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The Sounds of Saugus

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Hats off to the Saugus High Class of 2022

Let’s hope the weather cooperates tonight as 165 graduating seniors will make history at Saugus High School’s 151st commencement exercises. This will mark the first time that the Christie Serino, Jr. Athletic Sports Complex will host a graduation ceremony.

An interesting statistic released this week by Saugus Public Schools is that 63 of the 132 students who will continue post-secondary education are First Generation College Students – 48 percent. So, close to half of the families of those college-bound students will get to experience an unprecedented level of academic achievement.

This class of graduates, like the previous two (2020 and 2021), has been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, so the level of scholastic success they achieved should be appreciated even more.

I look forward tonight to getting a chance to meet and talk to as many Sachem graduates as I can.

And best wishes to the seniors as they begin the next phases of their lives in whatever endeavors and career paths they choose. Take time tonight to enjoy your final hours as a student body. And look ahead into the future with high expectations and dreams. Make your families proud. Make Saugus proud. Be the best you can be in whatever you choose as your future profession or occupation.

Go Sachems!

There is going to be at least one more baseball game for Saugus High School. They finished their regular season 10-10, good enough to qualify for the state tournament. They are scheduled to play Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (11-9) tomorrow at 5 p.m. in a game that will be hosted at World Series Park, here in Saugus. World Series Park Superintendent Bob Davis says this will be only the second time in the 18 years of the park’s existence that a state tournament game will be hosted locally.

So, if you love baseball and have the time, go root for the hometown team tomorrow afternoon. Cheer on the Sachems for at least one more time.

Strawberry Festival and Plant Sale – June 18

The Saugus Historical Society will hold its annual Strawberry Festival at the Legion Hall on June 18 in conjunction with the Saugus Garden Club Plant Sale. Old-fashioned strawberry shortcake will be served in the American Legion Hall (44 Taylor St.) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., along with hot dogs, chips and drinks. Shortcakes are $5.00 each and can be eaten on the premises or taken out. Hot dogs are $2; water or soda, $1 each. The Garden Club Plant Sale will be held on the Roby School lawn from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and there will be several craft vendors, including jewelry, hair products and many other items of interest. Authors Alison Simcox and Doug Heath will have signed copies of their books “Murder at Breakheart Hill Farm” and “Breakheart Reservation” for sale.

The Historical Society is still looking for anyone willing to help serve shortcakes for a short time during the festival day. A few table spaces for vendors are still available.

For additional information, please contact Laura Eisener by phone (791-231-5988) or email (LDELD@shore.net).

Adult Coloring Group at Library

Denise Hills, the reference librarian at the Saugus Public Library, says the library is looking for some creative Saugus senior citizens to join the library’s continuing Adult Coloring Group. “It’s a great opportunity to take time to unwind, be creative, and have fun,” Denise wrote in an email this week. “No experience necessary! We have pencils and coloring pages ready and waiting … See you there! Spaces limited, please call to register 781-231-4168 X 16.”

Anyone interested should plan on heading to the library next Wednesday (June 8) at 10 a.m., at 295 Central St., Saugus, Brooks Room (2nd floor).

A half century of newspaper journalism

Sometime in the fall, I will have reached the 50-year mark of my newspaper career. It was back in 1972 during my sophomore year at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst that I began working weekends and part-time for the Northampton Bureau of The Springfield Union. It was a great situation to be in, as by the time I graduated in 1974, I already had two years of professional reporting experience under my belt – including a portfolio of page one byline stories for one of the largest daily newspapers in Massachusetts.

Now, nearly 50 years later, I’m still writing stories while many of my college friends and associates who started out in the newspaper business are long gone. Not sure when I’ll be joining them in retirement, whether it’s going to be five more months or five more years. I guess my personal health and/or the financial health of the newspaper business will help to determine that retirement date.

Tough days are ahead for the newspaper business. Many papers are going from print to an online format. Not sure I want to have any part of that. If and when that time comes, I’ll probably be doing something else. I never did aspire to become a Facebook or social media scribe.

I’ve had to adapt to a lot of technological changes in my career since I broke in on the portable typewriter and skilled wordsmiths set the type. At the Northampton bureau, I pasted my typewritten pages together, put it in a plastic sleeve and inserted it into a machine that essentially photographed my story and transmitted it over a phone line to Springfield, where the typesetters took over. In my first job after college (the Bridgton correspondent for the Portland Press Herald), I handed my typed stories and film in an envelope to a courier who dropped them off in Portland. If I had to file a story on deadline, I dictated my story over the telephone to a rewrite man in Portland. For a few years, I had to work with an IBM Selectric typewriter that typed codes along with the letters and fed the story into a computer. That was a royal pain, because you had to write flawless, error-free stories and had to use a lot of whiteout for when you did make mistakes. While working at the Williamsburg, Va., bureau for the Newport News Daily Press, I got to file stories online by going on the teletype machine.

It was sometime in the early 1980s when I got to work on various computers as they evolved. Some of them were portable and hooked up to a telephone and were the size of suitcases, not as compact as the laptops that reporters use nowadays.

These days, I prefer to use my Dell two-in-one desktop computer over the laptop. I’d rather use a legal pad to take notes while the young reporters these days enjoy their laptops and writing the stories on deadline as they cover their night meetings.

Oh, how the world of newspapering has changed dramatically over my five decades as a reporter. And sadly, how the newspaper staffs that once had education reporters, court reporters, police reporters, environmental reporters, business reporters and City Hall or Town Hall reporters working their own beats now have fewer people handling more reporting responsibilities – and spread way too thin. They call it progress. I call it the demise of the newspaper business.

Wayne’s weight loss

People around Saugus keep asking how my older brother Wayne – the retired school teacher living in a Swansea assisted living residence – is doing. I’m happy to report that Wayne continues to shed the pounds in a healthy way and has finally dropped under the 300 pound mark, thanks to the collaborative efforts of his primary care physician – Dr. Mark A. Ringiewicz of Swansea – and his nutritionist, Dr. Jessica Inwood of Fall River.

A few weeks ago, I took Wayne for his quarterly appointment at Dr. Inwood’s office. “I think you crushed it!” Dr. Jessica told my brother, reflecting on his latest progress in the battle of the waistline.

Wayne weighed in at 296.6, which is still heavy – but a heck of a lot lighter than the 377 he weighed back on Oct. 5, 2020, at Dr. Ringiewicz. Not wanting to see my brother’s weight balloon into 400, I requested Dr. R. to refer him to a nutritionist and see if there was any way to reverse the unhealthy trend.

Twenty months later, Dr. Jessica is confident that Wayne’s been doing a great job at it. “He’s lost over 20 percent of his starting weight,” she noted at his last appointment.

Whatever she’s doing, it is working. Her strategy is to get rid of the carbohydrates and get him to focus on proteins, with not as much emphasis on the fat. Cutting out the pasta, bread, high-sugar foods and drinks, potatoes, dairy products and pastries seems to be working wonders for Wayne as he moves toward his target weight goal of 270 – a weight he probably hasn’t seen since his high school/college football days when he played offensive lineman.

But I still have to play the heavy and make sure Wayne doesn’t go off of his diet and squander the great health gains he’s made. Stay tuned.

Want to help make a better Library?

The Saugus Board of Selectmen is accepting applications for appointments to the Saugus Library Board of Trustees. This is a volunteer/nonpaid position for Saugus residents. Those interested may submit a letter of interest/resume no later than June 1 to the Saugus Board of Selectmen, Saugus Town Hall, 298 Central Street, Suite 4, Saugus, MA 01906.

Compost site now open

The community’s compost site will be 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.

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 $25.00. 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 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.

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Louise Rees for making the right identification in last week’s “Guess Who Got Sketched” contest. She was one of several readers answering correctly, but she was the only one to have her name picked in a drawing from the green Boston Red Sox cap.

Here’s the correct answer, offered by the person who goes by the name of The Sketch Artist:

“The answer to last week’s sketch is of a woman who made History!

Billie Jean Farrell ‘BJ’ is an exceptionally remarkable woman and First woman Commander of the USS Constitution!

“Commander BJ of the USS Constitution, our first woman of the ship in all its 224- years of Old Ironsides history!

“Cheers for the foresight of Retired U.S. Navy Captain Steve Castinetti, for booking ahead of schedule for Commander BJ Farrell!

“Commander BJ graciously accepted to be our Saugus Memorial Day parade Grand Marshal and Keynote speaker!

“Saugus Advocate Editor Mark E. Vogler covered Commander ‘BJ’ Farrell in two articles, one in March 11 ‘A Once-in-a-lifetime-event’ article front page & page 15 and May 27th ‘Rain or Shine, history will be made’ page 3 & 6.

“Both of these articles cover Commander Billie Jean’s Biography and her incredible high achievements and accomplishments. Stated in the May 27th article page 6 ‘Farrell’s awards include two Meritorious Service Medals, four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and three Meritorious Unit Commendation medals.

“May 28th presented itself with heavy overcast skies, but not a drop fell, and many people came out to greet The Commander of the USS Constitution as our Grand Marshal of our 2022 Memorial Day Parade!

“Many commented on how beautiful Commander Billie Jean ‘BJ’ Farrell is!

“Commander Farrell spoke at the Memorial Service as Keynote speaker and she briefed us on her resume & background. She spoke of a time when 911 struck America and where she was in that moment where time froze… (She was a Junior in class studying at the Academy; a moment in time forever blazoned in her mind and a forging of steel strength protection for America formed with her and her classmates.) The Memorial Service honored those who gave it All in playing of bagpipes, Military and rifle salutes, a beautiful memorable service! It was a nice touch for those of recently passed loved ones to ring a bell in memory of a loved one’s passing; an added note of closure for those hearts grieving.

“Commander Farrell is a lighthouse beacon, paving the way for our USS Constitution!

“Thank you!

“Congratulations for making history with all your high achievements and hard work!

“Much success to you!

“Yours Truly,

“The Sketch Artist”

Disco Dance party at the Kowloon

The Kowloon Restaurant is set to host an outdoor Disco Dance Party featuring The Cover Girls performing live in concert. The event is set at the Kowloon’s outdoor venue on June 18 (rain date June 19) – Route 1 North in Saugus. Showtime is 7 p.m., and doors open at 6 p.m. General admission is $39 per person and V.I.P. reserved seating is $59 per person. Guests are invited to dress in disco wear. Tickets are available at online ordering, front desk or charge-by-phone: 781-233-0077.

The Cover Girls are an all-female, New York City-based freestyle group that achieved most of its chart success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Among the group’s best-known songs are “Show Me,” “Because of You,” “We Can’t Go Wrong” and “Wishing on a Star.”

Opening for The Cover Girls is Vinyl Groove. Vinyl Groove is a multitalented vocal group that sings the best R&B dance music from the 70s, including Motown-Philly and classic disco dance music – including songs from Tavares, The Trammps, The Stylistics, The O’Jays, The Temptations, Blue Magic, Smokey Robinson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Donna Summer, The Spinners and the Four Tops.

June outdoor concerts at Kowloon

The Kowloon Restaurant this week announced its outdoor concert series and entertainment lineup for June – with a variety of live bands – at Route 1 North in Saugus. For tickets call the Kowloon Restaurant at 781-233-0077.

Here’s what’s happening:

June 1: Bingo with DJ Tommy – every Wednesday at 7 p.m. In the event of rain, Bingo will be held in the Hong Kong Lounge. Winners of each game are invited to the final Grand Prize Game where a $1,000 gift card will be awarded.

Tonight (Friday, June 3): Live music with Big Party Orchestra at 7 p.m.

Tomorrow (Saturday, June 4): Live music with the Dave Macklin Band at 7 p.m.

Friday, June 10: Live music with Wildfire at 7 p.m., $10 per person if you would like reserved seating.

June 17: Live music with Boston Rendition Band at 7 p.m.

June 18: The Cover Girls live in concert. Tickets are $39 and $59 (VIP reserved seating); at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

June 25: Live music with the Dave Macklin Band at 7 p.m.

This week’s Shout-Outs

It’s always good to have multiple shout-outs. Offering this week’s nominations are:

Sue Fleming: “I would like to give a Shout Out to everyone who participated and cheered for the Gold Medal Run for Honor runners and walkers. It was a great event honoring one of our own, Scott Procopio who was killed in action in April 2006. It was so good to see the large turnout on a beautiful day. Watching the kids in the ‘fun run’ was awesome. The parade was excellent and fun to watch. The day was a reminder to us all that we have so much to be thankful for.”

Shirley Bogdan: “A special Shout Out to the entire staff at the Saugus Senior Center for their thoughtfulness in remembering so many of our soccer seniors and those who served our nation who’s passing will be missed by all. A fitting, moving tribute.”

“A Disappointing “Shout-Out”

Jeanie Bartolo wanted to cite an unnamed person who disappointed her during last Friday’s flagging of graves at Riverside Cemetery:

“This sad ‘Shout Out’ goes to the woman who came to the annual ceremony of the Flagging of the Veterans Graves at Riverside Cemetery on Friday afternoon the day before the Parade. She took approximately 30 flags saying she was going to put them in Cliftondale Square. Guess what? No flags placed in Cliftondale Square. I can only guess where those flags went … how sad … not a very nice example to set for the Boy Scouts and the rest of the families who brought their children to flag the graves and learn about the Soldiers who sacrificed their lives for us so we could be free. For Shame…”

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 Virtual Open House” on June 9

The town has scheduled a special “Virtual Open House” for next Wednesday June 9 via Zoom videoconferencing for town residents and officials who would like to learn about the top four climate hazards facing Saugus today and in the future. In addition, the special forum – which town officials are calling “A Virtual Open House” – will give participants a chance to offer their own views on the town’s climate adaptation and resilience plan. They can identify places and spaces they consider important to the community.

Residents can share their vision for a resilient future in Saugus by joining in the Virtual Open House on Thursday, June 9, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., according to the town’s Director of Planning and Economic Development, Christopher Reilly. He has been circulating a flyer on the upcoming meeting.

The Town of Saugus received grant funding to complete the Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant program. The MVP Action Grant supports municipalities in advancing priority climate adaptation actions to address climate change impacts resulting from extreme weather, sea level rise, inland and coastal flooding, severe heat and other climate impacts. Town officials say the Saugus Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan will

  • Assess risk and vulnerability due to Saugus’s top hazards (flood, heat, severe storms, and drought)
  • Examine and communicate how the impacts of these hazards can be reduced through investment in adaptation
  • Recommend next steps to reduce risk and build resilience in Saugus

For more information about the Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan, visit: https://www.saugus-ma.gov/planning-and-economic-development/pages/municipal-vulnerability-preparedness-climate-adaption-and

To learn more about the MVP program and local climate change data, visit: https://resilientma.org/mvp

Anyone interested in joining the Town of Saugus for the Virtual Open House needs to register. You can RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/saugus-climate-adaptation-andresilience-plan-open-housetickets-298152952507

“This free, virtual public open house offers an opportunity to learn about the plan, explore priority risks for Saugus and help inform steps the community can take to improve quality of life and reduce the impacts of climate change on the community,” Reilly said.

The Zoom link and passcode below can be used to join the meeting on June 9 at 6:00 p.m.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89796755411pwd=bkJtVmRqdEl0MnA1Q3UxMFhVWHRPQT09

Meeting ID: 897 9675 5411

Passcode: 409926

The new school chair’s outlook

With the recent resignation of School Committee Chair Thomas R. Whittredge so he could spend more time with his children following the death of his wife last fall, don’t expect any major changes during the final 18 months of the current School Committee two-year term.

“I am grateful to be voted chairperson,” new School Committee Chair Vincent Serino said in a brief email to the paper last week.

“Our immediate goals and challenges remain the same, student achievement. As far as challenges, it’s getting the teachers the help and resources they need to be successful,” he said.

Buy a brick to honor a Saugus veteran

The Saugus War Monument Committee once again is sponsoring the Buy A Brick Program to honor all those who have served their country. If you would like to purchase one in the name of someone who is presently serving or has served, in the memory of a loved one, or just someone from your family, school, etc., the general pricing is $100 for a 4″ X 8″ brick (three lines), $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.

SHS Class of ’62 plans 60th reunion

Leaders of the Saugus High School Class of 1962 would like you to “SAVE THE DATE.” Their 60th Class Reunion will be held on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Prince Pizzeria in Saugus. They are reaching out to contact fellow classmates as well as other alumni who would like to join them.

The well-known 50’s and 60’s music group of Howie Conley will be there for musical enjoyment. Those of you who have heard them know what a performance they put on. There will be pizza and salad combinations plus soft drinks. The price includes all you can eat, tax and gratuities – plus Howie Conley’s group – and is $29 per person. There is a bar available for wine, beer and mixed drinks.

There is no need to purchase tickets at this time. Please let one of the following people know of your interest either by a phone call or a text message so that you can be easily reached when the time draws near. No commitment is necessary. They are just exploring the number of interested classmates.

  • Donna “Cann” Olivera – 781-987-4308
  • Jonni “Giantonio” Matrona – 781-439-4200
  • Janice “Cristiano” Pomeroy – 617-512-2097
  • Larry Seavers – 704-906-2606

Food pantry seeking driver volunteers

The Saugus United Parish Food Pantry seeks volunteers to make food and bread pickups on Thursdays and Fridays from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Anyone who has the time and interest to help out should contact Jeff Hirtle at 781-922-0661. The food pantry operates out of the basement at Cliftondale Congregational Church at 50 Essex St. in Saugus.

 Looking for book donations

The New Friends of the Saugus Public Library are asking for donations of gently used adult hardcover and softcover fiction for the ongoing book sale in the Community Room. They would also appreciate donations of gently used children’s books. Please limit donations at this time to only fiction and children’s books; they do not have storage space for other genres or media.

Please… clean and newer books only – no tattered pages, bad odors, stains or dirty covers!

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

Want to be a Knight?

The Knights of Columbus is looking for new members to join. If you are interested in becoming a member of this local organization, please call 781-233-9858.

Food Pantry still open

The Saugus United Parish Food Pantry continues 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 located in the basement of Cliftondale Congregational Church at 50 Essex St. in Saugus.

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 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! If you know the right answer, you might win the contest. 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 between now and Tuesday at noon identifies the Saugonian sketched in this week’s paper 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’ in the Food Court at the Saugus Square One Mall. 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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