, Salem, MA

July 25, 2013

Russ Donovan, the sequel

By Alan Burke
Staff writer

---- — Following his explosive interaction with City Councilor Dave Gamache two weeks ago, Russ Donovan wanted to remember the moment.

“Several of my friends said they saw me on the cable television,” he said.

Thus, Donovan, now a candidate for at-large councilor himself, went to Peabody Access Telecommunications to request a video of the incident, wherein Gamache accused Donovan of producing a bogus flier giving reasons for opposition to a Lynnfield Street development but fashioned to appear as if it were actually coming from the council.

Donovan denied producing the flier, and in a head-to-head meeting with Gamache during a recess, he got the councilor to accept his word and apologize. But when Donovan played his video of the encounter, the recessed portion of the meeting was missing.

“Edited out,” he complained. “They put the flag up.”

Donovan conceded that it was unlikely that the TV cameras picked up much of his conversation with Gamache anyway. And he’ll always have his Salem News clipping of the event.

Sizzle on Pulaski Street?

A mini-mart on Pulaski Street? A steakhouse? City Council President Tom Gould acknowledged that an upgrade of the Roadhouse Pub has been proposed. Locating a bank there has even been discussed.

But Bill Toomey, a candidate for ward councilor and a former at-large councilor, downplayed the possibility of a mini-mall going in. Toomey and a group of residents met with Mayor Ted Bettencourt earlier this summer to discuss the future of Pulaski Street. Another meeting is scheduled next month.

He similarly downplayed a proposal to place low-income housing in the shuttered factory across the street, at the entrance to the industrial park. A 40B can’t go there, because state law forbids 40Bs close to other 40Bs, Toomey said.

A Democratic prince

You don’t have to be part of the royal family to get into this game. State Rep. Ted Speliotis (D-Danvers and parts of Peabody) reported the birth of his first grandson, Theodore Joseph Freeley. Daughter Pia presented him with a child sporting blond hair and blue eyes, “so far,” Speliotis said.

No word on when the representative will get the new arrival out on the campaign trail.

Bring an appetite

The end of summer can be tough to take, but it helps to have the city’s 30th annual International Festival to look forward to. It’s scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 8, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Peabody Square. Expect a mouthwatering array of ethnic foods, Kids Day at Leather City Commons, musical acts and the International Road Race for Progeria Research on Sept. 7 at 8 a.m. from City Hall. If you manage to get away still hungry, various eateries will offer discounts during Restaurant Week, from Sept. 8 to 12 and again from Sept. 19 to 22.

Rain date is Sept. 22. Get information at

Downtown party

Following in the wake of Downton Abbey comes Peabody’s Downtown Association. Unlike the PBS TV version, Peabody’s Downtown Association has a more open-minded view of the gentry. When they say they want to encourage the “gentrification process” downtown, don’t expect them to limit it to friends of the Dowager Duchess. Rather, it means more stores, more businesses and more people of all sorts mingling, parking, buying and living above the shops.

Toward that end, the New Downtown Peabody Celebration will be held in conjunction with the Peabody Institute Library on Saturday, Aug. 24, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We have many activities, sales, raffles and entertainment to chose from,” said Joan Morrissey, the group’s acting executive director, in a press release.

In addition, it’s a great opportunity to get acquainted with all the downtown shops you miss when you hurry past in your roadster.