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The prettiest kind of snowy day, not too cold, with swirly fluffy flakes.

New compostable lunch trays increase cost

Terrific article by 10th grade Gloucester High School student Willa Brosnihan

The Gillnetter


On January 1st, a ban on plastic bags and polystyrene serving-containers proposed by Councilor at Large Melissa Cox took effect in restaurants, supermarkets, and businesses across Gloucester. Because the trays used in Gloucester public school cafeterias are made of polystyrene and used to serve food, they will not be exempt from the ban, and will be eliminated from use by the end of February.

Food Service Director Martha Jo Fleming expects to see an increase in lunch tray costs. “The cost of the actual trays was 3 cents each for the polystyrene, and the compostable are nine, so a six cent difference,” said Fleming. “The total cost of the compostable trays we figure will come in at $25,563. The cost of the foam was $9,973.” That is a $15,590 increase this year.

According to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Richard Safier, any deficit incurred due to the change will be picked up by the school committee. “What the school committee usually does with its budget is create what I consider to be a relatively small contingency account. Usually the contingency account has about $200,000,” said Safier. “If the food service account can’t afford to pay for all of the compostable tray increase, we would take money from the contingency.”

The Gloucester High School cafeteria has already switched to the biodegradable trays, which are made of recycled paper. Head of Cafeteria Staff Patty Thibodeau says that the budget strain is affecting other aspects of her job. “Our silverware– knives, forks, spoons– when people bring their home lunch they want to use them, but the trays are so expensive that we can’t just give out silverware.”

Councilor at Large Melissa Cox believes that the benefits from the ban outweigh its financial effects. “Protecting the environment and the ocean from debris that is not recyclable or biodegradable is definitely the motivation,” said Cox. “The more cities and towns that pass the ban, the more companies will start producing alternative products, and I think once more people start buying alternative products, the cost is going to go down.”

Dr. Safier is similarly convinced that balancing environmental and economic concerns is the key to pushing environmentally friendly products into the mainstream. “We’ve got an administration that denies there’s climate change,” said Dr. Safier. “Now I imagine that they believe that there is climate change, but for political reasons they’re not willing to admit it. What ultimately needs to happen is to find ways that the environmentally friendly can be reasonably profitable at the same time, so companies that need to make money are making the money, but they are doing it in the ways that are environmentally safe and sound.”

Currently the trays are being disposed of in the trash. The trays will eventually be composted by a private company, but first the city has to weigh the price of the service, and evaluate how a switch to composting will impact janitorial staff. “The custodians may suggest that this is a change in working conditions,” said Safier. “In all likelihood it will involve negotiations between the city and the custodians, with respect to what exactly is expected of them in the process of taking the compostable trays and preparing them so that an outside agency can pick them up.”

West Parish Elementary School already has a composting program organized by parents in partnership with the local composting company Black Earth Compost. Composting will not be implemented district wide until next year.

Willa Brosnihan, Staff Writer

Willa Brosnihan is a 10th grade student at Gloucester High school. She has placed in top three of her category in the Sawyer Free Library’s “Poetry…


Cape Ann Symphony: Musicians Unleashed Concert: BACH To The Future

Cape Ann Symphony Chamber Concert Series MUSICIANS UNLEASHED  Continues February 24 with BACH TO THE FUTURE 
at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Gloucester
Musicians Unleashed is a program of 3 concerts to be performed in small venues.  The concert series features CAS musicians and special guests.  The Musicians Unleashed concerts are fund raisers for Cape Ann Symphony  and all musicians are volunteering their time to perform.  The next concert in the series is BACH to the Future on February 24 at 2 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 48 Middle Street in Gloucester. Ticket prices for the concert are:  $35 for adults and $15 for Youth. Call Cape Ann Symphony at 978-281-0543 or go to for tickets. 
Purely Baroque and absolutely modern, hear how Bach’s genius leaps the centuries in a concert matching the Fisk organ and modern instruments.The concert will give audience members an insight into Bach, and his music as well as the many famous compositions that were inspired by Bach.  Musicians include: Lincoln’s Stephanie Stathos playing the Flute; Samuel Nelson playing the Fisk Organ; Rockport’s Wendy Betts and local music educator Patty Clark playing the Brandenburg Concerto for Piano Four-Hands; and  Oksana Gorokhovskiy and Ipswich’s Susanne Powers playing the Bach Double Concerto
Lincoln’s Stephanie Stathos currently holds the Principal Flute position with the Cape Ann Symphony where she was featured soloist in 2015 and in 2018. In BACH to the Future Ms. Stathos will play the Bach Flute Sonata BWV 1031 in E flat Major. Ms. Stathos looks forward to playing in this unique and intimate concert , “I am thrilled that the symphony is offering a chamber series this year and am rooting for its success! I hope it will present an opportunity for the players to meet and thank our supporters, fans and community members in person as well as further enrich the music scene on Cape Ann. “Stephanie Stathosearned her Bachelor of Music degree in flute performance from Boston University’s School for the Arts where she was a student of Doriot Anthony Dwyer.  Since that time she has she continued her flute studies with Irena Grafenauer and Michael Faust in Germany and with Jacques Zoon in Boston.  In addition to CAS, she plays piccolo with the Lexington Symphony. From 2003-2013 she served as the piccolo and second flute with the touring orchestra of the National Lyric Opera of New York.  As a soloist Stephanie has performed throughout the United States and Europe,recently performing Cimarosa’s Concerto for Two Flutes with the Orchestra Del Concentus Musicus Patavinus in Padua, Italy (2016). An active freelancer and chamber musician appearances include performances with many of New England’s ensembles including Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Symphony New Hampshire, Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, Symphony By the Sea, Concord Chorale (NH), Newburyport Choral Society, Northshore Choral Society, North Shore Chamber Music, Reagle Players and with vocalist Catherine Hammond, with whom she has done two recordings.  Stephanie especially enjoys performing with the Festival Trio with her husband, cellist Stephen Smith and her mother, pianist Margaret Moreland Stathos.Also passionate about jazz, New Music and ethnic music of all kinds, she has toured and recorded for the Green Linnet label with Argentinean vocalist Mili Bermejo and jazz ensemble Orange Then Blue.
CAS President Fran White was thrilled with audience reaction to the first MusiciansUnleashedConcert in January, “The first Musicians Unleashed concert in January, Dance of the Instruments, was a resounding success!  This series is something very different for the CAS and we are hoping that the remainder of the concerts in the series will be well received.”
The schedule for the remaining concerts is :
·        February 24 2:00 PM – Bach to the Future – St. John’s Episcopal Church – 48 Middle Street Gloucester
·        April 28th 2:00 PM – Spring into Strings   – Crowell Chapel – Manchester -by-the Sea

Ticket prices for each concert in the Musicians Unleashed Series:  $35 for adults and $15 for Youth. 
Call CAS at 978-281-0543 or go to for tickets. 

Samuel Nelson, Organ; Courtesy Photo

Stephanie Stathos, Flute; Courtesy Photo
Wendy Betts, Piano; Photo Credit: David Stotzer

Save the Date

1623 Studio’s Cape Ann Report is doing a topic, Litter in the City.  The date is set for Wednesday, March 20, 2019 from 5:00 to 6:30 pm.  More information will be coming.

Please tune in or set your DVRs.

Thank you


Head to Jalapeños on Wednesday Night to Support GHS Girls’ Basketball!

Yummy food, good drinks, AND raising money to help support GHS Girls Basketball!  Win, win, win.
Bring your appetite and lots of friends to Jalapeños on Wednesday night any time between 4:00-9:00 and a portion of the proceeds from your dinner/drinks will help the team!

Wednesday, February 20th
4:00PM to 9:00PM

A Fun Night For A Great Cause
Authentic Mexican Food


GloucesterCast 322 With Ken Riehl, Kerry Mckenna, Ralph DiGiorgio, Jim and Pat Dalpiaz, Chris McCarthy, Kim Smith and Joey Ciaramitaro Taped 2/17/19


GloucesterCast 322 With Ken Riehl, Kerry McKenna, Ralph DiGiorgio, Jim and Pat Dalpiaz, Chris McCarthy, Kim Smith and Joey Ciaramitaro Taped 2/17/19


When you subscribe you need to verify your email address so they know we’re not sending you spam and that you want to receive the podcast or GMG in your email. So once you subscribe check your email for that verification. If you don’t see it, check your spam folder in your email acct so you can verify that you’d like to get them via email subscription.

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Topics Include:

Joey and Ralph starting a diet after eating like a savage in Playa Del Carmen

Chamber Event Updates

Birding weekend, Irish Sweepstakes, recap, Afterhours event at Ryan and wood, College and Career Fair, CAIC, Essex Centennials , Gloucester 400

Local Prime Rib specials chart will be updated once a day as new information becomes available, so stay tuned!
Which side of the bed do you sleep on and is there a difference?
What would you do at 4:30AM?
Ordered New Glasses from Zenni Optical for short money Check out Zenni Optical Website Here
Father Alves Passing
Judith Goetteman Passing
Nip Ordinance
Cape Ann Wildlife Update- Muskrats, Three Young Swans, Bald Eagle
Pat got a new phone and got nickel-and-dimed like the phone company took notes from the airlines! But the staff at the Verizon store at the Crossing was very helpful.

come to hear the story and build a steam shovel or create your own machine! Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel Lanesville #GloucesterMA

February 23, 2019 Lanesville Community Center Virginia Lee Burton Writing Center

Lanesville Feb 23 2019.jpg

Some Old Timers Still Lobstering- Their Boats In 1985 and Now #commercialfishing @nationalfishermen

1985 Photos courtesy Billy Rowe/Present Photos Joey Ciaramitaro

Captain Pete Mondello’s F/V Allison Carol 1985



Present Day



Tommy Burns’ F/V Arethusa- 1985 At Producers With The Scottish Seine Gear Aboard


Present Day



Saturday afternoon a captivating young Bald Eagle swooped onto the scene with a fresh catch held tightly in its talons. He was fairly far off in the distance and I couldn’t quite capture what exactly he was eating.

It didn’t take long for the eagle to devour the little creature and after dining, he circled over head several times before landing in a nearby tree. I’ve never been so close to an eagle and it was a gift to see, really just gorgeous. It’s feathers were richly mottled in shades of chocolate brown, with contrasting white tips. Despite its youth, you could see the majesty and strength in its wings when soaring overhead.

The eagle perched in the branches for a few moments, completely ignoring the squwacky crows that were gathering, before heading out towards sea.

There have been numerous reports of Bald Eagles in the area. Earlier in the day, a passerby told me she had seen a juvenile Bald Eagle with a crow in its clutches. Although I don’t have a side-by-side comparison, the young Bald Eagle’s talons appeared enormous, even larger than a Snowy or Great Horned Owl’s talons.

Bald Eagles have repopulated the 48 contiguous states, Alaska, Canada, and northern Mexico. Their recovery over the past several decades is largely due to the ban on DDT (yet another deadly dangerous poisonous insecticide manufactured by Monsanto). Bald Eagles mate for life and they are breeding in the area. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see a nest on Cape Ann!

I believe this to be a second or third hatch year juvenile Bald Eagle. You can tell by the broad brown band on its face, the iris is transitioning from amber to yellow, and because the beak is beginning to turn yellow.

Click on any of the photos in the gallery above to see a full-sized slideshow.

Fourth hatch year Bald Eagle -note the remaining brown feathers around the face.

Mature Bald Eagle (images courtesy wiki commons media). 

Jacqui Parker Debuts New Work about Phillis Wheatley

New Work Celebrating Famed Boston Poet Phillis Wheatley at Gloucester Stage For 3 Performances  


Written and Directed by  Roxbury’s Jacqui Parker

At Gloucester Stage Company for Three Performances Only

February 22: 7:30pm |  February 23: 4:00pm and 7:30pm


Freed-slave and famed Boston poet, Phillis Wheatley was one of the best-known poets in pre-19th century America. Phillis Wheatley’s life and friendship with Obour Tanner comes alive on stage in Jacqui Parker’s (Director of 2018’s The Agitators at GSC) new play, Wrestling with Freedom. Educated and enslaved in the household of prominent Boston commercialist John Wheatley, paraded in front of the still-young American political leadership and the English empire’s aristocracy, Phillis Wheatleywas the abolitionists’ illustrative testimony that freed slaves were both artistic and intellectual. She was a household name across the world after publishing her poetry in both England and the United States – her achievements a catalyst for the fledgling antislavery movement.

Wrestling with Freedom highlights the friendship between Phillis Wheatley and Obour Tanner, another freed slave woman. Inspired by actual letters written to Obour and poems written by Phillis, this play speaks to the American Revolutionary and struggles of slavery, through two brilliant women’s minds. The cast is Candis Hilton as Phillis Wheatley and Ines de la Cruz asObour Tanner. Wrestling with Freedom is at Gloucester Stage Company on Friday, February 22 at 7:30pm and Saturday, February 23 at 4:00pm and 7:30pm. The show is approximately 80 minutes. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for Students (Under 18 years old). Tickets are available online at or via phone 978-281-4433.

Roxbury resident, playwright, actor and director Jacqui Parker made her Gloucester Stage directing debut with the New England premiere of The Agitators in 2018. As an actress she last appeared at Gloucester Stage in 2014’s award winning production ofFences. Ms. Parker has won numerous awards for her work as an artist including; the Elliot Norton Award, Boston Theatre Hero Award, eight Independent Reviewers of New England Awards (IRNE) and the DRYLONGSO Award, for her struggle against racism. She is named one of Boston’s most influential people, in Don West’s book Portraits of Purpose. Ms. Parker was the visiting playwright at Hibernian Hall, where she wrote and directed five productions including A Crack in the Blue Wall, which was nominated as Best New Play, by the Independent Reviewers of New England. Her directing credits include: Glitch at the Contemporary Theatre at Boston Conservatory; Top Eye Open at Hibernian Hall; Naomi Iizuka’s Polaroid Stories at Harvard University; Intimate Apparel at Brandeis University; and Deborah Lake Fortson’s Body & Sold produced by Amy Merrill at Hibernian Hall. Ms. Parker is presently a part of the I Dream Team at Emerson College, devising New Works in High Schools across the city of Boston

Wrestling with Freedom is at Gloucester Stage Company on Friday, February 22 at 7:30pm and Saturday, February 23 at 4:00pm and 7:30pm. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for Students (Under 18 years old). Tickets are available online or via phone 978-281-4433.


L to R: Candis Hilton as Phillis Wheatley and Ines de la Cruz as Obour Tanner.

Courtesy Photo Writer/Director: Jacqui Parker Courtesy Photo