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Local News

November 1, 2012

Mushroom expert discovers the big one

BEVERLY — No one knows mushrooms like Dugie Russell.

Russell, a retired court officer who lives on Yale Boulevard in North Beverly, has been picking mushrooms for 45 years.

He’s such an expert that he’s the one the people at the Regional Center for Poison Control & Prevention in Boston call to identify potentially poisonous mushrooms.

He even has an appetizer named after him at the Weathervane Tavern in Hamilton — Dugie’s Wild Mushroom Bisque. The restaurant’s website refers to him as a “local mycology legend.”

So when Dugie tells us he’s just picked the largest mushroom he’s ever picked, that’s news.

The record-setter is a 59-pounder, a huge Hen of the Woods that Russell recently found in Ipswich.

Not wishing to reveal his prime mushroom-picking spots, he won’t say exactly where. But it’s near the same place where he found his previous record-setter, a 52-pounder, three years ago.

“One tree is quite a producer,” he said.

The fantastic fungus has already been cut up and sold off. And the legend of Dugie continues.

Parking predicament

Before you can have more parking, there will be less parking.

Starting Monday, the MBTA will close its parking lot on Pleasant Street to begin construction of a 500-car parking garage on the site.

The city is advising commuters to park in the municipal lots along Cabot Street. Mayor Bill Scanlon said signs will be in place Monday to point out the location of those lots.

Scanlon said the municipal lots are less expensive than the MBTA lot.

Remembering

a good cop

The city’s oldest living former police officer has died.

Pat Piecewicz, who served as a Beverly police officer from 1943 until his retirement in 1982, passed away on Sept. 2 at the age of 95 in Jupiter, Fla., where he lived with his wife, Rose.

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