SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

May 8, 2013

Heard Around Town: A contentious agreement at Beverly council meeting

BY PAUL LEIGHTON
STAFF WRITER

---- — BEVERLY — Sometimes people agree to disagree. And sometimes, they agree disagreeably.

That’s what happened at this week’s City Council meeting. In fact, everybody agreed so much they had to call the cops.

Stay with us, because it gets complicated. The first confusing part came when Beverly Main Streets and two residents who normally oppose the downtown group found themselves united in opposition to proposed changes to the city’s parking regulations.

Main Streets opposed the changes because it is concerned they might hinder downtown development. That made sense.

But why would residents who have fought development take the same position as Main Streets? That wasn’t clear at the meeting, so we asked them for an explanation afterward.

Pleasant Street resident Rosemary Maglio denied that she was agreeing with Main Streets. She said she opposes the proposed changes because they don’t go far enough in stopping development.

The other resident, Dana Acciavatti of Elm Street, acknowledged the next day that he didn’t fully understand the proposal and now thinks it might be a good idea.

The proposal in question, put forth by the city’s planning department, would curtail the practice of allowing new developments to use nearby public parking lots to satisfy the requirement for parking spaces.

Right now developers don’t have to put any parking on their site if it’s within 500 feet of a public lot. The new rule would make them account for at least half of the required spaces on their own lots.

Anyway, between all of the passionate agreeing, city officials at the meeting called police when Maglio kept interrupting other speakers and refused to quiet down. This was the second time in the last few years that police were called to a City Hall meeting to keep an eye on Maglio.

Fortunately, everything calmed down when police Sgt. William Page walked in and took a seat.

Jerry on the run

Jerry Parisella was running neck-and-neck with Gabriel Gomez last weekend, and it had nothing to do with an election.

Parisella, the Democratic state rep from Beverly, and Gomez, the Republican candidate for senator, were photographed running side by side in the fourth annual Run-Walk To Home Base that started and ended at Fenway Park on Saturday. The race raises money for the Red Sox Foundation and the Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program, which supports returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

Parisella is a major is the U.S. Army Reserves, while Gomez is a former Navy SEAL.

“The SEAL got me at the end, but I gave it my best shot,” Parisella wrote on his Facebook page.

For the record, Gomez, 47, finished 123rd out of 1,646 runners with a time of 41:35 in the 9-kilometer run. Parisella, 50, came in 385th with a time of 46:36.

Organ transplant

The organ at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church is sounding beautiful once again, thanks to a $250,000 restoration project.

A company from Iowa, Dobson Organ, recently delivered a new console and hoisted it to the choir loft at the Cabot Street church. The console was designed in the original style of the 1908 Hook & Hastings pipe organ.

The church has raised enough money to make a down payment and is 40 percent of the way to its goal of raising $250,000. Donations can be made at www.stmarystarorgan.com.

How about Mariah at Stephy’s Kitchen?

Did you hear the one about Keith Urban eating breakfast at the Ryal Side Diner? Or Randy Jackson buying Angie T-shirts at Todd’s Sporting Goods?

Rumors of celebrity sightings were flying during Angie Miller’s hometown visit on Saturday. Unfortunately, that’s all they were, rumors. Chalk it up to the power of social media and a few joking Facebook posts.

Although that sure did look like Nicki Minaj getting a cheesesteak at Super Sub.

A winner at the Topsfield Fair

The Topsfield Fair doesn’t start for five months, but they’ve already announced a winner.

Julia Lawrence of Beverly won the fair’s first-ever theme contest for coming up with the phrase, “Make Time for a Great Time.” She beat out such entries as “Barn in the USA,” “Fun for the Whole Herd,” “It’s a Family A-Fair,” and “Old Friends, New Adventures.” There were more than 200 entries in all.

Grand prize winner Lawrence will receive four tickets to this year’s fair and an assortment of fair collectibles.

The envelope please ...

It was a big night for Beverly resident Burgess Clark at the recent Independent Reviewers of New England award ceremony in Boston.

Clark, the executive artistic director at Boston Children’s Theatre, accepted the award for Best New Play for his adaptation of “Reflections of a Rock Lobster,” a play based on the true story of a student who sued a Rhode Island high school in 1980 for the right to escort his boyfriend to the prom.

Clark is the former director of education and children’s programs at North Shore Music Theatre.

Another local resident, Ian Shain of Hamilton, was named Best Young Performer for his portrayal of the student, Aaron Fricke, in the production. Shain is a freshman theater major at the University of Southern California.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.