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  • Two alarm blaze rips through Highland Ave. building

    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00
  • RHS senior receives $5,000 Hood® Milk Sportsmanship Scholarship

    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00
  • Mayor submits $227 million FY18 budget

    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00
  • Playground Dangers

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  • Community ’N Unity Celebration

    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00

News

Northshore Mall brings the heat with renovations, additions

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In Greek mythology, when one head of the Hydra is cut off, two grows in its place. That is certainly the case for the Northshore Mall, where Bancroft & Co. and Tony C’s Sports Bar & Grill will replace the late P.F. Chang’s. The huge Asian restaurant, which came with the mall’s last renovation in 2008, closed last week.

Tony C’s Sports Bar & Grill, named in honor of the legendary Red Sox outfielder and Revere native, Tony Conigliaro, will be a sports-themed restaurant. It will primarily serve “contemporary American comfort food” and will naturally offer HD television screens to catch the game. Bancroft & Co., which brands itself as a “modern steakhouse” that also specializes in craft cocktails, will also be making its way in the mall. Bancroft, according to its press release, will be 10,000 square feet in total, with two floors. Meals will be served up by head chef Mario Capone.

“We are really looking forward to introducing these two popular restaurants to shoppers here at Northshore Mall, creating a dining destination that will cater to a wide variety of preferences,” said Mark Whiting, Northshore Mall’s Manager, in a press release. “These redevelopment plans have been in the works for some time, and we have kept the community and our shoppers’ comfort and convenience top of mind by designing an inviting atmosphere for dining and socializing both inside and out. We can’t wait to share further details of our vision, and we will be announcing the additional dining concepts in the near future.”

In the accompanying press release, the mall revealed that the restaurants would also come with significant updates to the exterior of the building along with experiential upgrades. Those include the placement of an “outdoor stage” that can be used for performances, and outdoor patios for alfresco dining.

The changes are notable in light of the recent strategies of nearby competitor MarketStreet, which is also currently trying to move towards more “experiential” offerings. Developer Ted Tye, who manages the sprawling outdoor mall, has warned of the decline of malls with the increased popularity of online sales, and said that the way to keep malls relevant is to offer products that customers can “engage” in. Tye notably used this pitch to try to bring a movie theatre to the mall, which would join its other “experiential” offerings, such as golf, yoga and painting.

In a phone call, Whiting rejected any notion that malls are in trouble, and refused to comment on MarketStreet’s strategy. He also declined to comment on whether the renovations were part of a trend among malls nationwide – according to Tye – which is adding experiential components to their offerings. He pointed to the throngs of thousands of people at the mall on Black Friday as evidence that any speculation of the mall’s decline is a myth.

“Malls are a highly social experience and are flourishing,” Whiting said. “We’re trying to build on that trend.”

He did acknowledge that constant change and attention to trends is important in its future. He said that the key to any business’s success is staying ahead of the trends and constantly evolving, two key approaches that have helped the mall remain alive for more than half a century.

“I think we offer a highly relevant experience, and outdoor dining is a very important trend to embrace,” Whiting said.

The Northshore Mall was built in 1958 and remains a stalwart on the North Shore in terms of shopping experience. “Anchored” by Nordstrom, JC Penney, and Macy’s, the mall also brings in top-notch retailers, such as Pink and H&M, and more recently, Brooks Brothers and Michael Kors.

Construction on the restaurants and renovations will begin at the end of this month and should be completed by the following April.

By Melanie Higgins


 

Fifteen arrested in massive drug sting include Peabody man

In a massive drug sting that involved the arrests of 15 individuals, police also apprehended 31-year-old Peabody man Vladimir Arias (aka Orlando Robles, aka Franklin Arias). Arias is charged with conspiracy to distribute a kilogram or more of heroin and unlawful use of communication facilities in committing or facilitating the commission of felony, controlled substance offenses.

Arias was allegedly one of two middlemen in an international drug operation that spanned three states and was being heavily tracked by the FBI for the past seven months in a sting called “Operation Triple Play,” possibly referring to the three states involved: Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. According to the police, the operation was centered in Providence, R.I., and is referred to as the “Valdez Drug Trafficking Organization,” after the three Valdez siblings – Hector (47), Juan (50) and Claudio (44) – who ran the group, originally from the Dominican Republic. The trio had been deported four previous times for drug-trafficking convictions, and were also picked up in the sting.

Arias was allegedly one of at least three other “suppliers” that the group relied on to procure its drugs for sale, which included heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. The other members included references to a man called “the Maestro” located in the Dominican Republic, and “the Doctor,” who authorities believe is located in Mexico, along with another middleman in Providence. Reportedly, the group hid their drugs at “stash houses” in Rhode Island, specifically 103-105 Woodbine St. in Cranston and Apt. 3F at 87 Dulude Ave. in Woonsocket.

Police began making arrests on Monday (April 10), which included Arias, who was nabbed by R.I. state police as he drove back to Massachusetts on Route 95. He was allegedly found with close to a kg of heroin stashed in his car, probably from what police determined was a drug transaction earlier that day. Two other individuals who were not associated with the drug operation were apprehended on charges of immigration violations. The rest of the arrests, which commenced at 6 p.m. the next day, took nine others into custody.

In addition to the suspects, authorities reportedly seized fentanyl, cocaine and crack cocaine valuing $680,000 and $95,000 in cash, and nine vehicles.

Authorities say their success was based on video and audio evidence of drug transactions, wiretaps and searching through the suspects’ trash, in addition to two informants. One suspect remains at large.

“As alleged, the Valdez brothers trafficked in all types of drugs and profited from the addictions that have destroyed lives and torn apart families here in New England,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Field Division, in a press release dated April 13. “This case illustrates that drug cartels based in foreign countries will go anywhere to distribute their deadly products. The FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force will do everything it can to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations that threaten the safety and stability of our neighborhoods.”

The case is especially notable given the new president’s increased focus on fighting the illegal drug trade, which he argues is propagated mainly by illegal immigrants. Just days earlier, Attorney General Jeff Sessions had sent a memo to state Attorneys General asking them to focus on just that. Sessions praised the arrests as a step in that direction.

“The President has made the dismantlement and destruction of drug cartels a top priority, and cases like these are integral in that effort,” Sessions said. “When law enforcement – federal, state and local – work together like these partners in Rhode Island, we will be one step closer to fulfilling this goal and protecting our communities.”

The illegal drug trade brings in an estimated 150 billion dollars in revenue in North America and 360 billion worldwide, according to the D.C.--based Organization of American States statistics.

By Melanie Higgins


 

“What is Climate Change and Why Should I Care?” at the South Branch of the Peabody Library

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The South Branch is pleased to welcome Dr. Jeremy Shakun as he demystifies climate change. Climate change is mentioned frequently in the news media, but what is it exactly and how does it affect us? Dr. Shakun will be here to take his scientific expertise and relay it to attendees in plain, understandable language. His talk will cover what climate change is, how it affects us, both globally and locally, and what can be done about it.

Dr. Jeremy Shakun is a geologist teaching as an Assistant Professor at Boston College and working to understand the behavior of our global climate change system. His research works towards a holistic, big-picture view of global change, and he has a passion for communicating scientific ideas to those of us not well-versed in scientific principles.

The program is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required. This program will take place at the South Branch of the Peabody Institute Library, which is located at 78 Lynn St., on Thursday, May 4 at 7 p.m. For more information and to register for this program, please go to www.peabodylibrary.org, call 978-531-3380 or stop by in person.

   

Tickets on sale for 8th Annual Gourmet Gala at Acura of Peabody

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The 8th Annual Gourmet Gala to support cancer treatment and programs at North Shore Medical Center and the Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center in Danvers will take place on Friday, May 19 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Acura of Peabody (233 Andover St., Peabody). Hosted by Kiss 108 FM’s Billy Costa, the 8th annual Gourmet Gala will be an exciting evening of delicious food from some of the area’s finest local restaurants, spirited entertainment and a lively auction. Proceeds from the Gourmet Gala support cancer treatment and programs at North Shore Medical Center and the Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center in Danvers.

Enjoy tastes from local restaurants, including Alto Forno, Creative Catering, Daniella’s Café Market, Davio’s, Evviva Cucina, FuGaKyu, Gulu Gulu Café, Henry’s, Kelly’s Roast Beef & Seafood, Pellana Prime Steakhouse, Pizza Goddess, Teresa’s Prime, The Topsfield Bakeshop, Treadwell’s World Famous Ice Cream, and the Whoo(pie) Wagon. Auction items will include sporting event tickets, luxurious spa treatments, golfing packages, and much, much more.

Tickets are available for a limited time at a pre-sale price of $60 each ($75 full price) and can be purchased by visiting www.northshorecancerwalk.org.

About the WALK/RUN: Since its inception in 1991, the North Shore Cancer WALK/RUN and Gala have raised more than $22 million and attracted over 5,000 participants each year. Proceeds from these events support oncology services at North Shore Medical Center and the Massachusetts General/North Shore Cancer Center. In the past, WALK contributions have supported renovations, clinical trials, wellness services – such as massage and acupuncture – to help alleviate pain and nausea, and supportive care programs for patients and their families.

Save the date. Join us at the North Shore Cancer Walk on June 25. To learn more or register for the North Shore Cancer WALK, visit www.northshorecancerwalk.org.

Delicious food. Lively auction. Great cause.


 

Tanners off to fast start

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Through their first five games, the Peabody High School baseball team had allowed just four runs in going 5-0 to begin the 2017 season. The solid start was highlighted by a perfect game pitched by junior lefthander Alex D’Angelo, who blanked Northeastern Conference (NEC) foe Revere, 6-0, last Saturday at Bezemes Diamond.

“We had a plan going into the game, and that was to throw strikes and have [Revere] put the ball in play,” said D’Angelo, who fanned five in his complete game effort. “We didn’t go away from that game plan and my teammates had my back on defense.”

Despite D’Angelo’s dominance, the game remained close until the Tanners broke it open with five runs in the bottom of the sixth frame to turn a 1-0 lead into a 6-0 advantage. Defensively, Peabody aided its own cause as well when outfielder Nick Palma made a diving catch to take away a hit and Jake Doherty made a nice catch-and-tag play at first base to prevent another hit.

“The key for Alex today is that he pounded the strike zone. He had trouble locating his curveball early but he stayed with it,” said Tanners head coach Mark Bettencourt of D’Angelo’s performance. “Once he got control of his curve, it drastically changed the way he was throwing. He kept [Revere] off balance and kept them guessing. You didn’t see a lot of good swings against him. We made a couple of stellar defensive plays behind him, too. It was a great team effort overall.”

The Tanners followed up D’Angelo’s effort over the weekend with a 9-0 non-league blanking of Malden on Monday. Pitcher Pat Maquire threw five innings to earn his second win of the season, and Chris Gillen drove in five runs with three hits. Peabody scored two big NEC victories – 6-1 at Danvers and 7-2 over Saugus – last week. No. 1 starter Jake Zeuli notched the win over Danvers. Peabody was 3-0 in league play as of early this week.

“We don’t want to get too excited. We’re trying to be even keel,” said Bettencourt of his team’s strong start. “We’re obviously happy with the start but we’re not satisfied. We’re going to take it one game at a time, one inning at a time, one pitch at a time. We want to keep moving towards our goal to play well in June. The heartbeat of this team is to be ready to play our best in June.”

By Greg Phipps


   

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