GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

October 19, 2013

Talk of the Times: Gloucester man grows a squash for the ages

Talk of the Times

By All Hands
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Giusseppe Tocco of Gloucester has kept a vegetable garden all his life, but this summer’s bounty yielded an unusual harvest.

He noticed that two of his Italian squashes were getting longer — and longer and longer. So, his family urged him to enter one in competition at the Topsfield Fair, which he’d never entered before.

Sure enough, he had grown a winner. His largest gourd in the garden took home first prize in the home-garden vegetables category. It measured a staggering 831/2 inches long, as did his other large garden squash.

Tocco said he didn’t do anything different with the vegetable as it grew. He said Italian squashes normally grow to about 2 to 3 feet long and are good for eating. As for these, he’s just planning to save the seeds and plant them next year.

His garden also includes beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and zucchini, and he likes to can and preserve his produce.

Art work at the Times

The Times is proudly displaying a new work of art these days, and it’s one with a distinctive Gloucester flair.

East Gloucester fishermen and artist Sam Nigro has, for the past five years, been painting some 40 to 50 used oars and presenting them to various local restaurants and other businesses as gifts.

Two weeks ago, Nigro’s friend — local businessman and former Gloucester City Councilor Jim Destino — brought Nigro’s latest creation to Whittemore Street and presented it to the Times.

The oar — a true work of art now mounted at the front desk, just inside the main entrance — depicts the newspaper’s masthead and the iconic Man at the Wheel statue, with the added wording “Serving Cape Ann,” just as it reads on the Times’ front page. In addition, the natural colors of the oar blend into Nigro’s work depicting both the sea and sky.

Nigro says he’s probably painted and gifted between 40 and 50 such oars, which can be seen displayed in businesses across Cape Ann.

“I just enjoy doing it — it’s fun, and each one says something about Gloucester,” he said.

So, where does he get the oars he uses as his unique artist’s canvasses?

“I pick them up anywhere,” he said, “markets, yard sales — a lot of people have them in their basements and don’t know what do to with them. I love to turn them around and get them out into the community. It’s just fun for me to do.

Thanks, Sam, for giving us one of those unique gifts. We’re proud to display it as the work of art it is.

Officer Patrican benefit

When Aran Patrican, a 45-year-old police officer, died tragically and unexpectedly from an unusually severe case of acute bacterial endocarditis in January 2012, the community gathered to support his young son, Thomas.

Today, Marshall’s Farm Stand on Concord Street will continue that giving spirit by donating 20 percent of the proceeds from its farm stand sales today to a fund for Thomas.

The stand is open today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 144 Concord St.

Honored veteran

The flag at the Veterans’ Center will fly this week in honor of World War II veteran Melvin Antone Sears. Born Oct. 26, 1923, he entered the U.S. Army on March 15, 1943.

The private first class served with Company C 295th Engineer Combat Battalion. He served in Northern France, Belgium, Holland, Rhineland, Germany and Central Europe and advanced from the Normandy coast to the Elbe River.

He crossed a number of rivers, built bridges, breached the Siegfried Line, laid mine fields and removed them, maintained roads, supplied water and fought as an infantryman offensively and defensively.

Sears was awarded the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Ribbon, the Good Conduct Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.

He was discharged Jan. 12, 1946, and died Jan. 3, 2004.

The flag was requested to fly in his honor by his wife, Gloria Sears, and his daughter, Carole Ross, 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.