Friday, March 28, 2014

LOWELL CITY COUNCIL Might Have Thown Back Three Keeps And Kept a Kibbe

I have watched the interviews for the new Lowell City Manager three nights in a row this week and at times deprived myself of much needed sleep as I get up so early to go to work. I would like to thank all the candidates that made the cut for coming out to be interviewed. I would have liked to have seen who didn't make the cut as rumors were that the fix was in and these were the most qualified.That being said I thought the Council did a good job asking questions.

I believe this process was jaded from the beginning with leaks of the vote counts and the blog of record reporting what should have been known to only to our elected officials. I want to believe that those we elected will do the right thing for our city but I am not naive that there was a anti Bernie push this past city council election to push CM Lynch out.

We heard from professional city managers from smaller city's and town's that were knowledgeable on all aspect 's of city and town government and I was happy to hear from many of the candidates that they felt the past administration had done a good job despite the economic climate these past few years and would take the gig with a contract if chosen.

I have no horse in the race but feel Rep. Kevin Murphy does not meet the requirements to be our CM.
He is a nice guy and has served his district well along side his fellow Lowell delegation but has no experience in  running a city . Yes he can surround himself with what he feels are the best people to help him run the city but in reality that would be like me jumping from my 23 ft. fishing boat in the Merrimack River to a Cruise Ship on a trans Atlantic crossing.

If it is Kevin Murphy I wish him well and hope he leaves Lowell better than he found it.

Sea ya
The Capt. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

All Out War On The Homeless

All across our country our most vulnerable citizens are being pushed out of our sight and into the shadows. Our homeless population is at its highest since the deep depression.  Back then President Roosevelt formed the WPA program and put millions of Americans back to work on Federal, State and Municipal projects.

Now we hear of  stories like Portland Oregon Mayor ordering there police to dismantle and remove the over 4000 homeless people from there camps and throw away what meager  belongings they have. .

We also hear of Columbia SC ruling that non profits must pull permits at the cost of 125.00 to set up soap kitchens in a local park to feed the homeless.

Even right here in Lowell we pushed our homeless out of sight.  I don't have the answers on how to stop the growing homeless population in our country. Some of the reasons are lack of jobs and the closing of mental health facility's. Substance abuse and returning war veterans with PTSD.

A friend of mine has a saying " You don't punch down" . 

Sea ya
The Capt.                                     

Friday, January 24, 2014

Capt. Pauls Guide to Fishing Guide's down South.

I've had enough of talking local politics for now. This cold stretch has Janet and I talking about heading south for a spell and I to wet a line. Janet and I have been heading down to the Keys for the last 20 years and hit some Caribbean Islands  for vacation.

I love fishing in the Keys. I have fished from Key Largo to Key West Fla. and this is in my option the fishing capital of the world . In February Key Largo has the best Sailfishing as the reef is only 3 miles off shore and after catching your live bait your on them in no time.

 Mid April- May is the best time to go for Tarpon because they are migrating from open sea to the gulf to spawn. I have fished under the 7 mile bridge and the Bay of Honda with thousands of Tarpon heading into the Gulf.

Off shore fishing  is awesome pulling up Grouper,  Yellow Tail Tuna , King Mackerel  and huge Barracuda and the prize of all Mai Mai Dolphin,   On the Gulf side you catch Snapper, Yellow Fin and many another smaller good eating fish that you can bring to any restaurant and they will prepare it as you wish and only pay for the side dishes.

There are hundreds of guides set up at their booths at marinas and and they are smooth talkers with their shiny 42ft sport fishing boats behind them. They have pictures and videos of huge fish displayed and everyone guarantee's fish. .....If you want to pay between 1500 to 2000 for a day of fishing.

I bypass all those guys and walk the docks and look for guys fileting fish and blood on the boat and guys having a couple of beers all sweaty and stinky. Stop and talk to these guys because they are the real deal and not some Corporate Company that owns a few shiny boats and give you a boat ride with air conditioned cabins.

You can deal with these guys or put your name on a list to split the fishing trip with other guys to defray the cost and it won't be any more than 800 to 1000 for the boat and you will most likely get more  than a day you wanted because they love to fish.

I have never paid more than 200 for a full day of world class fishing in the Keys . I have caught 16 Sailfish and a 200lbs Tarpon and Mai Mai to feed a army. Don't fall into the tourist trap and walk the docks,,,,,,,,some guys will take your money because they love to fish and cover their expenses .

Sea Ya
The Capt.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Mutiny at Lowell City Hall

What a week ay mates?  As I posted earlier in the week I was hopeful and  anxious to see our new city council in action this past Tuesday night. It was not boring indeed. The Capt. of our city gave his notice to my surprise and abandoned ship.

Capt. Lynch has steered the city on a straight course for the last 7 years and filled our treasure chests and kept us ship shape. There were some disgruntled crew members in his tenure as Capt, but he was a professional and kept to his duty's and looked ahead to the real mission and relied on his officers to handle the day to day operations .

I don't blame Capt. Lynch for leaving. A man can only take so much and being at the wheel can take a toll on you . I'm sure the Capt. looked into the horizon and saw some rough sea's ahead and decided it was time to head for port. He may have also looked at his new crew and they didn't have the same passion as he did for the next voyage.

In the olden days when a Capt. was killed or died men on ship men would get nervous. They looked at who would be the next one to lead them. Sometimes they would mutiny and  leave at the next port or they leave the ship because they had no confidence in the rest of the crew who had  someone else in mind to be there Capt.

I know I'm painting a picture right now but it is not far from what is happening in my city. I am pissed that we are losing good...no GREAT people. I hope we don't go backward to the olden days.

Sea Ya
The Capt.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

City Manager Bernie Lynch Resigns

I'm going to be truthful as I type this I'm still a little shaken up. I was very anxious and hopeful to watch the first 2014 City Council meeting. Mayor Rodney Elliott ran a pretty good meeting and kept things moving along accept for the motions coming out of order because folks were there to speak.

The meeting went a little long  with a long discussion on the location of the Manger and the maintenance of it.

The last few days there were a lot of discussions in the local media about the City Manager wanting to go into executive session to discuss his contract.  Some thought it was premature as his contract does not expire till this August . I thought it was a good move to see how the new council felt about his performance so he could make plans in the event they wouldn't give him a contract.

I have said all along a professional City Manager should have a contract to attract the very best applicants. Bernie has been in my option the very best that I have seen in the time that I have gotten involved in politics .He has brought the city to a sound financial state that is admired by not only the surrounding towns but the state. We have a solid bond rating and low taxes and work has began to address our infrastructure.

There was a fraction of the city that from some  reason didn't like him and bucked his every move and I believe put candidates  forward to run this last term for city council and they won.

This in my option is a sad day in Lowell s political history. I wish Bernie well as he deserves it
I hope that the City of Lowell will find someone to fill he shoes......It won't be easy   

Saturday, January 4, 2014

I Hope We Don't Have Rough Sea's Ahead in 2014

In today's Lowell Sun two things jumped out me. One comparing Councilor Rodney Elliott to Richard Howe Sr. in this mornings Saturday Chat . In my option C.C. Elliott as been disruptive negative and self serving for these last 5 terms . Yes he as gotten the votes but I am concerned about his leadership as Mayor. Will it be the same old Rodney disregarding Roberts Rules? Will he continue to beat on the City Manager?

City Manager Bernie Lynch has asked to go into executive session to discuss his upcoming contract.
Good for him he should know what he is dealing with from the start of this new council. I hope this council has the good sense to give the Manager a new contract.

I have my ear to ground and hear the coffee shop talk as most of us do. We as a city cannot go backwards to the good old boy days. We have a fiscally sound city under the Lynch administration .
We enjoy low to no tax hikes as residents and continue to get the services we need.
I have said it before I don't care who the City Manager is but he deserves a contract .

It will be interesting to see if this city Manager decides to leave ,who will get the gig and if he or she gets a contract. We as a city are on the right course . We are not perfect and I'm hoping this council will not make to many waves and stay the course.

The Capt.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Shedd Park. Lowells Hidden Jewell

I was driving by Shedd Park today and a smile came across my face as I watched hundreds on children sledding down the hills in the park on the fresh snow. I have many many fond memories of doing just that as a child. I remember asking my Dad after a fresh snow to go to the park and putting on our snowsuits and  black buckled boots and loading up our sleds and aluminum flying saucers and climbing that hill over and over.

The kids today have it easier than we did . In our day they didn't have bales of hay in front of the tress and the granite walls. I remember parents would stand in front of the tress facing up up hill when the children came down and tried to catch them before we hit the trees.

Many parents limped off the hill from getting hit in the ankles.....Here is a little History of Shedd Park that I found.....Enjoy


The Story of Lowell’s Shedd Park

The gates are familiar to all who pass Lowell’s Shedd Park at the intersection of Rogers Street (Route 38) and Knapp Avenue in the city’s Belvidere section.  And they tell a story of some of the greatest generosity ever experienced by the city of Lowell.

The Shedd Park Gateway, as it was envisioned in 1910. (Source: Lowell Sun: 7/16/1910)
Today, Lowell’s Shedd Park is home to fifty acres of  tennis courts, baseball diamonds, picnic areas, and a water spray park.  Its pavilion is often used as a stage for public events and concerts.  In the years surrounding the turn of the twentieth century, however, the land that eventually became the park was a combination of open fields and dense forests, and it was privately owned.

Field and forest covered the land that would become Shedd Park in 1910.  (Source: 1910-11 Lowell City Documents)
The land wasn’t always destined to become Shedd Park.  As late as 1896, it was considered for subdivision and development into housing lots.

An 1896 plan showed a subdivision consisting of Hoyt, Belrose, and McAlvin Avenues traversing the core of what later became park grounds.  (Source:  1896 Lowell City Atlas)
But, in the end, Freeman B. Shedd, the owner of the land, gave it as a gift to the City of Lowell, with no strings attached.  On July 14, 1910, Freeman B. Shedd sent a letter to Lowell’s mayor at the time, John F. Meehan.

Freeman B Shedd, (Source: 1910-11 Lowell City Documents)
He said:
“I have acquired title to a tract of land containing fifty acres, more or less, which is situated south of Knapp Avenue and adjoining Fort Hill park, that I offer to the City of Lowell for its acceptance under the following conditions:
“First:  That it shall forever be used as a park and recreation or playground for the citizens and children of the City of Lowell, and for no other purpose.
“Second:  That no building or structure shall be erected on the land except such as is adapted and required for use in connection with said park and playground.
“Third:  That the city will, within a reasonable time, proceed to develop and prepare the ground for such uses on the lines indicated by accompanying plan furnished by E.W.Bowditch, civil engineer of Boston.
“Fourth:  That I shall have the right to erect, subject to the approval of the park commission, a suitable gateway and entrance, with a tablet or tablets thereon with the following transcription:  ”Shedd Playground.  A gift to the City of Lowell by Freeman Ballard Shedd, A.D. 1910.”
And, with that he closed the letter, and awaited the city’s response to his offer.  Real estate experts of the day valued the land at $50,000.  There were really no strings attached.  Freeman Shedd, a lifelong resident of Lowell, and was simply and in the words of the day, an ‘ardent lover’ of his city.
The vote to accept Shedd’s park was unanimous, and a rising vote of thanks was offered to Freeman Shedd.  An appropriation of $10,000 was voted by the City Council on November 4, 1910 to clear the land and build a roadway to the entrance.  Work commenced quickly.  A roadway was built to grant better access to the future park.  Ground was cleared;  trees were felled.  The skating rink was created.   The Council intended, within 10 years to make the park one of the best outside Boston.  Freeman Shedd again stepped forward to make that happen.  Shedd’s will left $100,000 to the city for the development of the park, provided that his daughter, Mary Belle, left  no descendants when she herself died.  Mary Belle Shedd did, indeed, died childless in 1921, but was survived by Freeman Shedd’s wife, Amy.  When Amy Shedd died in 1924, the $100,000 reverted to the City of Lowell and Shedd Park was further developed.
The original Bowditch plan for Shedd Park called for an open air theater, roughly where the little league baseball diamonds sit now along Knapp Avenue, a pond with a beach roughly where the Senior League baseball diamond sits now, and gender-specific gyms and tennis courts.  A field designated for baseball and football was to reside further down Boylston Street, where the current picnic area is.  Original plans also called for an underground tunnel to pass under the B&M railroad to connect the park with Wigginville, now better known as South Lowell.

The original Bowditch plan for Shedd Park – 1910 – Lowell Sun, 7/16/1910
In the last days of November and into early December 1910, a 6″ inch service pipe was laid into the park, and from it approximately four million gallons of water were let onto the land to flood about five acres of land for a skating rink.  City residents loved it.  The Water Department wasn’t so thrilled.  Although the Park Department paid for the pipe and its installation, they refused to pay the water bill.

The skating pond at Shedd Park in 1910.  (Source: 1910-11 Lowell City Documents)
Outside downtown Lowell, there are few Lowell landmarks as universally well-known as Belvidere’s Shedd Park.  At over 50 acres, the park is among the largest in the city.  Its story, enhanced by generations of memories among Lowell residents, traces its origins to one of Lowell’s most generous sons, who grew up to leave Lowell’s one of its greatest gifts ever.