EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 9, 2013

Editorial: Some cheers, some jeers for local newsmakers

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Cheers to Congresswoman Niki Tsongas for her proposal, passed by the House and awaiting Senate action, requiring the athletic shoes for new military recruits be American-made. Since 2002, the Defense Department has given cash allowances to the recruits to buy their own footwear for basic training. All other uniform items must be made in the U.S. under a 1941 law, but the Defense Department had argued American-made athletic shoes weren’t available. Now they are — some of them made by New Balance right here in Lawrence, part of Tsongas’ district. The company says if the proposal goes through, it would be in a position to add 200 jobs in Lawrence and at its other factories in Brighton and Maine. “It is time for the Department of Defense to treat athletic footwear like every other uniform item, including boots, and buy them from American manufacturers,” Tsongas said. “DoD has spent approximately $180 million on the athletic footwear cash allowance program to date, which is money that could have gone to American jobs and manufacturing.” We agree.

Cheers to Plaistow’s Sad Cafe, which seems to have turned a financial corner after several brushes with insolvency. “We aren’t a place that needs to be saved anymore,” said Joe Kay, president of the board of directors of the nonprofit, substance-free performance space for local musicians. After some leadership changes brought in some new blood and fresh ideas, programs have been added and fundraising ramped up to raise new revenue. Good luck to the Sad Cafe, which has been an asset to the community since 1999.

Jeers to the so-called “extreme speeders” who are being targeted by New Hampshire state police for driving at speeds well in excess of 100 mph on state highways. Last week, a 48-year-old Burlington, Mass., man was arrested for travelling 114 mph in a 2012 Ford Mustang on Interstate 93 in Bow, N.H. The threat of a speeding ticket clearly isn’t enough of a deterrent for a driver who, for a thrill, puts at risk not only his own life but also the lives of those who share the highway with him. The 48-year-old Burlington man was charged with reckless driving and is due in court next month. We hope they throw the book at him. Maybe then he’ll learn to grow up.

Words of caution to boaters on the Merrimack River. The mouth of the river is a tricky and dangerous spot even if you are familiar with its hazards. If you aren’t, you might hit the rocks, literally, as a boater did one night last week, striking the South Jetty at Plum Island. The jetty has no warning signs or lights and is not readily visible at night or in the fog. But you have to know it’s there if you’re going to venture onto the Merrimack. The boater hit the rocks with enough force to wedge the boat into the rocks and wreck the hull. Fortunately, the unidentified boater and his five passengers were not thrown from the boat when it hit the jetty, which might have killed them. One boater was killed in a 2009 collision with the South Jetty.

Finally, cheers to Bucky Boehm, who at age 90 carded a hole-in-one last week at the Pine Valley Golf Links in Pelham. It was his second — the first came when he was a whippersnapper of 62. Boehm, a 1941 Methuen High grad and star athlete at the school, still golfs five times a week. Probably more than one 70-year-old is thinking, I want to be just like Bucky when I grow up.