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.

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