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The Sounds of Saugus

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By Mark E. Vogler


Good morning, Saugus!


Thank you to all the kind folks who called or emailed me to wish me well as I prepared for a medical procedure yesterday (Thursday, Aug. 24). I am nearing the end of the first week of my two-week vacation. Besides tending to some health issues, I’ve been tackling some projects around the house, relaxing and getting some rest before I return for the final third of the year.

I am looking forward to covering the biennial town election, which is just a couple of weeks away from the formal political campaign. Candidates for the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee, the Housing Authority, the Charter Commission and Town Meeting have up until 5 p.m. on Sept. 19 to submit their nomination papers to the Town Clerk’s Office. Soon after, we’ll know who’s running for what and which political races will be hotly contested.

I will be returning from vacation on Sept. 5, the Tuesday after Labor Day, just in time for a Board of Selectmen’s meeting that night. As in past years, readers and public officials should still feel free to email me any notices, announcements or news tips during the period I will be off. And I will make sure that the information is passed on to our home office in Everett.


Get Ready for Founders Day

One event I’m looking forward to soon after my return is Founders Day, which is set for Saturday, Sept. 9. Hopefully, the weather cooperates so folks can enjoy a special Saturday down at Saugus Center.

It’s the biggest fund-raising day of the year for many of the nonprofit organizations in town. Central Street will be closed off from the rotary at Town Hall nearly all the way up to the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site. The place will be swarming with school-age kids trying to raise money for their various causes. The Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, Youth sports leagues and High School students seeking contributions to various clubs and activities will all be there. So will various churches, social organizations and various fraternal groups that contribute to the betterment of Saugus in their own way. For Saugus residents hoping to see their friends or newcomers to town who want to make some friends, Founders Day is a great event.

Joyce Rodenhiser has a good way of summing up Founders Day: “Founders Day is a great time to see old friends and classmates! It’s a big block party with lots of food, fun, civic organizations, entertainment and shopping. Join us downtown to see what’s happening!!”

Joyce, who is a member of the Founders Day “Persons of the Year Committee,” also noted that it’s important to not lose sight of the purpose of Founders Day – to honor the town’s proud heritage of its founders – from the town’s ancestors who contributed to the development of the town all the way through the contemporary founders who contribute to the betterment of Saugus. “At noon time, in front of our Saugus Town Hall, on Founders Day, the Persons of the Year will be announced! Come, see who has been helping Saugus be a better place because of what they have done voluntarily for Saugonians and organizations,” Joyce said.

The Persons of the Year presentation is a Founders Day tradition that dates back to 1989, with that first award going to Stanley Day. In 1993, separate awards were presented to a woman and a man selected for the honor. The plaque is inscribed with this tribute: “In Recognition of Your Dedication to The Town of Saugus. This Award Truly Exemplifies the Outstanding Ideals and Spirit of Our Founding Fathers. THE TOWN OF SAUGUS SALUTES YOU.” Other than for two years when the presentation was postponed because of public health concerns related to COVID-19, this wonderful tradition has continued.

Past recipients of the award have already met and selected a deserving man and woman for this year, who will be honored at noon. Most of the living past recipients will sit in chairs on a platform set up on the steps of Saugus Town Hall. For those Saugonians who attend Founders Day frequently, but haven’t taken the time to watch the Persons of the Year ceremony, it’s a great opportunity to meet and greet a collection of special people who have helped make Saugus a community that residents expect and love. If you go to Founders Day, embrace the essence of what the day is about.

See you near the steps of Saugus Town Hall at noon on Sept. 9


Food Pantry notes:

The Saugus United Parish Food Pantry is open today (Friday, Aug. 25) from 9:30-11 a.m.).


Saugus High Band exhibit on display tomorrow

Jack Klecker will be holding an open house for the band exhibit tomorrow (Saturday, August 26) from 12-3 at 30 Main St. in Saugus. The exhibit showcases uniforms and photos from the Saugus High School Band, which has long been a proud institution in Saugus. The band – first formed in 1937 – became renowned under the direction of Jerome Mitchell, who was the music director for many decades. In late fall 2022, the auditorium at the new school was named the Lemoine-Mitchell auditorium after him and beloved drama teacher Nancy Lemoine.


Town Election Watch

The nine Charter Commission seats that will be on the Nov. 7 town election ballot continue to draw the most interest among potential candidates pulling nomination papers from the Town Clerk’s Office. As of Wednesday (Aug. 23), eight more town residents had pulled papers for the Town Charter Commission, increasing the overall total to 13. They included Precinct 8 Town Meeting Member Thomas Traverse, Lori Gallivan, Arthur Grabowski, Precinct 9 Town Meeting Member Judy Worthley, Eugene Decareau, Donald Cicolini, Precinct 2 Town Meeting Member Peter Rossetti Jr. and James Russo.

Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Debra Panetta pulled papers for selectman. School Committee member Leigh Gerow pulled papers for another term. Town Democratic Committee Chair Joseph Malone pulled papers for one of the five seats as a Precinct 2 Town Meeting member.

Nothing is official yet. Each of these candidates may run or decide not to. They have about three weeks – up until 5 p.m. Sept. 19 – to submit nomination papers to the Town Clerk’s Office for certification of signatures. Fifty certified signatures of registered voters are required for the Board of Selectmen, School Committee, the Housing Authority and the nine-member Charter Commission. Only 10 certified signatures of registered voters are required for Town Meeting, but each of the signatures must be from registered voters in the candidate’s precinct.

Sept. 15 is the final day to obtain nomination papers – just four days before the filing deadline.

Stay tuned.


Special “Shout Outs”

We had no nominations from readers for “Shout Outs” this week. With a new school year set to begin on Tuesday (Aug. 29), let’s show some appreciation for the faculty and staff of Saugus Public Schools – particularly Acting Superintendent Michael Hashem, who continues to preside over a challenged school system indefinitely, filling in for Superintendent Erin McMahon, who has been on paid administrative leave since January, pending the outcome of an investigation into alleged misconduct. Hashem, who gave up his administrative post as Saugus High Principal to return to his first love as a math teacher in June 2021, would prefer to be in the classroom. He deserves tremendous respect and praise for putting his professional goals aside to help his hometown school district through troubled waters. This isn’t the first time Hashem has pitched in to help. He was in his third year as principal of Saugus High School in 2016 when he offered to accept the role of interim superintendent and later acting superintendent before the School Committee hired Dr. David DeRuosi, Jr. Hashem, who has spent more than three decades in Saugus Public Schools, is viewed by school officials as a stabilizing force, and Saugus is lucky to have him.


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.


We have a winner!

Congratulations to Shirley Bogdan, whose name was drawn in last Friday’s Sketch of the Week Contest. Shirley was one of several readers who guessed correctly. But there can only be one winner of the $10 gift certificate.

Now here is the answer – provided by the Saugus resident who goes by the nickname of “The Sketch Artist”: “The answer to last week’s sketch is D.A.R. Regent Gail Cassarino! Gail is a woman of great compassion. Gail has lived her whole life in Saugus and was born in Saugus General Hospital and graduated Class of ‘72’.

“She celebrates over 48 plus years of marriage to her husband Anthony. They have four children and now have eight grandchildren.

“Gail is retired from Verizon and Comm. of Mass. This Saugonian has volunteered for countless Saugus organizations & Events … to name a few, she served as a Co-President for Evans school PTO as well as one of the first to be on the Board of the Saugus PTO Collaborative Board. Gail played Santa for 12 years at the Evans School for the Holiday Stroll event, volunteered many hours at Little League Baseball, Youth Hockey and Pop Warner as the Team Mom, Served on the Saugus High Alumni Association as the Financial Secretary for the past ten years, Mayflower Society member (maybe we are related somewhere along the ancestral line because my ancestors are Soule, Cooke, and Warren of the Mayflower) … Saugus Historical Society and she volunteers on the Board of several other organizations as well as Regent of Parson Roby Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) and she has been a member since 2020.

“Gail’s picture frequently shows up in The Saugus Advocate in various volunteer positions of outreach. See the photo in the June 2, 2023 edition showing Gail in costume distributing miniature flags to the Memorial Day parade route crowd. She appears again in a photo accompanying an Aug. 11 article titled ‘New Life for a Saugus Landmark.’ The photo captures D.A.R. Regent Gail putting a fresh coat of paint to a 93-year-old Historical land marker.

“One of the sketches featured Regent Gail at our D.A. R. meeting signing papers, The other, in the dress from Memorial Day Parade as she went about joyfully greeting crowds and passing out the American Flag.

“Once again, Gail’s strong commitment and patriotism was easily seen after marching in the Parade and at the Memorial Day Service. While some were in shorts and sweating from the unrelenting heat and complaining, Gail was in the full head to toe heavy period dress and stood respectfully covering a soldier’s grave to remember those who gave their life for our freedom.

“Gail’s favorite quote is ‘Only you can create your own happiness – choose to be happy today’ Gail is often heard stating ‘I love my Town and the people in it.’ Gail describes herself ‘as a Saugonian through and through.’

“Gail Cassarino keep on being the magnificent authentic light that you share so freely with the world through your service and beautiful genuine smile. Thank you.

“Yours Truly,

“The Sketch Artist”


“Saugus Over Coffee”

The next “Saugus Over Coffee” forum is set for 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 in the Community Room of the Saugus Public Library and will feature Precinct 9.

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.

One of my major hopes for the forums is that it spurs an interest in citizens to become potential candidates for Town Meeting in this fall’s town election. 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 9 – Sept. 11; Precinct 10 – Oct. 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.


One more Summer Concert at the Saugus Iron Works

The Saugus Public Library and the National Park Service are proud to bring another summer of music to the Saugus Iron Works. These free, weekly concerts are open to the public and begin at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays through August 30. There is one more concert to close out our 2023 lineup: August 30: Memorylaners (50s, 60s, 70s).

Bring chairs or a blanket and a picnic! Enjoy a summer evening at the Iron Works with great music and friends!


Healthy Students-Healthy Saugus (HS2) is back

The Healthy Students-Healthy Saugus (HS2) Program has returned for the 23-24 School Year!

The nonprofit organization will begin service starting on Friday, Sept. 22, and continue during the school year. HS2 volunteers help to offset food insecurity in households by providing a supply of nutritious food for when school lunches and breakfasts are unavailable to them on weekends. How HS2 works:

  • HS2 bags are distributed at Saugus Public Schools on Fridays to take home to anyone that signs up. 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.
  • There is no qualification needed.

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

Feel free to email HS2Saugus@gmail.com for additional information.


Founder’s Day Book Sale

The New Friends of the Saugus Public Library are preparing for their September 9 Founders Day Book Sale in the Community Room. They are asking for donations of gently used adult hardcover and softcover adult fiction and children’s books. Please limit donations to only adult fiction and children’s books; they do not have storage space for adult nonfiction or media like music CDs and DVDs. And please… clean and newer books only. No tattered pages, odors, stains or battered/dirty covers!

Books may be dropped off at the Library’s Main Circulation Desk during business hours. Please do not place donations in the outdoor book drops.


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.

  Snakes of New England: Snakes of New England – and the World! On Monday, August 28, at 10:30 a.m. at the Iron Works! Meet some amazing snakes presented by Rick Roth of Cape Ann Vernal Ponds. All outdoor events at the Iron Works are subject to change due to the weather. Please check the online event calendar on the morning of the event for updates.

  Tween and Teen Crafts & Snacks! August 25; crafts from 10-11 a.m. in the Brooks Room; fifth through 12th grades. No registration necessary, just come by and bring your friends! Attendees could be making bracelets, clay animals, flower prints, earbud holders, wizard wands, mini light sabers and fabric bookmarks and doing some cookie decorating.

  Join our Teen Advisory Board: first Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Teen Room; fifth grade 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 6:30-7:30 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)

  “Sketch Artist” exhibit: This month’s exhibit in the Reading Room features the Saugonian luminaries of 2020, done by the Saugus Advocate Sketch Artist in the “Guess Who Got Sketched” series. Portraits of individuals from Saugus (and one special location) who were featured in The Saugus Advocate during the unprecedented events of COVID-19 during 2020 are up on display. Saugus’ only newspaper has been running a sketch each week done by the formerly secret sketch artist – unveiled this year as Joanie Allbee. Readers can guess the identity of the portrait subject and there is a drawing from the correct answers. The person whose name is drawn receives an award, usually a gift card to a local business.

  Adult Coloring Group: Come relax with our continuing Adult Coloring Group. It’s a great opportunity to take time to unwind, be creative and have fun – no experience necessary! We have pencils and coloring pages ready and waiting… See you there! Space is limited; please call to register (781-231-4168 x 3106). The next session is Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 10 a.m. in the Brooks Room on the second floor of the library.


Legion Breakfasts returning soon

Debbie Faust, building manager of Saugus American Legion Post 210, announced this week some good news for folks who enjoy the Friday morning breakfasts at Legion Hall: “The American Legion Post 210 at 44 Taylor Street in Saugus will be starting its weekly Friday morning breakfasts for the 2023-24 season on Friday, September 8. Doors open at 7:30, with breakfast served from 8-9:00 a.m. for an $8 donation. Veterans who cannot afford the donation may be served free.”


Veterans Food Market

  The Veterans Food Market will always be held on the third Wednesday of each month. The distribution point is at the Saugus Senior Center. The food market will take place from 10:30 to noon each month. The next Veterans Food Market is Wednesday, August 16, 2023. ln order to ensure that we have the proper amount of food and to avoid waste, we are no longer going to make telephone calls to clients to confirm their monthly participation. lf you are on our list, we are going to assume that you will be attending. We would ask that you contact us one week in advance if you will not be participating. lf you no-show twice without notifying us, you may be dropped from our list and may not be able to participate in the future. Veterans and/or eligible dependents of Veterans must be preregistered with the Saugus Veterans’ Services Office to participate in the food market.

PIease feel free to contact the Saugus Veterans’ Service Officer, Paul Cancelliere, or Nancy Stead at 781-231-4010 or email nstead@sauqus-ma.gov to register or with any additional questions.


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. 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 shu pork, salt & pepper calamari and sushi – along with a full bar menu, including the signature mai tais and scorpion bowls.


CHaRM facility is open

  The CHaRM facility will be open during the summer 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 of Saugus accepts checks only for payment of the $25. 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 will accept grass clippings, leaves and brush. As in years past, no branches or limbs larger than three inches in diameter are permitted.

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


The Saugus Cultural Council seeks help

The Saugus Cultural Council is recruiting new members. If you have a passion for arts, education, community engagement and building an inclusive community, feel free to apply. Please send a letter of interest and brief resume to the Saugus Board of Selectmen. The Saugus Cultural Council is a local agency funded by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency. For more information, please contact saugusculturalcouncil@gmail.com.


Saugus Democratic Town Committee seeks new members

The Saugus Democratic Town Committee currently has openings for new members. The primary function of the Committee is the selection and support of Democratic candidates for office both locally and at the state level. It also works to support voter education and voter registration. If you are a registered Democratic living in Saugus and are interested in playing an active role in the political process in Saugus as a Democrat, contact Committee Chairman Joe Malone at lincoln66in56@verizon.net.


Sharon’s Sneaker Crew is back

Sharon Genovese and her group – Sharon’s Sneaker Crew – will be walking on Oct. 1 in the Boston Marathon Dana-Farber Jimmy Fund Walk. The crew will also be sponsoring a craft fair in September. All the proceeds will be going to the Jimmy Fund. If you need more information, you can call or text Sharon at 617-966-3475 or email her at sunkin1@aol.com.


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 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.


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.


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.


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 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” 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 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.

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