Monthly Archives: February, 2014

Shop Local Friday: Peek inside Affairs to Remember

Here’s a video tour of the new Affairs to Remember Florist shop.

Welcome to our store, Affairs to Remember Florist at 547 Main St. Melrose. We are diagonally across from City Hall. This video was made to demonstrate the in-store experience, a shopper’s view of our bright, beautiful space. It shows you all a little bit of what we carry. As you can see, we have lots of flowers in our large walk through cooler, where you can hand select a bouquet for yourself or one of our sales associates can mix one up for you. We carry balloons, stuffed animals, delicious hand made chocolates and all natural, vegan soaps. We deliver flowers all around our local area and have a network of florist who will deliver your flowers to someone special nationally or internationally. I know that everyone is just waiting for spring to arrive. If you stop into our store spring is already here. We have had tulips since January. Mention that you saw our video on the mayor’s blog and get two bunches of tulips for $9.99 instead of one bunch. Make spring happen in your home even if Mother Nature is taking her sweet time.

Dine at Mexico Lindo this Monday and help the Girl Scouts!

Mexico Lindo flyer

The Melrose Girl Scouts (Troop 71254) are having a fund-raiser at Mexico Lindo on Monday, March 3, from 5-9 p.m.; 15% of all proceeds will to toward their trip to Washington, DC. So stop by and have a tasty meal—it’s for a good cause!

Biggest year ever for Melrose Science Fairs

Superintendent Taymore with the volunteers who organized this year's Science Fairs

Superintendent Taymore with the volunteers who organized this year’s Science Fairs

The Melrose Science Fairs are in full swing, and this year they are bigger and better than ever. We have 750 students participating this year, more than ever before, and 140 judges and volunteers. Special thanks to the Melrose Education Foundation, Superintendent Taymore, all the principals, and the parents and volunteer judges who helped make this Melrose tradition even bigger in 2014. Special thanks to JRM Waste & Recycling for being this year’s T-shirt sponsor. And congratulations to our young students for their innovation—this year’s projects are the best ever.

Here are the times the fairs are open to the public:

Roosevelt School, Thursday, February 27, 6-7:30 p.m.
Horace Mann (grades K-2), Monday, March 3, 6-7:30 p.m.
Winthrop School, Wednesday, March 5, 6-7:30 p.m.
Hoover School (grades 3-5), Wednesday, March 5, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Horace Mann (grades 3-5), Wednesday, March 5, 6-7:30 p.m.
Hoover School (grades K-2), Thursday, March 6, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Lady Raiders basketball team makes donation to Emergency Fund

Girls Basketball

The Melrose Lady Raiders basketball teams presented me with a check for $200 for the Emergency Fund recently. I want to thank coach Lindsay Shanahan, the Lady Raiders Booster Club, and most importantly, the student athletes who worked so hard over the holiday season selling “Melrose Strong” magnets to raise the money. That is a wonderful and generous act that is very much appreciated by our neighbors in need.

Ithaca College Choir to perform in Melrose

The Ithaca College Choir, under the direction of Dr. Janet Galván, will visit Melrose as part of its annual Spring Tour. The choir will perform its program “Ithaca, My Ithaca” on Thursday, March 13 at 8:00 pm. The concert will take place at First United Methodist Church of Melrose (645 Main Street, Melrose, MA 02176), and feature music by composers such as Haydn, Brahms, Verdi, Bob Chilcott, and Moses Hogan.

The concert is free and open to the public. Contact First United Methodist Church at (781) 662-7060 or fumc@fumcmelrose.com, for more information.

Melrose Fire Department ambulance goes to 100% ALS

Yesterday was a historic day as the Melrose Fire Department ambulance went to full ALS (Advanced Life Support). This was the ultimate goal that was set out when we started our own ambulance service. Here is the letter I shared with the Fire Department yesterday:

To all:

Congratulations to all on achieving a 20 year goal of returning ambulance service back to the Melrose Fire Department. Many thought it would never be returned and said we would fail when we started this endeavor together a few years ago in very bad times…… but let it be known that it is back stronger, more sustainable than ever, and at a service level second to none.

It is an example to cities and towns across the state that privatization cannot compete with a highly skilled public workforce and management working together to achieve a common goal…

Congratulations.
Rob

“Pothole Season”: Your guide to getting potholes fixed

As Spring approaches, so does “Pothole Season.” Potholes are created when water (from snow, snow melt, and winter rain events) gets into cracks in the roadway. The water then freezes and expands, and pressure from roadway traffic causes the pavement to break and form a “pothole.” The constantly fluctuating temperatures experienced this past winter have not helped this issue. As March approaches, so do more warm days and cold nights—a perfect recipe for more potholes to form. Additionally, with every snow storm that arrives, the potholes addressed are liable to reopen with either our salting or plowing operations.

The DPW Operations Highway Division is prepared to address this issue daily as weather allows. Work orders submitted are reviewed and completed daily. Our DPW Engineering Division evaluates streets daily and assists in prioritizing pothole issues. Please understand that priority is given first to main roads (i.e. Upham, Washington); then to neighborhood collector roads (i.e. Damon, Vinton, Foster); and then to local neighborhood streets. Work orders submitted are also prioritized in this order. As long as weather allows, we make all efforts possible to address them within 7-10 work days.

You can submit pothole repair requests using one of the following:

  1. E-mail the Department at potholes@cityofmelrose.org
  2. Enter a request on the DPW Work Order Request System located on the City of Melrose website
  3. Use our mobile app, See Click Fix
  4. Call our Operations Facility at 781-665-0142. The office is open from Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The DPW will also have a listing of pothole work orders on the City of Melrose website. Feel free to visit the listing to see if your issue is already listed or to check the status of your request.

Thanks for your patience in our attempts to tame this springtime challenge.

DCR partially closes Ravine Road in Stoneham until Friday

From the DCR:

Beginning Wednesday, February 26, 2014 from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will institute a single lane closure along Ravine Road in Stoneham. The closure is being made to assist the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) with their ongoing water storage tank project. The lane closure will continue through Friday, February 28, 2014.

50 Days in the Schools #9: STEM pathway guides students to new opportunities

Mira Williams, one of the STEM Pathway students

Mira Williams, one of the STEM Pathway students

Melrose High School is offering something new for students who are interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math—the cluster of subjects that educators refer to as STEM.

The STEM Pathway is a set of recommended courses for students interested in the field. Students who want to get more involved can earn a special STEM Certificate by participating in additional activities such as community service, compiling a special portfolio, and making a special presentation.

The program is jointly organized by Science Department chair Julie Shea and Math Department chair Christina Cardella, but Shea says the students are the drivers. So far between 40 and 50 students have signed up.

Community service, including tutoring and planning events, is a key part of the STEM Certificate program. Earlier this school year, the students organized a career night and invited Melrose residents who work in the field to give presentations about their jobs. “There were a lot of jobs I had never heard of,” said Mira Williams, one of the STEM Pathway students. “They talked about what they majored in in college, what they did to prepare for their job, and what they do on a daily basis.”

The STEM group also ran the Math Night at Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School. “We had different stations set up in the cafeteria, and parents could come in and learn what students were doing in the middle school,” Williams said. “We were there at different stations and to help the parents with the problems.” STEM Pathway students also gave guided tours of the new science wing of Melrose High School when it opened last fall. Other projects include researching the science programs at different colleges and creating a website with news about STEM activities.

The students plan their community service in after-school meetings that emphasize another important aspect of the program: Developing professionalism. Students are expected to notify the advisors in advance if they have to miss a meeting and attend a make-up so they stay in the loop. “We’re not just developing the knowledge base with STEM but also the experience of professionalism,” she said.

Students also compile a “reflective portfolio” that includes projects they have completed in different courses and their thoughts on how that helped them to grow in the field, and at the end of the school year, they make presentations about their experiences.

For Williams, who is interested in neuroscience, being part of the program has helped her to focus on what she wants to do next. “I solidified my interest in doing something in science in college, and I was able to narrow down what schools to look at, what labs are available, and what different types of programs they had,” she said.

Questions and Answers

We have gotten questions regarding a store that is opening up in Melrose that will sell e-cigarettes. I would like to clarify some of the confusion that seems to be out there about the product, and answer some questions.

Here is the response from the City Solicitor regarding this store:

This product is legal, and the City of Melrose is without any authority to ban it. Current Melrose Health regulations prohibit the sale of these types of devices to anyone under the age of 18. In fact, as you likely know, the Melrose Health Department has been a pioneer and a leader in the region in protecting young people from these and other types of nicotine delivery devices. Unfortunately, under Massachusetts law there is simply no way to prevent this type of establishment from operating.

I am certainly not happy that this business has chosen to open on West Wyoming Avenue. As you know my administration has spent many years working to enhance and improve upon the infrastructure and quality of life in the West Wyoming Avenue neighborhood. We have made an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars in Wyoming Square, Berwick Street, Derby Road, and the surrounding area, as well as working with the Chamber of Commerce to beautify the area with Victorian lighting and flower baskets. We have also piloted a program of security cameras that has substantially lessened crime in that neighborhood.

Here are some answers to questions about this store that might be helpful

What are e-cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes consist of a holder, a reservoir that holds liquid nicotine, and a small battery that vaporizes the nicotine and allows the user to inhale it without the tars and other substances found in regular cigarette smoke.

Are they legal?

E-cigarettes are legal in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and are already being sold in a variety of stores. You must be 18 years old to buy them in Melrose, unlike many other communities. There is discussion in the region about raising the age to 21.

Can they be used for marijuana or other illegal drugs?

No, they cannot. They are specifically designed to dispense nicotine, which is sold in liquid form.

Will this store sell other paraphernalia?

No. The Board of Health has banned the sale of all paraphernalia that could be used to dispense illegal product, going so far as to forbid the sale of scrubbing pads and plastic bags outside of their original packaging.

Didn’t they need to get a license from the Board of Aldermen?

According to our City Solicitor, Rob Van Campen, the store requires no zoning relief from the City and no permits from the Board of Aldermen. It is a retail store, just like many other businesses across the city. It is a legal use in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and they have the right under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to open without zoning relief.

The City of Melrose does not control what businesses occupy local buildings, beyond what is set out in our ordinances. We are not thrilled, but the fact is, this is what is moving in.

Like any product that is regulated by age, such as alcohol or tobacco, we monitor those businesses closely and have spot checks regularly.

Although some people would prefer we not have this store in our community, these are the rules that govern commerce and they must be followed. It should be noted that due to the outstanding work of the Board of Health and an active citizenry, working with government, we have decreased the number of establishments that sell tobacco by 50% over the last ten years: There were 21 stores in Melrose 10 years ago that sold tobacco products, now there are 11. This is outstanding progress.

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