Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cleanup of Little River Nature Trail set for Saturday

 From Today's Daily News....

Cleanup of Little River Nature Trail set for Saturday

NEWBURYPORT — Helping hands are needed for a Little River Nature Trail Cleanup Party sponsored by the Parker River Clean Water Association on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Volunteers should park at the Park and Ride lot on Storey Avenue and meet at the sign for the Little River Nature Trail across the street. If parking spaces are full, park in the shopping plaza and use the sidewalk to the trail sign. Bring gloves, clippers and loppers. Coffee, doughnuts and water will be available. Individuals and families with older children welcome. Garbage bags will be provided.
For more information, contact Jerry Mullins, 978-618-9154 or email Inquiries about Parker River Clean Water Association should be directed to George Comiskey at 978-352-7364 or
In case of inclement weather, the alternate date will be March 10.
This year, the group is focusing on the adjacent Little River Bike Path, which has been suffering from an unusual amount of refuse due to constant use. A favorite of bicyclists, dog walkers and hikers, the path was recently named after Gloria Braunhardt who, with Albert Decie as part of Citizens for Environmental Balance, worked so hard to establish, maintain and preserve this important piece of open space. She passed away in late summer 2010.
In 2001, the Parker River Clean Water Association proposed and received permission to construct a nature trail on land donated to the city by MassHighway to be used for observation, exercise, jogging and cross-country skiing in the winter. It roughly follows the Little River, which is a major tributary to the Parker River and contributes to the well-being of the Common Pasture and the Great Marsh. The Little River weaves in and out along the trail, starting as just a small stream, and begins to gather strength by the time it passes by Hale Street.
As humble as it starts, the Little River is an important part of the vast Great Marsh. Starting just west of Interstate 95 and south of Route 113 in a tiny pond, it is at the northernmost part of the Parker River Watershed and has a major influence on the water quality downstream, in particular, of the clam flats in the northern part of Plum Island.
Recent mammal sightings along the trail have included river otter, beaver, red fox and signs of mink. Birds seen in the summer included indigo bunting, waxwing, scarlet tanager, towhee, brown thrasher, blue-winged warbler and many more species. At least 17 different species of butterflies are present during the spring and summer.
Parker River Clean Water Association can be reached at P. O. Box 798, Byfield, MA 01922 or,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rezoning: CVS Storey Continued

Rumor has it that Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards cannot be killed by conventional weapons. Seemingly possessed of a similar immortality, this rezoning ordinance was reintroduced last night by Councillors Connell and Derrivan.  The fresh start was because the Council did not pass the ordinance within the prescribed time limit.  The proponents want to give it another try.  A change in zoning requires 8 votes of the 11 members.

I've gotten more constituent feedback on this than the meals tax, paid parking, wind turbine, and dogs combined.  Overwhelmingly that feedback is opposed to this change in zoning.  Some of that feedback, I think, is misguided; for instance, I don't think it's up to the City as to what business goes in there.  But I do think the City ought to have a say in what 'type' of business could be in there.  

I spoke last night with a list of reasons why I am against the rezoning.  There are good reasons to support the change particularly as it relates to open space.  I've been open to new information. It might but good for open space, the current property owners and and the developer, but I still feel as I did on November 14th that the traffic of an intense use on Storey Ave with an in-out on Storey only will be dangerous.  The proposed usage including a drive-thru pharmacy for the rezoned lots is too intensive for an already chaotic intersection.  The developer's ideas on traffic mitigation, essentially a suicide lane in the middle of Storey Ave., don't go far enough as far as I'm concerned.  As one constituent told me, this proposal turns purgatory into a full-fledged hell.  Turn into the Atria at 5:30pm, and pull out and take a left--this will be what like pulling out of a CVS...multiplied by many more cars.

And like Councillor Cronin, I feel that we need to take a longer harder look at the whole area. I'd be open to something like a zoning overlay which I think would be a good tool for an area which has many contrasting uses.

I don't have a problem with more discussion so I voted for the matter to be referred to committee.  Tropic Star has a track history of getting CVS projects approved in places like Amesbury, Salisbury, and Concord, New Hampshire.  I'm sure they can do better than this.

The original Council vote of Nov 14 is here.  Discussion on Storey Ave starts at 22:30ish.

The Daily News article from the beginning of the saga is here.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

City of Newburyport Public Meeting: Open Space and Recreation Plan 2012

Do you have ideas about how to improve parks and playgrounds?

Are you interested in protecting scenic areas?

Do you want more recreational activities offered for adults or kids?

Do you know where to find information about parks?

Do you know where to find walking trails on City lands?

Do we need more athletic fields?

Are you a rail trail enthusiast?

Do you use the dog parks?

Is there a particular property you’d like protected?
Come to the public meeting to find out more!City of Newburyport Public Meeting
Open Space and Recreation Plan 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Newburyport Public Library
If you answered yes to any of the questions above or have other ideas you’d like to share please come to the Public Meeting.
Please be sure to complete our survey...
We are looking for your ideas on how we can make Newburyport's open
spaces and recreation areas great for all to enjoy.
Newburyport Office of Planning and Development (978) 465-4400

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Volunteer Opportunity: Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Did you know that there are approximately 250,000 annual visitors to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge? The success of this unique area depends on volunteers. Volunteers are currently needed in two areas. Please consider having fun in a relaxing environment while donating some time to one of the following:

  • Gift Shop at the Refuge main office, 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport
  • Visitor Information Center at Lot #1
For information about these and other time-flexible opportunities, please contact:

Jean Adams, Volunteer Coordinator
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
6 Plum Island Turnpike
Newburyport, MA 01950



Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bringing Craziness to the Local Level

I preface this post by stating "I am not an agent of the United Nations nor any other anti-American conspiracy nor am I a social engineer."

There are lots of valid reasons to favor or oppose concepts like sustainable development, stretch building codes, and local historic districts, but labeling proponents as representing "the coordination of local governments by global entities and the U.N. with social engineering as a true objective" seems a bit of a stretch.

From the NY Times, February 3, 2012

Activists Fight Green Projects, Seeing U.N. Plot

Across the country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy. They brand government action for things like expanding public transportation routes and preserving open space as part of a United Nations-led conspiracy to deny property rights and herd citizens toward cities.
They are showing up at planning meetings to denounce bike lanes on public streets and smart meters on home appliances — efforts they equate to a big-government blueprint against individual rights.
“Down the road, this data will be used against you,” warned one speaker at a recent Roanoke County, Va., Board of Supervisors meeting who turned out with dozens of people opposed to the county’s paying $1,200 in dues to a nonprofit that consults on sustainability issues.
Local officials say they would dismiss such notions except that the growing and often heated protests are having an effect.
In Maine, the Tea Party-backed Republican governor canceled a project to ease congestion along the Route 1 corridor after protesters complained it was part of the United Nations plot. Similar opposition helped doom a high-speed train line in Florida. And more than a dozen cities, towns and counties, under new pressure, have cut off financing for a program that offers expertise on how to measure and cut carbon emissions.
“It sounds a little on the weird side, but we’ve found we ignore it at our own peril,” said George Homewood, a vice president of the American Planning Association’s chapter in Virginia.
The protests date to 1992 when the United Nations passed a sweeping, but nonbinding, 100-plus-page resolution called Agenda 21 that was designed to encourage nations to use fewer resources and conserve open land by steering development to already dense areas. They have gained momentum in the past two years because of the emergence of the Tea Party movement, harnessing its suspicion about government power and belief that man-made global warming is a hoax.
In January, the Republican Party adopted its own resolution against what it called “the destructive and insidious nature” of Agenda 21. And Newt Gingrich took aim at it during a Republican debate in November. 

Read the whole article here:

This is all rather humorously paranoid, except it's straight out of the John Birch Society playbook of the 1950's and 60's....and, according to the Bill Hudak for Congress website, the Newburyport Republican Committee featured an 'information session' on Agenda 21.

January 12, 2012 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Join Bill at the Newburyport RTC Meeting at Stripers in Salisbury for an important information meeting regarding Agenda 21.

Throughout our Country, in MA, and right now in Newburyport, the rights of homeowners are under attack with increased momentum. This is not a coincidence. Please read below to learn about the factors that result in fewer property rights for families across America.

Please attend the local information session to learn more about the methods and organizations behind the goals of reducing choices and liberties of private property owners and increasing the power of government officials.

Local Agenda 21: Coming to Your Neighborhood.
An information session on Agenda 21 by leading expert, Hal Shurtleff.
Thursday , Jan. 12, 2012 at 7:30 PM
Stripers Grille Restaurant Function Room
175 Bridge Road, Salisbury. MA 01952

Agenda 21 has infiltrated Newburyport as well as hundreds of other towns. Elected Mayors and town officials are solicited and encouragement (often with taxpayer funded grants) to participate in the many Agenda 21 programs. These programs often come to a city with nice names like The Green Communities Act, Sustainable Development, and ICLEI. They result in mandates like stretch building codes and the mentality that accepts powerful local historic districts. These organizations appear locally driven, but they represent the coordination of local governments by global entities and the U.N. with social engineering as a true objective.

Mayors and city legislatures may not comprehend what they are endorsing when committing a city to an Agenda 21 Program. Regardless of the specific Agenda 21 program, citizens soon realize their choices become limited, homeowner rights are restricted, and they lose economic progress in their city.

Please go to this website if you are looking for more information.

Please email Colleen Fallon,, with any questions or comments.
How crazy is this....?  If the anti-Agenda 21 folks are correct, will we be seeing this headline in the Newburport Daily News?
UN Security Council Passes Resolution Opposing New CVS in Newburyport

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pennies for Poverty Benefit

Oyster Sampling:

Come to the Starboard Galley on Saturday evening, February 4, 2012 between 6 and 7:30pm for an Oyster Sampling to benefit Pennies for Poverty. Master shucker Richard Rush will be on hand to crack open delicious fresh oysters. You'll have the opportunity to order a beverage, sample a complementary oyster or two and donate to the Pennies 2 Cent Grant Fund. Your support is important as we continue raising awareness of poverty and collecting donations to assist those who are experiencing poverty here in Greater Newburyport.

It should be a fun evening for all and a great way to assist those in need. Once you've sampled and donated you should plan to settle in for a delicious meal right there at the Starboard Galley, 55 Water Street, Newburyport. Hope to see you there!