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“We are lucky because …”


Children and a few adults get to count their St. Patrick’s Day blessings in a creative way at Saugus Public Library

Mia DeAngelo said she has a lot to feel lucky about as she looked forward to St. Patrick’s Day. “I love my family, my friends, my home and my birthday – it’s the day before St. Patrick’s Day,” said Mia, who turned 8 yesterday.

Mia, a second grader at the Our Lady of Assumption School, said she loved her grandmother and “Miss Amy,” too, referring to Amy Melton, the children’s librarian at the Saugus Public Library. Melton made it possible for Mia and other children visiting the library this month to be creative while counting their St. Patrick’s Day blessings on shamrocks cut out of green construction paper. Children were encouraged to finish the sentence “We are lucky because …” and write it on their shamrock, which was displayed on a wall board in the children’s section of the library or given to the child to take home.

Mia needed two paper shamrocks to explain why she is lucky. She used one of them exclusively for her grandmother. “I’m lucky because I have a grandmother who showed me this library,” Mia wrote. “If it wasn’t for her, I’d never experience this library.”

Sheri Habib, 5, who is in the kindergarten at the Waybright Elementary School, couldn’t name everybody she wanted to on her shamrock. “People made me lucky,” Sheri said. “I am lucky because of everyone.”

Honoring their Irish heritage

Melton cut out her own shamrock and inscribed a blessing on it that expressed gratitude for the job she began at the library about a year ago. “I am lucky because I get to work in a beautiful library with so many wonderful children and families,” she wrote on a paper shamrock displayed in a plastic stand on the table where the children worked on their own shamrocks.

It was a drop-in craft activity, designed to get the children to think about good things in their lives. “I think it’s nice to focus on our blessings,” Melton said.

“Some of the children wanted to pin them up on the wall and some wanted to take them home,” Melton said.

As part of the library’s St. Patrick’s Day observance, the children’s section featured a table that displayed a selection of books to encourage young readers to learn more about Irish heritage. Green shamrocks suspended on strings hung from the ceiling made it easy to spot the table.

“A lot of us have Irish heritage … Some of us have to go back a few generations to find it. My mom was Irish. Her maiden name was Smith. But Maroney was the name of her grandfather who came over from Ireland and through Ellis Island,” Melton noted.

Cody Abraham, a four-year-old from Lynn, shares the heritage that Melton celebrates this month in the children’s section of the library. Besides honoring his family, friends and cats, Cody’s shamrock was dedicated to his Irish-born grandmother, Margaret O’Flaherty.

Puppy love and healthy children

The children and adults who displayed handmade paper shamrocks on the “We are lucky because …” board counted a wide range of blessings.

“I am lucky to have a puppy that loves me,” wrote one child.

“I am lucky because I am strong, smart, nice and funny … I am also lucky to have a wonderful family,” another wrote.

Julianna considered herself lucky “because I get pizza from Charlie’s Pizzeria.”

“I am lucky because I get diamonds for Christmas,” Tina wrote.

Dylan cited “many ‘Curious George’ movies to watch with my brother.”

Several of the shamrock artists wrote about the good fortune of having “healthy” and “wonderful” families.

“I am lucky because I have two healthy children,” CH wrote.

There’s still plenty of construction paper left to make shamrocks and lots of room on the “lucky” board for people – young and old – who want to count their own St. Patrick’s Day blessings when they visit the library today.


Patriots Super Bowl run helps Gordon Shepard’s fund-raising efforts to restore Civil War cemetery markers


Super Bowl Week turned into a fund-raising bonanza for Gordon Shepard in his latest efforts to honor forgotten soldiers at Riverside Cemetery. Time has worn the names off several markers in the Civil War burial plot. But Shepard – a Vietnam War veteran who has initiated several volunteer projects over the years for the betterment of veterans’ grave sites – has credited the New England Patriots Super Bowl run with paving the way for a better financed project.

“I sold 470 tickets alone from last Monday to Sunday. And that’s close to the 1,000 tickets we sold overall,” Shepard said in an interview this week at the Arthur F. DeFranzo Veterans of Foreign War Post 2346.

“Having the Patriots playing right up to the Super Bowl has really helped our raffle this year. I had one guy who was walking on the sidewalk down on Cliftondale Square … That last six days was like a feeding frenzy,” Shepard said.

“Our main goal this year is to get some lettering on those markers so that anyone who goes up in the graveside area can see who is there,” he said.

Star Pats quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots made the project possible by donating an autographed photo that was used as a centerpiece in a Super Bowl collage that includes replica tickets for the first four Super Bowl games won by the Patriots.

Caroline Lentini, owner of the All About Hair salon, won the Brady prize when it was drawn during the raffle held at last Sunday night’s Super Bowl party at the VFW lodge. Gail Winters picked out the winning ticket at halftime. “This is great. I’m going to have it put up in my living room,” Lentini said.

More than 200 were on hand for the VFW Super Bowl party.

“It was very gloomy at halftime. But the Patriots rallied to come back … so it was a great game. And with the Patriots playing all the way to the Super Bowl, this really helped out,” Shepard said.

“Tom Brady and the Patriots are responsible for this project. And we are grateful to them and all 1,000 people who donated by buying a raffle ticket … I’d like to thank Tom Brady and Stacey James of the New England Patriots for making this raffle possible,” he said.

To prevent cars from running over the grass, Shepard said, he would like to install curbing. “I also want to re-letter the Civil War markers and have the wall around the burial area re-pointed,” he said. Shepard said another part of the project involves the replacement of granite cannonballs that once stood on platforms near the two granite cannons that flank the steps leading into the Civil War burial plot.

Anyone interested in donating to the veterans’ cemetery projects can contact Shepard at 781-231-0374.



Town Meeting vote showed “proactive leadership” to protect Rumney Marshes

~ Letter to the Editor ~

By voting in favor of local by-law changes at a Special Town Meeting on February 6th, Saugus Town Meeting members have taken an important step toward protecting critical environmental resources in the Town of Saugus. Thanks to their proactive leadership, the Rumney Marshes Area of Critical Environmental Concern will now be protected from new or expanded landfills or ash landfills in the region. At the same time, a new zoning limit will prevent landfills or ash landfills in Saugus from expanding beyond a 50-foot height limitation.

Though not targeted to any particular facility, the approved by-law changes will have an impact on the Wheelabrator Saugus ash landfill. For one thing, Wheelabrator now has clear direction from Saugus that the community will not support or permit an ash landfill that expands beyond the currently permitted 50-foot height limit. Instead of pouring an unending stream of funds into public relations and making threats to sue the town, it is our sincere hope that Wheelabrator will shift their focus from expansion of this site to engaging in a dialogue with the Town of Saugus and with state environmental officials to implement the final closure plan and associated environmental protections for this vulnerable site.

With its location along the Saugus / Pines River estuary and reliance on clay and groundwater flows instead of the protective liners in place at every other ash landfill in the state, the risks to the community and region associated with this site will unfortunately not end with closure. Anticipated sea level rise combined with increasing intensity and frequency of coastal storms mean that this coastal landfill is at risk for potential erosion into the future. Any leaching from this ash landfill is of particular concern because it contains fly ash laden with dangerous contaminants such as lead and mercury. Yes, this is the same ash that required a hazardous waste cleanup company to come in when it was accidently spilled on land near the Wheelabrator buildings twice in 2016.

While it is important to see the community of Saugus come together in support of environmental protection for the future, it is equally important for Wheelabrator to live up to its promise of being a ‘good neighbor’ by moving forward with closure plans that are already more than 20 years overdue and working with state environmental officials to ensure that the final closure plan for the ash landfill incorporates mitigation measures that will protect our wetlands, waterways and community into the future.

The Saugus River Watershed Council is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 to protect and restore the natural resources of the watershed. The groups is also a founding member of the Alliance for Health and Environment.


Joan LeBlanc

Executive Director

Saugus River Watershed Council


Alliance for Health and Environment Lauds Passage of Town By-law Changes

SAUGUS – The Alliance for Health and Environment is elated that this week, the Town of Saugus took the first steps to prevent further expansion of any landfill in the Town by passing three responsible zoning by-laws which would limit the vertical height of a landfill to 50 feet.After being recommended favorably by the Saugus Planning Board on Thursday evening, members of Town Meeting voted to ratify the articles during a special meeting Monday night.While not targeted to any specific business or site, these by-law changes will keep the Wheelabrator Saugus ash landfill adjacent to the Rumney Marshes Area of Critical Environmental Concern from expanding beyond a height of 50 feet.

Kirstie Pecci, an attorney with Conservation Law Foundation, agreed that the by-laws were sensible and well within the Town’s zoning powers.“When our air and water suffer, our people suffer – it’s as simple as that,” said Pecci. “If we allow landfills to be built higher and higher with no end in sight, then we are telling our neighbors that their health and their safety don’t matter. Last night, the Town of Saugus stood on the side of families and communities by placing limits on the future buildout of landfills. There is still work to be done in managing toxic methane emissions, groundwater contamination, and other serious health issues that accompany these sites, but the by-laws established last night is an important step in the right direction.”

“The Alliance appreciates the fact Saugus community leaders are taking steps that will protect environmental resources in Saugus, as well as surrounding neighborhoods, including in Revere,” said State Representative RoseLee Vincent.“Saugus has the right to govern itself, and I applaud and thank those Town Meeting members who stood up to do the right thing by adopting these very reasonable zoning changes.Now, Wheelabrator has an opportunity to become a good neighbor to the Town by participating in a process that will eventually lead to final closure of the ash landfill.”

“As a Town Meeting Member and as President of Saugus Action Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE), I am very pleased and encouraged by the vote of Town Meeting, which passed all three articles to define landfills and impose reasonable conditions to help protect the environment and the public health,” said Saugus resident Ann Devlin.“With SAVE’s long history of working to provide a better quality of life in Saugus through environmental action and concern, this is a great step in working toward those goals.”

“These by-laws were the next logical step for the town to safeguard its citizens, where our main concern is the health, welfare, and safety of our Saugus citizens and our neighboring communities,” said Saugus Board of Selectman Chairwoman Deb Panetta.“I sincerely appreciate the vote taken by Town Meeting Monday night.”

“By approving local by-law changes, Saugus has taken a leadership role in protecting critical environmental resources and public health for the future,” said Saugus River Watershed Council Executive Director Joan LeBlanc.“With anticipated sea level rise and increasingly intense coastal storms, it’s extremely important to shift the focus from expanding disposal of contaminated ash at this vulnerable coastal site to ensuring that our valuable marshes, waterways and local beaches are protected from risks related to the millions of tons of ash already on the site.”

“Ash landfills are chock-full of toxic heavy metals like mercury,” said Ben Weilerstein, organizer at Toxics Action Center, “so Saugus families will be safer with these new by-laws. The people of Saugus have spoken and are taking action. Mass DEP should hear them loud and clear: unlined dumps are dirty and dangerous!”

“With this vote, the residents of Saugus took a common sense, reasonable stand in support of protecting their health – particularly the health of young children and pregnant women who are most vulnerable to persistent toxins like dioxin and lead, “ said Cindy Luppi, New England Director of Clean Water Action. “Shouldering this unique health burden for decades, Saugus and neighbors deserve relief – and today, we are one step closer to a healthier community for all.”


Mardi Gras at First Congregational Church in Saugus

Warm up your winter with a celebration of Mardi Gras on Fri., Feb. 24 from 7-10 p.m. at First Congregational Church UCC, which is located at 300 Central St. in Saugus. The celebration will include Cajun-inspired food, mask-making, dancing, raffle prizes and music by the Dixieland band, Sammy D and the Late Risers. This is a substance-free, sober event – fun for all ages. Suggested donation is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, $5 for students and kids under 12 free. To reserve tickets, call the church at 781-233-3028 or find us at



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