civic years using the old style (OS) calendar (March 25 - March 24) was
seeded in the deed for the 1629 Massachusetts Bay Charter's colonial plantation.1
Planters soon found the calendar to be quite natural to their New World, as they adopted (and adapted to) a seasonal rhythm which the indigenous Amerindian
tribes themselves followed for planting, fishing and hunting.
take a smaller step back in time, albeit latter-day, from"The Year
of the First Step" (link within). On
February 8, 1999 an historical presentation was made on city council
floor to remark the 235th anniversary of the Waterside community's first
town meeting (after the establishment of the Waterside Third Parish
of Newbury as the separate town of Newburyport in 1764).
that occasion, the memorialized petition was praised as Newburyport's founding document ~ defining the Waterside
peoples timeless agenda which was itself termed The
Waterside Plan in Motion. Today's generations of the Waterside
people were urged to revere our past when planning our future, a phrase
itself paraphrased as the motto of the Newburyport Master Planning process (to follow).
commenced the next five-year term in the Waterside Plan in Motion, with
each "old style"calendar year named (anticipated and influenced
by the community endeavors and aspirations the year may entail). On
a more universal, cosmic paragon,
the lunar calendar and phases would be used to mark progress and remark
"high tidings" ~ with "Once
in a Blue Moon opportunity" touchstones at the beginning (January
and March of 1999, mid-point (November 2001) and end of the term in
July 2004 ~ during the Year of Opportunity, which itself remarked a
new generation for the Waterside people and began the new 5-year
the Waterside Plan in Motion was remarked
anew ~ each old style "Julian" calendar year has been named
Thus, it followed that ~ while orders for the 2002
and 2003 Annual "town meeting" Public Forums were set
forth in accordance of Section 20 of the original
1851 City Charter ~ the timeline for setting the primary annual
spring and fall forums and other benchmarks would follow the old
style (Julian) calendar2 ~ remarking each new year with a unique name, reference or term became an annual flourish each spring ~ and with a half turn of the wheel,
the seasonal harvest of the fruits would be reckoned each autumn.
25, 1999 -
March 24, 2000
Year of (Coming to) Terms
anew: a contemporary 5-year term for the Waterside Plan
in Motion ~ under Mayor Mary Carriers administration into
Mayor Lisa Meads administration. So called since this established the terminus a quo for the 5-year term, with the convention of naming each old style (OS) year (terms coincidentally aligned with a "blue moon," a term itself with a "new style" and "old style" definition). Further relevant given discourse (forwarded in a Motion of Comity) about extending the elected terms of office for the executive and legislative branch.
25, 2000 -
March 24, 2001
Year of the Plan
the master planning process and plans for the celebration and cerebration
to remark the City of Newburyport's (150th) Sesquicentennial anniversary.
Under Mayor Lisa Meads administration.
25, 2001 -
March 24, 2002
Year of Inauguration
the City's Master Plan and celebrating the 150th year milestone
of Newburyports organization as a city form of government
under our first city charter, remarked on Inauguration Day, June
24, 2004. Under Mayor Lisa Meads administration into Mayor
Al Lavenders administration ~ a "Once
in a Blue Moon opportunity" to reorient ourselves as individuals
and a community in November 2001.
25, 2002 -
March 24, 2003
Year of the First Step
Implementing the concept of an Annual town meeting proposed
in 1999 through 2001, in a motion by Councilor Karen Kelley and
seconded by Councilor Joseph Spaulding, approved and endorsed by
Mayor Al Lavender, who was previously a sitting councilor-at-large
25, 2003 -
March 24, 2004
Year of the Better Way
called because of the completion of the established (eastern-most
and western-most) historic wayes
to the Waterside and the promise of a new, improved city website
to establish better ways of communicating as a community"
~ as spotlighted during the second
Annual town meeting Forum and its follow-up conversation
~ with hopes for follow-through forum to establish momentum. Under
Mayor Al Lavender into Mayor Mary Ann Clancys term.
25, 2004 -
March 24, 2005
Year of Opportunity
called because of the end of the 5-year term would be remarked with
the Once in a Blue Moon opportunity:
A re:generational year which marked the 240th year milestone (9
generations of 30 years) that the Waterside Third Parish of Newbury
was established as the separate town of Newburyport in 1764, and
the 360th year (13 generations of 30 years) milestone that the Waterside
was settled in 1644. Under the new city council and administration,
experimenting with the Annual town meeting Forum was
abandoned, returning to ward meetings arranged by Mayor Clancy.
Under Mayor Mary Ann Clancy's term.
25, 2005 -
March 24, 2006
Year of Reckoning
So called because of the reckoning and recalibration of the Long
Term Elementary Building Needs (LTEBN) with adjustments to the projected
student elementary seats and the Newburyport Redevelopment Authoritys
recalibration of needed parking spaces and the City's ninth downtown parking plan ~ with the respective
reckoning of projected costs for each project ~ along several
other municipal "reckonings" in the form of the long-term planning
document (as well as Comity's personal "reckoning" at
the beginning of this year). Under Mayor Mary Anne Clancys
administration into the new and present administration of Mayor
25, 2006 -
March 24, 2007
Year of Common Ground
called because of the historical and generational milestones remarked
this year, including the 1826 resolution of an ongoing dispute ~
thereby establishing common grounds aside two waters within the
bounds of the Waterside community of Newburyport, reserving a way
on the easterly side of Market Landing (Middle Shipyard) and common
grounds surrounding Frog Pond for public use.3
restored, Frog Pond known as Bartlet Mall ~ with a compromise reached
in spring of 2006, the playground area completed. Ever hopeful,
the promise of compromise regarding the NRA waterfront lots.)
Further, in remarking the 200th anniversaries of Lord Timothy Dexters
passing (interred at Old
Hill Burying Ground which marked milestones this and last year,
spotlighting this and other historic burial grounds) and the
Plum Island Bridge (nearing completion of the PI water and sewer
project and the addition of bike paths).
Further still, the "history in the making" regarding the
reclaimed North Pasture, and the the upland grounds held in common
with Newbury, Coffin's Island, so called ~ for passive recreational
use and future acquisition of the remaining Common Pasture lands.
25, 2007 -
March 24, 2008
Year of Golden Opportunities
because of the many "golden opportunities" we may well
venture as a community or individually. Moreover, this year's
"once in a blue moon opportunity"
will be remarked with the second full moon in the month of May
~ offering an ideal opportunity to orient & reflect where
we have been, where we are & where we are going as a community
~ (mid-point in the current five-year term which will conclude
This blue moon "benchmark" or "touchstone" falls at a critical point
in the budget process & coincidentally the week following
the results of the special election ballot question on a Proposition
2-1/2 tax override (of $1.58 million) for the schools (link
And incidentally, this year, as we build a cairn to indicate we have come this far, there are many milestones in
history (and history in the making) to weigh ~ including Yankee
Homecoming's 50-year (golden) anniversary festival ~ (duly
noting Yankee Homecoming began during a blue moon in July 1958).
With that milestone in mind, all generations of the Waterside
people would gather among friends, family and community
~ at an event held in a Motion of Comity during the waxing Full
Buck Moon ~
with more occasions planned for moons to come.
25, 2008 -
March 24, 2009
Year of Historic Proportions
S0 called in anticipation of the "history in the making" here in the local (and national and global) community. Combined, the adjective historic confers a "great and lasting importance" to acknowledging the "harmonious relationship between the parts and the whole" with balanced proportions ~ which seems the perfect reference (and inference and preference) for the old style (Julian) civic calendar year (March 25, 2008 to March 24, 2009) and all that unfolds during its term.
This year, an old style blue moon (traditionally, the third full moon in a season with four moons) will be remarked on Tuesday, May 20. This cosmic "benchmark" or "touchstone" falls at a critical point
in the Waterside's budget process, as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its 351 cities and towns develop and approve their respective FY09 budgets during these fiscally challenging times.
Follow the chronicle, compass and calendar at this Comity.org link within and join in the conversation at the Virtual Wolfe Tavern.
25, 2009 -
March 24, 2010
Year of Charting (New) Courses
S0 called given the importance of charting new courses in the local, national and global community toward the common destination of peace and prosperity. Towardly.
NOTE: To quote Robert Frost, "Poetry is what gets lost in translation." Thus and so, at the beginning of every year, Comity chooses a "proem" for the submission to the Newburyport High School "Annual Favorite Poem Project" ~ to coincide with beginning of the old style calendar term.
This year's entry was a medley of lyrics (link within). As Fate would have it, the "forethought" would be selected by students for recitation at the Firehouse Center for the Arts to conclude the Newburyport Literary Festival. The poem: Walt Whitman's "One Thought Ever at the Fore."
25, 2010 -
March 24, 2011
Year of Boundless Ambitions
S0 called because of the "boundless ambitions" of community (local, regional, national and global) ~ and reconcilation of the bounds (ambits) and ambitions as a smooth transition from "The Year of Charting Courses" above.
Despite a steady hand at the helm under the former administration, "The Ship" did get a "a bit off course" when weathering the economic storms, which is still in turmoil. But let us persevere, attempt to right the course (with the right course of action) and make "forward movement."]
The turn of phrase for this old-style calendar civic year well frames this timeframe ~ as we come to terms with the history and history in the making here in the Waterside community and beyond ~ with the realization how interdependent we are as a community (local, regional, national and global).
More shall come to light with the waxing Sap Moon ~ with revelations (and resolutions) made three days before and three days after the Full Sap Moon (99% visibility on March 30 - 31,2010) which is ~ in more cosmic terms _ to be the lunar terminus a quo ~ in anticipation that of the Full Sap Moon (99% visibilty on March 18 - 19, 2011) is to be the lunar terminus ad quem.
[NOTE: Duly and dually noting that March 18, 2011
marks a signficant milestone in history ~ demarking 160 years since the last official "town meeting" held by the residents of the Waterside community before the town of Newburyport was officially organized as a city form of government on June 24, 1851.
This, as the Charter Commission begins to engage today's generations of the Waterside people about refining and (potentially) redefining its form of government (link within).]
25, 2011 -
March 24, 2012
Year of Resolution (and Resolve)
S0 called because of the resolution and resolve to effecitvely effect (and affect) progress of the community (local, regional, national and global) ~ marking and remarking milestones in history and "history in the making."
Allowed under Section 20 of the 1851 City
Charter, the practice of an Annual "town meeting" Forum held
each March is actually rooted in an earlier document: the 1629
Massachusetts Bay Charter ~ which offered freeholders the means
to experiment in self-government of the colonial municipalities. The
timeline for the annual town meeting is based upon the old
style (Julian) calendar that marked the legal/civil new year beginning
on March 25th. The old style Julian calendar was in place in Britain
and its colonies until 1752 and was one of the four terms (Hillary,
Easter, Trinity and Michaelmas) specified in the Massachusetts Bay Charter
which followed the liturgical calendar, itself a lunar-based calendar.
After Britain and its colonies accepted the Gregorian calendar, the
tradition for the annual March town meeting was upheld. (Given the budget
process, communities occasionally delay the annual meeting until April.)
Newburyport held its last annual town meeting on March 18, 1851 ~ having
organized as a city form of government on June 24, 1851.
2 While the spring forum (and follow-up conversation) would be the purview
of the legislative branch of local government, the ward and at-large
councilors, respectively, it would be the role of the executive branch
to convey status via report, at minimum a State of the City address.
Further still, the present administration has expressed interest in
organizing a benchmark in the September/October timeframe, with a fall
a dispute (of nearly two generations) by way of the Newbury proprietors
the road of one and one-half rods wide on the easterly side of the Middle
Shipyard or Market Landing, so called, from Merrimac Street to the River
also a four rod way at the southerly end and a four rod way at
the northerly end of Frog Pond
also a strip of land one rode (sic)
wide all around said Pond adjoining thereto and on the margin thereof,
being for public use and at no time hereafter to be appropriated to the
private and exclusive rights of said inhabitants.