Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lynn Police Department Gets Grant for 200K

Boston - Tuesday, Senator Thomas M. McGee (D-Lynn), Representative Robert F. Fennell (D-Lynn), Representative Steven M. Walsh (D-Lynn), Representative Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead, and Representative Donald Wong (R-Saugus) announce that Lynn has been awarded $202,143 for community policing.

In conjunction with the Safe and Successful Youth program, the Shannon Community Safety Initiative and the upcoming allocation of Edward A. Byrne Justice Assistance Grant funding, this award for police staffing is part of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s effort at directing over $22 million in resources to reduce crime and strengthen our communities. This funding was made available through an amendment in the budget that was filed. During the budget deliberations, Representative Steve Walsh co-sponsored the amendment in the House, and Senator McGee co-sponsored the amendment in the Senate. “This comprehensive effort is designed to engage law enforcement agencies, municipalities, and community based organizations to work together to reduce violence in our neighborhoods,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Mary Elizabeth Heffernan. Senator McGee said, “I was glad to work with the members of the Lynn delegation to make sure that this amendment was included in this year’s budget.

These funds will help to continue the efforts to keep police on our streets. It is important that violence preventions remain a priority for our city.” Representative Robert Fennell said, “I am very pleased that during these tough economic times the legislative delegation has been able to work together and provide the additional funding the Lynn Police Department needs to continue in their efforts to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe.”

“I am thrilled that Lynn was one of the few communities chosen to receive this police department staffing assistance,” said Representative Walsh. “Having more available officers not only helps to keep our neighborhoods safe, but provides more opportunities for our police force to engage with local organizations and participate in public safety initiatives.”

“This is great news for the City of Lynn and its police department,” said Representative Ehrlich. “I am thrilled that the city will be able to use these funds to keep more officers on the streets to advance public safety through community policing.”

“I am grateful to hear that the Lynn Police Department will be receiving additional funding for the Community Policing Program,” said Representative Donald Wong.“The bi-partisan efforts of the lawmakers that represent Lynn further illustrates our ongoing commitment to public safety both in Lynn and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

Monday, September 26, 2011

Jan Peters, award winning cabaret artist, coming to Downtown Lynn

Jan Peters has been in Philadelphia for the past five years and has left a gaping hole in Boston's entertainment scene. I am happy to announce that Arts After Hours and SPIN are filling this hole after finding out that Ms. Peters now lives on the North Shore. She will be entertaining a Downtown Lynn audience on October 21st at LynnArts in the Rantoul Black Box Theatre. Tickets are now on sale and I can honestly say that they won't last. Get in on this special night in Downtown Lynn as we welcome Jan Peters to the North Shore in her triumphant return to the Boston cabaret scene.

Take a listen to the amazing voice of Jan Peters! 

Check our for even more clips. Tickets can be purchased right now at or by calling 781-205-4010.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tons of Empty Storefronts? Well, sort of...

I'm reading a book right now called Life Inc. and it would suggest to me that 80% of you are going to be mad I am posting this. The other 20% are the ones that actually seek change. Our short term property value problem is going to become our long term property value problem if we don't start to embrace some key issues and get creative on how to resolve them. 

Kevin Sampson asked if I would post an editorial about his recent trials and tribulations in trying to open a store in Downtown Lynn. Here is what he has to say:

Guest post from local resident and once potential downtown business owner, Kevin Sampson

Earlier this year I set out to secure commercial space in downtown Lynn for a business that I planned to open. I had toyed with the idea of opening my own business for years but it seemed like the stars were finally aligned. I was meeting the right people, making the right connections, finding investors, gathering the support of local city officials and had a wonderful team of friends and neighbors supporting me and working with me to make my dream become a reality. Everything was going well until the search for commercial space began.

Take a quick walk around downtown Lynn and one would easily surmise that there are tons of options. Just ask the VNA. According to them and others, additional retail space at our gateway was unnecessary given how many empty store fronts we have in the downtown. I guess I was naïve because I honestly expected to find a space relatively easily. Boy was I wrong.

The spaces that are available in my opinion are class C at best. Downtown Lynn does not have any class A commercial spaces and class B would be a generous evaluation for most. The empty spaces are in shambles. What do I mean by that? I mean, no HVAC systems, no functioning bathroom, improper means of egress, faulty electrical work, non-secure access, improper fire wall separation, deteriorating floors…..

When spaces are so below code or just require a HUGE amount of work just to get it clean what kind of businesses are they going to attract? Certainly not the kind of businesses that most every resident I speak to who lives in DTL are hoping for. I don’t expect landlords to roll out the red carpet but I would expect at the very least that they have the space UP TO CITY CODE. I expect landlords to make their properties attractive to potential business. If you go to sell your house you stage it. You don’t white out the windows, leave graffiti on the façade, or keep piles of trash in the space. I guess you do if you don’t want your house to ever sell.

 I think landlords have a lot of nerve to expect a potential tenant to put tens of thousands of dollars of improvements into their spaces JUST to bring it up to code so that the space is eligible for an occupancy permit. I don’t expect a landlord to do any special build out, or lighting, or signage or any of the usual things a business does to outfit a space. Of course that is the responsibility of the business who is seeking to open. But I do expect landlords to have their spaces up to code and present a blank canvas to potential tenants who can then put their mark on the space with the build out. I think it is deplorable to have a landlord say, “I’d rather keep the space empty and wait for someone else to bring it up to code”. I am glad EDIC is working so hard to develop DTL. It will be years, if ever, before someone comes along and says, “Sure I will spend $30k+ just to bring a space up to code”.

The quality of the spaces is not the only issue. I was really unhappy with the lack of what I consider to be ethical business practices. I don’t do deals under the table. I don’t appreciate property managers not being up front with information about spaces. I don’t appreciate real estate agents not being honest about whom they are representing (me or the landlord).  All of those situations left a bad taste in my mouth.

So if you are willing to deal with some of the ethical ambiguity, if you are willing and able to spend huge sums of money to get a space safe and functional, if you are ready to take a risk of opening a new business in a downturned economy in a city that has been fighting a nasty reputation, then you get the reward of paying in some cases $13-15 per square foot. That’s the kicker! I am amazed at the rent prices for the area. A trusted real estate professional had shared with me that based on market value a reasonable price per square foot should be $10-11 at most.

I used to wonder why most businesses didn’t come to downtown Lynn. After my experience I understand why. I wonder how many other people like me tried and gave up when they realized just how terrible the inventory is.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Exhibitions at LynnArts

Small Works
Time Warner Gallery
September 24-November 2
Opening: Saturday, September 24, 2-4pm

Check out the opening of Small Works, this Saturday, September 24th from 2-4pm.  The show features the work of 28 Greater Boston area artists creating beautiful and complex work from a variety of media.  Small Works was juried by Lauren Johnston Winsor, Public Art & Donor Development Coordinator for the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA).  Ms. Winsor has over five years experience coordinating the public art programs at the NEFA in Boston. Working closely with individual artists and non-profit organizations, Winsor develops grant programs and provides technical assistance for public projects locally, regionally, and nationally. Ms. Winsor is active in organizing professional opportunities for the field through a networking and lecture series for artists and the launch of an online forum for public art in New England.  She regularly lectures on public art at colleges and universities across Massachusetts and has served as an artist juror for numerous commissions, grants and gallery shows in Attleboro, Boston, and Lowell, MA as well as in Portsmouth, NH.   
The Small Works artists include:
Brighton, MA:  Ronni Komarow
Cambridge, MA: Laura Carmen Arena
East Boston, MA:  Maureen O’Connor
Framingham, MA: Carol Blackwell
Georgetown, MA: Sandra Golbert
Haverhill, MA:  Linda Germain
Lexington, MA: Ania Gilmore
Lynn, MA: Pauline Bacon, Rolf Flor, Melenie Melanphy, Nadine Mitchell, Steve Negron, Jean Noyes, Heather Meri Stewart, Barry Ridlon, Joseph White
Malden, MA:  C-J Stevens
Marblehead, MA: Holly Chin, Betty Ann Downs, Barbara Rafferty, TANYA, Sandra Winter
Melrose, MA:  Kathy Mohan
Middleton, MA: Lisa Bohnwagner
Newburyport, MA: Tricia Jones
Salem, MA:  Janet Albert, Sara Ashodian,
Swampscott, MA: Robin Samiljan

Beyond the Book: an Exhibit of Books as Art
Willow Community Gallery
September 24-November 2
Opening: Saturday, September 24, 2-4pm

Recent work by: Jennifer Berringer, Carol Blackwell, Laura Davidson, Ania Gilmore, Margret Hall, Ronni Komarow,
Peter Madden, Stephanie Stigliano and Annie Zeybekoglu.

Plus a collaborative book by Ann Forbush, Ania Gilmore, Anna Leliwa, Monica Mitchell, Jan Powell, Annie Silverman, Carolyn Swift,
and Annie Zeybekoglu

Ronni Komarow, Curator

Artists have loved books for hundreds of years.  Though the artist’s book as a specific category of art is relatively new; it validates and celebrates artist’s passion for this format.  Artists who work in book-like formats love how a book feels, they love the concept of opening a cover and turning pages, and they love the gradual unfolding of a book’s content.  Book artists self-publish in unique formats that area specifically designed to illuminate and embellish the book’s meaning.

This selection of books is the culmination of more than 4 years of exhibiting by this group and represents an invitational of some of their finest work.  The work will be on display at LynnArts through November 2nd.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

VOTE - We're Awfully Loud the Rest of the Year, Be Heard Today!

The primary does matter. It's very likely one of your better candidates won't make it to the final round if you don't get out and vote! Hope you've had the chance to watch at least one question answered from the Council debate and read the responses from those who bothered to respond to the questions to the candidates. 

Get out and vote. At 12:30 today they were just getting to 100 votes in Ward 5 precinct 4. That's US, Downtown Lynn. Where are you? We have to be loud today. Council choices go from 10 to 8. It does matter to vote in this primary.

You have until 8PM. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Councilor At-Large 2011 - Dan Cahill continues it's Election series with a Councilor At-Large roundup. I asked each of the candidates 3 questions. Here is the response from Dan Cahill.  To see more on this series, please visit the Lynn, MA Councilor At-Large 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?
Though I grew up in Lynn for the majority of my childhood and entire adult life, I actually lived in Stoneham, Massachusetts for my first seven years.  My parents, both born and raised in Lynn, moved to that community following my father's military career.  It was not long before my parents decided to move back to Lynn, to be closer to family and provide me and my two older brothers a more diverse community in which to learn and grow in.  I grew up on the beach in Lynn, one of the most amazing environments for a young person.  I attended the Brickett Elementary school before going on to graduate from Eastern Junior High (now Thurgood Marshall Middle School), and Lynn English High School in 1997.  My secondary education includes a BS in Political Science from Northeastern University, a Masters in Political Science from Suffolk University, and a law degree from Suffolk Law.

My academic background in political science studies, as well as my law degree, may appear to be the strongest qualifying factors for my candidacy.  However, I feel my personal experiences working with people and within government has produced a skill set well suited for elected office.  Working at my parents' small business from a young age and well into my adult life, I was able to sharped communication skills by dealing with a vast array of different personalities and issues.  My mother was responsible to getting me involved early in political campaigns throughout Lynn, holding my first sign on a street corner for Robert Dugas, candidate for Ward 2 Councilor in the early 1990's.  Since then, I have involved myself on many campaigns at all levels, worked at the Massachusetts State House, the Essex County District Attorney's Office, and currently work as an attorney focusing on public policy and government relations at municipal, state, and federal levels.

Along with my two terms on the Lynn City Council, I also served two terms on the Lynn School Committee, and currently serve on two school committees for two regional high schools, both gubernatorial appointments.  I have a firm grasp on government at all levels and continue to stay involved in many different capacities, all producing the necessary experience to best serve the residents of Lynn.

2. Why are you running for Councilor At-Large?
I derive a tremendous amount of enjoyment being your Councilor-at-Large.  The events I experience and the people I meet, make this position a rewarding adventure.  It is the desire to help residents, fix problems, and improve our community that drives me each day to do my best.  I continue running for Councilor-at-Large because in this capacity I can utilize my knowledge, experience, and skill in a manner that positively impacts the lives of Lynners.

That being said, I also see a need for strong leaders in Lynn that can do what is right instead of what is convenient.  I have the best interest of the City when making decisions, not the best interest of one particular group or person.   We need to make practical decisions for our City's future and stop continuing to miss opportunities for the padding of someones ego or personal gain.  Be rest assured, when a resident is left scratching their head after an errant decision made by our City, I am scratching my head as well and will go the extra mile to question that decision and hold those accountable for the choices made.   

3. What do you see that is in most need of change? How will you change it?
I am not quite sure if we can point to any one specific issue that needs changing in Lynn without affecting or addressing a multitude of other topics.  At the macro level, the three biggest challenges we face as a community are public safety, economic development, and quality public education.  Aside from these core issues, I believe what also needs improvement is the  public perception outside our four corners.  Lynn offers quality amenities that people look for in a community.  We are fortunate to have beautiful beaches, expansive woods, clean ponds and streams, a municipal golf course, access to public transportation, and a diverse community with worldly experiences.  Changing Lynn's perception as a gritty old mill city starts with making wise improvements that residents can be proud of.  In an effort to promote Lynn, I personally utilize its amenities and often do so with people from neighboring communities, leaving them with a positive perception of the City.  The most effective way to change Lynn for the better, is to do so from within, utilizing its strengths and embracing its weaknesses. 

Councilor At-Large 2011 - Clay Walsh continues it's Election series with a Councilor At-Large roundup. I asked each of the candidates 3 questions. Here is the response from Clay Walsh.  To see more on this series, please visit the Lynn, MA Councilor At-Large 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 was born in the old Lynn Hospital and grew up right here in Lynn.  I attended Our Lady of the Assumption and went to high school at St. Mary’s.  After receiving scholarships I went on to Endicott College and graduated with a degree in Graphic Design.  I like many others faced tough economy changes which put me in a position to change fields a couple of times.  I started out in the industry and moved on to hospitality where I managed restaurants including one on Martha’s Vineyard.  When my father, Bob Walsh, started a small heating oil business here in Lynn, I took on the role of running the office, as well as driving the oil trucks and delivering to residents in the community.

My adaptability in different economic conditions, work experience of overseeing the day to day operations of small business and dealing with the public is what I bring to the City Council.  It is also important to note that I grew up around the Lynn’s waterfront.  My family is well known for the ‘Walsh’s Deep Sea Fishing’ boats on Lynn’s waterfront. I have a lot of knowledge about boating, docks, use and access of the harbor, and the effects of the weather.  Since the city has an agenda to develop the waterfront, I believe that it is important for Lynn to have councilman, like myself, who grew up in that environment.

I also bring to the table my leadership skills with community involvement.  I serve as an officer in the Knights of Columbus and as a board member of The Friends of Lynn Woods.  I am an usher at St. Pius V parish and have taken on a role as a facilitator with their ARISE program.  I am an avid runner and participate in Lynn events including the Clock to the Rock, the St Pat’s Day, and the Lynn Woods races.  Those that know me, see that I volunteer as much as I can, for any community events, whether it is for Item Santa or local neighborhood cleanups.

2. Why are you running for Councilor At-Large?

I am running for Councilor At Large because I want help get Lynn moving forward again.  First, I believe it is important for the sitting council to work with the sitting mayor for any city to gets its wheels turning again.  As your Councilor At Large, I will work to improve the seemingly lack of communication that has occurred recently between the mayor’s office and the council.

Second, I believe it is time for new leadership.  The majority of our council is comprised of members who have held office for a long time now.  I believe that it is important that we elect someone younger, who has a vision and the passion to right some of the wrongs our city has made in its past.  As your new Councilor At Large, I work hard towards fulfilling my vision of a cleaner, more pro business city that is mindful of improving its infrastructure, crime rates and schools.

Last, I see our waterfront, a vital part of our future.  I don’t think we need to reinvent the wheel here.  Seaport Boston and Salem are two examples of successful developments along a waterfront area.  While Lynn’s future design (master plan) looks beautiful on paper, it is critical that Lynn has a councilor who will challenge the current plans so that we build something strong and lasting for our future.  There is no substitute for a candidate with experience on and around the water.

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

Lynn’s perception is what is in need of the most change.  The problem cannot be solved from the bottom up.  It needs to start at the top with our mayor and city council and trickle down.  We can start by being more friendly and courteous to one another.  We as leadership cannot fold to the negatives that confront us and we all must lead by example.

Attitude is everything.  We need to believe in our city.  If we don’t’ believe in it, how the heck are we supposed to get others to believe in us.  This is not an overnight fix.  This is something we need to do together.  We must start to revisit our downtown.  We must start to revisit our parks.  We must start to participate more in community activities.

Even with 300 police officers, crime would still exist.  The police department has a great crime watch program that all of us could participate in.  The key here is community participation.  Crime will always exist, but if we start to work together, we become stronger in numbers.  The more community involvement we have, the more likely we are to reclaim the proud Lynn we used to be.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Councilor At-Large 2011 - Hong Net continues it's Election series with a Councilor At-Large roundup. I asked each of the candidates 3 questions. Here is the response from Hong Net.  To see more on this series, please visit the Lynn, MA Councilor At-Large 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 was born in Cambodia and was separated from my family in the war at the age of seven. At eleven, I escaped into Thailand after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime and lived in an orphanage center in a refugee camp. I arrived to the U.S. alone in October 1982 and lived with my foster family, the Johnsons in South Hadley, Massachusetts. I received my high school diploma from Holyoke Catholic High School in 1988. In 1992, I graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a degree in Political Science. After college, I took a position as a teacher aid for the Chicopee's public schools and pursued a masters in International Relations. When I went back to Cambodia in October 1993 and have seen the destruction of the country and the living condition of Cambodians made me cry. When I saw children, elderly and the handicapped veterans begging on the streets reminded me of my childhood while living in a refugee camp without my parents. I promised them that I would go back to help them. In April 1994, I went back to Cambodia to help rebuild a war-torn country and worked for the Cambodian-American National Development Organization (CANDO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) assisting the Cambodian government on job creation, education and tourism. I also found an international language center in the capital city of Phnom Penh and taught English and computer skills to over 800 local students. I came back to the U.S. in July 1997 and taught immigration and citizenship classes to New Americans in Lowell, also worked for the South Cove Community Health Center in Lynn and Boston as a Case Manager. I helped to prevent young people from returning to gang activities and substance abuses. Currently, I am working for the Department of Revenue as a Child Support Enforcement Specialist.

2. Why are you running for Councilor At-Large?

I have two small children in the Lynn public schools and have lived in Lynn for 14 years. It is my home and I want to give back in a public capacity. I want to work with the city council, the mayor, Lynn's civic institutions, and neighborhoods to strengthen public safety, education, and economic growth. Lynn is a very diverse city and it needs a diverse representation. I decided to run for city councilor-at-large because I want to represent all voices. My vision is a unified Lynn where all residents have a voice at the decision-making table.

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

Regionally, there are perceptions that Lynn has a public safety issue, a high rate of school drop-outs and economic downturn. However, Lynn has a wealth of resources like the Lynn Beach, the beautiful waterfront, Lynn Woods, the North Shore Community College - just to name a few that make this city a great place to live. In order to improve the city's image, it is our job to promote our strengths and work together to address our weaknesses. We need to work to promote strong police-community relations to ensure public safety. We need to work to find ways to increase foot patrols because they are effective methods to build relationships within communities and to get reliable information from community members. Some of my interests include: providing cultural training to police officers in order to build trust between communities and police; building capacity of neighborhood groups and crime watch; working to increase youth opportunities like after-school programs and supporting efforts to fund school resource officers to keep schools safe. For education, schools alone cannot educate our children. It requires strong partnership between family members, community groups and the schools. We will work to increase access to after-school enrichment programs that educate the whole child. Promote parent involvements through intensive community outreach, such as a bilingual parents task force and create community schools which provide critical resources for parents like ESL classes. Local businesses are the backbone of the city's economy. We need to help them survive the economic downturn. We need to work to promote business-friendly policies and regulations, such as reviewing fees and fines to ensure that they are not restrictive. We need to be proactive - walk the streets reaching out to business owners and make sure they are aware of grant opportunities. We also need to promote the arts district - a lively and walkable downtown brings customers to our local businesses.

Fall Fest on the Waterfront

Runs today until 7PM. There is parking right at the park and across the street at NSCC, just follow the signs that say Event Parking. The views of the waterfront are splendid and the vendors are plentiful. Get on down there before it's too late.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Councilor At-Large 2011 - Buzzy Barton continues it's Election series with a Councilor At-Large roundup. I asked each of the candidates 3 questions. Here is the response from Buzzy Barton.  To see more on this series, please visit the Lynn, MA Councilor At-Large 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 was born at the old Lynn Hospital in 1952 and I have lived in Lynn my entire life. I grew up on Fayette Street and moved to Chestnut Street when I was 11. I currently live on Brook Street. I went to Ingalls Elementary School, Eastern Junior High and Lynn English. I have held a variety of public-service positions over the last 40 years. I was elected to the Lynn Retirement Board in 2004 and I continue to serve on that board. I formerly served on the Lynn Park Commission and EDIC board of directors.

I served on the Lynn Fire Department for 28 years until my retirement in 2004. I was proud to be named Firefighter of the Year in 1990, Union Man of the Year in 1991 and recipient of the Box 41 Award in 1998. I served on the executive board of Lynn Firefighters Local 739 for 22 years, including four years as president. I have also coached both the girls and boys basketball teams at Lynn English.

I believe my background as a lifelong resident of the city, long-time employee, and member of various boards, along with the countless relationships I have formed over the years, uniquely qualify me to serve the city as a councilor at large, and I look forward to the opportunity.

2. Why are you running for Councilor At-Large?

I am running for councilor at large because I am anxious to continue my long record of public service while accepting a new challenge. Sitting on different boards over the years, I thought I would like to serve the city as a councilor some day. I started giving it serious thought when I retired as a firefighter. This is the right time. I will be an accessible and responsible councilor who makes decisions with the best interests of all residents of the city in mind.

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

Attracting increased investment should be one of the city’s highest priorities. I am committed to working to implement measures called for in the Waterfront Master Plan. Moving the power lines across the Lynnway was a significant first step to meaningful development on the waterfront. Now is time to move forward, and work to attract new businesses and residents to this area.

I am also committed to working with Chief Coppinger, my fellow councilors and the mayor to identify funding that will allow us to fully re-implement the community policing initiative. While the partial return of the program this summer was a positive step, I firmly believe we need to bring it back to full capacity.

Lastly, I will support the hiring of a full-time grant writer whose job it will be to bring in badly needed revenue that can be used to enhance critical programs throughout the city.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Councilor At-Large 2011 - Calvin Anderson continues it's Election series with a Councilor At-Large roundup. I asked each of the candidates 3 questions. Here is the response from Calvin Anderson.  To see more on this series, please visit the Lynn, MA Councilor-at-Large 2011 Series.

Thank you for this opportunity to respond to your questions.  While I will supply some brief responses for this venue, I invite Lynn citizens to visit my website,, for more detailed information, some points of my record, and a section devoted to position pages.  Please make me one of your four votes on September 20!

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 native of Keene, NH, have lived throughout the 3-state region and MetroBoston, and have lived in Lynn since 2000.  I attended Keene schools, have an A.A. from Northern Essex Community College / Haverhill, and a B.A. from Williams College.  I am divorced and widowed.  I am self-employed as a property manager as well as in public relations, event planning, political consulting, and free-lance writing. I have a background as a knitter and weaver in the now-gone New England textile industry, a para-professional assistant in medical-surgical-oncology-psychiatric hospital units, and bicycle sales and repairs. In Lynn, I have served on the Citizens' Advisory Board for the Office of Community Development, founded The Gateway Project for Lynn beautification and advocacy group, am active in many "Friends" groups, and am a 2-mayor appointee to the Lynn Historical Commission. My varied background, coupled with a penchant for organization and socio-political activism, lend themselves to qualification for serving as a Lynn City Councilor-at-Large.  I have a 9-year attendance record at City Council meetings second only to Council President Phelan.  Due to that experience, I have learned how the system works, have influenced procedure and ordinance-writing, and am ideally suited to serve as City Councilor.

2. Why are you running for Councilor At-Large?

I am offering myself as a choice to my neighbors for one of their four votes for City Councilor at Large because I aim to be a link between the citizens and City Hall.  For several years, I have been looked upon as a 'shadow councilor' due to my involvement with all aspects of our city.  Time and again, I have helped Lynners find the right contact in a department, have a tree removed, a sidewalk replaced, or a storm drain unclogged.  I do not claim to have all the answers, but have a keen process for finding them.  While many of the current councilors are doing an adequate job, I feel that our city deserves better vision and implementation of policies and services.   With my experience, independence,  and work ethic, I know that I would hit the ground running in January.

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

After several false starts, our city-central region is on the brink of re-inventing itself.  The trend toward specialty-stores, multi-cuisine eateries, and a burgeoning arts and cultural district is on course, albeit a few years behind other cities with a similar makeup.  Collectively, we must embrace this new direction and focus on its success for the liveliness, financial health, and pride for our city and citizens.  We must become a true destination city, building on the natural resources we have in our Woods and shoreline, potential commercial mix, and myriad activities.  We must embrace the diverse cultural mosaic of humankind while we thrive in sharing all heritages.  We must remember that our city is not just the tangible structures, but is the people who live here.  A campaign to encourage benign lifestyles and quality-of-life issues is something I pledge to pursue.  I envision a "LynnQuality" initiative encouraging proper public conduct by all residents.   City Hall can be a light-handed moral compass, guiding the masses toward living healthy, responsibly, and united.  Please share this future vision with me.     
Calvin Anderson, Candidate for Lynn Councilor-at-Large

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

RAW seeking new Project Launch Mentors

I thought about just posting the press release from RAW, but you've probably all read that already and if not, friend them on Facebook and check out their website to get it in their words. What I thought you might want to read is a little bit from one of the mentors in 2010, my wife, Sarah.

Guest Post from Sarah Jackson:

Last year, my neighbor raved to me about her Project Launch mentoring experiences and persuaded me to sign up. I'm so grateful that she did! It was incredibly rewarding to play a small role in helping a high school senior to achieve her goal of attending college—the first in her family.

When I began mentoring, I worried that I wouldn't be helpful. Maybe I'd be too rusty on financial aid and college applications. (Math scares me and applications are on the internet these days?!) Maybe I'd give bad advice. ("Why not spend four years in northern Alaska? And don't bother bringing a coat because it's soooo much warmer there.") Or, worst of all, maybe I'd make a wholly negative impact on my student. ("OMG, I really HATE Justin Bieber...wait, your long-lost brother is who? Oh, I meant that I hate all pop music... no, I don't remember our conversation from yesterday where you said you want to become a pop singer.")
However, through the fabulous guidance and encouragement of the program's leaders and other mentors, I quickly realized that being a mentor was itself tremendously helpful to the student, both tangibly and intangibly. Together, we tackled her college essays, her resume, considering where to apply, a long list of college prep to-dos, and email etiquette. My mentee would also tell me about the pressures and competing priorities of work, school, family and friends. She would occasionally ask for advice on these topics or would ask me about my own experiences.

For the record, we never did talk about Justin Bieber, but we did share stories about the video game Rock Band. I think I managed not to scar her for life when discussing my drumming skills.
At the end of the day, no matter how little or how much you work with your mentee—no matter how tangible or intangible your impact seems—the basic acts of caring, listening and being there make all the difference. Now a college freshman, my mentee emailed me recently to offer a quick update on how she's settling in to college life. I couldn't believe that this young woman would take the time to write to her former mentor in the midst of making new friends, taking classes and signing up for activities...then again, am I her former mentor, or have we simply begun a new chapter?

I look forward to starting that new chapter with another high school student this fall.

-Sarah Jackson
Become a mentor today! Please e-mail Susannah Horwitz at, or call at 781-593-5515 ext. 205.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

9/11 Community Memorial Tribute at City Hall at 8:30AM

Latin Local Closing Reception at LynnArts this Saturday

This weekend is the last chance to see Latin Local and the summer Member’s Exhibition Saturday, September 10, 2-4pm closing reception

With live music provided by Clay Ventre and the Bond Girls

LYNN, MA- LynnArts has been celebrating Latino Arts all summer long and this weekend is your last chance to see the exhibit. Saturday, September 10th from 2-4 LynnArts will hold a closing reception for the two shows currently on display, Latin Local and the LynnArts Member’s Exhibition. Latin Local features the work of local artists Laura Carmen Arena, Jason Cruz, Luis DeLeon, Oscar Lazo, Adriana “Gigi” Mederos, Eddie Negron, Jorge Pimentel, and Richard Tenorio. The juror for Lynn Latin was Anabel Vazquez Rodriguez, curator of La Galeria at Villa Victoria Center for the Arts in Boston. Prior to joining Villa Victoria Anabel Vázquez Rodríguez was as an independent curator and community arts organizer with an international emphasis. As a founder of the innovative Esprit De Corps Art Collective, she has been curating and producing multi-media events in the Boston underground since 2002. More recently she founded the curatorial collective Discordia Films, an exciting international art exchange focusing on experimental video between artists throughout the Americas. Ms. Vázquez Rodríguez has programmed and produced events in Puerto Rico, South America, and Spain. Vázquez Rodríguez studied Painting in the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras and Photography and Film at The Massachusetts College of Art and Design. In her current role at Villa Victoria she is focusing and prioritizing on the Latino community and its diaspora; connecting the richness of Latino Arts with Boston’s increasing diversity.

Jason Cruz - Brown is Beautiful Not Illegal
Saturday is also the final day for the LynnArts summer Member’s Exhibition. Showcasing a variety of work from paintings to photography to collage, the show features the work of Pauline Bacon, Marilyn Cloran, Richard Cloran, Maureen DeSisto, Cheryl Warner Foley, Linda Germain, Georgia Green, Matt Guillory, Wilson Hunt, Jr., Diane Sawler McLaughlin, Nadine Mitchell, Steve Negron, Fran Nola, Jean Noyes, Barbara Rafferty, Barry Ridlon, Robin Samiljan, C.J. Stevens, Heather Meri Stewart, Suzanne H. Ulrich, Joseph White and Timothy Wilson. Refreshments will be served and live music will be provided by Clay Ventre and the Bond Girls.

Friday, September 2, 2011

We're on a Boat! - Lynn Commuter Ferry Gets One Step Closer

The EDIC is making great strides with the help of Senator McGee's office in bringing a commuter ferry to Lynn. The other day, we all took a trial ride to see what all the hype was about. I can honestly say, I can't wait to be on this boat for real on a day like today coming home from work! 

When you're done watching my silly video, go to LynnHappens to get the real scope from LynnHappens guest columnist, Will Dowd.

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