Talk of the Times: Tennis with a pro

Avis Murray

A Gloucester athletic icon will be the center of attention next Wednesday when the city cuts the ribbon on its latest sports facility — the newly reconstructed Avis Murray Tennis Courts on Stacy Boulevard at the Western Avenue entrance to Stage Fort Park.

The ribbon cutting, set for 4 p.m., caps a project that has been funded by $90,000 in private donations and a $30,000 grant from the city’s Community Preservation Fund. The private fundraising campaign was spearheaded by the Friends of Avis Murray, who has served as director of tennis for more than 40 years at the Bass Rocks Golf Club and as a teaching professional during the winter at the Manchester Athletic Club.

Murray is also a member of the national Professional Tennis Registry, and was named its member of the year in 2017. She has also been inducted into the Gloucester High School Athletic Hall of Fame, the USTA New England Hall of Fame and the USPTA New England Hall of Fame. She has also been a recipient of the New England Youth Tennis Foundation Ned Weld Award, and has earned the USTA New England’s highest accolade — the Gardner Ward Chase Memorial Award — as well.

Ward 4 Councilor Val Gilman, who has been at the forefront on the tennis court project, said the ribbon cutting is something to celebrate.

“Bring your rackets and tennis sneakers,” she said, “and hit a ball or two with Avis after the ribbon cutting.”

A show of Pride

The city of Gloucester will formally recognize its LGBT community Monday with the raising of the Rainbow flag, as part of the city’s commemoration of Pride Month.

The annual raising of the multi-colored flag, to be conducted Monday at 3 p.m. at the City Hall flagpole on the lawn at the southwest corner of the building, is being hosted by Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and other city officials.

The ceremony will also include a presentation of a check for $200 from regional LGBT coordinator Ali McClellan to representatives of Gloucester High School’s SAGA group — for sexuality and gender acceptance — to support its programs for students.

June is national Pride Month and is aimed at recognizing and celebrating tolerance and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in cities and towns.

The Rainbow flag includes six stripes, each representing a different color and different meaning. Red represents life, while orange stands for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony and purple for spirit.

Huntington’s Walk

Dealing with the devastating effects of Huntington’s disease is anything but a walk in the park, yet that’s how a group of local residents seeking to raise money for research into the disease are going about their efforts Saturday.

The Gloucester Team Hope Walk will take place Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Area A of Stage Fort Park, along the waterfront, with all proceeds going to help improve the lives of those affected with Huntington’s and their families. The event is being hosted by the Massachusetts chapter of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.

Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain, causing a deterioration of a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years. It is also a disease that has no known cure, and has been described as having ALS, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases simultaneously.

Anyone seeking more information on the walk or efforts toward a cure can contact organizer Virginia Goolkasian at 978-905-5588, or via email at vgoolkasian@hdsa.org.