astronaut, he switches gears and tells her that it would really be a great honor to the family if she could achieve that dream.

Finally, it was time to learn about Ted Williams and the year he hit .406.

The book went into great detail about how Williams was his own taskmaster when it came to practicing hitting. He wanted to be known as the greatest hitter who ever lived, and knew hard work was the only way that was going to happen.

But the crux of the book is that going into the doubleheader on the last day of the season against the Philadelphia Athletics, Williams’ average stood at .39955. He could have sat out and technically been recognized as a .400 hitter (a little math exercise in the midst of all the reading).

Williams wanted none of that. He played the games, went 6-for-8, and ended up with his .406 average.

It was probably not intentional on the part of Carole Shutzer, the wonderful Harrington librarian who organizes this day, to have the three books present a unified theme. But they did. All three speak to dreams and how important they are to children; and of how important it is to work hard to achieve your dream. And in the case of the Armstrong book, there was the added attraction of being faced with a real difficult choice, and despite every inclination to make the wrong one, Louis made the right one.

There is always a large contingent of city officials who take part in “Harrington Reads” day, including Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, Sen. Thomas McGee, Reps. Brendan Crighton and Dan Cahill, City Councilor Brian LaPierre, Joe Gill of Cahill’s staff and North Shore Navigators, funeral director David J. Solimine, Item CEO Beth Bresnahan, Taso Nikolakopoulos of John’s Roast Beef, District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, former Lynn mayor Thomas Costin, Drew Russo of the Lynn Museum, Lynn attorney Charlie Gallo and Lynn Teachers Union official Brant Duncan.

Fox Channel 25 reporter Kerry Kavanaugh read to an assembly of children, and reinforced the theme — accidental or not — that it’s important to have dreams, to go after them, and, especially in her case, embrace all assignments even if it means moving around (a Medford native, she’s been in Montana, Iowa, Florida and Atlanta before coming to Boston).  

Best of all from my perspective, my son Andrew is a Boy Scout troop leader in Lynn, and Eagle Scout, and someone Carole Shutzer felt was worthy of joining us. So along with everything else, it was a father-son bonding experience. Not to mention the perfect way of giving back to all the people who made our lives what they are.


Steve Krause can be reached at skrause@itemlive.com.

Wayne Alarm: Security tips kids should know

SAFETY TIP OF THE DAY

SPONSORED BY WAYNE ALARM AND HONEYWELL.

There are times when we must leave our kids home alone. However, when they are home alone it’s important that they know how  to remain safe, who to call in case of emergency or what to do at any situation. Although 911 is the perfect number your children  should call in an emergency, it’s important to know more. Follow these helpful tips to teach your kids about home security.

  1. Security Alarm Basics – Begin by teaching them how your specific alarm systems works, and how to turn it off. Also teach your child what can trigger the alarms from going off. It’s also important to go over how they can use the alarms to warn neighbors or anyone else in the area if a problem occurs. A cool way to keep your kids safe is to create a family safe code, one that you can only know and they can use if they are ever a stranger comes to the door.
  2. Don’t Open the Door to Strangers – It’s important that young children know to never open the door to anyone else other than mom and dad, unless specified. If your home doorbell rings, and you’re not home, it’s better to let your kids know who they can let into your home when you’re not there. Also remind them to not leave any windows open, making sure all doors are safely locked.
  3. Security Passwords – Teaching your kids to be the only one, besides you, who can know the passwords to the security system or their email and social media accounts. Remind them that giving it out their passwords to others can have serious consequences.
  4. Security Cameras – Remind your children that security cameras are strictly for security purposes and not playtime. For example, they should know what unwanted events they should watch out for. If you have security cameras installed, teaching them the difference is vital to their safety.
  5. Fire Prevention – Teaching fire prevention to your kids can help them when it comes to their safety. They should know the dangers of using  lighters or matches. In addition children should be taught not to use the stove or oven unless you’re at home. It’s also important to go over a fire escape plan that includes dropping to the floor or having a cloth over the mouth to avoid inhalation of smoke. You can also teach them how to use an extinguisher if the child is old enough.

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McGee: Every morning I’ll wake up determined

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Maria McGee listens to her husband, state Sen. Thomas M. McGee, speak as he signs his papers March 27.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

LYNN — State Sen. Thomas M. McGee (D-Lynn) will kick off his campaign for mayor from 6-9 p.m. Friday at the Knights of Columbus on Lynnfield Street.

“I will be a mayor who works hard, always listens, and wakes up every morning determined to create a better future for all Lynners,” McGee said in a statement.

McGee announced he would run for the position about two months ago. A lifelong Lynn resident, he has represented the Third Essex District in the Massachusetts State Senate since 2002. The district encompasses Lynn, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Nahant, Saugus and Swampscott.

“Lynn is on the cusp of something big,” McGee said in a statement. “We have always had the assets: talented, hardworking, diverse citizens; amazing natural resources like the woods and the waterfront; a downtown that’s coming alive with the arts and culture; neighborhoods that reflect the best of America. This race is about who can best bring our city together and realize our incredible potential at this pivotal moment in Lynn’s history.”

I think I can make a difference, McGee says

McGee is running against Republican Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, who kicked off her campaign for a third term last month at the Porthole Restaurant. Kennedy was elected mayor in 2009 when she beat Mayor Edward “Chip” Clancy by 27 votes. In 2013, she beat Timothy Phelan by a 59 to 41 margin.

As senate chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation, McGee has been an advocate for improving the state’s transportation system and fighting for regional equality. He also advocates for quality education and extended learning opportunities for children, ensuring accessible and affordable childcare and health care for working families, and expanding workforce training and development.

Before his election to the senate, McGee served four terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives representing West Lynn and Nahant. Prior to holding office, he practiced law as an assistant district attorney for Essex County. He was elected to the Democratic State Committee in 1976 and served as chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party for three years from 2013 to 2016.

Reasons why suicide series concerns supers

PHOTO BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
This image released by Netflix shows Katherine Langford in a scene from the series, “13 Reasons Why.”

By GAYLA CAWLEY

Local superintendents have alerted parents to their concerns about a new show, “13 Reasons Why,” which is centered around a teenage girl’s suicide.

According to a description of the Netflix show, based on a novel by the same name, after high school student Hannah Baker’s suicide, a classmate receives a series of tapes explaining the 13 reasons why Baker chose to carry out the act.

“While viewing the series, young children and teenagers could interpret the message that suicide is a viable or romanticized option,” Lynn Superintendent Dr. Catherine C. Latham wrote in a letter home to parents. “The content of the show is extremely graphic, with disturbing scenes in each episode, which may be difficult for impressionable minds to watch and process in a healthy way. It also addresses the issues of cyberbullying, alcoholism and depression.”

Latham said the series has several shortcomings: There is no mention of mental and behavioral health treatment options; the notion of suicide is glamorized; there are no examples of help-seeking by the teens portrayed in the series; there are several scenes depicting serious trauma including rape, bullying, alcoholism, fights and suicide in which the teens do not seek help or resources; and the graphic portrayal of Hannah’s actual suicide was unnecessary and potentially harmful to young people facing challenges.

Latham urges parents to talk to their children about the show or book, if they have seen or read it, and reminds them that there are resources, support and assistance available to them at the schools through their student support services. Some support services include social workers, school psychologists, school adjustment counselors, guidance counselors, principals and teachers.

Swampscott School Superintendent Pamela Angelakis provided The Item with a letter about the series sent home to parents from the Swampscott Public Schools Mental Health Task Force.

AG: Company violated state wage laws

In the letter, the task force details some concerning themes: The series explicitly details a graphic death by suicide, and portrays it as the only viable option for the main character; there is no mention of mental illness, which is the leading cause of death by suicide; the adults in her life, namely her parents, school counselor and school administrators, fail the character and her peers over and over; there are no examples of appropriate or healthy coping strategies, nor is there any help-seeking that is successful; and school mental health providers act in unethical and incompetent ways throughout the series.

The task force also urges parents to find out if their child has watched the show or read the book, and recommends special caution if their child is vulnerable or has had suicidal ideation, because the “highly suggestive show could be risky for adolescents who struggle with isolation or self-harming behavior.”

“School counselors and mental health professionals in our district are highly trained professionals whose competencies include working with susceptible students,” the letter reads. “Be assured that the district counseling professionals are thoughtful, intentional, and ethical in their everyday work with your children.

“The district has created resources specifically designed to address our most vulnerable students, such as the recently created SWIFT and Harbor programs at Swampscott High School, which will be replicated at Swampscott Middle School next year.”

A letter sent home to parents from Lynnfield Superintendent Jane Tremblay touches on some of the same points, and warns about the possible dangers of allowing their children to watch the series.

She said youth could perceive the message that suicide is a viable and glamorous option to challenges and difficulties. She added that the graphic content and troubling scenes may be difficult for the teenage mind to watch and process in an appropriate way.

Tremblay provided a list of talking points for parents and their children regarding the series. One of those points is that “it is important to know that there are many treatment options for life’s challenges, distress, and mental illness” and that the illness is treatable.


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

Wayne Alarm: Be safe in your apartment

SAFETY TIP OF THE DAY

SPONSORED BY WAYNE ALARM AND HONEYWELL.

Apartment fire are much more common than we all might like to think, which is a little frightening to think about. Whether your residence is a single-family home or an apartment, it’s important to take the calm and proper steps that can save your life. The majority of fire are results of kitchen/cooking, heating equipments such as space heaters, and even arson which includes children at times playing with fire.

So you might ask yourself: Well, I live in an apartment. What can I do if I’m ever in this situation?

Performing a fire inspection and ensuring that everything is up-to-code can make a big difference. Here are some tips to ensure you are prepared and safe in case of any fire emergency:

Make sure all exit and stairwell doors are marked, not locked or blocked by security bars.
It’s very important to know the locations of all exit stairs from your floor level, in case you need to get out in an emergency.
If there are not a number of adequate working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, contact your landlord.
If ever stuck inside your apartment and you can’t find any exit, try to stuff wet towels or sheets around the door and vents. This helps to keep the smoke out.
Here are some ways to ensure that you stay safe on a daily basis throughout your apartment:

Don’t leave cooking food unattended
Always ensure that your stove or oven is off if you’re not in the room or leaving your apartment. It’s also very, very important to never use your oven as a source to heat your home.
Make sure there’s a three feet distance with household combustibles from heating equipments: space heaters, fireplace, or wood stoves. In addition turn portable heaters off when leaving a room or going to bed.
Replace any worn electrical cords. Use power strips if additional outlets are needed.
If using an electric space heater, use a heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or larger. Otherwise, avoid using one at all cost.
Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
Unless specified, don’t use electric space heaters in damp, wet areas.
It’s very important to always be aware of using the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.

In case you ever do find yourself in a fire:

Always check doors before opening them. If the door feels cool, open it slowly and stay low to the ground and leave the building as soon as possible. If the door is warm, use wet towels or beddings to seal the door and vets. Proceed to a window, and if there is no smoke outside, signal for help. If you are able to, call 9-1-1 and make them aware that you are trapped in the building.

Don’t ever use an elevator during a fire. Always use the stairs!

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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.

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Enjoy more young talent Saturday in Lynn

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Yensi Munoz performs during an open-mic night at Land of A Thousand Hills Coffee Company.

LYNN — Enjoy a morning filled with children’s music, art and fun at the first KIPP Academy Lynn Elementary Art & Music Show.

The show will be held from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday at Land of A Thousand Hills Coffee Company, 61 Munroe St. Kindergarten students will perform from 9:30-10:30 a.m., and first-grade students will perform from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

The show will display artwork and showcase live music from students. There will be free juice, coffee and tea. Brownies and cookies will also be on sale for $1-2.

Land of A Thousand Hills hosts fun night

 

Fighting Santoros getting squared away

COURTESY PHOTO
Seven of the eight Santoro brothers, from top, left, are Charlie, Paul, Leo and John; from bottom, left, are Harry, Tom and Joe.

By STEVE FREKER

MEDFORD — They were “The Fighting Santoros” and the name fit the family well.

When America joined the fighting in World War II after the Pearl Harbor bombing, many joined the call to defend our country, but this Medford family went far above and beyond in showing their patriotism.

No less than eight Santoro brothers fought for their country at the same time in World War II, seven of them serving overseas at once.

The last surviving brother Rosario “Charlie” Santoro, 90, who is a lifelong Medford resident, got quite a thrill last weekend when he and number of other New England residents, all World War II veterans, were transported at no cost to Washington, D.C. by Honor Flight New England for a day-long tribute.

The trip included visits to the various military memorials in Washington.

“I never shook so many people’s hands in one day in my life,” Santoro said, “It was great to see so many other veterans, too. They treated us great.”

Large families were in no short supply in mid-20th century America and the Santoros tipped the scale and then some with one of the biggest “rosters” in city history, 17 children in all. Ten brothers and seven sisters, the children of Eugene and Concetta Santoro grew up on Wheeler Street in South Medford, most of them born just after the turn of the century.

Rosario Santoro served in the Navy, joining the military in 1945, the last year of the war. He was one of the seven “Fighting Santoros” serving overseas. His duties included hauling troops and supplies to various islands in the Philippines, and then evacuating Australian prisoners of war from Japan at the close of the war in August 1945.

Two-percent increase on tap

Santoro’s brothers included Jim, Joe, Leo, Paul, John, Tom, Harry,  The Santoro family kept a meticulous history of the eight “Fighting Santoros,” with Laura Jane Lucas the latest historian. She is the daughter of Mary Santoro Meano, the third eldest daughter of the 17 Santoro children.  

Still sharp as a tack when it comes to family history himself,  Charlie Santoro can rattle off all of his brothers’ ranks, military service ranks and the years and places they served, a mini-verbal history book.

The only Fighting Santoro brother who served stateside in World War II was Giacomo “James” Santoro, who  was a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary from 1944-45 and was assigned to guard the oil supply tanks in East Boston.

Another brother, Paolo “Paul” Santoro was honored with the Purple Heart when he was wounded in action by a hand grenade while helping another soldier to safety, Paul recovered quickly and returned to the war, like a true Fighting Santoro.

“We were all very proud of (Paul). I’m proud of all my brothers who served,” Charlie Santoro said.

The city of Medford is also proud of the Fighting Santoro clan. On Veterans Day in 2011, former Mayor Michael J. McGlynn led a citywide ceremony where four street corners were named after Medford families whose family included multiple members who served in World War II. The corner of Main and Wheeler streets was named “Santoro Brothers Corner” in their honor.

According to Medford Veterans Services director Ernest Lindsay, some 10,514 Medford residents served World War II, or about 17 percent of its 63,083 population in 1940, one of the highest rates in the state for one community. The names of all who served, including the 224 residents killed in action, are listed on a World War II memorial on Winthrop Street near the entrance of Medford High School.

Push to name baby giraffe ‘Gio’ falls short

COURTESY PHOTO
Giovanni “Gio” Maggiore died at age 6 of a congenital heart problem.

By STEVE FREKER

MEDFORD — The bid by hundreds of schoolchildren and others across the city of Medford united in a push to memorialize a lovable 6-year-old local boy has fallen short.

The family of the late Giovanni “Gio” Maggiore led a local and regional voting drive to name a baby boy giraffe with the moniker, “Gio”. The baby giraffe was born to April the giraffe at the popular Animal Adventure Park in upstate New York, shortly after the Brooks School first-grader died from a serious congenital heart problem.

Students at the Brooks School got behind the voting drive and it swiftly spread around most of the other Medford schools. “Gio” made the top 10 in the voting finals, which ended Sunday, April 30.

Animal Adventure Park officials announced Monday that the newborn giraffe will be called “Tajiri,” the name that topped the voting list.

Tradition comes to a ‘head

April, the mother giraffe, was the subject of a record-breaking internet live-stream as she endured what seemed to be an never-ending labor. She finally gave birth over Easter weekend, around the same time Gio was laid to rest.

Gio was a friendly, outgoing boy who embraced the positives in life and just loved giraffes, according to his mother, Maya, who is a teacher at the Columbus School in Medford.

“It was his favorite Halloween costume and even his first pacifier had a giraffe printed on it,” she said.

A book of gifts

COURTESY PHOTO
Pictured are cherrystones with cannellini beans over linguine. Find the recipe below. 

By ROSALIE HARRINGTON

“Clean the kitchen,” read one page. “15 kisses over a half-hour period,” read another. And then, “Make the bed.”  

These were part of a coupon book that my daughter Danielle, age 9, had made for Mother’s Day about 35 years ago. I found the little handwritten booklet, written onto the back of my business cards that had been stapled together, when cleaning out my storage unit recently.

The book is a reminder of how adorable, sweet and thoughtful Danielle was — and is. It also got me thinking about what I wouldn’t give to have the opportunity to go somewhere with or do something for my own mother — just one more time. I reminisced about when we went to Italy together for the first time, which was very special.

But I also loved the little excursions like going to Hoffman’s and having lunch after at Anthony Athanas’ Hawthorne in downtown Lynn. We also loved “hitting the junk shops,” as she would call them. She was always ready to bargain for a lower price, even if the starting price was completely reasonable and she knew it. The negotiating game was one she enjoyed playing.

My honeymoon for my first marriage was planned for Europe, where I would spend time with my mother’s father’s relatives. My grandfather came to the states to visit his sister Ida when he was 21. Ida was married to a man who taught fencing, supposedly, at Harvard. The way my relatives exaggerated it could have been at the local Y that he taught fencing.

The most dramatic fact about my Italian grandfather was true though: He only came here for a visit, but he would never return to Italy. There were so many stories about why and how, but I got the real story many years later from my cousin. Apparently, my grandfather and his father did not get along very well. Seems Nono was just waiting for an opportunity to get away from his father’s control, and when his sister suggested a visit as a chance to cool the tensions, he went for it. I have a letter that my mother saved, written by her father to his mother, apologizing for having left. It was written many years after he had come here and stayed, after he had made a home and started a family — there were five children at the time, five more would follow.  

The move he made is hard to imagine. Consider the challenge of leaving home for a new country, with a new culture and language to learn, establishing new relationships and being hired by people who looked down on you because you were an immigrant? I have learned that his father was extremely strict, and that my grandfather felt incredibly constricted by this. Perhaps the desire to please his mother also added an urgency for the liberty of America — but I am only guessing.

Pursuing your passions is a lifelong activity

My mother had never been to Italy and she was so envious of my going she could hardly stand it. She really wanted to come along on the honeymoon. When she and her sisters eventually did make the trip, it was life-changing. They saw pictures of their father as a young boy with his family. There were tears and laughter. The trip that my mother and I made together was very special, because, by that time we had both been there many times and were so welcomed by our loving Italian family.

I imagine making a coupon book for my mother from the vantage point of today, a dozen years or so after her passing. I see it as being a little different from Danielle’s. My book would be about acknowledging the difficulties she had raising my brother and me alone, working at a job an hour away from home.

The coupon from Danielle about making dinner would be about the same for my mother.  She expected me to “start dinner,” as in “peel the potatoes, make a salad, set the table,” from an early age. There would be a coupon for “showing more patience,” as when she insisted I had to be home before the street lights went on. I thought at the time that 14-year-olds should get to stay out a little later than that.  

Danielle’s coupon book served as a reminder of how life goes in a straight line — how irretrievable the past is. You concentrate hard on your kids when they’re young, knowing how fleeting each moment is, but still, you can never be with them at any particular age again. You can try to reconstruct the details, to remember the particulars, but you can never be with them again, laughing, feeling, smelling the experience of those special days. And looking at the coupons made me want to have one that would take me back to be with my mother, one more time.  Back to when we could argue about whether that pink color was appropriate for the wedding she was going to, or about anything, the grandchildren, whether jumbo shrimp were better for stuffing than the smaller ones. I would give anything for one more day, just one.

My brother Anthony has my family’s “clamming gene.” When we visit him at his house on the Cape, we expect to go clamming, his favorite pastime, just as Anthony and I did with Nono as children. We are treated with every variety of preparations: clams casino, clam chowder, pasta with clams in a Marinara sauce and “in bianco,” a white sauce. I love when he makes baked stuffed quahogs. His wife Carolyn does the grunge work, thankfully. We all love clamming and we especially enjoy sitting down to one of Anthony’s feasts.


Cherrystones with Cannellini Beans over Linguine

Wash and rinse well a few dozen cherrystones.  

Put a large pot of water on for linguine to cook.  

In a saute pan, sweat 1 small chopped onion and 2 tablespoons of chives (they come up every year in my garden!) in 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Add 1 cup each of white wine and chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  

Add the cherrystones and cover the pan for about 5 minutes.  

Add 2 cups of canned, rinsed cannellini beans and cover. After about 5 minutes the clams will open.

Pour it all over a bowl of cooked linguine.  

Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and a nice green salad.

 

Nahant artwork spans three seas

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Artist Stacey Wilson-McMahon unveils the Three Seas mosaics.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

NAHANT — Three of the world’s seascapes translated into art are the latest addition to Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center thanks to dedication by local children who worked through spring vacation to complete the 30,000-piece mosaics.

The three mosaics depict coastal habitats of New England, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Northwest. They were unveiled in a Thursday night ceremony Kemari McCauley of Marblehead attended with friends and classmates.

“I think it’s a good thing because people are going to understand the oceans more if they can look at the art,” said McCauley, 10.

Working under the direction of artist Stacey Wilson-McMahon, who is also the director of Apatchworks, the middle and high school students attached thousands of small bisazza tiles from Italy to create the mosaics representing Northeastern University’s Three Seas program. Undergraduate and graduate students in the program live and study in New England, Caribbean, and Pacific Northwest coastal habitats throughout the course of a year.

Apatchworks is a nonprofit organization with a goal to create vibrant spaces in hospitals that might otherwise seem dreary or scary to children.

Happy Khmer New Year

Wilson-McMahon began working on the project nearly two years ago with members of Girls Inc. of Lynn’s Beach Sisters organization, a six-week program that focuses on STEAM, or science, technology, engineering, art and math. In 2015, a group of girls spent about seven hours working to complete the first of the three mosaics.

Because Wilson-McMahon lives in France, the project took a hiatus until April vacation approached. Youth from Lynn, Marblehead, Malden and other North Shore and Greater Boston communities opted to spend their break learning about science and creating art. The group completed the final two mosaics to complete the project.

“The kids spent some time on science and some on art,” said Val Perini, who coordinates outreach programs for k through 12 at the Marine Science Center. “They spent half the day learning about these habitats and then put what they learned into art.”

The three mosaics hang side by side within the center’s bunker.

“This bunker doesn’t always look cozy,” said Dr. Geoff Trussell, director of the Marine Science Center. “I think using artwork to express marine science is a good way to capture interest in marine science.”

He encouraged the youngsters to consider a career in the field, adding that he changed his mind many times before settling on Marine Science at the end of college.


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

City seeking student sanctuary

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

LYNN — The School Committee adopted a policy to protect students from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“It would be bad if we turned our backs on these kids,” said Oscar Ross, who has a daughter in Lynn Public Schools who dreams of being both a police officer and a cook. “If we don’t give them the chance to be what they want to be.”

Mary Sweeney, a retired teacher, said that during her career, students had to worry about getting their homework done.

“I never faced situations of kids being deeply afraid,” said Sweeney. “I think with the issues of immigration and ICE — it’s a reality.”

The panel voted unanimously to adopt a policy that affirms the schools are safe and welcoming sanctuaries for all students, regardless of their immigration status. The document said the resolutions are intended to ensure that all Lynn Public Schools students have the same right to a free, public education and will be treated equally.

“The mission of Lynn Public Schools is to maintain a multicultural school community dedicated to the realization of the full intellectual, physical, social and emotional potential of its students,” reads the resolution. “The city is enriched and strengthened by its diverse cultural heritage, multinational population, and welcoming attitude toward newcomers.”

Committee member John Ford pointed out that while he agreed with where the resolutions were coming from, he believed they were only reaffirming what the district already does. Superintendent Dr. Catherine Latham agreed.

“I believe we have welcoming schools and that our teachers are wonderful and welcoming,” said Latham. “We have not had a case where ICE has come into our schools.”

She added that she believes ICE is restricted from taking immigrants into custody at schools and churches.

“Rather than us saying we already do that, we’ll be able to say that we have a policy for that,” said committee member Donna Coppola. “I think it would be a huge reassurance to our students. Let’s be upfront and be what we are — a proud community — and show others that we care.”

Immigrant-worker march set for Monday

Latham and committee members expressed concerns about a resolution included in the original draft that prohibited federal immigration law enforcement officers, or personnel assisting them, from entering a school building.

“I worry about training teachers not to allow law enforcement to come into the building,” she said.

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy added that she was “very uncomfortable” with the section of the resolution because it should be recognized that federal law supersedes local law.

“It seems to me that it’s not a valid exercise of a city’s rights in the presence of federal government,” she said.

The panel amended the resolution to state that law enforcement can enter the building, but must remain in the main office until his or her credentials are verified and the superintendent is notified. The vote will be subject to final approval of the language.

Under the policy, the district will not inquire about, record, or request information intended to reveal the immigration status of a student or their family members. They will not disclose private information without parental consent, and staff will refuse to share all voluntary information with immigration agencies to the fullest extent permissible by the law.

All requests for information from a student’s education record will be immediately forwarded to the School Department’s attorney. The motion also noted that the district does not ask for immigration status when families register children for school.

A letter will be sent to parents and staff summarizing the resolutions in simple language. A list of all available resources, including community-based organizations and legal service organizations, will be provided to each student and made available at each school. It will be translated when necessary. Teachers will be trained on the policy before the start of the school year, when they become familiarized with all other policies.

In the next 90 days, Latham will be expected to develop a plan for training teachers, administrators and other staff on the new policy and best practices for ensuring the wellbeing of students, who may be affected by immigration enforcement actions. The plan will be implemented within five months.Legis

A copy of the resolution will be submitted to the Massachusetts Attorney General and to Lynn’s federal, state, and local legislative representatives.


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

 

Child-abuse scars not always visible

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN  —  Michael Satterwhite was never physically abused by his mother, but he still bears the scars from his childhood.

“Child abuse is not always visible,” he said. “My mother never laid a hand on me, but she was one of the biggest drug dealers in Lynn and was a user as well. I didn’t get hit, but I was put in positions a child should never be in.”

Satterwhite spoke Wednesday at the Lynn Community Connections Coalition’s (LCCC) 16th annual Child Abuse Prevention Community Breakfast. The nonprofit’s mission is to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.

In 2014, the most recent data available, Massachusetts reported the highest rate of abused and neglected children in the nation. There were 31,863 victimized children in the Bay State, or 23 victims per 1,000 children statewide, making it the highest per capita rate in the country, according to  the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Nationally, 702,208 children were reported to have been abused and neglected during 2014, or 9 victims per 1,000 children, less than half the Massachusetts rate, the report said. The rise in cases has been spurred by the opioid epidemic and human trafficking, experts say.

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy welcomed the four dozen attendees by quoting David Pelzer, author, activist and a survivor of childhood abuse.

“Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living in the darkness of the soul,” she said. “It’s up to all of us to break away the clouds and bring that sunshine to the children of Lynn.”

Bellavance has a plan

Kate MacDougall, who heads the Family Crimes Unit of the Essex County District Attorney’s Office, said she is grateful for the programs offered in the county that offer hope to families.

“Thank you for the work you do,” she said.

State Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) praised LCCC for its efforts to end child abuse. He said the challenges faced in different neighborhoods are bringing the community together. “Child abuse starts with parents who haven’t had a shot, who are struggling to put food on the table, with substance abuse, with finding a job or getting an education,” he said. “We have to recognize that parents are really struggling to make ends meet, particularly in communities like Lynn.”

Daniel Richards, a member of LCCC’s Father’s Nurturing Program and a Colombian native, said he was born to a single mother who put him up for adoption.

“That one decision changed my life forever,” he said.

He was adopted by French Canadian Irish parents in Lynn and lived near two Colombian families who taught him about his culture.

Choking back tears, Richards said he struggled with his identity as a child.

“Being from a different country was tough growing up and I started to feel lost,” he said. “But having those Colombian families nearby showed me life was better in the U.S. I started to realize I was in this country for a purpose.”


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

 

Family Engagement Fair at Marshall Middle

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

LYNN — On Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Lynn Public Schools will host a free Family Engagement Fair at Marshall Middle School on Brookline Street.

“The goal is to provide encouragement to our families and this important work that they do as parents,” said Tina Hoofnagle, family and community engagement program specialist. “In the past, we’ve had a lot of emphasis on family involvement having parents come in and learn  but family engagement is more trying to work so that families and the schools work together to support the children’s education.”

“This comes from a desire and a dream of (Superintendent) Dr. (Catherine) Latham to think in terms of the Lynn Public Schools hosting a parent university,” she said. “But we don’t have the capacity to do that at this point.”

2 incumbents out in Swampscott

The event is designed to support and encourage parents of elementary-aged students in their parenting role. It will begin with a pancake breakfast and a greeting from Latham.

The program will include several workshops including yoga and relaxation classes, an informational class about keeping children smart on social media, athletic opportunities for Lynn children, how to raise a reader, information about pediatric asthma and prevention, a couponing course, how to shop healthy and save money, and how to protect your child from substance abuse.

Parents will hear from motivational speakers who focus on strengthening partnerships between schools and families.

The event is free to parents of elementary-aged students. Free childcare will be available with activities including yoga, the Northeastern Marine touch tank, and viewing a display from the Friends of Lynn & Nahant Beach.


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

2 incumbents out in Swampscott

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Michael McClung photographs the election results as Laura Spathanas looks on.

SWAMPSCOTT — The Town Election had a low voter turnout on Tuesday, but featured two upsets, with the chairs of the Board of Health and the Trustees of the Public Library losing their seats.

Emily Cilley, a registered nurse, defeated Martha Dansdill, 678 to 579 for a seat on the Board of Health. Dansdill is the current chairwoman on the board, which she has been on for three terms and nine years.

Herrick Wales, a schoolteacher in Marblehead and chairman of the Library Trustees, was defeated by Ellen Winkler, an attorney in Marblehead and president of Friends of the Swampscott Public Library. Winkler, who was elected for a three-year term, received 619 votes to 567 for Wales.

The third contested race on the ballot was for School Committee, which saw the two incumbents, Suzanne Wright and Gargi Cooper, retain their seats for a second, three-year term, holding off a challenge from Melissa Camire. Wright was the top vote getter, receiving 876 votes, Cooper received 774 votes, while Camire had 524 votes.

Voter turnout was 13 percent.

“It’s been my privilege to serve on the Board of Health for these nine years,” said Dansdill, the former executive director of HealthLink, a North Shore environmental nonprofit organization, who now serves on its Board of Directors. “I wish Emily Cilley much success on the board.”

Cilley, who works for Northeast Clinical Services and as a substitute nurse in town, said she felt “amazing” after winning a seat on the board, and that she didn’t know what to expect before the results. She said she felt nervous, as Dansdill has been on the board for a long time, but was delighted.

Cilley, who was elected to a three-year term, said two issues she would be focused on are the opioid crisis and the health of the children in town. As a substitute nurse, she said she sees children in the schools, and gets to see all of the concerns happening.

“I want to focus on the health of our children and making sure we are aware of what their stresses are,” Cilley said.

When running, both Library Trustee candidates said it was an exciting time for the library, which is in the midst of its yearlong centennial celebration. The building on Burrill Street turned 100 on Jan. 20. The Friends group finances library programs and is funding the celebrations. Winkler said she would have to step down as president for her new role, but could remain a member of the Friends group.

“That’s wonderful,” Winkler said upon hearing the results. “I’ve got a lot of work to do, but I’m really glad.

Transforming the city’s waterfront

“I hope people will continue to celebrate the library this year and pay attention to what a great resource it is,” Winkler continued. “I look forward to working with people and making great plans for the future.”

She said her focus would be on figuring out how to use the library space in the best way possible.

“I want to congratulate Mrs. Winkler on her election as Library Trustee,” said Wales, who was running for a second, three-year term. “She is an avid supporter of the library and she will devote her energies and talents to further enrich our great library.”

Wright said she was excited to be re-elected to School Committee. She said her focus would be on facilities, a technology plan for the schools, a new school building, and getting the budget under control.

Superintendent Pamela Angelakis recently submitted two statements of interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority, one for replacement of Hadley Elementary School and the other with the intent to renovate Swampscott Middle School.

Cooper said she was happy and excited, and grateful for the votes and support from the community. To move the school district forward, she said continuity on the board is the best way. For her next term, she said her focus would be on technology, facilities and stabilizing the budget.

In an uncontested race for Board of Selectmen, Naomi Dreeben and Laura Spathanas, chair and vice-chair respectively, were re-elected for a second, three-year term.

“I feel great,” Dreeben said. “I’m excited about what the next three years is going to hold for us and I’m pleased to be working with Sean (Fitzgerald), our new town administrator.”

For her next term, Dreeben said she will work hard to support the school’s vision and plans. She hopes to be able to do some economic development to be more proactive about bringing new businesses to town.

Spathanas said “it’s an honor” to be elected to the board. She said she hopes she can take the fact that she and Dreeben didn’t have any competition as people being happy that they are serving them and with the direction the town is going. She said her focus would be on a long-term capital plan, looking at the master plan, and prioritizing what the town needs and wants.

Another uncontested race was for Planning Board. Angela Ippolito, chairwoman, was re-elected for a second, five-year term. The Town Moderator race was also uncontested, with Michael McClung re-elected for a second, one-year term.


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

 

Lynn officers make special delivery

COURTESY PHOTO
Lynn police officers Jennifer Almonte, left, and Kelly Aylward helped deliver Yesica Pojoy’s son.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

LYNN — It was all in a day’s work Monday as two Lynn police officers helped a Franklin Street woman give birth.

Officers Jennifer Almonte and Kelly Aylward responded to 51 Franklin after police received an emergency 911 call from Neptali Pojoy reporting that his wife, Yesica Pojoy, was having a baby.  Almonte and Aylward found Ms. Pojoy in labor in the rear hallway and assisted her in lying down.

“The first police officers that went in were Kelly and Jenny,” she told The Item Tuesday. “They asked how I was feeling and I said I was in pain because of contractions. One of the officers noticed that the baby’s head was coming out.”

The officers told the 21-year-old to start pushing and, after just one push, the baby was born, she said.

Yesica Pojoy said she was “worried and scared” and never thought the ambulance would make it but nearly forgot about it all once the officers put her newborn baby on her chest. She said she was happy to see her baby crying.

Marblehead candidates stake out positions

Evan Pojoy was born at 7:20 p.m. at 7 pounds, 14 ounces. The ambulance arrived just two minutes later.

Police said moments after his birth, the baby was blue and not breathing.

“The baby just took a little bit longer than norm to start breathing because he was stuck in the birth canal a little longer than he should have been and we weren’t able to suction him to get him to breathe,” said Aylward.

Almonte and Aylward were able to revive the baby who was transported to North Shore Children’s Hospital by Lynn Fire Department personnel.

Earlier Monday, Yesica Pojoy visited the doctor, who told her she wasn’t ready to deliver and sent her home. Around 6 p.m., she told a nurse over the phone that she was having contractions. She took a shower and the contractions began getting stronger, she said. When trying to descend a flight of stairs to go to the hospital, she told her husband she couldn’t wait any longer and he called an ambulance.

The parents said the newborn was doing well Tuesday. Nurses and doctors tell the couple, originally from Guatemala, their son is healthy and strong and expected to be sent home Wednesday. The couple also has a two-year-old son Jeremy.

The delivery was Almonte’s third while working as a police officer and Aylward’s second. Almonte is also a registered nurse.

“It was a very rewarding experience for both of us,” Aylward said. “Recently in the news there has been a lot of violence and negative press for the city and it was just a wonderful experience for both of us to be able to help someone.

“We’re both from Lynn and it’s just a nice thing to be able to give back to the community and have a positive interaction instead of just responding to the bad things that occur.”

The pair later visited the new mom in the hospital to make sure both she and the baby were OK.


Jennifer Perez from The Item’s business office contributed to this story. Bridget Turcotte can be reached at bturcotte@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.

Salad days ahead for Ford School

PHOTO BY NICOLE GOODHUE BOYD
Krystle Fandel and her son Julius Ruiz, 9, work to screw in a metal corner for an outdoor raised planting bed.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

LYNN — Students at Robert L. Ford Elementary School will soon live off the fat of the land.

When students return to school on Monday, they’ll begin planting lettuce seeds for a spring gardening project. Six weeks later they’ll harvest the lettuce and use it to make salads for lunch. They’ll have the option to take what’s left over home with them, said Jenn Coverdale, a FoodCorps service member working on The Food Project initiative.

“These kids are learning to grow and eat their own food,” said Coverdale. “This is a project we’re doing with all of the city’s third-graders, so all 500 students will grow lettuce.”

The Food Project is a Lynn-based nonprofit that works to help youth and adults from diverse backgrounds build sustainable food systems. The organization offers youth and community programs at different levels and in multiple seasons. Its goal is to engage young people in personal and social change through agriculture.

According to the FoodCorps website, one in three of the nation’s children are overweight and on track to develop diabetes in their lifetime. More than 30 million kids rely on their school for lunch; more than 12 million for breakfast.

Peabody finds cash to cover safety costs

Third-grade teachers Melanie Maselbas and Nicole Guarino helped break down old, deteriorating garden beds and build new ones Friday morning. Julius Ruiz, a third-grader at the school, and his mom, Krystle Fandel, also showed up ready to work during school vacation week.

“It’s healthy for you to eat the food that grows,” said Ruiz, 9. “I like that we’re helping nature.”

His mom said she was impressed by the project and is attempting to start her own garden at home this spring.

Guarino said the hands-on activity fits with what the students are learning about plants in class. She said she felt the project would give the children a sense of ownership to see the work that goes into growing their own food.

Maselbas added gardening will benefit her visual learners.


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

An ocean of fun in Saugus

ITEM PHOTO BY SPENSER HASAK
Kids touch sea stars as the New England Aquarium comes to the Saugus Public Library.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

SAUGUS About 90 children dove into the adventures of The New England Aquarium without having to travel to Boston.

A $500 grant from the Saugus Cultural Council funded a three-hour presentation by the aquarium’s traveling education outreach program at the Saugus Public Library.

“We just want to support the children’s curiosity,” said Children’s Librarian Amy Melton. “It’s great that they’re learning about the natural world around us, especially with our location being so close to the ocean.”

The program teaches children about local marine life and habitats and encourages them to develop a stronger connection to science. The tide pools program specifically focuses on ocean science. It’s split up into separate segments for different age groups to cater the lesson so the children get the most out of the experience.

Program educator Danny Trigone, a marine biologist, teaches multiple hour-long classes, 5 to 6 days each week.

“My goal is really to give them a sense that these animals are local and build a future generation of ocean stewards at an early age,” said Trigone. “We also teach them that they have the power to protect these animals.”

Malden weighing growth versus green

The toddler level provides sensory exploration with a story-time style lesson with flash cards and photos followed by hands-on activities with the sea creatures they just learned about. The six through eight age group deepens the context of what elementary school students are learning in school about habitats and adaptations. The children investigate and touch tanks that represent three New England coastal habitats.

In a third session, the students learn about how coastal animals have adapted to life in their environment and interact with the animals they live with.

“It was weird that on the hermit crab the skeleton was on the outside and on the starfish, he had lots of eyes,” said 4-year-old Mackenzie Rafferty.

Adriana Mazin, 5, said she found it odd that the starfish had eyes on its legs, rather than above its mouth, which she also believed was in a strange place at the center of its body. Five-year-old Connor Gaudet was concerned the spider crab may have been dead, but then remembered that he learned that the creature tries to blend in with its environment on The Octonauts, a show on Disney Channel.

“I’m really happy the library offered this program it’s a benefit to the town to have things like this,” said parent Talisa Rafferty.


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

Animal magnetism at Lynn Museum

ITEM PHOTO BY SPENSER HASAK
Vincent Lozzi IV, 11, pets a chinchilla during the Curious Creatures presentation.

By GAYLA CAWLEY

LYNN — Free Fun Family Day at the Lynn Museum gave children a chance to enhance their time off from school by interacting with animals and growing their own grass plants on Tuesday.

Judith Marshall, education and research specialist at Lynn Museum, said the museum usually holds one free family day a quarter, which typically have themes. Tuesday’s theme was Earth Day. She said the event is a great way to get all sorts of people to come into the museum.

Residents were invited to come to the museum for free for arts and crafts activities, such as coloring and word searches. Kids could grow their own grass plant and decorate their pots.

Children were also treated to a live animal program, featuring curious creatures such as a tortoise, snakes, a tarantula, flying squirrel, chinchilla and a little alligator.

“That’s always a hit,” Marshall said.

Conor Poverchuk, 7, said he liked the animals, specifically, the “little, tiny turtles.”

Jayla Walsh, 7, said she liked the “crocodile” because he had sharp teeth.

Huss Court fire under investigation

Martine Georges came with her children, Nailah, 6, and Isaiah, 9.

“I’m off work and the kids are on school vacation,” Georges said. “I love it here anyways so we came to have a good time.”

Nailah Georges said the “crocodile” was her favorite, also because she liked the sharp teeth. She also enjoyed planting grass.

“I came because it’s something nice to do with the kids and a nice learning experience for the kids,” said Evelyn Panias, who brought four of her grandchildren.

Michael Celona brought his two daughters, Isabella, 9, and Lucia, 8.

“I thought it was a great way to spend the day with my two daughters and teach them a little bit about the history of Lynn and where Lynn is looking in the future,” Celona said.

Drew Russo, executive director of Lynn Museum, said the event is an opportunity to give people in the community an opportunity to experience the museum at no cost. The Lynn Cultural Council provided some of the funds for Free Fun Family Day. The museum does four of the events a year, and he is hoping to do six next year. He said the museum is seeking additional funding sources for the events.


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

 

Pursuing your passions is a lifelong activity

COURTESY PHOTO
Pictured is caramel bread pudding. Find the recipe below.

By ROSALIE HARRINGTON

“Thank you for coming and visiting our class. I really enjoyed your story about how your love of cooking began.  I thought it was really funny how you used to pretend that you were on a cooking show when you were 9 years old.  And you would pretend your little brother, 7 years old, was your assistant. When you said you started liking to cook at a young age it reminded me of me. You are so lucky you got to be on a real cooking show on TC. Were you nervous when you first got up there? I would be but I love baking so much I would forget fear and be very excited. I wish your restaurant was still there, I would have loved to go there. I bet everyone loved your restaurant a lot.

With love, your friend, Anis.”

Our daughter Danielle invited my husband and me to speak about our careers to her fifth-grade class. Very shortly thereafter, we both received thank-you notes from the students. The above note from Anis was one of the many I received. I was very touched by the warmth and sincerity that was expressed by all of the children.

Danielle later told us that she thought it was important for her students to show their appreciation to us for visiting. The kids asked many questions, such as “How long did it take you to make the tasty coffee cake you brought us?” Others wrote, “What was the hardest part of managing your restaurant?” and “What’s your favorite meal to cook?” A heartwarming comment from another; “You inspire me.”

What could be better than that!

My grandchildren are a huge part of my life and I feel blessed to have them. Many couples do not have children or grandchildren. I am struck by the opportunities available to people my age, who are retired, to spend more time with young people. There are kids who need help with their lessons, with reading, writing and arithmetic, craft projects that are creative and fun, and other activities.  

My daughter Kathy, who does not have children, corresponded with Danielle’s students when she was teaching in France. She really enjoyed sending them pictures and Danielle translated some stories for the class. Kathy also enjoys sharing her time with seniors, doing art and crafts and cooking.

Alice Waters, a fabulous chef from California, has worked to introduce gardening to inner-city kids in the Los Angeles area. Teaching children about healthy food choices and the feeling of empowerment that growing your own food can generate, has inspired many to plant gardens throughout the city.

Volunteering at a school or a local Y is very worthwhile.  

Until recently, four of my grandchildren were at the same school; now two have moved on to higher grades. I feel that my presence at their school is important as a role model to my grandchildren. They have observed me making lunches, reading stories, helping in the art class, baking cookies and more as a volunteer. But it’s not just good for them: Being around young people provides me great joy and helps keep me young.

Making beans lovable

Often I meet old friends who are eager to share with me some of their newfound interests — in some cases, old interests. I hear stories about how they always loved to cook or do arts and crafts when they were young and now that there is time they are returning to those activities. One woman told me she was preparing jars of pickles to sell at farmers’ markets.

I encourage kids to pay attention to the activities that give them pleasure. I tell them that as a 5-year-old on Revere Beach I was making tarts with stones and clams while my cousins were making sand castles. My love for food has given me so much pleasure and now I can inspire young people by sharing what I’ve learned, what a gift!

Gwen Gaillard for many years was the chef at the Opera House on Nantucket, where she and her husband, Harold,  ran a successful restaurant. In addition to being a fabulous cook, she really knew how to create ambience that was eclectic, making her restaurant inviting by using old stuff. She was from the “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing” school of decorating. The walls in the restaurant were covered with art, 3-D artifacts, several chandeliers hung above the bar, which was a tiny zinc piece they found at a Paris flea market.

When I was putting together my restaurant, Gwen was my inspiration, for food and for ambience. I will never forget her making omelets in full view of guests on a Sunday at her restaurant. She delighted in chatting with guests, signing her cookbooks, including “Recipes with Love,” and turning out the best omelet you’ve ever tasted.  


Caramel Bread Pudding (Inspired by Gwen Gaillard)

Butter a casserole or baking dish well, and sprinkle over the bottom 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar.  

Butter six slices of white bread (Gwen recommends Pepperidge Farm), removing the crusts. Cut into 1-inch pieces. I use brioche when I have it handy.  

Sprinkle 1 cup or more of chocolate chips over the sugar; place the bread evenly on top.  

Whisk 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of coffee cream, 4 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 teaspoon of salt together. Pour over the bread, sugar and chocolate chips.  

Let it rest for 20 minutes, for bread to absorb the liquid.  

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.  

Serve with whipped heavy cream. (“Once in a while, you can add a half cup of coarsely chopped pecans to the brown sugar,” according to Gwen.)

Do Lynn & Revere suffer from a grocery-gap?

ITEM PHOTO BY SPENSER HASAK
Construction continues on the new Market Basket on Western Avenue.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — Two North Shore communities made the Top 10 list of cities with the highest percentage of low-income residents lacking access to supermarkets, according to a new report.

Lynn and Revere joined Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Lawrence, Lowell, Springfield and Taunton as cities with a problem that has nutrition ramifications.

The so-called grocery-gap is most acute in older Bay State cities and rural areas, according to the Food Trust, a Philadelphia-based national nonprofit. The study’s authors’ mission is to ensure everyone has access to affordable and nutritious food.

The data measured the percentage of residents living more than a mile from a grocery store. To meet the standard definition of a supermarket, researchers said the stores must have annual sales of $2 million or more.

What’s next for Revere carnival after shooting?

Lynn has two major supermarkets: Shaw’s on State Street and Stop & Shop on Washington Street. There’s also a Price Rite on the Lynnway.

But the study failed to include the new 84,000-square-foot Market Basket which is expected to open this summer. The $25 million store is nearing competition at the General Electric Factory of the Future site on Western Avenue.

The lack of grocery stores affects 2.8 million people in Massachusetts, including more than 700,000 children and about 523,000 senior citizens, the survey said.


Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com. State House News Service contributed to this report.

 

Aspire building project hits halfway point

PHOTO BY PAUL HALLORAN
Construction of the new headquarters for Aspire Developmental Services is expected to be completed later this year.

By PAUL HALLORAN

LYNN — Aspire Developmental Services is halfway to completing its $4.3 million headquarters on Franklin Street.

When the renovation of the former O’Keefe Alternative School is finished, the nonprofit will have 15,000 square feet of space, triple its home on Johnson Street. The new building will allow Aspire to provide twice as many play groups for children receiving early intervention services, and space for parent training.

Aspire purchased an adjacent lot last year for $141,000 which will be used for parking, and an expanded playground, according to executive director Lori Russell. She said the three child care classrooms will have direct access to the playground.

“We’re hoping to have it completed by late summer and to be in the building by early fall,” Russell said.

Landmark Structures Corp. of Woburn is the general contractor and Benjamin Joyce serves as project manager.

“They have been excellent to work with,” she said.

Sacred Heart prioritizes charity this Easter

The project received a huge boost last summer when the organization won a $1 million grant from the Community Economic Development Assistance Corp. (CEDAC), the Boston-based community development finance agency that assists nonprofits, in partnership with the Children’s Investment Fund, a CEDAC affiliate.

Aspire is in the midst of a $2 million capital campaign for the building project, having raised about $1.3 million so far.

“Our fundraising is ongoing,” Russell said. “We appreciate the support of everyone who has gotten behind this project.”

Aspire has been serving children with developmental needs and their families since 1951. Last year, the organization provided services to nearly 2,000 children.

Its mission is to provide early intervention services to children up to the age of three. Children served are eligible for a variety of reasons, including Down syndrome, autism, hearing and vision loss, speech and motor delays, and mental health issues.

 

A week to celebrate the library in Lynn

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Prisila Gomez and Amanda Chavez share some time in the Children’s Room at the Lynn Public Library.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

LYNN — The Lynn Public Library will offer special programming throughout April in recognition of National Library Week and school vacation week.

National Library Week will be observed April 9-15. Children’s librarian Susan Cronin said beginning Monday, a banner will be laid out in the Children’s Room for youths to decorate with comments about what the library means to them. Cronin will also facilitate spring-themed crafts every day after school except Friday.

“It’s a week to celebrate the library and the system,” she said. “I don’t think people realize how important the library is. They don’t know what’s available to them. The landscape of the library is ever changing. We have computers, ESL materials, DVDs, CDs, and of course books. It’s free and accessible to all.”

Storyteller Mark Binder will visit the library to tell silly stories on Wednesday, April 12 at 3 p.m.

During April vacation week, April 17-21, the younger children can enjoy board games, coloring pages, and puzzles will be on hand each day. The QuaranTEEN Tech Room, which houses an Xbox, and iPads, will be open Tuesday, April 18 and Thursday, April 20 for grades 6 through 12.

“It’s really a space where teens can use the technology how they would like,” said Young Adult librarian Katelyn Cole. “The computers have different programs and games. They can be used for photo editing or video editing. The iPads have a ton of apps they can use, including Minecraft. There are Xbox games they can play with friends.”

Kennedy expected to announce third run

Maker Time will be Wednesday April 19 from 1 to 4 p.m.. Teens can use 3D pens; Sphero and Ollie robots, which are easily programmable with an iPad; make jewelry and key chains using thread and beads, build with Legos, and other activities.

“(Sphero and Ollie) are really a good introduction for teens to robots without it being too intimidating,” Cole said.

The 6 ‘alternative facts’ of school no-voters

COMMENTARY BY CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT DARREN CYR

I write as president of the Lynn City Council and for the councilors-at-large. We cannot in good conscience sit by and allow the negative, defamatory statements, distortions and outright lies from the “vote no on two new schools” team go unanswered.  

The negativity and outright venom spewed by the opposition shocks the values that we hold true in our hearts. We are utterly disgusted to read social media posts stating that “those children” from foreign countries who speak with accents do not deserve a quality education.  

The anger and nastiness of this campaign by the “vote no” supporters makes the recent presidential election look like a hug fest.

We as Lynners have a unique opportunity to literally change the lives of more than 100,000 of our children for the next century. It is ironic that the residents of Ward 1 who pay some of the highest property taxes in the city are forced to send their children to a crumbling building that does not meet the educational needs of the 21st century.  

Not so long ago, a former Marblehead state representative told his constituents they should support strong state school funding for Lynn. Swampscott raises captains of industry, he said, who “need very well educated employees.”

As Lynners, we find that statement and such a sentiment to be a slap in the face.  We sincerely hope that no Lynner believes that we should be looked down upon by any other community.  

We are proud to be from Lynn and want nothing but the very best for our families and children.  

We’re not anti-education, ‘no’-voters say

The irony is not lost on us collectively that Swampscott educational leaders have toured the new Thurgood Marshall Middle School and intend to model future construction in their town on this project that was finished on time and under budget. The proposed schools in large part will be modeled after Marshall and the West Lynn site will be almost identical.

“Alternative fact No. 1” put forth by the opposition claims that Lynn can simply go back to the drawing board and select a new site. This is just not true. Lynn has spent almost $1.1 million on architectural drawings, traffic studies, sewer studies and wetland/drinking supply protection studies. There is no more money to funnel into additional studies and plans.  

The plain fact of the matter is that the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) has insisted that one of the schools be located in the East Lynn District. There are no other sites in East Lynn that exist that are financially or environmentally feasible.  

The Magnolia Avenue site is not a viable option. That  land is located in a flood zone. There is an existing Massachusetts Water Resources Authority pipe that runs underneath the playground that supplies water to the citizens from Swampscott and Marblehead.  The site is not large enough to accommodate a 600-plus student facility without taking by eminent domain a portion of the neighboring elderly apartment complex. Such a taking would result in dozens of elderly persons being relocated to new homes.

If the citizens of Lynn reject the two modern state-of-the-art educational facilities, Lynn will go to the end of the line and be forced to submit a new application. Exploding enrollment projects show that by 2021, Lynn will have either double sessions or classrooms with 50 children.  In all likelihood, Lynn would not get back to the front of the line at the MSBA until 2019 or 2020.  

This ensures double sessions or students crammed into classrooms like sardines. But even this ignores the fact that there are no other viable sites in East Lynn. Therefore, it makes no sense to re-apply. Lynn will just dump good money after bad fixing up a Pickering Middle School that can never be adequately rebuilt for today’s middle school educational needs.

Current system not sustainable, Latham says

“Alternative Fact No. 2” as put forth by the opposition states Lynn will be taking multiple homes at the reservoir site. This is just not true. Lynn heard the voices of the opposition and redrew the plans so that only one home will be taken by eminent domain.  

The wonderful woman who was the subject of news coverage several months ago will not lose her home. The younger woman who would be required to relocate has and will continue to be offered every reasonable accommodation. The Lynn City Council has gone on record supporting the idea of moving her home several hundred yards down the road so that she can remain in the home she built.

Opponents ignore the fact that two homes were taken by eminent domain in order to construct Thurgood Marshall. Those relocated for Marshall were residents of Ward 3 and we know for a fact that they were extremely satisfied with the efforts Lynn undertook to relocate them to a new home of their choosing.  

“Alternative fact No. 3” put forth by the opposition states that the cost of the school project will be $5,000 per taxpayer. This figure will be spread out over 25 years. In return, Lynners will see their property values soar. Think about it: Residents with children looking to buy property will not want to buy in Lynn if our schools are an embarrassment. We urge Lynners to take a tour of the existing Pickering.

Quite simply, the physical condition of Pickering is an embarrassment.

The more families are satisfied with the conditions of our schools, the greater the demand will be for our own homes. Our greatest assets are our homes. With the construction of two new schools, our homes will go up in value considerably.  By approving these two new schools, we have just increased our own net worth by tens of thousands of dollars almost immediately.  

“Alternative fact No. 4” put forth by the opposition states that the property is part of Lynn Woods. This outright fabrication can simply be rebutted by the fact that the Friends of Lynn Woods have publicly said that the land is not part of the Lynn Woods Reservation.

“Alternative fact No. 5” put forth by the opposition states that the land is cemetery land. The deeds for the subject land clearly state that the City of Lynn owns this land with no restrictions. An attorney for the “vote no” group has conceded at a public hearing before the Lynn City Council that the deeds on file at the Registry of Deeds contain no restrictions requiring this land to be used for cemetery purposes.

Conversely, the Lynn City Council is on record as supporting the sale of 32 acres to the Pine Grove Cemetery and said deed will state the land will be used solely for cemetery purposes.  Because there exists no deed restrictions or conditions on file at the Registry of Deeds, the Lynn City Council would be free to sell this land to a developer to construct hundreds of new homes.

The Lynn City Council did not seek such a solution. Rather, it unanimously voted to commence the process to transfer this land to the Pine Grove Cemetery Commission at no cost.

“Alternative fact No. 6” put forth by the opposition states that the selection of these sites was done behind closed doors with no public input. All meetings of the Pickering Site Committee have been open to the public.  Three public forums were held where our community could speak up on the proposed sites.

Members of the Lynn City Council have personally met and spoke with the leader of the opposition on almost a dozen occasions. Our city council colleagues have attempted to address or mitigate each and every one of their stated concerns.  

Now is the time for us as a community to step up.  The negativity and anger is unacceptable. We are supporting the two new schools because our only interest is the children of Lynn.  

Our fellow Lynners: Let’s vote yes on two new schools so that our children will have the necessary tools to be captains of industry for generations to come.  


Editor’s note: City Council President Darren P. Cyr wrote this editorial and signed it with fellow councilors Buzzy Barton, Council Vice President, and Councilors-at-large Daniel F. Cahill, Brian P. LaPierre and Hong L. Net.

 

Bridgewell gets $190K for autism programs

LYNNFIELD — Bridgewell’s efforts to support and help individuals with intellectual, developmental and psychiatric disabilities will be boosted by a three-year, $189,728 grant from The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation.

The Foundation grant will support the new “Bridges to Family Success” program in partnership with Children’s Friend and Family Services and will help pay for services for families raising a child or young adult with autism or other intellectual or developmental disabilities.

This is the largest private grant Bridgewell has ever received.

“We are so grateful to The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation for its generous support of the ‘Bridges to Family Success’ program,” said Kelly J. Martin, chief operations officer of Bridgewell.

The program will focus particularly on families in Lynn and surrounding communities who face additional barriers, such as cultural and linguistic diversity or complex behavioral health challenges hindering access to appropriate services and community resources for their child.

More or less for schools in Saugus

“The Tower Foundation is incredibly honored to support this program,” said Tracy A. Sawicki, executive director of The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation. “We have long been dedicated to serving the various societal and community needs of children, adolescents and young adults affected by learning and intellectual disabilities.”

Families will receive help developing individualized family plans with help from trained care coordinators. Trainers will help child behavioral health needs and establish long-term care goals. Families will receive quality training and support on how to navigate the behavioral health system to obtain services and get help strengthening family bonds.

“Bridges to Family Success” will also host numerous community social events for families to establish a continued network of peer support.

“Raising a child with autism can be highly stressful on its own, and more daunting when combined with life circumstances such as linguistic or cultural diversity, poverty and behavioral health challenges. This new partnership will help meet the unique needs of these families in need of support,” Martin said.

Although children with intellectual or developmental disabilities are at increased risk of developing behavioral problems, many of their parents are not receiving needed support.

“Too often services for families are locked into silos, which create barriers to access. This project breaks down those silos and opens up opportunities for families. It also lays the foundation for new partnerships and knowledge to better support those families who have a child with complex needs,” said Stephanie Sladen, executive director of Children’s Friend and Family Services.  

Bridgewell serves more than 6,250 individuals and their families in Massachusetts, providing residential and day services, affordable housing and homeless services, clinical services, substance use disorder treatment, recreational services, as well as employment training and educational services.

The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation supports community programming that results in children, adolescents, and young adults affected by substance use disorders, learning disabilities, mental illness, and intellectual disabilities achieving their full potential.

Saugus mad about scientists

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Tameem Abujrida and Raseel Agbujrides react to dry ice vapor during a demonstration by Adrienne Fuller at the Saugus Public Library.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

SAUGUS A mad scientist had a packed audience of toddlers and children combusting with excitement over dry ice and vapor Wednesday afternoon.

Adrienne Fuller, a scientist from Mad Science of Greater Boston, a Waltham-based company that provides educational programs for special events, performed a show at the Saugus Public Library.

More than 50 children and their parents attended the event, which was sponsored by the Saugus Cultural Council.

Fuller showed the students how a room-temperature spoon reacted to dry ice by vibrating until it was cold; she created air pressure to get a boiled egg through a tight squeeze into a beaker; and added dry ice to water to create water vapor.

“It’s different from school because we don’t do chemicals and reactions (in school),” said Gustavo Borges, 7. “We’re learning about animals in the rainforest. But the chemicals are cool.”

Nine-year-old Serenity Burow of Malden is homeschooled by her dad. She said learning about science, specifically chemistry, is her favorite thing to do.

“I take a chemistry class and it’s not very common for fourth-graders,” she said. “I like (going to the library events) to see the other kids. I’m a person who wants to share my knowledge.”

Children’s librarian Amy Melton said the science show is just one of many educational initiatives the facility is offering to the community’s youth.

Regular programs include reading groups and storytimes for varying ages, science technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) activities, building classes using legos and k’nex, and a youth and nature garden club.

“They just need other enrichment opportunities outside of school,” said Melton. “We’re here to support the children in this community.”

National Honor Society students from the Belmonte Middle School will begin tutoring elementary school students from 3 to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, said Library Director Brian Hodgdon.

“We know we have a lot of private tutors who meet with kids here at the library so the demand was there, we knew the kids needed help with their homework,” he said. “This was a nice way to partner with some of the schools and a unique way to get students helping other students.”

The middle schoolers will provide homework help to children in kindergarten through grade five starting on Tuesday. Parents must remain in the building while their child is working.

Finding left from right on the streets of Lynn


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

School committee pushes for all-day K

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Kindergarten student Grant Leonard and his teacher Andrea Proctor work on math at the Oaklandvale Elementary School. 

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

SAUGUS — The school committee is requesting Town Meeting take action to further efforts to provide free, all-day kindergarten throughout the district.

The panel will go before the board of selectmen tonight to ask that an article be added to the Annual Town Meeting warrant that would request the formation of a committee of five people, including at least two Town Meeting members, to “evaluate the benefits and costs” associated with all-day kindergarten.

The group will review the findings of the All-Day Kindergarten Task Force, hold at least two public outreach sessions, identify public funding sources and make a recommendation at the 2018 Annual Town Meeting.

The task force formed in November at the request of school committee member Peter Manoogian. The group includes an elementary school principal, two kindergarten teachers, a Town Meeting member, a few parents, Manoogian and Superintendent Dr. David DeRuosi.

Tuition for all-day kindergarten is $2,700. There is no tuition for half-day kindergarten. Each year, 10 full-day scholarships are awarded based on financial need. The task force’s mission is to provide a richer educational experience to all kindergarten students, regardless of their family’s ability to pay.

“What was apparent to me — the compelling reason (half-day students) weren’t enrolled (in full day kindergarten) is the $2,700 cost,” Manoogian said.

Children in the full-day program spend 60 minutes on math, 60 on social studies and 60 on English language arts each day, he said. Alternatively, students in the half-day program spend about half an hour on each.

School committee chairwoman Jeannie Meredith supported the article with a positive vote but said she misunderstood the motion.

“I would recommend we ask the current task force to continue their work and open it up to other community members, rather than a separate committee of Town Meeting members,” said Meredith.

“Although I’d love to see free, all-day K in our district, I firmly believe we have to have our financial health in order and have our priorities outlined,” she said. “For the last several years, we have made band-aid budget cuts but we’re not really addressing the issues. As chairwoman of both committees — the school committee and the school building committee — my primary focus is the new middle school, high school project and working on a capital plan with the Town Manager and current selectmen that addresses all the current schools, pre-K through 12.”

As part of a complete overhaul of Saugus Public Schools, by 2020, the number of school buildings could be condensed to just three. A lower elementary school would serve pre-K through grade 2 students; an upper elementary would serve grades 3-5; and, through the project closest to fruition, the middle and high school would share a single building.

The new school structure would replace the existing pre-K, four elementary schools, middle and high school. Fewer schools would mean less operating costs and more money in the school budget, Meredith said.

“As important as kindergarten is, I’d like to see that come with time,” she said. “We need programs that are going to bring our district to a level 1; like robotics and STEAM. In my opinion, we cannot afford to cut any programming from our students. We need to start looking at ways to bring these things now, not wait until we have a new building.”

Meredith said she was opposed to cutting teachers’ jobs and existing programming but declined to comment on how the programs could be funded.

Saugus debates pros + cons of all-day K


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

Special Olympics program returns to Revere

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

REVERE — Children with intellectual disabilities can complete fun activities that are important to mental and physical growth while competing in The Special Olympics Young Athletes program.

Back for its second year in a row, The Young Athletes program, the free, six-week session, will begin March 11. Sessions will be every Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon at the Paul Revere School gymnasium on Revere Street.

“We’re excited to once again host the Special Olympics in our community,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo in a statement. “My office and the Revere Public Schools are committed to working with Revere parents to help give all of our kids opportunities to thrive.”

The program, intended for children with intellectual disabilities ages 2 to 7, returned to the city last year after a long absence. It serves as an introduction to sports and the world of Special Olympics and helps children develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

According to the Special Olympics website, parents of children involved develop better social skills and become more confident, which helps them to talk and play with their peers. The events also serve as a networking event for parents of children with disabilities.

Since the program is volunteer-driven, anyone who would like to help should contact Enza Goodwin at 781-485-7163 or email etumb@comcast.net. Children can be registered to participate at SpecialOlympicsMA.org.

School committee pushes for all-day K


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

Kids storm Lynn YMCA on their day off

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Ayden Larson takes a break from dancing at the preschool dance party at the Lynn YMCA.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

LYNN — While schools and businesses were battening down the hatches to weather Thursday’s winter storm, the Lynn YMCA was welcoming people in to warm up.

“We try to never close the Y so that anybody who needs access knows they will have it,” said Audrey Jimenez, executive director of the Lynn branch of YMCA of Metro North. “We want to be one of the places in the city where, if people need to get in and get warm, they can. We would probably let anyone in today.”

Preschool and the after-school child care program closed at noon. On a typical day, preschool runs from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and after-school services from 2 to 6 p.m. with transportation to the Y from local schools.

“If there’s a snow day, the after school program opens at 7:30,” said Jimenez. “They get a whole day of childcare.”

More than 75 children are enrolled in preschool and dozens arrive for childcare in the afternoon, but because of the threat of the size of the storm, only half a dozen after-school students were dropped off and all were picked up before noon.

The Y’s other facilities remained open until 10 p.m., which are the regular hours. A few people trickled in and out throughout the day.

“How busy we are depends on the type of snowstorm,” Jimenez said. “But this is the only snow day we’ve had this year so a lot of people probably decided to take their day. I think it depends on the predictions of weather, and a lot of forecasts have stressed the dangerousness of (traveling in) this storm.”

Travel warnings issued by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation strongly advised people not to drive and to work from home if possible.

“If that is not an option, travelers are encouraged to make informed and safe decisions before they head out onto the roadways,” according to a statement by MassDOT.

By Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Charlie Baker directed that non-emergency state employees working in executive branch agencies should not report to work Thursday.

“Commutes and travel will be significantly impacted with snow covered roads, low visibility and possible white-out conditions. Motorists should stay off the roads and use public transit when possible. If you must drive, please exercise caution, ‘don’t crowd the plow’ and stay behind snow removal equipment on the roadways,” said a statement from Baker’s office.

Those who did show up enjoyed special snow day activities such as art projects and a dance party.

Kyle Griffin, 7, is a student at Drewicz Elementary School who was happy to be out of class for a snow day.

“It feels good and I like to make snowmen and snow angels,” he said. “Last year (during a snow day) I went to my family’s house and we went snowboarding.”

But Thursday he planned to stay warm inside and play video games.

Three-year-old Avianna Runner was picked up by her grandmother Denise Mailloux of Lynn. The pair planned to make cookies and hot chocolate but Runner quickly added she would be making a snowman Friday.

“Snow makes everybody happy,” she said.

Abramsons ready for ‘amazing’ spelling bee


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

Infinity donates winter gear to schools

SWAMPSCOTT — Infinity boutique recently donated more than 20 coats, hats, gloves and scarves to benefit children in Lynn’s public elementary schools. The coat drive was organized by the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce, of which Infinity is a longstanding member.  

To date the LACC has collected almost 200 coats, but more children need assistance.

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“Pauline (Spirito; Infinity owner) is one in a million,” said Leslie Gould, president/CEO of the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce. “She is always ready to help whenever possible. She brought these coats and hats back from a recent buying trip and her efforts will really make a difference this winter.”

“Infinity boutique is part of the community and happy to donate to such a worthy cause,” said Spirito. “No one should be cold this season, especially children, so we are doing our part and we hope it makes a difference.”

Donation locations will be up through the holidays at the LACC, 583 Chestnut St., Lynn; A. James Lynch Insurance, 297 Broadway, Lynn; Atlantic Ambulance, 90 Foster St, Peabody; Century Bank, 2 State St., Lynn; East Boston Savings Bank, 335 Broadway, Lynn; Eastern Bank, 112 Market St., Lynn; Edward Jones/Dan Brothers Financial, 320 Derby St., Salem; Loop Consignment, 503 Humphrey St., Swampscott; and Salem Five, 450 Paradise Road, Swampscott.

Summer Meals Offered by Lynn Schools

SUMMER 2016  FREE-Summer Meals For Kids.

Open to anyone age 18 and under. 

Alimentos Gratis Para Los Niños. Participación abierta para todos los menores de 18 años de edad. Alimentação Grátis Para As Crianças. Aberto para qualquer pessoa de menos de 18 anos.

Summer sites 2016

For more information call Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at: 

1-800-645-8333 or visit www.meals4kids.org

Para más información, llame a Project Bread, a la línea directa y gratuita FoodSource al:  

1-800-645-8333 or visit www.meals4kids.org

Para receber mais informação ligue a Linha de Recursos de Alimentos do Project Bread: 

1-800-645-8333 or visit www.meals4kids.org


(In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. 

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: 

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; 

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or 

(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov. 

(This institution is an equal opportunity provider.)

 

Wayne Alarm: 4th of July Fireworks Safety

SPONSORED BY WAYNE ALARM AND HONEYWELL. 

Fireworks are often used to mark special events and holidays. However, they are not safe in the hands of consumers. Fireworks cause thousands of burns and eye injuries each year. People can enjoy fireworks safely if they follow a few simple safety tips:

BE CAREFUL!

Be safe. If you want to see fireworks, go to a public show put on by experts.

Do not use consumer fireworks.

Keep a close eye on children at events where fireworks are used.

In 2011, almost 18,000 fires were caused by fireworks.

Sparklers cause 16% of fireworks injuries.

Sparklers burn 1200 degrees F.

The NFPA is opposed to consumer use of fireworks. This includes sparklers and firecrackers. Even sparklers burn hot enough to cause third-degree burns.

Information provided by NFPA through local safety and security experts at Wayne Alarm.

www.waynealarm.com and www.nfpa.org/education

For more information about being safe at home and away, call Wayne Alarm and learn how they can benefit you.   Please feel free to give them a call at: 781-595-0000 or fill out an online contact form.

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“Here yesterday… Here today…Here tomorrow.”

www.waynealarm.com