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    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00
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    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00
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    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00
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    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00

News

Lynnfield chooses its Idols in grand finale sing-off

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Lynnfield found its idols last Tuesday night as a panel of judges ended their journey with Lynnfield starlets and made their final decisions.

The competition was tough. For veteran lyricist and producer, Tom Page, everyone was “up to here” signaling with his hands a respectable height of talent.

Josh Mattera grounded everyone with his raw, subdued performance of Mumford and Sons’ “Awake My Soul”. Mary Gray brought tears with Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts”. Ashley Mitchell delighted with “Bright”. Maggie Weaver fulfilled with “Hollow”. Nnenne Nwangwu brought soul with Maroon 5’s “This Love”, Elizabeth Daly paid tribute to the late David Bowie with “Space Oddity”. And finally, Lily Keene amazed with “At Last”.

But there was one contestant who nearly everyone agreed was in a league beyond. Pint-sized powerhouse Giulianna Guarracino, age 12, dazzled everyone with her pitch perfect performances of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You” and Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, which won her first place in the middle school competition.

“Little kids sing like they think they’re good,” said a wry Kenny Lewis, producer and audio engineer and a judge that evening. “You’re that good.”

In the High School category, junior Brie Giamarco stunned with her sassy rendition of Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” and an arresting ‘coffeehouse’ style performance of Joshua Radin’s “Paperweight”.

“You guys are as cool as a cucumber compared to real stars,” said director of the North Shore Music Theatre and judge Karen Nascembi.

“It’s a little nervewracking,” said Guarracino, levelling with us after the show. “But I’ve always enjoyed it.” Guarracino, who has been singing all her life, hopes to write music and be a DJ someday.

“I think it’s incredible,” said her mother Christy Taylor of her daughter, after the show. “I’m a firm believer that if you have a passion go for it and love what you do.”

By Melanie Higgins


 

AN ARBOR DAY REFLECTION: TREES IN LYNNFIELD

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“Among the trees are the following: white, yellow, and pitch pine, white, red, yellow, and rock maple, larch, hemlock, spruce, white, yellow, and black birch, ash, elm alder, black, red, and yellow oak, walnut or hickory, butternut, chestnut, cherry, sassafras, cedar, poplar, willow, and others.”

—From Thomas B. Wellman’s “History of the Town of Lynnfield, Mass., 1635-1895,” p. 2

As Arbor Day approaches, let us reflect on the “forestation” history of Central New England according to an ecological study by Harvard University. From it we may deduce the experience of our Lynnfield forefathers over the centuries.

Pre-settlement forest (to 1700) – New England’s “Forest Primeval” was dense with a wide variety of trees and undergrowth, disturbed only by the vagaries of nature and the Indian burning of some tracts to improve visibility when hunting. Such was the terrain when our early settlers (Smiths, Harts, Humphreys and Bancrofts among others) staked their claims in the 1638 “Six Mile Grant.”

Early settlers clear homesteads (circa 1740) – Through forest clearing, hunting and crop cultivation, the “wilderness was gradually transformed into a domesticated rural landscape.” This was certainly true in Lynnfield, an established community with its own Meeting House built in 1714.

Height of forest clearing and agriculture (1830–1880) – The pinnacle of deforestation coincided with the peak of agricultural activity. An estimated 60-80% of New England land “was cleared for pasture, tillage, orchards, and buildings.” Much of remaining woodlands “were subjected to frequent cuttings for lumber and fuel.” In Lynnfield firewood was becoming so scarce in the 19th century that peat for home fires was extensively harvested from bogs in Reedy Meadow.

Farm abandonment (from 1850 on) – Especially after the Civil War, New England farmers deserted their ancestral homesteads for western climes. From 1850–1860, Lynnfield’s population declined from 1,723 to 866, almost a 50% drop. Indeed, our population did not go above 1,000 until 1920. Yet, the greater part of Lynnfield’s acreage remained agricultural, much of it dedicated to dairying and the cultivation of apple orchards.

When Thomas Wellman published his history in 1895, some 87 farms were operational in Lynnfield. His quaint account contains over 50 photographs, including many agricultural landscapes that show an arresting lack of trees. However, as farms were gradually replaced by residential properties, the planting of shade trees dramatically increased.

Tree and moth department

Historically, Lynnfield maintained a “Tree and Moth Department” in Town Hall to combat the “constant struggle against nature – cold, ice, too little/too much rain,” in addition to destruction done by insects. Removing damaged or diseased trees and finding an appropriate place to burn them remained a challenge. While helicopter spraying was introduced at mid-century, this method was unable to combat the devastation of Dutch elm disease.

Lyman H. Twiss (1888-1963)

Of all tree wardens who served the town, Lyman H. Twiss (a name right out of Dickens) was employed the longest: from 1908-1954. He supervised Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers during the Depression, particularly with the cleanup after the Hurricane of 1938. In addition to tree maintenance, Lyman established “the town forest back of the Town Hall where tiny evergreens were raised at a profit to the town.” He also grew shade trees for town use. After his retirement, he operated a greenhouse on his property at 823 Salem St., where he specialized in growing tomatoes “out of season.” Twiss also sold Christmas trees at that location, never giving up his love of cultivating trees in Lynnfield.

Arbor Day 2017

Lynnfield will observe its appreciation of our trees by celebrating Arbor Day tomorrow, Saturday, April 29, at 10 a.m. on the Common. The Arbor Day Proclamation will be read, followed by an opportunity for individuals to post “a wish of a personal or global nature” on a “Wishing Tree” that will remain on the Common until May 21. On behalf of the Lynnfield Tree Committee, Chairperson Jane Bandini invites all to attend.

By Helen Breen


 

Chris Herren inspires at LHS with tale of addiction and recovery

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Former Celtics tells students to “shoot for the stars”

It took just a few drinks from his dad’s fridge to derail what would have been a successful basketball career in the NBA. That’s the message former Celtics Chris Herren had for kids at Lynnfield High School last Monday.

At 14, Herren began experimenting with alcohol, which led to harder drugs like cocaine and heroin, which eventually almost killed him. In an hour long talk at the LHS auditorium, Herren detailed the ways that drugs in any form can ruin lives.

A promising basketball prospect from Fall River, Mass., Herren had everything going for him. He won a full scholarship to Boston College, but was secretly doing drugs on the side. After numerous failed drug tests, he was kicked out. Miraculously, he ended up being drafted by the Denver Nuggets and then the Boston Celtics after a second chance playing for Fresno State in California, but that success didn’t last for long. After continuing to take drugs throughout his professional career, a car accident during a trip in 2004 ended it all. At this point, Herren had multiple drug-related felonies on his record and nearly died from overdoses, including the car accident while high that nearly took his life in 2004.

Today, Herren is healthy and has nearly nine years sober after undergoing extensive rehabilitation. He tours the country and gives 250 talks per year, mostly to high school students, about the dangers of drugs and the importance of healthy choices.

But, he insists, his talks aren’t about drugs. “This is a talk about self-esteem,” Herren said. “…and self-worth and overcoming anxiety. If you’re so confident with the kid you are, then why are you taking drugs?”

“Not being me always came first,” Herren continued. “I never wanted to get high except for when I didn’t want to be myself.”

Most of the images we see, Herren said, are drug addicts at the last six months of their lives. In reality, addicts look like “you and me.” And addiction doesn’t just look like needles and powdery substances, but also prescription pills and alcohol. Herren’s father, an alcoholic, broke up the family through his addiction.

In another anecdote, a friend of a student Herren spoke with after a talk died from a prescription drug overdose trying to be like his older sibling. “Your siblings follow in your footsteps,” Herren said. “Do you really want your little sister doing what you’re doing?”

He said that some students take issue with his all-or-nothing approach to substance use. “It’s just a little bud,” some say, according to Herren. Or, “It’s just one drink.” For Herren, it’s that attitude that normalizes drug use and gets more kids addicted at a young age. And for the families who are destroyed and the lives that are ruined forever by drug use, it’s that attitude that hurts the most.

Inspired by the feedback he receives from students, he continues to challenge them to be the best they can be. “If you don’t like who you see in the mirror, you need to challenge yourself to be different,” Herren continued. “It’s not about perfection – it’s about trying to fix your mistakes.”

By Melanie Higgins


   

Beacon Hill Roll Call

THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week.

Do you know that cranberry juice is the Bay State’s official beverage? The corn muffin is the official muffin? The Boston Terrier is the official dog? The chocolate cookie is the official cookie? Dr. Seuss is the official children’s author? The Rolling Rock in Fall River is the official glacial rock? These designations were approved by the Legislature over the past several decades and signed into law by the governor at that time.

There are dozens of other “official designations” dating as far back as 1918 when the Mayflower was designated the official state flower.

Most of these types of bills are filed by legislators on behalf of classes of students. It is not too late for students to propose a bill for the 2017-2018 session. Teachers and students should contact their local senators or representatives.

Sponsors of the various proposals say this is a way to teach youngsters about the legislative process. The children often go up to Beacon Hill to testify in favor of their bill.

Some critics say that the perennial filing of such proposals wastes the valuable time of the Legislature, which should be dealing with real issues and serious legislation.

One of the more unique ones that has not been approved is the proposal making the Fluffernutter, a sandwich combining peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff on white bread, the state’s official sandwich. The concoction was invented in 1917 and the recipe was purchased by North Shore natives Allen Durkee and Fred Mower. It is still made in a small manufacturing plant in Lynn.

Other unsuccessful proposals from past years include making the late Rex Trailer, the iconic Massachusetts children’s television host, the official state cowboy; the “Number 6” the official state number; double fudge brownie the official ice cream; squash the official vegetable and Necco wafers the official candy.

Two of the most controversial of the successful designations are the 2007 vote making basketball the official state sport and the 2012 one making volleyball the state’s official recreational and team sport. Both were approved but there was some rare opposition.

Volleyball supporters explain that volleyball was invented in 1895 in Holyoke by William Morgan. Basketball supporters say that the National Basketball Hall of Fame is located in Springfield and note the game was invented in 1891 in that city by James Naismith, a gym teacher at the YMCA Training School. They also point out that that the Celtics have won more NBA championships than any other team.

Red Sox fans point to the team’s recent World Series wins and argue that Boston has been and always will be “a baseball town.” Supporters of the Patriots point to the team’ recent Super Bowl victories. Bruins fans point to the Stanley Cup win in 2011 and the team’s rich history.

Of the thousands of bills filed for the 2017-2018 session, there are many that attempt to designate “something” as the state’s official “something.”

Here are some of the proposals up for consideration this session:

OFFICIAL STATE ROCK SONG (H 1683) - One measure that was filed by a legislator and not on behalf of any students, is the one that would make “Roadrunner” by Modern Love the state’s official rock song. The proposal was first filed in 2013 by Weymouth Mayor Bob Hedlund and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Both men were state legislators at that time.

Rep. Dave Linsky (D-Natick) picked up the torch and filed the bill in 2015 but it went nowhere. He has filed it again this year. Linsky tells Beacon Hill Roll Call that The Modern Lovers were a Boston-based rock band led by Jonathan Richman who is a Natick native, the town in which Linsky was born and currently represents as a state representative.

“‘Roadrunner,’ ranked the 274th Greatest Song of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine, embodies what it was like for my generation growing up in the Massachusetts of the 1970s and 1980s,” said Linsky. “The lyrics of the song take the listener on a late-night car ride down Massachusetts Route 128, passing by several Bay State landmarks, including Stop & Shop, Howard Johnson’s, Routes 9 and 128 and the Massachusetts Turnpike. ‘Roadrunner’ combines the liberation of youth on the open road with the sights and sounds (Radio on!) of our beloved Commonwealth.”

Reps. James Cantwell (D-Marshfield) and Josh Cutler (D-Duxbury) had originally disagreed with the choice of “Roadrunner.” In 2014, they filed a competing bill that would make Aerosmith’s “Dream On” the official rock song. They have since compromised. “We agreed to support Roadrunner as [the] state rock song,” said Cutler. “Aerosmith makes more sense as [the state’s] official rock band.”The duo plans to eventually file the Aerosmith bill.

OFFICIAL SHELLFISH (H 1654) -The quahog, a hard-shelled clam enjoyed by many seafood lovers. It also served as a form of currency for Native American tribes.

OFFICIAL TEXTILE (H 3376) - Gingham. The Town of Clinton was a world leader in the manufacture of cotton gingham fabric. According to the town’s website, “In 1828 the Bigelow brothers, Erastus and Horatio, started an industrial revolution that left a lasting mark on the many aspects of Clinton. Erastus, a mechanical genius, invented the power loom for manufacturing coachlace, counterpane cloths and gingham plaids. With Horatio, a marketing entrepreneur, the brothers captured a firm hold on the textile industry.”

OFFICIAL CUPCAKE (H 1701) - The Boston Cream Pie Cupcake as the official cupcake. Need we say more?

OFFICIAL SEASONING (H 1693) -Bell’s Seasoning as the official seasoning. It was created in 1867 by Boston inventor William Bell and is manufactured in East Weymouth.

OFFICIAL BUTTERFLY (H 3364) -The Black Swallowtail as the official butterfly.Sponsors say this is an opportunity to educate, inform and engage the public as butterflies play a role in maintaining a healthy environment and are an important contributor to the ecosystem and help promote plant diversity.

OFFICIAL COUNTY SONG (H 1717) - “14 Counties of Massachusetts” as the state’s official county song.The song was written by Darci Hamman and her third-grade class at Our Lady’s Academy, a private catholic school in Waltham, to provide a fun and engaging way for students across the state to learn the names of the 14 counties of Massachusetts.

The entire list of official state symbols/designations can be found online at: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/cispdf/Mass_Facts.pdf

 

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 17-21, the House met for a total of 21 minutes and the Senate met for a total of 16 minutes.

Mon. April 17

No House session

No Senate session

Tues.April 18

House11:02 a.m. to11:09 a.m.

Senate 11:04 a.m. to11:16 a.m.

Wed. April 19

No House session

No Senate session

Thurs. April 20

House11:03 a.m. to11:17 a.m.

Senate 11:05 a.m. to11:09 a.m.

Fri. April 21

No House session

No Senate session

Bob Katzen
welcomes feedback at
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

“Musical Hysterics” – laughing for a cause

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“Musical Hysterics,” a cabaret-style performance, will showcase the work of Noel Smith’s vocal students on May 6 at 2 p.m. Held at the North Shore Music Theatre’s Back Stage Bistro, this event will feature an afternoon of food and hilarious entertainment for a cause! Tickets will be $17 for adults and $12 for students. These can be purchased in advance from a student, online (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/musical-hysterics-tickets-33991931783) or at the door.

Proceeds from ticket sales will go to Steven Tyler’s charity, To Show We Care, which is a not-for-profit, volunteer organization that provides patients who are in or recovering from treatment and illness a respite from their medical problems to enjoy a theatrical or musical event at no charge. Noel’s students have prepared a variety of comedic songs for all ages to enjoy, so come and join us for an afternoon of comedy and charity. You’ll leave laughing!

By Andrew Bunar


   

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