Stories by Ted Siefer
Photographs by Meghan Moore FALL RIVER MAYOR Jasiel Correia’s voice was scratchy and raw. It was March 13, the day after yet another nor’easter, and he had spent a good part of the day, like many a mayor across the state, dealing with snow removal complaints and public safety issues. And then, probably unlike most mayors,(...)
Is legal marijuana a blight or boon?
Photographs by Michael Manning THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAWRENCE CITY COUNCIL had already issued a stern warning against booing. City resident Steven Gil was at the podium, struggling mightily to make the case at the hearing in early October that allowing marijuana businesses in the city would be a good thing. “Please don’t shut the(...)
Divided city showed consensus is possible
ELECTIONS, as they say, have consequences. This is certainly the case in Lowell, where voters on Tuesday delivered a stunning rebuke to their elected officials and their decision to relocate the city’s sole public high school from downtown to its suburban edge. In the process, voters also showed that consensus can emerge in a city riven by race, class, and(...)
City showing signs of progress, but mayor faces battle to retain his post
Photographs by Meghan Moore THE MARCHERS PLOD ALONG, wearing matching maroon shirts and holding campaign signs, fronted by the candidate himself, Mayor Daniel Rivera, who waves to onlookers, his gut hanging over pressed khakis. It’s not a very enthusiastic display in a parade that features, by turns, synchronized Latin dancing, beauty queens in chiffon, and(...)
Rebuild downtown, or move to the fringe of suburbia?
MEETINGS OF THE LOWELL CITY COUNCIL are typically sparsely attended affairs, characterized by amicable discussions among councilors and unanimous votes. This has all changed in recent weeks, as the city grapples with whether to rebuild its sole public high school at the downtown site it’s occupied nearly since the city’s founding or to build a(...)
Says approach leads to all white city government
A CIVIL RIGHTS GROUP has brought a federal lawsuit against the City of Lowell alleging that its electoral system has led to a stark lack of minority representation in city government. In the suit, filed in US District Court in Boston on Thursday, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice alleges that the(...)
Alex Morse sees potential for urban farming in his old city’s mills
Photographs by Mark Morelli OUTSIDE HOLYOKE CITY HALL is a stone fountain that once gurgled with water, offering a more wholesome substitute for alcohol to “a thirsty humanity,” as the inscription reads. Erected in 1901, the monument was one of several put up by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union around the country as part of(...)
Boosting unbanked immigrant entrepreneurs in Lawrence
Photographs by Meghan Moore JOSE ROSARIO CAN barely walk a step without pointing to some of the changes he’s made since becoming the owner of Universal Auto Repair in Lawrence. There are the four new vehicle lifts; the diagnostic computers; the uniforms for his staff, complete with name tags; the fresh coat of interior paint;(...)
Can bigger paychecks attract more diverse candidates?
THE LOWELL CITY COUNCIL is giving itself and the city school board raises on the order of 67 to 100 percent, purportedly as a way to attract a more diverse array of candidates to a body that is dominated by white men largely from the same neighborhood. The council voted 8-1 late last month to(...)
Railcar manufacturing, a casino, and other changes are creating optimism
Photographs by Mark Morelli SPRINGFIELD MAYOR DOMENIC SARNO remembers the day after Thanksgiving in 2012. The sky was clear and the temperature unseasonably warm. The mayor was at the city’s downtown museum complex for an event kicking off the start of the holiday season, and earlier he had attended the annual Parade of the Big(...)