2015 in Revere: The Year in Review

Nationwide, the year 2015 isn’t getting rave reviews. Most, in fact, have rated it less than stellar according to the numerous opinion polls taken as of late. In Revere, there were a fair amount of ups and downs as well.

The biggest stories of the year here were likely snow and local politics – with a little bit of sand sculpting mixed in between.

Below is a month-by-month look at the major stories and photos of the year in Revere that was 2015.

 

January

  • Supt. Paul Dakin makes his retirement plans official and the plan is accepted by the School Committee “with regret” on Jan. 8.
  • Long time firefighter and mayoral aid Patsy Tata dies on Jan. 2 at 87.
  • Revere celebrates 100 years as a City during a Jan. 5 ceremony in the Council Chambers prior to the State of the City address. Revere officially became a City on Jan. 4, 1915 when Mayor Arthur Curtis was sworn into office.
  • Immaculate Conception School is embroiled in a controversy when a false-accusation surfaces that a janitor was acting inappropriately in the boys’ bathroom. Two school officials are fired and the parish priest administrator resigns. All allegations end up being non-bonafide.
  • After a relatively tame winter through January, Juno the Blizzard hits Revere and Greater Boston with a wallop during the last weekend of January, dumping 24.6 inches. No one could possibly know what was to come.

February

  • February was all about snow, snow and more snow. Following Juno, a second snowstorm hits on Monday, Feb. 2, and brings 16.2 inches of snow. Another blizzard strikes Monday, Feb. 10, and dumps another 23.1 inches of snow. Then, on Sunday, Feb. 15, a third blizzard strikes the City and drops another 18 inches.
  • The City’s 2014 payroll increases by $23 million over 2013 and 168 employees made more than $100,000.
  • After getting some 82 inches of snow falling on the City since Jan. 26, State and City officials call in the National Guard and crews from New York and New Jersey to help clear the piles of snow everywhere. Snow banks and difficult maneuvering on the streets has crippled the bottom line for many small businesses in the City.
  • Snow problems have forced the school to miss numerous school days and schools are now re-thinking the school calendar. Some are calling for an end to the February winter vacation week.
  • Assistant Supt. Dianne Kelly is preliminarily tapped to become the superintendent of schools, replacing Supt. Paul Dakin on July 1.
  • The City Council calls for a comprehensive snow plan involving the mayor, DPW, police chief and fire chief to be put in place before next winter.
  • The Revere High School (RHS) girls’ basketball team wins a conference championship and one state playoff game before losing to Billerica, 44-35.

March

  • Councillor Richard Penta passes away after a long illness. City officials call for a special election to take place later in May.
  • Mayor Dan Rizzo announces he will seek another term as mayor.
  • Public safety officials suggest that spikes in overdoses this winter coincided with blizzards and decry the spike in the price of the anti-overdose drug Narcan, which has gone from $15 to $40 per dose.
  • A violent and premeditated attack by three girl students at Seacoast School against another female student has Revere Supt. Paul Dakin calling for the state to review new, more-stringent expulsion requirements.
  • High School baseball teams in Revere and all over the area are at a standstill in the early season as a thick blanket of snow still covers most fields.
  • Owners of the Wonderland Ballroom put the dancehall on the market for sale as potential housing developments.

April

  • Colm Bohill: Beloved Member of the Independent Newspaper Group.There was never a time when one could not laugh with him, nor a moment that passed when he was short of the perfect word to describe any situation.

That’s how friends, family and co-workers most remember Colm Bohill, 69, a long-time partner at the Independent News Group who passed away at Whidden Hospital in Everett Monday, April 13, after a brief illness.

  • City councillors and Little League officials call for help on McMackin Field, which is currently under water and closed for all activities.
  • Mayor Dan Rizzo proclaims a win over the Wynn casino in Everett when state environmental officials unexpectedly call for the casino company to do more work on traffic mitigation.
  • Winthrop Avenue bridge replacement plans are starting to be put in place for construction and closures over the summer months.
  • The cost of the Harry Della Russo Stadium project increases by $2 million, the City Council is told, from the original $5.5 million tab.
  • Reardon’s Pub, formerly the historic Fenno’s Tavern, is torn down for affordable senior housing after having been on the corner in some fashion since 1766.

May

  • School Committeewoman Donna Wood Pruitt is charged by Revere Police for allegedly selling Class E prescription drugs to an undercover officer at her home.
  • An early 90-degree day ends in a major fight on Revere Beach between police and about 100 youths at the Bandstand.
  • Joanne McKenna is elected to be the next Ward 1 city councillor in a Special Election on May 19.
  • RHS’s top two students, Valedictorian Danielle Fortuna and Salutatorian David Landeta, with both attend Princeton University in the fall of 2015.
  • Frank Shea, a long-time teacher in Revere, is named the new athletic director for Revere High School.

June

  • Councillor at-Large Brian Arrigo announces he has pulled nomination papers for mayor and will run against Mayor Dan Rizzo.
  • RHS holds its Commencement Ceremonies at the new Harry Della Russo Stadium, the first community event at the facility.
  • Former Revere Mayor Tom Ambrosino is chosen to be the city manager in Chelsea, Revere’s next-door neighbor.
  • RevereCARES Executive Director Kitty Bowman retires after 18 years leading the anti-substance abuse organization sponsored by Mass General Hospital.
  • After much controversy regarding drug charges, School Committeewoman Donna Wood Pruitt pulls papers to run for a seat once again.

July

  • CRW Home Care CEO Jim Cunningham retires after 39 years at the helm of the groundbreaking home care organization.
  • Heroin overdoses in Revere have continued to spike this year as statewide attention begins to be focused on the problem by Gov. Charlie Baker. One incident on Revere Beach draws considerable attention when a man overdosed on the Beach and nearly drowned when the high tide came in.
  • Bella Bond was found on Deer Island in Winthrop and an all-out local effort to identify the then-unknown toddler is underway by state and local police.
  • The Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival draws huge crowds in late July, topping the one million-visitor mark for the entire week. Saturday and Sunday were banner days at the Festival.

 

August

  • Many residents, elected officials and public safety officials who lived through the day gathered to remember the first anniversary of the most unexpected stories in Revere’s history – an F-2 tornado tearing down Broadway. A new granite plaque under the City Hall flagpole recounts the bizarre day one year ago.
  • A Wakefield man upset about the one-year anniversary of the Ferguson, MO police shooting allegedly makes an unprovoked attack on Revere Police Lt. Jerry Goodwin, who was working a utility company detail.
  • School Officials voice frustration with the contractor working on the new Hill School when it is learned that the school will not be fully completed by opening day. Work crews work overnight and weekends well into the fall to complete the project.
  • Neighbors and some City officials get heated over a housing proposal at the old Shaw’s Supermarket site on the Parkway. The development plan eventually becomes a major mayoral campaign issue and sparks debate about a possible residential building moratorium.

 

September

  • The first day of September brings a closer than expected Preliminary Election for mayor, with Mayor Dan Rizzo beating challenger Brian Arrigo by 114 votes. The council at-large race narrows the field to 10 candidates with Councillor Jessica Giannino topping the ticket.
  • The RHS football season kicks off its season in the brand new Harry Della Russo Stadium with a huge community celebration that draws thousands of residents and alumni. Revere beats Medford 35-0.
  • A mysterious proposal to put a major hotel development with a slot parlor near a horse track – via a statewide ballot question – turns out to be on Lee’s Trailer Park in Revere – a development backed by Eugene McCain.
  • Bella Bond of Dorchester is identified as the unknown toddler found on Winthrop’s Deer Island in the early summer. Her identification triggered several vigils at the site where she was found and hundreds from the area attended.

October

  • Revere Housing Authority Linda Shaw leaves her post after nine years and with only eight months left on her contract. She has taken a post in Madera, CA.
  • Revere Public Schools have prohibited all outdoor activities, including recess and some varsity sports, due to concerns about the West Nile Virus.
  • Former Immaculate Conception Principal Alison Kelly files suit against the Archdiocese of Boston for breach of contract after being fired during the IC School scare in January.
  • A taxpayer lawsuit dealing with MBTA land purchased

by Wynn Casino in Everett – a major point of contention for Mayor Dan Rizzo – is dismissed by a Boston judge.

November

  • Mayor-elect Brian Arrigo shocks the City on Election Night as he wins a very close race over Mayor Dan Rizzo by 117 votes.
  • The City Council races on Election Night feature at-Large Councillors Jessica Giannino, George Rotondo, Bob Haas, Steven Morabito and Tony Zambuto getting seats. Ward 4 Councillor-elect Patrick Keefe also upsets incumbent Stephen Reardon.
  • Mayor Dan Rizzo mulls requesting a recount most of the month, and files for the recount in late November. The Election Commission, however, holds a public hearing and fails to take action. The matter would later end up in a Suffolk Superior Courtroom for a decision.
  • A Tweet by a RHS cheerleader about voting and people in Revere who are “not legal” sparks a nationwide situation about First Amendment rights when the Revere Schools punish the girl for her comments.
  • Following the City Election, city councillors – including Mayor-elect Brian Arrigo – call in the City’s finance director to review the current City Budget and to get answers on some expenditures.
  • Revere Fire Deputy Chief Chris Bright receives the Medal of Valor from Gov. Charlie Baker during the Firefighter of the Year awards in Cambridge. Bright responded to a fire at his childhood home earlier in the year and saved his uncle from certain death.

December

  • A medical marijuana facility is awarded a Special Permit by the City Council to operate a dispensary and growing operation on Railroad Avenue.
  • Sen. Anthony Petruccelli announces he will leave the state senate in January, sparking a slate of potential candidates to come forward from Revere and beyond.
  • A Suffolk Superior Court judge dismisses lawsuits by Revere, Boston and Mohegan Sun against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for the awarding of the casino license to Wynn Everett.
  • Councillors report being shocked by news that the snow and ice budget from last year is $1.3 million in deficit. A three-year plan is proposed to pay off the deficit.
  • A Suffolk Superior Court judge orders a recount of the mayoral race from the November City Election. The count is to be completed by Jan. 4.
  • After 15 years leading the Revere Public Schools, Supt. Paul Dakin retires on Dec. 23.
  • December has been very mild so far with a high of 70 degrees on Christmas Eve and a high of 65 degrees on Christmas Day.
Seth Daniel:

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