The chat part where you can write in questions while we’re taping is at WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/JOEYGMG

Join the chat, we have lots of fun!


Melded to the grass as he was, in monochromatic winter pasture shades of taupe, buff, and gray, it was nearly impossible to spot the impostor posing in the dry stalks and twigs. But there he was, a small mound resting along the thicket edge. You can just barely see him in the photo below.

He sat up for a brief moment and even from a great distance his wide-eyed, and only seconds long, golden-eyed look was unmissable.

I’ve read the Short-eared Owl flight described as erratic, but I would call it anything but that. They swoop gracefully over fields in multi-directions, with great intention, listening for the sound of voles, moles, mice and other small mammals scurrying through the tall winter grass and phragmites. Flying low while hunting, their wingbeats are smooth and steady.

The Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)  is called as such because of the little tufts of display feathers atop its head, which aren’t really ears at all. The Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) is a cousin of the Short-eared and it has longer feather tufts. Owls have a highly developed hearing system and their ears are actually located at the sides of their heads, behind the eyes, and are covered by the feathers of the facial disc.

Unlike many species of owls, which prefer forest and woodland, the Short-eared Owls is a bird of open country. They require fields, grasslands, marshes, bogs, heaths, and dunes. Shorties are crepuscular, which means they mostly feed at dawn and dusk.

Short-eared Owls are found the world over on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Sadly, in Massachusetts, breeding pairs have been driven to the brink of extirpation. There may still be one or two pairs that breed at Nantucket’s Tuckernuck Island but, because of loss of habitat, the Short-eared Owl was listed as endangered in Massachusetts in 1985.

Listen for the Short-eared Owls wing “clapping” in the video below, and some adorable chicks, too 🙂

From Cornell: “Hawaii’s only native owl, the Pueo (Asio flammeus sandwichensis), is a Short-eared Owl subspecies found on all the chain’s major islands. Pueos may have descended from Alaska forebears, taking hold in the islands after the first arriving Polynesians brought owl food in the form of the Pacific rat.”
Short-eared Owl Range Map

Do yourself a favor and get the damn flu shot!

Kate has been struggling with brutal pain and chills for two days now.  It may or may not have been able to have been avoided if she got her flu shot.  Credible studies show that having the flu shot will greatly reduce your chances of getting the flu.

This is reportedly one of the worst flu seasons we’ve had in a while.

It took me all of ten minutes for me to get one today at Walgreens downtown.  It cost me a grand total of zero dollars.  I should have got it back in October but I blew it off.

Maybe it’s too late for me.  Maybe it will help if I do get the flu to shorten it.

One thing I do know is after looking at how miserable Kate is and how much suffering she’s going through, it reinforces how dumb it is to not take the ten minutes out of one’s day to get whatever help you can get in avoiding or minimizing the risks associated with it.

Go get it done.

Cost=Zero.  Potential to save a week or more of miserable physical conditions= priceless.



This past weekend’s glorious and record breaking mid-January 70-degree-plus weather encouraged everyone to get out doors and it was wonderful to see. On both Saturday and Sunday there was a line to get into Parker River Wildlife Refuge. Many were enjoying the beaches and hiking the trails while quite a few were there to see the Snowy Owls and Short-eared Owls.

There are currently two Snowy Owls and several Short-eared Owls at Parker River. Folks are asking where the owls can be found specifically. I can only share where I have seen them and that covers almost the entire refuge, from parking lot no.1 (where the gates are) all the way down to parking lot no. 6. The photographers and birders out shooting at the refuge are super helpful and if you see a bunch, park  your car (intelligently please, so that you are not blocking traffic) and ask. Many of the birders will also share a look through their scopes.

Joseph Fitzgerald Promoted to Assistant Police Chief

Joseph Fitzgerald Promoted to Assistant Police Chief


GLOUCESTER, Mass. (January 13, 2020) – Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken announced today the promotion of Joseph Fitzgerald to the position of Assistant Police Chief in the Gloucester Police Department.  He most recently served as the Operations Lieutenant since 2018 overseeing the day to day activities of the department.   


Fitzgerald was sworn in as Assistant Chief this morning by Assistant City Clerk Grace E. Poirier A ceremonial City Council swearing in ceremony will be scheduled in the near future.  


Mayor Romeo Theken said, “I have complete confidence that Assistant Chief Fitzgerald will excel in this new role.  He is well-known, well-respected, trusted and gives the department the internal continuity needed to keep moving in a positive direction.  I look forward to working together with Chief Conley and Assistant Chief Fitzgerald to advance the City’s agenda to provide exceptional and transparent public safety services.”


After nearly a year on the job, Police Chief Ed Conley began recruitment for this important leadership position.  The Assistant Police Chief will assist the Chief of Police with the overall planning, administration and operation of the police departmentto comply with federal, state and local laws.  He will also spearhead GPD’s integrity control processes, oversee all formal internal affairs investigations and supervise the departments’ accreditation process.  


Fitzgerald, the most senior Lieutenant on the force, applied for the position.  All other Gloucester Police Department Lieutenants supported his application and recommended his appointment.


Fitzgerald said, “I look forward to working alongside Chief Conley on department initiatives while ensuring our rank and file officers have the resources, direction and support they need.  I am grateful for this opportunity to continue the work I love in my hometown community.  I take this responsibility very seriously and look forward to the work ahead.”


The Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission certification process is long and rigorous involving both an internal self-review and an external assessment by the commission’s team of experts.  The process is a self-initiated evaluation considered to be the best measure for a police department to compare itself against the established best practicesaround the country and the region.  Chief Conley oversaw the accreditation process while in Manchester-by-the-Sea.  


Police Chief Conley said, “On behalf of the entire department I extend my congratulations to Joe Fitzgerald.  His professional experience and rise through the ranks of the department will serve the City well.  He has been instrumental in my transition to the department and has become a trusted deputy who shares the same values and approach to problem solving as I do.  I am excited for the future and direction of the department with Joe as my Assistant Chief. “


Fitzgerald, a Gloucester native, is a nearly 30-year law enforcement veteran.  He was first hired by the City of Gloucester as a Reserve Police Officer in 1993.  Since that time he has served through the department’s ranks.  Prior to his career in Gloucester he worked as a Correctional Officer for the Essex County Sheriff’s Department and as a Police Officer for the Town of Rowley


This position falls outside of civil service.  As a result, Fitzgerald signed a three year employment contract which commenced on January 1.  That agreement, like other similar employment contracts, may be extended for two (2) additional one (1) year periods.  


He is a graduate of Gloucester High School and holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Western New England University.  


This promotion is one of several recent announcements coming out of the Police Department.   During her inaugural address Mayor Romeo Theken announced the formation of a new Community Impact Unit that will expand the department’s efforts around addiction, homelessness, mental health and community engagement.  To support that work a new position, Community Health Navigator, was created.  Tito Rodriquez has been hired to fill that role and will act as an outreach agent to link substance abuse patients with health care providers, financial assistance and transportation. 

Cape Ann Symphony Continues Second Season of Popular Musicians Unleashed Concert Series

Cape Ann Symphony Continues Second Season ofPopular Musicians Unleashed Concert Series

A Series of Concerts in Intimate Settings



Cape Ann Symphony continues the Musicians Unleashed Concert Series at 2:00 pm on January 19, 2020 with a fascinating musical tour of Hidden Treasures at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1123 Washington Street, Gloucester, MA. After anoverwhelmingly enthusiastic audience response to the 2019 debut of  MusiciansUnleashed, a series of musical events featuring Cape Ann Symphony musicians in a variety of intimate settings, CAS is continuing the series in 2020. The nextMusicians Unleashed Concert features an opportunity to hear hidden musicaltreasures performed by a small group of CAS musicians including the orchestra’snew Concertmaster David Rubin, violin; Johnny Mok, cello; Tianhong Yang, piano; and  Earl Powers and Ryan Fossier, horns. Complimentary freshly baked nisu bread and hot coffee will be available for all attendees at a post-concert reception.

According to CAS President Fran White. “We are thrilled to continue the MusiciansUnleashed Concerts after last season’s highly successful launch of the series! This is something very different for the CAS and we found that  audiences just loved the variety of interesting venues, many of which do not host music events on a regular basis, and the opportunity to see CAS musicians play in small groups.”

The Hidden Treasures concert program includes:

BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in E-flat Major, op. 1 with Concertmaster David Rubin, violin, Johnny Mok, cello and Tianhong Yang, piano

TELEMANN Concert in D for 2 Horns, with Earl Powers and Ryan Fossier, horns

PIAZZOLLA Le Grand Tango, for cello & piano, with Johnny Mok, cello and Tianhong Yang, piano

Ticket prices for each concert in the Musicians Unleashed Series:  $35 for adults and $15 for Youth.

 Call CAS at 978-281-0543 or go to for tickets.

The next Musicians Unleashed Concert is: FLOWERS IN THE RAIN
Sunday, April 26, 2020, 2:00 PM at Gloucester’s  Unitarian Universalist Church –


JAN 18 Deeper Than The Skin @ Old Sloop Coffeehouse Saturday at 7:30 PM – 10 PM


The next Old Sloop Coffeehouse concert will be Saturday, January 18, the Saturday of Martin Luther King weekend.  The show is Deeper Than The Skin, a conversation about race in story and song, and it features two Old Sloop Coffeehouse veterans, Reggie Harris and Greg Greenway.

Here is a video of Reggie and Greg performing a song from Deeper Than The Skin, Reggie’s song Hickory Hill.


On the Way to Maine on Amtrak

We decided to take advantage of the $15 (one way) Amtrak Downeaster rates for January and are on our way to Freeport today. After a little confusion over parking, we easily navigated the Woburn station for the 9:23 departure. Availability of Dunkin’ Donuts was a plus.

We are currently on board. I am having a coffee in the lounge. There’s WiFi, electrical outlets, reclining seats, tray tables for our comfort on the 2.5 hour ride north.

Cape Ann Symphony Holds Annual Meeting

Cape Ann Symphony Orchestra, Inc.

Notice of Annual Meeting

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at 8:00 pm.

Gloucester House Restaurant

63 Rogers Street, Gloucester, MA



The Annual Meeting of the Cape Ann Symphony Orchestra, Inc. will be held at the Gloucester House Restaurant, 63 Rogers Street, Gloucester, MA, on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, at 8:00pm. The purpose of this meeting is to hear reports of the past year’s activity by the Music Director, President, Treasurer, Manager and Board Officers. The meeting is also convened to elect Directors and Officers for the period from January 24, 2020 through January 22, 2021. The meeting will be preceded by a cocktail reception at 6:30pm (cash bar) and buffet dinner ($45/per person) at 7:00 pm. It is not necessary to attend the reception in order to attend the Annual Meeting. For tickets or further information please contact Cape Ann Symphony via phone: 978-281-0543 or


CATA Student Bus Passes are scheduled to be sold Wednesday, January 29, , Thursday, January 30 and Friday, January 31 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the Gloucester High School Atrium. The Pass Plus and the Unlimited Spring Semester Photo Pass will be on sale at that time. The Pass Plus is $25 and the Unlimited Spring Semester Pass is $100. All Passes are payable by cash or check.. No passes will be sold at the CATA office on these dates.
For further information call the CATOC office at 978-283-7278.