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– Friday, April 21, 2017
Page 15
I find inspiration in the regular
folks, the unsung heroes of all
ages who care enough to focus
on protecting the environment
for future generations in every-
thing theydo. Here are a fewex-
amples from my years with the
Saugus River watershed: the
students from an elementary
school who launched a water
conservation initiative and pro-
moted the saleof rainbarrels for
them were homeless and their
school was located in an urban
area with no gardens in sight;
the volunteers who joined me
in the Saugus River one Febru-
ary as we chopped through ice
to check the fish nets as part of
our rainbow smelt–monitoring
project; the family who showed
upat apublicmeeting inSaugus
toshare their storyabout cancer
in an effort to raise awareness
about the public health risks as-
sociated with waste incinera-
tion and other industrial sourc-
es of pollution; the small group
of volunteers who participated
in a Saugus River cleanup proj-
ect where they filled a dump-
ster with illegally dumped con-
structiondebrisduringa torren-
tial rain storm; and the 94-year-
oldmember of theSaugus River
Watershed Council who sent in
a check for $5 along with a per-
sonalnoteof thanksandencour-
agement forprotectingtheenvi-
ronment ... This list could go on
for quite some time!
What’s the best Earth Day
project you have ever been in-
volved with, in Saugus or out-
side of Saugus?
That’s impossible tosaybe-
cause for us every day is Earth
Do you have a checklist
of environmental projects that
youwould like to see get done?
Name a few, please.
tionof thewatershed, therearea
few initiatives andopportunities
for improvement that Iwouldre-
ally like to see accomplished in
the future. These include:
Expanded public access
to the Saugus River, includ-
ing riverfront walkways and
more boater access. A coop-
erative effort between Saugus
and Lynn to reactivate the wa-
terfront along the lower Sau-
gus River would ensure a bal-
anced regional approach for
public enjoyment and access
to the river.
As required by state per-
mits, I would like to see perma-
nent closure of the ash landfill
located adjacent to the Rum-
vironmental Concern. As also
included in the permits for the
property, the landfill should be
capped with grassy bird habi-
tat toenhanceplantingsaround
the site. We need to stop pre-
tending that itmakesanysense
to expand this landfill, which is
already at risk for erosion from
future sea level rise and in-
creasing coastal surge.
The property along the
Saugus River behind the for-
mer O’Brien’s restaurant is a
hidden gem. This site, owned
by the Massachusetts De-
partment of Conservation and
Recreation, is ideally suited
for a signature waterfront park
that could support a coastal
environmental education and
nature center with links to the
Northern Strand Trail and ex-
cellent boater access to the
navigable portion of the Sau-
gus River.
Finally, I would like to see
a swimmable Saugus River.
While themain stemof the riv-
er oftenmeets swimming stan-
dards for water quality during
dry weather, storm water run-
off still causes pollution prob-
lems during and following rain
storms. As Saugus, Lynn and
Revere continue to address
outstanding storm water and
wastewater management
problems, we anticipate that
river conditions will continue
to improve.
Are you optimistic as you
look ahead?
Yes, I’m definitely optimis-
tic. In order to work on improv-
ing the environment, the first
step is to recognize the prob-
lem. So often, environmental
problems are overlooked, but
the first step to making a differ-
ence is being willing to identify
and take a stand for what needs
tobefixedor improved. Second,
and equally important, is being
optimistic enough to believe
that the problemcan be solved.
That enthusiasm and commit-
mentprovide the foundationfor
andorganizations aspossible to
make a difference.
Anything else you want to
In honor of Earth Day, I
would like to extend a heart-
felt thanks to all of the individ-
uals, businesses, public officials
and other nonprofit organiza-
tions working diligently to pro-
tect and restore local resources
in the region.
As Rachel Carson once stat-
ed, “
The more clearly we can fo-
cus our attention on thewonders
andrealitiesof theuniverseabout
us, the less tastewe shall have for
So this Earth Day, l would en-
courage everyone to find their
own unique opportunity to en-
joy the local beauty around us
by takingawalkonanature trail
at Breakheart Reservation, ex-
ploring Prankers Pond, setting
out onto the Saugus River for a
peaceful kayak paddle (around
high tide, of course), enjoying a
morningstroll at theSaugus Iron
Works or simply appreciating a
riverfront sunset.
Happy Earth Day!
Formula irks Finance Committee:
Saugus paying more than its fair share toward Northeast Metropolitan
Regional Vocational School District budget
By Mark E. Vogler
evere is projected to have
49 more students than
Saugus attending Northeast
Metropolitan Regional Voca-
tional School for the 2017-18
school year. But Saugus will
be assessed about $1.2million
more than Revere for the 2018
fiscal year that begins July 1.
The assessment for Saugus will
be nearly triple that of Chelsea
for the next fiscal year even
though Chelsea is projected to
have 21 more students – sec-
ond highest of the 12 munic-
ipalities that send students to
theWakefield-based vocation-
al school.
Saugus will wind up paying
$183,025 more in assessments
for the 2018 fiscal year – a 6.2
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