Sunday, April 10, 2011

Artists of Lanesville - WALKER HANCOCK, Sculptor

This excerpt is from A Village at Lane's Cove by Barbara H Erkkila recently reprinted and available through Ten Pound Island Book Company. Barbara was the best chronicler of Lanesville and also authored the book Hammers on Stone-The History of Cape Ann Granite available in bookshops around Rockport and Gloucester, and The Cape Ann Museum giftshop.


The range and variety of Walker Hancock’s sculpture is truly remarkable, and all of it is created with his characteristic artistic integrity. He prefers to call his work “sculpture for architecture” rather than “architectural sculpture.” He has completed countless portraits as well and still receives commissions for them.

The sculptor’s favorite is the thirty-nine foot War Memorial in Philadelphia’s Thirtieth Street Station. When the tall, winged angel grieving over a dying soldier figure was finally finished, Mr. Hancock said he hoped travelers from all walks of life would find it moving, yet austere enough to hold its place properly in the architecture of that great station.

The piece presented a tremendous challenge because, as he said, ‘‘There was great danger of falling into sentimentality on the one hand or lack of emotion on the other. Such matters can only be decided by one’s individual feeling. Nothing can be written about them.”

Leaders in the arts and literature have sat in Mr. Hancock’s granite studio by the quarry pit, people such as Booth Tarkington in 1934, who said to him, “Never criticize yourself while you are working. Wait until it’s all done, then stand back and criticize it.”

Robert Frost, the much loved American poet, came to sit for Mr. Hancock in 1950 and walk the paths in the woods there. The bust was finished in time for the poet’s birthday at the end of the week. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sat for him in Washington, D.C., and so did Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, and Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. He has sculpted other famous people from history such as President Abraham Lincoln for Washington Cathedral, a full-length heroic-size figure of General Douglas MacArthur, a head of President Woodrow Wilson and a seated figure of President James Madison. The list is long.

Born in St. Louis on June 28, 1901, Mr. Hancock had always wanted to be a sculptor, and became convinced when in kindergarten he successfully modeled a bird’s nest with eggs. A few years later he attended art school on Wednesday nights and Saturdays all day. His studies finally took him to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where his teacher, a person he admired and respected, was the taciturn Charles Grafly. “But he was worth it,” the sculptor said.

While at Lanesville in his early days, Mr. Hancock came for meals at Mrs. Frisbee’s at Folly Cove, Warren Poland’s home. To his pleasure he discovered as many as ten artists and writers at the table for dinner the first day. He enjoyed the conversation and when it seemed indicated, he related what he thought was an interesting story. Suddenly, to his amazement, Mr. Clymer, himself an artist, slammed both fists on the table and said in a loud voice, “Cut out the hot air and pass the beans!”

Mr. Hancock was combining studies with Mr. Grafly both in Philadelphia and in Lanesville in the summertime. One year, Mr. Grafly left him in charge of his studio with permission to work on his own projects. Immediately, Mr. Hancock did a head of Toivo Helberg, a Finnish boy, his “first really serious finished head.” With it he later won the Widener Memorial Gold Medal. Of course, when Mr. Grafly returned, he examined his pupil’s work, saying nothing good or bad. But picking up a small piece of clay, he put it lightly above the left side of the forehead of the bust before silently walking off. Mr. Hancock thought it over a long time, then sent it out to the competition without the change. “But do you know, I think he was right,” he commented recently.

That same winter the sculptor completed a portrait of Waino Natti, the first young man he met when he came to the village. That sculpture won the Pris de Rome and earned him three years at the American Academy there. Going to Rome always had been his dream. Despite Mr. Grafly’s urging to stay at the studio, he sailed to Italy and Rome to what he called “a whole life and a whole world.”

When Mr. Hancock returned from Rome he stayed in New York City for a while, then came once more to Lanesville to build his granite studio here in 1930. He could not forget the village nor its people. While the granite blocks were being shaped and set in, he took his meals with a few Finnish families who lived nearby, such as the Gusti Stenbergs and the John Erkkilas. At times, he stayed with Mrs. Idah Austin, a former dietitian who later operated Folly Cove Inn.

Mr. Hancock was immediately “adopted” by the whole village. He is so enthused about the smallest thing done for him and so appreciative. He always has had a sense of humor, a quick smile, just enough so one senses also the fine-tuned awareness and serious nature of the artist he is.

When his studio was finished at “Deep Hole,” as the quarry is called, he invited the boys who swam in the pit to come back after supper to sit out on the granite terrace in summer until mosquitos drove them inside. In winter they gathered around the fireplace to listen to classical music. He also shared with them his “discoveries” of art treasures in Italy, a subject entirely new to them, for it was not taught in the schools. In return the boys brought in Finnish records of folk songs and dances. They also gave him the Finnish equivalent of his own complete name, calling him “Kavelia Kasikikko”. His old friends still greet him that way.

While in Rome the first time, Mr. Hancock completed a statue of Aphrodite for an estate in Chicago, and had it carved by the famous Piccirilli Bros. of Philadelphia, the stone carvers who did the Lincoln Memorial figure for Daniel Chester French.

For two years Mr. Hancock was a captain in the Army Intelligence Fine Arts and Archives Division, one of a team of ten special officers assigned to the European area north of the Alps for the purpose of preventing damage, where possible, to great works of arts hidden by the Germans. Sometimes paintings were discovered in castles, caves and even in remote hospitals. In one vast salt mine, 1,800 feet deep, Captain Hancock located his greatest find. Besides paintings by the great masters, there were treasures such as regalia dating back to the fifteenth century, the coffins of Frederick William I, first king of Prussia, his son, Frederick the Great, and also a vast library of that era. The last huge box of treasures was hoisted up the mine shaft to the surface on V-E Day, 1945. All treasures were later sorted and returned to their owners or to cathedrals as indicated. Captain Hancock left Germany in December 1945 and returned home to join his wife, Saima Natti, a former schoolteacher, whom he had married December 4,1943.

One day, while demonstrating sculpture in Rockport at a church fair, Mr. Hancock began a portrait of his friend, Russel Crouse, the playwright, and decided to finish it later at his studio. The sculptor has often worked on a larger scale such as the heroic group for the St. Louis Memorial Building and works for Kansas City’s City Hall.

In August 1952, led by General Omar Bradley, the War Memorial for the 1,300 employees of the Pennsylvania Railroad who had died in the service was unveiled at Philadelphia’s Thirtieth Street Station with great ceremony. People have written from all over the country to tell Mr. Hancock about their own feelings on viewing the angel figure with the soldier. It’s an emotional experience, and there’s much pride, too, that the Lanesville sculptor created such an art treasure.

The Academy’s Gold Medal of Honor, the highest award given, was awarded to Mr. Hancock in Philadelphia on May 20,1953 during the National Cresson Day awards event at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Only five people had received the award in the previous thirty-three years.

Mr. Hancock, his wife, Saima, and their little daughter, Deane, returned to Rome in October of 1956 when he had been appointed sculptor-in-residence at the American Academy. While there he superintended the high-relief carving of his communication theme in white marble on black for the Bell Telephone Company, Montreal, Canada. Just previous to traveling there, he had finished a nine-foot statue of Admiral John Paul Jones, American Navy, for Philadelphia’s Fairmont Park.

Governor Percival P. Baxter of Portland, Maine, sailed to Rome while the sculptor was in residence to sit for him. Done in bronze, the statue is the first to be in the Maine State House. Meanwhile, at Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, his sculptures had been grouped in a section called “The Hancock Oval.”

For thirty-eight years Mr. Hancock taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, on leave from 1956 to 1957 and again from 1962 to 1963.

Although the sculptor emphasizes he was only the consultant for the 300-foot wide carving on a section of the 800-foot high dome of granite comprising Stone Mountain, Georgia, left unfinished by Gutzon Borglum and then Augustus Lukeman in 1928, Mr. Hancock spent many months and completed many studies in his studio to “clean up the carving.”

The panel on the mountain includes the heads of General Robert E. Lee riding his horse, Traveler (Lee’s face alone is twenty-one feet tall), General Stonewall Jackson and the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. Granite had to be cut into new dimensions to finish the men’s heads, the heads of their horses and upper part of their bodies so the “arc of the finished sculpture would blend into the natural bald granite outline of Stone Mountain.” Mr. Hancock gave “emphasis to essential features while avoiding a stark realism where it would be inappropriate.” Dedication Day was May 9, 1970 with Mrs. Hancock and Deane there. Some of his neighbors flew down also.

In 1980 the sculptor completed a work called “Air” for the Civic Center in Philadelphia, in the garden in front of Exhibition Hall. The figure seems to hover over the global earth below, his arms and legs gently stretched out in a beneficent gesture. “The problem was to make it a powerful figure, yet in a gentle mood,” says Mr. Hancock.

The sculptor was working on a portrait of the late Vice President Hubert E. Humphrey in 1981, to be cast in plaster then carved in marble. He finished the seated figure of President James Madison for the new building of the Library of Congress and had it carved in the Italian village of Pietrasanta where stonecarvers have lived for hundreds of years.

In between his portrait busts, his commissions for sculpture for architecture and models for upcoming works, Mr. Hancock has somehow found time to complete forty figures, each about eight inches high, all studies of basketball players. The sculptor explained saying more action of the human body can be studied in basketball than any other sport.

At Washington Cathedral, Washington, D.C., the sculptor has completed the central figure of Christ in Majesty high in the reredos. On the north side there is a small chapel called the Good Shepherd, and there Mr. Hancock has a sculpture “The Shepherd.”

Working on the heroic bronze of President Abraham Lincoln has given Mr. Hancock great pleasure and inner satisfaction. The statue was dedicated in February of 1984 in Washington Cathedral. The Great Emancipator is portrayed as he appeared to the people when he spoke his famous farewell in a cold drizzle in Springfield, Illinois on February 11, 1861. “His speech was only nine sentences long,” the sculptor points out.

When the Reverend Richard Bamforth of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church of Rockport returned from the dedication exercises for the Lincoln figure, he described the event to friends, concluding, “After thinking over all the compassion, warm feeling for his fellow man, and great dignity expressed in the Lincoln statue, I felt that the same attributes could well be applied to the sculptor.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

In Gloucester, a gathering place scattered all about

The Boston Globe

In Gloucester, a gathering place scattered all about
Storm leaves hole in a sea wall, and in a city’s psyche
(Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff)
By David Rattigan
Globe Correspondent / January 9, 2011



Days after the late-December storm that had damaged part of the Lanes Cove sea wall in the Lanesville section of Gloucester, a steady stream of local folks stopped in to have a look.

Rick Paolillo described a "hidden jewel" where people could come to enjoy some scenery, or do some fishing. He said that he would walk along the smooth ledge of the sea wall — built on both sides of the cove — all the way to the center entrance, dubbed the “hole in the wall."

“This is a great place to come to watch the sun go down," said Paolillo, a retired firefighter who lives in nearby Rockport.

“That’s why it’s sad to see something like that," he said, pointing to a section of sea wall that had been turned into a pile of granite blocks.

The curious were still stopping by to take a look this week, as the city was trying to determine the extent of the damage, the first step in the effort to repair the historic landmark (it was dedicated in 1842) that offers protection for residents who still keep their boats moored and gear stored in the cove.

With Governor Deval Patrick declaring a state of emergency, the city was hopeful that it might receive state and federal disaster relief funds.

“There are a number of families who make their livelihood lobstering out of that area,’’ said Michael Hale, the city’s Department of Public Works director. “For those people, we need to restore it to its previous condition."

Restoring it quickly is also a concern, Hale said, since with the wall already weakened, “another storm could do a lot more damage."

On Thursday, Hale met with representatives of Newburyport-based Vine Associates, which the city hired to do a structural assessment of the damage.

Hale hopes to have a damage estimate by tomorrow, and he will submit that figure to federal and state agencies handling relief funds.

“The wall didn’t collapse, but it might be ready to," said harbormaster Jim Caulkett. “So we need a good study of the whole area."

Depending on the extent of the damage, Hale said that repairs could run from $300,000 to more than $1 million.

The sea wall is built from granite slabs, quarried locally, that weigh five to eight tons each. Approximately 30 feet of the sea wall was knocked down by the storm, and a ledge alongside another section also collapsed.

Caulkett also noted that chunks of debris littered the parking lot. “The ocean’s a powerful force," he said. “It can move rocks."

The rest of Gloucester sustained very little damage in the post-Christmas nor’easter, but in Caulkett’s words, “Lanes Cove got the full brunt of the high tide and the wind-driven sea — the storm surge.’’

Hale agreed.

“There were walls of water running through the bay," Hale said. “That bay is fairly calm, but the swells coming through Ipswich Bay during that event were enormous — 35-foot swells. It was pretty dramatic watching them.

“At the tail end, they had become 10- to 12-foot waves, smashing against the rocks and really slamming that wall with force. I live a couple of blocks up, and even with the window closed I could hear the pounding all night long. It was a ferocious storm."

On Jan. 5, the DPW installed jersey barriers and signs warning people to stay off the wall, for safety reasons.

Exactly what the next step is will be determined by Vine’s assessment, Hale said, but the city might need to move quickly if the damage is significant.

In addition to the 40-plus moorings in the cove, the sea wall provides protection for some houses.

“We need a structural analysis and assessment of current conditions," Hale said, noting that, “Wherever you see damage, there could be more damage that we can’t see."

The sea wall has become a favorite spot for those wishing to fish, swim, walk a dog or watch a sunset.

Up until recently, the cove was the site of an annual bonfire, which became a victim of its own success when it was canceled because town officials determined that it was drawing too large a crowd.

“It’s kind of nostalgic in its own sense," said Hale. “It’s the kind of place where you’ll see the community come together."

© Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A piece of history crumbles

December 28, 2010
A piece of history crumbles

Photos.

By Richard Gaines
Staff Writer
The Gloucester Daily Times
Tue Dec 28, 2010, 11:19 PM EST

The Lane's Cove seawall, built at a painstaking pace — 14 years from conception to dedication in 1842 — has persevered through a most unstable history for locally cut granite blocks weighing five to eight tons each.

The thematic history of the seawall, to be sure, can be understood to be the Lanesville people's refusal to accept nature's clear conclusion that no permanent impediment to the force of the waters of Ipswich Bay around the natural opening into a harbor small enough to be called quaint can be allowed.

The latest sign of the people's violation of the natural law was a force of water and wind Sunday night and Monday morning — in the harridan of a storm that marked the start of winter and took a couple of big bites out of the wall.

The damage described in Tuesday's Times significantly understated the harm done, according to the first comprehensive report and assessment made by Harbormaster Jim Caulkett, in an e-mail to Mayor Carolyn Kirk.

"Lane's Cove has received severe damage in two locations, standing on land looking out at the entrance (commonly called the 'Hole in the Wall'), Caulkett wrote. "The left hand side (south side) lost several courses of stone for a length of about 100 feet on the outer main wall. The right hand side (north side) has a 20 foot to 30 collapse to the inner wall where the boats actually moor."

Public Works Director Michael Hale said Tuesday he would not be able to even estimate the cost of repair before a firm with expertise in seawall construction does a structural evaluation. Such a firm is Vine Associates, which has consulted to many recent city projects including the Cripple Cove seawall reconstruction in the early years of the last decade and the continuing work on Stacy Boulevard, said Hale.

His "guess" was that repairs would cost at least $1 million, with possible contributions from the federal government or state, which declared a storm emergency on Sunday, opening the door for application.

The last repair/reconstruction of the seawall was carried out in 1994-95, using more than $500,000 in funds provided by the Federal Emergency Management agency for damages done in the storms of 1969, 1973, 1978 (the Blizzard of '78) and 1983, according to the archives of the Times.

As with most things Lanesville, fierce discussion, even argument galvanized the planning for the last rebuild.

Reporting on a community meeting at the Plum Cove School on Sept. 16, 1994, Barbara Erkkila, the author/journalist/historian wrote for the Times that the strong sentiment was reinforced historical accuracy.

Concrete was used to give the wall more strength to resist the fierce combinations, waves of blows blown in by nor'easters, similar to the one that did the recent damage.

"Lanesville people were also reassured that, as original blocks of stone were removed to work the reinforced concrete in place, the stones would be replaced exactly as they were," Erkkila noted,

"It seems," she wrote, "that most villagers are familiar with each stone in the breakwater and they don't want them out of place when it is completed."

From the earliest records, even before the settlement took its name from the settler John Lane in 1700 — when it was called descriptively Flatstone Cove for the remarkably flat granite face that pancakes out into the bay to the south of the Gap — villagers, fishermen first and later quarrymen saw the need for a seawall.

Its history is traceable to members of the original settlement, who ventured north past the mouth of the Annisquam estuary, before "the Cut" was made and found shelter from a surprise nor'easter in the little harbor and saw the obvious clear need for a breakwater.

As Erkkila wrote in her book "Village at Lane's Cove," the construction of the breakwater waited for the arrival of the granite quarrying technology that would be required to bring in and assemble the blocks.

The architect and organizer of the project was Michael Duley, for whom the approach road to the cove is named.

Granite was quarried from the earliest days for moorings and for mill stones — there is "the" millstone for the original Riverdale mill outside the Richdale convenience store on Washington Street.

In their book, "The Saga of Cape Ann," Melvin T. Copeland and Elliot C. Rogers describe how six-foot square stones 10 to 15 inches thick would be bored through to create a doughnut structure into which "the trunk of an oak tree, with the top cut off about 20 feet from the base then was shoved through the hole in the block. The roots were left on the oak truck and kept it from pulling through the hole in the stone."

When a rope was tied to the top of the tree, the tree was dropped at the spot chosen for a mooring, and in such a way, the boats of Lanesville's early years as a fishing and farming village were held secure from tide and storm.

But in 1828, the first industrial quarrying began. The Lanesville Granite Co. was incorporated in 1828, and it constructed the loading pier in the cove for the granite schooners and then came the breakwater and for its first few decades the cove was primarily used for granite loading. As many as 350 people were cutting and hauling granite.

The industry spread to Bay View and Hodgkins Cove was adapted for the freighters, which were loaded with stone cut from the quarries on either side of the railroad that ran along what is now Quarry Street.

In her history of Lane's Cove, Erkkila counted "more than 50 small two-man quarries scattered all the way from Halibut Point to the Bay View line ... There was solid noise every day in the village."

"There was solid noise all day everywhere in the village," she wrote. "Quarry pumps ran all night and there was continual blasting with black powder. Shrill whistles signaled derrick movements, or warned of explosions to come, often followed by a special whistle for doctors to hurry there."

Whatever else they lacked, in their effort to keep nature at bay, the villagers of Lane's Cove and Lanesville had no dearth of granite for their redoubt.

Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-283-07000, x3464, or at rgaines@gloucestertimes.com.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lanes Cove Bluefish Tournament - 2010

It was a beautiful day for the Bluefish Tournament this year.

Gloucester Daily Times
September 10, 2010
Lanes Cove bluefish event one for the ages

Ebb & Flow By Peter K. Prybot Fri Sep 10, 2010, 10:56 PM EDT

Good weather, catches, participation, organization and execution made last Sunday's 22nd annual Lane's Cove Bluefish Tournament flow like never before.

The tournament officials even frequently smiled, and two new twists occurred during this local premier game fish tournament that always takes place on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.

One was named Hurricane — then Tropical Storm — Earl, which was supposed to hit Friday night but fizzled and turned out to be a category 5 media hurricane — where at least one Boston TV station urged viewers "don't panic."

In the end, it left hardly a residual swell on tournament day. Instead, a 15 to 20 mph westerly fanned the 74 degree sun-saturated dry air and also gave the contestants gusto; even though a 2-to-3-foot-high short chop often dropped their hulls below the waterline. Many of the anglers fortunately found a good body of bluefish stalking within the leeward waters between the Essex and Ipswich rivers.

Another was the registration format.

"This year, we did Saturday 9 a.m. to noon and Sunday 6-9 a.m. registrations," explained veteran tournament official Jen Grace. "Sunday's line got to be ridiculous, and people ended up waiting too long."

Previous tournaments had only a 3-hour-long Sunday morning registration. Kendra Hardy, Don Peavey and his son Brandon, Brian Cusick and officer Joe Parady once again assisted Grace with the tournament.

The team of area lobstermen Steve Boudreau and Chris "Skully" Jewell were the first registrants among this year's 441, while Gloucester electrician Sean Cranston was number 441 — three more than in 2009. A record 597 people partook in the 2007 tournament.

This year's collective $10 entry fees allowed for $1,500, $900 and $600 respective first, second and third prizes, as well as for several $100 and $50 raffle prizes. Everyone got a raffle ticket during registration.

Cape Ann businesses also contributed to the tournament. Not only did The Fisherman's Outfitter and Winchester Fishing Gear Company give rods and reels for the raffle, but Steve Connolly Seafood Company and Sea Breeze Liquors also donated gift certificates, while the Yankee Fleet gave half-day whale watching and deep-sea fishing trips.

T-shirts and sweatshirts were contributed by Rose's Marine, Pratty's and Three Lanterns Ship Supply. Cape Ann Brewing Company added a 12-pack of their bottled product along with some of their mugs. Gloucester fireman Gregg Marchant further donated one of his hand-crafted Nana Maae wooden boats. And Lanesville Package Store even paid for the two on-site portable toilets.

Not wanting people to go hungry or thirsty, area residents Dusty Ketchopulos, Chuck Walima and Nick Avelis set up several tables, complete with paper plates and plastic utensils and served water, grilled hamburgers, hotdogs and sausage, and barbecued pork cooked on a stainless steel rotisserie that Ketchopulos fabricated.

At 3 p.m., Peavey, the master of ceremonies, punctually sounded his siren and soon announced over his loudspeaker, "All right, we are going to get it (the hour-long weigh-in) going."

Ron and Nancy Parnell, their daughter Denise, and Nancy's sister Diana — crew of Denise's boat, the Sun Up — were among the first to weigh out. Contestants had to first present their tournament number, which was corroborated from the master list, before any weighing. All weigh-outs were done with a precise digital scale.

Part way through the weigh-out, Peavey announced, "Just bring the big ones up. The fish as of now has to be over 10.36 pounds to get in at third."

Four things became evident during this tournament's aging.

First, "everybody caught fish today," said Don Peavey's brother Bob, also one of the tournament founders.

Second, in sharp contrast to 2009's tournament, "There were a lot of fish this year," Cusick explained.

Co-captains and owners, Chris Wayrynen and Hal Wentworth hooked about 70 bluefish aboard the tuna boat, Went-Way, between 6 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

"We had three rods out, and we had triple hook-ups all the time," Wayrynen said. Many anglers quickly released their unwanted bluefish that had no chance of winning throughout the day.

Furthermore, this year, "The average fish size was bigger this year," said Parady.

The median weight range was up at least a pound over last year to 10 pounds.

As contestant Ross Clayton, a senior at the University of Rhode Island, lastly explained, "the bluefish were all pretty much the same size."

Don Peavey promptly ended the weigh-out at 4 p.m., and announced the tournament's Big Three, which for the first time ever turned out to be only two. The team of Ari Knowlton Miller from Lanesville and Squammer David "Dirt" Murray hooked the respective top two prizes with 12-pound and 11.9-pound bluefish. Longtime Bay View contestant, Richard Belding's 11.66-pound fish took third prize.

"I can't believe it," said a jubilant Miller, who also won first prize in the 2008 bluefish tournament with Murray.

The two hooked their winners around 8:30 a.m. with a Repala Magnum trolling off of Bay View, which was also about the same time they landed their prize fish two years ago.

Their 12-pound fish lost about a pound of flesh after being hit by their outboard's propeller.

"I almost threw the fish away after it got hit by the prop, but I said that's a big fish, let's keep it," said Miller.

"This is the first time since I began participating in the tournament in 1994 that I ever won," Belding said.

His sons Patrick, 16, and Daniel, 13, were with their father when he snagged the third prize around 6:30 am between the Essex and Ipswich Rivers, also using a Repala Magnum.

The raffle was held immediately after the big prize awarding.

"You have to be here to win," said Peavey from the bed of his truck to the surrounding crowd that numbered in the hundreds.

The raffle winners included:

Rods and reels — Bob Peavey, Zack Johnson and Nick Parisi, Jr.

The Fishermen's Catch — Scott Weatherby

Gift certificates — Steve Thibodeau and Brian Painter

Half-day deep-sea fishing trip — Capt. Mark Byard

$50 — Kevin Ryan and Rebecca Betting

$100 — Nick Parisi, Sr. and Nicole Lukegord/Dan Brown

Boat model — Josh Labrie

T-shirts and sweatshirts — Steve Conti, Ken Hubbard, Pete Carlson, Mike Appleton, Dean Horne, Larry Fennessy, Tim Lodge, Mike Jewell, Erik Lemieux and Dusty Ketchopulos.

Before the tournament came to a close, the officials further tossed about 100 hats to the crowd.

Peavey next gave his trademark tournament-ending speech:

"Thanks, everybody," he said. "I hope everybody had fun. See you next year."

Gloucester lobsterman Peter K. Prybot writes regularly for the Times about the fishing industry and other local issues.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lanes Cove - A New Destination for Overnight Boaters

Seems recently we've been getting boaters coming in on weekends and rafting up at the dock in Lanes Cove and staying overnight. They've even set up a tent onshore! I know that Lanes Cove is one of the best spots on this side of the Cape and it looks likes some other folks have discovered it to. Hey, what's not to like--plenty of free parking for your friends, gorgeous scenery, no pesky harbormaster or police to bother you and a liquor store a couple of minutes away. Now that's heaven!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Beautiful Weather for April

The weather was just beautiful this weekend, and is predicted to continue for the next several days. After the wettest March on record, things are greening up and budding all around. Of course this is New England, where fierce snowstorms are not unusual in April, and I once lost a bet that it wouldn't snow in May. Often times it feels like we never get a true spring--or at least not until June. One downside is every crazy with a loud toy (dirt bike, motorcycles with straight pipes, overpowered speed boats) decided to crawl out of their cave and descend on the Cove. Well, at least the weekend is over and we can get back to some of the truly peaceful quiet here on Lanes Cove.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve on Lanes Cove

I must admit that I've neglected my blog about Lanes Cove. Like so many of us, there are many other things vying for my time. One of these is the number of computers it takes to provide the two camera feeds, a weather feed, plus one for a ham radio Internet to RF (radio frequency) link known as Echolink. Try keeping four computers running 24/7 sometime.

This is the lowest depth as far as sunlight, plus the farthest south the sun travels along the horizon. The sun for us now sets behind the hill where the Lanes Cove Cemetery is and will remain there for quite a while. Once the sun starts making its way back north along the horizon, it will pick up speed quickly as we approach spring.

We have had a good week of stiff, steady wind from the north and northwest. It has finally calmed down, but it was fun watching the waves our on Ipswich bay and the ice build up on the shallow end of the Cove.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Artists of Lanesville - GEORGE DEMETRIOS

This excerpt is from A Village at Lane's Cove by Barbara H Erkkila recently reprinted and available through Ten Pound Island Book Company. Barbara was the best chronicler of Lanesville and also authored the book Hammers on Stone-The History of Cape Ann Granite available in bookshops around Rockport and Gloucester, and The Cape Ann Museum giftshop.


The late sculptor George Demetrios of Folly Cove came to Lanesville to study under Charles Grafly at Folly Cove, but as soon as he won two traveling scholarships from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, he went to Europe. He remained a lifelong friend of Mr. Grafly, sharing his studio in later years. Mr. Demetrios’ wife, the late Virginia Lee Burton, was a creator of illustrated children’s books and founder of the Folly Cove Designers.

George Demetrios was born in Macedonia in 1896 in the village of Pyrgoi. He died at the age of seventy-eight in December of 1974. Reading about Abraham Lincoln in school set him on the track for America and he sailed to Boston in 1911. His first job, after casting out the prospect of dish washing, was as a shoeshine boy on Washington Street in Boston at the Hotel Avery. He netted about five dollars a week working fourteen hours a day, eighteen on Saturday and six on Sunday.

It didn’t take young Demetrios long to learn English, for he was already fluent in Greek, French, Turkish, and Slav Macedonian, an unwritten language. He traded lessons with an Englishman named Alfred Hurbers, in English and Greek, using French as their communication language. This Mr. Demetrios often referred to as “linguistic pandemonium” and the reason he spoke with a British accent.

Before long George Demetrios was working on the Boston Herald where he could do art work. Two years later, he was attending the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He had made the jump successfully from Greek immigrant boy to student of sculpture.
For seven years he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and as an assistant to Antoine Bardelle in Paris. Then he returned to Boston to teach at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts school. He married Virginia Lee Burton in the spring of 1931. They lived for a while in Lincoln, Massachusetts before coming to Folly Cove.

In 1945 the sculptor was commissioned by the US Army Chemical Warfare Service to work with the laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to find ten heads which would be typical of all the GIs in the nation. The lab had conducted a survey and presented the results to the artist for his opinion. Mr. Demetrios then sculpted ten bronze heads, five normal and five unusual. From all of these, gas masks were developed in sizes, resulting finally in a single mask to fit any one of the ten.

In January 1949 Doll & Richards Gallery in Boston presented an exhibit by Mr. Demetrios. His works in bronze were: “A Merry Carpenter,” “Finnish Child,” “Laura,” “Stonecutter,” “A Dreamer,” “The Prayer,” “Fred” and “A Greek Woman.” Other works were: “Old Pete,” in terra cotta, matte glaze; “Victory,” terra cotta, majolica; “Smalley Memorial,” “Ben Stad Memorial,” “A Hypocrite” and “A Communist” in plaster. There were also reliefs in terra cotta and direct line drawings of the nude, a technique for which Demetrios became famous.

Mr. Demetrios won the Thomas R. Proctor prize for the best portrait in sculpture in 1950 at the National Academy of Design’s 125th anniversary exhibition in New York. It was a bronze head of a boy entitled “A Dreamer” which he had exhibited the year before, posed by his older son, Aristides, called Aris.

The sculptor once said, “To me, the only artist is the independent artist, whose function in life is to contribute a perception of the times in which he lives, in the only international language in the world; namely, understandable art by all.” In his fiery manner, tossing his words out quickly while his brown eyes sparkled, Mr. Demetrios encouraged his drawing classes: “Do the whole thing at once, but with a motive, not just a fact.”

The portrait of “Old Finlander” won a prize when it was submitted to the National Academy of Design in 1955 during the 130th Annual Exhibition. The late Peter Gronblad of Lane’s Cove, himself a second generation Finn, had posed for the sculptor.

A major work was dedicated in Kansas City, Missouri, in August of 1959. It was a sixteen-foot bas-relief dramatically portraying Moses with the Tablets of the Ten Commandments, “Atop Mount Sinai,” a bronze figure set in a red brick Wall of the Reform Jewish Synagogue of Congregation B’nai Jehudah. Mr. Demetrios spent two years on the work and journeyed to Italy where he could personally supervise the casting. He also completed a sculpture, “Let There Be Light,” for the synagogue’s chapel.

Mr. Demetrios was intrigued with what he called the “ironies of life,” and made many sketches to illustrate them: “Gadgets,” “Lipstick Mania,” “Early Spring,” “Technocracy,” “Business and Art in America,” “Modern Freedom,” “Politico-hypnosis” and “Swing Your Partner.”

When their house was moved farther back from the road, the Demetrios family had space to allow sheep to graze and the sculptor began an extensive garden. In September of 1947, a short circuit in wiring caused a bad fire at their home. They lost not only most of their clothes, but Mr. Demetrios suffered the loss of 120 drawings that he had been preparing for a new book. Neighbors helped carry out all they could from his work room.

When the fire started, the sculptor was in his own studio nearby, suddenly alerted by the sound of crackling. The family was promptly invited to stay at the Manship summer home until its own was again in order.

During the war years, when materials for sculpture were sharply curtailed, Mr. Demetrios became interested in experiments by Professor Frederick H. Norton of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who lived on the Dennison Farm, Revere Street. He had been experimenting with a new terra cotta clay that had strength, fine texture and was virtually non-shrinking. Several casts were possible from one set of molds and this quality appealed to sculptors everywhere. For a long while, Mr. Demetrios tried using an electric kiln installed in his home studio.

In 1967 Mr. Demetrios finished a figure he called “Homage to JFK,” and in 1968, together with Walker Hancock, he was awarded the 75th Anniversary Medal of the National Sculpture Society. The bronze medal is given to a sculptor who has attained outstanding achievement.

Mr. Demetrios was often praised for his storyteller’s humor, no doubt arising from his first book, When Greek Meets Greek, published by Houghton Mifflin Company in 1947 and illustrated with his own line drawings. Ted Ashby of the Boston Globe once wrote of Demetrios, calling him a dynamic and faultless technician: “He arrived here, spoke no English; four years later he was declared a genius."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunset on Lanes Cove


The sunsets are now racing south along the horizon and soon they will set behind the hill (toward the left), where they will remain for several months.

Essex County Chronicles: Tiny Cape Ann village became a big draw for artists

The Salem News

Essex County Chronicles
Jim McAllister

September 21, 2009 12:03 am



In the basement of the Cape Ann Historical Museum in downtown Gloucester is a room dedicated to the works of the many sculptors, painters and textile artists who practiced their craft, summers or year-round, in that far-flung corner of the city known as Folly Cove.

Folly Cove is actually part of Lanesville, which was originally settled in the early 1700s by John Lane and which for many years was a predominately Finnish community. The Folly Cove name is attributed to a master mariner named Gallop who somehow managed to crash his vessel on the rocky cove in 1635. For many years after the incident, the neighborhood was called Gallop's Folly, but, mercifully for the reputation of Capt. Gallop, the name somewhere along the way was changed to its present version.

Because of its isolated location near the tip of the peninsula bounded on one end by Rockport and the other by Annisquam, its breathtaking view of Ipswich Bay, regular trolley service, and later — when the Cape Ann granite industry fell apart — the availability of affordable property, Folly Cove became a popular destination for artists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many built or bought second homes in the area and returned year after year.

Some of these artists came from Boston, including Ellen Day Hale and her sister-in-law, Lillian Prescott Hale; while others, like Gabrielle de Veux Clements and Charles Grafly, hailed from Philadelphia. New York's contributions included the painter-muralist Leon Kroll, who spent nearly 60 summers on Cape Ann, and Paul Manship.

Kroll bought a home in the Folly Cove neighborhood during World War II, and during his time on Cape Ann produced many stunning views of local quarries, farms and beaches, often enhanced by the figures for which he was so well-known.

The already famous sculptor Manship also purchased 14 acres of land in Lanesville in 1943. He moved to the site, an abandoned quarry, a house and a barn, the latter to serve as his studio. But Manship, who is best known for his massive statue of Prometheus in New York City's Rockefeller Center and his lively monumental work at the Bronx Zoo, used the studio infrequently because asthma limited the amount of time he could spend on Cape Ann.

Manship's son, John, and his sculptor wife, Margaret (Cassidy), took over the property after Paul's death. Both were to have magnificent careers in their own right — John primarily as a painter and Margaret as a sculptress. Robert Frost sat for both and Margaret produced bronze busts of two popes, John Paul II and Pius XII, and American presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

One of Paul Manship's teachers, Charles Grafly, who headed the sculpture department at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art, had been the first of many sculptors who summered or lived in the Lanesville area. After his tragic death — the result of being run over by a car — Grafly's position at the academy was taken by an up-and-coming sculptor named Walker Hancock. The St. Louis native would follow his mentor's lead in choosing a summer sanctuary.

Hancock acquired an abandoned quarry in Lanesville and married a member of one the area's preeminent Finnish families. During his long and impressive career, Hancock's output included the Pennsylvania Railroad War Memorial in Philadelphia, the Soldiers' Memorial in St. Louis, and busts of Russell Crouse and family friend George Bush.

Another sculptor who chose to settle in Folly Cove was a Greek immigrant and great teacher of drawing and sculpture named George Demetrios. His wife, Virginia, became famous for the children's books, including "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel," which she wrote under the name Virginia Lee Burton. She also started the group known as the Folly Cove Designers who became known across the country for their artistically designed fabrics. Samples of those fabrics are on display in the Cape Ann Museum.

The art critic and biographer James Mellow also owned a summer home for many years in Folly Cove just north of Folly Point. A Gloucester native who relocated to Clinton, Conn., Mellow penned biographies of Nathaniel Hawthorne, which won for him the National Book Award, Gertrude Stein and her circle, Ernest Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds, Scott and Zelda. Much of his writing was done in a small studio overlooking Ipswich Bay.

¢¢¢

Jim McAllister of Salem writes a weekly column on the region's history. Contact him at jim@nii.net.

Copyright © 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Artists of Lanesville - PAUL MANSHIP

This excerpt is from A Village at Lane's Cove by Barbara H Erkkila recently reprinted and available through Ten Pound Island Book Company. Barbara was the best chronicler of Lanesville and also authored the book Hammers on Stone-The History of Cape Ann Granite available in bookshops around Rockport and Gloucester, and The Cape Ann Museum giftshop.


Paul Manship, internationally known sculptor, and his wife, Isabel, made many friends when they came to Lanesville in the 1940s to live in their summer home overlooking Butman’s Pit. The sculptor died in 1966 at the age of eighty after a life filled with art, begun when a student at the American Academy in Rome at the age of twenty-three.

It is said that Mr. Manship was an artist who kept alive the traditions of the great works of Greece and Renaissance Italy whether he was modeling the young Abraham Lincoln for Fort Wayne, Indiana, a Greek goddess or the Little Country Mouse.

Probably the best known work of Mr. Manship’s is “Prometheus Bringing Fire from Heaven” finished in 1934, located in the sunken plaza, Rockefeller Center, New York City. Below the flying figure is a circle bearing in low relief the signs of the Zodiac. His most famous animal groups complete with six-foot high bronze bears, ten gilded bronze-birds, a deer, a lion, a baboon and a leopard with silver spots, are worked into a double-arched forty-two foot gate called the Paul J. Rainey Memorial Gateway in the Zoological Park in New York, also finished in 1934.

Mr. Manship’s sure, strong technique is demonstrated in his animal figures. He made them seem friendly-not in an overwhelming manner, but just enough to allow young and old a little smile of pleasure on seeing them. Many of his animal figures can be seen in Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina.

The sculptor was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on Christmas Eve, 1885. By the time he was fifteen, he was making masks of his family and was ready to study design. A few months at the Art Students League followed, and then he became an assistant to the sculptor, Solon Borglum. In 1906 Mr. Manship studied for a while under Charles Grafly at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, but at that time, he had no interest in portrait sculpture, so he sailed to Spain. While in Europe he became an assistant to Isadore Konti for two years and there he learned much about the technique of modeling.

Paul Manship was married to Isabel McIlwaine in Grace Church, New York, January 1, 1913. Two years later he had his first traveling exhibit, a collection of thirty-eight works, mostly bronze statuettes. His first daughter, Pauline Frances, was born in 1913. When the baby was three weeks old, he modeled his little daughter, a work which was acclaimed at once for its sensitivity and delicacy of design. In 1914 he was awarded the George Widener Memorial Gold Medal for his statue “Duck Girl.”

Although Mr. Manship created many statues of Greek gods and goddesses, he was never restricted to mythological subjects. At one period, the years before 1920, he was influenced by the East. The “Dancer and Gazelles” is one of his exacting bronzes, the “Woodrow Wilson Celestial Sphere” in the Gardens of the Palace of the United Nations at Geneva is another. Imagine the challenge of accurately fixing stars and positioning sixty-six constellations, and yet achieving that clean, uncluttered look for which Mr. Manship was famous. Friends coming to visit usually found him out on the terrace in the early dark, his arm around one of his three daughters, pointing to one constellation or another in that particular segment of sky while the other children eagerly joined in.

It was about 1944 when the Manships’ daughter, Pauline, married a Lanesville young man, Ilmari Natti, and went to live in a quarryman’s house near Moving Rock. The sculptor knew Cape Ann had a large number of artists, both permanent and summer residents, so he bought land off Leverett Street including two quarries, moved a house over from Pigeon Cove to the rim of Butman’s Pit and redesigned it to include a large picture window. Outside he planned a green lawn, but it was a real challenge since the entire area was covered with sharp granite chips left by paving cutters long ago. Villagers, at first skeptical, then admiring, saw him set up a grape arbor supported by massive lengths of a derrick boom and mast found in the quarry. Then he leveled off and paved an area for a terrace and found polished granite for a table and benches. Later, he grew wild blueberry bushes as a low hedge handy to the kitchen door.

Mr. Manship hunted for a large barn, for it was wartime and lumber was not available. Lorenzo Berry’s ox barn at Bay View proved to be just the thing. It was brought down in sections and rebuilt close to the house. Facing the old quarry road and warmth of the sun, the renovated barn became the sculptor’s summer studio and exhibition building, at times holding 200 models and studies representing most of his work to that date. His small “den” was an old grain room just inside the door where he could disappear to work. Hung as a curtain were lengths of fishing line with lead sinkers to hold them vertically against weathered boards. Outside he coaxed his first espaliered fruit tree to grow. He was as proud of this as he was of his latest work or his grandchildren. Later, he designed a pergola overlooking Canney’s Pit.

During one of the first Cape Ann Festivals of the Arts, the Manships opened their home and studio for a Finnish-type coffee party to which hundreds came. People admired the bronze and plaster models, especially on the upper terrace where the sculptor had placed his large sundial called “Time and the Fates.” This was surrounded by his four “Moods of Time” which he did for the World’s Fair of 1939 in New York. The highlight that day was a scene from the play “Life with Father” with the two playwrights, Russel Crouse and Howard Lindsay attending with their wives.

Mr. Manship gained still more prominence with his work for the World War I1 Memorial at Anzio, Italy, entitled the “Portal of Freedom,” “Memory,” 1952; “Immortality,” 1952; “Comrades in Arms,” 1953 and the “Altar Triptych,” 1955. He also sculpted small items such as ashtrays with signs of the Zodiac, medals for special friends and for his family, a sculpture for Steuben crystal and even a Four Freedoms Postage Stamp for the United States Government.

As other people collect photographs of their children growing up, Paul Manship had his own “album” of studies of his son, his three daughters and his wife in terra cotta and marble. When he retired, he continued to work in his den or in his New York studio, continuing his album with his first grandchild, Anne Murtha.

In 1961 Mr. Manship was awarded the “Oscar” of the art world, the international prize of San Luca in a program at the Borghese Palace in Florence, Italy. At that time the sculptor said, “If I have absorbed something of the light and spirit of Florence it has been a gain that has lasted me all through my life’s work."

Mr. Manship’s final work, one he never saw set in place, was the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial on a small island in the Potomac below the Georgetown Bridge. People walk across a narrow causeway to visit the area.

In 1966 the great sculptor died at age eighty of a heart attack while in his New York apartment. Shortly after, his son John found in the pocket of his father’s dressing gown a scrap of paper on which was written, “The primary impulse in the Arts is to give permanence to the fleeting moment, to bid it stay, because we cannot bear to lose it.”

Bluefishers happy despite weather, low catch figures


Gloucester Daily Times

Ebb & Flow
Peter K. Prybot

September 11, 2009 10:08 pm



"There weren't a lot of fish caught, and the weather drove a lot of people away."

So explained Don Peavey, one of the annual Lane's Cove Bluefish Tournament's officials and founders.

But despite those negatives, participants did leave last weekend's 21st annual tournament happy, especially for winning a prize or just getting their feet back on solid ground, and everyone was grateful for this tournament and to the people —-Don and Brandon Peavey, David, Jen and Christy Grace, Kendra Hardy, Brian Cusick, Russell Haselgard and Joe Parady — who made it happen.

By the 9 a.m. tournament registration cut-off at Lane's Cove, 438 people signed on, paid their $10 entry fee and received their raffle ticket, down from 585 last year and 2007's record 597. Scott Amero was the first contestant in line, while James Bennett was the last.

A naughty east wind up to 25 miles per hour woke up early that clear, cool Sunday before Labor Day, and already riled three-to-five-foot white-capped waves by daybreak. These simple harmonic motions continued racing towards and self-destructing at the shore most of the morning, still leaving behind a sloppy ocean surface by afternoon. The bluefish hunt took place all around Cape Ann, including within Gloucester Harbor, to as far south as Boston Harbor.

Around 2:30, a fleet of tournament boats, including Capt. Mark Byard's 56-foot gillnetter S.S. Melon III and Capt. Ryan Drohan's 38-foot lobster boat Katlyn D, docked at the Cove's float and continued their on-board barbecues on an even keel. Fish talk flowed from the site as well as from the crowd on the east wharf.

"We had 15 people aboard, including 7 girls (young ladies). We caught just one fish. It was pretty rough out there. We were in the tournament for fun," said Drohan, of Rockport.

Mark Luzzio, one of 12 guests aboard the S.S. Melon III, gave his account for the day:

"We did a little trolling," he said. "We got one hit and lost him. We had some seasick people aboard."

Capt. Dean Horn of the vessel Split the Difference and his crew of Chris Smith, Bob Orlando, vessel owner, Guy Cloutman, Brian Watson and Paul Boudreau "... went all the way to Salem Sound."

"You had to; the fish were pretty scarce everywhere," said Horn. "We got two here."

Fishermen ever so slowly began bringing their largest fish to the well-run weigh-out station, complete with a digital scale, from 2:30 p.m. onward to see if they had a winner.

"Bring them up, bring them up," Cusick regularly broadcast to a growing, well-behaved crowd.

"Two years back, Grace and his Beacon Roofing Supply Company in Peabody donated the digital scale," Peavey explained.

"We're down to five minutes on the tournament," Peavey soon announced. By then most of the approximately 60 fish weighed fell within the 8 to 11-pound range.

"This is the smallest amount of fish I've ever seen weighed," remarked David Grace.

One of the bluefish, transported in a cooler, was still flapping during its weigh-in. Soon, deemed not a prize winner, the fish's owner then no longer wanted it, tournament officials returned it to the Cove, and the fish swam away. Other bluefish drop-offs were picked up by different people for food.

Peavey promptly terminated the tournament at 4 p.m.

Brothers Chris and Zach Jewell snagged the 11.8-pound $1,350 first prize fish trolling a lure aboard Chris' 34-foot lobster boat McKenzie Rose.

"We got him around 8 a.m. right off the bell buoy (at the mouth of the Annisquam River). We got three fish with three losses," said Zach.

"I got him in Boston Harbor around 10:30 a.m. just using some herring (as hook bait and chum)," said Mike Gingras. He's talking about his 11.5-pound second prize, fish worth $700. Gingras fished off his boat, Naughty Boy. Although Gingras resides in Nashua, N.H., "I still come up for the tournament," he said.

Brian Cusick has officiated and also participated in all 21 tournaments "... and haven't won a damn thing," he said.

That changed this year. Cusick and his crew aboard the Ellie Mae — Don and Brandon Peavey, Butch Oliver of Mesa, Ariz., and Carl Brown from Danvers — snagged the $500 third-prize bluefish also near the red bell buoy at the mouth of the Annisquam River.

"It was just before lunch. We'll split it (the prize money) five ways," said Cusick.

Their fish weighed 11.26 pounds, and Cusick and crew had several close elimination calls right up to 4 p.m.

Raffle prizes were also awarded. Capt. B.G. Brown and Andrew Moulton each pocketed $50, while Ken Marshall and George Ketchopulos did the same with the $100 prizes. Daryl Seppala won a deep-sea fishing trip for two. Furthermore, Sean Cranston's, Tony Crystal's and Scott Russell's winning raffle ticket numbers got them each a rod and reel.

A most generous and kind-hearted Cranston, owner of Cranston Electric Co., donated his over $100 rod and reel to Sky Foote. The young girl was sitting on Peavey's truck from which he stood and called out names and handed out prizes.

Cranston "... did that all on his own," said Jen Grace, who, along with the rest of the crowd, was clearly touched by his kind move.

Gloucester Harbor Yankee Fleet donated the fishing trip. The Fishermen's Outfitter, Winchester Fishing Company and Three Lanterns Ship Supply kicked in the rods and reels. The tournament also donated a rod and reel.

The tournament officials ended the event by hurling hats into the crowd and by a final announcement from Peavey.

"That's another year, folks. I hope everyone had fun."

Gloucester lobsterman Peter K. Prybot writes weekly about the fishing industry and related issues for the Times.

Copyright © 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Late-night rowdiness dampens great Lanesville holiday

Late-night rowdiness dampens great Lanesville holiday
Ebb & Flow
Peter K. Prybot

Organizers of the second annual Lanesville Emergency Action Program's July 4 Extravaganza and the 18th annual Lanesville Fourth of July parade and bonfire treated thousands of locals and out-of-towners to separate, superb Independence Day celebrations.

Remarkably, the weather did its part with a sky showing its infinity and heavenly bodies, a temperature around 70 degrees and, finally, a light and dry wind out of the west.

Unfortunately, the late-night rowdiness brought on by mainly underage drinking at and around the Cove not only left many neighbors angry and parade and bonfire organizers discouraged and even ill, but could also threaten such future events.

Independence Day joy began emanating from people's faces by 10a.m. at the Lanesville Community Center as LEAP's Whistle Blower's 4K road race, followed by Whistle Blower's 1-mile fun run got underway. Nearly 200 people competed in these runs organized again by LEAP member Beth Vasta, while her peer, Leslie Milne, put together the whole fun, fund-raiser festivity.

Awards were then handed out, followed by raffles, a barbecue, games — including a softball match — and float building and bike decorating until the extravaganza ended in the afternoon.

The 4K road race winners included:

Men's Division — Jason Cakouros (1st), Daniel Verrington (2nd ), Thomas Jarvis (3rd ), Connor Blalock (16 and under), Bob Gillis (50 and over), Kurt Ankeny (Lanesville Male).

Women's Divison — Annaliese VanderBaan (1st ), Danielle Decharles (2nd), Jennifer Beauchamp-Ankeny (3rd), Annaliese VanderBaan (16 and under), Beth Lott (50 and over), Jennifer Beauchamp-Ankeny (Lanesville female).

More Independence Day joy flowed from the faces of the thousands of spectators, including Ward 4 Councilor Jackie Hardy and St. Peter's Fiesta greasy pole legend Salvi Benson, lining downtown Lanesville streets as the parade got underway around 6:30 p.m.

Judi and Wendy Rose and Jenn Nicholas carried the traditional parade banner in the forefront. Behind them were the kids, horribles and floats, and band sections. Veteran parade grand marshal Jane Mondello, creatively dressed in green as a kazoo, was also right there spearheading the parade, while orchestra maestro Nick Parisi Sr. led his band, including professional musician Nathan Cohen of Lanesville, again this year.

The crowd frequently cheered its approval of the parade's creative entries. David, Lenny, Gabriella and Amy Robertson, Christina Carpenter, Bridgett Flynn, Bonnie Tarr, and Dani Bailer built and ran the largest float ever in the parade's 18 years. Titled "The Liberty Lobster," besides the aforementioned crustacean, the float also included a large sign, a person dressed as a stick of butter, a cook and even a tourist chasing after the lobster.

Ten young ladies paraded together carrying "Pray for Lacey" signs for friend Lacey Natti of Lanesville, who, luckily, is on the mend from a life-threatening illness

Following tradition, Parisi and his 75-plus-member band performed "God Bless America" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at Montgomery Square. Confetti rained down on them at times, the crowd joined in the sing-along, and the patriotism in the air there could be sliced with a knife.

The joy only intensified as the sun went to bed and a nearly full moon woke up. Sammy Sanfilippo continued to cook up and serve mainly seafood to the public at his tent down at the Cove. Sanfilippo, a former Gloucester fisherman from a multi-generational fishing family, does the same thing during the St. Peter's Fiesta.

"Sammy does it all for free," noted friend Brian Cusick.

"I gave away 1,000 pounds of food this Fiesta. My buddies are all fishermen, and they donate the food," said Sanfilippo.

At 9 p.m., the thousands of viewers lining the Cove's amphitheater began cheering as the bonfire builders torched the square-shaped, tiered structure made of 1,400 pallets and clean fill. One of its upper sides displayed the fishing community's distaste for the National Marine Fisheries Service with a large sign that read: "NMFS - Destroying fishermen and their communities since 1976."

Combustion finally got the upper hand of the bonfire after about a 30-minute struggle, thanks to the past week's rains. Fireworks at the Cove, nearby from the Plum Cove area, and even across the Bay, frequently showed off patriotic colors overhead, and some had more to say than others.

The Steve Amazeen Band added to the ambience. The fireworks, music and bonfire further erased any remaining long faces brought on by June's gloom.

Rick Pino Jr. took on the responsibility as bonfire chairman again this year. He and about 40 volunteers built the bonfire all by hand in a week, often during downpours.

Besides Pino, the volunteers included Brendan Allen, Steve Amaral Jr., Marc Appleton, Jessie Benjamin, Ed Catto, Herman Fritz, Bob Gorrell Jr., Gary and Russell Haselgard, Art Heinonen, Patrick Hennessy, Chris Hodgkins, Steve and Zack Johnson, Billy Jones, Kenny Keiser, Dusty Ketchopulos, Jose Leland, Aaron Martin, Aaron Natty, Anthony Novello, Sam O'Gorman, Nate Pistenmaa, Colby Polisson, Colby Rickelhoff, Eric, Robin, Jeremiah and Zack Smith, Scott Stewart, Brian, Jason and Steven Thibodeau, Hal Wentworth, Charlie Williams, and Randy Young.

Former bonfire chairman Dick Crowell and his wife, Katie, often stood by to give advice.

Companies also donated pallets or their vehicles and time to transport them. The former include Atlantic Reefer Co., Bay View Auto Recycle, Canaan Farm, Cape Seafoods Inc., Captain Joe & Sons, Gloucester Engineering, Goose Cove Gardens, Marshall's Farm Stand, Moveras of Salem, N.H., Rose's Marine and Wolf Hill. The latter included ABI Landscaping, B.C. Trucking, Lighthouse Landscaping, Northern Essex Ltd., and Steve's Can's & Grass Cutting. The public dropped off clean wood for the bonfire, too.

Many spectators, including Jane Mondello and her husband Frank, headed home from the Cove around 11 p.m. feeling good about the day's events.

Little did they know then that the Cove's peace would soon be broken by large, unruly gatherings of mostly under-aged drinkers. Fights broke out, and four police cruisers eventually dispersed the crowds.

Neighbors were also angered by litter, especially broken bottles, strangers in their backyards, and people knocking on their doors to use their bathrooms.

All of this annoying behavior for such a special public event was especially a slap in the face for the organizers like Pino and Mondello who gave their time to make it work and be enjoyable for everyone.

"It's all about the community," Pino told Ebb & Flow days before the Fourth of July. Many event organizers and neighbors had the Cove cleaned by 9 the next morning.

"It's a shame people who don't respect the area come down and just wreck it," said Mondello, one of the original organizers of the Lanesville parade and bonfire. "We (the organizers) need to let what happened settle down and then talk it over and decide what needs to happen.

"That could include taking a year off," she said. "It's gotten too big for us."

Gloucester lobsterman Peter K. Prybot writes weekly for the Times about the fishing industry, related issues and occasionally about the goings-on in Lanesville.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mediocre Weather, Beautiful Location

I have to admit that June is a pretty iffy month for weather here on Lanes Cove. It seems like we've had a lot of rain and the temperatures have been cool (50's & 60's). I guess I shouldn't ask for too much--we are getting some very lovely sunsets. The Cove is full of boats and the kayakers from Discovery Adventures are starting to go out. All-in-all, it is still a very special place.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pleasant Weather for a Little While

So after some nasty snow and ice storms this winter, we've had a nice thaw in the last couple of days. Much of the snow is gone, just those piles that seem to linger in their ugliness. Andrews Street had been pretty treacherous at times. A little over a month ago we had an ice storm that stranded us here in Lanesville. A fire engine that was sent out on a medical call got stuck on Washington Street just south of Plum Cove. I came home from a radio club meeting and crept along (passing the fire engine on the side of the road) until I got to my driveway. Andrews Street slopes down to the Cove and I could not turn into my driveway. It took at least five minutes to get the car aimed to the point that I could get it into the driveway and off of the street.

During the ice storm, the DPW could not get the sanders out. I understand that a Gloucester Police officer commandeered a State sander at the Grant Rotary and sent him north along Rt. 127.

All of this now seems like a distant memory, with the temperatures in the 40's today. I know it will get cold again, but with the days getting longer there's hope for a pleasant spring.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

What a Way to Start a New Year



It was downright chilly here--around 10ºF with 40 MPH winds. With those kind of conditions, sea smoke is common. Funny thing, we had just returned from Iceland where the temperature was more like 35º to 40ºF.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Wonderland

The nice thing about New England is that we have four real seasons. I grew up in Florida, and there they have spring and summer--that's it. Fall has been beautiful, but now it's time to get down to real weather and we are getting the first of some decent snow. It is always amazing how the color goes out of the landscape at this time of year--we now have a study in gray and white. We've gotten maybe 6"-8" of snow between last Friday and today (Sunday), with rising temperatures maybe giving us some rain to make a mess of it all. I believe that we're suppose to get westerly winds (always our favorite here) of 20-30 MPH with gusts to 55. Woo hoo!

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Bluefish tourney hooks pleasant memories

Ebb & Flow
Peter K. Prybot

September 05, 2008 09:52 pm



Although the 20th annual Lane's Cove Bluefish Tournament tired legs, tested tenacity, and didn't break records, it was well-attended by well-behaved participants and well-executed by officials who learned from last year. Furthermore, a new piece of equipment proved critical, the top bluefish yielded its harvester nearly $200 a pound, and a rescue off of Gloucester also resulted from the tournament.

"Contestants were here by 5 a.m.," reports veteran official Jen Grace, who helped with the sign-in near the public float at Lane's Cove's east wharf. Sympathetic to the long line that had already formed by then, she and fellow tournament officials Don Peavey and Russell Haselgard let people register before the official 6 a.m. opening. "By 7 a.m. we had the line thinned out, and it was steady after that," Grace reported.

By the 9 a.m. registration cut-off, 585 contestants signed in, paid the $10 entry fee, and received a raffle ticket. Mike Appleton was first to register, while Claire Driscoll, a native New Zealander living in Gloucester, was number 585. This year's total ebbed slightly from 2007's record 597.

An invigorating clear sky with an approximately 60-degree temperature, and for a change, a wind out of the northwest, soon greeted contestants as they invaded their favorite fishing areas around Cape Ann. The 10- to 20-mph wind's 2- to 4-foot chop exacerbated by a slight swell and, at times, the tide going into it, endlessly tired boaters' legs. The wind rested briefly by late morning, only to exercise again moderately by mid-afternoon when the air temperature rose to the high 70s below a well-lit, cheery blue ceiling punctuated by fragments of puffy white clouds.

The bluefish catch rate and size, especially inshore, also tested contenders' resolves. The fish generally ran small, in the 6- to 9-pound range, and many anglers only caught four fish throughout the tournament.

Most of the fish were snagged by trolling lures.

Unlike last year, this tournament's 3 to 4 p.m. weigh-in proceeded in an orderly way and ended without controversy thanks largely to a more sagacious team of tournament officials and a digital scale donated by Beacon Roofing Supply Inc.'s finance department. The hanging scale used by past tournaments lacked the precision to definitively pin-point 2007's winning bluefish, which all weighed approximately 10 pounds each.

By 3 p.m. some contenders already began delivering their biggest fish by land and sea to the weigh-in station at the cove's east wharf. Jen Grace, who accepted each fish entry one at a time, weighers Brandon Peavey, a Gloucester High School junior, and Brian Cusick, and clerk Kendra Hardy, who verified each entrant and also recorded their fishes' weights, manned the station. Don Peavy, master of ceremonies, worked from the back of his nearby pick-up truck, often with the use of a bullhorn.

The weigh-in station came equipped with a used sink and long counter top. Potential winning fish were placed here along with unwanted ones.

The latter were either given away to anyone who wanted one to eat, like Ray and Sheila Bentley, or placed in a series of coolers with ice for use as bait for a future shark tournament in Portland, Maine. Jean Baulu drove down from Portland with the coolers. He also made a donation to Lane's Cove bluefish tournament officials for the fish. The Lane's Cove group plans to donate that money to Cape Ann Animal Aid.

Capt. Mark Byard's boating prowess awed many of the approximately 1,000 spectators ashore at the start of the weigh-in as he successfully maneuvered his people-packed 56-foot gillnetter, SS Melon III, to the float despite a moderate wind and cramped space and moored it stern first there. Other commercial and recreational craft soon rafted alongside one another in the Cove, and their crews enjoyed cook-outs and socializing.

For the first time, the Bay View Brotherhood ran a concession serving food and cold drinks set up at the cove throughout most of the tournament. "You have to feed those hungry fishermen," explained Kathy Silva, who ran it with Rick Pino Jr.

Peavey brought the tournament to an abrupt end at 4 p.m. "It's the same thing every year — 4 p.m., and that's it," he soon announced.

The digital scale proved critical deciding this year's winners. The crew of the 35-foot Knotty Boy — Jason Katzopoulas, Capt. Michael Gingros and Brian Painter, all of Gloucester — snagged the $2,000 top prize with their 11.02-pound fish. Jason Landry from Swampscott and Brian Silva from Gloucester pocketed $1,500 for their 10.96-pound bluefish. A 10.22-pound fish earned the third prize of $1,000 for the Pisces' crew — Maureen Vion, Mark Sully, Peter Amaral, and Robert Curley, all of Gloucester. Note how close in weights the fish were.

The top fish was snagged with a lure at 8:15 a.m. off Gloucester. "We were fishing big tackle; we hauled him right in. There were some big blues off of Gloucester. We were hoping the hooked fish was a tuna," Hatzopoulas said.

Landry's and Silva's second-place fish was "... hooked trolling around 1:30 p.m. in back of the cemetery (in Lanesville). We got him real deep. We had to get him in quickly, since we were right amongst the lobster buoys," said Landry.

Robby Curley further stated his 10.22-pound fish "... was caught around 9 a.m. with a plug off of Andrews Point."

While observing the weigh-in, long-time tournament participant Bruce Van Stight commented, "Everyone is catching the same fish. They are all minnows. There are no more big fish. When I first participated in the tournament, there were only eight of us, and we landed some 19-pounders."

Sums of $100 and $50 and gifts were raffled off in addition to the three top fish awards. Here is a list of donors and their gifts and a nearly complete list of the recipients and what they won:

Fisherman's Outfitter — rod and reel

Three Lanterns Ship Supply, Inc. — Polartec fishing jacket

Winchester Fishing Co. Inc. — rod and reel, won by Capt. Mark Byard and Bob Gross

Seabreeze Liquors — $25 gift

Roy Moore Lobster Co. — $50 gift certificate won by Brent Currier

Ellen's Harborside — $25 gift certificate, won by Ari Knowlton Miller

Ma & Pa Lapine's — two gift baskets won by Robin Smith

Cape Seafoods Inc. — 250 pounds of bait

While receiving his gift certificate, Knowlton Miller made a toast to friend and longtime tournament participant Jason Tibbetts, who recently died. Dave Leaver and Pete Decareau were also raffle winners. This reporter failed to record what they won. Tim Movalli, James Oliver, Dan Roach, Tim Silva and John McCarthy each won $50. The $100 raffle winners were Adam Hardy, Bob Peavey, Dan Green, Charles Gillman and John Porter.

Raffle winners had to be present with the appropriate raffle ticket to receive their gifts.

The Lanesville Package Store and Clayton family donated the use of a Porta-potty as well as numerous Lane's Cove Bluefish Tournament T-shirts and sweatshirts. Speaking of the Claytons, Capt. Brett and his son, Ross, a sophomore at the University of Rhode Island, helped rescue a pair of canoers and their dog who had flipped over a half-mile off Eastern Point. The Claytons were returning from bluefishing at the groaner off of Gloucester in their 24-foot boat. "The wind was blowing 25 mph northwest; they had no business being out there. The man, about 65, and the woman in her late 50s, were clueless. Fortunately, they all had life preservers on, even the dog; otherwise, they would have died," said Brett. The Claytons later transported the stricken sailors, their pet and approximately 20-foot canoe to where they launched it SEmD Norman's Woe. "I gave them a good lecturing on the way in," Brett said.

The Claytons didn't even get a "thank you" from the pair once they were safely dropped off.

While bringing the tournament to a conclusion, Peavey announced to the crowd, "That's it. See you next year."

Copyright © 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.

Photos


O'Maley School students Allie McKay and Zoe Muller enter their largest fish in the tournament. Special to the Times


Tournament winners and officials: Jason Hatzopoulos, Robby Curley, Jason Landry, Jen Grace, Don and Brandon Peavey, Kendra Hardy and Joe Parady pose at the end of the tournament. Special to the Times

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This Has Been a Cool Wet Summer

August, and this summer in general, has been especially rainy. We have had spectacular thunderstorms throughout the summer, and my grass has never looked greener in August.

We are getting near the end of summer, and that means the Lanesville Bluefish Tournament is coming up. Held traditionally on the Sunday before Labor Day, that means this summer's tournament falls on August 31st. Good luck to all--and remember participants, it is okay to go home before 10 PM.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Street Cleanup

Noticed this morning that there were four city DPW employees with brooms sweeping the sidewalks and curbs in Lanesville. This was completely unexpected--and very much welcomed. I have a pet peeve--there are a lot of weeds along the sidewalks and curbs on Washington Street (and I image most other streets), probably encouraged by the wet summer we've had. It looks bad and if the owners of the house that line Washington Street would take a few minutes and pull these weeds, things would look a lot neater.

Anyway, it sure was nice to see the DPW folks up our way--thanks for your efforts.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Flatrocks Gallery

Flatrocks Gallery

Flatrocks Gallery is a new gallery located at 77 Langsford Street, just down from Lanes Cove toward Folly Cove. Started by two local artists, Anne Marie Crotty and Cynthia Roth, it is a gallery dedicated to artists of Cape Ann. Personally I believe there is a preference for artists around Lanesville, which is a good thing. Flatrocks gives a permanent venue for artists here, sort of a continuous Art in Lanesville show. Greg Gibson continues to show his talents in collecting and selling books and maps related to Cape Ann as part of the gallery.

Flatrocks Gallery is great addition to Lanesville--I will them great success.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fish Count




It's pretty easy to know when something is happening on Lanes Cove--usually there are a lot of cars that show up together. It's not unusual for a group to descend on us--we had kayakers come is frigid weather to test out their capabilities in cold weather. Today it was a group from the United Divers of Central Massachusetts participating the the Great American Fish Count, sponsored by the New England Aquarium. A representative from Olympus, a corporate sponsor was down with the divers showing off many of their underwater cameras.

Friday, July 04, 2008

4th of July Celebration in Lanesville

Here is the article from the Gloucester Daily Times:

A gala celebration in Lanesville

By Peter K. Prybot
July 12, 2008 05:35 am



The 17th annual Lanvesville Fourth of July parade and bonfire were beauts.

The community and guests there even got an added Independence Day treat — the first-ever July 4th extravaganza at the Lanesville Community Center. But, organizers of the parade and bonfire say new rules need to be set in place for 2009 after what happened at the Cove after the day was done.

"This was Leslie Milne's brainchild; she created the whole thing," said Beth Vasta, a member of Lanesville Emergency Action Program's organizing committee. Her well-organized and well-executed "brainchild" included a Whistleblowers 4K road race and 1-mile fun run, a barbecue, kids' games, raffles, and building a float and decorating bikes for the parade later in the day. Frank Stewart from Lanesville acted as master of ceremonies.

That event's proceeds will help LEAP purchase emergency gear, especially a central whistle to quickly notify the community of an emergency the way the Lanesville Congregational Church bells' signaled "no school" in the 1950s. Ninety-two contestants participated in the 4K road race, and 27 in the fun run. The winners and their times can be found on LEAP's Web site, www.LEAP-Lanesville.org.

The 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. event "... really turned into something wonderful," Vasta said. "I was surprised at the turnout, despite the morning rain. This showed a lot of spirit, and that's Lanesville," Stewart added.

The parade was bigger and better. That was the general consensus of the hundreds of viewers who swelled along much of the parade route up Andrews Street, through downtown Lanesville and back to Duley Street. Once again, two of the festivity founders — Jane Mondello and Nick Parisi Sr. — repeated their roles as grand parade marshal and band conductor, respectively. Mondello, dressed as Buzzilla this year, organizes the parade down at the Cove and makes sure it gets underway at 6:30 p.m. She also slowed the parade's flow this year, aided by walkie-talkies. No motorized vehicles are allowed in the parade, and no pre-registration is necessary — all participants need to do is to show up at the Cove around 6 p.m.

The number of parade entrants doubled last year's, exceeding 200. The quality of their costumes and floats showed lots of time went into them. Santa Claus, absent last year, marched again, as did the intellectual dressed in cap and gown. They were joined by Robin Hood, jellyfish, a dragon and a Deadliest Catch/Time Bandit and pirate ship floats. The pirate ship's functional water cannon squirted many viewers.

Flanked by creatively dressed and made-up vociferous band members, including several professional musicians, and fanned by two large flapping American flags to his rear, Maestro Nick Parisi received audience "Bravisimos" for his (and the band's) splendid performance at Montgomery Square that touched hearts and souls.

The bonfire was also bigger, planned by new blood and strictly controlled this year. After 16 bonfires, veteran architect Dickie Crowell stepped down for a breather, and Hal Wentworth, owner of Wentworth Custom Stone Work, and Rick Pino Jr., a DPW employee, stepped up.

"I decided to step up because the community enjoys the bonfire so much," Pino said.

"My bonfires would have fit into this one," said Crowell, who married his wife, Katie, atop one of his (bonfire) masterpieces three years ago. Exterior peripheral stacks of approximately 2,000 hardwood pallets, centered with clean wood scraps, formed this year's bonfire that reached a height of 32 feet, and was capped off by a grand piano and a dummy playing it. Musician Nathan Cohen donated the old piano. Maybe the group honored the performing arts this 4th.

The community dropped off the clean wood scraps, even "an old log float from Squam that Doc Stanwood (former harbormaster there) made 60 years ago," resident David "Dirt" Murray said. The Building Center, Wolf Hill, Cape Seafoods Inc., Capt. Joe & Sons — all from Gloucester — Wood Trucking Co. from Peabody, and North Shore Recycling Fibers from Salem donated the pallets.

Beginning a week prior to July 4, Wentworth and Pino and their army of volunteers — Patrick Hennessy, Charlie Williams, Dusty Ketchopulos, Paul Blanding, Steve Amaral Jr., Zack and Jeremiah Smith, P.C. Nicolosi, Brian, Jason and Steven Thibodeau, Jamison Knowlton, Aaron Martin, Marc Appleton, Billy Jones, Kobie Rickelhoff, Randy Young, Aaron Natti, Joe Leland, Zack Johnson, Mike and Nate Pistenmaa, Peter Hickey, Russell Haselgard, and Scott Stuart — picked up and dropped off pallets and built the structure. Once again, Dan Brown, owner of Cape Ann Structural and Concrete, topped off the bonfire — pro bono — with his mobile crane. All of the work was completed by July 4, "So everyone could relax that day," Pino said.

Pino, Wentworth and fellow bonfire committee members Jackie Silva and Jane Mondello met with Fire Chief Barry McKay earlier and adhered to his requirements, including hiring a fire detail, no fireworks in the fire, posting "keep off" and "danger" signs on the bonfire, taping and fencing it off, and allowing no one on the road leading to the bonfire on the 4th . A donation can is set up every year at the Lanesville Package Store to help pay for expenses, which run in the hundreds.

By late day, a swirled, pale salmon and mauve sky gave way to partial cloudiness under darkness. A southerly wind, barely able to occasionally flap nearby flags, struggled in the mid-50-degree air, cool enough to suppress the midgets and mosquitoes and warrant a sweatshirt for some.

Five of the bonfire builders torched off a corner stuffed with rolled newspapers and cedar shingles promptly at 9 p.m. as the rest of the army recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Combustion at best quickly lit up hundreds of faces in the Cove's amphitheater and sent flames 100 feet into the sky. Musical notes from the Steve Amazeen Band at Flat Rocks and Mike Scagliotti's bagpipe and Nathan Cohen's violin atop the eastern breakwater added to the blaze's crackles.

Brilliant patriotic colors from exploding aerial fireworks often cascaded from the sky, and the periodic resonating booms emanating from the roving, phantom artillery man's cannon going off at the water's edge at Flat Rocks shook the wax right out of your ears. This was a spectacular show!

There was a downside to the aftermath. Although many people began leaving the cove around 10:30 p.m. — and all was quiet — a large group of apparent teens and 20-year-olds stayed on and imbibed into the early morning.

Actions from their debauchery — noise, littering (especially bottle breaking), even a theft and act of vandalism — disturbed residents and the parade and bonfire committees.

"We are not going to put up with that," committee member Jane Mondello said.

Her group is already considering changes to prevent a reoccurrence of this year — including hiring extra police.

Copyright © 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Kudos for a Much Appreciated Donation from The Shed

Maybe I hadn't really noticed before, but today two portable sanitation units (toilets) arrived on Lanes Cove. I talked to the driver and he said they had been donated by the owner of the company The Shed, Ellen Ramsey. He said she does this for many events.

Thank you Ellen--with the number of people who visit the cove for the parade and bonfire this essential service is greatly appreciated by the folks who visit AND the folks who live around the cove.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Great Job by the Lanesville Bonfire Committee

I wanted to compliment the Lanesville Bonfire Committee--they have been doing a great job. This year's bonfire is the biggest I've seen yet. They have roped off the area, restricting it to Fire Personnel Only.


This is from a recent e-mail with Jackie Hardy, Ward 4 Councilor:

Great way to get rid of the scrap lumber - agreed, but there are restrictions on what can be burned and not ... the Chief of the FD has worked with a great committee this year, and all have agreed as to what can be used and not - i.e. no treated or painted lumber, no boats, fiberglass, plastics, chemicals, fireworks, accelerants, etc., etc., etc.

Speaking about scrap lumber, the city is looking into ways we may be able to better accommodate the "homeowner" (not construction companies or contractors) with the disposal of some simple, clean building materials. Like if I want to put new windows in, or take down a wall during a small home improvement project.... Discussions are just beginning - we have a new DPW Director and he seems anxious to provide at least the ability to the homeowner - i.e. dumpsters at the DPW yard few times a year etc. Things are looking up... I am encouraged.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Police: Boaters were drinking alcohol before late-night crash

Last Friday night we heard several emergency vehicles race through Lanesville and learned later that there had been a serious boating accident in the Flat Rocks area, the stretch between Lanes Cove and Folly Point.

The coastline along Cape Ann on Ipswich bay is unforgiving--except for a couple of beaches in small coves it is extremely rocky. I hope all recover fully.

Out of respect for the privacy of the people who were on the boat I have removed their names and addresses. One of the people on the boat told me that there were inaccuracies in the newspaper article but would not elaborate.




Gloucester: Police: Boaters were drinking alcohol before late-night crash

By Jessica Benson
Staff writer
June 30, 2008 06:00 am



Police say they found several beer cans scattered around the wreckage of a boat, with some of the people on board admitting they had been drinking alcohol just before the boat crashed onto rocks on Folly Point late Friday night.

Five people were taken to the hospital, with one man suffering serious injuries. It took about an hour and a half for rescuers to carry the man off the slippery, seaweed-covered rocks.

One man, was brought to Beverly Hospital and later transferred to Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center in Boston, where he was listed in good condition last night.

The others on board the boat were taken to local hospitals.

Police said the boat appeared to be a total loss, with large holes punched into the hull.

The owner was driving the 25-foot sports boat with five passengers on board when it crashed behind the Seaside Cemetery off Route 127.

Passengers blamed the foggy weather, saying they couldn't see the rocks in front of them until it was too late. When the boat crashed, the first man was thrown out of the boat, landing on the rocks about 10 feet away.

Residents in the neighborhood heard a loud crash, followed by people yelling for help. They called 911 at 10:45 p.m.

Patrolman Mark Foote was the first to arrive. He ran down a path through the brush, in complete darkness, in order to reach the wreckage. When he got to the shoreline, he saw two men out on the rocks in front of the boat. One of them was calling for him to hurry.

After scrambling across the slippery rocks, falling several times on the way, he found the first man being tended to by another passenger who had been on the boat.

The first man was conscious, though badly hurt, complaining of severe pain on the left side of his rib cage. He also had two cuts on his head.

Police and firefighters were partly in the water as they tended to him, according to Foote's report. The officer called the conditions "very dangerous."

Rescuers very slowly, and very carefully, carried him across the rocks, stopping several times to replace tired rescue workers with rested ones.

"It was a long haul," Foote wrote in his report.

Firefighters had wanted to call for a MedFlight to take the man directly into Boston for treatment, but the helicopters were not flying due to the fog that night.

Others on the boat were also hurt. The owner suffered a head injury and was taken to Beverly Hospital, as was another passenger.

The hospital reported to police in the hours after the crash that both patients had been stabilized.

Two other passengers were taken to Addison Gilbert Hospital. Both admitted to police that they had been drinking alcohol, according to Foote's report. Foote found beer cans in the water around the boat and on the nearby rocks, he said in his report.

One person did not complain of injuries. He refused medical treatment and walked away on his own, though Foote noted in his report that he appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.

After he walked off, he and another man, caused a disturbance by threatening a news photographer, according to police. He pushed the photographer, according to police, while the other man, whose father was among those injured in the crash, told the photographer not to take any more pictures or he would "wrap the camera around his neck," according to the police report.

Charges were filed against both men for being disorderly.

Police Lt. Joe Aiello released a statement over the weekend, praising the rescue efforts.

"To all involved, well done," he wrote.

However, Phil Bouchie, vice president of the firefighters union, criticized the response time, saying the closing of the Bay View fire station cost rescuers precious minutes, and left the department short-staffed. It took 13 minutes for firefighters to get to the scene, three times longer than the recommended response time for emergencies, he noted.

Rockport police and firefighters assisted with the rescue, using their ambulance to help bring the victims to the hospital.

Jessica Benson can be reached at jbenson@gloucestertimes.com.

Copyright © 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Last Year's Bonfire

A picture from last year's bonfire.

The Bonfire Is On!

So the bonfire is on! The permit from the Gloucester Fire Department took a bit of groveling, but the chief had some legitimate concerns (like NO fireworks in the bonfire). But the permit is in-hand, so with a lot of sweat and hard work (and a few beers to easy the pain) we should be good-to-go for the 4th of July.

As a note of caution, things do get a bit wild around the cove during the bonfire. Everyone involved with the bonfire kind of holds their breath every year in hopes no one gets hurt. The celebration is unique, and residents pitch in to either build the bonfire or clean up afterwards. We all hope that the excesses of the evening don't become too excessive. If you're coming to the celebration, please show some respect for the folks who live here--go home at a reasonable hour, try not to make too much of a mess, don't park in people's yards and don't do stupid stuff. There are a lot of families that come down to watch--again, try to be respectful.

If you can't make it, or don't want to deal with the crowds, watch it on the streaming webcam--it should be a great show!

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