Saturday, February 11, 2012

ESSEX Happenings 2.11.12

Essex Happenings 2.11.12

North Andover Considers Remote Option for Meetings

The Town of North Andover Board of Selectmen recently considered and turned down a proposal provided for discussion by the Town Manager, a provision under the Open Meeting Law, that would allow audio or video participation in public meetings by members who were unable to attend a meeting due to emergency, illness, disability or military service. There may be times when one of those situations might be cause for that provision, but that board decided not to consider the option.

Town of Wenham Changes Town Meeting Date

The Town of Wenham has rescheduled a special Town Meeting to consider a pouring license for the Wenham Tea House to February 15, 2012 at 7:00 at the Baker School.

Danvers Reviews Dispatch Center Options

At an upcoming meeting of the Board of Selectmen in the Town of Danvers, that group will receive an update on the options available to bring the emergency communications process up to acceptable standards. Several months ago, the community decided that it did not want to participate in a regional dispatch center being created in Middleton. That decision may now be a detriment to the community as the equipment being used now may be outdated and costly to replace. The community has looked at other regional efforts, but the commonwealth has decided that one regional center may be all that they may want to fund. The report being prepared and to be presented by Selectman Michael Powers will be most interesting to consider as replacement of the equipment by one community could prove to be most expensive.

Peabody City Council Approves Funding for Rink Renovation

The City Council from Peabody approved one of the first measures offered for their support from the new Mayor. The Council agreed to borrow bond funding in the amount of $1.4 million to complete renovations on the McVann Hockey rink. The facility that has been a favorite venue of local High Schools and Youth Programs and this rehabilitation will be the first since the facility was built several decades ago. The facility will receive new flooring, boards and glass plus a new refrigeration and dehumidification system. I am certain that when completed that it may be the premier hockey location in this region.

Meeting with new Mayor of the City of Peabody

Continuing the discussion about the City of Peabody, several of us from the leadership team at Essex Heritage, met with Mayor Ted Bettencourt to discuss the mission of Essex Heritage and how that work to preserve the historic, cultural and natural resources of Essex County could assist the new Mayor as he develops his direction for his administration in the years ahead. The meeting was established and arranged by long time Peabody activist, ENHC Commissioner Mike Shultze, and we all certainly appreciate his efforts. Executive Director Annie Harris, President Rich Yagjian and I joined Mike and the Mayor in an hour long session that we believe was most enlightening for the Mayor and certainly most positive for all of us. We spent most of the time outlining the work of the Commission and how Peabody could benefit from participation in the effort. The Mayor was also interested in how the Salem Partnership was created and its role in that city and Annie and I provided information on that initiative as well. We left the new Leather City Chief Executive with substantial information on Essex Heritage and I provided some informal personal observations that I have prepared for another use on the origin and early operations of the two organizations. We encouraged the Mayor to review all of the provided material and to contact us for more discussion as so desired. We were all most impressed with the new Mayor’s desire to be a collaborative partner in the efforts to make his City successful and to play a role in continuing work to develop this region as an economic force.

Farm Land in West Newbury Sold

It appears that farming, as a profession in this region, is far from finished. Essex Heritage has long advocated that the preservation of the natural resources of this region need to be preserved. Some of the most important land not developed in this region is farmland. A large portion of that land was saved for future farming endeavors when 135 acres of agricultural farmland, near the public library, was purchased in West Newbury by a local farmer for a continuing agricultural purpose. The land was purchased and will be used by Ted Dunajski of Peabody, who now runs the oldest continuing operating family dairy farm in the region located in Peabody. On that farm he maintains a herd of two hundred cows and the land just acquired will provide a location for growing corn that will be used for feed. I have to admit that I was not aware until learning of this purchase that there was a dairy farm of that size in the City of Peabody. The land just acquired will stay in perpetuity as agricultural land, as there is deed restriction that runs with the land that prevents use other than for agriculture. The cows in Peabody produce milk that is sold under the name of Pure Country Dairy Products in trucks that bear the legend “There are cows in Peabody”.

Possible Wonderful News on the Salem Power Station

In the most recent past, the City of Salem received some most welcome but possibly premature news that the power station on Salem’s waterfront has received some interest from a potential purchaser. The potential purchaser has an interest in a conversion of the facility to be operated with natural gas. It may be very early to get too excited about this announcement, but if it were to become a reality the ramifications for this maritime community and the region could be substantial. We will follow the progress of this potential project as it moves along and will report on any developments that take place.

Airline Trip To Florida

As I have continued my rehabilitation, I have always tried to tackle every obstacle as a opportunity to overcome another hurdle in my continuing recovery. I have truly tried to do as many things with my prosthetic leg as I did before my accident. Sort of like an after accident “bucket List” of things to get accomplished. I will not recount those instances again here, as in the past in this space, I have provided some of that information. One of the last things I had not done until this last weekend was board an airplane to travel. I have now accomplished that task as I flew from Boston, Massachusetts to Tampa, Florida. I can only speak about the airline that I flew on and the airline, Jet Blue staff at all levels extraordinary in the way they assisted me on this recent trip. They met me at my arrival at the curb with assistance and accompanied me through the check in procedure and through security that today can be, as it should be, a very daunting procedure and then saw me to the gate. We along with folks that were traveling with us were allowed to board early with significant help and that process was repeated when we arrived at our destination. I would also add that right from the very start of the process at the time we booked our reservations the airline was superior in the way they handled our reservation and the subsequent trip. I would suspect that all the airlines have programs in place to effectively deal with clients with handicaps, but since I have only experienced one airline to date, I can only comment on that process and it was sensational. After that experience, if at all possible and if Jet Blue traveled to where I wanted to go, I would certainly be inclined to chose that carrier every time.

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Offers Winter Adaptive Sports Programs

In the early days of my recuperation, I was able to participate in two adaptive sports programs offered by Spaulding. I attended a golf program on the cape and rode a hand cycle at both Salem State and on the sensational City of Peabody bike trail. Now that winter has arrived, Spaulding has switched its emphasis to among other things, snow sports. They are offering trips for both adaptive down hill, snowboarding and cross country skiing. For those that are not comfortable on snow they also have arranged a wheelchair basketball program. All of the programs can be accessed or one can register by contacting the Director, Ms Bobbi Delaney who did a wonderful job when she managed the programs I was involved in. Their slogan ”Find your strength” at Spaulding as they offer diverse programs to its patients.

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