Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

December 19, 2013

A sackful of holiday cheers to local newsmakers

The Andover Townsman

---- — CHEERS to Ted Teichert and his merry band of volunteers on what will surely be a fun gift to the community in the form of an ice rink at the Park at Bartlet and Chestnut streets. Last weekend, the frame for the temporary rink adjacent to the Town Offices parking lot was put in place. This weekend, Teichert and his team are hoping to lay the tarp and fill the rink with water. With any luck — a hard freeze — townspeople should be skating by Christmas. We’re looking forward to lacing up our skates and enjoying what will certainly be a welcome new attraction to the community this winter.

CHEERS to Solarize Andover, the town’s Green Advisory Committee and especial local resident Anil Navkal. Andover this month got the nod from the state as one of 15 new Solarize Massachusetts communities. The designation opens residents and businesses to deep discounts on solar installation projects — as much as 25 percent — as an incentive to encourage property owners to pursue the energy-conservation projects. Navkal is nothing if not ambitious. While Andover must sign on 40 new customers to qualify for the maximum discount allowed under the state program, he is vowing to sign on 100 customers in 100 days. What’s more is he thinks it’s not out of the question to lock in 200 new installations. Optimistic, yes. But if anyone can do it, we suspect Navkal can, and we wish him and the rest of his committee lots of luck in the process.

CHEERS to Lou Bernieri, who won the 2013 Jeannie Melucci Award from the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence. Bernieri, executive director of Andover Bread Loaf, introduced the writing, arts and performance program to the club’s elementary school students. His Slice of Bread Loaf initiative is being credited with having a life-changing impact on the club’s members, according to executive director Markus Fischer. Like any selfish volunteer, the humble Bernieri says he has gained more than he has given through his work with the youths served by the club. He calls the honor, given annually to someone who goes above and beyond to inspire children to achievement, “the most important award” he’s ever received. Bernieri deserved all the accolades he’s received and more.

CHEERS to Morley Piper, the longtime newspaper association executive who spoke at the launch for the North of Boston Media Group’s “Salute to Veterans” book last week. Piper, who wrote a chapter for the book, spoke about his experience landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as a 19-year-old Army second lieutenant. It was an understated but unflinching account of the horrors of that day and of war in general and a tribute to the incredible bravery and sense of duty of the men who turned the tide against Nazi Germany. Piper said for years he and other combat veterans of World War II would not talk of what they saw and did and felt because they did not want to revive those memories. He believes the survivors now have an obligation to tell their stories because they are a part of our history. May Piper’s example and “Salute to Veterans” encourage others to speak — and the rest of us to honor them for their service.

CHEERS to the memory of Ellen F. Fraser, who grew up on a farm in West Andover near the Merrimack River and retained a lifelong love of nature. When she died at age 96 in 2011, she left a bequest of more than $60,000 to the Andover Village Improvement Society, the venerable land trust that has helped preserve open land in its natural state as the town grows. The gift was the largest ever received by AVIS. Fraser and her late husband Robert loved the outdoors and often hiked AVIS’ more than 35 miles of trails and cross-country skied on its 1,100 acres held in trust for the public to use. AVIS was one of 16 local organizations to benefit from Fraser’s estate and will use the money to acquire more land, a fitting use.