CHEERS to all of the volunteers and charitable organizations working hard in the face of a sluggish economy and frostbite weather to raise money to make Christmas brighter for those who could really use a little help. It’s been a struggle.
“Our kettle numbers are really low,” Lt. Kiley Williams of the Salvation Army of Derry told reporter John Toole this week. “We are supposed to raise $200,000. We are only at $100,000.”
The organization serves more than 130 families, with 280 children in Derry, Londonderry and Windham. Sonshine Soup Kitchen in Derry is also lagging said its head, Cynthia Dwyer said. The soup kitchen is serving a record 60 meals a day and running up bills of $12,000 a month. Some other groups are doing better after their plight was publicized.
If you can do it, drop a few dollars into the kettle next time you pass a bellringer or send a check the Sonshine Soup Kitchen’s way. After all, as one of the donors to The Eagle-Tribune’s Santa Fund noted, quoting Helen Walton, wife of Sam, “It’s not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived.”
CHEERS to Central Catholic High School’s Division I Super Bowl champion football team. The Raiders rocked Xaverian Brothers 34-17 last Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, as convincing a win as any of the Patriots’ victories this season.
“I honestly couldn’t wish for anything else,” said co-captain D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie, who picked up 119 yards and scored three touchdowns in just 12 carries. “I was talking with some people about how winning this would be the greatest Christmas present ever. I would give up all my presents for this.” Central’s first Super Bowl title in 15 years recalled those glory says when it won back-to-back titles in 1997-98, playing at BU.
Central, based in Lawrence but drawing students from throughout the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire, is one of those venerable local institutions that connects us as a community and makes us all proud. Congratulations, Raiders.
JEERS to the arrival of a new invasive species in Essex County. State environmental officials announced earlier this month that the Emerald Ash Borer beetle has been found in North Andover.
It’s just the second time the beetle has been found in Massachusetts, and the first time in the eastern half of the state. The tiny green beetles, which are native to Asia, feed on ash trees, killing them within three to five years. They have felled millions of trees and caused billions of dollars in economic damage since first being spotted in the Detroit area in 2002.
“A good percentage of our northern forests are made up of ash,” North Andover Conservation Administrator Jennifer Hughes told our sister paper, The Eagle-Tribune. “Those trees, once infested, have a short lifespan.”
Environmental officials hope to keep the insect in check by clamping down on the movement of certain wood products areas where the beetle is found, working with landowners to ensure infested trees are disposed of properly, and continuing the state’s ban on bringing firewood into state parks and forests.
JEERS to those even considering allowing phone calls on airplanes.
The Federal Communications Commission started debate on the issue yesterday, and there will be several meetings before a final decision is made on whether to overturn the agency’s 22-year-old ban, which new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has called “outdated and restrictive.”
Wheeler is right when he notes there is no technical or safety reason to restrict calls on planes. But we agree with him as well when he says that just because you can have phones on planes doesn’t mean you should.
“I understand the consternation caused by the thought of your onboard seatmate disturbing the flight making phone calls,” Wheeler said. “I do not want the person in the seat next to me yapping at 35,000 feet any more than anyone else.”
We agree. It’s likely the decision will be left up to individual airlines, which is how it should be. Here’s hoping they make the right call.