The Firefighter’s Relief’s In at 1 Market Street in Lawrence is celebrating yet another anniversary and as one of their biggest cheerleaders I couldn’t be more thrilled. Next month we will be highlighting some of the great things the Lawrence Firefighters Relief does in the community. There’s a reason we prefer to have our annual charity BASH at the Relief’s In every year.


Each year we do Heroes and Bozos of the year, and while I know most people love the Bozo part, this year I wanted to highlight some of the real heroes in the community. Of course, no hero list could be complete without our first responders. Police, Firefighters, EMTs, will all be answering cries for help while you are sitting down to eat Christmas or Chanukah dinner. You might want to offer a prayer for them before you dig in.


Jen Jones and the Lawrence Exchange Club volunteer countless hours each week to help people in Methuen service those in need. They don’t get half the credit they deserve and the work they do makes a big difference to a lot of people.

Steve Paine and the Lawrence Lions – Steve Paine is a hero veteran and head of the Lawrence Lions Club. The Lions provide free eye screenings and help underprivileged kids and their families get prescription and reading glasses. Last month, they conducted a free screening at the Tarbox School in Lawrence. This month they are doing one at the Daybreak homeless shelter. They do good work!

Carina Pappalardo and the People at Daybreak – It takes a very unique kind of person to want to work with the homeless population in Lawrence. Carina and the people at Daybreak who work with the homeless are unsung heroes in my book.

Tom Connors and the people at American Training – Anyone who works with people who have special needs are special to begin with. But those who spend all their time trying to organize and network the rest of the community to help are priceless and invaluable. Tom Connors, Mikaela Reynolds, and the people at American Training are real heroes for all the work they do to help their clients get jobs, learn skills, and get an education.

Deb Carberry and Someone Cares

First, she has to stop saying nice things about me or I’ve told her we can’t be friends anymore. That’s because it was Deb Carberry and her group Someone Cares did the amazing work of holding item drives, and then getting a group together to stuff hundreds of care packages for the needy for the holidays.
Rick Parthum, Chris Eldridge, Eric Melanson and the Lawrence High Alumni Association – Every year in the spring the Lawrence High Alumni Association gives out hundreds of thousands of dollars in college scholarships to graduating kids from Lawrence High. It’s an event that takes all year to organize, match students with donors, following up with parents to make sure they are accepted to the college, etc. More business owners and social service clubs should look at helping the LHS Alumni. They are making a difference in our future.

Brian Thomas and SLE Volunteers

They don’t come any better than Bryan Thomas of the South Lawrence East Little League. He goes out and works with kids in Lawrence and has been fighting for better fields for years. He’s been promised a concession stand before the start of little league in the spring and we are closely monitoring the situation to make sure that happens. Bryan also takes money out of his own pocket to pay for things the kids need if it’s not in the budget. Bryan needs help. Someone in the community in a position to help should reach out to him with a donation of some kind.


Seriously, all firefighters are heroes (even the ones who hate me) but there is no bigger hero to me than Lawrence Firefighter Juan Manny Gonzalez. When he’s not putting out fires, Manny is running a nonprofit called “Heal Lawrence” which has a website that matches families who have been burned out of their homes with people and organizations in the community who are looking to donate items to help. On top of all that, Manny set up Lawrence Firefighters United for Puerto Rico and personally accompanied the donations to the island to make sure they were delivered to those most in need.


They needed bullet proof vests because they were constantly called to crime scenes that are very dangerous, and sometimes still active. They got no help from Lawrence General so the EMT of LGH put up a GoFund Me page to raise money to protect their drivers and paramedics. That takes guts. I already had tremendous respect for the LGH EMTs but now I respect them even more.
VAV and the VETERANS NORTHEAST OUTREACH – For sure there is no greater hero than a veteran who served this country. But, those who come back and continue to care for their fellow veterans are a rare breed. Veterans Assisting Veterans is an all-volunteer group of vets who work directly with local veterans in need. 100% of the money they raise goes directly to servicing a local vet. Last year, VAV helped a Lawrence WWII Veteran named Harold Bazin, pay off his mortgage when they found out the bank was about to foreclose on him.

Veterans Northeast Outreach Center in Haverhill provides free food pantries for veterans, clothing, job training, jobs, housing, etc. for any veteran in need. It’s like one stop shopping for any veteran who is homeless or having financial hardship, troubles with the VA, or even paperwork issues for benefits. John Ratka, Randy Carter, and the men and women of VNOC are doing the work of the angels. If you want to help a veteran this Christmas a donation to VNOC or VAV will make sure your donation helps a local veteran 100% with no overhead or other costs taken out.


There’s a woman in England who is facing jail time for tweeting. She didn’t tweet a threat or expose government secrets. She tweeted a video of Muslims in England committing crimes. The President then retweeted that video to highlight the real threat of violent Muslim immigrants. Whether you agree with him or not is not the issue. Don’t be distracted by the endless whining on TV about how “inappropriate” Trump’s tweets are. The real issue here is that in England there is no 1st Amendment. People actually go to jail in England (and most countries) for saying or tweeting things their government officials don’t approve.

Can you imagine if Trump threatened to jail a journalist on CNN for tweeting an anti-Trump video? The mass hysteria would be monumental.
Yet, like chicken little, those who call themselves journalists on CNN and elsewhere, went into full freak out mode, painting the woman who tweeted the “anti-Muslim” video as a villain and using her prosecution as an excuse to condemn her as a bad person, instead of condemning the government that wants to imprison her for her views.

Newsflash: hate speech is not an exception to the right of free speech. I don’t care what morally bankrupt college professor told you differently. Human beings have a birth right to speak freely, even if they are wrong. That concept has all but died in today’s morally confused culture thanks to our corrupted education system and a political movement to make us more like Western Europe.

1/11 Life Alive – Cambridge, MA
1/13 First House Pub – Winchester, MA
1/27 First House Pub – Winchester, MA
2/2 Salvatore’s – Lawrence, MA
2/3 Tommy K’s – Manchester, NH
2/10 Polcari’s – Woburn, MA


This year, the Boston Celtics hosted a special event celebrating the heroism and acknowledging the service of more than two dozen Vietnam Veterans. Nominate your favorite Vietnam Veteran (can self-nominate or a loved one can nominate) to be entered into a lottery to win one of sixteen tickets. The featured game was on Saturday December 23rd at the TD Garden with the Boston Celtics taking on the Chicago Bulls.


On Thursday, November 9th, Merrimack Valley Hospice held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the official naming of High Pointe House and to celebrate and thank Stephen and Joan Clark of Haverhill for their very generous donation in support of patients and families.

The newly named High Pointe House, the hospice and palliative care residence of Merrimack Valley Hospice, located at 360 North Avenue in Haverhill, contains 21 private suites as well as libraries, indoor and outdoor dining areas, family gathering areas and beautiful walkways and gardens. Since opening, the House has provided comprehensive end-of-life care to more than 4,000 patients, and grief and bereavement support to families and loved ones.
For more information on High Pointe House or to request a brochure, call 978-552-4186


Senator Barbara L’Italien Is Running For Congress. But you knew that last month if you read this notebook. The state senator announced that she is running for congress (her press release capitalized the “C” in congress, please stop doing that) to replace Niki Tsongas in the 3rd Congressional District of Massachusetts.

She announced the run in a short film that was released on her website, Putnam Partners, a lead media firm for President Barak Obama, produced the short film.

Grade five spent time this month baking pumpkin bread for the residents of Emmaus House. Emmaus House is a residence in Haverhill, Massachusetts that strives to help families and individuals by providing housing and support services that empower their residents to reach their fullest potential. The fifth graders worked together to make 20 small loaves of bread for the residence. The bread was delivered to Emmaus House in time for Thanksgiving and served to the residents or were distributed to families in need along with other items for a delicious Thanksgiving Feast. The fifth graders were very happy to help others through their magnificent baking skills!


Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger and District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett today announced a zero tolerance policy regarding the possession or introduction of contraband into any Essex County correctional facility. Everyone interacting with an inmate needs to increase their awareness of contraband and not intentionally or unwittingly contribute to contraband smuggling. Essex County Sheriff’s Department policies prohibiting any and all contraband will be strictly enforced without exception.

Persons struggling with the disease of addiction will often resort to desperate measures to meet their opiate cravings, whether in the community or while incarcerated. All correctional facilities today are in a constant battle to interdict contraband including a variety of drugs.

“I will do everything possible to protect our inmates, staff and the community,” Sheriff Coppinger stated. “This will include the deployment of proactive, professional and reasonable tactics to detect and deter the use of drugs and introduction of contraband into any area for which I am responsible.”

“Individuals caught introducing contraband into an Essex County correctional facility will be prosecuted,” District Attorney Blodgett said. “Contraband threatens the safety of the correctional facility population and staff and will not be tolerated.”

There are currently 28 criminal cases pending involving inmates and families in which 32 people have been charged. In addition, 4 other cases are currently under investigation.

Frederick Henry Baldwin, Sr., age 96, a resident of Tewksbury for over 60 years, recently of York, Maine, passed away at home in the care of his family on Thursday, November 9, 2017.

He was the beloved husband of Barbara C. (Beal) Baldwin, who passed away on July 21, 2011.

Born in Chelsea on June 25, 1921, he was the son of the late George and Freda E. (Leal) Baldwin. Fred was raised in Medford and graduated from Medford High School in 1939.

In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and served during World War II with the 425th Air Force Base Unit as a Waist Gunner on the B-24 Aircraft.
He was awarded numerous decorations for his active duty service including the American Theater Service medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Medal with 2 Stars, the Good Conduct Medal, the Air Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Distinguished Unit Badge.

In May of 2015, Fred’s service during World War II was recognized by Honor Flight New England with a trip to Washington D.C. to visit the World War II Memorial.

Prior to his retirement in 1986, he owned and operated the former Tewksbury Paint & Hardware Store, a Tewksbury landmark for decades.

He and his late wife were active members and supporters of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Lowell, where he served for many years as a Vestry person.

Fred was active in the Tewksbury community and was a member and past officer of several civic organizations including the Tewksbury Lions Club, where he was past President, and the Tewksbury Golden Age Club and Senior Walk In Center, where he was a drummer in the band known as the “Silvertones”.

Fred also volunteered his time to the Open Pantry of Greater Lowell by using his van to make food deliveries to those in need.

He loved spending the summer months in York, Maine, where he owned a home for a number of years. He also enjoyed attending socials at the Tewksbury Senior Center, and was a passionate New England sports fan.
Fred is survived by his daughter, Marcia Foster and her husband Harry (Hank) of York, ME; his daughter-in-law, Ellen Baldwin of York, ME; three grandchildren, Christopher Baldwin of West Hollywood, CA, Katie Baldwin Watts and her husband John of York, ME, and Christian Foster of Cape Elizabeth, ME; three great-grandchildren, Sawyer and Nora Watts, and Lucas Foster; also many nieces, nephews, and extended family members.

Fred was predeceased by his son Frederick H. Baldwin, Jr., who passed away on March 11, 2001.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Fred’s memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701, the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516 Topeka, KS 66675, or the Tewksbury Senior Center, 175 Chandler St., Tewksbury, MA 01876.