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The Sounds of Saugus

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Here are a few tidbits that you might want to know about this week in Saugus.

Happy Fourth of July wishes to Saugus

  We wish our readers and all the residents of Saugus a safe, happy and relaxing July 4th. It’s a special time to share with family and friends, to pause and reflect on the freedoms and liberties that we as Americans enjoy – or should enjoy. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go as a nation before we can truly say that everyone gets to live the American Dream. Let us not forget that it was on July 4, 1776, that the Second Continental Congress, which was comprised of delegates from the 13 original colonies, unanimously approved the Declaration of Independence, which announced the new nation’s independence from Great Britain.

  Americans traditionally celebrate that day with family outings, barbecues, concerts, parades, baseball, picnics, beach trips, ice cream, apple pie, flags and patriotic banners waving in the wind.

  Growing up in Southeastern Massachusetts, the holiday was always filled with great memories. There would be the always-popular barn fire in Fall River, the night before the Fourth, where wood stacked to look like a barn would be set ablaze in a controlled burn setting; a long and colorful parade in Bristol, R.I., on the morning of the Fourth; and a choice of venue on where to view the fireworks on the night of the Fourth. And, of course, there were the fireworks that kids enjoyed because some adults procured them legally from Warren, R.I., and other nearby communities bordering Massachusetts and then brought back to Massachusetts, where they were not legal.

  As a longtime newsman, I remember doing a number of stories over the last five decades about July 4 tragedies – like drownings, unfortunate accidents involving fireworks, fatal car crashes and fires linked to fireworks or kids playing with matches. Families should savor this special weekend, which in many cases is already a planned vacation. But the parents need to be vigilant, making sure that children don’t wind up in harm’s way. So, Saugus, be safe and be smart this weekend.

We have a winner!

  Congratulations to Cheryl Doucette for getting her name drawn from the green Boston Red Sox hat as the winner in last week’s “Guess Who Got Sketched” contest. Here’s last week’s answer, offered by the person who goes by the name of The Sketch Artist:

  “The answer to last week’s sketch is none other than Dennis (Joseph) Gould the man who had the vision to start and head up the ‘Healthy Students- Healthy Saugus’ food plan for school children in need.

  “Dennis works with fighting homelessness, and on one incident after helping to place a woman with three children (which she was in this situation to begin with because she was abused by her husband and had the courage to flee, possibly believing in something better out there.) when Dennis safely sheltered them. He found they had no money and no food. Dennis went food shopping with his own money and brought back groceries to very grateful starving children and woman.

  “That’s commendable Dennis!

  “Dennis is a 1969 Saugus High Graduate, lifelong resident of Saugus, (left 4 years for tour with Navy. He’s a Vietnam Era Veteran). He served two decades with the Army National Guard (1976-1997). He’s a North Shore Community College graduate, having worked 40 years at General Electric. While at G. E. He served on more than 300 G.E. Volunteer Projects!

  “Dennis serves With the Knights of Columbus, Catholic Charities and Volunteers for a food Pantry in New Hampshire.

  “Mr. Gould has been involved with Local Government as a Town Meeting Member, Chairman of Cemetery Commission, Secretary of Disabilities Commission. He has also been serving as a State Community Access Monitor for ADA Compliance since 1997. He is currently in the final year of a two-year term on the Saugus School Committee.

  “Thank you to ALL you do for Saugus Mr. Dennis Gould, hats off to you!

  “You do shine brightly!

  “Yours Truly,

  “The Sketch Artist”

Feeling the heat

  The recent “heat wave” that’s got folks complaining about the oppressively hot temperatures and humidity isn’t all that bad, if you want to compare what folks in the other parts of the country endure.

  It was headline news on Wednesday (June 30) when Boston reached 100 degrees. The TV stations reported that reaching the century mark has only happened 25 times in Boston’s history. And the 100-degree weather reported on Wednesday broke the record for the hottest temperature recorded on June 30. (The previous one was set back in 1945.) And apparently it was the first time in 10 years that Bostonians experienced triple-digit temperatures.

  Well, I don’t like the heat. But to me, personally, the recent “heat wave” was not that big a deal. As my car thermometer hit 100 several times on Wednesday as I drove between Methuen and Saugus, memories flashed back about those intolerable days of summer I spent during 1977 and 1978 as a reporter roaming around in West Texas. It was hot as hell, working in Midland, Odessa, San Angelo and other parts of West Texas. I can remember experiencing 13 consecutive days of 100 degree heat during one of those summers. I didn’t have AC in my Renault back then, and the black upholstery inside the car made my days miserable. The steering wheel was so hot that I had to use a hand towel – and later some cotton gloves – to keep me from getting burns on my hands. And I drove around with windows wide open so I could get some relief from a summer breeze while I drove around.

  No, New Englanders, it wasn’t that bad – when I reflect back on my West Texas days.

One-day delay for trash/recycling

  The Town of Saugus reminds residents there will be a one-day delay with the trash and recycling collection schedule this week, as the July 4 holiday will be observed on Monday (July 5) through Saturday (July 10) this upcoming week. The compost site and recycling site will be open tomorrow (Saturday, July 3). The Town of Saugus would like to thank everyone for their cooperation. Please contact Solid Waste/Recycling Coordinator Lorna Cerbone at 781-231-4036 with any questions.

A “Shout-Out” for the pet food drive organizers

  We didn’t receive any nominations this week from readers recommending good candidates worthy of an extra “Shout-Out.” In that case, I shall use my editorial discretion to nominate all those folks working behind the scenes on the Pet Food Donation Drive.

  I received an email this week from Marcia Benson, who wanted to let Saugus residents know about the food drive that the Good Hope Food Pantry is hosting now through July 31. Good Hope is located at 47 Grove St. in Lynnfield and is part of the Calvary Christian Church. The pantry is held on Thursday mornings and hundreds of vehicles show up from Saugus and area communities. Saugus residents who would like to donate some food for our fury, four-legged friends can do so by visiting drop-off spots at Saugus Town Hall, Carpenito Real Estate and the Saugus Public Library. Marcia writes that the organizers are seeking wet and dry dog and cat food, treats and litter – and are especially in need of cat food and litter.

  For more details, check out https://create.piktochart.com/output/55052935-pet-food-drive – or you can email Marcia at Marciabenson5@icloud.com.

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.

A tacky kitty

  My 12-year-old, longhaired Tuxedo loves to play with thumbtacks. Oftentimes, I will find one in his dry cat food dish or on a countertop in the kitchen. These are thumbtacks that aren’t meant for cat’s toys. Panda just seems to have a knack for finding loose thumbtacks. I’ve caught him pulling them out of wall calendars he has been able to reach.

  Of course, finding him playing with a thumbtack makes me uneasy. So, I recently had an anxiety attack when I came home one afternoon to find the plastic that once contained 100 colored thumbtacks on the living room rug with the thumbtacks scattered all over the place.

  Apparently, I had forgotten to put the plastic container back in the hutch drawer. Panda discovered it and pushed it to the floor. What a mess!

  But, after watching me pick up dozens of thumbtacks, Panda helped out by letting me know about the ones I had missed. He meowed to get my attention and pushed them around until I picked them up. He knew I wasn’t happy with the mess he had made, and I guess he wanted to redeem himself. Fortunately, all of the tacks were accounted for and I didn’t wind up stepping on any of them.


A community garden update

  If you are young or old and feel like doing some real earthy community service, why not join the growing team that’s been assisting in the creation of the Community Garden that’s going to help feed the hungry and needy people of Saugus? Contact The Rev. John Beach of St. John’s Episcopal Church to get the latest update on how the garden is doing and what you can do to help. Anyone who wants to help out Rev. John on this noble project can call him at 774-961-9881 or send him an email at revjbeach@gmail.com.

  We will keep you posted as the garden continues to grow. Remember folks, this is your garden. Be a part of it.

About the veterans’ bricks

  Board of Selectmen Vice-Chair Corinne Riley, who is involved with a lot of veterans’ events and programs in town, passed this note along:

  “The Saugus Veterans Council would like to inform those who ordered bricks prior to May 2021, which were displayed at the Memorial Day Ceremony, that those bricks will be installed at Veterans Park mid August and will be dedicated on Veterans Day.”

Summer Reading Program at the library

  This came from Amy Melton, Head of Children’s Services at the Saugus Public Library:

  “This summer kids of all ages will explore the animal kingdom as the Saugus Public Library presents its “Tails and Tales” summer reading program. Activities will include Take & Make crafts, virtual STEM programming, storytimes, outdoor performers and more.

  “The Saugus Public School District recommends that students read at least 20 minutes a day this summer. The library is here to help families create a summer reading routine that is fun for kids and their families. The 2021 Summer Reading Program is open to young people, preschool through young adult.

  “We reward our readers! We’ve once again partnered with local businesses to reward summer reading. We’d like to thank those businesses who generously donated prizes and the New Friends of the Saugus Public Library who purchased others. We’re also participating in Read to Bead – kids collect reading Brag Tags and colorful beads as they go.

  “Families are encouraged to register for the animal themed “Tails and Tales” Summer Reading Program using the Beanstack app. It’s easy – just download the Beanstack app, register under the Saugus Public Library, and you’re on your way. It’s like a Fitbit for reading! For more information, or to register in person, stop by the library or visit our website (www.sauguspubliclibrary.org/children/summer-reading-program/).

  “It’s been a challenging school year. It’s important to keep reading to retain skills – and an opportunity to catch up with peers. Research shows that children who do not read during the summer fall behind. The effect is cumulative – over many summers these students fall significantly behind their peers.

  “Most importantly perhaps, it’s an opportunity to build a reading routine: turn off the media, sit with a child, and enjoy some beautiful story books. Try reading a longer book to them, and let them read to you. With Beanstack kids can take a safari around the world to learn about animals on different continents, listen to animal stories from around the world and do research on their favorites.

  “Need some help finding registering for summer reading, or finding a “just-right book” for your child? Stop by the library and see us! All programs are free of charge.”

Last call for library’s “Babysitters Basics”

  Here’s a chance for kids in town to improve themselves as babysitters if that’s a job they enjoy doing. Anyone from the age of 11 to 18 can attend an upcoming course that the Saugus Public Library will be offering.

  “Participants will come to understand the responsibilities of babysitting and learn the skills needed to become good babysitters,” says a flyer the library issued. “The course will help develop confidence in handling situations that may occur when babysitting. Upon completion of the course, you will receive a Babysitter’s ID card and certificate of completion.”

  The course is part of 4-H Youth Development and is designed to prepare youths to become capable, caring and responsible babysitters. It will teach babysitting safety and how to handle different situations while babysitting. Participants will receive a 4-H Babysitting manual and other babysitting supplies.

  Participants must register by next Tuesday (July 6). They must attend all days of the program. They can participate virtually via Zoom videoconferencing from July 12-16 from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

  For more information, please contact Lisa LeJeune, the Young Adult and Reference Librarian at the Saugus Public Library, by phone (781-231-4168) or email (lejeune@noblenet.org).

A political candidate’s primer

  It’s almost that time of year again – which happens every two years. The political season for those who are considering reelection to various offices in town government – or those who aspire to replace them – begins in about two weeks – Monday, July 19. That’s the day when candidates considering political office will be able to pick up their nomination papers.

  For those who are interested, here’s something you can cut out and tape or attach to your refrigerator:

  Town of Saugus Election Calendar for 2021

  Here are some important dates released by the Saugus Town Clerk’s Office:

  July 19: Local election nomination papers become available.

  Sept. 7 at 5 p.m.: – last day for incumbent Town Meeting Members wishing to become a candidate for reelection to submit written notice to the Town Clerk.

  Sept. 10 at 5 p.m.: last day to OBTAIN nomination papers.

  Sept. 14 at 5 p.m.: last day for candidates to SUBMIT nomination papers to the Board of Registrars (Town Clerk’s Office) for certification of signatures.

  Sept. 30 at 5 p.m.: last day to file objections or withdrawals.

  Sept. 30 at 5:30 p.m.: drawing of ballot positions (Town Hall Auditorium).

  Oct. 13 from 8:15 a.m.-8 p.m.: last day to register to vote.

  Fifty certified signatures of registered voters are required for the Board of Selectmen, School Committee and Housing Authority. Ten certified signatures of registered voters are required for Town Meeting Members. Signatures must be of registered voters in the candidate’s precinct.

  Oct. 26: Office of Campaign Finance Reports are due on this Monday, the 8th day preceding the election.

  Nov. 2: Town Elections.

  Dec. 2: Office of Campaign Finance Reports are due on the 30th day following the election

  All candidates are expected to comply with the Town of Saugus Zoning Bylaws (Article 7, Section 7.3, Sub-Section 8) regarding political signs.

CHaRM Center Recycling Drop-Off site open for season

  The community’s Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) site is open. This site will remain open to residents on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The site is located behind the Department of Public Works at 515 Main St.

  At the CHaRM center, the Town will accept the same recycling items that can be placed outside for curbside collection each week, such as paper, cardboard, bottles, cans and glass containers. No shredded paper is accepted for on-site recycling. Additional acceptable items include TVs and computers (up to three per year per address); car tires up to 22″ (for a fee of $3); books; and textiles, such as clothing, bedding, pocketbooks, belts and shoes.

  Plastic bags are not permitted; residents are kindly asked to empty recyclables out of any plastic bags and to remove the bags from the site. Also, rigid plastics are not being accepted for recycling at this time.

  Residents may call Lorna Cerbone at the Solid Waste and Recycling Department at 781-231-4036 with questions or for more information.

Compost site open

  The town compost site has opened to residents on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The site is located behind the Department of Public Works at 515 Main St.

  Stickers are required to gain seasonal access to the site. Stickers may be purchased for $25.00 at the Department of Public Works (DPW) located at the Compost Site when making your visit to the Compost Site. The Town accepts checks only for payment of the $25.00. No cash will be accepted. Kindly bring a check when visiting. Thank you!

  Compost site stickers must be permanently placed on the lower left corner of residents’ automobile windshields. Vehicles registered out of state are not permitted.

  Yard waste must be disposed of in brown compost bags or open containers. The Town of Saugus will accept grass clippings, leaves and brush. As in years past, no branches or limbs larger than three inches in diameter are permitted.

  We ask all residents to please wear a mask and maintain and respect social distancing from others while visiting the site.

  Residents may call Lorna Cerbone at the Solid Waste and Recycling Department at 781-231-4036 with questions or for more information.

Help the Vietnam Vets “Roll to DC”

  A reminder from Joseph “Dennis” Gould, a Vietnam War Era veteran who served four years with the U.S. Navy – he has organized a fundraising drive that will help area Vietnam Era veterans visit Washington, D.C., in the fall of next year. “I am glad to announce that we will have a ‘Roll to DC’ for Vietnam Era Veterans from Melrose, Saugus, Lynn and surrounding towns September 2022.”

  “The trip will be a four night trip to DC staying at Presidential Inn on Andrews Air Force Base, home of Presidential Aircraft. It will include a ceremony and laying of a wreath at the Vietnam Wall and the Tomb of Unknown Soldier as well as visiting all Military Memorials and Statues…We are looking for major sponsorship and donations from all. The Vietnam Veterans will go on this trip free, but it will take approximately $70,000 of sponsorship and donations,” Gould said.

  If you would like to be a major sponsor, please contact Gould at 617-257-4847 or email Jdgould1969@aol.com. If you would like to send in a donation, please make a check out to “Saugus VFW – Roll to DC,” write “Roll to DC 2022” in the comment line and mail it to: Saugus VFW Post 2346, 190C Main St., Saugus, MA 01906. For questions or to volunteer, please contact Dennis at the contact info above.

Food Pantry still open

  The Saugus United Parish Food Pantry will continue to remain open on Fridays between 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. despite concerns over the Coronavirus. They have made adjustments to protect their core of volunteers and the needy people who receive the food. For the protection of volunteers & clients, and to limit personal contact and crowding/gathering, the food pantry has been distributing pre-bagged groceries. Even though clients may receive items they don’t want or need, food pantry organizers feel this is the best course of action to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19. Those in need, even for short term or one-time assistance, are encouraged to come.

  The food pantry is in the basement of Cliftondale Congregational Church at 50 Essex St. in Saugus.

Helping the Vet

  During these challenging times, your local Veterans’ Service Officers (VSOs) would like to share some information on a benefit program that is available to those who qualify. If you are a Veteran or the surviving spouse of a Veteran, the “Chapter 115 Benefits Program” is a Massachusetts state initiative that provides financial aid for Veterans and/or their surviving spouses who reside in Massachusetts and meet certain income and asset guidelines. Benefits may include monthly ordinary benefits and/or payment/reimbursement for medical expenses. Whether you are laid off, in transition or living on a fixed income, the program is designed to provide short-term or long-term assistance as needed to provide relief. The program is overseen by the Massachusetts Department Veterans’ Services (DVS), which runs the program in partnership with local VSOs.

  Every town or district in Massachusetts has a VSO. VSOs assist Veterans and their dependents in learning about, applying for and receiving Chapter 115 benefits. VSOs can also help in applying for other benefits and connecting with local resources. Your local VSO handles applications, obtains program approval from DVS and provides local benefits. The program is funded by a combination of state and local funds. DVS pays for 75% of the approved benefits and your city or town pays for 25%.

  There are income and asset limits for the program. As a general rule, income and asset requirements are:

  Family of 1 – monthly income less than $2,081and an asset limit of $5,000.

  Family of 2 – monthly income less than $2,818 and an asset limit of $9,800.

  To determine if you may be eligible for financial assistance through the Chapter 115 program, visit the following link and follow the instructions – https://massvetben.org/ – or call your local VSO for more information.

  The VSOs are also able to help Veterans apply for Federal VA benefits and local benefits and provide food assistance monthly. For example, did you know that if you own a home and have a VA service–connected disability, you are eligible for a partial or full exemption of your property taxes?

  “Please contact your local Veterans’ Service Officer for more information on any of the services mentioned. We are all here to assist. We are regularly checking voicemails and emails as we continue to work remotely and in our offices throughout COVID-19.”

  Melrose: Karen Burke, 781-979-4186, kburke@cityofmelrose.org

  Wakefield: David Mangan, 781-246-6377, dmangan@wakefield.ma.us

  Saugus: Jay Pinette, 781-231-4010, jpinette@saugus-ma.gov

Let’s hear it!

  Got an idea, passing thought or gripe you would like to share with The Saugus Advocate? I’m always interested in your feedback. It’s been over five years since I began work at The Saugus Advocate. I’m always interested in hearing readers’ suggestions for possible stories or good candidates for “The Advocate Asks” interview of the week. Feel free to email me at mvoge@comcast.net.

  Do you have some interesting views on an issue that you want to express to the community? Submit your idea. If I like it, we can meet for a 15- to 20-minute interview over a hot drink at a local coffee shop. And I’ll buy the coffee or tea. Or, if you prefer to continue practicing social distancing and be interviewed from the safety of your home on the phone or via email, I will provide that option to you as the nation recovers from the Coronavirus crisis.

  If it’s a nice day, my preferred site for a coffee and interview would be the picnic area of the Saugus Iron Works.


GUESS WHO GOT SKETCHED! In this week’s edition, we continue our weekly feature where a local artist sketches people, places and things in Saugus. Got an idea who was sketched this week? If you do, please email me at mvoge@comcast.net or leave a phone message at 978-683-7773. Anyone who correctly identifies the Saugonian being sketched between now and Tuesday at noon qualifies to have their name put in a green Boston Red Sox hat with a chance to be selected as the winner of a $10 gift certificate, compliments of Dunkin’ at the 1204 Broadway Saugus location on Route 1 North. But you have to enter to win! Look for the winner and identification in next week’s “The Sounds of Saugus.” Please leave your mailing address in case you are a winner. (Courtesy illustration to The Saugus Advocate by a Saugonian who goes by the name of “The Sketch Artist”)

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