, Salem, MA

March 22, 2013

Heard Around Town: Honoring our local heroes


---- — SALEM — And now to honor our best and brightest for all the good work they do.

Ken Rothwell was saluted yesterday as one of the American Red Cross’ community heroes.

You know Ken.

He used to own Taste of Thyme restaurant and now has Ken’s Kickin’ Chicken on North Street, which sells about a billion pot pies a week. He is to chicken pot pies what Tom Brady is to the Patriots.

He also is a guy with a huge heart who gives to just about anybody and everybody who asks.

Over at the JFK Library in Boston, Rob Maier of Salem was honored at “Turning the Page,” a celebration of the future of libraries.

Maier recently retired as director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the culmination of a career that spanned more than 40 years.

“It is not an overstatement to say that Rob has been a part of every significant library innovation and advancement that has led us to the way we operate today,” MBLC Chairman Frank Murphy said.

High praise.

On Sunday, a modern Salem legend, retired Judge Thaddeus Buczko, will be honored at the annual Kosciuszko Foundation luncheon at Mount Holyoke College.

He is their Distinguished Polish American for 2013.

Buczko, 87, is a former Salem city councilor, state representative, state auditor and presiding justice of the Essex County Probate & Family Court. For decades, he was the leading Polish-American political figure in the state. Maybe he still is.

Did we mention that the good judge was a friend of both President John F. Kennedy and Pope John Paul II?

Mr. Mayor

A lot of work has gone into Sunday’s tribute at the Moose lodge for former Mayor Jean Levesque.

The guest list includes Mayor Kim Driscoll, three former Salem mayors, Congressman John Tierney and others.

Rosemary O’Connor, the pride of Mack Park, is organizing the celebration with help from Andy and Cheryl LaPointe, Teasie Riley-Goggin, Ellen Talkowsky, Tina Cook, Franny Grace and City Council President Jerry Ryan.

It’s from 1-3 p.m., and the public is invited.

Fun film facts

The Salem Film Fest was a huge success.

Attendance soared to 5,599, which was 1,000 more people than last year. Almost two-thirds of the films sold out, with “West of Memphis,” the film about new Salem resident Damien Echols’ struggle to escape death row, selling the most tickets.

The Audience Award went to “The Ghost Army,” a terrific documentary about a secret U.S. Army force that used inflatable tanks and other tricks to fool the enemy in World War II.

The Jury Award was presented to “Women With Cows,” a mooving film — sorry — about two aging and ailing sisters carrying for their beloved bovines.

Book about baking

Andy and Jackie King of A&J King Artisan Bakers have written a book.

“Baking by Hand: Make the Best Artisanal Breads and Pastries Better Without a Mixer” is a paperback coming out in August. It will feature their best 100 recipes.

Letters from the heart

Collins Middle School received a couple of interesting letters this winter.

One was from the parent of an elementary school student in Japan thanking Collins students for sending origami cranes and other items to encourage the Japanese students following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

More recently, a counselor at Newtown Middle School in Connecticut wrote to thank the Salem students for the “compassionate letters” they wrote after the Sandy Hook tragedy.

“I keep the letters at my desk ...” counselor Susan Connelly wrote.

Lack of ladies

Now that Joan Lovely has escaped to higher ground in Boston, the City Council is an all-male bastion of testosterone.

For the first time in her tenure, Mayor Driscoll wrote a letter to the 11-member council that was addressed, “Gentlemen of the Council.”

11 guys, 0 women. Can’t be a good thing.

Ah, for the days of Sally Hayes, Regina Flynn, Laura (DeToma) Swanson, Claudia Chuber and Lucy Corchado.

Tom Dalton can be reached at