Thursday, July 29, 2010

Essex Heritage Executive and Development Committee Meetings, Marblehead Museum, Parker River Wildlife Center, Salem State and St John's Prep


Essx Heritage Executive Committee

Earlier this month, the Essex Heritage Executive Committee met to hear a report from the Commission leadership on progress toward the Long-Range Planning goals. The Commission since its inception has been assisted with an annual appropriation that has been offered through our affiliation with the National Park Service and the wonderful support of the Washington Congressional delegation. That appropriation has provided the ability for Essex Heritage to develop and offer many programs that benefit this region. Certainly, in the future Essex Heritage needs to continue to develop new forms of revenue to keep this regional effort current and vitals soon. The presentation that was made to the Executive Committee reviewed several new initiatives that are being considered to meet this goal. When the planning for these efforts are more detailed and has more substance we will be certain to share the information with all of you, but for the time being we can only see, stay tuned for more details soon.

In addition to the report on the long-range planning efforts a recommendation was made and approved relative to a new group of Trustees that will be elected in August 2010. Unfortunately, two long term Trustees who have served Essex Heritage for many years have reached the maximum number of terms that they can serve and in August will be elevated to Trustee Emeritus status. Julie McConchie and Bill Pickles who have both been long associated with the North of Boston Convention and Visitor Bureau will have to step down from our Board. Their service over the last nine years has been exemplary and the partnership that has been established between out two organizations has accomplished much for this region. They will certainly be missed on a day-to-day basis, but we will still be able to turn to them for advice and council in their new role as Trustee Emeriti. In addition to Julie and Bill we have also received a resignation due to a change in employment status of Greg Pronevitz who has taken on a new position with the regional library system.

The executive Committee has approved a recommendation to fill the three empty spots with the following nominees.

· Mr. Jason Korb, Vice President of Acquisitions, Beacon development

· Mr. William Piercey. Vice President, Chase and Lunt Insurance

· Ms. Anita Blackaby, Executive Director, House of Seven Gables

The nominees have been recommended to the full Board of Trustees and they will be elected and will begin to serve at the August 24, 2010 meeting. I want to make note that Bill Piercey in addition to this role with Chase and Lunt Insurance in Newburyport also serves as the volunteer President of the North of Boston group, so that the special relationship Essex Heritage have had with North of Boston Convention and Visitor Bureau will continue into the future.

Essex Heritage Development Committee Meeting

I am sorry that I was unable to travel back to Essex County to attend the recent meeting of the newly established Essex Heritage Development Committee. The meeting was held earlier this week under the direction of Chairman Charlie Cullen of The Provident Bank in Amesbury and much was accomplished. The committee established goals for the group, and assignments were made to all members of the group. We are confidant that in the next several weeks that appointments will be made to speak to a number of regional corporate entities with the expectations that at those meetings a case can be made for support for Essex heritage. In addition to me being absent from the meeting Mr. Jack Good of Danversbank who has agreed to participate on the committee was also not able to attend the initial meeting of the group. Mary Williamson, the Director of Development and Communications for Essex Heritage and I will with Jack early next month to obtain his thoughts and observations. A second meeting of the group has been scheduled for September 20, 2010 and at that meeting progress towards the Committee goals will be reviewed and measured.

Marblehead Museum and Historical Society

The Marblehead Museum and Historical Society has issued a call for volunteers, as they are undertaking a major project to research and identify the names associated with over six hundred graves at Old Burial Hill in that community. This certainly appears to be a most worthwhile project and for any amateur historians the project would be most rewarding. The organization believes that over 600 participants in the Revolutionary War are buried on the hill along with other prominent former residents of Marblehead. If anyone has any interest is volunteering for this most interesting project contact the Society’ President Dick Carlson at 781- 631-3593.

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

The Parker River Wildlife Refuge is building a new Visitor Center to help better serve visitors to that important regional resource. At this time the new visitor center is partially open and the important feature of restrooms to serve visitors are open. The balance of the space that is still being competed is expected to be open by mid August as the Visitor Center staff is in the process of furnishing the space and completing the exhibits that will make the center complete. In addition to offering the new space to visitors in the future, the Center has gone “green’ with the installation of solar panels.

St John’s Prep Alumni Meeting on Cape Cod

Last night, It was a pleasure for me to mix a little business with pleasure, as I was able to attend at St, John’s Prep Alumni reception as the home of Paul Ahern a fellow member of the Alumni Association of the Prep. The agenda for the meeting was one of fellowship and is was good to see many of my contemporaries who either live full time or are summer residents in the Cape Cod region. Paul and I serve on a committee at the Prep that is reaching out to other alumni and providing information about planned giving opportunities at the school. All in all it was a most pleasant evening and I want to offer my thanks to Paul and his wife Mary for sharing their lovely home with us on a pleasant summer evening on Cape Cod.

Congratulations to Salem State University

All of us at Essex Heritage were elated to hear that the legislative action that was needed on Beacon Hill in Boston has been completed and what was once Salem Teachers College is now Salem State University. This action that clearly was the result of years of attention and dedicated committed work by both the current administration and past school leadership is wonderful news for the City of Salem and the entire region. This new important designation for the Salem institution will shine an even brighter spotlight on the south Salem landmark and the region and the thousands of alumni who can be truly proud of this new designation.

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. Thank You. Tom Leonard

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