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West Nile mosquitoes in Peabody: Take precautions, but no need to panic

12 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

A scary Nixle alert hit smart phones this afternoon, informing the public that some mosquitoes in Peabody have tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

no_mosquitoBut don’t panic. Although you should take the alert seriously by taking proper precautions while outdoors between dawn and dusk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that your chances of getting any symptoms of the disesase are slim.

Most people, according to the CDC will develop no symptoms after being bitten, and less than 1% of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness associated with West Nile.

Even so, it’s wise to make you take the following precautions provided by the PPD and Peabody Department of Health:

  • Please take precautions to avoid mosquito bites, such as wearing insect repellent and protective clothing, especially if outdoors between dusk and dawn.
  • Eliminate standing water around your home and make sure your screens are intact.
  • For more information visit or call the Peabody Health Dept at 978-538-5926.

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody


Sighting a local hero and some curious political creatures at re-scheduled Ward 6 party

21 Jul


Sgt. Steve O'Hara, wife Jessica, and their children accept the Ward 6 "Heroes Among Us" award, flanked by Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz (left) and Mayor Ted Bettencourt

Sgt. Steve O’Hara, wife Jessica, and their children accept the Ward 6 “Heroes Among Us” award, flanked by Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz (left) and Mayor Ted Bettencourt. (Photo submitted courtesy of Doug Finnegan).

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

The re-scheduled Ward 6 Fourth of July party at Symphony Park this past Saturday featured a huge crowd, the traditional patriotic bike parade, the honoring of a local hero, and much more.

But it was also a day of some interesting sightings of local elected officials, and other political wanaabes.

Please read on, and we’ll get to the political stuff, but first it was wonderful to see a local hero honored for the work he’s done as a police officer.

West Peabody resident, and MBTA Transit Police Sgt. Steve O’Hara was acknowledged for his work in the areas of hostage negotiation/crisis intervention.

O’Hara, who received praise and a certificate from Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz and Mayor Ted Bettencourt, was recognized for talking a suicidal man out of jumping  from the top floor of an MBTA parking garage, and his work helping the family of a fellow officer, who was seriously wounded during the hunt for the Boston Marathon bombers.

When Officer Richard Donohue was shot, it was O’Hara who was charged with informing the fallen officer’s wife, Kim. Kim later, in an emotional Facebook post, talked about how O’Hara’s wonderful approach to informing her, brought great comfort to the family.

Honoring O’Hara was part of an annual tradition of honoring a local hero at this ward party. It’s an awesome moment at what is always a terrific, well-organized event hosted by the Ward 6 Councilor.

But as I wrote off the top, it wasn’t only about bike parades and ceremonies for heroes.


As local politicos know, Ward 6 these days has one of the largest voter turnouts in the entire city, and showing up at Symphony on July 4th (or in this case, July 19th), is a must.

Here were some of my observations and sightings …

  • The biggest battle for the hearts and minds of Ward 6 voters will come in the race for State Rep in the 13th Essex District, and it wasn’t surprising to see both Democratic incumbent Ted Speliotis and his challenger, Republican Tom Lyons, in attendance. Both men thoroughly worked the crowd. Speliotis, who didn’t make an appearance at this ward party last year, seems to suddenly be shifting into campaign mode. Lyons may have held a slight home park advantage on Saturday, since he lives in the ward.
  • Good to see Congressman John Tierney in attendance. I say “see,” since he wasn’t doing a lot of mingling, and it was definitely noticeable when he didn’t say hello to party host Sinewitz. Wonder if that has something to do with the Ward 6 Councilor endorsing Tierney’s opponent in September’s Democratic primary, war hero and Marblehead businessman Seth Moulton? Moulton, who had planned to be at the party on July 4th, couldn’t attend the makeup date because of a family wedding.
  • Even though it’s not an election year for city councilors, it was nice to see Councilor At-Large Tom Walsh come to the party.
  • State Rep candidate Beverley Dunne shows off her basketball skills

    State Rep candidate Beverley Dunne shows off her basketball skills

    It was also nice to see candidate for State Rep Beverley Dunne show up, especially when you consider she’s running in the 12th Essex District, which doesn’t include Ward 6. The long-time school committee member clearly thinks community first, but it’s a good thing that she’s running for state rep and not hoping for a career in the WNBA. Her performance in the women’s free throw shooting contest was, well … let’s just say that at least she didn’t do any worse than fellow school committee member Brandi Carpenter. They both tried their hardest, even if they didn’t win the prize.

  • Showing off some nice basketball skills in the free throw contest was a Bettencourt. No, not the Mayor himself, who once starred for the Holy Cross basketball team. Peabody’s First Lady, Andrea Bettencourt, used a smooth follow through to take second place in the women’s free throw shootout.
  •  Finally, for those who care, I did have a “reunion” with an old political foe. Ward 5 Councilor Joel Saslaw chased me down across the basketball court to say hello, and give me an indication that he’s a big fan of this blog. “Bobby, Bobby, just wanted to say hello, even though you keep taking pot shots at me (in The Eye),” said Mr. Saslaw.

…  Oh, did I also mention that Curious Creatures brought some snakes to show the kids?


Update: 4th of July party in Ward 6 postponed due to bad weather forecast

3 Jul

The Eye Update Desk

flagWe’ve been informed that, due to what looks like bad weather tomorrow on July 4th, the Ward 6 Party at Symphony Park has been postponed until July 19th from 9 a.m. to noon.

We haven’t yet heard about what will happen in other wards, but if you have some info, please post in the comments section, since I’ve been getting numerous inquiries about all of the other parties.

As for Ward 5, the balloon rides have definitely been canceled.

Happy Fourth of July! Stay dry.

A guide to Peabody’s July 4th ward celebrations

1 Jul

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Fourth of July ward parties. They’re not exactly on the same scale as Boston’s Esplanade celebration, or fireworks on the National Mall in Washington. But Peabody’s unique celebration of our nation’s independence is as local, and as all American as it gets.

flagsEach of the city’s six wards will again play host to parties that continue to be idealic throwbacks to a simpler time in our nation, and they’ve been going on now for more than 50 years. I even participated in the Ward 6 bike contest as a 6-year-old, while my kids later enjoyed the party in Ward 5.

They are all unique, and well worth some of your time on Friday morning,

Here’s a quick look at the schedule for Peabody’s ward parties on the Fourth of July:

Ward 1: Takes place at Raddin Road Park at approximately 9:20 a.m., and will include music, games, face-painting, foot races, and a pie-eating contest. Lunch will include free hotdogs, chips and drinks.

Ward 2: At the Welch School. Registration for a parade of decorated bikes, scooters, wagons and carriages starts at 9:15 a.m. There will also be foot races, a performance by the band Sea Bees, raffles, and a pizza lunch.

Ward 3: Will take place at Connolly Park. There will be a horribles parade, races and egg toss, hot dogs, cotton candy, popcorn and drinks.

Ward 4: At Emerson Park. There will be a horribles parade of costumes, and a doll carriage, bike and wagon parade, and a pie-eating contest. There will also be a 1.2-mile road race. Lunch includes hamburgers and hot dogs. Activities get underway around 9 a.m.

Ward 5: Takes place at Lt. Ross Park (Cy Tenney). The bike and doll carriage parade kicks iff at 10 a.m. at the Rosewood Nursing Home. There will be a DJ, games, races, hot dogs and pizza to follow at the park. There is no truth to the rumor that there will also be a balloon ride tour of the new billboards on Route 1, and the meter reader relay race has been canceled. :)

Ward 6: At Symphony Park. Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz is your host for West Peabody’s most-popular ward party. Registration for the traditional doll carriage, bicycle and tricycle parade begins at 8:30 a.m. Entries should be decorated with a patriotic theme. The parade starts at  9 a.m. Other activities include face-painting, moon bounce, basketball free throw shooting, and an appearance by Curios Creatures. Pizza is on the menu for lunch, which will be served at 11:!5 a.m. If you can help out, Councilor Sinewitz is also still looking for volunteers. Give him a call at 978-535-2283.

Peabody to honor victims of Marathon terrorist attack

21 Apr

By Eye on Peabody

ribbonThere will be an interfaith prayer service in Peabody on Tuesday night to remember the victims of the Boston Marathon terrorist attack. The service will be held at St. John the Baptist Church at 7 p.m.

More details here in this Peabody Patch article.

To donate to the official charity for the victims of the bombings, please visti the One Fund.

Catching up on nice honor for local hero … and more

22 Mar

(Just catching up on some things after a very busy month for work travel and the campaign.)

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Local hero Alex Romano

Local hero Alex Romano

Starting this off today by talking about an honor for a “local hero,” and a young woman who should be a model for other Peabody teens to follow.

Peabody High senior Alexndra Romano was honored this week as a local hero by the American Red Cross of Northeast Massachusetts for going above and beyond in putting together a campaign to help people who became homeless because of Hurricane Sandy. Alex called her campaign “Kill the Chill,” and it included collecting clothing and blankets, and collecting donations for storm victims, which were quickly put to use by the Red Cross.

Alex and her sister Lea are both very active in their community when it comes to public service, and it’s an awesome thing to watch in these days when many young people would rather spend their free time playing video games.

The sisters also each year organize the “Caring Carolers,” who roam our Goodale Street-area neighborhood during Christmastime singing carols door-to-door while collecting money for Haven From Hunger. Not only do they get their friends together to sing for a very good cause, but their visit to your door really makes you feel good and get into the Christmas spirit.

Angela and Mike Romano must be very proud parents!

 Want to know why we are stuck with Comcast?

Mayor Ted Bettencourt  says he is asked on an almost daily basis why Peabody is not home to any alternative providers of cable TV, high-speed internet and telephone service. Conspiracy theories abound but it turns out the answer is simple and straight forward, according to a press release The Eye received from City Hall this week:

“At this time, no other provider of the phone/cable/ internet trio of services has expressed an interest in coming to Peabody,” Mayor Bettencourt tells The Eye. “We would like residents to have a choice of providers and would certainly welcome other options. At this time however, none of the alternatives to Comcast has stepped up with a proposal.”

Mayor Bettencourt said he understands Peabody residents’ frustration with the lack of choice here. “I absolutely understand their frustrations,” Bettencourt said. “Having a choice helps assure we get the best value for our money. When there is no competition in the marketplace, people feel like they are at the mercy of a monopoly. In the final analysis however, we cannot force these competitors to set up shop in Peabody against their will.”

With some of the best known alternatives out of reach for now, Bettencourt says the city may turn its attention to niche providers who offer similar services on an individual or dual basis rather than the heavily marketed three-in-one portfolio.

“We recognize the benefit of having more than one provider of cable, phone and internet service,” said Mayor Bettencourt. “If another provider sees a market in Peabody, we are all ears.”

 Our sign of the times: Great job by Smuz and the Mayor

Hats off to Mayor Bettencourt for holding firm and instituting the cease and desist order, and to City Solicitor Michael Smerczynski for his skillful argument in court this past week on placement of the giant billboard on Lowell Street near Route 1.

Judge Howard Whitehead agreed with city officials — the 92-foot pole is definitely not where they thought it was going to be installed when he ruled against the city last year.

As reported in the Peabody Patch, Smerczynski says the issue now for Whitehead to decide is whether that truly was because of a clerical error when the plans were submitted in court or a broken promise first made to appease local officials who didn’t want the billboard there at all off Lowell Street. The city and the owner of the billboard, Total Outdoor Corp, argued their sides in Salem Superior Court this past Monday. Definitely more work to do in court before this is resolved. Stay tuned.

 Should be either Dunne or Gravel, but Cole could surprise

Going to be a very interesting Election Day on April 2 when people go to the polls to vote in the State Rep special election. Because name recognition is so important, I honestly think it’s between Democrat Beverley Griffin Dunne and unenrolled candidate David Gravel. But there is a lot of money being pumped into Republican Leah Cole’s campaign by the Republican Party and the Ron-Paul-inspirted Libery Movement. There’s also a lot of unhappiness these days with traditional candidates, so Cole might actually pull a solid number. It’s not my State Rep district, so I sort of feel cheated here. I can’t even vote! …

Great job by Councilor At-Large Tom Gould while handling the MC duties at last Saturday’s First Annual St. Patrick’s Day Roast and breakfast at City Hall. Also, a lot of surprisingly funny performances by some local politicos. I mean, who knew Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz and Mayor Bettencourt were actually funny guys? It was a really fun morning for a really great cause as all the ticket and raffle money went to Haven From Hunger.

If you are in the 12th Essex State Rep District: GET OUT AND VOTE on April 2nd!

Seeing the trees through the forrest, and catching up on other Peabody news

7 Mar

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Catching up on some things today while taking a break from writing about the state rep special election.

Capital punishement for Peabody trees?

Capital punishement for Peabody trees?

Turns out that Massachusetts’ ban on capital punishment doesn’t extend to trees.

Jennifer Pinkham Davis, Peabody’s Director of Parks and Recreation, recently told the City Council’s sub-committee on Legal Affairs that — under state law — any citizen can have trees on city property cut down at any time and at taxpayer expense.

Davis says that, if a citizen asks for a tree to be cut down, the city must go out, examine the tree and determine if it’s a danger to the public. In some cases, the roots of these trees make sidewalks impassable, and potentially dangerous. But it doesn’t stop there: Davis says that, if the city determines the tree is healthy and no danger to public safety, citizens can still petition and have it removed. And most times, the citizen wins.

But here’s the rub: Many times completely healthy trees that pose no danger to the public are cut down, and it can cost the taxpayers up to $8,000 per tree.  And … sometimes the resident’s reason for cutting down the tree can as frivolous as “the leaves are making a mess on my lawn.”

To stop this process, Davis is hoping the City Council can create an ordinance that would send that $8,000 bill to the person demanding the destruction of a healthy tree.

Stay tuned.

Peabody Police: Alert on a utility scam

ppdThe Eye is running the following alert from the Peabody Police:

This is a regeneration of an alert sent 02/21/2013 regarding National Grid. PMLP has received customer reports that they are now calling alleging to be from PMLP.

They tell the customer that their account is delinquent and to avoid power shut off they must pay now via credit card. They then use the credit card data to make fraudulent purchases. If you get a call from someone stating they are from PMLP collections, report it to PMLP and the Peabody Police Department. PMLP does not collect over the phone nor threaten shut off in this manner. If you can capture the originating phone call on caller ID please report the number.

Free parking for veterans coming to Peabody?

Postal worker Daniel Heafey has asked the City Council’s Legal Affairs Sub-Committee to pass an ordinance that would provide free parking for veterans in Peabody.

Heafey, a Cold War veteran (1974 to 1978), who blames some hearing loss and a bad knee to some tough work as a military police officer, said he was parking downtown recently and was troubled when he could only park for 15 minutes after putting a nickel in the meter.

“I put a nickel in the meter,” Heafey said. “I was gone for 15 minutes, and I got a ticket.”

No details yet on how the city would enforce this possible new ordinance.

 Tickets still available for St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast & Roast

Ttickets remain for the City of Peabody’s First Annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast and Roast,  which will take place on Saturday morning March 16th from 9:00 to 11:00AM in the Frank L. Wiggin Auditorium at Peabody City Hall.

“We have gotten a terrific response for this first St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast and Roast,” said Mayor Ted Bettencourt, “Judging by the demand for tickets, this event is destined to become a longstanding Peabody tradition.”

The public is welcome to attend the breakfast, which will feature Irish music by “McGeney and Moore” and good natured roasting of some of the city’s best known politicos. The cost is $30 per person and all proceeds benefit the Haven from Hunger. Tickets must be reserved in advance as there will be no tickets sold at the door to the event.

Those interested in attending the breakfast should contact Mary Bellavance at 978.538.5704.

Update: Full council to take up St. Adelaide pedestrian light safety issue

22 Feb

By Eye On Peabody

Just a quick update on an earlier story here: The Peabody City Council Public Safety Subcommittee last night voted to recommend that the full council commission a study for installing a pedestrian light in front of St. Adelaide Church at the spot where an elderly pedestrian was struck and killed by a car on Jan. 27.

It was another step in the process of making the Lowell Street crossing safer for those attending mass and other events at the church. To read full details on last night’s subcommittee meeting, please click here.

Peabody holding vigil in honor of CT school victims

19 Dec

By Eye on Peabody

hookMayor Ted Bettencourt is inviting the public to take part in a candlelight vigil tomorrow night (Dec. 20) in memory of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. The ceremony will take place,  6 p.m., in front of Peabody City Hall.

“As we struggle to come to terms with such a senseless loss of precious life, we may find comfort in the company of fellow members of our community,” Mayor Bettencourt said in a statement released to the Eye.  “I invite all those who wish to honor the memory of the 26 victims of this tragedy to join with us in solemn vigil.”

If you would like to donate to the Sandy Hook Support Fund, please click here.

State Rep race fallout, a firefighter museum … and more random thoughts

10 Dec

Take our poll on your choice in the State Rep special election

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Random thoughts while wondering how long it is before we hear that the offices in Beverly of my “favorite” newspaper have been turned into a new Super Walmart. …

I’ve been writing a lot lately about the looming race for State Rep, but it should also be interesting to see what affect the special election will have on Peabody’s city election in the fall. With Dave Gravel and (maybe) Anne Manning, and Beverley Dunne throwing their hats into the ring, the rep race is likely to leave at least one open seat on the city council or school committee.

But the fallout on the fall election could be even more far reaching. It’ll be interesting in the coming months to see which pols and elected officials choose which sides, and how those alliances affect the city elections. Right away, the Eye wonders what Mayor Ted Bettencourt will do.  Both Beverley and Dave supported the mayor in his race against Sean Fitzgerald, so we wonder if Ted stays out of this rep race battle. One thing is likely certain, though:  The mayor won’t be supporting Ms. Manning should she get into the race. Anne was a big supporter of  Fitzgerald in 2011.

As for this blogger’s plans. All I can say right now is that I don’t have any. Was asked on Sunday about that by someone, and my response was I have not ruled out another run for councilor at-large.  But … as soon as constant companion reads this, I’m sure she will smack right in the head for not ruling it out here. :)

 Peabody Fire Museum is a hidden gem

You have to check out the old Peabody fire house and museum next to Brooksby Farm

Fire house museum near Brooksby Farm is a hidden gem

Stumbled upon one of Peabody’s true hidden gems on Sunday when constant companion and I toured the Peabody Fire Museum next to Smith Barn at Brooksby Farm.

The circa 1875 building housed Peabody Engine Company 3, which was originally located on Endicott Street. Not only has the fire house been preserved, but we were amazed to see the incredible artifacts stored there in what has to be one of the best firefighter museums on the North Shore. It’s only too bad more people don’t know about it. What a great job by the Peabody Historical Society in preserving and maintaining it.

Speaking of Peabody Firefighter history, the Eye sends out its condolences to the family of Leonard Marshall, PFD retired, who recently passed away at age 87.

Elsewhere, while cleaning out my mind’s notebook

In the Peabody Patch, there’s some very nice video from Sunday’s Holiday Festival at Peabody City Hall.  …  Looking for some good burgers and a way to help out the kids in the Peabody High band tonight? Check out this fundraiser going on at Fuddruckers … Also from the Patch, congrats to these Top 10 Spelling Bee winners from the Lions cluster at the Higgins …

Since he was good to this blog on Sunday and gave us the low down on his decision to not seek the State Rep seat, I won’t charge Tom Gould an ad fee for the following statement:

“Try the eggnog ice cream” at Treadwell’s  It’ll put you in the holiday spirit. …

I think the Patriots win tonight against the 11-1 Houston Texans on Monday Night Football in Foxboro. Aside from the fact that the Pats’ defense seems to be coming together at the right time, and Tom Brady has been in way more of these big games than Houston QB Matt Schaub, I just have a feeling that this is going to be a blowout. Of course, if Brady has a great night, my fantasy team is going down in flames this week,  since that’s who my opponent starts at QB. Anyhow, Pats 45, Texans 20 …

(Please follow Bob on Twitter @EyeOnPeabody)


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