The 1960s Come Back to Bite Us
It seems that weâ€™re in a time warp regarding the environment. In 1934, owners of Breakheart Hill Forest sold their land to the state with the understanding that it would be preserved as a state park for all to enjoy.
Thirty-one years later, in 1965, the state transferred 60 acres of this land to the Metro Tech school district to build a school. [Note that, contrary to what you may have heard, school districts are public property. Private property can only be held by individuals or corporations.] Metro Tech developed about half of this land, choosing to build on the flatter, northern portion. They preserved the forested southern half, which extends up onto a hill all the way to Farm Street. Since then, this rugged, elevated forest has been the domain of wildflowers and wildlife, and of hikers, runners, and dog walkers.
Itâ€™s clear that the state gave the Metro Tech twice the land it needed. As a result, part of the forest that should have remained a state park was put at risk for development. Since 1965, we have had the environmental movement, including the founding of US EPA under President Nixon, 52 Earth Days, and innumerable reports on human impacts on the environment. During this almost 60-year period, we have come to understand the essential role of nature in every aspect of our lives.
Where does our forest fit into this picture? Forests purify air, filter water, prevent erosion, provide habitat for thousands of species, and serve as a buffer against climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide. Forests are some of the most beautiful, magical places on Earth and we are losing them at an alarming rate.
Recently our state government developed a Massachusetts Forest Action Plan (www.mass.gov/service-details/massachusetts-forest-action-plan). This 2020 plan is a 10-year update to the â€œAssessment of the Forest Resources of Massachusettsâ€ and â€œForest Resource Strategies of Massachusettsâ€ published in 2010. Among other goals, the plan includes these: Goal 4: Maintain and increase urban tree canopy; Goal 5: Enhance the connection between forests and people; and Goal 6: Increase land base of conserved forests (keep forests as forests).
Despite this environmental awareness, what did the Metro Tech building committee decide to do when given the task of siting a school? They decided to ignore everything we have learned since 1965 and everything in our forest action plan.
The building committee chose site C3, a site rejected by the pre-feasibility study as â€œenvironmentally and financially infeasible,â€ smack in the middle of the forest! And they did this knowing that an excellent site exists on the currently developed campus (site C2).
Why did they choose C3? It appears that they wanted to avoid losing playing fields while the new school is being built (â€œleast disruption to school operationsâ€). However, if the school were built on C2, the high school and the Metro Tech would still have four fields between them, which could be shared during construction. When the new school is complete, the Metro Tech would gain an additional field when the old school is razed. Towns such as Arlington, Melrose, Natick, Saugus, Stoneham, Swampscott, as well as our own town of Wakefield, are finding ways to build new high schools on their existing footprints. If they can do this, why canâ€™t the Metro Tech?
Looking at the environmental and fiscal costs of destroying the forest, the playing-field reason does not justify the committeeâ€™s decision. The real reason appears to be that they do not value the forest. It is simply a piece of land that they can develop, even though it is by far the costliest option, especially for site preparation.
Why are we throwing away part of our precious remaining forest and contributing to further destruction of our planet? What kind of example does this set for our children? Have we learned nothing since 1965? Is there no way to stop this costly, heartbreaking loss before itâ€™s too late? â€¦ and still build an excellent Metro Tech for our children?
Looking Back at the First Year
As my first year as Revere Election Commissioner comes to a close next month, and with six elections under my belt (two with my predecessor in my first month and four on my own), I want to take a moment to thank the many people who have made things run so well.
First would be my staff. In a City Hall full of talented and hard-working people, they are right at the front of the line.
I also need to acknowledge my Board of Election Commissioners. I couldnâ€™t have done my job over the last year without their unfailing support and encouragement. And I especially want to thank my poll workers â€“ wardens, clerks, and inspectors â€“ who are the frontline workers for Early Voting and on Election Day. They do their jobs with professionalism and a smile, and the voters of Revere are lucky to have them.
We also have wonderful partners outside City government who provide us with polling locations. Special thanks to Point of Pines Yacht Club, Jack Satter House, Carl Hyman Towers, and the Turkish Cultural Center. Our other polling locations are at the Revere schools, and for their assistance I am very grateful to the School Committee, Superintendent Kelly, and the excellent custodian staff at all the building we use.
Finally, and not at all least, I owe special thanks to <ayor Arrigo and his staff, the City Council and the City Clerk, our great DPW workers, and the many in City Hall who support our efforts every day.
These are challenging times for election workers everywhere, both in the aftermath of the pandemic and in a climate of misinformation about the process itself. The Commonwealth passed a broad election reform law earlier this year. The VOTES Act expands access to voting while also ensuring the integrity of the process. Itâ€™s frankly a lot more work for the Election Department, but itâ€™s important work and itâ€™s worth it.
Finally, thanks to the voters of Revere for their kindness to me over the past year. I donâ€™t have deep Revere roots like some, but I appreciate being made part of the family in 2022!
Happy holidays to all and best wishes for 2023!
Paul Fahey, MPA
City of Revere
Uniqueness of Christianity
Many think Christianity is an â€œAmerican Religion.â€ Christianity has its roots in Judaism in the MiddleEast with Jesus and His Desciples who were all Jewish. It spread through the Roman Empire and Germany and Europe during the Reformation and then over to Britain and finally to America. Christianity transcends cultures, races, and gender more so than other religions such as Hinduism, Islamism, Buddhism, and even Judaism.
Christianity is based on a personal relationshio with Jesus Christ the Son of God, sent to â€œredeemâ€ or buy back the souls of people who were under the bondage of Sin, paying for their sins on the cross, thus satisfying the Justice of a Holy God. After three days, He rose from the grave proving His claim with more than 500 witnesses who were willing to face death rather than deny that they saw Him alive.. Christianity has a living leader. This is why His message is â€œgood news.â€ Jesus conquered Sin and the grave for who-so-ever believes and He gave us a sure way to Heaven.
All other religions give you a â€œto do list.â€ How much is enough to get into heaven? Scripture states all have fallen short of Godâ€™s perfect standard. On our own, we are all doomed! The â€œGood Newsâ€ is that the God-Man Jesus paid our sin debt in full and so the work is done! Jesus gives you assurance of Eternal Life with God. This is the uniqueness of Christianity.
Invasion of Inchon Korea
I can remember the waiting was nerve racking, all of a sudden over the P.A. system came this loud voice away all boats. I was shaking like a leaf. The troops climbed down the rope ladders into the landing crafts. We pulled out and circled like we were told to, then from the speakers we heard (this is no drill), the invasion of Inchon was on. I was in the first wave. WE had about 20 troops in. my landing craft, as we headed for the beach, most of the kids and myself were making the sign of the cross and saying prays. Our ship guns were really doing a job on the shoreline. As we hit the beach, I opened the door on the landing craft, the troops dashed out yelling get the son of bitches, some made it out and some did notâ€¦I was lucky. These kids were the bravest kids I have ever seen. I hope some are still alive, like myself. God Bless them and I hope America never forgets us.
Mr. Grieco, U.S.N.
Veteran of the Inchon Korea Invasion