, Salem, MA

November 1, 2012

Mushroom expert discovers the big one

The Salem News

---- — 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.


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.

“One of his jobs as a sergeant in the last 10 to 15 years of his service was buying supplies for the department,” said Bill Terry, the retired police chief. “You couldn’t get anything by him. He paid attention to everything.”

Hannable served city

Speaking of solid citizens, the city lost another one in Don Hannable, who died on Friday at age 77.

Hannable served on the School Committee for 18 years, was a longtime coach in Beverly Little League and headed up the Beverly Scholarship Foundation.

Even in the last few years, when his health wasn’t the best, Hannable made the effort to go to City Hall and speak up during the public hearing on the budget.


Now we know what former City Councilor Bill Coughlin has been doing with his time.

Coughlin shot an 81 at Beverly Golf & Tennis Club last week, the second year in a row he has shot his age.

As if that weren’t enough, he and his playing partners, George Jacobson, Peter Caputo and Mike Shea all birdied the 15th hole.

Not so fast, Walgreens

If the soon-to-be-built Walgreens in North Beverly wants to be open around-the-clock, it’s going to need the Planning Board’s approval.

When the board OK’d the store in July, it limited its hours of operation to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., with the stipulation that Walgreens could ask permission to expand the hours in two years.

But Walgreens went back before the board this month, asking to be able to switch to 24/7 in two years without permission.

The board rejected that request, meaning the retail giant will still need the board’s approval.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or