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The Sounds of Saugus

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By Mark E. Vogler


Good morning, Saugus

  With the threat of nasty weather looming over Saugus and the region Wednesday night, I decided it was best to skip this week’s Finance Committee meeting and try to crank out as many stories as possible so staff at the Advocate Newspapers office in Everett could meet deadlines and production schedules. Another motivating factor was the text I received from Xfinity, warning that “Winter Weather and power outages are expected in your area and may impact your Xfinity service.”

Oh the wonders of modern technology!

I remember the good old days when all you had to worry about was the weather. The newspaper offices I worked in had auxiliary power set up so reporters could work in the dark at their computer stations filing their stories.

The most challenging task for a reporter was driving through the bad weather to get to the newsroom. I always had a reliable car with a good pair of Michelin tires to allow me to navigate over the iced and snowy roads. For over 14 years, I drove around in my Chevy Lumina without ever skidding off the road or getting stuck in the snow as I drove around the Greater Lawrence area.

But with my newsroom essentially in my personal office in Methuen, my chief concerns these days are how the electricity and my internet connection are affected. Those were the concerns I had Wednesday night. File those stories and photos as soon as possible so the folks in Everett could hit the ground running when they arrived at the Everett office yesterday morning. I worked through the night with a great sense of urgency to get my work done as soon as possible.


Remembering Local Heroes of World War II

  Hats off to the Saugus Historical Society for planning a special night to publicly recognize some of the local heroes of World War II. If you have no plans for this coming Wednesday (April 10), you are welcomed to attend the Historical Society’s monthly meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m. in the society’s office at 30 Main St.

Here’s the invitation we received this week from Laura Eisner:

“At the Saugus Historical Society meeting April 10 there will be a mini-symposium with several speakers presenting short stories showing how local people still pay tribute to the heroes of World War II.”

The speakers, according to Laura, include:

  • Linda Call will speak about her relative, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Arthur F. DeFranzo, a medal of honor recipient killed in action on June 10, 1944, near Vaubadon, France. He is memorialized by a monument on Main Street and by the bridge that carries Main Street over Route 1.
  • David Savoie will show a display of World War II uniforms and equipment, including a parachute. He is a reenactor who participates in Memorial Day and Veterans Day activities every year.
  • Board member Bill Stewart, who is known as “The Old Sachem,” will talk about experiencing World War II as a child growing up in Saugus. The family gathered around the radio to hear war news, and families in town contributed to the war effort in a variety of ways.
  • Jack Klecker will talk about the service of John Howard Currant, Boatswain’s Mate First Class, United States Naval Reserve.
  • Jack Marino will speak about the POW-MIA missing man table ceremony, which reminds us all of those soldiers who are not with their loved ones.
  • John Cannon will tell us about the Four Chaplains, who gave up their life preservers and went down with the torpedoed ship Dorchester to allow four of their shipmates to have a chance at survival.

“The meeting begins at 7 PM at 30 Main Street. It is open to all, and light refreshments will be served.”

Sounds like a very informative evening, especially for those Saugonians who want to know more about World War II. It’s also a good way to remember the local heroes – Saugus World War II veterans, particularly the 57 men from Saugus who were killed in combat.

Next time you’re at Veterans Park, take a look at the World War II monument and look at the names of the Saugonians who served who are flanked by a star. They gave the ultimate sacrifice in a war that also took its toll on the veterans who saw active duty and survived.


The library sure looks beautiful

  If you get a chance today (Friday, April 5) or tomorrow, plan on making a special trip to the Saugus Public Library to check out this year’s entries for “Books in Bloom.” It’s a unique annual event in which creative readers who love flowers match up a book’s title, book jacket or theme with fresh plant material – flowers or foliage. The show is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today; and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If you adore the fragrance and the sight of floral arrangements and appreciate the creativity that goes into a wide range of entries initiated by Saugonians of all ages, it is worth checking out if you have the time. Stop by the Community Room and talk with some of the folks who organized this year’s event, which is cosponsored by the Saugus Garden Club and New Friends of the Saugus Public Library. As I’ve written in this column many times before during my eight-plus years as editor of The Saugus Advocate, the library never looks so beautiful as when it hosts the two days of “Books in Bloom.”

If you love books and flowers, stop by the Community Room today or tomorrow and enjoy some quality time. If you have some kids and are looking for a way to spur creativity and a love of flowers and a passion for reading, incorporate “Books in Bloom” in your weekend plans.


This week’s “Shout Out”

  “One is better than none,” I always say, when it comes to posting “Shout Outs” in this column on any given week. So, I was grateful when I received a text earlier this week from Precinct 5 Town Meeting Member Ron Wallace, asking if I needed a “Shout Out.”

“Absolutely,” I texted Ron back. “I can always use a Shout Out.”

Here’s Ron’s nomination for this week: “I wanted to shout out to Bob Camuso. Town Meeting Member from precinct 2 who also runs the Facebook page ‘Anything In Our Town Of Saugus’. Bob has well north of 4,000 members and he does a fantastic job managing the page. He doesn’t allow any scammers on his page and always updates residents on important issues going on in town.”


Want to “Shout Out” a fellow Saugonian?

  This is an opportunity for our paper’s readers to single out – in a brief mention – remarkable acts or achievements by Saugus residents or an act of kindness or a nice gesture. Just send an email (mvoge@comcast.net) with a mention in the subject line of “An Extra Shout Out.” No more than a paragraph; anything longer might lend itself to a story and/or a photo.


Food Pantry notes:

The Saugus United Parish Food Pantry is open today (Friday, April 5) from 9:30-11 a.m.


Legion Breakfast today

There’s a good breakfast deal for Saugus veterans and other folks who enjoy a hearty breakfast on Friday mornings. The American Legion Post 210 at 44 Taylor St. in Saugus offers Friday morning breakfasts for the 2023-24 season. Doors open at 7:30 a.m., with breakfast served from 8-9:00 a.m. for an $8 donation. Veterans who cannot afford the donation may be served free.


Saugus Democratic Town Committee meets

Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 10, at 7 p.m. on the 2nd floor of the Police Station on Hamilton Street. We will have our Annual Election of Officers. In addition, Eileen Duff, Candidate for Registrar of Deeds, will join us. For additional information, contact sdtc@gmail.com


April 16 deadline for TM warrant articles

  Eleven days remain for any citizen of Saugus to submit Articles to be considered by this year’s Annual Town Meeting, which convenes on the first Monday of May – May 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the second floor auditorium of Saugus Town Hall at 298 Central St. Please send Articles to the Saugus Board of Selectmen, 298 Central St., Saugus, MA 01906. The deadline to submit Articles is April 16, 2024.

For any questions, contact the Selectmen’s office at 781-231-4124.


Selectmen meetings this spring

  The ongoing Finance Committee meetings every Wednesday at 7 p.m. are getting most of the attention at Town Hall in the weeks leading up to the Annual Town Meeting (May 6). But selectmen will be meeting twice a month during April and May. Here’s their current schedule: April 16, April 30, May 14 and May 28.


Town Meeting forum at the library

  In recent weeks, Precinct 10 Town Meeting Member Peter Manoogian has been providing a wonderful opportunity for Saugus citizens who want to learn the basics about Town Meeting – the legislative body of Saugus town government. Manoogian has presided over several Town Meeting forums held at the Saugus Public Library. Manoogian is a veteran of about four decades in local town government at various levels, including many years as a Town Meeting member.

Manoogian will be leading one more session this year – on April 22, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the library. The session is tailored for newly elected Town Meeting members or veterans who want to refresh themselves about Robert’s Rules of Order or how to put forward an article for consideration.


The library gears up for Spring Break

  There’s just one more week of school until Spring Break vacation, which begins on Patriots Day (April 15) and lasts through April 19.

For parents who are wondering what they can do to keep their kids busy during the vacation, you might get a few ideas from the Saugus Public Library. “We have a lot going on during the April break at the library,” says an email I received this week from Amy Melton, the Head of Children’s Services at the library. Here are a few of Amy’s best bets:

  • The Spring Break Scavenger Hunt, from Tues., April 16 through Sat., April 20. This popular event is recommended for children three and up. “Stop by anytime during the break, and have fun finding all new characters. There will be treats!” Amy said.
  • Japanese Kamishibai Storytelling with Yumi Izuyama, on Wednesday, April 17, at 3:30 p.m. This program is recommended for kids ages four and up. “Join us for an afternoon of stories told using a traditional Japanese paper theater. This program will be led by Yumi Izuyama. Crafts and STEM activities will follow.
  • Alpacas in the Library: Very fluffy alpacas from the Harvard Alpaca Ranch will visit the library on Thursday, April 18, at 10:30 a.m. in the Community Room. This program is recommended for ages five and up, though all ages with an adult are welcome.
  • Check out the Great Dane Service Dog Visit! Wednesday, April 17, 10-11 a.m. in the Community Room – Great Danes and their handlers from Service Dog Project in Ipswich will be here to show the dogs and answer all of your questions about them. Meet and pet Great Danes! De-stress from school, homework, work, etc. Come by the library to pet and visit with these gentle giants! No registration necessary.

There’s always something interesting going on at the library. Here’s a few activities worth checking out next month:

  • Toni Gangi’s Italian American Street Culture & the Street Organ on Monday, May 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room. The hand-cranked street organ has a historical connection to Italian-American culture, particularly in Boston. Italian immigrants brought the hand-cranked street organ to the United States, where it became a melodious fixture in Italian neighborhoods. Join Gangi and hear him play the music of the streets on his Barrel Organ. He may even make his talk really hit home, as he’s researching Saugus history involving organ grinders for his talk.
  • Peter Jackson’s Magic To Go on Saturday, May 18, at 2 p.m. in the library’s Community Room. Reservations are required – ages six and up – reservations open April 15. Seating is limited.


Brick program for Saugus War Monument

The Saugus War Monument Committee, once again, is sponsoring the Buy-A-Brick Program to honor all those who have served their country. If you would like to purchase one in the name of someone who is presently serving or has served, in the memory of a loved one, or just someone from your family, school, etc., the general pricing is $100 for a 4″ X 8″ brick (three lines) or $200 for 8″ X 8″ brick (five lines). Each line is a maximum of 15 characters. The improvement and upkeep of the monument on the corner of Winter and Central Streets rely on the generosity of donors through fundraising.

The brick application must be in by Sept. 10 to ensure the bricks will be ready for Veterans Day. Please contact Corinne Riley at 781-231-7995 for more information and applications.


Welcome to Cliftondale

The Meg Foundation Board of Directors is inviting former students, family members, friends or anyone interested to attend an “Open House” event at The MEG Building – formerly known as the Cliftondale School – from May 4–5, 2024.

Many of our visitors to the school, which is located at 54-58 Essex St., have shared with us incredibly special memories of their childhood while attending the first, second, third and fourth grades. Oftentimes they bring their grandchildren as well to take a tour of the building and view firsthand what an elementary school looked like those many years ago.

The purpose of this event is to highlight Cliftondale, the school, the people and the businesses that have made this part of Saugus special. Presently board members are in the process of gathering historical items, class pictures, schoolbooks and handwritten letters of young students. If you have any class pictures or school memorabilia that the committee could borrow to display, or if you have any questions, please contact Paula Walsh at 781-520-2122.


Kindergarten enrollment 2024-2025

Open enrollment for kindergarten will begin on Monday, April 22, and continue through Friday, April 26. Kindergarten is free and full day (8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.). Families can pick up a kindergarten registration packet at the main office of the Veterans Early Learning Center between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Completed registration packets will be due on Wednesday, May 22, and Thursday, May 23, during the following hours: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (All registration documents must be included on the packet return dates.) Staff will be available to collect your documentation at the main entrance. Once all documentation is confirmed, we will schedule an appointment for a mandatory kindergarten screening. Kindergarten screenings will be held on June 3 & 4 and will last 20 minutes.

*While there is no official deadline for kindergarten registration, we ask that you register your student by May 24, to help us effectively plan staffing and programming for next year.”


SAVE 2024 Environmental Scholarship available

  Saugus Action Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE) is very pleased to announce that it is offering a $1,000 Environmental Scholarship to a Saugus resident who is or will be attending a two- or four-year college or other educational institution and pursuing a degree in an area that would positively impact the environment. A qualifying applicant may be a 2024 high school graduating senior or a current college undergraduate student continuing their education.

Applicants can download the SAVE 2024 Environmental Scholarship Application Form found at www.saugusSAVE.org. Please note: Section C of the application should be identified with your initials only and should provide a brief summary of any of your activities relating to the environment, as well as describe how you feel your career choice will positively impact the environment.

Please email your application – no later than midnight on April 19, 2024 – to: SAVE Co-President Ann Devlin at adevlin@aisle10.net


The Theatre Company of Saugus presents two weekends of Puffs next month

The Theatre Company of Saugus (TCS) will present “Puffs or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic,” during two weekends in April 2024. For seven years a certain boy wizard went to a certain wizard school and conquered evil. This, however, is not his story. This is the story of the Puffs… who just happened to be there, too. A tale for anyone who has never been destined to save the world. Third or nothing!

The New York Times proclaims Puffs “a fast-paced romp through the seven increasingly eventful years…. For Potterphiliacs who grew up alongside Potter and are eager to revisit that world, Puffs exudes a jovial winking fondness for all things Harry!”

Performances are April 19-20-21 and 26-27-28, 2024, on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m., and with Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m.

The location is the Theatre Company of Saugus home at the American Legion Post 210 / 44 Taylor St. / Saugus, Mass. The upstairs performance space is not wheelchair accessible, but it features a bar with soft and alcoholic drinks available at very reasonable prices.

Tickets are now on sale. Tickets paid at the door will be $25 for adults, or $23 for seniors, youths or veterans. Tickets purchased in advance online will be $22 for adults, or $20 for seniors, youths or veterans. For complete info, see the Tickets page on the website tcsaugus.org/tickets

“Puffs” is directed for TCS by Kaycee Wilson. She directed the Saugus production of the musical “Zombie Prom” presented in fall 2022, which was nominated for several DASH awards, including Best Musical. Kaycee also appeared in TCS’ spring 2023 production of “Comedy of Errors.” The stage manager for “Puffs” is Delys Russell.

Cast members come to Saugus from a variety of towns in the area, and some of them play multiple roles. Residents of Medford are Shawyoun Shaidani, who plays Wayne Hopkins, Caroline DeBrota as Leanne, and Arielle Mercier as Magic #2. Malden residents include Brady Neiss-Moe as Zach Smith, Second Headmaster and others; Kathy Bedard as Xavia Jones and others; and Stephen Nedell as all the Teachers. Winthrop residents are Lauren Thompson as Ginny, Helga, Bippy and others; and Mandi Totin as Susie Bones. Residents of Boston are Benedict Dawn-Cross as Cedric and Mr. Voldy; and Heidi Fisher as Sally Perks. Those from Quincy are Bec Lowe as Ernie Mac; and Samson Willcox playing Harry, Fat Friar and others. Everett residents are Kaleigh Ryan playing Megan Jones, and Mark Damon as J. Finch Fletchley. Somerville residents include Joseph Grebla, who plays Clumsy Longbottom, Uncle Dave and others; and Meghan Patrick, who is Magic #1. Thomas Marsh, playing Oliver Rivers, is from Newton. David Lee Vincent from Newburyport is the Narrator. Billy Jenkins from Stoneham is Blondo Malfoy and others. Tricia Smith plays Hannah and is from Revere.

The show has some adult language and situations that may not be suitable for younger kids. “Puffs” is a stage play written by Matt Cox as a transformative and transfigured work under the magic that is US Fair Use laws. Puffs is not authorized, sanctioned, licensed or endorsed by J.K Rowling, Warner Bros. or any person or company associated with the Harry Potter books, films or play.

“Puffs” was originally produced Off Broadway by Tilted Windmills Theatricals (John Arthur Pinckard / David Carpenter). Puffs was developed in part during a residency with the University of Florida School of Theatre + Dance, Jerry Dickey, School Director; originally produced Off-Off Broadway by Stephen Stout and Colin Waitt. “Puffs” (Two Act Edition) is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.

For more information and to purchase tickets, see the Theatre Company of Saugus website at TCSaugus.org.


About The Saugus Advocate

We welcome press releases, news announcements, freelance articles and courtesy photos from the community. Our deadline is noon Wednesday. If you have a story idea, an article or photo to submit, please email me at mvoge@comcast.net or leave a message at 978-683-7773. Let us become your hometown newspaper. The Saugus Advocate is available in the Saugus Public Library, the Saugus Senior Center, Saugus Town Hall, local convenience stores and restaurants throughout town.

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