Welcome. A moment-to-moment story...

Wintertime in the old Fay Estate

The gated entrance to the Fay Estate of Lynn, Peabody and Salem, through Fay Road, was guarded by the Gatekeeper who lived in the cottage to the right.  The early entrance to the estate was through Spring Pond Road.  Riding through the long roads on horse and carriage to reach the mansion, visitors were greeted by the grace of the landscape with beautiful and exotic trees and shrubs along the way, in the scene of an old English Manor estate.  The Gatekeepers Cottage has received some modifications today.  The cottage, three other buildings and many of the *trees still remain.  


Old photo of Fay Road in wintertime

c. early 1900's, Fay Road in wintertime, in the Fay Estate of Lynn


pray for others

It has come to attention, the former mayor of Lynn who has written a letter of support for the Lowe's/ Super Wal-mart project this past summer... has a serious case of alzheimer's.  Alzheimer's is a disease which causes problems remembering, and thinking.  It is questionable if he has written the political based letter himself, or if someone has taken advantage of his condition and written the letter for him subjecting him to political criticism.  The news of his condition has been shared by his family member and someone from the neighborhood.  Lets pray for his health.

Link to letters:  



Thank you to a friend of a friend, who found this old pamphlet from the Lynn Lions, in their mother's items.  "WHO ARE THE LIONS?" is an introduction to the charitable work of the Lynn Lions Club.  

"In 1945, the Lynn Lions Club purchased 90 acres of land in Salem at the Lynn line 
for the purpose of establishing camp facilities for area Girl Scout Councils."

"The colors Purple and Gold
To Lions, purple stands for loyalty to country, friends, one's self and the integrity of mind and heart.  It is the traditional color of strength, courage and tireless dedication to a cause.  Gold symbolizes sincerity of purpose, liberality in judgement, purity in life and generosity in mind, heart and purse toward his fellow man."

"As we look at the many successes of our club, we (the Lions) can't help but to rededicate ourselves to continue the work of Lions before us and to invite others to join us in our efforts; remembering always that...."

Many hope the current day Lions remember and respect the efforts and vows of the older day Lions, to continue on with good will and heart in the same mission.  Click to view...


Complaint filed to Attorney General, asking Camp Lion to end deal!

In the news:  Big Box opponents from Lynn ask AG to kill deal, by David Liscio for The Daily Item.

Former Lynn city councilors filed a complaint with the Attorney General, asking to have the deal made by Camp Lion to develop the land be terminated.  The Lions organization is violating the mission of the charter, to protect the environment.  According to a Lions member, this is not the first time the organization has violated the charter's mission.   
To read more, click on image...


Lynn is searching for backup plans

If the Lowe's/ Super Wal-mart project moves forward (treading on pristine acres, wetlands, historical resources and recreational area here at Spring Pond Woods)....  the City of Lynn is preparing for the many problems this could bring to the neighborhoods.  Traffic is one of these issues.  The Mayor of Lynn is requesting on having two additional traffic lights, which will be needed on Western Avenue to help residents move in and out of their neighborhoods, and to help the traffic conditions on the intersection of Eastern Avenue.  Traffic signals will not however help support the proposal of a new Super Wal-mart and Lowe's.  

News article:
Lynn Mayor signals new plan for Big Boxes traffic, by Thor Jourgensen for the Daily Item
Link:  http://itemlive.com/articles/2010/12/21/news/news01.txt


Saturday, while walking the trail around Spring Pond, we heard the unique haunting call of a bird, echo over the water.  In the break of the icy water was, what we believe to be a Loon, an ancient small bird and Special Concern species listed on the Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program.  I am not an expert, but comparing the images and 'wail' sounds... this bird resembles a Common Loon in it's winter dressing.  We watched the bird float and dive for food for a while.

The old Ice House piers can be seen beyond the Loon, on the Peabody side.  Click to view...

Returning to the trail, we came across chickadees singing in the pines.  A man walked by and said there were 2 Great Horned Owls towards the Peabody side.  The seagulls found their way here too, and black crows were watching from the trees in a distance.


notes from Salem Public Meeting of Dec 16

Beginning- I was 20 minutes late, missing a part of the presentation given by the proponents for Lowe's and Wal-mart.

An elevation study was in discussion, of the placement of deciduous Maple trees.  A 15 ft tall stone wall was proposed to be on the south side of Lowe's, which was said to shield the abutting homes from the noise and sight of trucks.  A member of the Salem Planning Board expressed concern about the asthetic of the stone wall, asking for the wall "to look like greenery, as if natural landscape was there".  (Funny to take it away, to only want to put it back?)

In the topic of traffic, the proponents were not prepared to answer these issues again.  Filling the void, there was bus-stop talk, cart storage and shelter (stuff unimportant to many, compared to the whole issue of loosing the resources in this area, and degrading nearby areas).

Comments from the public:
Tom Demakis, a Lynn lawyer and abutter, mentioned if this project is approved then it will be a "legally flawed project" because the Salem zoning code mentions that projects shall "protect the welfare and privacy of an abutter", by which this project does not.

A Salem woman who is a board member of the abutting Salem condominums, was there to voice concerns for this community.  Concerns were mostly of noise from delivery trucks.

Debra Walsh, Lynn resident, former Council member, reminded everyone that the running trucks will include frozen food, as Wal-mart wishes to create a food shopping center as part of the expansion.  She also reminded the board that the Salem Zoning Board of Appeals rejected a clinic on Highland Ave for traffic issues of proposing 600 car trips a day, yet the problems with this project is of no concern (with 6,000 car trips per day, and 17,000 trips on a Saturday... c'mon.)

Dan, a Fay Estate resident commented there was no resolution for traffic, as this is a problem.

A union rep spoke, on how "good the proponents are listening".  He supports the project.

Leslie Courtemanche, a Fay Estate resident reminded the board, back in a Salem Public Meeting in 2008, it was mentioned to not have this project on Swampscott Rd, because there would be at least 500 signatures in opposition there... but putting this project here doesn't give much care for all those opposed now?  (What a shame!)

Norm Cole, a Lynn resident asked if the 'development' will include plans for 'developing' the back of the site in the future.  Corretti the proponents lawyer answered- "can't answer that"...that is Camp Lion's.

Kathy, a Fay Estate resident asked - "How many trucks per day" for Lowe's and Walmart will travel the site.  Answer:  "Don't know".  (My answer:  check out wakeupwalmart.com for facts on Walmart's trucks alone.)

Kathy, a Lynn resident asked - "How will natural streams be redirected?"  Trees are need to absorb the water runoff.  How will the excess runoff be controlled?

A union person spoke on how good the proponents are 'mitigating'.  Says- "This project is in a good location... up on the hill & out of the way"  (really?  out of the way, up on the hill in view?  out of the way of what?)

Tiffany, a Lynn resident asked "what is the emergency response time for fire and ambulance" around the site.

I asked two questions.  "What will the surface of the stone wall be?"  Although it will lower sound from the store to the south abutter, the stone wall will be placed perpendicular to a highway... therefore bring concern for reverberating traffic noise off the wall and tunnel effect from the airspace, which will likely have noise travel further towards the back where there is a quiet neighborhood of homes on the edge of the remaining woods.    Secondly, "what is the volume of earth to be blasted?"  The blasting will occur over an enormous area, and there has been no discussion on the issue.  The large amount of blasting needed may cause fatigue in stress on nearby homes, and could possibly fracture the bedrock...where we do not know where the springs to Spring Pond are running from.  Blasting will occur on the ledge of the both sides of Wal-mart, and Lowe's will blow off the hill top.   Answer:   The ledge around Wal-mart's site will be blasted 45 ft deep, and the ledge on Lowe's site will be blasted 25 ft deep.  The volume is undetermined.

Meeting (hearing), continued to January 6th, same time, same place.


Special Report: Salem rejects clinic based on traffic issues

Salem ZBA rejects proposed methadone clinic, by Sean Teehan, for the Boston Globe, Dec. 16, 2010 (Read Boston Globe article here...)

       Salem Zoning Board of Appeals rejected a developers bid to open a methadone clinic on Highland Avenue, based on the issues of parking and increased traffic.  "Of your 600 daily trips, you have 170 driving in one hour", ZBA Chair Robin Stein said.  

Yet... the ADDITIONAL 5,960 average daily trips per day, and 17,716 trips on an average Saturday for the proposed Lowe's and Super-Walmart expansion, which will rip out pristine forest, wetlands and historical resources.... does not worry Salem's officials?!!!

Quote from a traffic study of  the Lowe's/ Wal-mart proposal:

  • "In addition, the project will generate an additional 5,960 average daily vehicle trips (adt) for a total of 13,292 adt and a total of 17,716 vehicle trips on an average Saturday." 
  • “’Big box’ stores such as the proposed Lowe’s and Wal-Mart are large energy users and generate considerable traffic, both of which result in significant emissions of greenhouse gasses that contribute to global climate change.” 
Reference The Secretary of State's letter:  www.env.state.ma.us/mepa/mepacerts/2010/sc/enf/14532eenf.pdf

Other traffic related articles on this blog:

Thank you to a friend for sharing this information.


Thur, Dec. 16 meetings

Thur, Dec. 16
6:00 pm
City of Peabody ad-hoc Committee Meeting  
Wiggin Auditorium, Peabody City Hall
24 Lowell St., Peabody
Regarding concerns in protecting Spring Pond water supply.

7:00 pm
Salem Public Planning Board Meeting
Salem Annex Building
120 Washington Street, Salem, 3rd fl, Rm 313
This meeting is open to all members of the public, regardless of zip code.

go fish

This stone looks like a fish, with it's mouth open.

This stone looks like a turtle.

If it looks like art, it may very well be art.

Meaningless Apathetic Planning Council

On October 18, 2010, The MAPC (Metropolitan Area Planning Council) had a meeting in Salem, open to the public, on the discussion of which areas should be developed vs. conserved.   Leslie Courtemanche and I attended the meeting and shared information on why it is important to preserve Spring Pond Woods, in Peabody, Lynn and Salem.   We were supported by four other Salem residents who carried the same concern.  Two others spoke, and another two drew on the map... which areas to conserve.

For the record, this information was shared with the MAPC:
1.  Spring Pond Woods was voted by the public as being one of the "1000 Great Places in Massachusetts".  It is a culturally important place.
2.  Archeological resources are found on site. 
3.  Historical resources, such as the trees pertaining to one of America's earliest arboretums.  
4.  An important regional wildlife corridor, stated by the City of Peabody Open Space Plan
5.  Wildlife sightings by Leslie C., and bird of prey sightings
6.  Maps of vernal pools 
7.  Watershed areas and topographical maps, giving reasons to protect the hills around Spring Pond.

After the MAPC collected information from the public, a draft was presented yesterday, December 9, 2010.  However,  the planning council did not incorporate the information into the new draft.  Instead, the areas of conservation were worsened, whereas Camp Lion's site is proposed to be nearly half developed over (as seen in orange on map below, lower left parcel).  Seems like officials of Salem get to have their way with the MAPC, because on the first map presented back on October, there was no defined area clearly expressing the site to fit a proposed Lowe's and Super Walmart.   MAPC is the same regional planning agency that came up with the sceptical traffic study for the area, refuted by Mayor of Lynn.   If any of this make sense, please someone explain.  

A Salem resident wrote in:
"Comment is due by Dec 17 (to MAPC), and can be emailed to jblaustein@mapc.org .

They (MAPC) say they will be posting material at www.mapc.org/north-shore-planning.  Someone (at the meeting last night) requested they include notes they took from the first meeting, as it was felt they did not incorporate much of the input that was given, and not just about Spring Pond.  I think everyone in the audience felt frustrated as this seemed very much like a planning exercise with no associated actions or authority to implement."

A few weeks ago I received a warm letter and package from an art school, stating the Senior Project Director from MAPC referred me to them, to assist the school's program, based on my wonderful work, research and community involvement.  I figured, since I had left such a great impression with Steven Winter, Senior Project Director of the MAPC, that maybe my work regarding Spring Pond Woods was taken seriously.

With this disappointing news, there is good news too... well, no news is good until the area is preserved.  I can not make a public statement yet on what the news is, but it would surely make a good press release, when the time is right.

 peace on

News: City of Peabody will look into the impact of Lowe's to Spring Pond

Salem News:

To read more click on article above.


Wildlife habitat

Monday, a friend Brian shared a photo of what looks like a fisher cat, lying dead on the edge of Spring Pond Woods, on the sidewalk.  Apologies this photo cannot be posted here.

Sunday, Colleen, Rich, Leslie and I went scouting through the woods on Salem's public parcel (which is proposed to be a Lowe's parking lot).   We came across the site of a fresh meal.  A bird of prey typically plucks the feathers off a bird before having its meal.  Walking deeper into the forest, Rich climbed a rock in a dark place, surrounded by dense pines.  He scared a big black bird of prey, as it silently flew away.  I was watching in the distance, resting on the ground after having enough of the cold weather, to be able to grab a photo.  The wing span of the bird was large.  Leslie writes "I think it was an owl, because I saw the wide head and facial disc, and because it flew silently."  

News: Salem Public Meeting for Dec 2

Daily Item
Big Boxes Drainage Hot Topic

Salem News
Planning Board hears drainage plan for Lowe's

The Salem Public Meeting, Dec. 2

A month break from the Salem Public Meetings did not resolve the same old issues which returned to the table.  Here are a few quick mentions of the meeting.  This is not an entire summation.

The Project
Lowe's and Walmart reps repeat this project will have no impact.  A storm water system, they say will improve conditions and follow state requirements.  However, after questioning from the Salem Planning Board, the drains along Highland Ave will potentially need to be addressed because of the current flooding issues.

The Unions
A few men from the union stood to speak for more jobs.  A few members spoke rather cruelly to residents who were there out of concern for their homes.  A union man said 'I don't understand why people think the union is uneducated, ignorant and here for short-term jobs.'  After the meeting, I asked a union leader why he tells his men who are busy with work to come to these meetings.  He said - 'yes there are men who are busy with work... I do not ask them to come.'   (We know different.  The leaders have been telling the workers to attend the meetings.)  I asked, who is paying for all the Lowe's signs, stickers and buttons, in which different unions hold?   Reply:  'got it from the printers',  blushing as he could not answer. Another person remarked 'Your being used.  Do not stand for this project unless they sign a contract with you.  Ask them to find another site to build on.  This would be the right thing to do."

The Peer Review
An engineer hired by the City of Salem to review drainage studies, spoke many times throughout the hearing on how he has no worries of the project and is confident in the design.  In fact he stood to make many statements after a woman who works for the City of Salem (who wears all black) whispered in his ear most of the time on what to say.  Excuse me, but is it not the engineer's job to formulate an opinion of his own?

The Board
In the start of the hearing, a board member said "Should we allow photography?"  Others on the board said "This is a public hearing, so yes photographs are allowed."  (What is there to hide?)  I am unsure why many people's hopes of seeing the Salem Planning Board say no to this project, is slim regardless of the concerns by the neighbors.  The board has good questions, but "be prepared for this project to pass" everyone is saying... even with the several outstanding issues.  Hope is not lost either.  There are other agencies making a decision on this project.  It is worth going to these meetings, just to make mention of the concerns.  A board member said "Call the governor, senator and the state, we're just the Salem Planning Board."

The Nature Advocates and Opponents to the project
Some people spoke of the vernal pools, wildlife, watershed, flooding homes, inadequate storm water pipes on Highland Ave, and bad traffic.  One former union member said - 'yes, lets create jobs, but not by raping this land.  There are other sites to build on.'

In the crowd was Lynn's Mayor Kennedy, Lynn Councilor Trahant (who spoke for his constituents), Lynn Councilor Daniel Cahill, Lynn Councilor Paul Crowley.  I failed to see a Salem or Peabody councilor representing the voices of their concerned residents.