Saturday, December 31, 2011

Essex Happenings 12.31.11

Essex Happenings 12.31.11 HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE DAY

Hopefully, I am ending 2011 with a posting with meaningful information. I missed a posting earlier this week due to an uncontrollable computer issue. Much of the material that would have appeared is still valid and will appear in the first posting of 2012 next Tuesday.

On Behalf of all of the staff, the Trustees and Commissioners of the Essex National Heritage Commission and our senior partner, the National Park Service we want to offer all of you a most Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year for 2012. We hope that you will continue to support our mission in 2012 and we promise to listen to any suggestions or ideas you might have. We can be reached anytime at

I am pleased to off the following information about a holiday event and the celebration of recent achievements at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem.

Contact: Christopher Coleman The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem

Salem Youth Celebrate the Holidays at the Boys & Girls Club
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem Hosts Its Annual Holiday Dinner and Performance.

Salem, MA, December 21, 2011 — For many children, the holiday season starts at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem’s annual Holiday Dinner and Performance. This year more than 250 Club members, staff and volunteers were joined by St. John’s Prep students and parents to celebrate the season with a dinner, dance performances and gifts given out by Santa. The annual event took place this year on Wednesday, December 21st late in the afternoon at the Boys and Girls Club.

The children’s gifts are made possible through toy drives sponsored by St. John’s Prep’s Student Council and Salem’s own Wicked Running Club. For some children, toys received during the holiday dinner compliment gifts they receive during the holiday season. For others, these toys are the only gifts they’ll receive this year.

“When speaking to the Sophomore Class, [Assistant Principal for Student Life Wendy Olson] told students to think that the gift that each person donated might be the only present for a child this holiday season,” said Student Council President Stash Usovicz. “It is apparent from the turnout that this message echoed not only through the Sophomore class but through the entire school. It was amazing to see people of all economic backgrounds contribute whatever they could to the Toy Drive. This was our most successful year ever, making sure that no child went without a gift.”

The continued support and generosity of these young volunteers has created an amazing bond between the Prep and the Boys & Girls Club.

“This toy drive was initiated several years ago by Tom Leonard, a champion of St. John's Prep and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem. It is a reflection of Tom's vision of the world where people experience the joy in helping others. The happiness for the holidays felt by our boys and girls is due, in part, because this tradition of helping others continues to flourish at the Prep," said Joanne Scott, the Boys & Girls Club’s Executive Director.

The Wicked Running Club sponsored its second holiday toy drive, advertising their collection online, in local businesses and partnering with the New England Running Company of Beverly, using the store as a drop-off center for donations.

In addition to the toy distribution, Boys & Girls Club members and attendees enjoyed a delicious holiday meal and dessert generously provided by Ken Rothwell Catering and Coffee Time Bake Shop. The financial support for the meal was provided by Moriarty & Associates, P.C. of Wakefield and Chubb Services Corporation of Warren, New Jersey. Throughout the evening children will also enjoy dance performances by their fellow Club members and will await their turn to meet Santa and receive a gift.

Boys & Girls Club programs and services promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence. Boys & Girls Clubs are a safe place for kids to learn and grow - all while having fun. This event truly epitomizes the Club’s motto that “Great Futures Start Here.”

For more information about the content in this press release, or to schedule an interview with Joanne Scott, please call Christopher Coleman at 978-744-0915 or e-mail him at

Town of Middleton Seeking Community Volunteers

The Board of Selectmen of Middleton has issued a call to local residents advising that there are several non paid volunteer opportunities available to residents from that Town. The available positions are on the scholarship committee, registrars of voters, recreation commission, watershed advisory board, cultural council and a regional representative to a sewerage district. Interested residents should send a resume and a letter of interest
to the Board of Selectmen 348. Main Street, Middleton, MA 01949. Communities need volunteers to make government effective. Consider sending a resume !!!

Local Communities Planning for Inauguration Programs

Several local communities that have either elected new or incumbent Mayors are currently going through the process of planning for an inauguration event in the first few day of January 2012. Salem, Beverly. Newburyport and Gloucester will all hold renewal ceremonies and the City of Peabody will be greeting a new mayor for the first time in several years. We believe that the region is well represented and we look forward to any changes offered at the start of a new administration.

North Andover and Andover to Share Inspector

One of the interesting initiatives that have always attracted my attention is the potential for either sharing or consolidation of services by adjacent communities. In the just recent past, the Towns of Hamilton and Wenham looked at sharing the preparation of some financial services. That idea was dismissed, but now we hear that the communities of Andover and North Andover are looking at least temporarily sharing inspection services. There are certainly the possibilities of more efficient or even less costly delivery of services by adjacent and compatible communities and in these difficult financial times all such possibilities should be considered.

Historic Wenham Tea House to seek new Operator

One of the most historic and cultural locations in this region is currently looking for a new operator. Since 1912 the Exchange at the Wenham Tea House, a jewel in the center of historic Wenham, has operated with pride and success by the ladies of the Wenham Improvement Society for the betterment of the town. A portion of the profits continues to assist the Wenham Village Improvement Society with scholarships and civic improvements.
The Exchange maintains its character and charm at it has evolved over the last 100 plus years.

At this time, the current operator is not planning to renew the lease to operate the historic landmark in the middle of this region and the manager of the facility will be seeking a new operator. Times have changed in recent years and the time that families have to experience food and service at the famous facility has changed as well. A new operator may have to take a different approach to the way the Tea House is operated, but we certainly hope that a new arrangement can be structured that will keep the iconic location operating as it has for these past 100 years. With the classic New England feel of the Wenham Tea House, the Exchange at the Wenham Tea House has become a long time local favorite, and we hope that tradition continues into the future.

Spaulding Network in Region

As 2011 comes to a close so does part of my ongoing relationship with the Spaulding hospital as my therapy sessions are now complete. These formal sessions are now to be replaced by a conscientious effort to manage my own progress. Even as this presentation is being prepared, I have just returned from a walking session at a local mall. I am also now participating in a swimming program at Lydon’s Aquatic Center in Danvers and that is also assisting my continuing progress.

As my time at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network comes to an end, I want to once again compliment them on the work that helped me accomplish and to once again note the depth of that program and how important it has become to this region. On one of last days there I picked up a brochures that so clearly pointed out the importance of the Spaulding network to this region. The chart identified eight locations in the area north of Boston in what we think of as Essex County. My wife and I are still serving on a patient’s Advisory Council and in that way we will remain connected with the hospital network.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Essex Happenings 12.24.11



Since this report has been designed to be a recurring update on the work of the Essex National Heritage Commission and its many partners as they preserve the historical, cultural and natural resources of Essex County, we want to take a moment today on the eve of Christmas and the other holiday celebrations to wish all of you a happy and pleasant holiday season. These greetings are extended to all who might read this report and is offered to all regardless of how you might choose to celebrate or commemorate this holiday season. This broad regional partnership is comprised of dozens of not-for-profit regional organizations, thirty-four municipalities in the region and of course our senior partner, the National Park Service.

I also wish to extend the holiday greetings of all of the dedicated and committed staff at the commission to all of you as well. As another year will soon come to an end, we, Annie, Susan, Bill. Deb, Emily, Elizabeth, Debby, Rick And Tom all look forward to continuing to serve this region by investing our financial and human resources in improving the quality of life for all of the residents of this five hundred square mile region that stretches from the area just north of Boston to the borders of New Hampshire.

Since many holiday services and celebration will be starting this evening and continuing through the weekend, I intend to only offer one other random thought in this presentation today.

Stone Zoo Lights to remain on until New Year’s Day 2012

Although the Stone Zoo is not in Essex County, it is so close to this region and is such a holiday attraction that it seems appropriate to report on the site. Many of the lights used to illuminate the Zoo were first used to light a private home in South Peabody Additional information on this attraction can be obtained at

Once again enjoy the Holiday Season and this report will be back in full publication early next week.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Essex Happenings 12.21.11


Town of West Newbury to Study Land Purchase

Even in a most uncertain economy the Board of Selectmen in the Town of West Newbury have formed a citizen committee to look into the potential purchase of a property that the Town holds an option to purchase. The group would also offer options for how the community might use the Sullivan property if the decision to exercise the option were made. The property would be purchased with open space funding if deemed reasonable.


Topsfield, MA - December 13, 2011 -
A convoy of eight tractor-trailers loaded with 90,000 wreaths traveling from the Worcester Wreath Company in Harrison, Maine, made a stop at the Topsfield Fairgrounds on Monday, December 5th for presentations and a lunch on their trip to Arlington National Cemetery. Escorted by Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts State Police and the Patriot Guard Raiders, the convoy also included a bus full of Gold Star mothers.

The local America Legion, led by Dick Cullinan, local veterans’ affairs officer, organized the event and approached Topsfield Fair as a venue for the local ceremony.

Greeting the convoy were Executive Board members of the Topsfield Fair, including President Bruce Potter, William Clark, Richard Bonanno, and Peter Gibney, along with General Manager Jim O’Brien. President Potter presented a check for $1,500 to the group as a donation in recognition of their efforts. The Topsfield Fair graciously provided a generous lunch for all who attended.

Other communities were also presented with a wreath for special recognition of soldiers and veterans. Veterans service officers, veterans groups, and members of the Beverly Civil Air Patrol also turned out to greet the convoy.

Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit corporation, plans to sponsor 325,000 wreaths at c ceremonies nationwide, including the placement of 90,000 at the Arlington Cemetery.

According to Karen Worcester, the organization’s executive director and co-founder and wife of Morrill Worcester, the mission of the group is to put the recognition of our military in the minds of young people.

There were more that two hundred veterans and bystanders to greet the convoy at the Main Gate of Topsfield Fairgrounds, where a giant flag was hung between the extended ladders of the Topsfield and Hamilton fire department ladder trucks.

This is the first of the annual visits to Topsfield Fairgrounds by the convoy from Wreaths Across America.

Salem to Open Stores Late on Fridays Until Christmas

The downtown Salem Main Streets Program is offering a shopping night in Salem’s
downtown on Friday evenings. Over fifty businesses will be open and the
downtown is decorated for the holiday. A visit to the seaport community will be a
great way to celebrate the holiday season in a community that has decorated
windows in the downtown and will be celebrating the holiday in an old time
community fashion.
2011 Christmas Shopping Season Coming to an End

As we quickly approach the Christmas holiday now just a few days away, the rush to complete the shopping experience for some has reached the frenzied stage. This year because the Christmas holiday falls on a Sunday, there are two so called Super Saturday shopping days set up in the last week before the holiday. Black Friday that occurred on the day after Thanksgiving 2011 was a very positive start to what looks like a reasonably decent financial season for area retailers. Now with two Saturday shopping days in the final week of the retail season, the year could end on a very high note. A good retail holiday season could be a strong boost to move the regional economy and help the many retailers who count on this season to help insure a successful economic experience for area shipping establishments. The results of this season and more particularly the final days will be carefully motored and the results could be a barometer for the year ahead.
So for those of you who consider yourself end of the season holiday shoppers, this is your time and we hope that you enjoy the experience of a final holiday sprint.

Boston Professional Sports
Boston Professional sports continue to flourish as we approach the end of 2011. The Bruins have certainly come a long way back from the slow start that they had in the season’s first weeks. The month on November and the first half of December has been most positive and the convincing win on Saturday over the Flyers brought the team from last place in the Eastern conference to first in the conference in just one day short of seven weeks time. Quite a journey.

The New England Patriots have also been on a mini run after the last several weeks and headed to Denver for the showdown with Tim Tebow, the “Mile High Messiah” on a five-week winning streak. In the end they won rather handily and won the AFC EAST title for the 9th time in the last eleven years. GB Packers who were chasing the Pats consecutive win streak were beaten on Sunday, so that record remains in the hands of the Pats.

The only team that seems to have some question marks as the NBA lockout ends and a new shortened season is about to begin is the Boston Celtics. The Boston Celtics might have some issues with a time shortened season, as with an older roster playing several games in a contracted period of time might be a disadvantage to a older roster. In addition, in an attempt to strengthen their roster they shopped one of their younger stars around in trade talks without finding any takers. Time will tell if that has a negative or positive impact on the upcoming season. The Green team that has won so many championships seems to have been dealt another blow when a recent signing that they were counting on to help the cause seems to have developed a medical heart condition that will put him out for the entire season, but it appears that Jeff Green’s career is likely not to be in jeopardy after a soon to be conducted heart operation and at the very least, that is good news for a team that has had its share of terrible medical news over the years that has certainly impacted their performance. Even the boys of summer have made a couple of recent moves, but it is likely that there may be more moves in the future.

Holiday Concert a Wonderful Success

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been reporting often about a scheduled concert at St. Richard’s church that was provided for the enjoyment of the residents of Danvers and a valuable charitable endeavor. The event was held last weekend and the attendance at the event presented by the North Shore Philharmonic was sensational and a great deal of credit is due the sponsors and the organizing committee particularly the event co-chairs, John Call and Gary DeStefano. If the event were to be judged by the amount of the contributions to the Danvers People to People Food Pantry then it was an overwhelming success. The 650 people in the church that afternoon contributed almost 6000 pound of food that became the largest single contribution ever provided to the pantry, and they now face the holiday season and the harsh winter months with full shelves. The event was so successful that an event is already planned for next December and the hope is that the concert will become an annual holiday standard for many years to come.

Winter Solstice Celebration

I wanted to offer some information that might be of interest to some of you. On Wednesday evening, December 21, 2011 the observation of the shortest day of the year will be observed at Endicott Park in Danvers at 6:00 pm. The history of the shortest day and the longest night of the year will be presented by Endicott Park Rangers. Participation at the event is without charge, but a reservation and additional information can be obtained by calling 978 777 0001 or by contacting the Danvers Recreation Department at This certainly appears to be a most unusual event and might be most entertaining and informative.

Friday, December 16, 2011

essex Happenings 12.16.11


The following excerpts were reprinted from the recent Essex Heritage Newsletter

Take Part! Quality of Life Survey
"What is meant by the term 'quality of life' in Essex County?" and "How do we measure its value?" In response to questions posed by the Essex National Heritage Commission, Salem State University's Center for Economic Development & Sustainability is conducting a study which seeks to define the quality of life in this region and measure its economic value. You can help us by taking this very quick survey here.

The study seeks to identify what the residents, business owners and employees in this region value most about living and working in this area. Are there indicators of value that are held in common across the north shore? Let us know what you think! The research will assign economic value to these indicators and then compare the results with other regions around the world. Please participate, take this brief and fun survey.

2011 Photo Contest Winners Announced!
Photographers searched out the best and most beautiful locations for their award-winning submissions to the Essex Heritage Photo Contest. Presented by Essex Heritage and sponsored by Hunt's Photo and Video, the 2011 contest showcases the natural, cultural and historic treasures that define Essex County. Of the 140 images submitted, 13 winning images were selected by a panel of judges including representatives from Essex Heritage, the National Park Service, Hunt's Photo & Video, and photographer Robert Ring of New England Photo Workshops. The Grand Prize Winner was Marion J. Bayly of Speculator, NY for her photograph, "Early Morning Marsh." See the 2011 Photo Contest winners, click here be presented with awards at the National Park Service Visitor Center in Salem where winning images will be exhibited for one year.

Along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway
The 85-mile coastal route from Lynn to Newburyport
Celebrate the Holidays on the Byway!
Travel the byway to experience the best of the New England holiday season! Here is a sampling of the byway events planned to get you in the spirit. To find out more click here.

Ipswich Visitor Center Welcomes New Director

Kerrie Bates recently started as the new executive director of the Ipswich Visitor Center. She replaces Bill Nelson who ably managed the town-owned Hall Haskell House and a large corps of volunteers for the past decade. Plans include a new nonprofit organization to operate the facility which is located directly on the byway. Find out more here.

Running Tours of Salem Offered
Run, don't walk, to see some of Salem's most famous historic sites. RunSalem Tours recently began offering guided 5K running tours of the city. Grab your shoes and click here.

Partnership Grant Spotlight

Salem Athenaeum Bicentennial Book With support from an Essex Heritage Partnership grant the Salem Athenaeum has published a book commemorating its two hundred years in formal existence. Among its contents, The Salem Athenaeum in 2010: A Bicentennial Celebration presents a history of the library since its centennial in 1910 and features photographs and graphics highlighting the library's collections and decorative holdings.

As one of the few remaining membership libraries in the country, the Athenaeum is a Salem institution and houses over 50,000 volumes in its handsome historic brick building. In keeping with its mission to enrich the lives of its members and its North Shore community the library offers a wide range of learning resources, programs, and events. From more information, click here.

Generous Gift to the Town of Hamilton

One of the more famous families of the Town of Hamilton, the Patton’s, are currently working with the Town of Hamilton to learn if the family home on Asbury Street might be offered as a gift to the town. The home is a large wood frame building on twenty-seven acres with several additional out buildings and a pond. The decision to donate the property was made by the current owner, Ms. Joanne Patton who is well known not only in Hamilton, but around this entire region. For many years she has been the owner- operator of Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton, a certified organic farm growing and selling vegetables and fruit to residents of the region. Ms Patton, who is the widow of Major General George Patton and the Daughter in law of the famous World War Two General of the same name, is a long time admirer of the mission of Essex Heritage and has offered support and regular guided tours of the farm to our members. One of the final detail still to be worked out, is the need to assure that the property when in the Town’s hands will be open to the public and will produce some revenue to offset any expenses for the community. This potential gift is most generous and will be a great asset for the Town in the future.

Town of Danvers Installs Smart Meters

The town of Danvers will be one of the first local communities in this region to provide free so called smart electric and water meters to their customers. The new installation period will begin in early 2012, and will in time allow users to go on line and use their new devices to monitor their usage and even make adjustments to make the system even more efficient. In addition to the capabilities that will be offered the users, the new meters when installed will send wireless signals reporting usage to the electric division, thereby reducing the costs of reading the meters monthly. The town approved at a recent town meeting this substantial investment in new technology to be able to offer more efficient service to the residents of the Town,

Gloucester to use Social Media to provide Updates

It is certainly clear that as more and more residents in this region are using social media like face book, twitter, Linked in and other similar resources, that its was only a matter of time before a local community took advantage of these resources to better provide quick communications with its residents.

We now learn that the City of Gloucester Health Department has established a Facebook page as a method of providing health alerts. The city will offer a connection on the cities website at The community expects to offer information on emergencies like disease outbreaks or food recalls on the new Facebook site.

City of Peabody Adds more Open Space

The City of Peabody has a wonderful track record of obtaining and then using open space for the public good. The City has a proven track record of developing land into recreational uses for its residents. The recreational Trail that runs from the North Shore Shopping Center and then west to the Town lines of Lynnfield and Middleton has been an unqualified success and its use has been a boon to residents and visitors. In addition to the present asset, the City is considering expanding that resource by possibly considering a link with the Danvers Trail that would allow the potential usage from Peabody north all the way to the state border with New Hampshire.

Now we learn that the City is once again acquiring valuable open space. This time, they have allocated over $100,000 to acquire a final piece to develop a walking trail in South Peabody on a 39 acre parcel of land called Sydney’s Pond that included a pond acquired with the help of a state grant in 2008. The city will now develop a walking trail around that site. This new site adds to a fast improving recreation area that includes Cedar Grove Cemetery and the Meadows Golf facility.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Essex Happenings 12.14.11



Wreaths Across America

The program that provides wreaths on Veterans graves across the country made a stop at the Topsfield Fair grounds on their way to Arlington National Cemetery also distributed wreaths in Danvers on this past Saturday. Several local volunteers joined local officials and a member of the local clergy at the St. Mary’s cemetery on Hobart Street. They laid wreaths on the graves of veterans interred there. There were appropriate survivors to mark the occasion and I am certain that the families of those who served this country in the Armed Services were pleased that those that were recognized were honored.

Danvers Falcons Marching Band

I want to offer my belated congratulation to the band from Danvers High School that participated in services to commemorate the incredible loss of life when Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941. Until the attack on the World Trade center in New York, the attack on the base in Honolulu was the greatest loss of life in American history. The Danvers band has represented that community and this region at the Rose parade in California twice and in Florida at Disney.

Today’s posting will include some personal observations and then a reprint from the most recent newsletter from Essex Heritage produced most effectively for a number of years by Elizabeth Rankin the Assistant Director of Communications at Essex Heritage.

My personal observations will focus on the incredible need this year to offer support to not-for-profit organizations that are seeking their work to serve this region. I am certain that each of you have a number of favorite organizations that you support, and I want to encourage you all to continue to offer support to your favorite charities, as this will be a difficult year for many organizations. I certainly hope that you will bear with me, if I point out some of the organizations that I support that would be most worthy of your consideration,
• Essex Heritage at www.essexheritage,org
• Danvers Historical Society at
• North Shore Elder Services at
• Salem Boys and Girls Club at

I also want to offer my thanks to the numerous Food Pantries and housing shelters in the region that provide much needed services particularly needed as the weather turns more severe.

Thanks for your consideration.

Essex Heritage Newsletter Reprint

2012 Essex Heritage Hero Announced!

Essex Heritage and the National Park Service are pleased to partner to present the 2012 Essex Heritage Hero Award Dinner on Wednesday, May 9 honoring Thomas M. Leonard! We are delighted to celebrate Tom, an enduring advocate for heritage preservation in Essex County whose long and distinguished career with Salem Five reinforced his pursuits as a strong community leader. Tom consistently works closely with area elected officials and business groups to raise awareness of the dedicated efforts being accomplished for this region and has been instrumental in advancing the preservation and promotion of area resources.

Salem Five, a mutual banking institution founded in 1855 and one of the largest Massachusetts-based banks, has graciously offered to be the lead sponsor for this event. A special thank you to Salem Five for their incredible and long-standing commitment to Essex Heritage and Tom Leonard.

The Peabody Essex Museum, in its spirit of community support, has offered the Museum as the location for the 2012 event. Essex Heritage would like to extend much appreciation to the PEM for their support and commitment. Stay tuned for event, ticket and sponsorship details available in 2012 here.

Welcome Reception for NPS
Superintendent Michael Quijano-West

Essex National Heritage Commission in partnership with the Salem Chamber of Commerce and Destination Salem are hosting a reception to welcome the new Superintendent of Salem Maritime & Saugus Iron Works National Historic Sites, Michael Quijano-West. The reception will be held on Tuesday, December 13, 5:30 PM at the National Park Service Regional Visitor Center at 2 New Liberty Street, Salem, Mass.

Essex Heritage has a strong partnership with the National Park Service. "We are lucky that we have had several Superintendents who understand the benefit of partnerships and have welcomed our relationship to extend the educational reach of the park service beyond the park boundaries," said Essex Heritage Executive Director, Annie Harris. "Our collaboration has allowed all of Essex County to benefit from their educational and interpretive resources. Our partnership is strong and growing and we look forward to working with Mr. Quijano-West to expand our efforts even further." RSVP here.

This reception is co sponsored by the Salem Chamber, Destination SALEM and ESSEX HERITAGE and Essex Heritage and the public is invited to attend to meet the new National Park Service Superintendent.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Essex Happenings 12.10.11


The Following Health Tip Was Provided By North Shore Elder Services
CDC’s Winter Weather Health & Safety Update.
Cool Tip of the Week: Stay Warm This Winter - Shivering is an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Keep warm by dressing in wool, silk, or polypropylene inner layers – these fabrics hold in more body heat than cotton. Learn more. >>
For more information on Winter Weather safety, see CDC's site for Emergency Preparedness & Response.

North Shore Economic Alliance Funding
This regional coalition that is supported by local colleges and Universities, business interests, chambers and Essex Heritage has received a wonderful $90,000 grant from the Commonwealth, The organization will use the funding in their efforts to build job programs and to foster economic vitality in the region.

The Following material was excerpted from the Agricultural Newsletter we contribute our efforts towards. We have always been very attentive to these efforts, as the preservation of the natural resources of this region is most dependant on the health of local farms.
Christmas Tree Farms

Find a Christmas tree farm near you! Choose from Pick-Your-Own or a pre-cut tree. You may also find sleigh rides, hayrides or wagon rides. Click here to find a nearby tree farm.


The poinsettia's main attraction is its red leaves, not its small yellow flower. While red is the most popular color, poinsettias also come in white, pink, cream and multi-colored. The plant is native to southern Mexico where it grows to 12 feet tall and the leaves measure to 6-8 inches across.

SL-HAY Rides and Wreath-Making Party at Marini Farm

Marini Farm in Ipswich will offer Sleigh Rides to Meet Santa on Saturday, December 3rd from 12 - 4 pm and Sunday, December 4th from 2 - 4 pm. The sleigh rides will operate from 10 am to dark other than to meet Santa. There will also be holiday storytelling and cookies and crafts. On Saturday, December 3rd from 7-9pm, you can make your own wreath at the Wreath-Making Party. The cost is $20 which includes the wreath, pinecones, other decorations and ribbon. Please register for this event.

Gingerbread House Workshops at Verrill Farm & Smolak Farms

Come to Verrill Farm in Concord on Sunday, December 4th and Saturday, December 10th to make your own gingerbread house. The times are 9:30 & 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. The cost is $35 and reservations are required - please call 978-369-4494.
Come to Smolak Farms in North Andover to make your own gingerbread house on Saturday, December 17th from 10 am to 12 pm. The cost is $40 and registration is required - please call 978-682-6332.
Both farms offer the supplies - an assembled, undecorated gingerbread house, frosting and candy. Chefs and bakers will be available to help you with ideas.

Christmas Tree Pull by the Newfoundland Dog Club at Smolak Farms

Newfoundland dogs, often termed the "Gentle Giants", will be at Smolak Farms to pull Christmas trees out of the woods, assist families by taking the trees to their car, pose for pictures, and they will even be offering rides for the little ones! The event will take place on Sunday, December 11th from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Come and let the dogs help YOU! Donations will be accepted.

Winter Farmers' Markets Increase

The number of farmers' markets in the Northeast Harvest region has increased from 67 to 78. Markets are extending their seasons to accommodate year-round local demand. Many of you have asked for a listing of our WINTER farmers' markets. Please click here.

The Carrot Project Deadline

The Carrot Project is once again offering loans of $35,000 or less to Massachusetts farmers. The winter deadline is January 6, 2012 with an additional deadline on March 2, 2012. For further information, contact Benneth Phelps, Program Coordinator of The Carrot Project at 413-650-6151 or email

We Want to Hear From YOU!

CONSUMERS - Tell us your interests.
FARMERS - Let us know what's happening at your farm. We will try to publish your events in our newsletters.
Please add as a reciprocal link on your farm website. THANK YOU!
Click here to contact us.
This newsletter is presented in partnership by:

CITY of Salem Gains Financial Windfall from Halloween Holiday

The city of Salem recently released financial results from the 2001 event and for the second year in a row revenues to the City have substantially matched the results from the previous year/ It is very clear that the crowds that arrive in Salem for most of the month of October can be difficult to handle at times, and in some cases disadvantage some local residents, but the holiday is paying its way, and in these difficult financial times that is most positive, The events of October certainly shines a spotlight on the community, and in the long run helps keep the retail establishments in that community in business from year to year. Keeping that segment of the community healthy and paying their taxes is an important element of managing a municipality that is not now nor ever have been confidently connected to the regional highway system, and is not blessed with reasonable shopping weather for a good portion of the year, The plans to deal with the crowds that arrive each year seem well designed, and works for most in the community

Essex Heritage Annual Appeal

At the present time, Essex Heritage is conducting its annual effort to garner support for their work. ENHC developed a mailing to accompany the request, and the piece covered many of the year’s accomplishments. For those of you who might not have seen that listing, It follows here for your review, The list is long and demonstrates the commitment to the region by ENHC.

Essex Heritage demonstrates significant impact. . .
• Awarding 374 matching grants totaling more than $1.8M to municipalities and nonprofit heritage organizations to advance their preservation and education missions. These seed grants have leveraged an additional $19.5M in public and private investment, fueling economic development throughout the region;
• Leading the effort among 13 communities and all public and private stakeholders to develop the 85-mile Essex Heritage Scenic Byway as cultural heritage destination, fostering economic growth and regional collaboration;
• Expanding our successful partnership with the National Park Service in youth engagement initiatives such as First Bloom, F1rst Jobs and America’s Best Idea that expose our next generation to the resource and environmental stewardship practices that characterize the NPS ethic;
• Extended the organization’s premier partnership event, Essex Heritage Trails & Sails, to its tenth season and generating its largest audience ever;
• Creating hundreds of unique Essex Heritage member experiences in collaboration with partner sites for all north of Boston residents and visitors to enjoy;
• Expanding the Essex Heritage Photo Safaris and creating unique heritage travel experiences connecting hundreds of photo enthusiasts to the unique landscapes of Essex National Heritage Area in exciting new ways;
• Coordinating two ‘Teach American History’ grants, educating 250 teachers from 28 public school districts and connecting with 38,000 students in Essex County with fresh ways to teach national history and use primary resource materials to instruct and inspire their students;
• Partnering with the Border to Boston Trail Coalition, regional planning agencies, and MassDOT to expedite development of the 28-mile, 8-community Border to Boston recreational Trail, including work to access and leverage $718,000 in Federal funding;
• Collaborating with the Essex Agricultural Society and MA Department of Agricultural Resources to create and maintain, the on-line “buy-local” resource connecting consumers to local farms, farm stands and farmers markets;
• Celebrating the substantial accomplishments of people and organizations dedicated to the advancement of the Essex Heritage mission in their own communities through the Essex Heritage Hero Award and Pioneers in Partnership Awards;
• Engaging the 738,000 residents of Essex County in creative ways to discover the rich resources that we work so passionately to preserve...greatly enhancing the quality of life for the residents of Essex County.

Essex Heritage Quarterly Trustee Meeting

I recently attended a quarterly meeting of the governing board of Essex Heritage, and the following observations are offered for your attention.

• Special thanks to VP Jack Good, from People’s United Bank who filled in and presided over the meeting.
• Several important dates were offered, and they are presented here for your future planning.
• The 2012 Heritage Hero Event will be held on May 9, 2012, at the world famous Peabody-Essex Museum. The event will be sponsored by our long term generous community partner, the Salem Five Bank, and I am humbled and honored to have been named the Heritage Hero award winner to be recognized that evening,
• Each year we offer two regional meeting to provide valuable information on our mission and achievements, The dates of those two meeting have been established on April 10th and October 23rd at locations to be determined in the future, but you can be reasonably certain that the venues will be at a location you will want to visit.
• Reports were offered on the tenth anniversary Trails and Sails events, the Hunt Photo and Video sponsored Photo Safari’s and the Essex Heritage Photo contest, all of which were more successful than ever before.
• The Friendship will travel to Baltimore, MD in 2012, its superb inner harbor, and the NPS’S Fort Mc Henry National Park, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. ENHC and the NPS will expand their summer work program for local youths. Work continues on the restoration of the Light House area on Baker’s Island in Salem Harbor and we remain optimistic that at some point opportunities to visit that site will be available in the future,
• Grants to help identify opportunities on two scenic byways in this region continue to be sought and marketing efforts to create signage, web sites and logo’s will expand.
• Please watch for the next ENHC Newsletter, where a link to a Salem State University Quality of Life survey will be presented. We look forward to your input.

MIAA Playoffs

Congratulations to Marblehead and Hamilton-Wenham High school football entries in the MIAA Playoffs. Neither team made it to the final games of the playoffs, but should be applauded for their efforts and a wonderful season.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Essex Happenings 12/5/2011

Essex Happenings…12.5.11

Information from the Danvers Bi-Peds Newsletter is offered for your information.

December 10, 2011, Saturday, 1:30 p.m. - Holiday Hike Meet at the Hobart St. parking lot, 10 Hobart St, near Cherry Street Fish Market. Santa will join the hikers to inspect the improvements along the Rail Trail. Learn how you can sponsor a mile marker to help with trail improvements. Hikers will go south to Collins St. and then enjoy seasonal refreshments and a raffle upon our return. Rain date is 12/11. Contact Laura Cilley at or call (978) 777-4661 for more information.

December 12, 2011, Monday, 7:00 - Danvers Bi-Peds regular meeting - will be held in the Carriage House at Endicott Park, 57 Forest St., Danvers. Learn about trail updates and the stalled train station rehabilitation. Bring your ideas and expertise. Be a part of planning monthly walks, activities and efforts to make Danvers a safer place to bike and walk for all ages. All are welcome. Hope to see you there.

December 22, 2011, Thursday - Danvers Rail Trail Advisory Committee - monthly meeting at 6:00 pm. Contact Kate Day, 978-777-0001 ext. 3029 or for location and more information.


Mile Markers Are installed - The first step, after the coordination of the mile marker order by Laura Cilley, was to apply the information decals. That was accomplished on Nov. 10th when 6 volunteers and Kate Day, Sr. Planner, got together for a pizza and stickering party at the home on Lori Dupont. Each marker also got a ‘Donated By The Danvers Bi-Peds’ sticker.

That was followed by an installation day. It was great weather on November 19th for a volunteer rail trail work crew, but a bit cool at first. The power driven Easy Auger was picked up from the Danvers Hardware (paid for by an exchange for the sponsorship of a mile marker near downtown). The auger proved to be reluctant to start so it went back. In the meantime, some of the crew started to dig the 18” deep holes by hand. Another crew followed with mortar and tools to firmly plant the markers in the holes. A few others went along picking up trash exposed now that the vegetation has died back. On the whole, there was not much trash but after awhile it was noted that plastic bags found with a neat knot at the top were bags of dog ‘poop’. The trail rules say ‘pick up after your dog’. They also say carry in, carry out. The crew wondered what type of person bags the ‘poop’ but leaves the bag for others to deal with.

Rail Trail sponsorship program up and running - Thanks to the work of Mead Web Design, one is now able to look at the location of each 1/10th mile marker on a google map just by clicking. You may ask - Why would one want to do that? The answer is so one can find out which markers are still looking for sponsors and who is sponsoring what section. Check the site to find it. Folks (families, individuals, organization, and businesses) can pick the location they wish to sponsor and pay on line. The sponsorships are $150 per year for 1/10th markers and $500 per year for on the mile markers. It is a great way to show support for the trail and all the funds raised will go toward the trail upkeep and improvements. Several of the marker locations are already taken. If you want to show your love of the trail by displaying your business, family name, or perhaps a group of friends; it is now easy to do so.

Life along the trail - It has been great weather for using the rail trail. Currently the edges have all been mowed where needed. As mentioned above, the mile markers are all in place, except for 3.4 near Danvers Farm & Home Service Inc aka Danvers Agway. There is a temporary detour in that area due to wetlands. If all goes as planned, Iron Horse Preservation is supposed to do work this fall to solve that problem using materials contributed by the Danvers Electric because it is imperative to them that they can drive their trucks through that area in order to service the power lines.

Elsewhere along the trail, there is now a crosswalk painted on Rt. 62, although caution is always needed when crossing such a busy street. The parking lot at 40 Popular (Rt. 62) has been repainted to allow the trail to pass. This has been signed with ‘walk only area’ signs due to the narrowness of the pathway through there. In spring bumpers will be installed to prevent the cars from pulling too far forward. For now trail users just have to hope the drivers will be aware of the trail and not park on it.

For adjacent homeowners, many have for years considered the rail bed as a good place to dispose of lawn and garden waste. If you are an adjacent homeowner, the entire rail right of way is now considered town land. If you are not sure where your property line is, it is best the find out before continuing to use the now trail right of way for disposal as it is against town ordinances to dump anything on it. If you are an adjacent homeowner who would like to improve the beauty of the trail you could clear out downed wood and assorted clutter behind your property. Everyone can help spread the word about keeping the trail attractive.

There seems to be a mystery friend(s) of the trail north of Chestnut St. First some great mowing happened and most recently, some large dead, leaning trees were removed - wood and all. It makes the trail look much better. Thanks to whoever it is. Your work is appreciated.

Other things in the works along the trail include passing by Danvers Farm & Home Service safely and removal of a portion of the stone wall across from there on Wenham Street. For those of you who have been determined enough to pass through the very picturesque but very muddy cut in the rocks north of Wenham St., that area has not been forgotten but it is not an area which can be dealt with quickly and probably not with volunteer labor. Of course, the unusual amount of rainfall has made it worse.

Remember the $60,000 Department of Conservation and Recreation grant that was applied for by the Town? Let us all hope Danvers receives it as many of the trail issues can then be dealt with. In the meantime, the Danvers Rail Trail may have been years in getting off the ground but as rail trails go, it has moved at an amazing pace since then.

Thanks to all - Laura Cilley put together a list of all those who helped during the last year with advancing the Bi-Peds goal of safer biking and walking in Danvers, many of them trail related. She tried very hard not to leave anyone out. The list is too long to include here but you can read the list at She read the list at the Thanks to All Stroll on Saturday, Nov. 19th just prior to drawing the winner of the $25 gift certificate graciously given by McKinnon’s Market. It was won by Kevin Bellew.

Tom’s Spaulding Story - Tom Leonard is a long time supporter of the Bi-Peds and the Danvers Rail Trail. A year ago he suffered a fall that resulted in an infection that led to the loss of his leg above the knee. Go to to watch the video of the incredible story of this determined, generous gentleman’s comeback.

Sidewalk Reminder - Help spread the word - sidewalks are for people, not vegetation or cars. Now is a good time to cut back bushes such as Burning Bush which when planted were cute, little plants but now have grown to take over the sidewalk.

If you are lucky enough to have the town plow snow from your sidewalk, remember to keep it clear of piles from driveway plowing. If you don’t get that service, it would still be appreciated by pedestrians if the sidewalks were cleared.

Membership - Are you a Bi-Peds member? Go to to join or print out a membership form and send it in. Check with your company to see if they match funds as GE does. Almost all the money taken in by the Bi-Peds goes toward the rail trail and other concerns leading to safer biking and walking in Danvers and you get a 15% discount at the Western Cycle bike shop on everything except bikes.


Interesting - Walking comprises 11% of transportation trips, 12% of roadway fatalities and yet receives less than one percent of transportation safety funding.

From the Federal Walking Policy Platform - Rethink transportation safety. Safety is not how to make the cars drive faster with fewer crashes, rather making communities truly safe for families to walk and utilize our public rights of way.

Visit the web site for more news -

Heritage Films at Hollywood Hits in Danvers

Dan Tremblay lives in Danvers and has an ongoing volunteer relationship with the Danvers Historical Society and operates a business called Heritage Films. He is now showing those entertaining and informative films every week at the Hollywood Hits Movie theatre in Danvers. The films are offered us usual three at a time and the cost of attending is priced most moderately. For more information on pricing, and scheduling contact the theatre In Danvers directly.

Christmas Walk in Marblehead

In a previous posting, I noted that it appeared that during a recent visit to downtown Marblehead that a Christmas Walk was being conducted. I was wrong about that assessment as I received an announcement that the Christmas Walk is scheduled for the weekend of December 2 thru 4. There will also be I tree lighting and an artisans marketplace.

North shore Elder Services Recognitions

At its 41st annual meeting on November 16th in Boxborough, the Massachusetts Council for Home Care Aid Services saluted two North Shore Elder Service case managers, Melissa Daly and Barbara Quinn. They were among the nominees for the Cathe Madden Award which is given to ASAP Case Managers in memory of Cathe Madden who demonstrated extraordinary enthusiasm, innovation, and commitment to her job. These are all qualities that Melissa and Barbara exemplify fully.

Congratulations, Melissa and Barbara! We are proud and grateful that you are members of the North Shore Elder Services staff.

Business-Public Sector Group Formed in Andover

The Town of Andover has created a new opportunity for local businesses to apply for membership in that community’s Economic development Committee. This new vehicle will offer those members access and a line of communication between the businesses and local officials. This new program sounds remarkably like a very successful program that has operated since 1987 in Salem, aptly named the Salem Partnership.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Essex Happenings 12/2/2011

Essex Happening-12.2.11

The Calendar changes to a New Month

It seems impossible that we have turned the calendar to the final month of 2011. The month of December with all of the holiday celebrations has always been a favorite time of my year for my family. I can only hope that this year will be a more pleasant time than last year. During the first week of this month in 2010, I was injured in a fall and the first couple of weeks in December was only a blur in my memory and the start of a difficult several months for my family.

Partnership Grant Spotlight

Jerry Eide of Hill Town Restorations
Rare Gloucester Barn Stabilized
Though far removed from its primary downtown location, the Cape Ann Museum is preserving a rare surviving agrarian structure, the c.1740 barn adjacent to the 1710 White-Ellery House, an important First Period house. With the goal of stabilizing the massive timber frame, the multi-phase project was first tackled by teams of preservation carpentry students from the North Bennet Street School in Boston and more recently entrusted to the Hill Town Restorations of Wendell, Mass. Work to enclose the building is slated to conclude this fall.

DCR's Historic Curatorship Program Seeks Proposals for Newburyport Property

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is issuing a Request for Proposals for the rehabilitation, reuse, and maintenance of the Coachman's House Complex in Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Through DCR's Historic Curatorship Program, outside parties rehabilitate and maintain a historic property in return for credit toward a long-term lease.

"The Historic Curatorship Program demonstrates an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to preserving the history and culture of our park system," said DCR Commissioner Edward M. Lambert Jr., "By securing the long term preservation and maintenance of these historic resources, the partnership is a true win-win." To find out more about the DCR Curatorship Program and this property, click here.

Kudos to Eastern Bank!

Congratulations to Eastern Bank for being ranked the number 1 lender in Massachusetts by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Eastern Bank has been a long-time supporter of Essex Heritage. This year, Eastern Bank was a lead sponsor of Trails & Sails, allowing Essex Heritage to offer nearly 200 events across the Heritage Area for FREE to residents and visitors. Thank you to Eastern Bank for all of your tremendous support!
For more information click here.

As a long-term member of the Board of the Boys and Girls Club, I am pleased to print this appeal.
Help Salem’s Boys & Girls Club Reach $10K Goal by January 31.
Annually, the Boys & Girls Club spends between $400 and $500 on each child participating in our Drop-In program, but only charges those children a $10 membership fee to participate in great programs like The Ultimate Journey, Torch Club, SMART Girls and traveling sports teams.

This holiday season, the Club seeks to raise $10,000 through donations of $20 or more. Would you like to help? Please contribute by donating directly to the Club either online at, by telephone or via snail mail.

Town of Danvers Seeks Reimbursement for School Travel Costs from temporary Homeless Families

$130,000 is a tremendous amount of money for a small community to have to absorb as part of their school budget. That large figure is the amount that the Town of Danvers might be expected to pay to transport students now living in motels in that Town if the students elect to be transported back to the community where they lived before being temporarily relocated to Danvers. That amount is double the amount expended last year and substantially over what the town set in its current year budget. The number of families now living in the temporary housing in Danvers is now down to 106 families from a high of 143 earlier this year. The town is urging State officials to provide reimbursement for the substantial amounts already spent on the student. At present, Danvers is housing eight percent of the large number of homeless families currently being housed in motels. In addition to the transport costs the town now have a dozen and one half students who were living in motels in Town that are enrolled as full time students now in Danvers schools. Reimbursement for those costs will also be sought. Recently, the State Auditor’s office provided a ruling that could open the door for the Town to receive reimbursement. Funding for this will have to come from the Legislature and the Town will continue to work with the representatives that serve the community. This will be a difficult issue to solve and the importance of receiving the reimbursement could be critical to the short term financial health of the Town.

Andover Youth Center Moves Forward

One of the projects that I have been watching carefully over the last several months due to the unique public-private partnership is the plan to build a youth center in Andover. The project that has been funded with equal contributions from the public that wants the project built and the community that also will contribute both funds and the land where the youth facility will be built. The Andover Board of Selectmen approved bringing the potential warrant article to a special Town Meeting. All that now remains is the vote at the special meeting. The joint effort can begin with a $2 million contribution from a group of residents who have pledged the private funds that makes the project so unusual. It will be important to watch to see if this concept spreads to other communities. The idea that if a special interest group in a community desperately wants to see a project go forward, they will be willing to put their hard earned capital in place to match a public funding

Danvers Diversity Awards Announced

Each year to help bring attention to the Martin Luther King Holiday, the Town of Danvers offers a dinner and a series of awards named “Drum majors for Justice to honor Dr. King. These awards are provided by the Committee on Diversity to recognize extraordinary actions. The awards are provided to those who show a deep commitment to social justice and leadership in advancing racial and religious tolerance. This year the dinner will be held on January 16, 2012 at the Danversport Yacht Club. The 2012 individual award winners will be Juliet Sithole-Berk, Emily Jones, Georgeianna Melendez, Paul and Donna Pepper, and the group awards winners are the Prep@Pingree Program, Eastern Bank, North Shore Bank, and Students United for Acceptance.

Hamilton/Wenham Explore Regional Solutions

It was very positive to see a recent release that indicated that the communities of Hamilton and Wenham are seriously considering regionalizing their finance departments that would include accounting, treasury, employee benefits and payroll. Under an agreement between the two towns, Hamilton’s finance director and treasurer/collector have also been serving in the same capacity in Wenham. The chief administrative officers of the two towns have been working on a proposal to formally develop a report for the consideration of the two Town Boards of Selectmen. It is expected that the proposed regionalization report will be presented for action at a joint meeting of the two boards on December 6th. This is a positive step that has been taken by two communities that have much in common and hopefully will result in the consideration of even more regionalization between the two communities in the future. I would hope that leaders in other communities will be watching these discussions as well, as ideas like this one might have applications elsewhere and additional savings might be accomplished. I am reasonably certain that there are similar opportunities in communities that might already have an outstanding relationship with a neighboring municipality.

Retail Christmas Walk in Topsfield

The annual retail Christmas walk along Main Street will be offered on Saturday, December 3, 2011, from 4 until 7 pm. Stores will be open and will offer treats and a series of holiday events will be offered during that time. This kind of local effort to promote the retail opportunities in smaller communities help to promote the downtowns in these towns and can also have an impact on the economy of the entire region. My wife and I were in downtown Marblehead on Saturday for the wake of the wife of a former associate at Salem Five and it certainly appeared, based on the crowds of pedestrians in that community that there was a retail event of some type underway.

Santa Arrives Appropriately by Boat in Rockport

A annual holiday tradition in the port city of Rockport will be continued on Saturday, December 3, 2011 on a lobster boat at Bradley Wharf on Bearskin Neck at 3:45. The arrival of Santa will precede the annual tree lighting ceremony that will take place in Dock Square at 4:00. Caroling will be provided at the tree lighting.

North Andover Passes Meal Tax Increase

A town meeting vote in North Andover to approve adding a 0.75% additional sales tax on meals was recently passed by a narrow margin. This was the second straight meeting where the proposition was proposed. At the first meeting, the proposal was defeated by the same narrow margin of seven votes each time. The revenue from this tax will go directly to the Town’s General Fund. The Town is one of the last communities in this region to pass this local option tax. Collections of this new fee will begin on 1/1/12 and proponents of the tax adoption believe that it will have little or no impact on local food sales.

Traditional High School Thanksgiving Football Games

Congratulations to all of the participants in the traditional holiday football games that have become an important part of the way Thanksgiving is celebrated in this region. We hope that all of you that attended a game last Thursday enjoyed the experience and we hope that your team won the contest. The weather was clear and reasonably cool and perfect for Thanksgiving football weather that day. In a future posting in this presentation we will report on those schools from this region that will send a team to the MIAA Playoffs.