JEERS to Lawrence's elected legislative "leaders," who hear no evil, see no evil and most definitely speak no evil when it comes to Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua. State Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover and state Rep. Marcos Devers, D-Lawrence, and Paul Adams, R-Andover had no comment on Lantigua's latest scandals, as Alex Bloom reported in the Sunday Eagle-Tribune. State Rep. David Torrisi, D-North Andover, could not even be bothered to return a phone call. If all it takes to buy a politician's silence is enough votes to get him elected, Mayor Lantigua made the purchase of these four last fall, when he dragged them across the electoral finish line.
BIG CHEERS for Ulises Robledo, the Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps and Gayle Apkarian and Renee Slack of North Andover. Robledo, 23, had been shuffled around the state's child welfare system ever since he was found wandering the streets of Lawrence at age 2. But as chronicled in a story last week by reporter Alex Bloom and a documentary on the investigation by Discovery channel, Robledo was finally able to overcome his self-destructive behavior and violent fits of anger with help from the Kennedy Children's Action Corps. That eventually led to his adoption by Apkarian, his former case worker, and Slack, her partner. There is such a thing as redemption.
JEERS to Tom Perrault, the newly named chairman of the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council's Board of Directors, and to Christian Dame of Waltham, the board's choice to become interim director of the troubled anti-poverty agency. Both sounded exactly the wrong note when they chose non-transparency after their selection last week. Perrault refused to release Dame's resume, saying it would be improper to do so, even though much of it is a matter of public record on the Web. Dame, meanwhile, said it would be inappropriate to comment because he is only a candidate — a contract remains to be negotiated — and anyway he was on vacation. We can sympathize with the vacation part.
CHEERS to Newton, Mass.-based SunGen Mark Andover for the firm's plan to install 18,000 solar panels on roughly 187 acres of land off South Street in Andover. The array of panels is expected to generate four megawatts of power, enough for 800 homes. While the jury is still out on solar power, this is an experiment that could pay long-term dividends for New England — not the first place that comes to mind when you're looking for a place with lots of sunshine. Another plus is that the proposal makes good use of an otherwise fallow tract of land along I-93.
CHEERS to the vigilant neighbors of Sacred Hearts School in Haverhill and to quick-acting Haverhill police. The neighbors spotted suspicious comings and goings of cars on streets behind the school and called police, who set up surveillance that resulted in the arrest of two men on drug charges. That's the kind of citizen involvement that can really make a dent in crime when police are as responsive as they were in this case.
GOOD-NATURED JEERS to Dennis Hof, owner of the "famed" Moonlite Bunny Ranch, the house of legalized prostitution outside Carson City, Nev. Hof claimed to be "infuriated" that Salem, N.H., police borrowed the Bunny Ranch name for their undercover investigation of a local massage parlor that allegedly offered more than massages. At the same time, Hof praised the cops for cracking down on his nonlegal competitors. He even promised to send them some Bunny Ranch T-shirts and hats. We suspect that Hof learned long ago that the only bad publicity is no publicity and his feigned outrage was just another piece of marketing for his operation.
CHEERS to North Andover Police Lt. Paul Gallagher, who was sworn in last week as North Andover's interim police chief. Gallagher has had a distinguished career and now seems to have the inside track to become the town's permanent chief after selectmen voted to promote someone from within the department to replace the departed Richard Stanley rather than conduct a wider search. That makes sense when you have strong internal candidates.