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RE: Ernestina Update. Please forward to all!

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  • Traudi Coli
    Here is the latest news........ Schooner Ernestina NewsFlash 10/15/03 Capital Funding Line Zeroed in Governor s Budget ~ Serious Implications for Schooner
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 16, 2003
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      Here is the latest news........
      Schooner  Ernestina NewsFlash 10/15/03
      Capital Funding Line Zeroed in Governor's Budget ~ Serious Implications for Schooner Ernestina
      Well, we've had a very strong season with Ernestina once again and are currently derigging the ship for the winter. However, I'm sending this email to to give you a heads-up on one of the greatest challenges the ship has faced in more than a decade.
      The capital plan from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance (A&F) was approved by the Governor last week and came through to us on Tuesday, October 7th for FY04 (this current year ending June 2004).  It was submitted last June by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the new name of our agency within the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA), to include $200,000 for the Ernestina as one of the priority items to support a US Coast Guard haulout and associated work.
      For a variety of reasons, A&F delayed assigning capital cap allocations to the Secretariats, so final word was just received.  It does not include the Ernestina at any level. We don't know the details of the decision process nor specifically why the Ernestina line was zeroed. We suspect that the full implications of the cut for Ernestina were not clear.
      Our goal must be to restore funds for this work.
      Here are some of the ramifications if the capital money is not restored:
      • Haulout and credit drydock slated to take place this Fall for US Coast inspection of Ernestina will not take place, the Certification of  the ship for operation will not be approved and the ship will not be able to sail nor bring passengers aboard next year.
      • Important restoration work on a National Historic Landmark will be deferred
      • Professional crew and educators will move on to other organizations with associated long term loss in consistency and depth to programming and operational stability
      • More than $200,000 in fees will not be received from programs.
      • Foundation grants will be significantly curtailed, if not completely unavailable (more than $105,000 was received in grants this past year)
      • Support from members, donors and volunteers will be risked. There are more than 1200 members & donors who gave more than $90,000 last year and 150 volunteers involved who help with a wide variety of education programs.
      • Events will be largely curtailed that support the cultural and economic revitalization of New Bedford and other seaports
      • The percentage of state operational funding necessary to support operations and programs, exclusive of capital funds, will go from last year's level of approximately 30% to 55% this year (that includes the programs in the past four months) to as much as 75% next fiscal year.
      • The programmatic impact of Ernestina's programs will go from current level at 5,000 students and 15,000 persons per year to no more than hundreds of students and visitors next year with much curtailed quality.
      • Relationships crucial for programmatic development and delivery and charitable support of all kinds will be severely disrupted and will take years to rebuild.
      • Reconnections between the ship and people who value her 110 years of history will be disrupted and some will be lost.
      • This gift from the Republic of Cape Verde is not being adequately cared for and used for the educational purposes that were the intention of the gift.
      • The investment of more than $1.6 Million since the original gifting of the ship in 1982 will be at risk.
      • The ship will not be able to participate in the TallShip Challenge 2004 series organized by the American Sail Training Association (ASTA) next year when ships from around the world will gather for Sail Boston, Sail Providence, Sail New London and other events. Don't we want the state represented by it's official vessel?
      Your feedback is crucial now and over the next several weeks. You can back up the briefings that we and others are sending on to Boston with anecdotes from your own experience whether an educator, donor or member or if your family has an historical connection to the ship. If you are inclined to send comments regarding the impact and implications of this cut, please do so. In your words, please!
      Some addresses, email addresses and phone numbers can be found on the state website at:
      Secretary Roy Herzfelder at EOEA  http://www.state.ma.us/envir/
      Commissioner Kathy Abbott and Acting Director Peter Webber at the Department of Conservation and Recreation http://www.state.ma.us/dem/contactus.htm
      Thanks for any assistance or advice you can give us on this! We'll keep you posted on our progress to make sure the ship is cared for and continues to sail on for another century.
      Gregg Swanzey
      Executive Director
      Schooner Ernestina Commission
      P.O. Box 2010
      89 North Water Street
      New Bedford, MA  02741-2010
      Ph. 508-992-4900
      Fax 508-984-7719