Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Special Observations, Salem News Editorial, Essex Heritage Audit, Salem Police Chief Speaks at Salem Rotary

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Notes on Ongoing Observations

From time to time I have to remind myself that on any given day, there may be a new reader or two of this effort to inform residents of the region about the activities of Essex Heritage. The Essex Happenings BLOG seeks to provide information about the day to day initiatives of Essex Heritage and other activities of our many partners in this region as together we attempt to make the place where we either live or work a more livable environment. Essex Heritage considers itself an umbrella organization that serves as an advocate for the promotion and preservation of the historical, natural and cultural resources that exist in such abundance in this region. We attempt to accomplish these tasks as a collaborator with other organizations when our support and participation are required and sometimes simply as a convener if those are the skills that are needed for a particular project.

The observations offered in these frequent postings are my personal thoughts as someone who has been associated with this effort over the life of the project and are not intended to be positioned as the official posture of Essex Heritage, its staff or any of its many volunteer members of the Board of Trustees. I hope that the observations offered here are informative and provide a more complete understanding of the work of so many allied organizations and individuals who work to make this a better place for all of us to live and work. I also on occasion will offer some very personal observations about activities in this area not necessarily associated with or even remotely connected to the work of Essex Heritage, but those are the opportunities afforded me today through this new medium of communications. I continue to encourage anyone who reads of our work to contact me if any of the material raises a question or you need additional information. I can be reached at

Salem News Editorial Today

We are certainly appreciative of the support on the Salem News Editorial Page today for an idea offered at the recent Essex Heritage Municipal/Legislative Leadership Breakfast. Essex Heritage and the local National Park Service leadership team are exploring the possibilities of using the recently obtained license for the Baker’s Island Light Station as a catalyst to establish a broader opportunity for Essex Heritage and our senior partner, the National Park Service to provide more collaboration in the waters of Salem sound. The idea to develop a concept that could be called Harbor Islands North that would be similar to what exists with the Boston Harbor Islands is an exciting concept, and we are most hopeful that in the near term a more complete plan might be explored and then examined by many interests in the region. There is still much to be done before even a preliminary plan can be examined, as we certainly can not plan for a venture like this in a vacuum. There are many regional interests that need to have an opportunity to participate, not the least of whom are the neighbors who share Bakers Island with Essex Heritage. The one concept that all can be certain of is that access to Bakers Island will never be unlimited, as our plans call for access to be only by controlled tours and always accompanied by guides.

Essex Heritage Audit Committee Report

Under normal circumstances Audit Committee meeting reports do not make for “can’t put down” reading material and the meeting Essex Heritage held today was no different, but still most important. We are most appreciative of the work accomplished by the dedicated Essex Heritage Committee who gathers annually to pour over financial reports and independent auditor opinions. The firm of Parent, McLaughlin and Nangle conduct the audit and present their findings and recommendations. The meeting today confirmed once again that the work of the Commission is being recorded properly and the independent auditors have once again found that all financial reports that are filled with Federal and State agencies are in order. For the management team at Essex Heritage this is always most comforting news, as one must always know where they have been, before staring to chart a course forward. The committee is managed by John Meserve. President of Merrimac Savings Bank, and he is assisted by Robert Conley of Ryan and Coscia PC of Salem, and the bulk of the preparation work for the audit is prepared and managed by Susan Lippman the CFO of Essex Heritage.

Salem Police Chief Speaks to Salem Rotary

I have always particularly appreciated presentations at weekly Rotary club meetings that either provide me with information that I did not have previously, or tell me an interesting story. At this Tuesday’s Salem Rotary meeting, our speaker was someone who I have known for years, and a presenter who certainly related something that I did know before the meeting. Paul Tucker the recently appointed Chief of Police in Salem has been with the Salem force for over 28 years prior to his selection as Chief. At my previous employer, Salem Five Bank I had numerous occasions to deal with Paul in both his role with the Police force and as a community volunteer. Paul grew up in Salem, and both of his parents were elementary school classmates of mine at the now closed St. Mary’s school on Hawthorne Boulevard in Salem. It is interesting to note that the school now hosts the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem. Paul’s wife Anne worked with me for a number of years at the bank, and we collaborated on many projects in that capacity.

At the Rotary presentation Chief Tucker provided us with an overview of the technology currently being used by area police forces, from number plate identification to fingerprint and DNA examinations. He related how important it is to consider some of the privacy and personal rights issues as these technologies are being used to help keep our communities safe and to put wrongdoers in jail, He also provided some insight into how these new technologies are also being used to prove the innocence, in some cases, of wrongly accused and even incarcerated individuals, Chief Ticker included numerous examples of how the technologies are being used today, and provided a level of comfort that he truly understood the privacy issue as well. All in all, the presentation was most informative and that is all one can hope for when a luncheon speaker presents anywhere,

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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