Boncore: ‘Let’s Get Everyone vaccinated’

The Winthrop Town Council held a remote meeting on May 18, where it discussed updates on issues impacting the community. Approximately seventeen members of the public attended.

COVID-19

In Winthrop, there have been 2,399 positive COVID cases, with 13 individuals currently in isolation. The incident rate remains low, at just 1.6 percent. Fifty-nine percent of residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 48 percent are fully vaccinated.

A vaccine clinic will be held May 27 from 4 pm to 7 pm at the St. Michael’s Parrish. There will also be vaccines available at the schools for students age 12 and over.

“Let’s get everyone vaccinated,” said Council Pres. Phil Boncore, adding that he’d like to get all residents inoculated within the coming weeks.

Pres. Boncore also praised the tireless efforts of DPH Director Meredith Hurley, calling her “the hero of this pandemic.”

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker intends to lift all COVID restrictions by May 29. Police Chief and Interim Town Manager Terence Delehanty spoke about the potential for holiday parades and fireworks, emphasizing that he will take his queues from surrounding towns and health officials.

Schools

Supt. Lisa Howard was awarded another year-long contract. Andrea O’Leary, Asst. Principal at the Cummings School, was promoted to Principal. Meanwhile, Susan Eccles, longtime Business Manager of the Winthrop Public Schools, is set to retire.

“Sue has done a fine job and represented this town very well,” said the council president. “She deserves our applause and I want to wish her well.”

Some students have launched a Diversity and Inclusion Resource Center and a website is underway. Vandalism was discovered at the Fort Banks elementary school basketball court in the form of broken glass bottles and a broken basketball net. Summer schools will be available, with a focus on math, English and special needs.

Policing

The Winthrop Police Dept. is hosting Fair & Impartial Policing clinics for the public with the goal of educating residents about law enforcement and policing in Winthrop.

It has joined with the Dept. of Public Health so that social workers, therapists and recovery coaches will know how their clients will interact with the police department.

“We don’t plan on solving everything [right away],” said Chief Delehanty. “This is just the beginning.”

Miller Field

The tennis courts at Miller Field are nearly complete and should be fully operational by the end of June. The area has been paved and fencing installed. Improvements to the fieldhouse include non-slip flooring, bathrooms and concession stands. The facility should be open around Labor Day, with a grand opening slated for early fall. The project is on budget.

Bids for the dog park and golf shed will open on May 20, and the project will be awarded by early June. Work would commence immediately and the facilities should be completed by early summer.

MBTA Sexual Assault

Police are investigating a sexual assault that occured on board the #713 MBTA bus from Orient Heights to Winthrop on April 24. The incident was caught on camera, and shows the bus driver assaulting a passenger. Police Chief Delehanty said the community was rightfully concerned about the vetting process for bus drivers.

Budget Meetings

The Finance Commission has met four times since the last council meeting to discuss the budget, with each meeting running two to three hours. All meetings are open to the public and there will be three more before the commission will deliberate and send its recommendations to the council for the first meeting in June. Council will then vote on the recommendations at its second meeting in June.

Town Charter

The Ordinance Review Committee (ORC) presented three recommendations to amend the Town Charter. It also accepted many non-substantive changes suggested by the Collins Center. The Rules and Ordinances Committee reviewed the full report and is expected to have a motion at a later meeting. The ORC has requested to continue its work until the end of the year.

Other Updates

An interim chief financial officer has been identified and will be offered a 90-day contract, the longest an interim town manager is permitted to authorize. The individual in question has almost four decades of experience in the business world.

The Rules and Ordinances Committee is working with KP Law to come up with zoning recommendations for the middle school. A public hearing will be held, after which recommendations will be sent to the Town Council for approval.

Construction will begin soon on the Ingleside Park Playground, which suffered a fire last December.

Council Pres. Boncore appointed the following individuals to town committees: Sarah Jane Fourness to the Planning Board; and John Vitagliano and Nicholas Ivancic to the Airport Hazards Committee.

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