Jim Coppersmith Racial justice A call for art
VOL. 3 NO. 4
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02 | 01945
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LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
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
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
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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Bob Corcoran 617.512.3967
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04 | 01945
Wicked Awesome Windows
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BEVERLY | NORTH READING | PLAISTOW, N.H.
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
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
When: Book discussion group is held
on the third Tuesday of every month at
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
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
When: Board terms range from one to
three years and letters of interest may
be sent to email@example.com
06 | 01945
BY GAYLA CAWLEY
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.
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
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
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
"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.
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
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
"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
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Shop Local This
10 | 01945
BY DANIEL KANE
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
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.
PHOTO: STEVE KRAUSE
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
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12 | 01945
PHOTOS COURTESY OF JOEL GROSS
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
BY DANIEL KANE
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
“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
“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
EMG magazines focus on
the people and lifestyles of
audiences by advertising in
our next edition.
ESSEX MEDIA GROUP
Ernie Carpenter at
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N O R T H S H O R E
FALL 2020 | VOL. 5 NO. 3
Molly l on
S u m m e r 2 0 2 0
Pursuit of the spooky Looking back on 9/11 Love on Lee Street
Reading, writing, remote
Her helping hand
History set in stone
♦ A window w on
VOL. 3 NO. 3
VOL. 3 NO. 4
P ROFESSIONAL A UTO S ERVICE
2 Barnard St., Marblehead
Monday - Friday:
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makes and models
for over 30 years
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.
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
Calling all painters
BY STEVE KRAUSE
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
Arts Association at the King Hooper Mansion.
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Marblehead, MA 01945
18 | 01945
He's seen it all, done it all
Jim Coppersmith with one of his many famous acquaintances, the late broadcaster Eric Sevareid.
BY STEVE KRAUSE
S. James "Jim" Coppersmith has a
saying he likes to use when describing
the reputation he enjoys as a Boston
"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
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
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
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
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
"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
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.
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
BY GUTHRIE SCRIMGEOUR
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 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
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
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
doesn’t feel right,”
For Bixby, the
need to address racial
calls for action.
a passion for
racial justice as a
under the tutelage of
leaders in the faithbased
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
In 1636 the first American slave ship,
Desire, was built, outfitted, and set sail
“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,”
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
BY MIKE ALONGI
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.
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
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
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
“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
"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
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
BY ELYSE CARMOSINO
Taxpayer advocate Chip Ford
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
“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
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
“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
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
“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
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.”
“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
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26 | 01945
Keeping women connected
BY ANNE MARIE TOBIN
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
— 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.
PHOTO: OLIVIA FALCIGNO
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
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
"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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on its toes
BY GUTHRIE SCRIMGEOUR
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.
PHOTOS: OLIVIA FALCIGNO
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
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
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
“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,
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
“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
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.
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.
PHOTO: SPENSER HASAK
PHOTO: EMILY BURKE
PHOTO: EMILY BURKE
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