EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 31, 2013

Editorial: Some cheers some jeers for recent newsmakers

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — CHEERS to Haverhill native Dr. Mary-Ellen Taplin, who was recently named a “Top Doctor” by Boston Magazine.

Taplin, a medical oncologist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, was one of 54 physicians and surgeons affiliated with Dana-Farber to make it into magazine’s annual Top Doctors guide.

Taplin, who now lives in Boston, grew up in Haverhill’s Riverside neighborhood, where her parents still live. Her sister, Dianne Connolly, is principal of Pentucket Lake Elementary School and lives in Haverhill with her family.

Taplin told reporter Mike LaBella she was honored to be recognized by her peers for her efforts in providing outstanding care to her patients. She credits her teachers in Haverhill for her academic success.

Taplin attended Crowell Elementary, Nettle Middle School and is a member of Haverhill High School’s Class of 1978.

“I credit my academic success to teachers like Margaret McCormick, who taught Latin at Haverhill High,” she said. “She was very strict and taught her students how to think.”

“A lot of her (McCormick’s) students went on to become professionals, including lawyers and doctors, and we still talk about her,” Taplin said.

Taplin said she loved science in school and that the field of medicine seemed to be a natural fit to her interests.

“I was the first one in my family to go to college,” she said.

An associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Taplin received her MD in 1986 from the University of Massachusetts, Worcester. She completed a residency in internal medicine and chief residency at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and an oncology-hematology fellowship at Beth Israel Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

She was on staff in medical oncology-hematology as an assistant and then associate professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts from 1993 to 2003, when she joined Dana-Farber.

As director of the clinical research office for her group, GU Oncology, at any one time she has 25 clinical trials open for patients with GU cancers (prostate, bladder, kidney and testes). She said those trials include the evaluation of new drugs and drug combinations and the analysis of cancer resistance.

Congratulations to Dr. Taplin for her career success, and for recognizing and honoring the role teachers played in her academic development.

JEERS to a Christmas Grinch.

Robbers broke into two homes at opposite ends of Methuen on Christmas Day. Police said the crimes appear to be unrelated.

The first break-in was reported around 5 p.m. on Hideaway Lane. In that incident, an apparent robber forced his or her way into the home through a back door and cleaned out several thousand dollars in high-end electronics, according to Methuen Police Sgt. Tod Himmer.

The second break-in was reported on Buswell Avenue just before 7 p.m., according to Himmer.

While details were limited on the second break due to the ongoing investigation, Himmer told reporter Dustin Luca the two didn’t seem to be related.

“Nothing would bring me to that. It’s two sides of town,” he said. “Methuen detectives have responded and are currently processing both scenes. Hopefully we’ll have something to work on in the future, identify the individuals responsible in this criminal activity.”

Stealing, obviously, is wrong at any time. But the crime seems especially heinous and mean-spirited when it is done on Christmas Day.

CHEERS to the Salem Knights of Columbus, who held a free Christmas dinner, open to all. More than 100 people attended for the turkey dinner.

The dinner was sponsored by the Knights, Saints Mary and Joseph Parish and the Salem Christmas Fund.

Rides were provided to the dinner and deliveries were made to Salem residents who could not leave home.

Kudos to all involved in this kind and worthwhile endeavor.