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Essex Happenings 3.9.12

Thoughts from Essex Heritage Commission's Tom Leonard.

Famous Rescue on Cape Cod Celebrated

I am aware that the primary function of this BLOG is designed to provide information about issues and occurrence that take place within the borders of the Essex Heritage Area.  However from time to time I see events that even though they may occur elsewhere there is enough of a connection to warrant reporting here.  One of those instances is the celebration of a famous Coast Guard rescue that took place off Chatham on Cape Cod.    The celebration seems appropriate to report as it personifies the nautical aspects of both our region and that of Cape Cod.  It also bears a connection to our region as the hero of the story is an intrepid group of Coast Guard servicemen and the connection is real as the City of Newburyport has been designated as the birthplace of the US Coast Guard.

The celebration was held this past weekend in Chatham harbor and focused on a most incredible sea rescue that took place in the middle of a winter storm 60 years ago in 1952.  The story of the rescue and the facts connected to one of the most heroic rescues ever recorded in the long and storied maritime history of this maritime state. The effort was recounted in a book that I read several years ago called The Finest Hours, by Michael Tougias.  That book I highly recommended reading is in the process of being made into a movie by Disney Studios. 

The incident that was celebrated involved a 500 foot tanker named the Pendelton that broke up in a winter storm that produced rain, hail and snow along with 70 knot winds and sixty foot waves.  The ship had a crew of forty sailors on board.  Seven of the crew were lost when the bow of the ship sunk and the remaining 33 were hanging on to the stern portion of the ship when the Coast Guard station in Chatham identified the distressed ship on radar.  The station then sent an incredibly small thirty-six foot wooden rescue boat out into the storm to affect a possible rescue.  The rescue boat had four brave crew members and they managed to rescue and bring to safety all but one of the men to be rescued.  The rescue was miraculous and the boat incredibly found its way through the storm back to Chatham harbor where the boat sat for awhile without attention. It is now preserved by the Chatham Historical Society and sits in Chatham harbor as a memorial.   The shipper of the rescue boat Bernard Webber passed away in 2009 and only one member of the rescue crew is still living and he participated in the ceremonies late last month.    This event showed the US Coast Guard at its absolute best and the event will be spoken about and taught as the “way it should be done” for years ahead in the history of the service.

Endicott College Increases its Contribution in Lieu of Taxes

Endicott College in Beverly will increase its voluntary contribution to the City of Beverly over the next thee years to $500,000.  The amount of the annual contribution has been increased as a result of two recent estate purchases that the college made that removed properties from the tax roles and moved them to non-taxable status.  The college has voluntarily agreed to pay the community what it lost from the tax rolls when the college acquired the properties.  This decision could have an impact on other local communities where not for profits own property.  This action by the local college could raise the bar in other situations in our region. 

Essex Heritage Nominating Committee to Meet

Later this Spring Essex Heritage will meet to consider the nomination of new Commissioners.  In 2012 we could have substantial turnover and will be seeking new residents of the region who might have an interest in serving.  If anyone reading this communication or know of someone that would make a valuable addition to our team, please consider sending a resume to me at ENHC. If anyone might have an interest please visit the ENHC web site at www.essexheritage.org for more information.  We need people who envision the preservation of the valuable resources of this region as important and would be willing to serve.  This has always been a most inclusive organization and we are always seeking those that see our mission as a valuable one. 

Interesting Changes for the Disabled Being Implemented in Florida

We heard recently that the disabled/handicapped advocacy groups have had an impact that could be most valuable to many with certain disabilities.  We have learned that condominium projects that rent units to the general pubic, if they have a swimming pool, will have to install a lift to allow those that want access to a pool, and might otherwise be denied that access.  I have learned how to get in, and out of a pool, if stairs are available, but there may others who are not as able as I am.   Congratulation to those responsible for these changes.  Keep up the great work.    

Salem Rotary online auction starts March 1 at 8AM and ends March 14 at 8PM!!!

The Salem Rotary Annual Auction opens for bidding on March 1, 2012 at 8:00 AM EST Time.

  goal this year is to raise $50,000 to support Salem students in their quest for higher education in the form of scholarships. We need your support! This is an exciting and fun way to help us, and at the same time have a chance to win cool items!

We'll be adding new items to our auction for you to preview as the auction date approaches. Check back often to see what's new. Feel free to place a Watch on your favorites, so that you'll know as soon as bidding begins!

View All Auction Items

Two additional Local Organizations with events Scheduled on St. Patrick’s Day

I just want to briefly remind my readers that on March 17, 2012 that the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem will hold its Shamrock Raffle.  Contact the club at www.bgcgs.org for more information. 

The other event to be reminded about is a major raffle and dinner being offered by St. John’s Prep also on St. Patrick’s Day.  For more information on how to bid or to attend live contact the Prep at www.stjohnsprep.org.

Anniversaries of Note

Thirty years ago on 2/22/62 two horrific fires set by an arsonist almost destroyed Salem's downtown.  The Masonic Temple building and the Salem National Guard Armory were torched on the same night.  The loss that was realized after the flames were quenched on the following morning was immense. Looking back now, the Temple was rebuilt and is better than ever and after many years of debate the Armory property became a bellwether project to support a revived downtown.  The Peabody Essex Museum and the National Park Service combined to turn the burned out armory into a unique business condominium into a most valuable Regional Visitor Center.

Heading a little more distant than Essex County, in 2012, two iconic sporting venues in the City of Boston, will celebrate a century of service to the area.  Fenway Park, home of what many in the region consider to be the premier sports franchise in New England, the Red Sox, and the Boston Skating Club, home of numerous Olympic and National and World skating champions  both reach one hundred years of age this year.  Congratulations to both organizations on their centennial celebration.

Town of Wenham to seek Interim Town Administrator

The Town of Wenham has lost its Administrator who filled a vacancy that occurred through a retirement in the Town of Marblehead.   The Town of Wenham currently is holding twenty-six applications for that position, and will hire a temporary Administrator for a three to four month period through the annual Town Meeting.  At that time, the Town will begin the selection process for a permanent Administrator

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