Gabel and Abletones at Mechanics Hall  
Thursday, October 28, 2010

Word is Dan Gabel and his Abletones orchestra are on facebook, and the story is their scheduled performance Nov. 10 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester.

They’ll open this season’s noon hour Brown Bag Concert series at the city venue, featuring the Big Band sound developed by leader Gabel, a Webster native with a wonderful grandmother.

Margaret A. Heide may be computer literate, but she took time on a recent evening to plant the Mechnics Hall report in this corner, proving she is proud of her grandson, and her public relations priorities are in order.

The last we heard about trombonist Gabel, the son of Brenda and Stephen Gabel of Normandy Avenue, Webster, he was on a world tour with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. The Abletones feature 16 performers and promise “the difference an authentic Big Band can make at your next event.”

By the way, I get more segment tips from grandmothers than from any website. I don’t know what this means, but there’s something special about grandmothers!



Perryville, the village that links Schofield Avenue (Route 12) in Dudley to School Street in Webster, has been in detour mode for several years.

The vehicular ban, instituted because the state is installing a new bridge over the French River — the town line — persists.

The project actually involves three bridges, says John Maisto, who lives on the Webster side of the village.

“They’ve got two new bridges already, but they don’t go anywhere,” Mr. Maisto said on a recent morning. “You can drive down but have to turn around.”

The new bridges are over abandoned sluice ways in Upper and Lower Perryville Roads that flow into the French River. The streets once formed a double access to Schofield Avenue, but the lower span replaced a bridge that was condemned decades ago, and exits to a deteriorating and long-abandoned lane blocked from its far end to Schofield.

Unfortunately, the main bridge over the French River, and the knot to everything else, is still in the works. Mr. Maisto promises progress reports!



Donald P. Barry, a lifelong Webster resident and a retired personnel manager, had a coffee in hand when we happened into a town doughnut stop on a recent morning.

His “Red Tail” cap caught my attention. It’s a theme for the Tuskegee Airmen, he reported. “They want to have a museum.” The World War II group, with 450 black Americans, flew 1,500 missions against Axis powers in Europe and North Africa, and is generally credited with integrating the armed forces.

Mr. Barry seems proud of the cap he received in return for a gift to the museum fund. It’s the only one I’ve seen this year that starts with “Red” that doesn’t end with “Sox.”



“It’s the economy,” Webster Veterans Services Agent Donald A Baker Sr. said last Sunday, revealing that record numbers of unemployed veterans are turning to local veterans agencies for assistance.

“We’re doing the best we can,” declared Mr. Baker. Everyone isn’t without work, but “a married guy with a family can’t get by on minimum pay.”

Mr. Baker and his wife, Barbara, were dining at McDonald’s in Webster when we crossed paths. The venue might reflect his view of the economy.



Things could get tight around Webster’s voting precincts if general projections for Tuesday’s midterm elections carry here.

The town has gone from three to five voting precincts in the past 20 years or less, but election officers have merely squeezed lines across both ends to the Town Hall auditorium, still the only voting place in town.

Voters in one precinct end up pretty close to citizens in another precinct at times as it is. More people carrying marked ballots to scanning machines could add time to the voting process.

The possibility exists because every office on the ballot Nov. 2, save for that of District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., is being contested, and there seems to be quite a bit of anti-incumbent sentiment. Then, there are initiative petitions for tax rollbacks, and another for subsidized housing. Two others, including a ban on legislative travel allowances, are nonbinding.

Turnout will be about the elections, but large numbers exercising franchise could break the elastic holding Webster’s precincts in an auditorium built for 1928 standards.
-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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