Lou Gallo, the town’s unofficial historian, meets with other history buffs on the first Friday of every month at the Swampscott Library. 

Unofficial historian shares stories of Swampscott’s past

By SANDI GOLDFARB

Although he now lives in Saugus, Louie Gallo’s heart remains in Swampscott.

“When I moved to Saugus in 1995, I had mailing labels printed with my new street address and Swampscott as my town,” he said.

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Author James Hankins, outside of his Swampscott home. | Photo: Paula Muller

By RICH FAHEY

When it came time to lay down the law, James Hankins was happy to do it.

It proved to be a wise choice.

Now Hankins, a Swampscott resident, is a best-selling author who has a deal with a major publisher and a new novel — “The Inside Dark” — set to debut in July.

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Dr. Ronald Plotka takes pride in his practice, North Shore Center for Family and Cosmetic Dentistry. He is holding the hand piece of the Solea laser that he uses to perform procedures painlessly without needing to inject Novocain. 

Plotka’s taking the pain out of dentistry

By STACEY MARCUS

It was the family dinners in Atlantic City, N.J., watching his relatives’ dentures fall out, that inspired Dr. Ronald Plotka to devote his life to dentistry. Another motivating force was the memory of being an 11-year-old boy and accompanying his 40-year-old mother to the dentist and hearing him say, “Jeanette, you are 40 years old. It’s time for dentures.”

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From left to right: Peter Barba on the bow of the The Tioga; the boat approaching Bermuda; Josh Antrim washes a coffee pot; crew members, from left, Josh Antrim, Tom Gutermuth, John Fulghum, Peter Barba, Philip Kersten and David Liscio mark their arrival on land with a flash of a HOOMPA bumper sticker; and, Philip Kersten aloft on the sail of his 44-foot sloop. 

by DAVID LISCIO

WE WANTED TO GO TO BERMUDA.

No big deal. Friends said we could fly there from Boston in two hours. But that wasn’t what we had in mind.

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By MEAGHAN CASEY

All eyes will be turned to Bermuda’s iconic Great Sound this spring for the 35th America’s Cup, where the world’s best sailors will battle for one of the oldest and most prestigious sporting trophies. Racing starts with the qualifiers on May 26 and the top challenger will meet defending champions — OracleTeam USA — in the final match presented by Louis Vuitton, beginning on June 17.

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… about Swampscott Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald

By CYRUS MOULTON

1. He has North Shore connections, including with Swampscott.

Fitzgerald is a lifelong resident of Peabody, now living within a half mile of where he grew up in South Peabody. His brother is a Peabody Police officer, and his mother still lives in the city, as do his two sisters, who also live within a half mile of the home where they all grew up.

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Nearly 500 people turned out for the town’s inaugural First Night celebration at Swampscott High School.

Chase Candelario participates in a ribbon dance.

Chase Candelario participates in a ribbon dance.

Jaleigha Dow, Nola Henneberg and Olive Henneberg.

Jaleigha Dow, Nola Henneberg and Olive Henneberg.

Magician Mike Bent performs a trick on Max Kirchhoff.

Magician Mike Bent performs a trick on Max Kirchhoff.

The 11th annual Polar Bear Plunge was held on Jan. 1 at Fisherman’s Beach. The 2017 plunge benefitted the Swampscott Public Schools’ newly-created Swampscott Integrated for Transition (SWIFT) and Harbor programs, as well as the Russell J. Hopkins Children’s Fund.

Attendees put on brave faces as the shock hits them.

Attendees put on brave faces as the shock hits them.

Jane Raymond and others take the plunge.

Jane Raymond and others take the plunge.

Participants rush out of the cold water.

Participants rush out of the cold water.

On Jan. 20, the Swampscott Library turned 100, and it kicked off the year-long centennial celebrations with an event on Jan. 21 exploring its past, present and future.

Program speakers Sylvia Belkin, of Swampscott Historical District Commission, Mass. Board of Library Commissioners Chair Mary Ann Cluggish, and the Commonwealth's First Lady Lauren Baker gather at the event.

Program speakers Sylvia Belkin, of Swampscott Historical District Commission, Mass. Board of Library Commissioners Chair Mary Ann Cluggish, and the Commonwealth’s First Lady Lauren Baker gather at the event.

Swampscott residents Elizabeth Delaney, Rebecca Ingalls, Janet Ingalls, and Esther Tibets enjoy the reception.

Swampscott residents Elizabeth Delaney, Rebecca Ingalls, Janet Ingalls, and Esther Tibets enjoy the reception.

Photos: Nicole Goodhue Boyd and Scott Eisen 

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Swampscott. Sonja Grondstra outside her studio. She has rinsed sea glass she collected from local beaches and is letting it dry on towels outside.

Jewelry designer Sandra Gronstra sorts sea glass outside her Swampscott studio.

By STACEY MARCUS

It seems like Sonja Grondstra was destined to be connected to the sea. The Swampscott jewelry designer collects pieces of sea glass from the nearby shores to create stunning handcrafted necklaces, bracelets, rings, pendants, earrings and pins that are featured in more than 60 boutiques throughout the country. Locally, you can find her work at Kats Boutique on Humphrey Street—just a few steps from where she finds her treasures, before transforming them in her Ingalls Terrace studio.

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Carl Kester, a 1969 graduate of Swampscott High, is pictured (top left) with his Big Blue teammates; in his senior portrait; and on the football field (front row, far left).  

By STEVE KRAUSE

The first thing you need to know about W. Carl Kester, George Fisher Baker Jr. professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, is that he is proof that lessons learned young stay with you forever.
Now, as a professor of corporate finance for both the Harvard MBA and the Executive Education programs, he takes those lessons and applies them to 21st century business practices.

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Marill and Tom Demakes (far left); (top row) Jo Ann Simons; Mary and Joel Abramson; (bottom row) Jonathan, Olivia, Sandra, Zoe, Susan and Jeffrey Brudnick; and Jessica Black, James Odorczuk and Emy Black.

How many times have we heard it’s better to give than to receive? For a number of Swampscott residents, it’s not just a saying, but a way of life. These individuals have given generously of their time, money and even professional lives for the betterment of the North Shore community. We celebrate their contributions in the stories that follow.

 

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