SALEM — The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has people around the world hoping, searching and praying for a solution.
On Sunday, the Salem witches will give it a shot.
The Temple of Nine Wells, a local Wiccan and pagan group, will conduct an "ocean blessing and healing" ceremony at 11:30 a.m. at Waikiki Beach on Winter Island. Many of the city's Wiccan high priests and high priestesses are hoping to raise local awareness about the present state of the oceans and send out "magickal healing energy."
"As we are all now aware, the world's oceans are presently in great peril," Marc Delaney, public relations director for the Temple of Nine Wells, said in a statement. "Drilling rig accidents and tanker disasters dump vast quantities of toxic crude oil into the sea, jeopardizing fish, birds, marine mammals and polluting shorelines ..."
The noontime ocean blessing will be followed by an afternoon of family activities. At 4:30 p.m., the temple will hold its annual midsummer magick circle.
The ocean blessing is free and open to the public. A $10 donation is requested for the activities that follow.
An animal group in California rescued 100 dogs that were scheduled to be euthanized and airlifted them to shelters around the country, including the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem.
"Project: Flying Chihuahuas" sent 10 dogs to Salem.
The shelter sent a van to pick them up early Tuesday morning at Logan Airport only to discover they were never put on the plane. So the shelter workers went back Wednesday and collected them.
The Chihuahuas — actually Chihuahua mixes — will be available for adoption beginning late today.
"They're really cute dogs," shelter worker Laurie McCannon said.
Salem High seniors weren't the only ones to don a cap and gown recently.
Assistant Superintendent Alyce Davis was in the commencement at Nova Southeastern University in Florida last weekend.
Davis, 56, earned her doctorate in educational leadership in December through a distance-learning program at the college.
She traveled there last weekend with her husband, Jack, who retired from the Danvers schools last year, to participate in the ceremony.
"Attending the graduation in June was a formality that I engaged in for myself and for my husband — after three years of study and research," Davis said. "It was a wonderful experience, both the study and the commencement!"
The ever-studious Davis has worked in the Salem schools for 10 years, first as principal of Witchcraft Heights Elementary School. She is set to retire this summer.
Davis was born and raised in Salem and graduated from Salem High School. She is the sister of Stanley Usovicz, the former mayor.
The good writer
Hannah Tinti, the Salem native who wrote the critically acclaimed "The Good Thief," received quite a tribute from a neighbor.
Lynn Classical High School selected the novel as its summer-reading book. Tinti went to the school a few days ago to speak to the entire student body in an assembly.
"We were looking for one summer-reading book, and this seemed to fit perfectly," said Jerry Burke, the English department chairman.
The school bought more than 1,000 copies and is planning projects based on the book in a variety of academic areas. It also wants everyone to read it — everyone.
"We're encouraging custodial staff and lunch aides, all teachers, and administrators to get on board," Burke said.
While most of you were sipping coffee, a portrait of Norman H. Read was unveiled Monday morning in the mayor's office.
Who is Norman Read?
He is a geologist and mountaineer who died in 1992 at age 101. He established a trust to his native Salem that has provided more than $3 million to the Salem schools since 1993. The funds have paid for science education programs in the public schools, laboratories and science teachers' salaries.
Read's portrait will hang in the mayor's office, not far from the portraits of his great-grandfather John Read and grandfather Charles Albert Read, which hang in the Council Chambers.
A trust left by Charles Read funds the annual Read Fund Science Fair and Family Picnic, which happens to be taking place tomorrow at Salem Willows from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Last year, the Read Trust provided free admission for all Salem residents to the Museum of Science in Boston during September.
Talk about generous and wise benefactors. The city is truly blessed.
In case you were walking down Essex Street and wondering what the mannequin was doing in the window of the Salem Chamber of Commerce, wonder no longer.
The mannequin, if you noticed, was wearing a Netherlands jersey and an orange tie in honor of the Dutch entry in the World Cup soccer tournament, which began last Friday. The office belongs to chamber Executive Director Rinus Oosthoek, a native of the Netherlands and soccer fan extraordinaire.