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The Sounds of Saugus

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Good Morning, Saugus!

  Historically, the political campaigns for the Saugus town elections don’t really get started until about mid-July when nomination papers become available at the Town Clerk’s Office. And then what amounts to a seven-week campaign begins in earnest, after mid-September when the papers are filed and it’s clear which candidates are running for town offices.

  But it sure looks like things may be heating up much sooner for the November town elections, at least in the race for the five-member Board of Selectmen. And if Board of Selectmen Chair Anthony Cogliano – the top vote-getter in the last two town elections – decides to run for another two-year term, it should be a very hot and heavy political season in the fall.

  There seem to be some serious cracks in the underlying foundation of civility and collaboration that has marked the first three years that the current five members have been together. Things are getting downright nasty on social media and spilling over into the second floor auditorium at Saugus Town Hall. That was pretty clear to anyone watching this past Tuesday night’s (March 20) Board of Selectmen’s meeting.

  When you cover all of the board meetings in person, you get to notice and feel the tension in the room. And after having covered the Board of Selectmen for seven years, my sense is that a few issues are polarizing – particularly the ongoing discussions of a Host Community Agreement between the town and WIN Waste Innovations and the related discussion of possible expansion of the ash landfill at the trash-to-energy plant. And, more recently, the discussion over whether the Board should grant a Special S-2 permit to Antonio Moura De Jesus to operate Moura Tattoo Studio, Inc. at 28 Hamilton St.

  De Jesus would need four of five votes from the board to get the permit to move into a building across the street from the Police Station. But if a vote were taken Tuesday night instead of a continuance, his request would have been denied. Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Debra Panetta said she didn’t feel comfortable voting on the issue because of what she called a potential conflict of interest that she needed to consult with the state Ethics Commission about.

  Meanwhile, Selectman Michael Serino said he had problems with the location and would oppose it. However, he said he would support locating a tattoo parlor on Route 1.

  Board of Selectmen Chair Anthony Cogliano and Selectman Jeffrey Cicolini said that the town already has an “anti-business” reputation among North Shore communities, and suggested that this vote would reflect that aspect of the town’s public image.

  The hearing on the S-2 permit has been continued until April 4.

  Meanwhile, Selectmen Panetta and Serino are getting disparaged on Facebook in a vulgar way by Cogliano’s brother Scott, even after board members pledged to work together during Tuesday night’s meeting.

  But, it sure looks like social media à la Saugus is contributing to the polarization of the Board of Selectmen – a board that seemed to work together, for the most part, in a collaborative fashion during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

My take on Cogliano’s social media comments

  People around Saugus Town government who know me know I’m not a big fan of social media.

  There are some productive aspects to it, if you are trying to plan a family or high school or church reunion. And I’m sure it would be a great tool to use in trying to mobilize a group for a common cause. But when it comes to people in a community hurling hurtful and disparaging insults at each other on Facebook or other social media sites, it’s not productive. It creates animosity among people involved in an exchange.

  And it doesn’t take much to whip certain segments of a community into a mob-fueled frenzy, ganging up on individual civilians or people involved in local government. It really doesn’t help a community. In fact, little good comes out of a social media firefight which often degenerates to crude and profane rhetoric, like the recent one involving Board of Selectmen Chair Anthony Cogliano.

  One good rule of thumb for elected politicians who like to spar with their adversaries or rivals on social media: At least try to be civil and keep it clean. Don’t say anything that you wouldn’t say in front of your mother. Because it could be embarrassing if it winds up becoming public.

  A Town Meeting member emailed me screenshots of Cogliano’s alleged “homophobic comments” a week before the full Board of Selectmen received an email complaining about the comments. My initial reaction was that the social media comments were quite crude and not the kind of stuff that belongs in a newspaper. Certainly, it wasn’t the kind of stuff I wanted to dignify.

  But when Ross Demore essentially made the issue public by sending his email to selectmen, a few other town officials and several newspapers – including The Saugus Advocate – I decided that at minimum I needed to see if anyone on the Board of Selectmen was offended by the social media activity of their chairman. I sent the same email to all five board members:

  Do you have any concerns that you want to comment on, regarding the Ross Demore letter that was addressed to the Board of Selectmen in an email today? Are the comments made by Mr. Demore a matter that should be addressed by the Board of Selectmen?

  Please feel free to comment or elaborate.

  As it turned out, every board member – including the chair – responded to my email. I didn’t pressure anyone to comment. One member was offended and felt Cogliano owed an apology to Eliot Evan Smith. Another said he understood Cogliano’s frustrations, but advised him to stay off social media and not engage anymore with Smith, who had been critical of Cogliano on social media about Cogliano’s conduct in allegedly forging signatures of Saugus residents on affidavits that were to be used by WIN Waste Innovations to defend itself in a lawsuit.

  Smith’s comments apparently got under Cogliano’s skin, and essentially egged Cogliano into making comments that were later construed as “homophobic.”

  It’s not a story I wanted to write. But I believed it was a story that needed to be written. Several selectmen said they didn’t want to comment unless other selectmen commented, too.

  Smith and Cogliano were essentially trash-talking on social media, and it got out of hand. And it’s easy to see where some people would construe the comments as being “homophobic,” especially since Cogliano maintained that the person who was antagonizing him was Al DiNardo, a former town meeting member who is openly gay.

  Cogliano has maintained steadfastly that Eliot Evan Smith is fake. But even if Eliot Evan Smith is a fake name, it really doesn’t mitigate the act of sending such offensive emails via social media. There’s a more civil and plain way to express oneself on social media without getting crude and vulgar.

  In any event, it’s very unfortunate for this incident to have happened. But, hopefully, Cogliano and others will be more discerning with their rhetoric in the future. Hopefully, the controversy sparks some overdue public discussion about social media and the damage it can do.

  The one thing to understand is that people will say something very disparaging in texts and emails that they wouldn’t say to a person’s face. Good relationships and friendships have been fractured by social media.


Smith is for real

  From having researched the matter, I can tell you that Eliot Evan Smith is a real person who lives in Lynn, has organized a petition drive “to Shutdown Wheelabrator Saugus,” has contributed to political campaigns of several area state politicians and has a respectable job in the education field. Through my surfing the Internet, I know where he works, and I know where he lives. I know enough about him to know he’s real. I have talked to him on the phone several times. I have done enough research to avoid being played into writing a story that quotes somebody who is not a real person – a claim that some had made, including the Board of Selectmen chair.

  I even offered to be an intermediary between Cogliano and Smith, to set up a meeting between the two. I have told both parties that I would agree to meet with the two of them. They both seemed agreeable to that. Whether that happens or not, remains to be seen.

 “Saugus Over Coffee”

  This is a reminder to our readers that the next edition of “Saugus Over Coffee” will be for Precinct 4 on Tuesday, April 25, and not April 17 as originally scheduled. April 17 happens to be Patriots’ Day, a state holiday – a day when the Saugus Public Library and all municipal and school buildings in Saugus will be closed.

  We also decided to change the date of the “Saugus Over Coffee” forum that was planned for Precinct 5 on May 8. As it turns out, Saugus’s Annual Town Meeting convenes on Monday, May 1. And each Town Meeting session happens on a Monday, so the Town Meeting would most likely be meeting on May 8. Because of that potential conflict, we switched the forum for Precinct 5 to a Tuesday, May 2.

  For those unfamiliar with the “Saugus Over Coffee” forums, they are cosponsored by The Saugus Advocate and the Saugus Public Library. The primary purpose is to give citizens in each of the town’s 10 precincts an opportunity to voice their concerns about top issues in their respective precincts. It also gives them an opportunity to meet their Town Meeting representatives and chat over a cup of coffee or tea. Town Meeting members will benefit by getting to know more about concerns in their precincts.

  Viewers of the forums videotaped by Saugus TV will also get to learn a little about the history or interesting things about the precinct being featured each month.

  Finally, the town and each respective precinct benefits by the potential of the forums spurring new candidates for Town Meeting. The public should keep in mind that there was a paucity of candidates for Town Meeting seats in the town elections back in 2021. In five of the 10 precincts, only five candidates ran for the five seats. That means half of the 50-member body was elected without competition.

  Stay tuned for more information as “Saugus Over Coffee” continues. Here is the remaining schedule:

  Precinct 4 – April 25

  Precinct 5 – May 2

  Precinct 6 – June 12

  Precinct 7 – July 10

  Precinct 8 – August 14

  Precinct 9 – September 11

  Precinct 10 – October 23

  Please check with The Saugus Advocate or library for any changes in dates. Residents can check the programming guide on the station’s website (www.saugustv.org) for dates and times. A video of the forum will also be available for viewing on the station’s vimeo page within a day or two after the event (www.vimeo.com/saugustelevision).

Saugus-Everett Elks Ham Shoot

  The Saugus-Everett Elks will be hosting their annual Ham Shoot Easter Meat Raffle on Friday, March 31, at the Lodge at 401 Main St. in Saugus at 7:15 p.m. Only $1 per chance can get you a ham, turkey, pork loin, roast or any one of 42 meat prizes for your holiday meal. There will be free pickles and a cash bar. All proceeds benefit local Elks charities.

Seeking Hall of Fame nominations

  Do you know of a former Saugus High School athlete who deserves to be inducted into the Saugus High School Sports Hall of Fame? If you do, nominations are open for the Hall of Fame from now until March 28.

  There have been 263 athletes inducted since the Hall of Fame’s inception (1987). The Hall of Fame’s first class included Arthur Spinney, a Saugus High football great who played for two NFL championship teams with the Baltimore Colts in 1958 and 1959.

  A Saugus High athlete has to be out of school for at least 10 years before he or she can be nominated. Anyone looking to nominate a former Saugus High athlete can mail their letter of nomination to Barbara Wall at 28 Pleasant St., Saugus, MA 01906.

SAVE 2023 Environmental Scholarship

  Saugus Action Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE) is very pleased to announce that it is offering a $1,000 Environmental Scholarship to Saugus residents of the graduating Class of 2023 or to Saugus residents who are currently first-year college attendees. This is a scholarship for students who will be or are attending a two/four-year college or other educational institution and pursuing a degree in an area that would positively impact the environment.

  Applicants can download the SAVE 2023 Environmental Scholarship Application Form found at www.saugusSAVE.org. Together with the completed application form, please include a separate sheet (identified with your initials only) that provides a summary of any of your activities relating to the environment and describe how you feel your career choice will positively impact the environment. Please email (preferred method) your application – no later than midnight on April 21, 2023 – to: SAVE Co-President Ann Devlin at adevlin@aisle10.net ormail your application (postmarked by April 21, 2023) to: SAVE, P.O. Box 908, Saugus, MA 01906. Again, the deadline to submit your application is April 21, 2023.

Comedy at the Kowloon

  The Kowloon Restaurant has its latest comedy lineup set for the month and tonight will feature Jimmy Dunn (Friday, March 24) at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and show time is 8 p.m. at the Kowloon Restaurant on Route 1 North in Saugus. For tickets, call the Kowloon Restaurant at 781-233-0077

Bingo is back!

  The Kowloon Restaurant announced Bingo every Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Hong Kong Lounge. Prizes will be given away each week with a grand prize set at the finale in March.

A full Chinese gourmet spread is available during Bingo – featuring pupu platters, egg rolls, crab Rangoons, Saugus Wings, General Gau’s chicken, lobster sauce, fried scallops, lo mein, moo shi pork, salt and pepper calamari and sushi – along with a full bar menu, including the signature mai tais and scorpion bowls.

Celebrating the Saugus High band

  The Saugus Historical Society is planning its spring season of programs. A new exhibit opened in March. The exhibit features Saugus High School Band memorabilia from several time periods and some Color Day posters recently donated to the society. Anyone who was a band member at any time, or who had an ancestor who was a band member, is invited to share some of their memories. Please call Saugus Historical Society President Laura Eisener at 781-231-5988 to share your story.

  “We are looking for some anecdotes and stories from people involved in Saugus High School Band at any time,” Laura says. “The Historical Society is putting together a display of band uniforms, parents’ jackets, photos etc. which will be ready by the first meeting in the Spring,” she said.


Food Pantry notes

  The Saugus United Parish Food Pantry is open today (Friday, March 24) from 9:30-11 a.m.

Veterans bricks available

  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 for someone from your family, school, etc., the general pricing is $100 for a 4″ x 8″ brick (three lines) or $200 for an 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. 15 to ensure the bricks will be ready for Veterans Day. Please contact Corinne Riley at 781-231-7995 for more information and applications.

“Sketch Artist” taking a break

  The “Sketch Artist” is taking a well-deserved break while we search for sponsors for future sketches to anchor “The Sounds of Saugus” column.

  Any local restaurant, coffee shop or business that wishes to sponsor future sketches should contact The Saugus Advocate at mvoge@comcast.net. Over the past several years, sponsors have donated small gift certificates to award the winners of our “Guess Who Got Sketched” contest.

  Also, we are looking for suggestions from readers on Saugus residents who might be good subjects for future sketches by “The Sketch Artist.” If you have some ideas, please email them to mvoge@comcast.net, naming the person and key reasons why he or she contributes to the betterment of Saugus. The recurring theme throughout the work of “The Sketch Artist” is shining the light on positive people involved in positive activities in town

  “The Sketch Artist” is our local version of “a thousand points of life.” For those who don’t recall the origin of that phrase, it was coined by U.S. President George H.W. Bush. His speechwriters were credited with crafting the language that was used for Bush’s acceptance speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention. The speech characterized volunteerism in America as “a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.”

  After getting elected, Bush repeated his praise of volunteerism in his Jan. 20, 1989, inaugural address. “I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good,” the late former president said.

A “Shout Out” to SaugusTV

  We received no nominations from our readers this week on Saugus residents who deserve to be commended for their part in contributing to the betterment of Saugus. So, I will exercise some editorial discretion.

  In the seven years I have worked as editor of The Saugus Advocate, I have gotten to meet most of the staff of Saugus TV. I believe every one of the Saugus TV people I have met contribute to the enlightenment of Saugus residents who view local cable TV. I have enjoyed working with Saugus TV in the ongoing forums, “Saugus Over Coffee.” They’re doing a great job. During my time covering Selectmen, Town Meetings and other meetings held in the acoustically challenged second floor auditorium at Saugus Town Hall, I’ve often relied on viewing Vimeo on Saugus TV to get accurate quotes and watch meetings I was unable to get to.

  Hats off to Saugus TV!

  And I look forward to working with the staff to set up some political forums or debates involving the major offices in this year’s town elections.

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.

Run for a cause, run with the Y

  Join the Saugus Family YMCA’s Not a Walk in the Park 5k and help support your community. This family-friendly run/walk takes you through the beautiful scenery of Breakheart Reservation in Saugus. Registration includes post-race refreshments and prizes for runners in every age category. All proceeds support the YMCA of Metro North Annual Fund to provide access to YMCA child care, camp and health and wellness programs to everyone.

  Race Details: Saturday, April 22, 8:30 a.m. race start. Packet pick-up for preregistered runners: 7:00 a.m. Race Day registration: 7:00 a.m. Where: Breakheart Reservation – 177 Forest St., Saugus.

  Packet Pick-up: Friday, April 21, 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., Saugus Family YMCA, 298 Main St., Saugus.

  Race Features: Chip Timing by Bay State Race Services, post-race refreshments, awards to the top finishers in each age group, T-shirt guaranteed to those who register prior to April 7.

  The YMCA of Metro North Road Race Series raises funds for a variety of charitable activities that benefit our community. Participants in their four unique 5k races run or walk to support the YMCA of Metro North Annual Fund and raise money to provide access to YMCA childcare, camp and health and wellness programs for everyone. In 2022 the YMCA of Metro North provided more than 1.6 million dollars in financial aid – providing children, adults and families with opportunities to develop a healthy spirit, mind and body regardless of income.


Legion breakfasts on Friday mornings

  Saugus American Legion Post 210 hosts its popular breakfasts from 8-9 a.m. on Fridays. The Legion requests a donation of $8 from those who are looking for a delicious meal at Legion Hall. The Legion also welcomes veterans who can’t afford the meal to enjoy a free breakfast. Bon appétit!

Compost/Recycling Drop-Off Site Information

  The Town of Saugus Compost/Recycling Drop-Off Site is closed for the winter season. But the site will re-open for recycling on the third Saturday of the month weather permitting, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please contact Scott Brazis, Director of Solid Waste/Recycling at 781-231-4036 with any questions. For more information about the Town of Saugus, visit



Town of Saugus Announces CHaRM Center Recycling Drop-Off Site Open for Season – April 8, 2023

The Town of Saugus announces that the community’s Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) site will open on Saturday, April 15,2023.   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 Street.

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 accepted for recycling on site.

Additional acceptable items include: TVs and computers (up to three per year per address); car tires up to 22” (for a fee of $3).

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

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

Spring cleanup at Riverside Cemetery

  The Saugus Cemetery Department announced this week that the spring grounds cleanup will begin at Riverside Cemetery on Monday, April 3. The Cemetery Commission kindly asks members of the public to remove any personal and/or holiday/seasonal items from the grounds before the cleanup begins.

  All Veteran flags will be placed back on gravesites in May, prior to Memorial Day. For more information, please contact the Cemetery Department at 781-231-4170 or email Stacy Billingsley at sbillingsley@saugus-ma.gov.

What’s happening at the Saugus Public Library

  For schoolchildren looking for interesting projects and programs to participate in this fall, there’s plenty to do at the Saugus Public Library. There are some very good programs offered for grownups, too.

  Join our Teen Advisory Board: first Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Teen Room; Grades 5 and up; meet with the Teen Librarian once a month to talk about what you’d like for programs and materials at the library. Your opinion matters! No registration required. Snacks provided! sauguspubliclibrary.org – 781-231-4168

  Just Sew! Saugonians are welcome to join a monthly sewing class for adults that is held the third Monday of each month from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Saugus Public Library. The class covers basic topics like sewing buttons, hemming clothing and mending torn fabric and will move on to more advanced topics in the coming weeks. This class is free. (See sauguspubliclibrary.org.)

  A neat teen group called Manga & Anime Club: The Manga & Anime Club, from all accounts, is a lot of fun for kids in Grades 6 and up. So, if you are curious, check out the Teen Room. Chat with friends! Make crafts! Try Japanese snacks! Club meetings will continue on Saturdays, through May, from 10-11 a.m. They will be held on April 1 and May 13. Please sign up in advance; call 781-231-4168 or stop by the Reference Desk. (https://www.sauguspubliclibrary.org/new-manga-anime-club…/

First Baptist Church presents “Can We Talk…”

  First Baptist Church Pastor Leroy Mahoney invites troubled people to join others in a special program called “Can We Talk … Community conversations on Trauma and Healing” the first Thursday of every month from 6 to 7 p.m. at Rev. Isaac Mitchell Jr. Fellowship Hall (105 Main St. in Saugus). “Join us as we gather in community to share our stories, thoughts and feelings about whatever you are going through,” Rev. Mahoney states in a written announcement.

  “As always, it is a safe space to come together in community,” he says.

Scholarship available to Saugus High students

  Greater Lynn Senior Services (GLSS) is accepting applications from high school seniors through the Lique Human Services Scholarship. Two $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to students who have an interest in or are considering a career in human services and who have made an impact in their community or the world through community service. The Lique Human Services Scholarship will be awarded to two seniors who attend one of the eight high schools located in GLSS’ service area – including Saugus High School.

  The scholarship is named in memory of Vince Lique, the Agency’s long-time Executive Director, who devoted his career to helping others, particularly vulnerable senior citizens and people of all ages with disabilities, demanding that all people be treated with dignity and respect.

  “Vince’s legacy is firmly rooted in his compassion for people. He measured success by the quality of his service to and advocacy for others,” said Kathryn C. Burns, GLSS’ Chief Executive Officer. “I believe in Vince’s theory that one’s individual success is directly related to the benefits received by those around us. The Lique Human Services scholarship honors the man and his service by encouraging others to do the same.”

  Applications are available through each high school’s guidance office or can be completed online at www.glssnet/LiqueScholarship. Completed applications are due on or before Friday, April 7.

Healthy Students–Healthy Saugus

  (Editor’s Note: The following info is from an announcement submitted by Julie Cicolini, a member of the Board of Directors for Healthy Students-Healthy Saugus.)

  Who we are: Healthy Students-Healthy Saugus (HS2) is a nonprofit group of volunteers who are helping to offset food insecurity in households. HS2 provides students/families who enroll in the program a supply of nutritious food for when school lunches and breakfasts are unavailable to them on weekends.

  How HS2 can help you: HS2 bags are distributed at Saugus Public schools on Fridays to take home. Bags include such items as peanut butter, canned meals/soups/tuna/vegetables, pasta, fruit cups, cereal, oatmeal, goldfish, pretzels and granola bars. All food is provided to children free of charge. It is our hope these resources will support the health, behavior and achievement of every student who participates. To sign up go here to complete online form: https://forms.gle/gmMGguycSHBdziuE9

  Want to partner with us: We would love to partner with organizations, sports teams, youth groups, PTOs, businesses and individuals to assist in feeding students of Saugus. To learn more about how you can partner with us, visit the Healthy Students-Healthy Saugus Facebook page or email us at HS2Saugus@gmail.com

  HS2 relies on donations to create take-home bags for a weekend full of meals. Checks can also be sent directly to: Salem Five C/O Healthy Students-Healthy Saugus, 855-5 Broadway, Saugus, MA 01906. Online donations can also be made at https://givebutter.com/HealthySaugus

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 or 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

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 six and a half 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” interviewof 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 National Historic Site.

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