Small-town Massachusetts restaurant recovers from big changes

When COVID-19 shut everything down in March of last year, it hurt many businesses and restaurants to the point where they couldn’t recover. Bueno Malo, a small restaurant in the suburban town of Andover, Massachusetts, was not one of these. Despite the suddenness of the lockdown, co-owner Franco Lozano said that he even felt a little more prepared than most people when the world shut down. “We went through the gas disaster a few years ago,” said Lozano, referring to the gas explosions that hit three different Massachusetts towns in September of 2018, affecting many businesses. On the day of the explosions, a gas burner in the kitchen of Bueno Malo caught fire causing them to close.

With restrictions lifting, pools are opening in Massachusetts

Karen O’Connell is about to put the Dedham area on blast and let people know that the pools are open for the summer. “Because we were closed for so long, a lot of people started swimming other places,” said O’Connell.” I think I’m just going to send out another memo saying that we are fully open like, ‘Love to see you back’.”

On May 29, Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order ending the Massachusetts State of Emergency. This order rescinded most of the COVID-19 restrictions, including limitations placed on businesses. Bakers’ announcement turned out to be extremely helpful for the many pools, membership or not, in the state. 

One place that this announcement ended up helping was the Dedham Recreation Department, which opened up just after the announcement was made. Karen O’Connell, the aquatics director at Dedham, said reopening has been easy since they don’t have to worry about restrictions. 

“Reopening has actually been pretty awesome,” said O’Connell.

Wendell, N.C. restaurant struggles to find balance after mask mandates ends

Wendell restaurant Farmers & Merchants was planning its grand opening for the early months of 2020, but COVID-19 had different plans. Months were spent refurbishing the tired old building in downtown Wendell into a greatly anticipated eating and drinking establishment. When the global pandemic that shut down the state was declared on March 11, owners Brad Ellis and Sigurd Westerlund were surprised to find the Metro Raleigh restaurant patrons would travel almost anywhere to experience eating out again. 

In the small metropolis of Wendell, the enforcement of the mask mandates were not as strict as those in Raleigh. Because of the looser restrictions, Ellis and Westerlund decided to continue with the opening in June 2020. In hindsight,  Westerlund said they could have never predicted the success. 

“We also could not have pictured the effects of the city (Raleigh) opening back up,” Westerland said. 

Farmers & Merchants was able to keep its doors open during the pandemic, but as mandates lifted within Raleigh, residents have started to retreat back to the city rather than spend time in suburbs. 

Nights that traditionally led to a full house; now host only a few tables.

Detroit parents consider masking requirement for fall

Photo of Bates Academy Elementary School. Photo by Serenity Smith

Detroit natives convey mixed reviews of the mask mandate getting lifted. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted on June 22. Those who have not been vaccinated are still required to wear a face mask while those who have are required to wear them in certain establishments. You must still remain 6-feet apart.

St. Gerard Catholic School responds to COVID-19 cases

St. Gerard Catholic schools just had a run-in with the COVID-19 virus and had to move to strictly online learning for a two week period. From Oct. 19t-30 This came after three new reported cases. One came from a teacher, another from a teachers’ aide, and one from an office staff person.

Principal Ray Rzepecki said that at first just the teacher had tested positive for COVID-19 so the school put her class in quarantine and had her teach online for two weeks. After this, the aide tested positive and moved another class into quarantine. With the office staff member testing positive, the school decided to move everything online for two weeks.

New large dog park opens in Meridian Township

The entrance to the Meridian Large Dog Park, located at 1990 Central Park Dr. in Okemos, is open to residents of the township and non-residents. Online registration is now available for Meridian Township’s dog parks, including a new off-leash large dog park. The new park, which opened in September, is located behind the mall at Central Park South. The large dog park is for dogs over 30 pounds, while the small dog park, which opened June 2019, is located at Nancy Moore Park at 1960 Gaylord C Smith Ct., East Lansing, is for dogs under 30 pounds. About 100 dogs registered for the large dog park and 250 registered for the small dog park, said Parks and Recreation Director LuAnn Meisner. 

Annual park fee

According to a press release, owners registering their dog will pay an annual fee to maintain the parks’ high standards.