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Chelsea | Community Briefing

Random drug testing

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November 18, 2007

The City Council is mulling random drug testing for members of the police, fire, and emergency management/E-911 departments, and for all municipal employees who operate city-owned or leased motorized equipment. The City Council Subcommittee on Conferences recently discussed the issue, proposed by District 2 Councilor Mike MeKonnen Tsegaye, but continued talks for another meeting yet to be scheduled, said subcommittee chairwoman and council president Roseann Bongiovanni. The city already has a random drug testing policy, but it can only be exercised if a supervisor has reasonable suspicion that drugs or alcohol are being used by an employee, Bongiovanni said. When he made the motion to the council, MeKonnen suggested that a new random testing policy be incorporated into bargaining contracts, which are scheduled to be negotiated some time next year, Bongiovanni said, adding that the consensus among the council is that members want this to be enacted. - Katheleen Conti

EVERETT

PROTECTING PLAQUES - Junk shop owners and second-hand dealers who knowingly accept military plaques or memorabilia and do not notify local law enforcement officials could lose their license to operate under a proposed change to the city's licensing rules. Common Councilor Joe Hickey, who cosponsored the proposal and is a Vietnam-era veteran, said he is concerned about thieves potentially stealing bronze military plaques from cemeteries and selling them for quick cash from junk dealers. There has been a rash of thefts of bronze plaques and other precious-metal objects in the past year in several communities around the state. Hickey said he will likely ask the city's licensing committee when it meets on Nov. 26 to also consider modifying the proposal's language to include all plaques, not just military ones. - Kay Lazar

LYNN

TARGETING UNDERAGE DRINKING - Lynn Police, the city Licensing Board, Girls Inc., and Mothers Against Drunk Driving have teamed up to crack down on underage drinking. Random checks on businesses licensed to sell alcohol are being conducted this month to make sure they aren't selling to minors. Package stores, bars, clubs, and restaurants will all be subject to the checks, which will be conducted in accordance with state law. The Police Department's Special Investigations Unit will conduct the checks, which may continue through the holidays. - Kathy McCabe

MALDEN

WRITING WORKSHOP FOR TEENS - A writing workshop for teens will be held at the Malden Public Library on Nov. 29. The free program will take place in the Maccario Room at 3:30 p.m. Registration is not required. The session will be lead by Ann Gonzalez, whose debut novel "Running for My Life" will be out in 2008. For more information, call the Malden Public Library at 781-324-0218. - Erin Ailworth

MELROSE

NEW CARDIAC CENTER - Hallmark Health System has opened a Cardiac & Endovascular Center at its Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, which will offer patients diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular disease. Among the procedures and services provided is angioplasty, a minimally invasive procedure to open blocked arteries. Melrose-Wakefield is one of seven hospitals in Massachusetts that was selected to participate in a state study of the benefits of elective angioplasties. Other procedures that will be performed at the new center include cardiac catheterization, coronary artery stenting, noninvasive cardiac testing, blood clot treatment, and vascular surgery. - Kay Lazar

REVERE

COUNCIL WANTS TO TALK TO DEVELOPER - The City Council would like to set up a meeting with Roseland Property Co., one of the developers of the old Rowe Quarry site, to discuss updates to the mixed-use development, which includes a fire station to be shared by the Revere and Malden fire departments. The council wants to discuss the project and address allegations that the developer is using nonunion construction companies and non-Revere residents, said John R. Correggio, councilor at large. A city ordinance stipulates that a minimum number of Revere residents must be employed by contractors heading the construction of public projects. Roseland spokeswoman Nancy Sterling said the company sent a letter to Mayor Thomas G. Ambrosino agreeing to meet with the council or a council subcommittee in the near future. The company stated that it uses both union and nonunion help on the project, and that the resident worker requirement is not an issue because it is a private company building the fire station for free. - Katheleen Conti

REC DEPARTMENT OFFERS ACTIVITIES - Parents are encouraged to take advantage of the Revere Recreation Department's fall/winter activities for children from preschool and up. Classes for preschoolers include playtime, arts and crafts, and cooking, said Adrienne Sacco-Maguire, director of recreation. For children ages 5 to 12, afternoon activities include computers, ceramics, cooking, and arts and crafts. More first- to eighth-grade participants are needed for boys' basketball, Sacco-Maguire said, adding that the last day to register is tomorrow. For more information about the fall/winter schedule go to revererec.com or call 781-286-8190. - Katheleen Conti

SAUGUS

MATTERS BEFORE THE ZONING BOARD - The zoning board will meet tomorrow to hold public hearings on several special permit applications. They include requests for permission to add a breezeway, farmer's porch, and deck at 39 Walnut St.; a bathroom and bedroom at 29 Greystone Road, and second stories to 49 Hesper St. and 11 Kennedy Drive. There is also a request to put an electrical contractor's office at 28 Ballard St. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the meeting room of the Saugus Public Library, 295 Central St. - Kathy McCabe

WAKEFIELD

WAKEFIELD HIGH GRAD GIVES BACK - A Wakefield resident recently diagnosed with a debilitating illness has decided to establish a scholarship fund in her own name. Jayne M. Johnson, a 1979 graduate of Wakefield High School, left her job as a surgical technologist at Winchester Hospital earlier this year after being diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS is a progressive, disabling, and usually fatal disease. The fund she established will be administered by the nonprofit Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of Wakefield. From its earnings, a scholarship will be awarded in Johnson's name each June starting next year. In a statement, Johnson recalled the past scholarship assistance she received through the foundation and noted that she had always dreamed of setting up her own fund to help other students. Following her recent diagnosis, she said, "I began to think about all I had accomplished in my life and I realized there was something still sitting on my 'to do' list. I realized I hadn't fulfilled this dream yet. This is how and why, this fund is being established, so that I can give back to the community, the way they helped me!" - John Laidler

WINTHROP

COUNCIL WANTS TO DISCUSS CONTRACT - The Town Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Among the items on the agenda is a request to discuss an extension of Town Manager Rick White's contract, said council president Thomas E. Reilly. White's three-year contract runs through 2009, but there is no salary set for the third year. Precinct 2 Councilor James Letterie, who made the request to discuss the contract extension, said this will provide a "fair amount of time" to evaluate White's performance and discuss his salary, which will be part of the fiscal year 2009 budget. Discussions on that budget are scheduled to start soon, he said, adding that he favors extending White's contract. "To me, it's a case of protecting an important asset," Letterie said. - Katheleen Conti

AROUND THE REGION

BEVERLY

HIGH SCHOOL APPOINTS COATHLETIC DIRECTORS - Red Hutt and Bill Hamor, two former Beverly High School athletic directors, have returned to their old positions. Last week, the two were named coathletic directors by Superintendent Jim Hayes. The two were named after efforts to find a permanent replacement for former athletic director Jon Longley were unsuccessful. Longley left his post in August to become athletic director at North Andover High School. - Steven Rosenberg

ESSEX

SHIP'S CAPTAIN COMING ABOARD - The incoming captain of the USS Essex, a Navy multipurpose amphibious assault ship, plans to attend the Dec. 3 meeting of the Board of Selectmen. Captain Brent Canady, who will be taking command of the ship in February, plans to present town officials with memorabilia for the ship, the fifth Naval vessel to have been named the Essex. Town Administrator Brendhan Zubricki said that in honor of the visit the board is encouraging residents to donate to the USO's care package program, which provides encouragement to troops worldwide. A donation form can be obtained at Town Hall, Martin Street, or at the town's website essexma.org, and donations may be left at the board's office. A care package can be sent for a $25 donation. More information about the USS Essex can be found at essex.navy.mil. The board's meeting is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. at the Essex Elementary School, Story Street. - David Rattigan

LYNNFIELD

PAVING PROJECTS WINDING DOWN - Work is tentatively scheduled to be completed by Thanksgiving on a $277,273 street repaving project. Town contractors are carrying out the work, which began Oct. 31, according to Public Works director Dennis Roy. The repaving is being carried out on all of Arlington Street, Moulton Drive, Nottingham Road, Lincoln Avenue, and Howard Street, and portions of Essex Street, Heritage Lane, and Locksley Road. The work is being funded through an allotment to the town from the state's Chapter 90 highway program. The town undertook a separate road improvement program this past summer with other Chapter 90 funds. Crews are completing work on a final portion of that project - the repaving of Carpenter Road. Roy said the town decided to carry out the current project now rather than waiting until next spring in order to save money on asphalt. Currently, Lynnfield pays $41 per ton to its asphalt supplier. That price is expected to rise to $55 to $60 per ton on Dec. 31, Roy said. - John Laidler

MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA

WIND TURBINE PROPOSAL - The Board of Selectmen has given its general support to a proposed new bylaw regulating the placement of wind turbines in town. According to board chairwoman Sue Thorne, a landowner interested in placing a turbine on a wooded site he owns on Atwater Avenue presented the board with the proposed bylaw, which is similar to measures adopted in other communities. She said selectmen referred the measure to the Planning Board for its review, but expressed general support for it. The town has existing language in its zoning bylaws governing turbines, but it is relatively restrictive, limiting them to residential areas. The new bylaw would provide more comprehensive rules, including provisions allowing turbines to be located in the town's limited commercial district, the area on the north side of Route 128. The proposed Atwater Avenue site is in the limited commercial zone. Thorne said the town has given the landowner, John Donovan, permission to erect a wind-measuring tower on his site to help determine the feasibility of locating a turbine there. - John Laidler

TOPSFIELD

TALK TOPIC IS THE GREAT MARSH - Tomorrow at 7 p.m., the town library is presenting a talk by photographer Dorothy Kerper Monnelly on the Great Marsh, a 20,000-acre salt marsh that stretches from Gloucester to Salisbury. An Ipswich resident, Monnelly is the author of "Between Land and Sea: The Great Marsh," a collection of 57 of her black and white photographs capturing various marsh scenes. Monnelly has won awards in juried exhibitions, and her works are included in the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington. In her talk, at the library, 1 South Common St., she will discuss her book, photography techniques, and the marsh. For more information about the evening, call 978-887-1528. - John Laidler

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