SALEM — There was a lot of fanfare around the visit Wednesday by Massachusetts Secretary of Education Matthew Malone.
Children from Nathaniel Bowditch School were out in the lobby as greeters.
A who’s who of local officials was assembled, including Mayor Kim Driscoll, state Sen. Joan Lovely and Salem State University President Patricia Meservey.
When Malone finally sat down in a semicircle to address the dignitaries, he had some exciting news to share — and it had nothing to do with the $128,000 grant the Salem public schools was getting.
On his way to the morning event, Malone said he drove past “one of my top 10 places in America.”
What was he talking about? The Peabody Essex Museum? Salem Willows? The Ropes Mansion?
“Dubes,” Malone exclaimed with boyish enthusiasm.
For the uninitiated, Dubes is a little restaurant on Jefferson Avenue beloved by locals. It is to fried clams and fried scallops what Marblehead Harbor is to sailing, or Harvard to higher education.
Malone confessed that he became a fan when he was superintendent in Swampscott and used to sneak over to Dubes with some of his staff.
During last week’s school forum on longer school days, Driscoll remarked that there are all sorts of options for extending the school day. There is even one model, the mayor said, where kids stay in school until 4:30 p.m., get all their homework done right there and have no homework at night. It eliminates a lot of stress at home, she said.
After he picked himself up off the floor, Superintendent Stephen Russell said: “So tomorrow’s headline should be, ‘Mayor promises no homework.’”
Without missing a beat, Driscoll replied: “I’ll be in good shape if they change the voting age, too.”
Queen for a day
Who’s going to tell Salem Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rinus Oosthoek that he no longer lives in the Netherlands?