Loss of City Leader Bob Haas Was Top Story of 2017

December 28, 2017
By

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

Development projects like the sale of Suffolk Downs, the sandsculpting festivalor the election in November could easily be the top story for Revere residents in 2017.  However, the sudden death of former Mayor and Council President Robert Haas in July, still has many residents reflecting on the void that his passing leaves in the fabric of the community.

 

The following are snippets of news stories that ran in the Revere Journal in 2017. The stories are in chronological order.

 

Jan. 4

 

Shaw’s Site

 

• Developers for 205 Revere Beach Parkway, the former Shaw’s site, went before the Revere Conservation Commission Wednesday night, January 4,  to address the wetland considerations on the old grocery store property.

 

Developers propose to build a five-story, 132 key hotel and a six-story, 195 unit residential apartment building with parking for 298 vehicles.

 

Potential Development

 

• The Neighborhood Developers withdrew its application to  construct a mixed use property consisting of 69 residential units, a community room and two retail spaces at 571 Revere St. at the intersection of Sachem Street. It was slated to go before the ZBA for several variances. The variances were for front yard setback, side yard setback, rear yard setback, parking requirements and tandem parking. TND was also seeking relief for 93 parking spaces and 12 tandem style spaces.

 

 

Jan. 11

 

Haas leads city council

 

• It was a smooth transition of power on the Revere City Council Monday night when Robert Haas Jr. was voted in as City Council President for 2017 and Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe was voted in as City Council Vice President.

 

Both were sworn in by Assistant City Clerk Joanne Giarla.

 

Arrigo won’t renew police chief contract

 

• Mayor Brian Arrigo said his decision not to renew Police Chief Joseph Cafarelli’s contract was not political, and he won’t discuss a personnel issue.

 

Arrigo said the five-year contract for Cafarelli will be up for renewal on June 30 and clause in the contract maintains that he let Cafarelli know six months in advance if the contract was not going to be renewed. If he had not notified Cafarelli, the contract would automatically be renewed.

 

Cafarelli has been a member of the Revere Police Department for the past 25 years and worked under former Police Chief Terence Reardon.  Cafarelli was appointed in 2012 by former Mayor Dan Rizzo.

 

Arrgio thanked Cafarelli for his service to the the City and he appreciates the work that he has done.

 

Cafarelli has a military background, having served in Beirut and other Mediterranean areas. He was also active in the Marine reserves. On the policing side Cafarelli has worked on Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), the Boston Marathon bombings, and regional Special Weapons and Tactical (SWAT).

 

“I wanted my own contract with the police chief. I won’t go into a personnel decision,” Arrigo said. “I want the department to move more in the direction of community engagement and focus on neighborhood engagement. I am committed to the safety of the city.”

 

 

Jan. 18

 

Commission back to work

 

• The Commission on Disabilities is back in business, and is seeking the public’s input on a couple of ideas.

 

Two issues the commission will be working on is the need for an office space for the commission and the handicap parking signs used in front of some homes.

 

Co-chair Ralph Decicco said the process for getting a handicap sign used to be under the traffic clerk, but now it will be under the commission.

 

 

EBNHC expands

 

• East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) is looking to expand its services in Revere with a new building on Garofola Street on the site of the Mottola Post for its PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) program for the elderly.

 

The healthcare provider is requesting a variance for front, side and rear yard setbacks, also open space requirements and a landscape buffer screen. In addition, parking for medical office use, and a minimum setback for dumpster pads.

 

They are also requesting permission to the raze the current VFW Post on the site.

 

 

Jan. 25

 

POP development

 

• The Revere City Council has sent a message to MassHousing and to developers that the city does not need more affordable housing.

 

This comes on the heels of a developer proposing 78 affordable housing units at 29 Thayer Ave. in the Riverside section of Revere that is located in the Point of Pines. The unnamed developer from Winthrop even went as far as displaying a picture of the project on the site and a sign across that said, “Powers Towers” referring to Ward 5 Councillor John Powers.

 

Tear it down

 

• Councillor John Powers had more questions about Wonderland and the activities there and called for the building once again to be torn down.

 

For the last five years the building has been unusable and hundreds of cars have had a parking space there.

 

Powers wants CBW Lending, LLC to appear before the City Council at the next regularly scheduled meeting to discuss the expiration of the special permit issued by the Revere City Council for 190 VFW Parkway which permits the operation of a commercial automotive storage and parking facility.

 

 

Feb. 1

 

Overdose data

 

• Revere public safety officials’ efforts are working in reducing the number of drug overdoses in City, according to very raw 2016 data released on Tuesday. In 2015 there were 256 calls for possible overdoses from heroin, fentanyl and other opioids. In 2016 it appears the number has dropped to 195 calls for possible overdoses.

 

Looking closer at the numbers in 2016 there were 125 calls by the fire department where Narcan was used and 67 calls where the person was conscious and under the influence. There were also four possible fatalities. This is compared to 2015 when there were 151 calls using Narcan and 101 cases where the person was conscious an did not require Narcan. There were also five possible fatalities.

 

 

Good news for real estate

 

• The real estate market showed median home sale prices have increased between 8 to 21 percent in the Revere, Winthrop, Chelsea, East Boston, Everett and Lynn.

 

Revere single family home sales price comparing 2015 to 2016 were up eight percent from $330,000 to $356,250. There were 244 sales in 2016 and 196 in 2015. In the condo market there was a 44 percent increase in condo sales, from 134 in 2015 and 193 in 2016. The median condo sales price was down by 6.6 percent from $289,000 to $270,000

 

 

Feb. 8

 

Marijuana sales

 

• The City Council and the Planning Board held several public hearings later this month regarding the retail sales of marijuana.

 

The Revere City Council will conduct a public hearing at its Feb. 27 meeting at 6 p.m. and the Planning Board will conduct a public hearing on Feb. 28 at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the zoning ordinances as it relates to regulating recreational marijuana facilities in Revere.

 

Voters approved the law to make recreational marijuana legal back in November and it became law in December. But the state law leaves it up to the cities and towns as to where these recreational retail facilities can go.

 

Eugene McKenna, chairman of the Revere Planning Board, said he and others in the Planning Department determined the best place to have a recreational marijuana facility would be in the TED (technology enterprise district) district off the Lee Burbank Highway. A medical marijuana facility owned by the Wellness Connection is expected to be close by.

 

“It seemed like the best area. It’s out of the way and isolated,” McKenna said.

 

The revised ordinances for the city adds a definition of a “recreational marijuana facility” which is a “business that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes (including food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments) transfers, transports, sell, distributes, dispenses or administers marijuana products containing marijuana and related supplies.”

 

State of the City

 

• Mayor Brian Arrigo offered hope and a clear direction for the City during his State of the City address in the Council Chambers of City Hall.

 

The packed hall included the City Councillors, the School Committee members, friends, family and political watchers, including his son who did say “Dad” at one point in the speech.

 

A small group of women stood on the stairs holding signs in support of being a welcoming community.

 

With everyone settled in Arrigo began his speech with a nod toward the New England Patriots and stating that Quarterback Tom Brady “is the greatest of all time.”

 

Then Arrigo spoke of pride – in hard work, family and home. He also spoke of the professionalization of city hall, including a human resources department, a 311 call center, online services and electronic permitting.

 

 

Year of the rat

 

•They are probably the most abundant pest in Revere and City leaders want to see more done to combat the problem of rats.

 

Councillor George Rotondo submitted a motion for the city to purchase several hundred bait traps to provide to the community. He also wants the city to look into the feasibility of using owls to go after the rats.

 

 

Revere rents are up

 

• If you’re looking for an apartment in Revere, you don’t have to look too far,  but you may have to dig into your wallet to pay the monthly rent if you want to live in one of the new developments near the beach.

 

Of course apartments in Revere range from those in multi-family homes to luxury apartments across from Revere Beach.

 

There are 22,000 housing units in Revere, according to Bob O’Brien, Director of the Economic Development Department, but there is not anyone keeping track of how many are apartments. The City of Revere does not track apartments or rents. The City of Boston found themselves in the same situation and passed the Rental Registration Ordinance more than three years ago. Each rental unit in Boston pays an annual fee and with this information, city officials now has rental information.

 

In Revere, rents range from $1,000 to $3,500. A group called BostonPads, even tracked the rental costs per bedroom according to MBTA stops on the Blue Line. The average rent at Suffolk Downs is $1,017; at Beachmont the average rent is $1,156; the Revere Beach stop shows an average of $905 and the Wonderland stop shows an average rent of $1,423.

 

City payroll

 

• Seven of the top 10 highest paid employees in Revere are in the police department. Even so it is the school department that has two of the highest paid people in the city.

 

Although he is retired as the Superintendent of Schools, Paul Dakin was the top employee on the calendar year 2016 payroll for the city of Revere.

 

Dakin, who received $227,380 last year, retired from heading up Revere Public Schools in 2015 but stayed on as advisor until August of 2016.

 

The second highest employee for 2016 was Police Chief Joseph Cafarelli who took home $213,871. The mayor recently announced he would not be renewing Cafarelli’s contract in June.

 

 

Feb. 15

 

Uptick in overdoses

 

• Just two weeks after reporting that opioid overdoses and deaths were down for the year, there was an uptick in overdoses and fatalities due in large part to an influx of fentanyl.

 

This increase is reportedly linked to the use of heroin contaminated with the drug fentanyl. From February 1– February 7, 2016 there were 14 opioid overdoses in Revere, and two unconfirmed opioid overdose fatalities.

 

The City of Revere’s Substance Use Disorder Initiatives Office encourages emergency response services, health care providers, substance abuse treatment services providers, public safety first responders, and the public to exercise increased vigilance in promptly identifying a suspected overdose, and to take appropriate action.

 

 

Question One disappears

 

• It seems like they swooped into Revere to get a slots parlor approved by state ballot question, and when the question failed the people rallying for Question One just as quickly left.

 

The latest to be heard from them now is that Eugene McCain, head of the group, has agreed to pay a $125,000 civil forfeiture for several violations of the campaign finance laws.

 

Winter Wonderland

 

• The one, two, three punch blanketed the City with over a foot of snow, closing schools for three days and City Hall last Thursday.

 

Winter storm Niko dropped 14 inches last Thursday, with other storms dropping four inches on Saturday and five inches Sunday into Monday, even though more had been predicted.

 

Department of Public Works Head Don Goodwin said his crews were going full speed, plowing, sanding, salting, shoveling and snow-blowing.

 

 

Feb. 22

 

Tobacco age rises to 21

 

• Starting July 1,  purchasers of tobacco products in Revere are going to have to be 21 years of age or older.

 

The Board of Health voted in 12 new amendments regarding the sale tobacco products. One regulation for banning the sales of flavored tobacco products did not pass.

 

Over the past couple of months the Board held a public hearing twice, both heavily attended by owners of convenience stores in Revere and those looking for a ban.

 

An amendment to restrict flavored tobacco products sales in other than adult only retail tobacco stores failed when voted on. Currently, only  77 of 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth have this amendment.

 

So people will be able to buy flavored products but they will have to be 21 years of age. The amendments that did pass by board members Kim Hanton, Dr. Eric Weil, and John L. Benecchi go into effect July 1 and include:

 

• The requirement of a cessation quit sign.
• Adopt minimum cigar package size/pricing.

 

• No permit renewal if three sales to under age people.
• Cap and/or reduce number of tobacco permits in Revere.
• No new retailers are allowed within 500 feet of a school.
• Raise minimum legal sales age of tobacco and nicotine delivery products to 21.
• Ban the sale blunt wraps.
• Ban non-residential roll your own machines.
• Ban tobacco and nicotine delivery products in educational institutions.
• Raise fining structure to $300 for first offense, $300 and 7 day suspension of permit for second offense, $300.00 and 30 day suspension for third offense.
• Raise tolling period from 24 months to 36 months
• Change language from “may suspend” to “shall suspend”

 

 

March 1

 

Public hearing on pot

 

• The Revere City Council held a public hearing on a proposed ordinance Monday night for the placement of a recreational marijuana shop and the Planning Board was expected to discuss the ordinance at its meeting late Tuesday afternoon.

 

Voters approved the law to make recreational marijuana legal back in November and it became law in December. But the state law leaves it up to the cities and towns as to where these recreational retail facilities can go.

 

The revised ordinances ordinance for the city adds a definition of a “recreational marijuana facility” which is a “business that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes (including food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments) transfers, transports, sell, distributes, dispenses or administers marijuana products containing marijuana and related supplies.”

 

The ordinance also spells out where in the city marijuana can be sold.

 

 

New HR Department

 

• Mayor Brian Arrigo campaigned on a promise to professionalize City Hall, starting with a human resources department. Monday night Mary Aicardi, of the Collins Center for Public Management, presented a study conducted for the purpose of reviewing the organization of human resources and policies in city government.

 

Revere is one of only three cities or towns in the state that does not have a municipal human resources department. The other two communities are Amesbury and North Adams.

 

 

March 8

 

Crime Watch group starts

 

• Residents of the Revere Housing Authorities property in the Cooledge Street area will be starting up a crime watch group in response to a shooting and alleged gang violence on housing authority property.

 

“This has been going on for over a year and it’s steadily getting out of control,” said Wayne Rose, a candidate for City Council who lives on Cooledge Street, adding that the disturbing gang behavior appears to be coming from the third block of Cooledge Street. “We are trying to get rid of them.”

 

James Milanazzo, head of the housing authority, said the authority is going over the leases of a couple of the rental units and will take appropriate action. Under the lease there are tenant responsibilities, potential eviction and violation stipulations.

 

 

Peter Woo passes

 

• Services were held Tuesday for Peter Woo, one of the most well-known businessmen in Revere who passed away February 26 after a brief illness.

 

Friends and customers gathered at Peter Woo’s Restaurant last Monday night following his passing. The restaurant was filled to capacity and there was not a dry eye in the place said one of the mourners.

 

 

March 15

 

Free Cash certified

 

• The Massachusetts Department of Revere has certified the city’s free cash figure for the past two years.

 

As of June 30, 2016 the combined amount of free cash for the general fund is $4,524,556 and $2,335,715 for the Water and Sewer Enterprise fund. Free cash is the difference between what was budgeted and what was spent.

 

“That’s for two years, 2015 and 2016,” said George Anzuoni, the city’s director of finance.

 

Monday night the city council approved moving some of the free cash to stabilization funds.

 

Free cash from the general fund in the amount of $678,683 was transferred to the stabilization account.

 

Free cash in the amount of $350,357 was transferred to the water and sewer stabilization fund.

 

 

New vets agent

 

• Marc Silvestri has served his country and now he wants to serve other veterans in Revere. Silvestri started his new job as Revere’s Director of Veterans Service officially two weeks ago, but he already put in some hours to make sure veterans and their families get the services that they are entitled to receive.

 

Silvestri takes over for long-time director Nick Bua, who retired after 14 years at the end of 2016. Silvestri knew Bua and assisted him when needed.

 

Rizzo will run

 

• Former Mayor Dan Rizzo has announced he will be running for Councillor-At-Large in the November election.

 

He made the announcement during his St. Patrick’s dinner on March 9.

 

“My major inspiration for running are the people of the community and the desire to make the city the very best it can be,” Rizzo said, with his wife Jane at his side.

 

Rizzo has been involved in city politics for the past 18 years, previously serving as a councillor and a four-year term as mayor. Over a year ago Rizzo had just come off a close mayoral election and a recount with Brian Arrigo, who ended up winning the race by over 100 votes.

 

“My reason for running now is the same as when I got into politics 18 year ago,” Rizzo said. “I believe in the city and I think I can still help.”

 

Rizzo said he’s invested in the city both in his personal life and his professional life as a business owner.

 

“Many times I have been successful and sometimes there has been a bump in the road over the last 16 to 17 years,” Rizzo told his room of supporters at the Beachmont VFW. “But I think we’ve done some remarkable and good things together.”

 

 

Goodwin named

 

Winthrop Deputy Chief

 

• Revere Police Department’s loss is the Winthrop Police Department’s gain.

 

Revere Lt. Det. John Goodwin will become Winthrop’s first deputy chief in the department when he begins his new job on April 12.

 

Goodwin, 55, was just beginning his 23rd year in the Revere Police Department when the job in Winthrop came up.

 

“I thought it was a great opportunity but it was also a difficult decision,” Goodwin said.

 

With the Revere Police Department Goodwin worked with Winthrop officers on many joint investigations and trained many times together.

 

Goodwin was one of three considered for the position. All candidates went through an assessment center which gave them challenges like they would have while on the job. At the end each candidate was allowed to go over everything with the assessment team so they could also learn from the experience.

 

 

March 22

 

Beach Sales Anniversary

 

• Putting the customer first is the key to the success story at Beach Sales on VFW Parkway. Since 1947 when people were buying typewriters to today when people purchase entire kitchens, Beach Sales celebrating its 70th anniversary this month, has been a fixture in Revere.

 

 

Catinazzo retires

 

• It’s been 17 years and Nick Catinazzo, Revere’s Director of Municipal Inspections, has decided to retire from city service. But don’t count him out – he might be thinking of running for public office.

 

“I have a good relationship with just about everyone,” he said after celebrating his 70th birthday last week. “I know the ins and outs of city hall and I know how to get things done.”

 

His last day was May 31.

 

 

Incident at Four

 

Point Sheraton

 

• The Revere Licensing Commission would like to hear from representatives of the Four Point Sheraton Boston Logan after hearing about a complaint involving a Revere couple.

 

Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe came before the commission last week after friends of his allegedly tried to rent a room at the hotel three weeks ago and were allegedly denied because of a policy.

 

Mike Buddemeyer, manager of the hotel, met with Mayor Brian Arrigo Monday evening. He said there is no policy against renting to Revere residents.

 

“We determine renting to each guest,” said Buddemeyer.

 

Despite his statement, Keefe said it was confirmed by a manager when he called that there was an alleged  rental policy. The 180-room hotel is advertised as an airport hotel.

 

 

March 29

 

New labor contracts

 

• The Mayor and union representatives for the Revere Police Employees Association, the Revere School Traffic Supervisors Union and the Public Works Department have signed and agreed to new labor contracts.

 

While all three contracts are separate, the pay increases are ranging for one to three percent each year and go back to 2015.

 

“It was a professional, collaborative and respectful collective bargaining process,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo. “I appreciate the work and effort the parties put in, and they good faith they showed throughout the entire process.”

 

In addition to minimal pay increases, each contract has details unique to each. In the police contract increases in step pay were schedule for 1.5 percent for 2015 and 2016 and three percent as of July 1. The annual education stipend for those hired after 2009 is $4,000 for an associates degree and $6,000 for a bachelors degree.

 

 

Bell recognized

 

• The city council gave a resolution to William Bell, a former city councillor, who passed away recently. He served on the council from 1978 to 1984. Council President Robert Haas Jr. said he was an active citizen who had also worked in the Consumer Affairs Department in City Hall.

 

 

Improper storage

 

• City inspectors have slapped a fine on a local business for improper storage of materials after a city councillor and a council candidate came upon the mess behind the trailer park on Revere Beach Parkway.

 

Inspectors were tipped off after Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna and candidate Wayne Rose were checking on conditions in the trailer park. They saw the pile of tires and other debris and contacted the city’s “SeeClickFix” system to alert inspectors.

 

Sullivan Tires, 20 Furlong Drive, was fined for piles of old tires, old vehicles, a mattress and other equipment. The piles of tires had toppled over and spilled into Green Creek, which runs between the trailer park and the tire business.

 

 

April 5

 

Autism awareness

 

• Lou Ann Meola and Debra Hendricks are the best of friends, sharing not only friendship but the understanding of what it means to have an autistic grandson.

 

Both women have asked the City Council and Councillor George Rotondo to make sure the Markey Bridge is lighted blue for Autism Awareness Month during the month of April. Now the blue light glows at night.

 

“We have to raise awareness about autism,” Meola said, adding that she wishes public safety employees, police, fire and others knew as much as they could about autism.

 

 

April 12

 

HYM coming to town

 

• Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna has a childhood memory of hearing the horse racing at Suffolk Downs and now she’s looking forward to the proposed development of the coveted 161 acre site located both in Boston and Revere.

 

Suffolk Downs was recently purchased by HYM Investment Group with principal Tom O’Brien, the former Boston Development Authority chief.

 

“We’ve been talking to as many people as we can,” O’Brien said.

 

He feels strongly that his 25 years in the business and plans on listening carefully to each city’s mayor and city council. He plans on holding forums and being open for the process.

 

 

April 19

 

Bianco’s moves

 

• When Joseph Bianco Sr opened Bianco Sausage at 375 Revere St. he began a Revere institution with a product that now reaches across the country.

 

Bianco’s Sausage is moving its home to Medford . for more square footage and even more sausage links. The business purchased the old Hoff’s Bakery facility in Medford near Wellington Circle last year, renovated the space and is ready to move. The shop and manufacturing will close on April 27.

 

“We feel bad,its bitter sweet that we are leaving our revere facility. said Joe Bianco III, the grandson of the founder. “We’ve overgrown this place.

 

Joseph Bianco Sr. started the business on Revere Street in 1960. He owned property on both sides of the street, living in one place and working in the other. The 5,000 square foot shop also has a dry storage area across the street and another storage facility further down the street near St. Anthony’s Church. Now the sausage company will be moving its 38 employees to a 30,000 square foot facility. The new shop will move to 1 Brainard Ave., Medford, close to Route 16.

 

 

Rent-a-Tool closes

 

• One of Revere’s oldest family businesses will be closing April 25.

 

Rent -a -Tool on North Shore Road has been an institution for the last 63 years in Revere, supplying generators, trucks, light towers, blowers, a Bobcat and just about any other piece of equipment you can think of. At one point you could even go for a helicopter ride.

 

“The business is a casualty of war,” joked owner Steve Williams, who decided a year ago to sell. “The land is too valuable to run a business here.”

 

The 7-acre parcel and 31,000 square foot brick office and warehouse has been sold to Altrra, of Philadelphia, a property development company, for an undisclosed amount. It is his understanding that they will be leasing out the property. The property in the warehouse is being liquidated with over 5,000 pieces to be sold, including an old boarding ramp for airplanes at Hanscom Field. One item sold was the ship’s horn that stood outside the shop for years. It came from the USS United States. Now it will reside with a collector in Texas who purchased it for $8,000.

 

 

April 26

 

Construction progress

 

• Crews have been steadily working on the construction site of the former Shaw’s market at 205 Revere Beach Parkway demolishing the building and preparing the site for upcoming construction.

 

Very shortly, observers will find the site to be moving along and progress will be noticed soon.

 

Soon the site work being done now to prepare the lot will give way to the laying of the foundation in mid-May. There are two entities that will be building when the site is ready. Transdel/Gate Residential will be constructing the apartment side of the project with five stories of 195 units and XSS Hotel will be constructing the 124 room extended-stay hotel.

 

 

May 3

 

Election season begins

 

• It looks like this election year is going to contain a few challenges, at least when it comes to races for councillor-at-large, as well as Ward 2, Ward 3, and Ward 5.

 

Candidates were allowed to start taking out nomination papers on May 1 and have until July 11 to submit signatures for certification by the Elections Department.

 

Political newcomer Anthony Cogliandro was the first to pull papers at 8:15 a.m. He is seeking the Ward 3 seat now held by Arthur Guinasso.

 

Newcomer Wayne Rose was the first the have his nomination papers signed and returned to the election clerk. Election Commissioner Diane Colella said those signatures have been certified. Rose is seeking one of the five councillor-at-large seats. All candidates have to obtain 50 signatures on their nomination papers.

 

Incumbents Steven Morabito, Jessica Giannino, Anthony Zambuto and Robert Haas Jr. have all taken out papers.

 

Incumbent Joanne McKenna took out her nomination papers for Ward 1 councillor.

 

Incumbent Ira Novoselsky had not yet taken out his papers for Ward 2 at press time. His challenger, Sebastian Giuseppe Mancuso, has taken out his nomination papers.

 

Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe took out his papers.

 

In Ward 5, incumbent John Powers has taken out his papers and faces a challenge from newcomer Eric Lampedecchio.

 

For Ward 6, incumbent Charles Patch has taken out his nomination papers.

 

As of press time no one running for School Committee has taken out papers yet. School Committee incumbents include Carol Tye, Susan Gravellese, Michael Ferrante, Dan Maguire, Stacey Rizzo, and Frederick Sannella.

 

Jason Tait, director of Communications and Public Education from the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, will host a training session at 6 p.m. on June 27 at Revere City Hall in the Council Chambers.

 

 

Police Chief

 

candidates tested

 

• Four Revere police officers have applied for the position of Revere Chief of Police and were put through a simulation test, which is run by police chiefs from other communities, on Tuesday to see how they would re-act in various situations that a Police Chief faces on a regular basis.

 

Arlington Police Chief Fred Ryan who administered the tests updated the City Council on Monday night. He is the person heading up the testing center. He has done over 100 simulations in his 15 years of doing this testing.

 

 

Health Board bans K2

 

• Effective immediately,  the Board of Health has banned the sale of synthetic marijuana also known as K2, Spice and Scooby Snacks.

 

“We’re taking a loophole and closing it,” Mayor Brian Arrigo said during Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Health.

 

The issue of synthetic marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids came to Arrigo’s attention when a constituent said a local gas/convenience store was selling the synthetic marijuana.

 

 

May 10

 

Neighbors Opposed

 

• Citing an issue of parking, traffic and other concerns, neighbors of a proposed development at 5 Bellevue Ave., told city councillors that the size of the development was too big for the neighborhood.

 

Residents from Bellevue Ave., Revere Street and Ford Street spoke against the proposed development at a public hearing last week.

 

The hearing was called on the special permit application of Bellevue Revere, LLC, 72 Squire Rd., Unit 2, Revere, MA 02151 seeking permission from the Revere City Council to construct an eight unit townhouse development on lot 5 Bellevue Avenue. Plans also call for the extension of Bellevue Avenue as a private way to service the  townhouse development.

 

 

May 17

 

New HR department in

 

city hall

 

• When Mayor Brian Arrigo took office in 2016 he had 400 employees, yet no job descriptions, policies or procedures. Today, jobs are being advertised and people are being hired properly.

 

Helping him along the way is Sandi Charlton, a human resources expert, who is slated to work with city officials until June 30. Charlton comes from the Collins Center at UMass, Boston and came to Revere as a result of a human resources report done for the City in 2016.

 

The city will be hiring a permanent human resources staffer and is looking also for a retirement analyst.

 

Arrigo mentioned that the UMass-Collins Center Report noted the city lacked policies and procedures when it comes to hiring and firing. During research for the report it was found that it was not uncommon for someone to just show up for a new job without the supervisor knowing it. It was found that one employee making $80,000 a year and working 19 hours a week.

 

 

HYM comes to town

 

• Being billed as the largest development possibly ever on the North Shore when construction begins at the Suffolk Downs property, the project could take 10 or 15 years to be fully developed. Either way the development will have an impact on Revere for the next 50 years.

 

“It’s definitely an opportunity for transformational development at Suffolk Downs,” Mayor Brian Arrigo said.

 

He’s had a number of conversations with developers HYN and principles Tom O’Brien and Dino DiFronzo about the fact that they and city officials will be working together for a number of years.

 

 

May 24

 

City Hall Dedicated

 

 to Colella

 

• Friends and officials gathered Saturday morning to unveil a plaque and dedicate City Hall to the memory of the longest serving politician in the history of the Commonwealth.

 

Mayor Brian Arrigo said Colella was a man of strong convictions who developed a reputation for strength and leadership.

 

George V. Colella served as mayor starting in 1953 and served for 20 years. He was school committee member for for four years and a city councillor for 25 years.

 

His three daughters gathered around the bronze plaque at the entrance to City Hall.

 

The plaque says, This building is dedicated to the memory of George V. Colella, who served Revere for 50 years as Mayor, Councillor and school committeeman. He has the honor of being the longest serving elected official in The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. may this serve as an enduring reminder of his local service and passionate dedication to the city of Revere.”

 

 

Council upset with

 

Wonderland

 

• The attorney for the owners of the Wonderland Dog Park property appeared before the City Council Monday night to answer the councillors’ questions about the property.

 

Attorney James Cipoletta, representing CBW Lending, LLC, owners of the property, said there have been two “almost” deals for selling the property.

 

But the fact remains that a parking permit given in 2013 did expire in July 2015, and now, as Ward 5 Councillor John Powers stated, “they are operating illegally.”

 

“My concerns are not only the condition of the building,” Powers said,  and that the cars are illegally parked on the site.

 

Cipoletta said there are plans to tear down the building and he expects to get a demolition permit by June 7.

 

 

May 31

 

Boncore proposal

 

• Just as Legislators were wrapping up work on the FY 18 budget last week, State Sen. Joe Boncore proposed and got passed an amendment that would direct the Department of Public Health to study whether or not supervised injection sites could work in Massachusetts.

 

Boncore noted that there were 2,069 opioid deaths last year in Massachusetts and the introduction of fentanyl caused the overdose rate to rise over the past four years.

 

“We’re losing a generation to this, my generation,” said Boncore. “This is to make sure there’s a safe alternative.”

 

Boncore said the amendment would direct DPH to partner with law enforcement and medical professionals to study the safety and health impacts of supervised injection facilities.

 

The Massachusetts Medical Society has lobbied state and federal lawmakers to create a pilot facility in Massachusetts.

 

 

Wet Memorial Day

 

• Over 100 people braved the misty, overcast weather Monday morning as the city remembered those who gave their lives so ours can be free. Under the tents set up on the lawn of the American Legion post on Broadway were state dignitaries, city councillors, school committee members, veterans of past conflicts, family and friends.

 

Honor guards from the police and fire departments, and the Revere High School JROTC stood at attention.

 

“Memorial Day is about those who gave their lives,” said Veterans Office Director Marc Silvestri, his first Memorial Day since taking his new position a few months ago.

 

Once known as Decoration Day it was a day when veterans of the American Revolution decorated the graves of friends and family who gave their lives for independence.

 

 

 

June 7

 

$11.8 million borrowed

 

• The EPA consent decree slapped on the city 10 years ago continues to cost millions of dollars and raise the ire of some public officials.

 

Monday night, councillors approved the borrowing of $11,815,000 million dollars to continue work on the city water and sewer service. Of the millions approved, $3,500,000 is slated for 200-300 locations around the city to remove lead service pipes. This is more part of the water meter replacement program and less with the consent decree, but as City Engineer Nick Ryzstrom said its work that has to be done. Another $600,000 will go toward the detection of illicit connection detection and sump pump investigations. There will be $1.2 million going toward Phase 9 of the inflow and infiltration system. Another $4.7 million is going toward Phase 8 of the inflow and infiltration and $2 million will go toward illicit connections and sump pump removal program.

 

 

Mumps virus around

 

• Local officials are monitoring an outbreak of the mumps virus in Boston, Chelsea and Revere.

 

Last Friday state officials alerted health care providers and local boards of health to a cluster of measles cases among Latino adults in Chelsea, Boston and Revere.

 

Fifteen mumps cases have been reported since the end of March, according to the state Department of Public Health, which said the outbreak “may represent a change in the epidemiology of mumps in Massachusetts.”

 

Statewide there are 38 confirmed cases of mumps, according to Omar Cabrera of the Department of Public Health.

 

 

June 14

 

• One of the most recent high rises in Revere officially opened officially last week with a ribbon cutting by state and local officials on the rooftop of Ocean 650, overlooking Revere Beach.

 

Ocean 650 apartments at Waterfront Square, owned by the Dedham-based Upton & Partners, has been hailed as setting the standard for future development in Revere.

 

Jay Ash, state secretary of housing and economic development, applauded the city of Revere for approving the development.

 

“To be able to deliver such quality development to a community that very much wants to have development take place is really something to be proud of,” Ash said.

 

 

• Mayor Brian Arrigo continued the conversation of residency waivers last week with the city council and this week he is sharing that his Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) is leaving June 30 because his residency waiver is about to expire.

 

CAO Omar Boukili, who resides in Somerville and is also running for Ward 4 Alderman in that city, pledged a year ago to move to Revere, but has not.

 

Two weeks ago the city brought forth a candidate for the police/fire department IT department who resides in Saugus. The city council voted down a request to waive the residency requirement. As a result the city lost a candidate the search committee deemed the top candidate for a job.

 

 

June 21

 

 

Fire leaves people homeless

 

• Officials still do not have a cause of last week’s early morning fire at 41 and 45 Taft St. that left 18 people homeless.

 

According to officials, the fire started at the rear of 41 Taft St. Both homes sustained extensive damage and so far 41 Taft St. residence has been torn down.

 

After the fire, there was much talk about the fire hydrants in the neighborhood. Firefighters had a hard time getting the caps off two hydrants, and a fire truck from MassPort was getting low pressure when hooked up to another hydrant. Later, there was discovered in the Massport truck’s strainer system, an old spacer used in plumbing work when the water main was put in about  30 to 40 years old.

 

 

June 28

 

 

AmQuip makes Revere home

 

• AmQuip, the leading provider of crane rentals in the United States, is moving its northeast regional operation to Revere after a $6.2 million purchase of the Rent-A-Tool property at 777 North Shore Road.

 

AmQuip will be consolidating several of its area locations into this property, bringing quality jobs and economic activity to Revere. An opening date for the new location has not been announced yet, but the developer has begun work to clean up the property and prepare it for AmQuip’s move.

 

 

$184 million budget approved

 

• The City Council approved a $184 million budget Monday night for fiscal year 2018, which goes into effect July 1.

 

“This is one of the leanest I’ve seen in recent years with only a three percent increase over last year’s budget,” said Ward 5 Councillor John Powers, who is chairman of the council’s Ways and Means Subcommittee. “It’s a lean budget and to make any cuts would be to eliminate services. This is a compliment to the Mayor and his staff.”

 

The Ways and Means Subcommittee held three budget sessions and went over the departments one by one.

 

The counsel also approved the use of $1 million in free cash to be used toward balancing the FY18 budget of $18,437,347 which also includes the school department.

 

 

New hotel

 

• A new $15 million hotel project is being pitched to the city council and while there is work to do the enthusiasm for the project is showing.

 

JBX Developers of East Boston is seeking permission from the city council to build a 175 room hotel at 49-54 Revere Beach Boulevard on the site of the Shipwreck Lounge, which will be torn down. The proposal also calls for an 80 seat restaurant and 126 parking spaces under the building.

 

Architect Ning Lu, of Flushing, N.Y. said the hotel would be an iconic structure and a new landmark in Revere.

 

The eight-story building is in a U-shape that maximizes the ocean views. Only 10 of the 175 rooms will not face the ocean. There will be a rooftop terrace and a mezzanine level restaurant.

 

 

July 3

 

 

Beloved Mayor Haas passes

 

• City council president and former four-term Mayor Robert Haas Jr. passed away unexpectedly Sunday morning, July 2 at a Block Island, Rhode Island vacation spot. he is survived by his wife of 50 years, Juanita; his three children, Jennifer, Rachel, and Bobby; his grandchildren. Haas Jr. was laid to rest Tuesday in Woodlawn Cemetery following a Mass at St. Anthony’s.

 

A motorcade of motorcycle police officers from different communities escorted Haas’ casket from Vertuccio & Smith Funeral home on Broadway to St. Anthony’s. An emblem of the U.S. Army on each door of the hearse, signifying his service during the Vietnam Era.

 

Haas, also the City Council President, died July 2 unexpectedly while on vacation with his family on Block Island.

 

Haas’ was waked from Vertuccio & Smith Funeral home on Broadway Monday night from 3-8 p.m. Hundreds of people stood in line for over an hour to pay their respects to the family.

 

 

 

July 12

 

 

Sand Sculpture Festival

 

 

• The Tall Ships will be the theme of the 15th annual International Sand Sculpting Festival this year, according to the Revere Beach Partnership, organizers of the event.

 

The Revere Beach Partnership will host the International Sand Sculpting Festival, on  Friday, July 21 to Sunday, July 23, on Revere Beach.

 

“This is a fantastic event, an event the entire city gets behind,” said Bob Upton, executive director of the Revere Chamber of Commerce. “People feel that it is something to be proud of and want to be a part of.”

 

Taking the lead from the Tall Ships celebration in June, this year sculptors will be creating their own expression of nautical life and all that goes into being a Tall Ship.

 

The 2017 International Sand Sculpting Festival will serve to provide an artistic representation and celebration of the engineering genius that are Tall Ships. Spectators will marvel at a massive, 20-foot-wide, sand-sculpture recreation of the USS Constitution along with a 10-foot-tall lighthouse.

 

The annual festival draws upwards of 900,000 spectators from all over the country who come to watch master sand sculptors compete for first prize in the solo and duo portions of the Master Sand Sculpting Competition. The festival also features gourmet food trucks, live entertainment, local vendors, exhibit booths, children’s sand sculpting lessons, and fireworks over the course of three days.

 

 

July 19

 

 

Condolences for Haas

 

• The city council held a brief meeting on Wednesday, July 12 to issue a Resolution of Condolence for former Mayor and City Council President Robert J. Haas Jr.

 

With a bouquet of red roses and a photograph of former Mayor and Council President Robert Haas Jr.  placed at  seat in the Council chambers, dear friend and Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso read the Resolution of Condolence from the city.

 

“Whereas former Mayor and City Council President Robert J. Haas Jr. has rendered conspicuous, faithful and honorable public service to the citizens in the city of Revere in his duties as mayor and city councillor.

 

Whereas almighty God in his infinite wisdom has called former Mayor and City Council President Robert J. Haas Jr. to his eternal reward.

 

Whereas the sad calling from our midst of former Mayor and City Council President Robert J. Haas Jr. leaves a vacancy in the official family of the city of Revere that will be difficult to fill and a memory that will be long cherished.

 

Now, therefore be it resolved that the members of the Revere City Council extend to the family of former Mayor and City Council President Haas on behalf of the citizens of Revere our heartfelt sympathy and sincerest regrets on their for their profound loss.

 

 

Guido name interim police chief

 

• Interim Police Chief James Guido has been in his new position in the Revere Police Department just a three weeks and he’s settling in nicely.

 

“It’s been a little hectic and I’m trying to change a few things,” Guido said. “I’m a hands-on kind of guy. There are procedural things and protocols that are in place. i take each day at a time. There’s a lot of paperwork and work on grants. In the first month there’s a lot of housekeeping issues.”

 

Guido said change takes time and he is pleased with the commitment Mayor Brian Arrigo has shown to the department.

 

“He’s been very supportive of the department,” Guido said. “He wants to make things better than before. The evaluation (the mayor is undertaking) will show great things.”

 

Guido said he expects the right thing from members of the police department, accountability and service to the citizens of Revere. He’ll also be working on internal administrative issues, improving communications and an issue with vacation time in the department.

 

With a compliment of 90 police officers under him, Guido, a self-described workaholic, said he also wants to see officers at more community events and doing more community policing. As part of this,  he is looking to hire eight people to go to the police academy. He noted that two current police officers will be leaving to join the State Police.

 

 

July 26

 

Veterans reunite (PHOTO OF TWO OLDD GUYS GOES HERE)

 

• The past is something that will never go away and the bond that was forged then often stays strong, and it did at least for two veterans last week who met for the first time in 60 years.

 

Revere resident Dick Hayes and Wayland resident Alyn Pinkofsky were stationed on the USS Wasp and the USS Intrepid from 1957 to 1959. The last time they had seen each was when they were discharged from the Navy out of the port of Boston.

 

Their job on the aircraft carriers was to give an electrical jolt to start the jet planes before they took off on a mission.

 

 

Ready to demo Wonderland

 

• The owners of the old Wonderland Dog Park now have the demolition permit needed to take the iconic building down. Crews are expected to start demolition Aug. 1 and finish by the beginning of October.

 

Ward 5 Councillor John Powers was excited to finally see Wonderland coming down, something he and the late Council President Robert Haas Jr. had consistently pushed for.

 

The demolition permit was pulled by CBW Lending, 190 VFW Parkway. Tim Carr of Blackstone has been hired for the demolition of seven structures on the property, including the old veterinarian building. Plumb House of Milford is the general contractor. The cost for the demolition is $1,525,000 and the permit fee was $22,925.

 

 

August 9

 

 

Save McMackin Field

 

• Like many people, Steve Bagnera drives by McMackin Field on Winthrop Avenue everyday and he can’t help but wonder what will ever happen to the baseball field that he played on as a kid.

 

Little League officials stopped using McMackin Field in 2013 because the field was too wet. With a soggy outfield and an abundance of fragmites making their own Green Monstah on the field.

 

“The field is in permanent state of flood,” said Revere Little League President Rich Minasian.

 

Bagnera has launched a fundraising drive to raise $500,000 to properly fix McMackin Field. He’s set up a Go Fund Me page with all proceeds going to Revere Little League and he’s encouraging people to make direct contributions to the Revere Little League, P.O. Box 96, Revere, MA 02151. So far Revere Little League has $230,000 toward the project, money it had hoped to use for a new concession stand.

 

The field was opened in 1952 and has a batting cage, concession stand, press box, lights and cement bleachers.

 

 

TND denied

 

• The Revere Conservation Commission has denied a notice of intent brought forward by The Neighborhood Developers (TND) for development at 571 Revere St. that is for a 51-unit apartment building with two levels of parking and four levels of residential space on top.

 

This is the second time TND has proposed development for this .68 acre site. This time it has been scaled down from the first one proposed.

 

 

August 16

 

 

Safe Routes to School

 

• Monday night the city council approved numerous easements as part of the Safe Routes to School construction project around the Garfield School.

 

s held a public hearing on easements for Avalon Street, Blake Street, Centennial Avenue, Dix Street, Fitzhenry Square, Garfield Avenue, North Shore Road and Waverly Avenue. The hearing notice stated that “it was determined that public convenience and necessity requires taking by eminent domain” certain areas.

 

City Solicitor Paul Capizzi explained that there are eight permanent easements and 44 temporary easements which will expire in three years. The easements will allow contractors to make improvements or to enter private property to make improvements. The total cost for the easements is $36,350. The council already appropriated the funds at a May meeting.

 

The Safe Routes to School project is intended to improve pedestrian safety and access around the Garfield School. There will be new sidewalks, curbing, crosswalks and drainage improvements.

 

 

Moving Forward

 

• Work is well underway at 205 Revere Beach Parkway, the site of the former Shaw’s Market, and its’s on track for the grand opening of a five-story, 132 key hotel and a six-story, 124 unit residential apartment building with parking for 298 vehicles in the spring of 2019.

 

Mark Robinson, of Revere Beach Parkway Partners (Gate Residential and Trundle Corp.), said the project is on track and well underway.

 

“It’s on plan, on schedule with the steel up and no issues,” Robinson said.

 

The six-acre site, formerly a Shaw’s Supermarket, has been vacant for more than five years.  The site has now benefited from a $3.63 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant toward the $90 million project which broke ground this past spring.

 

 

 

August 23

 

 

Solar Eclipse

 

• The viewing of the partial solar eclipse wasn’t great but if you were lucky enough to have the special pair of sunglasses, or other safe viewing device, you did get to see the moon block out a crescent shape of the sun.

 

Around the Revere Beach bathhouse spectators of all ages and backgrounds looked toward the sky with special glasses, stacks of regular sunglasses (kind of risky), welders glass, a cereal box and other pinhole devices.

 

In Winthrop the Landing was the place to be as one Winthrop native found with a couple of her friends.

 

Prior to the viewing Monday afternoon, the quest for solar eclipse glasses was beyond disappointing. Facebook was a buzz with people asking where to find the glasses. Stops at dollar stores, convienence stores, Walmart, the library and even a vision center produce no glasses. So now I wonder how many people in the area are going to have eye damage from looking at the sun – we all know plenty of people who looked without glasses – perhaps they have an appointment with an eye doctor coming up now.

 

People on the beach were also openly sharing their special eclipse sunglass with strangers.

 

At Revere Beach the clouds were wrecking havoc with a good view, but that didn’t stop Jesus Carron from Chelsea. He took three pairs of sunglasses stacked together and looked toward the sky, claiming to see the crescent.

 

 

August 30

 

 

Permission to search outside

 

• Mayor Brian Arrigo got approval from the City Council to allow his search for the next police chief to include candidates from outside the city. Specifically,  Arrigo asked for the police chief position be exempt from Chapter 31 of Massachusetts General Laws, which covers the Civil Service system.

 

He cited wanting to make an investment in training at the police department and to raise the standards.

 

Not only did Mayor Brian Arrigo get the nod to look outside the city for the next police chief, he also shared a report that he says only came to light a month ago.

 

The report includes several areas of interest for the years 2014 and 2015. The following information was taken from the report. For the full report go to www.revere.org/2015PDReport in the Mayor’s Office department link.

 

 

Funds for new DPW building

 

• The City Council approved $82,000 to set up a new home for the Revere Department of Public Works on Charger Street. But talk of mold and health concerns soon turned to the conditions inside City Hall.

 

George Anzuoni, director of finance for the city, came before the council to discuss the $6.9 million the city received from insurance for damage from a tornado three years ago. So far, the roof at the high school, fire department, senior center and the American Legion have been repaired as well as a number of other areas. The funds from the insurance will reimburse what has already been spent.

 

 

Sept. 6

 

 

Billboard moratorium

 

• The City Council approved a six-month moratorium for billboards after considering a motion made by the late City Council President Robert Haas Jr.

 

Last week the zoning subcommittee of the council approved the motion which will include the use of signs throughout the city.

 

Ron Chapeaux, of the Revere Beautification Committee wants to have time to develop a comprehensive billboard ordinance and a “strong comprehensive ordinance that will help the city.”

 

 

Taylor Richards remembered

 

• Like many parents, Audrey Richards will be at the Revere Beach Memorial on September 17 at the bandstand on Revere Beach. It is a solemn occasion to remember those lost their lives to overdose. The Memorial is a time to realize that the opioid epidemic isn’t going away anytime soon, and to realize that the stigma associated with it needs to be the first thing to go.

 

Audrey has found ways to remember her daughter Taylor, it’s been four years since her beautiful daughter overdosed.

 

Audrey is sharing her story because she believes everybody deserves a wake up call.

 

“No one is exempted from this,” she said recently in a meeting room at the Revere Police Department. “She was a regular kid. It happens to kids that have everything going for them. I don’t want people to judge.”

 

Taylor has a memorial bench in a park in Beachmont.

 

 

Shark in the river

 

• While shark activity is often reported on Cape Cod, a shark was discovered washed up on the shore of the Pines River Friday morning. A crowd began to gather around the 6 1/2 foot specimen.

 

The shark washed up in the area of Mills Avenue and Archer Avenue around 10:45 a.m.

 

Assistant Harbormaster John Hurley said there were no visible wounds. He thought it may have suffocated by getting stranded on shore sometime between when it was spotted in the river floating Thursday afternoon and being discovered onshore Friday morning. It was noted that the 200-pound body was in good condition.

 

It was determined that it was a porbeagle shark, which are common off their coast of Massachusetts.

 

“It’s a New England shark, but you typically don’t find them on the beach,” said Greg Skomal, of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, who also speculated the shark might have got into some fishing gear.

 

 

Sept. 13

 

 

Fall Festival coming

 

• Revere is gearing up for the first ever Fall Festival on Broadway with activities for all ages on Sept. 23 from 1-7 p.m. The event is organized by the Revere Parks and Recreation Department and, the community celebration will appeal to everyone.

 

The event will feature activities for families, children, and people of all ages, including street performers, local food and merchandise vendors, a beer garden, and a main stage with musicians and comedians. A segment of Broadway from Park Avenue to the corner of Beach and Fenno streets will be limited to pedestrian traffic only for the duration of the festival.

 

 

Complaints about Wonderland

 

• Complaints about Thrifty Car Rental parking hundreds of cars in the parking lot at the old Wonderland Dog Track have reached a new high after discovering that 400 cars parked there turned into 1,500 almost overnight.

 

Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said there are zoning issues and licensing issues. He wants the License Commission to investigate the matter.

 

Powers and the late Council President Robert Haas are the two councillors who filed a motion to tear down Wonderland Dog Track.

 

“This past weekend they had over 1,500 cars. It’s time to order a cease and desist. Fine them on a daily basis. They do not have a license,” Powers said, adding that it is their contention that you can’t put an end date on a special permit.

 

“What they’re doing down there is wrong,” Powers said, adding that Thrifty is to pay $1 a day per car, or $1,500.

 

 

Sept. 20

 

 

Butler Circle makeover

 

• For years,  the traffic circle at Wonderland has been a disgrace, one of the gateways to Revere looked its worse, with an overgrown mish-mash of shrubs that obscured a driver’s view across the circle.

 

After 10 years of “pushing”, Ward 5 Councillor John Powers is finally seeing Butler Circle revitalized and cleaned up.

 

The largest traffic circle in Revere with 145 foot inner circle, Butler Circle was redesigned severals years ago when the MBTA garage was built at Wonderland but the circle was just left as grass.

 

Powers was able to obtain $74,000 in funding for the project through donations. Powers said $50,000 came from the new Beach House development on Revere Beach Blvd. and some from Wonderland given a few years ago.

 

 

New Hotel

 

• A Texas-based hotel chain La Quinta Inns and Suites will soon have a new home on Squire Road where the old Papa Gino’s once stood.

 

“It’s a great use for the property. It’s been blighted for awhile,” said Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso commenting on the new hotel in his ward.

 

“This will be a plus for the area,” said Ward 6 Councillor Charlie Patch.

 

Two years ago the Papa Gino’s closed tier restaurant, and the one-acre site was sold for $1.5 million to Jewel Saeed and Baldevbhai Patel of Boston.

 

The five story, 100-room hotel is expected to charge $100-$200 per room, per night. La Quinta Inns plans to open the new hotel in 2019. LaQuinta also owns 885 properties in the United States, Canada and Central and South America.

 

 

Sept. 27

 

 

Readying a proposal for Amazon

 

A company like Amazon could be a good fit for the Suffolk Downs property, at least that’s what owner Tom O’Brien told the Revere City Council Economic Development Subcommittee Monday night during a regular meeting.

 

“We think the site works, and we think it has a lot of what Amazon is looking for. Suffolk Downs fits all the factors Amazon is looking for,” said O’Brien, managing director of the Boston-based HYM Investment Group, LLC.

 

HYM is working quickly to get a proposal to Seattle-based Amazon, which announced a deadline of Oct. 19 for the site of its second headquarters.

 

The Amazon plan calls for 50,000 full time employees

 

He added that he thinks Suffolk Downs is the right place.

 

 

Domestic violence death

 

• Andrew MacCormack was arrested at Revere Police headquarters Tuesday in the death of his wife Vanessa MacCormack, 30, in their 93 Grand View Avenue home. He was arraigned yesterday in Chelsea District Court.

 

 

Oct. 4

 

 

Columbus Day parade

 

• Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will join the 2017 Columbus Day Parade in Revere this coming Monday, Oct. 9

 

Baker and Polito will join Mayor Brian Arrigo, the parade’s Grand Marshall, and other Revere city officials in marching along the route.

 

“We are honored to welcome the Governor and the Lt. Governor to Revere for this beloved community event,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo. “We look forward to fun, festive day that celebrates our city’s pride.”

 

Rotating annually between Revere and East Boston, the Columbus Day Parade honors the region’s Italian-American cultural heritage. The event is one of the community’s longest-standing traditions, and features participation from many of Revere’s cultural and civic organizations.

 

The parade kicks off at 1 p.m. at the Revere/Chelsea line on Broadway.

 

 

Oct. 18

 

 

New putting green

 

• In the coming weeks, the Revere Parks and Recreation Department will be putting out to bid a project that will hopefully bring a community putting green to Gibson Park in the Point of Pines.

 

This facility will be open to the public, but is being built with the Revere High School Golf team in mind. The location of the putting green will be toward the back of Gibson Park in an area that will not obstruct park visitors, residents, or business owners.

 

The design for the putting green and chipping fringe allow for up to 1,000 square feet of artificial turf.

 

 

Oct. 25

 

 

HYM makes commitment

 

• No matter what happens with the bid to lure Amazon to Suffolk Downs, HYM Investments will be the ones working on any development that would be coming to the 161-acre site in East Boston and Revere.

 

For the second time since the spring, HYM principal Tom O’Brien came to the City Council meeting on Monday night to discuss the massive undertaking that will take place. O’Brien’s visit came on the heels of a Boston/Revere proposal for Amazon’s (HQ2) second headquarters.

 

“We have the same sight and vision whether we have Amazon or not,” O’Brien said

 

 

Question One

 

• Revere officials gathered on the front steps of City Hall on Monday to endorse the local ballot Question One,  which would give tax relief to local seniors. The ballot question would enact a 10 percent tax exemption for qualifying senior citizens who own and occupy their homes in Revere.

 

 

Bid submitted to Amazon with city of Boston

 

• Last Friday,  the city of Boston and the city of Revere partnered to submit a bid to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to Suffolk Downs that celebrates the talented workforce, diverse communities, strong connectivity and transportation infrastructure, and culture of innovation in Boston and the surrounding region.  Boston submitted a 210-page proposal to Amazon on why the retail giant should make Suffolk Downs the next site for its second headquarters. Included in the proposal was a section from the city of Revere since 42 acres sits in Revere.

 

The total site is 161 acres and is owned by HYM Investment Group. Amazon expects to invest over $5 billion in construction and grow this second headquarters to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs over the next 15 years.

 

“We are confident that Amazon will not find a better location in North America for a second headquarters than Suffolk Downs,” said Arrigo. “This 161-acre, shovel-ready site, located along two MBTA stops just minutes from downtown Boston, Logan Airport, and the world’s best colleges and universities, represents an opportunity for Amazon to anchor a transformative mixed-use community.”

 

Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo thanked Mayors Walsh and Arrigo for their incredible insight and leadership.

 

 

 

Nov. 1

 

 

Domestic Violence awareness – Remember Vanessa

 

• As part of domestic violence awareness month,  Mayor Brian Arrigo turned the steps of city hall into a place overflowing with information and support for domestic violence victims last Wednesday.

 

Domestic violence has been a concern for years, and was brought to the forefront in Revere with the recent murder of wife and mother Vanessa MacCormack, 30, at the hands of her husband.

 

“Domestic violence is far too prevalent in our city and our country,” said Arrigo. “We want to make sure people know there are services available and HarborCOV is one of the best services around.”

 

At the event, residents had a chance to meet with staff of HarborCOV to learn about available resources to help prevent domestic violence and offer support to victims.

 

HarborCOV is a regional organization based in Chelsea whose mission is to provide services to victims and survivors of domestic violence, and educate the public about its causes and consequences. If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic violence, HarborCOV’s 24-hour hotline can be reached at 617-884-9909. The SafeLink phone number covering the state is (877) 785-2020, and nationally the domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

 

 

Nov. 8

 

 

Local elections held

 

• Elections don’t come cheap in Revere with many candidates spending over $5,000 to run for City Council and School Committee. Candidates submitted campaign finance reports eight days preceding the election. The next campaign and finance report will have to be submitted 30 days after the election.

 

So far the top spender is former Mayor and Councillor at-Large candidate Dan Rizzo who spent $31,022. He also had the largest campaign coffer with $51,899.

 

Ward 3 incumbent Arthur Guinasso, came in second on spending with $20,136, almost three times his challenger Anthony Cogliandro who spent $5,580.

 

 

Rizzo tops ticket

 

•Former Revere mayor Dan Rizzo topped the ticket in a field of 12 candidates. Rizzo received 3,878 votes for Council at Large. Edging Jessica Gianinno’s 3,767 votes. Also re-elected were Steve Morabito with 3,103 votes; George Rotondo with 2,797 votes and Anthony Zambuto with 2,737 votes. Also running for the councilor at large seat was John Correggio, Dimple Rana, Wayne Rose, Michael Zaccaria, David Ramos, Nick Moulaison and Todd Braid. In Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso was re-elected with 684 as was Precinct 5 Councillor John Powers with 844 votes. Ward 1 Joanne McKenna, 800 votes; Ward 2 Ira Novoselsky got 404 votes: Ward Four Patrick Keefe with 838 votes and Ward 6 Charlie Patch with 881 votes.

 

 

Tye tops ticket

 

• Once again former School Superintendent Carol Tye topped the ticket in the School Committee race on Tuesday. Tye pulled in 3,613 votes in the election to fill five seats on the committee.

 

Incumbent Michael Ferrante gained second place with 3,166 votes, followed by incumbent Stacey Rizzo with 2,954 votes.

 

Incumbent Susan Gravellese brought in 2,941 votes while Fred Sannella wrapped up the race with 2,638 votes.

 

Challenger Gerry Visconti came in sixth with 2,585 votes taking the open seat on the committee. Former city councillor Stephen Reardon grabbed 2, 381 votes. Al Terminello  took 2,205 votes and Glenn LaCerda earned 892 votes

 

 

Question One wins

 

• Mayor Brian Arrigo got the ball rolling with the city council approving the idea. The next step is to have the exemption voted on by the local voters. Currently, the city follows a M.G.L. Chapter 41C exemption process which takes $500 off a qualifying seniors property tax bill. To qualify for the exemption the senior has to have an asset limit of $40,000 and currently only 63 seniors in Revere participate.

 

Voters approved the only ballot question for qualifying senior citizens to get a bit of tax relief on their homeowner taxes.

 

With a vote of 4,543 to 1,398 folks at the polls opted to give seniors a break.

 

 

Local election funds

 

• Elections don’t come cheap in Revere with many candidates spending over $5,000 to run for City Council and School Committee. Candidates submitted campaign finance reports eight days preceding the election. The next campaign and finance report will have to be submitted 30 days after the election.

 

So far the top spender is former Mayor and Councillor at-Large candidate Dan Rizzo who spent $31,022. He also had the largest campaign coffer with $51,899.

 

Ward 3 incumbent Arthur Guinasso, came in second on spending with $20,136, almost three times his challenger Anthony Cogliandro who spent $5,580.

 

 

Nov. 21

 

 

Don’t feed the birds

 

• There are some people who love to feed the birds and other wildlife in the city, but the City Council has passed an ordinance to stop the practice.

 

Using bird feeders will still be allowed, but throwing bread and other items out for the birds is now prohibited as it also attracts rats and other rodents.

 

Ward 6 Councillor Charles Patch, creator of the ordinance, said people throw food on the ground, and the rats go after it.

 

“The main reason for this is so people can keep their bird feeders,  but they can’t throw food on the ground for the rats to eat,” Patch said, at last Monday night’s meeting of the Legislative Affairs Committee before the City Council meeting.

 

“We’re trying to decrease the number of rodents calls,” Patch said. “It started with the trash can covers. We need to decrease the food source.”

 

 

Revere Cares turns 20

 

• The Revere Cares Coalition is celebrating two decades of working with the City of Revere to make it a healthier, more aware community.

 

Twenty years ago Revere Cares was born out of a collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to strengthen the health of Revere. The goal of the coalition is to improve the well-being of Revere’s residents by preventing substance abuse and promoting healthy eating, active living and healthy relationships.
On Dec. 7 the coalition will celebrate its time in Revere with a special celebration at the Comfort Inn & Suites. Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo will be a special guest and community awards will be presented.

 

 

Nov. 29

 

 

Developers showing up

 

• Four different developers appeared before the City Council on Monday night seeking permission to build out, tear down and rebuild anew. One could displace a Revere Beach institution.

 

The first development at 320-329 Revere Beach Blvd. is proposed by A. Chara Development, LLC of Revere. The current property is the site of the old Boulevard Club and next door is Bianchi’s, which has been at this site since the 1970s although it’s been in existence since the 1950s. New development on the site would consist of a six-story, mixed-use structure with two commercial units on the first floor and 145 residential units.

 

During the public hearing several people spoke in opposition, many living in the St. George condominiums next door.

 

One of the principals with A. Chara Development is Matt Philbin, owner of the Rodeway Inn on American Legion Highway. Several people commented on the good job he did in turning that property around.

 

Attorney Lawrence Simione said plans call to raze the three buildings currently on the property. He added that there will be a restaurant, a fast-food shop and another commercial enterprise will be on the first floor. The residential units will consist of studios to three bedrooms with the top rent being $3,500. There will be 188 parking spaces. A shuttle service to the T and Zip Cars.

 

“We want to keep the history and Bianchi’s has been around since the 1950s,” Simione said.

 

The proposed, 147,000-square foot, U-shaped building marks a $50 million investment on the boulevard, he added.

 

 

 

Dec. 6

 

 

HYM files notice of intent

 

• HYM Investments has filed a notice of intent with the city, offering to work with city officials in regards to the development at Suffolk Downs – whether or not the primary business on this site could be Amazon.

 

Tom O’Brien, founding partner and managing director of the HYM Investment Group, appeared before the City Council Monday night to give an update on his work and to deliver a notice of intent to the city.

 

O’Brien stated in the letter that  “over the last several months, HYM has engaged with and met with a wide range of stakeholders from Revere and East Boston, representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and other stakeholders regarding the redevelopment of the site. We are now moving forward with the formal permitting process in the City of Revere, concurrently with commencement of permitting efforts with the Commonwealth and the City of Boston. To commence the process in Revere, we intend to submit an application for a zoning amendment in early 2018. We look forward to working with the Mayor’s Office, Revere City Council and the larger Revere community to move forward with this unique redevelopment opportunity,” developers stated in the letter of intent.

 

The site currently includes a 161-acre underutilized thoroughbred horse racing facility located within Revere and East Boston. Approximately 52 acres of the site are in Revere, and approximately 109 acres are in East Boston. Existing facilities at the site include a clubhouse, grandstand, racetrack, administration building, maintenance buildings, horse barns and large surface parking areas.

 

 

 

Dec. 13

 

 

City Hall needs work

 

• Believing the Revere City Hall is a sick building, Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna has filed a motion to have the mayor arrange to have an air quality test performed throughout the 120 year-old building..

 

At Monday night’s meeting of the City Council, McKenna said she is concerned for the people who work in the building, and added that they all have coughs.

 

“I believe this is a sick building. I know its not the Mayor’s fault, but this was inherited when he came into office,” she said. “But we do need a fix now.”

 

McKenna said the air quality of City Hall was tested two and a half years ago after the tornado.

 

 

Recreational marijuana banned

 

• The city council has officially banned the sale of recreational marijuana in city limits of Revere.

 

The council has been working since the summer to ban the sale of recreational marijuana, under the leadership of Council Vice President Patrick Keefe, who brought the issue before the council.

 

“We’ve discussed this since July, and I know it was coming out fast and furious,  but in the last few months the council and the city have really looked into this matter,” Keefe said.

 

Noting that the ban was also checked with local legislatures, and the city solicitor, Keefe said he was comfortable with the council going through with the ban.

 

“I feel very confident with this,” Keefe said.

 

Medical marijuana dispensing is still allowed in Revere in a portion of the TED district near Railroad St. where a company called the Wellness Connection has plans to locate their facility.

 

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