Sunday, March 24, 2013

Essex Happenings….March 22, 2013

Essex Heritage Events and Activities

Sunday, April 7, 2013 • 1:00 - 3:00pm     
Featured Partner Event Essex County Greenbelt Association Presents:Vernal Pond Exploration at Tompson Street Reservation, Gloucester

Join the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team to explore the mysteries of vernal pools at Greenbelt's Tompson Street Reservation.  Search for early signs of spring, learn the call of the wood frog and more.  Boots are recommended. Click here to learn more about this event and to get driving directions.

Reservations required. This event is free, but please email or call Greenbelt at 978-768-7241 to register.

Sunday, April 14, 2013 • 1:00 - 3:00pm   
Featured Partner Event Essex County Greenbelt Association Presents:Greenscaping Workshop at The Cox Reservation82 Eastern Avenue, Essex, MA 01929

Put Nature to Work in Your Yard!  Barbara Warren from the North Shore Greenscapes Coalition will share greenscaping techniques to create a beautiful healthy yard the natural way.  Curt Dragon of Earth Landscape will demonstrate tips on composting.  Bring your garden soil and test it for pH, and plant a butterfly garden on the property.  Click here to learn more about this event and to get driving directions.

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 McAllister115 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.

Sunday, April 21, 2013 • 1:00 - 3:00pm   
Featured Partner Event Essex County Greenbelt Association Presents:Earth Day Celebration at Batchelders Landing, Rowley

Anne Giblin, PhD will share her research on sea level change in Plum Island Sound followed by a clean up of Batchelder’s Landing and Rowley salt marshes. Click here to learn more about this event and to get driving directions.

Reservations required. This event is free, but please email or call Greenbelt at 978-768-7241 to register.

Sunday, April 28, 2013 • 1:00 - 3:00pm   
Featured Partner Event Essex County Greenbelt Association Presents:What's This Tree? at The Cox Reservation82 Eastern Avenue, Essex, MA 01929

Forester Mike Simmons will guide you on a walk through the Cox Reservation showing you how to recognize trees by their needles, bark, twigs, buds, and leaves.  Bring your mobile device and use the free electronic field guide leafsnap. Click here to learn more about this event and to get driving directions.

Reservations required. This event is free, but please email or call Greenbelt at 978-768-7241 to register.

Regional Events

Pain and Suffering on Plum Island
It is a most difficult time for homeowners on Plum Island in West Newbury.  The many residents of that community have been waiting through a series of storms both in winter and summer over the last several years to see if their homes will survive.   Each of the storms did a little more damage to the homes and their supporting foundations that front the water.   Each succeeding recent storm did a little more to erode the beach in front of those homes.  This last storm that dropped a foot of snow on the area and the accompanying wind has proved to be the final straw for these homes as three of them have been destroyed by the owners and local officials before the houses collapsed into the Atlantic.   The feeling is that there may be over thirty houses in peril over the entire island.

Massachusetts Senator Bruce Tarr has been very visible on the island and promises to help the homeowners find a solution to this dilemma before most of the waterfront houses are destroyed by the storms or the hand of a private contractors.  I hope a solution to this problem can be found before that community is devastated.   The present owners are seeking a legal solution to preserve their assets

Salem Partnership Annual Meeting
The Salem Partnership, the very successful community organization that works closely with the City of Salem, has scheduled its annual meeting on April 3, 2013 at Marsh Hall on the Central Campus of Salem State University.   I have been associated with this group since its inception and continue to be most interested in their accomplishments.  If you need more information or want to attend this meeting contact the Partnership at 978 742 8100.

Salem Five Annual Meeting
Since my retirement from the Salem Five Bank in 1999, I have attended their annual business meetings held in the bank rooms on the first Tuesday each April.   At this meeting the very valuable and financially healthy financial institution conducts an annual business meeting where President and CEO Joseph Gibbons provides an update on the health of the bank and its continuing role in the numerous communities in this region where they serve.   I continue to be a Corporator of the bank and look forward each year to receiving an update of their activities.   This meeting focuses completely on business and in May a social meeting is held where a speaker of local interest is presented to attendees by bank officials.

Rebuilding Fishing Shack in Gloucester
We have recently heard about a unique community project that is rebuilding and renovating an old fish shack in Lanes Cove in the small community of Lanesville.   The old facility is in a location that more than likely housed a similar building on the current location about in the year 1775. The present building before the renovation may go back as far back as 1880.  It is a wonderful project established by the community that brought a number of volunteer laborers together in a project to save a valuable community asset.  We mentioned volunteer laborers, and a substantial portion of the needed material has also been donated.   It is a eclectic group of volunteers that have gathered to develop a common band with a sensational effort to save a most important community asset.

The project is not unlike a project in Danvers when it is obvious that a local project can be the single event that can bring together a group of volunteers that are all focused with a high level of enthusiasm on a very important community project.   The only difference between the two communities is that the Lanesville effort and the North Danvers project, Swamp Walk, is that one is an old property worth savings and the other is a new asset that was created when nothing existed before the effort.

These are two sensational projects at the opposite ends of a sensational region.  The two projects are wonderful examples of how to bring broad and varied communities with its residents together towards a common goal.

Commonwealth Grant offered to Salem Through SSU
The University in Salem has received a $128,000 grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to work with both residents of the City of Salem and the teachers in that city to improve English speaking and writing skills this summer.  The teachers from the community and the University will work together on this program.  One of the principal goals of the summer institute will be to improve the language instructional teaching skills of the community’s Teachers.

Town of Danvers Announces Updated Web Site on Rail Trail
The Town of Danvers has announced that the information provided to the residents of this region and the “look” of the Rail Trail Web site at has been improved and updated.   The web site was prepared two years ago by the Rail Trails volunteer web master Mark Jones, and the senior planner from the community, Kate Day.  They encourage a visit to the site to review the changes.

City of Beverly Holds Electronic Recycling day Scheduled
The Boy Scouts operating in the Garden City have scheduled a Recycling day for used electronics on March 23rd.  The event will be held at Immanuel Church at 140 Bridge Street from 10 AM  until 4. PM .  Television Sets, Computers, Radios. Microwaves, Air Conditioners and other items will be collected.  For additional information call 978-922-2012

News from Danvers Bipeds
This information is provided as this group, along with the Town of Danvers, has been most instrumental in seeing the conversion of the Rail Trail to a sensational recreational asset in the Town of Danvers.   This effort is an integral part of the mission of Essex Heritage to see the re-use of land on abandoned railroad rights to be  converted to a more active present use.


·         March 11, 2013 - 7:00 - Danvers Bi-Peds regular monthly meeting, Carriage House at Endicott Park, 57 Forest St.-  All are welcome to attend and be a part of planning monthly walks, activities and efforts to make Danvers a safer place to bike and walk for all ages.  New ideas are always appreciated.


·         March 16, 2013, 1:30 - March walk - Looking for the Green - Most everyone is eager to see signs of green at this time of the year.  This months the Bi-Peds will lead a walk around the Sandy Point section of Danvers.  Wear your Irish Green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  Park at Popes Landing, 8 Harbor St D`anvers, MA 01923.


·         May Annual Meeting - The exact date is not yet decided but it will probably be similar to last year which was a pot luck supper at the home of the Barrys on Riding Club Road.  Last year it proved to be the most enjoyable meeting of the year.



February’s Trail Lovers Stroll - It was a beautiful day for getting out the cross country skis or the snow shoes which is what a few folks did as they made their way from the Indoor Sports Arena to Lowell St. and back.  Upon returning they were treated to homemade Valentine cookies and beverage.



Check Out the Recently Updated Danvers Rail Trail Web Site For Updates, News, and How You Can Donate to the Danvers Rail Trail. Visit



Medical, Senior and Disability Matters

The following information was provided by Mary Mansfield the head of COPAA, the Amputee support Group sponsored by Cornell O & P Company in this region designed to bring a focus on amputee issues.  As a member of that support group, and as a present amputee, I am committed to providing topical information and to work on action steps that could benefit amputees in this region.   The legislation outlined in this report that exists in Indiana and is being considered in Kentucky could be most positive if adopted by the Massachusetts Legislature.


Recently Stephanie Decker on “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer!”  was chosen as her “Person of the Week.”  Stephanie has been working with other advocates in Kentucky, including Paducah Area Amputees in Action support group leader, and Amputee Coalition lead advocate, Terri Ross, on passing Insurance Fairness for Amputees in Kentucky.


Stephanie has brought attention to the need for Insurance Fairness for Amputees by discussing the fact that even though she’s originally from Kentucky, she was glad that she lived in Indiana where she was able to have access to adequate and affordable prosthetic care through her insurance because of Indiana’s Insurance Fairness for Amputees law. It passed in 2008. Bringing attention to the arbitrary caps and restrictions placed on prosthetic devices raised concerns for legislators on both sides of the aisle in Kentucky.


As a result, last week, the Kentucky House voted to pass the Insurance Fairness for Amputees bill (HB 376), by a vote of 82-7!  This week HB 376 is currently in the Kentucky Senate and Stephanie and other amputee advocates throughout Kentucky are bringing awareness to legislators and asking the Kentucky Senate to pass this bill before the legislative session ends.


The presentation on of the story is likely to include a reference and link to the Amputee Coalition’s web page for more information.

Dan Ignaszewski | Director of Government Relations

Amputee Coalition

Phone:  (703) 330-1699 Ext. 7102

Cell: (202) 742-1885E-mail:

 Washington, D.C. Headquarters:  9303 Center Street, Suite 100, Manassas, VA 20110


People in the News


Development Staff Added in Gloucester

The City of Gloucester has named Thomas Gillette Executive Director of the Economic Development and Industrialization Corporation and Thomas Daniel the new Community Development Director of the Cape Ann Community by Mayor Carolyn Kirk.  The moves have been made to enhance the community development process in Gloucester


Marblehead names new Hugh School Principal

The Town of Marblehead has named Layne Millington as the new principal of the High School.  He previously served as the Principal of neighboring and competing Swampscott High School.


Personal observations


St. Richard’s 50th Anniversary

This local initiative could be reported as either a regional event or a senior disability issue, but because the current events has had such a personal and powerful impact on my wife and me that I have decided to consider the matter a personal observation.


The parish where my wife and I have worshipped almost from the time we first moved to the Town of Danvers is currently celebrating the establishment of the parish and the building of St. Richard’s church fifty years ago.  Cardinal Richard Cushing, then the Leader of the Boston Archdiocese of Boston, decided that another parish was needed in the fast growing rural Town of Danvers.


I have for a number of years served on the Parish Council and the Finance Committee of the Parish.  My participation was a result of my wife’s urging that I should do more for our parish church. When the parish decided to form a committee to prepare a series of celebrations to commemorate the establishment of the Parish five decades ago, my wife Marge and I both offered our services to assist the work of that group as they outlined a celebration.  After a short time, the Chair of the Celebration requested that my wife and I were asked if we would consider being named Honorary Chairmen of the Celebration.   We accepted the honor, and at the start of the celebration process volunteered two New England Patriots tickets to be used as a raffle prize  in the opening month of the celebration to help raise funds for the development of an activities program.  That contribution added $700 to the “kitty” for the celebrations.    Marge also volunteered to help create a raffle prize with numerous chances to win over the duration of a month.  I agreed to serve on a planning committee that was designed to prepare a plan to generate financial gifts to be used to develop projects that would commemorate the celebration.


The general committee, chaired by Betsy Geheb planned a series of events to be held in the church hall in the basement of the church over the anniversary year to bring the parishioners together, and we have been active in developing and offering events over the last several months.


On Saturday, March 9, 2013 the General Committee organized a St. Patrick’s day dinner that included entertainment.   The chairman of the Irish event was Mary Roach and she encouraged my wife and I to attend the event.  Up to this event, we had not attended any of the social events as the church basement in the Church Hall was only accessible by a pair of steep stairways.  and the effort to get down to that hall is almost impossible for me without assistance.  One of the potential projects likely to be undertaken as part of the Anniversary Events is to make the Church Hall accessible to the the many parishioners that wish to participate in future events, and that project is being investigated and hopefully a plan will be developed.


At the Irish dinner event we agreed to attend and were assisted down to church stairs with substantial help by a pair by two young affable and strong employees from Lyon’s Ambulance Company of Danvers.   Those two young men accomplished their task and on Saturday evening we participated in our first event in the church hall during the celebration.   The event was a huge success with over 200 in attendance and the dinner and entertainment was excellent with a catered meal, a Celtic Band from St. John’s Preparatory School and a troupe of Irish step dancers from the City of Boston performing.    The evening also included a raffle of a number of donated gift baskets.


The highlight of the night for Marge and I was the recognition of our participation as Honorary Chairmen with a number of general committee members making very complimentary remarks about our participation.  The high point of those remarks was rue reading of a letter from the Pastor of the Church.  Church Pastor Reverend Bruce Flanagan who was on vacation, but offered his thoughts in a pre- prepared letter.  All that happened that evening was a pleasant sunrise and an honor for Marge and I was truly much appreciated.  We were also presented with a generous gift basket for our help. 



Just before we posted this material, the College of Cardinals voting in Rome named a new Pope to lead the 2.1 billion members of the Catholic Church.  Pope Francis 1 a Jesuit priest from Argentina is being thought of as a most positive, humble man and a Pope that cares for the poor and the marginalized who will effectively lead the world’s Catholics. 


Happy Easter Holiday

We certainly hope that the up-coming holiday will be a pleasant one for you and your family.   As the Easter holiday is very early this year, celebrated at the end of the month of March, I think it likely that the Easter Parade with its annual showing of holiday finery will be postponed at least until the weather becomes a bit more spring like.   There will be time to dress up a bit as the weather improves.













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