Letters to the Editor

We need to work together

Dear Editor:,

We need your help. As many of you know, and many of you may not know, there has been heated debate over the future of the old Muffin Town location at 15-17 Walden St. Right now, we have an empty warehouse sitting in the middle of a beautiful residential neighborhood. At the same time, we have a huge need to increase residential density and tax revenue to support both the local businesses and the school system. The logical conclusion here is to build a visually appealing, responsibly designed residential building on this location.

This is where you come in. As of right now, one person is blocking the project from becoming a reality. My request of you is that you become informed about this project, and stand by me as I continue the fight to make this a reality. We cannot allow one individual to stall the progress that so many of your friends and neighbors have been working on for so long.

Let’s talk numbers for a minute. As you know, I am the listing real estate agent on the 142 Pleasant St. Project. I have unique insight into the way these developments come to be, and what the financial benefit would be to the community. The Muffin Town developers are requesting 14 units be built on the site. Estimating an average sale price for each unit at around $450k (conservative) and an initial assessment of the same, we are looking at an annual tax benefit of $90,000. That’s $90,000, each year, from now to long into the future. In 10 years we are looking at almost $1,000,000 towards teachers, firefighters, police, DPW, and all of the other agencies that make Winthrop what we all love so much.

We cannot allow one person to block almost $1 Million in tax revenue over the next 10 years. The only way that the community will prevail is if each of you come to the Planning Board meetings for the next couple of months. We need every voice we can get. Please reach out to me at [email protected] if you’d like to learn more about becoming involved.


Stephen C. Hines

Secretary, Transportation Advisory Committee

Business Manager,      Robert Paul Properties


Never Let a Good Crisis go to waste.

Dear Editor,

At our most recent council meeting on Aug. 15, 2017, the council president put forth the idea that within 120 days, it was essential that the council choose Winthrop’s next town manager. We then heard it had already been decided that the council should move forward with securing the Edward J. Collins Center for public management as the search firm.

This emergent decision to choose Winthrop’s next town manager prior to a newly elected council taking office was reinforced with a familiar rationale from our current town manager James McKenna. The outgoing town manager emphasized that “time is of the essence,” and if we do not act now, we will miss the opportunity. Mr. McKenna then explained that if we want to choose the next town manager during this council session, it is his recommendation that we move forward with securing the Collins Center’s services immediately.

Mr McKenna and the council have been operating in a crisis mode for far too long. The council receives information at the last minute with little time to review or discuss, and then the council is asked to vote or Winthrop will lose out on something if we do not meet a looming deadline.  I am not sure if this is because of management’s lack of direction or lack of foresight but it has become a pattern that has not allowed us the proper debate on several issues.

While I have voted expeditiously on infrastructure funding because of imminent deadlines, I only see an artificial deadline being imposed by this current council. I do not see the need to push forward with a process that had already been decided prior to its announcement on Aug. 15, 2017. If this closed process goes forward it is a slap in the face of our citizens.

Instead, I propose we as a municipality focus on best practices and request quotes from the Collins Center and similar firms. Included in these quotes, the council should inform these firms they may be invited to present in front of the full council and the citizens of Winthrop regarding how their firm will help the town of Winthrop select their next town manager.

We cannot afford to cling to the stale practices of the past, we must insist that this process be open and transparent to the citizens.

There is a motion that sat with the finance committee on Aug. 24, 2017 to authorize $15, 000 to secure the services of the Collins Center. I would urge the citizens of Winthrop and all candidates running for the Town Council to go to this meeting and hear why the council should rush to decide on one option, the only option currently available to us. You will hear that because the Collins Center is a public organization, the council is allowed to bypass municipal rules and regulations requiring three quotes for services valued at more than $5,000. Just because the council can do it does not make it right. The council should insist on higher standards to restore the integrity of our governmental process and to pick the best candidate for our next town manager.

I have also submitted a motion to the Town Council, requesting that the council solicit at least three quotes with the afore mentioned stipulations.

Richard Boyajian APRN, NP

Winthrop Town Councilor At-Large



Dear Editor,

As the Winthrop Town election draws closer, I’d like to take this opportunity to announce that I will not be seeking re-election to the Winthrop Town Council.

I  have had the honor and privilege of working with a dedicated group of councilors, a visionary town manager, and town employees who have rolled up their sleeves to devote their time, energy and commitment to the work of managing and maintaining our beautiful town.  Everyone involved has the best interests of the community at heart. I thank all of them; we have all witnessed much improvement in the last eight years.

I would also like to acknowledge the people who bring their passion for our community and work tirelessly on the many boards and committees that make up our town government.  They serve an important role in exercising and maintaining the right of citizens to participate in the conduct of public matters and I acknowledge the fervor and energy it brings to town politics. Local government is democracy at work.

I appreciate the support that I have been given over the years by not only the residents of Precinct One, but the entire town.  It has been my honor to serve you and the needs of our precinct and the town. I would also like to thank the numerous people who continue to encourage me to seek re-election. Their kind words are very influential, however, after two terms of office and nearly eight years of countless meetings and conversations, I feel it is time to focus on my family and my future endeavors.

The Town of Winthrop is on the brink of a new and exciting chapter, which will require long hours of debate and discussion.  I want to encourage the talented citizens of Winthrop to step forward and embrace town affairs and to continue to be a part of the decision-making process.  I sincerely trust that the voices and opinions of everyone in the town will continue to play as large a role as ever. Together we will continue to improve the town and properly address future needs.

Paul Varone

Winthrop Town Council



Dear Editor,

I am taking this opportunity to respond to comments made by Board of Health Chairman Nick LoConte in a recent story, “Board of Health looks at changes to tobacco sales.”  According to a text message from LoConte reported in the article, he considers discussion about raising the tobacco minimum legal sales age to 21, “silliness.”  I feel this is a most unfortunate comment by Mr. LoConte.

One hundred and fifty-one communities in the Commonwealth, including Boston, Chelsea, and Revere, that have raised the age to 21, do not consider it “silliness.”  The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and the American Heart Association, which have endorsed the effort, do not consider it “silliness.”

Even the current Winthrop Board of Health Regulations Restricting the Sale of Tobacco Products states that, “more than 80% of all adult smokers begin smoking before the age of 18; and more than 90% do so before leaving their teens”.  We know that those under 18 are getting their tobacco products from those who are older than them, and in many cases the older buyers are high school seniors.

Raising the minimum legal sales age to 21 will reduce tobacco use initiation, particularly among youth 15 to 17 years of age; improve the health of residents across the lifespan, and save lives.  A similar strategy was highly successful in addressing alcohol sales.

Mr. LoConte also allegedly states in a text message that he has long advocated for the Board of Health to focus its effort on combatting the opiate crisis that grips our town.  I would like to report on the board’s activities during the past year.

Winthrop has continued its partnership with Chelsea, Revere, and Saugus to develop and implement strategies across the region to combat the opiate epidemic.  Board of Health member Susan Maguire and I attended the Metro Mayors Coalition Meeting on the Opioid Epidemic held in May at the Winthrop Senior Center.  I did not see Mr. LoConte in attendence at the meeting.

At the Town Council’s Spring Forum on the FY2018 Town Budget, I addressed the council supporting a proposal to have recovery coaches working in the community become town employees.  Mr. LoConte attended the Forum, but did not speak.

At the Board of Health’s Aug. 8, 2017, meeting, I did not see Mr. LoConte in attendence, the other board members heard a presentation from the Health Department’s summer intern who compiled data on the Recovery Coach Program regarding substance abuse and mental health issues, particularly relating to opioid addiction in the community.

Councilor Phil Boncore also attended the July Board of Health Meeting and stated that he believes the board should get more involved in issues related to the airport.  I share his concerns about Logan Airport.  During the past year, I have twice written to the Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs about noise and air pollution, and the parking project, which calls for two new garages for 5,000 parking spaces.

The Winthrop Board of Health can accomplish much to improve the health of our community, even when there are differences of opinion on the board on how to do so.

Bill Schmidt

Vice Chairman

Winthrop Board of Health


Committee thanks fireworks sponsors

Dear Editor:

The Winthrop Fireworks Committee would like to thank our many sponsors that help to make this fireworks display such a great success!  The Winthrop Fireworks display is funded 100 percent by donations, and this tradition would not be possible without the generosity of the businesses and individuals that donate every year!  We strive to continue and improve our 4th of July celebration and thank you, once again, for contributing to this treasured tradition here in Winthrop.

Special thanks to Massport for their exceptional generosity and to the Winthrop Lodge of Elks for their support of the Winthrop fireworks through the years.

Also, a special thank you to the Winthrop Market Place, the Winthrop Yacht Club and the Winthrop Pro Shop for their help with T-shirts, as well as all the residents and visitors that purchase them year after year!


Winthrop Yacht Club

Mutual Beef Co

Action Ambulance

Crystal Cove Marina

Winthrop Charities

James Bruce Sr

The Arbors of Winthrop

Committee for Bob Deleo

John Biggio Insurance

John Honan

Dennis and Sue Gaughan

Classic Harbor Line

Paul W. Marks

Commercial Street Pilots Inc.


Cottage Park Yacht Club

Cottage Hill Real Estate

La Siesta

Jim and Ginny Noiles

Barry and Lynn Kepnes

Highland Realty

Robert Massa

Barbara Wright (In memory of Ed Wright)

Nancy Howes

Joseph and Renee Pike

Century 21 Mario Real Estate

Iris Lee Bagwell

Furlong Auto Sales & Service

Crest Ave Wine

Pettee Oil Company

Winthrop Farmers Market

Webster First

MacFarland Insurance Agency

Ruth Asquith

Winthrop House of Pizza

Anthony and Minnie Martucci

Walter and Geraldine Cash

Mally’s Hair Expressions

Miriam Regan-Fiore

RPM Fitness

Belle Isle Seafood

Gail Karagianis

East Boston Savings Bank

Crystal Cove Apartments

James and Kathy Nelson

Sandra Nelson

Edith Raymond

Alvin and Karin Chavis

Terry Vazquez

Maurice W Kirby Funeral Home

Priscilla Davis

Al Petrilli

Dorothy Vitagliano

James Sullivan

Robert and Paul Degregorio

Veronika Szabo

Woodside Hardware

Salon Luxo

Swetts Market

Robert Porter

Greg and Janet Lepke

Gagin Insurance Agency

Marr Real Estate

Edward and Jean Wall

Winthrop Emblem Club No 15

Champion Physical Therapy

Frank Costantino

David McDonald

Christine Jacques

Robert and Ann Capprini

Joanne Agababian

James Cullinane

Sticky Molasses/Blackstrap BBQ

Winthrop Country Day

Alfred Bell & Patricia Connors

Falbo, Solari & Goldberg

Elliot Whittier Insurance Services

Ciminos Meat Market

Codfish Gear

Michael and Michele Balian

Dorothy Bolton

Jeanne Maggio

Dorothy and Thomas Donofrio

Mary McDonald

Ed and Karen MacDonald

Robert and Peggy Smith

Brian and Linda Hurley

Peter and Jane Fenlon

Jon and Shannon Poulos

Nick’s Place

N.W. Zagorsky

Kevin Foley and Yole Morocco-Foley

David Phipps

Carol Lederman

Barry T Cohen DDS

Thomas and Donna Reilly

Cummings Physical Therapy

Edward and Betty Conley

Maria Herbert

Barbara Flockhart

Ann and Eugene Carver

Arthur and Barbara Flavin

Joe and Brenda Bertino

Joan Dumas

Mel and Rona Mael

Gary Skomro and Carina Campobasso

Rita Hartnett

Deborah Vecchio Osborne

Rita Hartnett

Peter and Maureen Gill

Susan Castella

Michelle Fluet (In memory of Roland & Phyllis Fluet)

Renee Fluet

Ruth Hampton

Gary and Janet Willwerth

Peter and Rosemarie Ottaviano

Richard and Joanne Letch

Edward and Jean Wall

Eugenia Cerulli

Jane and John Kelleher

Richard and Kathy Gill

Richard and Lisa Davella

Barbara Hoey

Paul and Dona O’Donnell

Robert Kelleher

Valerie McEachern

Kelly Megquier

Madlyn Riley

Laura Dibartolomeo

Elizabeth and Ernest Maylor

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