SALEM — If nothing else, you have to give Brendan Walsh credit for keeping his sense of humor during Monday night’s debate on an emotional topic: ending the popular extended-year program at Saltonstall School.
It was Walsh, of course, who started the whole thing by proposing that all public schools observe a 180-day schedule. That was an indirect way of trying to kill the extra 10 days at Saltonstall.
His motion eventually lost by a 4-3 vote.
There was no yelling or hand-wringing during the lengthy discussion, but the emotion was evident. Mayor Kim Driscoll had trouble concealing her — how shall we put this? — mild annoyance at Walsh for bringing the matter to a vote before a summer school alternative had been brought forward that may prove a satisfactory replacement for Saltonstall’s summer session.
Unable to conceal her feeling that Monday night’s emotional meeting may have been unnecessary or premature, the mayor tossed a gratuitous comment in Walsh’s direction.
“There was a strong desire to have this showdown at the O.K. Corral,” she said at one point.
Toward the end of the discussion, when Walsh was — how shall we put this? — mildly irked at something or other, the veteran school board member returned to those bloody days in Tombstone, Ariz.
“One of the Clanton brothers isn’t all that happy ...” he said.
Then, possibly for the benefit of an audience of young Saltonstall parents and a youthful mayor, he added: “The Clanton brothers lost at the O.K. Corral.”
Walsh, one of the notorious Walsh brothers, forgot to mention that the Clantons lost that legendary 1881 showdown to a worthy opponent: the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday.
Speaking of the wild west, police Lt. Jim Walker, who rides herd on the superior officers, has a family connection to the Frozen Four, the NCAA hockey championships being played in Pittsburgh.
We are told by reliable sources — or as reliable as our police sources are — that he is the uncle of Riley Wetmore, senior captain of the UMass-Lowell team.
The “Sensational India” celebration at the Peabody Essex Museum really was sensational this year.
Among the guests Sunday was Her Excellency Nirupama Rao, India’s ambassador to the United States.
She toured the latest exhibit, “Midnight to the Boom: Painting in India After Independence,” took in a lecture and attended a private reception where Indian food was served.
If she had more time, we are told, she would have high-tailed it down to A Passage to India, everyone’s favorite Indian restaurant.
The Salem Republican City Committee, an endangered species showing surprising signs of life, meets Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Hawthorne Hotel.
Representatives of the three Republican candidates for U.S. Senate are scheduled to attend along with Sean O’Brien, a candidate for Salem City Council.
The House of the Seven Gables kicks off a lecture series Wednesday with a talk by Jim McAllister, Salem’s ubiquitous historian.
Let’s see, he spoke at the power plant meeting, at the annual meeting of The Salem Partnership and now at the Gables. Get the guy some hot tea and a throat lozenge.
It’s time to submit your nominations for the Margaret Voss Howard Teacher Recognition Award, which provides a $500 prize to a Salem teacher and a Marblehead teacher.
If that seems like a strange combination of communities, it’s because Voss Howard worked in the Marblehead schools and served on the Salem School Committee. Although Salem and Marblehead are sometimes cast as the Hatfields and McCoys, the Voss Howard award is a nice bridge builder.
Anyway, send your letters detailing the contributions of a Salem or Marblehead teacher to Teacher Award, 80 Leach St., Salem, MA 01970. Teachers, administrators, other school employees, parents, students and citizens may make nominations.
Nominations are due by April 15.
They opened the time capsule from St. Joseph Church on Sunday.
Wondering what was inside?
No, it wasn’t the 15-foot-tall statue of St. Joseph.
There was a copy of the Salem Evening News, of course. The big story on May 10, 1949, was about the USS Salem going through its sea tests.
There also was a copy of a French-language newspaper, the Courier de Salem, along with a registry of parishioners of the former French-Canadian parish, a city proclamation, a list of city officials (Joe Harrington was mayor) and some religious medals.
“It was a great day,” said the Rev. John Sheridan.
They also had a great crowd — as many as 400, we are told.
Angie fever has come over the bridge. Alert the Board of Health.
A sign spotted on Hawthorne Boulevard — “Salem Loves Angie Miller.”
Angie, of course, is Beverly’s “American Idol” finalist.
The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem announced its three finalists for “Youth of the Year.” They are, in no particular order, Coral Luna-Gil, Anibelys Flores and Danasha Jones.
The winner gets to compete for the state title and a $1,000 college scholarship from Tupperware Brands Corp.
The local winner is expected to be announced next week.
Gold Star send-off
Christina Ayube and her daughter, Ashleigh, departed yesterday for a 13-day cruise of French waterways.
They were among nearly a dozen local veterans and Gold Star family members treated to the vacation by Boston-based Vantage Deluxe World Travel.
Sgt. James Ayube II, their son and brother, was killed by a suicide bomb in Afghanistan in 2010. The city’s bypass road along the North River was named in his memory.
Taste of Thyme Cafe is now Medusa’s Cafe.
The Washington Street restaurant Ken Rothwell opened more than a decade ago to much fanfare has changed hands over the years. The new owners told the Licensing Board they plan to keep serving the same good food at breakfast and lunch.
Mayor vs. mayor
Two of America’s great mayors met last weekend.
No, not Tom Menino and Michael Bloomberg.
We’re talking Cory Booker and Kim Driscoll.
The famous, or pretty famous, mayor of Newark, N.J., was the speaker Sunday at the kickoff of the Salem State Series in the newly refurbished Lynn Auditorium. Driscoll was there as a meeter and greeter.
The two not only have the corner office in common, they are both former basketball stars. Driscoll, as everyone knows, played at Salem State, while Booker once played on a national championship basketball team.
Yup, he played for Oxford when they beat Cambridge in the British national championship, something he has actually mentioned in public.
It’s not our place to offer advice, but if Booker has presidential aspirations, as many say he does, he might want to keep that to himself in the future.
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.