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CHELSEA | Community Briefing

Residential tax program

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November 25, 2007

Homeowners could save an estimated $708 in their annual tax bills by taking advantage of a residential tax program. Eligible Chelsea residents will save 20 percent, the maximum allowed by state law. An estimated 3,300 properties qualify for the exemption, said Ken Stein, director of assessing. Councilor at Large Roy Avellaneda has sent out notices to homeowners who are still not participating in the program, reminding them to enroll. Stein said most residents who have benefited from the exemption in the past are automatically enrolled, but that people who have recently purchased a home should check with the assessors' office. For more information call 617-466-4010. - Katheleen Conti

EVERETT

STADIUM UPGRADE - Outgoing Mayor John Hanlon says he hopes to start soliciting private donations in January, after he leaves office, for the Everett Stadium renovation project. The Common Council on Nov. 19 officially delayed further debate on the issue and referred it to Carlo DeMaria, the alderman at large who takes over as mayor in January. Hanlon said in an interview that a $50,000 anonymous donation, given to the city before September's primary election, will be used to create an architectural engineering plan for the stadium upgrade. He said the donor must approve the selection of the architectural/engineering firm before the city goes ahead with the plan, and that he expects to be working closely with DeMaria on the project in the future. Hanlon has estimated that the stadium upgrade will cost $11 million and that it will include renovations to the parking area, playing field, bleacher area, and new locker rooms. - Kay Lazar

LYNN

TEAM SAVES MAN - The Special Response Team, a new unit of the Lynn Police Department, helped to save a man at the YMCA on Neptune Boulevard. Police responded to a report that a man had barricaded himself in a bathroom, threatening to kill himself, on Nov. 11 Police found a 41-year-old man, armed with two knives, inside the bathroom. At first he resisted the team's calls to come out. Negotiations continued, and the man eventually came out of the bathroom, bleeding from the wrists and neck. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The Special Response Team, which has 24 members, was created earlier this year to respond to crisis situations, such as a hostage-taking or report of an emotionally disturbed person. Police responding to the YMCA included Officers James Randazza and Shawn Hogan and Manuel Gasca. Gasca acted as the crisis negotiator. - Kathy McCabe

HEARING ON BAR HOURS - The Licensing Board on Wednesday will hold a new public hearing on a proposal to move closing time to 1 a.m., instead of 2 a.m., at all bars, restaurants, and clubs licensed to sell alcohol. A Superior Court judge ordered the new hearing after some license holders filed a lawsuit challenging the board's unanimous 3-0 vote last month to change the hours. The license holders alleged the board improperly held an executive session to review documents presented at the hearing. The judge agreed, and ordered a new hearing. But he also ordered that only new testimony be taken. People who spoke at the last hearing, or evidence presented, will not be accepted again, said Richard Coppinger, the board chairman. "The old testimony will all stand as submitted, " Coppinger said. "We will consider any new evidence, and make a decision that night." The hearing will be held at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at Lynn City Hall. - Kathy McCabe

MALDEN

DISCOLORED WATER - Discolored water may start flowing from Malden faucets tomorrow. The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority this week has plans to reactivate a meter at the corner of Highland Avenue and Elm Street. Small amounts of iron in local pipes will cause the discolored water - which is most likely to affect residents in the Highland Avenue, Clifton Street, and Hospital Road areas. The discolored water is safe to drink, cook, and bathe with, but residents should note that it could stain light-colored laundry. - Erin Ailworth

MELROSE

EMERGENCY FUND NEEDS CONTRIBUTIONS - As the mercury drops and the price of home heating oil climbs, Mayor Robert Dolan is appealing to residents to donate to the city's Emergency Fund. "Every penny goes directly to help local families in need. There is no overhead," Dolan said in a news release. In December, the fund will provide supermarket gift cards to help more than 100 local families have a happier holiday season. Since January, the fund has paid out $12,500 to help Melrose residents faced with illness, job loss, and other unexpected crises. The fund gives families gift cards to local supermarkets, pays for a tank of heating oil, or makes a partial payment for rent or utility bills. Fund administrators work with the Melrose Red Cross and other local agencies to make sure the funds are being used as efficiently as possible, Dolan said. Any Melrose resident in need can apply for help at the mayor's office in City Hall by filling out a brief application that asks for information about income and specific needs. Applicants should bring a photo ID and proof of residence. To contribute to the fund, make checks payable to City of Melrose, write Melrose Emergency Fund in the memo space, and send to the mayor's office, Melrose City Hall, 562 Main St., Melrose MA. 02176. for more info call the mayor's office: 781-979-4440. - Kay Lazar

REVERE

CONCERN OVER TREES AT THE BEACH - The City Council has asked that Mayor Thomas G. Ambrosino set up a meeting with representatives from the state Department of Conservation and Recreation to discuss the planting of trees along a portion of Revere Beach. The request was made Monday by Councilor at Large John R. Correggio, who said some Revere Beach area residents are upset over DCR's plans to plant trees as part of the final phases of an $11 million renovation to improve beach access, sidewalks, and parking. Correggio said residents are concerned the trees will block beach views and the sun, and that roots will break through sidewalks years down the road. But DCR spokeswoman Wendy Fox said Commissioner Rick Sullivan, Revere state Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein, and state Senator Anthony W. Petruccelli met last week with members of a nearby condo association, and agreed to remove seven of 17 trees. Residents will choose which seven trees to remove. Fox said DCR held four public hearings regarding this project two years ago, including details of the tree plantings, so "the trees did not come out of the blue." - Katheleen Conti

SAUGUS

HEARINGS ON BACK TAXES AND FEES - The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday will hold hearings on 15 businesses that owe back taxes and fees. The list includes restaurants, bars , retailers, car dealers, and service businesses, many of them on Route 1. Each faces the possible suspension and loss of licenses or permits to operate. The hearings will be held as part of the board's meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Town Hall. - Kathy McCabe

CONSERVATION OFFICER TO BE HONORED - The Saugus River Watershed Council on Tuesday will honor Frank McKinnon, the town's conservation officer. McKinnon is due to receive the council's 2007 River Stewardship Award during its annual meeting scheduled for the Hilltop Steakhouse on Route 1. McKinnon was selected for his efforts to protect wetlands and water resources in the watershed. The council is a nonprofit group that works to protect the resources in the watershed, which touches 11 communities. Water quality monitoring and public access are among its top priorities. - Kathy McCabe

TOWN MEETING ADDRESSING TEACHERS' ONTRACT - Funding for the new teachers' contract tops tomorrow's Special Town Meeting agenda. About $330,000 is needed for the contract approved in September by members of the Saugus Educators Association, the union representing public school teachers. The article requests a transfer from the town's health insurance fund, to the School Department's salary account. Saugus expects to have a surplus in its health insurance fund once town employees join the state Group Insurance Commission in January. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m . in the auditorium at Town Hall. - Kathy McCabe

WAKEFIELD

ONLINE BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS - Local residents can now receive book recommendations e-mailed directly to them. The Lucius Beebe Memorial Library this month introduced "NextReads," a free service that allows readers to choose from more than 20 topics and genres, including fiction and nonfiction, and receive monthly or bimonthly e-mail newsletters based on their preferences. Each newsletter includes up to 12 book recommendations, and subscribers can link directly to Beebe Library's online catalog to request a title or place a hold on one. No library card is needed to join. To sign up, go to the library's website, wakefieldlibrary.org, and click on the "NextReads" button. - John Laidler

WINTHROP

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED - The Town Council is seeking applicants interested in serving in the Citizens Advisory Committee on Finance and the Board of License Commissioners. There are two positions open on each board. Residents can send letters of interest to Council President Thomas E. Reilly, c/o Town Clerk Carla Vitale, Winthrop Town Hall, One Metcalf Square, Winthrop 02152, or by e-mail to cvitale@town.winthrop.ma.us, with the name of the committee on the subject line. - Katheleen Conti

AROUND THE REGION

BEVERLY

FORMER CHIEF MAY GET EXTRA $60,000 - John Cassola, who retired as police chief last summer, could receive a $60,000 check from the city soon for sick time and accrued vacation time he did not use. At last week's City Council meeting, Mayor William Scanlon Jr. proposed paying Cassola the $60,000 with surplus funds in the city budget. The City Council will meet on Dec. 3 to discuss the proposal. - Steven Rosenberg

DANVERS

HEARING ON HOUSING PROPOSAL - A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday on a proposal to rezone about 25 acres of land near the Middleton town line to allow a 291-unit development for people aged 55 and over. The site, called Lebel's Grove, is zoned for single-family homes only. North Shore Active Adult Group LLC has proposed the condo/town house plan, but the town's zoning bylaw would have to be amended by Town Meeting to allow the development. The developer proposes selling some of the units as affordable housing and creating public access to the Ipswich River, which runs along the property. The hearing will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Senior Center on Stone Street. - Kathy McCabe

Hamilton

BOARD JOINS AFFORDABLE HOUSING ALLIANCE - At the suggestion of the Planning Board, the Board of Selectmen recently agreed to join the Municipal Coalition for Affordable Housing. The coalition, initiated by town officials in Walpole, is seeking changes in the state's Chapter 40B laws to create a better method of providing affordable housing in Massachusetts. Selectmen chairman Bill Bowler said that the town wants to stay informed as the effort progresses. The fee to join was $20, he said, adding, "We thought it was worth the $20 to join." - David Rattigan

LYNNFIELD

CHILDREN CAN LEARN SIGN LANGUAGE - The public library is offering young children a chance to learn how to communicate through sign language. On Dec. 3, 10, and 17 at 11 a.m., the library is presenting a "Happy Hands Sign Language" class. Intended for children aged 18 months to 5 years old, the free class will use music, reading, and crafts to familiarize participants with American Sign Language. No registration is required. For more information, call Laurie Blake at 617-365-2753. Also, on Tuesday, the library is offering a drop-in event called "Trucks, Trucks, Trucks!" including the reading of truck books and other activities. Children are invited to bring their favorite trucks. For more information, call 781-334-5411. - John Laidler

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