Mayor’s Statement on Tax Veto

November 23, 2016

To Gloucester City Council:

At last night’s City Council meeting, we heard thoughts on the city’s tax classification, or shift, for 2017 and potential adjustments. As I stated during public testimony, I hoped the classification would maintain the same 1.06% shift, which the city has maintained for 11 years. In maintaining the current ratio during an economically uncertain time, I wanted to reassure our homeowners, families, and the elderly this administration’s goal is to help provide stability for their household budgets. Knowing our financial future gives us all a sense of security.


The claim that we become more business friendly by placing additional taxes on citizens while lowering our taxes on businesses is simply not true. Our administration has put a clear emphasis on economic development and has created a true economic engine of success. The reality is that any prospective business owner is not enticed by a slightly lower tax rate, instead, we know that businesses are attracted to the community and amenities as a whole. They look at housing, access to top job candidates, schools, transportation and other variables found within the community. Tax rates are typically very low on their list, which we reinforced during a presentation by Northeastern University Professor Barry Bluestone just last month.

I’m disappointed that we could not even compromise at a tiered approach starting with 1.03% for business owners. We appreciate all input from our City Council, but when TIF meetings become a rallying cry from the public against a business, and when we extend public hearings around a twenty-five cent increase for our trash bags, I am left disappointed that we couldn’t encourage better communication on this matter as it will affect all residents and their everyday budgets.

We must always aim to provide clear communications between all community stakeholders so as to realize our goals of helping citizens and businesses alike. We must choose our battles carefully, with clear purpose and vision. But I assure you that when taxes go up for all our citizens, you will get phone calls and letters from your constituents complaining about this vote.

I listen to our citizens every day and they cannot afford any increase right now. I echo the sentiments provided by Councilor LeBlanc, Councilor Nolan, and Councilor Lundberg expressing our concerns in disrupting this established and proven shift ratio, putting additional unnecessary burdens on our citizens, and setting a new precedent of corporations over people. I know we had passionate dialogue and I thank everyone for their input.

For these reasons, I’m vetoing this certificate of vote. I ask that the City Council and the City Clerk schedule a special session to determine next steps as a result of my executive action. I recommend we compromise at 1.03% to meet in the middle, but I will honor any result the Council may determine. As always, I will make myself available to further discuss any ideas or concerns you may have.

While this is my first veto as Mayor with this council assembly, I cast it in the name of our citizens and with the optimism that we will continue to work and solve problems together as leaders. I again express my gratitude to you all for your collective hard work on this matter and more.

Thank you,

Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken

Educators’ Open House at the Cape Ann Museum

Educators’ Open House 2016

Wednesday, November 30

4:00 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.


This event is free for regional educators and will include games in the galleries, an introduction to CAM’s resources and a reception of generously donated items from local vendors: Cape Ann Coffee, The Liquor Locker, The Cave and Beach Gourmet.


4:00 – 4:30
Engage with Art activities
Join Museum staff Kate Bibeau and Liza Browning for a little unwinding after work as they lead you through the galleries with riddles, games and photo ops.

4:30 – 5:15
Interactive presentation
Museum Educator Liza Browning will kick off the presentation with an overview of CAM offerings. Then, be the first to view excerpts from the Museum’s new curriculum resource Portrait of a Place: The History of Art on Cape Ann. Join former Director of Education Courtney Richardson for a closer look at how treasures from the collection can be integrated into the classroom experience.

Raffle Drawing
With the school year well underway, you may find yourself needing some last minute supplies. Be sure to gather in the Museum’s auditorium for a raffle drawing to win a prize of $150 in gift cards to Target and Staples.

5:15 – 6:00
Wine and cheese
Mix and mingle with fellow educators as you sip the deliciously donated wines and cheeses from The Cave, The Liquor Locker, Beach Gourmet and Cape Ann Coffee.

Please RSVP to Liza Browning, Museum Educator
(978) 283-0455 x16 or

Holiday Festivities for the Whole Family – on Cape Ann!

This time of year is filled with community traditions and holiday events in Essex, Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Rockport.  With a wide array of wonderful celebrations, visiting Cape Ann is a must this Holiday Season.

Starting with Small Business Saturday on November 26, be sure to shop local and support your favorite businesses in all four communities with holiday shopping.  Many of the businesses are participating in Small Business Saturday and will have exciting promotions available.

All of Cape Ann will be bustling during the month of December.  Each of our four communities have many events that local residents and visitors are invited to enjoy.

Essex – The holiday festivities begin in Essex on Thursday, December 1 with the Lighting of the Memory Tree, in Honor of Lost Loved Ones, at Town Hall at 6:30 PM. The following day, Friday, December 2, Santa arrives at Town Landing by boat at 6:00 PM. Children and families are invited to join for carols, refreshments and the chance to sit on Santa’s Lap.  On Saturday, December 3, Breakfast with Santa will be held at Essex Elementary School from 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM. The cost is $5 per person or $25 for the family.

Gloucester – On Sunday, November 27, the Gloucester Christmas Parade begins at the State Fish Pier at 3:00 PM and marches through the streets of Gloucester, ending at  Kent Circle for the Tree Lighting Ceremony at 4:00 PM. Thursday, December 1st will mark the 43rd Annual Ladies’ Night.  Enjoy shopping and refreshments in the downtown shops as well as exciting deals and discounts from 5:00-10:00 PM.  Thursday, December 8th will be another opportunity to shop downtown during the Family & Friends Night from 5:00 -10:00 PM. Don’t miss the Middle Street Walk on Saturday, December 10. From 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM historic house tours, concerts and special programs will be featured on Middle Street.  Also on the 10th, make sure to stop by the front of the Police Station at 4:30 PM for a truly unique Gloucester tradition, the lighting of the Lobster Trap Tree, decorated by the children of Cape Ann Art Haven.  As we get closer to Christmas, Men’s Night will be held on Thursday, December 15th from 5:00 – 10:00 PM.

Manchester-by-the-Sea – The events of Christmas by the Sea are also not to be missed.  Visit the downtown merchants for Shop Manchester Night on Friday, December 2  from 4:00 – 8:00 PM.  On Shop Manchester Night, get your passbook stamped at all participating shops.  Turn it in to 7 Central by 8:00 PM to enter a drawing where the winner will receive a Fitbit Blaze!  Spend the day in Manchester on Saturday, December 3, starting with a PJ Pancake Breakfast from 8:00-10:00 AM at 7 Central Restaurant.  In the afternoon, Santa will arrive by boat at 1:00 PM.  Walk with Santa to the  Manchester Community Center and enjoy festivities until 3:00 PM.  On Sunday, December 4, join us for a Christmas Concert at 3:30 PM at First Parish Church.  The Lighting of the Friendship Tree will be held at the Town Hall Common at 4:30 PM.
Rockport – Shop Rockport – Black Friday and Small Business Saturday kick off the Christmas in Rockport holiday festivities on November 25 and 26.  The weekend is dedicated to supporting local small businesses and will include exciting offers from the downtown shops. Also starting on November 25 is the Rockport Holiday Selfie Contest. Upload a selfie at any Rockport business to Instagram, tag @rockportusa, tag the business and use #rockportselfiestroll to enter to win weekly prizes and one grand prize through December 22.  Friday, December 2 is Shop Rockport Night.  Shops will be open from 4:00-9:00 PM for the occasion and will offer special deals and refreshments for shoppers. On the following day, Saturday, December 3, Santa will arrive at T-Wharf by boat at 1:00 PM and will make his way to Dock Square for a Christmas celebration and to visit with children. Festivities will continue in the square with Christmas Carols and the Tree Lighting Ceremony at 4:00 PM, also at Dock Square. Christmas Shopping and Gallery Stroll Weekend is on December 10 and 11. The shops and galleries of Rockport will be open, each offering different promotions.  New this year is the Twilight Holiday Inn & Cookie Tour on December 10th. Stroll through 6 of Rockport’s finest Inns all decked out for the season. As you visit the inns from  3-6 PM you will enjoy refreshments and collect an assortment of holiday cookies baked by the innkeepers. Tickets for the tour are $25. A unique event that engages the entire community, the 71st Annual Christmas Pageant, starts at 5:00 PM on Saturday, December 17. The holiday celebrations are capped off with Rockport New Year’s Eve with live music and entertainment from 6:00 PM to midnight, to ring in the New Year.

To learn more about the events listed above contact the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce at
(978) 283-1601. Event information can also be found by visiting the following pages.

Backyard Growers present: Painting the Harvest Still Life


Artists: Backyard Growers invites you to Painting the Harvest Still Life, an evening of still life painting and tea. Please join us at our office on Main Street, where we will stage a lovely nature-based still life for you to paint. Bring your own easels and supplies. All proceeds benefit our nonprofit urban agriculture programs.
November 30, 2016
6:30 pm
271 Main Street 
$10 at the door
Reserve your spot here!

Composer Robert Bradshaw presents Aesop’s Fables

Saturday, December 3

1:00 p.m. — 2:00 p.m.

At the Cape Ann Museum, composer and musician Robert Bradshaw will conduct a string trio in a series of compositions inspired by Aesop’s Fables.

Visit CAM’s Facebook page to enter a raffle of animal-themed children’s goodies in celebration of this event!

Free and open to the public. This program is made possible by the Goldhirsh Foundation.


This program is accessible.

“A Harvest of Songs and Stories” Free Concert at the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church Saturday, November 19 at 3:00 PM

Mother and son acapella duo Rose Sheehan and Colin de la Barre of Gloucester, MA will sing songs and tell stories from folk traditions in celebration of the Fall and Harvest Time on Saturday, November 19, 2016 from 3:00 to 4:00 PM at the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church. The church is located at the corner of Middle and Church Streets in Gloucester, MA. The main entrance is through the front doors of the church. An accessible entrance is at 10 Church Street. Admission is free. 


Rose Sheehan, a life-long native of Massachusetts, grew up enjoying music of all genres, singing in church and school choirs.  In the late 1970’s, she became enthralled with traditional music.  Soon after settling in Boston, she starting performing throughout the Northeast region at coffeehouses and small taverns including the Nameless Coffeehouse, Cambridge, the Pressroom, NH, the Thirsty Whale, ME and Fiddler’s Green, Toronto. She studied vocal technique with Anabel Graetz and Frankie Armstrong and performed as a solo vocalist with the Revels in the early 1980’s.

Colin de la Barre was raised in a musical household.  He demonstrated his talent for music and rhythm as a very young child, dancing before he could speak.  He played fiddle during his middle childhood years, easily picking up tunes by ear.  When asked, Colin says he began singing with his mom in his late teens.  Rose asserts that they’ve been “singing together since before he was born!”

As a duo, Rose and Colin are well known for their inspired harmonies and rich blend of familial voices.

They have appeared together at venues including the Mystic Sea Music Festival, the Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival, the Indian Neck Folk Festival, the New England Folk Festival, coffeehouses and house concerts.

In 2014 they were selected as juried showcase performers for the North East Regional Folk Alliance Conference in Kerhonkson, NY.

Rose and Colin are online at

Lantern Walk and Workshops

The  mid-point between the equinox and the solstice is the cross quarter day, traditionally observed as a fire festival. A lantern walk marks the end of autumn and the start of winter. We carry light into the darkening days with hope for the renewed light to come.
Come make a lantern on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning.
Come join in community to carry the light in a Lantern Walk on Saturday afternoon.
“Each of us is one small light, but together we shine bright!”lantern-workshops-and-walk-2016