By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tag: Winchester

Cat Scratch Fever

Along Grove Street in Winchester.

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Whip Saltmarsh was a legend

Whip Saltmarsh

They don’t make politicians like Whip Saltmarsh anymore. Sherman W. “Whip” Saltmarsh Jr., who represented Winchester in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1974-’89, was a throwback to a time when legislators were not especially interested in ideology and instead devoted their attention to helping their communities and constituents. He died last Thursday at 94.

I got to know Whip when I was covering Winchester for The Daily Times Chronicle in the early 1980s. He was a regular presence at selectmen’s meetings (today the select board), updating local officials about what was taking place on Beacon Hill and asking what he could do to make their jobs easier. He was an old-fashioned Yankee Republican; although he was conservative about spending and taxes, it is impossible to imagine him getting caught up in the performative extremism that passes for Republican politics these days. He had a voice like a trumpet, and several of us used to do newsroom imitations of him bellowing, “I have filed legislation!”

A tribute posted by the Lane Funeral Home puts it well:

Whip’s mantra was always “betterment of the community and giving back” and he embodied the true definition of leader, albeit a not so quiet one. Whip’s leadership ability stemmed from his ability to be an intent listener; he didn’t always agree with someone’s opinion, but he always tried to come up with the best resolution for all. Whip was the “go to” person and arguably the Town of Winchester’s patriarch. Whip had a solution for every problem, whether the issue was obtaining legislation for a revitalization project or improving the wrist shot of one of his grandchildren.

Whip’s long life was filled with accomplishments, including serving as the town’s youngest chair of the board of selectmen — and at that time the youngest in the state. He was a star hockey player at Winchester High School and Boston College, served in the Navy, was named to the Olympic hockey team (but did not play because of injury), and was a member of the auxiliary fire department. He also founded his own insurance agency, and, after he’d left the Statehouse and I’d left the Times Chronicle, he became our insurance agent, providing outstanding, caring service for what I’m guessing was 25 to 30 years. My best wishes go out to his family, his friends and his employees.

Whip was a legend, and he’ll be greatly missed.

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Keep out, sort of

Strategic ambiguity at its finest: Keep out, but if you’re here anyway, don’t let your dog go swimming. Seen on a 5.9-mile walk on the roads around the Middlesex Fells this afternoon, including the semi-forbidden Middle and South Reservoirs.

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Dam project underway in the Middlesex Fells

I hadn’t visited the Middlesex Fells for several months, and it looks like I missed a lot. The town of Winchester is rebuilding the 147-year-old North Reservoir Dam at a cost of $6 million. The water level has been lowered considerably in order to accommodate the construction. Here’s a story about it from the Winchester Star, back when there was a Star.

I hear that train a-comin’

Commuter train heads from Wedgemere toward West Medford on Tuesday afternoon.

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Crimson tide

Saturday along the Upper Mystic Lake in Winchester.

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Middlesex Fells

A few pictures from earlier today with my new iPhone SE.

Alongside the North Reservoir in Stoneham

Reservoir and Skyline Trails near the entrance to Sheepfold

Fungus in Winchester

Looking north toward the Middle Reservoir in Winchester

Bird is the word

Click on image for a closer look.

I was in Winchester center a little while ago picking up Chinese food when I saw about a half-dozen people with serious-looking cameras. It turned out they were birders. I’m not sure what they told me this guy was, but I think I heard someone say it was a night heron. So here’s my crappy, over-enlarged smartphone picture.

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Upper Mystic Lake from the Winchester Boat Club, 7:35 a.m. today. Click here for a bigger, sharper image.

Middlesex Fells by moonlight


I took this shot toward the end of a hike through the Middlesex Fells around Winchester’s North Reservoir. If you’d like to see more, please click here.

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