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02 | 01940
A publication of Essex Media Group
Edward M. Grant
Chief Executive Officer
Michael H. Shanahan
Edward L. Cahill
John M. Gilberg
Edward M. Grant
Gordon R. Hall
Monica Connell Healey
J. Patrick Norton
Michael H. Shanahan
Chief Financial Officer
William J. Kraft
Chief Operating Officer
James N. Wilson
Anne Marie Tobin
Edwin Peralta Jr.
ESSEX MEDIA GROUP
110 Munroe St.,
Lynn, MA 01901
781-593-7700 ext. 1253
LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
04 What's Up
06 Late scribbler
10 Remember When
12 House Money
14 Gone fishin'
19 Mitchell Method
22 Life Savers
27 Living to leap
28 How her garden grows
We do it all
There are a lot of quality stories in this edition of 01940.
Ally Dunnigan writes about Margot (Kreplick) Bloom, whose friend Karen Nascembeni lost her
husband to COVID-19 while she was in a drug-induced coma from the virus, and who — with her
degree in pharmacy — was offered the job of vaccine coordinator at Fenway Park.
Anne Marie Tobin writes about Maureen Richard-Saltman, who, when laid off after working 30
years at a Fortune 500 company, promised herself she would try something different. Now she sells
her handmade jewelry and artwork at the Perfectly Imperfect Gift Shoppe, which she runs out of
the lower level of Lynnfield Community Church.
Steve Krause writes about Lynnfield native E.J. ( Jane) Gandolfo, who began writing books at —
get this — age 74. When the bottom fell out of her antique business (thanks to COVID) she tried
her hand at writing and self-publishing, and is now about to begin her sixth book.
Ally also writes about Lynnfield’s new campaign, “Above the Influence,” and its successful
and impactful first year. Based on a national campaign by the same name, it began locally as a
partnership between students from the middle and high schools and the nonprofit A Healthy
Then there’s Tréa Lavery’s story about Brandon Greenstein, an 18-year-old musician and producer
making a name for himself as The BreakBomb Project. He hit a million streams on Spotify earlier
Dan Kane writes about tree warden John Tomasz and the massive pine that clearly grew on him,
and Krause is back with Lynnfield High's Bakari Mitchell, who spent 12 years as a METCO
student and will go to Plymouth State and play defensive back in the fall.
And there’s no shortage on sports stories: Mike Alongi writes about Abbie Weaver, who has been
working as a women’s events intern for Mass Golf under the USGA P.J. Boatwright Internship. Anne
Marie — the best golfer at 01940 (sorry, Alongi) — writes about Gene Ellison, who, be it in golf,
finance, photography, coaching youth sports or fishing, seemingly does it all. And Kane tells us about
Brian Solomon, 15, a Level 10 gymnast — the highest in the USAG Junior Olympics program.
But I’m partial to two stories because . . . well, I’m partial to Boston College and McDonald’s:
Alongi’s piece on Jake Burt, the No. 1 overall pick in the Canadian Football League draft by
the Hamilton Tiger-Cats; and Anne Marie’s profile of Lindsay Wallin, who owns nine local
McDonald’s franchises and who treats her 450 employees in keeping with the company’s old
slogan, “You deserve a break today,” as witnessed by her offering $100 to each employee upon their
Lindsay Wallin knew her employees were scared — understandably so. But she demonstrated a
level of humanity rarely seen. She held the welfare of her employees on the same high level as her
As for Jake Burt, he played tight end at the Heights from 2015-19, with 23 receptions, 307 yards,
and 12 TDs in 36 games. He was one of the reasons I so enjoy game day in Alumni Field’s Box 30.
And she served those who serve me my McRibs and Big Macs and Quarter Pounders and . . .
BC football and McDonald’s.
I’m lovin’ it.
32 A shot of hope
34 Border bounder
36 Having it her way
38 Brushes in bloom
39 Wood warden
40 No reservations
42 Bomb dropper
43 Tunnel light
Margot Bloom helped
turn the tide against
COVID-19, one dose
at a time.
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04 | 01940
Summer of fun
What: Lynnfield Community
Schools’ “Summer of Fun Activities”
offers half- and full-day programs
for children in pre-kindergarten
through 5th grade.
Where: See the Lynnfield
Community Schools website for
more information. All activities held
at the high school, 275 Essex St.
When: Nine week-long programs
are scheduled through August 20.
Spy School in session
What: Children’s author Stuart
Gibbs talks about his books,
including “Spy School” and “Moon
Base Alpha,” and answers questions.
Where: Contact librarian Lauren
Fox, firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-334-
5411, for Zoom link.
When: Wednesday, July 14, noon-
Time to have fun
What: Lynnfield Recreation
sponsors “Rec Adventures” trips
including Altitude Trampoline,
Codzilla and Canobie Lake.
Where: Go to lynnfieldma.myrec.
com for information. Trips leave
from the middle school, 505 Main St.
When: Trips are scheduled through
August 12, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. for children
in grade 3 and up.
Fun Friday Grooves
What: MarketStreet sponsors
“Movin’ & Groovin’ Volume II”
singing and dancing for kids 6
months to 6 years.
Where: On The Green, 600 Market
St. Go to marketstreetlynnfield.
com/event for more information.
When: Fridays, July 9-August 13,
I’ve been a resident of Lynnfield for
over 42 years, my husband Phil and
I have raised our four children in
Lynnfield, and now we have 3 of our
grandchildren growing up in town as
well. I have immersed myself in every
aspect of the community and pride
myself on giving back a percentage of
each transaction to local charities.
Ellen Rubbico Crawford | Premier Realtor
email@example.com call/text: 617-599-8090
• LYNNFIELD TOWN PRIDE AWARD (30 YEARS OF VOLUNTEERING IN THE COMMUNITY)
• LYNN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE — BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARD
• PTO MEMBER 1990 – 2009
• LAA, LET, POST PROM, MOVING ON, TOWN WIDE YARD SALE
• MEMBER OF LYNNFIELD CATHOLIC COLLABORATIVE
• GRASS ROOTS COMMITTEE FOR THE 2000 AND 2021 SCHOOL BUILDING PROJECTS
• GRASS ROOTS COMMITTEE TO SUPPORT MARKET STREET
• FRIENDS OF THE SENIOR CENTER
• FRIENDS OF THE LYNNFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY
• LYNNFIELD VILLAGE HOME & GARDEN CLUB
• TOWNSCAPE BOARD MEMBER
• STAUNCH SUPPORTER OF ALL COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
AWARDS AND PROFESSIONAL RECOGNITION:
• PREMIER REAL ESTATE AGENT — 10 YEARS
• PLATINUM CLUB AWARD — DOUBLE CENTURION AWARD — 100% CLUB — EXECUTIVE CLUB
• WR CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE — TOP SELLING TEAM MEMBER
• WR CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE — TOP LISTING TEAM MEMBER
• MEMBER — GOVERNOR’S BOARD OF MASSACHUSETTS HOME OWNERSHIP ADVISORY
• CHLMS — CERTIFIED LUXURY HOME MARKETING SPECIALIST
• SRES — SENIOR REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST
• SRS — SELLER REPRESENTATIVE SPECIALIST
• NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
• MASSACHUSETTS ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
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932 Lynnfield Street, Lynnfield, MA 01940 www.raveis.com
06 | 01940
Author catching up after a late start
BY STEVE KRAUSE
E.J. Gandolfo is in the prolific stage
of her literary life, which might seem
unusual considering she didn’t start
writing until she was 74.
Now, three years later, she can’t stop.
Earlier this year, Gandolfo, a 1961
Lynnfield High graduate, released the
fourth book of her Veronica Howard
Vintage Mysteries series, this one
entitled “Tasting Death.”
To say it’s been a long journey for
her doesn’t begin to tell the story. Her
only writing prior to becoming an author
was in advertising and public relations,
writing TV commercials and copy for
“I never thought I would write a
book,” she says.
That was early in her life. Her “middle
period,” as it were, consisted of the 32
years she spent as an antiques dealer. But
it got to the point where the economy
couldn’t support that, either.
“The economy being what it was, it
wasn’t going to be feasible to do that for
much longer,” she said.
So she circled back to her earlier
profession, this time writing fiction
instead of ad copy. And what she found
was that writing, like a lot of things,
“You need the discipline, and you
need the time,” Gandolfo said.
She also learned that inspiration
doesn’t always come when you want it to.
It comes when it comes.
“There are times you can’t sleep,” she
says. “You have ideas rattling around your
brain, and you just have to do something
Having the ideas is one thing; the
devil is in the details when it comes to
the rest of the book-writing process.
“If you have an idea for a story, and
you outline it, that’s fine,” she said. “But
you still have to flesh it in, and that
doesn’t always come when you want it to.”
She indicated that the way that
worked best for her was to let the ideas
come when they may.
“Sometimes, flying by the seat of your
pants is the way you can create,” said
Gandolfo, who lived in Lynnfield for 25
years. “It gives you the juices so you can
Jane Gandolfo of Lynnfield is the author of the "Veronica Howard Vintage Mysteries" series and has
recently released its fourth installment, "Tasting Death."
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK GANDOLFO, page 8
08 | 01940
GANDOLFO, continued from page 6
To anyone who might want to start
writing novels, she provides one bit of
caution: “This is a very tough way to
make a buck.”
“Tasting Death” is the fourth
installment in what Gandolfo thought
would be a trilogy — with No. 5 in the
making, too. She wrote “Tasting Death” as
an homage to her grandfather, who was in
the food business. At the time he died —
when Gandolfo’s father was 2 years old —
he owned the largest import-export store
in the North End of Boston.
“My brother and I talk about our family
all the time,” she said. “I’d have loved to
have met (my grandfather). My father’s
whole family was in the food business. They
worked very hard. They were up at 4 every
morning, and put in long days.”
Gandolfo uses all of her environmental
influences in her books. For example,
“Tasting Death” concerns organized crime
infiltrating her fictional North Shore town
of Bromfield in the 1980s to distribute
drugs “in an ingenious manner,” which has
something to do with the food business —
she won’t say what.
“Bromfield,” she says, “is a combination
of several North Shore towns, like
The cover of Jane Gandolfo's "Tasting Death."
Lynnfield, Marblehead and Peabody. This
all takes place on fishing boats, and there
are references to Beverly Airport.”
The book’s heroes — Veronica
Howard and Harry Hunt — are
undercover FBI agents who appear in all
the books. The couple lives in Boston, but
Veronica has a store in Bromfield that
“All the stories involve antiques,
vintage clothing, antique jewelry,”
Gandolfo said. “That’s my marketing
niche for writing books.
“You have to find what nobody else
has written about,” she said. “There are
10,000 books a week printed in the
United States. Probably more than that,
but that’s the figure they throw out. Most
of them are self-published, as are mine.
I had an agent look at my stuff, and had
a couple of publishers who rejected me.
They told me to come back in five years. I
was 74. I didn’t have five years.
“Unless you’re one of the big guys, you
don’t have a chance in this business,” she
said. “It’s really tough. If you want to be
in print, you have to do it yourself. That’s
why Amazon is so big. Everybody who
wants to write has to realize that unless
they have a New York Times best seller
under their belt, they don’t have a chance.”
Lest anybody think self-publishing is
an inexpensive proposition, think again.
“You have to set aside a large chunk
of money and time, and you have to have
computer knowledge,” she said. “That
was the hardest part for me. There are no
more galleys. In my day, everything was
galleys (proofed pages). I’m an old-timer.
That’s how we did it.”
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771 SALEM STREET LYNNFIELD MA 01940 | WWW.EVERETTBANK.COM
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932 Lynnfield Street | Lynnfield | MA | 01940
10 | 01940
A Lynnfield look back
BY TRÉA LAVERY
Lynnfield’s first high school football team started playing. The school first
had a ninth-grade team and a junior varsity team composed of sophomore
students, with both teams coached by Steve Sobieck, a veteran from the
Korean War. The JV team played six games in its first season before going on
to serve as the foundation of the school’s first varsity team in 1959.
Lynnfield High School published the first edition of its student newspaper, The
Beacon. Sophomore Cynthia Chaffee submitted the name, which was chosen in
a school-wide contest. The first edition of the paper, published five times during
the school year, was four pages long and consisted of news, short stories, gossip
columns, sport features, cartoons and photographs created by students. It was
financed by advertisements and yearly subscriptions.
opened its new
police and fire
in Post Office
first time the
force had a
not have any
the time, was
at the Old
The Lynnfield High School
band appeared on national
television when they marched in
Washington, D.C. as part of the
April Cherry Blossom Festival. The
band was one of 50 across the
country invited to participate. The
band and majorettes marched
in the Parade of Princesses,
attended a concert by the
National Symphony Orchestra
and were given an all-day tour of
Lynnfield Police Patrolman
John Conley designed the first
emblem for the department,
drawing a picture of the
town’s historic Old Meeting
House to be displayed on
uniforms and cruisers. Conley
had no artistic training; the
logo is still in use today.
Cable television arrived in Lynnfield.
In June, selectmen signed a 15-year
contract with Waltham-based Adams-
Russell Cablevision to establish a
cable TV studio in the high school.
The company began installing cables
across town and the studio was ready
for operation in September.
Lynnfield was visited by the
Ecuadorian national soccer team,
which stayed at the Colonial Hilton
Hotel in town and practiced on
the fields at Lynnfield High School.
They played an exhibition game
at Wakefield High School, beating
the Republic of South Korea 2-1.
Residents had little notice that
the team would be arriving, but
word quickly spread after they
were spotted practicing at the high
school, and around 6,000 people
came out to watch the game.
The town unveiled the official Lynnfield flag,
designed by the Historical Commission, at a
selectmen’s meeting in May. The flag displays
the town seal, which depicts the Old Meeting
House on a blue background. On Flag Day of
that year, the Lynnfield flag was hung at the
Massachusetts Statehouse in the Great Hall of
Flags, which had been built four years before.
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PHOTOS COURTESY OF BostonRep
A peek inside
24 Wildewood Drive
SUMMER 2021 | 13
SALE PRICE: $1,850,000
SALE DATE: April 30, 2021
LIST PRICE: $1,999,000
TIME ON MARKET: 41 days
Coldwell Banker Realty - Lynnfield
Amie T. Geary
VALUE: $484,800 (land only)
PREVIOUS SALE PRICE:
$250,000 (land only – 1989)
PROPERTY TAXES: $6,433
YEAR BUILT: 2021
LOT SIZE: 33,039 sq. feet
LIVING AREA: 4,697 sq. feet
Brand new luxury home. Open
plan kitchen/dining area nearly 700
sq. feet with wet bar, island, and
hardwood floors. Massive master
bedroom (450 sq. feet) with spa-like
en suite. Patio, circular drive, threecar
garage and finished basement.
Source: MLS Property Information Network.
14 | 01940
Gene, Gene, "The Fishing Machine"
Gene "The Fishing Machine" Ellison fishes on Martins Pond in North Reading.
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
NMLS # 457291
Member FDIC | Member DIF
SUMMER 2021 | 15
BY ANNE MARIE TOBIN
Just call him Lynnfield's Renaissance
Be it golf, finance, photography,
coaching youth sports or fishing,
professional bass angler Gene Ellison —
aka "The Fishing Machine" — seemingly
does it all.
Since turning pro in 1999, Ellison
has been considered one of the country's
most enthusiastic and successful
tournament and promotional anglers.
While Ellison competes in several
national, regional and local fishing
tournaments every year, he is equally
active organizing and conducting youth
clinics to introduce kids to the sport.
Ellison was doing just that at Crystal
Lake in Peabody last month as the lead
instructor at the city's "Let's Go Fishing
at Crystal Lake" clinic, which was held in
recognition of the National Park Trust's
11th annual Kids to Parks Day — a day
that promotes awareness of the benefits
of outdoor play.
"Kids love to catch big fish, but
the reality is fishing is an activity for
everyone in all walks of life," Ellison
said. "It's not expensive, so lower-income
families, single-mom families (and) men
and women of all ages can fish. With
these programs, not only do people
learn how to fish, it looks to connect
people with their kids. It's quality time
for families, even if it's only 20 to 30
Ellison says his strengths are deep
clear-water fishing and fishing in bad
weather conditions. His go-to lures
include crankbaits, jigs, drop shots,
Carolina rigs, swimbaits and Texas Rigs.
His favorite species are largemouth and
Ellison's favorite fishing hole? Lake
"I fish the entire lake but my favorite
is the Vermont side, the area south of
the Crown Point Bridge, then down to
Ticonderoga on the New York side,"
Ellison said. "The lake has a remarkable
number of species."
He said he also loves fishing New
Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee and
Sebago Lake in Maine. Locally, Ellison
can also be found fishing on Martins
Pond in neighboring North Reading.
A native of Somerville, Ellison's
family moved to Dover when he was
in elementary school. After graduating
from Dover-Sherborn Regional High
School in 1978, he obtained a Bachelor
of Science in Fine Art Photography from
Fitchburg State College in 1982, where
he played on the men's soccer team.
Shortly after graduating from Fitchburg,
he had the opportunity of a lifetime to
study under noted photographer Ansel
Adams in Carmel, Calif.
"It was great to study under him,
really just an incredible experience to
have been able to work with him for
several months," Ellison said.
Ellison caught the golf bug while in
his 20s, playing competitive golf until
1998; most of his rounds took place at
the Walpole Country Club where he was
a member of the club's board of directors.
Ellison is the founder of the
Professional Anglers Association (PAA)
Texas Bass Classic on Lake Fork in
Texas, which is considered one of the
country's premier trophy bass lakes.
"PAA is about uniting professional
tournament anglers and taking them to
the next level," said Ellison. "It is also
about conservation and growing the
sport, especially for our youth.”
Ellison's efforts to promote the
sport have been recognized by several
organizations. In 2007, he was elected to
the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame's Board
of Directors. He received the inaugural
C: 617-908-6879 | O:781-842-8113
Linda.Vallis@Raveis.com | www.LindaVallis.raveis.com
16 | 01940
PAA Lifetime Achievement Award
in 2015, which was presented to
him that same year at the PAA
Corporate Cup Awards Dinner in
“This award represents the
highest achievement in professional
bass fishing, and we do not plan
on handing this award out on a
regular basis," PAA Executive
Board member Tim Horton said
during the presentation. "As the
first recipient of this award, we want
to recognize Gene’s unparalleled
commitment to building and then
guiding the Professional Anglers
Association, growing the sport of
bass fishing, introducing children
and families to our sport, as well as
his devotion to conservation efforts
and his performance as a successful
Ellison, a former PAA executive
director, has also received the
B.A.S.S. Federation Dedication to
Children Award (2010). A youth
hockey coach for more than 25
years, Ellison received the CAN-
AM Challenge Cup Fair Play
Sportsmanship Award (2001)
and the New England College
Development League Coach of the
Year Award (2000).
Ellison represents several major
fishing and boating companies, too:
Bass Pro Shops, Mercury Marine,
Berkley and Nitro Performance
Fishing Boats. He displays a myriad
of their logos on his fishing shirts,
Ellison also carved out a career as
a financial/insurance advisor. Even
in the suit-and-tie world of business,
Ellison managed to find a way to
lure more families into fishing with
family-friendly fishing festivals.
"I've done a lot of things, but
my passion right now is outdoor
sports," Ellison said. "Whether it's
camping, kayaking, fishing, birding, I
want to help kids develop a lifetime
love of outdoor life. I want to reach
out to kids everywhere, especially
minority communities, so they know
that there are so many benefits to
being outdoors and away from their
technology even if just for a half
hour a day."
Ellison and his wife, Kate, have
three children: daughters Colleen
and Julie, and son Phillip.
POISED TO CAST — Lynnfield's Gene Ellison is an all-around outdoor sportsman.
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Making an impact
the Mitchell way
BY STEVE KRAUSE
Bakari Mitchell took an elective
class this year on Holocaust literature.
So naturally, he had an opinion on an
incident that occurred on the South
Shore earlier this year when the
team's quarterback started barking out
audible signals and yelling the word
"That is wrong," said Mitchell, who
graduated last month from Lynnfield
High. "You shouldn't be saying things
like that, whether it's practice or a
game. Stuff like that bothers me, too."
As for why he took the class, "I'm
interested in learning about anything
that was wrong, or tragic, or doesn't
seem right to me," he said. "It gives
you a different perspective on what
people go through, and makes you
aware of what you may say about
"I think everybody should take
a course like that," he said. "(The
Holocaust) was horrible."
Mitchell is a young Black man from
Dorchester who has been a METCO
student in Lynnfield since the first
grade. That's bound to be intimidating
at some point in your life, right?
"I'm not intimidated," he said.
"I'm comfortable in my own skin. I'm
comfortable with myself as my own
person. But I've heard things that
have been very offensive to me. I have
to deal with it, but in a different way.
I have to be smart, and deal with it
vocally and speak up."
Mitchell carried a solid 'B' average.
But it wasn't always that way.
Football has always been a passion
of mine," said the speedy tailback/wide
receiver. "When I was a freshman or
a sophomore, my focus wasn't there.
Now it is. I found I had to turn it up a
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notch my junior year."
He thought he would do a year of
postgraduate work at Bridgton Academy
in Maine in hopes of landing a spot on a
Division 1 college football roster.
"But I changed my mind," he said.
Now, he'll be going to Plymouth State in
New Hampshire — still playing football,
but on the other side of the ball.
"They're looking at me as a defensive
back," he said.
School can certainly be a challenge
to METCO students from the inner
city, and Mitchell is no exception to
that. His morning ritual made getting
a good night's sleep almost impossible.
He'd have to get up at 5 a.m. to get ready
for school and make his bus. And he
wouldn't get home until 8:30 p.m.
But, he said, "I'd been doing this since
the first grade."
The yearlong pandemic shutdown
gave him a reprieve from the early rising,
since he was studying remotely. But when
school resumed, and despite going back
to waking up early, Mitchell was happy
to return to Lynnfield High.
"I think you get a lot more done when
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you're in school," he said. "At home, I
was able to get my work done, but it's
easier to do it when you are in school.
It's better than being home and lying
in your bed doing work. At first, I did
think it was OK. At a certain point, I was
starting to get annoyed with it. We were
at home all the time."
There's also the social aspect of school
— something he loved.
"Being with your friends is a big part
of the high-school experience," said
Mitchell. "I haven't seen some of my
friends for a long time. When we were
going hybrid, we were in cohorts. You only
saw the people in your cohort all day."
Football is a big commitment, and so
is school, Mitchell said.
"It took me a while to learn how to
balance," he said. "I just had to learn to
do it. As soon as practice ends, I go home
and do my homework while I'm eating
"But it depends on the day," he added.
Mitchell also played basketball and ran
track well into June (his 4x100 relay team
made the state meet, and he was hoping
he'd qualify for the high jump too).
"Whatever, I find time to do my
work, and then go to sleep because
I'm tired after practice," he said.
His football coach, Pat
Lamusta, certainly appreciated all
that Mitchell brought to the team.
"Bakari is a tremendous
athlete and person," Lamusta
said. "He was the voice in-game
that rallied everyone when
the game was on the line. The
younger players looked up to him
because he competed for every
rep at practice and simply loves
the game of football.
"He was a big-play threat no
matter what situation we were in,"
Lamusta said. "Bakari can be a
major contributor on both sides of
Five questions for
Bakari Mitchell lived the life of a
METCO student for 12 years. He is
on his way to Plymouth State this
fall where he will continue to play
football — he was a star on this year's
Lynnfield High team. Here are five
questions we recently asked him:
How does it feel being done with
getting up early in the morning
so you won't miss the bus?
I still wake up pretty early just
because of my body clock. My body
automatically wakes me up at 6 o'clock.
We know you play football.
How about any other sports?
I'm still doing track. I do the long
jump, high jump, 100-meter sprint,
100-meter hurdles and I'm on the
4x100 relay team. We qualified for the
states in the relays, and I'm hoping I
can qualify in the long jump too.
What are your feelings about the
Holocaust course you took as a senior?
The most important thing I
learned was to treat everyone equally.
I don't think everyone should feel like
they are less than anyone else because
of the religion they practice. You
have to give everybody a fair chance,
regardless of background. And I think
everybody should take a class like
that. (The Holocaust) was terrible.
What will you miss most
about high school?
I'd probably say seeing my friends
every day. We did it for 12 years.
Seeing my friends, those memories
you build every day. I'll miss the
sports. High school sports with your
friends is an experience that is fun to
have. I realized that the other day...
There are chapters in life, and I'm
ready to go to the next one.
How did you cope with COVID-19?
Making it through the pandemic is
something that we'll talk about when
we get older. Our class president,
at graduation, said that we can say,
"Back in my day, I went through a
pandemic." It's just a lot of adversity
we were able to overcome and still
be able to graduate. We made it to
graduation, and it was definitely a
22 | 01940
Above the Influence
BY ALLYSHA DUNNIGAN
Lynnfield’s new campaign “Above
the Influence” has had a successful and
impactful first year.
The campaign was created as a
partnership between students from
the middle and high schools and the
nonprofit A Healthy Lynnfield (AHL).
One of the goals of this campaign
is to influence what people think about
substance abuse in the community, which
Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator
Peg Sallade said carries a variety of
messages on social media.
Through Above the Influence, Sallade
said they try to focus the campaign on
one message that can engage different
partners and people in the community
in different ways, with making healthy
choices being the focus for 2021.
For 2021, the group based their
initiative off a national media campaign
by the same name, which was run several
years ago, and designed different aspects
to reach a broad swath of people.
This included getting local businesses
involved by encouraging restaurants to
sign a pledge to not serve alcohol to
Leanne Bordonaro, AHL’s outreach
coordinator, said the partnership with
restaurants began in March and kicked
off the Above the Influence campaign.
“The businesses that signed the
pledge were promoted in the news as
a responsible business who really care
about protecting kids from underage
alcohol sales,” Bordonaro said. “The
pledge was a great opportunity to
continue to build relationships in a
Some restaurants displayed Above the
Influence’s poster in their establishment,
and Bordonaro said the 13 businesses
that signed the pledge were very
Julie Greene, Drug Free Communities
program coordinator at AHL, works with
youth in the community and said this
year was the first where AHL operated
as an after-school, club-based program.
Kids in the program participated with
Above the Influence by engaging in a
number of activities and projects.
With the tough year that the
pandemic brought, the coalition thought
incorporating young people into the
Above the Influence student members, from left, Drew von Jako, Liv Scire, Riley Slaney, Maddie Cook,
Sarah Doherty, Addie Connelly, Emma Rose, and Ella Hayman.
PHOTO: SPENSER HASAK
mission would bring a “vital and
powerful” resource to the community.
“Anyone that works with youth really
wants to focus on teaching and building
resiliency, which I think is what this
campaign really embodies,” Greene
said. “It embodies rising above negative
influences, recognizing them, and being
able to have the skill set and self-esteem
to make their own decisions.”
High School Youth Council leaders
Maddie Cook, Sarah Doherty and
Riley Slaney said they have seen success
with the campaign and are happy to be
involved in it.
Some campaign activities provided
by Above The Influence included “Be
It,” where participants worked on
developing their own personal brands,
and “Tag It,” where they went into the
community and learned to recognize and
identify negative influences — as well as
positive ones which keep them “above the
“It’s really become the real grassroots
of a community campaign and a
community awareness front,” Greene
Making healthy choices is the key
focus of this campaign; Cook, Doherty
and Slaney helped create a video listing
21 reasons to be above the influence,
bringing in peers who are not involved in
ABOVE, page 25
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ABOVE, continued from page 23
Doherty said they included members
of student council and sports teams
in the video, and encouraged them
to mention parts of their lives that
encourage them to make healthy choices.
“Our hope with this is that it acts as
a role model for the middle school and
younger youth to really say, ‘This is how
high-school leaders represent themselves
and this is how they really stay above the
influence and make healthy choices,’”
Lynnfield Middle School health
teacher Matt Angelo said his department
is planning to show the video in school,
adding that he thinks it would be more
beneficial to have that message coming
from students rather than teachers.
Carmela Dalton, an AHL coalition
member who runs the Think of Michael
Foundation, echoed this sentiment,
saying it is important to get young people
involved in order to foster peer-to-peer
Ultimately there were more than 600
participants, a lot of them students, at
the “Night of Hope” event cosponsored
by AHL. Dalton said it is evident that
the message is getting out there and that
the kids are responding.
From a parental perspective, Stacey
Dahlstedt — a member of AHL and
the Lynnfield School Committee —
said the programs and workshops have
also ensured that families talk to their
children early and often about substance
use, misuse and abuse.
“It’s kind of the unfortunate truth,
but children are exposed to and using
and abusing substances certainly more so
than when I was growing up,” Dahlstedt
said. “This campaign really helped
provide tools and resources to parents to
be able to speak with their children.”
After speaking with students from her
School Committee position, she said the
youth council for Above the Influence
has been phenomenal in jumpstarting
this outreach during a pandemic, and
there are more great things to come.
Eighth-grade students and
representatives of AHL at the middle
school, Emma Rose and Ella Hayman,
said they participated in the Above the
Influence campaign because they wanted
to do something to better the community
and help other students.
“It’s good to spread the message
around, so when we tell our friends what
we’re doing they’re interested, even if
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they’re not actually coming to meetings,”
The Above the Influence middleschool
project in Angelo’s health class
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choose something they are passionate
about being “above.”
For Rose’s project, she wrote about
how she is going to be above people
telling her what she can and can’t do,
including her hobbies and interests.
Hayman’s project was about being
above stereotypes, such as people saying,
“You can’t do this because you’re a girl.”
“I included pictures of women in
history who have made a difference
and have done something important,”
Hayman said, “Just to show that you can
do it and people can’t tell you can’t just
because of a certain thing about you.”
Angelo said he was “kind of blown
away by how much eighth graders had to
say and how passionate they were about a
wide variety of things.”
This campaign hosted events in the
spring and there are plans to continue
the tradition next spring.
Sallade said she hopes to continue
seeing the campaign grow and spread
throughout the community, leaving a
positive impact on many.
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6/18/2021 dermskinhealth.com (4).png
SUMMER 2021 | 27
BY DANIEL KANE
LYNNFIELD — Brian Solomon has
been doing gymnastics for about as long as
he can remember, and plenty has changed
over the near decade since he started.
But still the passion that sparked the
first time he walked into a gym hasn’t
“I probably realized this was something
I wanted to do when I was really little,”
Solomon said. “I had just started and I
remember every time I learned a new skill
it was just a lot of fun. I just wanted to
keep learning new things.”
Solomon, now a sophomore at Lynnfield
High School, has learned plenty —
especially in the gym. At age 15, Solomon is
a nationally-competitive Level 10 gymnast,
the highest level in the USA Gymnastics
(USAG) Junior Olympics Program.
Solomon already boasts an impressive
list of accomplishments, starting with a
Massachusetts Level 10 Championship
in April. He finished as a Massachusetts
state medalist, Region 6 champion
and medalist and USAG National
Solomon competes in six events: floor,
pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars
and horizontal bar, each of which are
scored individually and combined for an
Competitions have taken Solomon
and his family all over the country,
SOLOMON, page 29
Lynnfield gymnast Brian Solomon specializes in
the pommel horse and floor routines.
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on Forest Hill Avenue
Gardening is in Yvonne Blacker’s blood: Her parents and grandparents grew so
many fresh vegetables, “I think I hated eating them growing up.”
The Forest Hill Avenue resident inherited a decidedly green thumb. Her garden
features raised beds designed to absorb solar heat and stimulate plant growth.
“It’s a lot more predictable and it keeps the critters out,” she said.
A 10-year Lynnfield Garden Club member, Blacker grows flowers and herbs and
she likes to experiment with different growing methods as she surrounds her
home with beauty.
PHOTOS: JULIA HOPKINS
Yvonne Blacker is an avid gardener, floral designer, and educator who has been able to focus on
expanding her gardens through the pandemic.
Yvonne Blacker's dreamy countryside garden is also home to five amazing Pekin ducks which she
raised through the pandemic.
The gorgeous blooms of chives offer bright bursts of purple
in Yvonne Blacker's edible garden.
SUMMER 2021 | 29
SOLOMON, continued from page 27
including the Horton Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas, a few
weeks ago, where he finished eighth overall for his age group.
But right at the top of the list for Solomon was qualifying
for and competing in his first national championship in 2019.
“You’re around all of the best guys in the country,” Solomon said.
“Most of them have been there before and all of them are committed
to colleges. You look up to them and want to be like them.”
Solomon knows that getting to that level takes plenty of
commitment. He spends so much time training at Gymstreet
USA in Wilmington that he said it’s almost like a second
home. He trains four to five hours a day for most of the week,
and with all that time comes a strong connection with his
teammates, just like in any sport.
“All my years in the gyms I had a really good team around
me and it was basically a family,” Solomon said. “Through the
years there have been a lot of better guys than me, so you really
start to look up to them.
“Everyone is really close. We’re always hanging out together
and then at practice we’re working hard together.”
The pandemic shook that up a little bit. Gyms were
obviously closed down for a large stretch of time last year,
which resulted in Solomon training at home over Zoom calls.
Even the 2020 National Championships were canceled by
USAG. Now, as competitions return, Solomon is finding there’s
still plenty to get used to.
“We’ve had a couple of little dual competitions with other
local gyms,” Solomon said. “States and regionals will be virtual
“I haven’t done a virtual meet yet, but I think it will basically
Lynnfield gymnast Brian Solomon works on his pommel horse routine at
GymStreet USA in Wilmington as his head coach, Charles Jackson of Danvers,
studies his form.
be the same for us,” he said. “I’ve heard from other people that
it’s just a little weird.”
Weird or not, the young athlete will still be working hard to
keep his impressive gymnastics career trending upward. He has
aspirations to compete in college, even if the odds are stacked
against men’s gymnastics itself.
“There’s a lot less college opportunity for the sport,” he said.
“A lot of schools are dropping their programs and there’s only
about a dozen out there, so it’s a lot harder to get on a team.
The sport is not mainstream. But my goal is to make it on a
college team and hopefully even more beyond that.”
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30 | 01940
They found a place for the perfectly imperfect
BY ANNE MARIE
Maureen Richard-Saltman, right, sits with daughter Gabrielle Richard at the Perfectly Imperfect Gift Shoppe.
Richard-Saltman was inspired to start the shop during the COVID-19 pandemic.
PHOTOS: JULIA HOPKINS
When she was laid off from
her 30-year job at a Fortune
500 company last June,
promised herself she would
try something completely
A longtime artist and
craftswoman, she began
selling her handmade jewelry
and artwork under the name
Perfectly Imperfect Jewelry at
local shops and galleries, but
because it was the midst of
the COVID-19 pandemic, she
struggled to find vendors to
take her art.
“I started to hear people
say they couldn’t do craft fairs
anymore because there was
no place to do their work,”
said Richard-Saltman. “I got
to thinking, ‘I’m paying to go
into other shops to sell my
work, and I’m having a harder
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time finding places to put my work,’ so I
thought I’d look for a little (store) of my
own to have just for fun.”
She quickly set out to find a spot
to lease, and it wasn’t long before she
became acquainted with Jack Marino,
the property deacon for Lynnfield
“He showed me the little room (in
the church’s basement), and I said, ‘That’s
perfect,’” she said. “I invited 12 of my
artsy friends to join me, and we launched
our little shop on November 27, the day
Within a week of the launch,
Richard-Saltman said she was inundated
with requests from other local artists and
crafters who wanted to know if there was
space at the shop to display their work
“Nobody had any place to go. Every
existing shop had waiting lists,” she said.
“People had no place to show anything. As
artists, we go crazy if we don’t know what
to do with our stuff. We have to create.”
Although the room she rented was too
small to fit the wave of artists looking to
showcase their work, the church’s larger
basement room was still available for rent.
“It was a lot more money than I
had planned — and a much bigger
commitment than I had planned — so I
went before Jack, the deacon,” Richard-
Saltman said. “They’re trying to do a
lot more with the church. They’re very
community-focused, and we wanted our
shop to be community-focused.
“Lynnfield didn’t have a shop like
this, and we wanted to provide that in a
neighborhood-type setting, in a building
that would evoke community, and what
better place to do that than a church?”
The church was open to Richard-
Saltman’s proposal, and she signed her
new lease that same week. Perfectly
Imperfect Gift Shoppe is now home
to almost 40 local artists, and Richard-
Saltman has since re-acquired the smaller
basement room to use as a classroom for
various arts and crafts workshops hosted
by her and other showcased artists.
Since vaccines have become more
widely available, the shop has hosted
two beading classes and a “Grow Your
Own Herb Garden” class. As a way to
give back to the church that has hosted
them, all proceeds from the shop’s fournight
calligraphy class — which takes
place every Tuesday in June — will go to
benefit Lynnfield Community Church’s
Capital Campaign fundraiser.
“We’ve partnered with the church for
a lot,” Richard-Saltman said. “Whatever
we can do to work with the church, we’re
doing, because they showed a lot of good
faith to get us in here, so we’re trying to
show as much good faith as we can to
give back to them.”
The Perfectly Imperfect Gift Shoppe
hosts “Artists Chats” live streams and
posts additional shop information on
its Facebook page. The shop’s hours of
operation are Sundays from 10 a.m. to
2 p.m., Tuesdays from noon to 6 p.m.,
Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
Thursdays from noon to 6 p.m., Fridays
from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays
from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The shop is closed
While the shop’s future may be
unclear, Richard-Saltman said she has
high hopes for what’s to come.
“Everything has happened very
organically,” she said. “When I set out
to do this, I thought it was going to be
a fun little gig, but now I’ve decided to
take the year off to build the business and
make this my full-time gig.”
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32 | 01940
She is hope's heroine
BY ALLYSHA DUNNIGAN
Margot Bloom of Lynnfield was the vaccine coordinator for the CIC mass vaccination site at the Hynes
Convention Center in Boston.
PHOTO: SPENSER HASAK
Margot (Kreplick) Bloom chose
to follow in her family’s footsteps by
pursuing a pharmacy degree and working
in pharmaceutical sales for more than 20
Bloom’s father owned the bygone
Paramount Drug on Union Street in
Lynn where she said she used to spend
hours helping out behind the counter
and completing tasks around the store.
“I’m one of those people who, at 6
years old, knew exactly what I wanted to
be,” said Bloom, who lives in Lynnfield.
“I was always in the pharmacy; I loved
working there and helping people and
getting to know families.”
At that time, Bloom said there were
dozens of family-owned pharmacies
around the city but now, the landscape
features mostly larger companies like
CVS and Walgreens.
Although Bloom never practiced with
her pharmacy license, she said in 2009
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she decided to take a step back from
pharmaceutical sales so she could spend
more time with her small children. For
that reason, she opted to go into retail
pharmacy, working at Rite Aid and then
Eaton Apothecary in Lynn.
“My family is from Lynn, so it was
kind of like I went full circle when I
worked at Eaton because they were two
blocks from where my father had his
pharmacy,” Bloom said.
Eaten was bought out by CVS, and
so Bloom left for another opportunity —
which then got stripped away when the
pandemic hit, leaving her unemployed.
The pandemic brought a lot of
struggles to many families, including one
of Bloom’s best friends.
Bloom’s friend Karen Nascembeni
lost her husband, Steven Richard, 58, to
COVID-19 while she was in a druginduced
coma from COVID-19.
Karen said even though she was in a
coma at the time, she had a feeling that
her husband had died. Steven died five
days after being admitted to the hospital,
and Karen got his bed after.
“She felt his spirit and she knew he
was there in the room,” Bloom said. “She
experienced something where she felt his
presence in the room.”
Karen introduced Bloom to her
husband, so Bloom said the couple meant
a lot to her.
A few days after Richard died, his
father died from COVID-19. After that,
Bloom’s friend and father-in-law died
from COVID-19 too.
The loss of her job and friends and
family made the pandemic tough for
Bloom, but she said it seemed like fate
when, shortly after, she got a job offer
to be the vaccine coordinator at Fenway
“I felt like this was Steve looking out
for me,” Bloom said. “This was my role to
play in the pandemic.”
Bloom was employed by CIC Health
to oversee vaccine distribution at Fenway
Park, which she said was perfect for her
because it was very detail- and numberoriented,
two aspects of which she has a
great deal of experience, and enjoys.
Bloom said, throughout all of this, she
kept Richard’s memory close to her heart,
sometimes even wearing a T-shirt bearing
the phrase “Hello Darling,” which had a
drawing of Karen, and was sold as part of
a fundraising effort toward a photography
scholarship in Richard’s name.
Bloom was wearing the shirt when
she got her COVID-19 shot, and said
she also wore it for her first couple of
shifts at Fenway, too.
“It was just really interesting to know
that her story resonated with so many
people, and I think they were looking
out for me like ‘OK Margot, this is your
calling,’” Bloom said.
Bloom’s job was to oversee the
distribution of vials of the Pfizer,
Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson
vaccines, keep track of the number of
syringes used, count the number of vials
left at the end of the night and try to
keep everything running smoothly.
At its peak, Bloom said Fenway
distributed about 1,300 syringes per day,
with most people saying it was a smooth,
The work put into creating vaccinedistribution
centers, like Fenway and
Gillette, consisted of a lot of behind-thescenes
effort. Bloom said there were a lot
of different people assigned to different
parts of the project and with everyone
bringing their expertise, it was “very
“I would joke with people and say,
‘Hey, you would wait longer in line at
Space Mountain than you do for this,’”
Bloom said. “It was really something
historic to be part of and I’m glad that I
had that opportunity.”
Fenway was open for vaccine
distribution from Feb. 2 until March 28,
when baseball games returned. When
that site closed, Bloom went to the
Hynes Convention Center, where she
continued in the same position — but on
a much larger scale.
The Hynes site absorbed the project
at Fenway, and Bloom said the peak at
Hynes was about 7,300 vaccinations per
Even contending with such a large
volume, they were still able to maintain a
smooth and organized process, Bloom said.
Her days at the clinic usually began at
4 a.m. and lasted until 8 p.m., so Bloom
said she is going to take some time off to
think of her future plans and spend time
with her family.
With the Hynes vaccination center
closing in late June, Bloom is unsure
of her next step, but said she is happy
she was able to have a positive impact
on people’s lives, especially during the
“This job has opened up a lot of
opportunities," Bloom said.
34 | 01940
Lynnfield’s Jake Burt
BY MIKE ALONGI
Lynnfield native Jake Burt, (third from right), poses with, (from left), his brother Zach, mother Dawn, agent Sean
Stellato, father Scott and brother Declan, after he was drafted No. 1 overall in the Canadian Football League Draft by
the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Tuesday night.
PHOTO: COURTESY JAKE BURT
Lynnfield native Jake Burt
has a new home for the 2021
season, and it won’t be in the
In May, Burt — a former
star tight end at St. John’s Prep
and Boston College — was
selected as the No. 1 overall
pick in the Canadian Football
League Draft by the Hamilton
“It’s just an amazing
feeling; there are so many
emotions going through me
right now,” said Burt, who
watched the draft from home
with his family. “Ever since I
made myself eligible for the
CFL Draft, things have been
a whirlwind. I guess you never
know where football is going
to take you, and I couldn’t be
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more excited for this opportunity.”
“This is a monumental moment for
Jake and his family, and I couldn’t be any
more excited for all of them,” said Burt’s
agent, Sean Stellato. “It’s a huge day for
Jake, but he also knows that his work is
just beginning. We’re all excited to see
what lies ahead for him.”
Hamilton won the right to select first
overall after the league held a random
draw to determine the draft order due to
the cancellation of the 2020 season.
Burt appeared in 36 career games at
Boston College, registering 307 yards
and two touchdowns on 23 receptions.
After not being selected in the 2020
NFL Draft, Burt signed as a free
agent with the New England Patriots
— spending the entire season on the
practice roster before becoming a free
agent this offseason.
But his time with the Patriots was
a huge boost for his development as a
player and a professional, and Burt is
happy for every minute he got to spend
“I’ll never forget my time in New
England,” said Burt. “Working with
Coach Belichick and Coach McDaniels
and gaining that football IQ is
something I’ll take with me for the rest
of my career. I honestly feel like I played
my best football to date with the Patriots,
and I’m excited to take the lessons I
learned there and bring them with me.”
“Jake got to play for the greatest
coach in the history of sports, and being
in that organization will always have an
impact on him,” said Stellato. “To learn
from some of the best within the Patriots
organization, and then be able to take
it with him to a new destination, that’s
going to be huge. Jake has always been a
worker and a grinder, and all of his work
in New England is only going to benefit
him going forward.”
Moving to the CFL also has great
significance for Burt and his family,
as both of his parents hail from
Canada and he was born in Regina,
Saskatchewan; he moved to Lynnfield
at age 3.
“It means so much to me and my
family, and it’s going to be a really cool
experience to travel the country I was
born in and get to experience it now,”
said Burt. “My extended family up in
Canada always had trouble finding
streams of my games at BC or trying
to find out how I was doing in New
England, so now to be able to travel to
the cities that they live in and play in
front of them is a really special thing.”
Stellato knows that the move to the
CFL is a huge opportunity for Burt, in
more ways than one.
“We all know of a lot of players who
went up to Canada to get their careers
jumpstarted, guys like Doug Flutie and
Warren Moon and so many others,”
said Stellato. “Jake has an opportunity
now to go back to where he was born,
build a brand in a different country and
hopefully continue on his path to making
an impact in the NFL one day.”
But now, it’s time to turn the page
and get ready for a new league.
“I know that even though I went No.
1 overall, nothing is going to be given to
me,” said Burt. “I’ve been preparing for
this the whole time and I know I’m going
to have to go in and put in the work. I
can’t wait to show what I can do.”
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36 | 01940
Wallin does it all
BY ANNE MARIE TOBIN
Lynnfield resident Lindsay Wallin owns nine McDonald's franchises across the
PHOTO: SPENSER HASAK
A Lynnfield businesswoman is taking to heart an old
McDonald’s slogan — “We do it all for you.”
Lindsay Wallin, owner of nine North Shore-area McDonald’s
restaurants, offered a free medium hot or iced coffee through the
end of June to customers who were fully vaccinated. Proof was
not required — it was all on the honor system.
She also gave a cash incentive to her employees to get
vaccinated, offering $100 to each upon full vaccination.
“My philosophy in business has always been ‘why not,’ so
my business partner (Vipan Khosla) and I just decided to do
it,” Wallin said. “Seventy-five percent of my 450 employees live
in Lynn, and I know that Lynn has a slower rate of vaccination.
Some of them are very cautious about getting the vaccine. I am
hopeful this will give them a reason to put their hesitancy aside.”
Wallin is no stranger to McDonald’s. Her father, Bob King,
and mother, Judy Hajjar, owned several restaurants. Early on,
Wallin had little interest in going into the family business. A
graduate of Winchester High School, Wallin ventured out on
her own, working at places like Starbucks and Bertucci’s while
in high school and college.
“Back then, I didn’t want to go down the same path so I
didn’t work for my family,” said Wallin.
After graduating from Babson College, Wallin worked for
a few years before finally deciding to work with her father. It
wasn’t easy, however.
Wallin underwent five years of intense training, after which she
was approved as an owner/operator. She bought her first restaurant
(Route 1 southbound in Saugus) from her father in May 2009.
“I was fortunate, as now it’s almost impossible to become
an owner/operator unless you are ‘next generation’ or a spouse,”
Wallin said. “There are a few out there, but not many.”
Wallin said the nature of ownership has changed
significantly, with owners typically owning 10 or more
restaurants compared to an average of two or three just a few
King owned 14 restaurants at the time of his retirement in
September 2019, six of which were purchased by Wallin shortly
thereafter. Wallin’s holdings include locations in Lynn (Boston
Street), Middleton (Route 114), Danvers (Route 114, Endicott
Street), Salem (Traders Way), Saugus (Route 1 North and
South) and Beverly (Elliot Street).
When the pandemic struck, Wallin knew it was serious.
“I woke up the morning before the schools closed and knew
it was trouble and was going to get bad,” she said. “We had
a corporate visit that had been scheduled pre-pandemic. We
debated, ‘should we close the kiosks? Should we close inside?’ We
were trying to be aggressively responsible. We ended up being
one of the only food services to serve in a relatively safe way.”
Wallin said she scrambled to purchase personal protective
equipment (PPE) overseas so her employees could manage
“It was really hard to get PPE, but we had a really big
opportunity to excel and be the heroes in the industry,” she said.
“We eventually closed down the dining room and had only drivethrough,
which I love because drive-through doesn’t work unless
you have great teamwork, so we were thankful to have that.”
As cases started coming onto the premises, Wallin knew
many of her employees were afraid.
“Our priority was finding ways to help our crews,” said
Wallin. “We sent them home with take-home dinners after
every shift. People really appreciated it.”
To help customers, Wallin reduced the prices of Happy
Meals to $1.99 and increased reliance on third-party delivery
The restaurants also offered free meals to first responders,
firemen and police officers.
With two school-aged children, Wallin knew firsthand
the challenges parents were facing with remote learning. Her
solution? Bringing her kids to the office.
“Doing home-schooling was just a ridiculous burden on
parents and I knew it because I was one of them,” she said. “I
put two cubicles in my Saugus office, we made lunches every
day and basically went to school every day and logged in. I
couldn’t picture them in their beds at home doing schoolwork,
so I was so glad when they finally were back at school.”
Wallin said menus were downsized to lighten the load and
focus on key items. Some of the healthier options — like salads,
parfaits and grilled items — were casualties.
“I don’t know when we will go back to full menus, but
we are still doing some limited-time offers,” Wallin said in
early June. “We are still developing new items, but like many
restaurants, we just went to a smaller menu.”
Now that things are beginning to return to normal and
the state has reopened as of May 29, Wallin said vaccinated
customers don’t have to mask up, but employees do.
“It’s for their safety as well as our customers,” Wallin said.
“We’ve been fortunate that we haven’t had a single case traced
to in-store transmission and we want to keep it that way.”
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38 | 01940
“Check,” Dan Abenaim
busy with their
LYNNFIELD ART GUILD
LYNNFIELD — COVID-19 social distancing didn’t
keep Lynnfield Art Guild painters from practicing their
craft. These artists were busy during spring creating works.
“Tea Time,” Sheila Falco of Stoneham
“Irises,” Joyce Fukasawa of Lynnfield
“Taking Notes,” Hedy Sanni of Lynnfield
“Flower Riot,” Beth Aaronson
“Love Birds,” Beth Aaronson of Lynnfield
“It’s Winter Again,”
“Reflections at Reedy Meadows,”
“Seawolf in Harbor,” Hedy Sanni
“Me Too,” Sheila Falco
SUMMER 2021 | 39
“Timber” is a dirty word
for tree warden
BY DANIEL KANE
LYNNFIELD — A massive pine tree
has been overlooking the town common
for decades now. It has seen better days,
but still stands strong after all this time.
For that reason, despite a few local
groans, John Tomasz has always left it be.
As Lynnfield’s tree warden, it’s
Tomasz’s duty to make judgment calls
A tree warden is, as it sounds, a
person who’s in charge of maintaining
trees on public ground. As he is the
director of the Department of Public
Works, Tomasz automatically assumed
“Some towns, like a city like
Cambridge, will have an arborist who
is their tree warden,” said Tomasz,
who worked for DPW departments in
Cambridge and Salem before landing in
town five years ago. “But in most towns
it kind of falls upon the DPW director.
They’re assumed to be the tree warden
until otherwise told. This happened to be
the case here.”
That hasn’t always been the smartest
way to do things, but a six-week class
sponsored by the state’s Department of
Conservation & Recreation has made
the job a lot easier for Tomasz and other
“The state recognized a couple
of years ago that you’re essentially
appointing DPW directors to do a job
where they might not know a whole lot
about trees,” he said. “So they started
offering this course where they teach
people like me how to recognize defects
in trees and types of trees just to protect
That course is all about — you
guessed it — trees. More specifically, it
explains how to identify defects and how
to spot trees that are on their way out
and could pose a risk.
“It’s easy to see a tree that’s rotted,”
Tomasz said. “But in a lot of cases, you’d
say a tree looks pretty healthy and then,
when it comes down to it, you don’t
realize how bad it really was. Since I’ve
been here, the interesting part is seeing
trees come down that you can’t believe
John Tomasz is Lynnfield's tree warden and the director of the Lynnfield Department of Public Works.
Tomasz stands in the center of the common, a tree-filled haven where the town has organized a wide
range of improvements.
PHOTO: JULIA HOPKINS
they did and others where you can’t
believe they’re still standing.”
The town common happens to be the
public work of which Tomasz is most
proud. Today on the common you’ll see
plenty of new trees — and plenty of tree
diversity. That’s no accident.
“We recently took down some
(defective) trees in the common and
planted four more,” Tomasz said.
“Whenever we take down trees, we
try to put up new trees. Of course, what
happens in a lot of these old towns is, in
the old days, they planted 2,000 of the
same trees. Now you have 2,000 trees
that are all the same age and have the
same diseases and go down around the
same time. We try to be more diverse
That diversity in greenery also gives
the spots around town a more colorful
look. The DPW manages five cemeteries,
parks at every school — even the turf
fields — playgrounds and other areas
around town. The experience so far has
been a positive one for Tomasz and his
“I’ve been able to get a lot done
here that I couldn’t have in other places
because the support has been so good,”
Tomasz said. “From the selectmen, to the
town administrator, finance committee
and the residents. It’s been great.”
Believe it or not, trees became a
source of town controversy this spring
when the Select Board declined to
include the Planning Board’s proposed
tree preservation bylaw on the warrant.
The Planning Board in April
approved the bylaw as a significantly
scaled-down version of a tree bylaw that
faced opposition at the fall 2020 Town
The revamped bylaw aimed to protect
trees with 6-inch diameters or larger in
parts of town where construction was
As described on the town website, the
bylaw proposed requiring replacement
of any “protected trees” removed in the
course of building activity.
The Select Board declined to place
the bylaw on the June 12 Town Meeting
warrant and Board Chair Brian Charville
agreed with selectmen that it required
40 | 01940
of fresh air
Venture down Grayland Road or Trog Hawley
and you will find Beaver Dam Brook Reservation
consisting, according to the town website, of more
than 56 acres of conservation land and 137 acres
of land owned by the Lynnfield Center Water
District. Access is provided through the rear of
the Colonial Shopping Center and the land,
which contains Beaver Dam Brook, forms
much of the watershed and recharge
areas for the Lynnfield Center Water
District wellfields. The protection of
these wetlands is essential for the
town’s water supply.
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
on a dandelion
growing at the
Lynnfield Conservation Commission member K. Erin Hohmann is in charge of
looking over the Beaver Dam Brook Reservation.
Wildflowers bloom at the reservation.
Water flows through Beaver Dam Brook Reservation.
SUMMER 2021 | 41
runs her hand
Beaver Dam Brook Reservation is one of the Lynnfield Conservation Commission's nine conservation areas.
42 | 01940
taking the EDM
world by storm
BY TRÉA LAVERY
Greenstein may have just graduated
from high school, but the musician and
producer is already making a name for
himself as The BreakBomb Project.
Greenstein reached the milestone
of 1 million streams on Spotify earlier
this year, and in May, he dropped a
new single, “Drugs Don’t Work,” along
with college freshman Ryan Violet. His
electronic dance music (EDM) tracks,
which he describes as “deep house,” are
produced in his home.
“I’ve been lucky to work with vocalists
and other producers and instrumentalists
my age,” Greenstein said. “I’ll spend a
couple hours getting drums, melody and
chords down, then I’ll have people come
in and feed me ideas.”
Greenstein has been interested in dance
music since he was a child observing his DJ
father; it was through him that the younger
Greenstein was inspired to follow the same
path. He started producing his own music as
a freshman in high school, inspired by artists
like Porter Robinson and Martin Garrix,
two performers who made it big as teens.
Greenstein started DJing at friends’
parties and loved it. He performed his
first real show in a Boston club last year,
and said it was an incredible experience
— up until the next morning, when the
COVID-19 pandemic shut down clubs
for over a year.
On June 6, Greenstein had the
Brandon Greenstein has
dropped a sonic bomb
on the electronic dance
opportunity to perform live again at The
Grand, a nightclub in Boston.
“In a club, it’s a completely different
experience. It’s so fun and rewarding,” he
said. “I love performing live. Especially when
you’re making the music, seeing everyone’s
reaction is the best feeling in the world.”
Next year, Greenstein will head off
to Emerson College to study media arts
production, where he looks forward to
continuing to DJ and work on his music.
“I was lucky enough to have a lot of
people like my parents and a lot of friends
and my school support me and give me
time to work on this,” he said. “A million
streams is an unreal number to me.”
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SUMMER 2021 | 43
Hooray for a new day
Lynnfield High School students take the field to start their commencement ceremony on June 4.
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
Perhaps the greatest sign that the
COVID-19 pandemic is waning came on Friday,
June 4 as 171 high school seniors graduated in
person in front of family and friends.
Gathered on the football field, the
students commemorated a challenging
year that started completely online and
finished with everyone back together in the
classrooms of Lynnfield High School.
“You couldn’t have created a more
difficult scenario,” Principal Robert Cleary
said during the ceremony. “But through it
all, this class has taken it in stride. They
stayed focused on what they needed to get
done and they did it. They worked hard, they
persevered and they were resilient. These are
the life lessons that matter far more than
anything you see in a textbook. These are
the skills that will separate them from those
who graduated before them.”
walks off the
Lynnfield High School graduates toss their caps at the completion of their commencement ceremony.
Lynnfield High School graduate Michael Dreher throws
his hands up in the air after receiving his diploma.
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