Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Essex Heritage Matters

On the last day of May, Gordon College in Wenham was the host for the Essex National Heritage National Commission’s semi-annual spring public meeting at the college in the Ken Olson Science Building. It was too bad that it was raining that morning as a walk around the beautiful campus by the attendees would have opened a number of eyes to the beauty of another gem of an Essex County location.  I have been most aware of the campus and its assets, as I have been using the Balance and Wellness Center for Therapy and using the excellent gymnasium at that location.  I was pleased to be able to attend the meeting attended by about 200 Commissioners and other local residents many of them had never previously ever visited the college. 

The mission and the programs of ENHC are still most relevant, and I am most proud of my continuing association.  I am also proud that my wife, who has been accompanying me to events for the last three years, was provided a day off from tending to me.  I was accompanied to the meeting by my son Mark Leonard, a banking executive at one of our most generous corporate sponsors Eastern Bank.  A couple of years ago Mark was elected a Commissioner and he is looking forward to helping the Commission in its work in the years ahead.

One of the most important features of this meeting has been the announcement of current grant recipients.  The following represents a list and a very brief explanation of their funded
In addition, several new commissioners were elected, and Annie Harris CEO of Essex Heritage provided an update on the current state of Essex Heritage and the Heritage Area movement in general.   Treasurer John Farmer presented a report on an audit performed by an independent firm.  President Jack Good, who did a wonderful job in keeping the program on time, called for an adjournment of the meeting with a reminder that the Commission will offer its next public meeting in October at a time and place to be named and publicized.

A list of the thirteen community Essex Heritage Grant winners and two regional awards and  a brief explanation of their of their program follows:

  • Amesbury High School

In response to the age-old question, "When will we ever use this?," Amesbury High School has formed an educational partnership with Lowell's Boat Shop to offer “Math on the Merrimack.”

  • General Israel Putnam Chapter of the DAR

On property formerly owned by one of Danvers most illustrious citizen - patriot, physician and Judge Samuel Holten – sits an important First Period house as well as rare, surviving double privy to be restored. www.danversdar.org
  •  Danvers Historical Society

As part of its 125th anniversary celebration, the Danvers Historical Society will enhance its popular 29-year old history education.

  •  Gloucester Adventure

Having undergone a major overhaul of its hull, decking and rigging, the Schooner Adventure, a National Historic Landmark, sailed last summer for the first time in over 20 years.

  • Ipswich Historical Commission

The Old North Burying Ground in Ipswich dates to 1634 and as one of the oldest cemeteries in the country provides an enduring record of the region’s earliest settlers and important historical figures. www.historicipswich.org

  • Lynn Museum

The Lynn Museum will create Spanish and Russian translations of its permanent exhibits and promotional materials, thereby providing a growing segment of its visitor base with a meaningful experience and greater understanding of Lynn’s rich history. www.lynnmuseum.org
  • The Highlands Coalition

With the goal of inspiring community pride and changing perceptions, the project entails production of a film about the Highlands neighborhood of Lynn as seen through the eyes and experiences of its older and immigrant residentswww.hclynn.org


  • Marblehead Museum

Untrained yet passionate, more historian than an artist, J.O.J. Frost began painting at the age of 70 and used house paint, wall board and any available material to tell stories about daily life in a small New England fishing village. www.marbleheadmuseum.org

  • Town of Merrimac 

The Town of Merrimac will utilize Essex Heritage grant funding to nominate its town hall to the National Register of Historic Places, the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. www.clipperheritagetrail.com

  • City of Newburyport
The new city-wide mobile tour will help explorers experience approximately 50 locations situated outside of the city’s popular downtown.  www.clipperheritagetrail.com

     North Andover
  • Friends of North Andover Trails

In addition to leading guided hikes and coordinating monthly work days on town trails, the all-volunteer friends group will produce a comprehensive guide to North Andover's trails and open spaces. www.fonat.org

  • Salem Sound Coastwatch

Through its School to Sea program, a Salem Sound Coastwatch educator will use place-based, experiential activities to help underserved youth increase their knowledge and appreciation of the natural resources of Salem Sound

  • Saugus Historical Commission

The Round Hill historic site, located 150 feet above the Saugus River and in close proximity to the Saugus Iron Works, is part of a highly significant Native American archeological cluster. www.town.saugus.ma.us/hc

  • Merrimack Valley Planning Commission

With the goal of increasing public awareness of the Great Marsh's ecological vulnerability, the Great Marsh Ecology Tour (GMET) will provide a greater understanding of the marsh's history, its critically important environmental significance and the very real threats it faces..
  •     Towns of Wenham, Topsfield and Danvers   

Working in close collaboration, the three contiguous communities will develop and install an informational kiosk and signage along the recently completed segments of the regional Border to Boston Trail. www.essexheritage.org/bordertoboston

Essex Heritage offers a membership program that is like a preview of the signature event of the commission called Trails and Sails offered on two fall weekends in September.  For more information on the Membership Program or Trails and Sails visit www.EssexHeritage.org  for information about either of these programs, and details about costs and reservations.

As an overview of the upcoming quarter from May through August 2014, the following is a brief outline of scheduled events in the membership program. The schedule of events for this upcoming Quarter is as follows:
·      Hit the trails with Essex County Trail Association
·      Talking walls of the City of Gloucester
·      Adventures in Time Summer Camp with North Andover Historical Society
·      Seven Lectures at the House of 7 Gables in Salem
·      Photo Safaris in Ipswich
·      In the following quarter look for the Salem Maritime Festival and Endicott Pear Tree Celebration in Danvers

Essex Heritage Fundraising effort
Speaking of sensational locations in this region that you might want to visit and is not usually open for visitation is the magnificent country estate of Waldingfield in Ipswich.  Essex Heritage is gratified by the generosity of owners and hosts Donald Curial and Arthur Finklestein who have agreed to open their special home for a cocktail reception on June 22, 2014 from 5-7.  This Summer Soiree will be the only fundraising event for the Commission this year. 

If you have any interest in offering a contribution and offering your support of the mission of the commission and attending this event contact Essex Heritage at 978 740 0444


Danvers Finance Committee
After a lengthy series of meetings during the last part of April and the beginning of May, the residents of the Danvers community on the committee considered all of the numerous department financial budgets.  Also a substantial number of requests for town capital improvements were all approved and recorded for a formal series of recommendations in their report to the Towns Annual Meeting members on May 19, 2014.  As in the past, the work was tedious but most needed and served the purpose as a watch dog group to insure good town management.  A number of recommended borrowings that included changes to the athletic fields at the new High School, the replacement of the heating system at the Library and other needs including a new 911 center and improvements to the public works facility.

St. John’s Preparatory School Matters
As is usually the case as a Trustee Emeritus of the all Boys Catholic school in Danvers, there are a number of particular events held in addition to the actual graduation. As a graduate of the school in 1954, I attend the Golden Eagle Breakfast on graduation morning to welcome the class of 1964 into the ranks of fifty-year graduates.  The event is always a great time to reconnect with old friends.

This year in place of presenting the Distinguished Alumni Award at graduation, it was presented as a separate event.  The award was presented this year to Doctor David Monahan, class of 1962, for his exemplary work in the medical field in a number of under developed countries.  As a former winner of the award several years ago, I was proud and pleased to attend the event and offer my congratulation to Dr. Monahan.

May WAS Older American's Month!
Older Americans Month 2014
Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.
Older adults have made countless contributions and sacrifices to ensure a better life for future generations. Since 1963, communities across the country have shown their gratitude by celebrating Older Americans Month each May. This celebration recognizes older Americans for their contributions and demonstrates our nation's commitment to helping them stay healthy and active.

This year's theme for Older Americans Month is "Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow." The theme focuses on injury prevention and safety to encourage older adults to protect themselves and remain active and independent for as long as possible.

Unintentional injuries to this population result in at least 6 million medically treated injuries and more than 30,000 deaths every year. With an emphasis on safety during Older Americans Month, we encourage older adults to learn about the variety of ways they can avoid the leading causes of injury, like falls.

While North Shore Elder Services provides services, support, and resources to older adults year-round, Older Americans Month offers an opportunity for us to provide specialized information and services around the important topic of injury prevention. This information will help older adults take control of their safety and live longer, healthier lives.

Throughout the next month, NSES will be providing tips on how to avoid the leading causes of injury. To learn more about Older Americans Month and how you can participate, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and keep up to date on our latest news!

Spring  Reading
With the cool Damp weather, and being indoors a bit more than normal, I have had a lot of time to read.

Over the years, one of my favorite films derived from a book titled “The Long Grey Line”.  The movie starring Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara has been viewed by me a number of times.  The story revolves around the life of an Irish Immigrant Martin Maher, who came to this country.  After a couple of years in the Point’s mess hall, he then joined the Army, was stationed at West Point and worked with the Corps of Cadets for over five decades as a physical conditioning instructor.  The story focused on his personal relationship with a number of famous military members of the Corp of Cadets.

I recently discovered another book by Rick Atkinson also called “The Long Grey Line”.  The author is one of my personal favorites, and I have read a number of books written by him, primarily about the military.  This book focuses on the West Point Class of 1966, and follows a selected few of those class members and then continues reporting about those same class members through their early days in their regular army.  In many cases their difficult decisions relative to their “coming to grips” with the way the Vietnam War was being conducted, and whether or not to make a career in the army that they had first felt certain about.   Those decisions focused on the way the country was dealing with the War.   Both the decisions on how Army officials and how Washington were managing the war and running the army at that time and public sentiment that had turned almost completely against our effort in Southeast Asia. The book was well chronicled and most enjoyable.  It presented the controversial war and the vision from the minds of young men being asked to fight a war that many thought should never have never been conducted. The loss of life in the effort was incredible, and a large number of the Class of 1963 were killed in the war.  A substantial percentage of the class of 450 cadets later resigned and pursued other careers as soon as their official term of enlistment was over.  Graduate school and the law became choices for many.  This large number of defections had an impact on how the “Point” would be managed in future years.

The book continued to view the members of the 1963 class as they moved through life with a particular emphasis on the work of several classmates as they created an idea, raised the funds needed to build and dedicate a sensational memorial in the form of a wall on Mall in Washington DC. 

The book spent a fair amount of time outlining the cheating scandal and the arrival of female cadets, but also pointed out that the “POINT” had changed in keeping with the dramatic demographic changes that matched the dramatic changes and the demographic changes in the American population.

Local Professional Sports

The community baseball team, the old town team Red Sox, did not start out as effective as they did in 2013 when they were the World Champs, but it is very early in the season and maybe they will hopefully improve their performance before the summer arrives.  Baseball in the spring with unforgiving tricky weather can be difficult at best.

The ice hockey team drew a difficult task by drawing the Detroit Red Wings in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoff, but after losing the first game of the series they then won four straight games.

Then they faced their archrival Montreal Canadians in round two.  In the past those efforts that rise to great emotions whenever the Bruins and Canadians get together, matches the efforts of the Red Sox and the Yankees. Those emotions made the next round certainly more competitive and the Bruins season ended with a loss to their arch enemy from Montreal.


The 2014 season schedule for the New England Patriots was recently released and as a long time season ticket holder that schedule is most important to me.  It seems that each year the schedule becomes more and more focused on what the television networks want rather than what the fans want.  In 2014 the team will play five evening games and two late afternoon contests that certainly lend themselves to TV scheduling. I expect that kind of schedule is what must be expected for a team with a projected winning record.  The annual player draft result included the selection of a quarterback that might be the replacement for long-time fan favorite Tom Brady.  If the draft continues the rebuilding of the 2014 team that started with an aggressive plan during free agency that will give the fans some hope for the future.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014



I continue to follow and applaud the work and the activities of the Essex National Heritage Commission. As a result of my many years of association with the organization, the objectives of this organization remain high on my list of valuable resources.  I have come to realize the importance of Essex Heritage’s association with the National Park Service and the daily value that is offered by them to the three quarters of a million residents of the region and the hundreds of thousands of visitors to this area.  The regional nature of this organization and the numerous collaborative 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 and makes Essex County such as national treasure.  I continue to serve as President Emeritus, Board of Trustee member and a most interested supporter of ENHC activities.

Essex Heritage assists numerous not-for-profit organizations in this region who count on this support and that provided by residents and businesses of the area.  I am proud to be serving in some small capacity a number of those local organizations, and I point out the following initiatives of some of those groups worthy of your support.  The organizations are North Shore Elder Services, The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem, All Local Historic Societies, and many other groups.  I would like to highlight the support needed at Essex Heritage and to outline how becoming a member of this regional effort can benefit them and in the long run bring help to the residents of this region.

About Essex Heritage
The Essex National Heritage Area encompasses the 34 cities and towns of Essex County, a 500 square mile region just north of Boston, Massachusetts. The county was officially designated a National Heritage Area by an Act of the U.S. Congress in 1996, in recognition of the important role that the county played in American history and the significant heritage resources that still exist in the region.

The Act also authorized the establishment of the Essex National Heritage Commission as the non-profit steward of the Area. Our mission is to preserve and enhance the historic, cultural and natural resources of Essex County for the benefit of all who live, work and visit the Area. To achieve this, we work collaboratively with community leaders and organizations throughout the Area to ensure that the authentic story of Essex County has meaning and value for current and future generations.

The Commission develops public/private partnerships that support the hundreds of heritage organizations and sites in the 34 communities within the Heritage Area. Bringing together organizations diverse in size, budget, mission and experience, Essex Heritage provides a structure that respects, promotes and sustains regional resources and works to make those resources integral to residents’ lives.

The Annual Spring Meeting of the Essex Heritage Commission was held at Gordon College in Wenham 
The Essex Heritage Commission held its annual SPRING MEETING at Gordon College in Wenham in the middle of the month..


As is the usual process, the Town of Danvers has scheduled a number of sessions for the purpose of having the Town’s Finance Committee meet and review the budgets established by the various Town Departments.  It is the responsibility of the finance group to seek meaningful answers relative the departments’ calculations of their needs and to reduce the commitments when appropriate.  In addition to annual budget reviews the Finance Committee also reviews, adjusts and approves a series of Warrant Articles that offers programs of capital spending offered by both Town Management and town residents that have options offered for consideration.  The number and level of warrant articles being considered by senior management Finance Committee includes about one and one half dozen public meetings over a three week period which provides a valuable oversight on town expenditures. The work is tedious but I am pleased to be a part of the process, which is so valuable to the health of the community.


The recently completed Danvers Rail Trail is about to experience an adjustment to one end of the trail at the Wenham Street crossing.  An elevated pathway over some wetlands will be built and trees and picnic tables will be added.  The end of the trail that ends near the Agway facility on Wenham Street will be moved to an adjacent park that is owned by the Town and is not presently heavily used.  The trail adjustment will be rebuilt by a contingent of fifty employees of the Timberland Company that takes great pride to be involved in recreational projects.  The Danvers Trail correction meets all of the criteria established many years ago by the Company.  Timberland will also contribute $4,000 in cash to the rework.

More Tail Trail Information from George Saluto and his Swamp Walk Project 
The Danvers Rail Trail & the Danvers-Wenham SwampWalk continue to add extraordinary features for visitor enjoyment and wildlife enhancement, even during this past winter. A couple of weeks ago, while the ice was still 1-foot thick, Thomas Arsenault, Troop 155, completed his Eagle Scout Service Project which was the installation of four bat houses on 2 sixteen-foot poles in the middle of the swamp. The SwampWalk is an integral component of the Ipswich River watershed and is contiguous to the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. Undisturbed wildlife abounds both in the wetlands and the upland islands. Robert is aware of this habitat, and it became the theme of his bat house effort.  The swamp was iced-over during this past chilly winter.


Since I had my leg amputated almost four years ago, I have been searching for a program where I could be helpful to others that are operating with handicaps.  I believe I have found that organization and I have become the Clerk-Treasurer of the Cornell Orthopedics and Prosthetics Amputee Association (COPAA). This organization is a not for profit corporation that will allow for deductible financial gifts from individual and corporations that wish to support COPAA efforts.  The goal of COPAA is to provide a gathering place for others with disabilities to share their experiences and benefit from those networking opportunities.   If anyone reading this message is interested in learning more about this organization or wishes to donate to support its mission, please contact them at 978-922-0277.

In addition, at monthly meetings speakers that could benefit the members of the group with valuable information about regional service resources that are available to members are provided.  The group maintains lists with details of resources and services available to members.  The organization offers athletic and social outings where networking opportunities are provided and general conditions connected to medical conditions can be discussed.  At the many athletic outings like ski trips, bike rides and other activities that are offered, cash awards to assist with amputee participation are offered based on need. 

Non Profit Application Filled with Mass Secretary of State 
Earlier this past month, we filed an application with the Secretary of State in Massachusetts for Non Profit status.  For COPAA the fee for that application was provided by a generous gift from Eastern Bank. 


Our three amazing Youth of the Year candidates Yailin Victoria, Jhonel Roberts and Coral Luna-Gil will be interviewed by Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, Peabody Essex Museum CEO Dan Munroe, North Shore Medical CEO Bob Norton and Ernst & Young partner Jacqueline Washburn this week.  They will be interviewing and making the selection for our 2014 Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year!  The winner will represent us State-wide for an opportunity to move on to National Competition!  Good Luck to the three candidates.


My wife and I have had a wonderful opportunity to join with a number of former patients and staff to discuss the many hospital programs and how they impact the patients and how they can be improved.   During my wive’s recuperation from her broken ankle we missed a couple of meetings and were pleased to attend the March meeting where we were brought up to date on the management structure by Spaulding North Shore Hospital President Maureen Banks. She also provided a valuable overview of the entire network of hospital holdings.

We were also shown a preliminary marketing campaign that will be used on hospital property in Salem. The plan is to show patients and visitors alike the great work being accomplished at this important North Shore Facility

This important community organization is planning several events to help celebrate the mission of the organization.  A brief listing of the planned events follows if you wish additional information or if you wish to participate in the planning for these events, contact the Danvers Historical Society at 978-777 -1666 or at www.danvershistory.org

Join us in celebrating major upcoming 2014 Anniversaries:  
·         125th Anniversary of the Danvers Historical Society
·         100th Anniversary of saving the 1754 Page House
·         200th Anniversary of the Ingersoll Farm transformation into Glen Magna Farms


Over the last year a group of parish leaders from the Pastoral Council and the Parish Finance Committee have been hosting a number of “Conversations’ with Father Bruce Flanagan seeking a broad cross section to discuss and outline how to best address a series of challenges facing the parish. These challenges are handicapped accessibility concerns, deferred maintenance matters, energy inefficiencies and safety issues.  On the first weekend in May at all of the masses, an informative 15-minute presentation was offered to all parishioners attending those services. Those presentations outlined the plans that have been developed and the current status of the proposal was provided.  Take home material for all of the attendees was provided to help to explain the programs being considered.  Those that came to the services that weekend learned of the plans of the Parish.  The attendees were asked to consider the information provided and to contemplate offering financial support for the physical changes proposed.  For more information about the program that features access for all please contact the Parish at 978 774-7575.


The council leadership continues to develop programs and policies for the Danvers Senior Center on Stone Street.  They just completed an Annual Report that outlines the numerous successful programs offered by the Council including a new recently introduced Adult Day Care Program that is much needed and has filled quickly.  There is substantial information about the numerous feeding programs offered to senior Danvers residents.  The report that will be distributed to the elected officials in the Community concurrent with the Town’s Annual Town Meeting and is available upon request at the Senior Center.  The resources available to help underwrite the activities to serve the ever increasing elderly population of Danvers comes from a variety of sources including community funding.  Excess revenues gained from the efficient organization of the Center, Federal and State Grants, and most importantly from a most generous organization know as the Friends of the Senior Center. 

The Director of the Senior Center recently pointed out to us, “that in 2015 there will be more persons in this country over 65 than there will be persons aged 16 and under.  It is clear to all of us connected with the Danvers Senior Center that the ever increasing population of elders and the needs of senior citizens in Danvers will be under a great deal of pressure to expand.

North Shore Elder Services Information 
On or about June 30, 2014 NSES will be moving from its present location in Danvers to 300 Rosewood also in Danvers.  That site is off Route 114.  In the new location NSES will have more space that will allow for more future growth and is a much more efficient space, all located on one level.


Congratulations to all local residents that will be celebrating a Graduation
We know that in the weeks ahead, many residents of this region will be celebrating graduation from one of our local High Schools or the numerous great Colleges serving this region.  We want to take a moment to congratulate you for your achievement and to offer our best wishes as you embark on the next steps in your life.

Present reading material that I have enjoyed
Over the last couple of weeks I have read several biographical accounts on the life of General George S. Patton of World War period.  I am still lamenting my absence at the Essex Heritage Hero event celebrating the life of the Patton Family and the recent material on General Patton was most informative and I learned a great deal about the family now headed by my good friend Ms. Joanne Patton of the Hamilton-Wenham region.