Something new is happening at Cedar Rock Gardens and it’s happening across New England (and certainly Cape Ann).  Young people, like Tucker Smith and Elise Jillson of Cedar Rock Gardens, are farming, successfully, amidst the boulders and rocky outcroppings of a seemingly infertile New England coast.  This isn’t a typical “farm-to-table” rehash. At least, not totally.

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After years of planning, including the last six months of developing a vetted budget, Essex voters will be able to vote at a Special Town Meeting Monday, September 23 to approve construction of a new Public Safety Building on John Wise Avenue that will be the headquarters of both Fire and Police Departments. 

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This week at The Essex Room it was a packed house at the “Retirement Party Meets Fundraiser” for Michael T. French, 30 years on the Essex Police Department who worked his last two shifts late last month to fill in for former partner and now Chief of Police Paul Francis. His last morning was working the Bicentennial Parade and that was the last time his was in full uniform. 

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Perhaps you have met someone like this.  A person who somehow managed to keep a small piece of their childhood alive long enough to have it evident in their adult life.  Sylvia Martin is one of these people. The first time I met her she seemed to have, even at the age of 86 and even spending most days in a chair in her den, a childlike joy.  A sparkle to her. As if adventure was still waiting just around the corner.

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Residents of Essex, the Town Building Committee, and the Board of Selectmen will convene on Monday, September 23 for a Special Town Meeting on an issue long talked about — a public safety facility. The long-planned project, which calls for the construction of a building to house both the Essex Fire and Police Departments on two adjoining properties on John Wise Avenue, was tabled at the Annual Town Meeting on May 6 due to a soft budget of $17.5 million that left too many unknowns. 

It starting to feel like a new day for the police departments of Manchester-by-the-Sea and Essex.  We’re now into the fourth month of Manchester native, Todd Fitzgerald, being named Interim Police Chief following the departure of Ed Conley, to head up Gloucester’s police department.

There are still several months left in 2019 to celebrate the Essex Bicentennial, but if there was a weekend that was the hook to hang the celebration’s hat on, this was it.  Last weekend, it was stock full of events, all things “Bicentennial”.  

Paul Francis, a 22-year veteran of the Essex Police Department, is sworn in as Chief of Police by Town Clerk Pamela Thorne last Friday at a packed room in the Town Hall’s 3rd floor auditorium.  As Francis, 58 and a native of Gloucester, takes the oath, retiring Chief Peter Silva (far left) s…

I have this reoccurring suspicion that something wonderful happens when people do not speak for long periods of time. It is clear, when they do speak, that a depth of thought has taken up residence in the space created by the silence. This is most certainly the case with Noah and Sophie Courser-Kellerman, the farmers who are Alprilla Farm in Essex. 

This came in last month from the T.O.H.P. Burnham Assistant Librarian April Wanner.  A group of Essex residents dived into an impressive challenge on July 15: to create a mosaic of 225 — that’s right, 225 — Rubix cubes as part of the Essex Bicentennial at the library. 

Board of Selectmen’s (BOS) Meeting of July 29, 2019. Report covers from July 13, 2019 to July 26, 2019 as published in The Essex Echo section of The Cricket on August 2, 2019. 

Essex Police Chief Peter Silva will retire next week.  Silva will hand the reins to long-time colleague and friend, Sergeant Paul Francis, who was tapped for the position after Silva announced his retirement last year.

Nearly 30 years ago, in 1990, Fred Langill of Edinboro, Pennsylvania decided to locate his grandparents’ graves at the Spring Street Cemetery in Essex.  After a nine-hour drive, he stopped at the Story Shipyard to ask for directions, and after exchanging some pleasantries and giving the man there some casual details, Fred mentioned that his grandfather’s name was Angus Langill.

The Northeast Coastal Coalition, a group formed by Massachusetts Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr to find and fund options for dredging and coastal resilience management in communities from Cape Ann to the New Hampshire border.  Members of the Coalition came to the table – literally – on Friday at the Essex Town Hall. It was a packed crew, spanning several state agencies and branches of government, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a series of environmental non-profits, university researchers and a variety of other groups.  Tarr and Phippen led the meeting, with coastal scientist Adam Finkle from the Woods Hole Group presenting a distilled version of the 162-page report.

Two weeks ago, the Essex Board of Health (BOH) looked like it was on the verge of a youth ban of flavored tobacco products that would effectively ban the products for all consumers in town, regardless of age.