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We report on local students and their academic milestones and honors while away at school and call this regular column, typically called, “Off at School and DoingGreat.” Well, these days, while our local students continue their successes, they’re doing so remotely, often on the Zoom web conferencing platform. With that in mind, the following colleges have reported in on local students who have achieved milestones and academic honors while working from home.

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

The fire departments in Manchester and Essex were among just 24 towns and cities in Massachusetts to receive grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which this week announced $7.8 million in direct assistance grants to 340 fire departments nationwide through the agency’s FY2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant COVID-19 Supplemental program (AFG-S).  

The long-awaited, delayed graduation ceremony for Manchester Essex Regional High School Class of 2020 took place last weekend at Hyland Field in Manchester-by-the-Sea.  Cricket Assistant Editor Paul Clark’s attendance was personal, and about more than the newspaper.  After all, for 23 years …

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On Monday, August 10, starting at 6:30 p.m., our land management boards along with the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee are meeting together (virtually, of course!) to review the status of various land planning initiatives as well as to participate in a workshop on the 40B process.  As always, the public can listen in as well – dial and login information can be found on the agenda posting for the meeting. 

And for 33 years the community of Essex has enjoyed this wondrous space where kids play, parents meet, and friendships grow.  That is, until this past Friday afternoon, when the Eagle’s Nest playground was taken down.  The aging structure had been deemed both unsafe and unsalvageable.  And while it is undeniably sad, plans for a new community playground hope to continue in the unique spirit of its predecessor. 

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With all that has been going on it seems that the local elections that we held belatedly on June 30th did not garner the usual attention.  Indeed, turnout was fairly light with 710 voters casting ballots out of more than 4100 registered voters.  None-the-less, important decisions were made and, with a couple of write in candidates jumping in, we had a tight race for the Planning Board. 

Congressman Joe Kennedy III greeted a vibrant crowd of supporters outside the First Parish Church in Beverly.  Attendees of the event remained masked even as temperatures neared 100 degrees on Sunday.  Kennedy, who is currently serving his fourth term as a U.S. Representative for the state of Massachusetts, is running against incumbent Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey in September.   

Colin Genta, recent St. John's Prep graduate, presented the Honorable Service Lapel Button to his grandfather, Joseph Genta, in Ft. Myers Florida this past weekend.  Mr. Genta served in the Navy during WWII from 1942-1945.  After a long wait of 75 years, Mr. Genta is finally receiving his Ho…

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The Town anticipates that a developer will be putting forth a proposal for a large apartment complex on Upper School Street across from Utopian Farm Stand and Atwater Avenue.  The proposal is for a “40B” project.  General Law Chapter 40B, Sections 22-23 of the Massachusetts state statutes, known as the Comprehensive Permit Law, or simply 40B, was enacted back in 1969 by the state to facilitate the construction of low- or moderate-income housing.  The law establishes a consolidated local review and approval process (one comprehensive permit) that is handled by the Zoning Board of Appeals to cover all aspects of the local approval process.

The Journalism Education Foundation of New England, a division of the New England Newspaper & Press Association, announced that Caroline Enos, Gloucester is one of just three high school recipients of its $2,500 scholarships this year.  The other recipients were from Rhode Island and Connecticut. 

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Each summer about this time the Select Board meets to review the work of the past year and to identify the priorities for the coming year.  The workshop held last Saturday, July 11, provided just such an opportunity.  There is always a long list of possibilities, but we try to focus on the most important items.  Of course, as the pandemic so vividly demonstrates, you never know what surprises await us.

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Anna Sergi was very excited to pick up her Playground Kit today!  Molly Schlegal was just as happy to give it to Anna, in a socially-distant way of course.  Playground Kits have been made available for free thanks to a grant from the Hooper Fund and the Manchester Parks and Recreation Playgr…

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Sadly, it has come to our attention that Manchester by the Sea Town Clerk Christina St. Pierre, 35, died on July 8 after an illness.  St. Pierre was aexample of a true local’s local and serving 12 years as a municipal town clerk, first in her hometown of Essex as the town’s first appointed Town Clerk and then, in 2018 when she was hired for the same position in Manchester to replace the retiring Denise Samolchuk.

Last September, Senator Bruce Tarr presented certificates from the State House to 91-year-old Manchester-by-the-Sea resident Shirley Wilkinson for her service in the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps during World War II.   Nine months later, last week, a bill sponsored by Tarr and signed into law by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker proclaimed July 1 of every year as “US Cadet Nurse Corps Day.”  The bill will also grant permission for American flags and plaques to be installed at gravesites of these women to honor their service during wartime.  

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There are many impacts of the pandemic.   Our local businesses have suffered a body blow as they were forced to close for the spring.  While they are now allowed to open, making up for the lost income is a tall order.  All of us can help by refocusing many of our purchases locally. 

Manchester Town Moderator Alan Wilson (right) in the hour before Manchester’s first outdoor Town Meeting nearly three weeks ago, which took place at the Manchester-Essex Regional Middle High School football field.  Town Administrator Greg Federspiel is at left.  The MBTS Town Moderator is re…