Tom Duggan’s Notebook – July, 2019 – Local, State and National

Four men were stabbed on Kendall Street in Lawrence on the 4th of July. One man, the aggressor in the situation, was charged with attempted murder. You didn’t read that in the daily paper or see it on the news because the new norm by our public servants is to only tell the media what they need to know, while creating out their own news (propaganda) on social media. By the way, this isn’t just Lawrence. All over the state police departments are concealing information, district attorneys (who work for us by the way) impound police reports so the press can’t get them. John Blodgett, the Essex County DA waited a whole 24 hours or more before holding a press conference on the murder in Groveland last month. Of course by that time, it was barely even news. He has also threatened local police chiefs with jail time if they release booking photos, saying it’s against the law, when any thinking person knows that it’s not.

Then you have these public relations firms that are the keepers of information, like Guilfoil Public Relations LLC which sometimes pushes our press releases on crime that occurs in the community in a timely manner. Sometimes not so timely. Sometimes not at all. But, whatever they release, it is of course what the police departments want you to know, WHEN they want you to know it. What is happening here is huge and nobody seems to care. Police departments and DAs are controlling the news. And the so called news media is bowing down and taking it. They want to control the message but they are forgetting that they work for us. Yet, if nobody holds them accountable and challenges them, they aren’t really working for us at all. They are working for themselves.

Add to that the increase in police departments encrypting their scanner transmissions, all the while setting up cameras everywhere so that you … their BOSS … you know, like the public … know nothing about what your public servants are up to except what they want you to know. All the while they can watch and log everywhere you go and everything you do in public. It doesn’t seem like our public servants believe in transparency anymore but if the public lets them get away with it… and you are … then they keep pushing the envelope further and further until the only thing we know is what they tell us. George Orwell warned us about this in his book 1984. But nobody is fighting any of this. We just complacently shrug it off and go on our merry way. We are completely losing our ability to have a free press to educate the public about what our public servants are doing on our behalf. We are completely losing our ability to hold public officials accountable. But, that’s on us. It’s an election year. Start asking candidates for office where they stand on public transparency in public safety matters. Make them understand their job is to fight for us.

CONGRESSMAN LIES ABOUT BORDER PATROL MAKING CHILDREN DRINK TOILET WATER/CRIES AT FENCE – MEDIA YAWNS – Last month, Congressman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez made a stunning allegation after visiting a detention center for illegal aliens at the southern border. “They are literally drinking out of the toilets,” the congressman told the media in a breathless and overly dramatic statement. She was then photographed crying at the fence of a detention center to show her compassion and how much she truly cares “about the children”. But, it wasn’t long before we learned that Cortez was lying. First, it was revealed that illegal alien children were not, in fact, drinking toilet water, but that a commode was set up with a sink at the top for fresh drinking water. Then, the real photographs (the ones that were not photo-shopped) were released showing Cortez was crying at a fence outside an empty parking lot – not outside a detention center. Shameful! Did the media “demand accountability? No, of course not.” As long as you are smearing the Trump administration they don’t care if you lie. Just imagine if Cortez was a pro-Trump republican! There would be a steady drumbeat on cable news every day demanding that she APOLOGIZE for slandering law enforcement with her fake claims of children drinking out of toilets. CNN “journalists” would be ambushing every republican official they could find, asking them to “denounce” AOC for faking a crying photo at a parking lot. That steady drumbeat would then get louder and louder by the minute until she apologized. Then, once she apologized, they would continue the drumbeat of calls for her resignation for “destroying people’s faith in our institutions” and “harming our democracy!” She would also be called RACIST for purposely using scare tactics to make people with brown skin hate America….. but … she’s a democrat…. so…. not so much.

With four candidates running for city council in Methuen’s Central District (McCarty, Campagnone, Deeb, and Normandia) one thing I can predict for primary day is that Jim McCarty is going to top the ticket. It seems like no matter who I talk to in the Central District they LOVE Jim McCarty. So it looks like the other three candidates in the Central District are going to be fighting for that second spot. Kudos to the people of Methuen’s Central District for fielding four candidates for two council seats. At least the voters have a real choice!

One of the most disappointing things about this year’s municipal election in Methuen is that West District Councilor Lynn Vidler is not running for reelection. While she took a load of bull for having a husband on the police department, Lynn was one of the smartest and most diligent city councilors sitting at that table. She understands budgets and contracts, and it was obvious watching the meetings that she did her homework and read every single piece of paper put in front of her. Lynn had nothing to do with the controversy over the police contract, but she still had to deal with the accusations and innuendos and that wasn’t’ fair – for her or her husband. The people of Methuen were well served having Lynn Vidler on the city council whether you agreed with her on the issues or not. Her absence will be quite noticeable when the next council tackles a budget or negotiates contracts.

In a political culture where everyone is lying about everything, telling the truth can get you in a ton of hot water. Last month, former Vice President Joe Biden found that out first-hand when he reminisced about the days when he could sit down with segregationists in Congress and work on compromise on issues important to the country. After all, that is their job. Sadly, Democrats in Congress (and the media) today don’t want to work with anyone to find common ground or get things done for the American people. They want to destroy anyone who doesn’t think like they do. They liken political opponents to Nazi’s, and slander their character. For once, Joe Biden was actually right about something. But, because he was attacked by people in his own party and being of weak character (not to mention being willing to say and do literally anything to get elected), Biden eventually apologized for what he said. But why did Kamela Harris and the rest of the left leaning Democrats freak out so bad when Biden talked about “working with segregationists”?

While everyone was talking about whether or not Joe Biden should apologize for saying he used to “work with segregationists” in Congress, what they were not talking about was the real reason they were all freaking out behind the scenes. What they were most upset about is that he was reminding people that Democrats WERE the segregationists. He was reminding people with his statement that the Democrat Party is the party of the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow, segregation, slavery, and lynchings. It was the Democrat Party that opposed desegregation, and it was the Democrat Party that is responsible for all of the misery black Americans endured for the last 250 years. It gets really hard to call Republicans racists, demand to take down statues of confederates, and rename public buildings while the former vice president is running around reminding people that the Democrats were actually the segregationists.

The 2019 Yankee Homecoming Committee is excited to announce the Annual Yankee Homecoming Veteran Luncheon. This luncheon aims to bring our Veterans and their guests together to make new friends, provide on-going resources, and to acknowledge the service that our Veterans gave to this great country. The Veteran Luncheon will be located at the Hope Community Church, 11 Hale Street, Newburyport, MA on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 from 12 noon – 2 pm. We would like the community to extend a special thanks to our luncheon sponsors: Fairway Mortgage, SGT Jordan Shay Memorial Foundation, and Yankee Homecoming.

The program of the luncheon is as follows: Director of Veterans Services for the City of Newburyport, Kevin Hunt, a Navy Veteran and Vietnam Veteran who will be opening this year’s luncheon with a few remarks. The Director of the Edith Nourse Rogers VA Medical Center, Joan Clifford, DNP will be this year’s Master of Ceremonies. Former Navy Seal, Iraq veteran and co-owner of Battle Grounds Coffee Company, Salvatore DeFranco will be our Keynote Speaker. The Guest of Honor for Yankee Homecoming’s Veteran Luncheon will be US Navy veteran Douglas Bryant. He has a lengthy submarine service which began during WWII, through the Korean War, Vietnam and the Cold War. We are honored to have the USS Constitution Color Guard presenting the colors.

The Veteran Luncheon has been hosted during Yankee Homecoming for the last 12 years, and was started and managed by Korean War Veteran, Frank Ventura. “Our Veterans are our own National Treasures,” shared local resident and Yankee Homecoming Committee Member Donald Jarvis. “Whether returning recently or during WWII where are eldest Veterans are from – we thank our Veterans for their service and it’s our honor to host this luncheon for them.” This year our guest will enjoy delicious Italian food from Giuseppe’s Fresh Pasta & Fine Food with both a meat and vegetable option, and assorted desserts.

Retired US Navy Veteran Doug Bryant tells the story of his early years and his lengthy career in the Submarine Service beginning in World War Two and continuing through the Korean War, Vietnam, and the Cold War until his retirement in 1967. It’s a unique account from the viewpoint of an enlisted seaman who sailed into the Sea of Japan in 1944 as a teenaged Sailor in what would become one of the most hazardous but productive submarine patrols of the war. Copies of this book will be available for purchase at the lunch. All books bought at the lunch will be signed by Doug Bryant. We Invite You to Say Thanks! This year we are welcoming the community to send a special Thank You message to our veterans for this year’s luncheon. We are actively seeking 15 – 20 second long Thank You videos that will be played at the luncheon. We are thankful for the service of our veterans and we feel this will be a way for us all to show our appreciation, and thanks together. These can be filmed on your cell phone and emailed to

The Megan House Foundation is excited to announce Pamela Huntley as the organization’s executive director on a permanent basis. The Hampton, New Hampshire resident previously served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors before assuming the Executive Director’s role on an interim basis early this year. Huntley’s in-depth knowledge of the organization and the local health care community has proven invaluable to the organization’s continued growth.
Huntley came to Megan’s House after spending a decade at Lowell General Hospital, most recently as the Director of Community Relations and at the Center for Community Health & Wellness. While there, she excelled at developing relationships with corporate and community partners to generate a climate of understanding and support for the health system, its mission, accomplishment and challenges. Huntley developed a reputation as a skilled program builder and has succeeded in leveraging her career experience and networking connections to benefit the Megan House Foundation.

The mission of the Megan House Foundation is to improve the quality of life of its residents through an evidence-based substance use disorder treatment program that emphasizes individual dignity, self-respect and empowerment. Through its long-term residential treatment program and success homes, the organization has established a culture that promotes wellness and success.

To learn more about the Megan House Foundation, please visit

MIDDLESEX CONSERVATION DISTRICT FALL BULB AND PERENNIAL SALE – The Middlesex Conservation District will be holding its annual Fall Bulb and Perennial Sale on 9/20 (3-6 pm), and 9/21 (8am – 12 noon) at the Great Brook Farm State Park Ski Touring Center, 1018 Lowell St, Carlisle, MA. All items can be pre-ordered through 8/31 and picked up on the sale days – we encourage advance ordering as we sell out of some items but you may also simply come and shop. Don’t forget to check out Great Brook Farm’s amazing ice cream while you are here! Place your order online at or mail in a check; to receive a copy of our catalog please call 978-692-9395 or email Items will include daffodils, tulips, specialty bulbs, perennials, and fertilizer.

The Greater Lawrence Psychological Center is one of 100 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 each through Cummings Foundation’s “$100K for 100” program. The Lawrence-based organization was chosen from a total of 574 applicants during a competitive review process.

These programs assist clients in achieving individual goals, provide education on relapse prevention, and focus on successful transition from the program. This contined care provides clients with many services including assistance getting health care, skill building to maintain recovery, life skills for a healthy future, and resources for aftercare planning. their program structure and approach is to guide and support clients’ progress through early recovery stages to independence and self-sufficiency.

“We are all feeling extremely blessed and honored to be awarded $100K from the Cummings Foundation!” said Carina Pappalardo, CEO of the Psychological center.

“Our guests who are working on finding housing, employment, and their recovery are feeling the love and compassion through the support of this amazing award. The “$100K for 100” program is an everlasting impact that will always be remembered through changed lives.”

These grant funds will help support the general operating expenses of the Daybreak Shelter, Pegasus House and Women’s View programs. “Along with our other fundraising efforts, this award will help us to continue to provide life-saving services for our guests who are homeless, suffering from substance use or other mental health disorders.”
“By having such a local focus, we aim to make a meaningful positive difference in the communities where our colleagues and leasing clients live and work,” said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation’s executive director. “We are most grateful for the nonprofit organizations that assist and empower our neighbors, and we are proud to support their efforts.” Most of the grants will be paid over two to five years.


Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger administered the oath to 20 new Correctional Officers of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department (ECSD) at the Basic Training Academy graduation ceremony held at Northern Essex Community College (NECC) on June 21st. The rigorous, 12-week Basic Training Academy on the campus of NECC is the final phase of the process to become a Correctional Officer. The successful graduates, who come from communities throughout Essex County, will now be assigned full-time positions at ECSD run facilities.

A large percentage of law enforcement professionals receive their career related education from community colleges. NECC also offers courses for preparation and/or advancement in corrections careers.

The new Correctional Officers are: Robert Burrell, Christian Calix, John Comerford, Brian Dettorre, Kyle Houghton, Adrian Inoa, Anferne Jimenez, Christopher Jodoin, Shawn Kavanaugh, Keenan Kealey, Erik Laflamme, Terrance Lane, Alexander Nirgianakis, William Panzini, Jacob Roy, Mark Scribner, Jake Skusevich, Blake Ward, James Whitcher, Raymond Wilkins