Landslide!

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Apparently it’s hard to beat a candidate positioned as “friend of chickens” who serves drinks.

election day 2

(“Skipped” is SurveyMonkey’s term for write-in votes. Write-ins included Susan Brengle, Rachel Roesler, Kitty Robertson, Joni Soffron, Heidi Paek, and Nicholetta Paudelopoulous, the worker killed in Ipswich’s 1913 mill strike.)

24-hour Update on the Big Vote

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At the 24-hour mark, the race to place an Ipswich woman’s face on the $10 bill is dramatic indeed. The U.S. Treasury Secretary has not yet announced his decision, so this ballot is still open. Vote here today!

Chicken Lady Deb Clapp is running away with it so far, but there are still more than 13,000 votes to be cast.

(“Skipped” is Survey Monkey’s term for write-ins.)

election day 1

I’ll Take Women for Ten, Alex

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(Here’s your BALLOT. Vote today!)

Which woman should appear on the new $10 bill?

Clearly it should be someone from Ipswich. It should also be one of my friends.

With a few well placed political contributions, I’ve managed to get my recommendations moved to the top of the Treasury Department’s list.

The most obvious choice is Town Manager Robin Crosbie. She’s whip-smart, with a reputation for fairness even in tough situations. You get a very clear sense of her no-nonsense approach to town government when you confer with her on an official matter: She has a penetrating gaze and a firmly set mouth, like George Washington, but with darker hair. Of course, George only made the $1 bill. I think Robin is worth the $10.

Another great choice would be the indomitable “Ipswich Watchdog” KelleyJane Kloub. She’s the perennial goad, frequently featured in the “citizen’s query” segment of ICAM’s Board of Selectmen show (Mondays at 7), who famously pushed the town to spend $50,000 on an audit of the schools in hopes of cutting the budget and keeping taxes down. But the auditors found no glaring waste, and instead actually suggested additional spending. To make up the difference, the KelleyJane $10 bill will be worth $11.

A Shirley Berry $10 bill would be very cool, and totally appropriate. Shirley has a long and glorious history with Ipswich — by her own admission, she has waited tables in just about every eating establishment in town — and she served with devotion as a selectman until she took a nasty tumble down a set of stairs, reportedly without the help of any political opponent. The accident left her with medical issues that ultimately forced her retirement; in the meantime, at Town Meetings, she was forced her to wear sunglasses under the glare of the stage lights. Is it sexist of me to feel that having a woman in sunglasses on the $10 bill would be absolutely awesome?

My personal favorite female face for the $10 bill is the Chicken Lady, Deb Clapp. In a relentless yet cheery 18-month campaign of squawking, flapping, and scratching, she almost singlehandedly (or singlewingedly) drove the Town of Ipswich to reform and simplify its convoluted fowl regulations. Since scoring that resounding victory, she has pursued a new career as a producer and purveyor of artisan-style honey-wine, from headquarters at the 1634 Meadery on Short Street. It would be good for the $10 bill to feature a woman who can bend government to her will and then serve up drinks to celebrate.

For sheer cuteness, we should choose Senior Collections Clerk Ann Wright. As you enter Town Hall, she’s the one you see behind the glass window. She sells you your Crane Beach parking sticker. She also graciously allows her desk to double as an information station even though it isn’t. In this way, by sheer coincidence of where she sits, Ann learns just about everything that’s going on in town. Which would give her formidable and possibly dangerous influence, if she had a conniving spirit; however, she seems to be a model of perpetual niceness. She would be a dark horse, certainly, for the $10 bill, but if she doesn’t make it there, I think we should put her on the beach sticker.

So many women, so little currency. Vote for your favorite potential $10 female-face-of-Ipswich here now. It’s free, and mercifully anonymous.

You gotta get THE LOCAL NE.WS!

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Best advice I can give to Ipswich residents: Go here right now, fill in your name and email address on the EMAIL ME WHENEVER SITE IS UPDATED form in the upper right area, and click “Subscribe.”

John Muldoon of thelocalne.ws is the freshest new voice in town. His writing is witty, his items are brief, and his reports come fast. There’s no fresher news in Ipswich. You’ll enjoy this!

Questions? Comments? Let me hear from you.

Doug Brendel

After Greatness, What Next?

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You can’t blame Gerry Dolan for retiring. He must be exhausted.

After all, here’s a man who has served unstintingly as Director of Fine Arts for the Ipswich Public Schools; he’s also Director of Bands, which means conducting the high school Concert Band, the Pep Band, the Jazz Ensemble, and the Sixth Grade Band. Think about it. This means he has also had to listen to all these groups the entire time they were trying to learn the music.

Meanwhile, Gerry has been teaching high school courses in Jazz Improvisation, Computer Music Composition, and Music Theory. He’s also served as Music Director for the North Shore Youth Symphony Orchestra and conductor of their Wind Ensemble. He’s been teaching Instrumental Conducting at Gordon College’s Graduate Summer Degree Program. He’s conducted the United States Youth Wind Ensemble, the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, and the U. Mass. Lowell Youth Wind Ensemble. He’s been Music Director of the Ipswich Community Band and Jazz Ensemble. And he’s active as a guest conductor throughout New England and the U.K.

You try standing up and waving your arms around that much for three decades and see if you’re not ready to sit down for a bit. Or at least drop your hands to your sides.

So now the Town of Ipswich is celebrating this outstanding individual on the occasion of his retirement. But let’s not be simplistic. Retirement is not a realistic option for this remarkable, multiple-award-winning giant of a man. There are too many needs in our world for us to allow someone of Gerry Dolan’s genius to settle quietly into a front porch rocking chair on Newmarch Street and spend the rest of his days swatting greenheads and watching the tide come in and out.

Not that the Outsidah would ever be so bold as to dictate Mr. Dolan’s next moves. However, I do believe it would be reasonable to offer some options for consideration.

Accordingly, I am pleased to present the Top Ten Jobs Gerry Dolan Could Do Next:

#10: Permanent host, Crane Estate summer concert series. He’s charming, he’s erudite, and after so many years in front of student players, he’s long past being picky about the kind of music he listens to.

#9: Five Corners traffic cop. For a rhythmic approach to getting through the intersection.

#8: Whatever position opens up next in the Rolling Stones. To class up their looks and their music.

#7: Manager of Soothing Music for inmates still agitated even after being locked up in those pink-walled cells at the Ipswich police station.

#6: Executive Director, England Youth Tours. A natural next step for the man who got something like 200,000 Ipswich high schoolers to England and back this spring without a single reported death or nervous breakdown.

#5: Celebrity host, IMADA telethon. No, IMADA is not planning a telethon, but if you could get Gerry Dolan to host one, it would probably work.

#4: Strolling minstrel, downtown Ipswich. Maybe our last, best shot at increasing foot traffic for retail businesses.

#3: Host, 24-hour Ipswich YouTube channel. No, there is no 24-hour Ipswich YouTube channel, but if you could get Gerry Dolan to host one….

#2: President of the United States. America needs someone produce a beautiful result by telling everybody what to do, and still come out of it beloved.

And the #1 Job Gerry Dolan Could Do Next:

God.

Lord’s Square: The Opera

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(Editor’s note: What follows is Doug Brendel’s 200th “Outsidah” column, if you can call this a column. He wanted to “make this one special” — if you can call this special.)

Lord’s Square: The Opera

[translated from the Italian by Christopher J. Florio]

[Overture: We hear what qualifies as rush hour in small-town New England: an orchestra of innumerable vehicle engines, but without a single horn.]

[The curtain rises on Lord’s Square. Traffic is flowing in both directions.]

[Red PT Cruiser enters from Linebrook Road, stage left, stops at the stop sign, waiting for a break in Traffic in order to enter the stream of vehicles. Additional Vehicles back up on Linebrook behind PT Cruiser.]

[Almost simultaneously, Dented Gray Honda Accord enters on Liberty Street, stage right, stops at the stop sign, also waiting for Traffic.]

[Chorus of Vehicles sings while continuing to stream in both directions:] Another day in old M.A.! Without delay, we drive 1-A! The right-of-way, we all obey! Sing we, Hooray! [Echo:] Here on 1-A, sing we Hooray! Hooray! Hoo-raaaaay!

[PT Cruiser, solo:] I know it seems a long delay, to find an op-en-ing. But really it’s a minute, maybe less!

[Honda and Cruiser, duet:] So we will wait with patience. We will not begin our day, with anger and unnecessary stress!

[Chorus of Streaming Vehicles:] Needless stress! [flourish of drums] Needless stress! [flourish of drums] Obey the law, and circumvent the stress!

[Suddenly, Blue SUV, in stream of Traffic from High Street, arrives at intersection and halts.]

[SUV, solo:] Oh, waaaaait! A-laaaaas! I see a fellow motorist marooned! To any grounded driver, hark! my sympathetic heart is much attuned! [Traffic immediately halts behind SUV.] What pain to see such trag-e-dy, from here in my big S-U-V! A Honda there, on Liberty, but sadly not at liberty, to join the flooooow … as we all gooooo … down old 1-A, here in M.A., on this fine daaaaay!

[Chorus of Halted Traffic from both directions:] Forsooth! Why should this stream of moving ve-hi-cles have slooooowed? There is no traffic signal on this roooooad!

[Honda, in a sweet, melodic solo, as SUV makes frantic hand signals:] I see your great compassion, friendly S-U-V! But traffic goes both ways here — can you fail to see? If I pull out, according to your will, who knows how many drivers’ blood I’d spill?

[Gold Camaro, in stream of Traffic from Central Street, sees SUV stopped and hits the brakes. Traffic halts behind Camaro.]

[Camaro, solo, urgently:] Not one, but two! Two cars are waiting! What a dilemma it’s cre-a-ting! How could a conscience fail to let them innnnn?

[Cruiser, solo, as Camaro makes frantic hand signals:] But it’s a sinnnnn!

[Cruiser, gesturing “No,” as Camaro continues gesturing “Go ahead,” both singing overlapping phrases:] “You must go ahead!” “I can’t; I’ll be dead!” “Your wait’s been so long!” “It’s le-gal-ly wrong!”

[Chorus of Halted Traffic:] Will someone not take action here, to make this traffic disappear? Will anybody hit the gas, and put an end to this impasse? Will someone shift from “P” to “D”? Or will we spend e-ter-ni-ty on old 1-A, in old M.A., and nevermore be on our way?

[The voice of a single Battered White Pickup Truck, several vehicles up Central Street, cuts through the chorus with a haunting, plaintive aria:] From all of this, shall we be late for work, and all be fired? Or will the diggers find us here someday, and wonder how we all ex-piiiiired?

[The Four Cars make tentative, jerking motions into the intersection, singing in sequence:] “OK!” “OK!” “OK!” “OK!” “But wait!” “Too late!” “Don’t hes-i-tate!” “I’m just halfway!” “No more delay!” “Dear God, don’t let me die today!”

[Chorus of Vehicles, voices raised in a rousing final anthem, as Traffic begins streaming again:]

To drive through Ipswich is a special bless-ing,

no matter if the traffic’s not pro-gress-ing!

The rules of right-of-way are too de-press-ing.

Instead, our drivers keep alert — and guess-ing!

Sing Glor-i-a! Sing praise! Sing Hal-le-lu-jah!

Do something kind, and someone will out-do ya!

(And we reserve our coldest scorn,

for anyone who honks his horn!)

There’s not a kindness we won’t offer to ya!

Do un-to others as you’d have them do ya!

Let Ipswich friend-li-ness seep through and through ya!

A-men!

[The Drivers wave, smiling. The curtain falls.]