Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I suspect that many of you have had access to the Facebook page that my son has put together which is keeping people advised of my progress from the illness that I suffered. I thought I would now provide a little bit of additional information for those of you who might have not had access to that Facebook page. My prosthetic limb has arrived and over the last week I have begun the process of learning to walk again. I am very confident that in the near future I will be able to move from place to place on the new artificial limb and look forward to seeing all of you in the near future.

Shortly after my hospitalization I received a wonderful letter and memento from a friend from the National Heritage area movement. Augie Carlino is the Executive Director of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania sent me a “terrible towel” in the hopes that I would root for Pittsburgh in the event they got to the Super Bowl. Augie is wonderful guy who has done a great job to advance the National Heritage movements.

Essex heritage has recently sent out information about an informational meeting to be held on April 3, 2011 at 6:30 pm at the National Park Service Visitor Center in Salem. The purpose of the meeting is to provide an overview of the trip to the Western National Parks scheduled for October that Essex Heritage has organized. Information on pricing and schedules will be available at that meeting. We have several people already signed up for the trip including my wife and myself. We hope to encourage more people to come if you have time that evening to learn more about Western National Parks and might decide that a trip like this is appealing to you. For more information about this program call Essex National Heritage 978-740-0444 and ask for Elizabeth Rankin.

Once again the City of Peabody has used its community preservation fund to save a valuable piece of real estate in that city. A historic house in the city’s downtown is being saved, purchased by the town and turned into affordable housing. There is no community that has used its community preservation funds in a more diverse way than the city of Peabody.

In recent days there have been several stories in the local media about the Archdiocese of Boston which is once again talking about consolidation of local parishes and to put several other parishes on the market for sale. That consolidation and liquidation process also might affect the activity of the Boys and Girls Club in Salem as they try to purchase the old St. Mary’s school from the Immaculate Conception Church. Hopefully all of this will come together and the Boys and Girls Club will be able to finalize a new home for that club and complete some most important repairs to make the building much more accessible for the many young men and women who used the club daily.

I also want to offer my best wishes to Ms. Myrna Fearer of Danvers who recently announced that she is retiring as the community editor of the Danvers Herald. She has been a wonderful resource for many nonprofits in the area and has provided access to the community newspapers for those nonprofit organizations I write a column once a month for the community newspapers and I originally started that effort as a result of Myrna Fearer encouraging me to send a column to the newspaper each month. That is not a godsend for Essex heritage as we abused the column to inform and educate the people of this region. I think Myrna will still stay active with the paper in some capacity and we wish her well in the future in whatever endeavor she decides to follow. I am reasonably certain that Myrna will not go into retirement quietly and was still be a force in this region she is too active a person to just sit back and do nothing so I expect she will be very busy. We wish her well in whatever endeavor she decides to pursue over the next couple of years.

Recently the local newspapers have reported that Salem and Swampscott are considering further consolidation of municipal services. They are talking about the possibility of consolidating dispatch services between the two towns and there is the possibility that Marblehead might join the combined effort as well. We hope that the study proves to be worthwhile and is implemented. It is clearly visible services need to be consolidated as finances continue to become difficult for cities and towns all over Essex County and we hope that this is just one other initiative that is successfully undertaken.

Certainly there has been more than enough written about the severity of the winter and the snow totals. It has been a difficult time for local municipalities as they try to make up deficits in the budgets and even the decisions connected with schools concerning the number of days they have been closed. Now some issues surrounding collapses of roofs and other parts of school buildings have surfaced across the entire region. We will be interested to keep watch over the issues to see how it all plays out between now and the end of spring 2011.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


The faculty and student body at St. John’s Prep under the direction of Ms. Dale Bryant conducted their Empty Bowls Night and raised almost $4000 for the food pantry in Peabody – Haven from Hunger. Congratulations Dale and boys - keep up the good work.

Speaking of St. John’s it appears as if they have put their legal issues surrounding the dismissed employees behind them. A settlement has been reached on repayment to St. John’s of some of the money that was misappropriated has been returned. I believe that the school has learned a very valuable lesson from this experience and now audit procedures have been established for the future.

For many of the not-for-profit organizations in this region some very good news was announced the other day. The Danvers Savings Bank has agreed to continue their foundation which is been most generous to this region. In fact there is some chance that some additional funds may be allocated from the People’s Bank in Bridgeport, Connecticut that purchased Danversbank. Essex Heritage has been the beneficiary of many of these funds in the past and this announcement was good news for us to hear. In fact, just recently the foundation has agreed to be a major sponsor of the spring heritage heroes award dinner.

I recently learned of the death of another St. John’s classmate from the class of 1954. Edward Caden, a life long resident of Peabody, recently passed away bringing the number of deceased classmates from the class to 66. We were a class of 100 so we are down to only one third of the original group of graduates still alive.

On Tuesday of this week Essex Heritage held a trustee meeting. The trustees approved a list of potential commissioners to be elected at the May meeting. Among those nominated were John Farmer, a senior commercial lender at Eastern Bank and who has been very instrumental in our efforts with the development committee. In addition to John for other commissioners recommended were Marianne Clancy who is a marketing officer for the Newburyport Institution for savings and the former mayor of Newburyport was recommended and approved. The third nominee was Peter Weber who is the Executive Director of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce. Peter has worked in tourism in many capacities including working for a time for the State of Massachusetts. Ms. Susie Moulton of Moulton Consulting in Salem was also approved as was Sam Cleaves who is the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. All five of these nominees will be elected at the May meeting and will certainly add a substantial amount of expertise to the commission going forward.

It is never too early to get a notice out regarding the location and date of the Essex Heritage 2011 annual meeting. As we have always done in the past we tried to find locations that are not readily accessible to the public. We think we have done this again this year as the spring annual meeting is now set for April 12. We will hold th meeting at the Shale in Blue Performance Center in Rockport. We will be sending information in the not-too-distant future which will provide directions to the Performance Center and more details about the time and agenda for the spring annual meeting.

Monday, February 14, 2011



Much has been made of the Facebook reports that my son Mark issues each night, but it should be noted that none of the success would have been possible without the wonderful support of my family and my friends. I particularly point out Mark’s efforts as virtually every night after a full day at work, Mark stops at the hospital to review what has been accomplished that day and issues an appropriate report.

The Essex Heritage Audit Committee has recently met to consider the audit report that has been provided by the long term accounting manager Peter Dinsmore that has provided services to Essex Heritage for years. The report has been accepted by the Audit Committee and they were most complimentary of the work the ENHC-COO Susan Lippman for her efforts in producing such a quality report. We appreciate the work of the all volunteer Audit Committee and thank them for their efforts at the Spring meeting of Essex Heritage. A comprehensive report will be presented on the findings of the Audit Committee and no report is more important than the Audit Committee report which indicates that the company is well managed and the financial affairs are in order.

A couple of weeks ago, I read an article in the local newspaper with great interest. The article indicated that a local Salem teen has been sworn into the governor’s youth Council to advise the Governor on youth matters. The young man who will represent Essex County is Victor “Manny” Cruz who just a year or so ago was the “Youth of the Year” at the Salem Boys and Girls Club. Manny is currently a freshman at Salem State University and I predict this is just the first of many times you’ll hear Manny’s name mentioned. I had the privilege of sitting next to Manny at a Rotary luncheon a year ago when he received a scholarship from the Salem Rotary to help him attend Salem State University. He is a bright, energetic, engaging young man who will represent the city and the region very well on the Governor’s Council. This is a wonderful example of what the Boys and Girls Club turns out every year.

The Boys and Girls Club is currently in the process of examining the possibility of a major expansion at the current location. In the not too distant future, funds will be necessary to open that expansion effort. This expansion will allow the club to continue to offer the kind of programs that turn out youngsters like Manny Cruz, and others like him, who will become the leaders of this region in the not-too-distant future.

The development committee of Essex Heritage has been very active under the direction of Charlie Cullen, President of the Provident Bank in Amesbury and a group of wonderful volunteers who together have reached out the business community for their support. They are raising funds for ongoing operations through the corporate program and are continuing to reach out for support for the 2011 The Heritage Hero Award.

One of our corporate partners is Anna Jacques Hospital. They recently announced that they received a 22.5 million dollar tax exempt loan to continue to expand that facility. Our development chair Charlie Cullen is also on the board of Anna Jacques Hospital and I am certain that his involvement played a role in successfully obtaining the loan. Any program that expands any medical program in this region is most positive.