ESSEX HAPPENINGS, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2010
Essex Heritage Photo Contest Deadline Extended
A couple of postings ago, I reported on the upcoming annual Essex Heritage Photo contest. This has been a most successful annual event for us, and the winners through the years have had their photos displayed in the National Park Service Visitor Center in Salem where they receive substantial exposure. There are a series of awards that are provided annually and that alone make the competition worth the effort. The original release indicated that the deadline for entries was early in October and that date has now been extended to November 1, 2010. The deadline was extended to provide all of you with the wonderful opportunities that are provided in this region during the spectacular month of October. This will allow for some foliage shots and also will allow for the opportunity to photograph some of the many venues available during Trails and Sails to test your photographic skills. The rules that apply for this contest can be found on the Essex Heritage web site at www.essexheritage,org. Please get out in the region, take some photo and enter our contest.
Essex Heritage Nominating Committee Names Slate
The Essex Heritage Commission Nominating committee under the leadership of Chairman Sumner Jones has met and has developed a slate of new Commissioners for election at the Annual Meeting on October 26, 2010 at the Carriage House at Lynch Park in Beverly. Several of the nominees have already accepted the nomination and have met with the Commission leadership to learn of their role. The balance of the slate is being contacted, and when that process is complete we will list the slate in its entirety.
North Shore Community College Foundation Efforts
The North Shore Community College is in the midst of a major effort to raise funds for a campaign that they have called, “Investing in a Sustainable North Shore”. The campaign focuses on the need to provide furnishings for the new Danvers Campus Health Professions and Student Services Building, Scholarships and Endowment and The Lynn Initiative that calls for scholarships for deserving Lynn youths. To date there have been several leadership gifts to the campaign and the college is using those gifts to attract other comparable gifts. The College will be holding a donor reception on October 5, 2010 at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, and any local businesses can take part in that event to learn more about the campaign. To participate in that event or to learn more about opportunities to help this regional educational institution assist this region contact Tatiana Burgos-Espinal at the college at 978 762 4000 x 5527.
Salem Rotary Receives Annual Report from Mayor Driscoll
In this space, I try to balance the presentations offered to report on activities across the entire region, but since we are headquartered in Salem, sometimes the orientation towards that city is a little unbalanced. Today I offer some thoughts on a presentation that Mayor Kim Driscoll of Salem provided to the local Rotary club. I have been a member of the Salem Rotary club for almost twenty years and the annual update from the sitting Mayor of Salem is a tradition in the fall. Her report was specific to Salem, but in many cases the issues she reports on are applicable to almost every other community in this region.
Mayor Driscoll provided a comprehensive report on the health and expectations for the city. As required by law the city has established a balanced budget, but that process is not without its difficulties. At this time and under the difficult economic times all communities are experiencing with frequent local aid cuts mandated by the Commonwealth cuts in services provided have been made. There are currently fewer fire and police on the job in Salem, and the Mayor continues to work diligently to do every thing a local official can do today to renegotiate the generous benefits that most municipal employees receive. The Mayor this year noted that one of the more serious issues facing her community and others in the region is the pension issue. In most cases the pension obligations of local communities in not totally funded, and in the not to distant future that issue could become a most serious issue to manage financially for Salem and other communities in this region. She also reported that the unused sick leave policy that provides many employees at the time of their retirement with a substantial payoff for days accumulated during long careers at lower wage levels with funding at the highest salary level achieved is an issue that bears review and some kind of adjustment to make that process financially sound for these local communities. If some adjustment is not made to the present policies in municipal employee benefits the outlook for many communities in the region could be financially difficult in the future.
The Mayor reported positively on the health and vitality of the business community in the city. She provided a list of new retail establishments that have opened during the past twelve months, and the mix of year-round retail establishments rather than just tourist related businesses is encouraging. In general Mayor Driscoll was most positive as she always is, and looks to the future of her city and the region in general with great optimism.
Essex Heritage History, Part Eight (continued)
In the same time frame we have expanded the number of Commissioners who represent the thirty-four communities and the many occupations prevalent in this region up to one hundred and fifty community volunteers. That group of volunteers remains strong and vibrant as well and the pool of Commissioners is where we reach out to find new Trustees when that situation is demanded.
I started to note our staff, and became a little side tracked with information on our volunteers. In addition to Annie Harris and I, we are blessed to have Susan Lippman as our part-time CFO and the other two members of the valuable leadership team has Bill Steelman as our Director of Heritage Development and Mary Williamson as our Director of Development and Communications. Those three folks when added to the mix make us a strong cohesive, collaborative unit. We also are blessed with strong support staff and Elizabeth Rankin, Emily Levin, Debbie Foreman, Rebecca Zimmerman and Richard Scott and are wonderful and always willing to do what ever needs to be done in a small office like the one we manage.
The staff regularly manages many annual projects that make the Commission what it has become in the region. In addition to the Partnership Grant program, we annually manage a Heritage Hero Event, a series of Photo Safari’s, a Photo Contest, an informative monthly newsletter that goes out to 6000 friends of Essex Heritage, a newsletter from a partnership with Essex Agricultural Society that assists farmers, Explorer Events, an active informative web site, scores of news releases each year, National Park Service events like the work connected to the Friendship and the development of the Junior Ranger program in Salem and of course our premier event Trails and Sails each fall and other sundry opportunities when presented. In addition to the annual events, the Commission has played an important regional role by bringing many in the region together for projects. Several programs like the LINK’s program developed in partnership with Salem State College and the Beverly School System that has produced an education program for teachers that is then passed on the students across the county, the Border to Boston Rail Trail that has joined community efforts from Salisbury to Danvers, and the most important Essex Heritage Scenic Byway that has thirteen communities cooperating along the county’s historic coast.
In 2007 we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Commission with a wonderful celebratory event at the Topsfield Fair grounds. That event was a wonderful social and financial success with a sold out building and a level of attendance that exceeded even our highest expectations. The late Senator Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy joined us that evening as our keynote speaker and celebrated with his many friends and admirers. That event became the catalyst for the very successful Heritage Hero Events that have been held these last three years. Those events have honored Salem Historian, Jim McAllister in 2007, former Mayor Lynn Tom Costin in 2008 and a trio of award winners in 201o that included, former Mayors on Amesbury and Newburyport, Nick Costello, and Byron Matthews, and Salisbury tourism activist Maria Miles.
ENHC History to be continued in the next Essex Happenings BLOG posting
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. Thank You. Tom Leonard