Wednesday, May 24, 2017
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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

    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00
  • Community ’N Unity Celebration

    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00


Arbor Day ceremony marks unofficial start of spring




With spring in New England slow to start, it seemed as if last Saturday was the first official day of spring. On that day, the community celebrated Arbor Day, which falls typically on a day at the end of April.

Jointly organized by the Lynnfield Tree Committee and Lynnfield for Love, residents and community members came together on the town common to observe the holiday in a variety of ways. In a ceremony practiced around the world on Arbor Day, attendees hung handwritten notes containing wishes from a tree on the common given the honor of being the “Wishing Tree.” True to the tradition, the notes will hang from the tree for a length of time, this year until May 20. Anyone who missed the ceremony but wishes to hang a note may do so, but only until that date.

Also during the ceremony, Selectman Phil Crawford read out loud the official Arbor Day proclamation, which lauds trees for their “source of joy and spiritual renewal” and, for the more pragmatic, they “increase property values and enhance the economic vitality of business areas.” Following the selectman, 3rd grader at the Huckleberry Hill Elementary School Sonia Kumar read a poem by Mary Nagy titled “Watching Our Young Tree.” For children in the crowd, complimentary tree-themed crafts were available to enjoy.

Most notable, the town welcomed what will, hopefully, one day be a commonly observed monument of the town center and live in perpetuity: a new sweetgum tree. Sweetgum trees are deciduous and grow to be up to around 60 feet in height. They are usually native to the southern United States and parts of Mexico. In past years, the town has similarly planted trees, such as the planting of an apple tree at the common in 2016.

While typical of Arbor Day ceremonies around the world, the new tree is a testament to Lynnfield’s heritage as a “Tree City,” a designation it first received in 2005 and has maintained for more than 10 years. It also reflects Lynnfield’s history as a town mostly characterized by forest. In order to receive a “Tree City USA” designation, a community must have an assigned Tree Committee and a policy towards maintaining its urban trees, among a few other requirements.

Arbor Day was designated a holiday in America in 1872, although the tradition is thought to have been around for much longer. Celebrants draw attention to the importance of trees, which at their very least help oxygenate the planet and provide a source of both shelter and natural beauty. In February of 2017, then-chair of the Board of Selectmen Phil Crawford designated April 28 as Arbor Day in Lynnfield.

By Melanie Higgins


Lynnfield native remembers the “Old Days”




“Life was so much simpler in Lynnfield, “back in the day” when I rode my bike to Center School and later took the school bus to Wakefield High with 12 other kids from town.”

So reflected Bill Wilkinson (b. 1928) in a recent phone interview while discussing the launching of the warship USS Thomas Hudner in Bath, Maine, on April 1. Bill was among 24 Navy pilots serving with Medal of Honor recipient Captain Thomas Hudner Jr. on the Aircraft Carrier USS Leyte during the Korean conflict.

Family business

Bill’s father ran a successful contracting business from his home at 259 Main St. during Lynnfield’s postwar building boom. After our chat about the town’s “old-timers,” I sent Bill copies of my Advocate pieces about the Pope Farm (site of Summer Street School), “Big Jim” Fletcher, and longtime Town Moderator Joseph Smith. The following is an email Bill sent from Florida with his random memories of growing up in Lynnfield.

Hi Helen,

Enjoyed reading about the Pope farm. I remember the farm well. I didn’t know the land went all the way to Pilling’s Pond. My folks skated on that pond when they were young as well as us kids. My father’s trucks plowed snow off the ice so Rusty Nesbit could cut and stow the ice in his ice house (now gone). I was always afraid the ice would crack and sink the heavy trucks but it never did.

My dad’s contracting business was mainly building new roads in the local area such as Crest Rd., Hutchins Circle, Edwards Ave. development, Sherwood Forest, Apple Hill, Wing Rd., Homestead Rd, and the cellar for the Center Church expansion (Ray Pope ran the bulldozer for that project), to name a few that I can think of.

My dad’s folks moved to Lynnfield about 1900. I believe my mother’s folks arrived soon after. My younger brother Dick was the last family member to leave when he moved out of Center Village a few years ago.

The real “Old Days”

As a boy my father rode his pony “Peggy” to center school every day. They would stop near Roundy’s Store so she could get a drink of water at the horse trough there at the edge of the village green. On the way home they would stop at Roundy’s for a two-scoop ice cream cone. Dad would get one scoop and Peggy would get the other.

My grandmother lived in a colonial house on Main St. (opposite Perry Rd.) and needed a driver’s license, so she put 25 cents in an envelope along with a note saying she knew how to drive and sent it to Boston. They sent her a license by return mail.

The post office boxes were all in Roundy’s store across from the candy counter. The telephone exchange was upstairs run by Maybelle Thompson. Our phone number was 33. Carl Shumway’s was 1. Our number was painted on our truck doors. (Picture enclosed).

WWII changed everything. A lot of workers from the Lynn GE plant settled in Lynnfield. Growing up our population was about 1800. The carrier I flew off of in Korea had 3500 crew members and pilots aboard, nearly twice the population of Lynnfield…

Sorry to be so long-winded. Some things are just hard to explain without a lot of words.

I also enclosed a picture of Jim Fletcher (leaning against a snow plow rig). He and Raymond Pope worked for my dad for several years.


Cows in Lynnfield

Later Bill wrote:

I just read your article on Joe Smith and enjoyed it very much.

When I finished building my house on Daventry Court, one of Smith’s cows walked on my brand new lawn and started eating the tender grass a square foot at a time. The cow sank down to her ankles with every step and I was furious. My dad went to Joe and said I would shoot the next cow that came on my lawn and I never saw another one after that. Actually, I never said that to Dad and didn’t even own a gun, but it worked.

My dad remembered a town meeting when Joe Smith got up said “You don’t have to be so smart to be a selectman – I was one once”. Everyone laughed.

Hey, Bill, thanks for the memories!

—Send comments to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

By Helen Breen


With amendments, town hopes to earn coveted AAA rating

The town is inching closer towards the coveted “AAA” credit rating. Awarded by credit agencies for best financial practices, the rating is a symbol of excellent financial health in a town and aids significantly in allowing municipalities to borrow funds at better interest rates. This, in the long run, means money saved to the town over time in projects that it will inevitably fund in the future using borrowed cash.

In addition to amendments made earlier this month, the decisions made at Town Meeting last week “will be looked upon favorably by our rating agency,” Town Administrator Jim Boudreau said in an e-mail. The town is currently rated AA+ by financial services company Standard & Poor’s, which is the second highest rating a municipality can receive.

Back in mid-April, the town announced three major changes to its financial policy: It added a policy on free cash where there was none before, added a policy on “overlay reserve” and added clarifications to the town’s current “fund balances.” Under the free cash policy, the town will adhere to a guideline of generating free cash that is 3-5% of its total operating budget (free cash is defined as the money left over after capital expenditures). In a separate motion, the board also approved an investment policy for Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB), only described as “conservative” by Boudreau, which would further help improve the town’s rating.

At the April 24 Town Meeting, the town, with approval by voters, added an extra $200,000 to its “Stabilization Fund” – in essence a “rainy day account” to use in the event of emergencies. It also scored points for not using any “one-time revenues” to balance the budget, which can contribute to a lower rating due to their unstable nature. These two recent changes, thanks to town voters, will only further help the town achieve its goal of increasing its bond rating.

The town has been trying to earn the AAA rating for “a number of years now,” according to Selectman Phil Crawford. “This is certainly a nice step towards that,” Crawford said.

By Melanie Higgins


Beacon Hill Roll Call

THE HOUSE AND SENATE. Beacon Hill Roll Call records local representatives’ votes on roll calls from the week of April 24-28. There were no roll calls in the Senate.

Most of the House roll calls are on proposed amendments to the $40.8 billion fiscal 2018 state budget that the House debated for only two days last week. This is the first time that a Massachusetts budget has topped $40 billion.



CONSOLIDATED AMENDMENTS - Of the 1,210 budget amendments proposed, many of them are bundled into nine consolidated amendments. The system works as follows: Individual representatives file dozens of amendments on the same general subject matters including local aid, social services and public safety. They are then invited to “subject meetings” in Room 348 at which they pitch their amendments to Democratic leaders who draft consolidated amendments that include some of the individual representatives’ amendments while excluding others.

“Any representative who sponsors an amendment can pull that amendment for debate,” said Seth Gitell, the spokesperson for House Speaker Bob DeLeo. Once the amendment is separated, it goes to the House floor where there is an up or down voted on it. Supporters say this system has worked well for many years.

“It is wrong to do the people’s business behind closed doors,” said Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) who was among the many Republicans who opposed what they called an insider, archaic system that takes power away from individual members and forces legislators to vote for or against a package of amendments without being able to call for a vote on the individual amendments. They argued that individual amendments should be considered on a one-by-one basis on the House floor.

DELAYING TAX CUTS - Several of the House roll call votes involve successful attempts by Speaker DeLeo and his Democratic leadership team to prevent Democratic members from having to vote directly against several Republican proposals including ones to reduce taxes.

Here’s an example of how it works: The Republicans offer a proposal to reduce the sales tax from 6.25 percent back to 5 percent. If the Democratic leadership does nothing, there would be a roll call vote directly on the tax reduction. Most Democrats would vote against it and then would be open to charges of being anti-taxpayer.

The Democrats, with a 135-25 membership advantage, control the House. A Democratic member then offers a “delaying” amendment that would prohibit the tax reduction from taking effect until the Baker administration studies the impact of the cut.

Under House rules, the amendment to study and delay the tax cut is voted upon first. If it passes, which it always does, the original proposal that would simply cut the tax is dead without ever having a direct vote on it. Republicans say that the studies are a sham because they are never done.

This is all pre-planned by the Democratic leadership. The speaker at the podium calls upon a representative who is loyal to him and that member proposes the delay and study. Even if a Republican member is waving his or her hands and shouting to be recognized, he or she will not be called upon because he or she would not propose the delay and study.

GOP members have always been wary of this ploy and this year many have spoken out strongly against it. They urged the Democratic leadership to stop purposely trying to confuse the voters and instead allow a vote directly on the tax reductions themselves. They said the Democratic leadership hopes that voters see that their representative voted “Yes” but do not realize that the “Yes” vote is not in favor of the tax cut but rather in favor of the study and delay. Some GOP members said that voters are smarter than Democrats think and will see through this charade.

“The … tactics of further ‘study amendments’ should not be used to avoid voting on an issue, said Rep. Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton). “The so-called studies are never done. It is time for the Statehouse to stop treating the taxpayers as an ATM.”

The Democrats fall into four categories. Some Democrats favor the tax cut and vote with the Republicans against the study. Others say that they are truly open to the tax reduction but vote for the study because they want to find out the cost first. A third group opposes the proposal but also opposes the study because they feel that there should be a direct vote on the proposal.Most vote for the study and acknowledge that it is designed to protect incumbent Democrats and prevent them from being required to vote directly against tax cuts.

Beacon Hill Roll Call urges you to read the roll calls carefully and be aware that in most cases in which a study is proposed in place of a tax cut, a “Yes” vote is for the study and is essentially against the tax cut. Conversely, a “No” vote is against the study and generally favors the tax cut and/or favors at least holding a direct vote on the tax cut itself.

$40.8 BILLION FISCAL 2018 BUDGET (H 3600)

House 159-1, approved and sent to the Senate a $40.8 billion fiscal 2018 state budget. The House added an estimated $77 million during the two days it considered the package.

Supporters said the budget is a fiscally responsible and balanced one that makes vital investments in the state while continuing fiscal responsibility and not raising taxes.

The lone opponent was Rep. Jim Lyons (R-Andover). He spoke extensively during the budget debate and called out the Democratic leadership for proposing further study on tax cuts and other matters instead of voting directly on the them.

(A “Yes” vote is for the budget. A “No” vote is against it.)

Rep. Stephan Hay                           Yes

Rep. Bradley Jones                         Yes

Rep. Theodore Speliotis       Yes

Rep. Thomas Walsh                        Yes



House 119-38, approved a Democratic leadership-sponsored amendment indefinitely delaying a Republican proposal to establish a permanent annual two-day weekend sales tax holiday in August. The amendment would require the Baker administration to study the impact the reduction would have on the state.

Supporters of the study said it is fiscally irresponsible to approve a permanent holiday without regard for the economic situation of the state during a specific year. They argued the Legislature should look at the state’s economy and decide one year at a time whether the state can afford a sales tax holiday. Some noted a permanent holiday would hurt year-round retail sales because many consumers would hold off until August to make big purchases.

Opponents of the study said it is time to make this successful holiday a permanent one and noted similar tax-free holidays over the past several years have helped retail stores and consumers. They noted a permanent holiday would give consumers the opportunity to plan purchases in advance and not have to sit around each year and see if the Legislature decides to approve a holiday.

(A “Yes” vote is for the delay. A “No” vote is against the delay.)

Rep. Stephan Hay                           Yes

Rep. Bradley Jones                         No

Rep. Theodore Speliotis       Yes

Rep. Thomas Walsh                        Yes



House 108-38, approved a Democratic-sponsored amendment indefinitely delaying a Republican-sponsored proposal that would permanently exempt diners from paying the state’s 6.25 percent meals tax each year from March 22-27. The amendment would require the state to study the impact of the tax holiday on the state’s economy.

Some supporters of the study said the state simply cannot afford the estimated $8 million revenue loss.

Opponents of the study said rising food costs, high fuel prices, high unemployment and a poor economy have hurt the restaurant industry and resulted in fewer customers.

(A “Yes” vote is for the delay. A “No” vote is against the delay.)

Rep. Stephan Hay                           Yes

Rep. Bradley Jones                         No

Rep. Theodore Speliotis       Yes

Rep. Thomas Walsh                        Yes


House 118-39, approved a Democratic-sponsored amendment indefinitely delaying a Republican-sponsored proposal that would reduce the state’s sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5 percent.

Supporters of the delay said the state cannot afford the annual loss of close to $1 billion in revenue. They argued this tax cut would result in reductions to local aid, education, health care and human service programs.

Opponents of the delay said this increased sales tax is hurting consumers and retail operations, especially those on the state’s borders. They also urged the state to live within its means.

(A “Yes” vote is for the delay. A “No” vote is against the delay.)

Rep. Stephan Hay                           Yes

Rep. Bradley Jones                         No

Rep. Theodore Speliotis       Yes

Rep. Thomas Walsh                        Yes


House 36-123, rejected an amendment reducing the income tax from 5.1 percent to 5 percent.

Amendment supporters said that voters in 2000 approved a gradual reduction of that year’s 5.85 percent tax to five percent by January 2003, and it is time for the Legislature to honor that vote. They argued that the billions of dollars saved by taxpayers will be pumped back into the economy.

Opponents said the state simply cannot afford to lose billions of dollars in revenue that will result in severe cuts to very important programs like education, local aid, mental health and substance abuse.

(This roll call does not involve a study and is a vote directly on reducing the income tax to 5 percent. A “Yes” vote is for the reduction. A “No” vote is against it.)

Rep. Stephan Hay                           No

Rep. Bradley Jones                         Yes

Rep. Theodore Speliotis       No

Rep. Thomas Walsh                        No


House 124-36, approved a Democratic-sponsored amendment indefinitely delaying a Republican-sponsored proposal that would require all new applicants for subsidized public housing to provide their social security number for use by the state in verifying their income eligibility for public housing. Legal non-residents would be required to provide alien registration number.

Supporters of the delay said this is an anti-immigrant, mean-spirited proposal. They noted there are many people in Massachusetts who are here legally and documented but do not have access to a social security number.

Opponents of the study said it is outrageous that currently people can get subsidized housing without producing a social security number or alien registration number. They said this this outrage must stop so that people who are verified and struggling can get this valuable housing. They noted the amendment simply mirrors the federal requirement for a person to get into public housing.

(A “Yes” vote is for the delay. A “No” vote is against the delay.)

Rep. Stephan Hay                           Yes

Rep. Bradley Jones                         No

Rep. Theodore Speliotis       Yes

Rep. Thomas Walsh                        Yes


House 123-27, approved a Democratic-sponsored amendment indefinitely delaying a Republican-sponsored proposal that would prohibit the use of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards by welfare recipient to buy recreational marijuana. The amendment would delay the ban until July 18th or when the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy has a filed a comprehensive report on marijuana issues, whichever comes first.

Supporters of the study said this type of restriction should not be rushed through the House. They urged the House to wait for the results of the comprehensive report and see what it has discovered and recommends.

Opponents of the study said this simply adds recreational marijuana to a long list of non-essential goods and services the Legislature has prohibited to be purchased using EBT cards including alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets, tobacco products, strip clubs, adult bookstores and cruise ships. They argued that taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars should be used only for necessities like food.

(A “Yes” vote is for the delay. A “No” vote is against the delay.)

Rep. Stephan Hay                           Yes

Rep. Bradley Jones                         No

Rep. Theodore Speliotis       Yes

Rep. Thomas Walsh                        Yes


House 159-0, gave final approval to and sent to the Senate a bill authorizing $200 million in one-time funding for the maintenance and repair of local roads and bridges in cities and towns across the state. The $200 million would be borrowed by the state through the sale of bonds. Only final Senate approval is needed before the measure goes to Gov. Charlie Baker for his signature.

Supporters said this would help cities and towns keep their roads and bridges safe. They hoped that the money will be delivered early in the construction season and allow many vital municipal road projects to move forward.

(A “Yes” vote is for the $200 million.)

Rep. Stephan Hay                           Yes

Rep. Bradley Jones                         Yes

Rep. Theodore Speliotis       Yes

Rep. Thomas Walsh                        Yes


House 158-0, approved and sent to the Senate a bill creating the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee which will develop plans by May 31, 2018 and make recommendations to the Legislature on the erection of an appropriate permanent memorial to the late leader of the civil rights movement.

Supporters said this memorial is long overdue and praised King for his courage and accomplishments.

(A “Yes” vote is for the bill.)

Rep. Stephan Hay              Yes

Rep. Bradley Jones             Yes

Rep. Theodore Speliotis       Yes

Rep. Thomas Walsh            Yes


HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK’S SESSION? Beacon Hill Roll Call tracks the length of time that the House and Senate were in session each week. Many legislators say that legislative sessions are only one aspect of the Legislature’s job and that a lot of important work is done outside of the House and Senate chambers. They note that their jobs also involve committee work, research, constituent work and other matters that are important to their districts. Critics say that the Legislature does not meet regularly or long enough to debate and vote in public view on the thousands of pieces of legislation that have been filed. They note that the infrequency and brief length of sessions are misguided and lead to irresponsible late night sessions and a mad rush to act on dozens of bills in the days immediately preceding the end of an annual session.

During the week of April 24-28, the House met for a total of 22 hours and 52 minutes and the Senate met for a total of 3 hours and 47 minutes.

Mon. April 24

House10:02 a.m. to 9:06 p.m.

Senate 11:05 a.m. to 2:45 p.m

Tues.April 25

House10:39 a.m. to10:16 p.m.

No Senate session.

Wed. April 26

No House session

No Senate session

Thurs. April 27

House11:00 a.m. to11:11 a.m.

Senate 11:21 a.m. to11:28 a.m.

Fri. April 28

No House session

No Senate session

Bob Katzen
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Lynnfield girls’ lacrosse team remains hot with three more wins


The Lynnfield High School girls’ lacrosse team (7-2) won three out of four games this past week to remain in contention for the Cape Ann League title.

The Pioneers first edged Pentucket, 7-6, on another cold, rainy day this spring. The Lynnfield girls proved once again that they’re able to conquer the elements, and put forth an inspiring effort to earn a one-goal victory over a solid Pentucket team. Lynnfield started out hot, scoring the first five goals of the game, all within the first nine minutes.

But things slowed down dramatically after that. The visiting Sachems chipped away, and were able to score three before the break to trim the deficit to two, 5-3.

The second half started equally as slow until 11 minutes remained in the game, when Pentucket closed the gap to one. It was the visitors who struck twice, with their final goal coming with just under three minutes to play to take the lead, 6-5. They obviously had all the momentum.

But the Pioneers didn’t flinch, and Ashley Barrett was able to punch home the tying goal with 1:09 remaining. It was just one of her three goals in this game. Caroline Buckley then won the ensuing draw – one of five she had against Pentucket – and Olivia Sarni converted a free position shot with 14 seconds to play to give her teammates the clutch win.

Without question, the star of the game for Lynnfield was sophomore goalie Lauren Vaccaro, who made a career-high 14 saves to help seal the deal. “Vacarro was tremendous, making big save after big save down the stretch, and keeping us in control for the majority of the game,” coach Ethan Blanchette said.

Lilli Patterson and Buckley led the way on offense for Lynnfield. Buckley had a pair of goals, four groundballs and a caused turnover to go along with her five draws, while Patterson came up with a goal, an assist, two draw-controls, three groundballs and three caused turnovers.

The Lynnfield girls were then all over Bedford, 12-4, on April 27. The Bucs proved to be a challenge on the draw circle, controlling five of seven first-half draws. But Lynnfield still held a 5-1 advantage on the scoreboard halfway through the game.

To start the second half, Lynnfield won the first five draws primarily behind Patterson, who had five in the game. As a team, they steadily built up an 11-1 lead with 15 minutes to go. Bedford controlled the final four draws of the game and was able to net a couple of goals late to account for the final score.

Both Patterson and Buckley had impressive days on the ground, each grabbing seven groundballs – the second-highest total in Lynnfield history – while the team amassed 31 to go along with 16 caused turnovers – both season-highs.

Sophomore Sophie Ellis and freshman Elizabeth Sykes were each credited with their first varsity goals. Eight different Lynnfield players figured into the offense.

But then Masco humbled the locals, 15-4. It was a difficult loss at the hands of a talented team, in which the primary difference was the draws, according to Blanchette.

Through their first seven games, the Pioneers had controlled more draws, or only 1-2 fewer than their opponent. But last Friday, Masco controlled 16 of 20, including the first eight of the game.

Lynnfield scored the first goal of the game, about five minutes in, when Liv Smyrnios converted a free position shot, but after that it was the Chieftains’ game.

Masco is led by one of the best players in the state, Grace Fahey, who is committed to play lacrosse at Syracuse next year. She was able to control the draw circle very well in the early part of the game.

Every time Masco was able to score, they won the ensuing draw, and had the ball right back in Lynnfield’s defensive end. The Pioneers defended for almost three-quarters of the game, battling hard and making things difficult on Masco’s attack for long stretches, but ultimately the disparity in possession was just too much to overcome against a very skilled opponent.

Smyrnios scored three goals to lead Lynnfield’s attack, while Patterson had seven groundballs, once again. She also won three of Lynnfield’s four draw controls.

The Pioneers recovered quickly from that loss and pummeled Georgetown, 12-0. Lynnfield dominated from beginning to end, taking a 9-0 lead into the halftime break. It was only Lynnfield’s second shutout in team history.

Every player contributed to the victory that resulted in eight different scorers, including captain Lila Alaka and freshman Carolyn Garofoli, who each ended up scoring their first varsity goal. Smyrnios led the team with three groundballs and three caused turnovers, while goalie Lauren Vaccaro had to make only three saves, because of the stellar defensive play in front of her.

By Joe Mitchell


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