, Salem, MA

November 22, 2012

Heard Around Town: Pay off your library debts with canned food

By Alan Burke
Staff writer

---- — PEABODY — If you’ve got a can of ravioli in the back of the cabinet that you’re never going to eat — or even if you are — the Peabody Institute Library is offering its annual get-the-debt-monkey-off-your-back, clean-out-the-cabinet-and-feel-good-about-yourself opportunity.

In other words, you can pay off your library fine with food slated for Haven From Hunger.

“A lot of people have been asking us about it,” says the library’s Gerri Guyote. They expected Food for Fines to begin, as usual, during the holidays. But there’s been a change. The program will begin instead on Jan. 14 and end Feb. 15. That’s a time when food pantries like Haven From Hunger struggle to fill the cupboard.

Meanwhile, those library fines add up, Guyote points out. And if you fail to do something about them, you could have your library card declined. Think of the embarrassment. At worst, police officers show up at your door, tsk-tsking and wanting that long-missing copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Some fines can’t be paid off — like the ones involving libraries other than Peabody. But the fines on a variety of items do apply — from DVDs to audiobooks. Guyote concedes that the arrangement might actually encourage some people to run up fines knowing the payment goes to a good cause. “But because it benefits the Haven, we accept that as part of the deal.”

Canned goods and nonperishables are welcome at the Main Library, 82 Main St.; South Branch Library, 78 Lynn St.; and the West Branch Library, 603 Lowell St.

Firemen’s lift

Two Peabody firefighters were elevated in rank this week. Daniel Dean, a seven-year veteran and Peabody resident, rose from lieutenant to captain. Ronald Ciampa, after four years on the job, is now a lieutenant.

Chief Steve Pasdon praised Mayor Ted Bettencourt for approving the moves and keeping the department going in the right the direction. “They are both good, well-qualified men,” he said of his two firefighters. “They worked hard for the promotions. They earned them.”

Mustard and ice cream

The City Council will grapple on Tuesday with a request to add food items to the ice cream menu approved in 1992 for the shop at 160 Lynn St. In making the request to amend the special permit, Mark Pesaturo promises more details at the hearing.

He’s suggesting a menu including pizza cooked off-site and reheated, as well as steamed hot dogs.

But what if I want fries with that?

Remembering the ladies

There’s nothing new about women having their say in Peabody. An exhibit at the Cassidy Art Museum on Washington Street, “From the Bustle to the Hustle,” charts the influence of women going all the way back to the Revolutionary War.

“We focus on women in Peabody,” says curator Heather Leavell. “And we highlight progressive, forward-looking women.”

The exhibit spotlights people like Eliza Sutton and suffragette Mary Upton Ferrin. It opens Sunday and will run until April 21, Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and every third Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.

Peace and reflection

A garden in honor of Christine Barbuto, murdered aboard American Airlines Flight 11 during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, has been completed at Peabody High School. Barbuto was a 1986 graduate of Peabody High.

The garden is designed to be a place for quiet concentration. “Its beauty is a testament to Christine and to how proud we are to be Tanners,” according to a message from the Christine Barbuto Memorial Committee that thanks the many contributors.