Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Essex Happenings 1.16.12



The city of Salem and the entire region received some bad news in the last week or so. In a series of public meetings and announcements from the State House in Boston, the commonwealth’s Secretary of Transportation and several local officials have released information that will certainly alter the way the proposed parking facility at the Salem MBTA proposed Garage will be built and then used. The original plans that City officials in Salem and the leadership of the civic group the Salem Partnership had outlined, focusing on the need for adequate parking at this regional facility as the highest of their joint priorities, in all of their planning. The proposed parking garage, that had been scheduled to be built to both serve the new regional court facility just recently completed and the MBTA Commuter Rail Station that is one of the busiest on the entire transportation system, will now be dramatically cut back in the number of available spaces to be provided. The original anticipated size of the dual purpose garage was scheduled to be constructed offering 900 spaces is now being proposed to be reduced by almost half the original size to 500 spaces. This is a most serious reduction in size as the usage will not be any less and the current use of the surface parking lot is currently extremely high, and commuters that arrive at the location now after very early morning will find no spaces available. Now with the expected demand for spaces that will be needed to operate the new courthouse facility without providing parking are added to the mix, the site might turn into a disaster of sorts. The Commonwealth has indicated that scarce financial resources, along with a more expensive site preparation cost, is the primary reason for the cutback in size. We can only hope that local officials and the State can craft a plan to restore the proposed reduction in size and the lost spaces will be put back into the plan so that the dual purpose of the garage, when it finally comes “on line”, will be available to adequately serve the region and these two potentially busy consumer uses.


Contact: Christopher Coleman
 Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem
978-744-0915 - phone
978-744-6203 - facsimile
ccoleman@bgcgs.org - email

Marblehead Little Theatre Receives $2,500 Grant from McCarthy Family Foundation,
Benefits Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem

MARBLEHEAD, Massachusetts (January 12, 2012) - The McCarthy Family Foundation of Peabody, MA, has awarded Marblehead Little Theatre (MLT) a $2,500 grant which will be used in support of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem’s spring 2012 Performing Arts program.

This grant will fund scripts, stage set building costs and costumes needed for the Boys & Girls Club’s spring 2012 play. MLT will also provide technical support – including lighting and sound – as well as staging and other theatrical support not available through the Boys & Girls Club. MLT would contribute the Director of Theatrical Facilities to oversee and support set building and lighting design. Other MLT resources would be made available as needed. In addition, an MLT tech crew will educate the Club’s 10- to 12-year-old thespians in set design, prop creation and costume design and fabrication.

Since 2006, and with support from the McCarthy Family Foundation, Marblehead Little Theatre has been offering children’s classes in an effort to provide a greater number of performing arts opportunities for area youth.

“As members of the theatrical community, Marblehead Little Theatre members strongly believe that the thrill of watching a child’s confidence, manner and skill grow as they learn the ‘tricks of the trade’ is incomparable,” says Charles Gessner, Chairman of MLT’s Board of Trustees. “While we recognize that not all will develop into huge talents, we believe that most children will profit immensely from the lessons learned during the creative process.”

Partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem is an extension of MLT’s Children’s Theatre effort. During this collaboration, the Boys and Girls Club’s actors will rehearse at the Club in Salem until the week prior to the performance, when final rehearsals move to MLT’s 92-seat theatre.

“The partnership with MLT provides our young actors with the unique opportunity to perform on real stage with equipment and costumes used by professionals,” said Taylor Nelson, the Boys & Girls Club’s Arts and Education Director. Ms. Nelson will direct the play. “These resources are ones that we would otherwise not have the ability to provide our members.”

Though the name of the spring performance has not yet been released, performers MJ Sirois and Katie Henry are already excited about the project. Both are twelve year olds and performing arts program veterans who had roles in last spring’s Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes last Spring.

“Wow, that's great,” they said. “Being able to perform on a real live stage will be awesome!”

Annually, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem offers its greater than 1,000 members more than forty-five (45) academic, arts, athletic, leadership, philanthropic and volunteer programs each academic year. This year’s Performing Arts program will expose Club members to a diverse range of artistic traditions from West African dance and Japanese Theater to puppet-based Puerto Rican storytelling.

Since its founding in 1988, the McCarthy Family Foundation has distributed in excess of $4 million in grants for programs dedicated primarily to children and education, religious education, health and wellness, and tolerance in many forms. As part of its on-going activities, the McCarthy Family Foundation is accepting grant applications for programs in all of the aforementioned areas of need.

For more information about this partnership, or to schedule an interview with Taylor Nelson, Charles Gessner or Marblehead Little Theatre President Bruce Whear, please contact Christopher Coleman at 978-744-0915 or at ccoleman@bgcgs.org.

Marblehead Little Theatre
12 School Street
Marblehead, MA 01945

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Patient and Family Advisory Committee Meeting

My wife and I are both pleased to serve on this Advisory group that provides support, advice and information to the leadership of the Spaulding Rehabilitation unit in Salem. We attended a recent meeting where information was provided and advice was sought on the process of how rehab scheduling is established for patients at that facility. We learned a great deal about the complete rehabilitation process and were able to call on our own personal experience to offer observations on how the process could be improved and better communicated to patients. This presentation was moderated by Mr. Robert Mc Call, The Director of Rehabilitation for the hospital.

The second portion of the meeting was presided over by Dr. Chuck Pu from the hospital medical staff and Ms. Mary Beth Di Fillippo, from the nursing staff and they focused on a new effort at the hospital to encourage hand washing as the most effective method of controlling the spread of germs. The outline of the program was most informative and the incentives being offered by the hospital to encourage participation will likely help the hospital to achieve their goal of 100% effectiveness in both the short and long term and thereby control the spread of germs in the facility.

MBTA To Hold Local Public Hearings on Proposed Fare Increases

Thanks to North Shore Elder Services for providing this Information

Please consider attending one of these meetings if you wish to offer an opinion or learn more about the plans.

The MBTA has announced two public hearings on the North Shore to receive public input to their proposed rate increases and changes to service:

City Hall Annex 3rd Floor Conference Room
120 Washington Street, Salem
 on ,January 25; 6-8 PM

Lynn City Hall
3 City Hall Square
on Tuesday, February 7; 6:00-8:00 PM

Paul J. Lanzikos 
Executive Director 
North Shore Elder Services 
152 Sylvan Street 
Danvers, MA 01923-3568 

New England Patriots Come Close to the Sixty- Minute Effort

For all of the Patriots fans out there, they were rewarded on Saturday evening with a pretty complete effort to dominate the Tim Tebow led Denver team. The Pats controlled to game on both sides of the ball from the opening whistle until the final bell and that was good news for the fans that have been waiting for the defensive unit to answer the bell. Tom Brady was on the mark as were his line and receivers. The Pats now await a game next Sunday afternoon against the Baltimore Ravens to determine who will represent the AFC at the Super Bowl on the first weekend in February. The impact of Tim Tebow on the NFL this past season was most relevant and the importance of his personality as a role model for young athletes cannot be under estimated.

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