NoBo Newsworthy Wrap-Up: Friday 12/9/11

MASSACHUSETTS – A tough economy drives theft while residents spread good will and holiday cheer across the NoBo region. A new chapter begins at Malden High School while school officials question technology use in Saugus. This and much more in today’s NoBo Newsworthy Wrap-Up.

1. A tough economy is driving residents across the NoBo region to take drastic measures. Thefts of basic materials across industries is taking place in many US communities, leaving residents in Essex, Salem, and Swampscott with a bad taste in their mouths this week. Local police responded to Lewis’s Restaurant, Fortune Palace, and the Windward Grill in Essex after cooking-oil thieves struck, the third, small crime involving cooking oil since May. Police arrested a Winthrop man this week after it was discovered he stole ten sewer covers in Swampscott with a total value of $6,350. He has been charged with 10 counts of larceny over $250. Worst of all, a Salem woman was robbed at knifepoint and dragged from her vehicle at a 7-Eleven on North Street on Wednesday evening. The assailant demanded money after entering her car, to which she responded she didn’t have any. He proceeded to grab her purse, dragging the victim out of the car, eventually letting go.


2. According to Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, the city’s  sex offender ordinance that has come under scrutiny in recent weeks may not hold up in court. Controversy began to dominate the local media after it was learned that a Level 3 sex offender, Richard Galzerano, bought a home at 32 Daytona Road, within 1,000 feet of the Shoemaker School and Little Theater Nursery and Kindergarten. Kennedy said she is researching what portions of the city might be left open for Level 3 offenders if the 1,000-foot rule is allowed to stand, however, the city ordinance cannot prohibit a group of people from living in a community.


3. The investigation into a former Saugus Library employee embezzlement of $800,000 is becoming clearer, with town officials commenting on the initial source of investigation. According to an article in the Daily Item, town and library officials first became suspicious of Linda E. Duffy in mid-July when questions arose about how overdue fees were handled, according to Town Counsel Vasapolli. Town Manager Andrew Bisignani then decided to launch an investigation, which was turned over to the Saugus Police and then the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


4. Alongside school officials, Mayor Richard C. Howard attended a re-dedication ceremony at the newly remodeled Malden High School earlier today, bringing an end to his 16-year legacy as a reformed of the Malden Public Schools. During his tenure, Howard has overseen the building of five K-8 elementary schools, an early childhood center, and a refurbishment of the high school. Howard noted it was a “tremendous personal pleasure” to be at the event before he moves on to become the town manager of Winchester in January. Work began in 2004, was interrupted due to funding, continued in 2009, and was completed earlier this month. Improvements included upgrades to auditorium and gymnasium, the heating and ventilation systems, new wiring, and boosted connectivity as well face lifts to all classrooms, including the installation of ceiling mounted digital projectors.


5. At a meeting of the Saugus School Committee this week, members questioned whether the distribution of laptops to a select group of freshman students was in the best interest of the district. Superintendent Richard Langlois and the school’s finance chief discussed the matter at length last night after a previous article in the Daily Item disclosed the purchase. The laptops cost the district about $15,000 for 30 of them, paid for out of the school’s year-end funds. Parents must sign an acceptable use and care policy before the laptops are distributed. School officials emphasized that all students have access to computers in every classroom, in every building. The initiative will be a priority again next year, with Langlois noting that program targeting advanced students is a success.


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