The old expression, â€œThe more things change, the more they remain the same,â€ certainly seemed to sum up the year 2021 in Winthrop. The news at the beginning of the year was that COVID was devastating the Winthrop community with deaths and hospitalizations.
Though by the end of 2021 many residents were fully vaccinated, the new Omicron variant, which arose in late November, once again sent COVID-19 cases soaring in the town even among the fully-vaccinated.
Here are some of the other stories that made the headlines in the city in 2021:
After almost a year of remote learning, life returned to normal in early spring, as more students were able to go to school, and by the time the school year opened in September, in-class learning was back, though all school children and public school staff were required to wear a face mask.
Sports for Winthrop athletes returned to somewhat near-normal in the spring, with all of the WHS athletic programs competing in an abbreviated schedule.
The 2021 fall sports season saw the Viking teams compete in a full schedule against their Northeastern Conference opponents. The WHS boys soccer team enjoyed its most-successful season in history and the Viking football team came within a whisker of reaching the Super Bowl, falling to the eventual state champion, Rockland, in a close decision, 37-34.
In addition, Winthrop fans were happy to see the return of the Winthrop-Revere football game on Thanksgiving Day after a two-year absence.
However, as the 2022 winter season got underway, the appearance of the Omicron variant of the virus is threatening to play havoc with athletic participation.
The big highlight for the Winthrop schools in 2021 was the return of a normal high school graduation ceremony, with 146 Winthrop High grads receiving their diplomas at Miller Field in June with their family members in attendance.
The local political landscape changed dramatically with the bombshell announcement by State Rep. Robert DeLeo, who was Speaker of the House and had represented Winthrop for 30 years, that he was retiring to accept a teaching position at Northeastern.
The open seat had four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in February. Jeffrey Turco went on to win the Democratic primary in March and a month later handily defeated Independent candidate Richard Fucillo, Jr. and Republican candidate Paul Caruccio in the March 30 election.
Then in September, State Senator Joseph Boncore announced that he would be giving up his seat. Two candidates vied for the position, Revere School Committeeman Anthony Dâ€™ Ambrosio and Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards, with Edwards handily winning the Democratic nomination, which is tantamount to winning the final election in January.
Winthrop municipal elections also dominated the news in 2021.
Town Council President Philip Boncore lost to Councilor Jim Letterie, who will lead the town starting in January. Letterie represented Precinct 2 on the Town Council for the past 16 years.
A Year of Loss
In January, Winthrop residents saw the passings of long-time retired Winthrop police officer Robert McFarland and Richard Dimes, who had served Winthrop residents in elective and appointive positions for more than 50 years.
In August, popular business owner Tina Hinojosa was killed in a car accident at the intersection of Hagman Road and Pauline St. The other driver, an East Boston man in his 80s, sustained injuries and was charged with motor vehicular homicide and OUI.
Hinojosa worked as an accountant for Roof Repairs Corp. in Winthrop and was owner and founder of SoulDrink, as well as the former co-owner of The Yoga Lounge in Winthrop.
Winthrop residents were shocked on a quiet Saturday in June by a heinous hate crime that claimed the lives of two members of our community. Nathan Allen, a 28 year-old Wareham native who had lived in Winthrop for two years, went on a rampage after stealing and crashing a truck on Shirley St., shooting and killing two Black residents, retired State Trooper David Green, a lifelong and well-known Winthrop resident, and Ramona Cooper, a retired Air Force Sergeant. Allen himself was shot and killed by a Winthrop police sergeant who responded to the scene.
Fire Chief Paul Flanagan announced his retirement from the Winthrop Fire Department after more than 40 years in service to the Town.
Winthrop Town Council heard that the local ferry service was losing almost $1,000 a day as of July 29. The ferry started its 2021 service in April.
The Field House at Miller Field was officially named the Tony Fucillo Field House at ceremonies in October. The longtime Winthrop football coach expressed his thanks for the honor.
Also, longtime Winthrop High Coach Pat MaGee had the new track at Miller Field named after her. Both coaches had a profound and positive influence on thousands of Winthrop High athletes.
Although we can expect to continue to grapple with the fallout from the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also will find a community that is moving forward as it prepares to meet the challenges of the third decade of the 21st century.