Community briefing

Support for rezoning plan

August 28, 2011

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The Planning Board has endorsed a rezoning proposal for a 14.6-acre site at 36 Muller Road. The proposal, offered by the Land Use Committee, will come before the Sept. 26 Town Meeting. In May, Town Meeting rejected a previous proposal by Symes Associates to rezone the site to a Planned Development District in order to build a residential project on the property. The new proposal, which Symes has said it does not oppose, would zone the property for single-family homes, according to Don Benjamin, a member of the town’s planning staff. In other business, the board approved a subdivision plan for the Building 19 property at Cambridge and Center streets. The retail chain submitted the application last year before a moratorium on multifamily housing in the town center took effect. Benjamin said the company has not indicated it has any current plan for a new development on the site. - John Laidler

COMMUNITY FORUM TOMORROW - City Manager Jay Ash tomorrow is holding one of his occasional public forums to seek input from residents and businesses. The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in the senior center, at 10 Riley Way. Ash will provide an update on issues facing the city, and invite questions and comments from the audience. Meanwhile, city officials are reminding residents that Wednesday is the opening day of school. - John Laidler

PROPERTY TAX REVIEWS - The city is holding two seminars for residential and commercial property owners with questions about quarterly tax bills. Assessor Pam Davis and her office’s staff members will discuss the bills and answer questions. They will also be available to review individual bills. The city decided to hold the sessions after receiving numerous questions about a change, which took effect this year, in the way the residential property exemption is calculated. The seminars will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. tomorrow in the George Keverian Hearing Room, and on Sept. 12 in the mayor’s conference room, both on the third floor of City Hall. Participants are advised to bring copies of their tax bills. - John Laidler

HELP FOR HOMEOWNERS - Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development, in partnership with Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, is offering a series of new loan and grant programs to aid homeowners. Residents meeting income requirements, and living in parts of the city that the housing agency has designated as neighborhood revitalization areas, can apply for a direct loan of up to $15,000 at 3 percent interest for home repairs. Income-eligible residents 62 and older or physically disabled citywide can apply for a no-interest loan of up to $15,000 for home repairs. The authority is also offering Target Area Grants to income-eligible homeowners residing in neighborhood revitalization areas. Recipients can receive up to $5,000 for exterior repairs and up to $300 for exterior painting. For more information, visit or call 781-581-8600.

- John Laidler

MEMORIAL WALK FOR 9/11 - The city will observe the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks with a memorial walk at Government Center Plaza. The event begins at 9:30 a.m. with remarks by Mayor Richard C. Howard and Kevin Jarvis, Malden’s veterans services officer. All residents are invited to take part in the walk, which will proceed on Pleasant Street to Immaculate Conception Church, 600 Pleasant St., where the Knights of Columbus Council 13966 is hosting an anniversary Blue Mass at 11 a.m. in honor of Malden and Medford’s first responders. The Mass will be followed by a reception brunch in the parish hall. The day will conclude at the Irish American Club, 177 West St., where a special Community Reflection of September 11th program will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. It will include a sharing of experiences and traditional Irish music. For more information, contact Carol Ann Desiderio in the Veterans’ Services Department at 781-397-7139 or - John Laidler

Malden, Melrose
CONTRACTOR FOR PINE BANKS - The Pine Banks Foundation recently selected Quirk Construction to build new athletic facilities at Pine Banks Park. The Georgetown company’s winning bid of $1.69 million was more than $200,000 under the initial estimate for the project, which calls for construction of a regulation-size running track, a multipurpose field inside the track, a new grass softball field, and more than 100 new parking spaces. The 107.5-acre park in Melrose and Malden is managed by the foundation’s seven-member board, which includes representatives of the two cities and a descendant of former Malden mayor Elisha S. Converse, who in 1905 bequeathed the land for use as a public park. The total cost of the project, including design and engineering, is $2.75 million. Malden and Melrose will each cover $1 million, of that cost, with a $500,000 state grant and a $250,000 grant from the Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation, which is located in Malden, funding the rest. Melrose is covering its share with $1 million in revenues from the Mount Hood Golf Course. The softball field is scheduled to be completed by the spring and the rest of the project by the fall of 2012.

- John Laidler

NEW PARK OPENS - The city is inviting residents to visit a new public park recently constructed in Medford Square on Clippership Drive. Located adjacent to the Mystic River, the park includes two seating areas, walkways, decorative lighting, and landscaping, along with two historical interpretive panels that trace the role of the Mystic River in the development of the city. The construction of the park complements a recently completed project to reconstruct Clippership Drive, which runs along the river from the Craddock Bridge to Riverside Avenue. The $165,000 park project and the $1.6 million road project were funded through a combination of federal stimulus money, federal funding earmarks, and state grants, according to Lauren DiLorenzo, the city’s community development director. She said the projects are part of an overall effort to expand public access to the river. - John Laidler

WEIGH IN ON WETLAND RULES - Local officials are asking residents to complete a survey regarding the town’s wetlands bylaw and regulations. The survey was drafted by an ad hoc committee formed recently by the Board of Selectmen to recommend changes to the existing wetlands regulations. Town leaders would like to simplify the permit application and enforcement process without compromising the resource protection offered by the regulations. The 30-question survey asks whether the current bylaw and regulations are too restrictive, and seeks feedback on the permitting process. To complete the questionnaire, visit

- Brenda J. Buote

SNOW MONEY ARRIVES - The town last week received $187,000 in reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help cover snow-removal costs from two major storms last winter. The town qualified for the funding because President Obama declared a state of emergency in Essex County for both storms, according to Town Manager Andrew Bisignani. Residents on June 7 approved a one-year property tax increase to cover a $1.13 million deficit in the 2011 fiscal year’s snow and ice budget that resulted from the unusually stormy winter. Bisignani said the reimbursement received from FEMA would be used to cover this fiscal year’s operating expenses. - John Laidler

AIRPLANE NOISE ABATES, FOR NOW - Thanks to a construction project at Logan Airport, planes that regularly take off and land over Somerville have quieted, and so have complaints, said mayoral spokeswoman Jaclyn Rossetti. The Massachusetts Port Authority has started a six-month project to extend the safety zone on Runway 33L, and the work is blocking all takeoffs and landings on that Logan strip through September. The city lost a court battle to change Logan’s flight patterns, and Mayor Joseph Curtatone was going to speak to the city’s congressional delegation. However, “There is no additional legal action planned at this point,’’ Rossetti said. She last answered a question about the situation from a constituent about a year ago. The quiet might be short-lived. Massport spokesman Matthew Brelis said there was no reason to expect the number of 33L departures would change post-construction. “The project in and of itself will have no impact on runway capacity,’’ he said. - Danielle Dreilinger

WALK TO FIGHT OVARIAN CANCER - Sisters Against Ovarian Cancer is planning its fourth annual fund-raising walk. The 5-mile route will begin and end at the Stone Zoo, stepping off at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 10. The group has raised $140,000 to support research into treatment for ovarian cancer. Preregistration is encouraged; on-site registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the walk. Those who preregister are asked to check in by 9 a.m. The registration fee is $20. The walk honors the memory of Marie Spinale, founder of the group, who died of the disease in 2009. For more information or to preregister, visit - Brenda J. Buote

SEEKING ENERGY GRANT - The town recently applied for $207,772 under a state grant program that supports efforts to conserve energy and develop renewable sources. Tewksbury was eligible to apply for the program because of its recent designation as a Green Community by the state Department of Energy Resources. Communities earn the designation by undertaking initiatives to become more energy-efficient and to expand their use of renewable energy. In its grant application, Tewksbury listed several proposed uses of the grant funds, including evaluating how well its building, equipment, and systems function together; reducing heat loss at the police station; installing high-efficiency fluorescent lighting at the Loella F. Dewing Elementary School; and hiring a consultant to oversee the projects and help the town identify other conservation measures. - John Laidler

WWII MEMORIAL - Work has begun on construction of a new memorial to Wakefield’s World War II veterans on the upper common. The Wall of Honor will replace a monument that is in disrepair. Built with private funds raised by a committee appointed by the Board of Selectmen, the new memorial will consist of five granite tablets with bronze plaques. The center tablet will feature the names of the 72 Wakefield residents who lost their lives in the war. The remaining tablets will display the names of the other 2,469 residents who served in the war. The memorial also features a Walk of Remembrance, built with granite pavers inscribed with the names of a veteran or active-service member whose family sponsored the paver. The new memorial will be dedicated at a Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11. The World War II Memorial Committee, meanwhile, continues to raise funds for the project. Contact Phyllis Hull at 781-245-8684 or go to and click on the committee’s link. - John Laidler

SHINGLES VACCINE - The Board of Health is offering the shingles vaccine to residents who are at least 50 years of age. Shingles is a painful skin rash that is often accompanied by blisters. It usually appears on one side of the face or body, and typically lasts between two and four weeks. The town has just 100 doses of the vaccine, which in clinical trials reduced the risk of shingles by 50 percent. The cost of the vaccine is covered by Medicare Part D. For those who have a limited income (an individual earning less than $43,320 per year, or a couple earning less than $58,280) and insurance that does not cover the vaccine, financial assistance is available through the Merck Vaccine Assistance Program. To reserve a dose, contact public health nurse Kathy Whittaker at 781-721-7121.

- Brenda J. Buote

PLAYGROUND WORK - Local families will soon be able to enjoy a new playground at Library Field, the area behind the public library on Harrison Avenue. The city about a month ago began an approximately $100,000 project to replace the aging playground. City crews have demolished the old equipment and cleared the site. In the next two weeks, the new playground is set to be installed by GameTime, the vendor chosen for the project. The new facility will include a climbing area, along with separate play equipment for toddlers. - John Laidler

Around the Region
GETTING READY TO PLUG IN - Anticipating that more environmentally conscious motorists could soon make the switch to electric cars, town planners are looking into installing charging stations in a couple of parking lots. Senior planner Lisa Schwarz said officials have identified parking spaces in the Andover Village and Park Street lots as potential locations for stations. Town planners hope to partner with a sponsor to fund the installation, and have the company doing the installation also maintain the stations, Schwarz said. - Katheleen Conti

OVERDOSE VIGIL - The first public vigil for families of victims of overdoses will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday next to the Cut Bridge on Stacy Boulevard. Gary Langis, a member of the Gloucester Overdose Vigil Committee, said that names of the victims will be read at the vigil. For more information, call Langis at 978-835-3602.

- Steven Rosenberg

OLDEST RESIDENTS HONORED - The Hamilton Historical Society this week presented the Boston Post Cane to Helen Goggin, 99, and Albert Coonrod, 95. The award is presented annually to the oldest male and female in town. The custom began in 1909, when Boston Post canes were given to Boards of Selectmen in several New England towns by the Boston Post newspaper (which folded in 1956), to be presented to the town’s oldest living male. The tradition was expanded to include the oldest living female in 1930.

- David Rattigan

BRADFORD POST OFFICE MAY BE CLOSED - Citing a decrease in demand, the US Postal Service is casting a critical eye on some 3,700 retail offices across the country, including the one in Bradford. Release of the list of post offices under review came just weeks after the Postal Service embraced new regulations making it easier to close some of the nation’s 32,000 post offices. According to a statement released by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, some communities that lose retail locations may become home to a village post office, smaller automated stations, or a local vendor selling stamps and flat-rate boxes.

- Brenda J. Buote

WALK FROM OBESITY - Lowell General Hospital will be sponsoring the 2011 Walk from Obesity, beginning at 10 a.m. Sept. 24 at the Sampas Pavillion on Pawtucket Boulevard. Part of a national event, the walk is a fund-raiser aimed at raising awareness of obesity in children and adults. Proceeds will benefit research and education initiatives for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation and the Obesity Action Coalition. This year’s event also will include a health fair, prizes, and music. For more information, visit

- Karen Sackowitz

START YOUR (GREEN) ENGINES - The second annual Green Salem Business Challenge is underway. The challenge is a friendly competition and recognition program in which participating businesses pledge to do everything they can to reduce their environmental footprint, adopt green practices, and increase environmental awareness among their employees, patrons, and the general public. An awards ceremony will be held Sept. 15. - John Laidler

Portsmouth, N.H.
FLIGHTS TO NEW JERSEY - Scheduled air passenger service is returning to Portsmouth International Airport. Streamline LLC will begin offering fights to Atlantic City and Trenton, N.J., beginning next month. Plans call for five flights to each city each week as well as five return flights to the Port City on 30-seat Embraer Brasilia aircraft. A one-way ticket is expected to cost about $200. The last commercial carrier at Pease was Skybus, which went out of business in 2008.

- Tom Long

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