, Salem, MA

March 14, 2014

Our view: Cheers and jeers

The Salem News

---- — CHEERS to Beverly High School student-athletes Kendel Davy, Jack Morency and Joey Kozlowski for showing leadership on and off the field.

The trio — Davy is a junior cheerleader and hurdler, Morency plays football and hockey, and Kozlowski plays football and baseball — are part of Beverly’s DECA program. DECA (short for Distributive Education Clubs of America) is a business-oriented program that, its website says, “aims to prepare emerging leaders for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.”

The Beverly students wowed the crowd at the statewide DECA competition in Boston last weekend with a presentation on their Rock for Riley fundraising efforts.

Riley Fessenden is a first-grader at Ayers Ryal Side Elementary School. She was diagnosed with esthesioneuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer, last spring. Friends, neighbors and strangers have rallied to her side.

Davy met Riley through cheerleading — the younger girl cheers for the Beverly Titans (grades 1 and 2) football team. Davy figured she could use her high school cheerleading competitions to raise money for the Riley Rocks campaign, which helps offset the family’s medical bills.

At the Beverly Invitational last Oct. 20, Davy said, “I basically walked out and gave an announcement to the crowd that we were doing this, challenging coaches and other cheering captains to raise money for Riley’s family.”

That was more than $10,000 ago.

“It’s taken a over a large part of our lives,” Morency said. “It’s really been unexpected; not only have we been able to raise money and awareness for the family, but we’ve become very close with them, too.”

The judges last weekend were impressed, as well. The Beverly trio finished in first place in their division and will be headed to the national competition in Atlanta next month.

JEERS to lax oversight of financial matters at Beverly City Hall. Earlier this month, Mayor Michael Cahill and the commissioners of the Beverly Golf and Tennis Club recommended the city renew its contract with the company running the city-owned club.

As it turns out, Cahill and the commission chairman made the recommendation without knowing how much Golf Facilities Management Inc. has been making running the club — figures they are required by contract to share.

The city didn’t try to track down the numbers until The Salem News requested them. They show the club to be on stable financial footing, but it’s worrisome to know the city was ready to move ahead with a new contract without knowing if GFMI was making or losing money on the deal. (The city gets a share of membership fees if the gross revenue exceeds $550,000. The club took in a little more than $445,000 in membership fees last year.)

CHEERS to the folks in Danvers for coming up with a plan to make the town’s rail trail safer.

The 4.3-mile trail runs from Wenham to Peabody — and through part of the Danvers Agway parking lot. The area is a potentially dangerous mix of walkers, runners, bicyclists, cars and trucks.

“We’ve got to separate the people from the cars,” said Charles Lincicum, chairman of the Rail Trail Advisory Committee. “It’s absolutely essential.

The plan is to reroute the trail through a refurbished Putnamville Park on Wenham Street, which is next to Agway.

The work would include a boardwalk through wetlands and would be done with the help of volunteers, including Colin Butler, an Eagle Scout candidate from Troop 16. Boot and apparel maker Timberland has kicked in $4,000 for materials and will also provide volunteers.

The plan went before the Conservation Commission earlier this week. Here’s hoping it moves forward quickly.