Monday, January 4, 2010

Flight over the Region, NPS Retirement, Danvers High School Band at Rose Parade and Happy New Year Medical News



On behalf of all of us at Essex Heritage is our pleasure to wish all of our friends around the region, a belated but most prosperous and healthy New Year. It has been a week or so since I last posted to Essex Happenings and I certainly hope that the Holiday period was pleasant and time spent with family and friends was enjoyable.

Flight Over the Region

A couple of days before Christmas, I had an excellent experience as I had the opportunity to take a flight over this region in a small single engine airplane. This experience is the result of a long time relationship with St John’s Prep and Brother Tim Paul CFX. Over the last six decades I have had a wonderful relationship at St John’s Prep as a summer camper, a student, a parent of two students, a volunteer with a parents club, a member of the school’s Board of Trustees, a grandparent of a current student, and still participate today as the chairman of a committee focused on making alumni aware of planned giving opportunities. During about half of that time, I have the privilege of knowing Brother Timothy Paul, CFX who has also served in several teaching and administrative capacities at the Prep. He is now a biology teacher at the Prep, and has taught both of my sons and my grandson, now at the Prep, and he is currently the moderator of an Aero Club at the school. In that role, Brother Tim has gathered about three-dozen students who have exhibited an interest in flying, and through a series of activities both at the school and at Beverly Airport he is developing young men who might pursue this avocation later in life. The school received a generous financial grant from a Prep Alum, who is a flying enthusiast and with that gift, Brother Tim has created a program that provides basic ground training along with some modest flight experience. Brother Tim advises that to his knowledge this is the only High School program like this in the country. As the club moderator, Brother Tim received his license to fly early in 2009, and as time permits, takes a flight each month to remain current,

On Brother’s December trip he asked me I wanted to “tag along”. We left Beverly Airport on a clear, sunny but somewhat windy day and headed north on a course parallel with Route 95 north. Just after take off, we flew over the “Prep”, and then had a view off the left wing of the City of Lawrence. We traveled north to about the Hampton, New Hampshire area. From our vantage point, we had a sensational view of the soon to be replaced Whittier Bridge over the Merrimack River, and the City of Newburyport, West Newbury and Plum Island and great views of the Essex County coastline. We turned south and passed over the spectacular marshlands in the northern end of the region, and then flew over Cape Ann where we had wonderful views of Rockport and Gloucester and their historic harbors. The trip lasted all too short a time as we lined up for a landing on Runway 27 at a quiet Beverly Airport. It was quite a treat to view the area we serve at Essex Heritage from 4000 feet, and it became even more clear than at any time in the past to me, that we have a wonderful landscape in this region, and it is even more important that Essex Heritage continues to develop plans to preserve this important resource for both this and future generations.

Best Wishes to Peter LaChapelle on his Retirement from the NPS

The news of the retirement of Peter LaChapelle from his post at the Salem Maritime Historic Site is good news for Peter, but bad news for the site and the region. Peter, who grew up in Salem, has spent the vast majority of his National Park Service career on this park site has served the site, the City of Salem and the region with great distinction. Peter has been a wonderful asset as he has lent his special expertise to the management of the site, various tourist endeavors in the City of Salem, and many of the activities that Essex Heritage has undertaken as part of our association with the Salem National Park Site. We certainly wish Peter good luck in his retirement and we are certain that we will see Peter in many capacities as he will likely still be playing a role in tourist activities in the City of Salem in the future.

The Town of Danvers Marching Band Shines Bright in Pasadena

As a resident of the Town of Danvers, it is always a moment of great pride when we see the Danvers High School Falcons marching band participating in another national event. On New Years Day 2010, the band, made up of 172 Danvers youngsters, participated for the third time in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. The band has also appeared in a parade in Disney World as well, so they are certainly a well recognized musical troupe. These are expensive trips and band members, fund raising efforts, and cooperative businesses in the community raise all of the funds needed to complete the travel. The weather was most cooperative for the event, unlike the last visit of the band to the Rose Parade when it rained most of the day. The band that has become one of the highlights of the Danvers community was its usual spectacular self. They were positioned at the very end of the parade, and carried a large American Flag in keeping with the patriotic theme of the event. As the parade wound down, at least as far as the TV presentation was concerned, a flight of US Navy fighter jets flew over the Danvers contingent. Congratulations to the band, the director, and the parent support group for a wonderful performance. Danvers and the entire region are proud of your achievements.

Good Health News as 2009 Comes to a Close

After a couple of very uncertain days at the end of 2009, while the medical team from Massachusetts General Hospital that is helping craft a plan to help treat my wife pondered a couple of recent tests, we waited for results and a diagnosis. We finally learned that now all appears to be clear. That was wonderful news as the second half of this past year was most difficult for her as she was treated for a tumor. Together, we now look forward to a healthy 2010 and hope that the New Year will be a healthy one for all of you as well.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts at Thanks. Tom Leonard

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