Friday, November 5, 2010

Essex Heritage Elects Commissioners, Salem Returns to Normal Boys and Girls Club Evaluation, Election Results Official


New Essex Heritage Commissioners Elected

At each of the two regional meetings held by Essex Heritage in May and October of each year, one of the most important tasks undertaken is the election of new Commissioners. The by-laws of the Commission allow us to elect up to 150 Commissioners who serve as ambassadors for Essex Heritage and to act as our ”eyes and ears” in the communities where they live and in the professions and businesses that they serve... We have always worked to maintain that level as close as possible to the 150 allowed limit as we are most concerned that the inclusivity of Essex Heritage is always maintained. It has always been one of our goals to continue to bring as many people and organizations as possible “under the tent” we have established to be certain that all in the region are represented. As time goes on, changes occur in peoples lives, and resignations from the Commission occur. The annual election of new Commissioners twice each year make certain that there are always new ideas and interests being introduced to the work of the Essex National Heritage Commission. This past October was no different as at the meeting held at the end of October ten new Commissions were elected. The new Commissioner elected at the October 26, 2010 meeting is as follows:

- Tatiana Burgos Espinal, North Shore Community College

- Ralph Castagna, Castagna Construction

- Joe Geller, Geller Micro Analytical Lab, Inc

- Stephen Immerman, Montserrat College of Art

- John Keohane, Henry's Market

- Tom McNulty, former Clerk,Town of Marblehead

- Karen Nascembeni, North Shore Music Theatre

- Nathaniel Pulsifer, Coburn Charitable Society

- Michael Schulze, Peabody Community Preservation Committee

- Ralph Castagna, Castagna Construction

We welcome these new Commissioners and look forward to working with them in the time ahead.

Salem Returns to More Normal Conditions

When I returned to Salem early on Monday morning on the first day of November 2010, it was almost hard to believe that less than a dozen hour before that the streets were filled with Halloween revelers. The City did a fantastic job of returning the mall to nearly pristine conditions. It is almost difficult to believe that an estimated 60 to 70 thousand people had jammed Salem on the final day of the traditional October celebration. From all accounts the month-long celebration was a financial success for all parties. The city, under the leadership of Mayor Driscoll and her tourism manager, Kate Fox and certainly hundreds of other committed volunteers had embraced a concept, made it safe and found methods to have the events make money for merchants and the City as well as to be an entertaining event for visitors. Estimates indicate that over $9 million was spent by consumers over the periods and the City that just a couple of years ago had a “tiger by the tail” that cost the city money, made $200,000 from the events. With municipal finances being what they are today, that is a healthy amount of money that can be used to support so many community uses. Estimates indicate that overall attendance for the month was up over 18% and in the long run that is certainly a blessing for the merchants who call Salem home. Congratulations to all who played a role in this effort, and now that we have all turned the calendar to November it was most pleasant to see the positive reports on the way the event was handled in Salem that have surfaced on nearly every media outlet.

Important Site Preserved in Danvers

At the end of last month, an important preservation effort in the Town of Danvers was recognized when the Walnut Grove Crypt was re-dedicated. The crypt that had fallen into a state of serious disrepair and was just a short time ago in danger of being demolished has been resurrected and restored. The Crypt that was built in 1843, located in the historic Walnut Grove Cemetery, was originally built as a location where human remains could be stored during the winter when conditions would not allow for burial. Over the last couple of years the Town Preservation Committee and the cemetery worked out a plan to prevent the demolition of the historic structure that has now been saved and rehabilitated and will be used by the cemetery as a storage facility. The arrangement that was reached developed a partnership between the Cemetery, the Town’s Preservation Commission and students from the North Shore Technical High School that provided labor to help restore the roof, a cupola and brick work. The Town also agreed to provide continuing maintenance in the future. This was a project that not too long ago came before the Town’s Finance Committee and received a positive recommendation and then was approved by Town Meeting. This has been a wonderful example of how a partnership between many organizations can come together to save a substantial historic resource in a local community for future generations.

Boys and Girls Club Evaluation

During the past week and into this present week, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem have been conducting a series of surveys with local community leaders to learn how the club is perceived and if funding to improve club conditions can be achieved. The meetings have been scheduled with both members of the Board of Directors and with other interested parties in the area. The results of those interviews will be presented to the full Board late this month and will certainly help the board with important decisions they mast make in the near term. In addition to the external outreach that has been ongoing, late on Wednesday afternoon the Board of Directors gathered in the Community Room of the Salem Five bank to begin a planning process for future fundraising efforts. It is anticipated that this activity when coupled with the regional interviews will provide the club management with some much needed direction for the future. The club in Salem clearly provides a wonderful level of support to many youngsters in the region and anything that can be accomplished to enhance those efforts can only be thought as positive.

Election Results

Now that the mid-term Congressional and State election is over, I hope that everyone who wanted to cast a vote got to the polls and voted for the candidate of their choice. The Commonwealth as it usually does elected a majority of Democratic candidates and this year that “bucked” the national trend even more than normal. Across the nation it seems as if the electorate was calling for change, even faster than normal and I suppose that is a trend that we will continue to see in the future. Today’s voters seem to be most impatient and are anxious to see their point of view executed swiftly. In general we saw little change in the elected officials who represent us in Essex County with a couple of exceptions and I suppose that from an awareness standpoint of the Essex Heritage mission that is most positive. We can continue to turn to elected officials who know what we are trying to accomplish and that is always helpful. We congratulate all of the winners and recognize that everyone who sought elected office earlier this week offered a good effort, and should be commended for their hard work and willingness to offer their time in the public sector.

Daylight Savings Time this Weekend

Depending on how you view the clock, either late on this Saturday evening or early Sunday morning we turn the clocks back to accommodate Daylight Savings Time. This is the weekend that we gain the hour of sleep that we lost in the spring, but we really see the effect of the time change when we see how early the sun will set late Sunday afternoon. I have always been told that this a great date to change batteries in potential life savings devices like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well..

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. You can also contact me directly if you wish information on the August 2011 Travel opportunity to the Northern National Parks. I am signed up for the trip, and I hope that you will consider joining me on that trip. Thank You. Tom Leonard

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