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September 26, 2013

The vision thing

At a recent council meeting, City Councilor Anne Manning-Martin expressed concerns about a “vision” for downtown Peabody.

“Do we want a packy (package store) on every corner?” she asked, as her colleagues considered granting a liquor license.

Councilor Barry Sinewitz, a downtown businessman, also expressed worries about vagrancy, homelessness and alcoholism. He added, “I see them behind my building shooting up.”

Manning-Martin has now taken her concerns to Mayor Ted Bettencourt, meeting with him yesterday.

“We had an exchange of ideas about the future of the downtown,” she said. “It was very productive.”

For his part, the mayor agreed that it was a good meeting, but he downplayed some of the more colorful concerns about the downtown.

“I’ve never seen anyone shooting up,” he said. Most of the problems revolve around a relative handful of homeless people, he added. “We’re a large city.”

Yet, dealing with such people requires tact, he said. “There’s a humanitarian aspect.” At the same time, police will crack down on open containers of alcohol. “That’s not something we’re going to put up with.”

Bettencourt added, “I feel we’ve made great strides.” As proof of progress, he noted, “Investors are putting millions into the downtown.”

School funding is in the bag

That’s what a trio of Peabody High School marketing students told the School Committee this week. They’re helping raise money by teaming with MYECO, a company that sells reusable supermarket bags, hoping to arrest the environmentally worrisome accumulation of plastic bags. So far, Shaw’s supermarket is on board with the funding effort, and others are expected to join.

“Based on the size of your purchase, a portion of the sale becomes our profit,” Shantel Silva told the committee,

MYECO founder Kristen Brown came to the students with the idea, added Chris Chiampa. “Our hope is by spreading the use of the bags, we can cut down on waste.”

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