Summer is typically known as a slow period for news. The theory is that people are on vacation and therefore less likely to make news or to be paying attention when other people make news, so what’s the point of making news?

tierney_headshotPoliticians know this. That’s why, despite a Sept. 9 primary and a Nov. 4 general election where we’ll be voting for a congressman, a new Governor and a host of other major statewide offices, the average citizen hasn’t heard a peep from any of the candidates. They’re holding their fire (and their advertising war chests) until after Labor Day when, trust me, you’ll be wishing you’d never heard of any of these people.

But there’s some news even the politicians can’t control, despite their best efforts to hide from it.
Continue reading ‘Summer’s Big Chill’


Amy Herzog’s funny, moving take on the human condition
miles1Amy Herzog’s 4000 Miles, currently at the Gloucester Stage Company, deals with some deep matters, including life, death, aging, coming home and moving on. But far from weighing it down, these universal themes emerge as organically as the fruit of a community garden in Herzog’s Obie winning and Pulitzer nominated play.
Continue reading ‘‘4000 Miles’ at Gloucester Stage Company’


Galvin demolition conjures ghosts of schools past

galvin_demo2Watching the big yellow CAT’s giant claw rip through the old Galvin Middle School last week, one couldn’t help but wonder – if those walls could talk, what would they say? (Besides “Get that damn machine away from me!”)

They don’t build them like they used to. The building that opened in 1955 as Wakefield Memorial High School will be gone less than 60 years later. Meanwhile, the Lincoln School (built in 1892) survives as senior housing. The Warren School (1897) houses the McCarthy Senior Center. The 1902 Franklin School is now condominiums. The Greenwood School, built in 1897 and the Hurd School (1899) are still being used to educate kids.

And now, the Main Street site where once stood the majestic mansion of none other than Cyrus Wakefield himself is being dismantled and rebuilt faster than the 2014 Boston Red Sox.
Continue reading ‘School’s Out Forever’


Economic revitalization of downtown areas is usually aimed at sprucing up what’s already here through things like improved, uniform signage and dressing up storefronts as well as attracting the kinds of new businesses that reflect the quaint, warm and homey small town feel that we either remember from our childhoods or have seen on postcards from the Good Old Days before malls and the Internet stole all our retail commerce.

cvs_oldWhich makes all the recent hand-wringing over a possible “Dollar Store” in downtown Wakefield, MA so very interesting.

That possibility has once again surfaced with respect to the possible re-uses of the still vacant former CVS building on Main Street in Wakefield. Rumors that a Dollar Store was going into the space first came up earlier this year. But at the time, people were too busy dictating to the owners of the Fraen Corporation what they could do with their property to give much more than passing attention to the specter of a Dollar Store.
Continue reading ‘A Fistful of Dollar Stores’


Play bends comedy, drama and mystery in one entertaining package

plum_snee2Widowed Mary Antonelli, a retired school teacher, and Joe LaCedra, a 64 year-old leg-breaker for the mob, are spending a stormy New Year’s Eve together in Mary’s South Boston home. But this is no social encounter. It’s strictly business. We learn that much in the opening seconds of Jack Neary’s Auld Lang Syne, currently on stage at the Gloucester Stage Company.

Joe (played by Richard Snee) has to drag the details out of Mary (Snee’s real life spouse, Paula Plum), who phoned him earlier and asked him to come over. It turns out that Mary made her late husband Arthur a promise on his deathbed and she needs to hire the gangster to carry out the job. She can’t do it herself, she explains, because, well, that would be a mortal sin. But a gangster like Joe can do it, she reasons, because, “People who don’t believe in heaven or hell are the kind that murder people.”
Continue reading ‘‘Auld Lang Syne’ at Gloucester Stage Company’


New book on legendary Wakefield, Massachusetts Amusement Park

Pleasure Island 1959-1969“It’s been highly rewarding,” says local author Bob McLaughlin of writing his second book on famed local amusement park, Pleasure Island, published this month by Arcadia. The best part, according to the affable Water Street resident, was getting “to meet a lot of people I never would have met.”

Indeed, over the years McLaughlin has crisscrossed the country at his own expense conducting interviews and doing research for his two books on Pleasure Island plus another on New York’s Freedomland amusement park.

“Pleasure Island: 1959–1969,” is an all new, full-color photographic history of legendary theme park located off Audubon Road in Wakefield MA, where the Edgewater Office Park now sits.
Continue reading ‘Pleasure Island: 1959-1969’


parade_sign Like other secular national holidays, Independence Day brings its share of reminders of the “true meaning” of the holiday. Enjoy your three-day weekend, we’re told, but take a moment to think about why we observe the day. This seems especially appropriate on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, when we pay tribute to those who fought and died for our country.

But unlike Veterans Day and Memorial Day, which are more observances than festive occasions, the Fourth of July is a true celebration. Still, it’s worth remembering what happened 238 years ago. Have your hot dogs and beer and watermelon, they’ll be telling us tomorrow, but make sure you take a moment to remember why we celebrate Independence Day.
Continue reading ‘A Founding Father’s Advice on Celebrating Independence Day’




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