Tom Duggan’s October 2016 Notebook

In my book, your word is your bond. If you make a commitment and give your word, no matter how inconvenient it is, you keep your word. Unfortunately, I am in the rare minority these days.

Last month, The Valley Patriot held two debates with the candidates for Essex County Sheriff. One of the questions I asked the candidates was this: if you do not win the primary will you commit tonight to supporting the eventual nominee of your party for Sheriff? The question was asked of both the democrat and republican candidates at their respective debates. Only one candidate, republican James Jajuga of Methuen, would not commit to supporting his party nominee if he lost the primary. At least Jajuga was being honest. After the primary was over, however, Jajuga did endorse his former republican rival, Anne Manning Martin for Sheriff.

Democrats Jerry Robito, Ed O’Reilly, and Paul Russell, however, pledged to Democratic Party voters that they would support the nominee of their party, but have publicly broken that promise. Robito has endorsed Mark Archer, one of the Independent candidates on the ballot. Democrats William Castro and Michael Marks did endorse the party nominee (Lynn Chief Kevin Coppinger) but O’Reilly and Russell have not made an endorsement that we know of.

Primary candidates for sheriff, Republicans Craig Lane and Jeff Gallo also pledged to support their party nominee if they were not victorious in the primary and have not done so.

If you want to know why most people don’t get involved in politics and think most candidates for public office are a bunch of self-serving liars who will say anything to get elected, THIS is the reason. It is shameful that candidates for public office look the voters in the eye and give their word with no intention on keeping it. The voters in Essex County should remember this the next time any of these failed candidates decide to run for office in the future.

It gives me no pleasure to report that Andover State Rep. Jim Lyons committed to doing a debate hosted by The Valley Patriot a few months ago at his yearly BBQ, yet when we contacted Lyons about debating democrat Oscar Camargo he bailed out. First, he said he couldn’t debate because he was busy on the 14th of October. But when I told him he had the date wrong and it was the 18th of October, he simply said no. When I asked him if that meant he won’t debate at all or that date just didn’t work for him, he simply refused to answer. 

RUNNING UNOPPOSED – There are several elected officials on the ballot in November who are running unopposed. State Senator Katy Ives of Newburyport is running unopposed, as is Methuen State Rep. Diana Dizoglio, Lawrence State Rep. Frank Moran, unopposed Democrat candidate for State Rep. in Lawrence Juana Mattias, Newbury State Rep. Lenny Mirra, as well as Billerica Rep. Mark Lombardo. It is shameful that any candidate run unopposed. Shame on the people of the Merrimack Valley and particularly the political parties for not fielding or running a candidate in these races.

It’s bad enough that candidates for office lie with no conscience whatsoever, but the public depends on the news media to tell the truth. Well, they used to anyway. These days there is no such thing as objective news media anymore. All you have to do is flip on CNN on any given day and hear them purposely misleading the public in order to promote whatever propaganda they are pushing that day. Last month presidential candidate Donald Trump said he favors the criminal justice practice of stop and frisk. That’s when police can stop and frisk someone walking on the streets if they have reasonable suspicion that they are in possession of weapons or drugs. Within seconds of Trump saying he favored the stop and frisk, police procedure CNN went into overdrive “reporting” that Trump was full of it, because “stop and frisk was ruled unconstitutional.” Of course, CNN was just parroting what their preferred candidate Hillary Clinton had said, only she butchered it worse than they did when she claimed stop and frisk was unconstitutional because “it was ineffective.” Newsflash for CNN viewers and Hillary Clinton: Stop and frisk was not ruled unconstitutional. Additional news flash… courts do not rule something unconstitutional because it’s ineffective. They rule something unconstitutional because it violates the constitution. But, don’t tell that to CNN smear merchants like Don Lemon or Ashleigh Banfield because facts clearly do not matter to such propagandists.


LAWRENCE YMCA FALL PROGRAMS – Fall Youth Programs at the Lawrence YMCA, 40 Lawrence St., Lawrence – Spaces are limited – Don’t wait – Sign up today! Youth Flag Football Clinic Ages: Grades K – 8th – Sundays 9/25 – 10/28 at 5:30 to 7 pm

YOUTH BASKETBALL LEAGUE Ages: Grades Pre-K-12 Days: Saturday 12/3 -3/4 Time: Dependent on Team’s Schedule
YBL Preseason Basketball Skills Ages: 5-12: Tuesdays 9/27 – 11/8 at 6 to 7 pm for Ages 5-8 & 7 to 8 pm for Ages 9-12
Youth Dance Program Ages: 7 – 17: Tuesday & Thursday 9/16 – 11/29 at 5:15 to 6:15 pm Ages 7-11 & 6:15 to 7:15 pm Ages 12-17
Baseball Partnership Program/ Roberto Clemente Ages: 6-12 Thursday & Saturday 9/29 – 12/16 at 4 to 5:30 pm (Thursday) 8 am-12 pm (Saturday)
WRESTLING TEAM Ages: 12+ Saturdays 11/1 – 2/24 Time: TBA
For more information, contact Jaycob Morales at 978-686-6191 ext. 49 or email at and for more offerings at

HAVERHILL- NEW MOON COFFEE HOUSE at the Universalist Unitarian Church. 16 Ashland St. (rtes 110 and 125) Haverhill MA. 01830 – (978) 459-5134.  Tickets for this show are available at the door starting around 6:30; doors open at 7:30. Tickets may be reserved prior to the show by, or by calling 978-459-5134.

LOWELL ART EXHIBIT – State Senator Eileen M. Donoghue and the Whistler House Museum of Art will host a Senate art exhibit at the State House, titled Artists of Lowell. Artists from the City of Lowell will be given the opportunity to present their works, which will adorn the Senate chamber lobby from September 30 through November 18. The exhibition, curated by Sara Bogosian, President and Executive Director of the Whistler House Museum of Art, will showcase works that depict landscapes, portraits, and still lifes from Lowell, Boston, and New England. Featured artists include Tom Gill, Mary Rose O’Connell, Lisa Kovvuri, and Dave Drinon, who will each present their unique perspective of the First Middlesex District and beyond. The Artists of Lowell exhibition will be open to the public from September 30 to November 18. This is an exciting opportunity to get a glimpse at Lowell’s creative community during your next visit to the State House.

Save the Date for The Whistler House Museum of Art’s Annual Holiday Party on Friday, December 2, 2016. Cocktails will be served at 6:30PM, and the evening will continue with a live auction, silent auction, and a raffle.
MORE LOWELL ART – Recent Work by Anne Cook At TreMonte Pizzeria. Exhibit runs: Sept. 2nd – Oct, 31st. TreMonte Ice Bar and Pizzeria is happy to feature the landscape work of artist Anne Cook in the downtown Lowell location. Cook, who attended Tyler School of Art, Temple University, in Philadelphia is primarily a painter, working in acrylic. Her carefully composed still life paintings reflect her studies in Europe and love of Flemish Renaissance painters. Tapping her extensive experience in landscape and mural painting, Anne will present a showing of her newly completed series of Lowell landscapes.

Anne is a Lowell resident and full time substitute teacher in the Lowell school system. TreMonte Pizzaria is located at 112 Middle St., Lowell MA. The restaurant hours are Sunday through Tuesday, 11:30 to 10 PMFriday and Saturday, 11:30 to 11 PM. For more information, kindly contact Mary Hart


Sicilian Corner Radio Show Honored at State House during Italian Heritage Month. Tom Zappala and Mike Lomazzo, co-hosts of the popular Sicilian Corner Radio Show on Eagle Radio 1110 and WCAP 980, were presented with The Italian Heritage Media Award on Friday September 30, 2016, at a gala event at the State House. Hosted by Speaker of the House, Robert DeLeo, and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, to a capacity audience, the event marked the 17th Anniversary of October as Italian Heritage Month in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Italian Heritage Media award is given annually to a media personality who helps perpetuate Italian traditions and culture. It was presented to Zappala and Lomazzo by Nicola De Santis, the Consul General of Italy in Boston, and the Italian Heritage Committee. A popular, humorous show, The Sicilian Corner has been on the air for 14 years. During that time, the show has interviewed many local Italian-American businesses, national entertainers and celebrities such as Jay Leno, Al Martino, Tony DeMarco, Rico Petrocelli, and Mary Ann Esposito. They have also spotlighted events for many non-profit Italian-American organizations throughout Greater
The Sicilian Corner is currently looking into expanding into other radio markets to broaden its audience. However, both Zappala and Lomazzo say they will always be part of the Eagle Radio family and both are especially thankful to station owner, Pat Costa, for allowing them to “step up to the plate and take a swing.”

You can listen to The Sicilian Corner live every Friday from 9:00 a.m. to noon on Eagle Radio 1110AM, WCAP 980AM,, and Tune In Radio. Podcasts of previous shows can be heard on
For more information contact Tom Zappala at 508-509-9589
PHOTO CONTEST – Essex Heritage Announces 2016 Photo Contest. All photographers invited to submit images that capture the spirit of Essex County by December 1, 2016. In celebration of Essex Heritage’s 20th Anniversary, all photographers are invited to submit images to the Essex National Heritage Area Photo Contest that capture the unique character of the Essex National Heritage Area (Essex County) or speak to Essex Heritage’s role in preserving the historic, cultural, and natural places of Essex County. Photographs must be taken within the Essex National Heritage Area (Essex County) and represent one of the three Photo Contest categories for this year. The 2016 Photo Contest categories are: “This Land is Your Land,” “Go Coastal!” and “Downtown.” All submissions are due by, or must be postmarked by, December 1, 2016. Sponsored by the Essex Heritage, Hunt’s Photo & Video and the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, the 2016 Photo Contest will award up to 14 prizes to photographers: one Grand Prize winner and a People’s Choice award followed by a first, second, and third prize winner in each of the three contest categories. Youth prizes may also be awarded to up to three winners ages 5-17 in any contest category. The award-winning photographs are to be exhibited at the Hunt’s Photo & Video flagship store (100 Main Street, Melrose, MA) and will also be displayed at the National Park Service Visitor Center in Salem (2 New Liberty Street, Salem, MA) and the offices of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in Haverhill (160 Main Street, Haverhill, MA).
Visit to learn more about the 2016 Essex Heritage Photo Contest and to download an entry form.