Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Essex Happenings April 2014

Essex Heritage
I continue to follow and applaud the work and the activities of the Essex Heritage Commission, as a result of my many years of association with that organization. The objectives of that organization remains high on my list of important matters.  I have come to realize the importance of that National Park Service association and the daily value that is offered be them to the three quarters of a million residents of the region and the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area that represented a great deal of activities that make the region such a national treasure.  The regional nature of that Organization and the numerous cooperative activities that Essex Heritage fosters as part of their charge is so important to the cooperation that improves the quality of life and the economy in the region through cooperative efforts.   I continue to serve as President Emeritus, board of Trustee member and a most interested and a supporter of Essex Heritage activities and events.
An article about Essex Heritage 
A very valuable and informative article on the growth of Essex Heritage has been prepared by the National Park Conservation Association's magazine, and after it is released by the National Park Service, I will provide a link for those that might be interested.

Essex Heritage to conduct semi- annual Spring Public Meeting at Gordon College in Wenham
on April 30, 2014 • Gordon College, at the Ken Olsen Science Center, 255 Grapevine Road, Wenham, MA, 01984 The College and the Commission will host one of Essex Heritage’s most popular public events in the region.  This meeting is a wonderful way to network with regional leaders to receive current updates on the projects and the work of the Commission on activities and projects. You are invited to participate in this free, valuable morning of networking and regional engagement. Join us! Contact ENHC at or call the office at 978-740-0444 for a reservation.

Other Events
April 16 - Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables: The Day the Ocean Changed to Chocolate
The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
The Day the Ocean Changed to Chocolate by the founder of Harbor Sweets in Salem.
A great night with author of Cape Cod and Back Bay, Bill Martin! Book signing to follow.

June 7 - Photo Safari Featuring Tamron: Riverbend Reservation, Ipswich River Watershed Association, 143 County Road, Ipswich, MA, 01938
Equipped with all the latest camera gear from Tamron, provided by Hunt’s Photo & Video, and personally coached by Hunt’s technical experts and visiting professional photographers, capture the gardens,

June 18 - Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables: Urban Howlings, Coyotes Among Us
The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
Hear all about our neighbors, the coyotes. Author Jonathan Way describes an ever diminishing habitat, the wild, and how to co-exist.

August 9 - Photo Safari at Appleton Farms: The Trustees of the Reservations, 219 County Road, Ipswich, MA, 01938
With a state-of-the-art digital camera in hand, capture Appleton Farms, one of the oldest continuously operating farms in the United States. Contact the Commission for a reservation.

August 20 - Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables:  New England Powder Houses
The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
Enjoy a night of history of powder houses by author Matthew Thomasta

Housing in Wenham on Land Donated by the Patton Family
Moderately priced housing will be built on four acres of donated land provided to the town by the Patton Family. Several months ago the Patton family in Wenham made a gift to the Town of Wenham of land owned for many generations of the family.  The gift came without any specific restrictions on its use.  The community has recently set aside four acres for a potential named developer to offer a proposal to the town    to construct 12 moderately priced new homes.  For more information on any portion of the proposed project contact the Towns Planning Director.   The primary member of the family responsible for the generous gift to the Town was Ms. Joanne Patton.   Essex Heritage is most aware of the generosity of Ms. Patton as she was recently named the most recent winner of the Essex Heritage Hero Annual Award provided to a person responsible for good works in the region.

State Representative John Keenan Announcement:  
In a surprised announcement recently John Keenan announced that he is not going to run for the Massachusetts seat again. Salem Chief of Police Paul Tucker has announced that he will run for the Salem seat if his job will allow.

Hamilton-Wenham School District moves to build shared facility
The two communities of Hamilton and Wenham have received a second Community Innovation Challenge Grant to complete the planning of a building that jointly manages school facilities.  This project appears to be tailored for two communities like Hamilton and Wenham that have done a number of projects to share ideas, concepts and funding.  Essex Heritage has long been a strong advocate of communities working together to accomplish successful projects at moderate to lower financial assets. This clearly benefits the residents and the school district.

City of Peabody and Clarke Farm enters an agreement to offer CSA Program to residents 
The City of Peabody has entered into an agreement with Clark Farm in Danvers to offer  CSA  shares to the residents of Peabody.   This is a most positive development.

Community Preservation Act (CPA)
- City of Beverly receives a substantial number of CPA applications
Local organizations have filed thirty-three projects totaling over 33 million in requests including the restoration of several historic properties in that community including work on the Hale House and the First Parish Church.  There are several projects presented by the City Recreation Department and upgrades of several playground properties.  In addition there are requests for funding to acquire a Girl Scout camp and a request from a preservation group to use the funds to purchase Moraine Farms adjacent to Wenham Lake. That grant would trigger a donation of additional private land for preservation.  In addition there are plans to extend walking trails.  This year the all volunteer Community Preservation Committee has a total of $570,000 to award with the concurrence of the City Council in November.

- City of Salem CPA
Speaking of recent CPA Programs, the creation of a program to help improve and enhance historically valuable assets in the City of Salem was established in 2012-13.  The first proposed projects will be considered with an expected pool of funds to total $400,000.  The projects included for consideration are varied and valuable to the Community.  The projects included to be considered the first year includes the restoration of a chapel at the historic Greenlawn Cemetery, walking and bike paths at Winter Island, the creation of a community garden and work including window replacements on City Owned Properties.

- The Community Preservation Act is funded by a real estate  extra tax, but the benefits to local communities by earmarking finds for preservation effort can be most beneficial to the effort to restore and preserve certain important  historically properties.   The act has been adopted by a number of municipalities in this region. The Town of Danvers with numerous historic properties would be a great candidate to adopt the act and extend the number of communities with CPAs in Essex County.
Olympic Connections to Essex County and general Observations
The two week Olympic presentation offered in Russia has come to an end and the USA was reasonably successful as they finished second in total medals won - just behind Russia.   The wins were numerous but the event was not without its disappointments, and the results of the two USA hockey teams were less than anticipated.   Meghan Duggan won her second silver medal in woman’s hockey and her teammate Alex Carpenter was very proficient.  She is the daughter of Bobby Carpenter of St John’s Prep hockey fame.   Another connection to the Prep was Steve Langston a former track star at the Prep who won two bronze medals in the bobsled events.

Personal observations   

Olympics in Russia:
With all of the fears outlined about security matters and lodging preparations offered during the event were unfounded as the Olympic events seemed to be performed without incident.  For those situations we can be thankful.

Local Awards and recognition offered to members of the Leonard Family. 
We are most fortunate that we have two granddaughters that are most athletically active in their communities.

Katherine Leonard is a seventeen year old two sport participant and captain of two women’s sports in Danvers.  She has been a most active senior player in both Field Hockey and Lacrosse.   She has numerous All Star nominations for her two way play in Field Hockey and has one more season to be played on the Falcons High School team in Lacrosse in the Spring of 2013. 

Her most recent award was provided at the most recent MIAA Annual Woman and Girls Celebration of Women in Sports provided at Faneuil Hall in Boston on February 7, 1913. She was presented that award by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Association and the Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Our other granddaughter Caroline Leonard is a 16 year old three sport athlete at Algonquin Regional high School in Northborough.  She has been invited to participate in a future leadership conference in April by her Athletic director along with other choices by Athletic Directors in Sudbury, Southborough and Algonquin.  She is only a sophomore but will be playing her third season as a varsity Soccer player in the fall of 2014.  She will also participate in her third year of Varsity Basketball and Track throwing the Javelin in 2015.

Olympic Participation by Oscar Pistorius and other participation by handicapped people
Last summer when the Olympics were being offered one of the stars of that event was Oscar Pretouris, dubbed the "blade runner" who with prosthetic legs, designed for running competed in the regular Olympics as a sprinter.  He was a sensation and the ‘”darling” of handicapped people all over the world.   Now Oscar has been charged with murdering his girlfriend and all eyes are now on Pretoria South Africa where the murder trial is being held.  If he is convicted of the crime much of the shine on his career will be dimmed.

In another area, at this year’s “Dancing with the Stars” TV event, one of the contestants Amy Purdy is a double leg amputee and is scheduled now to compete in the Handicapped Olympics as a snowboarder.    All of us will follow her progress on the dancing event and we wish her success for her courage.
Ongoing winter reading experiences
During the last couple of weeks I have completed a most informative book that has been on various best seller lists in the last several weeks.   I have read a political presentation  titled “The Bully Pulpit” written by the noted historian and author, Doris Kearns Goodwin.  The story focused on the life, experiences and operational efficiencies of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft who followed each other in the White House.  The book appeared to be most accurate and informative and I truly enjoyed the presentation.

On the lighter side I discovered an author that writes legal novels.   I have recently finished a number of informative books authored by Michael Connelly called the “Lincoln Lawyer” and the “Gods of Guilt” that were most entertaining and are recommended.

More personal Observations
Spring starts in a few days.  Let’s hope that date will be accompanied by more moderate weather that will make Easter a more appropriate date for the Easter Parade.