Friday, August 5, 2011


Peabody Leatherworkers Museum Director Resigns Peabody-ENHC Visitor Center Open Only by Appointment

Ms. Merritt Kirkpatrick, the curator of the George Peabody House, and the Peabody Leatherworkers Museum that also serves as an affiliated Essex Heritage Visitor Center has resigned from that position. Ms. Kirkpatrick has taken a new position as the Director the new ARC-works Community Art Center that provides services to area residents with developmental and physical disabilities. That facility is located at 22 Foster Street and includes an art gallery with studio space in a recently converted and opened space building. We at Essex Heritage certainly offer our congratulations on her new appointment that will provide much needed services to the regions disabled. The resignation does cause some issues as the visitor center is now without a paid employee and appointments are now required of visitors who want to gain access to the facility. The appointments can be made by contacting the City of Peabody Community Development and Planning Office. We will continue to monitor this situation as we do not want visitors to the region disadvantaged.

Liquor Licenses Awarded in Danvers

In what might be a sign that the economy in the region is improving, the Town of Danvers, this week, provided three all alcoholic licenses to downtown restaurants from among six applicants. There was substantial interest in these licenses and in the most recent past that had not been the case, so it is possible that the increased activity could be a sign of better economic times. One of these licenses was recently reclaimed from a local bank, which had held the license as collateral for a loan and attempted to sell the license without success.

Salem Partnership Developing Documentary Film
The Salem Partnership, the public/private organization that was formed in 1986, by the city of Salem and the business community in Salem to help improve economic conditions in that city will celebrate its 25th Anniversary in 2012. To help bring attention to the numerous successes accomplished by this unusual partnership, the organization has embarked on the creation of a documentary offering that will highlight the last quarter of a century of accomplishments. Several contributors to the work of the Partnership will offer thoughts on their participation in the work of this unique business organization. The documentary film will be produced, directed and hosted by the current executive director of the Salem Partnership, Patricia Zaido, a former Salem State University Administrator. Earlier this week, I was pleased to be asked to participate in this project. I sat in front of the cameras of Salem Cable Access with the first President of the Partnership and the former CEO of Eastern Bank, Stan Lukowski and we spoke about the very earliest days of the Partnership, when we were the first two Presidents. The filming was accomplished for that session at the St. Joseph’s Social Club, part of the National Park Service on their Salem site on Derby Street. That club was part of an early effort by the Park Service and the Salem Partnership to expand the boundaries of the site and in addition to obtaining the St. Joseph’s property a small portion of waterfront land was acquired to square off the historic wharfs that would ultimately be restored. We spoke of that effort that went into that process and other early activities of the Partnership. I am pleased to still be allowed to serve on the executive committee of the Partnership, and applaud their continuing efforts to improve economic and social condition in Salem, with current projects like the J. Michael Ruane court facility and the wonderful work to improve the maritime opportunities in that city.

Northern Essex Community college works with Lawrence charter school on MCCAS

It appears that almost every time I offer a posting on Essex Happenings, I provide information about the work of Northern Essex Community College as they hope to develop a partnership to provide educational support to the region, particularly the economically challenged City of Lawrence. The college recently announced that they and the educational staff at the school are going to work over the next year with 6th graders from Lawrence Family Charter School, when those students spent one Friday each month at the College participating in activities designed to improve in the science and technology sections of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Testing System Tests, The work being done by 60 preteens in subjects like astronomy, measurement, introduction to engineering, and geology with hands on experiences should be provide a wonderful head start on the testing process.

Another example of educational Assistance in Newbury

Speaking of an educational institution offering community support, another great example is a cash contribution made to the Town of Newbury provided by The Governor’s Academy. The private school recently provided a $30,000 cash contribution to assist the community as they acquired a new much needed truck to be used by the Town’s Public Works Department and $2500 of the contribution was used by the Town to support the community library whose hours and services have been cut back due to budget constraints.

Extraordinary Needs at Regional Food Pantries

I am very pleased and proud that even with the extra challenges that my wife has undertaken to support my recovery, that she still has found continuing time for her volunteer work at the People to People Food Pantry in Danvers. I was fortunate enough on one evening this week to join the wonderful committed group of volunteers from that program at a social event and after some discussion with the leadership of that program, it is clear that there remains a very real need for support at food pantries all over this region . That support can be financial or it can be in the form of donated food products. We as a region have always respond to these needs during the end of the year holiday periods, but we sometimes forget that in the summer months the needs are just as great. In fact in Danvers, the numerous homeless families that have been relocated to the motels in that town has put extraordinary demands on that facility. Please consider supporting these organizations that exist and offer help in communities all over this region

NE Patriots Offer Season Ticket Holders Stadium Practice

On one night this week, for the first time ever, my wife and I, headed to Gillette Stadium to watch the in-stadium practice offered to season ticket holders and the residents of the Town of Foxborough. I have been a season ticket holder for more years than I want to admit, and the attendance at this annual event was astounding to me as 16,000 fans showed up to watch a simple practice. I traveled to the stadium, as due to my recent disability, I wanted to view the stadium and its facilities from a disabled persons perspective to learn if visits to a regular season game would be possible and will be comfortable. I was particularly pleased with what I found. After my illness, last winter, I contacted the Patriots and easily switched my tickets from a regular section in the stadium to a disabled section very close to where my original seats were located. That experience was pleasant, and the staff was most accommodating. The disabled sections are very spacious and not crowded and there are folding chairs in the sections that can be removed to make room for a wheelchair. The sight lines from theses section are quite good and access to the location is excellent. There are reasonably positive restroom facilities available and convenient elevator service to the proper level is provided to the disabled fans. We were able to park in a handicapped parking area that appeared to have a large number of available spaces, but only time will tell, if there are enough spaces for a regular season game that will produce three times as many fans. In general, I was very pleased with the experience last evening, and while I have taken certain organizations to task for their inattention to the needs of disabled persons. I would offer very high preliminary marks to the Patriots for their attention to this important matter.

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