EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 14, 2014

Cheers and jeers for some local newsmakers

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — CHEERS to the memory of John “Spike” Boda, the longtime head pro at Andover Country Club and all-around good guy. Boda died Monday at 77, leaving behind not only family members but also many, many others who loved him for who he was and what he did. Boda quietly helped many people — whether it was donating lessons or giving a club to a kid who couldn’t afford it. When Bruins star Derek Sanderson was down and out, it was Boda who took him in and helped him on the road to recovery. “If it wasn’t for Spike, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Sanderson told Sports Editor Bill Burt. His daughter, Lynn Boda, said her dad lived by the motto, “If somebody can’t take care of themselves, we’re obligated to help them out.” Is there a better way to be remembered? This afternoon, friends and family will gather in the Andover CC ballroom to celebrate Spike’s life and raise a glass in his honor. Cheers.

JEERS to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s Department of Transportation, whose Board of Directors voted Wednesday to pluck $55 million more from the pockets of Bay State drivers by jacking up registry fees. Once the staged public hearings are out of the way, drivers starting in July will pay $60 to register their cars every other year, up 20 percent from $50. The annual motor vehicle inspection fee will rise 21 percent, from $29 to $35. And road tests will cost novice drivers $35, up a whopping 75 percent from $20. Once fees were intended only to cover the cost of the services provided by the state agency providing them. The state has long since abandoned that principle and uses the new money to “invest” in excessive spending elsewhere. The latest fee hikes come on top of a 3-cent (13 percent) gas tax increase imposed last year along with a law that will guarantee the gas tax will continue to rise automatically every year so our cowardly legislators don’t have to vote on the issue ever again. You can get a measure of revenge by voting for a question expected to be on the ballot this fall to repeal the gas tax escalator to make legislators accountable for future tax increases. Make ’em sweat by making them vote.

JEERS to Old Man Winter, who obviously didn’t the global warming memo and just won’t go away and leave us alone. Another storm yesterday dropped a few icy inches locally but, with the season’s usual bad timing, it arrived during the morning commute, closing schools, congealing traffic and crushing fenders. Now we find out the unrelenting cold has frozen the sap in sugar maples, putting off the start of the sweet, sweet syrup season. “It’s been lousy,” said Hank Peterson of Peterson’s Sugar House in Londonderry. “The trees froze up.” What bitter news. The week-ahead forecast calls for a frigid St. Patrick’s Day — keep your potted shamrocks and green carnations indoors — and a chance of snow at midweek, just in time for the official start of spring at 12:57 p.m. on March 20, a chilling thought.