EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 25, 2013

Cheers and jeers for some local newsmakers

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Cheers to Jeff Bauman, a Chelmsford native who lost his legs in the Boston Marathon bombings and has become a national symbol of American strength and courage. Bauman, 27, appeared at last week's Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, just two months after the Patriots Day terrorist attack that killed three and injured 264, including him. Whether at the Boston Garden cheering on his beloved Bruins or visiting with other bombing victims, Bauman's intrepid, resilient and optimistic attitude is that of a hero. He is why we are Boston Strong. He is why we will not forget those whose lives were forever altered by the actions of hate. We applaud you, Jeff, for all that you continue to do to help us all heal.

Cheers to Doc Rivers, Boston Celtics coach for nine seasons and soon-to-be head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. While there's a lot not to like about how these negotiations went down and Rivers' silence throughout them, there is a lot to like about Rivers. He will go down as the third winningest coach of the C's, and brought us back the NBA championship for the 17th time in 2008. For the first time since the 1980s, the Celtics had cohesion, heart and passion for the sport and for Boston as well. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen may have brought the character to the team, but it was Rivers who set the tone and temperature for the spirit. He was a gentlemen on and off the court and demanded the same of his players in a sport in which being classy isn't always as important as getting another ring. We hope there will be cheers for Danny Ainge as he picks a new leader for our team.

Jeers to the Boston media for its coverage of the slaying of Odin Lloyd and the alleged involvement of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. The extent of Hernandez' involvement undoubtedly needs to be revealed and quickly, but last week it seemed the Boston media's priority wasn't the facts but creating bad reality television. Flying helicopters over Hernandez' car as in the famous O.J. Simpson getaway chase in Al Cowlings' Ford Bronco was downright insulting. In the rush to be first, several media outlets also tripped over each other to report Hernandez was about to be arrested, only to be wrong in the end. When the search of Hernandez' North Attleboro home went quiet, the media then reported on the number of other outlets there standing around with nothing to report. Yes, we need to know about whatever Hernandez' involvement in this crime was, but it doesn't matter who gets the story first. It's about getting it right. It's about remembering there is a homicide victim here, and it's not just another celebrity episode of "CSI."

Cheers to the state parole board for denying the parole request of James Boone, a Haverhill man who set fire to an apartment building in 1980 and killed four people, including three young children. He received four concurrent life-sentences on four counts of first-degree murder, as well as a concurrent sentence of 15 to 20 years for arson of a building. Boone claims he found religion and a cure for his mental health issues and now insists he ran into the building to help others out. However, witnesses testified Boone ran from the scene. The state's parole board will hear his case again in five years We hope the decision will remain the same.

Jeers to the Methuen City Council for its ongoing city solicitor saga. While we applaud City Council Chairman Sean Fountain for admitting his previous mistakes, it's not an excuse to continue to make them. While a month ago Fountain was saying City Solicitor Peter McQuillan was finished in Methuen, it's now been revealed McQuillian is still on the city payroll, which Mayor Stephen Zanni says is preventing the city from hiring a replacement. Meanwhile, McQuillan is picking up work as a hearings officer in Lawrence. Can't blame the guy; it's time to move on. Let's hope the Methuen City Council will do the same, get this saga over with, and get itself a full-time lawyer.