Friday, July 19, 2013



Several weeks ago, I produced what I thought was the final entry of a several year old BLOG called Essex Happenings.  But I am now planning to resurrect the presentation although not with the same frequency, length and primary focus.   I will report, if appropriate, on the work and mission of Essex Heritage even though I want to make it very clear that I am only a volunteer member of the various Boards and not a contract employee of any of the following organizations.   I will also offer observations on the work of other regional organizations where I have either historic or ongoing relationships.  The local organizations whose work will be profiled will be, but not limited to, St. John’s Preparatory School, St. Richards Church, North Shore Elder Services, Danvers Council on Aging, The Danvers Finance Committee, Danvers Historical Society, the Salem Partnership, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem and numerous other groups, where from time to time I have a connection like former employers and occasional City of Salem connections.  The reports that will be offered will be as a board member or as an interested observer and not as a policy maker or management participant.    I intend to continue to report on interesting and pertinent information on regional activities.  I certainly hope that you will enjoy my thoughts and observations on matters in this critical part of Massachusetts.

Current Regional Events  

Essex Heritage Events
My first item to be commented on is connected to the work of Essex Heritage that plays such a critical role in the region with its charge to preserve and promote the historical, cultural and natural resources of the region.  

I recently received a SAVE THE DATE notification from Essex Heritage.  On October 16, 2013 at the Willowdale Estates in Topsfield, where Joanne Holbrooke Patton and the Patton Family will be honored by the Essex National Heritage Commission and the National Park Service.  They will receive the Annual Heritage Hero Award that has been awarded to other regional leaders and a most enjoyable evening with many of the leaders of this region.   For additional information on the event that serves as a major fund raising event for  ENHC visit

Featured Partner Event:
Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables: Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables: Hank Phillipi Ryan. August 21, 2013 • The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
How does an Emmy winning reporter become a best-selling author of fast-paced murder mysteries? Hank will share how she went from a reporter at Rolling Stone Magazine to the US Senate and then to under-cover investigations for NBC to following her dreams.

Essex Heritage Annual Fall Meeting
On September 5, 2013 • at the Cape Ann Museum, 27 Pleasant Street, Gloucester, MA, 01930
The Essex National Heritage Commission invites you to attend its Annual Fall Meeting from 8-10AM!

National Park Service Festival
Salem Maritime Festival - August 3, 2013 • Salem Maritime National Historic Site, 193 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970.  Celebrate Four Centuries of Salem's Maritime Heritage
Summer Board Meeting of North Shore Elder Services will be held on August 1st at the New England Home for the deaf in Danvers.   The event will include a tour of the regional facility, a board meeting and a cookout with the residents of the facility

SAVE THE DATE: The Concert that Never Was. A sensational tribute to Sinatra and Streisand!
Starring Sharon Owens & Sebastian Anzaldo on Saturday, October 12, 2013  8:00PM at the North Shore Music Theater.  To order tickets: www,

Note: More information is being provided on the Commonwealth’s monetary budget and how it will impact North Shore Elder Services in a report from NSES Executive Director Paul Lanzikos. It appears that all the line items of interest to us have been approved in full by the Governor. 

Danvers Recreation Concert sponsored by St. Richard’s Church
Each summer the Danvers Recreation Department offers a series of concerts.   This year for the second year, on August 8th, the St. Richard’s church will once again sponsor a concert.   The volunteers from the church will offer hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza and baked goods for sale.   They will also sell raffle tickets for a 50 inch HD TV SET offered at a pre-game cook out before the Patriots first game to be viewed in the church hall.    Put the date on your calendar and support the parish with your attendance.

Danvers historical Society Fundraiser
SAVE THE DATE!!! MONDAY SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 at 8:30 AM.  Shot Gun Start at Black Swan Country Club, Georgetown. Scramble format, $125 includes golf, cart, contests, lunch and lots of fun and laughs.  All abilities welcome.  Proceeds benefit the restoration of the National Historic Landmark Derby Summerhouse at Glen Magna Farms, Danvers. Check back often for updates, more info. to follow or call the Society office at 978.777.1666.  Dust off the clubs and get ready for a fun day on the links. Location: Black Swan C.C. Georgetown, MA

Regional News
Town of Danvers Electric Official moves to new position in another Community
Colleen O’Brien, the Utility Director of the Town of Danvers Electric Company, has made wonderfully thoughtful and complete reports to the Finance Committee of the Town of Danvers for as  long as I have severed on that Board,   Her competence has been identified  by others as well, and she was offered a position with the Town of Reading with more responsibility.   She has held the job in Danvers for almost two decades and will be a hard person to replace. The Town has agreed to conduct a complete search to find a replacement and the position will likely be filled by the fall.  Until that time an interim director will be appointed to continue the excellent service regularly provided to Danvers residents.

City of Peabody to Offer Adult Reading Program to Residents.
The Peabody Public Library in the ‘leather city’ has created a summer reading program for persons over the age of 18yr. To enter the program, sign out a book or two and you will be eligible for a raffle with excellent prizes.   The library already offers youth programs and this program was designed to round out the library program for all persons in the city.

Town of Danvers Rail Trail to Receive Final Stone Dust Surface
During the first two weeks in August, the Danvers Rail Trail will receive its finish coat of stone dust to complete this community project.   Work will begin at the Swamp Walk end of the project and proceed towards the Peabody connection of the project.   While the work is being done, portions of the trail will be closed to the use by the public.    The work that will completed is a major piece of the Border to Boson Trail that has been a general project of Essex Heritage that is being completed through the award of a $50,000 grant from the State Department and Recreation made to the Towns of Danvers and Wenham.

Saltonstall School Schedule Adjusted
Several years ago, the City of Salem offered a school concept at one elementary school in Salem with an extended school year.   In an effort to balance things around the entire system the school board made changes in system and for many that decision was not well received. Two of the School Board that voted to change the well operated program will have to stand for election in the next election and the voters could take their vote personally.

Warwick Theatre Complex to open in Marblehead
It was nice to see that the theatre and entertainment center in Marblehead will feature a Palmer’s Restaurant.  We have been fortunate to dine at their Andover location on a couple of occasions, and southern Essex County will be pleased to have such a fine establishment at this end of Essex County.

Personal Observations

New England Patriots Need Player Evaluation Changes
The New England Patriots have a great deal of soul searching to consider in light of the Hernandez and Dennard situations that have received substantial negative comments from the very public relations conscious sports team.   Their evaluations of athletes to draft and sign needs to be evaluated and their need to win at any cost needs to be reconsidered.   Having morally good people seems to be less important right now.  Winning the AFC East title at any cost seems more important.

Famous Pakistani youth considered for award
A Nobel Peace Prize Award for sixteen year old Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai is being considered.    The young girl that was shot by the Taliban for her outspoken views on education for females has already has won numerous awards for her courageous stand and she is now up for the top award.  She is most qualified for the award, and would be a great choice.

Innovative and very safe proposal offered for hockey
I recently read of a most innovative and safety concern offered for hockey rinks.     The idea that was proposed is most well thought out and could have a marked impact on the prevention of serious injuries from crashes into the board that surround rinks and are such an integral part of the game.  The idea that was outlined was conceived by Tom Smith.  I have never met him but feel as if I know him well from the difficulties he has endured and how well I know his family.    Tom came up with a sensational idea to paint what might be considered a warning track called ‘A head’s up zone to alert players that they were about to encounter the hard boards that encircle hockey rinks and are such an important element of the game.   This small improvement could be a god’s send in the curtailment of injuries suffered when players are sent into the boards as Tom was hurt himself in a couple of instances.

I was most fortunate, that when I was employed by Salem Five before my retirement from Salem Five Bank, to be assisted by an administrative assistant by the name of Dianne Smith. Who now serves as a bank as a Vice President in the Human Resources Department  of the Bank, and is Tom Smith’s mom.   She and the rest of his family plus his own incredible perseverance were a real part of his recovery from his hockey injuries   Tom spent time in a wheelchair until he willed himself to become able to get around without his chair.   Tom’s injuries are not the only ones that could have been avoided by safety improvements. There have been others like Travis Roy who was injured after an eleven second career and a crash into the boards while playing for Boston University.  

I coached youth hockey in Danvers for about a decade and can attest that many boys and girls may be saved from a disaster by this proposed innovation.  Let’s hope that rink owners around the region embrace the idea and it works as well as warning tracks have worked in baseball and served to correct fence crashes.