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Thank YOU for your votes Fitchburg!!


Grateful to have the opportunity to serve Fitchburg as your next City Councilor-at-Large!

Moving

fitchburg forward

Committed to Our community, Committed to Fitchburg

 
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About Sam

Samantha "SAM" Squailia and her husband Nick own a home, operate a successful small business, and most importantly are raising their terrific daughter Niki right here in Fitchburg.
SAM is dedicated to Moving Fitchburg Forward... and it shows through her work and experience:

On the Issues in Fitchburg

Community engagement, Community involvement

  • Building Civic, Community & Business Community Partnerships & development
  • Working to improve our City with the help of our citizens; trash cleanups, park cleanups, identifying issues with residents and connecting with city resources to repair/replace
  • Communicating Fitchburg city initiatives and changes to residents and fielding their input.
  • Connecting our citizens and surrounding regional community and being a representative voice for the community with our government

Fiscal Responsibility & Smart Economic Growth

  • Fostering a supportive community culture of our businesses
  • Connecting our community with what our Businesses have to offer, and promoting our businesses outside of Fitchburg.
  • Regional Cooperation & Regional Planning strategies; communicating with state and neighboring regions for regional economic development, joint planning & problem solving.
  • Identifying and enhancing Fitchburg's strongest amenities and communicating those into Economic development planning---parks and recreation, arts and culture, sports and fitness.
  • Fostering a Cultural Economy to help Cultivate Small Business Growth as an economic revitalization strategy
  • Encouraging Commercial/Industrial Business base growth to lessen the burden on Residential taxpayers.
  • Realistic vision for Fitchburg's Present & Future, with respect for its Past
  • Maintaining our current building and infrastructure stock
  • Invest in removing blighted properties
  • Invest in Retrofitting existing building stock for modern usage where feasible
  • Investing in telecommunications upgrades
 Photo by Ashley Green Photography ashleygreenphoto.com

Photo by Ashley Green Photography
ashleygreenphoto.com


A series of questions was sent to all the Councilor-At-Large candidates from our Sentinel & Enterprise, with each question answered in 60 words or less. Due October 13th.  Here are my responses.

1. What is the biggest issue facing Fitchburg?
I believe the City of Fitchburg’s outstanding debts and liabilities are the biggest issue we face. Our total outstanding long-term liabilities have gone up over $20M from 2015 to a total of $261M in 2016. Paying down our debt is necessary to ensure our solvency into the future; and allow us to properly maintain our infrastructure and maintain city services.

2. How should Fitchburg attract new businesses?
• Reduce regulatory burdens (red-tape) to businesses
• Restructure our permitting process to ease the stress and burden on our new and existing businesses
• Continue to incrementally shift to a single-tax rate
• Encourage high speed telecommunications to increase our high-speed bandwidth accessibility through private partnership, grants & bonds
• Ensure our roads and utility infrastructure are properly maintained and upgraded as required

3. Do you support keeping Main Street one lane? Why or why not?
I believe adjustments should be made to address problems such as:
• Reconfigure loading zones to better reflect actual use
• Consider design of shifting bike lane on right side adjacent to 3’ car buffer
• Allow MART buses to stop in front of Monument Park
• Redesign configuration beyond Grove St with two lanes or adjusted/added parking & adjust merge pattern at Blossom

4. Some developers are interested in renovating properties, which are currently vacant or abandoned. As a councilor, would you make any changes to the way the city handles these requests?
I support the City efforts to reduce the regulatory burden on investors to remove the ‘2 year rule’ requirement for a special permit in cases of 1 and 2 family residential property.
Many properties are preexisting, non-conforming use within the zoning requirements, as such, a comprehensive look at our zoning ordinances and overlay, considering multi-use future potential is necessary.

5. Would you support allocating more money to roadwork? If so, how should the city fund these projects?
The top complaint from over 3,000 homes I’ve visited is the condition of the roads (tied with raising of taxes). We must maintain our road infrastructure through increased money allocation. I’d like to consider tying our road investment fund to a percentage of our excise tax revenue, while working to reduce that excise tax revenue dependency from our overall budget.

6. Overdoses are a daily occurrence in Fitchburg. How should the city address the continuing opioid crisis?
Drug addiction & overdose are a public health epidemic across New England. Focus should be on:
• Partnering with regional agencies and community leaders that are dealing with this crisis (Facing Addiction program)
• Expanding prevention (education) and treatment programs
• Increase public awareness (remove stigma)
• Continue to target & incarcerate drug traffickers in the city
• Expanding and fostering after-care & recovery programs

7. Many residents complain of high utility prices. Are there any changes you would support?
The muni-choice legislation at the state level would allow us the future option to purchase the Unitil Infrastructure and organize a local/regional power grid, with lower costs and better service.
At present, supporting and promoting Energy efficiency and rebate programs can provide the largest return on investment and can reduce residential energy bills by 20 percent, leading to significant savings.

Contact info:
Sam Squailia
www.elect-SAM.com
978-352-0310
electsamsquailia@gmail.com


FATV CANDIDATES MESSAGES: SAM SQUAILIA STARTS AT ABOUT 31: 33
FITCHBURG CITY COUNCILOR-AT-LARGE DEBATE FORUM FROM WEDNESDAY OCT 18TH 2017
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In the News

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Economic plan outlines steps for Fitchburg growth  Sentinel & Enterprise   7/19/2018 

How can the city attract new residents to patronize new and existing businesses all while maintaining what makes Fitchburg unique?

A course of action was proposed to the City Council on Tuesday, when a draft version of the Economic Development Strategic Plan was presented.

Though the number of businesses located here has grown over the past decade, Bohart said the number of local jobs declined over the same period.

In the city today, there are about 62 jobs available for every 100 residents of working age, according to data she presented Tuesday. Organizations in the education, health and social services sectors are the city's largest employers.

Many residents leave the city during the day for work, so restaurants miss potential lunch crowds, she said. Each year, residents spend $50 million on food and drink outside the city that could have been spent in Fitchburg.

At-Large Councilor Sam Squailia, commenting on the report, said some existing restaurants are struggling to attract customers.

Bohart said the city must support both new and existing eateries to ensure established restaurants "don't feel as though we're so focused on bringing in new that we don't celebrate what we have."


Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_32018412/economic-plan-outlines-steps-fitchburg-growth#ixzz5LoDmiu2R


Domino's really delivers for Fitchburg: Nation's second-largest pizza chain offers a $5,000 paving grant to fix potholes                                                                                                                          Sentinel & Enterprise   7/14/2018 

"Yes, we did," responded Commissioner of Public Works Lenny Laakso when asked if the nation's second-largest pizza chain was picked for a $5,000 paving grant through the promotion, Paving for Pizza.

"I don't know how many people might have put our name in," he said. "This will help us keep going for an extra couple of weeks."

At-Large Councilor Sam Squailia said Friday she learned of the promotion in June.

"Why not?" she asked, and nominated the city.

She said she nominated Fitchburg for the paving award because of the city's "well-known road complaint.

After shared news of the promotion on her social media page Discussing Fitchburg Now, Squailia said hundreds of people nominated Fitchburg, too.

"It got a bunch of traction," she said.


Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_32008179/dominos-really-delivers-fitchburg#ixzz5LoCkdlzC


Fitchburg council rips plan to cut Burbank urgent care  Sentinel & Enterprise   7/5/2018

The City Council on Thursday decried UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton for announcing the impending closure of its Burbank Campus Urgent Care center without gathering input from the community it serves.

UMass said in late May the center would close because of budgetary constraints, citing declining Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements as having contributed to the deficit.

At-Large Councilor Sam Squailia said at a recent legislative breakfast attended by Deborah Weymouth, the hospital system's president and chief executive, she was told that daily patient volume at Burbank urgent care fell from 38 in 2015 to 26 in 2018.

She echoed Chalifoux Zephir's concern over the lack of community involvement in the closure process, and noted how CareWell, unlike Burbank Urgent Care, does not have a doctor on site.

"There wasn't really a good outreach to the community, the transparency is noted, and the community should be a partner within the organization of HealthAlliance," she said.


Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/breakingnews/ci_31989893/fitchburg-council-rips-plan-cut-burbank-urgent-care#ixzz5LoCL6A2O


Fitchburg mayor's budget sails through City Council  Sentinel & Enterprise   6/7/2018

For the third consecutive year, the City Council passed Mayor Stephen DiNatale's budget with only minimal adjustments.

Among the biggest wins for the mayor was the City Council's agreement to forgo filling the chief assessor's position, which was left vacant when former Chief Assessor Kenneth Wilson retired in January. Instead, the budget allocates $150,000 to contract an outside company to provide these services.

Both Councilor Beauchemin and At-Large City Councilor Sam Squailia initially proposed cutting the contracted services line item in favor of keeping the position within the city. Beauchemin said he was concerned about any effects on customer service and Squailia was skeptical the change would actually be a cost saver.

Two of four cuts proposed by Squailia requested a reduction from revenue sources in the budget. She requested the city refrain from raising property taxes the full amount allowed under state law. She termed this proposed $62,000 tax reduction as "symbolic."

She also called for the city to reconfigure funding sources for the Department of Public Works.

None of her proposed cuts nor any of the four cuts proposed by Beauchemin were approved by City Council. Council also voted down half of Councilor DiNatale's proposed cuts.


Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/breakingnews/ci_31931005/fitchburg-mayors-budget-sails-through-city-council#ixzz5LoBpdBpb


Social media guidelines proposed for city officials   Sentinel & Enterprise   5/30/2018

At-Large City Councilor Sam Squailia questioned many of the guidelines proposed for social media pages run by City Councilors, which calls for the elected official to "take an active role in moderating that site."

Walsh said this includes councilors to request those who "defame, threaten or demonstrate racial bias or otherwise inappropriate postings" to remove their post.

Reading from the guidelines, Squailia raised concerns with some of the other suggestions, including those that ask the councilor to disallow comments that use profanity, are from people using fake names or are unrelated to the original subject of the post.

"They're insist(ing) that it's a nonbinding set of guidelines, but I'm concerned that it opens up the city to liability," said Squailia.

Squailia, who was elected to her first term in November, is one of two moderators of Discussing Fitchburg Now, a popular community Facebook group with over 16,000 members.

She believes the guidelines, if passed, could allow other councilors to use comments on Discussing Fitchburg Now for a political "witch hunt."

When asked, Pusateri said the decision to propose guidelines for public official's social media use was not related to Squailia or Discussing Fitchburg Now.

Read More: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_31911119/social-media-guidelines-proposed-city-officials#ixzz5LoAqW61f


Local officials using social media as a significant tool  Sentinel & Enterprise     4/29/2018

Before the interview began, Fitchburg City Councilor Sam Squailia took a photo of her lunch: two maki rolls and a mango bubble tea from Sawa Sushi.

Within the hour the image was posted in Discussing Fitchburg Now, the community Facebook group she moderates that boasts 16,000 members and counting.

"Lunch at Sawa sushi Fitchburg ...fast delicious and fairly healthy (winking emoji)," captioned Squailia, who won her first bid for public office this fall.

"The more information that we share, the more the people know what's going on, the more involved they want to be," she said. "That's one great tool of Facebook."

Squailia said she tries to keep her own posts upbeat and promote involvement in the city, but the conversations posted by others on the page she moderates are less predictable, sometimes verging into the absurd. She recalled one incident where a poster claimed they found underwear in a sandwich served by a Fitchburg restaurant.

"Sometimes there's something funny that's happening," Squailia said. "You wish they didn't post it, but it is entertaining. You take the good with the bad."


Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_31840624/local-officials-using-social-media-significant-tool#ixzz5LoGkDLdh


EARTH DAY   Sentinel & Enterprise     4/24/2018

Thank you to Jeff Porter & Nick Mallard of the Sentinel & Enterprise for joining us on #EarthDay to cover the Rock Walk Cleanup at Rollstone Hill aka #TheQuarry Great photos! Was an amazing day...

 Community Leaders Sam Squailia and Joe Bowen gather loose trash on Rollstone Hill rock on Sunday is celebration of Earth Day.

Community Leaders Sam Squailia and Joe Bowen gather loose trash on Rollstone Hill rock on Sunday is celebration of Earth Day.


The Great American Pilgrimage: 'Slowing down to go fast' – Chicago to Fitchburg, MA       RT Aired 2/4/2018

Stephen Baldwin and Max Keiser hit the road on their third day in Chicago, driving straight through to the Bay State while discussing music, ‘Free RV Day’ and bad political references. Once in Massachusetts, Max tries being a short order cook while Stephen sits down to talk politics with a young woman running for local office – if only he can remember where he is.


Downtown pot shop in Fitchburg? Some see potential: City councilors discuss regulations ahead of public forums next week                                                               Sentinel & Enterprise 3/9/2018

At-Large Councilor Thomas Donnelly said recreational or adult-use marijuana offers a chance to capitalize on "spin-off" from people visiting an area of the city to purchase or consume marijuana and then patronizing nearby businesses.

"Empty buildings, Main Street, malls, wherever they are -- bring people there," he said.

While some At-Large Councilors like Marcus DiNatale and Sam Squailia advised support for the marijuana industry in the city, they argued that voting against the community-agreement, which would allow a business to locate in an area it had already chosen, would be counter-productive.

"I agree that we need to discuss the location of where we're going to put retail sales and we're going to be able to do that ... but right now that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about now is to allow this business continue to apply for a state permit, for a cannabis control permit," she said. "We're allowing them to continue to move forward."


Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/pot/ci_31723080/downtown-pot-shop-fitchburg-some-see-potential#ixzz5LoOaDUee


Fitchburg council OKs $1M to begin City Hall renovation     sentinel & enterprise 1/17/2018

The City Council approved a $1 million allocation to begin the City Hall renovation project at its meeting Tuesday night.

The council approved the City Hall project appropriation, which will be funded from free cash, 8-1, with At-large Councilor Sam Squailia voting no and At-large Councilor Anthony Zarrella recusing himself, according to the city clerk.

Related to the City Hall renovation project, the council also approved the "first reading" of a loan order for $22.5 million. That loan order must have a second reading, Feb. 6, before the city can seek bonds to finance the project. (Squailia against)

: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/breakingnews/ci_31601259/fitchburg-council-oks-1m-begin-city-hall-renovation#ixzz5LoNIzSrT


Voices raised for, against Fitchburg City Hall renovation: Council hears from residents on $23.5 million project   sentinel & enterprise 1/12/2018

It was standing room only in the Memorial Middle School library as residents, public officials and local leaders weighed in on the proposed $23.5 million City Hall renovation Thursday night.

In a public comment session in front of City Council that lasted almost two hours, supporters called City Hall a key element of the city's economic development and a historical icon. Opponents described it as a cost the city can't afford and said money would be better spent on school renovations and ongoing maintenance.

Of the 50 people who spoke during the comment period, about 30 expressed support for renovation. Most of the remainder spoke against putting money toward the project, at least this year.

Some described the project's connection to other redevelopment efforts. Others, including several parents, called councilors to support the city's children by putting money into public school infrastructure.

"I would love to see a new City Hall, but I don't think it's fiscally responsible," said Laurie Grover, who said she became concerned about the project after learning about it on Facebook. "These are our tax dollars and we deserve a word about how it's spent."

The City Council, in an 8-1 vote, turned down a petition signed by about 50 residents calling for an extended public comment period on the proposal. Only At-Large City Councilor Sam Squailia voted in favor of the proposal.

Following the comments from both the public and city councilors, the Council as a Whole recommended a $1 million appropriation and $22.5 million loan order to the City Council. To pass, the council must vote on the proposals twice: at the upcoming City Council meeting on Tuesday and again on Feb. 6. Squailia was the only councilor to vote against the recommendations.

Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/breakingnews/ci_31587332/voices-raised-against-fitchburg-city-hall-renovation#ixzz5LpBAHZUP


Leaking roof, heating issues at Fitchburg middle school   Boston 25 News 11/16/2017

Students, parents and staff are concerned about the condition of a Fitchburg middle school they say is in disrepair.

The roof of Longsjo Middle School is leaking, forcing teachers to put buckets in their classrooms, and a problem with the heating system cleared out a few classrooms Tuesday and cancelled after-school activities Wednesday, Fitchburg Superintendent of Schools Andre Ravenelle told Boston 25 News Thursday.

A staff member who asked to remain anonymous told Boston 25 News water is leaking into several rooms on the fourth floor. She also said a heating issue has caused extreme cold and heat at varying times.

City Councilor-At-Large-Elect Sam Squailia told Boston 25 News she believes city funding should be prioritized for Longsjo Middle School at a time when a multi-million-dollar City Hall renovation is in the works.

Read more: https://www.boston25news.com/news/leaking-roof-heating-issues-at-fitchburg-middle-school/648966050

 


New faces headed to Fitchburg City Council SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE 11/7/2017

Next year's City Council will have some old faces and some new, according to unofficial election results from Fitchburg Access Television News.

In the crowded At-Large field, Marcus DiNatale, Dean Tran, Samantha Squailia, Anthony Zarrella and David Clark were the top vote getters earning them a place on City Council.

Though a political newcomer, Squailia is a familiar face in the community through her Fitchburg Access Television show and Facebook group, both called Discussing Fitchburg Now.

Outside the Senior Center at 6:30 p.m., volunteers held signs for At-Large candidates Zarrella and Squailia.

"I've been here on and off since 7:20 a.m.," said Aerevyn Harteis, 47, who held a red and white Squailia sign.

She and the three other people promoting candidates in a huddle outside the center said this was their first time holding signs for a political candidate.

"Sam has a great way of motivating people and getting people involved in the community," said another person in the group, 58-year-old Donna Bonora.


Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/breakingnews/ci_31437277/new-faces-headed-fitchburg-city-council#ixzz5LoMOZi9U


Sentinel & Enterprise endorses candidates in Fitchburg election  Sentinel & Enterprise     11/1/2017

CITY COUNCILOR-AT-LARGE: This race has drawn a whopping 10 candidates for the available five seats, and we are impressed with all of them. We recommend a mix of incumbents and challengers who we believe will ensure that City Council is a strong, deliberative body. This group will ask the tough questions and put the voters first. We endorse incumbents Marcus DiNatale and Dean Tran, and challengers Kelly Johnson, Sam Squailia and Anthony Zarrella. DiNatale is a fiscal watchdog, and Tran is unmatched on constituent services. Squailia's work to bring a dog park to the city shows she can get people behind a good cause. Johnson cares a lot for her city -- and cares even more about its people. And Zarrella has demonstrated through his service on the Zoning Board of Appeals that he will give every issue due diligence. These five candidates will help move Fitchburg forward.

 

Read More: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/editorial/ci_31419540/our-endorsements-fitchburg-election


A look at the challengers for Fitchburg City Council  Sentinel & Enterprise     10/30/2017

Stats: Samantha Squailia 🗳️🔍    Age: 35     Address: 225 Scott Road      Family: Married to Nick with one daughter, Nicolette, 7.

Occupation: Architectural engineering designer and project manager at McKenzie Engineering Co.

Education: Bachelors in architectural building engineering from New England Institute of Technology, credits toward a Masters of Architecture from Boston Architectural College.

Political experience: Submitted her name for vacant At-Large City Council seat in 2016, advisory member of Fitchburg Farmer's Market, Board of Directors at Fitchburg Cultural Alliance, member of the Fitchburg Greenway Committee, Board of Directors of Fitchburg Pride, Board of Directors of Longsjo Classic, President of Friends of Fitchburg DOGS and volunteers on Holiday Decorating Committee and Fitchburg Public Schools Gala Committee.

Most recent book you read: My Father's War by Charley Valera

Three ways you, if elected, you will improve Fitchburg: increase fiscal responsibility, promote economic development, encourage community engagement


Read More: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_31413609/look-at-challengers-fitchburg-city-council#ixzz4x5rMi3iq


A tail-wagging good time at Fitchburg's Howl-o-Ween   Sentinel & Enterprise     10/30/2017

"Dozens of canines -- and their human companions -- took to Coolidge Park on Sunday, taking part in the Fitchburg Dog Park's inaugural Howl-o-Ween Pet Costume Parade and Walk.

Dogs of all breeds and sizes donned costumes, ranging from pumpkins to spiders, characters fictional and real. A registration fee of $10 was required of all non-Friends of the Dog Park, with all $470 raised going toward the dog park and low-cost vaccine clinics for pets.

"They're out here for fun in the pouring rain," Friends of Fitchburg Dog Park Committee member and event organizer Sam Squailia said. "It's great to see people coming out and having fun for this."

Read More: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_31413607/tail-wagging-good-time-at-fitchburgs-howl-o


Spending, injection facilities among issues at Fitchburg council debate  Sentinel & Enterprise     10/19/2017
 

"...candidates, like Johnson and challenger Sam Squailia, urged the need to maintain the properties the city already owns with Squailia pushing for a focus on the "core needs, not the ones we can't afford."

Read More: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/topstory/ci_31386466/spending-injection-facilities-among-issues-at-fitchburg-council

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Actor Stephen Baldwin tapes footage in Fitchburg for upcoming television show  Sentinel & Enterprise     10/18/2017

"...Baldwin described the premise of the show. "It was this mostly silly idea I had to want to go out and connect with everyday people in a way they can relate to," he said.

"Jerry Seinfeld has a show where he's driving around in one of his fancy cars, drinking fancy coffee, talking about his fancy friends and it's funny. My show is Steve Baldwin hosting the Great American Pilgrimage, which is me and my three dogs in an RV driving across the country, but this time we're meeting regular folks and we're drinking regular coffee and it's still funny."

The crew's first Fitchburg stop was the Moran Square Diner, where Baldwin, Keiser and At-Large City Council candidate Sam Squailia chatted about running for office, Fitchburg and America over coffee.

"To me, America is our freedom," Squailia said during a later interview with the Sentinel & Enterprise.

She said a producer from the show reached out to her on Friday or Saturday about the interview.

"I said, yeah, sure let's do it," she said.

Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_31383906/taste-hollywood-fitchburg#ixzz4w4CjvSvM


CANDIDATE Q&A: What to do about vacant, abandoned properties?  Sentinel & Enterprise  10/15/2017

Dean Tran*: "I have already supported changes to the two-year vacant property bylaw that require a special permit from the City Council. Developers no longer require a special permit from the City Council as the process contributed to red tape and inefficiency. I will continue to support streamlining the process."

Samantha Squailia: "I support the city efforts to reduce the regulatory burden on investors to remove the 'two year rule' requirement for a special permit in cases of one- and two-family residential property. Many properties are pre-existing, non-conforming use within the zoning requirements; as such, a comprehensive look at our zoning ordinances and overlay, considering multiuse future potential, is necessary."

Read morehttp://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_31377444/candidate-q-amp#ixzz4w4Dn7wA5


Full day of yard sales this weekend at Fitchburg sites   Sentinel & Enterprise     09/20/2017

Join your neighbors as a buyer or a seller at the Second Annual Fitchburg Communitywide Fall Yard Sale on Saturday, Sept. 23 and Sunday, Sept. 24 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. There are already 38 addresses on the list (as of Sept. 15) with more being added daily. The inaugural Spring 2017 communitywide yard sale had over 78 houses participating. In addition to yard sales at individual homes, this year there will be a community location at the parking lot at FAV Consignment, 105 John Fitch Highway. This will be available for both days....

Read More: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_31316036/full-day-yard-sales-this-weekend-at-fitchburg


Fitchburg board howls approval for proposed new dog park   Sentinel & Enterprise     08/25/2017

"After years of discussion, planning and fundraising, the Board of Park Commissioners approved plans for a 0.8 acre dog park in Coolidge Park following a hearing Thursday night."
"... the project is expected to go out to bid this fall and construction would start in the spring, according to Recreation Director Nathan LaRose. Construction will be paid for through a grant and money fundraised by Friends of Fitchburg Dogs Inc., according to organization president Sam Squailia. Last year, the group secured an up to $250,000 grant from the Stanton Foundation and fundraised another $27,710 to use toward constructing and maintaining the park..."

Read More: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_31248537/board-howls-approval-dog-park


26 candidates in running for 15 Fitchburg seats   Sentinel & Enterprise     08/10/2017

For most elected officials, re-election won't be a guarantee as candidates vie for seats on a relatively full ballot of both new and familiar faces this November.

In total, 26 candidates were certified for the ballot by deadline Tuesday afternoon....

Several newcomers will also join the race for five councilor-at-large seats.

Among them is Sam Squailia, who runs the popular Facebook page Discussing Fitchburg Now and hosts a FATV show of the same name.

The architectural engineer at McKenzie Engineering Co. previously submitted a letter of interest for Stephan Hay's unexpired councilor-at-large seat when he became a state representative but was not selected.

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Donors ensure no more empty flagpoles at Fitchburg's Heritage Park   Sentinel & Enterprise     07/19/2017

The mostly empty flagpoles at Heritage Park at the intersection of Boulder and Main streets will be full once again next week thanks to donations from over 50 residents. Sam Squailia, who runs the popular Facebook page Discussing Fitchburg Now, said residents donated enough money to buy 39 international flags after she posted a request for donations on the page in early June.

"I heard that we only had three flags at the park and felt that we could help," she said. "I knew that I could reach out to the community and they would want to donate flags. Or at least I could try." Fitchburg Recreation Director Nathan LaRose said when the park opened in 1976 all the flags that flew in the park were donated.

Over the years donations "dried up" and the city started buying flags for the park instead, he said. Two years ago the Board of Park Commissioners decided to go back to the donation-based method where resident were able to choose which flags flew by giving them to the city. "Last year I believe it was filled, but this year we hadn't received very many donations," he said. Depending on the weather, the 3-by-5 foot flags generally last about a year, according to LaRose. As of Tuesday, only the American, Irish, Israeli and Italian flag still flew in the park, which has 30 poles.

Squailia partnered with Joe Firmani of Operation Service, Inc. -- a nonprofit that primarily benefits military personnel -- to collect the donations. "We were happy to do it, because its just a nice little project," Firmani said. Squailia dropped off the flags from Central Flag and Gift in Leominster to the city offices last Thursday. LaRose said a city employee will hang the flags next week when the employee gets back from vacation. The flags will be periodically switched out and flown in order of donation received.

Read More:

 Photo by Ashley Green/Sentinel & Enterprise

Photo by Ashley Green/Sentinel & Enterprise


Women's self-defense class taught valuable skills for good cause   Sentinel & Enterprise     06/9/2017

It was suggested in my workout group that we should coordinate a women's self-defense class in light of recent attacks, such as the tragic murder of Vanessa Marcotte and a Seattle woman fending off an attacker at a Seattle Park restroom in March. So we coordinated with Len Brassard at Family Martial Arts Center in Fitchburg and the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation to hold a special women's self-defense class -- free for the community -- at FMAC.

With 40 women in attendance, Brassard led the hourlong class teaching us basic techniques of how to stand, how to block, how to strike effectively, and how to defend against someone grabbing you, and we were able to practice every technique ourselves on 20 martial-arts trainers and volunteers. We all even got to flip the biggest of guys over our shoulders!

We asked for a $10 donation for each student, and raised over $445 from our community alone, which FMAC rounded up for a $1,000 donation to the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation, which is fighting for a world where women live boldly and fearlessly.

I had a great time at the class, and already am feeling more empowered! Much appreciation to FMAC for the generous donation of their time, knowledge, facilities and monetary donation for the cause.

We will be working next with Fitchburg State University to hold a Women's RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) Program,which is a 12-hour class broken up into a few days or weeks, this summer.

We'll be posting about it soon in the Discussing Fitchburg Now Facebook group, so be sure to follow for updates.

SAM SQUAILIA Fitchburg


A change of heart over campaigning in Fitchburg    Sentinel & Enterprise     06/7/2017 

The Civic Days Committee on Tuesday reversed its decision to bar candidates from campaigning during the Fourth of July Parade.

"With welcomed comments from the community, the Parade Committee will maintain the campaign division in the parade for 2017," the Civic Days Committee said in a statement issued early Tuesday evening, after field questions from the media, including the Sentinel & Enterprise, about the initial decision to block campaigning during the parade.

"This should be overruled," Ellen Cunha, a former Civics Days organizer said earlier Tuesday, before the committee's reversal. "Think of Fourth of July. What is that all about? Our freedom. Our freedom of speech."

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SUNDAY NOTEBOOK:       Sentinel & Enterprise     05/21/2017

IF YOU'RE LOOKING forward to spending several evenings at the city of Fitchburg's annual budget meetings this year, rein in your expectations. The City Council has two budget meetings this year, down from six last fiscal year.

The first, on May 30, will be a presentation of the mayor's budget to the City Council, followed by an opportunity for questions from councilors and a review of proposed cuts, according to the agenda.

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DEAL CITY: Fitchburg community wide yard sale Saturday:       Sentinel & Enterprise     05/18/2017

FITCHBURG -- The map is available online, but it's up to residents to find the treasures during the communitywide yard sale on Saturday.

"Having a communitywide yard sale makes it more of a special event," organizer Sam Squailia said. "You've got a map of every yard sale. You can spend the whole day yard 'saling.'"

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From paper to screens, they're all community: FATV Boulder Awards honors S&E's St. Amand, other leaders

Sentinel & Enterprise     05/12/2017

FITCHBURG -- The 21st Annual Boulder Awards presented by Fitchburg Access Television on Thursday handed its top prize to Sentinel & Enterprise Editor Charles St. Amand.

The Boulder Awards recognize those who positively impact civic life through public communications.

City Council candidate and host Sam Squailia won Producer of the Year for her show "Discussing Fitchburg Now," a new program spun off of her popular Facebook group by the same name. "I'm so grateful to FATV for everything," Squailia said after snapping a selfie with FATV's Dave Oster.

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Sunday Notebook:     Sentinel & Enterprise     05/7/2017

SAM SQUAILIA HAS made her decision: she will run for councilor-at-large.

The moderator of the Facebook page "Discussing Fitchburg Now" and host of the FATV show of the same name pulled papers for both an at-large and Ward 4 seat in April. However she didn't announce the focus of her council bid until Wednesday night during her campaign kick-off at Beemers Pub & Grill.

In a follow-up Facebook post Squailia called the evening "AMAZING."

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Proposal would bring Little Free Library sites to Fitchburg parks    Sentinel & Enterprise  05/4/2017

FITCHBURG -- Two city parks may soon become a place for more than just outdoor activities.

Residents Sam Squailia and David Pierre-Louis propsed placing a Little Free Library in Coggshall and Coolidge parks at the Board of Park Commissioners meeting Tuesday.

The two-foot by two-foot boxes mounted on a wooden post would be a place to take and leave books, said Squailia, a Fitchburg City Council candidate and moderator of popular Facebook page Discussing Fitchburg Now.

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Rain doesn't stop Earth Day events  Sentinel & Enterprise  04/23/2017

Fitchburg resident Diane Thibodeau was picking up trash on the edges of the I.C. Credit Union parking lot Saturday morning.

"I did it last year and I really found it satisfying to make a difference in how our city looks," she said. "I get really upset when I look around at all the dirt and trash."

Sam Squailia and Helena Miles, who have both pulled papers for city council, also joined the cleanup effort.

"(It's) the broken window theory," Squailia said. "The cleaner that you make it the less apt people are to trash it."

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'Accessible Art Project' an enormous success      Sentinel & Enterprise     03/21/2017

On March 4, I held an art studio painting class that was funded by a grant I was awarded from the Fitchburg Cultural Council, a local agency that is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

The class was titled "The Accessible Art Project." It was held at the Arc of Opportunity in Fitchburg. The project was to bring people of all abilities together to paint as artists, and it turned out to be a huge success.

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Vaccine event drew biggest turnout ever      Sentinel & Enterprise    03/10/2017

We are writing to thank everyone for coming out to the Rabies Vaccine Clinic on Saturday at the Fitchburg Fire Department to get their dogs and cats vaccinated. More than 165 animals were treated, with a total of 330 vaccinations - a record high number.

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THE GOOD, BAD AND THE UGLY      Sentinel & Enterprise    12/27/2016

Facebook groups such as Discussing Fitchburg Now and Leominsterites Unites are at the epicenter of how people communicate, gossip, find the best hamburger in town, insult each other, help each other, locate lost pets, insult each other more and find out anything else that is happening locally in the Twin Cities.

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Fitchburg dog-park gift has tails wagging        Sentinel & Enterprise    12/02/2016
Workers' Credit Union donation puts plan on track for $230G grant

The proposed dog park in Coolidge Park is on track to receive a grant of more than $200,000 thanks to an $11,500 donation from the Workers' Credit Union Thursday.

Using the donation, the nonprofit raising money for the park, Friends of Fitchburg Dogs Inc., can cover the 10 percent match needed to receive a $230,000 grant from the Stanton Foundation.

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Fitchburg rep candidate to highlight women at campaign kickoff        Sentinel & Enterprise    06/28/2016

On Wednesday night, Kim Maxwell will kick off her campaign for state representative in an unconventional way -- by focusing on the accomplishments of others, rather than on her own.

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After fire struck, dozens came to our rescue        Sentinel & Enterprise    05/24/2016

I am writing to say thank you to so many people who made the amazing "Laugh It Out: Benefit Show for Sally Cragin & the Therapy Pets" event a standing-room success.

Sam Squailia organized a fantastic event with Lisa Fortunato and Alison Kidd, who worked with the Board of the British American Club, which kindly hosted, provided food and raffle donations, and arranged for a quartet of hilarious and ribald comedians to entertain the audience: Jerry Caruso, Paul Durrance, Greg Boggis and Bob Sheehy.

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One-lane Main St. good for downtown Fitchburg          Sentinel & Enterprise    05/20/2016

I'd like to express my full support for the one-lane Main Street proposal and design concepts presented at the City Council Meeting as prepared by A.T. Leonard & Associates.

We want to support our Main Street businesses, yet we allow a two-lane highway through and out of downtown.

It's not comfortable to walk or bike downtown being so close to fast-moving traffic, especially for those who are older or have physical limitations.

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Laughter may be the best medicine in fire aftermath that claimed life of beloved Fitchburg therapy cat

Sentinel & Enterprise    05/17/2016

On Wednesday night, Kim Maxwell will kick off her campaign for state representative in an unconventional way -- by focusing on the accomplishments of others, rather than on her own.

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Fitchburg youth leagues find keeping parks litter-free an ongoing job     Sentinel & Enterprise    04/20/2016

Keeping the city's recreational spaces clean isn't always easy, but as another year of outdoor sports begins, athletes know it's worth it....Sam Squailia, a resident who organizes regular cleanups of city neighborhoods and public spaces, said people don't always respect the work. "We cleaned up Water Street a few weeks ago, and I drive by there all the time and there will be bottles and things," she said. Squailia, like Antocci, maintains a positive attitude, saying, "It's still cleaner than we found it. We're making progress."

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Whether Fitchburg city councilors or citizens, we're all on the same team     Sentinel & Enterprise    04/08/2016

I so appreciate the support and thoughtful words from so many people on my offer to serve on the council. The messages, calls and comments I've received are way beyond anything I could have imagined. It means a lot to me, and I feel amazingly grateful to live in this community that cares so deeply.

Our City Council are all thoughtful members of our community that serve our city. We are all on the same team. We all want what is best for Fitchburg. We all care.

We can disagree on decisions made -- while respecting that the responsibility to make those decisions rests on the officials that we elected.

When we choose to take an active role in our local government and get involved, we cannot lose. Effecting positive change takes all of us working together, with respect and accountability.

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EDITORIAL: Strong field emerges for Fitchburg council      Sentinel & Enterprise    03/29/2016

Squailia represents a new generation of Fitchburgers committed to improving the city. Even before she applied for the vacancy, she had already worked to clean up the city through her and her husband's Trash Bag Challenge, and she has led the effort to build a dog park in the city. Her active presence on Facebook through the Discussing Fitchburg Now page and on FATV is helping hundreds of residents take greater interest in the city and its future. She'd also add a woman's voice to the council. If we had a vote, she'd get it.

All of the applicants should be admired for stepping forward with a willingness to serve, and all of them deserve careful consideration by the 10 councilors who will fill the vacancy on April 5.

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VOTING INFO

The city-wide election will be Tuesday November 7th, 2017 from 7am-8pm

There are 5 seats for Councillor-At-Large, you may vote for up to 5.

The last day to register to vote in the November 7, 2017 City Election is Wednesday October 18, 2017

The City Clerk's office will be open from 8:30AM until 8:00PM on Oct 18th for voter registration.

 
 

Question: I'm going to be out of town on Election Day...Can I vote early?

We don't have in person early voting for our municipal election, but you can vote by 'Absentee Ballot'.
You have two options for an absentee ballot
1. Call the City Clerk's office at 978-829-1820 and ask for an absentee ballot to be sent to your home. Fill it out and mail it back (or drop it off).

2. Stop in at the City Clerk's office at 166 Boulder Dr any time M-F between 8:30am and 4:30pm and pick up an absentee ballot (due to arrive this week -October 16th)

THEN: Fill it out and mail it back to the City Clerk! Must arrive by Nov. 7th. So fill it out and mail it back asap.

 
 

Ward 1

Knights of Columbus Hall

165 Electric Avenue, Fitchburg MA

 
 

Ward 2

St. Joseph's Church Hall

46 Woodland St., Fitchburg, MA

 
 

Ward 3

Memorial Middle School

615 Rollstone St., Fitchburg, MA

 
 

Ward 4

Fitchburg Armory / Senior Citizens Center

14 Wallace Ave., Fitchburg MA 01420

 
 
 Vote here at the fair end of Saima Park

Vote here at the fair end of Saima Park

Ward 5

NEW LOCATION STARTING NOVEMBER 7 2017

Saima Park

67 Scott Rd,, Fitchburg, MA

2017-09-27 07.15.21.jpg
 
 

Ward 6

St. Bernard's Activity Complex

260 Summer St., Fitchburg, MA

 

For questions on voting, contact the Fitchburg City Clerk's office at: 978-829-1820