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News

Tillie’s Farm to host grand reopening

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Tillie’s, the beloved community farm stand at 189 Lynn St. in South Peabody, is hosting its grand reopening this Saturday, July 22 starting at 10 a.m. The farm stand reopened this spring, but is not holding its celebration until this weekend.

This reopening is special because it is the first year that the city is running the farm since it purchased it 10 years ago. A few months ago, the city appointed Billy Murphy, a Peabody resident, as its farm manager. The farm stand wanted to wait until the weather improved to share the celebration activities.

And there are a lot. The celebration will have hay rides, pony rides, food and drinks, its famous corn on the cob, fun and games, arts and crafts and much more. Mayor Ted Bettencourt will also be on-site to help with the ribbon-cutting.

“It’s a neighborhood meeting spot … People pop in to walk around and chat. You don’t find places like this anymore,” said Shelagh Murphy, a volunteer at Tillie’s and Billy Murphy’s mom, to the Advocate back in April. Murphy also praised the presence of the farm in the neighborhood, which she called something of a “food desert” in terms of fresh produce.

Some of Tillie’s most popular items are its corn on the cob and “4th of July” tomatoes, which are not much bigger than a golf ball and are difficult to find anywhere else. Shelagh described the zeal for the tomatoes as incredible. “We can’t keep them in stock,” she said.

They also sell and grow pumpkins in the fall, Christmas trees in the winter, wreaths, poinsettias, eggs, apple cider, baked goods, various fruits and more. Tillie’s also sells a wide array of flowers, such as petunias, geraniums and pansies. The flowers are some of the first items available in the spring, due to weather, and vegetables begin to be available around Father’s Day.

Tillie’s was started by Tillie Spurr back in 1978. She built the current storefront in 1986, in addition to both greenhouses, although the farm itself dates back to the 1800s. Today, the city owns the property. As of last April, Peabody is the first municipality in the state with two self-operated farms. Also new are credit and debit card terminals, for the less old-fashioned.

Look for updates from the farm at www.tilliesfarm.org.

By Melanie Higgins


 

Peabody Institute Library receives federal grant

Money will benefit Peabody’s toddlers

Peabody is on a roll. Last week, the Peabody Institute Library was named a recipient of a grant that would improve services to preschoolers at the library.

The grant for Peabody will go towards “Mind in the Making,” a program aimed at learning in preschoolers. The program will help preschoolers in the areas of development and preparation for subsequent education. New collections of books and new play spaces will be added to the library.

The grant comes from the Federal Library Services and Technology Act, and is funded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The grant itself was awarded by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). Forty-two other communities received the funds, totaling $468,102. Public, school, special, and academic libraries were selected for a grant, which ranged in amounts from $4,200 to $30,000. Peabody received $9,945 for the program.

Assistant Library Director Jerri Guyote called the grant “a tremendous boost for the whole concept of children, literacy and play.”

The Peabody Institute Library frequently receives grants from the MBLC. Library director Melissa Robinson said she is "really excited" about this grant, which will improve the way kids learn from play. "Play is an underrated element," Robinson said. "In reality it’s a great way to learn at that age. I think it’s really going to allow us to become a destination and for parents to see us as a resource."

“Such early literacy activities build essential life skills that are key to young children’s development and make a crucial difference in their kindergarten readiness and long-term school success,” said a press release from MBLC.

“These grants are competitive and require serious planning, great idea development, and a strong commitment to meeting well-defined local needs … The federal grants go a long way to opening new avenues for innovation and targeted services in Massachusetts libraries and the results are impressive and manifold,” it continued.

The grant for the library comes on the heels of another grant awarded to the Peabody Council on Aging for six new transportation vehicles, just last week.

By Melanie Higgins

 

Mark O’Neill announces candidacy for Ward 6 council

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Mark O’Neill of Antrim Road is announcing his candidacy for Peabody City Council to represent Ward 6.

Mark was born and raised in Peabody and is the son of Martin and Jacqueline O’Neill. He is married to his wife Tracy and they have two children – Caroline (age 18) and Joseph (age 16).

“Our parents gave us a great childhood and worked hard at fostering a sense of pride in our community. I have decided to run for Ward 6 Councilor to make sure our neighborhoods have strong representation on the City Council. I feel that now is the time to serve to not only work hard on behalf of our Ward but all residents of Peabody.”

Mark holds a degree in Business Administration from Westfield State University. He is employed by Lexington Insurance Company as an Assistant Vice President in the Transportation Department.

   

Bettano named Executive Director of Brooksby Village

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Brings proven leadership, passion for excellence in senior housing management, operations and health care

Erickson Living has named Tracie Bettano as the new Executive Director at Brooksby Village in Peabody. In her new leadership position, Bettano will oversee the overall operations of this retirement community, one of two Erickson Living developed and managed sites in the Boston area.

“Tracie began her career at Brooksby Village in 2004 and has over 20 years of health care experience in the clinical, rehabilitation and management areas,” said Chris Emmett, Regional Vice President of Operations for Erickson Living. “Tracie’s outstanding operational experience and leadership skills will allow Brooksby Village to remain one of the premier places to live and work.”

Bettano has held several key leadership positions at the community. Her many roles have included serving as the Associate Executive Director, Director of Continuing Care and the Rehabilitation and Wellness Manager at Brooksby Village. She also served in a Director of Clinical Operations role within Erickson Living.

Bettano holds a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Prior to joining Brooksby Village, she worked as a speech-language pathologist in acute care teaching hospitals on the East Coast before moving her focus to senior care and leadership roles. In addition to her clinical degree, she is a licensed nursing home administrator. Bettano replaces Helen Lanagan, who retired after serving the past four years as the community’s Executive Director.

Brooksby Village is a vibrant Continuing Care Retirement Community developed and managed by Erickson Living. The scenic 90-acre campus is located in Peabodyand is home to more than 1,700 residents.

 

Peabody-based nonprofits Citizens Inn and Haven from Hunger announce merger

Two Peabody-based nonprofits, Citizens Inn, Inc. and Haven from Hunger, Inc., are merging into one organization to better help local families and individuals leave hunger and homelessness behind. The merged organization will be known as Citizens Inn. The merger will go into effect this month.

Citizens Inn currently operates 34 emergency shelter units at Citizens Inn Between and Citizens Inn Transition, and 15 units of affordable housing and social service programs for families at Citizens Inn Homes. Haven from Hunger currently runs a food pantry and community meals program at 71 Wallis St.

Through the merger, Citizens Inn will continue its homelessness prevention and social service programs, while incorporating the hunger-prevention programs and the 71 Wallis St. building into its operation. The hunger-prevention programs will remain branded as Haven from Hunger.

“When Haven from Hunger’s board approached Citizens Inn with the opportunity to merge, we became very excited about the possibility of supporting an even greater population of families and individuals in need,” said Citizens Inn Executive Director Corey Jackson. “Citizens Inn believes strongly in the important services that Haven from Hunger provides to the community. Through the merger, we will ensure that these efforts evolve and expand for decades to come.”

The Citizens Inn’s administrative team will apply its experience in finance, development, facility maintenance and community outreach operations to the entire spectrum of post-merger programming. It will also bring expertise in nonprofit management and capital campaign planning, having completed several multimillion dollar projects, such as renovations at Citizens Inn Between and Citizens Inn Transition. Citizens Inn has also purchased and rehabilitated many multifamily units in and around the Haven from Hunger neighborhood.

“Citizens Inn has fiscal stability, a good reputation in the community and extensive social service experience; all the things that are needed to continue the mission of the Haven,” said former Haven President Robert McHugh. “We are pleased that the Haven will be a part of Citizens and continue to exist and serve the people in need in this area.”

This new union furthers Citizens Inn’s mission to break the patterns of instability and strengthens the long-term success of every family and individual served. It also aligns beautifully with Citizens Inn’s strategic plan, which includes goals to develop a workforce training program in the culinary arts, create space for a family resource center and connect to an expanded supportive base of volunteers, donors and community leaders.

“The merger of Haven from Hunger and Citizens Inn is good news for the City of Peabody and the entire region,” said Peabody Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt. “Together, these two wonderful organizations will have an even greater impact on the lives of so many of our friends, neighbors and family members.”

   

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