Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Friendship Sail, North Shore Alliance, Essex Heritage Development Issues, Labor Day Activities, Essex Heritage History Continued



After a substantial amount of anticipation and advance reporting by the local TV channels, Hurricane EARL diminished rather dramatically as it passed by New England. The storm that had been listed as a category two storm as it passed the mid Atlantic states was lowered to a level one as it brushed by the cape and the Islands. Very shortly after delivering some substantial rain and a little wind on the cape and islands it was reduced again to just a tropical storm as it continued up the coast and into Nova Scotia.

The storm caused the National Park Service to adjust the schedule of sailing for the Friendship by one day and then reversed the travel schedule between Salem and Gloucester. The ship went out on Sunday from Salem and participated in the schooner races off of Gloucester and then retuned to her homeport of Salem on the Labor Day Holiday. The change in schedule caused me to cancel the plans that my wife and I had to participate, so I will have to wait until I speak to some of the participants later today when I obtain some first hand reports. But from what I believe, the trips went well and the weather did cooperate and I am certain that the weekend events were spectacular.


On September 23, 2010 at the Lynn Office of Eastern Bank, the North Shore Economic Alliance that is managed by Bill Luster under the auspices of Salem State University will hold its fall meeting. The focus of the meeting will be transportation and the State’s Secretary of Transportation will be the featured presenter. It is expected that reports on Route 128 improvements in Danvers and Beverly, along with information on the Blue Line expansion into Lynn and the Salem and Beverly MBTA garages will be provided. This is a relatively new organization that is doing wonderful work on a series of economic development issues important to the region.


As the summer comes to a close, the Essex Heritage Development Committee has demonstrated a wonderful commitment to increasing corporate support for the work of the Commission. The committee members have been most participatory and appointments have been established at several businesses that will be visited in the first couple of weeks in September. The Committee has established a goal of gaining appointments with fifteen new corporate entities between now and the end of the year, and with the activities of the last couple of weeks we are well on our way to meeting that goal. We will continue to report from time to time in this space as new commitments from the region’s corporate community are made to Essex Heritage. The first commitment made for support was made by the North Shore Bank, in Danvers and Peabody and for that support we are most appreciative. If any of you who follow the activities of Essex Heritage wish to be visited so that we might provide more definitive information about the work of ENHC, contact Mary Williamson at 978 740 0444 or e-mail her at maryw@essexheritage.org


On Saturday, along with my wife, my son and one of my grandsons we enjoyed a day at the Deutsche Bank Championship Golf Tournament at the Tournament Players Course in Norton, Mass. My ten year old grandson, Casey has become enamored with golf this summer, and after a full eight hours and about seven miles of walking the hills, we had to talk him back into the car to head home. Oh well, maybe we have another golfer in the family.

The Tournament is part of the year-end PGA championship finale and was very well attended. In fact it appeared to me that the crowds this year were much larger than in previous years. I suspect that is most positive for the economy of eastern Massachusetts as along with the large crowds, the patrons of the event seemed to be spending freely and enjoying the day. The weather was most cooperative as after the storm passed the rest of the weekend was most positive for outdoor activities

Part Five Essex Heritage History, (Continued)

The structure that was chosen called for the election of a large number of local leaders who would serve as Commissioners. These Commissioners were chosen to represent the many communities, organizations, businesses, and educational institutions etc that were being served by this new initiative. The primary role then and today of a Commissioner is to be an advocate for the work of the ENHC and to promote the mission of the organization whenever possible. In the beginning many local elected officials were appointed as Commissioners, but later in the life of the Commission it was decided that every elected official in Essex County would automatically became an ex-officio member of the commission. The group of commissioners would meet once each year at the annual meeting that is held each October, and later because of the activity that was being generated by the commission it was decided to hold a second full commission meeting in May of each year. From the group of Commissioners that by 2010 had grown to just over one hundred and fifty members, a group of 25 Trustees are chosen for a maximum of three, three-year terms. That group meets every other month, six times a year. The officers of the Commission who are also Trustees also meet six times a year on the opposite month from the Trustees.

In October 1997 the new Commission held its first ever annual meeting and a slate of officers and by-laws for the ENHC were approved. The first slate of officers elected for a two year term of office was: Thomas M. Leonard, President, Thomas Costin, Vice President, James MacDougall, Vice President, William Tinti, Clerk. The first ever-annual meeting of the ENHC was held in the National Park Service Regional Visitor Center in Salem and in addition to some organizational business; the creation of the ENHC was celebrated. It is interesting to note that since that inaugural annul meeting, the Commission has held two meetings each year through 2010 and those meetings have been held around the county at historic, educational and in some cases private locations.

In the congressional election two years later, a repeat of the close election battle for the sixth congressional seat held two years before was repeated, only this time John Tierney prevailed. It is very clear that without the strong commitment offered to the ENHC by the retiring congressman the legislation he offered and shepherded through the Congress would not have passed. His enthusiasm for the history that was being preserved played an important role in his strong commitment to the process.

The leadership of the ENHC met with Congressman elects Tierney shortly after his election and received a commitment from him of continuing support for this initiative. In the original ENHC legislation, we were authorized to receive up to $1 million per year up to a total of $15 Million over a 15-year time frame. Upon John’s election to the US Congress he found a method to get some of the authorized funding released and in 1999 the ENHC received the first funding since its inception. That funding has continued uninterrupted through 2010, although as more and more Heritage Areas have been created nationally, the amount of annual funding has diminished each year. The allocation of funds made to Essex Heritage has been reduced each year and at the present time we are receiving about 60% of what we once received. That reduced funding has been supplemented by an increase commitment to this initiative by the corporate community of the region and personal contributions from Trustees and friends of Essex Heritage.

We have not mentioned except briefly, since we began this report the role that the two United States Senators played in the creation of this initiative. Clearly without the total support and unwavering commitment of Senators Edward M. Kennedy until he died in 2009, and John F. Kerry we would never have been successful. Their support since the days of the “Ad Hoc” effort through the present time has been superior. There is very little question that the creation and the continuing funding of the Essex Heritage Commission could not have been possible without their support. The support of Congressman Martin Meehan and now his replacement, Niki Tsongas, after Congressman Meehan took a new position with the University of Lowell also should be noted as they represent four of the communities in the northwest corner of the Essex National Heritage Area, and they have offered their support and counsel at every step along the way.

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

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