December 18: Jag rolls over six times on West Shore Drive. Excessive speed was certainly a contributing factor according to Marblehead police, but the driver was slowly taken away in an ambulance at the Dodge Street corner. James J. Welch, 24, was the driver at 7:30 a.m. last Saturday. His speed and the other causes of the accident are under investigation.
Swampscott Football coach, Steve Dembowski, is cleared of using physical force on Marblehead football players in a fist fight after the Thanksgiving Game. The video tape does show a man in blue windbreaker wading into the melee and using his arms to break up the fight and a later clip shows the same on the ground in a scuffle with players from both teams. But officials in Swampscott have pronouced the coach innocent and in a show of support have announced he will again be the coach next year. By the way, Swampscott lost the game in a stunning upset.
After responding to 911 call which ended in a long scream, police stopped Christopher Houghton, 19, of 19 Girdler Road speeding away from the scene. Houghton's hands were covered in blood and plice say [Salem News] that he was drunk. It was 3:30 a.m. on Sunday. He has been charged with rape, aggravated assault and kidnapping.
December 8: The Village School Rehab takes on new life ... maybe. $6 million is the opening bid. Will the state be interested in renovating the "worst" ranked school (along with the Glover)? We are in line with 100 other districts who are all ready to go, while Marblehead and many others are still in just the development stages. Superintendent Devaux said that he had tried to meet with the state authorities, but had to settle with a low-level phone conference. Pat Blackmer, who ran for the School Committee on a platform of getting the elementary school renovations moving, stated the obvious: "At the start of the Master Plan in 1998 the elementary schools were in need of significant renovations and repaot. Eight years later that fact remains true." Well, there you go. Let's wait and see what happens next year with nothing new coming from the committee on renovations.
December 7: Traffic on Lead Mill hill causes a slow down for KSS Realty's dreams. A 44-unit, affordable housing complex at the turn of the hill on Lafayette will cause absolutely no increased traffic problem for the neighborhood. That's basically what the developer is saying and residents aren't buying it. Neighbors say that even now instead of an easy left hand turn onto Lafayette, many times they actually have to turn right to get a chance to head out of town. The developer is asking for a "comprehensive permit" from the ZBA to skirt around these pesky neighbors and other traditional regulations of the Town. 40B is a law aimed at increasing affordable housing that forces towns and cities to allow it even in places where normal bylaws would not allow it.
Maddie's Sail Loft celebrates its 60th Anniversary. Even thought the drinking hole, famous in New England, has changed hands several times, it's still a Marblehead tradition. Big drinks, lots of food, and a location in historic Marblehead (just a short stagger to the harbor) has been a formula for success for six decades. Lunch at Maddies is a great change of pace. Stop in and join the party.
December 5: Dana Snow is now Superintendent of Highways, and Director of Water, Sewer and Drains. Actually, all of the departments that Snow, who now earns $83,631 (but a raise is on the way for the new responsibilities he has accepted), will be combined upon the retirement of Public Works department head Thomas Murray on March 24, 2007. The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved the change and the appointment.
November 30: Board of Selectmen lower tax rate to 7.76 per thousand of assessed valuation. It's only a decrease of 67 cents but on $350,000 that's $234.50. Unfortunately, property values in Marblehead are inflated due to the reputation and location of the Town, so don't start counting your decrease before the increase comes home to roost.
November 28: G. Paul Dulac is unanimously appointed Superintendent of Schools. $162,000 and a three-year contract were the result of nearly two and half years of aborted searches, innumberal meetings and lots of jawboning by the School Committee. But, now everyone is excited and anticipating the rosy-colored future some have long been dreaming of. Formerly of Edgartown where he was a principal. During the past month he announced he was a finalist for Marblehead, but said he wanted to stay in Martha's Vineyard. His long-term health insurance was in question so he kept his name in the running. Edgartown officials corrected the situation and restored Dulac's insurance and Dulac said he would stay there. But that changed and when Edgartown Supperintendent learned that Dulac had actually kept his name in the running in Marblehead, he asked him to resign. "Edgartown needs to have stability and commitment and clearly that is not the case," Weiss said. [Lynn Item] Dulac had been Interim superintendent in Edgartown, but did not apply for the position, later filled by Weiss.
November 27: Marblehead beats Swampscott in Thanksgiving football for the first time in five years. The score was Marblehead 6, Swampscott 0. The game was won on a run-back interception for a touchdown and a missed extra point. It was not a pretty game. The revalry has gone on since 1910 and believe it or not, with this win it's all tied up again. 47 wins each, with five ties.
Look here for the complete record.
November 20: Gigantic explosion in Danvers felt in Marblehead. Along Route 35, near Sam and Joe's Pizza restaurant a plant making paint coatings finishes blew up suddenly, wrecking up to 90 homes and perhaps demolishing 25 beyond repair. Officials are investigating the explosion's cause.
November 17: Controverial cartoon published in Reporter. Local officials don't like it.
November 13: War on Terror monument is dedicated before 500 people on Veterans Day. The monument contains the names: Christopher B. Shay, Christopher Piper, and the flight numbers of the aircraft that were destroyed on September 11, 2001. The memorial is located in Memorial Park adjacent to the Vietnam Memorial. Photos by Dave Hatch.
November 9: Selectmen will choose chief locally, no apology. "It is a long-standing tradition in the town of Marblehead to bargain and come to an understanding between bargaining units and this is a prine example of how to work together," claimed Selectman Jeff Shribman. Surely some in the audience were incredulous at this rosy, self-serving assessment of what some have described as a Board of Selectmen completely out of step with the Town and suddenly reversing its obstinant course in the face of stern opposition. But anyway the new chief will be someone known to the town and who knows the town. That's good ... but why all the bluster and fretting and strutting if all the sound and fury signifies nothing? Why not save the pain?
October 25: Superintendent search finally resumes. Suddenly realizing that it's busy season for the top candidate the committee [according to the Daily Evening Item] finally
woke up and has scheduled a meeting. Could it be that in the back of their minds they really want the status quo with Phil Devaux?
October 22: Snow on sidewalks is drifting back and forth. Should homeowners be required to shovel their sidewalks regardless of what the town truck throw their way? No matter how old they are? Should taxes be raised for this service so the Town will do it again? It sounds like a snow storm on a slippery slope. Anyone who lives near a street knows that it's a great idea to shovel the sidewalk but everytime a Town truck goes by its slush and ice chunks all back it piles again. It you wait until the storm is over and the trucks are gone (1) it's like a glacier of granite that no snow blower can cut through or (2) you've already been fined for making people walk in the street. An impossible task for residents, really. Some can do it, but most simply cannot.
October 19: Union and Town are discussing the Police Chief options. Deal? No deal? The selectmen are sticking with their August 9 vote to seek an outside selection service and procedure. The police officers of Marblehead presumed that this was a move away from a home-grown chief. They are meeting now to present their case for the opposite outcome. It may just be a lot of talk and nothing will happen to keep a Marblelhead poice officer in the corner office, but both sides have described the talks as productive, whatever that means. [The Reporter]
October 12: JCC Fire. With the new YMCA coming to fuition in the near future, the last thing the JCC needed was a big fire. But that's what happened on their deck overlooking the Swampscott coast. And it happened while the facility was closed for the New Year Holiday. The new men's health center was heavily damaged but everything else is open and available now.
October 8: Flynnies Backs Away. And, with a new bid in of $35,222 who can blame the guy who thought he couldn't make money at $25,000? So how does the Red Rock Bistro of Swampscott think they can do it? Oh, go figure: Ocean front views in all directions, plenty of parking, an informal atmosphere, and a spot that everyone, absolutely everyone loves. If the new operator is a little more aggressive and stays open 150 days (June to October) or (May to September), advertises a little bit in the regional publications, and offers a good selection of food and sells $500 per day, he will gross twice the rent. With a few functions and some REALLY good days it could be one of the best deals ever around here. But, there is a lot that can go wrong in the restaurant business and as they said in that business, "Many a slip, between cup and lip." So, we'll see but, on paper, it looks good.
Local Liquor stores say "NO" to competition and that it's all about safety. Well if Question One passes in November every supermarket (large and small) will be able to sell wine. That way we would be like all the other communities across the nation where people who shop in supermarkets can also buy a bottle of wine without going to another store. Well, there's the rub. It would hurt business badly at our local purveyors. They say that separately licensed specialty stores are a much safer way to dispense the booze, but is it true that Massachusetts has less alcoholism and DUI or alcohol related accidents. No, of course not. So, in the end it is either about free enterprise and competition or its about keeping a sweet deal going for local merchants. It's also about consumers having a choice and competition-influenced prices. Does anyone doubt that Stop and Shop will have lower prices, better hours, and greater convenience that fighting for a parking space in Marblehead? The way to stop competition is to be MORE competitive, not ask for special deals. Marblehead is years behind in parking and in encouraging business vitality in Town, stopping the march of change is not the way to compensate for years of sadly missing leadership and vision.
Glover School is 100. So, wipe away the world out there and dive into another Marblehead moment. One of our elementary schools is 100 years old and falling apart. Hooray for the good old Town. Every time I drive by the new High School and Middle School I quietly celebrate, and secretly wonder how it could have happened: our Town working together to create a better future. We usually spend more time arguing about how we can create a better past by rewriting and rewriting history over and over.
October 4: YMCA breaks ground on Leggs Hill Road. It's going to be a 90,000 square feet facility, with an eight lane pool, a 7,000 square foot gymnasium and lots of fun for the members. The estimated time of opening is sometime in 2008.
No Place for the Peace Pole. 250,000 poles are located all over the world, but Marblehead just can't make a decision where to stick this one. Selectman Christensen seemed to imply at Wednesday's meeting that the message of peace was covered by the World War II memorial which says, "Peace, Peace, My God." But, for the past 14 years Marblehead's Peace Pole was right there in Memorial Park, until it was attacked and vandalized in January 2005. The Peace Committee wants the pole moved to Gatchell's Green, apparently away from the War memorials, and where it would be less likely to be vandalized again. No resolution as of now.
October 3: Tom Hamond is recognized for excellence. It's been a long time coming and people who know him are not surprised, but after 40 years of service to the environment and to the Town of Marblehead, Recreation, Park and Foresty Superintendent Tom Hamond has received the prestigeous Peter C. O'Brien Humanitarian Award. In this years ballot, Tom was the highest vote getter. "The award means more to me because Peter O'Brien was a friend," Tom said in a post award interview. Mr. Hamond plans to continue working despite a struggle with Parkinson's Disease.
September 15: Flynnie's rent on the beach is going up ... way up. For the past 15 years Jeff Flynn has been paying $100 a yer for the restuarant he built on the beach. That was the deal. But now, time's up and the piper's to be paid apparently. To the tune of $25,000. In typical style, the Board of Selectmen referred the now-available property to the assessors for an assessment and then to a legally-required bid process. The $25,000 figure was based on the unique nature of the property and access at Devereux Beach, and a comparison to similar (if that's the proper word) properties around the North Shore. Not thrown into the value mix of course was the employment of all those young people saving for college, or the fact of Flynnie's universal accolades (well represented in the newspaper and at the Selectmen's meeting) from the people of the Town. But, "show me the money" was the Town's mantra symbolized by the slamming of the gavel by Chairman Christensen as reported in the Lynn Item. "You are out of order," he authoritatively stated to Jeff Flynn.
September 14: Thomas Slavin wounded in Iraq. He was riding in a Humvee hit by an improvised explosive device south of Baghdad. One soldier was killed and another injured along with Slavin. Slavin's mother lives in Marblehead.
Doyle Sailmakers is leaving Marblehead and Relocating to Salem. Shades of Ted Hood are shadowing the Town's lack of leadership in rebuilding the image of the Town as a yachting center. 34 jobs and the prestige of having one of the world's largest sailmakers call Marblehead home are gone. Robbie Doyle says Salem is more affordable for his employes. The company operates in 30 countries. But no longer in Marblehead who's glory is drooping like a becalmed spinnaker in the world of yachting.
September 11: Rockmore in trouble over emissions. The Coast Guard is investigating the possible dumping of engine oil or a diesel mixture into Salem Harbor as the crew prepared for an inspection. A neighboring boater reported an oil slick in the area and the CG responded and found the mixture coming form the restuarant's bilge. A clean up is impossible, but responsibility can be affixed. Earlier, in August, a count of 250 people aboard the restuarant violated the 143 legal capacity. So authorities are focusing on the continuing possibility of further violations.
August 29: Town residents don't like Selectmen decision on Police Chief. The Selectmen may have stepped into a problem that isn't going away when they chose to go outside of Marblehead's traditions to find the next Chief of Police. In a well-written and persuasive letter in the Marblehead Reporter, Matt Freeman, Bob Picariello, and Mark Mills stated the case for a home-grown chief. Apparently they are not alone in seeing that side of the argument, but are the Selectmen set on their new course?
August 18: Drunk Driving arrests keep police busy. Police are not hanging around the yacht clubs or outside of Tedesco Country club, but in the past five days there have been five DD arrests. Polcie officials were reported as saying the department is not doing anything unusual, but that these drivers were just had to miss.
Hurricane History recap: 41 storms have affected our area since 1900, 12 of which had a significant impact on Marblehead.
August 11: Board votes to have a "statewide" search for the new Police Chief. Causing a dejected response from the current applicants for the job and the police department as a whole, the Board of Selectmen in a historic vote decided to most likely select a non-Marbleheader to led the department. This change has been long-discussed among the conservative Board but never acted on. This year it was time, apparently, to change. The vote was 3-1 (Belf-Becker, Shribman and Jacobi in favor; Nye opposed, Chrisensen, once again in one his innumerable "recusals" and not voting.)
August 10: Richard Boardman goes to jail. One of Marblehead's best-known financial counselors is sentenced to a year in prison for stealing money from an elderly client. Plus, upon his release, Boardman is sentenced to five years of probation and payment of restitution to the elderly individual.
August 2: The first Non-Marbleheader Chief of Police?. The current Board of Selectmen seems to be leaning in the direction of "going outside of Marblehead" to find a chief of police. Even though there are several highly qualified officers on the force who are ready and willing to apply. Chairman of the Board Harry Christensen said the Board has the right to look outside of Town, but then back pedalled a little and said that no decision has been made as to what to do. No surprise there. The Union feels that the four men who are qualified and who have served the Town for many years should be given the opportunity as has always been the Town's past practice and precedent. An out of town police chief would be less independent of the Selectmen and more dependent on the leadership for guidance, especially from the Town Administrator. This issue has come up before and has always been rejected by Selectmen who appreciate a home-grown government and especially a locally-based police force. But times have changed apparently.
July 27: Fire wrecks Building. 188 Pleasant Street was afire around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday. Firefighters encountered a second story resident leaning out the window calling for help. Village Rug is on the first floor and there was an apartment on the second floor. The resident's exit was on the same side of the building as the fire. The other door would have opened into the fire and the resident didn't want to do that. The fire department spokesman said that the fire looked "like it was accidental."
July 26: New Superintendent Search Committee formed. After a failure last time to find a person everyone could agree on the School Committee is trying again. Acting-then-Interim Superintendent Phil Devaux is getting restless to get back into retirement. This new idea was hatched at the School Committee's "summer retreat." We'll keep you informed. Oh, yes, they also up the salary by $10,000 to $160,000. Do you think that will do it?
June 6: New Principal for the High School is close to being picked. Acting Sup
June 29: Lead Mills keep going. Developers who have faced community opposition and politicians who support it reached a new major advance this week as they received s "project eligibility letter from the Massachusetts Housing finance Agency. KSS Realty can move to the next step even though the scope of the project has yet to be defined.
June 20: Selectmen fire Jack Buba from FinCom. "I asked a lot of questions and I rocked the boat," said the fallen Finance Committee member. "I had a problem with his approach," said Judy Jacobi, Selectman. Jeffrey Shribman, who pretty much always follows Jacobi's lead, said that he had problems with Buba's "remarks about town employees." An example sited in the Lynn Item was Buba's questioning of the Town raises and what effect they would have on Proposition 2.5. He was quoted as saying that instead of straight answers he got "lots on blah, blah, blah," and so he voted against them, gaining the emnity of four members of the Board of Selectmen. Harry Christensen and Jackie Belf-Becker joined in voting Buba off. James Nye stood alone in favor of keeping Buba on the committee. It is highly unusual for the Selectmen to openly remove a member of the powerful Finance Committee because the independence and diversity of opinions, styles and voting record of the members lends genuine credibility to the budget process, insuring that all segments of the population is represented. Nann Weissenberger was removed several years ago. Both Buba and Weissenberger were removed with Jacobi's lead on both cases, siting "approach" as her reasons. Both Buba and Weissenberger questioned department heads closely and sometimes with intensity. Both would have to be considered conservatives in their approach to proposition 2.5 and new taxes to fund municipal salary increases.
June 15: Devereux Beach becomes a "hot spot." Wifi, a wide area Internet network, has been set up so that sunbathers at the beach can stay online while the sun shines. The signal reaches about 50 yards around the restuarant, Flynnies.
June 14: Open Campus for Seniors closes. State mandates strike again. The regulation that students attend classes for 990 hours during the school year (beginning next year) is impinging on the traditional openness extended to graduating seniors. It may effect only part of the year, leaving the final semester in the traditional relaxed way it has been. But, that remains to be determined according to Acting Superintendent Devaux. [Salem News]
June 9: John Ziergiebel is named MHS principal. "In three to five years, he will show the greatest growth," predicted Acting Superintendent Devaux.
Libby Moore is permanent principal of the Veterans Middle School after successfully serving as "interim" principal during the first year of occupation.
June 7: New Fire Engine fires up on Marblehead streets. $400,000 buys a lot of fire engine. It has foam in addition to water on board. The newest thing in firefighting is to use foam. "It does a great job on knocking down flames and it can be used on anything," stated Lieutenant Mike Porter. Well, tax dollars at work, they say. But it's great to see the firefighters have to tools they need.
June 6: New Principal for the High School is close to being picked. Acting Superintendent has toured Gloucester, Andover, and Hiram, Maine in his search for a replacement for Marilyn Hurwitz. He says the choice is imminent.
June 5: Drinker takes up the School Committee Chairmanship. It was unanimous. Plus, James Dearborn took his seat replacing Joan Rosenthal.
June 1: School Committee announces a "Master Plan" committee again. Once again we're off to the committee study room, this time the focus will be on the elementary schools. Patricia Blackmer and Rob Dana will head up the effort. The first "Master Plan" was set in the 1990s and it's a constant element of the the facilities improvements for the school district. Plans of the past have included recommendation to close the Evelith and Gerry, the Glover and the Bell, at various times. There was a plan to combine all elementary schools on a large campus on Village Street. Groupings have been changed to include the fifth grade in the middle school and now the fourth grade is there as well, but it's call the "lower middle school." Some of the changes were instituted to counter the Charter School's configuration, but that school quickly reconfigured to meet the new setup, obviating the effect intended. So what next? Stay tuned.
May 24: LNG Deepwater terminal hearings scheduled. The hearing will be held in Salem, Wednesday June 14, at Gloucester Hight School and June 15 at the Salem State College library at 360 Lafayette Street. Meetings will run from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
May 12: Tracy Lyons, a Marbleheader, may well be on her way to becoming an associate justice of the Brighton Division of the Boston Municipal Court. Lyons was one of four people nominated by Governor Mitt Romney for judgeships. There was no opposition from the legal community to her nomination and she won high praise from long-time colleagues.
May 10: How to pay for the new memorial discussed. An idea has surfaced that the memorial could be paid for by selling photos of the Spirit of '76, the town's most famous possession. Selectmen referred the topic to Town Counsel of course. One wonders why such a discussion is taking place. Would the soldiers like to hear that we are unable to fund it through the public funding process?
Devaux to name finalists for high school prinicipal. "This is a rolling situation. I'm still doing initial interviews. This doesn't follow a neat cookie-cutter system." Devauz comments, as reported in the Daily Item. Superintendent Devauz has eliminated 14 candidates. He called the pool of talent and resumes, "Exciting."
Marbleheader Kathleen O'Toole, Boston Police Commissioner, resigns. Well, she's off to her other native land of Ireland to become Chief Inspector of the country's national police force. She is expected in Dublin on July 1. O'Toole graduated from Marblehead High School in 1972. Her daughter, Meghan is studying at the National University of Ireland in Galway.
May 9: Ho, hum. Incumbents returned to all offices.
May 8: Top Cop selection alternatives outlined. Traditonally the choice is the highest score among the qualified applicants on the "Chief's Test." But, Town Counsel, Marc Miller of Lynnfield, outlined three possible scenarios: (1) use Civil Service as past practice would dictate; (2) use a consultant from the Massachusetts Division of Human Resources to perform a neutral assessment based on test scores, an interview, and an analysis of experience; and (3) use the consultant without considering the exam at all. The four candidates for Chief are: Robert Picariello, Matthew Freeman, Mark Mills, and David Millet. Odds are on Picariello or Freeman whatever system is used ... look for a consultant to become involved, of course.
May 5: Shooting shocks two-town area. In a frighteninig 911 call John Barclay of Swampscott asked police to come in the back door and that he would be dead too by the time they got there. His wife was already dead. And, that's exactly what they found when the police arrived. John and Michelle Barclay, both members of Swampscott's signature congregation, the First Church of Swampscott, weree remembered as kind, gentle and caring people. There was no reported [The Daily Item] knowledge in the community of "underlying conflict" within the marriage.
May 4: Election looms ... but no suspense. Despite the sprinking of lawn signs, the sighs of a bored electorate may create a wind of apathy as incumbents are reelected again and again. A driver rolling down Lafayette Street towards the center of Town can see a huge JACOBI sign with three-foot letters proclaiming the desire of what: vote for Judy? Is there any doubt? Mr. Christensen has signs on the main thoroughfares, but the effort is half-hearted. The only challenger has no signs, as if in resignation aforehand. Understandable are the two or three signs each for James Nye and Jackie Belf-Becker ... no one likes compliancy in new Selectmen. But really, where are the elections that really matter? Or maybe it really doesn't matter anymore. The Town Adminstrator's day to day management of town business translates into a currency of knowledge that not just Selectmen rely on but all of us rely on. When you have someone with Mr. Sasso's saavy and involvement do you really want interloping politicians sounding off without first checking with him? So, in the end the management of the Town has become more centralized. The question is, should we accept that and move towards a mayor as Amesbury did? Or a Town Manager as Danvers did? My vote's for mayor, and wouldn't that be an election to remember where every vote counted and important issues were discussed? And, remember to vote on Monday.
School Nurse advocates healtier food alternatives in the Schools. Lead Nurse Paula Dobrow doesn't like to see students eating pastries, sweets and sugared carbonated soft drinks without a choice or two of healthier items. It's not the meals served in the schools, those are actually nutritious ... it's those fundraising bake sales, vending machines, classroom parties, professional meetings, concession stands, and organizations that rent space in the schools. Dobrow introduced her 16-page policy recommendations at a recent School Committee meeting. The Committee referred it to Superintendent Devaux and he said, "There's lots to discuss here." [The Item]
May 3: Live Radio Communications from doomed boat included in new Audio Book. Author Michael Tougias’ bestselling Ten Hours Until Dawn: The True Story of Heroism and Tragedy Aboard the Can Do has been made into an audio book that features the actual radio communications from the boats in distress. This is the first audio book to ever combine the reading of the book with the actual words of men in the story. Caught at sea in 40 foot waves and 100 mile per hour winds during the Blizzard of 78, the pilot boat Can Do went to aid of a lost Coast Guard patrol boat and a foundering oil tanker. The words of the men on all the boats are included in this new audio version of Ten Hours Until Dawn which was selected by the American Library Association as one of the “top books of year – a real white-knuckle read." "Storm Stories" of the Weather Channel is producing a half hour episode based on book which is to be aired at the end of May or early June. Blackstone Audio Books produced this audio book, which is read by award-winning reader Joe Barrett, with an introduction, epilogue, and authors note read by author Michael Tougias. The live radio messages are included at the end of the reading. Tougias says "the radio communications of these brave men are absolutely riveting. Listening to the recording is like listening to the black box on a doomed airliner. The mariners caught in the storm showed great control and competence in the face of incredible odds, and were forced to make several life and death decisions. The families of the men decided that their communications should be made public because they are proud of the way the men conducted themselves during the ordeal. Coast Guard men and women should also be proud, because like the men on the Can Do, they risked their lives in the blizzard and stayed calm under extreme pressure.” The literary review magazine, Booklist, said Ten Hours is “a white-knuckle read, the best book of its kind." You can learn more about Ten Hours Until Dawn and also see where Tougias is performing his slide lectures at www.michaeltougias.com.
Article 37 goes down. No pruchase of the Angelica property off of Longview Drive. Only nine votes. So, maybe it will be back. Maybe we should disqualify real estate brokers (there are hundreds of them in town) from voting on these types of issues ... and lawyers too ... and insurance people ... hmmm, no wonder it failed. People who go to town meeting just because they want to be involved were less than people who go to town meeting because they ARE involved this year. Apparently.
Town says "Stay!" to lease law change advocates. No change allowed, for now. The idea was to allow dog owners to let their dogs run free somewhere in Marblehead but that idea, this year, while for the dogs, was for the birds. 205 opposed, 151 in favors.
Shovel your sidewalk? Well, it's a good idea but it's not going to be the law. There are no easy answers apparently. You'd think this idea ... every one should shovel their own sidewalks ... would qualify but no. Imaginie a 200 foot long sidewalk along Tedesco Street. It starts to snow at 5:30 p.m. and out you go to snow blow it all away. When you wake up at 5:30 a.m. there's four feet of plowed snow, ice, and giant chunks all over the place again. Impossible for a normal person to clear, even with a snow blower. And, supopose you do do it, pushing pulling and huffing through the glacier twice, once down and and once back. Then the snowplows come by again just trying to widen the road a little bit. So, in the end that idea is off to "further study."
April 25: "Marblehead and the Civil War," DVD issued. Joan Goloboy, formerly of MHTV, produced the video during a year of research and production. It depicts Marblehead's involvement in the Civil War and the subsequent establishment of a G.A.R. post in Marblehead. Nothing was reported on availability of the DVD after the official presentation. The film is 20 minutes long.
April 24: Lead Mills comes off the table at Town Meeting. [Salem News] Despite the famous blovations of William Woodfin, former Selectman, on behalf of the developer, and the neighborhood, KSS Realty Partners has postponed seeking the zoning changes needed for its project. Originally looking for permission to beuild 30 luxury condominiums, the partners encountered resistance from the neighbors, then they came back with a 40-B project including afforable housing components and by-passing all town regulatory boards and commisions, then Mr. Woodfin jumped in to have the partners return to their original application, in effect becoming a spokesman for what they really wanted, but now the town has balked at the "rush" being pushed on the Town. Mr. Woodfin, adjusting deftly to the new situation pronounced, "It's an intelligent decision by all parties. It's an appropriate thing to do considering the size of the development." Article 12 on the Town Meeting Warrant will be referred back to the Planning Board for "further study." Attendees to Town Meeting need not even come for this one.
April 21: Candidates Night comes again. But is anyone coming? The annual gathering of candidates for local office will convene on Monday night at 7 p.m., April 24 in the Village School auditorium. With the election only weeks away this was once considered the premier event in the campaign. But not so anymore. The room will be stocked with unopposed, or for-all-effect-unopposed incumbents reading from their campaign notes to a room sparsely populated with the usual suspects: mostly families and spouses and political hangers-on who would show up if there were no challengers at all. Hey, it's a night out! And, everyone can be home for the Antiques Roadshow and Deal or No Deal at 8 p.m. Such a deal!
Marblehead FY2007 Information is available online: Town Meeting Warrant and the Finance Committee Report.
April 20: Marilyn Hurwitz is hailed in a Reporter front page article as she nears retirement. The article, written by Kathy Leonardson, Finance Committee member, and active citizen within the Schools, describes the popular high school principal as "hailed as a master motivator and mentor." Her retirement celebration will be held on May 18 at the High School. Attendance is expected to "rock the house."
Article on Town Meeting Warrant calls for "slashing" senior citizens taxes by exempting them from paying for the public schools. Bill Hawkes and others are sponsoring the article to relieve the seniors of paying for "other peoples' children" even though many of the supporters of this article obviously benefited from the service they now want to avoid contributing to. The article doesn't have a snowball's chance in the hell of passing, but nontheless it does serve notice that the "me generation" is not demographic but rather can appear anywhere, anytime and apparently in anyone. Just a note: it's called public education because it is for everyone.
April 19: New memorial for Memorial Park. Veterans' Agent David Rodgers with the help of Selectman Harry Christensen are championing the new memorial for victims of the War on Terror. Four Marbleheaders will be listed (so far): Dr. Frederick Rimmele, William Weems, Eric Isbrandtsen and Christopher Piper. Piper was killed in Afghanistan, the others were killed in the World Trade Towers. Details of the memorial will be discussed at Town Meeting.
April 13: Interim Superintendent Phil Devaux expects to name new Principal in May. Retiring Principal Marilyn Hurwitz may well meet her replacement as they pass in the door. The Superintendent has received 28 resumes and obviously feels as though one of them will fill the big shoes of the universally popular Hurwitz. The new individual may well fill the shoes, but walking around in them make take a lot more energy than usual.
April 9: Town and teachers sign a contract. 2.5% raises for each of four years. One math teacher did the math and concluded that the contract will result in a net loss to teachers of -2.7 percent for the contract period. "I think we're all happy that this matter is resolved," said committee Chariman Rob Dana [The Daily Item].
April 4: Acting moves to Interim and its dejas Devaux all over again. Even though the prospects were touted and everything looked like it was going to end in a new Superintendent ... not to be. After interviews and without thorough explanation the School Committee abandoned the search and signed up the old superintendent again. Again. The Committee hemed and hawed but hey, they like Phil. Who doesn't? This will give the School Committee another year to complete the search for a new Superintendent.
March 29: Highlands arson award up to $45,000. Still no hot prospects ... for the reward or for arrest.
Board of Selectmen considers cameras to monitor traffic light violations. One picture is worth a thousand excuses, apparently. Chief of Police Jim Carney wants to deploy some around town to capture and then fine red light runners. "It's public safety," he said . 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, the unblinking eye of the police will watch and rewind to catch the runners. Pleasant Street and Baldwin Road is one intersection planned for the new law enforcement equipment. Police used to monitor the traffic for violators. Now they watch monitors to see what's going on.
March 28: Acting Superintendent Devaux recommends $850,000 plan to improve curriculum. Offering the possibility of eliminating one teaching and one para-teacher position to fund the program's over-budget element, Devaux said, as reported in the Lynn Item, "The School Committee has the final say on that." He may be "acting" superintendent, but he's not playing around with getting the Marblehead Public Schools to qualify for accreditation under his watch.
March 27: Officer Cary Gaynor injured in off duty crash. On his way to work at 3:30 p.m. his Ford Expedition spun out of control and smashed into a utility pole. He was taken for treatment to Salem Hospital. Gaynor was alone in the vehicle. The accident is under investigation.
March 25: Three Superintendent Finalists selected. Marcia Lukon, Berlin-Boylston superintendent of a regional school district. Robert Shaps, Manchester-essex superintendent. Donald Yeoman, Lincolnwood, Illinois regional district superintendent. One of these three will become Marblehead Public Schools superintendent. But which one? Amy Drinker, co-chair ofthe search committee stated in the Salem News that there are no "fillers" in this short list. "All three candidates can hit the ground running." And, well they may have to. Teacher job satisfaction and morale is way down. Standardized testing has changed the system from a system with emphasis on teaching to a system with all resrouces increasing focues on teaching to the test. Plus, a community that is "fatigued" as Acting Superintendent Philip Devaux stated recently, with school expenditures and overrides to keep basic services from declining at too steep an angle. With teachers in Marblehead at the bottom, or near the bottom, of comparable pay scales, as well as all Town employees, the new "super" will have a Herculean task in front or him or her. And, as the previous superintendent found out so painfully, political support in Marblehead can collapse like a cheap suit tossed aside. The "pick" will occur early next month.
March 24: "The Way," a television pilot scheduled for release in the fall will briefly film a funeral procession in Marblehead. True to form, The Selectman Chairman volunteered as a "walk on," as she had done in the last movie filmed here, the bomb, "Moonlight Mile." The fee charged to movie companys by Marblehead will be donated to the Abbot Fund, used to repair Abbot Hall.
March 23: Tony's Pizza reopens just over three years since it burned down on February 19, 2003.
The Harbor Light Inn's participation in "The First Night's On Us," program paid off. A couple on Marblehead Neck had a cellar fire, as reported in the Daily Lynn Item, and they needed a place to stay for the night. Peter Conway, owner, said simply, "I'm glad we could help." The Marblehead Animal hospital boarded the couple's three dogs. Community businesses helping out: along tradition in our Town is still alive and well. The program was started by Lt. Michael Porter of the Fire Department, has been in effect for a year or so.
John Liming changes his mind and now is not running for Selectman. He was out by two votes, then he was in as a selectman, by recount. Then after a year of service, in a reelection bid, after an embellishment of his education record on his resume, he was out again. Then he was going to try to get back in, this time resume corrected, on his own merit of service, but now he's out again. "I feel in my life right now that I cannot dedicate enough time to do the proper job that I would want to do," said Liming, as reported in the Salem News. Did he size up the situation of five popular and successful Selectmen running for reelection all together, with him as the sole challenger? Who knows? We'll take him at his word this time. He has been around for a long time, and everyone knows that Marblehead is the love of his life. Politics is tough and unforgiving. Good luck, John.
March 21: Longview Drive gets its day at Town Meeting. The chance to extend the Town's open space holdings will be offered by a citizen's petition, headed by Jeff Stracka, at this year's Annual Town Meeting in Article 37. Former State representative Larry Alexander has done some of the preliminary work with the Angenica family, owners of the 2.2 site adjacent to Longview Drive.
March 17: Writer Phyllis Karas, of Marblehead, authors a mob book. Kevin Weeks was involved in murder and mayhem while working for Whitey Bulger. He was a murderer and a bad guy par excellence. But, Karas stated, as reported in the front page article in the Salem News, "He spoke very softly." "Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob," is on sale and was a spotlight on "60 Minutes" over the weekend.
March 16: Tom Murray will retire in 2007 as Superintendent of the Highway Department. The Selectmen poured accalades over the longtime Town Employee as word of his retirement reached Abbot Hall. Murray ascended to the superintendencyafter the untimely death of Bill McLaughlin, one his best friends and boss at the department. Tony Sasso, Town Administrator, work works closely with the Highway
Department head every day, said, as reported in the Lynn Item, that the ease of working with Mr. Murray was a pleasure he will miss.
School Department and teachers reach an agreement. Without releasing the details, the announcement was made. Teachers will vote on the agreement on March 23. More details later.
March 16: Old Town House accessibility to be studied again. 1727 still echoes in the minds of people who resist making the building accessible in favor of savings its historical purity. But, the laws of today require a public building to be accessible. The previous answer to the question was to basically close the building to public use for the first time in its history. Left in the hands of stolid and impassive Town historians and officials, all of whom are not disabled (Bill Conly, former Selectman, Bette Hunt, Town Historian, and Harry Christensen, current Selectman), a new report will be forthcoming at some future date. Apparently.
March 14: Town's health insurance to rise $887,000 in FY2007. Faced with the information offered to them at a recent bi-monthly Selectmen's meeting about a 15 percent increase in the Town's most crucial employee benefit, James Nye stated that "I don't think we should get paid." Joking or not, it's probably true. The Selectmen are expensed $5,500 per year ($10o0 for each Selectman, and $500 extra for the Chairman). Selectmen Shribman retorted that the Boaerd members don't get paid enough, implying a raise would be in order. In any case, the health insurance increased as planned.
Harbors and Waters Board encounters a storm of protest from neighbors at Stramski Park. The Board wants $45,000 in their budget tobuild and "improve" the grounds for a pier at Stramski's, including moving the road. Neighbors present wanted a discussion right then, but Gary Gregory, Chairman, stated he would rather have that discussion at Town Meeting. Obviously, at Town Meeting the discussion might be more favorable to the plan. Neighbors accused the board of "hidding" (Lynn Item) blasting and other construction effects in the budget. Selectman Shribman, attending, defended the openness of the process. "It's all right here in the budget." Other neighbors suggested that the purchase of the land originally restricted the use and wanted Town Counsel to study that issue. Traffic and disruption issues were also raised.
March 13: Karl Meyer named as Children's Island Camp Director. Taking over from the current director, Scott Hitchcock, Mr. Meyers moves into the position from the YMCA's youth and family director where he has been organizing summer activities, as reported in the Salem News. The Island is off the coast of Marblehead and has long served as a destination camp for area youth. The island was formerly known as Cat Island.
March 10: The last gas station in Marblehead closes. Phil Jr.'s Dad, Phil Sr., has been pumping gas to get
Marbleheaders around since 1956. In 1970, the Cash Family took over the station on Atlantic Avenue. But now, after all those gallons, the pump's off, the doors are closed, and building is empty as the gas tank of an abandoned car. From Phil Sr. to Phil Jr. to who-knows-what now, the station's history shadows the changing history of Marblehead from a town of townies to a community of diverse and often divergent people who more or less live here because they moved here, rather than because they were born, or grew up, here. Marblehead's become a destination address rather than a hometown. It's a property investment rather than a family history. Phil Cash Jr. reflected this in his comment that the closing was about money and economics. "It's getting harder and harder for a little service station to survive," he said in the Salem News article by Matthew K. Roy. For example, the Vinnin Square Mobil station offers gasoline at about 10 cents less per gallon, a convenient store, free coffee on Mondays and a convenient car wash discount with every fillup. Plus the Vinnin Square station has "Speed Pass," a system of waving a little thingy in front of the pump and it does the rest. Nationally, stations sell a minimum of one million gallons to make a living wage for the owners. Cash is well-known for his friendly manner and easy-goiing style. In the Great Storm of '78 and in the Gulf Oil crisis when gas lines reached around the block, Cash's loyal customers knew they would be taken care of. Once this reporter ran out of gas on Humphrey Street and called Phil. He was there with a small tank in about ten minutes. At one time, Marblehead had eight gas stations. No word on what Exxon Mobil will do with the property now. "A lot of my customers thought I was retiring. They didn't know that I was giving up the business, so it was kind of hard," he was quoted as saying. Yes, indeed, Phil it is kind of hard to see another page turned in the history of our little comunity.
Selectmen (minus one) send last minute email to MEPA. The Massachusetts Environmental Policy Agency requires some response from municipalities in envirnoment vs. development situations and they got it. Sort of. The Selectmen's letter, signed by all Selectmen except Jeff Shribman, who was chief counsel for a previous applicant, owner or whatever (Glover Estates), requested an environmental impact report. Marblehead resident, Sandi Osattin, reported in the Lynn Item's article as causing prolonged discussion, pleaded with the Board to request two environmental impact reports: construction impact and cleanup impact. Mrs. Osattin who has been involved in this area for over four years and is probably one of the most informed and involved people in the Town (government and non government) made the case that construction and clean up two completely different processes. Selectmen referred this issue to assistant Town Counsel Lisa Mead. In a recent "little-publicized" tour of the site Briony Angus, enviornmental analyst, met with Salem and Marblehead officials on Thursday (3/6/06). Fifty Marblehead residents and officials have either offered written or verbal presentation critical of the current developer's plans.
Schools seem to be "back in the black." David Keniston, Business Manager, previously reported the possibility of the schools being dragged into the red by energy costs and other "uncontrollables." But now, due to district wide efforts, that has changed. A mild January helped a lot, too, as did conservation efforts and cancellation of some repair or other facility improvements. The School Committee heard the magical words, "We're going to come in ob budget."
March 9: Neighbors write letter warning of impact of the new YMCA. In a letter to the editor of The Daily Item, Bernard Kummins and Ron Ackerman disputed the argument that all the neighbors care about is their own "backyard." They pointed out that the neighbors have never opposed the new YMCA on Leggs Hill Road. Their concerns have always centered on the traffic issues, with an average of 2000 more cars a day trafficing in the highly residential area. This is based, they said, on the Y's own estimates. Open 16 hours a day, with 125 cars per hour. They are calling for an additional access way across the Water and Sewer property the exits onto Loring Avenue. "The bottom line is that we are prepared to welcome the YMCA into our backyards -- we just don't understand why the streets we live on -- residential streets with small children -- have to turn into Route 128 as a result."
March 8: Rey Moulton dies. After a life of generosity and friendship for Marblehead, Rey passed on Sunday March 5. He leaves behind a legacy of caring and of philanthropy for causes in Marblehead pretty much unmatched in recent times. Much of what he did and gave was done and given in anonymity. As reported in the Salem News today, "Moulton grew up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. He played soccer and basketball and baseball at Governor Dummer Academy. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1960." He was 68. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 10 at St. John's Episcopal Church, 705 Hale Street, Beverly Farms.
"Erotik Neurotk" was a big success and owner tells her side of the story. Despite or because of all the hubbub over the erotica nature of the art show and the reaction of Townspeople to the possible of an officially sanctioned attempt to censor the art gathering, the show went on ... to great success. Here is the letter from the owner telling her story and thanking the town. (click here)
March 7: School Teachers' Association toughens up (a little, sort of). In a rare move, 125 members of the 300-member Marblehead Teachers Association voted to "stop participating in voluntary school activities," according to the Lynn Item. The vote is binding on all members. The vote was described as "an overwhelming 'yes.'" This action includes events like overnight trips, plays, dance chaperoning, and activities for which teachers are not paid, but which traditionally they do on a voluntary basis. Superintendent Devaux pointed out in the article that most of the voluntary events take place in June, perhaps suggesting a symbolic aspect to the vote because by then Town Meeting would have met and the issues surrounding the negotiations would be settled. But he said the school district would look at each event on an individual basis and do what it could, to give the students the best possible assistance under the conditions of each event. The article also pointed out a "he said she said" sequence between Ann Davis-Allan and Superintendent Devaux. Davis-Allan was reported as stating that the action was taken because progress, or enough progress, was not seen in the negotiations to that point. Devaux stated, "That's not what was said at the table." [Lynn Item] Since negotiations and discussions about the negotiations are strictly confidential, Devaux in alluding to the confidential nature of things actually said at the meetings presented, perhaps, a potentially controversal disclosure in the wake of the teachers' vote. In an article in the Salem News Devaux was quoted as saying that a recent bargaining session was "very, very productive," and "We've always had a sense of urgency," about concluding the contract negotiations.
March 6: Superintendent search commmittee gets to work. After electing School Committee vice chairman, Amy Drinker, and Selectman Jackie Belf-Becker to be co-chairs of the new panel, the fouteen members went into a long executive session to begin reviewing the 19 applications on hand. From the pool of initial applications, the committee will select a number for interviews. All applications are kept confidential at this point and members were warned, according the Lynn Item, to keep strictly to that rule to protect candidates' anonimity at this point in the process.
Elise Mankes Studio announces plans for another show and calls for artists. If the fantastic turn-out at the current show is any indicator, the next one should be even better. Here are the details of the press release sent to mm.com today:
elise mankes [she lower cases the studio's name] studio, a new fine art gallery in Marblehead, MA is looking for submissions for its second show of 2006. "impermanence." Is your subject matter impermanent, or is it the materials you use? Maybe it's both. Maybe everything around us is impermanent, including life. Impermanent -- noun: the property of not existing for indefinitely long durations; adjective: not lasting or durable; not permanent.
The exhibit is open to all media, including, 2-D, 3-D, sculptural works, photography, mixed media, fine crafts and experimental works. Deadline for Submissions is April 3rd. Show dates are April 15th-May 28th. A downloadable application is available at www.elisemankes.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with ?impermanence? in the subject box to receive an application and further details.
March 4: Chamber's Home and Garden Show Scheduled. Each year at least a thousand people walk in and out of the Marblehead Community Center to view over a hundred local exhibits by merchants bent on making your spring more fun and productive. This year's event is Saturday, March 25 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Sunday, March 26 (12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
March 3: Sunday March 5, a photographic exhibit opening. Chuck Scheffreen, a local, highly acclaimed photographer will be having an exhibit of his work from March 5 through April 1 in the Stetson Gallery of the Unitarian Universalist Church at 28 Mugford Street in Marblehead. His photographs will feature winter images in Marblehead, Maine, and Utah. Below are a few samples from the show.
Tyler Hamilton's parents defend their son. Disputing a February 16 article in the Marblehead Reporter, Bill and Lorna Hamilton's letter to the editor this week, criticized the accuracy and thoroughness of the article, saying the author had not contacted "any member of the Hamilton family, any member of Tyler's legal team, or expert witnesses." They also stated in that letter, "We have been consistently disappointed to see Tyler's hometown newspaper take so little interest in investigating this story." They made the case that Tyler's case was caught up in the "doping" frenzy and was victimized by "an under-researched test not yet ready for prime time." They stated that there is a lot more to the story than first appears. The family stated appreciation for the "outpouring of support" for Tyler from the town of Marblehead's people. Tyler Hamilton has currently returned to competition and is working to reform the anti-doping system. Marblehead at one point had a prominent sign at the entrance to the Town announcing that the town has "The Home Of Tyler Hamilton." That sign has been taken down now. Pictured to the right: Tyler Hamilton and his wife, Haven, working at home. Here is a timeline of this case from their website. (Photo courtesy of http://www.tylerhamilton.com.)
March 2: The West Shore pier is on the table again. [Lynn Item and mm.com staff reporting] In 2003, this proposal was floated around Conservation Committee hearings and in gatherings among the neighbors, but this time the Harbors and Waters Board seems determined to take the issue to Town Meeting. There are 800 moorings on the West Shore side of Marblehead with one access point, while Marblehead Harbor proper has 1400 moorings and 10 access points. Two years ago the Harbors and Waters Board withdrew its request and faded away into the bitter battle over the Tucker's Wharf abandonment, which it ultimately won and the old salt shed was carted off to Salem by the U.S. Park Service. During that first go-round Conservation Commission requested that the Harbors and Waters Board research the neighbors' objections and the effects of the project on the area. Now the battle beginsanew. Stramski Way, the road leading in and out, will have to be moved. The little stream can be affected. Traffic and use of the property could be radically altered from a sleepy jewel of a seaside park into something that channels the equivalent of over half the main Harbor's activities which is spread over "10 access points," into just one. Meetings are being held and being planned on both sides. Harbors and Waters is reserving $40,000 in its FY2007 budget for the project, but it will only be expended with Town Meeting's approval. In a phone interview with Walter Haug, Chairman of the Conservation Commission, "We will wait until the issue comes before us and we will evaluate the proposals based on the Wetlands Protection Act statutes and regulations and on Marblehead bylaws." It should be noted that the Conservation commission as of today had had no contact on this issue from the Harbors and Waters Board.
Teachers announce action deadline today. "If we don't have a satisfactory contract we feel we can ratify by March2," stated Ann David-Allan, President of the Marblehead Education Association, "we'll vote to stop voluntary activities on Maerch 6. It could impact student activities." This is still less intense than a work-to-order action, but it could affect proms and trips. A work-to-order action would have teachers stopping all work outside of the hours specfied in the current contract, a significant reduction from the hours most teachers currently put in, above and beyond the contract hours.
March 1: [The New York Times] Live lingerie show stopped in Augusta, Maine may be coming to a store near Marblehead. Spellbound, a lingerie store in Augusta which began having live models in it window wearing risque lingerie has stopped the practice after models were harrassed and the store protested by indignant residents. Since September the practice has brought notority and a lot of new business to the store, but as Francis Stockford, owner said the increases in sales were not worth the threats to her young models. She is closing her store in Maine and hoping to reopen "another in Portland, Maine or Salem, Massachusetts. As reported, the models took part in promotions at bars and nightclubs and appeared at house parties held to sell lingerie and X-rated toys. "It was really fun," said Tarta Manns, 20 one of the store's models, and employees. "I'm really glad I did it, and I'm sad it's done with."
February 27: Censorship or routine policing of permits and building codes? Selectman Jeff Shribman defended the Town employees as just "doing their jobs." [Lynn Item] He said he'd heard nothing about the exhibit in question from a citizenry well known for not being shy in that regard. He said he thought any connection drawn between the exhibit, entitled provocatively "erotik neurotic," and the sudden and surprise onslaught of regulation enforcement was purely "coincidental." The fire and building inspector discovered that the gallery was deficient in not having hardwired fire sprinklers, a certificate of occupancy, and a sign permit for a small sign above the barn doors. Also, suddenly, there was concern about the zoning: three buildings on a single family lot, each being used for something different. Judy Jacobi was quoted in the Marblehead Reporter as saying that she had "stressed that the inspections were aimed not at shutting down the exhibit but avoiding a tradegy like the one three years ago at The Station nightclub in Warwick, R.I., where a blaze killed 100 people." Faulty and illegal pirotechnics were blamed for that fire. And while Marblehead had a few "priotechnics" over this brouhaha, Artist Elise Mankes, owner of the Elise Mankes Studio, was quoted as saying, it was the biggest opening the three year history of the studio, "beyond my wildest dreams." She also said it "was a little odd to have all these sudden inspections the since she has operated the studio for a year and has held five other exhibits without comment, inspections or commotion. But, with a show of creative art, some "intensely erotic" in the offing, things, well, changed abruptly. The show is scheduled to run until April 2. Because of the timing Mankes suspects a complaint was lodged, because of the nature of the exhibit. Shribman, however, went to to suggest that building code issues were easy to solve, but, he also noted that the zoning issues might be more difficult, requiring appearance(s) before the Zoning Board of Appeals.
February 24: "Senior Preference" favor to help with understaffing at High School. What was once called Open Campus is now advocated for Seniors at Marblehead High School because, in the opinion of the popular and highly successful Principal Marilyn Hurwitz, the 87 teachers cannot adequately supervize the 1008 students. It's not that the high school is at maximum capacity, that's 1500 students, rather it's the staffing that's overtaxed. Also, a shortage of curriculum directors is threatening the school's accreditation. The planned-to-hire positions were left unfilled in FY 2006, the current fiscal year, because of money problems confronting the Town at large. According to the Lynn Item, Hurwitz said that study halls are now conducted in classrooms in Senior's second semester, when they should be taking electives. No resolution was forcoming at the time of this article. The Superintendent seemed to be sympathic.
February 23: 4 Nashua Street goes up in flames on Marblehead Neck. A three story home burns and displces a family for the night, but no one was injured. The fire started near the vent of a gas heater on the third floor and was noticed by a passer-by. The owners were identified as Brian and Christina Lucas. The home has views of Marblehead Harbor and the Corinthian Yacht Club. Nahant, Lynn, and Swampscott fire departments assisted Marblehead firefighters.
Marblehead High School was the scene of a bomb scare ... but it was all pre-arranged as practice for the Marblehead Fire Department. No real bomb. No scare. Some people saw all the fire and rescue equipment at the school and wondered what was going on. But it was all just training. [The Salem News]
Folk Singer/Songwriter Alex de Grassi to perform at the Me and Thee. He was nominated for a Grammy and is scheduled to perform on Friday night at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.
John Liming announces that he's running for Selectman and Recreation, Park and Forestry Commissioner. Just a week after he was awarded a well-deserved "Journalist of the Year Award," from the New England Press Association, Marblehead Reporter Editor in Chief, Kris Olson, was again reporting on the antics of the forme r Selectmen driven from office for exaggerations on his education resume. Olson's editorials calling for Liming's resignation and his reporting on the year-long event, must have been like a weekly stick in the eye for Liming, but now John's back for more, times two. Liming was not quoted in the Reporter's article, and he has not returned our call requesting an interview. Give him credit for perseverance.
Woodfin champions a "compromise" at Lead Mills. Well, here we go again. Former Selectmen William Woodfin is leading an effort away from the affordable housing alternative now on the table at the Lead Mills development site, and back to what the delevelopers' originally wanted (or pretty close). The orginal plan was abandoned due, at least in part, to opposition by neighbors, including litigation. The developers were reported as saying [Marblehead Reporter], "We were approached by a number of good citizens of Marblehead about going back to our original plan," said John Sawyer, vice president of K.S.S. according to an article in the Salem News. It was noted that the "good citizens" are not neighbors to the property. But they are proceeding, in the meantime, with the 44-unit 40B option on the 4-acre site. The group, headed by Woodfin, also former Chairman of the Planning Board, aims at achieving changes in the zoning bylaws favorable to K.S.S. Realty Partners and thereby avoiding the implications of 40-B, including an affordable housing component. The property is currently zoned for single-family, but invoking Chapter 40-B the developer could proceed regardless of the nieghbors opposition or Town regulations. Judy Jacobi, was also quoted in the article as say, "The fact that the developer is willing to compromise is a good thing." What part of "compromise" involves getting exactly what you always wanted? There is still no commitment on the cleanup of the site, currently listed as one of the most dangerously polluted in the Commonwealth. The developer has only agreed to "share expenses" with the previous owner on the clean up. Mr. Woodfin will apparently be speaking at Town Meeting on the topic. The Planning Board will hold a public hearing next month, according to the Salem News.
January 14: Student gets involved in Teachers' contract dispute. In front of 60 teachers and the School Committee, a high school senior, Debbie Frisch, appealed to the Committee to get together with the teachers and negotiate a contract. Reflecting, perhaps, the frustration of teachers and students, her sentiments were met with the usual response: "Thanks. Next item."
February 20: Superintendent Committee "takes shape." [Lynn Item] The School Committee has chosen Amy Drinker and Patricia Blackmer to represent them on the search committee. Other members are, Doug Hill, Libbry Moore, Steve Maxwell, Jackie Belf-Becker (Selectman), Tony Sasso (Town Administrator), Kathy Leonardson (Finance Committee), Mary Devlin (Glover School Principal) Nancy Anthony (teacher), Phyllis Smith (teacher), and parent representatives EuRim Chin (K-3), Sally Nugent (4-8), and Chris Lenahan (9-12). There are several people vying for the last "resident" spot on the Committee, and they include (after eliminations) Helaine Hazlett, Laurie Barham, Eda Green, Diane Lynch, and Katherine Prouty. School Committee member Jonathan Lederman announced he was in favor of Katherine Prouty. Member Joan Rosenthal favored Helaine Hazlett. The School Committee noted that additional names may be added to the list. By its charter one of the School Committee people must be Chairman of the search committee. The school district is seeking a candidate with a Ph.D. and more than 10 years of experience leading a 3,100 to 3,200 student school district for a salary of $150,000. The deadline for applications has now passed.
February 19: The Can Do rides again. Michael Tougias's book about the ill-fated crew and boat that lost its way and went down in the great storm of 1978 is on the stands and maybe coming soon to a theater near you, according to the author. The five crewmembers of the off-shore fishing vessel gave up their lives attempting to help others, perhaps an unwise decision as things turned out. The Global Hope has gone aground and was sinking in Salem Harbor. A 44-foot Ciast Guard patrol boat attempting to rescue the crew was in trouble too, lost in the storm and in danger of foundering. Frank Quirk, captain of the Can Do, living up to the boat's name, monitored the situation and then he and his crew embarked to save the patrol boat's crew. The craft left Gloucester Harbor in 20 to 30 foot very turbulent and unpredictable seas. Halfway to Marblehead, Quirk radioed that he was turning around after losing his radar overboard in the high seas. Apparently on the way back, the Can Do was struck by a enormous wave. Transmissions were sent: a mayday from a crewmember, then a description of being on shoals, windows smashed out, the captain injured, repairs affected, extremely violent wrenching of the boat, loss of power, and a vain prediction that they were "making it," and then nothing. The lost patrol boat made it back to port. The Global Hope's crew were all saved and safe. Only the crew of the Gloucester fishing boat perished on February 6, 1978 in an attempt to save others who ironically were ultimately safe anyway. "Ten Hours Until Dawn," by Michael Tougias is on sale in bookstores and at our online store. Click here. Incidentally, the craft was ultimately found off Devereux Beach, near Tinker's Island.
February 18: MEPA (Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act) Issues Announcement of "Chadwick Mills" and "Lead Mill" meeting. "A consultation meeting will be held to receive advice and comments from agencies, officials, and citizens regarding which environmental issues, if any, are significant for this project. Opinions as to the extent of significance of possible environmental impact will be welcome. MEPA will hold one meeting for both EENFs. They will discuss the Chadwick Mills remediation first, followed by the Lafayette Tides project. A site visit will follow. Dan Garson, Sr. Vice President of Woodward and Curran stated at the meeting that his client was not Glover Estates, LLC, but rather it was National Lead Industries (NL), the original owner of the contaminated site, and successor of the old Chadwick Lead Company. Mr. Garson mentioned that NL had been paying their fees since 2000. He also stated that NL would be cleaning the site whether any development occurred there or not. [Eye witness report] Comments on the projects will be welcome in writing prior to March 10, 2006. DATE: Thursday February 23, 2006; TIME: 1:00 p.m.; LOCATION: Old Town Hall 32 Derby Square/Essex St. Salem (site visit to follow). This is a very significant process for full evaluation of these two projects. MEPA needs to hear from everyone with concerns. Please try to attend and send your comments by March 10, 2006, to: Briony Angus, Environmental Analyst MEPA Office, Executive Office of Environmental Affair, 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900, Boston, MA 02114
February 16: Former Marblehead Tedesco Street resident, Antonio Pierro ("Uncle Tony") reaches 110 years old. One of only 50 known surviving veterans of World War I, and one of the 66 oldest people on Earth, Mr. Pierro was featured today in the Boston Globe's "Globe North" section on the front page. In the article by Steven Rosenberg, Pierro was quoted saying, "It's all up to you to do what you want in life. There are pleasant things to do, and there are terrible things to do. That's the way I see it." Also, "If you don't have exercise, you get stiff, you're not worth anything." He likes to read medical journals and the Bible. He drinks Listerene every morning. (He believes that drinking makes him healthier.) He was born on February 15, 1896 on his family's vineyard in Forenza, Italy. He enlisted in the Army in 1917 in Battery E, 320 Field Artillery of the 82nd Division and served in France from May 1918 to May 1919, during the Meuse-Argonne offensive, in which 26,000 Americans were killed. He also served in the battles of St. Mihiel and Ilse-Aisne. He refuses to discuss those times. How long is he going to live? His younger brother Nicholas, 97, predicts another five years. His nephew, Rick Pierro, says, "I hope he lives forever." The family will celebrate Uncle Tony's birthday on Saturday starting at 12 noon. "But don't be late," says Rick, "Uncle Tony could be in bed by 2:00 p.m." In addition to all of his other activities, Tony sleeps up to 16 hours per day.
TeamUp, Inc. makes a difference. Formed to provide additional resources for parents, teachers and children in Marblehead's public and private schools, TeamUp, Inc. a volunteer committee offers the whole community educational programs on social issues effecting children. Alcohol, drug abuse, and social relationships are among the topics covered, as reported in the Salem News. TeamUp aims to champion this issues in an ongoing way. "It's not just a one-time thing," stated Susan Hauck, President. In the first 10 months of its existence, TeamUp has hired speakers on "building resilient children," "cooperative discipline," " and "peer pressure and bullying." An upcoming presentation (February 28, 7 to 9 p.m. PAC, $5) by Michael Nerney, will be, "Understanding the Teenage Brain: A Discussion on Drug and Alcohol Use, Risky Behaviors, and Prevention Strategies." He will return in March to speak with teachers and in May with students. Visit www.teamupmarblehead.com for future plans and details.
Petersen's efforts come to naught. Whoops. The once-touted $6 million Causeway project is now $8.2 million and the all-important state funding resource is in doubt. Representative Petersen announced last week to the Board of Selectmen that "he got $5 million in seawall repair funding included in the House supplementary budget." Later it was learned that this sum did not pass muster in the Senate version. So, he got it, and then they ungot it, apparently. Senator McGee was blamed by Petersen, saying, "Tom couldn't get it in the Senate budget." [Lynn Item] Petersen reported that he was warned by House Ways and Means Chairman Robert DeLeo that the way Petersen was going about it (the establishment of a new state account for the seawall work) was not the way things were ordinarily done. Petersen, optimistically went on, "If it doesn't get through the conference committee in the supplemental budget I'll include it in the next annual budget." So, we can do this all again and again. Petersen pointed out that the state and county "were involved" in the original Causeway and he was quoted as saying that it seems to him they have some obligation to maintain it. Well, is was planned to last for 25 years, the state and county could point out that at least their involvement really worked. The Selectmen's liaison to the committee planning the Causeway work and funding, Harry Christensen, was not quoted in the article.
February 15: YMCA tells Board groundbreaking in Spring. 80,000 square feet and $12.5 million worth of new facility on 19,5 acres off Leggs Hill Road at stake, Paul Gorman swept aside the possibility of delays by regulatory board and optimistically presented a timetable to replace the 1910 facility in Marblehead's midtown area to the Marblehead Board of Selectmen. Marblehead will provide water and sewer services even though the building is in Salem. Bernie Cummings, a neighbor was there pleading the case that the traffic will be too much for the area, now a quiet low traffic area. The Marblehead/Swampscott YMCA's memberships is 70 percent Marblehead, 20 percent Swampscott, and 10 percent Salem. [Lynn Item]
Maddie's Sold. The reported "potential sale" of Maddies Sail Loft, 15 State Street, is confirmed. Sale is effective April 1. [Salem News]. See article below.
February 14: Historical Commission Internet site to go online. The Historical Commission's "Collection Manager," the
redoubtable Wayne Butler, continues his trip into "above and beyond the call of duty," by constructing and managing an Internet site to display all of the Commission's collections online to "remind townspeople of their illustrious past." Apparently there are 4,500 pages of anecdotes presently sitting on a large bookshelf in black three-ring binders, which have been compiled by Butler. Together with the computerized catalog of the collections. The Historical Commission was established in 1964 to "preserve, promote, and develop the historical aspects" of the Town.
February 12: Marblehead is hit a severe winter storm as predicted by all major weather sources. And, incidentally, Marblehead was featured (ever so briefly) on the NBC Nightly News. Here's a screen capture of the video of Marblehead's moment in the national spotlight.
February 10: Alex Marino, driver whose car struck and killed Holly Pierce, gets six months license suspension. [Salem News] Driving home in her late-model convertible after watching a baseball game on the Saturday night of August 14, 2004, Alex Marino, 20, of Marblehead, struck and killed Holly Pierce, 15, as she and some of her friends were crossing Paradise Road at Swampscott Mall. Camila Paiva, 16, was also struck by Marion's car, but not fatally. Marino admitted that the police had enough evidence to convict her of vehicular homicide. Even though the light was green in the direction that Marino was driving, and she was not speeding (36 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone per police report [Lynn Item]), the police investigation concluded that she was "inattentive," but had not been drinking. Toxicology reports also did not show that the victims were intoxicated either. Judge Ellen Flatley, suspended the driver's license for six months and ordered that Marino must stay out of trouble for two years and strictly obey the conditions of her probation in order for the charges of vehicular homicide due to negligent driving to be dismissed. Marino will also have to perform community service at a hospital in the area of head injuries and participate in a head injury awareness program. Marino could have faced two and a half years in jail and a 10-year license suspension in a trial resulting in a guilty verdict. It was also noted in the proceedings that the teenagers were trying to run across the street and there was also a possibility that the pedestrian light was not working at the time. The Salem News reported that the day was "emotional" for all the parties involved. Paiva described her injuries as life changing and the loss of her friend devastating. Paiva said she didn't have any hard feelings for Marino, but also that "I don't think it was fair [that] she lose her license for just six months out of the [possible] two years." Holly's Mom, Kacy Pierce, read a letter to the judge about her family's loss, which included, "Nothing will ever be the same without the luminous joy that our daughter brought into this world. When a child dies," she said, you die in your life. The world ends with the death of your child." On the gray metal traffic light control box at the site of the fatal collision, a year a half later, there are still flowers in plastic wrappings left regularly, and the writings of sympathy and sadness by friends who knew and loved Holly Pierce still greet drivers passing by. Marino's attorney Christopher Casey stated that his client "is content with the decision of the judge not to enter a guilty finding." [Lynn Item]
February 9: [The Reporter] School Budget begins at 25,916,515. That's the Superintendent proposed FY2007 budget for the Marblehead Schools. State aid and other non-Town money make up only $1,446,133 of the total. The other $24,391,796 come from Town appropriations at Annual
Town Meeting. These numbers represent a 6.3 percent increase ($1,446,133) from the current budget year. Superintendent Devaux acknowledging that "everyone needs a breather," hopes to encourage Town Meeting to approve the increased funding without an override. He described the proposed budget as "level-funded" with changes generally allowed by the Finance Committee guidelines: a new kindergarten and the elimination of one first grade classroom. He is also hoping for a $300,000 increase in general state aid. The Town Adminstrator and the Town Finance Director have proposed a lower number for the schools, $23,776,663. That's $615,133 less than the Superintendent's budget, and according to the Superintendent is the main area of disagreement. The "town side" estimate is based on "no increase in state aid." Devaux stated that unavoidables like contractual obligations, plus an offer to finalize the new school contracts, increases in heating and other utilities costs account for most of the increase. One of the proposals being discussed is to cut the hours of 35 to 40 school employees working 20 to 24 hours per week to 19 hours per week, making them ineligible for health insurance and other benefits. This idea, which has come up many times before, will result in many of the current personnel in this category leaving their positions and the search for qualified replacements made much more difficult, as discovered in other communities which have tried it. Obviously, in addition to being dedicated to education, these in-classroom assistants to teachers, many of whom are qualified educators who can't work fulltime, value the healthcare benefit as much as the salary. Some view this proposal as very shortsighted, especially when the educational needs of the students are put first, ahead of politics and perennial calls for reducing services (often referred to as "no new taxes") The School Committee is set to discuss the budget on February 16, March 2, 16, and 30, and on April 6 and 27. There will be a joint meeting with the Finance Committee on March 14, and a public hearing on the budgets will be held on April 6. Annual Town Meeting is always the first Monday in May, this year that falls on May 2.
Representative Petersen's decade-long efforts finally pay off. [The Reporter] After the bitter 2004 election battle with fellow-democrat Mark Paster, in which his opponents, Democrats and Republicans, accused him of ineffectiveness, having no support in the leadership, and being lackluster in sponsoring original legislation, Mr.
Petersen's (he's a co-author of the bill) annually postponed legislation on curbing the use of mercury in products sold in the Commonwealth apparently caught the fancy of the Great and General Court and passed unanimously. He stated that he has spent the last five or six years "battling industry opposition" to the bill. Mercury is a neurotoxen is proven to have deleterious effects on children as well as damage to the heart, nervous system and other somatic systems. Mercury emissions from power plants also send merrcury into the air and water, effecting populations and fishing industries. The ban is to go into effect immediately on January1, 2007, gradually being phased in, beginning with a year of planning. There is also a "bottle bill" clause that pays for equipment containing mercury which is turned in. The bill also will generate "educational" efforts to indviduals and consumers about Mercury. The bill is obviously a beginning, not an immediate removal of mercury from the environment. Mr. Petersen's battle is far from over. The Reporter's editorial this week appropriately lauded him and his environmental efforts.
Environmental Notification Forms files at Lead Mills property. According to recent legal notices in the Salem News and Marblehead Reporter, an Environmental Notification Form (ENF) was filed with the Secretary of Environmental Affairs on or before January 31 by Glover Estates for remediation of the site. The Environmental Monitor also lists an ENF for Lafayette Tides for the 44 unit 40B development planned there.
Apparently, the previous and current developers are attempting to combine the reviews for the State's environmental permitting process, and also to include the Chapter 91 waterways license--a crafty strategy, if a surprising one, too. The public comment period runs through March 10, and at this time, it is not known whether there will be a consultation session and site visit, as was done in March, 2002 when Glover Estates originally filed their ENF for the assisted living facility. After much public input and many concerned comments submitted, MEPA required a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR), though Glover Estates never completed one. At a minimum, both entities should be required to file full EIRs for the remediation and for the development, as well as a separate Chapter 91 license review process.
For reference, the ENFs are located at http://www.mass.gov/envir/mepa, click on Current Environmental Monitor and scroll down to EOEA numbers 13725 and 13726.
Also of interest is a citizen's petition filing to amend the current Marblehead zoning of the lead mills area from shoreline single residence to multifamily residence, including changing, among other things, the setbacks, frontage, and height limits (from 30 feet to 48 feet). It is expected that this will engender a fair amount of discussion at the Planning Board hearings in preparation for the May Town Meeting.
Please keep yourself informed of all these developments and plan to attend the State and local meetings. Without vigilance and vocal participation, before we know it the backhoes will be digging and four atrocious buildings will mark the entrance to our town. Pass this on to anyone else whom you feel would be interested.
Designer Steve Webster wins the 2006 Festival of Arts logo contest with an elegant rendering of the Lighthouse with a large sail passing through it.
Don Doliber is named Assistant Principal of the year. The School Administrators' Association knows all the assistant principals in the state very well, but they chose Marblehead historian and longtime volunteer, Don Doliber as the best one for 2006. He's the Assistant Principal at Masconomet Regional High School serving Topsfield, Boxford, and Middleton's 1,4oo students. To what does he contribute his success in a job that is traditionally feared by students as the main disciplinarian of schools? "Listening," he says quietly. [The Boston Globe North] And then he headed off to oversee his 2,000 lunchroom.
February 8: Superintendent Search Committee identifies an "educational visionary" as the successful candidate they are looking for. What that really means remains to be seen, but they said (as reported in the Salem News) that they are looking for someone who can "think on their feet and answer questions." The $150,000 position is scheduled to be filled by "early April." The successful candidate should know how to "craft a budget, understand curriculum, empower staff, and delegate authority." And the committee included a sense of humor as a attribute that "wouldn't hurt." Nationally, serach committees have identified six areas of concern: (1) policy and governance, (2) planning and assessment,, (3) insturctional leadership, (4) organizational management, (5) communication and community relations, and (6) professionalism. Many of these committees have adpoted the "evaluation" system in which the criteria of evaluation of a sitting superintendent is applied to the candidates. Many have realized the the superintendency is now a nationalstandard phenomenon rather than a local one. For Marblehead to approach the recruitment of a qualified individual the Town will have to set aside localized customs and practicies and begin to build in an accountability to its hiring process. That is, verify everything the candidates say and claim as strengths and professional accomplishments. It is noted that the human skills of successful superintendents are strong and enduring, the committee should investigate the legacies which follow the candidates for this position and they should use all resources to do it: adminsitrative, the corp of educators, and the population of parents and alumni. Jonathan Lederman is reported as listing his top priority in the hiring process as, "someone who has done the job successfully before." The School Committee noted that providing "on the job training" is not on Marblehead's agenda. "Experience is the operative word for me," said Chairman Rob Dana. School Committee member Joan Rosenthal mentioned that the new Superintendent will have a busy schedule: hiring a new High School Principal to replace the very popular and successful Marilyn Hurwitz, reviewing and updating the district's strategic plan, and managing the district and the Town through the next round of school improvements (the elementary schools).
Marilyn Hurwitz, High School Principal has indicated her intention to resign. Perhaps one of Marblehead's most popular principals of all time, Marilyn Hurwitz brought the high school to the new location, and fought on Town Meeting floor for upgrades and budgets she felt strongly about. A no-nonsense leader, her forthright style, popularity with faculty and students, and effectiveness across the spectrum of responsibilities thrust on her in tumultuatious times, will make her a hard act to follow.
February 5: Election update. Jackie Belf-Becker and Harry Christensen have filed their "nomination" papers with the Town Clerk, Tom McNulty, indicating that they are definitely running for re-election this year. Selectmen Jacobi, Shribman and Nye have not taken out their papers yet. One Selectman challenger has emerged, Michael Auerbach. Auerbach has taken out his papers but has not yet filed them.
February 3: Maddie's says, "Let's have another round!" Despite rumors, as reported in the Marblehead Reporter, that Maddies Sail Loft is close to last call, permanently, plans are afoot to celebrate its 60th Anniversary as Marblehead's signature bar on Valentine's Day. The potential buyers are quoted as implying that all is well and no changes are planned. They compared the Town's crown jewel of crapulence, or shall we say, spiritous abandonment, to buying the Red Sox and pledged to adhere to the established and traditional past practices of the facility. Mark Magee and Bob Risch, current owners, seem to be quietly anticipating success before the Board of Selectmen in having the liquor licensed transfered, or at least in getting the "nod" to go ahead. Bob Powers, one of the new owners, and currently general manager of two Victoria Station restaurants, noted that the bar's name was as valuable as the business. (In a world of branding-on-steriods, one can imagine Maddies' Everything coming soon.) They are planning to renovate the upstairs dining room, but downstairs is perfect. No changes in there (or there could be a revolution). The article brought to light the additional rumor that the new owners were planning to replace the current bartenders, Chip Percy, Rod Lucia, and Dick Claveau with "attractive female bartenders serving up drinks." Well, a wise old owl might run into a real hooter over that statement. We'll keep you informed.
Karen Jerome's work to be featured in a Marblehead Arts Association exhibition beginning February 4 at the King Hooper Mansion. Her work will be on display until February 26. Jerome has been illustrating childrens' books for 15 years. "I guess my work is classified as soft and quiet and sensitive. I don't do the happy, bright and fluffly books," she said, as reported in the Salem News. Jerome lived for many years in Swampscott and has recently moved to Brooklyn.
Marblehead High School Swimmers win the Northeastern Conference Championship. [Lynn Item] This is the year they have been dreaming of. With 16 seniors, the Marbleheaders beat a strong team, Danvers. Coach Sue Guertin was proud of the team."These kids really hadn't even seen a championship. This was awesome for them." Marblehead finished 7-0 undefeated in the NEC.
February 2: Maureen McKinnon-Tucker weighs anchor and sets sail for China Games in 2008. She is one of most nimble-minded and determined sailors we know. She may get to her boat in a wheelchair, but after that she's running, reaching, and hauling like crazy. Ms. McKinnon-Tucker, and her fellow crewman, Mark Lewis, of Hingham, are authorized to buy a SCUD18 (the official boat sanctioned by the Olympic Sailing Committee). That means they are in the trials. They will get their first chance to sail together in a race in March at St. Petersburg Yacht Club. All of this is to prepare for the U.S. Paralympic Trials in Newport, Rhode Island in October, 2007. Maureen broke her back in a fall from a seawall leaving her paralyzed below her waist. Mark became quadriplegic after a freak accident diving into shallow water. Here are two quotes [as reported in the Lynn Daily Item] that show what these two are made of. "I'm still breast feeding," said McKinnon-Tucker, "I going to have to pump between the races. My husband always says we had to wait until after the last [sailing] campaign to have our second baby." And, "The only way I can race," said Lewis, "is to be strapped in, so if the boat goes over; I'm going down with the ship."
Anyone wishing to make a contribution to Maureen'samazing efforts should go to http://www.sailingfoundationofnewyork.org/contribute.html, and type her name in the "designate" field. Or you can email her by clicking here. Also, check out their Internet Site at www.teameagle.org.
February 1: Well, it was drugs that drove 'em to it. They wanted stuff with "a quick resale value," according to Sergeant Marion Keating [Salem News]. The three people arrested are Ryan West, 25, Erin Canzao, 27, and Richard Belyea, 33 (pictured below in police photos) for their possible roles in a string of break-ins in Marblead during November, December and January. Surrounding towns are also interested in the trio for unsolved crimes in their communities. Sgt. Keating also encouraged residents not to relax, but to remain vigilant and stay smart about security in and around their homes. The investigation led by Lynnfield police brought the accused to arrest.
WESX purchased by Mercury Capital Partners of New York. With all of 1000 watts of Marblehead and North Shore news power, this is the little radio station thatcould. Started in 1939 by Charles Phelan and then purchased by the Asher family in 1952.Its most famous alumni, Al Needham ("The news is breaking from all corners of New England"), retired after 33 years with the station in 1999. The station's second most famous alumni, Tom McNulty, a longtime public servant, Selectman, and now Marblehead Town Clerk, took over the celebrity seat for a few years, and reportedly enjoyed every minute of his time there. The purchasing company has many other stations and a variety of formats. The ultimate change in store for loyal WESX listeners remains uncertain. As James Asher, 49, the current owner, said, "It's a very emotional process." Incidentally, Marblehead Magazine in 1980 briefly had a show on the radio station ... and a popular one , too. Despite the $4.5 million sale, the future of the station and its signature 180 foot high antenna, is not known for sure, but Otto Miller, the new owner from Connecticut was reported as stating that he was planning "multicultural Christian broadcasting programming." He has plans to move the antenna to Lynn as well. The 3.5 acre site where the station has been located on Naugus Head in Marblehead will be sold off. He said the station will lease time to preachers and anyone else, "likes to get on the air and help people." [Salem News] What began in Salem on Washington Street in Salem and in its heyday it had seven studios, occupying three floors and one studio "had seating for 180 people, and a live band that would perform every Saturday night," has fallen victim to a transient population, Internet access, and the changing times that mare catching up with all of us. (Pictured in the photo: All Needham and Norm Durkee at the station in 1986.)
Rose Ann Wheeler McCarthy announces. Again. Thrown out by voters last year, Ms. McCarthy a perennial candiate for office in Town is running again; this time for the seat she just lost on the Recreation, Park and Forestry Commission. Her platform for the May 9 election has not currently been articulated.
January 31: 209 years later General John Glover still remembered. Marblehead's famous "Glover's Regiment," once the razor-sharp sword in the hand of George Washington and his American Revolution, still marches down the streets of Marblehead in remembrance of their namesake. And, they carry guns. Every year on the anniversary of his death on January 30, 1797, the regiment calls the town to graveside for a volley or two for the old times. Occasionally, they draw a crowd, but more often than not, only the stalwarts appear in support of these volunteers who carry on tradition, not merely in word, but in action. At the time of his death, revolutionary heroics were past history for Glover who passed his final years as a cordwainer, but as Captain Robert Erbetta stated at graveside this year, "During his life and during the most critical time during America's fight for independence, he attained and accomplished the extraordinary." [Salem News] In attendance, also, was Ray Bush of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a member of another re-enactment regiment that commemorates Washington's Crosssing of the Deleware. It was Ray's first time at the event and his first time in Marblehead. "It was an honor," he said. Those soft-spoken words echoed gently on the grounds of Old Burial Hill this cold January night, and also in the heart of a grateful nation that will not forget one of their greatest revolutionary heroes. [Visit the Regiment's site: click here.]
Jackie Belf Becker back in the schools' business. Former School Committee member, Jackie Belf-Becker was unanimously appointed by the her new colleagues on the Board of Selectmen to represent them on the 14-member Superintendent Search Committee. As a first term Selectman, Mrs Belf-Becker previously served for several terms on the School Committee before taking a breather from public service. She successfully ran for election as a Selectman in 2005. Her service on the search committee should be an easy fit, given her extensive knowledge of and experience with the Marblehead Public Schools.
January 30: Wayne Butler named as "Marblehead Forever" 2006 recipient. After a lifetime of "Butler Better Built Boats," Wayne Butler "retired" into the dark recesses of the Marblehead historic archives and emerged as one of those rare people who actually gets things done. Earning a place in the small world of recoginized Marblehead historians simply byorganizing and computerizing the endlessly varied and disorganized "archives," Mr. Butler was surprised by the award which was announced at a meeting of the Board of Selectmen, at which Butler thought he was making a presentation. When asked for a comment he said of his work in the archives and as a member of the Marblehead Historical Commission, "I'm having a ball. I'm getting more out of this than anyone else is." [Lynn Item] Butler graduated from Marblehead High School in 1950, attended Boston University and served as a submariner for two years durng the Korean War. He also worked in the post office until 1963.
January 27: James Dearborn announces for School Committee. Former Finance Committee member and Chairman for one year, James Dearborn, has announced his candidacy to fill the seat recently given up by retiring member Joan Rosenthal. Dearborn's time on the Finance Committee was not without controversy, at times at logger heads with the Board of Selectmen. He also worked hard for the Trash Collection general override of $400,000, and served as treasurer for current school committee member Amy Drinker's campaign. Dearborn's two sons are currently attending Marblehead Public Schools and his wife is active in the PTO. He cited a "lack of openness" [The Reporter] on the part of the current school committee, and stated that his view of the Charter School might be "slightly more constructive" than some members of the current school committee. Bringing out the old saws of every conservative candidate for office, Dearborn could not resist the clarion calls of "efficiency" and "financial caution," despite over 25 years of Proposition 2.5 and endless investigations of school spending all resulting in finding no irresponsibility or large-scale incompetence. In fact, with the appearance of the school's new business manager, things are even more transparent and businesslike than ever. Plus, the fact that Phil Devaux, Acting Superintendent, is known around the state for his excellence in management of all aspects of school affairs. Nonetheless, Dearborn went on to announce that the town was suffering from "override exhaustion." The overrides he was speaking of, over the past few years, have maintained current and essential (but in some cases all time low) staffing levels and essential town services. These overrrides have passed, almost all of them, with overwhelming majorities in every precinct. Dearborn went on to advocate a new teacher's contract that "does not require us to go back to the voters." With the school budget already running over due to unavoidable energy costs (see below) Dearborn seemed to be advocating a zero or minimal raise contract for teachers.
Town Incumbents seem to be staying put for the most part. The Selectmen all seem to running fo re-election, as do the Recreation, Park and Forestry commissioners, the Board of Assessors, the Cemetary Commission, the Board of Health, the Housing Authority, the Library Board of Trustees, the Light Commission (although one seat may be up for grabs), the Panning Board, and the Water and Sewer Commission. So, if you want to run, you will probably have to face the incumbents. Election papers are available at the Town Clerk's office at Abbot Hall. If you want to run, papers must be filed by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 20. Fifty signatures of registered voters are required to obtain a place on the May 9 ballot.
January 26: Police Chief James Carney, 56, announces he's going to retire in 2007. Waxing a little nostalgic, almost as though he were homesick for a Town he grew up in years ago, Chief Carney looked back on his 33-year career. He mentioned the weekly salary when he started ($160) and how, in those days, his full mustache didn't raise an eyebrow; but he also mentioned the decline in manning and funding over the years. The chief has the required number of years in service to receive a full pension and he is giving the Town plenty of notice to find a replacement. In his years in the department he has served in every rank from reserve patrol officer (1973) to chief of police (2000), and he has served in almost every position the department has. "It's always been a dream of mine to move up through the ranks," he said in 1997 when he was promoted to Captain of the department. [Lynn Item] In acknowledging Carney's years of service by saying, "He has done a good job," said Judy Jacobi, Chair of the Board of Selectmen. Clearly before her time were the endlessness nights when Mr. Carney calmly and intelligently fought conservative finance committee members and other Town officials to win improvements in the department. When others would have walked away full of cynicism and rancor, Jim Carney worked within the system to win the day. Not every battle was victorious, to be sure, but it was in those years when Carney's mettle was proven and, some say, it was in those days that it became clear that he would one day lead the department. Mrs. Jacobi added, "He'll be missed." [Lynn Item] Even now at the pinnacle of hiscareer he spoke of the poor and forgotten: "Believe it or not," he said, "there are hidden pockets of poverty in this town that people aren't aware of. There are people in the town who are struggling." We expect there to be more on this page about Marblehead's Chief. As he said, "It's a year out." Plenty of time. [Salem News] Harry Christensen, a Selectman with strong and historic ties to the police department of Marblehead, praised Carney as an excellent chief and a man who successfully lead the department through tough times [The Reporter]. Mr. Christensen went on to discuss succession in the department stating that he knew of three home-grown candidates and went on to suggest that the Selectmen should not limit their search for a new chief to just the officers currently on the Town's police force. Incidentally, this argument for an outside chief comes up every time there is a vacancy. While it may have merit, in the past the idea of turning the Town's back on officers who have given their working life to the Town in hopes of one day becoming chief of the department has not carried the day. But it does keep coming up. "It's our obligation as selectmen to pick the best possible candidate whether or not he or she be a member of the department," said Selectman Christensen, according to the article by Kris Olsen. Harry concluded by adding, "I hope it is," he said, meaning his preference would be a chief of the home-grown variety.
School's Master Plan Committee begins again. Made up of one teacher, one finance committee member, the Town Planner/Assistant Town Adminsitrator, the school's business manager, two school committee members, a member of the Capital Planning Committee, an elementary school principal, and two at-large representatives, appointed by the School Committee from a pool of community applicants. According to Acting Superintendent Philip Devaux, the committee will focus largely on the long-discussed and delayed or postponed upgrades to the Bell, Coffin, Eveleth, Glover Gerry and Village elementary schools. Having allocated, with assistance from the state, $69 million for the renovations of the old high school and the construction of a new one, the district is now turning to the final phase of the school's buildings upgrade. He said that the Committee of ten may be prepared to begin discussing monetary requests for the study at the 2006 Annual Town Meeting in May.
The Superintendent Search Committee continues to be "defined." After assigning committee seats to various components of the school community and the community at large in early January, the School Committee apparently has finally "finalized" [Salem News] the fourteen-member committee again. Even though the hopeful deadline for finding a replacement for replacement Superintendent Devaux who filled the suddenly empty chair is the rapidly approaching April 6 date set at the time of Devaux's return, the School Committee has only committed to the leisurely appointment of two of its five members no earlier than "next month." Also, only one spot on the Search Committee has definitely been filled as of now: Town Adminstrator Anthony S. Sasso. "I told them I'd be happy to do it."
January 25: [Salem News] Marblehead Planning Board meets with YMCA and reviews its plans for Leggs Hill Road area. Almost ... but no cigar. The Town of Marblehead, thus far the
best friend a YMCA could ever want, went to the edge but didn't jump ... yet. As usual, the issue is "traffic." The impact on Leggs Hill Road and its intersection with Tedesco Street was the bone of contention. The developers of the $12.5 million facility, with potentially more than 2,500 members, recommend a turning lane on eastern-bound Tedesco Street, but members of the community and the Planning Board questioned whether or not the already busy and narrow two-way street (at this intersection) could safely sustain a "left turn lane." The developers said in effect, "Sure it can." The Chairman of the Planning Board David Stern is quoted as saying, "I can't imagine that there's room." Narrowing the road near the entrance of Leggs Hill, installing a crosswalk, changing Londonderry into a one-way street, and adding more signs would solve all the potential problems, the developers contended. Some of the neighbors suggested an alternate roadway out the back of the project to Loring Avenue. The road, while avoiding all of the Leggs Hill problems, would require traversing fragile wetlands through land owned by the Town's Water and Sewer Commission: two big problems. Ben Ackerman is quoted as asking why, "If Salem doesn't want [this YMCA behemoth], why do we have to be burdened with it?"
The new YMCA is scheduled to open in 2007. The Y is selling single family home lots bordering the project's footprint to help finance the construction and purchase costs. On February 3, the Planning Board is scheduled to tour the area.
January 24: $223,000 out in the cold for Marblehead Public Schools. Even as the echoes of Town official's conviction that no general overrides will be need this budget year was still reverberating, the schools are facing an unavoidable overrun in the most basic of
services: keeping the students warm. Despite thermostats at an all-time low and lights off all over the place almost a quarter of a million dollars has been drained from an over-stressed budget to pay the oil-heating, gas-proving pipers. David Keniston, School Business Manager, said that the schools are "doing the very best" they can. It's been a mild winter, weatherwise, but a savage one for rapacious increases in heating fuel costs. Conservation efforts have netted a $90,ooo decrease in the budget overrun, Keniston said before the School Committee.
While the state will most likely help some of the larger/poorer school districts in the Commonwealth, it is unlikely that the state will believe the poor-mouthing pleas of Marblehead town officials who govern a town with one of the highest per capita income levels in the Commonwealth, one of the lowest tax rates, and some of the lowest paid employees in the state.
Area police arrest two in Marblehead/Swampscott break-ins. Caught pawning stolen items at Lynn and Salem stores, the 32 and 27-year-old robbers are facing jail time if convicted. Swampscott and Wenham police assisted Lynn police in the investigation and arrests.[Lynn Item]
January 20: YMCA meets serious concerns in Salem. The new flagship YMCA for Marblehead, Swampscott and Salem (a regional participating part of the Northshore YMCA organization) has run up against a Planning Board that worries about the extremely high costs of repairing Leggs Hill Road and the tender little concrete bridge over the Estuary, and the possibility that the new location may actually
be less frequented by Salem residents. The new location is a mile from downtown Lynn. The new $12.5 million facility will require a compete redo of Leggs Hill, possibly traffic light installation, and a tough environmental challenge of protecting the fragile estuary while all of this is going on. Since the site of the Y is in Salem, the organization is looking to Salem for the majority of the work and expense. John Moustakis, Planning Board membersaid, "I see this as [something that is] going to be good for Marblehead and Swampscott. We have a lot of young kids in Salem, I don'tknow how they're going to get to this YMCA." [The Salem News] Paul Gorman, Excutive Director of the Marblehead-Swampscott YMCA said that the Salem High School swimming team will sue the new facility. Follwoing the money, Ward 7 Councilor Joe O'Keefe said, "Salem doesnpt have the money to fix the road," and called on Marblehead to do it since it is primarily a road sued by residents of that town. The attorney for the Y said it cannot afford the road repairs either. O'Keefe said Salem might "abandon" the road. But this meeting was only the first of many. Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done.
Joan Rosenthal won't run. Joan Rosenthal, after three non-continuous terms, has announced that she will not seek re-election in May this year. She was praised around the table for her service and quiet effectiveness on the Marblehead School Committee. Her closing quote [Lynn Item] was similarly denotive: "I take great satisfaction in knowing that I have made many significant contributions to our schools and to our community."
January 19: John Fogle is named president of Salem Theater Company. The theater company was started in 2001 by Matteo Pagallo. John has been in professional and non-professional theater for more than 30 years [Marblehead Reporter] and, incidentally, he was Marblehead Magazine's first photography editor in 1980. He is also artistic director of the Mugford Street players.
Women in prison lecture focus. Christina Rathbone, author of "A World Apart: Women, Prison, and Life Behind Bars," will
be discussing that very topic at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on Lafayette Street, February 9 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The lecture is sponsored by the church's prison ministry.
Open mike for musicians and poets. The King Hooper Mansion will have an open micophone for musicians and poets on Sunday, February 5 from 6:00 p.m.to 8:30 p.m. Sign-up begins at 5:30 p.m.
January 18: Town officials pronounce, "No general override." Without contracts completed and long before the budget process is completed, Selectmen and other Town Officials [as reported in the Daily Item] are reaffirming their opinion that no general override is needed. However there will be the
usual batch of debt exclusions override ... and the general population doesn't really notice any difference anyway, with debt exclusions coming fast and furious every year. If you talk to police, fire, publicschool and municipal employees and say that Town Officials are saying we don't need any extra money for next year (FY2007) you will get a look of deblief... and then something else, if you're foolish enough to hang around.
January 17: Marblehead Little Theater begins casting for "Our Town." Director John Fogle says he very excited about the coming production. Marblehead may be the perfect setting for Thornton Wilder's classic about life in a small town. Most of the parts are for adults but there are roles for children too. Auditions are scheduled for Sunday, January 29, 2:00 p.,. to 4:00 p.m. and again on Monday, January 30, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The production is scheduling "curtains up" for the firs performance on March 31 and then April 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 an 9.
January 14: Lynn endures a 20-minute standoff between a man who doused himself in gasoline and was threatening to self-immolate and the police who ultimately talked him out of it, to the applause of citizens standing by.
Representative Petersen to testify. Chapter 40B, an act of the legislature that has effectively let developers pad their projects with a minimum of "affordable" housing unit and thereby compete projects, outside of normal municipal regulations and oversight boards and commissions, is sort of up for review. Local state representative Doug Petersen has been invited to testify and if a quote in the Marblehead Reporter is accurate his position has been pre-announced: "I believe the animosity generated by proposed 40B project in my communities is yet again a prime example of the shortcomings of this statute. The hearing will be held on Janaury 24 in the State House Gardner Auditorium beginning at 10 a.m.
The so-called "Walsh Bill" is causing a commotion among synagogues and churches in Town because it wopuld "erase the line between" non profit organization and the religious community that has long enjoyed an exemption from filing annual financial and real estate reports, incurring additional expenses. Most of the religious organizations struggle with annual budgeting already.
Harry Christensen continues to "tease" about Atherton murder. Promising to "unravel" more of the 1951 mystery he has researched for decades. The murder of Beryl Atherton, a Glover School teacher, will appear at the Marblehead Harbor Women's Club next Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Public is invited.
The annual State of the Town breakfast is Wednesday, January 18 at the Landing Restaurant at 8:00 a.m. Town Administrator Tony Sasso will be among the speakers.
Julie Livingston is named to head Marblehead Savings Bank. Sometimes, 27 years of hard, effective work is really appreciated. Congratulations to her and to the Marblehead Savings Bank.
January 17: Marblehead Police Officer, charged with assault and tresspassing, agrees to probation. Dana Peralta,33, a Marblehead resident, has to pay $500 and stay at least 50 feet away from his neighbor after a court date about an incident that occurred in Beverly in early 2004, involving a dispute over trash and tossing wood.
January 13: [Salem News] Break in happens in broad daylight. Ocean Avenue, 12:22 p.m. the "Lunchtime Buglar" was surprised by police with two laptops and a handbag. In the "300 block" of Ocean Avenue. One of the homeowners confronted the unarmed intruder and he ran like a rabbit. The police searched the neighborhood and brought along a search dog for good measure. Five feet, ten inches tall, wearing a light-colored sweatshirt or sweater and had a crew cut style haircut. The burglary remains under investigation by Marblehead detectives.
Water and Sewer Commission gives in to Board of Selectmen. After months of rangling, the Water and Sewer commision rescinded its vote to establish itself as an independent Commision similar to the Marblehead Light Department. The vote was unanimous, just like the previous and opposite vote. The "payment in lieu of taxes" that has burdened the department in recent years was also rescinded. The Board of Selectmen reserved the right to "revisit" this payment each year. Town Administrator, Tony Sasso, put a rosy hue to the Commission's retreat when he concluded, "I think they deserve a lot of credit for backing away from this." [Lynn Item]
January 12: Marblehead.org is finally launched. [The Reporter] Since 1995 there were calls for Marblehead to follow the lead of other communities and get itself on the then burdgeoning Internet. Some websites launched around that (this one included) were already gathering viewership and publishing town history and news. But, over ten years later, including since 2001 when Judy Jacobi included "a Town website" in her campaign for Selectman, 2005 ended with still no website for Marblehead. All neighboring communities have had one for many years. But Marblehead had to do it, its way. And so, this week ... poof! there it is. http://www.marblehead.org. There are rumors that some aspects of the site may be causing a commotion, such as: the Board of Assessors/ section.
Marblehead 2006 "Facility Stickers," now available. $50 at the Treasurer's Office or at the Transfer station will buy you access to the town dump and beaches for 2006. Bring proof of residency and your vehicle registration when pony up. No credit or debit cards: cash or checks only. And, if you were wondering if Marblehead's new and exciting Web site offers access to these stickers online ... the answer is "no." Of course.
January 10: Boston law firm Wolf Greenfield names Wager business development manager Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C., a Boston intellectual property law firm, named Jay T. Wager of Marblehead senior manager, business development. (Full story click here.)
January 9: School Committee defines search committee. Make-up There will be 13 participants: two Town officials, three for school parents, two for teachers, one for a principal, three at-large positions for community representatives, and two for School Committee members. This committee will review applications and determine who will be interviewed. The committee will also conduct the initial interviews and make recommendations as to who will move on to the School Committee's interviews in the selection round. The target date for hiring a new Superintendent is April 6, 2006. The majority of the new committee's work will be done in March, as reported in the Salem News. Marblehead is advertising the position with a salary of $150,000.
January 6: Spree of break-ins in Swampscott has Marblehead on guard. Doors of apartments pried open and ranacked and jewelry stolen ... this is never a comforting event in affluent communities bordering impoverished urban areas.
January 5: Bagpiper to share secrets, but not what's under there. Julie Hahnke, expert bagpiper will share the secrets of the instruments at Abbot Public Library on Saturday next. She recently won the Eastern Bagpipe Championships. She stated that the information seminar will be interesting and fun. But the age old of secret of the Scottish kilt will not be discussed. Apparently.
Richard G. Boardman arrested. Richard G. Boardman, respected businessman and member of Town organizations. was arrested on December 29 and charged with stealing $20,000, or so, from an elderly client of his Marblehead Financial Planning company. The police are expecting more clients to come forward. College tuitions for Boardman's children were mentioned [The Reporter] as pressures on Boardman. He was reported as having characterized these acts as "borrowing," rather than stealing.
January 4: Selectmen approve "traffic improvements" around Town. Lee and Union Streets will be more clearly marked a "Stop!" intersection, weight limits for vehicles in that area will also be considered, due to the slope (the steepest in Town). Orchard Street, Bubier Road, East Orchard Street, Beach Street, Johns Road, Naugus Avenue, Ocean Avenue, and Follett Street were also all affected with new signs and other changes, including Peter Lynch, Marblehead's famous billionaire, wanting a one-way sign moved.