Lynnfield Street

McGee: Every morning I’ll wake up determined

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

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

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

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

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

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

I think I can make a difference, McGee says

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

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

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

Contaminated factory site up for sale

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Waste and wetlands violations were found at 143 Lynnfield St. during an investigation by the city and state.

By ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — Just when city officials were starting to breathe a sigh of relief over cleanup efforts at the former L. Fine Factory property on Lynnfield Street, new questions are being raised about the possible sale of the 12.58-acre property.

Earlier this week, the property was advertised with a $3.1-million asking price by Engel and Volkers, a high-end real estate company out of Boston. The property is currently owned by Kevin Hoag/143 Lynnfield St. LLC, which bought the property for $600,000 in 2013.

But Ward 1 City Councilor Jon Turco is asking for a legal opinion as to whether the real estate company can advertise the potential for up to 120 multi-family units on the property.

“The problem that you have with this is that the advertisement states that they are going to develop 120 multi-family homes,” said Turco. “I’d like to refer that ad to the city solicitor and have a ruling on whether the city can prevent that from being advertised because this is actually an IL (light industry) zone and housing is not allowed.”

Friends who walk together, talk together

Turco said he doesn’t understand how the realtor can advertise the parcel falsely and said he wants the city solicitor to rule whether the ad is legal or not.

“The site consists of (three) parcels totaling 12 acres with a 96,000 (square foot) former mill building located on site that is ideal for a multi-family conversion into brick and beam style apartments, one of the most sought after types of product by today’s renters,” the real estate ad states.

Rodney Scott, the Engel and Volkers agent listed on the real estate ad, could not be reached for comment.

The contaminated property has caused consternation for city officials for years. In March, a state-ordered cleanup of debris piles and oil tanks got underway. An Administrative Consent Order (ACO) issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection required the owner to remove more than 99 oil tanks from inside the building and several dozen more from outside the building within 90 days.

As cleanup of the site progresses, the property owners will have to continue to meet certain benchmarks throughout the year. Turco said that if the property is sold, the new owners would have to continue or complete any necessary cleanup efforts, but that a sale could delay the efforts to decontaminate the property in a timely manner.

An opportunity to ‘Ask a Muslim’ in Lynn

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — As the Trump administration tries to stop the flow of immigrants from Muslim countries, a local Islamic group is opening its doors to the public.

The Islamic Society of the North Shore (ISNS) is hosting “Ask a Muslim” next Sunday from 1-6 p.m. at its mosque on Lynnfield Street.

It’s an opportunity to join in a conversation, ask questions and learn about the faith and the mosque’s role in the community, according to the flyer posted at City Hall.

Muslims are a growing population in Massachusetts. Of the 6.8 million Bay State residents, more than 81,000 — or 1.2 percent — are Muslim, according to the Association of Religion Data Archives. The Lynn area has an estimated 2,000 Muslims.

ISNS bought their 8,772-square-foot building in 2012 for $290,000. Their goal is to make improvements to the facility so that it accommodates 800 people.

Sunday’s gathering comes as President Donald Trump signed a scaled-back version of his controversial ban on many foreign travelers hoping to avoid a new round of lawsuits while fulfilling a campaign promise.

His order still bars new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries and temporarily closes the nation’s refugee program.

GOP health care bill collapses day of vote

The revised order eliminates some of the most contentious aspects in an effort to surmount the court challenges. Trump’s first order, issued one week after his inauguration, was halted by federal courts.

But last week, judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked his newest executive order that was expected to take effect March 16. The courts rejected arguments from the government that the amended travel ban was substantially different from the first one, using the president’s own words as evidence that the order discriminates against Muslims.

This is not the first time local Muslims have reached out to the community. One year ago, three American Muslims, John Robbins, Kemal Bozkurt and Mona Haydar, participated in a panel discussion at Nahant Town Hall where they answered questions about the Islamic faith and their experiences as Muslims in America.


Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com.

MBTA could cut some local bus stops

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Pictured is a low-ridership bus stop at the corner of Lynnfield Street and Great Woods Road.

By THOMAS GRILLO

SAUGUS — The MBTA plans to ax 13 local bus stops and others in Lynn and neighboring communities, claiming they are rarely, if ever, used.

The T surveyed more than 7,500 bus stops in its system to determine how often they are used, identify barriers to accessibility, determine if the locations meet safety guidelines and whether capital improvements are necessary.  

If the transit agency approves the changes, Saugus stands to lose the most in The Item coverage area. Other stops on the cut list include four in Swampscott, two in Nahant and one each in Lynn, Peabody and Revere.

But if they go, it appears they won’t be missed. In nine of the 22 stops, the T found that the average number of daily boarding was zero. In all the others, fewer than two people boarded the buses each day.

Still, Michael Serino, the Saugus liaison to the transit agency, said he can’t understand why the T would choose to drop any stops.

“It doesn’t make any sense to me because they have to drive by them any how,” he said. “There are a couple on Broadway and on Walnut Street that should not go. We’re still looking at and evaluating the list.”

Buses serve more customers than any individual train line, according to MBTA data. In fiscal 2015, there were about 113 million MBTA bus trips, compared to about 88 million on the Red Line, the busiest subway line.

On a recent morning, there was no one waiting at the Lynnfield Street at Great Woods Road stop, the only one in Lynn that made the list. The same was true for a pair of stops in Saugus at 153 and 221 Main St. that are also targeted for elimination.

The MBTA said its goal is to improve service by making bus stops accessible, convenient and safe for boarding and disembarking.

If stops are eliminated, typically there is another within 750 feet of the stop proposed for elimination, the T said.

Do you recognize this MBTA assault suspect?

In terms of handicap accessibility, the T identified several examples of  “critical” bus stops including one on Walnut Street opposite Birchwood Avenue in Saugus. The bus stop sign is behind a guardrail next to a body of water and riders must board in the breakdown lane.

A review of bus stops throughout the T’s system identified 209, less than 3 percent, where there is no accessible path to board from a sidewalk so that passengers must get on and off the bus in the street.

Laura Brelsford, the MBTA’s assistant general manager for accessibility, said 133 of those stops are very strong candidates for elimination, with 99 percent of them serving fewer than 10 riders per day.

The agency said it won’t take any action until it hears from communities. It wants to know if a municipality has road projects underway to improve accessibility at bus stops or if there are other factors that local officials would like the MBTA to consider before final decisions are made.  

The MBTA is hoping to receive feedback from cities and towns by April so it may take steps during construction season to eliminate bus stops no longer needed or unsafe, improve signs or make capital improvements to increase accessibility and improve customers’ experience.

Bus stops proposed for elimination

Lynn: Lynnfield Street at Great Woods Road

Nahant: Nahant Road, opposite Little Nahant Road, One Nahant Road

Peabody: Lynn Street, opposite Spring Pond Road

Revere: North Shore Road at York Street

Swampscott: Salem Street opposite Stanley Road, Salem Street, opposite Aycliffe Road, 212 Salem St., opposite 58 Humphrey St.

Saugus: 221 Main St., Main Street, opposite Harmon Road,  Winter St opposite Riverside Park, opposite 190 Main St., 153 Winter St., Main Street at Harmon Road, Winter Street at  Johnson Road, Walnut Street, opposite Birchwood Avenue, Walnut Street, opposite Great Woods Road, Walnut Street, opposite Fairmount Avenue, Walnut Street at Elm Street, Broadway at Osprey Road and Broadway, opposite Osprey Road.


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

My funny Valentine

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Jane Parent and Mark Bennett tell the story about how they got engaged as their dog Sheila sits with them.

By BILL BROTHERTON

Granted, everyone’s engagement story is special and unique, but some are more special and unique than others. With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, here are the stories of two Lynn couples that will tug at your heart and bring a smile to your face.

Mark Bennett and Jane Parent

It’s a good thing bowling was canceled, or Mark Bennett and Jane Parent might have never gotten married.

The couple has been together for some 26 years. They met when both were helping friends move into a house in Danvers. “Mark and I bickered over how to tie the furniture down in my truck,” said Parent, who grew up in Salem. On March 2, 1991 their friends hosted a skating party in the Meadows behind their home, the two connected and that was, as Humphrey Bogart said, the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

They never felt an urge to get married, since they have no children together. But now that they’re both 62 years old, it made sense to “make it legal” from a financial viewpoint since common law marriage is not recognized in Massachusetts. “We own a house together. Believe it or not, we are actually grownups,” said Parent.

Bennett, a mail handler at the US Postal Service’s Processing and Distribution Center in North Reading, said he and Parent always “at some point in time planned to get married.” The Beverly Farms native found out that Lynn City Hall was open Tuesday nights and a justice of the peace could be provided. He told Parent.

“I can’t get married on a Tuesday. I bowl on Tuesdays,” she said.

Parent, until recently a surgical technologist at Winchester Hospital, has been bowling with the Kardettes for more than 30 years every Tuesday night at Sunnyside Lanes in Danvers. The guys played cards every Tuesday night at the Polish Club in Danvers, and this group of now-“AARP-eligible married and single women” decided to make their own fun.

And then in 2015 a holiday miracle happened. Bowling had been cancelled the week between Christmas and New Year’s. “I have no bowling that night, so let’s get married,” Parent told a bemused Bennett.

“He said ‘OK,’” she continued. “There was none of that getting down on one knee stuff.”

Bennett asked if his bride-to-be wanted a ring. “Why would I want a ring? I’ve got my mother’s beautiful ring.”

So, on Dec. 29, 2015, Mark Bennett and Jane Parent tied the knot at Lynn City Hall. “It was snowy and slippery, a messy night,” added Bennett with a laugh. “We got it done, and then we had dinner at the Blue Ox. It was wonderful.

“We came home and then I went to work.”

Was there a honeymoon? The two flash an are-you-serious look. “Jane went to St. John’s with the girls and I went to Americade (Motorcycle Rally) in Lake George, N.Y., with some friends.” They both had a spectacular time.

“Our relationship to each other was sobriety,” added Parent, sharing the couch in their Lynnfield Street home with Bennett and their German shepherd Sheila. “It’s been easy to work things out rationally.”

“We accept a higher power. This, Jane and our life together, is the gift that’s been given to me. … Sometimes it’s been a good gift,” said Bennett with a smirk.

“We had rented in a mobile home park in Peabody for 11 years,” said Bennett. “Jane said ‘We need a house. We need a garage we can put our bikes in.’ I joke that we bought a garage with a house attached.

“Adventures with Jane has been the theme of our relationship,” added Bennett. “My life has been filled with adventures I never could have envisioned. My tendency is to be conservative. I’d fly to San Diego to visit my sister, but not Jane. She researched and planned 16 days on motorcycles all the way to Mexico, and then we rode into San Diego.”

“We’ve been very blessed,” added Parent.

Do they have special Valentine’s Day plans? “Hmmm. Well, there’s no bowling that Tuesday night, so who knows,” said Parent.

Brian and MaryBeth Maes

For years, Brian Maes’ friends had urged him to check out MaryBeth Linehan, a sassy singer from North Billerica. “You two would be perfect together,” they insisted, and they were talking about a romantic partnership rather than a musical one.

Maes, a successful musician in his own right who has played in bands with Peter Wolf, Barry Goudreau and other notables, said “uh, huh” and dragged his feet as men are wont to do.

One evening, his band and her band were rocking the house on different floors at the former Bleachers club in Salem. “I heard her sing and thought, “Wow. She can really sing and she’s beautiful.’ I vividly remember crossing paths with her and her band in the back stairway that bands used at Bleachers.”

Still, Brian did nothing.

A frustrated mutual friend, Lou Spagnola, the bassist in the band Fortune, tried to intervene. One night at the Crackers bar in Beverly, matchmaker Lou approached MaryBeth and asked “Do you want to meet my friend for coffee?” MaryBeth snapped, “What are we, in middle school? No!”

Spagnola eventually got them together. He invited MaryBeth to an open mic night Brian was hosting. They found a table, and Lou walked over to Brian: “I’m going to the bathroom. Go over and make idle chit-chat.” He did. He was smitten.

That was in 2001. “It was magic,” said Maes. “I had to tell myself to calm down, don’t scare her away. The feeling stayed with me for the whole ride home.”

MaryBeth, sitting next to Brian on a couch in the music studio next to their Garfield Avenue home, said she felt the sparks too. Soon after, MaryBeth took voice lessons from Brian; afterward they went for pizza at Prince in Saugus. A bit later she attended a special studio session Brian was doing.

“My closest friends were there. Dennis Tully, Guy Pond, Patty Barkas. All three said ‘Brian, what’s with this girl? You two are amazing together.’ Patty told me to ‘marry that girl and impregnate her immediately.’”

Brian asked MaryBeth on a date. To a middle school production of “The Wizard of Oz” that starred then-11-year-old Annie McNerney, one of his voice students. The man behind the curtain had finally mustered some courage.

“It was a magical first date,” Brian said. “On May 20, 2001,” they sing in unison. They became engaged on Dec. 9, 2002, MaryBeth’s birthday.

“I was determined to propose on her birthday,” said Brian. “I went to the Jewelers Building in Boston. I had the whole thing planned out.” Brian put the ring in his jacket pocket, the one closest to his heart.

They met up and walked to the Frog Pond ice skating rink on Boston Common. Brian was a nervous wreck. “It was wicked cold. I was afraid I was going to lose the ring.” While they were skating, Brian started his well-prepared proposal. “I love you. Things are, um, really good. We’re doing so good.” An inexpert skater approached and nearly ran into them. Brian started again. “We’re doing so good…” MaryBeth said “Yes. We are.”

“I’m about to pop the question,” said Brian, with a laugh, “and this same guy comes toward us yelling ‘Please move. I’m out of control.’”

Brian cleared his throat and started again. “We’re doing so good…” MaryBeth said “Yes. We’re doing so good. What’s wrong with you?”

“What are you doing for the rest of your life? We’re doing so good…” MaryBeth accepted. “It was like ‘Love Story,’” said Brian.

They walked arm-in-arm to the Theater District, saw the musical “Stomp,” ate Thai at Montien and then saw “Blue Man Group.” Afterward, they stopped for a nightcap at the Tam, the quintessential Boston dive bar. The old timers sitting at the bar bought them shots. MaryBeth found a pay phone on the street and called her parents: “ ‘I’m engaged.’ My parents were very excited.”

A justice of the peace married them on March 16, 2003 upstairs at the Lyceum restaurant in Salem with about 60 family members joining the celebration. Among the revelers were Brian’s 94-year-old Uncle Gil, who “danced with all the pretty girls and carried around a coffee cup that was full of whiskey.”  They honeymooned on the West Coast of Ireland. MaryBeth was pregnant with their daughter Madeline, who is now 13 and a budding musician.


Bill Brotherton is The Item’s Features editor. He can be reached at bbrotherton@itemlive.com.

Down in the dumps in Peabody

COURTESY PHOTO
Ward 1 Councilor Jon Turco said he sees uncovered debris at the site of 143 Lynnfield St. in Peabody.

By LEAH DEARBORN

PEABODY The City Council voted Thursday night to take a stand against possible illegal dumping at a property where the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection found hazardous waste in March.

The council voted at a meeting to block the entrance to the property at 143 Lynnfield St. with a barricade, which Ward 1 Councilor Jon Turco said will likely be erected as soon as Monday.

A second motion was made to hold a Public Safety Meeting on Jan. 5 with city department heads present.

Protesters sound off on school plans

The issue was brought to the council’s attention by Turco, who said he first noticed dumping at the property in February 2016.

Turco said he saw two men pushing 55-gallon drums onto the property. The councilor said he was told at the time that the substance was sewer waste from a water tank in Braintree.

After the incident, Turco contacted the Peabody Fire Department to alert them to the dumping but said he now wishes he had gone directly to the police to file a criminal complaint.

Instead, state officials got involved and a joint investigation by the city and state found hazardous waste, solid waste, asbestos waste and wetlands violations at the property, said Edmund Coletta, a record response coordinator for MassDEP.

Sharon Cameron, director of Health and Human Services in the city, found evidence of continued dumping months later during a June visit to Lynnfield Street that was outlined in an email to city officials.

City administration was ordered by the state to withdraw from the case shortly after the initial investigation to avoid interference.

Coletta said the owners of the property have appealed all violations found against them to MassDEP and the case is now on hold with an appeal hearing scheduled for Dec. 29.

Attempts to reach property owner Kevin Hoag/143 Lynnfield St. LLC on Friday were unsuccessful.

“I do believe anything they dump might be hazardous because we don’t know what it is,” Turco said about the activity at the site. “I do believe they continue to dump materials that should be tested.”

Turco said he checks on the site regularly from his home on Lynnfield Street. He said he saw uncovered piles of debris and an excavator shortly before Thursday’s meeting.

“That whole area was once finishing,” said Councilor-at-Large David C. Gravel in reference to the tanneries that once operated near the site and left their own pollution behind.

“The stench used to be horrible,” Gravel said. “There’s nothing pretty about the leather industry, it’s why it’s not around anymore.”


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

Residents rail against Pickering plans

PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
Peter Grocki argues against the Breeds Pond Reservoir site plan for a potential new Pickering Middle School.

By LEAH DEARBORN

LYNN — On Wednesday night, residents at a public forum had another chance to weigh in on potential new Pickering Middle School sites.

Project architect Gene Raymond of Raymond Design Associates, Inc. presented information about the project before a crowd that nearly filled the auditorium of the old Pickering.

The forum focused on the site near Breeds Pond Reservoir off Parkland Avenue, which has drawn heavy criticism from residents at past meetings.

One of the more contentious points discussed over the course of the evening was the possibility of private homes being removed in order to provide the new school with two points of access.

Of the potential areas being considered for a school location, only the reservoir site would require the taking of private homes by eminent domain.

Raymond said one option is to create a route across from Richardson Road, which would require the removal of two homes. The Lynnfield Street option would take one home at the end of Shoemaker Road and another at the end of Severance Street. A third option near Basse Road would not require the removal of any homes.

Raymond added that the results of an ongoing traffic study may help shed light on the best location.

“Don’t tell us this is a plan, then tell us you’re going to take someone’s home,” said Gayle Chandler of Parkland Avenue during the public commentary session. Chandler added that residents should continue to fight the development in court if necessary.   

Ellen Barr of Richardson Road voiced traffic and safety concerns. She said parking along Parkland Avenue already begins early in the morning and that it’s a common route for large trucks.

Other residents were angered by the encroachment of the development on Lynn Woods and Pine Grove Cemetery.

“The woods across the street from the cemetery is the cemetery,” said Donald Castle of Bellevue Road.

Attendee Elizabeth Sutherland, who lives on Woodside Terrace, said she was skipping school for the night to come to the forum.

“By the time I had a flier in my mail it was only a few days from when something was happening,” said Sutherland.

Former city councilor Joseph Scanlon, who also lives on Parkland Avenue, said he was at the forum to listen.

“I’ve been to all three meetings and they seem to change all the time,” said Scanlon.

The forum was the third of its kind and Project Manager Lynn Stapleton said there will be another sometime in the next several weeks to discuss the proposed McManus Field middle school site.

Stapleton said that while a formal recommendation should be forthcoming from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) on Nov. 9, there’s still another year in the development process left to go.

Middle school offers a lesson in NIMBY

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Residents of 103 Parkland Ave. in Lynn are against building a new middle school in their back yard.

By GAYLA CAWLEY

LYNN — Residents will get a chance to sound off on the potential new middle school that would be built near Breeds Pond Reservoir off Parkland Avenue. A public forum will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the Pickering Middle School Auditorium..

The third public forum on the construction of two new middle schools will be hosted by the city, Lynn Public Schools and the Pickering Middle School Building Committee.

The forum will focus on the Breeds Pond Reservoir site, which Project Manager Lynn Stapleton said has provoked the most opposition from residents in prior sessions.

In October, the city’s School Building Committee approved the construction of two schools that would serve students in the Pickering Middle School district and West Lynn.

Under the $183 million proposal, 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 built on McManus Field on Commercial Street.

The fourth public forum, which will focus on the McManus Field site, will be held before Thanksgiving, Stapleton said.

Plans have been submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), the quasi-independent government that funds public schools. If approved, the agency would contribute $114.5 million towards the two schools, or 62.5 percent of the cost.

If approved by the MSBA and taxpayers, it would add $163 annually to the real estate tax bill for 25 years.

Stapleton said Wednesday’s forum will be about informing residents that the city is proceeding with the Reservoir and McManus sites.

“There is a great need for two schools because of the population and at this point, the city is willing to pay a significant share of the cost of two schools,” she said. “If we pass on this opportunity, the city is never going to be able to afford to pay for these two schools on their own. We’re really looking to find a compromise so we can take the benefit of the state paying the majority share of this, while attempting to minimize the impact on the city.”

Stapleton said studies are underway to look at the traffic on Parkland Avenue and Wyoma Square. Part of the studies will look at how to choose the correct school entrances and exits that will have the least effect on traffic.

Michael Donovan, the city’s Inspectional Services Department chief, who is also a member of the school building committee, acknowledged that there will be more traffic at the new school site.

“No matter where the school goes, there will be traffic impacts in the morning and the afternoon because we will be bringing 650 students in and out daily,” he said.

But he said the Parkland Avenue location near Breeds Pond Reservoir will have less impact than another proposed site on Magnolia Avenue because it’s near the Sisson Elementary School and the existing Pickering Middle School, which will likely be reused as an elementary school.

“Parkland Avenue is better suited to handle traffic than Magnolia Avenue,” Donovan said. “This small school won’t even be seen from Parkland Avenue or Lynnfield Street.”

A drawback to the Magnolia site is that there is a Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) pipe located on the property that provides water to Swampscott and Marblehead. The pipe would have to be relocated, which city officials estimated would cost up to $800,000.

Another potential issue with the Parkland Avenue site comes from documents from 1893 the city’s law department recently became aware of suggesting the land belongs to Pine Grove Cemetery.

Brian Field, Lynn resident and funeral director at Solimine Funeral Homes, said he thought the proposed land for the Reservoir site would become an extension of Pine Grove Cemetery in the future. In the next 10 to 15 years, he said, Pine Grove is going to become full, leaving people to travel up to 15 miles away to bury their loved ones at a greater expense.

Field said in the city, there is still a large religious community that prefers a traditional burial.  

“The city obviously needs schools,” he said. “The issue I have with Parkland Avenue is the intended use was to be for a cemetery. It’s almost like they want the courts to decide.”


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

Thomas Grillo contributed to this report.

Reps will try to get Goodwin Circle straight

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Lynnfield Town Hall.

BY ADAM SWIFT

LYNNFIELD — An additional lane entering Goodwin Circle westbound from Salem Street could ease traffic for motorists in Lynnfield, Peabody and Lynn.

State representatives from the three communities sent a letter to Paul Stedman, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) District 4 highway director, to request the lane reconfiguration.

“We believe that adding a left lane by narrowing the existing traffic island would allow for an exclusive right hand turning lane,” said Thomas Walsh (D-Peabody), Bradley Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and Donald Wong (R-Saugus).

The entrance to the rotary carries traffic primarily from Lynnfield Street in Peabody, as well as additional vehicles from Casco Road in Lynn.

Adding a left lane on Salem Street westbound by narrowing the existing traffic island would allow for an exclusive right-hand turning lane, the letter said. The right lane would direct cars to the ramp for Route 1 North and South, Route 128 North and South, and Route 95 North.

The goal of the lane change is increased traffic flow and a reduction in the bottleneck during the morning rush hour westward along Lynnfield and Salem streets.

“The recent lane adaptions on the eastbound lanes of Salem Street coming from Route 1 have had a tremendously positive impact on the evening traffic flow,” the letter said. “We suggest that a similar reconfiguration on the westbound side would produce the same positive results. This would significantly improve the morning commute.”

Although the representatives have made the request for the rotary work to MassDOT, commuters aren’t likely to see any construction at Goodwin Circle in the near future.

There are no plans for the project other than the letter sent to Stedman, Jones said. As of Friday afternoon, the representatives had not received a response.

 

Smoothing the road in Swampscott

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
New paving will be installed on Humphrey Street in Swampscott beginning June 13 through June 30.

It will get worse before it gets better but there are several reasons to think Humphrey Street paving work slated to start on Monday will yield improvements for drivers, business owners and merchants and property owners along the busy street.

There is no question traffic lane and parking restrictions necessitated by the work will be a pain in the posterior through the end of June as reconstruction work takes place. Reconstructing a small side street is an inconvenient but tolerable experience. But repaving a major thoroughfare like Humphrey that serves as a commuter artery is going to be an experience demanding patience and positive attitudes from all concerned.

Humphrey sees steady small town foot traffic that intensifies in the summer months when walkers, joggers and restaurant-goers clog the sidewalks. Even moderate traffic can slow to a crawl as drivers turn off Humphrey or stop and parallel park.

Humphrey has seen its share of new building construction in recent years and it makes sense to match property improvements with an upgraded roadway. New street features will include sidewalk curb extensions designed to slow traffic.

At first glance, the sidewalk work seems to not make sense on a street already experiencing heavy traffic. But the extensions along with repainted crosswalks will enhance pedestrian safety once the road work is done.

With the Hadley School located a short distance off Humphrey, it makes sense to include pedestrian safety as one of the project’s intended improvements.

The Humphrey Street road project underscores the glaring need for more state money to be spent on Lynn area roads. Humphrey is the perfect example of a busy road doing triple duty as a commuter route, access road transitioning into a scenic parkway (Lynn Shore Drive) and as a neighborhood street that is home to local residents.

Other roads across Lynn, Revere, Saugus and other communities play similar multi-purpose transportation roles. But state commitments to spend money and map out project schedules for local roadways are maddeningly slow.

Building a new bridge across the Saugus River between Lynn and Saugus took years. Planning and construction on the Broadway-Wyoma Square-Lynnfield Street reconstruction is also stretching over a several-year time period.

It’s worth noting that Western Avenue in Lynn and Lynnfield Street are state-designated (routes 107 and 129) roadways that deserve elevated state attention and spending and completion commitments.

Repaving work on the Lynnway and Lynn’s inclusion in the North Shore scenic byway road network are positive improvements, but the region needs to see more projects like Humphrey Street get off the ground.

Lynn teen struck by car

PEABODY — A 13-year-old Lynn girl was struck and injured by a motor vehicle Saturday night.

The victim was hit while crossing Lynnfield Street. She was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for an unknown extent of injuries, Peabody Police Detective Michael Crane said.

The driver of the vehicle, De Lam, 56, of Salem, was cited for speeding and failure to yield to a pedestrian, Crane said.

Shooting, chase lead to arrest of Lynn pair

BY GAYLA CAWLEY

LYNN — Two men were arrested after a shooting led to a police chase last Friday.

Officers responded to 122 Essex St. on a report of a gunshot. Upon arrival, police were met by a 40-year-old man who lives in the second floor apartment. The man directed officers to a 37-year-old man who pointed to a bullet hole in the bathroom ceiling of his second floor apartment. The hole appeared to come from the third floor, according to a police report obtained at Lynn District Court.

The man officers initially met with then told police that he had observed a new silver Chevrolet with New Jersey plates speeding from the building. An officer relayed that information to other police and soon another officer reported that he was behind a vehicle matching that description, the report said.

Officers forced their way into the third floor apartment where the bullet hole was believed to have originated. No one was inside. But a shell casing was found in a room above where the bullet hole was located. In the same room, officers found twists of white powder, a scale, a larger bag of brown powder, believed to be heroin, and two plants that appeared to be marijuana, according to the report.

Officers secured the scene until a search warrant was obtained. Police learned from the second witness who showed them the bullet hole in his bathroom that he was eating dinner when he heard a loud bang upstairs and people ran downstairs. He then noticed the hole in his ceiling, but didn’t see the people who left, according to the report.

While awaiting the search warrant, officers saw a man and woman get out of their car and walk up towards the third floor. The man, Randely Lora, 22, told police that he lived in the secured third floor apartment. Due to the large amount of narcotics in his apartment, Lora was arrested and charged with heroin and cocaine trafficking and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card, according to the report.

During this time, an officer reported he was behind the suspect vehicle that fled the building. He followed it on Lynnfield Street. Inside the vehicle appeared to be two black men. The officer reported that he attempted to stop the vehicle by putting on his lights and siren, but it accelerated and didn’t stop. Police followed the vehicle onto the rotary and onto Route 128 North, according to the report.

The vehicle pulled over on Route 114 by Kappy’s Liquor Store and Honeydew Donut Shop near Peabody and a man jumped out and ran towards the rear parking lot. The vehicle then continued on Route 114 towards Peabody, with the pursuit terminated for traffic and public safety reasons. Officers chased the man, identified as Miguel Mantilla, 29, on foot, who ran towards a wooded area behind the building and through a marsh. Mantilla refused to stop. Police were then joined by Peabody, Danvers and State Police, along with a State Police helicopter. Mantilla eventually emerged from the marsh and said “I give up” with his arms up, according to the report.

Mantilla was ordered at gunpoint to turn around and after complying was arrested. He told police he lived at 122 Essex St. Officers learned he had an outstanding warrant. He was charged with heroin/morphine/opium trafficking, according to the report.

Lynn Police Lt. Richard Donnelly said the investigation is ongoing and Mantilla could have charges pending. He said it is still unclear who pulled the trigger that precipitated the events.


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

Lynn states case for new middle schools

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Gene Raymond of Raymond Designs explains the pros and cons of each potential site.

BY BRIDGET TURCOTTE

LYNN — The city is considering building two new schools to replace Pickering Middle School.

Architect Gene Raymond of Raymond Design Associates, Lynn Stapleton, the project manager, and city officials discussed options for the new facilities with residents Wednesday night.

Construction is expected to start next spring and take more than two years to complete.

Raymond and Stapleton worked on the $67 million Thurgood Marshall Middle School project.

This is the first in a series of public forums on building options and potential school locations.

The city is working with the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which has authorized construction of a facility equipped to hold up to 1,660 students.

Stapleton said the team is considering a two-school solution, with a total capacity of 1,600 students. The plan would alleviate overcrowding at Breed Middle School and prepare the city to educate an influx of students in coming years, she said.

Breed has 1,300 students and is designed to hold about 900, Stapleton said.

The larger capacity would accommodate about 1,000 more people in the district, and take students from Breed, Raymond said.

“One thousand, six hundred students would probably make it the largest middle school in the commonwealth,” he said. “Putting that all in one neighborhood in the city is really going to stress whatever neighborhood that is.”

Raymond also said that renovating the existing Pickering building would be “impossible and a tremendous waste of the city’s efforts and money.”

The designers are considering a dozen locations citywide, each with different permitting timelines and feasibility, he said.

Sites such as Gallagher Park and Magnolia Park were among contenders. But any open space taken for the project must be replaced elsewhere in the city, he said.

Union Hospital was considered. But the site was quickly rejected because of opposition to it’s closure, and Raymond described Barry Park as a “bathtub” during a storm.

Wetlands and traffic implications were also factors for many of the sites.

The team concluded that two “least impactful” sites are McManus Park and what they call a “reservoir site” on Parkland Avenue.

Flooding in the McManus Field neighborhood is ocean flooding, rather than rainfall, Raymond said.

Ward 6 Councilor Peter Capano said regardless of where the flooding comes from, it’s a problem in the neighborhood when it rains. He suggested developers coordinate with Lynn Water & Sewer Commission to resolve the problem before construction begins.

Resident Brian Field expressed concerns that the Parkland Avenue parcel is controlled by the Cemetery Commission and will need to be used for a cemetery expansion of the Pine Grove Cemetery within the next decade.

Michael Donovan, building commissioner, said city attorneys completed research to  determine the property is city-owned.

“These two are probably the most viable options,” Raymond said. “They’re both not jammed up against neighborhoods.”

He also had a plan for getting to each of the schools to avoid nearby Wyoma Square, which is often a bottleneck. Cars traveling from the north would follow Lynnfield Street to Averill Road. From the south, they would travel on Richardson Road, he said.

Those who hadn’t had the opportunity to see the new Marshall Middle School, got a first look through a slideshow presented by Superintendent Catherine Latham. The presentation highlighted aspects of Marshall that will be seen in the new school or schools.

Latham expects the new school will feature a cluster system, much like the one at Marshall. The children are separated into separate clusters of about 120 students. The clusters are color-coded and have all of the primary classes in one area of the building.

“We will be doing the same for Pickering,” she said.

The new school will also have the same electives offered at Marshall, including sewing, directing, and art classes, Latham said.

“These subjects make students want to go to school,” she said.

The next forum is scheduled for June 22.


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

Thomas McGee discusses 4.5-mile MBTA extension

ITEM PHOTO BY BETH BRESNAHAN
David Mohler, transportation department planning director, speaks at North Shore Community College.

By THOR JOURGENSEN

LYNN  State Sen. Thomas M. McGee said extending the Blue Line on the North Shore’s commuter rail lines could make Massachusetts a national model for smart transportation.

Speaking at a transportation spending hearing at North Shore Community College on Wednesday, McGee urged state officials to boost a $14.4 billion spending plan over five years to more than $20 billion.

He said making the Blue Line extension a priority “ties into economic opportunity” for Lynn and the North Shore.

“That project is imperative to the region,” he said.

Under discussion for years, the Blue Line extension project would extend the subway above ground by 4.5 miles from the Wonderland stop in Revere to Lynn.

McGee said connecting it to the nearby commuter rail track and operating Blue Line trains on the rail can be done with signaling upgrades and other minor changes.
The Lynn Business Partnership’s James Moore said the group has long advocated for the Blue Line expansion and plans to continue making the project a priority.

Daily Item CEO Beth Bresnahan said commuter rail service does not meet transit riders’ needs. She said expanding the Blue Line “will provide economic opportunities currently beyond our reach.”

State Rep. Brendan Crighton and Lynn City Council President Dan Cahill also spoke in favor of the expansion.

David Mohler, the state’s transportation department’s planning director, said state oversight boards will vote on a final capital investment plan on May 23.

Other proposed area projects including the $41 million Belden Bly Bridge replacement; $3.4 million to resurface Lynnfield Street from Wyoma Square to Great Woods Road and $15.4 million worth of Route 1 resurfacing work.


Thor Jourgensen can be reached at tjourgensen@itemlive.com

Coyote ugly in West Lynn

Item Photo By OWEN O’ROURKE
Gina Ricupero talks about the coyotes she saw across the street from her home on Osborne Street in Lynn. Her dog Bella wouldn’t stop barking at them.

By THOR JOURGENSEN

LYNN — The strange howling that woke Gina Ricupero up at 2 a.m. last Tuesday prompted her to walk out to her Osborne Street front steps where she spotted a pack of coyotes a couple of dozen yards away from her home.

“I saw three or four run up the hill. I thought, ‘Maybe it’s a freak thing, but I’m concerned — they are obviously hungry,” she said.

Ricupero is right, said city animal control officer Keith Sheppard, who has logged six coyote sighting calls this month, including one from a Michael Road resident. Sheppard said coyotes broaden their search for food beyond areas they typically roam — like Lynn Woods next to Michael Road — when snow covers the ground.

“It’s very normal to have wildlife come into a residential area for a short period of time to look for food,” Sheppard said.

Normal or not, Ricupero isn’t fond of coyotes roaming in her neighborhood since many residents own small dogs. She is keeping an extra close eye on her dog, “Bella,” and her son, Joseph, watches his dog, “Chip,” outdoors.

“A snowplow driver told me to be careful the other night. ”He said, “I just saw a coyote jump a four-foot fence,” Ricupero said.

Osborne borders the King’s Lynne Apartment housing complex with wooded areas butting up against the small hills the complex is built on. Ricupero said the sound of howling at night worries her.

Sheppard said he has not received coyote reports specific to King’s Lynne, but said he recently received a report about a cat killed by a coyote in a neighborhood off Lynnfield Street. Michael Road abuts Lynn Woods and he said the call pinpointed a neighborhood where coyotes might stray beyond their habitual territory in search of winter food.

He responded to the call and did not find a coyote, but advised local residents living near wooded areas to be alert for wildlife during the winter. An animal spotted on residential property should not be approached or fed and Sheppard urged anyone spotting a coyote or other animal to jot down a description of the animal’s appearance and behavior following the sighting.

He said the information helps him locate a coyote or other animal and determine if the animal is sick.

“We’re not getting calls for sick or aggressive coyotes,” he said.


 

Thor Jourgensen can be reached at tjourgensen@itemlive.com.

Pedestrian struck in Lynn on New Year’s Eve

By GAYLA CAWLEY

LYNN — A female pedestrian was struck by a motor vehicle on New Year’s Eve, and is suffering from multiple injuries following the accident, Lt. Rick Donnelly said.

Susan Osborne, 61, of Lynn, was struck by a motor vehicle at approximately 4:59 p.m. on Dec. 31 at 130 Lynnfield St. The driver, a male Rhode Island resident, was not cited for the accident, Donnelly said.

Osborne’s injuries were not considered serious at the time and she was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital Boston for treatment. A hospital employee later contacted Lynn Police with an update that Osborne had multiple broken bones and a cranial bleed. The last update received by police was that she was stable, but incubated, and was scheduled for a Jan. 2 surgery, Donnelly said.

The cause of the accident isn’t known as police haven’t been able to speak with Osborne. The accident is under investigation, Donnelly said.