By MARK SARDELLA

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WAKEFIELD — The scenario is this: Wakefield Police receive a call reporting a disturbance at Acme Corp., a company of 50 employees located at the end of a cul-de-sac in Wakefield. The company is headquartered in Israel and has been threatened in the past by radical Islamic groups. The threats have come via emails to the company president, but have never been acted on. On a few recent occasions, protesters have shown up at the company carrying signs denouncing Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Wakefield Police have responded to the company numerous times, mostly for accidental alarms, so they are familiar with the building.

Police dispatch initially sends two marked units to check on the disturbance.

That was the fictional scenario described by Sgt. Sean Beede of the Wakefield Police Department as he briefed 15 members of the Department in the parking lot of the Northeast Metro Tech High School shortly before they went through training for dealing with an active shooter situation at a business. The officers were split into three groups that went through the training separately. A portion of the Northeast Metro Tech High School on Hemlock Road served as the Acme Corp. building.
Continue reading ‘Wakefield Police officers train for “active shooter” situation’


My Earth Day

22Apr16

earthToday is Earth Day, and observances are underway around the world and have been for several weeks because coincidentally, April also happens to be Earth Month!

I find it outrageous that in 2016 we are so earth-centric as to focus only on the planet that we happen to inhabit out of the eight (formerly nine) in our solar system and potentially billions in the cosmos.

When is Mars Day celebrated? When is Mercury Month? We even went so far a few years ago as to demote the celestial body on the outermost fringe of our solar system from planetary status.

How Plutophobic of us!

But back to Earth Day. I have a full day of activities scheduled for my own personal celebration of the Earth and all its wonders.
Continue reading ‘My Earth Day’


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It’s happening everywhere.

The forces of political correctness have been picking off one innocent tradition after another.

It hit Wakefield this week.

The School Department announced that for this year’s High School graduation ceremonies, graduates will wear “gender neutral” gowns instead of the traditional red for boys and white for girls.

No, this is not a late April Fools’ Day column.
Continue reading ‘Red and white blues’


selectmen_debate2016
The recent candidates debates at WCAT once again proved to be a valuable tool in informing the voters about the candidates and issues in advance of the April 26 Town Election. I was happy once again to have had the privilege of serving on the press panel that posed questions, in two separate debates, to those running for the Board of Selectmen and Town Clerk.

I know how much hard work goes into putting televised debates on local cable. I produced and directed dozens of televised debates in the 1980s and early 1990s when the cable studio was on Water Street. It’s a time-consuming, labor-intensive and often thankless job for those involved in providing this invaluable public service, most of whom aren’t getting paid.

All those involved – the candidates, moderator Bill Carroll, producer David Watts, the WCAT staff and crew – pulled off the latest debates without a hitch. Everyone did themselves proud.

Well, almost everyone.
Continue reading ‘Debatable questions’


by MARK SARDELLA

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For nearly two hours, Anthony Amore entertained the packed audience at The Savings Bank Theater with tales of art theft and the sometimes colorful but often inept characters that perpetrate such crimes. Amore was the opening speaker in the 2016 Sweetser Lecture Series in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

As head of security and chief investigator at the Isabella Stewart Garner Museum in Boston since 2005, one of his primary tasks is handling the ongoing investigation of the infamous 1990 heist in which 13 priceless works of art were stolen from the museum.
Continue reading ‘Art crime expert Anthony Amore entertains Sweetser audience’


Thanks to ‘Wakefield Main Streets’ program

By MARK SARDELLA

flower_barrelWAKEFIELD — You’ve seen the flower barrels currently along Main Street in the downtown filled with colorful plantings from spring through summer. Starting in May, look for some new additions to that downtown beautification effort.

The Wakefield Main Streets program will be providing four new self-watering planters right in the center of the downtown. The new planters will be placed on the bump-outs on the corners of Main and Chestnut streets and Main and Centre streets.

John Ross, a member of the Wakefield Main Street Program board of directors recently appeared before the Board of Selectmen to pitch the idea.
Continue reading ‘Self-watering planters coming to downtown Wakefield’


Sometimes the solutions to our problems are so close we overlook them.

I am speaking of course of the new “Wakefield Walk” proposal that would make Main Street one-way heading north from the Melrose line to Lowell Street.

The northbound lane would remain open to vehicular traffic with no changes. The southbound lane would become a permanent pedestrian mall. Advocates insist that there would be little or no cost associated with the change.

armory_one_waySure, there would be an adjustment period. But people are adaptable. They got used to Armory Street being one-way didn’t they?

Any minor inconvenience would be offset by a long list of benefits. Let’s take them one at a time.

Instant Rail Trail, minus the rail. No more endless, multi-million-dollar feasibility studies that serve only to enrich engineers and attorneys. No more NIMBY Lynnfield abutters going on and on about their “private property rights.” On day one we’ll have a 4-mile, paved, ready-made pedestrian and bike path running straight through the center of town.
Continue reading ‘Make Main Street one-way’




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