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  • Two alarm blaze rips through Highland Ave. building

    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00
  • RHS senior receives $5,000 Hood® Milk Sportsmanship Scholarship

    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00
  • Mayor submits $227 million FY18 budget

    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00
  • Playground Dangers

    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00
  • Community ’N Unity Celebration

    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00

News

Former PTO treasurer faces larceny charge

A former Forestdale Parent Teacher Organization treasurer has been accused of stealing more than $10,000 from the school’s volunteer group. Jane Marenghi, 48, of Dutton Street, was in Malden District Court this week to face a charge of larceny over $250. A second charge involving intimidation of a witness was dismissed during an earlier court appearance. Marenghi pleaded not guilty and a jury trial was scheduled for July 20.

Boston 25 News, which broke the story on its Monday night broadcast, reported that other Forestdale PTO members became aware that a significant amount of money was missing from the organization’s bank account last September. They discussed their concerns with Forestdale Principal Donald Concannon, who then asked Marenghi about thousands of dollars in unauthorized purchases made with the PTO funds.

According to the Boston 25 News spot, Marenghi allegedly told Concannon she did not remember spending PTO money, and accounting errors were due to her multiple sclerosis.

Concannon contacted Malden Police, and Detective Robert DiSalvatore led an investigation into the missing money that included an examination of bank records and interviews with Marenghi and other PTO members. The police forwarded the results of their inquiry to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, which now contends that $10,836 in PTO money was spent on non-PTO purchases. The shopping took place over the 18 months that Marenghi served as the organization’s treasurer.

Some residents might feel as if they’ve heard the story of local PTO theft before, and that’s probably because they have. In 2013, Ami Wood, the former treasurer of the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School’s PTO, was accused of stealing more than $30,000 from that organization. According to the Middlesex DA, Wood and her husband used the money to pay bills and cover personal expenses.

And PTO theft is hardly unique to Malden. Anyone who googles PTO embezzlement or PTA theft will find thousands of cases from all corners of the country. The problem is so pervasive that PTO Today, a magazine and web site for school parent groups, regularly reports on PTO theft and offers advice on how to avoid the problem.

According to Michelle Bates Deakin, a reporter for PTO Today, more than 90 percent of the cases of PTO theft involve first-time offenders struggling with financial problems. PTOs offer opportunities for theft because the organizations are manned by trusting volunteers working together to benefit schools where their own children are enrolled. PTO thefts often involved a member stealing small amounts of money that add up over time. Deakin said a $20,000 theft can be a huge financial hit for schools that depend on PTO support for basic programs.

Cases of theft also take an emotional toll on individual members and the organization. But Deakin said PTOs typically adjust and come out stronger.

 

Council expands debate on marijuana shops

Would Malden tolerate a handful of retail marijuana shops if the tax revenue they brought in was used to kill off the Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) trash bag program?

Ward 4 Councillor Ryan O’Malley thinks so, and this week he proposed using local taxes on future marijuana sales to replace lead pipes and to eliminate PAYT. The council has been discussing a mix of measures to regulate retail marijuana businesses that want to set up shop in Malden. In addition to O’Malley’s proposal, Ward 3 Councillor John Matheson called for a 12-month moratorium on marijuana sales.

O’Malley’s proposal shifted the debate from zoning ordinances that could severely restrict locations for pot shops to the potential benefits of the retail marijuana industry. The state Department of Revenue has estimated that when the retail marijuana industry is launched, it will generate $64 million in tax revenue during the first 12 months. During the second year of retail marijuana enterprises, the state could take in as much as $173 million in taxes from roughly a $1 billion in sales.

O’Malley said retail marijuana represents a new revenue stream that will benefit the city. Although the law now calls for a 6.75 percent sales tax, a 3.25 percent excise tax and a 2 percent local tax, state lawmakers are expected to jack up those rates.

To demonstrate the financial benefits of retail marijuana sales, O’Malley zeroed in on the much-maligned PAYT program that costs everyone who lives in Malden time, patience and $2 for a 33-gallon blue plastic bag. O’Malley said the revenue from PAYT trash bags sales has been baked into the city budget and there’s no way to end the program without major cuts to other city departments and services. “The only way to remove it would be to replace it with another revenue stream,” he said.

But the tax revenue from marijuana sales would come through the state, and Ward 6 Councillor Neil Kinnon said the city can’t just tell the Commonwealth where to send the check. “It all goes into the city’s general fund,” he said.

However, Kinnon also said projects and proposals could be financed with money bonded against annual marijuana tax revenue. “You cannot say the money is going to do this, this and this, but if you bond it, it ties it up,” he said.

A few councillors had other ideas about how to spend tax revenue from local pot sales.

“Any revenue brought into the city will, hopefully, be used to offset our use of city reserve funds to balance the budget,” said Ward 2 Councillor Paul Condon, chairman of the Finance Committee.

Ward 5 Councillor Barbara Murphy pitched earmarking the money to pay for ongoing efforts to repair and maintain city roads.

“I support the spirit of this paper,” said Councillor-at-Large Debbie DeMaria. “But I think there are other avenues we could discuss, like drug rehab.”

Although O’Malley’s proposal was technically flawed, Ward 7 Councillor Neal Anderson said, the sentiment behind it made sense. The council agreed with Anderson’s call to approve O’Malley’s proposal as a council resolution.

The council also agreed to send Matheson’s proposal for a one-year moratorium on permits for retail marijuana businesses to a joint hearing of the Rules & Ordinance Committee and the Planning Board. The Rules & Ordinance Committee is reviewing the possibility of a zoning ordinance that would limit the shops to the city’s industrial zones.

“I don’t want the pressure of moving quickly,” said Matheson. The state is scheduled to begin issuing retail marijuana licenses next summer.

The new law sets the number of retail marijuana shops that a city or town must allow at 20 percent of the number of liquor stores in that community. Cities and towns can lower that limit, but only if voters approve tighter restrictions.

Matheson said a moratorium would give the city time to let voters determine the number of shops and the zones where they should be located.

“It affords us an opportunity to study the issue and get our zoning in place,” he said.

   

Malden students earn Boston College High School Honors

Paul Albright, class of 2018, of Malden, achieved High Honors for the Third Quarter at Boston College High School. For High Honors an upperclassman needs a 3.8 Quality Point Average (QPA) and all grades C+ or higher.

Andrew Baratta, class of 2017, Abreham Sequar, class of 2018, and Theodore Cartales, class of 2020, achieved Honors. For Honors an upperclassman needs a 3.2 QPA and all grades C- or higher. A freshman needs a QPA of 3.16 and all grades C- or higher.

Boston College High School is a Jesuit, Catholic, college-preparatory school for young men founded in 1863. The school enrolls approximately 1,600 students from more than 100 communities in eastern Massachusetts.

   

Mother’s Day Memories

Some people are blessed with a mother who lives to old age, some not so fortunate, and lost their dear mother at an earlier age. I was gifted, and had a mother who lived to the age of 97. I guess I take after her, since I am 91 – almost 92. I hope I take after her in many ways.

I am sure you all can remember words your Mom said to you through the years. Words you’ve never forgotten. Words of love, compassion, understanding – words of comfort that only a mother can give. They cannot be replaced or found anywhere else.

For an infant, there is nothing like the feel of their mother’s body and especially her arms holding them close. And as a child grows older to have their Mom kiss a booboo – no matter how big or small – it seemed much better. A mother’s gift!

When I was about 10 years old, I was very fresh to my mother. I have forgotten just why, but I was upset with her and went out the door, and never saying goodbye or kissing her. However, my conscience got the better of me. When I got to the first street from the house, I turned around and went back home. I told my mother, “I am so sorry for being mean to you, Mom.”

She looked at me and said, “I am very happy that you are sorry. Thank you for coming back,” and with that she kissed me and said, “Now don’t be late for school.”

Off I went, happy as a lark that my mother forgave me, and I was truly sorry that I had behaved so poorly. That is one of the moments I’ve never forgotten. Being in the good graces of my Mom was so important to me.

In my late teens, my dear friend, Marian, lost her mother, and I went to her wake. It was so sad, and Marian was crying. I felt so sorry for her, I was crying, too.

When I returned home, I told my mother how Marian had been crying. My own eyes filled up with tears for my dear friend. My mother put her arms around me and said, “Honey, wipe away your tears, you will shed many tears of your own someday.”

Those words remained with me all through the years. And now in my elderly age, I think of words that were said to me by my mother – and how true they were. My mother was so right. How wise she was and warmhearted.

When one of my sons was in the first or second grade, the pupils made up a card for their mothers for Mother’s Day. On the front of the card, my son printed, “To My Dear Sweat Mother.” I thought the teacher was right to leave the spelling error. It was too sweet to have him correct it. I treasure that card, and would not part with it for anything. Sweet or sweat, they both applied. I loved it!

Not too long ago, I was speaking to a priest from my parish – Father Bakker, who is now deceased. I had the nerve to ask him, “Father, do you believe that you will see your mother and father after you die and go to heaven?”

He looked right at me and replied,” Yes, I do!” Just what I wanted to hear! I felt so happy that I had asked him a question I often thought of. I am going to remember his answer the rest of my life. It gives me hope.

Remember your mother – send her a card, call her, send flowers, take her out to dinner. She will be pleased to know you cared. If your mother is gone, say a little prayer for her. Remember, a mother’s love is the greatest love of all!

 

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL MOTHERS!

Virginia Ruane is a lifelong Malden resident. Please send comments or suggestions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

   

Beacon Hill Roll Call

THE HOUSE AND SENATE. Beacon Hill Roll Call records local senators’ votes on the only roll call from the week of May 1-5. There were no roll calls in the House.

$200 MILLION FOR LOCAL ROADS AND BRIDGES (H 3648)

Senate 36-0, gave final approval to and Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law a bill authorizing $200 million in one-time funding for the maintenance and repair of local roads and bridges in cities and towns across the state. The package is a bond bill under which the funding would be borrowed by the state through the sale of bonds. The measure also authorizes $70 million for the completion of the ATLAS, the Registry of Motor Vehicles’ technology system that will replace an archaic system that is 30 years old and difficult to maintain and use.

Supporters said the $200 million would help cities and towns keep their roads and bridges safe. They noted that the money will be delivered early in the construction season and allow many vital municipal road projects to move forward. They said that ATLAS will replace an antiquated, inefficient system and provide better and more efficient services to Registry customers.

“Local transportation funding for cities and towns across Massachusetts has been a priority for our administration since the first day we took office,” said Gov. Baker upon signing the funding. “State support to repair local roads and improve safety is critical for the people, businesses and first responders of Massachusetts.”

(A “Yes” vote is for the bill.)

Sen. Jason Lewis              Yes

HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK’S SESSION? Beacon Hill Roll Call tracks the length of time that the House and Senate were in session each week. Many legislators say that legislative sessions are only one aspect of the Legislature’s job and that a lot of important work is done outside of the House and Senate chambers. They note that their jobs also involve committee work, research, constituent work and other matters that are important to their districts. Critics say that the Legislature does not meet regularly or long enough to debate and vote in public view on the thousands of pieces of legislation that have been filed. They note that the infrequency and brief length of sessions are misguided and lead to irresponsible late night sessions and a mad rush to act on dozens of bills in the days immediately preceding the end of an annual session.

During the week of May 1-5, the House met for a total of 30 minutes and the Senate met for a total of 50 minutes.

Mon. May 1 House 10:03 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.

Senate 11:05 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.

Tues. May 2 No House session

No Senate session

Wed. May 3 No House session

Senate 1:18 p.m. to 1:56 p.m.

Thurs. May 4 House 11:05 a.m. to 11:18 a.m.

Senate 11:21 a.m. to 11:28 a.m.

Fri. May 5 No House session

No Senate session

Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

   

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