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  • Gardner Panel
    Panel of Gardner Five Gardner MA

    Panel of 5 Gardner MA Individuals to Help Select Who’s the Deputy Chief and maybe even Who’s the Chief

    Appearing on WGAW’s Hotline Radio on Saturday, May 22, 2022, Mayor Michael Nicholson was very clear that, “for the position of Chief, nothing’s official until the investigation is done. For the position of Deputy Chief, I can tell you exactly….There’ll be a panel of 5 individuals to review all applicants.  They’ll send the top 2 candidates to my desk.  I will interview them myself and then make an appointment to send up to the Appointments Committee of the City Council for full Council confirmation.

    Mayor Mike Nicholson Gardner MA
    Gardner Mayor :Michael Nicholson

    “The way that appointments of Police Chief and Fire Chiefs work are specifically governed by State law.   And those two positions are protected by State Law, …..same thing with the Deputy chief of the Police Department. …We do have the Dispatch Director position currently posted, so we are receiving applications for that as well.   We have a little different hiring process in that it doesn’t start with the full 5 member board, but rather a couple members from each of the groups of the Gardner Police Department and the Fire Department that the Dispatch Center assists with their operations.” ….“We do have all of the plans in place to move forward, but in terms of the position of Police Chief, specificially, nothing is finalized for that yet as we’re still ongoing in that realm.”

    The Mayor stated that the hiring process typically takes from 30 to 60 days from post to hire. The Mayor was asked about whether Former Chief Braks was still getting paid and Mayor Nicholson responded, “Yes, because by law it is a paid administrative leave. “ Steve Wendell asked, “Has he submitted any information as to whether he wants to come back or not?” The Mayor responded. “That’s something that is still privileged at this point as a personnel matter, but I can tell you we have not received anything yet.”

    The mayor made other comments relating to the Police Department. ““People at the Police Department are still doing a good job, day in and day out, shows the resiliency of who we have working here in the City. …The two lieutenants didn’t receive an extra penny for the work they were doing when they were running the department.”

    Hotline Radio

    Heard on Gardner’s Hit Radio Show!

    Hotline Radio is heard every Saturday from noon to 2pm on Gardner MA WGAW. WGAW is on AM 1340, 98.1 FM, and available 24/7 over the internet. Host Steve Wendell interviews many area newsmakers every week. To hear the station right, now, CLICK for the LIVE STREAM. WGAW has a News/Talk format.

  • Memorial Day Parade

    Memorial Day Parade Heads to Gardner MA Monument Park on May 30, 2022 at 10am

    Anne Marie Blake, President of the Gardner Veterans Council told Gardner Magazine that the muster will be at 9:15am at the American Legion on Elm Street, Gardner with the goal of being at Monument Park for the 10am Memorial Day Ceremony featuring various dignitaries, guests, speeches, military medley by the Gardner High School Band, placing of poppies, firing squad (VFW), taps, and readings in the spirit of honoring all who served.

    Parade Details

    Marchers will meet in the Elm Street Parking Lot, Rider meet in the small city lot at the Legion Rotary. From Anne Marie Blake, ” MARCHERS: PARADE ROUTE IS FROM THE PARKING LOTS AROUND THE LEGION ROTARY, DOWN CENTRAL, ONTO PARK AND LEFT ONTO COTTAGE ST.  ALMOST AT THE FAR END OF COTTAGE ST. MAKE A COLUMN LEFT AND CONTINUE SINGLE FILE UP THE STAIRS AND TO WHERE YOU WILL BE STANDING/SITTING.  PLEASE DO NOT FALL OUT PRIOR TO BEING IN THE PARK OR EVERYONE BEHIND YOU WILL FOLLOW. WE WANT EVERYONE IN THE PARK TO ENJOY THE WHOLE PARADE. RIDERS: FOR VETERANS, LADIES AUXILIARY MEMBERS OR ANYONE WHO CANNOT WALK BUT WOULD LIKE TO RIDE, THERE WILL BE 2 VANS AVAILABLE COURTESY OF MONTACHUSETT VETERAN OUTREACH CENTER AND THE DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS, OR YOU CAN USE YOUR OWN VEHICLE(S). MEET IN THE CITY LOT AT ROTARY. Parade Orders: Gardner Police, All American Flags, All Veteran Organizations Flags, All Marching Veterans, All Marching Ladies Auxiliary Members, Gardner High School Band, Mayor, Representatives of City, State, Order of the Elks, Scouts, Cars and Vans with Veterans and others, Patriot and Elk Riders, Gardner Fire Department. Parking immediately behind the band stand is reserved for parade vehicles. In case of rain, proceed to City Hall Auditorium.”

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  • Mosquitos Out
    out they go

    Mosquitos to be Evicted by the Spraying of Central Mass. Mosquito Control Project

    Gardner Dates are May 31 and June 9, 16, 21, 30. CMMCP says the dates are subject to change due to weather conditions, mosquito populations, mosquito virus activity, and/or special event spraying.

    From CMMCP site, “Mosquito control in Massachusetts operates under M.G.L. Ch. 252 (Improvement of Low Land & Swamps) and the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board.  The Project was created by the Massachusetts State Legislature in 1973, and currently consists of 44 cities and towns in Central Massachusetts, from both Worcester and Middlesex Counties, covering over nearly 810 square miles.”

    Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project

    Information about the service area:  CLICK HERE.

    For more information on the project, view the website,  CLICK HERE.

    Mission statement, “The objective of the Project is to attain an efficient, economic mosquito control operation which will provide the best results possible and be consistent with all ecological aspects and the best interests of the member towns.

    From the CMMCP website, “Our goal is to reduce mosquito exposure to the public, and the potential for disease transmission by mosquitoes, by utilizing proven, sound mosquito control techniques. CMMCP believes the best way to accomplish this task is by practicing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach as it relates to mosquito control in Massachusetts. IPM utilizes a variety of control techniques and evaluation procedures. Control efforts are undertaken only after surveillance data has been collected and analyzed. Training, experience and common sense dictate our response in any given situation. It is our desire and responsibility for this Project to have the best mosquito control for the communities that we serve.”

  • Gardner City-Wide Yard Sale

    GardnerYardSale.com

    The City of Gardner welcomed many to its Spring 2022 Yard Sale. We’ll advise you of Fall 2022 plans as they are announced.

    Yard Sales Gardner MA Panorama

    It Happened and people came!  Gardner MA City-Wide Yard Sale had 133 participating homes May 21, 2022 from 8am to 2pm

    On some roads in Gardner Saturday May 21, 2022, a parade of cars could be seen traveling to Yard Sales in the Chair City. With a total of at least 133 participating homes who appeared on the map, many items were up for sale. As of the end of the sale, the online map showed 4,240 views. The City-wide Yard Sale took place this Saturday May 21, 2022 from 8am to 2pm. Cars could be seen with out-of-town and even out-of-state license plates.  

    Ways to view the list: Complete map on Google.

    Gardner Spring Yard Sale 2022 PSA
    yard sale 5-21-22
    Yard Sale Gardner MA
    Yard Sale Gardner MA

    Click any image for larger view.

    Yard Sale Gardner MA
    Yard Sale Gardner MA
    Yard Sale Gardner MA
    Yard Sale Gardner MA

    Super Computer Utilized to Plot Route to all Gardner MA Yard Sale Stops

    With 133 Homes having Yard Sales in Gardner on Saturday May 21, 2022 from 8am to 2pm, we needed to find a way for you to see them all.

    The route plotted by computer starts at the Blue Moon Diner (thought you might like breakfast before shopping) and then plots out all the stops which are completed in less than 4 hours. Printable in pdf format, Directions only. 41 pages of Turn by turn maps.

  • Mayor’s Update – Colin Smith
    Colin Smith

    Watch the Mayor’s updates on the City of Gardner YouTube page or on our Mayor’s update page. CLICK HERE.

    Executive Aide Colin Smith filled in for Gardner MA Mayor Nicholson Friday May 20, 2022

    Smith reported that the Mayor is on the Cape for the Massachusetts Mayors Conference.  Colin Smith indicated he would be attending the Mount Wachusett Community College Nursing graduation representing the Mayor and congratulated the students.   Smith related his tour of the new Elementary School with the School Building Committee this week –  “It’s incredibly impressive already and it will be absolutely beautiful when it’s finished and I may be more than a little envious of the students who will be able to attend.  It’s been so cool seeing this project come to fruition knowing how many individuals around the City and outside of it have worked so hard to make it happen.”

    Smith stated that Gardner’s City-wide Yard Sale will be held this Saturday from 8am to 2pm Website. 

    “Gardner’s Junior Police Academy is now accepting applications for the 2022 class.  The academy will run from July 18 to July 22nd from 8am to 3pm with graduation on Saturday July 23rd.  This is open to students ages 12 to 17, and you do not have to be Gardner residents, although preference will be given to residents.  Class is limited to 20 cadets.  And they would like to mention that it’s FREE.”

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  • Water Quality
    Annual Water Quality Report 2021 Gardner MA
    Water Quality

    Gardner MA 2021 Water Quality Report Shows High Manganese, Water Safe to Drink

    The Gardner MA 2021 Water Quality Report has been released.  CLICK HERE.  For many years, the manganese level in Gardner Massachusetts water has been higher than desired, resulting in some local complaints of bad taste and the visible staining of toilets etc.   While Gardner water overall has been deemed safe, we have obtained detailed information regarding Manganese for those who are concerned about the issue.   Ten years ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a 556 page report on Manganese which you can view from Gardner Magazine.  CLICK HERE.    In 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency produced a Manganese Report.  CLICK HERE.

    Gardner Water Corrosion Issue

    For those concerned about corrosion caused by Gardner water,  Corrosion Testing Laboratories Inc. produced a document dated August 18, 2015 and entitled, “City of Gardner Leaking Copper Coils Failure Investigation”  CLICK HERE.   The reports indicate that “failures were centralized around the water treatment facility that uses surface water as a source.”   For those citizens wondering why Gardner is defending itself against homeowner claims, it is because  the City of Gardner is located in a region of the US that has surface water with a low alkalinity and it is still undetermined whether the City has any liability over the issue.  While City officials are not commenting publicly about Gardner water at all, our investigation shows that over the years Gardner has been making attempts to solve the issue, but just hasn’t been successful.   The truth: Sometimes a problem is not easily solved despite best efforts.  Unfortunately that doesn’t help the homeowners  who have had uncovered heating system expenses and why the problem is the subject of an ongoing court case.

  • Wednesday Afternoon
    Park Downtown Gardner MA

    Simultaneous events in Gardner MA, the Chair City are chronicled for one Wednesday afternoon.

    DPW at Gardner Dog Park
    Sports at Gardner MA High School

    It was a Great Wednesday Afternoon in Gardner MA

    On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Gardner Massachusetts, Gardner was quietly being a Great place to Live, Work, Play, and Visit.   People were going about their business on City Hall Avenue.   Shoppers were enjoying stores on Main Street.  The Lion made it to a new location on Parker Street.  The Downtown Garage was being used for vehicles, but there were plenty of easy spaces for more Downtown Shoppers to enjoy.

    The DPW was sprucing up the Dog Park and the dogs were having a good time.  A Downtown park was green with life.  Senior Center Director Mike Ellis met people at the job fair. Priscilla’s Candy Shop looked inviting from outside.  Across the City at the Uptown Rotary, the flowers were blooming.  People were shopping at Walmart, Timpany Plaza, and the Gardner Plaza.  People were enjoying food at their favorite eating places.   The construction site at the new Gardner Elementary School was quiet, with the outhouses resting after a long day of use and construction had completed for the day.   Gardner High School was active with many students enjoying the outdoors.

    It was an ordinary afternoon, but there wasn’t really anything ordinary about it.  It was actually pretty great.  People just weren’t thinking about how awesome it was!  Enjoy Gardner, the Chair City.      All Wednesday afternoon photos in the Chair City, click here.

  • City Council 5-16-22
    Gardner City Council
    Gardner City Council Meeting May 16, 2022

    Gardner MA Councilors Debate Scooters and Approve Outdoor Dining Space.

    The first item was according to Councilor Craig Cormier, ““a very simple ordinance, just a move from 9am to 8am, brings into line with how yard sales actually work and brings into line with the City-Wide Yard Sale that’s already been advertised.” City Council approved for first printing.

    Bird Scooters
    Bird Scooters is a company mentioned by Mayor Nicholson

    Watch the Gardner City Council meetings on the City of Gardner YouTube page or on our City Council page.

    The complete City Council and packet is available. CLICK HERE

    The Fiscal Year 2023 School Budget Presentation is available. CLICK HERE.

    Gardner Magazine reached out to Councilor Ron Cormier’s telephone number to ask whether he plans to resign from the Council following his objection to the free speech discussion over the scooters. We are awaiting a reply.

    Scooter Stirs Debate and Discussion, and even an attempt by one Councilor to silence free speech.

    Mayor Nicholson has proposed bringing shareable dockless mobility devices to the Chair City, otherwise known as “scooters”. There was considerable discussion. Councilor George Tyros had concerns., opposing the use of the devices for respect and safety reasons in the cemeteries. 

    Councilor Boone was asked by Tyros about his concerns and Boone stated “there was some question on fees…one of the things is that our DPW is gonna have to pick up these things if they are left, and there was no fee structure for that, ….I think as a City we need more time to absorb what’s going on.  I know these things are coming, do I think it’s gonna be a little chaotic, maybe, maybe not, so I just think we need more time to make a proper decision on the matter.”

    Councilor Nick Boudreau, “ to speak to Councilor Boone’s thought, when I worked in the City of Marlborough, we implemented this during my tenure there, and there was a big  ooh and aah phase at the very beginning, but then it did die down, almost to the point where it was just second nature to these people.  So I don’t think necessarily people are going to be leaving them out for an extended period of time, maybe it may happen a couple of times towards the beginning, and you can find out exactly who it was based off of different apps and different ways of payment and that kind of stuff which would differ based on the vendor that we would use, but I don’t think it’s going to be, we’re not Nashville, so they’re not going to be throwing these scooters everywhere all year, or bikes, of whatever we were to get.”

    Councilor Heath, ”I’ve rented a number of these, when I was out in Baltimore, when I was out in Los Angeles, you do have to be licensed, you’re supposed to be over 18 to go ahead and ride these, so it depends on which ones, my kids rode them with me.  I signed off on all of them.  However, they couldn’t do it themselves, I had to go ahead and do it as an adult. So have they been left around and things and such,  yes, but you’re supposed to go ahead and take a photo of where you leave it, when you get off of it. “

    Councilor Mack, “ I was wondering, seeing he’s present, if the Mayor could just address, he did send us documentation this afternoon addressing Councilor Boone’s concerns, …I would just like to give the Mayor the opportunity to present what’s he’s giving to us in regards to those concerns.”

    In a somewhat bizarre outburst, Councilor Ronald Cormier actually objected to the City Council discussing the matter and had to be reminded by the City Council President that Councilor had an right to discuss it. Councilor Ronald Cormier stated, “this is inappropriate., the conversations.”

    Council President Kazinskas stated, “this is on the motion.  Councilors can speak before the motion is seconded. …  Councilors asked whether the motion had been seconded and Kazinskas responded no, “we’re going to continue with the motion.”

    The motion was seconded to refer to the Public Safety Committee. 

    Councilor Cormier, “To Councilor Tyros, we do intend to have a meeting on this week, and hope to have it back before the Council at our next meeting.

    Councilor Walsh, “I’m going to support the motion to refer.  This is a lengthy amendment …a lot to absorb, when it’s on our agenda for the very first time….I think a little more time to do it right as best we can in advance of these vehicles becoming part of the city’s landscape is a good idea.”

    rendering of outdoor dining
    Outdoor dining rendering

    Motion was approved to temporarily close a portion of Pleasant Street for outdoor dining.

    Craig Cormier  “We did have a chance to discuss this…would give a 3 month closure to Pleasant Street to try out some outdoor dining on the streets for the summer months. If we don’t like it, we can obviously let it expire and not keep doing that.   Businesses involved signed a letter in favor of the motion.”

    The Gardner Police Department indicated the dates of closure would be June 20, 2022 from 7am through October 1, 2022 at 7am.

    letter from Gardner pd

    Councilor Comments

    Councilor James Boone Gardner MA
    Councilor James Boone holds up 100 year old Yearbook he found in attic.
    Judy A. Mack
    Councilor Judy A. Mack suggested Handicapped Parking

    Dana Heath, “ I just want to say thank you to the DPW.  I sent a request today at 12:40 …Ovila Case playground…the bottom floor was busted open, so kids could fall through it.  It was fixed within an hour. So I just want to say thank you” George Tyros, “Nothing this evening.” Alek Dernalowicz, “ I have nothing this evening.” Judy A. Mack, “I just want to mention.  With the planned improvements to the Downtown area including areas of outside seating, I would like to suggest that the traffic commission and the disabilities commission look into creating some handicapped accessible parking spots on Parker, Central, Main, or Pleasant Street for disabled people.  With the recent roadwork downtown there are curb cuts to allow for accessibility for the sidewalks, but we have not made parking accessible., other than what I can see in parking lots. So, I would just like to see this considered for those people who need the accessibility to our downtown businesses.” Craig Cormier, “ I have no Council business this evening.” James S. Boone, “I saw several of the committee members and I discovered this Argus Yearbook, 1922, it was on 76 Osgood Street in an attic we were currently clearing out…” Nathan Boudreau, “Can’t wait till my yearbook is brought to a City Council meeting as a historic relic, I have no new City Council business this evening.” Karen G. Hardern “Nothing new this evening.” James M. Walsh, “Two items.  Councilor Boone might want to consider if he wants it in a safe place to put it back in the attic where he found it.  …The other thing I wanted to mention is a follow up to these National Grid petitions.  It used to be the practice of the City Engineer to review these petitions in advance of their being presented to the City Council so that the kind of errors that occurred in the petitions we just considered would not occur….and I’m happy to say that newly appointed and confirmed City Engineer Mr. Oliver is going to be doing that as we go forward, …” Ronald F. Cormier, “I have nothing this evening.” Elizabeth Kazinskas, “ I have no new Council business.”

  • Strength of Character

    A Gardner Magazine Editorial, Mayor Nicholson, Strength of Character.

    During the course of holding Political Office, every office holder encounters that moment when character is tested.  Mayor Nicholson is having his moment with the Gardner Police Department situation.  

    Despite enormous pressure to speak more openly about various details involved in the ongoing Police Department challenges, the Mayor has elected to stick with his plan – protect the taxpayers of Gardner, honor the due process rights of all involved, and stay the course with untold patience.    While the Press may be irritated with the lack of information and citizens speculate about the who, what, when, where, and why, the Mayor is doing what a great manager does – the right thing as he sees it on a daily basis, making sure that the citizens of Gardner have a well-functioning Police Department which serves their daily needs and keeps the citizenry safe.    In our opinion, the Mayor’s actions in this process including his unwavering resolve to handle the situation without giving in to political pressure shows a tremendous strength of character.    It would be easy to do a tell-all interview and it would get lots of attention.   It is much harder to be reserved with information, but in the end what is important is the best interests of the City of Gardner.   So our advice to the community and other members of the press is this:  Be vigilant, hold your leaders accountable, but also recognize when you’ve finally got someone with Strength of Character who doesn’t take the easy way out, but who’s actually looking out for you:  Mayor Michael Nicholson.    

    We reached out to the Mayor’s office on May 18, 2022 and spoke with the Mayor’s aide Colin Smith at length.    The Mayor is committed to following the process to its conclusion and will provide more information when it is in the best interest of the City to do so.   We will publish any Press Release in its entirety when available.  

    Werner Poegel, Publisher.

  • Puzzle Awaits
    Gardner MA Police Department Puzzle

    Here we go again! Another Acting Police Chief in the City of Gardner and more speculation as to who, what, when, and where as it relates to the future of the management of the Department.

    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson Holds Key to Gardner Police Department Puzzle

    Update 5-17-22: Gardner has another Acting Police Chief. Mayor Nicholson informed the Appointments Committee –View Meeting – that retired Deputy Chief Phil Kearns from the City of Fitchburg has been appointed Acting Police Chief. He retired from the City of Fitchburg in 2015 and according to Mayor Michael Nicholson, “has been the acting chief in 5 different communities since his retirement.”  According to Mayor Nicholson, he was to start the role on Monday, May 16, 2022, “for a period of 30 days at most.”  However, the Mayor indicated that the official appointment was for 60 days, just in case, “because the ordinance says you can’t have two consecutive temporary appointments…so we did this just as a buffer.”  Mayor Nicholson responded affirmatively when asked by Councilor Walsh if he anticipated a more permanent solution to the Chief’s position within that 30 day period.

    Although publicly leaving the door open in recent interviews, it seems increasingly unlikely that Mayor Nicholson will reappoint Chief Braks. He can also promote from within or search from outside the Department. One thing is certain: 41 hard-working officers of the Gardner Police Department will be affected by the decision, and, the Gardner City Council has final say in approving or rejecting any appointment. Both the Chief and Deputy Chief were placed on paid Administrative Leave at the beginning of February following a no-confidence vote from 40 out of 41 officers. The Deputy Chief has since retired.

    This is the second time this year an Acting Police Chief has been appointed. Management of the Department was handled for a short period by Vincent Alfano as Acting Chief, but for the past two months management duties have been handled by the two lieutenants, who according to Nicholson, have not received extra pay for the extra responsibilities. Gardner Magazine will keep you posted as the Gardner PD Puzzle continues….

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  • GHS Concert
    Gardner High School MA Spring Concert

    Gardner MA High School Spring Concert Thursday May 19, 2022

    Come enjoy an evening of music in the newly reupholstered, carpeted, and painted Landry Auditorium at Gardner High School. The concert will include the Jazz Band, 8th Grade Chorus, 8th Grade Band, Select Choir, HS Chorus, & HS Band.  Admission is $4 adults, $3 students at the door.

    GHS Music on Facebook, CLICK HERE. – GMS on Facebook, CLICK HERE.

    Publisher’s note: We searched for a Music page on the Gardner School District website and couldn’t find one. We apologize if we missed it. Otherwise, time to add one.

  • Gardner Yard Sale

    Gardner MA is poised to get a huge influx of visitors on Saturday May 21, 2022 as bargain hunters will have many homes to visit for Yard Sale items!

    Gardner May 21, 2022 Yard Sale Map as of 5/15/22 – Already over 100 homes signed up.

    Gardner MA City-Wide Yard Sale on May 21, 2022 from 8am to 2pm headed for huge participation success!

    Event organizer Julie Mazza reports that the definite number is 126  houses who have signed up.    Gardner Magazine registered GardnerYardSale.com to help and it has a link to Julie’s latest map and even posters you can use at your house to advertise your participation.  If you’re thinking of having a yard sale in Gardner this  year, don’t miss this event. 

    The deadline to sign up was Wednesday, May 18, 2022 – all you had to do was email your home address to gardneryardsale@gmail.com and get a free Yard sale permit from the City of Gardner.   CLICK HERE  Note that Mayor Nicholson has stated that even though the City Code only allows yard sales to start after 9am, the City is making an exception and allowing this sale to start at 8am and the City Council just sent a corrected ordinance to First Printing.

    Yard Sale supplies. If you need some pricing stickers or sign materials we suggest the Dollar Tree in the Timpany Plaza, Walmart, Staples, Ocean State Job Lot, or Big Lots.

    Gardner Yard Sale Audio Ad

    As of 8pm on May 19 2022, the Gardner Yard Sale Map showed 126 participants and the online Gardner Yard Sale Map had been viewed about 2200 times. Gardner Businesses should be prepared for a large influx of people to the Chair City this Saturday.

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  • Mayor’s Update 5-13-22
    Nicholson gardner ma
    Gardner MA Michael Nicholson with weekly update and well-dressed man captured in reflection and enlarged at upper left.

    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson Updates City with either Secret Service Detail OR Attentive Aide.

    Captured just to the left of Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson is what appears to be a scene out of the movies. Given that the Mayor is still too young to run for President, we believe the individual is hard-working aide Colin Smith. This appears to prove what has been suspected – The entire team at the Mayor’s office is highly committed to working for the betterment of the City. Watch the video update yourself on the City’s YouTube page or on our Mayor’s Update page and see if you can identify the mystery man in the reflection.

    Candor Realty, Mayor Nicholson, Kazinskas
    Picture by Colin Smith- City Council President Elizabeth Kazinskas and Mayor Michael Nicholson stand with Jonathan Bombaci and Matthew Perimian of Candor Realty following the closing of the sale of 25 Main Street

    At the Building: One of the matters discussed by the Mayor is the very building he is standing in front of – the Flat Iron Building by Bull Nose Park which was recently sold to Candor Realty by Dean Marcus and which will soon be rehabbed and returned to its full potential. The Mayor announced that Candor Realty’s other property purchase on 88-98 Main Street will soon feature a Candor Realty office in one of the open storefronts. The City has been involved in facilitating several transactions recently which will result in former blighted buildings in Downtown Gardner becoming productive again, with either business or residential space. The Mayor stated,, “this building has officially been sold.”… “The City Council will vote on my proposal to close a small section of Pleasant Street to increase outdoor seating options.” View Mayor’s complete Press Release, CLICK HERE.

    man escaping grille fire

    Fire Safety: Mayor Nicholson stated, “We had a notice from the Gardner Fire Department asking us to remind people that as the weather gets warmer, do remember to be careful with grilles….or where you are depositing your cigarettes…. We had 4 different fires this past week, 2 of which happened because there were grilles on 2nd or 3rd floor portions that were enclosed, That is actually illegal here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In both of those instances, the grille started a fire on the porch, and in one case causing upwards of $20,000 in damage to the building. Two other locations, we had a mulch fire in which an individual threw a cigarette into some mulch over at Old English Village….or another one left a cigarette on a railing near a building and that caused a fire as well.” Here are some Grille Safety tips from the State of MA. CLICK HERE.

    Thanked Nurses: Mayor Nicholson thanked nurses at Heywood Hospital and noted that this week was Nurses Appreciation Week. “We really do owe our nurses a great deal of thanks.” The Mayor also congratulated various other individuals. Here is some more information on Nurse’s Week from Nursing World. CLICK HERE.

    Art Shows: “Gardner High School and Middle School joined together this past week to host an Art Show for our students, just like we had the Gardner Elementary School Art Show that took place this past Thursday.” At the Gardner MA School Committee Meeting of 5-9-22, several members commented on students and the Art Show. View article.

  • Oil – Gas Prices
    oil gas hit roof ma

    Oil and Gas in Gardner MA Hit All Time Highs

    Fuel Oil and Gas prices have hit the roof. A site reportedly showing the cheapest fuel oil prices in Massachusetts shows a price of $5.49 per gallon, which is only 30 cents lower than being charged by local oil companies in Gardner MA. One year ago the price was around $2.50. See current prices. Gas prices are running close to or over $4.50 per gallon throughout the area.  One year ago, the price was around $3 per gallon, Two years ago, the price was around $2 per gallon. Massachusetts is less expensive than California, where prices are approaching $7.00 per gallon. See current local area gas prices on the Gas Buddy Map. .

  • School Committee 05-09-22

    Watch the meeting on the City of Gardner’s Youtube page or on our School Committee page. CLICK HERE.

    Great Students Focus of Hour-long Gardner MA School Committee Meeting on May 9, 2022

    During the meeting, a number of students from the Elm Street Student Council were recognized by Superintendent Mark Pellegrino. There’s was even a quick recess for a photo op with the students.

    Various reports were heard including from Robert Swartz of the Facilities Subcommittee: “Work on high school athletic fields continues, vendor is working very hard trying to bring them back to life again.  I’m getting reports that they’re looking better and better.” Mayor Nicholson noted that the painting in the Landry auditorium began on 5-9-22, hope is it will be done in time for concert next week. John Lafrieniere reported from the Finance Subcommittee,”We discussed student/staff meal pricing.   Will wait for more info to vote on possible price increase at June meeting.” Superintendent Pellegrino spoke about his goals including District improvement, increasing school and family partnerships, and creating a culture of dignity in the schools.

    School Committee Member Comments

    anne hurst

    Anne Hurst during meeting stated, “As a disability advocate for more than 30 years, these are the types of things with special education and inclusion of students, the social-emotional learning, has been stuff than I and many other parents have been advocating for many, many years, and I am thrilled to see this coming to fruition, finally, and everybody has really done a lot of work to make this happen.  And I just think people ;need to know the history too, that this has been a long time coming.  … There are a lot of districts who don’t have anything like this.  We are lucky to have the dedicated people that we have.”

    Anne Hurst in comments stated “ I just want to congratulate the guidance counselors and all the students who were here tonight.  It is just, it makes me feel so good to see kids being involved in taking initiative, and you know, they’re gonna be our future leaders, and that’s, it’s very impressive what’s been going on.  I also did want to mention that May is Mental Health Month, you know, don’t ever think that it can’t happen to you or someone you know…people kinda suffer in silence.  I lost my brother about 7  years ago now to suicide, and don’t be one of those people who says, I never saw it coming, ‘cause there’s things you can do, there’s resources out there, and people are not going to reach out to you. Thank  you.”

    ward leighton

    Shannon Ward Leighton stated “Echoing the same thing.  Just really happy to see all the positive things that are happening and I did want to mention: last week the Gardner Elementary School PTO put on at Art Show and it was huge, it was busy for the full 3 hours that I was there, and I know that there was a lot of funds raised to kind of pad the account next year, so when we open the new Elementary School, we have some resources available to do fun events for the kids, and just a big shout out to Missy Torez and Kelley Perkins, who it was kinda like, their baby to put this together and it was really cool. It was very cool, there was a lot of good raffle baskets.  There were bikes and a lot of parents donated a lot of money for their kids artwork which is very cool.  And the photo booth was a really big hit… “

    Jennifer Pelavin” I also want to thank the Elm Street School student council.  My daughter was a part of it, so obviously I know what little projects they did.  It was amazing how much they got to do.  I think they met for like an hour, maybe, I think it was every other week, and it was amazing what they accomplished in that short time period.  And also I did attend the art gallery last week and it was amazing to see how many parents, were there, I mean, it was packed.  For the people walking around purchasing the art, and I think it was a great idea and hopefully we can do it, hopefully yearly, would be nice, because I think it’s something that you know it’s neat for the kids to go and see somebody pay for something they created too.  It really gave them a sense of worth that way, so, that is all, thank you.”

    Robert Swartz

    Robert Swartz “I’m looking forward to… when I’ll be attending the Special Olympics on Watkins Field, I’m looking forward to that.  Special Olympics of May,… well the 26th.  I hope those kids don’t lose their ambition to volunteer.  As they’ll get older, they’ll be interested in other things, but I just hope the momentum keeps going. And it’s great for them to do all that volunteering.  Thanks for Seaman Paper and Garlock Industries for donating $5500 each to Junior/Senior Prom.  We haven’t had a prom for a couple of years, so it’s great to see the train rolling down the track again. That’s all I have.”

    John LaFrieniere, “Just thank the Elm Street School Student Council, that was really nice to see, and motivating I think, you know. To see that young and all they’re doing, is great.  Hopefully it does continue. And I know Rachael didn’t make it here tonight, but just let her know if she’s watching, she’s got some homework….a stack of things to sign.

    Mayor Nicholson

    Mayor Nicholson, “On my end I also want to thank the Elm Street School Student Council for coming tonight.  It was great to have that pizza lunch with them the other day too.  They went through a list of 22 questions that they have previously prepared beforehand, and they were very thoughtful in those questions too, I’ll say that.  It’s nice to see them getting involved.

    Just to give people an update as they are planning their commutes to and from school.: We did have to adjust our paving schedule to a more condensed season this year due to gas prices and our contract expiring at the end of June, which would cause the prices to go up further.  For us, we were locked in at a lower rate, but where that ends at the end of the fiscal year, ….work on Pearl Street will be completed by May 19th, Central Street, West Lynde, West and Monadnock will have work done between May23rd and May31st. Parker Street, West, and Monadnock will be paved on June 1st. And Woodlawn Avenue will have work done between June 13th and June 17th, so that’s a lot more condensed than we normally have our paving season. Our price of asphalt is going up 40% on July 1st.

    Nicholson continued, “Congratulations to all of our alum who are graduating from college over the next couple of weeks here…You can come home to Gardner after you graduate college, we have a lot waiting for you here. I want to thank the 30 to 40 volunteers from Gardner High School who helped in the citywide litter cleanup this past weekend. It was great to see so many of our students out, not only just around the schools but also on Rear Main Street and several other places around the City. it was really nice to see the younger generation of our city to be getting involved like that and having that be the example of other people to follow in the community.”

    Nicholson continued, “I did go to Boston today for the governor’s new Forward Bill…In the 3.5 billion dollars in ARPA funding…. there’s also increased funding for innovative pathways and early college programs that we’ll be looking at. I also plan to put up the money for the Snack Shack bathrooms, or at least a substantial portion at the June City Council meeting. And the City Budget will also be presented for that first June meeting as well.”

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  • Mural at Rotary

    From a grid of letters and symbols, sprouts a beautiful Mural in Gardner MA

    On April 29, 2022 Mayor Nicholson posted this on Facebook, “If you were driving by the rotary behind Hannaford today you may have seen Christopher Luke starting on his new mural as part of our new art initiative. While I believe the artist should be the one to reveal what they’re working on, I can tell you it’s going to look great and is a tribute to our old chair manufacturing past. (The letters and symbols are his version of grid painting to help correlate the wall to the preliminary sketch)”   Now, here is what this beautiful mural looks like today.

    Mural at underpass Gardner MA
  • Pot Farm

    Planning Board page on the City of Gardner website, CLICK HERE.

    Pot at Public Podium in Gardner MA on May 24, 2022Proposed location in Summit Industrial Park

    According to a Notice of Public Hearing published on May 10, 2022, the City of Gardner Planning Board will hold a Public Hearing and Public Informational Meeting on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 7pm to consider the Special Permit and and Site Plan Review Application by Jolly Green Inc. for a marijuana cultivation facility proposed at 246 Suffolk Lane in the Gardner MA Summit Industrial Park.

    Jolly Green Inc., was incorporated on April 30, 2018 and is owned by Kyle Higgins of Winchendon.

    Vacant land at Summit Industrial Park

    Summit Industrial Park

    Summit Industrial Park Gardner MA sign
    Summit Industrial Park stone sign

    The Summit Industrial Park located on Suffolk Lane, Gardner MA.

    Located at the Summit Industrial Park is Vivitide, a leading partner for high quality peptides manufacturing – Website, ACT – Advanced Cable Ties Inc, leading cable tie manufacturer – Website, F.E. Inc., a machine workshop, Website, Woods Equipment Company,Web info, gshiis Intelligent Integrated Systems, Website, Blessington Corporation– specializing in lab furniture, Website, Higgins Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning, HVAC contractor, Terratherm Cascade, thermal remediation of soil, rock and groundwater, Website, and Segger, development and production solutions for the embedded market. Website.

    The #10 spot on the sign may be occupied soon by Jolly Green Inc.

    ACT Successful in Gardner MA

    advanced cable ties gardner ma
    American Flag flies at Advanced Cable Ties Inc. Gardner MA

    As one of Gardner’s successful companies, Advanced Cable Ties Inc. is located at the Summit Industrial Park.

    According to their website. “We manufacture our cable ties to be superior in strength, far exceeding the required tensile strengths used in industry standards, such as Type 21S. Using high quality raw materials which are always inspected by Advanced Cable Ties (ACT) to insure they meet our standards, we proudly make our cable ties in the USA.

    Advanced Cable Ties provides the convenience of having all the cable ties and cable tie accessories any homeowner or tradesperson will ever need.”

  • Cupcake Fundraiser
    Cupcake Wars Orange MA

    Bakers to Battle for a good cause in Orange MA

    Cupcake Wars is slated to take place Sunday, May 22, 2022 at the Orange American Legion. The event benefits the Mahar After Prom Party which is run to keep students safe.  Professional and amateur bakers can compete. And the public enjoys cupcakes!  For the complete article click here:

  • Police update 5-8-22
    Gardner MA Police Headquarters

    Deputy Police Chief Trifiro retires, Chief Braks Fate still up in the air in Gardner MA

    Interviewed by host Steve Wendell on WGAW’s Hotline Radio (airs Saturdays noon to 2pm on AM 1340 and 98.1 FM) Mayor Michael Nicholson stated, ” As we do move forward here, there are still some processes that are currently being done.” 

    “However, I can tell you that our Deputy Chief Jim Trifiro has decided to retire from his time here at the Gardner Police Department after 27 years of service.  He just felt it was time to move on.  With everything that was going on.  There was communication that happened that led up to this, he just decided to step back and retire there.  So I do wish him well on his retirement and his endeavors there, and everything else is still continuing as we move forward, and we’ll let the public know as things progress even further.”

    Host Steven Wendell asked if there will be a Commission set up to actually study the situation? The Mayor responded, “It is being studied now as we speak.  We will review the best way to move forward as things continue.  We’re working constantly with the City’s law department and Human Resources Department as well as keeping all the stakeholders involved in this abreast of different conversations that we’ve had here.” Wendell asked, “Now what happens if the city offers Chief Braks an opportunity to come back. Is that a possibility? Nicholson responded: “Yes, it is.  There’s always a possibility.” Wendell asked, “We should hear something when?” The Mayor responded, “I believe by next week.”

    Gardner’s Hit Radio Show

    Readers please take note: WGAW is a local radio station licensed to Gardner MA since 1946. Hotline Radio airs every week on the station on Saturdays from noon to 2pm and features a number of local guests from around the area. Radio station website: CLICK HERE. Listen on AM 1340, 98.1 FM or through the live stream on the station’s website. To listen to the station live right now, CLICK HERE

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  • Keep Gardner Beautiful
    Keep Gardner Beautiful gardner mA

    Keep Gardner MA Beautiful Successful Event

    Regarding the Keep Gardner Beautiful effort held Saturday 5-7-22 Mayor Nicholson was quoted on WGAW’s Hotline Radio program as saying, “We had a ton of individuals out today just helping Keep Gardner Beautiful as their organization’s name says.  It is our annual Nip Hunt and Litter Cleanup Day.”

    Mayor Nicholson continued. “There’s several dozen people out in the community right now…it’s really a great event.”   “More  hands make for lighter work, we’ve got plenty of  hands out there, but there’s still quite a  heavy lift.”

    City Council President Liz Kazinskas stated, ““It was nice to be able to go give out the kits to volunteers and speak with Dianne Leblanc, this morning, and her husband, she really does such a fantastic job with the Keep Gardner Beautiful initiative, and the City-wide cleanup is such a wonderful event to get so many people involved…I think it’s wonderful to help take some pride in the community.  Councilor Judy Mack was there as well as the Mayor of the City, many different groups, there was some students from Gardner High School as well, there was a Boy Scout Troop that was going to be doing Jackson Playground.  I think it’s such a wonderful thing.”

    Kazinskas also had praise for James Kraskouskas of Anthony’s Liquor Mart who is providing financial support for the Nip Hunt part of the event.    Money raised will be used to help an organization involved in rescuing hundreds of orphans from the Ukraine War situation.

    Event organizer Dianne Leblanc stated, “We’re looking forward to getting more and more volunteers every time we come out here…any litter we take off our streets is always a good thing.”  

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  • Covid Trends
    Covid Trends 5-7-22

    Covid Cases Up, Covid Deaths Down

    In a sign that America is learning to better deal with the Covid virus, National death trends are down while overall cases rise. And 82.6% of people 5+ nationally have received at least 1 dose of a Covid vaccine. Currently in the state of MA, the overall positively rate is just under 7%, average age of death is 79, and the incidence rate in Gardner MA is 18.7 per 100,000 people for the past 2 weeks.

  • Mayor’s Update 5-6-22
    Nicholson 5-6-22

    View the Mayor’s update on the City of Gardner YouTube page or on our Mayor’s update page. CLICK HERE.

    With the City Seal behind him, Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson updated the Chair City on May 6, 2022.

    Mayor Nicholson spoke about a commitment to Children’s mental health in the Gardner School system.  The mayor went over paving updates and sidewalk updates.  Heywood Hospital and the UMass Memorial System have entered into a letter of intent to explore aligning in the future.  However, he stated, “Heywood Hospital is still the same-old Heywood Hospital.”  The Mayor did not mention the Gardner Police Department in his update.

  • Town Election Results
    Results, meetings, 2022 Greater Gardner MA

    This time of year, many communities in the Greater Gardner MA area have town meetings and elections. We have compiled pdfs of warrants and results when available and posted them at right.

    Some Election Results In, Some Meetings Coming Up in Greater Gardner MA

    Ashburnham 4-26-22 Election Results: CLICK HERE.Ashby 4-25-22 Election Results: CLICK HERE.Athol Election Information: CLICK HEREHardwick 4-11-22 Election Results: CLICK HEREHubbardston election is coming up 6-14-22 CLICK HERE – Phillipston Annual Town Meeting 5-4-22 Warrant CLICK HERE Princeton Annual Town Meeting 5-14-22 Warrant CLICK HERERoyalston 4-4-22 Election Results CLICK HERERutland Town Meeting 5-7-22 Warrant CLICK HERE (Rutland town election is 5-9-22) – Templeton Annual Town Meeting 5-11-22 Warrant CLICK HERE – Templeton Voter’s Guide, CLICK HEREWestminster Special and Annual Town Meetings 5-7-22 Special Warrant, CLICK HERE, Annual Warrant, CLICK HERE Westminster 4-26-22 Town Election results, CLICK HERE. Winchendon 5-16-22 Special and Annual Town Meetings Special and Annual Warrant, CLICK HERE Winchendon Proposed Zoning Bylaw Provisions, CLICK HERE.

  • Mother’s Day
    Mother's Day Gardner MA

    Greater Gardner MA Celebrates Mother’s Day Sunday May 8, 2022

    Traditionally the 2nd Sunday in May, Mother’s Day has been a fixture in American society for over 100 years. More on the holiday. Mother’s Day is celebrated throughout the world.

    Thank you to our mothers who brought us into this world. Please remember your Mom on Mother’s Day.

    Whether you send flowers or chocolates, call your Mom who lives far away, or enjoy a Mother’s Day meal, think of your Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Gardner Brand
    The Gardner MA Brand Collage
    The Gardner Brand Audio Introduction

    Gardner Magazine launches Gardner MA Branding Initiative

    We’re asking for input from the greatest minds of Gardner MA for details on Vision, Successful Projects, Successful Startups, Active Development, Infrastructure Improvements, Government Transparency, Sound Fiscal Management, Cooperative Relationships, Community Amenities, Quality Education, Quality Health Care, and Resident Pride. Visit the page in progress, CLICK HERE

    The Plan is to also create Written Content espousing Gardner’s assets, Companion Audio, and High Definition video emphasizing the Gardner Brand and Gardner as a great place to Live, Work, Play, and Visit. Gardner MA is a quality brand. Thinking of coming to Gardner? Good Choice.

  • Gears of Industry
    Gears of Gardner Industry

    The State of Massachusetts most recent data as of March 2022 shows the Gardner Labor Force at 9.842 with 9,391 employed and 451 unemployed. Unemployment rate 4.6% vs. the MA rate of 3.8%.

    Gears of Gardner MA Industry Turning as Manufacturers Look for Workers

    A brief look at online postings for manufacturing HELP WANTED in Gardner MA turned up a number of positions as of 5-4-22. Molding Technician at Mack Prototype pays up to $49.7k/yr. Injection Molding, Mold Technician at Advanced Cable Ties pays up to $55.2k/yr.. Expert Staffing advertises Picker/Packer/Assembler jobs at up to $35k/yr. First Mate Printing and Converting is seeking a Press Assistant at up to $40.5k/yr.

    Companies advertising jobs with hourly rates including Garlock Printing & Converting which even offers a retention bonus, Standard Chair, NEWW Packaging and Display, Balance Staffing, Employer Solutions, Monroe Staffing, Expert Staffing, Continental Feed Screw Inc., , and Wood You Build It. Hourly rates range from about $15 to about $30/hr.

    Masshire North Central Career Center

    Gardner Spring Job Fair

    The Gardner MA Spring Job Fair will take place on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 from 2pm to 6pm at the Gardner Senior Center, 294 Pleasant Street, Gardner. Directions. You can Pre-register with a MassHire Career Counselor Website or register at the event. Event is free. Up to 2 dozen employers or more will meet job seekers and conduct on-the-spot interviews. More Information.

  • City Council 5-2-22 Agenda

    Complete Agenda and Packet. CLICK HERE. View the meeting on the City of Gardner YouTube page or on our City Council page. CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA City Council Met Monday, May 2, 2022 at 7:30pm

    Public hearings on a total of 7 new telephone poles – Various mayoral appointments – The completed FY2021 Outside Audit Report – Use of ARPA Funds – Info Tech – Snow and Ice Removal – PARC Bailey Brook Project – Second-hand licenses

    George Tyros

    Various proposed Appointments were referred to appointments committee on motion of Councilor Tyros.

    Gardner MA City Council May 2, 2022

    A Typo was discovered in the petition for poles – vendor will review and correct.

    Dernaliewicz

    On the completed FY2021 Outside Audit Report – report from the Finance Committee – Councilor Dernaliewicz –  “The first time since at least 2004 which is as far back as records go, with no findings or recommendations…which is amazing work…in his final paragraph the Mayor wanted to thank the Financial Department Heads, City Treasurer, City Assessor, Direct of Purchasing, and City Auditor for making this a reality.”   City Council voted to place the report on file. More on this from previous article.

    The appropriation of $11.700 to the Info Tech Cyber Security Account passed.

    James Walsh

    $335,000 for snow and ice removal – Councilor Walsh stated, “ a certain amount is funded in the budget with a certain expectation that more money will be needed by the end of the fiscal year.” Motion to fund using free cash – passed.

    Snow and ice

    PARC Bailey Brook Project: Councilor Heath wanted to read communication from the Mayor about this. “Funding is only for the athletic court and the playground for children under 5 years old.  The portion of this project does not in any way relate to the previous proposal that at one point contained a soccer field… Back in September, me and the Mayor and a couple other residents had a big meeting, so the fact that he went ahead and did this, I want to make sure that people know that this is a great thing and I’m favorable for it.” – Ronald F. Cormier reported for the Finance Committee as favorable.  2 motions passed. 

    On Free Cash – City is Flush

    Councilor Walsh, “Wondering where our free cash stands?”  Councilor Cormier passed Walsh a document and Walsh stated, “assuming all of these orders pass, just over $1,255,000. So we’re still flush.”

    New Business before the Council – Each Councilor has an opportunity to speak.

    George Tyros: “No new council business this evening. ” Alek Dernalowicz: “Nothing new this evening, Nathan R. Boudreau, “No new city council business this evening. ” Karen G. Hardern: “Nothing new this week.” James M. Walsh: “Nothing this evening.” Ronald F. Cormier. “Nothing this evening.” Elizabeth J. Kazinskas, “I have nothing new this evening.” When they say something, we‘ll publish it here.

    from Councilor Judy A. Mack, ” I just want to remind the public that on Saturday on Pearson Boulevard Shopping Center is the start of our annual City Wide cleanup. It starts at 8:30 and I really hope that people will get out and participate to help clean up the city and it’s great to show  your kids community service and giving back.” More info below.

    James S. Boone

    from Councilor James S. Boone, “On Saturday I sent an email to the Mayor asking if I can get financial information on what the cost is for the Chief and Deputy Chief to still be offline, I forget the word for it, but anyways, and also what the cost is for the interim chief, and I haven’t got any response. Me and the public are kinda wondering what’s going on.  I’d like to get some information, the public’s asking me for information, I’m hoping we hear something soon.”

    from Councilor Dana M. Heath – “The month of May is Mental Awareness Month.”

    Gardner Magazine looked into this further and is providing some links as a public service. Seize the Awkward website, CLICK HERE National Alliance on Mental Illness website  CLICK HERE– Mental Health America website   CLICK HERE. – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration  website  CLICK HERE. – American Hospital Association website:  CLICK HERE.  Fact Sheet from HHS, CLICK HERE.

    Thank you Gardner City Councilor Dana Heath for mentioning this. Gardner Magazine reached out to Councilor Heath to ask why he happened to bring up this issue. Heath explained that in the course of his day he often encounters people who could use some help and he wanted to call attention to the issue. The Councilor is active in his ward, reaching out to constituents and eager to be of service. He’s also humble. He says, “I’m new, and I’m learning, that’s why I don’t always say too much at City Council meetings. “

    Keep Gardner Beautiful “Nip Hunt” Fundraiser and Citywide Litter Cleanup Event. Saturday May 7, 2022 8:30am to 1pm, 20 Pearson Boulevard Gardner. – 8:30-9:00am – Volunteers receive a litter cleanup kit. 9:00am to noon – “Nip Hunt” and Litter Cleanup – all nips and litter brought to the plaza. Noon to 1pm – Shane’s Hot Dog Truck will donate Hot Dog, Chips, and Soda to volunteers. Register here. – Curious about Shane’s menu? CLICK HERE.

  • Nicholson Interview

    Despite Standout Status Among America’s Young Mayors, Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson Wants to Stay in Gardner

    Mayor Nicholson says he is fulfilled, loves the job and will be here as long as the voters are willing to keep him. During the past two years, the Mayor has seen a growth in community partnerships, an increase in businesses coming to the community despite a challenging pandemic, and plenty of projects either underway, planned, or being sought.

    Gardner Magazine Publisher Werner Poegel recently had the opportunity to conduct a lengthy interview with Mayor Nicholson in light of him finding out about another success, a perfect outside audit of City Finances. Complete Article, CLICK HERE.

    The mayor discusses recent meetings, Downtown trash receptacles, paving projects, pothole reporting, MART bus stops, attracting business to Gardner, the City Centennial, Arts, Music, Recreation, Gardner Academics, bringing furniture manufacturers to Gardner, Gardner attracting business, the Mill Street Corridor, lawsuits against Gardner, Open Meeting Law, Package gate, The Mayor’s personal goals and future, evolving as Mayor, and partners in the community. Complete article, CLICK HERE.

  • Gardner’s Big Oops
    Epic Failure at Gardner Dog Park
    sorry

    Gardner MA Big Oops – Epic Failure at Gardner Dog Park

    UPDATE 5-3-22 1pm: We have reports that the water is on at the Gardner Dog Park. Many thanks to Gardner DPW.

    In a City of big successes, this failure is a big OOPS, an avoidable stain on the reputation of a great City, an affront to public policy, a health hazard, and outright cruelty.   The issue: No water for our thirsty dogs.  Visitors to the park report that water is turned on at dog parks in other communities and Gardner residents report water is even turned on at Dunn’s Park.  So what’s the excuse here?   Park visitors are visibly outraged and report they have often cut visits short not only for this reason, but also for another one, the drainage issue contributing to high vet bills for some due to bacterial contamination in some standing water.   Rather than taking some petty cash and a dump truck up to a local company selling cheap rock and dumping it over the standing water to instantly eliminate the hazard last Fall, this winter, and this Spring, the issue has been ignored. Dogs got sick and owners had big vet bills.   And now, regular visitors to the Gardner Dog Park are demanding answers and their dogs are demanding a simple, refreshing drink of water.   It’s that too much to ask?  Ooops!

    Mayor Nicholson has announced that partly due to funding from the Stanton Foundation which was approved last year, the park will get a covered enclosure, drainage work, and additional water work. Park visitors who report the Dog Park has had no running water since July 2021 are outraged and demanding priority status for this project And sad, thirsty dogs – well, they just want a drink.

    What the Community thinks about this issue

    What I learned from posting this article on Social Media is that not everyone agrees.   Many responses included suggestions that people bring their own water and/or comments about the quality of Gardner water.  Many suggest that they bring water for their kids when they come to the playground, so why should the dogs get special treatment?  There were also unfounded allegations that the DPW hasn’t fixed the problem because vandals caused it – this was simply a false rumor.   At one point last year the DPW was scheduled to fix the issue and turn on the water, but then it was overburdened by water main breaks in the City.  The water stations were returned to the park before winter and signs placed on them that water would be off until Spring.  For the record, Gardner water has been deemed safe to drink. Here’s a report. CLICK HERE.

    How it’s done at Dunn State Park (thanks to Claude Vautour for photos)

    Water station at Dunn's Park
    dog drinking water at Dunn's Park

    Dunn’s Park provides water station for dogs and humans alike:

     This is the bubbler that they have at Dunn’s Park where you can fill bottles, humans have a bubbler to drink out of and dogs can drink out of a bowl which is attached.

    Thank you to all the people who responded on Social Media to my post. (both those who agreed and those who disagreed.) Everyone was respectful. If we could implement the above water solution at the Gardner Dog Park, it seems we might make everyone happy.

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  • Security Risk
    Computer Security

    This is just one item on the agenda for the upcoming Gardner City Council meeting on Monday May 1, 2022. For the complete agenda and packet, CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA Gets Rid of Potential Russian Security Risk

    At the City Council meeting May 1, 2022, Mayor Nicholson is asking for about 12 grand to fund the new security software for the City’s IT needs.   Gardner is replacing Kaspersky software with a variety of items from Crowdstrike.   On March 30, 2022, the threat was deemed severe as Kaspersky was added to the Federal Watchlist and every City Hall employee was asked to reboot their computer before going to lunch so that Kaspersky could be automatically removed.    The default Microsoft Antivirus automatically turned on after the offending software’s removal.   However, it is not deemed sufficient and therefore Crowdstrike is being implemented to keep the City secure.

  • Gardner Fields
    photo at athletic fields

    City of Gardner MA Athletic Fields

    Gardner is investing over $600,000 to improve School Athletic Fields. Press Release has details. CLICK HERE

    CLICK PHOTO at left for larger view.

  • Update 4-29-22
    Mayor's update 4-29-22

    For the Mayor’s weekly update, visit the City of Gardner YouTube page or our Mayor’s update page. CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA Finances Get a Perfect Score, First time at least in Decades

    This week, Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson delivered his weekly update from the site of the new Community Health Connections medical building on Timpany Boulevard. While the Mayor maintained his composure, his pride in the City’s Finance Team was evident: Here’s why. Gardner received its annual independent outside audit this week as required by Mass. General Laws.

    100 percent

    This is the first known year in the City’s history that not only were there no findings found, but also no suggestions of how things could go better. It’s the best audit result Gardner could possibly have received and objectively shows that the Chair City is well-managed. Mayor Nicholson said, “Big congratulations to our City Auditor John Richard and to the other Department Heads who are part of our Finance Team.   It will  help improve our bond rating as we move forward as well.”

    Gardner PD Investigation Executive Summary released. Nicholson stated, “As things are finalized, we’ll be sure to let the public know.” Gardner Magazine has 2 stories on the matter if you scroll down.

    Other items included in the weekly update were: At airport: The Mayor related the excitement of the plane which noticed it had a bullet on the wing near its gas cap.  Gardner was closest airport.  Airport is actually located within the Town of Templeton and that’s why Templeton PD responded. Paving: Mayor Nicholson went over various paving updates. Pearson Boulevard to be milled on May 3rd.  Pearl Street to be milled on May  9th. Congratulations: Congratulations to Isaac Knight and his family on the ribbon cutting for Knight’s Nutrition in Downtown Gardner.  Congratulations to Gardner’s own Dawn George who works for the Department of Corrections, who was recently inducted into the Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame. Light the Town Purple: Light the Town Purple Event coming to Gardner this coming Monday right before the City Council meeting at Gardner City Hall at 7pm.  This is the kick-off event for the Gardner Relay for Life event to be taking place in June. Keep Gardner Beautiful: Keep Gardner Beautiful Nip Hunt and litter cleanup  event taking place Saturday May 7th beginning at 9am.   Register through Keep Gardner Beautiful Facebook page. 

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  • Gardner PD – Next Chapter

    Gardner MA Police – Producing the Next Chapter

    Executive Summary of Police ReportCLICK HERE.

    For the past 3 months, the Gardner Police Department has been without an appointed Chief and Deputy Chief.  But it hasn’t stopped working to “first and foremost, protect all citizens who live or visit this community.”   A new K-9 officer was appointed, a drone program was utilized, partnerships were still undertaken, such as the Drug Take Back Program taking place this Saturday 4-30-22 at Price Chopper from 10am to 2pm.    Officers have stepped up including Lieutenants Eric McAvene Jr. and Nicholas Maroni who together have helped manage the department. While the future of the leadership of the department is still unclear, according to Mayor Nicholson, “It’s something that’s now a discussion that needs to be had, until any finalized plans happen.” Complete 4-28-22 interview with Mayor Nicholson below:

    dispatchers honored

    Dispatchers Adrianna LeBlanc, Taryne Swan, Nicholas Gray & Natalie Andrews were honored about a week ago by the state 911 Department for their outstanding service and dedication to the profession of 9-1-1.

    The dozens of individuals who comprise the officers and staff of the Gardner Police Department serve the Chair City of Gardner MA in all seasons at all hours of the day and night.   Despite some of the negative press due to the recent Police Investigation, these community members continue to serve “With Pride and Integrity.”   When you see a Gardner Police employee this week, tell them, “Thank you for your service.   You are appreciated.  We love you.”

    An interview with Mayor Michael Nicholson

    Mayor Nicholson of Gardner

    Gardner Magazine publisher Werner Poegel asked Mayor Nicholson a number of questions regarding the Chair City including some regarding the Gardner Police Investigation and Review: Link to Executive Summary of Report – CLICK HERE

    Poegel: First of all, in what way do you believe that Gardner benefitted by your insistence that the investigation be conducted above board with an outside investigator?

    Nicholson: “Anytime situations like these come up, we want to make sure things are done right because our jobs is to make sure we are watching the best interests of the taxpayers who are here.” “We want to make sure all the I’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed …we just cover our bases…remembering that even the people who are subjects of investigation…in this case have decades of service to the City…that they have all their due process rights”

    Poegel: The administrative leave was described as “non-disciplinary.”   With facts now in hand, does that characterization still hold true?

    Nicholson: “It still holds true.  It still holds true.  It’s something that’s now a discussion that needs to be had until any finalized plans happen…It’s not disciplinary in nature, but it’s problem-solving in nature.”

    Poegel asked about names on the City of Gardner website.

    Nicholson: ““Jennifer Law can certainly be removed because she resigned from her position. …  Everything else, the changes will be made once everything gets completed.  Any potential changes I should say because there are no one way or the other, whenever we do investigations,…”

    Poegel: Let me ask it this way: Obviously you have to appoint someone to the job of Chief of Police and someone to the job of Deputy Chief of Police.  Is it fair to say that Richard Braks and James Trifiro are still potential candidates for those positions or have  you ruled them out completely?  

    Nicholson: ““Until the investigation’s done, there’s a 100% absolutely chance that that’s still in the running.”

    Poegel: How do you feel the two lieutenants have done filling in?

    Nicholson: ““I honestly feel they’ve been doing an excellent job over there. We checked in with some of the different agencies who interact with the Police Department …Since the two lieutenants have been in charge, we’ve checked in with some of the subordinate employees…., we’ve checked with people who have had interactions with the police since then , we’ve gotten very good feedback with how the department has been run since.”

    Poegel: Do you intend to get involved with drafting future policy with regard to how the Gardner PD is managed, so that consistent with the report, praise can be imparted publicly and criticism privately, in an effort to maintain the highest morale of officers and staff?

    Nicholson, ““Absolutely. We should always be working to improve the morale of the people here,…It helps us improve our operations in the end. So there will be a complete review of the policies of the Police Department no matter what the investigation process is.”

    Poegel: How do you feel about the Gardner PDs usage of drones?

    Nicholson: “It’s been a strong tool, helpful in missing persons cases there, particularly the infrared camera in locating people in a wooded area.   It’s something that several other police departments across the state have already used, so we’ve been able to kind of not reinvent the wheel, but build off of what they’ve been able to learn…It’s not something that goes out every day. It goes out when needed and when a tool is required to be utilized.   Between the drone and Rocky coming to the Police Department, it’s really gonna help us, that if ever there is a situation where someone’s missing or there’s someone who’s run away from the police,…caught doing something they shouldn’t be doing, it severely reduces the time our officers are on the street…it helps get the individuals being looked for quicker. It is efficient and more safe for the public involved”

    Poegel: Do you have some other additional tools you believe the Gardner Police could use to enhance services, and if so, where would that funding come from?

    Nicholson: ““One of the jobs Lieutenant Maroni has is as the police department’s grant writer…we’re constantly, probably 3 or 4 times a week submitting grant applications for new equipment.  One of the highlights of my next goals for the Police Department is to upgrade our radio system.”  The city uses a single band radio system currently while other departments in the area use dual band or multi-band.”  The Mayor says the City looks towards the COPS grant, the Office of Community Oriented Policing, a federal agency. To learn more about the COPS OFFICE, CLICK HERE

    FYI: The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) is the component of the U.S. Department of Justice responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by the nation’s state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources.

    Poegel: During all of this, the Gardner PD still had to do its job over the last 3 months. Are there individuals you’d like to single out publicly for praise?

    Nicholson: ““The two lieutenants have really stepped up in running things there.  We’ve gotten several different thank you letters re officer Dennis Siaw to thank  him for really introducing himself.  Alot of these times, particularly with Officer Siaw and Officer Alexa Morgan, the officers were doing details and just reached out when they saw something that was happening. The sergeants have all stepped up to make sure their communication has increased….  Dispatcher Adrianna Leblanc is currently filling in as the person overseeing the dispatch department….Adrianna’s done a great job…even the Fire Chief Greg Lagoy has checked in, making sure that things seem to be going OK, particularly with the dispatch department. “

    Gardner PD – A Department of Pride and Integrity

    distracted driving month

    Officers put in an extra effort during Distracted Driving Month in April to help prevent car accidents and save lives.

    More on distracted driving from the NHTSA, CLICK HERE.

    officers reach out to boy

    Officers continued to reach out to the community to even their smallest fans.

    The Gardner PD even has a Police Explorers unit. For more information, CLICK HERE.

    School Resource officer

    Lieutenant Maroni and Officer Lawrence were honored as part of School Resource Officer Appreciation Day.

    For more on the School Resource Officer of the Gardner PD, CLICK HERE.

    Gardner  PD Autism Awareness

    Gardner PD participated in Autism Awareness, showing their concern for the mental health of citizens and situational awareness of circumstances they may come across in the course of their work.

    For more about Autism resources, visit the Autism Speaks website. CLICK HERE.

    .

  • Police Report Public
    Gardner MA Police Report Details

    In very clear wording, the Executive Summary of the Gardner Police Investigation Report states that the votes of no confidence were either substantiated or had merit.

    Gardner MA Releases Executive Summary of Gardner Police Report

    The Executive Summary of the Gardner Police Investigation Report has been released. For the document, CLICK HERE. In addition, the Mayor’s Office released a response to a public records request by another member of the local media. CLICK HERE.

    What the Report Shows

    The Executive Summary dated April 26, 2022 is in the form of a memo from Gardner’s Director of Human Resources Debra A. Pond to Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson. She indicates that she has “reviewed the investigation file and findings for the Police Department investigation as provided by Paul J. L’Italien, Licensed Private Investigator. …the report cannot be produced publicly so I am providing the following executive summary…”

    Beginning of the Investigation was January

    The summary shows that the investigation dates back to Wednesday, January 20, 2022 when the Investigator spoke with City Solicitor John Flick regarding certain complaints received by the City “so that the City could properly address the personnel issues raised.” “The complaints received by the City consisted of votes of no confidence by all four (4) unions in certain Police Department personnel.

    Subjects of Inquiry

    As reported previously, the Chief of Police, Deputy Chief of Police, and Head Police Dispatcher all received no confidence votes. The Head Police Dispatcher subsequently resigned and the Chief of Police and Deputy Chief were both placed on administrative leave on or about the beginning of February 2022. “The investigative directive was to conduct interviews of the employees…to hear their concerns and reasons for participating in the vote(s) of no confidence….During the course of the investigation, the Investigator interviewed forty-eight (48) current and, in some cases former employees.”

    Conclusions Reached

    “The Investigator reported that after careful review and consideration of all available materials from the vote(s) of “no confidence” and the interviews of forty-eight (48) current and former employees of the Department it is his opinion that the vote(s) of “no confidence” against two of the employees are substantiated. The Investigator also reported that the vote of “no confidence” by the Dispatch union against a Dispatch employee also has merit.”

    The Investigator provided the following conclusions

    “The Investigator provided the following conclusions: Inconsistent management is a problem in itself, but more importantly it delivers a message to the officers and employees which causes confusion, has an adverse effect on morale and most importantly can negatively impact the delivery of safe, efficient and effective police services to the community.
    Day to day management should be a hands-on, face to face opportunity to direct, guide, oversee and supervise. Interactions should include praising good performance in public and taking appropriate corrective actions for poor performance in private. Both need to be done contemporaneous to the event to have a maximum impact.
    The current management approach in place at the Gardner Police Department is not working. It has exasperated the work environment and has caused a negative effect on the work product of high-quality police services, emergency communications and animal control services to the Gardner community.
    It is the Investigator’s opinion that the current management approach needs to be abandoned as a continuation of the current management approach would further exasperate the workforce and the city would be faced with the strong probability that additional employees (sworn and non-sworn) would leave the police department.”

    Gardner Magazine will publish more information on the future of the Gardner PD Chief and Deputy Chief as it becomes available.

    .

  • Mayor Nicholson 4-22-22
    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson
    Trahan program at Williams Restaurant
    From left to right: Gardner City Council President Kazinskas, Patti Bergstrom, State Rep. Zlotnik, Congresswoman Trahan, and Mayor Nicholson
    Patti Bergstrom
    Patti Bergstom
    Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson in closing remarks, ““There’s never been this much opportunity in the City…”

    Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson updates City from Grant Event

    Once again not addressing the Gardner Police Investigation at all, Mayor Nicholson opened his update by speaking about growth in the Chair City, releasing that 300 Building permits have been pulled so far in 2022, a faster clip than 2021, which was a record-breaking year. He thanked residents and businesses for continuing to invest in the City and spoke about progress regarding blighted properties.

    Among his announcements: The Gardner Dog Park will get a 10 foot by 12 foot shade pavilion with grading issues and water improvement addressed. Various road projects were detailed. A new MART bus stop with be available soon in South Gardner in front of the old Prospect Street School. Knight’s Nutrition smoothie and tea shop in Downtown Gardner will have its ribbon cutting Thursday, April 28, 2022 at 1pm.

    Mayor Nicholson stated that he was doing the update from in front of William’s Restaurant because Congresswoman Lori Trahan was there for an event with various Grant announcements. 3 different programs offer funding for business impacted by Covid 19 from April 1, 2020 to the end of 2021. Details on the Economic Development page.

    Lori Trahan recognized the various individual leaders she works with stating, “small businesses are the the heart of any community.”

    Representative Zlotnik spoke on State Resources  which have been available to the City of Gardner.  He praised the Federal Government’s response to the Covid crisis is helping make funding available.

    Council President Elizabeth Kazinskas spoke and praised those who have worked on behalf of the City.  She specifically spoke about outdoor restaurant seating.   Restaurants had showed interest and an ordinance was passed by the City Council.  Permitting process is now live.

    Gardner Square Two President Patti Bergstrom spoke and stated she has had her shop (the Velvet Goose) for 35 years. She opened by stating, “It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood, made more beautiful by Congresswoman Trahan coming with all this grant funding.”    She stated there are 9 businesses in Downtown Gardner with agreements for changes in ownership, 6 businesses have opened since the start of the pandemic, “we have so much positivity in Downtown, it is just a beautiful day every day in our downtown.”

    Mayor Nicholson closed by stating that “this is how government should work.  A group of people at the local, state, and federal level coming together …our theme through all of this has been coming together to grow Gardner, and that’s really what this is.  It’s all of us coming together to build a place that people are proud to call their home, proud to open a business in, and proud to stay in.”

    Nicholson spoke on the number of businesses which have come to Gardner in the past 2 years and the opportunities coming with building renovations happening at various Downtown Gardner buildings. “There’s never been this much opportunity in the City to grow what we have here, to build on what we have here, and just put our next foot forward and set us forward into the next decade let alone generation and beyond here.” View the Mayor’s weekly update on the City of Gardner YouTube channel or on our Mayor’s update page. CLICK HERE.

    .

Looking for an older story? Or just want to read them? CLICK HERE for more Greater Gardner MA Local News Stories.

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  • Gardner Tops 21K
    Complete Gardner Census Data from 2020.

    Gardner MA Population Statistics

    According to the U.S. Census, Gardner has a population of 21,287.    Median Household Income is about $50,000.   Those with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher is close to 1 in 5.   More than half of the population is employed.  98% have health care coverage.   There’s 9,411 total housing units with 691 vacant according to the Census Bureau.  Gardner’s median estimated age of 41 is slightly above the median age in Massachusetts.  One statistic to note: Average Gardner commute time is just under ½ hr. so there’s room for more local employers.  For the complete census data, click here.

  • Visit Gardner

    Visit Downtown Gardner Video Released

    To celebrate a great place to shop, Gardner Magazine has released a Downtown Gardner MA video. Watch it in full HD. CLICK HERE.

  • Shop Local

    Save GAS, Shop LOCAL

    Shopping Locally in the Greater Gardner area is the new vision for the 2020’s. It’s a way to support the local economy and another way to LOVE Your Neighbor. Start shopping locally now, well before Small Business Saturday.   We have a great list of reviewed local businesses for you to shop. (Hint: Most of downtown and most of the city!)  Save GAS, Shop LOCAL. Sure, online can be easy, but shopping at a store in  your community is much more thrilling.  For a list of reviewed businesses in Gardner, CLICK HERE.

  • Open Business in Gardner

    Want to open a business in Gardner? Here’s what you need to know.

    Gardner MA welcomes new businesses.
    Business Startup
    Business
    Business Words

    Gardner Massachusetts is a city in Massachusetts with a population of 21,287 as of the 2020 census. Gardner was incorporated as a town in 1785 and became a city in 1923. Gardner is known as the Chair City. People really love businesses in Gardner. Here’s proof.

    Gardner Magazine spoke with Jessica DeRoy, the Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Gardner MA. Jessica tells us Gardner is poised for a period of growth based on the desirability of bringing a business to Gardner and she has some suggestions on where to start.

    The Economic Development team maintains a list of available rentals and properties for sale and will release the current list upon request. Under Mayor Nicholson’s leadership, Gardner is continuing efforts to help facilitate the sale of properties in need of repair to new owners who may have the desire and/or resources to improve the buildings, thus making them more appealing to potential renters. In addition, Jessica says, the Gardner Building Department can assist people in obtaining information on what to do in constructing a new business building.

    Reach the Economic Development Coordinator Jessica DeRoy at (978) 630-4074 ext. 1 or via email at jderoy@gardner-ma.gov. The Building Department suggests a phone call to them is a great place to start. They suggest calling them before buying a property. Roland Jean Jr., the Building Commissioner, can be reached at (978) 630-4007, via email at rjean@gardner-ma.gov, or via fax at (978) 632-3313. You can send a fax without a fax machine by using gotfreefax.com Visit the Gardner MA Building Dept. official page. Visit the Gardner MA Starting a Business page.

  • Expanded News

    Gardner Magazine news pages are generally updated twice per day and contain about 10 news stories per page. Let us know how we are doing. Contact Us.

    Announcing Expanded NEWS Coverage

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  • Two Men Attacked Outside MBTA Station in Dorchester: Transit Police
    by Kaitlin McKinley Becker on May 23, 2022 at 5:39 pm

    Two men were assaulted Monday afternoon at an MBTA station in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, transit police said. The men, ages 69 and 47, reported to transit police officers that they were surrounded by a group of teenagers while at the bike rack located just outside of Shawmut Station shortly before noon. According to police, the group of boys pulled out a knife and demanded the victims give them money. When the men didn’t comply, both victims were punched in their heads. The men were treated on scene by Boston EMS. No other information was immediately available, including any information on possible suspects or arrests. Transit police detectives are investigating.

  • Police Investigation Underway in Medford
    by Staff Reports on May 23, 2022 at 5:31 pm

    A police investigation was underway in Medford, Massachusetts, police said Monday. It wasn’t immediately clear what prompted the investigation, in which investigators had taped off a home on Emery Street. Medford police, confirming the investigation, only said that the public was not being asked to avoid the area. NBC Boston has reached out to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office for comment. This article will be updated when more information is available.

  • Mass. Reports 7,626 New COVID Cases Over Weekend
    by Thea DiGiammerino on May 23, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    Massachusetts health officials reported 7,626 new COVID-19 cases and eight more deaths on Monday in a report covering three days’ worth of data. This comes as local doctors push to reinstate mask mandates in certain locations as case counts continue to rise. In total, there have been 1,698,587 cases and 19,330 deaths since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, the state reported more than 5,000 new cases in a single day — prior to that, the last time there were over 5,000 new cases reported in a single day was at the end of January. More on the COVID-19 pandemic coronavirus 8 hours ago Test Positive for COVID? These Free Treatments Are Available in Mass. coronavirus vaccine 11 hours ago Pfizer: 3-Dose COVID Vaccine Is Safe, Effective for Kids Under 5 The state reported 807 people hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Monday’s data release, with 267, or 33%, being primary cases. Of the total hospitalizations, 74 are in intensive care and 24 are intubated. Massachusetts’ COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health’s interactive coronavirus dashboard, have declined since the omicron surge, but case counts have been on an upward trajectory for several weeks. This latest increase is being attributed to subvariants of omicron — first, it was the “stealth” omicron variant BA.2, and more recently the BA.2. 12.1 subvariant, which health officials say appears to be up to 27% more contagious than BA.2. However, there is no data to indicate it causes more serious illness. The state’s seven-day average positivity rate went down to 8.3% Monday, compared to 9.2% on Friday. For context, the numbers are still below the types of case counts and hospitalizations seen at height of the omicron surge in January, when average daily case counts reached over 28,000 and hospitalizations peaked at around 3,300. COVID levels in wastewater, as reported by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s tracking system have also been increasing, but the latest report shows levels declining somewhat. It’s important to note that the levels of virus seen in the wastewater remain nowhere near where they were during the peak of the omicron surge. Experts have also said that case count reporting became a less accurate indicator during the omicron surge, given the difficulties in getting tested. Now, widespread use of rapid tests means that some results go unreported. More than 14.7 million vaccine doses have now been administered in Massachusetts. Health officials on Monday reported that a total of 5,380,815 Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated. This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

  • Everett City Councilor, Communications Official Resign Amid Racism Scandal
    by Mike Pescaro on May 23, 2022 at 4:36 pm

    An embattled Everett city councilor and the mayor’s spokeswoman have resigned following intense backlash over reports they made racist comments. Mayor Carlo DeMaria announced the resignations of City Councilor Anthony DiPierro and Communications Director Deanna Deveney on the Massachusetts city’s Facebook page Monday. “Recently, we have been faced with inexcusable conduct of elected officials and City employees that violates the public trust. These actions have caused deep pain in our community,” DeMaria wrote. “I have spoken to and heard from residents and we all believe that significant, visible action must be taken in order for true healing to begin in Everett.” DeMaria did not say when DiPierro or Deveney would leave their positions. Residents have spoken out at city council meetings after messages DiPierro sent to city workers, which included memes with racist imagery, surfaced. “As a woman of color, I have to deal with racist and ignorant people all the time,” Janice Lark said during a March city council meeting. “I don’t want to hear this stuff by a person who is supposed to be representing my interests in city council.” DiPierro apologized that month amid calls for his resignation. “I am ashamed, disappointed and embarrassed, but committed to improving,” he said in a tweeted statement. DiPierro’s Twitter account appeared to have been pulled down on Monday. The Boston Globe has identified DiPierro as the son of DeMaria’s cousin. In a leaked video reviewed by the Globe, the newspaper reported May 13, DiPierro and Deveney are heard joking about recruiting Black people to dispel allegations of racism. The video reportedly shows a private Zoom meeting attended by city officials in 2020 or 2021. The Globe reported that Deveney asked DiPierro to recruit “one of your dark friends” for a political event. “I don’t have a lot of those friends, I’m just saying,” DiPierro responded, according to the report. Deveney reportedly replied, “No problem, we’ll find one.” DiPierro did not respond to the Globe’s request for comment on the video. Martin Kane, a lawyer representing Deveney, said she would not comment and told the Globe, “Merely the observation of the video … places people at risk for civil and criminal liability.” Previously, Deveney acknowledged to the Globe that she was one of the recipients of a message from DiPierro with a cartoon featuring the N-word. She said she was on a group text thread and did not respond directly to it. “I do not condone personally nor professionally the use of any racist language,” Deveney told the Globe in a statement in March. “I regret being involved in a group text message and not expressing my disdain for the use of that word between two other individuals. This has reminded me of the importance of speaking out when something isn’t right.” More on the Everett City Council everett May 10 Embattled Everett City Council Meets as Public Demands Action Against 2 Members everett Apr 30 More Complaints Against Everett City Councilor Charged With Indecent Assault The Everett City Council has been a subject of heavy public criticism in recent months. Councilor Jimmy Tri Le, who pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and battery charges following allegations he groped a fellow city councilor, also faces calls to resign. After a court appearance last month, Tri Le sprinted through bushes to avoid NBC10 Boston’s Katie Brace as she tried to ask him about the allegations. “We are coming — coming to replace some of you,” one man said at an city council meeting earlier this month.

  • David Ortiz Says Life Has Changed Since Hall of Fame Vote
    by Ken Powtak on May 23, 2022 at 3:59 pm

    Newly elected Hall of Famer David Ortiz knows he’s got to enjoy life every day after his shooting in the Dominican Republic nearly three years ago. “Without a doubt,” he told The Associated Press Monday morning at his charity golf tournament. “Life continued. You never know what’s next,” he said, walking the grounds toward a golf cart before he headed out to take pictures with players. “You’ve just got to focus on doing well and making sure everyone around you is taken care of.” In June 2019, Ortiz was ambushed by a man who got off a motorcycle and shot him in the back at close range. Doctors in the Dominican Republic removed Ortiz’s gallbladder and part of his intestine after the shooting and he underwent further surgery in the U.S. The longtime Red Sox slugger was elected to the Hall on his first ballot by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in January, making 77.9% of the ballots — just over the 75% threshold needed for election. He said it’s changed his life a lot. “Well, I was a busy man. Now, I’m extremely busy,” he joked after signing about four dozen baseballs, a few golf bags and a bunch of smaller “stress ball” baseballs. Wearing a Hall of Fame baseball cap with the logo on the front and Cooperstown on the back, Ortiz estimated that he has signed about 3 million baseballs in his career. But he said the affection that the fans have for him is something that he’ll never take for granted. “Oh man, it’s something that never gets old,” he said in the interview with the AP. “It’s something that’s great — getting love and giving love back.” But, he joked: “I’m out of shape signing.” On Monday, he also recalled how emotional he was nearly seven years ago when his longtime friend and teammate Pedro Martinez went into the Hall. On that day, Ortiz hit two homers and drove in seven RBIs in a Red Sox victory. He was emotional after the game speaking to the media. “Yeah, my man,” he said, his voice becoming softer, recalling that day. Now, he’ll probably have the same impact on younger Dominican players, when he gives his induction speech later this summer. “Without a doubt,” he said. “I’ve got so much love and respect for them. They give that love back as well. We always stay in touch and try to take care of them and guide them. That’s important in everyone’s career.” On Monday morning, he took to the microphone to get everyone fired up for the event. “Where’s the energy?” Big Papi yelled to the golfers, which included Hall of Famer Jim Rice, former MLB player Adam Jones and recently retired Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. “Let’s go! You don’t get a Hall of Famer talking every day. Let’s go!” The 46-year-old Ortiz is the fourth Hall of Famer born in the Dominican Republic, joining Juan Marichal, Martinez and Vladimir Guerrero. Ortiz’s tournament — called the Boston Heart Classic — raises money for children in need of life-saving medical treatment. More Big Papi News David Ortiz Mar 20 David Ortiz Was Targeted By Dominican Drug Lord In 2019 Shooting: Report red sox Jan 25 David Ortiz Writes Heartfelt Statement on Hall of Fame Induction

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