The Sounds of Saugus
By Mark E. Vogler
Here are a few tidbits that you might want to know about this week in Saugus.
Possible police chief scenarios
We’re still waiting to hear back from Saugus Police Chief Domenic DiMella regarding reports of his plans to retire in the fall. He’s been taking some time off recently and hasn’t responded to emails or telephone calls. There was still no official confirmation this week that DiMella plans to make Sept. 1 his final day of work.
Meanwhile, there’s all kinds of speculation going on right now about who the next police chief might be.
Of course, Town Manager Scott Crabtree, a former police officer who has enjoyed a close working relationship and friendship with the chief, will have a lot to say about it once DiMella’s reported retirement becomes public. Crabtree has a few options:
He could choose to go outside the department in seeking a replacement in order to avoid putting himself in a position of having to pick between candidates he once worked with, some of them whom he regards as friends.
Crabtree could also ignore the noise and decide to promote from within.
There’s also the possibility that he could decide to remove the police chief’s job out of Civil Service and make it a police commissioner’s position. Such a position might be appealing to former Saugus Police Officer Patrick Collins, who is currently assistant clerk magistrate at Salem Superior Court. After serving in the town’s Police Department for 14 years, he left to pursue a career in law. He has served as an assistant district attorney and an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Southern New Hampshire University. So, he has quite the dossier if Crabtree is considering Collins as a possible successor.
Of course, if Crabtree prefers to keep the chief’s job in the department, there are a few names that are being talked about – the most logical choice being DiMella’s assistant chief – Lt. Ronald Giorgetti. In the perfect world, Giorgetti would be the obvious choice. He’s been attending Finance Committee meetings around budget time for several years now, either accompanying the chief or representing him on department fiscal matters. He’s considered fair and even-keeled and is very familiar with the political landscape in town government. It would be a smooth transition from DiMella to Giorgetti, who’s well qualified for the Saugus police chief’s job. He’s been at the department since 1994.
Other names that have come up include Lt. Michael Ricciardelli, who has been at the department since 1995 and Lieutenant Detective David Gecoya, a 2013 recipient of the Medal of Honor, the state’s highest police honor for bravery.
DiMella, who has been a member of the Police Department for 29 years, has served as chief for the past decade.
Important election information
This just in from Saugus Town Clerk Ellen Schena, who has several important election-related announcements:
- Absentee Ballots for the September 4, 2018, State Primary Election are now available in the Town Clerk’s Office.
- Last day to register to vote for the September 4, 2018, State Primary Election is Wednesday, August 15, 2018. The Clerk’s Office will be open from 8:15 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Election Workers are need to work the Polls. These are paying positions. There is an Election Worker Training class on Wednesday, August 15 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Town Hall Auditorium, where new Election workers can sign up while attending the class.
Democratic Town Committee endorses Crescenzo
Matthew Crescenzo, Democratic candidate for State Representative, said he is pleased to have received the endorsement of the Saugus Democratic Town Committee (SDTC).
Crescenzo is challenging popular incumbent Rep. Donald Wong (R-Saugus), who is seeking a fifth two-year term in the 9th District House race. The SDTC unanimously voted to endorse Crescenzo at their last meeting.
“I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Saugus Democratic Town Committee,” said Crescenzo. “Being a fourth generation Saugus resident, it is humbling to receive the support of those committed to serving my hometown. I will work to support all our residents, bring in new jobs and support our environment.”
“The Saugus Democratic Town Committee is proud to endorse Matthew Crescenzo for State Representative in the Ninth Essex District,” said Joe Malone, Chair of the SDTC.
“Matt has the intelligence, ability, drive and passion to promote the Democratic agenda and the courage to take on an entrenched Republican incumbent who has not demonstrated any real leadership or commitment to the people he serves.”
Crescenzo is an Army veteran who served overseas in South Korea and Afghanistan as a communications specialist and personal security officer. Most recently he was an IT specialist at Lynn Community Health Center before leaving to campaign full time. Matt lives in Saugus.
Of citizen concern
It took a call to the state Attorney General’s Office for The Saugus Advocate to finally obtain the minutes of that Jan. 30 executive session which the AG’s Division of Open Government had declared improper in a determination issued last month. Copies of those minutes were supposed to be delivered within 30 days of the determination letter written by Assistant Attorney General Kevin W. Manganaro – which would have been a week ago yesterday.
Fortunately, for the School Committee members, their chair, Jeannie Meredith, intervened at the last minute so copies of the minutes were provided to The Saugus Advocate only one day late. Had she not become involved, the committee risked potential consequences from the Division of Open Government.
It should be pointed out in this instance that the School Committee was not at fault – but rather Saugus Public Schools Superintendent Dr. David DeRuosi, Jr., who is the keeper of the minutes. Anyone who seeks minutes must file a public records request to the superintendent. And he usually does not make the minutes readily available. We can attest to that.
But there was really no need for DeRuosi to ignore the order to make the minutes public within 30 days, because there was already an outstanding public records request submitted months ago by The Saugus Advocate.
So, if DeRuosi were really concerned about the Open Meeting Law and trying to improve the transparency of Saugus Public Schools, he could have released the minutes within days of the Attorney General’s Open Meeting Law determination. But the superintendent chose not to take the easy way to meet compliance with the Open Meeting Law.
The delay could have been for several days had Meredith not become involved. This is a technical violation, which the Division of Open Government gave the School Committee a pass on.
But it does suggest that compliance with the Open Meeting Law isn’t as high a priority as it should be for the superintendent. And that’s something he needs to work on. The citizens of Saugus should expect nothing less.
If DeRuosi finds it an inconvenience to make minutes available to people who request them, perhaps he should transfer his files of minutes over to the Town Clerk’s Office, where they would probably be more accessible.
Farmer’s Market in full swing
The annual Farmer’s Market is back in Saugus for parts of another summer and fall. The market made its debut for this season early last month in the parking lot area of the Anna Parker Playground, at 120 Essex St. The market will continue every Tuesday now, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., through October. Stay tuned for more information. For details, call Peter Rossetti at 781-816-2419.
Preschoolers in the Park
Ready for some summertime fun at the Saugus Iron Works? If you are between the ages of two and six, your parents ought to be checking out the “Preschoolers in the Park” programs that take place on most Mondays, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., alternating between the Saugus Iron Works and Salem Maritime.
The program gives the children and their adult caregivers the opportunity to learn together about the National Park Service as well historical and environmental topics through a fun, age- appropriate, hands-on approach. Each program is run by National Park Service Rangers who read a children’s book aloud and facilitate an active, engaging learning experience in the national park and end with a make-and-take project. Each program is designed to connect with the themes, topics and/or resources of either Salem Maritime or the Saugus Iron Works as well as with the developmental and learning goals of preschoolers.
For programs at the Saugus Iron Works, meet at the Visitor Center and Eastern National Park Store, “Broadhearth” (244 Central St., Saugus). For the most up-to-date information, like the Iron Works on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SaugusIronNPS/, visit https://www.nps.gov/sair or call (781) 233-0050.
Here’s this summer’s schedule for Saugus:
August 20 – Life in the Past
September 10 – Monarch Butterflies
September 24 – Gardening Party
Bricks for the veterans
Corinne Riley is making an appeal on behalf of all those veterans out there who deserve to be commended for service to this nation:
“The Saugus War Monument Committee 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 from your family, school, etc., the general pricing is $100 for a 4″ X 8″ brick (3 lines), $200 for 8″ X 8″ brick (5 lines), and $500 (5 lines) for a corporate brick. 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 August 30th to assure the bricks will be ready for Veteran’s Day. Please contact Corinne Riley at 781-231-7995, for more information and applications.”
Town announces reopening of CHaRM Center Recycling Drop-Off site
The Town of Saugus announces that the community’s Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) 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. There is no pre-registration or fee required to enter the site; however, proof of residency is required.
At the CHaRM center, the Town will accept the same recycling items that can be placed outside for curbside collection each week, such as paper, cardboard, bottles, cans and glass containers. Additional acceptable items include TVs and computers (up to three per year per address); car tires up to 22″ (for a fee of $3); books; and textiles, such as clothing, bedding, pocketbooks, belts and shoes.
Plastic bags and rigid plastics are not permitted due to the international recycling market. Residents are kindly asked to empty recyclables out of any plastic bags, and remove the bags from the site.
Residents may call Lorna Cerbone at the Solid Waste and Recycling Department at 781-231-4036 with questions or for more information.
Some upcoming library events
There’s always something going on at the Saugus Public Library. Here are a few events to check out:
- This summer, the library is offering discount passes to see the Lowell Spinners at family-friendly Edward A. LeLacheur Park (capacity 5,030) in Lowell. These passes, like all of the library’s discount passes, are funded by the New Friends of the Saugus Public Library. Patrons can reserve passes.
The Spinners are a Short-Season Single-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. They will play 76 games in 79 days (38 home, 38 road) this season; their last home game is on September 3. Home Games begin at 7:05 p.m., Monday-Friday, and at 5:05 p.m., Saturday & Sundays.
The library offers a dated voucher for most Spinners home games. Each voucher allows patrons to purchase up to six tickets at 50% off the regular price (for example, a $7 Reserved Ticket would cost $3.50). Vouchers can be reserved online (sauguspubliclibrary.org) or at the library and can be picked up in-person at the library. Only one voucher is available for each home game; first come, first served. Vouchers must be presented at the Spinners Ticket Office on the day of the game (or in advance) in order to receive the discount. The library does not have vouchers for away games.
- Registration for the Summer Reading Program has already begun. Kids will again be reading about the American Revolution in addition to a book of their choice.
- This summer’s theme is “Libraries Rock!” Two different bands are lined up:
Wednesday, Aug. 1, at 1 p.m.: Didgeridoo Down Under Band (good for all ages)! This high-energy, Australian-themed show features the Didgeridoo, a very unique musical instrument that kids love. The program combines music, art and comedy – Australian-style, that is. This event has been made possible by a generous contribution from the New Friends of Saugus Public Library.
Next Wednesday, Aug. 8, at 3 p.m.: Rolie Polie Guacamole Band (good for all ages)! Rock your socks off with this award-winning, family-friendly Brooklyn band. This program was made possible by a generous donation from the Saugus Cultural Council.
- On Thursday, Aug. 16 at 3 p.m., the library will host an End of Summer Reading Ice Cream Party with Stephen the Magician (good for all ages)!
- Read to a Dog! A unique, fun program planned this summer at Saugus Public Library is to have children read to Lydia the Comfort Dog. Children register to read to Lydia, who will sit on the floor in the Craft Room. Children, their caregivers and the dog’s handler will stay in the room. Children will read for 15-minute time slots; five 15-minute slots from 1 p.m.-2:15 p.m. Wednesdays: August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; Sept. 5. Registration is required. Lydia’s contact info: email@example.com and http://www.messiahspirit.org/north-boston-comfort.html.
“Countdown to kindergarten” preschool playgroup
Every Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Saugus Public Library will host its popular “Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten!” This playgroup is geared to help families navigate and understand Preschool Development. Children will explore different Literacy, Art, Science, Building, Writing, Math, Fine Motor, Gross Motor and Pretend Play materials and activities.
This drop in playgroup is limited to 15 students. Parents are required to stay. Please email Trish at Tricia928@yahoo.com with any questions. The Playgroup is sponsored by Saugus CFCE.
Solid Waste/Recycling Department announces acceptable recyclable materials
The Town of Saugus’s Solid Waste and Recycling Department Coordinator, Lorna Cerbone, would like to remind residents that the following materials are recyclable and may be placed curbside for collection each week: paper, cardboard, pizza boxes, and mixed containers, such as glass, tin, plastic cans, various containers and jugs. All cardboard boxes should be broken down to 3′ by 3′, and pizza boxes and mixed containers should be clean.
The following materials may not be recycled through the Town’s curbside collection service:
- Plastic bags and film wraps – can be recycled at a local food store, Walmart or Target.
- Styrofoam – should be placed in the trash.
- Clothes hangers – can be given to dry-cleaners.
- Plastic hoses – dispose in the trash.
- Rigid plastics and kids toys – may be disposed of curbside with $2 sticker.
- Scrap metal – can be recycled at the drop-off site.
“Due to recent international recycling restrictions, our local collection facility is no longer able to recycle materials in plastic bags or rigid plastic items,” said Cerbone. “We encourage residents to recycle their plastic bags at your local supermarket or retailer, and dispose of any rigid plastic items curbside with a $2 sticker.”
JRM will only collect accepted items. The Town of Saugus would like to thank everyone for their cooperation. Please contact Cerbone at 781-231-4036 with any questions.
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 close to two 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 express to the community? Submit your idea. If I like it, we can meet for a 15- to 20-minute interview at a local coffee shop. And I’ll buy the coffee.