, Salem, MA

November 15, 2012

Heard Around Town: ‘Skinny-dipping’ at the Peabody council

By Alan Burke Staff writer
The Salem News

---- — PEABODY — Lawyer David Ankeles thought it would aid the City Council if he produced a computer-generated photo of what proposed billboards on Route 1 will look like.

“Is this going to be the content?” asked Councilor Barry Sinewitz, pointing to the photo, which included a billboard showing a dog alongside a pig while the text asks, “Why love one but eat the other? Choose vegetarian.”

“No,” Ankeles said, as other councilors chuckled, “that’s a mock-up.”

He then speculated lightly on what might go up on the billboard, “It might be one of those Weight Watchers signs that Councilor (Barry) Osborne will want to put up.”

Osborne credits Weight Watchers with helping his dramatic weight loss of nearly 100 pounds.

Sinewitz wasn’t mollified by the joke, however, and he wondered if the city should be notified before anything goes up on the billboard. Council President Jim Liacos, though sympathetic, suggested that he was raising the question at the wrong time and in the wrong hearing.

When Ankeles began to offer an idea of how to deal with his concerns, Liacos shot him a look and said, “You’re sure you want to get into this? You’re winning.”

Eventually, two Route 1 billboards won approval. Ankeles’ mock-up for the second read “Pretzel Crisps. Perfect for skinny dipping.”

The Yearling

It was baseball great Satchel Paige who said, “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”

City Councilor Anne Manning-Martin doesn’t want human resources director Karen Budrow looking back, so she’s suggested expanding her one-year contract to three years.

“To have to look always over your shoulder,” Manning-Martin lamented. “Give her time to wrap her arms around this project. ... A one-year term for a position of this magnitude does not seem fair.”

The plan is for Budrow to combine the job of personnel on both the school side and city side — in effect filling two jobs with one person. The council formally approved Budrow’s hire at a salary of $97,000 last week, up from $87,000.

Mayor Ted Bettencourt seemed to embrace Manning-Martin’s idea.

“It would help,” he said.

Ear training

So you don’t like classical music. Have you ever really listened? Have you given it a chance? Well, if something’s been around for hundreds of years, there must be a reason.

Kelley Rae Unger of the Peabody Institute Library thinks there is, and she also believes you might catch on as to why if you give a listen to “Close Encounters With Music,” a five-part program starting Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. in the library’s acoustically sumptuous Sutton Room. Unger agrees that you need to work a little to understand the music. She calls it “training your ear.”

And that’s exactly what “Close Encounters” will help you do.

This series not only includes the music but explanations of the music, which comes courtesy of baroque master Arcangelo Corelli and 19th-century flutist Francois Devienne. Performing and explaining will be 21st-century flutist Orlando Cela, violinist Maria Benotti and bassoonist Neil Fairbairn.

Unger is hinting at mystery instruments, as well.