, Salem, MA

April 17, 2014

39 years of walking for Haiti in Peabody

By John Castelluccio
Staff Writer

---- — PEABODY — The Walk for Haiti in Peabody turns 39 this year on Good Friday. The annual 3.1-mile stroll around the track next to the Torigian Center benefits the poorest of the poor in the Western Hemisphere. The nonprofit agency Faith and Concern Inc. has been working in Haiti since 1976. Proceeds from the walk benefit the agency’s work, including water purification projects, expanding a local hospital, providing medical and educational supplies, and rebuilding homes. Last year, $17,000 that was raised was used to help build a library and a small computer lab. Even if you’re not up for walking yourself tomorrow, you can make a donation pledge. Call Gail Bowlds for more information at 978-535-1431. The walk begins at 9 a.m.

Congressional candidates go to school

Ken McCue’s Advanced Placement government and politics class at Peabody High entertained some special visitors this month when Republican Richard Tisei and Democratic Congressman John Tierney stopped by to talk about campaign issues with students. Tierney, who narrowly defeated Tisei two years ago to keep his seat, visited the class on Monday, while Tisei, a former state senator from Wakefield, stopped by April 2. They discussed a broad range of issues with the students, ranging from healthcare policy to congressional gridlock. Tisei is making another bid for Tierney’s seat this fall, while the Salem Democrat first contends for his party’s nomination with Seth Moulton and Marisa DeFranco.

City politicians want to play ball

City Councilor Tom Gould put his colleagues on notice a few weeks ago about an upcoming contest — “a little friendly challenge — with their fellow politicians over in Salem that he hopes will reignite a rivalry, all in good fun, of course, and the proceeds from admission will go to a charity. Gould said he ran into Salem Councilor Elaine Milo, and while bantering back and forth, they came up with the idea to reconvene a Peabody/Salem softball game, featuring star players Ted Bettencourt and Kim Driscoll with their respective staffs and city councilors rounding out the teams.

“We’re going to have some fun,” Gould said, adding , with a laugh: “We have to make sure we don’t pull any hamstrings.”

He said the game will take place in Saturday, July 12, at Palmer Cover Park in Salem. It will be followed by a barbecue with free ice cream, courtesy of Treadwell’s. Fee is $20 per player, and proceeds go to Salem Pantry.

Councilor and car salesman Mike Garabedian, on his way out of Wiggin Auditorium that night, tossed over his shoulder that he’d contribute, too. “I’ll throw in a Subaru.”

Bettencourt, a standout baseball player, as well as a basketball star in high school and college, admitted it might take a little practice to get his game back, but he recalled that beating Salem was always “great motivation” for him in school. He also remembered that while he was growing up, there was an annual softball contest when the late Peter Torigian was mayor.

Checking out careers

Scores of Peabody High sophomores flocked through the field house at the school last Friday to check out some future professions with local employers. The annual event is sponsored by the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce and the Peabody Education Foundation and features more than 50 booths, with everyone from state lawmakers and various city and school departments to Peabody restaurants, firms and even a couple media companies, including yours truly.

It’s a telling sign of the digital age when students recognize their local daily newspaper as something their grandmothers read. But there is hope: A few students expressed genuine enthusiasm and even thought it was “cool” once they learned what a reporter’s job is like day to day. The booth that usually attracts the largest crowd, of course, is the Peabody Police Department. They let students try out the hardware and “cool” equipment.

COA looking for volunteers

The Peabody Council on Aging is in need of volunteers to visit with homebound seniors. The commitment is to stop in at least once a week and make a few phone calls each week. If you’d like to volunteer or know a senior who could benefit from the program, call Sandy Flaherty at 978-531-2254, ext. 119, or email

You can reach John Castelluccio at 978-338-2527, or via Twitter at @SNjcastelluccio.