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State of the City Musings

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  It is said in Malden (State of the City) Musings…

  • Innovative, clever and wicked good were just some of the accolades being thrown around after the Malden State of the City Address debuted. Mayor Gary Christenson’s informative and witty parody of Saturday Night Live – “Malden Night Live” – lit up the interweb with MHS ninth-grader Henry Lam stealing the show.
  • The 63-minute livestream event (watch it, you’ll like it!) had many highs with G Man having a ball poking fun at himself. His attempt to banish winter – “Can’t win ’em all” – was balanced with more mayoral statements, such as “Our strength as a community shows in everything we do.” Well played, Mayor Gary.
  • “Mayor Henry” Lam nailed his role as Mayor Christenson. He rocked his mini-Mayor suit and delivered his lines impeccably. Well done, young man.
  • I was impressed with the 286 lead water service lines replaced and the 38 Malden streets repaved. That’s great progress. Malden on the move!
  • Nobody works harder than the mayor and his staff – notably Addiction Recovery Resource Specialist Paul (Bella’s dad) Hammersley – at addressing the scourge of substance abuse disorder. The Bridge Recovery Center, partnering with Malden Cares and Malden Overcoming Addiction, has seen a 30% decline in overdoses and a 50% decrease in overdose deaths in the past two years. Amazing stats! Staffed by an amazing group of selfless people.
  • Made my day to hear that the gift that keeps on giving aka the ARPA Funds will once again scholarship gift graduating seniors in Malden another grand and be used to upgrade my (former) home away from home, the only park that really matters, Devir.
  • I was also impressed with Building Inspector Nelson Miller in Inspectional Services, who is just killing it over there at 215 Pleasant St. They’ve streamlined the permit ordering process, making it much more efficient and “easy peasy” to acquire a building permit. That’s good news! Thank you, Mr. Miller.
  • Citizens of Malden lost (through retirement) two local giants who worked for the city they loved and grew up in. Greg Lucey from the Clerk’s Office and Chief of Police Kevin Molis rode into the sunset during 2022, but fear not, Malden, Mayor Christenson made two of his finest hires when he replaced them with Carol Ann Desiderio and Glenn Cronin (respectively) – two individuals more than qualified to bring Malden forward.
  • So many great takeaways in this year’s address – way too many to recount. I make no bones with my admiration for most everything that this administration has accomplished. A staff that lives and breathes Malden, from the Mayor all the way down the line, these individuals care. Nobody mails it in, especially hizzoner. Skeptical? Next Malden social event you see the mayor attend – whether it be a high school game, a senior event, a 4th of July celebration – check out who the last man standing is. Correct – Mayor Christenson. When most of us are bailing for comfortable recliners, hizzoner burns the midnight oil making sure the lights are off and the last picture has been taken (that’s a joke, son). No pretending. His heart and soul immersed in the job he loves so.
  • After watching this video, good luck to whomever throws their hat into this year’s mayoral race. Uphill battle for sure – trying to communicate to (voting) Maldonians why change is necessary when change isn’t necessarily a better option. That ain’t an easy sell. Ask Joe Kennedy III. He challenged Ed Markey for his senate seat last time round and could not articulate very well to the voting public why they should elect him over Eddie – how electing him would make their lives better. Tough sell, indeed.

  Picked up pieces while reading the Malden Sun-Times from April 5, 1973… “MiniMaxMessage – Bargain Classified Corner”:

  • “Greetings from Hawaii! Donna, I love you so much that I hope me, and you stay together forever. I plan on coming home in a while so me and you can be happy again. Your marine boyfriend – Dennis.”
  • “Cottage for rent in Falmouth – July & August – $110 per week – 387-4202. Families only.”
  • “1971 Super Beetle V.W. One owner. Like new. $1400 – call after 6:30, 665-4279.”
  • “Four large rooms in Malden. First floor, no utilities, convenient location, local. $140 a month. 322-2245.”
  • “Weekly Whist Parties by Oak Grove Improvement Association – Community Building. Oak Grove Square. Tuesdays at 8 p.m.”
  • “Dennis! Are you having fun in Hawaii? I’m being good. How about you? Love always, Donna.”
  • “To a nameless ‘Friend in Humanity,’ I sign my name, why don’t you? You bait but miss the point. Please reread my letter then let’s discuss with names, Toby.”
  • “Malden: 6 room apartment, newly decorated, 2nd floor, front porch, on bus line near Square. $185 heated. Call after 5 p.m. 289-1686.”

  More picked up pieces reading the rest of the paper…

  • John O’Brien’s Sports Musings: “I have revised my Red Sox lineup. I now have Harper – left field batting first, Aparicio – shortstop batting second, Yaz – first base batting third, Cepeda – DH batting fourth, Smith – center field batting fifth, Petrocelli – third base batting sixth, Fisk catching batting seventh, Evans – right field batting eighth, and Griffin – second base batting ninth.”
  • In Steve Clooney’s “Sport Scope”: a discussion centered around high school hockey and Junior A hockey – “For example, wouldn’t a Matty Marden or a George Hughes rather play an extended schedule, more professional rules, with a greater chance of getting into professional hockey, should that be their life calling.” My note: who remembers those two hockey studs? Matty went on to win a national championship with B.U. and to this day looks like he could still lace them up!
  • The Boston Arena will remain as the home base for GBL hockey operations in 1974.
  • Catcher Carl Byron will be lost to the MHS baseball team for the entire season, suffering an appendicitis attack a couple of weeks before.
  • George Hughes is an official ‘Face in the Crowd’ as he had that honor bestowed upon him by Sports Illustratedthe week prior.
  • Fancy threads will be the order of the day on April 16, when the MHS Baseball squad debut their new double-knit uniforms. The uniforms are white with blue and gold-lined numbers. The caps are blue with gold visors. White cleats are being contemplated.
  • John O’Brien in his “Musings” column whomped numbers players upside the head: “As Robert Mitchum and Peter Boyle portray Eddie Coyle and his friends on film the real Eddie Coyle’s of the world shoot it out in South Boston, supported by fifty cents here and a dollar there contributed by people everywhere who play the number.”
  • This was a paid advertisement about 2″ square placed on the front page: “Information wanted – did or did not one of our City Councilors escalate a parking violation of his automobile in the bus stop in front of Jordan Marsh into an arrest incident last Thursday, February 15th? The police don’t want to talk about it. Anybody having information on this matter should contact the Malden Sun-Times at 321-4010.”
  • You could rent a Pinto at Econo-Car of Malden for $6 a day or 8 cents a mile.
  • According to Clark Drug at 200 Salem St., “Passover isn’t only matzo balls and a delicious assortment of over 30 varieties are available for sale.”

  As Peter Falk’s iconic TV character ‘Columbo’ would say, “Just one more thing, sir” – speaking of Senator Ed Markey, here’s a great story told by an old Y Rat, Richie Giannattasio: “Ed spent a great deal of time being fed by my parents at our Grace St house when he was in law school in the early 70’s. His girlfriend at the time lived in my parent’s house. One election day in the early 1990’s, after I had taken over the Grace St. home, Ed was walking up to the Glenwood School to work the polls. He had a small entourage and was wearing a suit, tie, and dress shoes. He saw me, along with my young sons, Richard, Michael, and David, playing hoop in the driveway. He walked in; called for the ball; and swished a 25-foot shot. He turned around, threw both hands in the air, and proceeded up the street.

  “A few years later, he did the exact same thing at a Y event. He was walking through the old gym, dressed in a suit, on his way to the pool area. He took a quick left onto the court; called for the ball; and hit a half-court shot. Then he proceeded to throw his hands up and immediately left.

  “As an aside, all 4 of my boys played HS basketball. Two of them were captains. Maybe Ed had an influence on them…because you know it wasn’t my Y ball background!”

  Postscript 1: Richie uses self-deprecating humor in his assessment of his hoop skills. Richie was as good as anybody at the old Y. Being a Y Rat, he knew where every dead spot in the gym was.

  Postscript 2: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got til it’s gone?” Hard to believe it’s been 48 years this June that Richie’s little sister Andrea passed away. Rest in peace, sweet Andrea.

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