Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ESsex Happenings

MARCH 9, 2011

A couple weeks ago, I was advised that my stay at the hospital had been extended a couple of weeks through the end of March 2011. In effect that is really good news as the extra time will allow me to receive continuing therapy here at this fine institution. The therapy that I will receive here is much more substantial than what I would have received in a home environment. Over the last couple of weeks I have been using my new artificial leg almost every day, and have certainly begun to learn how to walk again with the help of the artificial limb. Almost every day here in the hospital I do some walking and in some cases have taken relatively long walks, and am really getting to feel more comfortable with each usage. I do not expect, when I arrive home I will be able to walk as I did before I lost my leg, but I will certainly be able to get around and resume much of my previous activity.

One of the Heritage hero award winners 2011, is the superstar Mayor of the City of Salem Kim Driscoll, and it seems to me that almost every day I see some reference in the local media promoting her candidacy to run on the Democratic ticket against incumbent Sen. Scott Brown in 2012. Since the earliest days when Kim Driscoll first explored the possibility of running the mayor’s office in Salem I have been a strong advocate and a vocal supporter. I also believe that Kim Driscoll is capable of doing much more than being the mayor of the city of Salem, but I hope she thinks long and hard about a run this quickly on a statewide basis against a candidate who is as entrenched as Sen. Brown is at this moment. On a recent addition the CBS sixty minutes program it was noted that Sen. Brown might be the most popular politician holding office currently in the State of Massachusetts. I feel most confident that sometime Kim Driscoll will hold higher office than the Mayor the City of Salem but this may not be the time to test her popularity against an elected official who was so popular and running for just his second term. Mayor Driscoll’s doing a superb job as the Mayor of the City of Salem and her successes are chronicled almost every day in the local newspapers including special attention being paid to the waterfront as she tries to attract cruise companies who might be interested in making Salem a regular port of call in the future. In addition to her development efforts, she is also looking to improve many existing facilities in the city including the pedestrian mall and also looking at Winter Island to see how that asset might be used more effectively in the future. The city has also worked with a local ad agency to create a new marketing logo for the city and I am certain that it will be used in the future to help promote the city. The new logo is “Salem Still Making History”.

These are certainly turbulent times we’re living in at the present moment. The unrest that is sweeping the Middle East will certainly have long-term ramifications on New England with our dependence on oil. Until things stabilize in the Middle East, the cost of home heating oil and gasoline to run our automobiles will certainly be higher than it has been in the recent past. The unrest that seems to be sweeping this country is highlighted by the confrontation in the state of Wisconsin that is focusing on cost of healthcare, pensions and other benefits for public employees plus the rights of union members to negotiate. The resolution of the debate in Wisconsin is something to watch very carefully as I suspect that the final decisions made in that state will have impact on many other states and municipalities across this region. The final resolution of the debate in Wisconsin could have a long-term impact on the State of Massachusetts and many of the communities in this region, particularly as it pertains to union issues.

We recently learned that one of our valued employees Mary Williamson who has headed our development and communications effort will be leaving Essex Heritage to take a new job with Essex County Greenbelt. In the six years that Mary has worked for the commission she has done a superlative job and her efforts will be missed. We wish Mary all the best as she moves on to this new challenge in her life. Over the last several months, Mary has opened many new doors and we want to assure all those who have made commitments to us in the recent past know they are appreciated. In the next several weeks all of those businesses will hear from Essex Heritage as we develop plans to keep them connected to the commission into the future.

In the last couple of days, the City of Lawrence finally received some good news. Federal funds in the amount of $9 million have been allocated to the City of Lawrence, which will allow them to hire back to 23 firefighters who were laid off and will allow the city to reopen two closed firehouses. This is very good news as neighboring communities have been asked to provide backup support to the City of Lawrence and that was taxing to those communities who are trying to balance budgets in their towns as well. In addition, having a full complement of firefighters available in a city the size of Lawrence with a population that exists in the homes and apartments in that community safety is
most important.


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