New Year’s resolutions, Marblehead style

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Leigh Blander is an experienced TV, radio and print journalist who has written hundreds of stories for local newspapers, including the Marblehead Reporter. She also works as a PR specialist.

The Marblehead Current reached out to leaders across town to ask about their New Year’s resolutions for 2023, both for their service to Marblehead and in their personal lives. Here are the responses we received.

Jenny Armini, 8th Essex District state representative, Marblehead resident
Professional: “Apply the determination of General Glover and the heart of the Spirit of ’76 to the 21st century challenges of state government.”
Personal: “Eat more Meltaways from Stowaway Sweets. Eat fewer Meltaways from Stowaway Sweets. Clearly, I’m conflicted here.”

Thatcher Kezer, Marblehead town administrator
Professional: “To put in place the tools necessary to increase our capacity of managing the town’s resources.”
Personal: “Be fit and trim for this summer’s high school reunion.”

Dennis King, Marblehead police chief
Professional: “Among many, I would say that I’d like to bring our department’s technology to another level of efficiency and reliability.”
Personal: “Continue to improve the work and family life balance that results in neither one being neglected.”

Jason Gilliland, Marblehead fire chief
Professional: “The fire department is committed to its goal of achieving a level one ISO classification for the town. An ISO fire rating is a score provided to fire departments and insurance companies by the Insurance Services Office. The score reflects how prepared a community and area is for fires. The lower the score, the better the insurance rating is for residents and businesses. In 2018, we were able to bring the ISO rating from a four classification to a three classification, which is extremely hard to achieve. In the coming year, we wll strive to reach a level two or one classification.”
Personal: “My personal goal is to be more physically fit in the new year.”

Jackie Belf-Becker, Marblehead Select Board member
Professional: “To continue to serve the town to the best of my ability.”
Personal: “To continue to enjoy and treasure my family and friends and our wonderful town.”

Sarah Fox, Marblehead School Committee chair
Professional: “To manage meetings in a way that stays student focused.”
Personal: “I’m going to hit pause, and I’m going to put my family first.”

John Buckey, Marblehead Public Schools superintendent
Professional: “In 2023, my resolution in my role as superintendent of schools is to better communicate the priorities and needs of our district to the community.”
Personal: “Personally, in 2023, my resolution is to attempt to pursue the elusive work/life balance. As educators—teachers, administrators—our jobs can be all consuming. Balance is important.”

Marblehead Council on Aging Dir. Lisa Hooper and her staff
Professional: “Staff training on the game of Bocce so we can challenge the players and possibly win a game! Also, end each Tuesday luncheon with a conga line, start an herb garden out back, throw on some Grateful Dead music and get our groove on, and sled down the hill from MHS during school vacation. PS: We swear we’ll never again offer fruit cocktail for dessert as it could start a revolution.”
Personal: “Not to have one. It’s easier to keep.”

Brian Flynn, Lynch/van Otterloo YMCA executive director
Professional: ”To integrate the YMCA more into the community of Marblehead to ensure everyone understands the Lynch/van Otterloo is their Y—a place for them to build social connections, be more active with friends and family, and ensure everyone is welcome regardless of their ability to pay.”
Personal: “To be more present and in the moment and ensure I have balance in my life.”

Katherine Koch, Marblehead Chamber of Commerce executive director
Professional: ”To continue promoting and supporting our local businesses and organizations, and to welcome new ideas and initiatives to further community engagement.”
Personal: ”To listen more, enjoy the moment and remind my friends and loved ones how much they mean to me.”

Andrew Petty, Marblehead Public Health director
Professional: ”Completing the next phase of the transfer station construction project.”
Personal: ”Spending as much time outside as possible to benefit my mental and physical health while enjoying the beauty of nature.”

The Rev. Jim Bixby, Marblehead Racial Justice Team member, Clifton Lutheran Church pastor
Professional: ”My MRJT resolution is a double: for us to get back to doing large-scale gatherings like the ones we used to pre-pandemic. There are some great presenters out there and plenty of opportunity. Secondly, there are some incredible opportunities for youth here at MRJT. I want to make sure that we’re doing all we can to center those young leaders and voices at the core of our 2023 mission.”
Personal: ”My son is starting music lessons and I’d like to learn along with him. We might both learn guitar together, if that’s the instrument he chooses. If I’m going to play at a 5-year-old’s talent level, I might as well play with a 5 year old!”

Joann Miller, member of the Marblehead Board of Health and its Mental Health Task Force
Professional: ”To connect residents to our Marblehead Cares initiative and engage residents with the resources that we have built there.”
Personal: “My personal resolution is to join the Wolf Pack, jumping in the ocean throughout the year.”

Helaine Hazlett, member of Marblehead Board of Health and Marblehead Task Force Against Discrimination
Professional: ”As we move away from the pandemic, my resolution for the town I hold dear is to continue to assist the residents to regain and strengthen their mental health and physical well-being. This includes my efforts as a member of the Board of Health with the support of the Board’s Mental Health Task Force and the Marblehead Counseling Center.”
Personal: ”My personal resolution is to do my very best to reach my stated professional goals while maintaining my own good health. In this new year of 2023, I will aim to be in bed before 1 a.m. No more midnight chats and texts for me anymore.”

Kimberly Grad, Abbot Public Library director
Professional: ”To increase the number of library card holders through school and community outreach.”
Personal: ”I’m going to get outside and explore the North Shore; a little sailing and a lot of hiking along rocky beaches and nature preserves. Maybe, I’ll also work in a 25-plus mile bike ride.”

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