Sunday, September 13, 2009

Trails and Sails, Regional Health Project, Community Preservation Act, Bakers Island and Bishop Fenwick Celebration


Essex Heritage Trails and Sails Events

Over the next two weekends 9/18-20 and 9/25-27, Essex Heritage will once again present its signature event in this region, Trails and Sails. This year the venues remain the same with many of the most important sites in the region opening their doors to visitors at no charge, and numerous events scheduled across the entire region. The change this year is that the two weekends of activities can be scheduled by you the participant, electronically. Sign on to the Essex Heritage web site at www, and follow the links to find the Trails and Sails section of the site. This year the maritime treasures of this region will be featured and those opportunities are abundant. It is not too late for one to sign on to the site and create a personal itinerary that can lead one across a trip around the region on one of the many days during the life of the program. Essex Heritage is very proud of this program, and we are pleased that over the many years we have been offering these opportunities we have provided many residents of this region the chance to visit places that they may not have had access to in the past. An example of a Trails and Sails event, is the Arthur Wesley Dow walk offered in Ipswich by the Ipswich Historical Society where one can experience the views that inspired Dow.

Amesbury and Salisbury Health Project

Congratulations to the Towns of Amesbury and Salisbury for their forward thinking as they move forward on a "regional" health service for the two towns. The original plan called for the participation of a third community, but when that Town rethought their options and backed away from the concept, Mayor Thacher Keezar and Town Manager Neil Harrington "stayed the course" and continued on with the shared health facility. More and more initiatives like this one are needed in these difficult economic times, if the financial health of our local communities are to be maintained. Wonderful effort by these two municipal managers.

Community Preservation Act Hearing

A hearing is scheduled at the State House in Boston on September 29, 2009 where an act to sustain the Community Preservation Act is scheduled. About one half of the communities in this region have enacted the Community Preservation Act and have used the money raised to accomplish much in their individual communities. Land has been acquired and set aside for recreational purposes and affordable housing has been built all over the region. Essex Heritage has endorsed the sustaining of the Act and are hopeful the act will be extended with additional resources allocated to those communities that enact the program in the future.

Bakers Island and Essex Heritage

During the past summer, Essex Heritage has begun to take steps to make the portion of Bakers Island that has been assigned to them accessible to the public in the future. Improvements have been made to building's on the property and during the summer months, Essex Heritage secured the services of a couple who spent the summer living on the site, to take care of the property and helping to manage the improvements. During the next few months Essex Heritage and our partner, the National Park Service will continue to discuss plans to allow small groups of visitors access to the island in the future. All of the plans that have been discussed include provisions to be certain that the rights of the many residents who own property and spend the summer on the island are preserved.

Happy Birthday Bishop Fenwick High School

On Sunday morning I attended a fitting opening event to celebrate the 50Th Anniversary of the founding of Bishop Fenwick High School. A liturgy service was celebrated by the leader of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston that was attended by a large crowd of Bishop Fenwick students, families, alumni and friends of the Peabody school. Sean, Cardinal O'Malley presided at the mass and then greeted attendees at a reception that followed the mass. Last May, I concluded five years of service to the school on its Board of Trustees, and during that time considerable continuing progress has been made since the school became an independent entity. I was pleased to be a part of that progress, and enjoyed my participation at this progressive institution. Enrollment at the Margin Street school has stayed manageable and the tuition that is becoming difficult for many private schools has remained most affordable. The student population includes residents from dozens of Essex County communities and is most definitely a valuable regional asset. The Sunday service was the kickoff event in a year long celebration of the half century of educational services to this region, and a series of events to help bring attention to this milestone are scheduled.

A Personal Note

Since this BLOG is representative of my personal observations, I will make a brief comment about the start of the NFL season, and the return of Quarterback Tom Brady. For most of the 50 year history of the Boston/New England Patriots I have been a loyal season ticket holder, and certainly have enjoyed the recent successes of the team this last decade. I will be in attendance tonight in Foxborough when Tom Brady returns as one of New England's best known sports icon's, and certainly hope that he "picks up" his career where it paused last year with a serious injury. The Patriots are very much part of the sports history of this region, and many of us are looking forward to a series of new successes in 2010.

As always I invite your questions, comments and observations about the material in this presentation, and all that is happening in this region. I can be reached at

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