U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton

Kennedy plans to hire a city planner

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy speaks with The Item in her office at Lynn City Hall.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — Starting this summer, Lynn will no longer be the state’s largest municipality without a city planner.  

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy has proposed to fill the planning position that has been vacant for nearly 25 years.

“I’ve wanted to get a planner for a long, long time and now’s the right time,” she said. “A planner will update zoning citywide and determine land usage as we plot the city’s future.”

The job, which is expected to cost up to $100,000 annually, comes as a recent study by RKG Associates Inc. in Boston called on the city to improve planning, regulatory and zoning functions by creating a planning office led by a professional to institute permitting that is transparent, streamlined and fair. Other consultants have called for the establishment of a centralized planning division that would lead the city’s redevelopment efforts.

Kennedy said the impetus to create the job followed a conversation with James M. Cowdell, executive director of the Lynn Economic Development and Industrial Corp. (EDIC), the city’s development bank. The two discussed how the city once employed a grant writer that was paid for by EDIC and the city’s Department of Community Development.

“We thought maybe we could do that for the planner,” she said.

Kennedy has asked EDIC and the Community Development office to each come up with 50 percent of the salary.

Cowdell said the addition of a planner to City Hall is a positive step that he supports.

When he was hired in 1987, Cowdell said there was a full planning department. Since it disbanded in 1990, the city has  spent money on consultants to fill the void.

“The department dissolved when the planning director retired and the agency’s functions were integrated into other departments,” he said. “It makes sense to hire a planner. It will be a welcome addition to the city.”

While the job description has not been written, the new hire will be responsible to determine land use, he said.

“Our zoning ordinances are outdated and the planner will take that on as a project,” he said.

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Jason Denoncourt, economic development director for U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), praised the city for the decision.

“A planner is an essential piece of the puzzle,” he said. “It’s great they are considering it and smart planning will pay for itself.”

Gordon R. Hall, president of The Hall Co., and chairman of the Lynn Business Partnership who also serves as a director of The Daily Item, said, “This is something we’ve wanted for the city for a long time; we applaud the decision by the mayor.”

James Marsh, community development director, said he welcomes the chance to add to his team and fill the planning role in-house.

“Whether it’s assisting us in laying out public space around a new development, participating in design review or working on transportation concepts, we will lean on a city planner from day one.”


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

Seminar explains success for small business

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

By THOMAS GRILLO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dose of history at House of the Seven Gables


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

Small businesses given coaching, network help

By THOMAS GRILLO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New member of glam squad in Swampscott


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

MLK legacy reflected in Day of Service

PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) talks to Josh Blas, a junior at Classical High School at Washington Street Baptist Church in Lynn.

By GAYLA CAWLEY

LYNN Several hundred volunteers in Lynn answered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s challenge. He once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) was among the volunteers who gathered at the Washington Street Baptist Church on Monday for the sixth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, organized by the Lynn Community Association.

Service projects included making paracord bracelets for the military, Valentine’s Day cards for senior citizens, toiletry bags for the homeless, MLK bookmarks for the Lynn Public Library, serving lunch and dinner at My Brother’s Table, and a basketball clinic at the Lynn YMCA, according to Joshua Goodwin, president of Lynn Community Association.

Moulton told a crowded room of volunteers that he joined the U.S. Marine Corps because he felt he hadn’t done much to give back, as he hadn’t been a regular participant in community service. When he went into the Marines, which included serving during the Iraq War, he said he saw what it meant to make a difference in people’s lives. The impact stayed with him after he left the armed forces. He didn’t miss the war, but he missed the public service.

“That’s why I got into politics, into another job of public service,” he said. “And that’s why I remind my team all the time to never forget that we are here to be public servants for all of you. And so that’s why it’s an honor for me to be with you here today and to try to live up to that other thing Martin Luther King said, which is that everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”

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Wander Deoleo, 19, a volunteer from The Food Project, spoke to the room about King’s legacy. He said King is known as a leader of the civil rights movement, but he did so much more than that.

“He spoke about socioeconomic inequities, the Vietnam War and racial injustices in America,” Deoleo said. “He followed Gandhi’s beliefs and also spread his beliefs about love, peace and acceptance. He created speeches that promoted change in society without violence. He gave back to the community and without a doubt, he fought for what was right.”

Cyriah Thomas, 16, a volunteer with The Food Project, said the day was about showing appreciation for King.

“He was a man who spoke great truths about the brutal world we still happen to live in today,” Thomas said. “Through his deep and heartfelt messages, he helped convey the belief that there is hope for a brighter tomorrow. Through the work that all of you guys are doing today, you guys are helping spread that message, even if it’s working with One Team, One Dream at the Y, working at My Brother’s Table, making paracord bracelets or anything else that we have planned here today.

“Dr. King once said we may all have come from different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now, which shows that all of us come from different walks of life, but today, we all decided to emerge together to work towards the same end goal, which is to ultimately keep moving forward, making progress and living out Dr. King’s legacy,” she continued.

Korintha Tongo, 18, a student at Lynn Classical High School, said her table was packaging wildflowers. She wanted to get involved because “Martin Luther King Day is basically giving back to the community so I wanted to follow in his footsteps.”

Yeatoe Bonwin, 8, of Lynn, said she was looking forward to helping people.

Allie Armour, 23, works for the North Shore AmeriCorps Program, and was making valentines. She said she feels community service is important.

“I’ve been part of the Lynn community for six months or so and it’s a good opportunity to give back,” Armour said.

Chrisneiris DiFo, 16, of Lynn, was making paracord survival bracelets. She said giving back is what the troops do, and the day of service gives her a chance to do so as well.

Christine Stowe, of Lynn, was creating educational booklets on King. She said the purpose was to distribute the packets to kids, which centered around his life and movement. She said her church, the International Church of Christ, does the service every year. But she doesn’t think giving back should be confined to special occasions.

“I think it’s important to serve every day,” she said.


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

Lynn to salute MLK with service and song

By GAYLA CAWLEY

LYNN Three Lynn events are planned Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day to celebrate the civil rights leader and his principles.

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass) will participate in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at the Washington Street Baptist Church in Lynn. A continental breakfast for volunteers will be held at 9:30 a.m., followed by the service at 10 a.m.

Each year, volunteers across the country answer King’s question of “what are you doing for others,” by coming together on MLK Day to serve. Volunteers will organize, create and clean for local nonprofits, according to a description of the event.

Elsewhere, the Community Minority Cultural Center (CMCC) will be holding its 31st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at The Porthole Restaurant from 8-11 a.m. Tickets for adults are $40 and $20 for children under 12. A table costs $400.

“The program will feature performances from different ethnic groups representing the rainbow of culture of the city of Lynn,” the CMCC board of directors said in a statement. “This year, we are honored to have Louis Elisa, the former president of the Boston branch NAACP, as the keynote speaker.”

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The Lynn YMCA is also holding an MLK Day celebration, “One Dream, One Team” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“This year’s theme of “One Dream, One Team” celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and sports influences that paved the platform for today’s athletes through the Y’s mission focus of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility,” Wanntha Sim Chanhdymany, Lynn YMCA director of grants and volunteerism, said in an email.

Chanhdymany said the event is free to the community. Youth will learn new sports, participate in a social responsibility activity and compete in an obstacle course, she added.


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

What a year it was

ITEM FILE PHOTO
2016 was an eventful year across the North Shore.

By Thor Jourgensen

It was the year a ferry got sunk in Lynn, a dinosaur was saved in Saugus, a laughing man burned his Swampscott home, Revere rejected slot machines and Peabody celebrated its centennial.

With 2016 hours away from ending, North Shore residents and residents in neighboring communities can look back on a year that made people smile, cry, yell and hope for what 2017 will bring.

Vote for your favorite story of 2016

Donald Trump’s climb to the presidency dominated headlines this year, but Lynn’s police chief also made political news as a first-time candidate by being elected Essex County Sheriff. Kevin Coppinger will be sworn in at Lynn City Hall on Jan. 4.

His election came in a year that also saw Lynn City Council President Daniel Cahill elected East Lynn state representative and Thomas Walsh return to the state Legislature as Peabody’s representative.

Saugus’ Kane’s Donuts got into a fight this year with Lincoln Avenue neighborhood homeowners over truck deliveries. But the year ended on an up note with Kane’s announcing plans for a second Saugus location on Route 1 on the same site where developers have vowed to keep Route 1’s iconic orange dinosaur.

Saugus celebrated iconic landmarks in 2016 and Lynn lost two of the city’s longtime businesses. Christie’s closed its takeout eatery next to Nahant Rotary, where it had operated for 103 years, and Lucky Strike bowling alley on Buffum Street closed after 79 years in business.

The city also lost ferry service from Blossom Street extension to Boston with a Baker administration decision not to fund water transportation from Lynn for a third year of operation. The decision outraged Lynn legislators and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who earlier in the year announced $4.5 million in federal money available to buy the city its own ferry.

Lynn and Peabody opened new middle schools in 2016 with Lynn students starting classes in Marshall Middle School following spring break and Peabody’s Higgins Middle School opening in September.

Lynn’s bid to build more middle schools to absorb a tidal wave of students in their early teens turned controversial with a plan to site one of the schools on Parkland Avenue. A small group of neighbors and a homeowner potentially facing eminent domain protested the project as city officials sought approval for the middle school plans.

Swampscott pressed forward with plans to convert the Machon School to senior housing and build homes on the Greenwood Avenue former middle school site. Two homes in the town were gutted by a July 3 fire and a Linden Avenue blaze was blamed on the homeowner who, according to a police report, laughed as he watched his ex-wife’s home burn. Authorities charged the man with arson.

Lynn police responded this year to three incidents ending in officer-involved fatal shootings, including a man police said try to carjack a woman in January and a gun-wielding robbery suspect in October. A man who attempted to rob a Lynnway gas station on Nov. 29 was shot by police who were told the suspect was armed.

City councilors focused their attention on the Lynnway during discussions this year about siting medical marijuana dispensaries. Passage of the state referendum legalizing marijuana loomed over the dispensary debate and several firms interested in selling medical marijuana locally have submitted proposals to the city.

Developers unveiled plans for an apartment complex on the Lynnway’s northern end in 2016 even as developers presented Saugus officials with plans for an extended-stay hotel and a combined residential, hotel and commercial development.

Lynn residents tempered their outlooks on potential new Lynnway development with anger over Partner HealthCare’s plans to close Union Hospital and the Lynnway’s garish appearance. City officials said there is little that can be done to clear away the forest of signs fighting for drivers’ attention along the road until new development changes the commercial Lynnway’s character.

Sports gave Lynn residents reasons to be happy in 2016. The stunning end to the English-Classical Thanksgiving game briefly spread Ram running back Marcus Rivera’s name nationwide, including an interview with ESPN. The Lynn Babe Ruth 15s headed to North Dakota with visions of winning the Babe Ruth World Series. They fell short but were embraced upon their return by family and friends.

St. Mary’s enjoyed a banner year with a state championship boys basketball team. The boys hockey team made it to the state final at TD Garden and the football team went to the Division 3A Super Bowl at Gillette.

Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo opposed a proposal to convert a corner of the city into a slots gambling complex. Residents defeated a referendum on the proposal and a similar statewide referendum met with defeat.

In Peabody, residents capped off renovations to the city’s center with a centennial celebration that continues into next week. Nahant residents remembered how the town came together to launch the home-made vessel “Valiant” while Lynnfield and Marblehead residents discussed plans to build a new library and continue the Gerry School’s more-than-century-long service to the town.


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

Peter Frates meeting the ALS challenge

PHOTO BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Peter Frates, left, a former captain of both the St. John’s Prep and Boston College baseball teams, is seen as the inspiration behind the 2014 Ice-Bucket Challenge.

By STEVE KRAUSE

BEVERLY — Nancy Frates says that March 13, 2012, was the lowest day in her life.

That’s when the news came that her son, Peter, had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease that causes muscle weakness, paralysis and, ultimately, respiratory failure; and for which there is no cure.

But, as Boston College athletic director Brad Bates said Tuesday at the Frates home in Beverly, “when you are handed the most horrific circumstances and you see that as an opportunity, you are an inspiration.”

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) agrees. So much so that it named Frates that 2017 NCAA Inspiration Award recipient. Frates’ condition made traveling to Nashville, Tenn., next month for the award ceremony impossible, so NCAA president Dr. Mark Emmert and NCAA honors committee chair Dr. Michael Benson flew to Beverly Tuesday to personally present Frates with the award.

“Since (March 13, 2012), our lives have been a journey like nothing imaginable,” Nancy Frates said. “Today is one of the best days.”

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Frates, a former captain of both the St. John’s Prep and BC baseball teams, is seen as the inspiration behind the 2014 Ice-Bucket Challenge, where volunteers were doused with ice-cold water while donating money for ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) research.

“This is a time in our country when people are looking for inspiration,” said U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass), who was among those present Tuesday. “Not only is Peter an inspiration, but we’ve made progress (in ALS research) we wouldn’t have made without the money Peter raised.”

Frates was nominated by BC for the award. It is presented to a person connected with intercollegiate athletics who, when confronted with a life-altering situation “used perseverance, dedication and determination to overcome the event and most importantly, now serves as a role model to give hope and inspiration to others in similar situations,” according to the official definition on the NCAA’s website.

“This year, the Inspiration Award had to go to Peter,” said Benson, whose committee is tasked with choosing the recipient.

“You have inspired people all around the world.”

Bates reinforced that message.

“When the Chancellor Germany (Angela Merkel) pours a bucket of water over her head, you know you’ve made an international impact,” Bates said.

“What do you have to do to become someone who inspires people all over the world?” Bates asked. “When I thought about it, I asked myself how many people do I know who fit that description. The answer is one. Peter.”

Said Emmert, “this cause is monumental.

“This is just amazing,” Emmert said, alluding to the fact the Frates household was filled with guests. “The fact that you have touched all of these lives so much that they wanted to be here for this moment is pretty impressive. This is an incredible crowd. It also speaks to what this award is about. The NCAA gives an inspiration award every year to someone in athletics, typically a former student-athlete, who has done something that has inspired people to go above and beyond themselves and this room says everything that needs to be said. Pete, you obviously have an extraordinary family, a beautiful daughter, a wonderful wife and a great support system. What you have been able to do to inspire so many people to support this cause is monumental. It is, in fact, inspirational. We couldn’t be more proud to come here and present you and your family with this award.”

“We are beyond grateful to the NCAA,” Nancy Frates said. “I was a BC kid in the 1970s, and the NCAA was this big thing in the sky. Now, this means everything to our family.”

Also present Tuesday were members of the current Boston College baseball team, along with coach Mike Gambino.

“Our leadership comes from Pete,” said Gambino. “You see it in the way the guys rally around him. When your cause is just, people will follow.

“Keep raising money,” Gambino said. “Keep raising awareness. It is not acceptable that this disease has not been cured.”

Julie Frates, Pete’s wife, accepted the award on his behalf. He was also joined by daughter Lucy (2), parents John and Nancy, sister Jen, nieces Freya and Addie and brother Andrew.

Ground broken for Gateway North construction

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
From left, Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy; Tom O’Malley; James Cowdell, executive director of the Lynn Economic and Industrial Corporation; Charles Gaeta, executive director of Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development; state Rep. Daniel Cahill; state Sen. Thomas M. McGee; and state Rep. Brendan Crighton help break ground at the Gateway North housing project on Washington Street in Lynn Tuesday.

By THOR JOURGENSEN

LYNN — Construction workers are transforming a muddy lot into a 71-apartment built to bring a new look and new residents to Washington Street near North Shore Community College and the Lynnway.

Local officials dipped shovels into a dirt pile at 700 Washington St. Tuesday to ceremoniously break ground on the start of construction of Gateway North, a building scheduled to be occupied by June, 2018.

Nine years in the planning, the Gateway North project is proof, that “Lynn is on its way,” said Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development (LHAND) Executive Director Charles Gaeta.

Gaeta said LHAND worked with state and federal agencies to map out the $31 million project intended to enhance Sagamore Hill, the neighborhood of two- and three-family residences and apartment buildings oriented around Washington, Newhall and Sagamore streets.

Once built, the five-story project’s exterior design and landscaping will seek to blend Gateway North into the surrounding neighborhood.

“This is a connector that is going to link Sagamore Hill, downtown and the (North Shore) community college campus,” Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy told 60 people attending Tuesday’s groundbreaking.

Gateway project gets a HAND

State Sen. Thomas M. McGee said Gateway North will be the latest addition to a corner of Lynn that has seen transformation since fire gutted Broad Street mill buildings in 1981. The community college’s Lynn campus, named for McGee’s late father, former Massachusetts House of Representatives Speaker Thomas W. McGee, rose from the fire’s ashes. Former brick mill buildings on Broad and Washington streets were converted to housing.

Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency Executive Director Timothy Sullivan said Gateway is a pioneering example of workforce housing built for future residents with a wide range of incomes.

LHAND Director of Planning and Development Peggy Phelps said rents in Gateway will range from $900 to $2,100 a month with units classified under tenant income classifications including market-rate and “workforce.”

Kennedy, McGee and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton credited Gaeta and LHAND with staying true to a vision of Gateway as a residence providing homes for tenants with a variety of incomes and located on a street that has not seen development in years. Gaeta said the project occupies a special place in his heart.

“It’s what Lynn is made of: Hard-working people looking for a safe place to live,” he said.


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

Making a federal case in Peabody

By THOMAS GRILLO

PEABODY— Help is on the way for North Shore entrepreneurs seeking cash to start a business, first-time homebuyers looking for a low-cost mortgage and the unemployed seeking job training.

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) will host an Economic Development Federal Resource Forum at Peabody City Hall today. The event will feature senior staff from 13 federal agencies.

“Our mission is to connect constituents with federal resources,” said Jason Denoncourt, economic development director for Moulton and event organizer. “The federal government has lots of resources, but they lack a marketing budget, or people who promote their programs, so we are trying to be a conduit.”

The amount of cash available from these agencies is considerable, Denoncourt said.

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The public will have the opportunity to talk with federal officials who have access to billions of dollars that support thousands of federal programs.

People can learn about federal resources for small business assistance, transportation, housing, technological innovation and more.

“The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program alone has $2 billion worth of grants,” said Denoncourt. The agency’s mission is to encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by socially and economically disadvantaged persons.

While the timing may seem odd given the change in administration set for next month, Moulton said the federal staff set to be at the event are career professionals who transcend the occupant of the White House.

“When we organized this event, it looked like Hillary Clinton would be president,” he said. “But these people will be around next year.”

In addition to helping the public, Moulton will have a private meeting with the mayors of Lynn, Peabody, Gloucester, Newburyport, Salem, Beverly and Amesbury and introduce them to the federal staff who can help bring money to their communities.

Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy said she welcomes the chance to learn about more resources for the city.

“I appreciate the opportunity to share ideas and priorities with our partners at the federal level,” Kennedy said in a statement. “Congressman Moulton and his staff have shown a desire to assist the communities in the district in accessing resources that are available to us. This type of direct dialogue can go a long way in making that possible.”

Peabody Mayor Edward  Bettencourt Jr. said the forum is a chance for him to meet with federal officials on issues that affect Peabody.

“I am interested in talking with the Small Business Administration because our focus has been on improving the downtown and attracting new businesses,” he said. “We are always looking for additional ways to take advantage of the resources these agencies offer.”

The federal agencies who will be on hand include the Department of Energy, Economic Development Administration, Department of Labor, Department of Agriculture, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Small Business Administration/SBIR, Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Human Services, Commercial Service, Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration and the Department of Commerce.


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

Moulton endorses Pelosi challenger

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
U.S. Rep Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) is seen in a file photo.

U.S. Rep Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) endorsed Nancy Pelosi challenger U.S. Rep Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) for Democratic Leader, and released a statement Tuesday. The statement, in part, reads:

“The American people sent a very clear message on Nov. 8 that the status quo is not working. And now, the Democratic Party must respond. To take on the new challenges posed by President-elect Donald Trump, we Democrats in the House of Representatives must put ourselves in the best possible position to take back the majority in 2018.

“Having reviewed the strategy and vision of our candidates for Democratic Leader, I am proud to announce my support for Tim Ryan of Ohio. Tim represents a new generation of leaders who are ready to make real change, rather than renew the status quo, and the future of our party demands that kind of leadership now more than ever.

“I am quite new to politics, but I spent several years as a platoon commander in the Marines where my job description was simple: ‘You are responsible for everything your platoon does or fails to do.’

“We need that same ethic of responsibility in Congress, and I believe Tim is ready to provide it. The fresh, inclusive, and accountable leadership Tim offers will put us in the best position to fight for working families and regain the trust of the American people.”

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City granted $1.2M for Lynnway

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Lynn City Council President Daniel Cahill addresses members of the Lynn Business Partnership at Eastern Bank headquarters on Monday. Jay Ash, state Housing and Economic Development secretary, left, and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton listen in.

By Thor Jourgensen

LYNN — The state’s development chief called $1.2 million in infrastructure improvements planned for a Lynnway residential development the latest example of how a local, state and federal partnership are spurring the city’s economic revitalization.

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash told the nearly 60 attendees at the Lynn Business Partnership’s meeting Monday that the MassWorks grant will pay for water and sewer pipe work to support the 348-apartment project.

It will also pay to upgrade a traffic signal at Market Street and the Lynnway next to the development site to improve traffic flow and provide safe entrances and exits from the site.

Ash said the Lynnway development site improvement was one of “the most promising projects” among 114 MassWorks funding applications.

A North Andover developer plans to start construction on the former car dealership site next summer with the infrastructure work done in the spring.

Ash and other speakers Monday pointed to the Lynnway development, the Market Basket store construction on Federal Street and downtown development as achievements credited to the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD) team formed in late November 2015.

“As a result of the work the LEAD team has done, the renaissance of Lynn has not only begun; it is really healthy,” Ash said.

A $2.5 million MassWorks grant is paying for street and sidewalk work and other improvements around the Market Basket site. The store is scheduled to open in late summer 2017.

LEAD formed to ignite Lynn’s economic revitalization by making sure local, state and federal initiatives are focused in the same direction.

The team’s work and a Sept. 20 city tour for prospective developers has gone a long way to spur interest in the city, said Joseph Mulligan, a MassDevelopment transformative development initiative fellow working in Lynn.

“Lynn is now positioned on their radar screen as a place of opportunity,” Mulligan said.

Economic Development & Industrial Corporation (Lynn/EDIC) Executive Director James Cowdell said the transformation of the former 23 Central Ave. bank and office building into 48 market-rate apartment demonstrates the progress LEAD has made.

“We can reflect on the last year’s worth of accomplishments and look into a very bright future,” he said.

City zoning changes implemented in 2003 created a streamlined “by right” provision to spur the development of downtown building. The Central Avenue project is slated to be completed by next May.

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy said development on another downtown site — the former Anthony’s Hawthorne restaurant on Oxford Street — won’t start until contaminants underneath the former Whyte’s Laundry site a block away on Willow Street are cleaned up.

“First things first,” Kennedy said Monday.

City Council President Dan Cahill said increased development must be coupled with efforts to monitor the implications of rising rents locally. State Sen. Thomas M. McGee said improving economic fortunes shines a spotlight on city and regional transportation shortcomings.

An advocate for extending Blue Line mass transit service to Lynn, McGee on Monday said he is frustrated the extension is not a key element in state regional transportation planning.

“We’re not going to accept a lack of transportation in our region anymore,” McGee said.

He joined U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton Monday in criticizing the state’s decision in June to stop funding a Lynn-to-Boston ferry service. McGee called the ferry part of the solution for improving the regional economy by improving transportation

“Businesses are starting to look at gridlock and say, ‘What can be done?’ I disagree with the administration’s lack of vision on this,” he said.


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

You can’t get there from here

ITEM PHOTO BY JIM WILSON
Despite showing promise, the ferry out of Lynn has not received funding for the future from the Baker Administration. It has exacerbated an already-difficult commute into Boston for North Shore residents.

By THOMAS GRILLO

First of a four-part series
ALSO:
 You can’t get there from here: Part 2
You can’t get there from here: Part 3
You can’t get there from here: Part 4

LYNN — Seduced and abandoned.

That’s how at least one Lynn resident feels about buying a waterfront condominium with the promise of a convenient and scenic ferry ride to his office in the Hub.

Priced-out of Boston’s South End neighborhood where the median cost for a home is nearly $1 million, Kelly Boling bought a condo on Lynn Shore Drive for less than $175,000. In addition to sweeping views from Nahant Bay to the Blue Hills, his one-bedroom unit offered an added benefit: the nearby Blossom Street Extension pier where the Lynn ferry operated for the past two years.

I liked Lynn because real estate was cheaper, there was the  prospect of living on the ocean and hiking the Lynn Woods appealed to me,” he said.

The ferry was a bonus, he said, just minutes from his home.

But not long after he closed the deal on the condo in June, the Baker administration canceled the ferry. As a result, the 48-year-old project manager for a national nonprofit had to find another way to his office in the Financial District.

Boling’s frustration is mirrored by many North Shore commuters trying to get into Boston daily on clogged roadways and packed trains and buses.

For Boling, selecting another transportation mode meant choosing between an MBTA bus trip, commuter rail, a drive or a bus ride to Wonderland for a trip on the Blue Line, or driving into Boston. Each option is considerably longer and more stressful than a 35-minute boat ride.

Sheila Ercolini, a Point of Pines Revere resident, who lives five minutes from Lynn’s ferry dock, is one of those frustrated commuters who is having trouble getting there from here. She is still smarting from the boat’s cancellation. Now, her husband drops the executive assistant off at the Winthrop ferry, 20 minutes from her home for the trip into Boston.

“I had this gorgeous, convenient ride, it was the perfect commute,” she said.  “Then it was cancelled without any thoughtful effort to build ridership and get it into a financially stable position. It broke my heart.”

Andrew Bettinelli is another former Lynn ferry passenger whose commute is a lot longer. It sometimes can take up to nearly two hours to reach his office on Beacon Hill.

Instead of a short drive from his Marblehead home to the ferry on the Lynnway, he now drives to Revere’s Wonderland for the rest of the trip into the city.

“I’ve gone from a beautiful scenic commute to traveling in a traffic jam,” said the 32-year-old legislative aide.

State Sen. Thomas M. McGee (D-Lynn) and Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn) joined U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton to blast Baker, a Swampscott resident, for being short-sighted and failing North Shore commuters.

They argued that by denying the cash for the ferry, the governor abandoned one of the top priorities for the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD) group, the high-powered team that in addition to Moulton includes  Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, James Cowdell of Lynn’s Economic Development & Industrial Corp., Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and others who can cut through the bureaucracy to jump-start development.

The Baker administration put some of the blame on Lynn. The premise of the ferry service, they argued, was that the first year would be a pilot and subject to the city crafting a marketing, ridership and outreach plan. But that was never done, they insist.

Since then, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has offered to pay for a study to explore ways for Lynn to make the ferry viable. But for now, the ferry’s future is uncertain.

Brett Laker, a Swampscott resident who works for an insurance company in the Back Bay, tells a slightly different ferry story. When he took the boat to Boston for two years, his door-to-door trip got him at his desk within 75 minutes, about 15 minutes longer than the ride on the commuter rail. But he still chose to ride the ferry.

“If the commuter rail is running on time, I can get to work in under an hour,” he said. “But it routinely takes much longer. There are fewer trains, sometimes they’re cancelled, they’re packed and it can sometimes take two hours to get to work. The ferry was great, you’re on the water, people are in better moods, everyone is chatting, there’s coffee and the staff is great because it’s their job to be nice to people, unlike the commuter rail. It was a completely different experience. It sometimes took me longer to get to work, but it was worth it.”

The end of the ferry’s two-year experiment came in June, when the state denied Lynn’s request for about $700,000 in operating expenses for the ferry to cruise for a third summer.

Baker later told The Item that the ferry failed to attract enough riders in its first two summers of operation. The governor’s decision to reject funds for the ferry service came on the heels of a $4.5-million federal grant for a new 149-passenger ferry with help from Moulton.

One thing that is certain, the lack of ferry service, even temporarily, is sure to chill sales of waterfront and downtown condominiums, according to brokers.

“Not having ferry service this year is serious because it hurts efforts to enhance the downtown and attract buyers,” said  Annemarie Jonah, of Annmarie Jonah Realtors in Lynn. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s a bad decision that hurts us in Lynn and hurts everyone.”

For Boling, the high prices in Boston led to a nice surprise about Lynn, and not just lower prices.

“People told me I’m not supposed to like Lynn,” he said. “But it has great architecture and it’s certainly more culturally interesting than Boston.”


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

The community salutes its veterans

ITEM PHOTO BY JIM WILSON
The City of Lynn World War Memorial, located on a hill looking over the veterans graves at Pine Grove Cemetary. The inscription on the plaque is ‘To the memory of all who served our country in the world war.’ The memorial was erected by the City of Lynn in 1937.

Lynn and neighboring communities salute veterans today with a variety of ceremonies and commemorations.

The Lynn Veterans Day breakfast will be held in City Hall’s foyer from 9:30-10:30 a.m. followed by an 11 a.m. ceremony in Veterans Memorial Auditorium in City Hall. The morning will feature music, a drill team display by the English High School Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps and remarks by Afghan war veteran Tiffany Leaver.

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, a Marine Corps veteran, helps lead a Veterans Day town hall discussion in Marblehead’s Abbot Hall at 11 a.m. In Peabody, the annual City Hall Veterans Day breakfast begins at 8:30 a.m.

Lynnfield salutes veterans on Lynnfield Common at 11 a.m. with a roughly 30 minute-long ceremony.

Swampscott’s annual Veterans Day ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. sharp at Thomson Circle on Monument Avenue. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be moved into the nearby First Church Congregational fellowship hall. Participants are invited to gather following the ceremony at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post on Pine Street.

Swampscott Unites, Respects, Embraces, a local diversity organization, shows “The White Helmets,” a film about volunteers who help citizens affected by war, in First Church on Friday at 6 p.m.

The Nahant Veterans Association and American Legion Post 215 salute town World War I veteran Mortimer Giberson Robbins during a 6 p.m. dinner at the Nahant Life Saving Station, 96 Nahant Road.

No contest: Moulton, McGee, Cahill, Crighton, and Ehrlich

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
A forest of campaign signs dwarfs Beth Contino, left, Jimmy Dailey, and Riley Kreamer Tuesday morning at PondView at Briarcliff Lodge in Lynn.

By THOR JOURGENSEN

LYNN — Candidates without opposition in Tuesday’s final election secured new terms in office, including U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton and state Sen. Thomas M. McGee.

Moulton, a Democrat, received 26,487 votes in Lynn with 634 write-in votes cast. McGee received 26,812 votes from the city’s 28 precincts with 425 write-ins.

Running unopposed in East Lynn, state Rep. Dan Cahill received 11,287 votes. West Lynn and Nahant state Rep. Brendan Crighton received 9,487 votes from 11 Lynn precincts. Nahant

voters gave Crighton 1,716 votes.

McGee received 1,781 votes in Nahant; 6,485 votes in Swampscott, 9,373 in Marblehead, and 4,488 in Lynnfield. Votes cast in Marblehead for Moulton totaled 10,647 with 2,305 blank votes. Swampscott voters gave Moulton 6,915 votes with 1,770 blanks. He garnered 21,241 votes in Peabody and 5,011 in Lynnfield.

State Rep. Lori Ehrlich was re-elected to represent Marblehead, Swampscott and a portion of Lynn.

It’s basic logic

Commentary by TED GRANT

If you agree with the premise that relevant experience matters for the next president, then one candidate stands out in the race for the White House.

If you agree with the premise that a sheriff is a law-enforcement officer, then one candidate stands out in the  race for Essex County sheriff.

If you agree with the premise that relevant experience matters in the State House, then one candidate stands out in the race for 9th Essex District representative.

Hillary Clinton knows what the presidency entails. She was a United States senator. She was Secretary of State. She can walk into the White House on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 ready to be president.

Kevin Coppinger, the Democrat candidate for sheriff, has 33 years’ public-safety experience and has worked as a police chief in a city of more than 90,000 since 2009. He has a proven track record working with organizations committed to putting young men on a straight and narrow path. He has implemented community-liaison programs and training initiatives he promises to bring to the Sheriff’s Department. He has overseen a law-enforcement agency that, in the region, is second only to the Sheriff’s Department in size. He has directly managed 200 law-enforcement employees and implemented $20 million annual budgets. He has negotiated union contracts, fought for additional funding sources, and successfully run the department during times of budget constraints. He knows that many of the male and female substance-addicted inmates who end up under the sheriff’s jurisdiction were arrested on local streets before being sent to Middleton jail, only to return to the street without a path forward to a law-abiding life.

Coppinger faces opposition from Mark Archer, a former State Police officer, sheriff’s employee and attorney; Kevin Leach, a retired county commissioner; and Anne Manning-Martin, a Peabody city councilor who is one of 24 deputy superintendents in the state Department of Corrections and who contrasts her experience in corrections with her other opponents’ in law enforcement by saying, “You don’t send a cop to put out a fire.”

OK, but you do send one to enforce the law.

Donald Wong is a former Saugus Town Meeting and Board of Selectmen member; a three-term Republican state legislator representing precincts in Saugus, Lynn, and Wakefield; can take credit for tax dollars he has helped secure for town school improvements, Route 1 repairs, and upgrades to the Saugus water supply. Democrat Jennifer Migliore worked 14 months as a district representative for U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton.

Be it for state rep, Essex County sheriff, or president, voters must decide if relevant experience matters.

It is The Item’s policy not to endorse candidates for public office. Instead, we view it as our responsibility to present news and relevant information – and we believe relevant experience matters. If you agree with that premise you can only reach one conclusion in each race.


(Ted Grant is the publisher of The Item.)

Saugus rep candidates in final faceoff

ITEM PHOTO BY JIM WILSON
Democrat Jennifer Migliore and Republican State Rep. Donald Wong answer questions at the Daily Item-sponsored state rep forum at Saugus Town Hall auditorium on Thursday. (Check back with the Item for a video recording of the debate).

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

SAUGUS — At Thursday night’s debate between State Rep. Donald Wong (R-Saugus) and challenger Jennifer Migliore, the candidates faced off with just days until election day.

Supporters filled the Town Hall Auditorium, Wong supporters wearing T-shirts that read “So Wong, it’s right” and Migliore fans came equipped with cow bells for a more boisterous applause. Hosted by the Item, the forum offered candidates the opportunity to sound off on everything from experience to Wheelabrator Saugus to their views on the ballot questions and presidential candidates.

“Please consider my opponent’s background,” said Wong, who added that Migliore’s includes playing softball and being a staff member for a politician. “She has no experience working with any budget other than her own. I pay taxes. I balance budgets. I have a track record of proven leadership. I have a 100 percent voting record at the State House. I cross party lines for the best results.”

But in working with U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who she said was also new to his position at the time, Migliore said she got extensive experience helping veterans and families, like those who live in the district.

“I’m 25 years old and I’m proud of the experience that I have,” Migliore said. “I started working for a freshman congressman. We solved over 800 constituent cases. I worked for a freshman and we got an incredible amount of work done. Don’t tell me that being a freshman is a negative thing. I view it as a positive thing. We need new blood, new energy, new ideas.”

The two candidates vying for the seat Wong has held since 2011 took the opportunity to hold each other’s feet to the fire with each rebuttal.

Wong, 64, served on Saugus Town Meeting and the Board of Selectmen. He has lived in Saugus for 40 years and is a third generation business owner of the Kowloon Restaurant on Route 1.

Migliore is a Saugus native. In her former job as a district representative for Moulton, she served as a liaison to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The 9th Essex District encompasses precincts 1, 2, 4-9 in Saugus; precincts 1, 2, 3 and 7 in Wakefield; and Ward 1 precincts 1 and 2 in Lynn.

When asked about what they did to try to prevent the closure of  Union Hospital, Wong said he was the first official to talk to the attorney general about saving it. He hopes to see the building used as a veterans hospital and for emergency services. Migliore said she attended Save Union Hospital meetings and worked with Sen. Thomas McGee and state representatives Dan Cahill and Brendan Crighton, all of whom have endorsed her.

Migliore said part of the reason she is running is she is not satisfied with the job Wong has done.

We need a state rep that is focused on Beacon Hill, instead of Saugus politics,” she said. “Donald Wong was heavily involved in the recall (election of the Board of Selectmen). There is clearly a divide between current Board of Selectmen and Donald Wong.”

But Wong argued that he supports all local officials in Saugus and that nothing would get done if both parties didn’t work together.

The recall was over a year-and-a-half ago,” said Wong. “We need to move on. There is an open line between my office and the town manager, I’m always available to the officials.”

Both candidates said residents’ health comes before money when asked about the financial contributions Wheelabrator Saugus makes to the town.

Wong said the most recent study found there were no adverse health effects as a result of the facility’s operations, but added that other reports have shown mixed results. He wants to look at the big picture and get to the root cause of common health problems, including plane fumes, General Electric, Wheelabrator and other pollutants.

Migliore called the number of miscarriages and residents suffering from cancer “uncanny,” adding that if she held Wong’s seat, she would have co-sponsored Rep. RoseLee Vincent’s bill opposing an expansion to the ash landfill.

“They pay less than $100,000 in taxes for a very large area,” she said. “I do not see $100,000 as making or breaking the town budget.”

Both were against the legalization of the sale and use of recreational marijuana and funding for additional charter schools. Migliore said she supports her party’s candidate for president; Wong only said he is disappointed with his choices.

The debate was moderated by Item News Editor Thor Jourgensen.


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

Saugus state rep forum tonight

SAUGUS — The Daily Item will sponsor a candidates forum Thursday at 7 p.m. in Town Hall auditorium with the two state representative candidates whose names will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Democrat Jennifer Migliore and Republican state Rep. Donald Wong will answer questions asked by Daily Item News Editor Thor Jourgensen, who will serve as forum moderator. Candidates will deliver opening and closing statements.
Migliore, a Saugus native, has experience working for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton. Wong is a three-term legislator and 41-year town resident who has served on Town Meeting and the Board of Selectmen.
Voters in the 9th Essex District including Lynn Ward 1, Precincts 1 and 2 residents; Saugus Precinct 1, 2, 4-9 residents and voters living in Wakefield Precincts 1, 2, 3 and 7 will vote in the Nov. 8 final election.

GE bringing good things to Lynn

There’s cause for celebration with the news General Electric plans to hire up to 200 new workers through next spring. The hiring commitment makes good on a negotiated agreement between River Works union representatives and the company on new hires and on replacing retirees with new workers.

GE’s sprawling West Lynn factory complex looms large in the memories of Lynn residents old enough to recall when the aviation engine manufacturer poured thousands of workers onto city streets at the end of each work shift and represented generations-worth of employment for local families.

The plant’s profound influence over the local economy can be felt even when GE stops manufacturing on its local property. The former Factory of the Future site is now the future home of a Market Basket store set to open next year. The broad swath of land between the commuter rail tracks and the Lynnway is the proposed home of a residential high-rise complex.

The jobs GE is advertising are the kind many people thought disappeared with the Factory of the Future and the former River Works gear plant. GE is hiring warehouse workers, machinists and manufacturing associates. The starting pay is good and the opportunity for pay raises stretches out over 10 years.

The push to hire machinists dovetails perfectly with the local E-Team machinist training program founded by the Essex County Community Organization and International Union of Electrical Workers Local 201. The two organizations working with trade associations provided training for people interested in learning a skill in high demand.

Machine shops dot northeastern Massachusetts and the trade is working to bring younger skilled employees into an aging workforce. Machinists who graduated from E-Team and work in local shops will probably answer GE’s call for workers and spur the need for E-Team to turn out more graduates.

All of this spells good news for Lynn and the River Works’ future. Skilled trade work offers an opportunity to help hundreds of local families increase their income and move from renting an apartment to owning a home.

GE’s indirect ability to spur development on two former company sites can be matched with innovative ideas proposed by U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton and others to bring new business opportunities to the River Works site.

Biotechnology companies and other emerging businesses attracted to Lynn by lower per square foot lease costs can thrive locally while literally being within view of Boston. GE brought good things to Lynn for decades and its new hiring initiative shows it is committed to continuing that practice.

Warren, Moulton, and Healey line up behind Coppinger

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren endorsed Lynn Police Chief and candidate for Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger on Monday in Lawrence.

By Leah Dearborn

PEABODY— Essex County Sheriff candidate and Lynn Police Chief Kevin Coppinger was up bright and early Monday morning for a Democratic breakfast at the Boston Marriott Peabody.

Many of Coppinger’s supporters in local and state government were at the breakfast, which was one of the candidate’s final speaking engagements before the Nov. 8 general election to replace retiring Sheriff Frank Cousins.

Later in the day, Coppinger met up with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) in Lawrence at an event promoting early voting in Massachusetts.

“Kevin is a thoughtful and compassionate leader with an exemplary record of public service,” Warren said. “His professionalism and experience will serve Essex County well. I am pleased to support Kevin Coppinger for sheriff.”

During the breakfast in Peabody, U.S. Rep Seth Moulton (D-Mass) spoke to Coppinger’s qualifications on handling the opiate addiction crisis in Essex County.

“We need leadership that’s willing to tackle this crisis. Kevin’s leadership in Lynn is exemplary of the leadership he will provide as sheriff,” said Moulton.

State Attorney General Maura Healey said she first met Coppinger during her own campaign three years ago. She called attention to his work on the streets of Lynn and his efforts to reduce recidivism.

Coppinger spoke last and acknowledged that he had some great opponents during the race.

He also got in a jab at his opponents, saying those who work behind the walls in corrections don’t have the experience of seeing everything that happens out on the streets.

When asked about her experience in corrections via a phone call later in the day, Republican primary winner Anne Manning-Martin stood behind her career, which includes 13 years working for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department and a management position with the state Department of Corrections.

“I have the utmost respect for everyone in law enforcement but police work and corrections are apples to oranges … I wouldn’t think for a minute that I could walk into a police department and run it,” Manning-Martin said.

Manning-Martin added she is the only candidate with specialized corrections experience.

“There are so many moving parts in corrections,” she said. “This has been my career for 25 years. This is not what I’m retiring to.”

During his speech at the breakfast, Coppinger stressed the necessity of creating connections within the community, calling the sheriff’s office an island that needs to come back to the mainland. He named prevention, intervention and reentry programs as three main elements in need of attention.

Coppinger acknowledged that there are people in the jail system suffering from mental illness or addiction who probably don’t belong there and said that the department needs to do a better job of re-integrating those individuals with the rest of society.

“I’m going to push and push and push right up until November eighth,” said Coppinger. “I know I can make a difference as Essex County Sheriff.”

Mark Archer and Kevin Leach of Manchester-by-the-Sea are both running as independent candidates.

When contacted for his commentary on the race, Archer voiced his opinion that Coppinger is running a campaign for reasons related to financial gain. He said that his own work as an attorney and 20 years with the Massachusetts State Police has given him experience in every aspect of law enforcement.

“It would be great if I succeed and get to affect change in a department sorely lacking in transparency,” said Archer when asked if he’s looking forward to the end of the race. “But otherwise it will be nice to get on with the rest of life.”

LYSOA goes to the Gala

The LYSOA held their inaugural Gala Fundraiser at the Gannon Municipal Golf Course on Saturday. (Photo by Paula Muller)

By Harold Rivera

LYNN–Five years ago, Antonio Gutierrez and Teresa DiGregorio founded the Lynn Youth Street Outreach Advocacy (LYSOA) organization with the goal of providing help for high-risk youth in the community.

Saturday night, the organization held its inaugural Gala Fundraiser at the Gannon Municipal Golf Course.

“We’ve done a lot of fundraisers. We’ve done spaghetti dinners in the past and everybody comes out for those,” Gutierrez said. “But this is huge. We haven’t done anything in like this. It’s not about us, it’s about these young people.”

Gutierrez, a Latino of Dominican background, added, “we’re just trying to change the course of time for these young kids.”

A handful of elected officials were on hand to support LYSOA at the event, including Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, Lynn Police Chief Kevin Coppinger and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Salem), who was the fundraiser’s keynote speaker.

Gutierrez shared his appreciation for Moulton’s support.

“It’s huge (to have Moulton’s support),” Gutierrez said. “Somebody needs to see what’s going on. Lynn has gotten such a bad rap, that it’s a drug city and that it’s a gang city. Somebody is finally listening.”

Gutierrez added, “they need to hear up there, what’s going on down here. When people come together to form a community for our kids, look what happens.”

Moulton spoke of the admiration he has for the work LYSOA has done over the past five years to help high-risk youth in Lynn. A former Marine Corps officer who served four tours in the Iraq war, Moulton noted that he shares the same passion for community outreach that he sees in organizations like LYSOA.

“People talk about trying to get involved or wanting to find ways to get involved in the community,” Moulton said, “but this is an organization that actually does it.”

Moulton added, “(when I was elected) I said that I’d make Lynn a priority not because there are problems, but because there is potential.”

The fundraiser also featured two young adults – Leeanah Betancourt and Joshua Blanco – who shared their success stories thanks to their involvement with LYSOA. Both Betancourt and Blanco obtained their GEDs and turned their lives around with help from the organization. They were each awarded certificates of achievement by Gutierrez and DiGregorio.

With success stories like those of Betancourt and Blanco, Gutierrez has seen LYSOA grow since the organization was founded in 2011.

“I don’t think there’s many people that don’t know us,” Gutierrez said. “Between television, newspaper articles, face to face, block to block, kid by kid, word of mouth, everybody knows the tall, slim Latino with the blue Yankees hat and the white shirt.”

Gutierrez, a former gang member who was raised in inner city New York, now lives to share his story with Lynn’s youth.

“I want to give back to our young people,” Gutierrez said. “They’re our future. Without them where do we stand?”

The fundraiser ended with a raffle that included a pair of tickets to an upcoming Patriots game, and a handful of sports memorabilia items.

Saugus rivals square off

State Rep Donald Wong. Item file photo.

By Thor Jourgensen

WAKEFIELD — State Rep. Donald Wong touted his experience as a three-term legislator Thursday night. But challenger Jennifer Migliore said she will have more access as a Democrat to “the powers that be” in the State House.

The pair answered questions posed by a Wakefield Community Access Television (WCAT) media panel for an hour in advance of the Nov. 8 election.

Wong, a Republican representing the 9th Essex District, and Migliore said they will fight to keep Union Hospital open. Migliore said owner Partners HealthCare must ensure emergency services are preserved in Lynn and Wong suggested the hospital, if it is closed in three years, could be a future veterans hospital.

Migliore said she wants state officials to reconsider action earlier this year on Wheelabrator’s request to extend the life of its landfill.

The Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act review of Wheelabrator’s proposal concluded that no further environmental review was necessary and that the proposal can be advanced to the state Department of Environmental Protection for permitting.

“People in Saugus are very concerned about the risk factor. This is an area Rep. Wong has been weak on,” Migliore said.

Wong said a state public health study concluded there are no adverse health effects from the landfill. But Wong said he favors an additional federal study.

“Wheelabrator should receive a fair and unbiased review,” Wong said.

Wong, 64, served on Saugus Town Meeting and the Board of Selectmen. He is a 41-year town resident as well as a third-generation business owner of the Kowloon Restaurant on Route 1.

He has been endorsed by the Saugus Republican Town Committee, with the committee citing his perfect voting record in the Legislature, and Saugus police unions.

Migliore, 25, is a Saugus native and Wellesley College graduate. In her former job as district representative to U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, she served as a liaison to the U.S. Department of Labor.

She beat Wakefield resident Saritin Rizzuto in September to win the Democratic primary. Her endorsements include the Massachusetts chapter of the National Organization for Women, NARAL Pro Choice, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus.

The 9th Essex District encompasses precincts 1, 2, 4-9 in Saugus; precincts 1, 2, 3 and 7 in Wakefield; and Ward 1 precincts 1 and 2 in Lynn.

Migliore said her work with Moulton and her ability, if elected, to work with fellow Democrats in the Legislature will help Lynn, Saugus and Wakefield get additional state money to push Copeland Circle road work and other Route 1 improvements forward.

“I want to create a new vision for Route 1,” she said.

But Wong said state tax money cannot be simply dedicated to transportation and other specific projects. He said he has a track record of getting state money for Saugus public safety and education projects and said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will join him in Saugus early next month to announce $120,000 in state money for a local water works project.

Wong described himself as a longtime town resident with local and state government experience facing an “opponent who worked nine months as a government staffer.” But Migliore said the 9th Essex District race “is about our district getting its fair share.” She criticized Wong in her closing statement.

“At the time when he should have been involved on Beacon Hill, he was too heavily involved in Saugus politics,” she said.

Both candidates said they oppose the state ballot question legalizing marijuana and will vote no on expanding charter schools in Massachusetts.

The pair took questions Thursday night from Daily Item News Editor Thor Jourgensen, Wakefield Daily Item reporter/columnist Mark Sardella and Wakefield Observer reporter Richard Tenorio. WCAT producer David Watts Jr. moderated the debate.

Thursday’s debate can be viewed on WCAT You Tube. The Daily Item (Lynn) has scheduled a 9th Essex Debate on Nov. 3 in Saugus Town Hall.


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

Final debate draws a crowd in Lynn

A crowd watches the third and final Presidential debate, hosted by U.S. Rep Seth Moulton, at Trio’s Mexican Grill on Wednesday (Photo by Paula Muller)

By Gayla Cawley

LYNN — Many of the people who headed to Trio’s Mexican Grill for the third presidential debate watch party, hosted by U.S. Rep Seth Moulton (D-MA) and local Democrats, are decided voters, but appreciated a stronger focus on the issues between the two candidates.

Before the debate, Moulton said it should not be forgotten that voters have the opportunity to elect the first female president of the United States, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee.

“I don’t think I need to go through all the reasons why Donald Trump (the Republican nominee) is dangerous for this country, why he’s fundamentally un-American, why he doesn’t know anything about the Constitution of the United States or the values that make us who we are,” Moulton said. “He is exploiting our differences. He is scapegoating Muslims, he is attacking minorities and he lies every single day in what he says. That’s not someone we can look up to as a leader. That’s not someone our troops can trust as commander-in-chief and it’s certainly not someone who is going to make a stronger America.

“When Hillary Clinton talks about being stronger together, that’s not just a campaign slogan,” he continued. “That’s fundamentally who we are as Americans. And she understands that because she’s been in public service her entire life. In fact, some people say there hasn’t been a more qualified person to run for president since maybe Dwight Eisenhower and I agree with that.”

Rodney Raposa, a Swampscott resident, said he’s a liberal so he supports Clinton. He said she has more substance in her responses than Trump, when discussing policy.

“Sometimes I feel Donald Trump flails his responses around,” Raposa said. “I kind of get confused sometimes of what he actually stands for … I don’t think he has a lot of hardcore stances when it comes to a lot of things.”

The debate watch party was attended by mostly Democrats and Clinton supporters. Watching from other locations were Alexander “Sandy” Tennant, former executive director of the MassGOP, and Amy Carnevale, a Marblehead resident who serves on the Republican State Committee.

“I’ve been impressed in this debate by the focus on the issues, at least to start the debate,” said Carnevale. “I would say I think Donald Trump has come out better rehearsed on some of the issues than he has on past debates, sticking to his message a little bit better than he has in the past.”

Carnevale, who was a delegate for Trump at the Republican National Convention, where he was selected as the party’s nominee in July, said that she agreed with him on his stance on the kind of Supreme Court justice who should replace the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia, a long-time conservative judge who died last February.

Trump said he has a list of 20 potential candidates, and said he would nominate a judge who strictly interprets the Constitution as the country’s founders wrote it.

Clinton said the Supreme Court should represent all of the United States and that the Senate has not done its job by confirming the nominee President Barack Obama set forward, Judge Merrick Garland.

“I think most conservatives agree that the Constitution should be strictly interpreted,” said Carnevale.

Carnevale said Trump’s discussion on the United States/Mexico border was strong.

“I thought it was really strong how Donald Trump pointed out that one of the issues that’s important to come out of border security is controlling the drug trade from Mexico,” she said.

Tennant, a Swampscott resident, said it was an outrage that Clinton seemed to suggest that she accepts abortion at all stages of pregnancy. He also said that while the country is $19 trillion in debt, the Clintons have vastly increased their personal wealth since President Bill Clinton was in office.

Elina Mihalakis, a Lynn resident, said Clinton is more knowledgeable.

“She has been in politics for so many years and she knows what she’s talking about,” she said.

Mihalakis said Trump only tries to appeal to certain segments of the population by focusing on issues like the second amendment, the right to bear arms.

Sally Palmer, a Topsfield resident and Lynn native, said while watching the debate that she was feeling that Clinton is the most sensible candidate and believes in all of her statements for what’s best for the country.

“I’m confident that she’ll steer us in the right direction,” Palmer said.

Palmer added that it appeared to her that Trump was trying very hard to keep restraint in what he wanted to say early on. She said it was his last shot in gaining the support of people who stand behind him, mentioning the “Access Hollywood” video that came out recently, where Trump bragged to then-host Billy Bush about sexually assaulting women, and the subsequent women who have come forward accusing him of inappropriately touching them.

Gene Record, a Marblehead resident, said the debate was much more reasoned, with no yelling and shouting like previous ones.

“They’re talking about issues, which is really good,” he said.
Record identifies as a centrist, or someone who has moderate political views, and said he decides which party to vote for based on who he agrees with more on policy. He wouldn’t say his mind is made up, but he is leaning away from one candidate.

“I don’t feel I could vote for someone as volatile and unrepresentative of the United States as Donald Trump,” he said.


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

Helping hand for Lynn youth group

Antonio Gutierrez (Item file photo)

By Adam Swift

LYNN — Antonio Gutierrez has made it his life’s mission to reach out to local youth in need of help.

But on Saturday night, Gutierrez and his organization, Lynn Youth Street Outreach Advocacy (LYSOA), will be getting help from a high-powered friend.

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Salem) will be the keynote speaker at the Inaugural Gala Fundraiser for LYSOA on Saturday night.

The event takes place from 6-10 p.m. at Gannon Municipal Golf Course at 60 Great Woods Road. Tickets are $75 per person or $100 per couple and are available online at www.lysoa.org or by calling 781-560-3071.

Gutierrez, the non-profit’s youth outreach advocate, and Teresa DiGregorio, the executive director, run a tight ship to provide relief to distressed and underprivileged youth and to combat juvenile delinquency.

LYSOA provides advocacy and outreach services to all high-risk youth, young adults and their families in the community,” said DiGregorio. “We organize and conduct outreach activities, encouraging involvement in community development, assists in job searches and juvenile community service.”

Over the years, Gutierrez said the organization has helped hundreds of kids facing tough choices. He’s been on the frontlines of the city, working with the court system and the police department’s gang units.

“I want people to understand that you come from gang involvement to change your life,” he said, echoing his own life story. “Good people trusted me and have worked with me.”

In addition to Moulton, Gutierrez and DiGregorio will speak about the past, present and future of LYSOA and three young adults will highlight the successes they experienced thanks to the organization.


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

Moulton shares vision for Lynn development

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton answers questions and discusses his goals during a Wednesday morning meeting with Lynn business owners at  Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee. Photo by Paula Muller.

By Adam Swift

LYNN — Improved public transportation and mixed-use development along the waterfront are among the keys to economic development in Lynn, according to U.S. Rep Seth Moulton (D-Mass).

Moulton was the featured speaker during a roundtable discussion with the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs Committee at Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee on Munroe Street Wednesday morning.

The congressman told local business and political leaders that Lynn has been a priority in the district since day one.

“We recognize the potential in the city,” Moulton said. “The fundamentals are so strong in Lynn.”

Moulton ticked off several of the points that make Lynn desirable for development and business, including waterfront property and its proximity to Boston. As he has mentioned in the past, Moulton noted that Lynn is the same distance from Boston as Brooklyn is to Manhattan.

Leslie Gould, the chamber’s president and CEO, got the ball rolling with a question about the deteriorating condition of the MBTA garage in Central Square. Moulton took the ball and ran with his desire to see public transportation improvements that would help economic and residential development in Lynn and on the North Shore.

“I recently met with (state transportation secretary) Stephanie Pollack, and learned that we can build on top of the garage, it is able to support construction above it,” said Moulton. “New housing should be on the table; it’s an interesting opportunity.”

One of the biggest steps to increase opportunities for Lynn residents and businesses is the improvement of the public transportation infrastructure. Moulton said he’s a huge advocate of the north-south rail link that would connect North and South stations as well as the extension of the Blue Line to Lynn.

With those steps, access to the airport and to Boston from the North Shore would be drastically improved, Moulton said.

“The South Boston market is the fastest growing job market, but you can’t get there from Lynn,” said Moulton. He added that the new General Electric corporate headquarters in the Seaport district will bring in 800 employees, but that very few of them are likely to look for affordable housing in Lynn because of difficulties getting from that area of the city to the North Shore.

Asked about the development of Lynn’s waterfront, Moulton said he’s in favor of mixed-use development combining residential and commercial properties.

“It’s unbelievable the amount of undeveloped land on the waterfront, there’s tremendous potential,” said Moulton. “I strongly believe in mixed-use development. I don’t want it to be all condos focused on Boston, people ought to be able to walk out their front doors and walk to restaurants and other businesses.”

James Cowdell, executive director of the Lynn Economic Development & Industrial Corp., said Moulton is more than talk when it comes to supporting Lynn.

“He’s the only congressman in my lifetime who has had a full-time person dedicated to Lynn and economic development,” said Cowdell.

Moulton said he will continue to make Lynn a priority, and praised the city and business leaders who have helped start a real turnaround in the city.

“The perception is changing about Lynn,” said Moulton. “In the commercial real estate community, there is a growing buzz.”


Adam Swift can be reached at aswift@itemlive.com.

LEAD checks into Lynn hotel

Lynn City Hall (Item file photo).

By Thomas Grillo

LYNN — A global real estate team is expected to examine the need for hotel rooms as part of the city’s $650 million waterfront rebirth.

Scott Hutchinson, vice president at CBRE/New England, a commercial real estate firm in Boston, and Julie Surago, senior consultant at CBRE Hotels in New York, spoke to the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD), the high-powered team that was formed to cut through the bureaucracy and jumpstart development.

“It’s odd when you’re this close to an urban center and not have a hotel,” said Surago about Lynn’s lack of a hotel. “Construction of a hotel is usually a component of an overall redevelopment approach that Lynn is trying to accomplish on the waterfront.”

So far, at least three major apartment projects are planned on the waterfront including redevelopment of the former Beacon Chevrolet site that will include 348 apartments in two buildings, the 65-acre former General Electric Co. Gear Works property that will feature 1,200 apartments adjacent to the train stop, and Joseph O’Donnell’s 17-acre site on the water side of the Lynnway adjacent to the General Edwards Bridge that will include 250 units in a wood-frame, three-story building.

Among the things to be studied will be so-called demand generators, such as the potential for corporate and leisure business.

James Cowdell, executive director of the Lynn Economic Development & Industrial Corp., the city’s development agency and member of the LEAD team, acknowledged that a hotel operator floated a plan to build on the Lynnway two years ago, but it fell through.

“There has been an effort to bring a hotel to Lynn, but there has never been this level of conversation that’s taking place with CBRE,” he said. “Getting data, that would be helpful to bring hotel operators to the city because a city the size of Lynn should have hotel rooms.”

Despite the fact that there is lots of hotel construction underway and in the pipeline in Greater Boston, more rooms are needed, Hutchinson said.

Still, given land and construction costs, it can be an expensive proposition for a developer to open a new hotel. Developers typically look at a profitability metric that is calculated by occupancy times average daily rate which equals revenue per available room.

“Among the factors to be considered is demand, how many business tourists and sporting events would attract the spillover from Boston and places like Revere,” said Hutchinson.

He cited construction of a hotel at University Station in Westwood where hotel operators want to be close to transit, retail and restaurants.

“You can’t just plop a hotel down, typically, hotels are part of a mixed-use project,” Surago said. “Developers prefer to be near high-end condo and apartment development, new office space and other things to support it.”

There are other challenges in bringing a hotel or two to Lynn. The city is isolated when it comes to transportation, and demand may not have reached Lynn, Surago said.

“There’s one way in and one way out on Route 1A,” she said. Still, while there are lots of hotels in the pipeline in Greater Boston, the region is not overdeveloped and there is still surplus demand given Boston is such a difficult place to build.

“The new rooms will be pretty much absorbed at least in the next couple of years,” said Surago. “One of the things that would spur construction of a hotel is if the city is successful in developing luxury housing along the waterfront as well as mixed-use. There is an opportunity for Lynn to capitalize on all the growth in downtown Boston.”

Cowdell asked if there were any incentives the city could offer to attract hotel developers. He was told tax incentives are one way to attract developers.

Jason Denoncourt, economic development director for U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and a member of the LEAD team, was responsible for bringing Hutchinson and Surago to the session in an effort to expand the number of out-of-town commercial real estate entities to explore opportunities in the city.   


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

Moulton against Obama’s latest troop deployment

Us. Rep. Seth Moulton. Item File Photo

By Thomas Grillo

In his continuing opposition to the Obama administration’s Iraq policy, U.S. Rep Seth Moulton is against the president’s latest move to deploy 600 American troops to Iraq.

“We cannot, in good conscience, continue to send young Americans into harm’s way without a clear plan,” said the Massachusetts Democrat in a statement.

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the troops will assist local security forces as they prepare to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS.  

For two years, Moulton has spoken about the need to defeat ISIS and prevent successors from taking root. He has conducted a review of U.S. policies in Iraq, including three visits as a member of the House Armed Services Committee to meet with generals, foreign policy leaders and U.S. ground troops.

“But what we urgently need is a political plan so that we don’t have to send our troops back again and again to deal with ISIS 2.0,” Moulton said.

Secretary Ash said in anticipation of the Mosul fight, the U.S. and Iraqi governments have agreed that additional U.S. and coalition capabilities could help accelerate the campaign at this critical phase.

Carter said he and Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recommended deployment of the additional troops to the president to further enable Iraqi forces, and the president authorized it with the support and approval of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

But Moulton said it’s the wrong move.  

“I’ve released a plan that I believe should guide our political strategy in Iraq, and I’ll continue to press the Obama Administration and future administrations to ensure that the sacrifices our troops have made, and continue to make, are not in vain,” he said.


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

City takes the LEAD with developers

Charlie Patsios talks about the future of the land that used to house the old General Electric gear plant site during the economic development tour today. Item Photo by Owen O’Rourke

By Thomas Grillo

LYNN — Jay Connolly admits he is “somewhat of a stranger to Lynn,” but the vice president of Beverly-based Connolly Brothers Inc. registered for Tuesday’s city development tour of Lynn to find new opportunities.

“The city seems to have lots of potential, proximity to Boston and waterfront opportunities, so it’s exciting to see it,” Connolly said.

More than 100 investors, developers, lenders, brokers and contractors like Connolly boarded three buses for a glimpse at the city’s development opportunities.

“It’s encouraging to see so many new faces looking at Lynn,” said Matthew Picarsic, managing principal of RCG, a Somerville-based real estate firm whose Lynn projects include the Boston Machine Lofts building on Willow Street. “Lynn has lots of opportunities … and it seems ready to go.”

Hosted by the Economic Development & Industrial Corporation of Lynn (EDIC), MassDevelopment, the state’s economic development agency, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton and the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD) team, the tour showcased acres of waterfront land and more than a dozen underdeveloped properties in the downtown.

Charles Patsios, the Swampscott developer who is preparing to build a $500 million complex on the 65-acre former General Electric Co. Gear Works property that will feature 1,200 apartments adjacent to the train stop, met the tour on his site.

“Lynn has the best of the best and it’s been hidden in plain sight for so long,” he said. “Lynn is the next Charlestown, East Boston, South Boston, North End, Somerville, Cambridge, Kendall Square, all of those components can be found in Lynn. The future is Lynn … the opportunities abound.”

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy welcomed the visitors at the ferry terminal parking lot on Blossom Street extension, telling them that few people know there are 200 acres of undeveloped land available in the city, much of it on the waterfront. She urged them to let their imaginations stay open throughout the event. “Hopefully, you will come back with some ideas to transform Lynn,” she said. “All of us are standing by, ready to make that happen for you.”

Jay Ash, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development and a member of a LEAD team, said he’s excited about Lynn’s present and future. He said the response he’s received about investing in Lynn has been encouraging.

“For those of you who are thinking about development in Lynn, I can’t think of a better place to make an investment,” he said. “It’s a jewel along the water. This place is happening. We are prepared to work with you to help make your development successful. We know that together there are great days ahead for Lynn and we are happy to be a small part of it.”

Gregory Bialecki, who held Ash’s job in the Patrick administration and is now a principal at Redgate, the Boston-based developer who is considering Lynn, said as housing prices soar in places like Somerville and Chelsea, Lynn is the next logical place to build apartments.

“Twenty years ago, people said Chelsea was not on the list of where people with choices would want to live, but they’ve turned the corner,” he said. “The conditions are ready for it to happen in Lynn.”

Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) sang the city’s praises to the potential investors, telling them Lynn has a vibrant sense of community that is unmatched.

“Our waterfront offers one of the most beautiful sites on the East Coast and there are regional water transportation opportunities,” he said. “I know I’m biased living here in Lynn, but people in this city really care about this community.”

State Rep. and City Council President Daniel Cahill said so many elected officials gathered for the tour because they believe in the city.  

“We have done lots of rezoning, so you will see lots of build as-of-right possibilities, a very exciting phrase to developers, and we have expedited permitting,” he said. “You will find some great parcels and great investments.”

Just before the tour, James Cowdell, EDIC’s executive director, said the downtown has been rezoned to allow for conversion of industrial buildings into housing. As a result, he said, more than 300 new residents live downtown.

He provided a preview of the stops along the trek including 545 Washington St., the five-story former home of Prime Manufacturing Co. that is zoned for commercial use on the first floor and residential above; 11 Spring St., a six-story building across the street from the MBTA that has been used for location shots for Hollywood movies; 40-48 Central St., vacant buildings with adjacent parking which comprise a site for multi-story, market rate housing above commercial space; 38 South Common St., and the 1893 state-owned Lynn Armory that is on the National Register of Historic Places and is available for sale.

In addition, Cowdell noted there are multiple sites available on the waterside of the Lynnway including 40 acres owned by National Grid that could be developed.

“The sky’s the limit,” Cowdell said.

State Rep. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn) said the city is finally getting noticed, in part, because they have a full set of tools in their toolbox to help developers.

“We want to show off the city and get feedback to see if there are things we can do better,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton met the tour at the Lynn Museum & Historical Society and compared the proximity of Lynn to Boston in the context of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

“Think about how Brooklyn has taken off in the last 10 years and it’s not just the Brooklyn of 50 years ago” he said. “There are a tremendous number of start-ups, a great tech scene and all sorts of things that are very much relevant to today, not just the economy of old. That’s the kind of thing we want to see in Lynn.”

At the start of the tour, about two dozen members of Lynn United for Change, a community organization that supports affordable housing, used the gathering to advocate for low- and moderate-income units. They held signs that read “Lynn Says No To Gentrification” and “Lynn Families Before Developer’s Profits.”  

“In this city, we need affordable housing that’s accessible to the working people of our city,” said one protester through a bullhorn.  

City Councilor-at-Large Brian LaPierre, who was present during the protest, said the developer’s tour was not the time or place to air their grievances over housing.

“I would not go along with 100 percent of the units in a new development being affordable. But I am sympathetic to their cause. But the details are subject to them talking to the developers to see how many affordable units, if any, developers are willing to do.”


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

Lynn will take LEAD with investors

Joseph Mulligan, from MassDevelopment, during his tour of downtown Lynn in June. Item File Photo

By Thomas Grillo

LYNN — For the first time in anyone’s memory, more than 100 developers, lenders and investors will tour the city next week to learn about its investment and development opportunities.

“It’s getting the stars to align,” said Jason Denoncourt, economic development director for U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), one of the tour’s hosts. “There’s so much opportunity here. The city just needs the right mix of strategy, experience and capital to make something happen.”

Sponsored by the Economic Development & Industrial Corporation of Lynn (EDIC), the nonprofit development arm of the city, MassDevelopment, the state’s economic development and finance agency, Moulton’s office and the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD) team, the four-hour tour scheduled for Tuesday will showcase acres of waterfront land and more than a dozen properties that are poised to be revitalized as apartments or mixed-use commercial development.  

“This represents the coordination of federal, state and local resources to bring awareness to a location that has been overlooked by the industry for many years,” said Joseph Mulligan, a MassDevelopment fellow who is working to transform the downtown. “It’s a good chance to get people to look beyond their comfort level for opportunities.”

Among the registered attendees is HYM Investment Group, the Boston developer of the $1.5 billion Bulfinch Crossing project that promises to transform the Government Center Garage into a 3 million-square-foot mixed-use project.

“We are excited to see what Lynn has to offer,” said Thomas O’Brien, founding partner.

Also on the list are Cruz Development, the Roxbury-based developer that has built more than 1,500 apartments and Boston-based Trinity Financial that has constructed several large residential development projects on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

The tour guides include Denoncourt, Mulligan and the EDIC’s Bill Bochnak. There will be 20 stops along the way to examine 14 properties and more than 100 acres of available land on the waterfront. Some of the properties include the former Lynnway Auto Auction, the Mass Merchandise site on the Lynnway, Anthony’s Hawthorne, the former General Electric Co.’s gear plant property and the former Daily Item building.

“I’ve been with the city for 30 years, we’ve never had a developer’s tour,” said James Cowdell, EDIC’s executive director. “Lynn’s time is now. There are people with very deep pockets who are looking to invest in Lynn. This is awesome. To get these types of investors here is proof that Lynn is on the radar and that it’s a great place to invest.”

Denoncourt said the idea of the tour is to invite new people to look at Lynn differently or bring new ideas.

Scott Kelley, vice president of development at New England Development, the Boston firm founded by Stephen Karp that boasts more than 50 million square feet of retail, commercial, and hospitality space, got a sneak peek this week when Denoncourt gave him a private tour of the city.

“Lynn has lots of raw potential,” he said. “It’s got the critical components of a compelling story: adjacency to transit, proximity to Boston, it’s amazing location on the water and the backdrop of a historic downtown New England city. As an organization, we are always looking at opportunities.”

Among the elected and appointed officials who intend to be on the tour include Moulton, Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn), State representatives Daniel Cahill (D-Lynn), Brendan Crighton, (D-Lynn), Donald Wong (R-Saugus), Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead) and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash.

“We want to show the investment world that everybody is working together to move Lynn forward,” said Cowdell.


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

9/11 was a call to service

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton awards Andrew DeFranza of Beverly the Peter J. Gomes Service award on Sunday. Photo by Paula Muller

By Gayla Cawley

LYNN — For Americans, Sept. 11 is a day of remembrance for the deadliest terrorist attack in the country’s history. But it has served a dual purpose since Congress declared it a National Day of Service in 2009.

Sunday marked the 15th anniversary of the coordinated attacks by al-Qaeda, an Islamic terrorist group, where two planes flew into the former World Trade Center in New York City and one flew into the Pentagon, near Washington D.C. A fourth hijacked plane was headed for Washington D.C., but crashed in a Pennsylvania field after its passengers attempted to overtake the hijackers.

In Lynn, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) helped mark the anniversary Sunday morning at English High School by hosting a day of service and announcing the inaugural winner of the Peter J. Gomes Service Award.

“One thing about Sept. 11 is that for everybody who lived through it, each one of us has a story where we remember where we were on that day,” Moulton said. “Everyone has a certain way in which this terrible tragedy has affected our lives going forward. And for me…I think about not just Sept. 11 but Sept. 12, how just after this unspeakable tragedy that none of us could have imagined, everybody in America came together. We came together to help the victims. We came together to volunteer. We came together to try to make the world a little bit better place.”

Moulton said he made the decision to join the military shortly before Sept. 11. His influences were his attendance at Harvard University; The Memorial Church at Harvard, and Gomes, a professor and minister.

He joined the United States Marine Corps after graduating college in June, 2001. Following the 9/11 attacks, Moulton said he was “ready to try to prevent another 9/11 from happening.”

The Peter J. Gomes award will be given annually to a 6th District resident who best epitomizes the qualities of integrity, compassion and commitment to community and service that represent the Gomes’ teachings.

Moulton announced the first winner on Sunday: Andrew DeFranza of Beverly.

DeFranza is executive director and founder of Harborlight Community Partners, a low-income housing provider. Five other finalists included Kit Jenkins, executive director and one of the founders of Raw Art Works, and Rev. Art McDonald, a minister at the First Universalist Church of Essex. Both are from Lynn.

Moulton said DeFranza was selected because of his commitment to providing affordable housing on the North Shore, which helps people get off the streets and gives them a chance of hope for a brighter future.

DeFranza said Harborlight is actually collection of other people’s energy and efforts. He said he was glad to be representing the organization.

“I want to encourage everybody that we’re all making a difference,” DeFranza said. “We’re all able to do it.”

Following the award ceremony, volunteers started their day of service, serving at Raw Art Works, The Food Project, The Backpack Program and Tech SkillsUSA. Volunteers created a service-themed mural at RAW, built and maintained gardens at the Food Project, assembled backpack care packages and made care packages for first responders at Tech SkillsUSA.

Austin Jagodynski, 17, works at RAW and said he volunteered on Sunday to help get the mural painted and to build a sense of community.

Sharon Giardino, 25, a New Jersey native living in Salem, volunteered with the Food Project.

“It’s a significant day for the community I grew up in,” Giardino said of 9/11. “I just want to give back, especially in the community I’m in now.”

Sasha Megie, 17, of Lynn, works with the Food Project and volunteered on Sunday.

“The work’s not going to get done if everybody doesn’t get involved,” she said. “We have to put a conscious effort into rebuilding our community if we ever want to see a change in our community.”


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

Stark contrasts on Nov. 8

With barely a minute to pause and take a breath, candidates for Essex County sheriff and the 9th Essex District state representative seat are leaving last Thursday’s primary election in the rear view mirror and barreling toward the Nov. 8 final election.

Fortunately for voters in Lynn and surrounding communities, final election candidate choices offer stark and varied contrasts in experience and policy position outlooks. Saugus voters get a real choice for state representative with veteran legislator Donald Wong facing off against political newcomer Jennifer Migliore.

Wong’s a familiar name in many town circles, including the business community, town government and local charitable work. The Republican is sure to campaign on a record of delivering state assistance to the town and working hard for Saugus on Beacon Hill.

During her primary election campaign, Migliore cited her constituent work on behalf of former boss, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, in explaining how she can hit the ground running as a responsive legislator. A Democrat, Migliore brings a youthful perspective to the legislative race to counterbalance Wong’s track record and experience serving local constituents.

The 9th Essex race encompassing precincts in Wakefield and Lynn’s Ward 1, will be an opportunity for local Republicans to keep one of their own in office and for Democrats to create an all-Democrat Lynn legislative delegation.

The race for sheriff offers similar contrasts. Lynn Police Chief Kevin Coppinger, a Democrat, is making his first run for office while Republican nominee for sheriff Anne Manning-Martin is a political veteran steeped in the rough-and-tumble world of Peabody politics. Her career record as a state corrections administrator stacks up against Coppinger’s experience as a law enforcement professional managing a city police department.

The sheriff’s race will also be a partisan politics battleground with Democrats fighting to put one of their own in charge of the Middleton jail. Moderate Republican Frank Cousins has served as sheriff for 20 years and it remains to be scene to what extent Republicans, including Gov. Baker, will wade into the sheriff’s race and back Manning-Martin.

Looming over the Nov. 8 election is the presidential contest with its sharp contrasts and war of words. One in 10 voters came out to vote in last Thursday’s primary. Voter turnout will be much higher in the final election with the electorate weighing in on the Clinton-Trump contest and deciding regional elections.

Unenrolled voters will play a significant role in deciding Nov. 8 outcomes and they will have additional candidate choices in the sheriff’s race with Mark Archer, a candidate with strong ties to Lynn, running along with perennial sheriff’s candidate Kevin Leach.

Given the presidential campaign’s tenor, voters are likely to step into the ballot box in an angry mood, but at least they won’t be apathetic about their candidate choices.

A salute to service on 9/11

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton. Item File Photo

By Gayla Cawley

LYNN — On the 15th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, a National Day of Service, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) will name the winner of the inaugural Peter J. Gomes Service Award.

The ceremony will take place on Sunday at 9 a.m. in the Lynn English High School auditorium and will be followed by a Day of Service, in coordination with local nonprofits and AmeriCorps and City Year members.

During the day of service, volunteers will serve at Raw Art Works, The Food Project, the Backpack Program and Tech SkillsUSA. At RAW, volunteers will create a service-themed mural. They’ll build and maintain gardens at the Food Project, assemble backpack care packages and will make care packages for first responders at Tech SkillsUSA.

Moulton announced the establishment of the award last month, which starting on Sunday, will be given annually to a 6th District resident who best epitomizes the qualities of integrity, compassion and commitment to community and service that represent the teachings of the late Rev. professor Gomes.

Gomes was a Christian minister who served for almost 40 years at Memorial Church of Harvard University, a space built to honor the Harvard public servants who died in World War I.

Six finalists, including two people from Lynn, have been selected and one winner will be announced.

“I’m proud to honor a resident of the 6th District who exemplifies what it means to make a life, not just a living,” said Moulton in a statement. “Establishing the Peter J. Gomes Service Award has been a meaningful way for me to recognize my college mentor and friend, Rev. professor Gomes, who inspired me to serve in the Marines and later as a member of Congress.”

Selecting the winner with the other judges was not an easy task, Moulton said, as all six finalists have displayed extraordinary commitment to serving the community.

“On what is a day of national remembrance and service, I’m looking forward to uniting in Lynn to pay tribute to all those impacted by Sept. 11, celebrating service and volunteering with fellow members of our community,” he added.

Kit Jenkins, a Lynn resident and executive director of RAW and one of the founders, was described in her nomination as epitomizing community service. RAW started in 1994 with a goal to keep kids out of trouble after school by getting them involved in self-expression through art, according to her nomination. Last year, every RAW student graduated from high school.

Rev. Art McDonald, of Lynn, is a minister at the First Universalist Church of Essex. His nominator wrote that he has inspired and challenged people to act on their consciences, organized voting drives on raising minimum wage and other social action causes. He had worked with Essex County Community Organizers in Lynn and as an adjunct professor at Salem State University, where he taught community organizing.

Other finalists include Lou Cimaglia, director of veterans services in Wilmington, and Andrew DeFranza, of Beverly, who serves as executive director of Haborlight Community Partners, which offers low-income housing. Kristi Hale, of North Andover, is described as the ultimate volunteer and Maggie and Joe Rosa, of Gloucester, are called civic leaders.


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

Migliore puts her focus on federal funding

State Representative candidate Jennifer Migliore was armed with dog treats as she rang doorbells. Photo by Bob Roche

By Leah Dearborn

SAUGUS — Precinct 2 of Saugus was quiet on the Saturday before Labor Day, but that didn’t stop Jennifer Migliore from hitting the pavement to make some noise about voting.

The 9th Essex District state representative candidate has been knocking on doors since February, when it was 14 degrees out, said campaign manager Fred Rich LaRiccia. Since then, the Migliore campaign has knocked on over 7,000 doors across the district.

When asked what prompted her run for office, Migliore said that when she worked for U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, she noticed a lack of state and federal funding coming into the district and wanted to make an improvement.

As Migliore walked along Myrtle Street Saturday greeting neighbors and dropping off fliers explaining her candidacy, she shared a story about a surprise call she received from a woman on another afternoon spent campaigning.

“It turns out she was maid of honor at my great-aunt’s wedding,” said Migliore. “She told me stories about my grandfather that I didn’t even know. Saugus sometimes seems like a big town, but it’s actually not.”

Migliore grew up in Saugus and moved back after studying political science at Wellesley College. The 25-year-old candidate said she’s proud of her age, and thinks that she will bring new energy and enthusiasm to Saugus.

Improving the state of public school buildings in town is one of the biggest issues voters have discussed with her. Migliore attended Evans Elementary and Belmonte Middle School.

“Our schools need a lot of work,” said Saugus resident Meghan Bierenbroodspot from her driveway when Migliore approached. Bierenbroodspot said that while she’s very happy with the teachers at the Waybright Elementary School where her children attend, she wants to see the new representative working to improve school buildings.

Bierenbroodspot said seeing Migliore and her supporters on the streets has made the campaign seem much more personable.

Selectman Jennifer D’Eon accompanied Migliore across Precinct 2 and praised her campaign.

“People ask me about her and I tell the truth. I say she’s awesome,” said D’Eon, who first met Migliore at a Democratic dinner two years ago. “She’s always ready to work, ready to talk.”
The primary election is this Thursday and voters will pick Migliore or Saritin Rizzuto to face Republican state Rep. Donald Wong in the Nov. 8 final election.

State representative candidates square off in Saugus

Saritin Rizzuto, left, and Jennifer Migliore, right, participate in a debate at Saugus Town Hall on Thursday night. Photo by Paula Muller

By Leah Dearborn

SAUGUS — The two Democrats vying to become the town’s next state representative said they would work to give Saugus a “common” share in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

9th Essex District candidates Jennifer Migliore and Saritin Rizzuto participated in a Thursday night debate at Saugus Town Hall. The winner of next Thursday’s primary election faces state Rep. Donald Wong, a Republican, in the Nov. 8 final election.

Moderator and Daily Item and itemlive.com news editor Thor Jourgensen questioned the two hopefuls on their backgrounds as well as on issues regarding Wheelabrator Saugus and the development of Route 1.

Migliore introduced herself as a lifelong Saugus resident who grew up in a blue-collar family before attending Wellesley College and gaining political experience under the employment of U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton.

Rizzuto, a resident of Wakefield who has also lived in Lynn, said her 25 years of working in nonprofit management and finance make her uniquely qualified for the position of state representative.

“Most of the years of my life have been dedicated to servicing the public in the most vulnerable populations,” said Rizzuto.

As the debate progressed, the candidates were asked to speak about how they would facilitate a relationship between Wheelabrator Saugus and the town.

A Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act review of Wheelabrator’s proposal to extend the life of its landfill concluded earlier this summer that no further environmental review was necessary and that the proposal can be advanced to the state Department of Environmental Protection for permitting.

“My first and only priority is to serve the people of Saugus. The needs and concerns of Wheelabrator are secondary to the citizens of Saugus,” said Migliore. She also said that she still supports further investigation regarding the effects of expanding the landfill.

“I would like to keep an open-minded, solution-based approach,” said Rizzuto in response to the same question, adding that Wheelabrator has coexisted with the town for a long time but cannot be allowed compromise citizen’s health.

The candidates were also asked about how they would encourage the development and expansion of Route 1.

Rizzuto said this is an area where she would shine as someone with a background in finance and with her experience transitioning people from poverty to self-sufficiency.

Migliore countered that she would demand funding to complete improvements of Copeland Circle in Revere. She also said she would prioritize bringing high-paying technology businesses and construction jobs to the area.

“We can do better than a 1950s school building,” said Migliore in her closing statement. “We can do better than a 1960s highway.”

A sizable crowd turned out for the event, with voters gathered outside Town Hall to wave signs and discuss the debate.

“She’s a very respectful candidate,” said Lynn resident and Migliore supporter, Mark Boland. “She respects the trades and hardworking people.”

Darian Espinal of Saugus said that he supports Rizzuto for her focus on improving education in the area.

The 9th Essex District includes precincts in Wakefield, Saugus and Lynn.

Watch the video

GE contract will create new jobs in Lynn

General Electrics logo.

By Gayla Cawley

LYNN — GE Aviation and its labor union struck an agreement on Tuesday that will lead to more hiring at the plant.

“It was a tough negotiation, but in the end we came to an agreement that protects the current members, benefits the community and ensures that GE will be here in the future,” said Peter Capano, city councilor and president of IUE-CWA Local 201.

Capano said the agreed upon market-base wage agreement will impact all new employees, but has no effect on current workers. Wages for new hires start off lower than what new employees were making with the previous contract, but higher than the local job market, he said. The contract is designed to give new hires wage hikes every year for 10 years, when they would reach the top of the position’s salary rate, he added.

The agreement, which kicked in on Thursday, also guarantees 52 new GE hires. Every time a person retires, the contract guarantees that person will be replaced with a new employee. A voluntary incentive program is also provided for people at age 60, Capano said. He said the union was looking for a new engine line, the GE38, which the contract supports.

The agreement assures the assembly and test of that engine will be done in Lynn when the program progresses to the full production mode, according to a GE Aviation spokesperson. Full production mode will begin in 2017, Capano said.

“We are pleased that IUE-CWA Local 201 membership voted to accept the market-based wage agreement,” said Will Danzinger, GE-Lynn area executive and general manager, in a statement. “This successful ratification is a significant step forward for our site and improves our ability to compete for work and to build a strong future for our plant. Perhaps most important is that this agreement proves that when we work together, we can redefine the opportunities and potential for GE Aviation in Lynn.”

The agreement positions GE for the future, in exchange for changes to their wage structure for future employees, according to U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s office.

“This agreement is further evidence that GE Lynn is positioning itself to to be both a job creator for our region and a leader within the field of engineering,” said Moulton in a statement. “I commend management and labor for coming together to find a solution that positions GE Lynn to be competitive nationwide, while at the same time growing jobs right here in Lynn. This kind of collaboration advances a long-term vision that centers on advanced opportunities for employees and economic development in our region.”


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

Item to sponsor 9th Essex Democrat forum Thursday

SAUGUS — The Daily Item will sponsor a candidates forum on Thursday, Sept. 1, 7 p.m., in the Saugus Town Hall auditorium with Democrats Jen Migliore and Saritin Rizzuto.

Item News Editor Thor Jourgensen will serve as forum moderator asking each candidate three questions following candidates’ opening statements.

Migliore, a Saugus native, has experience working for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton. Rizzuto, a Wakefield resident, is assistant vice president for community relations for Metro Credit Union with 25 years experience serving the public.

Voters in the 9th Essex District including Lynn Ward 1, Precincts 1 and 2 residents; Saugus Precinct 1, 2, 4-9 residents and voters living in Wakefield Precincts 1, 2, 3 and 7 go to the polls on Thursday, Sept. 8 to pick a Democrat to face state Rep. Donald Wong, a Saugus Republican, in the Nov. 8 final election.

Moulton endorses Migliore

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton. File Photo

SAUGUS — Jennifer Migliore, who is running for state representative as a Democrat, has won the endorsement of former boss, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton.

“I’m proud to endorse Jen Migliore as our next state representative of the 9th Essex District,” Moulton said. “Jen has incredible enthusiasm and energy and an unparalleled drive for public service. And, as a lifelong Saugus resident, Jen will stop at nothing to fight for our community. Jen is exactly the type of person we should elect for the 9th Essex District.”

Migliore and Saritin Rizzuto, a Wakefield resident, will be on the Sept. 8 primary ballot for the 9th Essex District, including precincts in Wakefield, Saugus and Lynn. The winner faces Republican state Rep. Donald Wong in the Nov. 8 final election.

“Congressman Moulton is a true public servant and an incredible leader. Our campaign has been about service to the people of the 9th Essex District. I am humbled and honored to be endorsed by my mentor Congressman Seth Moulton,” Migliore said of the endorsement.

Moulton introduced Migliore to public service after she graduated from Wellesley College, according to a statement announcing the endorsement. She worked on his first campaign in 2014, and then went on to serve as a member of his district office. Within his office, Migliore managed his constituent services program and acted as his representative when he was in Washington, D.C.

Federal contract to support new jobs at GE plant

An Army Air Corps Apache helicopter.

By Thomas Grillo

The U.S. Army has awarded GE Aviation a two-year contract to design its GE3000 engine to retool nearly 3,000 Apache and Blackhawk helicopters.

While the amount of the contract for the Improved Turbine Engine Program was not disclosed, the federal investment is expected to support more than 100 engineers, primarily at GE in Lynn.

Designing, manufacturing, and supporting T700 engines for the Army’s Black Hawk and Apache helicopters has been a major part of GE Lynn’s business for decades.

City Councilor Peter Capano, who also serves as president of IUE/CWA Local 201, credited U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton for helping to make the contract happen.

“I want GE, my members and the people of Lynn to know that Congressman Moulton has actively supported the GE3000 and the GE38, another new engine line, and the machining work to be done in Lynn,” he said. “He is really important because he is on the Armed Services Committee.”

Moulton said he has been a key advocate for securing the contract in Lynn, working closely with GE to understand how the project supports national security and defense capabilities. He championed the project in a support letter sent to the Department of the Army.

“This is great news for our region and provides exciting momentum for our LEAD team efforts in Lynn,” said Moulton in a statement. “This contract will grow good-paying jobs, and it shows that GE Lynn is positioned to compete aggressively for a leading role in GE’s future engineering and advanced manufacturing needs.”

The GE3000 is a 3,000 horsepower engine that promises to provide advanced turboshaft propulsion capability for the Army’s Black Hawk and Apache helicopters.  

Its new engine delivers the Army’s requirements for fuel efficiency and lower maintenance cost, GE said. In addition, it provides 50 percent more power and increased performance in difficult conditions, GE added.

GE said they are working to ensure that this next generation engine can deliver improved capability for the nation’s service men and women in the U.S. Army.

Community service heats up in Peabody

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Dylan O’Sullivan sands the handicap ramp at 42 Washington St. in Peabody as part of the Community Development Coalition Build Day.

By Adam Swift

PEABODY — Giving back to the community was a sweaty, dirty job at a sober-living house on Friday, but no one seemed to mind.

Dozens of volunteers gathered at the Inn Transition to paint, sand, landscape and spruce up the facility that provides transitional housing to alcoholics and addicts. It was all part of the North Shore Community Development Coalition (CDC)’s Build Day at the Citizens for Adequate Housing Washington Street location.

“This is overwhelming and awesome,” said Corey Jackson, executive director for Citizens for Adequate Housing. “This is a program that helps youth and engages the community. It helps our mission and the CDC’s mission.”

With temperatures edging toward triple digits Build Day was almost literally a melting pot of local businesses, nonprofits and government organizations coming together to revitalize the neighborhood. A healthy mix of Rotarians, interns and staff from U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s office, city officials, and volunteers from various CDC programs divvied up the sandpaper, rakes, shovels and trash bags.

“It’s great to see all the members of the community coming together,” said Abby Gooding, an intern for the North Shore CDC. “I didn’t know that there were so many people who were this dedicated.”

The Salem-based CDC invests in North Shore neighborhoods by building affordable housing. This summer, they organized similar neighborhood beautification projects in Beverly and Salem, but it wasn’t quite as hot on those days.

“It was the opposite in Beverly and Salem,” Gooding said. “It was cold and I was drinking hot coffee instead of iced coffee.”

Jacki Shambaugh rips open a bag of mulch during Friday's Build Day. (Photo by Owen O'Rourke)

Jacki Shambaugh rips open a bag of mulch during Friday’s Build Day. (Photo by Owen O’Rourke)

The CDC puts a premium on helping young people and getting them involved in the community, according to Abbie Allenson, North Shore CDC’s marketing manager.

Friday’s work included volunteers from YouthBuild and Stand programs. YouthBuild provides construction and education opportunities for dropouts and Stand is a summer internship program providing community service learning for students.

As the volunteers broke for lunch, Moulton stopped by to offer some words of encouragement and highlight the importance of national service.

“I would not be in this job if it were not for my own national service and experience in the Marine Corps,” said the Democrat, who served four tours of duty in Iraq. “When I look at all the national priorities, national service should be something that is near the top of the list. People who do civilian national service have an awful lot in common with those who serve in the military. We are trying to do something that is bigger than ourselves.”

Several veterans were among those who volunteered to sand and scrape the Inn Transition steps and weed the garden.

Jesse Perkins, a Marine Corps veteran and North Shore Community College student from Haverhill, said this is the second year he’s been involved with Build Day.

“I’m representing the school and veterans, that’s why I’m here,” said Perkins. “It’s a lot of fun to give back as a veteran and a student.”

Hope Healy of Rockport said she came to Peabody because she felt strongly about supporting Inn Transition, which helps put families back on their feet.

“We’re out here on a hot day, but that’s okay,” she said.

In addition to the activity on Washington Street, volunteers built a float for the city’s Centennial Parade. In Lynn, the Build Day program focused on clearing a community path and creating a portable garden near the Central Square MBTA train station.

YouthBuild had a big hand in building the float, which will also double as a playhouse that will be raffled off by Peabody Main Streets after the October parade.

“It’s nice to be able to help out kids who are less fortunate,” said 19-year-old YouthBuild volunteer Jael Medina.

Ash pursuing top job in Cambridge

Jay Ash.

By Matt Murphy

One of the key players in an effort to revitalize Lynn could be headed to a new job.

Jay Ash, Gov. Charlie Baker’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, has applied to become city manager of Cambridge, potentially making him the first major exit from the senior leadership team assembled by the governor after his 2014 election.

Since last fall, Ash has served as a member of the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD), the high-powered panel that also includes U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, James Cowdell of Lynn’s Economic Development & Industrial Corp., and Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, Ash, a Democrat who ran his home city of Chelsea for 14 years before joining the Baker administration as secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, has been a prolific traveler on behalf of the administration, visiting cities and towns across the state and playing a role in helping to lure General Electric’s headquarters to Boston.

His interest in the Cambridge job was first reported by the Boston Globe on Wednesday, and was confirmed by his office. He was not immediately available for comment.

“Every time I go into a community, I hear what the community’s wants and needs are. I want to stay there and help them solve those wants and needs — and I have to get to my next appointment,” Ash told the Globe. “So the ability to focus more intensively on one place than a little bit of attention on a lot of places is something that is appealing to me.”

In March, Richard Rossi announced his intention to resign after three years as Cambridge’s city manager. The City Council posted for the job on July 12, and plans to fill the role in late September after a round of public interviews on Sept. 11 with three finalists, according to the city’s website. It’s not known how many people Ash might be competing against for the job.

Ash, who is in his mid-50s, began his government career as an aide on Beacon Hill to former Democratic House Majority Leader Richard Voke before going to work for the city of Chelsea.

His selection by Baker to lead the economic development secretariat was part of a concerted effort by the newly elected Republican governor to fill his Cabinet with a mixture of Democrats and Republicans.

Moulton scores $2M for literacy

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Congressman Seth Moulton was at the Collins Middle School in Salem to announce the investment of $2 million over the next three years to expand AmeriCorps, in partnership with Lynn Public Schools, to help improve academic outcomes among immigrant students. 

BY GAYLA CAWLEY

SALEM — An AmeriCorps program at Lynn Public Schools that promises to improve academic opportunity for immigrant students is being extended.

United Way, the Corporation for National & Community Service, the official name for AmeriCorps, and the Massachusetts Service Alliance are investing more than $2 million, which will place 25 of its members into Lynn schools, up from 15, to provide tutoring, mentoring and academic support to immigrants and their families. The program has been in Lynn for three years and is guaranteed for three more.

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) was at Collins Middle School on Monday, where he spoke about his service in the Marine Corps, including a stint in Iraq.

“Too many times, your educational prospects are dictated by the zip code in which you were born,” he said.

Because of the program’s expansion, more people will be integrated into the community, with the increased educational opportunities, Moulton said.

The high school graduation rate among English language learners in Lynn is 56 percent, dramatically lower than the statewide average of 85 percent.

Michael Durkin, United Way’s president, said the program has two important values. It helps families who want to improve language skills, which he said is one of the gateways to success. It also provides a volunteer opportunity for people willing to make a difference in the lives of others.

“It’s really powering opportunity for a lot of families in need,” he said.

Justin Rotundo taught math at Lynn Classical High School last year as a graduation coach with United Way through the AmeriCorps partnership. He said students work 40 hours a week and work another 40 at school.

In 2008, Rotundo joined the military and was later deployed to Afghanistan in the U.S. Army Reserves. When he tutored at Lynn Classical, he met Amrudin, an Afghanistan immigrant. One day, Amrudin was being disruptive in class, and he used the word for “stop” in Pashto, a national language in Afghanistan. After class, Amrudin asked him how he knew the word, excited that Rotundo knew his language. The student then began coming to Rotundo for help after the ice-breaker. Amrudin now works at Wal-Mart and is studying at North Shore Community College.

“A lot of the students, it just gives them somewhere to go after school,” Rotundo said. “It just gives them a safe space they can go to … it’s very helpful for their stability.”


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

What happened to the ferry?

What sunk the Lynn commuter ferry?

Launched with much public acclaim, the ferry sailed from Blossom Street extension to Boston for two summers and early falls before it was unfunded by the state this month, leaving its dock and adjoining parking lot empty.

Given the last couple of weeks to let it sink in, we come away with more questions than answers.

Did the ferry fail to “generate the ridership that people hoped it would generate,” as Gov. Baker said? Or did Lynn enter the state funding process too late this year, as stated by Carolyn Kirk, deputy secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and vice chair of the Seaport Economic Council?

Remarks were made by the administration suggesting that there is a correlation between an empty MBTA parking garage and a lack of support for the ferry. Why would an empty garage in utter disrepair, beside a commuter rail with infrequent service, overpriced fares and a terminus in an arena, have any bearing on the ferry?

If the state refuses to fund a ferry this summer — and by all indications next — doesn’t that mean the city returns to square one as a ferry operator once it takes possession of a $4.5 million boat promised to Lynn by the federal government? Or, without the state’s support of the program, is Lynn still in line to receive the federally-funded boat?

After $7.65 million in federal, state and local money was invested to renovate the dock and parking area on Blossom Street extension and lease a ferry for two years, why would the state effectively abandon that investment so soon?

Did anyone at any level of government compare probable ridership growth rates for Lynn’s ferry with growth rates demonstrated by ferries running out of other Greater Boston communities?

Did anyone study ridership for the Lynn ferry’s two seasons and make projections for subsequent years?

In an environment in which the MBTA routinely operates in the red – bright red – would it be realistic for anyone to expect the Lynn ferry to run in the black its first two years? Have any other aspects of public transportation been held to such high expectations?

Why should Lynn be asked to shoulder the cost of public transportation operations when no other community is asked to do so?

Did anyone consider that the ferry was a selling point, not only for Lynn, but the surrounding communities?

Did anyone take into account the fact that eight out of 10 ferry riders came from outside Lynn, and then take into consideration the boat’s potential impact on Lynn’s economy and image?

Isn’t it reasonable to assume that these non-residents may have been prompted to return to the city to take advantage of its amenities, such as downtown restaurants and the resurgent auditorium?

Was quality of life taken into consideration? Wouldn’t 30 minutes on a ferry be a vast improvement over 90 minutes in traffic? Was the environmental advantage of taking cars off the road considered?  

Was the ferry seen only as a singular commuting option, rather than as a component of a broader transportation network?

After the governor, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash, Sen. Tom McGee and the state delegation, Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and other state and local officials last November pointed to the ferry as a critical ingredient in Lynn’s economic resurgence, why would the state walk away seven months later?

Were all the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD) team members in lockstep on Lynn’s priorities, or did a failure to communicate result in the ferry losing priority status? Or was it just plain politics?

With the ferry sunk, what happens to the infrastructure in place? Do the dock, parking lot, signs and benches sit neglected off the Lynnway until a maintenance crew quietly packs them up and hauls them off? Or do they become a picnic area for clients of whatever clinic is currently being proposed for that area?

Why would the state be unwilling to spend $700,000 in a budget of $38.4 billion on a project like the commuter ferry, with millions of public dollars already invested — especially considering the Department of Transportation is apparently willing to spend $20.4 million on a bike lane on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston?

If a project like the ferry, with its documented regional appeal (remember: 80 percent of the riders came from outside Lynn) is not deemed worthy of state funding, what is?

How much of the blame belongs to this newspaper for not asking some of these questions earlier, and for not reporting the early warning signs that this project was taking on water?

During a visit to Lynn, Ash said that to maximize development “sometimes you just have to say no.” But did the administration have to wait until the 11th hour to say “no”?
Finally, rather than our labeling the decision not to fund the ferry questionable, we ask one final question: Wouldn’t this be a good time for the state to hit the restart button, find the funding to operate the ferry for the remainder of the season, and work out the details for next year and beyond?

Downtown Lynn gets a Mulligan

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Joseph Mulligan, from MassDevelopment, during his tour of downtown Lynn.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNNJoseph Mulligan is betting on the transformation of the city’s central business district.

On a recent weekday morning tour of an empty downtown, he easily rattled off data including the city’s population of about 100,000.

“Where is everybody?” he asked. “The real issue is why would anyone come downtown? A lot of people come for medical or social services, but what are the things to do while they are here?”

Getting that question answered is one of the reasons why Mulligan will devote the next three years to working in the city. He is one of three transformative development initiative (TDI) fellows hired by MassDevelopment, the state’s economic development and finance agency, who are working in Lynn, Haverhill and Springfield to improve their downtowns.  The fellows, who are experienced in city planning, community partnership building, real estate and economic development, will work in collaboration with local partnerships.

In Lynn, Mulligan’s mission is to turn the downtown into an attractive residential, retail, arts and diverse restaurant scene for the region.

“You go to places and they are bombed out shells of their former selves that have been further humiliated by traffic engineers who have driven six-lane roads through the middle of them,” he said. “But Lynn has a remarkable amount of beauty and one of its greatest assets, though we would never know it, the Atlantic Ocean, is right there.”

Mulligan, who spearheaded Boston’s $100 million revitalization efforts in Roxbury’s Dudley Square under former Mayor Thomas M. Menino, is the right person for the job, according to Jason Denoncourt, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s economic development director who is also focusing his energies in Lynn.

“He brings a wealth of knowledge of experience and all of his recommendations are founded in best practices from cities all over the country.” he said.

Among Mulligan’s downtown recommendations, so far, include improved access to the MBTA’s parking garage, adding retail to the vacant space at the base of the garage, constructing market rate housing, and creating a mix of retail, arts and restaurants that make it the place to be.

At least one of the suggestions has already happened. Last weekend, the first ever “Rock the Block” party drew crowds to the downtown. As part of its mission to enliven the city’s cultural community, the Lynn Cultural District organized the celebration of local art, entertainment and business. The festivities included live entertainment by Crystal Pan Jammers, students at the School of Rock and dancers from Cultura Latina Dance and displayed work of local artists.

“That kind of event enlivens the place,” he said. “If we can attract people who have never been to Lynn before who say they’ve been told to be careful walking around Lynn because there are perception issues, they are likely to come away asking what is everyone talking about? It’s a beautiful place.”

But there are lots of other issues that won’t be so easily fixed.

He doesn’t understand why Lynn is not filled with Millennials who are priced out of the Cambridge or Boston real estate markets.

“Lynn is not on their radar,” he said. “The fun stuff, the things that they live to do­ like bars, restaurants, nightclubs­, they’re in Somerville.”

The MBTA garage is one of the lowest occupied of all the T’s properties with less than 25 percent filled. The reason? He said there’s no sign on how to enter or a giant universal “P sign” with an arrow. The entire first floor of the facility that was made for retail and could enliven the area is empty.

“I would argue a private operator would be incentivized to fill the garage and to do repairs,” he said.

On pedestrian safety, there are no lines painted anywhere on the streets. Markings for pedestrian crossing are rare and there’s no indication that bikes are welcomed.

“I’m focused on the downtown district,” he said. “What you need is more expendable income in this downtown district to support retail, restaurants, nightlife and entertainment.”


Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com

Lynn Council dives into ferry fight

ITEM FILE PHOTO

BY BRIDGET TURCOTTE

LYNN — City Councilors are taking a stand in favor of Lynn’s ferry service.

The panel voted 7 to 0 Tuesday to send a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker, asking him to reconsider his decision not to fund a third summer of service. The administration denied Lynn’s request for about $700,000 in operating expenses earlier this month.

The Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development said the city’s application for operating expenses for the ferry came too late, and the funds were exhausted for this fiscal year.

Councilor Peter Capano said the ferry is an important option to quickly transport commuters from Lynn to Boston. He called it a critical part of the city’s waterfront master plan.

“Traffic is getting worse and worse,” Capano said. “This would help us a lot.”

The letter reads: “We, the Lynn City Council, request that funding be identified by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for the continuation of the Lynn Ferry service.”

The council cited the completion of a successful two-year pilot program, and the effective use of water transportation from Lynn to Boston for North Shore commuters, as reasons for the request.

“Water transportation offers an alternative, convenient, affordable, stress-free commuting option to a region that has been underinvested in transportation,” the councilors wrote.
The ferry takes drivers off the roadways, it said.

The city, through the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC), has committed $750,000 in investments for the service while the state provided $3.85 million, according to the letter.

It describes the ferry to be a “catalyst for change” that the region needs and residents deserve.

“As a result of federal, state, and local investment in this site and operation which highlights the city of Lynn’s waterfront and its proximity to Boston, we are already seeing economic growth and development and increasing property values in surrounding neighborhoods,” the letter said.

Capano said U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Salem) secured $4.5 million in funding to build a ferry and said it is a disappointment that further progress will not be made due to the lack of state funding.


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

State throws cold water on ferry commuters

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — It’s going to be a cruel summer for Karl Reynolds and thousands of North Shore commuters.

For two years, the Northeastern University research professor boarded the 35-minute ferry to Boston from the city’s Blossom Street Ferry Terminal and loved it.

But the service has run aground due to lack of funding. Now, he’s back on the MBTA’s commuter rail.

“The ferry was a more beautiful way to get to work,” said Reynolds as he waited for the train at the Central Square Station on Friday. “When I arrived, I was more relaxed. It was wonderful.”

But the Baker administration and local officials are battling over who should pay the $700,000 annual tab to operate the ferry. While the state, under former Gov. Deval Patrick, contributed $8.5 million to build the pier and a parking lot and U.S. Rep Seth  Moulton (D-Salem) recently secured $4.5 million in federal money to purchase a 149-passenger vessel, the state has drawn a line in the sand.

State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack has said while she supports Lynn’s efforts for the ferry, it is not an MBTA service and the cash-strapped state can’t afford it.

But for Reynolds and others who took the ferry during its two-year trial run, that decision is frustrating.

Susan Solomon, an MIT science professor from Nahant, who described herself as a devoted ferry rider, said the Baker administration’s insistence that Lynn pay the boat’s operating expenses ring hollow since the Hingham and Hull ferries get state subsidies.

“Surely we need and deserve some relief from the congestion that is clogging our North Shore roads, too,” she said. “Getting people off the road and onto the ferry saves money in many ways, such as road maintenance costs, that is conveniently neglected when ‘user pays’ is the only mantra. Baker and his people should be ashamed of themselves, and they should step up to their responsibilities to serve the North Shore instead of trying to weasel out of them.”

The MBTA subsidizes three ferry services that serve Hingham-Boston, Hingham-Hull-Logan and the Charlestown Navy Yard-Long Wharf. For fiscal year 2015 the subsidy totaled about $3.7 million, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). But MassDOT spokeswoman Jacquelyn Goddard said while Salem pays “some financial support for a ferry” she refused to provide the amount and the total, if any, that Winthrop pays. Hingham and Hull do not financially support ferry operations, she said.  

Christopher Whitlock of Nahant was a loyal ferry rider for the past two seasons. He rode his bicycle from his home to the terminal, packed the bike on board and upon arrival, pedaled to the World Trade Center where he worked at Fidelity Investments.

“Before the ferry, I tried every commuting option: a bus from Nahant to the commuter rail or a bus to Blue Line’s Wonderland stop because driving and parking are out of the question because it is crazy expensive,” he said “Even if you take the bus on Route 1A to Wonderland, the traffic is just insane. Door-to-door, it was a 75-minute commute.”

Whitlock is convinced that the North Shore must find more computing capacity through public transportation and the ferry seems to be one answer.

“This is such a no-brainer,” he said. “If Lynn is trying to become the next economic center outside Boston, the state has to invest in public transportation. When you factor in that the Seaport is expanding with more jobs and businesses, the unwillingness to expand public transit does not make sense.”

City Council President and state Rep. Daniel Cahill (D-Lynn), who took the ferry a few times, supports the service for the North Shore. He has received a number of calls from constituents asking whether the ride will continue.

“The ferry was a great ride and we’ve had a taste of success with it,” he said. “Not having the ferry is a big blow to the city of Lynn. It feels like a speed bump in the progress we’ve made. It really slows the momentum in the city’s economic development.”


Thor Jourgensen contributed to this report.

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

Time to halt ferry follies and fund sailing season

State Sen. Thomas M. McGee didn’t use the phrase “jerked around” to describe the way the Baker administration has blocked efforts to operate a commuter ferry from Lynn to Boston this summer. But he should have.

Like a hapless tourist in a foreign country sent from one bureaucrat to another, Lynn can’t get a straight answer, or satisfaction, from the state when it comes to finding $650,000 to run a ferry this summer and fall.

One agency appeared ready to honor the funding request before declaring the city had missed an application deadline. Undaunted, the city with McGee and his colleague’s help, searched for money elsewhere. A federal agency responsible for distributing billions of dollars for transportation projects gave ferry funding a thumbs up only to subsequently withdraw approval.

“The people involved in this were running us around for a year until the clock ran out,” said McGee.

What makes the state’s inability or unwillingness to fund the commuter ferry so confusing is the millions of dollars already committed to the project.

With McGee, Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and EDIC/Lynn Executive Director James Cowdell taking the lead, the city secured state money to transform a dead-end off the Lynnway into a ferry terminal with parking, a dock protected from ocean storms, a gangway and benches.

The state provided $1.5 million in 2014 and 2015 to help the city pay to lease a Boston Harbor Cruises ferry and run it between Boston and Lynn. The ride proved popular with commuters who extolled the joys of drinking morning coffee or an afternoon beer while enjoying a panoramic Boston Harbor view.

The ferry appeared to take a major step forward in April when U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton said Congress approved $4.5 million to buy Lynn its own boat. But the announcement preceded the first signs of diminishing state interest in the ferry.

It’s easy to understand why that lack of interest angers a transportation visionary like McGee.

As he convincingly points out, the commuter ferry is a regional transportation contributor just as much as Blue Line rapid transit running through Revere is a regional one.

Wonderland station is located in Revere but that doesn’t mean only Revere people ride the subway. The commuter ferry sailed from Lynn Harbor but commuters from across the North Shore were aboard the boat.

Now is the perfect time for Baker and his aides to assess water transportation’s regional value in an increasingly-congested transportation hub like the one surrounding Greater Boston. The Lynn ferry is just one link in a chain of ferries making up a network that can help ease pressure on clogged highways and the problem-plagued mass transit system.

It makes no sense for the Baker administration to ignore this regional benefit and nonsensically isolate Lynn from regional transportation thinking. It is bordering on criminal for the administration to pour millions of dollars into an innovative project only to pull the plug.

What makes sense is for the administration to spur efforts to get the ferry operating again this summer. The governor can divert from his Swampscott to Boston commute and buy a ticket for the ferry’s inaugural trip of the season: Hop aboard, Governor, because the ferry is riding a wave into the future.

Moulton: Baker is missing the boat in Lynn

ITEM FILE PHOTO
The Lynn Ferry.

BY THOMAS GRILLO

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton piled on Tuesday and joined the Lynn delegation in criticizing the Baker administration’s failure to fund the Lynn ferry that serves the North Shore.

“Reliable ferry service has been proven to help spur economic development,” said the Salem Democrat in a statement. “That’s why my team worked hard to secure funding for a new 149-passenger vessel … It is therefore surprising that the Baker administration is no longer supporting ferry operations … Continuity of service is key to building a sustainable, long-term ferry service, and critical to the city’s economic development plan. I hope the administration will reconsider.”

Moulton’s comments come on the heels of Monday’s hearing before the Metropolitan Beaches Commission on Beacon Hill. Lynn lawmakers scolded Gov. Charlie Baker and his team for failing to come up with about $700,000 to fund the third year of a ferry service that gave North Shore passengers a quick ride to Boston.

Of the 15,000 passengers who took the ferry in each of the two seasons, 20 percent were from Lynn and 80 percent came from surrounding North Shore communities.

“We should be working together to make sure that Quincy, Salem, Lynn, Hull and Hingham have ferry service, particularly when the Seaport District is now where the people want to invest,” Sen. Thomas M. McGee (D-Lynn) said at the hearing. “It recently took me an hour-and-a-half to drive to the Seaport District when it could have been a 30-minute ferry ride from my district. If we are talking about a congested and jammed up region, we can look to water transportation to be the answer. But I am very frustrated that this administration is not necessarily embracing what I believe we should be embracing.”

On Monday, Carolyn Kirk, deputy secretary of the state’s Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, said the city’s application for operating expenses for the ferry came too late, and the funds were exhausted for this fiscal year.

No one from the Baker administration was talking Tuesday.

In a statement, Paul McMorrow, a spokesman for the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, said, “The administration looks forward to working cooperatively with its local, state and federal partners to focus on the long-term sustainability of commuter ferry service in Lynn.”


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

Lynn delegation launches into Baker

FILE PHOTO
Lynn Ferry.

BY THOMAS GRILLO

BOSTON — Lynn lawmakers chastised the Baker administration at a Beacon Hill hearing Monday for stranding the city’s ferry riders.

“One of the top priorities for the LEAD (Lynn Economic Advancement and Development) group was the ferry service for very short money,” said State Rep. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn), referring to Gov. Charlie Baker’s high-powered team that includes U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, James Cowdell of Lynn’s Economic Development & Industrial Corp. and others who can cut through the bureaucracy.

We have been working on it for more than a decade, and this ferry extension for more than a year, only to find out now that the ferry is dead,” Crighton said.
Carolyn Kirk, deputy secretary of the state’s Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, who also serves on the Seaport Economic Council, delivered the bad news to lawmakers at the hearing before the Metropolitan Beaches Commission.

She said that the state denied Lynn’s request for about $700,000 in operating expenses for the ferry to sail for a third summer. She said the application came too late, and the funds were exhausted for this fiscal year. The state originally had about $14.5 million available.

Sen. Thomas McGee was visibly angry and scolded Kirk and Astrid Glynn, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s rail and transit administrator.

“We are missing the boat on an unlimited potential for access to this region,” the Lynn Democrat said. “I would argue that ferry service from Lynn is a critical piece of public transportation, it’s not fluff. It’s very frustrating that we are not running a ferry service this year because it is contingent on it being sustainable.

Communities are not paying for the Green Line to get service that’s being expanded. They are not paying for commuter rail service, so I don’t understand why public transit, in terms of ferry operation, should be any different.”

Baker’s decision not to fund the ferry service comes on the heels of a $4.5-million federal grant in April for a new 149-passenger ferry with help from Moulton. The vessel is under construction, but could be lost to another community if Lynn cannot raise the cash to operate the boat.

More than two years ago, the EDIC rebuilt the Blossom Street Extension pier, where ferry passengers board, with $7.65 million in taxpayer funding. The bulk of the money, $5 million, came from the Seaport Economic Council, and another $2 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The EDIC invested $650,000.

Proponents say the ferry was a success for the last two summers,  attracting about 15,000 riders each season.  

McGee said if the money isn’t available, then there should be a conversation about finding a way to make it happen. “Why aren’t we having a discussion about what services we should be providing in the region to grow our economy?” he asked.

Kirk and Glynn did not respond to McGee’s comments.

But, in an interview with The Item following the hearing, Kirk, the former mayor of Gloucester, put the blame on Lynn.

“I think the administration has to get our arms around how this service can be sustainable and paid for … without relying on the state subsidy every year,” she said.

The original premise of the ferry service, Kirk said, was that the first year would be a pilot and subject to the city of Lynn putting together a marketing, ridership and outreach plan. But that was never done, she added.

“Some responsibility belongs to the city of Lynn. They are a very important partner in this, and they didn’t offer up a business plan.”

But, the EDIC’s Cowdell said he received the request for a business plan in March, and said he was told it would take at least six months to complete.
“That’s just an excuse,” he said. “Our responsibility was to show ridership and we’ve done that. We had two successful years and asked the state to fund the operation. All of a sudden, the state is running for cover and has decided not to help out at all. There’s not a commuter ferry in the state that does not receive some form of financial assistance.”


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

Moulton plays Trump card

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Seth Moulton.

BY THOMAS GRILLO

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton blasted Donald Trump on Tuesday, charging the presumptive Republican presidential nominee with dishonoring veterans.

“The sacred commitment of honoring our nation’s veterans and their families is being undermined by Donald Trump who constantly disrespects veterans and by Republicans in the House whose policy priorities could seriously undercut veterans’ programs,” said Moulton in a conference call.

Moulton, a Salem Democrat who served in the Iraq War, was joined on the call with three Democratic candidates for Congress in New York, including veterans DuWayne Gregory, Mike Derrick and John Plumb.

Moulton said Trump disparaged Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and all prisoners of war last summer when he told an interviewer “He’s not a war hero … He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK?”

“He never apologized for those remarks and just a couple of weeks ago, he doubled down on them,” Moulton said.

He also attacked Trump on his plan to privatize the Veterans Administration hospitals and the billionaire’s opposition to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, a measure that provides $12 billion in benefits, making the program a target for fiscal conservatives on Capitol Hill.

“I get my care from the VA,” Moulton said. “I will be the first to say that the VA needs drastic reforms. But privatization is not the answer. And it’s not just Donald Trump questioning the need for the Post 9/11 bill, House Republicans are eyeing it for cuts on the backs of our veterans and their families. These are promises we have made to the men and women on the front lines and they are promises we must keep.”

On the same day as Moulton’s offensive, Trump released a report that said he contributed $5.6 million to veterans charities.

State Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman), Trump’s Massachusetts co-chair, said Trump has raised millions of dollars for vets.

“It’s too bad Cong. Moulton is trying to mischaracterize the facts,” he said. “Since the beginning of the campaign, Mr. Trump has made it clear that he is a big supporter of our troops and veterans and the only candidate of the Republican 17 who boldly criticized the president’s handling of the VA hospitals. If I were Cong. Moulton, I would work on getting a clearer explanation as to why his candidate, Hillary Clinton, dropped the ball and four Americans died in Benghazi on her watch.”


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

Is the Lynnway the ugliest street in America?

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
One sign that may impact the perception of the Lynnway is the Starbucks sign. Good luck finding it in the photo above.

BY THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — For as long as anyone can remember, the Lynnway has been packed with car dealerships, fast-food restaurants, discount shops, billboards and hundreds of garish signs.

“When you drive up the Lynnway, you see every mistake that has been made over the last 75 years,” said James M. Cowdell, executive director of the Economic Development & Industrial Corp. (EDIC/Lynn).  

“Why is it ugly? It happened. A place opened and an ugly sign went up. Another place opened, another ugly sign went up. Now it’s a splattering of ugly signs that blend … and the one sign that should stand out, Starbucks, gets blended in with the ugliness. What message does that send as we are trying to change our image?”

As developers propose to transform portions of the Lynnway into a neighborhood for waterfront apartments and amenities that rival Boston’s Seaport District, some say it’s the right time for Lynn.

“It will change, someone will go first,” said Charles Morneau, who along with Joseph O’Donnell, founder of Boston Culinary Group and Belmont Capital in Cambridge, could be among the first when they break ground on a 17-acre site on the water side of the Lynnway adjacent to the General Edwards Bridge. They expect to start construction next spring on a $69 million luxury-apartment project that would include 250 units in a wood-frame, three-story building.

“The timing is right because the key political people have lined up behind it and are pushing to get things done,” Morneau said. He is referring to the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD) Team, a panel that includes U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, Environmental Secretary Matthew Beaton, Cowdell and others who can cut through the bureaucracy and make things happen.

“That whole corridor in Lynn can really turn around and be an attraction,” Morneau said. “It’s in the right location, just miles from Boston and there’s ocean, nothing better.”

Change is coming to the Lynnway. A pair of residential developments will bookend the Lynnway. Earlier this month, Louis Minicucci Jr. and Arthur Pappathanasi closed a $2.5 million purchase of the former Beacon Chevrolet site. When completed, the $80 million waterfront residential project will include 355 apartments on the 14-acre site on the northern end of the stretch with rents expected to be in the $2,000 range. At the other end of the stretch is O’Donnell’s $69 million project on a 17-acre waterfront site that would include 250 units in a wood frame, three-story building.

City Council President and state Rep. Daniel F. Cahill said the Lynnway is slowly changing and the transformation will take time. A decade ago, $6 million was spent to move the power lines off the ocean side as the first major step to spur development.

“We are still in the infrastructure phase,” he said. “The only reason we are talking about massive residential projects is because the path has been cleared for large scale development on the waterfront side. You won’t see much change to the Lynnway’s facade until a few developments break ground in the next few years.”

On signs, Cahill said it’s an issue that ignites controversy. Some say signs should be whatever businesses want. Others insist that the only way to clean up the city’s gateway is for a strict ordinance to control the size, height, color and lettering of signs.

While the City Council amended sign rules in 1993 to limit their size and height and ban flashing ones, any business can seek permission to override the regulation and nearly all have been successful in doing so. The rest have been grandfathered.

One marquee that may impact the perception of the city is Starbucks. Ironically, it’s easily missed because, while it’s so small compared to others, it’s larger than sign rules allow.

But there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to a Starbucks sign.

The arrival of a Starbucks has benefits beyond easy access to an espresso macchiato, decaf cappuccino or caffe latte. Between 1997 and 2014, homes within a quarter-mile of a Starbucks increased in value by 96 percent, on average, compared with 65 percent for all U.S. homes, based on a comparison by Zillow, the Seattle-based online real estate company.

When Starbucks arrived in Chelsea when Ash was city manager, he called it the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

“Starbucks came to us for a special permit to erect the sign because there are restrictions in that section of the Lynnway,” Cahill said. “It was a symbolic event because for years Starbucks said they were not interested in locating in Lynn and they finally came so we approved it.”

Peter Capano, the Ward 6 city councilor whose district includes the Lynnway, said everyone agrees the highway’s aesthetics need to be improved.

“We are looking at a proposal for changes on the Lynnway,” he said.

A study is being done by the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Department of Transportation that will offer ideas to improve it, he said. Public hearings will be held and a report is expected to be issued later this year.

Patrick McGrath, who owns the Lynnway Mart Indoor Mall & Flea Market that attracts thousands of buyers and sellers, has been seeking a developer to build on his 8.5-acre prime waterfront parcel.

“I don’t know what to say, the Lynnway is what it is,” he said. “I hope to have my site developed and it starts there. Hopefully, Joe O’Donnell’s site next door gets developed. Unfortunately,  we’ll always have the Creamery, the car wash and car lots. They’re not going anywhere, at least in my lifetime. I would like to see it all developed.”

One reason why the Lynnway looks the way it does is that officials have been reluctant to implement firm regulations because it is a major source of real estate taxes for the city. Peter Caron, the city’s assessing director, reports that 183 Lynnway businesses that employ hundreds of Lynn residents contribute $6,017,000 to the city’s coffers annually.  

Not every Lynnway business is a blight. Consider the handsome Solomon Metals Corp. property. Once the home of Harrison Dispatch, a former trucking terminal for General Electric Co., Steven Solomon has maintained the grass, shrubs, trees and added chains from the U.S.S. Wasp and later purchased a pair of bells to add to the front display.

“Even though we are in the scrap metal business, we take seriously the idea that we should put a positive face out front and be good neighbors,” said Solomon, whose family has owned the building since 1974.

The other good looking commercial site is the Clock Tower Business Center. The 305,000-square-foot office building is surrounded by a wrought iron fence, and its grounds are covered with green and trees.

One community, Framingham, has tackled the issue of landscaping and signs with success.

Susan Bernstein, a former Framingham Planning Board member, was part of the effort in the 1990s to remake Route 9. Her goal, along with fellow members, was to turn the road filled with unattractive signs and too little green space into a tree-lined boulevard. Twenty years later there’s been enormous improvements made, say planners.

The panel started with landscaping and implemented strict regulations on the number of trees and shrubs that must be planted on commercial lots.

“There was a great sensitivity towards changing the ambiance of Route 9,” she said. “When businesses came before us, we required lots of trees, and over time, as you can see, they mature and you start to get an improvement.”

Framingham required one tree for every three parking spaces,  or one every 27 feet. The rules called for trees with a two- to three-inch truck.

“We were specific about the type of trees, and it’s tedious work,” she said. “But developers prefer to spend as little as possible.”

As a result, hundreds of trees have been planted in the last two decades along the road, in parking lots and in front of buildings.

Later, the panel devised a bylaw to reduce the size of signs. At one time, there were few limits and signs rose to 35 feet. Today, the limit in most parts of the road is 20 feet.

“If you look at communities that have good signs, that says more about them than almost anything as you enter,” she said. “When you drive through communities with 40-foot signs you see that it demonstrates an image of a schlocky town.”

Bernstein, a real estate agent, said a community’s image greatly influences property values.

But how to get it done is another matter, she said.

“There has to be the political will on the various boards to do it,” she said. “It’s not easy.”


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

A Beacon of hope on the Lynnway

Photo by Paula Muller
From left, developers Arthur Pappathanasi and Louis Minicucci Jr., talk to James Cowdell about their plans for the former Beacon Chevrolet site.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — Today, it’s a 14-acre wasteland of concrete, grass and weeds with spectacular ocean views at the start of the Carroll Parkway on the Lynnway.

But soon, the desolate site will be filled with three, five-story wood-frame waterfront apartment buildings that the developers hope will attract young renters to Lynn.

“We are hoping Millennials and the younger generation between the ages of 22- and 40-years-old who are priced out of Boston will want to live in Lynn,” said Louis Minicucci Jr.

On Monday, Minicucci and partner Arthur Pappathanasi who manage Lynn Development LLC, bought the former Beacon Chevrolet site for $2.5 million. The sale cleared the way for an $80 million waterfront residential project that will feature 355 apartments and a seven-story garage with two floors underground.

Minicucci acknowledged there’s a certain amount of uncertainty about any new residential development given not many new apartments have been built in Lynn recently. But he said there’s plenty of demand for housing in Greater Boston where rents are a lot cheaper than in Boston’s downtown neighborhoods.

“When Boston’s Seaport District was built, rents were $2.50 per square foot or $2,500 for a 1,000-square-foot apartment,” he said. “Today, rents there are $4 to as high as $7 per square foot, so that same unit can cost $6,000 a month. In Lynn, we hope to get $2.25 a square foot for the same size apartment or $2,200.”

The first phase, which could break ground as early as next spring, will include two buildings with 125 units in each. A final phase that will offer another 100 apartments or so, he added.

Pappathanasi said when people visit the Beacon site, that has been dubbed “North Harbor,” in a few years, they will see well-designed, contemporary buildings with lots of green space and walking access to the ferry.

“We know the city, we have real estate and investments here and we are looking for the city to rebound and prosper,” he said.

Pappathanasi noted that the city has made permitting the project a breeze and he has received assurances from Jay Ash, the state’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, for similar swift action for state permits.

“We’re talking months, not years as far as state permits are concerned,” said Ash, who was in Lynn on Wednesday to tout a $100 million MassHousing fund for workforce housing. “We have all of our state partners at the table prioritizing Lynn development.  As a result, we are finding ways to achieve our goals to protect the environment and create open space access, but do it in a way that’s affordable and convenient for the developer.”   

Ash is part of the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development Team, a panel that includes U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton,Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, James Cowdell, executive director of the Economic Development and Industrial Corp.(EDIC), Environmental Secretary Matthew Beaton and others who promised to cut through the bureaucracy and make things happen.

Cowdell said Minicucci and Pappathanasi are the real deal.

“This is a big investment by this group and it transforms this area that has been in this condition for 30 years,” he said. “They have lots of experience and the expertise to make it happen.”


Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com