Page 18 THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – Friday, July 5, 2019 THE SOUNDS OF SAUGUS By Mark Vogler H ere are a few tidbits that you might want to know about this week in Saugus. So long, Suffolk Downs My friend Railbird and I got to Suffolk Downs an hour before the races on Sunday and parked ourselves in the first row of box seats right near the finish line. “Bing Crosby used to sit in this box whenever he was in town,” Railbird said as he settled in. I would probably have believed him, but he tried to prove it with an internet search. He showed me a photo of Crosby at Suffolk Downs in the ’30s. He wasn’t even in the front row. Our seats were better. “Rin Tin Tin also sat here,” Railbird continued. “But I’m not gonna bother showing you a photo.” Quite a few people, like me, went to the races out of curiosity after the track’s fate was sealed. It was last call to see something oldtimey that I’d heard about but never seen. It had always been right in my backyard. I had a good time. The track was nice, the beer was cold. The horses were beautiful – especially when I won. There must have been a lot of people like me in the crowd of 12,311 on Sunday. That was likely the biggest crowd at any track in the country that afternoon. It seemed sad that they were starting to tear it down on Monday. My buddy had been going as often as he could since 1974. “I never thought of myself as much of a gambler,” I said to Railbird as we both checked out the plaque honoring Seabiscuit on the way out of the track after the final race. “But I think I might have been missing out on something for 30 or 40 years.” “Yeah, I agree,” Railbird said. “You had plenty of company.” We headed toward the parking lot. Railbird had been reminiscing all afternoon, and took a glance back at the clubhouse entrance. “You don’t have to go home,” he almost shouted. “But you can’t stay here!” Railbird was looking a little emotional as we angled across the parking lot. Then he came to a dead stop. “Hang on a minute ... I remember an incident right here in ’96.” He started talking about a horse named Curious Jeb who had made good at Suffolk Downs and Rockingham Park, despite being practically given away by his breeder. And Railbird was convinced that Curious Jeb was one of the most lucrative horses to bet on in the 20th Century. He just hadn’t gotten around to proving it yet. “It was a Sunday in February, and I hadn’t planned on going to the track,” Railbird remembered. “But somebody on AOL said Curious Jeb was entered at Aqueduct. I couldn’t figure out why they’d shipped him to run in New York for the same kind of purse he’d just won at Suffolk. But they did. Not only did he end up not running a lick, but he never came back. He ended up in Puerto Rico. “Anyhow, I drove an hour to bet on him. I didn’t even see the race on TV. He was in the nightcap, and my wife and I were going out. I listened to him lose on a crummy 900 number. “I got here around the fourth race and parked down there,” Railbird said, pointing deeper into the lot. “Heading this way, I saw an ordinary looking, middle-aged guy heading back to his car, toward me. I checked him for a program or Racing Form he might give away, but he was empty handed. “I was still trying to figure out why Curious Jeb was in New York. Then, a couple yards from me, the guy stops in his tracks, goes ramrod straight and puts a finger to his temple as though it was the barrel of a gun. “‘What do you think?’ he asks me. ‘Should I do it? Should I put myself out of my misery?’ “I couldn’t think of anything clever and just said, ‘Nah, there’s always tomorrow.’” “‘I hear what you’re saying, pal,’ he said. ‘I hear ya.’” It seemed like there was something else Railbird was going to say. But he just looked down at the pavement. After a few moments, we walked the rest of the way to the car and drove home. I witnessed the end of an era on Sunday, an era I wish I had been more a part of. Holy Ghost Feast this weekend The Portuguese-American community will celebrate its annual Feast of the Holy Ghost tomorrow (Saturday, July 6) and Sunday (July 7) at the Holy Ghost Camp, which is located at 262 Lynn Fells Pkwy. in Saugus. The feast, which has been celebrated in Saugus since 1927, is based on the original feast still being celebrated on the island of Santa Maria, Azores, Portugal. It will be open from 3 p.m. to midnight on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Visitors will be able to enjoy Portuguese bread and other food along with wine and beer. For more details, contact Walter Sousa at 617-438-5888 or Richard Raposo at 617-293-7652. Kids’ Day this Sunday at World Series Park As part of the Eastern Massachusetts State Babe Ruth 15-Year-Old Tournament being held at World Series Park in Saugus July 5 through July 13, a Kids’ Day will be held on Sunday, July 7 from 1 to 3 p.m. – highlighted by the appearance of Lowell Spinners’ mascot “Canaligator.” There’ll be an obstacle course and games. All children will receive free popcorn, cotton candy and slush. All children are welcome! One-day holiday trash delay The Town of Saugus announces that trash and recycling collection will resume today (Friday, July 5) and continue through tomorrow (Saturday, July 6) on a one-day delay, due to the Fourth of July holiday. The recycling and compost site will be open normal hours, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., tomorrow. The Town of Saugus would like to thank everyone for their cooperation. Please contact Solid Waste/Recycling Coordinator Lorna Cerbone at 781-231-4036 with any questions. Nomination papers coming For town residents who are considering a run at public office in the town elections, nomination papers will be available at the Town Clerk’s Office at Town Hall on July 22. Word has it that there could be a few openings up for grabs on both the School Committee and the Board of Selectmen, according to several reports. “A Shout Out” for Mike Serino Looks like Michael Serino will be wearing another hat in local government. “I believe his knowledge of town government and our zoning bylaws will be an asset to our Planning Board,” Town Manager Scott C. Crabtree told selectmen on Monday night as he appointed Serino to fill a vacancy on the Planning Board. Serino, who is chairman of the Board of Assessors and a Town Meeting member in Precinct 10, previously served a decade on the Board of Selectmen and was also a member of the Conservation Commission – among a number of local boards he’s served on. Want to “Shout Out” a fellow Saugonian? This is an opportunity for our paper’s readers to single out – in a brief mention – remarkable acts or achievements by Saugus residents. Just send an email (mvoge@comcast.net) with the mention in the subject line of “An Extra Shout Out.” No more than a paragraph – anything longer might lend itself to a story and/or photo. Saugus over coffee, anyone? Back during several stints covering local politics in Lawrence, I would organize neighborhood groups into several coffee klatches, where the residents would talk about major issues in their respective parts of the city. These were very popular sessions, as they would empower city voters to discuss issues on their mind and their wish lists of projects they liked to see discussed on the campaign trail. These were so successful that the citizens essentially set voter agendas for City Council, School Committee and sometimes mayoral races. Do you as a Saugus residents have issues that you would like to see public officials tackle in your neighborhood in town? Would you feel comfortable sitting down with a reporter over coffee focusing on what you would like to see done town-wide or in a specific neighborhood? Get some of your friends together and let’s have some coffee as you articulate what you think should be an issue tackled by town or school officials. The quest for transparency Looks like it may be a few more weeks – or more – before curious Saugus residents will find out what was said behind closed doors on May 8 during an Executive Session of the Saugus School Committee, which led to a contentious decision to replace the 21 school custodians with a private company. There are nine total Open Meeting Law complaints pending against the School Committee – including the two complaints I filed. On Tuesday, we learned that the lawyer retained by the School Committee was granted a request for an extension and additional time to discuss and respond to the complaints. So, the School Committee has until July 19 to respond to me and the seven other people who alleged Open Meeting Law violations. On the same day that I received the email from the state Attorney General’s Division of Open Government regarding the extension being granted to the School Committee, I received word from Saugus Public Schools Superintendent Dr. David DeRuosi that my public records request for minutes of Executive Sessions in which privatization and replacement of the custodians were being discussed was denied. The superintendent told me the requested records cannot be disclosed at this time because the School Committee is still involved in ongoing negotiations and litigation. That’s what I was told last year before the Division of Open Government ruled the School Committee had convened an improper Executive Session and then ordered the School Committee to turn over the minutes of the secret session. Stay tuned. A call for Rumney art If you want to learn a little more about the Rumney Marsh and be creative, check this one out. Saugus Action Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE) is pleased to announce a call for art for its second annual Rumney Marsh art exhibition, to be held at the Marleah Elizabeth Graves (MEG) Center at 54-58 Essex St. in Saugus on September 20 and September 21. Titled Rumney Marsh Through the Seasons, the exhibit will feature art in any medium inspired by the beauty and fragility of the Rumney Marsh Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). DATES: ACEC: Rumney Marsh will run from September 20 through September 21, with gallery hours from 6:30–8:30 each evening. The opening reception on September 20 will include a presentation on the plants of Rumney Marsh by Laura D. Eisener and voting for award winners by attendees. The closing reception on September 21 will include the announcement of winners and presentation of prizes and, at 8:30, the pickup of all artwork. Prizes will include gift cards awarded by SAVE to firstand second-place winners in both the adult and high school divisions, as well as art materials awards provided by our local Artist & Craftsman Supply awarded to third-place winners in both divisions. SPECIFICATIONS FOR SUBMISSIONS: Rumney Marsh must be the focus of the art. Each artist must be at least of high school age and may show only one piece of art. Any three-dimensional works must be self-supporting and no larger than 1.5” x 1.5” x 1.5”. Works on stretched canvas will be accepted with eye hooks and wire and need not be framed but must be no larger than 30” x 30”. All other works must be framed and ready to hang (with eye hooks and wire) and no larger than 30” x 30” framed. There are no entry fees and you do not need to be a resident of Saugus. Art drop off will be on Thursday, September 19, from 5:308:30. Pickup will be on Saturday, September 21, at 8:30 p.m., SOUNDS | SEE PAGE 19

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