EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 25, 2013


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — CHEERS to the Londonderry High Marching Lancers, who participated in their second presidential inaugural parade.

The 260-member band, led by music director Andy Soucy, faced tough competition for the right to participate in President Obama’s second inaugural parade. Some 2,800 groups had applied. The Londonderry band was one of the larger groups in the parade, which was shown live on C-SPAN. Band members wore their red, white and blue uniforms and played a “Tribute to America,” a patriotic medley.

For 16-year-old Erin Conti, an LHS junior and color guard captain, it was the experience of a lifetime.

“I think it will be surreal; it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” she said before the parade. “I am so excited. The best thing is marching in the parade with all my friends.”

The band members also visited nearby Baltimore and toured Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The Marching Lancers have traveled to and performed in China, three Pasadena Tournament of Roses parades, the Orange Bowl parade, numerous trips to New York City for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and more.

Congratulations and well done, Lancers, for proudly representing the state of New Hampshire in the inaugural parade.

CHEERS to local firefighters, who are battling both fire and ice.

Hard winter freezes like the one we’re experiencing now are tough on firefighters. They fight fire with water and in very cold weather, the spray from their hoses soon covers everything with a coating of ice.

Firefighters in North Andover saved a family’s prized possessions from a fire at 347 Wood Lane.

A firefighter saved the American flag from the funeral of Bobby Rupkey’s father, a Marine and Vietnam veteran.

“I keep this flag near and dear to me,” said Rupkey as he clenched the charred flag still folded tightly in a triangle. “It is my most prized possession. I’m glad I still have it.”

Firefighters also saved at least three of the family’s five cats from the blaze. It is unclear whether the others escaped.

Firefighters have a tough job at the best of times. The harsh, cold weather only makes it tougher. They have our appreciation and thanks.

JEERS to a scam artist looking for victims in Haverhill.

Police in Haverhill recently have warned residents to watch out for a man posing as a city Water Department worker and trying to enter homes. The man last week tried to get inside several Haverhill homes, telling residents that he needed to check the water because of a system emergency, according to police.

The residents who were approached yesterday by the man described him as 5 feet, 9 inches tall, heavy set, in his early 30s and clean shaven, according to police. The residents said he was driving a dark-colored pickup truck.

Police said any worker sent to a home would have a city department identification card, which includes a photo of the worker. Any such worker would also be driving a vehicle bearing the City of Haverhill seal identifying it as being from a city department, police said.

Police cautioned residents not to let anyone claiming to be a city worker into homes without seeing a proper identification or if they are at all uncomfortable.

These kinds of scams are all too common. Their real purpose is usually to check out a home to see if there is anything worth returning later to steal. Let’s hope this individual is soon caught.