BY TOM DALTON
---- — SALEM — Police Chief Paul Tucker is letting his officers grow beards.
It’s hair-raising news for the clean-shaven department. There’s lot of speculation about what prompted Grizzly Tucker to make the move — the “Duck Dynasty” craze, an homage to the Red Sox, or maybe Lt. Rip Van Walker put something in the eggnog at the annual Christmas party?
Whatever the reason, the chief has given his men permission to turn their 5 o’clock shadows into 10-day growths.
In his defense, Vandyke Tucker isn’t committing total “hairesy.” The men can grow beards only until Feb. 1. Muttonchop mania is all for a good cause: to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club.
David Goldman is one of many outsiders who have fallen in love with the city.
Goldman is one of the principals of New Boston Ventures, the Boston developers who did the Salem Jail redevelopment.
Now, he is eyeing the empty courthouses on Federal Street, which the state plans to turn over to the city to be developed.
While making no commitments, Goldman could not conceal his interest in the historic properties. Asked if he is eyeing the old Superior Court building and the adjoining county building, Goldman said: “We’re going to look at those real seriously.”
Oops ... wrong again
Ken Sawicki, the Harold Stassen of Salem politics, pointed out a possible error in a recent story. Can you imagine that — an error in the North Shore’s paper of record?
We were sure he was wrong but decided to check just the same.
The anonymous author of that story — OK, it was me — reported that Horace Mann School (1912) is the oldest district school building in the city. That is a fascinating tidbit; unfortunately, it is a tad incorrect.
Collins Middle School — or at least a section of it — is older. A secret source we have at the school — let’s just call her Mary — told us construction began in 1907 and was completed in 1909.
So, there you have it. A reader is right, and we are wrong.
Not the first time.
It’s not too late to buy the holiday CD from the Plummer Home for Boys. Supporting this safe haven for at-risk boys should be a holiday tradition.
This is a production by the music program at the Plummer Home. There are Christmas songs and also original creations inspired by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and from the boys’ own lives.
“What these kids bring to the table is pure, unconditioned, uncontrived, open-minded potential and spirit,” said Aaron Katz, director of the music program.
The CDs are only $5 and benefit the music program. To get a copy, call the Plummer Home at 978-744-1099 , ext. 103, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Window on holidays
More than 35 businesses took part in the holiday window contest sponsored by Salem Main Streets.
Winners included Witch City Consignment, 301 Essex St. (most traditional); Flying Saucer Pizza, 118 Washington St. (most original); the Pig Next Door, 142 Derby St. (most whimsical); and Remember Salem, 127 Essex St. (X-Factor award).
Looking at the police
Yes, that was our own Neil Chayet who visited the Salem Police Department the other day to talk about cops and robbers.
The voice behind the “Looking at the Law” radio show was the special guest at the annual gathering of patrolmen, who come together once a year to bid for shifts. We are told Chayet, a Salem Common resident, had the rapt attention of 65 officers while he chronicled the history of his program and brought them up to date on police law.
“It was very well-received,” said Chief Paul Tucker.
Karin Martin of Marblehead read the news about the Salem Diner reopening and decided to send us a photo of a thermometer the diner handed out in 1951.
“I just picked this up at a yard sale,” she said of the souvenir from the historic diner that was recently acquired by Salem State University.
She has collected a few old calendars and thermometers over the years, including one from the former Mill Hill Beverage Co.
The diner, by the way, reopens next month. And the thermometer, she said, still works.
Don’t look now, but Thermal Circuits, a company on Technology Way, is positioning itself for a future expansion.
Although the move could be a few years away, Thermal Circuits has purchased more than 12 acres of adjoining land in the likely event it needs to grow.
The company, which has 100 employees, makes electric heating elements for the health, printing, automotive and food industries.
John Treggiari of Salem had his 15 minutes of fame.
He was a finalist in the “Win Howie’s Jag!” contest sponsored by radio personality Howie Carr and WRKO AM 680.
Although Treggiari didn’t win the 2013 Jaguar XF from Jaguar Exeter, he did win two nights at The Old Harbor Inn in Chatham on Cape Cod and a $50 gift card to The Green’s Grill Pub at Woburn Country Club, which hosted the live broadcast last week.
Gillian Ice won Ohio University’s first Faculty Award for Excellence in Global Engagement.
Know why we’re sharing that news? She is the daughter of carpenter Kathy Harper, vice chairwoman of the Historical Commission, and the stepdaughter of Frank Kulik, former director of the assessors’ office and general gadfly about town.
Ice, an associate professor of social medicine, heads the university’s Global Health Initiative. Over the past few years, she has helped establish global health study-abroad programs in Kenya and Botswana and led other initiatives.
Lunch with Al
A big gang headed over to Brooksby Village on Monday to have lunch with living legend Al Needham.
Needham was the longtime voice of WESX radio. His morning news broadcast was a must listen for North Shore residents. Al had the breaking police and fire news before anybody else. Al was on the air so early, they used to joke that women on the North Shore often heard Al’s voice before their own husband’s.
Among those in the lunch crowd were several Salem police officers who have remained lifelong friends — Chief Paul Tucker, captains Rodney Comeau and Brian Gilligan, and Animal Control Officer Don Famico.
Casey on the way
Casey Levesque of Salem, a Red Cross volunteer, has headed to Maine to help the thousands of people without power.
Levesque will work in a Red Cross shelter assisting people displaced by power outages from the ice storm. The Red Cross has opened five shelters in Maine this week.
The Christmas-week storm caused damage and power outages from Michigan to Maine.
Tom Dalton can be reached at email@example.com.