, Salem, MA

December 6, 2013

Salem dredger motors down to Buttermilk Bay


---- — SALEM — Craig Burnham is an interesting guy.

And his dredging business, Burnham Associates, may be even more interesting.

A year or so ago, he got a contract to remove all of the rock pinnacles 40 feet or higher jutting out of Boston Harbor. So, he went in with drills and dynamite and blasted them down far enough below the water line for ships to travel safely above.

Now he’s headed down to Cape Cod after winning a $552,000 contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do maintenance dredging at Buttermilk Bay in Bourne.

Isn’t that a great name — Buttermilk Bay.

This is kind of interesting because the channel he will be dredging is next to the Cape Cod Canal, which is about to hold a big party.

The Cape Cod Canal celebrates its 100th anniversary this summer, so Burnham, in a way, is one of many people helping the Cape get ready for its centennial.

Shotgun practice

That noise you heard this week on Winter Island was gunfire.

It was nothing sinister. In fact, just the opposite. It was our local police officers blasting shotguns at some dummy — no, not an elected official, more like a target dummy.

Every year, officers have to “re-qualify” on shotguns so they’re prepared in case they have to use them.

It’s kind of interesting that it takes place down at Winter Island, which for most of the year is humming with campers, boaters, fishermen and sightseers.

Wisely, police wait until the place is deserted and then head down to a secluded spot by the water and blast away.

No word yet on where they’re holding bazooka drills.

A chocolate Christmas

If you’re looking for an interesting and fun Christmas present, consider a new book by Ben Strohecker, the founder of Harbor Sweets, our own little Santa’s workshop on the water.

Strohecker wrote and illustrated “The Day the Ocean Changed to Chocolate,” a children’s book with a lot of local color. It even has a chocolate factory.

The best part may be the 23 watercolor illustrations by Strohecker.

Arch support

Boy Scout Troop 24 will be selling Christmas wreaths this weekend to help fund the restoration of Washington Arch on Salem Common.

They will set up tables right at the arch on Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wreaths also will be sold Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Artists’ Row.

It’s good kids and a good cause.

Tom Dalton can be reached at