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Essex Happenings, July 13, 2012

Essex Happenings - Essex Heritage programs and activities, communities and organizational happenings, and personal observations.

Essex Heritage Programs & Activities

Along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway

This 85-mile coastal route from Lynn to Newburyport has just received a new boost with the publication of the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway rack card. The colorful, two sided cards direct readers to the byway website where they can learn about things to see and do in the byway region.

Essex Heritage Photo Safaris

One of the most valuable programs offered by Essex Heritage is the widely attended Essex Heritage Photo Safaris offered by photography professionals under the direction of Hunt’s Photo & Video of Melrose. The program was created and developed by the current Essex Heritage board president Richard Yagjian, COO of Hunt’s. 

Participants in the program use state of the art photography equipment and receive instruction from photography professionals from Cannon, Olympus, Sigma, Nikon and Tamron.    Essex Heritage arranges for the photo shoots at one of the spectacular historic locations in the National Heritage Area. There are two more Saturday Safaris scheduled for this summer:

Photo Safari featuring Nikon on Saturday, July 21, 2012

There are two sessions – please register for one or the other

• 8 AM - 12 PM

• 1 PM - 5 PM      

At The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA 01970.  Photograph the site at the House of the Seven Gables - which constitutes its own national historic district on The National Register of Historic places! The property includes 5 historic houses including the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, the oldest surviving 17th century wooden mansion in New England, an 18th century granite sea wall, and two seaside Colonial Revival Gardens with spectacular views of Salem Harbor. The House of the Seven Gables is also within walking distance of Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

Photo Safari featuring Canon on Saturday, August 4, 2012

There are two sessions – please register for one or the other

• 8 AM - 12 PM

• 1 PM - 5 PM

At The Trustees of Reservation’s estate Long Hill & the Sedgwick Gardens, 572 Essex Street, Beverly, MA 01915. Capture Long Hill’s blooming flower fields at this former family retreat renowned for its gardens for almost a century. The gardens at Long Hill are laid out in a series of separate garden “rooms” surrounding the handsome, Federal-style, brick house.  Each “room” is distinct in its own way, accented by ornaments and statuary.  On the property, photographers can also explore a popular loop trail through quintessentially New England woodlands dotted by vernal pools and imposing boulders.

Go to www.essexheritage.org/photosafaris  to register.

Featured Partner Event

On Wednesday, July 18, 7:00 PM at The House of the Seven Gables there will be a lecture on the Strong Women at the Gables: Sophia Peabody and Her Sisters.  The lecture is being presented by Megan Marshall, winner of the Francis Parkman Prize and Pulitzer finalist for her book, The Peabody Sisters, Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism. This landmark book won wide critical acclaim. Her focus for this lecture will be on Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, wife of Nathaniel. Advanced reservations are required. Please contact (978) 744-0991 and let them know you are an Essex Heritage member. Admission: $10 for Essex Heritage and Seven Gables Members, $15 Non-Members.

Essex Heritage Community Partners

Heritage Area Volunteer Opportunities

Essex Heritage is pleased to highlight interesting and fun volunteer opportunities from around the Heritage Area. If you would like to share volunteer opportunities, please send them to us. Or if you are looking to volunteer, check out the following:

Marblehead Festival of Arts, Marblehead: The summer Festival of the Arts is looking for volunteers. For information visit the website or call 781-639-ARTS.

Gardeners Wanted! Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Mass Audubon, Topsfield, MA

If you are a gardener who has a few hours to spare each week, and would like to help care for our backyard bird habitat and butterfly gardens, we would love your help. Familiarity with organic gardening methods and native plants is preferred. Our small gardening group meets on Tuesday mornings April through October to work together in the gardens. To inquire about this position contact Susan Baeslack, Volunteer Coordinator at sbaeslack@massaudubon.org or call (978) 887-9264.

Crane Estate Saturday Work Crew, Ipswich, MA

Volunteers participate on a monthly basis as part of a regular group or sustainable team. The team works with the Trustees' northeast property superintendent and develops an annual list of projects for completion. Examples of projects are invasive species control, boardwalk construction, trellis restoration and various other maintenance activities. The group meets the last Saturday of the month. Works tasks take between 4-8 hours. Contact Tommy Gunn at 978-794-9502 (tgbike@comcast.net) or Nancy Keighley at 978-314-6013 (nancypetino@aol.com) for more information!

For more volunteer opportunities go here - www.essexheritage.org/jobs

Heritage Area Communities and Organizational Happenings

Beverly's Lynch Park Carriage House Shines

Once the ocean front summer home of President Taft, Lynch Park in Beverly now features a newly renovated carriage house. Offering fabulous views, the city owned property can be rented for weddings and other events. For more information go to www.bevrec.com/CarriageHouse/CHindex.html.

New Exhibit House Opens at Newbury Farm

The remarkable story of a Lithuanian's family life on a New England farm is chronicled in a new permanent exhibit at Historic New England’s Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury. Read more! www.historicnewengland.org/historic-properties/homes/spencer-peirce-little-farm/spencer-peirce-little-farm

Regional News

Salem Power Station appears to be Changing Owners With a New Concept Planned

It seems that Dominion Power based in Virginia has completed an agreement to sell the coal fired Salem Power Station along with the thirty-four acre site on lower Derby Street, Salem to a New Jersey power company called Footprint Power. They report that they intend to develop a new natural gas fired facility on a portion of the site. The Salem Power Plant was built during the 1950’s on the site of one of Salem’s best baseball facilities. It has been one of the City’s largest taxpayers for many years, but it has also been the focus of a great deal of concern about regional air quality and pollution. The new owners expect to use a only a portion of the large, waterfront site for energy production. The City of Salem is hopeful that other commercial development will also occur at the site including use of the deep water port facility for cruise ships. Mayor Driscoll and Representative John Keenan have said that redevelopment of this site holds enormous promise for the future of Salem.

The Town of Danvers Receives Reimbursement Funding

As a result of the efforts of State Representative Ted Speliiotis the Town of Danvers will likely receive a substantial amount of additional funding to support education and to reimburse the Town for costs incurred in transporting homeless students who have been housed in motels in the Town of Danvers. The funding has been added to the recent State budget and only requires the signature of the Governor. The Town has had an inordinate number of homeless families living on a temporary basis in Danvers.  Last summer through a project dubbed Camp Sunshine the Town’s social service agencies provided a safe camping environment and meals to the children from the motels and are trying again in 2012 to replicate this effort. In 2011 many banks and local businesses came including the Senior Center and the local food pantry also provided support to these families, and The Friends of the Danvers Recreation Department is mounting an effort again. Contributions can be made to the Friends at Danvers Town Hall.

Nativity Prep Idea Proposed in Salem

A concept is being floated in Salem that could have both a positive and negative impact in the city. A group of catholic lay people are interested in starting a Nativity Prep School in Salem. There are currently Nativity Prep Schools operating in New Bedford and Boston and in several other locations. The concept is to provide a tuition free middle school educational program for disadvantaged youth. Teachers would not be compensated in the usual manner, but would be recent college graduates who would receive a small fee and some benefits including medical coverage. Teaching and the discipline would be intense with the goal of producing entrance opportunities for attendees at the regions private high schools.

The group interested in this concept is considering locating the new school in a building that formally housed one of the many catholic elementary schools that at one time educated about one half of elementary school students in Salem. The organizers are in serious discussions with the Immaculate Conception Parish that owns the former St. Mary’s School that I attended for eight years during my earliest days of education.

The downside of this concept is that the current occupant of the building on Hawthorne Boulevard is the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem. Although the Boys and Girls Club has for many years considered relocating their operations, this will mean that the move of the youth club will be greatly accelerated. I have served on the Board of Directors of the club for many years and there would be severe pressure on the club, if a termination of occupancy at that location were to occur in the near future. The club has served many disadvantaged youth over the years and Essex Heritage has worked with the club to offer enrichment programs in conjunction with the National Park Service at Salem Maritime.

The City of Beverly Works to Improve Pedestrian Sidewalk Access

The City of Beverly recently received some federal funding to improve the accessibility of the city’s sidewalks. The mayor has made a commitment that the deficiencies will be corrected over the next couple of years. A plan and a consultant hired by the city will be focused on the improvement issues to ensure that accessibly compliance is achieved. Anything that improves the walkability of the city is good.

People in the News

Salem News Editor Honored

Earlier this month, the Salem News honored Nelson Benton, Editorial Page Editor of the News, on the occasion of his retirement. Mr. Benton had spent four-decades at the news. I will not claim to have known Nelson for all of the years he has covered issues and communities in this region, but I have followed his reporting for many of those years. He has always been the fairest of scribes and his opinions supporting initiatives important to this region have meant a great deal towards the success or failure of a project. From the perspective of Essex Heritage, he has been thankfully outspoken in support of this regional program and his support and endorsement of those efforts has been important to our continuing success. All of us connected with this collaborative effort to generate a more cohesive effort across the region, thank him. We wish him well in his retirement and confirm that his presence and participation in this region will be sorely missed.

Salem Mayor Named Salem State University Distinguished Alumnus for 2012

Mayor Kim Driscoll who graduated from Salem State University in 1989 has distinguished herself as both the Mayor of Salem and in her volunteer work for the school. She has previously received two awards from the university as Volunteer of the Year in 2003 and  induction into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Her work as Mayor of Salem has been excellent and she is regarded by many, including her peers, as a great leader of a community that is on the move.

Marblehead Resident Receives Salem State University Alumni Award for 2012 for his Volunteer Efforts

Donald Brennan of Marblehead was recently awarded the Elizabeth Williams Wade Award by Salem State University. Brennan is a special and long term contemporary of mine both in my youth and today, and he attended St. John’s Prep at the same time as I did,. This award was for his volunteer work for Salem State and its Alumni Association. Brennan received both his undergraduate and Masters Degree in education from Salem State UniversityCongratulations Don, and great work for an important regional institution.

Community Health, Elderly Affairs & Disability Issues

Danvers Council on Aging Names New Social Service Outreach Coordinator

It is a pleasure to announce the hiring of Lisa N. Westrate, to the position of the Danvers Council on Aging Social Service/ Outreach Coordinator. Lisa is a graduate of Gordon College with a BA in Psychology. She has experience as a Social Worker/ Case Manager with the Department of Children and Families Services. Her professional experience as an advocate for families, combined with her educational accomplishments indicates Lisa will be an outstanding candidate for the job.

The Council on Aging has announced that “Lisa will be available to listen to your thoughts and ideas as well as answer any questions you may have. She will also be facilitating the Challenges of Living Alone group and the Low Vision Support group. Hopefully, with your feedback as to day and time for meetings, she can get both of these groups up and running by August. Join us in giving Lisa a big Danvers welcome as she begins in her new role at our center.”

Beverly Golf and Tennis to Provide Handicapped Access to Clubhouse

After a complaint from a former operator of the club, the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board ruled that the City must take necessary steps to make the historic clubhouse at the Beverly Golf and Tennis Club accessible to patrons before the end of this year. The regulatory board indicated that either an elevator or wheelchair lifts must be added and an existing wheelchair ramp needs to be repaired. The city has elected to add two wheel chair lifts on the first floor to take people to the basement and to the second floor function room. The lifts are an acceptable alternative to the installation of an elevator that could dramatically impact the roofline of the historic building built in 1910. The repairs have been required since 2003 when the City upgraded the building. The city has been aware of the need to make the building accessible and has had plans to accomplish the tasks, but this ruling may accelerate the progress of completion. It is estimated that the repairs will cost about $500,000 and Mayor Scanlon has already requested the money from the City Council. He has indicated that the funding will be repaid from future golf course revenues.

We applaud the Mayor and the Council for their prompt action after the ruling was handed down. Essex Heritage is particularly interested that the roof on the historic building will be retained and the designation as National Register property preserved. I would expect that the changes will be beneficial for the function hall and anything that is done to make buildings that are difficult to navigate for those of us that are handicapped is much appreciated.

Personal Observations

Coastal Flooding a Possible Problem in Essex County

Recent reports on the rising level of the Atlantic Ocean were offered on many national and local media resources and they could prove to be alarming to many coastal entities in this region. The reports indicate that rising ocean levels all along the coastline from North Carolina to Maine could cause coastal flooding both during storms and under more normal conditions. This is a condition and a situation that bears watching as coastline attractions and resources which mean so much to this region could be jeopardized if this prediction becomes reality.

Boston Globe Columnist Laments Lack of Youth Bike Riding

In a recent issue of the Boston Globe, John Paul Dupont lamented that the youth of today are no longer riding bikes as they did in previous generations. He indicated that adults are riding everywhere, but youth are not riding their bikes as much as in the past. Having adults riding more certainly is more healthful for that generation, but I hope that the region’s bike trials the Essex Heritage is helping to get in place will be an incentive to get youngsters back to riding their bikes when they can as that activity is helpful in the ongoing fight against childhood obesity. Organizations like the Bi-Peds in Danvers is advocating bike safety on the road, and that may also get some youth back onto bikes.

Workshop offered for Non-Profits: Lack of Funds is NOT your Primary Challenge

The following presentation certainly makes an effective case of the purpose for being a not-for-profit organization like the many that I am pleased to serve.  “Come to this session to understand the definitions of nonprofit life defined by competencies and performance measures associated with each stage from idea or startup through growth and maturity. See how to apply this framework to see where your organization is starting from holistically and the typical growing pains for your stage, and understand how to set realistic performance based on expectations for your stage so you have the potential to attract donors, develop an income stream, engage your board or hire more employees. The benefits of this approach to capacity building that it is so simple, it work.”

Winter Sports:

Now that the Winter Sports Season is truly over, the local General Managers are taking care of preparing for 2013. The Celtic’s got Kevin Garnett’s signature on a contract and now if they can convince Ray Allen to stay, maybe another run at a successful season can be in place. The Bruins inked Tuukka Rask to a deal for the next year, and locked up several other long-term meaningful contributors for 2013.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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