Friday, April 2, 2010

Weather in New England, Strategic Plan to be Presented, Community Dinners in Danvers and Town Hall Murals

Essex Happenings, Friday April 2, 2010

Weather Issues Make for Difficult Times

I am not sure how I could prepare this posting on this day without some comments on the recent weather and the related difficulties that have been caused for so many in this region and around New England. I heard a comment recently that pointed out that is was just thirteen years ago yesterday when we all woke up to an April Fools Day snowstorm in 1997 that dropped three feet of snow on New England. I remember that day most clearly as on the day that storm started I was bringing my wife home from North Shore Medical Center after a medical procedure and we just about got home to Danvers before the storm worsened to the point that travel might not have been possible. The next day, Salem Five where I worked at that time and where I still serve as a Corporator held its annual meeting in the bank in the mid afternoon. The trip back to Salem that afternoon was very, very difficult but over the next couple of weeks all of the snow melted slowly and the region was spared from the kind of flooding we are seeing now with the March 2010 rain storms that are measured by some as the worst of a lifetime. Given a choice today, I would opt for the snow storm as the damages from that event were nowhere as severe as the damages from the recent rains. Over the last several days we have seen dramatic flooding in many parts of our region and many of our friends, fellow workers and family are experiencing some traumatic times with flooded basements, stalled cars, collapsed roads and long commutes. Some of the usual difficult locations around Essex County once again went through some harsh flooding conditions and businesses were impacted negatively as well, but as bad as it was in this region there are other sections of this larger region that were impacted even more dramatically.

We can only hope that the severe flooding conditions that have been reported on the south coast of New England and particularly in the State of Rhode Island will improve soon. In that area there are many rivers and dams that are near the breaking point and continuing improvement for that area is critical. If some of the damaged and weakened dams let go before the rivers recede a bit there could be cataclysmic effects in that part of New England. We look with some hope towards a weekend forecast that predicts warmer weather and most importantly sunny skies that might begin to dry up some of the regions flooding. Maybe by the end of the upcoming holiday weekend, we will see some improvement and we will all be able to look forward to better days ahead.

Essex Heritage to Present Long Range Plan to Board of Trustees

Next Tuesday, management of the Essex National Heritage Commission will present a long range plan to the Board of Trustees for their approval. The plan has been developed with substantial input from the Executive Committee of Essex Heritage and has been about a half a year in the development. Like every corporate planning process the plan that has been developed will have to remain most fluid as conditions that impact not for profit organizations like this one are changing much more quickly that ever before. The plan that will be presented will outline a vision and a direction for this organization that will help lead us in the future. The plan that has been developed over the last several months has received substantial input from the members of the Executive Committee and their thoughts and ideas have been added to the plan. The new plan will focus on several tenants that will include offering a stronger regional voice on quality of life issues and how those sometimes “hard to define values” impact the region in general. The plan will also offer thoughts on how the visibility of the National Park Service can be improved in the region and how that increased visibility will benefit the region. Essex Heritage will continue to be an educator and will offer programs to increase awareness in the region of the wonderful historic, cultural and natural resources that exist in the area. In addition, plans will be developed that will help to diversify funding sources to insure the long term sustainability of Essex Heritage. The plan will be complete with detailed strategies and tactics that will be most evident in the near term as Essex Heritage implements the plan. The leadership of Essex Heritage is particularly indebted to Board President, Kevin Tierney, CEO of Saugus Bank and Immediate Past President Nancy Huntington Stager of Eastern Bank for their efforts over the last six months in helping to craft the plan that will be presented next week.

Danvers Historic Murals Should be Reinstalled

As a long time resident of Danvers, and as a member of the board at the Danvers Historical Society, I agree wholeheartedly with Town Archivist Richard Trask that the three historic murals that were removed from Danvers Town Hall during the recent renovation should once again be displayed in Town Hall. The murals depict important times and events in Danvers History and should be preserved and displayed for future generations to view, be informed and enjoy.

Community Dinners in Danvers

A couple of years ago when an explosion hit the Danversport section of the Town of Danvers a number of organizations and concerned citizens organized a series of community dinners for those impacted that were most successfully implemented. When that neighborhood crisis was over and the impacted citizens life’s had returned to some semblance of normalcy the dinners were ended. Towards the end of last year several local churches led by the Maple Street Church decided to start the dinners up again as a resource to many in the community that were being impacted by negative economic conditions. The dinners have been ongoing now for a couple of months, and last night on an evening particularly thought of by many in the Christian community as a day for service to others, parishioners from St Richard’s church led by Paul and Patty Chisholm from the Parish Council at St. Richard’s served the meal at the Maple Street Church. I was pleased that my wife, Marge and I were able to participate in the dinner last night, as it was a wonderful evening and we were pleased to be a part of the experience. The group from the Maple Street Church that has organized this effort is still seeking support from community groups and if any in the Town of Danvers have an interest in learning more about the community dinner’s contact the Maple Street Church leadership.

Happy Easter Season

In my last posting, we were able to wish our many Jewish friends, associates and benefactors our best wishes as they began the celebration of Passover. Now we can also offer our best wishes to our Christian friends for a Happy Easter season. Last evening in many churches around this region the three day Easter services began with Holy Thursday, and tonight Good Friday will be observed, followed by Easter Sunday services on what we all hope will be a warm and sunny day,

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. Thanks You. Tom Leonard

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