Tuesday, December 12, 2017
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  • Malden High graduates 446 at Macdonald Stadium

    Friday, June 09, 2017 00:00
  • Residents in favor of RCN coming to city

    Friday, August 25, 2017 08:53
  • Sergio Cornelio unanimously appointed City Clerk

    Saturday, August 05, 2017 09:22
  • DeRuosi’s Report Card

    Friday, August 04, 2017 10:24
  • Help choose the next Malden Reads 2018 book selection!

    Friday, June 09, 2017 00:00


School officials propose a “responsible” balanced budget

School officials have proposed a $69.2 million balanced budget that avoids layoffs and cuts and keeps programs and services intact.

A public hearing on the School Department’s budget proposal will be held on June 19 at 6 p.m. at the Senor Center. This week Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Grandson IV, Malden Public Schools Finance Director/Business Manager Toni Mertz and members of the School Committee met with the Finance Committee to review next year’s numbers. And unlike other school budget meetings in years past, the conversation was cordial.

“This is one of the most responsible budgets I’ve seen,” said Ward 6 Councillor Neil Kinnon. “It’s a remarkable budget to come in at this number and maintain services.”

Grandson introduced the budget with the good news first. “One of the things this budget accomplishes, and we see this this as an accomplishment, is there are no layoffs,” he told the Finance Committee. “It’s pretty much level service in what we are able to provide to students.”

But the school district still faces financial challenges. Special Education costs will increase by $2.6 million next year. Special Education programs and services account for 37 percent of the total school budget proposed for 2018. “We have more than doubled our number of student with severe needs because of the diagnoses of autism,” said Assistant Superintendent Carol Keenan. Special Education transportation costs will also increase from $1.9 million to $2.6 million, about $600,000 more than school officials anticipated.

A new facilities manager and increases in overtime pay and supplies for custodians will add about $325,000 to the cost of maintaining city school buildings next year.

While the 2018 budget proposal represents a 2.6 percent increase over this year’s $67.3 million school budget, the new funding will be needed to cover mandated and essential costs.

During the school year, parents and educators developed a list of priorities that included restoring three librarians to the individual school libraries, hiring three health teachers for grades K-8, establishing a district-wide gifted and talented student program and hiring security personnel for the high school during evening hours. Grandson said there is no money in next year’s budget to pay for those and other priorities set by the community, but the administration can pursue alternative funding such as foundation grants.

Grandson, who was hired last summer as an interim superintendent, was a finalist during this year’s search for a permanent superintendent. However, the School Committee selected Somerville High School Headmaster John Oteri for the job.

Several councillors thanked Grandson for stepping in when the city needed him and praised the work he did over the past year. “You did a fabulous job,” said Councillor-at-Large Debbie DeMaria. “You’ll be missed.”

Ward 7 Councillor Neal Anderson echoed the comments and compliments. “Thank you for what you’ve done this year,” Anderson said. “I’m going to miss you, really miss you.”

Grandson has been keeping Oteri updated on the district’s decisions and news, and he graciously gave the incoming superintendent his vote of confidence. “Malden is in really good hands,” he said.


City looks at new possibilities for Commercial Street

With Malden Center well on the way to a major revival, the city is turning its attention to the site of the next big improvement project, the Commercial Street Corridor. Malden Redevelopment Authority (MRA) Executive Director Deborah Burke brought a team of urban planners and analysts to the City Council meeting this week to present an overview of a new study that will provide ideas and strategies on how to reimagine and redevelop Commercial Street.

MassDevelopment, the state’s economic development agency, is leading the project and picking up the $75,000 tab for the study. The agency will have some help from Harriman Associates, a planning and urban design firm with more than a century of experience in New England. Also on board is the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, or ICIC, a nonprofit organization that specializes in urban economic development.

“The study will identify strategies to enhance access to the Malden River, improve open space and implement appropriate zoning and land use regulations,” said Burke. “It will define how these strategies support diversified job retention and creation along the corridor that reflect Malden’s competitive edge in the region.”

Commercial Street is now in the city’s spotlight in part because of the changing neighborhood. River’s Edge, a huge mixed-use development located primarily in Medford, appears to be thriving, and the Wynn Boston Harbor resort casino is going up on Everett’s riverfront. Commercial Street is feeling pressure from residential and mixed-use developers looking up the road for the next opportunity.

Amada Maher of MassDevelopment said the new study will focus on how to make the most of the Commercial Street Corridor and its current sea of parking lots and boxy industrial building. “We want to look at how we preserve jobs and create a more robust set of uses,” said Maher, adding that the study will scope out the industries best suited for Commercial Street and those which have the greatest potential. An assessment of environmental factors and challenges in the area, which has been home to some hardcore industrial activity, might shape those recommendations.

The study will also examine the possibility of moving Malden’s Public Works Yard, which is located on a large riverfront parcel owned by MRA. While many agree that a DPW yard is not the best use for a prime piece of municipal waterfront property, the problem is finding a new location large enough for the DPW.

Burke said the study will offer strategies to reclaim the DPW site and achieve other goals, such as attracting new businesses that will bring a mix of jobs and opportunities for workers with a broad range of experience and skills. “The focus is to reinvigorate the corridor with commercial activity,” she said. Improving public access to the river and creating more open space are also key elements of a new enterprise hub on Commercial Street.

The community will have a chance to weigh in on the plan for a Commercial Street makeover. “As part of the planning process, we will host public events and meetings to solicit ideas, answer questions and get feedback from Malden residents, business owners, community groups and others,” said Burke, adding that the study group will also be reaching out to the stakeholders in the upcoming weeks.

Staff from MassDevelopment, Harriman Associates and ICIC plan to start the community conversation on the Commercial Street Corridor at the different neighborhood Fourth of July celebrations, including those scheduled for July 2.


Council tables request for new small cell antennas

Verizon calls them new sky furniture, Ward 5 Councillor Barbara Murphy calls them skyline litter and analysts who keep tabs on the wireless data industry call small cell antennas inevitable.

Last December, Cellco, a company that provides equipment for Verizon Wireless, asked the City Council to approve its request to install small cell antennas on utility poles on Eastern Avenue and Salem Street. The antennas, which are three-foot canisters roughly one foot in diameter, work together with larger rooftop or free-standing towers to increase the speed and capacity of wireless service.

But the council had already approved Cellco’s request to install three small cell antennas on poles on Highland Avenue and Summer and Newland Streets several months earlier. When Cellco came back with a request for two more small cell antennas, councillors balked.

“I think this is something that’s going to be coming in all over the place,” said Ward 6 Councillor Neil Kinnon. “I think you folks will be back here over and over again and I would like to know what the plans are.”

Councillors voted to table the request and asked Cellco for more information about future small cell antennas. They asked for information on large and small cell towers in communities surrounding Malden, including specific locations and fees paid by wireless companies. They requested a five-year forecast for small cell antenna installations.

Some communities have crafted small cell antenna ordinances, and councillors wanted to review those regulations. And they had questions about other companies, such as Sprint and AT&T and their small cell antenna plans and ambitions.

Last April, Cellco sent the councillors a report, roughly two inches thick, with information and answers to their questions. But councillors did not receive copies of that report until this week, shortly before a Cellco rep was back at the podium to continue the hearing started last year.

Councillors agreed to table Cellco’s petition again, this time so they could read the report they requested. Several councillors also shared old and new concerns.

“Why do we want to do this?” asked Ward 7 Councillor Neal Anderson. “Are we doing the right thing for residents? We need a review from the legal department. We need to make sure we are not approving something we will be sorry about.”

Ward 3 Councillor John Matheson suggested Verizon’s need for small cell antennas to increase the capacity and speed of wireless service is driven by the advertising pop-ups and videos embedded in many websites. Matheson said the council had talked about a permitting process for small cell antennas last December and added that that might be a better way to handle petitions to install them.

Cellco’s plan calls for crowning utility poles with the grey canister antennas, wiring and fixtures. The company contends that nobody notices the equipment because it is roughly 40 feet above ground level.

But Councillor-at-Large Craig Spadafora said anyone who lives on the second floor of a building will notice a small cell antenna, and the view isn’t pretty. He suggested that Cellco design and install new poles with the antennas and wiring tucked inside and out of sight.

And Murphy again stressed that small cell antennas may become skyline litter. “If we are going to allow this to happen – and that’s a big if – we need a standard,” she said. “I won’t approve any of these for anyone until we have a discussion about this.”

But the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) might soon undercut the council’s ability to protect Malden’s skyline. Verizon has faced resistance to small cell antennas in cities and towns throughout the country. In response, the company has asked the FCC to limit a municipality’s ability to reject small cell antennas.

Verizon claims such decisions interfere with and limit communication services, which are protected under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Verizon has asked the FCC to limit the timeframe for decisions on small cell antennas and to allow companies to install the equipment if communities fail to provide compelling reasons against the antennas within 90 to 120 days.

The FCC has agreed to review the rules and is now accepting public comments on the proposed changes.


Beacon Hill Roll Call

THE HOUSE AND SENATE: Beacon Hill Roll Call records local senators’ votes on roll calls from late May sessions. There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week.


Senate 38-0, approved an amendment providing $100,000 for a study by UMass Boston of the early education and care workforce.

Amendment supporters said this will help develop a plan to attract new and retain existing early education and care workers who are underpaid but are crucial to our children’s education.

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment.)

Sen. Jason Lewis              Yes



Senate 38-0, approved an amendment creating a Municipal Epinephrine Bulk Purchase Program that will allow cities and towns to save money on their purchase of epinephrine for municipal first responders agencies and schools. Epinephrine is a drug that treats life-threatening allergic reactions caused by a variety of things including an insect bite or sting, food, medication and latex.

Amendment supporters said the cost of a pair of life-saving EpiPens has skyrocketed from $100 in 2006 to $608 in 2017. They noted that this price gouging by the maker Mylan has made the EpiPen unaffordable to many people who need them and has sadly resulted in deaths. They argued that banding together and bulk-purchasing allows the government to negotiate with the manufacturer to get the lowest price.

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment.)

Sen. Jason Lewis              Yes



Senate 37-0, approved an amendment increasing funding for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP) by $1 million (from $16.5 million to $17.5 million). MEFAP provides quality and healthy foods and locally grown fresh produce to a statewide network of over 800 emergency food providers who distribute the food to low-income families.

Amendment supporters said this program, established in 1995, has fed hundreds of thousands of people. They said that projected federal government rollback of protections for the state’s neediest requires the state to step up and make up the shortfall.

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment.)

Sen. Jason Lewis              Yes



Senate 38-0, approved an increase of $2 million (from $18 million to $20 million) in funding for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC).

The MLAC provides legal representation for indigent and disadvantaged residents.

Amendment supporters said these services ensure equal access to the justice system for thousands of below-poverty level Massachusetts residents including accused criminals, the poor, seniors, battered women, tenants and Medicaid recipients.

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment.)

Sen. Jason Lewis              Yes


$500,000 FOR LGBTQ YOUTH (S 3)

Senate 38-0, approved an amendment earmarking $500,000 of existing funding for youth at-risk programs utilizing an evidence-based positive youth development model, including programs that serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth.

Amendment supporters said this funding will help improve the lives of many youths who still face discrimination, violence and bullying. They noted these teens have a high suicide rate.

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment).

Sen. Jason Lewis              Yes


HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK’S SESSION? Beacon Hill Roll Call tracks the length of time that the House and Senate were in session each week. Many legislators say that legislative sessions are only one aspect of the Legislature’s job and that a lot of important work is done outside of the House and Senate chambers. They note that their jobs also involve committee work, research, constituent work and other matters that are important to their districts. Critics say that the Legislature does not meet regularly or long enough to debate and vote in public view on the thousands of pieces of legislation that have been filed. They note that the infrequency and brief length of sessions are misguided and lead to irresponsible late-night sessions and a mad rush to act on dozens of bills in the days immediately preceding the end of an annual session.

During the week of May 29-June 2, the House met for a total of two hours and 42 minutes and the Senate met for a total of two hours and 28 minutes.

Mon. May 29 No House session

No Senate session

Tues. May 30 House 11:03 a.m. to 11:16 a.m.

Senate 11:06 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.

Wed. May 31 No House session

No Senate session

Thurs. June 1 House 11:00 a.m. to 1:29 p.m.

Senate 11:08 a.m. to 1:32 p.m.

Fri. June 2 No House session

No Senate session


Bob Katzen welcomes
feedback at
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Malden residents to receive preference for jobs at Wynn Boston Harbor

The City of Malden and Malden Redevelopment Authority will host a jobs fair on Tuesday, June 27 from 6:30-8 p.m. at Oppa’s Kitchen & Bar, which is located at 157 Pleasant St. The event will highlight job opportunities soon to be available at the Wynn Boston Harbor resort casino in Everett. Representatives from Wynn Boston Harbor will be on hand to discuss the types of employment opportunities, when jobs will be available and how Malden residents may apply.

As part of the Surrounding Community Agreement with Wynn Resorts, Malden residents have a hiring preference when applying for the 4,300 positions at the new resort. Wynn Boston Harbor is expected to open in June 2019.

For more information, contact Kevin Hunter of the Malden Redevelopment Authority at 781-324-5720 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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