, Salem, MA

April 3, 2014

Rubbish rummagers have a ball


---- — BEVERLY — How good was the winning entry at this year’s Trashfinder’s Ball? So good that the owner wasn’t even sure what it was.

Jeff Orfanos took home the top prize at the Franco-American Club in the seventh annual event founded by Front Street resident Sean Devlin.

Orfanos said he never knew exactly what his seven-headed “thing” was until one of the trash-finding experts at the ball came up with a theory.

“From what I was told at the Trashfinder’s Ball, it is believed to be a pipe-holder,” Orfanos said in an email. “Each head is supposed to represent one of the seven deadly sins.”

Orfanos, a contractor, said he found the item years ago when he was working on a woman’s house in Beverly. The woman had several boxes filled with stuff that was going to be thrown away and invited him to take what he wanted.

“I moved some items around in one of the boxes, and there were the seven heads staring up at me,” he said. “Out of all the things that I’ve rescued from the trash, this has got to be the strangest.”

The Trashfinder’s Ball, which has been featured in The New York Times and on Channel 5’s “Chronicle,” remains as popular as ever. Nearly 100 people attended this year’s event and raised more than $600 to buy books for the Beverly Public Library Bookmobile.

Drumming up support

Yes, that was Mayor Mike Cahill playing a mean set of drums last weekend at the Express Yourself studios on Rantoul Street.

The event marked 20 years in Beverly for Express Yourself, a nonprofit arts organization serving youths with mental illness and under-served youth.

Cahill presented co-directors Stan Strickland and Paula Conrad with a proclamation naming March 29 as Express Yourself Day. The organization will hold its 20th anniversary show on May 22 at Citi Wang Theatre in Boston.

Eyes on the road

Don’t be distracted if you spot a 36-foot-long, neon-yellow mobile classroom at the high school next week.

The mobile classroom is part of the Distractology 101 tour sponsored by the Appleby & Wyman Insurance Agency. It is outfitted with high-tech driving simulators designed to teach new drivers the dangers of distracted driving, including texting while driving.

The classroom bus will be at the high school Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Rep race

Will state Rep. Jerry Parisella have an opponent this year?

So far, only one person, Euplio “Rick” Marciano, has taken out nomination papers. Marciano, a U.S. Army veteran who has run for local office many times, is a Libertarian.

Potential candidates must collect 150 signatures and file them with the City Clerk’s office by April 29.

Imagine that

A team from Beverly High School has qualified for the Destination Imagination Global Finals in Knoxville, Tenn., in May.

Destination Imagination is a creative-thinking and problem-solving competition held throughout the United States and in 30 countries. The Beverly team, called Team Left Ventricle, includes Ed McFeeters, Owen Bolas, Liam Beaudoin, Matt Gill, Ryan Noss and Alex D’Alfonso.

To advance, the team had to present a five-minute skit that solved a problem through the interaction of characters from the present and the past.

Mournful march

We’re happy to report that the Saddest Parade on Earth went off without a hitch last weekend.

Organizer Greg Cook informed us that about 30 grim-faced people and four dogs took part, including Montserrat College of Art professor Ethan Berry, who carried a dollhouse on his back like a burdensome mortgage.

Cook said the parade’s inspiration was sadness but the result was “heartwarming.”

“We stopped at cafes along Cabot Street, and stepping inside one of them, my sense was that people inside found it surprising and strange and kind of fun and funny,” he said via email.

Cook and his son Jasper read aloud a list of things that participants said made them sad, like bum legs, lost eyesight, deceased loved ones, money worries and missing video games, then burned the cards they were written on.

“The cards burned up nice and smoky in a big glass jar and turned to ash,” Cook wrote. “And goodbye to all that.”

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or