Sunday, March 24, 2013

Essex Happenings March 15, 2013

Essex Heritage Events and Activities


Essex Heritage Corporate Membership Program

We have recently received a most generous contribution to the Essex Heritage Corporate Membership Program from the world famous Salem organization, the Peabody Essex Museum.  We are indebted to this institution for their participation and support.   The museum is one of the primary reasons why the City of Salem is in the middle of a renaissance.   When the Peabody-Essex Museum made the decision to remain in Salem and add a world class addition to their two centuries old museum, this was a major turning point for the city.  This singular decision followed then by the expansion of the Southern Essex County Court District redevelopment , the growth of Salem State University campus, the harbor front plans and downtown residential growth has had an important bearing on where the city stands today.

We once again thank Peabody-Essex Museum for both their commitment of support to Essex Heritage for today and for their long time commitment to the City of Salem.


Annual Spring Meeting

Essex Heritage’s Annual Spring Meeting is  Winnekenni Castle in Haverhill on Wednesday, April 10, 2013

8:00 AM: Continental Breakfast Reception8:30 - 10:00 AM: Business Meeting

We hope you will be able to join us! RSVP at 978-740-0444.


Sunday, March 24, 2013 • 1:00 - 3:00pm

Featured Partner Event -Essex County Greenbelt Association Presents:Signs of Rebirth at the Willowdale Meadow,Ipswich Road, Topsfield, MA 01983

Look for signs of the natural world’s rebirth as you tour the trails within Greenbelt’s Willowdale Meadow, Bradley Palmer State Park, and the Willowdale Mill Reservation. Reservations required. This event is free, but please email or call Greenbelt at 978-768-7241 to register.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013 • 7:00pm     

Featured Partner Event -The House of the Seven Gables Presents:Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables: Jim McAllister, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA 01970

“Architecture & Preservation in Salem 1900-2000” Salem’s own local historian & journalist will give a lively account of many of the sites of historic significance in Salem over the past century.

Reservations recommended. Essex Heritage and Seven Gables Members $10; Non-Members $15. Please email or call The House of the Seven Gables at 978-744-0991 ext. 104 to reserve your seats.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013 • 7:00pm      

Featured Partner Event -The House of the Seven Gables Presents:Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables: Paranormal Salem, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA 01970

Join Kimberly Bizjak for an evening to explore the paranormal side of Salem's history. Kimberly is the owner of Paranormal Salem, a researched-based paranormal society and tour company. She also teaches Paranormal Studies at NSCC. You'll learn the history and theory of ghost hunting, debunking, and equipment. She'll share her spooky findings in Salem, and maybe find some more during the lecture!

Reservations recommended. Essex Heritage and Seven Gables Members $10; Non-Members $15. Please email or call The House of the Seven Gables at 978-744-0991 ext. 104 to reserve your seat,


Regional Event and Activities


Salem Partnership Activities

From everything I have heard, the theatrical performances in the play Love Letters at Salem Theater Company by two very well-known community activists was most exceptionally well done.  The work of both Patricia Zaido, the Salem Partnership’s Executive Director, and John Archer, the very active community philanthropist, local Beverly businessperson and Danvers resident, were very professional and entertaining.   I have been associated off and on for many years with both amateur thespians and even though I was not able to attend their performance, I am certain their performances were exceptional.

While on the subject of the Salem Partnership, they will be conducting their 26th anniversary annual meeting at Salem State University.  I have been associated with this community organization for all of its business life and continue to be impressed every year with their accomplishments.  The event will be held on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 5-7PM at Marsh Hall, Central Campus at Salem State University. The keynote speaker, Jim McAllister, Salem historian will speak on "Salem’s Evolving Economy in the 20th Century".   JIm is an accomplished author, historian and presenter and I am sure as always that Jim will be most entertaining.  Jim McAllister was Essex Heritage’s first Heritage Hero recipient in 2009.  If you are interested in attending, contact the Salem Partnership for ticket information.


Salem Ferry Contract

The City of Salem has entered into a one year contract with Boston Harbor Cruises to run the Salem Ferry with the 149 passenger ship owned by the City of Salem.   The contract provides four one-year renewals of this agreement which also allows for one year extensions in four subsequent years.  Service on the ferry is scheduled to begin during the last week of May.  It should be noted that the schedule is weather dependent, and at that time of the year, the weather conditions on the waters around Salem could have a bearing on the schedule.   The ferry has been a success as it provides a comfortable and enjoyable method of getting visitors to this region, the City of Salem and its numerous attractions.   It also is a wonderful way to enjoy the region and a round trip to Boston from Salem can be a pleasant experience.


People to People Food Pantry Needs

The important Danvers People to People Food Pantry is supported primarily by community donations and it recently put out a call for help. With dozens of homeless families living a transitory life in motels, the Food Pantry has indicated a need for wrapped candy and for help in organizing Easter baskets for the many children living in these motels.  I’ve hear that the State has a plan for the future to correct the motel housing issue in Danvers, and we can only hope they follow through with their plan.  At this time the residents of Danvers want to be neighbors and help the Pantry met their need for wrapped candy.   So as you shop for your children or grandkids, please think of buying an extra bag of candy for the Pantry to help them meet their goals.  Toys are okay but wrapped candy is the primary need.  Drop off the candy at the Pantry at 22 Sylvan Stet or if you have questions call the Pantry at 978-739-4188


Danvers Seeking State Approval to Rehabilitate Smith School

The Town of Danvers is preparing a plan to rehabilitate the Smith School in the St. John’s Prep area of town.   The school was built in the open classroom configuration in the early 1970s and it is being offered as a project to the State School Building Authority for the second year in a row.   The open classroom configuration was most favored at the time the school was designed, but today the way the school was designed makes it difficult to design education programs using today’s standards. 


The school was built on land donated to the community of Danvers by the neighboring St John’s Preparatory School and after moving to Danvers in 1973 it was one of the first schools that my two sons attended in the town.   The experience was a great one, and the openness of the space was most conducive to the education needs at that time.  In the almost forty years since the school was built, times have changed and the building needs to be redesigned.   Without the financial support provided by the Commonwealth, rehabilitation will be difficult and hopefully the plans presented to the State will be approved and a plan of construction can begin soon.


Full Agenda at Marblehead Town Meeting

The Marblehead Town Meeting will present a full agenda including forty articles at the Town Meeting scheduled for May 6, 2013 at the Middle School.  It looks like it could be a long evening.


One Contested Election Race in Andover

At the Town Election in Andover scheduled for March 26th, there will only be one contested race when three candidates run for the two Town Selectmen seats.


Early Bird Parking Tags Available in Ipswich

We know that it is only mid-March but it is never too early to make plans for the summer.   Parking programs at Cranes Beach are now available to early bird buyers and the prices will be raised soon.


Salem Point Residents Work on Goal Setting

The residents of the Point Neighborhood in Salem have been invited by the City to participate in a session to offer their opinions on the future of that neighborhood.  The session will offer residents the opportunity to create a vision statement on how the twenty-block area might be developed to promote growth and development.   The city is working closely with the Metropolitan Planning Council .  For more information contact the North Shore Community Development Coalition at 978-825-4016.


Spring Arrives on the Calendar

Spring is about to arrive at least on the calendar.    We still have not seen much warm weather yet, but I am sure it is coming.  We stayed in the region this winter and did not head for Florida where the usually warm spring weather has not yet arrived.   It is certainly nice to see sunsets later and later each day, but it is dark in the morning.


Medical, Senior and Disability Events


Gordon College Therapy

I am currently enjoying therapy sessions at Gordon College in Wenham.   In addition to walking on their wonderful indoor track, the gymnasium connected with the therapy program also has a comprehensive collection of exercise machines designed for people with handicaps.   I am using this equipment.  Along with the progress in improving my walking capabilities, the machines are beneficial to gaining muscle strength.  I have been very fortunate to have support from the therapists at Spaulding Hospital and now the people at Gordon College.


Information from the Director of North Shore Elder Services Paul Leanzikos that might be informative to some readers


Styrofoam Recycling Opportunity

Lifoam Industries, a styrofoam cooler manufacturer located in Peabody, plans to hold monthly styrofoam recycling collection events.  These Saturday (only!) collections will be done in conjunction with ReFoamIt (  They are free and open to the public.   For details on when future collections will be held and what is and isn't acceptable, please check ReFoamIt's website.  Lifoam cannot accept styrofoam on any other day than the monthly collection day.  The next collection event is scheduled for March 16, Lifoam Industries, Peabody, MA.   No Residency Requirement.

Lifoam is holding their second foam recycling event from 9-1.  Bring your clean EPS foam to 2 Fifth Street, Peabody, MA.  Lifoam is only able to accept foam during their recycling events.  Please do not ask to drop items off ahead of the event or send foam through the mail.  Also, please do not bring packing peanuts.  For more information about this collection, please contact Oscar Arevalo at 978-278-6215


SAVE THE DATE: for an important North Shore Elder Services Event.   This is an important event for NSES.

Wicked Funny Comedy Tour

Featuring some of New England’s funniest comedians            Saturday, April 27, 2013  8:00 p.m.            at the  North Shore Music Theater


Newburyport YWCA Addresses Housing

The Newburyport YWCA, one of the only YWCAs, in the region has begun work on the expansion of housing opportunities in their property, the Marjorie Lynn House on 11 Market Street, Newburyport.   This facility that has been owned by the YWCA for almost a decade, is used for affordable housing for homeless households in the community.  The YWCA received a grant in 2012 of $1.2 million to expand its affordable housing program that has been a dream of the many members of the board for a number of years.

The expansion being planned, when completed, will allow the facility to offer eight homeless units and two households where at least one member of the household is disabled.  At the present time the community has only six such units for low-income households.   This work is being applauded by community activists in the region for the YWCA’s effort in this matter.


People in the News


Local Publisher Named Regional Publisher

Congratulations to Karen Andreas who in addition to her role as Publisher of the Salem News has been named Regional Publisher of a series of are newspapers including the Eagle Tribune, Gloucester Times, The Daily News of Newburyport, and Andover Townsman.  She has served in a number of positions over the years with great distinction and will continue now to be an even greater force in the region in the time ahead.


Haverhill Nurse appointed to Northern Essex Community College Board

Mary Ellen Daley O’Brien, a case manager at Merrimack Valley Hospital, has been appointed to the Board of Trustees of Northern Essex Community College by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.  She has a wonderful record of qualifications and has been honored for her many achievements in her home town of Haverhill and the region she serves. 


Local Danvers Residents to be Honored

We want to congratulate Town Manager Wayne Marquis, Myrna Fearer, and Jack Kelly on their awards to the DEEP Hall of Fame.  Congratulations also to Chris and Jim Mc Cann on their selection to the St. John’s Prep Hall of Honor and to Anna Bertinii who is being honored by St. Mary’s Elementary School in Beverly.   All seven of these folks are Danvers residents, and I consider all of them good friends as well as valued members of the Danvers Community.


Wilmington Woman to lead North of Boston Convention and Visitor Bureau

Ann Marie Casey who has been leading the Marblehead Chamber of Commerce will take over the leadership of the countywide tourist operation headquartered in Salisbury.    The non-profit organization receives private and state funding to promote tourism in Essex County.  The NBC&VB has long been associated with Essex Heritage, and we wish Ann Marie all the best as she assumes this new role.  We look forward to working with her.


Personal Observations


Salem Senior Center

The Salem City Council has a most important decision to make in the near term.   A decision to build a new much needed Senior center for the elder population in Salem will come before that group for an approval.  As a member of the Advisory Board of the Danvers Council on Aging that helps manage the sensational Danvers Senior Center on Stone Street in Danvers, I can attest what a spacious, well appointed facility with more than adequate parking can mean to a community.  I am aware of the need to find the required funds to build this new facility, and I hope that the community of Salem can allocate those required resources to provide a satisfactory facility to support the fast growing senior population of the City of Salem.


Dow Jones Average Attains New All Time Highs

In spite of all of the ongoing difficulties in Washington D C with the warring  factions in congress, the US stock market recently set a new high water mark for the Dow jones index.   In spite of Washington’s travails, other economic signals remain positive.  Interest rates remain lower than historic levels. Housing starts are high.  Home foreclosures are at the lowest level in years and that has a bearing on other associated businesses.  For a time the index and its current level is good for personal investments in IRA and 401 K holdings, but the real question is will the levels remain high or is there a correction coming in the future? The situation in Venezuela with the death of President Hugo Chavez and what might happen to that country’s oil exports bears watching. Venezuela is the fourth largest exporter of oil to our country, and political instability could be an issue.  Venezuela has also provided substantial oil to lower income families particularly here in the Northeast.  It will be important to follow the upheaval in that country following the death after a long battle with cancer by President Chaves.  In this country, job creation continues to remain a problem and the unemployment numbers are still higher than any of us would like to see.


Elected Officials Must Come Together

As we come nearer to another fiscal cliff with a potential government shutdown at the end of March, I grow ever more concerned with the political gridlock in Washington.   At the end of each recent election, we send a number of well-intentioned officials down to Washington D.C. with differing outlooks on how the government should be managed.  Each year, the differences in opinions and philosophy on how to run the government seem to grow further and further apart.  It certainly seems like it is time for these elected officials to learn how to compromise and come up with workable solutions to the plans to manage this country.  If they can’t accomplish that task, then it might be time to replace the people involved in the process.   We need to find a workable solution to the multitude of government management problems we are facing and if this can’t be accomplished by the people in place now then it might be time to send in new group of people to handle the process.

The Quote of the Decade:  "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America 's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America 's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."  Senator Barrack H. Obama, March 2006

The problem was recognized then and is still not solved now.


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