West Lynn

Williams kicked off East Lynn Pop Warner

COURTESY PHOTO
Harry Williams formed the East Lynn Pop Warner.

By  STEVE KRAUSE

Until 1965, aspiring football players from East Lynn had a disadvantage when compared to their West Lynn brothers-in-arms in that there wasn’t a Pop Warner program.

That meant that for anyone living on the other side of the official Washington Street dividing line, the extent of football experience was the schoolyard.

“I never played any organized football,” said Ray McDermott, who was later a quarterback and then head coach for St. Mary’s. “It was always at the park or in playgrounds. I’d played Little League and CYO basketball, but never football.”

That changed in 1965 when Harry Williams and a group of friends that included Pat Ryan formed the East Lynn Pop Warner.

“Harry was the mainstay,” Ryan said Sunday, remembering his friend who died two weeks ago. “West Lynn already had a team, and if I remember correctly, you had to be from West Lynn to play. Harry thought that East Lynn boys were ill-served (by comparison) so we went about forming the league. Harry did most of the work. He went out and obtained the franchise. At the time, we just had an A team and then a B team. Now there are all kinds of teams.”

“It got bigger than anyone could have imagined,” said McDermott, who recalls practicing that first year in a lot off to the side of the Meadows behind English where parents had to drive up and shine their headlights so the players could see.

“We had a couple of practices by headlights,” said McDermott.

Another player on that first team was Bob “Moona” Mullins, whose father, Bill, was one of the coaches.

“It was fantastic at the time,” said Mullins, one of the most sought-after high school basketball officials in the area. “There was never an East Lynn program before (Williams). There was nowhere for the youth in the city to play.

“(Pop Warner) came of age at the right time for us,” Mullins said. “Before that we’d always play down the park, two-handed touch, things like that, but we never had a place to learn how to play contact football the right way.”

And that, Ryan, was the greatest gift Pop Warner gave to kids like McDermott, Mullins and Clark Crowley, who were captains in their second year with the program, and all of whom ended up playing and coaching the sport (McDermott and Crowley as head coaches and Mullins as an assistant).

“We took the boys and molded them into a team,” Ryan said. “We had to find out who was suited to play in what positions, who could run the ball better, or who was a better blocker. We had to teach them how to tackle, and how to follow plays.

“(Williams) was good with boys,” said Ryan. “He had a good way about him, and he could draw the good things out of the boys.”

Of course, said McDermott, Williams was a semipro player and that didn’t hurt his credibility among the 11- and 12-year-old boys who played in those first two seasons.

“I remember finding that out very quickly,” said McDermott, “and we all thought that was special. I remember him being kind of an intense guy, but he was a good guy. He taught us football.

“And he must have taught us well,” McDermott added. “Two of us became head coaches and the other one was an assistant.”

Agganis All-Star games set for next week

FILE PHOTO
Harry Agganis was a star athlete at Lynn Classical who went on to play professional baseball with the Red Sox. 

By STEVE KRAUSE 

LYNN — Ten days from today, the annual week of Harry Agganis All-Star games that serve both to commemorate his legacy as Lynn’s most renowned athlete ever and help fund the scholarships presented by the foundation that bears his name will get underway.

Nicknamed “The Golden Greek,” Agganis was a star athlete at Lynn Classical who went on to play football and baseball at Boston University. He was the first person in BU history to be named an All-American. And though he was drafted out of college by the Cleveland Browns, he passed up an opportunity in pro football to play baseball for the Red Sox.

Agganis was hitting over .300 and playing first base for Boston when he was stricken on June 27, 1955, with a pulmonary embolism while in Sancta Maria Hospital in Cambridge with a viral ailment. He was 26 years old.

Upon his death, Lynn attorney Charles Demakis became the prime mover in the establishment of the Agganis Foundation. The idea was followed through by Harold O. Zimman, a former coach and mentor; Dr. Elmo F. Benedetto, who was Lynn’s athletic director; the Red Sox and The Item.

Demakis’ son, attorney Thomas C. Demakis, is the current chairman of the foundation.

Agganis Week will kick off Sunday, June 25 with an awards ceremony at Manning Field in Lynn, during which 2017 high school graduates from Lynn, the North Shore and Boston will receive Agganis scholarships, which are renewable the following three years they are in college.

Included are two new scholarships endowed by Jim Baldini, who has earmarked the money for students from West Lynn who plan to major in STEM-related subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Among the other scholarships are those in the name of former Item sports editor Edward Cahill, Agganis’ grand-nephew Greg, and former Lynn Mayor Patrick J. McManus. The Thomas A. Yawkey Foundation funds four grants annually for students living and attending high school in Boston.

Since 1955, the Agganis Foundation has awarded scholarships totaling $1.85 million to 945 student-athletes.

The games will feature recently-graduated athletes in baseball, softball, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, and football. They will be spread over a five-day period from June 25-29, with the 56th annual football game concluding the week’s events.

The Agganis Hall of Fame will induct five new members, one for a person who honors Agganis’ Greek heritage (the  Charles Demakis Award), for community service (Paul F. Cavanagh), service to youth sports (Dr. Elmo F. Benedetto), service to the Agganis Foundation (Harold O. Zimman) and media coverage of youth and high school athletics (David C. Weidner).

“We are looking forward to another outstanding week,” said Paul Halloran, Agganis Games executive director. “Agganis Week has turned into a premier sports festival, giving many of the all-stars an opportunity to put on the uniform for one last time, and others a chance to play a game in preparation for their college career.”

Halloran said there are more than 360 athletes registered to play and that rosters have been finalized and will be announced early next week.

Rounding off Lynn

FILE PHOTO BY SCOTT EISEN
Cars drive around the new rotary in West Lynn.

If a rotary can spring up almost overnight in West Lynn, imagine the other surprises waiting to be sprung on Lynn residents. Is it beyond the realm of imagination to wake up one morning and see a tramway climbing its way from downtown to High Rock Tower?

Driving down Federal Street and running into a roundabout is almost as surprising as the prospect of driving down the Lynnway and finding it stripped of billboards or finding traffic lights at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Western Avenue.

Several questions linger in the wake of the new rotary’s debut. How long will it take some unaware or inebriated driver to plow across the rotary instead of around it? When will a statue or piece of public art rise in the rotary’s center?

The good news is that a Lynn intersection that was once an eyesore is rapidly turning into a busy commercial sector. It’s hard to remember that Federal Street was closed to traffic for decades, barring Lynn residents and other drivers from a convenient straightaway linking Boston Street and Western Avenue.

Lingering security concerns dating back to the Cold War kept the road running by General Electric’s long-closed West Lynn plant off limits to traffic. GE’s unsuccessful “factory of the future” experiment on Western Avenue left an unused building on the corner of Federal and Western Avenue for years until city officials and Swampscott entrepreneur Charles Patsios worked with GE executives to make change happen on Federal Street.

Market Basket is going to bring jobs to Lynn and it’s going to reduce the city’s recently-identified status as a city where residents are underserved by available food markets. Market Basket is a modern business miracle where customers and employees supported a briefly-exiled executive because they believed in what he stood for.

That spirit and defiance is in line with local values that sustained GE as a major employer and sustained the city. To their credit, top city officials have worked with Patsios and Market Basket to bring the store to the city’s center and address traffic flow and congestion.

Of course, change is never easy, especially in an old community. The new-fangled rotary will confound its share of residents and novice drivers before it is absorbed into the city’s landscape. It will be the butt of jokes and the target of griping. There will even be die-hard West Lynn residents who yearn for the days when that funny-looking traffic signal mounted on a concrete pedestal channeled drivers from Western Avenue, South Street and North Common Street.

Market Basket is going to put people to work. The new rotary is going to help them get to their jobs and the once-empty gigantic vacant lot bordering Federal Street is going to be a plus for the city, not a minus.

D-Day memories storm back to Lynn veteran

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Nicholas Francullo, 95, talks about landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

LYNN — As U.S. Army SSgt. Nicholas Francullo got ready to feast on shrimp scampi in celebration of his 95th birthday on Monday, he recalled a time when his days were spent quite differently.

Francullo, who served in the 83rd Infantry Division, arrived on Omaha Beach in Normandy, 73 years ago Tuesday.

Francullo is a two-time Purple Heart recipient for wounds he received in Grassau, Germany on December 23, 1944 and April 15, 1945. He also received two bronze and two silver stars.  His medals, certificates, and photos of his time in Europe are displayed on a wall in his home the family calls The Honor Wall. Two small bullets, once imbedded in the West Lynn man’s body, are taped to a frame beside his honors.

“We had 13 guys in the squad,” said Francullo. “We took turns doing guard duty. I was on night call duty and it was 2 in the morning when I heard German boots stomping towards me. I was behind a wooden fence and I hollered ‘halt’ but I was met with gunfire.”

A bullet traveled through the fence and struck Francullo on his left side, just between his ribs. He said he was brought to the medics immediately, where he complained to the nurse that the bullet was touching his bone.

“She reached in with pliers and pulled it right out,” he said. “She said ‘have a souvenir.’ The doctors said ‘aren’t you a lucky bastard. That fence saved your life.’”

Francullo said that as far as he can remember, the second Purple Heart stems from being hit by a stray bullet.

Plotting their own path in Lynn

When he returned home to Lynn, he was faced with a new challenge. The first student to be drafted from Lynn English High School at age 18, he was left with five unfulfilled credits to graduate, he said.

“My mother went up there and said, ‘you give him his diploma,’ but they would only give me a war diploma,” said Francullo. “When I came home my dad said you have to get your diploma and take the civil service test to get a civil service job. So I had to go back for five credits.”

He secured a job with the post office, delivering mail in the area of Newhall Street, Surfside Road, and the Nahant Rotary, he said. He walked 11 miles each day on the job for 35 years until he retired.

“He’s the only man I know who walked across Europe, then came home and walked some more,” said his son, Nicholas Francullo, Jr. “That’s a lot of walking.”

As a mailman, his time was well served. He vividly remembers a day he was delivering mail on Newhall Street when he heard a woman screaming for help. He ran back down the road to find that her husband had collapsed in the bathroom, barricading the door. He pushed the door open, pulled the man out and called for help.

To his children, Helena Walsh, Francullo, Jr., and Terry Levasseur, he is and always has been Sgt. Nick.

“If he called for us from downstairs, we came right away,” said Levasseur. “He has always been our hero.”


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

Learning a family affair in Lynn

COURTESY PHOTO
Evelyn Lawson graduated from North Shore Community College with her associate’s degree.

By MATT DEMIRS

LYNN — No matter rain or shine, sleet or hail, you can find Evelyn Lawson on the 6:05 a.m. bus every day. Some 53-year-olds might think about winding down, but not Lawson: She is hungry to learn and that appetite isn’t getting any smaller with age.

On Thursday, Lawson graduated from North Shore Community College with her associate’s degree in criminal studies. After taking years off from when she originally started classes in 1982, she finally began walking the halls again in 2013.

Lawson’s journey wasn’t an easy route to achieve such a success. In fact, adversity challenged her at just about every corner of her life. She remained hopeful.

“My life has been really tough,” Lawson said. “I was in a lousy marriage. I was responsible for taking care of my Down syndrome sister and my sick mother.

“On the night my mother died, I was raped by my husband.”

Knowing that she deserved better, Lawson took her kids and left her husband.

Right around this time Lawson was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information between the brain and body.

Unable to work, Lawson received a notice she had three days before she would be evicted from her home and forced into a homeless shelter with her two children. She remembers the towers of boxes around her home. She began to feel helpless.

Then came a glimmer of hope.

A woman named Kim Cole, who worked for Martha Coakley and John Kerry at the time, was able to find Lawson and her family a home.

Lawson was overcome with joy.

“I believe it was a gift from God.” Lawson said, “He was answering my prayers.”

After her family settled in their home in West Lynn, Lawson put education on the forefront, not only for herself, but her children too.

Four years later, Lawson is graduating with her son from North Shore Community College while her daughter will be graduating from Essex Agricultural and Technical High School. Her son, Andrew, will be studying engineering at University of Massachusetts-Boston, while her daughter Amanda earned a full scholarship to the University of New England in Maine.  Both children earned academic honors throughout their school career. Their mother is proud that both of her children are off to four-year institutions.

Lawson will be continuing her education at Salem State University. Her dream is to become a juvenile probation officer because she believes she can make an impact on the youth.

“You can mold them because they are children,” she said. “Children sometimes come from bad homes, have bad relationships, are malnourished and are lost. They just need some nurturing and attention.”

Lawson couldn’t be happier with her decision to attend North Shore.

“The support from the faculty and staff at North Shore has been incredible,” she said. “I encourage the youth to go there. You will get an affordable education.

“Everybody in that school is an asset to your life.”

Donna Davis, an academic counselor at NSCC, worked closely with Lawson during her transition back into school.

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“She’s full of life and doesn’t let any obstacles get in her way — that’s the key,” Davis said.

Lawson gives a lot of credit to Davis for taking care of her and making her feel special. Davis even went so far to schedule a day of beauty for Lawson with the cosmetology department. There she got a haircut, pedicure, manicure, and more.

“The makeover transformed her,” Davis said. “She felt and looked like a super star.”

Davis said the cosmetology department loved Lawson and she made everyone feel good about themselves.

Above all, Lawson is thankful to the staff at North Shore because they’ve made her feel more human, even when she didn’t feel like one herself.

Lawson will always remember something she was told by her math teacher, Professor Judith Carter, whom Lawson says is one of the first people who believed in her.

“I call her the gem. She was the first person to push me and believe in me.

“We were in her office doing an equation and I just couldn’t get it. After we worked on it, she stood up from the table and looked at me and said ‘Evelyn, I know you know this.’”

That’s when Lawson slowed down, stopped panicking, and focused. After a few deep breaths, she re-did the problem and got the correct answer.

“I did it,” Lawson said.

With her arms raised above her head, Professor Carter shot back.

“Eureka!”

Although Lawson’s son believes education is just as important, he acknowledges he doesn’t have the same kind of work ethic as his mother.

“I’ll come home from work at 11:30 p.m. and see my mother doing homework at the kitchen table. I’ll wake up at 6:30 a.m. for school and find her in the same place I left her,” he said. “There has been times where I’d ask her. ‘Did you even sleep last night?’’’

Although her son doesn’t necessarily know yet what he wants to be in life, he’s got one thing certain.

“I really just want to be happy.”

Lawson will miss her children as they leave the nest and go off to college, however she knows they are dedicated and prepared.

“My son wants to help people. He wants to make changes,” She said. “I’m going to miss him when he leaves. He’s my right-hand man, my best friend. He is my everything.”

Lawson believes her journey has helped her kids realize the importance of education after years of never giving up.

“I just keep my eye on the prize,” she said, “My kids know that the prize I’m talking about is my education.”


Matt Demirs can be reached at mdemirs@itemlive.com

 

Community gathers to remember the fallen

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Kenneth J. Marrin, post commander 507 Lynn VFW 1993-1994 walks the parade.

By GAYLA CAWLEY

LYNN — A little rain isn’t going to keep the city of Lynn from honoring the fallen.

Those were the words of Michael Sweeney, director of Lynn veterans services, at the second of two Memorial Day services in the city on Monday. He spoke at a rain-soaked outdoor ceremony in the Pine Grove Cemetery Sunken Garden, following a parade that started at Market Street and ended at the cemetery on Boston Street.

Sweeney stood at a podium in front of a field of 605 flags, representing the fallen from Lynn.

“There’s a flag for every person we’ve lost since World War I,” Sweeney said. “There’s 605 flags, each representing a person, a family, and a story, and that is what Memorial Day is about. It is not about parties. It certainly isn’t about sales at the store … The boots you see in front of us remind us that we’re still a country at war.”

Five pairs of the boots in front he pointed out represented Lynn’s five fallen service members lost since 9/11 — SPC Antonio Syrakos, LCpl Walter O’Haire, PO2 Andrew Clement, SPC Gabriel Palacios, and SPC Justin DeArco.

“In a day like today, we remember the fallen, but we also need to remember that we’re a country at war, whether people want to believe it or not,” Sweeney said.  

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy said she was curious as to the number of flags that were set up, which she thought must have been done deliberately.

“Knowing Mike Sweeney as I do, I was quite sure he would give us an explanation, and the explanation is that 605 Lynners went off to serve their country and 605 Lynners never had a chance to come back and enjoy civilian life again, and 605 families were left to grieve,” Kennedy said.

“So, Mike, thank you for honoring them. Thank you for all you do for our veterans and to everybody who’s here today, I appreciate that you know and will recognize the true meaning of Memorial Day.”

State Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) said putting together the flags and boots to represent what has been lost in the city was really powerful. He said that veterans and those that have served reflect that “uncommon valor was a common virtue.

“That’s what it’s all about — putting your lives on the line to make sure that your friends and family continue to live in the greatest country in the world, and I want to thank you for your service, thank all of the veterans here for their service, and make sure everybody here understands that, that we never forgot the sacrifice and struggle and commitment that people that have served this country have done,” McGee said. “And Memorial Day is the day to remember it.”

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Earlier in the day, the Polish Legion of American Veterans (P.L.A.V.), Post 56 & Auxiliary also hosted a Memorial Day ceremony, where names of the fallen from West Lynn who served in World War II and the Korean War were read. The remembrance was pushed inside from Breed Square, where the names appear on the monument, to the basement of St. Michael’s Hall.

“Everyone in this room knows war has a cost,” Sweeney said. “It hasn’t changed. In the last 100 years, the city of Lynn has given more than its share of blood and its young men and women. When we see that cost, it’s up to us to redouble our efforts to make sure that days like today are not forgotten, that we remember the fallen, that we remember their names, we say their names.”

Also honored at the ceremony was James DePhilippo, the event’s MC and former president of P.L.A.V. Post 56. Sweeney said for 30 years, DePhilippo has been a fixture of every event honoring veterans in Lynn.

Peter Capano, city councilor and chairman of the veterans committee, said the ceremony was about honoring those in Lynn “who have given their lives for our country so that all of us can enjoy the freedoms we have here today.

“I want to emphasize, as I do every year that it is because of the veterans that we enjoy so many of the freedoms in this country that others around the world just do not have — the right to vote, the freedom of assembly, religious freedom — all freedoms that are protected by the men and women of the armed forces, and today we honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in protecting those freedoms,” Capano said.

State Rep. Daniel Cahill (D-Lynn) asked those present to join him in a challenge.

“Every time a name is spoken today, or you drive by a memorial and you see a name on it, think of what that person would think about this country and this community, and what you are doing to make it better, and whether or not their sacrifice was truly worth it,” Cahill said.

“And if you feel, if there’s any inkling that you think, well, you know what, I can do more, then we have to do more because those folks did the ultimate. So, that’s something to think about and carry with you all year.”

A prepared statement from U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass) was also read, who said he couldn’t attend because he is in Southeast Asia traveling with members of the House Armed Services Committee to study the nuclear threat from North Korea and the rise of China.

Moulton said he served in Iraq with some of the best Americans he would ever meet, those who put their lives on the line for a better Iraq and a safer America. As he travels through Southeast Asia, specifically Vietnam and Korea, he said he “can’t help but reflect on the brave men and women who sacrificed everything here on behalf of our freedom.”

He also acknowledged the men and women the country has lost in current conflicts — more than 6,700 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, including more than 130 from Massachusetts.

“The veterans and heroes that we remember today put serving their country — their countrymen, and our future — before themselves,” Moulton said in a statement. “They gave that last full measure of devotion so that we could have the rights and freedoms that we enjoy today.”


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

 

Marshalling a plan for former school building

By GAYLA CAWLEY

LYNN — City officials presented a plan to sell the former Thurgood Marshall Middle School on Porter Street on Thursday night, for a potential reuse that could include senior market-rate housing and a commercial component. But school officials opted to take no action.

City Council President Darren Cyr and James Lamanna, the city’s attorney, presented the option to the School Committee, requesting that the 19 Porter St. property be transferred to the Public Property Committee of the City Council to prepare a Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit bids for its sale to a developer.

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, chairwoman of the School Committee, said she was looking for the committee to make a motion to approve the transfer of the site, with a minimum asking price and timeline for when that sale could be complete. If those conditions weren’t met, the property would revert back to the School Committee.

School Committee members opted to set that minimum sales price at $4 million, and require the sale be completed within a year. The other condition set was that a School Committee member, John Ford, would sit on the RFP committee, the board responsible for preparing the document.

Ultimately, the School Committee opted to table a vote on the transfer of the property until their next meeting, upon a motion made by member Donna Coppola. Coppola said she wanted to take time to allow the committee’s attorney time to research the matter. Voting against the motion to table were Kennedy and Patricia Capano, vice-chair.

Cyr said the initial plan was to demolish the former Marshall Middle School, but a contractor reached out to city officials and wanted to buy it. His vision for the building wasn’t the vision the city had, but it let officials know there was interest in the property, Cyr said.

Lamanna said the cost to demolish the building is estimated at $2.2 million, which was part of the money bonded by the voters for the construction of the new Marshall Middle School, which opened last year on Brookline Street. If that money is not used for demolition, he said legally it could only be used for capital projects that could be bonded for 25 years, which would likely be for the construction of new buildings or additions on the school side. If the property is sold, he said the proceeds would go toward bondable projects more than five years. The proceeds would basically go into a reserve fund that would allow the city to plan ahead if, for example, a boiler in a building went.

Ford said he knows the issue is to sell the building and get some cash for the city in a cash drop situation, but he was hesitant about selling any more school property. He said there was some uncertainty about whether there would be any potential buyers, and he couldn’t see anybody paying big money for some place that’s going to cost lots of money to remediate.

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“We’re in a city where we’re land strapped,” Ford said. “We’re land poor. I don’t want to eliminate jobs on the city side. I don’t want to hurt anybody, but I really find myself in a position where it’s going to be hard for me to vote to give up any land.”

Kennedy was in favor of the transfer. For 25 years being in public life, she said she also disagreed with selling public land and felt that in most cases, it was better to bank that land.

“The reason why I’m capitulating on this particular piece of land, is that first of all it’s not big enough to build a new modern middle school, so that idea is right out,” Kennedy said. “So, it would only be usable for an elementary school or something of that size. It’s not appropriate for a police or a fire station or anything because it’s basically, it’s on a residential street.”

She said she was more comfortable letting go of this piece of land, because it wouldn’t even be appropriate for a new Cobbet or Tracy Elementary School, because it would be out of that general area of the city.

“And in light of the difficulties that we’re having making the budget come together in this year, it seems like a piece of land that may not be as valuable to the city as someplace that was located deeper into West Lynn,” Kennedy said.

Cyr said an RFP would potentially be to solicit bids for a mixed use, which would include senior market-rate apartments, as well as some commercial use, such as doctors’ offices that would cater to seniors. A small portion of those units, because of federal funding, could be allocated as affordable, he added. He said there is a true need for senior housing at marketable rate in Lynn.

Lamanna said the building was last assessed at $8 million. He said the Massachusetts School Building Authority funded the new Marshall Middle School because the assessment was that the old school on Porter Street was beyond repair. Cyr said it would cost upwards of $50 million to bring the former school up to today’s standards, for it to be restructured for a school use.

Cyr said he was a lot more hopeful after Thursday’s meeting that the transfer would be approved by the School Committee.


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

I am the best person for the job, McGee says

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
State Sen. Thomas McGee stands with his brother, Shawn, and former babysitter Mae DeLuca.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — State Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) launched his bid for mayor Friday night before more than 300 enthusiastic supporters at the Knights of Columbus.

“My name is Tom McGee and tonight I proudly kick off my campaign for mayor of Lynn,” he said. “I am running because I love our city and the values the city of Lynn represents.”

The 61-year-old senator will face incumbent Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, a Republican, who kicked off her campaign for a third term last month.

Consider the progress we’ve made, Kennedy says

McGee’s daughter, Katherine, 19, introduced her father.

“He never missed a softball game, a dance recital, a golf match or a swim meet and I know if I really needed him he would jump in his car and make the six-hour drive to Villanova,” she said. “One of the things I admire most about my dad is his love for Lynn. He has lived here his whole life and always showed Thomas and me all the wonderful qualities Lynn has. I don’t think it’s possible for his heart to hold more love for this city.”

McGee was elected to Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1994 to represent West Lynn and Nahant. After four terms, he won a seat in the Senate in 2002 in a district that includes Lynn, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Nahant, Saugus and Swampscott.

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Michael O’Connor, a Lynn firefighter for 22 years, said he is a strong McGee backer.

“He’s been a lifelong friend,” he said.  “I think he’ll move the city in the right direction.”

Janet Dolan, a Nahant resident, said McGee has always represented the district, including Nahant, very well.

“He’s very visible, very open to help, if anyone is in difficulty I think he’s very reliable,” she said.

David Condon, chairman of the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association, said his group has been a longtime supporter of McGee.

“We’ve had a very good working relationship over the years and he will make a difference as mayor of Lynn,” he said.

McGee said this is a critical time for the city as it faces an enormous budget challenge.

“Our city is at a crossroads and the next four years will be critical in determining Lynn’s future,” he said. “Under current leadership, our city is faced with an emerging fiscal crisis that threatens public safety and erodes people’s confidence in Lynn’s ability to manage its own affairs and jeopardizes our potential for attracting new families and businesses. We need to harness all that Lynn has to offer.”

McGee said he’s the right person for the job.

“I believe I am the best person to lead our city at such a critical time,” he said. “I ask you to join me in working for the betterment of this city.”

In the race for cash, McGee is way ahead. In the most recent filing with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign Finance. McGee reported a balance of $69,170 while Kennedy had less than $13,000.


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

McGee: Every morning I’ll wake up determined

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

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

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

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

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

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

I think I can make a difference, McGee says

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

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

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

For Colucci challenger, youth are priority

COURTESY PHOTO
Pictured is Eliud Alcala, who is running for Ward 4 City Councilor.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — Eliud Alcala has launched a campaign to unseat the city’s longest serving city councilor.

The 41-year-old family counseling doctoral candidate is making his first bid for public office against Ward 4 Councilor Richard Colucci, who has served on the panel for 15 years.

“I want to represent all of Ward 4 and offer voters an alternative,” he said.

Alcala, the former campaign manager for School Committeewoman Maria Carrasco, said if elected his first priority will be to implement youth programs.

“We should provide career pathways and programs that engage youth in our community,” he said.

He was unsure about the cost of the new initiatives such as an English as a Second Language program he would like to see relaunched at the Ford Elementary School.

McGee: Every morning I’ll wake up determined

“That program helped lots of people and we need to seek grants and be creative to pay for it,” he said.

He has also proposed that the city hire an interpreter to assist Spanish-speaking residents seeking services at City Hall.

“As I knock on doors in the ward, people tell me translators are not available at City Hall,” he said.

Alcala said he did not know how much such a position would cost or how the new post would be paid for amid the city’s budget crunch.

He does favor implementation of the .0075 percent meals tax option under consideration by the City Council that would add about $700,000 to the city’s coffers annually. In addition, he voted to support construction of two middle schools in the special election last month which was defeated.

The West Lynn resident was born in the Bronx neighborhood of New York City where he was raised by his parents who immigrated from Puerto Rico. The family moved to Lynn in 2000.  


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

Bringing a good thing to Lynn

General Electric is bringing good things to life by breaking ground on its new headquarters in the former warehouse district near Boston’s South Station. Gov. Baker, quoted by the State House News Service on Monday, called the groundbreaking “one more step forward in the continuing evolution of Massachusetts as a global player.” What does GE’s big plans for Boston mean to the North Shore, specifically, Lynn?

A GE executive on Monday said the firm is looking forward to forging collaborations with area community colleges. Thinking about that comment in the context of North Shore Community College and Salem State University spurs excitement and inspiration.

General Electric’s aviation manufacturing presence in Lynn helped write the city’s history and the River Works plant is still a major city employer. Imagine if GE’s 21st century commitment to evolving technologies takes on life in Boston and expands outward, swamping the North Shore and Lynn with brilliant minds and the economic ramifications of their inventions?

GE Vice President Ann Klee employed high-tech jargon Monday when she was quoted by the News Service praising Boston’s “great innovation ecosystem.” She used that phrase to explain why it made sense for GE to move its headquarters.

That explanation can be interpreted in different ways. The most obvious interpretation is that GE finds Boston to be an attractive location because of the large number of universities and associated research facilities in the city.

GE + NSCC = A bright future

By extension, Cambridge and Route 128 for decades have attracted research and development manufacturers tapping into Boston’s academic brainpower to fuel their production. Lynn’s River Works, at first glance, conjures up images of skilled factory workers making jet engines. But a deeper look at the West Lynn plant reveals engineers designing next-generation engines and facilities potentially becoming future sites for the “innovation ecosystem” highlighted by Klee.

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton has talked about the River Work’s value as a possible location for technology-oriented businesses incubated in Boston and searching for affordable space where they can grow and prosper.Congress

Moulton is an imaginative thinker but his ideas are rooted in a business background; before winning a seat in Congress, the Marine veteran focused his boundless energy on the high-speed rail industry. Rail transportation is an industry GE has helped to expand and it is an important component of the type of transportation-driven economy Moulton and state Sen. Thomas M. McGee frequently highlight.

The News Service on Monday reported how state Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash, worked with other top officials under the codename “Project Plum” in 2015 to woo GE to Boston.

Ash is well aware of Lynn’s economic potential and it is not a stretch to imagine him pointing GE in Lynn’s direction once company executives decide how communities around Boston can benefit from the headquarters relocation.

With North Shore Community College stepping onto the technological cutting edge by expanding its Lynn campus and Lynn schools working for years with River Works volunteers, Lynn is poised to benefit from GE’s decision to make Boston the center of its corporate universe.

 

Two-percent increase on tap

ITEM PHOTO BY SPENSER HASAK
Breeds Pond Reservoir, one of four water supplies in Lynn.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — A water rate hike is on tap.

Next month, the city’s Water & Sewer Commission is expected to approve a 2 percent increase costing the average user $14 more per year.

“For the last two years there’s been no increases,” said Daniel O’Neill, the commission’s executive director. “But we have to pay for a mandated $106 million project and ratepayers are our only source of money.”

Subject to commission approval, Lynn’s water rates on July 1 will rise to $10.18 per 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons, up from $9.98 per 100 cubic feet. The average customer uses about 7,000 cubic feet of water annually and the cost will rise to $712, up from $698. If a family uses 8,000 cubic feet, the price will increase to $814 from $798.

Revere to expand battle against opioids

The new rate will result in an annual collection of about $700,000. The construction project had its roots in 1976, when the Environmental Protection Agency alleged the commission was in violation of the Clean Water Act by allowing waste from sewer systems to flow into the Atlantic.

Under an order from the U.S. District Court, the commission is required to end so-called combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in four locations. The CSOs have been identified at Summer Street in West Lynn, two across from North Shore Community College. In West Lynn, contractors will install new out-flow pipes at Bennett and Alley streets.

When there’s rain or snow, the waste sometimes exceeds the capacity in the sewer lines and makes its way into the sea,  streets and basements.

The city’s water supply comes from the Ipswich and Saugus rivers. From there, it’s pumped or flows into the city’s four reservoirs: Breeds, Birch, Walden, and Hawkes totaling 3.8 billion gallons of water.


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

 

Spring cleaning

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
A dead rat is seen on pavement of Union Street.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN There’s a reason the downtown isn’t looking its best: The city’s street sweeper is in the shop.

“The downtown is a mess,” said Andrew Hall, commissioner of the Department of Public Works.  “Our sweeper has been broken for a week and we’re waiting on parts.”

A walk through Central Square and up Union Street takes a little effort to avoid the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cups, potato chip bags, candy wrappers and even a dead rat near North Shore Furniture. It wasn’t much better at Caruso’s Pizza or Aaron’s where an assortment of trash was strewn on the streets.  

None of the merchants would talk to The Item when asked to comment on the state of the downtown’s cleanliness. Pedestrians were a little more willing to offer their take on it.

Rodney Garcia, who just had soup at Pho Minh Ky Restaurant, said he’s used to the litter and hardly notices it anymore.

“I know it’s there, but I just don’t think about it,” he said. “I have bigger things to worry about.”

Rosemarie Gonsalves and her daughter, who were en route to pick up a prescription at Eaton Apothecary, said now that the snow’s melted she’s noticing the litter.

“It doesn’t look like the most inviting part of the city,” she said. “They could do a better job keeping it clean since there are so many businesses.”

Car burns up on Western Avenue

Hall said the city’s street sweeper usually cleans the downtown streets five nights a week. But it has been out of service since last Wednesday.

The citywide street sweeping program began Monday. DPW contracts with a firm to sweep, weather permitting.

The twice yearly project started in West Lynn’s Ward 7 in West Lynn and will end in Ward 1. In the fall, it will be reversed and they will start in Ward 1.

Typically, it takes a week to complete the sweep in each ward, weather permitting, Hall said.

“It was canceled on Tuesday because it poured and we expect it to be canceled on Thursday for rain,” he said.

Sweeping operations are conducted from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Illegally parked cars will receive a $15 ticket.


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

 

Elementary school basketball tournament wraps up

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Yazmarie Carcamo, left, of Lincoln-Thomson tries to keep Lauren Wilson of Pickering from stealing the ball during Saturday’s game.

LYNN — The Lynn Elementary Tournament concluded Saturday at Pickering Middle School with the four annual All Star games in which the  city’s best players competed against each other in a East-West format.

Both games were as close as some of the ones in previous seasons.

Up first, the East Lynn girls squad, coached by Sisson’s Mary Hunt and Shoemaker’s Lisa Moriarty clashed with the West Lynn girls, coached by Lincoln-Thomson’s Sarah Krasowski and Drewicz’s Kelly Morris.

East Lynn dominated the first half behind 10 points from two-time All Star, Ahjeanee Hyacinthe, who also captured this year’s Around the World Competition trophy earlier in the day. She finished with a game-high 14 for the East.

West Lynn mounted a comeback in the second half fueled by superior rebounding from Yazmarie Carcamo (4), Gabriella Willis (4) and Linda Jallow (7).

Hannah Beaulieu of Lincoln-Thomson scored the tying and winning baskets late in the game for West Lynn to ensure a 29-27 victory. Jomary Lora, this year’s free throw champion, led West Lynn with eight points. East Lynn’s Jaeleigh Perry, Brooke Moloney, Rachel Dana and two-time all-star Kaleigh Bullock were also among the scorers for the East.

In the second game of the day, decided by just two points, the East Lynn boys, coached by Brickett’s Donna Whalen and Ford’s Jessica Forgione took on the West Lynn team, coached by Sewell-Anderson’s Angela Maggs and Lincoln-Thomson’s Gerry Beliveau.

To add to the drama, Maggs was coaching against an East Lynn squad that had both her son and nephew on it.

The balance of the East Lynn team (11 different players scored and the high intensity of West Lynn proved to be a formula that created one of the best games since the tournament started. The West took a slim one-point lead into the break and lead seesawed back and forth numerous times throughout the second half.

Led by Brayden Lunden’s 15 points, West Lynn was able to tie the score at 48 with under a minute to play. Division 1 high scorers Joel Maggs (2017 Free Throw Champion) and Mitchell Purter (this year’s 3-point champ) were held in check by the West’s stifling defense for most of the game. Much of the slack was picked up by Kyle Bradley Kemembin (13 points) who iced both of his free throws with 8.4 seconds left. A missed one-and-one and an off- the-mark attempt at the buzzer sealed the 50-48 victory for East Lynn.

Yael Vizcaino had seven and Lester Ileh and Brooklyn Barros Beltre, six apiece for the East. West Lynn’s Dahrien Bernabel had 11, Almani Medina seven and Darron Guillen four for the West.

 

State Senator Thomas M. McGee to run for mayor

ITEM FILE PHOTO
State Sen. Thomas M. McGee.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN Ending months of speculation, Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) will enter the race for mayor on Monday, The Item has learned.

A family friend familiar with the decision said McGee called elected officials and key supporters over the weekend to tell them he plans to pull papers in the City Clerk’s office on Monday to run for mayor.

McGee confirmed his intention to run, but declined comment.

Before his election to the Senate in 2002, McGee served four terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where he represented West Lynn and Nahant.

The race comes as the city’s fiscal year 2017 and 2018 budgets are in flux. Last week, Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy asked her department heads to make cuts. Some managers may have to trim up to 8.5 percent in their personnel budgets, a measure that could lead to layoffs.

Kennedy and McGee were behind the measure that failed last week to build a pair of middle schools. Voters overwhelming rejected increasing their real estate taxes by $200 or more annually for the next 25 years to pay for them.

Kennedy declined comment on McGee’s entry into the race.


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

Elementary school champions crowned

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Edward Fernandez of Ingalls, and Andrew Korona of Sisson, struggle for control of the ball in the last game of the day Saturday in the Elementary School Basketball Tournament. 

LYNN — Four teams from different elementary schools took home championship trophies Saturday in the divisional finals of the Lynn Elementary School Basketball Tournament.

This year, for the first time, the winning teams will be invited to play in an exhibition game for the city championship. These games will take place at Pickering Middle School Friday, starting with Lynn Woods girls vs. Hood at 5 p.m., followed by the Ingalls/Lincoln-Thomson boys game at 6:30.

The winning school will receive a championship cup, with the name of their school engraved on it. The cup will travel each year to the winner of the City Championship’s school and a new name will be added.

First up Saturday, in Division 2 girls action, defending champ Lynn Woods looked to complete its undefeated season against a talented Drewicz team that it defeated by a point during the regular season. Lynn Woods, leading by one at the half, faltered defensively in the second half and Drewicz scored consecutive baskets by Keisha Perez (6), Mia Nolan and Lindsy Perez.

But the Lady Wolves of Lynn Woods were able to clamp down and went on a 7-0 run to end the game and come away with the 14-10 victory. Kaleigh Bullock led Lynn Woods in scoring for the third straight game with seven. Callie Hogan and Isabella Codair also scored for Lynn Woods.

Both teams are sending three players each to next week’s all-star game. Bullock, Hogan and Arelys Ruiz will represent East Lynn. Keisha and Lindsy Perez will be joined by defensive specialist Flory Mendez for West Lynn.

In Division 2 boys play, Lincoln-Thomson took on Sewell-Anderson in a battle of West Lynn squads. Sewell, making its fourth straight trip to the final, was looking to return to championship form after losing a close game last year. The two high powered offenses went back-and-forth for most of the game with Sewell holding a 5-point lead at the break. As it has all tournament, Lincoln-Thomson came out gunning in the second half and was able to secure the 33-32 win.

Dakari Eam had a team high 12 for Lincoln-Thomson. Andy Ly and Stephen Pedro were also among the scorers for Lincoln. Brayden Lunden left it all out on the floor again, scoring 21 in loss. Zuhair Khan had four for Sewell. The Lincoln-Thomson all star representatives will be Eam, Miguel Soto and Almani Medina. Sewell-Anderson will send Lunden, sharp shooter Calvin Reynolds and guard Brenden O’Regan to the all-star game.

The third final of the day was a contest between the girls of Sisson, who got hot at the right time to reach the final, and their East Lynn counterpart, Hood. The Hawks took a slim lead into the half but were able to pull away and win 17-8. Lesnee Izaquirre and Zarriah Chalmus had six points apiece for Hood. Trinity Smith also had three in the win. Sisson’s high scorers were Lorynes Suriel and Skylar Sims. Suriel and Brooke Moloney were awarded all-star slots for their efforts. Hood’s all stars are Izaquirre, Trinity Smith and Eliza Yanes Ruiz.

The day’s last game was called by many the greatest game ever played in the Pickering gym. The Division 1 boys final between the Sisson Eagles and Ingalls Rockets was one for the ages.  Sisson was able to hold Ingalls to just 10 points in the first half, due mostly to the fact that Ingalls phenom, Mitch Purter was sidelined with early foul trouble. With Purter inserted back into the game in the second half, Ingalls was able to mount a comeback that saw several lead changes in the final minutes. Sisson’s Jason Wheeler sunk one out of two of his free throws with under five seconds to play to send the game into overtime. Purter proved to be too much in OT, scoring four of his tournament high 26 to lead Ingalls to the 38-35 victory. Mack Peters and Joshua Martinez also scored for Ingalls. Joel Maggs was sensational again for Sisson pouring in 23 of his own. Sisson’s Tyler Guy had eight. Maggs and Guy will represent East Lynn in the all star game next Saturday. Purter and Canei McLeod will join them on the East Lynn squad.

The fourth annual all-star game will be played Saturday with the girls game kicking off at 11 a.m. and the boys to follow at 1:30.

The 6 ‘alternative facts’ of school no-voters

COMMENTARY BY CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT DARREN CYR

I write as president of the Lynn City Council and for the councilors-at-large. We cannot in good conscience sit by and allow the negative, defamatory statements, distortions and outright lies from the “vote no on two new schools” team go unanswered.  

The negativity and outright venom spewed by the opposition shocks the values that we hold true in our hearts. We are utterly disgusted to read social media posts stating that “those children” from foreign countries who speak with accents do not deserve a quality education.  

The anger and nastiness of this campaign by the “vote no” supporters makes the recent presidential election look like a hug fest.

We as Lynners have a unique opportunity to literally change the lives of more than 100,000 of our children for the next century. It is ironic that the residents of Ward 1 who pay some of the highest property taxes in the city are forced to send their children to a crumbling building that does not meet the educational needs of the 21st century.  

Not so long ago, a former Marblehead state representative told his constituents they should support strong state school funding for Lynn. Swampscott raises captains of industry, he said, who “need very well educated employees.”

As Lynners, we find that statement and such a sentiment to be a slap in the face.  We sincerely hope that no Lynner believes that we should be looked down upon by any other community.  

We are proud to be from Lynn and want nothing but the very best for our families and children.  

We’re not anti-education, ‘no’-voters say

The irony is not lost on us collectively that Swampscott educational leaders have toured the new Thurgood Marshall Middle School and intend to model future construction in their town on this project that was finished on time and under budget. The proposed schools in large part will be modeled after Marshall and the West Lynn site will be almost identical.

“Alternative fact No. 1” put forth by the opposition claims that Lynn can simply go back to the drawing board and select a new site. This is just not true. Lynn has spent almost $1.1 million on architectural drawings, traffic studies, sewer studies and wetland/drinking supply protection studies. There is no more money to funnel into additional studies and plans.  

The plain fact of the matter is that the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) has insisted that one of the schools be located in the East Lynn District. There are no other sites in East Lynn that exist that are financially or environmentally feasible.  

The Magnolia Avenue site is not a viable option. That  land is located in a flood zone. There is an existing Massachusetts Water Resources Authority pipe that runs underneath the playground that supplies water to the citizens from Swampscott and Marblehead.  The site is not large enough to accommodate a 600-plus student facility without taking by eminent domain a portion of the neighboring elderly apartment complex. Such a taking would result in dozens of elderly persons being relocated to new homes.

If the citizens of Lynn reject the two modern state-of-the-art educational facilities, Lynn will go to the end of the line and be forced to submit a new application. Exploding enrollment projects show that by 2021, Lynn will have either double sessions or classrooms with 50 children.  In all likelihood, Lynn would not get back to the front of the line at the MSBA until 2019 or 2020.  

This ensures double sessions or students crammed into classrooms like sardines. But even this ignores the fact that there are no other viable sites in East Lynn. Therefore, it makes no sense to re-apply. Lynn will just dump good money after bad fixing up a Pickering Middle School that can never be adequately rebuilt for today’s middle school educational needs.

Current system not sustainable, Latham says

“Alternative Fact No. 2” as put forth by the opposition states Lynn will be taking multiple homes at the reservoir site. This is just not true. Lynn heard the voices of the opposition and redrew the plans so that only one home will be taken by eminent domain.  

The wonderful woman who was the subject of news coverage several months ago will not lose her home. The younger woman who would be required to relocate has and will continue to be offered every reasonable accommodation. The Lynn City Council has gone on record supporting the idea of moving her home several hundred yards down the road so that she can remain in the home she built.

Opponents ignore the fact that two homes were taken by eminent domain in order to construct Thurgood Marshall. Those relocated for Marshall were residents of Ward 3 and we know for a fact that they were extremely satisfied with the efforts Lynn undertook to relocate them to a new home of their choosing.  

“Alternative fact No. 3” put forth by the opposition states that the cost of the school project will be $5,000 per taxpayer. This figure will be spread out over 25 years. In return, Lynners will see their property values soar. Think about it: Residents with children looking to buy property will not want to buy in Lynn if our schools are an embarrassment. We urge Lynners to take a tour of the existing Pickering.

Quite simply, the physical condition of Pickering is an embarrassment.

The more families are satisfied with the conditions of our schools, the greater the demand will be for our own homes. Our greatest assets are our homes. With the construction of two new schools, our homes will go up in value considerably.  By approving these two new schools, we have just increased our own net worth by tens of thousands of dollars almost immediately.  

“Alternative fact No. 4” put forth by the opposition states that the property is part of Lynn Woods. This outright fabrication can simply be rebutted by the fact that the Friends of Lynn Woods have publicly said that the land is not part of the Lynn Woods Reservation.

“Alternative fact No. 5” put forth by the opposition states that the land is cemetery land. The deeds for the subject land clearly state that the City of Lynn owns this land with no restrictions. An attorney for the “vote no” group has conceded at a public hearing before the Lynn City Council that the deeds on file at the Registry of Deeds contain no restrictions requiring this land to be used for cemetery purposes.

Conversely, the Lynn City Council is on record as supporting the sale of 32 acres to the Pine Grove Cemetery and said deed will state the land will be used solely for cemetery purposes.  Because there exists no deed restrictions or conditions on file at the Registry of Deeds, the Lynn City Council would be free to sell this land to a developer to construct hundreds of new homes.

The Lynn City Council did not seek such a solution. Rather, it unanimously voted to commence the process to transfer this land to the Pine Grove Cemetery Commission at no cost.

“Alternative fact No. 6” put forth by the opposition states that the selection of these sites was done behind closed doors with no public input. All meetings of the Pickering Site Committee have been open to the public.  Three public forums were held where our community could speak up on the proposed sites.

Members of the Lynn City Council have personally met and spoke with the leader of the opposition on almost a dozen occasions. Our city council colleagues have attempted to address or mitigate each and every one of their stated concerns.  

Now is the time for us as a community to step up.  The negativity and anger is unacceptable. We are supporting the two new schools because our only interest is the children of Lynn.  

Our fellow Lynners: Let’s vote yes on two new schools so that our children will have the necessary tools to be captains of industry for generations to come.  


Editor’s note: City Council President Darren P. Cyr wrote this editorial and signed it with fellow councilors Buzzy Barton, Council Vice President, and Councilors-at-large Daniel F. Cahill, Brian P. LaPierre and Hong L. Net.

 

It starts at the Lynn elementary tournament

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Lincoln-Thomson’s Miguel Soto, left, has the height advantage on Aborn’s Hector Patient as they both go up for a rebound.

By HAROLD RIVERA

LYNN — There’s no debate that the level of basketball talent in Lynn’s high schools is a high one. Throughout the years, a long list of hoop stars have left their mark in Lynn’s high school gyms and the tradition remains strong. Many of those stars got their starts playing in the Lynn Elementary Basketball Tournament.

In its 40th year, the tournament is now as strong and exciting as it has ever been. Sean Morris, the tournament’s organizer, said the opportunity to bring kids together from all parts of the city makes the event special.

“This is about bringing the whole city together,” Morris said. “There aren’t that many things that can bring together kids from every corner of the city. We have the East Lynn kids, the West Lynn kids, Highlands, kids from all over. They all come together in the spirit of competition and they have a great time.”

Morris has been involved with the tournament for 18 years and has spent the past six as the event’s organizer. One of the perks that comes with his involvement over the years is the opportunity to see future basketball stars at a young age.

“One of the big things that we see is kids play here and we kind of remember their names,” Morris said. “Then five or six years later, you see their names in the paper at English, Classical, Tech, St. Mary’s. A couple kids on the St. Mary’s team that’s playing in the (Division 4 state) final played here.”

Morris recalled a handful of former tournament participants who grew into successful basketball players. He added that the opportunity to follow their careers provides him with a sense of pride.

“The big one is always Antonio Anderson,” Morris said. “You could tell right away that he was going to be a special player. Ryan Woumn, who went to East Tennessee, Jasper Grassa, guys like that. Even before them, there have been a lot of different boys and girls and you could see from then how special they were.”

Morris added, “Things like that, you take a sense of pride in the city when you see kids represent.”

Although the main focus of the tournament is on the kids playing in it, the volunteers who devote their time also play a pivotal role. Chris Miller, who’s in her 25th year as a tournament volunteer, has come away impressed with the dedication that the players have shown on the court.

“The kids are amazing,” Miller said. “It gives them something to do and a safe place to be. They’re dedicated to it and they’re amazing.”

Many of the kids that take part in the action also get the chance to build friendships with one another through after school programs. That allows the tournament to develop a sense of friendly competition.

“What’s really nice about it is that a lot of them go to after school programs together so it’s a friendly competition between most of them,” Miller said. “It’s really nice.”

Miller added, “It’s the best thing I do all year, it really is. I’ve been volunteering every year for 25 years. It’s been great, I love it.”

RESULTS

Day 2 of the 40th Annual Lynn Elementary Basketball Tournament tipped off Friday afternoon at Pickering Middle School.

First up was a Division 1 girls matchup between Cobbet and Callahan, and there was no shortage of excitement. After being down by two at the half, Cobbet engineered a late surge and tied the game at 14 with under a minute to go in regulation, sending the teams into the first overtime game of the year. Cobbet’s Diana Buenrostro came alive at just the right time, scoring six of her team-high 12 points in OT and leading Cobbet to the 21-17 victory. Arizona Hashani also had six for Cobbet. Callahan’s high scorers were Linda Jallow (14) and Ashley Alukonis. Cobbet takes on Hood today at 2:30 p.m.

Game 2 saw a switch over to boys Division 2 action where perennial rivals Aborn and Lincoln-Thomson clashed once again. It was a back-and-forth affair from the start but in the end, Lincoln-Thomson eked out the 17-14 win. Roman Valdez had five for L-T while Almani Medina and Miguel Soto had four apiece. Aborn’s high scorer was Hector Patient with eight. Lincoln next plays Fallon today at 3:45 p.m.

In Division 1 boys play, Sisson took on Hood. Sisson led this one wire to wire and took the game, 37-18. Sisson was led by Joel Maggs (10), Jason Wheeler (9 points) and Andrew Korona (eight). Hood’s high scorers were Ranciel Castillo with six and Jayden Cepeda with five. Sisson plays again today at 5:00 p.m. against Tracy,

In the final game of the night, reigning champs Lynn Woods took on the boys of Drewicz. Lynn Woods could not make it a repeat this year as they fell to Drewicz, 17-6. Dahrien Bernabel came off the bench for Drewicz and scored a game-high 13 points in the win. Andrew Raney, Josean Castillo and Tyler Cormier each scored a basket for Lynn Woods. Drewicz takes on the winner of next week’s Brickett/Sewell-Anderson matchup in the semifinal.

Play resumes on Saturday with seven games scheduled starting at 9:30 a.m.All games are played at Pickering Middle School and admission is just $1.

Hiberian 5K just days away

By BILL BROTHERTON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ide(a)s of March for MBTA

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

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

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

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


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

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

We urge a vote tomorrow in favor of building two new middle schools and approving a tax hike to pay for them.

The 2 Schools for Lynn supporters make a strong case for the city moving forward to build a new school on Parkland Avenue and another in West Lynn, citing rapidly increasing enrollment in existing schools.

Protect Our Reservoir-Preserve Pine Grove members summarize their opposition to the ballot question by criticizing the proposed Parkland Avenue site near Breeds Pond and arguing the city cannot afford its share of the $188.5 million project, which is estimated to be a maximum of $91 million.

Voters will be asked tomorrow to pay for new schools by approving a measure excluding the school debt from the property tax-raising limitations set by state law. This request is unprecedented in the city’s history and ballot question opponents are correct when they say the debt exclusion request is set against the backdrop of the city’s recent financial problems.

The city’s bond rating has been downgraded and city Chief Financial Officer Peter Caron sounded an alarm about city finances last December. But the economic benefits to the city from building new schools outweigh financial concerns.

Ballot question proponents convincingly argue that families and businesses looking to relocate in Lynn assess school quality in making their decisions. Building new schools does not simply benefit the students who will attend a new West Lynn and Pickering in 2019 and 2020, respectively. New construction also benefits future generations of students.

Ballot question opponents say they share this viewpoint. But they argue the Parkland Avenue site is a poor location because, they say, it negatively affects Pine Grove Cemetery and the woods around the pond.

Both of these arguments are weak. The Parkland Avenue and the West Lynn site were picked because they did not contain the hazardous materials contamination and flooding problems identified on other potential school sites. Proponents also point out that the Parkland Avenue site will be separated from Breeds Pond by a hill.

Opponents argue that the 44-acre site where the school has been proposed has for decades been viewed as cemetery land. But proponents point out only 12 acres are actually needed for the school project, meaning the remaining land can be destined for cemetery use.

Question opponents are also unrealistic when they say, “find another site and we will support it.” Lynn is an old, land-poor industrial city with few suitable sites available for school construction.

Opponents are misguided when they say the city can abandon plans to build on Parkland Avenue and simply propose another school site to the state and receive quick funding approval.

Competition for limited state school building assistance reimbursements is stiff. Waiting to build new schools will only drive up future construction costs. Lynn can’t afford to miss this chance to build new schools with the state’s help.

Every student in Lynn deserves a state-of-the-art middle school like Thurgood Marshall on Brookline Street. We urge a “yes” vote on Tuesday to propel Lynn into a future marked by success and opportunity for all residents.

Kennedy makes final push on school vote

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy speaks with the Item at her office.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy won’t say whether she will seek a third term this fall, but the city’s chief executive is sure acting like a candidate.

In a wide ranging interview with The Item this week, the mayor laid out her goals for 2017.

At the top of her list is winning Tuesday’s vote for construction of two new middle schools. The special election on March 14 asks homeowners to approve a property tax increase for 25 years for the $188.5 million project that would build a school on Parkland Avenue and a second in West Lynn.

“Next week will give us an indication of whether we will be able to move forward with providing our students with the same kind of education they receive at the new Marshall Middle School,” she said.  “I just hope there is no confusion that voters need to vote yes on both questions in order for it to pass. If you favor the new schools, vote yes for both or it will fail.”

We’re not anti-education, ‘no’-voters say

While the mayor is optimistic that voters will approve the ballot initiative, she is considering Plan B should the vote fail.

‘We would go back to the Massachusetts School Building Authority and start over,” said the mayor, referring to the quasi-independent government agency that funds a portion of school construction projects. “And hope that within a few years we could turn the vote around.”

While opponents of the school site on Parkland Avenue say a better alternative is to renovate the Pickering Middle School, the mayor said the city lacks the $44.2 million it would take to gut the 90,000-square-foot facility and install new systems, classrooms, gym, cafeteria and labs.

“We simply can’t afford it out of the city budget,” she said.

Current system not sustainable, Latham says

Also in the planning stages is a marketing staffer for the Lynn Auditorium, the city’s 2,100-seat concert hall, that would be paid for by ticket sales.

“We could reach more people and expand if we had someone to do marketing,” she said.

Kennedy is also planning to spend $400,000 for a study to replace Engine 9 on Tower Hill and Engine 7 on Pine Hill with a fire safety building in West Lynn at a cost of $15-20 million.

“Those buildings are 100 years old and continuing to show signs of aging,” she said.  “We would build one facility and perhaps move dispatch into the new station and save on rent.”

The mayor also plans to seek $100,000 in grants to restore the Angell Memorial Fountain at Broad and Nahant streets. Built in the early 1900s  in memory of George T. Angell, the founder of Boston’s Angell Memorial Hospital, the fountain once served as a horse trough.

In addition, the mayor said summer job applications for teens are available at the personnel office in City Hall. Selection for the 120 jobs will be done by lottery.

While no one has declared their candidacy for mayor, local political observers say Kennedy will run. State Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) and City Councilor-at-Large Brian LaPierre have said they are exploring the possibility of running. McGee recently held a fundraiser in Boston and may have been the person behind a citywide poll on the race.

Kennedy and LaPierre said they had nothing to do with the poll. But a McGee spokeswoman did not respond when asked the question.


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

Lona St. Cyr Abare, 83

Lona St. Cyr Abare, 83, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. She lost a long battle with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Over the last several years she moved from her home in Boxford to Haverhill Crossings in Haverhill.

Lona was born Jan. 13, 1934 in Lynn, the daughter of Leo and Alliette (Plourde) St. Cyr. Lona graduated from St. Jean de Baptist in West Lynn in 1952. Later, she graduated from Salem Teacher’s College in 1956, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Business. Lona was married to Jack Abare, her beloved husband of 60 years on Aug. 11, 1956, in Lynn at St. Jean de Baptist Church.

Lona taught at Northfield High School in Northfield, Vt., from 1956 to 1957. In addition, Lona owned and managed an upscale hair salon in Topsfield in the 1980s. Lona will be remembered as a faithful and altruistic person. Lona will also be remembered as a person that gave considerable time and energy to helping people less fortunate. As a religious person, Lona contributed significant time to teaching CCD to children. In addition, Lona was active at St. Mary’s Church in Georgetown for many years. Some of her interests included rearing Arabian horses, cooking, gardening and swimming. As a person who was avid at raising horses, Lona became a member of the 4-H club in Boxford. Some of her gardening and horse rearing occurred at her beloved farm, Sugar Hill Farm in Northfield, Vt. She was a true partner to her husband Jack in hosting and sponsoring parties for his alma mater, Norwich University. The partnership of Jack and Lona continues to be well known in the Norwich University Community for its dedicated philanthropy.

Survivors include her husband, Jack Abare of Salem, N.H., her son, John Abare and his wife Denita of Reno, Nev., her son Paul Abare of Northfield, Vt., her son David Abare and his wife Kimberly of Salem, N.H., and her son Mark Abare of Haverhill. She also leaves behind her brother Robert St. Cyr of Milford, N.H., her brother Normand St. Cyr of Danvers, her brother Richard St. Cyr of Manchester, N.H., and her sister Rita Surette of Reading, Mass. In addition, Lona leaves behind seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. The seven grandchildren include Samantha Austin, Tabitha Smith, Vanessa Abare, Rachel Abare, James P. Abare, David Abare, and Garrett Abare. The four great-grandchildren include, Mika Austin, Kelton Austin, Lennox Delano, and Nickolas Delano.

Service information: Family and friends are cordially invited to attend her funeral Mass on Monday, March 13 at 10 a.m. in St. Mary’s Church, Andover Street, Georgetown. Interment will be held at the Norwich University Cemetery, Northfield, Vt., at a later date. Calling Hours will be held on Sunday from 1-5 p.m. in the CONTE-GIAMBERARDINO Funeral Home, 14 Pleasant St., Georgetown. For those who wish, Lona may be remembered through donations to the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, 3152 Little Road, Suite 146, Trinity, FL 34655 or www.alzheimersresearchfoundation.com.

For funeral home directions, florists or accommodations, please visit Cgfuneralhomegeorgetown.com.

Calnan: New middle schools make sense

Edward T. Calnan:

I write as a member of the building committee for the new Pickering Middle School to be located off Parkland Avenue and another middle school proposed at McManus Field in West Lynn.

I want to correct some misinformation that has been circulating by the opponents of the school at the Parkland Avenue site. The suggestion has been made that the school would have a negative environmental impact on the nearby reservoir which is part of Lynn’s great water supply system.

I have walked this site myself. The new school will be built on 12 acres of the 44 acres available. The building will be located more than 250 feet from the reservoir, much farther away than the minimum requirements.

It should be noted that some homes in an adjoining neighborhood have been built in the past, much closer to the reservoir. The topography is such that the area to be built upon slopes away from the reservoir and surface water will drain naturally to wetlands on the site, as it does now.

The new building will be tied into the city’s sewer and drainage system. This project is subject to numerous environmental reviews and will be constructed in full conformance with all local and state agencies responsible for the protection of wetlands and public water supplies. In sum, Lynners can be assured that there will be no negative impact on the reservoir as a result of this project.

The other issue is the question of ownership of the parcel. The city’s Law Department has researched the real estate records extensively and determined that the parcel is, indeed, owned by the city. This is a big bonus as it minimizes the acquisition costs, keeping the overall project costs lower.

As a former Director of Community Development for the city for many years, I have dealt with many development consultants in neighborhood, downtown and waterfront developments.  

The consultant team we had when I served on the new Thurgood Marshall School Building Committee was as talented and impressive as any I’ve seen. And the results are manifested in a beautiful building that was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, providing a modern learning environment for the children in that district. We are fortunate to have members of that team working with us on the two new schools being proposed.

In viewing plans for new middle schools, our committee looked at 13 different sites in the city and, after much deliberation, chose the Parkland Avenue site and the McManus Field site as the best for the city. There are no sites that are even close in comparison after studying all the factors that come into play for site selection.

The state has told the city that it must plan for an additional 1,600 students in the next several years. The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) is willing to pay up to $100 million of the $188 million cost with the city’s share to be paid through a bond issue, subject to approval by the voters in the referendum on March 14th.

If the voters approve, there will be positive spin-offs as a result of the new schools. Real estate values will be improved. It is no secret that the first thing potential buyers ask realtors about is about is the quality of the school system. Impressive new teaching and learning facilities go a long way in putting a positive point on the fact that this is something Lynners care about.

Once a new Pickering Middle School is built with a 650-student capacity, it is very likely that Pine Hill would be put into the Pickering district, resulting in a shorter walk for students to a new and exciting facility. Also parts of the old Pickering School could be saved for a future expansion of the Sisson Elementary School and provide refurbished cafeteria, auditorium gymnasium and classroom space not available to them now.

The new West Lynn middle school housing 1,000 students would serve the surrounding neighborhoods so kids could walk to school and obviate the need for very expensive transportation to other schools in the city.

This new school would absorb more than 300 students from the presently overcrowded Breed Middle School, returning needed space for educational programming to that school.

The two new schools are tied together on the ballot on March 14th. An approval by the voters will avoid the need for double sessions at the middle school level in the near future. It will also take advantage of a $100 million investment by the state to give Lynn kids the same educational opportunities offered in more advantaged communities.

Make no mistake that if Lynn doesn’t take advantage of the state funding at this time it will be years, in my opinion, before we’ll have another opportunity like it. I urge Lynn voters to give a resounding approval on the two ballot questions on March 14th.

Do it for the kids and so we can look back after the projects are complete and know that we did the right thing for the city of Lynn.


Edward T. Calnan is a former Councillor-at-Large in Lynn.

Nurinalda Mendez, 75

LYNN — Nurinalda (Cancel) Mendez, age 75, of Lynn, passed away Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. She was the wife of the late Jose V. Mendez Sr.

Born in Puerto Rico, she resided in Boston for many years, and moved to West Lynn, Brickyard section, in 1966. A woman dedicated to her family and community, Nurinalda was involved with the Spanish American Association Inc. of Lynn, was a translator for “SAND” on Essex St., Salem Hospital and the Police Station and courts. She volunteered for “Head Start” and worked with GLSS. She also had been very involved with the Salvation Army Toy Drive. Her late husband started and organized a youth center for the Hispanic community, and started the Puerto Rican Parade and first Hispanic dance class.

Nurinalda is survived by her children, Iris “Millie” Senices and her husband Julio, Angel Mendez, Rosa Mendez, Tricia Lee Mendez and Nurinalda Lee “Nina” Mendez, Nilda Colon and Melissa Beaupre. She was the mother of the late Jose Mendez Jr. She also is survived by siblings Mario, Angel “Luis”, Jamie, Samuel, Antonia and Rosa Cancel, many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends.

Service information: A funeral service will be held in the GOODRICH Funeral Home, 128 Washington St., Lynn, on Monday at 1 p.m. Burial will follow in Pine Grove Cemetery. Visitation is also Monday, beginning at 11 a.m.

Lynn ponders tax hike for two new schools

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — Supporters are lining up on each side of what could be an expensive fight to approve a tax hike for two new schools.

So the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) is hosting a seminar this week on how the campaign finance law impacts ballot questions.

A special election will be held March 14 asking homeowners to pay an estimated $75 million, or $200 annually for the next 25 years on their tax bills for a pair of schools that would serve students in the Pickering Middle School district and West Lynn.

“We’re holding a workshop in Lynn because we have a sense that residents are very interested based on the calls we’ve received asking about the rules,” said Jason Tait, OCPF spokesman.

The one-hour session will be Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Lynn Police Station. Residents on both sides of the issue are invited.

If approved, a 652-student school would be built near Breeds Pond Reservoir off Parkland Avenue and a second facility to serve 1,008 students would be constructed on McManus Field on Commercial Street. Likely to be in favor of the ballot question are the city’s elected officials and the Lynn Teachers Union. In addition, parents whose children attend the so-called feeder schools can be counted on for support, say political observers.

Pickering families who send their children to the Aborn, Shoemaker, Lynn Woods and Sisson elementary schools are likely to back the question while parents of children who attend Cobbet, Connery and Washington STEM elementary schools from West Lynn are expected to back a new school on their side of the city.                                              

Opposition has emerged from Pine Hill residents who are against building the new middle school near Breeds Pond Reservoir. They have organized Protect Our Reservoir – Preserve Pine Grove Community Group. They argue the land the city plans to use to build the school was intended for use as a cemetery. They say the city should find an alternative site and have threatened a lawsuit.

Tait said the seminar will be taught in two sections. One will focus on ballot question committees, the organizations that raise and spend money to support or oppose the question. The second part will review the ground rules for public employees, the use of public buildings and taxpayer funds.  

“We stress that public employees are prohibited from raising money for ballot questions,” Tait said. “Firefighters and  teachers, for example, are prohibited and no tax money can be used to pay for the campaign.”

Elected officials are free to solicit funds for the cause and they often promote fundraising for ballot questions, he said.  

The vote represents the first time Lynn residents have been asked to approve a tax hike in the city’s history.


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

Mayor and teachers in union for new schools

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy explains how the school funding works. 

By BETHANY DOANE

LYNN — More than three dozen educators and parents gathered at the Knights of Pythias Tuesday night to support construction of a pair of middle schools.

The group, which calls itself  “Two Schools for Lynn,” is advocating a yes vote on next month’s ballot question. If approved, homeowners will pony up an estimated $75 million, or $200 annually for the next 25 years on their real estate tax bills. The two schools would serve students in the Pickering Middle School district and West Lynn.

“I spent 40 years in the Lynn schools and we owe it to Lynn teachers and school children to get this vote through,” said Bart Conlon, former director of Lynn Vocational Technical Institute.

Proponents say the $188 million project is needed to accommodate the growing enrollment and and modernize students’ educational experiences.

If approved, a 652-student school would be built near Breeds Pond Reservoir off Parkland Avenue and a second facility to serve 1,008 students would be constructed on McManus Field on Commercial Street. The Massachusetts School Building Authority, the quasi-independent state agency that funds school projects, would contribute about 60 percent or $113 million of the project’s total cost.

“We are already squeezing students into every possible classroom space,” said Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, who also attended the session. “We need the space that the new schools would allow  and our students need modernity in their school experience.”

The new $67 million Thurgood Marshall Middle School, which opened last year, features natural light, air conditioning, a state-of-the-art security system, and other amenities that cater to middle school student’s needs, the mayor said.

“An address shouldn’t prevent a child from an equitable learning experience,” Kennedy said. “We must have schools in urban core, where all the largest number of middle school children live.”

If construction of two new middle schools fails to win voter approval, the city will go to the end of the line for state funding, she said.

Lynn’s schools are the fifth largest in the state, with more than 16,000 students. Student population has swelled by 17 percent in the past five years.

Mary Ann Duncan, a Lynn guidance counselor,  said overcrowding is becoming a major issue.

“We want to make sure we have a yes vote on March 14,” she said.

Still, the proposed construction has been controversial. Dozens of Pine Hill residents have expressed their opposition to the potential new middle school near Breeds Pond Reservoir, citing traffic concerns. They have threatened a lawsuit.

Home Depot nails down learning cafe


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

Lynn council costs out middle school plan

By GAYLA CAWLEY

LYNN — Voters will be asked to fund two new schools during a special election on March 14.

The City Council unanimously approved putting a question on the ballot asking voters to approve the $188 million project, which would be for the construction of two schools to serve students in the Pickering Middle School district and West Lynn.

Voters will also see a question asking if the project should be allowed to be exempt from Proposition 2 1/2, which places limits on the amount a community can raise through property taxes.

Voters would be responsible for an estimated $75 million, or $200 annually for the next 25 years on their tax bills. The Massachusetts School Building Authority would reimburse about 60 percent of the funds, or $113 million of the project’s total cost.

Real deal: $7.5M sale in Lynn

In a previous interview with The Item, City Attorney James Lamanna said under the city charter, the council was required to put the question on the ballot. Voter consent is required for any bond in excess of $4 million.

If voters approve the funding, a 652-student school would be built near Breeds Pond Reservoir off Parkland Avenue. A second 1,008 student-school would be constructed on McManus Field on Commercial Street. If voters reject the measure, the city could lose the state money.

Officials in favor of the project, including Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and Superintendent Dr. Catherine C. Latham, spoke about the need for new facilities to keep up with increasing enrollment.

Kennedy said there has been a 17 percent increase in the student population over the past five years. Latham added there are more than 16,000 students in Lynn Public Schools, making it the fifth largest district in the state.

Kennedy said she couldn’t emphasize enough the education inequity occurring at the middle school level, after the new Thurgood Marshall Middle School opened. She said it wasn’t right that students in the Pickering district have to go to a school of inferior quality, or that students in the Breed district are squeezed into a school that is overcrowded.

“The only way the city can bear the $200 million approximated price tag of these two schools is to do this as a debt exclusion,” Kennedy said. “I can’t emphasize enough how much we need to have these modern middle schools in the city of Lynn.”

Latham said if the schools aren’t approved, the district would be in dire need of more classroom space. There might need to be a return to half-day kindergarten, she added.

Donald Castle, president of Protect Our Reservoir, Preserve Pine Grove Cemetery, said the land on Parkland Avenue belongs to Pine Grove Cemetery. The city’s law department became aware of documents from 1893 in the fall suggesting that the land belongs to the cemetery.

“We’re not against the schools,” he said. “We’re against the site.”

Lamanna said it’s the opinion of the law department that the city owns the land, and would prevail in court if challenged.

Following the unanimous vote, city councilors weighed in on the potential schools. City Council President Darren Cyr said building two new schools to replace 100-year-old buildings was about providing students with the same opportunities kids in neighboring communities have.

“If we don’t build these new schools, we could have as many as 40 to 50 kids in a classroom,” Cyr said.

City Councilor Dan Cahill said Lynn can’t be a community of folks who don’t invest in their youth. “If we don’t make this investment, I’m really afraid of what’s going to happen in the city of Lynn,” he said.

In other news, a public hearing was set down for Feb. 14, regarding moving 57 custodians from city employment to the jurisdiction of the school department.

Michael Donovan, the city’s Inspectional Services Department director, said the move was to meet the net school spending requirement. When they worked for the city, he said, their health insurance didn’t work toward net school spending. If the move is passed, their benefits would be going toward that.

Donovan said the custodians are working for inspectional services now, which cleans school buildings. They would just have a different employer in the school department.

“The school will be paying for them if this proposal passes,” Donovan said.


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

 

Eleanor L. Nadeau, 89

LYNN — Mrs. Eleanor L. (Leydon) Nadeau passed peacefully in her sleep at the age of 89 on Jan. 19. She was the loving wife of Albert J. Nadeau for 66 years.

Born and raised in West Lynn, she was a graduate of Classical High where she was a drum majorette. Mrs. Nadeau was employed by General Electric’s payroll department until raising her own family in Saugus. Faith was important to her. She was a longtime member and served as President of the Ladies’ Catholic Benevolent Association, and Saint Margaret’s Sodality. She was also a Girl Scout leader for many years and was in charge of the financials of the family business, A & N Electric Company. Mrs. Nadeau was active in organizing social activities in her Florida community. She was happiest in her kitchen, preparing a meal for her family. One of the highlights of her life was a trip to Ireland, her ancestral homeland.

Besides her husband, she is survived by her son Joseph Nadeau and his wife Patricia of Chelmsford, daughter Karen Flynn and her husband David of Reading, daughter Maureen Bakas and her husband George of Dracut, as well as her beloved and cherished grandchildren, Kelsey, Graham, Christopher and Amanda, who brought overwhelming joy to her life. Eleanor was predeceased by her parents Thomas Leydon and Elizabeth (Durkin) Leydon, her siblings James “Red”, Rose Mahoney, Thomas, John, Theresa, and Virginia Crimp. She also leaves behind many nieces and nephews, whom she adored.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the National Stroke Association or Catholic Charities of the North Shore.

Service information: Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday 4-8 p.m. in BISBEE-PORCELLA Funeral Home, 549 Lincoln Ave., Saugus. Relatives and friends invited. Funeral from the funeral home on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. followed by a funeral Mass in Sacred Heart Church, 571 Boston Street, Lynn at 10:30 a.m. Interment St. Mary’s Cemetery in Lynn.

New schools would cost $200 per household

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — The city council is set to put a question on the ballot in March that asks taxpayers to fund two new schools.

Voters will be asked to pony up an estimated $75 million, or $200 annually for the next 25 years on their tax bills for a pair of schools that would serve students in the Pickering Middle School district and West Lynn.

The school committee voted last week to request the council take the action. Under the city charter, the 11-member council is obligated to put the question on the ballot, according to James Lamanna, the city’s attorney. Voter consent is required for any bond in excess of $4 million. A special election is expected to be held Tuesday, March 14.

If approved, a 652-student school would be built near Breeds Pond Reservoir off Parkland Avenue and a second facility to serve 1,008 students would be constructed on McManus Field on Commercial Street.

Kane’s makes a tasty wager

Officials say the $188 million project is needed to accommodate the growing enrollment. Today, there are about 16,000 students in the Lynn Public Schools. But it has been increasing at a rate of 3 percent, or 500 new students annually, according to Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy.

“Enrollment continues to grow and we are out of space,” said Thomas Iarrobino, secretary of the Lynn School Committee.

“If voters reject the bond, we could be at a point where we were many years ago when we offered only a half-day kindergarten. Public schools are everyone’s right and everyone’s tax responsibility.”

The other factor in play is the contribution from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the quasi-independent state agency that funds school projects. The department would contribute about 60 percent or $113 million of the project’s total cost. But if voters reject the bond authorization, the city stands to lose the state money.

The proposed construction has been controversial. Dozens of Pine Hill residents have expressed their opposition to the potential new middle school near Breeds Pond Reservoir citing traffic concerns. They have threatened a lawsuit.

But last month, the Pickering Middle School Building Committee reaffirmed its decision to locate the school off Parkland Avenue.


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

$100M project will cost water/sewer ratepayers

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — Water and sewer rates are expected to double over the next decade as $100 million is invested in a project to keep waste from flowing into the ocean.

“It’s clear that this project will significantly increase rates,” said Daniel O’Neill, executive director of the Lynn Water and Sewer Commission. “We’ve held rates pretty well and we may be able to do it again next year, but once we start spending on this, the bank wants to get paid.”

The project had its roots in 1976, when the Environmental Protection Agency alleged the commission was in violation of the Clean Water Act by allowing waste from sewer systems to flow into the Atlantic.

3-alarm fire on Chestnut Street

Under an order from the U.S. District Court, the commission is required to end so-called combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in four locations. The CSOs have been identified at Summer Street in West Lynn, two across from North Shore Community College and another at King’s Beach on the Lynn-Swampscott line.

When there’s rain or snow, the waste sometimes exceeds the capacity in the sewer lines and makes its way into the sea,  streets and basements.

Under the terms of the latest amendment to the court decree expected to be approved by the commission early next year, the panel will complete work it began in 2001. The commission spent $35 million that year to clean up King’s Beach with the installation of new storm drains.

In West Lynn, contractors will install new out-flow pipes at Bennett and Alley streets.

“We have been negotiating with state and federal environmental agencies to reduce or eliminate the overflow occurrences,” O’Neill said.

The rate hike won’t kick in next year because they are still in the design phase, he said. The commission plans to do the project in stages with $10 million in costs over the first four years.

Today, Lynn’s water use cost is $9.98 per 100 cubic feet. The average resident spends $699 annually for about 7,000 cubic feet of water. A family of four using 10,000 cubic feet pays about $1,000 a year for water and sewer. Expect that to be $2,000 by 2027.

“We have not had a rate increase in four out of the last six years, and for two years the hike was just 2 percent, or only $15 on a $800 bill,” O’Neill said. “The financial picture looks good here for next 18 months, but when we put a shovel in the ground, ratepayers will have to start paying.”

Ward 6 City Councilor and Commissioner Peter Capano said there’s broad support for the project.

“It needs to be done,” he said. “There was a public hearing on this two years ago, just before Christmas, and about 100 residents showed up.”  

At that session, the public raised concerns about sewage backing up into their basements, he said.

“It’s pretty bad and we must separate the sewer from the storm drain so there aren’t unlawful discharges into the ocean,” Capano said. “The work has been done in the whole city, but they stopped when they got to West Lynn and now they have to complete this project.”


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

The price of education increases by $5M

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNNIt’s going to cost more to build two new schools in the city.

The School Building Committee approved an amended construction plan on Thursday for a pair of schools that would serve students in the Pickering Middle School district and West Lynn at an estimated cost of $188.5 million, up from $183.2 million last summer, a nearly 3 percent increase.

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

While the revised costs for the new Pickering fell to $85.8 million, down from $86.1 million thanks to a more compact design, the West Lynn facility saw its budget rise by nearly 6 percent to $102.7 million, up from $97.1 million.

Making friends in a new language

Lynn Stapleton, the city’s project manager, explained that the cost to build the foundation drove the price estimate up.

Still, there was some good news. Access to the new Pickering from Shoemaker Road has been eliminated, settling a hot button issue in the neighborhood. In addition, only one home, not two, would be taken by eminent domain for the proposed Pickering.

Typically, when a home is taken by a municipality, an independent appraisal is completed and the property owner receives fair market value, plus moving expenses.

“Our intention is not to harm,” said Stapleton.

School building plans have been submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the quasi-independent government agency that funds school projects. If approved, the agency would contribute more than 60 percent of the cost.

Still, to pay for building new schools, voters will be asked to approve a tax hike of more than $160 annually to their real estate tax bill for 25 years.


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

East Lynn Pop Warner D Squad blanked in N.E. title bid

ITEM FILE PHOTO
East Lynn Pop Warner D Squad coach Petey Dow said his team was overmatched Saturday in its game against Hartford. 

By STEVE KRAUSE

There’s not a lot to say about a 40-0 loss.

But East Lynn Pop Warner D Squad coach Petey Dow had plenty to say about the kids who got the team to the New England championship game Saturday at Foley Stadium in Worcester.

“Some of these kids I’ll remember forever,” said Dow after the Hartford Hurricanes defeated his team Saturday morning. “We had a bunch of fun. The kids … the parents … the kids experienced something they might not ever experience again. We gained a lifetime of friendships with the little run we had.”

He says that, but he also knows there’s a chance they just might next year.

“We got beat by a better team,” Dow said. “If we played them 10 times, they’d probably beat us 10 times. We’re not at their level yet. We’re close, but not there.”

One of the problems, said Dow, is that even though the age bracket is roughly 9 through 11, most of Hartford’s players were older, while most of his were younger.

“Next year will be different,” Dow said. “This year, the D squad had only two returning players from last year. Next year we should have about 20.

“What we did this year, with their experience, should have an effect not just on next year, but years to come.”

How dominant was the Hartford team?

“I think we’re the only team all year to get a first down,” said Dow.

The D Squad Bulldogs did not get off to a very promising start. They were 3-5 after their regular season ended, but their 3-1 mark in North Shore Conference bought them a ticket to the playoffs.

Also, said Dow, even though the team lost five games, they were close in many of them.

“We played West Lynn the last game of the season,” said Dow, “and they’d been blowing everyone out. But they only beat us 15-7.”

When the playoffs began, East Lynn turned it on. The Bulldogs defeated Everett, 19-7, which set up a victorious rematch with West Lynn.

The Bulldogs rallied from a 12-0 halftime deficit. With 17 seconds left in the game and down 12-7, quarterback Janathan Andredes called two plays. The first one brought Lynn down to the 1-yard line. With two seconds left on the clock, East Lynn snapped the ball and Andredes ran it in for the score, and East Lynn had a 13-12 win.

“That was probably the most exciting game I’ve ever coached’’said Dow. “Everybody went absolutely nuts afterward.”

After playing six games in three days — the last one the state championship against the Boston Raiders — the Bulldogs were in the New England regionals.

A win would have meant a trip to Disney World for the national championships, but “there was no way we were going to beat those guys. They were just too good. They’re one of the best teams I’ve ever seen at this level.”

Dow said he hopes the squad learned that “you can take any group of kids, talented or not talented, and get them to believe in themselves. If you can do that, you can accomplish anything.

“In the beginning of the season, they were down on themselves, but through practice, and hard work, they came together. And that got them to where they were.”

Aside from  Andredes, Dow wanted to single out Morel Castro, who had three receptions in the game, and got two of the first downs East Lynn earned. Also, cornerback Ernie Panias played well, he said.

“They had some really tall receivers and he’s not so tall. He stayed right with them in pass coverage.”

Powder Puff provides a kick

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Marblehead quarterback Ellie Ronan runs away from Swampscott’s Jaymie Caponigro and Ellie Wright.

By HAROLD RIVERA

The motto should be “it’s more than just a game,” because there are always a few subplots when it’s Powder Puff football time.

That is when high school girls in Lynn, Swampscott and Marblehead, regardless of what sports they play or whether they play any at all, get together for a rivalry that stacks up well against those of their male counterparts.

How green are some of these girls?

“Most of them know nothing about the game,” Lynn English coach and athletic director Dick Newton said. “We have to start from scratch. They catch on quickly because we keep it simple. We teach them how to catch and hand the ball off.

“Sometimes we’ll have a girl that doesn’t play sports come out and play,” Newton said. “Sometimes those girls are the ones that surprise us.”

“We have a few run plays and a few pass plays, nothing too complicated,” said Classical coach Rob Smith. “This is about them getting together to have a good time.”

Smith, who directed the Rams to a 13-0 win over English Sunday, is carrying on a long-standing commitment made by his predecessor, Jay Alicudo. Newton and Alicudo lined up opposite one another in 1976 in one of the most celebrated Thanksgiving games in Lynn history —  a 7-0 Classical win that sent the Rams to the Division 2 Super Bowl (and would have sent the Bulldogs had they won). They became friends over the years, and considered their annual Powder Puff joust special.

When Alicudo died three years ago, Smith, who was his assistant, carried on.

Today, these games are just as much of a staple of the Thanksgiving tradition as Thursday’s main course. In the case of Lynn, it’s strictly for bragging rights —  and a little pizza after the game, courtesy of the coaches.

“We’re all friendly and we all get along,” said Newton. “The rivalry has changed between us. It’s not (strictly) about East Lynn and West Lynn. English and Classical is always a rivalry. You always want to beat the crosstown rival and it’s always an even game.”

Said Smith, “a lot of them know each other. When we’re on the field there’s no friendliness. After the game, it’s a great time. Dick Newton is a great friend of mine. I have a lot of respect for him.”

As meaningful as this is for the two Lynn schools, the game has a deeper significance for Swampscott and Marblehead.

Every year, the host team chooses a charity to which the proceeds from the game are donated. Also this year, at halftime of Saturday’s game (won by Marblehead, 30-17), both teams came together to recognize Julia Moschella, a senior in the life skills program at Swampscott High, who received a loud cheer from the crowd as she ran a play drawn up for her.

“She (Moschella) loved it,” Swampscott coach Joe Tenney said. “It was a great moment. All of the kids chanted her name and everybody went crazy. It was awesome.”

Swampscott’s girls have donated to charities such as My Brother’s Table, the Northeast Animal Shelter and Spalding Rehab Center.

Marblehead has raised money for organizations that include Girls Inc., Healing Abuse Working for Change (HAWC), Julie’s Place and Juvenile Diabetes.

Tenney, who has coached for 11 years, said donating to charity has always been a positive experience for the girls.

“In general, I think they love doing this type of thing,” Tenney said. “They really enjoy giving back and it makes them feel good as a whole. A lot of them are fortunate enough to give something back and they enjoy that.”

Tenney and assistant coach Joe Bennett have built a ritual with their team captains in which the girls will visit the organization they chose and present the check to the charity.

“When we’re the home team, the captains go to the charity and hand them the check,” Tenney said. “To see the girls react to that, seeing that expression on the girls and the charity, it makes it all worth it.

“I think it really makes an impact on them,” he said.

Marblehead, this year’s home team, chose to donate the proceeds from Saturday’s game to the North Shore Rape Crisis Center. The game raised more than $10,000.  

Jacqui Bouchard, who has coached the Marblehead team for 10 years, said members from the North Shore Rape Crisis Center speak at health classes at Marblehead High.

“They come to the health classes and they speak to the girls about different situations,” Bouchard said. “The girls and I thought it would be a good charity to donate to, so that’s what we chose.”

Before Saturday’s game, Bouchard brought the girls together on the field to send a message about rape and sexual assault.

“One in five girls will be raped every year,” Bouchard said. “I had my girls come together in a circle and count from one to five. Every fifth girl sat down and, at first, they had no idea what it was about. I told them that it was about being safe looking out for each other. It really hit home for them.”

Bouchard added that her girls, much like Tenney’s, have the opportunity to raise money for positive causes over the years.

“I think they really enjoy it,” Bouchard said. “Sometimes it’s forgotten that that’s what it’s all about. I think it’s a teaching moment. The girls, they like to give back to the community and they get excited about it.”

Although the two teams are rivals on the field, they have mutual respect for one another just as Classical and English do.

“I know they have the rivalry thing but when it comes down to it, both sides are top-notch,” Tenney said.  “We come together for charities and that’s top-notch.”

Bouchard shared a similar take.

“I tell the girls that it’s a rivalry but all these girls are similar,” Bouchard said. “They walk in similar shoes and live in neighboring towns.”

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.

Dennis W. Stamulis, 74

THE VILLAGES, Fla. Dennis W. Stamulis, age 74, of the Villages in Florida, died Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016. He was the husband of Carol (Morin) Stamulis, and the son of Fotine (Solomos) Stamulis of Lynnfield, and the late Thomas T. Stamulis. Born on Jan. 1, 1942 in Lynn, he was raised and educated in West Lynn. His family moved to Saugus, where he graduated from Saugus High School. Dennis was a former member of St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Lynn. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Lowell Tech and a master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of New Hampshire. He was a retired computer engineer for Cabletron Systems in Rochester, N.H.

In his earlier days, Dennis drove trucks for his father’s trucking firm. He was a member of the Bethlehem Masonic Lodge in Lynn. Dennis loved his music and in his teens had a large record collection. He also played the trombone and guitar. He loved to tinker; first on his 1962 Corvette and then on his various Harleys. Dennis loved animals, having owned an Arabian thoroughbred horse and his trusty german shepard. He enjoyed flying and obtained his solo pilot license. He was also a lifelong gun enthusiast.

Even after retirement, Dennis stayed very active with his own computer consulting business, passing the Royalton, Vt. Police exam as well as becoming their elected constable, and finishing as a court officer in Dover, N.H. During his lifetime he traveled extensively to the Caribbean, Europe and Africa.

Dennis moved to the Villages in Florida from Stratham, N.H. in 2013. He enjoyed trap and skeet shooting, target shooting and playing golf. He was a member of St. Mark’s Greek Orthodox Church in Belleview, Fla.

Besides his wife Carol and his mother Fotine; he is survived by his two sons, Thomas D. Stamulis of Reston, Va. and George D Stamulis of Rye, N.H.; his daughter Denise M. Stamulis of Bradford, Mass.; his four granddaughters Taylor, Jordan, Amalia and Melina, and his former wives Eva (Constant) Soucy and Diane Hayes. He was predeceased by his brother John Peter Stamulis.

Service information: A memorial visitation will be held in the SOLIMINE Funeral Home, 426 Broadway, (Rt. 129), Lynn on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. Interment will be in Pine Grove Cemetery, Lynn, immediately following. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Mark’s Greek Orthodox Church, 9926 SE 36th Ave., Belleview, FL 33420. Directions and guest book at Solimine.com.

Middle school offers a lesson in NIMBY

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

By GAYLA CAWLEY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Thomas Grillo contributed to this report.

Audrey M. Adams

REVEREAudrey Marie Adams (LeBlanc), of Revere, formerly of Lynn and Chocowinity, N.C., passed away Sunday evening Aug. 14 at home with family by her side after a valiant fight with A.L.S.

Audrey grew up and attended school in West Lynn before relocating to North Carolina where she was the owner and operator of Dry Dock Hair Salon in Washington, N.C., and also the manager of Smart Style Hair Salon, of both Washington, N.C., and Portsmouth, N.H.

She was a volunteer EMT with the Chocowinity and Blount Creek’s emergency medical services in North Carolina.

She is preceded in death by her parents Philip and Jennette LeBlanc (Ball), also of Lynn. She was the wife of the late Charles Ray Adams of Washington, N.C. She is survived by her son, SFC Charles Adams; and her sisters and their husbands, Gloria and Ken Tucker of Milton, N.H., and Barbara Kerivan and her husband Paul of Revere, and was a loving aunt to many nieces and nephews, Jessica White of Rye, N.H., Rhonda Kerivan and Bill Janvrin of Chelsea, Justin and Megan Murray of Oregon, Jennette and Towan Lofton of Maryland, Joe and Nicole Kerivan of E. Falmouth, as well as many great nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly.

Service information: Memorial services will be held at the Saugus Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1 Kingdom Way, Saugus, on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the A.L.S. Association–Mass Chapter, In memory of Audrey Marie Adams (LeBlanc), 315 Norwood Park, South Norwood, MA 02062.  Directions and guestbook at Solimine.com.

Eunice P. Shanahan, 96

Mrs. Eunice P. (Warren) Shanahan, 96 years, formerly of West Lynn, died peacefully on Friday, Aug. 5, 2016 in a North Andover nursing home. She was the wife of the late Maurice F. Shanahan.

She was born in Boston, the daughter of the late Leonard J. and Dorothy (Borjeson) Warren. She was raised in Lynn and was a graduate of Lynn Classical High School. She lived in Lynn most of her life.

She was a senior clerk with the Department of Public Health in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She retired in December of 1979 after 40 years of service with the state. Mrs. Shanahan loved animals, especially loved cats and dogs. She was an avid Patriots fan and season ticket holder for 10 years.

She is survived by her daughter, Marie Galinski and her husband Fred of Andover; her grandchildren, Erika Bernardo of Andover, Kate McIlhargery of Bourne, Maura Michael of Maine, Michael Shanahan of Florida, two great grandchildren, Scott Santagate Jr. of Andover, Roman McIlhargery of Bourne; and a sister, Irene Holder of Danvers. She also leaves several nieces and nephews. She is the mother of the late Maurice F. Shanahan III, grandmother of the late David Shanahan and sister of the late Dorothy Coakley and Claire Castro.

Service information: Mrs. Shanahan’s funeral will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016 at 11 a.m. in the SOLIMINE Funeral Home, 426 Broadway (Route 129), Lynn. Burial in Pine Grove Cemetery, Lynn. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. Visiting hours are on Tuesday from 9-11 a.m. prior to her funeral. Donations may be made to the Northeast Animal Shelter, 347 Highland Ave., Salem, MA 01970. Directions and guestbook at Solimine.com.

Aiven Cabral wins Lynn Little League Home Run Derby

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Lynn Shore’s Aiven Cabral holds the winner’s trophy presented by Wyoma president Tony Luciano.

By MIKE ALONGI 

LYNN — In keeping with his great play in the Lynn City Series tournament, Lynn Shore’s Aiven Cabral brought out the big bat to win the Lynn Little League Home Run Derby under the lights at Reinfuss Field on Thursday night.

Cabral hit 10 home runs in the final round and 21 homers in total, edging out East Lynn’s Nolan Mulcahey by three homers, to win the trophy. He hit the clinching home run with over 30 seconds left in his round, leaving the final swings as a show for the fans.

There were seven contestants to start the Derby. Leading off the night was West Lynn’s Ethan Almandarez, who hit seven total homers. The highlight for him was his final shot, which reached a house past the left field fence. Following him was Damian Guadarrama from Lynn Shore. While he was only able to hit four home runs, he did a decent amount of damage outside the lines, putting dents in several cars.

Mulcahey was up next and whacked 11 homers, including a string of four in a row, to almost ensure himself a spot in the final round. He was followed by the only left-handed batter of the night, Pine Hill’s Willie Miller. Miller cracked four homers, as did the next batter, Wyoma’s Jesse Mags. Then, Cabral stepped in and hit 11 homers to give himself a chance at the final.

The final batter was Aaron O’Connor of Wyoma. O’Connor almost gave himself a shot to reach the final by hitting nine homers with three pitches to go, but he couldn’t get enough done in the final swings to sneak into the final.

Mulcahey went first in the final, hitting a few bombs right off the bat. After finishing with seven homers, Cabral stepped in and blasted his way to victory.

It wasn’t just a night to celebrate the best power hitters in Lynn though. It was also a night to honor the Lynn 15-year-old Babe Ruth All-Star team, which won the New England regional championship earlier this week and will be traveling to North Dakota to play in the Babe Ruth World Series. Each player was introduced with his name and the name of the Little League he previously played in.

Parents and friends gathered to watch as Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy presented each player with a certificate of accomplishment at home plate. Lynn Ward 2 Councilor Billy Trahant addressed the team after that, then Lynn native and Boston College women’s hockey goalie (and 2009 Derby champion) Katie Burt gave a pep talk to the players before the festivities got started.

All proceeds from all sales at the concession stand during the Derby went to help fund the Lynn 15s’ trip to North Dakota.

Pitching on display in City Series

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
David Brown pitched excellent in the opening game of the City Series. 

By MIKE ALONGI

LYNN — The star of the night was Pine Hill pitcher David Brown, as he pitched a one-hit shutout through 5 2/3 innings to lift the Reds over the Wyoma Royals, 3-0, in the opening game of the Lynn City Series at Reinfuss Field Monday evening.

“David was unbelievable tonight” said Pine Hill coach Rich Avery. “I couldn’t ask for anything more from our ace, and then we added the hits when we needed to and got the win.”

Pine Hill was able to push a couple of runs across thanks to some timely hits and good baserunning, scoring the first two runs on Wyoma errors. Junell Leon added the third run on an RBI single to left field in the top of the sixth.

Brown dominated throughout the game. He struck out 15 batters, including 11 of the first 15 batters he faced. He was forced from the game with two outs in the bottom of the sixth after hitting the 85-pitch limit. Leon came in to record the final out with a strikeout.

“We ran into a really good pitcher tonight,” said Wyoma coach Jay Fraher. “I thought we played well defensively tonight, but we just couldn’t put the bat on the ball. And we’re usually a really good hitting team.”

Pine Hill will now move on to face West Lynn, which earned a bye, today at 5:30 p.m. at Reinfuss. Wyoma will face East Lynn at 7:30 p.m. with a chance to keep its season alive.

The dominant pitching continued into the second game of the night, as the Lynn Shore BravesAiven Cabral pitched 4 2/3 innings of shutout baseball with 13 strikeouts in a 7-2 victory over the East Lynn Brewers.

“Aiven was fantastic,” said Lynn Shore coach Paul Hartford. “He’s been as consistent as anyone all year, and he’s our best guy. He did everything we needed him to tonight.”

Although Cabral’s night ended early due to the 85-pitch limit, the great pitching didn’t end there. Damian Guadarrama followed with a solid inning of work before Yordy Contreras closed out the game.

Cabral and Contreras each added RBIs on the offensive side, while Guadarrama launched a two-run home run in the top of the fifth to put the game out of reach.

“We scrapped and fought throughout the whole game, but we just ran into a fantastic pitcher tonight,” said East Lynn coach Steve Archer. “Lynn Shore is a really good team and we have to take our hats off to them.”

East Lynn also put forth a solid pitching performance. After the starting pitcher struggled early, Anthony Mateo came in and pitched five innings and gave up three runs on four hits with 14 strikeouts.

On the offensive end, Nolan Mulcahey and Albanis Figueroa each contributed RBI hits.

Lynn Shore will now have a day off to wait before facing its next opponent, the winner of Pine Hill-West Lynn, on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. East Lynn will play Wyoma tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Nahant bats explode in win

PHOTO BY ANNE MARIE TOBIN
Lynnfield’s Patrick D’Amico hits a home run against Nahant during a game at MacArthur Park on Friday.

By ANNE MARIE TOBIN

PEABODY — The Nahant 12-year-old all-stars sent 12 batters to the plate and exploded for eight runs in the fourth inning, then added four more in the fifth to defeat Lynnfield 14-3 at MacArthur Park.

Jake Desmarais had a big day batting in the nine slot, going 3-for-4 (double) with four RBI, while Nahant starter Drew Botta came within one batter of going the distance. He allowed two earned runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and did not walk a batter. He helped his cause with an RBI triple in the fourth inning.

“Drew was fantastic,” Nahant manager Adolph Graciale said. “He gave it a great effort and our veteran players stepped up tonight.”

Lynnfield starter Luke Martinho breezed through the first inning, needing only 11 pitches to retire the side. Aidan Burke, Martinho and Patrick D’Amico (RBI) opened the bottom of the inning with consecutive singles to take a 1-0 lead.  

In the second, Nahant took advantage of a Lynnfield error to tie the game, then took the lead on an RBI single by Desmarais.

Lynnfield regained the lead with solo runs in the second and third. Nick Boustris opened the second with a double and scored on Chase Carney’s double. In the third, D’Amico homered to center to give Lynnfield a 3-2 lead. Tommy Pascuccio followed with a long triple to right, but Botta got out of the inning with a strikeout.  

After that, Botta retired eight of the next nine batters to seal the win. Billy Conigliaro came on in the relief to retire the final batter of the game, thanks to third baseman Sam Reenstierna, who made a back-peddling catch on the grass to end the game.

“We threw it around and made some errors that cost us,” Lynnfield manager Tony Martinho said.  “We knew they were a tough, feisty team that wouldn’t quit. He (Botta) pounded the strike zone and I think he threw harder in the last three innings than the first three.”

Lynnfield must now fight its way through the losers’ bracket and will take on either West Lynn or Peabody Blue Thursday at Swampscott, while Nahant will play Pine Hill on Friday, July 8 (TBD).

 

Faraca spins no-no for Peabody West

PHOTO BY ANNE MARIE TOBIN
Peabody Western pitcher Chris Faraca struck out all 15 batters he faced in a shutout win over West Lynn on Tuesday.

By ANNE MARIE TOBIN

PEABODY — If Tuesday night’s game between Peabody Western and West Lynn is any indication of what’s to come in this year’s District 16 Little League tournament, then something special may be brewing for West.

Pitcher Chris Faraca defied the odds. He threw a no-hitter, striking out every one of the 15 batters he faced in Peabody’s mercy rule-shortened 12-0 win at Cy Tenney Field. Faraca threw only 61 pitches in a game that lasted all of 55 minutes.

Only four times did West Lynn get its bats on the ball (all foul), the first being No. 9 hitter Yassin Bakhovch in the bottom of the third inning.

“He’s a special player, the only one like him in the tournament,” West manager Gary Lynch said.  “He was ramped up for this game and pitched a tremendous game, but I’m not surprised.”

Technically, the game was not a perfect game as West Lynn reliever Manny Percel reached on a dropped third strike in the fourth inning.  He stole second, then, after Peabody catcher threw out Evan Pheun at first on another dropped third strike, Percel headed home and slid home. Unfortunately for West Lynn, the run was nullified when the umpire called interference on Pheun, to end the inning.

Faraca got all the run support he needed in the top of the first. Zach Fisher walked and scored on an infield ground out by Jager Ingham.

Peabody made it 5-0 in the top of the third. Tyler Fawcett walked. Shawn Quintal moved him to second with a single, then both scored on a blast to right by Jeff Roach, the No. 9 hitter, making it 4-0.  Fisher walked and scored on a double to left by Faraca.

“Shawn Quintal’s single was a big two-strike base hit to keep the rally alive,” Lynch said.  “Then Jeff Roach, the next batter hits that home run and that really picked us up.  We capitalized on their errors as well.”

Roach drove in another run in the third with an infield hit that scored catcher Harry Lynch, who led off the inning with a walk.  With two outs, Nick Houvardas walked and scored on a throwing error at first with Roach also scoring on the same play to make it 8-0.  

Peabody kept it up with four unearned more runs in the fifth.  After Faraca struck out the side for  the fifth time, the game was in the books.  

“We have to keep our heads up as we still have at least one more game to be played,” West Lynn manager Oliver Gravely said.  “You can’t win any game with the kinds of errors we made tonight.  The bottom line is some tough calls went against us, but their pitcher was great, he was really good tonight.”

For Lynch, there is no secret to what Peabody needs to do to be successful.

“We’ll go as Chris goes, that’s what it amounts to,” he said.  “We will take it one day, one game at a time, but with Chris and Dom (Annesse), we have as good a chance as anyone as it all comes down to pitching.”

Police looking into Lynn assault

BY GAYLA CAWLEY

LYNN — A 30-year-old Lynn man was assaulted Friday night by four youths on bicycles.

The victim was visiting a friend on the front porch on Whittier Street when he saw the kids go by him on bicycles. The group, described as darker skinned males wearing hoodies between their teens and early 20’s, jumped off the bikes and started punching the man, Lynn Police Lt. Rick Donnelly said.

The victim fought back, but was overpowered. He screamed for help and neighbors looked out their windows, yelling at the group to stop and threatened to call police. The group took off after neighbors appeared, but stole the man’s sneaker, Donnelly said.

Police cruisers stopped a group of four kids matching the description minutes later in West Lynn. The victim identified one of them. A 16-year-old male juvenile, whose name was not released, was arrested and charged with assault with intent to rob, Donnelly said.

The rest of the group was not identified by the victim and not arrested. The incident is still under investigation. Police are hoping to get some surveillance video from houses in the area where the assault took place, Donnelly said.

The victim was treated by EMS workers for scratches and abrasions to his face and forehead, Donnelly said.


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

Little league softball tourney set to begin

PHOTO BY ANN MARIE TOBIN
Lynn’s Sophia LeBert will look to be a key cog in the Wyoma softball team’s success in the upcoming District 16 tournament next week.

By NATALIE DURAZO

Last year was a successful one for the Wyoma Little League softball all-stars. They won the District 16 championship and made it all the way through the regionals before falling to eventual state runner-up Woburn.

Manager Jay Newhall hopes to duplicate that success this year, beginning Monday when the tournament begins with games in Saugus and Peabody.

There are six teams in this year’s tournament: Wyoma, a combine of East Lynn/West Lynn/Pine Hill, Saugus, Marblehead, Salem and Peabody. Among the towns not represented in District 16 is Swampscott.

According to tournament director Mike Pickering, Swampscott — which has won several district titles over the years — was not able to field a team.

The mainstay from last year’s Wyoma team, pitcher Abby Fila, is gone, “and she’s going to be difficult to replace,” Newhall said. He’s hoping Lily Newhall can pick up the slack.

“However,” he said, “we still have the bats we had last year. We’ve been practicing a lot, and as long as we get the girls in the right positions, we’ll have a chance.”

Newhall will count on the experience the likes of Riley Mannion, Sophia LeBert, Andrea Brazell, Keri Clougherty and Amanda Tobin can provide.

“I tell the girls the only way you can create good memories is to win,” he said, “so why not win and create very good memories.

“I think we should have a solid team,” he said. “We’re hitting the ball in practice. But you know how it is. They’re all kids. We have to go in hoping we keep the mistakes at a minimum and that we hit the ball.

The East Lynn combine will be at Saugus Monday (5:30 p.m.), while Salem will go to Peabody (5:45 p.m.). Wyoma and Marblehead drew the byes. Marblehead will host the East Lynn/Saugus winner Wednesday at 5:45 p.m., while the Salem/Peabody winner will travel to Wyoma Tuesday, also at 5:45 p.m.

East Lynn, under the direction of former Classical head varsity coach Chris Warren, brings back seven starters from last year’s team. Among them is his daughter, Brooke, who is slated to be the team’s No. 1 pitcher.

“She’s been working really hard to prepare for this tournament, practicing anytime she has,” Warren said.

In last year’s tournament, East Lynn was eliminated in a close loss to Saugus, and Warren says it is itching to get back and try again.

“The girls are practicing and working hard every day, yes we want to win because winning is always a good thing,” he said. “But all we can hope for is that they enjoy themselves too and that is what this tournament is really about.”

Saugus knows what it is in store for when it faces East Lynn.

“They were tough last year, and we expect them to be tough again this year,” said manager Steve Almquist.

Saugus is led by four returning players, including Leah Ventre, who will serve as the No. 1 pitcher after switching from shortstop last year. Kyra Jones, Madison Niles and Hannah O’Brien are the three others returning.

Inexperience will be a factor for Saugus this year, but Almquist has no doubt his girls will be prepared and ready to compete.

“The girls are excited, we are competitive, and we are fast so if we play smart we will do well,” he said.

Salem had an early exit last year, winning one and losing two, but is looking for better results this time around. It three returning players from the previous season, and manager Dana Hutchinson says the fun will be the challenge of working so many inexperienced players into the lineup.

“We feel like we are ready, and the girls are excited,” Hutchinson said.

What is Dan Cahill’s mandate?

No one is assessing Dan Cahill’s microcosmic election victory on Tuesday with more humor than the victor himself.

Speaking at a state transportation hearing a week ago, Cahill said he needed “to stay alive and vote for myself” to ensure his Tuesday election victory as the sole candidate on the ballot.

A sense of humor is one of the City Council president’s attributes. But he tempered his victory in the election for East Lynn state representative with genuine gratitude for the 320 votes he received, out of 331 voters who cast ballots.

Cahill faces no fall election challengers unless someone decides to run a long-shot write-in candidacy against him. With his win firmly cemented, he follows in state Rep. Brendan Crighton’s footsteps as a young councilor making the jump to the Legislature.

After winning a special election to represent West Lynn and Nahant in 2014, Crighton kept his councilor-at-large seat even as he became familiar with his future legislative responsibilities. His dual diligence paid off with council passage of key zoning changes spearheaded by Crighton.

Cahill has been a steady councilor and council president. He’s an elected official with strong views who restrains himself from grandstanding on local issues or forwarding proposals not meant to be addressed on the municipal level.

As council president, he has brought a steady hand to the gavel, guiding colleagues through the council agenda. He gives people who ask to be heard in the council chamber a chance to air their opinions.

He enjoys consistent rapport with Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and, more importantly, he has a working relationship with Crighton and state Sen. Thomas M. McGee, the dean of a Lynn legislative delegation that includes state Reps. Lori Ehrlich and Donald Wong.

Adding Cahill to the delegation gives it an opportunity to amplify its ability to represent Lynn’s interests at the state level. McGee comes from an earlier, rougher political era than the social media-hued one Cahill and Crighton have succeeded in. Probably the most well-versed transportation authority in the Legislature, McGee has a big-picture view of the Bay State’s needs and how Lynn fits into those priorities.

Crighton is carving out a niche for himself in the Legislature and gaining the experience to be an effective representative. Couple Cahill with the two, and Lynn has a trio of elected officials keenly aware of the city’s interests and skilled in advocating for state assistance for the city.

Their combined talents are available at a special time in Lynn when resources at all levels of government are being brought to bear to unlock the city’s economic potential. As he prioritizes his legislative goals, Cahill can include his new role as the man who will help insert a key into that lock and turn it.

We urge Cahill to remain on the council. Nothing in the City Charter precludes him from holding two offices and his leadership as council president is sure to be enhanced by his legislative experience.

A nice touch of Americana

By STEVE KRAUSE

 

Everywhere you look, baseball is losing traction as America’s pastime.

It no longer seems to be the top sport of choice among young people. Maybe this is because there’s too much standing around and not enough action. Perhaps it’s because Major League Baseball markets the most important component of the summer game — the World Series — by playing it on chilly autumn nights.

What was once a nice, crisp under-three-hour game now takes upwards of four hours, thanks in part to television, and thanks to pitchers who are afraid to throw the ball over the plate and hitters who are afraid to swing the bat. And let’s not even get into how many times batters step in and out of the box.

But bless baseball. It revels in its archaic reputation. It is steeped in tradition. Where other sports start their seasons simply by playing, baseball has extensively-staged ceremonies that harken back to a time when the sport was a celebration of new beginnings, both for itself and the American rhythm of life.

And that brings us to today. It is opening day for three of Lynn’s five Little Leagues, Pine Hill, Wyoma and West Lynn (the other two had theirs last week), as well as Saugus National. And just like the men they want to emulate, Little Leagues do it up right for their opening day. All the kids gather in their newly-distributed, nice, clean uniforms and their brand-new hats and they form a parade from a designated spot to their fields. Perhaps they’re escorted by a police cruiser, or a firetruck. Whatever, for that brief moment, on what is usually a chilly April morning, the streets, and our hearts, are theirs.

What defines Americana more than seeing eight-year-old kids whose uniforms look about six sizes too big, and whose hats are falling down over their eyes, and whose gloves look about as big on them as the brontosaurus steak Fred Flintstone got at the car hop?

Little Leagues take cues from the Major Leaguers in every way. The bunting is festooned all over the outfield fences, there are usually politicians there, and there’s bound to be a speech or two.

This proves to a difficult trick in Lynn, as two of the three leagues have scheduled their festivities for 9 a.m., with West Lynn’s at 10. The only other time city officials have to make such choices on where to go is on July 4, when just about every neighborhood has a horribles parade.

It’s also a day to revel in America, as every festivity will include the national anthem and/or a salute to the flag.

Finally, Little League opening day is a time to celebrate all that Little League was originally intended to be: kids getting together, having fun, and learning a little bit about a sport that was, when it was founded in 1939 in Williamsport, PA, an indelible part of American culture. The accent was on participating, coaching, and teaching by example.

These days, youth sports go year-round. There are just too many organizations whose aims seem to be to weed out the exceptional kids and focus on them. But to me, Little League is more about the kids who are in there learning, swinging the bat and striking out a few times and scuffing their feet in the dirt as they had back to the dugout, with their heads hanging, just like the big leaguers do. There will always be a place for the naturals. The rest of the kids need attention and validation too, and the good thing about Little League is that until the different communities select their all-star teams and play for a shot at the World Series, those other kids  get their chance to compete against the so-called elite and see how they stack up. The organization discourages “super teams.” This isn’t to see there aren’t any, but stacking them involves a tremendous amount of creative planning, and certainly not worth the effort of anyone save deranged parents who use Little League and other youth sports to compensate for failed childhood athletic endeavors.

So congratulations to all the small-sized kids with the large-sized unis; and to all the kids who have coerced their parents to go out and spend untold money on baseball cleats, batting gloves and other pieces of equipment that allow them, for the brief time they wear it, to imagine that they’re David Ortiz or Dustin Pedroia. Because that’s what it’s all about.

Rep. and councilor team up for Barry Park

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Kids hang out at the damaged concrete bleachers at Barry Park in Lynn.

BY THOR JOURGENSEN

LYNNState Rep. Brendan Crighton and Ward 7 City Councilor Jay Walsh are renewing a push to remove Barry Park’s bleachers as a first step to restoring the park.

Crighton, a Democrat who represents West Lynn and Nahant on Beacon Hill, has filed a budget request for $200,000 for the renovations, starting with the removal of the concrete bleachers.

“They are a source of blight separating the neighborhood from the park,” he said.

The seats deteriorating condition and location are a frequent target for graffiti. The vandalism prompted former councilor Rick Ford before he left office to call for their demolition.

Walsh said he is carrying on that fight and vowed there is support among residents to replace the seats with a low, tree-lined hill providing shade and a buffer between the park and nearby homes.

“The neighbors take it upon themselves to clean the graffiti, but the bleachers have become a problem,” Walsh said.

Crighton’s proposed amendments to the state budget under debate for the spending year that begins on July 1 includes another $200,000 to repair the broken median fence on the Carroll Parkway.

From the Nahant Rotary to the Lynnway, the parkway with its pedestrian overpass linking the North Shore Community College campus to Heritage State Park is divided by the fence on a grassy strip of land.

Last year, Crighton supported efforts to repair the fence, citing its appearance.

“It looks even worse than last year,” he said.

He also offered an amendment to spend $25,000 to pay for state inspectors to check Breeds Pond and Walden Pond dams for structural integrity. The earth dams border local water reservoirs and Walsh said they receive routine maintenance, including trimming trees before their roots take hold and erode the dam slopes.

State Rep. Lori  Ehrlich (D-Marblehead) and Crighton co-sponsored amendments to allocate $50,000 in the state budget to clear algae from Kings and Long Beach. The algae prompts odor complaints on hot summer days.

The pair also proposed spending $90,000 from the state budget to support the Russian Community Association of Massachusetts. The organization is one of several immigrant and refugee assistance groups on Wheeler Street where the New American Center is located.

Crighton also filed another $90,000 amendment to assist the E-Team Machinist training program praised by Gov. Baker and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton.


Thor Jourgensen can be reached at tjourgensen@itemlive.com

Water and Sewer needs to map out CSO solution

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Nick Costantino of the Lynn Water & Sewer Commission clears dirt away from a 60 to 80 year old service box in front of 19 Tucker Street in Lynn.

It’s great news for ratepayers that the Lynn Water & Sewer Commission (LWSC) is planning to hold the line on increasing bills this year.

A family of four pays $1,000 for water and sewer service, making Lynn less expensive than the amount paid by ratepayers in Massachusetts Water Resources Authority communities.

But before everyone turns the tap and lifts a glass to salute everyone in LWSC headquarters on Parkland Avenue, it might be a good idea to look to the horizon where the specter of combined sewer overflow costs continue to trouble the commission.

For more than 20 years, the commission has run hot and cold on the need to eliminate partially treated wastewater discharges into the ocean. In the 1990s, millions were spent on burying a pipe network under our streets designed to reduce the amount of rainwater surging through the sewerage system and overwhelming the Commercial Street treatment complex with wastewater.

In 2004, the commission fired contractor USFilter Corp. and entered into a 10-year period of inactivity regarding combined sewer overflow (CSO). In 2013, commissioners started paying attention again to the overflow problem with various arguments for and against the necessity for more CSO work.

One argument insisted the real problem is unresolved West Lynn flooding, especially around Bennett Street. Another argument centered on concerns about federal environmental officials taking a close look at Lynn CSO efforts and concluding that the city must further reduce, even end ocean discharges.

At stake in these arguments is the scope of CSO. In other words, how much of the ratepayers’ money must be spent on solving the problem? Before he left the commission, Ward 1 City Councilor Wayne Lozzi argued that a small-scale project could solve the problem. But the latest number to circulate for a CSO solution is $130 million.

That’s a big number and how it translates into rate increases remains to be seen. A big factor in cost could be the federal timetable for reducing or ending ocean discharges. The commissioners, including two councilors and three mayoral appointees, must work with top LWSC executives to get a definitive answer from federal officials and determine the best way to fix the problem.

Once they have the answers, the commissioners should hold a hearing in City Hall and give the public a clear and informative look at how much the CSO solution will cost and detail any remedial project. It’s time to come up with a solution.

Stars shine in Lynn Elementary All-Star Game

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Shoemaker’s Riley Zukas tries to dribble around the outstretched arms of Matty Laurino.

Lynn’s best and brightest young student-athletes took to the court one last time on Saturday for the Lynn Elementary Basketball Tournament All-Star Games. The event, now in its third year, also includes free throw competitions, an Around the World contest for the girls and a 3-point shootout for the boys. The preliminary rounds of each contest pit players from their respective squads against each other, with the winner from each team going head-to-head in the final round. The girls’ Around the World competition was up first, and the first trophy of the day was awarded to Tracy’s Nasla Pujols, representing the West Lynn squad. The West was able to make it a clean sweep when Ford’s Teanna Nguon took the girls’ free throw contest. In the boys’ free throw, Lynn WoodsBrady Warren was able to break the West Lynn streak by taking home the trophy. Warren’s East Lynn teammate, Jessie Ofurie (Hood School) won the 3-point shootout.

The girls’ All-Star Game had East Lynn taking on the West in a contest that went right down to the wire. After an offense-filled first half, defense took over in the second. The two well-rounded teams played with intensity and determination. East Lynn trailed by two points going into the final minute, and made some great plays to try and send the game into an extra frame, but in the end, West Lynn was able to hold on for the 21-19 victory. Lincoln-Thomson‘s Jaivalize Soto had a game-high eight points for West Lynn and was named the team’s MVP. Pujols added four points in the win. Callahan’s Azzure Heing, Cobbet’s Vanessa So and Sewell-Anderson’s Abby Holloway had a basket apiece for the West. Sisson’s Yvanna Masse was named the MVP for the East behind her team-high six points. Masse’s Sisson teammate, Kylie Mills, chipped in with four points. Lynn Woods’ Brynn Bullock, Aborn’s Eliza Correnti and Shoemaker’s Allie Fritz were also among the scorers for East Lynn.

The boys’ game saw the highly talented West Lynn squad (they had four returning all-stars from last year) break out to an early lead that they never gave up, as they prevailed, 58-39. Washington’s Rafael Zayas scored a game-high 17 points, including three 3-pointers, and was awarded West Lynn MVP honors. Cobbet’s Jonelle Aguerro and Sewell-Anderson’s David Brown had nine points each for the West, with Tracy’s Lionel Rivera (last year’s West Lynn MVP) chipping in six. East Lynn was paced by MVP Marquis L’Italien‘s 10 points. His Lynn Woods teammate Brady Warren added nine for the East. Brickett’s Kyle Bradely Kamendis and Sisson’s Manny Soto added four points apiece.

Comfort, food for 30 years

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Rick Ford, along with his wife Tina, has owned the Little River Inn on Boston Street in Lynn since 1986, when the couple were newlyweds.

BY THOR JOURGENSEN 

LYNN — Tina Ford tastes her first cup of coffee at 4 a.m. after she opens the Little River Inn for breakfast.

Thursday was no different as Ford and her husband, Rick, celebrated 30 years in business.

With its signature stars and stripes painted on the front wall facing Boston Street and the “cash only” sign on the front door, the inn is a West Lynn fixture that is part eatery, part neighborhood gathering spot and part museum.

“The food’s good and the people are great,” said Ernie Fratalia, a Lynn resident.

Fratalia has eaten breakfast at the inn’s counter for almost as long as the Fords have been serving bacon, eggs and pancakes. His favorite morning meal is hash and eggs but he has eaten “everything on the menu.”

Tina Ford said her husband’s childhood breakfast fare of bacon and eggs partly motivated him to open the lodge in 1986. Rick Ford said he talked Zigmond Szczawinski into letting him transform a first-floor apartment on Boston Street into a restaurant with the help of Ford’s late brother, Thomas, and friend Ernie Timpani.

“I said he was crazy,” Tina Ford recalled.

The newly-married couple pitched in to balance day jobs and the responsibility of raising children while rising before dawn to fire up the inn’s grill and start the coffee pot. The restaurant bears the former name for Barry Park and a trickle of a waterway that Ford said once flowed between the Saugus River and Sluice Pond.

A photograph of baseball fans packed into the park hangs on a wall in one corner surrounded by historic photographs of West Lynn and ones of Ford, including a photograph of the former city councilor with boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

“I saw him at the airport in Chicago and said, ‘Hey champ, how about a photo?’” Ford recalled.

Although loyal customers like Fratalia fill the inn’s counter stools and booths on weekday mornings, Tina Ford said the restaurant is busier on Saturday and Sunday. Children, even grandchildren, of the Fords’ original customers order breakfast on weekends.

Ford doesn’t know if one of her three children is interested in eventually running the inn. But she is in no hurry to stop having a quiet cup of early morning coffee before she greets a new day’s customers.

“We’re thankful for our restaurant family, we couldn’t ask for better,” she said.


 

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