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News

Peabody well-represented at Agganis Games

More than 30 student athletes from Peabody High School and Bishop Fenwick will take part in the annual Agganis Senior All-Star Games next week in Lynn.

“Everything is looking good. We have more than 350 [senior] athletes [from area high schools] signed up to play and we’re looking forward to another great week,” said Agganis Games Director Paul Halloran.

Peabody is sending 18 student athletes while 14 from BF will take part in the five-day event, which begins with an opening ceremony on Sunday, June 25. The ceremony starts at 10 a.m. at Manning Field and will be followed by a softball-baseball all-star doubleheader. The softball contest begins at noon and the baseball game at 2 p.m.

Halloran pointed out that the football game, which takes place at Manning Field on Thursday, June 29, at 7 p.m., is in its 56th year – by far the oldest of the nine all-star games. Baseball is in its 23rd season, softball its 21st and soccer its 22nd. Basketball has been in place for 13 years, and lacrosse was introduced six years ago.

“For almost 40 years, there was only the Agganis All-Star Football Game. That changed with the introduction of baseball in 1995, and we have continued to expand to the point where we have nine all-star games in five days,” Halloran explained. “We’re proud to have created a premiere sports festival in memory of one of the greatest athletes ever to come out of Massachusetts.”

The event is named in memory of Harry Agganis, a local sports legend who was a football and baseball star at Lynn Classical High School and Boston University. He made it to the Major Leagues and had become the starting first basemen for the Boston Red Sox when he died in 1955 at the age of 26. Halloran said the games serve as a fundraiser for the Agganis Foundation, which has awarded nearly $2 million in scholarships to 945 student athletes since its inception in 1956.

“The all-star games provide an opportunity for many seniors to put on a uniform and play before a crowd one last time,” said Halloran. “They also shine a light on the foundation and the work it does in providing college scholarships for deserving student athletes.”

Halloran added that the Agganis Games are similar to other all-star competitions in that they feature top players in the area but the main emphasis is not on winning the game. “There is a certain level of competition that comes with [having all-star teams]. Everyone realizes, however, that there are no losers and the primary goal is for the players to have a memorable experience,” he said.

Other all-star games on tap for next week are as follows: the boys’ and girls’ basketball doubleheader on Monday, June 26, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Lynn Classical High School; the boys’ and girls’ soccer twin bill on Tuesday, June 27, at 5:30 p.m. at Manning Field, which will also be the home for the boys’ and girls’ lacrosse doubleheader set for Wednesday the 28th at 5:30 p.m.

Peabody Veterans Memorial High School senior student athletes participating in the games are as follows: Patrick Maguire and Nick Palma (baseball); Katherine Scacchi, Alyssa Shashaty and Ali DeMeo (girls’ soccer); Gianna Denisco, Shashaty and Lauren Wolff (girls’ lacrosse); Alyssa Alperen, Melissa Gray, Nene Onwuogu and Katie Wallace (girls’ basketball); David Pence, Daniel Smith and James McCarthy (football); Tim January and Jake DeStefano (boys’ lacrosse); and Lexie Zammer and Alperen (softball).

Bishop Fenwick High School student athletes participating are as follows: John Cataldo and Matt Gorman (boys’ lacrosse); Anthony Maida and Jimmy Moore (boys’ soccer); Daniel Mastromatteo and Luke Hufnagle (football); Samantha Gulla, Samantha Mancinelli and Camille Tache (girls’ basketball); Molly Camelo, Meghan Carney and Hannah Durkin (girls’ lacrosse); and Ben Mogavero and Robert Murphy (baseball).

By Greg Phipps


 

Peabody Legion teams open season

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The lights went out for a brief time at Bezemes Diamond Tuesday night, but the same was not true for the Middleton-Peabody Junior Legion team. Starter Chris Masta grinded through six innings without his best stuff and helped M-P to a 10-4 win over Beverly-Salem.

The victory improved M-P’s record to 3-1-1 – which includes a 14-14 tie against Haverhill – and in contention for the top spot in the 10-team District 8 league. M-P was coming off an 8-2 win over Marblehead-Swampscott Monday.

“Chris battled out there. He didn’t have his good breaking ball tonight, but he did what he needed to. He really gutted it out,” said Middleton-Peabody head coach Kevin Bloom of Masta’s effort.

In his six innings of work, the M-P righty allowed four runs (three of them unearned) on six hits. He fanned just one batter, who reached base when the third strike got by the catcher, and he walked two.

Nick DeSimone came in and pitched the final inning to preserve the victory.

Masta received plenty of support quickly, as the hosts plated four runs in the first inning to jump ahead 4-0. Singles by Alex DiBlasi, Evan Locke, Masta and DeSimone and a sacrifice fly accounted for the scoring. M-P would add single runs in the second and fourth frames and two each in the third and sixth innings.

Matthew Bloom and DeSimone smashed run-scoring doubles to aid the offensive production. M-P finished with nine hits for the game. Masta helped his own cause with two hits, a walk and an RBI.

Coach Bloom said the team is made up of players from several schools, and he said it takes time for players to get familiar with each other and form as a unit.

Senior Legion splits first two

The Middleton-Peabody Senior Legion team dropped a 4-2 decision to Lynn Connery on Monday after opening its season with a 12-4 triumph against Marblehead-Swampscott back on June 14. The M-P seniors were 1-1 heading into a stretch of three District 8 games in three days this week – against Haverhill, Beverly-Salem and Andover.

By Greg Phipps



 

Peabody celebrates its fallen soldiers in poignant Memorial Day ceremony

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It was an overcast day, but that didn’t stop Peabody from honoring its fallen service members in its annual Memorial Day parade and ceremony. Scores of veterans, their families and citizens turned out for the events, which carried marchers and floats down Main Street all the way to City Hall. Girl Scouts, Brownies, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, the Peabody Police, numerous veterans’ organizations – such as the Polish Legion and Disabled American Veterans – the Elks Lodge, the North Shore Pipe Band, and many more populated the procession. Also very special, the Veterans Services Department assembled its first ever “Gold Star” float for families of fallen service members.

After the parade, veterans and Gold Star families huddled on the front lawn of City Hall by the memorial monuments to pay respects. The Marine Corps League performed the 21 Gun Salute, and Peabody native Dana Sheridan performed the National Anthem.

New this year, Peabody’s Gold Star Families received their first-ever Massachusetts Medal of Liberty, which is specifically for the families of those fallen. Only a few other Massachusetts communities share the distinction. Signed into Massachusetts General Laws in 2009, a statute decrees that any family of any service member who has fought and died in any war since 1776 is eligible to receive the award. Some family members who received the award are elderly, while others are much younger.

Any family member of a fallen solider is eligible to receive the medal, but first they must apply through the state. The Peabody Veterans Services Department did a lot of the work tracking down the families of the soldiers to inform them of their eligibility, according to Veterans Services Director Steve Patten.

On behalf of the Governor of Massachusetts, Mayor Ted Bettencourt presented the medal to the families of Richard Bois, Nicholas Conaxis, Steven Donaldson, Louis Girolimon, Leo Levesque, Bruce Marron, John McCarthy, John Quinn, Robert Ross, John H. Savageau, Ralph Maney, Richard Cotter and Bruce Dick. Martha Barrett, Stacia Xerras, Catherine White, Louis Girolimon, Mary Draheim, Russell Marron, Peter McCarthy, Judith McNiff, Shirley Howard, John L. Savageau, Carol Maney, Helen Collins and Dick Cullinan accepted the medals on behalf of their respective family members and friends.

In a phone call describing the event, Patten called the display “heartwarming.” “I thought it was so special in that it showed a glimpse into the lives of the fallen heroes and the impact on the families they left behind,” Patten said. “I was amazed at how the families have never forgotten their loved ones. They appreciated what the city did for them, but it’s us who should be thanking them.”

There were many poignant moments from the event. Louis Girolimon, the 92-year-old father of USMC Lance Corporal Louis Girolimon, climbed up on the Gold Star Float to honor his son despite his frailty and age. “We helped him up there,” Patten said.

Martha Barrett, a schoolteacher in Florida, flew all the way up to Peabody to receive the medal on her brother, warrant officer in the U.S. Army Richard Bois’s behalf. “She wasn’t sure it was for real,” Patten said. “When she realized it, she immediately brought a plane ticket to come up.”

“There’s not a day that goes by that she doesn’t think about her brother,” he added. Patten went on to describe Barrett’s ordeal, common among military families, which is that “the pain has resonated and still resonates after all these years – that’s why she was hesitant.”

Dick Cullinan, whose best friend, Army 1st Lt. Bruce Dick passed away, broke down at the memorial monument to his friend, promptly did an about face, and saluted the monument.

“My brother died the way he wanted to, which was saving other people’s lives,” said Peter McCarthy, brother of Army Staff Sgt. John McCarthy.

By Melanie Higgins


   

City Council votes to relocate proposed medical marijuana zone

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Move earns praise of Lynnfield residents

By Melanie Higgins

Peabody will be reorganizing how it plans to have medical marijuana facilities in its borders. At a meeting on May 25, the City Council decided to strike the plan to bring a medical marijuana zone to 100 Corporate Place off of Route 1. The city is in the process of approving the new location, which is located next door in the area of Brothers Kouzina, 7-Eleven, and Bertucci’s and contains four parcels.

Complaints from residents at Green Street in Lynnfield halted the move. The only way to access the site is to drive through Green Street. Residents are concerned that people might be getting “high” on-site and driving back through their neighborhoods, which contain children.

“The original proposed zone would have dramatically and adversely affected the lives and homes of many decent people. Living with the uncertainty of people potentially getting high and driving down our streets impaired, while our children play, would have been agonizing for the residents of this area,” said Danielle Berdahn, a resident of Green Street in Lynnfield.

She added, “I can’t be more appreciative that they took into consideration our neighborhood. I know we’re not part of Peabody, but we are neighbors, and it was very neighborly to think about us.”

“My intention was to create a zone that limited the places where it could go in our city. I did not want it near neighborhoods, I did not want it near schools or parks,” Mayor Ted Bettencourt said. “The last think I wanted to do was create something that affected our neighbors, the Town of Lynnfield.”

“We consider Peabody a good friend to us, and I want to thank the mayor especially for being very proactive to the needs of the residents,” said Christopher Barrett, chairman of the Board of Selectmen in Lynnfield, also thanking Bettencourt and the city of Peabody. Barrett had sent a memo earlier in the week to Peabody asking that the city respectfully relocate the proposed site. “The fact that you guys paused, took a moment to consider the needs of Lynnfield, it’s something that we won’t forget.”

The Planning Board will meet and subsequently make a recommendation on or after June 1, after which the council will take a vote to approve the new zone.

The new site is not without its concerns. One man, Russell Donovan of 12 Quail Rd., is concerned about the zone. He said he believes it would kill surrounding businesses. “The Bertucci’s will move, the gas station will close, the restaurant will probably sell brownies, I guess, and Don’s will have to find somewhere else to go,” Donovan said.

Others were concerned that the sectioning off of such a small area for medical marijuana essentially amounts to “spot zoning,” which is taking a parcel and making it specially used for a specific purpose. Bettencourt responded by noting that there would be four parcels in the zone, not just one, and it would not be “spot zoning.” “There is no property being singled out for special treatment,” he said.

Marijuana in Peabody

The actions come in light of advice from the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) that towns and cities be “proactive” with how they handle marijuana and medical marijuana. Bettencourt said that he met with the MMA recently to discuss these issues and has set up a plan to address the drug, which was legalized for recreational purposes last November.

Peabody does not currently have a medical marijuana zone, nor did it want to up until this point. Back in November, Peabody voted against bringing recreational marijuana shops to the city, and the mayor denounced it. The drug was notably legalized for recreational use and sale by the state in the November election.

Bettencourt has advocated for medical marijuana in the past and currently. “Medical marijuana, to me, has helped a great number of people in the city – provided relief, provided treatment, and that’s something I’ve taken a completely different view of,” the mayor said.

Reportedly, medical marijuana often brings great benefits to those who suffer from debilitating diseases and ailments, such as aches and pains, PTSD, anxiety and more. On the other hand, the mayor said of recreational pot, “Recreational marijuana, to me, is a gateway drug, and is something I have grave concerns about moving forward.”

 

Collins enters Peabody City Council-at-Large contest

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Today, Stephen F. Collins III of 21 Coolidge Ave. officially declared his candidacy for Councillor-at-Large for the City of Peabody.

“As a lifelong resident of Peabody, I have been heavily involved in the city through community activities, school, sports, and work. Peabody has done a lot for me and I believe it is time I give back. As the eldest of six siblings I want to ensure that they have the same experiences and opportunities that I had. I will bring new ideas to the Council while maintaining the same values that this city prides itself upon. Going around the city the past few months talking and meeting with the voters and listening to their concerns while gathering signatures has been a great experience. I am looking forward to the months ahead,” said Collins.

Collins currently serves as a Claims Resolution Specialist at Liberty Mutual in Danvers. Stephen is a graduate with honors from Syracuse University.

The Collins Committee is scheduled to host the Campaign Kickoff for Stephen at 7 p.m. on June 9 at the Peabody A.O.H. Hall.

For more information please visit www.electstephencollins.com or call 978-798-5850.

   

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