Thursday, October 6, 2011

Essex Happenings October 7, 2011

Essex Happenings, October 7, 2011

The National Park Service and Essex National Heritage Commission Recently Announced the Premiere of Salem Witch Hunt: Examine the Evidence
The Essex National Heritage Commission, in partnership with the National Park Service, will premiere Salem Witch Hunt: Examine the Evidence, on Tuesday, October 4 at 7:00 pm at the National Park Service Salem Visitor Center at 2 New Liberty Street, Salem. Shortly after the premier showing that took place earlier this week, the film will be shown for four times a day, seven days a week at the National Park Service Visitor Center on New Liberty Street in Salem. Make plans during the Halloween season to bring your friends and family to the showing during the Halloween Season to learn the story behind the story of the Salem Witch Trials.

On Wednesday evening along with a full house of local residents and friends of Essex Heritage my wife and I attended the premier showing of the new film that I suspect will be a big hit during the Halloween period and into the winter season. The film was well done and well received by all in attendance. The facts presented were well researched that makes the effort worthy of the affiliation with the Park Service. The film was well performed and the presentation was excellent. The true test for me is always did I learn something from the presentation and was I entertained. The answer to both of those questions is an emphatic yes. I hope that during a visit to Salem you will consider adding a visit to this film on your agenda. You will be glad you took the time to view the presentation.

Difficult Handicapped Parking Condition Noted at Salem MBTA Station

In a recent issue of the Salem Evening News and a subsequent editorial opinion in that newspaper provided substantial information about the ongoing abuse of handicapped parking opportunities at the City of Salem MBTA Railroad station. The recent story and later opinion indicated that commuters are using the spaces designated for drivers with handicaps as a spot to park when picking up disembarking riders from the very busy trains that pull into that station all day, every day. As someone who must now have access to parking as near to a destination as possible, it is clear that available handicapped parking is of critical importance to handicapped drivers or their handicapped passengers. I hope that the authorities in charge of the policing of those spaces will now become more diligent in assuring that the spaces so reserved are not abused. An occasional day of issuing costly parking tickets to violators might be a way to swiftly impact this problem and once again make the spaces available to the proper users. I certainly do not want to sound like a whining advocate for the handicapped, but as the weather changes in this region, as it certainly will as winter is not that far away, the need for handicapped spaces for folks with clear needs will become even more important to them at that time.

Danvers Educational Enrichment Partnership (DEEP) Offers Different Method to Raise Funds

The volunteer group that is made up primarily of parents of Danvers school children is busy raising additional funds to support educational programs in that Town. The group is involved in raising funds to create technology labs in the high school. On Sunday, they organized a three-mile fundraising walk for supporters. They have also now created a Sponsorship and seat naming opportunity in the Michael N. Armento Auditorium in the ongoing renovated High School. The Sponsorship options are priced at somewhat higher pricing and more than likely lend themselves to corporate sponsors, but the seat naming opportunities are much more reasonably priced. Small plagues will be attached to the backs of seats and this seems to be a wonderful way to recognize graduates of the school in both this and the next couple of years. For more information on this program and other DEEP endeavors visit their web site at

Volunteer Organizations in Andover Offers support to Build Youth Center

I recently learned of another very unusual volunteer group from Andover that is seeking to develop a partnership with the Town in the hopes of building a youth center on Town owned land adjacent to a muddle school. The feature in this partnership between the residents of the Town and the Town Administration is a promise that the resident group will commit to raise a substantial portion of the needed funds for the construction. The balance of the funding will be sought from the Town in the form of a special Town Meeting tax supported commitment from the taxpayers. The total cost of the project has been estimated at $4 million and the volunteer group has committed to raise 50% of those funds and are only seeking the other 50% of the total project cost from tax supported funding. The unusual twist in this project is that if the costs exceed the total estimate, the volunteer group will also be responsible for all excess costs past the budget of $ 4 million. The group has recently presented its proposal to the Town’s Board of Selectmen and will soon appear before the Town Finance Committee seeking a final approval for a special Town Meeting to consider the proposal. This is a concept that is worth following to learn of its final disposition as this idea could be a program that night spread to other local communities as projects, that have broad based public support are needed.

Northeast Harvest Newsletter

As we have done in the past, and to assure the broadest dissemination of the importance of the farming industry to this region, we want to reprint sections of the recent newsletter that focuses on these matters.

Harvest to Hand
Find Local-Buy Local

The mission of Harvest to Hand is to help promote "Buy Local" and a sustainable way of life for local agriculture across the United States. Consumers have easy access to fresh farm products, events and home-spun goods right at their fingertips through a FREE iPhone app. The app features farmers' markets, local festivals, locally made products, family-friendly farms, wineries and local eateries, and seasonal agritourism venues.


Whether you like picking out the perfect pumpkin or carving out a great design on a pumpkin or eating pumpkin pie, October is the month for you. Many of our farms offer pumpkin patches or ready for purchase. Click here for Pick-Your-Own farms in eastern Massachusetts. Below are a few interesting pumpkin facts:
• Pumpkins originated in Central America.
• Colonists sliced off pumpkin tops, removed the seeds, and filled the insides with milk, spices, and honey. This was baked in hot ashes and is the origin of pumpkin pie.
• Pumpkins are fruit.
• Pumpkins are 90 percent water.
• Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.
• Pumpkins are used to make soups, pies, and bread.
• Pumpkins range in size from less than a pound to well over 1,000 pounds. The world record pumpkin weight is 1810.5 lbs in October of 2010 from Minnesota.
• Pumpkins seeds can be roasted as a snack.
• Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.

Think Safety

With more farms generating electricity and dealing with clean-up from Hurricane Irene, there are more reasons to think "Safety". Safe Electricity urges farm operators, family members, and employees to beware of overhead power lines, to keep farm equipment safely away, and to know what to do if accidental contact is made with power lines. Safe Electricity urges all farm workers to visit Safe Electricity and watch the video.

Fall Festivals
at Smolak Farms

Much is happening at Smolak Farms in North Andover in October. There will be a Fall Harvest Festival on October 1st & 2nd, an Anniversary Weekend on October 8th, 9th, & 10th, a Pumpkin Festival on October 15th & 16th, and Trick or Treat Hayrides on the last two weekends of October. So no matter which weekend you choose, there will be an event at Smolak Farms. Click here for more information.

Fall Festivals
at Verrill Farm

Verrill Farm in Concord will host 3 festivals this October. On Sunday, October 2nd from 1-5pm, Verrill Farm will host HOEDOWN 2011 presented by how2heroes. The afternoon includes a pig roast, chef demos, music, hayrides, a dessert contest, and a prize for sporting the best hoedown duds! The 5th Annual Harvest Festival and Benefit for Emerson Hospital Pediatric Care will take place on Saturday, October 15th from 12 noon - 4 pm. Fields surrounding the farm stand will be transformed into an old fashioned fairground. Activities include games, music, food, a raffle and the seasonal search for the perfect pumpkin. On Saturday, October 22nd there will be the Concord Festival of Authors - Food 'n' Fiction. Local authors with a culinary bent will sign copies of their books and offer samples. For more information, click here.

Farm Fact

More than 40 agricultural fairs are held across the Commonwealth each year. From the Berkshires to Cape Cod, more than 3 million families, visitors, and residents visit Massachusetts agricultural fairs annually. Our fairs offer a wide array of exhibits that highlight the great diversity of Massachusetts' locally-grown agricultural products.

Incredibly Damaging Early Morning Storm Impacts North Shore

One of the most damaging rain events in recent years hit the North Shore earlier this week. In Danvers, it turns out that we were on the periphery of the main portion of the storm, but even so, I do not remember a rain storm of that severity for such a lengthy period of time. The amount of rain in such a short time was almost unprecedented. The damage done in local communities was severe, and houses, basements and automobiles particularly in Swampscott and Peabody were in many cases inundated. The situation in Swampscott seemed a bit unusual and we can only hope that the conditions that caused that serious a storm will not be recreated soon.

The city of Peabody is working diligently to correct the drainage problem that from time to time causes parts of the City’s downtown to flood. Plans are being implemented to correct the deficiencies in 2012 that cause the flooding problems. Funds have been allocated and hopefully the already designed plans will be put into motion before another calamitous storm hits the region.

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