Virus questions haunt summer
Locals still wear masks as some claim crisis is over but deaths continue to rise
By JOSH RESNEK
Memorial Day weekend has come and gone.
The traditional starting point for the American summer of 2020 has begun with big question marks about how it is going to turn out with the virus still making millions of us tentative about what we can do while many millions of others believe going out and enjoying themselves is far more important than being kept safe from the viral storm swirling among us.
With most Everett residents venturing outside now wearing masks and practicing social distancing, it is difficult to reconcile this when viewing video of tens of thousands of people frolicking on the beach without masks and or social distancing in places like Daytona Beach, Florida.
Is this OK or is it not?
Are the frolickers casting their fate to the wind and the sun going to become infected or are they not? Are they going to return home and infect their loved ones, and then their loved ones go out and infect others?
The experts all agree – yes, this is going to happen.
The president does not agree.
He says we need to get open and to go back to work and that everything is just fine.Continue Reading
Memorial Day ceremony special
“Under the circumstances, it was awesome.” – Councilor Wayne Matewsky
By JOSH RESNEK
Memorial Day in the age of Coronavirus was bit different this year.
Large crowds planting flags and listening to orations did not occur over the weekend.
What happened here Monday, however, showed the resiliency of the local community in its yearly affirmation of honoring those who gave their lives in the service of this nation.
“The respect that was shown under such dire conditions was amazing,” said Councilor Wayne Matewsky, who attended the event at Woodlawn Cemetery.
“So much respect was shown. I cannot recall a more fitting Memorial Day tribute than what was put on by the city at Woodlawn Cemetery. It was unreal,” he added.
Schools asking for fed funds while facing huge deficit
Seek reimbursement of Covid-19 relief aid
By JOSH RESNEK
The Everett School Committee has joined the Boston School Committee in petitioning the federal government to reimburse the city for COVID-19 relief measures it has paid for.
The school relief measures have caused Everett and most cities and towns to incur costs
that were not provided for in their budgets.
The major cost for Everett is a $400,000 out of pocket expense for Chromebook computers for students to be empowered as well as able to learn remotely.
Although online teaching has so far been a bust here, and in many working-class communities, Everett wants to be reimbursed nevertheless.
“I have 90 students,” an Everett High School teacher told the Leader Herald. “When I send out a study request to students online, the most I’ve heard back from at one time is nine.”
She said school officials told her not to teach new material to those who come online.
“I know I’m not supposed to say this, but the effort is not working. It is pathetic. Something needs to be done,” she added.
The school system has also spent additional funds it does not have to keep all 936 employees on the payroll during the school’s shutdown.
In addition, the schools have been feeding as many as 350 students a day at a cost estimated by school officials at $200,000 by the end of the school year.Continue Reading
Encore’s harsh reality on its 1st anniversary
By JOSH RESNEK
The casino and hotel known as Encore Boston Harbor was to have been the mayor’s crowning achievement.
In a personal way, he was hoping to make more money from the casino coming here than he could ever have imagined – not just for the city but for himself.
He valued himself a friend of Steve Wynn, who proved himself to be someone far less appealing than his public reputation.
The mayor cried at the podium on opening day last year.
He praised Wynn. He emphasized his loyalty to him.
It was all great theater as Wynn was not present as his life was ruined by revelations of his sexual incontinence by the Wall Street Journal.
It is turning out to be something far less crowning and insubstantial an achievement than what all of us believed was coming when the casino opened last June.
The Encore will celebrate its first anniversary with its doors closed and the casino itself a big question mark.
From the start, the casino and hotel never materialized businesswise as had been expected.
The closure of the casino since March does not bode well for the future.
Its reopening is dependent on the state.
When it reopens, it is likely only 50% capacity will be allowed and with restrictions.
Such a scenario makes cutting a profit impossible.Continue Reading
Shuttered Parlin and Shute libraries lag behind in community service
No local programs during pandemic
By JOSH RESNEK
Library buildings throughout the state are closed, but library services are still running – but not at Everett’s two public libraries.
The Parlin and Shute libraries have been rendered useless and shut down entirely because of the Coronavirus crisis.
The failure to hire a certified librarian to head the institutions is also believed to be part of the problem with a lack of direction from the library’s present leadership contributing to the problem as well.
In many other communities throughout the state, public libraries are being used in a variety of creative ways with community programming to ensure that residents can still participate in educational and entertaining programs while the stay-at-home order and social distancing are in place.
According to the Massachusetts Library Association more than 300 libraries across the state are turning to virtual library services to their patrons.
For instance, a recent MBLC Blog posted, “Don’t get bored: Seven things for North Andoverites to try online via Stevens Memorial Library.”
The Lawrence Eagle Tribune recently published and article entitled “Local libraries close, but reading resources continue.” The Tewksbury Public Library is hosting several virtual events including an SBA workshop for small business owners and a virtual author visit.Continue Reading
Looking at the News
Wynn rolls dice on Las Vegas eateries, Encore stays closed
Mass Gaming Commission praises resort on new misconduct policies
By JOSH RESNEK
In Las Vegas, a group of restaurants owned by Wynn Resorts is reopening this week with restrictions, a sure sign that some sense of normalcy is returning to the Strip.
Who and how many people will come to the restaurants are big questions as many of them cater to the millions of visitors that come to the desert for relaxation and fun.
Also, key are the business meetings and conventions held in Las Vegas which fill the restaurants with attendees, none of which will be happening any time soon – not at least until the end of the summer or later, according to reports in the Las Vegas Sun published this weekend.
Much of the news and the speculation is the same for Encore Boston Harbor in Everett which has been closed since mid-March.
Encore and MGC officials have been communicating but no date for reopening has yet been discussed or set.
In the meantime, the MGC gave Encore and Wynn officials a mostly glowing report as it evaluated the operator’s efforts and policies to limit sexual misconduct at the Encore property in Everett and throughout the company.
This came as a result of the law firm Miller & Chevalier’s 127-page report being reviewed by the MGC at last week’s meeting. Miller & Chevalier lawyers spent close to three hours detailing the results of its report on the monitoring of Wynn CEO Matt Maddox and his team.
That report and its finding are partly the result of the $35 MGC million fine Wynn Resorts was forced to pay to get its license and further stipulations for the company to change its culture which the MGC insisted upon.
The effort was intended to end the company’s complicity in covering up sexual misconduct allegations against founder and former chairman and CEO Steve Wynn.Continue Reading
— Eye on Everett —
“He’s a foolish gambler. He loves to gamble” – The mayor’s Blue Suit
By JOSH RESNEK
“I’ve never told anyone what I’m going to tell you about the mayor,” his Blue Suit said to me. “I’m not excited. I know what I’m doing. I just want to get this stuff off my chest so people will know who the mayor really is,” his Blue Suit told me.
“I know how popular my discussions are with you with an awful lot of people – the people who matter – those Everett readers, homeowners, businesspeople and voters who read your column,” the Blue Suit added.
“He continues to wear me all the time. I thought he might trade me in for a new off the rack suit…but no…he is stubborn. He won’t change. If he does, he believes it looks as though you are winning and he is losing,” the Blue Suit said whimsically.
“You remember how he told you he was going to put you out of business in four weeks? I was there with him when he charged down to your office on Church Street and blustered his way in to see you. In his own mind, he believed he was going to destroy you and to put you out of business. Others had told him it was a bad idea, that you couldn’t be crushed and that you had very loyal friends who never give up and who would never let you down. Still, he couldn’t be stopped from trying to act like a tough guy when in fact, everyone knows he’s just a small city bully out to hurt people and to enrich himself at everyone else’s expense.”
“You really believe this?” I asked the Blue Suit.
“Yup. No question about it. Very few people know that he did that once before to the former owner of the Leader Herald. He went down to Church Street and shook him up a bit. That was really messy, scary, almost, especially if you were the former owner, who was not really able to defend himself. He wasn’t that kind of guy.”
“OK. What were you going to tell me about Kickback.”
“Please don’t call him Kickback. He hates it. It drives him crazy that anyone could be so brazen as to call him a name he deserves and what’s worse, he knows the name fits him perfectly!”
The Blue Suit and I shared a cool moment. We were both having fun.
“It’s too bad the mayor couldn’t be with us today to enjoy a laugh or too,” I suggested.Continue Reading
Tom Brady as a metaphor for loss
There have been many twists and turns that will haunt us for many years to come which began several months back.
The Coronavirus shutting down our economy and wreaking havoc on our health care system and leaving the nation with more than 35 million unemployed is one thing.
Tom Brady, the New England Patriot’s greatest living legend, the Goat, the greatest quarterback of all-time in the National Football League leaving us at the same time, is another thing entirely.
Is the epidemic and its bad energy consistent with the loss we are all mostly feeling about Brady leaving us for another franchise?
Yes it is in more ways than we might give credit for it.
Knowing Brady was taking the field every Sunday for the past twenty years gave the kind of satisfying, comforting reassurance to New Englanders that most sports fans across the nation have never known.
Now that’s irretrievably gone forever.
It seems likely even the National Football League season is gone – a cruel twist for Brady, as he was hoping to play during his 43rd year.
The virus has altered economic history for now. It has rewritten this season and probably next season in ways we cannot know.
The economic system and our ability to survive this epidemic caused downturn are reminders of how things don’t remain the same forever. They change.
Councilor Gerly Adrien questions schools response to Coronavirus pandemic
An open letter from Councilor-at-Large Gerly Adrien to the people of Everett and to the members of the Everett School Committee and School Administration.
As an elected official, I am not afraid to speak out about issues that affect our community and be a voice for the voiceless. Last week, I created a stir of emotions because I addressed the way School Committee and School Leadership handled certain issues during COVID-19.
In the last three months, I’ve received multiple phone calls, emails, and text messages from students, parents, school employees, and other elected officials concerned about multiple issues in the school system. Examples include parents spending their own money to make up for what the school should have been doing all along, no communication plan to the parents, school employees looking for legal counsel, and students who felt left behind.
At the end of many of these conversations, I felt embarrassed. I happily took the time to listen, and I asked each person, what do you want to see done? Every conversation left me puzzled, asking myself, “Are they doing what is best for the students?” and, “What could I do to help solve this problem?”Continue Reading
Schools HR chief fired; Crimson Tide football coach suspended
Twin actions cause minor uproar
By JOSH RESNEK
The Everett School Department’s Human Resources chief and the Crimson Tide’s head football coach have been fired and indefinitely suspended, respectively, in separate actions taken by Superintendent Priya Tahiliani with the approval and or the acquiescence of the School Committee.
Cari Wahlberg, the human resources chief, was fired as she neared the end of her one year contract with the School Department.
Theluxon Pierre, the Crimson Tide football coach who took over for John DiBiaso two years ago, has apparently been suspended because of serious allegations lodged against him publicly by his wife on Facebook.
Sources said Wahlberg was fired due to her inability to join Tahiliani and her assistant in their new administration of the Everett Public Schools, according to a source familiar with the firing.
“The real reason she was fired relates to School Committee Chairman Thomas Abruzzese’s ire being raised because Wahlberg hired special investigators to look into abuses allegedly committed by two of his sons who were employed by the School Department,” added the source.
“Abruzzese wanted revenge and he appears to have gotten it,” the source added.Continue Reading