Friday, January 29, 2010

Another (another) possible location?

The Daily News is reporting that the city is considering yet another site for a senior center - the Port Rehab building on Low Street. Port Rehab may be buying that land on Toppans Lane where last year a developer wanted to build a subdivision.

I heard about this on Monday morning, at the meeting of the COA Building Committee but people were being cagey. Well at least it's out there.

So I don't know about all this switching and changing that's going on now. I went to the Mayor's Energy Advisory Committee mtg. last night because it was announced at Monday night's City Council meeting that the group would be reviewing the proposed changes to the wind energy conversion ordinance.

Of course, the EAC released its report before the meeting and no such item was on the agenda last night. I don't have a copy of this report, but I did glance at it last night and I asked for a copy to be sent to me before leaving the meeting.

-----> Much later in the day ... I was unable to get on the blog all day then I had the brilliant idea of re-booting my laptop ...

So I now have in my possession the report and have whipped up a story for NBPT Biz. It's not online (on the front page) yet, though, because I'm waiting for the rest of the front page to trickle in. This news business is not all it's cracked up to be! I have to have all the new stories for the Biz News section ... or rather, I don't HAVE to have them; it's just easier to construct the module if I have them all.

Boy am I exhausted.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I love getting bundles in the mail

I just got my book and DVD I ordered with my Amazon gift certificates from my brother (one he gave me for my birthday and the other for Christmas).

I ordered the DVD of "Pride and Prejudice" so I can weep freely without having to explain very much if someone comes over or calls ... I love Jane Austen (although I'm not fond of Keira Knightley and think she was totally wrong for the part of Elizabeth Bennett).

New Ventures' newest deadline

So the state gave New Ventures 72 hrs. to clean up the Crow Lane landfill. If anyone wants to read the letter DEP sent to NV, I only have a really bad copy of it (I think it was scanned from a fax).

But it's all right here, on the Daily News website! YAY; this morning the story was not up online.

Wind turbine hearing

Bob Cronin has an explanation on his blog of what's going on with the joint hearing between the City Council and the Planning Board about the revised wind energy ordinance.

Sorry for the late notice of all this stuff ... I've been up to my (unplucked) eyebrows in meetings and interviews!

P.S. I hate the way I look w/plucked eyebrows.

New health director

Yesterday I was in the basement of City Hall and noticed that the health dept. was all closed up. Like a vault.

Just now I read in today's Daily News that the Board of Health has hired a new director but that the public health nurse resigned last week.

In addition to a new health agent, the city will also be advertising for a new public health nurse after Melinda Gibbons resigned last week. Also, an independent contractor who was hired to do food inspections will be leaving at the end of the month, Blair said.

The new guy has his work cut out for him, especially with issues escalating at the landfill. I hope to talk to Mayor Holaday today about her meeting yesterday with the DEP. She told me yesterday that she got a pre-meeting fax from DEP and that she was quite happy with the "strong language" in the fax.

Ward 5 City Councillor Brian Derrivan on Monday stood up at the end of the City Council meeting and said he thought it was time for the city to think about hiring an environmental lawyer.

"The odors have been worse than they have been since the capping began," Derrivan said. "I find myself doing more of DEP work than the DEP is doing."

I'm happy to see Holaday take such immediate action about this issue. The city really needs to step up its enforcement, not just at the landfill but in other areas. I know money is tight, but there are some issues that if left to slide, already do or will have a serious impact on residents.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Senior center decision & more

Monday is the day the Senior Center Building Committee imposed on itself as the day it will make a decision on whether to pursue the property at the Towle Office Building. The meeting is at 8 a.m.

I really miss Ed Cameron notifying everyone of these meetings ... although one click takes me to the city's website, where one may find notification of meetings.

I see where The P. Preservationist is listing a joint Planning Board/City Council meeting for Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. I don't see that on the city meeting calendar. The Planning Board meets on the first and third Wednesday of each month ... help, anyone? This would be the discussion of the revised wind energy ordinance and the changes to the ordinance relating to moveable signs (as in, the Germinara truck).

The Preservationist is also reporting that there is a movement afoot to not amend the wind energy ordinance.

A sample letter is being circulated trying to pressure City Council and the Mayor to not only not amend the present Wind Energy Ordinance but to loosen its restrictions even further! Supporters are already sending their versions using pure political frenzy to put pressure on our elected officials.

Does this have anything to do with the money the state is doling to implement rampant construction of giant wind energy conversion facilities?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for green energy ... but I see trouble ahead. (But then, as a journalist, trouble means good copy.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Holaday to meet with DEP

Mayor Donna Holaday has a one-on-one (so to speak, since I'm assuming there will be more than one of them) meeting with the DEP scheduled for Jan. 27.

That's all I know about it.

Parking meters

Here is the link to the story in the Flint Journal about bringing parking meters back to Flint (MI - my former place of residence). Thanks, Dick, for reminding me!

I don't know how many of you read the story I wrote for Globe North on the subject of parking, but this is something that former Councillor James Shanley talked about with me. Former Mayor Byron Matthews had all the parking meters in NBPT torn out to encourage people to shop downtown rather than at a mall.

I would much rather feed a parking meter than pay $5 or $8 to park in a lot. If I'm just running into City Hall to pick up the City Council's agenda, why should I have to pay $5? I usually always park in the east NRA lot (when it's free, that is) and I like that arrangement. It's usually pretty empty and I get some measure of exercise walking up State Street.

But if the lot were no longer there, I would be willing to fork over some quarters to park on the street, in the lot, or anywhere else. Especially if I knew the money was going towards infrastructure.

"Mass Backwards"

Yesterday, I went to the new deli on Liberty Street. Not bad; not too expensive (except you can get a more "lavish" sandwich for the same price from Grand Trunk - and by lavish I mean with fancy cheese and aged expensive sausage).

I ran into Will Courtney (from the Daily News) there. Nice guy (seriously, he is). He told me that he had gone to Bresnahan School, a polling place, and all the buzz was for Scott Brown.

It's tragic, people, tragic! As Jon Stewart pointed out on Jan. 18, the Dems are in real trouble! OMG, only a 18-vote majority in the Senate! The most by any party since 1943 (at least I think that's what he said; I can't be bothered to look it up)!!

The "Democrats once again glued their balls to their thighs" ... golly gee whiz, I can't stop laughing ...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Update on mayor's parking spot

Sorry for being late getting back on this ...

It seems that the mayor has a dedicated parking spot behind City Hall, at the police station (as I believe a couple of people pointed out), so the wording about Green Street was removed from the ordinance.

Now if we can get the city to change the wording in the ordinance about regular people AND POSSIBLY business owners being responsible for clearing the sidewalks, we'd be all set. The city (sometimes, I guess) plows the sidewalks downtown and ... well, I wrote all about it for NBPT Biz so I won't re-hash the facts.

I'm not necessarily against the city doing this, and I have since heard that most landlords to a really good job at keeping the sidewalks clear - except for Water St. between Market Sq. and the laundromat (it's awful!) - but it is a law, with a fine of I think $50 for not following the law.

Have a great day, Debbie!

So I signed up to be a "fan" of Bank of America, on Facebook. As you know, I'm nowhere near a fan of Bank of America, so of course I felt free to throw in my 2 cents, along with a lot of other people. I got into this exchange with, as it turns out, a woman who is the banking center manager in New Port Richey, Florida.

This is another complaint I have - this is the line BOA feeds their people and they stick to it (i.e., you're not smart enough to maintain a check register), no matter whether the bank is under investigation by the Senate Banking Committee for charging excessive overdraft fees and the methods it uses to charge them, or just whatever your complaint is. It gets real personal, real fast.

Wow, my "guess" is that she's not real happy right about now.

I'm not supposed to comment on the ads


Friday, January 15, 2010

"Let's talk about Star Wars"

When my younger niece, who is now 16 years old, was just a little thing (maybe 3 years old), she sat down next to me and asked to talk about "Star Wars." Her concern was something about the Jawas, but I don't remember what it was anymore.

Ha, there's a wiki about Jawas.

I don't really have a point here, except that I can still watch episodes IV, V and VI of "Star Wars" and be stirred. Not so much for the first/last 3 - I don't believe I have even seen Episode III. My favorite has always been "Return of the Jedi" because I really like the highly-inefficient imperial walkers.

But hey, I said this before, somewhere - why were R2 and C-3PO still around? Was this a more efficient time? Nowadays, they would have been in a landfill somewhere long before Luke Skywalker was a twinkle in his father's eye. The first 3 episodes, coming after the "sequels," ruined a lot of things.

And I really, really like the ring wraiths in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. More movies that can stir me years later.

I can't go to the movies anymore. Thank goodness for DVDs.

Try not. Do ... or do not. There is no try. (Miss you I do.)

More trouble on Crow Lane

I was going to say something but then I forgot ... oh, yeah, there was an explosion at the landfill on Jan. 14. Well, it was something that "might have sounded like an explosion," according to Ward 5 City Councillor Brian Derrivan:

I wanted to give everyone an update as to the odors tonight. NV had the flare shut down for most of the day trying to do some repair and maintenance. The flare was restarted late this afternoon and tonight at around 6:30 there was a boost of methane that resulted in a blow back that might have sounded like an explosion. The flare is up and running at this time so along with the H2S that has been around for most of the day we have to deal with the methane gas as well. I have been told that the methane should subside within an hour or so. I will keep you all updated when I have any other info.

I don't know if Mayor Holaday has been successful in setting up her meeting with MassDEP yet, but this is really - I was going to say "getting out of control" but it has been out of control for some time.

I do have to commend Derrivan for his dedication to his constituents, but really, I'd like to hear what AG Coakley has to say about the landfill. And for that matter, what Scott Brown has to say (although I can't get that image of his naked bod out of my head). But for now, Coakley is still the AG. I hear she will be in these parts tomorrow ...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Do you love me?

I got this spam message from an alleged prostitute who claims to be bored. You're going to have to look elsewhere to find out how to contact this person, though. Some of these spam comments are quite amusing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Current

As far as I know, the Current is not going under (not right now, anyway). Barbara Taormina, the editor, left as of Dec. 31 but is still writing for the paper as a freelancer (like me). She's also writing for us at NBPT Biz, which is a good thing ... which reminds me, I have to get her latest piece up on the site ...

My brother commented to me last week that NBPT Biz was contributing to the death of print newspapers. Well, if we'd had the money, we'd have done a print edition as well, especially since the Current seems to be moving away from actually reporting news (in favor of running more features, which really is the role of a community newspaper).

Every time an editor leaves, people start telling me I should become the editor of the Current. I think it's really too bad they let Rika Gerth get away. And that's all I'm going to say on that subject.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Another possible location?

I was talking with David Hall the other day, and our conversation turned to the senior center.

He said he thought an ideal location would be the closed up restaurant behind Starboard Galley. "Oh," I thought, "so that's what that building is!" I thought it was a boat house or something. See how much (little) I know? yikes

It's part of 51 Water St. but it looks kind of small ... sure adding on to it would be less than building a whole new structure, though. But WHOA - what about Chapter 91 issues?

The building is owed by Newburyport Manager, which is nearly the same as saying New England Development. Keeping track of real estate holding companies is like trying to dig a hole in the sand; I used to work in the real estate dept. of an investment company.

But yeah ... I can see senior citizens bobbing in boats tied up there, holding dances and such in the pavilion and having easy access to Starboard Galley.

And it's flat. I took a gander at the Towle property the other day, and the buildings there are all built into the hill. Doubts are starting to creep into my mind as to its viability as a location for a senior center - although I hate looking at those Tyvek-covered buildings when I drive by.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

From the Globe: Ablow attacked

An accused white supremacist killer and rapist attacked a nationally known psychiatrist and television personality today during a mental health evaluation gone wrong, authorities said ... (read full blurb here).

Ablow was not injured - or at least according to the report, he subdued the prisoner.

More City Council stuff

Did John Moak have a dedicated parking spot?

The City Council on Monday is going to do something that may result in the Mayor getting a dedicated spot on Green St.

Actually, it's an ordinance so I would guess it's a new thing. Ordinances have to have 2 readings and be published so ... whatever!

I don't necessarily object to this; it's not right in front of City Hall and the mayor shouldn't be wasting time driving around looking for a parking space.

That reminds me ... my old boss (in Boston) used to screech up in front of the bldg. and one of us (usually a man) would run out and take the car to the parking garage down the street for him. I got to do it once; he had this BMW with a racing engine. Best car I have ever driven, even if it was for only 2 blocks.

It was like butter, people!

Budget & Finance should be good

According to the City Council agenda for Monday's meeting, the councillors making up the Budget & Finance committee next year will be Bob Cronin, Ari Herzog and Ed Cameron (chairperson). This, of course, is a key committee and was most recently chaired by our new mayor, Donna Holaday.

I would not expect as many funding requests to go through in 2010 as in the recent past, but don't quote me on that.

Other committee assignments:

Joint Education
Allison Heartquist
Greg Earls
Steve Hutcheson, chairperson

Planning & Development
(This one should be interesting as well.)
Tom Jones
Brian Derrivan
Barry Connell, chairperson

Public Utilities
Allison Heartquist
Barry Connell
Kathleen O'Connor Ives, chairperson

Neighborhood & City Services
Allison Heartquist
Ed Cameron
Ari Herzog, chairperson

Public Safety
Bob Cronin
Tom Jones
Brian Derrivan, chairperson

License & Permits
Steve Hutcheson
Kathleen O'Connor Ives
Greg Earls, chairperson

General Government
Tom O'Brien
Greg Earls
Donna Holaday

Rules Committee
Kathleen O'Connor Ives
Steve Hutcheson
Tom Jones, chairperson

Well ... you've got 8 committees with chairs split between 10 councillors and three of them new. So wow, Ari got his own committee. I'm impressed.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


This morning I had an email in my Windows Mail inbox, allegedly from Bank of America, telling me I had only $1.68 in my checking account and to sign in to online banking through the email. Since I knew this was not my correct balance (and I never get alerts about my balance, ever), I called BOA immediately.

This is a fraud - but the scariest part is that the email did have the last 4 digits of my account number correct.

I was told by BOA customer service to forward the email to and that emails like this one have been going out in the last few days.

No more online banking for me.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I didn't like "The Secret History," either

Oh man, I hate books that grab you with a concept and then they just kind of end. Take this book I got for Christmas, "The Little Friend" by Donna Tartt.

First of all, I'm not entirely sure to what the title refers.

Second of all ... I hate books that just end with no resolution. 624 pages of yet another kid losing people s/he loves and ... what? At least Frodo dumped the ring in the fire, Luke Skywalker defeated the Evil Empire and Harry Potter (the pale clone of the first two) defeated the evil wizard.

I also hated that I wanted to take the main character and shoo her off to bed without dinner for about a week (oh, wait, that's what her mother does) and then she would be grounded ... forever.

And why the heck is there a testimonial in there from the "Financial Times?" Hmmmm ... book reviews on NBPT Biz?


Well it's all over and Donna Holaday is officially our mayor. After the ceremony, John Moak sailed off into the sunset (Pepperell) with little fanfare.

But the food at the reception (provided by Ted Epstein of Loretta, which will open next week, he said) was sensational. I'm really looking forward to Loretta being on State Street. There were little pulled pork sandwiches, melt-in-the-mouth chicken bits on sticks, pasta salads and lobster bisque.

Oh, man, that lobster bisque ... I still have some of it, down the front of my new sweater ...

Not to mention the whoopie pies from Chococoa.

Food aside, it was all very upbeat and everyone seemed very happy with what Holaday said in her inaugural speech. Tom O'Brien was elected as City Council President and Bruce Menin was elected as vice chairman of the School Committee.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The beach, Sunday

You'll notice the first 2 photos are looking south from the stone groin, down to the Refuge beach. This was pretty much at high tide. Water from the marsh was encroaching on PI Blvd. as I left the island but had receded somewhat when I returned less than an hour later.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Comcast losing emails?

I now have confirmation of at least half a dozen emails "lost" over the last 2 weeks, including an invitation to a New Year's Eve party!

Evil, bad Comcast, or ...

Perhaps it's Windows Mail ... since I also am not getting my NBPT Biz emails through Windows Mail. Thank goodness I had set it up so those also go to my Gmail account. Who knows what I'm missing, or have already missed?

Maybe the man of my dreams was at that party ... maybe someone proposed marriage (or even better, proposed sending me money) via email ... I'm sure in this day and age, it's been done already.

I hate it that nowadays, you're only as good as the technology you rely upon for information.

Friday, January 1, 2010

My motto for 2010

“Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.” - Ayn Rand

What does it mean?

So I got these 3 strange comments to old posts on this blog:

"your blog is very comfortable"
"... please where can I buy a unicorn?"
"Excuse, I have removed this phrase"

They seem innocuous enough (no links, etc.), but after the third one, I Googled all 3 ... they are common spam posts.

I don't see the point ... or perhaps there isn't one.

Still here, still dry

I just went over to the beach, or what's left of the beach. Let's just say I went over to the location formerly known as the beach ... we dodged a bullet this time, I think.