EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


July 2, 2014

Editorial: Some cheers, some jeers for recent newsmakers

JEERS to the Veterans Affairs Department, which despite months of scrutiny over its poor handling of veterans' health care, continues its shoddy performance.

Recently, the VA offered an appointment to a Massachusetts veteran who had died almost two years ago.

WBZ-TV reported that the Vietnam-era veteran Doug Chase of Acton died in August 2012 of a brain tumor. His wife, Suzanne, said that after her husband was diagnosed in 2011, they tried to move his medical care to the VA hospital in Bedford in 2012. They waited four months without hearing anything before Doug died.

Two weeks ago, Suzanne Chase got a letter from the VA addressed to her husband saying he could call to make an appointment. Chase said the VA had to know her husband was dead as she had applied for funeral benefits and was denied.

Despite assurances from the VA that the agency is working to solve its problems with providing timely health care to veterans, stories like these do not inspire much confidence.

CHEERS to Merrimack College, which has been honored as a "College of Distinction" for 2014-2015.

The North Andover college was nominated by high school college counselors and educators for recognition by Colleges of Distinction. The organization evaluates each school to identify ideal places for students to learn and succeed. The evaluation examines such factors as the school's first-year experience, its general education program, alumni success and satisfaction.

"We focus on colleges that are deeply dedicated to students' learning," said Tyson Schritter, executive editor of Colleges of Distinction. "Schools designated as 'Colleges of Distinction' offer innovative learning experiences that educate, nurture and transform students."

Congratulations to Merrimack College for earning this notable recognition.

JEERS to Massachusetts legislators assembling the state budget, including our own Brian Dempsey, D-Haverhill, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, for spending money they may never have.

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