Mayor James J. Fiorentini has signed a Tax Increment Financing agreement with Southwick Clothing to secure the company’s future in Haverhill. The agreement, made possible with the support of the state’s Economic Development Incentive Program, will save 468 manufacturing jobs, allow the company to expand at a larger location, and add up to 70 more jobs.
This deal allows Southwick to spread out the impact of property assessment increases in exchange for jobs and other factors. About 80 percent of the clothing made at the plant has the Brooks Brothers label; the rest have the Southwick label. According to the mayor, the TIF agreement “enables us to see a long-term commitment to manufacturing by Southwick in the city, as well as the creation of new manufacturing jobs, a good portion of which will be targeted to Haverhill residents. This type of investment by Southwick is a strong statement that ‘made in the USA’ still matters. Brooks Brothers Suits will continue to be made in Haverhill.”
Governor Deval Patrick recently named Cheryl Lussier Poppe of Salem as superintendent of the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home. Poppe is the first woman to lead the home in its 132-year history. She retired from the Massachusetts National Guard with the rank of colonel in 2008 after 30 years of service. Since then, she has worked for the state Department of Veterans’ Services. She has served as acting superintendent of the home since April. “I’m just deeply honored to be appointed to serve veterans in this role,” Poppe said. The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home includes the 174-bed Lawrence F. Quigley Memorial Long Term Care Facility and dormitories that house up to 305 veterans. It formerly had an outpatient clinic that closed in January 2013. Poppe succeeds Michael Resca, who retired last winter.
The Wakefield Chamber of Commerce recently renamed itself the Wakefield-Lynnfield Chamber of Commerce, formally making it a two-town organization. Lynnfield until now has not had its own chamber. The name change reflects the chamber’s “changing demographics and increasing membership from Lynnfield businesses,” Suzanne Bowering and Cheryl Carroll, the co-presidents of the chamber, said in a statement. “The change of name not only links the two communities, it also provides extensive networking opportunities for local businesses in both towns. Lynnfield businesses now have the opportunity to become active in, and benefit from, the Wakefield Chamber’s 80-plus years of service and commitment to the business community.” The chamber also looks forward to “working with the entire Lynnfield community in sponsoring events and opportunties for residents and businesses,” Bowering and Carroll said.
The Somerville Board of Assessors has released property assessments for fiscal year 2015, more than a month earlier than previous years. Property owners usually receive notice of their new assessed values in late December or early January, but this year, the values were released on Nov. 19 to give residents and property owners extra time to review the values and request changes, the city said in a statement. Formal appeals will be accepted from Jan. 2 to Feb. 2, and this year for the first time, owners may also request changes until Dec. 9. The assessments for fiscal year 2015 are available at all three Somerville public libraries, the assessor’s office at City Hall, and online at somervillema.gov/AssessedValues. For more information, call 617-625-6600, ext. 3100, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The state’s Housing Appeals Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing beginning Dec. 11 to determine whether the town of Stoneham has met the state’s minimum thresholds for affordable housing. The hearing will determine the fate of John M. Corcoran & Co.’s proposal to build a 264-unit apartment complex at Weiss Farm on Franklin Street under Chapter 40B, the state’s affordable housing law. Under the plan submitted by Corcoran, 25 percent of the units would be set aside for tenants of low to moderate means, in accordance with the state’s affordable housing regulations. If the Housing Appeals Committee determines that the town has failed to meet the minimum threshold for affordable housing, the town’s power to impose conditions on Corcoran’s development would be limited. Under state law, a community can be exempt from 40B projects if at least 10 percent of its housing stock meets the state’s criteria for affordable housing, the most commonly used benchmark, or by having at least 1.5 percent of its developable land devoted to affordable housing. In Stoneham, 5.3 percent of the housing stock is considered affordable. However, the town’s Board of Appeals this summer asserted that Stoneham’s inventory of affordable housing meets Chapter 40B’s threshold based on land use. The developer contested the board’s decision, and after reviewing the arguments, the Department of Housing and Community Development rejected the town’s affordability assertion. The town has appealed that finding to the Housing Appeals Committee.
Ipswich resident Robert K. Weatherall was recently honored with a bronze plaque mounted on a granite block at Nichols Field, recognizing his years of volunteer service at the property, where he served as land steward. The town acquired Nichols Field — a land conservation project partnership with Essex County Greenbelt Association, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and private donors — in 2000. The 15 acres of open fields and woods is adjacent to the Ipswich River. Weatherall, 83, served as steward from the start until recent years, when he retired for age and health reasons. Weatherall was the honored guest at a recent ceremony at the field. “We have big shoes to fill, and we will do our best to follow in your footsteps, Mr. Weatherall,” said Beth O’Connor, open space stewardship coordinator for the town. “Thank you from the town of Ipswich, and all who come to enjoy this open space treasure at Nichols Field.”
After two hours of discussion, Special Town Meeting in Chelmsford last Monday approved the funding of $141,350 in school bills that were incurred last fiscal year but went unpaid. However, a larger school spending item that includes $729,091 to close the current deficit was postponed. Review of the district’s finances by Town Meeting members came just days after the Chelmsford Federation of Teachers, Local 3569, took a vote of no-confidence in Superintendent Frank Tiano, citing concerns about the current financial problems facing the district. The Nov. 13 voice vote was unanimous, according to a letter sent to the Chelmsford School Committee by Local 3569’s president, Ben Cole, and other union leaders. Cole, reached by telephone Tuesday, said about 200 of the 400 workers represented by the union — paraprofessionals, teachers, and secretaries — were present at the meeting. The vote followed the release of an audit report that uncovered invoices totaling $878,340 for goods and services that were received last fiscal year but charged to this fiscal year’s appropriation. Melanson Heath, the Andover-based auditing firm that has been examining the district’s finances, said the deficit “is caused by many factors, but the most significant is the growth of special education contractural services.” As a result of the school department’s fiscal woes, three administrators were laid off and plans to implement full-day kindergarten have been postponed indefinitely.
Marblehead Town Planner Rebecca Cutting and the Fort Sewall Committee are laying the groundwork for a plan that would restore the popular landmark, originally built in 1644. Cutting recently delivered the results of a Massachusetts Historical Commission-funded study of the fort’s condition to the Board of Selectmen, and has applied for a $200,000 federal grant toward the cost of historical restoration, which will cost an estimated $435,000, Cutting said. The committee, meanwhile, is studying additional changes at the site, including the installation of a replica cannon and steps to make the site accessible to the public. Cutting said she, town officials, and the committee are still considering ways to pay for the remainder of the project if the town receives the grant.
More than 150 people — including local and state officials — turned out for the Nov. 14 groundbreaking of the Beauport Hotel Gloucester, 55 Commercial St. The hotel, which is expected to bring 250 hospitality jobs to the Cape Ann area, will be built on the site of a former Birdseye food packaging plant. The Beauport will include 96 guest rooms, an executive suite, a bridal suite, meeting rooms with audio-visual equipment, and two ballrooms, according to the developers, New Balance owner Jim Davis and Cruiseport Gloucester’s Sheree Zizik of Beauport Gloucester LLC. The hotel, expected to cost between $20 million and $25 million, is scheduled to open in the spring of 2016.
With the help of federal funds, a Peabody group plans to expand its efforts to combat the use of drugs and alcohol by young people. The Healthy Peabody Collaborative
was allotted $625,000 to support its work over the next five years. The grant was among 680 awarded nationwide by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The funds were awarded through the Drug-Free Communities Support Program, which assists with local efforts to prevent youth substance abuse. The six-year-old Healthy Peabody Collaborative will use its award for its ongoing work to address under-age use of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs. “Research shows that prevention is the most effective tool we have to reduce the terrible consequences associated with drug use among young people,” Sara Grinnell, the coalition’s director, said in a prepared statement. “This new funding will allow the Healthy Peabody Collaborative to help place more young people on the path toward success and enable them to live healthier and safer lives.”
The search is on for a new principal for the Dr. Elmer S. Bagnall School in Groveland, part of the Pentucket Regional School District. Superintendent Jeffrey Mulqueen said he anticipated that the new principal will begin the job on July 1, 2015. Longtime Bagnall principal Elaine Champion, who has been working as a special assistant to the superintendent since August, has announced her intent to retire effective Dec. 31, 2015. Michael Smith, director of arts and academic instruction for the district, has been serving as interim principal at Bagnall. Earlier this year, Bagnall was designated an Innovation School for Design & Engineering by the state’s Executive Office of Education and is implementing a STEAM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) for approximately 570 students in grades prekindergarten to 6. In addition, districtwide programs for students who have learning and emotional disabilities are centralized at the school.
Medford is getting some help from the state for a project honoring the victims of the 2012 Boston Marathon bombings. The Executive Office of Environmental Affairs recently awarded the city a $299,350 grant to be used toward the cost of creating the Krystle Campbell Peace Garden. The garden, planned in front of the senior center in Medford Square, is being named for the 29-year-old Medford High School graduate and Arlington resident who was among four people killed in the bombings and their aftermath. The city has completed 75 percent of the design plans for the garden, which will include a central seating area focused on a fountain, and several interpretive elements representing the four individuals who died. It also will include a seat wall, fencing, lighting, trees, and other landscaping, a flagpole, and walkways. The park’s intended theme is to inspire people to embrace humanity, diversity, and inclusion. The new grant is from the state’s Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities program. The remaining costs of the estimated $1.09 million project will be covered by $475,000 in federal funds; a $100,000 grant from the Cummings Foundation; $167,570 from linkage fees charged by the city to developers; and $50,000 in private donations.
The Trustees of Reservations have completed the final phase of its Castle Hill Grand Allée Restoration, a landscape preservation project that started in 2012 at the Crane Estate in Ipswich. The final phase included restoration of the casino complex, a former pool and entertainment space located on the allée, a half-mile grass lawn framed by statues and trees on both sides and rolling out to the sea. About 100 years after the original installation, the allée was overgrown and weather-beaten, and its mature trees had outgrown the designer’s vision. The restoration included the use of many environmentally sustainable techniques.
The Reading Public Library is now open in its temporary location at 80 General Way. The site features just-released books and movies for all ages; free wireless service; children’s and reference librarians to help patrons with questions and recommendations; and a brightly lit space to meet up with friends or browse through newspapers and magazines. The temporary location has been set up while work at the library building on Middlesex Avenue is completed. The library will undergo a major renovation that is expected to take about a year and a half to complete. The library will be opened in its temporary location from 2 to 5 p.m. Sundays; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays; 1 to 9 p.m. Thursdays; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information regarding the renovation, visit readingpl.org.
The state attorney general’s office and New Ventures Associates, the Everett company that owns the Crow Lane landfill in Newburyport, have come to an agreement regarding completion of repairs and other work at the landfill. Under the agreement, approved by Suffolk Superior Court earlier this month, New Ventures is to install a digital gas flow and flare temperature recorder and controller to operate the flare system, as previously recommended by Blue Granite, the landfill owner’s contractor. The flare system burns and destroys the compounds in landfill gas. The court order also requires New Ventures to submit to state environmental officials for their approval a scope of work for inspecting and balancing the landfill gas control system within 35 days of the Nov. 5 court order. In addition, New Ventures must grant state environmental officials access to the controller so they may acquire its recorded data.
Everett plans major renovations to Sacramone Park with the help of a recently awarded $400,000 state grant. The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs awarded the funding through its Parklands Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities program. The park, near Santilli Circle, is the only park of its size in the Village neighborhood and has one of the few Little League baseball facilities in the city, making it one of the most heavily used spaces in Everett, according to James Errickson, the city’s planning director. The 2.9-acre park includes a large natural grass recreational field that is used for Little League and Pop Warner football. It also has a tot lot, two basketball courts, a bocce court, and a concession building. The project calls for upgrading the tot lot, recreational courts, and nearby sidewalks; construction of a new spray park; improvement or replacement of the concession building; and new landscaping and lighting. Plans also call for replacing the existing turf on the recreational field with artificial turf. In addition to the state grant, the city is funding the project with $50,000 from last year’s budget, and an estimated $1.1 million in city capital funds.
Henry’s Market, a Beverly landmark, is being sold. Founded by Henry Swanson in 1941 and known for its high-quality prepared foods, Henry’s will be purchased by Crosby’s Marketplace, another well-known family-owned grocer. “Henry’s is legendary,” said Crosby’s president Jim Crosby, “with a wonderful kitchen and prepared food items. We’re hoping to develop a centralized kitchen and sell some of Henry’s signature items at our other North Shore stores.” There are Crosby’s stores in Concord, Georgetown, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, and Salem. Crosby intends to keep the Henry’s name and staff intact. The sale is expected to be completed in early 2015. Crosby said that he and Henry’s owner John Keohane have been friends for years, and that Keohane catered three of his children’s weddings. “And those marriages are still together.”
The Peabody City Council will hold its annual tax classification hearing during its meeting Thursday, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Wiggin Auditorium at City Hall. The council will determine whether to maintain the policy of having a split tax rate, and if so how much of the residential tax burden to shift onto businesses. Based on the decision, the city will set its tax rate or rates for fiscal 2015, subject to approval by the state Department of Revenue. For fiscal 2014, which ended June 30, Peabody adopted a shift in which businesses pay 60 percent more than they would with a single tax rate. The city’s residential tax rate was $12.40 per $1,000 valuation, and its commercial rate $24.46 per $1,000.
Legislation to rename the rebuilt bridge along Routes 97 and 113 the Congressman William H. Bates Veterans Memorial Bridge was enacted on Nov. 10 by the House and Senate, moving the bill one step closer to being signed into law by the governor. The campaign to rename the bridge, which crosses the Merrimack River between Groveland and Haverhill, was spearheaded by David Tuttle, commander of the American Legion Post 248 in Groveland, and endorsed by the Groveland Board of Selectmen and the Haverhill City Council. The original bridge, which had been dedicated in 1970, was recently replaced with a 775-foot span built about 60 feet downstream. The $49.75 million project also included reconstruction of roadways leading to and from the bridge as well as improvements on Groveland Street, where the road intersects with Lincoln Avenue in Haverhill and Main Street near Elm Park in Groveland. Bates, a Salem native and a veteran who enlisted in the Navy in July 1940, participated in the Iwo Jima campaign in the spring of 1945. After World War II, Bates remained a naval reservist until 1950, when he resigned his commission to assume the congressional seat held by his father, who had died in a plane crash while in office. Bates served in the US House until his death in 1969.
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office issued a statement on Nov. 7 warning area residents of a phone scam intended to scare victims into giving money. The callers have posed as law enforcement officials from the sheriff’s office, local police, or representatives of the IRS, and threatened to arrest residents for failing to pay debts. “In some instances the callers are managing to spoof the telephone numbers of my office or other law enforcement agencies, making it appear as if the calls are coming from these departments,” Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian said in a prepared statement. “No legitimate law enforcement agency will ever threaten arrest over the phone. . . . Nor will they demand payment for debt over the phone.” The sheriff’s office has encouraged residents who receive similar calls to contact local police, as well as the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office Investigation Unit, at 978-932-3220, if the caller claims to be from the sheriff’s office.
The Saugus Board of Selectmen has begun the search for a new town manager and it named former finance committee chairman Robert Palleschi to serve as temporary town manager, effective last Friday. The action came after the board’s Oct. 29 vote to fire town manager Scott Crabtree for alleged financial missteps and managerial offenses. In a letter to the board, Crabtree’s attorney said his client vehemently denies the allegations. The board on Sept. 15 had suspended Crabtree. Selectmen at Monday’s meeting agreed to hire a consulting firm to assist them with the search for a new permanent manager, according to Michael J. Murphy, who served as acting manager until Friday. Palleschi several months ago retired from the Finance Committee after 33 years on the panel. Murphy, chairman of the Board of Assessors, said business and personal reasons prevented him from continuing as acting manager but that Palleschi is “very well thought of and very respected in town’’ and will be “a great temporary town manager.”
City leaders in Haverhill are soliciting the public’s input on the concept plan being proposed for the reconstruction of Broadway (Route 97). The work on Broadway, a gateway to downtown, is expected to improve traffic and pedestrian safety, with a more uniform roadway and new sidewalks, said city engineer John Pettis. The plan, which was created for the city in July by Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., an engineering and construction firm based in Wilmington, offers a vision of what that gateway may ultimately look like. Engineering work to determine the feasibility of the elements portrayed in it began in September. and a public informational meeting was held Nov. 6 to review the ongoing plan based on engineering work completed to date. Individuals who wish to provide written comments on it may e-mail them to Pettis at email@example.com. All comments are due on or before Nov. 20. Plans also include upgraded drainage and redesign of the intersections along Broadway at Lake and Forest streets. Construction is expected to cost $5.7 million and will be covered by state and federal funding, Pettis said. The city is paying the design costs for the project, which are expected to tally about $440,000. If all goes as planned, construction would begin in the fall of 2017 and take about two years to complete. To view the concept plan, visit ci.haverhill.ma.us/reconstrution_of_broadway.php.
Reading has been awarded a two-year federal grant to support the training of school personnel and other adults who interact with local youths to detect and respond to mental illnesses and substance abuse in children. The Project Aware grant awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will allow Reading’s public schools to provide training for eight individuals in Youth Mental Health First Aid, a course that teaches participants how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and substance abuse. Once trained, the eight individuals will then certify 584 school educators, school support staff, first responders, youth workers, and faith leaders in Reading, where the prevalence of untreated mental health and substance abuse is significant. Data gathered through the 2013 Reading Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicated high rates of self-injury, bullying, binge drinking, and prescription drug misuse among students in grades six to eight. At the high school level, rates for underage drinking, illegal drug use, and eating disorders were 2 to 6 percent higher than state and national averages. The overall goal of Project Aware is to expand Reading’s capacity to increase awareness of mental health issues and connect children and youth with behavioral health issues to needed services. For more information on Reading’s Project Aware grant, programs, and services, contact grant coordinator Erica McNamara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The School Committee is seeking applicants to be the next Somerville superintendent, succeeding Tony Pierantozzi, who announced he will retire in July after 10 years of service to the Somerville public schools. A national consulting firm — Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates of Rosemont, Ill. — will conduct the initial review of applicants, and also will recruit applicants who could be a good fit. The School Committee has created a seven-member advisory committee to conduct the first round of interviews prior to Thanksgiving. The committee will narrow the list to three finalists, which it will present to the School Committee for consideration. Each finalist will be brought to Somerville for a full day in early December to meet the community and to be interviewed in open session by the School Committee. The start date for the next superintendent is scheduled for July. Interested applicants can apply at topschooljobs.org; additional information about the search can be found at somerville.k12.ma.us.
The Lynnfield Board of Selectmen chose James Boudreau last Monday as the successor to retiring town administrator William J. Gustus. By a 2-1 vote, the board appointed Boudreau, who currently holds the same post in Norwell, subject to reaching contract terms and a successful background check. Boudreau has held his Norwell job since November 1998. Prior to that, he was town administrator in Holbrook for three years. He was one of seven finalists and 44 original applicants for the Lynnfield post, according to Bob Curtin, the town’s assistant to the administration. The MMA Consulting Group, which assisted the town with the search, had forwarded the names of the seven finalists to the board. Each selectmen individually interviewed each of the finalists. Selectman Philip Crawford and board chairman David Nelson voted in favor of appointing Boudreau. Selectman Thomas Terranova voted against, saying his first choice was another finalist, Boxford town administrator Alan Benson. Gustus is retiring effective Jan. 9 after 12 years as Lynnfield’s town administrator.
A $1.3 million salt marsh restoration project officially completed on Halloween should go a long way toward protecting Route 1, the main road connecting Salisbury and Newburyport, from flooding. Salisbury Public Works director Donald Levesque called the Town Creek Flood Hazard Mitigation and Wetland Restoration Project “great for shoreline restoration. It can not only fix the problem, but will restore wildlife, improve water quality, improve habitat, all while providing major flood proection for the Route 1 corridor.” The large coastal wetland system containing hundreds of acres of former salt marsh was disconnected from the tides of the Merrimack River over a century ago when a railroad line was built across the creek and marsh, according to a state website. It flooded in 2006 and 2007, damaging Route 1, the main road connecting Salisbury and Newburyport. The project, much of it funded by the state and federal governments, included the replacement of one four-foot culvert with two five-foot culverts with tide gates to control additional flow. While the official opening was held on Halloween, the project was completed earlier this fall and the marsh has held up well during storms so far, said Levesque.
Town Meeting representatives in Chelmsford will be reviewing the school’s finances in light of a recent audit that uncovered invoices totaling $878,340 for goods and services that were received last fiscal year but charged to this fiscal year’s appropriation. As a result, a School Department deficit of $350,000 is being projected for the current fiscal year. Melanson Heath, the Andover-based auditing firm that has been examining the finances, said the deficit “is caused by many factors, but the most significant is the growth of special education contractural services,” noting that the amount of over-expenditure in that account increased from $163,746 in fiscal 2012 to $884,376 in fiscal 2013 and to $1,042,568 in fiscal 2014. According to the firm, the School Fepartment has available revolving fund resources that could be used, including $665,404 in circuit breaker funds and $573,198 in school choice funds. Town Meeting, which began Oct. 20, is scheduled to reconvene at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Senior Center, 75 Groton Road.
Marblehead Town Administrator Jeff Chelgren recently announced his resignation from the position, effective Dec. 31. A Lynn resident and former Wenham town administrator, Chelgren began in Marblehead in 2012 and has a contract that runs through next April 30. In an interview, he said he was pursuing other opportunities and wanted “to avoid leaving in the midst of the budget development process and contract negotiations.”
The Danvers Board of Selectmen recently reached terms on a five-year contract with Steve Bartha to serve as town manager effective Dec. 8. Selectmen had voted unanimously Sept. 29 to name Bartha to the position, subject to negotiating a contract with him to and a successful background check, which has now also been concluded. Bartha will succeed Wayne P. Marquis, who retired Oct. 3 after 35 years in the position. Currently assistant town manager in Avon, Conn., Bartha will earn an annual base salary of $165,000 in his Danvers position. Marquis’ base pay at the time of his retirement was $197,206. A resident of New Hartford, Conn., Bartha has held his current position since 2010, and from 2009 to 2010 was a budget analyst for the Connecticut state Office of Policy and Management. “We are just looking forward to working with him and getting going with our transition and starting our budget for next year,” said Bill Clark, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. “He will be coming in just at the start of our budget season.” Diane Norris, who is serving as temporary manager, will return to her regular job as assistant town manager once Bartha assumes his post.
The dedication ceremony to celebrate a new veterans memorial in Wenham is scheduled for noon Tuesday. The memorial, which honors veterans over five eras, was recently completed on the Car Barn Lot, a public open area at the corner of Main and Arbor streets across from Town Hall. Sponsored by the Veterans Memorial Committee, it commemorates the service of veterans who lived in town at the time they entered the service from World War I to the present, with provisions for future conflicts. The memorial was built with private funds, plus state grants totaling $15,000. The project cost so far is $186,000, said Bruce Blanchard, who cochairs the memorial committee with Peter Hersee. Fund-raising continues for landscaping, including a stone path to the memorial. Donatations can send to the Wenham Veterans Memorial Gift Fund, Town Hall, 138 Main St., Wenham MA 01984.
The purple pumpkins displayed along the roads in Wenham and Hamilton this Halloween season were intended to raise epilepsy awareness, and in special memory of 22-year old Andrew “A.J.” Trustey of Wenham, who died unexpectedly on Oct. 13, possibly as a result of the disease. The purple pumpkins are part of a national awareness campaign, and Trustey had talked with his mother about putting up a purple pumpkin before his death. Friends of the family painted the pumpkins for display at the reception following Trustey’s funeral, and dispersed them to friends and neighbors, according to Kristine Trustey, A.J.’s mother. For more information on the Purple Pumpkin Project, go to epilepsy.com.
Wenham Town Administrator Mark Andrews has been selected as the new town administrator in Pepperell. Andrews will begin his new job on Dec. 1 In Pepperell, where he’ll succeed the retiring John Moak, formerly town clerk and mayor of Newburyport. “I feel comfortable,” Andrews said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
The purple pumpkins displayed along the roads in Wenham and Hamilton this Halloween season were intended to raise epilepsy awareness, and in special memory of 22-year old Andrew “A.J.” Trustey of Wenham, who died unexpectedly on Oct. 13, possibly as a result of the disease. The purple pumpkins are part of a national awareness campaign, and Trustey had talked with his mother about putting up a purple pumpkin before his death. Friends of the family painted the pumpkins for display at the reception following Trustey’s funeral, and dispersed them to friends and neighbors, according to Kristine Trustey, A.J.’s mother. For more information on the Purple Pumpkin Project, go to epilepsy.com.
The Winchester Coalition For A Safer Community is scheduled to hold a community dialogue Wednesday aimed at understanding the interconnectedness of opioid and other substance abuses, mental health, and self-harming behaviors. “The influx of heroin and other drugs into this quiet town has raised alarms about actual drug and substance use and abuse in town, related criminal activity, and concerns about personal safety and mental and physical health,” coalition director Christa Russo said in a statement e-mailed to the Globe. The dialogue, to be held at the McCall Middle School, 458 Main St., from 7 to 8:30 p.m., will feature a 45-minute panel presentation followed by a 45-minute question-and-answer period. Speakers will share current statistical information about drug-related crime; discuss the correlation between mental health issues and self-harming behaviors; talk about the Youth Risk Behavior Survey; and share innovations in treatment and therapy programs. “The goal of this community dialogue is to bring the key players together to share information with the public, and get the conversation started about what can be done to curb the problems associated with this substance abuse,” said Russo. Presenters include police and fire officials, members of the probation department of the Woburn District Court, educators, Winchester Hospital representatives, and a behavioral health specialist. Town Meeting Moderator Peter Haley will moderate the panel discussions and lead the question-and-answer session. For more information, contact the Coalition’s program manager, Dot Butler,at email@example.com.
The annual Fall Town Meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Dracut High School auditorium on Lakeview Avenue. Voters will be asked to consider 22 articles, including a proposal submitted by Assistant Town Manager and Finance Director Ann Vandal that would allow the town to impose a lien on properties for any unpaid fines issued in accordance with the state sanitary code; a request by Town Manager James A. Duggan to appropriate Community Preservation funds for 509 Hildreth St. for open space and recreational uses; and a separate request by Duggan to use Community Preservation funds for a senior housing feasibility assessment to study two parcels: the Richardson property at Bridge Street and Greenmont Avenue, and Town Annex Lot on Spring Park Avenue. To view the Fall Town Meeting warrant in its entirety, visit the town website at dracut-ma.us.
Children with disabilities will be able to enjoy the playground at Coytemore Lea Park as a result of a project the city plans with the help of a state grant. The project calls for replacing and adding features to the existing Mountain Avenue facility to make it a “universally accessible playground” that can accommodate children of all physical abilities. The state awarded a $136,000 grant under its Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities program to support the project. The city plans to pay for the remainder of the $200,000 project with federal Community Development Block Grant funds. Set to begin next spring and be completed by early summer, the project involves construction of a new play structure and swings; the addition of benches, tables, and trees; and the relocation of a wall climber. The idea came from a local resident, Wendy Tobin, who approached Ward 4 Councilor Jim Nestor about the possibility of having an adaptive swing installed at the playground that could accommodate her disabled daughter. Officials said that in considering the request, they concluded that it would meet a citywide need to have the entire playground be made fully accessible. “We’re excited to have the playground at Coytemore Lea Park accessible for all children to play regardless of ability,” said Bethany Rosa, community development director for the Malden Redevelopment Authority, which is overseeing the project.
The $2.6 million sports complex at the Pentucket Regional High School in West Newbury will be unveiled at a “grand opening’’ Nov. 16 from noon until 4 p.m. at the school’s campus, 22 Main Street. High school teams began using the new fields and facilities in October, and the feedback has been extremely positive, said to Daniel Thornton, assistant principal and athletic director. The school district — which includes Groveland, Merrimac, and West Newbury — plans to partner with the American Cancer Society to provide sports clinics and events to give people a first-hand experience of the new fields, tennis courts, eight-lane track, long-jump pits, pole vault area, and more. Members of the public are welcome; donations to the American Cancer Society will be voluntary. Later in the academic year, the school will host the Cape Ann League track championship, Thornton said, which should be particularly rewarding for athletes who have held their “home” meets off site for the past 10 years. “The kids here are ecstatic,” said Thornton.
The Peabody Institute Library plans to increase its services to non-native English speakers with the help of newly awarded federal funds. The $12,500 grant, provided to the city by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, will allow the library to make permanent and expand the English Conversation Circles program it has been offering on a pilot basis. Conversation Circles is a volunteer-led program that offers weekly opportunities for non-native English speakers to practice basic conversational English in an informal setting. The aim is to help participants become more comfortable speaking English and increase their vocabulary and knowledge of American culture and customs. Two Circles groups have been meeting under the pilot program begun in the spring of 2013, and the library has seen a demand for more groups and for more formal training of volunteers, according to officials. The grant will be used to build the library’s English Language Learning collections and volunteer resources, develop a training manual and orientation class for volunteers, and purchase equipment and furnishings for a dedicated office space for the program. With the assistance, the library also plans to recruit additional volunteers and add new Circles to meet the demand, according to assistant library director Gerri Guyote,. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to expand a much-needed service,” she said.
US Representative Niki Tsongas recently visited Westford to celebrate the grand opening of two new affordable housing developments for veterans in Westford and Chelmsford. The Richard P. O’Neil Housing for Veterans on Manahan Street in Chelmsford features eight rental studios, while the Westford Home for Veterans on Carlisle Road includes a mix of one- and two-bedroom rental units. In all, there are five units in the Westford veterans’ home. Both developments were built by Choice Housing Opportunities for Intergenerational and Community Endeavors, Inc. (CHOICE), the nonprofit partner of the Chelmsford Housing Authority. In both towns, the new housing developments will be utilized by veterans and are supported with a rental subsidy from the Chelmsford Housing Authority. Residents of both developments also will receive needed services from the Chelmsford Housing Authority, CHOICE Inc., the local veterans service officer, and Veterans of the Northeast Outreach Center. Construction in both cases was funded through public and private partnerships. “Ensuring the brave servicemen and women who serve in our armed forces transition smoothly to civilian life should be one of our highest priorities at every level of government,” Tsongas said in a prepared statement. “I commend the Chelmsford Housing Authority for pursuing strong public/private partnerships to provide needed housing assistance to veterans in the Third District.”
The future of the town’s business district, the half-mile stretch following Route 1A from the Wenham line to the Hamilton Public Safety Building, will be the focus of three meetings beginning Saturday. The Hamilton Development Corporation is sponsoring the meetings to help form a vision for a more inviting business district, seeking input and guidance from abutters, merchants, and town residents to help town leaders, including the Planning Board, develop design standards and zoning for the area. The first is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Hamilton Senior Center, 299 Bay Road. Follow-up workshops are scheduled for Dec. 6 and next Jan. 10 at the Hamilton Wenham Public Library, also from 2 to 4 p.m. “We look forward to having many neighbors, residents, and business owners there to help craft a vision for a more inviting downtown,” said Brian Stein, president of the nonprofit corporation, which was created by Town Meeting members in 2012 to oversee economic development in the business district.
City officials have announced that weekly free flu vaccine clinics are scheduled through December, or until the city’s supply of the vaccine is exhausted. The city said in a statement that residents and non-residents who are at least five years old are eligible to participate in the clinics. The mist vaccine is available for people under age 49 who meet specific medical screening requirements. There is no charge for vaccinations, but attendees are asked to bring an insurance card if available. The clinics will run on Thursdays through December at the City Hall Annex, 50 Evergreen Ave., from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Another clinic is scheduled for Tuesday at the East Somerville Community School, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Residents requiring additional assistance or accommodations should call 617-625-6600 ext. 4300.
The city recently concluded a monthlong community effort to encourage local residents to eat healthier foods. Through Food Day Chelsea, residents were encouraged to pledge to eat only fresh and healthy for an entire day – Oct. 24 – and then to carry through on that commitment. Throughout the month, there were also a variety of related activities, including grocery shopping tours, taste tests in the schools, and a guide to local restaurants that offered meals and pastries free of artificial trans fat, according to Melissa Dimond, manager of the Healthy Chelsea Coalition. At least 50 groups in the city circulated pledge sheets and calendars of events for Food Day Chelsea, The school activities ranged from serving kindergarten students fresh mango to smoothie-making demonstrations at the high school. Among those helping to lead the school events were high school and middle school students who serve as paid interns for the Youth Food Movement program, which teaches young people how to be community leaders in promoting healthy eating in Chelsea.
City and state officials recently helped celebrate the near-completion of a new luxury apartment development on the site of the former Charleston Chew factory. The Batch Yard
is a three-building complex of 328 market-rate units on Charlton Street in the city’s Lower Broadway section, about a half-mile from the site of the planned Wynn Resorts casino. Post Road Residential of Fairfield, Conn., is carrying out the $90 million redevelopment, which is now partly occupied, according to city officials. The former factory had been vacant since 1985, when production moved to a Nabisco facility in Cambridge. The development was given the tagline “The Sweeter Side of Living” in honor of the site’s historic use. Post Road Residential also incorporated features in the project recalling the candy maker, including reclaimed wood from the original buildings, art pieces with the Charleston Chew theme, and the placement of the original factory sign on the roof-top deck. In a statement, Mayor Carlos DeMaria Jr. called the Batch Yard “the perfect blend of Everett’s past and future. We are proud to have it open its doors in our city.”
Area residents have a chance to learn about the environmental issues associated with the Wynn casino project planned in Everett. The Mystic River Watershed Association
is holding a public forum on the potential environmental effects of the project at 7 p.m. Tuesday
in the Winthrop Street Function Hall at Tufts University, 51 Winthrop St. Among the topics will be the developer’s plans to clean up the long vacant and contaminated site of the casino on the banks of the Mystic River. “This waterfront development could have huge implications for the Mystic River and its waterfront lands,” Beth MacBlane, outreach and communications director for the watershed association, said by e-mail. “We hope the public will enjoy this opportunity to hear directly from the development team to learn more about this project and prospective environmental impacts.”
The Reading Public Library will be housed in a smaller, temporary space at Walker’s Brook on General Way in November, between Market Basket and the Reading Athletic Club. The 31,000-square-foot library site, once home to the old Highland School, closed Oct. 11 to make way for construction of the long-awaited renovation and addition of the building. Online library services and some adult programs will continue throughout October. Children’s programs will resume in November at other locations around town, according to library director Ruth Urell. Reading voters on April 1 approved a $3.5 million debt exclusion, or temporary property tax increase, to fund the project. It was the second tax hike approved by local voters for the project, which is expected to cost $18.3 million. Last year, Reading voters approved a $9.8 million debt exclusion for the work. Plans call for the library to be renovated and an addition totaling more than 9,000 square feet to be built to address structural and systemic issues.
The city is seeking to acquire a vacant lot on Somerville Avenue for the location of a new fire station. Somerville officials have submitted an order to the Board of Aldermen asking to take the property at an appraised value of $4,875,000. The city said in a prepared statement that building a station on that site would help improve emergency response time, particularly to the Beacon Street and Washington Street areas. The Fire Department also could provide more training on the site, including programs that the department cannot currently run because it lacks an adequate training facility. The cost of acquiring the site and constructing the new station is expected to be offset by selling the Lowell Street station site and portions of the current Public Safety Building block in Union Square.
Residents filled a meeting room at the Beverly Senior Center on Tuesday for the start of the Planning Board’s public hearing on a proposed 65,000-square-foot shopping development near the Brimbal Avenue-Route 128 interchange. “The focus [Tuesday] night was on getting the facts,” said Planning Board chairman John Thomson, who estimated that 100 people turned out for the 2½-hour meeting, which included a one-hour presentation and then lots of questions from the board and residents. The state and city are planning to significantly rebuild the interchange, and many in the community have registered concerns about an increase in traffic. Developer CEA Beverly, LLC released a traffic study that estimated greater traffic volume than previous studies, but the city has hired its own traffic engineer to review that study. The Planning Board also will hear from the city’s Parking and Traffic Commission, which plans its own review on Nov. 7. The Planning Board plans to continue its hearing on Nov. 18.
Leaders of the Community United Methodist Church in Byfield are hoping that the Nov. 16 final service is also a celebration of its nearly 200-year history. “We hope a lot of people come back to say goodbye to the church and relive the good moments they had there,” said Heidi Fram, 65, a member of the church’s Board of Trustees, who remembers first attending Sunday school there 58 years ago. The church, at 6 Central St., has operated since 1827 and the current building was constructed in 1902. With an aging congregation and at a time when fewer people are attending services on Sunday mornings, Fram said that attendance on a typical Sunday had dropped to 12 to 15 people. The church is planning to continue several of its activities, such as serving meals to the elderly and recovering addicts, but leaders expect members to make their own choices on where to attend Sunday services. The final service is scheduled for 10 a.m., with brunch to follow.
The US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Justice have reached a $4.2 million settlement with Boston and Maine Corp. and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority for partial reimbursement of EPA’s past costs and for full payment and performance of future cleanup work at the Iron Horse Park operable unit 4 Superfund site. The settlement between the parties calls for B&M and the MBTA to perform $2.7 million in remediation work. The remedy addresses site-wide ground water and localized sediment contamination. The two companies will also pay 100 percent of EPA’s interim and future response costs, and approximately $1.5 million of EPA’s past costs. “EPA is very pleased to reach a settlement ensuring that future cleanup costs to address contamination at Iron Horse Park is not borne by US taxpayers, but rather by responsible parties,” Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office, said in a prepared statement. Work to address other contamination at the 553-acre site was conducted under two previous operable units, and work on the third operable unit is ongoing. Contaminants detected most frequently include volatiles, semi-volatiles, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, asbestos, and metals. The remedy includes excavation of contaminated sediment in B&M Pond; monitored natural recovery of contaminated sediment in other locations; and long-term monitoring of contaminated ground water. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/ironhorse.
Gloucester Marine Railways Corp. will pay $30,000 for an environmental education project along with a fine of $20,000 for alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act at its 3.3-acre Gloucester shipyard. The US Environmental Protection Agency announced this month that the railways will fund a project to raise awareness of Clean Water Act requirements in the maritime community, to be implemented by Maritime Gloucester and Ocean Alliance, two local nonprofits. Prior to 2011, the corporation allegedly discharged “waste water from boat-washing operations into Smith Cove without authorization, and additionally discharged contaminated stormwater without a stormwater permit and without employing ‘best management practices’ to minimize the impacts of such stormwater discharges,” according to the settlement. “We have a lot of company in the shipyard industry for this problem,” said Viking Gustafson, general manager for the railways. “It’s been decades in the making, but we’re talking about past practices. The negotiated settlement is a good resolution. We’ve also made tremendous progress over time.”
North Parish of North Andover on Oct. 19 held a building dedication and open house to celebrate completion of the comprehensive makeover of its meetinghouse, which includes a fully accessible religious education and staff office wing. The dedication ceremony was held as North Parish celebrates the 369th anniversary of the founding of its congregation. The new addition combines the architecture and historic features of the original building, including a working Paul Revere bell, with modern features, such as elevator access to the second level. The new building also expands the available meeting space, which is used for concerts, Girl Scout meetings, and other community gatherings. Windover Construction was the contractor on the project. David Torrey of Torrey Architecture in Boston was the architect. For more information about the regional Unitarian Universalist congregation, visit northparish.org.
The city is launching a program to collect and recycle cigarette butts. Salem has become the first municipality in New England — and one of the first in the nation _ to team with TerraCycle
on the firm’s butt recycling initiative. Salem last week was set to begin installing dozens of cigarette receptacles in the city, primarily in the downtown. The waste will be collected regularly by city workers and shipped to TerraCycle. The New Jersey-based firm takes the butts and recycles them into various industrial products, such as plastic pallets. The only cost to the city is up to $8,000 it will be spending for the receptacles, according to Dominick Pangallo, chief of staff to Mayor Kim Driscoll. There is no cost to consumers. Citing an estimate by the organization Keep America Beautiful, city officials noted that 38 percent of all roadside litter in the country is tobacco-related. As an incentive to recycle, for every pound of cigarette waste collected, TerraCycle will donate $1 to the Salem Main Streets downtown revitalization program and $1 to Keep America Beautiful.
The ballot for the Nov. 4 state election includes a ballot question on an amendment to increase the Town of Essex Community Preservation Act surcharge. Town Meeting previously approved the increase of the annual real estate tax levy for the CPA to 1 percent on May 5, and the election is required to fully approve the change. Currently, the surcharge is .5 percent, as it has been since adoption of the CPA in 2007. The question is the fifth on the state ballot.
The Danvers Preservation Commission is holding a public hearing this Wednesday on whether the town should delay the demolition of two historic homes. One is the Porter House, at 487 Locust St., and the other the Mackey Funeral Home building at 22 Conant St. A developer has applied for a permit to demolish the Porter House to make room for a proposed project of 16 single-family homes. The Archdiocese of Boston has applied for a permit to raze the funeral home building to create 36 parking spaces for the adjacent St. Mary of the Annunciation Church, according to Susan Fletcher, assistant director of the town’s Department of Planning and Human Services. Under a town bylaw, the commission can delay for up to six months the demolition of a structure it determines is of historical significance in order to work with the property owner on ways to preserve it. The commission has found that both buildings are historically significant, and Wednesday’s hearing will focus on whether it should determine they are worthy of preservation. Built about 1665, the Locust Street house was historically known as the Porter-Bradstreet Homestead. It is the last surviving private, rural Colonial homestead in the town and is one of less than 400 surviving buildings of its type in the country, according to a description of the house written by Richard B. Trask, the town’s archivist. Erected in 1894, the funeral home building, known as the Albion F. Welch House, is one of the few late 19th-century high-style dwellings still surviving on a main thoroughfare in the Danvers business district, according to Trask, who called it a “wonderful example of the Queen Anne Revival architectural style.” Wednesday’s meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Daniel J. Toomey room at town hall.
Mayor Michael J. McGlynn recently contracted with a Tennessee-based firm, Republic Parking System, to install new “pay by plate” multi-space parking meters in five business districts. Medford currently doesn’t have meters, but that will change in those districts in the next few months. Under pay-b- plate systems, drivers enter their license plate numbers into meters when they insert coins, enabling enforcement officers to more accurately determine how long specific vehicles have been parked. Officials said their objectives are to deter illegal parking and ensure timely turnover of spaces to benefit business districts. The program also involves comprehensive enforcement of parking rules by the contractor, including neighborhood permit parking. The charge at meters will be 25 cents for 15 minutes. The contract is for seven years with an option to renew for three more years. Republic will make an annual payment to the city starting at $300,000 in the first year, rising to up to $700,000 in the second and subsequent years. It will also pay the city a percentage of its gross revenues, according to city solicitor Mark Rumley and budget director Stephanie Burke. Responding to feedback from businesses, the city made several changes to the plan, including adding two 30-minute free parking spaces and four paid single-space meter spots in each of the five business areas. The city will also dedicate $250,000 of its annual parking revenue to improvements in those districts.
A group representing Iceland’s biotech industry toured Gloucester last Tuesday, meeting with state Senator Bruce Tarr and business leaders, including Jon Von Tetzchner, the Icelandic native who founded software company Innovation House, before visiting Maritime Gloucester, Gorton’s Seafood Gallery, and Gorton’s Seafood. The group sought to connect with experienced local entities that have developed businesses and markets and have a network in life sciences, said the trip's coordinator, Eva Rún Michelsen of Reykjavik-based Iceland Ocean Cluster, which links firms in ocean-related fields. The group also planned to visit Boston, Dartmouth, Mass., and Portland, Maine.
The Young Americans, a nonprofit music, dance, and performance troupe devoted to teaching, funding and encouraging music education across the country, will visit North Reading public schools Sunday through Tuesday. The town is the only Massachusetts stop on the Young Americans 2014 Fall International Music Outreach Tour and “Turn Up The Music” campaign. About 300 North Reading students in grades 3 to 12 will participate in two days of performing arts workshops, culminating in two shows on Tuesday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. that will mark the debut performances for North Reading High School’s new 650-seat performing arts center. “When Young Americans came to North Reading six years ago, hundreds of students participated, to great success,’’ Allison Kane, the high school’s performing arts director, said in an e-mail to the Globe. “We are thrilled to welcome them back to celebrate our new performing space and to support music education and teamwork in North Reading.” Founded in 1962 by Milton C. Anderson the Young Americans performance troupe is now said to be the oldest and largest youth music advocacy group in the world. The cast comprises 45 performers between the ages of 18 and 23. They tour both in the United States and worldwide, staying in the homes of local residents. Tickets to the performances, at $10 for adults and $8 for students, will be sold from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday and Monday at the high school arts center. For more information about the troupe, visit youngamericans.org.
Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone is asking residents to send suggestions for a new street name, and quickly. The city has decided to rename the lower portion of Great River Road in Assembly Square, as the present street setup can be confusing to visitors and emergency personnel. Ideas will be collected until Wednesday, and the five best will be put up for a vote. Curtatone will then choose between the two most popular options. The city is asking that residents try to think of names that have a Somerville connection, reflect the city’s future, and do not sound similar to other street names in town. Ideas can be submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
or by dialing 311.
For the second year in a row, the town will allow bow hunting for deer in the 250-acre property along Route 3 known as the landlocked forest. The site is so named because Burlington residents can only access it through Bedford and Lexington. During the state season for deer, which starts Monday and runs till year’s end (with Sundays excluded), up to 30 archers will be allowed to pursue their quarry at that one site in town. Selectmen last year adopted rules that allowed for bow hunting under specified conditions intended to ensure the safety of others. Hunters must obtain town bow hunting permits on top of mandatory state licenses. They must also hold bow-hunting certificates and pass a town-administered archery proficiency test. Up to 30 permits can be issued, 20 of them reserved for town residents. About 10 archers plan to hunt this year, said John Keeley, the town’s conservation administrator, with hunting allowed from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Among other rules, hunters can only hunt deer, must have their town permits visible, and must wear blaze orange between Dec. 2 and Dec. 31. The forest will remain open for others throughout hunting season. The conservation department, which is running the program, can be reached for questions at 781-270-1655.
State Senator Jason Lewis, the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse, and the Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition will present a regional dialogue on opioid abuse Thursday. Residents of the 5th Middlesex district and neighboring communities are encouraged to attend and share their thoughts and feedback. The event is scheduled to take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Hawkes Field House at Reading Memorial High School, 62 Oakland Road. It will kick off with a 30-minute panel presentation on the opioid epidemic followed by a group discussion focused on actions people can take to combat it. In addition to Lewis, the panel discussion will feature Penelope Funaiole, Mystic Valley Opioid Abuse Prevention coordinator, and Erica McNamara, director of the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse. “Opioid addiction in the Commonwealth has reached a crisis level, and we need to take aggressive steps to prevent and treat addiction,” said Lewis, a Winchester Democrat, in a statement e-mailed to the Globe. “With no community and no family immune to the reach of this epidemic, it is critically important that we engage all members of our community to be informed and take action.’’ Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to McNamara at email@example.com.
The Andover/North Andover YMCA announced last Tuesday that it has secured a $1.2 million gift and will name the new family pool being built as part of the Y’s expansion in honor of Jane Cronin, the Y’s former aquatic director and the late wife of the Y’s Hurricanes swim team coach, Carlton Cronin. Jane Cronin died after a car accident many years ago. The gift was from the Glancy family of Andover. “The YMCA does great things for lots of people across the Merrimack Valley, and with a bigger and better footprint, it will provide still more services to more people,” David Glancy said in a statement. “YMCAs are full of Jane Cronins — people working hard, touching lots of lives of people of all ages, from all backgrounds.” Added Carlton Cronin: “This gift will create endless possibilities of quiet stories of impact for every sector of the community which most of us will never even hear about or imagine. With this gift, Jane can still do good work.” To date, with the Glancy family gift, the YMCA has been able to raise over $7 million, a significant milestone for its Andover/North Andover expansion. “This being the largest gift in the history of our YMCA is both an extraordinary gesture and a strong endorsement for the good work we do,’’ said Stephen Ives, president and CEO of the Merrimack Valley YMCA. “Our community is excited about what we are doing and we have very strong momentum. The best is still yet to come.’’ The initial phase of the construction project, including the renovation of the pools and existing locker rooms, will be completed shortly. The full completion date is planned for October 2015.
A new study estimates that traffic at a proposed shopping plaza near the Route 128-Brimbal Avenue interchange in Beverly could be significantly greater than what was forecast in a previous one. The building of the plaza, anchored by a Whole Foods Market, is linked to a two-phase plan to reconfigure traffic patterns and improve roads in the area, but opponents have argued that the plaza and other businesses will bring too much new traffic to an already congested area. According to the study conducted for CEA Group, the plaza would generate 161 new vehicles at peak weekday morning hours and 408 at peak afternoon hours. A previous report had estimated that there would be 64 new vehicles at peak morning hours and 238 at peak afternoon hours. The developer is seeking a special permit to build the development, and the planning board will hold a hearing on the proposal as part of its Tuesday meeting at 7 p.m. at the Beverly Senior Center, 90 Colon St.
A local bakery is preparing to expand with the help of state and city tax relief. Jacqueline’s Gourmet Cookies, 96 Swampscott Road, plans to purchase and renovate an adjacent 11,130-square-foot building. The $4.7 million project, which also includes the cost of machinery and other equipment, will allow Jacqueline’s to add 50 new full-time jobs to its existing full-time staff of 110. The city is supporting the project with a tax-increment financing agreement, which provides the company with a break over five years on a portion of the new taxes resulting from its investment. The state Economic Assistance Coordinating Council recently approved the city’s tax break while also providing Jacqueline’s with $478,181 in state investment tax credits. The company produces frozen cookies sold to hotels, cruise lines, and food service distributors across the country. Founded by Jacqueline Hazel in her kitchen in Revere in 1986, the bakery moved from Malden to Salem in 2006 and in 2013 expanded its 25,000-square-foot headquarters to 40,000 square feet. The company is embarking on its latest expansion due to increased demand for its products, said Marc Hazel, the company’s president and chief executive and a son of Jacqueline Hazel. “Jacqueline’s is extremely appreciative of the city and state assistance,” he said. “Having this tax relief will enable us to reinvest in our business and in our employees.”
Cummings Properties has entered the site plan review process for a proposed building at 52 Dunham Road. The building would be the fourth on the 54-acre property that is the former home of the Parker Bros. game company. Cummings has rehabilitated the former Parker Bros. headquarters, built a garage, and is currently completing the foundation for a five-story building at 48 Dunham Road. The proposed structure at 52 Dunham Road would be of similar size, said Steve Drohosky, company vice president.
The proposed consolidation of Swampscott’s elementary schools was dealt a setback last week, but could have another life. The plan for a new $52.6 million Swampscott elementary school gained a majority of the votes at Monday’s Special Town Meeting, but not the two-thirds majority needed to pass. A Proposition 2½ debt exclusion vote on the new school remains on the ballot for the Nov. 4 election, and the Board of Selectmen could call another Special Town Meeting to revisit the project if it passes in the election. “People are talking about options, but there aren’t any decisions made yet,” said Joseph Crimmins, who headed the project committee. Town Administrator Tom Younger, however, thought a second Town Meeting vote unlikely. “There is not any consideration of a second Town Meeting to my knowledge,” Younger wrote in an e-mail. Under the proposal, the new school would be built behind Swampscott Middle School at 207 Forest Ave. The Massachusetts School Building Authority would reimburse the town approximately $16.8 million of the project’s cost. If the plan passes, the owner of a single-family home valued at $460,000 would pay an additional $221 in property tax annually. During the Town Meeting roll call vote, the article gained a majority, 140-98, but spending articles require a larger margin. Board of Selectman chairman Matt Strauss could not be reached for comment.
The city recently reached agreement with its 12 employee unions on a six-year extension of Melrose’s membership in the state’s Group Insurance Commission. Melrose in 2009 became one of the first communities to sign up with the state’s health insurance system. The city took advantage of a 2007 state law that allowed cities and towns to enroll in the larger state system as a way to control spiraling health costs. The new agreement extends the city’s membership in the state plan to June 2021. It also provides for a reduction in the city’s share of employee premiums from 87 percent to 84 percent, effective July 2015. The city’s share of the premiums of retirees not receiving Medicare will also decrease at that time from 87 percent to 85 percent, though the city will continue to pay 70 percent of premiums for retirees enrolled in Medicare. The agreement provides for a one-month “premium holiday” for all employees in December 2015, according to Marianne Long, the city’s human resources director. Mayor Robert J. Dolan hailed the agreement in a statement, saying it “provides stability for our employees.’’ Melrose saved $3 million in premium costs when it joined the state plan, and its membership in the network has enabled it to contain costs since, according to Dolan.
The city is hosting its annual Monster Mashed-Up event next Sunday from
noon to 4 p.m. along Somerville Avenue, from Lowell Street to Union Square. Approximately 7,000 people are expected to attend the free event, which will feature a costume parade, 150-pound carved pumpkins, and Milk Row Cemetery tours. The event is part of the SomerStreets series, described in a city press release as “Somerville’s take on the internationally renowned Open Streets concept, closing busy city streets to vehicles and opening them up for cycling, walking, dancing, running, and other modes of activity.” For more information about the event, including road closures and bus detours, visit somervillema.gov/somerstreets, or call 857-523-9017.
Residents would be required to shovel sidewalks outside their homes under an ordinance proposed by Mayor Carlo DeMaria that is set to come before the City Council on Tuesday. Fire Chief David Butler and Police Chief Steven Mazzie both support the mandatory show-shoveling ordinance as a public safety measure, saying it would help ensure that emergency responders have access to homes. “We have always battled the ongoing issue of sidewalks around private properties not being shoveled,” DeMaria said in a prepared statement. “Unfortunately, this causes a very real danger to pedestrians, especially the elderly and children walking to school, and is something that we must address.” The ordinance would apply to all sidewalks, including those outside businesses, nonprofits, houses of worship, and city- or state-owned property. It provides for a waiver for residents who are elderly or have physical disabilities. Violators would be subject to a fine, though the amount is still being finalized.
Newburyport Forward, a group formed to support the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority’s efforts to complete Newburyport’s waterfront development with an expanded park and limited taxpayer burden, has announced that founder and president David Strand of Plum Island has resigned as president. In a statement e-mailed to the Globe, Strand said his decision to step down was fueled by differences of opinion as to how the authority’s 4.2 acres on the central waterfront should be developed. “When I formed Newburyport Forward, it was because I thought the [authority] board at the time had a community-minded and economically viable plan that needed some support to see it through and finally end the debate,” Strand said. “There’s talk now among city leaders and the [authority] of a scaled-down and phased approach. This won’t end the divisiveness or solve the financial and urban design problems, in my opinion. So it’s time for me to move on and focus on other priorities.” There are no other changes to the group at this time. Newburyport Forward created a Facebook page in February 2013, and it has attracted more than 1,250 fans since then.
The North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council
Police Foundation Inc. has once again donated a portion of its annual fund-raising proceeds to Cops for Kids with Cancer. The charity was founded in 2005 by John Dow, a retired Boston police captain who died two years later of cancer, and his wife, Joan, to support children with the disease as they undergo treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. During a ceremony held earlier this month at the Chelmsford Police Department, outgoing foundation vice chairman and retiring Chelmsford Police Chief James Murphy presented a check for $5,000 to Cops for Kids with Cancer chairman Robert P. Flaherty. The donation will help Cops for Kids provide emergency assistance to the families of pediatric cancer patients and special wishes for teens, who are too old to be served by the Make-a-Wish Foundation. “Cops for Kids with Cancer is a charity that hits close to home for just about everyone in a given community, and [the foundation] is proud to support their amazing work,” Murphy said in a prepared statement. The police foundation provides training and education to officers in northeastern Massachusetts, and has supported charitable causes using money raised through an annual golf tournament and other fund-raisers.
Pending successful contract negotiations, Patrick Reffett will become the first town planner in Hamilton history. The town agreed to create the position at annual Town Meeting in 2013. Reffett, hired by Town Manager Mike Lombardo, is currently community development director in Natick.
Middlesex 3 Coalition, a regional partnership focused on economic development, announced during its Oct. 3 advanced manufacturing forum at Riverview Technology Park in Billerica that four more towns have joined the coalition: Lexington, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, and Westford. In all, nine municipalities are now members of the group. The others are Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, and Lowell. Together, and with the support of the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the coalition members strive to bring more businesses to the Route 3 corridor, retain local jobs, diversify the tax base, and enhance the quality of life through collaboration by promoting the competitive advantages of the area and advancing its economic vitality. Formed in 2012, the Middlesex 3 Coalition is a nonprofit entity. Its board of directors includes municipal, business, educational, financial, and real estate leaders. Richard Reed, Bedford town manager and president of the coalition, said he is excited the coalition is growing, noting that municipalities need to work together across their borders and combine their resources to maximize benefits for their citizens.
Sustainable Middlesex is scheduled to host “The Preparedness Panel” from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Nov. 1 at the Jenks Center, 109 Skillings Road
, to examine all aspects of community life that will be affected by climate change and extreme weather events. Boston radio and television host Jim Braude is scheduled to be moderator. The panel will include Kathleen Baskin, director of water policy with the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; Suzanne Condon, associate commissioner of the state Department of Public Health and the department’s director of the Center for Environmental Health; Marie Jordan, senior vice president of network strategy at National Grid; and Cynthia McHale, director of the insurance program at Cerese, a nonprofit that fosters sustainable business practices. Brian Swett, chief of environment and energy services for the city of Boston, is scheduled to give the keynote address. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
MassINChas selected Revere High School’s three-year-old advisory program as one of five recipients of its 2014 Gateway Cities Innovation Award. The independent think tank, through its Gateway Cities Innovation Institute, annually presents the awards to recognize creative initiatives that help strengthen the state’s Gateway Cities. Created as part of an overhaul of the high school in 2011, the advisory program assigns each student a faculty member to serve as an adviser for all four years. “Advisors build strong relationships with students and families, allowing them to support both the academic and social-emotional growth of their students,” MassINC said of the program. It noted that the program was instrumental in the school’s recognition with an award this past spring from the National Center for Urban School Transformation at San Diego State University. The Gateway Cities Innovation Award will be presented to this year’s recipients at University of Massachusetts Boston in November.
Special Town Meeting, originally scheduled for Monday, has been rescheduled to Oct. 20 after a fire truck failed inspection. The Board of Selectmen opted to put the purchase of a new $950,000 quint — which performs the functions of a pumper and ladder truck — into a revised budget, to be voted on at the Town Meeting. The purchase will not require a Proposition 2½ override. The Oct. 20 meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School.
The Yentile Farm Development Committeecq is scheduled to hold another interactive public design workshop Thursday on the current concept design for a community recreational facility at the former farm, a 20.3-acre property along Cross Street between Routes 129 and 38. The workshop begins at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at Wilmington Middle School. The site contains wetlands to the northeast and southeast and is partially located within a flood plain, restricting development opportunities. The committee began with a communitywide survey in 2012 and held two interactive public workshops earlier this year that established the emerging vision of a community facility that supports recreation for all ages, with a balance of active and passive recreational options. The concept design may be viewed on the town website at wilmingtonma.gov. For questions, contact the town manager’s office at 978-658-3311 or e-mail email@example.com.
The proposed construction of a new Clark Avenue Middle School has taken a major step forward with the Massachusetts School Building Authority agreeing to contribute 80 percent of up to $37.6 million toward the $57.3 million project. Funding awards by the School Building Authority are contingent on the community authorizing the full project cost. The City Council is expected to consider a vote on that funding at an upcoming meeting, according to City Manager Jay Ash. He said the city will not ask voters to approve a tax increase, but instead will use “existing resources and prioritize future dollars to cover the debt service requirements for our share of the project.” The existing school, at 8 Clark Ave., was built in 1926 and has deficiencies in its major building systems, according to the School Building Authority. The plan calls for replacing it with a 115,235-square-foot building for an estimated 670 fifth- to eighth-grade students. “The good news is our enrollments continue to go up, said Ash. “People are happy with our schools and want to educate their children in our school system. The bad news is that we don’t have up-to-date facilities to provide that education.”
The city has announced it will begin work to transform the former waste transfer site on Poplar Street into a community space. Somerville has been granted $415,000 to revamp the 2.2-acre site into the “ARTFarm for Social Innovation,” a space that “cultivates social innovation through art, urban agriculture, and cultural diversity,” the city said in a prepared statement. Built mostly out of reused shipping containers, the site will be used as a hub of innovation for farm- and food-related activities. The city aims to open Phase 1 of the site — which would include gallery space, a performance area, and community gardens — by late spring. “The excitement and positive discussion already surrounding ARTFarm is tangible, and brings a lot of new energy and ideas to this gateway to our city,” Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston said in the statement.
After 35 years as the town’s manager, Wayne P. Marquis officially retired Friday.Selectmen on Sept. 29 chose Steve Bartha, assistant town manager in Avon, Conn., as his successor. “It’s been more than a job,” said Marquis, now 61, “I live in the community. I was raised here in this community. I raised my children here, so my commitment runs deep.” Although he has returned to private life, “I don’t intend to take off,” Marquis said. “I plan to continue to live in Danvers and to be involved in the community.” Otherwise, his only plans are to enjoy his retirement. “As my wife says, there are 35 years’ worth of deferred projects for me to tackle around the house. I have two wonderful grandchildren who live in Topsfield and I want to be part of their lives for the next few years. It’s been wonderful and it’s been a privilege to serve my hometown, unimaginable. I’ve done the best I could. Hopefully, I leave the town in good shape for [Steve Bartha] . . . let him bring it to the next level.”
New executive officer positions in both the police and fire departments have prompted several recent promotions. At a Sept. 25 ceremony, Mayor Carolyn Kirk swore in Assistant Police Chief John McCarthy; Lieutenants Michael Gossom and William Leanos; and Sergeant Brian Aiello to the Police Department. Assistant Chief Thomas Aiello, Lieutenants Dominic Barbagallo, Daniel Kennedy, Sean Ketchopulos, Douglas MacArthur, Robert Rivas, Jamie Santos, and Thomas Sayess; Firefighter/Paramedic Jack Brancaleone; and Firefighter Jason Thibodeau were promoted in the Fire Department.