Wednesday, February 19, 2014


I continue to follow and applaud the work and the activities of the Essex National Heritage Commission as my many years of association with that organization remains high on my list of important matters.  I have come to realize the importance of that National Park Service affiliate and the daily value that is offered 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.

Essex Heritage Initiatives
Since 1996, The Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage) has championed the heritage development of Essex County by fostering public-private partnerships that preserve and enhance the significant aspects of the region’s history, cultural heritage and character.
We look forward to working with you to promote the sustainability of this great region. Some of our current initiatives include:

National Heritage Areas
Essex Heritage is a member of the Alliance of Heritage Areas. National Heritage Areas (NHAs) across the country are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape. Through their resources, NHAs tell nationally important stories that celebrate our nation's diverse heritage. NHAs are lived-in landscapes. Consequently, NHA entities collaborate with communities to determine how to make heritage relevant to local interests and needs. Visit the Alliance of National Heritage Areas (ANHA) website.

Visit the National Park Service (NPS) National Heritage Areas website.

Exhibit at The Gables: Antique Pocketbooks
March 4, 2014 to March 17, 2014 • The House of the Seven Gables, United States, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
This exciting collection of over 50 Antique Pocketbooks includes treasures from the Golden Ages. Many will be staged with accessories for opera, the hunt, or just a day in the country. Traveling across the pond? You may see that too!
Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables: History’s Witches
March 19, 2014 • The House of the Seven Gables, United States, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
Local author and illustrator Lisa Graves offers insights into this fascinating subject.
Exhibit at The Gables: The Malala Portraits
April 2, 2014 to April 10, 2014 • The House of the Seven Gables, United States, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
This stunning collection of portraits of the young girl, Malala, who spoke up in favor of education for girls and was shot for that opinion, depicts her intelligence, courage and dignity.  Painted by local High School students to honor the Nobel Peace Prize nominee, these are compelling works of art.
Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables: The Day the Ocean Changed to Chocolate
April 16, 2014 • The House of the Seven Gables, United States, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
The Day the Ocean Changed to Chocolate by Ben Strohecker, founder of Harbor Sweets!
Last year on the recommendation of Danvers Town Manager Wayne Marquis, I have recently received my sixth or seventh appointment to the Town’s Finance Committee.  The committee is made up of ten town residents who review and recommend to the elected Town Meeting membership.  The Finance committee reviews community budgets and the impact that zoning changes might have on residents and neighborhoods and other community matters.  During the final week of February the Finance Committee held a meeting to review a number of matters that will be presented at a Special Town Meeting scheduled for the first week of March.  The Committee considered and made recommendations.  The observations of the Finance Committee are not binding on the Town Meeting, but carry some weight in the final decision.  

Due to a recent surgical procedure,  I was unable to attend the meeting but positive recommendations on all 22 warrant articles were offered by the balance of the Committee.  I will report on the deliberations and the findings of the Town Meeting in a later report.  There was a varied listing of issues.  There were zoning and medical matters as well as family housing issues.    All of the issues were offered with positive observations, by they were only recommendations and the Town Meeting body could act differently.

Spieliotis to Serve
State Representative from Danvers Ted Speliotis has been picked to represent the Commonwealth on a State School  Safety Cooperative. The State Representative from Danvers will be representing the Speaker of the House on a new commission called for by the Governor to study violence in schools.

Peabody Historical Society
Congratulations to the Peabody Historic Society for their wise and well selected choice of Dick St. Pierre as their recently selected Executive Director.  He will have a large pair of shoes to fill with the retirement of Bill Power.  Both men have served as active Trustees of Essex Heritage and Dick will be a wonderful choice to carry on the work started by Bill Power.   I have seen Dick in action and Peabody Historical Society will be pleased in the long term with their choice. 

Observations on Local Sports
New England Patriots
The Patriots season ended not with a bang, but with a thud as they lost again in the Conference Championship Game and not the Super Bowl.  it is also very clear that the National Conference is playing with more physicality and the Pats need to be restructured to stay competitive.

The Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins lead their NHL Division and several members of the team are representing their specific countries in the Olympics and those not playing internationally are on two week break.

Boston Celtics
The Celtics continue to drift from game to game in their race to a good draft position.  

Red Sox
The Red Sox are preparing for Spring Training in Florida started on 2/15 and former star Curt Schilling announced more bad news (as if he needed more) that his medical advisors have discovered  Cancer  in his body.  The sometimes starting and relief pitcher, Ryan Dempster announced that he will sit out the 2014 season with a desire to spend more time with his family and neck problems.

Bean Pot Hockey Tournament
In 1952 a hockey tournament between the four Boston colleges was established at the old Boston Garden.  The participating schools are Boston College. Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern University   The Tournament is now played at the TD Garden on the first two Monday evenings in February. Each year a blind draw as organized by two tames are played on the first date.  On the second evening, the two winners from week one play as do the two losing teams.  This year the final is set with Boston College playing against Northeastern and BU and Harvard competing.   Boston College has won the last four Bean Pot events and they are alive to extend that record on Feb 19th.  In the history of this event, a major snowstorm hit and virtually closed down the City of Boston and stranded many in the arena for days.   I have attended many of these events over the last half a century, but are content now to watch the events on TV. 

Winter Reading
The winter of 2013-14 has had weather that was very cold and has kept me indoors more often than usual and has had me reading even more often.  As a result, I have read several good books.   I have recently read biographies of Boston athletic greats including Ted Williams and Bobby Orr.  Staying with that kind of books I have recently read a life story of Derek Sanderson.  The story began with Derek’s youth growing up in Ontario in southern Canada.   The book appropriately titled Crossing the Line continued through his early hockey career and his NHL signing with the Boston Bruins.  He along with his Boston teammates were folk heroes in Boston.  Derek was a part of a group of players that won two Stanley Cup Championships in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.  He was a premier star on that team and was met with great adulation wherever he appeared in Boston.  

As a result of his popularity and his talent he became the target of a competing league and ultimately signed with that league for an ungodly amount of money.  The story continued with information on how he misspent that money on wild times with little or no thought for the future.  He recounted an incident in a snowstorm in southern Canada where he almost died as he had no control of his facilities.

Sanderson’s life was finally put under control and he was saved from self-destruction with the help of former teammates and friends.  As part of his salvation he became involved in a Boston municipal program where he spoke to high school age youth about keeping their lives in order.  He later in life married to a local gal and he and his wife were blessed two young men and developed a communications career on TV with hockey and golf  coverage, and began a financial program to work with young athletes in the preservation of their earnings and future assets.  

I was particularly pleased to see a reference in the book about how a former client of mine at Salem Five was very helpful when Sanderson’s days were at its darkest level.   Yvon Cormier, a builder and a developer took Derek under his wing and put him to work at the Andover Country Club where Cormier was developing new homes.  Yvon was a long time hockey fan from his youth growing up in Canada. The story outlines a serious link to Sanderson’s addiction to alcohol and drugs that were with the help of friends, and local support, Sanderson addressed and defeated these two addictions.

Danvers Historical Society Anniversary Events
The following events are being planned and we will keep you posted  as details become available: 
·         Celebrating Stewardship - the 50th Anniversary of the Danvers Historical Society acquiring Glen Magna Farms
·         The 100th Anniversary of the Danvers Historical Society acquiring the Jeremiah Page House  
·         Celebrating The Society 125 Years!!

Two High Schools in Danvers should be congratulated for efforts offered at the schools.  At St. John’s Prep their annual Empty Bowls event showcased some of the artistic work from their students and raised over $3500 for Haven From Hunger that feed the hungry.  In Danvers High school a student run retail store provided experience for the young men and women that participate.

The organization devoted to enhancing the life of people with disabilities have been benefited by a grant from Eastern Bank, one  primary financial organization in the region that has provided a valun profit status for those that wish to donate and receive non taxable status for their contributions.

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem News
One of my most favorite organizations where I serve on the Board of Directors and does such wonderful work in this region is sponsoring a raffle fund raiser on St. Patrick’s Day. I encourage participation in the following event as the proceeds are all provided to support the club’s operation that supports the youth of this region.

The 5th Annual Shamrock Sweepstakes will take place on Thursday, March 13 at the Moose Lodge at 50 Grove Street. This is a major fundraiser for the Club. We will be selling only 300 tickets at $100 each. The top prize is $10,000. Tickets are on sale at the Club. For more information, call us at 978-744-0915.

Lodging in the region
We are always moat interested in the advance of more lodging for the tourism industry of this region and the City of Salem is in the process of adding more hotel rooms to the region.  The Waterfront Hotel at Pickering Wharf is planning to add thirty two hotel rooms and the City is working on a new Hotel facility in the Post Office section of the Community.   The added rooms will add substantially to lodging in the region.

Gift Cards offered by North Shore Elder Affairs
With the multiple credit card security breaches in the news recently, it can be difficult to feel safe shopping in your favorite stores. However, NSES has a solution for you! By purchasing gift cards to your favorite restaurants and stores through NSES, not only can you feel protected from fraud, but you will also receive full face value of the card with no surcharges, and the vendor will contribute a percentage back to our Nutrition Program!  To find out what gift cards are available to purchase, click here. For additional information, or to place an order, call or email Erica at: 
Phone:  978.624.2226


I continue to follow and applaud the work and the activities of the Essex National Heritage Commission as my many years of association with that organization remains high on my list of important matters.  I have come to realize the importance of that National Park Service affiliate and the daily value that is offered 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.

Colonial Settlements, Maritime Adventures and Centuries of American Growth
The Essex National Heritage Area begins just 10 miles north of Boston and covers 500 square miles of eastern Massachusetts to the New Hampshire border. The area includes hundreds of historical sites, miles of intact landscapes, glistening coastal regions and lifetimes of rich experiences that chronicle the history of our region and of our nation.

The Essex National Heritage Area is a member of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas and is one of 49 heritage areas in the United States.  -Experience Your America.  Discover nearly 400 national parks on the official National Park Service webpage. Some may be closer than you think. 

What are National Heritage Areas?They are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape.

February 12, 2014 • The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970. EX (Exhibits at The Gables) for The Underground Railroad exhibit will open with a members’ reception on February 12.

February 13, 2014 to February 28, 2014 • The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970 -  Celebrating Black History Month, The House of the Seven Gables is proud to welcome the public to this special exhibit.  Have you ever wondered if there were North Shore homeowners involved in the Underground Railroad?  Come find out!

As previously reported, the City of Peabody is seeking an unlimited number of liquor licenses from the Commonwealth as an impetus to the economic development of that community.   Subsequently the Town of Danvers will soon be following suit and will soon be seeking additional licenses for the Town.   It could be said that the development of new restaurants in the Town of Danvers would be a boon to the addition of both real estate and meal taxes both of which would assist the Town in its attempt to increase overall revenue sources.

January weather seems extreme to this Observer
The end of 2013 was about normal, but since the start of the new year, it is been colder than normal all over the country with the influence of an arctic vortex.   We have seen more snow than normal and there are reports from all over the country recording new records for cold and conditions more severe than in recent history.

The redevelopment process in the City of Salem created a series of residential units and the successful opening of a themed eating establishment. This was on the site that once housed one of the oldest jails anywhere in the country and it was very well received. It appears that a recent announcement of a second phase of that project would be started in the spring of 2014 that will include the construction of a dozen units adjacent to phase one indicates an ever improving economy in the region. 

The MBTA recently announced plans to make improvements on the North Shore.  This is good news as this appears to be most positive as more and more this justifies the addition of garage space in various locations in the region.

Town of Danvers to hold public hearings on St. John Preparatory School Expansion plans
The Planning Board of the Town of Danvers is scheduling a public meeting to allow residents of the surrounding neighborhoods to comment on the recently announced plans of the private Catholic secondary school  to expand its activities on the Summer Street 174 Acre site.  The school is planning the addition of a nearly 7500 sq. ft. Science and Technology building that will allow the school to open and offer a new middle school for 399 prospective Grade 6 to 9 students that is expected to open in the near term.  The changes in land utilization will be minimal as most of the improvements will take place in campus locations where programs already exist and will be better utilized in the proposed plans.  It should be noted that even though the size of the campus is recorded as 175 acres, a great deal of the land is unusable due to water conditions on the site. The date of the hearing on the expansion plans has not yet been set, but will be widely announced when set and notification to abutters will be sent out as part of the process

Threat at St. John’s Prep
As a follow up to St. John’s Prep matters, I suspect that some of you have heard reports of police issues at the Danvers private High school.   I want to congratulate the administration at the Prep for taking the issue raised at the school so seriously.  In light of what has happened in other schools and public places in this country and the difficulty encountered in the local public school in the same community, that all potential “threats” should be taken most seriously, and the cautious actions undertaken by the Prep and the Danvers Police are applauded as it is most wise to be safe rather than be sorry later.

Habitat for Humanity to build Affordable Housing in Danvers
The national firm responsible for adding affordable housing in this country is planning to add housing stock that is affordable in the community of Danvers.  Some years ago, I was involved in a broad effort to add the affordable housing units in that community and that work continues. This is much needed not just in Danvers but across the entire region and should be most welcome and might spur new developments.

The City of Beverly was awarded a state grant to help construct the much discussed, and City Administration supported, project on Brimbal Avenue.  In an informational meeting held recently, it was very clear that if a vote were taken today that the project to change and create the new area would be soundly defeated.

The recent announcement of the retirement of the Townleys, a talented and strongly committed couple that have served the Town of Danvers as Park Rangers at the Endicott Park Property for many years, was greeted with praise and regret.  They will be hard to replace and their contributions were recognized with a dinner.  The Townleys provided a substantial commitment to the park for many years and their dedication to the mission of the town’s recreation area has been exemplary.   They have also been staunch supporters of the Danvers Historical Society’s work to preserve and promote the Glen Magna Farms property and the attendant  mansion.

Personal  Observations 
Current Reading Choices
I took a break from reading about political biographies and enjoyed a wonderful presentation written by Ben Bradlee Jr. about the life of Ted Williams that was primarily focused on his personal life including his military service in two conflicts and his numerous marriages and recollections about his children.

I am now just starting a history of Teddy Roosevelt and Will Taft titled the Bully Pulpit by the noted historic biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin.  I am looking forward to getting into that history.  

Change of Status of Granddaughter
If I am allowed on comment about our family, we were all particularly pleased to learn that Caroline Leonard has been promoted from the junior varsity to the girls’ varsity basketball at Algonquin Regional High School.  This means a little later start for her basketball games, but it has not stopped our attendance at Northboro and surrounding Middlesex County locations.  She will still play from time to time with both teams to continue her rapid development.

For many in this region, sports and politics are of utmost importance.  In January, both the Celtics and the Bruins were on the road and were not too successful.   The Bruins won the final game of a three game west coast trip to semi-salvage the trip. The Celtics have lost eight games in a row during the present trip.  The Patriots finished the season on a high note with two consecutive wins in less than great weather and as a result received an opening round playoff bye and faced a second round playoff games against the Colts on another stormy day that they won.  The playoffs for the Pats, will come down to another Brady-Manning SHOWDOWN in Denver for the AFC Championship.   The NFC has an equally attractive game between San Francisco and Seattle.  Since this edition of this Blog will be printed before the results of those games have been decided, we will leave those results and the Super Bowl results for the next issue of the Essex Happenings BLOG.

COPAA to seek non-profit designation
COPAA has focused for a number of years as a resource for individuals who have been disadvantaged by amputations and disabilities.  It recently has completed a reorganization and has reaffirmed its mission to reach out to an even greater degree to amputees in the Northern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire region.   The goal of the organization will be to make that population aware of the numerous resources available to them through this coalition
A perfect example of the services offered by COPAA to its handicapped members is noted in recent membership minutes - as noted:

COPAA has a ski trip coming up for organization members  and prospective members  on March 8 if anyone is interested. It looks like we may be going to Pico Mountain  this year, in Killington, Vermont. We will once more be renting a van to go up together, and we will be partnering with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital again. If you haven't already made us aware of your interest and you would like to try getting outdoors for the day and going skiing in one of the many activities that will be available, please get in touch with COPAA soon. You don't have to be an experienced skier to go with us. Beginners can use a sled to go down the mountain while tethered to an experienced instructor, or you can try skiing on a monoski (a sled that you sit on and steer with your body weight assisted by outriggers). If you are curious or want to try something different from couch surfing, come on out and join the fun! Contact us.

I am particularly pleased to have been asked to serve as the Treasurer and Clerk of the organization.   One of the first tasks of COPAA is to gain a not for profit designation that will allow contributions to the organization to be tax deductible gifts.  One of the avenues we are examining is a relationship with Essex County Community Foundation.  If any of the regional corporate and personal supporters that have offered financial support to other charitable endeavors that I have supported wish to participate, I encourage them to contact me at 978 774 5351 to learn more about the organizational mission of COPAA and how the proceeds from charitable giving will be used in the future.  COPAA is a most valuable amputee networking and supportive group and any financial or other contributions offered are most appreciated.

Danvers Community Council Awarded State Grant

Congratulations to State Senator Joan Lovely for the $20,000 grant that she was able to obtain for the Danvers Food Pantry.  The funds will be used to support the work of the Town as they help to provide food and other goods to 180 homeless families that are presently housed in motels in Danvers.  The grant is much appreciated, but is not a permanent solution to assist the over 2,000 homeless families currently supported by the State.  It is clear that this issue requires a permanent solution as housing for the homeless requires a long-term solution.