Sunday, February 28, 2010

March - Make it the Month to Come See Us Downtown!

  If you haven't come Downtown yet, make this month the month. Have dinner at The Blue Ox (if you are one of the very few who haven't yet), Pho Lynn, Tatiana's or Le Fe. Grab a lunch at Fernando's on Munroe. Stop by Turbine Wine Bar for a drink before or after dinner. Donate stuff to the Salvation Army. Check out what's going on at The Little Gallery Under the Stairs or Lynn Art's other galleries. Visit the Lynn Museum (something even I have yet to do). Come have a great breakfast at Capitol Diner or Brother's Deli. Check out the 2nd and 3rd floors at Zimman's. Volunteer at RAW, Girls Inc., or the YMCA.

There's a whole lot going on down here. Make March the month to visit Downtown Lynn.


Turbine - Defined

Main Entry: tur·bine
Pronunciation: \ˈtər-bən, -ˌbīn\
Function: noun
: a rotary engine actuated by the reaction or impulse or both of a current of fluid (as water, steam, or air) subject to pressure and usually made with a series of curved vanes on a central rotating spindle
There is a movement afoot in Central Square Lynn, a current. Is it enough to start up the Turbine on Tuesday, March 2nd. 
You'll just have to stop by and see for yourself.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Crighton is our man!!!

Three cheers for Brendan Crighton. We must recognize our leaders when they listen to us and do the right thing by us.  The Item reported this over the course of two days, even though both events happened on Tuesday night. Thanks once again to I now have the right timeline, not the one that the Item made me believe occured.

In the ordinance hearing, Council Cyr, Lozzi, Cahill, and Capano watched as NO ONE got up to speak in favor of the nuisance ordinance. Anyone in opposition? YES!!! Several City agencies and people within the community speak to why the language is too vague and broad to be taken seriously. The councilors then joined hands and ignored everyone. To add insult to injury, Cyr attached an emergency to it. Mr. Crighton stood up and asked to be heard. He asked that the committee reconsider attaching emergency to this so that there could be more time to take the public and city agency response into account. The committee then voted to attach the emergency, anyway.

Luckily, Brendan had one more chance during the actual council session and suceeded in getting this thing tabled. This is our Ward councilor working for us. Voice and representative of the people. I just hope this thing stays tabled. We don't need to put more people on the streets, unless they were blue uniforms.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ouelly Bully!

I wonder if all of Daily Item's potential advertisers receive personal phone calls from the General Manager, Phil Ouellette. About a week ago, I requested a rate sheet from the Daily Item of Lynn, the finest paper in the land (is that better Phil?). The rate sheet was incredibly confusing, mostly due to my never having done this before. Too many options and no real way to understand how to come up with the price.  This could possibly be by design as they apparently don't want new advertisers, but I'll get to that later.

So, I sent a question back to the advertising department and received no response. They were probably trying to figure out the rate sheet too (That was a joke Phil...).  Sorry readers, I'm trying to teach Phil about the use of humor, so stick with me as we work through this for him.

Instead of receiving an answer from the advertising department, I got a personal e-mail from the General Manager of the Daily Item of Lynn, Phil Ouelette. He asked me to call him and as I knew right away what I was in for, I called immediately. It was really fun and a dialogue I wish you all could have enjoyed right here on this blog. I think most of you agree with me and I would think Phil would be more concerned with learning why. He sounds like a very nice guy, but he apparently forgot that I'm a paying customer/subscriber and had a very odd way of selling advertising in his paper. He kept telling me I need to figure out why I want to advertise in his paper. I thought that was obvious, but I guess he doesn't get it.  He doesn't like that I call him a hack paper. He doesn't like that I asked you all to smack them in the face while exploring Exchange Street. He didn't read my article on Item Santa and he didn't read my article on Henry Collin's editorial. Selective reading, which explains the election coverage a little (Off-color humor, Phil. This can be hard to understand at first).

Bottom line... He doesn't like the way I treat the paper on this blog, so he kindly asked me think about why I want to advertise in his paper and ended the call. He wasn't very helpful about the rate sheet. He didn't seem to want to talk about that at all. I asked him to write a letter to the editor of the Daily Item about the mean bloggers, but he said he wasn't interested in that.  Seems to me... a better use of his time would be a review of the election coverage as compared to ad revenue from the candidates. Actually, what is a General Manager supposed to be doing during the day? I looked this up on the Newspaper Association of America website:

Newspaper Careers in Management: General Manager

Position Summary
  • Oversees the overall management of operations, technology, advertising, circulation, production, and business office activities.
  • Responsible to a large degree for the profit and loss operations of the paper.
Essential Skills
  • Must possess strong people skills, including the ability to motivate personnel to work together toward common goals.
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills.
  • Keen knowledge of marketing and sales.
  • Ability to work, prioritize, and track successfully in a fast-paced environment and under deadlines.

Strong people skills..... Responsible for profit? Hmmm.... Nothing here about embracing free speech or being responsible to subscribers, advertisers, and the community.

Pretty good display of denying a real dialogue in this town. I wish when my customers at my 9-5 called or voiced complaints on twitter, facebook, blogs we could call them and ask them "Why do you want to use our products?" and then hang up on them, but alas... that's no way to run a business (There is no joke in this paragraph, Phil.)

Phil wanted you all to know about all the good the Item is doing for the city. I told him he should advertise that more. Poor thing... he's probably still trying to figure out his rate sheet (and that Phil.... was a joke).


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Excuse Me...Please Take out the Earplugs during public hearings!!!

UPDATE: The City Council tabled this at the Council session after several councillors voted for it unanimously in committee. So... thank god... this is a dead issue.  It turns out the council did WAKE UP! I suppose the committee members had to vote the way they did to satisfy their constituents.  Gunshots throughout the day in your front yard is not a good way to live. I still maintain there are already laws for this and the police should have the tools they need, except dollars! Where are the additional cops in the schools and communities we were promised? Have they been hired?

--------- Original Post ------------

Never thought I'd say this, but Lynn Item got me the info I needed before the blogs. I subscribe to the online edition of the actual paper which updates a little before midnight each night. Tonight, I am very happy of my decision to give the hack paper $10 a month.  They did a very good job of reporting this story.

Phelan!!! Listen up.. Your council is wearing ear plugs during public hearings. At least, I think that's what's going on. What else would explain the blatant disregard and promotion of homelessness that went forward at the City Council meeting tonight.

The city council gave the slumlords of Lynn, carte blanche... to evict whoever they choose, whenever they choose.  I believe (I will wait for the Lynnhappens posting or reading the law myself) that a landlord can now evict an entire building including legal abiding citizens if they deem the activity in that building to be unlawfull.... drug activity and/or weapons (undefined).

I'm all for reducing crime in the City of Lynn. Promoting Homelessness is not the way to do it. City Council, WAKE UP!  Crime fighting is best left to the Lynn Police Department, not the Landlords of Lynn. Oh guys are landlords....Hmmm???

I've never been angrier at a decision made by this body since Cyr's Commandments for Public Access taping. Surprise, surprise.... Cyr's behind this too!

 Voters of Lynn... are you listening? Watch the taping on I personally, cannot wait!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This Saturday is the Time to Check Out TLGUTS at LynnArts

Have you been to LynnArts on Exchange Street? .... What's wrong with you?

I never was much of an art person before I met my wife. She turned my on to Dali and ..... well Dali. But when I experienced Dali (we went to the museum he built himself in Figures, Spain),  I learned how to enjoy art as an extreme form of creative expression. This guy clearly was trying to communicate something.  Coming from a theatre background, I've always needed something to move and speak to entertain me. What I've learned, only recently, is it's not about the art moving, it's about how the art moves me.

TLGUTS has a very moving display generated from the hearts and minds of moms. The exhibit is entitled "Mothers Who Create II." The II is because this is the second exhibit on this theme. Mothers are the definition of creation, so it's especially moving to walk through this gallery and get a glimpse of their expression on that theme.

This weekend, the gallery will be featuring two films. Here's the time line from the tlguts website:

Event Time Line:
1:30 Doors Open
2:00 C.M. Judge introduces her project, FEMLink and one of the featured films, Fragility . Q & A to follow
3:15 - 3:45 intermission - grab some snacks and last shot at our art raffle!
3:45 Pamela T. Boll's Who Does She Think She Is, introduced by TLGUTS Gallery Director, Jocelyn Almy-Testa, group discussion to follow
5:00 - gallery opens for guests to see the current exhibition, VOICES: Mothers Who Create

Check it out! It's only $15 for two tickets to both movies. Grab a friend, and head on down to LynnArts on this Saturday. You won't be dissapointed. 
For more on the films, check out tlguts website.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hawthorne's Sign is Falling Down, Falling Down.... oh wait, It's Gone!

I noticed recently that the sign from Hawthorne's Restaurant has been taken down. It looked like some of it was ready to fall down and hurt somebody. I don't think I'm alone when I say the Athanas family should be ashamed of themselves for not being a part of the revitalization efforts downtown. A primo seafood option in Downtown Lynn would be a great new option for dining out.  They really should consider coming back to their roots and doing something with that place.

If they are not going to do anything, then I wish they would sell it. That place first opened it's doors in 1937 and became an overnight success. We're on a new wave. It's time to relive 1937, with or without the Athanas family.

Descendants of Anthony?  Are you out there??? Do you care? What the hell? We're getting impatient.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Progress Spotted at Turbine Wine Bar!

The decorative "t" was removed from the window yesterday, which scared me at first, but then we walked by last night on our way to a phenomenal dinner at The Blue Ox. On the way there, we noticed that Turbine had new shades installed on the windows so you can't really sneak a peek anymore. :-) A good sign obviously, as why would you install new shades if you weren't going to open.

On our way back from the Blue Ox, the owner had lifted the shades a tad. It's as if he wanted me to write this blog post. Inside we saw an amazing interior. The bar is all the way in the back of the room and looks complete or near complete now. There is furniture in there for the first time. Steel bar stools that look really cool. It got me thinking, what a neat concept for Lynn, MA, home of the first jet engine.

There was one guy inside working his ass off. I assume that was Stephen Hanley, owner. I'm told he's a perfectionist in every way and that we're going to see that insane quality in everything Turbine does. I'm really excited for this place.

This is going to be a special place folks! I decided against taking a picture with my phone as I think this should be revealed if and when Stephen wants it revealed. I imagine ... that will be when you all walk through the door for the first time.

I hope it's soon!!!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thoughts on the Council Meeting from 2/9

Thanks again to Seth and for providing the recording of the City Council meeting.

There were several items pertaining to our wonderful Downtown and the continuation of its' revitalization.  A few public hearings were tabled for 3 Mt. Vernon (Car Detail Shop) and 3-11 Mt. Vernon (coffee and convenience store). Not sure why this stuff keeps getting tabled, but I'm sure there is good reason. I've been hearing about this car detail shop for a while now and I'm actually kind of excited about it. I'd rather not go to HMA in Salem if I can get it done right here while I am home at 7 Central.

The council moved on to several public hearings on National Grid installs of PVC. The representative National Grid sent to this meeting was incoherent and a bit scattered. He even almost forgot to stand in favor for one of his motions. Given that's the quality of rep they send to council, it's no surprise our city and our businesses continue to have significant issues with National Grid. No competition, means no quality - so we really shouldn't be surprised here.    The owner and CEO of Traditional Breads was there to voice his concerns over repeated outages at his location. This place provides bread to places like Legal Seafood. They have a 24/7 operation and National Grid is screwing them and their customers on a repeated basis.  The councilors put stipulations on all the hearings for National Grid installs. We now need to be notified via mail if we are an abutter that may experience an outage. Hopefully they'll figure out a way to fine National Grid for failure to do so.

The Lynn Harbor Line relocation seems to be off to a running start after being on virtual pause for the past year. They have all their permits except one from the Department of Conservation which apparently needs to approve the crossing over the Lynnway. I'm not sure why that is? They seem to get in the way of urban progress more than is useful. While I'm all for turtles and birds, let's hopefully get the cross over a street approved since it doesn't harm a single thing.  Looks like work will start in earnest on or before April 1st and should last about 6 months. Onward to the great Lynn Waterfront we've all been hearing about.

They moved on to committee reports. I missed which committee voted on this one, but it's cool. If you are a city worker deployed overseas, we pay the difference between your city salary and your military salary.

For New business, Bank of America needs to clean up their mess in Lynn. Several bank owned properties need to be destroyed. It's costing us a lot of money, time and effort keeping up with the blight. ISD needs to get involved here if they are not already.

Dan Cahill needs to chill out. His awkward responses to Tim Phelan when he gets the go ahead on new business is crony-ness at it's worst. Be a professional, Cahill.

He backtracked on his wish to sell the abandoned vehicle lot on the Lynnway, saying he was just looking for some cash for the city to do some other infrastructure improvements. He says that the real issue is we need to combine some public services around Parking and Traffic into one commission and blah blah blah. So, I'm not sure what is going on, but seems to be a lot of political banter here. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out and who benefits in the end.

Alex Rivera was horrified at the Boston Herald article which concluded that the city has not helped them at all to find a new home. He wanted to apologize through his councilor for the Herald's comments. That is not what they should have taken away and he is very grateful for all the council and the city has done in trying to help.

It was voted that Lynn will not seek a meals tax in this economic climate. At a time when we're trying to bring forward more restaurants and business to Lynn, it just doesn't make sense.

Lots of good stuff..... but, don't take my word for it... Go watch for yourself on


Catch The Song Stylings of the First Man of Lynn - Tonight at Capone's

We got the pleasure of hearing Kevin Kennedy and Shuffle Mode at a Judy Flanagan Kennedy campaign party the week before election day. If you haven't checked them out, you need to. Kevin went to Berkeley School of Music and is a master of the keys.

Tonight, Kevin and Shuffle Mode are playing at Capone's in Peabody, MA. A short jaunt up Lynn Street from Wyoma Square and you're there.

On March 13th, Kevin will be playing piano at a wine tasting fundraiser for The Friends of Lynn Woods.
7:30pm-11:00pm Gannon Golf Course
Tickets are $35.00 per person
Kevin Kennedy on Piano
Contact Jane Kelley (781-929-4877)

For more info, check out their site at or become Fans of the band on Facebook. There are some sound clips on the Facebook fan page.

Kevin, we need to get you a gig downtown!


$39 for one of the best meals you will ever have!

This weekend you could go to Boston and spend upwards of $100-$200 per person on a Valentine's meal, or you could taste some delicious treats off Chef Matt O'Neil's tasty weekend prix fixe menu at The Blue Ox for just $39 per person.

1st course
frisee salad, house made duck prosciutto, apricots, blue cheese, pistachio, maple vinaigrette
cauliflower soup, smoked bay scallops, truffle oil, chive
2nd course
grilled petite filet mignon, asparagus, mashed potatoes, port wine sauce
potato gnocchi. lobster, stewed leeks, butternut squash, mascarpone, Parmigiano
3rd course
cheesecake with almond crust, berries
chocolate cake with hazelnut crunch, berries

I'm going for the salad, filet mignon, and cheesecake. We got reservations a while back for the 14th. You are not completely out of luck just yet. They still show reservations for Saturday night at 9 available and they handle walk-ins. You might want to call ahead. Get in on the Valentine's Day madness in Downtown Lynn.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Move Those Cars!

Snow Emergency and Parking Ban - Effective 1PM 2/10/2010

Hey I'm going for BBQ... Anyone want some?

How do we attract a business like Red Bones to Downtown Lynn?

It's the most ideal addition to the Downtown area as we become a new destination when people are deciding where to go out to eat with friends.

BBQ is ideal for the Lynners who have been here forever and for the new Lynners now swarming the Downtown area.  There's a tiny BBQ place on Western Ave. Maybe they could be convinced to open a larger space in the Downtown area with some incentives.

Now, if only we could convince that eyesore we used to call Hawthorne's to sell that prime real estate right in the heart of everything. They should be ashamed of themselves. It's a pity they are allowed to squat on this plot of land. What is going on in there anyway? Last night the lights were on in there.

So what do you guys think? BBQ? or is there a better idea for Downtown Lynn?

The first 30 days - How's our Mayor Doing?

I wouldn't expect anyone could do much in 30 days. Especially given the cronies she has to deal with to get anything done. I've seen the right thing happen at our Fire Department's top spot. I see diversity in the Mayor's office for the first time in a long time. I saw a positive comment from Jim Cowdell about the Mayor in the Item. That last one kind of shocked me.

I've heard a lot of rumblings about a lack of communciation between the Mayor's office and our other elected officials. I hope that communication becomes a strong focus of her office over the next 60 days. Open government and communication were highlights of her campaign.  School Committee meetings on LynnCAM is a nice step, but we need to start seeing more openness via the city website. Calendar is still lacking and I still find it hard to get anything out of our city government without setting up a meeting at City Hall or requesting documents multiple times via email.

The only email I sent to the Mayor's office (Ms. Cavanaugh) went unreturned.

Not a good sign, but I'm giving it 90 days, before I start coming up with nicknames.

So, what do you think?


Monday, February 8, 2010

Do you feel entitled? You should...

Ultimately, we don't necessarily want to be an entitlement community but for the state we're in now, I welcome it with open arms. Does anyone really understand what being an entitlement community means? For starters, that $4,000 grant you got for improving your storefront, came direct from the federal government via the community block grant. This money would not have been available to us if we were not an entitlement community.

The Entitlement Grant for Lynn, MA is divided in four ways. For FY09, we saw spending in the following areas:
  • Community Block Grant ($2,488,361)
  • HOME ($976,986)
  • Emergency Shelter Grant ($111,740)
  • HOPWA ($326,00)

Let's break this down. The housing money goes to the Lynn Housing Authority and they figure out wht to do with that. I'm not sure if this includes the emergency shelter money or not. I assume the City of Lynn also puts money towards the housing problem above and beyond this, but I don't know that for sure.

HOME is money which is intended to provide affordable housing in Lynn, MA.
HOPWA is money specifically set aside for housing opportunities for individuals with HIV and AIDS.

So, that leaves the largest chunk of money, the Community Block Grant.

This grant can be targeted at several initiatives according to the website. Here is the list:
  • acquisition of real property;
  • relocation and demolition;
  • rehabilitation of residential and non-residential structures;
  • construction of public facilities and improvements, such as water and sewer facilities, streets, neighborhood centers, and the conversion of school buildings for eligible purposes;
  • public services, within certain limits;
  • activities relating to energy conservation and renewable energy resources; and
  • provision of assistance to profit-motivated businesses to carry out economic development and job creation/retention activities.
Almost $2.5M was spent in Lynn on these activities last year. Would you like to know how it was spent? Well you can. As part of the citizen participation process (hidden in legalize in the Lynn Item and publicized "zero" elsewhere). You can attend a meeting on March 9th, 2009 at the Lynn Housing Authority Community Room (wheelchair accessible).

I will be there this year. I hope you will join me. Let's flood that room. Together we can learn how our money was spent and together we can influence future spending of similar funds that will continue to come our way.

Where would you like to see our Block Grant spent in 2010?


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Art is Alive in Lynn!

We got the privilege of taking in the recent art opening at Lynn Arts. The Little Gallery Under the Stairs was a strong pull for us. The quality and presentation in that gallery is exceptional. We were pleasantly surprised by many of the other artists on display upstairs in both of the other galleries, but what TLGUTS is doing must be commended. I hope you will all take the time to check out the most recent survey of artists who are also mothers.

On February 27th, they will be showing this film. Check out this site about the film for more information

I had noticed these from outside the other day. Very interesting visual experience.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

WHAT TO DO TODAY - Visit The Little Gallery Under the Stairs

This little gallery has been pulling tons of people into Downtown Lynn. They have their latest opening today from 2PM-5PM. The exhibit is VOICES: Mothers who Create II.  I hope to make it over there later this afternoon. TLGUTS is downstairs in the Lynn Arts building on Exchange Street, right across from the Lynn Item.


$4,000 bucks.... and you don't have to give it back?

Isn't $4,000 a lot of money? Every storefront can get a $4,000 grant from the OECD as part of the Community Block program. Across the street looks like a war zone with abandoned Mayo(naisse) Group property.  The space soon to be occupied by Turbine Wine Bar looks very nice with the little "tease" he put in the window. I can't wait to see what his sign looks like. The electrics have been up for months, but still no sign. I have been told recently that he is definitely going to open. He is making sure everything is perfect. We will all benefit from the care he's taking to make this the next big thing in Downtown Lynn. Past Turbine you have the clothing store which looks good as well.

Now back to our side of the street. The storefronts in Central Square need serious help. Omar & Oscar and all the way up to R.A.W. looks awesome.   They recently took down the art installation near R.A.W.  I was hoping that meant they were starting to see interest in using the space for something useful, but not sure. As you come up the street further we have our new favorite business, East Coast Karate, but they've chosen to just place posters and pieces of paper in their windows. It's starting to not look very pleasant already. Don't even get me started on Poblano's Market. I can't even read the signs they put up. They now put wooden boards over a few windows to prevent break-ins at night. UGH! The sign that is readable was made using "Print Shop" on an old Apple IIc.... At least, that's what it looks like. Things improve a bit as you move towards Flavaz, the new Christian candle shop (Las Tres Virtudes), 7 Central Square (the coolest loft building in Lynn...) and Dunkins.

The OECD tells me that businesses are actively sought out for this program. I wonder then... why they would choose not to work with the city to get the $4,000 and improve the look and function of the entrance to their store.  Do they not want the trouble of working with the city appointed architect? Do they not want the issues that may arise with ISD? Any business owners out there who have taken advatange of this? Any who have chosen not to?

As Downtowners - I think we need to spread the word to business owners who need to go after this money.

Here is the contact information as listed on the OECD website

James Marsh
Development Director
P. 781-586-6770
F. 781-477-7026

Donald Walker
Director of Project Operations
P. 781-586-6778

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lynn Takes Away Christmas!

I'm practicing for becoming a real Lynn Item reporter someday with that headline. How did I do? It's similar to recent headlines victimizing sweet Bernice Brooks in the Mayor's office. "Mayoral Aide at Center of Storm" (The Daily Item 2/1/2010). This is an article about the fact that the city under previous leadership harassed the hell out of Mrs. Brooks. Nothing beats my personal favorite headline, however. "Lynn candidate in center of stabbing" (The Daily Item 10/31/2009) This was possibly the most irresponsible piece of crap headlining that I've ever seen and ruined our chance of having at least ONE speck of diversity on the council on Inauguration Day.

But I digress... It's easy to do when I get going on the Item.

My point is...... they took away the Christmas Tree. A good start. Now, what do I have to say on this blog in order to get the wreaths taken down. Also, I should probably mention that they left a white cone where the tree used to be. While the dogs of Central Square are going to have fun with that thing, I really hope it's not there to stay till next Christmas. I fear I am wrong.

I apologize for being so quiet lately. This is not even a great post. My show, The Boys Next Door, opens at Reading High School on Friday the 5th. After this weekend, your faithful blogger shall return to a more active state.

I have so much I want to talk to you about too! I met with Don Walker at OECD. I've had a brief exchange with Jamie Marsh about Lynn Auditorium. I've got some great ideas for the next two restaurants that must open in Downtown Lynn, but it all must wait for now.  I need sleep.

Call Lynn City Hall and tell them to kill the rest of Christmas in Central Square. While they're at it, they may want to take the Christmas lights off the tree on the common right outside City Hall. I noticed that one tonight. I'm surprised they took down the manger.

Be back next week with lots more!

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