Wednesday, August 16, 2017
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  • Malden High graduates 446 at Macdonald Stadium

    Friday, June 09, 2017 00:00
  • Annual National Night Out Big Success

    Friday, August 04, 2017 11:01
  • Sergio Cornelio unanimously appointed City Clerk

    Saturday, August 05, 2017 09:22
  • DeRuosi’s Report Card

    Friday, August 04, 2017 10:24
  • Help choose the next Malden Reads 2018 book selection!

    Friday, June 09, 2017 00:00


“Tai Chi for Healthy Aging” at the Peabody Institute Library

The Peabody Institute Library is pleased to announce “Tai Chi for Healthy Aging.” This seven-week class begins on Thursday, August 17 at 11 a.m. at the Main Library (82 Main St. in Peabody). Please note that due to popular demand, initial registration for this class is limited to first-time participants.

Tai Chi is a graceful form of exercise that involves a series of movements, known as forms, which are performed in a slow, focused manner combined with controlled breathing. It is a low impact exercise that puts minimal stress on muscles and joints, making it suitable for many older adults. Tai Chi has been shown to improve balance, increase leg strength, reduce fear of falling, improve mobility, increase flexibility and improve psychological health.

This class will meet for seven weeks; signing up for the first class registers you for the complete seven-week series. No previous Tai Chi experience is necessary for participation in the class. For more information and to register, please call 978-531-0100 ext. 10, or register online at



A day of reflection






Window of Saugus Police Officer Harold L. Vitale finds joy in scholarships given in her late husband’s honor

This time of year usually stirs up bad memories and heartache for Eileen Vitale, the widow of the late Saugus Police Officer Harold L. Vitale. Last Sunday – Father’s Day – was especially difficult, as it marked the 32nd anniversary that Officer Vitale was killed in the line of duty.

“June 18 is always a tough day for me, it always has been and always will be,” Mrs. Vitale said last Saturday morning, as she joined a small gathering at the Ballard Street park named in honor of Officer Vitale.

But it was evident from the smile that beamed across her face that she enjoyed the occasion – the 23rd annual Vitale Memorial Fund Scholarship Awards Ceremony. Seven students from area communities – three of them the children of police officers – each received a $1,000 scholarship this year. “I love to see the recipients get the rewards for their hard work,” Mrs. Vitale said in an interview after the ceremony.

“It’s good for them and it’s good for me. It’s great that we’re able to continue to do this – to honor Harold and to keep his memory alive,” she said.

The Vitale Memorial Fund has presented scholarships totaling $120,000 to 120 students over the past two-plus decades, according to Les Vitale, of Peabody, a brother of the late Saugus officer and president of the fund. “Despite the years we enjoy the opportunity to award scholarships to these kids,” Les Vitale said

“His premature death meant he missed a lot, like his children’s graduations, their marriages, the birth of grandchildren, but we carry on for him. This year marks 23 consecutive years of granting scholarships – we couldn’t be prouder,” he said.

Peabody Veterans Memorial High School student honored

All of the recipients are college-bound and each has a special connection to the Vitale family – either through friendships or ties to law enforcement.

“I’m the third one in my family to receive the scholarship,” said Chloe Gizzi, of Peabody, a graduate of Peabody Veterans Memorial High School (PVMHS).

“For years, I’ve heard about the Vitale name. This scholarship is very important to me,” she said.

Gizzi, a member of the National Honor Society, enrolled in many Advanced Placement Courses at PVMHS and was active in student government – serving as Student Council President. She played Soccer and Lacrosse, captaining both teams and winning numerous awards and recognition. She also caught the attention of multiple college scouts.

She was accepted at Bentley University and Babson College – being recruited heavily for soccer by both schools. She plans to attend Bentley in the fall.

“Her family are close personal friends of my family and her siblings are prior Vitale Memorial Fund recipients,” Les Vitale said. Christina A. Gizzi was a 2011 recipient and Christopher Gizzi won the scholarship in 2010.

“Her mother, sister and grandmother all worked for me at my CPA firm,” Vitale said.

Other 2017 recipients include the following:

• Isabella Lopresti, of Saugus, a Saugus High School graduate. She is a prior Student of the Month and a member of the National Honor Society. She was active in Cheerleading and Girls Lacrosse. A National Honor Society Member, she will be pursuing a Nursing Degree and was accepted at multiple schools, including Salem State, Endicott and UNH. Her father is Saugus Police Lt. Anthony Lopresti.

• Sabrina Panetta, of Saugus, attended the Pioneer Charter School of Science in Saugus. She was a Student of the Month and member of the National Honor Society and recognized for her work as a finalist in the Science Fair and 2nd place at National History Day. She plans to pursue a Nursing career and perhaps longer term to become a Doctor; she has been accepted at multiple schools, including Pace University, Merrimack College and the University of Maine. Her brother Mark was a previous recipient and was responsible for the renovations and upgrade of the Park. Her mother, Debra, is the chair of the Board of Selectmen and has been active in town government for many years.

• Kerri McKinnon, of Saugus, attended Kents Hill School in Kents Hill, Maine. She was a member of the National Honor Society and was very active in her school’s sports – as captain of the Soccer, Hockey and Tennis teams. She participated in the Maine Youth Leadership program and was the Class Treasurer. McKinnon wants to major in Special Education and obtain her masters in Speech Pathology and plans to attend Gordon College. Her father – Saugus Patrol Union President Officer Frank McKinnon – shares the same birthday (June 14) as Officer Vitale.

• Gianni Hill, of Revere, attended Revere High School. He ranked 9th in his class out of nearly 400 students. He played football and was chosen as a captain of both the JV and Freshman teams. He served his last three years as president of the Class of 2017 and also was the student representative on the Revere School Committee. He plans to attend Hamilton College, where he will study Political Science. Hill and his family live just a few blocks from where the Vitale family grew up.

• Samantha Verge, of Hamilton, attended Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School. She is a National Honor Society member and maintained academic or highest academic honor roll for four years and achieved honorable mention status in History and Spanish. In addition to her scholastic success, she excelled on the athletic fields, competing on the Field Hockey team, and was recognized for Excellence for Sportsmanship, Ethics, and Integrity by the MIAA. She was voted varsity captain and achieved Most Improved player as an underclassman and received the Coaches’ Award. She is very active in community-related activities. She will enter the University of Vermont as an undeclared major with interests in Psychology, Anthropology and History. Her special connection to the Vitale family: Her grandmother worked for the family’s CPA firm for years, and her grandfather is a member of the fund’s golf committee. Both attended Revere Public schools with members of the Vitale family.

• Isabelle Charbonnier, of Charlestown, attended Arlington Catholic High School, and is the daughter of Boston Police Sgt. Michael Charbonnier.

A moment of silence for another fallen officer

Isabelle Charbonnier and her family have a special connection to the Vitale family – a relative and law enforcement officer who was killed in the line of duty. The late State Trooper Mark Charbonnier was on a routine patrol in the Kingston area on Rt. 3 on Sept. 2, 1994, when he pulled a car over at about 3 a.m.

The suspect, a paroled killer, went to retrieve his papers from the glove box to comply with the trooper’s request but instead pulled out a gun and shot Charbonnier at point-blank range. The trooper returned fire, wounding the suspect. He was still able to call in for help, but later died from the bullet wounds.

During last Saturday’s scholarship awards ceremony, Les Vitale asked the gathering to pause for a moment of silence for Officer Vitale, Trooper Charbonnier and the more than 300 officers who have given their lives in the line of duty.

Mrs. Vitale looks upon the memorial fund set up in honor of her husband as a way to show her gratitude and the family’s appreciation for the help and support she received soon after her husband’s tragic death.

“We’re able to support victim support organizations that helped us in 1985, like the National C.O.P.S. [Concerns of Police Survivors] and the N.E. Chapter C.O.P.S,” Mrs. Vitale said.

“Last year we gave out $35,000 to a young, critically injured U.S. Secret Service Officer to assist in his rehabilitation. We are making a big impact,” she said.

Editor’s Note: The Officer Vitale Memorial Fund, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization and was created in 1992 some seven years after Officer Vitale’s death. Officer Vitale was killed in the line of duty in the early morning hours of June 18, 1985; while attempting to make an arrest, he was dragged over 1,000 feet to his death. Officer Vitale was 42 at the time and married to his wife, Eileen, and lived in Ipswich with three children: Paul, Michelle and JacLyn. Officer Vitale’s badge #17 was retired upon his death. The Officer Vitale Memorial Park was constructed by the Town of Saugus in 1992 in his honor.

On Monday, August 7, the Memorial Fund will be hosting its annual Golf Tournament at Ipswich Country Club at noon.

Information was submitted by Les Vitale, President of the Officer Harold L. Vitale Memorial Fund, Inc. (c/o Caputo & Company, PC, 99 Conifer Hill Dr., Suite 202, Danvers, MA 01923, or visit on the web at

By Mark E. Vogler


An optimistic Bettencourt presents 2018 Budget

Last Thursday the city approved its annual budget. The budget calls for a $5.1 million increase, bringing this years’ budget up to $164,517,574 (a 3.2% increase from last year). Mayor Ted Bettencourt expressed optimism at the city’s future and satisfaction with the city’s continuing reputation for exceptional value.

Here are some basic facts about the 2018 budget:

–Up $5.1 million (to $164,517,574 – 3.2% increase)

–The average annual residential tax bill might increase approximately $156.73

–Preliminary estimates indicate that Residential Values will increase by 5%.

–Peabody remains having the 2nd lowest tax bill in Essex County.

–Investments will be focused in four major areas: Education, Public Safety, Infrastructure, and Quality of Life

“My message for you tonight is a positive one,” Bettencourt began. “Although our budget obligations have increased, we are still able to invest in Peabody’s future thanks to our city’s financial strength and thanks to the strong partnership we have forged together.”

Bettencourt touched on four major areas that the city will be targeting with its increased tax revenues: Education, Public safety, Infrastructure, and Quality of Life.

In the area of Education, spending is up 2.3%. The School Department will be focusing mainly on improving its Guidance Department. Superintendent Herb Levine has emphasized his belief that the effort to improve guidance will be what Peabody’s schools need to rise in their ranking. Despite the increased funds, the schools will be cutting many staff, owing to the schools’ decrease in enrollment.

In the area of Public Safety, the city is adding eight new firefighters. Adding more firefighters, the mayor said, “increases the safety of our residents, but also our firefighters themselves.” The additions will ensure that there are at least three firefighters at each of the city’s five fire departments “at all times.”

In the area of Infrastructure, the city is making investments to the city’s downtown area. The High School will also see upgrades to its roof this summer.

In the area of Quality of life, the city is undertaking the Peabody Square “redesign project” and downtown revitalization. The mayor said it is also working to enhance open spaces.

Bettencourt thanked the City Council in closing: “Together we have invested in Peabody’s future, improving quality of life and maintaining affordability that has long been Peabody’s calling card.”

By Melanie Higgins


Going out on top


Garabedian says he will not seek re-election to City Council

Political careers, whether on a national, state or city level, can easily be measured in terms of success not by votes alone, but by self-worth; if one can look back with one’s head held high and still be smiling, then you’ve done something right.

In a recent interview with the Peabody Advocate, longtime City Councillor-at-Large Michael Garabedian is calling it a career following his 24 years serving the citizens of Peabody. Born and raised in Peabody, the Democrat began his political career as a two-term School Committee member, followed by eight terms on the City Council, calling it “24 years of stellar service.”

“I thought it was time to get out, that I couldn’t give it 100% anymore,” said Garabedian, adding, “Working every day with the public, you have to give it 100%.”

Garabedian said he missed out on a lot of family time over the years and thoughts of retiring from the council have been in the back of his mind; he felt that now was the time to give someone else a chance. “You have a really good couple of guys running,” he said, pointing to Tom Rossignol and Ryan Melville, who have tossed their hats in the ring for one of the five at-large council seats.

Looking back on his career past and present, Garabedian noted about the City Council such positives as the collective focus on downtown Peabody – “focused on that and got it completed” – and the recent Crystal Lake off Lowell Street in West Peabody, which took “over a decade to become a nice site for the city.” Garabedian also pointed at public safety – Peabody was voted one of the safest cities in the state two years ago – and at the council, which stepped-up for the people, passing a moratorium on billboard signs for the next few years.

“Being a city councillor as the city celebrates its 100-year anniversary is right up there for me,” beamed Garabedian. “Walking down Main Street in the parade, that was a nice feeling.”

Looking back on some of the low points, the councillor recalled his time on the School Committee when the board voted to take property by eminent domain to build the Brown School. “The board voted to take property from the Trovis brothers by eminent domain, which drew national attention,’ recalled Garabedian. “I knew the kids needed a school but didn’t think that was the place and that we went about it the wrong way.”

Garabedian said he voted against it, siding with the brothers who have since passed away many years ago. The elderly Trovis brothers, both veterans, owned a large piece of property on Lynn Street that was used by the city to build the elementary school, which has since become private residences.

Looking at present-day Peabody, Garabedian likes the positive direction the city has taken under Mayor Ted Bettencourt. “He never stops looking to do something – always to the benefit of the people. He’s done a great job and he’s moving the city in the right direction,” he said. “Even as we’ve had to raise taxes over the years, Peabody is still one of the lowest in the North Shore area.”

The councillor envisions two more schools in the city’s future and cites the Essex Agricultural and Technical High School in Danvers as something great for the city to be involved in given that for over 20 years it couldn’t offer a vocational education to its students. “Now we’re in a partnership with probably the best in the state.” Garabedian pointed out that the Essex-Aggie decision was a joint vote by both the City Council and the School Committee.

Employed as a general manager of IRA Subaru in Danvers, Garabedian has been one of the top car sales managers in the local auto industry for over 35 years, a position which demands many days, nights and weekends, a factor which has also played into his decision. He looks forward to more family time with his wife, Marian, and their two daughters, Amy and Jillian, after buying a little place in Maine.

He also pointed to a loss of a close friend who passed away recently. “That puts things into perspective,” he said.

“I’m old enough to leave the council,” said Garabedian, laughing when asked for his age, a young 61.

“I’m going to miss the campaigning most of all – there’s probably not a day I regretted running for office,” said Garabedian with a smile. “But it’s time.”

The councillor-at-large will see his last term come to an end in January but still won’t rule out another run for something down the road. Garabedian says he knows there’ll be a time when he’s going to miss the City Council meetings and the campaigning, but he knows he’s walking away with his head held high, holding a big smile.

By James Mitchell


Girl Scouts support Haven From Hunger


Troop 68011 from Peabody is working with Haven From Hunger on their Bronze Award. Left to right: Madison MacDonald, Morgan Demuele, Jada Wilson, Victoria McCoy, Mackenzie Garcia and Janelle Dalton.                      (Courtesy photo)


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