, Gloucester, MA

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February 23, 2013

Talk of the Times: Wayward Verizon voice mail back on track

Talk of the Times

If you thought your friends and family — never mind the drugstore or bill collector — didn’t care enough to call and leave a message in a long, long time, that’s not necessarily so.

For the past four to six weeks, most Verizon customers in Gloucester with the provider’s electronic voice mail service might have had messages, but were unaware because their phones did not send the usual “interrupted dial tone” signal to indicate there was a message to be retrieved.

A software problem in the city’s central phone office caused the downage, said Verizon spokesman Philip Santoro.

Customers who were out of service can contact Verizon to receive a credit on their account, he said.

The problem was finally corrected Wednesday, Santoro said.

Senate salutes Swekla

The late Alphonse “Al” Swekla – the former Gloucester teacher, principal, superintendent of schools, city councilor and School Committee member, never served in the State House. But he earned a special salute from the state Senate on Thursday.

At the request of state Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, the Senate adjourned its morming session at 12:36 p.m. in memory of Swekla, hailing him as a World War II veteran and Gloucester superintendent of schools in Gloucester. The adjournment essentially stood for the weekend, given that the Senate is next due to convene on Monday at 11 a.m. in an informal session, according to the State House News Service.

Both the House and Senate sometimes cast their adjournments to honor state or local public servants — and Swekla certainly fit that description, covering more than some 65 years of various types of community service.

Swekla passed away Jan. 30 at the age of 86.

Firefighters’ new heights

Four Gloucester firefighters completed a challenge to climb 41 stories of stairs in a Boston building, an 82-flight ascent to raise more than $2,000 in funds for the American Lung Association in an event called the Fight for Air Climb.

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