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July 17, 2014

Heard around Peabody: Independence Day celebration this weekend

PEABODY — If the rain continues into this weekend, Ward 6 residents will be celebrating the Fourth of July in September, jokes city Councilor Barry Sinewitz.

Sinewitz had to postpone the original neighborhood festivities due to Hurricane Arthur, which doused Independence Day celebrations across the region, but wasn’t able to just reschedule to that Saturday, so he moved the party to July 19 instead. As he’s spread the news around town, he’s been met with at least a few puzzled expressions — July 4 is already a distant memory. So, Sinewitz says he’s stressing the “independence” part of the celebration.

He also called up Clear Channel Communications, which operates two billboards on Route 1, and they were gracious enough to devote some space to the announcement. “It was nice of them to do that.”

Saturday’s celebration will be 9 a.m. to noon at Symphony Park and feature a parade, games and more, including a recent tradition in which a hometown hero is recognized.

Fill the boot Friday

Peabody firefighters will be out Friday seeking donations on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. And for the first time in nearly 20 years, they’ll be hanging out on public property as they solicit donations to “fill the boot.”

Firefighter John Soares, who is organizing the drive, had to seek approval first from the City Council for a one-day exemption to a city ordinance that prevents all forms of solicitation on the public way. The ordinance was first enacted in 1996 over safety concerns, recalls city clerk Tim Spanos.

“It became a safety issue because you had different organizations standing in the middle of the roadway, and it was becoming kind of hazardous,” he said. “I did it a couple times, and you had to watch yourself from getting clipped.”

The Fire Department then resorted to running MDA drives at Northshore Mall, supermarkets and other places where only permission from the business was required. The council unanimously agreed to the exemption back in May, though, along with specific hours of 9 a.m. to noon and 3:30 to 6 p.m. in locations that the Fire Department deemed to be safe. Those two spots will be at the intersection of Lynnfield and Summit streets and Peabody Square.

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