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Topic author: arthur
Posted on: 12/09/2007 05:25:11 AM

Blaze sparks safety concerns
Long-delayed work on roads is at issue
By Kay Lazar, Globe Staff | December 9, 2007

State Senator Anthony Galluccio is hesitant to call it a "silver lining."

But the Democrat, who represents Everett, said Wednesday's river of fire, ignited by a speeding tanker truck that rolled over on Sweetser Circle, spotlights a major safety issue in that stretch of roadway that state officials have long ignored.

Heavy trucks, including many carrying hazardous materials from the nearby Everett Terminal and Distrigas LNG facilities, are forced to travel Everett's confusing traffic circles because the nearby Alford Street bridge - a prime connector to Interstate 93 - has been closed to heavy trucks for more than four years. The bridge, owned by the city of Boston, is slated for a $36 million overhaul, but work is not expected to start before 2009.

"It's neither safe or efficient for those trucks to be heading into Everett when they really want to go to 93," Galluccio said. "An area, that has been in dire need for decades, could finally get the attention it warrants."

Officials said truck driver Chad LaFrance, who was cited for speeding, filled up at the Everett Terminal before losing control of his rig and rolling over around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. The truck's 9,400 gallons of fuel ignited a fire that torched 21 cars, set a pair of three-deckers ablaze on nearby Main Street, and left at least 13 families homeless. No one was injured.

The Alford Street bridge, a popular route into Boston for motorists trying to avoid Tobin Bridge tolls, has been closed to trucks heavier than 18 tons - half the weight of the largest modern carriers - since mid-2003, said Highway Department spokesman Adam Hurtubise. But Boston officials have been contemplating bridge repairs for much longer than that. Dennis Royer, Boston's chief of public works and transportation, said they have been studying repair plans for the bridge for the past eight years.

"It takes a number of years to get to this point," Royer said. "A new bridge is on the horizon."

Royer, however, said he could not say how long it would be before a new bridge, funded largely by federal dollars, would be completed.

But the Alford Street bridge impasse is only half of the traffic safety nightmare for that congested area of Everett.

The busy stretch of Route 16 that connects Sweetser Circle with Santilli Circle a few hundred yards up the road is poorly designed, according to Everett offiicials who have long lobbied for a major overhaul. Back in 2004, Everett Common Councilor Anthony Ranieri assembled a committee to study traffic patterns in that area and recommend ways to improve traffic flow. Ranieri and others say Santilli Circle, once considered by state officials to be the 32d most dangerous intersection in Massachusetts, has gotten worse since the adjacent Gateway Center shopping center opened in 2000. That area of roadway, including the two rotaries, is owned by the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation. Ranieri said the committee was making headway until the DCR's liaison was fired a couple of years ago for unrelated reasons. Progress after that, he said, went downhill, and the committee eventually disbanded.

"The DCR just yessed us to death and did nothing," Ranieri said.

DCR spokeswoman Wendy Fox said the agency would welcome calls from Everett to address the issue again.

Among the issues Ranieri cited are a lack of signs in the rotary to help direct motorists through the confusing interchange.

"There is not one sign telling people where to go to get to Best Buy. All you have is an arrow," he said. "When they figure out it's the wrong way, they back out onto traffic going 40 or 50 miles an hour."

Ward 3 Alderman Stephen "Stat" Smith, who also is a state representative, said he and others aren't suggesting that poor traffic designs are the cause for Wednesday's conflagration. But he said the accident may finally focus state dollars toward Everett's considerable traffic safety issues. He said he and Galluccio are working to add an amendment to Governor Deval Patrick's recently filed transportation bond bill to get funding for Everett.

"The governor called me . . . from China, and he said anything we can do to rectify the situation will be done," Smith said.

As Everett begins the process of rebuilding and repairing the structures damaged and destroyed in the fire, city officials tomorrow night will honor 10 residents who helped rescue senior citizens from their smoke-filled building.

"These are people who, as they were running out of their house losing their home, thought to think about someone else," said Common Councilor Joe Hickey.

Among those to be honored at 7 p.m. at City Hall are Chris Baro; Edward Baro; Matt Baro; John Bertoncini; Johnny Bertoncini; Jimmy Bertoncini; Justin Bertoncini; Joel Derivois, Jr.; Aaron Giglio; and Laura Houlihan.

Kay Lazar can be reached at


Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 12/09/2007 05:27:42 AM

Toll trauma
Massport is cracking down with $50 fines for bridge scofflaws
By Erin Ailworth, Globe Staff | December 9, 2007

Used to be that if you had no cash while crossing the Tobin Bridge into Boston, you got an envelope to send in the toll money you owed. These days, it could be $50 a pop.

Revere resident Jan Dumas took the hit twice in one day when she said her Fast Lane transponder failed and she had to back up her car to go through a cash lane - only to find she didn't have any money. So, she got two $50 fines: the first for trying to go through the Fast Lane unsuccessfully, and the second for going through the cash lane without paying.

Brenda MacDonald of Canada only got fined once. It was last December when she arrived at the tollbooth but couldn't find the wallet in which she always stores a little US currency. The Canadian $10 bill she offered the toll collector didn't go over too well.

Thousands of others also have been stung by the policy, which was instituted just over a year ago by the Massachusetts Port Authority to cut down on the number of inbound drivers not paying at the booth. So far, it's working.

Rick Handman, an assistant director at Massport, said toll workers now are doling out about half as many violations a day as they once did.

"It was a courtesy to people who didn't have any money, and we found that was being abused and we were giving out 80 [envelopes] a day," Handman said. "Some people would save their envelopes until the end of the month, add them all up, and send us a check . . . and it was costing us more in administrative effort than we were collecting from the $3."

Under the Failure to Pay Toll Violation Program, 11,624 drivers received "violation information statements" for the $50 fine, handed out at the toll booths, from September 2006 to August, according to numbers obtained from Massport by the Globe through a public records request. About 200 fewer drivers then got a mailed violation notice with payment instructions, according to Massport.

Not all drivers must shell out the full $50 fine.

First-time Tobin Bridge toll offenders pay $6 if they settle their fine within 21 days of receiving the mailed notice. As of August, 5,419 drivers had paid the $6 or had their fine minimized for another reason, Massport numbers show. The original $50 fine goes up the longer it's unpaid. After the first 21 days, drivers must pay an additional $5. After 45 days, an additional $15 charge is levied.

Judy Hankins, a Lowell resident, doesn't care how much her fine is. She's not paying.

"It's absolutely ludicrous that they would just assume you should pay a $50 ticket," said Hankins, whose daughter went through the toll in Hankins's car after getting lost on the way home from a job interview. "Ten dollars, $15 [sure], but $50 is absolutely ridiculous . . . it's 16 times the original toll."

Through August, Massport collected $206,552 of revenue in no-pay toll violations. However, agency spokesman Matthew Brelis added, Massport records also showed that the agency had lost $44,708 in revenue from unpaid tolls in that time frame. In addition, Massport is paying a data collection agency $30,595 to record violation information sent in by toll workers, and to track down vehicle registrations.

Take all that into account, according to Massport, and the agency has netted $131,249 from the program.

Some drivers have been frustrated by the new program - because of the high price and what they described as a convoluted payment process.

Jason DuBose was driving home to Pawtucket, R.I., when he tried to cross the Tobin but realized that he couldn't get to his wallet, which he'd locked in the trunk. Because his violation notice was mailed to the company from which he leases his car, DuBose didn't get it until the fine had been upped to $55. He ended up paying the $6 reduced fee, but only after contacting Massport.

"I had to write a letter to them explaining exactly what had happened," DuBose said. "It would have been nice if someone had given me an envelope that told me right there what I had to pay: $6."

Dumas said she tried to appeal both her fines but ended up paying $100 total to settle the tickets after getting a response from Massport on only one of the fines.

"I tried to challenge them . . . and the response I got back was that I should have known I didn't have the money available to go through the booth," she said.

And what if you are one of the 1,650 drivers Massport currently counts as not paying their toll at all? After 60 days, Massport sends your license and registration information to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles for nonrenewal. Out-of-state drivers have their information sent to a collection agency.

Hankins, of Lowell, may be one of those 1,650 drivers. She hasn't paid the fine her daughter received several months ago. Nor will she appeal, she said. Massport numbers show Hankins wouldn't have much success.

The agency received 263 appeals by mail from September 2006 to August and held 12 hearings. All appeals were denied, according to Massport, though an unspecified number of fines were reduced.

Despite the odds, David Russo of Watertown is fighting the Sept. 21 ticket he received in the mail. After all, Russo said, he and his 1995 purple Saturn were nowhere near the Tobin when his vehicle was supposedly photographed dodging the toll.

"I was here, right where I am now: at my desk at work," said Russo, a federal Medicare employee with the payroll records to prove his whereabouts. "I'd love to see a photocopy of the photograph they took of that car. . . . I just don't use toll roads."

Erin Ailworth can be reached at

Reply author: charm
Replied on: 12/20/2007 05:35:53 AM

Helping hands needed
Recent catastrophes have strained resources of public, private agencies
By Kathy McCabe, Globe Staff | December 20, 2007

The tragedies that have hit the North region in the past 13 months have sounded the alarm for charitable donations. People are homeless, short of cash, and still in shock. Their grief has touched the emotional heart of each community, none of which has great wealth. Still, thousands of dollars have been donated to help the victims and survivors of the unusual spate of explosions and serious fires, three of which occurred in the last two months.

An eight-alarm fire destroyed an old apartment house and a beloved synagogue in Gloucester. A tanker truck carrying 9,400 gallons of gasoline crashed in Everett, igniting a wall of fire that destroyed two triple-deckers and 21 cars. A steam explosion at Salem Harbor Power Station killed three workers, leaving two families fatherless and a third mourning a son. An ink and paint factory blew up, flattening a Danvers neighborhood.

In Gloucester, where the fire that began Friday night was the biggest in recent history, the blaze destroyed a 25-unit apartment house and Temple Ahavat Achim, the only synagogue on Cape Ann. Almost from the first flicker of flame, people rushed to supply food for more than 100 firefighters who battled the blaze and offer support to more than 30 people left homeless.

"That's Gloucester," said Mayor John Bell, his eyes moist, as he visited the still-smoldering fire on Monday. "We're a community that historically has suffered great losses. But we have also learned to cope with tragedy, and do our best."

The need comes as charitable organizations face greater demand for services. The high cost of gasoline and home heating bills this winter, along with the ongoing foreclosure crisis, have strained already thin budgets, social service providers said.

"The line outside my door gets longer and longer," said Ralph Johnson, director of housing at Action Inc., the Gloucester nonprofit collecting clothes for fire victims. "People can't afford heat, electricity. They're looking for low-cost housing, food. . . . The need is much greater, and started earlier, than in years past."

In Everett, where the Dec. 5 tanker rollover left 47 people homeless, the fire has taxed the city's human services department "to the limit," director Carolyn Lightburn said. Some still are looking for permanent housing. They're now in hotels, paid for with donations from the Main Street Relief Fund. "I can't put a family out in this kind of weather," Lightburn said.

November and December are big months for holiday giving, but they also are hard times to raise emergency funds.

Individual donors may have already pledged to their favorite charity in time to claim a year-end tax break.

Charitable foundations, which often disperse major gifts on a planned schedule, have doled out all their money for the year.

"A lot of people have reached their limit," said Charlie Vose, vice chairman of the disaster services for the American Red Cross of Northeast Massachusetts, which is helping the Gloucester victims. "It's really a tough time of year to be looking to raise money."

But when disaster strikes locally, people have big hearts. In Danversport, where 70 homes and businesses were destroyed or damaged Nov. 22, 2006, private contributions to The Danversport Relief Fund total about $500,000.

The Dominion Survivors Fund, set up to aid the families of Salem power plant workers Mark Mansfield of Peabody, Phillip Robinson of Beverly, and Matthew Indeglia of Lawrence, who died Nov. 6, has so far raised more than $100,000, with donations coming from Dominion workers across the country, according to the union at the plant.

And Everett Mayor John Hanlon on Tuesday said $40,000 will be distributed this week from the Main Street Relief Fund to the 47 victims.

"They need the money to live," he said. "Some people are still living in hotels, or with friends. They need to get started again."

A $10,000 donation to The Gloucester Fund, a charitable trust, was made by the owners of the burned-down Lorraine Apartments. They also are paying for people to stay at the Cape Ann Marina Resort.

"We feel very bad about what happened," said Gary Raso, one of three landlords. "We want to help them find new apartments."

More than 30 lived in the 25-unit building on Middle Street. Rents ranged from $800 to $1,200 per month, drawing a mix of elderly, young couples, and parents with teens or young adult children.

One resident, Robert L. Taylor, 70, the building's beloved handyman, died in the fire after being trapped in his third-floor apartment.

"I started to shake a little when I got here," said former resident Ed Herman, 52, on Monday, returning to the site for the first time. "It's unbelievable what happened."

The Gloucester fire likely started in the basement of the almost 100-year-old wooden structure. It spread rapidly through the floors and walls, filling the white building with thick, black smoke.

All but Taylor, who had hip problems and lived alone, made it out.

"The real tragedy here is Bob Taylor," said Herman, an artist, who lost 150 oil paintings in the blaze. "I remember seeing his arms waving out the window. It looked like he was trying to reach for somebody."

Herman helped Gloucester fire and police try to save Taylor. He held a flashlight on the window while a ladder was put up to the narrow opening. "We were chanting 'Bob,Bob, put your head out,' " said Herman, a friend of the victim's. "But he didn't make it."

Most residents lost all their possessions. Few are believed to have had insurance.

Herman - who fled in jeans, a black sweater, canvas jacket, and high rubber boots - is heartened by the offers of help. "There are a lot of beautiful people out there," he said, standing by the charred rubble of his former home. "I believe that."

Kay Lazar of the Globe staff contributed to this story. Kathy McCabe can be reached at

How to help

Funds to assist residents affected by recent tragedies in Danvers, Everett, Gloucester, and Salem have been set up. Here's how anyone can contribute.

The Danversport Relief Fund continues to receive donations for blast victims. Send to The Danversport Relief Fund, c/o Danversbank, 1 Conant St., Danvers, MA 01923

The Main Street Relief Fund assists residents left homeless by a Dec. 7 gas tanker rollover. Send contributions to the fund c/o Eagle Bank, 466 Broadway, Everett, MA 02149

The Gloucester Fund asks for a note indicating if the donation is to help people left homeless by the Dec. 14 fire or to aid Temple Ahavat Achim. Send contributions to The Gloucester Fund, 45 Middle St., Gloucester, MA 01930. Checks with "Middle Street fire" noted in the memo also can be sent to Action Inc., 5 Pleasant St., Gloucester, MA 01930. The American Red Cross of Northeast Massachusetts wants to collect $40,000 to $50,000 for its emergency disaster fund to help Gloucester fire victims. Contributions can be sent to the agency's office at 100 Cummings Center, Suite 201F, Beverly, MA 01915

Dominion Survivors Fund, to aid the families of three workers killed at the Salem Harbor Power Station Nov. 6. Send contributions to IBEW Local 326 First Choice Credit Union, 55 Marston St., Lawrence, MA 01840.

Compiled by Kathy McCabe

© Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 12/22/2007 10:26:49 AM

Ex-hubby warned slain Everett mom

By Marie Szaniszlo | Saturday, December 22, 2007 | | Local Coverage

Photo by Mark Garfinkel
The ex-husband of an Everett mother gunned down in her home Thursday by an ex-boyfriend said he “warned her to lock all her doors” the night before her murder.

“She told me he was stalking her at work and calling her 40 times a day,” Samir Moric of Chelsea said, referring to a conversation he had with his ex-wife, Altijana “Tina” Moric, about 44-year-old Edward Pettengill of East Boston.

“She was too strong. She told me only a couple of times that something was wrong. I wish I had been there,” said Moric, whose ex-wife, a Bosnian immigrant, gave her life to save their 11-year-old daughter, Nadina.

The revelation came at a gathering in memory of Tina Moric, 36, last night at the Everett Armory, where Massachusetts first lady Diane Patrick said the state must redouble its efforts to prevent domestic violence.

“I’m hoping there is something to be gained by this loss,” said Gov. Deval Patrick’s wife, who attended the same anti-domestic violence fund-raiser where Tina Moric volunteered early this year.

Shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday, Moric and her boyfriend, 36-year-old Joseph Scimemi, found the tires on both their cars slashed outside her home at 21 Russell St.

Shortly before 12:30 a.m. Thursday, Pettengill shot the lock off the back door with a shotgun, wounded Scimemi in the arm and stormed into Moric’s apartment, where she had hidden her daughter under a blanket, officials and neighbors said.

When Pettengill pulled back the blanket, Moric tackled him and told her daughter, “Run, Nadina, run!”

Both the girl and Scimemi escaped. But when Ruth Giannasoli, who lives on the first floor, opened her door, she said, she heard Pettengill tell Moric, “You’re going to die tonight.”

When police entered the apartment less than a half-hour later, they found Moric and Pettengill dead.

Nadina is now living with Moric’s sister, who plans a quiet Christmas for her niece.

“I know she misses her mom,” said Nadina’s father, who was married to Moric for 15 years. “I know she’s afraid. One way or another, she’s going to feel the pain of having to live without a mother.”

Donations may be made to the Tina Moric Memorial Fund in care of the Metro Credit Union, 200 Revere Beach Parkway, Chelsea, MA 02150.

Article URL:

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Reply author: michael
Replied on: 12/23/2007 06:33:02 AM

Taxes up as communities are buried in bills
Healthcare, pension, energy costs cited
By Kathy McCabe, Globe Staff | December 23, 2007

Property taxes will jump a few hundred dollars in January in municipalities across the region, as local officials raise money to pay for rising health care, pension, and utility costs.

"Almost universally across the state, communities have a lack of money to pay for services," said Lynn Mayor Edward J. Clancy Jr. "We do all that we can to hold the line on taxes. The ideal thing would be to keep tax increases in line with inflation. . . . But that is not easy to accomplish."

Lynn, the region's largest city, will hike bills 5 percent, to $3,140 per year for the average homeowner, the third-lowest annual bill in the North area after Salisbury ($3,005) and Peabody ($3,050).

At the other end is Wenham, which was awaiting word late last week on state approval of a $12.92 rate for fiscal 2008 that would push the average bill to $7,959, a $350 increase. Second on the area list is Manchester-by-the-Sea, where the average home is assessed at $1 million and tax bills will average $7,905, a $287 increase. In Boxford, the average bill will be $7,423, an increase of $343.

Salem's average property tax bill will hit $4,054, an all-time high that is $227 more than homeowners paid last year, according to data presented last week at a City Council meeting.

In Everett, which has a large industrial base, homeowners will pay an average of $686 more: $3,523. Danvers's bills are going up $196, a 5 percent hike that will boost the average to $4,230.

The increase will be reflected in third-quarter tax bills due to go out Dec. 31. New tax rates for communities were approved this month by the state Department of Revenue. State law limits the amount of property taxes a community can collect to no more than 2.5 percent more than the prior year, excluding new growth.

"Our costs just keep going up," said Mayor Robert J. Dolan of Melrose, where the average bill will rise to $4,409. "But there is no way of getting out of this circle without raising revenue."

With the exception of Boston, where a boom in commercial/industrial values will lead to lower residential tax bills this fiscal year, the outlook for most Bay State homeowners is not so promising, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, an independent, non-partisan organization focusing on tax policies.

"Cities and towns are in an extended period of fiscal squeeze," said Michael J. Widmer, executive director of the foundation. "The fundamental problem is that underlying costs are growing faster than underlying revenues."

The foundation's annual property tax survey, due to be released this month, will show that property taxes, including residential and commercial, will go up 5.1 statewide, Widmer said.

"It's better than the plus-6 percent rate we saw earlier in the decade," Widmer said. "But communities still face the twin challenge of escalating property taxes and declining services."

The tax hikes also come as property assessments in some communities have remained flat or declined.

In Lynn, for example, the average value of a single-family home in 2007, compared with the year before, remained at $286,000. But Peabody's average assessed value declined 10 percent, to $351,800, while in Danvers, single-family assessments dropped 6 percent, to $406,800, data shows.

Lower assessments do not mean lower tax bills because a community still has to raise a certain amount of money to pay its bills. "Tax bills go up because city spending goes up," said Peter Caron, the city assessor in Lynn.

In Nahant, a peninsula town with no commercial tax base, property tax bills will increase an average of $800, to $5,306. The rise is due to a tax increase approved by voters three years ago to renovate the town's only elementary school and the Board of Selectmen's decision to shift the water and sewer debt to property tax bills.

"We had the cheapest tax bills and the highest water bills on the North Shore," said Selectman Robert Frary. "It was a poor decision, in the past, to put the debt we owed on the water bills. It's infrastructure improvements, and it belongs on the tax bills, so we shifted it there."

Frary said the move will enable taxpayers to claim the debt as a deduction.

One Nahant resident thinks the shift makes sense. "Our water bill was really, really high," said Kathy Ryan, 43, a mother of two. "I'm never for more taxes. But our tax rate was pretty low. I think the assessments have always been fair."

Another Nahant homeowner, Loreen Tirrell, said, "We have to look, as a town, at how to generate revenue that doesn't totally put it on the back of taxpayers." Tirrell, 49, a mother of two school-age children, added, "I've watched my mortgage go up and up and up. A lot of people have."

Some communities have tried to ease the burden of tax hikes on homeowners by adopting tax exemptions.

State law allows a community to grant exemptions to owner-occupied properties, where a discount of up to 20 percent is subtracted from the total average assessment.

Most single-family homeowners in Chelsea qualify for the exemption, said Ken Stein, city assessor.

Everett revived the exemption this year after suspending it last year. Malden adopted the exemption for the first time this year, allowing a 5 percent discount. "We've taken a cautious approach," said Bob Donnelly, city assessor.

So far, 7,641 of the city's 12,400 single-family homeowners have signed up for the exemption. The average tax bill for a homeowner who opts in would total $2,960,, instead of $3,149, according to the assessor's office.

Other communities have turned to commercial growth to avoid steep residential increases.

In Haverhill, where the average tax bill will go up $89 to $3,300, new retail development, including Target and BJ's Wholesale Club, was a boost, Mayor James Fiorentini said.

"We made a tremendous effort" to bring in new retailers, he said, boosting the value of commercial properties. "It was a big, big play for us."

Kathy McCabe can be reached at

© Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Reply author: michael
Replied on: 12/23/2007 06:46:18 AM

On the up and up
Local communities that had set a homeowners' property tax rate for Fiscal Year 2008, which begins July 1, as of Wednesday
December 23, 2007

Because it has not funded its teachers' contract, the town of Saugus cannot set its rate, by order of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. All rates are per $1,000 of value as assessed by each city and town:

City/town FY 2007 tax rate FY 2008 tax rate Average single-family bill (FY 2008) Increase
Amesbury $13.16 $14.60 $5,025 $203
Beverly $10.14 $10.40 $4,751 $128
Boxford $10.46 $10.95 $7,423 $343
Chelsea* $9.33 $9.95 NA NA
Danvers $9.32 $10.40 $4,230 $196
Essex $10.05 $10.75 $5,539 $341
Everett $8.34 $10.35 $3,523 $686
Georgetown $9.05 $9.30 $4,118 $132
Gloucester $8.61 $9.11 $4,645 $130
Groveland $9.77 $10.13 $4,037 $166
Hamilton $12.58 $13.39 $7,216 $367
Haverhill $10.32 $10.52 $3,300 $89
Ipswich $8.32 $9.23 $4,760 $298
Lynn $10.40 $10.98 $3,140 $166
Lynnfield $9.51 $10.03 $5,828 $141
Malden $8.25 $9.04 $3,149 $189
Manchester $7.29 $7.53 $7,905 $287
Marblehead $7.76 $8.34 $6,104 $189
Melrose $9.83 $10.43 $4,409 $150
Merrimac $9.99 $10.79 $4,240 $314
Middleton $9.81 $9.69 $5,357 $178
Nahant $7.11 $8.33 $5,306 **$800
Newbury $8.23 $8.57 $4,136 $58
Newburyport $10.09 $10.13 $4,939 $14
Peabody $7.76 $8.67 $3,050 $26
Revere $10.13 $10.13 $3,333 $146
Rockport $8.05 $8.39 $4,526 $95
Rowley $9.78 $10.38 $4,525 $246
Salem $10.77 $11.67 $4,054 $227
Salisbury $8.18 $8.46 $3,005 $57
Swampscott $12.86 $13.63 $7,293 $376
Topsfield $11.57 $12.02 $7,008 $262
Wakefield $9.52 $9.65 $4,101 $95
Wenham*** $11.67 $12.92 $7,959 $350
West Newbury $10.79 $11.34 $6,068 $209
Winthrop $8.82 $9.30 $3,570 $184
*Chelsea is one of the Massachusetts communities that grants exemptions to owner-occupied residences. Because each bill varies, an estimate is not available.

**Nahant bill reflects water/sewer debt added to property tax bill for the first time.

***Wenham was awaiting final approval from state at presstime


Reply author: Court4Fred
Replied on: 12/23/2007 09:04:26 AM

If you're not angry yet...then you're not paying attention.

There is no excuse; I repeat - there is no excuse for the kind of tax increase that Everett is experiencing right now. Only Nahant has a higher rate and that's because the water rate has been factored in. Look at the cities surrounding Everett - Malden, Revere - no where near the expected increase for Everett. And this was AFTER $1.2 million was cut after the election! Can you imagine what this bill would have been if the DOR hadn't reined this clown in? This is the legacy of the Hanlon administration, and it's piss-poor management of the city's resources.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 12/23/2007 12:19:41 PM

I’m sorry, but even with my glasses on I can’t figure this out. The eyes are not what they used to be. For example, can some explain why you have this figure:

Amesbury $13.16 $14.60 $5,025 $203

Then you have this figure:

Everett $8.34 $10.35 $3,523 $686

Why is Everett $686.00 and Amesbury $203.00.
Amesbury seems to be higher in everything but why are they $203.00 and Everett $686.00. I wish I had a home like they do in Amesbury. Thanks in advance and please excuse my ignorance. I am just a common folk that has is paying way more in taxes that what my home is worth and I should be paying more attention.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 12/23/2007 12:39:23 PM


You know that I'm no fan of the Hanlon administration but I'm actually going to defend them a little bit here (but only a little).

Part of the tax issue that the city faces is due in part to the underfunding of the pension fund liability that stretches back to prior adminstrations as well; these administrations should share the blame for that part of the problem. The Hanlon administration was mandated to address this issue and did.

I don't think that the Globe data explained the particular situation in Everett clearly enough so that who is effected by the $686 increase is clear. Using the numbers the Globe provided, tax rate - $10.35 per thousand, average single family bill - $3523, the average valuation for a single family home in $340,000 (3523/10.35), in round numbers. This seems about right. If this were the valuation after the 20% owner occupied tax exemption, this would make the average valuation for a single family home $425,000 ($340,000/.8). That seems to be too high. Therefore, using the average valuation of $340,000 for both tax years (which isn't exactly correct but close enough), the average single family tax bill for a qualifying owner occupied property for FY07 would be $2835.60 (340*8.34) and for FY08, it would be $2815.20 (340*.8*10.35). So there would actually be a small decrease.

This is just my interpretation of the numbers and I apologize if I'm wrong. I believe it make some sense though. Since only so much of the city's tax burden can be shifted to commercial property, any tax break given to a portion of the residential tax base would be shifted to the remaining portion of the residential base. It would be interesting to know what the tax rate would have been without the 20% exemption. That's the only real way that we could compare year to year and community to community.

Reply author: Lillian
Replied on: 12/23/2007 9:20:41 PM

By far this is the most intelligent posts I have read in this forum. This person is articulate, writes perfect English and is educated. Thank you for this post.

Reply author: the penguin
Replied on: 12/25/2007 9:33:26 PM

Tetris you obviously have no knowledge of municipal finance. Every three years the city MUST do a report on it's unfunded liabiltity for retirement and NO mayor can under fund what the report is illegal. So when you say the tax increae was because of prior administrations it just shows you can throw some BS but you don't know thw law. The taxes went up because Hanlon hired many new people, created new positions and gave outrageous pay raises. Nest time you talk know what you are talking about.

Reply author: justme
Replied on: 12/26/2007 07:16:00 AM

Was that really necessary, penguin? Based on the information we heard (on numerous occasions) during the budget fiasco, the pension fund has been under funded by many administrations, for many years. If that information was incorrect, then just say so and tell us where your “correct” information can be obtained.

There’s absolutely no need to respond to Tetris in that manner. He is an intelligent, levelheaded, contributor to the forum and is well regarded by many.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 12/26/2007 07:56:15 AM


I'm not an expert in municipal finance; never claimed to be (although I and many others have found it necessary to get some education in it over the last 18 months). While I may have been technically incorrect in my usage of the term "under funded", I don't know how the city would have gotten to the point of having $100 million unfunded pension liability as of December 31, 2006 if the pension fund had been adequately funded all along. While I would not disagree that the major portion of the current tax increases are a result of the current administration actions (or inactions, in some cases), I was only trying to point out that the entire problem can not be blamed on them. I could not find the information necessary to quantify how much of the current tax increases can be attributed to the pension issue but if you follow the link below, you'll see that this is going to be a major issue going forward. By the year 2028, the city's annual funding of the pension fund is currently scheduled to be almost triple what was this year.

Lillian, thank you for the compliments; Justme, thank you for the defense and the compliments.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 12/26/2007 11:57:26 AM

Thanks for the link Tetris, the pension fund has clearly been underfunded for years. I hope they can catch up and I hope the new administration learns from this and takes care of it as well.

Reply author: Lillian
Replied on: 12/26/2007 9:15:02 PM


Originally posted by tetris


I'm not an expert in municipal finance; never claimed to be (although I and many others have found it necessary to get some education in it over the last 18 months). While I may have been technically incorrect in my usage of the term "under funded", I don't know how the city would have gotten to the point of having $100 million unfunded pension liability as of December 31, 2006 if the pension fund had been adequately funded all along. While I would not disagree that the major portion of the current tax increases are a result of the current administration actions (or inactions, in some cases), I was only trying to point out that the entire problem can not be blamed on them. I could not find the information necessary to quantify how much of the current tax increases can be attributed to the pension issue but if you follow the link below, you'll see that this is going to be a major issue going forward. By the year 2028, the city's annual funding of the pension fund is currently scheduled to be almost triple what was this year.

Lillian, thank you for the compliments; Justme, thank you for the defense and the compliments.

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 12/27/2007 05:13:45 AM

POLICE SEARCH HIGH SCHOOL - Everett police said they will take a more active approach to curbing drugs and weapons at the high school, following two separate incidents in the past month when officials reported confiscating BB guns from students. Local police, joined by school officials and canine units from eight area law enforcement agencies, conducted a random search of the building last week that turned up no weapons or drugs, said Everett police spokesman Lieutenant Paul Landry. He said 15 teams of canine units, each escorted by a school staffer, went room by room through the new five-story school. Students were led out of each classroom and into the hallway before authorities entered a classroom, he said. The students were instructed to leave all of their books and backpacks in the classrooms during the search. Lockers also were searched, but at no time were the students searched, he said. The action was requested by Superintendent Frederick Foresteire, Landry said. - Kay Lazar December 27, 2007

Reply author: Court4Fred
Replied on: 12/27/2007 8:26:40 PM

Tetris...apologies for being out of touch. T'is the season. BTW, Merry Christmas all!

Your description of the pension fund is accurate - but you're forgetting a few things. The first is that the city finished up the year with 11 million dollars in free cash, partly due to the recision of the initial residental 20% exemption. Nevertheless, despite the added pension payment, the city still finished out the year with a significant cash pile. How the tax rate went up $2.00 on the thousand (if all things are equal), despite the free cash bears more review than I can give right now.

You should also take a hard look at that link to the report, which indicates just how many employees have been added. From 546 employees on 01/01/06 to 622 employees on 01/01/07. That's an increase of 76 employees. That's an overall increase of nearly 14% within a single year and doesn't include any new hires this year. The executive summary on page 6 indicates that the payroll increased more than $3 million dollars in a single year for none of the part-timers are included. That's worth mentioning relative to the tax increase.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 12/27/2007 11:36:25 PM


No problem; we all have plenty of other things to attend to this time of the year. Merry Christmas to you in return.

I think that we have both agreed in the past that we don't have enough information available to us to figure out where all the free cash came from. The only additional information that we've gotten since it was originally announced is that a small portion of it was unexpended money as of June 30th that has since been returned to its respective departments (Medicare reimbursement money to the school department and remodeling money to the police department). I hope that someone really understands how we got to this point and what, if any implications there may be going forward, i.e., was it just an accounting anomaly and could it swing the other way in the future? I hope that the new mayor and his team have a full grasp of the issue.

I almost felt guilty by providing somewhat of a defense of the Hanlon administration when trying explain what I thought the numbers in last Sunday's Globe meant to the average tax payer. If I was right, those of us that are lucky enough to qualify for the 20% exemption will only be just about breaking even with last year's tax bills. I find that to be astounding. I feel particularly bad for those seniors whose houses are in trusts and don't qualify for the exemption. I felt even more guilty when I was doing some research to find that linked document. I didn't really look at the payroll information in that document but I did see payroll data in other documents that I found on the state web site. The figures were even worse in those documents. It was late that night and I couldn't get my head around them but I knew it wasn't good. I hope some day soon I'll find the time to go back to figure them out and share my findings.

A couple of questions about your last post. I'm not sure that I understand how the recission of the initial 20% residential exemption added to free cash. My understanding of the exemption is that it is only a method of redistributing the burden of the residential portion of the tax levy. I don't see how that could add to free cash. Please share more detail of your insight. Also, I thought FTE stood for full time equivalent. In that case, part timers would be included in those numbers. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Reply author: Court4Fred
Replied on: 12/28/2007 08:17:23 AM


My understanding is that in FY 2004 or 2005, the year that the original RTE went into effect, there was a significant tax increase, largely due to the rapid increase in home values to help "fund" if you will, the exemption. No city government could fully place the exemption on the backs of the homeowners whose homes were greater in value...there would have been an insurrection. Once the exemption was rescinded and the residences were again fully valued - the result was the increasing revenue that led to the historic free cash pool. Medicaid reimbursement is a fragment of this money, as was the police grant. I would bet that most of it was due to the recision of the RTE, which the Hanlon administration didn't factor in when it was planning the year's tax rate. If they had - they would probably be still in office.

And the situation with the Globe is this - the DOR has all that information on the website. It does have Everett with an average $687. increase. You have to wonder if the paperwork regarding the RTE had been filed in a timely fashion, because the DOR site was updated on 12/27 - yesterday, and Everett's numbers still stand. I guess we'll find out when the tax bills arrive. The other thing that has me concerned is the declining home values...I hope Carlo's team is ready for this.

Also - FTE is full time equivalent - but as you recall, Mayor Hanlon did state that his part-timers were not going to be on the pension plan, which led me to believe that the number did not include part-time. Of course...hizzoner could have been less than truthful once again.

Reply author: H1ghCh4r1ty
Replied on: 12/28/2007 08:50:35 AM


Please do not expect much (or anything) from the new administration. I am afraid, if you do
my friend, that you will be sorely dissappointed.

Carlo's team is not ready for anything. This will be a worse two years than with Hanlon.

The Pup and Emile Schoeffhausen

"Time to make the donuts"

Reply author: justme
Replied on: 12/28/2007 08:58:25 AM

Emile, Your negativity in regards to Carlo is beginning to wear thin. You may very well be correct in your assessment however, it would be prudent to at least allow him the opportunity to be sworn in before you drive the bus over him!

When he stubs his toe, please feel free to say, “I told you so”. Until then, why not give it a rest?

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 12/28/2007 2:58:42 PM

I think we are all starting to get a little anxious about what will be coming down the line. There has been next to nothing for news coming out of City Hall. This is one of the most lowed keyed transitions that I can remember. I hope that means everything is going smoothly and not incompetence on either Hanlon or Carlo's part. I just can't help being skeptical, after all, Hanlon is involved.

Reply author: Court4Fred
Replied on: 12/28/2007 5:18:50 PM

Emile, MassDee - I think it's always good to manage expectations, and I have - while at the same time, hoping beyond hope for a miracle. The under-the-radar transition isn't exactly inspiring confidence in the hearts of the gods, but it doesn't reek of despair either. I think we gave Hanlon six months? We can certainly do the same for Carlo.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 12/28/2007 5:28:05 PM

Court, it didn't take me six months, I knew pretty quickly that I had a huge error in judgment when I voted for Hanlon. I can remember clearly when I knew. It was either the first or second city council meeting and Hanlon was speaking. I don't even remember what it was about. When he was through I called my mom on the phone and said, "we made a huge mistake, this man does not know which end is up." It's been a very long two years since then.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 12/30/2007 08:54:01 AM

Newburyport landfill still uncapped, odorous
The uncapped landfill at 20 Crow Lane has drawn complaints about noxious odors and debris. The uncapped landfill at 20 Crow Lane has drawn complaints about noxious odors and debris. (lisa poole for the boston globe)

PROBLEM: Noxious odors from the Crow Lane Landfill in Newburyport and debris from trucks entering the site have sparked litigation, state and city intervention, and a neighborhood outcry.
more stories like this

HISTORY: The unlined landfill closed in 1987 but was never capped. In 2003, state environmental officials approved a plan by Everett-based New Ventures to add construction debris to the landfill mound before capping it. Neighborhood complaints about odors from this new debris prompted the state attorney general's office to sue New Ventures.

In October 2006, a Suffolk Superior Court judge ordered the company to install odor-control technology and to complete the landfill's capping by Aug. 30, 2007. But ongoing neighborhood complaints about odors from newly imported construction and demolition material prompted city and state officials to halt most work at the facility since the summer.

New Ventures has since demanded that the city shoulder most of its costs. A Suffolk Superior Court judge ordered New Ventures and state officials back to court earlier this month to review the status of the project. The landfill remains uncapped.

PROGRESS: The court order gives state officials authority to penalize New Ventures for violations, but the city's Board of Health is in charge of the daily monitoring of odors and reporting violations to the state. Late last year, the city hired a person to monitor odors and other violations at the site, funded from a $60,000 account New Ventures was ordered to create. Mayor John Moak said there is about $20,000 left in this account, but if the fund is depleted, he is determined to keep the employee on, at city expense, until the landfill is capped and closed.

Moak said New Ventures hired a crew to clean up litter at the site and has since improved its record on that problem. There has been a flurry of neighborhood complaints recently about odors since New Ventures installed some of its court-ordered odor-control technology, but Moak said the system is expected to be fully operating soon. State officials recently approved a plan by New Ventures to bring in crushed asphalt and clay to build an access road and to temporarily cover the landfill until permanent capping is completed.

GRADE: Moak gives himself a "95" for making sure New Ventures has adhered to all city and state orders and regulations concerning odor complaints. But he said he merits only a "65" for not being more "creative and diligent" in moving the project forward, while also holding down the odors.

He is vowing in 2008 to work more cooperatively with New Ventures so the company can bring in the materials it needs to cap and close the facility.

Kay Lazar can be reached at

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 12/30/2007 4:00:35 PM

There is an Everett connection to this story near the end of the article.

Law put candidate atop Fire Dept. list

By Donovan Slack
Globe Staff / December 30, 2007

William Hayhurst III's dream of joining the Boston Fire Department and carrying on a family tradition - his late father was a Boston firefighter for 32 years - appeared to be dashed when he received relatively dismal scores on the civil service exam all three times he took it.

Then, in what critics call an example of the patronage and favoritism lingering in Massachusetts government, the Hayhursts' political connections turned things around.

A special state law passed this year for the benefit of the Hayhurst family vaulted William III from 623d place to the pinnacle of the hiring list. As a result, he is now slated to be the next person hired by the Boston Fire Department. His brothers Marc, who ranked 202d on the list, and Michael, if he passes the test, are also guaranteed head-of-the-line status.

The jumps were made possible in large part by state Senate President Therese Murray, who, said two public officials involved in helping the Hayhursts, told several influential people throughout the process that the Hayhursts were family friends and were deserving of special treatment.

The bill for the Hayhursts gave them the same benefits that are given to survivors of a firefighter who died in the line of duty, even though their father died of eye cancer in 2002, not in the line of duty. The bill flew through two committees and the state Senate in less than two hours in September.

The Hayhursts were also supported by Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the Boston City Council, and Governor Deval Patrick.

A group representing minority firefighters says the political boost that resulted in the preferential treatment of the sons of an Irish firefighter over dozens of nonwhite applicants with higher test scores is "disgraceful."

"It's just another example of the favoritism and nepotism and patronage that exists," said Karen Miller, president of the Boston Society of Vulcans, an organization of black firefighters.

For 30 years, a federal court order required the department to hire one black applicant for every white applicant it hired. But in the four years since the order was lifted, the department's nonwhite ranks have dwindled by nearly 50 firefighters.

Common Cause Massachusetts, a watchdog group dedicated to open government, said special legislation benefiting individuals can be justified in some cases, but always deserves extra scrutiny.

"It can be used to rectify individual injustices," said Pamela Wilmot, Common Cause executive director. "But it should never be used to help an individual because of their connections."

Murray declined to discuss what steps she took to help the Hayhursts. Her spokesman, David Falcone, would also not discuss her role, saying only that Murray "knows of the family, but she is not a close, personal friend of the Hayhursts." Falcone said the Hayhursts exercised the right of every citizen to lobby politicians for legislative relief.

The Hayhursts did not return messages seeking comment.

Boston fire officials also declined to comment on the law. "We have nothing to do with the establishment of the hiring list," Steve MacDonald, department spokesman, said.

The state Civil Service Commission, created to prevent nepotism and patronage from undermining fair hiring practices, administers tests for police officers and firefighters statewide. It produces hiring lists for cities and towns based on applicants' scores. It also takes into account special preferences granted to classes of individuals, such as veterans and disabled veterans. Children of public safety employees who die in the line of duty are given the highest preference.

The Boston firefighters exam is highly competitive, with the department hiring only about 200 firefighters from each hiring list, which is created every two years.

After the death of the Hayhursts's father, William Jr., the Boston Retirement Board granted his survivors disability benefits, including a larger pension for his widow, based on a presumption that his eye cancer was job-related.

But the rules to get preferential hiring benefits are stricter. State law grants head-of-the-line status only to children of public safety employees who die in the line of duty, which is defined for firefighters as death from mortal injuries or death sustained as "the result of an accident while responding to an alarm of fire or while at the scene of a fire."

Since William Hayhurst Jr.'s death in 2002 did not fit the definition, his sons could not qualify for preferential hiring without passage of a special law.

Passing state laws that exclusively benefit certain individuals has been a common practice in Massachusetts, but legislators rarely pass bills requiring the preferential hiring of specific individuals.

A Globe review found that 40 of the 218 state laws passed in 2007 provide benefits to specific individuals by name. Thirty allowed employees of certain state agencies to donate sick days to particular colleagues, and three granted retirement benefits to certain public employees. Six exempted particular police and firefighter applicants from maximum age requirements, allowing them to take civil service tests and apply for municipal jobs at an older age. The Hayhurst law was the only one granting head-of-the-line status on a civil service hiring list.

Lobbying for the Hayhurst law began about three years ago, when the Hayhursts approached the Boston City Council for help in getting preferential hiring treatment.

Murray supported the request, telling Councilor at Large Michael F. Flaherty, president of the council at the time, that the Hayhursts were family friends and that she wanted the petition passed, said the two public officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

But Flaherty refused, saying such legislation "wouldn't pass the smell test," the officials said. Menino also declined to support it at the time, the officials said. Among the reasons for Flaherty and Menino's resistance: Therewas no medical documentation to support a declaration that the Hayhursts's father had died in the line of duty, the officials said.

Still, William Hayhurst III, a Dorchester resident, persisted in his lobbying efforts.

This year the political landscape shifted. Councilor Maureen E . Feeney of Dorchester replaced Flaherty as council president, and Murray, who grew up in Dorchester, ascended to the state Senate presidency.

Feeney agreed to introduce the legislation this summer after a visit from Hayhurst and a telephone call from his mother, she said.

"I said, 'Well, I just don't know if it will fly,' " Feeney said in a recent interview. "She said, 'Will you at least try?' "

Feeney said she spoke about the measure with Murray, who was "supportive" and "very happy that it had come forward." Feeney said she told Menino about Murray's support, and the mayor agreed to sign the legislation if it passed the council.

On Aug. 1, Feeney introduced the petition for a special law giving the Hayhurst sons the head-of-the-line status accorded children of firefighters killed in the line of duty. She asked for expedited scheduling of a public hearing on the initiative, and on Aug. 24, the council's Government Operations Committee held a six-minute hearing. William Hayhurst III offered the only testimony.

"The young man who is about to present this petition to us is in fact the son of firefighter William Hayhurst, who, although he did not die in the line of fire in terms of being, you know, at a fire, but in fact did die as an active member of the Boston firefighters association," Feeney said at the hearing, according to a video transcript.

William Hayhurst, a stocky 30-year-old with short-cropped brown hair, said there has been a Hayhurst in the Boston Fire Department since 1913.

"My father was very well established in the Fire Department, seeing very busy times throughout the '70s, and it's been a dream of mine and my younger brother to also be on the Fire Department," Hayhurst said. He said his father, a district captain, developed terminal cancer behind his left eye and worked until five weeks before his death.

Feeney and the chairman of government operations, Councilor Rob Consalvo of Hyde Park, did not ask how the eye cancer related to his work as a firefighter.

Less than three weeks later, the City Council passed the measure with a unanimous vote, and on Sept. 21, the mayor signed it and sent it to the State House. Flaherty could not be reached for comment last week to explain his apparent change of heart on the issue.

Dorothy Joyce, Menino's spokeswoman, said the mayor changed his position and signed on because of strong support from the City Council. She declined to comment on Murray's influence on the process.

On Thursday, Sept. 27, it made it through two state committees of the Legislature, the Joint Rules and Public Safety committees, and the state Senate in 1 hour and 28 minutes. The following Monday, it passed the House and was sent to the governor's desk for his signature. According to a legislative log of the acts of 2007, the legislation became law Oct. 12, because the governor did not act on it. The log indicates, however, that it was passed with his approval.

"After examining past legislative precedent in similar matters, the administration supported the bill becoming law," Patrick's press secretary Kyle Sullivan said in a written statement. "We will continue to closely scrutinize such bills on a case-by-case basis."

Representative Brian Wallace of South Boston, who was listed as a sponsor of the bill, did not return calls for comment.

Representative Stephen Stat Smith of Everett cosponsored the measure.

"The reason I signed on is, as a new legislator, I'm not really familiar about the process," he said. "So I looked to some reps who are friends of mine who had some easy things that weren't going to be controversial, and I just signed on to provide assistance to them and learn more about the process. "

The Boston Fire Department plans to begin hiring a new class of recruits in the spring, fire officials say. Hayhurst will still have to pass physical tests and the firefighting academy before becoming a firefighter.

Miller of the black firefighters organization said she now plans to do some lobbying of her own. "We need a law to make sure this doesn't happen again," she said.

Andrea Estes of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Donovan Slack can be reached at

Reply author: charm
Replied on: 01/03/2008 06:52:53 AM

School of hard rocks
A newly popular sport offers lessons of its own
By Maureen Mullen, Globe Correspondent | January 3, 2008

Forget the climbing-the-wall jokes. Eric Curtis has heard them all.

"Actually," said Curtis, a partner in MetroRock Indoor Rock Climbing Centers in Everett and Newburyport, "we use that as our motto for birthday parties: 'Let them climb our walls, not yours.' "

Those parties have served as the entree for many into rock climbing, one of the country's fastest-growing recreational activities. When the party's over, it's a matter of keeping everyone roped in.

While there are no official high school teams locally, Curtis, for one, would like to see that change. MetroRock in Newburyport hosts 10 high school groups for more than 50 climbers. Curtis would like to start a similar program at the Everett gym for high school students in that area.

"I'd love to see it become a varsity sport," Curtis said. "New England is kind of a last adaptor for extreme sports and stuff like that. Everyone at high schools has been grown on traditional ball sports - basketball, football, baseball - and this sport is now getting a lot of interest and seeing some explosive growth. So we want to try to get some momentum behind that with the school systems.

"The students have been phenomenal, but we'd like to really get the momentum going with the administrators, and see them on board to see this as possibly a varsity sport in five to seven years."

Curtis, who began climbing while at Norwich University in Vermont and later became a partner in the rock gyms as an escape from the 9-to-5 banking world, started building business by asking a student from each school to act as an informal recruiter.

"I actually first came here with a friend for my birthday," said Elyse Cosentino, a senior from West Newbury who is the student rep for Pentucket Regional High School. "It hasn't been that difficult to recruit kids, because I have a lot of friends that are interested in outdoorsy activities, like hiking and stuff. It was a little bit harder to get people that I don't know into it, but there are a few people."

Lee Mehlenbacher, a senior at Newburyport High, is one of seven students from that school's group. "I saw a newspaper ad that said there was a new rock climbing gym, and there was a picture of some guy climbing," he said. "I told some of my friends about it, and one of my friends had already been [at MetroRock] and he said, 'Yeah, you got to check it out.' That was about a year ago. So I started coming then and loved it."

Both the physical and mental tests hooked Mehlenbacher.

"It was challenging," he said. "It wasn't really scary. It was just different, a big challenge." He said that the mental challenge "is harder, because you have to coordinate yourself, and think ahead, and try to go fast at the same time.

"It's definitely worth the challenge for the feeling that you've accomplished after. It's really fun."

For now, there are no NCAA-sanctioned college programs, either, but Curtis is working with a group of students from the University of New Hampshire to change that. Gordon College in Wenham, however, has the opposite situation: a rock gym with no team. Rather, the college uses the climbing walls, which are open to the public, as a component of its curriculum.

"It's part of our adventure program, called 'La Vida,' and it's been around since 1976," said Rich Obenschain, the college's outdoor education director. "It's kind of a takeoff on Outward Bound. It's actually a requirement for all of our students to participate in some kind of an adventure program, either a 12-day expedition or a one-quad adventure program out on our ropes course. And we basically use the rock climbing on rainy days and things like that."

MetroRock recently hosted an open competition with climbers ranging in age from about 10 to 35, competing in five divisions - junior, for those 12 and under, beginner, intermediate, advanced, and professional.

"It was phenomenal," Curtis said. "We had 134 competitors. It was our largest competition. We beat last year's numbers by about 40 or 50 attendees. It's mainly due to the high school surge."

Liam Gallagher, ranked fourth in the state in his age group by USA Climbing, represents the fastest-growing group of climbers. Gallagher, who turned 12 last Friday, is now among the group of 12- to 15-year-olds that make up 35 percent of climbers, according to USA Climbing.

"I tell [my friends] that it's definitely a lot harder than their football practices," said Gallagher, of Amesbury, who won the speed climbing event at the national championship in Portland, Ore., last year.

Liam's father, Don Gallagher, 63, however, represents the other end of the spectrum - those over 35, who make up 8 percent of climbers.

Liam "kind of just dragged me along," said Don Gallagher. "So when I was in the gym with him, I'd try climbing a little bit, and I eventually got to the point where I had to start climbing, too."

Roped in. Just like all the others.

© Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Reply author: Head
Replied on: 01/03/2008 08:51:56 AM

have you seen the wall when you walk into the high school it looks like a rock climbing wall either that or swiss cheese.

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 01/12/2008 05:03:10 AM

Deportees with no criminal past grow
Advocates alarmed by trend in region
By Maria Sacchetti, Globe Staff | January 12, 2008

Federal immigration agents in New England are deporting a smaller percentage of immigrants who have been convicted of crimes than in 2005, drawing criticism from immigrant advocates who say the agency is "chasing landscapers" and other workers who do not have criminal records.

Officials for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement say their policy is to pursue criminals, from violent gang members to fake document peddlers to child predators, and they assert there are valid reasons that deportations might not reflect that. The criminals they pursue include legal residents, immigrants here illegally (a civil offense), and even US citizens.

But advocates and others say deportations should reflect the agency's mission.

According to the immigration agency, about 35 percent - or 916 people - of the 2,609 deported from New England to their home countries during the last budget year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, had been convicted of criminal charges.

Two years ago, 45 percent of the 2,482 deportees had convictions.

The regional trend mirrors national percentages: Across the country, the percentage of criminal deportees fell to 38 percent last year from 48 percent in 2005, largely because of a dramatic increase in the number of noncriminal deportations. The figures from the immigration agency do not specify which of the criminal deportees were in the country illegally and which were legal residents stripped of their status because of a conviction.

Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of the agency's office of investigations in Boston, which covers New England, said the immigration agency has not shifted its focus - which is still fighting crime - and rebutted allegations that the agency targets immigrants indiscriminately.

But he said deportations could not be expected to increase every year, partly because they are often subject to court decisions.

It can take years to deport someone; some criminals are still serving jail sentences or are awaiting trial, and others are fighting deportation in court. Some accused criminals do not show up in the statistics because they are deported before their cases go to trial.

Sometimes illegal immigrants are arrested as part of a criminal investigation, and then are not charged with any crimes, which can skew deportation figures, he said.

The massive raid last March at a New Bedford leather-goods factory, which made backpacks and other gear for the US military, was an example, he said.

Agents detained 361 people because they were here illegally.

But only the company's president at the time and two managers have been indicted on federal charges.

"These numbers are not indicative on what our priorities are," Foucart said. "Our priorities are still on criminal work, criminal investigations, criminal aliens, and criminal US citizens."

The decline in percentage of criminal deportees is emerging as the number of overall deportees is rising sharply nationwide - to 232,755 last year from 177,489 in 2005.

In New England, the overall deportations were relatively flat, 2,609, up 127 from two years ago.

Advocates for immigrants said the deportation figures were dismaying because they suggest that many noncriminals are being swept up in raids.

Because federal agents generally refuse to release detainees' names, citing Department of Homeland Security Policy, it is difficult to verify whether detainees are criminals.

Ali Noorani, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, said the numbers suggest that federal agents are "chasing landscapers" and not cracking down on crime.

"Every time they do a raid they're saying, "Oh, we're just going after criminals,' " Noorani said.

"The numbers prove that Immigration is really just going through neighborhoods and looking for anybody who fits their profile. I just look at it as a real waste of taxpayer dollars."

Even those who favor stricter controls on immigration said the decline in the share of deportees who are criminals is perplexing.

Jessica Vaughan, a senior policy analyst with the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, which favors limits on immigration, said it is possible that many detainees are still serving time and will eventually be deported.

But she called the lower percentages of criminal deportees surprising because the federal agency has more resources to catch criminals and because many police departments nationwide have volunteered to help.

"Congress has provided ICE with more resources specifically to focus on criminal illegal aliens, and these numbers don't show any results yet," said Vaughan, who is based in Franklin.

"You have to ask yourself, is ICE really using these resources effectively or is there more they could be doing?"

Jim Rizoli, director of Massachusetts Concerned Citizens and Friends of Illegal Immigration Law Enforcement, said the numbers would be higher in New England if more police departments agreed to help the federal agency. Only two police departments in the region, Framingham and Hudson, N.H., plus the Barnstable County Sheriff's Office and Massachusetts Department of Correction, have volunteered to flag criminal immigrants for the federal agency.

"It concerns me," Rizoli said. "I think [criminal deportations] should be higher."

Chelsea's police chief, Brian A. Kyes, said he would be concerned if noncriminal immigrants were being swept up in raids aimed at cracking down on violent crime. His department participated in immigration raids in August to combat street gangs, and he said he was sure that most of those detained in his city were involved in criminal activity.

But Kyes said the police department's relationship with residents could become strained if federal agents were rounding up hardworking people here illegally. At least 36 percent of Chelsea's residents are immigrants, most from Latin America.

"That would concern me because of the trust that we need to develop between the residents of our community and the police in order to accomplish our joint goals of keeping the community safe," said Kyes.

"It would have the potential to cause the trusting relationship with the police to become adversarial."

© Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Reply author: Home
Replied on: 01/16/2008 11:34:14 AM

I don't care if they have records YET or not. Illegal is Illegal. Bottom line. Wanna stay? Do the deed. Or as Deval would say go to college for free on us than take the knowledge back to your country, boy we did good by letting him in office didn't we. What a joke.
Now he is trying to get his own to run the entire USA bad enough here in MA.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 01/24/2008 11:38:35 AM

Man fatally shot at Chelsea lounge with history of violence
Email|Print| Text size – +
January 24, 2008 09:08 AM

By Globe Staff

A man was shot to death and two other people were wounded when a gunman opened fire overnight in Chelsea at King Arthur's Lounge, the strip club that was the site of a fatal brawl in 1982 that involved several off-duty Everett police officers.

Chelsea Police Chief Brian A. Kyes said that today's shooting occurred at 12.30 a.m. after a physical altercation inside the lounge on Beacham Street. As shots rang out, 25 to 50 patrons inside the club dove to the floor for cover.

A 28-year-old Everett man was killed when he was shot in the torso. A 29-year-old Everett man was wounded in the upper thigh, and a 41-year-old Charlestown man was shot in the left calf. Both men are expected to survive, Kyes said.

"The gunman fled the scene,#65533; Kyes said. #65533;We are interviewing many witnesses."

The case is under investigation by Chelsea police and State Police assigned to the Suffolk District Attorney's office.

The brawl on July 23, 1982 began with an argument in the motel's lounge between Alfred J. Mattuchio and an off-duty Everett police officer, John McLeod. The officer left the lounge, then returned with several police officers, allegedly armed with nightsticks, baseball bats, and tire irons. They reportedly entered a room in King Arthur's Motel and attacked a dozen patrons and employees. Vincent J. Bordonaro was beaten to death.

Four Everett officers were indicted for murder. One was acquitted; two are serving life sentences for second-degree murder; a fourth was released after serving several years for manslaughter, according to newspaper accounts.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 01/24/2008 11:40:18 AM

Anyone know the names of the Everett people involved?

Reply author: Head
Replied on: 01/24/2008 1:20:59 PM

The homicide victim was identified as Jeff Santiago, 28, of Everett. He and the other two men were taken to Whidden Memorial Hospital. The surviving victims, ages 29 and 41, were treated and released. They have not been identified.

Channel 5 news

Reply author: Walter
Replied on: 01/24/2008 2:59:11 PM

Anyone that has half a brain knows to stay away from King Arthur's, but here is a great review of the place anyway. (

Nestled between the "New England Produce Distribution Center" and the "Cash and Carry" and directly across from a porn/buritto vendor this place takes up the prime real estate of downtown Scaryville. STAY AWAY. Do not go after dark. Should you chose to go during daylight hours, do not stay longer than 15 minutes. Sure the strip club is totally nude... sure its only a 10 minute drive from downtown Boston. STAY AWAY. You only have one life to live, and King Arthur's is the prime locale to lose it.

One testament to how shady this place is: some enterprising young man saw a business opportunity from the mounting body count of King Arthur's - so they built a Dunkin Donuts next door for the cops to hang out at while they wait for the next '187'. Business at Dunks is booming... while I was at King Arthurs there were a minimum of two police vehicles parked outside.

At King Arthur's speaking Spanish/Portugese will be to your advantage... I speak broken Italian.. which can only get you a broken arm... so I chose not to speak.

Ok. you say... ok. But what about King Arthur's Motel and Lounge.. I want more details... well here they come -

King Arthurs used to be a sketchy motel and bar in an sketchy industrial part of town... the years have not been too kind.

It is now a strip club/lounge/bar/pool room/motel... don't play pool here. Just get back in your car and drive away. As I drove by, I saw this place as a potential real diamond in the rough dive bar - boy did I underestimate it. I walked through the sidedoor and was impressed by the blaring hispanic music, poor decorations and multiple gaming opportunities... my buddy and I sidled up for a $3.50 Bud Light (pricey) and just enjoyed taking in this dive. I decided to go exploring for the men's room... After being thoroughly impressed with how far the fake suits of armor in the 'motel lobby' had fallen into disrepair I found my way to the bathroom. In addition to fully operation indoor plumbing (a surprise) I saw some pretty wild items available for purchase in the men's room, the kind of stuff I have only seen available in during my trip to Byelorussia (you will have to wait until Yelp goes international to hear those stories) - after exiting I noticed a second bar on the far side of the motel lobby... low and behold it was a strip club... a packed strip club at 4:30 in the afternoon. After quickly surveying the surroundings I decided it was in my best interest to flee.

I have no idea what the Motel section is like. I think by the time you are asking those sorts of questions you are probably reading this on my stolen laptop as you drive to the nearest pawnshop for some crack money... I can't tell you any details, but I am guessing the rooms are rented by the hour... just like the ladies.

Should you chose to visit King Arthur's despite my warnings here is what you will need: a 4X4 vehicle (preferably something more intimidating than my girlfriend's Jeep Liberty) because Beecham Street is like navigating the Trans-African Highway through the rough part of Kenya; a flak vest - for when the natives get restless; a mounted 50mm - for cover fire during the get away; a fist full of quarters for the Men's room vending machines; and a fist full of dollars (because its not just a great movie, its how you get the ladies attention).

As a final comment. Please don't go here. I will feel terrible if someone gets shot/shived/crucified because my stupid Yelp review aroused too much curiosity from a good, albiet foolhardy soul.

Reply author: charm
Replied on: 01/25/2008 05:53:45 AM

Man shot dead, 2 hurt at Chelsea strip club
By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff | January 25, 2008

CHELSEA - As patrons and employees scrambled for safety, a man opened fire during a fight inside a notorious strip club early yesterday morning, killing one man and wounding two others, authorities said.

Police Chief Brian A. Kyes said in an interview that the shooting occurred at 12:30 a.m. after a physical altercation inside the King Arthur's Lounge on Beacham Street. As shots rang out, 25 to 50 patrons and employees dived to the floor, he said.

The deceased was identified by Kyes and Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley's office as 28-year-old Jeff Santiago, who was living in Everett. Kyes said it was not immediately clear whether Santiago was part of the fight that preceded the gunfire.

Kyes and Jake Wark, Conley spokesman, both said the investigation was "extremely active," but no arrests were made by last night. A 29-year-old Everett man was wounded in the upper thigh, and a 41-year-old Charlestown man was shot in the calf. Both are expected to survive, said officials, who declined to identify them.

A woman who answered the door at Santiago's home yesterday said the family was reeling from the news of his death and declined to comment.

The bar reopened later yesterday. King Arthur's was preparing to transfer its liquor license at a hearing Tuesday before the city's Licensing Commission.

The longtime owner of the lounge and motel, Arthur Guttadauro, died recently, and his estate is trying to transfer the license to his son, Stephen, according to the business's attorney, Richard Clayman.

Clayman said management at the lounge has cooperated fully with investigators. "I don't think there is any allegation of wrongdoing on the part of King Arthur's," he said.

City Manager Jay Ash said in an interview yesterday that he has urged the Licensing Commission to push back the transfer hearing until police can give a detailed account of management's role in the investigation.

Ash said that employees have helped investigators and that their continued cooperation could be a factor in determining whether the license is transferred.

City records show bar management was brought in for a conference with the commission in 2004 in response to concerns about prostitution in the area, according to Ash, but no discipline was taken. He said management was also before the board in 2002 concerning a fight in the club, but the board took no disciplinary action then either.

According to records from the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission supplied by Ash, however, the bar was fined $7,000 in March for serving an underage patron. When the fine was paid, a five-day suspension was lifted, according to records.

The bar was the scene of a brawl on July 23, 1982, that began with an argument between Alfred J. Mattuchio and off-duty Everett police Officer John McLeod. The officer left the lounge, then returned with several other police officers, armed with nightsticks, baseball bats, and tire irons, according to news reports. They attacked a dozen patrons and employees, and Vincent J. Bordonaro was beaten to death.

Four Everett officers were indicted in the death. One was acquitted; McLeod and another former officer are serving life sentences for second-degree murder; and the fourth was released after serving several years for manslaughter, according to newspaper accounts.

John Ellement can be reached at

© Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Reply author: Fran
Replied on: 01/25/2008 12:20:40 PM

Don't forget, it was also the last place that the guy that killed Krystyl Porrier was drinking.

Reply author: michael
Replied on: 01/26/2008 1:08:23 PM

Witness details gunmen’s strip club attack

By O’Ryan Johnson | Saturday, January 26, 2008 | | Local Coverage
The bloodbath at the notorious King Arthur’s Lounge that left one man dead and two others wounded was the work of a gangland posse that stalked their victims for two hours before the shooting, an eyewitness told the Herald.

“They were asking for a certain name,” said the witness, who asked that his name not be used. “This was just two rivals and they finally caught up to somebody they were looking for . . . They were in there for a couple hours. Everyone seemed to be getting along fine.”

The Suffolk District Attorney’s Office is investigating the Thursday morning mayhem that left Jeff Santiago, 28, an Everett construction worker, dead and two other men whom authorities did not identify with nonlethal gunshot wounds.

No arrests have been made.

The witness said the gun-toting crew walked into the Chelsea nudie bar about 10 p.m. and seemed content to enjoy the strippers, while Santiago sat on the other side of the bar watching television.

“The sports bar usually clears out for their last peek at the show, around 12, 12:30,” the witness said. “That’s when they clashed.”

Within seconds the strippers’ siren songs were replaced by screams and shattered glass.

“Everything was quick, in a blur,” he said. “Next thing I know all hell broke loose. A bottle smashed, then a fight breaks out and a couple of chairs are thrown. Then I heard a pop, pop, pop.”

Investigators said there were between 25 and 30 patrons in the bar, and all of them dove for cover when the gunfire erupted.

Santiago was hit five times in the chest, said the witness, and the lead spray sent two other men to the hospital with wounds as well.

According to court documents, Santiago was once affiliated with the Latin Kings, a notorious nationwide gang, but his longtime girlfriend Kristen Gaudet, 29, said she’d never seen that side of him. They have an 8-year-old daughter.

“He was a good father and he’ll be missed,” she said.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 01/27/2008 2:06:22 PM

Rebirth at the river's edge
Construction starts on development's Phase 1

By Eric Moskowitz

Globe Staff / January 27, 2008

MEDFORD - Once known as TeleCom City, the massive redevelopment project called River's Edge has faced its share of challenges - obstacles to land acquisition, lawsuits, and the dot-com crash, which dashed plans to turn the contaminated Malden River corridor into a hub for high-tech innovation.

But now, more than a decade after Everett, Malden, and Medford became partners in an attempt to reclaim 200 acres of industrial no man's land, construction crews are at work on the site. They are preparing the foundation for the first office building, and they are poised to do the same for a luxury apartment complex, said city officials and the project's private developer.

Those involved hail the start of construction as a signal achievement for River's Edge, which has attracted funding and fanfare - $30 million and counting in state and federal money, and praise from environmental groups - but also has been beset by delays.

"The question I've had over the last 10 years - and a lot of criticism - is, 'You keep talking about this, but it's not happening,' " said Medford Mayor Michael J. McGlynn, chairman of the Mystic Valley Development Commission, the body created by the Legislature in 1996 to oversee the three-city site. "Well, it's happening, and it's happening now."

This first phase, on about 30 acres in Medford, is to include three office buildings totaling 410,000 square feet and a 220-unit apartment building, with 15 percent of the units set aside as affordable housing.

Although the housing market is in a slump, developers and officials say there is strong demand in the area for office space and rental housing that is rich in amenities and is near the MBTA. The area is less than 5 miles from downtown Boston and a short walk from the T's Wellington Station.

The first phase will encompass 10 acres of open space and parks, including a sports field and 5,100 feet of paths, half of which will wind along the river. In addition to offices and housing, a $3 million boathouse has been completed by Tufts University for its crew program, and the school holds a long-term lease at River's Edge.

The state rebuilt the road serving the sections in Malden and Medford, for $17 million, and has earmarked an additional $60 million for improvements associated with later phases, including a new bridge over the river, said Stephen M. Wishoski, executive director of the Malden Redevelopment Authority, the project manager for the three-city commission.

The project's master developer is Preotle, Lane & Associates, a New York firm that is developing the grounds and offices itself and has an agreement with Criterion Development Partners of Waltham for the Phase 1 housing. Preotle pulled permits for the first office building in December and began digging the foundation this month, said John J. Preotle Jr., a principal in the firm. Housing construction is likely to start next month or in March, he said.

The parks and paths are about 85 percent complete and should be open this summer, Preotle and officials said. The first apartments could be available in spring 2009, with the remaining units ready in 2010, said Heather Culp Boujoulian, development manager for Criterion. Preotle plans for the first office building to be ready early next year. Phase 1 could be fully finished in five years, he said.

"We're really far along in the program," said Preotle, whose firm has already spent an estimated $17 million and lent the Mystic Valley commission $2.5 million more. Phase 1 spending could reach $200 million in private, state, and federal funds.

Preotle spent $12,000 alone to save an ailing willow tree that was scheduled to be torn out during the site cleanup. The developer removed contaminated soils from the area and capped the land with a membrane and 3 feet of fill, which threatened to choke the fragile, rat-infested tree. But after community members expressed interest in the willow, Preotle hired an arborist to protect the tree with a stone basin, nurse it to health with vitamin shots, and install a deep-root watering system.

"Everybody loves the tree," said McGlynn, who points to it as a sign of the attention to detail paid throughout the project.

The willow stays, but gone are 1,200 tons of steel and debris along with a 100-ton, 270-foot trash barge that was rotting on the riverbank. Wetlands plantings replaced the barge, and bird watchers have spotted a number of migratory birds there. Officials marvel at the change and are eager to see the project proceed.

"I'm thrilled to see Phase 1 of River's Edge start construction," US Representative Edward J. Markey, who helped secure federal funding, said through a spokeswoman. "This project has transformed a contaminated, industrial site into a national model for urban renewal."

The second phase, in Everett, and the third, in Malden, are being planned. The Mystic Valley Development Commission does not yet own that land. Acquiring land for the first phase meant negotiating with about 20 property owners and relocating nearly 30 businesses to present a complete parcel to Preotle, Wishoski said.

That fragmented ownership and threat of real and perceived contamination had made the area unattractive to developers for years. The land - which straddles the Malden River, north of Route 16 and east of the MBTA's Orange Line and commuter-rail tracks - had served as an industrial center for more than a century.

Monsanto, Converse Rubber, General Electric, and others operated there, producing chemicals, gasifying coal, and manufacturing goods, including boots for Union soldiers, moth balls, and urinal deodorant cakes, among other things, Wishoski said. They used the river to move materials and to dump waste. Over time, the area grew scarred and pockmarked. By the 1990s, abandoned buildings and trailers vied for space with the remaining industrial tenants.

Although the three cities had long been athletic rivals and economic competitors, officials began talking about ways to collaborate and spur the area's rebirth. In March 1995, the mayors signed an agreement to redevelop it as a large-scale office and research campus for the telecommunications field, along with open space and river access. The Legislature followed by creating the Mystic Valley commission, which has eminent-domain powers and zoning control. The commission hired the Malden Redevelopment Authority in 1997 and signed a development deal with Preotle in 2000.

The project was an elected official's dream - an opportunity to eliminate contaminated eyesores, spur the economy, expand the tax base, and build parks, without local tax dollars. Local officials called it the most significant area project in generations. Lawmakers directed millions for cleanup and infrastructure. By now, property taxes were supposed to be pouring in from TeleCom City, where a projected 10,000 highly skilled employees would work in more than 1 million square feet of office space. But the tech sector tanked, thwarting those plans.

The commission and developer started almost anew, broadening to cater to a wider market and including housing at the request of the state, in exchange for continued support.

Eric Moskowitz can be reached at

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 01/27/2008 2:39:01 PM

Wouldn't it be nice if Everett would take a lesson from Medford and develop "all" of Everett's waterfront properties to it's highest potential. If that area in Medford can be cleaned up and used for some housing then I see no reason why we would ever want a waste transfer station on one of our waterfronts.

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 01/31/2008 05:16:03 AM

Mayor sees fat in city's outlays
Perks, staffing under scrutiny
By Kay Lazar, Globe Staff | January 31, 2008

Everett's new mayor thought he was well-versed in city politics, given his 14 years on the Common Council and Board of Aldermen. Still, Carlo DeMaria admits his jaw dropped when he took the mayoral reins three weeks ago and discovered that, for years, many city employees have been given cards that allow them to gas up their cars for free at a facility reserved for city vehicles.

And his surprise didn't end there.

In addition to gas cards, DeMaria said he learned that the city apparently has been footing cellphone bills for many employees. And he is eyeing the fleet of city-owned automobiles and the policy that has allowed some employees to take them home at night. Precisely how many employees are given phones, cars, and cards he is still trying to determine.

"It's probably not going to be popular," he said. Policy changes "may save us a thousand or two a year, but those thousands add up. I don't think the residents can afford their tax bills right now."

For a mayor who took office pledging to streamline operations and gain efficiencies, the discovery of widespread pricey perks in City Hall is not sitting well.

"We're saying 'Give us back the gas cards, give us the phones back,' " DeMaria said. "Maybe the department heads should have [city-paid] cellphones, but not everyone in the department."

A week after taking office, DeMaria asked all department heads who are interested in retaining their positions to submit a letter of interest, a resume, and an assessment of their respective departments, including how they can contribute in the future. That information was due Jan. 22. DeMaria said he has been reviewing the packets and has begun meetings with the 31 department heads to discuss their submissions and to get a sense of whether they are qualified. He said he aims to advise each one by Feb. 8 whether they will be kept, or whether the city will be looking for a replacement.

Some may hear that their position is being done away with entirely.

"Mayor after mayor comes in and creates new positions," DeMaria said. "There will be certain positions that will not be funded in the next year."

It is a sensitive subject for DeMaria. His predecessor, John Hanlon, was criticized by councilors and aldermen for bloating the city's budget with unnecessary hires. Everett pension records show 76 new hires in Hanlon's first year in office. Hanlon, who lost September's primary, later backed DeMaria's campaign.

Yet in his first full day in office, DeMaria terminated Hanlon's budget director, Janice Vetrano, who was widely perceived to have had a strong influence in Hanlon's administration. DeMaria said he is studying whether that position, and other positions created by former mayors, will be filled.

He noted, for example, that Hanlon hired civilians to enforce overnight parking rules after councilors asked him to crack down on parking violations.

"Sometimes you design these departments and they are doing the jobs that others should have been doing since day one."

With property tax bills leaping $686 this year in Everett for the average single-family home, DeMaria's bottom line approach appears to be resonating with taxpayers.

"I like the way he's started off," said Phil Colameta, a former common councilor and local convenience store owner who now works for the state. I plan to stay [in Everett] a while and I hope he gets the residential tax situation together."

Second-term Common Councilor Rosa DiFlorio said she was encouraged by DeMaria's deliberative process of reviewing credentials of department heads before making decisions about their futures.

"You don't like to see anyone lose their job," she said. "But at the same time, you want to make sure the taxpayers are getting their money's worth."

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council, a regional council that represents about 100 communities in Greater Boston, has been helping a number of new mayors, including DeMaria, sort through key issues. The mayor said the planning council has been especially helpful in showing him how other communities of comparable size consolidated city departments to gain savings and efficiencies.

"In Salem, they consolidated their chief financial officer and their auditor, while we have had a budget director, an auditor, and a treasurer, and they all have separate staffs," DeMaria said. "You have all these positions and maybe you can consolidate and find talented people who can do more than one task."

As he searches for additional savings, DeMaria is looking next door to Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, who is president of the Massachusetts Mayors Association and a longtime friend.

"Immediately following the election, he contacted me and wanted my experiences that I was facing in Somerville," Curtatone said. "He wants to learn and he has a passion to do the job. One of the things I did in starting as a new mayor is to learn from other mayors, the challenges, the successes, and failures."

Kay Lazar can be reached at

Reply author: justme
Replied on: 01/31/2008 07:50:15 AM

It looks like it won't be too much longer before we know who stays and who goes.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 01/31/2008 08:31:21 AM

I am impressed. Carlo is off to a great start, February 8th should be very interesting. Glad to read Carlo is cracking down on the gas cards, cell phones and the taking home of city vehicles. Every little bit will help the taxpayers.

Reply author: Lynda
Replied on: 01/31/2008 10:03:35 AM

I too am very happy with the way he is going about things. I am also very happy that he proved me right (so far) that he would do a GREAT job!

Reply author: H1ghCh4r1ty
Replied on: 01/31/2008 8:29:49 PM

Just a question....did the Mayor, on behalf of the City, accept a $10,000.00 donation to the Fire Victim's Fund from Bill Thibeau?

I hope that is just a rumor......

The Pup and Emile Schoeffhausen

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 02/01/2008 11:29:09 AM


I hope that is just a rumor. Although it would be nice to have a $10,000.00 donation to the Fire Victim's Fund, Mr Thibeault rarely does anything without strings being attached. The more he gives, the more favors he is owed. Carlo's association with Mr Thibeault still remains one of my biggest concerns with our new administration. I hope I end up being wrong on this, but I just cannot foresee any good coming from this association.

Reply author: michael
Replied on: 02/01/2008 12:03:44 PM

he accepted it I was there along with other donations whether you like the guy (thibeault) or not at least the fire victim's fund has a half way start to building for future fires

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 02/01/2008 12:30:22 PM

No matter how good some things seem, sometimes there is a big price to be paid for someone's generosity. Is a waste transfer station on Broadway worth it? I don't think so. That would be a step backwards. Our city council has tried very hard the past several years to change the face of Everett. I am sure a waste transfer station was not part of their vision.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 02/01/2008 1:03:08 PM

I think I misunderstood something. I asked Carlo DeMaria right out if a Waste Facility was going down on lower Broadway and his response to me was there will not be a dump going down there. Does anyone know if there is a difference between a dump and a Waste Facility? From what I understand (I could be wrong) is the Waste Facility holds the trash until the trucks come and take it away to a dump. I personally, think of a Waste Facility and a dump as the same. I will not accept a Waste Facility because we do not need two and if Thebault has yet to deal with the issues from the facility on the parkway, what would be the guarantee about lower Broadway not to mention we have enough trucks in Everett tearing up and polluting the streets.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 02/01/2008 2:41:56 PM

Definitions of Waste facility on the Web:
* any premises used for the storage, treatment, reprocessing, sorting or disposal of waste.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 02/01/2008 2:44:15 PM

Web definitions for dump
A land site where wastes are discarded in a disorderly or haphazard fashion without regard to protecting the environment. ...

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 02/01/2008 3:04:20 PM

Web definitions for Waste Transfer Station
This is a site to which waste is delivered for separation or bulking up before being removed for recycling, treatment or disposal.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 02/01/2008 3:04:38 PM

Thanks! I think the Mayor will stick to his word. Getting a 10,000.00 donation for the victims fund from Thebault worries me a little. This is another wait and see however I know this is something that will never pass the common council or board of alderman.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 02/01/2008 4:52:02 PM

Would it have to go before the city council or can it be a done deal without ever reaching the council chamber? I don't know, I'm just asking.

Reply author: H1ghCh4r1ty
Replied on: 02/01/2008 5:43:29 PM

Thibeault is not someone with a kind heart. He has screwed the City by not building the facility he was supposed to, and no one has taken issue over that.

He has royally screwed the people of Newburyport with the land fill fiasco.

He is not a nice kind man who helps communities.

That ten grand gesture for the fire victims and the political paid support will, unfortunately, get him what he wants in Everett.

This guy does nothing without knowing all the possibilities of his actions.

Thibeault is a vicious opportunist and we can only hope that Carlo will stand up to him.

That will be the true test of Carlo's mettle.

You are right Tails, we will all have to wait and see what happens.

The Pup and Emile Schoeffhausen

Reply author: Cam
Replied on: 02/02/2008 5:09:37 PM

From what I have been told TeeBow went to McGonagle first, when he told him no, he went to DeMaria. From where I stand, TeeBow owns DeMaria. Wait and see TeeBow will get everything he wants.

Reply author: michael
Replied on: 02/03/2008 6:15:13 PM

A first vote to treasure
In Everett, a new US citizen originally from Peru says that when he votes on Tuesday, he'll consider the economy, his children's education, and the future for his fellow immigrants
By Katheleen Conti, Globe Staff | February 3, 2008

Abel Salazar has had a momentous year.

Since last February, the Lima native and Everett resident applied for his US citizenship, became a father for the second time, and was sworn in as an American citizen.

On Tuesday, Salazar plans to vote in the state's presidential primary, his first election as an American.

Salazar admits he did not pay too much attention to local or national politics prior to last year, focusing instead on his job and family. It wasn't until he applied for citizenship that he began to immerse himself in all things political.

"I didn't even know who our mayor was, and I thought I'd better find out in case it was a question on the citizenship test," he said in his native Spanish. After taking the oath Aug. 15, "Immediately, I went to City Hall and I registered to vote."

Talking politics is now part of his daily life, including conferring with his colleagues at the restaurant chain in Chestnut Hill where he has worked for 11 years, working his way up from a $6-an-hour dishwasher to an assistant manager.

"I listen to people at work, Americans, Hispanics, Puerto Ricans, who've always been able to vote, and they seem to prefer the Democratic Party, while others like the Republicans," Salazar said. "For the most part, they say that the Democrats are more sympathetic to immigrants and that the Republicans tend to be more discriminatory toward them. I know from my own experience that some immigrants here are discriminated against."

The election process here, with the debates and the advertisements, is new to Salazar.

"It's very different here. They don't paint the public walls or create these massive signs, like they do over there," Salazar said. Peruvian politicians "would paint the walls, sometimes to campaign for themselves and other times to insult the other candidate. I prefer the way it is here."

It's not just the American political process that Salazar favors, but also the quality of life. In Lima, Salazar was broke and lived around violence.

In 1995, then 20-something, he was on his sixth year of working security at the Central Reserve Bank of Peru, trying to make a living in a country with a fragile democracy and an even more brittle economy. Despite working 12 hours a day, six days a week, Salazar was barely getting by.

"The money just didn't stretch," Salazar said. "I was single, but I couldn't even buy myself a pair of sneakers."

He estimated he earned the equivalent of $100 a month. By contrast, the United States was enjoying low unemployment rates and a growing economy.

"My sister moved here in 1994, and she would tell me that there were more job opportunities, like housekeeping or dishwashing," Salazar said. "So I left it in God's hands. I decided to go and hoped it would work out well."

On March 28, 1995, Salazar arrived in New Jersey, where he spent a week before moving to Everett, where he now resides with his girlfriend, 3-year-old son, and 8-month-old daughter.

"I wanted to become a citizen so I could vote and so I could get a job to provide for my family," he said.

Salazar has taken into account what his friends and colleagues have told him and, like most Americans, is asking himself whether he is better off today. While most pundits equate the Latino vote solely with the issue of immigration, Salazar said there is more that concerns him and other Latinos than just that.

"I think I'm going to vote for a Democrat," he said, maybe "Clinton's wife," referring to Senator Hillary Clinton. "I noticed that during Clinton's terms, the country was in much better shape, as was the economy. The problem with the country now, which has hurt President Bush, is the war."

Salazar said he is looking forward to having a say in voting for policies that will benefit the Hispanic community, particularly so that, "all the Hispanics living here are given the opportunity to obtain their documentation." And although he hasn't fully dismissed the possibility of someday moving back to Peru, it won't happen any time soon.

"Now I have my kids, and I want them to get a good education here," he said. "More than anything, I'm excited about voting for the well-being of my family. Now I have a voice."

Katheleen Conti can be reached at

Reply author: OuttaHere
Replied on: 02/04/2008 08:08:09 AM

ONLY relevant phrase in the above blather....."HIS GIRLFRIEND AND BABY".....who's feedin' da kid....Look In The Mirror!

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 02/07/2008 09:24:48 AM

George Keverian

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 02/07/2008 1:02:49 PM

WOW. I had no idea Mr. Keverian was that ill. Youville Rehabilitation in Cambridge is a really great place and I wish him the best.

Reply author: Lynda
Replied on: 02/07/2008 1:06:28 PM

I just hope that the former Mayors doings didn't do anything to put him in that state. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. God Bless.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 02/07/2008 2:43:48 PM

I am sure what Hanlon pulled after the election didn't help Mr Keverian's condition. I hope he recovers quickly and Carlo rethinks Hanlon's decision.

Reply author: Lynda
Replied on: 02/07/2008 3:11:47 PM

I think he will massdee but also, maybe it is time he just retired and enjoyed life. I think he has earned it.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 02/07/2008 3:34:34 PM


I agree with you, Mr Keverian has certainly earned the right to retire, but, he should have the choice of when he wants to retire. He should have never been let go from his job the way Hanlon pulled that stunt after the election. It was down right demeaning to a well respected man.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 02/07/2008 3:35:52 PM

My opinion is Carlo will not rethink Hanlon's decision. Mr. Keverian probably would not want to come back and I'm sure the Doctor's would not approve with his illness and all the stress of the accessors office. He could be a consultant in the future.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 02/07/2008 4:09:06 PM

From the little bit of information contained in the article, it sounds like Mr. Keverian had a similar condition to what my younger brother had two summers ago. Once the doctors got the excess fluid out of him and got his heart back into a regular rhythmn, he was a able to make a full recovery. He was pretty much able to return to his normal lifestyle, although he has to be careful with his intake of both fluids and solids. He hasn't lost all of the weight that the doctors want him to but the pacemaker that they put into him hasn't had a single incident recorded on it in the 18 months that it has been implanted. The details of Mr. Keverian's situation may be different and his age may be a factor, but let's hope that his recovery is as successful.

Reply author: H1ghCh4r1ty
Replied on: 02/07/2008 10:14:50 PM

If Carlo does not make the offer to George, then the City of Everett will not be in the good graces of the present speaker of the house. That was made quite clear to Carlo during his meeting with Speaker DeMasi.

George may decline Carlo's offer, but that should be George's decision.

The Pup and Emile Schoeffhausen

Reply author: donice
Replied on: 02/08/2008 09:57:06 AM

I hope Mr Keverian makes a full recovery and is able to get back to work in some capacity at city hall if he wants to. The way former mayor Hanlon handled the situation was disgraceful.

I have a question for Emile. If you could be so kind as to give a straight answer, if not that's your perogative.

How do you know what Speaker DiMasi has to say about this matter ? You keep refering to a meeting between the Mayor and the Speaker where this opinion was expressed. Were you at that meeting. If not did the Speaker tell you himself or are you just a parrot repeating hearsay ?

Reply author: EverettsPride
Replied on: 02/08/2008 11:33:56 AM

Carlo was at the State House with Stat Smith. He was introducing him to people and Mr. Di Masi made a comment to Carlo about doing something about Keverian being fired. And he also questioned whether Carlo had a hand in it. This was all before Carlo was sworn in by the way. I think Di Masi was out of line.


Reply author: donice
Replied on: 02/08/2008 1:12:38 PM

Sally. I agree with you that if what you say is an accurate representation of what Speaker DiMasi said, that would be out of line. But I ask you the same question I asked Emile.

Were you there or did the Speaker tell you himself ? Or are you just repeating hearsay.

Reply author: EverettsPride
Replied on: 02/08/2008 4:20:28 PM

Donice, it was quoted in the paper I believe. I am not positive of that, but I recall reading it somewhere.


Reply author: H1ghCh4r1ty
Replied on: 02/08/2008 6:19:14 PM

I recall reading it in the paper. Massdee or Court put the link in on another thread. I do not recall the specific topic.

The Pup and Emile Schoeffhausen

Reply author: michael
Replied on: 02/09/2008 06:44:50 AM

Footprints in snow lead to rape suspect, arrest
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff | February 9, 2008

A man accused of raping a woman at knife-point early yesterday in Chelsea was arrested after police said they followed his snowy footsteps from the scene of the alleged attack.

Police were searching for a suspect in a reported sexual assault at 3:30 a.m. on Cherry Street when officers noticed fresh footprints in otherwise undisturbed snow, according to the Suffolk district attorney's office. Officers tracked the footprints into an alley, where they arrested Juan Amaro, 25, who was wearing beige pants that police said were similar to those described by the victim.

The footprints led police "to where he was hiding and helped locate a critical piece of evidence, the knife believed used in the attack," said Police Chief Brian Kyes. "We were able to corroborate the victim's story."

The 46-year-old Everett woman told investigators that she had been walking to Bellingham Square when a man wearing beige pants and a gray-hooded sweatshirt followed her. On Heard Street, the man pulled a kitchen knife, forced her underneath a railroad bridge, and said, "I also have a gun," the woman told police.

Police said the man raped the woman and choked her when she tried to scream for help. When he was finished, the man told the victim not to get up because, according to prosecutors, he said, "I have people watching you."

The woman called police, who rushed to the scene and followed the footprints into the alley.

Prosecutors said that as Amaro was taken into custody, he told police, "I did it."

The victim identified Amaro as her attacker. Police located a gray hooded sweatshirt near where Amaro had been found in the alley.

Officers said they followed his footprints to a telephone pole, where they recovered a black-handled kitchen knife wedged into a crack.

Amaro was held on $50,000 cash bail after he was arraigned in Chelsea District Court on charges of rape, kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon, and intimidation of a witness.

© Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 02/09/2008 2:16:42 PM


I was checking back and can't seem to find the link for the Carlo and Di Masi article.. I started to research some articles and came across something written by John McDonough. For those of you who don't know much about the former Speaker, it's a great read.

Reply author: SolidSnake
Replied on: 02/11/2008 09:27:47 AM

Shouldn't we be more concerned with the Speaker's health at a time like this vs. politics and what DiMasi thinks ?

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 02/11/2008 09:51:22 AM

I think everyone is concerned for Mr. Keverian's health but I believe the article was asked for. I'm not happy how that went down for him but it's time to move on with all the best wishes to him. He has been having health problems for quite some time now. I think I skimmed through that article before and DiMasi had no right to put Mayor DeMaria in that kind of spot before he was even sworn in. This is Everett's business, not the state house.

Reply author: Court4Fred
Replied on: 02/11/2008 10:11:00 AM

I don't quite agree with you. We have had a city employee, a former Speaker of the House, treated abominably. Does the new administration make it right, or allow an injustice to continue? It may be "Everett's business" - but it gave Everett another black eye by treating disrespectfully someone who was widely revered in this state by both local and state officials. As for Speaker DiMasi, perhaps he subscribes to the old tradition that "that evils exists as long as one good man stays silent."

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 02/11/2008 10:42:24 AM

I do agree with you that Mr. Keverian was treated abominably, especially a former Speaker of the House. I just feel that Speaker DiMasi could have used a different way like call Carlo DeMaria personally to work it out and not say it in a public forum to make the papers. If Mr. Keverian's health permits him to work then we certainly can use his help with his knowledge and expertise. That's if he is even willing to come back, I don’t think I would. I heard he has get-well wishes pouring in to Youville Hospital. That makes a world of difference during a recovery.

Reply author: Cam
Replied on: 02/11/2008 2:03:00 PM


Reply author: Citizen Kane
Replied on: 02/11/2008 3:33:47 PM

And it's now up to the former Speaker to avail himself of whatever legal avenues are available to him, but with all due respect, I think this notion that we are eternally indebted to Mr. Keverian is a bit over the top. He of all people understood the risk he was taking when he made the choice to publicly endorse Joe McGonagle. Do I think what happened to him was justified? No . . . political retribution is never justified, but Mr. Keverian was a player on Beacon Hill long enough to know how this game is played -- regardless of the political arena.

I wish Mr. Keverian all the luck in the world and send out good thoughts to him for his continued recovery.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 02/11/2008 4:00:25 PM

I personally don't think we should be "eternally indebted to Mr. Keverian," but I do feel things should have been handled in a more respectful and professional manner.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 02/19/2008 2:35:55 PM

This was actually in last Thursday's Boston Globe. I just became aware of it today. Since I had not seen it posted anywhere on this board, I thought I'd share it in case anyone else missed it as well.

ABOUT 12 TO LOSE CITY JOBS - It's taking longer than he originally anticipated, but Mayor Carlo DeMaria said he has started to pare down the number of department heads and other top officials in the city's workforce, as he pledged to do in his inauguration. He said he has pinpointed about a dozen workers who will be notified shortly that they are either going to be let go, bumped to a lower position, or made part time. The mayor declined to say specifically when those employees will be notified. Earlier, DeMaria said he had hoped to tell workers their status by last Friday. "Some of these people have families and kids and health benefits for their families," DeMaria said. "I have been telling them all, if you haven't received a letter from me saying you have a commitment to work for the city, then you should not only try to perform your very best every day, but also look for other employment." So far, the city's treasurer, auditor, assistant city solicitor, parking clerk, community development director, and several nondepartmental directors have been notified that they will be kept on, DeMaria said.

- Kay Lazar

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 02/19/2008 4:02:57 PM

Thanks, Tetris. I missed that article, too.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 02/21/2008 6:01:15 PM

I can understand the Board of Alderman wanting to see paper documents, and that’s fine (why haven’t they asked before) but I would like to point out that Commissioner Rice has done a wonderful job for our veterans and they trust him. These funds are for our veterans that put their lives on the line for our safety and they should not have to come home and wait not one day for any assistance they may need, especially heating assistance, which the commissioner helps them with. Thank you Walter Rice!

VETERANS' COSTS RISING - The amount the city has been paying out in benefits to veterans has risen steadily in the past two years as the local veterans office has aggressively sought out recipients who qualify for benefits and explained their rights to them, said Walter Rice, the commissioner of Veterans' Services. The Board of Aldermen has asked Rice to explain at its meeting Monday why his office needs an additional $140,000. The board on Feb. 11 postponed transferring the money from the city's pension fund account to the Veterans' Services benefits allowance account, pending Rice's explanation. In a telephone interview, Rice said that when he was hired in January 2006 by then-mayor John Hanlon, he was directed to seek out all veterans who were eligible for benefits, such as assistance with rental, mortgage, or utility payments, and make sure they are receiving the amounts to which they are entitled. He said the $140,000 is needed to pay for the state-mandated benefits through the rest of the fiscal year, and that the state reimburses 75 percent of that amount, so Everett will receive about $105,000 back. "I have increased the number of people on my rolls from about 27 people to over 90," Rice said. "Prior to my arrival, the office was part time, which was illegal." Last month, the offices of the state attorney general and the governor sent letters to all municipal leaders reminding them that state law requires all cities and towns with populations of more than 12,000 to have full-time veterans' services officers. Everett's population is about 38,000. The letters noted that these officers are responsible for "proactively and regularly seeking out veterans to advise them of all benefits to which they are entitled, and posting and holding regular office hours." Monday's meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in City Hall. - Kay Lazar

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 02/21/2008 6:16:12 PM

One thing I forgot to mention (and I could be way off base, because I don’t understand it) but, it seemed as if there was no problem transferring from the Pension Fund to the Fire Account or the funds to the General Operating Expense and the 125,000.00 to City Services. Where they asked for paper work too?

Reply author: vets4ever
Replied on: 02/24/2008 06:31:23 AM

(poster's note: I am going to copy/paste two stories regarding Everett Veterans Services. First is from last thurs Globe North and the second is a 1/28 dated story from the the net, Channel 4, Boston. Had Everett Veterans Services not taken the bull by the horns and aggressively sought out eligible veterans and provided benefits, the city would have been one of those named below and those named below are facing some very stringent compliance orders from Comm. of Mass overseers. IMHO, the city was spared significant embarrasment whereas Everettt veterans now have complete and unfettered access to the benefits they deserve.)

VETERANS' COSTS RISING - The amount the city has been paying out in benefits to veterans has risen steadily in the past two years as the local veterans office has aggressively sought out recipients who qualify for benefits and explained their rights to them, said Walter Rice, the commissioner of Veterans' Services. The Board of Aldermen has asked Rice to explain at its meeting Monday why his office needs an additional $140,000. The board on Feb. 11 postponed transferring the money from the city's pension fund account to the Veterans' Services benefits allowance account, pending Rice's explanation. In a telephone interview, Rice said that when he was hired in January 2006 by then-mayor John Hanlon, he was directed to seek out all veterans who were eligible for benefits, such as assistance with rental, mortgage, or utility payments, and make sure they are receiving the amounts to which they are entitled. He said the $140,000 is needed to pay for the state-mandated benefits through the rest of the fiscal year, and that the state reimburses 75 percent of that amount, so Everett will receive about $105,000 back. "I have increased the number of people on my rolls from about 27 people to over 90," Rice said. "Prior to my arrival, the office was part time, which was illegal." Last month, the offices of the state attorney general and the governor sent letters to all municipal leaders reminding them that state law requires all cities and towns with populations of more than 12,000 to have full-time veterans' services officers. Everett's population is about 38,000. The letters noted that these officers are responsible for "proactively and regularly seeking out veterans to advise them of all benefits to which they are entitled, and posting and holding regular office hours." Monday's meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in City Hall. - Kay Lazar

Jan 28, 2008 9:26 pm US/Eastern

Mass. Cities Cited For Ignoring Vet Services Law
Joe Shortsleeve
BOSTON (WBZ) ¯ Massachusetts is cracking down on municipal leaders across the state as some communities are not providing legally mandated services for our veterans.

Our soldiers come home heroes but are often forgotten at Town Hall.

Veterans are entitled to certain benefits for housing, education, health care and much more.

These benefits are supposed to be handed out at the local level. In fact, every community is required by law to have a veteran's services officer.

But in this day of tight budgets, many towns are breaking the law and cutting back the position.

State officials are citing Danvers, Fitchburg, Framingham, Gloucester, Melrose and Milton, as well as others communities, with flaunting the law.

All communities are getting a letter signed by the Attorney General. It's a stern reminder that says, all cities and towns with populations over 12,000 must employ a full time veteran services officer

"If municipalities are not stepping up to the plate -- and the good news is most of them are -- but if communities are not, we are seriously going at look at intervening," said Lt. Gov. Tim Murray.

In some towns like Norwood, the veteran's services officer is swamped with work because vets who can't get help in their towns all go to Norwood.

The letter requires town leaders to provide the name of their veteran services officer to the state by March 1.

(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 02/24/2008 08:55:32 AM

From today's Globe, North Weekly Section

ASSISTANT CITY SOLICITOR HIRED - Jill Barringer, a lawyer who previously was associated with an Everett firm, has been appointed by Mayor Carlo DeMaria to be an assistant city solicitor. Barringer, who was appointed on Tuesday, replaces Victor Dragone, who was notified by the mayor on Feb. 15 that he was being let go, said Erin Deveney, DeMaria's chief of staff. Colleen Mejia, an assistant city solicitor, was promoted to the top spot as the city's acting solicitor shortly after DeMaria took office last month. Deveney said the mayor will decide shortly whether Mejia will be given the post permanently. "If she doesn't get that [position]," Deveney said, "she will be the first deputy, based on her years of service with the city and her knowledge of issues that will be important to the mayor, including zoning matters, and also labor and employment and procurement issues." - Kay Lazar

Reply author: Head
Replied on: 02/27/2008 12:53:15 PM

Go Jill!

Reply author: charm
Replied on: 02/28/2008 06:10:07 AM

Wireless spreading, pole by pole
By Kay Lazar, Globe Staff | February 28, 2008

The nodes are coming. Or as Robert Van Campen, president of the Everett Board of Aldermen, describes them, "gym lockers hanging on the side of utility poles."

With a seemingly insatiable public demand for more wireless phone coverage, Everett, Malden, and Chelsea are on a growing list of suburban communities targeted by a California-based telecommunications company that is building a new type of wireless network.

NextG Networks has sought permits in all three cities to install its digital antenna system, or DAS, on existing utility poles. The setup, called a node, includes fiber-optic cables and a small antenna that is attached near the top of a pole, and an amplifier that is connected about 12 feet above ground level. The amplifiers are in metal boxes that are about 3 feet long, sparking the comparison with gym lockers.

"I don't appreciate having something like that hanging on poles in the city, 10 or 12 feet above the ground," Van Campen said.

Neither, apparently, did officials in Malden and Chelsea. But after learning from their city solicitors that federal telecommunications law essentially grants carriers the right of way and leaves little room for communities to reject the requests, Malden last week approved NextG's petition for installations on nine poles, and Chelsea this week is finalizing a request for 10.

But Everett's Board of Aldermen rejected NextG's request in November to install about 20 nodes around the city, prompting the company to file a federal lawsuit on Friday calling Everett's denial "particularly egregious" and "completely subjective," and requesting a court order allowing the installations to proceed.

NextG's push into suburbia comes at a time when many communities are struggling with the "double-pole" phenomenon.

Utility companies often bolt a new pole next to a rotting one for months as they wait for other service providers - telephone, cable, street-light, fiber-optic - to remove their wires before the decaying pole is taken down.

"We are at the mercy of the utility companies that own the poles. So when NextG came before us, it compounded the problem," said Gary Christenson, Malden's City Council president. "Here we are, dealing with the issue of double poles, and it conjured up all the negativity around it. It wasn't so much what NextG was trying to do."

NextG is trying to install roughly 400 nodes in about 10 communities around Boston, according to Robert Delsman, NextG's vice president of government regulations and regulatory affairs.

Delsman declined to list all of the communities but said Brookline is one of them.

"We have another competitor in the Boston area called ExteNet, and they are doing a system in Brookline," Delsman said. "We have an application pending with Brookline . . . that is covering a larger area."

NextG, ExteNet, and others are vying to build digital antenna systems across the country for wireless companies that need to improve their coverage or expand their capacity. Fueling the stampede are consumers seeking more features with their cellphones - text messages, e-mail, downloaded music, and video.

As wireless companies face neighborhood resistance to cell towers, digital antenna systems are springing up as a more palatable solution.

"In the Northeast, where there are densely populated residential areas and where local zoning regulations make the siting of traditional wireless structures unfeasible, oftentimes carriers find that DAS is an appropriate way to provide coverage within a specific area," said Jackie McCarthy, director of government relations for PCIA -The Wireless Infrastructure Association. "DAS becomes the only way to deploy signals in certain areas."

After hashing out the issue for several months in Malden, the City Council added five conditions to the agreement it reached with NextG last week.

Those conditions called for the company to install "the smallest available and least obtrusive" nodes on utility poles and to agree to remove all of its equipment within 30 days when a utility pole is being replaced. Everett officials say they rejected NextG's request last fall because the company provided fuzzy answers to many questions, including whether there would be any health impacts from radio frequencies emitted from the equipment. The firm provided the city with a report, included in its federal lawsuit, that indicated its equipment would emit less than 1 percent of federal permissible levels.

In interviews last Thursday, the day before the lawsuit was filed, Everett officials said they were leaning toward approving NextG's request, largely because the city solicitor advised them that Everett didn't have much chance of winning. Yet they said they would withhold their decision until after a scheduled March 10 public hearing to gather further feedback.

Then on Monday night, the city's Board of Aldermen met behind closed doors for 40 minutes to discuss the new lawsuit. After that executive session, the president announced that the city would seal its NextG records until the litigation is concluded, and that the planned March 10 hearing, at 7 p.m. in City Hall, would proceed. He declined to answer further questions, citing the pending litigation.

Kay Lazar can be reached at

© Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 03/03/2008 09:02:33 AM

Not very smart.........

Firecracker breaks apartment windows in Everett

March 2, 2008

Police officials are investigating a small explosion that blew out some windows of a first-floor apartment at a building on Hancock Street yesterday. Police said the damage was apparently caused by a powerful firecracker that was set off in a first-floor apartment at 132 Hancock St. The homeowner was not present and there was no fire and no injuries were reported, police said. Neighbors called police about 5 p.m. citing a loud noise that some said sounded like a gun shot. Police searched the perimeter for more than two hours.

Reply author: charm
Replied on: 03/06/2008 05:09:22 AM

HICKEY MAY SEEK VETERANS POST - Ward 4 Common Councilor Joseph Hickey said he is considering applying for the city's newly posted Veterans Services commissioner position. Mayor Carlo DeMaria last week terminated Walter Rice, who held the position for two years and was appointed by former mayor John Hanlon. "The mayor appreciates the service that Mr. Rice provided to the veterans in the Everett community, but he has decided to exercise his right to put someone in this position, and he will ensure that the veterans community in Everett continues to receive the same standard of services, if not better services, in the future," said Erin Deveney, DeMaria's chief of staff. Shortly after his termination, Rice posted a message on the Everett Mirror blog, which said, in part, "All I ask is that everyone remember the quality of life of several veterans hang in the balance on a monthly basis through any and all debate. Please remember them - they still need the city's help. I have a tentative offer in private industry to commence the first of next year; but for reasons very personal to me, my heart remains with Veterans work and always will." Hickey, 56, said the prospect of serving as the city's veterans commissioner is one that has long been "near and dear" to him, and that he lobbied Hanlon and his predecessor, former mayor David Ragucci, for the spot. "I did two tours of duty in Vietnam when people were burning their draft cards. I brought the Vietnam Moving Wall to the city of Everett in 2005 and I am now working on the Veterans Memorial Park next to the high school," he said. If Hickey does apply, he would have to resign his seat on the council, but would still face a conflict of interest issue unless his appointment was delayed. State ethics law requires that "No councilor shall be eligible for appointment to such additional position while a member of said council or for six months thereafter." - Kay Lazar

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 03/12/2008 2:02:33 PM

At first I was all for this but the more I think about it, we do want the best qualified fire/police on the force and to limit the pool to just Everett, I think, at this time, might be a mistake. Good intentions from Alderman Marchese..

MAYOR TO MULL RESIDENCY RULE - The much-debated proposal of required residency for Everett's firefighters and police officers is now in the hands of Mayor Carlo DeMaria. The Common Council on Monday postponed voting on the issue, and instead referred it to the mayor's office for clarification on several points. "The mayor will review it with the city solicitor and try to come up with a feasible ordinance for everyone involved," said Lorrie Bruno, Common Council president. The proposed ordinance, as written, would require police and firefighters hired after Jan. 1, 2009, to be permanent residents of Everett. Supporters of the proposal say it will increase safety in the city because new hires will have a vested interest in, and be more familiar with, the neighborhoods they are protecting. Opponents say it will prevent the city from hiring qualified candidates who want to live elsewhere. The Board of Aldermen last month approved the measure by a 4 to 3 vote. But passage of a new ordinance requires that the board and the Common Council each vote twice on the issue before it goes to the mayor for his signature. Bruno said she did not know if the mayor and city solicitor would have a revised measure ready in time for the council's next meeting, slated for March 17. - Kay Lazar

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 03/12/2008 2:29:04 PM

I'm with you on this one. When I first heard Alderman Marchese talking about it, I thought, what a great idea. Now I am having second thoughts. Not that we don't have a great pool from Everett, I am afraid the process could become too political, not just for this administration, I mean for any administration.

Reply author: justme
Replied on: 03/12/2008 6:43:14 PM

I've never been inclined to favor things that limit the possibility of getting the very best........... of anything.

When the qualifications of two applicants are equal, then preference should always be given to a resident. However, I think that's where it should end. We may have a great pool right now but that can change dramatically in a very short period of time. I don't see limiting our options as being a good thing for anyone except perhaps the people who can't get hired elsewhere. They can all come here and be all but guaranteed employment while our safety is put on the line.

Obviously, I'm hoping the mayor, council, and alderman take a long, hard look at how harmful this can be.

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 03/19/2008 06:18:47 AM

Everett school chief accused again
Panel says he used system's resources
By Erin Ailworth, Globe Staff | March 19, 2008

Everett's school superintendent is once again facing allegations that he used school system supplies and employees to make home improvements.

In a complaint filed Friday, the State Ethics Commission accused Frederick Foresteire of using one school employee to do discounted plumbing work at his home and two other employees to obtain, cut, and deliver $234 worth of plywood for free. The work took place sometime from April to November 2002 and often happened during school hours, the commission alleged.

If it is decided that he violated the state's conflict-of-interest law, Foresteire could be fined up to $2,000 per violation.

In 1992, Foresteire agreed to pay a $250 fine to the Ethics Commission to settle allegations that he arranged for a School Department painter to paint a School Committee member's apartment for free.

In 2004, Foresteire faced criminal charges that he used two school air conditioners in his home. In 2006, a Middlesex Superior Court judge continued the case without a finding while ordering Foresteire to pay $2,090 in court fees and placing him on probation for a year.

Foresteire's lawyer, David Berman, said his client denies the latest allegations, which first were brought up in conjunction with the air conditioner case.

"I don't want to accuse anyone of hounding my client, but I think the facts more or less speak for themselves," Berman said yesterday in a telephone interview.

Berman said the employee who allegedly did the plumbing work, Michael Pomer, and his father had done plumbing for Foresteire and his family for 30 or 40 years. Berman said he did not think Pomer had done the work on school time.

As for the plywood, Berman said he suspects the supplies were ordered by Foresteire's former brother-in-law, Louis Grande, who was a contractor who did work for the school district and mistakenly sent them to the school.

"He probably called and said: 'Hey, that stuff shouldn't be there. Get that over to Mr. Foresteire's house,' " Berman said.

Berman said he would also argue that the statute of limitations of three years had expired.

The accusations against Foresteire drew mixed reactions in the community yesterday.

"To my knowledge, all of that has been cleared up," said School Committee member Richard Baniewicz.

Everett parent Maureen Hart said she remembers the air conditioner hubbub a few years back.

"It was disappointing to think that someone would use their power like that," she said. "I don't doubt that he's a little bit shady."

Erin Ailworth can be reached at

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 03/19/2008 10:07:00 AM

From the Boston Herald

Everett school boss again faces ethics complaints
By Colneth Smiley Jr.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 - Updated 10h ago

EmailE-mail PrintablePrintable Comments(2) Comments LargerSmallerText size ShareShare Rate(0) Rate

A beleaguered Everett school superintendent - who just got off probation for allegedly taking two school air conditioners home - is facing new charges he used his employees to perform improvements on his house.

Frederick Foresteire yesterday was accused of violating the commonwealth’s conflict-of-interest law when he allegedly had $234 worth of plywood intended for the school cut and delivered instead to his home by public school employees in October 2002, according to the State Ethics Commission.

The next month, the commission alleges, Foresteire had an Everett school maintenance worker fix his house’s plumbing at a $1,100 discount.

But Foresteire’s attorney, David Berman, denied that accusation yesterday, saying the plumber “was always paid more than the going rate for his services.” Berman also insisted the plumber “took vacation time when he performed those services.”

Berman said Foresteire denied knowing anything about how the school plywood got sent to his home.

“We . . . expect to be completely vindicated,” Berman said.

Foresteire was indicted in 2004 by then-Attorney General Tom Reilly for allegedly taking home a pair of air conditioners meant for Everett school buildings. The case was continued without a finding two years later, and Foresteire was placed on probation and ordered to pay $2,000 in court fees.

Foresteire was fined $250 by the ethics commission in 1992 for having a school employee paint the apartment of a school committee member for free.

The new ethics commission charges carry potential civil penalties of up to $2,000 each.

Reply author: EverettsPride
Replied on: 03/19/2008 10:42:25 AM

We all know what he is like and he will continue to get away with it. I am not worrying about it anymore since it seesm to be okay for him to do whatever he wants to. He should be crowned King of Everett as far as I am concerned. Our schools are in very bad shape. I want to concentrate on ways in which we can improve them before they come in and take us over like they did in Chelsea.


Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 03/19/2008 11:39:53 AM

I agree that fast freddy should have been shown the door but it should have happened in the 90's. It happened so long ago that I doubt anything can be done about it today. I am not happy with the condition of the schools and the weapons being brought in. They should be filing a complaint about that. The schools do not feel safe to me. The school committee and the schools are flying on a down hill slope and someone must be over the school committee. I know city hall always says they don't have jurisdiction but someone has to be over them and take control.

As for the State's Ethics Commission, they need to take a look at out Veteran's Service Office because according to "them" that office in not legal and this is going on right now.

Reply author: just wondering
Replied on: 03/19/2008 11:40:44 AM

I'm less concerned about who is fixing his bathroom (as long is it is not while the worker is on city time) and more concerned about the quality of education. The discussion we have should be about MCAS scores, curriculum, graduation rates, college acceptance rates, overcrowding , bullying and increased parent involvement

Reply author: just wondering
Replied on: 03/19/2008 11:49:39 AM

Tails...just wondering, have you heard of a veteran that is not getting the same high quality service that did a couple months ago from that department? I here that department is working well without Mr Rice.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 03/19/2008 12:41:35 PM

I have not heard that anyone was refused disbursements but that is not the issue. It makes a big difference to someone that they have a full time veterans commissioner that they can go to. Veterans are very proud. Mr. Rice did nothing wrong and when he first went in office, there were 20 veterans. Mr. Rice turned the office around and there are now 90 and if your going to start about taxes you know it's 75% state refundable.

Below is my problem along with unethical behavior from the Mayor to a man of impeccable integrity and the Mayor's lack of knowledge on these important issues. If I can so easily find this, then he can too. He's the Mayor and his actions toward this entire issue has been terrible. It couldn't be more obvious that he just does not care about it or the what the citizens are saying. Like I said, if I can find this so easily, he could have too, but most important to Walter was keeping their identities in the VSO and not out. If anyone was to be given that list, it should have been the NEW VSO. (But there wasn't one) He fired Mr. Rice because Mr. Rice would not give him the list of names that by law, he did not have too. He fired Mr. Rice knowing perfectly well that man just returned from a vacation and was going to have additional bills. "I" could not feel good about myself everyday firing someone that has done so much for the vets/community the "way" it was done. The Mayor did this with no plan. Maybe bills are not a problem for him and thats why he finds this behavior acceptable, but it's not, and people are not going to forget.

Requirements of St. 1972, c. 471 for Full-time Veterans’ Agents

Notwithstanding any provision of the law to the contrary, any city or town having a population over 12,000
and having a part-time veterans’ agent or part-time director or veterans’ services shall, at the end of term of
such agent or director, whether by resignation, retirement or otherwise, either join a veterans’ service district in
manner provided by M.G.L. c. 115 § 10, or appoint a full-time veterans’ agent or director of veterans’ services.
These provisions shall not apply to any city or town so long as the incumbent of the office of part-time veterans’
agent or part-time director of veterans’ services holds such office by reappointment.

Reply author: just wondering
Replied on: 03/19/2008 1:24:34 PM
Message:'s OK to fire the people you want fired, but not the ones you like? Judging by what I have heard and read, the outburst by Mr Rice upon his dismissal wasn't something rare for him. He may have done his job well but he may also have been difficult to work with.....which takes us back to the fact that his job was subject to the political ebb and flow of the Everett political tide. The office is being run soundly without him. The Mayor is searching for a replacement....and much to your dismay, you don't have a say in the matter.

Can we atleast agree that ANYONE taking a politically appointed position should do so knowing they may lose their job when their Mayor is no longer serving? I will take your word for it that he did a good job. A move from 20 to 90 Veterans is huge jump. I'm not sure we can attribute that jump solely to the hard work and dedication of Mr Rice. In the past 2 years, more State and Federal programs have been made available to Veterans. Economic downturn over the past few years has probably resulted in more proud Veterans reaching out for assistance than they have in the past. So, before we start scheduling the canonization ceremony for Mr Rice lets keep in mind he did the job he was paid to do.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 03/19/2008 1:55:30 PM

You can spin my response anyway you want, that's my response, and the Mayor should have started his "search" a long time ago. Like I said, it's obvious he did not have that office best interest in mind and far as State and Federal funding and programs...again...thank Walter for that. The state just didn't come in and say "here ya go" that was Walter's dedication and hard work. Sure, he was paid for the position but he worked long hours and dedicated a lot of personal time to the cause. I would have no problem if the Mayor wanted to replace him and get another qualified individual and said " I'm letting you go Walter on the Mayor's discretion, ( AND I'M LETTING YOU KNOW BEFORE YOUR VACATION) I'm having my own person run the office" Did he do that? No he didn't...and now your bringing up nonsense about an outburst? If I was treated the way he was, I would have an outburst too. Cant the Mayor come up with something better than that....

Reply author: just wondering
Replied on: 03/19/2008 2:06:03 PM

I'm sure the Mayor's first response was to call you for your must not have been available

Reply author: wanda bee
Replied on: 03/19/2008 3:13:06 PM

You sound a little to close to the source. Are you Walter?
I know the Mayor does everything within the law.
So check your facts again!
You sound like sour grapes, get over it and get on with your life. The Mayor had no intension of letting you go, but you harassed him and his staff to no end and you were very verbably abusive as well!
So again get on with your life and leave the past in the past.
You did a good (not perfect) job, go and enjoy your golf game.
Stop trying to ruin the Mayors reputation and your own as well.
The same way you are acting on this blog is the same reason you do not have your job any longer. You need to let things go!!!

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 03/19/2008 3:33:36 PM

Wanda you could not be more wrong. I don't even know Walter and for your information, I know Carlo, and I supported him. All you do is come on here and accuse people of being somebody. It's very childish. I state facts and issues that are going on. Well, I think justwondering is Erin Deveney because they use the same exact wording as her so thanks for confirming that to me. Ms. Deveney makes more than the Mayor and has a much more vested interest in this.

Reply author: wanda bee
Replied on: 03/19/2008 3:42:40 PM

Your facts, not the truth!

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 03/19/2008 7:15:15 PM

Well, here are SOME of my facts....

Mass. Cities Cited For Ignoring Vet Services Law
Joe Shortsleeve BOSTON (WBZ) ¯ Massachusetts is cracking down on municipal leaders across the state as some communities are not providing legally mandated services for our veterans.

Our soldiers come home heroes but are often forgotten at Town Hall.

Veterans are entitled to certain benefits for housing, education, health care and much more.

These benefits are supposed to be handed out at the local level. In fact, every community is required by law to have a veteran's services officer.

But in this day of tight budgets, many towns are breaking the law and cutting back the position.

State officials are citing Danvers, Fitchburg, Framingham, Gloucester, Melrose and Milton, as well as others communities, with flaunting the law.

All communities are getting a letter signed by the Attorney General. It's a stern reminder that says, all cities and towns with populations over 12,000 must employ a full time veteran services officer

"If municipalities are not stepping up to the plate -- and the good news is most of them are -- but if communities are not, we are seriously going at look at intervening," said Lt. Gov. Tim Murray.

In some towns like Norwood, the veteran's services officer is swamped with work because vets who can't get help in their towns all go to Norwood.

The letter requires town leaders to provide the name of their veteran services officer to the state by March 1.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 03/19/2008 8:40:56 PM

March 6, 2008 Boston Globe

HICKEY MAY SEEK VETERANS POST - Ward 4 Common Councilor Joseph Hickey said he is considering applying for the city's newly posted Veterans Services commissioner position. Mayor Carlo DeMaria last week terminated Walter Rice, who held the position for two years and was appointed by former mayor John Hanlon. "The mayor appreciates the service that Mr. Rice provided to the veterans in the Everett community, but he has decided to exercise his right to put someone in this position, and he will ensure that the veterans community in Everett continues to receive the same standard of services, if not better services, in the future," said Erin Deveney, DeMaria's chief of staff. Shortly after his termination, Rice posted a message on the Everett Mirror blog, which said, in part, "All I ask is that everyone remember the quality of life of several veterans hang in the balance on a monthly basis through any and all debate. Please remember them - they still need the city's help. I have a tentative offer in private industry to commence the first of next year; but for reasons very personal to me, my heart remains with Veterans work and always will." Hickey, 56, said the prospect of serving as the city's veterans commissioner is one that has long been "near and dear" to him, and that he lobbied Hanlon and his predecessor, former mayor David Ragucci, for the spot. "I did two tours of duty in Vietnam when people were burning their draft cards. I brought the Vietnam Moving Wall to the city of Everett in 2005 and I am now working on the Veterans Memorial Park next to the high school," he said. If Hickey does apply, he would have to resign his seat on the council, but would still face a conflict of interest issue unless his appointment was delayed. State ethics law requires that "No councilor shall be eligible for appointment to such additional position while a member of said council or for six months thereafter." - Kay Lazar

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 03/19/2008 10:21:30 PM

A long-winded attempt to bring some reason back to the discussion of the Veteran's Services Officer (VSO) position.

As has been mentioned many times, in the papers and on the blogs (even by Mr. Rice himself), a person that excepts an appointed city position should be well aware that they serve at the pleasure of whoever is the current mayor. I think that we all have to agree on that.

Mayor DeMaria's method of informing those appointees whose jobs were safe was to give them a letter that stated that fact. Anyone who did not receive this letter had to be aware that their jobs could be in jeopardy. The Globe article that listed the positions that had received the letter did not include the VSO. This is the only information that most us have about who received one of these letters and it may not be complete. But I'm going to assume (yeah, I know) that Mr. Rice was not the recipient of one of these letters. The fact that he stated in one of his first posts after his dismissal that he knew what was up when he saw Mr. Henderson sitting in the mayor's office when he went for his appointment seems to support the assumption. So when Mr. Rice went on vacation, he was probably aware that his job was at some risk.

A number of us think that we know why the mayor let Mr. Rice go so abruptly. However, as Mr. Rice also posted early on, no connection was made by the administration between his refusal to turn over confidential information and his termination. I'm no lawyer but I would have to think that without any proof of a connection, this would be considered circumstantial evidence, at best, and there would not be the basis for a wrongful termination suit, if one were even possible.

I think that we can also assume that the firing of Mr. Rice was not a premeditated move on the Mayor's part but something that came to a head that day. As has been stated by someone recently on another issue, most of us are not privy to what goes on behind the closed doors of city hall; therefore, most of us have no idea what led up to that point and what caused the decision to be made. It was posted last week that the Mayor was not talking about what went on between him and Mr. Rice. I would have to believe then that the Mayor should be very disappointed to see what was published in the paper today.

I would agree that the Mayor has been mostly mum on Mr. Rice's termination. The only time that I have heard him mention it was in his speech at the Friendly Son's dinner. I believe that the lack of information provided to the general public about what is going on with the VSO position is the real issue that most of us have. At Monday's Common Council meeting, Councilor King alluded to something happening with the position in the near future; but, most of us have no idea what that is. Let's hope that something happens soon since it is hard for many of us to reasonably believe that one person, who is supposed to work in an office part-time, can continue to support the entire office over an extended period of time without any negative impact to themselves, the people that they serve or their other responsibilities.

The other issue that some of us seem to have is with a political seat holder possibly being considered to fill this position. I have come out in the past and stated that I am not in favor of city employees holding elected positions with the certain exceptions (i.e. school department vs. city, etc.). I realize that state law expressly allows it; I just don't happen to agree with it. I believe that most city jobs, with the obvious exception of the mayor's inner circle, should be as apolitical as possible. Therefore, I feel that no one should be allowed to step down from an elected position to take a city position. Once again, my beliefs don't agree with state law; that's O.K. with me, as long as the laws are followed. I don't care what's been done in the past. If the State Ethics Commission can't follow the law, why should anyone else? Laws are passed for a reason; if they are not followed, let's revisit them and get them off the books or modify them, if necessary.

I don't believe that it is the Mayor's intention to fill the VSO position with one of the elected officials whose names have been mentioned for the job. If that was his first choice, the position would probably be filled by now. However, if no other suitable candidates are found for the job, he may be forced to reconsider that decision. With all of the acrimony that exists around this issue, I believe that this would probably be done only as a last resort. As I have posted before, let's see if it happens before we get too worked up about it.

Some people have argued that this issue will sink any re-election bid by the Mayor. I have to respectfully disagree. With no disrespect to Mr. Rice, if the Mayor finds a suitable replacement in a reasonable amount of time who can do the job anywhere nearly as well as Mr. Rice (or perhaps better), this will be a mostly forgotten issue in a year's time. Even if that doesn't happen, at best, I could only see it being a contributing factor to any possible downfall. I believe that there are much larger issues and challenges ahead that will be more important in determining the fate of the current administration.

As far as the source of the regulation that was quoted earlier today, it will not be found under MGL; it is actually part of the Code of Massachusetts Regulations or CMR. If you enter "CMR Mass" into any search engine, you likely find a searchable copy. The regulation referenced can be found under 108 CMR Section 12.03. It is a very clear regulation and does not require a lawyer's interpretation. Although it is not part of the regulation, one would have to assume that when someone is discharged from this position, the city would have a reasonable amount of time to find a suitable replacement. It may not be the best time for this position to be vacant but as long as the city does something about it in a timely manner, there probably won't be a huge issue with the state either.

Tails, I do understand your frustration. You wore your heart on your sleeve when you were a supporter of the Mayor and you still do now. I believe you feel very betrayed by the Mayor, who you believe lied to you during his campaign. You did some work for him and now he won't give you the time of day on issues that are important to you. I can't tell you what to do about that but I'm sure that you'll figure it out for yourself at some point. In regards to this particular issue, you don't agree with the Mayor's actions on an ethical basis; you are well within your rights to do so and others probably agree with you. But, I believe that you need to see that the Mayor was also well within his legal rights to do what he did. I don't expect you to agree with all of the points of this post but I hope that you will consider them. And most importantly, no hard feelings are intended. I'm sure that we can agree to disagree where we need to.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 03/20/2008 09:17:35 AM

Thank you for that tetris. That was well written and very nice. Without rehashing everything, you are correct with the fact that I am disappointed. I just want to point out that I knew the regulation was under 108 CMR Section 12.03. The chapter 475 ( what ever I said) was a little ploy because people calling me to the carpet saying I was Walter (I don't even know Walter, but I know of his work and work ethic)so I called them to the carpet too and now I know exactly what's going on.

This issue was not becasue Walter Rice was let go from the Mayor for his discretion it was an injustice that was done to him. I have said over and over it's not the fact that the Mayor fired Walter, it was the unethical manner in which it was done. Walter deserved the same respect that Jerry Sheehan received along with the former budget director. Just like they were let go, Walter should have had the same respect. But no, you had RVC (I'm not blaming him, I now understand his position)laying on the table funding for the veterans until paper work was received, however, nothing was asked of Mr. Zaniboni for his City Services transfer. Then within a week the Mayor asks for a list of names and the very same day he lets Walter go in the unethical manner in how it was done. Now all of a sudden becasue of the heat he is taking their coming out with Walter was name calling. I mean...come on...and using the newspapers to their advantage. It's not right. I would have called him a name too the way this was done. The most important issue is for three weeks now the veterans of this community do not have a VSO and I'm sure Gerri is doing everything she can but she's not superwoman and before letting Walter go, there should have been a replacement first. Why is the Mayor only starting to look now if it was his discretion to replace Walter all along? Those pieces of the puzzle do not fit. That was in the best interest of the veterans and the Mayor did not handle it right.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 03/20/2008 09:22:28 AM

On the subject of the V.S.O., in todays Leader Herald on page 13, there is an ad for a City of Everett, Veterans Agent Vacancy.

Reply author: wanda bee
Replied on: 03/20/2008 11:33:40 AM

Tails is just way to passionate about this subject.
So much so it's kinda scary!
Fact Walter was verbally abusive to the Mayors staff.
If I or my husband (we work in the private sector)
acted in the mannor that he conducted himself
we would have also been terminated on the spot.
As adults we need to have better self control.
Even though the Mayor has been actively looking for a VSO, this subject just won't go away.....Tails sometimes we need to know when to let things go!!!

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 03/20/2008 12:07:59 PM

Wanda Bee,

So how do you happen to be in possession of this "fact" that most of us the rest of us were unaware of until yesterday when you first posted it and just wondering alluded to it? As you rightly pointed out, such behavior might indeed be a valid ground for termination, whether you work in the public or the private sector. But it isn't the stated reason why the mayor let Mr. Rice go. Even it is true, why bring it up now? Our friend Tails might be a bit overzealous but, that's no reason to take the low road with Mr. Rice, especially after you rightfully pointed out that the Mayor has taken the opposite position on this issue.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 03/20/2008 12:12:44 PM

Until today, I did not write off the Mayor. I thought he would see people’s concerns and do the right thing and I have always spoken out in defense to him, voted for him, campaigned for him in both the primary and election night. There is a Vet that is near and dear too me (and it’s not Walter) and I know first hand how important this issue is. Some just need to talk and have a VSO to come home and talk too. They can’t afford therapy or don’t want it but will go to a brother veteran for help. You have no idea how many people Walter has helped in this way and to leave that office vacant even for a week in our time of war is wrong.

Wanda, you know so much about closed door issues that it’s perfectly clear how this administration in being run so AS OF TODAY, my mind is made up that I will NEVER support DeMaria again with this type of administration. This morning, I even had a glimmer of hope, thanks to tetris, but that's out the window now so...Thank you Wanda for making up my mind for me.

Reply author: wanda bee
Replied on: 03/20/2008 1:07:24 PM

Your welcome
I only spoke up now because I'm sick of the ranting of a discruntled
voter? He has brought it up over and over....So maybe someone needs to let the truth be known! Time to move on!!!

No low road but why is it ok to bash DeMaria over untruths.
I did not vote for him, but I think he's doing a good job.
Tails should run for Mayor! Tetris can be the City Solicitor!

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 03/20/2008 1:49:16 PM

Wanda Bee,

Just a couple more questions and I'll be glad to move on. Once again, how do you happen to be in possession of the "truth" when most of us the rest of us are not? What are the untruths that the Mayor is being bashed over?

No thanks on the city solicitor job.

Reply author: wanda bee
Replied on: 03/20/2008 2:59:24 PM

"not legal"
"unethical behavior"
on and on about "Mr Rice did nothing wrong"
(in fact he did and he knows it)
"Mr Rice should have been told before he went on vacation"
"did not have the best interest of the Veterans in mind"
Come on, why don't you ask Tails how he knows so much?

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 03/20/2008 5:44:41 PM

Wanda Bee,

With the exception of the "not legal" issue, which a couple of us found necessary to address with our friend Tails, I could argue that most of these other "untruths" are actually either opinions, which everyone is entitled to, or interpretations of events based upon the information that has been made available to the general public. You, of course, are also entitled to your opinion about them as well.

So, let me get this straight. Because you were upset with Tails' posts, you felt the need to bash Mr. Rice with allegations from a source that you've been asked about twice and refuse to divulge?

Thanks. I'm done now and ready to move on.

Reply author: just wondering
Replied on: 03/20/2008 7:25:33 PM

as if the tetris',tails and massdee's of this blog don't have sources they refuse to divulge.'s everyone feeling about the state of our school system?

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 03/20/2008 8:06:24 PM

Just Wondering,

I can't speak for the others but I have no problems divulging all of my sources of information about the city. They are ECTV, the local newspapers, the Boston newspapers, literature from political campaigns, credible information that can be found on the internet and personal observations of things that I see going on around the city. If you feel that there is a particular item that I have posted about in my time on this board that I could not have gotten from one of these sources, please let me know and I'll gladly give you the details of where my information came from. This offer also extends to any future posts that I may make.

(Edited to include literature from political campaigns. Sorry, forgot about that when I first posted.)

Reply author: wanda bee
Replied on: 03/21/2008 09:09:39 AM

I want it to be known I did not bash Mr. Rice.
I heard he did a great job as the VSO. All I did was tell Tails I thought he was wrong in his "opinions" of the situation. I shared information for the reasons I heard Mr. Rice was let go.
It was sudden and un planned by the Mayor, but his (Mr. Rice's) behavior called for it that day.
How does Tails know so much about Mr. Rice and his vacation,
his bills, and his life? How does he know about Ms.Deveney?
Those are things I did not know?
I get my information much the same as everyone else, and sometimes happen to overhear conversations!
Again, I did not bash Mr. Rice, he knows what happened leading up to his termination and the real reasons why he was let go.
I wish him well in his future plans. As my mother always said "things happen for a reason". Maybe Mr. Rice will be better off without a city job. OK now I'm moving on....I'll be out of town for the Blessed Good Friday and Happy Easter to ALL

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 03/21/2008 09:25:45 AM

wanda bee,

I have a question, and I am not being confrontational. You said Mr Rice's "behavior called for it that day." Are you talking about before or during the meeting with the Mayor?

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 03/21/2008 09:37:15 AM



1. unverified, unofficial information gained or acquired from another and not part of one's direct knowledge: I pay no attention to hearsay.

2. an item of idle or unverified information or gossip; rumor: a malicious hearsay.

3. of, pertaining to, or characterized by hearsay: hearsay knowledge; a hearsay report.

—Synonyms 1. talk, scuttlebutt, babble, tittle-tattle.

Reply author: wanda bee
Replied on: 03/21/2008 10:08:58 AM


Believe what you want,like I said Mr. Rice knows the truth and that is what is important.
Not hear-say this time, only the truth.

Have a good one!

Reply author: Citizen Kane
Replied on: 03/21/2008 11:07:20 AM

Perhaps we need to move on from this conversation. It's done, and we've all expressed our opinions.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 03/21/2008 11:12:42 AM

I agree, Citizen. Let's wait and see what city hall does with this issue.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 03/21/2008 1:22:05 PM

I had to step away for a while. I had one more post in me about this issue, which was more of a general post than about the specific issue itself. However, I will defer to the wishes of the board and keep most of that to myself; but, I still feel that have to say the following:

Right or wrong, I got into this issue for what I thought was for the best of reasons, i.e., helping to right a perceived wrong. Although I will still stand behind everything that I said, I now realize that I became part of the problem by keeping the discussion of it going. I would like to apologize to everyone for my part in that.


Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 03/21/2008 6:39:34 PM


You did nothing wrong and there is absolutely no need for you to apologize to anyone.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 03/30/2008 12:43:05 AM

BUDGET DIRECTOR HIRED - Mayor Carlo DeMaria has hired Clayton Carlisle to be the city's new budget director. Carlisle recently resigned as town manager in Southbridge. Erin Deveney, DeMaria's chief of staff, said the mayor interviewed three other candidates for the position but Carlisle, with some 25 years of municipal experience in several communities, including Southbridge, Chelsea, and Watertown, was most qualified. Of local Southbridge press reports that Carlisle was suspended for a week without pay in late December after the Town Council voted him guilty of "insubordination of his duties," Deveney said the mayor was "satisfied that Clayton's actions were based on his best professional and ethical judgments, and he was satisfied with the explanations furnished." - Kay Lazar

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 03/30/2008 3:13:49 PM

It would appear that Mr. Carlisle's suspension was perfect timing. Per Ms. Deveney, he does have professional experience ,however, she neglected to mention his experience with landfills.

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 04/03/2008 06:28:55 AM

ETHICS COMMISSION PROBE WIDENS - Lona DeFeo, maintenance manager for the Everett public schools, is again facing allegations that she violated state conflict-of-interest laws by using public school employees to perform private work for Superintendent Frederick Foresteire. In an order filed March 27, the State Ethics Commission said that from April to November 2002, DeFeo ordered a school maintenance worker to perform plumbing work in the kitchen and two bathrooms at Foresteire's home. No hearing dates have been scheduled for the allegations against DeFeo and Foresteire. - Kay Lazar

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 04/03/2008 06:30:35 AM

I personally think it's time for everyone involved to step down. I mean how much can one city or town take, the run is over it's time for action. Guess I will watch the meeting on monday nite to see if this is brought up.

Reply author: EverettsPride
Replied on: 04/03/2008 06:53:53 AM

It will not be brought up unless Smith brings it up. And I would bet they will never even be charged. Teflon Freddy gets away with everything in this city.


Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 04/03/2008 08:40:33 AM

I don't understand why a warrant was not issued back when this happened. I know if that was me...I would have been arrested and charged with felony theft. Why is he above the law....someone that is suppose to set a good example for the kids.

Reply author: just wondering
Replied on: 04/03/2008 10:39:24 AM

I agree....if he is wrong, arrest him. But I'm more outraged by the quality of education he is providing. He can have all the air conditioners and sheet rock that he wants if he did a much better job in educating our children.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 04/03/2008 11:11:30 AM

The schools are a disaster. I don't understand how it went downhill so fast. The MCAS scores are terrible in Everett. It takes weeks to hear about a problem. I have asked the school committee to look into each school having their own private website along with each teacher site. The response was.. no money. They have free sites...what are they talking money. It would take five minutes out of a teachers day to enter daily homework or whatever, and it would alleviate so many problems. Other cities and towns do it. Private Schools do it. Why cant Everett do it?

Reply author: just wondering
Replied on: 04/03/2008 11:20:49 AM

Too funny....I went to a half dozen school council meetings last year. They were run as if they were PTA meetings, talking about bake sales and social events. It didn't take long to realize that the schools want zero input from the outside world. I was getting tired of not knowing exactly what my children had for homework each night...when I asked why there wasnt a website I could go to to find out, I was told there was no money. I did the research and found a company that hosts websites for school to post homework and grades. It was less than 50 dollars per class for the entire year. I told them to solicit donations from parents to sponsor an entire suggestions fell on deaf ears. it seemed like a no brainer to me...for $50, I get to see what my kids are studying, don't have to read the chicken scratch in their assignment books and know about projects weeks before they are due. My $50 would have paid for 34 other parents to do the same thing. Fast Freddy squashed that idea like a bug crawling across the face of his newly installed AC.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 04/03/2008 1:15:56 PM

just wondering, finally something we agree on. I think most parents would be willing to donate the money to get that type of program up and running. FFF likes total control over every aspect of the school department. It's too bad that the students and their education doesn't come first.

Reply author: just wondering
Replied on: 04/03/2008 1:45:11 PM

I have another funny story for you..

In April of last year I was at a school council meeting.....the principal proudly announced that as of that morning, the teachers in the school had spoken one on one to 70% of the parents either on the phone or in person. The purpose of these discussions was typical parent teacher confrence stuff (expectations, issues etc). I thought it was kind of funny that they were proud to have reached the 70% mark 8 months into the school year. That humor caused me to ask the question... "why aren't you reaching 100% of the parents by the end of September"
The following conversation resulted

Principal:And how would you like us to accomplish that?
Me: How about not letting the child in the school until you meet with the parent....let them know what the expectations are around homework, behavior, dress code etc
Principal (and a few teachers): You can't force the parents to meet with you before letting them go to school
Me: I disagree, but we'll table that for now. How about the teacher makes phone calls to parents. 10 calls a week would give you 100% contact within a month. If you ask the right questions, you would have a better understanding of who may need extra help, whose parents arent interested in education etc
Principal: It is not our job to get involved in social issues
Me: Ok, how about when you have a PTO event at the school. While the kids are enjoying a movie or an ice cream, have some sort of seminar for the parents to show them how to best help their kids succeed.

And the funny part:

Principal: We can't do that, the evening events are for SOCIAL PURPOSES ONLY

In fairness to the principal and teachers....I think the immigration and ecomomic issues of our city have caught our school system off guard. The number of hours a week a teacher spends dealing with ill behaved children is crazy. The time spent trying to bridge the gap caused by a language barrier is equally disturbing. The folks on Vine Street need a plan to solve these problems soon or the majority of our children are going to be pigeon holed into low paying jobs rather than given the opportunity to chose a college or profession.

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 04/06/2008 06:19:32 AM

HIRING VETERANS OFFICER - The city received a "fairly decent" number of applicants for the position of veterans services commissioner, said Erin Deveney, Mayor Carlo DeMaria's chief of staff. Applicants had until Friday to apply. The position was posted after DeMaria terminated the services of Walter Rice, who had held the position for two years and was appointed by then-mayor John Hanlon. "There have been concerns in the community about the mayor not filling the position promptly, and he is mindful of this need," Deveney said. She also said that DeMaria is hoping to schedule interviews with all applicants this week. - Kay Lazar

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 04/06/2008 08:50:57 AM

Vandal Trashes Everett Church
EVERETT, Mass. (WBZ) #8213; Police are trying to find the person who vandalized a church in Everett early Saturday morning.

Stained glass was smashed, a cabinet was damaged and wine goblets and candles were broken inside the Immaculate Conception Church.

The damage was discovered when the church was opened up for a funeral mass Saturday.

The funeral was delayed while volunteers cleaned up the damage.

"This is a house of worship. People come here to express their faith and their belief in God, and to violate that -- if that was the intent --- it is a little bit disturbing," Everett Police Lt. Paul Landry told WBZ.

A homeless man who often spends time on the property was arrested at the scene for breaking and entering.

Police are trying to determine whether he was responsible for the damage, or if he might have seen someone else do it.

Is there something more you would like us to know about this story? Do you have a news tip to share with WBZ?

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 04/07/2008 09:01:56 AM

Reply author: charm
Replied on: 04/08/2008 06:17:43 AM

Home / News / Local
Everett schools employee accused of sexually assaulting boy
Robert Shea, a custodian and basketball coach in the Everett public schools, at his arraignment in Malden District Court. (Associated Press/Pool)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size – + By Brian R. Ballou
Globe Staff / April 8, 2008
Robert J. Shea was known to neighbors as the man who often hosted pool parties at his home on summer days, drawing boys from the neighborhood. Twice in recent years, Shea, a custodian and longtime basketball coach at Everett Middle School, was investigated by authorities for possible misconduct toward youth, but those cases were closed.

more stories like thisYesterday in Malden District Court, Shea was charged with two counts of rape and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a 12-year-old boy who lives near his three-decker on Jefferson Avenue. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $15,000 cash bail. If Shea posts bail, he will have to wear a GPS monitor. His next court date is May 5 for a pretrial conference.

"He's had some of the young boys in his pool," said Cheryl Crane, 40, who lives near Shea. "I thought it was kind of odd that he always had boys and young adult males over there. I'm not surprised by what I'm hearing now. People around here kind of talked about his behavior with the boys."

Frederick F. Foresteire, superintendent of Everett schools, said Shea has been suspended from his positions with pay pending the outcome of the court case. Foresteire said that Shea had been the subject of two prior investigations conducted by the Department of Social Services in 2003 and the Everett Police Department in 2005.

In the 2003 case, an unidentified teacher alerted authorities about "questionable behavior" by Shea toward a youth, Foresteire said. The department conducted an investigation but closed it without a finding. The 2005 police investigation also was closed without a finding, according to Foresteire.

On Friday, the mother of the 12-year-old went to Everett police, prompting an investigation by the Middlesex district attorney's child abuse unit. Police arrested Shea, 57, at his home on Sunday.

Yesterday, prosecutors alleged that Shea befriended the boy in the fall of 2007 and abused him for six months. They said Shea would take the boy to a restaurant on Saturday mornings for breakfast and invited him to his house.

Prosecutors allege that incidents of abuse occurred at Shea's house and at the old Everett High School site.

"We met with the boy and the mother, and he has recall of very specific events," prosecutor Michael Chinman said yesterday during the arraignment.

Shea's attorney, Mark Griffith, said his client is "completely shocked" by the charges. Griffith told the court that Shea has worked in the Everett School Department for 25 years; he has been a junior varsity basketball coach for 14 years. Griffith said Shea also received a Golden Apple Reward for exceptional performance at his job. "My client has been a friend to this young man, a big brother, under the knowledge of the boy's mother."

Griffith added, "To suggest he [Shea] was not seen by others in the neighborhood doing this alleged behavior begs the question of credibility. He's been around children all the time for the past 25 years and all we have is one allegation."

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 04/08/2008 11:16:56 AM

White Powder on Bus Shuts Down Haymarket MBTA Station
Last Edited: Tuesday, 08 Apr 2008, 10:47 AM EDT
Created: Tuesday, 08 Apr 2008, 10:29 AM EDT

A HAZMAT situation is developing at the Haymarket MBTA stop in Boston. According to FOX25's Diana Rocco, a bus driver found white powder on the dash of her bus. As she went to wipe it away, it irritated her eyes.

The driver was treated on the scene and has reportedly not experienced any symptoms of being contaminated.

The Haymarket station has been shut while HAZMAT tries to determine what substance.

Stay with FOX25 and for more on this story as it develops.

Reply author: charm
Replied on: 04/13/2008 06:20:53 AM

Home / News / Local EVERETT

A healthier Keverian gets back to work at City Hall
George Keverian used a fountain pen to demonstrate his John Hancock at his desk in Everett City Hall. "People didn't care what I was signing; they just wanted to see my signature," he said. The former House speaker was fired from his assessor's post last year. (JOANNE RATHE/GLOBE STAFF)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size – + By Kay Lazar
Globe Staff / April 13, 2008
All he wanted was his job back.

more stories like thisGeorge Keverian, the iconic former House speaker who was fired last fall from his Everett City Hall post during a political spat, then hospitalized for three months - they read him last rites - is at his desk again. And pulling double duty.

Seven weeks shy of his 77th birthday, Keverian resumed his chief of assessors position last week while also agreeing to help his new boss, Mayor Carlo DeMaria, lobby legislators in Keverian's old State House stomping grounds for more money for Everett.

"I am probably going to work till I drop," said a delighted Keverian, his workaholic ways and deep political roots firmly intact, despite ongoing physical therapy. "The opposite of work is no work," he said, "and I am not one of those people who learned how to golf."

Keverian was abruptly let go in November by outgoing mayor John Hanlon in what Keverian called political payback. Hanlon, knocked out of the race in the September primary, said the position Keverian held for 12 years was no longer needed. But Keverian said he was punished for backing another candidate after Hanlon's primary defeat.

The firing didn't go over well in Everett, where a City Hall meeting room and a school bear Keverian's name. Even as a petition calling for his return circulated, Keverian was taken to a Boston hospital in November for emergency surgery from fluid build-up around his heart.

The news prompted concerned calls from many corridors, including Beacon Hill, where Keverian was a towering state figure two decades ago as House speaker. Everett's new mayor went to Keverian's hospital bedside and asked if he'd be interested in coming back, when he felt up to it.

"There's a lot of respect at the State House for the speaker, and that's where you get all of your local aid," DeMaria said.

"I respect [former Mayor] Hanlon's decision, but I think [Keverian's] vast experience in state and local politics will benefit the city."

The former speaker said he's settling in, nearly 100 pounds lighter than when he left.

A new strict diet has helped in his long battle with weight. But one thing hasn't changed: Keverian's lifelong love of work.

"It's the reason to get up, to get dressed, to go out and say hello to people, to have the ability to help people who need help," he said.

"When I go home I may be tired, but I felt like I did something."

Kay Lazar can be reached at

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 04/27/2008 07:35:46 AM

VETERANS' AGENT CHOICE NEARS - After weeks of searching for and interviewing 17 applicants, Mayor Carlo DeMaria is expected to announce his choice this week for the city's new veteran services commissioner. The applicants include four women who are veterans, said Erin Deveney, the mayor's chief of staff. Those interviewed included candidates from Billerica, Concord, and Malden. "While they all had different professional backgrounds, the one thing that distinguished all of the candidates is that they all expressed their commitment and desire to serve their fellow veterans. That came up in every interview," Deveney said. - Kay Lazar

CLEANUP DAY - Mayor Carlo DeMaria is urging residents, community groups, youth organizations, and local businesses to join him today for a city cleanup as Everett belatedly celebrates Earth Day. Volunteers will be at the Parlin Library, 410 Broadway, at 8:30 a.m. for a continental breakfast. Groups will be dispersed at 9 a.m. for cleanup activities. Participants are asked to bring their own gloves, and a rake or a broom. The city will provide bags, and a contractor will remove bags filled with debris. - Kay Lazar

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 04/28/2008 11:26:29 AM

Originally posted by tetris

"While they all had different professional backgrounds, the one thing that distinguished all of the candidates is that they all expressed their commitment and desire to serve their fellow veterans. That came up in every interview," Deveney said. - Kay Lazar

Gee...One would hope that would come up in every interview...and nothing mentioned about a time frame of when this person would be hired? Can it be conveniently after the budget?

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 04/29/2008 09:47:19 AM

It's about time some progress is being made for a new VSO. This has been going on for far too long.

Reply author: charm
Replied on: 05/04/2008 04:55:46 AM

MAYOR'S AIDE TO DO DOUBLE DUTY - The city's new solicitor is a familiar face. Erin Deveney, Mayor Carlo DeMaria's chief of staff, will take on double duty and perform both jobs as part of DeMaria's streamlining and cost-cutting initiative. Deveney's appointment was approved by the Board of Aldermen Monday night, but she will not be sworn in as solicitor until the state Ethics Commission signs off on the move. Acting city solicitor Colleen Mejia will continue to head the legal department until the Ethics Commission rules, then would become deputy city solicitor, Deveney said. Before coming to Everett in January, Deveney was general counsel to the state's Criminal History Systems Board. - Kay Lazar

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 05/08/2008 06:02:43 AM

Feeling all too foreign
Immigrants wary; officials deny bias
By Kay Lazar, Globe Staff | May 8, 2008

There are whispers in Revere about drivers who are stopped by police because they look foreign. In Everett, there are similar anxieties.

Newcomers also talk about local ordinances that seem to be enforced unfairly, with residents who don't speak English more likely to receive tickets for breaking curb-side trash rules and other health code violations. Those concerns are echoed in Malden, where some say City Hall seems more like an ivory tower.

Immigrant enclaves across the region say they are feeling a local backlash as federal authorities conduct large-scale raids nationwide, tracking down and deporting undocumented immigrants. Yet elected and appointed officials say immigrants are not being singled out, and that leaders have been working hard to bridge divides and ease fears.

On one point, all sides agree: Language barriers are a huge hurdle. Finding common ground has been complicated, and solutions even more elusive.

Consider the trash issue, where local rules tend to vary community by community.

"In a lot of cities, you cannot put all the garbage outside. And you have to get a sticker or you get a ticket," said Lucy Pineda, a 35-year-old Revere resident who moved to the United States 24 years ago from El Salvador.

Pineda is the director of LUMA, Latinos United in Massachusetts, an Everett-based nonprofit. She said that immigrants who do not understand local trash rules or have limited English skills will go to a city hall to find out why they received a trash ticket, and find there is no literature or employee who can speak their language to explain it.

So LUMA is planning to translate fliers that explain various local ordinances into several languages for a number of communities, she said.

Pineda also said that her group, which serves immigrants in many of the urban communities north of Boston, has been receiving complaints from immigrants who say they are being singled out by police for traffic stops, particularly in Revere and Everett.

"If police stop an American and then they stop Lucy, Lucy looks different, so they treat Lucy different," Pineda said.

Police officials dispute the allegation. They say immigrants are treated the same as all others who are stopped for violations.

But officials acknowledge that they often face substantial communication problems because their departments don't mirror the demographics of their changing communities.

"It's extremely frustrating communicating with someone who doesn't understand what you are asking them for," said Revere Police Chief Terrence Reardon. "Oftentimes we have to depend on other police departments. We'll call over to Chelsea and see if they have anyone who speaks Spanish."

Chelsea often receives high marks from immigrant groups, who say the city has made great strides in bridging cultural and language differences.

It is one of a handful of cities that has declared itself a sanctuary for immigrants, including those here illegally.

Everett, by comparison, approved a resolution last fall urging that federal homeland security dollars be stripped from self-declared "sanctuary cities" and instead be sent to Everett and other neighboring communities.

In Everett, the 99-member police department has just six officers who are bilingual, speaking a variety of languages. Yet a quarter of families with school-aged children in the city are Hispanic, according to state education data. The numbers are similar in Revere, where there are four Spanish-speaking officers in a force of roughly 92. Yet more than a third of families are Hispanic, state figures show.

Officials in both police departments said they are aggressively working to boost their bilingual numbers.

Revere's chief said his department has also received federal funding for more bilingual translators to help with domestic violence issues in the community's growing Asian and Hispanic neighborhoods.

Everett, which has a growing Brazilian population, has held Portuguese language classes for officers and is planning more this fall, said Everett Police Lieutenant Paul Landry.

"We understand, all too well, that perception is reality," he said. "We're here to help [immigrants]. We are not here to target them. But if they break the law, they will be arrested."

In Malden, where roughly 40 percent of families with school-aged children are Asian or Hispanic, the unease is more diffuse. Some immigrant groups say that the city, for years, has done little to make them feel welcome.

"You go into the City Hall, there is a bunch of white people. It's ivory tower politics," said Mohamed Brahimi, 39, founder of the Malden-based Moroccan American Civic and Cultural Association.

Brahimi said that about three years ago, when he was forming the association and looking for a place to hold free English classes, he received a chilly reception when he knocked on a lot of doors at City Hall asking for help finding space. Eventually, he said, a nonprofit agency stepped forward with a low-cost rental.

He also said that last summer, some immigrant groups lobbied, unsuccessfully, to have city pamphlets published in various languages.

While information handed out by city and school departments is only in English, for roughly the past five years there also has been a sentence in boldface type that says, "This is an important notice. Please have this translated."

That sentence is in five languages: Spanish, Portuguese, French, Chinese, and Vietnamese, said the mayor's spokeswoman, Deborah Burke.

"The city . . . has been most welcoming to new immigrant groups," said Burke, who noted that Malden has at least six employees throughout City Hall who are fluent in either Spanish, Mandarin, or Cantonese.

"We could always do more and better," Burke said. "But we have made progress."

Kay Lazar can be reached at

© Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Reply author: justme
Replied on: 05/08/2008 08:07:59 AM

I know there are many who will disagree, but I think immigrants need to learn our language, not the other way around. Our tax dollars are already stretched to their limit. Hiring translators and translating laws, ordinances, school notices, and whatever else is a burden we shouldn't be expected to bear.

Anyone who chooses to live in a country other than their own needs to understand that they are required to follow the laws of that country and they should be willing to accept the responsibility of learning the language. If they don’t understand those basics, perhaps they should stay where they are.

Reply author: Lynda
Replied on: 05/08/2008 08:53:49 AM

I couldn't agree with you more. If you are gonna make America your new home LEARN ENGLISH or GET OUT! Learn our Laws or GET OUT!
I am so tired or hearing "in our culture" well this isn't your culture, it is America, wanna stay? Learn English and our Laws or GET OUT! Don't look at our women in a suggested sort of way cause "in your country" it is a compliment, in this country that women will knock your block off! That is OUR CULTURE! It is called respect! If I see one more car parked illegally with the hazards on I am gonna scream!
Really don't mean to sound so harsh BUT I am so sick of this crap, I want my City back and I want it now.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 05/08/2008 09:18:54 AM

Just imagine what would happen to us if we went into a foreign country and broke their laws.

Well said, justme and Lynda.

Reply author: EverettsPride
Replied on: 05/08/2008 11:07:52 AM

I had an experience with a man who thought he could make sexual comments to my 12 year old daughter. I went to his door and explained to him and his wife that talking to a child like that is a crime in the US. I told him I know you marry children in your country, but acting like that here will get you jail time, or worse if my husband ever heard that he said another thing.


Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 05/11/2008 05:08:41 AM

One man's gold is another's tank of gas
Record price and slow economy find many parting with jewelry
By Steven Rosenberg, Globe Staff | May 11, 2008

It's a Friday afternoon in Everett and Andrew Hagen steers his Ford F-150 truck into a parking lot and walks into the Gold N' Oldies jewelry store. For Hagen, it's been a slow work week, and the carpenter needs gas money for his truck. He reaches into his pocket and places on the counter a gold necklace with three small diamonds.

"It's an ex-girlfriend's chain," he tells Conrad Casarjian, the shop's owner.

Casarjian places a jeweler's loupe over his eye and examines the chain and diamonds. "It's 14-karat," Casarjian says, holding it up.

Hagen, who is 24 and lives in Melrose, says the record price of gold - more than $900 an ounce - and a tough economy have forced him to sell gold in the past. "I've paid rent with gold, especially this past winter. I had a lot of scrap chains I wasn't wearing," he says.

Casarjian hands Hagen $75 and the transaction is completed. Casarjian looks at the chain and small diamonds. When asked what he'll do with the necklace, Casarjian says he'll probably "scrap it."

In the lexicon of jewelry store and pawnshop owners, scrap has never been a more important word. For Casarjian, as much as 90 percent of gold he buys is sold to wholesale refineries. Those companies melt down the metal, remove its alloys, and resell it as pure gold.

As the economy has slowed, gold prices have risen. Last month, gold hit a record of more than $1,000 per ounce and is up more than 10 percent since the beginning of the year. Over the last 10 years, the price has tripled.

While economists have debated whether the country is in a recession, Casarjian and some other area jewelers and pawnshop owners have seen more and more customers who have fallen on hard times bringing in gold necklaces, chains, rings, and anklets. At pawnshops, customers trade their goods temporarily for money and have the option to pay the loan back or keep the cash.

"I'm seeing people I'd never see before," says Casarjian, who has owned his Everett shop for more than 20 years. "Tough economic times bring out a lot of desperate people. People will walk in and say 'I really don't want to do this,' but they do it because they have to raise some money to pay off their latest bill. People are hurting, they're broke."

With a sluggish economy and rising gas and food prices, the high price of gold could serve as a temporary boost to people who need to pay their bills, says Kenneth Ardon, an associate professor of economics at Salem State College.

"Without gold being as expensive, these families would be in more trouble," says Ardon. Still, while selling gold serves as a temporary payday, Ardon predicts more families will have to curtail their spending until the economy improves. "As long as gas prices and food prices rise, more and more families will come under strain in their budgets, so I think this is probably something that will continue."

In Chelsea, Sal Vaccaro says more people are choosing to sell their gold instead of pawning it. "We see a lot of older people who can't make it on what they're getting from Social Security," says Vaccaro, who owns The Gold Mine, a jewelry store and pawnshop on Broadway.

For Vaccaro, the gold chains, necklaces, earrings, and rings he buys all go to scrap. Much of it is outdated and from the '80s, but Vaccaro says with talk of recession, most people can't afford to buy gold jewelry anyway. "There's no point in holding onto it for resale because resale isn't any good," he says.

Paul Frazer, who owns Gold & Diamonds Etc., a Malden jewelry store and pawnshop, says the high price of gold has also been a boon for people who are financially solvent and want to fetch a high price for their old jewelry. "People are cashing in stuff that's been sitting, that they're not wearing," says Frazer.

But in Beverly, Frederick Ambrosini says the people who are selling their gold represent a growing group of recently unemployed workers who need money for food. "What I do see is an increase of people starting to panic," says Ambrosini, who has owned Fred's Jewelry Loan and Collect for 20 years.

While most people are selling, there are people who still choose to pawn their wares. On a sunny morning last week, Stanley Starling walked through Central Square in downtown Lynn carrying a gold chain, earrings, and a ring.

"Sometimes things get bad," he said, stepping inside the A & S Pawn and Used Jewelry store on Washington Street.

He placed the gold jewelry on the store's glass counter and pulled another gold ring off of a finger and added it to the pile.

Starling, who is 49 and originally from Chicago, needed money for his girlfriend, who was about to start a new job. "She needs transportation money to get to work," said Starling, who once worked as a shipping clerk but is now disabled.

Al Sherman, who owns the Lynn pawnshop, examined the jewelry. "There is some 10-karat and some 14-karat," he said.

On this day, Starling decided he wanted to get the gold jewelry back at some point and chose to pawn it.

Sherman handed him $60 and told him he would charge $6 - or 10 percent interest, as allowed by state law - a month.

"It'll last long enough until my girlfriend gets her first paycheck," said Starling, before leaving the store.

Steven Rosenberg can be reached at

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 05/11/2008 07:21:54 AM

SCHOOL SALE GOES TO ALDERMEN - Now it's up to the Board of Aldermen to decide whether the old Devens School should be sold to Chelsea-based Cassano Development Co., which intends to convert the building on Church Street to housing for people age 55 and over. The Common Council on Monday approved a request by Mayor Carlo DeMaria to sell the two-story building to Cassano for $950,000, which is $100,000 more than the building's appraised value in March 2007. The building was costing the city about $5,000 a month to maintain, not including the roughly $12,000 a month to heat it during the past winter, the mayor's office said. "The market the way it is, $950,000 seems like a good deal and we can't afford to maintain it," said Common Council president Lorrie Bruno. Anthony Cassano said that if the Board of Aldermen approves the sale, his company can start work in two to three months and would expect to complete the project within a year, converting the 1970s-era building into 22 to 25 units. The aldermen are scheduled to take up the issue tomorrow at 7 p.m. Neighbors of the closed school had asked the city to keep the building and turn it into a youth center, Bruno said. - Kay Lazar

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 05/11/2008 08:44:23 AM

Can the BOA vote to approve the sale with an amendment that the Mayor needs to have one more neighborhood meeting before their approval takes place? Just a thought.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 05/11/2008 08:59:40 AM


At this point, I'm not sure what one more neighborhood meeting accomplishes. The cat's already out of the bag...

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 05/11/2008 09:13:48 AM

I was just thinking as a general courtesy to the neighbors.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 05/11/2008 09:21:59 AM

I'd think that they'd more consider it more of a slap in the face at this point.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 05/11/2008 09:27:24 AM

Oh well, I guess it will just have to stand as Mayor DeMaria not keeping his word to those residents in Ward 5.

Reply author: EverettsPride
Replied on: 05/11/2008 11:27:16 AM

That is a really tough area for parking. I cannot believe the Mayor does not have a stipulation that there be at least one spot per unit. They are going to have to reconfigure the parking area and may even take more street spaces in order to be able to access the off street parking. All the school are overcrowded, and we are selling all the building that we may need one day for overflow.


Reply author: italianmoe
Replied on: 05/11/2008 10:32:30 PM

Just a few comments on a couple of postings. I agree, if you don't speak English, LEARN IT. My grandparents had to when they came here. Immigrants come here for a reason to make a better life, if that's what they want then they need to learn our ways. We shouldn't have to adapt to their ways. They left their country to come to ours, if they don't want to learn how we live, then go back. Sorry, about the venting, but it's disturbing that they are getting so many benefits as I struggle to put 2 kids through college.
The story about selling and buying of gold; that man needs to make sure he uses better safe guards that the items he is purchasing are not stolen. My home was broken into last year & I found my jewelry there. Times are tough, more people will be looking to sell things, but just as many will be stealing.
As far as Bob Shea, it's been more than a couple of years that people knew what he was about. I have been telling my friends that have boys to make sure they stay away from him. He's been at it at least 10 years, that's when my brother was warned about him. I wonder what took so long for something to finally be done.
The Devens school is another issue. I thought that any apartment building in the city had to have 2 parking spaces per unit. Anyone know for sure the ruling on that? If that's the case, then they are really going to be strapped for parking. I like the idea of a youth center, there is really nowhere for our city's youth to go if they are not old enough to drive to go places. I think it is really needed.

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 05/12/2008 05:47:26 AM

well said Italian, but here is more food for thought, stabbing last nite on norwood st, are they turning on one another on that street

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 05/12/2008 07:13:33 AM

Italian Moe seems to be exactly correct. Section 17 of the city's zoning ordinance calls for any multi-family dwelling to have two parking spaces per unit. There also appears to be some other limitations in that section of the ordinances that might be tough to fulfill given the size constraints of the lot. There is a link to the ordinance below so that you can check them out for yourself. It requires Adobe and can take a little while to come up so, please be a little bit patient. It will be up to the Zoning Board of Appeals to sort that all out. In addition, because the current "plan" calls for more than 8 parking spaces (and perhaps for other reasons as well), this proposal will also have to go before the Planning Board.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 05/12/2008 08:21:45 AM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think M. Cardillo said at the CC meeting, state law takes over because it is senior housing. I can't remember who, but I thought someone said they would only need a half space per unit under state law. I have not checked that out.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 05/12/2008 08:37:05 AM

That why I used the word "seems" in the first sentence of my post Massdee. Even in the city's ordinance, there is a only a requirement for .5 spaces per unit if the development is "public assisted elderly and handicapped housing". But since the developer stated that this is not his intent, I did not include it in my prior post but gave a link so that anyone could check out the whole ordinance. As I said, the ZBA will have to sort it all out.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 05/12/2008 08:55:32 AM

I just read the following on Topix.

Tonight the Alderman vote on the Devens school property. Unless they require restrictions on the use of the property in the deed to protect the neighbors, there won't be anything in the deed itself to bind the new owner on the use of the property now or in the future.

On zoning issues regarding parking, the Board of Appeals can grant him a variance, which is likely.

The Board of Aldermen is the last hope for the neighbors.

The streets abutting the school are too narrow for heavy traffic.

Also, who is to say the property won't be sold in a few years for something else if there is nothing in the deed to protect the city or the neighbors?

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 05/12/2008 09:18:44 AM

Just to play devil's advocate in this case, I believe that the counter arguement would be that the zoning of the parcel would still offer some protection of what it could be used for now or in the future. However, I am unsure what the current zoning of the parcel would allow. In this case, I will gladly defer to the alderman from the ward, who is a lawyer, along with the city's legal department to determine if restrictions on the use of the property need to be added to the deed.

And after re-thinking a couple of my earlier posts to clarify them, it would be up to building department and, possibly, the city solicitor's office to determine if a proposed development conforms to zoning requirements before any requested variances are referred to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 05/12/2008 10:01:36 AM


If the building department determines that the proposed development is conforming, there would be no need for the developer to go before the zoning board of appeals, right? Then wouldn't that mean there would be no other opportunity for the neighborhood to be part of the discussion?

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 05/12/2008 10:31:47 AM


That's my understanding of it, that's why I found it important to clarify my previous posts. However, more than 8 parking spaces will automatically trigger approval of the Planning Board (and other things that I'm unaware of may as well).

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 05/12/2008 10:50:42 AM

If it was to go to the planning board, would that be an advertised public hearing?

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 05/12/2008 12:05:05 PM

The Planning Board is defined in Chapter 2 of the City Ordinances. That part of that ordinance defers to MGL as the source for the Planning Board's duties and responsibities. From MGL, Section 41, Section 81T:

Every person submitting a definitive plan of land to the planning board of a city or town for its approval or for a determination that approval is not required shall give written notice to the clerk of such city or town by delivery or by registered mail, postage prepaid, that he has submitted such a plan. If the notice is given by delivery the clerk shall, if requested, give a written receipt therefor to the person who delivered such notice. Such notice shall describe the land to which the plan relates sufficiently for identification, and shall state the date when such plan was submitted and the name and address of the owner of such land; and the facts stated in such notice shall be taken by the city or town clerk as true, unless the contrary is made to appear. Before approval, modification and approval, or disapproval of the definitive plan is given, a public hearing shall be held by the planning board, notice of the time and place of which and of the subject matter, sufficient for identification, shall be given by the planning board at the expense of the applicant by advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the city or town once in each of two successive weeks, the first publication being not less than fourteen days before the day of such hearing or if there is no such newspaper in such city or town then by posting such notice in a conspicuous place in the city or town hall for a period of not less than fourteen days before the day of such hearing, and by mailing a copy of such advertisement to the applicant and to all owners of land abutting upon the land included in such plan as appearing on the most recent tax list.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 05/12/2008 4:47:23 PM

It seems as if someone over on Topix wants to take me on over my previous post. That's O.K.; I just wish they that come over here to do it as it would have made the conversation less confusing.

For those that have not read that post, it cites an additional section of MGL that I missed when I made my last post. This section of MGL (Chapter 41, Section 81P) describes a process that could be used to avoid planning board approval on a plan. In this case, the plan would still needed to be submitted to the planning board but only as proof that approval is not needed. If that claim could be supported, no public hearing on the plan would be held and the plan would be "blessed" as not requiring approval.

I readily admit that I missed this section of MGL when I made my post about a hearing being required. However, in this instance, I still believe that a hearing will be required. I brought up the subject of planning board approval for the project this morning after reviewing the off street parking requirements of the city's zoning ordinances. They state that any development that is adding more than 8 parking spaces requires a review by the planning board. As such, I don't believe this project will be able to bypass planning board approval unless they reduce the number of off-street parking spaces to 8 or less. If they did that and tried to keep the number of units at a profitable level, the project would have a hard-time making it past the building department and the zoning board of appeals without a hearing. Therefore, I believe that there is no way that this project could be "blessed" without some type of public hearing about its parking issues. Not a lawyer, but that's my take on it.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 05/19/2008 12:46:53 PM

I was glad to read Senator Galluccio is working on this at the State House. I have never seen so much abandoned property in my life and it's very sad.

Put solution in reach of local lenders

May 19, 2008

YOUR MAY 14 editorial "Out of touch on foreclosures" was on the mark in calling on President Bush to rethink his position on legislation to insure up to $300 billion in refinanced subprime mortgages. I represent three cities - Chelsea, Everett, and Revere - that are among the hardest hit by surging foreclosures and the collateral economic consequences of abandoned properties and lost tax revenue. The president's concern about rewarding the lenders who irresponsibly granted these loans should be addressed by opening up the secured financing opportunities to local banks and lenders that typically hold on to and service these loans locally, not by stopping the funding altogether. Long before Internet banking gained favor, our local banks and credit unions served as the traditional and reliable lenders for many residents seeking to purchase a home.
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There are a number of important initiatives underway or under consideration at the state level to deal with the foreclosure crisis, including a foreclosure moratorium related to subprime loans, help for borrowers with counseling and credit implications associated with foreclosure, and assistance for communities with the purchase and resale of foreclosed properties. Without significant federal support, this problem will continue to plague neighborhoods across Massachusetts.

State senator
Democrat of Cambridge

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 05/20/2008 1:46:51 PM

BOSTON -- Sen. Edward Kennedy has a malignant brain tumor.

Doctors for the Massachusetts Democrat said Tuesday that preliminary biopsy results showed a malignant glioma in the left parietal-lobe. It was detected after Kennedy, 76, was airlifted to Boston on Saturday after having a seizure at his Cape Cod home.

My prayers are with his family

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 05/29/2008 2:13:43 PM

Under the gun
Your hometown can be the key to a concealed-weapon license, and some say that's not fair
By Matt Carroll, Globe Staff | May 29, 2008

Gun owners are complaining that local police chiefs have far too much leeway in considering applications for the state's concealed weapons license, creating a frustrating patchwork of regulations that varies from community to community.

In a letter to the state attorney general's office this spring, a statewide advocacy group for gun owners complained that police chiefs put up roadblocks that are unnecessary and possibly illegal for anyone seeking a "license to carry." The Class A license allows the holder to carry a concealed handgun or rifles or shotguns with a large capacity for ammunition.

"All communities should be on the same page," said Ralph Carrick, a 60-year-old Peabody resident who has had a license to carry for 16 years.

In his town, gun owners had been required to receive safety training every other time they renewed their license, meaning they would be hit with a course fee of roughly $100 every 12 years. Peabody ended the practice recently, but Carrick says he isn't placated.

"Things can change overnight. It depends on the chief," he said.

To get a Class A license, state law says, an applicant must be 21, a US citizen, and never have been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor with a sentence longer than two years.

They must also complete a firearms safety course. The license is good for six years.

But the law also leaves the licensing process in the hands of local police chiefs and gives municipalities and the chiefs broad discretion in having applicants meet other requirements.

For instance, some communities require applicants to take a firearms certification course every time they reapply for a license. Some chiefs require letters of recommendation or letters from physicians, charge a higher fee than required by state statute, or force applicants to join gun clubs. Gun owners also may face additional Class A license restrictions that might limit them to hunting or sport shooting.

Everett requires two letters of recommendation, while Haverhill asks for a letter from an employer. Brookline orders licensed owners to pass a gun certification test when they renew their license every six years. Boston requires membership in a gun club. Andover requires a note from a doctor.

Some reasons for denial are specific - violent felons are not eligible - but others are open-ended. For example, the law allows chiefs to decide how "suitable" a person is.

Some chiefs feel that a person charged, but not convicted, of assault and battery might qualify for a license; others disagree.

For their part, local chiefs shrug off the complaints. Their requirements are legal, and it's good that local communities have some control over who is armed within their borders, they said.

"I don't think two is unreasonable to ask for," Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie said of the letters required by his department, noting the responsibilities associated with gun ownership. It's just another way to get a feel for the person applying for the license, he said.

Peabody Chief Robert L. Champagne said he changed his policy on taking safety courses because of a "little push-back" from gun enthusiasts concerned about the cost of the courses.

The chief said he had expected that over time those who ran the courses would introduce refresher sessions, which would be cheaper. That never happened, he said.

So he reconsidered and now requires a single education course when someone first gets a license, as the law states.

"I still think it's a good idea" to take the courses occasionally, he said, noting police officers take the courses at least once a year.

The Gun Owners' Action League, a Northborough-based nonprofit that is an affiliate of the National Rifle Association, sent a letter in March to Attorney General Martha Coakley's office complaining about the inconsistencies.

The letter, signed by James L. Wallace, GOAL's executive director, said licensed owners are not being treated equally, pointing out that communities such as Cambridge, Holden, and Methuen charge more than the $100 allowed by law, and Andover and Lawrence require notes from doctors.

In a follow-up to his letter, Wallace met last week with Coakley to press his group's request that police chiefs statewide use uniform standards to judge gun-license applicants.

Melissa Karpinsky, a spokeswoman for Coakley, described the meeting as productive and said, "We're in the process of reviewing the concerns" raised by Wallace.

GOAL has already won one victory. The organization complained in November to the state inspector general's office that a number of communities were charging more than the law's $100 figure, with Cambridge's fee at $120. Cambridge has since trimmed the fee to $100.

The issue is a hot topic among gun owners.

An online forum,, has posted a color-coded map of Massachusetts showing the ease or difficulty in obtaining a license in each community, based on feedback from members.

A database of license denials provides partial evidence that standards vary widely. Tough communities, such as , Brookline, Lowell, Quincy, and Revere, denied 6 to 9 percent of applicants between 2004 and 2007, according to figures from the Criminal History Systems Board.

"We're pretty strict," said Revere Chief Terence Reardon. His department turned down 8 percent of applicants for a Class A license between 2004 and 2007, according to the state figures, second only to the small town of Berkley, which turned down 9 percent.

A big problem for applicants is either lying or leaving out information about any court proceedings in their past. "We toe a hard line," Reardon said.

At the other end of the scale, more than 80 departments showed zero denials, and many others had only a handful.

However, the figures are missing some nuances that make them harder to interpret, especially for communities where it appears there are few or no denials.

In some communities, a prescreening process allows applicants facing rejection to back out before submitting a formal request and paying a fee.

Part of the problem is confusion among gun owners and even chiefs about what exactly the restrictions mean.

That's understandable because the law does not define the restrictions, said Lee's police chief, Ronald C. Glidden, who is also chairman of the state Gun Control Advisory Board, which is appointed by the governor and considered an authority on the issue.

"They may mean different things to different people because they are not a regulation," said Glidden. "That has been a problem historically since day one."

To reduce confusion and limit the range of Class A restrictions, a shorter list was developed about a year ago with four categories: target and hunting; sporting; employment; and other.

It means, for instance, that a license granted for sporting can't be used for employment.

There are three additional levels of licenses issued by Massachusetts: the Class B license, which applies to nonconcealed handguns that carry less ammunition and large-capacity rifles and shotguns; an unrestricted Firearms Identification card, which applies to nonlarge-capacity rifles and shotguns; and a restricted Firearms Identification card, which allows the owner to carry a chemical repellent.

John Rosenthal, founder of the nonprofit Stop Handgun Violence organization in Massachusetts, said he is happy with the way the law works now.

"We make it at least a little bit harder for criminals and terrorists to get guns, and we have the lowest firearm fatality rate in the nation, second only to Hawaii. Gun laws work in this state," he said.

Others take a dim of view of what they see as the obstacles thrown up by police departments.

"They are trying to discourage you, and they put as many roadblocks in your path as possible, to give you a hard time," said Jim Lynch, 38, of Wilton, N.H.

A former Boston resident, Lynch said he moved two years ago because of, among other things, the city's obstructionist licensing policies.

Lynch and others pointed out that Boston requires applicants to take a gun certification course at a city facility, using city weapons.

"It's clearly geared toward discouraging people," he said.

Matt Carroll can be reached at

Reply author: card
Replied on: 05/30/2008 07:10:57 AM

Rev. Msgr. Edmund J. Sviokla
On May 29. Former Pastor for 24 years in the Immaculate Conception Church in Everett. Beloved son of the late Constance and Sylvester Sviokla and loving brother of Sylvester Sviokla of Marshfield and Julia Guymont of Wellesley as well as 5 nephews, Sylvester, Francis, John, Frederick and Phillip. Father Sviokla leaves behind many brother priests in the archdiocese of Boston. There will be a wake for Msgr. Sviokla on Saturday from 2-5 pm at the Regina Cleri Residence, 60 O'Connell Way, Boston and Msgr will lie in state at the Immaculate Conception Church, 489 Broadway in Everett on Sunday from 3-7 pm. A Funeral Mass will be held at the Immaculate Conception Church in Everett on Monday June 2nd at 11 am officiated by the Most Rev. Francis Irwin. Memorials in Msgr's memory may be to the Clergy Retirement Disability Trust c/o the Regina Cleri Residence, 60 O'Connell Way, Boston. His interment will be at Calvary Cemetery in Brockton. Rocco-Carr-Henderson Funeral Service 1-877-71-ROCCO
Published in the Boston Globe on 5/30/2008.
Guest Book • Flowers • Gift Shop • Charities

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 06/01/2008 09:50:46 AM

SMELLY SITUATION - Following months of complaints about odors emanating from the Wood Waste of Boston facility off Revere Beach Parkway, the Board of Aldermen is sending a certified letter to company owner William Thibeault asking him to attend the board's next meeting at 7 p.m. on June 9 in City Hall. City Clerk Michael Matarazzo said that several months ago, acting on the board's request, he sent a letter to Thibeault about ongoing odor issues. "His lawyers wrote back and said, essentially, there is no odor, and it's not coming from us," Matarazzo said. Odor complaints are not new to Thibeault, who also owns the Crow Lane Landfill in Newburyport, where city and state authorities have issued violation notices and fines for odor and other problems. The Everett aldermen also will probably ask Thibeault about the status of two other parcels of land: the old City Yards on East Elm Street that has been the focus of litigation between the city and Thibeault; and a 32-acre parcel near Thibeault's facility on the parkway that has been eyed for development. -Kay Lazar

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 06/01/2008 2:49:57 PM

Mayor floats per-bag fee for trash
By Erin Ailworth, Globe Staff | June 1, 2008
Mayor Richard C. Howard is proposing that Malden institute a pay-as-you-throw trash collection fee - coupled with ongoing healthcare benefit reforms requiring employees to pay larger portions of their plans - to balance a $130 million budget.
Even so, the city still will have to dip into the last of its reserve fund to close a $3 million to $4 million gap that would otherwise force Malden to lay off staff.
"I hope the theme is clear, that either, one, we have to accept the fact that we should raise some additional revenue ... or we should accept the fact that we should begin planning for some substantial cuts in a variety of departments," Howard said in a recent interview, reiterating the stark message he delivered to the City Council May 20.
He blamed the fiscal crunch on what he described as the "twin vises" of insufficient state aid and rising costs for healthcare and energy that every city and town is facing.
Public hearings on the proposed budget were set to start last week. The budget must be finalized by June 30, prior to the start of fiscal year 2009 on July 1.
Under the current proposal, Malden would implement a trash pickup fee -$2 per bag for every 35 pounds collected - on Oct. 1, following a three-month public education campaign. Frank Vacca, the city's treasurer-collector, said the program is expected to generate $2.5 million.
Vacca said the budget team, of which he is a member, decided to charge a per-bag fee because it would be cheaper for people who put out fewer bags and might spur others to increase recycling. Additionally, he said, the trash fee is "something that we can adjust year to year; it's something that we can eliminate in future years if we feel the need is not there."
This year, however, there is need. Though the city plans to use just over $1 million from its reserve fund - the last of that monetary cushion - to balance the budget, finances are tight enough that each city department has been level-funded. That means they must make do with the same amount of money that the department was allotted in last year's budget.
Howard said he's comfortable asking his constituents to take on a trash fee.
"I think we've always had a goal of delivering quality service and, I think, without new revenue, that would be compromised," he said. "We haven't sought overrides of any sort; we don't have any other types of users fees.... I think we've earned the right to ask the community to consider the additional revenue [through the pay-as-you-throw program]."
Meanwhile, city employees also will be asked to pay a larger portion of their health benefits plan. As it stands, employee health insurance is the city's "number one budget-cruncher," Vacca said, and costs Malden just under $24 million. A proposed 1.5 percent increase to the employee's share contribution, to 17.5 percent, would save the city approximately $1.5 million.
And yet, even with a new fee and lower healthcare costs, Howard said he expects Malden will grapple with tight finances for the foreseeable future.
"We don't really see any relief on the horizon," he said. "There is a part of the message here that says we seem to be on our own over the next several fiscal years."
So, Howard has requested that the City Council form a committee to help Malden pare its departments down to the essentials.
"What is critical? And where do we want the money we have to be directed to?" he asked. "If we get ahead of it, and we are faced with the same difficulty next year, at least we will have a year's worth of planning under our belt."
Erin Ailworth can be reached at

Reply author: unknown
Replied on: 06/01/2008 7:34:58 PM

Can we start a new Boston Globe thread soon ?

Seriously, 12 pages !

maybe do January thru June 2008 ( 1st 6 months) and then July thru December 2008 ?

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 06/05/2008 08:30:26 AM

Lawrence A. "Larry" Vozella
Of Everett on June 4. Beloved son of the late Carmella and Ralph Vozella and loving brother of Ralph M. Vozella and his wife Jane of Medford as well as his nephew William Vozella and his wife Jessica. He is also survived by his late nephew Ralph Vozella as well as 2 great nieces and 1 great nephew. He was a special friend to James A. "Tank" Agnetta, Amando Leo and Jack McGrath. Funeral Services from the Salvatore Rocco & Sons Funeral Home, 331 Main St., EVERETT on Friday June 6 at 10:30 AM. Services will begin at the Funeral Home at 11 AM. Relatives and friends are kindly invited. Visiting hours are Thursday only 4-8 PM. Larry was the first President of the Everett "E" Club as well as its Executive Director. He was a long time educator at the Everett High School and a charter member P.S.N. Club. In lieu of flowers, donations in Larry's memory may be made to the "E" Club Scholarship Fund, PO Box 135, Everett MA 02149. His interment will be at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. Rocco-Carr-Henderson Funeral Service 1-877-71-ROCCO

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 06/06/2008 4:08:01 PM

After rejecting city's politics, Everett mayor in a tight spot
By Kay Lazar
Globe Staff / June 5, 2008

With six Everett residents - including three city councilors - vying to be the city's next veterans services' commissioner, Mayor Carlo DeMaria said his hiring decision, which was slated to be announced more than a month ago, has been delayed by "extenuating" factors.
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DeMaria said he interviewed 17 candidates and decided one from outside the city was the most qualified, but then found that "everyone" he consulted said he should choose an Everett resident.

"So my whole process of trying to stick to my guns and not be political [about hiring] is political," DeMaria said in an interview Tuesday.

The councilors who've applied for the position are: Millie Cardello, Ward 1, and councilors Joseph Hickey and John "Leo" McKinnon, of Ward Four, DeMaria said.

Other local candidates for the job include a man who also is applying for a position on the city's police force and another who recently returned from service in Iraq, the mayor said.

Interest in the position stretched well beyond Everett's borders and included candidates from Billerica, Concord, and Malden.

When DeMaria took office in January, he vowed in his inauguration speech to end "government by politics."

"Gone are the days," he said, "when the city employees are hired because of their acquaintances instead of their qualifications."

As he grapples with the selection, DeMaria said the department's temporary director, Gerri Miranda, is providing great service to the city's veterans.

She is "doing a fabulous job," DeMaria said, "so I won't be rushed because the veterans are being helped."

Left unanswered is a potential conflict-of-interest issue if DeMaria selects one of the councilors.

State ethics law requires that "No councillor shall be eligible for appointment to such additional position while a member of said council or for six months thereafter."

Reply author: justme
Replied on: 06/06/2008 11:12:19 PM

State ethics law requires that "No councillor shall be eligible for appointment to such additional position while a member of said council or for six months thereafter.

Can this be changed at the city level? If the city could changed it to 12 months, maybe we'd have a better chance of getting people who are truly qualified and fewer elected officials taking advantage of the retirement system. It goes something like............. 17 years on the common council, then 3 years, full time, (in a job they got because of who they know)@ $40,000.00 - $60,000.00 and then retire with 20 years service. A retiree's pension benefit is based on their highest three years earnings. VERY NICE This is only available in the public sector.......... You can bet my employer isn't going to offer a comparable pension to an employee with the same time and salary.

The pension benefits city employees receive are, generally, well deserved. Unfortunately, the current system begs to be abused.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 06/07/2008 12:45:28 AM


I don't think that there would be a problem with changing this at the city level since is not less restrictive than the state law. However, I'm not sure where the votes to support it on the city council would come from.

Reply author: justme
Replied on: 06/07/2008 10:48:52 AM

You're right Tetris, I just hate seeing people take advantage of the taxpayers the way they do. They get elected by claiming they're going to work hard for the taxpayer and look out for the best interest of the city. Unfortunately, too many end up hardly working and looking out for the best interest of themselves!

I'm off my soapbox now..............

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 06/08/2008 11:57:17 AM

I am at a complete loss of words right now. It took a lot of heads to come up with all this BS. It is BS and anyone that buys this line of crap is naive and selling out the city. I feel so sick right now I have to go throw up.

Waste site owner proposes development deal
Aims to move wood debris, build hotel or biotech center
By Kay Lazar, Globe Staff | June 8, 2008

A high-stakes development deal that links Everett's future to Newburyport's past now hinges on a mountain of trash that neither community wants.

At issue is a proposal by William Thibeault to double the number of daily truckloads of construction debris taken from his Everett Wood Waste facility to his landfill in Newburyport, called Crow Lane. But that would be just the first step in this pungent tale of two cities.

Thibeault's master plan, said his lead lawyer, is to clean up, expand, and redevelop the Everett site on Boston Street into a hotel or biotechnology center, moving the recycling operation to a 3.5-acre corner of another contaminated 32-acre parcel in Everett that Thibeault is negotiating to buy, clean, and develop into a "massive" office, retail, and residential center.

While sour smells from open-air mountains of recycled construction debris waft over Revere Beach Parkway from Thibeault's current Everett facility, his new construction recycling center would be enclosed to curtail odors, said lawyer Anthony Rossi. The request to increase the amount of waste trucked from Everett to Newburyport, he said, would alleviate neighborhood odor issues at both sites by removing debris that wasn't meant to be stored long-term in Everett, but could be disposed of properly in Newburyport. That portion of the deal depends on state and local authorities lifting stop-work orders in Newburyport because of repeated environmental violations.

"Right now, we have everything pretty much in place to help everybody," Rossi said.

State environmental officials, who are reviewing the proposal and must sign off on it, declined comment and referred questions to the state attorney general's office, which is overseeing a court-ordered capping and closing of Crow Lane landfill. Amie Breton, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, declined to comment.

The mayors of Newburyport and Everett said in separate interviews last week that they back the proposal, but residents of both communities, along with other local officials, are skeptical. After years of neighborhood complaints about the stench and leaks at each facility, and fines assessed at both for violating state environmental rules, they said the deal should be more carefully scrutinized.

"I am leaning toward saying no, but we need to hear much more," said Lawrence McCavitt, a Newburyport city councilor.

Newburyport's council, which must approve increased truckloads into the landfill, held a public hearing on the issue last week. Just before that meeting, councilors met in a closed session at which they were briefly shown, for the first time, a copy of a thick document that detailed Thibeault's proposal.

That deal, according to Thibeault's lawyer, includes an offer to release Newburyport from some, but not all, of its liability under state environmental law for waste dumped by the city at the landfill years ago. In exchange, Newburyport would have to agree to allow more waste to be brought from Thibeault's Everett facility.

"They are asking us for something and we are asking them for something," said Newburyport's mayor, John Moak, who sent a May 22 e-mail to councilors urging them to approve the increase.

In Everett, Mayor Carlo DeMaria said his office has reached agreement on a pivotal portion of Thibeault's proposal. The city, pending approval from its council and Board of Aldermen, will sell Thibeault a 5-acre parcel that used to house the city's public works garage, a site described by the mayor as an eyesore. The property borders Thibeault's Wood Waste facility and has been the focus of litigation between the city and Thibeault for several years over public access rights to an abutting street. The deal would maintain public access to the roadway.

The $3.5 million sale price is the same amount Thibeault offered in 2002, before litigation, and includes his proposal to clean up both properties and develop them into more desirable businesses that would complement the city's plan to upgrade that neighborhood near Revere Beach Parkway.

DeMaria said Thibeault's lawyers also confirmed that his client is negotiating to buy a 32-acre parcel on lower Broadway behind the Gateway Center, where Thibeault intends to move his Wood Waste facility and develop the rest of the contaminated property after a $30 million cleanup. The property is now owned by a bonding company that took possession from former owner Modern Continental Construction.

"Hopefully," DeMaria said, "he is a man of his word."

But since 2004, state officials have been in a legal tug-of-war with Thibeault over orders to enclose his Wood Waste facility, said Ed Coletta, spokesman for the state's Department of Environmental Protection.

Tomorrow, Everett's Board of Aldermen is slated to hear details of Thibeault's proposal at a 7 p.m. meeting.

Newburyport's council will probably schedule another session soon to debate the issue, said City Clerk Richard Jones.

As officials grapple with Thibeault's proposed deal, one longtime Everett neighbor of his Wood Waste facility said she has doubts. "They want to be nice to him so whatever agenda they have goes through, and the heck with the people who live and work here," said Jeanne DiStefano, a 64-year-old woman who has asthma and lives a block from Wood Waste.

"He has never followed through on anything he has said, so why should I believe him now?"

Kay Lazar can be reached at

© Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 06/09/2008 08:02:58 AM


RECYCLING A SMASH - The rewards-based recycling program the city launched in mid-February has been so successful that it will be expanded by July 15, according to Mayor Carlo DeMaria. Under the pilot program, the amount of recyclables in a resident's bin is weighed and recorded. Then points are issued to the resident based on the amount of recyclables, which can be redeemed for rewards at national and local businesses. The program also allows residents to place all items for recycling in one container, without sorting them. By increasing the amount of recycling, the city diverts materials from the regular trash and reduces Everett's costs for trash disposal. DeMaria said the program offered by RecycleBank is so attractive, the mayors of Revere and Malden recently told him they are also interested in joining. - Kay Lazar

Reply author: n/a
Replied on: 06/09/2008 12:12:23 PM

Is this for all wards? I wait and wait eveything in the trash. You can not get a bin from city hall they have nothing.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 06/12/2008 10:44:06 AM

Flower power

Spearheaded by Stacy DeMaria, wife of Mayor Carlo DeMaria, the city's new beautification program is seeking sponsors for floral baskets and new perennial plantings on traffic islands around Everett. The city will be working with Everett-based Archidron Design and individual sponsors to personalize each traffic island, said Marzie Galazka, Community Development director. Sponsorship of a basket costs $100, while the price of islands varies, she said. Checks should be made payable to the Everett Beautification Program and sent to the Community Development Office, Everett City Hall, 494 Broadway, Everett MA 02149. For more information, call 617-394-2245. - Kay Lazar

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 06/12/2008 11:19:34 AM

It's funny (not really) that I read a post on Topix yesterday and when I read I thought of it as another nonsense post however, LOL, I don't know anymore because this post was from before this article came out..

United States 13 hrs ago

The wife needed something to do so she volunteers in community development so screw Hanlon was the attitude from Carlo and of course Marzie kissing butt and how dumb can someone be to treat people like trash that got u elected in the first place. Whats hiliarous about this is people got so mad and said Hanlon hired his wife in city hall and he never did volunteer or not. Carlo lost those votes & Carlo had it very very easy in jan and theres no reason for the budget mess. Hes messing up the city in a big way. None of his staff know what there doin and the budget guy from southbridge is devious and worked with Teebow years ago.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 06/12/2008 12:34:17 PM


A link to a notice about "The Everett Beautification Program" has been on the front page of the city website ( for a while now, at least a week if not two. I'm over there all the time and assumed others are too so, I didn't think to post about it.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 06/12/2008 1:27:44 PM

I just saw it. It's very pretty and Catherine Tomassi Hicks will be thrilled.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 06/16/2008 10:27:44 AM

Curious if anyone will stand behind their brother RVC or just rubber stamp this, lets not forget, the proposed budget was 8 million more than last years budget.

FINALIZING THE BUDGET - The city's proposed budget for the new fiscal year, starting July 1, is now in the hands of the Common Council. The Board of Aldermen Monday approved the fiscal year 2009 spending package of $133,117,285. The council is slated to vote on the issue at its meeting tomorrow night at 7 in City Hall. - Kay Lazar

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 06/22/2008 08:14:24 AM

HICKEY NAMED VETERANS DIRECTOR - Bowing to the wishes of constituents, Mayor Carlo DeMaria has tapped local resident Joseph Hickey to be the city's new Veterans Services director. Hickey, a Ward 4 common councilor, resigned his seat on the board Monday night. After a three-month search that included interviews with 18 candidates, DeMaria announced his decision Tuesday. "I was impressed by a couple of candidates that resided outside of Everett who have experience in benefits administration," DeMaria said in a news release. "Ultimately, I decided to honor the wishes of the Everett veterans that I spoke to about this position, who all advised me that it was important to them that the director be a resident of the city." In addition to Hickey, Millie Cardello a common councilor from Ward 1, and Ward 4's John McKinnon also applied for the position. DeMaria said Hickey's combat experience as a two-tour Vietnam veteran was one of the key factors in getting the job. State ethics law requires that no councilors shall be eligible for a local appointment while a member of the council or for six months after leaving office. Erin Deveney, DeMaria's chief of staff, said that before the mayor made his final selection, he required Hickey to get an opinion from the state ethics board on whether the appointment violated rules. Hickey said the board cleared the appointment, according to Devaney. "We obviously take Mr. Hickey at his word that he has done it," Deveney said. "If it became an issue, we can request the councilor to request a written opinion and he can disclose that publicly." Hickey's pay for the full-time job is $53,106. - Kay Lazar

STUDYING PARLIN PLAN - City leaders need a lot more information before they authorize any design, construction, and remodeling plans for the Parlin School, said Lorrie Bruno, Common Council president. A request from Mayor Carlo DeMaria to borrow $2 million for the school was referred to the council's Finance Committee, which is tentatively slated to meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. in City Hall. The mayor, treasurer, auditor, budget director, and a School Department representative have been invited to the session, Bruno said. "We want to know if we are getting the best bang for our buck. Financially, everybody is in trouble and we just can't hand out money anymore." - Kay Lazar

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 06/22/2008 08:16:27 AM

Developer draws flak for donations
By Kay Lazar
Globe Staff / June 22, 2008

A controversial proposal to double the daily truckloads of debris from an Everett construction recycling facility to a Newburyport landfill has sparked community anger about the money and the man behind both operations: developer William Thibeault.

In public meetings, blogs, and e-mail chains in recent weeks, residents in Newburyport and Everett have questioned whether the 46-year-old businessman, known for buying junkyards and developing them into retail sites, has influenced decisions by local and state leaders through campaign contributions. Officials in both communities, as well as the state, have been locked in litigation with Thibeault over various business dealings, including his latest proposal involving the Everett-to-Newburyport runs.

At the same time, state and local records indicate that Thibeault is no stranger when it comes to campaign contributions, donating to a number of politicians with clout in Everett and elsewhere in the region.

A fragmented state monitoring system makes it difficult to pinpoint how much Thibeault - or any individual - has contributed to a candidate. State law caps the maximum aggregate contribution to all state, county, and local candidates by an individual to $12,500 per calendar year. But the state agency charged with monitoring and enforcing the law does not track donations in municipal races, except for those in the state's five largest cities: Boston, Cambridge, Lowell, Springfield, and Worcester. Records from the rest of the communities, often hand-written and at times haphazard, are left to local officials to monitor.

"We don't go to the 351 cities and towns and data-entry the contributions that are reported to the local officials," said Brad Balzer, deputy director of the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

Records in Newburyport's city clerk's office going back to 2000, when Thibeault bought Crow Lane Landfill in Newburyport, do not show any contributions from the developer.

But state records indicate that in 2005, Thibeault and his sister, Della Thibeault, each contributed $500 - the maximum individual donation allowed to a candidate - to state Senator Steven Baddour, a Democrat who represents Newburyport. The records also show Della Thibeault contributed $500 in 2005 to then-state senator Jarrett Barrios, a Democrat who represented Everett. Both Thibeaults contributed $500 to Barrios in 2006. Barrios left the Senate last year.

William Thibeault then contributed $300 to the 2007 campaign of Anthony Galluccio, who took over Barrios's Senate seat. Thibeault also gave $500 in 2006 to Everett Ward 1 Alderman Frank Nuzzo for his unsuccessful run for state representative. Thibeault's Wood Waste facility is in Nuzzo's ward.

In Everett, the city clerk's records show Thibeault, his sister, and one other relative have donated a total of $3,060 since 2003, mostly in mayoral campaigns and usually to former mayor David Ragucci. Half of the total - $1,500 - was donated last year to Carlo DeMaria, an alderman who was elected mayor in a hotly contested race. No other Everett candidates received money from Thibeault last year, the records show. DeMaria was the only mayoral candidate to publicly back Thibeault's latest development plans in Everett.

Thibeault, who is not an Everett resident and has several New Hampshire addresses, said critics are taking his campaign contributions out of context.

"I donate to a lot of political events throughout the state that I like and that I believe in," Thibeault said. "I believe in Carlo DeMaria. He is a gentleman who can bring a lot of positive developments for [Everett]. I liked what his vision was and what his ideas were, and that's what I wanted to support. That's my right to do that."

Thibeault also said he has given a lot of money to various charities and civic programs in Everett, where his company has been headquartered for 20-plus years. He said he hasn't donated to local leaders in Newburyport because he has been "at odds" with officials there since entering into a contract in 2002 to cap and close the Crow Lane Landfill.

Thibeault's latest proposal to double the daily truckloads of debris from his Everett Wood Waste facility to his Crow Lane Landfill in Newburyport was unanimously rejected by Newburyport's City Council late Wednesday. Residents had repeatedly urged leaders to oppose it because, they said, the landfill already has generated noxious odors that have created a variety of health problems. The council instructed Newburyport Mayor John Moak to instead continue negotiating with Thibeault.

Under the plan that was rejected Wednesday, Thibeault had offered to release Newburyport from some, but not all, of its liability under state environmental law for waste dumped by the city at the landfill years ago. In exchange, Thibeault wanted Newburyport to accept the increased waste from his Everett facility. Newburyport and state officials have issued fines and stop-work orders at Crow Lane in recent years for repeated environmental violations.

State environmental officials, who are still weighing Thibeault's latest proposal and must sign off on it, have declined comment. The state attorney general's office is overseeing a court-ordered capping and closing of Crow Lane, and all sides in the dispute are due back in Suffolk Superior Court on Tuesday.

After Newburyport's leaders rejected the proposal Wednesday, Mark Reich, the city's attorney, said in an interview that he was "worried" the move would generate more litigation.

Thibeault said he is frustrated.

"As a show of good faith and good will, I agreed to give up almost half the [environmental liability] claim against them, which in essence could be valued in the millions of dollars," Thibeault said. "They want to get the landfill capped and we are trying to do that, and now they are using [their authority to regulate the volume of waste] as a squeeze play to hold me hostage.

"I've given them a lot. I don't know what the alternative is. The landfill is going to sit there uncapped and we will be in lawsuits."

Kay Lazar can be reached at

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: charm
Replied on: 06/26/2008 04:49:55 AM

HOOTERS SIGN - The Zoning Board tonight will hold a public hearing on a special permit request to allow a Hooters restaurant sign at its new location on Route 1 south. The sign would be smaller than the Famous Dave's sign that is still up. Hooters is due to open at 1143 Broadway by the end of the summer. Other items on the agenda include a request to add a two-story addition at 23 Juniper Drive; add an open deck at 5 Mountain Ave.; and allow a special event in the parking lot of Dick's Sporting Goods on Aug. 30. The board will meet at 7 p.m. at the Saugus Public Library. - Kathy McCabe

Reply author: Lynda
Replied on: 06/26/2008 08:23:51 AM

A little confused... If indeed the restaurant "Hooters" is going there why would they not be allowed to put a sign on it? It was obviously approved to got there, so what exactly is the problem? Do they pay their taxes? Fees? Are they doing something unlawful? What?

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 06/26/2008 09:01:29 AM

For politicians, fear of attack is unwelcome part of the job
By Katheleen Conti, Globe Staff | June 26, 2008

Holding public office comes with certain expectations: late-night meetings, strange voice mails on your home phone, and the occasional verbal disagreement with a constituent.

Getting punched in the face and landing in a hospital's trauma unit is not part of the package, said several area politicians, who expressed shock after that happened to Revere City Councilor Ira Novoselsky on June 10.

"I've been in public life for 50 years and I've never experienced that sort of situation," said George Colella, president of the Revere City Council and former mayor.

Novoselsky, 61, was doing City Council work on Beach Street when he was attacked by Andrew Alves, 19, according to Revere police. Novoselsky later said he was looking into complaints about trash outside the house next door to Alves's residence.

Novoselsky, who was released from the hospital on June 12, said Alves yelled at him to stop taking pictures of his home and knocked Novoselsky's camera to the ground. As Novoselsky went to pick up the camera, he said, Alves hit him, "and I went down and I hit my head on the wall and blood was pouring out all over my jersey and all over my pants."

Alves pleaded not guilty on June 12 to a charge of assault and battery on a person over the age of 60. Novoselsky said he has a sore jaw and shoulders and sustained a skull fracture and a concussion.

Public officials know verbal confrontations are part of being a politician. But while there may be a lot of shouting, and even some umpire-style forehead-to-forehead arguing, they said no one ends up in the hospital.

"Verbally, it is almost a day-to-day situation, but if you take it too seriously, it's time to get out," Colella said.

Verbal disagreements are so prevalent, some politicians hardly consider them out of the ordinary. When asked whether he'd ever been physically threatened while in office, former Salem mayor Stanley Usovicz thought about it, then replied, "Just one death threat."

Usovicz, Salem's mayor from 1988 to 2005, said the threat came in 2000 from a man he had rejected for a city job because of the man's criminal background.

"It unnerved me, but I think it comes with the turf," Usovicz said. "The physical issue [in Revere], I'm shocked by that. I think anybody would be. But I think you do get a number of complaints and they can be kind of emotional at times. . . . When it comes to private property or property issues, people become very emotional about that, but still, I have never seen or heard anything like this poor city councilor is really experiencing."

Usovicz said his basement windows were once smashed with a bat, but it turned out to be a group of kids doing the same to others in his neighborhood. Although he wasn't home, Usovicz said his wife was there and overheard one of the kids say, "Hey! We got the mayor's house!"

More recently, a man with a history of mental illness was charged with malicious damage to city property after throwing two large rocks through a window in the City Hall office of Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, who was not there because it was a Sunday.

Vandalism, not physical violence, may be the preferred method by which some people choose to communicate their frustrations with a politician or candidate. Several politicians in the cities of Everett and Revere, where politics are often described, without irony, as a full-contact sport, said their cars have been vandalized during the discussion of hot-button issues or campaigns.

Former Everett mayoral candidate Joseph McGonagle alleged his tires were slashed and a campaign worker's windshield smashed shortly before last November's election. In Revere, before and after the municipal elections last November, Victoria Laws, a City Council candidate, alleged that her car was vandalized multiple times, that fliers with her picture and an offensive adjective were peppered around the city, and that her Social Security number, as well as her father's, were posted on a MySpace page.

Colella said he never had any problems in his 20 years as mayor of Revere, but his vehicle's tires were once slashed during a council meeting he was attending. He said he's had verbal exchanges and one time witnessed some pushing and shoving between a resident and a councilor outside council chambers. Colella said he hopes that what happened to Novoselsky "doesn't deter anybody who has aspirations and an inclination to be a public servant."

"If people didn't run, then who would serve? We'd have anarchy," said Revere City Councilor George Rotondo. "I've had my tires flattened, my car window broken, I've had my car keyed, death threats made to me directly and indirectly.

"I expected to be, at some degree, heckled or ridiculed about my position, but not in such a blatant way that I felt the security of my family was in jeopardy," Rotondo said. "I didn't sign up for that."

For some, political life is a little more peaceful. Jackie Belf-Becker, chairwoman of the Marblehead Board of Selectmen, said she doesn't know of anyone in her time as a public official who has been physically assaulted. Though there have been some lively discussions on issues, Belf-Becker said she has "never been verbally abused at a meeting," in her decade as a politician.

Novoselsky said the ordeal has been difficult on his family.

This incident "knocked me for a loop," he said. "I'm very much stunned."

Katheleen Conti can be reached at

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 07/13/2008 08:22:47 AM

NEW COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR - Mayor Carlo DeMaria recently appointed Matt Laidlaw to fill the newly created position of communications director. A lifelong Everett resident, Laidlaw formerly served as director of Everett Community TV from 1999 to 2002. Following that stint, until he started his new job last Monday, Laidlaw worked for Rule Broadcast Systems of Watertown, primarily as an account manager, and did television production work for companies and nonprofits. According to Erin Deveney, DeMaria's chief of staff, the mayor brought Laidlaw back to city government to strengthen internal communications among city employees and elected officials and to help the city do a better job communicating about what is going on in Everett. He will also oversee production at ECTV, whose budget is funding the position. "I live in the city and I want to see the city grow and prosper," said Laidlaw, 35. "So I'm very happy to be back." - John Laidler

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 07/15/2008 06:01:15 AM

EVERETT - As she sat on the porch of her relative's house and watched police search her house, Theresa Capone talked about the pain she was feeling after her son was killed in the family home on Sunday.

Her cousin, Marianne Bruder, said Capone told her: "A child should not die before the parents. I don't want to live."

Capone was grieving for Phillip Capone, her 47-year-old son who neighbors said was devoted to his mother. He was stabbed to death inside the family's Lewis Street house.

"He was the doting son," said one neighbor who provided her name to the Globe but asked that it not be published because Capone's killer has not been caught.

It was the devotion to his mother that led authorities to make the grisly discovery that shocked Capone's neighbors on this street of well-tended single- and two-family houses.

Theresa Capone had gone to the South Shore to visit with her daughter, Lisa, Bruder said. When Phillip Capone failed to pick her up, Theresa Capone alerted a neighbor, who discovered that a front window was broken at the Capone home and that Phillip was not answering his shouts.

At about 9:30 p.m. Sunday, family members asked Everett police to check. Police forced their way into the red home with white shutters and found Capone's body. He died of multiple stab wounds, according to Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr.

Corey Welford, a Leone spokesman, said no motive has been established for the slaying and no arrests had yet been made.

Capone's mother and other relatives could not be reached for comment. Neighbors stood outside the Capone family home yesterday, mourning the loss of a mainstay of their neighborhood. They said Phillip Capone knew everyone on the street.

He was once extremely heavy, but after he was diagnosed with diabetes, he began a regular physical regimen that included a 3-mile walk each day, residents said. He shed more than 100 pounds in the past two years, neighbors said.

Those who saw him over the past several days said he showed no signs of stress, nor did they see a man in fear of his life.

"It was just normal," said one neighbor, who saw him on Saturday. "Nothing different."

They said he has worked, in some fashion, behind the wheel of a car, for most of his adult life. With his father, also named Phillip, he delivered groceries from a now-closed small supermarket in Malden. His dad died earlier this year.

Currently, he was working for Optima Shipping, a Woburn-based package delivery and courier company, a company official confirmed yesterday while declining to comment further.

"It's a sad thing." said Wayne A. Matewsky, a Lewis street resident and an alderman at large.

"It's a nice neighborhood and a very nice family," he said. "I'm in shock."

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 07/15/2008 09:54:43 AM

What a shock and God bless the family and the victim. I can’t even imagine how anyone can commit a hideous crime of such violent nature. The grieving Mother’s comment that “A child should not die before the parents” is so true and I can’t imagine that pain.

Reply author: Lynda
Replied on: 07/16/2008 10:53:49 AM

God Bless this family. His sister, Lisa, and I were close friends in the high school days.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 07/18/2008 06:37:52 AM

Mayoral spenders at a loss
Study: Cash can't always buy victory

By John M. Guilfoil
Globe Correspondent / July 17, 2008

Several mayoral candidates statewide learned last year the true meaning of "money can't buy happiness," when they lost their election bids despite wildly outspending their opponents.

A third of all candidates who outspent their opponents in the state's 28 contested elections last year lost their races, up from about 20 percent in 2001, according to a study by the state.

"It's a twist on conventional political wisdom," said Jason Tait , spokesman for the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, which published the study.

Gloucester hopeful James Destino raised and spent $54,000, but was handily defeated by Carolyn A. Kirk, who spent just $26,000 to win the open seat in the mayor's office by a vote of 5,486-3,629.

John Bell, on the other hand, the former three-term mayor of Gloucester, outspent his challengers in 2003 and 2005. His 2005 challenger put up the bigger fight. Jeff Worthley spent $21,021, gained about 3,300 votes, and lost to Bell's $42,900 and 4,800 votes. In 2003, Daniel Ruberti didn't put up a fight, spending just $70 to lose to Bell. Bell decided not to seek a fourth term last year.

In Quincy, incumbent William Phelan spent $442,000, but fell to Thomas Koch, who spent $282,000 in the upset.

The same scenario played out in Fitchburg, Gloucester, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, and West Springfield. The big spender in mayoral races statewide last year won in 18 contested elections and lost in 10.

Turnout has been key. Voter participation has dropped by almost half over the past decade. That, in turn, means that politicians end up spending more for every vote.

In 1997, candidates spent $3,835,055 on mayoral elections. In 2007, the figure was $3,914,462, a modest gain over 10 years. But over the same number of years, the number of votes cast slid from 578,000 to 320,000. That meant that while spending didn't change much, average spending per vote nearly doubled, from $6.63 to $12.23 last year.

Mayoral elections have been a departure from other recent statewide elections. In the 2004 and 2006 state Legislature elections, 90 and 89 percent of top spenders won.

Last year, 38 of the state's 46 cities held mayoral elections, with 28 having more than one candidate. Sixty-nine candidates in all appeared on the ballots. There were 19 incumbents running, and four were upset.

The Office of Campaign and Political Finance study also looked at lopsided spending in elections. Of note: Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone spent $271,000 to make sure he defeated Suzanne Bremer, who spent just $2,500. Curtatone won, 8,012 to 1,832.

"The numbers show that outspending an opponent certainly helps, but as several mayoral candidates found out, money does not guarantee victory," Tait said.

The average candidate raised $29,000 and spent $25,300. Fourteen candidates spent more than $100,000. Almost $4 million was raised and spent in mayoral elections last year.

The Office of Campaign and Political Finance is an independent state agency that administers Chapter 55 of the Massachusetts General Laws, which provides for disclosure and regulation of campaign finance activity at the state and local levels.

The record for spending in a mayoral election in Massachusetts was set in 2005 when Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and challenger Maura Hennigan spent $2.36 million in the race for the top seat in the city.

John M. Guilfoil can be reached at

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 07/27/2008 08:02:37 AM

The Boston Globe
Residents find recycling has its just reward
By John Laidler
Globe Correspondent / July 27, 2008

Everett has found a new way to spur its citizens to recycle: Reward them for doing it.

Under a new city program, residents earn discount coupons at participating local and national stores based on how much they recycle.

The city is offering the incentive through a contract with RecycleBank, a four-year-old New York-based firm that created and administers the system.

Everett officials said the program could offer a solution to a problem they have struggled with for years: how to boost the city's meager recycling rate and cut trash disposal costs. Until now, only 4 to 5 percent of Everett households recycle, according to Jon E. Norton, the city's recycling coordinator. The city picks up curbside recyclables every other week as part of its trash collection service.

When he learned about the RecycleBank program at a conference in 2006, Norton said he was convinced it was just what Everett needed.

"I was at my wit's end trying to figure out how to get our recycling rate up. I couldn't go to pay-as-you-throw because it drives people crazy when you tell them they have to buy trash bags. When I saw this, I knew it was for us," he said.

With the RecycleBank program, the city also is offering residents the convenience of being able to deposit all recyclables in one bin, rather than having to sort them. RecycleBank requires such a "single stream" feature for all its communities, and Everett was able to comply because the Charlestown facility that receives its recyclables recently began accepting them that way.

Everett pays $76 per ton to dispose of its trash at the RESCO trash-to-energy plant in Saugus. The city receives $10 per ton for its recyclables.

In RecycleBank communities, customers receive rolling containers with embedded computer chips that identify the household. Trucks collecting the curbside containers are equipped to scan and weigh them. Company computers in Philadelphia track the total weight of recyclables for each customer, and convert it to reward points redeemable as discounts at participating businesses.

"We've educated them, we've rewarded them, and we've given them better tools to do it," Anthony Casali, RecycleBank's regional manager for the New England area, said of the company's customers. "Ultimately, that works out to great recycling numbers. And you sustain that."

Everett, which began the RecycleBank program on a trial basis in one neighborhood in March and expanded it citywide this month, became the 11th Massachusetts municipality served by the company, and the first city. It is also the first in the state to contract directly with RecycleBank - in other places, the company dealt with haulers.

Revere recently became the 12th RecycleBank community in the state when it contracted to implement the program on a trial basis one day a week for six months starting in August. If it works out, Mayor Thomas G. Ambrosino said he would look to implement the program citywide.

"Our recycling rates are pathetic. So I'm trying anything to increase them," he said, estimating only about 3 percent of Revere residents recycle. "This seemed like a way to do it without imposing a trash fee or a pay-as-you-go program. We'll see how it works."

Casali said RecycleBank is in active discussions with Boston, Chelsea, Melrose, Medford, Salem, Somerville, and Winthrop about starting the program to those communities.

Norton said that the services provided by RecycleBank in Everett involve no cost to the city or residents.

RecycleBank footed the full cost of outfitting the trucks used by the city's trash hauler, Capital Waste, with the equipment needed for the program. It also paid for nearly 15,000 recyclable containers and informational kits distributed to residential and business customers. In all, it invested just over $1 million, Casali said.

The company's earnings will come through receiving a percentage of the savings Everett generates from reducing the amount of trash disposal.

Norton said the results of the trial program were encouraging. Until now, city households on average recycled about 83 pounds a year. In the pilot neighborhood, that rate climbed to 830 pounds. The participation rate, meanwhile, rose to about 50 percent.

Because the trial run was going so well, the city opted to implement the program citywide five months ahead of schedule.

In spite of the educational campaign, Norton said he has had to handle numerous queries from residents confused about how the system works. But he said the response has been positive.

"Most of the calls are from people telling me how much they appreciate the program," he said. "A lot of people are asking for a second cart because they are doing so much recycling. They can't wait two weeks."

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 07/27/2008 08:15:02 AM

ROUTE 99 PROJECT - Mayor Carlo DeMaria recently held a meeting with state Highway Department officials along Route 99 to discuss plans to reconstruct the road. The city has been working with the state agency to meet the federal requirements needed to get the long-awaited project underway. State officials said the project is not likely to begin before spring 2010. City officials used the morning meeting as an opportunity to provide state officials a firsthand look at heavy traffic on the roadway during rush hour. "Thousands of people come through Everett on a daily basis," DeMaria said in a statement. "The road is taking a beating, and we're using up our resources to repair it." - John Laidler

OLD CITY YARD A TOUGH SELL - At its meeting tomorrow, the Planning Board will consider its recommendation on a proposal to discontinue a portion of 4th Street as a public way. Mayor Carlo DeMaria has proposed the change to help facilitate the sale of the old city yard site, which has been vacant since Everett's new city services building opened in 2001. The proposed discontinuation of a portion of 4th Street would allow future developers of the yard site direct access to Route 16. DeMaria recently led Planning Board members, city councilors, and others on a tour of the street. "The city has been holding onto, and paying for this property, and it's an eyesore," DeMaria said in a statement. 'We need to get this property off our books, and work on getting some serious development back into the city." Tomorrow's meeting will be held in the Speaker George Keverian Room at 7 p.m.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 07/27/2008 08:22:30 AM

Could someone explain to me where 4th Street intersects with the Parkway? Woody's Tire is on Garden Street, so that can't be it.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 07/27/2008 08:40:15 AM

It's a little hard to believe that the number of households recycling was so low before the new program; most homes in my neighborhood usually had their green totes full to overflowing every two weeks. I will admit that though that the new program has spurred additional recycling as a number of us in my neighborhood were able to fill up our 96 gallon totes at least for the first pick-up on the new program.

If the city and RecycleBank want the program numbers to get even better, they're going to have to work on the rewards program a little bit though. Some of the offerings seem to require a great deal of points to get the rewards (1225 points to get a $10 Friday's Gift Card); others offers have restrictions (i.e., the $5 off Target offer is for online purchases only and requires a $50 purchase) that some people won't be able to meet. Don't get me wrong; I think the program is great. I just think that it needs some tweaking to maximize its potential.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 07/27/2008 09:10:13 AM


Since you can't find Fourth Street on any of the online map tools, it's hard to say what the basis of this claim is. Even if the full length of Fourth Street were to be discontinued, I still believe that its access to the parkway would be via Garden Street. The access from Garden Street to the Parkway is minimal at best. The information in the Globe article is almost identical to the information in an Advocate article, so draw your own conclusions.

Let me say it again; I'm all for the current discontinuance that is being proposed. The city needs to live up to the deals that it has already made as best as they can, no matter who the deal is with. As I said in my comments on the Advocate article, I hope that the discussion at the planning board is not so narrow that it can't include some discussion on how adequate access to the old City Yard parcel will be ultimately provided. I'm not expecting to get all of the details, just some idea of where it is headed. I wouldn't be a great fan of adding an additional traffic signal on the Parkway but that may be what's required.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 07/27/2008 10:50:30 AM

I don't have a problem with it either, it's time for the city to move forward with this. Do I wish it was a different buyer? Sure, I do, but it's not and the sale needs to happen.

I was down by there the other day and it looked to me that 4th Street runs parallel to the Parkway. That is why I asked about it. I can't figure out how it gives access from the Parkway. Just curious!

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 07/27/2008 5:16:41 PM

I too do not see why the discontinuance of fourth street is so vital for this deal to go through. I do know about the issues with the abutters concerning fourth street, and then all of a sudden "No parking signs" were put up. There may be a business reason for wanting this (and I understand it was in the original purchase and sale) but I also feel it's kind of like saying to the abutters....."Ha, I got it"

Sorry, I just do not see the reason to hold up the sale of the city yards "because" of fourth street. Hopefully that will come out in the planning board meeting.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 07/29/2008 11:23:54 AM

Probably not good news for Everett.


TRASH HOT LINE - City officials have established a hot line for residents who have questions regarding the city's implementation of a pay-as-you-throw trash program. The number is 781-397-7186. Under the new program, which will go into effect Oct. 6, all household trash must be disposed of in special City of Malden trash bags. Beginning in late August, bags will be sold for $2 at stores throughout the city, at Malden Government Center at 200 Pleasant St., and at the Department of Public Works yards at 356 Commercial St. Local leaders are hopeful that the program will encourage residents to recycle. All calls will be returned within 24 hours.

- Brenda J. Buote

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 07/31/2008 07:27:16 AM

HOUSING GRANTS AWARDED - Chelsea, Everett, and Revere were among 55 local communities to receive a portion of $26.7 million in federal Community Development Block grants, Governor Deval Patrick announced last week. The grants will help fund capital improvement projects, including infrastructure repairs and rehabilitation of low- and middle-income family homes. Chelsea, Everett, and Revere were each awarded $800,000, the maximum for a community. - Katheleen Conti

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 07/31/2008 07:53:45 AM

James Thistle
Of Everett, July 29. Beloved husband of Jeanne J. (DeNapoli). Loving father of Elizabeth Thistle and Todd Dagres of Boston, James Thistle and his wife Dawn of Pelham, NH and Deborah Murphy and her husband Michael of Amesbury. Brother of Victoria Kenneally of Marblehead, Michael Thistle of Everett and Patrick Thistle and his wife Paula of Everett. Cherished grandfather of Jimmy, Joey, Matt, Mikey and Gwen. Funeral from the Ernest P. Caggiano and Son Funeral Home, 147 Winthrop St., WINTHROP on Friday at 9:30AM followed by a funeral mass in the Immaculate Conception Church, Broadway, Everett at 11AM. Relatives and friends invited. Visiting hours Thursday from 3-8PM. Interment Puritan Lawn Cemetery, Peabody. If so desired memorial donations may be made to the Thistle/Jacobson Scholarship Fund, Boston University College of Communication, 640 Commonwealth Ave., Boston MA 02215. For directions or to sign Jim's online guestbook please visit Late Professor of Journalism and Director of Broadcast Journalism at the Boston University College of Communication and former News Director and/or Vice President for Boston's WBZ-TV, WCVB-TV and WHDH-TV. Caggiano Funeral Home Winthrop617-846-8700
Published in the Boston Globe from 7/30/2008 - 7/31/2008

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 08/06/2008 8:24:41 PM

Middlesex Elected Official Accused Of Theft
Register Of Probate Accused Of Stealing Thousands Of Dollars
BOSTON (WBZ) ¯ Middlesex County's Register of Probate is accused of repeatedly stealing money from copy and cash machines in the Registry of Deeds, the District Attorney's Office said Wednesday.

John Buonomo was arrested Wednesday evening after a weeks-long investigation into the alleged theft. He is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from copy and cash machines.

Authorities say Buonomo was allegedly caught on surveillance video committing the crimes.

Buonomo was first elected in 2000 to finish an unexpired term and was re-elected in 2002 to a full 6-year term.

District Attorney Gerry Leone scheduled a news conference at 7:45 p.m. to discuss the case.

Stay with for the latest on this developing story.

(© 2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this

Reply author: scamore
Replied on: 08/06/2008 8:31:59 PM

wow he is always in our everett papers with the colameta guy, wonder if he is involved in it also I am sure time will tell

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 08/06/2008 9:42:27 PM

I can’t believe that. That’s real nervy….
Did you watch the surveillance video?

Reply author: michael
Replied on: 08/07/2008 06:19:52 AM

Middlesex official accused of stealing funds from machines
By Milton J. Valencia, Globe Staff | August 7, 2008

WOBURN - John Buonomo, the Middlesex County register of probate, was arrested yesterday after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from government machines in what the local prosecutor called a sad act of public corruption.

The 56-year-old Newton resident, first elected to his post in 2000, was charged with more than 30 counts of breaking and entering into a depository with attempt to commit larceny, theft of public property by a government officer, and larceny under $250. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison on some of the charges. He is expected to be arraigned today in Cambridge District Court.

"This is a brazen violation of public trust," Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone said at a news conference yesterday, where he announced the charges. "I see a public official betraying the public trust, and frankly the two words that come to mind are on the one hand brazen, and on the other hand sad."

Buonomo, a Democrat, was arrested outside the Registry of Probate office in Cambridge. A phone message left at his home was not returned.

Buonomo is accused of robbing copy and cash machines in the Registry of Deeds office at least 18 times since June, Leone said. The Registry of Deeds office is in the same Cambridge Street building as the Registry of Probate office.

Buonomo did not have authorization to access the cash machines in the Registry of Deeds office, but the keys to machines in his office matched keys for the machines at the Registry of Deeds, officials said.

State Police detectives assigned to Leone's office began investigating after the Registry of Deeds noticed monthly shortages in receipts from the copy and change machines. The shortages added up to thousands of dollars over several months, Leone said.

Detectives set up surveillance cameras and witnessed Buonomo allegedly opening the machines repeatedly, Leone said. On eight of those occasions he pulled out cash, put some back, and put the rest in his pocket, Leone said.

Leone showed video footage of three occasions - July 23, Aug. 1, and Aug. 5 - at the news conference. In each, Buonomo can be seen approaching the machine with caution and looking around before opening the machine with a key.

Leone said Buonomo would typically visit the machines at the end of the day and was seen by at least two witnesses.

"It is highly troubling that a public official would engage in the kind of brazen theft of public monies that we allege here," Leone said in a prepared statement. "We believe that Mr. Buonomo violated the public's trust by regularly accessing these cash machines without authority and stealing taxpayer money."

Leone said the investigation is continuing, and that detectives are looking at whether financial irregularities occurred in Buonomo's office. In the two months since the investigation began, Buonomo is accused of taking several thousand dollars. Investigators are also trying to determine how long he had allegedly been taking money.

After his arraignment, Buonomo is expected to be placed on unpaid administrative leave by the Office of the Trial Court.

Leone said that Buonomo has cooperated with detectives and that a clearer explanation of his motives would be revealed at his arraignment.

As Register of Probate, Buonomo oversees the office that administers records in estates, child custody, divorces, and adoptions.

In 2000, Buonomo was elected in a special election to replace Register Robert B. Antonelli, who was removed from the post by the Supreme Judicial Court for abusing his authority. Buonomo was reelected to a six-year term in 2002. He ran the state's One-Stop Career Center from 1995 to 2000.

He was county administrator from 1986 to 1991, and has served at the local level, on the Somerville School Committee, and the Somerville Board of Alderman, according to a biography on his website. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Somerville in 1989 and 1999.

Dorothy Kelly Gay, a former Somerville mayor who ran against Buonomo when he lived there, said she was surprised to learn of the charges last night.

"I never would have expected to see a former colleague in the position he's in . . . and I feel very bad for his family, I really do," said Gay, who once ran for lieutenant governor. "It's a shame it came to that because he's a smart guy and could have done many great things."

Milton Valencia can be reached at


Reply author: Gadzooks
Replied on: 08/07/2008 08:55:42 AM

Phil Colameta is an honest, stand-up guy. He served on the city council here and is well-known. You really need to be a little more careful about who you "think" might be involved.

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 08/07/2008 11:51:33 AM

Elected Official Caught On Tape Banned From Office
Middlesex Register Of Probate Charged With Stealing Thousands Of Dollars
CAMBRIDGE (WBZ) ¯ An elected official in Middlesex County was banned from his office Thursday, a day after he was arrested and charged with stealing thousands of dollars. Prosecutors say he was caught on tape.

Register of Probate John Buonomo pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Cambridge District Court. He was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return his county keys and to stay away from the Registry of Deeds and the Registry of Probate.

Buonomo is accused of repeatedly stealing money from copy and cash machines in the Registry of Deeds. He was arrested Wednesday evening after a three month investigation.

Authorities say Buonomo, 56, was caught on surveillance video committing the alleged crimes. Police say the thefts occurred in June, July and August.

"It is highly troubling that a public official would engage in the kind of brazen theft of public monies that we allege here," District Attorney Gerry Leone said. "We believe that Mr. Buonomo violated the public's trust by regularly accessing these cash machines without authority and stealing taxpayer money."

Leone said the thefts were discovered when the Registry of Deeds noticed monthly shortages in receipts received from their copy machines - estimated to be as much as thousands of dollars over a period of months. To catch the culprit, police installed surveillance cameras.

Police say the video shows Buonomo removing stacks of dollar bills, counting the money, and then returning a portion of those bills to the machine while pocketing the rest. Police say he would usually access the machines at the end of the work day.

According to the Registry of Deeds, Buonomo has no authority to access the cash machines or copy machines on the Registry of Deeds side of the building nor does he have the authority to remove money from the machines.

Buonomo is charged with 18 felony counts of breaking and entering into a depository, eight felony counts of theft of public property by a city/town/county officer and eight misdemeanor counts of larceny under $250.

Buonomo was first elected in 2000 to finish an unexpired term and was re-elected in 2002 to a full 6-year term. He is up for re-election in November and currently unopposed.

He's due back in court next month.

Reply author: OuttaHere
Replied on: 08/07/2008 1:28:43 PM

MEMO To "Gloria Garvis"...concerning your rumpswaberry on your Lovefest with the sticky fingered Thief of Probate....quoting Emily Latella on Sat. Nite Live........"NEVER MIND!"

Reply author: scamore
Replied on: 08/08/2008 08:19:13 AM

County official pleads not guilty
Middlesex register is accused of theft
By Christopher Baxter, Globe Correspondent | August 8, 2008

CAMBRIDGE - The Middlesex County register of probate, who allegedly stole thousands of dollars from government copy machines, told arresting officers he was using the money to buy office supplies for the court, prosecutors said.

But John R. Buonomo said nothing during his arraignment yesterday in Cambridge District Court, standing silently with his hands clasped at his waist. His lawyer, Michael F. Natola, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

"We really don't have much about the government's case at this time," Natola said after the proceeding. "I'm not in a position to comment on the allegations."

Buonomo, first elected to his post in 2000, is accused of robbing cash machines attached to copiers at least 18 times since June in the Registry of Deeds office, which is in the same Cambridge Street building as his probate office. He was arrested Wednesday and faces 18 counts of breaking and entering into a depository, eight counts of theft of public property by a government officer, and eight counts of larceny under $250.

Police surveillance tapes show a jumpy and sometimes startled Buonomo crouching by the machines, his glasses pushed down on his nose as he licked his finger and counted the cash. Sometimes he flipped through the bills and returned them to the machines, while other times he would take an unspecified amount and slip it into his back pocket.

The 56-year-old Democrat from West Newton, whose salary is $110,220.65, has been placed on unpaid administrative leave by the Office of the Trial Court, said Charlotte Whiting, a spokeswoman for the Supreme Judicial Court.

Marie A. Gardin, formerly the Middlesex County assistant judicial case manager, was sworn in yesterday as interim register of probate, Whiting said. Gardin will serve as register until the case is resolved, she said.

State Police began an investigation after the Registry of Deeds noticed monthly shortages in receipts from the copy machines, according to court documents. The shortages added up to thousands of dollars over several months, but investigators do not know exactly how much was taken or how long Buonomo was tapping machines, said Corey Welford, spokesman for Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr.

Prosecutor John Verner said yesterday in court that investigators were tipped off by two electricians who reported seeing Buonomo access the machines frequently in the basement and on the second floor of the Registry of Deeds building.

Detectives set up video surveillance and observed Buonomo routinely accessing the copiers during June, July, and this month, sometimes on his days off, Verner said. He removed "bills of undetermined denominations" and counted them or inspected the stack before returning the full amount to the machine, court documents state. On several occasions, Buonomo removed money and returned a portion to the copiers, putting the rest in his pocket, the complaint said.

"It is believed that Buonomo inspects the amount and/or denominations of the bills in the machines at that time and makes a determination whether or not he can take any of the bills without risking detection," the documents said. The machines accept $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills.

Investigators found a box under Buonomo's desk that contained 100 single dollar bills and two keys that matched the cash machines in the Registry of Deeds office, Verner said. Buonomo did not have authorization to access the cash machines in the Registry of Deeds office, but the keys to the machines in his office matched keys for the machines at the Registry of Deeds office, officials said.

The investigation is continuing, Welford said, and detectives are looking into whether Buonomo's office had any financial irregularities.

Speaking with reporters after the arraignment, Natola declined to detail why his client allegedly took money from the machines. He said Buonomo was anxious, upset, and "very concerned about the charges that have been brought against him."

As register of probate, Buonomo oversaw the office that administers records in estates, child custody, divorces, and adoptions.

In 2000, he was elected in a special election to replace Robert B. Antonelli, who was removed from the register post by the Supreme Judicial Court for abusing his authority.

Buonomo was reelected to a six-year term in 2002. He ran the state's One-Stop Career Center from 1995 to 2000.

Buonomo was county administrator from 1986 to 1991 and has served at the local level, on the Somerville School Committee and the Somerville Board of Alderman, according to a biography on his website.

He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Somerville in 1989 and 1999.

He recently divorced, his lawyer said, and has two young children.

Buonomo remains a candidate for the register of probate position in the November election, Natola said. But campaign supporters surmised that the charges may end his tenure.

Buonomo was released without bail until a probable cause hearing Sept. 18. He nodded as he was ordered to have no contact with the Registry of Probate or Registry of Deeds and the personnel employed there.

Christopher Baxter can be reached at

© Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Reply author: waterboy
Replied on: 08/10/2008 06:26:28 AM

City set to sell school
Rental units eyed for Devens site
The former Devens School could soon be turned into 19 apartment units for people 55 and older.
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size – + By John Laidler
Globe Correspondent / August 10, 2008
A former school building in downtown Everett could soon be transformed into a rental housing development for older adults.

The city signed an agreement last month to sell the former Devens School building to Cassano Development Co. for $950,000. The Chelsea firm plans to convert the two-story masonry brick and steel frame building to 19 studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments for people 55 and older.

The city has had discussions with the developer about setting aside some of the units to be rented at affordable rates and some to be accessible for people with disabilities, according to Marzie Galazka, the city's community development director. She said the company has made no commitment, but expressed interest in the idea.

"I'm happy we were able to quickly establish this agreement with Mr. Cassano, and get this project moving," Mayor Carlo DeMaria said in a statement, referring to the company's president, Anthony Cassano of Lynnfield. "The former school is costing the city thousands to maintain, and this agreement brings much-needed revenue into the city."

Built in 1965, the Devens served as an elementary school until it was closed in June 2003.

The city currently leases a portion of the first floor to Tri-City Early Intervention Program. The remainder of the 28,436-square-foot Church Street building is vacant, according to Galazka.

City officials anticipate a closing on the sale by the fall, which would allow construction work needed to convert the building to housing to begin early this winter. Galazka said the work will include interior retrofitting, upgrading of the mechanical systems, and installation of an elevator and ramps for handicapped access. She said the building is in relatively sound condition overall.

A representative of Cassano Develop ment could not be reached.

Galazka called the proposed sale "a great deal for the city," noting that the property, located behind City Hall and Eagle Bank, was appraised at $850,000 last year and that it is underutilized.

"Most of it is vacant, and it's costing the city close to $5,000 a month in utilities and other costs. For the city to really turn it back into a tax-generating property is a great opportunity," she said, estimating that the redevelopment would generate $25,243 in new annual tax revenue while posing limited impact on city services, including the schools.

Galazka said the project also presents a "wonderful opportunity to create additional affordable senior housing in the city."

Although Tri-City Early Intervention Program will be displaced during construction, Cassano will seek to enable the agency to resume leasing space in the building after that, according to Galazka.

The City Council in 2004 declared the building and the .6-acre parcel on which it sits surplus to city needs. In response to a request, the city in late 2006 received two bids for the property, but did not award either because both were well below the $1.75 million the city was then seeking.

The city again requested bids last year and accepted the proposal by Cassano Development - the only one to be submitted - subject to the city and the firm reaching a purchase and sale agreement.

According to Galazka, the city and the company determined there was a need to revise the 2004 council order because it authorized only the lease of the building and not the sale.

The Board of Aldermen at first objected to the change, preferring that the property be leased and that the city explore other municipal or community uses for it.

But in May, both the Board of Aldermen and the Common Council - which together make up the City Council - unanimously approved the revision. The revised order also includes new restrictions limiting the number of units in the development to 22; requiring that it be for people 55 and older; and precluding the developer from seeking a tax abatement.

According to Galazka, Cassano Development has undertaken similarly sized residential and commercial projects in Chelsea.

In neighborhood meetings that have been held to date, residents expressed support for the building being reused for senior housing, but voiced concerns about adequate parking. Galazka said the city is confident the parking needs will be met through the developer's plan to provide 15 on-site spaces, noting that not all tenants will have cars.

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 08/27/2008 08:07:40 AM

Mass. man pleads not guilty to child rape charges

WOBURN, Mass.—A former custodian and junior varsity basketball coach at Everett High School has been ordered held on $15,000 bail after pleading not guilty to raping a 12-year-old boy.

Robert J. Shea was arraigned Tuesday in Middlesex Superior Court on charges including three counts of child rape.

Prosecutors allege that in 2007, Shea repeatedly raped and assaulted the boy, whom he knew, at Shea's Everett home and in the former Everett High School building.

The alleged victim reported the alleged crime to police in April and Shea resigned from the Everett schools in May.

Shea's attorney, Mark Griffith, said Tuesday he's confident his client will be exonerated, and "We're just asking people not to rush to judgment." Griffith said Shea was only "trying to be friend to this young man" and is "a victim of fabrications."

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 08/31/2008 09:01:06 AM

INFUSION OF YOUTH - The Common Council recently voted to name Daniel Napolitano to fill a vacant Ward 4 council seat. Joseph F. Hickey resigned in June after Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. appointed him to serve as the city's director of veterans services. Napolitano, 21, is entering his senior year at Assumption College in Worcester. This marks his first service for the city. "I've always been very interested in politics and I thought this would be the best opportunity to get my foot in the door to help serve the people of Everett and make Everett a better place," said Napolitano, who is not related to Ward 1 Common Councilor Peter Napolitano. Daniel Napolitano's appointment is through the end of January 2010.

- John Laidler

Reply author: justme
Replied on: 08/31/2008 11:05:13 AM

As a student, at a school in Worcester, how many meetings is this kid going to be able to attend? How responsive can he be to constituents when he's studying or attending classes?

He certainly won't be the only no show but I think it's absurd to put him in place knowing he's not in a position to easily attend to city business.

Can someone explain how this is different from a council member living in another city?

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 08/31/2008 11:14:37 AM

Since they were the only two running, I think Adam would have served the council better.

I didn't think the two Napolitano's were related but that is not a popular name. Even though Daniel is not my ward, I am curious where he stands on Wood Waste since it's going to the council.

It's time to start cracking down on these constant no-shows. It's not fair to the rest of the council that they have to pick up the slack for them and they get the same pay. Then these same no-shows only show up to stir the pot.

Reply author: justme
Replied on: 08/31/2008 2:03:32 PM

I'd love to see them crack down on the no shows. As far as I'm concerned, they're stealing from every tax payer in the city. Unfortunately, some of them continue to get re-elected even though they don't show up! What's that tell you about the voter in this city?

Charter reform is long past due. I hope to see it in my lifetime, but I'm getting old and it seems the only thing that happens quickly is my birthdays.........

Most nights I don't get in early enough to catch the meetings anymore so I'm not as up on things as I should be. Is Sergio Cornelio at most meetings? He works an evening shift for the city. How does he manage those hours, Monday night meetings and committee meetings?

Lou Sierra was always really bad in that area and Joe King shows up but sleeps through the first half of the meeting and then goes home to bed. I can't figure out what we're paying most of them for!

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 08/31/2008 6:45:33 PM

I can’t remember the last time Lou Sierra showed up for two consistent meetings in a row. There is always an excuse.

I have to say Sergio has been at the meetings. I always see him flying around the city in that yellow truck though.

I see Joe King sleeping and one meeting he got mad and sat in the audience. Don’t know what the problem was or what he said. The last meeting I was proud of Joe King though.

Simonelli wants an open public hearing concerning all matters with Wood Waste and Tomassi-Hicks tried to push that issue to the Town Meeting. Joe King was the only one that stood up in defense to his brother (Simonelli) and said that he (Simonelli) was absolutely correct, we need an open public hearing concerning Wood Waste. There are too many issues and Joe King mentioned something about taxes. I didn’t hear that yet.

Now concerning Wood Waste, Thibeault wants to dump the waste on lower Broadway BEFORE the enclosure. Here we go again and he will NEVER build that enclosure. He will DESTROY lower Broadway. Thibeault is already fixing the spurs on the train tracks. Who’s allowing him to do that?? As of right now he is not permitted to have that type of facility on lower Broadway.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 08/31/2008 10:38:06 PM

When I first saw the D.J. Napolitano piece on this morning, I wasn't really that interested in posting it. But then, I thought about and had the same types of questions that Justme posed about it. So I went back and got it to post to see if it was only me. Obviously, it wasn't.

I feel that there is a big difference in maintaining a temporary residence to attend school and running for office in a city or town other than where your permanent residence is located. But, in terms of the services that you can provide your constituents in either case, they are pretty much the same. I would have to assume that Mr. Napolitano isn't commuting daily to Worcester. However, he isn't far enough away that he couldn't show up for a meeting every two weeks. With the demands of college, I'd doubt that he would have perfect attendance. But holding that position is not just about showing up for a meeting every two weeks.

The ironic thing about this is a precedent for allowing this type of situation on the city council. It was set by Stephanie Smith when she was an undergraduate and spent a semester in London. I don't recall much being made of that at the time.

I wonder how many members of the common council that voted for Mr. Napolitano to fill the vacant position were aware of this situation at the time? I wonder how many of them may come to regret that decision? I made a post in the Advocate thread that I didn't feel very good about the picture of Mr. Napolitano in this week's paper. This news doesn't do anything to help me feel any better.

I know that I've painted a very ugly picture of this situation: but, I truly hope that it does not turn out that way.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 09/01/2008 09:23:09 AM

Tetris, you did not paint an ugly picture of anything. Facts are facts and past situations make us learn. I'm glad you posted it and have these appointments ever been in the globe before? I dont recall, but I could have missed it.

I have my suspicions of this appointment.... but I'll wait and see how he does.

The city council gets constituents complaints/concerns daily. I am in no way saying they have to deal with it on a daily basis, but college (in my opinion) is a priority. Being far away, something will slip through the cracks. At least Stephanie was at Northeastern in Boston.

I hope he isn't a follower like another "youthful" councilor who does what ever his boss the Mayor tells him. He may shock me, and I hope he does.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 09/01/2008 1:08:27 PM

In my last post in this thread, I tried to stay on points connected to the Globe item but I do also have some comments on the other issues that were raised in the conversation about the article.

We get the elected officials that we do in this city that because our elections are most often glorified popularity contests rather than referendums on the issues. I'm all for a smaller government. We barely have enough qualified people in office right now to support a nine person board of selectmen. Even though I'd be I favor of a smaller legislative body, I read an interesting post on Topix the other day. The gist of the post was that with a smaller legislative body, it might be easier for the board to be stacked with like "thinking" members, i.e., the school committee. If the city does downsize to a smaller legislative body, the voters of the city are going to have to change too. Much more emphasis is going to be needed on electing the most qualified candidates rather than the most popular ones.

I believe that Councilor Cornelio has had perfect attendance at of the meetings of the common council and the budget hearings but I could not swear to it. Besides the budget committee and the elections and returns committee, to which all the members of the common council belong, the only committee assignment that Cornelio has is the Public Service committee. I don't know how often that committee meets but I would be willing to bet it isn't very often. From first hand experience, I can tell you that more than a handful of city council members were in attendance at the recent planning board and the town meetings but Cornelio wasn't among them at either event.

Like Tails, I have seen Councilor Cornelio bombing around town at night in a city pick-up truck leading me to wonder exactly what it is that he is suppossed to be doing. I know that it is expressly allowed under MGL for a city employee to also be an elected city official; but, as I have stated before, I don't happen to agree with. In a small town, it's probably OK; in a city of this size, it's unnecessary. I really disagree with it in this situation though.

First off, to have the mayor be responsible for his economic livelihood in both of his jobs just seems wrong. What exactly is he doing at night at city services anyways? It doesn't seem so vital that he doesn't have the flexibility to attend meetings when necessary. Who, if anyone, fills in when he needs to be elsewhere? Lastly, I'm hoping that his compensation has been adjusted accordingly for the time he is away from his night job. I know that we doesn't collect two paychecks from the city; but, it was his choice to run for elected office. He shouldn't be compensated for whatever his city services job is if he is required to be away from it. As someone who lives in Ward 1, Mr. Cornelio will never get a vote from me as long as this situation persists in its current form.

No shows. After one common councilor was allowed to attend almost no meetings last year without any explanation, it is doubtful that the "good ole boy and girl network" will ever do anythihg about it. The only answer is to cut down on the size of the body and elected responsible people who are able to make the time required for the job or will step down when they find that they no longer can.

Reply author: turk182
Replied on: 09/02/2008 10:56:08 AM


I have looked around for the D.J. Napolitano piece can you post a link?


"Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb"

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 09/02/2008 11:00:07 AM

I found the link if you need it. Second story down:

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 09/04/2008 11:21:57 AM

LIBRARY FUNDS - The state Board of Library Commissioners has awarded Everett a provisional $1.6 million grant to help fund the renovation of the 110-year-old Shute Library. Everett's project, which also involves a slight expansion, had been on a list of library projects approved for funding once state money became available. To access the grant, the city must cover the remaining project cost by December, 2009. Library director Deborah Abraham said the project was estimated at $3 million several years ago, but that figure needs to be updated. The Shute is the smaller of Everett's two libraries. - John Laidler

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 09/04/2008 11:54:57 AM

I'm not too clear on this sentence:

"To access the grant, the city must cover the remaining project cost by December, 2009."

Does that mean the work must be complete by December 2009 or the city has to commit to picking up the rest the money that is not funded in the grant, for the entire project or...........something completely different?

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 09/04/2008 12:01:23 PM

My guess would be that it means that the actual cost of the projection will have to be updated and the city's share of the funding (i.e., how it intendeds to pay for it) would need to be in place by December 2009.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 09/04/2008 12:06:03 PM
Message: always!

Reply author: charm
Replied on: 09/07/2008 06:28:52 AM

Primary struggle heats up
Matewsky seeking Smith's House seat
By John Laidler
Globe Correspondent / September 7, 2008
Email| Print| Single Page| Yahoo! Buzz| ShareThisText size – + An electoral showdown between two popular Everett political figures is growing more heated as it heads toward a finale.

Freshman state Representative Stephen "Stat" Smith is battling Alderman at Large Wayne A. Matewsky in the Sept. 16 Democratic primary in the 28th Middlesex District, which includes Everett and two Malden precincts. With no other contenders for the seat, the primary winner has a clear route to victory in November.

In a sign of rising temperatures in the race, Matewsky last month filed a criminal complaint against Smith in Malden District Court, alleging that his opponent had made serious threats against him on two occasions during the campaign.

Following a hearing on Aug. 12, assistant clerk magistrate Paul Burns continued the hearing for 90 days, according to another assistant clerk magistrate, John Sullivan.

Smith acknowledged making pointed remarks to Matewsky in which "I could have used a better choice of words." But he said he was speaking in the context of the election and meant no physical threat.

Sullivan said that typically the continuation of a hearing would mean that "if in fact no similar issues were to occur between the parties, the matter may in fact be dismissed" when the hearing resumes.

More recently, Matewsky said Aug. 29 that 106 of his campaign signs had been damaged by Smith's campaign over the preceding week. Smith said his campaign had nothing to do with damage to Matewsky's signs.

In an interview, Matewsky said that he would bring representation to the district in the tradition of former representatives Edward G. Connolly, William Hogan, and George Keverian. "Those are the people I looked up to as my state representative. [Smith] is definitely not in that category."

Retorted Smith, "On my worst day, and on [Matewsky's] best day, he couldn't do the job I do day in and day out."

A former common councilor and alderman and current School Committee member, Smith, 53, narrowly lost to Connolly in the 2004 primary. Following Connolly's death in 2006, Smith won a hard-fought race to claim the seat. He was elected to the School Committee last year.

Matewsky, 50, is a 27-year City Council veteran. Appointed to a vacant Ward 1 Common Council seat in 1981, he was elected to the seat that fall, and went on to win reelection 12 times before running successfully for alderman at large in 2007.

Both have their strong backers.

Among those siding with Smith is School Committee member and former Housing Authority chairman Joseph Guiliano.

"He's a hard worker. He's never afraid to speak on issues. He's never walked away from a tough vote," Guiliano said of Smith.

"Even to this day, as a freshman state representative, he makes some tough votes," he said, recalling Smith's vote in favor of casino gambling, a position at odds with House leadership.

Ward 4 Common Councilor John Leo McKinnon is in Matewsky's corner.

"He's a people's person," McKinnon said of Matewsky. "If any constituent calls him, he gets back to him right away. I think he'd be a fast learner up there" at the State House. "He's been in city government 27 years and done a tremendous job here as a councilor and now as an alderman at large."

Matewsky is a justice of the peace. He is also a union bricklayer, performing side jobs in that trade.

"I bring the experience of helping people with any and all constituent problems," said Matewsky, who was Common Council president in 1999 and 2005. "That's why I've been so successful in city government, being elected year after year. People know me and they are happy with my representation."

As a state legislator, he said he would work to increase fuel assistance to seniors and low-income people in the community. He said he would also continue to be an advocate for veterans, and seek more funding for the local schools.

Smith, who manages real estate properties, said he is running on his record, including delivering to Everett its largest-ever school aid amounts in each of the last two years, and helping expand funding for the Chelsea Soldiers' Home.

He said he has also helped in obtaining rate relief for Massachusetts Water Resources Authority communities.

"I put all my effort into being a state representative and I've done a great job for the district," he said.

Smith said he would continue to focus on securing state funding for the district, and on providing timely assistance to constituents.

"I have one of the busiest districts on Beacon Hill and I attempt to help every single person that calls me," he said.

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 09/14/2008 07:37:00 AM

Unions rush to protect details
Local police deals skirt restrictions in governor's plan

By Matt Viser
Globe Staff / September 14, 2008

Local police unions throughout Massachusetts, faced with an early October deadline, are scrambling to add language to labor contracts that would protect lucrative road construction details that can earn officers thousands of dollars in extra pay.

If successful, the moves by officers in cities and towns could undermine Governor Deval Patrick's plan to reduce police officers stationed at Massachusetts road projects and replace them with less expensive civilians, known as "flaggers."

It is another twist in the long-running political saga over whether costly police details should be curtailed in Massachusetts, which is the only state that automatically assigns police officers to nearly all utility and road work sites.

Patrick scored a political breakthrough this year when he gained permission from lawmakers to set up a scale of dangerousness to determine if a police presence is needed. Under his draft plan, police details will only be required at projects on major roads where cars are traveling fast. Flaggers will be posted at safer locations.

But police are looking to exploit an exemption included by the governor in his proposal. The new rules will not apply at the local level if, by the time they take effect, cities and towns have already adopted a police detail requirement, either in a police union contract or municipal ordinance. The rules are scheduled to take effect as early as Oct. 3.

In several cases already, local officials, hoping to use the issue as a bargaining chip with unions, have looked favorably on the police efforts to preserve the details

In Revere, for instance, city officials say they are willing to protect details in the union contract in exchange for officers agreeing to accept mandatory drug and alcohol testing.

"I'm a huge supporter of the governor," said Revere Mayor Thomas G. Ambrosino. "But on this issue I'm not convinced that the city of Revere is better served by having flagmen on the streets instead of police details. I don't see that there's significant savings."

Chelsea city officials last week proposed an ordinance that would protect police details in their community and prevent the state from using civilian flaggers. Hopkinton officials have asked the Patrick administration to delay the state regulations to give them more time to devise new bylaws.

The state will hold a public hearing to discuss the new rules tomorrow at 5 p.m. in the State Transportation Building. As of Friday, Patrick administration officials were deciding whether to eliminate the exemption in response to union leaders' maneuvers.

"The administration is giving strong consideration to removing that provision from the proposed regulations," a senior administration official said.

The new regulations would place civilian flaggers on nearly all state roads where the speed limit is below 45 miles per hour, as well as on low-traffic roads where the speed limit is higher. Flaggers would also be used on sites where barriers are used to block off construction sites on a high-speed, high-traffic road.

Some roads - generally those with speed limits of 45 miles per hour and above and with more than 4,000 vehicles per day - would still rely on police officers to monitor traffic.

The new regulations will easily apply to state roads, which the state has jurisdiction over. But the current dispute is over local roads, where the vast majority of projects are conducted.

The last-minute push is being led by the Quincy-based International Brotherhood of Police Officers. The union has posted a three-sentence clause on its website for local unions to insert into their contracts. All local officials would have to do is put their city or town name into the blank space.

It is difficult to tell how many cities and towns will go to bat for local police unions, but many local officials contacted last week said they had been approached by their police union. Local police union officials did not respond to a request for comment. The State Police union also has opposed the governor's initiative.

Although there are no statewide regulations requiring the use of police details for Massachusetts road projects or utility jobs, state and local officials have used them for decades at construction sites anyway, in deference to politically powerful unions. It is a longstanding practice and typically has not been included in any local bylaws or mandated as part of collective bargaining agreements.

"The local police are feeling this will cut into their authority and being able to determine what is needed and what isn't," said Anthony J. Troiano, town manager in Hopkinton. "It's all very fluid. Who knows what will happen in the next two weeks?"

Hopkinton town officials declined to alter union contracts, but instead sent letters to state officials asking them to delay implementation of the regulations until July 1, 2009, to give them time to hold town meetings and adopt new bylaws.

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Municipal Association, which represents local officials across the state, is advising city and town leaders to avoid inserting the new language into police contracts.

"We strongly support the reforms that have been put forward," said Geoff Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. "Even though the cost projections are relatively modest, we feel it's important for communities to be empowered to manage all aspects of their government."

Police have argued that the presence of a cruiser and a uniformed officer slows traffic and provides the best protection for the public and for road workers. Police have at times also made arrests or caught suspects on unrelated cases while on police details.

Some city officials said they did not expect the savings accrued by switching to flaggers to be significant.

"I've gone from being excited about the opportunity to finally addressing this issue, to saying it makes no sense whatsoever not having police officers on site," said Jay Ash, the city manager in Chelsea, where about eight police officers are on police details each day.

Ash said a union flagger would earn $34.84 an hour in Chelsea, compared with $35 an hour for police detail officers.

But an estimate calculated by the administration shows that - on state-funded road projects - annual savings could be between $5.7 million and $7.2 million of the $20 million to $25 million spent annually on police details.

The Boston City Council is expected to preserve contract language and city ordinances that guarantee the use of details.

Councilor Sam Yoon said the city should study whether a city ordinance requiring paid details at construction sites is costly for residents. But there appears to be little appetite on the council or from Mayor Thomas M. Menino to change the arrangement.

"I think we are a very prolabor council," said City Council president Maureen Feeney.

John C. Drake of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Matt Viser can be reached at

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: charm
Replied on: 09/14/2008 12:23:59 PM

REMEMBERING A HERO - A ceremony will be held at Glenwood Cemetery at 10 a.m. today dedicating a newly installed gravestone for a Chelsea resident killed in World War I. Fred C. Dulevitz, 19, died in October 1918 in the Battle of Verdun, in France. A member of the Army's 26th (Yankee) Division, Dulevitz was killed trying to pass through an enemy barrage to deliver an urgent message to his battalion commander. He was buried at Glenwood in 1921, but over the years, no stone or marker was placed on the spot. That omission was corrected through the efforts of retired Chelsea High teacher and Everett resident Ernie Sullivan. Using documents compiled by Sullivan through his research, Everett veterans services director Joseph F. Hickey successfully applied to the Veterans Administration to provide a gravestone for Dulevitz. Among those expected to attend the ceremony are Alexander R. Dulevitz of Texas, a nephew of Fred Dulevitz, and a representative of the French Consulate in Boston. The public is invited to attend.

- John Laidler

STREET REPAIR MEETING - Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. will hold a neighborhood meeting tomorrow to inform residents about a planned street and sidewalk reconstruction project. The affected streets are Marie and Edith avenues, Henry Street, and Kenwood and Elliot roads. The project, paid for with a federal Community Development Block Grant secured by the city, is scheduled to begin this month. The mayor will be joined at the meeting by community development director Marzie Galazka and a representative from D & R Construction Inc., the Stoneham firm that was awarded a $619,248 contract to undertake the project. Neighbors will have a chance to ask questions and voice concerns at the meeting, which will be held at 6 p.m. at Shute Memorial Library. - John Laidler

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 09/21/2008 08:37:55 AM

A snippet from the political notebook in today's Globe North Weekly section:

Freshman incumbent Stephen "Stat" Smith of Everett defeated Everett Alderman at large Wayne A. Matewsky by 3,131 votes to 2,604 in the district that includes Everett and two Malden precincts.

Smith, who is also an Everett School Committee member, said the results show that voters "understand I'm trying to do my very best. I think they appreciate the job I'm doing."

"I'm naturally disappointed, but my committee did a wonderful job," said Matewsky. "We ran a very classy campaign and tried to do the best we could. I'm looking forward to continuing to . . . serve people at City Hall. That's what I've been doing for 28 years."

And a brief article about Chelsea that should be of some interest:

The City Council recently voted to designate an 8-acre area in the Everett Avenue Urban Renewal District as a priority development site. A state law, Chapter 43D, allows cities and towns to create such sites, where fast-track permitting is designed to spur development. Under the law, permitting decisions must be rendered within 180 days from the date the community receives a completed project application. City Manager Jay Ash said Chelsea's proposed site designation must be approved by the state. The city then would be eligible for $100,000 in infrastructure planning funds. According to Ash, ACS Development is working on an office development plan for 5 of the 8 acres, while Choice Hotels has proposed building a Cambria Suites Hotel on the other 3 acres. He said the priority site designation is intended to help facilitate the two projects by giving the developers timely decisions on zoning matters. - John Laidler

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 09/25/2008 08:07:32 AM

Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. last week submitted a $1.3 million capital spending request to the City Council. The funding is drawn from part of the proceeds of the city's recent sale of its former city services yard on East Elm Street. Great Northern Corp., whose principal is William Thibault, purchased the approximately 3-acre former city yard for $3.5 million earlier this month, according to Erin Deveney, DeMaria's chief of staff. She said the $1.3 million would be used to purchase vehicles and other equipment for the Public Services Department, including a vacuum truck for the Water and Sewer division and a dump truck with a snow and sander. "Our current equipment fleet is over 20 years old or in serious need of repair," she said. - John Laidler

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 09/25/2008 08:11:28 AM

Hope for library overhaul
Shute Memorial wins state grant

By John Laidler
Globe Correspondent / September 25, 2008

In a milestone for a project first envisioned a decade ago, Everett was recently awarded a $1.58 million provisional state grant to help renovate and expand the century-old Shute Memorial Library.

But library officials concede the hard part still lies ahead.

To access the grant, the Everett Library Department needs to come up with the balance of the costs of the project - which has a price tag estimated at $3.75 million - by the end of next year. Library officials plan to seek those funds through a combination of city appropriations, donations, and private foundation grants.

"We've been working on this for a long time, so we are really excited it finally looks like it's moved ahead a few steps," said Everett's library director, Deborah Abraham. "But we have a big job in front of us."

Library trustees plan to begin discussing the next steps at their meeting Oct. 7. According to Abraham, those steps will include initiating plans for a fund-raising drive, and updating the cost estimate.

"The whole thing has to really be done over," said Donald Chiavelli, chairman of the city's Board of Library Trustees. "It's an old building. . . . We've done the best we can but to bring it up to date, we need to do a major overhaul. And we can do that all with the addition."

Situated at 781 Broadway, the Shute is the city's branch library serving north Everett. The Parlin Memorial Library, at 410 Broadway, is the main library.

When the project comes before the City Council for funding, Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. said, he anticipates some councilors may question why the city needs to renovate and retain a second library when the Shute could be sold as surplus property.

DeMaria said he supports going forward with the project, but on condition that there is an expansion of programs and services offered at the Shute.

"If we are going to keep it, I want to make sure it's not just a building with a couple of people reading books," he said. "I want some action, some more programming, for children, older kids, adults. I want an active library."

The Shute was opened in 1899 through a bequest for land that William Shute, a local resident, left to the city in 1891 in memory of his mother, Tabitha Shute. Through much of its history, it operated separate from the Parlin, with its own board. But in 1986, the two libraries merged, and since then the Shute has functioned as a branch. (Everett has had other branch libraries that have since closed.)

Over the years, the city constructed two additions to the Shute building: one to the rear in the early 1900s, and one to the south side in the 1960s. In 1936, part of the lower level was converted to a children's area. But the facility has never had a major overhaul.

Among its deficiencies is poor access for people with disabilities. Reaching the front door requires ascending a "huge flight of concrete stairs," Abraham said. There are also stairs at the side and back entrances. Other problems include worn out floor and wall surfaces, and outmoded mechanical systems.

"It's one of the few historic buildings in Everett. If it's going to be kept, it's got to be done," Abraham said of the project.

Despite its problems, the Shute, which has 50,000 books and other materials, has seen increasing usage, Abraham said. In particular, more students have been using the library since the city's new high school opened nearby last year.

"If it were a nicer building, I'm sure we'd be even busier," she said.

The project calls for a new 1,370-square-foot, two-story addition on the north side of the building, featuring a fully accessible street-level entrance, an elevator, and handicapped-accessible restrooms. It would also provide space for a study room.

Improvements to the existing 7,210-square-foot building would include a full updating of mechanical systems and the addition of a meeting room for library programs and for use by community groups.

The library hopes to include "green" features in the project, which could make the city eligible for additional state funds.

Everett received a state planning grant for the Shute project in 1999.

In 2005, the project was approved for funding by the state Board of Library Commissioners and placed on a waiting list of projects that would be offered grants once state dollars became available. The money became available this summer through the passage of a bond bill.

Meanwhile, the city is preparing to undertake repairs to the front steps of the Parlin library. The City Council recently approved DeMaria's request for $90,000 to fund that project. The Parlin, which opened in 1895, underwent an award-winning renovation in 1992. Abraham said with the exception of the steps and some problems with the heating system, the building is in good shape.

John Laidler can be reached at

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 09/25/2008 08:39:49 AM

State facing budget woes as local aid payment due

By Matt Viser
Globe Staff / September 25, 2008

State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill said yesterday that the state must take dramatic steps - borrowing at a higher interest rate than usual and tapping the state's rainy day fund for $310 million - to make sure it has enough cash to make local aid payments due next week to cities and towns.

The extraordinary moves are a direct result of the troubled credit markets roiling Wall Street, and they portend more dire decisions looming for state lawmakers, Cahill said. The turmoil arises as state revenues are decreasing, making access to credit even more important.

"This is no longer a Wall Street issue, this is a Main Street issue," Cahill said. "I don't want to be constantly beating a dead horse. But it's a crisis. A full-blown crisis. We have to slow down or cut spending."

Cahill warned that some major-ticket items might have to be curtailed, including some of the Governor Deval Patrick's priorities, such as expanding prekindergarten classes, repairing bridges, and increasing healthcare spending.

Administration officials did not dispute Cahill's assertion that the situation is serious but said they are still working on potential cuts in the $28.2 billion budget, which is not even three months old. The administration has not ruled out seeking legislative approval to reduce the $5.3 billion in education and other categories of local aid the state pays to cities and towns, as former governor Mitt Romney did in 2003.

"It's too soon to speculate how deep we're going to have to go," Patrick told reporters at the State House yesterday. "I think it is clear that we are going to have to do some trimming of the budget, and we have some plans for that."

Patrick would not rule out raising fees or instituting layoffs, saying there are various plans that administration officials are exploring, depending on how bad the financial situation gets.

"The numbers we have are preliminary. They are nonetheless concerning," he said.

The most immediate need is $1.3 billion in quarterly payments that are scheduled to go out to cities and towns next week. Municipalities use the money to fund everything from teachers to trash collections.

Cahill said it appears likely that cities and towns will get their local aid payments - preventing layoffs and cutbacks in municipal budgets - but he said he has had to jump through a complex set of financial hoops to make it work. Cahill and other state officials characterize the borrowing maneuvers as common ways to make payments before all of the tax revenue comes in. But the state usually is not this strapped this early and facing interest payments this high.

The state yesterday borrowed $51 million in a short-term loan from investors, at an interest rate of 6 percent for a practice that normally charges 2 percent interest. In order to make local aid payments, the state still needs to borrow up to $349 million in similar loans before next week. State officials fear a similarly high interest rate.

"This stuff is unheard of," Cahill said. "It's like going to the loan shark for money."

The state is also planning to use $310 million from the state's rainy day fund. The state had budgeted for such a drawdown but had expected to take the money out in December.

To continue paying bills, the state would try in early October to borrow $750 million, taken against future revenues, Cahill said.

"We support those efforts," said Leslie Kirwan, Patrick's secretary of administration and finance. "It's a challenging situation, predominantly the result of an unprecedented market, so this shouldn't be a surprise."

Senior state lawmakers have been scrutinizing the state's financial picture, and their concern was heightened last week when the administration said that tax collections for September are running $200 million less than September 2007.

Patrick, who can unilaterally impose cuts to about two-thirds of the state budget, has also asked the Legislature to grant him rare authority for expanded powers to cut in other areas. There are several looming milestones that will fill in the budget picture, including whether capital gains taxes will decrease precipitously and whether the state will get healthcare reimbursements it is seeking from the federal government.

"I don't think anybody can be sure about anything, given what's happening on Wall Street right now," Kirwan said. "We will work together through this, with the treasurer and the Legislature."

Matt Viser can be reached at

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 09/28/2008 12:29:44 PM

Two things I see wrong with this article. (I could be wrong)

I thought the question was asked to the solicitor as to “who” was purchasing the city yards and her response was “Boston Business Center.” Also, I do not believe the address for the city yards is East Elm Street.

Everett seeks $1.3m for public services
September 25, 2008

Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. last week submitted a $1.3 million capital spending request to the City Council. The funding is drawn from part of the proceeds of the city's recent sale of its former city services yard on East Elm Street. Great Northern Corp., whose principal is William Thibault, purchased the approximately 3-acre former city yard for $3.5 million earlier this month, according to Erin Deveney, DeMaria's chief of staff. She said the $1.3 million would be used to purchase vehicles and other equipment for the Public Services Department, including a vacuum truck for the Water and Sewer division and a dump truck with a snow and sander. "Our current equipment fleet is over 20 years old or in serious need of repair," she said. - John Laidler

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 09/28/2008 1:09:58 PM

I agree with you about the name of the company that bought the city yard is Boston Business Center. I can remember MS Mejia mentioning it several times.

I don't really know the address of the old city yard but if you google map East Elm Street, the entrance could very well be off of East Elm.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 09/28/2008 1:24:58 PM

The article's a little bit of mess. They didn't even spell Thibeault's name right. The entrance to the old city yards was definitely off East Elm street though.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 09/28/2008 1:36:36 PM

Yes, it is a mess, but I cannot blame the Globe. This is information given to them, with the exception of a misspelling, I am sure. Thinking back on it, I do remember one instance for certain. The question was asked by Rosa as to “who” was purchasing the city yards. The Mayor didn’t have a clue (I was surprised, with this going around and around) and he looked over to the solicitor then answered Rosa “Boston Business Center", then…..the solicitor whispered something to the mayor, and he said “Boston Business Center; LLC.

So, either they are giving false information on purpose, or just incompetent.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 10/04/2008 08:47:58 AM

Police protests force work crews to abandon sites

Officers upset over law curbing use of paid details

By Brian R. Ballou
Globe Staff / October 4, 2008

Police union members upset with the governor's new rules allowing some roadway projects to go on without police details protested at two work sites yesterday, forcing state workers to abandon the projects on the first day under the new regulations.

A Massachusetts Water Resources Authority crew planning to do routine sewage work through a manhole in an Everett roadway decided to leave after some 30 protesters appeared with signs and said they would prefer that the crew not go ahead without a paid police detail.

The crew then went to another roadway work site in Revere, where protesters also appeared. One of the protesters, Revere police Captain James Guido, told Mike Hornbrook, the MWRA's chief operating officer, that the work site was a traffic hazard and that it was unsafe.

"I can't allow you to work here," Guido said. The four-man crew eventually departed.

The confrontations were the latest in a highly charged debate over police details that has raged for years and recently escalated when Governor Deval Patrick ruled the state would save millions by cutting back on the number of construction sites requiring police supervision.

The rule changes have been opposed by police, many of whom supplement their incomes with tens of thousands of dollars annually by keeping watch over and directing traffic at construction sites.

MWRA officials said they carefully reviewed the new guidelines before sending out the crew, believed to be the first to work under the new rules that went into effect yesterday. The new rules don't require flaggers or police details at most low-traffic, low-speed residential work sites, such as the ones where the crews yesterday tried to work. But Guido, whose police responsibilities include making sure all work sites in Revere meet municipal safety standards, said the work would disrupt traffic.

A bumper sticker placed by protesters over a manhole cover at the Everett site read: "Police Details Save Lives, Governor appointed flagmen don't."

Police unions have long tangled with administrations that tried to pry the perk away and in the past have prevailed. In 1992, Governor William F. Weld proposed replacing police details with civilian flaggers, but after hundreds of police officers picketed the State House, he scrapped the idea. Through the years, lobbying efforts have enabled police unions to hold onto the roadway details, which had paid as much as $40 an hour to State Police troopers.

But several months ago, Patrick, looking for ways to slice the state deficit, started backing the effort to use civilian flaggers rather than police details, saying the practice would not diminish public safety and would save the Commonwealth millions. On April 17, Patrick signed a transportation bond bill authorizing the Executive Office of Transportation to craft regulations on the use of flaggers at roadwork sites. Yesterday, the bill became law.

The new policy requires police details at the most dangerous roadway sites and civilian flaggers at some others. The least dangerous sites are not required to have either details or flaggers. The policy will mean annual savings to the state of between $5.7 million and $7.2 million, according to administration estimates.

Police union officials - angry over what they say was unfair treatment during the administration's drafting of the law - said they are planning more pickets at state construction projects.

"There was no compromise. It was a one-way deal, a wrong deal that doesn't save any money," Guido said yesterday of the administration's drafting of the rule. Guido said that civilian flaggers will not be as quick as police to react to accidents or other public safety issues in and around roadwork sites.

Next week, the state highway department is scheduled to begin using civilian flaggers at roadwork sites throughout the state, said MassHighway Commissioner Luisa Paiewonsky.

"MassHighway is committed to implementing Governor Patrick's civilian flagger program promptly and safely, and we will have flaggers on certain projects that have been deemed safe this Tuesday," Paiewonsky said.

She said the agency has trained some 100 employees to be flaggers and has certified 14 trainers.

Kyle Sullivan, spokesman for Patrick, said the administration intends to hold firm on its commitment to the new rules. "We are confident these reforms will be implemented successfully and that the Commonwealth will realize significant savings," he said.

The new regulations will place civilian flaggers on nearly all state roads where the speed limit is below 45 miles per hour, and on low-traffic roads where the speed limit is higher. Civilians would also be used at sites where barriers are used to block off construction sites on a high-speed, high-traffic road. High-traffic roads with speed limits of 45 miles per hour and above would still rely on police officers.

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 10/09/2008 12:15:23 PM

More towns joining state healthcare

By John Laidler
Globe Correspondent / October 9, 2008

Melrose and Wenham last week became part of growing list of cities and towns taking advantage of a 2007 state law that allows municipalities to join the state's healthcare system as a way of limiting spiraling insurance costs.

The two are among five cities and towns that met an Oct. 1 deadline to enroll in the Group Insurance Commission - the agency that administers the state plan to about 300,000 employees, retirees, and dependents - beginning July 1, 2009, the start of the next fiscal year. Five other communities, including Groveland, Saugus, and Winthrop, enrolled earlier this year.

"I couldn't be happier," said Melrose Mayor Robert J. Dolan, who praised the city's union employees for approving the move to GIC. "To discuss and try to change health benefits is a difficult subject. It's an emotional subject. . . . But they tackled it."

To get union approval, Melrose agreed to a number of concessions. But even with those, the city expects to save $2 million in fiscal 2010 with the health care switch, according to Patrick Dello Russo, chief financial officer/auditor.

Under the 2007 law, a municipality can enroll only if the option is approved by at least a 70 percent weighted vote of a committee representing its employee unions and retirees. In Melrose, the proposal passed with a 71.7 percent majority after each union held membership votes.

"This is the most significant budget change in my seven years as mayor," Dolan said, noting that healthcare is the second largest line item in the city budget and a quickly rising one.

Town Administrator Jeff Chelgren called Wenham's enrollment in GIC, approved by a unanimous vote of its three-member union committee, a good deal for the town.

"The upcoming fiscal year promises to be one of the most difficult we've seen in the last 10 or 11 years, and this is a very helpful tool for us," he said.

Chelgren estimated that had Wenham been enrolled in GIC this year, it would be paying $75,000 to $108,000 less for healthcare than it is now. He said it also would benefit the town's employees and retirees, who this year would have saved $1,200 for a family plan.

With the exception of Saugus, the five municipalities that previously joined GIC enrolled as of last July 1. Because Saugus was in fiscal crisis last year, lawmakers amended the 2007 law to let the town join early, which it did on Jan. 1, 2008. One other community, Springfield, was able to join the GIC in 2006 because it was under a state financial control board.

Across the state, four other public entities, including two regional school districts, also are joining the GIC next July 1, while six enrolled last July 1. Four communities notified the GIC they had reached agreement with union leaders by the Oct. 1 deadline, but are awaiting union ratification votes.

A number of communities tried unsuccessfully to join the GIC this year. In Newburyport and Swampscott, proposals were defeated by votes of the union committees, while in Marblehead, the effort was dropped after negotiations reached an impasse.

Marblehead town administrator Anthony Sasso said the town has been able to make an alternative change that will also bring savings: enrolling in the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association's health plan to replace the town's self-insured plan.

Newburyport Mayor John Moak is looking to have his city change the type of plan it offers its employees through the MIAA. He said the move, which requires union approval, would bring the city as much or more savings than it would gain by joining GIC.

Joel Barrera, senior project director for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, estimated 30 to 40 communities looked at joining the GIC this year, of which 20 to 25 attempted union negotiations.

"We are very pleased that this number of communities and this diversity of communities is coming in," said Barrera, whose agency assists municipalities considering the GIC. While disappointed that more cities and towns failed in their bids to enroll, he said the new law is at least spurring conversation locally about minimizing healthcare costs.

GIC executive director Delores L. Mitchell said the relatively slow pace of municipal enrollment in GIC is understandable.

"It turns out it's more complicated and more difficult than anyone anticipated," she said, noting that her agency will look for ways to ease the process.

In Melrose, the city and union reached agreement after a seven-month process that included bargaining and public education meetings for union members.

"I would say the key is . . . sharing as much information as possible," said Marianne Long, the city's director of human resources.

Saugus Town Manager Andrew Bisignani said joining GIC "has proven to be to our advantage."

In fiscal 2008, he said, the town saved about $1.9 million, enabling it to avoid a projected $1.3 million shortfall in its health insurance account and to instead generate a $600,000 cash surplus. Bisignani said the town is saving approximately $700,000 in fiscal 2009.

Groveland expects to save about $151,000 this year from joining GIC, and its employees will save on average $2,350, according to finance director Greg Labrecque.

Winthrop Town Manager Richard J. White said GIC also has worked for his community, noting that it has saved money.

"Our employees like the program," he said. "It's not for everybody, but given our claims history . . . it was perfect for us."

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 10/09/2008 12:22:28 PM

Does anyone know where Everett efforts on this stands? I'd have to think that getting a 70 percent weighted vote of a committee representing its employee unions and retirees would be hard to get in this city.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 10/09/2008 1:12:14 PM

I never heard of this type of lottery.

HOUSE LOTTERY - The city and the North Suburban Consortium are jointly holding a lottery Oct. 20 to select an applicant to purchase an affordable two-family home at 183-185 Elm St. Everett took the home for nonpayment of taxes, and the consortium subsequently acquired it from the city and renovated it. The North Suburban Consortium is an affordable housing consortium that serves Everett and seven other communities. The asking price for the house, which includes a two-bedroom unit and a three-bedroom unit, is $220,000. The buyer is required to occupy one of the units and rent the other at affordable rates. Applicants must meet annual income limits based on 80 percent of area median income, which varies depending on household size. For a family of four, the limit would be $66,150. Applications are due by tomorrow. To obtain an application, go to,, or call 617-394-2313. - John Laidler

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 10/12/2008 09:10:00 AM

SETTING PRIORITIES - The city's Community Development office is holding a public meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Keverian room in City Hall to seek citizen input into Everett's application for federal Community Development Block Grant funding next year. Everett annually applies to the state for an allotment that must be spent on programs and initiatives to benefit low and moderate income residents. According to Marzie Galazka, community development director, Everett was awarded $800,000 for this fiscal year, and plans to seek the same amount next year. Tuesday's meeting is an opportunity for residents to offer feedback on how the city would use next year's funding. Past uses of block grant money have included roadway rehabilitation, improvements to parks and playgrounds, and support of social service agencies that serve Everett residents. The city will use the input in preparing its application, scheduled to be filed next January or February. - John Laidler

CULTURE FEST - Mayor Carlo DeMaria is inviting local restaurants and other businesses, as well as community organizations, to participate in the city's first Cultural Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 25 in Everett Square. The event, designed to celebrate the city's cultural diversity, will feature live music on the soundstage in the square. Restaurants will set up tables offering samples of their menu items for sale, while organizations and other businesses will offer information. There will also be games, face painting, and other family activities. The city plans to make the festival an annual event. A full festival schedule will be posted on, and on ECTV, Everett's cable access station. Vendors, organizations, and businesses that would like to take part can call the mayor's office at 617-394-2270. -John Laidler

PARK IMPROVEMENTS - The city hopes to hear a decision in the next few weeks from the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs on its application for a park improvements grant. Everett applied for $500,000 under the agency's Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities program. According to community development director Marzie Galazka, the city would use the funds to upgrade Sacramone Park, located off Santilli Highway and Tileston Street. The work would include replacing the grass field with synthetic turf and building a new concession stand to replace the existing stand, which is in worn condition and too small to meet current needs. If any money is left over, the city would apply it toward planned improvements at Everett Memorial Stadium, which include replacing the grass field with synthetic turf and improving the bleachers and restrooms. The consulting firm Camp Dresser and McKee assisted the city in the grant application. - John Laidler

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 10/12/2008 1:15:01 PM

Originally posted by tetris

PARK IMPROVEMENTS - The city hopes to hear a decision in the next few weeks from the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs on its application for a park improvements grant. Everett applied for $500,000 under the agency's Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities program. According to community development director Marzie Galazka, the city would use the funds to upgrade Sacramone Park, located off Santilli Highway and Tileston Street. The work would include replacing the grass field with synthetic turf and building a new concession stand to replace the existing stand, which is in worn condition and too small to meet current needs. If any money is left over, the city would apply it toward planned improvements at Everett Memorial Stadium, which include replacing the grass field with synthetic turf and improving the bleachers and restrooms. The consulting firm Camp Dresser and McKee assisted the city in the grant application. - John Laidler

I was under the impression that the grant for the stadium and Sacramone Park were two separate ones?? I thought Senator Galluccio was seeking the grant for the stadium? Also, there are other parks in the city that are in dire need of work, I will admit, Sacramone should come first, but look at the others too.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 10/19/2008 09:17:39 AM

Program cuts begin to bleed
Loss of state funds affects cherished plans, services

By Kathy McCabe
Globe Staff / October 19, 2008

The state budget ax fell hard and fast on communities north of Boston, slashing money for job training and education, youth and senior services, street and sidewalk repairs, and other critical projects.

Haverhill lost $1 million to help pay down $7.5 million in annual debt owed on the old Hale Hospital, a city-run facility that closed in 2001. Saugus, a town struggling to regain financial stability after years of budget deficits, lost $100,000 for the Council on Aging. In Swampscott, Humphrey Street will have to wait for a makeover after $150,000 to fund streetscape improvements was eliminated.

Everett's plan to team with the Middlesex Boys & Girls Club of Stoneham to provide after-school programs for middle schoolers will probably be put on hold after losing $112,500 of a $150,000 state grant.

"We had been in negotiations," said Erin Deveney, chief of staff to Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. "Because of this cut, unfortunately, we'll have to probably curtail, delay, or completely eliminate the city's efforts."

The cuts are part of $1 billion in emergency spending reductions ordered last week by Governor Deval Patrick to close a projected $1.4 billion deficit for Massachusetts.

Local aid to cities and towns so far has been spared under Patrick's blueprint to deal with the financial crisis. Still, the sweeping cuts announced Wednesday will impact local services. Community policing, elders services, arts and cultural activities - all rely on state funding. In many cases, the exact amount of a cut is not yet known, officials said.

"This absolutely will affect us," said Revere Police Captain Michael Murphy, referring to the department's community policing grant. "We could lose a few salaries, but we really don't know yet how this will end up."

Saugus Town Manager Andrew R. Bisignani said the impact of community policing funds is also not yet known. But the $100,000 cut to the Council on Aging could jeopardize the town's senior center.

"We already don't have enough money to finish the year," Bisignani said, noting the town already was short $53,000 to maintain services. "This could mean we either have to close the center or reduce its hours."

Nonprofit organizations may also have to rethink operations. The Greater Lynn YMCA, for example, may have to charge for admission to a Friday night program for middle schoolers at its Saugus branch. An $80,000 state grant was cut to $40,000. "We'll have to think about how we handle this," said Bruce Macdonald, the branch's executive director. "Given what the state is facing, I'm just glad we didn't lose the whole grant."

Some municipal leaders, while saying the cuts are painful, also see the glass as half-full.

"The sky is not falling," said Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini "We've had time to prepare for this. Everyone knows the economy is not good."

He said local budgets probably will be reduced to cope with the loss of $1 million in debt relief for Hale Hospital. He had asked department heads to prepare a list of cuts even before cuts were announced last week. "I'm very grateful the governor didn't cut it all," he said.

Swampscott Town Administrator Andrew Maylor said the loss of funding for Humphrey Street will delay improvements to the town's central business district. But it also appears that cuts to community policing, and special education reimbursement, may not be a insurmountable. "From what we have waded through already, the cuts were less punitive than we thought," he said Thursday afternoon.

Leaders of several small-city job-training programs, for whom state funding is a lifeline, worry that the cuts may be a knockout punch. Centro Latino de Chelsea will have to absorb a $100,000 cut to a $200,000 grant providing adult workforce training. The grant is usually split with the Chelsea Collaborative, another nonprofit, to fund summer jobs programs. Each now will probably end up with $50,000, said Juan R. Vega, executive director of Centro Latino de Chelsea.

The E-Team Machinist Training Program in Lynn may have to close up shop after losing $105,000. State money is the largest single source of funding for the program, run by the Essex County Community Organization. There are 36 students enrolled in the nine-month course, which meets at Lynn high school.

"We don't know what to tell people," said Tony Dunne, the program director. "I'm going to have to ask my teachers if they will go without pay for a while, until we figure out how to pay them."

Katheleen Conti of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Kathy McCabe can be reached at

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 10/19/2008 09:30:06 AM

Pay-as-you throw has Malden outraged
4,000 residents sign petition calling to rescind 'the trash bag tax'

By Brenda J. Buote
Globe Correspondent / October 19, 2008

The economic turmoil that is devastating families across the region is playing havoc with municipal spending plans. In Malden, the mayor's plan to close a budget gap by imposing a trash collection fee has residents up in arms.

Residents are voicing their distress not with protests or marches, but with reams of paper. To date, about 4,000 taxpayers have signed a petition calling on city leaders to rescind the residential trash fee. Of those, 343 signatures have been certified by City Hall; the remainder await the city's seal.

"A lot of people feel that this is a thinly veiled override of Proposition 2 1/2, and they're outraged because they didn't get to vote on it," said Baker Street resident Robert Miller, who in July founded Malden Taxpayers for Accountability to organize opposition to what he calls "the trash bag tax."

The Pay As You Throw program, passed by the City Council with a 7 to 4 vote on June 26, requires residents to dispose of their trash in bags approved by the city. Each 33-gallon bag costs $2; a 15-gallon bag, which won't be available until January, will cost $1.

Similar trash initiatives have been adopted by more than 125 communities across the state; another 92 Massachusetts municipalities charge a flat-rate fee for curbside trash removal.

Mayor Richard C. Howard vigorously defends Malden's adoption of the residential trash fee, which went into effect Oct. 6, calling it a "fair thing to ask for" given the financial bind the city was in at the onset of the current fiscal year, which began July 1.

The city's balance sheet for fiscal 2009 showed a $5 million shortfall, Howard said. Local leaders expect the trash fees to bring in about $2.4 million in new revenue, and save taxpayers an additional $600,000 as residents boost their recycling efforts and send less of their household trash to the landfill.

City projections show that the remaining revenue shortfall will be closed as a result of changes to the healthcare plan for municipal employees and the use of $1 million left over from fiscal 2008.

"If you look at my budget message, you'll see that, in essence, we cut everything except for personnel," said Howard, noting that municipal employees have been working without pay increases for the past two years, even though they have been asked in each of those years to shoulder more responsibilities and a greater share of their health insurance costs.

The mayor was also quick to point out that "of the 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth, Malden's average tax bill is ranked 230th; in most communities, homeowners pay more in property taxes - and if you look only at the state's urban communities, there is only one city with a lower average tax bill."

Howard continued, "For some, those comparisons don't mean anything because the bottom line is that they have to come up with more money to dispose of their trash, but asking the City Council to implement a [pay as you throw] program when our staffing levels are where they should be at, and our tax burden is fair, I think was a fair thing to ask for."

Organizers of the petition drive say the mayor is missing the point.

"We put faith in our elected officials not to take money out of our pockets and to do the right thing," said Miller, 43, who is chairman of the taxpayers' group. "They violated that trust. Rather than come before the taxpayers and say, 'Help us solve this financial dilemma,' they mandated this trash fee. The ends do not justify the means."

The grass-roots effort to eliminate the trash fee started with six people. In recent months, the movement has grown to include 175 volunteers who are canvassing Malden neighborhoods, going door to door to collect signatures.

If the taxpayers' group obtains at least 2,400 certified signatures, voters will be given the opportunity to decide the trash fee's fate at the ballot box in November 2009. However, the group is hoping the number of signatures certified tops 5,800, or 20 percent of the city's estimated 29,000 registered voters. With that number of petitioners, the City Council would have the option of rescinding the program or scheduling a special election on the issue within 30 to 45 days.

"People are looking at the stock market, checking their bank account balances, and worrying about their jobs, and they don't want to pay for these bags," said Miller. "The trash fee is being used to levy a tax shortfall - even though the state Department of Environmental Protection guidelines for this kind of program clearly state that it's not supposed to be a tax, or have the perception of a tax.

"That's why so many people are outraged. They want their voices heard."

Brenda J. Buote may be reached at

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: charm
Replied on: 10/19/2008 11:15:49 AM

On the chopping block
Some of Governor Deval Patrick's targeted cuts in the North region
October 19, 2008
Email| Print| Single Page| Yahoo! Buzz| ShareThisText size – + Some of Governor Deval Patrick's targeted cuts in the North region:


Community/program Original appropriation Cut
Centro Latino de Chelsea $200,000 $100,000
Child safety program $50,000 $37,500
Small business program $100,000 $75,000
After-school program $150,000 $112,500
Historic Port Initiative $50,000 $50,000
Maritime Heritage Center $100,000 $75,000
Hale Hospital Reserve Fund $2,420,000 $1,000,000
Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce Haverhill Means Business program $100,000 $75,000
YWCA of Haverhill $50,000 $25,000
Shuttle bus service to Crane Beach $40,000 $40,000
E-Team Machinists Training Program $105,000 $105,000
Girls Inc. after-school grant $100,000 $37,500
Grand Army of The Republic Museum $100,000

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 10/19/2008 11:41:14 AM

With $37,500 cut from the child safety grant, I wonder how the city is going to pay for this (from an article in the Herald thread):

One earmark targeted for child safety is actually being used by Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. to buy a new pothole-patching machine.

“We have a lot of potholes around the schools, and residents walk their kids to school all the time. We don’t want to see them get hurt,” DeMaria said. When pressed, he admitted the machine isn’t reserved for schools alone. “What do you want me to say? ‘It’s not going to be used anywhere else?’ It’s going to help every resident and, more importantly, it’s going to help children.”

While the $50,000 earmark barely registers in a $28.2 billion budget, outraged taxpayer advocates scolded lawmakers for hiding their lard behind noble causes such as child protection.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 10/19/2008 12:33:58 PM

Although the streets are a mess, I was never in favor of receiving money for child safety, for pot holes. We just received 3.5 million from the sale of the city yards.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 10/20/2008 8:14:10 PM

and Everett's Mayor wants to allow a "dump" on it's waterfront!

A water taxi for the Mystic?
Posted by David Beard, Staff October 16, 2008 09:28 AM

By Brad Kane, Globe Correspondent

The next mode of mass public transportation in Medford may be by boat on the Mystic River.

The city government is using $706,000 in federal grant money to develop a Mystic water taxi as part of a larger plan to increase the city's interaction with the meandering waterway by linking existing and future developments.

The water taxi will also be an alternative form of transportation and could link the city's 55,565 residents to riverfront developments in Somerville, Malden, and Everett, said Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn. There is also the possibility of the boat taking people into Boston.

"There is so much development taking place along the river in all neighboring communities that there is potential to create a whole new economy," McGlynn said. "They know what we want to do and that there is a lot of potential there."

The federal money, which comes from the Ferry Boat Discretionary Program, will be used to plan the taxi route of three or four Mystic sites in Medford and then develop a dock at Medford Square. The grant was originally $825,000, but Congress rescinded a portion of it, leaving $706,000.

"The value of it is what it can bring in the future, not necessarily what it is going to do right now," said Lauren DiLorenzo, director of Medford community development. "Even if there is a downturn in economic activity, now is the right time to get the infrastructure in place. It may not affect every citizen today, but it will go toward helping people in the future."

A large part of Medford's economy once was shipbuilding, particularly clipper ships, and the Mystic River played a large role in their construction. While the same Mystic cuts through today's Medford, the city is not taking full advantage of what the waterway offers, McGlynn said. To increase its use of the waterway, the city has developed more parkland on the riverfront and helped developers with projects like Station Landing, a 16-acre mixed-use facility on the river.

"Lots of people would like to be able to enjoy the river more, but people can't get to it very easily," said Penny Antonoglou, a Cambridge resident who works five days a week in Medford. "Some stretches are really nice, but there is some discontinuation between those areas."

The water taxi will service these locations, as well as a few others underway, and introduce residents and visitors to the many ways of using the Mystic, which could bring about more development.

"It is a major piece to the revitalization of Medford puzzle," said Cheryl White, executive director of the Medford Chamber of Commerce. "It takes advantage of the nicest, most beautiful resource our community has to offer."

Medford's government already has received $5 million in linkage and permit fees from Station Landing and River's Edge, another mixed-use development aimed at revitalizing 200 acres on both sides of the nearby Malden River.

In order to use the ferry boat grant money, which is being administered through the Massachusetts State Transportation Improvement Program, the city must first realign Clipper Ship Drive, which runs along the Mystic River and will be the site of the first water taxi dock. A hearing on the realignment will be held Nov. 5.

The city will have the planning for the water taxi underway by next summer with the construction of the Medford Square dock to follow. And soon after, with the water taxi, the Mystic River could play a whole new role in Medford.

"The river is really nice, and we should take advantage of it," Antonoglou said. "The taxi is a great idea, and more people are going to be aware of the river and the ways they can use it."

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 10/20/2008 9:54:41 PM

This was plan for lower Broadway, Everett. I remember it very well. The pretty pictures were in the papers during the campaign.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 10/31/2008 09:33:56 AM

TALATINIAN, Arthur C. Age 63, of Burlington, October 29, 2008. Beloved husband of Eva (Conboy) Talatinian. Devoted father of Leah Talatinian & her husband Eric Green of NY. Dear brother of Arlene Mazmanian of Billerica, Sandra Farrell and her husband Kevin of Billerica, Phyllis Halloun of Waltham and Ara Kouyoumjian of Palmer. Also survived by 18 loving nieces and nephews. Services at St. James Armenian Church, 465 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown on Monday, November 3 at 11:00 a.m. Relatives & friends are respectfully invited to attend. Visiting hours in the Mt. Auburn Chapel of the Giragosian Funeral Home, 576 Mt. Auburn St. (Rt. 16), WATERTOWN on Sunday 4-8 p.m. Interment Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge. Expressions of sympathy may be made in his memory to St. James Armenian Church or the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01801. Former teacher in the Everett Public Schools and Bunker Hill Community College; Deputy Sheriff of Middlesex County; Veteran U.S. Army. For directions, guest book, & to light a candle in his memory visit Giragosian Funeral Home 617-924-0606

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 10/31/2008 10:04:47 PM

Suspect in Chelsea strip club murder found in Mexico
October 31, 2008 03:09 PM

By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff

The suspect in a January shooting inside a Chelsea nightclub that killed one man and wounded two others was arrested Thursday in Mexico City, where he had been tracked by Chelsea, state, and federal investigators, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said today.

Jesse Camacho allegedly got into an argument inside King Arthur's Lounge Jan. 25 and then pulled out a handgun and fired at least seven rounds. Jeff Santiago, a patron and Everett resident, was struck several times and later died.

A 41-year-old Charlestown man who was working at the club and a 29-year-old friend of Santiago's was also wounded, authorities said.

In a statement released today following a news conference, Conley said that law enforcement traced Camacho first to Los Angeles, where he was born, and then to Mexico and Mexico City. On Thursday night, Camacho was taken into custody as he got off a bus, Conley said.

“For anyone who thinks they can take a life and simply run away, take note: Whoever you are, wherever you run, whatever you do to evade the law, we will find you,'' Conley said in the statement. "And when we do, we will hold you to account.”

Conley said he is working with the federal government and Mexican authorities to bring Camacho back to Suffolk County so he can be tried on first-degree murder and other charges.

Camacho was 19 at the time of the shooting and had already been involved in other acts of gun-related violence.

He admitted to committing a drive-by shooting on Everett Avenue in Chelsea in 2005 when he targeted three teenagers. No one was injured. In January 2006, he pleaded guilty in Boston Juvenile Court to three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm.

He was ordered into the custody of the Department of Youth Services until his 18th birthday, which was in 2006.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 11/02/2008 08:12:11 AM

Deal may hasten closing of landfill

Proposal may spur capping of facility

By John Laidler
Globe Correspondent / November 2, 2008

The Newburyport City Council is considering a proposed new legal settlement between the city and the owner of the Crow Lane Landfill that would allow the facility to be capped and closed.

In the past three years, the private landfill has been the subject of numerous legal actions by the city and by state environmental officials about odor and other alleged violations. The settlement would put an end to outstanding litigation between the city and the firm, New Ventures Associates LLC.

Under the agreement, New Ventures would be allowed to double the volume of material it brings to the landfill each day as part of its capping operation, while the company would agree not to pursue any claims against the city under the state's Chapter 21E hazardous waste law.

Mayor John Moak said the settlement, set to be discussed by the council on Nov. 10, offers the city the most practical way to finally put the landfill issue to rest.

"We've spent over $75,000 in legal fees now, and we've won a couple of court cases," Moak said.

But with those victories, he said, the city is no closer to its ultimate goal of seeing the landfill closed. He said the settlement would allow closing of the facility to move forward and let the city focus on monitoring the effort, rather than pursuing further legal action.

As part of the settlement, the company would provide an easement for construction of a platform on the site to hold an alternative energy facility and $50,000 to help design it. The city would maintain and carry out environmental monitoring of the site for 30 years after closing, which Moak estimates would cost about $10,000 a year.

Last June, the council rejected a prior settlement proposal, in large part because it provided only partial protection to the city from Chapter 21E claims.

Last year, the state named the landfill a Chapter 21E site, and New Ventures has notified Newburyport it plans to legally contend that the city is primarily responsible for any costs related to complying with the law, because the city formerly dumped sewage sludge at the site, said Jack Morris, the city's public health director.

Councilor Brian P. Derrivan - who represents Ward 5, where the landfill is located - said he supports "a negotiated agreement right now with New Ventures," because the alternative is more costly litigation and no progress toward closing the landfill.

But Derrivan said he wants to hear feedback from neighbors and the mayor's ad hoc committee on the landfill, prior to taking a position on the proposed settlement.

Councilor at Large Barry N. Connell said he is withholding judgment on the proposed settlement until he has a chance to see the specifics of the closing plan and learn how the state Department of Environmental Protection plans to enforce it.

New Ventures purchased the landfill in 2000 and about five years ago reached agreement with the state to close it, Morris said.

But the project has been stalled amid legal battles over city and state enforcement efforts, including measures to control hydrogen sulfide released from construction and demolition materials deposited at the site.

Morris said the city and state issued cease-and-desist orders last year halting operations at the site. The city dropped its order in May, but the state's order remains in effect.

He said the state has negotiated a proposed settlement with the firm that spells out a plan for closing the landfill. But Morris said New Ventures has declined to sign that settlement unless the city revises its 2002 host agreement with the firm to allow additional material to be trucked to the site, as provided in the closing plan.

The settlement proposed between the city and New Ventures would allow the firm to bring an additional 35 truckloads of material to the site a day, in addition to the 35 now allowed by the city. The added loads could not include construction and demolition waste.

Morris said the city was recently added to the legal case that is the subject of the proposed court settlement between the state and New Ventures. He said that by removing obstacles to that settlement, the city avoids any potential damages or costs associated with that case.

The city's proposed settlement also spares the city future legal battles over the Chapter 21E case and its outstanding litigation with New Ventures, he said.

William Thibeault, owner of the Crow Lane Landfill, also owns Wood Waste of Boston, an Everett facility that was supplying the construction material used at Crow Lane.

Everett communications director Matt Laidlaw said that because Wood Waste cannot truck it to Newburyport, construction waste is piling up on the company's site off Revere Beach Parkway, prompting concerns from residents about odors and potential health risks.

"We are really hoping that whatever comes out of it helps both cities," Laidlaw said of the settlement discussions in Newburyport.

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 11/02/2008 10:08:51 PM

I am really getting tired of the city blaming Newburyport for the piles of debris down at Wood Waste. The blame lies on Mr Thibeault for not trucking it out as was promised by Attorney Rossi.

Also the cease and desist order in Newburyport is from the state, not from the Town of Newburyport.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 11/08/2008 4:57:52 PM

Everett plans open house at area schools

VIEW THE SCHOOLS - Residents later this month will have an opportunity to get a firsthand look at the city's public schools. On Nov. 20 from 9 to 11 a.m., the school department is holding open houses at all seven of its schools. Parents and the general public are invited to attend the open houses, which are being held in observance of National Education Week, Nov. 17-22. "We want to show off our faculty, we want to show off our students, and we want to show off the condition of our buildings," said school Superintendent Frederick Foresteire. Four of the city's schools -- the high school, Lafayette, George Keverian, and Madeline English - were built within the last five years. The other schools are Sumner G. Whittier, Webster, and Albert N. Parlin. - John Laidler

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 11/09/2008 10:51:00 AM

Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. has launched an effort to reinvigorate neighborhoods with too many abandoned properties and illegal rooming houses. DeMaria recently reestablished the city's Housing Task Force, which consists of representatives from the fire, police, building, code enforcement, health, and city services departments, and the mayor's, city solicitor's, and Community Development offices. According to Matt Laidlaw, DeMaria's communications director, the mayor said he hopes the group will promote collaboration among the offices on code matters. The task force is charged with investigating complaints about blighted property, issuing fines against property owners, and if warranted, seizing property with significant code violations. Through the new task force, the city issued $150,000 in fines for fire, health, and code violations in the last month. The group also delayed the sale of a home until outstanding code-related fines were paid. - John Laidler

Reply author: Cruller DaVille
Replied on: 11/10/2008 1:02:55 PM

That's what Code Enforcement does and what the comprehension of the Task Force is. They never disbanned the Task Force. How can you re-establish something that is active? Bull Frogs.

"Cruller DaHville"

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 11/10/2008 1:11:10 PM

Just how much is the Everett taxpayer paying for these Boston Globe "advertisements"

Is that really such BIG NEWS that had to go in the Boston Globe?? Isn't our three local papers enough, since it concerns Everett?

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 11/10/2008 2:43:57 PM

I don't think the city pays anything for the Globe articles. It is a press release; an almost, if not, identical piece ran in the Advocate last Friday. I think that the Globe feels an obligation to run something for each community in the North Weekly section area. I'd hazard to guess that the items that run in that column for most, if not all, communities come from a similar process. The paper just gets to choose which of the press releases that they want to run.

Like Cruller, what the article describes was my understanding of how Code Enforcement went about their business. If this is not the case, I think that the articles begs the question of when did the co-operation between the departments in this effort stop and why?

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 11/13/2008 07:10:18 AM

Man busted for drunken driving following Revere crash

REVERE - An Everett man is facing drunken driving charges after he skidded 25 feet before crashing into a Park Avenue fence Monday afternoon, police said.
Paul Wilson, 61, of 5 Golden Age Circle, Everett, was arrested and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol and driving to endanger shortly after 2 p.m. Monday after his car crashed at 537 Park Ave.

Police say a 25-foot long skid mark was observed in the street leading up to the accident scene.

Responding police officers said they found Wilson leaning against the car and exhibited signs of intoxication. After refusing medical treatment despite having injuries, he allegedly had a recorded blood alcohol level of .14.

- Dan O'Brien

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 11/13/2008 10:43:33 AM

Did I hear correctly that city services will not clean this stuff up because it's DCR property?

I'm not sure, that's why I am asking. However, if that is the case, the rotary is DCR property too. What makes that so special that city services can work on there, but not clean up glass?

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 11/14/2008 2:25:41 PM

This is NOT good for Everett traffic and the roads. The residents of Everett already suffer through GRID LOCK on a daily basis because people just can not afford the tolls.

The city has to do something about this,with the state, and all the trucks. It's out of control.

Pike board approves toll hike
November 14, 2008 11:33 AM

By Noah Bierman, Globe Staff
The Turnpike Authority board voted 4-1 to approve a hike of 75 cents at the Weston and Allston-Brighton tollbooths and $3.50 at the Sumner and Ted Williams tunnels.
The plan, which is subject to public hearings and a final vote, would take effect some time in February or March. It would increase tolls at Weston and Allston-Brighton to $2 from $1.25 and at the tunnels to $7 from $3.50. Fast Lane users would pay $1.50 at Weston and Allston-Brighton and $6 at the tunnels.
With the 4-to-1 vote, the board approved a plan outlined by Turnpike managers.
Governor Deval Patrick wrote in an op-ed piece in Thursday's Globe that "there is simply no way around an increase in the short term."
The Turnpike has said for several months that the agency is in desperate need of money, with a budget deficit of about $100 million. Tollpayers have been livid at the potential increase, which comes just as many people are struggling during the financial downturn.

Sure....what the hell...might as well screw the folks on the North Shore again.
Must be nice for the folks who commute on Rt 93...enjoy the free ride everyday folks.
I guess a gas tax makes no sense...after all that would mean that everyone who uses the roads who pay for them, instead of just those who live in certain areas.
Thanks Mr. Governor, you've finally made it worth my while to commute through Everett instead of taking the tunnel.

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 11/16/2008 05:58:03 AM

BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS ON WAY - The Boys & Girls Clubs of Middlesex County is coming to Everett. Under an arrangement between the city and the Somerville-based nonprofit, the organization will shortly be establishing an office in Everett's Sammy Gentile Recreation Center on Elm Street, according to Matt Laidlaw, the city's communications director. The Boys & Girls Clubs will offer programming for young people to supplement the city's Recreation Department, which also is located in the center. The department and the nonprofit also will do some joint programming. Laidlaw said the clubs were able to come to the city through $50,000 in grants from the group's national organization, and $40,000 in state grants secured by state Representative Stephen "Stat" Smith of Everett and state Senator Anthony D. Galluccio of Cambridge. He said the eventual goal is for the organization to have its own site in Everett. - John Laidler

MBTA SEMINAR - The city is holding a Charlie Card Seminar Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Connolly Center, 90 Chelsea St. Representatives from the MBTA will be available to answer questions about Charlie Cards and tickets. They will also be issuing new Charlie Card identifications for seniors and people with qualifying disabilities. Anyone with identifications issued prior to May 2005 needs to obtain a new ID. For more information, call 617-394-2323 or 617-394-2260. - John Laidler

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 11/16/2008 3:00:43 PM

What happened to all the discussion with the field house? I think it's perfect in the Rec Center, but that was not how it was proposed. I'm just wondering what changed?

Reply author: whatsup
Replied on: 11/17/2008 09:11:59 AM

Perfect???? It's not perfect at all!!!! What's going to happen to the Rec and their programs that are for OUR CHILDREN. The Rec is a city building that is paid for by the residents of this city, hence the signs that read "EVERETT RESIDENTS ONLY, ID REQUIRED." Last week I emailed the Council and BOA and a few of them responded to me. I spoke with Rosa DiFlorio and she reassured me that the Rec was staying and nothing was changing. Now this article appears and low and behold the office is going there. I have been in that building for 7 yrs and there is not one inch available for an office. Are they kicking someone out of their space. Those people run the Rec and all the programs in there. That's not right. The boys and girls club will be open to everyone, so how does a city building be allowed to be used for other kids from other cities? I feel like I've be duped.....

My head is spinning over this. Last week I felt reassured that the Rec was all set. I was even told that the Boys & Girls Club was going in at the old high school. But now the Rec and Boys and Girls Club are in the same sentence. It seems like bull**** to me. Any parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles/friends who have ever taken a child to the toddler program know it is a fantastic program. I feel that those programs are in jeopardy. Please call or email the Council and BOA. You can find them on

Thank You for your help....

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 11/17/2008 09:43:59 AM

Originally posted by whatsup

Perfect???? It's not perfect at all!!!! What's going to happen to the Rec and their programs that are for OUR CHILDREN. The Rec is a city building that is paid for by the residents of this city, hence the signs that read "EVERETT RESIDENTS ONLY, ID REQUIRED." Last week I emailed the Council and BOA and a few of them responded to me. I spoke with Rosa DiFlorio and she reassured me that the Rec was staying and nothing was changing. Now this article appears and low and behold the office is going there. I have been in that building for 7 yrs and there is not one inch available for an office. Are they kicking someone out of their space. Those people run the Rec and all the programs in there. That's not right. The boys and girls club will be open to everyone, so how does a city building be allowed to be used for other kids from other cities? I feel like I've be duped.....

My head is spinning over this. Last week I felt reassured that the Rec was all set. I was even told that the Boys & Girls Club was going in at the old high school. But now the Rec and Boys and Girls Club are in the same sentence. It seems like bull**** to me. Any parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles/friends who have ever taken a child to the toddler program know it is a fantastic program. I feel that those programs are in jeopardy. Please call or email the Council and BOA. You can find them on

Thank You for your help....

I'm sorry......I just thought the Rec Center would be a good place because the Boy's and Girls Club are ages 13-18 and with the High School right there.

I still would like to know what changed from it going into the field house and I re-watched the meeting last week and the mayor made "reference' to selling the Rec Center. He didn't say he was doing it, but made a general comment. I cant see how he could do that anyway. I will look into it more and I will contact the city council on this to. There will be some cost to the taxpayers and I would like to know what that is. I'm not against this, but maybe the elderly could be exempt, something to work on. I did not know that this was a sure in, I thought the council would have all met together and work out the logistics....

Reply author: whatsup
Replied on: 11/17/2008 10:20:45 AM

Hey Tails,

Last week I was told that the Rec would not be touched. Then I read this article about the office going in there. I spoke with a Councilperson this morning. She reassured me that the Rec is not being affected. She called the Mayor's office and they told her that they need a space for the Boys and girls club to set up to secure the money. They don't even have a building yet. If the city takes back the old high school from the school dept then they will have to maintain it. I was told the school dept has already budgeted for the maintenance on the old high school but the city does not have the funds. So that is why the city doesn't have the building yet. But in the meantime there is no building ready for the boys and girls club. So we get the money and then what????

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 11/20/2008 08:12:49 AM

COMMUNITY GRANT FORUM - The Community and Economic Development office is holding a meeting Monday to seek additional public comment about the application for federal Community Development Block Grant funding that the city plans to file shortly with the state for next fiscal year. Everett annually applies for the grant money, which must be spent on initiatives to benefit low- and moderate-income residents. The city was awarded $800,000 this fiscal year, and plans to seek the same amount next year. Monday's meeting is a follow-up to an Oct. 14 public session. Community Development director Marzie Galazka said officials will seek feedback on a tentative plan to target next year's funding to the neighborhood bordered by Ferry, Chelsea, Malden, and Union streets. There will also be discussion about how the money would best be spent. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at City Hall. -John Laidler

Reply author: charm
Replied on: 11/20/2008 12:22:43 PM

$12.4m in grants puts focus on gang violence
Area gets state aid to keep teenagers away from trouble
By Steven Rosenberg, Globe Staff | November 20, 2008

Last month, with the state facing an emergency fiscal crisis, Governor Deval Patrick cut the state budget more than $1 billion. But Patrick promised he would not cut certain social service programs, and last week the governor kept his word, awarding $12.4 million in grants to combat youth and gang violence - with $550,000 going to Lynn, Beverly, Danvers, Essex, Marblehead, Melrose, Peabody, Saugus, and Swampscott.

In addition, Haverhill will share a $220,000 grant with Methuen. Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Revere, and Winthrop will share $822,000 with Cambridge, Medford, Quincy, and Somerville.

"The governor believes strongly in fighting crime at the street level, finding ways to try to keep teens out of trouble; to create safe spaces for kids to make good decisions," said Terrel Harris, a spokesman for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Harris said the state will spend $2 million more on the program than last year. "[Patrick] fought hard to keep this. That's how much he believes in this program."

The program, known as the Senator Charles E. Shannon Community Safety Initiative, began two years ago and now reaches 39 communities throughout the state. The money is spent to help fund city and regional gang units, and also goes to nonprofits and municipal programs to support street workers, jobs programs, antigang awareness, and other outreach programs.

With gangs present in cities such as Lynn, Revere, and Haverhill and spreading to quieter suburbs, a strategic alliance between law enforcement and agencies that work to steer teens away from gangs is the best solution, said Lynn Deputy Police Chief Kenneth Santoro.

"This gives us an opportunity to work directly with the kids - and from a prevention perspective, as opposed to a suppression perspective," said Santoro.

Lynn is set to receive $350,000 - an increase of $95,000 from last year.

Lynn police Sergeant Ed Nardone, who heads the city's gang unit, said at least one of the city's five murders this year was gang-related. Nardone said there were 36 gangs in the city, with more than 1,000 members. Like Lowell, the two main gangs in Lynn are the Bloods and the Crips.

Nardone also praised the increase in funding from the state. "It allows us to continue to partner with agencies within the city, because obviously we recognize that the type of violence that we're seeing in the city is something that we certainly cannot handle alone," he said.

In Lynn, just $67,000 of the grant was spent by the police department last year. Besides helping pay overtime to gang unit officers, the police used funds for a Saturday night recreation program and to fund summer jobs for gang members. The rest of the grant went to nonprofits that used the money to hire street workers, counselors, and other staff who helped gang members receive GED degrees, find work, apply for college, and obtain legal aid.

Eugene Schneeberg, Lynn's director of operations for Straight Ahead Ministries - which received more than $100,000 last year from the grant - said Lynn's gang members need role models. "A lot of these kids have had very little positive interaction with adults only, and when they do they're hungry for it, they're open to it, and they want to make a change," he said. "They don't want to live in a violent community. They don't want to be unemployed; they don't want to be out of school."

Out of the $12.4 million grant, more than $1 million is being administered by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Joel Barrera, deputy director of the council, said his organization helped draft the legislation that led to the establishment of the grant. Barrera said the grant is based on national research that shows law enforcement and social service organizations should work together in combating youth violence.

"It's based on a national model that says you have to have a comprehensive approach," said Barrera.

Barrera said the two grants are set up similarly but administered separately. Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Revere, Winthrop, Cambridge, Medford, Quincy, and Somerville use the money to pay for gang police officers and for social service programs. The cities have established a regional gang task force that meets weekly, and shares information on area gangs. Also, the gang force meets in "hot spots" in different cities each week where youth violence could occur.

Last year, Salem, Beverly, Danvers, Essex, Marblehead, Melrose, Peabody, Saugus, and Swampscott also established a regional gang task force, and more than $150,000 was spent on overtime for those officers.

Steven Rosenberg can be reached at

© Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 11/21/2008 07:21:05 AM

Although this is an NECN story, it appears Mayor DeMaria is against the toll hike to $7.00. I just hope this does not die because this will be awful for Everett, especially commuting residents. Everett needs to get involved with the state over this and let it be known it's not acceptable.

Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 11/30/2008 06:33:12 AM

60 firefighters battle fire at Brighton restaurant

By O’Ryan Johnson | Saturday, November 29, 2008 | | Local Coverage

Photo by Mark Garfinkel
Sixty Boston firefighters struggled against a collapsing, double-rubber roof to battle a stubborn two-alarm blaze that sparked early yesterday morning in Allston, causing $300,000 in damage but no injuries at a Brazilian restaurant, fire officials said.

Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said the alarm at Cafe Belo on Brighton Avenue sounded at about 4 a.m. He said jakes spotted a fire crawling up the rear of the building and then into the ceiling. The job got harder as firefighers began tearing open the roof, which was double-layered in rubber. MacDonald said the blaze soon began licking away at the roof’s trusses and support walls began cracking.

MacDonald said it took 60 firefighters about an hour to extinguish the blaze.


Reply author: arthur
Replied on: 11/30/2008 06:34:29 AM

Stadium project boosted
State approves $500,000 grant
By John Laidler, Globe Correspondent | November 30, 2008

Everett's plans to refurbish its athletic stadium received a major boost last week when the state awarded $500,000 for the project.

Ian Bowles, state Energy and Environmental Affairs secretary, announced the award during a visit to Everett Memorial Stadium on Nov. 21, where he was joined by city officials and Everett's state legislators.

The grant was among 20 totaling $7.4 million the state agency awarded that day for fiscal 2009 under its Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities program.

In this region, Chelsea, Lynn, Newburyport, Peabody, and Salem also received funding under the program, which helps cities and towns buy land, and build and renovate parks, athletic fields, and other outdoor recreational spaces.

"The Commonwealth is pleased to partner with the city of Everett on a project that will enhance recreational opportunities for the city's youth for years to come," Bowles said in a statement issued by his office.

He said that the stadium, located in an urban area close to two MBTA bus routes, is a "prime example" of Governor Deval Patrick following through on a pledge to revitalize city neighborhoods through investments in urban parks and open-space conservation.

The 5.6-acre Everett Memorial Stadium, located on Revere Beach Parkway, is the home field for the high school's Crimson Tide football team, a powerhouse that has made the Greater Boston League championships the last 14 years, and won the Division One Super Bowl seven of the last 10 years.

Everett's youth soccer and football programs and the Special Olympics also make use of the field on a limited basis.

The project calls for upgrading the existing natural field to synthetic turf. If enough funding remains, it would also provide for adding and rehabilitating bleachers, and improving the field house restrooms.

Mayor Carlo DeMaria, in a prepared statement, said the funding would provide the high school football team "with a stadium that is reflective of its long history of success. More importantly, these enhancements will provide other scholastic teams, local youth sports organizations, and residents with a premier recreational space that can be enjoyed by Everett citizens for years to come."

DeMaria credited the city's legislators, state Senator Anthony Galluccio of Cambridge and Representative Stephen "Stat" Smith of Everett for their help in securing the grant. All three joined Bowles in speaking at last Friday's event, held in one of the stadium end zones.

Marzie Galazka, community development director, said that the project is estimated to cost approximately $1.3 million. The state is committed to covering 62 percent, but no more than $500,000. As a result, if the project ends up costing the projected $1.3 million, Everett would be responsible for the other $800,000.

"The mayor is committed to the project and he will find the necessary funding," Galazka said of DeMaria. She said the city will explore other state or federal grant opportunities, and possible funding from the business community, to reduce the amount of city funds that would be needed. Any city expenditure would require City Council approval.

In its application for state funds, the city requested $500,000 to be used either for improvements to Sacramone Park, located off Santilli Highway and Tileston Street, or for the stadium. Galazka said the state opted to award money for the stadium project.

"Everett is so densely populated and our parks are so heavily used that any time we have an opportunity to utilize grants for rehabilitating them it's a tremendous opportunity," Galazka said.

She said the award is particularly gratifying because this marks the first time in the last decade that the city was eligible for funding under the program. The state had suspended the city's eligibility while Everett worked to replace parkland that lost when it built the new high school on the terraces of Glendale Park. The city met that requirement last year when it completed construction of the third of three parks.

Frederick Foresteire, school superintendent, said the school district is thrilled with the state grant, noting that the project would allow much greater use of the field.

To protect the stadium's natural-grass field for its primary user - the high school football teams - Foresteire said the city now has to restrict use of the facility by other sports programs during any kind of inclement weather. As a result, other sports groups, including the school's field hockey team and youth soccer and football programs, have only limited access to the field.

With synthetic turf, Foresteire said, the limitations posed by weather would no longer exist, so that the field could be made available much more readily to those other groups. He said installing synthetic turf would also eliminate the need to apply chalk boundary lines before every game, a labor-saving benefit that would further ease restrictions on field use.

Enabling more teams to practice and play at the stadium would "do a great deal for our youth programs," Foresteire said.

Let the money start exchanging HANDS

Reply author: jcklla
Replied on: 11/30/2008 10:25:28 AM

What about the Cafe Belo fire? Are you saying they will be opening at the Bon Saison ? That is one incredible coincidence if so. The Pantanel that just closed at that location had some connection to owners of Cafe Belo. That's a lot of coincidences.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 11/30/2008 12:06:47 PM

I didn’t hear Café Belo was moving into the Bon Saison. We will find out soon enough though. I knew Pantanel was only a matter of time. They were overpriced for today’s economy, but the Café Belo fire just happened. If this is true, I'm sure anything is possible but, that’s too coincidental for me.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 12/11/2008 08:34:33 AM

Pensions to strain city, town finances
New infusions needed as funds lose value
By Todd Wallack
Globe Staff / December 11, 2008

Massachusetts cities and towns will probably face bigger payments into pension plans that cover their workers and retirees because of this year's stock market plunge, potentially forcing communities to cut spending on police, schools, and other services.

Local pension funds, which are heavily invested in financial markets, lost about 29 percent of their value through the end of November, mirroring declines in other public pension funds nationwide, according to an estimate by Robert Dennis of the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission. The organization oversees the state's 106 public pension funds, which cover hundreds of thousands of people.

Barring a market recovery or increased aid from the state, officials warn, cities and towns will almost certainly have to make larger payments in the next few years to compensate for the decline in pension assets, using money earmarked for other spending.

"It's very serious, not just for pension funds, but for everyone," said Geoff Beckwith, director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, which represents local towns. "It will force a cash crunch on cities and towns and create real havoc."

Unlike state and federal governments, the local communities have few ways to raise additional money without voter approval, partially because of Proposition 2 1/2, the state law limiting property tax increases. In addition, state lawmakers have already suggested they might reduce local aid to balance the budget.

Even before the market crashed, most commu nities didn't have enough money set aside for pensions. Of 106 public pension funds, only three were fully funded by Jan. 1 - meaning they had sufficient assets to meet obligations to current and future retirees - according to the latest figures available. Eighty-two systems were funded below 80 percent, the level pension specialists generally consider acceptable, and seven had less than 50 percent of the money needed.

While there is no indication that government pensions are in jeopardy, growing deficits mean municipalities will gradually have to shovel more money into their plans. Under state law, communities are required to make regular payments to fully fund pension plans by 2028.

"I don't know a retirement system in the Commonwealth that hasn't expressed concern," said Joseph Connarton, executive director of the state public retirement commission.

Indeed, some cities and towns were already attempting to cope with deficits nearly the size of their entire annual budgets.

For instance, the City of Everett, with a $125 million budget, reported a pension deficit of more than $100 million. As of Jan. 1, its pension plan was only 37 percent funded. Springfield's pension shortfall is $403 million, three-quarters of its annual budget, and the plan was less than 43 percent funded as of the beginning of the year.

Other systems with less than half the assets needed in their pension systems include Lynn, Chelsea, Lawrence, Webster, and New Bedford. Boston's pension fund was 64 percent funded as of January 2006.Continued...

"Looking forward to 2009, cities and towns should try to rein in spending and be prepared for another tough year," said state Treasurer Tim Cahill.

But communities won't immediately have to make higher pension payments. Typically, they recalibrate pension contributions every three years, using complex actuarial assumptions to figure out how much they will owe to current and future retirees. While some are scheduled to update figures next year, others won't run new calculations until 2011. And even communities that adjust their figures next year won't start making revised payments until 2010. In addition, pension systems commonly use accounting techniques to spread out losses and gains on their investments over several years, reducing the impact from one aberrant year.

"Public pension funds take a long-term view," said Keith Brainard, research director for the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. "They tend to measure investment returns over decades, not quarters or years."

To allow cities and towns more breathing room, the Massachusetts Municipal Association plans to push for legislation to extend by several years the 2028 funding deadline.

"It would give pension funds more time to have the assets recover some of their lost value due to the wild swings on Wall Street," said Beckwith, the municipal group's director. "Holding fast to the 2028 date could cause massive cash flow problems for cities and towns and cause unacceptable cuts in essential services."

The Legislature set the deadline in 1987, when many Massachusetts pension funds were underfunded. Under the law, local pension systems are required to periodically measure how well they are funded and devise a schedule of regular payments to close any deficits.

Governor Deval Patrick's administration has not decided whether to extend the deadline for local funds, though it already done so for the state employees and teachers systems by two years, from 2023 to 2025.

Some local and state officials say an extension could potentially increase the amount of money municipalities will ultimately have to pay. Private companies are dealing with similar pension funding problems. Some have reduced benefits or dropped plans altogether.

"The longer we delay the funding, the worse it becomes," said Springfield auditor Mark Ianello, who chairs that city's retirement board. "You have to bite the bullet at some point and stick to the funding schedule. Each day that we delay funding, it costs more down the road."

Like many municipalities, Springfield already is grappling with a huge bill to make up for past underfunding of its pension plan. Next year, the city is supposed to make a contribution of more than $34 million to its plan. If it had been fully funding the plan all along, the city would owe only $3.9 million.

Everett has been forced to make up for its pension plan deficit by using money that could have gone toward a new fire station, sidewalks, or other services. It is scheduled to make a $10.5 million payment into its plan in 2009.

"There are so many other things I could do with" the money, said Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr., who took office this year. "Predecessors of mine just put in the minimum amount, not realizing the impact" of a shortfall over the long term, he said.

Now officials in Springfield, Everett, and other communities worry that pension bills could climb even higher after they close the books on 2008 in a few weeks.

Connarton, who runs the state's public retirement commission, said unless the markets turn around, most communities will undoubtedly need to contribute more to their pension plans in coming years. And it's one expense communities can't skip.

"There's no way around it," Connarton said. "You have to pay pension costs."

Todd Wallack can be reached at
© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 12/11/2008 08:40:04 AM

Eight area communities may get foreclosure aid
By John Laidler
Globe Correspondent / December 11, 2008

Eight area communities have the chance to land some federal help in dealing with the effects of rising foreclosures.

Chelsea, Everett, Haverhill, Lynn, Peabody, Revere, Salem, and Saugus are among 39 cities and towns that would be eligible to share in $43.5 million awarded to the Commonwealth, under a state plan for disbursing the money.

The $43.5 million is part of $3.92 billion the US Department of Housing and Urban Development is awarding nationally to help cities and towns stabilize neighborhoods hard-hit by foreclosures. The funding, authorized in legislation adopted by Congress this past July, can be used to purchase, renovate, and redevelop foreclosed homes.

Under its plan, which requires HUD approval, the state identified communities most affected by foreclosures and in need of financial assistance, following criteria set by the agency.

Officials in local eligible communities say they would welcome receiving a share of the federal money, which can also be used to demolish blighted buildings; to create "land banks" for managing and disposing of vacant land; and to help low- to moderate-income homebuyers with downpayments and closing costs.

"We certainly intend to apply . . . and put an effective program together that helps our neighborhoods," said Haverhill's economic development and planning director, William E. Pillsbury Jr.

Lynn development director James Marsh said the city is seeing a high rate of foreclosures "and we are anxiously awaiting this money so we can start addressing it."

From January through the end of October, 1,151 foreclosure deeds were recorded in the eight area communities eligible for the program, an 86.5 percent increase over the 617 recorded during the same months in 2007, according to The Warren Group, a Boston-based publisher of real estate data. Among the foreclosure deeds recorded this year, 399 were in Lynn, 175 in Haverhill, 166 in Revere, 117 in Everett, 113 in Chelsea, 64 in Peabody, 63 in Salem, and 54 in Saugus.

"This is a very important new federal program that will directly address the foreclosure crisis throughout Massachusetts, especially in the hard-hit cities," said Aaron Gornstein, executive director of the nonprofit Citizens' Housing and Planning Association. "We are hopeful that the fund will be used to acquire and renovate foreclosed properties so they can be put back into productive use."

Gornstein noted that the rise in foreclosures "is one of the main reasons why there has been a drop in property values. And once property becomes foreclosed and vacant, it often will sit and could get vandalized, and tends to get more deteriorated. So you need to acquire the properties quickly and stabilize them to make them available for first-time homebuyers or for nonprofit organizations to manage. . .. That's what hopefully this funding can do."Continued...

In all, Massachusetts has been awarded $54.8 million. Of that, $11.4 million will go in direct grants to the four cities identified as the state's highest-need communities - Boston, Brockton, Springfield, and Worcester.

Under the state plan, those four cities could also apply for a combined $9.1 million. Another 10 communities, including Haverhill and Lynn, would be eligible to apply for a combined $6.8 million. The remaining funds - minus $3.4 million set aside for administration and technical help - would go to projects in some or all of those 14 communities and 25 others, including Chelsea, Everett, Peabody, Revere, Salem, and Saugus.

"This use of funds is a blend between direct aid to communities hardest hit by foreclosures and programming resources available to high priority regions in need of assistance as determined by HUD data," said Kofi Jones, spokeswoman for Daniel O'Connell, the state's housing and economic development secretary.

In this area, Chelsea, Everett, and Revere are considering filing a joint funding application to support a regional effort to address foreclosures. Though sharing resources and general goals, each city would tailor the program to meet its specific needs, according to Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash.

Ash said his city could make good use of a grant award because it already has a housing director and a larger task force dealing with foreclosures. It also works closely with nonprofits that deal directly with the issue, including one that acquires and rehabilitates vacant properties and another that counsels people at risk of foreclosure.

Revere Mayor Thomas G. Ambrosino, who recently organized a regional foreclosure avoidance workshop that drew more than 200 people, said any HUD money would be "very helpful."

"We are hoping to use it for rehabilitating properties in receivership or for acquiring foreclosed properties," he said. "So there are a lot of potential uses of this money."

Peabody's community development and planning director, Jean Delios, said the city is still evaluating how it might use any grant money. But one idea is to assist nonprofits in purchasing foreclosed properties and converting them to affordable housing.

"Even if there is just one vacant house on a street, it can potentially create a blight in a neighborhood," she said.
© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: massdee
Replied on: 12/14/2008 07:39:28 AM

John C. DiBiaso
DiBIASO, John C. Of Everett, on Dec. 11. Beloved husband of the late Louise (Sansone). Father of John C. Jr. & his wife Maureen, Robert C. & his wife Allison, all of Everett, & Marc C. & his wife Karen of Sweden. Stepfather of Michelle Kelliher Hopgood, of Brockton, Also survived by 5 grandchildren, Michael, Kristina, Jonathan, Olivia, & Erik. Funeral from the Salvatore Rocco & Sons Funeral Home, 331 Main St., EVERETT, Tuesday, Dec. 16, at 9. Funeral Mass St. Anthony Church, Everett at 10. Relatives & friends invited. Visitjng hours Monday 4-8. In lieu of flowers donations in John's memory may be made to the Crimson Tide Football Club, PO Box 490922, Everett, MA 02149. Interment Glenwood Cemetery, Everett. Former President of the Mass Athletic Directors Assoc., Longtime Athletic Dir. of Everett HS, Former Coach Parlin Jr. HS, Chelsea HS, Immaculate Conception HS, Revere & Everett HS. Rocco-Carr-Henderson Funeral Service 1-877-71-ROCCO

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 12/14/2008 12:03:46 PM

This is sad, and prayers to the DiBiaso family. I never knew his Dad was into football like him. It's really nice when family members enjoy the same things together. I'm sure the name DiBiaso will be remembered for many, many years to come.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 12/19/2008 8:27:10 PM


Despite governor's call for limits, some police continue to make thousands on assignments

By Connie Paige
Globe Correspondent / December 18, 2008

Local police officers have pulled in tens of thousands of dollars a year standing watch on private details at utility and road construction projects, and they show no sign of backing off despite a call by Governor Deval Patrick to curb the practice.

In Lynn, a police officer netted $65,689 in 2007, swelling his take-home pay to $150,729, according to a Globe survey.

In the same year, in Beverly, a captain collected nearly $38,000 in detail pay, giving him a total yearly take of more than $156,000, while a Saugus patrolman made more in details, at $53,086, than in his base pay of $49,584.

Patrick has pushed through new rules tightening use of police officers on details for state projects, and switching to civilian flaggers for some state jobs. But at the local level, police chiefs north of Boston defend the use of police officers on details and vow to continue it in their communities.

"If we can put uniformed police officers on the street on details without a direct impact on taxpayers, I think it's a good thing," said Lynn Police Chief John W. Suslak.

The main case against police details has been their price tag. The Patrick administration estimated that of the $20 million to $25 million spent annually on police details by the state, the new policy would mean a savings of between $5.7 million and $7.2 million per year.

In 2004, the Beacon Hill Institute, a private think tank, estimated that local police officers in Massachusetts earned $141.4 million working details the previous year, with $93 million of that spent on traffic control.

While the bills for details are paid by the company doing the hiring - not the city or town - critics like the Beacon Hill Institute say the top dollar paid for sworn police officers gets added onto utility rates and other costs ultimately borne by consumers.

At Verizon, spokesman Philip G. Santoro said the company spends about $12 million annually for police details in Massachusetts. Santoro pointed out that "we've successfully used both details and flaggers across the country at our work sites."

The cost for a police officer on a detail is generally about $40 per hour, controlled by a union contract, according to Frederick Ryan, the Arlington police chief who is a spokesman for the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs, a professional organization. The contracts usually require a company to hire an officer for a minimum of four hours, and if the time runs over that, to pay for eight hours, Ryan said.

The details add millions to police pay. In Beverly, for example, police topped off their combined 2007 salaries of $6.5 million with $1.2 million on details. The top detail earner that year was Captain John DiVincenzo, with $37,768 from details as part of his total pay of $156,423. DiVincenzo did not return a reporter's calls seeking comment.

That same year, the top detail earner in Lynn was Officer John Dean, with $65,689 in details included in his annual take of $150,729. "I think we do a good job out there," Dean said. "We do a lot of things besides protecting people we work for, [including] traffic and pedestrian [control]."

In Saugus, Officer Timothy Fawcett earned $53,086 in detail work, which with overtime and other pay, brought his total pay last year to $125,856.

Fawcett did not return calls for comment on his detail pay.

Around the region, there is little appetite to change the system on the local level.

"I believe that police details have solved lots of crimes and saved lives," said Malden police Chief Kenneth A. Coye. "I think they're a real bargain. This is a public safety issue where people get a tremendous bang for the buck."

Lynn Mayor Edward Clancy said the city has so many pressing problems that the use of police details "is not a hot-button issue." Similarly, Saugus Town Manager Andrew Bisignani said officials there "had not come to the point yet" of considering a change.

Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash said he was "very excited" when Patrick raised the issue. Ash said he "had long wondered whether we were getting value for our dollars."

However, after studying the issue, Ash said he discovered that switching to civilian flaggers would save the city only 15 cents per hour. Moreover, he said, police on details this year had made 28 arrests as of September.

Ash said that he, the City Council, and the city's two police unions plan to hash out a new policy by the end of the year that likely would curb the police details somewhat by barring them where they are not needed, such as on dead-end streets.

Several area police chiefs maintained that police on details add extra eyes and ears attuned to crime in city and town centers and neighborhoods. They said they deemed the use of details crucial in a time of fiscal austerity, when many communities are cutting back public safety budgets.

"In my opinion, they're good for the police and they're good for the city," said Saugus police Chief Dominic DiMella.

DiMella said his department is so shorthanded that he usually has only three police cars on the street at a time, making the police on detail an informal supplementary force. "With the financial resources we have, it's an added bonus: They give us visibility, and they have the power of arrest and the power to serve citations," he said.

Police pointed to many instances in which officers on detail helped with a medical emergency, stopped a crime, or joined in catching a suspected thief.

In Lynn, for example, police Sergeant Henry Wojewodzic was working a private detail in July when he was approached by witnesses who told him about a nearby assault with a handgun during a road-rage incident, according to Suslak.

Wojewodzic immediately alerted other police officers, who tracked down the three men allegedly involved. The suspects were charged with assault, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and other crimes. Two of the suspects turned out to be members of a local gang, Suslak said.

Wojewodzic cleared $112,246 in salary last year, with $8,195 from details.

Many police argue that officers do not make high enough base salaries and benefits to afford to live in the pricey Northeast without serving on private details.

"I think police are woefully underpaid," said Newburyport police Lieutenant Mark Murray, the department's detail officer. "There are people out there making a half million per year, and they [complain] because we make $100,000. For some reason, the details bother them because we're making a couple extra bucks. Nobody likes to work 80 hours a week, but you have to do it sometimes to make a living."

The chiefs stressed that eliminating private details would not automatically free up police officers to walk the beat. The chiefs said details represent a second job, adding to the hours officers work and the dangerous situations they face. Nor does detail pay figure into calculation for pensions, the chiefs noted.

The details do not boost taxes, but many communities make money on them.

Most charge an administrative fee of 10 percent to the companies hiring the detail officers. Some also require companies to pay a fee for use of cruisers on details.

Murray said Newburyport charges $50 per day for a cruiser, but they are not used much. Saugus charges $3 per shift, and DiMella said he is considering raising it to $6.

The departments surveyed all have rules prohibiting officers from working more than two eight-hour shifts in succession in a 24-hour-period, with some exceptions approved by the chief.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 12/19/2008 8:33:35 PM

Officials seek teeth for pole law
Local officials push for power to prod utilities

By Brenda J. Buote
Globe Correspondent / December 18, 2008

With the approach of a new legislative session, municipal leaders and activists are calling on lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow cities and towns to fine utility companies that fail to remove double poles in a timely manner.

"Repeated promises remain unfulfilled," said Patrick Mehr, a Lexington resident who for years has pushed for legislation to put muscle behind a 1997 state law that mandates utility companies remove double poles within 90 days of their installation, but that has no penalties for noncompliance.

"The situation will not change until the state Legislature revisits this issue," said Mehr. "They have blatantly disregarded the law, and will continue to do so until there are real financial incentives for them to make substantive changes."

The situation is created when a utility company installs a pole to replace an old one, and both are left while the utility waits for other companies to move their equipment, including transmission lines, transformers, and fire alarm cables, to the new pole. And although the utilities maintain a shared management database designed to smooth the process, it can take months.

Communities have expressed concerns that double poles pose a hazard. Some obstruct the vision of motorists. Others are left dangling above ground, carrying high-voltage wires.

In the absence of a legislative remedy, some communities have adopted a novel approach to compel compliance: When a utility comes before local officials seeking permits for other projects, it is asked to take action on the double poles.

"We hold up some projects a little bit, and they seem to respond to that," said Malden City Councilor Paul DiPietro, noting that Verizon, National Grid, Comcast, and the Fire Department are now working to remove some 300 double poles.

However, similar tactics have failed in other communities, often because the utility seeking permits is unable to compel others using the old pole to transfer equipment. In each community, a single utility - Verizon, NStar, or National Grid, the successor to Massachusetts Electric - is responsible for directing the removal, but has no authority over others with wires on the pole.

"In many cases, it's an issue of motivation," said Steven Magoon, Watertown director of community development and planning and a former mayoral aide in Gloucester, who noted officials in both communities have had little success. "Often, a double pole will get addressed by one utility because they have a service issue in that area, but it's not as high a priority for the other companies, so the process drags on."

Verizon spokesman Phil Santoro said the telecommunications company is committed to removing double poles efficiently. "We work cooperatively with the other entities that have wires on the poles," he said. "In most cases, the current process works pretty effectively. Occasionally, there are delays that typically would result from coordinating the schedules of all four entities; however, that is the exception rather than the rule."

Between April and October, Verizon reduced the double poles in Lexington from 345 to 221, according to surveys conducted by the town Electric Utility Ad Hoc Committee. However, 196 of the remaining poles had been in place longer than 90 days.

Mehr, a member of the committee, said Lexington's frustration over the lingering double poles was clear at Town Meeting in April, when voters passed a resolution requiring selectmen to solicit state support for legislation that would fine utilities for noncompliance with the law.

The board's chairman cited the utilities' Pole Lifetime Management database in lobbying for tougher enforcement measures.

"We now have well over four years of experience with PLM, and even for the showcase community of Lexington, PLM has not yielded the results promised by the utilities," Selectman Norman P. Cohen wrote in an Aug. 11 letter to the chairman of the state Department of Public Utilities and the commissioner of the state Department of Telecommunications and Cable.

Cohen noted that the sluggish progress is particularly troubling because Verizon and NStar in 2003 identified Lexington as a pilot community to demonstrate the database's effectiveness.

The state DPU's executive director, Tim Shevlin, said the problem is complicated.

The issue of shared jurisdiction over the poles obscures matters, he said. Under the Romney administration, only the state Department of Telecommunications and Energy was responsible for overseeing removal of double poles. But the agency no longer exists, its responsibilities now shared by DPU, which oversees gas and electric companies, and DTC, which oversees cable and telephone companies.

Frustrated, the town of Bedford in 2005 passed a bylaw that established a $100 daily fine for each set of lingering double poles. The Supreme Judicial Court overturned the bylaw, finding that the state is responsible for regulating double poles.

"The issue has not been resolved, and it should be," said Bedford Town Manager Rick Reed, suggesting that tweaking the PLM could ensure companies are notified automatically when another company has finished transferring its equipment.

The PLM system now relies on each company monitoring the database to know when to send out crews. The process of switching wires involves a sequence, so if one utility doesn't update the database, others get held up.

Reed wants the PLM system upgraded and fines imposed for noncompliance, an approach supported by municipal leaders and activists across the state.

State Senator Susan C. Tucker, an Andover Democrat who is vice chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, in January filed a bill to establish fees for noncompliance with the law; the bill died in committee. Tucker said she will refile it next month.

Brenda J. Buote may be reached at

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 12/21/2008 09:24:13 AM

STREET WORK COMPLETED - The city recently completed resurfacing work on five streets in north Everett. The improvements were done on Henry Street; Eliot and Kenwood roads; and Edith and Marie avenues. D&R General Contracting of Stoneham did the work. Everett officials said the project was completed ahead of schedule, which saved the city money. The $619,000 cost was funded through a city allotment of federal Community Development Block Grant funds. Next spring, the city plans to do any final touch-up work and plant some trees along the streets, according to Erin Deveney, chief of staff to Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. - John Laidler

FREE HOLIDAY PARKING - In an effort to provide a boost to the city's merchants, the city has suspended parking meter charges during the holiday season. Through Jan. 5, parking is free at all metered spaces in the city. "It's a nice way to say, 'Come to Everett and don't worry about parking,' " said Matt Laidlaw, director of communications for Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. The city is also advising residents that 2009 residential parking stickers will be issued beginning on Jan. 2. The stickers can be obtained in the parking clerk's office in City Hall. Proof of residency is required. The stickers are free during the months of January and February. Starting in March, there is a $10 charge. - John Laidler

Reply author: Fran
Replied on: 12/23/2008 2:40:50 PM

Exxon Mobil subsidiary agrees to pay $6.1 million for Mystic River fuel spill
December 23, 2008 12:32 PM Email| Comments (10)| Text size – + By Jonathan Saltzman, Globe Staff

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp. has agreed to plead guilty to a criminal charge and pay $6.1 million for a 15,000-gallon diesel fuel spill at an oil terminal in Everett, a disaster that federal prosecutors say could easily have been prevented.

Prosecutors announced today that they had filed a criminal information against ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. charging it with a criminal violation of the federal Clean Water Act in connection with the January 2006 spill that covered the Mystic River with a blue-green sheen.

Under a plea agreement filed with the criminal charge, the company has agreed to pay $6.1 million in fines and cleanup costs and pay for a court-appointed monitor to oversee the Everett terminal for three years. The plea agreement must be approved by a federal court, according to federal prosecutors and other officials.

The spill occurred over a 13 1/2-hour period that began on the afternoon of Jan. 9, 2006, after the oil tanker M/V Nara docked at the Everett terminal to unload petroleum products, authorities said. A badly worn 10-inch seal valve on one of the berths did not close completely and leaked low-sulfur diesel fuel into another pipeline. That caused pressure to build up in the second pipeline until it burst a 3/4-inch metal coupling 610 feet away.

US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan said a contractor had warned ExxonMobil in September 2005 that the 10-inch seal valve was leaking but that the company ignored it. Sullivan also said the metal coupling was more than 30 years old, unpainted and badly corroded, and would have cost about two dollars to replace.

"This was an accident waiting to happen," he said at news conference where he showed reporters two pieces of the broken coupling.

The spill was discovered by the Coast Guard, which received numerous calls about an oily sheen on the Mystic River.

Special Agent John K. Gauthier, an investigator with the US Environmental Protection Agency, said the spill at the confluence of the Mystic and Island End Rivers likely had a "devastating" environmental impact on the waterway, which flows into Boston Harbor, but he had no details. The harbor was for decades an environmental nightmare, polluted with industrial waste, but in recent years has been cleaned up.

ExxonMobil said in a statement that it "takes its environmental responsibility very seriously" and will try to prevent a similar spill from occuring.

"We very much regret that in Jaunary of 2006, we had a release of a petroleum product into the Island End River in the Boston area which resulted in a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act," the company said.

Reply author: Tails
Replied on: 12/23/2008 9:08:36 PM

I realize they are paying 6.1 million in fines, but to only be charged with a "misdemeanor violation" of the Clean Water Act, is unacceptable. There has to be more accountability, so things like this never happen again.

Reply author: charm
Replied on: 12/24/2008 07:15:22 AM

ExxonMobil slammed for Everett spill
US decries negligence, sets $6.1m in penalties
By Jonathan Saltzman, Globe Staff | December 24, 2008

A wholly owned subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp. will pay $6.1 million in fines and plead guilty to a criminal charge in response to a 15,000-gallon diesel fuel spill at an Everett oil terminal - a mess that federal authorities said was caused, in part, by the company's failure to replace a $2 metal coupling.

Prosecutors said yesterday that they had charged ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. with a criminal violation of the federal Clean Water Act in the January 2006 spill, which coated the Island End River and Mystic River with a blue-green sheen.

Under a plea agreement filed with the criminal charge in US District Court in Boston, the company will not only pay the fine, but will also fund a court-appointed monitor to oversee the Everett terminal for three years, and follow a rigorous environmental compliance plan. The agreement awaits court approval.

The spill occurred over a period of about 12 hours beginning Jan. 9, 2006, after the oil tanker M/V Nara docked at ExxonMobil's ter minal to unload petroleum products, authorities said. A badly worn 10-inch seal valve on one of the berths failed to close completely and leaked low-sulfur diesel fuel into another pipeline containing low-sulfur kerosene. That caused pressure to build up in the second pipeline until it burst a 3/4-inch metal coupling 610 feet way.

US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan said a contractor testing the valve for ExxonMobil in September 2005 had warned the company that the 10-inch seal was leaking - but the company ignored the warning. Sullivan also said the metal coupling was more than 30 years old, unpainted, and badly corroded, and would have cost about $2 to replace.

"This was an accident waiting to happen," he said at news conference, where he showed reporters two pieces of the broken coupling.

The spill was discovered by the Coast Guard, which received numerous calls about an oily sheen on the rivers and traced it to the source.

ExxonMobil said in a statement yesterday that it "takes its environmental responsibility very seriously" and will try to prevent a similar spill from occuring.

"We very much regret that in January of 2006, we had a release of a petroleum product into the Island End River in the Boston area which resulted in a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act," the company said.

Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, said the fuel got onto boats and docks at the Admiral's Hill Marina in Chelsea and took three to four weeks to clean up. But he said there was no obvious damage to wildlife in the largely industrial area.

As part of the plea agreement, ExxonMobil is to pay $538,652 in fines and cleanup costs and make a community service payment of more than $5.6 million to the North American Wetlands Conservation Act Fund, which will pay to restore wetlands in Massachusetts.

Erin Deveney, chief of staff to Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr., said in a statement that he was pleased the agreement "recognized the seriousness and the significance of the incident" and was confident that ExxonMobil "will be attentive to environmental and safety precautions in the future."

The spill occurred at the confluence of the Island End and Mystic rivers, which flow into Boston Harbor. For decades, the harbor had a notorious reputation because of pollution from industrial waste, but in recent years it has gotten cleaner.

Prosecutors and other federal officials said at the news conference that ExxonMobil was criminally negligent in the spill, which dumped 12,700 gallons of low-sulfur diesel and 2,500 gallons of kerosene into the water.

The authorities released a photograph that showed an outdoor metal walkway near one of the berths where the coupling burst. The walkway lay beneath several inches of greenish fuel during the spill, yet no one from ExxonMobil alerted authorities as the fuel filled a containment pan and poured into the river.

"The pan overflowed into the river for hours and hours and didn't stop until the [M/V Nara] stopped pumping," said Assistant US Attorney Jonathan F. Mitchell, a prosecutor in the case. ExxonMobil employees "should have been doing their regular rounds and didn't, because if they had done their regular rounds, they couldn't have missed it because they would have had to splash through the stuff."

Exxon Mobil Corp. and its corporate predecessors have owned the marine distribution terminal since 1929. Oil tankers deliver petroleum products to the terminal, and the fuel is then distributed throughout New England, authorities said. The terminal features 29 oil storage tanks.

Stacey H. Mitchell, chief of the environmental crimes section of the US Justice Department in Washington, which worked on the case with Sullivan's office, said ExxonMobil ignored basic maintenance by failing to replace the leaky valve seal and the old coupling.

Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 12/25/2008 10:13:15 AM

Devotion to duty

Bundled against the cold, a group of parishioners at St. Therese Church in Everett keeps the faith in vigil since its shutdown four years ago

By Kathy McCabe
Globe Staff / December 25, 2008

EVERETT - Wrapped in a thermal blanket, Alaskan coat, and a leopard fur headband, Lee Pratto lay down on her cot for another night's sleep in St. Therese Church.

"I'm all prepared," said Pratto, who also wore thick socks, velour pants, a sweater, and turtleneck. "If you get into the right position, it's really kind of cozy."

The Everett church, officially closed by the Archdiocese of Boston in 2004, has no heat or running water. Both were shut off in October after the archdiocese said it would not spend $50,000 or more to fix a broken boiler.

"It's both a question of fairness and doing what is right," said Terrence C. Donilon, the archdiocese spokesman. "We're not going to replace boilers for a building that no longer has a future use. . . . It doesn't make sense."

But a group of parishioners - who today will spend their fifth Christmas occupying the church - say they won't budge.

"We're not walking away," said Harry Whelan, 71, wearing a blue parka in the parish hall. "We don't care how cold it gets."

The loss of heat and water at St. Therese raises new concerns about safety. The vigil - which started after the closing Mass on Oct. 26, 2004 - has gone on without major problems. There have been no medical emergencies, fires, or property damage. After the heat and water were shut off, participants in the vigil had a portable bathroom installed in the garage. They also bring in bottled water to wash or make coffee in the parish hall. The electricity has not been shut off.

"I call it determination," said Mary Tumasz, 84, who stopped by for coffee after attending Sunday Mass at another parish.

Both Everett officials and the archdiocese are concerned about safety. Vigil participants have been told not to light candles, or use electric blankets or space heaters to keep warm.

"Safety is our top concern," said Donilon. "We told them back in August, when we told them about the boiler and water, we don't think it's wise that they're there."

Everett police check on the church at least once a day. The Fire Department visits frequently. Mayor Carlo DiMaria Jr. also has met with the archdiocese.

"The mayor shares their concern about safety," said Matt Laidlaw, the mayor's spokesman. "The archdiocese was pretty straightforward. This is not an active parish. . . . But the mayor is on the side of the parishioners."

Donilon would not say when or if the archdiocese will take further action at St. Therese.

"The church is not going to reopen," he said. "We're moving forward, with the things we need to do to secure the building, until we determine at a future time what will happen to it."

St. Therese - one of 65 parishes closed by Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley since 2004 - is one of five churches holding vigils to protest its closing. The others are in East Boston, Framingham, Scituate, and Wellesley. O'Malley has not moved to end the protests, among the longest running in the country's church history. The archdiocese estimates it has spent $2 million on insurance, utilities, and other costs at the occupied parishes, including $300,000 at St. Therese.

"It is important that people know the cardinal does care about them," Donilon said. "He does pray for them. He does think about them. He would like them to help us rebuild and heal this archdiocese. It's about our people, not our buildings."

In the Globe North region, 10 parishes closed as part of a sweeping reconfiguration. Small churches in West Newbury and Merrimac were merged to create one new parish. Churches in Groveland and Peabody merged with large neighboring parishes. Except for two churches that have appealed their closings to the Vatican - Our Lady of Lourdes in Revere and St. Michael the Archangel in Lynn - the vast majority of Catholics have moved on to new parishes.

When churches are closed, the archdiocese designates a nearby "welcoming church" for parishioners to move to. But some at St. Therese could not let go of the little brick church on Broadway. The vigil started when four people refused to leave its worn wooden pews after the last Mass. Pratto, a parishioner for 50 years before the closing, was prepared only with water, crackers, and cheese.

"This was a house of the Lord," she said. "I didn't think it should close. . . . I didn't know we'd be here this long."

Carol Tumasz, another original participant, says she has since slept at the church almost every night.

"I have a lot more blankets now," said Tumasz, 51, counting an afghan and three wool blankets on her cot. "I just keep piling them on."

At least two people, sometimes three or four, sleep overnight. Ray Bourque of Malden joined two years ago after the death of his wife.

"I found peace here," said Bourque, 68, who said he now attends Sacred Hearts Church in Malden. "It helped me through the mourning period."

Organizers say about 30 to 40 people rotate through the church each week. It's unclear if the church or parish hall is occupied a full 24 hours.

"Usually someone is in one of the buildings," said Joan Shepard, 75, one of those who has been with the vigil since the start.

Christmas is a bare-bones affair this year at St. Therese. A communion service could not be held because the church is too cold. There is no tree or Nativity scene on the altar, only a garland with holly berries and two poinsettias.

"We're all in the hands of God," Shepard said, buttoning up in an overcoat. "He's the boss."

Kathy McCabe can be reached at

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 12/25/2008 10:16:07 AM

Contractors recently began repairing the front steps of the Parlin Memorial Library. During the renovation, which is expected to take four to six weeks, the library will remain open and all scheduled activities will take place, according to library director Deborah Abraham. A temporary entrance is on the south side of the building opposite the fire station. The door is normally used only for emergencies. Some of the granite steps recently caved in because the cement supporting them has deteriorated. The City Council approved Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr.'s request for $90,000 to fund the project. Located at 410 Broadway, the Parlin is the city's main library. The 1895 building underwent an award-winning renovation and addition project in 1992. - John Laidler

Reply author: tetris
Replied on: 12/28/2008 08:24:34 AM

TAX RATE UP, BILLS DOWN - The city has set a residential tax rate of $11.18 per $1,000 valuation and a commercial tax rate of $28.98 per $1,000 for fiscal 2009. The rates were recently approved by the state Department of Revenue. The rates were set after the City Council decided to maintain the existing policy of having separate tax rates for residents and businesses. By law, municipalities must decide annually whether to have a split tax rate and if so, how much of the tax burden to shift on to businesses. With the support of Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr., the council opted for the maximum shift allowable. Under that shift, which remains unchanged from fiscal 2008, businesses would pay 75 percent more than if there were a single rate. The council also maintained the city's residential exemption, which provides a partial tax break to owner-occupied homes. With the exemption factored in, the owner of an average single-family home valued at $294,800 would pay $2,557 in fiscal 2009, $174 less than the $2,731 the owner of an average home valued at $340,400 paid in fiscal 2008. Without the exemption, the average tax bill in fiscal 2009 would be $3,296, a $227 decrease from the $3,523 in fiscal 2008. - John Laidler

MORE FIREFIGHTER HONORS - At a recent ceremony in City Hall, Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. presented city citations to the 22 firefighters honored this month by the state, and to the city's three fire stations for their collaborative efforts in responding to the Dec. 5, 2007, gasoline tanker truck fire. The Everett Fire Department was presented with a special Excellence in Leadership Award for their response to the fire at Sweetser Circle during the state's annual Firefighter of the Year awards ceremony at Faneuil Hall. The Everett accident occurred when a "fully loaded gasoline tanker overturned, struck a guardrail, and spilled 9,000 gallons of gasoline down a steep embankment," according to an account the state provided with the award. It said the resulting explosion caused a "river of fire to flow into three very heavily congested residential areas" and that the first responding firefighters found "three fully involved, occupied multifamily dwellings and 50 cars and the tanker on fire." Everett firefighters, the state account said, "responded to this dangerous and chaotic scene and effected a well coordinated, aggressive attack on the exposure fires and were able to safely evacuate all involved." - John Laidler

Reply author: scamore
Replied on: 12/30/2008 2:21:44 PM

Joint move to target public pot smoking

By Dave Wedge and Edward Mason | Tuesday, December 30, 2008 | | Local Politics

Photo by AP
Pot smokers flying high over a new law providing simple tickets for possessing small amounts of weed could still find themselves in cuffs as city leaders weigh a state recommendation to get tough on public toking.

“I’d sign it in a second,” Lynn Mayor Edward “Chip” Clancy said. “I wasn’t in favor of the ballot question. I don’t think the expansion of marijuana use, or any other drug for that matter, is a good idea.”

The soft-on-pot law just approved by Bay State voters takes effect Friday, making possession of less than an ounce of marijuana punishable by a $100 fine, rather than arrest.

But in guidelines issued by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security yesterday, state officials urged cities and towns to pass local laws to pile on additional fines and make it a crime to smoke pot in public.

“I think communities would have to take a hard look at doing something like that,” said Woburn Mayor Thomas McLaughlin, calling the state’s recommendation “interesting.”

Public toking laws were not previously needed on the books because simple possession was a criminal offense, albeit a misdemeanor.

Attorney General Martha Coakley, who opposed the pot power play overwhelmingly approved by voters in November, suggested towns tack on an additional $300 civil penalty as well as criminal penalties.

Decriminalization backers fear the proposed local crackdown amounts to an “end-run” around the spirit of the new law.

“We’re not opposed in principle to some kind of sensible regulation, however, if it starts to look like this is being done to undo the wishes of voters, then yes, we would be opposed to that,” said Dan Bernath, spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which backed the Bay State ballot initiative.

Boston City Councilor Stephen Murphy, chairman of the council’s public safety committee, said he planned to discuss the issue with the board and Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

“I think we should look at what all of our options are,” Murphy said.

Menino spokeswoman Dot Joyce said the mayor had not been briefed on the guidelines and wanted to reserve comment. Menino shared the concerns of district attorneys that Question 2 would be a gateway to weaker pot laws.

But, Joyce said, “the people have voted, and we’ll follow the letter of the law.”

Cops and prosecutors have also argued that the new law could nullify drug testing of cops, bus drivers and MBTA employees. Public Safety Secretary Kevin Burke, though, said sanctions for flunking drug tests are unchanged.

“You can still provide effective employee discipline,” Burke said.

The new law, similar to others across the country, is designed to prevent people caught with small amounts of marijuana from having lifetime criminal records. Rather than arrest and prosecution, the law requires police to issue a $100 civil fine for a first offense. For minors, there is a parental notification and education requirement.

Burke said the law still allows cops to search suspects, seize pot and arrest drug dealers.

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Reply author: whynot
Replied on: 12/31/2008 06:35:54 AM

I was readign this on this site and I think the board of alderman and the wonderful police chief need to make new laws regarding this, I understand that people wanted this and it was a huge turn out back in November, but, why are the cities and towns waiting till it takes effect to put laws in place, and doesn't the state law cancell out the city and towns law?

Reply author: whynot
Replied on: 12/31/2008 06:38:47 AM

Beginning Friday, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana in Massachusetts will become a civil offense instead of a criminal offense.

Law enforcers can issue citations for $100.

Auburn police Chief Andrew Sluckis says his department makes several marijuana-related arrests each week.

But the law is about to change in the new year when the ballot initiative known as Question 2 takes effect.

"I think given the way the fine structures are set up now there's absolutely no incentive for people not to carry less than an ounce of marijuana," Sluckis said. "And there's little incentive for police to enforce the law."

Sluckis and some other police chiefs say there's no mechanism in the law to make violators identify themselves -- and no way to force people to pay the fine.

When it comes to issuing the citation, Chief Sluckis and others told WBZ-TV the form doesn't exist.

Sluckis said officers won't be able to write a ticket to those in violation of the new pot law.

"Nor am I planning to get the ability to do that," he said.

Public Safety and Security Secretary Kevin Burke says the state is recommending communities pass their own ordinances against public pot smoking.

Juveniles caught with under an ounce are supposed to undergo drug education.

But Burke explains that there currently isn't a program to refer people to.

He says a variety of state agencies are working to develop that program, which is required by the new law. But there is little money and no timetable for the program.

Police chiefs in Bristol County met Tuesday to discuss enforcing the new law. Massachusetts is the 13th state to decriminalize small quantities of marijuana. The ballot measure was passed with the approval of 65 percent of voters.

Reply author: Paul
Replied on: 01/02/2009 09:04:13 AM

Does the money from the fine go to the city that writes the citation?

If so, that is incentive to get this part of the law fixed.

Ten tickets a week would equal over 50K.

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