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Thanks you for a memorable holiday event

~ Letter to the Editor ~

Dear editor:

This year’s Tree Lighting Ceremony and Festivities was a great success, thanks to all the hard work from Town employees and volunteers, and the continued support and generosity from local businesses and residents.

On Friday, December 4 from 5 to 8:30 p.m., thousands of Saugus residents gathered outside the Town Hall to ride a trackless train and horse-drawn sleigh, jump in the bounce houses, pet animals, meet Santa, vote for their favorite gingerbread house, listen to holiday stories, sip hot cocoa, munch on cookies and popcorn, and of course, watch the tree lighting. At 7 p.m., a handful of children joined residents on the front steps of Town Hall to flip the magical switch that lights the Town Tree and all the other Town lights. Following the lighting, Santa rode up on his sleigh and spent the rest of the evening greeting the good little girls and boys of Saugus before returning to the North Pole. It was truly a night to remember.

The evening would not have been so memorable without the help of countless employees, residents, and businesses.

I would like to give a special thank you to the Tree Lighting Committee, including Youth and Recreation Programs Coordinator Crystal Cakounes, Youth and Recreation Director Greg Nickolas, School Committee Chair Jeannie Meredith, Julie Mitchell, and Susan Dunn for their planning and preparations. Without them, the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Festivities would not be able to run.

I would also like to thank all of the generous sponsors, including Wheelabrator, Walmart, Doctors Express, American Ambulance, Armstrong Ambulance, Hammersmith, Big Y, Harrow’s Chicken Pies, TrueVine Church, Lakeshore Learning Store, Perfect Parties USA, Home Depot, Showcase Cinema de Lux Revere, and radio station WROR. Your generous contributions made this beloved festival possible.

Thank you to the Town’s Building Maintenance Department and custodians for making the Town Hall and grounds look so sharp.

Thanks to the Department of Public Works for their excellent job in decorating the Town. With the wreaths, banners, lights, and bows, the Town truly looked like a winter wonderland.

Thank you to the Police and Fire Departments for keeping everyone safe by providing officers and firefighters at the event. Thank you to American Ambulance and Armstrong Ambulance for your presence and support.

Thank you to Justin Tabbi of Saugus Emergency Management for his help in setting up the event, and thank you to our DJ, Anthony Arone.

I would also like to thank the Saugus Public Library and the readers who volunteered to hold storytime for our children, and the School PTOs for providing goodie bags.

Thank you to the Theatre Company of Saugus and the Saugus High School Band and Chorus for providing wonderful entertainment for the community.

A big ‘thank you’ to Santa, who broadened the smiles of hundreds of people young and old. Despite being incredibly busy around the holidays, you always make time for the Town of Saugus and we truly appreciate it.

Lastly, I would like to thank the residents of Saugus for their support and tremendous showing. Without all of you, the evening would not be nearly as magical as it is today.

Thank you to everyone else that I may have forgotten.

Next, I look forward to the Christmas Eve parade on Thursday, December 24th. We hope to see you all there!

Very truly yours,


Scott C. Crabtree, Esq.

Town Manager


Celebrating the Holidays at Annual Tree Lighting


School Committee Chair Jeannie Meredith helped supervise the petting zoo again for children and adults who wanted to pat the animals.


Kelly’s Roast Beef & Seafood is all decked out for Santa’s arrival


The drive-thru at Kelly’s Roast Beef in Saugus is always beautifully decorated for the season, but this is the #1 season of the year, especially if you’re a kid or a kid at heart. The colored holiday lights, smiling reindeer and Santa are all ready to welcome you to the best in dining around. Kids’ plates to surf and turf, and the best chowder anywhere, all under one roof. Santa always advises a Kelly’s gift card is the perfect stocking stuffer for that special someone, and holiday parties are no problem with Kelly’s Catering.

And Old Saint Nick will be visiting Kelly’s in Saugus on Monday, December 19 for Kids’ Night from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year from your friends at Kelly’s Roast Beef, Rte. 1 south in Saugus.


Saugus resident Ryan LaPia talks about what it’s like working with his mom several times a week on the night shift at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Hamilton Street



Editor’s Note:  For this week’s interview, we interviewed Ryan LaPia who took a job at the Dunkin’ Donuts shop on Hamilton Street a couple of years ago, knowing that he would be working with his mom, Robin LaPia. The unusual working relationship of the mother-and-son shift frequently draws a common question from the regulars: What’s it like working with your mom? Ryan, 27, a 2007 Saugus High School graduate, calls it “a unique situation,” but one that’s been a positive experience. Some highlights of that interview follow:

Q: How long have you been working with your mom?.

A: Since I started.

Q: How often?

A: Four days a week.

Q: Right from the time you began working at Dunkin’ Donuts?

A: Yes. she was already working there.

Q: Do you get a lot of kidding from your friends or people who know you?

A: Not at all. They just ask how it is.

Q: What do you tell them?

A: Work is work. I don’t care who I work with.

Q: Well, how has that worked out for you?

A: It’s good.

Q: Is she you supervisor?

A: No.

Q: Do you know anybody in town in a similar situation who works with their mom -- in a situation other than a family business?

A: No. There are brothers and sisters who work together. But I don’t know of anything like my situation.

Q: Do you consider yourselves equal co-workers?

A: Yes.

Q: How does the working relationship compare to jobs you have had before?

A: We get along, we don’t fight or anything.

Q: What are the advantages of this type of working situation?

A: I find her to be a reliable coworker. Sometimes you don’t trust people you don’t know. So, I know and trust who I’m working with.

Q: So, how did you get in the current situation?

A: It was just a scheduling thing. They needed somebody for nights. The morning shifts are all full. So, it’s just the way it worked out.

Q: What do you find interesting about this working relationship?

A: I guess it’s unique. Not a lot of people do that, except in family businesses.

Q: When you first got the assignment, what were your thoughts?.

A: I didn’t mind at all. I didn’t care.

Q: Have you worked with your mom before?

A: Yes. Once before at the Dunkin Donuts. Then I left to work in the mailroom at the Boston Globe and then I returned. The schedule was the same thing: working at nights.

Q: After working with your mom, would you prefer to work with your mom instead of somebody else?

A: Yes. We have a system, and we’re very familiar with each other.

Q: Do you know if there are other mother and son working teams in town, other than in family businesses?

A: I don’t think so.

Q: What’s the best part of this working relationship?

A: It’s not bad working with your family, providing you get along.

Q: How does it compare to nights when you’re not working with your mom?.

A: It’s pretty much the same. You’re working with a different person.

Q: Do a lot of people ask you questions about your working situation?

A: Yea.

Q: What do they say?

A: How is it working with your mom? It’s the same question all of the time. What’s it like? People who come into Dunkin’ Donuts find it interesting or unique.

Q: Do they say they admire you and that they couldn’t do the same thing?

A: Some people say that. I  guess not a lot of people do what I do --, work with their mothers.

Q: Before this, did you ever think about working with your mom?

A: No, it just kind of happened.

Q: If somebody had suggested you do this, how would you have reacted?

A: I guess I would try it.

Q: Is there a division of duties?

A: Yea, I do mopping the floor and the trash. She cleans the counters and utensils.

We both handle the customers at the counter.

Q: Based on your experience, would you recommend guys working with their moms?

A: Yes, if they can get along with them.

Q: Do you get any feedback from your mom?

A: Sometimes, if I’m not paying attention or making a mistake. She will tell me about it.

Q: So, you mention that  people ask you a lot about working with your mom?

A: Yea, the regulars do -- the people who come in every day and who know us. They ask me how it is working with her. It’s always the same question.

Q: And what do you tell them?

A: I tell them I don’t mind working with her.

We then asked Robin LaPia a few questions about what it was like working with her son.

Q: So, how is it, getting to work on the night shift with your son in a Dunkin’ Donuts?

A: I like working with him. He’s just a regular employee. You just have to know how to separate home from work. It’s really not that hard.

Q: So, how does this compare to working with other employees?

A: It doesn’t matter. I work with whoever is scheduled.

Q: Are you his boss?

A: No.

Q: What’s the best part about the working relationship?

A: We get along and work well together.


’Tis the Season


Saugus embraces the holiday spirit with annual tree lighting

Hundreds of people – from toddlers to senior citizens – gathered on the lawn and the steps of Town Hall last Friday night to usher in the holiday season in grand Saugus style. “It’s a great, family-oriented event that really brings us together as a town,” Jessica Davis said as she and her two children stood outside the Saugus Public Library to pose for photos with somebody in a snowman costume.

“This is something that’s definitely needed after everybody’s been divided by politics,” said Davis, a 2012 Saugus High School graduate. She was one of many who turned out on a nippy night for the town’s annual Christmas tree lighting and festivities.

Chilly as it was, it was a night of fun for children. They got to get their faces painted, ride on a trackless train, play games, pat a variety of animals in a petting zoo, watch the colorful Christmas lights get turned on, dance with their friends on the front lawn of Town Hall to popular Christmas songs played by a disc jockey from radio station WROR and, of course, for the main event – pose for a photo with Santa.

“Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas,” Town Manager Scott Crabtree belted out over a microphone, just minutes before some children near the entrance of Town Hall turned on thousands of colorful lights – including the ones that lit up the town’s official Christmas tree in the rotary. Santa arrived in grand style, getting out of a horse-drawn sleigh and receiving an escort up the steps and into Town Hall.

Some kids and their parents were willing to wait for more than an hour to go through the line in the second floor auditorium in Town Hall for a photo that becomes more precious as the years pass. “It’s just like waiting in line at Macy’s,” said Selectman Jennifer D’Eon, who was dressed up like Mrs. Claus for the night.

“Everybody wants their Santa picture,” she said.

As long as the line of children seemed, Town Meeting Member Richard E. Thompson said he’s seen longer ones over the years. “Two years ago, I waited an hour and a half with my son just to get in the room,” Thompson recalled.

And on Friday, it wasn’t just young children who sat for a photo shoot with Santa. There were a few grown-ups. The town manager’s Chief Administrative Aide, Susan Dunn, sat next to Santa. Several members of the Saugus High School wrestling team did, too.

As popular as Santa was Friday night, there were some cuddly creatures outside who competed for affection from the kids and some adults. A petting zoo was set up on the side of Town Hall abutting Hamilton Street. Its guests included bunnies, goats, chickens, ducks, sheep, a pig, an alpaca and a donkey. The pen with the bunnies seemed to get the most attention.

“All kids love soft bunnies,” said School Committee Chair Jeannie Meredith, who again was helping to supervise the petting zoo for the annual event. “Over 500 kids will pat a bunny tonight,” she said.

Many grown-ups – with or without children – seemed to be reaching into the bunny pen throughout the night. Another big draw for the adults was the horse-drawn carriages. There were four of them in operation, giving rides to people downtown.

Another favorite destination was the tarp set up Harrow’s Chicken Pies. Melissa McLeod and her friend Marc Arseneau served up 15 pies in small, plastic containers. “We’ll keep serving until we run out,” McLeod said.

Meanwhile, at the front of the World War I Honor Roll monument, two tables were set up to serve hot chocolate, cookies and fortune cookies. The volunteers at that table kept serving hot drinks to the crowd until it was time for the tree lighting and Santa’s arrival.

Three-year-old Max DePaula said “hot chocolate” was the main reason he came to Town Hall Friday night, as he sat on the front lawn with his mom, Gianna Flammia, enjoying a cup of his favorite drink. “This night is great for kids,” Flammia said.

“It’s the animals, the crafts and, seeing Santa. He [Max] comes down for the hot chocolate and cookies every year. There’s not too many Saugus things we do, but we like to come down every year for this,” she said.

For people who preferred the warmth of being inside, there was plenty going on. In the downstairs conference room, the Saugus Public Library was hosting holiday readings. Upstairs in the auditorium, Saugus High School students and members of the Theatre Company of Saugus sang songs while children and adults voted on their favorite Gingerbread House. For the final 90 minutes of the three and a half-hour celebration, Santa was the main event. He – and the children who sat with him near a Christmas tree – were the subject of hundreds of photos that will be treasured as family keepsakes for years.

At Wednesday night’s selectmen’s meeting, Crabtree received rave reviews on the success of this year’s tree lighting event and festivities. “I’ve never seen that many people for the tree lighting,” Board of Selectmen Chairman Debra Panetta said.

Selectman Jennifer D’Eon received some good-natured ribbing from colleagues over her costume and role for the evening: assisting Santa. “I didn’t plan on being Mrs. Claus, but things happen,” she said.


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