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News

Revere students graduate from St. Mary’s High School

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Caitlin Penza, Alyssa McGrath, Joseph Silvestri and Anthony DelVecchio of Revere were four of 94 students to graduate from St. Mary’s High School in Lynn on May 25. The commencement ceremony was held at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Lynn City Hall. The alumni speaker was J.J. Green, member of the golden jubilee Class of 1967.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Mr. Mayor

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Mayor Brian Arrigo (second from right) is shown at his annual birthday reception at The Marina at The Wharf Tuesday with Councillor-at-Large Steve Morabito, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, and Police Captain Jim Guido. See more photo highlights from the event in next week’s Advocate. (Advocate photo by Al Terminiello)

   

Mayor, city confront opioid epidemic at the street level

Community leaders and Revere residents gathered at the high school to discuss the opioid crisis. “It’s an important issue my office is trying to tackle,” Mayor Brian Arrigo said.

That is why his office created the Substance Use Disorder Initiatives (SUDI) office last year. SUDI’s goal is to support those most affected by the issue through policy and systems change. This includes strategies that meet all aspects of the continuum of care model (i.e., prevention, intervention and recovery).

“There are still some people that don’t understand why we need that office,” Arrigo said. “At the end of the day, that office is [about] saving lives.”

Last year, Revere became one of the only cities in the Commonwealth to open up an office dedicated to addressing the issue of heroin and opioid addiction.

SUDI Grant Assessment Coordinator Julia Newhall said one of the most important things the office does is meet people where they are. “The goal is not always abstinence or recovery,” she said. “The goal is to keep them alive.”

Newhall stated that while she hopes SUDI can help all who will eventually get clean, the first step is to make sure they have someone they can turn to and trust to get help. The office can provide support to people to get the services they need, like finding a detox center or by supplying them with Narcan – which has been saving so many lives.

“It’s a complicated issue,” she said. “It’s complex but we have to continue to bring awareness to it.”

Ward Four Councillor Patrick Keefe wondered if someone from the office could meet with the various little leagues in the town. “Maybe we could have some preseason conversations about these issues and substance abuse,” he asked.

Newhall thought it was a great idea. “They would be able to go and talk to the youth and provide an engaging conversation, too,” she said about the staff.

The work of the SUDI office and its outreach team last year directly saved an estimated 87 lives through use of Narcan, and indirectly impacted many more lives through helping connect residents with treatment and recovery programs.

   

Council plans temporary moratorium, reduction of billboards

Revere is one closer step closer on having a temporary moratorium on billboards. The City Council passed a motion during their May 1 regular meeting requesting that the city planner draft an ordinance for the city establishing a six-month moratorium on billboards to allow the city to conduct a zoning study on the placement and reconstruction of billboards. This also includes electronic billboards.

The motion was presented by Councillor-at-Large/Council President Bob Haas. The rest of his colleagues were united in agreement.

“I think we have the highest amount of billboards on the North Shore,” Ward Four Councillor Patrick Keefe said at the Zoning Subcommittee meeting on May 1.

Thanks to major arteries, including Route 60 and Route 1A, which are heavily-travelled commuter roadways connecting the North Shore to the Boston and the South Shore, the city has always been ripe for billboard advertising.

Keefe said he would like to see a plan where if companies want to put up new billboards in the city, a recession plan is developed for the billboards they already have up. “I am for this especially if we can reduce the number of billboards in our city,” he said.

Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo suggested the city send a letter to the MBTA requesting they respect this moratorium. The MBTA can put up a billboard on their property without the approval of the city.

Ward Three Councillor Arthur Guinasso agreed with Rotondo’s suggestion. “The MBTA is over and beyond our control,” he said. “They should be good neighbors to all of us.”

The council voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

   

Network wants to make immigrants feel welcome

The Revere Immigrant Solidarity Network (RISN) wants immigrants of Revere to feel safe and welcomed. “After seeing what was happening on a national level, we wanted to make sure everyone here felt safe and had the resources they need,” Julie Brown of RISN’s Communications Team said.

One of the things they did as a group was denounce Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo’s motion for Revere to reject a proposal by state delegates calling for Massachusetts to become a so-called “sanctuary state.” Brown said that motion made Revere immigrants feel unwelcome.

Rotondo’s motion opposed the sanctuary state idea of protecting illegal immigrants – persons who have come into the country illegally and have broken laws. A “sanctuary city” status is not law but a self-imposed position taken by cities, such as Somerville and Chelsea, whose population is dominated by minorities.

Currently, neighboring Chelsea and East Boston have been overwhelmed with gang violence from the Salvadorian street gang MS-13, who have been fighting over drug turf. As it has dominated the news, city councillors were concerned over suspects’ immigration status, questioning why so many have been allowed to walk freely without police scrutiny in such “sanctuary cities” as Chelsea. The sanctuary city status “policy” does not allow officers to question a suspect’s immigration status, which has become a political lightning rod nationally.

“It didn’t make sense to me. Why have a bill that says you are not going to do something? It’s like the ex that calls to say they are never going to call you again. Why not just not call? Why do you have to go out of your way to make people feel unwelcome?” Brown said.

RISN held a rally before the May 1 City Council meeting. They plan on meeting with councillors to discuss the issues immigrants face every day in the city. They have been told the motion has been tabled indefinitely.

One of those issues is the Revere public school system. “Many parents feel like they don’t have the proper resources they need to advocate for their children or be involved in their children’s education,” Brown said.

RISN works with parents to connect them with the proper resources and help educate Revere educators on how to work with the immigrant population. They are also working with immigrants to educate them about their rights and connect them with legal services if they need them.

Brown wants people to know that RISN isn’t interested in partisan politics. “We don’t care if you are democrat, republican or something else,” she said. “We want to strip that stuff away and have a conversation. Once you get past all that – that is when the real progress happens.”

   

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