Weekly News Digest 2001
Previously "Milestones"
Important events in Marblehead since the inception of legendinc.com,
as reported in the Daily Evening Item, the Salem Evening News,
the Marblehead Reporter, and The Boston Globe,
among other resources, including the official Selectmen's Minutes.

December 27th
Former bank Vice President Tom Adams admits to larceny of stealing bank elderly customers' deposit money. Mr. Adams has repaid the bank approximately $10,000 worth of money stolen between 1997 and 2000.

The Salem Power Plant has announced that it is scrapping the very unpopular plan to burn more coal at the site. Marblehead's Healthlink, a group of very active residents in opposition, deserves much credit.

December 13th
The Marblehead Public School's Master Plan involving the complete remake of all school facilities advanced decisively on December 10th with the overwhelming passage of the $22.6 million override for the renovation and construction of a new Upper Middle School building on the grounds of the old and currently in service 1903 High School.The article carried every pricinct in light turnout.

In a sudden and disruptive conclusion, the Conservation Commission's review of the Glover Estates Limited Liability Corporation's (GELLC) plan to clean up the Old Lead Mills site if their plans for an assisted living center is approved by the Town's boards and commissions, ended amid charges of conflict of interest for two Commissioners. John VanDusen and Margo Carey signed a letter in May, long before any agenda items had come before the ConCom, is opposition to granting a Brownsfield Covenant Not-To-Sue to the developer. The letter was a form letter signed by over 600 other residents of Marblehead and Salem. A decision was made to have the two Commissioners approach the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission for a ruling. The decision will take months, and the Commission will not deal with any GELLC issues until the allegations are addressed. Both Carey and VanDusen indicated a desire to serve in the process and expressed convictions that their objectivity had not been compromised by opposing the granting of the covenant not to sue to the developer of the land.

December 6th
Town Meeting approves the school override and now it's off to the voters on December 10th.

The Board Of Selectmen at a recent meeting voted to hire an architectural firm to begin developing plans for a new seawall on the Causeway.

With the planned retirement of the current Superintendent of School, Philip Devaux, the department is now beginning the search process for another superintendent to be hired by September, prior to school opening.

November 29th
The Christmas Walk comes again. The 29th Annual Marblehead Christmas Walk, this year sponsored by individual merchants rather than the Chamber of Commerce, is one of Marblehead's signature events.

November 27th
In light of the events of September 11th and terrorist threats around the world against Americans, the Marblehead School Committee voted to not sanction student school trips abroad. DiGiamarino,Pat Pollard, and Rob Dana voted in favor of the ban, and Joan Rosenthal and Jon Lederman opposed it.
November 15th
Dennis Curtin is seeing a dream of his come true with the long-awaited publication of the book about Marblehead's open spaces and historic places, "Exploring Marblehead." All proceeds from sales of the book will go to the Marblehead Conservancy.
November 8th
One of the most widely attended Town Meetings in history voted with over a two-thirds majority to continue the rebuilding of Marblehead Schools, this time to renovate the old High School into an Upper Middle School at a cost of $22.6 million with a state reimbursement of at least 50 percent. A Special Election on the Debt Exclusion Override will be held on December 10th.

MCAS scores have gone up this year making everyone happier.

Mammy Redd was exonerated this week by the state legislature, removing the stigma attached to her by conviction as a witch in 1692.
November 1st
FinCom struggles with the issue and in the end supports an override article $22.6 million to renovate the current high school and to build a new Upper Middle School at Special Town Meeting on November 5th.
October 25th
The Board of Selectmen voted unananimously to support the School Committee's recommendations at Town Meeting to fund and proceed with the new Upper Middle School on the grounds and renovating the facilities of the current Marblehead High School. It was the first time in recent memory that the Board of Selectmen was unananimous in such a vote for school facilities.

Special Town Meeting was scheduled for Monday, November 5th, 7:45 PM at the Nelson Aldrich Performing Arts Center.

October 18th
The Board of Selectmen met with the Building Oversite Committee (II) along with School Committee members and the Superintendent to review and discuss the renovations of the current High School into an Upper Middle School (grades 7 and 8) this week. The project's price tag is around $22 million with at least 50% state reimbursement. At an upcoming Special Town Meeting, attendees will also hear the presentation and a motion to submit it to voters on December 10th for a Proposition 2.5 debt exclusion override election.

Lifelong resident of Marblehead, and one of our local poet laureates passed away this week: Carolyn Russel, 82.

October 11th
James Dearborn becomes Finance Committee Chairman, succeeding Charles Gessner who remains on the Committee.

October 4th
Assessmentd were announced this week in Marblehead and they went up on average 19%. The average property in Marblehead is now $389,000, obviously, the highest in history.

September 27th
A third local victim of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center Towers is confirmed: Erik H. Isbrandtsen, who worked at the ill-fated equities trading firm, Cantor Fitzgerald. He was 30, and a graduate of Marblehead High School Class of 1990.

Gene Jacobi is named the Chamber of Commerce's 2001 Person of the Year for his extensive volunteer work and love of the Town of Marblehead.

September 20th
Fred Eichler was sitting at a desk on the 83rd floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11th. He saw the plane coming toward the building and watched it swoop up at the last minute striking the 87th with Earth-shattering results. He saw the face of the man flying the plane. And after attempting to leave and then coming back to his office to sit in the dark and smoke, he finally walked down the stairs and out of the building at the directions of firefighters who did not make it out. Less than five minutes after he left the building, the Tower collapsed. As reported in the Marblehead Reported, it was a "Miracle on the 83rd floor.

Marbleheader's, after 300 years, have installed a small plaque commemorating the "unknown marine" as representative of all who have died at sea from Marbehead. It is in the shadow of the Fisherman's memorial which lists the names of the known who have been lost at Old Burial Hill. At the same time, a small memorial was also installed at State Street Landing commemorating the contributions of fishermen to the history of Marblehead.
September 14th

Board seeks safety first on Lafayette Street. Proposed lane changes vetoed.

September 13th
Two Marblehead men killed in terrorist crash in New York. Bill Weems of Calthrope Road was on his way to Los Angeles on American Airlines Flight 11 and Dr. Frederick Rimmele III of High Street was on board United Airlines Flight 175. The two planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers.

Town clerk Tom McNulty tells Lifetime of his near death experience that brought him back to life. McNulty had surgery in July of 2000 to remove a small tumor on his pituitary gland.

Town Landing now bears new Fishermen's Memorial plaque in remembrance of the "Unknown Mariner" who's remains were found in a shipwreck near Marblehead lighthouse. A burial was held at Old Burial Hill as well.

September 6th
Tucker's Wharf plans are moving forward as the Harbor and Waters Board discusses cutting the cost of renovation.

Lafayette/ Maple street light installation is delayed until spring of 2002.

The Marblehead Forever Award is given to Marion Gosling for her 54 years of volunteer work.

August 30th
Loophole is found in 'organic only' policy. Private company use of herbicides and pesticides are not covered under a BI-law or regulation therefore there is no way to truly reprimand the company who used chemicals at the lower play field at the Marblehead Middle School.

Selectmen looked to the Town Counsel for a decision on the possibility of testing for contamination of the Lead Mills area by accessing it through the Gatchell Playground property. Parents are opposed to the idea.

Vinin Square project is expected to be finished before the proposed completion date of July 2002 says Massachusetts Highway Department.

August 23rd
Lead Mills hearing, to be heard or not heard. Three dates have been proposed and three dates have been turned down.

Donations shine on new senior sun porch. 'Pat's Patio' at Marblehead Council on Aging Senior Center was opened August 15th.

Gerry 5 has two-point lead as they took first place in the Class B championship handtub league.

August 16th
Due to lack of town attention since 1918, Fishing Point Lane is ruled not accessible to the public by land court judge.

Lead Mills cleanup hearing stalled due to absence of a press release. Organizers say that new information will be made available for the later date.

No new crosswalks for the Marblehead/Swampscott YMCA. Selectmen followed advice from the Traffic & Safety Committee to just go with the two crosswalks already in place.

August 9th
Let freedom ring, selectmen said when complaints were brought to their attention about the traditional Fourth of July ringing and also the ringing of the bells on Washington's birthday.

Parking verses safety, is the debate over new YMCA crosswalk. The Traffic and Safety Advisory is scheduled to weigh the options and report back at the next selectmen's meeting.

Temperatures soar but maybe not as high as the Marblehead Savings Bank clock showed, 101 degrees.

August 2nd
Town rallies with Marines to preserve Hammond Park, birth site of US Marine aviation.

Residents could be throwing money away, quite literally if the town approves the proposed 'pay-per-throw' trash collection policy. Proposal will be given to the Board of Health and discussed at next May's town meeting.

And the race is on as the Sailing World National Offshore One Design regatta is underway.

July 26th
New Marblehead High School is on budget, and on time. Site claims top quality construction.

Tucker's Wharf? Tax payer money is tied up in a fund to renovate or restore this historical site, but the wharf is still empty and still in limbo. The Harbors and Waters Board is stuck because they have a

July 19th
Forty teens charged with possession of alcohol at house party on Maple Street.

Sea squall capsizes trimaran, family rescued. Dr. Isabella Sledge and her husband, Dr. John Sledge with their two children, 4 years old and 5 months old, were pulled from the ocean off Block Island by Capt. Stephen Wolfe and Rick Howard from a charter boat called "Mars." The family boarded the Eastern Race Committee boat that was also near by named the "Sassy Lady."

Data concludes we're "Movers and Shakers," Census says we're just plain Old. PRIZM (Potential Rating Index for Zip Markets) is a company that conducts marketing research and posts their results on the Internet. But their story doesn't line up with the results from the US Census.

Seventh and Eighth grades get own school, plans have begun to convert current high school into an "upper middle school."

Hearsay causes confusion between selectmen Jeff Shribman and Bill Purdin on debate of construction at Glover Estates during a selectmen's meeting.

July 12th
The Harbors and Water Board has improved the parking situation on the West Shore by cleaning up the Village Street parking lot. Is there more relief to come?

Fireworks delayed due to storm scare, criticism soared.

July 5th
Lead Mills plans stuck with a 2-2 vote by selectmen.

June 28th
Town prepares for the Fourth of July

June 21st
Five out of six received override, leaving Tucker's Wharf out of the picture. The ones that made it: Sea walls, Seaside Park tennis, Storm drains, Fort Sewall, High School conversion.

Traffic lights for Lafayette-Maple street intersection to be delivered free of charge due to the hard work of Sherm Eidelman, a retired Massachusetts Highway Department worker. Eidelman searched through the state maze to find a way to get the much needed lights in place.

Coyote fear wraps locals, experts downplay threat. Recent sightings have put people on alert, but are reassured that the coyotes usually behave themselves.

June 14th
Six questions at hand as voters prepare: Walls and fences, Seaside Park courts, Storm drain maintenance, Tucker's Wharf, Fort Sewall, and High School conversion.

Forest City making Leggs Hill deal sweeter for Salem. Group offers $250,000 in grants and reduces unit numbers.

June 7th
The debate over the Lead Mills Property continues. The next big question is who is responsible for cleaning up the mess? This, and many other questions are to be addressed at the Public Hearing June 13th when Rich Bane, who's company, Bane Skilled Care Residences, owns the property will speak to the public.

The annual Youth trip to Israel is canceled because of the latest violence in the Middle East.

Charter School fifth graders say no to MCAS. The fifth graders sat out their MCAS history test because it was not anything they had covered over the year. School officials say that history should be taught in chronological order. They don't know how these will be graded.

May 31st
Nann Weissenberger's normally routine reappointment to the Finance Committee is called into question by Selectmen Jeff Shribman and Judy Jacobi. Shribman cited her public comments to department heads, and Jacobi stated that "it is time for her to step down," as reporter in the Marblehead Reporter.

May 24th
Six overrides votes are set for June 18th by the Board of Selectmen: Fort Beach and Little Harbor Seawalls, $30,000; Seaside Tennis Courts, $21,200; General Override for drain maintenance and improvements, $300,000; Tucker's Wharf renovations, $200,000; Fort Sewall Improvements, $114,000; Upper Middle School design phase, $600,000.

Selectman William Woodin was reelected by The Board as Chairman.

May 17th
Tom McNulty defeats 36-year incumbent Betty Brown for the office of Town Clerk, ending an era in Marblehead government. McNulty defeated Brown by 247 votes in one of the highest visibility races in recent history, and some say the contest itself accounted for the record high voter turnout.

Harry Christensen, a former Selectman who served two years from 1993-1994, was reelected to the Board of Selectmen over challengers, Ken Bane and Jean Eledridge. Mr. Christensen joins reelected incumbents, Judy Jacobi, Bill Purdin, Jeff Shribman and Bill Woodfin.

Jonathan Lieberman was elected to the School Committee joining reelected incumbent Patricia Pollard, and incumbents Rob Dana, Larry DiGiammarino, and Joan Rosenthal.

May 10th
Town prepares to vote of all local offices, amid an active campaign and perhaps a very large turnout.

April 26th
Dustin Hoffman and the other Hollywood types come to Marblehead to film a new movie called, "Baby's in Black." Hoffman, along with his children, are enchanted by Marblehead and all it's charm.

Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift sets some of the "toughest in the Nation" standards for the Salem Power Plant clean up.

Candidates for Town Clerk Tom McNulty and Betty Brown square off on issues of "modernizing" the position during the Republican candidates night Monday April 22. Also debating that night was the 7 Selectmen candidate and the 3 school committee candidates.

April 19th
Bell Elementary School Principal Robert Farrell reflects on his 37 years in the Marblehead Public Schools. Farrell, began in 1964 as a fifth grade teacher in the Lower Bell school building. But he has had his office in Upper Bell since it opened 25 years ago, first as Assistant Principal, and then on to Principal. Farrell did not plan on teaching as a career, "but one year of teaching and I was hooked." Farrell will retire at the end of the school year.

Lafayette Convalescent Home had a fire in its basement at 10:19 p.m. Monday April 16th. The residents were not inconvenienced and all was fine.

"Glover Estates" a new assisted living center planned for the Lead Mills site goes to the Attorney General.

April 12th
The Selectmen deadlock over granting Bob Jones University the right to used the Town's color transparency of the Spirit of '76. Selectmen Shribman and Purdin opposed permission stating the University is an internationally-known seat of religious bigotry and racial intolerance. Selectmen Woodfin and Jacobi, favored permission as an example of tolerance on the part of the Town. Motion to approve failed on a tie vote.

With the appointment of Jason Conrad, the first mother-son police team in Marblehead's history took its place. Marion Keating is also the first woman superior officer on MPD.

Edith "Edie" Cunningham, 76, passed away. She was a long time and well-known Town activist.

April 5th
Zoning Board approves the new house being built on Gingerbread lane despite outcry from surrounding neighborhoods, and despite concerns about violating the spirit of the Historic District and the sanctity of Old Burial Hill.

The new "Marblehead Conservancy" outlined plans to mobilize the community to begin purchasing and saving open space around Town. Representatives appeared before the Board of Selectmen.

March 29th
Coast Guard conducts a "cold water safety" training exercise to emphasize the danger of cold water as the temperature of the air warms up in the spring. Fire Department and Coast Guard personnel and officials coordinated a major event in Marblehead harbor.

March 22nd
Selectmen approve Disney's request to film "Baby's In Black," during a six-week period in April and May. At a meeting, all area businesses were in favor. The Board was unanimous.

March 15th
Town is finally beginning to address the issues of marblehead.com: it has no webmaster, and is totally out of date. But what will the solution finally be?

March 1st
Board of Selectmen establishes a new committee to study the historic districts with an eye to see if they cover enough of the Town, or too much.

A late season storm slams Marblehead, with rain, sleet, snow and in the end slush and high removal bills.

March 1, 2001

King's Rook owner, Frank Regan, is found dead in his home, a victim of suicide. Longtime activist, business owner and Chamber of Commerce director, Mr. Regan was considered one of the people in Town always ready to help and to serve. He is survived by his wife Denise and three sons, Richard, Matthew and Alexander.

The new, and hard-earned, Skate Board Park at Gatchell's Pit, has been closed temporarily, apparently to assess damage to the property and to the "let the kids have a place to skate" philosophy that fueled the park to life. Skaters have failed to use the prescribed safety equipment: helmets are the only required piece of gear, but elbow and knee pads are recommended. Also, scooters and other none-authorized items, such as dirt bikes, have been seen being used in the park. As reported in the Marblehead Reporter, Mike Lane, recreation supervisor, was quoted as saying, "It kills me. The success of this project has been enormous. It was working. And that's the frustrating part." Skaters were seen in the closed park, and officials are mulling over their next actions.
February 22nd
-- Town will get a chance to vote on a non-binding referendum concerning adjustments to the so called "smoking ban" which the Board of Health has mandated for all Town-licensed establishments that serve food or alcoholic beverages. The referendumwill be on the Town election ballot, Monday, May 14th.
-- A movie crew is eyeing a site in Marblehead for a motion picture starring Susan Sarandon and Dustin Hoffman. Selectmen are negotiating.
February 15th
Former Selectman Harry Christensen has taken out papers for Selectmen. He served two years on the Board in 1993 and 1994.
-- Rod Rotondi's Wrap & Juice Bar opens in Marblehead in Village Plaza, offering an all-vegan, all organic cuisine. Hours are Monday through Saturday 10 A.M. to 7 P.M.
February 8th
Tom McNulty announces for Town Clerk and Betty Brown, after her daughter withdraws, states her intention to run for reelection, setting up one of the costing interesting election races in many years. ssss
February 1st
Glover's Regiment celebrates General John Glover's death in January 1797.
January 25th
-- The Selectmen sponsor an article to investigate the implications of "The Community Preservation Act," and to report back to the next Town Meeting.
-- Town Meeting will not be voting on department reorganization this year due to disagreements between Town officials about how best to proceed with buildings and grounds maintenance issues.
-- Thus far this year's Townwide elections are shaping contests in only the School Committee: Pat Pollard is running for election and two new candidates, Julie Lieb and Jonathan Lederman are running as well. There are two seats up for reelection, one vacated by Chairwoman Martha Mayo and the other occupied by Ms. Pollard, the incumbent. In the Selectmen's race, one incumbent, Diane St. Laurent as announced that she is not running, and one candidate, Ken Bane has taken out his papers.
-- The Superintendent of Schools, Philip Devaux has submitted a preliminary school budget for the 2001-2002 school year of $21,330,974 a 7.3 percent increase. This budget will be reviewed and amended by the full School Committee, then reviewed by the Finance Committee and a final budget will be submitted to Town Meeting in early May.

January 18th
The election begins to heat up for the open seat on the Board of Selectmen, Kenneth Bane, owner of the Devereux Nursing Home has taken out nomination papers. The four incumbents are all running for reelection, and Diane St. Laurent is not seeking reelection.

January 11th

Diane St. Laurent announces that she will not seek reelection after ten years, and after serving as a Selectman longer (10 years) than any other woman.

Superintendent Philip F. Devaux has been named Massachusetts Superintendent of the Year.

FinCom discusses the reorganization of the Town as Selectmen call for consensus, not a forced changed. Fincom seemed unmoved at their January 9th meeting.

20001999 -1996 • Also see our Marblehead Police Log.