President Obama, who has come under fire here and in other fishing communties for turning a deaf ear to the needs of New England’s and America’s fishermen, nonetheless heard a face-to-face pitch on behal fof Gloucester’s fishermen this week from a very different type of lobbyist.
Frances Ferrante, mother of state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, received an invitation along with her daughter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren to attend a campaign event in Boston earlier this week featuring the president making his pitch for U.S. Senate candidate Ed Markey.
Ann-Margaret Ferrante said that Warren had invited her and her mother with the hope that they may have an opportunity to directly bring the message of the fishermen to the president. And that is indeed what happened.
As the president was walking by, Frances Ferrante moved toward him calling, “Mr. President, Mr. President” in close proximity to Obama. And as the secret service and the president saw Frances, who is blind, calling for the president’s attention, he stopped and asked her what was so important that she was calling out to him.
With that, as Obama leaned over and held Frances’ hand to listen.
“We need you to help our fishermen in Gloucester, Massachusetts,” she told him.
“You know we will,” the president responded.
To that, Frances responded, “We are going to hold you to it.”
A number of Massachusetts officials — up to and including Gov. Deval Patrick — have reached out to the White House to seek aid for the fishing industry to address the “economic disaster” in the New England groundfishery declared by the Department of Commerce last fall, and to ask that Obama use his executive authority to set aside dire new catch limits that have brought the industry to its knees this season. None have drawn any response.
Time will tell if Frances Ferrante’s heartfelt personal plea carries any more weight.
Fort garden gets a lift
The Fort Community Garden project in Gloucester’s historic Fort neighborhood had some special recent visitors — students from the University of Maryland who are focusing on Urban Agriculture.
The visit to Gloucester came during an overall spring trip by the group to the Boston area, and focused on a garden program that has sprouted from an idea from Rev. Rona Tyndal, a Fort resident.
Ann Molloy of Neptune’s Harvest thought it was a great idea and graciously donated the space needed. With the students volunteering their efforts, an overgrown field was transformed into an area ready for planting, said Fort resident Laurel Tarantino.
Not wanting their entire visit to be all work and no play, the students were also given a tour of Gloucester’s working waterfront around Harbor Cove, including a tour through Neptune’s Harvest, which spotlighted the agricultural aspect of their visit.
“After a week in Boston, when asked what their favorite part of the trip was, their response was, ‘Our trip to Gloucester,’” Tarantino said. “(We’re) not sure if it was because of the friendships made, or because of Joe Novello’s baked stuffed clams — whatever the reason, we thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with them.”
Tarr visits growing GAP business
A Gloucester-based promotions firm that recently moved from Eastern Avenue to downtown hosted a special visitor of its
own Friday — state Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr.
GAP Promotions, the company headed by Gayle Piraino that moved into its new headquarters in the historic Blackburn Tavern building at 1 Washington St. in January, has worked extensively with the state ion resources available to small business in Massachusetts.
“Coaching and training resources from SCORE, the Salem State University Enterprise Center, and the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center have been instrumental in the company’s success,” Piraino said. “We enjoy having this opportunity to share our perspective on the business climate with Sen. Tarr, thank him for his continued support of small business, and more generally celebrate the company’s successes since the last time he visited.”
GAP is a full-service promotional products agency serving some of the largest players in the alcohol and spirits industry, as well as a number of other companies. GAP designs and delivers large racks and innovative displays, branded apparel, novelties and sports and recreational items.
The company, founded by Piraino in 2006, employs 12 full-time and and a number of part-time staffers and interns.
Chronicle ‘Notebook’ and Gloucester
The love affair between “Chronicle” and Gloucester has now gone multimedia, with the publication of a new book by the WCVB-TV magazine show’s Ted Reinstein giving a big kiss to Cape Ann.
The popular show has run segments on Gloucester dating back at least 15 years, and the late Times reporter Richard Gaines makes an appearance in the Reinstein book, “New England Notebook,” which quotes the “gruff but well-respected longtime reporter” on the fishing industry.
Gaines, who was found dead in the swimming pool outside his home last Sunday, and was remembered fondly by hundreds of visitors who attended calling hours in his honor Friday night at Gloucester’s Greely Funeral Home, was also included in the most recent eipsode of “Chronicle,” which was rerun last Monday night.
Reinstein’s chapter on Cape Ann eloquently evokes the sense of place as: “Cape Ann’s unique overall identity, a rich and shared history of fishermen and artists, now as deep and ingrained as the granite on which this spit of land itself sits.”
The flag at the Veterans’ Center will fly this week in honor of World War II veteran Salvatore Peter Randazza. Born March 26, 1924, he entered the U.S. Navy on March 15, 1944.
The coxswain served with Landing Craft Tank 115, and Landing Craft Tank 1226.
Randazza was awarded the World War II Victory Medal, the American Theatre Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre Medal with four Battle Stars, the Philippine Liberation Medal with one Battle Star.
He died Nov. 21, 1994.
The flag was requested to fly in his honor by his wife, Catherine, of Gloucester, and family.
Anyone wishing to fly a flag in honor of a deceased veteran can call the Office of Veterans’ Services at 978-281-9740.