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.


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