EMS Professionals Provide a Vital Service to Our Community

During a health emergency, we dial 911 and trust with our lives that trained emergency professionals will arrive promptly and assess, treat and manage a critical illness or injury until they can get us or our loved one to a hospital. Since my arrival at Holy Family Hospital, I have had the privilege of riding with four Emergency Medical Services providers from our surrounding communities. They demonstrated a broad range of medical expertise, impressive decision-making skills in the midst of crisis, and respect and compassion for patients and their families. May 21 to May 27, 2017 is National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week, which recognizes and celebrates the enormous contributions EMS professionals make to our community. EMTs and paramedics are trained professionals who remember the medical emergencies to which they have responded.

Khan: ‘Power of Your Voice, the Power of Your Action’

Muslim immigrant Khizr Khan addressing the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. By Amy Gibson-O’Brien

Khizr Khan, Gold star father and lawyer, and Charles M. Blow, columnist for The New York Times, spoke to a crowd of more than 1,500 at the annual American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts Bill of Rights Dinner Monday, May 15. Both spoke of the ever-growing threats to freedom of speech and civil liberties in America and how to challenge those threats. Blow said President Donald Trump “represents an attack on the fundamental supports of our democracy” and that he is “a man who’s [a] logical extension of toxic masculinity and ambient misogyny, racism and anti-intellectualism...of wealth worship.”

Khan, the 2017 Roger Baldwin Honoree, cited the current administration and Russia as threats to American democracy. He spoke of the children, veterans and elderly he has met “...who are afraid that their rights are endangered.” Khan advises ACLU will take care of them but to also call their local representatives.

Run, Don’t Walk!

Since coming on board here at 97.9 WHAV,  I have written articles on elections in the neighboring communities of Plaistow and Groveland, and recently looked over the North Andover ballot from their recent town election. Since last November’s presidential election, a number of community leaders and non-profits have encouraged individuals to seek out public office. Running for public office at the state and federal level is obviously a financial, emotional and time consuming commitment many of us are unable to undertake. But running for an elected town and county office can be undertaken for short money. And, if even that can be an insurmountable obstacle for you, many boards and commissions in towns and cities across the Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire are constantly seeking individuals to volunteer their time.

Memories of Popular Music…Tainted by Ticket Prices

Daryl Hall and John Oates. (Photograph by Gary Harris, Creative Commons.)

I enjoy music as much as the next guy, but I cannot justify the cost of a ticket to see most of the artists out on the concert circuit every year. Just this past weekend, Hall and Oates appeared on the CBS show Sunday Morning. When I was younger, and they were in their heyday, their songs were very popular. At the time, I never really knew one music group from another, I just listened to the music on the radio.

Putting Our Money Where Our Complaining Mouths Are

When it comes to taking care of mother earth, and trying to reverse or at least slow down the damage we are inflicting on the planet, I am not sure that progressives are as committed to the cause as they make themselves out to be. I suppose in the current political climate we should be grateful just for the admission that there is, in fact, an environmental disaster taking place, but I don’t think that is enough by a long shot. Recently, General Motors introduced an automobile that is a rechargeable electric vehicle. It breaks the previous barrier to attracting new buyers when engineers developed a rechargeable battery that could travel 238 miles on a single charge, beating the old limit of around 95 miles. But, sales haven’t exactly shot through the roof as you might expect, while sales of pickup trucks fueled by carbon monoxide creating gasoline soar to new heights.

You Have Everything to Gain By Being Involved

I’m pretty certain that we aren’t really as concerned as we make ourselves out to be when it comes to protecting the environment. And, I think a lot of that indifference comes from the fact that often times we look to the government or nonprofit agencies to solve the pollution problems we see around our communities. We also do not believe that our contribution to the problem is all that significant, nor is our involvement in a solution. The costs of both come at a price we are not able or willing to pay, either because it’s a hardship or presents insurmountable time commitment problems.

For beginners, when you have a large corporation with seemingly unlimited sums of money financing the election of local, state and federal officials, trying to influence those same officials with private citizen lobbying efforts is frustratingly difficult. And those same officials supported by corporations install like-minded appointees to regulatory agencies that vote in lock-step with corporations, while supposedly charged with regulating their behavior. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is a prime example of this scenario as local residents have discovered in New Jersey, as they fight to prevent unneeded gas transmission pipes from being installed under the roads of their communities or through previously protected environmentally sensitive areas of the state.

Haverhill’s Season of Optimism

Harbor Place at White’s Corner. With springtime temperatures and cloudless, sunny skies above the city, the changes to the area between Harbor Place and Haverhill Bank on Merrimack Street certainly looked impressive as I recently strolled along the boardwalk between the two buildings. The soon to be completed Bradford Rail Trail will certainly add a terrific additional option for a walk, bike or run along the opposite side of the river. This area had been long neglected but certainly has been revived by an incredible transformation undertaken by dedicated citizens as well as local and state government officials and agencies. Soon the docks of the Crescent Yacht Club will be slipped into the water along the shore of the river, and the boats will head out onto the Merrimack for a pleasure cruise or a fishing trip to catch “the one that got away” in years past.

Spring and the Red Sox: Season of Optimism

Ah, the season of optimism. When we’ve all tolerated the winter months, any temperature over 45 degrees is a welcomed relief, and all weather forecasts are great, even if there’s a bolt of lightning or the sound of thunder in the midst of a downpour. The Red Sox moving van has returned from the annual trip down south, with truck drivers who have long since peeled off the sunburn of the first few days down in the Grapefruit League,  and returned home covered in a tan we can all envy and  to which most snowbirds can relate. If the team did well, with veterans making remarkable comebacks, pitchers getting in the groove and hitters sending home runs out beyond the palm trees, the visions of a world series and a free living room set from Jordan’s Furniture appear on the October horizon. But if they struggle throughout the spring as passed balls, grounders through the infield and gopher pitches to the often played, less talented  Minnesota Twins head over the outfield fence, we always manage to remain optimistic with the phrase, “It’s spring training...the games don’t mean anything anyway !”

Forty years ago, when I took a one-year break from work to contemplate whether I would continue my then career path, I bought weekend season tickets to the Sox.