Tom Duggan’s Notebook – July, 2016

ReportersNotebook copyReggie Autumn Craft & Vendor Fair to be held on Saturday, October 29, 2016 at Greater Lawrence Technical School Andover, MA. We are looking for interested crafters and vendors interested in participating inthefair. Spaces are $25.00. For more information and an application please contact or

OVERHEARD: At a recent high school scholarship night in Lawrence I overheard a conversation that I just HAD to pass along. At the end of the evening, after all the scholarships had been given out, a student approaches one of the scholarship presenters: GIRL: “Excuse me, can I ask you why my name is spelled wrong on my scholarship certificate?” PRESENTER: Because that’s the way you spelled it on the form you filled out to get the scholarship” PRICELESS!

SCANNELL’S STORY ON METHUEN SCHOOL BUDGET – Methuen School Superintendent has completely fallen apart in the last few years. Last month she claimed her budget was being ‘cut” by $1M, when the reality is it was being increased… just not being increased as much as she wanted. So, Scannell decided to engage in scare tactics by dishonestly claiming teachers would have to be laid off if she didn’t get the money she wanted, to keep her bloated budget… well… bloated. What’s worse is that school committee members who should know better were seduced by the superintendent’s talking points and demanded that the city council and the mayor deplete the rainy day fund to give Scannell the money she wanted. It was a shameful display given how much money the superintendent and her high priced education “professionals” are raking in from your tax dollars. Next month I am going to be publishing the enormous Warren Buffet type paychecks that “educators” in the Methuen schools are making and I think when you see how much money is being wasted in the Methuen Schools you will wonder why Scannell said with a straight face that teachers “needed” to be cut because there was just no place else in the budget that could be trimmed.

ZANNI LEAVES THE BANK EMPTY – While I have to admit that Mayor Zanni has been a very good mayor for the City of Methuen over the last five years, his appeasement of the school committee and superintendent last month leaves the city’s rainy day fund at ZERO. That means if it rains next year, there’s no money in the reserve funds. If there’s a flood or a major state budget shortfall the savings account is empty. Also, having enough money in reserves is what has given Methuen a very high bond and credit rating, which is sure to go down over the next two years. I’m hoping a man as brilliant with numbers as Mayor Zanni can find a way to replace the rainy day fund before he leaves office, but with declining state revenues and a strong opposition to proposition 2 1/2 overrides in Methuen it’s going to be nearly impossible. OH just wait until you see those school payroll numbers… I think you are going to be SHOCKED that Mayor Zanni capitulated to the school committee when you see how much money they spend on salaries. SHOCKED I SAY!

A CROWDED SHERIFF’S RACE – In the coming weeks The Valley Patriot will be holding at least two debates in the race for Essex County Sheriff. We are also going to be highlighting the candidates in next month’s edition, as well as exposing some of the campaign shenanigans going on in that race. In the mean time, Republican candidate Ann Manning Martin was endorsed by the Methuen Republican City Committee over Methuen native Jim Jajuga Jr.. The Methuen Democrat City Committee endorsed Jerry Robito of Lawrence. The Valley Patriot has spoken to most of the candidates in this race and will be spending a lot of time educating voters about the candidates before the September 8th primary.

Yeah… I don’t know who changed election day from Tuesday the 6th to Thursday the 8th but whoever made that decision just ensured a lower turnout than the usual abysmally low turnout. Races to be decided in the primary are: The Dizoglio/Jonse race for state rep., the Katy Ives race for state senate (I have no idea who is running against her since they never once reached out to us). Marcos Devers also has a primary and vs Juanita Matias, and Linda Campbell has a primary. 

RIVERA’S CENSORSHIP – Last month Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera posted a video about gun control spouting the Democrat party’s lie about guns. So, given that he is an elected official and works for us, I posted a comment urging him to stop advocating gun control when he has so many other things to do running the City of Lawrence. After all, if there’s any place on the planet where the citizens need guns to protect themselves, it’s LAWRENCE. So, I was surprised to see that Rivera, instead of responding to my comment and defending his gun grabbing position, decided instead to censor my comments within seconds of me posting it. When I asked him privately why he would do such a thing, he responded that he wanted “only positive comments” on his page. This proves that Rivera is not only against the second amendment, but also against the first. So much for transparency !. It makes you wonder if things in Lawrence are really going as well as his administration pretends it is. It also makes you wonder if he is surrounding himself with “yes men” if he is so averse to hearing views he doesn’t agree with.


It’s clear that consummate candidate, City Councilor Jim Jajuga Sr. is running for mayor next year. Mayor Zanni is termed out and cannot run again, meaning a new mayor for the people of Methuen. Names being bantered about as Zanni’s replacement include Councilor Tom Ciulla, Ron Marsan and Jen Kannan. But who can beat Jim Jajuga? A look at last year’s city council race shows that Jen Kannan got more votes than Jajuga in the city council race (though they were both elected) despite the fact that most people thought Jajuga would top the ticket. One thing for sure, Jajuga is the presumptive front runner going into next year’s local race and the people of Methuen cannot let that happen.
WARREN’S VOTE AGAINST GUN BACKGROUND CHECKS – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren likes to talk a good game when it comes to demanding federal background checks for anyone wanting to buy a gun. She even threw herself on the floor of the capital with other lawmakers and tried to relive the 60’s with a “sit-in” that would make any kindergarten child green with envy. But, when Senate republicans proposed background checks for gun purchases, Senator Warren voted NO. She voted … NO … because Republicans proposed the measure and would get credit for it. Now, I’m sure that Warren has a great story of “deniability” as to why she had to vote NO on background checks for gun purchases after throwing a temper tantrum and accusing anyone who disagrees with her of wanting more children to be killed.

But, the fact is, if Senator Warren cared more about this country and the issues she espouses, she wouldn’t care that Republicans would get credit for proposing the bill, she would have voted YES. Seems to me our senator cares more about scoring political points and creating fake political theater than solving any real problems. Can you BELIEVE she voted …NO!??

POOR GARY JOHNSON – Libertarian candidate for president, Gary Johnson has long held that drugs should be legal. He has said on numerous occasions that “prohibition kills”. So, I was surprised to hear Mr. Johnson say on CNN that he would not legalize heroin. Let me scratch my head a second. If Johnson believes that prohibition kills, why does he want to kill more people by prohibiting heroin? It seems to me if he can’t square one of his main platform issues, he shouldn’t be running for president.

THE FBI AND SNOOPING YOUR BROWSER  HISTORY- Last month the Congress came one vote shy of giving the FBI the legal right to snoop through the browser history on your computer and even your phone without a warrant. Yeah…. the same hyper partisan legislators who kick and scream about the NSA not being able to get the metadata from your emails and phone calls just voted against letting the FBI snoop even further… by ONE Vote. Putting aside the hypocrisy of it all for a minute, how scary is it that our government was one vote away from allowing everywhere you go on line to be stored in a government database? Yet the mainstream media reported everything from an alligator attack to ducklings being saved by a cop in New Mexico without sounding the alarm bells to the American people that our internet privacy was in jeopardy? You need to email your congressman and senator immediately and tell them to never support an invasion of your internet privacy or you will “actively campaign against them”. For the record, Senator Elizabeth Warren voted against letting the FBI get your browser information without a warrant.

Yes, Milagros Dominguez, AKA Dirma Espada, AKA Milagros Mattias, AKA Milagros Espada, AKA Dirma Mattias has returned to Spanish Language radio saying she is back from “vacation” in the Dominican Republic. But, Milagros was not “on vacation” nor was she in the Dominican Republic. She was in Federal prison after being convicted of using 15 fake names and social security numbers to commit Medicare fraud. Now, Milagros, the convicted felon, former campaign worker for Willie Lantigua and former illegal alien, is running one of her relatives against Marcos Devers for State Rep. She was seen last month at a HiIspanic Week parade wearing a Mattias T-Shirt. This woman has no shame at all. Worse, are those who listen to her show and believe anything she says.

Last month several “churches” in the Merrimack Valley sponsored a vigil for the victims of the Muslim Terrorist attack in an Orlando night club. Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera raised the rainbow flag, (symbolizing everyone but straight people). Different self identified “religious” leaders spoke of the lives lost and prayed for the victims of such a vicious attack on innocent civilians. But, at the end of the vigil something happened that stunned me. As each person read names of the victims of the Islamic attack, one reverend read the final group of names on the victim list and finished with “and in accord with my religion … Omar Mateen”. For the record that’s the Islamic terrorist who killed all of those innocent people. I was outraged. But, surprisingly, I was the only one. After the ceremony I asked several attendees if they heard what the reverend said, and if they had a problem with it. Not one person I talked to had any problem with it at all. In fact several people made excuses for it and said they not only didn’t object but they agreed with what the reverend did. WOW! The people of this country are so morally confused that they can’t even see why it’s wrong to commemorate the life of a mass murderer while at a ceremony for his victims. I think it was shameful and a slap in the face to the victims of the Islamic terror attack. It was also a slap in the face to gay people who are targeted for death every day simply because they don’t conform to the fascist, anti-gay, Islamic ideology.

Tuesday, August 2nd (6pm) Sunset Lake, Braintree MA *New for 2016!*
Wednesday, August 3rd (7pm) Newburyport’s Yankee Homecoming
Thursday, August 11th (6pm) Field Of Dreams, Salem NH
Saturday, August 13 (6:30pm) *Old Home Day, Belmont NH *New for 2016!*

SIGN WARS – NOBODY CARES – Every election year there are shenanigans with candidates’ political signs getting stolen or vandalized. And every year the candidates whose signs get stolen or vandalized make a federal case of complaining about their opponents stealing their signs. Newsflash: the voters don’t want to hear it. Candidates for office should have a sign coordinator who is not only in charge of getting signs put up but also should have extra signs ready to go when lawn signs are stolen or vandalized. When the voters hear candidates complaining about signs, only one word comes to mind… petty.

SPEAKING OF SIGNS – The one thing I do want to hear about is when campaign signs are illegally placed on public property, abandoned buildings, and state highways or off ramps. If anyone sees campaign signs illegally placed, please take a photo and send it to me.

FILM AND JAZZ FESTIVAL: Saturday, August 27th 3pm – 10pm – FREE – Ferrus Park – 1 Island Street, Lawrence MA. An afternoon and evening of Jazz, presented by Movimiento Pro Cultura. At sundown, the 1st Annual Short Film Festival will feature short films about or featuring Lawrence.

SANCTUARY CITIES FOR GUN OWNERS – The way I see it, if a city or town can be declared a sanctuary city and refuse to comply with, or cooperate with federal laws and federal officials, when it comes to arresting and deporting criminal illegal aliens, then so too can cities and towns refuse to comply with federal gun laws that violate the 2nd amendment to the constitution. Since sanctuary cities have been deemed legal, I say we should have sanctuary cities for gun owners. That way, if you want to live in a city or town like Lawrence that harbors criminal illegal aliens and put your own lives and the lives of your family in harm’s way, that’s your choice while the rest of us would also be free to live in a community that allows us to own whatever weapon they want without being turned over to into the feds by local law enforcement.

THE SHERIFF’S RACE – Of all the local political races in the Merrimack Valley, arguably the most important is the race to replace Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins. Essex County is huge, and virtually none of the newspapers or media outlets have paid any attention to this race.
That’s why The Valley Patriot will be sponsoring a debate in August at North Andover High School, (date to be announced).

TRIBUNE SLANDERS TEACHER – Lawrence resident Eric Salach spoke before the Lawrence City Council last month because he was concerned that the building next to the Oliver school was so unsafe that children could be hurt if the city didn’t act to tear it down immediately. He also revealed that his wife works at the Oliver and she was concerned for the safety of her students. Weeks later, when Keith Eddings of the Tribune decided to report the story, (long after we did all the work for him), he attributed the statements of Eric Salach to his wife, who didn’t even attend the meeting. Here’s what he wrote: “Later that night, Oliver School principal Nancy Salach attended a City Council meeting to protest that the fence was not adequate and the structure is a threat to her students and staff. Blanchette disagreed.”

LAWRENCE RECORDING STAR’S SPECIAL NIGHT – Last month, recording star Bylli Crayone of Lawrence was joined for a special night by 80’s recording sensations Giggles and Shana for a concert in a Lawrence night club. Lawrence City Councilor Sandy Elizabeth Almonte Rosado attended to give a city council citation to Crayone for 35 years of recording with such stars as Boy George, Tiffany, and others.

Crayone has always quietly given back to the community, never seeking publicity for the good works that he does. One of those good deeds is his backpack giveaway program, where he gives free backpacks filled with school supplies for poor and underprivileged Lawrence children. Anyone interested in donating school supplies to Crayone’s program can visit him on Facebook and send him a message. For children or parents who want to register for a free backpack filled with school supplies can do the same starting August 1st.

CAMPBELL’S OPPONENTS – According to the daily paper (so take that for what it’s worth) State Representative Linda Dean Campbell has two opponents this year. I’m not sure how seriously they are taking their candidacies because we have yet to hear from either of them.

SALVATORE’S SUMMER FUN – If you haven’t been to the deck at Salvatore’s Restaurant in Lawrence, it’s something you have to do before the end of summer, especially if you can get there shortly before dusk. Right there on the banks of the Merrimack’s one of the most beautiful sunsets in the area. And while you are there you need to try the butternut squash ravioli. Seriously, I eat out six or seven times a week and it’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted. You might also want to try the BBQ chicken pizza or the veal marsala.

HILLARY CLINTON’S EMAILS – Because we dedicate so much space to local news, events, and opinions, there is rarely room in The Valley Patriot for national issues. So, we have been a bit negligent in covering the Hillary Clinton Email debacle or comment on the media feeding frenzy over a star on a graph of a tweet.

Here’s what I saw. By my count, in one night, CNN spent about 80% of their broadcasting time between 6pm and midnight on the shape of a star …..on a tweet …. that someone who works for Donald Trump … sent out. They spent this enormous coverage time on the shape of a star on the very same day that the FBI director declared to the world that Hillary Clinton had lied about every single thing she has ever said about the email scandal.

Hillary Clinton said over and over like a robot for more than a year that she “never sent or received classified email on my private account.” She also claimed she never sent or received emails “marked classified”, and that some of her emails were marked classified after the fact because national issues dictating some things be retroactively marked “classified”.

The FBI Director declared none of that was true. FBI Director declared that Clinton had sent and received classified “and top secret” emails on an unsecured, non-government protected electronic device, sometimes while physically in countries hostile to the United States … where those governments control all media, and can intercept or monitor all emails within their borders.

He also declared that she was most likely hacked and hostile actors had full access to her electronic communications while she was Secretary of State.

I will leave it to you guys to conclude for yourselves why CNN spent so much coverage on that very day, to the shape of a star…. on a tweet …. sent out by someone who WORKS FOR Donald Trump.

FALL BULB SALE – The Middlesex Conservation District, will be holding its annual Fall Bulb and Perennial Sale on 9/23 (3-6pm) and 9/24 (8am-noon) at Verrill Farm, 11 Wheeler Rd, Concord, MA.All items may be pre-ordered for best selection through August 31 by visiting our website at, or emailing to receive a print catalog. The sale features tulips, daffodils, specialty bulbs, iris and perennials; all proceeds benefit the District’s conservation programs. For more information please call 978 692 9395.

Proceeds to benefit Merrimack Valley Veterans WHEN: August 18th. WHERE: Lawrence Elks, 652 Andover St Lawrence, MA. TIME: Doors open at 6pm – Music from 7-10. Cash Bar Available, bring fFood for your table! Tickets are only $20! Must be 21 years old to attend. To get tickets contact: Dave Ferguson at 978-314-9127 or

NEVINS PASSION FOR FASHION SHOW -September 15th at DiBurro’s Function Facility in Bradford. Models are practicing their walks, designers are designing over the top fashion and DiBurro’s is shining the silver; all in anticipation of this fabulous night to benefit the Nevins Alzheimer’s Program. Nevins Family of Services is a non-profit organization that cares for seniors and those with developmental delays. Join Nevins Family of Services and help support the Alzheimer’s Program.