North Shore

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.

Brain power in Nahant

“College town” isn’t the first description typically applied to Nahant. But the island community linked to the mainland by a causeway has its own academic powerhouse out on East Point.  Described by Northeastern University, its parent institution, as a “world-class facility,” the Marine Science Center uses Nahant as a base from which to explore the Atlantic Ocean and its coastal proximities.

Scientists explore seascape genetics, ocean genome legacy and other topics at the Center. Their research probably makes sense only to people who hold an advanced degree in marine biology or oceanography. But everyone knows the ocean plays a significant role in North Shore life and it only takes a nor’easter to remind seaside residents, especially ones in Nahant, of its power.

With a new year unfolding, now is a good time to reinforce the center’s relevance to the people who live around it and along the North Shore.

In conjunction with North Shore Community College’s Lynn campus, Salem State University and local libraries, Center scientists should find opportunities to highlight how their studies foster an understanding of the ocean’s impact on local coastways and waterfronts.

Through seminars, tours and field trips, ocean experts working in the Center can educate local residents about how the ocean has shaped the region’s coastline and how it will reshape in the years and decades to come.

The Center is also a jumping-off point in tandem with local academic institutions for shining a light on basic environmental awareness and conservation efforts area residents can undertake to keep coastal waters and beachfronts clean.

How the ocean and the North Shore’s populated coastline interact is not just a topic exclusive to scientists and students who rotate through the Center.

As homeowners, taxpayers and water and sewer ratepayers, Lynn residents and neighbors in Nahant and other communities have a dollar and cents investment in ocean research.

Lynn Water and Sewer commission is contemplating a mega-million dollar investment aimed at reducing discharges of partially-treated sewage into coastal waters. Storm-driven beach erosion is a challenge impacting premium real estate values and the future of public beaches in Revere, Lynn, Marblehead and Nahant.

It’s easy to look out at the ocean and contemplate its majesty and plenty of area residents sail and fish in local waters. But the Center’s work and its location in Nahant make it the perfect partner in a sustained effort by residents and local governments to understand long-term environmental concerns, including climate change.

It may not be as visible or well known as other academic institutions but the Center has a role to play in helping North Shore residents understand how the ocean will continue shaping the environment and economy in coastal communities.

Lynn school custodians back where they began

New member of glam squad in Swampscott

COURTESY PHOTO
Pictured is hairstylist and color specialist Honey Jo Hersey.

SWAMPSCOTT — Hairstylist and color specialist Honey Jo Hersey has joined the Glam Squad at The Beauty Loft at LuxeBeautiQue, 410 Humphrey St.  

She brings more than 20 years of experience to her post, specializing in color and corrective color on Newbury Street in Boston and on the North Shore.

Hersey trained under John Santini and Sal Sannizzaro and honed her cutting and coloring craft with training at TONI&GUY.

“Honey Jo is a wonderful addition to our team. We had worked together on weddings and photo shoots so I knew she would be a great fit for our clients,” said Amy Brackman, founder of The Beauty Loft at LuxeBeautiQue.

Saugus 17-year-old stands Guard

New harbormaster at the helm in Marblehead

COURTESY PHOTO
Pictured is Marblehead’s new harbormaster, Mark Souza.

By GAYLA CAWLEY

MARBLEHEAD — Town officials have chosen Mark Souza as their next harbormaster, a position that’s essential in a waterfront community.

Souza, deputy harbormaster in Beverly for the past six years, was unanimously hired by the Board of Selectmen on Wednesday night, following a brief job interview. Souza said he also served as an assistant harbormaster in Beverly.

“It would be the growth perspective,” Souza said of why he was interested in the job. “I wanted to become the harbormaster. I’m very excited. Lifelong goal.”

Souza said when he starts his new job he’ll first focus on customer service, his availability to the public and getting the lay of the land. He was born and raised in Tewksbury, but has always loved the North Shore.

Marblehead has a fantastic history, which makes it very attractive,” Souza said.

Locals set for Grand Old Trump party

The range for the full-time position is between $64,000 and $85,000, with contract negotiations and a decision on the start date pending, according to Town Administrator John McGinn. But he said the start date could potentially be mid-February.

Marblehead Harbormaster Webb Russell resigned several months ago to move onto other opportunities. He’s been the town’s harbormaster for five years. His last day is March 15, according to McGinn.

“Webb’s been a very good guy in that role, but I certainly respect his desire to move onto other challenges,” McGinn said.

Russell could not be reached for comment.

The harbormaster is responsible for managing the harbor enterprise fund and its budget, along with the administration, operation and revenue generation associated with the town’s harbors and related facilities or properties, according to a job description.

“I’d like to welcome you to Marblehead Harbor, the birthplace of the American Navy,” said Harry Christensen, a member of the board of selectmen, to Souza after his job interview.

Following Russell’s resignation, a selection committee was formed, made up of two members of the Harbors and Waters Board, the board that oversees the harbormaster, and McGinn.

The position was posted, with the search process conducted in November and December. Two rounds of interviews were conducted, and the selection committee collectively made the recommendation that Souza was the best person for the job, McGinn said. The harbors and waters board interviewed Souza on Tuesday and recommended him to the selectmen.

McGinn said Souza was selected because of his extensive experience in harbor management, his certification by the Massachusetts Harbormasters Association, his management style and his solid references from other local harbormasters.


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

Lynn tax preparer sentenced for fraud

BOSTON — Claudia Carredano, a Lynn tax preparer, was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Thursday in connection with a scheme to file fraudulent tax returns and pocket the excess funds she fabricated, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Carredano, 46, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution of $320,760 and forfeiture. She pleaded guilty to wire fraud and identity theft last March.

Prosecutors said from 2008 to 2011, Carredano, who co-owned Maya Multi-Services, a tax preparation business operating on the North Shore, devised and executed a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service by filing false tax returns on behalf of her clients.

Carredano reportedly filed dozens of false tax returns for her clients that included fraudulent dependents and real people who were not the dependents of her clients, intended to increase the tax refund amount, without her clients’ knowledge. She then deposited the inflated portion of the refunds into her bank account, prosecutors said.

She gave her clients’ tax returns that did not reflect the fraudulent dependents and sought smaller refunds than what she filed with the IRS, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Lynn home sales stay hot

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — Home sales in the city continued to surge into the new year as volume and prices rose in November, according to The Warren Group, the Boston-based real estate tracker.

The number of single-family homes sold last month swelled to 61, up from 52 for the same month a year ago, a 17.3 percent hike.

As sales rose, so did prices. The median price for a single-family dwelling climbed by nearly 27 percent to $310,000. One year ago, the median was $244,500.

Condominium sales also were strong. The number of units that changed hands nearly doubled to 20 in November while median prices reached $206,250, up from $174,000 a year ago, an 18.5 percent increase.

SEE MORE: See the numbers by community here

Brokers say rising rents on the North Shore are turning tenants into first-time homebuyers, as the cost of a mortgage is often a better deal than rent in many places.

“I sold a home to a couple in Revere who were paying $1,800 a month in rent and now their mortgage in Lynn is $1,500,” said George Panagopoulos, a sales associate at Clements Realty Group in Lynn. “Rents are so high in other communities and Lynn’s home prices are still affordable.”

New library on Lynnfield’s to-do list

Thomas Lynch, president of A. James Lynch Inc., a Lynn real estate agency, said rising prices are the result of supply and demand.

“The lack of inventory is driving prices up,” he said. “But even though prices are rising, Lynn is still the best bargain around and the best value for your money.”

On Tuesday, there were just 44 single-family homes listed for sale in Lynn from $199,000 for a two-bedroom Colonial on Groveland Street to $729,000 for a 10-room Victorian on Lynn Shore Drive, according to the MLS Property Information Network. During peak times, there were more than 200 homes for sales, say agents.  

Among North Shore communities, Revere saw strong volume as sales nearly doubled to 23 homes sold in November. Revere home prices also rose. The median reached $297,000, up from $273,500, a nearly 9 percent hike.

Peabody home sales fell in November while prices rose. There were 21 single-family homes sold compared to 41 last year, a 49 percent decrease. Despite the sales slump, prices were up by 10.5 percent to $386,800 from $350,000 a year ago.

In Marblehead, home sales fell to 17, down from two dozen last year. While sales dipped, median prices soared by 18 percent to $690,000 in November from $585,000 one year ago.

In Swampscott, sales fell by nearly half as median prices rose by more than 30 percent to $575,000.

Nahant single-family sales were flat while the median prices increased 7.5 percent to $549,900.

In Lynnfield, home prices increased by 7.5 percent to $612,500 while sales were flat.

Saugus home sales fell to 28, down from 37 a year ago while median prices swelled to $381,700, up from $328,000, a 16.4 percent hike.

Jeep flips on Boston Street

Statewide, 5,061 single-family homes sold in November, compared to 4,015 in November 2015, a 26 percent increase. This marks the highest November sales amount since 1998 and the second highest in November on record. Year-to-date, sales are up by 12.0 percent with 55,622 homes sold through November 2016 compared with 49,663 sold during the same time last year.

The median sale price of a single-family home in November reached $349,000, a 4.9 percent increase from $332,500 last year. Year-to-date prices are up 1.8 percent from last year, with a median sale price of $346,000.


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

 

Swampscott under new management

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Peabody resident Sean Fitzgerald waits his turn to be interviewed for town administrator of Swampscott in this December 2016 photo.

By GAYLA CAWLEY

SWAMPSCOTT — Sean Fitzgerald, a Peabody resident and town manager in Plaistow, N.H., will be making his way back home as he accepts the Swampscott town administrator position.

“Swampscott’s just a wonderful community,” Fitzgerald said. “I have been a town manager for eight years (and) have certainly enjoyed helping communities find their potential … Working closer to home would certainly give me an opportunity to do what I love and spend more time with my family.”

Fitzgerald, a lifelong resident of the North Shore, said he 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. As the new administrator, he said he wants to help Swampscott continue to be the enchanted place that he loves.

Fitzgerald said he plans to meet with the selectmen after he begins his new job to figure out their priorities. He said there’s been a number of important goals identified in the town’s master plan, including protecting the waterfront and promoting commercial development.

Swampscott selects new administrator

Naomi Dreeben, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, said Fitzgerald immediately accepted the town administrator position after it was offered to him following his public interview last week. She said he agreed to meet with the board after the new year for contract negotiations.

Dreeben said the start date will also be negotiated, but she’s hoping it’s within 45 to 60 days.

“I think he has a nice combination of leadership skills and interpersonal relationship skills,” Dreeben said. “He’s also had excellent experience as a town manager. He already knows what goes into doing the job. I think we liked his combination of enthusiasm, as well as experience.”

Dreeben said some of the priorities the selectmen will have for Fitzgerald will include forward movement on the development of the former Machon Elementary School and old Swampscott Middle School on Greenwood Avenue. She said he’ll be expected to help put together a stronger five-year and capital plan for the town, and develop more robust budgeting processes.

She said the selectmen also plan on working with the school officials on bringing a potential new school building to town. Dreeben said Fitzgerald’s past experience in Peabody with school building projects will be helpful.

Before becoming town manager in Plaistow in 2008, Fitzgerald served as chief of staff to former Peabody Mayor Michael Bonfanti. In his resume, he outlines that one of those projects included writing a statement of interest that led to the successful construction of the new Higgins Middle School.

“I’m excited about beginning to work with him and I’m looking forward to the new year,” said Dreeben.

Fitzgerald was hired in nearby Saugus last year, serving 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.

Gino Cresta, department of public works director, has been serving as the interim town administrator since mid-October, when former Town Administrator Thomas Younger left for the same job in Stoneham. Town Accountant David Castellarin, who also serves as assistant town administrator, has been in charge of the budget during the interim tenure.


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

Lynn Tech raises $7K for My Brother’s Table

By LINDSEY RYAN

LYNN — Students and faculty from Lynn Vocational Technical Institute raised more than $7,000 for My Brother’s Table.

The school-wide walk held Thursday raised money for the Lynn-based soup kitchen, one of the largest on the North Shore. Students also donated money, as well as care packages. The donations will help those in need and provide a holiday meal.

Students erupted in cheers as each donation amount was read, spreading school spirit and holiday excitement.

“It seems like every year the amount of money that we raise gets higher,” said junior student Emily Blaney. The fundraiser exceeded its goal by $2,000.

“I think it’s really important because it gives us a really good outlook of the school, and it shows that we care about the community and give to the community,” said senior Emi Ling Morales.

“For me it’s important because it shows that we care about homeless people, letting them know that we can help them no matter what,” said freshman Roxane Gomez.

“Lynn’s a wonderful community you know, and (students) see that they have the power to make things happen in their own communities. I am so proud to be their principal,” said Principal Director Robert Buontempo Jr.

My Brother’s Table relies solely on donations to operate. It has been operating on the North Shore since 1982, serving some 2.9 million meals last year. More than 60 percent of guests come to MBT daily, and approximately 20 percent of Lynn residents are living below the poverty level.

Swampscott selects new administrator

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Peabody resident Sean Fitzgerald waits his turn to be interviewed for town administrator of Swampscott.

By GAYLA CAWLEY

SWAMPSCOTT — Sean Fitzgerald, town manager in Plaistow, N.H., has been selected as the new town administrator in Swampscott.

Fitzgerald, a Peabody resident, was selected after open interviews between the Board of Selectmen and the position’s three finalists on Wednesday night. The five-member board unanimously voted to extend him the job offer.

The other two finalists were Ryan Ferrara, assistant town administrator in Middleton, and Andrew Scribner-MacLean, assistant town administrator in Maynard.

Rowe elected city clerk

Fitzgerald, a lifelong resident of the North Shore, said his mother grew up on Bay View Drive in Swampscott. Some of his fondest childhood memories, he said in his interview, were spent in the seaside town, going to areas such as Fisherman’s Beach.

His passion for the community, along with his town administrator experience, impressed the Selectmen. Board members said Fitzgerald was able to provide more specific answers to interview questions than the other two candidates. Questions included their thoughts on leadership style, how the candidates viewed success five years after potentially being hired and how they would slow the tax rate growth.

“They’re all qualified, but we need to find the best fit for our town,” said Laura Spathanas, board vice-chair. “I think Sean has a great energy … On top of the experience too, there’s just the knowledge of this area.”

Fitzgerald spent less than a week as town manager in Saugus last year. 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 had been fired by the previous board. Fitzgerald was reinstated in Plaistow.

Town officials have said previously that the start date for a new administrator is potentially mid-February. If Fitzgerald accepts the position, he would have 90 days to give notice to his employer.

Gino Cresta, department of public works director, has been serving as the interim town administrator since mid-October, when former Town Administrator Thomas Younger left for the same job in Stoneham. Town Accountant David Castellarin, who also serves as assistant town administrator, has been in charge of the budget during the interim tenure.


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

Building relationships with police in Peabody

PEABODY — As the year winds down, Peabody Police Chief Thomas Griffin is thanking residents for communicating and building relationships with the police department.

“We have had great success throughout the year responding to citizen tips and feedback that provide imperative information in tackling isolated problematic areas within the city,” Griffin said in a statement.

Several major events this past year, including the Annual International Festival, the Peabody 100th Anniversary Parade and Centennial Concert, required extensive operational preparedness for the police department, including all emergency preparedness divisions of city and federal agencies, police said.

“Without building relationships with the community and neighboring agencies, these types of major public events would not be possible,” Griffin’s statement said.

‘Trouble the Dog’ joins Lynn police

Other highlights for the police department have included the addition of several new patrol officers, which made current officers eligible for promotion to supervisory ranking positions within various divisions of operations. A K-9 unit was added to the department and other specialized personnel has increased.

“As a community, if we continue to move forward addressing pockets of isolated areas that disrupt our harmonious daily (activities), we can all help Peabody to maintain a world class status as a premiere North Shore community attracting new residents,” police said in a statement. “Best wishes for the upcoming new year from all members of the Peabody Police Department.”

A “portrait of America’s blue collar heart”

‘Rust Belt Boy,’ a memoir by Paul Hertneky.

By BILL BROTHERTON

The first time Paul Hertneky saw the ocean it was a revelation. Those who have read his memoir, “Rust Belt Boy: Stories of an American Childhood,” have experienced a similar reaction.

Hertneky grew up in Ambridge, Penn., a struggling steel town that saw its factories close and manufacturing cease. It was a town with no future but that’s where their futures lied, to paraphrase Richard Thompson. Anxious to start a career, he decided to flee, like many of his generation. In 1978, he landed a job at The Real Paper in Boston and moved to the North Shore.

“I hadn’t seen the ocean till I was 17 years old. When I moved to Boston I wanted to find a place near the sea.” Nahant beckoned. He found an apartment with a view of Lynn harbor, close to the beach and an old Italian couple as neighbors who invited him to supper every Wednesday.

“I used to sit on the rocks and watch the sun set. I would walk to the sports bar (The Tides) and catch Steelers games. Now that I live in Hancock, N.H., I’m a Patriots fan,” he said in jest. “Lynn reminded me of home. I’d spend time in the Buick pool hall, on the second floor, (of a building on Washington Street/Central Avenue). It was run very carefully by an old-timer. It was great. I felt at home there.”

Critics have embraced Hertneky’s book, offering such plaudits as “Rust Belt Boy brings to life, in loving, lyric detail, an essential but overlooked portrait of America’s blue collar heart” and “I felt Hertneky was writing a love letter to my own boyhood, and at the same time a Dear John letter, telling me goodbye to all that. If you’re one of the six million baby boomers who walked away from a dying hometown, read this book and remember another America.”

Hertneky’s memoir has struck a chord with readers, not only in Pennsylvania but especially in New England where struggling mill cities with rivers running through them, such as Lynn, Peabody, Lawrence, Lowell and Fall River, have seen factories shut down and good-paying manufacturing jobs go elsewhere.

No one is more surprised at the book’s reception than Hertneky.

“I underestimated how many people in the Eastern United States grew up in these mill towns, in ethnic neighborhoods. In many ways, New England is a rust belt, too.”

“The national media says these cities are dying. That’s the wrong adjective,” said Hertneky. “The cities are struggling, they are changing.”

Hertneky is hoping to schedule readings of his book at libraries and retirement centers in the Lynn area and throughout New England soon. “I wrote this book for people who love reading and love literature. But I also wrote it for people back home who read one book a year.”

“I was back in Lynn for the Mavericks concert at City Hall Auditorium a couple of weeks ago. I was very impressed,” said Hertneky, praising the downtown arts community, the nice restaurants and the energy created by young adults who live in the area.

“It reminds me of Pittsburgh and other big cities that have followed a similar path to reinvention. Salem took advantage of the train line; it’s Lynn’s turn. This is what happens in the rust belt cities.”

Hertneky said a follow-up book might look at those individuals who abandoned their hometowns but are now returning. “People are coming back to their hometowns. They come back and buy inexpensive restaurants and turn them into expensive restaurants. Coffeehouses spring up, becoming almost a community center for young people in these great industrial cities. Lynn is in a great spot.”


“Rust Belt Boy: Stories of an American Childhood” is available at www.amazon.com.

Bill Brotherton can be reached at bbrotherton@itemlive.com

Jauron offers inspiration at Item Banquet

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Featured speaker Dick Jauron delivered an enlightening talk to the Item All-Stars on Thursday evening. 

By KATIE MORRISON

MARBLEHEAD — There are always life lessons to be learned from playing sports.

At the 71st annual Item All-Star Dinner Thursday evening at Tedesco Country Club, those lessons were instilled in 27 of the North Shore’s premier football players by someone who sat in their shoes years ago.

Swampscott’s Dick Jauron, a former NFL player and coach and college football standout at Yale, was the guest speaker for Thursday’s dinner, and gave an inspiring and motivational speech, detailing some of the lessons he’s learned throughout his long career in sports.

Jauron was introduced by former teammate and longtime friend Carl Kester, a Harvard Business School professor.

“I’m more than well-aware of how much effort and sacrifice went into achieving all that you did, so well done to all, and best wishes in your continued success,” Kester said to the all-stars. “Congratulations to your families, too. I remember what it was like to be part of a football family; football was the conversation during breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Kester went on to introduce Jauron.

“It’s an honor, privilege and a pleasure to introduce Dick Jauron. We’ve been friends for more than 50 years, so everything I’m about to say is biased, prejudiced and nonobjective, but in a positive way,” Kester said.

Kester listed Jauron’s accomplishments, which include leading the Big Blue football team to two state championships in two undefeated seasons, rushing for nearly 3,000 yards at Yale, being drafted by the Detroit Lions for football and the St. Louis Cardinals for baseball in the same year, and reaching the Pro Bowl in 1974 with Detroit.

Jauron also held several NFL coaching positions, including head coaching tenures with the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills, and was the NFL’s Coach of the Year in 2001.

“He is one of the most celebrated people to emerge from the North Shore, and is a nationally recognized and admired player and coach,” Kester said of Jauron. “To whom much is given, much is required, and he has been endowed with tremendous talent and great success.

“But you, too, are among those whom much has been given and much will be expected,” Kester added, speaking to the all-stars. “I hope you will draw inspiration from tonight’s speaker, and you will become the sort of men who change people’s lives through your own brand of quiet leadership.”

Kester gave way to Jauron, who attended the dinner with his daughter, Kacy.

Jauron began by congratulating the athletes, their friends, families, teammates, coaches and teachers.

“Your family, friends and support group is vastly more important than any wealth, fame or celebrity you can possess or enjoy, so treat them that way,” Jauron said.

“Your participation in athletics, particularly football, aid your development in many ways,” Jauron said, “discipline, sportsmanship, conflict resolution, anger management, leadership, teamwork, physical and mental toughness, time management, accountability, value of preparation, trust, honesty of effort, love, inclusiveness and many others.

“As you move through your life, this training will serve you well many times over.”

Jauron went on to pass along some of what he’s learned through sports, offering words of wisdom to the audience.

“Whatever direction you go, I strongly encourage you to be a lifelong learner,” he said. “Challenge yourself, expand your mind, be curious, broaden your horizons.”

He also touched on work ethic.

“Most people don’t aim too high and miss, they aim too low and hit,” he said. “There are many different paths to fulfillment, but they all run through commitment, effort and determination.

“Bloom where you are planted,” he added. “Do all the good you can in the time you have in the place you are. The rest will take care of itself.”

Jauron also spoke about dealing with adversity.

“Your future will depend on how you face adversity, attack problems and deal with disappointment and failure,” Jauron said. “If you fall down seven times, get up eight.”

He finished by talking about being a good teammate, on the field and in life.

“I learned more than anything else that I needed to be a good teammate and wanted to be a contributing member of a team effort,” he said. “I wanted to live by the axiom that we and us are a whole lot better and more beneficial than I and me.

“I leave you with this. There are eyes on you all the time,” he concluded. “The greatest gift you can give to anyone is to set a good example.”


Katie Morrison can be reached at kmorrison@itemlive.com 

There’s something for everyone in Rockport

COURTESY PHOTOS
The Emerson Inn,  a historic hotel, is located on Pigeon Cove in Rockport.

By STACEY MARCUS 

A few autumns ago, my car kept jumping onto Route 128 North with its kaleidoscope of fall colors ribboned along the highway. Of course I was in the driver’s seat, but it truly felt as if some force was beckoning me to behold the glorious array of gold, crimson and pumpkin dotting the landscape.

Before I get too carried away, I must confess that my vehicle makes numerous trips to Rockport during the summer so I can enjoy beaches and boutiques. So I know the destination at the end of my journey is truly the pot of gold.

ALSO: ‘Tis the season to be crafty

Anyone living on the North Shore is aware of Rockport’s magic. Weaving in and out of the boutiques and galleries, frolicking on the beaches and enjoying a dripping ice cream cone or savoring a sweet salt water taffy are well-known summer favorites. I adore the locally-owned shops on Bearskin Neck and love to cherry-pick unique items.

There is something for everyone in Rockport. It’s a slice of America that celebrates all that is wholesome.

web-12-01appetisers-at-emerson-inn-by-the-sea-hi-res-gallery-54-of-102

Enjoy appetizers like these at the Emerson Inn in Rockport.

Art aficionados are familiar with Motif No. 1, the most-painted building in America, Rockport’s art colony, its 30 plus art galleries and the Rockport Art Association and Museum.

Music lovers revel in the amazing acoustics and stunning views of the Shalin Liu Performance Center, the home of Rockport Music’s signature Chamber Music Festival, which includes more than 20 concerts.

Hikers can enjoy a crisp walk along Halibut Point and its 2.5 miles of trails with beautiful views.

I love Rockport the most in fall and early winter when it’s me, my camera and stores void of tourists and full of bargains.

My husband, Mitch, and I took a recent ride to Rockport one late afternoon and enjoyed meandering around Bearskin Neck. I got to poke in stores while he walked the narrow streets perfumed with the scent of warm strudel.

He puffed on a cigar ew and watched waves crash and buoys bob. Once the sun set and “closed” signs dotted store windows, we headed to Emerson Inn for a tour of the newly refreshed historic hotel and dinner at its on-site restaurant, Pigeon Cove Tavern.

Emerson Inn is a gem of a property perched perfectly on Pigeon Cove. It was a treat to see how the new owners have reimagined the space with little luxuries while maintaining its historic vibe. We loved the farm-to-table cuisine and casualness at the Pigeon Cove Tavern and will be back this winter to enjoy fresh seafood and warm toddies.

Do yourself a favor and take a ride to Rockport soon. There’s lots to do around the holidays and it’s absolutely beautiful in the fall and winter.

Four festive ways to celebrate the season in Rockport

? Santa’s arrival by lobster boat and tree lighting

Dec. 3

Santa will arrive at Rockport’s T-Wharf on Rockport Harbor on Saturday at 1 p.m., following a brisk lobster boat ride across Sandy Bay. The tree-lighting ceremony will get underway at 4 p.m., welcoming Santa and the public at the Tree in Dock Square with carols and a stirring rendition of “Christmas in Rockport.”

? 15th annual Gallery Stroll Weekend

Dec. 10-11

Enjoy a popular  tradition: an  introduction to Rockport’s galleries, studios, artists and artisans. Many galleries will feature live music, wine and light refreshments, artist demonstrations and special raffles. 

? 71st annual Rockport Christmas Pageant

Dec. 17

Dock Square and Main Street, 5 p.m. A torch-lit live re-enactment of the Nativity. (Inclement weather date Dec. 18)

? Rockport New Year’s Eve

Dec. 31

Downtown Rockport, 6 p.m. to midnight. Six hours of continuous entertainment with 80 shows to choose from to ring in 2017. Visit rockportnye.org for details.

Visitrockportusa.com to learn more.

Santa’s mailbox overflows with hope

By MICHELE DURGIN

Traditions are usually looked at in a positive light. People enjoy the memories and the meaning behind such things as how the Christmas stockings are hung each year, or the way certain ornaments are placed on the tree in honor of loved ones who are no longer with us. The Item Salvation Army Santa Fund is a tradition that turns 50 years old this year and is held close to the heart by countless beneficiaries, as well as donors, throughout the North Shore and beyond.

Every year at this time youngsters are excited about two things — the possibility of snow and the annual visit from Santa Claus on December 25. They are eager for Thanksgiving to come and go so that they can sit down and write their “official” letter to the big guy at the North Pole. The letter always contains a friendly greeting, usually followed by an inquiry into the health and well being of a reindeer or two. Then the letter writer gets down to the nitty gritty and “The List” becomes the focus. A nine-year-old’s list may include such things as a race car set and a baseball mitt. Some of the letters are all business, and some are long and drawn out  with family news and schoolyard  gossip. Regardless of their tone, it is a reassuring moment for any parent or guardian to know that the letter was “received” and Christmas morning will be a wonderful family moment that turns into an even better family memory.

Unfortunately, the reality is that not all of those letters make it to Santa’s mailbox. But that’s when The Item Salvation Army Santa Fund is able to step in, take some of those kids’ letters, along with “tug at your heart”  letters written by parents and grandparents in need of a helping hand, and make sure their authors wake up to a Christmas morning with a special gift or two under the tree.

One such letter, written by a seven-year-old’s grandmother reads: “ I am asking for help for her and I have full custody. My husband passed away on October 16 from cancer. She calls us Mom and Dad. Now her “dad” is gone and she is devastated. I am disabled and live on a limited income. Please help me give her something for Christmas that will brighten her spirit.”

Another letter reads:  ” At the moment my family is going through a hard time. We lost everything due to the landlord not paying the mortgage. He pocketed the rent money and the bank took over and we were evicted, leaving me and my five children on the street. I honestly can not do it alone this year. I also lost my job and I have a new baby. She’s a beautiful six-month-old girl. Please help. I am begging you. With all these bad things happening to us, I just want to make one thing right for them. Thank you.”

Please consider a donation of ANY amount,so local youngsters will be sure to have their Christmas moment now, and later, their Christmas memory.

To contribute please make checks payable to Item Santa and send them to:

The Item Salvation Army Santa

P.O.Box 5

Lynn,MA. 01903

itemsanta.com

Sevinors turn winning into charity

COURTESY PHOTO
Flagship Motorcars of Lynnfield finance manager Justin Kloak, Stacey and Ralph W. Sevinor, Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island chief development officer Susan Payson and Make-A-Wish public relations manager Jordan Salvatoriello celebrate the Sevinors’ charitable donation of their raffle win.

Ralph Wayne Sevinor, president of Wayne Alarm Systems Inc., and his wife, Stacey, of Lynnfield won a raffle for the lease of a 2017 E 300 Mercedes-Benz, donated by Flagship Motorcars of Lynnfield/A Herb Chambers Company at the annual “Best of the North Shore” party hosted by Northshore magazine. And then they gave their prize to charity.

The Sevinors donated the cash equivalent of the prize to three local organizations: Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island, YMCA of the North Shore and Beverly Hospital.

With an additional contribution of about $1,500 from Northshore magazine, the total donation is $24,000 with each organization receiving $8,000.

ALSO: Do you prefer apple pie or pumpkin pie?

Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island grants wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. The Sevinors have been supporters of the organization since 1999 and the $8,000 received is enough to grant an entire wish.