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Newburyport families bring new eyes for the needy in Africa

Lauren and Brian Triglione of Newburyport give an eye test to a woman at the Mrughua Dispensary in Bura, Kenya. Lauren and Brian Triglione of Newburyport give an eye test to a woman at the Mrughua Dispensary in Bura, Kenya.
By Wendy Killeen
August 18, 2011

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NEW EYES FOR THE NEEDY: Two Newburyport families recently traveled to Bura, Kenya, with eyeglasses and laptop computers for clinics and a school.

The Hammond-Van Nahl and Triglione families are members of the Greater Newburyport Bura Alliance, which is a member of Sister Cities International, connecting Newburyport to the community in southern Kenya.

Anthony Triglione, his wife Elizabeth, and their three children, Spencer, 16, Brian, 14, and Lauren, 12, spent 10 days in Kenya, where they held eyeglass clinics at four rural dispensaries.

They brought 600 pairs of glasses donated by New Eyes for the Needy in Short Hills, N.J. Newburyport ophthalmologist Dr. Ben Heersink provided instructions on testing and fitting the glasses.

During their stay in Bura, the Trigliones were hosted by Kenyans who had previously visited Newburyport, including Benson Mrabai, who studied organic farming methods in 1997 in West Newbury; and Mary Kilei, who visited as part of a Greater Newburyport Bura Alliance exchange program. She participated in a leadership training program and returned to Kenya to become active in educational and health projects in her community.

Joanna Hammond and Ted Van Nahl spent a month in Bura. During their first week, they worked with the Triglione family on the eyeglass project. For the following three weeks, they worked on a pilot project introducing 10 laptop computers into Bura Primary School, which is among the first rural schools in Kenya to have computers and Internet connections.

The Greater Newburyport Bura Alliance was founded in 1992 and holds monthly potluck supper meetings. For more information, call Joanna Hammond at 978-388-3230 or visit

Anyone interested in the laptop project should contact Ted Van Nahl at 978-388-3230.

FARTHER ALONG THE TRAIL: Bike to the Sea Inc. and the Northern Strand Community Trail recently got a boost with an $84,022 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The money will allow further construction of the community trail in Malden, Revere, Saugus, and Lynn. It adds to funds the state had already granted to the Everett section of the trail.

Bike to the Sea also received two grants totaling $12,500 from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and The Coca Cola Foundation, which will be used to hire a project manager to work with communities to implement the state grant and for community outreach in Lynn.

“We’ll be reaching out to each community to discuss how these resources can address each community’s needs,’’ said Jim Tozza, president of Bike to the Sea. “We continue to be committed to working with each community to address its needs and concerns regarding development of the trail.’’

The Northern Strand Community Trail will be a 9-mile path stretching from near Route 16 in Everett through Malden, Revere, and Saugus toward the Lynn waterfront. It will accommodate walkers, bicyclists, runners, and other nonmotorized modes of recreation and transportation. For a map and more information, visit

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Rachael Lescarbeau of Dracut is the new office assistant at Bobbie Bush Photography in Salem, which specializes in newborn, children, and family portraiture. Lescarbeau provides day-to-day office management and administrative and customer service support. She has eight years of business experience, most recently as a marketing and administration associate at McLarney & Co. in Chelmsford. She has a degree in mass communications from Towson University and is completing a digital photography certification at Middlesex Community College in Bedford. . . . Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover, heads the list of 10 Leaders in Legal Education Reform, named by the website Online Colleges. When Velvel established Massachusetts School of Law in 1988, he used an alternative admissions and education model, not requiring the LSAT and providing a balance between theoretical and practical education.

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