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Jim Coppersmith Racial justice A call for art




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02 | 01945

A publication of Essex Media Group


Edward M. Grant

Chief Executive Officer

Michael H. Shanahan


Edward L. Cahill

John M. Gilberg

Edward M. Grant

Gordon R. Hall

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J. Patrick Norton

Michael H. Shanahan

Chief Financial Officer

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Chief Operating Officer

James N. Wilson

Community Relations Director

Carolina Trujillo


Susan Conti


Thor Jourgensen

Contributing Editors

Cheryl Charles

Steve Krause

Contributing Writers

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Elyse Carmosino

Gayla Cawley

Daniel Kane

Steve Krause

Guthrie Scrimgeour

Ann Marie Tobin


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All the news that fits, we print

Jim Coppersmith was a no-nonsense newsman when he was at Channel 5 in Boston — so much so

that he chose to air the Boston mayoral primary results in 1983 instead of Game 1 of the World Series.

In 1983, Major League Baseball was still watchable, and that was a huge risk to take. The pushback

went all the way to ABC headquarters in New York.

It didn't faze Mr. Coppersmith. He was proud of it then, and he's proud of it now.

"The purpose of the news is to tell people what happened today," says Mr. Coppersmith, now almost 88.

The award-winning president of WCVB-TV, Channel 5, Boston spent his entire career putting his stamp

on news organizations (including Channel 7, Boston) and public relations agencies. He'll be the first to

tell you that he managed a lot of local legends in his time, including Chet Curtis and Natalie Jacobson.

But he, himself, qualifies as a legend. He is in the New England Broadcaster's Hall of Fame — and though he

has been retired since 1994, if you say his name in certain circles, people stop and listen as if you're E.F. Hutton.

Steve Krause profiles Mr. Coppersmith in this edition of 01945.

Chip Ford is picking up the gauntlet thrown down by the late Barbara Anderson, whose campaign on

behalf of Massachusetts taxpayers resulted in the passage of Proposition 2 ½ — perhaps the watershed

moment in the commonwealth's financial history.

Ford is still at it. And he has played an integral role in protecting and preserving the hard-won legacy

of Proposition 2 ½ . Elyse Carmosino has the story.

Meet. Connect. Promote. That's the philosophy behind the fast-growing Women's Business League

(WBL), which, thanks to efforts of Marblehead realtor Sylvia Sarkisyan, has launched its newest chapter.

Anne Marie Tobin has the story.

Hurricanes blow more than ill-winds. They can shape all kinds of things. In his book "A Furious Sky:

The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes," author Eric Jay Dolin tells how the fierce

storms have affected politics, economics, technology, and when the timing was right, the colonization

and revolutions in America over the past 500 years. Daniel Kane has the story.

According to the song, "Everything was beautiful at the ballet," and for Paula Shiff, that is definitely

the case. Fifty years ago, she founded the Marblehead School of Ballet, and she still loves to see her

performers learn and grow from their exposure to the arts. Guthrie Scrimgeour has the story.

Staying with the arts, how do you transform what is usually a visual medium into something

marketable during the Age of COVID? Talk to Patti Baker and Missy Fisher of the Marblehead Arts

Association. They have a few ideas to offer. Krause again has the story.

The national racial-justice reckoning triggered by George Floyd's May 25 killing has struck a nerve in

Marblehead, and the Marblehead Racial Justice Team is shifting from awareness building to direct action,

says Clifton Lutheran Church Pastor Jim Bixby, one of the team's leaders. Guthrie again has the story.

In this school year like no others, Will Shull is thankful to be back in school. Like many Massachusetts

school districts, Marblehead started the school year remotely, but switched to a hybrid model — a mix

of remote and in-person instruction — on Oct. 5. Superintendent John Buckey says hybrid learning has

been an adjustment, and Shull says it's "different." Gayla Cawley has the story.

The restaurants and corner shops that help make Marblehead Marblehead have been some of the

hardest hit during the pandemic and helping these businesses navigate tough times is a priority for the

Marblehead Chamber of Commerce. Dan Kane again has the story.

Back to Mr. Coppersmith for a moment. “A no-nonsense newsman” is the term our guy Krause used

over and over in telling our 01945 newsroom inhabitants about their interview. A no-nonsense newsman.

I guess I have a ways to go. Krause years ago pegged me “the Minister of Dustbins” because he saw me

as a neat freak.

A no-nonsense newsman. The Minister of Dustbins.

Mr. Coppersmith still has something to strive for.

04 What's Up

06 Semi-school

10 She means business

12 House Money

14 Storm story

16 Artist alert

18 Station master


20 Justice team

22 Fore man

24 Tax taskers

26 Networker

28 On their toes

30 Town heroes

31 B&B delicious



Victoria Lottatore, 14, of

Gloucester dances at the

Marblehead School of Ballet.



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Calling all Scouts

What: Scouting enjoys a long history

in Marblehead with Boy Scouts and

Cub Scouts open to boys and girls

with more information available at


Where: Troop 11 is based at St.

Stephen's United Methodist Church,

67 Cornell Road, and Troop 79 is

based at Clifton Lutheran Church,

150 Humphrey St.

When: Visit troop and pack websites

at marbleheadscouting.org for

meeting dates.

Making book

What: Abbot Public Library hosts

a book discussion group and also

provides book club kits with 10 books

and a leader's guide.

Where: Visit abbotlibrary.org for

more information, including virtual

program details.

When: Book discussion group is held

on the third Tuesday of every month at

10 a.m.

Get your walk on

What: The Chamber of Commerce

sponsors the annual Christmas walk

with family activities, entertainment

and shopping planned with COVID-19

precautions in place.

Where: Visit marbleheadchamber.org

for Walk schedule and details.

When: Friday, Dec. 4-Sunday, Dec. 6.

The play's the thing

What: Marblehead Little Theatre is

streaming "Through the Big Times and

Back" described as a serial for stage about

crime, pro-wrestling and the media.

Where: Go to Facebook.com/

Marblehead Little Theatre to view an

upcoming episode.

When: Dec. 14, 7-8:15 p.m.

Step up and serve

What: Are you interested in serving on

a town board or committee?

Where: Check out marblehead.org/

home/news for board and committee

vacancy information.

When: Board terms range from one to

three years and letters of interest may

be sent to wileyk@marblehead.org

06 | 01945


up to

the plate


In this school year like few others,

Will Shull is thankful to be back in


Like many Massachusetts school

districts, Marblehead started the school

year remotely due to coronavirus

concerns, but switched to a hybrid

model — a mix of remote and in-person

instruction — on Oct. 5.

The district's youngest students

started coming back to school in

mid-September, but middle and high

school students had to wait longer to

It's been a change we've

had to get used to. It's

nice to see my teachers

and friends again.

— Will Shull

Marblehead High School senior Will Shull puts on gloves before returning to his Culinary Arts class.


be back in the classroom, according to

Superintendent Dr. John Buckey.

The return marked the first time

instruction had been delivered in person

since last March.

Buckey said it has been an adjustment

for students and teachers. As of early

November, things have been going

smoothly, Buckey said, and Shull agreed.

"It's definitely different," said Shull,

18, who attends classes in person on

Tuesdays and Fridays, but spends the rest

of the week learning remotely.

"It's been a change we've had to get

used to. It's nice to see my teachers and

friends again."

With a limited amount of time spent

in school — high school students attend

classes from 8 a.m. to noon on the days

they are learning in person — Shull said

the biggest challenge for him has been

time management.

"Just being in person is so much

better than online," said Shull, who plans

to attend Wesleyan University next year,

where he will continue to play lacrosse.

"It's hard to sit in front of a screen for

hours a day."

His culinary arts teacher, Sara

Berkowitz, is also grateful to have her

students back in class.

On an early November morning,

Berkowitz conducted a high-energy

cooking class with a small group of

students. They barraged her with

questions while she explained directions

on how best to prepare the food.

"Having them back in the schools

is very important," said Berkowitz, a

Marblehead High graduate who has

been teaching at the school for two

years. "I'm so happy to be back in

the classroom. I prefer to be in the

classroom. I prefer to be with students.

I do not prefer to be behind a computer,

so this is my happy place."

Citing her background in restaurant

management, Berkowitz said she was

confident that her classroom, which

includes a kitchen, could adhere to

enhanced sanitation procedures to ensure

the health and safety of her students.

High School Principal Daniel Bauer only

had praise for the way students and staff

handled the return to in-person instruction.

SCHOOL, page 8

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08 | 01945

John Herrick teaches a Biology class at Marblehead High School with COVID-19 social distancing in place.


SCHOOL, continued from page 6

"The kids have done an awesome

job," said Bauer. "Our staff has been

unbelievable. School is all routine. It

took (students) a couple of days to

understand the routine, but they've

adjusted very well."

Administrators acknowledged at least

one blip on the radar so far.

In late October, Buckey wrote to

families that he was transitioning

Marblehead High School back to a 100

percent remote format for two weeks

after administrators became aware of

a large house party that involved high

school-age students not following major

COVID-19 prevention protocols.

At the time, Buckey wrote that

Marblehead Police had broken up the

party, but students at the party could

not be identified because they scattered

when police arrived.

Students who attended the party,

or came into contact with someone

who did, were urged to get tested for


Classes resumed at the high school

on Nov. 9 and students have been

back on their hybrid schedules ever

since, according to Buckey, who was

interviewed, along with Bauer, Shull and

Berkowitz, during the school's first week

back to in-person instruction following

the party.

"It's not easy to go back and forth

From left, Marblehead High School sophomores Carrie Linde, Caitlin Parkman, and Grace McGarry

discuss "Catcher in the Rye" during a class under an outdoor tent.

between remote and hybrid," said Bauer.

"It's been more of an adjustment for

teachers and staff. Everyone has done a

good job of being flexible and has risen

to the occasion."

Marblehead High School students

are divided into two cohorts, with each

group attending classes two days a week.

Approximately 400 students are in the

school each day, except Wednesday,

which is a remote day for everyone,

according to Buckey.

All told, 1,200 students are in school

each day throughout the district's six

schools. That number is less than half

of the district's total enrollment of

approximately 2,700 students, Buckey said.

While Buckey said students seem

to be enjoying the hybrid schedule,

approximately 350 students have chosen

to learn remotely for the school year.

"There's no true substitute for full

in-person learning, but we're not in a

position to return to what is normal

pre-pandemic, so we're making the best

of what is not an optimal situation,"

said Buckey. "I think that students and

teachers want to be in-person. Students

are very resilient. It's been hard since

March and they have really stepped up to

the plate."

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tough times


The local restaurants and

corner shops that help

make Marblehead feel like

Marblehead have been some

of the hardest hit during the pandemic

and helping these businesses navigate

tough times is at the forefront for the

Marblehead Chamber of Commerce.

"We're just focusing on the needs of

our members which are a little bit

different than they normally would

be," Executive Director Beth Ferris

said. "We're just adapting like

everyone else."

Adapting has been the one

constant this year, with the

Chamber having to cut its part-time

administrative assistant and limit

staff to just Ferris and a bookkeeper

who comes in once a week.

Those cuts mirrored changes

hitting the town everywhere.

"Our members mostly just need

support right now and getting the

word out that they are conducting

business safely and are following

the guidelines that are set forth by

the state," Ferris said.

Normally that support would come

in the form of various events held

around town, many of which had to be

put on hold for much of the year.

"Our work supporting the

community through the Chamber is

partly funded by our dues paid by our

members," Ferris said. "The events

that we normally rely upon we haven't

been able to have. It's been a challenge

for us to figure out how we're going to

keep everything going."

But things started to look up this

fall. The town's Sidewalk Sales day was

a nice boom for local businesses, and the

outdoor setup made for a nice fit in the

new socially-distanced realm.

"There was a little bit of a buzz. It

was nice," Ferris said of the Sidewalk

Shop day held in September. "People

were really excited to be out. Having it

outdoors, I think added to people's sense

of safety and comfort. Don't get me

wrong, a lot of people are excited to get

out and go shopping but some are still

reluctant. So reinforcing how stores and

restaurants are following the guidelines

Marblehead Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

Beth Ferris is helping her business members survive and thrive

during the pandemic.


and keeping everyone safe is really key."

Many stores around town, such as

Muddle Puddle Toys and Sweetwater

Trading Company, have been embracing

those guidelines to keep things afloat.

"Every business has had to be on top

of things, pivot, and use the internet,"

Ferris said. A lot of places have curbside

pickup still. Most businesses are doing

that but are also running perfectly

normally with their customers coming in

and doing things as they would be.

"Stores have been really innovative

in finding ways to accommodate their

customers. A lot of them are setting up

shopping-by-appointment now. Mud

Puddle Toys for instance, are really

limited by how many people they

can have come in the store. This is a

season where people really want to do

shopping or come in with their whole

family. If they have one family in there

then they aren't often able to have too

many more people come in so they've

done a lot by appointment."

As the colder weather creeps up,

those models will stay consistent for

local retailers, but restaurants will

have fewer options available.

"It's tricky for restaurants with

the colder weather coming," Ferris

said. "I know a lot of them have

invested in heaters and stuff to

continue to have outdoor dining.

That's really been a great source of

support from the town to be able

to do that because the capacity for

inside is still limited."

It's investments like that

that have given hope for local

restaurants like The Landing as we

head into our first COVID winter.

"The Landing has put up these

Plexiglass partitions between tables

so that they're able to keep the

diners safe and not have to keep

the full distance in between," Ferris said.

"They have a four-season porch now with

panels on the outside and heaters. They're

planning to keep the porch open year

round so that will be a nice way to help

their seating."

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WINTER 2020 | 13

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14 | 01945

A furious story writer

I love the ocean,

there’s just something

about it and the

stories of the ocean

that draws me in.

— Eric Jay Dolin


When you think of a hurricane, you

can probably picture a massive storm

with buckets of rain and violent winds

that will often leave behind plenty of

destruction in its wake.

But the story of these tropical storms

is also one that has shaped things

from politics, economics, technology,

and, when the timing was right, the

colonization and revolutions in America

over the past 500 years.

That’s exactly the story that

Marblehead’s best-selling author Eric Jay

Dolin’s newest book, "A Furious Sky: The

Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s

Hurricanes" tells.

“I can say it’s the most comprehensive

history of American hurricanes there is,”

Dolin said. “And that’s not saying much,

because it’s the only one. It’s a new

contribution to the literature.”

And that’s not by accident. Adding

to the story and literature of a subject

is what Dolin looks to do in his books.

All his books have either a maritime or

wildlife theme as Dolin always has had a

fascination with the ocean.

“Living in Marblehead and New

England I see the ocean every day,”

Dolin said. “I love the ocean. There’s just

something about it, and the stories of the

ocean, that draws me in.”

That started while Dolin was

growing up on the coasts of New York

and Connecticut. He spent many days

exploring beaches and collecting seashells

on the way, dreaming of being just like

Jacques Cousteau when he grew up.

As he grew older, Dolin wanted to be

a seashell scientist. He studied at Brown,

Yale and MIT, and held many jobs trying

to figure out what he wanted to focus on

in his life.

During those years he always enjoyed

the writing part of his job over working

in labs or teaching. Dolin wanted to tell

stories, and with the support of his wife,

Jennifer Rooks, and a lot of time saving

while releasing books, he ended up

making a living doing just that.

“It took many years of saving, but

the single most important element is

my wife,” Dolin said. “She’s always

worked, had a good job, and supported

me. I couldn’t have done it without her


Dolin has spent his career writing

non-fiction historical books about

everything from pirates, lighthouses,

whaling, the fur trade, and more. When

starting each, he likes to tackle a subject

he has interest in but doesn’t know much

about, and uses America’s history as a

storytelling guide.

“All my books are about certain

things, but the way I look at my books

is using those subjects as a backbone to

tell a slice of American history,” Dolin

said. “You use a specific topic to weave a

chronological tale of history.”

WINTER 2020 | 15

With hurricanes, once Dolin took to

his converted garage office to delve into

researching, he quickly realized although

there have been more hurricanes to

count over the past 500 years, they’re

each unique in their own way.

“When I started working I was a little

worried,” Dolin said. “I wanted to tell

the stories of many different hurricanes.

I asked myself, ‘Is this going to be

repetitive?’ What I discovered is they’re

all unique. They affect different places,

people and different dynamics. Each

hurricane is its own character.”

Those characters of Mother Nature,

along with the people whose lives they’ve

touched, are part of what makes "A

Furious Sky," an Editor’s Choice in the

New York Times.

Along with the history, he’s able

to weave in a narrative that not only

shares accounts of the gripping, and at

times horrific dramatics, but the story

of evolving technology in the field of

studying these storms, and the book’s

historical pictures are fascinating

documents themselves that add to the


As Dolin would say, “real life is better

than fiction.”

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FALL 2020 | VOL. 5 NO. 3

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16 | 01945

Marblehead Arts Association Board of Directors Co-President Missy Fisher, left, and

Executive Director Patti DiCarlo Baker look through the Pieces of 8 exhibit which

features small paintings, photographs, jewelry, and scarves which were created by

members of the association.


Calling all painters


The Marblehead Arts Association is

launching a nationwide search — not for

anything specific, but simply for art.

In this COVID-19 pandemic that

has been a part of our existence since

March, the MAA, like most entities,

has had to struggle and be creative in

its efforts not only to raise funds for

its projects, but to do projects that

people can see. After all, art is a shared

experience, said executive director Patti

Baker. And the answer to that is the

answer to everything else these days: get

it up online.

“We’ve been able to deliver (art)

WINTER 2020 | 17

online,” Baker said. “People have been

able to go on websites to see our exhibits.

We’ve had Zoom calls with members, so

they can see our artwork online, and see

how they’re doing.”

Hard as it may be to pivot from

holding live events, the experience has

been a blessing, said co-president Missy


“It’s been good for us as an

organization,” she said. “It has propelled

us forward in online growth. We were

sort of behind in getting online, so this

has forced us to take a harder look."

The restrictions due to the

COVID-19 shutdown made the MAA’s

two major fundraisers — a Kentucky

Derby party in May and a Halloween

masquerade ball — impossible, though

the organization did hold a miniature

golf/masquerade night last month.

Now, the MAA has come up with

something extremely ambitious: its

“Variations” exhibit, which will begin

next month. The call for works didn’t

just go out across the state and New

England, the way it generally does, but


Judges from the Museum of Fine

Arts, among other places, will decide

on the best works of art from three

categories: fine arts, photography and


“This is the first time we are opening

up to artists throughout the country,”

said Fisher. “It’ll be a real challenge for


This will be a virtual display, which

presents its own set of challenges.

“We’re learning all new computer

programs,” said Baker. “To put the

artwork online, there are specific

actions. And it’s a steep learning curve.

Once we’re up and running, it’ll work


“Because of what’s happened, we’ve

had to come up with a different way of

looking at things,” Fisher added.

The entry fee is $35 for one piece of

art, and $15 for the others. There are a

maximum of three pieces allowed, and

MAA members get a $10 discount. In

general, during this pandemic, “we had

to scrutinize the profit/loss financials,”

said Fisher. “We’ve had to do a full-court

press in terms of fundraising, and look

at all the options open to us, and get

funding from other sources. And we’ve

become a lot more conservative in our

spending. We had to.”

Because of what’s

happened, we’ve had to

come up with a different

way of looking at things.

— Missy Fisher

Paul McMahan's painting hangs at Marblehead

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18 | 01945

He's seen it all, done it all

Jim Coppersmith with one of his many famous acquaintances, the late broadcaster Eric Sevareid.


S. James "Jim" Coppersmith has a

saying he likes to use when describing

the reputation he enjoys as a Boston

television legend.

"The older I get," he says, "the greater

I used to be."

Anyone who watched Boston

television in the 1980s and 90s —

and well before that as well — will

undoubtedly remember Coppersmith. He

was vice president and then president,

as well as general manager, from 1982

to 1984 at WCVB-TV, Channel 5. He

usually delivered the solemn endof-broadcast

editorials and was also

the impetus behind the still-popular

Chronicle, the station's nightly news

magazine-type show.

And, in an early incarnation with Boston

television, he came up with the huge 1970s

hit "Candlepins for Cash," starring Bob

Gamere, during a stint at Channel 7.

Calling Coppersmith a Boston TV

legend may be accurate in one sense,

but unfair in another. He is more than

that. He worked all over the United

States before settling in Boston — and

Marblehead — in 1983.

Fictional newscaster Ted Baxter once

said it all started for him at a 5,000-

watt radio station in Fresno, California.

Coppersmith's beginnings were about as

humble, if not even more so.

"I went to Johnstown (Pennsylvania)

High School, and we had 369 kids in my

graduating class, and I was, I think, 39th

from the bottom," said Coppersmith. "I

was never good at anything. In fact, I had

terrible grades."

He got into the University of

Pittsburgh, ostensibly as a optometry

student, figuring he'd follow in the

footsteps of a cousin. But he found he

didn't like it very much, and changed his

major to journalism as a sophomore.

That began a series of jobs, most of them

more lucrative and with more responsibility

than the last. Those jobs took him to New

York, Los Angeles, back to New York,

and to Boston, where he became general

manager at WNAC-TV, Channel 7.

"Boy," he said. "I had some characters

there. We had quite a crew."

Among them was Gamere, who took

off wildly as a popular sportscaster.

"He was a handful," said

Coppersmith. "But put the red light on

him, and he was stone-cold professional.

And 'Candlepins for Cash,' which

nobody wanted. It was considered so

low-class. It ended up being the eye

patch for the station."

After Channel 7, Coppersmith took

positions in Minneapolis and St. Petersburg,

Fla., before returning to Boston for good in

1983 when he became vice president and

general manager for Channel 5.

At various points in his career,

Coppersmith admits that luck, and

being in the right place at the right time,

played a big role in his upward trajectory

— none more so than the time he was en

route to the company washroom when

he got called into a manager's office and

promoted on the spot to be vice president

of an advertising agency in Los Angeles.

When he got to Channel 5, he recalls

having a friend tell him "there's so much

talent at that station, that all you can

really do is screw it up. I said, 'no, I'm

going to make it even better.'

"You see," said Coppersmith, "I'm a

very competitive person. We did have a

lot of talent. But so did Channel 4. And

when David Mugar bought Channel

7, he upgraded that, too. So it was a

competitive market."

Coppersmith is quick to admit that he

found something special in Channel 5 in

the early-to-mid 1980s.

"We had Chet Curtis and Natalie

Jacobson, two stars, and we had a strong

commitment to local programming. We

did so many specials."

As an indication as to how deep that

commitment went, Coppersmith said,

there was a hot mayoral race going on in

1983 involving Raymond Flynn and Mel

King, who was the first Black person ever

to run for mayor of the city. The primary

was Oct. 11 — on the same night that

ABC, Channel 5's network, was airing

the first World Series game between

the Baltimore Orioles and Philadelphia

Phillies. Coppersmith opted not to

broadcast the World Series game in favor

of covering the primary.

WINTER 2020 | 19

"I got called to ABC headquarters in

New York over that," Coppersmith said.

"They wanted to see the person who was

not going to broadcast the World Series.

Channel 56 ended up broadcasting the

game that night. I'm proud of that."

He had some other skirmishes as

well. Coppersmith had always been

proud of the station's coverage of the

Boston Marathon, but one year, David

D'Alessandro of John Hancock called him

and told him he'd given exclusive rights to

cover the race to WBZ-TV, Channel 4.

"I said 'no you're not. We're going to

cover it,'" Coppersmith said. "He said

'no. you can't.' I said 'yes, we can. It's run

on public streets.' We prevailed in court.

We covered it, and our ratings were better

than theirs."

Undoubtedly the talent pool at

Channel 5 gave the station its cachet.

But its star power didn't hurt either.

"We had such stars," said

Coppersmith. "When Chet and Natalie

had their baby, they got 5,000 baby gifts

sent to the station. Imagine that?"

Coppersmith is also proud of the

station's innovative programming,

beginning with "Chronicle."

In 1982, the station did a special

on Alzheimer's Disease "back when no

one knew what that was. We called it

'Someone I used to know,' and it was

very poignant. Then, we did a special

from Peterborough, N.H., where we sent

Mike Barnacle up there to do something

similar to the play 'Our Town.' Same

themes: birth, marriage and death.

"When it came to awards, we always

won more regional Emmys than the

other stations combined," he said.

By 1994, Coppersmith, at the age

of 62, had enough, and retired. Now

almost 88 (his birthday is in February),

Coppersmith is home in the Clifton

section of Marblehead. He says he's

always loved the town from the minute

he saw it.

"It's a great place to raise kids (he has

two grown children)," he said. "I love living

here. It was 37 miles, driveway to driveway,

and I did it every day for 12 years.

"I probably could have stayed there

another few years, but I put in long

hours. I was not a 9-5 kind of guy, and I

missed a lot of things.

"I probably would have done that no

matter where I worked," he said. "But I was

fortunate to be in a business I really loved."

It's also a business in which he finds

himself disappointed.

"I always believed the news was the

news," he said. "The main job of the news

was to tell people what happened today.

"Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man

in America, may have been a devout leftwing

liberal, but you never knew it from his

broadcasts. He just reported the news. If he

gave an opinion, like he did when he came

out against the Vietnam War, he labeled it

as opinion. In my day, news was news, and

opinion was opinion."

20 | 01945

A reckoning

on race

From left, Nancy DeMuth, Meg Andrews, Jay Morrison, Jen Spungin, Rev. Susan Morrison, Lis Weiss Horowitz, Pastor Jim Bixby, Cindy Tower-Lowen, Holly

Aloha Jaynes, Mary Gardner, Judy Gates, Robin Taylor, and Cheryl Boots are members of the Marblehead Racial Justice Team which has recently partnered with

the North Shore National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter.



The national racial justice

reckoning triggered by George

Floyd's May 25 death has come

home to roost in Marblehead.

For the Marblehead Racial Justice

Team, reckoning meant shifting from

awareness building to direct action.

“In 2020, we began the shift towards

direct action. And we suddenly found

ourselves at the center of a totally

different phenomenon,” said Clifton

Lutheran Church Pastor James Bixby, a

leader in the Racial Justice Team.

The team organized in June an action

gathering in response to Floyd's death

with nearly 1,200 people marching down

Humphrey Street holding signs and

calling for change.

“The energy we felt then has definitely

continued through the year,” said

Bixby, who has seen membership in the

organization balloon in recent months.

The movement continued in

September with a Justice Fair where

groups throughout the town, including

the Task Force Against Racial

Discrimination, Team Harmony and the

METCO program, banded together with

the Team.

The fair came in the wake of the

Breonna Taylor killing and featured an

educational booth set up by the National

Association for the Advancement

of Colored People (NAACP) North

Shore chapter and the town Affordable

Housing Commission along with

a Marblehead Police Department

outreach effort to explain how the

department is addressing discrimination.

Hundreds of Marblehead residents

attended the event.

The lack of charges brought against

the officers responsible for Breonna

Taylor's death prompted the Team to

organize a 26-hour vigil at the Clifton

Lutheran Church.

Chartered in July and quickly

attracting more than 400 members,

the North Shore chapter's formation

WINTER 2020 | 21

Marblehead is not

diverse by design.

It’s hard to tell

because it’s

not very overt.

It’s often subtextual.

— Clifton Lutheran Church Pastor James Bixby

dovetailed perfectly with the Team's work

on the Justice Fair and other initiatives.

“We’re just getting up and running,”

said North Shore chapter co-founder

Natalie Bowers, “We expect to have

1,000 members by January.”

What does racial justice mean in


“It’s not just Black people that suffer

from racism. Obviously they suffer in a

more serious way, but white people suffer

too,” she said. “Living

in an unbalanced

community just

doesn’t feel right,”

Bowers said.

For Bixby, the

need to address racial

inequity predates

2020's tumultuous

calls for action.

He discovered

a passion for

racial justice as a

seminarian studying

under the tutelage of

leaders in the faithbased

racial justice

movement, including

Father Michael

Pfleger, Jeremiah

Wright and Otis Moss.

“In seminary I learned that the huge

sin of this nation was the unwilling

transportation of slaves across the ocean,”

he said. “And we still haven’t fully come

to grips with that.”

Slavery's legacy intersected with

Marblehead's history.

In 1636 the first American slave ship,

Desire, was built, outfitted, and set sail

from Marblehead.

“So much of the financing for the

early slave trade came right through

Marblehead,” said Bixby.

He said the town's history offers a

backdrop for examining Marblehead's

current ethnic and racial composition.

“Marblehead is not diverse by design.

It’s hard to tell because it’s not very

overt. It’s often subtextual,” said Bixby.

“You would have a hard time getting a

mortgage in a place like this if you were a

person of color.”

He sees racism manifest itself in

Marblehead today through “conspicuous

absence” — the lack of diversity in the

town, which he believes is harmful to the

long-term well-being of the town.

“People don’t want to live in a

place with no diversity. They think the

restaurants will be bad, that their school

districts won’t prepare their kids to live

in the real world, and that it just won’t be

interesting. And if this is an existential

threat to our town, let’s treat it as such,”

Bixby said.

He believes communities like

Marblehead must change in order to

make “room for flourishing” for people of

color who choose to move there.

“It’s not enough to say we did a good

job and call it a day,” he said.

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22 | 01945




Lynn St. Mary's High School junior Aidan Emmerich shot a 3-under 66 to

take victory in the 2020 Catholic Central League Golf Tournament at Hillview

Country Club in North Reading.


Aidan Emmerich made it his goal to

win an individual state championship

this year, and while the COVID-19

pandemic and a scheduling conflict took

that opportunity away in part, he’s still

made the most of it.

Behind a stellar score of 3-under 66,

Emmerich captured the Catholic Central

League Cup individual title at Hillview

Country Club on Nov. 2.

Emmerich’s score of 66, which sets a

new tournament record for scoring, was

good enough for a 2-stroke victory over

Bishop Feehan’s Chad Correia.

“It was a lot tougher out there than I

thought it would be, the wind and cold

were really a factor,” said Emmerich.

“The only thing I’m really ever worried

about when I’m playing in the cold is

keeping my hands warm, and I had

plenty of hand warmers to be able to do

that (Tuesday).”

Emmerich battled cold, blustery

conditions to take home the under-par

score, keeping the ball in play with a

combination of straight drives and strong

scrambling. He needed to go low in

order to pull out the victory against some

tough competition, and he did just that.

“It was tough out there,” said

Emmerich. “The course is generally

pretty easy, but the wind especially made

it a lot more challenging. There were also

a lot of kids playing and we had two new

schools playing this year, so the field was

tougher overall.”

“He’s one of the best players, if not the

best player in the state,” said St. Mary’s

High School coach Jay Fiste. “There’s

no weaknesses in his game. He hits it

straight, he’s always around the greens and

when the putts are falling, he goes low.”

Emmerich’s score also helped the

Spartans capture the CCL Cup team

title with a total score of 287, earning

a whopping 15-stroke victory over

second-place Bishop Stang. In addition

to Emmerich’s 66, St. Mary’s got

contributing scores from Sean Mathers

(2-over 71), Luke Smith (6-over 75) and

Peter Pagluica (6-over 75).

The strong performance at the

CCL Cup capped off an incredible

season of golf for Emmerich. This year,

Emmerich, who is only 16, qualified

for his first Massachusetts Amateur

Championship (played at the iconic

Kittansett Club) with scores of 73-73

in stroke play before becoming the

youngest player to make it to the

St. Mary's player Aidan Emmerich hits the ball onto

the green at the third hole during a game against

Arlington Catholic at Winchester Country Club.

match-play Round of 32.

He also earned medalist honors in the

stroke play portion of the Massachusetts

Junior Amateur Championship with a

score of 4-under 68 at Cranberry Valley

Golf Course.

"Everything clicked that week, I was

playing really well," Emmerich said of

the Junior Amateur. "I was actually a

little nervous because I showed up 20

minutes before my tee time and didn't

get to warm up, but I was able to take

advantage of the easy holes and shoot a

great score."

Emmerich — a member at Salem’s

Kernwood Country Club — also won his

first club championship over the summer,

again in a stroke play format.

"I just think my game is really suited

to stroke play," Emmerich said. "I won't

necessarily go out there and make six

or seven birdies, but I can make a ton

of pars and just keep my round going.

I think that's why I don't do as well in

match play sometimes."

So while a statewide individual

championship may have eluded him this

year, Emmerich isn’t too worried about

it. After all, he’s still got one more season

to get the job done.

His coach says Aidan Emmerich is one of the best

high school golfers in the state.

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24 | 01945

A taxing passion


Taxpayer advocate Chip Ford

remains ever-vigilant.

Since the mid-1990s, the

Executive Director for Citizens for

Limited Taxation — the largest taxpayers

association in the state — has played an

integral role in protecting and preserving

the hard-won legacy of Proposition 2


Each year, when local officials roll

out new plans and policies for their

communities, Ford jumps into tediously

combing through hundreds — if not

thousands — of pages of government

documents, looking to detect potential

attacks against one of the state’s most

influential tax bills.

“Over the decades, there have been

subtle attempts to change different

aspects of the proposition — to

weaken it, make it more advantageous

to municipalities to raise taxes,” Ford

said. “In the past they were pretty

straightforward. There’d be revenue

committees and hearings. You knew (the

attempts) were there.”

In the last decade or so, however, Ford

said he’s found such attempts harder to

catch as policymakers devise less direct

ways to work around 2 1/2’s clearly

defined limitations.

“Being vigilant now means you have

to read 300-page transportation bond

bills to make sure that they haven’t snuck

something in there,” he said. “There’s

been one thing after another.”

Despite ongoing disapproval from

local officials, four decades ago, on

Nov. 4, 1980, Massachusetts residents

overwhelmingly voted 59 percent to

41 percent to approve Proposition 2

1/2 — a move that required municipal

governments across the state to not only

limit their property tax increases, but

also required them to ask taxpayers for

permission before raising property taxes

more than 2.5 percent over the previous

year’s levy.

Prior to the groundbreaking

legislation, Massachusetts was the sixth

heaviest-taxed state in the nation as

every community in the Commonwealth

relied on individual assessors, each of

whom followed a different method of

taxing residents.

“It was revolutionary,” Ford said,

noting that Massachusetts is now 36

on the list for taxation. “It had just

happened in California and everyone was

stunned that it passed


He added: “Now,

most states since then

have done it in one

form of another.”

While Ford may be

the primary defender

of Proposition 2

1/2 these days, he

gives credit for

its conception to

longtime friend and

political powerhouse,

Barbara Anderson,

who campaigned

heavily for the bill

prior to its addition to

the 1980 ballot.


by many to be

the “mother of

Proposition 2 1/2,”

Anderson, who died

in 2016 at age 73

following a battle with

leukemia, received bipartisan

praise for her

passion and energy

throughout her long

career as a taxpayer

advocate, with Bryan

Marquard and Mark

Feeney of the Boston

Globe writing after

her death:

“To allies, Ms. Anderson was a

‘tax-cut tigress.’ To opponents, a ‘taxcut

terrorist.’ There was, however, no

disagreement on her effectiveness. A

longtime ally, Howard Foley, founding

president of the Massachusetts High

Technology Council, hailed her as

‘the most powerful political figure in


To Ford, however, Anderson was even

more of a force up close.

“She was just a natural,” he said. “She

Late Marblehead resident Barbara Anderson, dubbed the "mother of Proposition

21/2," fought against Massachusetts tax hikes. PHOTO COURTESY CHIP FORD

WINTER 2020 | 25

knew how to simplify, and she knew how

to explain so people understood. Her

opponents would walk in with reams

and reams of statistics and evidence, and

she would just say, ‘we all know property

taxes are too high. Proposition 2 1/2 will

fix it.’”

He laughed. “That was all she would

have to say, and she would blow away all

of these experts who came out to debate


Ford and Anderson became

colleagues in 1996 after Ford’s previous

organization, BLANK, merged with

Citizens for Limited Taxation (CLT),

where Anderson was serving as executive

director at the time.

The two formed a fast alliance,

eventually moving the organization’s

headquarters to what Ford humorously

described as the “CLT compound” on

Village Street in Marblehead.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ford said

it was ultimately a rent increase at the

CLT’s original office in Boston that

prompted the change.

“When we merged the organizations,

they were working out of Tremont Street

in Boston, and one of my requirements

was that I was not going to commute

in and out of Boston from Peabody,” he

said. “When the rent went up in Boston,

everybody decided to give it a shot.”

What ultimately came out of the

CLT’s Marblehead headquarters,

however, were decades of taxpayer

advocacy work, the ripple effects from

which continue to be felt nation-wide.

At a celebration of life event for

Anderson held in June 2016, Gov.

Charlie Baker eulogized her work’s

impact on the Commonwealth as a


“Proposition 2 1/2 was probably the

single most important thing to happen

to fiscal and economic policy in the

Commonwealth of Massachusetts in my

lifetime, period,” Baker said. “Anyone

who suggests otherwise is just kidding


Baker went on to say he considered

Anderson the “most effective taxpayer

advocate in the Commonwealth,” whose

“tireless work impacted public policy at

all levels and made government more

accountable to the people.”

Ford agreed.

“When she died, I said, ‘I need to

be more like her,’” he said. “She had

friends across the political spectrum.

Everybody loved her, even if they hated

her politics."


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26 | 01945

Keeping women connected


Meet. Connect. Promote.

That's the philosophy behind the

fast-growing Women's Business League

(WBL), which, thanks to the efforts of

Marblehead realtor Sylvia Sarkisyan, has

It's about achieving

success through



— Sylvia Sarkisyan

Sylvia Sarkisyan is launching a networking group for

local businesswomen who are looking to build their

business in a more meaningful and effective way.


launched its newest chapter.

Sarkisyan says the new Marblehead

Chapter is an initiative to help local

businesswomen promote their businesses

in a high-level and more meaningful way.

"Now more than ever we need to

stay connected, continue to network

and continue to meet new people," said

Sarkisyan, the owner of Ebb & Flow

Realty Co. LLC on Atlantic Avenue.

"I care about my clients and want to

serve their needs and had tried to start

a conventional networking group, but it

just didn't get to the core, the deepest and

most productive relationship building.

They just didn't feel right or genuine.

And, who has time for that type of

networking anyway?"

Sarkisyan said she stepped back, and

it was only when a couple of friends told

her about the WBL that she got back in


"They told me that it was a really

good fit for me, so I attended a meeting,"

Sarkisyan said. "I was amazed that

everyone who joins WBL wants to be

there because you could see that they all

cared deeply about their clients, so you

know that you can trust each other and

make referrals with confidence. They

ask deep questions about everything,

including the major obstacles you may

face. It's way more relevant than just

giving out business cards."

The chapter started conducting biweekly

meetings in early November, with

one seat per meeting being allocated to

each profession. Member applications can

be found on the company website below.

So far, Sarkisyan said more than a

dozen local businesses have signed on

as members. Members from other area

communities are welcome as well.

"We'll take them all, Salem,

Swampscott, any place, really," Sarkisyan

said. "The added benefit is that by joining

any local chapter, you get to tap into the

resources of other chapters."

WBL is a membership-based

networking group for women, founded

by Melissa Gilbo and Amy Pocsik, two

years ago.

"We understand the power of

networking to expand referral networks

and widen community connections

to attain growth. WBL is the perfect

place to promote your personal brand,"

Gilbo said. "Networking is so important

because people are not meeting people

right now. We don't know how people

are managing, so we have to change the

way we operate online and our members

are so thankful for that."

The addition of the Marblehead

chapter brings the total number of

chapters to about 24. In addition to

Massachusetts, WBL has chapters in

New Hampshire, Florida, New Jersey and

South Carolina. Local chapters include

Peabody, Lynnfield and Danvers.

"Marblehead is very exciting for us,"

said Gilbo. "Amy and I just fell in love

with Sylvia and thought this community

could really use this to send the shoplocal

message. Their launch will be

virtually for safety reasons. It will bring

WBL's message to the community and

will help so many businesses get greater

support. 'Meet, connect, promote' is the

tagline we bring. The most important

piece is building relationships so

the promoting component happens


Sarkisyan is a 2008 graduate of the

Questrom School of Business at Boston

University, where she earned a BSBA in

management information systems.

A Nahant resident, she worked in

information technology for eight years

before becoming a realtor in 2016. She

branched out on her own in July, 2019,

founding Ebb & Flow, a boutique firm

serving the Greater Boston and North

Shore areas. Her real estate experience

has shown her that to be successful in

any business, one must first be successful

in building relationships.

"Over 80 percent of my business

comes from repeat clients and

referrals," Sarkisyan said. "It's about

achieving success through meaningful


For more information about

the Marblehead chapter's virtual

launch or to become a member,

contact Sarkisyan at Sylvia@

EbbandFlowRealty.com. For more

information about WBL, visit


WINTER 2020 | 27

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Putting Marblehead

on its toes


Paula Shiff, the director of the

Marblehead School of Ballet

and the artistic director of the

North Shore Civic Ballet, always

knew that she wanted ballet to be a part

of her life.

“I saw it and I just said that’s what

I want,” she said. “My sister was taking

classes and I was watching on the

sidelines, and I just begged for lessons. I

wanted to learn and I wanted to dance.

And then I got to a point in my life

when I wanted to teach.”

After training with E. Virginia Williams

at the Boston Ballet School, studying

at the American Ballet Theatre and the

Martha Graham Studio, and performing

with the Boston Ballet, Shiff founded the

Marblehead School of Ballet in 1971.

The school, which will celebrate its 50th

anniversary in 2021, teaches a variety of

courses to all ages. It includes classes that

cover stretch and strength, modern and

Pilates, along with partnered dances like

salsa, tango, ballroom, Latin, and swing.

Shiff loves to see her performers learn

and grow from their exposure to the arts.

“It’s a joy to see someone who has a

physical handicap and who has achieved

Director Paula K. Shiff teaches 14-year-old Victoria Lottatore from Gloucester at the Marblehead School of Ballet.


a higher quality of life because of what

the dance world can bring them. It’s a joy

to see someone who is very shy suddenly

blossom and come into their own because

of their experience with dance,” she said.

“It’s a joy to see someone who finally

gets to a point where they finally have

a contract with the [North Shore Civic

Ballet] company and they’re performing

and they feel fulfilled.”

In 1974, Shiff and Associate Director

Florence C. Whipple founded The North

Shore Civic Ballet (NSCB), a not-for-profit

dance company based at the school, in 1974.

WINTER 2020 | 29

It’s in the work. You have

to be excited about the

journey, not the applause at

the end or the flowers at the

end. It’s very special to be on

stage and to have that give and

take with the audience. But the

work is special too.

— Paula Shiff

NSCB is home to an ever-changing

group of talented dancers made up of

both seasoned professionals and aspiring

young dancers. Ivan Korn, resident

choreographer, has created several

original works for the company, which

has performed throughout the region.

For several years, the company has

performed in José Mateo Ballet Theatre's

Annual Dance for World Community

Festival and has presented new work

in the annual "12 Dancers Dancing...A

Christmas in Cambridge."

While the Company has not been

rehearsing during the COVID-19

pandemic, the School is alive and well.

In April, they started conducting lessons

on Zoom.

Teaching dance during the pandemic

features its own set of challenges and


“It is different and it is hard. But

I’ve always tried to be the glass half-full

person,” she said. “We’re actually giving

the same high quality lessons that we

gave before, and that’s something I didn’t


“We have a very large demographic

of students and some live an hour and

half away from our studio. Now, because

there’s no driving, some students have

actually increased the amount they’re

taking classes.”

In addition, the school has expanded

its reach during COVID, including

students from New York, Florida,

California, Oregon and Pennsylvania

who would not be able to get involved


While she admitted that it was a

struggle to work without an audience,

Shiff said the act of creating is valuable

and inspiring.

“It’s in the work. You have to be

excited about the journey, not the

applause at the end or the flowers at

the end. It’s very special to be on stage

and to have that give and take with the

audience. But the work is special too.”

Each year, the NSCB seeks

donations of gift cards and gift

certificates representing a range of

services and products, artwork, jewelry,

handmade items, and other apparel for

their annual auction.

The online auction officially launched

for bids on Monday, November 16 at

Bidding for Good, www.biddingforgood.

com/ballet, and ran through Friday,

December 4.

Volunteers are welcome to get

involved and participate in a number of


All proceeds from the auction

support new choreography, costuming,

scholarships, special educational projects,

and other required dance equipment and

resources in the North Shore region.

“We really want to give more

scholarships out,” said Shiff. “We gave a

lot of scholarships out during COVID. I

will never say no to any child who wants

to dance even if they don’t have the

funds. We will find a way to help them.

During this time when people have lost

jobs and lost income I want to support

those in need.”

Shiff believes that dance, and the arts

in general are more needed now than

ever before.

“The arts are what keep that human

connection and we really need that,

especially when we can’t have that

physical connection with each other.

We need to find a way that the arts can

still bring some beauty and soul into

our lives.”

Serving the North Shore since 1972

30 | 01945

Town custodian Bruce Hamilton

has a favorite place in Abbot Hall:

the bell tower.

One-way walk guidlines, a mask requirement, social

distancing, and Plexiglass dividers are among the

COVID-19 precautions in force inside Abbot Hall,

Marblehead's town government building.





Abbot Hall custodian Bruce Hamilton sanitizes

frequently-touched surfaces inside the building

every couple of hours.

A directional

arrow guides


through a


system at

Abbot Hall.

Humor isn't off limits when it comes to reinforcing

COVID-19 precautions in Abbot Hall.

Special clerks Jen Glavin, left, and Jill Lewis

behind Plexiglass-covered windows in the

Town Clerk's office.

B&B Fish has opened on

Pleasant Street in Marblehead.




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