EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 23, 2013

Some cheers, some jeers for locals newsmakers

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — JEERS to whoever is responsible for the savage shooting death of Jaycee, a 9-year-old German shepherd, and the “dognapping” of Sophie, a beagle, from the Methuen MSPCA animal shelter. The perpetrators likely had completely different motives, but both crimes were extraordinarily senseless. Jaycee was let out by her owner in Plaistow last week. When she failed to return as usual, a search began, only to end with the discovery of the dog’s body next to nearby railroad tracks, killed by a single gunshot. The motive for the killing is a complete mystery, though Deputy Chief Kathleen Jones said police have some leads. Her owner called Jaycee a “sweetheart” who would never have bothered anyone. A Facebook page has been created, “Justice for Jaycee,” to solicit tips that could lead to the killer. We would love to see the shooter exposed, shamed and punished. We want the same for the couple that stole Sophie from the MSPCA shelter, though we have more understanding of what they did. The 60-something man and woman made off with the beagle a week ago Saturday but returned her a few days later when the story made headlines and surveillance photos were released. Police believe they know who the dognappers are and say charges are pending. The couple may have been motivated by their love of dogs and desire to own a pet, but this obviously was not the way to show that love.

HOLIDAY CHEERS to the Haverhill License Commission, which made the right call when it rejected a request to open an outdoor “beer booth” during the Dec. 7 Downtown Christmas Stroll sponsored by the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber was well-intentioned when it asked an outside vendor to sell beer from 5 to 9 p.m. and share the revenue with the Chamber to help pay the expenses of the popular holiday event. But we don’t think the idea was fully thought out. One of the purposes of the stroll is to being people downtown to support local shops and restaurants. But clearly sidetracking strollers to a beer concession would steer them away from those businesses — including many that sell beer themselves. The License Commission also frowned on the idea of strollers wandering the streets with beers in hand during an event geared toward families, though the Chamber said it planned to set up a “designated drinking area.” Offering refreshments to strollers isn’t a bad idea, but hot chocolate and cider would be better choices.

CHEERS to 7-year-old Aidan Leavitt of Salem, N.H., who is learning some valuable lessons about entrepreneurship and helping others at a tender age. A second-grader at Barron Elementary School, Adam began making owl ornaments and selling them online. So far, owl fanciers from as faraway as California and Hawaii have bought about $300 worth. Boredom was the initial impetus behind his venture into capitalism. He had nothing to do one day, “so I asked my mom if she could teach me how to sew.” His mom, an accomplished seamstress, was happy to teach him a skill that lets him to invest his energy in something besides video games. Aidan plans to use some of his profits to buy a boy’s and a girl’s bicycles for Toys for Tots. With the owl as his inspiration, Aidan is clearly wise beyond his years.

JEERS to Melvin Vinicio-Arias, 39, a three-time illegal immigrant and convicted drug dealer who is finally paying a price for his brazen flouting of the law. He was sentenced last week to four years and eight months in prison after sneaking into the country yet again after being deported. He was thrown out of the county in 1998 and again in 2010 after been found guilty of felony drug dealing. He returned again in 2012 and settled in Lawrence. Vinicio-Arias will be deported a third time to his native Dominican Republic when his prison term is up. Let’s hope it sticks this time. Lawrence, the Immigrant City, like the rest of the country, welcomes those who come here to better themselves and are willing to follow the laws and customs of their new homeland, starting with the rules governing entry to the United States. It has no tolerance for those who have no respect for our laws.