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Town Meeting Member Annemarie Tesora shares her views on what makes Precinct 3 special and the top issues facing the people she represents.

Saugus resident Annemarie Tesora-2
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  Editor’s Note: For this week’s column, we sat down with Town Meeting Member Annemarie Tesora to ask her what makes Precinct 3 so special and what she sees as the top issues in the Saugus neighborhoods she represents. Tesora is an Everett native and a 1991 Everett High School graduate. She has been a Saugus resident since 2012 and was first elected as a Precinct 3 member of the Saugus Annual Town Meeting in November 2021. She has been a registered nurse since 2005 after earning her associate’s degree in science and nursing from Bunker Hill Community College. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Massachusetts-Boston (2009). She received a bachelor’s degree in film and communication from Emerson College (1998). She is currently working on her Master’s in occupational education. She has worked for more than seven years as a technical educator in health assisting at Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School in Wakefield, teaching in the Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) program. Students who complete her program can take a test to get certified as a nurse’s aide. Prior to 2015, Tesora had no experience in long-term care. She acquired that training while working at Chestnut Woods Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Saugus. She has a 16-year-old daughter, Annamae Tesora, who is a sophomore at Northeast Metro Tech.

  Tesora said she plans to attend the third in a series of “Saugus Over Coffee” forums set for 6:30 p.m. Monday (March 13) in the Community Room of the Saugus Public Library. She is interested in meeting residents of Precinct 3 and encourages them to attend the forum, which is co-sponsored by The Saugus Advocate and the Saugus Public Library. Highlights of this week’s interview follow.

  Q: What makes Precinct 3 special?

  A: When I think of Precinct 3 and my neighborhood specifically, I think of a very tight knit community where there’s a lot of wildlife around us. It’s small, narrow, winding roads and a lot of hills. It’s a good place to work out and get your dog walks in. But I’ve also made a lot of friends in my neighborhood since I’ve lived there. And people are just very friendly and they look out for each other.

  Q: And it’s mostly residential.

  A: Yeah. It’s pretty much all residential. There’s no schools. There are not many businesses. It’s a pleasant place to grow up and raise kids.

  Q: When you think of Precinct 3, is there a historical character who stands out or a historical landmark down there, like a street named after a war hero?

  A: I would have to do a little research on that. From conversations I’ve had with some of the neighbors who have lived there for a very, very long time, I sense there’s a little bit of pride in that this neighborhood came from a campground. And people came to Saugus to camp – to have a vacation. If you imagine going to a campground, and the houses are cottages together that kind of got built up. I think there’s at least one house in the neighborhood that’s been there for a very, very long time, and the person who lives there is quite convinced that it was originally part of the campground. My house was built in the 60s, but there are some older homes and there are some brand-new homes.

  Q: Where is that house located, the one that the residents believed was part of the campground?

  A: That’s on my street, Glendale Ave. It’s a very old house across the street from us. And the residents there are convinced that it was part of the original campground.

  Q: That’s interesting.

  A: Yes.

  Q: What would be the biggest landmark in Precinct 3?

  A: The biggest landmark would probably be the Saugus River because the river probably flows through one-third of the precinct.

  Q: Now, are there issues that concern you as a Town Meeting member in Precinct 3? How did you get involved to the point of becoming a Town Meeting member?

  A: So, I got involved in Town Meeting because during the pandemic we did a lot of walking around our neighborhood. We just got a new puppy, and I realized quite quickly that in our neighborhood everybody has a dog – at least one dog – some people have two dogs. And people were out walking their dogs throughout the neighborhood, and you got to talk to people, while socially distant, talking to people. And the feeling was that we really needed a dog park nearby, some place to walk to that’s accessible – to little dogs, big dogs and all that. That was a thing that came up during our experiences living through the pandemic.

  The other thing that kind of came up during that period, too, was that Saugus did an awareness for “Black Lives Matter.” We walked with our dog all the way through Saugus for that. Then – if you remember the week before – the High School kids did their own thing. One of the things I like about our community is that it definitely appeals to diversity and is inclusive.

  There’s a lot of young families that came into the neighborhood. I think the price range for houses in my neighborhood is affordable. Working families can get their feet into a place. When I bought my house, it was $275,000. Now the house prices up in that area are about $500,000. But still, $400,000 to $500,000 is still much more affordable than $700,000 or $800,000.

  Q: Anything else special about the precinct?

  A: We have Stocker Park, which is on the river, and it’s a place where people like to walk their dogs, and we have a large number of dog walkers. A few years ago, I remember my daughter saying, “Every single neighbor has a dog except us.” Precinct 3 is a big dog community.

  Q: You mentioned that Gregory Nickolas – the town’s late Youth and Recreation Director – was an inspiration to you actually deciding to run. Is that right?

  A: Yes. Greg Nickolas was one of the first people in town that I met, and he was full of energy. He had some great ideas – that he wanted to get parks and recreation for kids going. My daughter did a summer camp with the Youth and Recreation program. And, as I got talking to him, I found out that he was a Town Meeting member for Precinct 3, and I was mentioning to him that there was this patch of land near me; I wasn’t sure if it was owned by the town or not. But we wanted to see if we could clean it up a little bit, because people were using it as a dog park, and there was a guy who occasionally mowed the lawn. But there was a lot of trash and debris. So, he put me in touch with the Boy Scouts and the Boy Scouts came down and did a little cleanup day.

  That was nice, and a couple of weeks before the deadline to register for the town election, I started thinking about running for Town Meeting because I really wanted to get that dog park off the ground, and I called him up and asked him, “What do you think of this?”

  He said, “I think you should do it, put your papers in and see what can happen.” He encouraged me to do it.

  So, I called a few of the other Town Meeting members and asked them, “What do you think?” And they said “Yeah. Go for it.”

  And then a couple of weeks later, Greg passed, so I feel like, in some respects, I’m in his seat. I feel like he’s done a lot for the community and everybody knew him well.

  Q: What has been a big issue you have been working on as a Town Meeting member, representing people of Precinct 3?

  A: Getting a Dog Park for Saugus. I got on the Facebook Page “Dogs of Saugus.” And I started talking over and over about how Saugus needs a dog park. There’s been a lot of focus on Stocker Park as a dog park. The town is still in the early phases of whether or how to make Stocker Park a dog park. So, hopefully, I’d like to be able to say that in the time that I served that we can do something around the parks and be able to get something like a dog park, maybe at Stocker Park. That would be really nice.

  Q: Other issues that concern you and the residents of Precinct 3?

  A: I think a couple of other things people are concerned about that aren’t necessarily unique to our precinct – but our precinct this time of year has a lot of potholes; we have a lot of rough roads. It doesn’t bother me so much because I drive a big truck. But if you try to get up my hill on a wintery day, you may have some trouble, and if you do get up my hill, you might get damage to your tires because there’s just pothole after pothole. But this is probably not totally unique to my precinct because of the time of year it is.

  And the other thing we’ve talked about is the wildlife. We live fairly close to this big kettle hole, which I didn’t really know what it was until I moved to Saugus and learned it was in my neighborhood, and I wanted to learn more about it. It’s just this big ravine with a water source at the bottom and all kinds of wildlife – and mosquitos. We have foxes, we have groundhogs, we have voles, we have a lot of rabbits. A lot of rabbits! We have coyotes, and some of the coyotes I’ve seen are very big. Some of them are small, like my dog is bigger than them. But there’s a couple that I’ve seen that I thought they were gigantic, like German shepherds.

  Q: Have any of your neighbors gotten threatened by the coyotes?

  A: Yeah. Some of my neighbors have smaller dogs, and you can’t really let them [small dogs] out at night. Even with my dog, she’s probably bigger than the average size coyote, and she thinks she’s tougher than what she is. She chases them away if she sees them. But we don’t like to let her out after dusk or before dawn. But the coyotes come out during the day sometimes, too. So, there’s definitely a concern about your dogs, your pets, your cats – and that’s something I don’t know what we could do about it, really, other than if we have a fresh supply of rabbits everywhere. There’s nothing we’re going to do about that problem.

  But there are things that we could control, like making sure that trash is secure when it gets put out; make sure it’s locked up and secure. I know that raccoons and squirrels love to get into the trash. When I first moved here, I decided to buy myself some new trash barrels – hard plastic. I thought this was going to be great, but when I went outside, I saw that the squirrels had bitten a hole through my brand-new plastic trash barrel. If you are going to live in the area, you should definitely think about getting rubber trash barrels or something that will hold up to the little critters that want to eat through your trash barrel.

  Q: What are the big issues facing residents of Precinct 3? Or is there an issue that or are there issues that you are concerned about as a Town Meeting member who represents Precinct 3?

  A: Yes. What I’ve heard from people is that they are concerned about snow removal. The DPW comes out and puts the sand down so you can put the sand on your street if you get stuck. That’s probably a big issue, and there are people with paper roads or unaccepted roads who have a portion of the road that doesn’t get plowed. There is one man that did ask to have the road near his house plowed. So, snow removal is a big one.

  And the issue that I was thinking about myself, personally – that we don’t necessarily talk about – are the environmental factors. A couple of years ago, we had a really dry year, and I was concerned that if kids got into that abandoned house I was telling you about, if they got in there and lit a match, it could take out the whole neighborhood because we are so close together, and it would be really hard to get a lot of firetrucks up there. It’s a concern for me, especially after last summer with the Breakheart stuff, too, because it doesn’t take much to start a fire in that kind of environment.

  We don’t have the problem of flooding that they have down the street from us. But part of our precinct is next to the river, where Stocker Park is and Chestnut Street is. It’s all right there in the river.

  Q: You are talking about right around the Chestnut Woods Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center. That’s a business that’s right in your precinct.

  A: Yes, it is. That’s probably our major business. I was working at Chestnut Woods when the pandemic hit [March 2020], and our program got put on hold. But Chestnut Woods worked with us to get us back in the building. We were back in the building by Nov. 20 [2020], and we continue to have that relationship. And there are five nurses now in the CNA program there.

  Q: Okay, other concerns you have about the precinct?

  A: There are houses down there by the river, too. Those environmental concerns around flooding would definitely be something to think about. Another concern – you probably heard enough about Wheelabrator [WIN Waste Innovations], so I’m not going to get into Wheelabrator. But on some days, like the time they had the fire, you can definitely smell it from our house.

  Q: So issues related to the WIN Waste Innovations plant are definitely a concern for the people in your neighborhood?

  A: Oh yeah, definitely. The Wheelabrator thing is definitely something that annoys people. Way up in the hill, where I am, you can smell it and see it, and there have been sound issues, sometimes, too. But we’re a little farther back than the people right up front to it. We just kind of see it from a distance.

  Q: Do you have a lot of streets in your precinct that aren’t Town-accepted streets?

  A: The one I told you about on the ridge has been adopted by the Town, so I am not sure why it’s not getting plowed. But there are a lot of streets in the precincts that are dead ends and difficult to get through.

  When I first moved into the neighborhood, I had a little kid, and the people across the street had a little kid, and people would just fly down to the end of the street. I did put a request in as a Town Meeting member to the Department of Public Works, and they put a sign up, “slow down, children” and another sign, “dead end.” Since those signs went up, I don’t see it as much of a problem. But if you go up into that neighborhood, it’s either a dead end or really narrow street with two-way traffic. So, that’s something you definitely think about. Street access and how we get plowed – those are definite issues.

  When I first moved on my street, 2012 to 2015, it was really a nightmare. Forget it, as far as getting in and out. When I first moved here, I drove a Honda Accord, and about a year later, I decided “I got to get rid of this. This is not going to get me up and down the street in the wintertime.”

  Q: You really need a four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle to get up and down those streets.

  A: Yeah, or else you are stuck. My friend has an Expedition and a big truck, and she says, “I don’t want to go down your road because I’ll start sliding.” Yeah, it’s precarious in the wintertime, when you got two-way traffic. Not that I would want anything to be one-way, because that would be even more chaotic. People who live here are aware of the speed limit. We’re not trying to cut corners, because there are not a lot of places you can go because you got a dead end here and a dead end there. Unless you are familiar with the neighborhood, you are not cutting through the neighborhood.

  Q: So, what is the number one concern in Precinct 3 and your number one concern?

  A: I would say the road conditions – road conditions and access. We don’t have fire roads because there’s all these little tiny roads, like near that kettle hole area; there’s no way you could access that if you had a fire. There are areas in the neighborhood that are very difficult for the Fire Department to get access to because it’s hilly. There are not a lot of fire hydrants. There’s at least one right near me. So access and road conditions are the big issues, and then having the existing roads considered to be acceptable as Town roads.

  Q: Anything else that you would like to say?

  A: I guess the only thing else I would say is that – going back to the road situation – I have a 16-year-old driver … if you are trying to cut through my neighborhood, please go slow. Just be cautious.

Precinct 3 at-a-glance
Precinct 3 at-a-glance: a map showing the roads within the boundaries of the precinct. (Courtesy photo to The Saugus Advocate)
Stocker Park-2
Stocker Park – also known as Stocker Field or Stocker Playground – located off Winter Street in Precinct 3, has been under consideration by town officials and members of the Dog Park Committee as a possible location for a future dog park. (Saugus Advocate photo by Mark E. Vogler)
Saugus resident Annemarie Tesora-2
Saugus resident Annemarie Tesora said she has gotten more involved in helping to make her neighborhood a better place to live since Gregory Nickolas – the town’s late Youth and Recreation Director – encouraged her to run for a Town Meeting seat in Precinct 3 shortly before his death in September of 2021. (Saugus Advocate photo by Mark E. Vogler)

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