Friday, August 31, 2012

Essex Happenings...August 31, 2012

August Essex Heritage Trustees Meeting 8/21/12

The Board of Trustees of Essex Heritage met for an update from the Executive Director.  A number of issues of interest were discussed. 

An overview of the Youth Summer Job Corps program was discussed.  This summer 40 under-served youth from the region have been working at both of the National Park Service sites in Salem and Saugus and, new for this year, some of them have also been working at The Trustees of Reservation’s Appleton Farm in Ipswich.

The upcoming Trails & Sails weekends were discussed and a sensational new 2012 Guide was distributed.  These new guides can be obtained for free at the Essex Heritage Regional Visitor Centers, from many of the host sites, and from some Eastern and TD Bank branches.  Or you can call Essex Heritage and have a guide mailed to you for $5.00.  The full guide along with up-dates and changes can be seen at If you go on-line, you can create your own unique itinerary too! 

The guide highlights over 200 free events that can be experienced on the two weekends.  Essex Heritage remains very appreciative of the many organizations that offer all their free events. This is a huge regional effort.  Essex Heritage is also most appreciative of the sponsors of the event, TD Bank, Eastern Bank and REI for their generosity and commitment.

A report was provided on the progress of the cleanup activities being undertaken by the US Coast Guard on Bakers Island on Salem Sound as Essex Heritage works towards public visitation to the island in the future. 

A report on recent successes of the witch trial presentation being offered at the NPS Visitor Center and expectations as the month of October draws near with a large increase of visitors to the City of Salem. If you have not yet viewed this presentation focused on the witch hysteria that gripped Salem in 1692 you should make plans to visit the National Park Service Regional Visitor Center in downtown Salem during the month of September before the increased number of October visitors start to arrive.

You Won’t Want to Miss …

Friday, October 26, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Essex Heritage Featured Partner EventThe Andover Historical Society Presents: Trials and Taverns: A Lecture with Dr. Emerson Baker97 Main Street, Andover, MA 01810

Puritan New Englanders viewed taverns as a necessary evil. Travelers needed a place to stay and eat, and sessions of court were sometimes even held in them – including the early hearings in the Salem witch trials. However, they were also places where people could fall for the Devil’s temptations. Taverns provided the setting for drunkenness, lechery, gambling, idleness and even witchcraft. Salem State University historian Dr. Emerson Baker will discuss the bewitched and debauched Quaker tavern at the center of his book, The Devil of Great Island: Witchcraft and Conflict in Early New England. All through the summer of 1682, a stone-throwing demon would supernaturally assault the New Hampshire tavern, and there were links between these events and witchcraft in Salem ten years later. Indeed, there are many interesting connections between witchcraft and taverns in early New England. Baker will also explore what early tavern culture was like. What were the preferred alcoholic beverages and tavern games during the Salem witch trials? Come for a drink and find out.
Refreshments and Socializing starts at 7:00-7:30, Lecture 7:30.Advanced reservations required. Please contact (978) 475-2236 and let them know you are an Essex Heritage member. Admission: $15 for AHS Members and Members of Essex Heritage, $25 per Non-Member
Wednesday, November 7, 7:00 PM

Essex Heritage Featured Partner EventThe House of the Seven Gables Presents:Strong Women at the Gables: Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, a Notable Local Figure with International Connections115 Derby Street, Salem, MA 01970
Professor Louise B. Swiniarski of the Education Department at Salem State University, will focus on Elizabeth Peabody: her work, friends, and the literary salon she hosted on West Street in Boston. She will also discuss Elizabeth’s relationship with her sister Sophia, wife of Nathaniel HawthorneAdvanced reservations required. Please contact (978) 744-0991 and let them know you are an Essex Heritage member. Admission: $10 for Essex Heritage and Gables Members, $15 Non-Members.

Parson Capen House and Gould Barn Profile
The Parson Capen House in Topsfield is one of the finest surviving examples of Elizabethan Architecture in this region and in all of America. The house is situated in a location that overlooks the Topsfield Common.  It was built originally on a twelve-acre lot of land granted Reverend Capen by the Town of Topsfield in 1682. Parson Capen served the church in Topsfield for 44 years as its leader until his death.
The Topsfield Historical Society purchased the house in 1913. It was restored under the caring direction of George Francis Dow and an official housewarming was held on January 14, 1914.
In 1960, the Parson Capen House was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior.  In awarding the designation the U.S. Department of Interior stated that this site possesses national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America.

The property is open for tours June 15 to Sept 15.  It is open on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 1:00pm - 4:00pm. There are docents on hand to explain the history of the house and the adjacent barn.
Just next door is the Gould Barn.  To learn about this barn is to step back into American history. The barn was built about 1710 and originally stood at 129 Washington Street, about a mile from its present site. The Goulds were one of the founding families of TopsfieldZaccheus Gould came from England about 1639 and played an active role in creating the town, then known as New Meadows, and was one of the leading citizens of the community at that time.
The barn’s owner during the Revolutionary War was Joseph Gould.  He was Zaccheus’s great-grandson. Joseph was a farmer, but on December 5, 1774, he was elected Captain by the citizens of Topsfield of one of the town’s two Militia Companies. It is recorded that on April 19, 1775 Captain Gould left his plow and traveled off to Lexington and Concord to help successfully drive the English regulars back to Boston.
The barn was gifted to the Society in 1982 by Dr. and Mrs. Michael Schiff.  It was carefully dismantled and its timbers were stored for future preservation and reconstruction.  Norn Isler, who for many years was the President of the Topsfield Historical Society, led the effort to reconstructed the barn in its present location as authentically as possible.
The Parson Capen originally had a barn, now long gone, which was contemporary with the Gould Barn.
The Gould Barn is available for weddings, parties and meetings.  The barn is wheelchair accessible and has handicapped facilities and a small kitchen. For further information please email: Gould Barn   
The Essex National Heritage Commission has used the barn as a meeting location for a number of events, the most important of which was the visit of the National Park Service Advisory Board when they came to the region to prepare their Second Century Report.

Powers Named Director of Admissions at St. John’s Prep.

St. John’s Prep School in Danvers has hired Ms. Sarah Powers of Topsfield as the Director of Admissions at the private Danvers Catholic all male High School.   Ms. Powers formally served as n assistant Director of Admissions at the Pingree School in Hamilton.   She will be responsible for maintaining the level of enrollment at the school that traces its origin to 1907.   In addition to admissions she has previously served schools as a college counselor and a director of Alumni Affairs.   She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and played lacrosse in a national final four as the goal-tender.   She is still very involved  in Woman’s Lacrosse


New Auditoriums to be added to Region

We recently learned that the Shore Country Day School in Beverly has received a substantial amount of funds from the MA State Finance and Development Agency.   The funds will be used to build an arts center that will be called the “Center for Creativity”.    This facility will be built in time for the 2013 school year.    In addition to classrooms the facility will contain a 375 theatre.   

The new Danvers High School will also include an expanded Auditorium.   These two facilities are welcomed additions to the region and will provide much new additional performing arts venues in the region.

City of Lynn and Town of Swampscott Team up to Purchase Energy

The two neighboring seaside communities of Lynn and Swampscott have teamed up to enter into a joint partnership to purchase energy that will be offered to residents of the two municipalities.    This is a wonderful example of communities in the region working collectively to provide better services and reduce costs.

Historical Panel Stops School Demolition in Swampscott

The Swampscott Historical Commission has issued a demolition delay to halt at least for a nine-month period the decision to tear down the former Swampscott Middle School until the historic value of the facility can be determined.

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem

Immaculate Conception Church terminates lease with Boys & Girls Club, effective August 16, 2013.

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem will continue to serve the youth of Salem in its current location at 13 Hawthorne Boulevard for this entire school year.  However, the Club has received notice from the Immaculate Conception Parish, that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, owner of the Hawthorne Boulevard building, will terminate the Club’s lease and tenancy as of mid-August 2013. 

The Parish has not stated a reason nor is it required to do so.  However, it is probable that the Archdiocese intends to lease all or part of the building to a new middle school, to be named The Nativity School, for the 2013-14 academic year.

According to John Neely, president of the Club’s board of directors, “Over the past year, the board’s Building Committee has been investigating possible locations for a new clubhouse. The notice from the church adds urgency to this task and may require us to seek an interim location for the year beginning in September 2013. We are speaking with other service organizations and with the City of Salem about possible collaboration to meet our and their space requirements.”

Joanne Scott, executive director of the Club says, “For 143 years the Club has served all youth, especially those who need us most. The clubhouse has been relocated several times during those years.  We now have the opportunity to build upon community enthusiasm and create a long-term solution to our space needs.  A new building specifically designed for our Club and potentially for other organizations will be both an asset for the City and one vital foundation for the development of its youth. Other communities have done it; we can too!”

Scott says she wants parents to know that all programs and locations will remain exactly the same this year as in the past. “We look forward to serving over 800 children this year, and many more as we plan our new building location.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem through its Kids Club provides fully-licensed after-school care for children through the age of 8. A very popular drop-in center serves children 8 through 12 and the teen program has participants through the age of 18, all at the clubhouse.  The Club also manages licensed after-school care at the Witchcraft Heights Elementary School and provides after-school programs at the Higgins Middle School in Peabody.

Club programs include arts, study time, sports and fun.  The Club uses tried-and-true programming, including some evidence-based programs, provided by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America as well as its own special projects and activities—often developed in collaboration with other local organizations and the Salem School District.  Twenty-eight part-time counselors and 40 homework volunteers assist the Club’s permanent staff.

The Club also operates a popular summer day camp with its permanent staff and 16 part-time counselors. The drop-in, middle-school and teen programs are open to all youth for an annual membership fee of $10.  Community and corporate support as well fundraising events cover the costs.  The licensed day-care program and summer camp fees are paid by parents, by state grants and by camper scholarships.


National Rehabilitation Week

I, along with other former patients at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, have been invited to attend a reunion and celebration of our successes at an event at the hospital on September 6, 2012.

Scammers Out to Profit on U. S. Supreme Court's Ruling on the Affordable Care Act
No sooner had the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act than scam artists began working the phones. Claiming to be from the government,
they're saying that under the Affordable Care Act, they need to verify some information. For example, they might have the routing number of the person's bank, and then use that information to get the person to reveal the entire account number. Other times, they have asked for credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, Medicare ID, or other personal information.  Be Alert!  Don’t provide this information over the phone. 

Governor Concerned about Health Cost Bill

One week before the end of the Massachusetts formal legislative sessions, Governor Deval Patrick expressed a mix of concern and confidence about the conference committee trying to reconcile House and Senate health care cost containment bills. “I think we’re going to get a good bill,” Patrick told reporters in front of his office on Tuesday afternoon, continuing, “There are a couple of hard issues. I wish it weren’t going down to the wire the way it seems to right now.” The health care legislation has been a major focus since early last year of Patrick and legislative leaders, and the diverging House and Senate bills are larger in size than other items that have been before conference committees. “We’ve been working on health care cost for a long time,” Patrick said. He expressed concern that he would have enough time to go back and forth with the Legislature, even if the bill is sent to him before the July 31 end of formal session. “It’s important we close out soon and given the late hour of the session that they give me something to sign because there isn’t a lot of time for the backing and forthing that sometimes happens,” Patrick said.

Boston Sports Survey

A Boston Newspaper commissioned a recent Sports Survey where 7200 people both male and female over the age of 18 from all six New England states were interviewed on a variety of issues connected to Boston Professional Sports Teams and the results mirror present conditions of the four major teams and not surprisingly the current soap opera that is the Red Sox places them in last place in favorability among the four major Boston sports.    The Red Sox were listed by 32 percent of the respondents as their favorite team and they were preceded by the Patriots with a 42% favorite team connection   The baseball entry was followed by the Bruins at 11 % and the Celtics with 10%. The Red Sox fared even worse when their management style was compared to the other three teams in Boston where they finished last among the four teams in Boston.   That was certainly based on their performance in the last month of 2011 and the work to date in 2012.  All of this may change to a positive outlook toward the Red Sox if the major trade the trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers is completed and conditions change.

Organ Donation Designation on Massachusetts Driver’s License

I only advocate an organ donor designation if that designation fits a person’s mind set, but such a designation as I have done on my license can be a life altering situation if one’s organs can be used to save others.

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