, Salem, MA

October 9, 2013

Vote puts new middle school 'on the train'


---- — BEVERLY — In case you missed it, the Massachusetts School Building Authority board voted Briscoe Middle School into its “eligibility period” last week, meaning the city is close to getting state funding for a new middle school.

The city scooped the MSBA by holding a press conference announcing the vote before it actually happened, but it’s big news nevertheless.

“Now we’re on the train,” Mayor Bill Scanlon said. “It’s the single most important step in the process.”

The city must complete various requirements over the next nine months, including a City Council vote to pay for a feasibility study and the formation of a local building committee.

The new school would be built at the site of the former Memorial Middle School, with a September 2017 targeted opening date.

Waterfall at Cummings

Cummings Center has gotten another spruce-up with the addition of a second waterfall fountain, as well as a healing garden.

The stone fountain, located near the Balch Street entrance, is 14 feet tall and nearly 50 feet wide. The healing garden, which includes bench seating and shade trees, overlooks the Upper Shoe Pond.

The walls for both the waterfall and the garden were constructed using granite stones recycled from Cummings Properties’ campus at 50 Dunham Road, according to the company.

Celebrating 300 years

The Second Congregational Church is making a pretty big deal out of its upcoming anniversary — and at 300 years, who can blame them?

The church on Conant Street in North Beverly is actually holding a three-year celebration, marking major milestones in its history from 1713, 1714 and 1715.

The first event is Oct. 26, with a gala dinner and concert at the church. The concert will feature the 17-piece Cape Ann Big Band and Jazz Ensemble.

For tickets and information, go to or call the church office at 978-922-5722.

Remembering lost Marines

The upcoming rededication of the Massachusetts Beirut Memorial in Boston has a Beverly connection.

The memorial, in Christopher Columbus Park in Boston’s North End, honors the nine Marines from Massachusetts who were among those killed in the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, on Oct. 23, 1983.

One of those Marines was Beverly native Capt. Michael Haskell. Haskell was born in Beverly in 1950 and attended elementary school and played Little League here until his family moved to Westborough, according to the Massachusetts Beirut Memorial Fund.

Haskell was survived by his wife and two young children. The memorial will be rededicated on Sunday, Oct. 20, at 1 p.m.

Organizers are also raising money to restore the memorial. Donations can be sent to Massachusetts Beirut Memorial Fund, c/o Dedham Savings, 55 Elm St., Dedham, MA, 02026.

Climate speaker

Former British prime minister Tony Blair wasn’t the only bigwig at last month’s Climate Week NYC 2013.

Gordon College biology professor Dorothy Boorse, who lives in Beverly, was invited to speak because of her work on a National Association of Evangelicals report that addressed the economic implications of climate change.

Tying the knot

The name Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. is one of the most famous ever in Beverly, so we think it’s worth mentioning that one of his descendants was recently married.

Henry Cabot Lodge IV, Lodge Jr.’s great-grandson, married Jane Chapman of Greenwich, Conn., last month in New York, according to The New York Times.

Lodge Jr. was a Massachusetts senator, an ambassador to the United Nations, South Vietnam and West Germany, and the running mate of Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election. He lived on Hale Street in Beverly until his death in 1985. Henry Cabot Lodge III, Lodge IV’s father, lives in Beverly.

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