, Salem, MA

April 5, 2013

Heard Around Town: Are you smarter than a Salem 6th-grader?


---- — SALEM — We know it’s the end of the week and you’re tired, but we have a few questions.

These are easy. These are elementary school geography questions.

Ryan Bassett, a sixth-grader at Salem Academy Charter School, was asked the same questions, and he did so well he’s on his way today to the 2013 Massachusetts National Geographic Bee at Worcester Academy.

So here goes.

Where is Jutland?

We’ll take your silence for “I have absolutely no idea.”

Here’s another question: What are Lek, Denar and Kuna?

If you answered the dishwashers at Gulu-Gulu Cafe, you would be wrong.

One last chance to save face: Where is Ulaanbaatar?

No, not the remote island where the Salem Police Superior Officers Union has a time share so they can get away from all the nuts in Salem.

The correct answers, as any Salem sixth-grader knows, are (in order) Europe, monetary currencies in the Balkans, and Mongolia.

And good luck to Ryan, who not only had to answer those questions, but had to beat out seventh- and eighth-graders to advance to the state championship.

Envelope, please

They open the time capsule from St. Joseph Church this Sunday at 2 p.m. The big event will take place inside St. James Church on Federal Street.

Deacon Norman LaPointe plans to be there. You know why that’s noteworthy? Because he was also there in 1950 when they put the time capsule into the cornerstone.

That’s pretty amazing when you think of it. It’s kind of like Davy Crockett coming back for an anniversary of The Alamo.

On Sunday, they also plan to unveil that amazing Lego reproduction of St. Joseph Church made by a former parishioner. If you’ve got a minute, stop by and take a look. It’s really something.

Brothers in law

District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett and his staff will be wearing black ribbons as part of a national show of solidarity for the Texas district attorney and his wife who were shot to death in their home on Saturday.

Those murders follow the fatal shooting Jan. 31 of a prosecutor from that same office as he walked to a courthouse. He also is being honored.

“It is a very small gesture, but it reflects our deep sympathy for the family, friends and colleagues of DA Mike McLelland, his wife, Cynthia, and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse,” Blodgett said.

“Our hearts go out to the prosecutors and staff members at the Kaufman County DA’s office, who continue to seek justice on behalf of the people they serve.”

Hearing Voices

There’s a new newspaper in town.

Derby Voices, an online publication, is produced by Beth McCafferty and Joe Landsman for residents of Derby Lofts, the condo and apartment complex in the old Salem Laundry building.

The first issue has a story about Rouge, a popular cosmetics shop on the ground floor, and another on the persistent problems of vandalism and noise near the building from late-night bar patrons.

The paper even has a motto: “Published when we have something to say.”

We could learn from that.

Laundry list

Great item in the police log on Wednesday.

The men in blue were called to the Salem Laundry at 1:34 p.m. for a suspicious couple. Suspicious and romantic.

“Both parties were advised to cease the public display of affection due to their behavior making the other customers uncomfortable,” an officer wrote.

No mention of whether the incident involved washers, dryers or the spin cycle.

Hammer time

Has anyone given a thought to the endless amount of construction that will be taking place here over the next few years?

Let us count the jackhammers.

The Peabody Essex Museum expansion ... the Route 1A repair ... Canal Street reconstruction ... the Salem Harbor Station demolition and cleanup ... the National Grid transmission cable project ... Salem Pier construction ... the MBTA garage project ... the housing development at St. Joseph Church ... a new dorm and modular dorm at Salem State University.

Did we leave anybody out?

Since the roads will be impassable, this may be a good time to let hubby buy the helicopter he always wanted.

Tom Dalton can be reached at