Globe North Community briefing

Evaluating ash in Chelsea

March 29, 2009
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EVALUATING ASH - The committee to evaluate City Manager Jay Ash's job performance is still taking shape, but residents and business leaders are encouraged to send in letters with comments and suggestions, said City Councilor Matthew Frank, who will chair the committee. The city charter mandates an annual evaluation of the city manager. Frank said he hopes to have the members of the committee in place in about a month, and to have the evaluation completed by the end of May. Send letters to the City Council office at City Hall, 500 Broadway, Chelsea, MA 02150. - Katheleen Conti

TIME TO MOVE THE CAR - Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. is reminding residents that the city's spring street-sweeping program will get underway Wednesday. The mayor asked car owners to remove their vehicles from designated sweeping areas. Vehicles not removed will be ticketed and towed. The city is stepping up enforcement of parking regulations, the mayor added. DeMaria, in a statement, said the city has seen a rise in violations for parking within 20 feet of an intersection, in crosswalks, and in handicapped zones. He said the city has a particular concern with vehicles parked too close to intersections because they can impede the flow of emergency and snow removal vehicles. Everett recently bolstered its parking enforcement efforts through the purchase of three Smart Cars, two-seat vehicles whose size makes them easy to maneuver around city streets. "It's not all about revenue. It's a quality of life issue. Everyone should obey the rules," DeMaria said.

- John Laidler

MAKING HISTORY - A team of three Everett eighth-grade students will take part in the Massachusetts History Day competition Saturday at Clark University in Worcester. Elizabeth Gerace, Meghan McNeill, and Rebecca Merriman of the George Keverian School qualified for a trip to the finals when they won the Junior Group Exhibit category at a regional History Day competition in Winchester. The students earned the first place showing for their project on Dorothea Dix, an advocate for people with mental illness. As part of the city's participation in National History Day, students at all the city's kindergarten to eighth-grade schools researched topics, developed bibliographies, created exhibits, and gave presentations. Two groups of students from each school were selected to compete in the citywide Everett Kiwanis History Day district competition at Whittier School in January. Four teams totaling 13 students were then chosen to take part in the regional competition. - John Laidler

PARENTING TIPS - On April 4, the Joint Committee for Children's Health Care in Everett is sponsoring its annual Parent University from 8:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. at the new high school, 100 Elm St. The free event will feature more than 30 workshops on topics ranging from keeping children and families healthy to relieving the stress of parenting. Tug Yourgrau, president and cofounder of Powderhouse Productions, will deliver the keynote address, "Raising Boys and Girls." His company creates programming for the Discovery Channel, PBS, and the History Channel. The event, which includes a continental breakfast, lunch, and day care, is funded in part by grants and in-kind donations from Everett Kiwanis, the public schools, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. To register, call 617-394-2414 or e-mail Registration forms are also available at Everett schools and at the joint committee's office at City Hall. - John Laidler

SUCCESS STORY COMES HOME - Keisha Whitaker, an alumnus of Girls Inc. of Lynn who is a former model and cosmetics creator, will be the guest speaker at the organization's celebration luncheon April 16 at the Danversport Yacht Club. Whitaker is cocreator of the Kissable Couture cosmetics line. She is married to actor Forest Whitaker. She will receive this year's 2009 Strong, Smart, and Bold award from the youth organization. Girls Inc. is raising money toward a new $11 million facility being built at the old Lynn High School at 50 High St. For more information, visit - Kathy McCabe

WATER CONSERVATION - The Lynnfield Center Water District will consider two water conservation measures in its annual meeting at 7 p.m. April 6 at the district office, 83 Phillips Road. The district owns and manages the water supply and delivery system for about two-thirds of the town. The proposed steps are mandated by state environmental officials to help protect water flow on the Ipswich River, according to Stefan Taschner, chairman of the district board. The measures provide for the district to implement a plan to reduce water consumption at the residential level, and to institute a water bank program aimed at conserving at least two gallons of water for every gallon of new demand resulting from development. - John Laidler

CITY WEBSITE WINS AWARD - Common Cause Massachusetts recently honored the city of Malden with an e-Government Award for making government more accessible to the public online. To qualify for an e-Government Award, a municipality must post its governing body's agenda and minutes, budget information, and general bylaws on the Internet. A total of 117 cities and towns in the state, or 33 percent, meet these criteria, up from 7 percent in 2006. Over the past year, several changes were made to the city's website,, in an effort to make government more accessible. Many of the changes were recommended by members of the City Council's Citizen Engagement Committee. Common Cause is a nonpartisan organization founded in 1970 as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process. - Brenda J. Buote

OPEN SEATS - More than a dozen of the city's boards and commissions have vacancies, including the Board of Appeals, the Council on Aging, the Human Rights Commission, and the library board of trustees. The duties and qualifications of each body vary, with most terms requiring a commitment of three years. Anyone interested in filling an opening should contact Mayor Rob Dolan's office at 781-979-4440. For a list of openings, visit and click on the "board and commission openings" link. - Brenda J. Buote

HELPING FAMILIES - Tickets are available for the North Suburban Family Network's second annual "Pampering with a Purpose" spring fashion show, slated for 1 to 5 p.m. May 3 at the Oak Grove Village Clubhouse, 12 Island Hill Ave. Tickets to the fund-raising event, which will feature a silent auction, are $30 and may be purchased by calling 781-662-2722. The event will include massages, waxing, manicures, and a wine/chocolate-pairing seminar for a nominal fee. Proceeds will help to support the network's educational and support programs for families and caregivers with children under the age of 4. The agency serves more than 1,000 families and needs support in the wake of state budget cuts, which slashed the network's funding for the current fiscal year by $25,000, or 20 percent. - Brenda J. Buote

THREE VIE FOR LIBRARY TRUSTEE - With the nomination period closed, there will be a contest for just one seat - a three-way contest - at the town election April 25. George S. Richardson, one of three library trustees, is being challenged by two newcomers, DeWitt Brown and Christine Stevens. "I think word got around that George might not run," said Town Clerk Harriet Steeves. -David Rattigan

MARIJUANA FINE ON HOLD - An ordinance to impose a civil fine on anyone smoking marijuana in public was sent back by the City Council to the subcommittee level for legal revision after a public hearing last Monday. The ordinance was proposed by councilor George Rotondo in response to a law decriminalizing possession of an ounce or less of marijuana approved by voters statewide last year. Rotondo said the ordinance should come out of subcommittee in time for the next council meeting on April 6, when he expects it will be taken up for a vote. - Katheleen Conti

HEARINGS ON SALONS - On Tuesday, the Board of Selectmen will hold three public hearings on applications filed by hair and nail salons to open or expand services in town. Salon 5 has applied for a special permit for a 1,400-square-foot hair salon at 5 Broadway (Route 1 south) offering hair, nail, pedicure, and manicure services. Celebrated Nails & Spa, at 471 Essex St., has applied for a special permit to operate a spa with manicure and pedicure services. Allure Nails & Spa, at 298 Central St., has applied to modify its special permit to add massage therapy to its offerings. The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Town Hall. - Kathy McCabe

REFINANCING DEBT - The town will save close to $450,000 through refinancing $16 million in remaining bond debt for two school building projects. Town administrator Stephen Maio said the bonds were issued in 1997, 2000, and 2002 for the construction of a new Woodville Elementary School and renovation and expansion of the Dolbeare Elementary School. Selectmen at their meeting last Monday approved the refinancing proposal, which was developed by Maio, town treasurer John McCarthy, town accountant Kevin Gill, and Wakefield's bond counsel, Peter Frazier. Maio said under the new financing, provided by Bank of America, the town will be paying at a 2.7 percent interest rate, compared with the approximately 5 percent it was paying on its previous bonds. The lower rate will save the town $446,767 over the 12 years it will take to complete the bond payments. - John Laidler

DOG LICENSES - Town Clerk Mary K. Galvin is reminding residents that the dog licensing season has arrived. Starting Wednesday, licenses will be available for purchase in Galvin's office during regular business hours. To be licensed, dogs must have a current rabies vaccination certificate. Fees are $5 for neutered dogs and $10 for nonneutered dogs. Proof of neutering is required for dogs not previously licensed. Licenses purchased after May 31 will be subject to a late fee. For more information, call the clerk's office at 781-246-6383. - John Laidler

KINDERGARTEN COST INCREASES - The School Committee recently voted to increase full-day kindergarten tuition from $1,800 a year to $2,300 starting next school year, said chairwoman Patricia Milano. The increase will help the School Department offset a portion of the total deficit in that program, getting it closer to a break-even level, Milano said. There are 133 students in the full-time program, she said. - Katheleen Conti

EMERGENCY COALITION - The Mystic Valley Coalition Emergency Preparedness Region 3E command center-training facility will celebrate its opening tomorrow at the Stoneham Board of Health offices at Stoneham Town Hall, 35 Central St. The new center will serve Malden, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham, and Wakefield, helping health departments respond to large-scale emergencies. The center also will serve as a fallback for any public safety department, allowing front-line responders to continue their operations without interruption, according to Christopher Webb, director of public health for the city of Malden. For more information, contact Webb at 781-397-7049. - Brenda J. Buote

around the region
ECONOMIC FORUM - The Peabody Democratic City Committee is hosting a community forum with Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray on Thursday at the AOH Hall on Lowell Street. Murray will discuss jobs, the economy, and the economic stimulus package. The forum, which begins at 7 p.m., is free and open to the public. Preceding his appearance at the forum, Murray will be at City Hall at 6:30 p.m. to speak to Peabody Veterans Memorial High School seniors taking part in the city's annual Student Government Day. - John Laidler

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