From My Corner: November 15, 2016

Losing another employer

Another company closes in Lawrence. So much for Business & Economic Development!  This is the 5th company that closes in Lawrence since 2013.

Sekisui Voltek, located at 100 Shepard St. in the Industrial Park in South Lawrence, issued a press release on November 9, 2016 stating that the company will start the process of closing the Lawrence plant in the first half of 2017.

Sekisui Voltek is a maker of cross-linked polyolefin foam for the tape, medical, automotive and general industry markets.  The company currently has operations in Coldwater, Michigan and in Lawrence, Mass.  They are part of Sekisui Chemical, a $12 billion global plastics and chemical company.  It was established and incorporated in Massachusetts in 2007.

According to the announcement, they have 72 employees in Lawrence of which they plan to keep those willing to relocate to Michigan where they plan to consolidate their operations.

This is the 5th major company closing in Lawrence since 2013, along with many small businesses that employed local residents.  The Dunkin Donuts on Essex St. and the one on Broadway, next to Tenares Tire which closed months ago and a Honeydew Donuts opened in its place only to close shop, too.

There are reports of businesses exchanging hands multiple times motivated by drugs, crime and violence or homelessness.  McDonald’s Restaurant on Broadway and Essex streets has been suffering with the homelessness population for years.  They not only use the bathrooms but mess them up by washing themselves all over.  Then they sit down, occupying tables for hours, which was the reason for the Dunkin Donuts on Broadway to leave.  They even tried locking the bathrooms to no avail.


Cinema plans

There was a meeting at Carleen’s in So. Broadway last Thursday night for the purpose of gathering opinions on a plan to build an animal hospital and two other structures in the lot occupied by the Cinema Showcase.  Please see the information on page 5.

If we were there it was because Attorney Barry Finegold who is representing the buyer and the builder’s proposal gave us a call to attend.  Mayor Dan Rivera and Councilor Marc Laplante invited only neighbors surrounding the cinema when the future of the site is something of interest to the entire citizenry.

I spoke to several Mt. Vernon neighborhood residents who are very upset at not having heard about that meeting.  Whatever happens on that lot affects the entire city and the call should have gone out not just to the immediate abutters.

Some people in attendance advocated for Dr. Johnson, the veterinarian across the way next to Denny’s Restaurant.  Mr. Prentiss explained that this new hospital, open 24 hours, will not affect Dr. Johnson’s operations.

By the way, if my opinion means anything, it is a great idea relocating Bulger Animal Hospital to Lawrence.  They will be offering services that pet owners normally have to travel to Woburn or Salem, such as MRIs.


Police unresponsive

On Thursday, November 10, I left a telephone message for Lawrence Police Chief that I need to discuss a certain issue with him.  That evening, I saw the mayor at Carleen’s and mentioned it to him, as well.

The problem was that a resident had his car stolen on October 4 and he was not notified when it was finally recovered.  To this date he has not been able to get it back from the police.  Meanwhile, it is accumulating storage fees and most likely, he’ll end up losing his car.

This fellow has called the police station and gone personally with no results.  He contacted me to see if I could advise him as to what to do but I became equally angry for the lack of respect to our residents.

Then, a lady called me and explained that she needed to renovate a business permit which requires her fingerprints.  She went to the police station to get it done and an officer told her that she had to come with an interpreter.

She came a second time, unable to find someone to translate and the officer refused to help her.  He at least, gave her an appointment for another day and when she kept her half of the date, he was not there.

She called me because she is petrified.  She is working without the proper permit and runs the risk of getting into legal problems caused by police negligence.

I decided to put it in writing and sent the mayor and the chief an email Saturday morning.  I detailed these two cases and as of Monday night, I have not heard from them.

They keep saying that crime is down and that the city has hired a number of Spanish-speaking police officers.  If that is the case, they cannot be very busy so, where are those officers that cannot serve the public?


GLFHC’s Park St. Clinic

For the past two weeks, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center has had a police officer stationed in the parking lot along with the van with cameras on top.  I started looking into it because that is a hot area and I heard that patients are afraid to visit the center.  Some have requested a transfer to another site to no avail.

The solution found by the health center of placing a police detail in the parking lot is like a false sense of security.  Crimes are happening in that area during daylight.

The insult is that I have been waiting for two weeks for a response from the center and I have been ignored.  I deserve a call even if it is to say, “No comment!”