, Salem, MA

November 23, 2012

Heard Around Town: Salem to honor a hero from World War II


---- — SALEM — It has been a long time coming, but Adrian Pelletier is about to get the recognition he deserves in his hometown.

The City Council will vote at its next meeting to name a square in memory of Pelletier, who was killed in World War II. A U.S. Army paratrooper, he died on June 8, 1944, two days into the Normandy invasion. He is buried in France.

Pelletier was one of six Salem brothers who served in World War II. Today, he is survived by a sister, Rita Lebrecque, who received a long-overdue burial flag for her late brother this fall. It was provided by the office of U.S. Sen. John Kerry and had flown over the U.S. Capitol.

Following the flag presentation, Kim Emerling, the director of veterans services in Salem, attended a meeting of the Salem Veterans Council at which someone asked whether a square had been named in Pelletier’s honor. That got the ball rolling.

The council took a preliminary vote last week, after which Lebrecque was notified of the plans.

“She’s completely thrilled,” Emerling said

Pelletier Square will be at the corner of Charter Street and Hawthorne Boulevard.

Dog named Bob

There was quite a show Monday on the Essex Street pedestrian mall.

Kate Bedard was walking down the mall shortly before 2 p.m. next to her dog, Bob, a large, black Newfoundland. Bob was hitched to a wagon and lugging a Champagne bowl that Bedard was taking to Bernard’s Jewelers to have engraved.

It was a scene out of another century.

When someone in a passing group of teens spotted the friendly and massive Bob, the teen exclaimed: “It’s a horse!”

No, it was a magnificent Newfoundland dog, a breed originally raised as working dogs for fishermen in the Canadian province.

Father Dan

St. Thomas the Apostle Church will hold a heartfelt dedication tomorrow after the 4 p.m. Mass.

The former convent will become the Fr. Daniel J. Sheehan Spiritual Life Center, named in memory of the beloved late priest. Sheehan, who died last year, was pastor at the Catholic church on the Salem/Peabody line for 13 years.

Bar trouble

Murphy’s, a Derby Street bar, was hit with a 10-day suspension last week, most of it for serving drinks to minors.

At the hearing, owner Peter Kelly showed the Licensing Board a stack of identification cards his staff confiscated from minors trying to sneak in with fake IDs. It was an inch or two high.

Running a drinking establishment that attracts a young crowd is not an easy job.

Tree huggers

Before he retires any day now, tree warden (and DPW director) Rick Rennard is making some final stops. It was fitting that one was at the meeting of the South Salem Neighborhood Association.

The SSNA — thanks to Polly Wilbert and a few others — is a tree-loving bunch. They recently conducted a survey of street trees in their area so the city would know which trees need to be replaced or given tender loving care.

The survey by the good folks in South Salem is just one more sign of the growing interest in trees in this city. There is even talk of the need to identify and protect historic trees that, some feel, are as much a part of the city’s fabric as its old homes.

Mustache month

Welcome to Movember!

Not November ... Movember.

Each November, men around the world — or so we are told — sprout mustaches in celebration of Movember, a movement that draws attention to men’s health issues.

It’s taking place right here in Salem.

In fact, it’s taking place right on the face of Peter Grimshaw, a security guard at the Peabody Essex Museum.

For Grimshaw, the hair-raising event began last year when his son, Connor Grimshaw, a student at the University of Ontario, was writing a paper on social media phenomena like Movember and challenged his father to grow a mustache.

The mustache on the security guard’s face not only raised awareness of health issues at PEM, it stirred curiosity about how many mustachioed figures are in the museum’s collections. The crack research team at PEM discovered mustaches on 17th-century Dutch portraits, 18th-century Chinese figures, 19th-century Pacific Northwest Native American masks and 20th-century paintings.

If they don’t watch out, this could turn into an exhibit: “The Evolution of the Mustache: How Burma-Shave Turned Into Myanmar.”

Staff writer Alan Burke contributed to this report. Tom Dalton can be reached at