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'Greater Somerville' says goodbye to summer

September 11, 2014 05:46 PM

Join "Greater Somerville" hosts Joe Lynch and KyAnn Anderson as they say farewell to summer with a lively debate over a variety of local news stories. From politics to Union Square development plans, the new Orange Line station flood to the recent mob of traffic from the Green Line bridge reconstruction - rest assured, there are plenty of opinions to go around.

Stay informed about things that matter, and watch this show. And catch Joe and KyAnn at Art
Beat in Davis Square below.

For additional episodes, visit

Jack Russell terrier on the run from Peabody to North Reading

August 11, 2014 06:14 PM


The public is being asked to be on the lookout for a Jack Russell terrier mix who has been on the run through several communities for nearly two weeks.

The little dog was spotted in West Peabody on July 31, but the city’s animal control officer was unsuccessful in catching her after a resident called to say the dog was in her backyard.

The dog then eluded capture by animal control in Lynnfield on Aug. 1.

After she was seen on Lake Street in West Peabody near Devil's Dishful Pond, rescuers set up a trap, feed station, and a camera. But the next time the dog was reported seen on Aug. 7, she was running around Wilmington.

The latest reports say she's been seen running frantically off Park Street in North Reading.

The dog weighs about 15 pounds, is white and tan with brown spots, and is not wearing a collar.

Those who spot her are asked not to chase her. Call 781-334-8364.

Reward offered for Rudy, dog lost in Westborough

June 21, 2014 10:06 AM


The Coleman family of Westborough is asking for help finding their dog Rudy, who went missing on May 22 from his dog walker's yard in the Adams Street/Quick Farm Road area.

Rudy is a small, 3-year-old male Havanese. He is microchipped and was last seen wearing tags and dragging a red leash.

Anyone who sees a dog that looks like Rudy is asked not to chase him because he is shy; take a picture, note the date and time, and call 857-205-5732 with any information.

A substantial reward is being offered for his safe return.

For more information, go to

Watch 'Greater Somerville' at Democratic convention

June 21, 2014 09:46 AM

"Greater Somerville" producer and cohost Joe Lynch was at the 2014 Massachusetts Democratic Convention in Worcester last weekend and from the six minutes here, it looks like he and Somerville Neighborhood News covered not only the convention floor, but the rafters, the lobby, and the backstage with their camera and microphone.

Watch for the complete "Greater Somerville Goes to the Convention" next week on

Max the military dog to be buried Saturday in Methuen

June 12, 2014 01:32 PM
The following was submitted by the MSPCA:

As a bugler plays taps and a host of law enforcement and town officials stand guard, “Max” the war dog — who served in the US military from 2003-2007 before dying at age 10 on Memorial Day in 2012 — will be laid to rest on Saturday, June 14, at the MSPCA’s Hillside Acre Cemetery in Methuen,the MSPCA-Angell announced.
Watching with pride will be Pam Pelton of Northfield, N.H., who will no doubt be reflecting on the day she adopted Max in 2007 from the Military War Dog Agency at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio after he returned from four years of active duty. 
“It’s obviously a very bittersweet time,” said Pelton as she looked ahead to Max’s burial, the first for a war dog at Hillside since the 1950s.  “Having Max for five years was a highlight in my life — he was my walking buddy and near-constant companion.  It’s very hard to say goodbye but I take great comfort in the outpouring of love and respect he’s received.”
Pelton has for years been in touch with military officials to determine the nature of Max’s work and where it was performed.  “Unfortunately the exact details of the work Max performed — as well as the countries in which that work was performed — remain a mystery to me to this day.”  Given his service era, however, it is reasonable to suggest Max was stationed in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
Max was trained as a “sniffing dog,” and may have been skilled at detecting explosive material that could endanger the life of servicemen and women, as well as civilians, in the arenas in which he worked.  According to Pelton, he never lost his fiercely loyal and protective nature.  

“Max literally saved my life years ago when we were walking in the woods and encountered two feral dogs.  The dogs jumped toward me and Max immediately sprang into action, fighting them off and very likely saving both our lives.”
Max is the ninth war dog to be buried at Hillside Acre Cemetery which for 80 years has been operated by the MSPCA and is now the final resting place for 18,000 beloved companion and service animals. 
Through the Heroes at Hillside program, military dogs such as Max are buried at no cost to their owner.  Dave Gordon, who manages the cemetery (400 Nevins Road) for the MSPCA, said: “Max served his country with honor and proved just as noble and loyal a companion to Pam after his military service ended.  He deserves our respect and we are proud to lay him to rest at Hillside Acre Cemetery.”

Pam Pelton of New Hampshire with Max (credit Pam Pelton).jpg
Pam Pelton photos

The beloved military dog was a trusting companion to Pam Pelton for years after his service ended.

Evan Falchuk, candidate for governor, on 'Greater Somerville'

June 10, 2014 08:22 AM

On this Election 2014 special episode of "Greater Somerville," watch United Independent party candidate for Governor of Evan Falchuk speak with host Joe Lynch about the new Massachusetts political party, its platform, and Falchuk’s campaign.

Go to for all episodes of the show.

Newburyport’s Immaculate Conception School bids farewell to longtime teacher

June 9, 2014 04:42 PM

By Ginny Little, Guest Correspondent

NEWBURYPORT – While June 20th will mark the end of the school year for many students in the Newburyport area, it will also conclude forty years of dedicated classroom teaching by one of the Immaculate Conception School’s longest-serving teachers.

To put this in perspective, when Sister Mary Braley first arrived in Newburyport and began her classroom duties at the IC, President Richard Nixon had just resigned the presidency, the Vietnam War had not officially ended, the old YMCA was still standing on State Street, and Byron Mathews was the City’s mayor.

Though she will turn out the lights in her second grade classroom for the final time this June, Sister Mary plans to remain involved at the school as a classroom aide. But Sister Mary’s departure from the daily duties of classroom teaching also marks the end of a larger tradition that began in 1882, when the Immaculate Conception School was founded by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, the same religious order to which Sister Mary belongs. She is the last of her order to teach at the school founded over 130 years ago by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.

The positive impact made on Newburyport by the Immaculate Conception and its founders is still felt today. Dedicated to promoting peace and social justice since its founding, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth began its educational ministry shortly after its founding in Nazareth, Kentucky, in 1812.

Just seventy years later, nine young sisters arrived in Newburyport at the request of the Reverend Arthur Teeling of the Immaculate Conception Parish. Newburyport was the first educational mission of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth to venture east of the Mississippi. Reminders of the Sisters’ influence at Immaculate Conception are still present, most notably in the school’s symbol of the female pelican feeding her starving young with her own blood, a reference to the Sisters’ selfless devotion to students and their commitment to helping future generations.

On September 4, 1882, the Sisters welcomed 520 students into a new school building near the site of the present school. This new “throng of students” at the new Immaculate Conception School, as one historian wrote, helped to relieve the burden on Newburyport’s public school system to the point where two of the city’s public schools could be closed. The number of students flocking to the Immaculate Conception School increased quickly, and there were 700 children enrolled at IC by the end of the second scholastic year.

Sister Mary began her educational ministry in Kentucky, teaching briefly in Ohio before settling in Newburyport. From teaching proper handwriting to ensuring that her second graders know the Church’s Act of Contrition and are ready to receive their First Holy Communion, Sister Mary has been a cornerstone of early education at the Immaculate Conception School.

Though she has taught the first and third grades as well, Sister Mary says she has constantly been drawn to the second grade. “It seems that everywhere I’ve taught, there was a second grade class who needed a teacher,” says Sister Mary. Believing it was part of God’s plan for her to teach the second grade course of study, preparing her students for their first holy sacraments “has certainly been a highlight of each year” for Sister Mary.

Generations of Immaculate Conception School graduates who have passed through Sister Mary’s classroom recall her attention to detail, her unyielding patience, and her dedication to ensuring her students receive the best education possible. In her forty years of education in Newburyport, she has taught hundreds of youngsters their math facts, spelling, science and reading.

Combining the traditional Zaner-Bloser method of penmanship with modern SMART board classroom technology, Sister Mary enriches her students with her years of experience. Having been taught by Sisters of Charity herself, Sister Mary remembers her teachers’ “sense of joy in their ministry,” and, she explains, “I wanted to be like that, too!”

While greatly appreciated by parents, alumni, and her peers, Sister Mary’s classroom expertise and years of service to others has not gone unnoticed beyond the walls of the school. In 2012, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston honored her with the prestigious Cheverus Award, given by the Archdiocese to those who have shown exemplary service to the Church and God’s people. That year was also Sister Mary’s Golden Jubilee, marking the fiftieth anniversary of her entering into the community of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.

Though she will remain very involved in the school, Sister Mary will miss greeting her new group of second graders each fall as she has done for so many years. “I will miss the new beginnings each year, when I get to welcome thirty students into my classroom and into my heart.” For Sister Mary, the “ministry of teaching . . . has been God’s work, and I am most grateful to have had the opportunity.”

Virginia “Ginny” Little is a sixth grade student at the Immaculate Conception School. She fondly recalls her second grade year with Sister Mary Braley.

Cinderella, Anastasia, and Drizella find comfort at MSPCA

May 20, 2014 08:05 AM


MSPCA/Angell photos

It took 90 minutes to remove Anastasia's matted fur.

The following was submitted by the MSPCA:

Three Lhasa Apso-mix dogs were surrendered to the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen on May 7 with fur so matted and nails so ingrown that they could not walk, the organization announced.

The dogs were initially turned over to the Haverhill animal control officer after their previous owner refused to provide them with minimum standards of care, according to the MSPCA.

The MSPCA’s Law Enforcement Department is investigating and expects to bring charges against the animals’ previous owners, who have not yet been identified.

The dogs, which include mom “Cinderella,” age 7, and her two daughters “Anastasia” and “Drizella,” both 6, are recovering from their ordeal. Upon intake the dogs’ fur was shaved and their nails were trimmed. They have also required extensive dental work to repair their teeth, which deteriorated due to lack of care.


A close-up of the dogs' ingrown nails.

According to Nevins Farm director Mike Keiley, both Anastasia and Drizella also have eye issues which are serious but treatable. The veterinary team concluded that their mother, Cinderella, is blind.

“These dogs were in terrible overall condition and it was obvious at first sight that they have gone very long periods without necessary veterinary care,” he said. “Their lives have been marked by neglect and we’re going to do all we can to get them well and get them into the loving homes that they deserve.”

The dogs were professionally shaved by the skilled team at the Grooming Emporium, the Lowell-based team that often volunteers its services for homeless animals. Their grotesquely overgrown nails also were trimmed. And despite the suffering and neglect they endured for years, their behavior assessment revealed that all three are friendly and social, making them prime candidates for adoption.

Keiley is confident the dogs will have a very bright future. Drizella, in fact, has already been claimed by a new owner and left Monday for her forever home. Cinderella and Anastasia remain at Nevins Farm.

“Lhasa Apsos are wonderful dogs, small enough for those living in tight spaces and very loyal and loving to those close to them,” added Keiley. Keiley also said it is relatively rare for Lhasa Apso-type dogs to be surrendered to the shelter, making them highly desirable.

The MSPCA-Angell’s three statewide animal care and adoption centers take in, and place into new homes, thousands of homeless dogs, cats, and other animals every year. Anastasia, Cinderella, and Drizella represent just some of the many animals who arrive every day, and whose futures are brighter as a result of the care they receive.

Readers can contribute directly toward the care of these animals by clicking here. Those interested in adopting Cinderella or Anastasia can visit


Former British child actor turned race-conscious playwright stages 'Guided Tour' at Hibernian Hall

May 14, 2014 10:23 AM

Guided Tour Promo Pix .jpg

Lindsay Pettigrew (Elisabeth Rodgers) embraces a mask made by her lover, Joe Bell (Vincent Ernest Siders), in Hibernian Hall’s production of Peter Snoad’s "Guided Tour," running May 16-June 1.

Jamaica Plain playwright Peter Snoad knows few countries had more blood on their hands in the trans-Atlantic slave trade than his native England.

And he’s clear blood also stained the hands of wealthy New Englanders, who amassed fortunes on the backs of the enslaved Africans, especially in Rhode Island.

That is part of the narrative subtext of Snoad’s latest play, “Guided Tour,” which opens Friday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley St. in Boston.

“It’s unfortunate that as a country, we have the desire to heal from the legacy of slavery, and yet refuse to acknowledge the enormity of it, historically speaking,” said the 64-year-old former child actor in a recent phone interview.

“That’s why it’s so important for me to write about race and contemporary manifestations of racism.”

Written by Snoad (above) and directed by New York-based Heidi Grumelot, “Guided Tour” is slated for three consecutive weekends, including May 16-18, May 23-25, and May 30-June 1. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. except for two 3 p.m. matinees Sunday, May 18 and June 1.

“Guided Tour” is the story of a young law student’s efforts to exonerate a convicted black tour guide named Joe Bell, who spent 14 years behind bars for burning down a Gilded Age mansion in Rhode Island.

Set in a psychiatric unit, the play reveals some lessons about the irrational power of love.

The play is the second of four plays by Snoad dealing with race and class being produced by Hibernian Hall, where he is a playwright in residence.

“I've spent most of my working life writing and fund-raising for social justice organizations, so, to some degree, my plays are an extension of that commitment," he said.

Snoad’s journey from an affluent childhood in England to penning race-conscious plays in New England has been circuitous.

The younger of two sons, Snoad grew up in the tony Kensington section of London, walking distance from Kensington Palace where Queen Victoria was born, and Prince William and Catherine currently live.

The neighborhood is not far from Fleet Street, the historic hub of Britain's newspaper industry, where his father was once a publishing executive and his mother a secretary.

At age 5, Snoad auditioned at his grade school for a speaking role in the 1956 film “A Town Like Alice” starring Virginia McKenna and Peter Finch. He was cast as an orphan in an epic World War II love story between a British refugee and an Australian prisoner of war.

“I spent my sixth birthday on the movie set, ” he recalled with a laugh.

For six weeks, a limo picked Snoad up at 5 a.m., shuttling him to a soundstage at London’s Pinewood Studio where he and other child actors were tutored between scenes.

After the film, his parents insisted on life returning to normal, despite a casting offer for another movie.

Snoad entered a prep school, followed by boarding school in Dorset, three hours west of London, where he joined other children of privilege. It’s where, at age 16, he had his first contact with a black person, a Ugandan classmate of royalty.

After graduation, Snoad opted against college, spending seven years as a newspaper reporter.

He took a stab at writing a novel, a dream cut short by his parents’ deaths and the need to support himself.

Then, he went to work in the press office for a UK-based nonprofit doing rural development work. That led to a permanent gig in Washington, D.C., a town more than 70 percent African-American between 1970 and 1980. It also led to a green card.

But a restless Snoad wanted a change in scenery and a return to the stage. He eventually found it in Brattleboro, Vt., home to a thriving theater community.

Then a weekend trip to Boston changed everything.

At a party in Somerville, he met a sociologist and dancer named Mindy Fried.

They clicked, settled in Jamaica Plain and raised a daughter, Sasha.
He did voice acting and stage work around Boston. Then came a crisis of confidence: he found it increasingly hard to memorize lines, and even blanked in performance.

“Acting became more stress than joy. It just wasn’t much fun anymore. Then it dawned on me: maybe acting wasn't the only thing I could do in the theater. I could write plays. Or at least I could try."

Over the last 12 years, Snoad has written seven full-length plays, four of which are being produced at Hibernian Hall.

“I said to Dillon Bustin, the artistic director, ‘Are you sure you want an older white straight man as your visiting playwright?’ And he said, ‘Hibernian Hall is a multicultural arts space. You write a lot about race relations and identity issues and your plays are good.’”

Last fall, Hibernian Hall produced Snoad’s “Raising David Walker,” in which a young woman's quest to discover if a local black abolitionist was assassinated, triggers a racist backlash.

This fall, the theater will stage Snoad’s “Identity Crisis,” a slapstick comedy that revolves around a white groom's fear of turning black on the eve of his wedding.

And in January, the playhouse will help mark the 50 anniversary of the Vietnam War by premiering “The Draft,” a multi-media documentary by Snoad featuring the real-life stories of nine men and two women and their experience with the military draft.

“Race and class played a major role in who was put on the front lines,” said Snoad.

Tickets for “Guided Tour” can be purchased at or at the door. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $15 for seniors and students. For more information, call 617-541-3900.

Clennon L. King can be reached at


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