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Local News

January 7, 2013

Karp, Shanley, Lagasse are names making news

When Your Scribe was being introduced to the wonders of journalism, my mentors (all now unemployed) stressed that “names make news.”

Here are a few names that have made local news in recent weeks:

Developer Stephen Karp has been talking with city officials about a possible hotel on the corner of Titcomb and Merrimac streets. Numerous plans for hotels on the waterfront have been shouted down over the years, but this week many local residents were saying, “It might be OK if he doesn’t try to put it on the river.” Merchants certainly want a hotel or motel in the downtown.

Plans for the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority to finalize its request for proposals for its 4.2 acres on the waterfront are being hampered by unfortunate personal circumstances. There was a death in the family of Chairman James Shanley. He is back at the helm, but now word has been received that the NRA’s lawyer, Carol Powers, was in a serious auto accident and could be hospitalized for a month or more. Since NRA officials say that much of their research relating to environmental and permitting matters is in the hands of Powers, the NRA likely will be moving slowly.

In addition, the NRA may be cowed in coming months by the Committee for an Open Waterfront (OK, the organization’s acronym is COW and members oppose the NRA’s plans). The group is headed by Buffy Heath, and two of its lead advocates are Joanie Purinton and Lon Hackmeister. This is a very capable duo. They were leaders of the team that raised close to $500,000 to preserve the Lower Green in Newbury. You’ve got to be good to organize the troops and raise that kind of money.

If the building that once housed Davis Auto Parts on Merrimac Street does become a restaurant-bar, well-known Realtor Jerry Lischke will likely have a “memorable” visit there. One of his first jobs — close to four decades ago — was as an assistant in that venerable structure.

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