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A cosmic composition ~ the Cloths of Heavens are embroidered with a meteoric shower ~ offering a framework to "loom wisdom" ~ the history unfolding (and enfolding) in moons to come ~

Starry, Starry Nights
[also in this article, Online star charting OUR UNIVERSE] ~ USA Weekend insert to The Daily News of Newburyport, August 4, 2007 issue. Byline Julian Smith. This may be the best month ever to look up at the sky. No matter where you live in the United States, an amazing array of shooting stars, constellations and other wonderful events will fill your night.

... A meteor shower to remember ~ A meteor shower happens when tiny specks of comet debris enter Earth's atmosphere, creating an eye-catching light show as they vaporize during a streak through our atmosphere. ... And you'll be able to spot as many as 100 of these flashes per hour when the shower peaks on the nights of Aug. 12 and 13. Adding to its appeal is the fact that, this year, a new moon falls on Aug. 12 for the first time since 1999 ...
Newsworthy (and Noteworthy) RE:port ~ (most current) topical pieces
Community gatherings & gams ~ gathering momentum for moons to come
Media coverage about the Public "town meeting" Forum held June 14, 2007 and FY08 budget process ~ the follow-up conversation held July 12, 2007 & the July 27, 2007 gathering to follow
Please come to the Public "town meeting" Forum - Newburyport Current, June 8, 2007. Letter to the Editor, by Ken and Dominique Dear and John Altson, forwarded in a Motion of Comity. In regards to City of Newburyport's public "town meeting" forum to be held at City Hall Auditorium on Thursday, June 14, at 7 p.m.

Newburyport City Notebook ~ (extract about June 14 public "town meeting" forum) - The Daily News, June 11, 2007, byline Stephen Tait, Staff Writer. Mayor John Moak will join a group of concerned residents this week (to discuss the city's finances and problems generating revenue) ... with the directors of city departments and is encouraging City Council members also to attend the meeting ... which takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday in City Hall Auditorium.

Forwarded in a Motion of Comity, tandem Letters to the Editor published in the Daily News, June 12, 2007. "Public urged to attend Public Finance Forum" and "Answers about 'group of concerned citizens'."

Meetings aim to improve civic dialogue - The Daily News, June 18, 2007, byline Nick Pinto, Staff Writer. Excerpt from the NEWBURYPORT CITY NOTEBOOK:

Mayor John Moak, other city officials and several dozen residents gathered at City Hall on Thursday night for a meeting on the city's finances. The event, organized by Dominique Dear and moderated by John Alston, served both as a crash course in municipal revenue and expenditure and as a forum in which residents could ask questions about and propose solutions to the city's financial problems. But the overarching purpose of the meeting, Dear said, was to improve communication within the community and between city officials and residents. More meetings are planned to continue the discussion about how to improve the city's civic dialogue. For more details, visit

FY08 budget process pre/post City Council/Budget & Finance committee review and approval:

After holding four budget workshops (May 23, 29, 31 and June 5) the City Council's Budget & Finance (standing) committee chose to adjourn their final budget review held June 7 --- postponing their deliberations/recommendations until an off-site meeting which was scheduled on June 14, contemporaneously with the long-planned Public (Finance) "town meeting." For the record, those deliberations lasted 1/2 hour, with the session ending at 7:30PM. City Councilor Greg Earls later joined the Public Forum. Subsequent budget and finance related articles published by the local print media are archived as follows:

SMILE: Seek More Information/inspiration Logged Electronically at ~ Looming Wisdom with threads of media coverage about diverse topical issues ~ (a chronicle chronologically logged)

Lord Tim at Firehouse July 3 - The Daily News, June 29, 2004 - All generations are welcome to a community "gam" (a gathering for conversation) at the Firehouse Center on Saturday July 3 from 10 a.m. until noon. Those who attend will meet and greet Lord Timothy Dexter, Newburyport's eccentric 18th century merchant adventurer. A believer in reincarnation, Dexter had predicted that from time to time he "may come back toue see houe you all goue on." Fulfilling his prophecy in the form of Paul Jancewicz, Lord Tim shall play a key role in a "Motion of Comity" with Yankee Homecoming 2004. The July 3 gam anticipates a "Once in a Blue Moon" opportunity to remark this milestone year on Saturday, July 31.


Port 'gam' to be held Saturday - The Daily News, July 2, 2004 - Drop by the Waterside community "gam" (a gathering for conversation on water or ashore) at the Firehouse and Market Landing Park tomorrow from 10 a.m. until noon. Come share the good tidings and welcome Newburyport's eccentric 18th century merchant adventurer Lord Timothy Dexter home again. A believer in reincarnation who predicted that he "may come back toue see houe you all goue on" -- Dexter returns (in the form of Newburyport native Paul Jancewicz) to help celebrate this milestone year during Yankee Homecoming 2004. The gam anticipates a "Once in a Blue Moon opportunity" that will occur in a "Motion of Comity" with Yankee Homecoming on July 31.


Letter/Press Release: Once in a Blue Moon opportunity - The Merrimack River Current, Friday, July 2, 2004 - All generations are welcome to a community "gam" (a gathering for conversation) at the Firehouse Center on Saturday, July 3, from 10 a.m. until Noontide. Come meet and greet Lord Timothy Dexter, Newburyport's eccentric 18th century merchant adventurer. A believer in reincarnation, Dexter had predicted that from time to time he "may come back toue see houe you all goue on." Fulfilling his prophesy in the form of Paul Jancewicz ("boddey & sole"), Lord Tim shall play a key role in a "Motion of Comity" with Yankee Homecoming 2004.

The July 3 gam anticipates a Once in a Blue Moon opportunity to remark this milestone year on Saturday, July 31. Held at the Waterfront's Market Landing Park after Yankee Homecoming's opening ceremonies at noon, the community gathering will gather momentum for moons to come. The July 31 Afternoon of the Blue Moon event will precede the sweet sounds of music (7:30-9:30 p.m.) and the First Annual Yankee Homecoming Lighted Boat Parade which will commence at 8:30 p.m., just as the Blue Moon rises over the Merrimack River. So mark your calendars and check your compass ...


Homecoming fund raising hits home stretch: Homecoming needs less yankee thrift - The Daily News, July 6, 2004, byline Sonya Vartabedian. In just under four weeks, the city will be awash in Yankee Homecoming fun and festivities, extending its rallying theme "Welcome to Newburyport, My Hometown" to locals and visitors alike. But before organizers raise the flag signaling the start of the 47th annual summer festival on July 31, General Chairman Kathy Heywood said, plenty of work remains to be done. And much of it falls into two categories -- fund raising and volunteers.


A 'Gam,' and other dockside rumblings - The Daily News, July 10, 2004 - BE CAREFUL OUT THERE, byline Ray Pike, Salisbury harbormaster. When we gather together at sea we often "gam." A gam is a great social event when an outgoing ship passes an incoming ship on the open seas. They will usually heave to and all hands can chat with their counterparts on the visiting vessel. The cook talks to the other cook, captain to captain, and bosuns to bosuns. The outgoing ship has much news from land, and the incoming ship has valuable information about what lies ahead.

Young rowers go with the flow - The Daily News, July 12, 2004, byline Michelle Xiarhos Curran, correspondent. GETTING ACQUAINTED WITH ... THE RING'S ISLAND ROWING CLUB. Article revisits the club's origins in the '90s until its organization ... Today, the Ring's Island Rowing Club is an informal group of 25 passionate and dedicated boaters from Greater Newburyport who help keep the area's rich fishing history alive by sailing the boats used by the Yankee fishing fleet long ago ... Club members use tide and weather information to organize rowing trips -- which usually last about three hours -- and send out the information via an e-mail list.

"We try to make it out there once a week," said Groveland resident Alice Twombly, the club's skipper since 1998. And when she says once a week, she doesn't just mean during the summer; she means all 12 months of the year. "We'll row as long as there's no ice," she said. T
here are reasons for such dedication. For some, it's the exercise. For others, it's the fellowship and the beauty of nature. For (Pike) Messenger, it also has something to do with history. "Rowing down the river, I get this feeling," he said. He describes a Newburyport where clipper ships are lined up along the harbor.

Homecoming senior royals chosen - The Daily News, July 13, 2004. A local historian from Newbury and an active advocate for seniors from Newburyport will be crowned the 2004 Yankee Homecoming Senior King and Queen this summer. R ichard Cunningham, a lifelong resident of Newbury, and Newburyport native Fran Munroe were picked for the annual honor based on their long-standing involvement and commitment to the local area.

Letter to the Editor - The Daily News, August 17, 2004. Lord Timothy Dexter extends thanks.

Newburyport News in Brief - The Daily News, October 27. 2004. Lord Timothy Dexter, George Washington at library October 30.

Merrimack River Current - Column: Mouth of the River, October 29, 2004. Direct link to articles: All Hail All Hallows Afternoon - a piece about the Harold Harnch Halloween Parade and its origins - Preceded by a most Dexterous occasion - a piece relating the revisitation by Lord Timothy Dexter and George Washington on October 30th.
Merrimack River Current - October 29, 2004. Byline Dinah Cardin. Plots to see here: Todd Woodworth still gives tours of his favorite haunts. Now retired, likes to give tours of his favorite haunts. While a cemetery tour might be good Halloween fun this weekend, Todd Woodworth doesn't do Halloween tours. The lifelong Newburyport resident instead marks each spring by guiding groups through Oak Hill Cemetery. He retired just last week from nearly 60 years in the funeral business ...
Merrimack River Current - November 5, 2004. Several articles and perspectives that focus on the moon: Moonlight Madness - an eclectic review; Time and tide wait for no one ... but they won't be ignored - the scientific sensibility; Women feel the Gravity of it - the feminine sense and sensitivity; Moon walking - the essence of the Waterside.
Veterans Day 2004 - Editorial, The Daily News - November 11, 2004. There's something jolting about this holiday, which can arrive in the middle of the week, as is the case this year. Veterans Day is observed on the 11th of November regardless of which day of the week it falls on, which is a good thing. It forces people to stop and think, if only for a few seconds, about why the day is special ...

Today in Washington, the Smithsonian Institution will open a new permanent exhibit at its National Museum of American History titled, "The Price of Freedom: Americans at War." Filled with artifacts from the 16 conflicts in which the U.S. military has been involved — from the one that gained us our freedom in 1781 to Operation Iraqi Freedom — the exhibit is a reminder that the rights and comforts we enjoy do not come without a cost.

Works for Newburyport's public - The Daily News, November 11, 2004. Periscope piece, byline Bill Plante. Chances are, if you live in Newburyport, you do not get up in the morning and ask, "I wonder what Tony Furnari is up to today?" But if you do, it might be rewarding to ask why.


Full moon afterglow - The Merrimack River Current, November 12, 2004. Sitting In piece, byline Ken and Dominique Dear, forwarded in a Motion of Comity. Friday, November 12, 2004. This column coincides with the New Moon, which waxes to the Full Beaver Moon on Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving --- shedding some light before revisions of the and Web sites.

Port officials want to turn Frog (Pond) into a prince - The Daily News, December 30, 2004. Byline Adam Martignetti, Staff Writer. Conditions at Bartlet Mall seemed perfect yesterday for an afternoon of winter recreation ... (yet) only a frozen set of footprints stretching 18 steps from the water's edge toward the pond's center provided any evidence that someone had visited the place recently ... (so) city officials are hoping to change that scene and return the 203-year-old outdoor public meeting place — fashioned after London's prestigious Pall Mall — to its former role as a city gathering place, where hundreds of people used to line the streets to watch ice skating in the winter.

Fundraising for the Bartlet Mall renovation project is nearly complete. The $465,000 undertaking will improve walkways, add benches, increase pedestrian lighting and landscape the area. A winter carnival to raise awareness of the mall is scheduled for January 29.


The (Essex) Results (and the resultant Massachusetts constitution) - The Daily News, December 9, 2005. Column, byline Bill Plante. If anyone had told me on the day that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, that 64 years to the day later I would be attending a celebration of the 225th anniversary of the Massachusetts Constitution at the Social Law Library of a restored John Adams Court House in Boston I would have thought them out of their minds. If anyone had told me, back then, that we have what we have as a Constitution partly because of a group of North Shore men, led by Theophilus Parsons of Rowley and Newbury-Port, meeting in Ipswich, would produce a document known as "The Essex Result'', I would have had no appreciation for what that meant ... The Essex Result produced the tap root of this state's constitution written by John Adams, who surely must have had it before him when he did so. Years later, John Adams would send his son, John Quincy Adams, to Newburyport to study law under Parsons. Sixty four years ago, I had no clue that what John Adams wrote, and what Massachsusetts adopted, would become and remain as the oldest written constitution still governing in the world.

Here lies ... Newburyport UnderCurrents piece in the Newburyport Current, Friday, January 26, 2006. Here's an opportunity to let your creativity run wild on the bizarre side. The Yankee Homecoming Committee seeks writing contributions to be used in a composite contemporary obituary for Lord Timothy Dexter. It seems that clairvoyant committee members have it on good authority, Dexter's own, that he is unhappy with his epitaph and this is your opportunity to right this wrong doing.

Selected entries will be published in this year's Yankee Homecoming Guide. Submission deadlines for the guide are due by Friday, April 7, but if you miss that have no fear. You may send submissions to an "E-ternal" site.

For information, if you dare, visit or
Restoring Homecoming traditions ~ As I See It column by Ralph Ayers, published in The Daily News, February 1, 2006. After I wrote my last column, listing resolutions I hopefully will fulfill, I reviewed most of them, eliminating some, but got to thinking about one in particular, and that was Homecoming Week. Why, you ask? It's because the celebration creates a whole new feeling and atmosphere, where all who wish to participate and observe feel good about the world and the community in which they live. For nine days, people smile, forget their problems and just have a good time. That statement leads me to my favorite day, Old Fashioned Sunday.

Writing history, one chapter at a time - Newburyport Current, February 24, 2006, byline Ulrika G. Gerth. They have set their goal high: Write the best local history that has ever been written. Such an undertaking requires more than listing dates and recounting important events of movers and shakers. The Historical Society of Old Newbury with the help of a group of residents is well on its way to composing two volumes of Newburyport 20th century history that encompasses almost every imaginable aspect of life in the Clipper City.

LaFrance: Once upon a time ... Newburyport Current, March 3, 2006, by Dorothy LaFrance/ Speaking Volumes. The Newburyport Public Library is distinctive, not only for its newly renovated and expanded facility, but also for its long and distinguished history as an institution and for the history of the building that it occupies.

Bridge named for Port's fallen son ~ The Daily News - June 16, 2006, byline Edward Mason, staff writer. Gov. Mitt Romney signs legislation yesterday renaming the Essex-Merrimack Bridge to the Derek S. Hines Memorial Bridge. Newburyport native Derek S. Hines died in Afghanistan in September 2005. Yesterday, state officials named a busy bridge spanning the Merrimack River after him to help keep his memory alive. Hines, a 1st lieutenant in an airborne artillery unit, was killed searching for Taliban fighters in a remote Afghan village. He was 25. During a sometimes emotional press conference, Gov. Mitt Romney yesterday signed into law the bill naming the Essex-Merrimack bridge, spanning from Deer Island to Main Street in Amesbury, the Lt. Derek S. Hines Memorial Bridge.

For Port man, summer burns through Iraq ~ The Daily News, June 24, 2006. [Editor's note: Newburyporter Adam Ledwell, a captain in the Air National Guard, has been sharing his observations on the war in Iraq with us. This is his most recent letter, which was sent to The Daily News this week. The 31-year-old is the middle child in a family of four boys. He has an older brother, Joshua, and younger twin brothers, Graham and Ben.] The letter begins ... We are currently in what they call the "Shamal" season here and it is hot! The weather is dominated by a high pressure system that parks itself over the entire region for the whole summer. I expect that a total lack of rain is appealing for all of you in New England who have endured flooding and excessive precipitation recently ...

Firehouse ready for showtime ~ Hitting a high note Firehouse Center enters new stage - 'gleam and dream' ~ The Daily News, July 14, 2006, byline Sonya Vartabedian. For many years, the Firehouse Arts Center's story has read like the best-scripted tragedy - a former fire station turned community cultural center backed by a passionate supporting cast, yet struggling to survive. There have been plenty of show-stopping moments in the Firehouse's 15-year history to be sure. But they have often been overshadowed by recurring financial crises that have plagued the nonprofit theater through much of its run. That script, however, is starting to be rewritten.


More green, less lots ~ The Daily News, July 27, 2006, byline Stephanie Chelf. The majority of the respondents to a Newburyport Redevelopment Authority survey said they want to see the dirt lots along the waterfront become expanded park with reduced parking space. Close to 80 percent of the 3,945 respondents want more green space along the central waterfront. Just 10 percent said they wanted all parking, the option Mayor John Moak said he supports. " The sentiment of residents are pretty much in line with what they responded to in 2000," said NRA member Nat Norton. "The question was has the city changed its mind in six years? This confirms for me what I have been on this board working for, in keeping with that Newburyport residents want."


Openness essential to building public trust ~ The Daily News, April 13, 2007, column by Bill Plante. I was watching a local televised debate on a motion calling for an education budget override early this week and recalled a school committee meeting of more than a half century ago. I'm reasonably certain that concerns raised on this occasion have parallels in other communities because education budgets are the largest faced by cities and towns and taxpayers are increasingly concerned.


Too many unanswered questions to support override ~ The Daily News, April 24, 2007, letter to the Editor by John Norris. To the editor: Like many others in our community, I have been reading and becoming familiar with the issues around the proposed Proposition 21/2 override question that we will be voting on May 22. Despite my honest efforts, there are some things that simply don't make sense.

2006 ~ A benchmark in progress: vision, views and review

Ceremony seats city's new mayor - Moak seeks 'balance' on issues that dogged past administrations - The Daily News, January 3, 2006 byline Stephanie Chelf. John Moak took the oath of office yesterday to become Newburyport's 66th mayor. The former city clerk had presided over six previous inaugurations, but yesterday marked Moak's first time taking the stage as an elected official. Moak said he would advance several key city projects and his administration will be defined by a theme of "resolution through balance."

"I cannot promise that, in two short years, my administration will bring all of the significant issues we face to a successful or to a universally popular resolution," Moak said. "I do promise, however, that those issues will be addressed in a forthright, open and positive manner."


Moak takes the oath - Complete Mayoral Address - Newburyport Current, Friday, January 6, 2006. On Monday, Jan. 2, John Moak was sworn in at City Hall. The new mayor who attended six inaugurations as city clerk before it was finally his turn to move into the corner office, then gave his inaugural address before hundreds of residents, friends and family. Moak outlined his strategy "Resolution through balance" and touched on each issue that was debated during the mayoral run. Published, his complete address.


Want to meet the mayor? Here's your chance - Newburyport Current, March 3, 2006, byline Jill Oestreicher Gross. Mayor John Moak has opened his City Hall office on certain Saturday mornings to hear Newburyporters' concerns and comments. Moak said he particularly wanted to make himself available to those residents who work during the week and are unable to visit City Hall. Saturday hours allow him to be more accessible, he said ... The mayor will be available two other Saturdays, March 25 and April 29, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. He may announce future open hours during the fall months.

Mayor Moak addresses the city - Newburyport Current, March 31, 2006. Editor's Note: Mayor John Moak delivered his first State of the City Address at the City Council meeting, Monday, March 27. Following is a reprint of the speech.

RE:development ~ the Waterfront ~ Series on the City's restoration ~ Strategic Land Use project ~ the Plum Island water & sewer project ~ Eco-tourism, Rail-trail

About the Waterfront

On the Waterfront - A three-part series in the Merrimack River Current examining the past, present and future of Newburyport's dynamic waterfront. Byline Rob Marino.

Historic ways under construction - The Daily News, November 18, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. Construction on two historic pathways leading from Merrimac Street to the boardwalk has begun.
Market Landing Park improved - The Daily News, April 29, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. Market Landing Park on the central waterfront is undergoing a renovation.
Rebuilding the story; Custom House Museum's new exhibit on course to better define Newburyport's maritime past - The Daily News Portwatch, May 5, 2003, byline Sonya Vartabedian. Newburyport's Custom House Maritime Museum is embarking on a new voyage this spring as it seeks to better tell the tale of the scene that once existed outside its doorstep.
To park or not to park ... Newburyport Current, Friday, February 17, 2006, byline Ulrika G. Gerth. When the census is mailed in early March, residents will get a chance to weigh in on an issue that for years has remained buried in disagreement. Included in 8,500 envelopes will be the Waterfront Park and Parking Survey that could help the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority once and for all seal the fate of a Newburyport problem child: the NRA dirt parking lots along the Merrimack River. But, as has been customary for the NRA's final project, dispute looms, especially if residents favor an expansion of the park with limited parking, or a mix of expanded park and parking lots, rather than the third option that became a centerpiece of Mayor John Moak's campaign last fall.
Waterfront Strategic Plan

Waterfront plan to be unveiled - The Daily News, January 21, 2004, byline Kate Spinner. The city's hopes and dreams for managing growth along the waterfront from the Towle Building to Joppa Park have been outlined in a new strategic plan. City planning director Nicholas Cracknell and senior project manager Geordie Vining will present the new Waterfront Strategic Plan to the Planning Board tonight at 7 in City Hall. Because the Planning Board is where all city zoning laws begin to take shape, the plan can be used by the board to set the city's policies toward development along the Merrimack River. Policies regulating some of the areas where development appears imminent, such as the Waterside West area between the Route 1 bridge and the central waterfront, may be created within the next three to six months, Cracknell said Friday.


Planning Board takes on waterfront strategy - The Daily News, January 22, 2004, byline Kate Spinner. City planners and the Planning Board were encouraged by residents last night to begin implementing a plan that outlines goals for the future of the city's riverfront. The city recently published a Waterfront Strategic Plan, with the assistance of consultants Goody, Clancy and Associates. It was presented to the Planning Board last night.

The Waterfront Strategic Plan can be reviewed as a pdf file on the city website Planning Department web page. A graphic file depicting the updated plan is included. (While the Map is Not the Territory, these chart the end to a generation of Newburyport's restoration.)

A generation of regeneration ~ Bill Plante's "sometimes series" on Newburyport's restoration under the auspices of several administrations, the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority (NRA) & Newburyport Area Industrial Development (NAID)
How It All Began - The Daily News, November 11, 2002 - Periscope column which served as the prologue to the "sometimes series" on Newburyport's restoration. Byline Bill Plante. "... What we have today, both in the industrial area and downtown, began with a meeting at the Masonic Hall on an evening in 1955. The Daily News promoted the meeting ... to hear Earl F. Cook of Marblehead, then director of the Lowell Industrial Park. His theme centered on the need for a not-for-profit corporation to consist of citizens who would buy, develop and market properties to attract industry ... The meeting was followed by appointing an industrial commission ... (that) decided to form a for-profit corporation ... to acquire and market land. That effort was a total failure, and 10 years would pass before essentially the same group would finally take Cook's advice, whereupon the Newburyport Area Industrial Development (NAID), not-for-profit corporation was established, and a city-wide fund drive succeeded in raising some $200,000 in pledges and donations, some as little as $100, from more than 600 area residents ..."
In the beginning; How Newburyport was saved from the 'federal bulldozer' - First of a series of Periscope columns printed in The Daily News, June 9, 2003. Byline Bill Plante. (Editor's note: The effort by the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority to stay alive via waterfront parking fees marks the final chapter of an effort of more than four decades. Bill Plante is undertaking what he calls "a sometime accounting of how we got here from there, the first of which was the gestation, birth, and flowering of Newburyport's restoration.")
A dreamer's goal comes closer - Periscope column in The Daily News, July 21, 2003. Byline Bill Plante. (Editor's Note: This is the second in what Bill Plante refers to as "a sometimes series" concerning the redevelopment of downtown Newburyport. The first, appearing in the June 9 edition of The Daily News, ended with the events leading to the involvement of Dr. Robert W. Wilkins, chairman of a committee of the Historical Society of Old Newbury, and Mayor George H. Lawler Jr. The Daily News had played a prodding role in urging action -- any kind of action -- to stop the deterioration of the downtown. This chapter deals with the responses to proposals dealing with demolition and reconstruction by the Historical Society, and the formalization of a committee to deal with it. Plante was editor and general manager of the newspaper during that period.)
For many, seeing was believing - Periscope column in The Daily News, August 11, 2003. Byline Bill Plante. (Editor's Note: The following is the third of a continuing series dealing with the history of Urban Renewal in Newburyport.)

Demolition vs. Restoration - It was a close decision - Periscope column in The Daily News, August 25, 2003. Byline Bill Plante. The fourth column of a series. (Editor's Note: The previous installment of a continuing account of restoration of most of downtown Newburyport --- Daily News, Aug. 11 --- concluded with a resolution in writing from George H. Lawler for the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority. This continuing account addresses the conditions in which that occurred, and the result.)


The door to restoration opens - Periscope column in The Daily News, September 8, 2003. Byline Bill Plante. The fifth in the series of columns on Newburyport's redevelopment. (Editor's note: The previous article concerning the course of the urban renewal of downtown Newburyport ended with Mayor George H. Lawler's decision not to sign the documents that would have called for demolition and reconstruction, and the actions that had preceded it.)

Putting Newburyport in focus - The Daily News, September 22, 2002 - Periscope column, byline Bill Plante: " ... a break in the series on urban renewal while Byron Matthews is cogitating over some suggestions I have made for what will be three or four pieces dealing with his contributions as mayor ... this is about open space in and around Newburyport. It has to be around, because Newburyport is as much a state of mind in such matters as it is a specific place."

As mayor, Matthews wanted to 'hit the ground running' - Periscope column in The Daily News, October 6, 2003. Byline Bill Plante. The sixth of the series of columns on Newburyport's renewal, which highlights the concurrence of downtown restoration and development in the outlying regions. (Editor's Note: Byron J. Matthews, who served as a city councilor during Mayor George H. Lawler's administration, defeated Lawler in the mayoralty election of 1967, beginning what would become the longest occupancy of the mayor's office in history with five consecutive terms. This is the first installment of the second phase of an overall view of the renaissance of Newburyport in the second half of the 20th Century, during which Bill Plante served as editor of this newspaper.)

Newburyport in the '60s, a sleepy city starts to awaken - Periscope column in The Daily News, October 27, 2003. Byline Bill Plante. The seventh of a series of columns on Newburyport's renewal a generation ago, the narrative continues with a focus on Mayor Byron J. Matthews' transition in advance of his inauguration day, January of 1968. (Editor's note: The continuing series relating to the 20th century renaissance of Newburyport begins with part of an Aug. 31, 1968, Periscope written by the late John O'Neill, managing editor of The Daily News. O'Neill's column opened with his memory of "old" Newburyport, and turns to what was happening in 1968, the first year of Byron J. Matthews' mayoralty.)

Newburyport in the 60's, the 'federal bulldozer' rolls - Periscope column in The Daily News, November 18, 2003. Byline Bill Plante. The eighth of a series of columns. (Editors Note: This continues a review of the redevelopment of Newburyport in the last half of the 20th century. Byron J. Matthews had been elected mayor, and had begun his first of five terms in 1968 facing a situation common to redevelopment under HUD at that time.)

Of mayors past, present and future: No shortage of contenders willing to take on city's problems - Periscope column in The Daily News, November 24, 2003. Byline Bill Plante. (Editor's Note: Given the recent election, the following article deals with issues related to prior Newburyport administrations, and those chosen to deal with them.) Before a resuming the "sometimes series" revisiting the issues related to waterfront development that surfaced in the 1970s, this column offers a perspective (and retrospective) on Newburyport mayors of the 20th Century into the New Millennium.
The hunt for funds for Port's restoration - Periscope column in The Daily News, January 16, 2004. Byline Bill Plante. The ninth in the series of columns recalling downtown Newburyport's regeneration a full generation ago. (Editor's Note: We resume the "sometimes series" relating to the late 20th century of Newburyport's renaissance as an outline of issues that continue as a consequence of what was done and what remains. Rehabilitation and restoration of Newburyport's downtown faced Mayor Byron Matthews upon taking office in 1968 with a unique complexity of issues. The city's economy was in total shambles with widespread unemployment and with a rebuilding of its industrial base, through NAID, only just gaining a foothold in the Common Pasture area. The designated central business district faced not only the displacement of existing businesses, but the replacement of its entire servicing infrastructure. Central to all were three major, interrelated issues. One involved the "takings" of properties by the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority, and the legal responses to challenges as to value. One was the displacement of existing businesses. The third was funding and completion of the servicing infrastructure of water mains, gas and electric services, a massive undertaking because of the structural and economic impact. Those businesses that were displaced had to find new locations. Those that were not to leave, including those on the easterly side of State Street, had to remain open despite the upheaval.)
Downtown redevelopment was a partnership of success - Periscope column in The Daily News, April 19, 2004. Byline Bill Plante. The tenth in the series of columns chronicling the era of Newburyport's restoration. (Editor's Note: Bill Plante's series of background articles dealing with the renewal of downtown Newburyport continues with some of the activities of Jack Bradshaw, who had become newly elected mayor Byron J. Matthews' chief assistant. He would, shortly thereafter, be named to the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority by Matthews, and would become its director, whose chief function was to find redevelopers for the properties taken.)
After nearly 50 years, NRA hoping to close its books - Periscope column in The Daily News, February 11, 2005. Byline Bill Plante. (Editor's Note: The Newburyport Redevelopment Authority, established by Mayor Albert Zabriskie, has been responsible for the taking of properties in the designated zone of downtown Newburyport for more than four decades. Its mission was to acquire properites and to see to their future use in a manner that would stimulate the economic benefit of the community at large. Following is an account of where the NRA finds itself today, including an interview with Mary Lou Supple, chairperson of the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority.)
Force behind city's renewal dies - The Daily News, April 10, 2003, byline Jessica Benson. When Robert Wilkins was first offered a position on the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority he refused.

30 years later, Inn Street thrives - The Daily News, July 22, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. Venturing into a boarded-up downtown in 1972, five enterprising men decided to play a major role in resuscitating Newburyport.

'No negatives:' Long-time Planning Board member pleased with Port's progress - The Daily News, August 2, 2004, byline correspondent Stephanie Wareham. G etting Acquainted With ... Peter DeMaranville: Today, Newburyport's waterfront is one of the city's premier attractions with its upscale restaurants, theater, outdoor park, galleries and newly expanded boardwalk. But Peter DeMaranville, who has served on Newburyport's Planning Board for 28 years, remembers when the waterfront was far from pristine ...

Written in Stone ~ Almost 25 years later, Market Square poem's author is recognized - The Daily News, August 16, 1999, byline Byline Sonya Vartabedian. For 24 years, people have walked across the poetic inscription carved in granite in Newburyport's Market Square, often oblivious to the words below their feet. Those who did take notice may have momentarily stopped and pondered the five lines extolling the virtues of the city's forebears before continuing on their way. No name existed to connect with the words, no reason to be found for way they are there. Now, at least part of the secret has been revealed.

Central issue: Mayor's task force on the central waterfront

Moak pushes for action on central waterfront - The Daily News, June 20, 2006, byline Stephanie Chelf, Staff Writer. Mayor John Moak has asked elected officials, volunteer board members, nonprofit group members and private developers to come up with a plan to "motivate" the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority toward action on the central waterfront. Moak wants this group of stakeholders to meet at least five times this summer to draft a "position paper" by Sept. 1 and make recommendations on the use of the unpaved central waterfront parking lots. "The purpose of this committee is to ascertain the most appropriate use of the central waterfront property as it relates to its neighbors," Moak wrote in a letter sent to waterfront neighbors late last week.

Moak seeks consensus on waterfront lots - The Daily News, June 29, 2006, byline Stephanie Chelf, Staff Writer. Over the next two months, Mayor John Moak hopes a group of diverse residents, business owners and volunteers can come up with a consensus on the future of the central waterfront. A group of about 20 residents met yesterday in the first of what are to be five meetings this summer. Moak has called together several waterfront stakeholders to develop a "position paper" on how the community should use the central waterfront dirt parking lots and present that proposal to the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority.
Strategic Land Use

Zoning, residents envision different future - The Daily News, February 3, 2003, byline Kate Spinner. If suddenly faced with intense development pressure today, the city's open spaces near Route 95 would undergo a massive change that most would not welcome. Bonnie Sontag, chairman of the city's Strategic Land Use Committee, said nobody on the committee wants to see the city developed to its potential under current zoning. The committee formed in May is creating a vision plan for the expanse between Route 95 and Low Street from Storey Avenue to the Route 1 traffic circle. On Saturday, about 50 people participated in a workshop to help shape that plan.

The archived public records on the Strategic Land Use project; the sytem is accessible on the LaserFiche document process system found on the city website See City Online link.

Rail-Trail project making connections - The Daily News, February 3, 2004, byline correspondent Karin Dubreuil. The newly formed Coastal Trails Coalition has joined forces with the Essex National Heritage Commission (ENHC) and the National Park Service (NPS) to create a proposed 30-mile rail-trail for walking and biking that will link the town centers and beaches of Newburyport, Newbury, Amesbury and Salisbury.
City fetes purchase in Marquand's cherished neighborhood - The Daily News, June 16, 2006, byline Stephanie Chelf. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist John Marquand wrote about the area of Newburyport known as Curzon's Mill in his novel "Wickford Point," saying, "No matter how often I came (back) .. there was an indefinable excitement about the first sight of it, a sense of relief that it was still there waiting. There was nothing like it anywhere."
RE: Plum Island Water and Sewer project & media coverage ~ Present status that the new administration plans to engage the litigants in resolution of issues.
[For an overview of the Plum Island issue, review the series Lawrence Eagle Tribune online ---
8/11/03 issue: An Island Divided
--- 8/12/03 issue: Murky waters/Title 5/Plum Island Voices and the Plum Island Water and Sewer project website]
Public hearing date set on PI legislation - The Daily News, September 26, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. The Plum Island water and sewer project's special state legislation took two steps forward yesterday: A public hearing on the bill was scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 7, at the Statehouse, and Newburyport's state Rep. Michael Costello and state Sen. Steve Baddour signed onto the legislation. (10/8 news coverage of the hearing - 10/15 piece on susequent favorable vote)

An island not unto itself - Merrimack River Current, Friday, October 3, 2003. Mouth of the River: Undercurrents column. State officials see the revamped legislation as a step in moving the project forward, but they're willing to take into account the community's perspective. We said "take into account," but it's not clear if the tide of public opinion will go in one ear and out the other. If you were to poll the area's state legislators, we think they'd be glad to see the pipes sunk below the bridge to Plum Island tomorrow.


PI Residents plead for clean water - The Daily News, October 8, 2003, byline Meredith Warren. At a public hearing yesterday that lasted close to six hours, dozens of Newbury and Newburyport residents and town officials with a stake in the Plum Island water and sewer project stated their case to lawmakers who are considering a bill that would push the project forward. Project proponents and opponents and lifelong island dwellers and newcomers took turns testifying with personal stories, statistics and numbers about how much it would cost taxpayers and Plum Island residents to extend water and sewer lines to the island.


Selectmen won't pay to oppose PI project - The Daily News, October 9, 2003, byline Erin Crouteau. A few weeks ago the Salisbury Board of Selectmen pledged that they would do what they could to oppose the Plum Island water and sewer project as proposed -- but they didn't think that meant spending thousands of dollars ... At Monday night's selectmen's meeting Harbor Commission Chairman Reggie Santos informed the board of a letter he'd received from Harold Humphrey, a former Salisbury Sewer Commissioner and vocal opponent of the Plum Island project. The letter asked the commission to pony up $10,000 to pay for an engineer to testify against the project ... The selectmen didn't take a vote on the proposal, but instead informally decided not to spend $10,000 to hire an engineer.


Favorable vote expected to push PI legislation - The Daily News, October 15, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. After an emotional and long public hearing last week on the Plum Island water and sewer project's legislation, the state's Joint Committee on Local Affairs and Regional Government voted unanimously in favor of the legislation yesterday. The favorable vote could now propel the legislation favorably through the House and Senate.


PI sewer extension appeal on hold - The Daily News, October 15, 2003, byline Jill Anderson. Dealing a blow to opponents of the Plum Island water and sewer project, a state administrative law judge removed a key claim regarding a sewer extension permit appeal last week. The permit would allow Newburyport to pump wastewater from the island, including Newbury properties, to its treatment plant. The permit is the last of several components of the project that is being contested by opponents. All other disputes have been settled or dismissed.

Plum Island project: Past, present and ... - Merrimack River Current, October 17, 2003. Opinion/Sitting In piece by State Rep. Harriett Stanley. "When the Local Affairs Committee unanimously recommended passage of the Plum Island legislation earlier this week, the proposed Plum Island water and sewer project moved closer to reality. It's taken a long, long to time to get to this point. For public health reasons, the goal of providing clean water to Plum Island has been a topic of debate in local parts for at least 30 years ... and some Plum Island natives would say 50 years. For those who think the Plum Island project is more about power and politics than it is public health, the hearing was a real wake-up call."
Both sides of PI project come to Salisbury - The Daily news, October 21, 2003, byline Erin Croteau. Last night's (Salisbury selectmen's) hearing to discuss the Plum Island sewer project got off to a rocky start ... 20 people representing both sides of the issue came out last night to discuss their view of the project with Salisbury officials. The selectmen have already publicly come out against the project -- which would allow residents of Plum Island to tie into Newburyport's wastewater treatment plant. People in Salisbury fear the project would place more pressure on what they believe to be an already strained Newburyport wastewater treatment plant, causing further pollution to the Merrimack River, which the two communities share.

Maximum overdrive? - Merrimack River Current, October 24, 2003, byline Rob Marino. As concerns continue to be raised about the capacity of Newburyport's wastewater treatment plant, the city's sewer super insists the plant is well within its limits. Is the Newburyport wastewater treatment plant up to snuff? Perhaps Newburyport Sewer Commissioner George Succi said it best recently when he went before the Salisbury Board of Selectmen to discuss the plant's capacity. "Well, it depends on who you ask," Succi said.


How the treatment plant works - Merrimack River Current, October 24, 2003, byline Rob Marino. So how does the Newburyport wastewater treatment plant actually work? Well, there's a lot more to it than meets the eye. However, once getting past the tricky terminology and discovering that a "muffin monster" doesn't involve either muffins or monsters, the nitty-gritty of the plant's day-to-day operations aren't so complicated to understand. As Sewer Superintendent Brendan O'Regan points out, the treatment of wastewater at the plant involves both a physical-chemical and a biological process - as well as a lot of recycling. "Things are constantly in motion," O'Regan says ...


Flats not likely to open - Merrimack River Current, October 24, 2003, byline Rob Marino. The Newburyport Wastewater Treatment Plant may meet --- even exceed --- clean-water standards set in its permit. Still, the water it releases isn't clean enough to reopen Merrimack River clam flats near the plant. And that's not likely to change. Simply, it would cost too many clams to reopen the beds. Sewer Superintendent Brendan O'Regan told the Salisbury Board of Selectmen at a recent meeting. (Note that the flats will indeed open in the spring of 2004, though not those within near vicinity of the treatment plant. Other conditions apply. Check back for more inflow.)


PI project speeds toward Statehouse approval - The Daily News, byline Meredith Warren. A controversial bill extending water and sewer services to Plum Island is expected to pass the House and Senate Thursday on its way to what its backers hope will be a speedy final approval by Gov. Mitt Romney. The bill signing is one of the major hurdles to be crossed before breaking ground on the $22.9 million project. Lawmakers have been rushing to get the bill signed by Romney before a Nov. 6 deadline when Newburyport is scheduled to make its first $40,000 principal payment on the project. The legislation would postpone that payment for several years until the project is nearly finished and residents are paying the city for the betterments.


School Committee examines alternate financing methods - The Daily News, June 5, 2007, byline Nick Pinto, Staff Writer. Two weeks after a failed $1.58 million Proposition 2-1/2 tax override, school officials are considering alternative modes of educational financing.


'Planning tool' in works to make tax hikes more palatable - The Daily News article, June 25, 2007, byline Nick Pinto, Staff Writer. School Committee members plan to spend the rest of the summer devising a tool to help them make spending projections looking as far as 10 years into the future.
The concept is new for Newburyport, but school officials say voters have made it clear that they won't support tax hikes if the schools can't provide a long-term vision for educating Newburyport students.

E-clectic E-lucidations on "all matters and things" ~ looming widom
Protester has peace of mind ~ Daily News article, September 11, 2006, byline Will Courtney. The seeds of Niki Rosen's calling to the peace movement date back many wars ago. ... "My life has changed many times," she said. "This is my life now - family and peace work."

Letter: The only solution is a peaceful solution ~ Daily News Letter to the editor, October 4, 2007, Gardiner Bacon: As an activist who regularly attends the weekly peace demonstrations in Market Square, I have come to hear many negative and frustrated comments from pedestrians and passers-by, most of which run along the lines of "Get a life," "You're wasting your time," and "Why are you doing this?" Hopefully this letter will be able to respond to the last question in a way that will clear up any confusion or ambiguity.


Bacon seeks global connection for Port ~ Daily News article September 7, 2007, byline Stephen Tait, Staff Writer. For Gardiner Bacon, all politics is global. The 18-year-old pharmacy service associate said his goal is to transform Newburyport from a place that thinks on a local level to one that understands its role is part of a much larger community."My goal is to make a community out of what is now a city," he said. "We tend to remove Newburyport from the global perspective, but it is a part, a small part, of the global community.

Articles and columns about and by Ryan Galer, contributing columnist to the Newburyport Current, "Natural High" series - (Article about) At the Top of Their Class, byline Gillian Swart, June 1, 2007; Ryan Galer's column published March 25, 2007 - Would an override save our schools?; Valedictory Speech for Newburyport High School's Class of 2007 graduation exercises held June 4, 2007, published online June 8, 2007; first contribution to the Current's "Natural High" columns entitled My Personal Philosophies of Education, also published online at (link without).
Empower-lympics makes room for all ~ Newburyport Current, March 25, 2007, byline Gillian Swart. When Nock Middle School students Christian Farren and Tyler Haynes learned about the Paralympic Games, they decided to start their own recreational sporting event to highlight the achievements of area kids with disabilities.

Political knowledge begins at the local level ~ The Daily News, June 30, 2007, Opinion column, byline Alan Lupo. Winthrop, my hometown, is "down the rud a piece," as upcountry folk used to say, from the upper North Shore and Merrimack Valley. But as someone who is allowed to write columns for your hometown papers, I still receive The Salem News and Eagle-Tribune on my front porch.

Some stories I scan and some I read in full; but in both cases, they remind me of why I got into this journalism racket many years ago and why I get so disgusted now with what has happened to my trade ...

That brings me back to the papers that show up on my front porch. They have their imperfections; all newspapers do. But they remind me of what journalism is supposed to be about, namely, the coverage of democracy at its basic level - the street, the town and city halls, the school committees, the planning and zoning boards.
The point is simple and if simplistic, I apologize to all. But if we cannot understand how our democracy works at the local level, then what hope is there for us to comprehend our national politics or the role we play on the global stage?

College students - and the rest of us - need to pay more attention - Daily News, September 15, 2007, Opinion column by Alan Lupo. The shopping cart was sitting in a space reserved for a car. If whoever left it there was somewhat disabled, pregnant or carrying a kid, I could understand why he or she didn't take a few seconds to wheel it five spaces over and into the place reserved for empty carts. Otherwise, just what is it with the laziness, the indifference, the thoughtlessness, the ignorance and the apathy so increasingly noticeable among us these days? It reminded me of two stories I had just read, one in The Eagle-Tribune and one in the Boston Globe. Neither one involved shopping carts, but for me, those little wheeled vehicles suddenly became a symbol for both those stories and what I fear they represent. ... Plans are gZP
Trip to Thailand an eye-opening experience - Daily News, November 15, 2007, news piece by Katie Curley, Staff Writer. Meg Theriault says she will always remember looking up in Khao Yai National Park in Thailand and seeing a herd of almost 20 elephants running by. "That's when I realized what I was experiencing and how unique it was," she said. Theriault, 16, a junior at Newburyport High School, was one of six students who participated in a World Challenge Expeditions program last summer. The group, led by a professional tour guide and NHS teachers Alyson Lindquist and Sean McCarthy, went to Thailand on a service trip. ... World Challenge Expeditions, a British company with an office in Cambridge, helps plan trips to remote locations for school groups. The adventures to developing countries are half community service, half expedition, in efforts to combine physical and mental challenges for students. ... Lindquist was drawn to the program because it allows students to learn and experience another culture while helping make a difference. ... Plans are being made to visit Ecuador this summer. Still in the planning stages, Lindquist has held meetings to measure student interest and will continue to do so. "It's amazing to hear a 16-year old talk about how their lives changed in the course of a three-week trip," she said.
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