Monday, December 21, 2009

Essex Heritage Byway News, Agricultural Newsletter. Gloucester Ponders School Decision, Award in Danvers, and Salem Calendars


Essex Heritage Scenic Byway Meetings to Continue

Through the months of November and December 2009, Essex Heritage scheduled a first round of meetings about the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway with municipal planners and other interested parties in the thirteen communities where the byway is located. This first round of meetings were very beneficial to the planning firm hired by Essex Heritage, and all of the community activists who have indicated an interest in having input into the process. The meeting allowed Essex Heritage and its planning team the chance to outline the preliminary plans for the existing roadway and to hear from those most impacted by any plans. The information gathered during those meetings is important to the effort, and has been catalogued by the planners for future action. Now just after the start of the New Year and continuing through February a second round of meetings are scheduled. During these sessions more specific information on the process will be outlined and dialog will continue to be certain that the plans for the soon to be identified roadway will reflect the wishes of those most impacted. Essex Heritage will announce the dates for the meetings in early January 2010, and those with an interest in the process will have the opportunity to offer their thoughts to the planning team.

December Northeast Harvest Newsletter Published

Essex Heritage in partnership with Topsfield Fair, Massachusetts Grown and Fresher, and the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture publishes a monthly newsletter the focuses on the farmers of Essex and Middlesex Counties. The December issue of the newsletter has just been distributed and if any of you wish to receive this offering please contact us at to be added to the mailing list. This month the newsletter was pleased to announce that the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture had awarded Essex Heritage and its partner the Essex Agricultural Society a $10,000 grant for the purpose of further sustaining the two organizations as they promoted local agriculture, Buy-Local efforts offered through and the corresponding supporting e-newsletter. This grant is certainly appreciated and will allow Essex Heritage to continue its efforts in this area.

The newsletter this month contains information on a local farm from each of the two promoted counties. This month representing Essex County is the Colby Farm on Scotland Road, in Newburyport that is run by Bill and Lisa Colby. That farm that was founded in 1960 and raises poultry and a large herd of Holstein dairy cattle. In addition the Colby’s run a haying operation, a farm stand and raise 300-400 piglets each year. In this edition of the newsletter, Middlesex County is represented by the Spring Brook farm in Littleton, Mass. This operation is run by Frank Matheson and that farm has been providing the surrounding area with vegetables, berries, and cut flowers since the farm has been in existence for almost three centuries. Information in the newsletter this month also includes information about specialty foods found in the region and a recipe for Honey and sage roasted Rack of Pork.

The City of Gloucester Continues to Debate Joining the New Regional Vocational School

The Mayor of the City of Gloucester recently vetoed the decision made by the City Council to join the new school district that will manage the regional Vocational and Technical High School that will be built in Danvers on the campus of the Essex Agricultural School. The Mayor’s decision was based on the inability of that community to afford the costs associated with the new school, and at the same time continue to provide similar educational opportunities in the Gloucester school system. The City Council in a recent vote failed to overturn that veto and so at present the City of Gloucester is not planning to be a member of the new system. The Gloucester City Council that will have several new members in place after the start of the New Year is attempting to prepare information that will allow that body to consider a vote to over turn the Mayor’s decision. The Mayors decision is easy to understand as it is based on the availability of funding to support entry into the new school district and to continue some vocational programs in the city school system. It is certain that in light of the changing conditions in the fishing industry that the City of Gloucester would be well served to participate in the new school district that will be able to provide top notch training to both present and future students from Gloucester. Essex Heritage that has long supported the regional aspect of this new facility is certainly hopeful that officials from Gloucester can come to some agreement on this issue. In these times participation by local communities in regional initiatives is critical as scarce resources in all municipalities can be extended by participation with others in the region.

Local Danvers Businessman Receives Commendation

Over this past weekend, a local veterans group representing American Legion Post # 180 in Danvers announced that they were providing their first ever Annual Americanism Award to local restaurant and deli owner Kary Andrinopoulos. The award was provided due in part to the way Kary embraces patriotism in the popular restaurant he owns with his partner in downtown Danvers. Each year on September 11th, Brothers Restaurant in Danvers has offered a tribute to those that lost their lives on that fateful day in 2001. This is a wonderful tribute that was paid to this former resident of Greece, who is now a proud American Citizen. My family and I are regular patrons of Brother’s Restaurant and just about a month ago, I was privileged to act as a celebrity server at lunch one day, as Brother’s celebrated its 10th anniversary in Danvers. I am pleased for Kary as he certainly deserves the award he was provided, and am proud to be able to call him a friend as well.

Salem Rotary Club Selling Calendars

For the past 15 years, I have been an active member of the Salem Rotary Club. The club supports many wonderful charitable endeavors, but the best one of all is its scholarship program that provides financial support for young men and woman from Salem as they move from High School to College. To support this program, the club sells calendars each year that not only depict historic scenes from Salem’s past, but also provides the purchaser the chance to win one of 52 annual drawings of $100 each. The calendars are now available from Salem Rotary members and also at a number of retail outlets in Salem. Look for them as they serve a wonderful purpose as they help fund one of the financially generous programs for scholarships that I have ever seen.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please offer you comments in the section at the end of this posting or contact me with your thoughts at Thanks. Tom Leonard

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