SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

June 13, 2013

A bunkhouse built for one

PEABODY — With a new bunkhouse under construction, Brooksby Farm’s Jamaican workers are stuck at home, making no money and waiting until the construction is done. But that doesn’t mean there are no Jamaicans working at the farm.

Leo Peart continues to labor, driving some of the farm’s heavy equipment. His expertise and experience is a godsend to the staff and manager Pat Kriksceonaitis. Everyone is doing double duty trying to get the produce to grow.

Peart is living all by himself in the original bunkhouse. How does this happen after officials from the Massachusetts Department of Labor and Workforce Development have said the facility is inadequate? They complained about the grounds, sanitation in the toilets and doors that did not shut properly.

But while all that might make it inadequate for migrant workers from Jamaica, Peart is a Jamaican with a difference — he’s a naturalized American citizen. And that state office does not monitor where Americans live.

Thus, the old bunkhouse is all right for Americans. (Farm officials grumbled from the start that the old bunkhouse was good enough for all, but the city quickly accepted the state’s determination and agreed to build the new facility at a cost of $180,000.)

For his part, Peart is offering no complaints about living in the old place. “It’s quiet,” he smiles.

Fancy bumping into you here

Residents found a sympathetic ear at a recent forum on construction of the new Higgins Middle School when they complained about traffic on nearby Augustus Street. Specifically, they lamented the tendency to speed on the little side road.

Police Capt. Joseph Berardino nodded knowingly. “A car just drove out of Augustus the other day and right into the side of a police cruiser,” he said.

Not forgotten

The traffic accident that killed Theodore Buttner as he crossed Lowell Street in front of St. Adelaide’s Church last January hasn’t been forgotten. Residents and parishioners have asked for a traffic light to make that stretch of road safer for pedestrians.

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