Thursday, September 21, 2017
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Healthy Pet brings ‘‘family vibe’’ to Peabody


Citing a recent shift in consumer shopping trends, Robert Mellace, along with his brother John and sister Lucia, decided to open Healthy Pet, a store with a comprehensive approach to pet care. Located at 637 Lowell St., the store’s soft opening was on July 9 with the ribbon-cutting and grand opening on Sept. 15-16.

“Healthy Pet is a new concept store for us,” said Mellace, adding that he and his siblings have also owned Pet Express since 1995. “We try to provide consumers with healthy alternatives; we don’t want consumers going to the Internet to buy things for their pets.”

Mellace said customers can quickly determine the quality of pet food by looking at the first five ingredients. “The proof is in the label,” he said.

Some of the brand names customers will find at Healthy Pet are Blue Buffalo, Merrick, Taste of the Wild and Fruitables.

Mellace also said that Healthy Pet is designed to be a neighborhood store, rather than a big box conglomerate. “We have that family vibe here,” he said.

The store itself features a 400-gallon fish tank; a rabbit-petting area, which Mellace said has been very popular with the children, as well as fish from across the globe, lizards, ferrets and hedgehogs.

Mellace said Healthy Pet is equipped with LED lighting. “We’re a green store,” he said.

In addition, Mellace spoke in favor of House Bill 3212. Sponsored by State Rep. Mark Cusack, the bill would prohibit the sale of puppies and kittens that are less than eight weeks old, require puppy microchips to improve consumer protection and prohibit the roadside sale of puppies. “This is a bill we’re standing behind,” said Mellace.

Although Boston City Councillor Matthew O’Malley sponsored and passed a similar city ordinance in March 2016, Mellace said, it did nothing more than create a black market for puppy mills. “What they did in Boston was so counter-productive, it does absolutely nothing,” he said.

State Rep. Theodore Speliotis said he would like to see tighter regulations for service dogs. Right now, anyone can go online and obtain a document stating that they have a service dog, when in fact, that is not the case at all. “I’d like to do that bill,” said Speliotis. “It has wide support in the State House.”

Healthy Pet’s hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The store can be reached at 978-535-7387.

By Christopher Roberson


Medical marijuana still a hot topic for City Council

The City Council continued to tread lightly on the matter regarding medical marijuana companies who will be applying to set up shop in Peabody. “We don’t want to be in court, we want to protect ourselves,” said President Joel Saslaw during the council’s Sept. 14 meeting.

He also said he expects all approved companies to be active and positive contributors to the city. “These entities are going to put their best foot forward,” he said.

But the real issue has been about determining when a letter of non-opposition would be warranted. “That’s the elephant in the room,” said Saslaw. “There is no guide.”

Therefore, he suggested a list of criteria for the council to use when it comes time to start making those kinds of decisions. Saslaw recommended inquiring about a company’s board of directors, its level of security and its years of industry experience and location. “Those are the things that I thought about,” he said.

Saslaw also said the council would review a host agreement before sending it to Mayor Edward Bettencourt for his signature.

Councillor-at-Large David Gravel suggested implementing additional zoning restrictions for medical marijuana companies. “We should go back into the Zoning Ordinance, open it up and put in the restrictions,” he said.

In other news, the council voted unanimously to grant a live and non-live entertainment license to Metro Bowl.

Resident Jose Pinto of Chestnut Street said he and his neighbors were initially apprehensive about car alarms going off and other loud noises coming from the establishment late at night. “We’re not here to oppose anything, we’re just here to voice some concerns,” he said. Pinto said he and other residents recently had the opportunity to share their concerns with Metro Bowl owner Robert Leo, Ward 4 Councillor Edward Charest and Ward 2 Councillor Peter McGinn.

Speaking about parking, McGinn said 48 new spaces have been added and employees have been instructed to park on Chestnut Street Extension. He said the additional spaces will prevent patrons from having to park on Chestnut Street, Coolidge Road and Franklin Street. In addition, a manager will walk through the parking lot every night to ensure that patrons do not become disruptive. McGinn also said there will be a regular police presence.

Councillor-at-Large Anne Manning-Martin questioned the need for the police. “I’ve never seen any police reports; I’ve never heard of any complaints down there,” she said.

Gravel said he has fond memories of Metro Bowl going back many years. “I grew up in Ward 2 and was a regular patron of Metro Bowl; as kids that’s where we went every Saturday,” he said, adding that he fully backed the request for an entertainment license – “I’m 100 percent in support.”

The council voted unanimously to ask Bettencourt about developing an Economic Vitality Fund, which would be subsidized by the city’s Unrestricted Reserve.

By Christopher Roberson


Arnotis makes second run for School Committee


Two years after making an unsuccessful bid for School Committee, Andrew Arnotis has decided to try it again. “I am running for the School Committee to bring a new voice and fresh ideas to the board,” he said. “When you want to have an impact and better your community, you need to step up and get involved. My goal, if elected, is to make our school system the strongest it can be for the future of our city.”

Arnotis said his campaign has been going “incredibly well so far” and “The reception to someone bringing new blood to the committee has been entirely positive.”

He also said the campaign has allowed him to hear and understand how residents truly feel. “I can’t tell you how many substantive genuine conversations I’ve had with folks about our schools simply by knocking on their door, saying hello and asking to hear their thoughts and opinions,” said Arnotis.

Arnotis outlined some of his objectives should he get elected. “Class sizes and the potential for redistricting is becoming a larger and larger issue in our city. Keeping class sizes small is key to a successful learning environment,” he said. “I am hopeful and supportive of the proposal sent to the state to update and restore the Kiley School to help alleviate overcrowding in classrooms.”

In addition, Arnotis shared his view about the upcoming search for a new superintendent of schools. “I see this as one of the biggest decisions a School Committee has to make,” he said. “It is important to choose someone who is willing to make tough decisions, has a long-term plan on where our district should be in the next five, 10 and 15 years and is open to shaking things up if necessary.”

Arnotis said workforce development would be another priority. “While I chose the four-year college track, it is not always the right fit for many current students,” he said. “Making sure our students are aware of all their options rather than have them fall behind is something I will work tirelessly towards.”

Arnotis also said he is very much aware of the financial challenges facing Peabody’s schools. “I know the School Committee had to make some difficult decisions when determining the FY18 budget,” he said. “Making sure our bills get paid while protecting and expanding valuable and necessary school services will always be a tough balance, especially when money is tight. The board worked hard to strike that balance and protect many important services vital to our students.”

A 2012 graduate of Peabody Veterans Memorial High School and a 2016 graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Arnotis is currently the legislative aide to State Rep. Thomas Walsh and was appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals in January of this year.

“I am the only person running who is a product of the current day Peabody Public School System. I not only know, but have experienced the strengths and weaknesses our schools have,” he said. “That first-hand knowledge, matched with my background serving our city in various capacities and current experience on the state level, collectively presents a perspective the School Committee doesn’t have and could benefit from.”

By Christopher Roberson


This Sunday, September 24 beginning at 1 p.m. Breakaway hosts Band’N Together for Texas




All proceeds benefit victims of Hurricane Harvey

DANVERS – Breakaway on Newbury Street in Danvers has announced an amazing musical event on Sunday, September 24, to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. The night will feature 10 bands – top regional musical giants Fortune with Barry Goudreau, formerly of the band Boston, Aerochix, Brian Maes, 43 Church Street, the Slush Puppies, and the Lee Hawkins Band, to name a few. Also featured is legendary guitarist and songwriter Charlie Farren.

Breakaway owner Joe Crowley will be donating his music hall along with an incredible buffet for an incredible night of music to raise money for the victims of the catastrophic flooding that has hit Texas. “My heart goes out to those people who need so much help, so I think a night of musical camaraderie among our great musical talent can help those who’ve lost so much,” said Crowley.

On that same day (Sept. 24), the New England Patriots are scheduled to play the Houston Texans, so Crowley figures a night of old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll in the spirit of Live Aid is just the remedy to aid our neighbors in the Southwest.

All proceeds will go to the Topsfield/Middleton/Boxford Rotary Club, which will send the money to the Houston Rotary Club to distribute the funds to those directly in need. Tickets will cost $20 per person and will include a free buffet from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.; the outdoor Patio will also be open, weather permitting. The music will begin at 1:00 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m.

Along with the above-named bands, also included in the lineup will be the Jimmy Hawkins Band and, Mary Beth Maes Band, as well as the opening acts, CIA and Back to the 80’s. Crowley is also expecting some surprise guests from some famous rockers. The North Shore area is known for its tight-knit musical community and spirit of giving back, and Crowley said all the bands, including at least 20 more, have offered to play for gratis.

“Since I started booking local talent at Breakaway, the bands have been incredible, and I truly appreciate how hard they work at their music and their incredible fan base,” he said. “It’s moving to see the kind of people that are willing to step-up with me to help people on the other side of the country. God bless America.”


Tierney endorses O’Neill to represent Ward 6

While she did not receive enough votes in the Sept. 12 primary to advance to the November general election, Margaret Tierney has no hard feelings. She has now pledged to stand behind Mark O’Neill, who she said is “the next best candidate” for Ward 6 City Councillor. “I commend him and his wife on running an honest, respectable, fair, highly successful campaign and I wish Mark the best in November,” she said.

However, Tierney said she has urged her supporters to “keep an eye” on O’Neill and his opponent Michael Geomelos and to choose the right candidate for Ward 6 going into November. “This means, in my opinion, one who can think successfully on his own, is approachable and has the understanding and ability to stand for good choices for his constituents and the citizens of Peabody, regardless of popularity,” she said.

In the months leading up to the primary, Tierney said, she knew there would be substantial obstacles. “As a single female running a grassroots campaign, I realized I was running as the underdog,” she said. “Both my opponents have wives working in the schools, which gives them PTO [parent teacher organization] support and children giving them the support from the youth activities in Peabody.”

Although Tierney came up shy in vote count, she still wished to recognize the efforts of City Clerk Timothy Spanos and Assistant City Clerk Colleen Kolodziej as well as Natalie Maga, Russell Donovan and Richard Jarvis of Peabody Access Television.

In addition to backing O’Neill’s campaign, Tierney said she is excited to continue her work on the library’s Board of Trustees. “I look forward to returning to my responsibilities and commitment as a library trustee and assisting with our upcoming Annual Gala in October,” she said.

By Christopher Roberson


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