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News

~ Letter-to-the-Editor ~

In Support of the Rail Trail

Dear Editor,

The Friends of the Lynnfield Rail Trail have worked diligently to inform residents about the facts and misconceptions regarding the Wakefield–Lynnfield Rail Trail project. We are committed to making sure our residents understand the opportunity we have to greatly benefit our community in a number of important ways.

The Rail Trail will foster in the community:

Safety

Health & Wellness

Improved social connections

A Four season recreational path for all ages and abilities

Town Pride

A Boost to Home Values

Most important, this Rail Trail can save a child’s life.

There are number of people in town that are worried about the Wakefield-Lynnfield Rail Trail project because of potential crime. A few abutters, in an attempt to create fear, cite crimes with no evidence from local and national studies. They have not spoken to local towns with existing trails.

Concord this year voted to connect to the Minuteman Rail Trail – the oldest in Massachusetts – 25 years duration. They are a smart, fiscally wise, and experienced town with their first hand viewing of this trail for 25 years. To date, no rail trail communities, not one, have experienced additional crime as a result of their rail trails. This statement is supported both by studies and by direct information provided by officials in communities with established rail trails and if you think about it, why would crime increase in the presence of a rail trail? The corridor was always there, and criminals can access a community by roads much more easily.

These abutters should not decide what is best for the town, you should.

Learn for yourself, get some of your friends and neighbors together on a rail trail and ask the local residents themselves their personal experience and opinion. This will hopefully give you the insight to overcome these fears and vote yes, to build this rail trail. You will be very happy you did, as all other communities that have this done before us are.

Remember this; of the twenty thousand plus miles of rail trails that have been built not one has ever been closed. That is a great testimonial to how these rail-trails are viewed and that they are highly prized assets for the communities that are lucky to have them. Can 107 towns that have built rail trails/Rec Paths in Massachusetts be wrong? Including the most recent to vote yes – Concord and Dover?

A boost to home values – Local and national data indicate that rail trails increase property values, especially those nearer the rail trail. “The results show that houses near the trail sell for a higher proportion of the asking price and in about half the time that it took for houses in the general inventory.” See “Life adjacent to a rail trail” by Craig Della Penna (Massachusetts Realtor and leading expert on this topic).

We strongly believe the Wakefield-Lynnfield Rail Trail project creating a recreational path that serves the entire community is an initiative that you need to support. Pedestrian, bicycle, baby strollers, roller blade, cross country ski; ADA compliant, non-motorized use only, dawn to dusk hours of operation.

Towns across Massachusetts and the country desire these paths and continue to add them. We are fortunate in that we have an engineered rail bed currently unused that can be converted to a recreational path, expected to be paid for entirely with State and Federal funds (MA DOT STIP funding) and maintained at no cost to the town via a nonprofit group assisted with private donations and volunteer efforts (see Danvers and Topsfield). This path would cross only two streets and abut only 60 of 4200 homes but would connect the major public buildings in town. This includes the High School and Middle School which towns today strive for especially to allow children and parents to walk and bicycle to school. Studies show the major health and educational performance benefits to this activity.

Community spirit happens when people work together for the good of the whole.

People learn civic responsibility in their families, churches and schools. Working with others to do good for the community creates good feelings. There is positive reinforcement for constructive behavior.

This Rail Trail project exemplifies civic responsibility and civic betterment. It is in the very best interests of the community.

Go to our site www.Lynnfieldrailtrail.org and become informed. Read the Personal statement of Tom Grilk, 29 year resident of Lynnfield and abutter to the rail bed in Lynnfield. Read the FAQS which are continuously updated, to answer the questions raised by citizens.

Please contact us to help you with any concerns or questions. Become involved with the process and help us get this asset built.

Please vote “Yes” at the upcoming Town Meeting on April 24, 2017 for the Rail Trail initiative, no solution satisfies everyone, but this is one of the best value opportunities this town has had in its history.

Thank you.

Friends of the
Lynnfield Rail Trail

Leadership Team,

All Lynnfield Residents

Stephen Fantone

Sheila Aronson

Kendall Inglese

Sanjay Aurora M.D.

Vince Inglese

Tom Adamczyk

Eric Baras

Bob Lee

John Ciampa

Keith Nobil M.D.

Patrick Curley

Dara Reppucci

Mike DAmore

Randy Russell

Camille Ernest

Dennis Fantone

 

The Advocate HOROSCOPE

Aries (March 21st-April 20th): The planets are encouraging you to analyze your daily routine and nix anything that no longer serves you- including people! Find where the negativity in your life is coming from, and shut it down now.

Taurus (April 21st-May 20th): Midweek Mars entered your sign- which is good for moving forward! Passion will be high and your energy seeming to finally return. Utilize this energy for all the things you’ve ALREADY been saying you’d do, not the new ideas!

Gemini (May 21st-June20th): After a very lively couple of weeks, this one and next your energy levels may finally catch up to you. Give yourself as much time to rest, recoup and hide away as needed. Next week be wary of hurting a close friends feelings…

Cancer  (June 21st-July 22nd): Your social life should be very active at the beinging of the month. However, there is a good chance someone might really start to rub you the wrong way. There is probably no need for you to keep giving them the benefit of the doubt- walk away !

Leo (July 23rd-August 22nd): March brings great change for you Leo, in multiple aspects of your life. As long as you are open to the flow and cycle of it all, everything should run smooth. Let your heart, not your head, be your guide right now.

Virgo (August 23rd-September 22rd): A full moon in your sign on the 12th should bring in quite a few new ideas and motivations. This is an ideal time to start a new journal, diary or long term to do list. Putting a pen to paper will make all of your new goals more real.

Libra (September 23th-October 22rd): With Mars in Taurus now over the next couple of weeks your main focus should be your health- specifically your diet, and also your romantic life. Enjoy the company of those you love and seek out time with them. As far as your eating goes, it may be time to cut out some junk.

Scorpio (October 23rd-November 22nd): After getting paid this week the money may start to burn a hole in your pocket faster than usual. Be easy dear Scorpio, you are going to need these finances at the end of the month! Get a second opinion when it comes to getting advice this weekend.

Sagittarius (November 23rd-December 21st): It’s not like you to take a back seat on family drama but next week- that is your best bet! Stay neutral when everything hits the fan, and act as a peacekeeper. Getting involved will bring up issues that have already been dealt with.

Capricorn (December22nd- January 19th): Watch yourself when you’re feeling sassy this weekend and in public. Making bold statements will end up biting you in the butt- everyone is listening right now even those you forgot where there!

Aquarius (January 20th- February 19th): Yoga yoga yoga- can’t suggest it enough Aquarius! You have some built up emotions in your body, and stretching is one of the best ways to release these toxic feelings. Breathe in, breathe out! You’ll feel 100% after.

Pisces (February 20th- March 20th): Happy birthday Pisces, don’t think I officially said it last week! You are the rarest sign in the zodiac- but in my opinion one of the most critical! Don’t let emotions bog you down next week when everyone around you seems miserable.

Francesca Piazza is a Lynnfield native available for astrology consultations, tarot readings/parties, crystal healing, custom jewelry, and reiki. Please like Sister Fran Designs and Readings on Facebook for more info, or contact her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

 

Developer revises plan for proposed Lahey Clinic

Height will be reduced from three to two stories

Last Monday night during a preliminary discussion hosted by the Planning Board at town hall, Ted Tye of National Development, the company in charge of bringing a potential Lahey Clinic to Market Street, made a lot of residents happy by lowering the proposed height of the building from three stories to two stories. Height had been among the greatest concerns with the project, as neighbors complained that they didn’t want to see the building from their homes.

Tye resubmitted plans for a smaller 2 story building that would be 40,000 square feet instead of the previous 54,000 square feet. In total the building will be less than 30 feet in height and will have 200 feet of residential setback.

“You can see that it has its effect,” John Faria, chair of the planning board, said of the effect of the public’s participation on the project.

Although the change appeased some, many were still upset over the fact that instead of locating the proposed hospital in the back of the complex, as was the case in the original agreement for the property, it is now slated to be built in the front, close to abutters’ homes. Many at the meeting, including community member Wally McKenzie, urged the developer to reconsider.

“If you had this on the northerly side you would have everyone’s support,” McKenzie said. “We’re just asking you to honor that agreement.”

Tye had said in previous meetings that the property was moved to the back of Market Street to allow better accommodations for parking, and for a better fit. He believes that as the current building stands, it would not fit anywhere in the front of the complex.

Others reiterated the same concerns, particularly about medical waste coming to and from the building, and the worry that the ‘urgent care’ feature of the project would turn into a makeshift emergency room, replete with loud ambulances. Tye had reassured residents that this would not be the case. According to Tye and Faria, a medical office is a permitted use in conformance with the zoning bylaw.

Resident Karen Ruecker complained about the already heavy traffic around Walnut Street and Market Street area and was concerned that a medical office would only add to the congestion. She also said that she felt that the mall was “unwalkable” and wondered if the addition of the medical office would come with some kind of public transportation to ease access. She also suggested that Market Street add a parking garage to help with parking, which some complain is limited at the site.

The concerns residents raised will be discussed at the next meeting of the planning board.

By Melanie Higgins

   

War Memorial committee sets gears in motion for new monument

The town’s War Memorial Committee, while still in the early stages of its work, revealed some key developments during a meeting at town hall last Thursday, announcing that members are in the process of developing designs and creating a subcommittee structure to aid in its attempt to create a Lynnfield War Memorial.

The committee is in the process of drafting nine designs for the memorial (one for each member), a few of which will be eventually presented to an architect for final rendering.

Committee members suggested creating research, finance, artifacts, and donor management subcommittees to assist in what Chair Jason Kimball called a “massive undertaking”. According to Kimball said, the gathering of names will be a particularly tricky task, as the memorial will include veterans as far back as the revolutionary war. Overall, thousands of veterans will make up the memorial. Kimball also suggested that artifacts, such as old cannons or a Humvee, be incorporated in the memorial with the help of a specific subcommittee dedicated to that task.

Some of the members proposed that the research subcommittee get help from the Eagle Scouts in compiling names.

The War Memorial committee, which was formed just last September, expects a “tremendous amount of donations” to support the project, which should cover 90 percent of the costs. The other 10 percent the committee hopes to cover using town allocations. In the coming months they plan to request $10,000 from the town to “get things moving”. Over time, Kimball explained the memorial will require funds for simple maintenance. He said a “line item fund” of approximately $5,000 per year would be necessary to keep up with sprinklers, landscaping, and other routine maintenance, but that any remaining funds would be returned to the town budget.

One point the committee wished to emphasize was that the memorial will be “all inclusive”. Bruce Siegel, a member and responsible for veterans affairs in the town, said that it is “critical” that the memorial have the ability the add people as they become known, true to the idea that the monument is a “living, breathing memorial”.

The memorial will mostly feature veterans who lived in Lynnfield at the time of enlistment, but is open to exceptions. If a veteran does not meet the criteria but still believes they should occupy a space on the memorial, they can petition the selectmen. Some examples are if one joined outside of Lynnfield but perhaps grew up in the town. Other instances include a person who enlisted in Wakefield, for example, but lived in Lynnfield for an extended period following that. The only exception is if a person is already listed on a memorial in another town, they would not likely be allowed on.

The project is still in its very early stages. Kimball said that the project could take up to 2 years to complete. At the next meeting members will go over their designs and begin narrowing them down to a few to present before the town meeting in April.

By Melanie Higgins


 

Beacon Hill Roll Call

THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week. This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call reviews local legislators’ votes on the transgender protection law approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Charlie Baker in 2016. Included are some of the proposed amendments that were rejected.

There was swift reaction last week across the state to the Trump administration’s rescinding of a 2016 Obama administration directive that schools treat students according to their gender identity rather than to their sex assigned at birth.The action does not affect the Bay State which in 2016 approved a law prohibiting discrimination against transgender people by adding “gender identity” to existing Massachusetts civil rights laws that already prohibit discrimination in public accommodations based on age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, religion and marital status.

“This is a victory for common sense and for the privacy and safety of every student in America,” said Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute.“Local schools know best how to implement compassionate and practical solutions to these sensitive issues. No girl should be forced to change in front of, or shower with, a boy, as the Obama policy required.”

“With this action, President Trump, Attorney General Sessions and Education Secretary DeVos send a clear message to transgender children and their families across the country that this administration does not support them or their right to a safe learning environment,” said MassEquality’s Executive Director, Deborah Shields. “We are fortunate that in Massachusetts, all of our students are protected by anti-discrimination and anti-bullying laws, and that our public officials, educators and citizens are speaking out and showing up in support of fairness and equality for transgender students.”

We’re thankful that the new administration has done away with the Obama administration policy that forced a one-size fits all, draconian approach to these sensitive issues on our nation’s school districts,” said Chanel Prunier, the chair of Keep MA Safe. “Keep MA Safe looks forward to informing Massachusetts voters about our efforts to restore their safety and privacy locally by repealing our state law allowing biological men into women’s showers, locker rooms, and changing areas here in our state.”

“I was saddened to hear about the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw important federal protections for transgender students, said Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead). “All children in this country deserve to feel welcome and safe in their schools -- it is essential to fulfilling our promise and guarantee for equal education and opportunity. Massachusetts can and must stand firmly as a leader in this country against bigotry and hatred.”

Keep MA Safe, a group opposed to the transgender law, has collected sufficient signatures to attempt to repeal the law by putting it on the November 2018 ballot for voters to decide.

 

TRANSGENDER PROTECTION

House 116-36, Senate 33-4, approved the law that prohibits discrimination against transgender people in public accommodations including allowing access to legally gender-segregated public facilities, including restrooms and locker rooms, based on a person’s gender identity rather than on their biological sex.

Public accommodations are defined as “a place, whether licensed or unlicensed, which is open to and accepts or solicits the patronage of the general public.” This includes hotels, restaurants, retail stores, malls, theaters, parks, medical offices, libraries and public transportation.

Supporters, noting 17 other states have approved similar laws, say this civil rights law helps many transgender people lead safe and more productive lives. They argue that transgender individuals still face the threat of discrimination in many public accommodations. They note that under prior Massachusetts law, there was no protection ensuring that transgender people cannot be turned away from a restroom, locker room, hotel, restaurant, retail store and many other places simply because they are transgender.

Opponents say the privacy rights of children matter and asked how youngsters might react to a transgender classmate using the same bathroom. They argue that bathroom and locker room use should be based on the gender on one’s birth certificate, not on an inner sense of feeling or expression. They say that male predators could use this law as cover to excuse their presence in women-only spaces.

The Senate did not have a roll call on the final version of the law. The Senate roll call listed is on an earlier version.

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

Rep. Stephan Hay                Yes

Rep. Bradley Jones             No

Rep. Theodore Speliotis   Yes

Rep. Thomas Walsh            Yes

Sen. Joan Lovely                  Yes

Sen. Thomas McGee           Yes

MEDICAL STANDARD

House 11-145, rejected an amendment that would require that gender identity which is different from a person’s assigned gender at birth, must be proven by providing evidence including, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity. This would replace an existing law that allows gender identity to be proven by “consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held as part of a person’s core identity.”

Amendment supporters say this will establish a medical standard instead of just allowing people to decide what they are every morning when they wake up.

Amendment opponents say the amendment goes too far. They note that transgender people should continue to have the right to choose their identity without a doctor’s interference.

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

Rep. Stephan Hay                No

Rep. Bradley Jones             No

Rep. Theodore Speliotis   No

Rep. Thomas Walsh            No

 

BAN SEX OFFENDERS

House 58-94, rejected an amendment that would prohibit Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders from using any sex-segregated facility, bathroom or locker room that is not consistent with his or her assigned sex at birth. Level 2 offenders are classified as posing a moderate risk of reoffending while Level 3 ones pose a high risk.

Amendment supporters say a sex offender who is a transgender woman (a person who was assigned male at birth but whose gender identity is that of a woman) should not have access to places where women and girls expect to see only other women and girls.

Some amendment opponents say the bill is civil rights legislation and should not be muddied with these various amendments that fool with and water down the bill. Others say that sex offenders have an extremely low rate of recidivism.

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

Rep. Stephan Hay                No

Rep. Bradley Jones             Yes

Rep. Theodore Speliotis   No

Rep. Thomas Walsh            Yes

 

IMPROPER USE PENALTY

Senate 11-26, rejected an amendment that would impose specific penalties on any person who improperly asserts gender identity to gain access to a sex-segregated facility like a bathroom.

Amendment supporters say the bill should include specific penalties for this improper assertion.

Amendment opponents say current criminal laws already cover this offense under laws prohibiting trespassing, accosting a member of the opposite sex or public indecency.

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

Sen. Joan Lovely                  No

Sen. Thomas McGee           No

 

MUST HAVE PARTITIONED SHOWERS

Senate 6-31, rejected an amendment that would exempt from the transgender bill any gender-based locker rooms and shower facilities that do not provide for separation between the users.

Amendment supporters say this would prevent a transgender person from taking showers alongside women unless there are individual shower stalls. They argue that one of the main concerns of opponents of the bill is having a person with the male anatomy in an open shower with women.

Amendment opponents say the amendment waters down the bill. They argue that transgender women are not trying to shower with women but are just trying to get through the day without being harassed or accosted.

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

Sen. Joan Lovely                  No

Sen. Thomas McGee           No

 

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 February 20-24, the House met for a total of 31 minutes and the Senate met for a total of 43 minutes.

Mon. February 20

No House session

No Senate session

Tues.February 21

House11:03 a.m. to11:27 a.m.

Senate 11:02 a.m. to11:28 a.m.

Wed. February 22

No House session

No Senate session

Thurs. February 23

House11:04 a.m. to11:11 a.m.

Senate 11:09 a.m. to11:26 a.m.

Fri. February 24

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

 

   

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