Important events in Marblehead since the inception of legendinc.com, as reported in the Daily Evening Item, the Salem Evening News, the Marblehead Reporter, and The Boston Globe,
among other resources, including the official Selectmen's Minutes.

2005

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The Off Shore Pipeline | Lead Mills | Mhead Highlands
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New YMCA | Obituaries 2006 | Selectmen Minutes

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December 30: New Years Resolution for the Board Health: Pesticides Are Out. With the most recent vote of the Board of Health, any use of pesticides on Marblehead town or school land will have to pass muster with long-time Health Superintendent Wayne Attridge. Attridge, a well-known and knowledgeable opponent of pesticide use on Town land, won't be giving an easy pass to anyone. The Recreation, Park and Forestry Commission's Organic Pest Management system has been working and now the whole Town is "on board."

Dr. Perley Sanborn rides again. [Salem News/Matthew K. Roy] When horses rode around Marblehead on deeded trails and people never heard the roar of automobile engines tearing up the night, there was a doctor weho made house calls in winter on a sleigh. If you don't believe it, the sleigh is down at Town Hall outside the Slectmen;s office right now. He was the Town's baby doctor according to Joyce Booth, longtime member of the Marblehead Historical Commission. From 1874 to 1941, Dr. Sandborn helped birth Marbleheaders, mostly at home. Mrs. Booth was actually in a Girl Scout Troop led by Sandborn's daughter. The doctor was born in Maine, attended Dartmouth, and is buried in Waterside Cemetery. The sleigh was stored in a barn on his old property at 79 Pleasant Street until 1987 when it was donated to the Historical Commission. The sleigh is a fixture in Abbot Hall around the holidays each year. "We thought it would be something Christmassy to do," said Booth.

December 29:Teachers continue to protest lack of contract. 70 or so teachers in the Marblehead Public School, so frustrated with the lack of contractual negotiations this year (the contract expired at the end of the fiscal year 2005, June 30), appeared before the School with a list of "gifts" that teachers give the district every day. Working evenings, weekends and holidays -- all time they give beyond the requirements of the contract -- teachers outlined an array of unpaid services: 640 hours over the summer, 120 hours of parent-teacher conference time arranged at the convenience of working and busy parents, 75 hours of "back-to-school preparations, 15 extra hours per week of lesson preparations and paper-correcting time, 1,800 hours of time supervising and preparing for after school and evening enrichment programs, hundreds of hours writing college recommendations and thousands of hours chaperoning student in after hours events, $6,000 out-of-pocket expenses in underbudgeted classroom supplies, 1,280 hours preparing for and chaperoning students on trips, including one to Washington, D.C. The School Committee reacted with predictable bubbling of appreciation for all that teachers do, but as Ann Davis-Allan, president of the teachers association (not a union), stated at the end of the meeting, "... no progress was made ... on the contract." The teachers "deferred" their raise in the expired contract, but have received that increase in this year's budget. They have compromised on health insurance issues, incurring additional costs to offset the increase. An increasing frustration with the process was noted.

December 23: Another Marblehead Attorney gives up law license. Bernard P. Smith has surrendered his license rather than face disbarment after more than 30 years of practice. The case stemmed from the decision of the Board of Bar Oversees that Smith's fees were way out of line with the work requried for an estate tax returns.

December 22: Marblehead Financial picture is "rosy." (Reporter). Town Finance John McGinn painted the Town's financial picture in shade of black and rosy before the Board of Selectmen in an off-camera meeting on Tuesday in Abbot Hall. Chairman Judy Jacobi jumped on the "no override" bandwagon immediately stating the unanimous opinion of her board that a propositiob 2.5 override should be avoided. However, the Director's budget projections contained only a one percent increase for public empoyees, all of whom are now hoping for negotiations on thier expired budgets. And, unrest is increasing. The budget projectons also assume level-funding of already underfunded departments suffering in equipment, expenses and salary categories. Of the 3.6 million in Chapter 70 money almost $1.9 million will go the Charter School. In the end, experience would seem to indicate that Mr. McGuinn's rose-colored view of Marblehead's fiscal world may soon deepen to red.

New Supintendent update. School Committee members have indicated that the new individual will be hired by April and at a minimum salary of $150,000, the highest by far in Town.

Obituaries. Robert L. Gates, 12/16/05. Christian Science Pracititioner.

December 19: Trial of teen driver postponed. The August 12 Vinnin Sqaure accident that rocked the Town and took the life of Hollie Pierce, 15, one of Marblehead's most popular teenagers, resulted in ligation scheduled to begin on December 22, but now has been postponed. Rescheduled for February 9, 2006, the trial of Alex Marino, 19, will prosecute the charges of vehicular homicide, negilinet operation of a motor vehicle, and failure to yield to a pedestrian. Camila Palva of lynn was injured in the same accident. The trial was rescheduled because Plava was, reportedly, unavailable to testify. (Lynn Item, 12/19/05)

December 15: High School Accreditation depends on hiring.
Social Studies and World History Curriculum directors must be hired if the 2002 accreditation process is to come to fruition. The positions were left vacant for 2006 due to budgetary considerations, but that must change for either FY 2007 or FY 2008. But, at least, the plan must be in place for 2007.

December 14:
Obituaries. Robert L. Sinclair, 77, 12/13/05.

December 13: Marblehead Police Officer, accused of assault and trespassing, insists on a trial. Marblehead Police Officer Dana Peralta, while living in Beverly, is charged with throwing wood at his neighbor. The two neighbors had been in dispute over an issue on the lot lines. The trial is now set for February 16 in Salem and the Marblehead Police Department has not taken any disciplinary action pending the outcome of the trial.

December 8: Teacher unrest increases over stalled contract. 50 members of the Marblehead Teacher association attended a recent School Committee and while remaining civil and polite indicated with no uncertain terms that their patience is growing thin. Ignoring the fact that the School Committee had stopped the negotiations, Chairman Rob Dana said cryptically, "We'll see them at the table." (Reporter) The teachers are operating on a contract that expired on August 31, 2005. Incidentally, the contract is not representative of the work and time that almost all teachers put into their jobs. In other towns, in these frustrating situations, teachers sometimes elect to "work to rule." This would be a strict enforcement of the contract, nothing more or less. Town officials well know that that would be highly disruptive and unbearable for the system and the Town. Odd, isn't it, that the Town relies on teachers to do far more than is outlined in their contract and if they ever actually did only the things and hours required in the contract it would cause havoc. The Town relies on teacher goodwill to go above and beyond but won't sit down at the table with them. Sometimes it is said that "we have to wait to see what the state will do regarding aid," but in the past Marblehead worried less about the "state" and what was right for the Town. Hmmm.... more later.

December 3: School work to offset budget deficit. Remember, the School Department started the fiscal year in the red, by Finance Committee design. School Business Manager David Keniston brought to the attention of the School Committee that salaries are currently $41,731 over budget and that the department was facing a $230,577 deficit, after a $180,000 reduction in kindergarten receipts. Delayis in hiring and other restrictions could make it up, he said. "Circuit breaker" funds could also assist in Special Education increases. Energy costs are way up, but school conservation efforts (turning down the thermostats in the classrooms (brrrr), have helped. No ultimate predictions on how the year will end, but the department is doing everything it can.

December 2: Selectmen hear security concerns for LNG pipeline [The Daily Item, Jack Butterworth] The planed 11.7 miles long pipeline off the coast of Marblehead is raising a few concerns for the safety of the Town and for the fishing industry as well. The company, Excelerate Energy kept reassuring the Selectmen about the distances, heat limits, and flammability limits for normal usage and in the event of a terrorist attack, but Harry Christensen pointed out that that was all well and good unless you happen to be a fisherman right over the thing. The company admitted the dangers of "human error," and that "flammable clouds do travel a long time and a long distance." Flammable clouds? Well, by way of explanation, the company mentioned that each of the "regasification vehicles" would be carrying the equivalent of 50 Hiroshima bombs. Jay Michaud, a well-known fisherman, stated that the tankers wouold be highly visible from Marblehead all the time as they conducted their "regasification" operations right in the middle of the area's prime spawning area. After having admitted that a blast would reach far and wide in all directions destroying everything and everyone, the company went on to specify that its operations would only occupy sevent-tenths of 0ne percent of the area Mr. Michaud was concerned about. The company stated that this was the best place because to the east is Stellwagen Bank and to the south shipping lanes would interfere. Mr. Christensen seemed to be calling on the Board to reject the proposal and send a letter to the Governor, but as reported he only listed that as one option. The Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Judy Jacobi, put off the discussion until a future, unspecified, date.

December 1: Former Attorney John C. McBride, disbarred by a Supreme Judicial Court justice, is now accused of ignoring the disbarrment and of continuing ot practice law. Once a prominent defense laywer, disputes the complaint against him, calling it "misleading," and that he had refunded $2500 left over from a retainer after expenses.

Fire investigators rule the Peach Highlands fire to be arson. Chief Dixey and the State Fire Marshall agreed that the evidence is indisputable. Arson. Now the hunt begins. A $5,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest of the culprit.

Tony's Pizza, like the Phoenix, rises from the ashes. It was cold night in hell on School Street in February, 2003 when Tony's Pizza and all the other businesses in the building truned into the fire and brimestone of total destruction. After long negotiations and planning, the restaurant is scheduled to reopen this month. Owner Tony Brogna is still the owner and operator. This restaurant known for its affordable and tasty subs and pizzas put a new twist on the word, "toasty."

Developer up the anty on arson arrest reward to $40,000. "Let's hope it gets some people's attention," said Ted Moore, owner and developer. The rebuilding of the site is already underway.

November 30: Workshop on "Creating a Culture of Peace" to be held Dec. 2 - 4.

All are invited to attend看a workshop/retreat看to be held the weekend of December 2 through 4 at St. Andrews Church on Lafayette St.in Marblehead.看The program is designed to engage teenagers and adults of all ages through the use of interactive exercises, discussions, journaling, meditation and the creation of projects by small groups that will be implemented by the participants in their respective communities, following the retreat/workshop.看

There will also be an exhibit on eight of the world's religions' art, architecture, music and literature.看 This forty foot wall entitled "The Power of Faith," 看was created by the founder of the Alliance of Jewish/Christian/Muslim Understanding of Lexington.看

The workshop is sponsored by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, the Peace and Justice Committee of the Diocese of Massachusetts and is endorsed by the Alliance of Jewish/Christian/Muslim Understanding of Lexington.看 Janet Chisholm, Chairperson of Episcopal Peace Fellowship and the Coordinator of the Fellowship of Reconciliation's programs on non-violence is teh co-facilitator of the event.看 She has led workshops all over the world, including working with Palestinians and Israelis.看

The cost of $90 per person includes workshop materials and meals.看 Some scholarships are available.看 Pre-registration is necessary.看 For more information, please contact the Rev. Beulah Koulouris at 781-631-4951.

Fire ruled an arson. The fire at "Marblehead Highlands" on Saturday, November 12, has been ruled an arson creating a loss of $3 million and the homes of 22 prospective residents. The search for the arsonist continues.

November 29: The Marblehead Little Theater is offering drama classes. Long planned and now coming to fruition, Marblehead's famous troop of actors is going to offer drama and acting classes for those interested. Anyone interested should call: (781) 631-9797.

November 28: Obituaries. James Francis Colligan, 71, 11/28/05

Lead Mills developers now say they want a large project approved. The 30-unit project that made so much sense a while ago is now too small, unless of course the Town gives them a Project Eligibility Letter. We they didn't get what they wanted the KSS Developers jumped over to 40B and a larger 44-unit project on the 4.4 acre site, currently listed as one of the most polluted in the Commonwealth. The cleanup is planned to be done by the previous owner.

November 25: Marblehead Names new field for Sergeant Christopher N. Piper, a Marblehead man killed in Afghanistan. Piper graduated in the Marblehead High School Class of 1980.

Marblehead fights hard but falls short in Thanksgiving rivalry. The score 13-6 tells a story of how close it was. One score. But, it wasn't pretty. Neither team wanted to do the traditional hand shake after the dust settled. The history of the rivalry is now score at 47 wins each and 7 ties since the first game in 1909. Click here for all the scores.

November 24. YMCA unveils its plans on Leggs Hill Road. Pools, aerobic programs, parking for 246 cars, and $10 million worth of facility. Plans are still being developed as money continues to be raised. Currently the Y with the help of prominent Marbleheaders like Bill Adams, Peter Lynch, and Eyk Van Otterloo have raised over $7 million. Problems with the neighbots still have to be resolved and no solid opening date has yet been set. www.northshoreymca.org will post updates and important meeting dates and times.

November 23: Obituaries. Elsa Slee, 1/21/05, 90

Marblehead School Committee picks a firm to find new super. The New England School Development Council to head up the search for $16,720. The Committee and the Council will meet at the School Committee meeting of December 1.

November 21: Lead Mill Developer says, "I'll scale back, but you'll have to relax zoning."

November 17: Obituaries. Gladys E. June, 11/5/05, 79; Linda Frost, 11/13/05, 64

Boston Police Commissioner, and Marbleheader, Kathleen O'Sullivan came home briefly last week to speak at the local Rotary Club (Marblehead Harbor).

New 3000-Member YMCA hits a snag. With $12.5 million on the line the request for a 246-space parking lot caused a "hold" at the committee. Incidentally, the new YMCA would have a sattelite dance school for the Boston Ballet. Bernard Kummins, an abutting neighbor of the new development complained about the traffic, especially in busy times. The YMCA now owns 20 acres of woods and wetlands that run along Leggs Hill Road. Salem City Councilor Joseph O'Keefe joined the neighbor in questioning the traffic situation that will ensue as the YMCA operation reaches its full potential. The YMCA's attorney, George Atkins interrupted and argued that traffic discussions were out of place at a hearing about the parking lot, but that argument did not carry the day. Mr. Atkins also got into another argument with Salem Zoning Board of Appeals member Edward Moriarty who asserted that the two aspects (traffic and parking) should go together. "To separate traffic from parking is like trying to separate day from night,' he said, as reported in the Salem News. Moriarty also mentioned that the 246 parking spaces had been proposed by the YMCA under an ordinance aimed at asisting charitable organizations, when in fact the YMCa might be considered a recreational facility, which could double the parking requirement. The Board extended the hearing to December 1.

November 16: Peter Pan ends this weekend. The three-week extranganza put on by the Marblehead Little Theater is coming to an end. But it will be flying all weekend. Check www.m-l-t.org for the times and details. The performances have garnered top reviews.

November 15: Fire remains a mystery. Even though Fire Marshalls are working hard on the cause of the fire, no determination has been made, yet. "It's a long and tedious process," said Lieutenant Mike Porter of the Marblehead Fire Department, as reported in the Daily Item today.

November 14: Fire engulfs and destroys part of Marblehead Highlands, investigation follows. At the street address few Marbleheaders recognize (36 Intepid Circle) a fire swept through all the previous neighborhood controversy and anger with an ill wind that stirred debate, rumor and hesitation. But the fire department wasted no time in speculation. The 9:30p.m., three-alarm fire including the department's of Nahant, Swampscott, Lynn, Peabody (Beverly and Salem were on standby), and all the determination of men and women who want nothing more than to stop fires before they can do their worst, did not carry the day as the 21-two-bedroom-unit, 33,000 square foot, four-story building collapsed in a smoldering heap. It was largest of building grouping on the property. Lieutenant Michael Porter of the Town fire department was quoted in the Boston Globe, "By the time we got water on it, it just took off. It was lightweight construction and it just burned real fast." And really hot, he also said. Firefighters tried to get into the building, but were unable to fight off the intense heat. The building was two months from occupancy. It was later stated that building was still missing a stairway inside and the construction channel may have created "a chimney effect" once the fire was burning. However, a passerby the next day wondered to a reporter, "What would have happened if people were in there?" This building was the first "Chapter 40B" development in Marblehead and was surrounded with intense neighborhood opposition. The project was developed by Ted Moore/Glover Property, whose career and other developments were often marred by neighborhood and Town opposition. No official was prepared, as of this writing, to pronounce the cause of the fire suspicious or not suspicious. Still, the State Fire Marshall's office did dispatch a specially-trained arson dog, a Black Labrador named "Tubbs," to the scene to see if anything smelled funny, plus a helicopter to photograph the conflagration. But the rumor mill was churning at the local coffee spots. Click on the photos below for larger views.

Police are asking any residents or viewers of the fire who photographs or video of the blaze should contact the Marblehead Police Department at (781) 631-1234 or the State Fire Marshall's office at (978) 567-3310.

Marblehead Students gather movies to send to soldier in Iraq. "We just want to show them that we are thinking of them." That's what the sign in the high school office says. For the past two weeks students have been dropping off DVDs and VCRs. Courtney Colantuno, 15, conceived of the idea after a discussion with her neighbor who has a son in the military. The collection box is at the VFW on Wst Shore Drive and has been emptied and filled again several times. The students hope to ship the collection to Iraq before Thanksgiving.

November 10: Superintendent search marches on. It's a six way national hunt for Marblehead's new Superintendent of Schools. Here are the finalists: Massachusetts Association of School Committees, Boston; New England School Development Council, Marlborough; Goens/Esparo, LLC, West Hartford, Connecticut; Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, Glenview, Illinois; Future Management Systems, Beverly (no known Internet site); McPherson & Jacobson, Bellevue, Nebraska. Interviews and budgeting for the search will occur at the Marblehead School Committee meeting, Thursday, November 17.

The annual Veterans Day service at Abbot Hall is scheduled for the usual 11:00 a.m. Jeff Greenbger, An Army Reservist will speak, and music by the Marblehead High School Chorus is always great.

Tony Sasso was appointed at Municipal Hearing Officer by the Board of Selectman. The Town Adminsitrator can now hear any appeals of safety inspections by the fire department.

Reverend Pail L'Herrou is appointed interim minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

Louis Graves Martin Cutler dies at 92.

November 9: $31 million merger with Marblehead and Australian firms. Former Finance Committee Chairman Ken Taylor can see clearly now, that's for sure. As he flies to Australia as the CEO of Advanced Ocular, he is participating in an all-stock transaction with Regeneria Ltd. of Perth, Australia. [As reported in the Salem News.]

Governor Mitt Romney appointed a Marblehead man to the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority: Steven Rosenthal, husband of long-time School Committe member, Joan Rosenthal. The authority oversees the operations and management of the Hynes Convention Center, The Boston Convention and Exhibition Garage and the MassMutial Center. The BOard has 13 members, serving five year terms. Rosenthal is a co-managing partner at Mintz Levin, a law firm.

November 8: Obituaries. Louise Graves Martin Cutler, 94 (11-4-05) She was one of the co-authors of "Hollyhocks to Hot Top" and one of Marblehead's first telephone operators, and recepient of th 2003, "Marblehead Foever" award; George S. Lawler Jr., 77 (11-7-05).

November 7: Board of Selectmen vote the 2006 budget year tax rate. Assistant Assessor Michael Tumulty, appearing before the Board of Selectmen related that the totoal valuation of Marblehead residential and commercial property as of now is $5.24 billion. The Town's tax levy was set at $44.1 million by the assessors: John Kelley, Chairman, Anne McCarthy, and Richard Riess. The average single-family home was raised from $487,000 in 2005 to $528,000 in 2006, an increase of 10.5 percent. Tax bills will reflect the same increase.

November 4: Six Marblehead Firefighters Retire. Captain Norman "Terry" Powers. Captain Dan Chalifour, Lieutenant Raymond Bates, Lieutenant Bill Laracy, Firefighter Gary Bartlett and Firefighter Stephen McCulloch, after all serving more than 20 years in the department are all retiring. That's at least 120 years of experience and leadership. The retirees were honored at a Gerry Five gathering.

Marblehead Little Theater Presents "Peter Pan." In 50 years of operation, and of presenting quality plays to the community, "Peter Pan" is its most elaborate (and expensive) production to date. And, they are very proud of it. Special effects of "Peter" flying throughout. Andrea Polan, plays the part like a natural, and stars in play with a cast of 82, many assigned to certain performances, but the stars of Peter and Hook, and others, in every one. Marblehead Little Theater marks this presentation as the last one that will be performced outside of their new home on School Street in the now-refurbished firehouse. Tickets sales are ahead of projections. Click here for a list of performances.

The Board of Selectmen voted to retain a "one rate" tax system for the town, passing up the opportunity to raise additional funds, as most town do, by charging a higher property tax to businesses. Everyone will pay the same rate: $842 per thousand, even though businesses place a heavier burden on services, parking, utilities, and roads than residences. 95.5 percent of the porperty tax falls on residences and only a small portion of businesses. The Selectmen said that they didn't want to shift the burden to businesses and perhaps deter them; but other communities have levied higher taxes on businesses as "a fairness issue" based on usage. In other communities once higher taxes appeared it is true that marginal businesses tended to be less viable, but in a way, those "vacancies" made way for stronger commercial enterprises and in the end created a stronger business climate. Marblehead's businesses have struggled in the past few years, perhaps from lack of interest on the part of the general shopping population. There are efforts afoot like 20-20 to enhance the appearance of business in Marblehead, perhaps addressing some of the obvious problems. (Salem News, in part)

November 3: School Committee keeps Super's Secrets, but Town in the dark. Many have spoken in opposition to the School Committee's descision not to speak about the dispute with Ellen Minihan, out-going Superintendent. The response always was, "Our lawyers have gagged us," or words to that effect. But in the end it was apparently part of a deal to keep quiet about Minihan's evaluation; a document that had always been discussed in the open. "It's about marketing," said Rob Dana, Chairman of the Committee. "We are looking for a new superintendent and we want to present the best picture of Marblehead." Which is to say, what? That the "best" picture is not the truth? The truth is always the best option. What has leadership come to when "it's all about marketing," and now about governing in an open and always honest way? Hmmm ....

Selectmen call for Chapter 40B to be scaled back. In the wake of a highly contentious meeting on October 25, the Board sent a letter to the Massachusetts Housing Financing Agency demanding that the state stop cramming "affordable housing component" projects into Marblehead under the well-intentioned but badly-outcomed Chapter 40B.

November 2: Dara VanRemoortel Releases First CD. A local children's songwriter, and Marblehead resident, has released her first CD, entitled, "Echo In My Playroom." Her popular work has children experiencing the joy of playing with words (All Alliteration, Palindromes,
Silly State Song, What蘗s So Gross about Groceries?) and appreciating the simpler things such as the 蠟echo in my playroom蠡 and 蠟sunsets, warm breezes, and pretty butterfly wings蠡.

A portion of all sales will be donated to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

VanRemoortel also works with classroom teachers, in the early years, to help them incorporate music into their curriculum. Referred to as "Miss Dara," she draws inspiration her two children and her husband.

"Echo In My Playroon" is currently available in our online store and at the following locations: Marblehead: Mud Puddle Toys, The Toy Shop, Spirit of 蘗76 Bookstore, The Sea Gull; Danvers: The Learning Tree Store; Salem: Ted Cole蘗s Music Shop; Beverly: Casa de Moda; Beverly Farms: The Book Shop of Beverly Farms; Manchester-by-the-Sea: Zak蘗s Gift Shop; Essex: Silly Goose; Stoneham: The Learning Tree Store; Wellesley: Wellesley Booksmith and Abigail蘗s; Sudbury: Learning Express. For more information, contact Dara VanRemoortel at musicwithdara@verizon.net

November 1: Obtuaries. Anne Sulivan, 89 (October 29) and Caroline L. Ross, 46 (October 30)

October 31: Marblehead's "Five Corners" is getting spiffed up. New retail businesses, rebuilt buildings destroyed by fire, new restuarants, the Marblehead Little Theater's new presence ... all harbinger for a revitalized area in mid-town. Look around when you drive by.

October 30: Marblehead defeats Salem, 21:0. Salem Coach Scott Connolly praised the Marblehead team for their "field position" game, and Marblehead Coach Doug Chernovetz. But, in the final analysis, the game was won by a 42-yard pass from quarterback Scott Caroll to Don Evans. Marblehead came into the game at 2-6 and Salem at 0-8. It wasn't pretty [as reported in the Lynn Item] but a win is a win.

October 29: Devaux steps in and wants to raise MCAS bar." Even though Marblehead scores are above the state averages and as he said, "some disrticts would be very happy with our scores," he still called for higher score yet. No response was noted from the community or educator corps. (Daily Evening Item)

October 27: Marblehead Movies Ceases Projection. Sometimes you have a great whose time has gone. It doesn't mean it wasn't a good idea to offer community movies again, or that people who have a free night might be really happy showing up and watching with friends. It just means that, perhaps, times today have changed from the heyday of the Warwick Theater; people don't have the time for weekday movies, and weekends are for something a little more comfortable and state of the art. Surround sound and digital projection, along with recliner-like chairs in stadium seating, with first-run movies, all in fabulous malls with myriad shopping and dining opportunities have taken their toll. As Tom McNulty said when he reluctantly closed the Town's famous movie theater (and we paraphrase), "If there was anything that I could have done, or that anyone could have done, we would have done it. But that era has passed." So, Marblehead Movies, operated by a grassroots group of local people has finally stopped the projectors. Low attendance, time and organization, were listed as reasons, as reported in the Salem News. But, as Dee Colcord, a member, said, "We're at an impasse." The organization hopes to someday return the Warwick Theater to its former glory, but not right now. We'll keep our eye on it for any future flickers of life.

State Representative Seeks Help in "Plotting" Education's Next Decade. The controversial "Education Reform Bill" of 1993 is coming up for renewal in 2006 and Douglas Petersen, now in his seventh term in the state legislature, is planning to hold a public hearing in Salem at the old Salem Town Hall, Derby Square, on November 28 at 4:30 p.m. Prior to the public meeting, a private meeting with local officials and school officials will be held in the Salem Mayor's office. Petersen expressed a belief that these meetings are genuinely aimed at gathering input from the school and general publics to "fix some of the issues that people thought were unfair in the original act." "We've been given the authority, essentially, to now plot the next decade or so of where education goes in Massachusetts," he said. He went on, "I think there is a consensus that it's time to formulate something that fits the 21st century," as reported in the Salem News.

The "original bill," of which Representative Petersen was a main sponsor, included a high stakes use of standardized testing as a graduation requirement and for admission to higher education institutions, and using scores as a powerful means to hold educators and educational systems "accountable."

The other side: Critics have accused the act of fostering increasing inequality and morphing quality teaching into simply preparing students for testing. Critics, and a growing number of professionals, now hold that the MCAS tests undermine creative teaching and critical thinking. The tests, they say, are now driving the curriculum, and that this is especially true in poorer districts. The scores are now driving even the grades that teachers must give. The Act has "centralized" control, and actually promotes the privatization of public education through charter schools and school choice. It creates a false competition among schools in the same district for students, funds and test scores. It threatens schools and districts with state takeovers, and it undermines teacher credentials and professionalism with its "School to work program," which acts as a job training system. It created a "student elite" with its "gifted and talented" program and moved Massachusetts closer to tiered diplomas. It accepted the corporate framework as a model of excellence, and invited corporate forces into public education with very disruptive and unproductive results.

The questions surrounding the 2006 reform of the Education Reform Act of 1993 involve the most fundamental issues of the future of our children here in the Commonwealth. Our public education system and our society are being determined. Attendance at Representative Petersen's hearing should be manditory for all. The agenda should cover this question first: "What were the promises made by the politicians behind this bill, who were they, and were those promises kept?" Now, that would be a great way to start.

October 26: $3,500 raised in Marblehead School for Katrina victims. [as reported in the Salem Evening news, page A9] "This is the best part of my job." Janice Wilson of the American Red Cross of Masachusetts Bay was not kidding. In a world that sometimes appears to be approaching the "end of days," to be in Marblehead for the Middle School's fundraising event that included nineteen student and faculty acts all aimed at helping victims in Louisiana, certainly must have been far more enjoyable than being on site for the disasters and dispair depicted so often on our television screens lately. Even as the nor'easter raged outside, inside people danced, acted and tumbled their hearts out to help others. And they did just that: to the tune of $3,500 which the Red Cross accepted with gratitude.

October 25, 2005: A big storm hit Marblehead today. Was it Wilma or was it a regular good old fashion Nor'eastah? Who knows but there were trees down, the Causeway was closed (as reported on the Seven News Storm Desk, and, guess what, Marbleheaders were out driving around, "checking the traps" as they always do in big storms, despite the police warnings. Photos by Blythe Purdin.
October 25, 2005: Selectman Jackie Belf-Becker attended a hearing last week in Beverly concerning the planned LNG (liquid natural gas) offshore pipeline (see our story below on the Algonquin Gas Transmission company's plans). When she returned to the Marblehead Board of Selectmen, she suggested a hearing be held in Marblehead and the Board promptly appointed her to coordinate it. They also fired off another letter to Govenor Romney "updating" him, as reported in the Lynn Item. The Algonquin Gas Transmission company has worked in New England supplying gas since 1953, operates more than 1,000 miles of pipeline, and the proposed project will place a pipe two feet in diameter and 16.4 miles long, and will become a part of the company's system of pipelines through hook ups. The projet affects communities around the North Shore and fishermen are also watching with a wary eye.

Abbot Public Library (http://www.abbotlibrary.org/) is planning its annual Fall Book Sale on Sunday and Monday, October 30 and 31. The hours are a little confusing, but here they are: Sunday 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Monday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There is a 20 percent senior discount, but only on Monday. And then, they are having a Monday evening "Special Reopening" at 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. AND THEN, they are having a "Clearance Day," on Tuesday, November 1 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There is, prior to all of this, a "Friends Only Day," on Saturday October 29, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you are interested in becoming a member of "Friends of the Abbot Public Library, Inc." contact them at P.O. Box 1391, Marblehead, MA 01945-5391, or ask about joining when you are in the library. There was no "Friends" Web site that we could find.

October 24, 2005: Finally, although with duplicity of feelings, Selectman James Nye has "admitted" [as Reported in the Salem Evening News] that his idea of selling off part of the Robinson's Farm was an idea whose time may never come. Nevertheless, despite his concession of futility, when the Board took its yay or nay vote on Nye's ill-fated idea, the vote was four to one; or put another way, it was four nays to one nye. Apparently even inevitability, the advice of Town Counsel, and universal opposition among most, if not all other, Town leaders, not to mention the will of an overwhelming vote at Town Meeting can keep Jim Nye from making his point-that-no-one-sees. The additional fact that the Robinson family apparently sold the land to Marblehead at around $400,000 below market value, is not enough savings for Nye. He stated his conservative-cookie-cutter view of municipal leadership: "It is the job of a selectman to find alternatives to more taxes." Well, that seems a little limited, really, Jim. What about all those sandwich boards and banners?

October 21: Condos on Lead Mill property, 40B Strikes again. Chief Nanepashemet used it as a fort and sacred burial ground but KSS Realty Partners want to use it for exclusive, high priced luxury condos, and, oh yes, a couple of "affordable" condos to help them qualify for Chapter 40B waivers of all Town regulations and building code restrictions. In the recent past, Richard Bane had attempted to put up a nursing home on the site but gave it up in the face of staunch citizen opposition. But, these new developer's well know that history and are pressing on anyway.

October 17: Open Space Committee Chairman calls Selectman Nye's Proposal to sell off part of Robinson's Farm, "a disservice to the townspeople and taxpayers!" Chairman Nick Freeman left no doubt as to his opinion. Selectman Nye at the October 5 meeting of the Board of Selectmen proposed selling the house and 10,000 square feet of the land to help shore up the operating budget despite the overwhelming vote at Town Meeting to buy the land for open space. Former Selectman, Diane St. Laurent, and an Open Space Committee member, saw it both ways sort of: "a noble thought," she commented, but she wasn't backing that nobility saying she wished that Nye had gone before the Open Space Committee first. However it was obvous the reception his idea would have gotten had he done just that. But still "process" is always a good diversion, after all, rather than take a stand, the Selectmen "referred it to Town Counsel." At least the Open Space Committee was open about their opinion. -- as reported in The Salem News, page A7.

Marblehead Festival of Arts is looking for a new logo for 2006 as they always do around now in the year. The deadline for submission is Saturday, November 12 at 4:30 p.m. Entries should be turned in at the Abbot Public Library. No more than five entries per entrant, each entry must be mounted on an 8x10 board to be accepted. Name,address, telephone and e-mail information must be on the back of each entry. Winner will receive $150 and credit for the new logo, but all artwork and rights will be the property of the Festival. The words "Marblehead Festival of Arts" and "July 1-4, 2006" must appear in each design. Look here for past logos from 1963 to 2004.

Finance Committee meets tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the Mary Alley. The Selectmen meet also tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in Abbot Hall. The Board of Health meets Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Mary Alley.

October 13: Wife of Erwin Carl Rohde to honored. A concert will be held in the honor of Margaret Rohde at Longy School of Music in Cambridge on Sunday October 23. Mrs. Rohde taught music for more than 30 years and was Acting Director at the school before her retirement. Margaret and Erwin Rohde raised their family in Marblehead and all three of their children attended Longy in their youth. Erwin Rohde recently lived for three years at Brooksby Village in Peabody prior to his death last year. Erwin Carl Rohde, was the A Marblehead Light Commissioner for many years and passed away in September 2004. The children of Margaret and Erwin welcome friends and colleagues to join them at this special event honoring their mother and her many years enabling children, youth and young adults to discover the joy of music. Concert will be held: Sunday, October 23, 2003 4-6 P.M., Wolfinsohn Room, One Follen Street, Cambridge Massachusetts. RSVP: (617) 868-8719 or email hthompson@longy.edu.

October 11: History is no joke. The former Harbormaster's office at 6B Cliff was rented and signed off by the Board of Selectmen. Amid intense controversy a few years the Board in several four to one votes bucked history and tradition and abandoned the Pedrick Salt Shed at the site of the old Transportation Company at Tucker's Wharf. This decision made the construction of a new harbormaster's office possible the destruction of, perhaps, the oldest commercial marine building in the country. Fortunately in the end the U.S. Park Service stepped up to save the building from the Selectmen's disinterest and disbelief in the authenticity of its history and agreed to dismantle the building's post and beam structure dating back to the revolution, put it in storage and at some future date reassemble the building in Heritage park adjacent to Salem's Friendship, a restored trading ship from the same era. As the modern building assumes the site and with the record of the Board's votes open for all to see, as reported in the Lynn Item today (Jack Butterworth), Selectman Harry Christensen, who was on the Board when it voted in favor of the Harbor and Waters Board's destruction plans for the site, "agreed with [Gary] Gregory, 'We'll have to see what other mischief we can get into,' Gregory said." They shared a good laugh together, over Gregory's joke.

October 10: Alan Hezekiah returns. Former Building Commissioner, Alan Hezekiah, will be returning the office on October 31, but not in his old job; this time he will be a "local inspector" in the building department and be working for Robert Ives, the current Commissioner and department head. Hezekiah was the first African-American, and the first college graduate, to serve as Building Commissioner. He left Marblehead employment in 1999 to pursue a teach career and other interests.

October 6: Marblehead Beauty. Lindsay Lubets, of Marblehead, has been selected to participate in the Miss Massachusetts USA 2005 Pageant in November. Ms. Lubets is also a former poetry contributor to Marblehead Magazine.

40B Construction on Lafayette Street. 485 Lafayette Street there is another 40B "affordable housing" project proposed for the old Lead Mill property. The Selectmen set a hearing date of October 19, in the Selectmen's Room at Abbot Hall at 7:30 p.m. The project as proposed will be comprised of 44 condominiums, 25 percent of which must be affordable. KSS Realty Partners is the developer. 11 of the 44 condominiums are slated to be affordable ($175,000 each) and the other non-affordable units will sold for market value, estimated at $1.2 million each. Eight of the affordable units will be reserved for local residents and employees. Attorney Carl King, former Chairman of the Marblehead Zoning Board of Appeals, who was dismissed from the Board despite his public request to be reappointed, is representing KSS, who has applied for approval of its 40B plans. All comments should be sent in writing to the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, One Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108. The deadline for public comment is October 31, 2005 (Halloween). Boo!

Click here for more information on Chapter 40B development as if effects Marblehead.

Robinson Farm Sell Off After Town Meeting Purchase for Open Space? The Selectmen are casting about for controversal ways to balance the budget again. This time a proposal has floated to the surface, released by James Nye, subdivide the property and sell off the house and 10,000 square feet of the land. Selectman Ney estimates that this would raise between $750, 000 and $1 million. He said merely removing the building would cost perhaps $200,000. The Open Space Committee is seeking assistance to remove the building at no cost. Of course, the Selectmen referred this proposal, which clearly flies in the face of the overwhelming vote of Town Meeting, to Town Counsel.

October 4: Offshore natural gas pipeline could affect local fishing. Algonguin Gas Transmission, a division of Duke Energy, is seeking permission to begin building a pipeline through local waters as part of a much bigger east coast system. (See below.)


Named the "Northeast Gateway Pipeline," there will be a public hearing to discuss the project at Beverly High Shcool, Tuesday, October 11 at 7 p.m. Just what effect the construction will have is yet to be determined. The public hearing is a first step.

September 29: Former Superintendent Phil Devaux is former no more: now he's interim. Hoping to head off the embarrassment of an empty Superintendent's chair or the confusion of a hurried-up search, the beleagered Marblehead School Committee announced the "interim" appointment of Phil Devaux as Acting Superintendent. Devaux is actually the highly successful predecessor of the fired and failed Ellen Minihan (just departed). Superintendent Minihan was immersed in an unspecified controversy surrounding her renewed (by email) contract which was subsequently un-renewed by a switch-voting Committee or month or so later, causing litigation and complications that dragged on and on., while the Town wondered what were the details and reasons. Eventually, the lawyers apparently reached an agreement and Minihan departed with a three-month separation package plus acrued vacation and sick days. With a sigh of relief, the Committee happily announced Devaux's appointment and immediately began looking to the future by appointing brand new member Patricia Blackmer to conduct the search for a new and "permanent" superintendent. The plan is for Devaux to serve ten months and the new appointment to take place prior to the next school year.

Devaux will be paid $10,000 per month and all of these separation and interim packages will have a "negligible" effect on the school budget, according to Chairman Rob Dana. RSVP 617-868-8719 or hthompson@longy.edu

September 22: Superintendent of Schools Ellen Minihan, as reported in the Marblehead Reporter and Salem Evening News has settled her disagreement with the School Committee and has resigned her post effective January 10, 2006. She will be on paid leave and utilizing her vacation and sick days. Some questions remain about why all this happened, but the School Committee has promised to publicly clear it all up.

Bud Orne, who passed on during the past week, was given a warm sendoff by family and friends.

The Marblehead Chanber of Commerce announced its annual "Of the Year" awards:
David Rodgers, Person of the Year
Phyllis Sagan, Sagen Agency Realtors, Business of the Year
Louise Moore, Volunteer of the Year.

September 15: Rob Dana announced that he had assigned School Committee just-elected member Patricia Blackmer to head up a search for the search firm that will hopefully find the new superintendent. And, as reported in local newspaper, Dana promised that the meetings would all be "open to the public."

On the topic of openness, he also promised to read the outgoing superintendent's controversal evaluation in public on October 20.

Don Flynn's passing on September 12 is noted with saddness. A long time volunteer, businessman, devoted father, veteran and very popular Marbleheader, Mr Flynn's presence in town will be missed by many.

September 8: The Water and Sewer Commission continues to resist Selectmen pressure to rescind their vote for independence from politics and pressure to help balance the budget of the Town at the expense of important maintenance and modernization projects which they consider their main function as elected officials. In an interview with one member, who asked to remain anonymous, the Selectmen's pressure was considered to be motivated by control and not in the best interest of the rate payers. The notion that the Commission "should have" gone to Town meeting is not born out by the law as recorded in the quote of Jeff Shribman in the Salem Evening News when he said what they did was "legal but not right." The 40N law allows them to do what they have done without a requirement to visit Town Meeting for corroboration. The Commision voted still has to be certified by the state, and if certified the vote will not take effect until July 1, 2006. This week the Selectmen backed off on their call for a Special Town Meeting and the Commission is exploring the idea of a committee to settle the differences between the two elected Boards.

After five years of planning, meetings, and fundraising, Chairman Judy Jacobi has finally announced that the Town's long-promised Internet Site is on the way. Design and production of the site has been awarded to Civic Plus a well-known muicipality site designer that has been used by towns and cities all over the Commonwealth. $18,000, raised privately, will cover the costs. Swampscott used a similar service five years ago and had their site operating within two months with resounding success and acclaim througout the town. Hopefully, Marblehead will catch up soon.

September 1: Schools resume amid Superintendent controversy and a rising unrest among unions about expired contract and intractibility in negotiations. Despite sacrfices and "deferred payraises," teaches see no end to the lack of progress on a new three-year contract. In an action far short of a slow down or "working to rule" (meaning working only as prescribed in the current union -- which would restrict work loads to in-school time only and many other legal work reductions -- teachers held "meet and greets" outside of school to inform parents of the situation and encourage them to contact School Committee members. Meanwhile the Town is still left hanging as to why the Superintendent has basically lost her appointment.

August 25: The Water, Sewer and Drain Commission defended its position of opting for autonomy from the Town, despite the Selectmen's charges of avoiding public input and not following the lead of the Health Board (in its decision to let the voters decide on Pay As You Throw). The Commissioners stated, as reported in the Marblehead Reporter, that it was in the best interests of the ratepayers. One of the commissioners, Wilbur Bassett was reported as saying that he was tired of having his department treated as a "cash cow," by the Selectmen, using payment in leau of taxes as a way to help balance the budget. The Selectmen responded that those PILOT dollars were "voluntary" and not required. While Commission seems to be sticking to its guns on the autonomy issue, Selectman Jeff Shribman was quoted as holding out hope that they would still "do the right thing," and rescind it vote.

Local residents held an antiwar demonstration this week in support of Cindy Sheehan in Crawford, Texas. The event attacted around 75 demonstrators on Mugford Street.

August 18: The sale of Kipps Greenhouse on Treat Road to a local veterinarian has bogged down in the opposition of neighbors, spearheaded by Attorney Karl King, who lives in the neighborhood and other local residents. Then Reggie and Jessie Butler, owners of the long established and well-respected business, stuck up a deal with a developer who planned to subdivided the property into two single family homes, But one neighbor didn't like that plan either and retained ... guess who? ... Attorney Karl King. But in the end that one not a problem. The problem was the vote of the Zoning Board of Appeals, 4-1 opposed, because the plan would "change the character of the neighborood," as reported in the Marblehead Repoter.

Formerly embattled Principal of the Marblehead Veterans Middle School, Carol Blotner, has taken a new job: principal of Swampscott High School. Libby Moore will assume her position in Marblehead.

The Selectmen are upset over the Water, Sewer and Drain Commission's vote to assume autonomy. A special Town Meeting is in the offing to address the issue. The Selectmen feel there should have been "public debate" for such a defining change in a department. The Commission feels that it was within its right to act as it did. More to come.

August 11: Commander Thomas Graves, USS Constitution, has settled in Marblehead after his appointment as Captain of the oldest ship in active commission in the world.

Superintendent Minihan has retained an attorney in her struggle over reappointment to the position. At first she received an email informing her of a favorable (4-1 on 3/17/05)) vote on her reappointment and sometime later a second (unanimous on 6/23/05) vote was taken not reappointing her. Her lawyer is quoted in the Marblehead Reporter as saying: "For the board to act so heedlessly with respect to [Minihans] reputation is very troubling." (Michael Long).

The Water, Sewer and Drain Department's elected Commission voted unanimously to grant itself autonomy according to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40N. They did it at an open meeting in full compliance with the law, but without holding a special public hearing for input and without advance notification to the Board of Selectmen, neither of which is required. Among other things, the provision allows the Commission to negotiate separately from the Town with the unions and employees under its payroll.

August 4: Bud Orne died on August 2, 2005. He was one of the most beloved in a beloved Marblehead family. His championship of Marblehead youth and sports, his long sevice to the town, and his benevolent and happy character will make him one sorely missed for his shining example.

School Committee reverses decision to reappoint the Superintendent. Switching from 4-1 in favor of reappointment to 5-0 against reappointment the School launched into a phase of confusion and contradiction that has astounded the Town. And, with no explanation whatever despite fervent and consistent calls from the Salem Evcning News to explain their actions.

Architect's drawings a of 44-condominium complex proposed for the old Lead Mill site on Lafayette Street at the border to Marblehead were published in the Marblehead Reporter this week. "Lafayette Tides," as the complex is to be known, originally was a smaller project which did not obstruct the neighbors' views but their intense opposition caused the developer to redeploy the plan under Chapter 40B (affordable housing) skirting the Town's regulatory boards and commissions but increasing the number of units and blocking the views. There is continuing opposition.

July 21: The demolished house at 2 Rockaway Street, in the Historic District, is causing quite a commotion. Apparently the original Certificate of Apropriateness from the Old and Historic District Commision specified a roof and second floor demolition, but -- oops -- the whole thing came down to the foundation. That Commission is now divided on what exactly happened. Deceit or oversight? Some of big guns of Marblehead law and preservation are now in the mix: Attorney Paul Lynch and Architect Bruce Greenwald (formerly of the Commission himself). Well, we'll keep an eye on this katzenjammer and see what happens. Are there any undemolish experts around?

Will Gallien's campaign for a dog park made the front page of the Reporter. It's not the first time this idea has come up. Will this reincarnation prove more effective under this new shepard?

The Superintendent of Schools was effectively fired, or not renewed, or shall we say the end point is in sight? But why? Local reporters have called MM.com is search of answers after asking every Town official who would take their calls (not many). MM.com knew nothing (on the record anyway) so the calls were pleasant and unproductive. Any ideas? Generally, Superintendants move on due to hiring practices, low scores (not the case in Marblehead at all), inability to build a team, or perhaps -- now this is just a guess -- failure in communication with the School Committee. There are other reasons that come up in some communities, but there is no hint of anything here. So what happened? Doesn't the Town want to know?

It has been really, really HOT in Marblehead for a month now, with few days of reprieve. Over 100 degrees. Maybe there is no global warming, but there should is Header Warming.

July 14: After town meeting approved a study of the acquisition of the YMCA property at 121 Pleasant Street, adjacent to Memorial Park, by a committee for the expansion of Memorial Park, another group has come forward to vie for the land. 20-20, an organization of merchants for the revitalization of the areas commerical and public spaces, is suggesting that the property become a teen center. A teen center is a long sought after goal of many parents and town leaders. Interestingly, Mike Lane of The Recreation, Park and Forestry Department is spear-heading the effort and the Memorial Park Committee also has two members of the RPF Commission on it. So, there will be plenty of opportunity for discussion.

July 7: School Board quietly and without expanation announced that the Superintendent of Public Schools, Ellen Minihan, would not have her contract renewed. The Chairman of the School Committee, Rob Dana, notified the Marblehead Reporter that "on advice of counsel" he would not discuss the reasons why or the situation in any way. When a contract comes up for renewal there is always the possibility of non-renewal, but non-renewal with no explanation, leaving the situation to the active imagination of parents, teachers, students and townfolk, is highly unusual.

June 30: The death on June 16 of Staff Sergeant Christopher Piper in Iraq brought out the largest crowd in recent history to honor him. "It seemed like all of Marblehead paused Monday morning..." said Marblehead Reporter editor, Kris Olson, in his front page article. Uniformed soliders from all services, bagpipers, and family members walked solemnly from the Old North Church to Waterside Cemetery in a procession of saddness and shock.

The Board of Selectmen announced officially that the traditional fireworks display would return this year, 9:10 p.m. on Monday, July 4.

June 16: Down to the wire the divided (3-1) Board of Selectmen pressed new Selectman Jim Nye for his reasons for not supporting the upcoming override, and given that opposition, they asked him to specify how he would overcome the deficity and what cuts he would make. No definitive response. Some hemming anf hawing. But, insiders felt the Town was informed and ready to help their government avoid deep cuts in services.

June 9: Staff Sergeant Chris Piper was critically wounded in Irag on June 3 by a roadside bomb apparently set by the insurgents in that country. He was reported to be under intensive care at a military hospital in San Antonio, Texas.

Olympic Gold Medalist Tyler Hamilton, now accused of using performance enhancing drugs (he vehemently denies it) is facing his last chance at redemption from the disgrace and controversy now encircling his stellar cycling career. Incidentally, the Town has removed the "Home of Tyler Hamilton" sign affixed beneath the "Entering Marblehead" sign at the corner of Lafayette and Maple Streets. No explanation for the removal was given.

June 2: In a vote of the Board of Selectmen and other Boards in Town it was unanimous support for the big one: Question 5; not for Jonathan Lederman of the School Committee or Jim Nye on the Board of Selectmen, both conservatives who questioned the process and the outcome of the process that concluded with override requests at Town Meeting.

The Town experienced a violent Northeaster storm this week, causing waterfront damage and boats to be dislodged from their moorings. Travellers across the Causeway saw the sight of masts and fishing boats aground.

May 26: Memorial Day preparations are underway.

The battle over the overrides passed at Town Meeting is underway as well:

Robinson's Farm: $2,025,000
Disposal area remediation: $113,500
Equipment (rolling stock): $811,500
Public Building repairs: $155,000
General Override (operating budgets): $2,730,167

May 19: The override election is set for June 15 to decide the fate of articles passed at Town Meeting. In their vote the Board of Selectmen opted for a single question on the supplemental operating budgets of several town departments including the school, despite some vocal requests for a "menu," separating each department.

May 12: Town elections throw out John Liming (Selectman) and Rose Wheeler McCarthy (Recreation, Park and Forestry) but otherwise there no changes or surprises. John Liming had been at the center of a controversy over the falsification of his resume during his first election in which he admitted that he misrepresented his educational credentials. Mrs. McCarthy was the victim of very strong competition and lack of support on her own board.

The Board of Selectmen had one open seat with the departure of Tom McNulty resulting in the election of Jackie Belf-Becker and James Nye, both first-time Selectmen.

May 5: Town Meeting passes everything, including supplemental budgets destined for a large override vote.

Two students, as reported in the Marblehead Reporter, were suspended from Marblehead High School for possession of Marijuana.

April 28: Town heads into Town Meeting with brighter news on state aid and as candidates campaign to save and win seats on various Boards and Committees.

April 21: Tyler Hamilton has been suspended from competition for two years and has suffered a fall from grace in the sporting world, despite his denials. Marblehead recently included on the sign entering Marblehead, "Home of Tyler Hamilton."

April 14: FinCom members voted drastic cuts in the Town budget to overcome a predicted shortfall. There are plans to offer Town Meeting a "supplement budget" option perhaps to be offered as an override after Town Meeting.

April 7: School Committee tells Marblehead's popular Farmer's Market that it must move from it's current location on the Village Street school property. Farmer's Market officials were "dejected" as reported in the Marblehead Reporter.

March 31: Town Administrator Tony Sasso, in a move reflective of his concern for the Town financials woes, deferred his raise for a year. While the $12,000 in salary will no balance the budget, the gesture and sacrifice illustrated the willingness of Town employees to understand and adjust to the situation, which now includes a $3 million deficit. Mr, Sasso's decision was reflected in a praising Marblehead Reporter editorial entitled: "Good Move, Tony."

March 24: 11 candidates running for Selectmen this year. Tom McNulty decided not to run and John Liming because of his falsification of his election resume is deemed vulnerable.
The Special Election held last week to decide the fate of the Selectmen's "Pay-As-You-Throw" proposal resounding sent it to the dump. It failed overwhelmingly despite the Selectmen's presentation and support.

March 17: The Charter School wants to enlarge by adding more students to bring in more money. The management plans to add ten more students to the upcoming year. Marblehead Public Schools are charged $9,000 for each student sent to the charter School. So, while it helps the Charter School it hurts all the others.

March 10: Town Finance Director Bart Snow retires after 35 years.

March 3: Steven Howe announces that he will be stepping down after Town Meeting as Town Meeting Moderator, a post he has held for 42 years.

February 24: No significant news this week.

February 17: National Guard Sergeant Jeffrey Greenberg was welcomed home by the Town after his tour of duty in Iraq.

February 10: Incident with a knife in the middle school grips parents and sparks suspensions.

February 3: Superintendent Ellen Minihan's salary of $141,387.58 topped the Town's list this week. Four other employees were also over $100,000: Bob Jolly, Light Department $116.5K, Marilyn Hurwitz, High School Principal, $195K), James Carney, Police Chief, $101K, and Tony Sasso, Town Administrator, $100K.

Special Town Meeting is set for March 16 to discuss Pay-As-You-Throw.

January 27: A blizzard hit the Town over the weekend with 32 inches of snow and then another 8 to 10 inches feel in the early week.

Larry DiGiammarino announces that he will not be seeking another term on the School Committee. He was first elected in 1999 and service

January 20: Opposition to the Trash Fee -- Or Pay-As-You-Throw -- proposal raised their profile this week by beginning a phone campaign to bolster their support.

Reverend Kevin Bean, of St. Michael's, bid fairwell to his flock and town this week as he departs Marblehead for his new assignement in Manhattan.

January 13: The Big Tree fire cast a giant shadow across the Town, just 12 days after Christmas. People warmed themselves and looked to the future with hope. It's one tradition that everyone loves ... well, som environmentalists have raised concerns while others raised their wine glasses by the fire.

But, that was the only shadow and light to remember this week ... there was a rather dark other shadow cast by a townwide blackout that lasted for almost five hours from 5:15 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday. Businesses, government, and homes all blacked out. The cause was not known at the time of this writing, but Marblehead Municipal Light Department Manager Bob Jolly wanted to make sure Marbleheaders knew that it was "not our fault!"

Concerning the campaign to create a recall provision for Selectmen who lie on their election resumes, the current Board took a dim view. Mr. McNulty commented that with a one year term, the recall is really unnecessary. Wilfred Gallien, spear-heading the issue and warrant articles, commented that with the Liming affair it has been proven to be needed. On to Town Meeting and the Town Election.

January 6: The year begins with a chilling cold: perhaps more than just the weather.
Facing a growing budget crisis, continuing departure of the most experienced employees and political leaders, and no lessening in the demands of the Marblehead people for the services they have always had, the bone chilling cold of these first few days is perhaps prologue of things to come.

The damage to the Road School Affordable Housing facility was more extensive than first reported. Twenty-eight people have been displaced and the repairs will take some time to complete.

The Christmas tsunami disaster has spawn a "tsunami" of support from Marbleheaders, who are contributing and organizing at unprecedented levels.

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