By MAUREEN DOHERTY
LYNNFIELD — Ron Grasso, a 35-year resident of town who moved to Essex Village 18 months ago, was appointed to the LIFE Board of Directors as the resident member of that board by a 3-0 vote of the selectmen. The recently adopted revised bylaws require that one of the five members of this board be a resident of one of the town’s three villages for seniors – Essex, Center or Colonial.
Grasso, who is the Director of Neighborhood Revitalization for the Malden Redevelopment Authority and who was recently appointed Director of the Mayor’s Housing Task Force in that city, has nearly 38 years of experience in home and commercial financing, rehabilitation and relocation initiatives.
He has an advanced business degree and holds licenses in real estate, as a lead paint inspector and a construction supervisor. He is a member of the Mass. AG’s Task Force for Environmental Hazards, has served on advisory boards to the Mass. Housing Finance Agency and has made presentations to the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials and the Boston HUD-area regional office.
Grasso said when he attended a LIFE Board of Directors meeting he was surprised they did not have a resident representative. In his experience dealing with Housing Authorities across the country, every one has had residential representation, so he brought his concern to board “and they agreed there should be a resident member,” he said.
Jack Adelson, a member of the LIFE Board, said the entire board endorses Grasso’s appointment, noting his enthusiastic participation at meetings. “He is eminently qualified to be on the board,” Adelson said.
Selectman Tom Terranova asked Grasso what was one of the more difficult tasks he has encountered in his position in Malden. Grasso said former Mayor Richard Howard appointed him to be the Director of Task Force, which he held for 12 years and said was very challenging. “The police, the fire, all departments reported to me on weekly basis. We solved problems. … We used a state law and took abandoned property; we got cease and desist orders. It was a 24/7 job. It was rehabilitation, loans; we were one-stop shopping. We’d write up the scope of work, repairs, loan them the money,” he said. He also said when he took over as Director of the Redevelopment Authority “we had $2 million in our loan portfolio. When I left, we had $24 million.”
Change of managers
The selectmen approved a change of manager requests at both The Ship Restaurant on Route 1 and Whole Foods Market at MarketStreet.
Sosio Cristoforo has returned to manage The Ship. When the restaurant reopened in the fall of 2012 Cristoforo was the original manager. He left briefly to pursue other opportunities. The company’s attorney noted that all of his certifications are up to date related to alcohol serving as well as allergen cross contamination and crowd management.
Cristoforo said crowd management training originated in the wake of The Station nightclub tragedy in Rhode Island in which 100 people perished after pyrotechnics were set off onstage during a concert.
Bill Ford is the new store team manager for Whole Foods Market. Attorney Mike Scott said Ford has 16 years of experience in the business, most recently from their Charles River Plaza location. Since Whole Foods also has a license to sell beer and wine, Ford also has the required alcohol serving licenses.
Sunday alcohol hours change
Due to a rules change enacted by the state ABCC, the sale of alcohol on Sundays is now allowed to start at 10 a.m. rather than noon. However, to take advantage of the change, licensees must notify the town in writing of their intentions and attach a copy of the corporate vote certifying the change.
Businesses approved for expanded off-premises retail sales are Lynnfield Gulf on Route 1 South (formerly Lynnfield Exxon), Donovan’s Liquors and Whole Foods Market. “It is straightforward to me. The state allows it and I personally have no problem with it,” said Chairman Dave Nelson. Selectman Phil Crawford agreed that their action was “just a formality.”
Extended holiday hours
MarketStreet Lynnfield General Manager Nanci Horn requested an extension of operating hours from the board per the development agreement for the holiday season. The extended hours apply from the day after Thanksgiving through Dec. 31 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Selectmen also approved Horn’s request that the restaurants in the mall be allowed to stay open until 1 a.m. on New Year’s Eve.
Revisions to Fields MOU
Three changes to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) governing in the town’s recreational fields, deemed minor revisions, were approved by the selectmen Nov. 3 at the request of Fields Committee Chairman Arthur Bourque and Town Administrator Bill Gustus.
The first reflects the change in the number of spectators who can be accommodated in the grandstands, reducing it from 1,000 to 826. This was based on the ruling by the state Plumbing Board on the number of bathrooms in the amenities building. Crawford said the easiest way to address it was to remove the top row of bleacher seating.
The second revision changes the way the fields are numbered in sequential order from the perspective of the student parking lot at LHS to eliminate any potential confusion for scheduling purposes.
Gustus suggested a third revision to note that the playing surfaces on the LHS baseball and softball fields are artificial turf, not natural grass. All three revisions were approved 3-0.
Turkey Trot approved
The sixth annual Rotary Club Turkey Trot Road Race was approved by the board. It will be held on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 9:30 a.m. and the course will follow the route used for the Run for the Fallen, starting and ending in MarketStreet and utilizing portions of Walnut, Summer, Trickett, Atherton and Fernway.
Perley Burrill Update
Gustus informed the board that Town Counsel Tom Mullen has sent a letter to Joseph Pedoto’s attorney advising him that the removal of the underground tanks must be completed by Dec. 8, which is 60 days from the date he pulled the permit with the Fire Department. “The court found Joseph Pedoto in contempt but failed to assign a penalty until his subsequent actions” are taken, Gustus said. Terranova recused himself due to a past business relationship with Pedoto.
Mike DiCorato, a 911 dispatcher in town and also the proprietor of Countryside Deli, was granted an exemption under MGL Ch. 268A, Sec. 20B to provide catering services to the Veterans’ Agent for the Veterans’ Day celebration. The contract was awarded for $300.
Keno at Elks
The board decided not to object to a request of the Wakefield Lodge of Elks to seek a Keno license from the state Lottery Commission.