Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Essex Heritage Events and Activities

I believe that at this time late in 2012 that it is proper to provide our readers with an update on the numerous accomplishments of the people who have contributed much and provided so many achievements for the region. We as a group of volunteers are very proud of the tasks attempted and completed and promise to continue to seek and implement new initiatives that enhance our mission to protect, preserve and promote the Historic, Cultural and Natural Resources of this wonderful region where so many of us live and or work. Those many Essex Heritage accomplishments follow:

Essex Heritage Programs & Initiatives

The mission of the Essex National Heritage Commission is to preserve, promote and enhance the historic, cultural, and natural resources of Essex County, MA.

Since 1996, The Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage) has championed the heritage development of Essex County by fostering public-private partnerships that enhance and promoting significant aspects of the region’s history, cultural heritage and character.  A few of our most significant initiatives and accomplishments include:

Essex Heritage Grants Programs
The Commission from time to time directly invests in the Area though its grant programs.  To date, Essex Heritage has made 381 grants totaling $1,815,245 to non-profit organizations and municipalities within the National Heritage Area.  One hundred percent of the area’s communities have received a grant; most have received many grants.  The Essex Heritage Partnership Grants initiative is the largest program and it provides funding for heritage education, interpretation, historic preservation, historical records and trail development.  Acting as seed money, these grants have leveraged an additional $20,944,657 in matching investment in the area, serving to drive economic development along with heritage preservation and education. Learn more about the Partnership Grant Program.
Trails & Sails: Two Weekends of Walks and Water
Trails & Sails is Essex Heritage’s premier partnership activity. The free event expands cultural tourism by bringing new audiences to dozens of historic sites and open spaces and stimulating new business in the local economy. Held in late September, residents and visitors alike experience the region’s best from a wide array of events – guided walks, on-water tours, open houses – organized by the front line stewards of the Area’s historic, cultural and natural resources.  Learn more about Trails & Sails.
Essex Coastal Scenic Byway
Essex Heritage is leading the planning effort for the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, an 85-mile route linking 13 coastal communities between Lynn and Newburyport featuring scenic views, period architecture, historic sites and recreational opportunities. With the twin goals of preserving the byway’s intrinsic qualities and spurring investment in its infrastructure, attractions and amenities, Essex Heritage has worked to secure state byway designation and federal funding for a comprehensive management plan that will help community and regional leaders increase cultural tourism. Learn more about the Coastal Scenic Byway.
Youth Jobs Corps
Essex Heritage has built a strong summer youth employment and training program through a unique partnership with the National Park Service. The program is directed towards youth ages 14-18 years. The teens are hired to work at the two national park sites in Salem and Saugus and this year the program was expanded to include Appleton Farm in Ipswich - a working farm owned and operated by The Trustees of Reservations. Essex Heritage hires the teens for 8 -12 weeks and they work under the careful guidance and supervision of NPS staff.  At the parks, they acquire skills in historic preservation, building maintenance, natural resource management, interpretation and visitor operations. For many of these students this is their first job experience, so they are also given assistance on how to prepare for work, work place expectations, resume preparation, and career development.The impact on these students’ lives has been substantial, and several have returned to work at the park during the fall and also in subsequent summers. “The program has taught me responsibility, appreciation for the city and its history, and opened new doors for my future,” Daniel Mondragon.

Border to Boston Trail
Working to expedite development of the 28-mile Border to Boston Trail, Essex Heritage provides leadership and staff support to a regional partnership composed of local officials, the Massachusetts Highway Department, Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and National Grid. With portions already under construction, the non-motorized, multi-use rail-trail will provide alternative transportation links to town centers, schools, businesses, and public parklands in eight communities from Salisbury to Danvers. When completed, the trail will be one of the region’s most outstanding assets, facilitating safe, scenic and healthy transportation and recreation for all. Read more about the Border to Boston.

Friendship Sails!
Essex Heritage works with the National Park Service to introduce the tall ship Friendship of Salem to new audiences along the coast of New England. Part regional ambassador, part living history classroom, the Friendship is a replica of a 171-foot, three-masted Salem East Indiaman built in 1797. Since the launch of the Junior Ranger Ship’s Mate program in 2007, history has “come alive” for thousands of school-aged children and their families.  Read more about Friendship Sails.

Using Essex History
Using Essex History has been a highly successful program aimed at training middle school and high school teachers in ways to improve the relevancy of American history for their students by providing developmental seminars and instruction on creating curricula based on local historical assets. Using Essex History was supported by a Teaching American History Grant and 130 Essex County teachers have participated.  Although the grant has run its course, the information remains live and updated by Salem State College’s History Department. Learn more about Using Essex History.

Essex LINCs (Local History in a National Context)
Essex Heritage was part of a team guiding a three-year heritage education initiative designed to connect Essex County elementary teachers with local primary source material. During visits to historical sites throughout Essex County and beyond teachers learn how to infuse their social studies lessons with stories, places, and artifacts that make history relevant for the future stewards of the heritage area. Other core partners include Beverly Public Schools, Salem State College, and the National Archives, Northeast Region. The project was funded with a Teaching American History grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Learn more about LINCs.

Essex National Heritage Area Visitor Centers
Essex Heritage coordinates a network of ten visitor centers that provide information on the heritage resources throughout Essex County.  The centers include the National Park Service’s Regional Visitor Center in Salem, the Hall Haskell House and Visitor Center in Ipswich, and the NBC&VB’s Maria Miles Visitor Center in Salisbury.  Essex Heritage works cooperatively with these centers to promote regional tourist visitation.  By providing consistent and knowledgeable assistance about the area’s myriad of natural, historic and cultural attractions, the visitor centers, most run by volunteers, are a key to competing well in the growing and lucrative cultural tourism market. Learn more about the ENHA Visitor Centers.

Area Visitor Guides
Essex Heritage has a series of thematic guides to the region, which connect residents, visitors and future stewards with heritage sites and encourage regional exploration. Themes range from Art Escapes and Birding to Farms and First Period Architecture. Guides are built with the cooperation of local experts and participating organizations throughout the Area. View, Download and/or Request a Printed Guide (depending on availability).

Essex Heritage Membership Program
Through the Commission’s signature membership program, area residents are encouraged to take an active role in supporting the organization’s stewardship mission while exploring the region’s unparalleled historic, cultural and natural assets. Members enjoy “behind the scenes” excursions to heritage area sites for guided tours, educational lectures and interpretive demonstrations. More about Membership.
Essex Heritage Photo Safaris
            The photo safaris program connects new audiences with the region’s heritage resources. Through a unique partnership with Hunt's Photo and Video, major camera companies provide safari participants with the latest in digital camera equipment and expertise as they learn photography tips using some of the area’s most extraordinary natural, cultural and historic landscapes as a backdrop. Learn more about the Photo Safaris.

Coastal Trails Coalition
The Coastal Trails Coalition, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose mission is to assist in the development of the Coastal Trails Network, a 30-mile system of interconnected foot trails and bikeways throughout the lower Merrimack River Valley communities of Amesbury, Newbury, Newburyport and Salisbury. Launched in 2003, Essex Heritage, with early assistance from the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Program and Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, provides leadership and technical support in the areas of visioning, outreach, and project development and implementation. Visit the Coastal Trails Coalition website.

Great Marsh Coalition
Essex Heritage is a founding member of the Great Marsh Coalition, an informal coalition of organizations and agencies that promote greater awareness and stewardship of the Great Marsh, the largest salt marsh in New England.  Essex Heritage supports the coalition’s advocacy efforts, including its annual educational symposium. Learn more about the Great Marsh.

Heritage Landscape Inventory
Twenty-four communities participated in a unique year long program that brought together those interested in preserving the built environment with those working to protect land. Through a local developed inventory process, information and recommendations pertaining to threatened or unprotected heritage landscapes such as farms, cemeteries, rail corridors and "water's edge" properties are being incorporated into local and regional smart growth plans. More about Heritage Landscapes.

Historical Records Council
Initially convened in 1999 by Essex Heritage as a forum for identifying and addressing the preservation and promotion needs of the ENHA’s nationally significant and irreplaceable paper-based collections, the ad hoc council is expanding its reach across the state. With a membership consisting of experts from local, state, and regional archival organizations, the council produces educational workshops and advocates for improved awareness and stewardship.  

Corporate, Government and Non-profit Partnerships and an Affiliation with the National Park Service

One of the most unique benefits that Essex Heritage provides to this region is the ability to partner with the National Park Service.  This special public-private relationship allows Essex Heritage to develop educational and interpretive programs with Park Service staff and resources that bring history and environmental stewardship to life for people of all ages and backgrounds. Essex Heritage is particularly excited about current pilot programs that are designed to engage underserved, urban youth in natural resource and ocean stewardship within and beyond the Park boundaries. Read more about our successful partnership with the National Park Service in youth engagement initiatives such as First Bloom, F1rst Jobs and America’s Best Idea.

Alliance of National Heritage Areas
The Alliance of National Heritage Areas (ANHA) is a national organization that represents the 49 National Heritage Areas. The Alliance is a leading advocate for heritage area development in the U.S. Essex Heritage plays a very active role and its Executive Director, Annie C. Harris, serves as Vice President. Visit the ANHA website to learn more.

Preservation Mass
Essex Heritage is a member of this statewide, private non-profit preservation organization dedicated to preserving the Commonwealth’s historic and cultural heritage. View the Preservation Mass website.

Investing in Community Partnerships
The Essex National Heritage Commission has successfully built a thriving network of partnerships and collaborations, which have become an important catalyst for regionalism amid the independent interests of the 34 cities and town we support. The Essex Heritage is at the table or leading the discussion on all issues of significance to the heritage resources in Essex County.

To accomplish our mission the Essex Heritage is committed to:
·         Building public awareness of these heritage resources through outreach events and activities;
·         Increasing the capacity of non-profit and public organizations who own or manage these resources;
·         Making connections to the next generation and to more diverse audiences;
·         Fostering partnerships to develop new resources and assets for the region to embrace.
·         Increasing local stewardship of the Area's important historical, cultural and natural resources;
·         Encouraging efficiencies and effectiveness in local non-profit organizations by supporting the training programs and partnership offerings;
             Enhancing and expanding program offerings run in partnership with the National Park Service to promote the region’s rich Maritime Heritage.

Essex Heritage Corporate Partnership Program
During the year (2012) that is about to end, I am particularly pleased with the incredible support that I and Essex Heritage have received from the region’s corporate and organizational especially during the last six months.   The most recent commitment of support has been offered by the law firm of Serafini, Correnti and Darling in Salem which has recently joined the Corporate Membership Program.  Their support is much appreciated and it brings the total of commitments offered through my appeals to an even dozen participants in the last six months.  For a complete listing of the members of the Essex Heritage Corporate Membership Program visit the Essex Heritage web site at www.essexheritsge.org.   I am most pleased that in addition the many respondents to our appeal, we have a dozen or more local companies and organizations considering membership applications.   As more organizations join, we will advise you of their participation.

Holiday Season 2012/2013

With only a couple on more days before the calendar is turned to 2013, let me offer a comment hoping that the Holiday Season was pleasant for all of you, and to wish you all the happiest of New Years and hope that the new year is both prosperous and healthy for all.

Regional Matters

City of Methuen Seeking Preservation Projects for Grant Funding
As a result of a another very successful Parade of Trees event, preservationists in The City of Methuen are seeking applicants for preservation grants up to $10,000 to  enhance preservation actions in that community.

City of Newburyport to Create Small Historic District
The City of Newburyport had considered a large scale Historic District Plan in the community, but has decided to scale back the original plans for a large local historic district and enact a plan that will protect just five significant properties on High Street.  This is an important step in this preservation of this architecturally important city.

Communities of Salem and Beverly Working Collectively Together
As an organization that is most in favor and one that fosters regionalization, Essex Heritage applauds the effort of two local and adjoining communities in this region joining together to put rubbish collection in the adjoining communities up for a cooperative bid.   At this point in time it is not clear if there is a benefit to Salem and Beverly, but the idea has merit and we compliment the two communities on their efforts to find a way to possibly save funds and at the same time be more efficient.   We will keep you posted on these efforts to save some funds and to produce a possibly more efficient collection process.
Medical, Senior and Disability Matters

Social Security Recipients to Receive Increase in 2013
The Nation’s elderly and disabled Social Security recipients will receive a small but in many cases valuable 1.75% raise in 2013 SS benefits.  This increase is expected to see the average retired worker experience a $21 monthly increase.  This increase is less than half of what was authorized last year.  Unfortunately the projected increase will be offset by an expected increase being scheduled, but not yet announced, in Medicare for 2013.

News Release Provided by NSES

Partners hit with $42M high-cost hospital tax in Boston Business Journal by Julie M. Donnelly, Reporter, Date: Friday, December 14, 2012, 3:05pm EST

The state’s largest health care system posted an operating loss of $2 million due to a tax levied against it for operating some of the most expensive hospitals in Massachusetts.

Partners HealthCare, the parent organization of Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, cited a one-time charge of $42 million levied on high-cost hospitals, a provision on the new state health care cost containment law. The hospital operator booked the charge in its fiscal-year fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 30. For the same period in 2011, Partners reported operating income of $55 million.
Partners recorded an overall gain of $33 million in the 2012 fourth quarter, due to non-operating investment and philanthropy gains of $35 million. In the corresponding quarter last year, Partners recorded an overall loss of $122 million, due to non-operating losses of $177 million.

“Throughout 2012, operating performance was reasonably strong, reflecting continued progress in our efforts to improve the quality of the care we deliver and to make it more affordable for our patients,” Partners CFO Peter K. Markell said in a statement. “Partners, like many other health care providers, is taking on more financial risk in our contracts with health insurance companies. In order to be successful in this environment we must continue to focus on managing the health of our patient populations – particularly those patients with complex medical conditions. Our organization, with the recent addition of Neighborhood Health Plan into the Partners family, is well positioned to develop and implement new and innovative models of care aimed at achieving this level of success for our patients.”

For the fiscal year as a whole, Partners reported operating income of $191 million, for an operating margin of 2.1 percent, down from operating income of $233 million, for a 2.7 percent operating margin in 2011.

Partners grew its total operating revenue to $9 billion in fiscal 2012, from $8.5 billion the previous year. Net patient service revenue increased $486 million to $6.8 billion, reflecting increases in both inpatient and outpatient areas of the hospital system. Total operating expenses rose $542 billion to $8.8 billion in fiscal 2012, including a one-time charge of $114 million when Partners decided to abandon one of its clinical information systems.

Partners' overall gain for fiscal 2012 was $352 million, including non-operating gains of $161 million. In 2011, Partners reported an overall gain of $264 million, including non-operating gains of $31 million.

People in the News

Manchester Man Make Donation
Manchester-By-The Sea Philanthropist Ralph Bates has provided a $100,000 contribution to Northeast Senior Health.  The generous gift will allow Spectrum Adult Day Care Health Program that serves patients with Alzheimer’s is a Beverly non profit to purchase two new vans to help transport patients to facilities in Beverly and North Andover.  Earlier this year, Mr. Bates made a $100,000 contribution to River House, a homeless shelter in Beverly.

Bell Resigns Salem Main Streets Post
After a term of five years as the head of Salem’s Mall Streets program, Ms. Jennifer Bell has resigned to accept a very similar position in the community of Winchester, Virginia, whose character is much like that of Salem.

Personal Observations

Tragedy in New Town Connecticut
During recent days we have all been exposed to horrendous circumstances in a small rural Southern New England community.   The mainstream media has done an excellent job of covering all of the devastating events that transpired as a result of the mindless acts of a young man in an elementary School.  I will not share the facts in this case again that were so mind-numbing.  It is clear that elected officials in this country must take corrective action on our mental health conditions, the ease that troubled individuals can access multiple firing guns, and the images shown in local movies and computer games.  The case was compounded by a threat of violence against that community again while they were attending a mourning service in a community church that caused the evacuation of a local church.

New England Patriots
In their 14th game of this 2012 season, the New England Patriots failed to back up their earlier sterling win over Houston and lost a game played in very foul weather in Foxboro.  They have now made any trip to New Orleans for a Super Bowl Game most difficult.   The local entry after an unusually inept first half, mounted a furious comeback, but ultimately lost by 7 points.   Now unless something most unusual happens during the final two weeks of the season, they will have a single home game and then will have to travel for the next two games before the title game is played.

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