Lynn Public Schools

Free Summer 2017 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.


All sites will be closed July 4.

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

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

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

1-800-645-8333 or visit

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:, 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:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Frances T. Crowley, 67

NEWELL, W.Va. Frances “Fran” T. Crowley, 67, of Newell, W. Va., formerly of Lynn, passed away on Friday, July 7, 2017, at the Valley Hospice Care Center in Steubenville, Ohio following a lengthy illness.

Born March 14, 1950, in Lynn, she was a daughter of the late John Thomas and Eva (Dainys) Quinn.

She was preceded in death by her daughter, Krista Q. Rydgren.

Fran was a 1967 graduate of Lynn English High School and she later received her associate’s degree at North Shore Community College.

She was a very dedicated and hard worker. For many years, she worked at Oakum Bay in MarbleHead, before continuing her career at Bridgwell and as a paraprofessional in the Lynn Public Schools.  

She enjoyed dancing, crocheting, gardening and her family especially loved her home cooking. Fran was a frequent blood and platelet donor. We will never know how many people she helped through her donations. She also sponsored a child in India through the Christian Children’s Fund, and was a frequent donor to many local charities.

Fran leaves behind her son, Clark J. Crowley-Bunyard and his husband Andrew of Jamaica Plain; sister, Diane Briggs and her partner Ed “Catfish” Coplin of Newell, a very special aunt, Margaret “Peggy” Golas and many loved nieces and nephews.

Service information: A memorial service to celebrate Fran’s life will be held at the Arner Funeral Chapel in Chester on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 1 p.m. Her family invites friends to join them for a memorial visitation at the funeral prior to the services; from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Fran’s name be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital:


The Food Project celebrates Salad Days partnership with Lynn public schools

The Food Project announced an expanded Salad Days partnership with the Lynn public schools was a huge success with almost 1,200 students participating this year.

This spring, The Food Project’s Root Crew and Dirt Crew built raised-bed gardens at five additional elementary schools in the city to bring the number of schools served by gardens to eight.

Following a model started by Gloucester’s Backyard Growers, The Food Project has been working with the Lynn school system to expand Salad Days, with the goal of building a garden at every elementary school in the city.

Salad Days is a hands-on opportunity for every third grader to plant lettuce seeds, tend the garden, watch their plants come to life, and, six weeks later, harvest the greens to eat. This structure ties into classroom curriculum on nutrition that might otherwise feel uninteresting or abstract while providing young people a way to connect with their food.

The project began last year with The Food Project’s FoodCorps AmeriCorps Service Member, Jenn Coverdale running Salad Days for the first time at Ford, Ingalls, and Callahan Elementary schools. This year, The Food Project met with Superintendent Dr. Catherine Latham, who, by the end of the meeting, felt that the Salad Days model was a unique and effective way to better involve students in learning about healthy eating and where their food comes from. She eventually hopes to have every third grader in the district participate.

“There has been an overwhelmingly positive response from staff, administrators, and students for this simple ‘seed to fork’ experience,” Coverdale said.

Salad Days brings together youth, food, and community. It not only introduces the concepts of garden-fresh food to many students, but also inspires a love of fresh vegetables and gardening, while creating healthy eating habits that The Food Project hopes will last a lifetime.

Since its founding in 1991, The Food Project has grown into a nationally-recognized non-profit organization that works at the intersection of youth, food, and community. For more than 26 years, it has brought youth and adults from diverse backgrounds together on their farms to grow healthy food for residents of the city and suburbs to build a local and sustainable food system.

Richard C. Jackson, 82

LYNN — Richard Cecil Jackson, “Dickie,” age 82, a lifelong resident of Lynn, passed away Wednesday June 21, 2017, following a brief illness. Richard was the son of the late George and Helen Pitts Jackson. He was the husband of Annie Williams Jackson with whom he shared 56 years of marriage.

Richard attended Lynn Public Schools, graduated from Lynn English High School and after serving his country, he graduated from Salem State College. He was a Veteran of the United States Army. Richard worked as a computer operator at General Electric for more than 25 years. He was the brother of the late Rose Jackson Anderson, Gilbert Jackson, George “Buddy” Jackson, Murray Jackson and Delores “Dolly” Jackson. He is survived by his brother Ronald Jackson of Atlanta and his two daughters, Shirley Jackson Compaore and Marilyn Jackson Raymond. He leaves seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, his sister-in-laws, Mary Jackson and Claire Jackson and a host of nieces and nephews.

Service information: Visitation will be held Wednesday in GOODRICH Funeral Home, 128 Washington St., Lynn from 6–9 p.m. His funeral service will be held in Zion Baptist Church, 4 Adams St. extension, Lynn on Thursday at 11 a.m. with visitation one hour prior, also in the church. Burial will follow in Puritan Lawn Memorial Park in Peabody.


Shoemaker teacher named president of the Lynn Teachers Union

Sheila O’Neil, a fourth grade teacher at Shoemaker Elementary School, is the new president of the Lynn Teachers Union.

The 24-year veteran of the district won with 76 percent of the vote on Wednesday. Her two daughters attended and graduated from Lynn Public Schools.

“Sheila was the overwhelming winner of the election,” said Brant Duncan, the union’s outgoing president. “She is committed to our public school system and will continue to be a strong advocate for teachers and public education.”


Joshua S. Boulay, 31

Joshua Shaun Boulay, 31, passed away Wednesday June 7th after a lengthy illness. He was born in Lynn, on August 11, 1985. Joshua attended the Lynn Public Schools as well as Job Corp in Maine. Joshua was a talented artist and writer who enjoyed working with his hands. He had a big heart and would do anything he could to make someone else feel better. He loved to make people laugh and he will be greatly missed by his family and many friends. Joshua is survived by his mother, Karen Neves and step dad Dana Neves Sr. of Georgetown, his son Leopold Mayer of Beverly, his brothers Cote’ Boulay of Lynn, and Dana Neves Jr. of Georgetown, his nephews William Boulay of Lawrence and Carter Neves of Georgetown. He also leaves many aunts, uncles and cousins. He was predeceased by his father William Canterbury of Peabody and his grandparents Margaret and Leopold Boulay.

Service information: Visitation and services will be held on Wednesday, 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. in the GOODRICH Funeral Home, 128 Washington St., Lynn. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to North Shore Recovery High School, 112 Sohier Rd., Beverly, MA 01915.


Night to remember at Lynn English

Victoria Say receives the Carol Ruggiero Memorial Scholarship.


LYNN — Memorial scholarships carrying on the legacy of two longtime Lynn educators were awarded to three graduating seniors at Lynn English High School Senior Awards Night.

Scholarships were awarded in memory of Tim Ring and Carol Ruggiero, who both died this past school year.

Graduates of Lynn English High School, Ruggiero and Ring both returned after college to become educators in the Lynn Public School system, before retiring after decades at their alma mater.

The recipients of these awards joined more than 80 graduating seniors receiving scholarships for their achievements.

Applicants for the Ruggiero Memorial Scholarship were asked to write an essay describing Mrs. Ruggiero as a teacher.

“One student described her perfectly,” said Principal Thomas Strangie, who presented the $2,000 scholarship.

“Mrs. Ruggiero had no videos or anything fancy. She sat behind her podium, lectured and kept me interested,” said Victoria Say in her essay.

Say said Ruggiero inspired her curiosity and sparked her interest to study history, which she plans to continue at Bryn Mawr College.

Ruggiero was a history teacher in the Lynn School System for 51 years. She often joked about teaching two generations of students.

Later in the ceremony, Lily Vu, Kiana Palomares, and Say were all awarded scholarships in honor of Tim Ring. Vu, student council president, earned the $2,500 scholarship awarded on behalf of the student council in honor of their beloved adviser.

Palomares and Say were awarded the Tim Ring memorial scholarship, a $1,000 scholarship for each student.

Arc keeps family afloat in Swampscott

“The passing of Mr. Ring was a sad time for Lynn English High School,” said guidance counselor Matthew Wilkins, who presented the award. “He added so much to this community.”

Ring was responsible for the restoration and preservation of the Lincoln statue and foyer, the addition of “Champ” the bulldog to the school’s foyer, and a successful yearbook while serving as the adviser.

Not to mention, Ring always contributed his fun-loving personality.

Wilkins told his favorite memory of Ring, which best exemplified the psychology and Lynn-History teacher everyone adored.

“He used to have an lesson that was entirely dedicated to Fluff in Lynn and he would tell kids that Fluff oozed up from the ground like oil and lava,” he said. “It’s the city of Lynn white gold, he would say.

His fun and loving nature was able to capture their attention and get the students interested in local history,” said Wilkins, remembering his silly yet sincere colleague.

Ring was a teacher at Lynn Public Schools for 39 years.

“They were two English grads who continued to give well after they graduated. Scholarships were established so they could keep giving long after they are gone,” Strangie said.

Ring and Ruggiero were only two of the many awards on the two-page spread on the program. In fact, scholarships awarded to seniors on Wednesday night totaled almost $600,000, said Wilkins.

“These benefactors, alumnae, school and community organizations, and everyone else providing scholarships for our seniors want to make sure you, as students, feel accomplished and worthy as anyone out there,” he said.

Matt Demirs can be reached at


As Trahant steps down, others step up

“I’ll still be around,” longtime City Councilor William Trahant says.


LYNN William Trahant knew something was wrong last fall when he was boating on Tripp Pond at his camp in Poland, Maine.

“I could feel pain in my chest, started sweating and had all the symptoms of a heart attack,” said the Ward 2 City Councilor.

Minutes later he was rushed to a local hospital where doctors confirmed his instincts. He was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital and underwent successful triple bypass surgery.

It was a life-changing moment for the 57-year-old contractor who has served on the Council for nine terms. He knew it was time to quit and not seek reelection.

“I’m not a quitter and I’ll still be around, but I need to do this for my health and for my family,” he said.

It didn’t take long for candidates to line up to replace him.

Alexander Zapata, a former candidate for state representative who couldn’t get enough signatures to run against Daniel Cahill, had already pulled papers. He could not be reached for comment.

Mac gets a city salute

Last week, Gina O’Toole, a 51-year-old teacher’s aide in the Lynn Public Schools, joined the race.   

“Over the years, I’ve noticed lots of things that needed to be done in the neighborhood and people always tell me to call the ward councilor,” she said. “As a councilor, I will be able to contribute to the community in a way that I can’t as a regular citizen.”

O’Toole said her neighbors are concerned about the lack of traffic lights on Eastern and Western avenues, road conditions in the ward and Floating Bridge Pond needs to be cleaned.  

Rick Starbard, 53, owner of Rick’s Auto Collision in Revere, also tossed his hat in the ring.

“I didn’t plan on running,” he said. “But when Billy decided not to seek re-election, that promoted my phone to ring off the hook with people encouraging me to run and I decided to do it.”

Starbard, a former School Committeeman who was defeated in a bid for an at-large councilor seat two years ago, said experience as a business owner will benefit the council.

“The key to balancing our budget is to expand our commercial tax base and fund public safety,” said the former teacher at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute. “We need to do more to attract business and industry to the city.”

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

Lynn teacher joins the march


LYNN Miriam Rodriguez-Fusco is one of hundreds of teachers planning to attend the Rally for Public Education Saturday at the Boston Common.

The speech and language therapist in the Lynn Public Schools and parent of a third-grader at the Aborn Elementary School plans to board a bus in Lynn for the trip into Boston.

Rodriguez-Fusco, an educator for nearly two decades, said she feels strongly about her son’s future and the challenges of public school funding as traditional schools compete with charter schools for limited cash.

“We must raise our voices so that we can stand up to Trump and tell him we need adequate funding for public education that is free and not privatized,” she said.

The protest is sponsored by the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) and the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance, a grassroots organization of students, parents, educators, and concerned community members who are dedicated to preserving public education.

Entertainment, education at ‘Harrington Reads’

The Alliance said since Donald Trump was elected president, they have been standing up for women, immigrants, science and now they’ve turned their attention to public schools.

Protesters plan to meet on the Common at 2 p.m. and later march to the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center on Boylston Street where delegates from MTA’s Annual Meeting are meeting.

On the recent vote to defeat funding for a pair of middle schools in Lynn, Rodriguez-Fusco said she was disappointed.

“No one wants to pay more taxes,” she said. “But we’re talking about the children who are our future and we have to invest in them or we will never have better.”   

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

Celebration time for North Shore students

Lisette Orellana, Lynn Vocational Technical Institute graduate and North Shore Community College Class of 2018, was a student speaker.


LYNN — McKennsie Brunet, a high school freshman, celebrated the completion of her first two college courses Wednesday night.

More than 225 Lynn high school students earned college credits through the Early College Program at North Shore Community College this year. The Early College Program at NSCC allows qualified high school and home-schooled students to earn college credit while completing high school graduation requirements in a variety of ways.

Credits can be earned through dual enrollment in college courses offered at the high school, on the college campus, or online; by transferring approved course credits from high school course work to NSCC; by earning Advanced Placement credits from high school courses with a successful AP exam score; or by earning a qualifying score on a College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam.

Brunet, 15, was one of 12 freshmen to participate in the afternoons following her regular school day at Lynn Classical High School. She hopes to become a district music teacher and plays the clarinet, saxophone and piano.

“I’m planning on getting my first degree out of the way so I can go for my next degree,” she said.

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“It took a lot of courage to get to this point,” said Dr. Catherine Latham, superintendent of Lynn Public Schools. “Just to sign up for a course took courage. And you did it. You have made all of us at Lynn Public Schools very proud. It validates what we do and what our teachers do.”

Dr. Patricia Gentile, president of NSCC, told the students they outperformed the school’s regular program students with 85 percent of enrolled students completing the program. About 79 percent of students who enroll in the regular college courses complete the classes, Gentile said. The average age of a regular student is 27 years old.

“These are college-level courses,” Gentile said. “They’re not watered down. By the time you graduate, you can have up to 30 credits to your name. That’s one full year of college; one full year of college free. It’s going to give you an edge that not every high school student gets.”

Applications for the Summer 2017 Early College program are due May 25. The semester runs from July 5 to Aug. 15.

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

Push for 2nd charter school renewed in Lynn

Frank DeVito still has to raise about $250,000 for the school to launch.


LYNN — The prospect of the city’s second charter school gained traction this week thanks to funding from some big name donors.

While the Equity Lab Charter School has yet to receive state approval, the proposed alternative school received a $215,000 grant from the NewSchools Venture Fund. The California-based foundation boasts a group of wealthy benefactors, including Bill and Melinda Gates, known for Microsoft Corp., and Facebook’s Mark and Chan Zuckerberg, who vowed to fund educators who launch innovative public schools.

“I’m ecstatic,” said Frank DeVito, the school’s founder. “The money will make a huge difference in making this a full time effort, and help pay for staff and consultants to get the school up and running next year.”

The 5-12 school, which would start with 160 fifth and sixth graders, will eventually have 640 students. So far, there’s a waiting list of more than 150 families, DeVito said.

DeVito is a member of Waltham-based Education Development Center’s National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools team, where he develops, implements and tests new ways to boost effective practices in high schools.

Last year, DeVito and his 22-member team of local educators was one of 50 finalists to win $10 million toward opening the new school in the XQ: Super School Project. Emerson Collective, chaired by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs, sponsored the $50 million competition.

While DeVito and Equity were chosen among 700 teams from 45 states that submitted applications for new or redesigned high schools, the Lynn proposal lost.

But that hasn’t slowed DeVito. He said the NewSchools cash revitalized the effort to bring another charter school to the city.

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DeVito, a 52-year-old Lynn homeowner and father of two, said he is focused on finding space for the school. He has looked at the former St. Michael’s Church, school and rectory on Summer Street, but can’t ink a deal until his school receives approval from the state Department of Education (DOE). A decision is expected to be made in February. If he gets the green light, the school is expected to open in the fall of 2018.

If his proposal for a new school is accepted by the state, they will provide $800 per student or $128,000 to lease or purchase space. In addition, they would receive $2.1 million from the state or $13,223 per student who switch from the Lynn Public Schools to the charter.

DeVito, a former teacher at Chelsea High School, said he would still have to raise about $250,000 for the school to launch.

“The state really wants the school to open in Lynn,” he said. “They have been very supportive and have offered coaching in order for us to succeed.”

If it does get the go-ahead from DOE, there will be no welcome mat from the city.

While Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and the City Council have sparred over a number of issues this year, they are united in their fight against any new charter schools. They argue such schools take much needed cash from the public schools.

While proponents insist charter schools are public schools, Lynn’s elected officials say they don’t like the formula for funding because it takes more than $1 million from the regular school budget.

If Equity Lab wins approval, they will face competition from the only other charter school in the city, KIPP Academy.

Thomas Grillo can be reached at


Not to be fluffed off

Mimi Graney reads from her book at the Lynn Museum/LynnArts 117th annual meeting.


LYNN — Mimi Graney, author of “FLUFF: The Sticky Sweet Story of an American Icon,” shared a sweet part of Lynn’s history at the Lynn Museum’s annual meeting.

Made in Lynn, the sticky sweet marshmallow spread was invented in 1917 by Archibald Query. On May 14, 1920, the Daily Evening Item announced that two young men, H. Allen Durkee and Fred L. Mower had formed a partnership to manufacture Marshmallow Fluff after purchasing the recipe.

The exact date they began the endeavor is unknown, but in 1930, Durkee wrote that they had started a decade prior with one barrel of sugar, a few tin cans, two spoons, one second-hand Ford, no customers, but plenty of prospects.

Durkee and Mower were graduates of Swampscott High School who went on to serve in the U.S. Army together during World War I. Mower took a job in Boston working at a candy factory shortly after returning home, around the time of The Great Molasses Flood.

In 1919, a tank carrying 2 million gallons of molasses burst on Boston’s waterfront, sending a sticky 15-foot wave, 160 feet wide, traveling through the North End. More than $100 million worth of damage was caused and 21 people were killed.

Graney said Mower took the job because of the sweet tooth he developed while serving in the army. During WWI, members of the military consumed more chewing gum than chewing tobacco for the first time in history, she said.

But through the job Mower met Query, who had invented the Fluff recipe at his Somerville home in 1917. He and Durkee pooled their money to purchase the recipe for $500. They factory moved from Swampscott to Brookline Street in Lynn in the 1920s and the staff grew to 10 members.

Today, Durkee-Mower, Inc. has more than 20 employees who manufacture between 35,000 and 40,000 pounds of Fluff each day. Durkee’s son, Donald Durkee, serves as the company’s president; his grandson, Jon Durkee, as treasurer and vice president.

The simple, four-ingredient recipe using sugar syrup, corn syrup, eggs and vanilla to concoct the sweet treat remains unchanged.

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Graney said for her, the story of the history behind Marshmallow Fluff is about the merits and pitfalls of adaptation and innovation. Her 288-page book was published in March 2017 by Union Park Press.

In her presentation, she divulged details of the behind-the-scenes characters responsible for Durkee-Mower’s success, including advertisers who wrote jingles as commercial radio made its debut; Fannie Farmer, who used marshmallow paste in several recipes listed in her 1986 cookbook, and Marjorie Mills, a journalist for The Boston Sunday Herald who endorsed the sweet spread.

She performed jingles from the Flufferette radio commercials and explained that they had a primetime slot on Sunday evenings.

Graney spent endless hours at Durkee-Mower in Lynn researching the history of the company through scrapbooks and memorabilia. She is also the founder of the What the Fluff? Festival in Somerville, which is attended by about 10,000 people each year who compete in fluff lick-offs, among other activities.

Lynn Museum is selling Marshmallow Fluff t-shirts for $20 each. They can be purchased at the front desk.

During the meeting, Steve Rima, who stepped down from the Historical Society’s Board of Directors after more than two decades, paid tribute to Tim Ring, a board member who died earlier this year from a heart attack.

Ring was a long-time teacher who retired from Lynn English High School last June. In addition to raising thousands of dollars for the museum, he was responsible for connecting several Lynn Public Schools students and organizations to the invaluable resource, said Rima.

“We were lucky to have him associated with the museum,” he said.

Bridget Turcotte can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte


Welch Florist celebrates 70 years

Co-owners David Daley, left, and Keith Saunders hold up a cake to celebrate their business turning 70.


LYNN — Welch Florist is celebrating its platinum anniversary in the city.

Tom and Margaret Welch started the floral business 70 years ago on Union Street, across from St. Joseph’s Church in downtown Lynn. Three decades later they moved to Essex Street to take advantage of a retail space with a corner location and plenty of parking.

The business changed hands a few times, and in 1987, it was sold to David Daley and Keith Saunders, who had dreams of building on the success of an established shop and sought a business in the city of Lynn. Daley, then 26, worked as a floral designer and Saunders, then 28, was a manager at a supermarket.

“The Welch family had a great reputation and each sibling owned and operated their own businesses. When we saw this business for sale we were very interested,” Saunders said. “Dave’s father worked in Lynn his whole life and he spent many days with his mother and grandmother as a child shopping in Lynn.”

Today the flower shop has a good relationship with local funeral homes, nursing homes, event venues and schools, he said. Welch Florist participates in annual fundraisers for the Lynn Public Schools, including donating 15 percent of sales at high school graduations back to the graduating class. Saunders and Daley consider the shop to be a part of the fabric of the Lynn community.

The couple, together for 35 years and married for six, considered giving it all up in the early 2000s. In 2005, they sold the business and their Emerald Drive home and made the move to Naples, Fla., in search of a change. By 2007, they knew they had made a mistake and purchased the shop back.

In Lynn, the emphasis is on the waterfront

“We made a mistake and we missed it terribly,” said Daley. “We missed Lynn so much. We chose to reinvest in Essex Street.”

The partners have created flower arrangements to celebrate the birth of a newborn, then again for that child’s prom, and sometimes even for his or her wedding, he said.

Since 1987, the businesses has changed with the times, said Saunders. More people are using the store’s website to place orders than ever before and social media helps give their popularity a boost. But he credits the consistency of good products to their 70 years of success.

“Having the highest quality flowers, excellent customer service and being hands-on owners to ensure consistency sets us above our competitors,” he said.

While it’s a challenge for many small businesses to succeed in a world full of Walmarts and other big box stores, Daley and Saunders are optimistic about their continued success.

“People today want higher end flowers, more unique designs and are willing to pay for that service,” Saunders said.

Bridget Turcotte can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte

Something special in Saugus

A Special Town Meeting will be held at Saugus Town Hall Monday night, at 7:30 p.m.


SAUGUS — A Special Town Meeting, as requested by Town Manager Scott Crabtree, will begin Monday night at 7:30.

The Annual Town Meeting will be pushed to the following Monday, May 8. Unfinished businesses will be taken up a week following the meeting. The process can continue until June 30, said Crabtree.

The purpose of the Special Town Meeting is to be able to close the meeting and allocate funds sooner, rather than waiting for the Annual to close, Crabtree said.

Members will first take up six articles, all submitted by Crabtree.

“These articles that I’m asking for sort of stay in line with what our priorities are,” said Crabtree. “We’re continuing to take action to build the town’s financial health and stability, improvements for our infrastructure.”

The first asks for money to be transferred into the stabilization fund.

He is also requesting funds for repairing and maintaining the parks and playgrounds, and additional funds for the design, construction and repair of town parks and playgrounds. The sixth article is requesting money to make capital improvements to the town’s Lincoln Avenue pumping station.

The pumping station, which Crabtree said has not seen major improvements in more than a decade, is in need of repairs and upgrades. He said the existing station is worth about $100 million but is in need of a new bypass. He called the issue a time sensitive priority.

Also included in the Special Town Meeting is a request for cash to purchase Chromebooks for public schools.

The School Committee submitted a request for $82,000 for the one-time purchase of the laptops, which are necessary to comply with statewide computer-based testing, such as MCAS. The article will be taken up during the Annual meeting.

Earlier this month, Crabtree said he included the article because he was confused about whether the School Department had already requested the money.

“It’s kind of hard when you don’t have a conversation with the Town Manager,” he said. “I also have heard discussions that they may have money within their budget to pay for the Chromebooks. They haven’t identified a source of funding.”

Bridget Turcotte can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte

City seeking student sanctuary


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.”

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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 Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.


Family Engagement Fair at Marshall Middle


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 Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte

Terrence L. Collins, 74

LYNN — Mr. Terrence L. “Terry” Collins, age 74, of Lynn, died on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 after being stricken at work. He was the longtime companion of Patricia “Pat” O’Neil.

Born in Lynn in 1942, Terry was the son of the late Leo D. and Patricia A. (Lundquist) Collins. He was raised in Lynn, attended Lynn Public Schools and graduated from Lynn Trade.

Terry worked as a heavy machine operator at many local companies including Manter Company, Inc., Cushing Construction and Bacon Construction.

He was a member for many years at both the Volunteer Yacht Club and Lynn Yacht Club, and would help assist the Yard Master every spring and fall operating the crane for the boat owners. Terry was all about family, fun and outdoors. He loved his time off. He enjoyed boating and taking long rides to New Hampshire. He loved to cook for everyone and was most noted for the summertime lobster and steamer feasts he shared with his family and friends. “Weekend at Grampy’s” was a family favorite of popcorn, pizza, root beer floats and movies. Spending time with his family was what Terry enjoyed most.

In addition to his companion Pat of 23 years, Terry is survived by his four children, Kevin McCarthy of Lynn, Sean Collins and his wife Tracy of Peabody, Kathleen “Kathy” Gursky of Saugus and Heather Collins of Seabrook, N.H.; his six grandchildren, Michelle, Noah, Joseph, Jeremie, Samantha and Dayna Marie; his five great-grandchildren, Jacob, Dominic, Gabriella, Michael and Morgan; his sister, Linda Guerrette of Washington; his nieces, nephew and many close friends.

Service information: Terry’s funeral will be held on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 11 a.m. from the SOLIMINE Funeral Home, 426 Broadway (Route 129), Lynn. Burial will be private. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. Visiting hours will be on Monday from 4-8 p.m. Donations in his memory may be made to Joslin Diabetes Center, Inc., Attn: Memorial Gift Dept., 1 Joslin Place, Boston, MA 02115 or at Directions and online guestbook at


High school students sample life at NSCC


A number of students from Lynn Public Schools toured North Shore Community College (NSCC) Friday morning to get a better sense of what it has to offer.

“Even a two-year degree will help you find a job that’s a living wage job,” said Dr. Karen Hynick, vice president of academic affairs, as she spoke to a group from English, Classical, and Lynn Vocational Technical Institute high schools.

She said the college has strong academic support programs and a lot of opportunities for extracurricular activities.

Following an introduction, students were brought through three “mini classes,” got a chance to speak with members of the faculty, and took part in a student panel.

Upcoming film festival walks two worlds

Nineteen percent of new students at the college come from public high schools in Lynn. Overall, 25.6 percent of the students at NSCC live in the city, according to statistics provided by Laurie J. LaChapelle, assistant vice president of planning and research.

Dr. Dianne Palter Gill, dean of corporate and professional education, said this is the second year the college has done such an event, with financing by a grant from the public schools.

She said that last year, a number of the students who came to the tour did end up attending NSCC. Out of the crowd on Friday, a number had already been accepted and all of the seniors present for the event filled out free applications.

Leah Dearborn can be reached at

KIPP signs agreement for $20M high school

Pictured is KIPP Academy on High Rock Street.


LYNN — Two weeks after voters said no to a tax hike for two middle schools, the city’s only charter school is planning to build a $20 million high school, The Item has learned.

KIPP Massachusetts, which operates the Academy Lynn Public Charter School, has signed an agreement to purchase a former parking lot on Munroe Street that has been used as a community garden.

Assessed at $211,000, the parcel is owned by Munroe Partners LLC, operated by Gordon Hall, president of The Hall Co. The new school would include grades 9 through 12 and house 450 students.

“With a new YMCA being built nearby and St. Mary’s building the STEM School, having a new high school on Munroe Street would create a little campus in the downtown,” said Joel Abramson, a KIPP board member. “We are looking to share whatever assets we have with the community and the Lynn Public Schools.”

Hall said his company has agreed in principle to sell the 29,000-square-foot parcel to KIPP. The school is in the due diligence period and a closing date has not been set, he said.  “This is an opportunity to fill one of the missing teeth in downtown Lynn with a civic building that’s needed,” Hall said.

The new school would be paid for by a fundraising effort, tax credits, a possible bond from MassDevelopment, the state’s economic development and finance agency and a portion of the $12,000 per student tuition payments paid by Lynn Public Schools.

Caleb Dolan, the school’s executive director, said with a waiting list of more than 1,000 students, there’s lots of demand for space.

“We are certainly thinking about our future in Lynn,” he said. “We just had a lottery and had a tremendous turnout. There were 800 elementary school applicants for 120 slots. We are certainly thinking about how to hopefully serve more kids and how to be part of the solution in Lynn.”

Earlier this year, MassDevelopment issued KIPP a $5.7 million tax-exempt bond. The school plans to use the proceeds to build a 12,000-square-foot addition to its High Rock Street campus to accommodate 600 students in kindergarten through fourth grade.

MassDevelopment provided the school with a $26 million financing package in 2011, including a tax-exempt bond and New Market Tax Credits to build its existing building.

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

Committee ponders meaning of ‘sanctuary’


LYNN — The School Committee continued a discussion regarding the concerns of immigrant students on Thursday.

Member Maria Carrasco initiated the conversation at the previous committee meeting, saying she has been approached by a number of students who are worried about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) entering the schools.

In response, attorney and committee member Jared Nicholson drafted a resolution meant to clarify the law and reassure students.

Nicholson read aloud from the resolution, which stated the Lynn Public Schools’ commitment to providing a safe learning environment.

The resolution reiterated that city schools do not request immigration status information from students.

School attorney John C. Mihos said the resolution doesn’t constitute a policy change, just a restatement of the laws as they already exist.

Carrasco and committee member Donna Coppola both spoke in support of the concept of becoming a “sanctuary school district,” a distinction that Mihos said would only alter the title of the resolution and not its purpose.

“The word ‘sanctuary’ means protection for somebody who feels chased,” said Carrasco, who argued that the word alone does have some impact.

Saugus Rotary up to speed

Member Patricia Capano said there have been no incidents regarding students and immigration enforcement in city schools. She said the resolution is an attempt on the committee’s part to be proactive.

Superintendent Dr. Catherine Latham said she spoke with Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett regarding the subject and was told there have been no deportations in the county.

Carrasco disputed that claim, but said she could not ethically provide the identities of the individuals impacted.

A vote to adopt the resolution was tabled in order to bring the topic to a full committee for further discussion.

Leah Dearborn can be reached at

Nicholson seeks second school committee term

Jared Nicholson is pictured in a file photo.


LYNN Jared Nicholson has announced his run for a second term on the Lynn School Committee.

“I ran for school Committee two years ago because of how important having great schools will be to Lynn’s growth and because I want to send my future kids to great Lynn public schools,” Nicholson said in a statement. “That passion still drives me.”

The district is facing pressing challenges that require effective leadership, including rising enrollment and financial instability, he added. Nicholson said he plans to continue focusing on the issues, drawing on his legal training and business experience.

Schools out for the time being in Lynn

Nicholson prides himself on the successes of his first term, including the opening of Thurgood Marshall Middle School and launch of a varsity wrestling team, an effort he headed for many years. The committee is building pathways for students to college and jobs, he said, noting that a Lynn student can take advantage of the Early College program and earn college credit taking free courses at North Shore Community College. Lynn Vocational Technical Institute will soon add internet technology, HVAC and health care programs.

The district has made progress with addressing the opioid crisis, on social-emotional learning, improving school nutrition, and increasing parent involvement, he said.

“Getting involved in local politics is a great way to act on concerns about where our country is headed,” said Nicholson. “Lynn, and specifically the Lynn Public Schools, are headed toward exciting yet challenging times. I am excited to continue to work on meeting those challenges to help out kids reach their potential so that we as a community can reach ours.”

Bridget Turcotte can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte

Marshall’s Rashad is Studio Teacher of Year

Strings teacher Mona Rashad performs wilh her class at Ford Elementary School.


LYNN — When Mona Rashad joined the Lynn Public Schools music staff as a strings teacher in 2012, there were four students taking strings classes at Marshall Middle School. This year, Rashad has 70 students at Marshall who are among the approximately 500 Lynn students learning how to play violin, cello and viola.

In recognition for the work she has done not only in Lynn, but also with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Intensive Community Program, Rashad was named Studio Teacher of the Year by the Massachusetts chapter of the American String Teachers Association.

“It’s always nice to recognized by your peers,” she said.

Rashad is one of three strings teachers in LPS. She covers seven elementary schools and Marshall. All students in grades 4-5 have the opportunity to take strings or band. For strings, they get a half-hour of instruction per week at the elementary level. In middle school, there is also a 45-minute weekly orchestra class.

Mass memories in Nahant

A Houston native, Rashad has been an accomplished violinist since she was a child. At age 12 she traveled to Japan to play in an international festival. As a teenager she played Carnegie Hall and throughout Europe. She is currently a member of the Orchestra of Indian Hill, based in Littleton.

Prior to coming to Lynn, Rashad taught in Holyoke, Boston and Marlborough. She holds an undergraduate degree and master’s degrees in music education and violin performance from the New England Conservatory.

“Mona is an excellent strings teacher and extremely talented musician, and we are lucky to have her working with Lynn students,” said Patty Klibansky, assistant curriculum director for the arts.

Lynn says no; so what now?

Cathy Rowe posts early returns Tuesday night at Lynn City Hall.


LYNN — One day after a ballot question to build two middle schools lost in a landslide, proponents are reeling from the outcome.

“We knocked on doors and got great feedback from folks, so we were surprised and saddened by the outcome,” said Brant Duncan, president of the Lynn Teachers Union. “I don’t know why there was such large opposition.”

In a special election on Tuesday, voters rejected two ballot questions that would have authorized a $188.5 million plan for a 652-student school on Parkland Avenue and a second school to house 1,008 students on McManus Field on Commercial Street.

Protect Our Reservoir — Preserve Pine Grove, a grassroots organization founded to fight the schools, managed to get the no vote out. They argued that the 44 acres near the proposed Parkland Avenue school site should be reserved exclusively for future burial grounds and open space.

At a meeting of the Pickering School Building Committee at City Hall on Wednesday, Lynn Stapleton, the school project manager, thanked the panel for their hard work and acknowledged the sadness in the room.

“It was an overwhelming no vote,” she said. “And the votes came from well beyond where the school was to be located. The outcome was really upsetting, but we will move on.”

Schools out in Lynn

Donald Castle, a founding member of Protect Our Reservoir — Preserve Pine Grove, said he plans to meet with the mayor in the coming weeks.  

“We want to give everyone time to consider the results,” he said.  “I extended an olive branch to the mayor and the committee to pick another site. And we ask the City Council to keep the 44 acres for the cemetery.”

The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), the quasi-independent government authority that funds school construction projects, which agreed to fund a portion of the Lynn project, gives the city 10 days to explain why the vote failed and how the city wants to proceed. Under the agency’s rules, the city could withdraw or modify its plan and re-apply for funds by April 7 or meet next year’s April deadline.

One of the options is to build just one school, Stapleton said. Or the city could consider a phased option where construction begins on one school and then another. The other possibility is to simply add more classrooms at the Thurgood Marshall Middle School. The city could also withdraw from the competitive funding process.

Given MSBA’s timelines, if the city decides to go forward with a new plan, nothing will happen until 2020.

Full results of Lynn school vote

But Stapleton suggested this was not the time to make any decisions.

“Emotions are a little raw right now,” she said. “Let’s think about it, schedule another meeting and see what we might come up with for alternatives. We don’t have lots of time. But if you think that you have any kind of plan that might conceivably work, I recommend that we submit it to the MSBA within 10 days and see if we can get them to work with us. Otherwise, your only other option is to withdraw from the program and submit next year and try to get back in.”

Following the meeting, Dr. Catherine Latham, superintendent of Lynn Public Schools, said she was heartbroken for the school children and the city.

“I don’t think the vote was about the money, but I just don’t know,” she said. “I wish I knew.”

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy said she needs time to consider the vote.

“I need to figure out why they voted no,” she said.

Duncan, the union president, said the vote doesn’t resolve the need for more classroom space or the condition of school buildings.

“The Pickering’s roof was leaking significantly on election day from the melting snow,” he said. “It’s the city’s responsibility to come up with a solution.”

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

Schools out in Lynn

Judy Odiorre, Jeanne Melanson, and Marie Muise celebrate the “Vote No” victory at the Old Tyme Restaurant.


LYNN —  Voters said no to a nearly $200 million proposal to build two middle schools Tuesday, rejecting the measure by a decisive margin.

The controversial ballot asked voters to green light construction of the schools while a second question sought approval to pay for them. The first vote failed 63 to 37 percent, the funding question lost 64 to 36 percent.

“I am really proud of my neighborhood grassroots group that stood up for what they believe in,” said Donald Castle, a founding member of Protect Our Reservoir — Preserve Pine Grove, an advocacy organization founded to fight the ballot question. “The city, and in particular, the mayor and the superintendent, really need to reassess how they do business with taxpayers.”

Castle said the vote turned on the process, financing, the site that includes land that the founding fathers intended as cemetery expansion, as well as wetlands.

It was a spirited campaign where proponents and opponents took their case to Facebook and in dueling op-ed pieces.  The Item editorialized in favor of the project on Page 1 twice in the final weeks of the campaign.

Of the 8,539 votes cast on the first question, 3,189 were in favor while 5,350 were against. On the second question, of the 8,454 votes, 3,014 were in favor while 5,440 opposed. The no vote was nearly unanimous in every ward and precinct across the city.  

Full results of Lynn school vote

The vote is a setback for Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, the superintendent, the Lynn Teachers Association and nearly all of the city’s elected officials who were in favor of the project.

“I’m disappointed for the students more than anything,” said Kennedy.  

As far as renovating the existing Pickering Middle School, Kennedy said that is not possible.

“We can’t afford it,” she said. “That would be $44 million out of the city’s budget … there is absolutely no way we can afford to renovate Pickering.”

Dr. Catherine Latham, superintendent of Lynn Public Schools, said she was greatly disappointed that the vote to build two new middle schools failed.  

“The greatest investment a city can make is for the education of its children,” she said in an email.  “Apparently our residents are unable to make such a investment at this time. I will continue to work with the state and the city to examine possible solutions to our school needs.”

If approved, the city would have built a 652-student school near the Pine Grove Cemetery and Breeds Pond Reservoir on Parkland Avenue. A second school would have housed 1,008 students on McManus Field on Commercial Street. In making the case for the new schools, Latham said 3,100 students attend the city’s three middle schools. By 2020, enrollment is expected to soar by 20 percent, adding another 600 students to the mix. The new schools were needed to fix a problem of insufficient space and inadequate facilities.

The new schools would have added an additional $200 to the average tax bill for a single-family home each year for the next 25 years.

City Council President Darren Cyr, an enthusiastic supporter of the new schools,  said he was extremely disappointed in the vote.

“I feel sorry for the kids in our city,” he said. “They are the losers. There are no winners.”

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

Antoinette M. Theo, 76

SWAMPSCOTT — Mrs. Antoinette M. “Ann” (Marino) Theo, 76, of Swampscott, died peacefully on Thursday, March 16, 2017, surrounded by her loving family, after a courageous battle with cancer. She was the wife of the late Peter A. Theo.

Ann was born and raised in Lynn and was the daughter of the late Emilio and Elettra (Senatore) Marino, both whom immigrated here from Nusco, Italy, after World War I. Ann lived in Swampscott for the past 45 years.

Ann is survived by her son Christopher Theo of Hudson, N.H.; her two daughters; Kerri Crescenzo and her husband Brian of Peabody and Stephanie Reiland and her husband Scott of North Andover; her grandchildren; Camden and Mirabel Reiland; two sisters; Frances Vocino and Mary Russo of Lynn; three brothers; Peter Marino and his wife Rose of Peabody, Joseph Marino and his wife Josephine of Lynn, and Michael Marino of Lynn; as well as many loving nieces and nephews. She was the sister of the late Ida Rowe, Carmen Marino, Enrico Marino, Antonio Marino, Dominic Marino and Antonetta Marino.

Ann was born June 13, 1940 and was named Antoinette because she was born on St. Anthony’s Day. She was a graduate of Lynn Classical High School, Class of 1957, and Salem State College, where she received her Master’s Degree in Education. She was an elementary school teacher with the Lynn Public Schools for more than 20 years until her retirement. As a school teacher Ann loved to travel the world visiting countries such as England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Tangiers, Africa. Ann met her husband Peter at Frank’s Sea Grill on a Thursday night when she and her friends attended a Greek dance there. Ann and Peter fell in love and several years later were married at St. Francis Church in Lynn.

She was well-loved by her family and the friends she made from high school, college, and throughout her adult life. She enjoyed the arts, attending shows and musicals, and trips to Foxwoods. However her greatest joy was her time spent with her family.

Service information: Visiting hours will be held on ​Wednesday, March 22, 2017, from 4-8 p.m.​ at the SOLIMINE Funeral Home, 67 Ocean St. (Rt, 1A), Lynn. Her funeral will be held on ​Thursday March 23, 2017, at 9 a.m., beginning at SOLIMINE Funeral Home, 67 Ocean St. (Rt. 1A), Lynn,​ followed by a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. in St. John the Evangelist Church on Humphrey Street in Swampscott. Burial will be at Swampscott Cemetery. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. Directions and guestbook at

Parking ban up at 12 a.m.; no school Wednesday

LYNN — The snow emergency and parking ban will be lifted at midnight Tuesday, according to a news release from the city of Lynn.

All vehicles parked in public school lots must be moved by 10 a.m. Wednesday or risk being ticketed and towed, the city says.

City Hall will be open for business Wednesday, but Lynn Public Schools will be closed. Trash and recycling pickup will remain on a one-day delay for the rest of the week.

Thousands without electricity during storm

Laurine I. Darsney, 93

LYNN — Laurine I. (Deveau) Darsney, age 93, formerly of Lynn, died unexpectedly on Friday at Brayburn Gardens at Brooksby Village. She was predeceased by her beloved husband, Robert E. Darsney. Born in Lynn, she was the daughter of the late William and Margaret (Thibodeau) Deveau. She had lived in Lynn for the greater part of her life, before moving to Brooksby Village nine years ago.

Laurine worked as a teacher for more than 30 years, both at St. Jean’s Grammar School and Christ Child Nursery. She also worked as an educational assistant for the Lynn Public Schools for ten years. After her retirement, she worked as a home care helper for Greater Lynn Senior Services. She enjoyed camping, reading, and Japanese Bunka. Her greatest joy came from spending time with her family.

She is survived by three sons; William Darsney and his wife Anne-Marie of Savannah, Ga., Kenneth Darsney and his wife Helen of Laconia, N.H., and Timothy Darsney and his wife Kathleen of Nashua, N.H.; four grandchildren; Jennifer Lowry and her husband Derek of Ipswich, James Darsney and his wife Kris of Amesbury, Dianna Darsney de Salcedo and her husband Ricardo, currently in U.S. Foreign Service in Ethiopia, and Matthew Darsney of Seattle, Wash.; and five great-grandchildren; Ben, Cooper, Anna, Amalia and Dylan. She is also survived by a sister-in-law Geraldine (Darsney) Boberg and her husband Jack and a brother-in-law Normand Darsney and his wife Marie.

Service information: Her visiting hours will be held on Wednesday from 4-8 p.m. in the SOLIMINE Funeral Home, 426 Broadway (Rt. 129), Lynn. Her funeral Mass will be held on Thursday at 1 p.m. in the Chapel at Brooksby Village, 300 Brooksby Village Drive, Peabody. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. Private burial will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Parish Kitchen, 141 West Pike St., Covington, KY 41011. Directions and guestbook at

Lynn parking ban starts at midnight

A snow emergency and parking ban goes into effect at midnight Monday, according to a news release from the city.

No vehicles may park on a public street or sidewalk. All vehicles must be removed.

Vehicle owners can face a $150-tow fee and $35-a-day storage fee in addition to parking tickets. All Lynn Public School parking lots will be open for residents to store their vehicles. Parking is also available at the Ellis Street municipal lot (School Street side only) and the MBTA garage at the intersection of Broad and Market streets (parking charge applies).

Vehicles must be removed promptly at the end of the parking ban, or risk tow.

Lynn Public Schools and City Hall offices will be closed Monday. Trash and recycle pickup will be delayed one day this week.

Storm postponements, cancellations


Mark T. Currier, 61

LYNN — Mr. Mark T. Currier, age 61, of Lynn, died on Monday, March 6, 2017, at his home, after being stricken suddenly. He was the loving husband of the late Marilyn (Kinsey) Currier, who predeceased him in May of 2004.

Born in Lynn on Oct. 11, 1955, Mark was the son of the late Willard H. Jr., and Patricia A. (Conlin) Currier. He was raised in Lynn and has been a lifelong resident of the city. Mark attended Lynn Public Schools and graduated from Lynn English High School in 1974. He went on to receive his Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Master’s Degree in Education both at University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Mark was a popular teacher at Lynn Classical High School for many years and served as a National Honor Society, Teacher Advisor. He helped organize a yearly community service event at My Brother’s Table with the National Honor Society and spent many hours as a volunteer. He was a member of the Lynn Teacher’s Union and served as a steward.

Mark was a musician, writer and poet. He played guitar and sang, often many of the songs that he composed. He was also a manager at The Tides Restaurant in Nahant for more than 20 years.

Mark is survived by his brothers Willard H. Currier III and his wife Kathleen of Naples, Fla., Wayne T. Currier and his wife Doris of Walkersville, Md, Matthew J. Currier and his wife Donna of Lynn and Jason Currier of Belmont, Mass.; his sister Kathleen Long and her husband Jack of Keene, N.H.; his step-daughters Kristen Garcia of Derry, N.H., Meredith Hickey and Pamela Ingalls both of Stoneham, Mass.; his six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and extended family and friends.

Service information: A Funeral service will be held on Friday, March 10, 2017, in the SOLIMINE Funeral Home, 67 Ocean St. (Rt. 1A), Lynn, MA at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Puritan Lawn Memorial Park, Peabody. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. Visitation period will be prior to the service on Friday from 9-11 a.m. Donations in Mark’s memory may be made to My Brother’s Table, 98 Willow St., Lynn, MA 01901. Directions and online guestbook at

Timothy E. Ring, 62

LYNN — Timothy E. Ring, 62, of Lynn, passed away on Saturday, March 4, at Salem Hospital. Born in Lynn, Tim was the son of Robert A. Ring of Concord, Calif., and the late Eileen A. Ring.

Tim graduated from Lynn English High School (LEHS), Class of 1972,and Salem State University, Class of 1976, with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. Tim was a Lynn Public Schools teacher for 39 years at Cobbet Junior High School, Lynn Tech, and Marshall Middle School and finished the last 15 years as a psychology and Lynn history teacher at LEHS. His love of teaching and his genuine compassion for his students was evidenced by his deep involvement within the school’s extracurricular activities such as the student council, senior yearbook, class advisor and teacher at the school’s night program, LEEP. Among his many accomplishments, Tim brought the school mascot, “Champ,” the bulldog statue, to LEHS and spearheaded the restoration and preservation of the Lincoln statue and foyer. His humble, easy-going attitude and grand sense of humor made him a favorite among students, faculty and staff.

Tim was also a master craftsman and former licensed auctioneer, specializing in antiques. During his years as vice president of Lynn Museum, he developed educational programs and fundraising events. He was an integral part of linking the museum to Lynn schools, developed a Lynn History curriculum, and instructed workshops for teachers about the museum and the city’s rich history.

Tim is survived by his beloved children, David and Diana Ring; his life partner Lauren Mezzetti and stepchildren David, Kristina, Garrett and Marysa Mezzetti. He is also survived by his brother Robert M. Ring and his wife Judy; his sister Colleen A. Ossman of Concord, Calif., and her husband Terry. Tim was also the stepfather to the late Kathleen Barr, daughter of Karen Malionek of Lynn.

Service information: A Celebration of Life will be held for Tim at Lynn English High School on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. The event will be held in the school’s auditorium, located at 50 Goodridge St., in Lynn. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. Please enter at the Lincoln Foyer.

Funeral services under the direction of the SOLIMINE Funeral Homes 426 Broadway (Rte 129), Lynn, will be private. Guestbook at

Memorial donations may be made to the “Tim Ring Scholarship Fund,” payable to Lynn English High School, 50 Goodridge St., Lynn, MA, 01902.

Velma M. Berry, 101

LYNN — Velma May Berry, a lifetime resident of Lynn, a graduate of the Lynn Public Schools and the matriarch of the Berry family passed this life on Feb. 12, 2017, at the age of 101. Born Sept. 21, 1915, in Lynn; she was the daughter of the late Ernest and Ida (Carter) Pleasant. She was the beloved wife of the late Andrew Berry Sr.

Velma was a devoted member of Zion Baptist Church where she remained active for more than 50 years prior to her passing. During that time, she served as treasurer and on the Board of Trustees, the Nominating Committee, the Pastor’s Circle Society, the Vision 48 Project, the Building Fund Committee and the Lend a Hand Club. She always put God first in her life.

Velma was also dedicated to caring for her aged mother and active in her community. During WWII she served as an Air Raid Warden. She was employed by General Electric at the West Lynn Plant, wiring electrical boards and for Zyglo Inspection. She also worked at Sew Low Fabric Store on Market St., Lynn, and as a homemaker, one of her clients, Ralph Sheldon, still speaks fondly of her.

Velma loved to knit and crochet, making many baby blankets and sweaters for all the newborns in the family and extended family. She made all her clothes with up-to-date fashions and would wear them proudly with fashionable hats. She loved to bake, and her delicious pound cake was the talk of the Zion’s after-church functions. In her retirement, Velma and Marnie, her sister-in-law and devoted friend, often spent afternoons working on puzzles and playing games, especially The Cryptoquote.

She leaves to mourn two daughters, Sylvia Berry of Arizona and Nancy Berry Henderson of Lynn and her son, Reginald Berry of Chelmsford; her 19 grandchildren, Jordan Berry, Roxanne Berry, Lillian Berry-Rogers, Stuart Primus, Thomas Primus, Jane Primus, Bryaire Henderson, Joel Henderson, Darrel Henderson, Juanita Berry, Rodney Berry, Brian Berry, Toriana Berry Brown, Omari Clements, Ieisha Clements, Breanne Clements, Ahmahd Clements, step-grandchild Paul Clements; many great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. She was the aunt of Coreen Stephenson Gillette, Marlene Henry Reid, Ernest Pleasant, Ralph Kimber Sr., Kevin Henry and the late Jacqueline Kimber Johnson. She also leaves her dear friend Connie Jackson. She was the mother of the late Idella Berry Primus; sister of the late Harold Pleasant, Esther Stephenson Pittman, Mary Pinder and Sadie Baham; cousin of the late Sadie Milliner and sister-in-law of the late Margaret Berry Kimber.

Service information: Visitation will be held at the Zion Baptist Church, Adams and Fayette Streets, Lynn, on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 11 a.m., followed by a funeral service at noon. Relatives and friends invited. Arrangements under the direction of Goodrich Funeral Home of Lynn.

Canceled schools, parking bans are orders of the day

Jessica O’Gorman of Swampscott walks her dog Cody Bear, an Old English Sheepdog, along Lynn Shore Drive on Sunday as the snow starts to pick up.

A snowy Sunday is expected to continue into this afternoon, with officials setting into place parking bans and school cancellations.

In Lynn, an on-street parking ban was set to go into place at 9 p.m. Sunday. Cars must be removed from all public streets and sidewalks. Residents can face a $150 tow fee, $35-a-day storage fee, and parking tickets for failing to comply with the parking ban, according to Department of Public Works Commissioner Andrew Hall.

Residents can park their cars at all Lynn public schools. Parking is also available at the Ellis Street municipal lot (School Street side only) and the MBTA garage at the intersection of Broad and Market streets (a parking charge per car applies).

Once the parking ban concludes, cars must be removed from these lots promptly to avoid a tow.

Trash and recycling collection will be delayed by one day all week. Today’s collection will be picked up Tuesday, Tuesday will be picked up Wednesday, Wednesday will be picked up Thursday, Thursday will picked up Friday, and Friday will be picked up Saturday.

Lynn Public Schools are closed today. Check in with the city’s website at for further updates.

Visit for updates for Lynnfield; for updates for Marblehead.

The winter parking ban remains in effect in Nahant.

Nahant Public Schools are closed today.

In Peabody, a parking ban was issued at 6 a.m. Sunday and remains in effect until further notice. As with Lynn, cars must be removed from the streets to avoid being ticketed and towed.

There will be no trash collection today, resulting in a one-day collection delay for the remainder of the week.

Peabody Public Schools are also closed today. Follow the city’s website at for updates.

A parking ban went into effect in Revere at 6 p.m. Sunday. Residents should be aware of the list of emergency arteries and not park on these streets until the ban is lifted.

Cars parked on emergency arteries will be towed for the duration of the parking ban. Visit for more information.

Trash collection appears to remain on schedule.

Revere Public Schools and offices are closed today, according to the city’s website.

A town-wide parking ban took effect in Saugus at 10 p.m. Sunday and will continue until 6 a.m. Tuesday, unless lifted sooner.

Trash and recycling collection is canceled for today. Collection will then run on a one-day delay from Tuesday through Saturday this week.

Follow for more updates from the town.

In Swampscott, the snow ban began at 8 p.m. Sunday and will remain in effect until further notice. There is no on-street parking during this time.

Trash and recycling collection is delayed by one day all week.

Swampscott Public Schools are closed today.

Visit the town’s website at for further updates on the snow ban and other cancellations.

Friends grant gives students a chance to study the sea

Thomas Campbell and his father Tom study species in tide pools at  Northeastern Marine Science Center in Nahant.


LYNN – The Friends of Lynn & Nahant Beach have awarded a $5,000 grant to support marine education in the Lynn Public Schools.

The award, to the Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center in Nahant, will allow their staff to offer marine science programs to students at the Aborn, Brickett, Harrington, and Hood elementary schools.

“This is all about providing marine education activities and programs in the elementary schools closest to the ocean,” said Robert Tucker, president of the Friends of Lynn & Nahant Beach. “Educating the next generation about the importance of the ocean and our beaches is a priority.”

This latest grant brings to more than $10,000 in financial support the Friends have provided to the Center for the Lynn schools since 2014.

The grant will also support the attendance of seven dozen high school students from English, Classical and Lynn Vocational Technical high schools to attend the 2017 High School Marine Science Symposium in March.

Dr. Catherine Latham, superintendent of Lynn Schools, said the grant provides some of the city’s youngest and oldest students with the quality marine science programming offered by Northeastern.

“We thank the Friends for their generosity and continued support,” Latham said in a statement.

Carole McCauley, Marine Science Center Outreach Program coordinator, said the grant allows them to continue to provide environmental literacy in Lynn elementary schools with hands-on marine education activities that help students understand and appreciate their environment.

Last year, the grant reached 775 Lynn elementary school children.

Friends is a 25-year-old organization whose mission is to enhance Lynn’s shore and Nahant Beach state reservations by partnering with residents, educators, elected officials, and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The nonprofit raises money through membership dues and grants to pay for school programs, a summer concert series and other events.

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

Eyes on the skies for snowfall

Lynn’s fleet of snow plows are ready for the storm.


If you live on the North Shore, you’ve probably heard the news that snow is coming.

The storm could bring upward of 12 inches of snow to areas throughout the state, said a Wednesday press release from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).   

“The weather forecast is calling for snow to begin before the morning commute on Thursday, become heavy quickly, and continue throughout the day, decreasing visibility and braking time,” Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin said in the release.

Even as commuters and residents monitor news stations about forecasts, city officials urge them to check local municipal websites, paying particular attention to emergency parking bans and school cancellations.

In Lynn, an emergency parking ban was scheduled to go into effect at midnight Wednesday, the city website said.

Vehicles that park on a public street or sidewalk may face a $155 tow fee and a $35 storage fee in addition to parking tickets. Parking is available at the Ellis Street Municipal Lot (School Street side) and the MBTA garage at Broad and Market streets with a charge of $4 per vehicle, the website said.

Lynn Public Schools are also closed on Thursday. Parking is available but limited at all school lots, and residents are advised by city officials to remove vehicles after the snow ban to avoid ticketing and towing.

“There’s no need for a list; it’s simply all schools,” the mayor’s chief of staff John Krol said about parking in school lots during the storm. “We don’t want any confusion.”

Icy-road crashes mark morning commute

The Peabody Police Department announced an emergency parking ban to be in effect at 11 p.m. Wednesday, according to an email from the department.

In Lynnfield and Saugus, residents were advised that trash and recycling pickup will be delayed due to the anticipated snowstorm.

Lynnfield trash and recycling scheduled for Thursday of this week will be picked up Friday; trash and recycling normally picked up Friday will be picked up Saturday.

“We’ve got salt, we’ve got plows ready to go,” said Lynnfield DPW Director John Tomasz.

The town of Saugus issued a parking ban, effective at 6 a.m. Thursday through 6 a.m. Friday, Feb. 10, the town website said.

Parking is available in the Saugus High School upper lot on Pearce Memorial Drive.

Saugus Youth and Recreation announced on Facebook that all of their events will be canceled Thursday. This includes after-school club, youth wrestling and basketball.

In Swampscott, schools will be closed for the day, according to a message sent out to parents by Superintendent Pamela R.H. Angelakis. DPW Director Gino Cresta said he plans to put an emergency snow ban into effect at 2 a.m. Thursday.

Cresta recommends that residents try to stay off roadways during the storm.

“We’ll be out there as soon as the first snowflake hits,” he said.

Nahant Police Lt. J. Paul Manley said a regular winter parking ban is already in place and all vehicles should be removed from town streets.

The snow parking ban in Revere will begin at 8 a.m. Thursday and apply to specific streets listed on the city website, said DPW foreman Paul Argenzio.

Revere Public Schools are also closed Thursday, according to the city’s official Facebook page.


Lynn council costs out middle school plan


LYNN — Voters will be asked to fund two new schools during a special election on March 14.

The City Council unanimously approved putting a question on the ballot asking voters to approve the $188 million project, which would be for the construction of two schools to serve students in the Pickering Middle School district and West Lynn.

Voters will also see a question asking if the project should be allowed to be exempt from Proposition 2 1/2, which places limits on the amount a community can raise through property taxes.

Voters would be responsible for an estimated $75 million, or $200 annually for the next 25 years on their tax bills. The Massachusetts School Building Authority would reimburse about 60 percent of the funds, or $113 million of the project’s total cost.

Real deal: $7.5M sale in Lynn

In a previous interview with The Item, City Attorney James Lamanna said under the city charter, the council was required to put the question on the ballot. Voter consent is required for any bond in excess of $4 million.

If voters approve the funding, a 652-student school would be built near Breeds Pond Reservoir off Parkland Avenue. A second 1,008 student-school would be constructed on McManus Field on Commercial Street. If voters reject the measure, the city could lose the state money.

Officials in favor of the project, including Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and Superintendent Dr. Catherine C. Latham, spoke about the need for new facilities to keep up with increasing enrollment.

Kennedy said there has been a 17 percent increase in the student population over the past five years. Latham added there are more than 16,000 students in Lynn Public Schools, making it the fifth largest district in the state.

Kennedy said she couldn’t emphasize enough the education inequity occurring at the middle school level, after the new Thurgood Marshall Middle School opened. She said it wasn’t right that students in the Pickering district have to go to a school of inferior quality, or that students in the Breed district are squeezed into a school that is overcrowded.

“The only way the city can bear the $200 million approximated price tag of these two schools is to do this as a debt exclusion,” Kennedy said. “I can’t emphasize enough how much we need to have these modern middle schools in the city of Lynn.”

Latham said if the schools aren’t approved, the district would be in dire need of more classroom space. There might need to be a return to half-day kindergarten, she added.

Donald Castle, president of Protect Our Reservoir, Preserve Pine Grove Cemetery, said the land on Parkland Avenue belongs to Pine Grove Cemetery. The city’s law department became aware of documents from 1893 in the fall suggesting that the land belongs to the cemetery.

“We’re not against the schools,” he said. “We’re against the site.”

Lamanna said it’s the opinion of the law department that the city owns the land, and would prevail in court if challenged.

Following the unanimous vote, city councilors weighed in on the potential schools. City Council President Darren Cyr said building two new schools to replace 100-year-old buildings was about providing students with the same opportunities kids in neighboring communities have.

“If we don’t build these new schools, we could have as many as 40 to 50 kids in a classroom,” Cyr said.

City Councilor Dan Cahill said Lynn can’t be a community of folks who don’t invest in their youth. “If we don’t make this investment, I’m really afraid of what’s going to happen in the city of Lynn,” he said.

In other news, a public hearing was set down for Feb. 14, regarding moving 57 custodians from city employment to the jurisdiction of the school department.

Michael Donovan, the city’s Inspectional Services Department director, said the move was to meet the net school spending requirement. When they worked for the city, he said, their health insurance didn’t work toward net school spending. If the move is passed, their benefits would be going toward that.

Donovan said the custodians are working for inspectional services now, which cleans school buildings. They would just have a different employer in the school department.

“The school will be paying for them if this proposal passes,” Donovan said.

Gayla Cawley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley


Lynn students draw the line on fire safety

Student Leakhana Ngeth and art teacher Angeliki Russell react during the Lynn Fire Department safety recognition awards ceremony.


LYNN — Lynn students are doing their part to extinguish a burning problem in the city.

The Lynn Fire Department and Lynn Public Schools collaborate annually to hold a poster contest with a fire safety theme. This year’s competition was focused on the importance of checking your fire alarms and changing them every decade.

Every year, far too many people are injured or killed as a result of a fire that could have been prevented, said Deputy Fire Chief Stephen Archer.

“Many of these injuries and deaths could have been prevented by having working smoke detectors,” he said.

Out of more than 5,000 entries, nine were declared contest winners; three elementary, three middle and three high school students. The three first-place posters have been transformed into billboards and are on display in Wyoma Square.

“The project is good because it gets (the kids) thinking about how important it is to make sure their smoke detectors are working,” said Sarah Gilberg, a Lynn English High School senior who took third place. “A fire can really destroy everything.”

Soleil Chea, a fourth-grader at Brickett Elementary School and second-place winner, said her interest in art grew when she was in the first grade and her favorite style is abstract.

“It’s pretty honoring to be on a billboard,” Chea said. “It was really fun. It’s important because if you don’t check your alarms it can be very dangerous.”

Lynnfield looks to limit marijuana sales

The competition is a continuation of a project first funded three years ago by a federal grant. More than $295,000 from the U.S. Fire Administration allowed firefighters to install about 5,000 smoke alarms in 1,700 homes

Earlier this year, Dean Foods, also known as Garelick Farms Lynn, made a $10,000 donation to further the initiative, which is spearheaded by Lt. Israel Gonzalez from the Fire Prevention Division.

The money funded the purchase and installation of about 100 alarms in the homes of Lynn Public School students. It also pays for firefighters to visit the children’s homes and talk to families about fire safety and prevention, cooking safety, electrical hazards and other common fire causes like candles and dryers.

The average two-family home should have seven detectors, and single-family homes should have three to four smoke detectors, he said. Many low-income households lack the devices all together, and others have alarms that have far exceeded their 10-year expected lifespan. Recent models have a built-in battery that can’t be changed out, to help ensure the devices are replaced often.

“I’m so pleased,” said Gonzalez. “We get to see so many entries. The fire prevention message is getting into students’ homes.”

State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey commended the fire department, public schools and Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedys office for their collaboration on the project.

“To put forward such an important message is such a great thing,” Ostroskey said. “It’s a great thing for the students and it’s a great thing that they bring that message home and spread the word.”

Each of the nine winners were presented with a citation from the Fire Marshal’s office, another from the city and a new iPad.

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

New schools would cost $200 per household


LYNN — The city council is set to put a question on the ballot in March that asks taxpayers to fund two new schools.

Voters will be asked to pony up an estimated $75 million, or $200 annually for the next 25 years on their tax bills for a pair of schools that would serve students in the Pickering Middle School district and West Lynn.

The school committee voted last week to request the council take the action. Under the city charter, the 11-member council is obligated to put the question on the ballot, according to James Lamanna, the city’s attorney. Voter consent is required for any bond in excess of $4 million. A special election is expected to be held Tuesday, March 14.

If approved, a 652-student school would be built near Breeds Pond Reservoir off Parkland Avenue and a second facility to serve 1,008 students would be constructed on McManus Field on Commercial Street.

Kane’s makes a tasty wager

Officials say the $188 million project is needed to accommodate the growing enrollment. Today, there are about 16,000 students in the Lynn Public Schools. But it has been increasing at a rate of 3 percent, or 500 new students annually, according to Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy.

“Enrollment continues to grow and we are out of space,” said Thomas Iarrobino, secretary of the Lynn School Committee.

“If voters reject the bond, we could be at a point where we were many years ago when we offered only a half-day kindergarten. Public schools are everyone’s right and everyone’s tax responsibility.”

The other factor in play is the contribution from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the quasi-independent state agency that funds school projects. The department would contribute about 60 percent or $113 million of the project’s total cost. But if voters reject the bond authorization, the city stands to lose the state money.

The proposed construction has been controversial. Dozens of Pine Hill residents have expressed their opposition to the potential new middle school near Breeds Pond Reservoir citing traffic concerns. They have threatened a lawsuit.

But last month, the Pickering Middle School Building Committee reaffirmed its decision to locate the school off Parkland Avenue.

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

TECHnological advancement

Carter Brinkler and Reece Archer of Lynn Vocational Technical Institute look at a robot from last year before designing this year’s robot.


LYNN It wasn’t that long ago that Rosie the robot maid on “The Jetsons” was strictly a figment of an animator’s imagination.

Today, a Scooba vacuum can wash your floors while you sit and watch TV. A Looj can clean your gutters, Agent 007 can patrol your home and Dressman can iron your shirts while you nap.

Who knows, the next robotic invention might be developed by a member of the STEAMpunk Tigers, a group of some 30 Lynn high school students taking part in the FIRST Robotics Competition, which kicked off Jan. 7 at Northeastern University.

According to the event’s website, St. Mary’s (the Phalanx) and Swampscott (the Currents) high schools are also in the competition.

Saugus steps into another dimension

We’re in the engineering lab at Lynn Vocational and Technical Institute, and Malcolm Paradise, engineering instructor at LVTI, is helping about a dozen team members try to make sense out of the 120-page rulebook.

Nearby, Carter Brinklee and Reese Archer are dismantling a robot chassis from a previous competition, and Eduardo Villatoreo and Nathan Witcomb are working with large, yellow plastic gears and operating a robot that was entered a few years ago, hoping to get some ideas.

Paradise is one of the faculty mentors, along with Michael Pickering (machine tool technology instructor) and Kevin Ankiewicz (programming and web design teacher). They will train students in whatever side of robotics they show interest in, such as robot design, electrical or mechanical design, fabrication including soldering and machining, controls coding, even marketing or fundraising.

The team is based out of Lynn Tech, giving students in grades 9-12 at the city’s three high schools access to engineering, machining and building facilities for the robots. The team and volunteers, which includes several retired engineers and working welders, meets every day after school from 2:30-8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It’s rare that all 30 kids are in the lab together, given the demands of homework, after-school jobs and the like, but every team member is an active, conscientious participant. And, yes, the team members and mentors eat together.

This year’s competition has a Steampunk theme, where robots must be able to shoot balls into hoppers, among other tasks. The budget limit is $4,000 and they have just six weeks to get the robot running smoothly and able to perform the appointed tasks. Two teams meet head-to-head, with winners advancing in the competition at district and regional events in March, vying for awards and a spot at the championships in Houston and St. Louis in April.

“You fail often, to succeed sooner,” said Paradise. “But 30 smart kids can make a pretty good robot. We are just starting the process, but we’re going at designing a robot full blast.”

Pickering said this is the 11th consecutive year the Lynn Public Schools has competed. “It’s serious business,” he said, adding that the team copped rookie of the year honors in 2006.

“Here in Lynn, GE is offering some excellent job opportunities. The company is having difficulty filling the jobs. People really need the skills we teach here; students are work-ready when they graduate,” added Paradise, who said the school administration is “extremely supportive, both economically and support-wise,” but he admits he’s a bit envious of the funding available to sports programs.

“No knock on sports, but our graduates make a good living off what they learn here. All of our kids go pro.”

For more information on the FIRST Robotics Steampunk Competition, go to

Search for special ed administrator continues


LYNN There will be a delay in bringing a new special education administrator to the schools.

Thursday night, the Lynn School Committee unanimously approved Superintendent Dr. Catherine Latham’s recommendation to repost the position.

“I feel strongly that we have not yet interviewed the candidate we need,” said Latham. “We need someone with district-level experience.”

Latham said six candidates were in the running for the position, with resumes reviewed, interviews conducted and references called.

However, she said none of the candidates had the kind of district-wide experience in a large school system that she feels is necessary to succeed in Lynn.

The school committee has final say on the position and could have gone ahead to appoint a candidate without a recommendation from the superintendent. But the board agreed to repost the position and have Latham present the qualifications she would like to see from candidates to the committee.

In addition to district-wide experience, Latham said she would like to see someone who has a strong curriculum background.

“I hope to have someone in place by July 1,” she said.

Lynn art students show off in Boston

The position will pay about $110,000, but could vary slightly based on experience and education, committee member Jared Nicholson said. He said the person hired would oversee all of the special education services in the Lynn Public Schools.

Prior to the Thursday meeting, members of the school committee unanimously put forward two names for the superintendent’s consideration, Ellen Kelleher-Rojas and Lesia Diego. John Ford, a school committee member, also submitted a third name, Jeffrey Lappin.

But on Thursday night, the members agreed that they should select someone who has Latham’s trust and recommendation.

“On the reposting, I would like to see who is out there,” said committee member Lorraine Gately.

Three seek Special school job


LYNN — Superintendent Dr. Catherine C. Latham is expected to make her recommendation for the next administrator of special education to the Lynn School Committee on Thursday.

Members of the school committee unanimously put forward two names for the superintendent’s consideration, Ellen Kelleher-Rojas and Lesia Diego. John Ford, a school committee member, also submitted a third name, Jeffrey Lappin.

Information on the finalists’ backgrounds, including current job positions, was not made available by school officials on Monday. But Ford said all of the candidates are working in various aspects of special education in Massachusetts school systems.

Latham could not be reached for comment.

Sacred Heart rebooting curriculum

Jared Nicholson, a school committee member, said the position will pay about $110,000, but could vary slightly based on experience and education. He said the person hired would oversee all of the special education services in the Lynn Public Schools.

Nicholson said the committee would have to vote on a candidate, but ultimately hires on the recommendation of the superintendent. Six people were interviewed by the school committee and top administrators publicly last week, and from that pool, three finalists were chosen.

“I thought they had good leadership experience, good subject matter experience,” Nicholson said of Kelleher-Rojas and Diego, the two names he put forward.

He said they were able to discuss formally what their philosophies were for special education, how to run the department and had more relevant experience than the other candidates.

Nicholson said he was looking for experience in a candidate, someone who has in-depth involvement in special education and is ready to take on a position of great responsibility and great importance to the district. He was also interested in the philosophy they bring and the commitment to making sure students have all of the resources they need.

Ford said he also submitted Lappin’s name because he thought he was worth notice.

“I just thought I saw something in him that might be good,” Ford said. “His resume was pretty good.”

With the other two candidates, Ford said he thought they interviewed well and had the experience.

Ford said the superintendent could decline to recommend anyone to the school committee on Thursday, and instead choose to repost the position.

School committee member Donna Coppola said she thought Kelleher-Rojas and Diego had lots of experience.

“It could look like a good match for us, for Lynn,” she said. “We’re trying to look for the right match. For me personally, this job is a very big job.”

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

Barbara Milliken, 80

LYNN — Barbara Jean Ross Milliken, 80, of Lynn, passed away Friday, Dec. 30, at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford. She was the widow of Lorey W. Ross III and Elliot Milliken.

Born in Lynn, she was the daughter of the late Cora H. and Frederick C. Minney.

She was a housekeeping supervisor in Boston hotels for more than 20 years. She later was a lunchroom aide in the Lynn Public Schools for many years.

Barbara had a great zest for life and loved being the matriarch of her large family. Known to many as “Ma Ross,” she opened her home and her heart to all who sought her love and support. The family home in Lynn was a sanctuary for many who sought kindness, a warm meal or just to chat. Many will fondly remember the weekend get-togethers, when Barbara and Lorey were at the center of the fun, showing the youngsters how to dance.

Barbara volunteered for St. Mary’s Parish bingo and Lynn Babe Ruth League. A great friend to her “family” at St. Stephen’s Apartments, she volunteered as floor captain, coordinating holiday celebrations. She organized events for the community such as weekly bingo and trips to Foxwoods.

Barbara loved to travel; Aruba was a favorite destination. She enjoyed playing the slots at New England casinos. She summered in Fairhaven and Wells, Maine.

She is survived by her sons, Lorey W. Ross IV of Gardner, Robert A. Ross of Derry, N.H., Douglas J. Ross of Lynn and his fiancée Marion Swenbeck, Everett C. Ross of Derry and Michael P. Bunaskavich of New Bedford; her daughters, Karen A. Ross-Mantica and her husband Robert of Wells, Maine, Barbarajean Dane and her husband Michael of Fairhaven, Toni L. Ross-Andersen and her husband Donald F. of Pelham, N.H. Also, her foster son, Mark A. Krol of Lynn and foster daughter, Alice (Lee) Balben, and stepchildren Donna M. Singelais and Carol A. Milliken of Lynn and Mark E. Milliken of North Carolina. She was the beloved nana of Danny (Lorey), Robbie, Brandon, Angela, Joey, Annamarie, Samantha, Kelly, Bobby, Steven, Paula, Kristilee, Dougy, Mikey, Mike, April, Amanda, Anthony, Maxx, Olivia and Cooper, and 23 great-grandchildren, and beloved aunt of many nieces and nephews. Also surviving are her sisters, Beverly Chesley and her husband Raymond of Londonderry, N.H., Betty Young and her husband David of Connecticut, Shirley Dyer and her husband Butch of Kentucky and Frederick C. Minney Jr. and his wife Rosie of Germany. Barbara was predeceased by her foster son, Stewart P. McGuinness, and stepdaughter, Nancy E. Bourbeau of Lynn.

Service information: Visiting hours will be in the CUFFE-McGINN Funeral Home, 157 Maple St., Lynn, on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, from 1-5 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. Mary’s Church, 8 So. Common St., Lynn, on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. Interment to follow at Puritan Lawn Memorial Park, Peabody. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Barbara’s memory may be made the American Diabetes Assoc., 10 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701. For online guest book and directions, please visit

Lynn Rotary Club passes the gavel

Pictured are Ray Bastarache, and Steve Upton of the Lynn Rotary. Upton will be taking over the helm of the rotary as Bastarache steps down.


LYNN — Longtime Rotary International member Steve Upton is preparing to be sworn in as the next president of the Lynn chapter.

“I look forward to representing a terrific group of people who help others on a regular basis and ask for nothing in exchange,” said Upton, a Lynn native. “My dream is to keep Rotary going and see its dedicated membership continue to make a difference in the world.”

Upton added he is pleased to be affiliated with an organization that has local, national and international interests at heart. He talked about a recent trip that current president and friend, Ray Bastarache, took on behalf of the Rotary Club. Bastarache went to the Philippines and volunteered at a local hospital for eight days.

“Ray was a transporter of children going into surgery for cleft palate repair. He moved over one hundred youngsters in and out of the operating room. Rotarians do this kind of volunteer work all over the world, and they pay for their own transportation and expenses on these trips.”

Bastarache praised his incoming president and his work with the organization. “I have known Steve for many, many years. He is a wonderful man and committed to this community and the folks who call it home. Rotary is in very good hands as he prepares to take the helm. I am fortunate to call him my friend.”

Peabody reaches out to fire victims

Rotary International, a world renowned volunteer service club that brings professional leaders within local communities together to perform charitable works, was formed in 1905. Today there are more than 34,000 chapters worldwide and a membership of 1.2 million. CNBC recently ranked the club’s endowment, The Rotary Foundation, as No. 3 in its annual Top 10 Charities Changing the World in 2016 list. The Lynn chapter boasts several local leaders and role models in its membership.

Upton, 68, is a retired business administrator for the Lynn Public Schools, having spent 37 years on the job. He and his wife Linda are the proud parents of Edward, Joseph, Melissa and Robert and have five grandchildren.

I am grateful for the good life that I have and thankful for my healthy family. I am in a position where I can help others and it’s great being a member of an organization of like-minded folks. Rotary is quite active in the community, and its 52 members participate in wonderful programs like My Brother’s Table on a monthly basis.”

Upton, a Lynn Classical and Salem State graduate who earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s Degree in Education, said he is humbled to be part of a group that raises scholarship money for local deserving youngsters and has been hosting a Student of the Month Luncheon, honoring eighth-graders from each of the middle schools in the city and their teachers for more than 20 years. He and his fellow Rotarians, along with the Lions Club, also co-host the Annual Football Captains’ Luncheon, held at the Porthole Restaurant. Brotherhood, Riverworks and St. Jean’s Credit Unions also support this beloved tradition.

Jeffrey C. Mills, 69

LYNN — Jeffrey Charles Mills, a life-long resident of Lynn, passed away in his home on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, at the age of 69. Born in Lynn on June 21, 1947, he was the son of the late Joseph and Marion (Holden) Mills. Jeff was raised and educated in Lynn and attended Lynn Public Schools. Jeff had a 32-year career with GE, working in the company’s maintenance and facilities department until his retirement in 2006. Jeff was an avid Sox and Patriots fan and he thoroughly enjoyed his yearly trips to Saratoga to watch the horse races. Jeff also enjoyed time spent on Great East Lake in Wakefield, N.H., where he loved to fish and play cribbage. Jeff leaves his sister, Marcia Kane and her husband, John of Lynn, his nieces; Jennifer Franklin and her husband, Joe of Peabody and Andrea Sisson and her partner, Patrick Wheeler of Lynn as well as his great-niece and great-nephews; Isabelle and A.J. Franklin and Nate and Matt Sisson.

Service information: Visiting hours will be held in the CUFFE-McGINN Funeral Home, 157 Maple St., Lynn, on Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, from 10-11 a.m. followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m. All interment service will be held privately. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Jeffrey’s memory may be made to the Northeast Animal Shelter, 347 Highland Ave. Salem, MA 01970. For online guest book and directions, please visit

No running away from Patriots Day memories

Karen DiLisio stands with her Boston Strong shirt. She was running the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street when the bomb exploded.


LYNN Patriots Day,” a movie about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the subsequent citywide manhunt for the two suspects, will be released in theaters today, but two Lynn survivors, Karen DiLisio and Jordan Avery, are uneasy about it.

“I don’t really plan on seeing it,” said DiLisio, who ran the 2013 Boston Marathon. “It was too devastating.”

DiLisio, a custodian for Lynn Public Schools, said she was less than a mile away from the finish line, or 25.79 miles in to be exact, when two bombs went off near the finish line, killing three spectators and wounding more than 260 others.

Four days later, police captured then 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The other suspect, his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a police shootout earlier that day.

“I was just running along right at the end … before you get to the bridge and I see a bunch of people running toward us,” she said. “There’s a bomb at the grandstand. …Your whole body just becomes like an ice cube. From that moment on, everybody was just like panicking, crying, screaming.”

Lynn couple takes on Boston Marathon

DiLisio said she was on the slower end of her time for the race, because she was a charity runner for the Boston Police Association Cops for Kids with Cancer. She didn’t see the bombs go off, but saw the smoke go off in the sky, and thought it was some kind of celebration. She didn’t realize what happened until people running toward her said it was a bomb.

The Lynn runner said her husband, mother and her then 5-year-old son, Luke, were waiting for her at the finish line and saw when the first bomb went off. DiLisio said it took her a while to get in touch with her husband in the aftermath, since she doesn’t usually run with a cell phone. She was walking around borrowing people’s phones.

Despite the chaos, she and her family were uninjured. But her son was traumatized for a while. DiLisio said she had to bring him to the doctor a few times. The following year, she ran the marathon again, but told her husband and son to stay home. She plans to run again next year, for her seventh marathon.

Karen Dilisio preps to run sixth Boston Marathon

Avery was a medical first responder at the finish line. He was assigned to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) that day, and was expecting to deal with dehydration issues and potential cardiac events from runners. But he said first responders are always prepared for mass casualty incidents.

Avery said he plans to see the movie today. He was asked to participate in the movie, along with other survivors and first responders. At first, he accepted the invitation, but after sitting and thinking about it, he changed his mind.

“That situation that day was a real situation,” Avery said. “It was an act of terrorism. I remember it every day. I don’t go one day without thinking about what happened at the 2013 marathon … I just thought that participating and being there would bring back more flashbacks and I didn’t really want that to happen.”

He’s prepared for seeing live video from the bombing when he goes to see the movie. Avery said just seeing the trailers has brought flashbacks. He’s hoping that the movie sticks to the facts and doesn’t add to what happened.

“I’m all for watching,” Avery said. “I just hope it’s what actually happened and not glorified … I hope they don’t treat it as a moneymaker.”

The movie stars Dorchester native Mark Wahlberg, J.K. Simmons, John Goodman, Kevin Bacon and Michelle Monaghan.

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

Fred R. Laramie, 59

LYNNMr. Fred R. “Rick” Laramie, age 59, of Lynn, died on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, at his home, surrounded by his family, following a courageous battle with cancer. He was the loving husband of Pamela (Parziale) Laramie with whom he shared more than 26 years of marriage.

Born in Saugus on March 3, 1957, Fred was the son of the late William and Barbara (Bailey) Laramie. He was raised in Lynn, attended Lynn Public Schools, graduated from Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, Class of 1975 and was a lifelong resident of Lynn. Fred served honorably for 21 years in the Massachusetts Army National Guard. He had a 23-year career with the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA), first as a driver and later as an inspector, retiring last November. Following retirement from the MBTA, Fred began working at Jet Blue Airways and was there up until his illness. For the past few seasons, he worked locally for the North Shore Navigators overseeing concession operations along with his wife Pam and daughter Ashley. Fred was a member of Local 600 Inspectors Union. He enjoyed bowling, playing darts and his frequent trips with his family to Twin Rivers Casino. Fred loved spending time at his summer cottage in New Hampshire but was definitely a homebody. He was always involved in projects at home to keep him active, but what was most important to him was the time he was able to spend with his family. Fred was always in attendance and involved in the many activities that his children took part in and will always be remembered for that love and support he provided unconditionally.

In addition to his wife Pam, Fred is survived by his children Ashley Laramie of Lynn and James Enquist and his wife Danyell of Mt. Vernon, Wash., his brother Thomas Laramie of Lynn, his sister Rosalind Stokes of Beverly, his mother-in-law June Parziale of Lynn, his brother-in-law Anthony Parziale and his wife Lisa of Saugus, other close family members including Pamela Fleuriel, Diane Neves, Amanda Parziale, Carol Salerno and his many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother William Laramie.

Service information: A funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, in Sacred Heart Church, Lynn, at 1 p.m. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. Visiting hours will be held on Friday at the SOLIMINE Funeral Home, 426 Broadway (Rt. 129), Lynn from 4-8 p.m. Donations in his memory may be made to To Show We Care, 15 Kent Rd., Gloucester, MA 01930 or at Directions and online guest book at

Making friends in a new language

Alida Robles, whose second language is English, talks with Harvey F. Rowe Jr. as part of a conversation group. The group is the equivalent of a college student learning a language by conversing with a native speaker.


LYNN — At 10 a.m. they were strangers.

But after an hour, a group of English language learners and members of the city’s Rotary Club were fast friends.

Nearly two dozen immigrants and Rotarians gathered at the Lynn Economic Opportunity Inc. (LEO) offices on Wednesday for the launch of the Conversation Group. The pilot program for Head Start parents who are learning English is intended to improve their speaking ability through practice with native English speakers.

Josefina Barrios, 40, a Kelly’s Roast Beef cashier, came to the U.S. in 1995 from Guatemala. She signed up for the English language class at Catholic Charities.

“Having regular conversations in English helps me speak better and my skills are getting stronger,” she said. “It’s helping me.”

Barrios was paired with Stephen Upton, a retired Lynn Public Schools business administrator, who used a series of open-ended questions to encourage Barrios to share details about her life — in English.

“I just like the chance to help people,” he said. “The motto of the Rotary is service above self. When I learned that this class was looking for people to have conversations with immigrants in English, I just loved the idea and signed up.”

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Catherine Vigue, a Catholic Charities program coordinator, said the Rotary sessions were arranged so English language learners can get experience having conversations.

“This helps them out in the real world,” she said.

The effort is an example of LEO’s two-generation approach to delivering early child care, according to CEO Birgitta Damon.

“We build upon the skills and resources of parents as much as we focus on developing children’s readiness for kindergarten,” she said in a statement.

Alida Robles, a cashier at Marblehead Village Market, 37, said she came to the U.S. where wages are higher than her native land.

“This program is awesome,” she said. “It’s a way for me to figure out if my English is good. And people tell me it is.”

Kathleen McDonald, LEO’s development director, who got to know Robles Wednesday, said these immigrants are making connections to native Lynners.

“There’s an added benefit to learning about each other’s worlds that you get while you’re practicing English,” McDonald said.

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

Robert J. Badger Sr., 81

LYNN — Mr. Robert (Bob) J. Badger Sr., age 81, of Lynn, died Thursday in Union Hospital from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was the husband of Angelina E. (Santoianni) Badger, with whom he shared 60 years of marriage. A lifelong Lynn resident, he was the son of the late Alfred and Myrtle (Goldthwaite) Badger. He was a graduate of Lynn Classical High School, Class of 1953, which is where he met his wife, Angie.

Bob worked as a carpenter for the Lynn Public Schools until his retirement in 2002. He had also worked as a custodian for many years at Lynn English High School. He enjoyed golfing at the Linderhof Country Club in Glen, N.H., and was also an avid skier and bowler. He and his wife enjoyed traveling and spending time at their second home at Linderhof. A devoted husband, father and grandfather, he attended all of his grandchildren’s school and sporting events as well as teaching them how to golf and play cribbage. His grandchildren looked forward to making homemade pasta with him every Christmas. He also enjoyed spending time with his extended family and friends.

In addition to his beloved wife, he is survived by his daughter; Anmarie Donnelly and her husband Stephen of Lynn; three grandchildren; Kathryn, Ryan and Patrick Donnelly of Lynn; his sister-in-law; Ann Bernazzani of Swampscott; his daughter-in-law; Laurie Josefek-Badger of Fitchburg, Mass.; as well as many nieces and nephews. He was the father of the late Robert J. Badger Jr.; brother of the late Alfred Badger and Joan Tower, and brother-in-law of the late Rose and Pepi Ferrini, Eleanor and Tony Dragonetti, Nickoletta Santoianni, Frances and Jerry Mitchell, Phyllis and Johnny Leo, and Joe Bernazzani.

Service information: His funeral will be held on Wednesday at 9 a.m. from the SOLIMINE Funeral Home, 426 Broadway (Rt. 129), Lynn, followed by a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. in Holy Family Church, Lynn. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Lynn. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. Visiting hours are Tuesday from 3-7 p.m. Those who prefer may make donations to the Alzheimer’s Association, 480 Pleasant St., Watertown, MA 02472. Directions and guest book at

12-, 13-year-olds charged with rape


LYNN — Two minors who were arrested for rape this week are due back in court on Dec. 12.

A 13-year-old boy was taken into custody at Fecteau-Leary Junior/Senior High School on Wednesday afternoon and a 12-year-old boy was arrested Thursday at about 11:30 a.m. at Breed Middle School, said Lynn Police Lt. Rick Donnelly.

Each boy has been arraigned in Lowell Juvenile Court and charged with one count of aggravated forcible rape of a child, according to Meghan Kelly, spokeswoman for Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan’s office.

“The events that resulted in arrests did not happen on school property or at a school-sponsored event,” said Dr. Catherine Latham, superintendent of Lynn Public Schools. “There is an ongoing active police investigation in process about which I am unable to comment.”

Parents were not notified of the arrests because it would complicate the investigation, Latham said.

Kelly said she could not disclose where or when the incident occurred because it is a juvenile case.

“In cases involving minors charged as a delinquent and involving allegations of rape or sexual assault, this office as well as police departments would be restricted from releasing information pertaining to the case and must withhold such information,” she wrote in an email.

But Lynn police made the arrests as a courtesy to the North Reading Police Department, where the charges came from, Donnelly said.  

The prosecutor assigned to this case is Assistant District Attorney Rachel Perlman.

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

43,000 reasons to love books in Lynn

Paola Rodriguez was one of many people sorting over 43,000 books for First Book at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute prior to distribution.


LYNN About 43,000 new books will be given to children in Lynn Saturday morning at the Lynn Vocational Technical Institute Annex building.

Teachers and Lynn Public Schools staff can pick up 50 free books each from the building at 160 Neptune Blvd. beginning 9 a.m.The distribution will open to the general public from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Families can choose five books for each child.

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Brant Duncan, president of the Lynn Teachers Union, worked with First Book, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide disadvantaged children with new books. The organization has distributed more than 150 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the country.

An 18-wheeler truck arrived at the school at the beginning of the week and 26 pallets of books were unloaded. Groups of volunteers are gathering this week to sort the books by age level, Duncan said.

“Some of the high school groups are helping with sorting over the next few days,” he said. “The ROTC kids from Lynn English, the SkillsUSA kids from Lynn Tech, and a community service club at Lynn Classical are helping. All of the different community groups are helping with the efforts is impressive.”

As part of the program, the Teachers Union raised $9,000 and registered 500 people with First Book. Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy served as a guest bartender at the Porthole Restaurant to raise money. A second fundraiser was held at Rolly’s Tavern on the Square. The rest of the cash came from donations.

“The fun thing is that the $9,000 is not lost,” Duncan said.

Each school will have a $300 credit to the First Book Marketplace, an online store that offers children’s books at prices 50-90 percent below retail value.

“The exciting thing is that different schools have different programs and they will have control over what they order,” Duncan said.

Schools are eligible for the program if at least 70 percent of the children they serve are from low-income families, according to First Book’s website.

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