Tom Duggan’s Notebook – June, 2016

ReportersNotebook copyTHANK YOU OUTBACK – Last month the Veterans’ Services Officer for North Andover and Boxford, Gerard Maguire, held a fundraiser for our veterans at the Relief’s In in Lawrence. I want to personally thank the Outback Steak House in Methuen for donating an amazing meal for the event in support of our veterans. I am regularly asked by readers and listeners of my show to recommend a local restaurant or business and when that happens, I always keep in mind those businesses that go above and beyond to help the community in outstanding ways. The next time you are looking for a place to have dinner, stop into the Outback and thank them for helping out veterans.

SOME TOUGH LOVE FOR LOCAL CANDIDATES – Call it a pet peeve, but when I was growing up, candidates for office would always list their political party on their campaign literature. They also listed a home address so that people knew what community the candidates lived in, as well as an address for their campaign headquarters in case a voter wanted to send a donation or drop into the office to seek additional information about the candidate. Not so today. Last month, I asked my assistant Maria to go online and get the addresses of all the candidates for State Rep., State Senate and Sheriff so that we could mail everyone a schedule of the debates we are putting together and let the candidates know we are going to interview them for the paper. Of the two dozen candidates Maria looked up, only three had an address listed, and only one had their party affiliation listed anywhere visible on their websites. Shame on any candidate that does not list ALL the basic information (party and address for example) on their websites and campaign literature. Given that so few people get involved in political campaigns or even vote these days, you would think candidates would make it as easy as humanly possible to contact them, send them a check, or find out their party affiliation. This is not rocket science people. And as a side note, I refuse to vote for any candidate who doesn’t list their party affiliation on their site and their literature.

JEW HATRED IN ANDOVER – Last month someone committed a hate crime at Temple Emmanuel in Andover by painting a Nazi swastika on the parking lot pavement. What was the daily newspaper concerned about that day? They were tweeting out who won the Central Catholic senior class president, weather tips, and retweets of other journalists.
FLAG DAY – Flag Retirement and Eagle Scout Ceremony. Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at the Dracut American Legion, 6pm. Everyone is welcome.

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All of which, or neither of these version could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln’s authority over the rebellious states was in question. For whatever the reasons, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory. (from

HAMPSTEAD ACADEMY PEACE POETRY WINNERS – Hampstead Academy would like to congratulate Upper School Students, Madeline Lembo, 7th grade, Sara Torrice, 8th grade, and Caroline Hines, 8th grade for their winning poetry entries in the 8th Annual Northern Essex Community College Peace Poetry Contest. Their submissions will be printed and published in the chapter book titled 2015-16 NECC Peace Poetry!

For the past four years, Mrs. Huettner’s Language Arts students have participated in the poetry contest coordinated and sponsored by Northern Essex Community College. Their poems were submitted to the poetry contest, which received close to a thousand entries! The submissions came from students of all ages with a range of thoughtful and creative perspectives on the topic of peace. The students were invited to present their poems at a poetry reading at the Haverhill campus on May 6.
Please be sure to check out the following poems:
Sara Torrice, Grade 8, “Harmony of Two Notes”
Madeline Lembo, Grade 7, “Hands of Change,” Winning Entry in the 6-8 category!
Caroline Hines, Grade 8, “My Own Peace”

CLEAN RIVER PROJECT GETS NEW SORTING AREA – U.S. Pavement Services donated their time, equipment and asphalt to create a sorting surface for the Clean River Project in Methuen. This platform will make it easier for the Clean River team to sort through the debris pulled from the Merrimack River and separate recyclables without including gravel in the mix. The gravel content was causing some debris loads to be rejected and the newly donated asphalt surface now allows for a cleaner process. Clean River Project director, Rocky Morrison, knows all about the pollution problem in the 110-mile river. In 2005, Rocky started his mission when seeing the river at one of its lowest points. He states, “I was not only amazed but disgusted at the trash visible within the banks and bushes of the Merrimack River.” Car engines, household appliances, furniture, construction barrels, and over 1,000 tires is just a short list of the endless amount of debris and junk that has been pulled out of the river. Rocky challenges individuals throughout the community to answer the simple question, “Do you know what’s in your river?” By bringing their story and other information into schools and companies, the Clean River Project is determined to spread knowledge about the cause and physically get people out on the water. With the help of individuals and sponsors who are looking to give back to the community, the Clean River team has confidence that the river will continue to steer far away from the lowest point Rocky first saw it at.

U.S. Pavement Services firmly believes in volunteering in the communities it has serviced for over 30 years. Reclaiming and reusing asphalt and concrete is an established operational component. Over 90% of all asphalt and concrete used by the company is recycled material. U.S. Pavement Services is committed to clean and environmentally friendly initiatives like the Clean River Project.

About U.S. Pavement Services, Inc. and 800-PAVEMENT Network: Started in 1985, U.S. Pavement Services did nearly $50 million in sales in 2015, up from $36 million in 2014. The full-service paving and pavement maintenance contractor completed over 3,500 parking lot jobs and more than 2,000 residential driveways in 2015. Much of the parking lot work was from national accounts through the 1-800-PAVEMENT Network, which the contractor founded and manages. Nearly 200 members strong, the Network consists of nationwide 800 vanity numbers which include 1-800-ASPHALT, 1-800-SEALCOAT, 1-800-BLACKTOP, 1-800-STRIPING, 1-800-DRIVEWAY and 1-888-PAVEMENT. The Network combined did $1 billion in sales last year. In addition, U.S. Pavement Services is committed to buying, selling, and using only products that are Made In America. Community involvement is a core value and we pledge our support of military veterans and their families, including spearheading a campaign focused on the hiring of veterans.

A free program titled The Bridge to College and Careers program designed to help English language learners succeed in college will be offered through Northern Essex Community College’s Center for Adult Education Programs and Preparation. This intensive two-semester program was developed to improve English reading, writing, and math skills to help individuals boost their placement test scores. This program is designed to help develop college and career and readiness skills for entry into a college degree or certificate program. Individuals interested in exploring careers in instructional technology, health care, or business and are motivated and committed to work additional hours of work outside of class may qualify for the Bridge program.
A placement test is required upon registration. Registration days are held Wednesday, June 22; Wednesday, July 20; and Wednesday, August 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. and on Wednesday, June 8, and Wednesday, August 17, from 9:30 to 11:30am at NECC’s Riverwalk Campus, 360 Merrimack Street, Building 9, Entrance K, Room 309.

Classes are held Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9am to 2pm For more information contact Marsha Parinussa Flynn, coordinator at 978-659-1279 or Sheila Corsaro, academic advisor at 978-659-1282.
This program is funded through the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation grant.