SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 7, 2014

Heard Around Town: Salem power plant lost a dear friend

BY TOM DALTON
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — With all that has happened at the Salem power plant, one story has gone untold.

Mick Beaudette died Feb. 10.

The affable, intelligent, straight-shooting Beaudette was the station director — the guy in charge at the power plant. He began his career in Salem decades ago and was back here at age 72 overseeing the final days of Salem Harbor Station.

He not only ran the plant, but made sure everything was safe and secure on the weekend of Feb. 8-9, when environmental groups staged a Saturday protest march and rally at the plant gate. On Sunday, he was on the phone with Footprint officials, as he was every day, briefing them on the latest developments and providing sought-after advice from his many years of experience.

He died the next day.

His death was a sudden, unexpected and great loss for his family and friends — but also for the Salem plant.

“He had a history with this plant, and also with the people, that you can’t replace,” said Scott Silverstein, the president of Footprint Power, the plant owners.

Among many duties, Beaudette was the guy who made sure employees were getting job training and assistance before the approaching May 31 closing.

A bus took workers from Salem to Swansea for his funeral. Others came from power plants and energy companies around the region.

“When you looked around the room,” Silverstein said, “you saw how many lives he touched.”

Healthy cause

The sign on the weight room wall at Salem High says “Salem Pride.”

The room is anything but.

The free weights are rusted. There are gaping holes in the benches of some of the weight machines. Some cardiovascular equipment is so old it is unusable.

The good news is that students in an advanced health class taught by Lisa Mansfield and Melissa St. Pierre want to change all that. They are raising funds to equip a new wellness/workout center in that same large space next to the fieldhouse that could be used by athletes and nonathletes, as well as staff.

“We want to make it available to the whole school,” said Austin Connolly, a senior who is leading the effort with Glen Gard, Desjardin Baez and Alejandro Rubero.

As part of fundraising efforts, they have organized the “Witches Run,” a Salem High Wellness Center 5K road race around school grounds on March 30.

To support this effort, go to www.gofundme.com/shswellnesscenter.

Kid Keenan

State Rep. John Keenan received a “2014 Champion of Youth” award from the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs at a legislative luncheon this week at the Statehouse.

Keenan was cited for his strong support of the organization and for sponsoring a bill to protect children from sexual abuse.

A large contingent from the Salem Boys & Girls Club attended, including Executive Director Joanne Scott and police Chief Paul Tucker, a member of the club’s board of directors.

One man’s trash

Instead of tossing out old electrical equipment from Salem Harbor Station, the soon-to-be-shuttered power plant is donating it to the Essex Agricultural and Technical High School and North Shore Technical High School.

The training packages — electrical, mechanical and HVAC — are valued at more than $10,000 and were used at the power plant’s on-site training center.

Students from the school came and got the equipment last week and transported it on a truck donated by Beacon Electric of Peabody.

On a local level, the operation was coordinated by Malia Griffin, director of community affairs at the plant, and Building Inspector Tom St. Pierre, a board member at North Shore Voke.

Home to all

Salem got a lot of media coverage this week when Mayor Kim Driscoll signed a nondiscrimination ordinance that had been passed by the City Council.

“Salem is a city that welcomes all people who visit, live and work in our community — no matter who they are, where they are from, or who they are perceived to be,” Driscoll said in a statement. “There are no second-class citizens in Salem. We not only embrace diversity, we champion it...”

With this ordinance, Salem became the fifth community in the state and first on the North Shore to extend public accommodations protections to the transgender community. The others are Boston, Cambridge, Northampton and Amherst.

Crime of the cemetery

A grave — as in serious — crime has been solved.

The Harmony Grove Cemetery pickup truck, with cemetery insignia on the side and a vanity license plate, that was stolen over the weekend has been recovered.

What could that robber have been thinking? Just park it in the driveway and hope nobody notices?

It was found Monday — one day after the theft.

Missing, however, was the plow on the front of the vehicle. There was speculation the plow was the real target since the truck was stolen with a threatened storm approaching that never materialized.

The truck was discovered in an industrial park off Pulaski Street in Peabody. The guys from a Maaco collision shop arrived for work and were startled to see a cemetery vehicle waiting to greet them.

Going, going...

Boston Hot Dog, a restaurant like no other in this city, has closed.

It shut its doors a few weeks ago after a 10-year-run in Salem.

The joint had a counter but no tables and chairs. It did well for years, but may have been hurt by the closing of District Court, home to criminals and crime-busters, all hot dog lovers.

Boston Hot Dog will forever be remembered for its contribution to local culture: the Halloweenie.

Tom Dalton can be reached at tdalton@salemnews.com.