(L to R) Craig Kimberley, Terry “Harmonica” Bean and Ted Reed in Pontotoc, Mississippi
When Gloucester filmmaking team Ted Reed and Craig Kimberley set off by car this past May to explore Mississippi’s Blues Trail, they knew they would be meeting up with some legendary blues musicians. What they didn’t expect to find was that there was a way to help blues musicians who had fallen on hard times. That’s why they will be running an information table at the 7th Annual Gloucester Blues Festival this Saturday, August 11, at Stage Fort Park.
“I had made a film in my college student days with the idea to go find as many of the old Delta Blues musicians that were still living, and put them on film before they were gone. This was only a few years after some of the ugliest battles in the civil rights movement had been fought there, and it was a different south then, certainly a different Mississippi. I found some of the blues most iconic performers—Furry Lewis, Son House, Sleepy John Estes—living in grinding poverty, receiving almost nothing from their recordings. Furry Lewis told me, ‘You don’t play the blues to get rich.’
“This year, I happened to watch my early film for the first time in decades, and realized I had what is now some great archival footage. Wouldn’t it be interesting to return to Mississippi and see what had changed?”
Over the course of exploring and documenting milestones along the Blues Trail, founded by the state of Mississippi in 2006 to mark historic places in the evolution of the blues, Reed and Kimberley were made aware of the Mississippi Blues Foundation, an arm of the Mississippi Blues Commission. The Foundation, through its Benevolence Committee, has a mission to “raise and expend grant funds to provide assistance to any blues musician in need.”
“There was nothing like this when I traveled down there before. The blues was a cultural treasure the state government had swept under the rug. Now, they’ve realized that music fans from all over the world want to visit where the blues was born, and they had better do something to preserve it.”
It was when Kimberley and Reed had the opportunity to interview the chairman of the Mississippi Blues Foundation Benevolent Committee that they saw Mississippians had recognized the need to support blues artists, and they decided to do their part at this year’s blues celebration in their home city.
“We’re going to be handing out information about how people who care about the blues can keep the music alive by helping the musicians who need their support,” Reed says.“
“Getting a chance to help out some of the remaining unsung blues musicians, as well as raise overall blues awareness in our home town is pretty special,” Craig Kimberley says.” “Once we dug into the blues trail, met some living legends, and visited some of the oldest juke-joints in the south, we knew we had to increase our involvement.”
In addition to informing festival attendees about the Mississippi Blues Foundation, and the Mississippi Blues Trail, they will also be raising contributions for the national Blues Foundation, based in Memphis Tennessee. That organization’s Handy Artists Relief Fund (as in W.C. Handy, widely regarded the Father of the Blues) also provides relief to blues musicians who are in need of help with their medical care as well as funeral expenses. Both funds channel 100% of their donations to the musicians.
The filmmakers hope to see as many of Gloucester’s music fans at the festival this weekend. “Festival organizer Paul Benjamin offered us his support right from the start,” Reed adds. “He’s a regular contributor to the Blues Foundation and really believes in what the foundation is doing.”
“Being able to support National Blues Foundation, the Mississippi Blues Foundation, as well as the fantastic blues movement right here in the northeast, is truly positive and exciting. Come join us in Gloucester this weekend!” says Kimberley.
Kimberley and Reed are planning to return to Mississippi in the fall to shoot additional scenes and interviews, and hope to release the film sometime in 2019.
For more information, please contact Ted Reed, 978-578-2834 or at ted@tedreed.tv

Great Public Works then and now | Haskell’s Pond Dam 2018 reconstruction with 1902 construction plans & wild origin story #GloucesterMA

Last month I was fortunate to glimpse the impressive Haskell’s Pond Dam reconstruction orchestrated by Gloucester’s Department of Public Works (DPW). Protecting and managing water utilities can be easy to take for granted. “This not so sleepy dam by Rt. 128 continues to deliver almost 30% of the city’s water,” exclaimed Larry Durkin, City Environmental Engineer. He explained that years ago the DPW team began assessing the city’s water infrastructure and compliance requirements including what would happen during an event storm. Haskell’s Pond Dam needed attention: The reconstruction was projected to cost 2 million (based on the preliminary plans and the recent Babson Reservoir repair). Phase I and II  were contracted out to SumCo Eco Contracting and the estimates were correct. The project cost two million and the work is largely completed thanks to grants and loans from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA), and the Commonwealth’s Dam and Seawall Program.  DPW Director, Mike Hale, and Larry Durkin concur: “They are fabulous to work with.” Discovery was anticipated. While drilling it was determined that the Haskell Pond Dam was indeed not structurally stable, and a MAJOR fix would be required to bring the dam into compliance. The DPW team is working with the state to fund the critical work of Phase 3.

Until then, take time to enjoy its history. While checking out the 2018  progress, I pulled stories and stats from the Haskell’s Pond Dam original build In 1902. As with today, the dam work was regarded  a model project. State assistance and contracted elements were required then, too. The numerous links among these two century projects are a fascinating delve and described below. The evolving breaking news in 1902 kicked off with a bang, surprising lawsuits (next stop for one could be Supreme Court), and deft leadership. Readers and history buffs will recognize names. (Tarr ancestors were involved; were yours?)

panorama and contemporary photos – Like a mini Walden pond- Haskell’s Pond during Dam reconstruction Gloucester, MA ©c ryan July 7, 2018.  

2018 July 2 Haskells Pond Dam reconstruction Gloucester Massachusetts Department of Public Works directing SumCo_ photograph ©c ryan (1)

FAST STATS 2018 Phase 1 & 2 – $1,928,000

Scope for Phase 1 & 2: Construction of a new concrete spillway chute, concrete repairs, clearing of trees and unwanted vegetation and valve replacement at an earthen embankment dam within the City’s active water supply system, and more (A prior $175,000 grant from the state’s Dam and Seawall Program was awarded to support “engineering, permitting and the development of construction documents”  which established scope for Phase 1)

2018 July 2 Haskells Pond Dam reconstruction Gloucester Massachusetts Department of Public Works directing SumCo_ photograph ©c ryan (7)

Contractor: SumCo Eco Contracting,
Status: largely completed
Mayor: Mayor Romeo Theken
DPW Director: Mike Hale
City Environmental Engineer: Lawrence A. Durkin, P.E.
Project start (historic): 1902
Modern project start: 2013-18; RFP for Phase I issued: March 15, 2017
Total project cost: estimated to be $7 million
Funding Awarded to date: $1,925,000 

  • from State: $1,925,000 – The City has done very well with Grants and Loans from the MA Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA), and its Dam and Seawall Program, Mike Hale and Larry Durkin concur. “They are fabulous to work with.”
No EEA Grant Loan Comment
1 Design  & permitting grant FY 2016 $175,000 Completed 6/30/16
2 Haskell Phase 1 Construction Grant FY 2017 $500,000 Closed 6/30/17 and City reimbursed
3 Haskell Phase 1 Construction Loan FY 2018 $500,000 Submission by DPW to EEA 7/26/18 for reimbursement
4 Haskell Phase 2 Construction Grant FY 2018 (Applied to Phase 1 change orders) $500,000 Submission by DPW to EEA 7/26/18 for reimbursement
5 Additional FY 2018 EEA, funds applied to Phase 1 change orders $250,000 Submission by DPW to EEA 7/26/18 for reimbursement
6 Haskell Phase 2 Full FY 2019 Grant, to be applied to Phase 3 $500,000 to be realized if Phase 3 goes forward in FY 2019
7 EEA Total to date $1,925,000 $500,000

Phase 3:  Some future phase was anticipated, though obviously impossible to nail down until Phase 1 & 2 were completed. The reconstruction was based on discovery put into works five or more years ago as Durkin and DPW team assessed city’s watersheds. The dam has been deemed unstable and will require a major fix to be compliant. According to Durkin, the scope for Phase 3 will include “a secant concrete wall to be drilled and concrete along the dam crest for its entire length, cored in the bedrock beneath dam for structural stability and a concrete parapet wall tied into the secant wall that provides the necessary containment for the maximum storm as defined by the state” and some exicting ancillary projects I’ll write more about in a future update. Phase 3 is estimated to cost 5 million and DPW is working on grants with the state to ensure that it happens.

Location(s): West Gloucester
Priority:  Mayor Romeo Theken’s Office-City consider water highest priority – this one continues to provide 1/3 of the city’s water

Before / After

before photos courtesy DPW ca.2014  /  after photos ©c ryan 2018




Plate 14 West Gloucester showing Haskell's Pond_from Gloucester MA Dept Public Works archives

Reviewing the ordeal that was constructing the dam– one hundred and six years ago –is a fascinating read, and helped me appreciate the major job it’s been in 2018. The original dam construction was contentious and hence the top news story of 1902 and years prior. While researching its beginnings, I was struck by just how many areas of concern and themes of city governance from 1902 remain relevant in 2018. Here’s a short list: the financial condition of the city (“revaluation”), suitable allocations, considering work on Rogers Street, water costs, heroic solo sails, possible steel bridge over Annisquam, Burnham Field play ground, pros and cons of tourism, disagreement over what is considered sound development, new theater on Main Street, announcing state grants, eminent domain, boundary lines, Gloucester Fresh, cut bridge in bad condition, aiming to keep work in town when possible, Stage Fort Park tributes, environmentally friendly innovations,  sustainability, access and oodles of local politics-  Office of Mayor and City Council, city staff, committees, and commissions.

The excerpts below pertain to Haskell’s pond dam from 1902 Gloucester Daily Times  archives that I pulled from reels at Sawyer Free and transcribed for easy access.  Plans and maps are courtesy of Mike Hale and the Department Public Work team. Links to high resolution versions are provided at the end of the post.

January 4, 1902 – MAYOR FRENCH LOSES: Aldermen Vote to Exonerate Water Commissioners

Continue reading “Great Public Works then and now | Haskell’s Pond Dam 2018 reconstruction with 1902 construction plans & wild origin story #GloucesterMA”

“Greet the Schooners” Friday August 31 at 12:30 pm

“Greet the Schooners”


Join us aboard Cape Ann Harbor Tours’ M/V King Eider on Friday August 31 at 12:30 pm for a 1.5 hour trip as we escort S/V Bluenose II and S/V Columbia when they sail into Gloucester Harbor all dressed out. You can’t miss this kick off event for the Gloucester Schooner Festival 2018!

Get your tickets online now, Click here to purchase


Piping Plover Chick Lift-off! – Not quite ready to fly yet, but testing his wings and airborne for a few seconds.

On Tuesday this past week my friend Deborah and I attended the Coastal Waterbird Conservation Cooperators meeting, which took place at Cape Cod Community College in Barnstable. The meeting is held annually to bring together people and organizations that are involved with population monitoring and conservation efforts on behalf of coastal waterbirds. Threatened and endangered species such as Least Terns, Piping Plovers, and American Oystercatchers are given the greatest attention, while the meeting also encompasses efforts on behalf of heron, cormorant, and egret species.

American Oystercatchers

Conservationists from all seven Massachusetts coastal regions participated, as well as conservationists from nearby states, including representatives from New Jersey, Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. To name just some of the organizations presenting at the meeting-Mass Wildlife, Trustees of Reservations, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and US Fish and Wildlife. Gloucester was well represented. In addition to Deborah and myself, two members of the Animal Advisory Committee also attended; chairperson Alicia Pensarosa and former animal control officer Diane Corliss. Many of you may remember our Mass Wildlife Piping Plover intern Jasmine. She was there to give a presentation on habitat vegetation utilized by nesting Piping Plovers. Her aunt, Gloucester’s Terry Weber, was there to support Jasmine. This was Jasmine’s first time speaking in public and she did an excellent job!

Each region gave the 2018 population census report for nesting birds as well as providing information about problems and solutions. We all share similar challenges with predation from crows and gulls, uncontrolled dogs, enforcement, and habitat loss and it was very interesting to learn about how neighboring communities are managing problems and issues.

Just one highlight of a day filled with helpful insights and useful information is that we can be very proud of our state—Massachusetts is at the leading edge of the Piping Plover recovery effort. The representative from New Jersey was there specifically to learn from Massachusetts conservationists on how they could possibly improve their recovery program as the New Jersey PiPl population is not growing, with fewer and fewer each year retuning to nest. As you can see from the graph provided at the meeting, the Canadian recovery is going very poorly as well.

Readers will be interested to know that our region’s Crane Beach continues to have one of their best year’s ever. Trustees of Reservations Jeff Denoncour shared information on the latest census data from 2018 and Crane’s has a whopping 76 fledglings, with 25 more chicks still yet to fledge. Because of the huge success at Cranes Beach, the northeast region, of which we are a part, has fledged a total 136 of chicks in 2018, compared to 108 in 2017, and as I said, with more fledglings still to come! The northeast region encompasses Salisbury Beach to the Boston Harbor Islands.

Jeff noted that this year they had less predation by Great Horned Owls. Because of owl predation, several years ago Crane Beach gave up on the wire exclosures and now use electric fencing extensively. The Great Horned Owls learned that the Piping Plover adults were going in an out of the exclosures and began perching on the edge of the wire, picking off the adults as they were entering and exiting the exclosure.

Crane has an excellent crew of Trustees staff monitoring the Least Terns and Piping Plovers, as well as excellent enforcement by highly trained police officers. No dogs are allowed on Crane Beach during nesting season and dogs are prevented from entering at the guarded gate. As we saw from one of the graphics presented about nesting Double-crested Cormorants, when a dog runs through a nesting area, the adults leave the nest, temporarily leaving the eggs and chicks vulnerable to predation by crows, gulls, raptors, and owls.

Crane Beach Least Tern fledgling.

Compare the Least Tern to Common Tern in the above photo. It’s easy to see why the birds are called Least Terns; they are North America’s smallest member of the tern and gull family (Crane Beach).

Another interesting bit of information shared–if you listen to our podcasts, back in April, we talked about the potential dilemma of what would happen if Snowy Owls remained on the beaches as the Piping Plovers returned from their winter grounds. Knowing that Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) and Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) are close cousins and that the Great Horned Owl eats Piping Plover chicks and adults, I was concerned that a Snowy might eat our PiPl. At one particular beach on Cape Cod, a Snowy stayed through mid-July. An adult Piping Plover skull was found in the owl’s pellet.

Snowy Owls remained in Massachusetts this year through July.

After attending the cooperators meeting, I am more hopeful than ever that our community can come together and solve the problems that are preventing our PiPl from successfully nesting and fledging chicks. What we have going in our favor is the sheer number of amazing super volunteers along with strong community-wide support.  

Piping Plover fully fledged and flying up and down the beach – we”ll have these next year!

Rick from Rowley, chair of local chapter of Austin-Healey Owners, races over to Pauline’s Gifts – thanks Essex National Heritage, Byway, Gloucester, Cape Ann

Pauline Bresnahan shares photosand a message from Rick from Rowley, who is the chair of the local chapter of Austin Healey Owners Club:

“Rick zipped by to ask that I thank all of the Woman Businesses that hosted the group of ladies on Tuesday. Thank you to Heather at Essex National Heritage for recommending our trail to this group. There were over 150 members at the summit from around USA and Canada. The ladies told Rick they were thrilled with the shops and the refreshments and customer service. I Love This Car!!” 

Thanks for sharing, Pauline. Cool car and positive message. There’s a Rowley stop on your Byway trail. The video looks like he’s heading back to Gloucester 🙂

Austin Healey summit Cape Ann 2018 ©Pauline Bresnahan



Austin Healey summit Cape Ann 2018 ©Pauline Bresnahan_9799

This Week in the Arts

North Shore Arts Association Annual Fine Art Benefit Auction


Saturday – August 11 – Doors Open 5pm

Mark your calendars! Enjoy a fun, lively evening! A perfect opportunity to add to or start your collection.

Save $! This is tax free weekend ($2,500 and under) in Massachusetts. Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended. Tickets are available online, by phone or at the gallery for $25 each.

Enjoy a cash bar and sumptuous appetizers. Auctioneer Extraordinaire Rick Doucette will be Master of Ceremonies. Visit http://www.nsarts.org to purchase tickets online AND to view all available lots.

North Shore Arts Association
11 Pirates Lane Gloucester, MA
978.283.1857 – http://www.nsarts.org


Artist Talk at

Some of the artists in the current Flatrocks Exhibit, Interpretations of Form, will discuss their work and answer questions on Sunday Aug. 12 at 2:00 p.m.  Exhibiting artists are Joreen White, Barbara Moody, Joyce Audy Zarins, Joy Halsted, and Pat Lowery Collins.  The show will continue through Aug. 19. Flatrocks Gallery is located at 77 Langsford St., Gloucester, MA.

77 Langsford St./Rt127
Gloucester, MA 01930

Music on the Meeting House Green




A longtime staple of Boston’s underground cabaret scene, ‘What Time Is It, Mr. Fox?’ will rivet the crowds at Meetinghouse Green, at the corner of Church and Middle Street, Friday, August 17 from 6 – 9 pm.

 In 2004 the band started as a duo with singer-songwriter Brian King, of gender-defying voice, who teamed up with violinist and trumpeter Nathan Cohen. Today, the band includes Dennis Monagle on drums, Renee Dupuis on voice, keys, and melodica, and Joe Cardoza on upright bass. They deliver their own brand of smoky cabaret, neo-soul and acoustic noir. Think of Tom Waits and Amy Winehouse playing in a French café. ‘What Time Is It, Mr. Fox’s’ latest album ‘Little Bit of Blue,’ recently released with two Boston and NYC sold-out CD release parties, includes songs accompanied by circus performers, dancers, and animation by award-winning Harvard filmmaker Ruth Lingford.

 The concert is free. As with all of Meetinghouse Green’s concerts, the audience is encouraged to make free-will donations to Cape Ann Art Haven, a Gloucester community space offering art classes for kids and adults in pottery, photography, mural painting, drawing and more. Bring cash or a checkbook, beach chairs or blankets. Food is provided by Short and Main, a contemporary bistro featuring pizza, oysters, and fried chicken on Thursdays. In case of inclement weather the concert will be held inside the Meetinghouse. Parking is available on Meetinghouse Green, nearby lots, and at St. Peter’s Square.

 Music on Meetinghouse Green’s sponsors include Linzee and Beth Coolidge; J.J. and Jackie Bell; Michael and Mary Bresnan; JoeAnn Hart and Gordon Baird; Harry and Mary Hintlian; Charles Nazarian; Dick and Doris Prouty; Sandra Ronan; Brent and Linda Wilkes; Tom and Kristin Zarrella; and our corporate sponsor Cape Ann Savings Bank.


Eastern Point glimpses

A little Fog and rain make for some pretty glimpses around Eastern Point Blvd.   A single tree in the fog caught my eye while driving through as well as some Loosestrife (I think that is what it’s called!) on the side of the road…like rippling waves of purple.   I’m enjoying this little break from the heat and humidity!  blm_8652-3031-edit-edit-edit


Nancy Dudley Submits May 1983 Photo Of Fred Bodin With His @WeberGrills Go-Anywhere

Northeast BBQ


Hi Joey, I am enjoying your blogs as always and have attached a photo just for fun. It is a very old, moldy and underexposed kodachrome and I am not sending it for a blog post hopeful, just to accompany some info. I don’t know if you knew your old friend of blog Fred B. was nuts about Weber cookers. Around the end of the 1970’s or beginning of the 80’s he had a Smokey Joe and then discovered whatever the rectangular one is- ( sorry, I am not into grills). He referred to it as THE WEBER, all caps bold and italic whenever he spoke of it which was often and to whoever would listen. He would demonstrate not only it’s juicy but grilled cooking features, but his favorite feature the utter GENIUS legs which would fold up to lock on the lid, as well as how it’s shape…

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Nichole’s Picks 8/11 + 8/12

Three big things happening this weekend, never mind all of the other exciting things that you can take advantage of in this beautiful place we get to call home!  Click on the links to read more about Rockport Illuminations, the Block Party, and the Blues Festival.

Pick #1:  Rockport Illuminations

Saturday, August 11th




Pick #2: Gloucester’s Block Party

Saturday, August 11th


Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 1.52.57 PM

Pick #3: Gloucester Blues Festival

Saturday, August 11th


Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 1.50.46 PM

As always, for a comprehensive list of family activities, please visit our friends at North Shore Kid.

Awesome Gloucester and Awesome Rockport Collaborate to Create a Weekend of Awesome Giving!

3rd Pay It Forward Pink Envelope Initiative
Awesome Gloucester and Awesome Rockport Collaborate to Create a Weekend of Awesome Giving!
The Pink Envelope Initiative is coming to Gloucester and Rockport this weekend!
Two years ago, several members of the Awesome Gloucester and Awesome Rockport chapters met to discuss a new way to share with the communities of Rockport and Gloucester ways to be Awesome. In addition to Gloucester’s monthly and Rockport’s quarterly micro-grant competitions which are given away to successful project pitchers, the group conceived this “guerrilla philanthropy” initiative to bring more attention to the Awesome Foundation’s credo: to forward the interest of Awesome in the universe.
The idea is simple: to distribute 123 pink envelopes containing undisclosed amounts of cash across the neighboring communities of Rockport and Gloucester. Together, the two Awesome chapters will give away a total of $2000 in free cash over the course of a single weekend. The dates of distribution are August 11 and August 12.
In addition to the cash, each envelope will contain a brief note requesting that recipients (a) do something awesome with the money and (b) share a story about what they did via email or through social media.
The envelopes will be hidden as well as placed in clear sight all over two communities. It’s the intention that this “pay it forward” initiative will persuade the lucky envelope finders to help spread the interests of Awesome on Cape Ann. Founder of both Awesome chapters Sal Zerilli says: “This will be the third straight year we’ve run this experiment in community philanthropy.  We’ve decided to do it again because the community response the past two years has been awesome.  Trustees from both chapters are excited to see how our fellow community members pay it forward this year.  Like in previous years, we’re hopeful that people will share stories on social media about the awesome things they do with the cash.” 
Since its inception in 2014, Awesome Gloucester has awarded $1000 micro-grants each month.  To date the chapter has funded 66 projects and awarded $66,000 to local initiatives. Awesome Rockport has been awarding quarterly micro-grants since 2015, supporting 13 projects and awarding a total of $13,000. Projects have included the Cape Ann World War 2 Portraits Project and Little River Little Library in Gloucester, and a Buddy Bench at Rockport Elementary School and a solar powered light at Millbrook Meadow in Rockport.
Residents and visitors alike should keep their eyes peeled for these pink envelopes all over Gloucester and Rockport this upcoming weekend!

Summer is in full swing at CAFM!

Cape Ann Community

CAFM logo Don’t miss the Cape Ann Farmers Market!

Thursdays 3:00-6:30 at Stage Fort Park

Soak up the summer with your friends at this week’s market. All the best fruits, veggies, flowers, cheeses, and treats, plus get a locally raised burger, a lovely gift for a friend, or try some local cider!

PLUS support the Cape Ann Farmers Market by becoming a member in August, and we’ll enter you to win a men’s Patagonia rain jacket!

Become a member, check out our vendors, and sign up for our weekly market updates at: capeannfarmersmarket.org


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