Thanksgiving

First-graders salute Memorial Day heroes

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
First-grade students from the Aborn Elementary School perform at the Bethany Congregational Church.

By MATT DEMIRS

LYNN — First graders at Aborn Elementary School put on a patriotic show in honor of Memorial Day at the Bethany Congregational Church on Thursday.

Donna Amico and JoAnn Sweeney’s Grade 1 classes dressed in their red, white, and blue and performed the 20th annual show in front of parents and faculty.

Teachers and parents cried tears of joy as they watched the children sing “God Bless the USA.”

Amico enjoys producing the show annually with her classes and Sweeney. She hopes they will remember all they learn for the years to come.

“We want the children to understand why we celebrate the different holidays and traditions throughout the year,” said Amico, who has taught at Aborn for 20 years.

Between singing the classics like “Yankee Doodle” and “This Land is Your Land,” students learned about our country, the national landmark, the flag’s history and the national symbols.

Justin Stackpole, a first grader, said he learned a lot of about his country he didn’t know prior to the show.

“I never knew the first Thanksgiving was in Massachusetts until we started practicing the show,” he said.

Warren rides the Blue Line into Lynn

Ava Howard, another first grader, said she learned the meaning of the different symbols by practicing the show.

“I now know about things like the bald eagle and the Statue of Liberty which are both some of our country’s symbols for freedom,” Howard said.

Students said not only how fun the show was and how much they learned, but how helpful their teachers were in putting the patriotic show together.

Nicolas Morgan credited his teachers for their hard work.

“They’re really helpful,” he said. “On a scale of 1-10, they are a 5 million.”

Like many other students, Morgan said he enjoyed having the support from his family in the crowd and knowing they were having fun.

“My favorite part of the show was singing ‘God Bless the U.S.A.,’” he said. “It made all the parents happy and it put a smile on my face.”

For Superintendent Dr. Catherine C. Latham, the show was a breather from the stresses of the job.

“If things get tough, it’s always nice to come down here and watch something like this,” she said.   


Matt Demirs can be reached at mdemirs@itemlive.com

Singing in the holiday season

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Lily Comeau, left, Sam Lorusso, and Nina Pennachio, sing Christmas carols to the students in lower grades at the Veterans Memorial School in Saugus.

By MICHELE DURGIN

The 42 fifth graders at Veterans Memorial Elementary School in Saugus who performed  for the residents of The Saugus Senior Center, and the 460 other students in their school, have been preparing for this week since Thanksgiving. They, along with their teachers, Debbie Mallon and Kristin Barclay, have been busy rehearsing Jingle Bells and other time honored Christmas Carols.

“It’s so much fun to sing for everyone and I think we sound really good,” said Lily Comeau, 10. She went on to say that Deck The Halls” is her favorite carol to sing.

Lily and her classmates were happy to continue the 10-year tradition that many say is one of the most anticipated events of the year at the school.

Barclay, 40, is enjoying her 19th year at the school, and her third year as a fifth grade teacher there. She and Mallon, 63, believe the sing-alongs not only entertain, but teach life lessons, as well.

“The children truly look forward to this event each year. We try to remind them that it doesn’t take a lot to show kindness and the residents are delighted to see us and seem to enjoy the songs and the children, too,” Barclay said.

No space in Saugus

Ten-year-old singer Nina Penachio was especially excited to sing with her classmates and hopefully,  bring happiness to the residents.

“I like being part of this singing group,” she said. “And it’s nice to make people smile.”

Classmate Sam LoRusso, 11, added: “When we started to sing, (the residents) began to sing along, too and that made me feel good. I’m so glad we did this.”

Mallon, who is in her 15th year as a fifth grade teacher at the school, is proud that the tradition has lasted this long and enjoys running into former students who often ask about the annual caroling event.

“It never fails. I will run into a past  student and that’s the first thing he or she asks about. I am proud that the children remember events like this and other things we do for the community such as cards for the military, homemade wreaths for local nursing homes and this year we even collected $200 for the Item Santa Fund,” she said.

Barclay summed up what she believes the sing-along’s true meaning. “Events like this are life lessons and can’t be found in a book. Caring about others is important. And it’s difficult not to be in the holiday spirit after hearing these children sing, from the heart, for others.”

Wrestling program resurfaces in Lynn

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Coach Tim King will lead the new wrestling program in Lynn. 

By MIKE ALONGI 

It’s been about 40 years since the last high school wrestling meet for a Lynn high school team, with the last program ending at Lynn English in the early 1970s. But now, thanks to a host of efforts from people all over Lynn, high school wrestling is back in the city.

The newest incarnation will be a cooperative squad made up of wrestlers from Lynn Tech, English and Classical, with Tech serving as the host school. Tech athletic director Joe Skeadas is glad that there is another wrestling program after all these years.

“I think it’s great for the kids,” he said. “It’s just another great outlet for them after school, and I’m glad that we were able to bring it back. The foundation is being built now and I’m sure we’re going to see plenty of growth over the next few years.”

One of the challenges that comes with restarting a once-defunct program is the dearth of participants at the program’s outset. But new coach Tim King says that’s not really a problem at all.

“Of course, we have a good portion of kids who have never wrestled before or have very little experience,” he said. “But we also have a group of kids who participated in the middle school program at Marshall (Middle School) last year, and even a couple transfer students who are interested in competing. So it’s a nice mix of people, and some of the more experienced kids can help out the new kids and help make us better.”

King is happy to be the first coach of the new wrestling program, despite the challenges.

“I’m very excited to be in this position,” he said. “Obviously there are plenty of challenges when you’re the first coach of a new program, and I’ve never been in a position like this before, but I think it’s an intriguing challenge.”

“The focus for us at this point is mainly just teaching, getting the kids to avoid bad habits and learn the correct technique,” King said. “Once we start actually getting into meets and going up against other people, that’s when we’ll probably be able to transition more to the coaching aspect of things.”

But King has noticed that above all, his team is full of kids who are excited about wrestling at the high school level.

“We have a group full of kids who are just excited about competing,” said King. “They’re all working extremely hard, listening to everything we teach them and they’re learning really fast. To be honest, I was a little surprised at first when I saw just how very dedicated all the kids are to wrestling.”

The team has been practicing since just after Thanksgiving, and their first meet is set for Thursday afternoon against Shawsheen Tech. It is a home match that will take place in the Lynn Tech gym, the only home match the team will have this year.

“We’re all very excited to get the season going,” said King. “It’s going to be a great experience for all of our wrestlers against a great team in Shawsheen.”

Weigh-ins begin at 4 p.m. on Thursday and the meet will begin at 5 p.m.

Item Players of the Week Announced

Marcus Rivera of Lynn Classical and Keoni Gaskin of Lynn Tech are the final Item/Agganis Foundation Players of the Week for the 2016 football season. Rivera’s electrifying 83-yard kickoff runback with no time left on the clock stunned the crowd at Manning Field on Thanksgiving and propelled the Rams to a 21-20 win over English. He also ran for 44 yards as well. Gaskin was one of a pair of Tiger runners to eclipse the 100-yard mark in Tech’s 41-26 over Austin Prep last Wednesday night. Gaskin ran for 156 yards and scored two touchdowns.

Elevating a roast to new heights

By ROSALIE HARRINGTON

“I have another one, I’d love for you to have it.”

We weren’t quite five minutes into our Amtrak trip to New York when a fellow passenger spoke those words. She and her husband were on their way to Philadelphia to celebrate Thanksgiving with their son and his family. We had been on the train from Massachusetts for some time when they boarded in Connecticut, and we started chatting. I commented on her carefully- handled package, neatly wrapped in what reminded me of a plastic pie carriers from the 1950s.  

“Someone is fortunate to have you coming,” I said. “Pecan and chocolate chip pies,” she said.  

Todd loves pecan pie; he asks for it whenever I’m in the mood to bake. So I said, “That’s my husband’s favorite.” That’s when she made the offering. I couldn’t believe it when she separated her two pies and handed one to me. “That made you cry,” 11-year-old Ethan would later remind me as we were taking inventory of our four days together. It was such a beautiful few minutes and the fact that my two grandsons had witnessed it made it very special.

ALSO: Celebrating with children should be comforting and fun

This event added to my collection of Amtrak travel stories, which began when I was quite young. My mother’s second husband was from Mississippi.

When I was a child, my mother liked to keep my brother and me busy during the summer, and she would send us off to camp, Nashoba for boys and Cielo Celeste for girls. I loved camp, but my brother dreaded it.  After my mother died, I found a note  among her papers that my brother Anthony had sent from camp begging to be rescued. “Come and get me,” it demanded, written on a piece of bark.

As much as I loved camp, for that whole year I pleaded with my mother to let me travel to Mississippi to visit my new grandmommy.  My mother had remarried when I was 5 or 6, and my new father was a military man from the south. I was thrilled when she agreed to send me, but my memory is that my mother put me on a train and I made the trip alone to Mississippi, apparently as an unaccompanied child, to be met by my new grandmother at a train stop in Jackson, not far from her farm in Crystal Springs. I recall the upper sleeping berth being prepared for me by an attendant who took good care of me for the three-day, two-night journey. In my diary, now lost, I had stories of people I had “interviewed.” Grandmommy and I were great friends, and I learned a lot about cooking from her. School started early in Mississippi, so I attended for a few weeks in August before returning home. I was the only person who wore shoes, I remember that well.  It was a one- room schoolhouse that housed kids of all ages, all of whom were white.

Fast-forward to the ‘80s. I was food editor of the TV show “LOOK” on Channel 7 in Boston. One of our sponsors was Amtrak, and it was arranged for me to take the train to New York with a film crew that would capture me talking to the camera about my travel. It took several hours of preparation: makeup, lighting, props – including some beautiful clothes.

After an hour or so, I would show the audience the food, first a snack and then dinner – Chicken Kiev – which was popular at the time. It was a chicken breast stuffed with herbed butter, which was then deep-fried. It was occasionally on my menu at Rosalie’s.  A “cigarette” shape of butter and chives was frozen and rolled up in the breast. It was frozen because the chicken with the butter inside would stay pretty solid during the frying.

Smiling for the camera, I noted how beautiful the dish looked and then I pierced the breast and a geyser of butter squirted out all over me, my hair, my eyelashes, the beautiful clothes. The shoot was delayed several hours as they cleaned me up and prepared another take.  It was a memorable experience.

My friend Luke was to be in Washington, D.C., for Thanksgiving and he offered his Brooklyn loft to Todd, me, our daughter Danielle and grandsons. After the pecan pie encounter on the train and wonderful conversation with my new friends, many hands of 500 rummy and other card games with the boys, plus a picnic lunch and a little nap, we arrived in New York City and grabbed a taxi to the apartment. The Bushwick section is decidedly working class but also in the midst of gentrification. The boys loved the rugged feel of the streets, the graffiti on nearly every building.

By contrast, the butcher shop that Luke recommended – Foster Sundry – was wonderfully serious about its food, with a young butcher breaking down meat in plain view. I was shocked that 3 1/2 pounds of turkey breast cost $51, but we were thrilled with how good it was. By phone, from home, I had ordered the turkey breast, a few pints of turkey gravy and mashed potatoes, a lovely assortment of cheese, egg nog and butter from Ireland, plus farm-fresh milk and eggs.

The next day, Thanksgiving,  before we went to the Macy’s parade, I roasted the breast with some herbs from Provence that I found on Luke’s spice rack. I grated some lemon zest on the breast and placed some thinly sliced onion on top, and brushed the meat with olive oil and salt from Sardinia.  Luke and his partner James love salt, which has become a hot specialty item. They took me shopping once in D.C. and bought me a salt cellar and several varieties of salt from everywhere in the world.  It is amazing how many different types there are and what a complement they can be to various foods.

On Friday, we went to Williamsburg, a more affluent Brooklyn neighborhood just a few train stops away. It was right up my alley, with consignment shops, restaurants of every culture, bakeries, coffee and tea cafes.  We ate dinner at a Korean barbecue place that had a little gas-fired cooking surface in the middle of our table. We ordered steak and a few sauces for dipping; the boys loved that we were charged with cooking our own meat. The next day we explored Chinatown and the boys had a shopping spree:  swords, hats, decorations for their rooms, fake jade elephants among the treasures.

Danielle did some research and found a wonderful, dumpy but authentic restaurant that made its own noodles.  We all loved the food, mostly Pho dishes with various broths with meat and vegetables and their homemade noodles which we watched be prepared.

With swords sticking out of my grandsons’ backpacks, we nearly were arrested for assault a few times, but it was worth it. The last day, we went to the very overcrowded Museum of Natural History in Manhattan – too many families pushing strollers and too many skeletons!  

For more than a month now the boys had been talking about our New York trip. The weather, the parade, the graffiti, the hissing cat Pesto, the lady that so generously gave us a pie that we had for dessert with ice cream “that made you cry Noni,” all now a wonderful memory. The best part was being together.     


Elevating a roast to new heights       

  • I roasted our turkey breast, but this technique works for any roast.
  • Choose several good-sized carrots. Wash and scrape them, then cut each one into 2-inch pieces. You will need about 10 pieces.  
  • Rub your roast with sea salt and a few turns of a pepper mill or a rub.
  • There are so many options for a rub. For example, in a food processor place 1 tablespoon each of fresh rosemary and thyme, a few cloves of garlic peeled, 3 tablespoons of dijon mustard, ¼ cup of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of your favorite salt. Pulse until fairly smooth.
  • Using your fingers, massage the meat with 1 or 2 tablespoons of mixture depending on the size of your roast.
  • If you prefer a dry rub that you can store unrefrigerated, use dry herbs and pulse them together. I have an old coffee bean grinder that I use for this.
  • In a baking pan, place the 10 pieces of carrot in an oval, about 2 to 3 inches apart.  
  • Place the seasoned roast on top of this, so you will have a 2-inch space underneath in order for the heat to circulate well during roasting. I call this a natural rack. Your carrots will be so delicious and they will serve a good purpose of elevating your meal – pun intended.

Second and long: Plenty of highlights on Thanksgiving

FILE PHOTO
Classical’s Marcus Rivera capped off a memorable Thanksgiving with his 83-yard game-winning kick return. 

By STEVE KRAUSE

This is the penultimate “Second-and-Long.” Next week, after Saturday’s Super Bowls, there will be a member of the athletic staff at the door collecting equipment.

Some schools have already done that. It’s onto basketballs, hoops, sticks, pucks, wrestling headgear, bathing suits and whatever that stuff is you rub on your hands to get a better grip on the uneven parallel bars.

For the most part, Thanksgiving went the way most impartial observers thought. There were a couple of games that, before they were played, looked as if they could go either way. The only real surprise out of those was the final score of the Danvers-Gloucester game: 41-27 Falcons. That’s one most people would have pegged for being a lot closer.

Also, Lynnfield may have lost to North Reading, but it was only by a point, and the Hornets were the runners-up in Division 2A North. It’s a testament to how far the Pioneers came this year that they were in the game. Don’t forget, they lost their first two games (even though Week 2’s loss was to Danvers, which proved itself as no fluke this season).

Revere-Winthrop is always a tough game to gauge. This venerable rivalry has been pretty much all Winthrop’s over the last 30 years, but lately these games have been fierce struggles that could have gone either way. It was much the same this year, and Revere pulled it out on its home field and ended up with a winning record. The Patriots started out 0-4 and ended up 6-5. Props to them for hanging in there.

Xaverian has a chance Saturday to prove it’s the best team in the state, and the Hawks should be so crowned if they defeat Everett. Yet St. John’s Prep gave them all they could possibly handle in losing last Wednesday, 7-6. The Eagles had a couple of chances to win, but it just wasn’t to be. Watch out for them in the next couple of years.

It was nice to see Tech handle Austin Prep the way it did. Last  year, it was the other way around and there were cries all over the place wondering how and why the school picked Austin, which is consistently one of the better programs around.

The Tigers answered that question this year.

The Beverly-Salem, Marblehead-Swampscott and Peabody-Saugus games were fairly predictable.

It’ll be sad to see Mike Broderick ride off into the sunset, though. He has always been a decent, stand-up guy who has tried to make the most of what he had, and never ducked those who covered the team. The town was fortunate to have him as long as it did, and he will be missed.

Hats off to St. Mary’s coach Matt Durgin for playing all his healthy starters against Bishop Fenwick. Going in, that looked to be a pretty hard-hitting game. It would have been so tempting for Durgin to hold out Calvin Johnson, who suffered an achilles injury in the Division 1 North final game against Stoneham, but he played.

Keep your hat on, however, Duxbury coach Dave Maimaron walks by. He benched all his starters for his Thanksgiving game against Marshfield (the Dragons will be in the Division 2 Super Bowl). The Rams didn’t just win, they demolished the Dragons.

The excuse was that Duxbury had to play the extra state semifinal game. And while it’s certainly a concern to play three games in two weeks, other teams have done it.

It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. The thinking is that because if the current playoff system, Thanksgiving is now meaningless. Whether that’s true or not, it seems counter-intuitive for coaches to go about proving it.

We’ve come this far without talking about the Classical-English game. I’ve seen all sorts of comeback wins in my life, at all levels. But the true stuff of legends, like the fiasco with the Stanford band, and the Kevin Dyson returns, have been saved for TV. I was lucky enough to see Dyson’s return when it happened, but saw the Stanford tuba player get bowled over via Memorex.

What Marcus Rivera did last Thursday ranked right up there with the best of them. Not only did he run the kick back (after receiving a lateral from Melvin Nieves), he ran it back a lot farther than the 83 yards for which he received credit.

By the time Rivera got the ball from Nieves he was close to being inside his own 10-yard line.

He’ll be telling his grandchildren about that play, and it’ll be on every end-of-the-year highlight compilation there is in this area.

There are so many quirks about the play. Squib kicks are designed to slow the receiving team down, and to (possibly) induce fumbles. This one bounced right up into Nieves’ hands.

Nieves was in the process of being tackled when he got the ball off to Rivera. And Rivera dodged what looked to be a sure tackle way back at his own 10, but managed to wiggle free and start his journey up field.

Simply an astounding, unbelievable play.


Steve Krause can be reached at skrause@itemlive.com. 

More than just another pretty face in Peabody

COURTESY PHOTO
Julia Scaparotti is awarded the title of Miss Massachusetts 2017 on Nov. 20.

By LEAH DEARBORN

PEABODY — For Julia Scaparotti, being a beauty queen is about more than looking pretty.

“We are athletes. We train physically and mentally,” said Scaparotti, who was awarded the title of Miss Massachusetts 2017 on Nov. 20.

This wasn’t Scaparotti’s first time competing for the state title, but she knew from her first pageant that it was something she wanted to pursue.

“I just fell in love with it,” she said. “(Last) weekend, I’ve never felt more confident.”

In addition to cheerleading for the New England Patriots and working at an advertising agency in Boston, Scaparotti, a 2009 graduate of Peabody Veterans Memorial High School, prepared for the competition by getting up at 4:30 a.m. for workout training.    

She also made an effort to get out into the community whenever possible, volunteering for causes such as the Miss Pink Pageant, which highlights the stories of breast cancer survivors.  

Her Miss Massachusetts gown was bought locally, at Bella Sera Bridal & Occasion in Danvers.

Although she took a short break to celebrate with family in the city for Thanksgiving, Scaparotti is already beginning to prepare for the national Miss USA competition with photo shoots and radio interviews on the horizon.

For anyone who thinks that pageants are a waste of time, Scaparotti begs to differ.

“They don’t know, they’ve never met a pageant girl before. Every woman I’ve competed against has inspired me. And the friendships. I’ve been to the weddings of two women I’ve met at pageants,” she said.

Miss Massachusetts also had some advice for anyone who wants to enter a pageant.

“Just go for it. It’s really hard to put yourself out there, but then you get so excited.”

She suggested doing research by watching pageants and even hiring a coach to learn insider tricks.

Staying organized is also important.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support that I had,” said Scaparotti. “Friends I’ve had from middle school were there last weekend. Standing on stage and hearing them cheer meant so much.”

On Black Friday, it’s ready, set, shop

PHOTO BY NICOLE GOODHUE BOYD
Shoppers crowd the corridors for Black Friday sales at the Northshore Mall in Peabody.

By LEAH DEARBORN

PEABODY Shoppers turned out early at the Northshore Mall to socialize, catch a few Black Friday deals and let the holiday feeling set in.

“It’s a great time to spend with family. It kind of extends the Thanksgiving experience past the holiday,” said mall manager Mark Whiting. “It’s an amazing day. It’s also the culmination of a year’s worth of work.”

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Whiting said the mall prepares all year for the holiday rush, even bringing in a special crane to hang the giant ornaments that adorn the spaces between stores.

At 7 a.m., a steady stream of customers made their way through the mall corridors.

“It’s super upbeat. I think they’re here to have fun,” said Lauren Dalis, marketing director, about the crowds. “I do think the social aspect drives them out, but they are shopping. People definitely online shop, but they still want to touch and feel the product.”

Dalis said that while there were lines at the stores leading up to midnight openings at the mall, everything remained orderly and respectful.

She said shoppers tend to arrive in waves on Black Friday, with teenagers and college students coming in the early morning hours. A second wave of families usually lasts through the afternoon.

Dalis said some of the busiest stores during the early morning hours were youth-oriented clothing brands like Forever 21 and Tillys.

“Geek culture” store ThinkGeek, which opened its Northshore Mall location earlier this year, drew in customers with deals on Funko Pop! vinyl figurines and Star Wars waffle irons.

“One person got a rare Power Rangers Pop! in gold,” said Genevieve Carfagna, a store leader whose alternate title is “Supreme Geek.”

“It was exciting and very fitting that it went to one of our regulars,” she said.

Beverly resident Mackenzie Mason got up at 6:45 a.m. with family members to wait in line outside the Apple store.

“We’re hoping there’s a deal,” said Mason, who was there to purchase a Christmas gift for her mother. “She’s always wanted an iPod touch and now we have the money to get it.”

Customer Lori Fermano of Andover, who also woke up early to go out shopping, said she’s been going out on Black Friday for the past five years as a way of getting into the Christmas spirit.

Whiting said the mall will continue to hold entertainment events throughout the holiday season.

When asked whether Santa Claus will also make an appearance, Whiting replied that he was probably still up at his workshop in the North Pole, but would be in to hear from shoppers by mid-morning.


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

Swampscott is into the holiday spirit

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Max Shams stocks the wine shelves at Vinnin Liquors in Swampscott.

By LEAH DEARBORN

SWAMPSCOTT The pre-holiday rush was well on its way inside Vinnin Liquors on Wednesday afternoon.  

A full parking lot and a traffic cop stationed in the road outside the store indicated the pandemonium inside as shoppers such as Rob David of Salem hurried to buy last-minute supplies before Thanksgiving.

“My folks are coming up from North Carolina,” David said. “We usually go down to them, but this year they’re coming up to see their only grandchild.”

David listed a chocolate martini with a touch of peppermint schnapps as his favorite holiday drink.  

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Customer Nicole Woitowich was a holiday traveler herself, visiting the area from Chicago for a “Friendsgiving” celebration. She said it was difficult to tell if traffic was worse at home or on Route 1A.

Max Shams, a Vinnin Liquors employee for five years, stocked shelves amid the chaos. Shams said Thanksgiving is always busy, but that business doesn’t calm down until after New Year’s.

Members of the management had their own opinions about the best way to celebrate the holiday.

For turkey meals, manager Gary Lucia recommended drinking a light- to medium-bodied wine, paired with whatever guests will like the most.

“Pinot noir and sauvignon blanc are going to win out today,” Lucia said.

Manager Chris Currid said he enjoys red wine during the holidays and that a sour beer also goes well with turkey and cranberry sauce.   

Black Friday kind of goes around us here,” said Joe Fiore, manager, when asked what the day after Thanksgiving typically looks like. “But this year we’re trying to get in on the action.”

A few Black Friday specials at Vinnin Liquors this year include a raffle for the right to purchase specialty allocated bourbons and the release of a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout.

“We had 15 people outside the store last year waiting for (the stout),” said Fiore.

When asked what he was doing over the holiday, Fiore was quick to reply.

“I’m going to eat, drink and be merry,” he said.

 

Little River Inn open for holiday breakfast

Rick Ford and his wife Tina, owners of the Little River Inn, 618 Boston St., have been opening their restaurant’s doors each Thanksgiving morning for the past 31 years.

The breakfast menu won’t be any different today, Ford said, but the tables will be filled with high school football coaches, referees, players, ex-players, and others starting at 5 a.m.

The rush will likely come closer to 9 a.m., with up to 50 customers inside, Ford estimates.

ALSO: Do you prefer apple pie or pumpkin pie?

The Fords have three children: two sons and one daughter, all of whom were involved with sports at Classical High School. They, too, will be present for Thanksgiving breakfast.

“We’re a football family,” Ford said, adding that he expects lots of former Classical and English players to stop in as well.

The Fords will be checking out at around 10 a.m. to attend the Classical and English football game at 10:15 a.m.; the restaurant will remain open until 10:30 a.m.

And when it comes to Thanksgiving meal conversation, Ford said he would take one topic off the table: “Keep politics out,” he said with a laugh.

Tips for making Thanksgiving really cook

Pictured is Rosalie’s Favorite Turkey Leftover.

By ROSALIE HARRINGTON

Did you dread getting the house in order for the Thanksgiving dinner event or do you love this opportunity to decorate, show off the china that your grandmother gave you, rearrange a few pieces of furniture and try a new recipe?

In other words, are you a pessimist or an optimist? People seem more pessimistic than usual, as evidenced by the variety of responses I received to my simple statement of “Have a happy Thanksgiving.”

It’s not unusual for some to fault me for being a chef. “Easy for you to say, you who loves to cook and entertain. That’s not my world,” said an acquaintance after I wished her a happy holiday. Another, on a beautiful fall day, answered more positively: “I love the preparation, getting the house ready, setting the table, I order everything from Henry’s, couldn’t be easier.”

ALSO: Do you prefer apple pie or pumpkin pie?

I’ve noticed a new concern among people I meet concerning this Thanksgiving; many seem worried about bringing the family together. On TV, I heard newscasters warn that if you want to have a pleasant holiday and avoid fights with family “Don’t discuss the presidential election!” One weather gal mentioned that she’d gotten a note from her sister-in-law, a Hillary voter, advising her to keep the discussion far from Trump.  

I grew up in a family where politics were seldom discussed, although I do remember that my noni didn’t care for Eleanor Roosevelt. The talk at dinner, which consisted mostly of adults exchanging their opinions and arguing, was about the food and entertainment: “Next year, no lasagna first, too many appetizers, too filling. Will we play cards, take a nice walk before dessert?”

That all changed when John F. Kennedy was elected president. All the talk was about how proud we were to have a president from Massachusetts, and a Catholic to boot.

If your house or apartment is cozy and inviting and you’re proud to share the day in your environment that’s a good thing. Little things matter when it comes to making the house look special, like a bouquet of fresh flowers or bowls of fruits and nuts.

Time management is important, spreading tasks over a few days instead of trying to do it all in a few hours. Making a few recipes a few days ahead is a big help. And do say ‘Yes’ when people offer to bring something. “I’d love it,” is a great answer, followed by, “Bring whatever you’d like.”

And don’t sweat the small stuff. In my first restaurant, since I was broke when I opened it and furnished and decorated with donated tables and chairs, I learned that people found that charming – and it is. You don’t have to spend a fortune on new dishes and napkins and serving pieces, and you don’t have to make things perfect. Invest your time and money into making the food great; No one cares what china you’re using. Your family and guests will enjoy and appreciate your effort and hosting them. If they don’t, well, scratch them off the list next year.

Leftovers are a wonderful treat, so don’t be afraid to cook extra food when you’re hosting Thanksgiving. The hostess who offers guests a little plastic baggie filled with turkey to take home for sandwiches will have happy guests. Even when we are invited to others for the holiday, I enjoy a smallish turkey of our own because I love the aroma in the house and the leftovers.

And I love making soup after pulling all the meat off the bird. For variety, instead of throwing all the bones into a pot to make your soup, roast the carcass first. Here’s what I do: First, strip all the meat off, give the carcass a good bath and prepare it for soup by breaking it up a bit to fit into a pot. Dry the pieces with a few paper towels to prepare them for roasting, then put the bones on a baking pan and sprinkle them with a little olive oil; toss a bit to cover all over and bake in a 375 degree oven to brown them.  Turn them after 30 minutes to brown the other side.  

Whatever method you prefer — the old-fashioned everything in the pot or roasting the bones first — add to the pot a few chopped carrots, parsnips and an onion, cut in half; fresh sage, rosemary and thyme; a few bay leaves, tied with string; about a tablespoon of fresh ginger, chopped; and several sprigs of Italian flat leaf parsley. Cover it all with water, 1 cup of cider and some salt. Let it simmer for a few hours. When it cools, strain the broth, discarding the veggies. You can add egg noodles for a simple soup or cook some tortellini in the broth with some grated, fresh carrot. There is something very nurturing about a bowl or mug of turkey broth; and I know it would please my mother who wouldn’t dream of discarding the bird without making her soup, just like her mother did.  

This time of year I make green tomato jam, which is delicious mixed with a little mayo for a turkey sandwich. Open-faced turkey sandwiches with hot gravy and a little stuffing is a favorite. Of course, you need to plan ahead to make sure you have leftover gravy. Turkey salad with chopped fennel and chopped unpeeled apple and halved grapes, mixed with some mayo, is also delicious.  

My favorite for leftover turkey is with mushrooms and a little cream. Here’s the recipe:


Rosalie’s Favorite Turkey Leftover

In a saute pan, sweat a few tablespoons of olive oil, 1 small chopped shallot, onion, leek or scallion. Any will work nicely.

8 medium white mushrooms; wipe clean and rinse quickly if they are dirty.  Dry them well with paper towels, and rough chop into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.

Add to the pan, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 sprig each of fresh rosemary and thyme, and 1 roughly chopped yellow or orange bell pepper.

After a few minutes, add the mushrooms and saute on medium heat, stirring them to brown slightly all over.  

When the veggies are tender add 1 1/2 cup of heavy cream; allow to come to a simmer.  

Add 2 cups of leftover turkey. Cover the pan for a few minutes and simmer until the meat is warmed nicely, stirring to combine the flavors. You can also add 1 cup of leftover broccoli or asparagus if you like.

Serve over cooked egg noodles, rice or your favorite pasta. Make sure a good grated Pecorino Romano is on the table to pass around.     

Classical takes a tough road to Thanksgiving

FILE PHOTO
Matt Lauria (left) and the Rams will look to end their season with a win over rival English. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

The road to Thanksgiving has been a tough one for the Lynn Classical football team.

The Rams sit at 2-9, but the record doesn’t tell the story. Classical lost its season opener to Gloucester by two points (21-19) in the game’s last minute, and lost to Division 2 North champ Beverly by six points (28-22). Both of those opponents made it to the state tournament.

Although the Rams failed to reach the playoffs, coach Tim Phelps said his team is still hungry for a win against English Thursday (10 a.m.).

“Our players have been pretty good (in practice),” Phelps said. “They’ve been motivated all year. Our varsity guys are motivated and we have younger guys looking to make strides.

“We’re excited,” he said. “For some of them, this will be their first varsity Thanksgiving game. They’ll always remember playing on Thanksgiving. They’re excited to and ready to play in front of the city.”

Offensively, the Rams are led by a pair of talented seniors in quarterback Matt Lauria and running back Marcus Rivera. Lauria’s athleticism has allowed the Rams to expand their playbook.

“He’s (Lauria) a three-year starter so he really knows the ins and outs of the offense,” Phelps said. “We’ve been able to design some plays for him because of his ability. He’s come up big for us as at times.”

Rivera suffered an injury on Classical’s third play of the season, but has given the Rams a boost now that he’s healthy.

“He’s kind of like an instant spark plug for us,” Phelps said. “Marcus, being a senior captain, the ability he has allows us to cover some of the mistakes we make. He can make a guy miss in a hole and cover up a missed block.”

On defense, Classical is led by a pair of sophomores in linebacker David Barnard — who was a stalwart for the Lynn Babe Ruth World Series team — and safety Chase Buono.

“We had high expectations for them this year and they’ve lived up to those expectations,” Phelps said of his defensive leaders. “We hope to have them lead us for the next two years.”

The unsung hero for the Rams this season is tight end Dennis Pierce. A sophomore, Pierce transferred to Classical from Mystic Valley and was moved to the tight end position midway through the season.

“He (Pierce) has stepped up,” Phelps said. “We moved him to tight end we’ve played better football since we moved him there.”

Although Classical hopes to end its season on a high note, English has other plans. When the two teams meet at Manning Field, Phelps said his group will need to look out for an athletic opponent that can move the chains on offense.

“They’ve struggled but they have some tremendous athletes,” Phelps said. “They’ve gone to a more running scheme but they run a little play action and shotgun spread. They have great athletes just like us. They can kill the clock and move the ball so we’ll have to look out for that.”

Phelps added, “If we can play mistake-free football and play our game, if we can run the ball and sustain mistake-free drives, that can be very beneficial for us. Defensively if we can play for four quarters and get to the ball, and make tackles it could be a good game for us.”

Phelps mentioned that the underclassmen on the team are using the seniors as a source of motivation. The goal is for the younger players to send the seniors off with a win against their rival.

“It’s always about the seniors on Thanksgiving,” Phelps said. “It’s our last game with them and it’s special for those kids. Hopefully we can pull out that win for them.”


Harold Rivera can be reached at hrivera@itemlive.com. 

English readies to renew rivalry at Manning

FILE PHOTO
Prince Brown looks for an opening as he carries the football. 

By STEVE KRAUSE

This wasn’t exactly how Chris Carroll and the Lynn English football team drew it up last August.

The Bulldogs weren’t supposed to be 2-8 heading into the Thanksgiving against Classical (Thursday, Manning Field, 10 a.m.). But things happened and it is what it is.

“We struggled throughout the year, scoring in the red zone, and getting off the field on defense,” said Carroll. “But what’s great is that it’s Thanksgiving, you’re playing your crosstown rivals, and you can send yourself off with a win.

“Our kids have not stopped working hard,” said Carroll, “and I’m happy about that.”

He would like to forget about the first game of the season — a penalty-filled 11-8 loss to Swampscott. But things seemed so much more promising in Week 2, when the Bulldogs took Super Bowl-bound St. Mary’s into the third quarter before the Spartans pulled away for a 38-12 win.

Then there was more progress as the Bulldogs defeated Winthrop in overtime, and things seemed very promising.

The following week, English was leading Division 2 North champion Beverly, 14-0, at halftime, and a touchdown with no time left in the half seemed to give the Bulldogs the momentum heading to third quarter.

But Beverly roared back with 24 unanswered points. And that, said Carroll, completely flipped the season.

“Beverly’s the game where things got away from us,” said Carroll. “They were a win away from going to the Super Bowl (until losing to Duxbury Saturday) and we almost had them.

“We had two fourth downs, one of them a fourth-and-17, and we couldn’t get off the field. We stop them, and I’m convinced the game turns out differently. The carryover effect might have been different.”

The game sent the Bulldogs into a deep tailspin. First it was Danvers and a 26-0 loss and from there, it was Peabody and then Marblehead.

“We took a step back after that Danvers game,” he said. “I don’t want to make excuses, but we had a pile of injuries and we don’t have a ton of depth. We were down eight starters at one point.”

Among those missing action were Prince Brown, Jon Kosmas and Emile Rossi. Senior co-captain Chris Gomez tore his ACL and missed the rest of the season.

“We went into a downward spiral,” he said.

They didn’t snap out of it until a victory over Lawrence in the second week of the non-playoff schedule. And even though his team is coming off a loss to Revere two weeks ago, the game was competitive.

“And,” he said, “Revere is a good  team. We lost with three seconds left in the game. That’s the story of our season. Our kids have not stopped working, and when you’re 2-8 that’s hard to have your kids show up for every practice and every game. I’m proud of them.”

Along the way, he’s received some pleasant surprises. One is the continued growth of sophomore quarterback Matt Severance.

“Also,” he said, “Ishmael Bangura was a bright spot for us at tailback. Miguel Ramos, a sophomore, was a bright spot for us. And Prince Brown, a sophomore, was a real bright spot before he got hurt. And we have a number of freshmen and juniors playing well as of late too.”

Now, it’s onto Classical.

“We’ve been able to see a lot of film on Classical,” he said. “They are very similar to us. And they’re coming off a real high after beating Malden last week. They are physical,, and we’re going to have to be as prepared as possible.”

Carroll said his team has to be particularly mindful of quarterback Matt Lauria.

“He’s a good athlete,” he said. “I’ve seen him play, and he can do a lot of things. He’s a real leader out there. He’s absolutely a guy you have to prepare to stop when you play Lynn Classical.”

Although English has had the better of the rivalry of late (the Bulldogs have won six of the last seven games) Classical still has a wide lead overall of 54-39, with nine ties.

Carroll is 5-0 against the Rams. He never lost to them while he played at English, and the Bulldogs won last year’s game in his first season as coach, 34-21.


Steve Krause can be reached at skrause@itemlive.com.

Danvers, Gloucester set to renew Thanksgiving rivalry

FILE PHOTO
Danvers quarterback Dean Borders readies to throw a pass. 

By SCOT COOPER 

If the Gloucester-Danvers Thanksgiving (10 a.m., Dr. Deering Stadium) clash were a TV game, it would be flexed to prime time.

Both teams and both had hoped for games on the schedule after Thursday.

“The goal at the beginning of every season is to win the Super Bowl, and short of that you want to win on Thanksgiving,” Gloucester coach Tony Zerilli said. “We didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, but now this team has a chance to send our seniors off with a big win over Danvers on Thanksgiving, so that’s what we’re preparing for.”

There are lots of similarities. Both schools made the Division 2A North playoffs, won their first game, and then lost the next one.

Danvers was looking for a potential rematch with Marblehead, which beat the Falcons 30-23 on September 23, but North Reading spoiled that. The Fishermen beat Melrose in their first playoff game, but were ground down by the Magicians in the second round, 41-26, on Nov. 4.

Danvers coach Shawn Theriault said that his team worked hard to get to the playoffs, but lost to a very good team.

“At this point,” he said, “either a Super Bowl win or a win on Thanksgiving is what you’re hoping to end your season with, and unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, so the job now is to go out with a win on Thanksgiving,” Theriault said.  “A win on Thanksgiving will feel pretty good.”

This will be Theriault’s third Thanksgiving game. He split the first two.

“This is kind of the rubber match for me, and the thing about this game is the kids up and down the line are excited about playing, and the coaches are excited too,” Theriault said.

“It’s a little bit of an advantage to have the game at home, but at the end of the day, everybody’s even. They’re going to bring it, so we’ve got to be ready to bring it too.

Theriault said his offensive line has been outstanding all season, with four of the five guys starting for the first Time. Theriault said that senior Kyle Purcell was fantastic at guard, before he was felled with an injury. Tackles Jack Ackerly, Cole Johnson and Brad Anderson have all been solid on the offensive line for the Falcons, opening holes for Matt Andreas and protecting quarterback Dean Borders.

Danvers will be hampered Thursday as Andreas, a sure candidate for Northeastern Conference MVP, broke his leg against North Reading.

Still, he said, “we’ve had a lot of guys step up and contribute to this team, you don’t win eight games without a lot of guys working together and playing as a team,” Theriault said.

For the visiting Fishermen, ending the season with a win over Danvers will feel great alongside capturing the NEC/South crown. Zerilli said this game is always circled on the calendar whether the teams are both unbeaten or winless, it’s a big game for both communities, no matter what the records are.

Gloucester enters the game after beating Melrose, losing to Marblehead and then knocking off Wakefield. Zerilli said that it’s been a treat watching as his young team got better as the season wore on.

“Last year we were really a senior dominated team, so we came into this season with a much younger team, and the guys have really done a nice job in their roles as full time players as the season went along,” Zerilli said. “It’s been a learning experience, we just asked the kids to get better every week and they’ve done that.”

“Whether it was a bad game or a bad play, the kids have put it behind them, worked to get better and they really have done a great job as the season went along,” Zerilli said.

Zerilli will be coaching his seventh Turkey Day game, and he played a few of them for Fisherman coach Terry Silva.

“Myself and every one on my staff played for Gloucester High, so we all know how big this game is, no matter what the records are,” Zerilli said. “The fact that we have two teams having great seasons makes it even better. We’re all going to treat this like it’s our last game at Gloucester, and make our last game great.”

Zerilli said Gloucester would be looking for big games from seniors Christian Sanfilippo, Nate Young, Kyle Aquipel, Eric Cameron, Jermaine Edward, and juniors Kevin Gabriele, Ryan Terry, and Jake Russell. Zerilli also said he’s looking for sophomores Marc Smith and Cam Ortiz to have an impact in their first holiday game.

Second and long: Anything is possible on Thanksgiving

FILE PHOTO
Colin Frary and the Swampscott Big Blue will host a tall task in undefeated Marblehead on Thanksgiving Day, but upsets in the final game of the regular season aren’t rare. 

By STEVE KRAUSE 

We’re almost there. Two more of these things and we’ll be collecting the equipment, putting it away, and sharpening the skates and pumping up the basketballs.

There are always a thousand and one subplots to Thanksgiving football games. One of the great things about the holiday — and the tradition of playing football that goes along with it — is that no game, regardless of records, is insignificant. All of them carry with them individual motivational factors that make them unique.

For example, when St. John’s Prep plays Wednesday night at Xaverian, the Eagles will be looking to reverse a recent trend that has seen the Hawks win six of the last eight.

From the looks of things, that’s not favored to change. Xaverian is 9-1 and save for an off-night against Bridgewater-Raynham, would probably be the No. 1 team in Eastern Mass. instead of Duxbury.

But you just don’t know. It was six years ago, in 2010, that the Eagles won one of those two games. It was the year Tyler Coppola was a senior, and he was playing for both brothers, Brendan, who could no longer play for having suffered a neck injury; and Jared, who was paralyzed during a scrimmage against Lynn English.

Xaverian was supposed to win the game, just as it’s probably supposed to win Wednesday. But The Prep, perhaps inspired by the tremendous progress Jared Coppola had been making, won the game, 21-12.

It’s Thanksgiving. Anything’s possible.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s two 2-8 teams like Classical and English or a 10-0 team in Marblehead vs. a 4-6 team like Swampscott. Nothing matters except the game. Not records, not any seemingly obvious disparity in talent.  Nothing.

Thus, Swampscott can say, as coach Bobby Serino said Monday night, that playing the game at Blocksidge, on grass, gives his team somewhat of an advantage as the surface doesn’t favor speed as much as artificial turf does.

That remains to be seen. But since the weather is calling for rain (which means a sloppy field in Swampscott), Serino may have something there.

In Lynn Thursday, it comes down to “may the best Matt win.” It’ll be Classical’s Lauria vs. English’s Severance. Lauria is a senior. Severance is a sophomore. But both have been true leaders for their teams.

Tech coach James Runner has two players who would seem to be named after him: Steffan Gravely and Keoni Gaskins. Both have had tremendous success this season, and both have struggled at other times.

Last year, when the Tigers played Austin Prep, the game seemed as if it would be a mismatch — and it was. This year, not so much. Austin Prep is 2-8 and Tech is 3-7. A win over the Cougars, and their veteran and venerable coach Bill Maradei, would be a real feather in Runner’s cap.

In Revere, there will be no need to come up with a manufactured motivation. The Patriots want a winning season and sole possession of second place in the Northeastern Conference/Small — something they can attain by defeating Winthrop.

As for the Vikings, they have dominated their rivalry as few others have. Since Revere won back-to-back games in 1973 and 1974, Winthrop has gone 38-4. You can be sure Lou Cicatelli and the Patriots would love to reverse that trend.

Saugus and Peabody used to have one of the most heated rivalries in Eastern Mass. If there was even the possibility of an upset, it would happen in this game. However, it hasn’t happened very often lately. Since Saugus’ 22-14 win in 1988, Peabody has won 21 of the last 25 games, including — at one point — 17 in a row.

At Lynnfield, the Pioneers hope to put the bow on a season that saw them win another league championship and recover from an 0-2 start to come into the game with a 6-3 record. North Reading is 8-2, and lost to Marblehead in the Division 2 North final. It should be one of the best games of the day.

As should St. Mary’s-Bishop Fenwick. We saved this one until last. Like Prep-Xaverian, this one is for league supremacy. Well, co-league supremacy at least. A Fenwick win would put the two teams in a tie for the Catholic Central League/Large title.

The Spartans will get the ultimate prize, of course, and that is a trip to the Division 3A Super Bowl. But a win over their CCL rivals would be a great consolation for the Crusaders.

St. Mary’s is still nursing their star runners — Calvin Johnson and Abraham Toe — back to health. And coach Matt Durgin won’t say whether either is close to being able to play.

Smart man. There’s no question they’ll play if they’re ready. Durgin has too much respect for the game, and the rivalry, to do anything else.

Load up the plate, boys and girls. And leave enough room for apple pie afterward.


Steve Krause can be reached at skrause@itemlive.com. 

Getting a jump start on charity

The holiday season’s early onset, triggered by a retail sector still not recovered from the national economy’s 2008 meltdown, annoys some people and make others moan about the commercialization surrounding Thanksgiving, Christmas and similar end-of-year celebrations.

But the early focus on holidays also jump starts charitable giving by inspiring people to help others. Charity takes place in Lynn, surrounding communities and across the nation year round, but it seems to take on a special meaning during the holidays.

Putting a focus on holiday giving also offers an opportunity to celebrate initiatives for improving the lives of others applicable to all seasons. Turkeys distributions to needy families through this week symbolize the work food pantries and food distributions organizations do during the summer and school months to make sure people have enough to eat.

All attempts to shine a spotlight on charity also illuminate ongoing efforts to provide new housing for people who have survived catastrophes, including fire and natural disaster. The simple act of generosity renews commitments to reach out to veterans, the disabled and seniors who may be at risk of isolation and depression.

If there is a single positive result to come out of the relentless war against addiction and the terrible toll opioid use takes, then it is the increasing awareness that substance abuse addiction is a disease.

This recognition opens the door for treating people with compassion and for redoubling commitments to not give up on substance abusers. Help is available for addicts. But often the help initially comes through showing addiction sufferers they have not been counted out of society’s equation.

It is easier to be cynical than charitable. It is easier to focus on immediate problems at hand than on ones that require patience and getting to know someone else. But simple acts of charity reap multiple returns.

The holidays highlight charity and emphasize the reminder, “‘Tis the season to give.” The people most involved in charity day in and day out rarely take credit for their generosity and measure the results of their efforts in small gains.

People working selflessly on behalf of others teach an important lesson: Any act of giving, even the seemingly insignificant gesture, adds up to real change in another person’s life.

Turkey distributions and gift drives will brighten holidays. But the real gift of the season of giving is the opportunity to prove that charity is an easy and fulfilling act of love.

A thousand thanks in Saugus

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Michael Fiscale arranges the food bags before they are filled with Thanksgiving dinner meals at the United Parish Food Pantry in Saugus.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

SAUGUS — More than a thousand families will sit down for Thanksgiving dinner next Thursday thanks to the generosity of their neighbors.

Volunteers compiled 120 meal kits in the basement of the Cliftondale Congregational Church in Saugus Friday afternoon. The space serves as the home of the weekly Saugus United Parish Food Pantry, but volunteers come from each of the town’s churches.

The pantry has been open for 30 years and is affiliated with the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). Wendy Reed, clerk for the Board of Selectmen, stepped up to help when the former director resigned. While the pantry is still seeking a new, permanent administrator to help serve more than 250 people who depend on its services, the volunteers have each taken on added responsibilities to get the job done.

ALSO: What’s the best kind of pie for Thanksgiving?

Two dozen people distribute food on Fridays while others pick up donations from Stop & Shop, Panera Bread and Walmart throughout the week, Reed said. In total, the pantry has up to 40 volunteers to count on.

Families took home turkey, apple cider, vegetables, stuffing and gravy on Saturday morning, said volunteer Charlie Pastorello.

Ernie’s Harvest Time in Lynn provided fresh produce. Items were collected at each of the town’s schools, churches and many medical offices and banks. Unsold bread was donated by Panera at the end of the day and Stop & Shop lended the pantry freezers for storage. Students from Saugus High School prepared boxes and bags to be filled and checked expiration dates, said Reed.

Lynn resident Michael Quintana organized his own turkey distribution on Friday. He purchased 100 turkeys and collected donations for 30 more from Dan’s Auto Body in Peabody, Sammy Guwor and Joshua Castillo, both of Lynn.

Quintana rented a moving truck on Friday and gave more than 60 of the 12- to 14-pound frozen birds to families of Lynn Classical High School students and more than 40 to Lynn English High School students. The remaining turkeys were given to individuals who reached out seeking Quintana’s help.

“I always said that if I was in a position to give back, I would,” Quintana said. “If it’s all gone tomorrow, I’ll feel good knowing what I did with it. Kids need to know that there is assistance out there and not to be ashamed to ask for help. I’ve gone through it, everyone has hard times. I’m very fortunate to be where I am now. But never forget where you came from.”

Shanna Duprey, guidance counselor and homeless coordinator for the school, provided recipes for cooking a turkey to each of the families.

“This is amazing — he is amazing,” Duprey said. “It brings out the spirit of the holiday.”

Catholic Charities, one of the largest providers of social services in the state, and United Way, a nonprofit coalition of charitable organizations, collaborated to provide 6,500 packages of Thanksgiving groceries to families in the Greater Boston area. More than 500 volunteers spent the past week packing and organizing 200,000 pounds of food. Saturday morning, 900 of the meal packages were distributed to families in Lynn.


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

Calling all turkey trotters in Saugus

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

SAUGUS — A flock of runners will be trotting through Breakheart Reservation this weekend.

The annual Turkey Trot will begin Sunday at 10 a.m. The route will follow the paved roads throughout the park for about an hour.

ALSO: Revere earns $3.6M MassWorks grant

The first man and woman to complete the free 5K race will each take home a turkey and a trophy.

A few lucky losers will still bring home a bird in time for Thanksgiving. Participants are eligible to be entered into a raffle for turkeys and other prizes.

Adults and children of all ages are welcome to participate, according to Peter Rossetti, chairman of the Friends of Breakheart.

The race is sponsored by the state Department of Recreation and Conservation and the Friends.


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

Putting the GE in generosity

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
From left, Brian Sohm, John Moakley and Andre Fonseca hand out Thanksgiving dinners to the needy in the parking lot of the Franco-American Club in Lynn as part of the global month of service.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — Things are a little tougher this Thanksgiving for the Macario family.

Isidro Macario, a native of Guatemala who lives in Lynn, lost his job and is barely able to make ends meet for his mother and three younger brothers.

But thanks to an effort by GE Aviation, under the direction of Boston Cares, a charitable group that mobilizes more than 25,000 volunteers annually, the Macarios will have a turkey and all the fixings.

“This will help us to celebrate the holiday,” he said.

ALSO: An update on Bristow Street Park in Saugus

On Tuesday, the Macarios were one of 250 families who benefited from a turkey giveaway at the Franco-American Veterans Club sponsored by GE.

Dozens of the company’s employees gave up a day of work at the Lynn plant to distribute baskets filled with cans of corn, yams, mashed potatoes, rice, beans and a $15 voucher toward a turkey at a local supermarket to the needy.

“This is our way to support the Lynn community,” said Beth Schumacher, a GE manager. “Everyone wants to volunteer, they love to help and the people of Lynn appreciate it.”

GE is one of 40 companies nationally including Fidelity Investments, Biogen, Boston Scientific, Bain & Co. and Shire PLC, that participate in the charity program.  GE employees volunteer more than one million hours of community service annually, the company said.

Kacey Sanfilippo, director of corporate engagement for Boston Cares, said GE has committed volunteers in November and December for a Global Month of Service.  

During that time they worked with GE to develop charitable projects for their employees including serving food to the homeless at My Brother’s Table, one of the largest soup kitchens on the North Shore. The workers do 80 charity events a year with about 800 volunteers.

On Tuesday, GE volunteers worked in three shifts to prepare the food and distribute the baskets.

“This fills a huge need for the community,” said Sanfilippo.

“These families don’t have to worry about where their Thanksgiving meal is coming from.”

Boston Cares has 250 affiliates worldwide that work with 25,000 volunteers who serve more than 500,000 people in New England.

“It’s a great way to get people to give back in their local communities,” Sanfilippo said. “We continue to see a continuous need, it’s steady.”


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

Marblehead cops sweet on troops

PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
Officers Adam Mastrangelo and Mike Everett pour Halloween candy into buckets that will be given to C.A.P.T.S
(Calling all Patriots Troop Support).

By GAYLA CAWLEY

MARBLEHEAD — Halloween is over, leaving many people with pounds of candy, but instead of overindulging or letting it go to waste, residents can donate their treats to troops overseas.

A Marblehead-based nonprofit, Calling All Patriots Troop Support (C.A.P.T.S), which sends care packages to service men and women actively deployed overseas, has enlisted the help of the Marblehead Police Department for the third year to collect leftover Halloween candy from residents.

Candy donations are accepted 24/7 at the police station. Donation boxes are also at the Marblehead Community Center and at 47 Overlook Road, the home of the nonprofit’s co-founders, Mark and Janet Brings, and where C.A.P.T.S. is based. Collection started on Tuesday and continues for about two weeks.

Janet Brings said the candy will be sent in bulk packages, and also as part of holiday care packages with Christmas stockings the nonprofit sends to the armed forces overseas. She said the bulk of the packages, which will get shipped after Thanksgiving, go to a combat hospital in Afghanistan, but others get dispersed to combat units in places like Syria, Iraq and Africa.

“Our motto is ‘if we can’t bring them home, we will bring home to them,’” she said.

In its first year, 867 pounds of candy were collected, and last year, 2,000 pounds were donated. Brings is expecting even more to be dropped off this month.

Police Chief Robert Picariello said the drive is wildly popular, as it’s the time of the year when everyone has a lot of extra candy in their homes because of Halloween.

“I guess we’re all trying to eat a little healthier and get it out of our house,” he said.

The chief said the drive gives people a chance to get the candy out of their homes and give it to someone who will appreciate it.

“We’ve got a lot of veterans who work here in the department,” Picariello said. “I’d like to think this community is very attached to the armed forces. When someone comes along with a great idea like this, I just think it’s something we should be involved with.”

Brings said C.A.P.T.S. is also looking for other donations for its holiday care packages, such as hot chocolate, tea and shampoo. Besides candy, she said the packages sent overseas typically include Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, toilet paper, CDs, DVDs, toiletries, food, socks, underwear, T-shirts and pillowcases.

“Someone needs to take care of them,” Brings said of the troops. “They’re over there risking their lives everyday to protect us here on our own soil. If they weren’t doing that, we wouldn’t be here and have the freedoms that we have. I consider all of our soldiers over there family. It means the world to me what we’re doing.”


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

Middle school offers a lesson in NIMBY

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

By GAYLA CAWLEY

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

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

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

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

Under the $183 million proposal, a 652-student school would be built near Breeds Pond Reservoir off Parkland Avenue and a second facility to serve 1,008 students would be built on McManus Field on Commercial Street.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Thomas Grillo contributed to this report.

Saugus cheers on a cancer survivor

Tyla Morgante, right, shares a laugh with her sister, Jana Morgante, during a Saugus High cheer practice Thursday at the School. (Item photo by Katie Morrison)

By Katie Morrison

SAUGUS — Last Thanksgiving began just like any other for Saugus High junior Tyla Morgante and her family. She’d just finished cheering with the Saugus High squad and watching her brother, Jake, play for the Sachems in their Thanksgiving Day rivalry game.

But when Tyla and her family got home, everything changed.

Tyla had been dealing with a nagging cough for a few weeks. At first, she and her mom, Lisa Morgante, assumed it was just bronchitis. When the cough didn’t go away, they worried maybe it was something else.

“I had a cough, and usually every year around the fall, I get bronchitis. But this time, it wasn’t going away,” Tyla said. “(Doctors) thought maybe I had pneumonia, tested me for tuberculosis, and everything came back negative.”

But when the family got home from the game, Lisa got a call from Tyla’s pediatrician. An x-ray revealed that the cough wasn’t pneumonia. It was cancer.

The x-ray showed growths in Tyla’s neck and lungs. The official diagnosis, which came on Dec. 4 at Children’s Hospital in Boston, was Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which had also spread to her spleen.

“She went from a cough to cancer in a week,” Lisa said. “Never in my wildest imagination did I think that’s what it was.”

What came next was five grueling months of six rounds of chemotherapy. After a biopsy and bone marrow extract, Tyla underwent surgery on Dec. 10 to implant a port for the chemotherapy, and the treatments began the next day.

“It was really scary,” Tyla, who was 16 at the time, said of the whirlwind that followed the diagnosis. “I was really scared and didn’t know what they were going to do.”

“I was heartbroken for her,” Lisa said. “I never expected her to have to go through the chemo and everything that goes along with the diagnosis, like losing her hair. She was the most nervous about that, she’s a teenage girl.”

Tyla finished her final treatment on April 15, 2016. The treatment was aggressive (“They hit her hard,” Lisa said), but on May 6, Tyla, her mom, and her siblings Jake and Jana heard the magic words.

Tyla was cancer-free.

“I only wanted to hear those words more than anything,” Lisa said.

Through the six months of hell that the Morgante family went through, there was a silver lining. The Saugus community took the family under its wing in ways Lisa and her children couldn’t have imagined.

After Tyla’s first chemo treatment, she and her mother came home from a seven-hour appointment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute to find their house filled with food. Relatives and friends joined forces with Saugus Pop Warner to set up a sort of meals on wheels service to make sure the family was well fed.

“I came home and had a cooler at my front door, unbeknownst to me that any of it was happening,” Lisa said. “I’m a single mom and that was a huge, huge help. There is still good in this world, and it’s definitely in this community.”

Saugus High also rallied around Tyla in a big way. As a captain of the winter cheer squad and a member of the fall squad, Tyla found some support in her teammates.

“Everyone was really supportive, they all did a lot for me,” she said.

Cheerleading coach Jennifer Carnevale said as soon as she told the rest of the team what Tyla was going through, the immediate response was “how can we help?”

“The girls asked how they could raise money,” Carnevale said. “But they also did thoughtful little things for Tyla, like bringing her coloring books when she couldn’t leave the house or when she was at chemo.”

The squad raised money by selling livestrong bracelets around the school. They wore purple bows at games (purple is the color of lymphoma awareness) and purple ribbons on their shoes for competitions. The money they raised went to Children’s Hospital and One Mission, a Boston-based children’s cancer support foundation.

“Everything we did with Tyla in our hearts,” Carnevale said. “You really could see the beauty of humanity and compassion of these kids.”

The Saugus High basketball team wore purple socks throughout the season in support of Tyla, and during the Saugus football team’s first home game of the season on Sept. 23, the players lined up to give Tyla roses and share some encouraging words.

“To see these rough and tough guys doing that, it was amazing,” Lisa said. “It was something I’ll never forget.

“She’s become a part of everyone’s family,” Lisa added. “They’ve taken her and us under their wing. Through such tragedy you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

While Tyla, now in her senior year, is cancer-free, the battle isn’t over. Her bones were weakened so much by the treatments, she suffered avascular necrosis, the death of bone tissue, from being on the steroid prednisone.

As she tried to get back in cheering shape for the upcoming football season, Tyla suffered a stress fracture in her femur, which required four screws and a metal plate to fix. The injury has forced her off her feet for the entire football season. Tyla uses a wheelchair and crutches to get around for the time being.

“You may hear the words “cancer free” but there’s always something else that goes along with it that you have to fight through,” Lisa said, “and that’s what she’s going through now.”

But Tyla certainly hasn’t let the cancer or injuries slow her down. Even while missing three months of school, she maintained her grades and made the honor roll each semester. She even agonized over missing cheerleading practices.

She has the same positive attitude, she hasn’t complained once,” Carnevale said. “She gets life, gets the game. She knows she could sit here and be miserable, but that’s not a part of her nature. She truly just appreciates being alive. Most couldn’t go through it with grace and patience that she has. ”

Tyla’s now looking at colleges; she says she’s interested in early childhood education. For now, she’s enjoying the return to normalcy.

I can go out with my friends, I can do things I want to do without worrying about what time I have to be home for medicine or stuff like that,” Tyla said.

She hopes to come back to the cheerleading squad for the winter, but Carnevale says no matter what, Tyla is a big part of the team.

She’s my assistant coach…even wheelchair-bound or with crutches, she’s involved,” Carnevale said. “She anticipates what I need, reminds me of stuff…she definitely has her role.”

For the rest of the Morgante family, the experience has really put things into perspective.

“She just keeps fighting and pushing through,” Lisa said. “She amazes me, she’s my hero.”

So, how’s that fitness resolution going?

By Patrice Cahill

It’s hard to believe but it’s 2016 and spring looms on the horizon. Most folks, as New Years comes around, make their resolutions.

I love when New Years rolls around it’s a reason to start anew. Many people ask me what my resolution is and, frankly, I just shake my head and tell them that I do resolutions.

I mess with them and say it’s because I’m perfect (actually I’m far from it). But it’s more so because I don’t believe we should wait for a turn of the calendar to make good solid changes in our lives.

It’s true that we resolve to give up something that is bad for us or our health, such as smoking, eating unhealthy food, getting too little sleep (the list goes on and on). But I believe that when you are trying to change something like that, do it now! How about an August resolution or a November promise?

Those that think like me are called Non-resoluters. How did I get this title? Experience. I have seen very well-intentioned people realize in September or October that they need to do something about their fitness health and wellness. They don’t want to wait until New Year’s to make a “resolution, so head into a gym or rethink their eating/nutrition habits and make those changes.

October is not a bad time to start this process, as it’s basically the prelude to the Thanksgiving-Christmas eating season. Starting in October will give you a good six weeks of a fitness/nutrition lifestyle — a good way to build up some momentum heading into the holidays.

Conversely, if you think of starting this the week before Thanksgiving, it can backfire. Then, heading into the holidays — with all that wonderful food and merriment — can be lethal. You get the picture.

Yet this is when we make most of the New Year’s Resolution.

I don’t want to sound negative, or to be down on anyone who uses the new year to get motivated. But I’ve seen too many where fitness goals fall by the wayside. Gyms that are jam-packed in January (so much so that clients complain to me they can’t even use one piece of equipment) will become less packed come spring. Folks get busy and get outside after being cooped up in the winter and going inside to the gym doesn’t sound so appealing.

I’m trying paint a picture to demonstrate how New Year’s resolutions, particularly in fitness and health, can end up failing. This is exactly why I am one of those folks that do what I need to do for my well-being regardless of what time of the year it is.

I believe in making any changes to your health and fitness when you think of them and regardless of the time of year. If you get the urge to get into shape or eat better in June, don’t wait until after the holidays.

Summertime may be when “living is easy” with all the barbeques, vacation days and getaways. It’s easy not to eat healthy or eat out and not heat the oven if the weather is too hot. But if you think of starting that program in June, then do it!

If you happen to think of this in October, and that month has you thinking of apple picking and all the apple pies and apple crisps that goes with it, eat your fill and then head to the gym to walk or run it off.

Think about it, whenever you decide that you need to get into shape or eat better, that is the exact time to do it and not hold it off until some old fashioned resolution notion. No matter what your idea is to make good changes to your life do it when you think of it or make your own time for your own resolution. If due to natural events, your fitness goals happen to be on New Year’s day great but don’t make that the end goal. So maybe I am being a bit too harsh on New Year’s Resolutions and if I am I am sorry. In fact, 2016 New Years is long gone and will be quite a few months until New Year’s rolls around again. My aim is to try to have people move away from that type of thinking and come up with a new timeframe to have their fitness and health goals met rather than have a one time a year hit or miss milestone. To me this is taking something that can be a negative, taking charge and turning it into a positive, one that you invent yourself. Oh and folks there doesn’t have to be ONE time to do this, after all, there are 365 days in a year, sometimes 366 but I won’t quibble about one day, just New Year’s Day.


Patrice Cahill is an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer and Certified Senior Fitness Specialist. She currently trains/instructs seniors with their fitness needs around the North Shore and is the Senior Specialist/Group Exercise Instructor at Lynn Senior Center, Silsbee Street, Lynn, MA. Weds and Fridays, 11:30 – 12:15 pm. Call for details, 781-599-0110.

Periwinkles: Pie in the sky dreams

My pie-in-the-sky type dreams revolve around baking sky-high pies and sharing the wonders of freshly baked pies with all my customers at Periwinkles and returning home to enjoy a slice with my family.

Now is the best time of year. I love to grab seasonal goodies like apples, pumpkins, pecans and green tomatoes to bake pies.

One of my favorite childhood memories is pie baking with my family on Sundays.

I fondly remember special Sundays when my parents and five siblings would go apple picking. My mother would bake delicious pies and freeze the extra apples so we could enjoy baking with them in the winter.

I continued the tradition of apple picking and baking with our daughter, Alexa, who could roll a pie crust at the age of 3!

One of the best parts of pie baking is the irresistible, sweet scents wafting through the house it creates. Who can resist the allure of cinnamon?

Pastry chefs sprinkle the spice generously to add its wonderful flavor and aroma. Health zealots adore its myriad benefits including boosting brain function, lowering blood sugar and being loaded with anti-oxidants. I am crazy in love with the spice and quite persnickety about using specialty cinnamon when I bake.

I especially enjoy eating dinner followed by the promise of enjoying a slice of freshly baked pie. If it were up to me, I would eat dessert first. Here is a recipe for a chocolate pecan pie, my dad’s favorite, I have been delivering every Thanksgiving for 30 years.

Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE

Police cadet, teenager die in Springfield crashes

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Police Department was in mourning Friday after a cadet who was also the son of a longtime city police officer was killed on Thanksgiving when he lost control of his car and hit a fire hydrant.

The death of Max Moran, 23, occurred just several hours after a teenager was killed in a separate single-car crash in the city.

“The entire department is saddened by the loss of this young cadet whose bright future was tragically cut short,” Sgt. John Delaney said in a statement Friday. “At roll call this morning Deputy Chief John Barbieri and both uniformed shifts held a moment of silence for Cadet Moran. He will be sadly missed.”

Moran was the son of Sgt. Ricky Moran, who has been with the department for 30 years. The younger Moran had been a cadet for about a year.

He was driving a Mini Cooper that went out of control at about 4 a.m. Thursday and hit a hydrant before careening across the street, hitting the curb and going airborne, throwing him from the car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Allison Dwarska, a 17-year-old high school senior who planned on studying biology at the University of Alabama was killed in a crash at about 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Dwarska was a passenger in a Cadillac Seville that appeared to be speeding before the driver apparently lost control and the car crashed into woods on the side of the road, police said. She was taken pronounced dead at the hospital.

The driver, also 17, survived and could face charges, investigators said.

Dwarska attended Sabis International Charter School, where she was a cheerleader, softball player and yearbook editor.

“She was the most caring, smart and beautiful girl,” her aunt, Leslie Sias, told The Republican newspaper.

Both crashes remain under investigation.

‘Classic’ game in 100th year

A historic game came down to a breathtaking ending Thursday at Manning Field as English and Classical played a game befitting the series’ 100th anniversary.

The Bulldogs got a last-minute pass from quarterback Lucas Harris to wideout Chris Lessard to overtake the Rams, 13-12. It was the Bulldogs’ fourth straight win over the Rams on Thanksgiving.

Harris and Lessard had connected earlier in the drive, with the receiver stretching out to grab a 31-yard completion.

After two incompletions and a sack, Harris found Lessard again from the Classical 28 for the touchdown pass. For good measure, Lessard added the extra point that provided the winning margin.

“I’m flabbergasted with how well both teams played,” said English coach Peter Holey. “The people who braved the cold weather saw a classic.”

There were at least two mild upsets Thursday. In one game, Revere defeated Winthrop, 13-7, at Miller Field in Winthrop while Lynnfield traveled to North Reading and lost, 42-35.

In Winthrop, Tommy Portrait scored a touchdown and ran for 106 yards as the Patriots won for only the third time this season.

“With seven sophomores, it’s been a learning curve in the first three weeks,” said Revere coach Lou Cicatelli. “Since then they have just turned it around and done a tremendous job.”

In North Reading, the Pioneers led in this one before the Hornets came back for the win. The teams racked up more than 900 yards in total offense and there wasn’t one punt in the game. Lynnfield had been 9-1 coming into the game.

Saugus defeated Peabody for the second straight season, this time 35-24, with quarterback Justin Winn rushing for two touchdowns. The teams had five combined wins between them coming into the game, and Saugus finished its season with a 3-8 record.

At Piper Field in Marblehead, the Magicians got the best of Swampscott, 51-13. Junior running back Brooks Tyrrell, who has already verbally committed to playing lacrosse at Notre Dame, scored four touchdowns in the first half as the Magicians roared to a big lead.

Bishop Fenwick had a tough time shaking Pingree in the first-ever Thanksgiving matchup between the two teams, but in the end the Crusaders prevailed, 36-27. Quarterback Nick Bona rushed for 150 yards, but everyone on the Fenwick side got into the act.

Another heartbreaker took place up at Cronin Stadium in Danvers, as Xaverian scored in the final minute of play to defeat St. John’s Prep, 28-22. St. John’s took a 16-6 lead in the first half as the Super Bowl-bound Hawks suffered three major injuries. But as The Prep was marching toward a score that could have put the game away, Xaverian picked off a Michael Geaslen pass and turned it into a touchdown that made the score 16-13.

Xaverian went ahead, 20-16, but St. John’s retook the lead with under two minutes left. However, Xaverian scored with about 50 seconds to go. and St. John’s couldn’t answer.

Wednesday night, St. Mary’s defeated Lynn Tech, 52-8, for the fourth straight win by the Spartans over the Tigers. St. Mary’s jumped out to a big first-half lead and coasted for the win.

Balloons steal show at NYC parade after wind fears

NEW YORK — Revelers at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade gave thanks for the giant balloons that flew above the city streets Thursday after a blustery storm accompanied by high winds nearly grounded them for only the second time in the parade’s 87-year history.

“The balloons are the best part,” 11-year-old Matthew Ragbe said as he watched them leave their launch pads on 77th Street and turn the corner to face the crowds of parade-goers, many of whom waited hours to secure a good viewing spot.

Included in this year’s parade was the University of Massachusetts marching band, which included Lynn English High School Graduate Michael Angelli.

Tens of thousands of people lining the New York parade route were not disheartened by freezing temperatures or the drama over whether Spider-Man, Julius, Snoopy and SpongeBob SquarePants would make their scheduled appearances along with a dozen other puffed-up sky-bound creatures.

“We thought they’d find a way to pull it off,” said parade-goer John Mispagel, of San Jose, Calif. “It’s really fun seeing so many people having such a great time.”

Dozens of balloon handlers kept a tight grip on their inflated characters, keeping them close to the ground to fight winds that reached the mid-20 mph range.

Caution was necessary to prevent a recurrence of the kind of high-wind accident that crashed a Cat in the Hat balloon into a light pole in 1997, seriously injuring a spectator. Balloons were only grounded once in the parade’s history, with bad weather to blame in 1971.

English beats Classical in centennial game for the ages

LYNN — A historic game came down to a breathtaking ending Thursday at Manning Field as English and Classical played a game befitting the series’ 100th anniversary.

The Bulldogs got a last-minute pass from quarterback Lucas Harris to wideout Chris Lessard to overtake the Rams, 13-12. It was the Bulldogs’ fourth straight win over the Rams on Thanksgiving.

Harris and Lessard had connected earlier in the drive, with the receiver stretching out to grab a 31-yard completion.

After two incompletions and a sack, Harris found Lessard again from the Classical 28 for the touchdown pass. For good measure, Lessard added the extra point that provided the winning margin.

“I’m flabbergasted with how well both teams played,” said English coach Peter Holey. “The people who braved the cold weather saw a classic.”

IN OTHER GAMES:

Revere 13, Winthrop 7

North Reading 42, Lynnfield 35.

Saugus 35, Peabody 24

Marblehead 51, Swampscott 13

Bishop Fenwick 36, Pingree 27

Xaverian 28, St. John’s Prep 22

On Wednesday night it was St. Mary’s 52, Lynn Tech 8.

The Daily Item’s in-depth coverage of Thanksgiving football will appear in Friday’s print edition and on Itemlive.com.

 

What are you thankful for?

LYNN — This Thanksgiving, as we sit down with our families to feast, we’re often asked to describe what or who it is in our lives that we are thankful for. 

And there are those of us out there who have fallen upon tough times, but in those situations it’s good to take stock of what you do have and hold it tight.

So, dear readers, tell us in the comments below or tweet at us with the hashtag #LynnThankful — What are you thankful for?

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Rain, snow hit East during the Thanksgiving rush

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A wet and blustery storm along the East Coast made driving hazardous and tangled up hundreds of flights Wednesday but didn’t cause the all-out gridlock many Thanksgiving travelers had feared.

Many travelers marveled at how orderly and anxiety-free the airports were during what is typically one of the busiest days of the year.

One big question lingered in New York: Will high winds ground Snoopy and the other giant cartoon-character balloons at the Macy’s parade on Thanksgiving Day?

The storm for the most part unleashed wind-driven rain along the Northeast’s heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor from Richmond, Va., to the tip of Maine.

Emerging from the weather gantlet was Katie Fleisher, who made it by car from Portsmouth, N.H., through rain and fog to Boston’s Logan Airport with little trouble and discovered to her amazement that the panicked, cranky crowds she expected were nonexistent.

“We thought it would be busier here. But there’ve been no lines, and it has been really quiet all morning,” said Fleisher, whose plan was to fly to Pittsburgh.

“Our flight is still on time, but we are checking the app every couple minutes,” she said. “We are nervous, as we are traveling with two 1-year-olds, and any extra time on a plane would be horrible.”

The storm was expected to drop around 6 inches of snow in parts of West Virginia and western Pennsylvania and up to a foot in a pocket of upstate New York.

Damaging winds gusting up to 60 mph were expected to rip through Boston and other coastal areas.

Those winds could prevent the giant balloons from taking flight this year at the Macy’s parade. Safety rules that specify wind speeds were enacted in New York after a spectator was killed in 1997 in an accident involving an out-of-control balloon.

Flight cancellations piled up at East Coast hubs. By midday Wednesday, around 250 flights had been canceled, according to the tracking website FlightAware.com.

But that was a tiny fraction of the nearly 32,000 flights that were scheduled to, from or within the U.S. on Wednesday, the site said. And the weather in many places was improving as the day wore on.

Most of the cancellations involved Newark, N.J., Philadelphia and New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

The longest delays affected Philadelphia-bound flights, which were being held at their points of origin for an average of about two hours because of the weather, according to the website.

The Philadelphia area was under a flood watch, with 2 to 3 inches of rain forecast before falling temperatures turn precipitation to snow.

Roads there were snarled. A deadly multivehicle crash that authorities said happened when a car hit standing water and spun out of control closed the westbound lanes of the Schuylkill Expressway for a while, and the eastbound lanes were shut down for several hours because of flooding.

The storm, which developed in the West over the weekend, has been blamed for at least 11 deaths, five of them in Texas.

But as it moved east, it wasn’t as bad as feared.

“This is a fairly typical storm for this time of year,” said Chris Vaccaro of the National Weather Service. “Obviously, it’s ill-timed because you have a lot of rain and snowfall in areas where people are trying to move around town or fly or drive out of town. … But fortunately, we’re at this point going to start seeing a steady improvement in conditions across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.”

More than 43 million people are expected to travel over the long holiday weekend, according to AAA. About 39 million of those will be on the roads, while more than 3 million people are expected to fly.

Travelers had some things to be thankful for this year.

The Federal Aviation Administration last month lifted restrictions on most personal electronic devices during takeoffs and landings, and some airlines, including American, have already begun allowing passengers to stay powered up from gate to gate.

And on the ground, gas prices dipped to an average of $3.29 a gallon.

Holiday travelers dealing with rain, wind in Mass.

BOSTON — Heavy rains have fallen and strong winds are being felt throughout Massachusetts, but so far the weather does not appear to be causing widespread disruptions in holiday travel plans.

The National Weather Service has warned of minor flooding in poor drainage areas around the state, and a high wind warning is up for portions of the coast, with gusts of up to 60 mph possible in some areas.

Most flights were leaving Logan International Airport according to the Massachusetts Port Authority, but there have been some cancellations. Cape Air, for example, was forced to cancel several flights on Wednesday to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Utility companies National Grid and NStar were reporting outages affecting a combined total of about 6,400 customers as of 11 a.m.

Student reaches ‘Nirvana of marching band world’

LYNN — Switching high schools put Michael Angelli on the path that has taken him from Goodridge Street and Lynn English High School to the Avenue of the Americas and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

“It’s really the Nirvana of the marching band world,” he said from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst campus, where the Lynn native is a junior.

The UMass Minuteman Marching Band has been chosen to participate in the Macy’s Day parade. Angelli said it is one of 11 college or high school bands across the country to be chosen. He called the invitation and honor and the pinnacle of a world that he came to relatively late.

Angelli spent his life in Catholic schools, when, following his freshman year at St. Mary’s, he “begrudgingly” transferred to Lynn English High School. There he met a couple of musicians and before long he was hitting away on a set of drums in the band room. He said that was when Fine Arts Director Joseph Picano said Angelli was welcome to use the drums but only if he joined the band.

“I said it sounded fantastic,” Angelli said. “I didn’t know that in the next three weeks ”¦ what had started out as a one-night-a-week exploration would turn into an all-consuming several nights a week, and I really didn’t know that it would become my passion.”

Angelli said he quickly fell in love with the drums and marching band to the point that much of everything else fell by the wayside. When it came time to choose a college, picking one with a good marching band was important, he said.

He said he’d seen the UMass band perform during a high school competition and couldn’t get over the size and scope of the outfit.

“I’d never seen a band that size,” he said. “A high school band is large at about 100 kids. UMass was about 400 pieces. It absolutely blew me away, just the way it filled up a field.”

The future high school Latin teacher said it all fell into place when he discovered the Amherst school also had a strong classics department.

He laughs when he talks about walking into the Amherst band camp for the first time.

“I didn’t realize you had to audition,” he said. “I just thought ‘I’m in way over my head.’”

Then he realized the guy in charge, Thom Hannum, was the same one whose name was on his drum sticks and he really freaked out, he said.

“Thom pulled me aside, he said, ‘you smile a lot, I like that. How about you stick around?’” Angelli said. “And that was it.”

Two years later Angelli is a section leader in what they call the pit, the grouping of percussion instruments that sit on the sidelines that includes the xylophone, glockenspiel and “the other instruments you can’t march with.” He is comfortable in his role and his ability, and very aware of how far he’s come in such a relatively short time.

And he credits it all to Picano.

“It all goes back to the Lynn marching band,” he said. “That’s where it started.”

Picano called Angelli an exceptional kid with a stellar commitment to music and a real natural ability.

“I was surprised he picked it up so quickly because he started so late, but if you saw his dedication, it’s no surprise at all,” Picano said.

Angelli and his Amherst musical family left for New York Tuesday morning. He said sound check begins Thursday at about 4 a.m. It will be a long day “but obviously a great one,” he said.

When asked how he plans to top this adventure during his senior year Angelli laughed and said he will likely relive this moment, the glory days.

“Any performance is so unique and so its own, but this time the performance will be seen by so many more people because of TV,” he said. “It’s unique and out of the ordinary.”

His dream is to one day teach Latin by day and marching band by night, but, whatever his future holds, Angelli said it will definitely include music.

“I know music will be a part of what I do till the day I die because I’m so passionate about it,” he said. “And again, if I hadn’t transferred to Lynn English, I never would have found it.”

Lynn Thanksgiving information

Tickets for Wednesday’s Lynn Tech-St. Mary’s Thanksgiving Eve football game at Manning Field (7), as well as the Thanksgiving Day game (10) between Classical and English are on sale at the Little River Inn through Thanksgiving morning.

Advance sale tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for Senior citizens and students.

Tickets purchased at the gate are $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students.

The Lynn Tech pre-game Thanksgiving Day party will be held Wednesday, 4:30-7 p.m., at the Hibernian Hall. All are invited.

Proceeds go to Lynn Tech all-sports Banquet. there will be free hors d’oeurves and a cash bar.