01940 Summer 2021




How her





VOL. 4, NO. 2



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Lynnfield Office | 1085 Summer Street, Lynnfield, MA 01940


*Based on closed sales volume information from MLS Property Information Network, Inc. in all price ranges as reported on April 26, 2019 for the period of 4/26/18-4/26/19. Source data is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Real estate agents affiliated

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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


Susan Conti


Thor Jourgensen

Contributing Editors

Gayla Cawley

Sophie Yarin

Contributing Writers

Mike Alongi

Allysha Dunnigan

Daniel Kane

Steve Krause

Tréa Lavery

Anne Marie Tobin


Spenser Hasak

Julia Hopkins

Advertising Sales

Ernie Carpenter

Ralph Mitchell

Patricia Whalen

Advertising Design

Edwin Peralta Jr.


Trevor Andreozzi


110 Munroe St.,

Lynn, MA 01901

781-593-7700 ext.1234


781-593-7700 ext. 1253



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

for you

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

Lynnfield (AHL).

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

this year.

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

full vaccination.

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

customers. Impressive.

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.

30 Im/perfectly

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, lfox@noblenet.org, 781-334-

5411, for Zoom link.

When: Wednesday, July 14, noon-

1 p.m.

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,

10-10:45 a.m.

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

ellen.crawford@raveis.com call/text: 617-599-8090




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932 Lynnfield Street, Lynnfield, MA 01940 www.raveis.com

06 | 01940

Author catching up after a late start


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

newspaper ads.

“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,

requires discipline.

“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

about it.”

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

keep going.”

Jane Gandolfo of Lynnfield is the author of the "Veronica Howard Vintage Mysteries" series and has

recently released its fourth installment, "Tasting Death."


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

sells antiques.

“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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932 Lynnfield Street | Lynnfield | MA | 01940

10 | 01940

A Lynnfield look back



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.


The town

opened its new

police and fire

departments in

their presentday


in Post Office

Square. The

building cost

the town

$250,000 and

marked the

first time the

town’s police

force had a




the fire


which did

not have any

full-time, paid

firefighters at

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

the Capitol.


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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12 | 01940



A peek inside

24 Wildewood Drive

SUMMER 2021 | 13

SALE PRICE: $1,850,000

SALE DATE: April 30, 2021

LIST PRICE: $1,999,000


(to closing)


Louise Touchette

Coldwell Banker Realty - Lynnfield


Amie T. Geary

Geary Realty


VALUE: $484,800 (land only)


$250,000 (land only – 1989)


(land only)


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.



NMLS # 457291

Member FDIC | Member DIF


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SUMMER 2021 | 15


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

smallmouth bass.

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

Linda Vallis


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

Florence, Ala.

“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

tournament angler.”

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,

NASCAR style.

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

numerous corporate-supported,

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.

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Making an impact

the Mitchell way


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

certain people.

"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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20 | 01940

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

dinner. Multitasking.

"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

the ball."

Five questions for

Bakari Mitchell

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


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

underage individuals.

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

positive way.”

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.


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

the coalition.

ABOVE, page 25

24 | 01940





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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,’”

Greene said.

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,”

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The Above the Influence middleschool

project in Angelo’s health class

asked the eighth-grade students to

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

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SUMMER 2021 | 27


star gymnast


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

dimmed much.

“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

Championship qualifier.

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

all-around score.

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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28 | 01940


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.


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.

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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

this year."

“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



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.


When she was laid off from

her 30-year job at a Fortune

500 company last June,

Maureen Richard-Saltman

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

Community Church.

“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

after Thanksgiving.”

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

as well.

“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?”

she added.

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

on Mondays.

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


Margot Bloom of Lynnfield was the vaccine coordinator for the CIC mass vaccination site at the Hynes

Convention Center in Boston.


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,

easy process.

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



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.


Lynnfield native Jake Burt

has a new home for the 2021

season, and it won’t be in the

United States.

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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SUMMER 2021 | 35

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

in Foxborough.

“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

for McDonald’s


Lynnfield resident Lindsay Wallin owns nine McDonald's franchises across the

North Shore.


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

years ago.

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

operations safely.

“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



Dan Abenaim

of Lynnfield

“Folk Dance,”

Shaila Desai

of Lynnfield

“Check,” Dan Abenaim

LAG artists

busy with their




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,”

Joyce Fukasawa

“Reflections at Reedy Meadows,”

Shaila Desai

“Seawolf in Harbor,” Hedy Sanni

“Me Too,” Sheila Falco

SUMMER 2021 | 39

“Timber” is a dirty word

for tree warden


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

like these.

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

that title.

“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

town officials.

“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

the public.”

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.


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

further review.

40 | 01940

A breath

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.


A beam

of sunlight

shines down

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

Paths snake

their way



Dam Brook



runs her hand

across a

large tree.

A pine


grows from

the ground.

Beaver Dam Brook Reservation is one of the Lynnfield Conservation Commission's nine conservation areas.

42 | 01940


graduate is

taking the EDM

world by storm


Eighteen-year-old Brandon

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

music world.



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.


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.”


High School




walks off the

stage with

his diploma.

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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