, Salem, MA

August 2, 2013

For police, it was a wild goose chase


---- — SALEM — What a scene Wednesday night on Sgt. James Ayube Memorial Drive, better known as the bypass road.

Around 6:30 p.m., multiple 911 calls came into the police station about a duck walking down the middle of the bypass road. On closer inspection, police determined the duck was a Canada goose.

Patrolman Dana Mazola was dispatched to the scene and used his cruiser to guide the faltering fowl into the breakdown lane.

Fortuitously, off-duty animal control officer Don Famico arrived at the scene with his daughter Heather Famico, a candidate for the Ward 2 City Council seat, who was riding shotgun — so to speak.

The Family Famico cornered the gallivanting goose in a gully near the Jefferson at Salem Station apartments, wrapped it in a blanket and took it over to Collins Cove. As Heather drove, Don sat next to her with the goose cradled in his lap. Once they got near Szetela Lane, they walked it down a plank and into the water.

Oh, if only this weren’t all true.

Anyway, the goose is safe and Ward 2 Councilor Mike Sosnowski, the friendly fisherman, may have a fight on his hands.

What wild animal has he rescued recently?

And don’t tell us a lobster.

Hard coal facts

It’s a good thing Salem is getting out of the coal business.

Did you see the story about the protest Sunday at Brayton Point in Somerset, one of the area’s largest coal-burning power plants?

Brayton Point, as many of you know, is the sister plant of Salem Harbor Station and a much larger facility. Dominion, the Virginia energy giant, bought both plants in 2005 but sold Salem last year and is in the process of dumping the Somerset plant.

Nearly 400 protesters showed up Sunday, 44 of whom were arrested for trespassing.

Knowing how close some of the local environmentalists are with the folks in Somerset, we checked to see if anyone we know was arrested in the protest. The answer appears to be “no.”

“I did not get arrested,” said Pat Gozemba, co-chair of Salem Alliance for the Environment.

However, Gozemba was at Brayton Point on Sunday with four other members of SAFE.

“People from Somerset had been our strong allies in trying to shut down the coal burning in Salem, and so people from Salem felt a strong allegiance to our allies from Somerset,” she said. “That’s why we went down to support them.”

The protest was reminiscent — but not as colorful — as the one here more than a decade ago, when members of Greenpeace were arrested after scaling the coal pile at Salem Harbor Station.

That coal pile, by the way, will be a distant memory in a few months. The Salem coal plant shuts down next May.

Police flashback

Two years ago, four Salem police officers — Sgt. Kristian Hanson, Detective Kevin St. Pierre, and Patrolmen Robert Cunningham and Brian St. Pierre — were honored for their part in the arrest of a violent criminal.

Hours after a robbery at the PetSmart on Traders Way, the officers staked out an apartment on Courageous Court, which is near Vinnin Square. Around midnight, they watched as a man drove into an underground garage, took off a bulletproof vest and headed toward his apartment. At gunpoint, they ordered him to the ground and later found two handguns in the trunk.

That man was Ray Wallace.

That’s the same guy who was the lead story on every TV news program yesterday after he tried to take a gun from a Middlesex County Sheriff’s deputy in the emergency room of the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary in Boston, according to police. After one deputy was shot in the leg, another deputy shot Wallace in the chest.

As of midday yesterday, Wallace remained in critical condition at a Boston hospital.

Tavern talk

This was not a good week for Tavern in the Square.

The Licensing Board handed them a five-day suspension — two days to be served — for a May incident in which a patron suffered a fractured skull after being taken to the ground by a bouncer, according to police reports.

That suspension is in abeyance, however, until the matter is sorted out in court.

However, that is not the only penalty hanging over the head of Tavern.

The state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission handed the restaurant a three-day suspension last December for serving a minor. The minor was a 20-year-old girl using someone else’s ID.

That suspension also was held in abeyance — for two years — provided there are no further incidents.

That raises a question. If the restaurant’s bouncer is found guilty of assault, does that mean Tavern will have to serve a five-day suspension — three days from the state and two from the city?

Catch 22

Two Salem boys made a big splash in the recent Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race.

Former School Committee member Andy Lippman and Tom Vander Salm, a heart surgeon at North Shore Medical Center, took home the double-handed trophy in the 360-mile race to Nova Scotia.

“Double-handed,” for you land-locked legions, means there were two guys in the boat.

Their victorious vessel was Catch-22.

News from Zimbabwe

Our own David Williams got a mention this week in The Economist, the magazine for people with a degree from the London School of Economics and a lot of time on their hands.

Seriously, this is a big deal.

The Essex Street resident goes all over the world doing voter polls and monitoring elections. In this case, the magazine mentions his polling firm in an article about the presidential election in Zimbabwe.

If you have any questions about that election, don’t call us — call him.

Visitors from Japan

There is a great group of students and teachers here from Ota, Salem’s sister city in Japan.

This is the 20th anniversary of the first student trip in this remarkable exchange, which former Salem teacher Peter Dolan headed for years.

Connie Arlander organized the current visit, which ends Sunday.

Over the years, a lot of Salem residents have made the trip to Japan or served as host families for the visitors from faraway Ota.

It’s programs like this that are probably the path to world peace.

A great cause

Good luck to all the Salem residents riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge this weekend.

This will be the 23rd ride for state Rep. John Keenan, who is being joined by his brother, Dan, from California.

Tom Dalton can be reached at