, Salem, MA

April 2, 2014

Boy Scout goes to bat for SwampWalk


---- — DANVERS — Troop 155 Boy Scout Thomas Arsenault has gone batty for the SwampWalk.

Arsenault installed four bat houses that he and others built as part of his Eagle Scout service project.

George Saluto, who got the wooden walkway through the Great Wenham Swamp built over the past few years, shared the news in an email.

While the swamp was still frozen solid a couple of weeks ago, Arsenault and fellow volunteers installed the bat houses on two 16-foot poles in the middle of the swamp, standing on ice to bang the poles in.

Others who did not bat an eyelash to help included Danvers Hardware, which supplied the hardware; members of the Danvers Rail Trail Advisory and Conservation committees; and members of the SwampWalk build crew. Arsenault’s whole family pitched in, with his father, Robert, helping to install the poles; grandfather Frank offering his woodworking skills and wood shop; mom Cindy taking her son to meetings to get the bat houses approved; uncle Dan lending his nephew an auger to drill holes, and Scoutmaster and Eagle adviser Greg Unczur. Sean Flynn and Michael Dahlquist of Troop 58 assembling the bat houses. Thomas’ brothers, John, 13, and Robert, 10, also helped out.

Firefighters pay tribute

Flags flew at half-staff in honor of the two Boston firefighters killed while fighting a fire on Beacon Street last week. Local firefighters also paid their own tributes.

Deputy Chief Jim McPherson and fire Chief Kevin Farrell were among those present at the services.

“We are just showing our support by having a decent presence at the funerals,” Farrell said.

“We’ll certainly have a strong presence at both funerals,” McPherson said. Fifteen to 20 Danvers firefighters will be attending the funerals of Lt. Edward Walsh Jr. and firefighter Michael Kennedy. “Our hearts go out to the Boston guys.”

Danvers residents have also shown support of their own town’s firefighters with letters and good wishes. Teachers at Holten Richmond Middle School wanted to send over lunch to firefighters last week after the tragedy, McPherson said.

The Danvers Police Department lent its support to Watertown police with Walsh’s wake and funeral. Officers Dana Michael Hagan and Michael Balsley were scheduled to be on duty in Watertown.

FinCom member steps down

Former selectman and present health board member Martha Swindell stepped down from the Finance Committee recently, before budget season got into high gear. (The Finance Committee budget hearing is scheduled to start April 14.) She had served on the financial oversight board since 2009. She also had a stint on the board in the 1990s. The town moderator appoints members of the Finance Committee, by the way.

Now he has time to ride

Not many people can say they have spent four decades working for one employer, let alone the town, but Phil Hebert can. Last week, well-wishers threw him a retirement party at Danversport Yacht Club, as the Department of Public Works equipment division supervisor retired after 42 years on the job, Town Manager Wayne Marquis said.

Hebert worked for a time in maintenance at former Hunt Hospital. He worked for much of his career in the DPW’s equipment division, the last 12 overseeing its fleet. DPW Director David Lane acted as the emcee for the retirement party.

What will Hebert be doing in his spare time? Marquis said he will probably enjoy riding and maintaining his Harley-Davidson.

Jazz sax player returns to his roots

Jazz saxophonist Mike Tucker of Beverly, who grew up Danvers, is returning to Onion Town. Tucker, who has made a name for himself internationally on the jazz scene, will play a concert in town on April 12. A Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory graduate, Tucker is scheduled to play at Maple Street Congregational Church at 7:30 p.m. The concert will feature Mike Tucker Organ Trio + 1 with Warren Wolf and The Jazz Project All Star Band.

Tucker has performed at jazz festivals in Japan, France, Costa Rica, New York City and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Time to flush

As the large electronic sign board on the corner of Conant and Poplar streets says: It’s time for the town’s water-main flushing program. Hydrants are flushed each spring to remove the sediment that has collected in water mains. It begins April 7 and will take about a month. Residents may see discolored water after a hydrant is flushed in their neighborhood. To clear this out, residents should run the cold tap for a few minutes. The water should clear up in one hour. If not, residents should call the Water Division at 978-762-0230.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.