Monday, February 25, 2013

Changing the Face of the North Shore: Sustainability Nonprofits Lead the Way

Pictured left to right: Dr. Marty Farmer, president of NSIV;
Dr. Carl Safina of the Blue Ocean Institute; Tom Kinneman VP COO NSIV;
John Coulbourn; Eric Gramham, Next Step Living and
NSIV boardmember; Eric Groft NSIV. (courtesy photo)

By Alanah Percy
Gordon College News Service
February 20, 2012

Beverly, MA—From the installment of wind turbines in Gloucester and Ipswich to the development of devices for detecting early stage cancer, local entrepreneurs on the North Shore are busy when it comes to clean technology.

“Sustainability is a big issue and we try and stay on top of it,” said John Coulbourn, chair of the Sustainability Forum at the Cummings Center in Beverly, MA.

Coulbourn’s group is one of many comprising the North Shore Technology Council (NSTC), a multifaceted nonprofit dedicated to promoting sustainable technology and growth on the North Shore. Run by volunteers and funded by corporate sponsors, the Council connects with the community through frequent forums, panels and networking events each month.

The group collaborates with laypeople and leading educators, technologists and environmentalists to network and learn about new initiatives in monthly meetings opened to the community. The next gathering will take place on Wednesday, March 6 at 8 a.m. at the Cummings Center in Beverly. (Details can be found here. )

“It’s all about information when it comes to sustainability: the more we have the better off we’ll be,” said Coulbourn who also serves on the advisory board North Shore Innoventures (NSIV).
NSIV, also located in the Cummings Center, is an incubator fostered through NSTC, according to Dr. Martha Farmer, the CEO and president of Innoventures. The organization was designed to mentor and assist entrepreneurs, and engages with the community through clean technology.

“I’m excited by the new technologies people are developing (in the area) to solve real problems,” said Farmer. “We have incubators working on projects on anything from life sciences to clean tech. One incubator called New England Hydropower is working with us to create hydropower plants at dams. The potential energy gains in this area will be greater than those of solar or wind power.”

Breathing with Ease: Children Experience Yoga at Peabody Institute Library

By Alanah Percy
Gordon College News Service
February 23, 2013

Peabody, MA- Betsy Reid, 52, is a professional when it comes to relaxation. As she leads her children’s yoga class to Shavasana, which is a period of relaxation, she is reminded that life is at its best when experienced in the spirit of peace.

“I tell my kids they can’t control what’s going on around them but they can control how they react,” said Reid.

A children’s librarian, Reid holds several free yoga classes for children at the Peabody Institute Library of Peabody, MA. Classes run in four-week blocks with two weeks off between sessions. Little Yogies, a child and parent yoga class for ages 3-5, begins on Wednesday, March 6, from 10-11a.m. Friendship Yoga, for kids ages 6-10, will begin on Tuesday, March 5, from 4-5p.m. An additional Friendship Yoga class is held on Saturday mornings from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Sawyer Free Library in Gloucester, MA.

Incorporating stories, poems and songs, Reid’s classes contain both traditional yoga exercises and upbeat activities to keep the kids engaged.

The library began included yoga in its calendar events five years ago after a grant from Metropolitan Life called “Fit for Life,” one supporting community health. According to Carol Bender, a children’s librarian at the branch, she encouraged Reid to start a yoga program for children. “It’s a perfect fit for her,” said Bender. “She is great at what she does.”

Thrilled by the opportunity to share her passion for yoga and health, Reid said she was first certified to teach children ages 3-5. After recognizing a growing interest in the program, she went back and was recertified as an instructor for older children.

“I lead my class in a series of relaxing poses and teach them how to breathe deep,” said Reid. “I remind them to breathe in school if they get a bad grade on a test or if their friends are making them mad. Breathing helps kids make better decisions when presented with challenges.”

Friday, February 22, 2013

Local lighting designer to give lecture on “Painting with Light”

Steve Rosen
By Tala Strauss
February 21, 2013
Gordon College News Service
(This story appeared February 23, 2012, in the Boston Globe, Salem Your Town edition.)

Salem, MA—In seventh grade, Steven Rosen fell in love with theatre, and more significantly, lighting design. Now the president of Available Light, an architectural lighting design firm in Salem, MA, that has been around for over twenty years, his passion began when he was participating in a school play and discovered the gigantic lighting control board backstage.

“I think it was Annie Get Your Gun,” he recalled. “The spark was lit and I was hooked on theatrical lighting design.”

Rosen, 54, described what he does as combining “the creativity of an artist and the technical expertise of an engineer.” With a background in theatre, he brings his love for drama to his work in lighting design for major national and international museum exhibits, corporate events, and trade shows.

Rosen will give a lecture on “Painting with Light” this Wednesday, February 27, from 5:30pm-9pm at 28 Degrees (1 Appleton Street in Boston) and hosted by the Illuminating Engineering Society. Rosen will discuss how using light as a “compelling medium,” as well as techniques can reduce energy consumption in lighting design. He will also showcase some of the work done by Available Light. The event is $25 for students and members, $30 for non-members.

Lighting has a huge impact on a person’s response to his environment, Rosen said, and good lighting design can positively affect people’s experiences and even health; lighting design is used in treatments for health issues ranging from depression abatement to cancer research.

“We all crave good light,” Rosen said. “The kind that reveals our world in beautiful 3D. The kind that does not blind us with glare. The kind that reveals color in appealing ways. The kind that changes over time and keeps life interesting.”

Fashion Event Raises Money for Women’s Homes

By Stephanie Francis
Gordon College News Service
February 20, 2013
(This article appeared February 28, 2013, in the print and online editions of The Salem News.)
Salem, MA— Jeff Gibley, 55, is no stranger to fashion shows. So when a friend asked him to participate in “The Art of Dressing Fashion Show” hosted by the Brookhouse Home for Women and the Woman’s Friend Society, he quickly offered the tuxedos from his shop J. Gibley Tuxedos in Peabody, MA.

“I never really heard of it (the Brookhouse Home) before this,” said Gibley. “I believe the show is going to be well attended.”

A rest home for seniors, the Brookhouse Home for Women in Salem has been taking care of women for over 150 years while also providing shelter for those in difficult living circumstances. The organization is teaming up with the Women’s Friend Society—which runs the Emmerton House, a place that provides housing for single women—to host their first joint fashion show on Saturday, March 2, at 6 p.m. at the Nathaniel Silsbee House in Washington Square. The money that is raised will be used to enrich the women’s lives through trips and crafts at the respective homes.

“I have a lot of compassion for them,” said Eleanor Soucy, 77, a board member and former president of Brookhouse. “I didn’t really have patience for the elderly when I first started, but I realized they can be easily forgotten and not appreciated.”

Saturday, February 16, 2013

10 Years of Coffee and Social Justice

From left to right Michael Skillicorn,
Umesh Bhuju  and Heather Rice at Zumi’s
 in Ipswich, MA.
Photo by Stephanie Francis
By Stephanie Francis
Gordon College News Service
(This story appeared Feb. 15, 2013, in the online edition of the Boston Globe, Your Town.)

Ipswich, MA—Umesh Bhuju, 43, is a community man. As he sits in his café, Zumi’s Espresso and Ice Cream, he greets customers by name as they walk in.   

“In 10 years of business our biggest success is being able to connect with the community,” said Bhuju.

Zumi’s located in Ipswich celebrated its 10th anniversary by hosting a charity benefit on February17th for the Ipswich Food Pantry and the Ipswich Human Group. The drop in event goes from to 4 p.m. and features local musician Orville Giddings. Customers are encouraged to give money to the charity as a substitute to paying for their orders.

Umesh opened the coffee shop after being laid off from his job as a database administrator at a small Newton company. His short experience working in coffee shops in college inspired Bhuju to start his own, and ten year later he’s serving organic coffee and locally made ice cream to the Ipswich community.

Bhuju said that as a child he never knew anything besides organic food. “When I was growing up in Nepal, most of my friends, they were farmers kids,” he said. “I never learned how to do non-organic, the life style of that region where I came from was pretty much all organic.”

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Local Historian Unearths Beverly’s African American History

Terri McFadden displays an historic document.
Photo by Tala Strauss
By Tala Strauss
February 7, 2013
Gordon College News Service
(This story appeared February 7, 2013, in the Boston Globe Your Town edition.)

Juno Larcom was a little girl when she was sold in the 1730s to Henry Herrick, a Beverly man. He then gave Juno to his daughter’s family, and 46 years later, she was still working for the Larcom family, but as a free woman. 

Sitting in the office of historian Terri McFadden, 62, at the Beverly Historical Society, surrounded by bookshelves full of old documents and records, it’s easy to be charmed by the atmosphere of historical research. But listening to McFadden tell the history of African Americans like Juno is a sober reminder that slavery has a history not only in the American South but also in New England.

McFadden spent this past year researching the lives of African American families in Beverly during the 18th and 19th centuries, and recently shared some of her findings as part of the Monday Mornings lecture series at the Beverly Public Library. And on Wednesday, February 20, McFadden will offer another lecture on Beverly’s black history, this time at the Beverly Historical Society. The event starts at 7 p.m. and is free for members, $5 for nonmembers.

Drawn to the history of women and people of color, “people who don’t have much of a voice in history,” McFadden said that what she is trying to discover in her research is what it was like to be an African American back then.

“It’s really a sad history, but at the same time, this woman Juno Larcom, her personality just comes through in various ways,” she said. “And (so do) her daughters, and maybe one granddaughter. These people made an impression.”

Rebecca Flynn, 49, program director of the Monday Mornings series, said 70 people attended McFadden’s lecture. Some even followed up on the event, including Salem State English professor and poet January O’Neil, who was so inspired by McFadden’s presentation that she hopes to write a series of poems on Juno Larcom.

 “These unique stories should come alive through art,” said O’Neil, who is also the executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival. “They are a terrific source of information and a link to our not-so-distant past. I don't think people are ready to confront certain parts of the past.” But, she added, “it's wonderful to learn about the town my children and I call home.”

Monday, February 4, 2013

Beverly’s Organic Love Creation

The dining room of The Organic Cafe.  
                        photo by Alanah Percy

By Alanah Percy
Gordon College News Service
January 30, 2012

As the third oldest raw food restaurant in the country, the Organic Garden Café of Beverly, Mass, is well known on the North Shore and has received accolades from Boston Magazine, Channel 7 News, even Time Magazine. For its annual Valentine’s Day dinner, the Café will once again offer a healthy option for Gordon students planning their dates, a meal that includes an Italian 4-course meal with (optional wine pairing) at around $40.

Caroline Daugherty, the restaurant’s assistant manager, has been working closely with the head chef and staff to prepare this night of romance.

“It’s been a tradition every year since 1999,” said Daugherty, “and it’s looked different every year.”

A former Whole Foods employee, Daugherty connected with the café through the Chef’s Internship program last summer - an internship for those interested in learning to prepare raw meals. By October, she received a call from the owner offering her the position of assistant manager.

Under the leadership of Head chef and owner Robert Reid, also known as “Rawbert ,” the restaurant remains involved with the community by encouraging the formation of organic relationships through special events on the major holidays, cooking classes and  “pay it forward” days - where meals can be purchased at any price.

“I was just acknowledging Robert yesterday for what he has sourced here,” said Daugherty. “He has changed every team member’s life.”

Equally compelling is the story behind the café’s creation. Reid left his job as an accountant and opened The Organic Café in 1999 after his sister in law was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He then began exploring the medicinal properties of food and took part in several seminars and classes to learn new cooking techniques.

Education Reform Advocate Nicole Baker Fulgham Visits Gordon

By Tala Strauss
Gordon College News Service
January 31, 2013

Nicole Baker Fulgham’s singular passion is education reform. Founder and president of The Expectations Project in Washington, D.C., Fulgham engaged students for two days in January, urging them to become advocates for justice in the public school system. Her message was clear: sixty years after desegregation in the US, two separate public school systems still exist.

“This is one of the most important justice issues of our generation,” Fulgham said in a public interview on Thursday, January 24, moderated by Ashlie Busone ‘14 in a packed Chairman’s Room in KOSC. “A lot of people talk about it as a civil rights issue.”

Fulgham stressed that not only does an achievement gap exist in the US, but inequity in education is also an issue of race and class.

“We see significant achievement gaps, particularly among African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and some Asian American populations,” she said. “Whereas we see many Asian American populations and white Caucasian populations achieve at significantly higher levels.”

But it is not just Fulgham’s passion for justice that motivates her to advocate for change. As an African American who grew up in Detroit, Fulgham’s own experience opened her eyes to the injustice of the education system. While she tested into an exam high school, the rest of her friends went to the local public high school.

“No one talked to my friends about college. Lots of the kids - about half of them - dropped out of high school,” Fulgham shared. “My brother and I are two of the three kids we know from our entire neighborhood that actually went to college.”

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Trains and Legomania Return to Wenham Museum

                                           photo by Stephanie Francis

By Stephanie Francis
Gordon College News Service
January 31, 2013
(This story appeared February 1, 2013, in the Boston Globe, Your Town edition.)

Ever since he was a little kid Jonathan Dallas liked making cities. Dallas, who is now a member of the New England Lego Users Group (NELUG), remembers discovering the joy of laying out a model train and adding the details to make it more real.

One of NELUG’s almost two-dozen members, Dallas will be helping set up the Lego Train Exhibit at the Wenham Museum. The exhibit and Legopalooza are part of the Lego-themed events that the toy museum will be hosting again this winter during school vacation from February 15th to the 19th.

NELUG was founded in 1999 by five adult fans of Legos (also known as AFOL) in the New England area. These Lego enthusiasts met through—which is where many members find NELUG—and started NELUG. They partnered with the Wenham Museum in 2009 after a show in Wilmington where a Wenham Museum volunteer encouraged them to take their act to Wenham. The exhibit has been a staple of the museum since then. The train exhibit will only be open on the 16th and 17th and Legopalooza is a one day event on the 19th. Both are free with admission.

“The Lego Train exhibit has a broader audience. It is really for all ages,” said Mary McDonald, educator of the museum. “Legopalooza is geared toward kids.” This is why the museum planned the event during February school vacation.

A member of NELUG since 2001, Dallas has been an executive committee member twice as well as helped convert the organization to a non-profit in 2011. Each member of the group must be over the age of 18, pay the annual dues and live in New England. Though the organization does not own any of the trains, members build every part of the display and use models from their private collections.

Friday, February 1, 2013

New Fellows Bring New Perspectives to GCNS

Meet Stephanie Francis, Alanah Percy and Tala Strauss, the 2013 spring Fellows.

Click here to read their bios.