The Untold Stories of Melrose is a series of interviews by two senior interns from Melrose High School, Freddie Kelley and Connor Locke, who have been working in my office for the past few weeks.
Alicia Reddin is the Veterans Services Director for Melrose, Wakefield, and Saugus, taking over while Veterans Services Director Ryan McLane is on military deployment.
In April of 2007, when I was stationed overseas, we had a workplace shooting in our building, and I lost two friends.
[It was] a guy who we were all a little uncomfortable around. He just had these social mannerisms that none of us were keen on. But we tried to hang out, tried to invite him out, because you don’t want him to be the odd one out. One morning we all did our morning formation—it’s basically like attendance—and we all went to our respective offices. It was a one-floor building with a set of stairs that went into the armory, where we keep all of guns, our weapons, ammunition, everything. He was a gunner’s mate, so he was in charge of all that.
Maybe an hour later, we heard gunshots at the back of the building. At first we thought, “Well, it’s the armory, maybe they were cleaning a weapon or messing around, but maybe, god forbid, something bad happened.” So some people came out of their offices to look, and he walked right into the building, with a gun in his hand, smiling, like the happiest guy you’ve ever seen. And he walked in and said, “I just killed two people, and I’m going to kill the rest of you.” And he was just so calm, so calm.
We sheltered in place, and you can see pretty far down the hallway, so some of us ducked and some of us covered, and he let off a couple more shots in the building. Luckily no one in the building was hit. But of the two people in the armory that were with him, one of them died. He was shot in the stomach and in the leg, and as he tried to crawl away, he was shot execution style in the back of the head. He was 25 with a two-month-old baby daughter at home.
The other guy was brand new, just out of high school, wasn’t even legal to drink yet. He ended up getting shot in the chest, just above the hip, and in the leg. They didn’t think he would make it, but he did. He never walked quite the same again, but they were able to get him medical attention in time.
It’s made me more wary of people. I try to be very upbeat. I try to be enthusiastic and I try to be bubbly. And my logic around that is, I need something to cover up the fact that I have that trust issue now. When there’s a bad guy, it’s different. But when it’s one of the good guys that becomes the bad guy, it just throws everything off.
You’re trained to not trust the other side. You’re trained to fully trust your side—your life is in these people’s hands. So when something like that happens, it changes everything for you. It changes how you see your relationships; it changes how you operate in the workplace. And for a long time, I couldn’t trust the people that I served with. I really disassociated with a lot of them over the years. And now I’m back in touch with some of them. But it’s not as easy. We have this shared thing that we lived through, but I think after seeing how someone that you trust so much can do something like that, makes you automatically have that issue with trust.
I’ve been fortunate that I work in a place where I’m comfortable with everyone. I’ve left jobs since I got out, because I wasn’t comfortable around the people, because I felt like something like that could happen again. But I am so fortunate because here, I really don’t feel that way. I don’t sit at my desk and worry that someone is going to bust through that door. And I’m fortunate, because a lot of people don’t ever get to find themselves in a safe place like that, or find themselves comfortable enough with the people they work with.
The following message was sent out by the Melrose School Department this morning.
Melrose High School and Middle School is holding a TEMPORARY shelter in place – Please do NOT come to campus.
The High School has received a threat to the building. We know this is a robo-call similar to those received around the state. While we do not feel there is a significant threat, given recent threats to many regional schools, we are acting with a great deal of caution.
We are NOT currently dismissing school. Students are not exiting the building while the police do a sweep and then we plan to resume a normal day.
We are working closely with the police to make sure that the process is orderly and safe.
Please do not come on campus and please do not call as we need to attend to this matter with the police and fire departments.
On Saturday, May 7th the Healthy Melrose Family Wellness & Fitness Fair is back with bigger and better events for adults and kids than ever before!
This year we also welcome back Sustainable Melrose to the Healthy Melrose family offering a host of new vendors, giveaways, and educational demos for our patrons.
Please stay tuned for several exciting upcoming announcements regarding more food trucks, more free food samples, and several new awesome family activities in addition to some returning favorites.
In the meantime, there is still limited space left for potential vendors who would like to be a part of this community event that last year saw over 3,000 people attend.
For more information, go to the Healthy Melrose website.
The Melrose/Wakefield Winter Farmers’ Market is back again this month at Memorial Hall, 590 Main St, from 11-3pm. Come on down and shop our wonderful array of local foods and handcrafted items! As always, we will have fruits and vegetables, eggs, pasture raised meats, fresh fish, cheese, bread, baked goods, specialty foods & spices, hard cider & wine, candles, soaps, and much more!
Click here for the latest vendor schedule!
Many vendors can accommodate pre and special orders. Use the links in the Vendor lists on the left side of this newsletter for contact info.
Click here to volunteer at the market. We need you to keep the market running smoothly! There are two 2-hour shifts of two table spots: CC/EBT Manager and General Table Assistant and four 1-hour Counter spots, as well as setup and breakdown shifts.
Ackermann Maple Farm is back this week.
Donna Carlstrom of Sheepshed, a Wakefield summer vendor, will join us this month with her handspun and hand-dyed yarns and delightful sheep pottery. We hear that she will be demonstrating her spinning, as well.
Be sure to check out Atlantic Salt Works for hand-harvested sea salt. From “just the salt” in flake and grindable form, to gourmet blends including Lemon Sea Salt, Salty Tuscan Herbs, and, believe it or not, Coffee Sea Salt – the perfect touch when sprinkled lightly on vanilla ice cream.
Our fish vendors will be alternating months for the winter market. This week we have Michelle Kraft, The Fish Lady.
Baer’s Best Beans is back for one more visit. Be sure to check them out for wonderful dried beans.
For the Kids
Jessica Buster will lead sing-alongs during the day for kids in the lower hall accessible directly from the entry area.
The Winter Market has a new cooking demonstrator, Amy Rindskopf. Amy loves developing recipes with local, seasonal produce. She lives in Winchester and is the events manager at Wright Locke Farm. Amy will use products and produce from the market to create recipes for you to sample and make at home.
Today I met with Enes Ulukaya, Burhan Kaya, and Bilal Arigun of the Turkish Cultural Center in Revere and Boston. Melrose has a growing Turkish population, and it was interesting to talk to these gentlemen about their experiences and the cultural ties between many Massachusetts cities and Turkey. I encourage you to check out their website, which has a lot of information about the cultural activities they offer.
Here is a press release we received from the Melrose Energy Commission.
Among the many creative options formulated to help people go solar is a new concept: solar sharing. This program connects two groups: 1) people who want solar power but do not (or can’t) have solar panels on their roofs and 2) those who have solar panels and would like to share their electricity (as well as the cost of the solar array).
Boston-based Yeloha is a new company that is offering this service. You can learn more about Yeloha’s solar sharing network at a free presentation hosted by the Melrose Energy Commission on Thursday, Jan. 28, at 7:15 p.m. It takes place at the Milano Center, 201 W. Foster St., Melrose, and is open to the public.
Nataly Cahn, Director of Energy Choice at Yeloha, is the featured speaker. She has been working in the New England area, establishing affiliate partnerships with installers, real estate developers, large commercial entities and a variety of local organizations, including the Vermont utility company Green Mountain Power who adopted the platform in September. Homeowners, businesses and individuals are all eligible to take advantage of the program.
“Our goal is to help people access solar in the simplest way possible,” explained Cahn. “Through Yeloha’s sharing network, anyone with a computer or Smartphone can participate. You don’t even need a roof. People can purchase solar energy at a reduced rate by signing up for this program.”
According to Amit Rosner, Yeloha CEO and co-founder, participants can save an average of about 10 percent on their electric bills through solar sharing.
In addition to saving a significant amount of money on monthly electric bills, solar sharing can also help address global climate change.
“This is an excellent opportunity to learn about new ways to support solar power in our area,” said Lori Timmermann, Melrose Energy Commission co-chair. “There’s no obligation to sign up and people will be able to ask questions after the presentation. Not everyone has the wherewithal to install solar panels.
This program enables virtually anyone to obtain the benefits of solar energy.”
Advance registration is not required. For additional information, visit the MEC website, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 781-662-2616.
The Most Blessed Sacrament Women’s Guild will hold its 52nd Annual Holly Festival and Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Parish Center, 1155 Main St., Wakefield. Gift Items available for your Christmas 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. There are lots of raffles including a handmade quilt, several Lottery scratch ticket trees, restaurant gift certificates and a cash raffle of $100.00. Also, 50-50 chances are sold throughout the day. You can even have a Caricature done! Our lunch menu includes fresh lobster rolls, chicken salad, hot dogs, homemade meatball subs, homemade chili, and pizza. Honeydew 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.
Sure, the holidays are a magical time of year — but let’s face it, they can be pretty hectic, too! The annual Marketplace at the Melrose Highlands Congregational Church is the perfect place to get into the spirit of the season while crossing a bunch of to-dos off your list.
The festivities take place on Saturday, November 14th from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at 355 Franklin Street in Melrose. You’ll find plenty to keep you and your family entertained, including fun, hands-on activities for kids. In addition, you will not want to miss our deservedly famous lobster roll luncheon. With a choice of chicken salad or a hot dog for those who don’t love lobster, our menu has you covered!
Looking for gifts for the upcoming holidays or a little something for yourself? Well, look no further! This year’s Marketplace will feature a wide array of options, including heavenly baked goods, jewelry, knit goods, beautiful fabric homegoods, note cards, PartyLite Candles, Avon, 31 Bags, and—timely indeed—exquisite, table-top lit Christmas trees. We’ll have raffle baskets for all ages that are sure to be a hoot, and we’ll also have a great selection of “nearly new” items in our Timeless Treasures room—with hourly markdowns on prices—that you and your budget will both like.
Finally, if you’ve enjoyed these festive Highlands happenings in the past, then you’re probably wondering if you’ll find that famous aged—four years or so—Wisconsin cheddar cheese we always feature, and those memorable Aunt Ruby’s peanuts. Yes, we’ll have them! Don’t be late, though: the cheese sells out quickly, and if you’ve ever tasted it, you know why.
We can’t think of a better way to kick off the holidays. We look forward to seeing you on November 14th!
Here is a press release we received from the Melrose Symphony.
The Melrose Symphony kicks off its 98th Opening Night on Saturday, November 7 at 8 pm, in Memorial Hall. The concert features 18-year-old pianist Kadar Qian performing Rachmaninoff’s famous “Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini.”
Kadar Qian is no stranger to the Melrose Symphony; he first performed with the orchestra at the age of 13, and has since performed over 100 concerts, including a solo appearance with the Boston Pops and NPR’s “From the Top.” In addition to his performing career, Kadar Qian is the president of his class at Westford Academy, and has served as the Melrose Symphony’s Assistant Conductor since 2013.
Don’t miss this exhilarating and insightful performance led by the charismatic conductor Yoichi Udagawa. Bobby C’s Ristorante provides refreshments and food during the performance for a perfect night out supporting local culture and businesses in Melrose!
Tickets & More Information
Tickets are $10 for students; $29 general admission. Buy online or purchase in-store cash or check at Sweet Thoughts or Miter Biter, both on Main Street, Melrose.
The Teal Pumpkin Project is a way to make Halloween a special night for all our children, including those with food allergies. The idea is simple: If you’re offering non-food treats instead of or in addition to the traditional candy, paint a pumpkin teal or put up one of their downloadable posters to let trick-or-treaters know. The food allergy organization FARE is promoting the idea, and they have more information, as well as downloadable posters, at their website.