Good morning, Saugus!
Happy fall to all! Aside from the part where I have to spend about 10 hours or more raking and blowing leaves in my yard, the fall is my favorite season. I love to look at the foliage and I enjoy my long walks even more when I’m wearing sweatshirts instead of sweating as I do the miles on a hot summer day.
If you want to get into the fall spirit, there are a couple of nice local events that I can recommend. For starters, do plan to visit the “Pumpkin Patch” this weekend – on the lawn outside First Congregational Church in Saugus Center, looking across Hamilton Street toward Saugus Town Hall. Get in the autumn frame of mind by purchasing a pumpkin for a good cause.
And tomorrow morning (Saturday, Sept. 23) is a spectacle that happens every year – the unloading of “the Pumpkin Truck.” “The truck is on its way and left early yesterday [Tuesday, Sept. 19],” Pumpkin Patch coordinator Carl Spencer told me Wednesday night.
“If everything goes right, the truck should be here by 9 – rain or shine. So, people who want to help out should dress appropriately.”
Rain or shine, Carl is counting on a core of volunteers to show up and form a brigade from the back of the tractor trailer truck to neat little rows on the lawn where more than 3,000 pumpkins in all shapes and sizes will be placed. There will be kids from the Pioneer Charter School, Saugus High School and other local schools helping to unload the truck. There will also be representatives from the Boy Scouts, the Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies, Pop Warner and various youth leagues participating. Various charitable organizations, church groups and clubs will also be participating.
“If everything goes right, the truck will be here by 9 and it should take no more than three hours to empty the pumpkins,” Carl told me.
Another truckload of pumpkins will be arriving in three weeks to keep the Pumpkin Patch going until Halloween (Oct. 31).
This marks the 21st year of the Pumpkin Patch at Saugus Center. Saugus is one of many communities receiving pumpkins from the Navajo Reservation near Farmington, N.M., working with a program called Pumpkin Patch USA, which coordinates the destination of the pumpkins. The church and the Navajo Reservation both benefit from the pumpkins.
If you love mums, there’s another great event for you to check out this weekend – the 5th Annual Saugus Youth Soccer Mums Fall Fundraiser, down at Anna Parker Field at 124 Essex St., next to the Fire Station. Starting at 5 o’clock tonight (Friday, Sept. 22), mums of multi-colors – red, lavender, yellow, orange and white – will be sold. The mums will be on sale tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 23) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. And if they don’t sell out, they will be on sale Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Any questions, please contact Mary Migliore at 781-521-5081 or text her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jimmy Fund Crafts Fair on Sunday at the MEG
Sharon Genovese and her group – Sharon’s Sneaker Crew – is sponsoring a Jimmy Fund Crafts Fair on Sunday (Sept. 24) from 1 to 4 p.m. at the MEG Building (58 Essex St., Saugus). All the proceeds will be going to the Jimmy Fund.
This will be Sharon’s ninth year walking in the Dana-Farber Jimmy Fund Boston Marathon Walk. She began walking in 2014. Her friend Kristin Callahan joined her in 2017 and they started Sharon’s Sneaker Crew. Sharon’s son Matthew and friend Ben joined them in 2018 and 2019. This year, Matthew will walk for the third time, doing the 26.2 mile walk. Sharon and her son Bobby will walk in the 10K, and Kristin Callahan and Karen Speziale plan to walk the 5K.
For more information, you can call or text Sharon at 617-966-3475 or email her at email@example.com.
Food Pantry notes
The Saugus United Parish Food Pantry is open today (Friday, Sept. 22) 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, with breakfast served from 8-9:00 a.m. for an $8 donation. Veterans who cannot afford the donation may be served for free.
Special “Shout Outs”
We received multiple recommendations from our readers this week for “Shout Outs.” The more, the merrier!
The residents of Cliff Road and Anderson Way “would like to extend our thanks to Todd Champlain Excavating and his crew. The project that they were hired to do left us surprised and concerned. He listened to our concerns and complaints. He and his crew were professional, polite and accommodating. He made accommodations to ensure that appointments could be kept. When we had to leave our vehicles at Stackpole Field, he even had his crew carrying shopping bags to people’s homes on more than one occasion. He shuttled cars and even fixed a mailbox. This was all done without being asked. He left the street looking better when he left, not because of a new water system and road paved. Because of his personal touches and his motto to do the right thing. Our special thanks for the respect we all received by him and his whole crew.”
Editor’s Note: The concerns of Cliff Road and Anderson Way residents was the subject of a July 7 front-page story in The Saugus Advocate after they expressed dismay that they didn’t learn about the planned shutdown of their road for a water main project until just five days before the scheduled closing on July 5. But Champlain told The Saugus Advocate that he decided to postpone the start of the project a week because he didn’t think it was proper to begin the project just days before the July 4 holiday. In an interview with the newspaper, Champlain said he planned to address all of the neighbors’ concerns. And based on this shout-out, it looks like he did.
Kim Calla, a Stocker Street resident: “I’d like to give a special ‘shout out’ to those associated with the Saugus Little League program. They need to be recognized for their dedication, time and effort. The Stocker Field/Playground looks beautiful. They are currently running a Fall ball program. (I believe it’s a first of its kind for Saugus Little League) It’s heartwarming to see the children and their families using Stocker Field/Playground as it should be. Thank you, Saugus Little League, for efforts in building back this program to what it used to be.”
Debbie Faust, Building Manager, American Legion Post 210: “American Legion Post 210 would like to ‘shout out’ all those whose hard work makes each new Founder’s Day such a success, in good weather or not-so-good weather. We also appreciate the townspeople’s support both in bidding on our American flag afghan, and of our annual raffle of scratch cards, which this year were won by Peter Manoogian.”
Neil Farren, of 43 School St.: “A ‘Shout Out’ for Town Manager Scott Crabtree! I reported a tree fell across the brook behind my property, The Town Manager not only viewed the property, but it was all cleaned up within a few days. A serious flood issue was avoided!”
Corinne Riley: “The Saugus War Monument Committee would like to thank all that purchased bricks to help with the upkeep and future improvements to the monument. Installation and dedication of the bricks will be held during the Veterans Day Ceremony at Veterans Park on November 11th. Although the window has closed on orders this year, information for next year’s orders will be available again in the Spring of 2024.”
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Town Election Watch
The countdown is on for the biennial town election – set for Nov. 7. There are only six more editions after today until the election. I’m making comprehensive coverage of the candidates and the issues my top priority for the next six editions after today. At the moment, I am in talks with Saugus TV, in hopes of arranging several candidate debates or forums to better educate the voters about the major issues being debated in the context of this year’s political campaign. Like the previous three town election campaigns I have covered since taking over as editor of The Saugus Advocate in March 2016, we will be dedicating “The Advocate Asks” column to questioning the Board of Selectmen and School Committee candidates about important issues which concern them. We will also take a closer look at the Charter Commission and the Housing Authority races as well as the 10 Town Meeting races.
One thing I discovered from doing the “Saugus Over Coffee” forums is that a lot of folks don’t even know or have never met their town meeting members in the precinct where they live. It seems to be a name recognition thing where an incumbent candidate has a decided advantage over a challenger.
There are 21 challengers this year seeking election to Town Meeting. If I were a challenger, I would check out the “Saugus Over Coffee” forum for the precinct I want to represent and I would make note of who showed and who didn’t and also take an inventory of the issues discussed as relevant in my precinct.
Then, I would type a one-page letter introducing myself to folks, highlighting my education and family background and summing up why I want to represent my neighbors at Town Meeting. I would buy a street list from the Town Clerk’s Office at Town Hall, study it to get familiar with the main streets in my precinct and then go for a few walks in my neighborhood, knocking on doors and handing out the one-page flier and letting folks know why I am serious about winning their vote. It seems to me that would be the formula to get an enthusiastic challenger elected.
Town Meeting is really the bedrock of Saugus Town government. In an ideal world, the five members who represent each precinct would be collaborating on issues as they arise in their neighborhood and make a point of briefing the Board of Selectmen on those important neighborhood issues. A citizen who seeks help from town government on a problem or neighborhood issue should start out by contacting his or her Town Meeting members. They are listed on the Town of Saugus Website under the Town Clerk section. If a selectman fields phone calls from several Town Meeting members about a neighborhood problem, he or she is definitely going to listen. And more effective would be for a group of Town Meeting members showing up to speak during one of the two public comment sessions at each Board of Selectmen meeting. The visit, of course, should be a follow-up to a letter signed by several Town Meeting members asking the board to address a neighborhood concern.
In addition to approving the town budget, passing zoning regulations, approving various articles and being a part of studies of town-wide issues – like a West Side Fire Station – a conscientious Town Meeting member should be accessible to their constituents, the people who voted for him or her. So, if any one of those 21 challengers – some of them former Town Meeting members – wants to get elected, they can be successful if they do their homework. And part of that involves networking in the neighborhoods they represent and letting the voters know they are going to be there for them if they need help at Town Hall.
“Saugus Over Coffee” accomplished its goal
It looks like the “Saugus Over Coffee” forum has achieved its primary goal: elevating the citizen interest and candidate participation in the upcoming Town Meeting races.
During the forums, I have made a point of letting folks know that in the town election two years ago Town Meeting candidates got elected without opposition in half of the town’s 10 precincts (1, 2, 3, 6 and 7). If the Town Clerk’s Office certifies the signatures on the nomination papers submitted by Town Meeting candidates this week, nobody will get elected to the Town Meeting without facing some opposition in their respective races. In fact, three of the precincts (1, 2, 3) are among the most competitive after having zero competition two years ago. The four incumbents running in Precinct 2 face opposition from four challengers. The five incumbents running in 1 and 2 face two challengers in their respective races.
Meanwhile, there are three precincts which have a lone challenger (5, 6 and 7) against the five incumbents. More would be better. But at least, voters have a choice on who they want to represent them.
It’s too bad that there are only six candidates running in Precinct 7 because no Town Meeting members appeared for that “Saugus Over Coffee” forum. And that angered residents who showed up to meet their Town Meeting members.
The final “Saugus Over Coffee” forum is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23, in the Community Room of the Saugus Public Library and will feature Precinct 10.
For those Saugus residents who are 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. 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.
Stay tuned for more information as “Saugus Over Coffee” continues. 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). 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.
For loss of loved ones and pets
Rev. Ed Bernard, an associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Saugus, will be offering two grief/bereavement information and discussion groups through the Saugus YMCA this fall. The first group will be a one and one-half hour session dealing with the loss of a pet. The second one involves four one-hour group meetings dealing with the loss of a loved one. There is no charge for either program. The pet group will be co-facilitated with a bereavement counselor from a local hospice. Rev. Bernard is a certified health care chaplain. He can be reached at 508-245-8885.
Fall concerts at the Kowloon
The Kowloon Restaurant, located at 948 Broadway, Route 1 North, Saugus, continues its outdoor concert series with a post-hurricane lineup, including:
The Rockery: “A high-energy music group,” live on September 22.
Earl On Earth, whom critics call, “An indie rock artist band,” playing live on September 29.
Different Strokez: hailed “A powerhouse group in the Boston music scene,” live on September 30.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and the shows start at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for reserved seating are $10 and general admission is free. For tickets, call the Kowloon Restaurant at 781-233-0077 or access online: www.kowloonrestaurant.com
It’s been years since Saugus has had a Chamber of Commerce promoting its economic, cultural and historic assets in town. To fill part of the void, Selectman Corinne Riley spearheaded “Saugus 4-1-1” last October. It was such a success that Riley and others involved with the event are planning the Second Annual Saugus 4-1-1 for Saturday, Oct. 14, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Saugus Middle-High School Complex at 1 Pearce Memorial Dr. The event is tailored for new residents as well as established Saugonians.
“Take in everything there is to find out about our town,” declares a postcard-sized promotion that circulated Saugus Center. “Learn about non-profit, youth sports and clubs you or your family may be interested in, town information, Senior Center, Library Groups, Houses of Worship, School District information.”
Tours of the complex will be available. The Lion’s Club will have its eyemobile there. For further information or questions, please email Saugus411@gmail.com
Saugus Cultural Council Seeking Funding Proposals
Educational, artistic and community-engagement project organizers in Saugus and neighboring residents are encouraged to apply for a part of the $14,900 funding the Saugus Cultural Council has received from the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, to award in a local cultural council (LCC) grant. The deadline to submit an application for a local cultural council grant is October 17. These grants can support a variety of activities in Saugus, including exhibits, classes, festivals, field trips, short-term artist residencies, performances in schools, workshops and lectures. Previously funded Saugus Cultural Council projects include Saugus Concerts at the Iron Works, classical music concerts at the Saugus Public Library, school field trips to the Boston Tea Party Museum and North Shore Music Theater, passes for the Museum of Science, various workshops for children, adults and seniors, and numerous other activities and performances throughout the region.
Applicants are encouraged to refer to the Mass Cultural Council Website to learn more about the MCC LCC Program Guidelines, and view the Saugus Cultural Council’s priorities at https://massculturalcouncil.org/local-council/saugus/. Contact the Saugus Cultural Council at email@example.com for more information or questions before submitting.
Upcoming Fall events at Breakheart
The state Department of Conservation & Recreation has released the following listing of events at Breakheart Reservation this fall.
Full Moon Hike: Thursday, September 28, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Join us for a moonrise hike while we talk about the importance of the full moon, moon cycles and phases. There will be campfire fun and activities. This program is for adults and families with children eight years old and up. Bring a flashlight and dress appropriately! Registration is required; please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Easy Like a Sunday Morning Hike: Join the park interpreter for this weekly guided hike! Each trip will highlight natural and historic features that make Breakheart unique. Hikes will be moderately paced and range from two to three miles over sometimes uneven and rocky terrain. Best for ages eight years and up. Meet at the Visitor Center. Heavy rain cancels. Wednesdays: October 4 and 11, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Step Into the Past: Join our park interpreter on a guided hike to discover the site’s history. Topics and routes vary throughout the season. Hikes are approximately 2.5 miles, moderate difficulty, along rocky trails, with several stops – best for adults and older children with a keen interest in history. Meet outside the Visitor Center. Rain cancels. October 5 and 12, 10 a.m.-11 a.m.
Breakheart Birding Club: Help our park interpreter identify and count the many different birds that visit Breakheart! Take part in this worldwide project to document the distribution, abundance and movements of thousands of species of birds. Binoculars are encouraged but not necessary. First time birders welcome! Best for adults and older children. Meet outside the Visitor Center. Rain cancels. Fridays: September 22 and October 6 and 13, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Kidleidoscope: Come join our park interpreter for a story time and nature walk! Complete a small craft and explore the woods! Walks are gently paced and approximately one mile, though not accessible for strollers; appropriate for families with children three to five years old. Meet at the Visitor Center. Saturdays: September 23 and October 7, 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Family Fishing at Camp Nihan: Join our park interpreter for a drop-in fishing program! Learn how to fish, what fish live in our ponds and how to catch and release responsibly. Bait and a handful of rods will be provided, but feel free to bring your own gear and share your tips! No license required if fishing in this program. Appropriate for families with children five years and older. Meet at Camp Nihan; follow signs once you’re there. Rain cancels.
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.
“Sketch Artist” exhibit: This month’s art exhibit in the Reading Room features the Saugonian Luminaries of 2021, done by the Saugus Advocate Sketch Artist in the “Guess Who Got Sketched” series. For the past three years, Saugus’ only newspaper ran a weekly sketch done by the formerly secret sketch artist – unveiled this year as Joanie Allbee. These sketches depict, describe and honor prominent Saugonians. Each week, The Advocate publishes one of these works in its pages and invites readers to guess who the subject is. The accolades on each artwork provide clues for the reader to identify the subject of the sketch. Readers could guess the identity of the portrait subject and there would be a drawing from the correct answers – the person whose name was drawn would receive an award – usually a gift card to a local business.
Stop by the Library’s Reading Room this month to see a sampling of sketches you might remember from past issues of The Advocate and to help celebrate some of our good friends and neighbors!
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)
Calling all Teen Club Readers: Lisa LeJeune, Young Adult/Reference Librarian, invites members of the Teen Club to meet once a month to discuss a teen graphic novel. Interested club members can pick up copies of the book at the Main Desk. Club meetings will be held on the last Tuesday of the month, starting Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 5-5:30 p.m. in the Teen Room. Grade 5 and up – to sign up, please call 781-231-4168, come in or sign up using the library’s Online Events Calendar. The first book will be “Pumpkinheads” by Rainbow Rowell.
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)
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).
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 National Historic Site.