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  • Malden High graduates 446 at Macdonald Stadium

    Friday, June 09, 2017 00:00
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    Friday, August 04, 2017 11:01
  • Sergio Cornelio unanimously appointed City Clerk

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    Friday, June 09, 2017 00:00

News

City honors heroes at Annual Veterans Day Breakfast

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“It’s a wonderful morning,” Mayor Ted Bettencourt said as Peabody’s Third Annual Veterans Day Breakfast began. “I’m proud to pay tribute to the sacrifices, service and patriotism of our veterans for all you’ve done for my generation and all generations.”

The mayor introduced former PVMHS student Dana Sheridan, who sang the “National Anthem” and “America the Beautiful.” He then asked veterans to stand when Henry Lucas and the Riverside Renaissance Swing Band played their military branch’s service song. Father John McGinnis of St. John the Baptist gave the invocation.

Air Force Junior ROTC members from PVMHS led an MIA/POW ceremony, “A Table of One.” Cadet Connor Fielding spoke poignant words honoring the service members who could not attend. Fellow ROTC members joined in a symbolic ceremony of a white-clothed table for one “reserved to honor our missing loved ones and missing comrades in arms.” Each item on the table represented something of significance. Fielding said, “All of you who served with them and called them comrades, who depended upon their might and aid, and relied upon them … remember!”

Members of City Hall helped serve breakfast to the veterans and their family members – estimated to be about 400 – while the band continued to play mostly Big Band-era tunes.

Recently appointed Veterans’ Services Agent Steve Patten addressed the crowd and presented a video slide show. “We wanted to engage the audience and bring them back through audio and visual to that time period,” Patten said. (When Vietnam vets had called to reserve their seats, they were asked to supply a photo to include in the slide show.)

At the conclusion of the slide show, Patten acknowledged the Peabody service members who lost their lives in Vietnam. “Lisa [Leavitt], my assistant, and I put our heads together, and we decided to try to track down the family members of the people on the monument,” he said. “We were able to get six out of the 13 families.” They were seated at two Gold Star tables that represented the fallen service members. “I really feel the city has the heartbeat and the veterans come out and the city supports them. They are the pride of Peabody.”

Mayor Bettencourt read a proclamation from President Barack Obama, and when he called the names of the veterans, the Junior ROTC members handed each of them a copy of the proclamation, a Vietnam pin and a commemorative coin.

The ceremony headed outdoors, where John Silva, Commander of the Portuguese-American War Veterans, led a flag-raising ceremony. Wreaths were placed in front of the war memorials and the women’s memorial.

Silva said, “Veterans Day is a celebration, not only for the ones that were killed, but for everybody who wore the uniform. This is a special day for everybody.”

By Pam Wehbi


 

Residents comment on proposed housing development in West Peabody

A crowd of nearly 60 community members and city officials gathered Tuesday night for the Municipal Safety Committee meeting. The topic of contention was a proposed Birch Street subdivision in West Peabody.

Ward 6 Councillor Barry Sinewitz presented an overview of the project that is to include 23 homes on 20,000-square-foot lots in an area bordered by Boston Street, Birch Street, Brookbridge Road and the Middleton/Peabody line. Richardson’s Farm owns the land and is selling to developers C.C. (Carl Crupi) & Sons Builders, who would like to begin construction in spring of 2017.

“This City Council does not have a vote,” Sinewitz said. “It comes down solely to the Planning Board.” Sinewitz urged community members to frame the issues so the committee can come up with an Order of Conditions.

The area is heavily residential and houses Burke Elementary School. The worry is that construction vehicles will need to make numerous trips during school hours, potentially affecting the safety of schoolchildren. The currently proposed path is via Birch Street, a narrow, winding lane.

Area resident Edward Morando commented, “Birch Street is not a smart place to put a road. It’s very narrow, and the road does flood. There’s also a lot of wildlife – maybe three dozen deer, hawks and eagles.”

Sean O’Neill agreed and said, “Birch Street is disastrous. People are dodging cars; it’s like a racetrack.”

Councillor-at-Large Anne Manning-Martin suggested, “Birch Street is a designated scenic way. It wouldn’t hurt to ask if that helps with truck restrictions.”

School Superintendent and area resident Herb Levine said, “My biggest concern is trucks. Even under the best of circumstances there may be trucks that go into the neighborhood when they’re not supposed to.” He continued, “It won’t be perfect. It’s just the largeness of the project.”

Sinewitz suggested creating an access road from Middleton on Boston Street, something Peabody Police Chief Tom Griffin and Police Captain Scott Richard think could be a viable solution. Captain Richard said the first step is to make an application to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) for a designated truck route. “No matter what, somebody won’t be happy,” he said. Richard also suggested installing closed-circuit TV cameras at each end of the route to control traffic and note violations.

The possibility of blasting during construction is another issue that concerns citizens because of noise level and the possibility of disrupting current home foundations and swimming pools. Fire Inspector Lt. Chris Dowling said there must be a blast plan in effect, and he has yet to receive one. Sinewitz said the Planning Board doesn’t think blasting is an issue and that rock crushing is more likely. The constant “boom” of crushing is troubling, along with the blowing dust and dirt after the rocks are crushed.

John Olimpio, a member of the School Committee, said, “We’re in a school zone, and kids are out at recess. With blasting going on, it can cause great concern.” He would like to see restrictions on blasting hours. He is also concerned that parking for workers’ vehicles will be an issue.

Levine said, “My recommendation is to look very seriously at blasting as a better option than rock crushing. You can schedule blasts and control it.” He is worried about the constant sound of rock crushing impeding teaching.

A third area of concern regards drainage and run off. David Terenzoni, Acting Director of the Public Services Department, said the sewer system must be checked and that it might be necessary to add an additional drain pipe on Birch Street.

Along with potential drainage problems, some residents expressed concern over environmental effects. Joe Sullivan asked, “What kind of environmental studies will be done? What particulate matter will people be exposed to?” Another resident was worried about possible soil contamination.

George Smith, a Ward 1 resident who has experience with previous city projects, said that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is essential before work begins.

The next step, he said, is for concerned citizens to show up at Planning Board meetings. “It’s not a done deal yet. I’m hoping we can influence and work with the Planning Board to get an Order of Conditions.”

By Pam Wehbi


 

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church parishioners harvest for Haven From Hunger

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Last week, parishioners at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church prepared their garden for winter. Over the summer, church members and students at Bethlehem School planted and maintained a vegetable & herb garden behind the church. Produce and funds raised from sale of tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers were brought to Haven From Hunger in Peabody. Plans for next year include expanding the vegetable selection as well as adding flowers.


   

Peabody Main Streets organization highlights accomplishments

Members of the Peabody Main Streets organization presented a progress report to the City Council’s Committee of the Whole last Thursday. The organization strives to improve the downtown area, encourage community involvement and support local business.

Classified in June as a 501c3, Peabody Main Streets has an aggressive list of overall priorities for the year in three areas: economic vitality, promotion and design.

The list of accomplishments is growing. In terms of economic vitality, the organization is in the process of appropriating funding to study transit options and discussing a downtown parking strategy. Design accomplishments include rebranding and way-finding signage, the installation of Big Belly trash and recycle units, new lighting and a mural project. As for promotions, Peabody Main Streets has adopted a logo, hosted a car show, conducted a retail merchandising workshop, held a pop-up dinner in the park, entered a float in the Centennial Parade, initiated a hotel promotion, organized Nightmare on Main Street, and held a pop-up pub. They also increased their presence on social media and developed a website, www.livepeabody.com.

Next on the agenda is the Holiday Stroll & Tree Lighting on November 25-27. Events include a scavenger hunt, a trolley, hot cocoa at the library, a Live Nativity at Center Church, a “Frozen”-themed wonderland, caroling and an Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl.

Deanne Healey, a co-chair of Peabody Main Streets, is pleased so far. “It’s working,” she said. “Things are happening.”

Councillor-at-Large Ann Manning-Martin said, “It’s definitely noticeable – all the little things you’re doing. It’s starting to pay off.”

Ward 5 Councillor Joel Saslaw agreed. “It feels like we’re building momentum,” he said. “We’re not going off the radar.”

By Pam Wehbi


 

Local Scout builds, distributes flag retirement boxes

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One of the requirements for becoming an Eagle Scout is to complete a service project that helps a nonprofit organization such as a religious institution, school or community. Nicholas McLaughlin of Peabody Scout Troop 88 carefully selected his project: constructing a series of flag retirement boxes.

For months, Nicholas completed paperwork and proposals and attended meetings. With the help of his father, Kevin; grandfather, Bob; and Scoutmaster, Shawn Santeer; Nicholas built and painted five mailbox-sized drop boxes. It took months because of Nicholas’s full senior-year schedule and the detail that went into them. Each is used to collect old, worn American flags from the community. Troop 88 then picks them up and properly retires them with ceremony.

The five boxes – easily identified by their red, white and blue design – reside in City Hall, the Main and West Libraries, the Torigian Life Center and the Department of Public Works. Community members are encouraged to deposit their old flags. Nicholas and Troop 88 will check and maintain them throughout the year.

By Pam Wehbi


   

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