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News

State funds keep Peabody seniors on the go

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Grant allows Senior Center to purchase six new transportation vehicles

The Senior Center has six new transportation vehicles, thanks to a state grant. The city now has five new passenger vans and one new car. Last Thursday (July 6), Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito came to the Peter Torigian Senior Center (79 Central St.) to present the new transportation vehicles on behalf of the state.

The vehicles, which cost $240,000 in grant money, are a win for the city and the Senior Center, which lobbied hard to get them. The city now has one of the biggest fleets of any council on aging.

“[Carolyn Wynn, the director of the Council on Aging] fights for things like this all the time,” Carol McMahon, of the senior center, told The Advocate.

Mike Berry, director of Legislation and Community Affairs for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), told The Advocate that the city stood out for the “depth and breadth of their application.”

Wynn, in a conversation with The Advocate, thanked the many groups that came together to make the funding a reality. “It’s a wonderful partnership. Between working together we can provide so much more for the seniors and disabled population for Peabody,” Wynn said.

Lt. Governor Polito thanked Wynn and Mayor Ted Bettencourt and the City Council for their leadership. “It all starts with leadership.” Polito said. “With a strong mayor, city council, you’re putting Peabody in the best position possible to take advantage of these funds.”

The funds come from the competitive Community Transit Grant Program, which in its latest round of grants, doled out $10.2 million to a handful of Councils on Aging around the Commonwealth, totaling 148 new passenger vans for senior centers (including Peabody).

“Peabody stands out as a community that cares for seniors,” Polito later told The Advocate. She commended the city for its “strong portfolio of policies.”

Polito said that the vans would help Peabody’s seniors lead “a healthier, safer and more comfortable lifestyle” and “stay in the community.”

Wynn said that the Senior Center gives approximately 50,000 rides per year, from shopping to doctors’ appointments. They visit neighboring Danvers, Beverly and Lynn.

The new MV1 car will save on fuel. It also does not require a special license, like a van, to drive. It will help the one or two people who need a ride, instead of having to take a whole van.

Peter Torigian’s widow, Jackie Torigian, called the event “a little emotional” in a conversation with The Advocate. “I know how proud he would be to have it reach this level,” she said.

Peter Torigian was the longest serving mayor in Peabody’s history (1979-01) and invested significantly into the Senior Center that bears his name.

A hub of activity

The Senior Center has over 300 volunteers and offers a wide array of services and activities for Peabody’s elders. “There’s something for everyone,” McMahon said.

The mayor told the crowd that the Senior Center “continues to be a hub of activity for thousands of older residents.”

Thanks in large part to the Senior Center, AARP designates Peabody as an “age-friendly community.”

“This really is the envy of the North Shore,” the mayor said of the city.

By Melanie Higgins


 

First Summer Concert of the year a giant success

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Peabody was out in full force for the first Summer Concert of the year last Sunday, featuring the group North Shore Acappella. It was a beautiful, steamy summer evening for the crooners, who are widely known up and down the North Shore and beyond for their stellar voices and easy, breezy tunes. The group, which is composed of singers Guy Chiapponi, Tommy Duarte, Jimmy Martin and Vinny Straccia, sung Sam Cooke, the Drifters, blues and bebop.

Lots of people of all ages laid out their lawn chairs on the Leather City Common (53 Lowell St.). Dogs rolled on the ground, beach balls flew in the air, kids did cartwheels and concertgoers tapped their feet and swayed to the music. Councillors Tom Gould and Ed Charest, School Committeeman Tom Rossignoll, and city employees Mary and Curt Bellavance were among those in attendance enjoying the concert.

The otherwise jubilant summer concert was punctuated by a somber moment as the group had to announce the passing of one of its members, Paul Lopes, the night before. The group made a remarkable tribute to Lopes, holding a moment of silence and singing with extra passion in honor of their bandmate.

“It’s a celebration of life,” Kathy, one of the concertgoers, said. Likewise, her friend called the performance “beautiful.”

One of Peabody’s many green spaces, the Leather City Common is yet another space that Peabodyites can enjoy downtown. It is a small park located just off of Lowell Street near the downtown area. The city also hosts similar events, like the Pop-Up Pub, nearby at the Courthouse Plaza in Peabody Square.

Assistant to the Mayor Mary Bellavance said that the success of the concert was in part due to her decision to have the Nex Mex Thing Restaurant and Ipswich Ale tap truck on-site. In previous years, the concert included the humble chips, soda, water and candy. Bellavance oversees much of the community events around the city, including the International Festival held every fall. “Our goal is always to get more people downtown,” Bellavance said.

The full list of concerts is available on the Peabody Cultural Collaborative website, www.peabodyculturalcollaborative.org.

By Melanie Higgins



 

A Mom’s Village opening permanently at Big Y Plaza in West Peabody

New facility will serve moms and children throughout the North Shore

Stephanie Keohan and Cindy Solomon, owners of A Mom’s Village, announced on Monday that they have secured their permanent location at the Big Y Plaza in West Peabody. This new 6,000+ square foot facility will allow members to attend fitness classes with childcare provided, to take part in children’s enrichment programming and to indulge in many other amenities to make a mom’s life a bit easier day to day.

“Our goal is to make this a home away from home for moms,” said Keohan and Solomon. “We thought, our husbands have ‘man caves’ and our kids have their playrooms, so why can’t moms have the same thing? We are creating a ‘mommy clubhouse’ so moms and their children can come and enjoy themselves.”

Amenities and features of the facility will include:

• Two fitness studios

• A broad schedule of challenging fitness classes taught by skilled professional trainers

• Luxurious locker and shower facilities

• A “Village Center” area for coffee, relaxation and socializing with friends

• A stimulating childcare room with open play capabilities

• Enrichment class rooms for art, sensory, music and other areas of focus, taught by professional teachers

• “Drop and Go” babysitting

• “Mommy Concierge” services, such as meal delivery

• “Mommy Naptime”

• Childcare services – included in the membership – while moms are utilizing the center for fitness, relaxing or having coffee with friends

Construction is expected to commence in late summer with an estimated opening time of early 2018. While the larger facility is under construction, A Mom’s Village has secured a space within the plaza for a Pop Up Village for current and prospective members to come and see what the new space will look like and to take part in some of the amenities that will make up the permanent location. A Mom’s Village has been successfully operating for nearly a year in their current temporary location at the Dance Studio of Wakefield.

To view the announcement video and details, visit www.amomsvillage.com.

A Mom’s Village seeks to identify and alleviate challenges that women experience in the rewarding (but challenging) role of motherhood. Founded in September of 2016 by Stephanie Keohan and Cindy Solomon, A Mom’s Village is a healthy community in both mind and body, a mechanism of support and a place to build lifelong friendships.

 

   

Peabody 11-12 softball all-stars capture Section 2 title

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With no room left for error, having already lost once in the double-elimination tournament, the Peabody 11-12-year-old Little League softball all-stars came through big last weekend by beating a formidable East Bridgewater team twice to capture the 2017 Section 2 championship and advance to the states. After pulling off a dramatic 3-2 walk-off win at East Bridgewater last Saturday, Peabody got another solid pitching performance from ace Abigail Bettencourt (only four hits allowed) and a clutch three-run double in the fourth inning from Isabel Bettencourt to come away with a 4-2 win and the title on Sunday. Afterwards, the team joyously trotted around the field at Lt. Ross Park displaying the Section 2 championship banner.

Emma Bloom’s run-scoring hit in the second inning gave Peabody a 1-0 lead, which was increased to 4-0 with the three tallies in the fourth. East Bridgewater battled back to close it to 4-2 the fifth frame but would get no closer, as key defensive plays by outfielder Logan Lomasney and shortstop Bloom helped keep more runs from scoring.

Peabody head coach Mark Bettencourt said his team “had all the confidence and couldn’t wait to play again” coming off that walk-off victory on Saturday. He said beating East Bridgewater twice in a row is a huge feat, given that the teams were evenly matched. He added that if the two played each other 10 times, each squad would probably win five.

“I can’t imagine there are any teams out there better then East Bridgewater. We have all the respect in the world for their program,” Bettencourt said. “They’re the only team to score on us [in tournament play]. We were fortunate to win the rubber match here. We bent but we didn’t break. When we lost that first game, I told the girls they’ve got to have a short memory. Two years ago, most of them were state champs as 9-10-year-olds. They really wanted to go to the states again and now we’re going.”

Peabody lost 5-4 to East Bridgewater in its opening game of the sectional tourney. After dropping its Section 2 opener, Peabody stayed alive by defeating Woburn, 13-0, last Thursday at Lt. Ross Park. It was Abigail Bettencourt’s fifth shutout in tourney play. She surrendered just one hit. Peabody went 4-0 in winning the District 16 tournament, outscoring opponents by a combined 35-0 total.

Danielle Mulready, Lomasney, Gina Terrazzano, Bloom and Penelope Spack had key hits, and Isabel Bettencourt smacked three doubles to aid the cause in the win over Woburn. Defensively Lomasney made a terrific highlight catch on a low line drive to center field.

Peabody is scheduled to play its first state tournament game against the Section 1 winner this Thursday (after press deadline). The tourney is taking place at Gonsalves Field in Woburn.

By Greg Phipps


 

Playoff-bound senior team on a roll

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Winners of 10 straight after sweeping a doubleheader on Tuesday at Danvers, the Middleton-Peabody Elves have their sights set on capturing this year’s Senior Legion District 8 League title. The Elves, who have qualified for the District 8 playoffs, improved to 12-3 after Tuesday’s wins at Twi Field. They are set to face off against Andover on Wednesday (after press deadline) in a game that would determine the league championship.

After starting out 2-3 this season, the Elves have used a strong offensive attack, bolstered by some excellent pitching, to go on their 10-game surge. “We started out slowly but we’ve won eight or nine in a row here. We’re playing much better baseball,” said M-P head coach John Kowalski after Tuesday’s 9-5 victory in the first game.

He continued, “We’ve got a good offensive team and we’re starting to pitch a bit better, and [pitching] is the key in this league when you’re playing four or five games a week. We’ve got a lot of good arms and depth with our pitching, and that’s enabled us to get to this point.”

The Elves did most of their offensive damage in the first two innings of Tuesday’s first game against Danvers. An RBI single by Mike Stellato and a sacrifice fly from Jack Seymour brought in two runs in the top of the first. Four more runs came across for a 6-0 lead in the second on Ben Mogavero’s RBI double, a two-run single by Stellato and Kyle Hawes’s run-scoring groundout. The Elves would add three more in the sixth.

Jake Zeuli was the starting pitcher and was pulled after 1 1/3 innings in order to be saved for game two. Jake Irvine relieved him and hurled the next 5 2/3 frames. He allowed just two runs until Danvers scored three times in its final at-bat.

Justin Juliano had a big game for M-P with four hits, including a double, and three runs scored. Stellato had three hits and four RBIs, and Mogavero had three hits, including two doubles, and an RBI.

Jason Slattery was the winning pitcher in a 5-3 win over Danvers in Tuesday’s second contest. Zeuli got the save in relief.

Last week, Zeuli pitched six shutout innings in a 12-2 win over Marblehead-Swampscott. Stellato belted a three-run homer and Mogavero launched a two-run blast.

The Elves followed that up with a twin bill sweep over Saugus, where the pitching did not allow a run in either contest. M-P rolled to 7-0 and 3-0 victories, with Irvine collecting the win in game one, and Slattery and Nick Aslanian combining for a no-hitter in the second matchup.

Aslanian was the victorious pitcher in Sunday’s 3-0 blanking of Haverhill. He gave up just two hits. Mike Federico had three hits and Juliano chipped in with a run-scoring two-bagger.

By Greg Phipps


   

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