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  • School vision logo

    New school year -- old educational questions

    Education. We pretend it begins for youngsters in September, when the leaves turn, but it continues through all of our season, every minute of every day, for everyone. Learning persists for two reasons -- human curiosity and technological change (you can't stop either one, but notice which is first). Shouldn't a third factor be classroom teachers? Good ones can have a lifelong effect, but our curiosity is the best guide, as technology draws us, often in too many directions, in the classroom that is everywhere. As Arlington schools open Tuesday, Sept. 2, what happens there is sliver of the educational story, albeit a key one for residents. Still, let's take a quick look at the new school year -- and then peer more broadly beyond it. Opening-day info >> ...

  • Pondering Our Future logo

    Spaced out? Many artists, but resistant owners

    Does Arlington have the imagination to embrace co-working? The town is trying to find out and held a forum in June attended by about 30 people. Read a summary of comments from some of the attendees here >>  See what properties in town may be available here >> Following publication, Eric Love, present at the forum, provided a brief critique. His LARP Adventure Program, aims to spur imaginations. ...

  • Arlington election logo

    Primary letters -- all welcome -- 8 ask you to vote for Berwick

    YourArlington welcomes letters to the editor from Arlington residents for all Massachusetts candidates whose election would have an impact on the town. Email them to sprague.bob at gmail.com. Here are eight supporting Don Berwick, who is seeking to be the Democratic nominee after the Sept. 9 primary. Send letters supporting any candidate in the primary. 'It's not just talk' Don Berwick, Democratic candidate for governor, speaks boldly about values and making Massachusetts a beacon for the nation. It’s not just talk -- he has met bold goals throughout his career.  Don is a creative leader with wise judgment and deep executive experience in complex bureaucracies, including as President Obama’s head of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, that vast $800 billion federal agency.  His vision includes single-payer healthcare for Massachusetts, and he is the one candidate who understands how to make that happen; and, why it must happen, as rising healthcare costs consume o ...

  • Film reviews logo

    Review, ‘Life of Crime’: Leonard’s crew back at shenanigans

    This review by Tom Meek, a writer living in Cambridge, was originally published at Cambridge Day, a YourArlington partner, and is republished with permission. His reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in The Boston Phoenix, The Rumpus, Thieves Jargon, Film Threat and Open Windows. He is a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere. You can follow Tom on Twitter @TBMeek3 and read more at TBMeek3.wordpress.com. Elmore Leonard, the beloved master crime and western novelist, transcended seamlessly the divide between pulp and celluloid. His career is littered with great novels that became great movies (“Get Shorty,” “Jackie Brown” and “Out of Sight” to name a few), a smattering of original screenplays (“Joe Kidd”) and even took a few turns as producer. Cormac McCarthy might be his only peer. ...

  • Image of leaves

    Searching for an Arlington poet laureate: YOU?

    Are you a poet -- and you do know it? What have you written? Anything published? Inquiring minds want to know. Rumor has it that Arlington could have its own poet laureate, perhaps next year. Could that be you? ...

  • Arlington election logo

    8 ask you to vote for Berwick; letters for others welcome

    YourArlington welcomes letters to the editor from Arlington residents for all Massachusetts candidates whose election would have an impact on the town. Email them to sprague.bob at gmail.com. Here are eight supporting Don Berwick, who is seeking to be the Democratic nominee after the Sept. 9 primary. Only candidate to oppose casinos   I write in support of Don Berwick for governor. I support Don because he is the only candidate for governor opposed to casinos. In a strong field of likable candidates, this is decisive for me. I saw the Detroit casino pull the life out of the Greektown neighborhood there, so that it looked like a bombed out war zone. ...

  • Chris Loreti, former Redevelopment Board member

    Loreti to seek Town Meeting article targeting assessors' fiasco

    Loreti The following opinion column by Christopher Loreti of Adams Street was first published in The Arlington Advocate, on Aug. 14, under the headline "It’s Time to Professionalize Arlington’s Board of Assessors." The full column, which includes a paragraph about YourArlington deleted from The Advocate's version, is republished here with permission. In January 2012, the state Department of Revenue provided to Arlington a “Town and School Finance Analysis,” which included several recommendations for restructuring town government. The report contained two recommendations related to the Board of Assessors. The first of these recommendations was that the town make the director of assessments position an appointment of the Town Manager instead of the Board of Assessors. The second was that the town consider changing the Board of Assessors from an elected to an appointed board. The actions of the Board of Assessors in recent months make it clear that the town needs to move forward w ...

  • Domestic-violence logo

    New law curbs domestic-violence reports: What about sexual-assault case?

    A new law, signed Aug. 8 by Governor Patrick, requires law enforcement to keep domestic-violence cases off public police logs initially, and the Arlington police department is complying. That means details about domestic violence reported to police are not immediately available to the media -- or to you. Had the law been in effect June 1, information about a sexual-assault case in East Arlington would have been delayed. Chief Fred Ryan reached out to area media outlets Aug. 12, alerting them about the law and asking for feedback. He explained: ...

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 Tuesday Sept. 2, 2014 |  1:01:33 p.m.
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Alanna DeMello


Channel 5: At service, friends remember


A pregnant Peirce School teaching assistant died in a freak accident in Florida on Sunday, March 18, when an out-of-control car crashed into a hotel cabana that she and her husband were in as part of a weekend getaway that was a gift from the church.

Fort Lauderdale police said a driver crashed her four-door sedan into a cabana at the Riverside Hotel on East Las Olas Blvd. about 1:30 p.m.

Witnesses said the couple had been lying by the pool when the woman, identified as Alanna DeMella, 26, of Roberts Road, Medford, got up to use the restroom inside the cabana. Moments later, the car crashed into the two-story building, plowing through two concrete pillars.


Globe, March 20: Weekend trip was gift from Woburn church | Genesis community blog >>


Ft. Lauderdale Fire Rescue workers prepare to remove the accident vehicle from the scene of a crash March 18. / Sun Sentinel photo Ft. Lauderdale Fire Rescue workers prepare to remove the vehicle from the scene March 18. /     Sun Sentinel photo

The office of Superintendent Kathleen Bodie issued a statement at 10:45 a.m. March 19 that the public schools "received very sad news last night that" the special-education teaching assistant in the third-grade co-taught program at Peirce "was killed ... while on a long weekend vacation in Florida. Alanna was 7 months' pregnant.

"This tragedy is heartbreaking for all of us. Our hearts and prayers go out to Alanna's husband and family.

"A team of district social workers and psychologists along with the STARS crisis team and counselors from AYCC are at Peirce today supporting teachers, staff and children and will continue to offer support throughout the week."

DeMella was new to the public schools this year and had started in in September, the administration said.

In comments that are published with permission, Arlington parent June Rutkowski wrote to the Arlington email list March 19:

"We are all devastated at the loss of Alanna DeMella. She was a fabulous young teacher.

"My daughter and her classmates loved her in that deep, sweet, beautiful way that young children love their teachers."

Peirce Principal Karen Hartley told a Boston television station, "We are devastated and heartbroken by the news."

According to a report on Channel 5, David Gordon, a tourist from the United Kingdom, said, "It's a tragic accident, it's sad. There was no braking, no screeching of tires, just a big explosion."

DeMella's unborn baby also died. Her husband, Michael DeMella was treated at Broward General Hospital for minor injuries and released, hospital officials said. He was also in the cabana when the car hit, witnesses said.

Boston.com, citing police, reported the driver of the car was identified as Rosa Rivera Kim, 34, of Plantation, Fla. She suffered injuries that were not life-threatening and is hospitalized in stable condition at the Broward General Medical Center.

Bodie's office updated its statement an hour later to remove the claim that the driver was drunk. So far, no news account has confirmed that. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that investigators are still determining if charges will be filed.


Read more: Sun-Sentinel | Boston's Channel 5


This story was first published at 8:20 a.m. Monday, March 19, 2012, and updated numerous times thereafter.

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