Medford wants a giraffe named Gio

Giovanni Thomas “Gio” Maggiore, 6, died from a congenital heart defect.


MEDFORD — Everyone loved Gio and that love for a 6-year-old who died earlier this month has pushed the boy’s name onto a list of 10 finalists in a national contest to name April the giraffe’s baby.

April’s pregnancy and online April 15 delivery in upstate New York went viral and occurred five days after Giovanni Thomas “Gio” Maggiore, a Brooks School first-grader, died from a congenital heart defect.

When his mother, Maya Maggiore, who is a teacher at the Columbus Elementary School in South Medford heard of the contest to name the baby giraffe, she decided to enter her son’s name.

There is still time to vote for “Gio” in the national contest. Go to the website

Maggiore said Gio remained brave and positive in the face of his illness. He also loved giraffes, dressing as one for Halloween. His favorite toddler pacifier had a cartoon giraffe on it.

“He loved to take the opportunity to tell people about his special heart,” she said.

City seeking student sanctuary

Gio was the son of Christopher and Maya (Graffeo) Maggiore and the brother of Carmen Maggiore, all of Medford. He was the grandson of Anthony and Bernadette Graffeo as well as Stephen and Karen Lavin, all of Medford. He survived by his great-grandparents and many loving aunts, uncles and cousins.    

The Maggiore family worked closely with the organization, “It’s My Heart New England,” participating in fundraisers and charity walks. That involvement made entering Gio’s name in the contest to name April a quick and easy decision for the family to make.

Gio’s family created “Team Giovanni” to honor and remember him.

“Instead of focusing on all the negatives surrounding Gio’s condition, we just tried to make his life as positive as possible,” Maya Maggiore said.

His friends and family created the hashtag: #gioisawesome to show how they felt about Gio. All of Medford was pleased when Gio made a Make-A-Wish trip to Walt Disney World in Florida in 2015. Boston news stations even covered the event.


Sears protester: They know what happened

Richard Stelmack protests in front of Sears.

SAUGUS It’s a classic David versus Goliath battle.

The fight between Richard Stelmack of Malden and Sears has spilled out onto Route 1.

For months, the 63-year-old retired truck driver has been picketing in front of the Square One Mall.

His beef?  Stelmack said the workers who delivered his 22-cubic-foot Kenmore refrigerator last summer caused $3,200 damage to his kitchen floor.

“I noticed the gouges when the delivery guys drove away,” he said. “I made a half dozen calls to Sears customer service and customer resolution, but they gave me the run around.”

The lack of response from the retailer spurred Stelmack to march up and down the sidewalk in front of Sears with a sandwich board sign.

Since picketing began, two Sears employees have come out to talk to him. But Stelmack refused to discuss the case with them.

“What do they know about it?” he said. “These 20-something kids can’t do anything for me.”

Last fall, he heard from Border Transfer of Massachusetts, the Westwood company that made the delivery.

In the letter, Abe Matos, the company’s director of carrier relations, apologized and asked him to give them a call.

But Stelmack declined.

“Why should I have to call anyone?” he said. “I sent letters to the Sears CEO, customer service, claims resolution and the trucking company. They know exactly what happened, why did they wait so long to write me? It’s not about the money.”

Still, in February Stelmack filed suit in small claims court seeking interest and attorney fees that total more than $10,000. The court date is set for July.

Matos could not be reached for comment. Sears declined comment. 

Swampscott sizes up rail trail plan

Thomas Grillo can be reached at