Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Urban Living Series - Launches Today

It's rare I get to talk about my other passion on this blog, technology. It's where I spend 9-5 and is something that I think lends itself well to urban life. Gadgets, gizmos, social media, web and software development seem to be something a lot of us are passionate about, at least from what I see in Downtown Lynn.

Something else I see as a common thread is people working for causes or at least people who are vocal about certain causes, charities, events, or social issues.

Today, Chris Hughes, former co-founder of Facebook launched The site is a sort of social media site for the non-profit world. Seems to be a cool place for the socially minded to hang out. It's having some growing pains as it's been featured on some of the most high profile sites for social media and tech news today, but I was  able to play around with it a bit before work.

The integration with Facebook seems tight as it pulls in your info, and your Facebook Page info if you set up an organization. I set up Arts After Hours on it today. In this day and age of so many non-profits needing to partner with one another to create some special opportunities and solutions to common problems, this site could prove very beneficial in that discovery and sharing process.

I look forward to using it more and more over the next few weeks once they figure out their scaling issues and start adding functionality to make it chattier on Facebook and more easy to collaborate with other non-profits.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday - Shop Lynn!

Most people laugh at me when I say I am going to do all my Christmas shopping in Lynn this year. It's not as hard as you think. While I plan on doing most of my shopping in legit independently owned small businesses, that will fail to pull in the necessary hot gift for the nieces. Tis ok, we have Gamespot on market street. We have Wal-Mart on the Lynnway. They pay taxes to Lynn and I hope they remain here while we build on the existence of such successful chains in Downtown Lynn.

Now that I've pretty much alienated a good section of my audience, here is where I actually want you to consider shopping.

TLGUTS - Awesome ceramics show. A serious way to support a local gallery and pick up some amazing quality platters, serving dishes, and place settings. OPEN on Friday from 10AM-4PM!!!!

LynnArts - Holiday sale is in effect. They might be open on Black Friday. I assume they will be open on Saturday from 10-4. The show runs until Dec 30th.

I can fully endorse the two above shows, as I have already purchased holiday gifts from both. You must get to 25 Exchange Street and make it a special holiday for those on your list.

Zimmans is alive and well on Market Street in Lynn. When you walk in the front door you are assaulted with fabric. Cool, but not as cool as the 2nd and third floors of Zimmans that most people don't even know exists. Check it out! Amazing stuff! Furniture, art, etc.

Go to brunch at Mildred's on Lewis St. After brunch, get a gift or two in their gift shop next to the diner. It is a phenomenal gift shop and you will find something you just have to have.

Pennyworths on Boston Street claims they have Uggs and North Face stock. I have not been inside yet, but it's worth a try. Right next door is Big Lots which has a lot of great bargains. We've got a lot of cool random stuff there.

Turbine is offering up a free gift with every $25 gift card purchased. At least they were last time I checked.

Blue Ox has gift cards as well that would be an incredible gift for anyone on your list who lives nearby.

Lynnway Liquors has that exact bottle of wine or craft beer you are looking for for that discerning palette on your list.

CVS on Boston Street. Walgreens on Union Street will certainly have those stocking stuffers you are in need of.

Omar and Oscar has some great jewelry and watches. They are located in Central Square across from turbine. Great people. Check them out this holiday season!

Shop Lynn! If we're in this to win it, why spend our money somewhere else. Make it your challenge as I've made it mine, to try to stay within our borders this holiday shopping season. Make these storefronts stay full. You are fully in control of our destiny this holiday season. Shop Lynn. Shop Local. Our future depends on it.



Readers, this has been a great year. I'm incredibly thankful that you continue to find value in the community we all are creating in Downtown Lynn. This year, more than any other in recent history, we have seen a big uptick in momentum. That can only mean good things in store for the future. 2008, this blog had 2 visitors a month, 2009 we were up to 700 a month, and as of today, we're approaching 2000 unique visitors a month.You're not only reading, you're contributing with your comments and your actions. This year brought us a new wine bar, Arts After Hours, Traveling Piano, Aquaponics, a strong season at Lynn Auditorium, a successful chili cookoff at LynnArts, a newly engaged Lynn Museum, and one of my favorite additions to our downtown, Fernando's and Chef Juan Gonzales. While it might not seem it at times, we have a lot for which we can be thankful. Here is my top ten. Leave what I left off in the comments.

10. Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy for telling the people on boards and committees for the city to PICK ONE.

9. Brendan Crighton, Peter Capano, and Dan Cahill for supporting Downtown Lynn vocally and by showing up down here! We see you and it means something!  

8. Jamie Marsh and Lynn Auditorium for continuing to embrace community and quality in everything you do. The slate of performers coming up is amazing. Big shout out to Jamie for setting up a movie night for the Downtown, office hours for downtowners to come and share their concerns, and hosting many nights at High Rock for Lynners to enjoy a most precious treasure.

7. The School Committee's renewal of the Food Project Lease at Ingall's School

6. Chiefs Coppinger and Carmody and all of our men and women in uniform for all they do to keep our great city as safe as possible.

5.Lynn Museum for an amazing year of programming bringing forward the great families of Lynn on display and in attendance. Lynnarts for some great family programming including an awesome chili cook-off. I would pay big money to get my hands on Matt O'neill's chili again. :-)

4.Turbine Wine Bar for taking a chance on Central Square and providing us with a nightly source of entertainment where we can hang out, drink amazing wine, and eat some incredible pizza with some of the best neighbors on the North Shore.

3. The Little Gallery Under the Stairs for promoting local artists as well as bringing international artists to Lynn gallery walls. For building community with music improv nights, writing nights, and partnering with and to bring more people out in support of local artists at Arts After Hours.

2. SPIN for their incredible work to help those in need of financial assistance and various initiatives to build community with the amazing support of the United Way Massachusetts Bay.

1. Juan Gonzales - Free Thanksgiving Meals for those in need, Cultural Programming on Munroe Street, and one killer Cuban Sandwich.

  Check out last year's Top 10 list.

Thanks everyone for making Downtown Lynn that much better in 2010. Have a safe and happy Holiday season and remember to SHOP LYNN this December. 


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Developing Downtown - Any closer to 500?

Out my back window I get to watch the progress of the Lynn Community Health Center and soon the new KIPP project up next to High Rock. Out my front window we will soon be able to see the tops of the cranes working on the All Care VNA building at the corner of Market and route 1A. I hear they break ground right after Thanksgiving.

In the Item today we had Jim Cowdell calling the Athanas family to task. Join us in a successful plan for the old Hawthorne eyesore or GET OUT OF OUR WAY!! The area needs a city overhaul or we might as well give up on trying to sell 14 Central.

Can I ask something though? Can we look at the plans for this area of the Downtown first? Can we NOT put another health care facility or service oriented building down here? Can we finally ADD to the momentum? Re-read the plans for the Arts & Cultural district. Re-read the Market St. strategic plan. Re-read the Washington street gateway plan. More lofts, more artist live/work space. Another restaurant along the lines of the Ox with a different fare. Still waiting for my BBQ restaurant. First floor retail/gallery space with residential/commercial on upper floors.

As we develop this space and future space Downtown, we should ask ourselves everyday, "Is this getting us closer to 500?"


Monday, November 22, 2010

Lydia Pinkham Open Studios - The Artists are Hard at Work in Lynn

When I woke up on Saturday, I knew I was headed to the Lydia Pinkham Building for the artist Open Studios. What I didn't know, was that I was in for quite a Lynn history lesson. I really didn't have a clue who Lydia Pinkham was or what she did in that building in the 1800s. I know, I know... some of you are shocked that I don't know this entire history lesson, but I bet a lot of you are right there with me.

In the 50s, my mom was telling me, that building had a certain mysterious quality to it. No one knew what went on in there and I'm sure the rumors were many based on its history.

One of the first artists I met in the building told me what used to be manufactured there; an elixir for women. Ahead of her time in many ways, Lydia Pinkham was one of the first to talk about female pains in a public way, one of the first to put her image on her materials giving birth to a modern form of advertising, and maybe not quite the first to add a little something special to the mix. Some of her concoctions were found to have cocaine and morphine and all of them contained alcohol. Certainly "altered the moods" of many women and she and her product became very successful. I believe she built many structures in Lynn and today her building serves many artists as a suitable home for the creative mind. It's somewhat fitting that one of the leading Lynn entrepreneurs of our past has passed on something that can be used for such a creative purpose.

The halls are filled with studio after studio, some of which were open on Saturday and others of which were not. It's a shame this type of event only happens once a year. This refrain has been repeated on Facebook a lot since I posted on the event. There were painters, sewers, potters, and comic book writers. There were people of all ages enjoying it all and I even saw some money exchanging hands. At the very top of the building is the Lydia Pinkham Pottery studio watched over by a very pleasant man who knew all the fine details of every single piece he had on display.

I asked a lot of the artists about the art scene and was surprised at the answer. They love doing their work in Lynn. Good rents, live close by, etc. A lot of them had galleries in wealthier communities on the North Shore. I heard Newburyport, Gloucester, Rockport to name a few. It got me thinking more and more about the artist live/work space ideas I've heard thrown around here a lot as of late. I think Lynn would be smart to embrace this idea and bring some real artist lofts in to the equation. They are working and living here and it's working. Lydia Pinkham Open Studios was living proof.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

SATURDAY: Lynn's Artist Studios and Galleries are OPEN

Just a reminder to get out in Lynn today and visit the many opportunities to see and buy some great artwork.  If you missed it a few days ago, here is your itinerary. I plan to be at Lydia Pinkham at 10AM. I will hopefully be able to post pictures live to the Downtown Lynn Facebook page. At 2PM I will be over at 25 Exchange Street where they have La Boheme in the black box, their annual holiday show and sale in the main galleries, and the Serve It Up: Plates and Platters at The Little Gallery Under the Stairs.

See you around in Downtown Lynn tomorrow!

Write up from the Lydia Pinkham Studios

The historic Lydia Pinkham Building in Lynn will be holding its fifth annual Open Studios on Saturday, November 20th from 10 am to 4 pm.

Join area residents and art enthusiasts at this year's Open Studios. North Shore Clay Studio and the artists of the Lydia Pinkham building will open their doors to the public for this free, annual event. Visitors are invited to walk through artists' studios, meet the artists, and view and buy their work.

This is a great invitation for the community to view and purchase nearly 25 local artists’ work, ranging from painting and illustrations to pottery, sculpture and multimedia!

Open Studios is the best way to meet the artists, see their work in the place it was created, and shop for the holidays. Roam from room to room during this once-a-year art extravaganza.

The Lydia Pinkham Building is located at 271 Western Avenue (Route 107) in Lynn, MA.


Friday, November 19, 2010

RatGate 2010 - The Item Joins the Dark Side?

Dark ages maybe.... where we don't embrace fact.....

We spread lies that have been proven to be such....

The editorial on page A3 of today's Item basically said that renewing the lease for the Ingall's School Garden will mean problems for the city of Lynn. Let's fact check for the Item.

1. The editorial states that residents (Ms. Puleo - that's not plural, the petition did not say this) "say the garden attracts youth gang members and that ripened produce is routinely pilfered." Right! Those crazy gangs and their vegetable stealing ways. James Harrison of the Food Project addressed this directly at the School Committee if you were paying attention (apparently not). They have seen ZERO evidence of stolen food on the property. It would kill their business. Another resident has gone through the police logs. No gang activity on that farm. Is she referring to the children working there????? It just isn't true.  

2. To quote the next sentence "What’s worse, they say, is that the garden, atop a former city landfill, has led to a rat infestation in the neighborhood." Really? The garden has been there seven years! The rat problem got worse over the last 2-3 years. The garden has bait traps and was inspected by a professional pest control company. NO EVIDENCE OF RATS. So if the garden is causing the problem, the rats sure don't like to prove that to us. NONE of the bait was eaten from the traps. WTF?

3. The editorial states Neighbors were also promised three years ago that improvements would be made to address those concerns. Those improvements were never implemented. Correct! City's issue, not the Food Projects. As a matter of fact, cameras and lighting are on the school committees list for all schools so this is not a garden issue and is an expense REGARDLESS. James Harrison already stated at the school committee session that they would take on some of the financial burden for the fence if not the entire thing (again, you got to listen to both sides).We're told that Puleo declined the improvements, as she has repeatedly in public commentary at the School Committee meetings. She only wants it gone. One person has no right to demand such things on the basis of the above untruths and if it ever gets shut down, I hope The food Project sues her.

3. Next quote is the conclusion the editors of the Lynn Item have come to:

"Indeed, given six years of nuisance neighbors have put up with (where are you getting this 6 years of nuisance comment???), and the yet to be determined cost of improvements, a better decision may have been to pave over this acre of school land. (how much does that cost??)"     Make sure you build in the cost for additional food for our poor at My Brother's Table, the additional curriculum Ingalls will have to create on their own without the Food Project, the loss of the lease revenue to the city... Beginning to sound cost prohibitive to shut it down actually... hmm??? Think it through!!!!!

Incredibly irresponsible and out of touch. Have you spoken to the Food Project representatives? Have you spoken to Ingalls School Principal Kim Powers? Have you spoken to proud Ingalls parent Jesse Jaeger? Have you spoken to the 226 people who signed the petition in favor of keeping the garden going? Have you spoken to the 45 youth who get summer jobs from The Food Project and are kept off the streets? Have you spoken to the children of Ingalls after they receive curriculum from The Food Project in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades? Have you spoken to My Brother's Table who gets produce to serve our hungry? Have you spoken to the abutters to Munroe Street garden (surely they have the same issue? oh wait... nope!!!!). Have you spoken to the City Health Director, to the Mayor, to anyone but Ms. Puleo? It seems you did not.

Do you understand the important or urban agriculture? Do you know about Lynn's initiatives to expand this for increased public health? Are you going to support that or squash it as you did on Page A4 today? Do your research and retract the editorial. Apologize to the Food Project and the citizens of Lynn. You took one person's take on this issue and created a PR nightmare for an incredible organization.

Shame on you, Lynn Item! (And you were doing so well there for a while....)


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Art-Lovers Itinerary for Saturday, November 20th, 2010

This Saturday we have so much going on in the arts and culture district of Lynn, MA. You really should take the opportunity to check some of this out. I am giving you an itinerary so that you can fit everything in, but some of this runs for the entire month of December so don't worry if you want to skip one or two steps. Eating is optional, the art is a must see. While you're looking, why not buy a few things?

9AM - Breakfast at the Capitol Diner

10AM - Lydia Pinkham Open Studios. Check out what's going on inside this historic building at 271 Western Avenue (Rt 107). The studios will be open until 4PM.

12PM - Lunch. Since you're on Western Ave at the Lydia Pinkham building, you could come up to the corner of Washington and Western and have a look at the newly refurbished Angelina's Sub Shop. They had a fire a while back and could use your support. If you'd like to come closer to Central Square, there is always Brother's Deli and Tatiana's  on Market street or Tacos Lupita on the corner of Washington and Munroe. Make sure you get a good lunch, we got a full afternoon planned for you.

2PM - Head on over to the LynnArts building at 25 Exchange Street. We have two options for you here.  In the main galleries of LynnArts, they are opening their Holiday Show and Sale. Come support our local artisans from around the North Shore and enjoy live music from our pals Kristen and Dave!  This show will run until December 30th.

If you're looking for more performing arts, Mass Theatrica will be performing a reading of La Boheme. Mass Theatrica does have one amazing roster of classical singers. You will not be dissapointed. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or online. Even if you are just in the building for the show, be sure to sneak down the hallway and have a listen. You'll be sorry you didn't buy a ticket. This is the only scheduled performance of this reading.

4PM - Stay right where you are. Downstairs, in the Lynnarts building, is one of the most treasured secrets in all of Downtown Lynn, The Little Gallery Under the Stairs. At 4PM, they will be opening their new show called Serve It Up: Plates and Platters Ceramics Invitational. I've had the privilege of seeing some of the pieces from this show, and I can tell you personally that you are going to want your wallets ready to do some holiday shopping. Many pieces under $100. A great way to start a collection or buy that perfect unique gift for someone on your list. This show will run until January 8th.

6PM - Dinner @ The Blue Ox

9PM - After Dinner Drinks and Dessert @ Turbine Wine Bar

1AM - Lights Out (Sorry it's all Clancy's fault. I'm sure we'll figure out a way to keep the party going!)

See you in the Arts & Culture District on Saturday! Come experience Lynn and all that its artists have to offer.


Open Mic Videos from Last Night's Vote to Renew the Ingalls School Farm

They allowed for three people to speak in favor of the farm at Ingall's School last night.

They then allowed for those in opposition to speak. I would feel bad for this woman if she didn't constantly lie and deceive the public with her rhetoric. She only made headway this year because she added rats to her list of false claims about the garden. YES - she has tried before to shut down the garden. Unreasonable, unfair, anti-community behavior like this should not be tolerated in our city. Listen for yourself.

The actual School Committee session was supposed to up on (it's a little long for Youtube), but did not successfully upload. I will hopefully have that up by tonight.

The subcommittee moved the issue to full committee for a vote to renew the lease with the following stipulations:

1. Higher Fence
2. Lighting
3. Cameras
4. Background checks for all working on farm (a little much for a group of volunteer children)
5. Reduce the size of garden  (hoping this just means pulling the garden back from puleo's fence a tiny bit)

They will now go into negotiations with the Food Project on the lease. I hope they now go into business mode and treat The Food Project like the positive business partner they are. They deserve more from us. Shame on us for letting one woman lie to her neighbors and undo so much that The Food Project has done for the City of Lynn. Now, we go about our business and continue to laud the efforts of one of the greatest assets the City Of Lynn has in it's arsenal for urban renewal. Three Cheers to the Food Project and may you someday have a farm at every school in Lynn!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Food Project Will Be Staying at the Ingalls School

Thanks to everyone who came out in support of the Food Project tonight. Again, the only opposition in the room was Ms. Puleo and the same person who spoke last month.

The videos I captured have a public input session where they allowed for three people to speak in favor and three against (only two people spoke against, the same two from last meeting). I am currently uploading these videos, but they probably won't be up until tomorrow.

The opposition simply has lies, the Food Project has truth and a lot of good solid community improvements on its side. It was so clear to everybody in that audience of about 40 people, 38 of which applauded ferociously when the school committee voted to renew the lease at Ingalls school.

It now goes into negotiations between the Food Project and The School Committee where they will work out any compromise around lights, camera, gates, fences, size of garden, and background checks for all who work the farm. I hope the school committee researches a lot more about the rat problem in Lynn before it spends so much money appeasing the squeaky wheel.

Nice work, School Committee. Now, let's stand behind the Food Project in these negotiations and show them how important they are in our urban revival.

Videos will be posted tomorrow.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Not in the Mood to cook This Thanksgiving? Let Tatiana do it for you!

Tatiana's on Market Street in Lynn will prepare your Thanksgiving Feast!

Need help preparing a dish or two for your Thanksgiving celebration? Well starting TODAY you can call and order anything off the menu in platter sized portions for dinner or have Tatiana prepare your ENTIRE feast!!!  

Call today for details and pricing. 781.477.0700

Monday, November 15, 2010

City Council Agenda for November 16th, 2010

MEETINGS SCHEDULED FOR  Tuesday, November 16, 2010:

Ways and Means Committee, 6:15 P.M., Room 402
Discussion re:  Council Orders and Other Business.

Ordinance Committee, 6:30 P.M., Room 402
Discussion and/or to Set Down For Public Hearing:  The City Solicitor’s recommended Amendments to the Sex Offender Residency Ordinance; and Other Business.

License Committee, 7:15 P.M., Room 402
Discussion re:  Minor Licenses, and Other Business.

Public Property Committee, 7:30 P.M., Room 402
Discussion re:  Request from Sacred Heart School to hang  banners;   Request from SN Servicing Corp. to redeem property  at 15-17 Rockingham Street; Discussion regarding city-owned  property at 35 Cedar Street; and Other Business.

Finance Committee, 7:45 P.M., Room 408
Discussion re:  Financial Transfers and Other Business.

            City Council Agenda

Accept minutes of October 19, 2010 and October 26, 2010.

Roll Call
Moment of  Silence
Pledge of Allegiance

Communication from Her Honor the Mayor regarding reappointment of  Walter Proodian to the Lynn Water & Sewer Commission.

Communication from Her Honor the Mayor relative to the veto of the Order relative to a License Agreement permitting Seacrest Foods International to park vehicles at the Ford School Annex on Bennett Street. 

Communication from Peter M. Caron, Director of Assessing regarding request for public hearing to determine the percentages of the FY2011 tax levy to be borne by each class of real and personal property.

Communication from Michael J. Donovan, ISD Director notifying the Council that the Site Plan Review Application for 92, 118-120 Brookline Street has been withdrawn.

Communication from Richard Fortucci, City Treasurer regarding the foreclosure of a parcel on Phaeton Rock Road.

Public Hearings:
Petition of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 507, George Rivers, Post Commander for permission to transfer location of existing VFW Post from location at 90 High Rock Street to 19-21 Fayette Street, with All Alcohol Club License with hours from 12 Noon to 1:00 a.m.  Sunday through Saturday.  (Trahant)

Petition of AT&T, Francis Keller, for permission to modify equipment and add three antennas four feet in height and 11.8” wide between the current antennas at 92 Curwin Circle.  (Ford)

Petition of AT&T, Francis Keller for permission to modify equipment and increase antennas from 6 to 9 at 71 Linden Street.  (Ford)

Public Hearings to be Set Down:

Public Safety Committee Meeting of October 26, 2010:
The following individual was appointed Constable:

Carl Greenler, 198 Locust Street, Lynn

Committee Reports:

Ordinance Committee
License Committee
Public Property Committee
Ways & Means Committee
Finance Committee

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Welcome to Downtown Lynn, May I Help You Find Something?

I haven't been looking at my analytics as much as of late, but I just did and was kind of pleasantly surprised at the ways you are finding this blog. I figured I would go down the Top 10 and help you out a bit on what you might be looking for.

Scattered throughout the Top 10 are searches for Lynn Auditorium (Kenny Rogers topping that list). I'm glad you found us. Make sure you tell them at the box office that sent you. Check out their website for more information or give them a call at 781-581-2971. Our current Mayor and Jamie Marsh from the Office of Economic and Community Development have really stepped it up at Lynn Auditorium.  I heard Rat Pack went well. Southside Johnny, Julio Eglesias, Kenny Rogers and much more are on deck for this winter. I can't wait to see what they announce next.

Next on the list of search terms is Brad Spiegel of the Lynn Item. Brad is our new and improved Managing Editor. He has transformed the Daily Item from a source of daily angst for the residents of Lynn into a paper that matches our Lynn experience. Some good, some bad, but balanced, fair and celebratory of our achievements. Here's my post from my meeting with Brad Spiegel. I also recently made ammends with Phil Ouellette, the General Manager. Both are good guys and they are creating a much better paper over the past few months. I hope it keeps up. 

Next up on the list of search terms is our dear friend, John McGrail of The Mayo Group. By dear friend, I mean person I most would like to see go to jail. Currently indicted for illegal asbestos removal in several properties in Worcester and Lynn. Illegally dumping said materials in Lynn and don't even get me started on the list of issues we've had as building owners in Mayo property. Lucky for anyone coming in now, we've fixed most of their transgressions over the past 4-5 years.  His trial is set to begin in early 2011. I will keep everyone informed as to dates and possibilities for our involvement.

A lot of you are searching for variations of Downtown Lynn, Downtown Lynn Corey, Downtown Lynn blog. I think you're finding what you're looking for , but if you're not, let me know in the comments and I'll provide what I can. 

Thanks for reading and for those of you who do contribute with your comments, your likes on Facebook, your retweets on twitter and your subscription to our email newsletter, I thank you doubly. 

Where's the Agenda?

There is a city council meeting on November 16th... this coming Tuesday. Globe North somehow knew about two cell tower proposals coming before council, but I don't see an agenda. It's typically sent to us on Fridays and posted to the city website. Neither occurred this week. I'll try and secure the agenda tomorrow for you folks. 


Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Food Project - One Last Push to Save A Precious Garden

I'm so glad our city leaders are so uninformed some times. It really keeps me on my toes. FarmGate2010 has been no exception. While it seemed almost brain-dead obvious to me that the Ingalls Farm lease should get renewed without question, two councilors and one resident thought otherwise. That one resident was able to gather 70+ signatures on her petition which stated the following:

"We. The undersigned, homeowner’s and neighbors are asking the City of Lynn School Committee to stop the Ingall’s School Garden because of rats, vandalism, and gangs for our safety, health and peace of neighborhood. "

Now, if this were true, we'd have to get right behind the 70+ and support them. It is, however, categorically FALSE. It borders on a boldface lie. Councilor Cyr and Councilor Trahant stood proud behind the lie. Trahant has since reversed his opinion. This stance from our council along with the flood of letters from supporters of the garden cause the school committee to table the decision in October.

FACT: 30,000 pounds of local food produced by Ingalls School garden
FACT: Not one piece of bait disturbed by a rat on the The Food Project's property all season
FACT: Not one tag or sign of vandalism in recent years.
FACT: Boston experts were brought in by the Lynn Housing Authority and identified all the sources of the rat problem in the neighborhood. (The garden was not on that list).

The farm has the undying support of the school principal, students, several neighbors who have garden plots on this farm, and the 223 people who have signed's petition to save the Ingalls School garden.  I thank you for backing the right horse.

Also a source of inspiration for this year's Halloween costumes!
I should probably note, for those conspiracy theorists among us, rats don't actually like or go after fresh carrots. They don't typically dress up like farmers, either.

My wife does make one fine veggie, though.

Letter from James Harrison on 11/12/2010

Dear Friends,

We’ve reached the home stretch.  Since I last wrote, we have submitted a formal request to the Buildings and Grounds Subcommittee of the Lynn School Committee asking for the renewal of our lease at the Ingalls School.  We are officially on the agenda for the School Committee’s next meeting, this Wednesday, November 17.

Your support of The Food Project and our work at the Ingalls Farm has been tremendous.  Thanks so much to all of you who have called and emailed the School Committee, signed the online petition at and added your own statements, and, most especially, to all of you who showed up to support us at the last School Committee meeting on October 28.

We need your help one more time to carry us over the finish line.

Come and show your support on November 17. 

The group of supporters who came to the last School Committee meeting were crucial in demonstrating community support for the Ingalls Farm.  We will need to show this kind of support again on November 17 to save the farm.

If you are willing and able to come, please let me know so I can make sure we are there in force.  The best way to reach me is by email at

The Details:
Where: The Tiger’s Den (1st floor of the LVTI Annex), 90 Commercial Street Lynn, MA.
When: Wednesday, November 17 at 6:15pm

Thank you!!!!

James Harrison
North Shore Regional Director
The Food Project             
120 Munroe St.  
Lynn, MA 01901    

Friday, November 12, 2010

Check out Aquaponics on Union Street

The incredible minds that brought you the United Way Financial Stability Center are always looking for new ways to encourage thinking about success in our urban environment. Whether it be through services they provide to those in need, new business models that will work in a city like Lynn, marketing initativies that have the whole city talking about them nonstop, or their latest effort in sustainable urban growing, we have a lot to learn from this organization.

I don't know about you, but I had no freakin clue what Aquaponics was until the folks at SPIN started talking about it. Through a partnership with MIT and the Lynn Coalition for Green Development, Aquaponics is coming to life in full view at 270 Union Street in Lynn.

My rough understanding of Aquaponics is that you have an aquarium with talapia that provide nutrients of some kind to the water, that is then filtered up into a tank. When it reaches a certain level, it releases the nutrient rich water to a bed of rocks where various plants and vegatables are planted. The water is then filtered back down into the aquarium giving the fish whatever it is they need to survive. The only water lost is that which evaporates.

Now, I'm sure I got some of that wrong, but you get the general idea. Imagine this on a grand scale. A new kind of urban farming. A whole new source of healthy locally grown produce for our urban markets. I believe once the fish (talapia) get big enough those too can be a source of food.

Go check it out and read this article by MIT's CoLab Radio to find out a bit more. I think they even have a much better explanation of what the hell is going on inside this thing.

SPIN is really on to something with all of this activity lately. I expect to see many more projects which at first seem random, but when you really think through it, they become obvious. SPIN's job is create that spark. That spark that can give someone, who doesn't know where to start, a big playful shove in the right direction. It comes from the top, lives and breaths in all of their employees, and is acted out by everyone they serve.

You can get involved in this great organization. Just talk to their volunteer coordinator to get more information. From piano players to tax preparers, SPIN wants you! Prepare to be inspired!

Like SPIN Aquaponics on Facebook to stay up to date with all that is going on with this project.

While on Facebook, visit SPIN's other latest community building machine, the Traveling Piano.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Exciting Holiday Happenings at TLGUTS and LynnArts

On Saturday, November 20th, LynnArts is opening their Holiday Show & Sale from 2-4PM. On the same day, The Little Gallery Under the Stairs will be opening their new show all centered around ceramics. Both will be incredible ways to support our local artists and galleries while getting some of that Holiday shopping done. I've seen some of the stuff coming in at TLGUTs and I am sure some of you will want to buy some of this amazing work.

For the LynnArts Holiday show, it runs through December 30th. Gallery hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 10 am-5 pm, Thursday 10 am -8 pm, and Saturday 11 am – 4 pm. Yes, Lynnarts has listened to you all and are now open a bit later on Thursday night and are open on Saturdays. So please show up and show them some love.  LynnArts, Inc. is located at 25 Exchange Street in Lynn’s Central Square and is easily accessible by public transportation. Wheelchair access is available at the rear lower-level entry with prior notice. For more information please call LynnArts, Inc. at 781-598-5244.

Not sure about the details of TLGUTs yet, but will share as they become available. I know it begins on the 20th and the gallery is open T, W, Th 7-9PM (usually later) and Saturday 10-6. TLGUTs is located on the lower level of 25 Exchange Street directly underneath the community gallery in the LynnArts building. 

While you are there, check out Chris Barber's new Central Square creation, Subterranean (Lynn's only bookshop). I challenge you all to do all your Christmas shopping in Lynn this year. You got to hand it to em, the Lynn artist community is giving you tons of way to do it. 

See you at 25 Exchange! 


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2,000 Thanksgiving Meals

Have you heard about the group pulling together with the goal of getting 2,000 turkeys cooked for families in need this Thanksgiving. Juan Gonzales from Fernando's is a part of this. He just sent the following details to me:

The event will be taking place, November 21st, from 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m. (Sunday) on MUNROE St.

The intentions and the goals in this event, are to promote the Tolerance between Religious Groups and promote social work between the groups.

As a sample of Humanity and Social Compromise, they will be sharing :

30,000 pounds of FREE groceries
500 FREE NEW winter jackets
1,000 "homemade style"  FREE Thanksgiving dinners.

If you are in need, this holiday season, you have someone fighting to make sure your November is just a little bit better. It's all happening in Downtown Lynn.

I love this man's Cuban sandwiches, but I love his heart and love for the people of Lynn even more.


Walking the Walk

I'm sitting here looking at the list of signatures on the mailing list for Arts After Hours and I see Peter Capano's name on top. This got me thinking about how much I see him in the Downtown area, supporting local businesses and coming to Downtown events.

In a campaign speech last year, Dan Cahill talked about how we have to figure out ways to entice more of Lynn's 90,000 to do business in their own Downtown. Dan is another one I bump into regularly down here. Most recently, I got to chat with him at The Blue Ox. He had just had dinner at Casa Antigua down the street.

Recently, I've begun to notice incredible support from the Mayor's office at local events, mostly from Mary Chalmers. Arts After Hours, Central Scare, Lynn Auditorium... you name it, you'll see Mary. While it's enough to just attend and be present and spend some dough Downtown, Mary is usually taking it a step further and volunteering for these events.

At our last Arts After Hours event, we had a flood of new volunteers to help us out.

Lynn Museum, RAW Art Works, and LynnArts are alive with event after event.

SPIN has come to life not only in their amazing support of those in need with financial services through the United Way Stability Center, but with their great work getting out in to the community with the Traveling Piano and Aquaponics projects. 

The Community Health Center is starting to take shape as they build up several floors of steel beams. Great to see real development downtown in a perfect location.

Have you been Downtown recently?

I haven't talked about Fernando's a lot recently, but let me tell you, I am still there once a week at least and Juan continues to amaze me with his skills. Tatiana's, Turbine Wine Bar and The Blue Ox are full speed ahead. Casa Antigua and Lupita Restaurant are brand new.

Last year, I had a Blue Ox gift certificate in the Citizens for Adequate Housing auction. Not a lot of people knew about the place and it didn't get the value I had hoped. This year, it was bid up by several bidder numbers. The people who won it are from Boston and wanted to come to Lynn to finally check these places out that they have been hearing so much about.

What we are doing is working! Every single Downtowner has a hand in this and more and more we're seeing people walk the walk.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ratgate 2010 - The Truth

I love that the Item electronic version posts at 12 midnight. I'm probably the only dork that regularly goes to my computer after midnight to check it out, but if you're like me, you might want to drop the $10/month to be able to check it out.

Saturday's paper has a great look into the petition that you all signed. The 149 signatures and growing on our petition to save the Ingalls School Farm, are from those who know the truth and seek to find a solution to Ms. Puleo's problems that aren't ridiculous. Closing the farm is not a solution to anyone's problem. Although Ms. Puleo believes it is, it is proven that it is not. Look at the facts presented to the school committee at last months meeting. Report from consultants from Boston. Our health inspector isn't even in support of shutting down the garden.  Councilors Cyr and Trahant requested to shut down the farm. I ask on what grounds? Since, all of there accusations seem unfounded.  Rats in the farm? Nope, no signs of rats as this article points out. Vandalism and gangs? Nope, actually things have improved at the school since the garden was placed there.

So now what?

I've learned from the School Committee Secretary that the petition will be shared with the committee on November 12th. The last time they viewed it, it had 80 signatures. We've nearly doubled that. Please sign prior to the 12th. 

The next school committee meeting will be held on November 17th and they are expected to take up the lease renewal question at this meeting.  Not sure if there will be time allotted for public hearing, but we all should be there regardless.

Read the front page of the Item today. The truth might help in this debate. I'm all for finding a solution to the city's rat problem. Out city's farms are not the issue.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lynn Auditorium Season Begins

I read a short blurb in the Globe North this past weekend that Lynn Auditorium wants to get serious about bringing in more acts next year. It is so great to see Jamie working so hard to keep our downtown busy at night.  Check out what's coming up at Lynn Auditorium!

Rat Pack
The Return of the Rat Pack
Direct from Las Vegas
Doors Open: 7 PM | Show: 8 PM
November 5, 2010

Visit The Rat Pack Website!
Click here for Tickets and Ticket Info
You can also Order Tickets By Phone: (781) 581-2971 or (800) 594-TIXX (8499)
Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes
Special Guests: The Fools
Doors Open: 7 PM | Show: 8 PM
November 19, 2010
Click here for Tickets and Ticket Info
You can also Order Tickets By Phone: (781) 581-2971 or (800) 594-TIXX (8499)
Julio Iglesias
"Starry Night" World Tour!
Doors Open: 6:30 PM | Show: 7:30 PM

December 5, 2010
Click here for Tickets and Ticket Info
You can also Order Tickets By Phone: (781) 581-2971 or (800) 594-TIXX (8499)
Kenny Rogers "Christmas Special"
Doors Open: 7 PM | Show: 8 PM

December 18, 2010
Click here for Tickets and Ticket Info
You can also Order Tickets By Phone: (781) 581-2971 or (800) 594-TIXX (8499)

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 2nd - It's Election Day

Lynn must get out the vote in this very important election. Very important races for State Senate, US Congress, and Governor as well as three very important ballot questions. I hope you've done your research and read my opinions. Whether you agree or not, your vote matters. Don't just sit back and think your guy is going to win. This is a weird election, it could go either way on almost every race. Vote. Vote. Vote.

List of Polling Places:
Ward Precinct(s) Polling Place Name Address
1 Shoemaker School Clearview Avenue

2 Briarcliff Lodge 112 Kernwood Drive

3 and 4 Sisson School 56 Conomo Avenue
1, 2, 3 and 4 St. Pius Lower Church Hall 215 Maple Street
1, 2, 3 and 4 English High School 50 Goodridge Street
1, 2, 3 and 4 No. Shore Community College Broad Street
1, 2 and 3 Lynn Voc. Tech Annex Commercial Street

4 LHA Community Hall 10 Church Street
1, 2, 3 and 4 Lynn Voc. Tech Fieldhouse Neptune Boulevard
1, 2, 3 and 4 Breed Junior High School 90 O’Callaghan Way

For those of you in the lofts Downtown, you are 5-4 most likely. 10 Church Street is over behind Shaws across the street from the animal hospital. 

Still have no freaking clue where to go, check the Where Do I Vote website?

Need a ride to the polls? Call 781-596-8505 and the Lynn Democratic Committee will provide one.

Polls open at 7AM and stay open until 8PM.

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! If we proved anything in last year's mayoral race, anything is possible and every vote certainly counts.

See you at the polls.


Senator Thomas McGee - Tom McGee - Tommy

I haven't always been a Tom McGee fan, but that all had to do with his support of Chip Clancy. Now that the Chipster is out of the way, I've been able to see Tom in a new light. He is a Lynner and a proud Lynner at that.. He understands the challenges for his disctrict. He sees Lynn as part of the solution to a better North Shore, not part of the problem. He sees Lynn as a transportation hub for North of Boston. He believes in the Blue line expansion and while that gets stalled by various opponents, he has moved on to get us the beginning money towards a ferry on our new Waterfront.

Christopher Dent seems like a great guy and is very smart. Very well spoken on all the issues. Once again, I have no issue with voting for a republican, but this particular one seems to have it all wrong when it comes to how to help Lynn. Dent believes we should bring the sales tax down to 3%. This means less local aid for Lynn no matter how you slice it. Dent believes in the 2nd amendment, as do most of us, but he seems to want to make it a lot cheaper to obtain and use your lethal weapon of choice for deadly purposes. Awful dangerous when your district includes the 9th largest city in Massachusetts and has a significant number of gang members within its borders.

Tom McGee places a high priority on jobs in the commonwealth. He sees the ferry as a stimulus to our Waterfront and thus a creator of hundreds of jobs both in construction and continuing on to the new businesses that make the Waterfront their home.. He has a vision that will go well beyond what anyone has hoped for on that land. He works closely and very well with our State Rep, Steve Walsh.. Tom McGee does not give up on the Blue Line Extension to Lynn (and eventually Salem), because it makes sense. At some point it will become a reality as Salem continues to grow and Lynn continues its growth in its Downtown area. As reported in the Melrose Patch article about one of the McGee/Dent debates, Dent just believes the Blue Line is impractical. That doesn't cut it for this Downtown Lynner. I guess this explains why we haven't really seen Mr. Dent campaigning down here. When it comes to our kids, Tom gets it. He has served on several sub committees for After School and Out of School programs. This is how we turn some lives around in Lynn and all over the North Shore.

I don't vote Democrat or Republican, I vote for the person I believe in and what's good for Lynn . I believe in Tom McGee and there's no doubt in my mind that he's the right choice for Lynn.

Whether you agree or disagree with me, Don't forget to Vote on November 2nd!!!


REMINDER: John Tierney of US Congress

REMINDER: No on Questions 1,2 and 3

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