Sunday, May 29, 2011

School Committee 2011 - Rick Starbard

I asked each of the candidates (that I could find online) 3 questions. Here is the response from Rick Starbard.  To see more on this series, please visit the Lynn, MA School Committee 2011 Series.

1. Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? What on your resume or in your life experience makes you qualified for this office?

I am a lifelong Lynn resident, attended Lynn schools and graduated from Lynn Tech’s Auto Body program in 1981. During my senior year I began working in an area auto body shop through the school’s co-op program. 2 years after graduating high school, I was working in a small body shop in Revere and had the opportunity to purchase the business and with some borrowed money, Rick’s Auto Body was born. In the 28 years since, what is now Rick’s Auto Collision and Service has grown from a small one person body shop to a 12 person, state of the art collision and automotive service center. During this time I have become heavily involved in my industry and I am currently the President of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Mass, (AASP-MA) the largest automotive trade association in the state as well as President of AASP-National, one of the largest national automotive trade associations in the country. I am also involved in many local and national automotive industry committees and initiatives. I have been married for the past 25 years to my wonderful wife Lois, another lifelong Lynner and Sisson School paraprofessional. Together, we are the proud parents of two amazing daughters. My oldest, Jessica, is a 2009 Lynn English graduate currently attending Northeastern University and my daughter, Stephanie, is a junior at Lynn English, currently evaluating her college choices. Both of my girls received not only an excellent academic education through the Lynn Public School system, but they also received an education in diversity that many of their peers in area communities do not receive.

2. Why did you choose to run for School Committee?

As I began my business, I always stayed close to Lynn Tech. I began hiring students through the co-op program, served on the school’s advisory board and served on LVTI’s first alumni association’s board of directors, a position that I have held since 1992. For many years, then LVTI Director, Al Maligrifa had encouraged me to come back to the school to teach. In 1996 I decided that because I had a great business partner and staff, I could afford to step away from the full-time operations of my business and I began teaching. I taught at Tech from 1996 through 2009. The time that I spent teaching at Tech were some of the most enjoyable years of my life. I had the opportunity to work with some of the hardest working, most dedicated professionals in the city. I also had the opportunity to not only teach, but learn from hundreds of Lynn students. In this time I learned how special our kids are and wouldn’t have traded them for anything. I have found so many of these kids to be some of the most fun, open, honest and accepting people that I have encountered. I still maintain many friendships with many of my former students. In early 2009, my business had gone through a major expansion that required my full time involvement and I had made the decision that I needed to leave my teaching position.

After my decision to leave teaching had been made, I thought about what I could do to continue to give back to the students of Lynn. I knew that I would stay involved with LVTI, but I began to look at the makeup of the school committee as it was a time that some decisions were being made that I didn’t particularly agree with. I noticed that there was no one on the school committee that had a child in the Lynn school system, there was no one with vocational technical education experience, there was no one with immediate experience working with Lynn students and no one had business experience. I felt that because of these voids some decisions were being made that didn’t necessarily reflect the needs of many of our kids. These were all voids that I felt I had the ability to fill, so I decided to run for office. Because I was a political unknown, running against all well known incumbents with strong political ties, I knew that this would be quite a challenge. With the support of my family, friends and many of my colleagues and former students that believed in me, we ran a strong community based campaign and I won a seat on the school committee in the 2009 election.

3. What do you see that is in most need of change? How will you change it?

Since being elected, I have had the opportunity to experience the Lynn school system at every level,
not only from my LVTI or Lynn parent perspective. I have done my best to participate in as many school related and city events as possible and while there is no question that we face many challenges, I think that we have so many talented and dedicated people both within LPS and in the community that together we can overcome the hurdles in front of us. While it is easy to blame all of our problems on money or the socio-economic conditions that exist in Lynn, we cannot wait for the government to throw money at our problems because for one, there really isn’t any and two, it isn’t always effective. We as a community need to throw people at our problems. We are seeing the results of this within many groups that exist in Lynn. We need to bring that involvement and spirit into our schools. I believe that when we allow people to feel that they are a welcome part of our solutions, not only do we build a stronger community, but money will follow. As simple as this may sound, what is needed most in the Lynn school system is open communication and respectful cooperation. I have found that we have so many valuable tools and programs available to our kids, but in so many cases there is such a disconnect in communication that leads to misunderstandings, stress and frustration among staff and many parents throughout the city. While it so easy to say that if only we had more money we could do this or that, the fact is if we can’t communicate effectively and collaboratively, we will not be successful no matter how much money we have. I have, as have many others, been working with administration, staff, parents and community groups to work towards changing the culture of communication that exists in the Lynn school department.

I love the city of Lynn and I owe the Lynn Public School system for everything that I have. Not only did Lynn Tech teach me a trade, but made sure that I had a job when I graduated. Lynn Public schools has prepared my children for what awaits them in their future and my wife and I couldn’t be more proud of the young women that they have become. I have loved having the privilege to represent the citizens of Lynn on the Lynn School Committee over the past 16 months. I hope that the people of Lynn feel that I have done a job deserving of my being re-elected this fall.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me @ 781-599-7999, email me or find me on Facebook @

For more on Lynn, Massachusetts School Committee 2011 from, check out our series on this year's candidates

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Do You Take This Pork Chop As Your Lawfully Wedded Dinner?

Last night we went to The Blue Ox for dinner. We hadn't been in a while and we both had a craving for some Matt O'Neil yum yums.  Once again, we were not dissapointed.  I'm sure a lot of you have pork chops now and then but have you ever had The Blue Ox pork chop special? This was so much more than a pork chop that it deserves a different name. Stuffed with fontina cheese, caramelized onions, and a few other things, it was lightly seared, breaded, and pan-fried. It came with a delicious side of chive mashed potatoes and the veggies were in some kind of phenomenal sauce. The whole meal was to die for, but that wasn't really what struck us the most after leaving the place.

We looked at each other and said, "Wow, that was fun." We kind of felt like we were at a wedding reception (a fun one). We were seated in the high tops near the bar (my favorite place to sit). Tons of friendly and familiar faces were around the bar. Lots of great conversations and catching up with our awesome Downtown Lynn neighbors to be had. The chef, Matt O'Neil and his wife Joanna both stopped by to talk about the upcoming weekend and Arts After Hour's show, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which Matt O'Neil is going to be a part of on June 19th. If you're a Blue Ox fan and want to support the arts downtown, June 19th is the day to come see the show.  

If you haven't done so already, check out the Blue Ox this weekend. You definitely should get a reservation even on Sunday as they will be packed being the only thing open down here and people having Monday off.   Enjoy and tell them Corey from sent ya!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Agenda - City Council Meeting - Tuesday, May 24th

Roll Call
Moment of Silence
Pledge of Allegiance


Her Honor the Mayor:

Dear Councilors:
Enclosed please find for submission to your Honorable Body, the Fiscal Year 2012 City of Lynn Budget.  Kindly set the budget down for public hearing.  The total proposed FY12 budget is $245,671,576.00.
Sincerely, Judith Flanagan Kennedy, Mayor


Public Hearing regarding a burnt, dilapidated or dangerous building or other structure, or vacant parcel, or vacant parcel of land, located at #226 Western Avenue.  (Trahant)

(Continued from May 10, 2011)
Petition of Johnny & Katelyn, Inc., dba Jimmy’s Discount Liquors, Leanne Tran, for permission to transfer the All Alcohol License as a Package Store from 863 Western Avenue to 873 Western Avenue.  (Capano)

Public hearing to allow public input to the City’s Annual Action Plan, including the use of the Department of Housing and Urban Development appropriations for the Community Development Block Grant, Emergency Shelter Grant, HOME and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS programs.



Ways and Means Committee report from May 10, 2011.

Public Property Committee Report of May 10, 2011:

Ordered that the City owned property at 30 Cedar Street Block 211, Lot 030 be conveyed to abutter Ryan L. Nevidomsky, 43 Cedar Street, Lynn, with stipulation that land be used for landscaping or parking only and that no building be erected on property.

Finance Committee of May 10:

Ordered that the City Comptroller is hereby authorized to make the following appropriation transfers:

From the Health Insurance Trust Account:
To the Account of Police Department Medical Expense:        $11,170.00
From the Insurance Casualty Losses Transfer Account:
To the Account of Inspectional Services Street Lighting:        $26,528.41

From the Account of Police Department Expense:
To the Account of Unpaid Bills Prior Years:                $22,102.54

From the Account of Reserve Fund:
To the Account of Law Department Expense:            $2,253.89


Waterfront and Economic Oversight
Public Safety
Ways and Means



Recommends that the Lynn City Council be requested to set down a Public Hearing relative to a burnt, dilapidated or dangerous building or other structure located at 33 Central Square and, after hearing, may make record an order adjudging it to be a nuisance to the neighborhood or dangerous and prescribing to its disposition, alteration, or regulation all as authorized by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 139, Section 1. (Crighton)  Tabled 1/11/11

Petition of Market Square Convenience, Sanchita Bellal, for permission for wine and malt beverages licenses at retail food convenience store at 2 Market Square (Capano) tabled 5/10/11

Petition of Mi Provencia, Maruf Hasan, for permission for a sign permit at 411-413 Essex Street. (Colucci) tabled 5/10/11


3/22 /11

Ordered that the City Comptroller be and is hereby authorized to make the following Appropriation Transfer:

From the Account of the Reserve                              $21,000.
To the Account of Comptroller Payroll                       $21,000.


Ordered that the City Comptroller be and is hereby authorized to make the following Appropriation Transfer:

From the Account of the Reserve                              $15,300.
To the Account of Comptroller Payroll                       $15,300.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Antiques, Farms, Art and Innovation - Spend May 21st in Downtown Lynn

I'm so excited about today in Downtown Lynn. We have The Food Project and their Farm Fest, The Lynn Museum with an Antiques and Collectibles Auction, Exposed Urban's Innovation 120 at Turbine Wine Bar, and The BASH at Raw Art Works for the grand finale. It's going to be so much fun Downtown today.

Come on down for the full day and experience all we have to offer in the next 16 hours. I would encourage to start off in Central Square. Last night, RAW's Jason Cruz and his assistant Jorge went to town on 33 Central, transforming what I affectionately call our "Detroit style building" into something powerful and meaningful. Take a look. What does it say to you?  Jason is someone who has been working with Lynn's youth for years. They all respect him so much, as do I. Recipient of Bank of America's Local Hero Award, Jason Cruz' picture will be staring at you the next time you need to make a deposit. I couldn't think of a better person for such an honor.

At 9AM, head to the Lynn Museum where you will find an incredible assortment of Antiques and Collectibles. The Auction begins at 11AM. Please support this fantastic organization. I can't say enough about the good they are doing for Downtown Lynn and check out the renovation of the interior while you are there. Check out a lot of pictures of the stuff for sale on the Lynn Museum Facebook Page.

At 11AM (or after you've won your auction piece), head over to Munroe Street, for The Food Project's FARM FEST. You can pick up plants, seeds, gardening supplies and take some workshops on planning and planting a raised bed garden. Come by and meet the folks from The Food Project. Bob Burns and J Harrison are two of my favorite people in Downtown Lynn. 100 Munroe Street 11-2. Be there!

At 2PM - go home and take a nap. You are going to need it, trust me. I've been to the BASH. It's a party and a half.

At 5:00PM - head over to Turbine Wine Bar for Innovation 120 from the folks over at Exposed Urban. Ok, you got me, this is a shameless plug for an event that Mark DeJoie, Emily O'Brien, and yours truly are running. We believe innovation is synonymous with Lynn. We believe entrepreneur is synonymous with Lynner. Come and chat. It's a great networking event and a great way to experience Turbine Wine Bar.

At 7:00PM - It's time to get our BASH on  at The BASH. Raw Art Works throws quite the massive event every year around this time. Incredible works of art go for incredible amounts of money supporting incredible work of staff cultivating incredible talent of Lynn's youth.  It's really an amazing thing and not an event to be missed. Unfortunately if you don't have tickets already, you're out of luck!

Also at 7:00PM, is Mass Theatrica's Songs of Sondheim at LynnArts. LynnArts is at 25 Exchange Street in Central Square. Great singers who I am sure will sing the crap out of Sondheim. Check it out!

At 1AM - Go to bed (or I'm sure you could find an after-after party if you're in the know) :-)

Downtown Lynn - It's Happening. Don't Let it Pass You By - Get in to it today, May 21st!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

School Committee 2011 - Maria Carrasco

I asked each of the candidates (that I could find online) 3 questions. I am now going to post them in the order received.

1. Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? What on your resume or in your life experience makes you qualified for this office?
Maria Carrasco has lived in Lynn for the past 29 years, and is currently a resident in Ward One. Maria has worked as a career counselor at the North Shore Career Center for 23 years. She has been a member of the Lynn Hispanic Scholarship Fund for over 10 years, and was president of it for 5 years. In addition, Maria is a member of Neighbor-to-Neighbor and serves on its Executive Board, Member of CMCC, Family & Children’s Service , Gregg House and Chairwoman of the Lynn Shannon Grant Steering Committee.

Prior to working at the North Shore Career Centre, Maria was a teacher in the Dominican Republic for 15 years. Maria has an Associate Degree in Human Services and Certification as a Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counselor from North Shore Community College.

2. Why did you choose to run for School Committee?

She decided to run for School Committee because education is her passion. She believes that all the children of our community should have and deserve quality education. She is a strong voice and loves to share and provide information to people of issues regarding the education of our students. 

3. What do you see that is in most need of change? How will you change it?

We need to involve more people of the community in the political process of election. We need to let them know that if you care about your community and want to fight for better education and services, you can also be a candidate. One key to obtain what you want is to be constant. Never give up.

Visit Maria Carrasco's Facebook Campaign Page.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lynn, MA School Committee Election 2011

Ah.... the smell of politician is in the air as another fun filled election season is upon us. Fundraiser after fundraiser with Haddock dinner at Porthole to plates of spaghetti at Old Tyme Italian to the new and trendy artisan pizza at Turbine Wine Bar.  It seems wherever you go these past few months, you run into the politicos and their supporters.

My task over the next 5 months is to help you figure out which circle to fill in. We'll get to vote for a certain number of people for School Committee and a certain number of people for Councilor-at-Large. We don't have to vote for that many. Let's only fill in the circles next to the names we believe in. Promise?

To that end, I've searched high and low for the School Committee candidates on social networks and the city website. If they have a Campaign page or Facebook profile I could find I assume they are running and want people to know about it. If they didn't have a campaign page I could find, I assume they could care less about whether or not they get elected. I found Charlie Gallo, John Ford, Maria Carrasco, Rick Starbard, and Dolores DiFilipo. Any others out there, please feel free to contact me with an email address using the Contact link above. I'm not transcribing a phone call. Sorry. It's 2011.

I asked each of them three questions.

1. Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? What on your resume or in your life experience makes you qualified for this office?

2. Why did you choose to run for School Committee?

3. What do you see that is in most need of change? How will you change it?

If you're also running for school committee and just haven't told anyone yet ;-) please send along your answers as well. I will post unedited over the next few months. 


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lynn Museum Antiques & Collectibles Live Auction

On May 21, 2011, The Lynn Museum will hold a live auction featuring a fabulous selection of donated and consigned vintage, antique, and collectible items across historical periods! Many items are one of a kind and are sure to intrigue both the serious and more casual collector. The Auction will take place from 11am – 2pm, with a Preview earlier from 9-11am. The Museum is located at 590 Washington Street in Downtown Lynn. Free Admission. Refreshments will be available for a small fee and a raffle will be held. 100% of auction proceeds benefit the Lynn Museum & Historical Society’s educational and outreach programs. IRS Certified 501 (c) 3 Non-Profit Organization.

Please contact (781) 581-6200 for more information. Or visit them on Facebook at

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pick of the Weekend - Recurring Dream Foundation Fundraiser at Turbine - May 14th

This foundation was started after a close friend of our Downtown Lynn neighbors, Michael and Cheryl Crounse, passed away in 2005.  Despite the support of his family and friends he lost his battle with addiction and took his own life.  Needless to say it devastated them.  The circle of friends he left behind were all very close and now find themselves all back in the New England area.

They've had 2 outdoor concerts in 06 and 09 where they raised funds to buy the Newburyport High School Band much needed equipment; a drum set, a base amp, a repair kit, and music.  They  are a 501(c)(3)  and are currently having small fundraisers like the one at Turbine in order to gain more support, exposure and experience for future events.

The website has more info about the mission and about Jim.  Jim was a very passionate person, with life, work, hobbies, and pretty much anything else. 


The premise of the Recurring Dream Foundation is based on providing opportunities for children and young adults to develop a love for music. We believe that music is a powerful vehicle for the expression of one’s soul and provides the opportunity to generate positive energy to influence the world we live in. It is our goal to enhance as many lives as possible by creating positive musical experiences in as many ways as we may dream. Our vision includes the organization of recurring musical events which benefit programs that provide musical opportunities to the youth of our communities. All of our actions are driven by the desire to emulate the passion for music that poured out of Jim Esoldo, and to instill this passion in others.

If you're around on Saturday night, check this out. I believe a lot of folks from the Downtown are going to this and will be a lot of fun.  See you there! RSVP to the Recurring Dream Foundation Fundraiser on Facebook.


Friday, May 6, 2011

May 12th is a Big Day/Night in Downtown Lynn

May 12th is building up to be quite a night for the Central Square area. 3 Great Events! 1 Night in DTL!  I love it when that happens! If you plan carefully, you can get the hat trick.. 

4-6PM - Check out The United Way Financial Stability Center reception. They will be celebrating a phenomenal year where they were able to return over 1 Million dollars from helping 700 people with their tax returns. This is incredible success in getting money back to these families, a lot of which goes un-returned every year.  I've had the privilege of rehearsing in the SPIN space and been able to observe some financial literacy courses in action. It is amazing life-changing work they are doing in that center. Come and celebrate this with the dynamic social-media dynamos at SPIN on May 12th from 4-6PM.

6-9PM - After your time at SPIN, you will be inspired to see more of what's gong on in the Central Square area and have I got the event for you. Head over to the Lynn Museum where they will be holding an exclusive fashion show called Wearable Art. The price tag is $50 which is a steal for getting to watch this amazing fashion show with Boston designer Sara Campbell, learn about trends for the fall, eat some amazing Blue Ox goodies, and support the work of the Lynn Museum & Historical Society which is becoming more and more the hot spot of Downtown Lynn through the great work of the staff there.

6-9PM - Also from 6-9PM, Raw Art Works is having their opening for the show , "Something from Nothing." If you've never been to RAW, you are really missing out. Check them out on the 12th and then come back to RAW for their annual BASH (the party of the year) on May 21st. The 21st is also quite the night on the May calendar for Downtown Lynn. More on that soon.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Step 1 - Inventory

Recently, I've known of several folks looking to make Downtown Lynn a home for a new business. Upon first glance, you would think this would be easy. After all, there are several empty storefronts, right? Well not really. I think we have identified 3 and they all have issues.  Several of these store fronts are simply not for rent. Why? That is the question. Have they fallen too far into disrepair and it's just not economically feasible anymore? Has the building owner put his attention somewhere else and is neglecting this part of their portfolio? Are there tax reasons?

So, that brings us to Step 1 - Inventory. It begins with a walk around tomorrow morning before we all go to work with Ward 5 Councilor, Brendan Crighton. Yes he agreed to be woken up bright and early on the Friday morning after Cinco de Mayo.

We need to bring these folks to the table, if we can, and figure out the root causes. If we don't figure this out, we will never make progress. I've seen it now for three friends trying to find space in our Downtown. The landlords have this place on lockdown. It shouldn't be this hard. Something's gotta give.

Listing will go up on here of all identified properties that seem to be on lockdown. If we have to take them on one by one, we will open up these places, identity the challenges and figure out ways to push these one step forward.


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