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.

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