I am happy to report the MBTA is out on West Foster today repairing the pedestrian safety hazards along their right of way at the railroad tracks on West Foster at Berwick Street. This small area leading up to the track has long been a series of trip hazards in the area leading up to the track and over them. This area is a direct abutter to the Milano Center, Beebe Estate, two senior housing buildings, as well as Stations Crossing condominiums.
The work being done consists of repaving the sidewalk area within their right of way and removing all trip hazards. As you know, the City completed all new concrete sidewalks from the Milano Center and senior housing buildings to the downtown business district. This small area being completed by the MBTA today is the last piece to complete this network of new sidewalks.
I want to thank Senator Jason Lewis , Representative Paul Brodeur and their staffs for helping facilitate this important work getting completed before winter.
The city of Cambridge endured a fire over the past weekend that left over 30 families homeless. Some MHS students are collecting gift card donations for the individuals affected by the fire as part of a service project. If you know or have a current MHS student and would like to donate, they can drop donations off at the main office by December 22nd. Thanks for your support!
The goal of the Mayor’s blog is to provide our community with information that is relevant and timely about our city. As you know, much of what is happening in Melrose is positive, but unfortunately as Mayor I am called upon to provide information about negative events as they occur. This is one such time. Today, a former employee of Wyoming Cemetery was arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on criminal charges. I am attaching two statements, one from Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and one from myself.
It is our goal to seek justice for the citizens of Melrose.
Statement from Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Melrose Chief of Police Michael Lyle have announced that John Hughes, 70, of Melrose, was arraigned today in Middlesex Superior Court on larceny charges in connection with an alleged scheme to sell unused cemetery burial plots, owned by the City of Melrose, to unsuspecting buyers. Hughes was charged with five counts of larceny over $250 and receiving outside compensation by a municipal employee.
Clerk Magistrate Michael Sullivan released the defendant on personal recognizance. The next scheduled hearing in this case is January 9, 2017.
“As a municipal employee, the defendant was tasked with overseeing the care and maintenance of a cemetery owned by the city of Melrose,” said District Attorney Ryan. “Instead, the defendant allegedly used his position to not only defraud those looking for burial plots, but also the city that had placed its trust in the defendant.”
“These charges are extremely disturbing, as this suspect was the Superintendent of Wyoming Cemetery and allegedly plotted to take advantage of vulnerable residents during a sensitive time in their lives,” Melrose Police Chief Michael Lyle said. “I would like to commend the work of the Melrose Police Department Detectives for their dedication and diligence during this case.”
The defendant was appointed Cemetery Administrator of the Wyoming Cemetery in Melrose in 2007. Beginning in 2011 the defendant allegedly began telling individuals looking to buy burial plots for later use, that they could purchase previously sold burial plots within the cemetery at discounted rates. The defendant then allegedly set up straw sellers for individuals to pay for the burial plots and the defendant would then split the funds with the straw sellers, none of whom owned the plots that were sold. The defendant is alleged to have sold 13 burial plots, thereby diverting funds from the City of Melrose, and netting approximately $75,000.
This case was investigated by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and the Melrose Police Department with the cooperation of the City of Melrose.
These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The prosecutors assigned to this case are Assistant District Attorney Doug Cannon and Assistant District Attorney Cyrus Chung.
Statement from Mayor Robert J. Dolan
I was shocked and saddened when I learned that the former superintendent of Wyoming Cemetery had been accused of betraying the trust of the citizens of Melrose.
The day I was advised that this individual was potentially engaging in criminal activity, I immediately called Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan. From that moment an investigation commenced, with which we fully cooperated. I would like to commend District Attorney Ryan and her staff as well as the Melrose Police Department for their thoroughness and professionalism in conducting this investigation as we seek justice for the citizens of Melrose.
Let me be clear that these actions were conducted outside of any policy or procedure of the Wyoming Cemetery and the City Treasury.
As Mayor, I want to assure the citizens of Melrose that these acts were allegedly committed by a rogue individual without any funds ever passing through the City’s treasury or auditing departments.
I also want to commend my staff and the members of the Wyoming Cemetery Committee for their tireless efforts to preserve the integrity of the cemetery, which is the most sacred land in the City. We have personally reached out to the families who were impacted by these alleged crimes. This is a very difficult time for these affected families and for all of us.
The individual responsible has now been charged and I am confident that justice will be served for the citizens of Melrose.
The City of Melrose Parks Department, in coordination with Melrose Rotary Club and the Melrose Community Garden Group, is proposing utilizing a small portion of Franklin Field for a 12 plot community garden beginning in Spring of 2017.
The proposal would not add any additional entrances or egresses to or from the park.
The informational meeting will take place on Wednesday, December 7th at 7:00pm in the Aldermanic Chamber, located on the 1st floor of City Hall.
If you have any additional questions, please contact Joan Bell, Superintendent of Parks and Open Space at (781) 662-0210 or email@example.com
Trinity Episcopal Church, 131 Emerson Street, Melrose, is offering two concerts, Noontime Organ Music for Advent and Christmas, on Wed., Dec. 7, and Wed., Dec. 14, with both concerts at 12:15-12:45 PM. Both are free and open to the public.
The December 7 concert will feature organist Eric Anderson, Director of Music and Organist at St.Mary’s of Melrose and Staff Organist at the Pelland Organ Company of Derry, NH.
The December 14 concert will feature Joyce Painter Rice, Music Director and Organist at the First Congregational Church in Kennebunkport, ME, where she plays an 1854 E. & G.G. Hook organ. Accompanying her will be Martha Woodward, flutist, of New London, NH, Music Director for the Kearsarge Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Andover, NH.
The Advent Noontime Organ Concerts are a part of the on-going Trinity Concert Series.
As a reminder, this past week was the last week of curbside leaf pickup. However, the City Yard remains open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through December 10 and will be open on Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. throughout the entire year for yard waste dropoff and recycling.
I got to meet the cast of The Nutcracker this morning. What a great Melrose tradition this is!
Here’s the schedule of this weekend’s performances:
Friday December 2, 8pm
Saturday December 3, 1pm & 7pm
Sunday December 4, 2pm (sold out)
You can purchase tickets at Pepperberry Florist , 539 Main St. Melrose, or during regular rehearsal hours. Tickets are also available at the door prior to show, pending availability.
Home for the Holidays begins on Friday night! Brought to you by the Melrose Chamber of Commerce and Signature Sponsor Hallmark Health, the weekend’s festivities begin at the City Hall lawn at 6:00pm with music and the lighting of the tree and the traditional stroll down Main Street to the YMCA to await the arrival of Santa on the fire truck.
Please walk if you can, as parking will be limited. Main Street will be closed from West Emerson Street to West Foster Street starting at 5:30pm.
The complete schedule is available on the Chamber of Commerce website, but here are a few highlights:
4:00-5:45 p.m. Santa will hold court at Edward Jones, 502 Main St.
6:00-6:30 p.m. Gather around the tree on the City Hall lawn for a holiday sing-along led by Roman Music Therapy, followed by the lighting of the tree and a stroll down Main Street to the Y.
6:30-7:00 p.m. Mayor Dolan will turn on the downtown holiday lights and Santa Claus arrives in Melrose! Enjoy complimentary coffee and hot chocolate served by Coffee, Tea and Me at the courtyard of the YMCA on Main Street. After Santa arrives, bring your list to him while he sits at Edward Jones, 502 Main Street. Get in the holiday spirit with music provided by DJ Tommy.
6:45 p.m. Once again, the congregation of Melrose’s Temple Beth Shalom (21 East Foster St.) will celebrate Hanukkah with an open house following the tree lighting. The Temple will throw open its doors and invite the entire Melrose community to enjoy potato pancakes, as well as Hanukkah songs and games.
Plus enjoy hot cider, special sales, and other festivities—check the schedule so you don’t miss anything!
Then, the festivities continue throughout Melrose on Saturday with free trolley rides between the various business districts. Businesses, merchants, restaurants, schools and churches will be ready to welcome you with a variety of fairs, performances, sales, specials and tastings. The special holiday trolleys run on Saturday, from 10am –2pm with the trolleys stopping precisely at 2:00pm. The full schedule of activities and trolley routes map can be found on the Chamber of Commerce’s website.
Join the Winter Wonderland Fair at the First Congregational Church, 121 W. Foster Street. The fair is open Friday night (12/2) from 6 – 8 pm and Saturday (12/3) from 9 am – 2pm.
There will be fabulous raffle baskets and silent auction offerings (including Celtics Tickets, cases of wine, Morton’s Dinner for 10, etc.) as well as a great variety of baked goods, and tables full of gently used Christmas decorations, jewelry, collectibles, tools, books, and gifts.
Be sure to bring the kids to our Santa’s Workshop where they can decorate gingerbread houses and make some great holiday crafts – and even talk to Santa!
On Friday night – we are offering a Baked Potato Bar, as well as Mac and Cheese and Hot Dogs. Come by for a delicious “Comfort Food” Lunch on Saturday. We hope to see you there!
The Most Blessed Sacrament Women’s Guild will hold its 53rd Annual Holly Festival and Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Parish Center, 1155 Main St., Wakefield.
Gift items available for your holiday shopping include handmade knitted afghans, sweaters, scarves and mittens, beautiful gift baskets, custom decorated fresh evergreen wreaths, Christmas decorations, jewelry and delicious home baked goods and candy.
There are lots of great raffles including a handmade quilt, a 50” Smart Screen TV, gift certificates and lottery ticket items. Also, 50-50 chances are sold throughout the day. You can even have a caricature done! The lunch menu includes fresh lobster rolls, chicken salad, hot dogs, homemade meatball subs, homemade chili, clam chowder and pizza. Honey Dew Donuts and coffee are available in the morning.
Please come to the Fair to kick off your Christmas season with a fun-filled day of shopping and holiday cheer.