SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

August 29, 2013

Just in time for Yellow Jacket season

PEABODY — The City Council gave its unanimous approval last Thursday to a proposal to turn some abandoned properties at 143 Lynnfield St. into an indoor sports facility. Once built, it’s earmarked for use by the Yellow Jackets, an organization of girl gymnasts already using a space in Middleton.

“It’s a good use for a dilapidated piece of property,” said council President Tom Gould after the vote. The proposal was delayed at first but saw clear sailing after winning approval from the Conservation Commission. Some neighbors raised concerns regarding the impact on water runoff, Gould added, but he expects there will be some oversight of the plan.

The abandoned buildings on the site had even attracted the concern of police Capt. Joseph Berardino, who noted that kids have used the site for rave parties and similar mischief. He was among those seeing positives in allowing a permit to upgrade the site.

The power of the press

The rush to place a medical marijuana dispensary in Peabody seemed to have cooled after the city’s unsuccessful effort to ban the facilities outright. (The attorney general ruled that effort out of order.) At least, people stopped asking the mayor if they could locate here — a prime location with so many highways intersecting.

But no sooner did The Salem News write a story on where everything stands, “A pot clinic near you?,” on Tuesday, then Mayor Ted Bettencourt’s phone rang. “I got a call from somebody wanting to come in and talk about it,” he says. “It was right after the article ran.”

The mayor is no fan of the concept, having sponsored the effort to block the shops.

God bless this honorable board

How is the Licensing Board like the highest court in the land? Chairman Minas Dakos moved quickly to enlighten new member Fred Murtagh, the retired city councilor, telling him that he didn’t need permission to get his two cents in. “The way we operate here is like the Supreme Court,” Dakos said. “You don’t have to go through the chair (to speak).”

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