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Tom Duggan's Notebook

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The First Annual Callahan Cannonball

The First Annual Callahan Cannonball to benefit the family of Officer Kevin Callahan. The run will start at the Claddagh Pub 399, Canal Street Lawrence, MA. and wind through the back roads of Southern New Hampshire returning to the Claddagh Pub. Following the run there will be food, raffles and music featuring Beyond the Pale. All makes and models welcome. Pre registration is recommended and is available at: www.CallahanCannonball.com The Claddagh Pub & Restaurant, the Lawrence Police Department or the day of the run. Registration / sign-in beginning at 9:00 am. If you can’t make the ride come and enjoy the food, music, and raffles. Fees $25.00 per ride, $10.00 per passenger T-shirt & Admission to Cookout included $15.00 for non run participants who would like to attend cook out.

Local Radio Station Implodes - Ronnie Ford Quits WCCM

When I was growing up, anyone who was interested in local news and politics in Lawrence and Methuen were tuned in to local radio where, WCCM (800AM) was the undisputed king of talk radio. Lou Marcell, John Moran, Ben Mevoracch and a host of talented newsmen and talk show hosts covered everything from the national news of the day to the latest breaking stories in the Merrimack Valley. Often times they would “scoop the Tribune” and always saw themselves as in competition with the daily newspaper for more in depth news coverage and better fact gathering. Today, however, WCCM is barely a shell of its’ former self. Under the new ownership of Pat Costa (who sold his soul and 49% of the station to the Eagle~Tribune) has absolutely no news team gathering and writing relevant news stories. Having moved twice on the radio dial and going from a 5,000 watt radio signal to less than 1,000 watts, those who can actually find WCCM’s current position on the radio dial can barely hear the broadcast (even in Lawrence) through waves of static. But if you can find the station and you can actually hear the broadcast, you won’t find “Hot Line” host Ronnie Ford on the air anymore. Word has it that Ronnie Ford had simply had enough of Costa’s meddling when he showed up for work one day with two guests booked for the show, only to find out that Costa himself had booked Arnie Arneson to do the show in place of Ford, telling Ford to come back the next day. Ford reportedly got up and walked out the door, never to return.

Get John Romero

Lawrence city councilors Grisel Silva and Nunzio DiMarca were quite vocal during last month’s budget battle with Mayor Sullivan when it came to their reasons for cutting the city budget and “trying to shut down the city.” When asked why she was so hell bent on cutting $3.7 million in city services when every single department head testified that it would “devastate” their departments, Silva reacted “We are going to make him suffer, if he wants to back John Romero and let him do whatever he wants on the police department we are going to shut down the city. Romero is corrupt and as long as Sullivan defends him we are not going to pass his budget, Period.” Not surprisingly, Councilor DiMarca, who was present when Silva made her feelings known, was overheard less than an hour later repeating her words, but pretending it was his original thought, repeating charges that the chief was corrupt and that Sullivan “had to pay the price.”

Did Tribune Concoct Cuomo Bridge Story?

Given the choice between believing what I read in the Eagle~Tribune and believing a politician who claims they were wronged by the daily paper, well, you know who I’m going to believe. But let me put this one out there for my readers in Haverhill and let you decide for yourself. According to Sally Cerasuolo-O’Rorke, candidate for mayor in Haverhill, a “reporter” from the Trib. called her and said he was working on a story concerning the “renaming of the Cuomo Bridge”. O’Rorke said she told the reporter she hadn’t heard anything about renaming the bridge but the reporter, she claims, pushed her to come up with an alternate name. “He said, ‘well if they are going to rename the bridge, what would name it?’ O’Rorke said she couldn’t come up with anything off he top of her head but thought that John Greenleaf Whittier might be a good choice. “I never said I wanted to change the name of the bridge, I was asked a question about alternative names and just gave him one off the top of my head, in no way was I suggesting that we take Mr. Cuomo’s name off the bridge.” Now, I have no favorites in the mayor’s race in Haverhill but after interviewing Sally for more than 2 hours I can tell you I believe her 100%. The question now is: will this Tribune-concocted bridge controversy have any effect on O’Rorke’s chances on election day? 

Technical School Committee Exonerated ... For Now

Chairman of the Greater Lawrence Tech. School Committee announced during a meeting last month that the school had received notification from the Mass. Ethics Commission exonerating members of the board for a recent trip taken by board members. Henrick said openly that he wanted the committee to approve sending a letter to the Methuen City Council because “there were public comments made by one councilor on this matter and I think the record should be set straight. The Ethics commission said we did nothing wrong.” But, while making the announcement in public, board members immediately began shuffling in their seats and tried talking over Henrick saying they wanted to discuss it in “executive session.” When asked by a reporter for a copy of the letter from the Ethics Commission, Henrick said they would have to vote on it in executive session. And apparently that’s what they did. After the meeting chairman Henrick said “they decided in executive session not to release the letter.” Here’s the problem, according to state law, any vote taken in executive session must also be taken in open session. The Tech School Committee didn’t do that.

Conventional Wisdom - Who’s UP WHo’s Down  

DOWN: Ruth Rojas, Rojas failed miserably two years ago in her bid to beat Grisel Silva for the District “B” city council seat and this year she failed to properly sign and prepare her nomination papers so the board of registrars threw her name off the ballot. What’s worse, two years ago the Valley Patriot took pictures of the trash and deplorable conditions outside Rojas’ home and in her yard. With talk of Rojas launching a sticker campaign to get her name on the November ballot we sent a photographer back to her home to see if she finally picked up her property (after all she wants to represent her neighborhood on the city council) but lo and behold the garbage in front of Rojas Summer Street home looks like it hasn’t been picked up since before we took our pictures back in 2005. Look for before and after pictures in our next edition… and have fun trying to tell which is which.

DOWN: Barry Finegold, A year ago Andover State Rep Barry Finegold was under the misimpression that his Merrimack Valley Colleagues were going to support him in his bud for congress. Now, just a few days after Finegold finds himself on the losing end of a Democrat primary he has to be looking around and wondering why every single state representative and state senator he serves with on Beacon Hill endorsed his opponents. For what it is worth, Finegold deserved much better treatment from those he thought were his friends. One thing for sure, Finegold now knows who his friends are. I only hope that the next time one of his colleagues asks him for political support in a local or state race he has the courage to tell them all where to go. Hey Barry, you were robbed, but you were robbed by people you thought you could trust. Let that be a lesson to you, there are no friends in politics and no politcal favor goes unpunished.

UP:  Lawrence City Councilor Joe Parolisi, he’s not even the council president but he made a valiant effort to educate the public during budget hearings as to exactly what kind of cuts would be made to the fire and police department if Grisel Silva’s $3.7 million in proposed cuts were approved by the council. What’s more, the fact that Modesto Maldonado architect of Latino Agenda) is targeting Parolisi for defeat in November means he is now a shoe-in to take one of the two top at-large spots on election day.

UP: Methuen Councilor Phil Lahey: Lahey picked up a few big endorsements last week with endorsements from former Veterans Services Director Ed “Hoppy” Curran, Methuen Mayor Bill Manzi, and former councilor Mike Hennessey. Lahey is doing the work on the campaign trail and not taking endorsements for granted but he does have a tough race ahead of him in one of the most crowed races in the city.

DOWN: Willie Lantigua: Lantigua backed Lowell City Councilor Eileen Donoghue in Lawrence while his rivals in the Marcos Devers camp were supporting Niki Tsongas. Guess which candidate won Lawrence in the Democrat primary for congress? Yup, Tsongas overwhelmed Donoghue by a vote tally of  1,425 (Tsongas) to 927 (Donoghue). Looks like Lantigua’s endorsement doesn’t carry as much weight as it use to in the mill city. But at least Lantigua can brag about one thing, his candidate defeated Barry Finegold in Lawrence by seven votes and Finegold actually represents Lawrence in the House of Representatives. Lantigua must be nervous now with the possibility of Devers challenging him next year but Finegold has to be smarting even more knowing he lost big in a city he has always enjoyed wide popularity.

 UP: State Senator Steve Baddour: Even though his candidate for congress, Eileen Donoghue was (barely) defeated at the polls in the special primary last week, Donoghue won Methuen by more than 200 votes. Baddour was the architect of a series of newspaper ads (something Finegold failed to capitalize on) showing Donoghue and Baddour touting them as a “team”. The team concept is wildly successful if done correctly and Baddour and Donoghue almost pulled it off perfectly. Now if only Finegold had been smart enough to spend his money on local newspapers (where super voters are best targeted) instead of wasting all that cash on silly television commercials. Now, let’s see how the Baddour “team” does in the  Methuen municipal elections come November. 

Essex St. Development

Congratulations to Michel S. Tarshi on the groundbreaking of his new construction project on Essex Street. (see picture on page 17). Tarshi, formerly of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” is helping the city of Lawrence with his development near his father’s law office at 510 Essex Street. Tarshi’s building will hold retail and office space, perfect for the redevelopment of the down town area.

All in the Family

President of the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Association Frank Incropera may be supporting David Abdoo in the District “E” city council race but his cousin Jay Incropera is backing Abdoo’s opponent Matty Brien. Acording to insiders involved in both races, the Bien campaign is planning to mail out friend to friend cards signed by “The Incropera Family” to fool people in Mt. Vernon into thinking that Frank and Dotti Incropera are endorsing Brien and not Abdoo. It’s typical Willie Lantigua politics if it’s true.

A Shameless Plug

Since my friends Danielle Lamorandi and Ray Torrisi recently had a baby this gives me the perfect chance to kill two birds with one stone. First, to put a picture of her daughter Kayla (god I hope I spelled that right) in the paper (our readers love babies) and secondly to promote a new idea for the Valley Patriot baby pictures and BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS! Yes, for $45 you too can post your baby announcements in the Valley Patriot and, if this is successful enough we will mark out a whole section for baby pictures, and birth announcements.      

 *Send your questions comments to ValleyPatriot@aol.com
The September 2007 Edition of the Valley Patriot
The Valley Patriot is a Monthly Publication.
All Contents (C) 2007
, Valley Patriot, Inc.
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Methuen, Haverhill, Chelmsford, Georgetown, Groveland, Boxford, Amesbury, Newburyport
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(summers only)

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Tom Duggan
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Hartley Pleshaw
Debbie Quinn
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Angel Rivera
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