Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Essex Happenings April 2014

Essex Heritage
I continue to follow and applaud the work and the activities of the Essex Heritage Commission, as a result of my many years of association with that organization. The objectives of that organization remains high on my list of important matters.  I have come to realize the importance of that National Park Service association and the daily value that is offered be them to the three quarters of a million residents of the region and the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area that represented a great deal of activities that make the region such a national treasure.  The regional nature of that Organization and the numerous cooperative activities that Essex Heritage fosters as part of their charge is so important to the cooperation that improves the quality of life and the economy in the region through cooperative efforts.   I continue to serve as President Emeritus, board of Trustee member and a most interested and a supporter of Essex Heritage activities and events.
An article about Essex Heritage 
A very valuable and informative article on the growth of Essex Heritage has been prepared by the National Park Conservation Association's magazine, and after it is released by the National Park Service, I will provide a link for those that might be interested.

Essex Heritage to conduct semi- annual Spring Public Meeting at Gordon College in Wenham
on April 30, 2014 • Gordon College, at the Ken Olsen Science Center, 255 Grapevine Road, Wenham, MA, 01984 The College and the Commission will host one of Essex Heritage’s most popular public events in the region.  This meeting is a wonderful way to network with regional leaders to receive current updates on the projects and the work of the Commission on activities and projects. You are invited to participate in this free, valuable morning of networking and regional engagement. Join us! Contact ENHC at or call the office at 978-740-0444 for a reservation.

Other Events
April 16 - Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables: The Day the Ocean Changed to Chocolate
The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
The Day the Ocean Changed to Chocolate by the founder of Harbor Sweets in Salem.
A great night with author of Cape Cod and Back Bay, Bill Martin! Book signing to follow.

June 7 - Photo Safari Featuring Tamron: Riverbend Reservation, Ipswich River Watershed Association, 143 County Road, Ipswich, MA, 01938
Equipped with all the latest camera gear from Tamron, provided by Hunt’s Photo & Video, and personally coached by Hunt’s technical experts and visiting professional photographers, capture the gardens,

June 18 - Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables: Urban Howlings, Coyotes Among Us
The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
Hear all about our neighbors, the coyotes. Author Jonathan Way describes an ever diminishing habitat, the wild, and how to co-exist.

August 9 - Photo Safari at Appleton Farms: The Trustees of the Reservations, 219 County Road, Ipswich, MA, 01938
With a state-of-the-art digital camera in hand, capture Appleton Farms, one of the oldest continuously operating farms in the United States. Contact the Commission for a reservation.

August 20 - Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables:  New England Powder Houses
The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
Enjoy a night of history of powder houses by author Matthew Thomasta

Housing in Wenham on Land Donated by the Patton Family
Moderately priced housing will be built on four acres of donated land provided to the town by the Patton Family. Several months ago the Patton family in Wenham made a gift to the Town of Wenham of land owned for many generations of the family.  The gift came without any specific restrictions on its use.  The community has recently set aside four acres for a potential named developer to offer a proposal to the town    to construct 12 moderately priced new homes.  For more information on any portion of the proposed project contact the Towns Planning Director.   The primary member of the family responsible for the generous gift to the Town was Ms. Joanne Patton.   Essex Heritage is most aware of the generosity of Ms. Patton as she was recently named the most recent winner of the Essex Heritage Hero Annual Award provided to a person responsible for good works in the region.

State Representative John Keenan Announcement:  
In a surprised announcement recently John Keenan announced that he is not going to run for the Massachusetts seat again. Salem Chief of Police Paul Tucker has announced that he will run for the Salem seat if his job will allow.

Hamilton-Wenham School District moves to build shared facility
The two communities of Hamilton and Wenham have received a second Community Innovation Challenge Grant to complete the planning of a building that jointly manages school facilities.  This project appears to be tailored for two communities like Hamilton and Wenham that have done a number of projects to share ideas, concepts and funding.  Essex Heritage has long been a strong advocate of communities working together to accomplish successful projects at moderate to lower financial assets. This clearly benefits the residents and the school district.

City of Peabody and Clarke Farm enters an agreement to offer CSA Program to residents 
The City of Peabody has entered into an agreement with Clark Farm in Danvers to offer  CSA  shares to the residents of Peabody.   This is a most positive development.

Community Preservation Act (CPA)
- City of Beverly receives a substantial number of CPA applications
Local organizations have filed thirty-three projects totaling over 33 million in requests including the restoration of several historic properties in that community including work on the Hale House and the First Parish Church.  There are several projects presented by the City Recreation Department and upgrades of several playground properties.  In addition there are requests for funding to acquire a Girl Scout camp and a request from a preservation group to use the funds to purchase Moraine Farms adjacent to Wenham Lake. That grant would trigger a donation of additional private land for preservation.  In addition there are plans to extend walking trails.  This year the all volunteer Community Preservation Committee has a total of $570,000 to award with the concurrence of the City Council in November.

- City of Salem CPA
Speaking of recent CPA Programs, the creation of a program to help improve and enhance historically valuable assets in the City of Salem was established in 2012-13.  The first proposed projects will be considered with an expected pool of funds to total $400,000.  The projects included for consideration are varied and valuable to the Community.  The projects included to be considered the first year includes the restoration of a chapel at the historic Greenlawn Cemetery, walking and bike paths at Winter Island, the creation of a community garden and work including window replacements on City Owned Properties.

- The Community Preservation Act is funded by a real estate  extra tax, but the benefits to local communities by earmarking finds for preservation effort can be most beneficial to the effort to restore and preserve certain important  historically properties.   The act has been adopted by a number of municipalities in this region. The Town of Danvers with numerous historic properties would be a great candidate to adopt the act and extend the number of communities with CPAs in Essex County.
Olympic Connections to Essex County and general Observations
The two week Olympic presentation offered in Russia has come to an end and the USA was reasonably successful as they finished second in total medals won - just behind Russia.   The wins were numerous but the event was not without its disappointments, and the results of the two USA hockey teams were less than anticipated.   Meghan Duggan won her second silver medal in woman’s hockey and her teammate Alex Carpenter was very proficient.  She is the daughter of Bobby Carpenter of St John’s Prep hockey fame.   Another connection to the Prep was Steve Langston a former track star at the Prep who won two bronze medals in the bobsled events.

Personal observations   

Olympics in Russia:
With all of the fears outlined about security matters and lodging preparations offered during the event were unfounded as the Olympic events seemed to be performed without incident.  For those situations we can be thankful.

Local Awards and recognition offered to members of the Leonard Family. 
We are most fortunate that we have two granddaughters that are most athletically active in their communities.

Katherine Leonard is a seventeen year old two sport participant and captain of two women’s sports in Danvers.  She has been a most active senior player in both Field Hockey and Lacrosse.   She has numerous All Star nominations for her two way play in Field Hockey and has one more season to be played on the Falcons High School team in Lacrosse in the Spring of 2013. 

Her most recent award was provided at the most recent MIAA Annual Woman and Girls Celebration of Women in Sports provided at Faneuil Hall in Boston on February 7, 1913. She was presented that award by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Association and the Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Our other granddaughter Caroline Leonard is a 16 year old three sport athlete at Algonquin Regional high School in Northborough.  She has been invited to participate in a future leadership conference in April by her Athletic director along with other choices by Athletic Directors in Sudbury, Southborough and Algonquin.  She is only a sophomore but will be playing her third season as a varsity Soccer player in the fall of 2014.  She will also participate in her third year of Varsity Basketball and Track throwing the Javelin in 2015.

Olympic Participation by Oscar Pistorius and other participation by handicapped people
Last summer when the Olympics were being offered one of the stars of that event was Oscar Pretouris, dubbed the "blade runner" who with prosthetic legs, designed for running competed in the regular Olympics as a sprinter.  He was a sensation and the ‘”darling” of handicapped people all over the world.   Now Oscar has been charged with murdering his girlfriend and all eyes are now on Pretoria South Africa where the murder trial is being held.  If he is convicted of the crime much of the shine on his career will be dimmed.

In another area, at this year’s “Dancing with the Stars” TV event, one of the contestants Amy Purdy is a double leg amputee and is scheduled now to compete in the Handicapped Olympics as a snowboarder.    All of us will follow her progress on the dancing event and we wish her success for her courage.
Ongoing winter reading experiences
During the last couple of weeks I have completed a most informative book that has been on various best seller lists in the last several weeks.   I have read a political presentation  titled “The Bully Pulpit” written by the noted historian and author, Doris Kearns Goodwin.  The story focused on the life, experiences and operational efficiencies of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft who followed each other in the White House.  The book appeared to be most accurate and informative and I truly enjoyed the presentation.

On the lighter side I discovered an author that writes legal novels.   I have recently finished a number of informative books authored by Michael Connelly called the “Lincoln Lawyer” and the “Gods of Guilt” that were most entertaining and are recommended.

More personal Observations
Spring starts in a few days.  Let’s hope that date will be accompanied by more moderate weather that will make Easter a more appropriate date for the Easter Parade.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


I continue to follow and applaud the work and the activities of the Essex National Heritage Commission as my many years of association with that organization remains high on my list of important matters.  I have come to realize the importance of that National Park Service affiliate and the daily value that is offered to the three quarters of a million residents of the region and the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area that represented a great deal of activities that make the region such a national treasure.

Essex Heritage Initiatives
Since 1996, The Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage) has championed the heritage development of Essex County by fostering public-private partnerships that preserve and enhance the significant aspects of the region’s history, cultural heritage and character.
We look forward to working with you to promote the sustainability of this great region. Some of our current initiatives include:

National Heritage Areas
Essex Heritage is a member of the Alliance of Heritage Areas. National Heritage Areas (NHAs) across the country are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape. Through their resources, NHAs tell nationally important stories that celebrate our nation's diverse heritage. NHAs are lived-in landscapes. Consequently, NHA entities collaborate with communities to determine how to make heritage relevant to local interests and needs. Visit the Alliance of National Heritage Areas (ANHA) website.

Visit the National Park Service (NPS) National Heritage Areas website.

Exhibit at The Gables: Antique Pocketbooks
March 4, 2014 to March 17, 2014 • The House of the Seven Gables, United States, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
This exciting collection of over 50 Antique Pocketbooks includes treasures from the Golden Ages. Many will be staged with accessories for opera, the hunt, or just a day in the country. Traveling across the pond? You may see that too!
Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables: History’s Witches
March 19, 2014 • The House of the Seven Gables, United States, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
Local author and illustrator Lisa Graves offers insights into this fascinating subject.
Exhibit at The Gables: The Malala Portraits
April 2, 2014 to April 10, 2014 • The House of the Seven Gables, United States, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
This stunning collection of portraits of the young girl, Malala, who spoke up in favor of education for girls and was shot for that opinion, depicts her intelligence, courage and dignity.  Painted by local High School students to honor the Nobel Peace Prize nominee, these are compelling works of art.
Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables: The Day the Ocean Changed to Chocolate
April 16, 2014 • The House of the Seven Gables, United States, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
The Day the Ocean Changed to Chocolate by Ben Strohecker, founder of Harbor Sweets!
Last year on the recommendation of Danvers Town Manager Wayne Marquis, I have recently received my sixth or seventh appointment to the Town’s Finance Committee.  The committee is made up of ten town residents who review and recommend to the elected Town Meeting membership.  The Finance committee reviews community budgets and the impact that zoning changes might have on residents and neighborhoods and other community matters.  During the final week of February the Finance Committee held a meeting to review a number of matters that will be presented at a Special Town Meeting scheduled for the first week of March.  The Committee considered and made recommendations.  The observations of the Finance Committee are not binding on the Town Meeting, but carry some weight in the final decision.  

Due to a recent surgical procedure,  I was unable to attend the meeting but positive recommendations on all 22 warrant articles were offered by the balance of the Committee.  I will report on the deliberations and the findings of the Town Meeting in a later report.  There was a varied listing of issues.  There were zoning and medical matters as well as family housing issues.    All of the issues were offered with positive observations, by they were only recommendations and the Town Meeting body could act differently.

Spieliotis to Serve
State Representative from Danvers Ted Speliotis has been picked to represent the Commonwealth on a State School  Safety Cooperative. The State Representative from Danvers will be representing the Speaker of the House on a new commission called for by the Governor to study violence in schools.

Peabody Historical Society
Congratulations to the Peabody Historic Society for their wise and well selected choice of Dick St. Pierre as their recently selected Executive Director.  He will have a large pair of shoes to fill with the retirement of Bill Power.  Both men have served as active Trustees of Essex Heritage and Dick will be a wonderful choice to carry on the work started by Bill Power.   I have seen Dick in action and Peabody Historical Society will be pleased in the long term with their choice. 

Observations on Local Sports
New England Patriots
The Patriots season ended not with a bang, but with a thud as they lost again in the Conference Championship Game and not the Super Bowl.  it is also very clear that the National Conference is playing with more physicality and the Pats need to be restructured to stay competitive.

The Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins lead their NHL Division and several members of the team are representing their specific countries in the Olympics and those not playing internationally are on two week break.

Boston Celtics
The Celtics continue to drift from game to game in their race to a good draft position.  

Red Sox
The Red Sox are preparing for Spring Training in Florida started on 2/15 and former star Curt Schilling announced more bad news (as if he needed more) that his medical advisors have discovered  Cancer  in his body.  The sometimes starting and relief pitcher, Ryan Dempster announced that he will sit out the 2014 season with a desire to spend more time with his family and neck problems.

Bean Pot Hockey Tournament
In 1952 a hockey tournament between the four Boston colleges was established at the old Boston Garden.  The participating schools are Boston College. Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern University   The Tournament is now played at the TD Garden on the first two Monday evenings in February. Each year a blind draw as organized by two tames are played on the first date.  On the second evening, the two winners from week one play as do the two losing teams.  This year the final is set with Boston College playing against Northeastern and BU and Harvard competing.   Boston College has won the last four Bean Pot events and they are alive to extend that record on Feb 19th.  In the history of this event, a major snowstorm hit and virtually closed down the City of Boston and stranded many in the arena for days.   I have attended many of these events over the last half a century, but are content now to watch the events on TV. 

Winter Reading
The winter of 2013-14 has had weather that was very cold and has kept me indoors more often than usual and has had me reading even more often.  As a result, I have read several good books.   I have recently read biographies of Boston athletic greats including Ted Williams and Bobby Orr.  Staying with that kind of books I have recently read a life story of Derek Sanderson.  The story began with Derek’s youth growing up in Ontario in southern Canada.   The book appropriately titled Crossing the Line continued through his early hockey career and his NHL signing with the Boston Bruins.  He along with his Boston teammates were folk heroes in Boston.  Derek was a part of a group of players that won two Stanley Cup Championships in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.  He was a premier star on that team and was met with great adulation wherever he appeared in Boston.  

As a result of his popularity and his talent he became the target of a competing league and ultimately signed with that league for an ungodly amount of money.  The story continued with information on how he misspent that money on wild times with little or no thought for the future.  He recounted an incident in a snowstorm in southern Canada where he almost died as he had no control of his facilities.

Sanderson’s life was finally put under control and he was saved from self-destruction with the help of former teammates and friends.  As part of his salvation he became involved in a Boston municipal program where he spoke to high school age youth about keeping their lives in order.  He later in life married to a local gal and he and his wife were blessed two young men and developed a communications career on TV with hockey and golf  coverage, and began a financial program to work with young athletes in the preservation of their earnings and future assets.  

I was particularly pleased to see a reference in the book about how a former client of mine at Salem Five was very helpful when Sanderson’s days were at its darkest level.   Yvon Cormier, a builder and a developer took Derek under his wing and put him to work at the Andover Country Club where Cormier was developing new homes.  Yvon was a long time hockey fan from his youth growing up in Canada. The story outlines a serious link to Sanderson’s addiction to alcohol and drugs that were with the help of friends, and local support, Sanderson addressed and defeated these two addictions.

Danvers Historical Society Anniversary Events
The following events are being planned and we will keep you posted  as details become available: 
·         Celebrating Stewardship - the 50th Anniversary of the Danvers Historical Society acquiring Glen Magna Farms
·         The 100th Anniversary of the Danvers Historical Society acquiring the Jeremiah Page House  
·         Celebrating The Society 125 Years!!

Two High Schools in Danvers should be congratulated for efforts offered at the schools.  At St. John’s Prep their annual Empty Bowls event showcased some of the artistic work from their students and raised over $3500 for Haven From Hunger that feed the hungry.  In Danvers High school a student run retail store provided experience for the young men and women that participate.

The organization devoted to enhancing the life of people with disabilities have been benefited by a grant from Eastern Bank, one  primary financial organization in the region that has provided a valun profit status for those that wish to donate and receive non taxable status for their contributions.

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem News
One of my most favorite organizations where I serve on the Board of Directors and does such wonderful work in this region is sponsoring a raffle fund raiser on St. Patrick’s Day. I encourage participation in the following event as the proceeds are all provided to support the club’s operation that supports the youth of this region.

The 5th Annual Shamrock Sweepstakes will take place on Thursday, March 13 at the Moose Lodge at 50 Grove Street. This is a major fundraiser for the Club. We will be selling only 300 tickets at $100 each. The top prize is $10,000. Tickets are on sale at the Club. For more information, call us at 978-744-0915.

Lodging in the region
We are always moat interested in the advance of more lodging for the tourism industry of this region and the City of Salem is in the process of adding more hotel rooms to the region.  The Waterfront Hotel at Pickering Wharf is planning to add thirty two hotel rooms and the City is working on a new Hotel facility in the Post Office section of the Community.   The added rooms will add substantially to lodging in the region.

Gift Cards offered by North Shore Elder Affairs
With the multiple credit card security breaches in the news recently, it can be difficult to feel safe shopping in your favorite stores. However, NSES has a solution for you! By purchasing gift cards to your favorite restaurants and stores through NSES, not only can you feel protected from fraud, but you will also receive full face value of the card with no surcharges, and the vendor will contribute a percentage back to our Nutrition Program!  To find out what gift cards are available to purchase, click here. For additional information, or to place an order, call or email Erica at: 
Phone:  978.624.2226


I continue to follow and applaud the work and the activities of the Essex National Heritage Commission as my many years of association with that organization remains high on my list of important matters.  I have come to realize the importance of that National Park Service affiliate and the daily value that is offered to the three quarters of a million residents of the region and the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area that represented a great deal of activities that make the region such a national treasure.

Colonial Settlements, Maritime Adventures and Centuries of American Growth
The Essex National Heritage Area begins just 10 miles north of Boston and covers 500 square miles of eastern Massachusetts to the New Hampshire border. The area includes hundreds of historical sites, miles of intact landscapes, glistening coastal regions and lifetimes of rich experiences that chronicle the history of our region and of our nation.

The Essex National Heritage Area is a member of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas and is one of 49 heritage areas in the United States.  -Experience Your America.  Discover nearly 400 national parks on the official National Park Service webpage. Some may be closer than you think. 

What are National Heritage Areas?They are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape.

February 12, 2014 • The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970. EX (Exhibits at The Gables) for The Underground Railroad exhibit will open with a members’ reception on February 12.

February 13, 2014 to February 28, 2014 • The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970 -  Celebrating Black History Month, The House of the Seven Gables is proud to welcome the public to this special exhibit.  Have you ever wondered if there were North Shore homeowners involved in the Underground Railroad?  Come find out!

As previously reported, the City of Peabody is seeking an unlimited number of liquor licenses from the Commonwealth as an impetus to the economic development of that community.   Subsequently the Town of Danvers will soon be following suit and will soon be seeking additional licenses for the Town.   It could be said that the development of new restaurants in the Town of Danvers would be a boon to the addition of both real estate and meal taxes both of which would assist the Town in its attempt to increase overall revenue sources.

January weather seems extreme to this Observer
The end of 2013 was about normal, but since the start of the new year, it is been colder than normal all over the country with the influence of an arctic vortex.   We have seen more snow than normal and there are reports from all over the country recording new records for cold and conditions more severe than in recent history.

The redevelopment process in the City of Salem created a series of residential units and the successful opening of a themed eating establishment. This was on the site that once housed one of the oldest jails anywhere in the country and it was very well received. It appears that a recent announcement of a second phase of that project would be started in the spring of 2014 that will include the construction of a dozen units adjacent to phase one indicates an ever improving economy in the region. 

The MBTA recently announced plans to make improvements on the North Shore.  This is good news as this appears to be most positive as more and more this justifies the addition of garage space in various locations in the region.

Town of Danvers to hold public hearings on St. John Preparatory School Expansion plans
The Planning Board of the Town of Danvers is scheduling a public meeting to allow residents of the surrounding neighborhoods to comment on the recently announced plans of the private Catholic secondary school  to expand its activities on the Summer Street 174 Acre site.  The school is planning the addition of a nearly 7500 sq. ft. Science and Technology building that will allow the school to open and offer a new middle school for 399 prospective Grade 6 to 9 students that is expected to open in the near term.  The changes in land utilization will be minimal as most of the improvements will take place in campus locations where programs already exist and will be better utilized in the proposed plans.  It should be noted that even though the size of the campus is recorded as 175 acres, a great deal of the land is unusable due to water conditions on the site. The date of the hearing on the expansion plans has not yet been set, but will be widely announced when set and notification to abutters will be sent out as part of the process

Threat at St. John’s Prep
As a follow up to St. John’s Prep matters, I suspect that some of you have heard reports of police issues at the Danvers private High school.   I want to congratulate the administration at the Prep for taking the issue raised at the school so seriously.  In light of what has happened in other schools and public places in this country and the difficulty encountered in the local public school in the same community, that all potential “threats” should be taken most seriously, and the cautious actions undertaken by the Prep and the Danvers Police are applauded as it is most wise to be safe rather than be sorry later.

Habitat for Humanity to build Affordable Housing in Danvers
The national firm responsible for adding affordable housing in this country is planning to add housing stock that is affordable in the community of Danvers.  Some years ago, I was involved in a broad effort to add the affordable housing units in that community and that work continues. This is much needed not just in Danvers but across the entire region and should be most welcome and might spur new developments.

The City of Beverly was awarded a state grant to help construct the much discussed, and City Administration supported, project on Brimbal Avenue.  In an informational meeting held recently, it was very clear that if a vote were taken today that the project to change and create the new area would be soundly defeated.

The recent announcement of the retirement of the Townleys, a talented and strongly committed couple that have served the Town of Danvers as Park Rangers at the Endicott Park Property for many years, was greeted with praise and regret.  They will be hard to replace and their contributions were recognized with a dinner.  The Townleys provided a substantial commitment to the park for many years and their dedication to the mission of the town’s recreation area has been exemplary.   They have also been staunch supporters of the Danvers Historical Society’s work to preserve and promote the Glen Magna Farms property and the attendant  mansion.

Personal  Observations 
Current Reading Choices
I took a break from reading about political biographies and enjoyed a wonderful presentation written by Ben Bradlee Jr. about the life of Ted Williams that was primarily focused on his personal life including his military service in two conflicts and his numerous marriages and recollections about his children.

I am now just starting a history of Teddy Roosevelt and Will Taft titled the Bully Pulpit by the noted historic biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin.  I am looking forward to getting into that history.  

Change of Status of Granddaughter
If I am allowed on comment about our family, we were all particularly pleased to learn that Caroline Leonard has been promoted from the junior varsity to the girls’ varsity basketball at Algonquin Regional High School.  This means a little later start for her basketball games, but it has not stopped our attendance at Northboro and surrounding Middlesex County locations.  She will still play from time to time with both teams to continue her rapid development.

For many in this region, sports and politics are of utmost importance.  In January, both the Celtics and the Bruins were on the road and were not too successful.   The Bruins won the final game of a three game west coast trip to semi-salvage the trip. The Celtics have lost eight games in a row during the present trip.  The Patriots finished the season on a high note with two consecutive wins in less than great weather and as a result received an opening round playoff bye and faced a second round playoff games against the Colts on another stormy day that they won.  The playoffs for the Pats, will come down to another Brady-Manning SHOWDOWN in Denver for the AFC Championship.   The NFC has an equally attractive game between San Francisco and Seattle.  Since this edition of this Blog will be printed before the results of those games have been decided, we will leave those results and the Super Bowl results for the next issue of the Essex Happenings BLOG.

COPAA to seek non-profit designation
COPAA has focused for a number of years as a resource for individuals who have been disadvantaged by amputations and disabilities.  It recently has completed a reorganization and has reaffirmed its mission to reach out to an even greater degree to amputees in the Northern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire region.   The goal of the organization will be to make that population aware of the numerous resources available to them through this coalition
A perfect example of the services offered by COPAA to its handicapped members is noted in recent membership minutes - as noted:

COPAA has a ski trip coming up for organization members  and prospective members  on March 8 if anyone is interested. It looks like we may be going to Pico Mountain  this year, in Killington, Vermont. We will once more be renting a van to go up together, and we will be partnering with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital again. If you haven't already made us aware of your interest and you would like to try getting outdoors for the day and going skiing in one of the many activities that will be available, please get in touch with COPAA soon. You don't have to be an experienced skier to go with us. Beginners can use a sled to go down the mountain while tethered to an experienced instructor, or you can try skiing on a monoski (a sled that you sit on and steer with your body weight assisted by outriggers). If you are curious or want to try something different from couch surfing, come on out and join the fun! Contact us.

I am particularly pleased to have been asked to serve as the Treasurer and Clerk of the organization.   One of the first tasks of COPAA is to gain a not for profit designation that will allow contributions to the organization to be tax deductible gifts.  One of the avenues we are examining is a relationship with Essex County Community Foundation.  If any of the regional corporate and personal supporters that have offered financial support to other charitable endeavors that I have supported wish to participate, I encourage them to contact me at 978 774 5351 to learn more about the organizational mission of COPAA and how the proceeds from charitable giving will be used in the future.  COPAA is a most valuable amputee networking and supportive group and any financial or other contributions offered are most appreciated.

Danvers Community Council Awarded State Grant

Congratulations to State Senator Joan Lovely for the $20,000 grant that she was able to obtain for the Danvers Food Pantry.  The funds will be used to support the work of the Town as they help to provide food and other goods to 180 homeless families that are presently housed in motels in Danvers.  The grant is much appreciated, but is not a permanent solution to assist the over 2,000 homeless families currently supported by the State.  It is clear that this issue requires a permanent solution as housing for the homeless requires a long-term solution.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Essex Happenings January 2014


Rail Trail News
Even though I am no longer in the employ of Essex Heritage, and simply serve as many other Commissioners and trustees do as volunteers, I am most interested in numerous initiatives fostered by the mission of Essex Heritage particularly as they focus on recreation and the outdoors.  In that vein, I follow their work on the development of rail trails across the region.  I have recently been made aware of a most energetic and enthusiastic project undertaken as an Eagle Scout project that involved the search for and the building and installation of benches made of old railroad wheels and other material.  The three benches have been assembled and installed along the recently completed Danvers Rail Trail.  If you are in the vicinity of those resting places, take a look at the work of Danvers High School Senior, Tim Jordan, as it is a wonderful addition to the trail.

Speaking of Rail Trail enhancements the leadership of the Newburyport Rail Trail group have recently received a $50,000.00 grant to install Murals and other art work along the 1.1 mile Clipper City Rail Trail,   The City of Newburyport will add funds to complete the project.

A wonderful holiday gift
If you are still searching for the perfect gift for someone you might consider during the Holiday Season………Think about a membership for 2014.   The Commission truly provided events for all seasons.  See the following Information.

Your Support Matters.
The Essex National Heritage Commission Membership program offers unique opportunities to explore this Heritage Area. Members are the first to hear about exciting events, receive discounts to attend these events and receive the quarterly invitation highlighting them. In turn, supporting Essex Heritage through our membership program means you embrace and champion our mission to preserve and enhance the historic, cultural and natural resources of the Essex National Heritage Area. Our power comes from the power of our supporters – people like you who commit to protecting our region and our resources. We can't do it without you!
•  Become a member
•  Check out our "Membership Details" to learn more about membership and member benefits.

Questions? For more information, email or phone Essex Heritage at 978-740-0444.

Thank you to our Corporate Members
Essex Heritage is grateful for the generous support of our Corporate Members! All of our Corporate Members enjoy unique visibility opportunities and privileges.   Learn more about Essex Heritage's Corporate Membership Program.
·         Become a Member!
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Essex National Heritage Area • 221 Essex Street, Suite 41, Salem, MA 01970, ph 978-740-0444, f 978-744-6473

Partnership Grant Gifts in My Name Provided by Local Friends and Associates
I am pleased to learn from the staff at Essex Heritage the memorial gifts in my name have been contributed by local friends to the Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program.  Both Essex Heritage and I are most grateful for their thoughtfulness.  These generous donors were were Michael Morris, Dr. Wayne Burton, Fr. John O’Donnell and Paul Mc Ginley.

Happy New Year
I want to take a moment here to wish any readers of this Blog a most Happy New Year along with all of our best wishes for continuing good health and financial success.   As it is every year let us all fervently wish for a level of peace on earth and safety from gun violence  and other ills in our daily life’s.

Essex County Vocational Technical School Progressing  on Schedule
The New Vocational and Technical School currently under construction in Danvers is on schedule and under budget even though there are some under current in the region about costs of the program.  A comprehensive schedule of night classes offered for adults was recently released and there is truly something for everyone outlined in a recent publication recently mailed to area residents.   Also there are some discussions about a new privately funded indoor skating rink being planned and leased facility adjacent Soccer Field at the new school facility.  The initial comments about the ice facility expressed that revenues would be positive from this venture.   It seems to this observer that the location of this proposed venture would be a welcome addition to the local area provided  the potential problems with some residential neighbors might be addressed.

Innovative plan for the expansion of Education programs in Downtown Lynn Canceled
An innovative plan that would house education programs for Cosmetology and Culinary Arts being moved out of the Essex Aggie location to make room for the new county wide Vocational and Technical High School currently being built in Danvers has suffered a setback as the company that had entered into a prospective deal with Community College has fallen apart.  The programs were moving to a location in downtown Lynn but they are now once again without a home.  The two programs that historically produced students for prospective employment opportunities will be a loss for the region.  The collapse of the proposed deal has also produced a lawsuit by the present owner of the proposed location for the two programs.

Potential Power Plant Needs Debated
As the start-up date of 2016 moves closer and closer the entities from both camps, both pro and con for the need of the development of a natural gas powered plant continues to debate the need for such a facility.   I would expect that the issue will get more hotly contested as the START-UP date get closer and closer. Stay tuned for more facts and figures on the project so vital to the economic future of Salem and certain communities in the region.

City of Peabody to seek a home rule petition to offer ten additional liquor licenses In the Leather City
The City Administration with the unanimous support of the Council will be seeking a home rule petition that would allow the City to offer ten additional full service liquor licenses to potential establishments in either the restored downtown and at the retail mall. The new licenses would be used as an economic development tool in the community.  The Town of Danvers has applied for a couple of extra permissions and that effort has been successful.   Several local adjacent communities have seen the growth of the restaurant industry as an excellent economic tool.

The City of Peabody Considering the Rehabilitation of a an well recognized building in Peabody Square
A development firm is considering the rehabilitation of a historic building in the city center that would include a new hotel with a restaurant and meeting space.  It is expected that this plan would prove to be an incentive to visitors to the region.

Wreath Program offered in Peabody.   New Project Honoring Vets in Danvers
In the recent past several programs in the region have been announced that will benefit veterans.    A very aggressive program that would place wreaths from the Wreaths Across America on the graves of Vets has been established in Peabody.   A new memorial was recently constructed in Danvers adjacent to the Thorpe School to honor Vets in that community.

Local Senior Centers in No Andover and Danvers seeking Volunteers to assist in programs.
The Senior Center in North Andover is seeking volunteers to drive clients to medical appointments.    The Danver Senior Center currently has an innovative adult non medical Day Care Service, and that center is seeking qualified volunteer help.  The program has been most successful providing that there is a current and ongoing need for these kinds of programs.

It is very clear that all over this region there are non-profit organizations that would welcome volunteer help.  If you have received help in the past from one of these regional non-profits consider ‘paying it forward’ with contributed support.

Public Education vs. Private colleges
Once overlooked public University Programs and Community Colleges are stepping ahead of their private college partners in this state.  In many cases the public facilities are experiencing increased funding, improved new state of the arts facilities, honor programs, affordable tuitions and higher graduation results.  Recent reports show publish networks of public college in the State of Massachusetts are passing many private educational institutions in their status in the market for quality education for the costs offered.

Marblehead Town Building built in 1727 to be updated to insure handicapped accessibility
The Town of Marblehead has completed a half million dollar project that includes the installation of an elevator to make the building more accessible to residents of that seaside community.

Salem to enter phase two of City Hall Improvement Project
Speaking of older historic buildings, the City of Salem is embarking on the next phase of a major rehabilitation of Salem City Hall.  The building was constructed in 1838 and is on the National Registry of Historic Places and is one of the oldest continuous operating community city halls in the Country.     During the first phase of this 2 million dollar project a number of accessibility issues were addressed such as the installation of an elevator, and the final disability matters such as lower customer counters and wider doorways are being addressed to assist people in wheelchairs.    It is very pleasing for me to see so many elevators being installed around the region.   This is very important to people with disabilities.   I am a person with a disability who is currently involved in a project to make my parish church in Danvers accessible with the installation of an elevator and that project continues to be one of my primary concerns. 

Local emphasis on Library improvements countywide
All across the Essex County region local library complexes are undergoing improvement projects including both federal, state and private funding, including a unique effort in the Town of Salisbury where private funds are being sought.

Beverly Retail Improvements
Approval of a Beverly property to be used as a new retail center may also have an impact on plans of the Cummings Property and may well impact a future plans on Dunham Road, as conservation issues might cause changes in plans for that area by the retail giant in Beverly.  A final decision on this project will be decided by a public referendum in a soon to be schedule election.


This year may mark one of the first times in recent years that no local community was represented in the year end football Super Bowl competition This year Bishop Fenwick in Peabody and Central Catholic School in Lawrence won super Bowl Titles in December 2013 and should be congratulated.
Recent reading
In the most recent weeks I have curtailed my political and patriotic reading to take some time to read the biography of one the sports icons of this region that I have witnessed in person over the last couple of decades.   I have completed a very short but entertaining story of the life of Bobby Orr who helped to lead the Boston Bruins to a couple of Stanley Cup titles.  

I have long been a very strong admirer of Orr since I was a local youth hockey coach in the 1970’s.  I had the wonderful experience of providing a youth team to work with Bobby Orr, and Nabisco in the making of a film called “Winning Isn’t Everything”.   For two days myself and fifteen ten year old youths worked together with Orr to film drills and game action with commentary by Orr.   During that two day period I would be hard pressed to find a gentleman who was any more attentive to the youths we took to Harvard to film the documentary.  During the filming, the attention that he paid to my team and the personal attention he paid to provide tips to the boys on how they could improve in hockey and to be better contributors in life in general.   Later at a business meeting we used that occasion to discuss the filming and what that meant to my youngsters.

The book was well prepared and I enjoyed his presentation style and stories of his life as a professional hockey player starting at a very early age.

United States Congress making progress on a compromised budget agreement
The US-Congress may be saving an otherwise non- productive two year session with the potential passage of a two year federal budget that will contain several compromises from the two active political parties both sides of the aisle.  Possibly the  public messages to the Congress of the low regard we are holding them I at present may be getting through and this might be showing a positive sign for the future.

Holiday Food Pantry Needs
One of the Leonard Family favorite charities is the People to People Food Pantry in Danvers.   Early in December we attended a party for the benefit of the Danvers Pantry.  That day a considerable amount of resources were raised as well as great amounts of food products were donated at the Holiday Philharmonic Concert that offered a continuing Christmas tradition  by St. Richard’s Church in Danvers. 

At this time if you can offer help to a number of Food Pantries around the region, they certainly can use your support at this time of the year when the need is at its highest point.

Death of a family member
Just a week or so before the Christmas Holiday a venerable and a greatly admired uncle of mine passed away in a local Rehabilitation Facility.   John Hyland of Rockport suffered a fall and then passed away from injuries as he approached a century of living in this region.   Jack, the youngest brother of my mother was the historian of the family and he will be greatly missed by the remaining family members.  Jack lived for many years lived in the South Salem section of that city.  He served his country during World War Two as a Navy See Bee, and preformed much needed service in the Pacific Ocean Theatre of the War, building Air Strips and other facilities on Islands captured by the Allies.  As a youngster the family and I followed with great interest his travels across the Pacific Ocean.  After the war Jack worked for the General Electric Company at the River Works Plant in Lynn on the Jet Engine Program until his retirement.