Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Essex HAPPENINGS August 23 2011

Town of Swampscott Considers Building Wind Turbine

There certainly appears to be a great deal of discussion about the building of community wind turbines in various locations around this region. Salem and Gloucester are holding meetings and gathering facts about the potential for such a project. Now the Town of Swampscott is considering a new energy efficient project on the site of the middle school that could supply the school with some of its energy needs. The project under consideration would see a 335 foot high, $3 million dollar tower and turbine built. The project is just in the very preliminary planning stage and could be many years before the project is built and performing. The town received a $75,000 grant from the Massachusetts Center for Clean Energy to complete a feasibility study. If built the project could provide up to 30 to 40% of the needed power for the middle school. The study that was completed by Meridian Associates of Beverly was very complete and included assessments on issue such as wind speed, shadows, permitting issues and financial considerations. The preliminary study was done without much public input or even awareness as at this time the project is in the exploratory stage. Now, before any additional forward action steps are undertaken, the public will have a chance to be heard in the neighborhoods that could be impacted and the rest of the Town will also have a chance to be heard. The potential for these projects on paper appear to have substantial merit until the impact on the public is considered. As time passes on these potential projects in both Swampscott and in Salem progress will be monitored and when more information is available I will try to bring that information to all of you.

City of Salem Accepts Two Gifts

I recently noted that the Salem Council on Aging recently received a $160,000 bequest from a long time Salem resident who believed that offering the proceeds from the sale of her Salem house for the benefit of seniors in the city was the best use for those proceeds upon her passing. The second gift was a $45,000 powerboat donated by a Gloucester man to the fledgling Sail Salem program. This is a program that is offering nautical instruction services to both adults and youth and is most important to a community that has such a wonderful maritime heritage, The City is currently seeking to expand this boating program by bringing Salem State University into the program. Both gifts to the City were unexpected and most appreciated.

Swamp Walk Invitation
The following invitation was received from the Development Team for this Project and I wanted to pass it along to all of you.

This is a cordial invitation to join us as we continue to have fun on the most interesting project happening in Danvers.
Join us on the Danvers Rail-Trail, Fri, Sat, Sun, Sept 23-25 from 8AM to 3PM for the build of a new section of SwampWalk.
Drop by to work the day (lunch provided) or at any time, if only for a short period, to observe, chat, or pitch in.
See us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Swampwalk-Rail-Trail-Danvers/16901782981871

As I have done from time to time, I want to offer some observations on disability issues.

New Disability (ADA) Regulations Passed

I continue to be most interested in issues that impact the handicapped. I was in the lobby of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, and noted a flyer that highlighted new regulations that had recently been passed regarding new ADA regulations. The changes that became effective last March focuses primarily on Service Animals. The new regulations better define service animals and limits the use to dogs only. Additionally, the dogs must be trained to do work or perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability on a person. If the dog is to be used purely for emotional support then they will not be considered service dogs. These changes are presented here as a service to those that might be impacted by these regulations.

Furor in New Hampshire over Hybrid vs. Handicapped Parking

The State of New Hampshire is in the process of expanding a state run liquor store in Nashua on a small congested site. In an attempt to satisfy many factions they created some special parking nearer to the store for energy efficient vehicles. That concept is positive, as the development of more such vehicles are essential to our economy, but in creating special parking for those vehicles the developers eliminated some parking close to the store for handicapped patrons. State official have indicated that the parking plan as now constituted is temporary and in the final configuration all interests will be satisfied. I certainly hope that no handicapped parking will be eliminated as most persons with disabilities need the designated parking to complete their needs

Danvers Herald Announces a New Editor

The most recent edition of the Danvers Herald carried a front Page story about the appointment of a new Editor for that Newspaper. Ms. Sam Trapani comes to the Danvers Herald from the Hamilton-Wenham Chronicle where she also served as the Editor. Ms. Trapani has a long- term relationship with the Town of Danvers as she graduated from Danvers High School in ’85 and worked in both travel and sales in Danvers before embarking on her journalism career. I am so pleased that the Herald has allowed me to provide a monthly column about the work of Essex Heritage to the paper for the last decade and certainly hope that the new Editor will allow me to continue to contribute to the paper going forward. Congratulations to Ms Trapani on her new assignment and in the future, we wish her all the best.

National Park Service Official in Salem Receives Prestigious Award

Congratulations to Salem National Maritime Site employee, Doug Law for being named the winner of the NPS Appleman-Judd-Lewis Award for excellence in Cultural Resource-Stewardship. The award was provided for the work accomplished by Doug Law Salem site for bringing disadvantaged youth to the Salem site and for teaching them job skills as they assisted in several historic resource preservation projects on the site. This prestigious award was presented to Doug by the National Park Service Director.

One Very Personal Note to conclude this posting

One night last week, just before our oldest grandson, Brendan Leonard headed off to college for his Freshman Year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, my wife and I took him, his father and sister to dinner that was both celebratory and a little sad as he would soon will be away from his family, but that is clearly an important part of the process of growing up. Earlier this summer Brendan spent a weekend at the college with his Father for an orientation session and confirmed that this was the right college for him. Then very early last Friday morning his mother Kelly and her husband Matt Newbegin left on the long drive down the Atlantic coast to deliver Brendan to Chapel Hill. We are all very proud of him as he leaves Danvers for the next segment in his life and we will all miss him very much until he arrives back home for the Thanksgiving Holiday. In his short but meaningful life, he has left his mark in Danvers and at St. John’s Prep. I have noted to anyone that will listen, in the last couple of days, that I can’t begin to fathom where the 18 years have gone since Brendan was born and has now grown to be a responsible young man. My advice now even more that ever before, is to enjoy your children and grandchildren while you have them close to you. I was so fortunate to have Brendan and my other three grandchildren close at hand during my recent illness. They were all a great comfort to have near during that trying time. Good Luck, Brendan as you become a Tar Heel and leave your days as a St. John’s Prep Eagle behind you for a time.

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