The Essex National Heritage Commission will award 15 grants in 12 communities for preservation of historic, natural, and cultural sites.
The Essex National Heritage Commission will award 15 grants in 12 communities for preservation of historic, natural, and cultural sites.
At Westford’s May 5 election, voters will be asked to approve a temporary property tax hike to build a new fire station.
The nonprofit Hoops For Hope is seeking participants for its May 4 golf tourney, to support renovation at Andover High School's baseball field.
After dozens of medical calls and four deaths this year, Gloucester has scheduled a community forum on heroin and other opiate abuse for Saturday, May 2
The state’s House of Representatives whas proposed restoring a $3.5 million cut to Tewksbury State Hospital that is part of Governor Charlie Baker’s $38 billion budget proposal for fiscal 2016.
A five-member panel will review the 23 applications for Chelsea city manager and make recommendations to the City Council.
Somerville residents interested in running for office can take out nomination papers from May 11 through June 22.
The upgrade to Callahan Park included rehabilitating the softball field and diamond, doubling parking spaces, and installing surveillance equipment.
The new student health center at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School will provide convenient access to primary care services.
Amesbury is moving toward becoming home to one of the largest solar developments in the Northeast.
Somerville’s 240th Patriots Day celebration will run from 10 to 11:30 a.m at Foss Park on Monday, April 20.
Revere is holding its fourth annual Revere Shines day on Saturday, April 25, during which volunteers will pick up litter and carry out other beautification work.
Sally Willard edged Phillip Gallagher by 10 votes in the race for town moderator at Burlington’s April 11 annual town election.
The Billerica School Committee has approved a proposal to alter the existing grade configuration of the town’s public schools in conjunction with a high school building project.
Lieutenant David F. Thomson III, a 34-year veteran of the Georgetown Police Department and most recently the department’s executive officer, has retired.
Salem’s Council on Aging was awarded a $10,000 state grant to explore improving transportation for seniors.
Lowell Community Health Center’s chief operating officer, Henry Och, has won a national award.
SAK Environmental, LLC, of North Andover has been chosen to provide technical assistance on the state’s geothermal energy grant program.
Jeff Chelgren of Lynn recently became the town administrator in Nahant. A finalist to succeed Mark Cullinan in 2011, Chelgren was the longtime town administrator in Wenham and most recently held that position in Marblehead before resigning in January. He succeeded Cullinan, who was working on an interim basis after the resignation of Andrew Bisignani in June 2014. After Mike Wood, Bisignani, and Cullinan, Chelgren becomes the fourth town administrator in town history. He signed a three-year contract that begins at $87,000 annually and escalates to $131,000. “He’s a great pick, and already working hard,” said Selectman Rich Lombard, who noted that early challenges for Chelgren will include selecting a new fire chief and public works superintendent and settling contracts with police officers, firefighters, and DPW workers.
Sean Cronin, the senior deputy commissioner of local services at the state Department of Revenue, has been named the state overseer of Lawrence. In his new role, Cronin will work with Mayor Dan Rivera to establish “a Lawrence built to sustain itself in the future,” state Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore said in a prepared statement. The state first appointed an overseer for Lawrence in 2010, when the city had a $27 million operating deficit. The overseer has worked with city officials each year since to make sure that spending decisions are fiscally sound and contracts are fair. Cronin said he would like to help the city establish “formal fiscal policies, a multiyear capital improvement plan, and long-range financial forecasting.”
The Greater Lowell Community Foundation, the Lowell Fire Department, and several local nonprofit organizations are together tackling the issue of fire safety in response to last year’s Branch Street fire in which seven people, including three children, perished. The foundation has sponsored the production of a five-minute, nonverbal video to try to effectively teach people from many different cultural backgrounds, who speak many different languages, about fire safety. Created by Molly Bedell, the film illustrates methods to prevent fires, as well as proper ways to respond to fires. Lowell’s Fire Department Prevention Services is using the video as an educational tool at schools and in the community. The Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association, the International Institute of Lowell, and Lowell Community Health Center are promoting the video in immigrant communities across the city. The video may be viewed online at the foundation’s website, glcfoundation.org, and on YouTube.
Malden City Councilor at Large David D’Arcangelo has taken on a new assignment in state government. D’Arcangelo, who ran unsuccessfully as the Republican nominee for secretary of state last year, was recently tapped by Governor Charlie Baker to serve as director of the Office on Disability. “I’m very pleased to put my energy behind assisting Governor Baker in trying to improve policies and programs for persons with disability throughout the Commonwealth,” said D’Arcangelo, who is legally blind. D’Arcangelo has held various positions in state government in the past, including as an aide to state Senator Richard R. Tisei and as a correspondence aide to Governor Paul Cellucci. He also served as an appointee to the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind Rehabilitation Council. He has worked in the private sector as well, including running his own public relations firm.
Ipswich’s Peter Pinciaro, who first joined The Trustees of Reservations as a volunteer at the Crane Wildlife Refuge in 1977, has taken a new position as general manager of the 2,000-acre Crane Estate in Ipswich. Most recently, Pinciaro served as the trustees’ Northeast Region deputy director, concentrating his efforts on two flagship Ipswich properties, The Crane Estate and Appleton Farms. During Pinciaro’s career, he has served as a member of the Ipswich Historical Society, the town’s Coastal Pollution Control Committee, the Strawberry Hill Advisory Committee, the Sandy Point State Reservation Advisory Committee, and on the board of directors at the Ipswich Family YMCA.
Peabody residents have an opportunity to receive fresh fruits and vegetables while supporting local farming. The city is bringing back its Community Supported Agriculture program for another season. In a CSA, customers purchase shares of a local farm’s harvest and then receive weekly supplies of produce and other products throughout the season. This year the city is partnering with Chris’ Farm Stand to bring its CSA to Peabody. Chris’ grows its produce on its 200-year-old working family farm in Haverhill and sells it though its CSA and at two farm stands it owns and operates in Haverhill and Peabody. Interested residents are invited to an information session on Monday, April 13, at 7 p.m. in the Peabody Institute Library, 82 Main St.
Up to 150 Somerville teens will be chosen to participate in the mayor’s summer jobs program, according to a statement from the city. The program, which pairs young job seekers with opportunities in city departments and private businesses, is now accepting applications for this summer. Applications are available at the Personnel Department in City Hall, and will be accepted until 12:30 p.m. April 24. To apply, students must be Somerville residents, enrolled in high school, and at least 16years old. The positions will require about 20 hours of work per week. For more information, contact Human Services director Nancy Bacci at 617-625-6600, ext. 2250, or by e-mail at NBacci@somervillema.gov.
A dozen local residents have pledged to ride in the 2015 Pan Mass Challenge as members of Team Beachcomber to support the fight to eliminate cancer. This year, the team is riding in honor of 4-year-old Jesse Nash of Chatham, who has had a recurrence of neuroblastoma. Founded in 2009, Team Beachcomber is composed of riders who have a connection to the Beachcomber Restaurant in Wellfleet, including Winchester resident Jared Jackson, a co-founder of the team. This year, for the first time, the team is holding a fund-raiser in Winchester. Dubbed the Clam Jam, the May 2 event at Winchester Town Hall will feature food, fun, and live music performed by the Hootchies, a Boston-based rock band, as well as local distillers offering rum tastings. Beer and wine also will be available. The highlight of the event will be a clam chowder cook-off, with local restaurants competing for bragging rights. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $60 per person at the door or $55 if purchased in advance. To buy tickets or to make a tax-deductible contribution, visit teambeachcomber.com.
Saugus residents now have an easy way to safely discard unwanted needles and other medical “sharps” from their homes. The town recently installed two sharps kiosks. One is in the lobby of the Public Safety Building, available around the clock. The other is at town hall, available during regular business hours. Massachusetts in 2012 banned the disposal of needles, syringes, and lancets in household trash. Police Chief Domenic J. DiMella said n a prepared statement that the kiosks offer residents “a safe and convenient method of removing potentially dangerous needles from their homes, so that they don’t end up in the wrong hands or illegally in the public rubbish system.” The new containers are intended only for spent sharps used by Saugus residents.
Moira Landry, 18, a student at Swampscott High School and founder of the nonprofit Hope For Creativity, recently received a national President’s Volunteer Service Award. Landry founded the organization to provide packs of art supplies to homeless children in Massachusetts, educate others about the struggles of childhood homelessness, and empower children to be change makers. In four years, she has delivered nearly 1,500 packs of art supplies to shelters across the state. In presenting the award, Swampscott High principal Ed Rozmiarek called her “a wonderful representative of Swampscott High School.”
Mary Butler will be sworn in as Salem’s first female police chief at a 10 a.m. ceremony Thursday, April 9, at Old Town Hall. Butler, currently acting chief, was appointed to the permanent post last month by Mayor Kimberley L. Driscoll, who chose her from among three finalists for the job. First hired as a patrol officer in 1987, Butler rose to sergeant and lieutenant, and then last December was promoted to acting captain. She succeeds Paul F. Tucker, who retired after being elected state representative last November. Tucker, former police chief Robert M. St. Pierre, and Driscoll will be among those speaking at the ceremony.
A group of concerned citizens has kicked off a capital campaign to rebuild Winchester’s Jenks Center, the only privately built and operated nonprofit senior facility in the state. For nearly 40 years, the center has offered programs and services to help keep local seniors active, healthy, engaged, and connected to their community. However, according to organizers of the ReJenks Capital Campaign, the building is in need of infrastructure repairs and major updates to comply with state and federal accessibility requirements. The campaign is seeking to raise $2.5 million to address the building’s needs. Organizers envision a new Jenks that not only meets the needs of Winchester’s rapidly growing senior community, but also has an expanded role as a community center. To learn more or to donate, visit jenkscenter.org.
The city of Lawrence has received a $200,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to plan for the future reuse and revitalization of the Manchester & Lawrence Railroad line. The grant will be used to focus on ways to unlock underutilized commercial parcels and transform the rail line to passive recreation and open space. The study area will stretch from Merrimack Street, where the EPA already has committed fund for asbestos remediation of the Merrimac Paper site, to Manchester Street, where the rail trail will connect to the Spicket River Greenway. The city will be working closely with Groundwork Lawrence as the plan is developed. The effort is expected to begin in May and will include community input.
The Somerville schools have announced several changes to the calendar to make up nine snow days, including changing Good Friday on April 3 from a holiday to an early release day. According to a statement from the city, the changes are as follows: April 8, originally a half-day for Pre-K to Grade 8, will now be a full school day for all students; May 6, also a half-day for Pre-K to Grade 8 students, will now be a full school day; June 18, June 19, June 22, June 23, June 24, and June 25 will be full school days for all students; June 26 and June 29 will be full days for high school students but early release days for Pre-K to Grade 8 students, with Pre-K dismissed at 11:30 a.m. and kindergarten through Grade 8 at 12 p.m.; and June 30 will be an early release day for all students, with Pre-k dismissed at 11:30 a.m., kindergarten through Grade 8 at 12 p.m., and the high school at 11:33 a.m.
Four more southern Conomo Point properties will go on the auction block at noon on April 16 at the Essex Senior Center, 17 Pickering St. The live auction, scheduled to be conducted by Shrewsbury-based Zekos Group, will feature seasonally restricted properties from the longtime summer colony at 7, 19, and 24 Cogswell Road and 92 Conomo Point Road. For more than 100 years, Conomo Point was primarily a summer colony, with cottages and homes built on town-owned land. In recent years the town has been subdividing the land and selling some parcels. There are approximately 100 homes on the 123 parcels in the area. Buyers must have a $10,000 deposit and minimum bids run from $189,000 to $222,000. A site walk will be offered at the properties at 10:30 a.m. that day. For more information, call 508-842-9000 or go to www.zekosgroup.com.
Area residents will have a chance to get more information and offer their ideas about Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics at a regional forum hosted by state Senator Jason M. Lewis at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, at the Malden Senior Center, 7 Washington St. Representatives of Boston 2024, the local Olympic organizing committee, will be on hand to answer questions and gather input. The event, free and open to the public, is the first in a series of “Community Conversations” that Lewis, a Winchester Democrat, plans to hold on various topics in his district. Boston 2024 also has incorporated the forum into the series of 20 community meetings it is holding across the state to seek input from the public on the proposal.
Everett is inviting local residents to a Labor Trade Fair from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, in the Everett High School cafeteria, 100 Elm St. The free city-organized event is geared for those who want to learn more about beginning a trade career and finding work in the construction of the planned Wynn Resorts casino and other future development in Everett. Representatives of a variety of trade unions will be on hand to provide information and answer questions. There will also be a short program with speakers. City officials said the event is an initiative of Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. to help connect Everett residents with the casino and other future projects in the city.
By a two-thirds majority, voters at the Annual Town Meeting on March 28 appropriated funding to design and construct a new Center Fire Station on town-owned land located on Boston Road. It is estimated the project will cost about $12.8 million. Construction is contingent upon the passage of a Proposition 2
Volunteer Heather Pillis, who has coordinated the Ipswich curbside composting pilot program since it began three years ago, is among the finalists for MassRecyle’s 20th annual Recycling Awards, to be presented as part of the 2015 R3 Recycling & Organics Conference and Trade Show, scheduled for Monday, March 30, in the Quincy Marriott. Since the program’s inception, Pillis has worked with the town’s Department of Public Works and its Recycling Committee to secure a contractor and composting site; identify, build, and grow the collection route; promote the program; sign up participants; and manage its funds. The program has grown to include 400 households. Others nominated for awards include Lowell recycling coordinator Gunther Wellenstein; the cities of Salem and Lynn; the town of Manchester-by-the-Sea; the Danvers School District; University of Massachusetts Lowell; Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll; and Tim Deschamps, executive director of the Central Mass Mosquito Control Project. For more information, go to massrecycle.org.
Contractors have completed construction of The Batch Yard, a new luxury apartment development on the site of the former Charleston Chew factory in Everett. The developer, Post Road Residential, said the 73-unit final phase of the project was recently finished. Managed by the Bozzuto Group, the $90 million development features 328 loft-style apartments in a three-building complex at 25 Charlton St. The project incorporated details and finishes from the factory, including wood paneling and flooring that was reclaimed and re-milled from the site. According to its website, rents range from $1,600 for some studio apartments to $4,240 for the high-end units.
The robotics team at the Locke Middle School in Billerica has secured a spot at the VEX Robotics World Championship after winning the top award at the Southern New England Skyrise Middle School Championship earlier this month. In all, the Locke Monsters Robotics team took home three awards in the regional competition: the Robotics Skills Award; the Tournament Finalist Award; and the top award, the Excellence Award. Locke eighth graders Patrick Browne, Aiden Cliff, Alex Yeh, and Sreyas Yennampelli, along with seventh grader Brayden Taylor, participated in the regional competition. Team members Corban Walsh and Matt Woodman were unable to attend. Teams from 26 countries are expected to compete in the world championship April 15-18 in Louisville, Ky.
The Yentile Farm Development Committee is inviting residents to a presentation of the 9 Cross St. Recreational Facilitydesign at 7 p.m. April 15 in the Wilmington Middle School. The presentation is being made in advance of the upcoming annual Town Meeting, at which approval for funding for the project will be considered. Project engineers will show detailed visuals that portray the types of activities, structures, plantings, and amenities the 20.3-acre space would have, including a multipurpose artificial turf field, a playground, basketball/street hockey courts, walking paths, a picnic pavilion, concession stand, and an event green. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
The Somerville Community Preservation Committee has recommended using about $1.9 million for funding historic preservation and green space projects through the Community Preservation Act. The committee’s recommendations for $1,705,978 in historic preservation projects and $227,463 in green space projects were submitted on March 12 to the Board of Aldermen for approval, according to a statement from the city. Michael A. Capuano, Community Preservation Committee chairman, said in the statement that more than 100 pages of written comments on projects that sought CPA funding were received, and that many residents advocated for projects at meetings. “We’re grateful for the feedback and excited to undertake, with the Board of Aldermen’s approval, the first CPA-funded projects in Somerville’s history,” Capuano said. Approximately $4.9 million in CPA funds was available from the 1.5 percent property tax surcharge, matching funds from the state, and an additional appropriation by aldermen.
Acting on the recommendations of Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 8-1 on March 24 to conditionally approve the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden’s request to increase enrollment from 1,500 to 1,900 students. The action appears unlikely to end two years of contention between state officials and the school over charter conditions the state has imposed in considering the expansion. School officials said prior to Tuesday that the conditions attached to the approval prevent the expansion from moving forward. The board continued a condition that Mystic Valley’s board of trustees engage in governance training and two conditions — now combined into one — relating to enrollment. It also added a condition that the school establish a program for English language learners.
The new Bentley Academy Charter School in Salem filled nearly all its available seats in the school’s first lottery. The kindergarten to fifth grade school, which is set to open this fall, drew 294 applicants for 275 available spots. Every grade but the second — which had four remaining slots — filled all its seats and now has waiting lists. More than 90 percent of the current Bentley kindergarten to fourth grade students applied, and all that did will be enrolled automatically. Families whose children were offered seats need to return their enrollment confirmation forms by Friday, April 3. The school continues to seek applications for additions to the waiting list and for the remaining second grade seats.
A survey sent by Marblehead Schools Superintendent Maryann Perry set off a firestorm of controversy over whether students should attend school on religious holidays when there is currently no school. Citing the large number of snow days this winter, the Marblehead School Committee had already scheduled a half-day on Good Friday — April 3 — when Perry sent an e-mail to parents explaining that the leadership was reexamining the calendar for the next school year, and asked if parents preferred a full-day, half-day, or no school on four religious holidays during the 2015-16 school year: Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 14 and 15); Yom Kippur (Sept. 23), and Good Friday (March 25). After hearing from a large contingent of the community – including some religious leaders — at a March 19 meeting, the committee opted to drop the idea without a vote. “It seemed like this year’s snow was being used to eliminate religious holidays next year,” noted state Representative Lori Ehrlich, who attended the meeting as a resident. “I don’t like the message that sends.” While Ehrlich thought it was not intentional, she called the measure “ill-conceived,” noting that the survey offered no other options, such as beginning school before Labor Day or rearranging the February and April vacations. Perry could not be reached for comment.
Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini is giving organizers of an initiative to transform the vacant Cogswell School on South Main Street in Bradford into a vibrant community arts center a chance to make their vision a reality. The mayor has offered the group a three-year lease on the property that includes an option to purchase. The City Council is expected to approve the agreement in April. “We’re giving them the opportunity to lease the building, to see if they can raise the money to buy it,” said Fiorentini, who said he has “a lot of confidence” that the Cogswell Art Center Committee will be able to secure funding for the purchase. The city requested proposals for the property late last year and received two responses; the other was for high-density housing.
Peabody has collected $2.7 million in back taxes from 227 residents and businesses over the past four years. City treasurer Jeanne Carnevale said the outstanding taxes were collected through a systematic effort Peabody initiated when Mayor Ted Bettencourt took office in 2011. The program has involved using an outside counsel to initiate land-taking proceedings against those who do not respond to notices demanding payment. Carnevale said only a handful of the 227 cases are still pending in court. She said the city wanted residents to know that while taxes have gone up, “We are trying to do our part by making sure everyone pays their fair share.”
Paul McGeary, president of the Gloucester City Council, has announced his candidacy for mayor, joining City Councilor Greg Verga in the race. McGeary is a three-term city councilor and is a former longtime Boston Globe employee. Neither candidate has taken out nomination papers, though City Clerk Linda Lowe noted that traditionally, Gloucester candidates do not take out papers until April. To be listed on the ballot, a candidate must return papers by Aug. 11 for the Nov. 3 election. Depending on the number of candidates, Gloucester may also hold preliminary elections on Sept. 29.
The city of Everett has been named a finalist for a national award that recognizes community efforts to help people live healthier lives. Selected from more than 340 communities nationwide, Everett joins just 14 other finalists for the third annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize. Lawrence was the only other finalist from Massachusetts. Winners will be announced this fall. In a recent Facebook post, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria said the city is committed to building a culture of health for all residents, noting that Everett’s public schools, health and recreation departments, and local community organizations such as Tri-Cap, La Communidad, and the Cambridge Health Alliance, have his “unyielding support and encouragement in order to provide our community with more services, more opportunities, and more education for healthier and happier lifestyles.” To learn more, visit rwjf.org.
An eight-week workshop and mentoring program for immigrants who want to pursue culinary careers has launched this month. The pilot for the Nibble Entrepreneurship Program has participants who hail from a variety of countries, including Brazil, India, Somalia, and Colombia. Experts from the food industry and city employees will discuss menu selection, food sourcing, business planning, and marketing, among other topics. Participants will also complete a final project, such as creating a small product line. Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said in a prepared statement that the city wants to create opportunities for more immigrants to work in the local food industry. “Somerville has become a regional food destination, and our immigrant community is a huge part of why we’re increasingly becoming known for our eclectic cuisine,” he said. For more information, contact Rachel Strutt at Rachel@somervilleartscouncil.org or at 617-625-6600 ext. 2985, or visit www.somervilleartscouncil.org.
Medford is seeking a nonprofit to operate its community access channel. Medford Community Cablevision previously operated the channel until its board dissolved the corporation in 2013. Since then, the channel has been inactive and there has been no public access programming, according to city solicitor Mark Rumley. The city’s two other cable access channels continue to provide educational and government programming. The city has advertised a request for proposals from prospective groups to operate the community access channel. The deadline to respond is Thursday, though that date may be extended, said Louise Miller, the city’s chief procurement officer. The channel will operate out of space at Medford High School that the city plans to renovate for the purpose.
During a March 10 Special Town Election, Tyngsborough voters approved two debt exclusions, or temporary tax hikes, to fund a new roof and boiler system at Tyngsborough High School and repair five roads: Lakeview Avenue, Mascuppic Trail, and Cummings, Dunstable, and Lawndale roads. According to Town Clerk Joanne Shifres, the vote on the school project was 544-360; the vote on the road repair work was 494-404. The school project is expected to cost no more than $4,07 million, , with 52 percent of the project covered by the Massachusetts School Building Authority. As a result, the debt exclusion for the high school work will add $53 per year for 10 years to the annual tax bill for the owner of an average single-family home assessed at $310,000. The road work will add $79 per year for five years.
Winthrop School Superintendent John Macero and his wife, Trudy, have been honored by the Massachusetts Cultural Council for their commitment to providing children in town with quality arts education. The couple were among the winners of the council’s 2015 Commonwealth Award, recognized in the category of Creative Youth Development. Trudy Macero is founder and director of the Winthrop School of Performing Arts, where her husband is the longtime acting coach. The council presented the Maceros with the award at a ceremony in Winthrop on March 11. “John and Trudy Macero have been cultural leaders in the town of Winthrop for over 25 years and are synonymous with performing arts in the community,” Joanne Hillman, chairwoman of the Winthrop Cultural Council, said in a prepared statement.
Winchester town officials have scheduled a special election for June 9 to ask for voter approval of a debt exclusion, or temporary tax hike, to appropriate funding for work at Skillings Field. Among the projects under consideration: the proposed installation of a fourth culvert under the field as part of Winchester’s flood mitigation program; remediation of the hazardous materials in the field’s soil as mandated by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection; and, possibly, the installation of synthetic turf for the baseball field. The town’s Board of Selectmen is expected to decide this week which projects will be included on the ballot.
Peter Lombardi, director of policy and administration for Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday since 2012, was recently selected town administrator in Wenham. Pending a successful background check and contract negotiation, Lombardi will replace Mark Andrews, who left to take a similar job in Pepperell. This will be the first town administrator’s job for Lombardi, who also has worked for the town of Winthrop as a grants administrator. “He has some very impressive responsibilities in Newburyport, which is a much bigger [municipality] than Wenham,” said Jack Wilhelm, chairman of the Wenham Board of Selectmen and acting town administrator. “We hope we’re got the right person and he’ll stay awhile.” There were 45 applicants for the job.
The city of Lawrence has been named a finalist for a national award that recognizes community efforts to help people live healthier lives. Selected from about 350 communities nationwide, Lawrence joins 14 other finalists for the third annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize. Everett was the only other finalist from Massachusetts. The 10 winners will be announced this fall; a site visit to Lawrence is planned for mid-April. “We’ve recognized for years that health is about so much more than treating illness,” said Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera. “It’s about making sure that everyone has access to the services they need, to safe and affordable housing, to education and to employment, and that’s what drives our commitment to creating a culture of health.” To learn more, visit rwjf.org.
In response to a petition by Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School seniors, the school will conduct this year’s graduation ceremony on its own campus and not at the chapel at nearby Gordon College in Wenham. At a meeting held earlier this month, the Hamilton-Wenham School Committee voted, 4-2, in favor of the request made by students unhappy with Gordon’s stance on gay rights. That position was highlighted last year when college president Michael Lindsay was among religious leaders seeking a religious exemption from a presidential executive order prohibiting employment discrimination for sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Wakefield public schools are creating a new STEAM Task Force to help the district enhance its science, technology, engineering, art, and math curriculum. The group includes a core team of teachers and administrators from STEAM subject areas that has begun after-school meetings to work on specifics of curricular design. The educators will be joined on the task force by parents, business people, and other community members. Anyone interested in applying for those seats is asked to contact assistant superintendent Kim Smith by Friday at firstname.lastname@example.org. The overall task force will hold monthly public meetings starting with an April 2 kick-off session to further shape a STEAM vision and action plan, Smith said.
Small businesses in Somerville that have been impacted by snow this winter can apply for $5,000 to $10,000 micro-loans, small, short-term loans at low interest. The city said in a statement that the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, a quasi-public agency that works to spur economic development across the state, will make up to $1 million available. This snowstorm loan fund is intended to help small businesses regain their financial stability, and the program will run until May of this year. Additional information can be found on the agency’s website at www.massgcc.com. Businesses will need approval and a signoff from a local partner entity, which can be completed by the city of Somerville’s Economic Development office. Those with questions can contact Max MacCarthy at 617-625-6600, ext. 2515, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Revere is getting some free help in exploring its future growth opportunities. A contingent of 50 students from the Harvard Graduate School of Design is taking part in an eight-week urban planning exercise in the city. Working in small teams under the direction of faculty members, the students are exploring the development potential of various sites across Revere. As part of the work, they will be seeking community input. The students will present their findings at a community meeting in late April and in written reports. “This talented team from Harvard will be a great asset to city staff over the coming weeks, and I am looking forward to reviewing their findings,” Mayor Daniel Rizzo said in a prepared statement.
The Reading Police Department has received a $5,000 grant to conduct alcohol compliance programs aimed at curbing under-age drinking. The grant funds will enable local police to monitor, analyze, and, when appropriate, take legal action on both minors who seek to circumvent the law and people and businesses that enable them. The grant’s funding comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the US Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. “Teens and parents need to be reminded that under-age drinking is not a game. It’s deadly serious,” said Reading Police Chief James W. Cormier. “Parents need to know that hosting a party where alcohol is served to minors is both illegal and extremely dangerous for the minors and others in the community. Parents should also know they’ll face all legal liabilities.”
Gloucester will play an active role in the Seafood Expo North America, which will be held Sunday through Tuesday at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Interim Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken on Sunday will demonstrate how to cook under-utilized species. In addition to showcasing the city’s working waterfront, commercial fishing history, and economic opportunities at the expo, the city has scheduled a Monday tour for overseas delegations, and another for later in the week. “This is a great opportunity to really showcase the city and for companies here to make some international connections,” said Sal DiStefano, the city’s economic development director.
Four local residents who work at Northern Essex Community College have been named recipients of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Awards for Excellence, which recognize outstanding teachers in the country’s community colleges. The winners are Deirdre Budzyna of Newburyport, a professor in the college’s early childhood education program; Amy Callahan of Newburyport, coordinator of the journalism/communication program; Linda Giampa of Amesbury, academic coordinator of the college’s reading center; and Abby Thomas of Andover, curriculum coordinator of the English as a Second Language program. Also honored were Robert West of Manchester, N.H., laboratory technician and natural science safety officer; and Kristen Quinn of Boston, associate professor of accounting. Northern Essex has campuses in Haverhill and Lawrence.
The Salem School Committee has voted, 7-0, to select Margarita Ruiz as the city’s next school superintendent. The appointment at a special meeting March 6 was subject to the city negotiating a contract with Ruiz, a network superintendent and former principal for the Boston public schools. Ruiz was one of two finalists for the job; a third dropped out just before the meeting. “Both her community sessions and her interviews demonstrated she was competent, capable, and committed, and she’s also a Salem resident,” said Mayor Kimberley L. Driscoll, who chairs the committee. “I certainly felt from my perspective that she could be the clear-thinking, fair but accountable and inclusive leader we want for all our students, families, and staff.”
The Beverly City Council has approved a special permit for Windover Development to construct 32 apartments on the site of the former McKay School. The Beverly-based firm plans to house the apartments in the original school building and in a two-story addition that would replace the existing gymnasium. The project also calls for a public walkway that would complete the city’s Shoe Pond Walking Trail. The city has agreed to sell the site to Windover for $950,000. The school closed in 2002.
Longtime call fire Captain Nathan Walker was recently named fire chief in Newbury. Walker succeeds former chief William Pearson, who recently retired after turning 65. Walker, a 15-year veteran of the department, is the son of Board of Selectman chairman Geoff Walker. His annual salary – which needs the approval of the Personnel Board – is proposed at $60,000.
A race to succeed outgoing town moderator Charles A. Murphy is one of three contests on the ballot of Burlington’s April 11 town election. Murphy, a former state representative, opted not to seek reelection as moderator. Vying for his seat are Phillip Gallagher, a former town moderator and current library trustee; and Sally Willard, a longtime town meeting member and former chairwoman of the Land Use Committee. Meanwhile, Carol Perna and Jeffrey Pearsons are competing to fill the remaining term on a vacant Planning Board seat. There are three contenders for two seats on the Board of Health: incumbent Elizabeth Walendziewicz, David B. McSweeney, and Jaclynn K. Sulfaro. Ten people are running unopposed for townwide seats.
The KIPP Academy Lynn charter school will grow by 736 students as a result approval from the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The school currently serves 850 students in the fifth to 12th grades at its middle and high school campus at 90 High Rock St. KIPP plans to add 600 students in a new kindergarten-grade 4 elementary school, and 136 students to its existing grades. The elementary school will open in August with a founding class of 120 kindergartners at a site to be determined. Lottery applications for prospective students are being accepted by mail or in person at the High Rock Street campus through 5 p.m. on Monday.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has named Shawsheen Valley Technical High School in Billerica a winner of its seventh annual Municipal Blue Innovation Award for having a role-model worksite wellness program, said Larry Croes, Blue Cross’s vice president of commercial and municipal markets. The award includes a $5,000 grant. Shawsheen offers its staff a customized wellness program that includes incentives for participants. The school also holds wellness seminars, including classes on how to manage stress and improve employees’ health. According to Superintendent Charlie Lyons, the grant will be used to augment equipment in Shawsheen’s fitness facility, which is used heavily by both students and employees.
Mary Butler will become the first female police chief in the city of Salem. Butler, who began work as a patrol officer in Salem in 1987 and rose to acting captain, was appointed chief last week by Mayor Kim Driscoll. Butler, who holds two bachelor’s degrees from Salem State, will be sworn in later this month. She will succeed Paul Tucker, who was elected as a state representative last fall. “Throughout her career, Mary has demonstrated the utmost integrity and professionalism in her approach to policing and true leadership in the department,” Driscoll said in a prepared statement. “I’m extremely excited and enthusiastic to have this opportunity to serve the city of Salem, its citizens, and the officers of this department,” said Butler.
Gloucester is the latest police department to warn residents of an Internal Revenue Service-themed scam targeting senior citizens, joining Arlington, Bedford, Billerica, Carlisle, Ipswich, Wakefield, Saugus, Stoneham, and Wenham. Gloucester Chief Leonard Campanello reported that citizens are being contacted by scammers identifying themselves as IRS agents, demanding they wire money for unpaid taxes and threatening arrest, seizure of property, and large fines. “These calls are a scam, and residents should never give money, wire money, or give a prepaid debit card number to someone claiming to be an IRS agent or police officer over the phone,” Campanello said in a prepared statement. The scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number, and background noise and toll-free “IRS numbers” on caller ID may support the scam. Those who think they may owe taxes can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.
Boston 2024, the group organizing the bid to host a Summer Olympics, will hold a community meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Lowell City Hall. State Senator Eileen Donoghue, a Democrat who supports bringing the Olympics to Boston, will host the meeting. Boxing at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell and rowing on the Merrimack River are among the Olympic events being considered for Lowell. The meeting is one of 20 community meetings Boston 2024 is hosting as part of its public outreach.
The city of Lawrence on Tuesday is scheduled to hold an application drive from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at City Hall for the upcoming Civil Service police officer written exam. The event guides individuals interested in becoming a police officer through each step of the application process and answer any questions. Computers will be set up, allowing interested parties an opportunity to fill out the Civil Service exam application and pay online. The exam is scheduled to be administered April 25. For more information, contact the city’s personnel department at FBonet@cityoflawrence.com or 978-620-3060.
Author Casey Sherman and Boston journalist Dave Wedge raised $2,500 for the Officer Sean Collier Self Sponsor Scholarship Fund at a recent event held in New York for the release of their book, “Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph Over Tragedy.” Massachusetts Institute of Technology created the scholarship fund in memory of the Wilmington native, who authorities allege was slain on the MIT campus by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. The scholarships help officers going through the Massachusetts Police Academy. Tax-deductible donations may be sent to: Officer Sean Collier Self-Sponsor Scholarship Fund, c/o Sgt. Richard Sullivan, 301 Vassar St., Building W89, Cambridge 02139. Checks should be payable to MIT with “Collier Scholarship” in the memo line.
Somerville has named Nicole Terez Dutton its first poet laureate. Dutton, a teacher at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, will serve for two years at a $2,000 annual stipend. The city has a “talented, well-educated, and thoughtful writer’s community that needs a voice,” Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said in a prepared statement. “In Nicole Terez Dutton, Somerville gains a tremendous advocate and partner for the writing arts. “Nicole’s work is poised and insightful, and I think it will really resonate with the Somerville community.”
Two members of the Rockport High jazz band have been selected to the All New England Jazz Band for 2015. Sophomore Jasper Williamson and junior Paul Fears were selected to play in the band, which wrapS up the All New England Jazz Festival March 24 at Plymouth State University. This will be Fears’ second year performing with the ensemble. “We are thrilled to be represented by two talented members at the New England Jazz Festival, and I’m looking forward to hearing them perform with other top high school jazz players,” Rockport Jazz Band director Anthony Covelli said in a prepared statement.
The city of Somerville has established a group that will work to preserve and create affordable housing as part of Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone’s Sustainable Neighborhoods initiative. In October, Curtatone announced the initiative, an outline of steps to make the city a place where people of all income brackets can afford to live. The 29-member Sustainable Neighborhoods Working Group will be co-chaired by Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang, who is also chairman of the Board of Aldermen’s Housing and Community Development Committee; Dana LeWinter, a former director of housing for the city; and other housing experts and community advocates, according to a statement from the city. In addition to affordable housing, the group will address the issue of middle-income housing for working families. For more information about the initiative, visit somervillema.gov .
Residential developers in Medford would have to set aside some of their units as affordable under a proposed ordinance Mayor Michael J. McGlynn plans to submit soon to the City Council. The measure would apply to all housing projects with a specified number of units or above, a threshold not yet determined, according to Lauren DiLorenzo, Medford’s director of community development. At least 10 percent of the units in those projects would have to be affordably priced. Medford would join a number of other cities and towns to adopt so-called inclusionary zoning measures to expand their affordable housing stock. The city considered the idea several years ago, but opted not to pursue it at that time because of concerns it could hinder housing development in what was then a struggling real estate market. Instead, the city implemented a policy in which it negotiates with developers whose projects require variances from zoning rules to set aside 10 percent of their units as affordable. DiLorenzo said McGlynn’s objective in seeking an ordinance now is to “really make a statement to any developer coming to the city that we have a commitment to affordable housing, and to make the rules consistent and clear.”
Wilmington students in grades 9 to 12 returned from their February break to a new high school. An official grand opening ceremony was held last Tuesday as students entered the new Wilmington High School for the first time. The new building, an $82,688,115 project that was under construction for about two years, replaced a school that was built in 1950 and renovated several times. The new high school features modern science labs, collaborative learning spaces, and a turf field. “We have a debt of gratitude to the community for supporting this project,” said Superintendent Mary C. DeLai, noting that many of the town residents who rallied behind it “had no children in the public schools but recognized that education is very important to this community.” Under the funding plan for the school, the Massachusetts School Building Authority is expected to pay about $38 million of the costs. The town is responsible for the remainder, which will be covered by a debt exclusion, a temporary increase in property taxes for the years it takes to pay off the loan.
Montserrat College of Art could soon become part of Salem State University. The two institutions announced last Monday that they are in formal discussions about the university’s potential acquisition of the private college of visual art and design in Beverly. Salem State president Patricia Maguire Meservey and Montserrat counterpart Stephen D. Immerman said in a joint statement that, after an initial and confidential review of the idea, “We are excited by the potentially significant benefits of such an integration.” The boards of trustees of both campuses have agreed to move forward to explore details of a potential merger, with a goal of having a final agreement in place by this July. The presidents said they were making the initiative public now to “bring both communities into the discussions necessary to more thoroughly consider all implications of this proposal.” Officials anticipate that if the agreement is finalized, the acquisition would be fully implemented by the 2017-2018 academic year. “Joining these two institutions,’’ Meservey said in a separate statement, “would bring together extraordinarily talented faculty and students from both programs . . . enhance opportunities for collaboration, and expand access to a broader array of artistic and student centered facilities on both Salem and Beverly campuses.’’
Everett is looking to require developers to help the city pay for the impacts of their projects. Mayor Carlo DeMaria has proposed that Everett charge an annual linkage fee to developers who are building, expanding, or substantially renovating commercial or large rental housing properties. The City Council recently embraced the plan by authorizing the city to seek special legislation to create a revolving fund for the linkage program. If the special act is approved, the mayor and the council would then work to craft an ordinance spelling out details of a linkage fee. DeMaria offered the proposal several years ago but failed to win support for it at the time from the then-bicameral City Council, which has since been replaced by a single council. Everett would join a number of other communities, including Boston, Medford, and Somerville, that have adopted a linkage fee. DeMaria, in a prepared statement, said such a fee would help ensure that “businesses looking to come into Everett will be invested in Everett for the long term.’’