, Gloucester, MA

May 4, 2013

Talk of the Times: Open Door reins in $20K Wal-Mart grant

Talk of the Times

By All Hands
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Talk of the Times readers and others who joined in a Facebook poll over the past two weeks have made The Open Door a winner.

Julie LaFontaine, executive director of the Gloucester-based food pantry and human services agency, confirmed Friday that The Open Door has won a $20,000 prize being offered by Wal-Mart as part of the retail giant’s “Fighting Hunger Together” initiative.

The Open Door captured the prize while competing against more than 300 other hunger relief organizations across the nation, with the winners decided through a Facebook voting campaign spotlighted in last week’s “Talk of the Times.”

LaFontaine said the money will be used to support PowerSnack, an after-school supper program offered at Veterans Memorial Elementary School. PowerSnack offers kids a chance to fuel up before they head home for the day, with the supper program including a kid-friendly entree coupled with fresh fruits and vegetables selected by the child from a student-sized salad bar.

“The Open Door PowerSnack supper program helps connect kids to good food,” LaFontaine said. “We’re so excited — thank you to everybody who helped us get this.”

Glosta Strong, Boston Strong!

Rising local singer-songwriter Chelsea Berry will top the bill Tuesday night when the Cape Ann Brewing Company hosts a fund-raising event for the victims of the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings, drawing on the theme of “Glosta Strong Supporting Boston Strong.”

Featuring entertainment by Berry and friends, the brewery will be donating 50 percent of the night’s proceeds, while also holding several raffles and a silent auction. All of the money raised will go to The One Fund Boston.

“When tragedy hits anywhere it’s important for people and businesses alike to do their part to make a difference,” said Cape Ann Brewing Company owner Jeremy Goldberg. “With this attack hitting so close to home,” he added, “it’s even more important that Gloucester stands up and supports our Boston brothers and sisters.

“This event is our small way of doing what we can,” he added.

The event, set to begin at 5 p.m., will be held at The Pub at Cape Ann Brewing, located at 11 Rogers St. There will be a suggested donation at the door of $5.

Digital Dogtown rising

Eagle Scout Alan Davis’s Digital Dogtown project, ravaged by vandals earlier this spring, will be the focal point of a special fund-raiser hosted Monday night by Espresso’s Restaurant in East Gloucester.

The Espresso fund-raiser, in which the restaurant will donate a percentage of it dinner proceeds Monday between 5 and 9 p.m., is aimed at restoring the project, which, through a series of installations and Smart phone technology, allowed hikers at several stopping points to learn and connect with Dogtown’s history, geology, culture and heritage.

The Espresso benefit — held at the restaurant, at 116 East Main St. — is the latest effort aimed at reviving the project. Anyone with ideas on how to best replace the damaged or stolen markers — thoughts on how it should be done differently (or perhaps why it should not be done at all) should send a note to the 17-year-old Davis, a Gloucester High student, and his father, Roger, an O’Maley Middle school teacher, at

Anyone who can’t make the Espresso event but would like to help out financially may also send a check made out to “The Gloucester Fund,” noting on the memo line that the check is “for Digital Dogtown,” and mail it to Alan Davis, 2 Goodwin Road, Gloucester MA 01930.

“We hope to have the posts back in operation in time for the summer hiking season,” the Davises said.

Into the St. Ann void

With St. Ann School, Gloucester’s and Cape Ann’s only Catholic school, announcing last week it would be closing at the end of the current school year, a Catholic school in Beverly is reaching out to perhaps step into the void for Cape Ann families.

Saint Mary School, located at 13 Chapman St. in Beverly, is currently enrolling students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight, and will hold an open house next Friday, May 10, with all visitors welcome to tour the school from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

The school, which currently serves students from 15 North Shore communities, offers full day pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs. Anyone seeking more information is welcome to call 978-927-3259, or visit

St. Ann School officials and the Archdiocese of Boston stunned many in the Cape Ann community with the announcement that the Gloucester school, first opened in 1885, would close in June after 128 years of serving the community. Low enrollment – just 90 current students, down from 189 in 2010, and the failure of an expected $4 million Catholic Schools grant to ever materialize have been cited as primary reasons for the shutdown.

Letter Carriers food drive

The National Association of Letters Carriers will hold its annual food drive next Saturday, May 11.

Residents in Gloucester, Rockport and Manchester are encouraged to leave a bag full of non-perishable food items next to their mailbox on that day, with items slated to be donated to The Open Door food pantry and service agency.

Items most needed include tuna, peanut butter, pasta, cereal, and juice, but no glass, please, said Open Door Executive Director Julie LaFontaine.

For more information visit, or call 978-283-6776.

Residents are also encouraged to contact their local post offices to volunteer to help with the drive.

Honored veteran

The flag at the Veterans’ Center will fly this week in honor of World War II veteran Stanley Thomas Meuse. Born Dec. 24, 1922, he entered the U.S. Navy on Oct. 23, 1942.

The signalman, second class, served with the Gleaves-class destroyer the USS Davison (DD-618), and the Mettawee-class gasoline tanker the USS Klaskanine (AOG-63). He served in the Pacific, European and American theaters.

Meuse was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Theater Medal, the European Theater Medal with two Bronze Stars, the American Area Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

He was discharged Nov. 7, 1945, and died Jan. 14, 2012.

The flag was requested to fly in his honor by his children, Deborah and Dale Meuse.

Anyone wishing to fly a flag in honor of a deceased veteran can call the Office of Veterans’ Services at 978-281-9740.