Sunday, August 30, 2009

Senator Kennedy, Jimmy Fund Baseball and Bill Howard

Senator Kennedy Memorialized in Boston and Washington
What a wonderful weekend tribute to Senator Edward Moore Kennedy. In a previous posting to this blog, I commented on Senator Kennedy's importance to Essex Heritage, and the support that he offered during the life of this imitative. Clearly, what the Senator offered to this region as we began and fostered the Essex Heritage activities were extraordinary. It is fair to say that without his unique support from the outset, much of what has been accomplished in this region would never have been possible. During the life of this activity we have received commitments of support from dozens of local elected officials, and the support that was obtained from others in the Washington delegation over the years that has been exemplary and has allowed much to be accomplished in the region and for that support we will always be grateful. 

It is clear that, Senator Kennedy became the point person in Congress on so many occasions, and his special brand of "participatory politics" was evident time after time as we sought support in Washington. During the time that I have participated in the work of Essex Heritage we hosted the Senator on numerous visits to the region, I have introduced him to crowds on several occasions, and I have had the good fortunate to have several more personal experiences in his Washington office as we sought support.

All of that said, I thought after those experiences that I knew the depth of the man and his importance to the State of Massachusetts. I would have to say that during this weekend my eyes were opened even wider to his accomplishments for this Commonwealth and the Country. As the weekend progressed and more and more of his accomplishments were outlined during his nearly half century of service, I became more and more in awe of what he accomplished for all of us, and even more importantly for the "least of us." The social legislation that was fostered by Senator Kennedy is legendary, and the laws he helped enact have impacted civil rights, and the health and economic well-being of so many Americans. I was particularly struck by a quote during the weekend that noted that President Kennedy inspired America, Bobby Kennedy challenged America, and Ted Kennedy changed America. I am proud to say that I have always been a supporter of the work of the Senator, and am confidant that, as he said so many times,most recently in Denver at the Democratic Convention one year before he died, that "the cause endues, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die".

Jimmy Fund Event in Peabody on Labor Day

In my lifetime one of the causes that have the largest impact on health in this region is the Jimmy Fund that fights cancer in children. The Jimmy Fund has long been the favorite cause of the Red Sox, and in the last couple of days they have in conjunction with WEEI radio and NESN television have run a very successful telethon. If you did not get the chance to contribute to that cause, next weekend on Labor Day morning at 10:00 AM at Perkins Park in Peabody, the annual baseball game will be played. The game is between the Peabody police, and a team of local sports stars including some former Red Sox players and many former Bruins and Celtics players. Before the game a clinic for youngsters will be held at 8:00 AM. This event is a wonderful experience and is a way to contribute to one of the best charities in the region. Take a moment if you have no plans that morning and stop at Perkins Park for a great cause.

Beverly Rotary Citizen of the Year

Congratulations to Bill Howard of the Beverly Cooperative Bank for being named the Citizen of the Year by the Beverly Rotary Club. Bill is a long time Commissioner of Essex heritage and also serves the Salem Partnership as its Treasurer. Bill serves many other charitable endeavors and his choice by the Rotarian's is an excellent one.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Best Idea Program, Fall Explorers Program, Trails & Sails and Thacher's Island

National Park Service Best Idea Event

The National Park Service/Essex Heritage event at the Salem Visitor Center yesterday to close out the summer camp program with the Boys and Girls Club was a great success. The program that was funded by the National Park Foundation was both a critical success and a "lot of fun" for the youngsters. There were about a hundred campers and several officials from the Boys and Girls Club as well as a number of National Park Service and Essex Heritage officials The campers showed off exhibits that they had prepared and demonstrated some of the skills that they learned during the camp sessions. The video preview of the documentary by Ken Burns that will show soon on PBS, was compelling and made you want to pack up for a trip to a number of National parks right away. Watch for the show when it airs on a local Public broadcasting System station in this area. You will enjoy the work, as Burns is a wonderful visual story teller and his work is first class,

Essex Heritage Trails & Sails Weekends

It truly seems that summer has just begun, and with the warm weather only arriving in early August, the summer season was late in arriving. With that thought in mind, strange as it may be, the fall season is soon upon us. The official start of fall in now less than a month away, and one of the best events of the fall season is scheduled just after the start of the season. This year on the weekends of September 18-20 and September 26-27 Essex Heritage will once again present Trails & Sails. This year there is a completely new twist, and participants can sign on to a newly created web site, and review the entire listing of one hundred events and prepare you own personal itinerary and schedule. Essex Heritage is indebted to our presenting sponsors for this annual event and we thank TD Bank, and Northeast Health Systems, and their two medical facilities, Beverly Hospital and Addison Gilbert Hospital for their support. Join us during the final two weekends in September and participate. We are certain that you will be glad you signed up.

Essex Heritage Fall Explorers Activities

As you may know, Essex Heritage has a wonderful membership program called the Explorers. Throughout the year, Events are offered that allow the members to access some of the wonderful resources that are not always available to the general public. This has been a program that has been well received by the many friends of Essex Heritage who have signed up to participate. Membership in the program has been growing year to year, and the currents membership numbers in the hundreds. Information on the program and the opportunity to sign up can be found on the Essex heritage web site at The fall program this year will focus on visits to some of the great estates in this region. Visits are planned to the Stephens Coolidge Estate in North Andover, The Tenny Gate House in Methuen and Willowdale Estate. I am certain that you will enjoy the fall program and all of the other events planned for 2010.

Thatcher’s Island and the Twin Lights

In a recent edition of the Boston Globe North, there was a wonderful story about the historic island in the harbor of Rockport, Ma. The story focused on the volunteers who keep the island and its twin lighthouses in as good shape as is possible in these difficult economic times. Several years ago, Essex Heritage provided a series of Partnership Grants to the association that manages the island, and we know first hand the work that has been accomplished to keep the facility in workable condition. The Essex Heritage Partnership Grant program was temporarily suspended this past year when we lost state funding, but certainly hope to restore that program as soon as possible, as we recognize the importance of the program to the region. In the years that the program was operating, Essex Heritage provided over $1.7 million in grants to over 200 not for profit organizations and municipalities. Grants are more and more difficult to obtain in these times and the volunteers that are helping out, on the island are even more important than ever. Essex Heritage is now taking on maintenance responsibilities at Baker’s Island in Salem, and can certainly understand the challenges that are faced by the Thatcher Island Association. We wish them continuing good luck, as they address their “labor of love”.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Senator Kennedy, Long Term Planning, Financial Support and a Positive Vote for the Vocational School Merger

Passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy

The Essex National Heritage Area lost a real champion and friend last evening. I will not try to complete here with the experienced eulogists who will write of his many accomplishments, but I will say that without his help we would not have what we have today in Essex County. Two decades ago, Senator Kennedy took a particular interest in the work of the Salem Partnership, and then helped the leadership of that group along with other leaders in Essex County to establish the Essex National Heritage Commission. He later became the glue the held the efforts to build the Friendship together, and was present and presided over the dedication of that ship years ago. Annie Harris and I met with the Senator on numerous occasions both in the region and in Washington, and he was always most gracious and committed to the mission of Essex Heritage. We and the Commission will miss his advice and friendship. He will be missed desperately by this region, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts this country and the world.

Essex Heritage Planning Session

Earlier this week, the volunteer leadership of Essex Heritage met in a strategy session to help develop a long-term plan to assure the continuing success of this initiative. It now seems most appropriate that this task was undertaken on the same day that Senator Kennedy passed away. He was our champion and his help was critical to our decade of success. During the first decade that the Essex Heritage has been providing services and helping to build collaborations in the region numerous programs and outreach efforts have been offered that help build awareness and help to educate the residents of the area. It was agreed that over the next several months an examination of all offered regional programs must be undertaken, to be certain that they are continuing to serve the region and helping to achieve the goals of the organization. The strong relationship that exists between the Commission and the National Park Service continues to be wonderful asset, and that partnership needs to be expanded and we must continue to use the relationship to expand the reach of the National Park Service to an even larger percentage of the region’s population. Over the life of Essex Heritage working relationships have been built between the Commission and the municipal leadership that run the thirty-four communities that make up the Essex National Heritage Area. It is very clear that in the future, the Commission must continue to offer and develop programs and initiatives that enhance the municipalities we must continue to serve. All of the participants in the recent session pledged to work over the next several months to develop strategies that will enhance the value of the Essex Heritage to the region, and to the elected leadership of the area, and most importantly to the residents who live and work here in this area.

Continue to Diversify Fundraising Efforts

We have been most fortunate to have received funding to help operate Essex Heritage from a wide variety of sources. The wonderful relationship we have maintained with the National Park Service has allowed us to receive federal funding to help support the effort. Until just this last year, when the local economy worsened, our local Commonwealth of Massachusetts Legislative delegation had helped obtain funding from the Commonwealth. That funding has been temporarily suspended, but as he local economy rebounds we are confidant that with the continuing support of local legislators that funding will be restored. Dozens of local business organizations have been most generous with their support, and we are most appreciative of their support even when times have been difficult. We have also received a continuing level of support from the wonderful residents of this region, and we encourage all of you to continue to provide support so that Essex Heritage can continue to grow the services offered to this region. In the new plans now being formulated we anticipate seeking support from some of the generous foundations that operate in and around this region. Support at that level would add substantially to our capabilities and allow us to expand produce offering and services to the region. For more information on how you can support the work with a contribution of Essex Heritage, check the ENHC web site at Your support is appreciated and it will allow us to continue to advance our work to preserve the historic, natural and cultural resources of Essex County.

Important Vote Taken by Danvers Town Meeting

On Monday evening the members of the Danvers Town Meeting body unanimously approved a warrant article that approved a merger of several school organizations and the funding to build a new Vocational Technical School in that Town. The vote was the first of many such votes that must be taken in the other sixteen communities that are part of the school district. The Danvers vote was important as it was the first community to vote for the plan, and as the host community this was an important and critical first step. Essex Heritage was one of the first community organizations to recognize the importance of the plan to the region, and offered immediate support. We are very pleased that the Town of Danvers offered such complete and substantial support for this plan. Town Manager Wayne Marquis and Selectman Dan Bennett have been instrumental in the planning for the both the Town of Danvers and the region, and those efforts have been substantial and are now showing up as the plan moves towards completion.

Editorial Note: I am pleased to try to be a “reporter” regarding some of the activities in this region that positively affect the mission of Essex Heritage. Towards that end, I would welcome your comments about these presentations, and would also encourage you to contact me with questions, concerns or observations. I can be reached at Essex Heritage at or at Please consider providing your observations


Monday, August 24, 2009


I wanted to make a correction to the blog posting I sent out this morning. I noted that the hurricane took a westerly course to avoid making a land fall here in new England. I do know East from west, and I noted the wrong direction in my entry. Clearly the storm went east to avoid us not west as I stated, Sorry for the missed direction. Tom Leonard

Eastern Bank, City of Peabody Planner, Bike Path Opening, North Shore Vocational School Vote and Seeking Comments

Eastern Bank Provides Financial support to Peabody Little League

The West Peabody Little League organization received a nice financial gift from Eastern Bank to help out the families of the Peabody Little League as they headed for Williamsport. The unexpected costs associated with an unplanned trip to the World Series can be daunting, and I am certain that the support from the bank was much appreciated. Eastern Bank has long been recognized as one of the premier community supporters in this region, and they regularly come to the aid of not for profit groups of all kinds all over this region.

Thankfully Hurricane “Bill” took a More Westerly Course and Missed New England

We certainly received a substantial amount of advance notice of the arrival of “Hurricane Bill” from the local media over the last week or so, but thankfully it seemed to slip by New England without much impact. The Insurance Companies have been predicting that this area is due for a “Hurricane Hit” for several years now, and one always wonders when and if that might happen. Thankfully, Hurricane Bill was not the one to deal the region a blow, and we seemed to escape with not more than some high seas, and a little wind. Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket seemed for a while to be a possible target of this storm, but as the storm approached the area it thankfully took a slight westerly turn and seemed to pass us without major concerns. We received a little rain in Essex County, but no real damage.

City Planner Leaves Peabody

Jean Dellios, who has been the Municipal Planner for the City of Peabody for the last seven years, has left that post to take a similar position with the Town of Reading. During her tenure in Peabody, she has been a good friend of Essex Heritage and has accomplished a great deal for the city. Under her direction, bike paths have been built and opened, open space acquired, and just recently a new museum that celebrates the history of the leather industry in Peabody was opened. Prior to Jean’s service with the City of Peabody, she served in a similar position in the Town of Saugus. In that role we interacted with Jean as well, so the relationship with Essex Heritage goes back almost to our creation. We are truly sorry to see Jean leave Essex County, but we certainly wish her all the best in her new role in the Town of Reading.

New Bike and Recreation Trail to Open in Chelmsford

This past weekend, a portion of the twenty-five mile long Bruce Freeman Recreational Trail that will connect parts of Lowell, Chelmsford and Westford was dedicated and was declared ready for use. We are pleased to see new recreational trails opening all over the State, and those successes continue to encourage Essex Heritage as we work towards the building of the Border to Boston trail for Essex County. The leadership of the commission continues to work towards a solution that will bring our regional trail closer to reality. There are dozens of committed supporters of this effort across the region, and we will do all in our power to keep this initiative moving. The Commission has played a role in this initiative since its inception and will continue to focus our efforts on seeing the project through to an opening.

Important Vote Tonight at the Danvers Town Meeting

This evening, the Danvers Town Meeting will consider the merger of the North Shore Vocational Technical School, Essex Agricultural School, and the Peabody Vocational School. In addition to the merger, the need to fund this initiative will also be considered; I will attend the meeting as a member of the Danvers Finance Committee, and look forward to a positive disposition of this issue. The merger and the creation of a new vocational school facility in this region is critical and needs broad based support

Editorial Note: I am pleased to try to be a “reporter” regarding some of the activities in this region that positively affect the mission of Essex Heritage. Towards that end, I would welcome your comments about these presentations, and would also encourage you to contact me with questions, concerns or observations. I can be reached at Essex Heritage at or at Please consider providing your observations


Friday, August 21, 2009

North Shore Vocational School, Essex Heritage Photo Contest and America's Best Idea

Danvers Finance Committee Meeting

Last Tuesday evening the Danvers Finance Committee conducted a hearing to consider several issues that will come before a special Danvers Town Meeting on Monday, August 24, 2009. The hearing was scheduled to present two proposals that will seek the approval of the Town Meeting body to adopt local options that would allow the Town to impose tax increases on local restaurant meals and on stays in Danvers hotels or motels. After a spirited debate, both proposals were recommended for positive action at the Town Meeting. While both of these issues can be important to the Town, the last item on the agenda that night, in my mind was the most important matter. A proposal to merge the present North Shore Vocational School and the Essex Agricultural School is to be considered by Town Meeting. The new school that, if approved, will be built in Danvers just west of the intersection of Routes 95 and 62 and when completed will house 1400 students, and will begin to serve hundreds of additional prospective students who have been denied access to the present faculty in Middleton because of the size of the school. The cost of the new school will be substantial and many sacrifices will have to be made by the 17 community members to assure that this facility is completed on time and on budget. There is certainly a great need in this region for more trained workers who will learn the “tools of the trade” at this institution and the regional implications of this merger will have widespread and will be felt across the entire region.

A proposal was forwarded unanimously to the Town meeting calling for the participation of the Town of Danvers in the funding and building of a new regional Vocational Technical High School. The new school will be the result of the proposed merger between the present North Shore Vocational High School, the Essex Agricultural School and the Peabody Vocational School. The recommendation made by the Danvers Finance Committee and a positive vote by Town Meeting will set the stage for the rest of the district as the approval action will be the first one taken by a community in this region relative to this issue. As the host community for the school, it is critical that the Town of Danvers lead by example and the vote earlier this week was a great first step, We certainly hope that the members of the Danvers Town Meeting follow up the Board of selectman’s and Finance Committee recommendation and vote in the affirmative for this proposal at their meeting early next week. The facility is much needed and future generations of electricians, plumbers, carpenters, auto mechanics, cosmetologists and food service providers will graduate from the new North Shore Regional Vocational School in the future and will add value to this region in so many ways.

Essex Heritage Photo Contest

All amateur photographers are invited to submit images to the Essex Heritage Photo Contest that captures the essence of the Essex Heritage Area. Entries can be made in one of four categories; “My Space”, On a Photo Safari”, “General Images of Essex Heritage” or “National Historic Landmarks”. Submissions are due by October 16, 2009 and any photo captured between November 1, 2008 and October 15, 2009 is eligible. More information about the Essex Heritage Photo Contest including the application form, rules and regulations, and prizes are available online at

Celebrate America’s Best Idea

Join Essex Heritage and the National Park Service on Thursday, August 27, 2009 at the Salem Regional Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty Street in Salem at 1:00 PM to celebrate the success of a local camp program. During this past summer, youngsters from the Salem Boys and Girls Club participated in a program funded by the 2009 National Park Foundation’s America’s Best Idea camp program. The festivities that afternoon will include light refreshments, camper created exhibits and a preview of the upcoming Ken Burn’s Public Broadcasting System’s documentary, The National Parks; America’s Best idea. Camp participants, their families and all partner organizations are welcome to share their “untold stories” of the important role the African Americans and other traditionally underrepresented groups played in American history, as portrayed in the camp experiences in this program. The camp used the Salem Maritime Historic site, the sailing ship Fame and other historic sites in the Essex National Heritage Area to tell these stories.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Summer at Last, Community Newspapers,The Danvers Swamp Walk and Boats in Gloucester

Summer Has Arrived at Last

I expect that all of you who lamented during June and July about the lack of summer are now enjoying the middle of August. The long awaited summer has arrived and I hope that you are being careful of the current heat and high humidity. If you are looking for place to get a breath of comfortable air, I encourage you to head to one of the many historic waterfronts along the coast of this region. From Lynn, Swampscott, Marblehead, Salem and Beverly to Gloucester, Rockport and Newburyport there are wonderful spots where a pleasant breeze and the great smell of salt air can be savored. We have it all on the coast of this region. Get out and sample the region. There may never be a better time then when it is hot and sultry.

A Special Thank You to the Community Newspapers

For a number of years, the Community Newspapers and particularly the Danvers Herald has been a special partner to the Essex National Heritage Commission. For about six years, I have been preparing a column on the activities of the Essex Heritage and the Editor of the Danvers Herald; Catheryn O’Hare has been printing my column in her paper and distributing it across the regional system to those other editors that had space to run our information. We certainly appreciate all of her efforts, and are grateful for the broad based support we have received all over the region. The Community Newspapers prints a great deal of local information and I suspect that is what a lot of their readers welcome. Danvers has also started a blog like this one to get even more local information out faster. Check their web site at to see what they are offering.

Danvers Swamp Walk

We certainly appreciate all of the work being dine by George Saluto of Danvers who is the moving force in an effort to raise funds to begin construction on a raised boardwalk trail in the Choate Recreational Area of town. The trail will open up an area of open space not now available to the folks in that community. George is trying to raise private funds to assist in the effort, and contributions to assist the project can be sent to the Danvers Town Hall, attention: Swamp Walk.

Gloucester Schooner Festival

Mark your calendars for the silver anniversary celebration of a Gloucester tradition. On Labor Day weekend a number of vessels from ports all along the east coast will arrive in the historic fishing port of Gloucester to celebrate this occasion. Leading the participants will be Gloucester’s own Thomas E. Lannon. The invited ships will compete on September 6th in the Mayor’s Cup race. Provisions has been made for shuttles to get spectators to vantage points where they can view the majestic sailing ships. This seems to be a great take on a holiday weekend, and would be a wonderful way to spend part of what is usually thought of as the last weekend of summer.

Great Work by the Salem fire Department

We offer a special thanks to the Salem Fire Department for their quick and efficient response to the recent fire at the Ropes Mansion in Salem that certainly prevented a potential disaster. Their prompt action certainly saved one of the most famous historic houses in Salem and this region. We have much to preserve in this region, but a loss like that one could have been devastating.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Essex Heritage E-Mail Running, Nomination Committe Meeting, Danvers Finance Committee and the West Peabody Little League

Essex Heritage E-Mail System Back Up

I am traveling back to the North Shore from the cape for a medical appointment in the morning and a Danvers Finance Committee meeting at night so this post will be short. I am happy to report that the e-mail system at Essex Heritage that was down most of last week is now mostly up and running. If you need to contact anyone in the Essex Heritage office, access is now available.

Essex Heritage Nominating Committee Meeting.

As I noted earlier we are about to schedule a Nominating Committee to choose Commissioner nominees for the Essex Heritage Annual Meeting scheduled for late October. The new Chairman of the Nominating Committee, Sumner Jones of Eastern Bank has agreed to host a meeting at the bank's Saugus location in the first week in September. If any of you know of any potential Commissioner nominees or if you have a personal interest in serving please contact me at or at

Danvers Finance Committee

On Tuesday evening I will be attending a special Danvers Finance Committee meeting where we will be considering three important issues. Prior to a special Town meeting later this month, we will consider implementing two new local option taxes on hotel/motels and on meals in local eating establishments. We will also consider the funding needs as they pertain to the Town of Danvers relative to the new Regional Vocational Technical high School. All of these issues are important to both the Town and the region, and I will provide more information in my next post on Wednesday.

West Peabody Little League

What a wonderful game played by the young men from Peabody this weekend. Best of luck to them as they move on to the The Little League World Series in Williamsport. What a thrill it must have been for the young man who hit the walk off grand slam homer to win the deciding game.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Scenic Byway, Essex Heritage Leadershieting and a Sports Note

Scenic Byway Progressing

Over the last year, Essex Heritage with the help of our local State delegation has worked with many effected organizations in this region to bring the concept of a Scenic Byway to the area. There are not too many of these so designated Scenic Byways in the Commonwealth but with the support and cooperation of many in the communities that will be impacted, this initiative will become a reality in the not too distant future. The Essex Heritage Scenic Byway will focus on the historic and magnificent coastline that forms the eastern border of the region. There are dozens of wonderful resources in the thirteen communities from Lynn in the south all the way along historic Route 127 up to Cape Ann. In the August 13th edition of the Salem News there is an outstanding recap of the Byway, and there are graphic explanations and photos of many of the resources along the route. I hope that many of you have seen the story in the Salem News, and it is still possible to view the story on the Salem News web site. Annie Harris the Executive Director of Essex heritage along with Director of Heritage Development, Bill Steelman have worked diligently on this plan, and those efforts are certainly starting to bear fruit as the communities involved are now meeting to plan how the designation will benefit their specific community and the region as a whole. We look forward to more plans being released later this year, and seeing work begins in earnest on the effort.

Essex Heritage Leadership an Outstanding Group

At the September 2009 Essex Heritage Trustee Meeting the terms of many of the organization’s volunteer Leadership team will come to an end. Most of the team has agreed to take another term, but one of the most dedicated and committed of our leaders will see a big change in her responsibilities to the organization. Ms, Nancy Huntington Stager has served as the President of the Essex Heritage Board of Trustees for the last two years. Much has been accomplished under Ms. Stager’s leadership and her efforts particularly in the development area have been exemplary. Her level of support for all of the active programs of the Commission has been spectacular and her participation in all aspects of the organization has been complete. Nancy could always be counted on to be there whenever she was needed, and her “hands on” commitment to this effort as her term as President ends will be missed. Ms. Stager serves as an Executive Vice President at Eastern Bank, where she is responsible for the Human Resources function at the bank. We are all most appreciative of the efforts on Ms. Stage as she has lent a special level of expertise to take Essex Heritage o a new level from where it was two years ago, when she assumed the top leadership role at Essex Heritage. Thank you, Nancy Stager.

Danvers Finance Committee Meeting Next Week

Early next week, the Danvers Finance Committee that I serve on will meet to consider recommendations from the Danvers Selectmen. These will be important issues that will be brought before the “Fin Com” as an increase in both hotel and meal taxes will be considered. These recommendations are a result of a local option initiative that was recently approved by the State Legislature. The two proposals will be considered separately and any revenue earned from these new taxes will help enhance Town receipts in light of reductions in State funding and reducing revenues from other revenue items such as excise taxes.

A second item to come before the Committee will focus on local funding responsibilities to share the regional costs of approving and ultimately building a new regional Vocational and Technical High School that will be located in Danvers on the grounds of the Essex Agricultural School. This will be an equally important vote, as the portion of the funding that each community will share will certainly add to the tax burden of the Town of Danvers and any other community that will share in this important regional educational project.

One Brief Sports Note

Congratulations to the young men from West Peabody who last night moved into the New England Little League Regional final after defeating a team from Connecticut. Good luck in the finals this weekend. Also after a year away from the game with a serious knee injury, it was great to see Tom Brady’s return even it was only a practice game. His performance spoke volumes for this season.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Essex Heritage and Friendship Both" Off Line" and a Salem Partnership Program

Essex Heritage...Off Line
I certainly hope that some of the many friends of Essex Heritage have the opportunity to connect with us by reading the posts on this blog. If you do, I am sorry to report that server that helps maintain the e-mail system at Essex Heritage has "crashed". It will take several more days to handle the repairs needed to bring the system "up" again. During that time Essex Heritage staff will not be able to receive or send communications to the region. Please bear with us and we expect that by the end of the week or certainly by the first of next week, we will be "back up" and able to resume normal communications. Thanks for your patience.

Sailing Ship Friendship also "Off Line".

I suspect that you may have already heard that the Friendship has been taken to a port in Maine where major repairs are being undertaken. The ship was in Maine for a normal marine inspection and in the course of that inspection some major damage was discovered. The repairs certainly need to be made, but they have disrupted many summer plans for the ship. An international trip to Nova Scotia, Canada had to be cancelled, as did a trip to Historic Newburyport. Several events at the Salem site have also been effected, and the Park Service has done all it can to communicate the problem and the cancellations. Some programs, for example a summer camp program offered in conjunction with Essex Heritage have gone on using another ship, The Fame, docked at an adjacent wharf. Hopefully by the end of September, Friendshp will be back at her home port in Salem, and visitation can continue through the Fall season.

Salem Partnership Initiative

For many years Essex Heritage has maintained a special relationship with The Salem Partnership. Essex Heritage was originally created as a subsidiary of The Salem Partnership, and as such the work of the "Partnership" has always been of great interest to Essex Heritage. I have attached a copy of an e-mail that was received at our office that highlights one of the primary projects of that organization. That e-mail follows:

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Electing Commissioners, Trustee Emeriti, Waterfront Improvements in Beverly

The Commissioner Election Process

In an earlier posting, I noted that in October 2009, Essex Heritage would be holding its Annual Meeting in the Community House in Hamilton. One of the primary functions at that meeting in addition to providing an update on current activities is to fill any Commissioner vacancies that exist at that time. The Commission is supported by a 150 member Board of Commissioners who live and/or work within the area and who serve as representatives of the communities, businesses, community organizations, educational institutions and historic, cultural and natural resources of the region. The list of active Commissioners changes over the years as folks who have served for a period move on to other activities, move from the region or have changes in their lives that require them to resign. While we always hate to lose individuals who are committed to this initiative, the process as designed is quite healthy as new appointees bring new perspectives and focus and these kinds of changes are always positive. Each year it seems that we always have a need to add about a dozen or so new Commissioners.

The Commission has a Nominating Committee in place whose task is to seek qualified individuals from the region we serve who will bring a fresh new perspective to the work of the Commission. The Nominating Committee this year has been revitalized with several new members and they look forward to meeting in early September to both review nominees suggested by Commission staff and to offer nominees that they believe will provide the kind of support needed in the future. Since the creation of he Essex National Heritage Commission in 1996, we have always worked hard to insure that participation in the work of the ENHC is most inclusive, and never limited to a few. We are always interested in receiving recommendations of individuals from across the region that might have an interest in serving as a Commissioner. If any of you who read this message have any ideas or recommendations of individuals who you believe might be good candidates to serve as a Commissioner now or in the future please let us know your thoughts. I can be reached at and would welcome your input.

Election of Trustee Emeritus

Another action that will take place at the Annual Meeting in October will be the election of three new Trustee Emeritus. The twenty-five person Board of Trustees of Essex Heritage is elected from the Board of Commissioner. The members of this group may serve for three 3 years terms in those positions, and when those term limits are achieved retiring members are then considered fir Trustee Emeritus status. At this years annual meeting three dedicated and committed members of that Board will be eligible for Emeritus status. We are most sorry that those terms of office will expire and we will certainly miss the wise council and support that they have offered during the last nine years. The four Trustees whose names will be offered for Trustee Emeritus status in October are:

  • Dr, Wayne Burton, President of North Shore Community College, and current Chairman of the ENHC Nominating Committee.
  • Mr., Richard St. Pierre, formally associated with St. John’s Preparatory School, and the Essex County Sheriffs Department and Chairman of the ENHC Education Committee,
  • Mr. Robert Haalpin, Executive Director, Merrimac Valley Economic Council
  • Mr. Larry Harrington, Senior Vice President, Bank of America, and former Essex Heritage Board President

In addition to the three gentlemen we will be offering for election to Trustee Emeritus status, there are currently eight former Essex Heritage Trustee’s who are current Trustee Emeritus. They are:

Robert G. Bradford, President North Shore Chamber of Commerce

Michael Costello, Former Executive Director, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce

Joseph Gibbons, President and CEO, Salem Five

David Hartleb, President, Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill

Malcolm MacLean III, Senior Partner, MacLean Holloway Doherty Ardiff & Morse, P.C.

William Power, Peabody Historical Society & Museum

Richard Thomas, Richard Thomas Insurance, Georgetown

William Tinti, Senior Partner, Tinti, Quinn, Grover & Frey P.C.

Beverly Harbor Improvements

The City of Beverly recently received from very good news with the announcement from the Governor’s office that $2.5 million has been earmarked for work on the harbor. This is the first installment of a $5.5 million dollar plan to enhance the entire waterfront. The historic harbors from Saugus, Lynn and Nahant up the coast to Marblehead, Swampscott and Salem and into Beverly are all most critical to the continuing economic well being of this region. The access to the ocean by visitors and residents alike is one of our most important assets. Much is being done along the entire coastline all the way to the New Hampshire border and every improvement is critical to the future of the region. We are pleased to learn of the commitment to the City of Beverly by the Commonwealth.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Essex Heritage Web Site Changes and Smart Growth Study Results

Changes to the Essex Heritage Web Site

The signature event offered by Essex Heritage each year is: Trails and Sails...A Weekend of Walks and Water. Every year we have tried to improve the way clients are serviced. This year an electronic change has been prepared that we believe will make this September event even more customer friendly. Right now on the Essex Heritage web site registered participants can begin to pre-plan their weekend by signing on and creating and printing itineraries and registering for events. Just before the event on September 26-28, Essex Heritage will send an e-mail reminder to participants to help them with scheduling. We are pleased that these technical improvements have been made and that they will allow Trails and Sails participants more latitude to plan and reschedule as their needs change.

Smart Growth in Essex County

Essex Heritage has always been a strong supporter of the principal of smart growth in this region. In the last round of ENHC Partnership Grants we provided funding to the Essex County Forum to study and publish a report on that process. That work has been completed and the following e-mail was recently received at ENHC that outlines the results of the study, We thank Mary Whitney of the Essex County Forum for all of her work, and as it notes in the e-mail, Mary is leaving the forum, and we wish her well. The message she sent is self explanatory as we are pleased to print the message as follows:

I'm pleased to announce the publication of Way to Grow: a Celebration of Smart Growth in Essex County . Through partial funding from the Essex National Heritage Commission we have created a collection of case studies that showcases a wide array of smart growth projects and programs in Essex County. They each incorporate elements of success that can help guide initiatives in other communities. When we first issued the RFP for this publication, many communities responded with more projects than we could highlight. This is great news, as it means we are making progress in our efforts to find a balance between the pressures of growth and conservation of resources. You can access the case studies at

With some sadness and excitement for the next chapter, I also am letting you know that I will no longer be directing the Essex County Forum. This work has been one of the most interesting and challenging projects in my career and I thank all of you for your support. Because of your dedication and involvement, I look forward with optimism to a future in which our communities will continue to be great places to live, work, and play. I can be reached at 978-621-2830 For Essex County Forum business, please contact the Essex County Community Foundation at 978-777-8876.

Many thanks again for your support and I wish you all the best!

Monday, August 3, 2009

National Park Service Evaluation and ENHC Newsletter

ENHC Senior Staff Visit to Washington
In an earlier posting I noted that the ENHC senior staff had made a trip to Washington to meet with National Park Service staff regarding the evaluation that had been conducted late last year. The meetings over a two day period were most positive and it has been decided that the report on Essex Heritage that will be delivered to Congress will now be delayed and sent as a package with two other Heritage Areas. Those Heritage Areas will have their evaluations completed in the coming months. We wish that we were able to report more on the findings at this time, but when completed and delivered to Washington by the Park Service the results will certainly be shared with our many "friends". So many of you shared valuable time with the evaluation team during the process, and we look forward to sharing the results with you when assembled as part of the total package. It appears that combining the three reports as a single presentation will be more revealing and comparisons between the three examined Heritage Areas might shed light on the importance of Heritage Areas to the work of the National Park Service.

Essex National Heritage Commission Electronic Newsletter

I suspect that it is very possible that when I brag about and promote the Essex Heritage Electronic Newsletter that I am "preaching to the choir", as many who are reading this report also read that newsletter. This most current edition of the Essex Heritage newsletter just arrived in my mailbox and if any of you, and I suspect that will not be many of you who read these postings, do not receive this message from Essex Heritage please take the time to sign up. It is so well done and full of important information about current activities of Essex Heritage. This months edition focuses on maritime issues, such as the National ParK Service Maritime Festival, the new Essex Heritage Maritime Brochure and some of the most prominent maritime resources in the region are highlighted. Ms. Elizabeth Rankin of our staff is the Editor in Chief of this monthly newsletter and does such a wonderful job of organizing the material each month. We are so fortunate to have Elizabeth on staff as in addition to her editorial duties she also manages, plans and implements the wildly successful Essex Heritage Explorers Program. For mare information about the newsletter and or the Explorers Program contact Elizabeth Rankin

National Park Service Maritime Lecture Series
On Wednesday evening, August 5, 2009 Captain Mike Rutstein, the owner and Captain of the Schooner Fame will present the August Maritime Lecture at St. Joseph's Polish Club on Derby Street in Salem. The sessions each month are jointly sponsored by the Schooner Fame and the National Park service. This month's free lecture will highlight the participation of the Fame in the Gloucester Schooner Festival over the last six years. A lecture is presented each month and future lectures will focus on restoration work on the Ships Earnestine and Friendship. It is not too late to sign up for the August lecture and remember the sessions are all free. Contact the Salem Maritime National Historic Site in Salem for more information

One Personal Note.

As many of you know who have regular contact with Essex Heritage, for the last ten weeks, my wife Marge has been undergoing treatment for a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that settled in her leg. Those treatments were provided at the Cancer Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and that phase of treatments is now complete and is considered successful. The work done by the medical staff at MGH was extraordinary and what is left for her now is a series of radiation treatments that will be provided at the new MGH/NSMC facility just recently opened on Endicott Street in Danvers. Marge has done wonderfully through all of these difficult treatments, and all of her friends and family are proud of her courage to face this issue head on and to effectively deal with the treatments. We are most appreciative of all of the positive thoughts and prayers she has received these last ten weeks and we say thanks to all of you who extended her your well wishes.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Activities in Essex County and The Salem Partnership

Ipswich-Essex Explorers

Last week as my wife and I were heading to Fenway Park to a Red Sox afternoon game we noticed an advertising poster at a subway stop on the Red Line for a program that I was not aware was operating. The notice outlined a service offered jointly by the MBTA and the Cape Ann Transit Authority. The program offered train service from the Boston Metropolitan area to the Ipswich train station. From that point travelers were offered bus service to many of the most popular Ipswich/Essex destinations. Stops were offered in downtown Ipswich at the historic homes in the area like the Heard House and the Whipple House. Other destinations and stops offered were Russell Orchards, Cranes Beach, Wolf Hollow, Appleton Farms, Essex river Cruises or kayak rentals. This seems like a wonderful way to bring visitors from the Boston region to some of the most attractive locations in our region. Using public transportation to get the visitor destinations in Essex County can be very smart. In addition to the program offered in Ipswich stops off the train in Salem, Beverly, Gloucester, Rockport and Newburyport will all be worthwhile and offers wonderful venues to visit.

Community Celebrations

This week is an important time for two local communities as Salem's Heritage Days will be offering activities for all ages across the city through August 10th. For more information a complete schedule can be found on the city's web site Destination Salem at The Salem site also contains a link to the Salem Ferry where information can be found on the round trips offered to and from Salem into the City of Boston. Trips on the Ferry take you into the heart of the City of Boston, and the ride itself is an experience worth the time. In the neighboring City of Beverly, Homecoming festivities are also being held and activities are scheduled through August 9th. Similar to the activities in Salem, there are events for all ages.

Speaking of Salem

As one arrives in Salem coming in from Danvers and Peabody as you travel on lower North Street, the sight of the new Salem Courthouse that is being constructed is quite impressive. The size and scope of that building is imposing. When completed the new courthouse facility will be an important architectural and economic impetus for the Salem economy. The Salem Partnership, the community improvement organization that focuses on a working partnership between the Salem business community and municipal government can be very proud of that achievement that they helped lobbied for for the last decade. the Salem Partnership has many other accomplishments, as they were instrumental in the expansion and improvements to the National Park Service's Salem Maritime Historic site, its downtown Regional Visitor Center and the replica sailing ship Friendship. The Salem Partnership also served as the catalyst for the formation of the Essex National Heritage Commission and has an active hand in the current imitative to organize the regional creative economy programs.