Danvers remembers 9/11

If you’re on the North Shore this weekend, I hope you’ll consider attending a program at the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers called “9/11 Ten Years Later: A Decade of Change for American Culture.”

The program, to be held Sunday at 2 p.m., will be moderated by Town Manager Wayne Marquis and will feature Danvers Police Chief Neil Oullette and Endicott College professors Amy Damico and Sara Quay, the editors of “September 11 in Popular Culture: A Guide.” I’ll be talking about how the media have changed over the past decade, for better and for worse.

You can find out more information about the event here. And here is an essay I wrote for the Boston Phoenix’s issue of Sept. 13, 2001. I haven’t re-read it yet, so I have no idea how well it’s held up.

A North Shore view of Irene

Fallen branch by the side of Route 127 in Beverly. Click on image for more photos.

Even though we weren’t hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene on the North Shore, I thought it would be fun to drive around and take some pictures this afternoon. Nothing too dramatic. I started in Danvers and made my way to Beverly, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Magnolia before heading home.

The ocean off the coast in Manchester and Magnolia was by far the most visually interesting. Just slightly inland there was little wind. But by the shore it was still strong, as seagulls literally flew in place against the air currents.

I shot some video, too, but since it wasn’t as good as this, I decided not to post it.

Donna Halper to speak on Boston radio history

Please join me next Wednesday, July 13, in welcoming my friend Donna Halper to the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers. Donna will be signing her latest book, “Boston Radio 1920-2010,” part of the “Images of America” series published by Arcadia.

Halper, a communications professor at Lesley University and a recently minted Ph.D., is admirably eclectic. She runs a radio consulting business, Donna Halper & Associates, and was always my go-to person for radio expertise when I was the media columnist at the Boston Phoenix. She teaches and writes (obviously). She also discovered the band Rush when she was working as a disc jockey in Cleveland in 1974, and was on hand when the band members were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010.

Donna will be speaking from 7 to 9 p.m., and I’ll have the honor of introducing her. You can sign up by clicking here. Hope to see you there.

Buckwheat Zydeco comes to Danvers

 

Buckwheat Zydeco

No, really. It’s true. There they are, on the Rotary Pavilion outside the Peabody Institute Library. Buckwheat Zydeco performed in a free concert this evening, and a wicked good time was had by all.

Wild turkeys near Beverly Airport

While driving home from Bradley Palmer State Park a little while ago, I came across a flock of about a half-dozen wild turkeys off Burley Street in Danvers, near Beverly Airport. I think it’s a resident flock, as I’ve seen turkeys in the area before. I grabbed my iPhone and took some picture of the birds, whose skittishness seemed to diminish after I had been there for a few minutes.

Election Night in Danvers

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Click on image for more photos.

Right after supper, Mrs. Media Nation, Media Nation Jr. and I headed over to the Holten Richmond Middle School in Danvers to cast our ballots in the 2010 election. It was a proud moment — this was our son’s first time voting, so we are now officially a three-voter household. Next time there should be four of us.

There are eight precincts in Danvers, and Precints 1 and 2 vote at the Holten Richmond. I was the 1,233rd person in Precinct 1 today. Given that the polls would close in a little more than an hour, that didn’t strike me as particularly high. Nor was there any line when we came in.

After voting, I took a couple of photos of the stalwart volunteers who had set up on the edge of Plains Park so they could wave to passing motorists. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. And, pretty soon, we should have some results.

A key legislative race between two good candidates

Ted Speliotis

If there’s a bellwether district in the Massachusetts House this fall, it may be the one in which Media Nation is located. We have a hot race here that is something of a throwback. That is, it pits two good, experienced candidates against each other. Each is genuinely more interested in serving the people of his district than in making any sort of stark ideological appeal.

The district, which comprises Danvers, Topsfield and part of Peabody, is currently represented by Ted Speliotis, a Democrat. His Republican challenger is Dan Bennett, a Danvers selectman. I know Speliotis better than Bennett, though I have met Bennett as well. Speliotis’ liberal views better reflect my own, yet I like Bennett’s emphasis on reforming the culture of patronage and cronyism on Beacon Hill. I’m perfectly comfortable with either man representing me in the Legislature.

Salem News reporter Ethan Forman recently wrote excellent profiles of both Speliotis and Bennett. Forman points out an inconsistency in Bennett’s positions: Bennett opposes new taxes, yet voted for local-option taxes on meals and hotel rooms when given the opportunity. (Forman also wrote a follow-up on where they stand on a variety of issues.)

Dan Bennett

I’m going to give Bennett a pass. Why? On his website, Bennett discusses some real savings the state could see by consolidating state agencies, reforming health insurance for municipal employees and opening up public-construction projects to competition (he doesn’t use the term “non-union,” but that’s what he means). No doubt Bennett believes higher local taxes would be unnecessary if the state got its own spending under control, and he may be right.

I can’t find a website for Speliotis other than his official state profile. But I know he has cast courageous votes in our rather conservative district in favor of same-sex marriage and against the death penalty. He has worked tirelessly to help folks affected by the 2006 explosion in Danversport. And he’s everywhere — he always comes to our Boy Scout troop’s courts of honor to present Statehouse proclamations to our new Eagles. If you think that’s no big deal, you’re wrong.

If the war of the lawn signs is any indication, I think Bennett might pull this out. The signs are fairly mixed in Danvers, where both candidates live, but almost unanimous for Bennett in affluent Topsfield. Peabody, where Speliotis grew up, will likely prove the key.

I’ve suggested to a couple of my friends in the political press that this race would be worth a story. It’s well below radar, especially given exciting gubernatorial and congressional races. Come Election Day, though, it may prove to be just as significant.

Walking the future Danvers rail trail

I took a walk this afternoon along the abandoned railroad tracks in Danvers from Chestnut Street to Topsfield Road (Route 97), which is supposed to become part of a North Shore bicycle trail. For more information check out Danvers Bi-Peds.

Since I forgot to bring my camera, I took these with my BlackBerry instead. I’m astonished at how good they came out.

New Year’s snowstorm

Horses at Endicott Park. For a Flickr slideshow, click on photo.

Rather than sit in the house and curse the snow, I grabbed my camera and tramped around Danvers this afternoon — along the power lines not far from St. John’s Prep, through Endicott Park and at Glen Magna. Nothing special, but if you like snow pictures, here are snow pictures.

Snowed in

News boxes in front of the Danvers Post Office earlier today. For a Flickr slideshow, click here or on photo.