Newburyport Rail Trail, to the Water

When the leaves are still on the trees in New England October, when the light has changed with the seasons, and the sun is slanted low in the sky, it can be quite dark on the ground. But when the leaves fall, all of a sudden it seems as if the blinds have been pulled away and the daylight can now get through. Sometimes it feels quite bright and delightful, and at other times, especially on overcast days, it seems as if the landscape has been stripped.

Last Sunday, it was another one of those amazing warm, mid-fall New England days, sunny, after the leaves had fallen from the trees, and I thought I would take a look at the second, or first part of the Clipper City Rail Trail, depending on where you might start from. I walked down to Market Street again, and walked along the Newburyport Rail Trail towards the mouth of the mighty Merrimac River.

I am always surprised when I hear hostility towards the Newburyport Rail Trail, and again, it’s usually a feeling that this very extensive project is stealing money from the rest of Newburyport, MA. And as I’ve said in an earlier entry, the money comes from a completely different funding source, one that can only be used for something like this. So why not us? Why not Newburyport, MA? And the Clipper City Rail Trail presents long term benefits for making money for the City of Newburyport.

The Rail Trail that leads towards downtown Newburyport is the part that I took a gander at on Sunday.

And I was amazed again at the enormity of the project. Here is a photo of just one of the many pieces of equipment that is being used.


Here is a photo of the paved pathway leading to what will be the boardwalk around, under the bridge to downtown Newburyport, as well as a boardwalk in the other direction, to Cashman Park (all blocked off at the moment).


And here is a photo heading back towards Market Street, where the very complex construction of the Newburyport Rail Trail is evident.


And we have a lot of people to thank for this very exciting addition to our city, but one person in particular for me stands out. And that is Geordie Vining of the Newburyport Planning Office. It has always seemed to me that this particular project, which has been ongoing for so many years, has been a true “labor” of love.

A Picture of Winning, Newburyport Election 2009

I had never really thought that there was any correlation between painting, my painting (see previous post) and my love of local politics. But after this last political race, 2009, I’m beginning to think differently.

When I start a painting there is an idea, the canvas is “blocked in” with shapes, the shapes become more and more detailed until, voila, there is a realistic painting.

And in this mayoral race it took a long time for me to see a picture taking shape, but the last weekend before the Newburyport election 2009 and especially the day of the election 2009, it seemed to me that there was no question that Donna Holaday would win.

About two weeks before the election it became clear, for a variety of reasons, the interviews in The Newburyport Liberator being one of them, that there was a huge difference in the way the two candidates approached the Central Waterfront (see earlier entries). And the there was no question that Donna Holaday had the “Waterfront” vote, a vote in Newburyport, never to be underestimated.

By that weekend, it was obvious to me that Donna Holaday had the “City Hall vote,” and the folks at Newburyport City Hall vote, and their ties in Newburyport’s community go deep.

It was also apparent that candidate Holaday had the “townie” vote (except for those who were a little concerned that she might not be as firm about the “override” issue as James Shanley). James Shanley was perceived as the candidate who was the “new comer,” who could take away their town. (I do not happen to think that this is true, but that appeared to be the perception.)

Donna Holaday had the enthusiastic education vote, a large block of voters. Ms Holaday had the “Back Bay vote,” basically anyone in town that really disliked the wind turbine (see earlier entries), which is a huge portion (politically correct or not) of Newburyport’s population.

The historic preservation vote was split.

And when the list of contributors came out, it was perceived that James Shanley was in the pocket of the developers. I know James Shanely, and I know that this is absolutely not the case, although it was the perception. (Mr. Shanley had worked very closely as a Newburyport City Councilor with the Newburyport Chamber of Commerce, a member of which was a major player on his very organized campaign, and my guess is that a lot of the business community gave donations as a result.)

And then there was the fact that Donna Holaday has a huge name recognition, for a whole variety of reasons. And also, a lot of folks in town know that we have a mayor, but they don’t know that we have a Newburyport City Council, much less that we have a president of the Newburyport City Council. So the fact that James Shanley was the president of the Newburyport City Council meant absolutely nothing to a large majority of folks that don’t pay a whole lot of attention to Newburyport politics.

Art, Paintings, Newburyport Show


“Many locals know her only as the author of the Newburyport Political Blog. But the political junkie that is Mary Baker Eaton is also an accomplished artist whose work has appeared at prestigious New York City galleries and can be found in private and corporate collections across the country.

And, now, her readers ‑ and everyone else ‑ finally will be able to see her artwork up close, as Kerim Kaya, owner of Kaya Jewelers downtown, presents her paintings through Dec. 31.

The exhibit marks her first major local showing in 10 years, and the quirky Eaton, surrounded Monday morning by her exquisitely detailed paintings of Newburyport scenes, took every opportunity to promote her good friend, Kaya.

“This is a great way for two business people to get together,” she said, leaning against one of the jewelry display cases. “I help Kaya. Kaya helps me. Every time I tell someone about the show, I tell them, ‘You should come in and buy your significant other or yourself a nice piece of custom-made jewelry for Christmas…””

“…The paintings on display showcase Eaton’s love for the natural beauty of the community where she has lived for the past 30 years. A contemporary realist painter, she captures, with lifelike precision, the stillness of the Plum Island marshes, the petals of a bright yellow iris in the South End, apple blossoms clinging to a brick wall at the old gardens at Maudslay State Park and the Common Pasture, its vista unchanged by centuries.”

“Putting things in perspective,” by Ulrika G. Gerth, © The Newburyport Current, November 6, 2009

Blue Morning Glory, Oil on Panel, © Mary Baker
Blue Morning Glory, Oil on Panel, © Mary Baker

Kerim Kaya, a long time friend and owner of Kaya Jewelers, approached me about a month or so ago and asked if I would like to show my paintings in his gorgeous jewelry store, Kaya Jewelers, 41 State Street, on the corner of Essex Street. My response, especially in this economy that has hurt the arts so much was, “What a great idea!”

The show is up for all of November and December, and the reception is this Saturday, November 7, 2009 from 6 PM-9PM. Please stop by and say “Hello.” And do be sure to buy yourself or your significant-other a beautiful piece of jewelry for the holidays.

You can read the rest of the story in the Newburyport Current here.

Outcome, Newburyport Election 2009

Both The Newburyport Current and
The Newburyport Daily News have very good stories on the outcome of the Newburyport Election 2009. Donna Holaday won as Mayor of Newburyport.

The un-official numbers are:

Holaday 2,704
Shanley 2,257

The Newburyport Daily News has an article on the race for Newburyport Councilor At Large. The numbers for that race:

“Connell secured 2,977 votes, Ives 2,877, Hutcheson 2,338, Jones 2,309 and Herzog 1,970. Michael Ferrick received 1,604, while Frances Sullivan took 1,629 votes.”
(The Newburyport Daily News, November 4, 2009)

In Ward 1, incumbent Larry McCavitt lost to Allison Heartquist.

“Unofficial results show Heartquist won by a large margin in the Plum Island precinct, 191-81, while the vote was closer in the mainland section of Ward 1, with Heartquist getting 385 votes to 361 for McCavitt.”
(The Newburyport Daily News, November 3, 2009)

Both the Newburyport Current and the Newburyport Daily News have stories on the Newburyport Charter Commission, Question #1 and the Newburyport Charter Commission race.

“Although results are not yet official, 3,336 voters said yes to a ballot question that asked if a commission should be formed to review the City Charter, the document that outlines Newburyport’s form of government. The unofficial number of votes against the charter review was 1,233.”
(The Newburyport Current, November 4, 2009)

Both The Newburyport Daily News and The Newburyport Current have the results of the Newburyport Charter Review Commission:

Kathleen Bailey 1,373
Bruce Brown 1, 075
Hugh Kelleher 1,006
Bruce Vogel 1,003
Bruce Menin 997
Steve Cole 979
Shelia Mullins 953
Jim Stiles 941
Roger Gagnon 848

(If I get a chance, I will stop by the Newburyport City Clerk’s Office and pick up a copy of the results ward by ward.)

Here are the official results ward by ward of the Newburyport Elections 2009. They are on the Newburyport City Website.

Official results from Newburyport Election 2009, press here.

Here is a copy of the final election results, ward by ward, that I picked up from the Newburyport City Clerk’s office.

Election results for Mayor, Councillor and Councillor At-Large.

Election results for School Committee, Question #1 and Charter Commisson.

Newburyport 2009 Election Results

Results for Newburyport Election 2009

Mayor of Newburyport
Donna D. Holaday
James G. Shanley

Winner: Donna Holaday

Ward 1
Lawrence V. McCavitt
Allison Heartquist

Winner: Allison Heartquist

Ward 3
Robert J. Cronin
Dawne Shand

Winner: Robert J. Cronin

Councilor At-Large
Barry N. Connell
Steven R. Hutcheson
Kathleen O’Connnor Ives
Thomas E. Jones
Michael Edward Ferrick
Ari B. Herzog
Frances E. Sullivan

Barry N. Connell
Kathleen O’Connnor Ives
Steven R. Hutcheson
Thomas E. Jones
Ari B. Herzog

Question #1
Shall a commission be elected to frame a charter for Newburyport?

Question #1 wins by a large margin

Usually the City Clerk hands out the “un-official” results about a half hour after they are read in City Hall Chambers. But (I think because of the number of Charter Commission candidates) only the “un-un-official” results (in some wards only phoned-in results were available) were in, and at 9:45 it was thought that it might take up to another hour to get the “un-official” results. So I came home. I do not have the list of people who won for Charter Commission. I am sure all of that will be in the local papers tomorrow.

Congratulations to those who won, and to all who ran.

Election Day, Mid-Day Report

I actually went to all the polling places, except Plum Island. One thing surprised everyone I talked to. Usually there is an “early morning commuter” vote, from about 7:00 AM to 8:15-8:30 AM. Often there are people waiting in line to get into vote. That did not seem to exist at any of the polling places this year, which could mean a very low turn-out, which would be too bad.

When I went to vote at Ward 2, there was a steady stream of voters, and the total at about 11:30 was 250, which people seemed to think was very low for that point in the day.

And the thing that surprised me, was that people said that there was a lot of sentiment against Question #1… about whether to discuss the structure of Newburyport’s City Charter, so it could turn out that Question #1 could be very close.

At Ward 1 and Ward 2 there were a many more people holding Donna Holaday signs, when I went, which surprised me. At the Bresnahan School, Ward 5 and Ward 6, and Hope Community Church, Ward 3 and Ward 4, the signs were about even for Donna Holaday and James Shanley.

Newburyport Election Day 2009

Go Vote! (Polls are open from 7 AM to 8 PM)

Vote for:

Mayor of Newburyport

Newburyport City Council

Newburyport School Committee

Question #1 (whether or not we should have a discussion about the structure of Newburyport’s government, voting just on having a discussion–vote “Yes!”)

9 members for Newburyport’s Charter Review (who will be leading the discussion about the structure of Newburyport’s government.)

Polls close at 8 PM.

The Newburyport Daily News will have the election results as soon as they are available on their website.

Port Media will reporting the election results live on Channel 9. Gillian Swart will be doing the commentary.

I may go down to Newburyport City Hall just to watch the results as they come in.

Day Before Newburyport Election 2009

I am a political junkie. In local elections, I love the day before voting day, and voting day itself. The candidates have waged their campaigns, the last push over the weekend has been made, and there is a certain excitement and anticipation in the air.

And no matter who wins or loses, I always have a let down the day after election day.

Make sure you vote tomorrow, Tuesday, November 3, 2009.

If you do not know where to vote, the Newburyport City Clerk’s Office has this link here, where you can put in your street information and it will tell you where to go.

Here are some of the contested races for Newburyport election 2009 and the ballot question.

(* Means that the person is an incumbent.)

Mayor of Newburyport (Vote for one)
Donna D. Holaday
James G. Shanley

Ward 1
Lawrence V. McCavitt *
Allison Heartquist

Ward 3
Robert J. Cronin
Dawne Shand

Councilor At-Large (Vote for five)
Barry N. Connell *
Steven R. Hutcheson *
Kathleen O’Connnor Ives *
Thomas E. Jones *
Michael Edward Ferrick
Ari B. Herzog
Frances E. Sullivan

Question #1
Shall a commission be elected to frame a charter for Newburyport?

For all the information on the ballot for Newburyport’s 2009 election, press here, The Newburyport Daiy News, including the 20 candidates running for Charter Commission.