Wynn Proposes Use of Oysters to Clean Mystic River

Wynn Resorts announced it will partner with the Massachusetts Oyster Project to use over 250,000 live oysters to clean the Mystic River, should the proposal for its $1.6 billion waterfront resort and casino in Everett gain state approval.

According to a statement released by Wynn Resorts, a single oyster can effectively filter thirty to fifty gallons of water every day. Wynn said it would spend $30 million to clean the 33-acre, contaminated site and add landscaping, a picnic park, an indoor garden, deck, water service, dining and retail, and boat docks.

“Wynn’s commitment goes above and beyond what is required by law and will convert a contaminated former chemical plant site into a public waterfront gem that everyone can enjoy,” said Robert DeSalvio, senior vice president of Wynn Development. “The Everett waterfront has been locked out of public use for more than a century. We’re going to open it up in grand fashion and create a spectacular esplanade that will be brimming with activity all year long. Our waterfront will be a crowning jewel of our resort.”

Wynn is competing with Mohegan Sun for a license in eastern Massachusetts. According to the state Gaming Commission website, a license should be awarded in September. Medford has signed surrounding community agreements with both Wynn and Mohegan Sun.

The Gaming Commission is holding a public meeting in Boston on Thursday morning. An update on the licensing timeline is on the agenda, among other items.

- InsideMedford.com

Sen. Jehlen: Charter Schools Competitors, Not Collaborators

Last week, the senate voted to defeat a bill that proposed to raise the current cap on charter schools in 29 districts. Beginning in 2017 the cap would rise from 18% to 23% of those school districts’ spending.

Before the vote, we heard from parents, advocates, students, and organizations on both sides of the argument. We sat down with whoever was willing to talk about the bill and what it would mean for students in the Commonwealth and the future of our public education system.

We went into all of these conversations with the goal of answering one essential question: what is our end game in expanding charter schools?

In 1993 when the Massachusetts Legislature voted to create charter schools, the intent was that charters would experiment with new practices for educating our children. Originally, it was intended to take the successful practices developed by charter schools and use them in the district public schools.

Today, charter schools are promoted not as collaborators with public schools, but as competitors in a marketplace where test scores take the place of profits. In this market, there are rewards for schools that can avoid students who are likely to score low. That was never the intent.

If we keep raising the cap on charter schools, more district schools will go out of business, concentrating students who face the biggest challenges in a shrinking number of district schools while extra resources go to the charters.

We will be driving a wedge deep into our communities, pitting students against each other, and effectively declaring that it is acceptable to invest in some kids while divesting from others.

That is not the answer. And that is why we believe this bill, and this issue, cannot move forward without addressing the serious implications that a dual system of public education will have on our children for generations to come.

The bill that we debated undoubtedly has merit, not least because it has sparked the important conversation about innovative ways to make charter schools more inclusive while providing funding for district public schools. But the proposed cap lift would not begin to take effect for 3 more years. Let us not make hasty choices.

Let us instead step back and consider how we can incorporate the best ideas from all schools to educate all of our children, not only to score high on standardized tests, but to develop into responsible and capable adults, ready to take their places in a complex world.

Let’s keep our eyes on 100 percent of our students, not 18, or 19, or 23 percent of them.

Senator Patricia Jehlen (D- Somerville) and Senator Ken Donnelly (D- Arlington)

Legion Baseball Advances to Chairman’s Cup Finals

Medford’s Dom Ramasci

- Allison Goldsberry

The Medford Legion baseball team advanced to the Chairman’s Cup Finals with a 2-1 win over Billerica on Tuesday.

A walkoff single from Dom Ramasci (Medford) that scored Brendan Greene (Winchester) gave Medford the victory. Greene also scored Medford’s other run.

Winchester’s Billy Christopher pitched a complete game, giving up four hits and no earned runs.

Medford, 13-7, will face Newton in the Chairman’s Cup Finals. Game one of the best of three series is Wednesday at Playstead Park. First pitch is at 5:30PM.

Italian Soccer Team Practices at Tufts

Italian soccer team AS Roma was spotted practicing at Tufts on Tuesday afternoon. The team faces Liverpool at Fenway on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Liverpool took in practice at Harvard.

Photos courtesy Tufts University.

AS Roma at Tufts

AS Roma at Tufts

City Seeking Participants for Medford Community Day

Medford is seeking a variety of participants for its first ever Community Day in the fall.

The event, in honor of Ben Averbook and Wally Kountze, is taking place on Sunday, September 21 from 1-4PM at Mystic Riverbend Park.

According to information released by Mayor Michael McGlynn’s office, the purpose of Community Day is to celebrate Medford’s diversity and to have people mingle with each other.

Non-profits organizations, restaurants, school groups, religious organizations, city boards and commissions, and civic organizations are invited to participate.

More details, including a registration form, are available on the city’s website.

- InsideMedford.com

Update from State Rep. Paul Donato

I am pleased to report that the Massachusetts House of Representatives has continued to move the Commonwealth forward by passing a $36.5 billion state budget focused on economic growth and increased government accountability and oversight. The spending plan makes important investments in local aid, education and human services including substance abuse treatment and prevention and mental health care. Building on a responsible yet proactive approach to combating the recession, the Legislature’s budget contains multiple measures to achieve sustainable economic growth and provide essential services that support the Commonwealth’s citizens.

This budget enhances the Commonwealth’s partnerships with cities and towns through numerous funding streams including $945.8 million to Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA), a $25.5 million increase from FY14 and $4.4 billion for Chapter 70, a record funding level. The spending plan provides $257.5 million for the Special Education Circuit Break, ensuring full funding for the third consecutive year and $70.3 million for Regional School Transportation to reimburse municipalities at 90 percent, marking the highest rate in the program’s history.

In addition to educational investments through local aid, this year’s budget extends Massachusetts ongoing commitment to strengthening its educational systems to foster equality and provide residents with a competitive edge. The budget allocates $15 million to expand access to early education and funds a grant program at $9.1 million to support Early Head Start and Head Start programs. The budget also prioritizes higher education through investments in state universities, community colleges and the University of Massachusetts and includes $519 million for UMass which will enable a freeze in tuition and fees for the second year. In addition, the budget dedicates money to implement the STEM Starter Academy, an initiative created in the FY14 budget aimed at strengthening and expanding STEM programming in community colleges.

This year’s budget emphasizes the importance of enhanced fiscal predictability and sustainable investments, a practice that has raised Massachusetts bond rating to AA+, the highest in the state’s history. In an extension of this fiscal prudence, the spending plan makes the lowest draw from the Stabilization Fund in four years and contributes about $1.79 billion to Massachusetts’ unfunded pension liability to accelerate the timetable for full funding. Additional economic development measures include:

- Codifies the Massachusetts Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Advisory Council;

- Travel and tourism is one of the state’s largest industries, generating almost $17 billion in travel related expenditures and supporting 124,700 in-state jobs. The budget allocates $18 million for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism and$7.5 million in regional tourism funding to promote statewide initiatives and increased international travel;

- Supports the Massachusetts Cultural Council with $12 million in funding;

- Provides $18.8 million for local libraries, representing an increase of $2.4 million from the previous fiscal year;

- Establishes a process for all in-state and out-of-state direct shippers to receive a direct wine shipper’s license from the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) and allows for the collection of state taxes; and,

- Provides $2 million for the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership that will benefit programs designed to assist small and mid-sized manufacturers.

To heighten accountability and streamline operations, the budget establishes the Massachusetts Office of Information Technology (MOIT) to be administered by a Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Commonwealth. The CIO will be responsible for supervising all IT services of state agencies and will review any proposed IT expenditure costing more than $200,000. The Massachusetts Health Connector Authority will be considered a state agency for the purposes of MOIT oversight.

This budget reflects the Legislature’s pledge to combat the alarming rise in mental health problems and substance addiction. It allocates almost $18 million in new spending to help combat substance addiction including $10 million for the Substance Abuse Services Trust Fund to provide substance abuse services to an additional 10,000 individuals in need of treatment. The spending plan also includes the following investments in substance abuse services and treatment:

- Creates a multi-year grant program at $5 million to fund mental health and substance abuse counselors within schools;

- Increases funding for specialty courts, including drug courts, to $3 million;

- Places addiction specialists in the Brockton, Plymouth and Quincy courts;

- Funds training and purchase of Nasal Narcan™;

- Creates a voluntary accreditation program for sober homes; and,

- Provides additional funding for the Prescription Monitoring Program to prevent the over-prescription of medications.

To improve quality of care for people suffering from mental illness, the budget provides $10 million for the expansion of community-based placements for at least 100 discharge-ready patients in the Department of Mental Health system, while maintaining sheltered workshops for those individuals who wish to remain in a residential setting. It also creates a Behavioral and Mental Health Special task Force to identify impediments to the delivery of comprehensive treatment.

The budget includes numerous additional health and human services provisions including $60 million in MassHealth investments and:

- $47.5 million for nursing homes to reduce the gap between Medicaid payments and uncompensated care;

- $35 million for Disproportionate Share Hospitals;

- $3 million in funds for employments programs for clients of the Department of Developmental Services;

- Requires the implementation of a hearing process for long-term facilities before there is any intent to close;

- Creates a legislative and executive working group to examine and make recommendations concerning Bridgewater State Hospital; and,

- Maintains 45 beds at Taunton State Hospital and funds the opening of two additional wings at Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital.

Building on the continued leadership in reforming and strengthening the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the budget provides $185.6 million to reduce social worker caseloads. It also includes initiatives to improve communications, IT and record keeping practices, and ensure initial medical screenings of all children entering DCF care within 72 hours. Background checks will now be required for all current and future foster parents. Individuals will be precluded from becoming foster parents if convicted of serious crimes, including those involving violence or sexual in nature.

The budget also:

- Provides $65 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program and permits for unexpended FY14 funds to carry forward, allowing hundreds of new families to access safe and permanent housing;

- Expands the Veterans Motor Vehicle Excise Exemption to include leased cars;

- Places a moratorium on the issuance of a Chapter 91 tidelands license permitting the development of rail lines or rail facilities for the transportation of ethanol to storage or blending facilities in the cities of Cambridge, Chelsea, Revere, Everett, Somerville and East Boston until January 1, 2017;

- Establishes a permanent commission on the future of metropolitan area beaches;

- Establishes a memorial to honor Massachusetts Iraq and Afghanistan Fallen Heroes; and,

- Reestablishes the Water Supply Protection Program to promote the safety and purity of the Commonwealth’s water supplies and the protection of watershed lands.

Representative Paul J. Donato represents the cities of Medford and Malden in the 35th Middlesex District.

ALDI to Host Hiring Event July 27th in Medford


National grocery chain ALDI is hosting a hiring event for its Medford store on Sunday, July 27, according to a news release from the company. The store is seeking store associates, shift managers, and manager trainees. Potential applicants should be at least 18 and have a high school diploma or equivalent, among other things. The hiring event is taking place from 8AM-6PM at 630 Fellsway. More details are available on ALDI’s website.

- InsideMedford.com

Legion Baseball Team Finishes Regular Season, Begins Chairman’s Cup Monday

Justin Alley pitching

The Medford Post 45 baseball team finished up the regular season with a 4-2 loss to Sudbury on Thursday, falling just short of its bid for a second straight playoff berth. Medford, 11-7, is the top seed for the District 5 Chairman’s Cup. Medford hosts Malden at 5:30PM at Playstead Park on Monday. According to Coach Ryan Kozul, the tournament is single elimination for the first two rounds with a best two out of three championship series. If Medford wins Monday they will face the winner of the Hudson/Billerica game.

- InsideMedford.com

Local Kids Participate in Public Safety Academy With Sheriff Koutoujian

Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian recognized 155 cadets from Arlington, Belmont, Burlington and Medford during a graduation ceremony Friday, July 18, for the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office Youth Public Safety Academy (YPSA).

“This Academy gives us the opportunity to introduce children, their parents and guardians to the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “It also allows the cadets to get to know their local public safety officials and learn valuable safety and life lessons in a fun environment.”

This is the 15th year of the YPSA program for children from across the county. Over the course of six weeks, more than 900 cadets will participate in the program this summer.

Over the course of the week, cadets learned about fire safety and how to make an evacuation plan, how to stay safe while online, participated in team-building exercises and visited with local police and fire officials. They also witnessed K9 demonstrations and learned about the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office.

Medford YPSA participants

Medford YPSA participants

- Submitted by Sheriff Koutoujian’s office

Soccer Tourney July 20th to Benefit Injured MHS Grad

A soccer tournament is being held to raise money for the medical expenses of Eric Ferrazzani, a 2014 Medford High School graduate who was injured on a trip abroad.

The “Eric’s Elites- We Kick Because We Care” soccer tournament is taking place on Sunday, July 20 from 5-10PM at Medford High School’s “Field of Dreams.”

Teams can be between 6-10 players. There is a fee of $5 per player. Teams must sign up by July 12.

Interested players and volunteers should contact Alexandria Barilone or Jessica Baccari at ericselites50@gmail.com.

An online fund established to raise $200,000 has so far raised over $25,000 by 272 in just eleven days.

- InsideMedford.com

Healthy Cooking Class for Adults Begins July 31st

What's cookin'Healthy Cooking Class for Adults

Supported by the Medford Housing Authority and the Medford Family Network

Cooking Matters’ Hands-on Cooking & Nutrition Class

6 Thursday evenings
July 31; August 7, 14, 21, 28; September 4
5:30 – 7:30 pm

Location: Edgerly Hall, Saltonstall Building, 121 Riverside Avenue, Medford

Do you need to stretch your monthly food budget?

Learn how to choose, buy for and prepare delicious, healthy, inexpensive meals!

Work with a professional chef and nutrition instructor!

Cooking Matters Offers:
Free Groceries! Delicious Recipes!
Cooking Classes and Supplies!
Nutrition Information!

Cooking Matters Expects:
Regular Attendance for 6 Weeks!
Class Participation!
An Open Mind!

Registration is required and child care is available upon request. Call Lisa Tonella at (781) 396-7200 ext 130 by Monday, July 21.

- Information from the Medford Family Network

‘First Jobs Academy’ for Teens August 4th-8th

It can be tough trying to find a community service placement or finding a great a first job as a teen.

Team Medford’s 1st Jobs Academy is designed to offer training to youth that is often overlooked yet required when applying for a community service placement or first job.

In addition, you will also have the opportunity to ask questions, explore your job preferences and make your community service hours or first job count towards your future!

Cost: $25

9AM to 1PM

August 4th to 8th

Monday through Friday

Medford High School room TBA

The program will cover:

Teambuilding: Designed to kick off the training in a fun and engaging manner, youth build relationships and trust in their fellow youth, or ‘colleagues,’ through games, activities, and reflective discussions. Youth set short-and long-term goals related to employment.

Dollars & $ense: Youth are provided with introductory financial literacy information and skills, including budgeting, saving, and credit. Content is presented using games and active discussion.

Healthy ME: Youth explore the role of their physical and mental well-being in relation to development of positive work habits.

Work Wise: The first session focuses on soft skills critical to success in the workplace, such as verbal and non-verbal communication, customer service, professional boundaries, and appropriate dress.

The second session focuses on the skills needed to obtain employment from the initial application process to writing a resume to interviewing. Youth complete a formal mock interview with an employer as a culmination of their learning.

A certificate of completion will be issued.

Snacks and refreshments will be served.

This program is funded by Team Medford’s Underage Drinking Prevention and Drug Free Communities Grant.

Participants must register 1 week prior to the start date of the session.

To Register and make a payment visit: www.medfordma.org/summer

If classes do not reach minimum enrollment, you will be contacted and refunded for that session.

- Submitted by Jemima Valdouin