Saturday, December 28, 2013

Essex Happenings January 2014


Rail Trail News
Even though I am no longer in the employ of Essex Heritage, and simply serve as many other Commissioners and trustees do as volunteers, I am most interested in numerous initiatives fostered by the mission of Essex Heritage particularly as they focus on recreation and the outdoors.  In that vein, I follow their work on the development of rail trails across the region.  I have recently been made aware of a most energetic and enthusiastic project undertaken as an Eagle Scout project that involved the search for and the building and installation of benches made of old railroad wheels and other material.  The three benches have been assembled and installed along the recently completed Danvers Rail Trail.  If you are in the vicinity of those resting places, take a look at the work of Danvers High School Senior, Tim Jordan, as it is a wonderful addition to the trail.

Speaking of Rail Trail enhancements the leadership of the Newburyport Rail Trail group have recently received a $50,000.00 grant to install Murals and other art work along the 1.1 mile Clipper City Rail Trail,   The City of Newburyport will add funds to complete the project.

A wonderful holiday gift
If you are still searching for the perfect gift for someone you might consider during the Holiday Season………Think about a membership for 2014.   The Commission truly provided events for all seasons.  See the following Information.

Your Support Matters.
The Essex National Heritage Commission Membership program offers unique opportunities to explore this Heritage Area. Members are the first to hear about exciting events, receive discounts to attend these events and receive the quarterly invitation highlighting them. In turn, supporting Essex Heritage through our membership program means you embrace and champion our mission to preserve and enhance the historic, cultural and natural resources of the Essex National Heritage Area. Our power comes from the power of our supporters – people like you who commit to protecting our region and our resources. We can't do it without you!
•  Become a member
•  Check out our "Membership Details" to learn more about membership and member benefits.

Questions? For more information, email or phone Essex Heritage at 978-740-0444.

Thank you to our Corporate Members
Essex Heritage is grateful for the generous support of our Corporate Members! All of our Corporate Members enjoy unique visibility opportunities and privileges.   Learn more about Essex Heritage's Corporate Membership Program.
·         Become a Member!
·         Membership Details
·         Corporate Membership Program
·         Event Host Opportunities

Essex National Heritage Area • 221 Essex Street, Suite 41, Salem, MA 01970, ph 978-740-0444, f 978-744-6473

Partnership Grant Gifts in My Name Provided by Local Friends and Associates
I am pleased to learn from the staff at Essex Heritage the memorial gifts in my name have been contributed by local friends to the Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program.  Both Essex Heritage and I are most grateful for their thoughtfulness.  These generous donors were were Michael Morris, Dr. Wayne Burton, Fr. John O’Donnell and Paul Mc Ginley.

Happy New Year
I want to take a moment here to wish any readers of this Blog a most Happy New Year along with all of our best wishes for continuing good health and financial success.   As it is every year let us all fervently wish for a level of peace on earth and safety from gun violence  and other ills in our daily life’s.

Essex County Vocational Technical School Progressing  on Schedule
The New Vocational and Technical School currently under construction in Danvers is on schedule and under budget even though there are some under current in the region about costs of the program.  A comprehensive schedule of night classes offered for adults was recently released and there is truly something for everyone outlined in a recent publication recently mailed to area residents.   Also there are some discussions about a new privately funded indoor skating rink being planned and leased facility adjacent Soccer Field at the new school facility.  The initial comments about the ice facility expressed that revenues would be positive from this venture.   It seems to this observer that the location of this proposed venture would be a welcome addition to the local area provided  the potential problems with some residential neighbors might be addressed.

Innovative plan for the expansion of Education programs in Downtown Lynn Canceled
An innovative plan that would house education programs for Cosmetology and Culinary Arts being moved out of the Essex Aggie location to make room for the new county wide Vocational and Technical High School currently being built in Danvers has suffered a setback as the company that had entered into a prospective deal with Community College has fallen apart.  The programs were moving to a location in downtown Lynn but they are now once again without a home.  The two programs that historically produced students for prospective employment opportunities will be a loss for the region.  The collapse of the proposed deal has also produced a lawsuit by the present owner of the proposed location for the two programs.

Potential Power Plant Needs Debated
As the start-up date of 2016 moves closer and closer the entities from both camps, both pro and con for the need of the development of a natural gas powered plant continues to debate the need for such a facility.   I would expect that the issue will get more hotly contested as the START-UP date get closer and closer. Stay tuned for more facts and figures on the project so vital to the economic future of Salem and certain communities in the region.

City of Peabody to seek a home rule petition to offer ten additional liquor licenses In the Leather City
The City Administration with the unanimous support of the Council will be seeking a home rule petition that would allow the City to offer ten additional full service liquor licenses to potential establishments in either the restored downtown and at the retail mall. The new licenses would be used as an economic development tool in the community.  The Town of Danvers has applied for a couple of extra permissions and that effort has been successful.   Several local adjacent communities have seen the growth of the restaurant industry as an excellent economic tool.

The City of Peabody Considering the Rehabilitation of a an well recognized building in Peabody Square
A development firm is considering the rehabilitation of a historic building in the city center that would include a new hotel with a restaurant and meeting space.  It is expected that this plan would prove to be an incentive to visitors to the region.

Wreath Program offered in Peabody.   New Project Honoring Vets in Danvers
In the recent past several programs in the region have been announced that will benefit veterans.    A very aggressive program that would place wreaths from the Wreaths Across America on the graves of Vets has been established in Peabody.   A new memorial was recently constructed in Danvers adjacent to the Thorpe School to honor Vets in that community.

Local Senior Centers in No Andover and Danvers seeking Volunteers to assist in programs.
The Senior Center in North Andover is seeking volunteers to drive clients to medical appointments.    The Danver Senior Center currently has an innovative adult non medical Day Care Service, and that center is seeking qualified volunteer help.  The program has been most successful providing that there is a current and ongoing need for these kinds of programs.

It is very clear that all over this region there are non-profit organizations that would welcome volunteer help.  If you have received help in the past from one of these regional non-profits consider ‘paying it forward’ with contributed support.

Public Education vs. Private colleges
Once overlooked public University Programs and Community Colleges are stepping ahead of their private college partners in this state.  In many cases the public facilities are experiencing increased funding, improved new state of the arts facilities, honor programs, affordable tuitions and higher graduation results.  Recent reports show publish networks of public college in the State of Massachusetts are passing many private educational institutions in their status in the market for quality education for the costs offered.

Marblehead Town Building built in 1727 to be updated to insure handicapped accessibility
The Town of Marblehead has completed a half million dollar project that includes the installation of an elevator to make the building more accessible to residents of that seaside community.

Salem to enter phase two of City Hall Improvement Project
Speaking of older historic buildings, the City of Salem is embarking on the next phase of a major rehabilitation of Salem City Hall.  The building was constructed in 1838 and is on the National Registry of Historic Places and is one of the oldest continuous operating community city halls in the Country.     During the first phase of this 2 million dollar project a number of accessibility issues were addressed such as the installation of an elevator, and the final disability matters such as lower customer counters and wider doorways are being addressed to assist people in wheelchairs.    It is very pleasing for me to see so many elevators being installed around the region.   This is very important to people with disabilities.   I am a person with a disability who is currently involved in a project to make my parish church in Danvers accessible with the installation of an elevator and that project continues to be one of my primary concerns. 

Local emphasis on Library improvements countywide
All across the Essex County region local library complexes are undergoing improvement projects including both federal, state and private funding, including a unique effort in the Town of Salisbury where private funds are being sought.

Beverly Retail Improvements
Approval of a Beverly property to be used as a new retail center may also have an impact on plans of the Cummings Property and may well impact a future plans on Dunham Road, as conservation issues might cause changes in plans for that area by the retail giant in Beverly.  A final decision on this project will be decided by a public referendum in a soon to be schedule election.


This year may mark one of the first times in recent years that no local community was represented in the year end football Super Bowl competition This year Bishop Fenwick in Peabody and Central Catholic School in Lawrence won super Bowl Titles in December 2013 and should be congratulated.
Recent reading
In the most recent weeks I have curtailed my political and patriotic reading to take some time to read the biography of one the sports icons of this region that I have witnessed in person over the last couple of decades.   I have completed a very short but entertaining story of the life of Bobby Orr who helped to lead the Boston Bruins to a couple of Stanley Cup titles.  

I have long been a very strong admirer of Orr since I was a local youth hockey coach in the 1970’s.  I had the wonderful experience of providing a youth team to work with Bobby Orr, and Nabisco in the making of a film called “Winning Isn’t Everything”.   For two days myself and fifteen ten year old youths worked together with Orr to film drills and game action with commentary by Orr.   During that two day period I would be hard pressed to find a gentleman who was any more attentive to the youths we took to Harvard to film the documentary.  During the filming, the attention that he paid to my team and the personal attention he paid to provide tips to the boys on how they could improve in hockey and to be better contributors in life in general.   Later at a business meeting we used that occasion to discuss the filming and what that meant to my youngsters.

The book was well prepared and I enjoyed his presentation style and stories of his life as a professional hockey player starting at a very early age.

United States Congress making progress on a compromised budget agreement
The US-Congress may be saving an otherwise non- productive two year session with the potential passage of a two year federal budget that will contain several compromises from the two active political parties both sides of the aisle.  Possibly the  public messages to the Congress of the low regard we are holding them I at present may be getting through and this might be showing a positive sign for the future.

Holiday Food Pantry Needs
One of the Leonard Family favorite charities is the People to People Food Pantry in Danvers.   Early in December we attended a party for the benefit of the Danvers Pantry.  That day a considerable amount of resources were raised as well as great amounts of food products were donated at the Holiday Philharmonic Concert that offered a continuing Christmas tradition  by St. Richard’s Church in Danvers. 

At this time if you can offer help to a number of Food Pantries around the region, they certainly can use your support at this time of the year when the need is at its highest point.

Death of a family member
Just a week or so before the Christmas Holiday a venerable and a greatly admired uncle of mine passed away in a local Rehabilitation Facility.   John Hyland of Rockport suffered a fall and then passed away from injuries as he approached a century of living in this region.   Jack, the youngest brother of my mother was the historian of the family and he will be greatly missed by the remaining family members.  Jack lived for many years lived in the South Salem section of that city.  He served his country during World War Two as a Navy See Bee, and preformed much needed service in the Pacific Ocean Theatre of the War, building Air Strips and other facilities on Islands captured by the Allies.  As a youngster the family and I followed with great interest his travels across the Pacific Ocean.  After the war Jack worked for the General Electric Company at the River Works Plant in Lynn on the Jet Engine Program until his retirement.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

ESSEX HAPPENINGS - Holiday Season - DECEMBER, 2013

Heritage Hero Award Presented to Joanne Holbrook Patton and the Patton Family
A Most Successful and Popular Regional Event
The recent event to honor Joanne Patton and the entire Patton Family was a wonderful success and the honor was most justified.   The event was held on October 16 at the Danversport Yacht Club which accommodated a sellout crowd attended by over 420 people from all over the region. This event and the award were a wonderful testament to the commitment of the preservation of the heritage of this region by the Patton family. Because of the strong military history of the Patton tradition, many of the attendees came dressed in military uniforms and this added to the festive nature of the evening along with the substantial number of supporting congratulatory toasts, messages and tributes.   In these days of reduced federal financial support for many organizations including Essex Heritage, the proceeds from this event will be used to underwrite the work of the Commission. 

Partial list of Essex Heritage Programs & Initiatives
The mission of the Essex National Heritage Commission is to preserved 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 promote significant aspects of the region’s history, cultural heritage and character. A few of the  most significant initiatives and accomplishments include:

Essex Heritage Grants Programs
The Commission 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 several grants.  The Essex Heritage Partnership Grants initiative is the largest of the Commission’s grant programs, 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.

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.

Essex Coastal Scenic Byway
Essex Heritage is leading the planning effort for the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, a 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 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 Farms 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.

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 participated  in the program. 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 associated centers includes 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.

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

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.

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.

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 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 ENHC 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 public events and activities;
• The capacity of non-profit and public organizations who own or manage these resources;
• Connections to the next generation and to more diverse audience;
• Partnerships to develop new resources and assets for the region to embrace.
Please help us continue this tradition of excellence and leadership. Your financial investment will enable you to:
• Increase local stewardship of the Area's important historical, cultural and natural resources;
• Encourage efficiencies and effectiveness in local non-profit organizations by supporting the training programs and partnership offerings;
• Enhance and expand program offerings run in partnership with the National Park Service that promote the region’s rich Maritime Heritage.

North Shore Medical Center in Salem has announced a plan to enhance their Salem campus
The local Salem medical facility that has served the Witch City for a number of years is improving its campus with a new state of the art Emergency Room and 90 patient rooms in a new tower building.   The Hospital that has an affiliation with the Partners Medical Group is a major contributor to the medical programs in this region.

Danvers Council on Aging and the most active Senior Center on Stone Street to Offer new much desired program
The Danvers Council on Aging is in the final stages of establishing an Adult Day Care Program on two days each week for 15 people.  For more information or to reserve a spot that are filling fast contact the Town of Danvers Council on Aging at , the director of the Center and  the new program.

New Communication Sources
The Danvers Rail Trail has created a new program. We have recently learned of a new communication program in the region created for smart phones and tablets that outline all of the features of the Danvers Rail Trail.   The program points out rest areas and travel directions.
Federal Shutdown ends just in time to help Salem as it Celebrates Halloween
The government shutdown ended just in time to be most beneficial to the thousands of Halloween visitors to the Witch City.   That was a blessing to a community so financially dependent on this time of the year.

Holiday Concerts Scheduled
In December there are a number of concerts planed in the region.  Watch for local publications for complete schedules to make your plans.  Two events and details are as follows:

St Richard’s of Danvers will hold its annual Sounds of the Season on December 8, 2013 featuring the North Shore Philharmonic at a FREE concert at the church at 4:00 PM.   The only contribution to attend is a gift of non-perishable food that will be presented to the Danvers People to People Food Pantry.  The event is sponsored by the Living Legacy Financial Group and C.R. Lyons Funeral Directors.  The event is chaired for the church by John Call who can be reached  at 978-739-900   The second event scheduled is a series of dinners and concerts priced most fairly at Peabody City Hall on December 7 and 8.

We certainly do not want to let one of the most festive of the Holiday Periods in this country pass by without offering our best wishes to all of our readers as they celebrate the end of the Year Holidays.

White House Disability Issues
As a person challenged with a disability, I present the following from the Federal Government for your information:
            On November 1, disability, veterans, civil rights and business leaders joined Vice President Joe Biden and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett at the White House for conversation regarding the Administration’s strong support for ratification of the Disabilities.  During the meeting, the Vice President pointed out that the United States has long been a global leader in promoting equality and dignity for people with disabilities. He reinforced the Administration’s commitment to carrying forward that important legacy by urging Senate approval of the Treaty. He also noted that ratifying the Treaty would help ensure that Americans with disabilities, including our veterans and wounded warriors, have the same opportunities to work, study, and travel in other countries as any other American. Click here for the readout of Vice President Biden's Meeting on the Disabilities Treaty.

For more on Vice President Joe Biden and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett Disabilities Treaty meeting please check out White House blog post by Stephen Pomper with the White House National Security Staff. In addition, Judith Heumann, Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the State Department also published a blog post yesterday.

Anniversary of the Death of President Kennedy
During the week before Thanksgiving 2013, the world paused and commemorated the 50th assignation of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas Texas.   The reminders and the services and pictures presented were most moving.  The memories of that fateful day brought back numerous reminders of the moving ceremonies and the events that marked that tragic times of that slain president.   For adults of my age the assignation of the president was a stark reminder of a most chilling time and the numerous accomplishments of President Kennedy were brought back to the top of mind awareness and many of the actions of that elected official were remembered. The entire commemoration recalled President Kennedy’s call for more public service efforts by the citizens of this country.  His famous call to service that called for us all not to ask what our country can do for us but rather what we can do for our country was recalled and featured.

Danvers Historical Society to Offer Designer Showcase at Glen Magna in Danvers
To celebrate a half century of the stewardship of the Glen Magna Mansion the Danvers Historical Society will offer a designers showcase at the historic Glen Magna Estate from December 1, 2013 until December 15, 2013 from 10 am until 4 pm.   The event is sponsored by Designer Bath, Landry and Arcaro, Fireside Catering, North East Community Bank, and North Shore Magazine.   The event will feature designs and decorations from over a dozen or so nationally known designers and artists.   Tickets to the event are priced moderately considering the quality of the show and what the society will do with the proceeds to further its mission.   To purchase tickets or for more information call 978-777-1666 or contact the Society at www. DHS a@ Danvers  Volunteers are still needed to help with their showings.  E-mail Laura at for available time slots.  Many hands make light work. 

Also new to the Museum Store in the Page House: the 2014 calendar “Celebrating 50 years of Stewardship at Glen LOCAL sports Magna Farms” and the 2013 ornament “Days Potato Chips”

Keep informed through the Danvers Historical Society  blog at

Local Sports and Other Personal Observations
Several local area high Schools did very well in the 2013 in the State Playoffs specifically Masconomet and Bishop Fenwick High Schools.  Both schools can win a division title at the super bowls.

The Danvers Falcon Field Hockey team won more games than they lost, but they did not do that well in the playoffs   We were very pleased to learn that our granddaughter Katherine Leonard was named both a Salem News and a Northeastern Conference All Star for her team play and a most productive nineteen goal regular season.  CONGRATULATIONS KATE. 

The Red Sox World series win was sensational for the region and the many fans of the team.  They clearly outperformed their potential. The Patriots had several recent wins in a slightly weakened NFL and they will have a chance to shine in the playoffs if they do not slip at the end of their season. The Winter sports teams representing Boston are off to a reasonable and expected start, but the Bruins will get it together as the season continued, but the Celtics have much work to do,

Personal Reading
I am currently reading a book written by Chris Mathews, from the staff of Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil , titled “Tip and  the Gipper” (President Reagan).   It is about the period when politics worked in Washington DC.  It should be read and emulated by every current Washington elected official. This is a book about how two stubborn Irishmen could put aside their differences to work together for the good of the citizens of the country.

Thursday, October 31, 2013



Last month Essex Heritage faced a very pleasant problem with their annual Heritage Hero Event.   The tribute scheduled to honor Joanne Patton and the federal, state and local commitments made by the entire Patton Family of Wenham was scheduled to be held at the Willowdale banquet facility in Topsfield.  It had to be transferred to a more spacious local facility due to an overwhelming demand for tickets to the event.  For the event, over 450 area participants have signed up to come to the new location at Danversport Yacht Club for the dinner to honor the famous military and philanthropic family from the center of this great region.   In addition to the strong attendance, sponsorships are also quite high and that will be most beneficial for ENHC.
My Personal Tribute since I am unable to attend offered to the most admired Joanne Patton during her event:
I want to offer my heartiest congratulations on the presentation of the annual Heritage Hero Award to you and your entire family.  The work and the importance of the Patton family to this region and to the entire country have been extraordinary for many decades.   This award is a result of substantial discussion by the leadership of both Essex Heritage and the National Park Service. This is a wonderful reflection of the importance of the Patton Family and particularly you Joanne to the 35 communities that make up the Essex National Heritage Area.      You have joined a most distinguished group of previous winners including past and present community Mayors and Managers, College Presidents and regional committed activists. 

As a former much honored winner of this valued and prestigious award, I am incredibly disappointed that I cannot be with you this evening in spite of my almost three year old disability.  We were planning to be at the event to share your excitement about being identified as an outstanding community leader, but a fractured ankle suffered by my wife Marge a couple of weeks ago made our presence and participation impossible and has rendered us house bound.   Once again our congratulations on the most well deserved award as the Essex Heritage, National Park Service Heritage Hero for 2013.

I am particularly pleased to welcome you as a fellow Heritage Hero in this region that we know means so much to you and your family.   Your participation as a valued business member of this region and your continuation as a committed activist of Essex County are welcomed.   We look forward to visiting with you in the future as you continue your ongoing participation in the affairs of this spectacular section of this country that you love and have served so well.

                             Thomas M Leonard
                             President Emeritus
                             Essex Heritage Commission

 Election Results in the City of Boston
After a two decade period of leadership in the states capital city by Mayor Tom Menino, he is retiring due to health issues and has decided to step down from this role in 2013.   A wide variety of a dozen candidates stepped forward to run in a special election to choose a successor CEO for Boston on the first Tuesday in November and the field was prospective mayors was reduced to two final candidates.   City councilor John Connelly and State representative and labor advocate Martin Walsh were the winners of the run off election and will square off on the first Tuesday of this month.   After two decades of leadership by an most committed Italian American, the Mayor’s post in the short term future will be held once again by a Boston Irishman.

More Local Election Results
Even with all of the troubles and innuendo that are flying around in the community of Lawrence, the incumbent Mayor of the City William Lantiqua topped the primary election in that community and will stand for re-election as the City of Lawrence Chief Executive in November 2013 against three others.  If he wins that race, Mayor Lantiqua will confirm that he has as many lives as a cat.

More Walking Trails Open - in and around this region
In a previous edition of this presentation, I outlined many of the recreational assets in this region and their importance to both Essex Heritage and to me personally.    I presented a number of locations that can be easily accessed and enjoyed.  Following are a number of additional area recreational the assets both within Essex county and adjacent to this region.

The City of Gloucester’s Newell Stadium:  Gloucester has unveiled a $5 million dollar rehabilitation of Newell Stadium in that coastal community.  The New Balance Corporation contributed a fee for the naming right for a ten year period.   The stadium seats 2,500 people and has many scholastic as well as recreational uses.

City of Medford Opens Walking Trail:  Medford has completed a 1.7 mile walking trail called “Over the Mystic.” It has been open and is well signed.

Oceanfront Trail Opened in Revere:  The City of Revere has invited residents and neighbors to use the new Beachmont Urban Trail. The two mile trail starts and ends at the N School and runs through the neighborhood and is well marked with signage.  Some of the urban landscape runs along the ocean.

Bishop Fenwick High School Names New Principal
The Peabody Catholic co-educational High School where I spent some time as a Trustee recently named Brother Thomas Zoppo as its ninth Principal. Brother Zoppo is originally from this region and until just recently served as the President of a High School in Baltimore. He has replaced a sister of Notre Dame order that has led the school in recent years.

Topsfield Fair
I certainly hope that during the first two weeks of last month that many of you had the opportunity to visit the world famous Topsfield Fair.   The fall is the period of New England Country Fairs but none the offerings rivals the offering in Topsfield.  The event is held near the geographic center of Essex County and is managed by Jim O’Brien and his staff.  Essex Heritage is proud of the long and cooperative partnership between the two organizations.  For my wife and I this event truly means the end of the summer season but due to an injury suffered by Marge we were unable to attend the 2013 edition of the Fair, but we are looking forward to next year as we renew our participation.

Happy Thanksgiving
Even though the most American of all holidays has yet to be celebrated as this entry is being prepared, I want to offer all in this region, a most pleasant THANKSGING DAY.   It is a day for family, football and pleasant times.  With Marge now having more capacity to move around more easily and our oldest grandson, home from college in North Carolina, and the rest of our family home for dinner, all is good with our family, and we hope that the day will be as enjoyable for all of you as well.

Medical Changes in Danvers
The naming of the medical facilities in Danvers are changing names as the locations are so convenient.  The Beverly Hospital facility on the old State Hospital site has changed names in keeping with the Beverly Hospital connection with the Lahey group.

On Endicott Street The Massachusetts General facility has opened an Urgent Care function that can be accessed during the day either by appointment or as a walk in.  Both of these new name changes and functions took place during the recent month of October

Disability Matters
Disney Actions
We have heard that the Disney Company has changed the rules to allow handicapped move to the head of the line at their parks.  There is more to that story, as unscrupulous families were compensating some with handicaps to be “USED” to move families with no need to the head of lines. They are continuing to “tinker” with their policy for families with a disabled party.

COPAA to Expand
The Cornell Orthotics and Prosthetics Amputee Association is being upgraded to encourage greater participation by the handicapped in this region that have amputee issues.  The group is also creating a more efficient administrative structure and will be creating opportunities for corporate and personal contributions to support these efforts

Personal Observations
Government Shut Down
Ill Advised and Shows Unwillingness of the Two Political Parties to Work To Achieve Success.  For a most lengthy and unnecessary period last month, the two political parties in Washington were unable to come together to establish a working plan to keep this country “on track” and as a result hundreds of workers were furloughed and critical Federal Government services were discontinued.   There are numerous reasons for this difficult discontinuance of services and I will not place blame on either political party but will simply urge all of the participants that can impact the resolution to sit together, act like responsible adults and craft a solution.

End of summer reading
In previous presentations I spoke of several books read this summer.    All of the reading choices focused on a particular time of my life during World War ll where I had scant memories.   In previous presentations I reported on books about the lives and the activities of Franklin D.  Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower.   Both men played significant roles in the war effort and ultimately were Presidents of this Country.   The final book was written by the famous historian William Manchester and completed a triumvirate of War hero books telling the tale of General of the Army Douglas Mac Arthur who was a most famous five star general and who most likely aspirated to the US Presidency but never completed that journey.

The life of Douglas Mac Arthur began as the son of a famous US General and recounted his journey through West Point where he began in 1899.    The elder General Mac Arthur spent time in the American West and spent substantial time in the American managed Philippines.   Later in the life of the second General, his life focused on even more attention on that chain of Islands.

I will not attempt to outline the exploits of the General as he managed and helped to win the war in the South Pacific, except to note the he was a sensational strategist  and an inspirational leader.  During an attack on Corregidor he escaped from the Philippines and moved his base of operations to Australia and then to fulfill a promise as part of his efforts he was driven from the Island chain but triumphantly returned to drive away the Japanese.  He made the phrase “I have returned” famous.

After the end of hostilities and accepted Japan surrender on the battle ship Missouri, he was assigned to oversee the restructuring of the vanquished Japanese and was legendary in that role.   When hostilities broke out in Korea, he was again brought back at war to manage that effort.   He had numerous differences of opinions about how that war should be pursued and after several disagreements with the administration.  He was recalled back to the USA from that position by President Truman.  His return was triumphant and he was lauded with parades and great adulation in San Francisco, Washington and New York.    He provided appearances before Congress and at West Point and made the comment “that old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”  This became one of the most famous quotes of the war.  He provided testimony to the US Senate and made a triumph tour to American cities.   He died in 1964 in Walter Reed Army Hospital and lay in state in several locations.  He is buried in Norfolk, Virginia and his burial location has become his final monument to his life.

Sports Report
The Red Sox are hopefully on the road towards participation in the World Series after a dramatic win in game two of he ALCS.   The Patriots continue to surprise us with their performance.    They authored a big wins in Atlanta and an improbable comeback against New Orleans, and they have positioned themselves in the League standings. The Bruins have begun playing for real and the Celtics start of the season cannot be far behind.  

We are missing viewing the games of our two granddaughters. But we have seen a couple of tapes of their performances that have been very good.  Kate in Danvers is on a goal scoring tear. High School sports of all kinds are winding down as we get closer to the end of November.   Both girls are playing on teams that have already qualified for the State Playoffs.

Monday, October 21, 2013




Essex Heritage Annual Meeting
Congratulations to Jack Good of People’s United on his Election as President of Essex Heritage

Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables: Brunonia Barry
November 20, 2013 • The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
Salem’s own NY Times best-selling author, Baccante award winner & Strnad Fellowship recipient presents her latest novel fresh off the press.

Monthly Essex Heritage Newsletter
One of the very best ways to keep in contact with all of the activities of the Essex National Heritage Commission is outlined every month in the newsletter that is electronically distributed  to a wide groups of Friends of the Commission   If you do not receive this informative presentation you can sign up to receive the monthly newsletter sign up at the address noted below.  Essex Heritage"

On October 16, 2013 The Essex National Heritage Commission held its prestigious Heritage Hero dinner at the Danversport YC in Danvers.   This year the honoree was Joanne Patton and the Patton Family.   As noted this recognition event is held each year and many local prominent community leaders have been honored including the former Mayor of Newburyport, Byron Matthews, former Mayor of Amesbury, Nick Costello. Current Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll,  Danvers Town Manager Wayne Marquis, North Shore Community College Retired President Wayne Burton and last year, I was the honoree.   This award presentation was one of the highlights of my professional life. 

This year’s event was a great success – attended by nearly 450 guests - who toasted the Pattons and Essex Heritage.  The Color Guard from Norwich University presented the colors accompanied by Sargent Daniel Clark who recited a moving poem about Old Glory followed by a magnificent rendition of the National Anthem.   

Regional recreational Trails
One of the primary goals of Essex Heritage, and a longtime interest of this author, is the development and implementation of recreational activities in this region.  The following are details of several initiatives currently underway in the region.

Danvers Rail trail completed
With the help of a very important Commonwealth of Massachusetts Grant the two communities of Danvers and Wenham have completed valuable sections of the BORDER TO BOSTON TRAIL.   As a longtime resident of the Town of Danvers I want to compliment the coalition from that community who came together to complete this important regional asset that will be used and enjoyed by many from Danvers and nearby  communities into the future.   The permanent crushed and rolled stone surface on the trail will serve many well into the future.

City of Lawrence Opens Greenway
The City of Lawrence recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony to signify the opening of the Spiket River Greenway.   The greenway is a three and one half mile, ten million dollar project that runs from the Polartec Company to Union Square and includes green spaces, and walking paths. The greenway is now open to the general public for their use.  The project was a collaboration of federal. State, and community groups.

Walking Trail in West Newbury Built by Volunteers
In West Newbury, a group of community volunteers, students and residents constructed a one mile walking trail that crosses  four parcels on thirty acres of conservation land along Essex County Greenbelt property.

Other Regional Events and Activities

Two Local Bank Presidents and Community Activists to Retire
Announcements of two impending retirements have been offered to the region by local Bank leaders   Both organizations in question are strong financial and moral supporters of the region and particularly that of Essex Heritage.  The first of these retirements is the decision of long time leader of Rockport National Bank, Peter Anderson to step down in September.  

The second of these careers coming to an end is by the long time President of Salem Five Bank Joseph Gibbons.   This retirement means a great deal more to me as Joe and I worked together for a number of years when I was also employed by that Bank.     Joe provided substantial support to this region and particularly to Essex Heritage where he replaced me when I retired on the Essex Heritage Board of Trustees   Joe will be replaced at Salem by the institutions Chief Financial Officer, Ping Yin Chai who I also worked with for many years at the bank..     Concurrent with these changes Salem Five also named Bruce Potter of Danvers as the Executive Vice President.  Bruce is another former associate of mine at Salem Five Bank.    `Best of wishes to the two CEO’s in their retirements and  to their replacements that I am certain will represent their Banks  to the region in the future.

St. Richard’s of Danvers Golden anniversary Events
My wife Marge and I are exceptionally pleased to be serving as the honorary chairpersons of the celebrations being offered by the Danvers Catholic parish.   There have been concerts, social events, celebratory liturgical events and plans are underway to make improvements to the church facility including accessibility conditions.

         The next planned parish function scheduled is participation in a Road Race/Walk on October 6th at 1:30 followed by a parish cookout for the runners and parishioners that will be there to welcome the runners participation.   The race will start and finish at the Town’s sensational recreational venue at Endicott Park adjacent to the church.  After the race all will be invited to participate in a Parish Picnic, with a cookout, games and baked goods at noon.   The race entry fee door the run will be $20, but the picnic will be priced at $5 or $20 for a family to all other parish attendees.

North Shore Elder Services (Longevity Connection)
 We all know what is means to get old, right?
by Eileen Lubas, Manager, The Longevity Connection;  Click here to read it now!:

Personal Observations

Fall Arrives Along with Football and other Autumn sports
There are many in the region that laments when the summer passes, but the fall can be such a pleasant time as temperatures moderate and the humidity usually drops.   For those that enjoy the fall season, with numerous family activities like apple picking, leaf viewing and from my standpoint football returns to the region.   We are so blessed in this region to have a most competitive professional team and there are a plentiful group of college, high schools and youth programs for viewing pleasure. This is not to demean the numerous regional participants in soccer and Field Hockey, and I am a very vocal supporter of those two sports as I have granddaughters participating in Varsity efforts at both Danvers and Algonquin Regional High School, and my wife and I were regular viewers of school sports.   Those interests will be impacted be personal changes to our personal activities outlined later in this Blog.

The New England Patriots experienced a bump in the road with a very slow and uneven start of the season, bit sill stand an 2 and 0, but the outlook for the success of that  team is still most optimistic.    Now if Boston College, that has started two and 1 UMass and the other local colleges plus your favorite community HIGH school team can be reasonably successful then the fall will be enjoyed.
Now that Labor Day has come and gone and the local schools have reopened, it is once again time for me to offer some observations on one of my favorite subjects, my Grandchildren and their connections to school sports.   My oldest is away at the University of North Carolina where he serves as one of the leaders of a Dance Marathon event to benefit a children’s hospital on his University Campus.    The next oldest is a girl, Katherine that is serving as one of the captains of the field, hockey team at Danvers high school, that is looking forward to a successful season.  The other young lady, Caroline, after a successful Junior Varsity season last year is one of only three sophomores’ that have been picked to play on the Varsity Soccer Team at Algonquin Regional High School.   We planned to take a number of trips to the west of the North Shore to watch her perform this seas,. But those plans are now in a state of flux.   Our last grandchild Casey is still at the Jr. High Level, but in the fall and winter of 2013, he will participate on an AAU Baseball team based in Sutton.    That experience should help him as he progresses in youth baseball on the future.. 

On a Sunday in the middle of the last month, Marge and I feel very sorry that we were unable to join my sister and her family as they celebrated the golden wedding anniversary.  Nancy and her husband Neil Savianio celebrated at the Historic Hawthorne Hotel In Salem.

Woodman’s Celebrate in unusual manner
A long time friend and occasional business associate Jon  Woodman and his wife Betsy recently celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary by offering a free jazz convert for their community for their friends and associates.  It was a great way to celebrate a milestone date.

Golden Anniversary of the Organization of Father John O’Donnell of Salem
We are most disappointed that late last month we were unable due to the injury noted below, unable to attend a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the ordination of Father John O’Donnell to the priesthood.   The event was commemorated with a mass in Salem followed by a luncheon at the Historic Hawthorne Hotel.   Fifty years ago, Marge and I attended John’s Ordination in Gloucester, and his first mass in Salem.   John was a boyhood friend growing up, and he baptized both of our sons.

Situation in Syria
The ongoing situation in Syria when coupled with the Anniversary of 9/11 leaves many questions about the proposed actions of this government.   It will be a most difficult time with possible cyber attacks and other problems being considered as a offshoot.   It does appear that the Secretary of State Kerry is close to a nonmilitary solution to address these issues both in other countries and here in the USA. There has been a long period of conflicts in this world. and it appears that the majority of the American citizens do not want another military conflict, and that certainly impacts the decisions of our president and our other elected officials.

Marge Suffers a Serious Injury
My wife Marge suffered a serious injury when she slipped on a staircase and x-rays showed the breakage of two bones in her ankle.   There are a number of steps still to be considered by the tending medical people involved, and we must wait for that information before we move forward.    The one thing that appears certain, is that the daily living of our lives will change rather dramatically over the weeks ahead.  We will keep you updated on what we learn and how those changes will impact our joint efforts to continue to serve many organizations in the region.  We would like to thank our family, many good friends and neighbors who have jumped to our aid.  Many thanks to all of them.

Summer Reading
When I find an author whose writing style I enjoy, I usually seek another offering for my reading pleasure.  This is the case with Jean Edward Smith, and staying with the military theme, I have just finished reading ‘Eisenhower in War and peace’’ The life story goes from his earliest days in Kansas. Then followed by his days at the military academy at West Point.  He excelled in both academics and athletics at that Institution.

The story then continued through his early years in the Army where he worked for two army giants, ‘Black Jack” Pershing and Douglas Mac Arthur both generals and hero’s to the county.    He had a number of army heavyweights that helped his career through his association with MacArthur in the Philippines and for Pershing as he worked on the presentation of Pershing’s memoirs on the first war in Francs.   The work done by Ike on the first World War walking in the fields of France was incredibly helpful to him as he participated in the later war during the invasion of Europe.    Hus earliest days were in tanks, where he developed a close association and long term friendship with General George Paton that was very helpful later during subsequent military encounters.     The memoir carried through his work coaching football  at Army Installations and then  on to the invasion of Italy.

A great deal of the book focused on his work as the Supreme Commander of all Allied Forces the carried on the greatest invasion of all time in Normandy France.   His incredible work in building the required coalition between he English and the Americans certainly prepared him for the role he would later play as the American President.   The history carried on through his two terms as president and the difficult task of leading the USA after the war through “McCarthyism” and the emergence of the importance of the Middle East in world affairs.    The presentation covered his participation in two wars at that time in Korea and Vietnam.

The memoir continued with reports on Presidential initiatives on matters such as the development of the St Lawrence Seaway and a comprehensive national highway system.    The book also reported on social activities such as the expansion of social security recipients and increases in the minimum wages paid at that time.    The book also chronicled the work dome on a retirement farm in Gettysburg that was at the time of the death of the Eisenhower’s was deeded to the National Park Service.

`There was a heart attack and a Gastro intestinal that the President survived and severe crises in places life Formosa and the middle east that he managed successfully and after much deliberations. Ike decided to run for a second term where and won handily over Adele Stevenson

Ike became somewhat involved in the Segregation issue mote than any President before him in issues in Little Rock, Arkansas. School issue. Where he sent in federal troops

The book concluded with   the first issues surrounding the space race  and the Russian launch of a Russian Satellite and U2 flight.  The President suffered several medical setbacks including a small stroke but continued to effectively lead the country during most turbulent times.

The book concluded with the election of JFK over VP Nixon.   The final entry recorded the removal of a life support systems from the former president at Walter Reed Hospital  in Washington   Prior to leaving office as a former lifelong military man, his rank as a five Star General of the Army was restored, as he value being known as General rather than as a former President was most important to him.