One of Gloucester’s most long-term and most-respected educators, and the man who served as O’Maley Middle School’s first principal when it opened in 1973 will be memorialized in the school’s commons after a special dedication next month.
The Gloucester Public School District is inviting the public to the dedication ceremony in honor of the late Alphonse “Al” Swekla, to be held in the O’Maley Innovation Middle School Commons on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. Al passed away in January of this year.
The celebration of Al’s life, which included 39 years as an educator, then as a civil servant on the School Committee and other Gloucester boards, will include a musical tribute performed by the GHS Docksiders.
Coffee/tea, cake and Al’s favorite hermits will be served, according to School Committee Vice Chairwoman Val Gilman, who is serving as event organizer.
For further information, contact Gilman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Hall Halloween
Thursday, of course, is Halloween.
And the city of Gloucester is opening the doors of City Hall as an alternative to trick-or-tricking.
The City Council has cordially invited all goblins, witches, monsters and costumed folks of all ages to join them at City Hall’s Kyrouz Auditorium for what officials promise will be a “spooktacular” evening featuring a dance contest, games, a costume contest and more. Between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., parents are encouraged to bring their vampires, princesses and superheroes to celebrate free of cost at the Halloween event, which will be presented by Kids Unlimited and The Adventures of Scuba Jack. Charlie Fogarty will also provide his Halloween Balloons Extraordinaire, and everyone is welcome to take a swing at the pinata.
Marking our memorials
There are 23 memorial squares in Gloucester, 22 of them named in honor of individual veterans from the city who were killed in action during wartime, and the 23rd in honor of the American Legion.
Over the years, however, many of the signs saluting those who paid the ultimate price have been lost or damaged.
Now, the city, through the mayor’s office and Gloucester’s Veterans Services office headed by Richard Barbato, those signs are all being replaced. And the city is poised to unveil them all during a ceremony planned for Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Veterans Services Office on Emerson Avenue.
“(This) will offer the city an opportunity to revisit these squares and to remember who these men were, their service to our country and the sacrifice they made in defense of all that we hold dear,” Mayor Carolyn Kirk said in a prepared statement.
The signs will be placed in their proper places — or squares — at a later date.
Rocky Neck exhibit
This past summer, Rockport-based artist and photographer Thi Linh Wernau, hosted a fundraiser and dramatic art exhibit at Latitude 43, focusing on America’s “Wounded Warriors,” and raised $6,000 for the Semper Fi Fund charity that aids wounded veterans and military families.
Now, she’s presenting a solo exhibit of 30 photographs, all drawn from Linh Wernau’s “You. Are. Beautiful ...” project, which she describes as featuring portraits celebrating the human spirit and beauty in all people.
The show runs through November 11, but it includes a free opening reception set for Saturday, Nov. 2 from 4 to 6 p.m., along with three other special events during the show’s three-week show.
“You. Are. Beautiful.” depicts portraits of everyday people with grit, grace and gravity, Linh Wernau said. It includes a wounded Marine and amputee, a stage-three breast cancer survivor and a skater.
The three other events during the show are also free and include a Polaroid photo booth today and tomorrow from 2 to 4 p.m,, at which visitors can get a portrait taken by the artist and become part of the project. Then, on Sunday, Nov. 3, from 3 to 4 p.m., Wernau will moderate a panel discussion on beauty in art and the democratization of photography, with Cape Ann fine art photographers and Boston artists, including Paul Cary Goldberg, Joseph Geary, Judith Monteferrante and Anne Rearick.
The final event will fall on Veterans Day weekend, and will include an artist talk, short film and a special presentation of veterans’ voices, set for Friday, Nov. 8, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Speakers will include two Gloucester residents and Korean War veterans, A. Austin Dorr and Bradley Smith, founder of the Patrons Museum.
The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck is located at 6 Wonson Street in Gloucester. Fall gallery hours are noon to 4 p.m,, Thursdays through Sundays.
For more information, visit www.rockyneckartcolony.org or www.facebook.com/ThiLinhPhotography.
Medication Disposal Day
Do you have unused or outdated medications in your home?
Are you concerned they could be accessed by children or pets, or perhaps pose other household hazards? Are you not sure how to discard them?
The Healthy Gloucester Collaborative and the city’s Police Department are teaming up today to host a medical disposal day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of the Rose Baker Senior Center.
Any and all residents are invited to turn in their unused or expired medication for safe disposal.
The flag at the Veterans’ Center will fly this week in honor of World War II veteran Walter Everett Roberts. Born Sept. 13, 1907, he entered the U.S. Army on March 13, 1944.
The private first class and the Army Corps of Engineers rifleman served with the 752nd Engineers Port Supply Company in the Ardennes, Central Europe and Rhineland. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and received shrapnel wounds while fighting with the 1st Army in Luxembourg.
Roberts was awarded the Purple Heart Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster, the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
He was discharged Nov. 7, 1945, and died Nov. 1, 1983.
The flag was requested to fly in his honor by his son, Lincoln Roberts, and his family of Gloucester.
Anyone wishing to fly a flag in honor of a deceased veteran can call the Office of Veterans’ Services at 978-281-9740.