Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Endicott Pear Tree, Generosity of Newburyport Commissioner, History on Display in Saugus, High School Sports


Endicott Pear Tree

The primary purpose of the Essex Happenings BLOG is to provide topical information on the activities of Essex Heritage and how we as an organization interact with other like minded groups both in and out of this region. Today I want to provide a little information on the famous Endicott Pear Tree in Danvers. Many believe it is the oldest living cultivated fruit tree in North America. Likely brought to this country from England to Salem on the Arbella in 1630, the tree was planted in its present location by John Endecott a Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and one of the initial settlers of this region sometime between 1632 and 1649. It should be noted that the original spelling of the Endicott name that was originally spelled as Endecott is used here. The location where the tree was planted was at one time known as the Endecott Estate or the Collins Farm and was part of Salem before it later became Danvers.

The present location of the tree is at the rear of the recently constructed Massachusetts General/North Shore Medical Center facility on Endicott Street in Danvers. The hospital became the “caretaker” of the tree when they acquired the land and buildings from Osram-Sylvania. The Hospital continues to make substantial improvements to the security around the tree to protect it for the future. We want to offer our thanks to one of our Essex Heritage Commissioners, Attorney Wayne Eisenhauer the Treasurer of the Danvers Historical Society whose perseverance and interest in this regional historical resource and its preservation brought the matter to our attention. At the same time he provided information to the hospital officials about the valuable resource that has alerted them to action to be certain that the resource is protected. In July of 1964 vandals cut off branches of the tree and damaged the trunk of the tree and that action caused Osram-Sylvania to act and construct a security fence to protect the tree and the hospital under the leadership of Ms, Elena Sierra, Executive Director, Massachusetts General/ North Shore Center is now enhancing that security to an even greater degree to make certain that the resource is protected as best as possible..

Through the efforts of Attorney Eisenhauer, we have also recently learned that an organization exists of Endicott ancestors that have undertaken an even newer and energetic project to preserve the history surrounding the famous tree. We have recently been introduced to Mr. Gordon Harmon, the President of the Endecott-Endicott Family Association, Inc. That organization is a membership based international family association with the common ancestor of Governor John Endecott. Headquartered in Springfield, Missouri, that organization maintains a web site that can be viewed at www.endecott-endicott.com and has a strong interest in a continuing effort to preserve, protect and promote the Endicott Pear Tree. That organization offers full and no charge associate memberships and Essex Heritage will join to keep track of activities surrounding this important regional asset. The organization has already connected with Endicott College named for their illustrious ancestor and they have developed a Governor John Endecott scholarship. The first ever recipient of that award has produced a research article on the Governor for the college.

The most interesting project undertaken by that organization is a scion wood grafting project from the Endicott Pear Tree. To date seventeen states in the US are represented with a planting from the Endicott Pear Tree. A new effort to offer plantings is now underway and the organization is pleased that the heritage of the Governor John Endicott Pear Tree is thriving around the country with more states certainly to follow. In addition several botanical gardens are also participating in this effort. For more information on this project or to learn how one can acquire a cutting of the famous tree contact Cindy Endicott Levingston the Treasurer of the Endecott-Endicott Family Association at 1097 Derby lane, Howell, MI 48843.

We hope that you learned a little about a wonderful and treasured tree. I know that with the research that I undertook on this resource I learned a great deal of new information about its importance.

New Newburyport Commissioner Plays a Role in his Community

In the last week or so, one of the newest Essex Heritage Commissions has certainly distinguished himself as a friend of the environment and of the community where his company is located. Ralph Castagna of the construction company of the same name recently provided financial support to two local projects that certainly will have an impact on the environment that is most important to him. Mr. Castagna who just a month ago was elected to a position as commissioner at Essex Heritage provided a check to the Newburyport High School’s environmental club that will allow that group to purchase sets of low energy LED lights for the Town’s Christmas tree that will be erected in the downtown. The gift was much appreciated by the students in the club, as they had just about given up hope of being able to raise enough financial support to purchase the proper environmentally correct lighting for the tree. Then in a corresponding gesture, Mr. Castagna along with the support of two other local businesses Richey Woodworking and Keiver Willard Lumber Construction had a spectacular welcoming arch crafted and installed over the main entrance to the City’s 1, 1 mile Clipper City Rail Trail. The twenty foot wide and fourteen foot high arch will certainly welcome trail users for years to come. The two gestures were much appreciated by the residents and officials in the City of Newburyport and most certainly identified Essex Heritage Commissioner Ralph Castagna as the kind of community activist every organization is seeking. At Essex Heritage we are pleased that he has agreed to lend his efforts and support to the mission of Essex heritage as well as his other community endeavors.

History on Display in Saugus

It is always good to hear of a project that reflects the history of any community within this region. We have recently learned that the Town of Saugus that is such an important community to Essex Heritage as one of the National Park Services locations in the area is one of the highlights in that community. The Town with the help of the “Friends of the Town Hall” undertook a project to redecorate a heavily used meeting room in the Town Hall with pictures and other historical items that help tell the history of the Town. Many early photographs were provided to the Town by the National Park Service who operates one of the two park units in this region in Saugus. The Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site along with its Salem Maritime unit helps tell the story of this region to residents and visitors alike. The Town Hall that was built in 1875 was the site of an Essex Heritage Annual meeting several years ago, and the historical exhibit now in place will make the building an even more attractive spot to visit in the future.

High School Football on the Holiday and Beyond

We hope that all of you who took in a high school football game on Thanksgiving had a good day, and that if your team did not win at the very least they played hard and fair. Now that the Thanksgiving Day festivities are over several local teams can look forward to participating in the MIAA tournament that begins tonight. In Division I, St John’s Prep takes its first place three way tie in the Catholic Conference to Taunton for a game against New Bedford. In Division I A, Gloucester will take its undefeated record to Manning Field in Lynn and in Division Three and Three A, Beverly and Hamilton-Wenham will travel to Lynn and to Reading respectively for important games for those two schools. All of the games tonight are preludes to the Supper Bowl games scheduled for next Saturday, December 4, 2010. Good luck to all of the teams and regardless if tonight’s contest results in a win or loss in this tournament, the high schools, the players and their parents can be most proud of the accomplishments achieved in 2010.

One additional note of congratulations is offered to the Field hockey team from Andover High School who a week or so ago, won the State Championship in that sport. They won the North title with a victory over a Beverly team that beat my granddaughter’s team from Danvers, and then went all the way to a win in the State finals against perennial powerhouse Algonquin Regional.

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

Friday, November 26, 2010

Two New College Bochures, Festival of Trees in Methuen and Other Information


Montserrat College of Art Creates Brochure for Essex Heritage

Essex Heritage is pleased and proud to announce a new partnership with the Montserrat College of Art in Beverly. The first project that the college has assisted the Commission with is the creation of a new informational brochure that outlines some of the advantages to the region of the development of the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway. The Commission is indebted to the group from the college who offered their creative support to develop this most informative brochure. The brochure will go a long way to help promote this project in the region as it speaks to the process and the collaborative effort that has been developed and undertaken to advance the development of the Byway. The material provided also focuses on the need by the region in general and the many communities impacted by this project to offer moral and collective support for this initiative. The material presented also provided a litany of specific facts about the byway and helps put the scope of the project into the proper perspective. The facts associated with the project point out that there are thirteen communities that will be impacted by the project that will travel along the 85 mile route. There ate 8700 properties along the Byway that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and several National Historic Landmarks as well. The brochure will be made available by Essex Heritage across the region but the fastest and most effective to way to obtain a copy of this work is to sign on to www.essexheritage.org where the material can be downloaded and then personally printed.

Festival of Trees in Methuen

One of the longest running preservation funding events takes place every year right around the Thanksgiving holiday. This year the Festival of Trees will be held at the office park at 13 Branch Street in Methuen. The festival this year will run from November 20, 2010 until December 4, 2010. At the site of the Festival, 200 decorated trees can be viewed by visitors, and ultimately all of the trees will be raffled off and the proceeds used to fund the continuing preservation effort. The proceeds from this event have provided preservation funds for dozens of worthy projects in that section of the Merrimac Valley. To date the festival has provided more than $1 million in preservation grants. To help celebrate this annual festival that committee that runs the event noted that this month one of the beneficiaries of the preservation grants, the Nevins Memorial Library in Methuen will begin the restoration work on twenty stained glass windows in the Great Hall at the library. The site is important as the library was the initial site for the festival that began in 1994. This preservation effort has been a wonderfully successful endeavor as over the 16 years that the Festival has been offered the beneficiaries have been dozens of important projects in that region. For more information on the festival or to learn the hours of operation visit www.methuenfestivaloftrees.com .

North Shore Community College Produces New Brochure

The North Shore Community College has produced a new brochure that helps point out the value of the college to the region. In a recent posting I noted my participation with the College and focused a bit on the continuing stream of graduates who now make up and will continue to fill the needed roles of the region’s work force in the future. North Shore Community College graduates are most likely to stay in the region after graduation and are a wonderful resource for the business community in the region. The new brochure provides valuable information about pertinent statistics regarding the College, the access that the College provides to the region for higher education, scholarship needs, and how you can make a difference. I am proud to be a long-term member of the Board of the College Foundation and have experienced the work that is being done on the multiple campuses in the region. For additional information on the college call the office of development at 978 739-5527 or visit www.northshore.edu. A contribution to the Foundation created by the college will go a long way to help educate the work force of the future.

Salem and Beverly Rotary Clubs Meet before the Thanksgiving Game

On Tuesday the combined membership of the Salem and Beverly Rotary clubs met at the Danversport Yacht Club for the annual event that helps prepare folks for the 112th edition of Salem vs. Beverly on the gridiron. There were representative including coaches, players, cheerleaders and administrators from both schools on hand to extol the virtues of the two teams. The general theme that it will be nice for each team to turn in a winning effort, but first and foremost let’s hope all of the participants are safe and the morning will be enjoyable to all who attend.. Since the two team both sport five and five records it looks like a very even game and there is an incentive for both teams to put out great efforts. There were other high school games of importance and community pride being played around the region yesterday morning, and we hope that all of you who attended one of those contests enjoyed the experience.

Northeast Harvest Newsletter for November

The November issue of the Northeast Harvest has been published and as always has a wonderful collection of columns. There is information on what is available at this time of year and the farms in Essex and Middlesex Counties and a wonderful series of facts about fresh Christmas trees. If you want to subscribe information can be found on a visit to www.essexheritage,org.

North Shore Elder Services “We Give Thanks” Event

Last Thursday evening, North Shore Elder Services honored individuals, organizations, and business that have made a positive and lasting difference in the quality of life for North Shore older adults, their families, and their caregivers at the second annual “We Give Thanks” recognition event held at the Danversport Yacht Club.

The event was attended by more than 130 persons. It was co-sponsored by GateHouse Media of New England, publishers of the Danvers Herald, Marblehead Reporter, Tri-Town Transcript, Salem Gazette, North Shore Sunday, and Beverly Citizen. GateHouse Media was represented by Myrna Fearer, Danvers Herald Community Editor. The organization is particularly indebted to Rhonda Gauthier for her organizational and promotional efforts that made the event so successful. Thanks are also extended to all the event sponsors and the support of the NSES Board of Directors. Information on the sponsors who helped support the evening and the award winners can be found on the NSES website.

Automatic Notifications by E-Mail of Essex Happenings Postings Considered

In the recent past, I have received a couple of inquires about how postings to the Essex Happenings Blog could arrive in ones e-mail box automatically. In that way one could choose if they wanted to read the most recent edition or to ignore it, but the posting would be there for one’s access. I regularly post to this BLOG every Tuesday and Friday, but if this process makes it easier for some if we have provided that access, we want to accommodate... We are still working on an automated system, but in the interim if anyone wishes they can provide an e-mail address to me at tleonard@essexheritage.org and I will provide that access.

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

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Essex Heritage Annual Appeal and Case Statement, Salem Partnership, Danvers High School Costruction, DHS Holiday Event, Happy Thanksgiving

Essex Happenings, Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Essex Heritage Annual Appeal

In the next week or so, many in the region will be receiving a letter from Essex Heritage that will seek support for our Annual Fund Appeal. We believe strongly that this organization supports and advocates for hundreds of historic, cultural and natural resources in this region. We have worked effectively over the last decade plus to be an organization that helps bind this region together. Collaboration and cooperation are two of the watch words for this regional initiative. Your support of the work of the Essex National Heritage Commission is always appreciated, and we ask again if you would consider offering your continuing financial support to our work. Look for the appeal that will arrive in your mail box soon or visit www.essexheritageorg for more information on how to support this mission. Just recently we have developed a case statement that we believe articulates why we exist and provides reasons why support might be offered. The case statement follows:

ENHC Case Statement

Many Histories, One Essex Heritage
Thousands of our nation’s most valuable historical and cultural sites exist here, in the 34 towns and cities of the Essex National Heritage Area. Collectively they define our region, enhance our quality of life, and tell the story of our nation.
Continued development, sprawl, traffic, neglect and decay, and lack of understanding and funding are problems that cross community boundaries and are beyond the reach of most municipal and local organizations. Essex Heritage is the only organization in this region that works to systematically protect and preserve Area heritage resources in a cohesive way. It’s ability to unify diverse community interests around common challenges, to propose and communicate solutions across town lines, is critical to preserving and protecting our unique past as well as our promising future.
Essex Heritage, the foremost advocate of the entire region’s irreplaceable historical, cultural and natural resources, is an organization that provides advice, guidance and technical support while working to build capacity for over 250 non-profit partners and 34 municipalities. It serves as a catalyst for collaboration between non-profits, establishing strategic partnerships that generate genuine impact. Essex Heritage also provides numerous opportunities through annual events and programs, to educate and inspire residents and visitors, to preserve, protects and appreciates our Area.
Essex Heritage has been working for 14 years so to ensure that the whole region remains strong and vibrant. Despite its measureable and visible success, federal funding available to the Essex National Heritage Area is decreasing, and more than ever, Essex Heritage needs the support of the communities it serves. This is a critical time to demonstrate your commitment to preserving, protecting, and interpreting our area’s unique heritage by giving your support to the collaborative work of Essex Heritage. Your help will guarantee that Essex Heritage’s important work continues.

Salem Partnership E Board

A week or so ago, I attended the monthly meeting of the Salem Partnership Executive Board. I am not able to spent as much of my time these days helping out in the work of the Salem Partnership, but the organization that has always done such wonderful work in the City of Salem will always be special to me, and I do try to stay abreast of their work. The recent meeting covered a number of long-term Salem Partnership issues and it was good to get “caught up”. The important regional superior court facility garage plans that are being developed by the MBTA are coming together, but not without some changes that are a result of budget constraints. The Partnership will continue to lobby for a garage that will satisfy numerous constituencies in Salem, but the political realities of the day, will likely result in some compromises.

Work on the important port project in Salem continues and the City made a wonderful choice by naming former Salem Partnership President and Chairman, Russ Vickers the new Port Project Manager. Russ has a comprehensive knowledge of the needs of the region from a maritime perspective and after selling his personal maritime interests, has some time to devote to helping guide this municipal project that certainly in the long run will have regional ramifications. Like all projects these days the wants and desires connected with the project far outstrip the current revenue expectations and Russ Vickers will be a good source to make recommendation on the allocations of these scarce resources. The City has demonstrated that given the proper conditions that visitors will come to the region by water, as in 2010 the Salem Ferry saw a marked increase in ridership as their passenger count for this past summer increased by 10,000 to a record 89,000 riders. The conditions that helped make that possible were a reduction in fares and one of the warmest summer periods in recent weather history in the region. The final item on the agenda that morning was the future of the Salem Pedestrian Mall. The city is planning a series of public meetings to receive input on how that long discussed traveled way through the center of the City’s down town could be upgraded.

Danvers Received Positive News on High School Bids

The Town of Danvers received wonderful news recently when the bids for the Danvers renovation and construction project were opened it was discovered that the estimates for construction and design had been established at a higher level than the bids received. The original estimates had the project set at almost $80 million and the bids came in $9 million lower than expected. The low bidder was just slightly lower than the contractor who had completed the work on the Holten-Richmond Middle School. The Town is hopeful of having a contract signed so that work might begin on the 157,000 sq ft of renovated space and the 92,000 sq ft of new construction before the end of November. That time table would put the completion of the project in the fall of 2013. This reduction in overall costs is certainly most positive as it will allow the town to complete this important and valuable project and to borrow less to bring the new High School on line.

Danvers Historical Society Holiday Event

On December 3, 2010 at the wonderfully decorated Endicott Mansion at Glen Magna Farms in Danvers the Danvers Historical Society will hold it annual “Holiday Soiree” to ring in the holidays. Tickets are still available and are priced at $65.00 per person for members and $85.00 for not-yet members. The event is always one of the highlight events in the region and reservations can be made by calling 978 777 1666 or at dhs@danvershistory.org. Music, dancing and refreshments will be served. Tickets are selling quickly so one must act now if this an event of interest to you.

Happy Thanksgiving Holiday

In just a couple of days, the most American of all Holidays, Thanksgiving will be celebrated. The day has always been one of my favorite days of the year, as at least for me, there is no shopping associated with the Holiday, and it is a time when family comes together to celebrate just being together. For some it is a morning filled with traditional High School football games and then home for dinner with family. This year’s dinners for some will be worked around a New England Patriots game that will appear on our television around noon. That team continues to perform well, and for many are exceeding expectations. All in all a great day for families, and from this family at Essex Heritage we wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving 2010.

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. 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

Friday, November 19, 2010

ENHC Education Project, Partnerships with Essex Heritage, NSCC Breakfast, SJP Meeting

Essex Happenings, Friday, November 19, 2011

Essex Heritage’s Current County Wide Education Initiative

During the recent Essex Heritage Annual Meeting held at the Carriage House at Lynch Park in Beverly we provided substantial information on several initiatives that ENHC had worked on during the recent past. In previous BLOG postings we have provided updates to you on several of these programs, but not our education program called LINC’s LINC's stands for Local History in a National Context.

Essex Heritage is part of a team guiding a three-year heritage education initiative designed to connect Essex County elementary teachers with local primary source material. During visits to historical sites throughout Essex County and beyond teachers learn how to infuse their social studies lessons with stories, places, and artifacts that make history relevant for the future stewards of the heritage area. Other core partners include Beverly Public Schools, Salem State University, and the National Archives, Northeast Region. The project is funded with a Teaching American History grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

In the last three years, this grant funded program has trained 121 teachers from kindergarten through sixth grade. The teachers that have been trained represented 18 school districts in the region we serve, from Amesbury, Andover and Lawrence to Boxford, Ipswich and Gloucester. During these last 36 months over 3000 Essex county school children have been touched and twenty-five lessons have been created for this program that are available to all over the internet for general use. This has been a wonderful program with a reach that has taken the lessons to every corner of the region we serve.

Questions Answered About Partnerships with Essex Heritage

A couple of weeks ago, an organization that was contemplating a partnership with Essex Heritage asked me if there were any requirements or obligations that were connected with that association. After I responded, it occurred to me that others in the region might have the same questions, so I thought I would offer my thoughts that I passed on at that time to all within the reach of this communication.

Essex Heritage has no requirements that we place on anyone or any organizations, The association with Essex Heritage is purely voluntary and at any time that one wishes to discontinue the association that can easily be accomplished by simply not participating in the future.. The vast majority of our partners in the region view the association with Essex Heritage as positive, as from time to time we try to bring attention to our partners though events like Trails and Sails and special membership events. Several organizations have signage in place that we offered several years ago when we had funds available for a signage project. The sign simply identified a local organization as part of a larger regional voluntary partnership to make this region a better place for all of us to live and work. There is no obligation to display a sign unless an organization believes that it is the best interests of the participating organization. No one should feel that they are being compelled to make any contribution to Essex Heritage for any reason. Any contribution to this cause like one’s participation is strictly voluntary and should only be offered, if one believes that together we can get more done than we can ever do as individual entities. We believe that we have "erected a large virtual tent" over the entire region we serve and regularly ask anyone who wishes to join with us to do so collectively to promote this region. I hope that this explanation might answer any unanswered questions that any of you might have about potential partnerships with Essex Heritage.

North Shore Chamber November Breakfast Forum

The presentation that was the feature of the North Shore Chamber’s Economic and Public Policy Breakfast Forum in November was the educational agenda for public colleges. The presenter at the meeting was Dr. Richard Freeland, the Commissioner for Higher Education for the Commonwealth. He provided an overview of the plans to improve opportunities for young men and woman from Massachusetts who wish to attend public colleges in the State. In Massachusetts we are blessed with a number of wonderful private Universities and Colleges in this state, but funding for public colleges has been generally underfunded. This area has Salem State University and North Shore Community College and Northern Essex Community College within our borders and any additional assistance from the State to those schools would be money well invested. If this region is to prosper in the future, an educated work force is a necessity and the students who attend these three local institutions are the students most likely to remain in this area after graduation and become the nucleus of the required regional work force. I serve on the board of the Foundation at the North Shore community College and know first hand of the great work being done at that school, and any additional funding would certainly be put to great use at the Lynn and Danvers campuses of that school.

SJP Trustee Emeritus Meeting

As we do twice each year the collection of people who have served on the Board of Trustees at St John’s Prep gather to keep current of activities and plans for the school. That group met recently and in a somewhat different format, met with four young men who will graduate in May 2011, to hear their perspective on life at the Danvers private Catholic School and what they will take away after graduation next May. The individual presentations were most informative and wide ranging, and what was most evident to me as both a former Board member and an alumni of the school, is that the institution is still turning out future leaders who are well informed, moral, ethical and articulate young men who when they assume leadership roles in the future will put the school and themselves in a most positive light. The late afternoon meeting was well attended and was thought provoking for all us in attendance.

Regional Effort to Reuse Landfill Sites

This past Sunday, an interesting story about regional cooperation appeared in the North Edition of the Boston Globe. The story focused on a regional approach that was being taken by Amesbury, Andover, Boxford, Georgetown, Haverhill, Newbury, Salisbury and West Newbury under the auspices of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission to join together to seek a study to learn if landfills in those communities could be used as alternative energy farms. The study that is being accomplished by Meridian Associates in Beverly will try to use the regional aspect of almost one dozen sites in several communities in the northern part of this region to learn if alternative energy projects like solar arrays or wind turbines could be constructed and offer meaningful green uses to the communities in question. To Essex Heritage this approach seems to make a considerable amount of sense, and as we have advocated on many occasions that so much more can be accomplished by working collectively than ever could be accomplished as a stand alone community. After the study is complete the communities will examine if a collective bid by a developer for all of some of the sites might be possible. This seems to be a process that is attracting numerous inquires as virtually all of the communities in this region and beyond all have land fills that need an alternative plan for its reuse. We applaud the effort and the initiative of the Merrimac Valley Planning Commission and encourage all communities in the region we serve to look for projects like this one where collaboration can be a critical component of financial success,

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. 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

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Essex Happenings

Testing to see of a potentail new feature works.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Essex Happenings, Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Essex Heritage Event Planning

Late last week, the staff at Essex Heritage gathered to begin the process of looking at the 2011 calendar for the Commission. As time has gone on, this initiative has become an even more important player in the life of this region and with so many programs in place, it seemed appropriate to stop and take a minute and look ahead to 2011. Next year, Essex Heritage will be offering its tenth anniversary edition of Trails and Sails and on this anniversary year we want the event to be a special one for both Essex heritage and all its partners. The planning effort for that event is starting to take shape. We have decided to move our spring 2011 public meeting up a bit next year to April, and as part of that gathering we will also use the time to unveil plans and the administrative structure of the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway permanent organization.

May 2011 will bring us to the fourth edition of our Heritage Hero presentation and as noted in a recent posting that planning for that event is already underway. We expect that our activities with our senior partner the National Park Service will expand as it has done every year since our inception, and the Friendship Sails program will once again be a large part of that effort during the summer. Late in the summer our first travel program with Collette Vacations to the western national parks will occur, and preliminary plans for more excursions are already under discussion. The fall will of course focus on Trails and Sails, but In October the Annual Meeting is scheduled and in 2011 the term of office of our most effective and energetic current President, Kevin Tierney of Saugus Bank will finish, and a new volunteer administrative team will be named. I am certain that this just scratches the surface of the activities of the Essex heritage Commission, and I will continue to provide all of you with ongoing updates in all through the year in this presentation.

Joint Historical Society Meeting

Bill Power of the Peabody Historical Society should be applauded for an initiative that he organized late last week to bring a number of southern Essex County Historical Societies together for an exploratory meeting. Bill is former member of the Board of Trustees of Essex Heritage and still serves that group on its Trustee Emeritus Board. Bill invited representatives of Historical Societies in Danvers, Lynnfield, Lynn, Middleton, and Topsfield to join a representative group from Peabody to at the very least explore possibilities of seeking collaborative solutions.

I attended the meeting as a member of the Board of the Danvers Historical Society, but also wore my Essex Heritage hat at the meeting. Bill was very complimentary of what Essex Heritage has accomplished in the region when looking at the “big picture of needs across the entire region”, but focused the meeting held in the Smith Barn on the property of the Peabody Historical Society on addressing more specific local needs. Issues like curatorial services, awareness of what one another was promoting and when, facility management, dealing with the Commonwealth, shared marketing efforts and the filling of required government paperwork were all explored. The meeting included a tour of the facilities in the hands of the Peabody group and a most generous lunch was provided.

It was generally agreed that there was some benefits to forming a “loose” group that might meet once each quarter at different Historical Society locations to review opportunities and to gain some insight into what is available in the region and to share ideas. At the very least “best practices” could be outlined to learn if what worked for one organization might work for others. Most of the organizations presently manage uniquely different historic resources that are offered for rent most particularly for weddings. It was thought that if a potential renter that is most definitely interested in historic locations, that if a particular site would not work then steering them to another location that fits the historic bill within the group would be a worthwhile effort. The meeting ended with an agreement to begin to try to link websites of the six participating organizations and to agree to hold ongoing quarterly meetings to explore other options. In general the meeting seemed most positive, and I indicated that Essex Heritage would both monitor the process and be open to playing a collaborative role if needed as the process proceeds.

Danvers Rail Trail Update

Last Saturday was a wonderful fall day with temperatures above what we usually see a week or so before Thanksgiving. The weather this month up until that day had been cool and wet and the warm temperatures and sunny skies on Saturday brought a large group of Danvers residents out to participate in a walk sponsored by the Danvers Bi-Peds along the developing Rail Trail. I am not sure exactly how many people participated, but there was a large crowd, as there were two groups that walked the partially finished Danvers Rail Trail. One group headed north and my wife and I headed south with a big group towards Peabody. The group that headed south with us included Danvers Selectmen, Dan Bennett and Bill Clarke who both participated in the walk. The walk we completed took us across several local Danvers street intersections along the route to Peabody, and clearly the safety of future participants at those crossings will have to be addressed and they will be before traffic becomes heavy on the Trail. In fact, last year our organization, Essex Heritage provided a Partnership Grant to the Town of Danvers to begin to address these matters and plans are already underway to address this issue. The surface of the Rail Trail will need more work than exists today and those improvements will be completed although the timetable for that work is a little unclear. All of the rails have been removed along the trail and most of the ties are either removed or are bundled for future removal. The surface of the trail is rough in places and the plans to complete some grading and to provide some more permanent surface will be essential. At the present time there are many loose impediments along the way including large rocks, some underbrush, branches and uneven surfaces. So if you choose to venture out onto the Rail Trail to test it before winter sets in, be careful, as the footing in places is still a little difficult.

Our walk heading south out of the downtown Danvers Hobart Street parking lot took us about two and one half miles each way and brought us to the area in Peabody just behind the Brooksby Village retirement complex in that city. It appears that some work on the north-south portion of the Peabody trail that was just announced is underway. That city has a very active trail that heads east and west through the Leather City from the North Shore Shopping Center up into West Peabody, and when an ultimate link up is completed between the two communities residents of the region will certainly be the beneficiaries. During our walk we crossed the old Railroad Bridge that crosses Route 114 just east of Garden Street in Danvers, and the condition of that bridge is in wonderful shape and will certainly support riders and walkers. It is clear to all of us who participated in this walk that the trail when completed will be a wonderful asset to the Town of Danvers.

I certainly am aware of the financial conditions that exist in local communities today, and the many projects that need attention in Danvers, but this is a project that needs to move up the priority list in Town. The Town Planning Department, the Town Manager and his appointed Rail Trail Advisory Committee and organizations like the Bi-Peds are all doing wonderful work to keep the trail in focus and we urge their continuing support for this important project. The advantages too many of all ages in the Town will certainly be evident when the Trail is complete, as maybe we can get a few more vehicles off the streets, and the benefits to many from a physical fitness standpoint are evident.

Our day on the Trail was made complete when my wife’s name was randomly drawn as the winner of a participation prize. She was the recipient of a gift certificate generously provided by McKinnon’s Market in Danvers. For those of you who might want to receive a first hand update on the Rail Trail, a public meeting will be held this Thursday evening at the Town’s Senior Center on Stone Street. At 6:00 pm that evening a regular meeting of the Rail Trail Advisory Committee will be held followed by an update at 7:00 pm on the work being done on the Trail.

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. 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

Friday, November 12, 2010

Essex Heritage Director Named to National Post, Update on Executive Committee Activities, Membership and Photo Contest, Danvers Group to Lead Walk


Essex Heritage Director Appointed to National Park Service Committee

Essex Heritage Executive Director, Annie C. Harris has recently received notification form National Park System Advisory Board, that she has been appointed to serve on an important committee of that group. Annie has been appointed to a two-year term on the Planning Committee of the influential Advisory Board. The planning committee has as its primary purpose the recommendation of a vision and guidelines for a national park system plan. In her new role, Annie will use her experience as the Executive Director of the Essex National Heritage Commission since its inception to offer advice about the role of National Parks and the national park service programs. Annie is most qualified to offer direction on how the Heritage Area program can best be utilized within the overall National park Service system. All of us at Essex Heritage applaud Annie’s choice for this important national role, and know that with her experience on the ground here in Essex County and as a long time officer of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas she will present options that will be well thought out, and will bear consideration as a plan is developed.

Essex Heritage Executive Committee

At the recent meeting of the ENHC Executive Committee a presentation was provided relative to the work of the Development Committee. That Committee has generated substantial activity over the last several weeks, and the recent report outlined the work of the committee that has provided a number of corporate leads that have resulted in many successful outcomes. When the committee was first formed at the end of last quarter a goal was set that a specific number of appointments with regional businesses were to be established and that goal has been surpassed and the results have been most gratifying. Over the next several weeks more appointments will be established and a series of mailings have also been sent out to area businesses that previously provided support this week. In addition to the activity report, a new case statement that focuses on the reasons for providing support to Essex Heritage has been developed and that material has been provided in the recent mailing and will be available for future efforts...

Extra Efforts Focused on Membership in October

The staff as Essex Heritage responsible for the membership effort welcomes the opportunity to provide updates on the mission of Essex Heritage to any local business that would have an interest in seeing the work of Essex Heritage continue. For more information contact the ENHC Director of Development and Communication, Mary Williamson at maryw@essexheritage.org, During the past 6 weeks, several area business have agreed to become Essex Heritage Business partners and we now count fifteen area businesses as either Sustainer, Benefactor or Supporter members. Personal membership signups were also one of the primary targets for Essex Heritage during the month of October, and the effort paid off as well as at the end of the month we now have 138 members in the five membership categories offered. A continuing effort to sign up new members will also be a focus through the end of the year, and information on the program can be found on the Essex Heritage web site at www.essexheritage.org or by contacting Elizabeth Rankin at either elizabethr@essexheritage.org or at 978 740 0444...

Essex Heritage Photo Contest Entries Double for 2010

The Executive committee membership also participated with the Essex Heritage staff by casting their preferences in a preliminary vote to begin the process of choosing the winners of the annual Essex Heritage 2010 Photo Contest. The photographs preliminarily chosen from the entries in the 2010 contest will then be delivered to a professional panel of judges who will choose the final winning entries. Essex Heritage was particularly pleased this year as the number of contestants from the previous year doubled. The photos offered were also spectacular and clearly provided wonderful pictorial evidence of the resources available to us all in this area. The photographs were divided into four individual categories that included People, Essex Heritage Events, Along the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway, and the Four Seasons. This spectacular expansion of participants is likely a direct result of the Photo Safari program sponsored by Hunts Photo and Video that has focused so much energy on using photography as a wonderful form of expression.

Essex Heritage Hero Planning

It seems that it was just a short time ago, when a full house of friends and family gathered at the Blue Ocean Music Hall on the Beach in Salisbury to honor the Essex Heritage Hero’s for 2010. That event that honored three of the most prominent citizens of Amesbury, Newburyport and Salisbury was s great social success for Essex Heritage and a rewarding experience for the honorees. Former Amesbury and Newburyport Mayor’s Nick Costello and Byron Matthews and tourism activist Maria Miles from Salisbury were wonderful choices for the awards, and continued the tradition of outstanding award winners. Now even though the event to honor the 2011 Heritage Hero Award winners is still almost one half a year away in May 2011, the process to select award recipients and a location for the event is underway. We expect that by year end 2010, or shortly after the New Year Essex Heritage will have an announcement that will demonstrate that the 2011 winners will be as deserving as past winners have been. Keep tuned into Essex Heritage communication vehicles to learn who will receive the prestigious awards for 2011, where the event will be held, and how you can participate in this important regional event.

Danvers Group to Lead Walk

The weather report for Saturday looks like it will be a pleasant November day and the Danvers Bi-Peds have scheduled a walk on the Danvers Rail Trail. If you live in that area, it might be a good opportunity to sample that new community asset. The Bi-Peds are organizing a walk that will start at 1:30 pm that afternoon at the Hobart Street Parking Lot in Danvers. This might be a great way to learn a little about the organizations and the people who have contributed their efforts to bring the Rail Trail to where it is today. It is not yet finished, but substantial progress has been made in recent weeks. There will even be a raffle that day and it may be a wonderful way to get a little exercise and at the same to get a taste of the still unfinished but developing Rail Trail in that community...

Salem Power Station in the News

Although the Salem Power Station on Fort Avenue built in 1951 certainly will never qualify as one of resources that Essex Heritage seeks to preserve the facility is still important to the region. The local newspapers this past week carried stories that noted that the owners of that facility that still provides substantial power to this region is considering asking to be delisted as primary power provider. This sometimes is a precursor to plans to shut the facility down. There are certainly many in the region that would like to see that happen as the plant has long been thought of as a facility that impacts the air quality of the region, but the facility still is an important power resource for the region. In addition, from the standpoint of one municipal government, the City of Salem could certainly be negatively impacted. The power station ownership is at present the City’s largest taxpayer and provides $4.75 million in revenue each year to the city. This will certainly be a story to watch in the future and to monitor as any decisions will have an impact on at least one important community in the entire region when one considers our overall demand for power...

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. 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

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Essex Heritage Travel Program, ENHC Youth Employment Program, North Shore Elder Services, Teen Town Reunion Event


Essex Heritage Travel Program

Last week, a representative from Collette Travel was in Salem at the National Park Service Visitor Center to meet with a group of potential travelers. The group gathered to learn a little more about the Essex Heritage trip to the Northern National Parks. The trip scheduled for eight days in early August 2011 is now in the planning stage, and the Collette Vacations representative provided an overview of the trip with a slide presentation and answered questions from the group. My wife Marge and I along with friends have made a commitment to travel to Utah, Wyoming and Idaho next year, and after learning even more about the trip we are excited to join the trip. If any of you have any interest in receiving more information about this new initiative of Essex Heritage please contact Mary Williamson at 078 740 0444 or at maryw@essexheritage.org or you can certainly contact me at any time as well.

Essex Heritage Youth Employment Initiative

Over the last two years, Essex Heritage with financial support from our good friends at Eastern Bank has organized an innovative partnership with the National Park Service, the North Shore Workforce Investment Board, Essex Heritage and local youth. The program focused on the First Jobs program created by the North Shore Workforce Investment Board and in 2009 this partnership program put ten youths from Salem and Lynn to work at the National Park sites and then in 2010 doubled that number to twenty young men and women. The youngsters were hired to work for the summer in both the Salem Maritime and Saugus Iron Works Historic Sites, and they performed tasks as diverse as:

Gold leafing the NPS Custom House Sign
Building a fence at the Salem Site
Scanning archival photos
Working with Junior Ranger youth on the Friendship
Greeting visitors at the Regional Visitor Center

This was a program that not only provided much needed employment to North Shore teens, but successfully engaged underserved and diverse youth from the region’s urban centers. The program also used the heritage resources in Salem and Saugus to teach the participants about leadership and life skills. Essex Heritage is most hopeful that additional stimulus funding can be found in the summer of 2011 to continue and expand this program.

North Shore Elder Services Annual Meeting

On October 3, 2010, I attended the annual public meeting of the North Shore Elder Services. The meeting is one of the times each year when the public in invited to attend a presentation. The meeting was held at the very impressive McIntosh Building at Brooksby Village Retirement facility in Peabody. At the meeting I along with several others was formally announced as new members of the Board of Directors and in addition new officers were introduced along with recognition of retiring members. One of the retiring members was Don Thomas who has represented Danvers on the Board and it is his seat that I will be taking on the new board. Even though Don’s term is over, he has agreed to stay connected with NSES as he will now serve on a recently created Audit Committee. At the meeting several employees who were observing anniversaries were also recognized.

A presentation was provided by Dr. Rob Schreiber, Physician-in-Chief of Hebrew Senior Life who provided insight into changing medical conditions. He spoke in some detail on the high percentage of Medicare expenditures that are being spent on the care of chronic illnesses, and how that needs to change as we must all become much more in control of our own personal health issues. We must all pay much more attention to life style issues like diet, exercise and proper rest as a way to improve our health, and keep all of us particularly seniors out of hospitals and long term care facilities. Even with all of the growing expenditures on health care, life expectancies in this country are moving down, and that is a disturbing trend. He urged that the medical industry continue to look at innovative ways to improve health care in this country including the use of many of the initiatives espoused by organizations like North Shore Elder Services. It was pointed out that in this day and age people are certainly working longer in life and their continuing good health will be an important element of that plan. The presentation was most informative and in my new role, I continue to learn more about the changing character of health care in this country.

I would like to offer one additional comment on North Shore Elder Services (NSES) regarding public access. On Wednesday, November 10, 2010, NSES will be offering a free seminar as part of their At Your Side Medical Advocacy Program at their Sylvan Street, Danvers location from 6:00 to 8:30 pm. Dr. Mary Meade Ambrefe, Certified Geriatric Pharmacist will speak on the importance of medications, your responsibility, and how to work with your healthcare team. The seminar is free but reservations that can be made at 978 624-2227 or at atyourside@nseleder.org are required.

Salem Teen Town Reunion Program

On Saturday evening my wife and I and friends attended a most enjoyable event at the Salem YMCA. The event was created as a way to bring Salem residents both past and present together to celebrate a wonderful tradition that stretched over parts of five decades. For many years the Salem YMCA offered a social evening for teens in Salem in a safe and non-threatening environment. Young teen-aged men and woman from all parts of the city came together every Saturday evening to dance and socialize in a pleasant and secure facility operated by the YMCA. The event this last Saturday evening was for a wonderful cause, but first and foremost it was a great way for many of us who enjoyed the Teen Town opportunity even though it might have been for just a few years during a time in a local High school to gather again and renew old friendships. During the short time we all tried “to go home again” .last weekend we once again enjoyed old friends who many of us had not seen for many years. Thank you to the group at the YMCA who organized this event and brought so many of us back together again to renew memories and friendships.

I do not want to let the cause being promoted at the event go unreported, as the event allowed the YMCA to provide all of us in attendance with an overview of a planned campaign to turn the old Teen Town location into a performing arts facility. Ames Hall in the historic old YMCA building on the corner of Essex and Sewell Streets in Salem was first built in the very late 1800’s and is clearly in need of major facelift. The Co-Chairs of the fundraising effort, Dr. Nancy Harrington, the former President of Salem State University and David Ives, the CEO of North Shore International Insurance did a great job of outlining the plans associated with the campaign. We heard from Salem’s energetic and enthusiastic Mayor, Kimberly Driscoll who lent her commitment to the effort, but the highlight of the presentation came from two youngsters. A presentation of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from a current theatre show at the Y was unveiled, and the young Dorothy and Toto received a standing ovation from all gathered. I am certain that the campaign will be successful and if anyone wants to make a donation to the Ames Hall renovation, contact Debbie Amaral, Salem Y director, at 978-740-9622 or amarald@northshoreymca.org.

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. 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

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 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. 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

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Essex Heritage Evaluation, Camp Denison, Georgetown, Essex Heritage Travel Program, North Shore Elder Services Board, Vote Today


Preliminary Results of ENHC Evaluation Released

As the National Heritage Area program matures, the National Park Service was obligated to complete an evaluation of each of the Heritage Area’s that would ultimately be delivered to the United States Congress for their information. The leadership and the Board of Trustees of Essex Heritage made the decision to volunteer to be the first such Heritage Area to be examined and evaluated. The process was a most participatory one and many in this region were contacted and asked to offer their observations on the success of this particular effort. The compilation of the findings has been a long process, but the final evaluation seems to be closer than ever to becoming complete. As a result of the ground that we broke to set up this process, the second two Heritage Area examinations are going along quite a bit more efficiently. Just before the final document is released the National Park Service has shared some very important and vital information from the evaluation. We have been allowed to share six observations that will be in the final report, and we are particularly pleased with the findings and the tone of the presentation. These observations are “stand alone” results and we trust that when they are presented in the final format that they will continue to be most positive. The six observations are as follows:

· “Essex Heritage has played a key role in encouraging regionalization”

· “Essex Heritage has enabled the National Park at the Salem Maritime and Saugus Ironworks park sites to really connect with these communities”

· “And Essex Heritage has increased the capacity of these NPS sites to engage and educate the public”

· “Essex Heritage has been an important catalyst for preservation in the Essex National Heritage Area”

· “And the work of Essex Heritage has been very beneficial to the region’s heritage preservation groups – and especially to some of the smaller museums and historical societies – improving their visibility, outreach, and sustainability.’

· “Essex Heritage has promoted model partnerships that others have been able to use and apply to foster their success.”

Visit to Camp Dennison

During a recent informational visit at the Georgetown Savings Bank we spent part of the time that day discussing with bank officials a wonderful Georgetown recreational resource that is of particular interest to many in that community. We followed up on what we learned at the bank with a visit to Camp Denison on the shores of Baldpate Pond, a 66 acre water resource in neighboring Boxford. What we discovered on our visit was a spectacular forty-four acre conservation site owned by the Town of Georgetown and managed by a group of committed local volunteers. The site was acquired by the Town of Georgetown about a decade ago in a partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that provided funding matched by the Town to preserve this special piece of land into the future. Since the acquisition of the site, the group that helps to manage the camp has completed some modest improvements that continue today. The property that is open to the public during daylight hours provides passive recreational and environmental opportunities for both individuals and families. There are opportunities to walk trails, picnic, bird watch, tent camp, and fish and enjoy some of the other pastimes like horseshoe pitching, shuffleboard, small “carry-in” boating excursions and just plain sitting and enjoying nature in all her glory. There is a comfortable lodge complete with fireplaces that can take the chill off the coldest New England day, and in the winter months cross country skiing and snow shoeing are available. The volunteers have completed work on an on-site nature center, and work continues today to improve some cabins on the property for camping.

The day we visited the camp was one of the most beautiful Indian summer days one could imagine and it was a pleasure to just be outdoors and enjoying the kinds of landscapes that one can find here and in other similar locations in Essex County. During our visit we discussed a number of opportunities to partner with Essex Heritage in the future that could in many ways make more residents of Georgetown and the county aware of this wonderful resource. Camp Dennison is a perfect example of the spectacular resources that exist in this region, and how working together with Essex Heritage can be so valuable and rewarding to both the resource and the residents of the region. We outlined several options for cooperative efforts, and I would expect that at the very least we might all enjoy an organized 2011 Essex Heritage Trails and Sails event at the site next year. We spoke of the site as a possible location for an Essex Heritage member’s only event and even as a possible photo safari location. We provided information on the Essex Heritage Partnership Grant program and our special Tom Leonard Grant Program for Youth Education and how those opportunities might be utilized. I would expect that in the near term, you might hear more of this wonderful location, but for now we wanted to be sure that you knew about the opportunities that abound on this special site. For more information on the site, directions and the camp’s history visit their web site at www.campdenison,com. We are certainly glad that the leadership at Georgetown Bank made us aware of this location, and a visit to the site in any season of the year will be worth your effort.

Essex Heritage Travel Program

It is not too late to make a reservation for the presentation on Wednesday evening, November 3, 2010 at 6; 30 pm at the National Park Service Visitor Center in Salem to learn more about the joint travel venture we have established with Collette Travel. In August 2011 we are traveling for 8 days to the Northern National Parks in Utah and Wyoming. My wife and I are committed to making the trip and I invite you to join me on what we are sure will be a spectacular vacation. For more information contact Mary Williamson at 978 740 0444 or by e mail at maryw@essexheritage.org. There is also information that can be found on the Essex Heritage web site at www.essexheritage.org.

First Board Meeting of North Shore Elder Services

I was recently nominated to serve and have accepted a position on the Board of Directors of North Shore Elder Services located in Danvers. The first meeting of that organization that I attended as a member of the Board was held at the agencies headquarters in Danvers last Thursday evening. The agency serves the communities of Middleton, Danvers, Peabody, Salem, and Marblehead. Each of the communities is represented by two representatives and there are also an additional seven at large representatives. I along with Board President Joseph Palmer represent the Town of Danvers, Joe and I also serve on the Advisory Board of the Danvers Council on Aging.

North Shore Elder Services connects older adults, caregivers and professionals with the resources and services needed to help solve simple or complex aging issues. Each elder and family situation is unique, and the staff of trained eldercare experts is ready to offer help tailored to the individual needs of elders. The agency offers a wide variety of services, programs and information, from case management to home care services, to housing issues. Help is provided to elders to set up services appropriate to specific needs, and to provide knowledge and assistance to help elders and their families make confident decisions, which will allow many elders to continue to live with dignity and independence. The first meeting was most information and I spend the vast majority of the evening listening and absorbing the material provided. On Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 9:00 am, North Shore Elder Services will hold its annual public meeting at the McIntosh Clubhouse at Brooksby Village in Peabody, and all who may have an interest are invited.


Today is Election Day 2011. I personally have found this election season to be one of the most contentious in recent history, but regardless of the dialog that has gone on up to today, it is important that we all cast our ballot for the candidate of our choice. Don’t forget to exercise one of the most important rights we have in this country. Most poling places are open until 8:00 pm so hopefully we will have a large turnout and you will be one of those that voted today.

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. 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