No decisions were made, but Shelter Development presented more architectural detail on its proposed 137-unit Brightview Senior Living facility on Crescent Street at the Oct. 22 meeting of the Wakefield Zoning Board of Appeals. The board in turn gave Brightview representatives feedback and indicated areas related to density and architecture that need to be addressed brian_mcgrail3further at a special ZBA meeting set for Wednesday, Nov. 5. That meeting will also move on to discuss landscaping, lighting and signage.

Shelter Development and Brightview Senior Living are sister companies under the Shelter Group of companies.

Attorney Brian McGrail began by asking Shelter’s Director of Development Michael Glynn to address public questions regarding how Shelter got from a possibility of 90 units to the currently proposed 137.

Glynn said that when Shelter entered into an agreement two years ago to purchase the Fraen Corporation properties (338 Main St. and several houses on Crescent Street) they were exploring several options, one of which was for 90 assisted living units. After doing a feasibility study, Glynn said, the company saw that there was a significant need for independent living units as well as assisted living and memory care units. They viewed the downtown location with its walkability as ideal for independent living.
Continue reading ‘Architecture, density of proposed senior living facility discussed’

voter_infoBy now you’ve received the red booklet, Massachusetts Information for Voters: 2014 Ballot Questions, published by William Francis Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth. This handy booklet provides you with all the information on the four ballot questions that you could possibly need when you go to vote on Nov. 4.

All the information, that is, except the most important piece of information of all: how you should vote on each question. They actually expect us to think for ourselves! What on earth are we paying taxes for?!

Don’t worry, I’ve done the thinking for you. The following is my own handy Guide to the 2014 Ballot Questions.
Continue reading ‘A balanced approach to ballot questions’

On October 8, , Shelter Development publicly unveiled its new proposal to construct a 137-unit Brightview Senior Living facility on downtown properties currently owned by the Fraen Corporation. The facility would front on Crescent Street. Representatives of Shelter Development presented a general overview of the proposal at last night’s meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Shelter Development and Brightview Senior Living are sister companies.

Shelter is seeking Special Permits to allow it to build on properties that encompass 338 Main St., as well as 11, 15, 17, 19, and 21 Crescent St., all of which are currently owned by the Fraen Corporation, and 25 Crescent St. Fraen has expressed its preference to sell all its properties together to one buyer.

A previous proposal to build a 140-unit Brightview facility in conjunction with a public parking garage was approved by a Special Town Meeting last February but later defeated in a Special Election and defeated again in attempt to revisit it at Annual Town Meeting last May.
Continue reading ‘Brightview proposes 137-unit downtown assisted living facility’

Candidates vying for 9th Essex District seat in Massachusetts House

Clear differences emerged as incumbent Rep. Donald Wong, a Saugus Republican, debated Democratic challenger Christopher Finn, also of Saugus, last week at Wakefield’s WCAT studios. Wong and Finn are running for the Massachusetts House of Representatives 9th Essex District seat, which includes all of Saugus and Precincts 1, 2 and 7 in Wakefield.
Continue reading ‘Wong & Finn air differences in debate’


For better or worse, automated trash collection started in Wakefield, MA on Sept. 29. And for better or worse, it’s here to stay – at least for as long as the current trash contract is in effect.

I’m not interested in arguing the merits pro or con of automated trash collection. But I am fascinated by the number of people for whom the new system apparently came as a complete surprise.

Some are on social media trashing the new system and calling for a return to the old system.

Facebook pundits are even asserting that the town implemented the automated trash collection unilaterally without the citizens having a chance to weigh in or vote on it. Others are suggesting that the details were kept quiet and people didn’t know what they were voting on when they approved Article 13, which included automated trash collection, at Annual Town Meeting last May.

That, if you’ll pardon the expression, is rubbish. Those people obviously didn’t attend Town Meeting.
Continue reading ‘Trashing Automated Collection’

lock_brodeur2Both candidates running for the 32nd Middlesex District seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives want to keep casino gambling in Massachusetts, but incumbent Rep. Paul Brodeur and his Republican challenger John Lock disagreed on most other issues as they debated last week at Wakefield’s WCAT studios.

The 32nd Middlesex District includes all of Melrose and Wakefield precincts 3, 4, 5 and 6.
Continue reading ‘State Rep rivals Brodeur & Lock debate’

Through October 18, 2014

The Umbrella’s current presentation of Angels in America Part 2 – Perestroika marks the culmination of Director Nancy Curran Willis’ second time around with Tony Kushner’s epic about the dawn of the AIDS epidemic. In 2008, Willis won an Elliot Norton Award (with co-director Jason Southerland) for Boston Theatre Works production of Angels in America, Parts 1 and 2.

curran-willisHaving seen Part 1 last spring and now Part 2 at the Umbrella in Concord, I can understand why Willis waited six years before undertaking this daunting and demanding show again.

But theater-going audiences will be grateful that she did. And you don’t need to have seen Part 1 to enjoy Part 2, although there is a condensed five minute video of Part 1 to bring you up to speed.

Angels in America is a snapshot of a time in American history. It’s 1985, President Ronald Reagan has just been re-elected and the deadly AIDS epidemic is reaching its height. If Part 1 was about the destruction of lives and relationships, Part 2 is about the attempt to rebuild a shattered world into something new.
Continue reading ‘‘Angels in America Part 2 – Perestroika’ at the Umbrella in Concord, MA’



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