Friday, December 14, 2012

Essex Happenings... December 14, 2012


Annual Photo Contest

Essex Heritage’s annual photo contest wrapped up last Saturday with the announcement of the award winners.  Pictured above is the 2012 Photo Contest Grand Prize winning photo "Pinky Schooner 'Ardelle'" taken by Arlene Taliadoros in the Essex River Basin, Essex, MA.  Congratulations to Arlene and the other 12 winning photographers!


Up-coming Membership Event

Old Ipswich Rum Tour & Tasting
Thursday, January 17, 2013
6:00pm - 7:30pm
Turkey Shore Distilleries
23 Hayward Street, Unit 8, Ipswich, MA 01938

Learn how rum was made 175 years ago, then have a drink with history!  Enjoy an evening reconnecting to a significant part of New England's past, and taste a line of hand-crafted, local rums at Turkey Shore Distilleries. Turkey Shore Distilleries was formed in 2010 in the historic coastal town of Ipswich by two childhood friends and locals, Mat Perry and Evan Parker. Using table-grade sweet molasses and a custom-built 250-gallon copper pot still, Old Ipswich Rum is a true American product destined to awaken the New England spirit in all of us. Please note: Must be 21 or older to sample the spirits. Children must be accompanied by parents.
Reservations required.Essex Heritage Members $17; Non-Members $24Please register online or call Essex Heritage at 978-740-0444 with questions or to confirm space is still available before sending checks to: Essex National Heritage Commission, 221 Essex Street, Suite 41 Salem, MA 01970.


Essex Heritage Annual Meeting

I have already provided a great deal of information about the recent Annual Meeting, but I thought that it was important to provide the following remarks about the state of Essex Heritage which were provided by Executive Director Annie Harris and the additional comments provided by the National Park Service Superintendent Michael Quijano-West.

“State of the Heritage Area” report by Executive Director Annie Harris highlighted the local and national efforts to promote and encourage the National Heritage Areas. Ms. Harris described the national significance of this region and talked about the importance of the Essex National Heritage Area in protecting our historic, natural and cultural treasures. Ms. Harris spoke about the unparalleled resources in this region - the first Puritan landing site at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester; our nation’s first museum at the Peabody Essex established by the East India Marine Society and the oldest continuously operating boat shop – Lowell’s Boat Shop in Amesbury.

“The real importance of the Essex National Heritage Area lies not in our being first or best in historical events – but in what remains today,” said Director Harris. “It is our mission to knit this region together, to help people make connections between their lives and these sites, and to engage the larger public in sustaining these places.”

Director Harris touched on the role of Essex Heritage facilitating partnerships between different entities and interests to promote regional sustainability. She provided an update on Essex Heritage’s flagship programs Trails & Sails and the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway. She also mentioned information about the Coastal Trails Coalition, the Border to Boston Trail projects, the Essex Heritage Youth Jobs Corps program and the Caribbean Connection program – engaging youth in the region to connect with and appreciate the historic and natural resources of Essex County.  Ms. Harris concluded her report with a presentation on the efforts at the national level on visioning the future of the National Park Service.  The Park Service will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016, and the agency is looking at the ways it can have a greater impact on the lives of more Americans.  The National Heritage Areas - and their ability to create public-private partnerships locally, regionally and nationally – are seen as one of the keys to engaging many more citizens in advancing the mission of the National Park Service. Ms. Harris then invited the Superintendent of Salem Maritime & Saugus Iron Works National Historic Sites, Mr. Michael Quijano-West, to the podium for his remarks.

Superintendent Michael Quijano-West reviewed the partnership efforts between the national park and Essex Heritage which include: an interpretive film shown at the Visitors Center in Salem, support for the Coastal Byway, the annual photo contents, Saugus Founders Day, Salem Maritime Festival, Trails & Sails and the Caribbean Connection program. “On behalf of the park service I really want to thank Essex Heritage for everything that has been done both with us and throughout the region,” said Mr. Quijano- West. “Because this is an example of a great partnership. And they have done a wonderful job.”

President Richard Yagjian, a resident of Peabody and the COO of Hunt’s Photo and Video in Melrose concluded the morning’s business thanking the Smith Barn Association for their hospitality and providing information about the new Essex Coastal Byway Guide – a remarkable guide to the history, culture and nature on the North Shore - by renowned author Joel Brown, who was on hand to sign copies of his book.




One of the deepest and most collaborative programs maintained by Essex Heritage is our connection with Rail Trails.   Essex Heritage has taken a particular interest in the efforts in Danvers.   Much of the impetus in the construction and operation of this new trail has been accomplished by the Danvers Bi-Peds.   To keep you up to date on their activities, I have reprinted their most recent newsletter.


Danvers Bi-Peds News

Point to consider - The key to keeping the trail safe for the cyclists, the joggers and the dog walkers isn't enforcement, it's courtesy.’ (Quote from Donald Brew of the Maryland National Capital Park Police)

December 15, 2012, 9:30 a.m.
The Fourth Annual Santa Stroll - Meet Santa at the Tapleyville rail trail crossing on Pine Street and hike south with him on the Rail Trail. Bring your friends or come to meet new friends.  Light refreshments follow the hike. No one is too old to hike with Santa. For Information, call Laura at 978-777-4661. RAIN DATE Sunday Dec. 16th, 9:30am

Rail Trail Advisory Committee received Pioneer in Partnership Award –
The RTAC was honored with a  “Pioneer in Partnership” award presented by the Essex National Heritage Commission on Thursday, November 8, at ENHC’s annual meeting held at Brooksby Farm.  Each year the Essex National Heritage Commission presents its Pioneer in Partnership Awards to individuals and organizations who exemplify the Commission’s spirit of collaboration.  The award recognizes those who build partnerships and celebrate the historic, cultural and natural resources of Essex County.

Rail Trail Interpretive Sign Dedication
November 14, 2012
The Rail Trail Advisory Committee hosted a brief dedication ceremony for the new trail’s four new interpretive signs that tell the story of the history of the railroad in Danvers.     The narrative given by Bill Clark explained the process by which the signs were created, and thanked the many contributors to the finished work.  The sigs were created with the help of a grant from Essex Heritage.

Have You Signed The McDonald’s Petition Yet?
The Bi-Peds are still collecting signatures on a petition which will be sent to the McDonald’s Corporate headquarters asking them to please create a safe access to their restaurant on Rt. 114 from the rail trail.  The group feels that such an access would add a fun amenity to the trail and it would probably bring added business to the restaurant.   If you have not yet signed the petition, you can do so until the end of the year.  They are available at Western Cycle, 22 Maple St. or at the Historical Society office at 11 Park St.

New Tractor for the Rail Trail
According to Kate Day at the Planning Office, the new John Deere lawn tractor arrived on November 28th. It will be used for the maintenance of the trail.  According to Kate Day, ‘The tractor will be stored by DPW near the Hobart Street lot, making for easy access to this mid-point along the trail.  We plan to train a handful of volunteers in the operation of the tractor, and will use it to groom and maintain the trail shoulders, keep sight lines clear at street intersections, and to blow leaves from the trail surface to prevent soil formation and vegetation growth long-term.  Liability releases, training, and ear protection will be provided to volunteers; the Committee will assume responsibility for maintenance of the tractor with the help of the skilled mechanics at Danvers Hardware.

The purchase of the tractor was made possible through the Mileage Marker Sponsorship Program – many, many thanks to all who contribute to the maintenance and enhancement of the trail through your support.  If you are a trail user, please be sure to take a moment to thank the numerous local businesses and individuals who have contributed through this program.  New participants are, of course, always welcome – please consider taking an available spot for a customized decal in honor of a loved one or to show your business’ support for the trail – just click here for more information.

2012: With the completion of the Swampwalk by a very hardworking volunteer team, and funding to complete the trail surface next spring, we are so grateful for all the progress that 2012 has brought. 

Old News Worth Repeating - No Dumping On The Trail Property
Walking on the Danvers Rail Trail, one can’t help but notice that a few folks still think it is proper to dump their yard waste along the trail.  Unless property owners know exactly where the rail right of way ends and their property begins, there should be no dumping.  This is the same rule as applies to all town properties.

For More Updates, News, and How You Can Donate to the Danvers Rail Trail, you can visit visit



Salem Common Walkways Improved

The multi-acre recreational Salem Common, located on Washington Square just blocks from the downtown shopping district, has undergone a makeover of the half mile stone dust pathways.  These walkway surrounding the common have received a new coating as the result of a generous contribution from Aggregate Industries located on Swampscott Road, in Salem.   The company provided 450 tons of donated stone dust and then donated the time of fifteen employees who provided all of the labor that ran the spreader, grader and roller used to complete the grading process. This is a wonderful improvement as the walkways are regularly used by both local residents and employees in the downtown to get daily exercise.  It has been more than a decade since this work has been dome on these paths.

The Salem Common has a special allure for me as I grew up just two hundred yards from one of the entrances on the lower end of the Common.   I played all kind of sports on the fields of the Common, and  participated in playground activities at this location as a youth.  Later on during my employment with Salem Five, I often walked around the Common during my lunch break.   I met my future wife Marge for the first time at the Common and later proposed marriage on these grounds.  Our marriage has lasted over a half a century. 

Haverhill Receives State Funding 

The City of Haverhill has been advised that they have been awarded a $4 million grant to improve infrastructure and promote job creation.   The community has plans to improve parking and flood control.   This award when coupled with an award to Beverly shows that the region was well served. 

Town of Hamilton Seeks CPA Requests

In a recent posting to this BLOG we reported on the work of the City of Newburyport that is seeking CPA project nominations.  We have heard that in addition to Newburyport, the Town of Hamilton is also seeking nominations for projects in 2014.   The CPA can fund programs that enhance support for affordable housing, open space, preservation of open space, and recreational opportunities.     Additional information on how to make the community aware of the need in a certain project, contact the Town on its web site where criteria is explained.  This year, both Salem and Beverly approved CPA Funding and more and more projects across the region find help in funding



Robert Osgood Recognized for Service to Danvers

Bob Osgood has been serving Danvers as a Town Meeting Member since Dwight Eisenhower was the President of the United States   Fifty-five years after Bob Osgood was first elected to the governing body of the Town of Danvers, he was honored earlier this month by many of his fellow Town Meeting Members and other Town Officials.    Bob Osgood has never missed a Town Meeting and has also served the town as a member of the Conservation Committee, the Danvers Bi-Centennial Committee and was a founding member of the Danvers Alarm List Company.  Osgood at 83 is the longest serving Town Meeting Member in Danvers History.  

Carla Ahlstrom Serves the North Andover Senior Center

Carla Ahlstrom who began her career at the Senior Center as a receptionist has stepped in a new role at the North Andover Senior Center and is now the organization’s Program Coordinator.   She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and has extensive experience in customer service and administration.


News From North Northshore Elder Services

Longevity Connection Open House

On December 4, 2012, North Shore Elder Services offered an open house to over 2,000 local seniors to visit their newest subsidiary, The Longevity Connection, located on the third floor of NSES headquarters in Danvers on Sylvan Street.   The day was a wonderful success as over 200 people visited the Open House to learn more about the offering of the center.     The following is an overview of the Longevity Center and what it offers to Seniors I this region.

Longevity Liaison: When you call or arrive at our center during business hours, a friendly Longevity Liaison will greet you. The Longevity Liaison will answer your questions on the spot or schedule a meeting to fully assess your specific situation and to provide appropriate advice and assistance. You will be provided with personalized recommendations and support, all geared towards meeting your unique needs and situation.

Lending Library/Bookstore: Our Lending Library and Bookstore provide the latest literature covering the three main components of TLC learning: Health, Finances and Housing.

Affiliate Registry Each family will leave with a copy of the Affiliate Registry that identifies and provides contact and descriptive information on local, recommended elder care service providers.

Product and Technology Showroom: The Longevity Connection’s state-of-the-art Product and Technology Showroom features an assortment of carefully screened products and technologies that enable people to remain independent in their homes. Categories include vision, hearing, and other connectivity platforms as well as medication reminder and memory-assistive devices. New products added weekly – come and check it out in person!

Computer Lab: Our Computer Lab provides tutoring and education around the best and most useful applications to support longevity via the Internet.

Professional Affiliates: On-Site Professional Affiliates will be available to answer questions, demonstrate products and give advice in the following areas:    Health Care    Vision, hearing, connectivity platforms, medication reminder and memory-assistive devices    Legal Services    Financial Planners    Choice of providers – home care, home maintenance, transportation, meal delivery and assistance    Nonprofits/government agencies    Food preparation

Potential impact of a trip off the Financial Cliff: The following is a description of the potential impact on federal funding for Massachusetts Older Americans Act programs if Congress and the President do not agree on a fiscal plan.  As a rule of thumb we receive about 3% of the federal funding that comes into the state.  For example, our Title IIIB funding would be reduced by about $20,000 ($673,146 x 3%).  Our potential overall exposure could be as much as $77,000 ($2,565,495 x 3%). 

Resources for Aging: Resources for Aging, Inc. was founded in 1994 to fill a need in the community and across the United States. The goal was to empower the growing number of informal caregivers to be more effective and efficient in managing the care process. In 1998, the Caregiver Sourcebook was developed to meet that need.



Town of Saugus and Santa

In the very recent past, The Town of Saugus decided to cancel for the second year in a row an event that connects the school children of that town with a visit on a fire engine by Santa Clause.  The dispute focuses on the separation of Church and States and budget short falls.    I do not plan to offer opinions on the conflict in the community, but simply am reporting on a long-term tradition in the Town of Saugus that appears to be in danger of ending.   This seems to be a situation that cries for help from business persons, residents of the community and the town firemen to help solve this dilemma.  In recent reports, the firemen in the Town of Saugus have come up with a plan to deliver toys to the Saugus Schools.


Holiday events

All over this region where we live and work there are dozens of holiday events scheduled in many of the communities we serve.  Just recently I reprinted a list of events that will help celebrate the holiday season along the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway.   Please visit the Essex Heritage web site at to view a list of these events.

In addition to the local community events, that are for the most part are without charge, there are several noteworthy events that are traditionally performed during this season in the greater Boston region.   In Beverly, Bill Haney’s Music Theatre, such a valuable arts facility to our region, is once again performing its magnificent interpretation of A Christmas Carol.  In Boston and Worcester the traditional Nutcracker ballet is being performed at prominent theatres.    And at Symphony Hall in Boston, the world famous Boston Pops Concerts are being performed during the holidays.


Congratulations to Local Schools

We want to offer our congratulations to the football programs at both Beverly High School and Saint John’s Preparatory School in Danvers for their exciting wins in the Annual MIAA Super Bowl Games.   Both teams and their many participants should be congratulated.

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