North Shore

A city of two tales

PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
Hoana Cortez and Robert Miller stand April 17 at a vigil for the two men shot on Exchange Street.

To paraphrase Dickens, it was the best of times and the worst of times in Lynn this week.

The worst was first. An Easter Sunday shooting in Central Square that left one dead and another hospitalized.

Then came the best. Bookended by a Monday night vigil at the shooting site and Thursday night’s gathering at Zion Baptist Church to show solidarity for Prince Belin and remember the late Leonardo Clement, four unrelated events took place simultaneously Tuesday:

Friends of the late Wendy Meninno Hayes gathered to remember a woman who defined her life with charity and friendship; the city Humans Rights Commission hosted a City Hall forum entitled, “Focus on Asian Americans;” the committee behind the successful April 6 kickoff of “Beyond Walls” met to plan the next steps for a downtown revitalization effort that envisions murals and classic neon signs lighting up the city’s center by July; while experts who make a living out of reimagining cities converged on the Lynn Museum and let their imaginations roam free in the “Visions for Lynn” discussion.

One night in Lynn.

Perhaps the most startling was the Visions discussion. Designers and academics let their minds wander on a long leash and imagined the city’s waterfront becoming a sort of futuristic Venice with canals. They conceived a pedestrian-friendly wastewater treatment plant, the Lynnway Learning Lab — a futuristic high school with rooftop gardens — and a public safety facility doubling as a community gathering place.

Visions and Beyond Walls demonstrate the imagination that is the fuel propelling a new vision for downtown.

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All of this might sound like so much idle speculation by academics and hopeful residents — until state Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash’s perspective is factored into the equation.

Commenting in the Boston Globe’s Sunday Magazine on April 16, Ash called Lynn one of those “gritty blue-collar North Shore communities that are poised to move up a notch or two or three.”

Ash’s comments merit close examination, especially when they are spotlighted against the backdrop of Beyond Walls and Visions.

Lynn could be one of the ‘top spots to live’

The former Chelsea city manager knows what it takes to revive a city. As the state’s top development chief, Ash joined Gov. Charlie Baker, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, Mayor Judy Flanagan Kennedy, Lynn’s state delegation and city development officials in creating the LEAD (Lynn Economic Advancement Development) team in November, 2015, to bring federal, state, and local resources to bear on revitalizing Lynn.

His remarks to the Globe are proof positive he feels that commitment is ready to pay off.

By accenting all that is positive about their city, Lynn residents are drawing a map for success and they are narrowing the focus on the city’s problems. Lighting downtown and adorning it with murals and sculpture offers an opportunity to step back and ask, “OK, what needs to get fixed downtown?”

The answer may come in the form of public safety proposals, revamped zoning ideas or other innovations rivaling the ideas offered by the academics who gathered on Tuesday at the Lynn Museum.

During her life, Wendy Hayes helped provide the answer through the selfless charity she showed Lynn residents. A Saugus native with a brilliant smile who died last August, her legacy and memory lives on with friends who knew her as the co-owner with her husband, Rolly, of Rolly’s Tavern on the Square.  

Lynn’s diversity can also provide the answer. More than 10 percent of people who live in the city are of Vietnamese, Khmer and Laotian descent. They built businesses, bought homes and Tuesday’s commission meeting is a first step to giving them the chance to contribute positive ideas.

The great news about positive ideas is that they spur imaginations and generate additional ideas. The energy that filled downtown and the city this week is proof that only imagination defines the realm of possibility for Lynn.

North Shore Community Promise: free tuition

ITEM PHOTO BY SPENSER HASAK
North Shore Community College will offer a “free college” pilot program starting in the fall.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

LYNN North Shore Community College is launching a program that will help students who don’t qualify for full financial aid go to school for free.

The school is seeking 100 new, full-time students to apply for the North Shore Promise Award pilot program, which will launch in the Fall 2017 semester. The initiative offers free college to prospective students who are being priced out of higher education because they are not poor enough to qualify for full federal and state grant aid but also can’t pay out of pocket.

NSCC will be the first community college in the Northeast to offer a self-funded free college program.

“Commonwealth residents are opting out of pursuing post-secondary education and training as the sticker shock of a college degree and pervasive stories of crippling student debt have many questioning the return on college investment,” NSCC President Patricia A. Gentile said in a statement. “This is especially true for lower and middle income families who are rapidly being priced out of the college-going market. And this is especially bad news for area employers competing for skilled and credentialed workers.”

Gentile said years of analyzing the school’s enrollment led to the realization that there are a significant amount of potential students who, despite the relative affordability of community college, fall into the gap of not believing they can afford an education. Annual tuition and fees for a full-time student total $6,060.

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“With a booming economy, these folks are choosing employment but we know that without post-secondary qualifications they are at great risk for unemployment or lack of advancement potential when the economy declines,” Gentile said. “NSCC is committed to making college affordable for even more students to achieve the life-long dream of a college degree with less student debt.”

Applications are being accepted at the school on a first-come, first-serve basis for the first 100 qualified students. Interested potential students need to apply for the award and be accepted by May 1.

To be eligible for the award, potential students must:

  • Enroll as a new student with at least 15 credits in an eligible Commonwealth commitment pathway or an eligible NSCC program for the Fall 2017 semester
  • Be a Massachusetts resident
  • Have a high school GPA of 2.3 or higher
  • File a 2017-18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to May 1
  • Be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant
  • Be willing to complete a degree at NSCC in two-and-a-half years or five continuous semesters
  • Meet NSCC’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements throughout enrollment

Gentile said the school anticipates that most of those who will take advantage of the program will be first-generation college goers who likely come from more disadvantaged North Shore neighborhoods.

“These are the folks who are having the most difficulty affording the cost of a college degree, yet they compose the largest untapped pool of underdeveloped talent for those future high and middle skilled jobs,” Gentile said.


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

 

Zion Baptist Church marks 115 years

ITEM PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
The committee for the 115th anniversary of Zion Baptist Church, from left: Brenda Womack, David Murray, Thelma Riley, the Rev. Dr. Kirk B. Jones, Starry Poe, Rochelle Bluefort, Brenda Newell, and Deacon Jerry Alleyne.

By GAYLA CAWLEY

LYNN — Zion Baptist Church will celebrate its 115th anniversary in June, marking the occasion with a banquet fundraiser and a service.

Zion Baptist Church is the oldest continuous black church on the North Shore in the same location, according to Deacon Gerald Alleyne.

The anniversary is on June 22, 115 years after Zion Baptist Church opened its doors in 1902. A two-day celebration will mark the anniversary, with a jazz banquet on Saturday, June 24 at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Wakefield, from 5 p.m. to midnight. The next day there will be a service at Zion at 10:30 a.m.

The church has survived two fires, one in 1949, that required the church to be rebuilt, according to a history of the church provided by Alleyne.

Rev. Dr. Kirk B. Jones, the senior pastor, said to come back from the fires demonstrates their commitment to God, to their faith and to the community. He said the church is a resource of inspiration for its members, but it’s also a source of social strength to the community.

“So, as pastor, I see us embracing our past so that we can draw strength to do those things that they did and even more in today’s world,” Jones said.

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Jones said money raised from the banquet will in turn help the church support its continued general programs, other ministries in the greater Lynn community, and a program it has to support those recovering from addiction. He said the banquet is a sign of the church’s commitment through linking spirituality and jazz, something it wants to expand on.

Thelma Riley, anniversary chair, said the goal is to raise $115,000, and the church has asked the congregation and the community for a dollar for every year the church has been in service.

The roots of Zion Baptist Church started with the Loyalist movement during the end of the American Revolution, and the freed slaves who came to Nova Scotia with the promise of land, freedom and work. Around 1880, a considerable number of Negroes who had settled around Annapolis Royal, Digby and Weymouth, Nova Scotia, then settled in Lynn. This group became so large that they wanted their own church to worship, according to a history of the church provided by Alleyne.

“I think it says a lot in the form of being faithful and steadfast,” said Brenda Newell. “When you think about 115 years ago, those persons coming from Nova Scotia, I’m sure that they came with a dream and not knowing what to expect, and when they arrived here and started their small congregation, it was just their faith that I think kept them going and the congregation grew. All that love that was brought here, instilled in the hearts of parishioners, it’s still here today. That has never ceased and that’s something that we can grow on, encouraging each other, loving each other.”


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

Do Lynn & Revere suffer from a grocery-gap?

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

By THOMAS GRILLO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

 

Lynn could be one of the ‘top spots to live’

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — It took a while, but The Boston Globe has discovered Lynn’s real estate boomlet.

In a Sunday Magazine feature on Easter, the city was listed in its “Top Spots to Live: 12 Communities with Soaring Home Prices.”

The piece, under a photo of the former Daily Item building, cited data from The Warren Group. It showed the median price for a single-family home in Lynn has swelled by 59 percent since 2011 to $287,000. Condominium prices climbed to $180,00, up 67 percent during the same period.

There’s a quote from “Johnny, ” a potential buyer who said what brings him to Lynn is price, value, affordability and space.

“We’ve broadened from potentially a condo in East Boston,” he told the Globe. “I’d rather drive farther to have a single-family home and have more space and a yard.”

Also quoted is Jay Ash, the state’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, who said Lynn is one of those “gritty blue-collar North Shore communities that are poised to move up a notch or two or three.”

He should know. Ash, a Chelsea native who served as its city manager for years, has been credited with revitalizing the city just outside of Boston.

“Snap up a single-family for less than $300,000 and start brushing up on your do-it-yourself skills,” the Globe implores.

Yeah, we know.  

Do Lynn & Revere suffer from a grocery-gap?


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

Warren: Unless we fight, they won’t believe us

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren rallies the crowd at Salem High School.

By LEAH DEARBORN

SALEM — “I’m going to say something really controversial — I believe in science,” said U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren to a packed auditorium at Salem High School Thursday night.

Warren was answering one of about 80 questions submitted by attendees to a town hall forum. The inquiry was about how Environmental Protection Agency budget cuts will affect the North Shore, an area with a long history of industrial pollution.

“We need to be thinking about how we are going to keep ourselves going in a world that’s changing around us,” said Warren, who advocated for doubling down on science and infrastructure funding.   

Many of the forum attendees were from Salem, Marblehead, and Nahant, but a few came from as far as Lawrence to ask their questions.

Warren gave a particularly passionate response to a question about how the Democratic party can send a unifying message to voters. The answer lies in action as opposed to a change in branding, she said.

“The reality is, unless we’re going to get out there and fight … no one’s going to believe us,” said Warren. “Why should they believe us?”

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The topic of universal health care came up, which Warren called a basic human right. She acknowledged the existence of issues with the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, but said the constant initiatives to repeal it have stood in the way of making critical adjustments.  

Marblehead resident Jason Mondale brought up a bill Warren introduced with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to decrease the cost of hearing aids.

Warren described the bipartisan bill as an example of a small crack in the law where legislators were able to work for an effective change.  

National issues such as the recent decision by the Trump administration to attack Syria were addressed by Warren, who assured the crowd that the president cannot take additional military action without the approval of Congress. She said if he wants a shot of getting that approval, he will need to explain his plan of action in detail first.

“We are safer when people in other countries are safer,” said Warren. She said in many instances, building partnerships can be more effective than deploying weapons.  

A vocal critic of the Trump administration, Warren is up for re-election next year.

6 face prison for alleged steroid scheme

BOSTON – Three North Shore residents were among the six charged in federal court Wednesday in connection with conspiracy to traffic counterfeit steroids, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Philip Goodwin, 36, of Lynn; Brian Petzke, 49, of Saugus; Melissa Sclafani, 29, of Gloucester; Robert Medeiros, 31, of Gardner; Tyler Bauman, 32, and Kathryn Green, 28, both of Shrewsbury, were charged with conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit drugs and distribute controlled substances.  

The defendants engaged in a scheme to make and sell illegal steroids by purchasing raw materials and supplies, marketing the steroids on social media and selling them, according to the complaint.

It is alleged that the defendants marketed the steroids as being made by “Onyx Pharmaceuticals,” using the Onyx name and its trademark symbol. But Onyx, a pharmaceutical company owned by California-based Amgen Inc., does not manufacture liquid steroids.  

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The defendants allegedly made the steroids themselves, using raw materials imported from overseas, including China.  Bauman promoted the steroids on social media as “Musclehead 320,” claiming he was “sponsored” by “Onyx.”  

In addition, Bauman, Goodwin and Sclafani opened Wicked Tan, a tanning salon in Beverly, which allegedly served as a front to launder funds and purchase supplies for the conspiracy.

If convicted, the defendants face up to 15 years in prison, three years of probation and a fine of $250,000.

Lynn talks transportation

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Ideas about transportation are shared at a public forum in Lynn.

LYNN — Input from North Shore residents at a public forum on Tuesday at the Lynn Museum will help legislators and MassMoves create a statewide transportation vision.

As part of the state Senate’s 2017 Commonwealth Conversations, MassMoves, funded by the Barr Foundation, is facilitating nine public workshops across the state. Lynn was the eighth forum, according to a description of the event. MassMoves is an initiative to engage citizens across the state about their ideas for a 21st century transportation system.

Participants in the workshop were asked to weigh in on potential goals of a 21st century transportation, polling on their importance. Some of the goals were: It should be easier and faster to get around, whether by car, public transportation, walking or biking; transportation should be cleaner, producing far fewer greenhouse gases and other types of pollution than it does today; the transportation network should be resilient, meaning it can bounce back from severe weather; and transportation should use the latest technology to manage traffic and provide real-time information to help residents plan their trips.

“What we do, each event during lunchtime, is what we call MassMoves transportation event, where we talk to people about the current state of transportation in Massachusetts and in their region and then we have workshops where we invite people to tell us what they think about the policy issues and the values that they have,” said Jim Aloisi, former secretary of transportation and a consultant with MassMoves.

“What we hope will happen at the end of this is that there will be a report that will say here’s what we found across the state,” he continued. “What we’re hoping will come out of this is a way to inform the legislature to say here’s how you can advance improving transportation, based on the shared values people have and make those connections.”

Aloisi said preliminary poll data from the previous forums has showed that people have the same values in wanting to focus more on public transportation and a cleaner system. He said decision makers can know the information and then may be able to use that data when they decide to make changes or adopt new policies.

Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) said the forums are important for people to see the broader issues faced in transportation and have a wide range of discussion.

“I think what’s really important is getting the input from the people that came here that were interested enough in transportation to be at the forum at lunch and get their point of view and what they see as important, so it’s going to allow us to shape policy decisions we make, as we look towards creating legislation and a comprehensive plan to address transportation, both this region and around the state,” McGee said.

“When this is completed, we’ll have a complete report of all of input we got around the commonwealth, and then we’ll have a chance to really take a look at it and see where the common pieces are from different districts.”

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Stanley Rosenberg, Massachusetts Senate President, said right now, transportation is fossil fuel driven in terms of vehicles.

“But if we’re going to attack climate change the way we need to in Massachusetts, we have to think about how to move people in goods and other ways that are less impactful on the environment,” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg said transportation is changing. For about 100 years, he said taxis were the standard for the demand response transportation system in the state and across the country. Recently, because of the vast amount of people carrying phones, people on the West Coast decided there was a better way, which created a new structure for demand response transportation. That would be Uber and Lyft, in which passengers  are picked up after they use an app on their smartphones.

Another transportation innovation is autonomous or driverless cars. In the future, Rosenberg said those Ubers might be autonomous.

“The 21st century transportation system has got to be a system that responds … to the changing demographics, to the fact that we have both an aging population and a younger population that has a very different opinion about how they want to get around, so we have to be responsive to both,” Aloisi said. “We need to embrace technology, because like technology or not, it’s here to stay. We also need to do so smartly and strategically so that we understand the implications of technology and we use it to our benefit, and that’s a work in progress because the technology is changing so quickly that it’s hard for people to keep up.

“And it’s only very recently that we’ve had legislation to have some regulation over companies like Uber and Lyft, which are quickly displacing the taxi industry,” he said. “So, we need to act quickly, but we also need to act thoughtfully when it comes to how we regulate and how we manage technology when it intersects with transportation.”

Steve Galante, 56, a Beverly resident who works in Lynn, said the forum was interesting.

“I think we need to improve our current system and then build upon it,” he said. “I don’t think the current one is terrible, but it can definitely use improvement.”

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

 

Spring has sprung

PHOTO BY MARK LORENZ
Susan Clark and Annie Clifford enjoy an afternoon walk at Fort Sewall.

By LEAH DEARBORN

MARBLEHEAD – Walkers greeted some of the earliest spring weather with enjoyment and a bit of skepticism near Fort Beach.

The National Weather Service is predicting highs of nearly 80 degrees this week, but those out in the sun near midday on Monday weren’t convinced that winter has completely loosened its grip on the North Shore.

“I think we’re in for a little bit more of a blustery time,” said resident Annie Clifford as she and Susan Clark walked dogs around the path at Fort Sewall.

Noting the unpredictability of spring in New England as a cool breeze blew up from the water, Clifford said steady warm weather doesn’t tend to show up before May.

“It gives us a bit of a break, though. It feels good on the skin, gets people out in the weather,” she said.

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John Beal and Jennifer Greenspan were in the area for spring break vacation since Greenspan had time off work from her job as a teacher.

“It’s beautiful up here,” said Beal, who added the weather they left behind in New Jersey was quite a bit cooler.

Arlyn Silva, who bought a cottage in Marblehead a decade ago, was taking in the spring air with one of her favorite walking routes up the street from Crocker Park to the fort.

“I hope it stays. I like this,” she said.

Lynn might bump smoking age to 21

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN – The city is considering raising the legal age for buying tobacco to 21, setting a new bar for public health.

“I like the idea,” said Michele Desmarais, Lynn’s public health director. “We need to combat TV ads that suggest smoking is cool and we just want our teens to be healthier.”

The Board of Health will consider a proposal Tuesday at City Hall to increase the age to purchase tobacco products from 18.

So far, 145 Bay State communities have adopted the proposal. There’s a bill on Beacon Hill that would raise the age statewide to 21.

A 2015 report by the National Academy of Medicine concluded that raising the tobacco sale age to 21 will enhance public health and save lives.

The study found that raising the tobacco sale age will reduce the number of teens who start smoking; reduce smoking-caused deaths; and improve the health of adolescents. About 95 percent of adult smokers began smoking before they turned 21, the survey said.

Proponents argue increasing the tobacco age will counter the industry’s efforts to target young people at a critical time when many go from experimenting with tobacco to regular smoking.

Christine Neals, communications manager for the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce, said the organization has not taken a position on the issue.

But Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, said his members oppose raising the age.

“Tobacco is a legal product, let consumers and stores decide what they want to buy and sell,” he said. “On the North Shore, smokers already drive a short distance to buy cigarettes in New Hampshire. If Massachusetts raises the age, more sales will leave the community.”

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Sam Vitali, a Lynn attorney who represents the Mobil station on Chestnut Street, said while merchants are not opposed to raising the age to 21 they will fight two other proposals. One would ban the sale of so-called blunt wraps. Similar to a cigarette rolling paper, they are made of tobacco.

“Why should the Board of Health prevent you from buying a product that is legal today,”  Vitali said.

In addition, he is against another plan that would restrict prices of cigars. Under the new rule, a merchant could not sell single cigars for less than $5.

“Today, I can buy a nip at a liquor store for 99 cents, but I would not be able to buy a $1 cigar,” he said. “It’s totally inconsistent.”

Joyce Redford, director of the North Shore/Cape Ann Tobacco Policy Program said she favors the measure because 18-year-old high schoolers would no longer be able to buy cigarettes and influence their younger classmates.

“It would remove that 18-year-old from high school and make cigarettes less available to eighth and ninth graders,” she said.


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

Big Time wrestlers coming to Lynn

COURTESY PHOTO
Bret Hart (left) will make an appearance at St. Michael’s Hall in Lynn, while Carlito Colon will battle for the BTW Title against Flex Armstrong. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

North Shore wrestling fans will have a chance to catch some top-notch action in the ring tonight when BTW Pro Wrestling comes to Lynn. Big Time Wrestling will host an action-packed event at St. Michael’s Hall in Lynn, featuring an appearance from former professional star Bret Hart.

Hart, who was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2006, has been with BTW since 2007. Fans who attend tonight’s event will have a chance to take part in a meet and greet with Hart and the other wrestling stars who’ll be joining him.

BTW co-owner Stephen Perkins said the opportunity to meet Hart is a special one for any wrestling fan.

“Bret’s a major deal,” said Perkins, who has been with BTW since 2005. “He’s been with us since 2007. He usually makes seven or eight appearances every year for us. We’ll be in Poughkeepsie, New York on Saturday and Connecticut on Sunday, so the way our tour worked out allowed us to bring him to Lynn on Friday. Lynn’s a staple for us, so this is a big deal.”

Joining Hart in Friday’s slate of action is another professional star in Carlito Colon, the former BTW champion. Colon, who hails from Puerto Rico, will take the ring against Flex Armstrong, a Billerica native, in a BTW title rematch.

“To the Puerto Rican population, Carlito’s a big deal,” Perkins said. “ His father (Carlos Colon Sr.) is a huge deal. The Colon family controls wrestling in Puerto Rico, they’re icons.”

BTW has been coming to Lynn since 2005, and usually brings its stars to St. Michael’s Hall twice a year. Lynn has hosted wrestling events since they took place at the old Manning Bowl. The city’s history with wrestling makes Lynn an ideal location for BTW.

“The city has a really good history with wrestling, dating back to shows in the 1980s at Manning Bowl,” Perkins said. “Lynn is a really good city for this.”

Since coming to Lynn 12 years ago, BTW has established a strong fanbase, which is one of its biggest goals.

“We like to establish our towns,” Perkins said. “It makes it easier to establish our fanbases. We always make sure Lynn is on our schedule a couple times a year. The fanbase really appreciates it.”

Thus far, the reaction from fans to tonight’s event has been a historic one for the organization.

“This has been our largest (ticket) presale (in Lynn) ever,” Perkins said. “We’ve had the place at capacity before. Our thrill is drawing a big house, not just about making money, but knowing that you can provide an experience that people won’t ever forget. That’s what we’re doing in Lynn on Friday.”

The event begins with a meet and greet that kicks off at 6 p.m., while the first match of the night begins at 8. Perkins advises fans to arrive at the venue early, as BTW is expecting roughly 200 fans to participate in the meet and greet with Hart.

“The event has a meet and greet beforehand,” Perkins said. “Big shows don’t offer that. It’s a big deal to meet Bret Hart. We expect him to meet 200 people before the show, and we expect the show to sell out.”

Tickets for Friday’s action will be available online on BTW’s website until 3 p.m. They will also be sold at Brother’s Deli and Cal’s News Store. General admission tickets can be purchased at the door.

“Fans will be close to the action, not at the back of a balcony,” Perkins said. “It’s really a different atmosphere. It’s something you need to see. At TD Garden there’s very little interaction. At our events, we’re interacting with the fans. They’re the most important people in the building.”

Krause: What to do about Marchand?

PHOTO BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Boston Bruins’ Brad Marchand (63) and Tampa Bay Lightning’s Andrej Sustr (62), of the Czech Republic, battle for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston. 

By STEVE KRAUSE 

Idle chatter while waiting for the dove to fly back to me with the olive leaf …

Brad Marchand. What do we do about him? There’s no question he’s a talented scorer, a sparkplug, and a guy who the Boston Bruins absolutely need if they’re going to go anywhere.

And his schtick is getting old. Very old.

For those who may have missed it, Marchand speared a Tampa Bay Lightning player in the unmentionables Tuesday night in retaliation for a hard check in front of the net. He was rightfully given a five-minute major, which the Bruins killed off, and a game misconduct. He also faces discipline from the National Hockey League.

Whatever he gets he deserves. Let’s hear no whining about the penalty being too severe (if it is).

His suspension (and I suspect there will be one) is not the issue here. It’s his lack of discipline. Worse, it’s his lack of awareness of how important he is to that team, which means that he cannot keep doing these things. He’s no good to anyone if he’s not on the ice.

I remember an interview once where someone asked Phil Esposito why he never fights and rarely finds himself in the penalty box.

“Can’t make any money in there,” replied Esposito.

Right. That goes for Marchand too. If the Bruins have any chance of winning a playoff game — let alone a series — against the Washington Capitals (their likely first-round appointment), they need Marchand.

It’s funny. Most of the time, we’re kvetching about athletes who are convinced the sun rises and sets on them. Now, I’m wishing Marchand would actually think along those lines.

—–

Kristen McDonnell was the girls basketball coach at Braintree High, a school that has absolutely no relevance to the North Shore except for the fact the Wamps beat English a few years ago in a state semifinal.

But the team that won two state titles and went to the Boston Garden three other times in McDonnell’s tenure (which began in 2009) tells a pretty convincing story of her coaching abilities.

Yet, two days ago, she resigned. And while she didn’t come right out and say it, there’s plenty of scuttlebutt that parental interference was the impetus.

The sad thing is that if this is indeed true, it’s not an isolated incident. Helicopter parents have become a real problem in youth sports.

I’ve experienced a piece of it just in doing this job, listening to parents complain their kids aren’t being played enough, or, they’re not being used right. I once had a parent call me up and say I was costing his daughter a scholarship because of perceived lack of coverage on his part.

Sadly, even the best coaches reach a point where they say enough is enough and move on.

From all accounts, McDonnell was an innovative and creative coach who tried to make it fun, and tried to be as inclusive as possible considering you can only play five kids at a time.

All I can say is good luck to anyone these days who wants to coach youth sports.

—–

The Celtics got a true test of NBA reality Wednesday night at the Garden. The Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James made a resounding statement about what’s in store for them if the two teams meet in the playoffs.

The Cavs showed no mercy, and anyone who thought otherwise is just not paying attention. It’s obvious that a lot of these NBA teams are willing to sacrifice the gaudy regular-season records for fresh legs in the playoffs.

It’s one thing to lose to some Western Conference team if the objective of resting your stars is more important. But losing to the Celtics — the team that’s pushing you? No.

Message delivered. The Celtics will be a little less confident in the playoffs now.

—–

Memo to Craig Kimbrel of the Boston Red Sox: If I had a 98-mph fastball that moved as much as his does, and causes so many hitters to swing and miss (and look terrible doing it), I’d throwing that thing until someone proved he could hit it.

Or, as the immortal Lou Brown said to Rick Vaughn, “forget about the curveball Ricky. Give him the heater.”

Lynn’s Anderson recalls NCAA Tournament experience

FILE PHOTO
Antonio Anderson, left, reached the 2008 NCAA tournament championship game with Memphis. Also pictured are Fred Hogan and Antonio’s brother, Anthony. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

March always brings back special memories for Lynn’s Antonio Anderson.

A former English and Tech basketball player, Anderson is one of a select few of North Shore natives who got the opportunity to participate in the NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball tournament. What makes Anderson’s experience even more memorable is that he and the Memphis Tigers made it all the way to the 2008 final. Although the Tigers fell to Kansas in a heartbreaker, Anderson never forgets the positives of the experience.

“As a kid you grow up watching the Final Four,” Anderson said. “To be in it, knowing you’re one of the top four teams in the country, playing basketball, there’s nothing like it.”

The opportunity to represent Lynn on a grand stage like the NCAA Tournament is one that Anderson never took for granted. He vividly recalls the Lynn community coming together to support him.

“It was awesome,” Anderson said. “It was big for the city of Lynn, the entire city to see a kid from Lynn. A lot of people, they see you and they’re happy for you. I didn’t only represent Memphis, but also myself, my family and the city of Lynn. That meant a lot to me and that’s something I’ll never forget.”

Anderson also remembers the close bonds he built with his teammates, many of which he still keeps in touch with today.

“I talk to them, we still keep in contact,” Anderson said. “We’re all like brothers. Anybody that played college basketball knows that you build a brotherhood with your teammates. We all still stay in contact.”

A handful of Anderson’s teammates from the 2008 Memphis team went onto reach the NBA level, including Derrick Rose, Joey Dorsey and Chris Douglas-Roberts. Anderson had an NBA stint of his own with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2010. The 2008 Tigers were coached by John Calipari, who’s currently at Kentucky.

Due to a violation involving some of Anderson’s teammates, but not Anderson himself, Memphis’ regional title was vacated. Within a year, Calipari was gone as well, to Kentucky.

“Coach Cal was in the tournament so I was watching it to keep up with Kentucky,” Anderson said. “They aren’t in it anymore, but I’m a huge basketball fan so I’ve been watching it. There have been some huge games so I’m enjoying it.”

Like many other fans who are involved in the March Madness craze, Anderson filled out a bracket.

“Two of my picks for the Final Four are still in it, Gonzaga and UNC,” Anderson said. “I have UNC winning it all so I’m still alive.”

He added, “I like how UNC plays. They get up and down the court, they play a lot of guys. Their chances are very good, so I’m sticking with them.”

After wrapping up his career as a player, Anderson stepped into coaching. He recently finished his first season as an assistant coach at Franklin Pierce.

“It was awesome,” Anderson said. “That was a great experience. Coaching at the Division 2 level, it was intense. I loved every minute. I learned a lot about developing players.”

With the Final Four set to tipoff tonight, Anderson offered words of advice to the players who are aiming for a spot in Monday’s final.

“Just embrace it all and have fun, that’s all you can do,” Anderson said. “The lights are on, the whole country’s watching. That’s something these guys are used to at big programs. Have fun, that’s all I can say.”

Lynn Tech students show off their Skills

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Shaneil Nelson from the SkillsUSA team asks a question during the tour of the State House. She is surrounded by team members Marissa Colon, Lucia Gonzalez Keoni Gaskin, Jose Najera and Noelani Garcia.

By THOMAS GRILLO

BOSTON For a dozen Lynn Vocational Technical Institute students, it was their first time under the golden dome on Beacon Hill, but it may not be their last.

Some of these participants of SkillsUSA, a national program to improve the nation’s workforce through leadership and employability training, might return as members of the Legislature someday.

Dressed in bold red jackets, white shirts and black pants, the teens toured the State House with legislators. But not before they talked about the work they’ve done.  

Jose Najera, 17, said they raised more than $7,500 for My Brother’s Table, one of the largest soup kitchens on the North Shore. They also helped victims of the New Year’s Day fire on West Baltimore Street that left 65 people homeless by organizing the massive clothing donations.

David Barrios, 16, said the group, which has more than six dozen members, devised the idea to honor the first responders of 9/11.

“We solicited food items and made more than 100 bags and distributed them to police and fire departments as well as emergency rooms,” he said.

Marissa Colon, 17, said the close-knit group honored veterans with a sit-down dinner at the school.

“We thanked them for their service,” she said. “To see grown men crying was really something. I think we made a difference.”

Jason McCuish, the group’s leader and a teacher at Lynn Tech for more than a decade, said SkillsUSA is an after-school program whose focus is community service.

“That’s what we pride ourselves on,” he said.  

Bringing back the R&B beat

Hosted by state Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn), Reps. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn), Daniel Cahill (D-Lynn) and Donald Wong (R-Saugus), the legislators provided them with a glimpse into the work they do.

McGee explained how he was inspired to do public service by his father, the late Rep. Thomas McGee, the former speaker of the house, and his grandmother, who helped unionize factory workers during the Roosevelt administration.

“You’re doing the same thing, by making a difference in your community,” he said.

Wong, whose family owns Kowloon Restaurant in Saugus, said he never imagined a career in politics. But in 2005 friends pulled nomination papers for him to run as a Town Meeting member. He’s been an elected official ever since.   

Cahill said it was an honor to have the students visit the State House.

“These future leaders continue to make positive contributions to the city of Lynn and we are proud of them,” he said.

Crighton said he got interested in public service because he wanted to give back. He worked for McGee and focused his energy on constituent services.

“That’s how I saw how one person can impact people’s lives in a positive way,” he said. “You’ve presented yourselves so well today … I hope some of you decide to run for office.”


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

 

Swampscott tabs Ibanez to direct soccer team

COURTESY PHOTO
Alvi Ibanez was named the new boys soccer coach at Swampscott earlier this week. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

The Swampscott boys soccer team has found its new coach. Earlier this week, the school announced that Alvi Ibanez has been tabbed to direct the Big Blue.

“I was happy, I wanted to get back into coaching in the Northeastern Conference,” Ibanez said. “I noticed that the job was posted and that was my opportunity. I applied, I became a finalist and the job was offered. It was great.”

Ibanez comes to Swampscott with a wealth of soccer experience, both coaching and playing. As a coach, his career includes stints at Beverly, where he led the Panthers from 1992-1995, Salem State, where he directed the women’s team from 1996-2006, and, most recently, Hamilton-Wenham, where he coached the girls team from 2012-2014. Among his accolades are coach of the year awards in the NEC (1992), Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (2002) and Cape Ann League (2012).

With the majority of his coaching duties having taken place on the North Shore, Ibanez has a good sense of familiarity with the boys soccer program at Swampscott.

“I know from what I’ve read in the papers,” Ibanez said. “I know that the program lost about 12 seniors. I know they did well last season and lost a tough one in the playoffs.”

Ibanez added, “I’ve always known of Swampscott soccer to be committed. I’m looking forward to the challenge. I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to getting in there and getting the process started.”

Prior to stepping into coaching, Ibanez built a strong career as a player at Salem State. His career as a Viking includes two Final Four appearances. In 1995, Ibanez was inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame.

“My playing days at Salem State were great,” Ibanez said. “We had a great team that went to the Final Four two straight seasons. We made a lot of noise.”

From his playing days at Salem State, Ibanez learned the importance and value of team cohesiveness and camaraderie. Those are two of the intangibles that Ibanez holds dear as a coach today.

“The discipline and camaraderie that existed is something that I try to bring into the teams that I coach now,” Ibanez said. “It’s a lot easier to play together. If you tackle one of us, you tackle the whole team. We won a lot of games because of our cohesiveness and I want to bring that along as a coach.”

He added, “I loved every single one of those three years because of that cohesiveness and that level of team play first. Those years were great and I try to bring that level of success to the teams I coach. It’s not a one-player show.”

After a few years away from the field, Ibanez realized that he had the itch to coach again. Now that he’s stepped back on the sidelines, Ibanez is ready to start a new, but familiar, challenge.

“I’m looking forward to this challenge,” Ibanez said. “I thought I wasn’t going to miss it but I found myself going to a lot of MIAA tournament games. I found myself at home reading the papers and reading about the upsets. I realized that I missed this.”

Moving forward in his new role, Ibanez is looking to familiarize himself with Swampscott’s strengths and weaknesses in the preseason. He believes that it’s best to adjust his game plans based on what type of team Swampscott will suit in the fall season.

“I’m a coach that’s flexible to the talent that’s on the team,” Ibanez said. “I don’t have a style of play that I go by. That style has to be given to you by the players. We’ll evaluate the players in the preseason. That’s given to us by the team.”

Ibanez was able to attend a few NEC games last season and came away fairly impressed with the level of talent within the conference. With that said, the new coach knows his team will have to be prepared in order to compete in a tough NEC.

“I’ve noticed that the strong teams in the NEC are very strong,” Ibanez said. “I went to a few games and I saw that level of play from the players. It’s impressive. If you’re a college coach looking for players, you can find a few in the NEC. We’ll have a plan to attack every game as is.”

 

Trump cuts could bleed North Shore nonprofits

Photo by Leise Jones
James Wilson, assistant director of conservation, examines a furnace for needed repairs or replacement. The program could be axed if President Trump’s budget is approved.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — President Donald Trump’s proposal to scrap more than $50 billion in federal funding for social programs would have a catastrophic impact on residents, according to nonprofit executives and City Hall.

“These cuts will be devastating,” said Birgitta Damon, CEO of Lynn Economic Opportunity Inc. (LEO), a North Shore community action agency that provides fuel assistance, home energy measures and daycare. “If these cuts come, it would jeopardize the safety of thousands of Greater Lynn residents.”

In what Trump calls his “Budget Blueprint for 2018,” the president proposed increases in the federal budget for immigration enforcement at the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, additional resources for a wall on the Mexican border, immigration judges, expanded detention capacity and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The president also pledged to boost defense spending by 10 percent to $571 billion, a $54 billion hike, without increasing the debt.

But to do that, Trump has recommended reductions in non-defense spending totaling $54 billion.  

“We are going to do more with less and make the government lean and accountable to the people,” Trump said in his budget plan. “This includes deep cuts to foreign aid. It is time to prioritize the security and well-being of Americans and to ask the rest of the world to step up and pay its fair share.”

Charles Gaeta, executive director of the Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development, whose mission is to provide low- and moderate-income tenants with safe and affordable housing, said the proposed cuts will have a significant impact on the nonprofit’s $40 million budget.

“If Congress goes along, these cuts will be disastrous to our residents, clients and staff,” he said. “We don’t know exactly how much will be cut, but rental assistance is threatened, so are  community development block grants and HOME funds which can be used to rehab housing. For an urban community like Lynn, this is devastating. It will hurt neighborhood revitalization, as well as first-time homebuyer and lead paint programs.”

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) said candidate Trump promised to create good-paying jobs, invest in the nation’s infrastructure and ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to thrive in the new economy. But the president’s budget fails to mention jobs, rebuilding roads and bridges or expanding economic opportunity for all Americans.

“For a president who talks about ‘America First,’ this budget puts Americans last,” Moulton said in a statement.

Swampscott pulls plug on yacht club

A spokesman for the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development, an agency of Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, said they were still trying to determine how the proposed cuts would impact the state.

“The commonwealth relies on various federal funding sources to support important programs … and the Baker-Polito administration will continue to advocate for federal funding,” the agency said in a statement. “As the budget process plays out in Congress, the administration urges the Massachusetts congressional delegation to work toward keeping these critical funding sources intact.”

Donald Walker, director of project operations for the city’s Department of Community Development, said Lynn would take a $2.2 million hit if the White House eliminates the block grant program.

“We use that program to rehabilitate parks and playgrounds, housing rehabilitation, fund first-time homebuyer and small business loans,” he said. “We also provide $366,000 to 30 public service agencies that provide Meals On Wheels, a community minority cultural center, special needs and arts programs. We are concerned about the impact the cuts would have and hope there will be some give and take before this is over.”

If approved by Congress, $7 million of LEO’s $10.3 million annual budget would be lost. Low-income heating assistance and home energy/weatherization programs would end and Head Start, a program that prepares young children for success in school, would also cease.

“Trump has decided to increase defense spending and, as a result, he must cut domestic programs that families and communities rely on,” said Damon.

Material from Associated Press contributed to this report.

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

From trial to triumph for Lynn artist

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Artist Paul Nathan talks about his work.

By BILL BROTHERTON

LYNN — To say that Paul Nathan is excited about his first-ever solo art exhibit would be a colossal understatement. At age 68, the artist/retired trial attorney figured friends and family would be the only ones to see his colorful, playful collages.

But LynnArts is about to feature Nathan’s works in the main first-floor gallery of its 25 Exchange St. space. An opening reception is on tap for Saturday, 5 to 8 p.m. The exhibit will be on display through April 5. Admission is free.

“The art is pure whimsy,” said Nathan, during a tour of his Lynn studio, adding that the show is a “remarkably unexpected” event.

“I started painting about 35 years ago, then it just ended. I wanted to paint, but nothing happened,” said Nathan. “Maybe it was my job. Maybe life got in the way. Maybe it’s the fact that painting is messy and tedious. Paint would get on my shoes, on the carpet. I got away from it all.”

Then out of the blue, about six years ago, the creative urge struck again. He focused on textured collages; vibrantly colorful and fantastical images of marine life, space travel, boat travel and more. A couple of comical self portraits, one of him dressed as a 1905 cossack, another of the artist at home, an acrylic-on-wood work that shows him reading The Item at his breakfast table, his eyeglasses askew atop his bald head. It’s impossible not to smile when looking at these works.

Nathan is being assisted this day by Devon Gaudet, a Beverly High junior, who is helping arrange pieces for the move to the LynnArts gallery. “I could fill the gallery twice,” said Nathan, pointing to an 11-foot-by-4-foot cruise ship creation, his largest, that nearly fills an entire wall. “I’ll have room for about 30 pieces or so. It will be tough to choose. It’ll be like the Westminster Dog Show where the judge points and says ‘you’ and ‘you.’ ”

“I don’t know where this (stuff) comes from,” added Nathan, staring at the ginormous cruise ship collage. “Bigger means more work, and work gives me the hives. Let’s face it, I’m lazy.” Nathan is not averse to plagiarising himself either; some of the smaller images appear in more than one work. Making copies of the same bits is part of the deal, he said. “Why paint them over and over again when they’re perfectly fine as they are.”

Nathan’s dream? To beautify the eyesore gas tank on the Lynnway, much like Rainbow Tank alongside the Southeast Expressway in Dorchester. He’s even worked up a maritime idea to make it shine. “If anyone’s interested in my idea, please have them contact me (at paulnathanart.com),” he said, with a smile.

The LynnArts gallery has hosted some spectacular exhibits. It’s unlikely that any were as whimsically wondrous as this.

Fellow North Shore artists are quite taken with Nathan’s amusing, fun works. Steve Negron, Eleanor Fisher and Yetti Frenkel have been especially supportive, said Nathan, telling him it was time “to get your stuff out there.”

Frenkel, the celebrated muralist/fine art master, said “people will like his unique pieces. They are cheerful, colorful and filled with personality.”

It’s National Everything You Think is Wrong Day

Annette Sykes, chairwoman for the Curatorial and Programming Committee at LynnArts, a public school teacher and an accomplished artist in her own right, said this show featuring Nathan’s fanciful work is the most recent exhibit showcasing the incredible talent in the city.

“The importance of Lynn artists in the community cannot be underestimated,” said Sykes, who moved to Lynn in 2001 and found a second home at LynnArts, where she has a studio on the third floor. “To have a place like this where working artists can create and congregate and actually do fine art of any sort — sculpture, art, music — says a lot about a city. Some RAW arts alumni are coming to LynnArts, taking the next step.

“The Museum and LynnArts staff is unique. I’ve been involved with other arts organizations. At first, I was hesitant to dip my toe in the water. Usually when you volunteer, you show up and others say ‘This is what you should do.’ One person can’t do it all. But at our meetings, people show up to do the work. This is a great group of people. And having people like Paul Nathan and other talented local artists exhibiting their work here is an entirely positive occasion that the community should embrace.”


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

Hiberian 5K just days away

By BILL BROTHERTON

LYNN — The eighth annual Hibernian 5K is just a few days away and it’s snowing like crazy. Race co-director Mike Mannion, working from home like so many of us on Tuesday, is nonetheless optimistic that all will be well come Sunday when more than 800 will lace up their running shoes and take to city streets for a great cause.

This is nothing, he says, when compared to the stormy winter of two years ago when 50 gazillion inches of snow blanketed the North Shore.

“Hopefully, this storm won’t throw us too much of a curveball,” said Mannion, adding that the city has always done a fantastic job getting West Lynn roads ready for this fundraising event that has awarded more than $40,000 in scholarships. It has also provided hundreds of backpacks filled with school supplies to the Department of Children and Family Services and offered continued support to community organizations throughout the city targeted at helping families and veterans in need.

“It’s a big time effort for the committee volunteers and all who turn out to help on the day of the race,” said Mannion, the co-director with his wife, Margaret, since 2015. This year’s committee is composed of Ann Mannion, president of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 10, Michelle Calnan, Ann McLaughlin, Stacey O’Hare, Gus Costello, Laura Durant and Karen Coulon Miller.

Back in 2009, Coulon Miller came up with the idea of a Hibernian Scholarship Fund road race. Planning for the first one started in the spring of that year. Chip Clancy was mayor when committee members volunteered at Lynn Woods free races and other 5Ks in the region, making note of what did and didn’t work. The initial then-called Hibernian 5K St. Patrick’s Day Recovery Race was born, held in 2010 on the Sunday after the day that honors the foremost patron saint of Ireland. It was a huge success, attracting some 200 runners and walkers.

It has grown steadily. And the amount of scholarship money has increased as well. The best year was 2014, when more than 1,000 registered. Mike Mannion said 750 to 850 is the average number of participants. Registration fee is $25.

Online registration is open for the race until midnight tonight by using this link: https://racewire.com/register.php?id=7135. Packet pickup will be available at the hall (105 Federal St. Lynn) from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday and beginning at 9 a.m. on race day.  In-person registration is available on race day and at packet pickup Saturday.

“It’s a fun event,” added Mannion, “even for those who are competitive. Lots of families walk together … grandparents, sons and daughters and grandkids and babies in strollers.”

Ide(a)s of March for MBTA

After the race, the fun continues until about 5 p.m. at Hibernian Hall. Pizza will be served, raffles will be held and an Irish band will provide entertainment.

Mannion said parking is available at the 40 Federal St. “tow lot.” Motorists can expect road closures from about 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the area of the race route, which is a big loop down Boston, Holyoke, Walnut, N. Franklin and neighboring streets.

“This race would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors, the cooperation and support of the police, the city, its workers and Mayor Kennedy, and Charles Patsios, who offers space for parking,” said Mannion.

Does Mannion wish he could run the race instead of running the volunteer effort? “I’m not much of a runner, casual at best,” he said with a laugh. “I run a bit when I play basketball. A hard-core runner would see me and be disgusted.”


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

Delicious lobster tales with friends

COURTESY PHOTO
Pictured is lobster with fettuccine marinara. See the recipe below.

By ROSALIE HARRINGTON

When my son Georgie was about 9 we bought him a little boat called a Puffin. Many an early summer Saturday morning he would take out the small craft to fish for our breakfast. A few hours later my little guy would show up at the kitchen door with his catch — and a big smile.

They were delicate little fish, probably cod, and when cleaned and dipped in a little flour they were perfect for a quick saute with a side of scrambled eggs. Several times during the day he would look for reassurance. “How’d you like my catch, Mom?” He loved the compliments.

By the end of that summer he was ready for his next boating/fishing adventure, hinting that for his 10th birthday he would like some lobster traps. We purchased four traps from a lobsterman in Gloucester. Georgie was a happy camper, or should I say, a happy lobsterman.

These spring menu ideas are minty fresh

From the time he was a little guy he loved anything nautical. He chose a wallpaper for his room that depicted the famous Charles W. Morgan whaling ship. He loved going to Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, where he could see the actual ship. I made him curtains out of nylon fabric that I got from sailmaker Norm Cressy (who, coincidentally, occupied the third floor of the building that one day would house Rosalie’s). When the wind came off the ocean and blew the curtains, Georgie was reminded of sails. He really loved his space.

After he saved some money from his lobstering business he wanted a rug for his room. Although it wasn’t nautical, it was hand-woven with the blues of the ocean. Georgie loves to cook and also really enjoys design and decorating, just like his mother. He still has the yellow statue of the Gloucester fisherman I bought him for his 10th birthday.

Being near the ocean made the crustacean a favorite item for diners. A popular dish at my restaurant was a lobster crepe that a craftsman named Georgio Tonelli taught me to make when he was helping me put the place together.  He was a real old-school artist who came from the Italian Riviera to find work repairing and creating stained glass windows in churches. Among a myriad of other skills, he was an excellent cook and had worked in several restaurants on the Italian seacoast. The crepe was not typical, in that it was not rolled and filled. The pieces of lobster were part of the batter, made in a crepe pan, not unlike a delicate pancake. Customers loved them and I haven’t seen them on any menu since.

Lobster fra di avolo was another favorite; a little heat, tomato and a lot of cognac. Of course, Marblehead had many lobstermen who could supply the freshest catch, right off their boats. We are lucky living on the North Shore to have many sources of good seafood.

Recently, I discovered a mostly wholesale distributor in Beverly, right on the water, Lynch Lobster. When I stopped there the other day, one of the owners, Buddy, and I had a nice chat about business and food. I bought a couple of lobsters and brought them home and boiled them right away.

We had friends over for dinner Saturday night and our friend Bruce pulled out of the shells all of the meat, which we simmered in some fresh marinara sauce with a few capers and olives before serving it over fettuccine, with a small side scoop of pesto to brighten the dish. It was luscious!

Lobsters should be cooked soon after you buy them. If you cannot prepare them right away, place them on a tray with a dish towel or paper bag rung out in cold water and scatter some ice chips over the top and refrigerate. Avoid water dripping on the heads, as they can drown in even a small amount of water. If lobsters are placed in a bag when purchasing, make sure the bag is open at the top so they can breathe.

To boil the lobster, plunge it into fast-boiling salted water, head first, then allow five minutes for the first pound, after the water comes to a boil, and then three minutes for each additional pound. Allow to cool slightly before removing the meat. Twist off the claws and then bend the tail till it cracks and push the meat out with a fork. Don’t forget the tomalley and the roe.

Grilling lobster is a delicious treatment, but it takes some effort. Put the lobster on its back and, with a sharp heavy knife, split it in half lengthwise, remove the sac, leave the tomalley and the roe and crack the claws. Brush the lobster with olive oil or butter and grill it for 10 to 12 minutes, about four inches from the heat, basting occasionally with melted butter or oil. Allow it to rest before removing the meat if you want to prepare a pizza topping or sauce. Or just tie a dish cloth around your neck and dig right in.

As for those who dwell on the injustice of killing the poor crustaceans, enjoying lobster at home is a delight. And I love when the garden hose is turned on so I can give myself a quick cleanup.

At lunch Friday at Superfine in Manchester-by-the-Sea, I mentioned to my friend Sally that I was making an easy version of lobster with fettuccine for dinner. She had that “Ooh that sounds sooo good” look in her eyes, so I invited Bruce and her to join us. Bruce does the cooking in their relationship and Sally does the conversation, so Bruce and I were in the kitchen and Todd and Sally caught up in the living room.

Sally reminisced about growing up in Beverly and when  she would lunch with her mother at the pizzeria that is now Superfine.

Bruce and I prepared dinner, and our fettuccine marinara with lobster was a big hit, as was the Caesar salad and the blueberry crostata with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

It was a super fine night at our house with good friends.


Lobster with Fettuccine Marinara

— Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil with a sprig each of thyme and a bay leaf and a few flat leaf parsley stems.

— Cook the lobster according to directions, as noted above.

— Remove the meat and cut into bite-size pieces. Scoop out the roe and tomalley to add to the sauce.  

— In the meantime, grind 2 pints of grape tomatoes in a food processor.  

— Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan and sweat 3 cloves of garlic for a few minutes; do not brown.

— Add the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, a stem of thyme and rosemary and a few red pepper flakes, for heat.

— Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes over medium-low heat.

— Add the tomalley and the roe to the cut-up lobster and stir in sauce, just enough to heat the meat. Remember, you have already cooked the lobster.

— Cook the fettuccine and toss on a platter with 2 tablespoons of butter. Spoon the sauce with lobster over it. Pass the Parmesan.

— For variety, you could smash up a few anchovies or several Nicoise olives and add to the sauce.  

We served the Caesar after the pasta. It is more relaxing than trying to time the cooking of the pasta before the meal.

Thousands without electricity during storm

NATIONAL GRID POWER OUTAGE MAP
This screenshot from National Grid shows the number of outages at approximately 4 p.m.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, there are 507 power outages across Massachusetts, affecting an estimated 38,144 customers, the National Grid power outage map says.

The outages come as a powerful nor’easter rages, threatening to dump more than a foot of snow in the North Shore area, with strong winds creating the potential of downed trees and power lines.

Across the North Shore area, the outages are in Lynn, Medford, Nahant, Saugus, and on the border of Revere, the map says. At 4 p.m., there appear to be about 1,700 customers affected in Lynn and 4,000 in Saugus. Check here for updates to the map.

To report a local power outage or downed wires, call National Grid at (1-800) 465-1212.

Nor’easter pounds Lynn Shore Drive

Healthy competition in Swampscott

COURTESY PHOTOS
Martha Dansdill, left, is running against registered nurse Emily Cilley.

By GAYLA CAWLEY

SWAMPSCOTT — The chairwoman of the Board of Health will face a challenge to retain her seat in the April 25 local election.

Martha Dansdill is running for a fourth, three-year term against Emily Cilley, a registered nurse and political newcomer.

The deadline to return nomination papers was March 7, and both candidates will appear on the ballot, according to Town Clerk Susan Duplin.

Dansdill served as executive director of HealthLink, a North Shore environmental nonprofit organization, for 12 years and is now on its Board of Directors. She said the group was focused on a Salem coal burning power plant when it was in operation, striving for clean air policies. She’s also worked as a coach for Weight Watchers.

Cilley, 47, is a registered nurse who has served in numerous other public health positions across the North Shore. She works for Northeast Clinical Services and with people in their homes. She also works as a substitute nurse in the town. She has lived in Swampscott for 20 years.

She holds a degree in Health and Family Life from the University of Maine. She and her husband, Charlie, have four daughters in the Swampscott school system.

Election is heating up for Swampscott Library Trustees

Dansdill said serving on the health board, a regulatory three-member board which is a local arm of the Department of Public Health and Department of Environmental Protection, for three terms has given her a wealth of knowledge. She said she’s a proponent of reaching out to educate the community on new public health issues as they arise.

She said the board implemented a waste reduction program that also increased recycling. Dansdill said that saved the town $90,000 annually over the pre-waste reduction program.

The board also works to keep the town’s beaches and oceans clean, Dansdill said, citing work done to make the waters from Swampscott to Revere a “no discharge zone,” after petitioning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency eight years ago.  

She said a member of the health board also serves on the town’s Overdose Response Team, adding that opioid abuse and addiction is a key problem many communities are dealing with now.

Dansdill has an undergraduate degree from Springfield College. She has been married to her husband, Terry, for 32 years and has two children, Emily and Peter, who attended Swampscott Public Schools.

“Over the years, I have developed a wealth of knowledge in regards to local and state policy that protect the public health and the environment,” Dansdill said. “I’m just really proud to serve the people of Swampscott in this capacity.”

Cilley in a phone interview said she would focus on the youth and elderly in town, and also on the opioid crisis. While she understands the trash and recycling issues are important, and she is certainly for open space, she said that wouldn’t be where her focus is.

The nurse said she’s not trying to replace anybody, but feels that new eyes and ears are always a good thing, along with forward thinking. She said she has a passion for health issues and thought it was the right time to run.

“As a health professional, my patients’ well-being — physical, mental, emotional, social — are the reasons I come to work every day,” Cilley said in a separate statement. “This 360-degree view of health is important, and the reason I decided to run.

“Swampscott faces a number of health issues: rising opioid casualties, storm-water and sewage contamination, trash and recycling pickup costs, and the need for open space to accommodate active town residents, whatever their age of interests,” Cilley said. “I believe the board of health can do better on each and every one of these issues.

“I will work to show a greater presence in the town — specifically with youth and the elderly — from acknowledging and illustrating safe behaviors to working with committees, boards and groups for greater inclusion of all our town’s resources as they relate to our residents.”


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

Breaking new ground for veterans

Peabody deserves praise for Veterans Services Director Stephen Patten’s initiative to provide free legal services for men and women who served their country.

Porcello Law Offices in Salem is Peabody’s new partner in a campaign to help veterans and their families navigate the legal system. The effort to connect veterans with the legal help they need starts with a Porcello attorney spending two days a month at the Torigian Community Life Center, a Peabody location that counts many veterans among its residents.

The legal aid program represents a progressive approach by Patten and the city to reach out to veterans and it is a tribute to Porcello, a firm founded by a veteran.

Patten’s initiative mirrors the collaboration by Lynn doctors and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure local veterans have a convenient local source for medical care. Instead of driving to a Veterans Affairs hospital out of town, veterans can get health care in the local Boston Street clinic.

The facility is an enduring tribute to former U.S. Rep. John Tierney who fought to get federal money for the clinic after vowing he would ensure no veteran living in the Sixth Congressional District had to travel more than 15 miles from home to receive care.

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton has worked to provide support for the clinic and fellow veterans who use its services, including mental health counseling and other help available in part through interactive technology connecting the clinic with other medical offices.

Patten’s efforts and the Lynn clinic’s success buttresses work by the Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development to end homelessness among local veterans. Combine these efforts  with strong commitments to veterans in surrounding communities, including Saugus, Swampscott and Revere, then it is clear strong potential exists to do more for veterans.

This potential is only limited by the imagination and drive of veterans old and young, women and men, representing the full spectrum of veterans.

New efforts on the part of veterans can begin with Moulton obtaining the federal resources needed to conduct a valuable “hyper survey” of Lynn area and North Shore veterans. This study can assess in detail and accurately gauge the needs and challenges facing veterans.

Don’t bury Lynn’s future: Vote yes on schools

So much more can be done on behalf of veterans.

Lynn English High School’s Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets can be harnessed to provide services to veterans beyond the good work the students already perform under Sgt. Major Ken Oswald’s leadership.

Older veterans need companionship assistance and there is a historic need for young people to assist in oral history projects aimed at preserving the memories and experiences of the few remaining World War II veterans as well as Korean War veterans.

There is also a compelling need for younger veterans to have opportunities to define and shape the services and assistance they need. They can work with Moulton, Patten and other veterans affairs experts, including Lynn Veterans Service Director Michael Sweeney, to outline long-range veterans assistance plans.

Veterans have done their share for their country. But the work to be done on their behalf is just beginning.

Malden hopeful for new recovery center

By STEVE FREKER

MALDEN — When someone struggling with opioid addiction checks out of a detox or rehabilitation facility, their options can be limited to, “what next?”

Many return to the situation they were in before they sought detox or rehab. The cycle often continues, according to Paul Hammersley, president of Malden Overcoming Addiction (MOA).

That is why MOA is pushing for the creation of a recovery center  that could potentially serve as a hub for recovering addicts in communities across the region.

“There’s a recovery center in South Boston and there’s another one in Lawrence; that’s it,” Hammersley said. “There is just nowhere else for people to go for guidance, counseling or assistance directly related to getting their lives back together.”

Let the transformation begin in Malden

MOA officials say there are many communities the Malden recovery center could assist, including Everett, Lynn, Medford, Melrose, Revere, Saugus, Somerville and others in Greater Boston and the North Shore.

Local and state officials strongly back the potential for a recovery center in Malden, Hammersley said. Malden Mayor Gary Christenson has been a steady supporter at every step so far, he said.

State Sen. Jason Lewis and the Malden House delegations of Reps. Paul Donato, Steve Ultrino and Paul Brodeur have also endorsed the proposal, Hammersley said.

Lewis has joined with the Malden legislative delegation to lobby for a state budget inclusion of $1.5 million to provide funding for several of these centers in the region. Funding would come from the state Department of Public Health.

“It is still very, very early in the process, but we are very excited with the strong support we have gotten initially,” Hammersley said, adding that a 5,000-square-foot site has already been identified in Malden. The recovery center would be named the Bridge Recovery Center.

“This would not be just a meeting place and would have no residential aspect,” Hammersley said. “It would be an active, multifaceted hub where people in recovery could get services that could help them in the process.”  

Hammersley said he and other officials, including Christenson, Donato, and Malden Police Chief Kevin Molis toured the Devine Recovery Center in South Boston as part of the planning. They were impressed with the vibrant, upbeat atmosphere, Hammersley said.

“We got there at 11 o’clock in the morning and over 50 people had already signed in; that tells you the need for these types of services,” he said.

Hammersley also said the recovery center would be a natural base for the 30 recovery coaches MOA expects to have trained by the end of April. They would be on site and could be called in when needed, he said.

Hammersley also said that MOA has worked to establish support partnerships with local health and service agencies such as Cambridge Health Alliance, the Malden YMCA and others to serve as links to a future recovery center.

“It is still very early and too soon to tell if this can be a reality,” he said. “But we can really help people and save lives if this comes here.”

North Shore well-represented in CCC

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Kevin Bettencourt, a Peabody native, has coached the Gulls to their most succesful season in program history. Endicott will play against Middlebury in the Sweet 16 on Friday night. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

It’s been a strong basketball season for the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Thanks to coach Kevin Bettencourt and the Endicott men’s basketball team, the CCC’s run continues.

Bettencourt, a Peabody native, has directed the Gulls to their most successful season in program history. After defeating Neumann in the first round of the Division 3 NCAA tournament (96-93) last weekend, Endicott rolled past CCC foe Nichols (111-75), advancing to the Sweet 16.

“Our guys really played two complete games this past weekend,” Bettencourt, who served as an assistant at Bentley prior to taking over at Endicott in 2014, said. “It was great to see them play so unselfishly and connected on both ends of the floor.”

In the process, the Gulls defeated Lynn’s Marcos Echevarria of Nichols. Echevarria led Nichols past Endicott (67-64) in the CCC championship, but the Gulls struck back with the win in the second round of the NCAA tournament.  

“It’s tough because you’re rooting for Marcos to have a good game and play well,” Bettencourt said of matching up against a fellow local. “He’s a great player, but at the same time you want to go out there and get that win.”

Endicott features its own Lynn ties in senior Stephen Basden and assistant coach Luke Richards, who teaches at Classical. Richards and Bettencourt were teammates at Peabody High.

Over at Eastern Nazarene, also a conference rival of Endicott’s, another local coach is following in Bettencourt’s footsteps.

Nahant’s Jake Canty just wrapped up his first season as an assistant coach on the Lions staff. The season ended on a tough note for the Lions when they fell to Endicott (84-66) in the CCC semifinal. Despite the loss, Canty came away with a number of coaching lessons learned at ENC.

“ENC is an environment set up by the athletic director (Bradford Zarges) and widespread to all its coaches to be passionate about its teams,” Canty said. “My coaching partner, (head coach) Scott Polsgrove, comes from 20-plus years of successful coaching experience in Indiana and North Carolina. Scott taught me a lot about structure and order of a season.”

Canty, who split his high school basketball career between St. Mary’s and Tech, stepped into the coaching realm after his freshman year at Merrimack. In 2015 he joined the staff at Wheelock. After a season a Wheelock, Canty accepted a coaching role at ENC.

“The players gave themselves to us (coaches),” Canty said. “From trust in me from Zarges and Coach Polsgrove, all my players put a lot of trust in me that allows me to help them see their potential and develop their game.”

As coaches with local roots, Bettencourt and Canty have developed a connection over time. Canty began following Bettencourt’s playing career at Peabody, and later as a collegiate star at Bucknell.

“I saw Kevin play at Peabody when I was just getting into middle school,” Canty said. “He had games on the North Shore and many of us basketball fans remember, distinctly, some of his outstanding plays.”

Bettencourt’s career at Bucknell includes a memorable upset over Kansas in the 2005 NCAA Tournament. Although he admitted that it’s tough to compare the 2005 Bison to this season’s Gulls, the camaraderie within both groups remains unique.  

“It’s hard to draw comparisons but it’s great to see a group of guys come together to accomplish something special,” Bettencourt said. “Our team is really clicking right now and having fun with the opportunity that we’ve earned.”

Canty had his own stint at the Division 1 level as an intern at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga before returning home to join Wheelock. Although he’d like to direct his own program someday, he’s looking to take his time getting there.

“It would be nice to attain my own program,” Canty said. “I’d never count it out of considerations, but honestly can say it’s something I never think about daily. There are a few more coaches and programs I’d like to work under before pursuing a program of my own.”

For both Bettencourt and Canty, the future looks bright. ENC’s gearing up for next season and the commitment is already showing.  

“The day we lost to Endicott I had almost all my players approach me about getting time in the gym with them,” Canty said. “The next afternoon I had six underclassmen and two upperclassmen in the gym. It was a very gratifying feeling for me.”

Endicott moves forward to tonight’s Sweet 16 game at Middlebury.

“It has been a very special season and we’re excited for it to continue,” Bettencourt said. “Our guys have worked very hard and I’m happy for them that they will have an opportunity to compete in the Sweet 16. I think us advancing is a testament to our conference getting us prepared to compete against the best teams in the country.”

Along the way, both coaches have taken pride in their local roots.

“I’m the first person to argue the talent of the North Shore with anyone who wants to have that argument,” Canty said. “I’m a believer in what the North Shore has to offer. I think it’s the passion of the community. I think the North Shore loves its basketball. It’s our staple, our pride and our passion.”

 

‘We are celebrating by being here to serve’

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Dr. Alina Reznik, an optometrist at Lynn Community Eye Care Services, talks about International Women’s Day.

By LEAH DEARBORN

LYNN — Solidarity for International Women’s Day took many different forms on Wednesday.

Women were encouraged to take the day off from work, avoid shopping and wear red as part of A Day Without a Woman, an offshoot of the Women’s March that drew out thousands of protesters in January.

For many women across the North Shore, however, taking a break from the daily grind wasn’t an option.

“I think if we weren’t here, women would suffer and that’s not contributing to the cause,” said Cindy StegerWilson, director of marketing and communications at Lynn Community Health Center. “We are celebrating by being here to serve the women in our community.”

Lynn Community optometrist Dr. Alina Reznik said she sees too many patients to even consider taking a day off.

Instead, Reznik urged that women honor the event by taking care of themselves and their health.  

Education coordinator Teresa Martinez of North Shore Family Daycare in Lynn said she didn’t know of any employees who elected to stay home.

“There’s a better way to show support other than by calling out,” she said.

Warren: Trump is trying to bully mayors

A few businesses in the area did opt to keep their doors closed.

“By ensuring that women have pay equity, a livable wage and paid leave, businesses can demonstrate that their long-term actions align with the values we are standing up for on this day,” said a Facebook post by Salem diner The Ugly Mug.

Others, such as Deanne Healey, president of the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce, were less sure of the ideal way to mark the occasion.  

“I have conflicted feelings,” said Healey. “I applaud the point they’re trying to make. It’s just difficult to pull off. It’s even harder as a small business.”

Diane Calver, owner of DiHard Fitness in Peabody, employs almost entirely women.   

She said that while everyone came into work on Wednesday, the business will host an all-female spin class dedicated to International Women’s Day on Friday.

“I’m a hardworking female myself,” said Calver. “Anything to do with helping women, I’m all for.”

On ‘A Day Without a Woman,’ where will you be?


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

Let the transformation begin in Malden

By STEVE FREKER

MALDEN — The new owners of City Hall and the former police station will begin demolishing the buildings in mid-April with the former Pleasant Street station razed first to make way for new development.

Jefferson Apartment Group deposited $10 million with the city toward the site purchase. The former seat of city government and public safety has been fenced off and closed to pedestrian traffic, and demolition is expected to take about two weeks.  

With an August 2019 completion date, Jefferson’s transit-oriented development across the street from one of the busiest MBTA stations on the North Shore will include 325 apartments, retail space, more than 300 parking spaces and more than 40,000 square feet of condominium-based office space for city hall operations.

Jefferson plans to transform the site into a $30 million residential/commercial mixed-use development that will eventually include a permanent home for City Hall operations. Construction is scheduled to start in the spring.

Malden’s temporary seat of government now operates on Pleasant Street, four blocks from City Hall. The renewal project will build on other recent city achievements, including construction and opening of a new, state-of-the-art police station on Eastern Avenue.

The project clears the way for reconnecting Pleasant Street to create unimpeded traffic flow for the first time in 43 years.

Malden fire displaces six families

Another building on the site development site, First Church of Malden, will be demolished last with the razing slated to take place during the summer.

Near the end of this year, construction will begin on the new development and Jefferson officials said it will take 16-18 months. The first residential units planned at the site will be ready for use in April 2019 and the long-awaited reopening of Pleasant Street to through traffic will be realized.

Mayor Gary Christenson made the relocation of Malden City Hall and the reopening of Pleasant Street to vehicular traffic a major campaign pledge when he first ran for mayor.

Job drought worries service providers

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

PEABODY — Local organizations like Northeast Arc are feeling the effects of an increase in demand for human service jobs even as the profession’s workforce shrinks.

A study by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute and UMass Dartmouth found a workforce shortage of “crisis proportions” among the state’s human service providers, which are generally nonprofit organizations that rely on state funding.

“We have baby boomers who are aging and are going to require additional care,” said Northeast Arc Chief Executive Officer Jo Ann Simons, adding, “I have children and adults today waiting for services because I can’t find the staff to help them.”

The Providers’ Council study recommends a set of solutions ranging from creating legislation to help workers repay student loans and to create desirable career paths for millennials, focused on flexibility, mission and workplace culture. The study also emphasizes that there’s a need to eliminate the pay disparity between state and private human service workers and for support for policies that allow immigrants to enter the field.

Northeast Arc is a Danvers-based organization that helps people with disabilities become full participants in the community. The organization serves about 9,000 people annually in about 190 Massachusetts cities and towns. It recently opened a coffee shop on Main Street in Peabody called Breaking Grounds Cafe that employs people of all abilities and provides job training and experience in the food service industry.

It is one of the largest employers on the North Shore with more than 1,200 employees. Still, Simons said it’s impacted by the challenges outlined in the study.

“This workforce problem is a longstanding barrier that’s getting more serious and affecting our ability to do an effective job in supporting people with some of the most significant needs,” said Simons.

In addition to serving people with disabilities, the organization also takes on the needs of the elderly.

The study, which included a review of economic data and Massachusetts human service providers, found that more than one third of the state’s population will be 55 or older by 2025 and 24,000 to 25,0000 new jobs in the human service industry will need to be filled to accommodate them. More than 70 percent of organizations reported having trouble filling job openings.

Simons said Northeast Arc has a shortage of nurses and employees who have the credentials to work with patients with autism. Nonprofits don’t have the financial resources to pay employees comparable wages to hospitals, for example, she said.

“We’re constantly competing and not successful to be able to compete against hospitals,” she said. “We’re asking them to do even more difficult work, unsupervised in a home with a patient who may be on a respirator, versus going into a hospital where there’s a respiratory therapist and a whole team.”

Nurses alone are paid $10 to $20 less an hour, she said. The company tries to take the problem into its own hands by offering a chance to move up the career ladder within the organization and offering tuition assistance.

“I don’t see an end in sight and I certainly don’t see a quick fix,” Simons said. “We don’t have an appetite to have a responsible discussion about immigration and to address some of these issues but immigration is not the sole answer. We need to have more robust training programs and more in the pipeline to be able to educate a workforce for some of these specialized jobs. It’s like eating an elephant; we try to do it one bite at a time.”

A public platform for Ash Wednesday


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

61 years since train crash took 13 lives

PHOTO BY ARTHUR REYNOLDS AND BILL CONWAY
Bystanders and emergency personnel look at the aftermath of the deadly train wreck that happened 61 years ago in Swampscott.

Tuesday marked 61 years since one of the worst train wrecks in North Shore history. Last year, the 60th anniversary was marked in The Item.

On Feb. 28, 1956, there was a crash involving two trains in Swampscott shortly after 8 a.m, that resulted in the deaths of 13 people and injuries to about 100 others.

At the time, there was a blizzard outside and wet snow covered the traffic signals, causing the train to halt in Swampscott. After the train stopped, the foreman got out and headed back to the telephone station about 100 yards back to call dispatch.

After seeing another train approaching, the foreman tried to warn it with flags and flares, but it went right past him. The oncoming train struck the one stopped at the Swampscott station from behind.

Most of the people who died were from the first car of the oncoming Train 2406, as the frame was sheared away from the shell, leaving the roof opened as if by a can opener.

Marblehead doctor to co-chair cancer walk

COURTESY PHOTO
Pictured is Dr. Allyson Preston of Marblehead.

By BILL BROTHERTON

MARBLEHEAD – Dr. Allyson Preston will serve as co-chair of this year’s North Shore Cancer Walk on June 25.

Dr. Preston, a Marblehead resident, has lived and worked on the North Shore for 30 years. She joined North Shore Medical Center as a staff physician and became chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2006. She graduated from George Washington University Medical School and trained at the University of Pittsburgh in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Preston has taken part in the Cancer Walk for many years. She began participating when her children were in strollers; now her 9-year-old granddaughter is participating for the second time. She stepped up as co-chair because, as a physician and breast cancer survivor, she knows firsthand what North Shore Medical Center and the Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center mean to the community.

For more than two decades, the North Shore Cancer Walk has brought together mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, friends, neighbors, co-workers, businesses, teachers and students all focused on raising funds for cancer care on the North Shore. To date, this community has raised $22 million. That mission will be celebrated again this year, as walkers wind their way along the 10K (6.2 mile) route through Salem. Brittany Isherwood of Newburyport is co-chair.

“As a physician, I’ve been proud to be part of a team at NSMC that delivers world-class, locally based medical care to thousands of patients each year. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, I had all of my treatment – from testing to surgery to chemotherapy – at North Shore Medical Center and Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center,” said Dr. Preston. “Stepping through the door as a patient that first day was unnerving, but I immediately felt wrapped in a blanket of caring and competence. The high level of care didn’t at all surprise me, but it had new meaning, as a patient.”

The Item welcomes 3 new communities

Proceeds will support oncology services at North Shore Medical Center and the Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center. In the past, contributions have supported new technologies, renovations, clinical trials, wellness services such as massage and acupuncture to help alleviate pain and nausea, as well as supportive care programs for patients and their families.

Registration is now open for the 2017 North Shore Cancer Walk. To learn more or to register, go to www.northshorecancerwalk.org.

 

Hockey tournament a new beginning for area girls

 

FILE PHOTO
St. Mary’s goalie Emily Stephenson has been one of seniors on which coach Frank Pagliuca has relied.

By SCOT COOPER

The Division 1 North girls’ hockey playoffs are well represented by teams from the North Shore.

St. Mary’s is back, locked into the No. 8 seed, with the Lynn/Winthrop Bulldogs just missing the Top 10, grabbing the 11th seed.

Peabody-Lynnfield made the tournament for the first time in the program’s history, thanks to a great run to close the regular season; the Tanners are the No. 19 and final seed. Another local squad that qualified weeks ago, Beverly-Danvers, with just one loss, is the No. 2 seed, a game behind unbeaten Needham.

Spartans coach Frank Pagliuca said his 13-4-3 team relies on the outstanding play, and outstanding leadership from his talented group of seniors, goalie Emily Stephenson, behind defenders Sarah Ryan and Ashley Wojewodzic and forwards Brittany McPherson and Adara Nazarian.

“Obviously we’re very excited to have a fresh start in the playoffs. We’re all looking forward to starting the tournament.” Pagliuca said. “It’s an interesting matchup for us in the first round, against Duxbury, certainly one of the perennially great programs in the state, we’re fortunate to get them at home (Saturday at a time still to be determined).”

“Even though we’re at home, and we’d much rather be at home than have to go down to Duxbury, they are a very formidable opponent,” Pagliuca said. “They’ve won 4-5 state championships, they won when they were in Division 2 they won when they moved up to Division 1, so we’ve got a tough task ahead of us.”

Pagliuca said it’s going to be an intense week of practice getting ready for Duxbury, who enters the tournament on a 7-game winning streak and rolls out three solid lines to put the pressure on the opponent to match their depth.

“They are a very aggressive, very good skating team, they’re relentless on both ends of the ice, so we are going to have our hands full on Saturday,” Pagliuca said.

Pagliuca said that after a 2-2 start to the 2016-2017 season the Spartans really improved as a team, including a solid 10-game unbeaten streak that really set the tone for the year and got them into the playoff picture.

“We scuffled a little bit to close the season, but I think we’re prepared to play our best hockey against Duxbury next weekend,” Pagliuca said.

Like St. Mary’s, Winthrop/Lynn (12-6-0) has a bye in the preliminary round and will take on No. 6 Westford Academy in a first-round game where the date has not been determined.

Even though the Grey Ghosts have a solid team and are a higher seed, Lynn coach Anthony Martucci and his team couldn’t be happier with the matchup.

“They beat us last year (4-0 loss in the preliminary round) right off the bat, so we’re looking for a little revenge going into this game, ”Martucci said. “We’re excited to be in the tournament, and to have a chance to play against Westford is certainly something we’ve all been thinking about since we were knocked out last year.”

“Coming down to the end of the season, we dropped a couple of games we feel were very winnable, we didn’t get them, we slipped in the rankings, but we got a game against Westford,” Martucci said.

Martucci said his team is led by goalie Gretchen Howard, who the coach feels is the best goalie around. With Howard guarding the goal, the offense can really push the attack, knowing that they have a goalie that won’t make too many mistakes back there.

Junior McKayla Norris, from Winthrop, was the leading scorer during the regular season, and Martucci said he expects big things from her and of his seniors, Mia Price, Abby Carleton, Kelsie Griffiths, Meghan Chavis and Sydney Adamson in the tournament.

“The way that I feel going into this tournament is that I have probably one of the best, if not the best, goalie in the entire tournament. If she (Gretchen Howard) gets hot than we can go pretty far,” Martucci said. “Gretchen allows us to be a little more free on offense and take a few chances to score some goals.”

Peabody/Lynnfield (9-8-3)  is making its first trip to the tournament, but coach Michelle Roach and the team took note of their final game of the season, that they had to win, to qualify.

“We joked about that a little bit, that the game against Melrose (4-0 win) was a playoff-type game,” Roach said. “We enjoyed that win, took Thursday off and started getting ready for the playoffs Friday.”

Roach said that goalie Abby Buckley has been phenomenal all season for Peabody, and she expects big things from the freshman in the tournament.

“I don’t know how she makes some of the saves she does, it’s really incredible,” Roach said.

A few sets of sisters will also be counted on to have big games when the Tanners hit the ice on Wednesday against Arlington at 6 p.m. The winner of the preliminary round game between Peabody and the No. 11 Spy Ponders will play Woburn Saturday.

“Everybody came into Friday’s practice and worked incredibly hard, and we’ll continue to do so until game time,” Roach said. “I’ve got Caroline Buckley, Sarah Buckley, with Sammie Mirasolo and Cassie Mirasolo on the same line. We also are looking for good things from Kaylee Purcell, Elise Murphy and Carolyn Garafoli.

“We had a tight game against a good club to get into the playoffs, so that’s the way we want to be playing going into the tournament,” Roach said. “Everything goes out the window now at tournament time, everyone has a clean slate and it’s going to come down to hard work and how we approach every game, starting on Wednesday.”

 

ICE rumors send chill through North Shore

PHOTO BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN President Donald Trump’s high stakes effort to target millions of undocumented immigrants has frayed the nerves of many North Shore residents.

“There’s tremendous fear, uncertainty and confusion over what is happening with the administration’s crackdown and it’s not just people from Muslim countries,” said Denzil Mohammed, a director at the Immigrant Learning Center, a Malden nonprofit that educates the public on the contributions of immigrants.

During the campaign, Trump promised to end immigration as we know it. This week, the president equipped the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, with the tools to potentially remove millions of undocumented residents from the country. The administration said serious criminals will be a top priority, but some are not so sure.

“People are worried and many of us are trying to figure out how to protect our families,” said Jose Palma, a Lynn resident who immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador nearly 20 years ago and works as an organizer at Neighbor To Neighbor, a local advocacy group. “Everyone is talking about what we should do if immigration enforcement officers show up at our homes and what kind of documents we must have to keep us safe.”

Day without immigrants hits Lynn

Juan Gonzalez, a Guatemalan native and founder of the American Latino Committee, said rumors are rampant about raids that may have been held in Lynn.

“The chief of police has assured me that this is not true, but people are still on edge,” he said.

Through a spokesman, Deputy Chief  Michael Mageary said no ICE raids have been made in the city.

Typically, ICE agents notify the Lynn Police Department before coming to the city and inform them about any actions they intend to take, according to Lt. Rick Donnelly.  

If an arrest is to be made, a Lynn police officer would accompany the ICE agent and the suspect would be taken to the police station for documentation before being sent to a federal facility, he said.

“We will assist ICE if they have a warrant, but we are not immigration officers and we don’t knock on doors asking residents if they are here legally,” Donnelly said.

An ICE spokesman confirmed the agency is not conducting any operations in Massachusetts.

Still, as part of its work, ICE officers target and arrest criminal aliens and other individuals who are in violation of the country’s immigration laws, the spokesman said.

Gov. Charlie Baker said Massachusetts is part of a global community and he has no plans to change enforcement measures when it comes to immigrants.

“We benefit enormously from the presence, the intelligence and vitality of foreign-born people in the commonwealth and we are going to work hard to remain a welcoming place for everyone,” Baker told The Item. “We have no intention of changing any of our policies.”

Mohammed said there’s confusion among newcomers over Trump’s aggressive immigration policies.

“Everything is happening so fast,” he said. “Many immigrants are questioning their futures in this country. Think of how damaging it would be for local economies of big cities where immigrants have moved in and are helping to sustain and rebuild them.”

A report by the Partnership for a New American Economy, a coalition of mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms, found that Massachusetts immigrants play a key role in the state as taxpayers and consumers.

In 2014, immigrant-led households in the Bay State earned $36.8 billion, 15 percent of all income earned by Massachusetts residents that year, the survey said. With those earnings, the state’s foreign-born households contributed more than one in every seven dollars paid by residents in state and local tax revenues, payments that support schools, police and fire protection, the study found.

Through their individual wage contributions, immigrants also paid about $4.6 billion into the Social Security and Medicare programs that year, researchers found. By spending the money they earn at businesses such as hair salons, grocery stores and coffee shops, the study said immigrants also support small business owners and job creation in the communities where they live.

The White House press office did not respond to a request for comment.


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

Elections taking shape in Swampscott

By GAYLA CAWLEY

SWAMPSCOTT — Two seats are up for grabs on the Board of Selectmen for the April 25 local election.

Naomi Dreeben and Laura Spathanas, chair and vice-chair respectively, have announced they will run for a second, three-year term.

William DiMento, a Swampscott attorney, also pulled papers to run, but said he’s not going to return them, after learning the two incumbents are running again. Speaking from Florida on Wednesday, the former school committee member said he retired about a year ago, and isn’t taking on any more legal cases. He wants to travel. He said he likes the current board members and thinks the town is going in the right direction.

Candidates have until March 3 to obtain nomination papers and until March 7 to return them. Fifty certified signatures are required for a candidate to appear on the ballot.

“After some very serious consideration, I have decided to run for reelection to the board of selectmen,” Dreeben said at a recent board meeting. “It is a very big commitment … What I realized is that after three years of really getting up to speed and becoming familiar with the issues and the policies and the programs we have here in town, I now have this body of knowledge, and I want to be able to use it more effectively. And I want to see a few more things that we’ve initiated come to fruition.”

Dreeben said she is excited at the chance of working with new Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald and wants to be able to continue to work with the schools as well.

“I feel very invested in the work that we do as a board and I’m very interested in continuing for one more term,” Dreeben said.

Spathanas said there are lots of exciting things happening in the town that she continues to want to be a part of. There are lots of unresolved issues that the board hasn’t finished yet and things it hasn’t started yet, she added.

“Three years ago, when I was first elected and after our campaign, I told the town it was an honor to be elected and to be able to serve,” Spathanas said. “It’s really, throughout the three years, it’s been, continued to be an honor to serve our residents, to serve with this board, other members that have come and gone over the last three years.”

Selectman Peter Spellios spoke about the importance of continuity on the board. He added that he’s learned lots from Dreeben in the past year and a half. He said Spathanas is part of the reason the board has positive traction on a lot of things, adding that she’s open-minded and listens.

Initially, DiMento said he considered running out of frustration, with what he considered to be a spendthrift town. He said town government spends far more than it can afford to, which has caused Swampscott to have one of the highest tax rates on the North Shore and puts a strain on the majority of residents who don’t have children in school. He thinks the schools are given too much money.

“I’m a strong believer in public education, but I’m not a strong believer in wasting taxpayers’ money,” DiMento said. “Let’s give them a school system. Let’s not give them a Cadillac.”

Ferryway student rolls over barriers


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

 

Tanners make history with win over Melrose

COURTESY PHOTO BY MARK GRANT
Sammie Mirasolo celebrates a goal in Wednesday’s win. 

By ANNE MARIE TOBIN

PEABODY — Let’s just say it was a great night for Peabody girls hockey and anyone who has ever been a part of the program.  The Tanners lit the tournament lamp last night with a 4-0 win over Melrose at McVann O’Keefe Rink on Senior Night.

The win set a program record for most wins in a single season (9) and also marked the first time in program history the team had qualified for the tournament.

The Tanners honored their five seniors (Jillian McCormick, Hanni Aylward, captain Caroline Buckley, captain Elise Murphy and Erin Hunter) and Melrose’s seniors (Julia McLaughlin, Kelly Stanton and Sam Shield) prior to the start of the game.

But it was a pair of youngsters (freshman Sammie Mirasolo and sophomore goaltender Abby Buckley) who shined the most for Peabody.

Mirasolo notched a hat trick and, also earned an assist on Peabody’s final tally, an empty-netter by Murphy with 9.3 seconds left to play.  Buckley was solid in goal, especially over the final two and a half minutes when Melrose pulled its goalie and unleashed a relentless offensive attack.

“We came in knowing Melrose is a good club and it was going to be a challenge,” Peabody coach Michelle Roach said.  “We finished out the third period, making up for all the times that we didn’t.  Sammie just has a ton of speed and when she gets open ice, she does good things, and Abby, I just don’t know where some of her saves came from.  That last kick save was incredible, and she had a glove save that was amazing near the end as well.  She was so strong on all those scrums in the crease.”

Mirasolo scored the only goal Peabody needed when she pounced on a loose puck at the red line, and turned on the jets, leaving the only Melrose defenseman back in the dust as she swooped down the left side of the ice. With a nifty move to her right, she beat Melrose goalie Courtney O’Connor top shelf inside the far post with 11:35 left to play.

Less than two minutes later she popped in another high shot to double the Tanners lead to 2-0.

Six minutes later, she was robbed by O’Connor in a scrum, but made good on the rebound to extend the lead to 3-0 at the 3:05 mark.

Both teams came into the game needing one point to qualify and, for the first two periods, it looked like each would get it, with neither team managing to get on the board, thanks to stellar play from each goalie.

The game featured its share of physical play. With 12 combined penalties, at times the penalty box was standing room only, especially in the third period when at one point three Red Raiders and two Tanners were incarcerated, listening to the tune “Evil Woman” being played in the arena.

Fittingly, the man who started it all, was in the stands to take in the historic moment.

“I grew up playing under Larry Minehan,” Roach said.  “He started the program, he brought it back together when the team had no funding, he got funding on his own to keep the team together.  Not only for Peabody hockey, he pave the way for girls hockey on the North Shore.  It was great to have him here tonight and show him the progress we have made, and it all because he started this.”

Roach praised the efforts of Hunter and Murphy, who she said “were everywhere,” and also the play of Buckley.

“I am so proud of all of them,” said Roach.  “Erin blocked a ton of shots tonight, and had an incredible game.  I am ecstatic, especially for the older girls, some of whom have been here five years and never came this close to a season like this.”

Buckley agreed.

“We have been working four years for this,” she said. “It’s Senior Day, so while it was tough it had to go down to the last game, this is just a perfect ending to a great season.”

Condo sales sail in Lynn

ITEM GRAPHIC
This graphic shows the increase in North Shore condominium sales from 2015-2016. 

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — Condominium sales in the city made the biggest splash on the North Shore last year as buyers sought alternatives to higher prices closer to Boston.

The number of condos sold in 2016 soared by a whopping 48 percent in Lynn to 225 units, up from 152 in 2015, according to The Warren Group, the Boston-based real estate tracking firm.

Perhaps the most attractive thing about Lynn condos was the low cost, say agents. The median price of a condo last year was $180,000, up less than 1 percent from $178,500 in 2015.

In contrast, buyers faced sticker shock in competing cities that are out of reach for many potential buyers. In Chelsea, the median was $317,000, East Boston reached $416,000, Somerville was $580,000 and South Boston topped out at $631,000.

“Buyers are choosing Lynn because it’s more affordable,” said Michael Connor, owner-manager at Connor Real Estate in Lynn. “There’s great value for your money here compared to other cities.”

Colleen Toner, broker-owner of Toner Real Estate in Lynn, said the soaring cost of apartments in Lynn is driving condo sales. A tenant paying $1,500 in rent would pay less than $1,200 per month for a $200,000 condo with 5 percent down.

The other factor that drove sales last year was low interest rates, Toner said.

The average mortgage interest rate in 2016 was 3.65 percent. That’s down from 4.17 percent in 2014, according to Freddie Mac, the federal agency that provides mortgage capital to lenders.

Revere was the only other North Shore city to demonstrate a strong sales condo market as 204 units sold last year compared to 156 in 2015, a 31 percent hike. While sales increased, median prices fell by 4.4 percent to $267,200 last year, down from $279,500 in 2015.

Four communities, including Peabody, Swampscott, Lynnfield and Marblehead, saw sales fall but prices rise.

In Peabody, 154 units sold in 2016, down more than 9 percent from 2015 levels when sales reached 170. But the median price rose to $267,750 last year, up from $254,500 in 2015, a 5.2 percent hike.

Sales of condos in Swampscott slipped to 62 last year from 69 in 2015, a 10 percent drop, as median prices increased by 4 percent to $255,000 last year, up from $244,900 in 2015.

Lynnfield condo sales fell by 30 percent with 14 units sold last year, down from 20 in 2015. But the median price increased by 60 percent to $709,900, up from $440,000 in 2015.

In Marblehead, 52 condos sold last year, down from 57 in 2015, a nearly 9 percent dip while median prices rose to $350,750, a 14 percent increase over the 2015 level of $307,500.

Sales were flat in Nahant, which has a small condo market. Just six units sold last year, the same as in 2015. But median prices showed the biggest increase on the North Shore and reached $370,000 last year, up from $209,300, a 77 percent jump.  

Only Saugus experienced fewer sales and a drop in the median price. A total of 54 condos sold last year, down from 56 in 2015 while the median fell to $286,000 last year from $323,750 in 2015, a nearly 12 percent dip.

Saugus staking out a Hilltop vision


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

News from Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce

COURTESY PHOTO
The Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce’s most recent ribbon-cutting was for The Pooch Pawlor, 664 Humphrey St. in Swampscott. Pictured with the scissors is owner Erin Ago.

LYNN — The Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce is welcoming three of its newest members: EduBoston, Swampscott Rotary Club and UriahMarketing.

EduBoston offers the highest level of educational consulting and placement services for middle, high school and college-aged students from around the world, according to their website.

The Swampscott Rotary Club meets at 12:15 p.m. Wednesdays at Mission on the Bay, 141 Humphrey St.

UriahMarketing is a social media marketing agency that helps small businesses increase revenues through innovative strategies, according to CEO Jonathan Severe.

A sharp divide in Lynnfield

Mission on the Bay will also host a “Women in Networking” charity event from 5-7 p.m. Feb. 27. Join professionals from across the North Shore for an evening of networking in a relaxed environment.

The networking event costs $30 to attend. There will be a cash bar and passed appetizers. A portion of the proceeds with benefit Lynn Lions Eye Research and the REAL Program.

Payment must be made in advance to hold an RSVP. Visit lynnareachamber.com to reserve a spot.

There will also be a ribbon-cutting for UriahMarketing at 9 a.m. Feb. 28 at the LACC office, 583 Chestnut St. Learn more about the business, meet the owner, and take advantage of a photo opportunity.

Gertraude Hill, 72

LYNN — Gertraude “Trudy” (Piesker) Hill, age 72, of Lynn, died Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, at a local nursing home, following a lengthy illness. She was the wife of David G. Hill, and the daughter of the late Rudolf and Liesel (Herzog) Piesker. Born in Cottbus, East Germany, Trudy was raised in Homberg, Efze, West Germany. She was educated in early childhood education and nursing in Frankford and Fritzlar, Germany. She worked as a faculty assistant for Harvard Business School for many years and as a soloist and choir director at Holy Family Church in Lynn for 16 years as well as St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Nahant from 1994-2012. Trudy loved music and singing. She was philanthropic and generous to charities. Also Trudy Hill was well known in the North Shore and Greater Boston musical community. Ms. Hill began her musical career in Germany where she performed in operas and oratorios. Her most beloved musical experience was with the Paul Madore Chorale as a soprano Soloist,

She was coached by Allan Rogers and Paul Madore in her subsequent years. She teamed up with her best friend, Mary Pelletier, to arrange the Summer Singing, giving local artists a chance to be known in the musical community and to create an awareness to the continuance of the Performing Arts. As part of her musical experience she teamed up with Maria Dè Stefano, the ultimate alto, and a life-long team they formed. Don Wilkerson, whose voice Trudy loved, was her musical partner for many years and a lifelong friendship developed.

The Northshore Philharmonic, Symphony by the Sea, Cape Ann Chamber Orchestra, the Brookline Symphony, the Melrose Symphony, the Arlington Belmont Chorale, the Bedford Chorale and the Concert Singers of Greater Lynn all gave richness to her musical life. It was at the core of her existence with her husband David, she enjoyed extensive traveling.

Besides her loving husband David of almost 30 years, she is survived by her four children Caroline Hill of Biddeford, Maine, Julie Hope and her husband Zachary of Lynn, Daniel Hill and his partner Jennifer Swafford of Lynn and Ryan Hill of Lynn, her three grandchildren, Kelsey Kamerick, Christina Hope and Nathan Hill, and her sister Anneliese Collins of Newport News, Va. She also leaves her two nieces Vicky and Karen Collins, her brother-in-law David Butler and his wife Miriam of Boxford, her sister-in-law Joan Hutchinson and her husband Jeff of Middletown, N.Y. and a dear, longtime friend, Mary Pelletier of Salem. Another dear friend was June Robinson, a member of Our Lady of the Assumption Choir, who was a spiritual supporter as well as a musical partner. She was preceded in death by her brother-in-law Charles Collins.

Service information: Her funeral will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, from the SOLIMINE Funeral Home, 426 Broadway (Rt. 129) Lynn at 9 a.m., followed by a funeral Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Lynnfield at 10 a.m. Interment will be in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Lynn. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. Visiting hours will be Tuesday from 4-8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 480 Pleasant St., Watertown, MA 02472. Directions and guestbook at Solimine.com.

Day without immigrants hits Lynn

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

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN Jose Reyes didn’t go to work yesterday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Sergeant approved as new harbormaster

SWAMPSCOTT — Officials are confident it will be clear sailing for their new harbormaster.

Swampscott Police Sgt. William Waters was unanimously approved as the new interim harbormaster by the board of selectmen on Wednesday. Waters was recommended by Gino Cresta, interim town administrator and department of public works director.

“It’s an honor to be considered for the position,” said Waters. “I hope to get down there and be accessible and do the job for the town.”

His first day is March 1. He will be in place through June. Cresta said his hope is that Waters, whom he called his No. 1 candidate for the position, will be reappointed on July 1.

The position, which pays a stipend of $7,983, or $665 a month, is a yearly appointment.

“I think he would make a great harbormaster,” said Cresta.

Waters, 48, grew up in Nahant and lives in Swampscott with his wife and three children. Cresta said Waters is a lifelong experienced boater on the North Shore.

The new harbormaster served as a reserve police officer in Nahant from 1989 to 1991, when he became a full-time police officer. He’s also served as a police officer in Peabody. He transferred to the Swampscott Police Department in 1996 and was promoted to sergeant in 2001.

Waters served as assistant harbormaster in Nahant from 1992 to 2004. Cresta said Waters has also agreed to take the required classes to obtain his harbormaster council certification.

Cresta said in a previous interview that it took some selling for Waters to say yes to the position. He was interested in appointing Waters because of his knowledge of the harbor and because he’s a police officer.

Waters said he didn’t have much interest in the position initially because of time constraints. Eventually, he said, he came around and thought it might work out well. In the past, he said there hasn’t been much of a schedule with the position, but he wants to show more of a presence at the harbor and town waters and get the boat out on a more regular basis.

The new harbormaster said in the past the police department hasn’t had access to a boat with water emergencies. Now that he’s going to be running the boat, Waters said that will change. His goal is to have several police officers be appointed as assistant harbormasters, and plans to do more patrols on town waters on weekends and evening hours.

“In the past, it’s been kind of sporadic,” Waters said. “I’d just like to see a more regular presence with the boat.”

Members of the board of selectmen were happy to appoint Waters. Naomi Dreeben, chairwoman of the board of selectmen, said she had recently met him and was very impressed with his professionalism.

“I know Billy,” said selectman Peter Spellios. “I can tell you, I think as though he’s an A-plus for us. I think he’s very serious about everything he does. He’s very serious about the town and those are the things you can’t fake and you can’t learn. And I think he’s going to be great.”

Waters will be replacing Harbormaster Lawrence Bithell, who is facing criminal charges for his use of an expired license plate, and had been on paid administrative leave since September.

Bithell was arraigned in Lynn District Court in October and last appeared in court for a pretrial hearing. His next appearance will be for a motion to dismiss hearing, scheduled for Feb. 28, according to the Essex County District Attorney’s office.

Officials have said that Bithell remained on administrative leave because waterfront towns are required by state law to officially have a harbormaster in place.

Swampscott takes on Waters as harbormaster


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

Sky’s the limit at Lynn Tech

Lynn Vocational Technical Institute is again proving under Director Robert Buontempo’s leadership that it isn’t just a school — it is a springboard launching students into high-paying jobs.

By expanding its machinist training and health services professional courses, the Neptune Boulevard school has linked Lynn teenagers to jobs in firms where there is a demand for young and well-trained students.

Machinist shops across the North Shore are anxious to fill jobs and make up for the exodus of middle-age machinists who are retiring or who are poised to retire. General Electric remains a major North Shore employer and many shops subcontract specialized and extremely high-tolerance machine work with the aviation engine maker.

With world-class hospitals nine miles away in Boston and medical facilities located across the North Shore, health services is an expanding field that needs new talent at all work skill levels. Students trained as health professionals at Tech, like their counterparts in machinist training and the school’s other shops, are ready to hit the ground running with high-paying jobs.

Special Olympics program returns to Revere

The state this week recognized Tech’s strong link to skills training, academics and careers by awarding the school $75,000 to expand the network of career opportunities available to Tech students. Buontempo’s stated goal has always been to instill in the mind of employers the belief that Tech is a great place to go to find enthusiastic skilled young people who want to work.

Through its SkillsUSA program participation, Tech has already proven itself on a national stage as a school training students to excel in organizational and leadership skills. Its SkillsUSA proficiency also reflects Tech’s strong commitment among Lynn public schools to community service work.

Lynn’s state legislators are enthusiastic supporters of the state’s renewed commitment to strengthening the link between vocational education and skilled trade careers in Lynn. Like Buontempo and his faculty, state Sen. Thomas M. McGee and state Reps. Brendan Crighton and Dan Cahill know a strong skills foundation positions 21st century high school graduates to realistically analyze how higher education can increase their skills.

Vocational education students trained in a trade can save money toward college and assess from a perspective of work experience if they can improve their careers through higher education. By setting the bar higher for their students, Buontempo and Tech’s faculty are showing students the sky is the limit for someone with vocational and technical training.

Healthy Streets ready to help

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Mary Wheeler, program director of Healthy Streets, teaches a woman how to use Narcan.

By GAYLA CAWLEY

LYNN — After a recent five-day span of five fatal apparent opioid overdoses, Mary Wheeler, program director of Healthy Streets, wants people to know they have a place to go for help.

Lynn Police and the Essex County District Attorney’s office reported five fatal apparent overdoses from Feb. 3-7. There was also a fatal suspected crack cocaine overdose in that time span. Updated statistics for February were not available on Monday.

Healthy Streets Outreach Program describes itself as an HIV/AIDS and overdose prevention program serving active injection drug users and their families on the North Shore. Wheeler said the organization runs a program that provides Naloxone, or Narcan, the lifesaving overdose drug.

Healthy Streets is a Department of Public Health Naloxone distribution pilot site. Wheeler said there are more than 20 sites throughout the state. Lynn became a state-funded pilot site in 2007, one of the first eight in Massachusetts. The locations were chosen based on where there was community need, Wheeler said.

Wheeler said the Naloxone distribution site teaches people how to recognize an overdose, respond and administer the medication. Anyone can get trained, including active users and family members.

Wheeler said Massachusetts has a high rate of 911 calls among people who have been trained in Narcan. Part of the training at the pilot site is calling 911. Some people get scared and don’t want to call, but most people do. She said the Good Samaritan Law, which provides protection from drug possession charges when an overdose witness or victim seeks medical attention or calls 911 for medical assistance, has helped with that. Before, people historically didn’t want to call.

“Our catch phrase is usually ‘it’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it,” Wheeler said of Naloxone. “It’s not the ultimate answer, but it buys people time.”

Wheeler said there’s been a huge increase in overdoses and fentanyl, which police say is 100 times stronger than heroin found on the streets. She said overdoses may be up because people might not know what they’re buying or are using alone. She said people may also inject more times a day, as fentanyl acts fast, but wears off more quickly.

According to Department of Public Health statistics, there were 1,574 confirmed opioid-related deaths in 2015, and 1,747 estimated deaths, which was a 20 percent increase over 2014. There were 1.2 opioid-related deaths a day in 2015. In 2016, Wheeler said there were likely more than 2,000 deaths.

“There’s definitely more fatalities in recent years,” Wheeler said. “I think this problem has been a problem for many years in Massachusetts and is just escalating to a point where it’s going to be very, very hard for us to get a handle on it. I think there were a lot of years prior to now where people were trying to get a lot of attention and focus on the problem and people weren’t really listening. And now, we’re here with 2,000 deaths a year in Massachusetts. Hopefully, we’re not too late.”

She said people can also come to the organization to make calls and secure detox beds elsewhere. Wheeler said there’s an issue with bed shortage. People are able to find a detox bed, but have more trouble finding a bed for after care.

The opioid crisis is a public health issue, Wheeler said. She said one of the things that’s been happening for many years in Massachusetts is there’s been a spike in HIV and Hepatitis C cases. She said the organization has seen issues with people who have overdosed multiple times and are starting to mirror people who have a brain injury. It becomes a more complicated issue after they stop using drugs, she said.

Wheeler said there’s also trauma among people who work in the field because of the massive amount of drug-related deaths. There can also be soft tissue infections and more abscesses among users from injecting fentanyl constantly.

People can access Healthy Streets at 339-440-5633 or walk in at 100 Willow St., where the organization is located on the second floor.

Opioid fight hitting home in Peabody


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

Museum weaves way through history

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Pictured is a rare embroidery made by Araxie Chakarian in 1880 with a portrait of her family in the middle. It is one of many things to be seen at the Lynn Museum’s “Heartstrings” exhibit.

By BILL BROTHERTON

LYNN — With the unrest and anxiety in the world these days, it would be easy to politicize the timely, remarkable new exhibit that opens at the Lynn Museum this morning. It’s equally easy to just enjoy the beauty and craftsmanship of Heartstrings: Embracing Armenian Needlelace, Embroidery and Rugs.”

The exhibit features intricate needlework inspired by the stories of Armenian-Americans who have persevered through challenging times, including the murder of more than 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915. Featured are items from the personal collections of several leaders in the local Armenian-American community including Mary Mooradian of Haverhill, Raffi Manjikian of Belmont and Marie Bazarian of Watertown.

Kate Luchini, who served as executive director of the museum from 2010-14, is curator of the exhibit.

“Mary (Mooradian) collected objects and wrote personal stories to go with each,” said Luchini. “Members of the Armenian-American community saved some of the needle work and lace embroidery of their grandmothers and great-grandmothers. These creations were either brought with them when they emigrated to America in the early 1900s or were created once they resettled in the United States.

“Families and groups can relate to it in their own way. It’s a special exhibit.”

Drew Russo, executive director of the museum, said there’s a large Armenian-American presence on the North Shore, especially in Peabody. “Mary and members of her church community are the main architects of the exhibit. The works are beautiful. The personal stories are fascinating. People came to this country for a better life after the atrocities at home.”

In 1915, leaders of the Turkish government set in motion a plan to expel and massacre Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. By the early 1920s, when the massacres and deportations finally ended, some 1.5 million of Turkey’s Armenians were dead, with many more forcibly removed from the country. Today, most historians call this event a genocide — a premeditated and systematic campaign to exterminate an entire people. Properties, churches and schools were confiscated; and many beautiful works of art were destroyed and lost forever.

Abramsons ready for ‘amazing’ spelling bee


“Heartstrings: Embracing Armenian Needlelace, Embroidery and Rugs” opens today, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s free and open to the public. “Heartstrings” will be on display through June 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, at the Lynn Museum, 590 Washington St. For more information on this and other Lynn Museum events, call 781-581-6200 or visit www.lynnmuseum.org.

Rules are changing at Lynn Shelter

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Mark Evans is the new executive director and Samantha Wheeler the new director of development at the Lynn Shelter Association.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — For more than 30 years, the Lynn Shelter Association has offered the homeless a place to stay.

But it was strictly for people who were clean and sober.

Now, that rule is changing.

Mark Evans, who was hired as executive director last summer following the retirement of Marjorie St. Paul, is offering what some would call a kinder, gentler approach.

“Our lease with the city says we must run a dry shelter and we do,” he said. “You have to be sober to engage with us. But if you show up highly intoxicated, we’ll tell you to come back when you’re able to be coherent and have a conversation with us. You won’t be banned for life.”

That approach, dubbed “housing first,” is to get a safe place to live and then the support to stay clean.

“I’m a social worker and the board was looking to bring more of a clinical lens to the agency,” Evans said.

Samantha Wheeler, the agency’s new development director, said if a homeless person has a home where they feel safe, there is a better chance they will work on issues that led them to be homeless, such as alcoholism.  

Founded in 1984, the association offers shelter programs, case-management, housing opportunities, job training and placement services for the homeless on the North Shore. Clients can access adult basic education classes, mental health assessment, substance abuse counseling and access to detox and treatment, as well as assisted access to state and federal benefits.

The nonprofit operates the adult emergency shelter downtown in addition to three family-style homes on Western Avenue, Green and Baker streets. It also manages the Osmund, a former hotel, which provides semi-independent living arrangements and case management.  

The Association has 83 employees and a $3.8 million annual budget. Major donors include the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Community Development and the city of Lynn.

The other goal that has been set for Evans is to build partnerships with other nonprofits. They are teaming with Lifebridge, a Salem-based homeless shelter, to coordinate services between organizations.

“If they have an empty bed and we were at capacity, we could  send a client over,” he said. “The goal is regional coordinated services.”

The agency has launched a new initiative called the Launching Pad. They are working with the Haven Project, another Lynn nonprofit, that serves homeless young adults. Under the project, Haven does case management while the Association provides the housing.

“It’s working together in the best interest of the client,” he said.

One other priority that has been identified for the new management is to enhance their property on Liberty Street.

“It’s looking a little ratty,” Evans said. “We acknowledge that our presence can be difficult in the community. We want to create some gardens and paint the front of the building with the help of volunteers. We want to show that we are part of the community and we care about it.”

Kids storm Lynn YMCA on their day off


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

Photos: Snowstorm smacks North Shore

ITEM PHOTO BY JIM WILSON
David Garcia of Lynn clears his car so he could head to work as a security guard. His car was blocked between two others at Connery School.

David Garcia of Lynn, clears his car so he could head to work. Item photo by Jim Wilson.

David Garcia of Lynn, clears his car so he could head to work. Item photo by Jim Wilson.

Cars triple parked at Connery School during the snow storm. Item photo by Jim Wilson.

David Garcia of Lynn, clears his car so he could head to work. Item photo by Jim Wilson.

Fnu Atal of Lynn clears his car and his friend’s car at Ingalls School. Item photo by Jim Wilson.

Fnu Atal of Lynn clears his car and his friend’s car at Ingalls school. Item photo by Jim Wilson.

A person walks on the street near a car on Exchange Street. Item photo by Jim Wilson.

Xuan La, owner of Pho Minh Ky Restaurant, clears snow from his car. Photo by Jim Wilson.

Dan Yaeger and Phinney take their daily morning walk. Photo by Paula Muller.

“Neither snow, nor sleet, nor dark of night” will hinder these walkers. Photo by Paula Muller.

Kate Bibeau and her dog Letty get some exercise. Photo by Paula Muller.

Nicole Marcellino of Marblehead braves the storm. Photo by Paula Muller.

Elyse Etling of Marblehead heads back to work. Photo by Paula Muller.

Bruin fan John Bray is well insulated. Photo by Bob Roche.

John Bray snow blows his driveway. Photo by Bob Roche.

John Bray clears his driveway with a snow blower. Photo by Bob Roche.

John Bray blows snow from in front of his garage. Photo by Bob Roche.

 

Storm conditions in Marblehead on Pickett Street. Photo by Paula Muller.

Eyes on the skies for snowfall

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Lynn’s fleet of snow plows are ready for the storm.

BY LEAH DEARBORN

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.

 

Swampscott admin signs four-year agreement

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Sean Fitzgerald is pictured in this December 2016 file photo.

By GAYLA CAWLEY

SWAMPSCOTT — Sean Fitzgerald is looking forward to his first day as town administrator in Swampscott. His first day of work is Feb. 27.

“With any job, I think the first couple of weeks is really exciting,” said Fitzgerald, who signed a four-year deal. “I’m eager to really work with the board of selectmen. They have a lot of busy plans and they’ve been working incredibly hard to support the town with a number of projects.”

Fitzgerald, who was town manager in Plaistow, N.H., and is a Peabody resident, said it’s hard whenever there is a position that’s been open for an extended period of time and the staff is pulling double duty. He hopes to give them support.

The new town administrator anticipates a busy first few weeks after taking the helm, which he said will include contacting local officials and stakeholders in Swampscott and on the North Shore. He also looks forward to working with the Council on Aging and the school department. Change is always a challenge, Fitzgerald said. He said he cares deeply about Plaistow residents and was honored to serve in an important position there.

But the lifelong resident of the North Shore said working in the seaside town will give him a chance to spend more time with his family, which includes three young sons. Fitzgerald spent much of his childhood in Swampscott. His grandmother was a nurse at Hadley Elementary School for decades and his mother grew up on Bay View Drive.

“The major expectation is really proactive leadership,” said Naomi Dreeben, chairwoman of the board of selectmen. “We’re expecting that he will be picking up the initiative on moving our projects forward, both the things that are in motion and the things we’re interested in doing in the future.”

Dreeben said project priorities for Fitzgerald will include forward movement on the development of the former Machon Elementary School and old Swampscott Middle School on Greenwood Avenue. He’ll also be involved with school officials’ plans to bring a new school building to town.

Town officials are also interested in possibly acquiring White Court, or the former Marian Court College, for an open space use. Dreeben said he will be involved in the reuse of other buildings in town as well.

Under the terms of his contract, Fitzgerald will be paid at a prorated rate for the remainder of fiscal year 2017, based on a salary of $128,500. On July 1, his annual salary will increase to $129,800.

Fitzgerald’s pay will increase each year on July 1 as outlined in the contract, with him set to make $132,400 in the final year. His contract expires on June 30, 2020, and will be up for renewal with the selectmen then. Fitzgerald’s performance will be evaluated publicly by the selectmen semi-annually during his first year of employment and every year thereafter on or before Oct. 1, according to the contract.

If Fitzgerald wishes to terminate his contract before it expires, he must give written notice to the board of selectmen at least 90 days in advance. His employment can also be terminated by the selectmen before the contract is fulfilled under the town charter, according to the deal.

Before becoming town manager in Plaistow in 2008, Fitzgerald served as chief of staff to former Peabody Mayor Michael Bonfanti. He was hired in nearby Saugus in 2015, where he served less than a week as town manager. He was sworn in a day before a recall election that unseated four of the five members of the Saugus Board of Selectmen. His contract was voided a week later after the four new selectmen were sworn in. Saugus reinstated Town Manager Scott Crabtree, who was fired by the previous board. Fitzgerald was reinstated in Plaistow.

Fitzgerald was hired by the selectmen in late December. He is replacing former Town Administrator Thomas Younger, who left in mid-October for the same job in Stoneham.

Gino Cresta, department of public works director, has been serving as interim town administrator. Town Accountant David Castellarin, who also serves as assistant town administrator, has been in charge of the budget during the interim.

“It was a great experience,” Cresta said. “It was great working with the board of selectmen. It was great having their support and it was a great learning experience for me.”  

Dreeben called Fitzgerald a very high energy person. She said the selectmen have been meeting with him about once a week for about a month to catch him up on what’s happening in town. He’s also been meeting with town staff and administrators including Cresta and Castellarin.

Dreeben also expressed her appreciation for Cresta taking on the role of town administrator, in addition to his duties as department of public works director.

“Gino is wonderful to work with,” Dreeben said. “Gino has been really stepping up and he’s doing two jobs. I’m delighted that he’s been able to do this for so long, but I don’t want him to get burnt out. I want him to have a reasonable job.”

Lynn marina nets $1M from state


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

Seminar explains success for small business

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Steve Grossman, CEO of Inner City Capital Connections Program, speaks at the Enterprise Center at Salem State University.

By THOMAS GRILLO

SALEM — It was standing room only at the Enterprise Center at Salem State University on Monday as entrepreneurs packed a conference room hoping to learn how to expand their businesses.

North Shore small business owners attended “Inner City Capital Connections” (ICCC), an informational session that detailed how to access a free program that offers a multidimensional approach to growing a business, including executive education, webinars, coaching and access to capital sources.

“Until we became participants, we thought we had reached as high as we could go,” said Cynthia Schenck, a 2016 program graduate and CEO of Lynn-based International Medical Interpreters of the North Shore. “ICCC changed our lives and changed our business for the better. This week alone, we hired four new employees. If you’re thinking about starting or growing a business, think about joining ICCC.”

Since its inception in 2005 and with the generosity of Staples, Dunkin’ Donuts, Boston Foundation, National Grid and other firms, Boston-based ICCC has worked with 1,122 companies nationwide, including 837 businesses that have raised more than $1.32 billion in debt and equity capital and created 11,000 jobs.

Through the work of U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Salem State University, ICCC has added a North Shore recruitment focus.

This national program is designed to help small businesses build capacity for sustainable growth in revenue, profitability and employment. To be eligible, a business must have revenues of  $1 million or more and be headquartered in or have at least 40 percent of its employees reside within an economically-distressed urban area.

Training takes place over many months, showing awareness that small business owners cannot take a week off for study, according to Steve Grossman, CEO of the parent nonprofit Inner City Capital Connections. The program promises to serve as a way for the region’s small businesses, including those that are minority-, women- and immigrant-owned, to learn how to create good-paying jobs.

About 100 inner-city entrepreneurs from Massachusetts will be selected to attend the session in June. Tuition is waived for all accepted participants.

Grossman said he was at the Democratic Convention last summer when Jason Denoncourt, Moulton’s economic development director, approached him.

“We were in the middle of the convention and he was strategizing with me about how we can build small businesses and do economic development on the North Shore,” he said.

Denoncourt’s persistence is credited with helping to bring the North Shore into the ICCC program, Grossman said.

“When people talk about economic development, they speak of initiatives like bringing General Electric Co. to Boston,” he said. “It’s not easy to pull off attracting such a large company to your city. ICCC is getting the small businesses that are already here, providing training and access to capital that they need to grow and by doing so, create jobs.”

Schenck, the program graduate, said she learned how to grow her company while still having time for herself.

“When we started ICCC, we were dragging and tired all the time because we worked 24/7 365 days a year,” she said. “Now, we have a little more time to do things we want to do.”

Laura Swanson, the Enterprise Center’s executive director, said their mission is to help grow businesses.

“We want you start your business here, stay here and grow here,” she said.

Moulton said the North Shore is known as the place for startups and growing long term businesses.

“This should be a model for the rest of the country,” he said.  

Dose of history at House of the Seven Gables


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

Singing with a Purpose in Lynn

PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
Members of the band Purpose, from left, Anthony Butler, Michael Ward and Mack Raye, rehearse in Lynn for an upcoming concert.

By MICHELE DURGIN

LYNN — When Anthony Butler, Mack Raye, and Michael Ward get together to sing, it’s always with a purpose, or rather they become Purpose. The personable trio has spent the last decade together, performing as a Rhythm and Blues group, and they have enjoyed just about every moment, both on and off the stage.

“It’s been a blessing,” said Ward, 58, a lifelong Lynner and proud graduate of Lynn English High School.  “Bringing joy to an audience is a wonderful feeling and I love to sing.”

Butler nodded in agreement and added, “I love to sing, as well, and I’m also a songwriter. I’ve written about 100 songs since I was a kid.”

The hardworking and outgoing entertainers have performed throughout the North Shore in nightclubs, at weddings, and countless other community events, belting out tunes first made famous by their idols: The Whispers, The Temptations, The O’Jays and The Spinners. They are preparing to head into the studio and put together a DVD of their favorite songs.

Raye, 64, is originally from Boston, but now calls Lynn his home. The father of four adult children said he was grateful to have the opportunity to become a performer and believes music truly is a universal language.

“I feel so good when the audience responds to us in a positive way. I’ve  been drawn to music my whole life and I look forward to every performance,” he said.

Butler went on to say that music truly is in his blood and his family enjoys the world of music and song, both professionally and personally.

“My mother, Essie Butler, was a singer and inspired me to follow that path. I have six sisters and three brothers who all sing, as well. Some of them sing professionally, now and then.”

Ward put  his voice to the test about 40 years ago, as a high school student at Lynn English High School. He, along with four classmates, began performing as The Realistics and spent a few years together singing in local talent shows, schools, and churches.

“One of my favorite memories is a performance we gave back in the ’70s. We held a concert in a big open field in Gloucester and I bet there were 500 or more people there. It was a lot of fun.”

The talented trio ended our time together with a lively and well done rendition of “Anything But My Love” by The Stylistics, fancy footwork included.

“We are like brothers, at this point in our lives. Some of our best times together are when we are performing. We look forward to being on the stage and we are happiest when we are entertaining others,” said Mack.

The group is scheduled to perform at The Soldiers Home in Chelsea on Feb. 23 and can be reached at micwopp@comcast.net.

Popular Lynn teacher/writer killed in Marblehead car crash

Small businesses given coaching, network help

By THOMAS GRILLO

SALEM — Access to cash is one of the biggest obstacles for small businesses, especially in the nation’s older cities where more than two-thirds of businesses are undercapitalized.

That’s one of the reasons Michael Porter, a Harvard Business School professor, launched the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC). The nonprofit teaches small businesses how to grow with personalized business coaching, networking and access to investors.

North Shore business owners are encouraged to attend “Inner City Capital Connections” (ICCC), an informational meeting Monday in the Enterprise Center at Salem State University. The session will detail the program’s successes, benefits, qualifications and application process.

Small business owners who make the two-hour meeting may be invited to the 40-hour session scheduled to start at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in June. Its multidimensional approach includes executive education, webinars, coaching and access to capital sources.

“It’s a mini MBA program on steroids,” said Steven Grossman, ICIC CEO and former state treasurer. “It’s a proven winner.”

Since its inception in 2005 and with the generosity of Staples, Dunkin’ Donuts, Boston Foundation, National Grid and other large firms, ICCC has worked with 1,122 companies nationwide. These alumni, including 200 Massachusetts firms, have raised $1.4 billion in debt and equity capital and created more than 12,000 jobs. Through the work of U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Salem State University, ICCC has added a North Shore recruitment focus.

This national program is designed to help small businesses build capacity for sustainable growth in revenue, profitability and employment. To be eligible, a business must have revenues of  $1 million or more and be headquartered in or have at least 40 percent of its employees reside within an economically-distressed urban area.

Training takes place over many months, knowing that small business owners cannot take a week off for study, Grossman said. The program promises to serve as a way for the region’s small businesses, including those that are minority-, women- and immigrant-owned, to learn how to create good-paying jobs.

About 100 inner-city entrepreneurs from Massachusetts will be selected to attend the session in June. Tuition is waived for all accepted participants.

“The Monday event is a recruitment kick-off and everyone is invited,” Grossman said. “If we are successful and we get two dozen companies from the North Shore, I’d be thrilled.”

Inner City Capital Connections will be held in the Enterprise Center at Salem State University at 121 Loring Ave. in Salem on Monday, Feb. 6 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

New member of glam squad in Swampscott


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