The Archives

Dailies for October of 1998

October 31, 1998

We've now started to post the winners in our Halloween Ghost Story Contest. We'll be continuing to post them throughout the night, category by category. In general we had quite a few entries, but nearly all were in the Adult category. We had only two Middle School entries, only one Elementary entry, and no High School entries at all! The Adult category was somewhat competitive, though, and our judges worked feverishly to pick the top three stories.

October 30, 1998

There have been several recent updates of note; in particular the Ken Shaw page has been updated to include some information on becoming an organ donor. Ken himself is not doing too well right now; the fluid in his lungs keeps returning after being drained. In any case, he's stuck in bed far from home and would love to receive letters from up here; his address is:

There have also been updates to Earthways, Saugus Photos Online, and the usual places. Also, the Halloween Ghost Story Contest is now officially closed. Our judges are busily reading the last-minute entries, and the winners will be posted some time tomorrow night.

October 29, 1998

A final reminder: today is the last day to submit Halloween Ghost Story Contest entries; we're accepting entries both through e-mail addressed to and FAX sent to 231-4719. Either way, only entries with timestamps prior to midnight tonight will be accepted.

October 28, 1998

The deadline for entering the Halloween Ghost Story Contest is drawing nigh. Only today and tomorrow are left.

October 27, 1998

The following is another open letter to the residents of the Town of Saugus from Precinct 4 Town Meeting Member Dennis Robitaille that we've been asked to post:

What Conflict Of Interest?

Dear Fellow Saugonians:

Back in 1973, Saugus Town Meeting voted to adopt a voluntary code of conduct whereas a Town Meeting member "should" disclose his or her financial interest in an article under consideration before speaking thereon. This code of conduct is also supposed to extend to a Town Meeting member whose family relationship may be involved. Further, the Town Meeting member is supposed to consider a voluntary abstention from voting on the article in question. Article 13 of the Special Saugus Town Warrant of October 19, 1998 was to see if the Town would vote to accept provisions of G.L. c32, s103 which would establish a cost of living calculation for the Town employee retirement system. Acceptance of these provisions would be irrevocable and would also mean that the Retirement Board, not Town Meeting would set the amount of money taken from the Town budget each year.

Not hearing or seeing any of the numerous Town Meeting members who are also Town employees disclose their vested financial interest in article 13, I stood at the October 19, meeting to remind Town Meeting of the 1973 voluntary code of conduct article. I was shouted down and scolded for raising the "conflict of interest" issue and told that the people who elect the Town Meeting members know who they are voting for. Maybe I'm wrong, but somehow I don't think the voters of Saugus really wanted to give away Town Meeting's ability to control the Town budget. Article 13 passed, which means there will be a yearly outlay of taxpayers money, in which Town Meeting will never be able to have a say in.

For the next fiscal year this amounts to $340,000.

I have nothing personal against Town employees who participate in Town Meeting, but should they be voting on issues that directly benefit themselves?

Dennis Robitaille
29 Elmwood Avenue

October 26, 1998

There's an update on the condition of Ken Shaw, the former local police officer who's battling hepatitis C and is now awaiting a liver transplant. He was moved to Florida because the Boston area hospitals will not be able to obtain a liver in time but the Florida area ones might (Florida does a lot more liver transplants than Boston). He's wearing a beeper and as soon as a liver becomes available, he'll rush into the hospital and be operated on within five hours. At this moment in time he's in the hospital already fighting some complications -- fluid in the lungs -- but he is doing well and should be out by Wednesday. Ken's big problem now is getting a liver in time.

October 23, 1998

Remember, this is the last weekend before the Halloween Ghost Story Contest deadline next Thursday. If you're one of those people who can only write on the weekends, this is it...

October 22, 1998

There were numerous little updates scattered all over the site today; the biggest was the addition of a few post cards (bringing the total number viewable online up to sixty-eight). One was courtesy of Fred Brooks and the other two were courtesy of the Saugus Historical Society. The latter two are actually new post cards created by the Society based upon original Wallace Nutting works in the Society's collection, and are currently available for purchase from them.

October 21, 1998

The area company Earthways is now online. This is a little store in Malden operated by a husband and wife. It's got a huge assorted inventory consisting of unusual items imported from all over the world that one or the other found interesting, although it particularly specializes in Native American crafts and jewelry. It also has ceramic Jack O'Lanterns, skull candle holders, and various other stuff appropriate for the Halloween season and is worth the short trip down Lebanon Street.

October 20, 1998

Highlights of last night's Saugus Special Town Meeting include the passing of articles to fund a new teaching position and part time administrator in the school system, the funding of an appraisal of Vinegar Hill in order to gain eligibility for certain grants, the purchase of a pump that's been being rented for some time, the making of Eustis Street into an official dead end, and the granting of an automatic annual cost of living increase (governed by the Retirement Board) to retired town employees. The two most controversial articles were the ones covering the school positions and the cost of living increases (which had sixteen voting against and fifteen voting against respectively). Interestingly, no one argued against either giving the money to the school system or the retired employees; in both cases the opposition was to the methods. For the school allocation, some felt the appropriate time was a couple months away when all the town departments make budget adjustments. For the cost of living increases, some felt that Town Meeting was doing a disservice to the voters by giving up the rights to allocate (or not allocate during tough financial times) the increases on an annual basis. There was also some concern expressed by one Town Meeting member that numerous other members of Town Meeting were themselves town employees who might one day benefit from the vote on the automatic annual cost of living increases for retired town employees. As noted in the event calendar, the Town Meeting will continue on the ninth of November.

Also, the link from yesterday's daily update was fixed later last night... our goof. Thanks to those who pointed it out to us.

October 19, 1998

The Saugus Historical Society online newsletter has been updated.

Also, entries for our Halloween Ghost Story Contest are now starting to come in. Don't forget to submit yours before the deadline.

October 16, 1998

We've put up information about the upcoming benefit dinner dance for Ken Shaw, the former local police officer who's battling hepatitis C and is now awaiting a liver transplant.

October 15, 1998

Also, don't forget about our Halloween Ghost Story Contest; although the absolute deadline date is the 29th, earlier is better.

The Saugus Public Library Page is now available. Its direct URL is:

It will be permanently available through the Government and Education pages, too.

October 14, 1998

For some good news, the Saugus Cable TV Commission now has its own informational page.

For some not-so-good news, the connection problems continue to persist today; we've been told that the permanent fix will take three full days. We've apparently complained enough though to warrant our own dedicated temporary fix that should be in place sometime today, restore most of our bandwidth, and in theory alleviate the problems most people have been seeing.

Special Update:

We're told that as of 5:00 PM today that the temporary fix is in place. If anyone continues to have problems connecting, please give us a call at 781-231-2621 and let us know so that we can continue to hound the phone company about our upstream connections.

October 13, 1998

The following is an open letter to the residents of the Town of Saugus from Precinct 4 Town Meeting Member Dennis Robitaille that we've been asked to post:

Dear fellow Saugonians,

I have recently written a letter to the Board of Selectmen concerning the Board of Appeals. This letter is a written charge, requesting action under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40A: Section 12, specifically it is a request for removal of the following members from the Saugus Zoning Board of Appeals:

Peter A. Rossetti, Jr. - 6 Summit Avenue
Frank J. Piwowarski - 14 Avon Street
Robert J. Favuzza - 41 Seagirt Avenue
Bernard L. Sturnilo - 7 Rhodes Street

Background for this charge:

In 1996 Saugus Town Meeting, responding to citizen concerns, formed a Growth Study Committee. The Committee recommended that the building lot size requirement on the East Side of Route One be changed from 10,000 to 20,000 square feet to match what it was on the West Side of Route One. An Article to that effect was introduced in Town Meeting in 1997 and after lengthy debate was approved.

At a Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on 9/24/98 a petition from Hollett Real Estate, Inc., owner of property at 9 Westland St. / Old County Rd., (Lot # A164-166 Plan 1049) was approved on a 4 to 1 vote. The lot in question contained 5,941 sq. ft., where 20,000 sq. ft. is required to build on. The members voting in the affirmative are named above.

Board member Frank J. Piwowarski verbally chastised the people who wrote letters in the newspaper about this variance request, as a result some people were intimidated and afraid to speak. A number of people present also complained that the motion to move the question, by Board member Peter A. Rossetti, Jr., was made before they had an opportunity to be heard.

The Charge: Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40A: section 10. Variances: The action of the above named individuals nullified and substantially derogated from the zoning by-law requiring 20,000 sq. ft. for a legal building lot size as established by Saugus Town Meeting.

Furthermore, Selectman Anthony Cogliano has gone on record as supporting the variance request with which this charge is being brought forward on, therefore to avoid a conflict of interest, he should abstain from the requested hearing.

Please keep in mind that the variances section of the General Laws of Massachusetts clearly specifies that desirable relief may only be granted by the Board of Appeals if such relief is "without substantial detriment to the public good and without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purpose of such ordinance or by-law". Furthermore, the Board of Appeals membership rules in the General Laws of Massachusetts clearly states that "Any member may be removed for cause by the appointing authority upon written charges and after a public hearing".

The Selectmen have been asked to set a date, time, and location for just such a hearing. For those who disagree with this action request, I submit the following questions: At what point would action be warranted? Would a variance approval of a 4,000 sq. ft. lot be cause for action? How about a variance to build on an undersized lot next to your own house? What if the new house will block sunlight from your yard? Are variance requests supposed to be considered on the lot particulars or the person applying for the variance?

Thank you for your time,
Dennis Robitaille
29 Elmwood Avenue

On a different note the problems of yesterday persist and we seem to be being hit particularly hard; we've had numerous calls from people who've been unable to connect, and our own readings are showing that we're getting less than 5% of our normal traffic; everyone else is apparently being shut out. The root cause was apparently a major trunk line somewhere getting partially severed; we've been told that it should all be repaired sometime today.

October 12, 1998

There are some troubles on the Internet today; it seems a major phone company in this area is having problems keeping its area codes straight, and it's affecting lots of other systems. It apparently started some time yesterday. Until it's fixed, expect odd delays, temporary inability to connect with various web pages (including possibly ours), and even potential voice phone connection problems with certain blocks of numbers in the 781 and 617 area codes. The actual manifestation of these problems is not entirely predictable at this point in time; connections can be broken midstream in addition to being prevented entirely.

October 9, 1998

It's late for a daily entry today, but we wanted to post the full details of the 1998 Halloween Ghost Story Contest that we first mentioned back on the 2nd.

October 8, 1998

In addition to the usual daily updates, there have been some minor updates on the Saugus Historical Society site today.

October 7, 1998

As indicated before, the Yard Sales Page was invited to join the national yard sale web ring. The official link was added in today, and the web ring itself should reflect the addition within the next week or so.

October 6, 1998

Don't forget to submit your scary story to us, either by e-mail or FAX. If you can't get it to us by either of these methods, give us a phone call and we'll figure out something else -- if all else fails there's always U.S. mail...

Aside from updates to the Event Calendar and National & World News pages, things have been pretty quiet for the past few days.

October 2, 1998

Were you unable to win a T-shirt at our last contest? Would you like another chance? In honor of Halloween coming up we'd like to post some good old fashioned New England ghost stories online. Send us your best, scariest original ghost story and if we post it you'll get a T-shirt. All ages are welcome to participate; just let us know if you're still in school or not (and if so what grade). The ideal length for the story would be a few typewritten pages, but we'll take both longer and shorter. Also, don't forget to give us some means of getting back in touch with you. Although reserves the rights to print and potentially reprint all entries received (giving proper credit, of course), we aren't claiming them as our own property -- that means that you retain the copyrights to your work and are free to reprint it and/or publish it elsewhere, too.

October 1, 1998

We've expanded the Most Popular Pages Countdown to both include the top twenty pages (instead of just the top fifteen) and to preserve the records for the prior month to help better show trends in popularity. Since there are now over a few hundred pages on, the full top twenty makes sense.