Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Trails and Sails Sponsorship, LINC's Extended, NSMC Cancer Walk Scheduled, Rotary Scholarships, Route 128 Work Begins, Mass Audubon Retirement


Trail and Sails Sponsorship Assured

A couple a days ago, I noted a number of corporate contributions that had been recently received at Essex Heritage and offered my personal thanks to the many businesses that continue to offer support to this effort. Included in that list of businesses was TD Bank and today, I want to make special notice of the importance of their contribution. Once again that large national banking institution has demonstrated its support of this region by once again agreeing to take the lead as the Presenting Sponsor at Essex Heritage’s signature event, Trails and Sails. For the last decade, Essex Heritage has worked with dozens of local partners to present a free weekend of site visits, walks, sails etc in the fall of each year that allows residents of this region a chance to sample all that is special in this region. In 2010 the event has been expanded to include two weekends at the end of September, and the sponsorship contribution that TD Bank has once again agreed to provide is a big reason why the event will once again be successful. I realize that it is only mid May and at this time September’s Trails and Sails events are months away, but planning for these important weekends is already underway, and without the commitment of TD Bank none of this would be possible. The weekends of the events this year are on September 17-19 and 24-26 and information on the ongoing planning can be found at www.trailsandsails.org. Visit the site from time to time to get current information and it is never too early for you to begin your own personal weekend planning process.

Essex Heritage Educational Program, LINC’s Extended

The Essex LINC’s educational grant that Essex Heritage helps to manage has been extended to now include the 2010-2011 school year. This federally funded education grant helps elementary school teachers in the 34 communities in Essex County bring primary source material and hands on learning experiences into classrooms all over the region. This wonderful regional program that was begun in 2007 has provided support to over one hundred teachers in this region and has offered digitized local papers and photographs that allow local students to learn more about their own individual communities and historic sites. If any teachers in the region want to learn more about this program information can be found on the Essex Heritage web site at www.essexheritage,org.

North Shore Medical Center Cancer Walk Celebrates an Anniversary

It is never too early to remind you of an event that has become one of the premier fundraising and social events of the year. This year on Fathers Day, June 20, 2010 the North Shore Medical Center and Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of that event. The event that was begun under the leadership of a dear friend of mine Chris McCann and has over the years, become a wonderful event that benefits a cause that touches all of us in one way or another. Over the years, I have missed a couple of the walks but not many. For many years when I was at Salem Five I helped organize the effort at the Bank and was privileged to have served as the volunteer chairman of the event for the hospital for two years in the formative years of the walk. The funds that have been raised by this premier regional event have done so much good in the fight against this dreaded disease, and now more than ever I want to be counted as a supporter of this effort. The organizers of the event this year have added a “run” component to the event in addition to the traditional walk and once again the event will begin and end at the Salem Willows Park at 9:00 am. Hopefully this new element of the event will bring more attention to the event. For additional information or to sign up as either a walker, runner or as a volunteer, visit www.cancerwalk@partners.org or call the toll free WALK line at 866 296 6900. You will be glad that you helped out, and the money that you help raise is so important to the fight to fight cancer.

Salem Rotary Club Scholarship Effort

On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, I will be participating as a member of the Salem Rotary Club Scholarship Committee as we conduct nearly two dozen interviews with Salem youngsters. This is the third time during my association with the Salem Rotary club that I have participated in this experience, and once had the privilege of chairing the Committee. The Salem Rotary club has had a long history of providing funds to Salem residents who are finishing their high school careers and are planning to head off to a College or University in the near future. To qualify for an award a student must reside in Salem, but this year applicants represented Salem High School, the Salem Academy Charter School, St John’s Preparatory School and Bishop Fenwick High School. The funds provided by the Rotary are raised during the course of the year at many activities are also supplemented by the earnings from a foundation that has been managed by the Rotary for many years. That day two special awards will be made in the names of “Salty’ Smith and “Buck” Alexander two long time deceased Salem Rotarians that have long been linked to the scholarship effort. It is a pleasure to participate in this effort, as clearly providing education based funds to young men and woman who will in the future be the leaders of this region is most important to both the students and the region.

Preparations to Start Work on Route 128 Exit Ramps “Kicks Off”

After many years of promises and anticipation, work on the two exits of Route 128 that impact Beverly and Danvers in the heart of the region began last week. The $20 million dollar project will certainly cause some disruptions over the next three years as work to improve access and egress on the exits from Route 128 at Route 35 and at Route 62 begins in earnest. The preliminary work that began last week included some brush clearing and other prep site work to prepare the sites for some more serious work in the months ahead. I suspect that as someone who lives in this part of the region and uses Route 128 and those two exits with some regularity that our travel plans may take a little more time in the future, but the long-term safety improvements that will be made to the roads will trump the short term inconveniences.

Best Wishes to the Retiring Director of Mass Audubon

We have recently received notification at Essex Heritage that a long-time advocate for the preservation and protection of the natural and cultural resources of this region is retiring from her post with Mass Audubon. We wish all the best to Ms Kathy Leahy, Director of Mass Audubon on her retirement on May 14, 2010. Her work in this region, particularly as it pertains to the Great Marsh Coalition that we worked on together has been extraordinary and we wish her all the best as she begins another important phase of her life. Best wishes, Kathy and good luck in the future.

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 www.essexheritage.org. 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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