Page 16 THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2022 The Sounds of Saugus By Mark E. Vogler Five decades of “Earth Day reporting” As I look back on my professional newspaper reporting career, which essentially began about 50 years ago this upcoming September, I was assigned to cover a wide ranges of beats: town government, City Hall, county government, the State House (in Tallahassee, Fla., and Albany, N.Y.), the Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department, courts, the School Department/Education, Business, features, general assignment and investigative reporter. Ironically, the one beat that I did not have was environmental reporter — an assignment that I truly wanted when the opportunity arose at several newspapers in Massachusetts, Florida and Texas. But not having the specifi c title of environmental reporter or writer never stopped me from researching and writing meaningful environmental stories and investigative projects. At most of the newspapers I worked at, I was the reporter who was either assigned investigations full-time or encouraged to do the investigative reporting in addition to other assignments. So, it was only natural that citizen or reader complaints about pollution came with the territory of being an investigative reporter. My investigation of oilfi eld pollution in West Texas for the Midland Reporter-Telegram during the late 1970s led to a seven-part series, “Water, Texas Lifeblood” — three parts of which dealt directly with oilfi eld pollution. Then there was the expose I did on a pesticide manufacturer in the southern part of Lake County, Fla., in 1980 with the Leesburg Commercial. As part of my reporting, I learned that the president of the chemical company was also the chair of the Lake County Pollution Control Board — an important local government body that received very little media coverage over the years. The company’s polluted site eventually wound up being cited on the U.S. EPA’s Hazardous Waste Site List. Then, during my five and a half years with North Shore Sunday (when the paper was distributed to 110,000 people in 11 cities and towns on the North Shore — including Saugus) during the late 1980s and early 1990s, I immersed myself in the topic of hazardous chemicals threats and pollution within our circulation area. The research made it easier to report on and write stories about a Saugus chemical plant owned by a German company after ammonia gas leaked from the plant and threatened town residents who lived nearby. Fueled by our stories that there were serious problems facing town residents, the town’s Board of Health took notice and got aggressive in its dealings with the company, which eventually left town. These are three of many environmental reporting projects I have undertaken during my newspaper career. But they were the major projects that each involved hundreds of hours of research, patience and interviewing citizens who were affected by the pollution and government offi cials charged with the responsibility of monitoring and investigating environmental violations. While I didn’t get to cover the local “Earth Day” events every April 22, I was involved with these substantial reporting projects which refl ect the spirit and ideals of everything that Earth Day stands for. Happy Earth Day, Saugus. 5K race on tomorrow at Breakheart The YMCA of Metro North’s four-part 5k Road Race Series kicks off tomorrow (Saturday, April 23) with the Saugus Family YMCA’s “Not a Walk in the Park 5K. This family-friendly run/walk takes you through the beautiful scenery at Breakheart Reservation in Saugus. Your registration includes post-race refreshments and prizes for runners in every age category. Registration and pick-up: 7:00 a.m., at Breakheart Reservation, 177 Forest St., Saugus. The race is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. Preregistered runners can pick up their bib and race bag from 3 to 6 p.m. today at the Saugus Family YMCA and tomorrow at 7 a.m. at Breakheart Reservation. There is limited parking at Breakheart Reservation. Please plan to park in the overfl ow parking lot behind the Target Plaza. A parking attendant will be present to point you towards the lot from the Breakheart Reservation entrance. The race will be held rain or shine. Afterward, the YMCA Facebook Page will post photos. Please go to https://www. facebook.com/SaugusFamilyYMCA/. Play Ball! Tomorrow (Saturday, April 23) marks the start of another baseball season for the town’s youngsters, in what offi cials of the Saugus American and National Leagues hope will not be interrupted by COVID-19. Kickoff to the new season will be at 9 a.m. with uniformed players in a parade heading out of Anna Parker Field. THE SOUNDS | SEE PAGE 17

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