SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 24, 2013

Heard Around Town: Some feeling a little left out in Peabody

By Alan Burke
Staff writer

---- — PEABODY — As progress on the new regional vocational school in Danvers continues apace, some Peabody residents are worried about getting lost in the shuffle. The facility is set to accept students from North Shore Technical High School in Middleton, Essex Agricultural and Technical High School in Danvers, and, yes, Peabody High School’s vocational program.

Only as the building goes up, decisions are being made and, complains School Committee member Beverley Ann Griffin Dunne, Peabody kids haven’t been included in the mix.

“They’re choosing a mascot,” she pointed out. “They’re choosing school colors.”

But Leather City students have had less input.

“It is a merger of three schools, and it seems presently to only be a merger of two,” she said.

Other board members agreed that steps should be taken to remedy the oversight.

Sneak peek

At Kiley School on Tuesday at 7 p.m., Griffin Dunne will join the School Building Committee in a presentation of images depicting the structure slated to replace Higgins Middle School.

“I think you’ll be surprised when you see exactly what it looks like,” she says enthusiastically. “It’s very detailed now.”

The meeting comes prior to submitting the drawings to the state, which is expected to supply a percentage of the funding. The school board and City Council are invited, and, Griffin Dunne says, “It’s open to the public.”

So, you might want to come and take peek at what you’re buying.

That’s the ticket

In the wake of a lengthy discussion over gate receipts at school sporting events — it revolved around the question of whether parents should continue to get free passes — Superintendent Joe Mastrocola announced that athletic director Phil Sheridan has been named the Distinguished Service Award Winner by the Massachusetts Secondary Schools Athletic Directors Association.

After 15 years in Peabody, Sheridan was commended for “years of service and dedication to youth in athletics,” and he will be honored at a March 20 banquet in Hyannis.

School Committeeman Dave McGeney couldn’t help but mention the fee included in the written announcement. “I notice tickets are $35 each,” he says with a smile.

Sheridan and a guest, however, get “complimentary” tickets.

Buttering up

the big cheese

McGeney noticed that the former Swampscott superintendent, Matt Malone, has now been sworn in as the new secretary of education for Gov. Deval Patrick. McGeney suggested a letter of congratulations to old friend Malone.

What if there

were no Democrats?

Is there a Democratic City Committee? Former Chairman Mike Schulze thinks not. Yes, there are people carrying on as the city committee, he says. But the fault, he believes, is in the failure to have an organizational meeting.

“It has not happened,” he says, despite legal requirements.

“So the City Committee is not a legal committee,” he concludes.

To fix this, he adds, requires activity at the ward level across the city. Papers must be signed. Votes must be taken.

And the Republicans? Don’t get smug if you belong to the Grand Old Party. Schulze believes your committee is likewise out of sorts with the law and therefore merely a figment of the members’ imaginations.