Eight men out

14Feb19

Who couldn’t have seen this coming?

The folks who took the “man” out of selectman now want to manipulate the gender composition of other boards.

So much being gender neutral.

Recently, the Wakefield Town Council advertised for candidates to serve on the crisply-named “Public Safety Building Re-Assessment Committee.”

In mid-November, the notice was posted widely – online, on social media and in the Wakefield Daily Item — requesting applicants to serve on the newly-created committee.
Continue reading ‘Eight men out’

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Take a hike

07Feb19

Throughout his decades as a steady presence on the local scene, he has cultivated an air of quiet reserve. But now, one of Wakefield’s most iconic figures has finally broken his silence.

Some may find what he had to say shocking.

In an exclusive interview with the Wakefield Daily Item, the character known affectionately as “The Hiker” touched on a wide range of topics, from his own identity issues to “toxic masculinity” and gun rights.

We caught up with the local icon in front of The Rockery in Wakefield Square.

WAKEFIELD DAILY ITEM: What’s the one thing that you would like people to know about you?

THE HIKER: That I’m not a “Minuteman” — not that there’s anything wrong with that. Does this look like a tricorn hat to you? This is Wakefield, not Lexington or Concord. Come on people. Take a history class.
Continue reading ‘Take a hike’


Pretty Vacant

01Feb19

“Isn’t it a shame about all the empty storefronts downtown?”

“Which ones are empty?”

“Well, I haven’t been downtown lately. Nobody goes there anymore because there’s too much traffic and not enough parking.”

“Oh.”

There’s one myth almost as persistent as the one that Wakefield has become so overdeveloped that there’s no room for an autumn leaf to fall. It’s the fiction that Wakefield’s business district is a ghost town riddled with boarded up properties and “For Rent” signs.

Yet, somehow these contradictory canards exist side-by-side in local lore.
Continue reading ‘Pretty Vacant’


By MARK SARDELLA

BOSTON – Fans of the World Champion Boston Red Sox will notice a big difference when they attend 2019 home games at the park that John Updike once called, “a lyric little bandbox.”

In preparation for the team’s home opener, crews have already begun dismantling Fenway Park‘s iconic “Green Monster,” the 37-foot high left-field wall that has stood 310 feet from home plate since the Park was built in 1912.

“Walls are immoral,” said Red Sox owner John Henry. It was Henry who last year spearheaded the name change of Yawkey Way after he determined that 20th century Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey was a racist.

“Furthermore, walls don’t work,” the Red Sox owner continued. “Tens of thousands of home runs have been hit in Fenway Park. The wall did nothing to stop them.”

It was unclear what, if anything would replace the left field wall, although Henry said that a number of possibilities exist, including drones, remote video surveillance, aerial monitoring and a network of ground sensors.

“Walls are medieval technology,” Henry added.

Reached for comment at his home in Ohio, Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi said, “Wait – what?”


Once upon a time, there was a perfect little town that had the perfect number of people living in the perfect number of homes. That perfect little town had perfect little downtown with the perfect number of perfect little shops, selling perfectly adorable items to the perfect number of customers.

Then, the town fathers let the big, bad, greedy developers come in. They built giant apartment and condominium buildings everywhere and turned the perfect little town into a big, ugly, city.

The End.

I hope you enjoyed today’s fairy tale. Like all fairy tales, it’s simple, easy to understand and has nothing to do with reality.

And like most fairy tales, it’s also timeless. I’ve been hearing one version or another of this fable for at least 50 years. Ask someone older that me (if you can find him) and they’ll tell you about horror stories going back even further, warning of the Big Bad Wolf of Malden at our door.
Continue reading ‘The town and the city’


It’s time for our weekly vocabulary test. Today’s words are “clothing” and “shoes.”

Let’s start by using both words on in a sentence.

“A recliner is not clothing, and mattresses are not shoes.”

Congratulations! You’re smarter than a fourth-grader! You’ve also been eliminated as suspect in the trash dumping at the green donation bins in the MG Fitness lot at North Avenue and Broadway.
Continue reading ‘Junkyard Junction’


It’s Christmastime and, if I may so boldly observe, it’s cold outside.

Meanwhile, Rudolph has contacted the Reindeer Rights Commission to report bullying and harassment. Climate change has claimed the life of Frosty the Snowman and gender fluid Santa Claus is coming to town.

Into this season of gloom, I bring a ray of light – for I am, if nothing else, a giver. Yes, I’ve made my list, checked it twice and determined who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. (Sorry – I’m a little judgmental, too. It goes with the job.)

No need to get me anything. Trust me, the joy is in the giving.

To the Wakefield Town Council and the Wakefield School Committee: a joint resolution opposing plague, pestilence and famine.

To the Wakefield Independence Day Committee: a theme for the 2019 parade.

To the new Public Safety Building Committee: powers of arrest.

To Congressman Seth Moulton: a collar and a leash.

To Town Moderator Bill Carroll: an opponent to vanquish.

To Town Council Chairman Peter May: a suit of armor.

To Wayne Tarr: an electric car, rooftop solar panels and a wind turbine.

To the Massachusetts School Building Authority: three ghostly visits.

To Walton School neighbors: a cat.

To Town Councilor Mehreen Butt: an invitation from Alexandria Ocasio-Ortez to be her 2020 running mate.

To Fred Rich LaRiccia: Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.

To Town Councilor Julie Smith-Galvin: a fleet of solar-powered drones to patrol the town for recycling violators.

To Dan Lieber: the name of Bill Carroll’s joke writer.

To Bob McLaughlin: his own personal Shaw’s shopping cart.

To Bob Mitchell: an honorary law degree.

To Town Councilor Paul DiNocco: a white hat and cape.

To the Friends of Lake Quannapowitt: a memorial bench.

To Wakefield Memorial High School students: hidden Juuls.

To Wakefield’s homeless population: more comfortable ATMs.

To the Wakefield Fire Department: smart alarms that know when someone is just cooking or taking a shower.

To Wendy Dennis: a lifetime subscription to the Wakefield Daily Item.

And finally, to all the snowflakes out there, Happy Holidays.
To everyone else, Merry Christmas.

[This column originally appeared in the December 20, 2018 Wakefield Daily Item.]




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