Compassionate Community Support, Not Jail, Is Key for Mentally Ill Criminals, Homeless

Hosting the Open Mike Show here on 97.9 FM WHAV combined with my recent attendance at the National Alliance on Mental Illness [NAMI] convention on June 30th in Washington, D.C. has reinforced my belief in compassionate care. One of my first guests on the show was Andover’s addiction outreach team. They have been tasked with, and have willingly accepted the challenge of, reaching out to victims of addiction, not only the addict themselves, but the families of those addicts. Their goal is to reach out to help these individuals find a set of options that they can utilize to improve their chances for recovery, and to help the addict’s family members, who usually are as severely impacted by addiction as the addict themselves. Keeping the addict out of the criminal courts and jails is one of the goals the town has set for themselves.

Making Fourth of July Fun and Safe

So far, this spring and summer there has been a nice balance of sun and rain, warm and mild temperatures and a decent amount of time in the interim between rain storms to get the lawn cut, without having to call in a herd of goats to remove what would choke a lawnmower. The weather has been perfect for grilling, and after having Peter Carbone on The Open Mike Show recently, I’ve not only decided to up my game, but will be picking up a copy of the grilling book he received for his recent membership. I can only do so much without directions when grilling, so I’m looking forward to discovering new ways to pursue one of my favorite pastimes. Grilling wouldn’t be quite the same without a beverage nearby. My hard liquor choice is vodka, and I always opt for an American distiller to fulfill that beverage ingredient.

PGA Volunteers Pay a Big Price to Assist in Tourneys – and It Needs to Stop!

The term ‘volunteer’ is really getting stretched to its limits when it comes to the PGA, particularly the upcoming 2017 U.S. Senior Open at Peabody’s Salem Country Club the end of this month. ‘Volunteers’ pay $125 for the gig and are required to work a minimum of four 4-hour shifts over the days leading up to, during and after the tournament. The Dell Technologies Championship tournament, one of the PGA’s FedExCup events, takes place over Labor Day weekend. A ‘volunteer’ at this tournament pays $90 and has to work three to four shifts totaling 24 hours! Every year, the event has a difficult time getting enough people to volunteer and from what I’ve heard, this year has been more difficult than usual.

Random Thoughts

Our recent first time flying internationally has taught my wife and I a valuable lesson. Either book a non-stop flight to your destination, or make sure that, if you do have a connecting flight, you allow at least three hours between the two flights. While it won’t take you all of that time to get through customs, customs combined with a flight delay and the distance between the gates of your connecting flights could consume almost all of those three hours. No one in Boston sports media has brought it up to my knowledge, but the absence of David Ortiz’s bat and presence in the dugout has, in my opinion, definitely impacted the Red Sox run production this season. The loss of his bat in the lineup and the high ERAs of the pitching staff have combined to send the Bosox to the middle of the pack in the eastern division.

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.