GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

November 16, 2012

Talk of the Times: Tree beats Customs snag

By All Hands
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Gloucester’s holiday tree has arrived safe and sound after being brought to Kent Circle this week by Brent “Ringo” Tarr and St. Peter’s Fiesta Committee President Joe Novello.

But this year’s return trip, with tree in tow, didn’t come without a few shaky moments when the tree — that’s right the tree, not the drivers — met some resistance coming through U.S. Customs.

In keeping with tradition, Tarr and Novello went to Nova Scotia to pick up Gloucester’s tree from its sister community last week, and began the trek back to New England with the donated spruce. Meanwhile, a city of Boston group had gone to Nova Scotia to collect the Hub’s spruce as well, and both arrived, by coincidence, at Customs at the same time.

Boston checked its tree through first, with certification that it was a spruce. But when Tarr tried to bring Gloucester’s tree across the border, paperwork from Shelbourne had just listed the tree as a fir, and Customs officials questioned its identity.

“Evidently, different firs can carry some different kinds of bugs,” Tarr related, and that had thrown up a few proverbial Customs red flags. Thankfully, however, the tree was confirmed as a spruce as well, and Tarr and Novello, after a delay, were on their way.

Gloucester’s tree was loaded into place at Kent Circle Friday, ready to be decorated today. The tree will be lit for the holiday season on Sunday, Nov. 25, as the climax to Gloucester’s annual Santa Parade.

In the meantime, Tarr said, the Kent Circle Christmas Tree Committee is seeking donations to help with the cost of lights and decorations. Anyone who can help may send a check to the committee, care of 18 Timberview Drive, Gloucester 01930.

Schooner vane back in place

The schooner weathervane that sits atop City Hall is back in place atop the clock tower after undergoing an accelerated repair job Friday.

According to Mayor Carolyn Kirk, one the “sails” on the weathervane — modeled after the schooner Elsie and donated to the city by Cape Ann Savings Bank in 1989 literally broke away from its base during one of the recent storms. So, on Friday, Craig Herrman, the architect working in Gorton’s production line expansion, had workers from Chelmsford Crane Service shift the crane to City Hall to lower it from the building.

Meanwhile, Campbell Construction, the company working on the ongoing City Hall restoration, had made a special basket to protect and hold the weathervane and crew, and they welded the sail back into place in the City Hall parking lot – then hoisted the schooner back up and into place.

“It was remarkable — just remarkable,” said Kirk.

Meet the Chiefs II

Building upon the positive reaction to a similar event held in Magnolia last month, the Magnolia Library and Community Center is promoting another Gloucester “Meet the Chiefs Night,” with this one set for Monday Nov. 26 and hosted by the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church at Middle and Church streets.

The program is aimed at giving residents the chance to meet city Police Chief Leonard Campanello and Fire Chief Eric Smith, each of whom has been hired this year.

Organizer Jamie O’Hara, who also volunteers with Gloucester’s Citizens for Public Safety, said that both chiefs will be on hand to explain the operations of their departments, and to field questions from residents.

The event will be held in the UU church basement, and is free and open to the public.

Saluting GHS students

Seniors Nathan S. Frontiero and Pauline Allison Cruz were presented top student awards at Gloucester High School this week, recognizing them as the school’s highest achieving students through their averages at the end of their junior year.

Frontiero was presented the College Women’s Club of Cape Ann Award for having the top score and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents’ certificate of academic excellence during the school’s annual Sawyer Medal ceremonies, while Cruz was presented the Harvard Book Prize for having the second highest score at the end of her junior year. Superintendent of Schools Richard Safier presented the superintendents’ certificate, while GHS Principal Erik Anderson presented the other two honors.

Also, a total of 14 GHS students were recognized as recipients of the annual Sawyer Medals, presented each year to the those who posted the top cumulative grade scores from their previous years in high school or O’Maley Middle School.

Sawyer Medal recipients were:

Class of 2013 — Nicholas Paul Miles and Hannah Marilyn Sweet.

Class of 2014 — Wyatt Wheeler Ronan and Autumn Brooke Zubricki.

Class of 2015 — Matthew David Ciaramitaro, Tina Teresa LoGrande, Melanie Gene MacDonald, Aaron David Mackert and Morey Taylor Ronan.

Class of 2016 — Michael Cody, Matilda Grow, Karina Keenan, Noah Stevens, Hannah Zuidema.

Hive rocks

for a cause

Cape Ann musicians will perform at The Hive at 11 Pleasant St. in Gloucester from 4 p.m to midnight this Sunday in a benefit for the Rockaways, the New York coastal community devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

Admission is free, but cash donations will be gratefully accepted. All proceeds will be donated to effective relief organizations already on the ground in the Rockaways.

Musicians scheduled to play as of Thursday include Bradley Royds, the BFs, the Honky Tonk Women, Just Like Newman, the Buckners, Ron Schrank, Inge Berge and Guy Zacardi. Many more are expected to appear; a complete listing will be posted at gimmesound.com as Sunday approaches.

Pedals, Pipes and Pizza

The American Guild of Organists, which works to educate a new generation of performers with its Young Organists Initiative programs, recently hosted its Pedals, Pipes, and Pizza event, which drew three youngsters from Cape Ann to the “hallowed halls of ivy.”

On Veterans Day, three youngsters from Cape Ann crossed Harvard Yard on their way to the Memorial Church where, under the masterful Christian Lane, associate organist of Harvard University, they would investigate four of Harvard’s organs. The students were Sofie Moulton, a fifth grader at Rockport Elementary, Jett , a seventh grader at the O’Maley School and Katherine Bevins, a fifth grader at the Beeman School, both studying organ with Kathleen Adams.

The organs visited were the new C. B. Fisk Opus 139, built in Gloucester and inaugurated in April, the refurbished 1929 E. M. Skinner instrument in Appletom Chapel, the Klop one-manual portative organ, and the Flentrop organ in Adolphus Busch Hall (the Germanic Museum at Harvard).

Honored veteran

The flag at the Veterans’ Center will fly this week in honor of World War II veteran Arnold Howard Lowe. Born Dec. 30, 1924, he entered the U.S. Navy on Oct. 27, 1942.

The aviation metalsmith first class served with the U.S. Pacific Fleet; the U.S. Navy escort aircraft carriers USS Fanshaw Bay (CVE-70) received five battle stars, USS White Plains (CVE-66), received five battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation.

He served on the Mariana and Palau Islands, the Solomon Islands, the Philippines, during the Battle of Samar, and Leyte Gulf.

Lowe was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Theater Medal with six Bronze Stars, the Philippine Liberation Medal with two Bronze Stars, the American Theater Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation with one Bronze Star, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.

He was discharged Jan. 27, 1946, and died March 11, 2009.

The flag was requested to fly in his honor by his daughter and son-in-law, Sue and Albert Centner of Manchester.

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