Category Archives: Newburyport Daily News

Mulching in the skateboard park at Nock…..brilliant?

Couldn’t agree with Mike Cronan’s letter in the Newburyport Daily News more.

The reactions of local authorities to the coronavirus are head scratchers.

Mulching in the skateboard park near Nock was an embarrassing piece of government overreach. It got Newburyport some “great” press!

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Covid-19 Dashboard for May 4th, ZERO teenagers have died from the coronavirus. Confining/Restricting teenagers is based then on what supporting health statistics? Destroying three months of schooling and activities for teenagers over these obvious numbers doesn’t make sense.

How about taking local action based on these statistics instead: The average age of the Massachusetts fatalities is 82, and 95% of the fatalities were seventy and over. How would closing schools and confining teenagers fix those stats? How has confining folks in nursing homes and healthcare facilities helped those stats?

The healthy and productive, as well as kids of all ages, have played along passively for far too long. The numbers do not support the treatment those groups have been enduring. Time for them to press the “had enough” button and at least question the actions of local officials.

(Sent this to the Newburyport Daily News on May 6, 2020)


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Letter to the Newburyport Daily News editor (April 16, 2020)

Things are tough at the Newburyport Daily News according to today’s front page.

Potential advertising revenue is drying up in the current climate.

No longer unaffected by coronavirus, the NDN is now better aware of the financial impacts many in this area already know.

Ending the shutdown safely/quickly would certainly be in the paper’s best interests. What could they do? Publish stories that create momentum toward a quick/safe reopening.

Today’s edition had a front-page article titled, “Gov: state seeing ‘the surge’ of cases.” Within that article, Governor Baker is quoted saying, “…we are pretty well-positioned to deal with this.” The title suggests that there’s trouble coming, not as it might have suggested, that we’re ready for it.

We need hope. We need to read that we’re making progress toward a quick/safe ending. Create some momentum in that direction, please.



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Letter to the editor of the Newburyport Daily News

I am a subscriber to the online edition of the Newburyport Daily News.

I write to commend Mac Cerullo’s efforts on the NDN sports page. He’s kept things mostly local and that’s where most of our current attention is located. Through the Q’s & A’s with area high school athletes we are learning how they are coping in our current crisis. I’m saddened by the serious disruptions these kids are experiencing but optimistic because of the drive they show to hang in there and make the most of it.

The rest of the paper? Obviously, there are fewer pages. Why is it shrinking?  Explaining how things are really going at the NDN might make for an excellent editorial.

My advice to those running the NDN is to concentrate locally. It is my conclusion that the more stories you include from outside sources, the more obvious your political biases show.

I loved the simplicity of Lisa Anderson’s attack on the President in a letter-to-the-editor, but will tomorrow’s edition include an attack of some sort on Joe Biden?  Can’t wait to find out.

Mac Cerullo has tapped into a good, reader-worthy local theme. Will the rest of the writers at the NDN follow suit?


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Abu Kebede Diriba wins 2017 Yankee Homecoming 10-miler in Newburyport

Abu Kebede Diriba

Apryl Sabadosa won the women’s 10-mile title. Notice the lack of footwear.

I know, it’s been days since the races, but I was there and have some commentary and pictures to share.

The races?  The Newburyport Yankee Homecoming 5K and 10 mile.

Those races started ten minutes apart on Tuesday night.

I think I have given coverage five times.  I did not do last year’s

My strategy is to set myself up at the one-mile mark (Cushing Museum) and get a good look at both races there.  I have learned that the leaders lead early and late-run surges don’t happen.  The good runners have a fast pace that they maintain for the whole race.

So, I see both races into one mile of their race.  Then I get to Newburyport High School to catch the end of the 10-mile race.  Can’t get back fast enough for the end of the 5K but I’m quite sure that within my pictures from the one-mile location I will have most of the top finishers in the 5K.

Speaking of pictures, I was happy with the ones at the one-mile mark but those at the finish were disappointing.  The sun at NHS was right in my face so I tried to adjust the speed and ended up way too slow.  Runners and slow camera speed are a bad combo.

If I were titling this story I might try: “While the Pat’s away the mice will play.”  I thought it would apply nicely to the 5K race.

5K lead pack at one mile. Sam Coppola (2659) will win. Sam Acquaviva (6) will be second. Will Coogan (2555) will finish 3rd.

Why?  “Pat” Fullerton has won that race four straight years with impressive times.  No sign of him this year so the race wasn’t for second place this time around.  Somebody different would get the win.

Pentucket graduate Sam Coppola took advantage of the situation.  Sam finished a distant 8th in 2016 but this time he chopped forty-six seconds off his time.  With all of those ahead of him in the 2016 race missing, Sam got himself a nice win.

Abu Kebede Diriba, like Sam, was the only returnee from the top eight in the 10-mile race.  Abu wasted little time taking this race over.  He had a 20-yard lead at the one-mile mark and gave back some of that spread by race’s end but he could well have been coasting in the late stages.  Abu (connected to the West Side Running Club in NYC) was second in 2016.  He was over a minute slower this time around but the competition probably had a play in it.

The best closing race was for second among the 10-mile women.  Salome Kosgei held off Liz Ryan but just barely.

Apryl Sabodosa at one mile

Speaking of “barely,” you couldn’t help but notice the footwear of 10-mile winner April Sabadosa……it didn’t exist.  The 33-year old from Westfield (MA) ran the race WITHOUT footwear!  She claimed, according to the Newburyport Daily News, that running shoeless feels comfortable and natural.  Maybe on the beach but ten miles?  However, it worked for Apryl as she finished 25th overall.

Jaclyn Solimine killed the women’s field in the 5K winning that relatively short race by 1:25. Jaclyn is from Haverhill and recently graduated from UMass Lowell.  Jaclyn was 15th overall in the 5K.

Jason Ayr was 2nd in the 10-mile and Eric Ashe 3rd.  Jason is a UMass grad who finished 29th in the last Boston Marathon.  Eric is a BU graduate.

Ryan Place was 4th in the 10-mile.  He graduated from Allegheny College and was an All-American there.  He was 26th in the 2017 Boston Marathon.

Race for 2nd in the 10-miler. Jason Ayr (70) will get second. Eric Ashe (56) gets 3rd. Ryan Place 1544) 4th and AJ Ernst (2448) 5th

AJ Ernst (5th in 10-mile) is the North Shore running phenom from Marblehead (MA) who just finished his sophomore year at Virginia.  He led the Magicians to state track titles his senior year.

The next three ten-mile finishers (Robert Espinoza, Dan Smith, Nicolai Naranjo) all run for the Western Mass Distance Project.  WMDP placed five in the top ten finishers.  Jason Ayr (2nd) and Kevin Quadrozzi (10th) are part of the same organization.

Alexander Arslan (9th) is a Running Brand specialist at Mizuno USA in Syracuse.

The 2nd place finisher in the women’s 5K was Salome Kosgei.  Salome came to the US from Kenya in 2004 thanks to a scholarship from Iona College in New York.

Liz Ryan who finished 3rd for the second straight year graduated from Brown in 2013.  She trained for six months in Panama.

Newburyporter Sam Acquaviva got second in the 5K.  The Clipper senior-to-be can easily be expected to dominate the 2017-18 Cape Ann League in cross country, as well as indoor and outdoor track.

I hope I have this right: The 3rd place 5K finisher was Will Coogan of Exeter.  Will was on the Phillips Exeter JV squad this year.  The 15-year-old may have had the race of his young life.

Bekah Broe was second to Apryl Sabadosa in the 10-mile.  Bekah, from Newton (MA), is an assistant product manager with New Balance.

Sarah Hjelmstad of Wilmington (MA) followed Bekah.  Sarah runs with the Wilmington Sole Sisters.

Complete race results

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

5K finishers

Jason Ayr (70) and Eric Ashe (56)

Dan Smith

Alexander Arslan

Nicolai Naranjo

Kevin Quadrozzi

Salome Kosgei and Liz Ryan battle for 2nd

Robert Espinoza

Abu Kebede Diriba about to win 2017 Yankee Homecoming 10-mile race

Jaclyn Solimine won the women’s 5K

Bekah Broe (2nd in 5K)

Sarah Hjelmstad (847) 3rd in 5K

Salome Kosgei (2nd in 10 mile)

Liz Ryan (3rd 10 miles)






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What Voting For Barack Obama May Have Meant


There are racists, ageists, sexists, haters, and myopias among us.

Are you one, some,or all of them?

Did the color of Barack Obama’s skin have anything at all to do with your vote for him?  If it did, to even the smallest degree, then you are a racist.  You discriminate when it comes to skin color.

Did you vote against John McCain because he is 72?  If you did, then you’re an ageist.  You discriminate when it comes to age.

Did you turn down Sarah Palin in the general election because she’s a woman?  If it was a factor, in any way, then you’re a sexist.  You discriminate when it comes to gender.

Did your anger against George Bush factor into your vote for Barack Obama?  If it did, then you’re a hater.  You could still, however, be a member of the anti-hate committee in this area because they take the illogical stance that they have the right to hate you if you disagree with them.  (If you don’t believe me, try practicing your First Amendment rights in a public square holding up a sign opposing same-sex marriage.)

Did you vote for Barack Obama because he has more experience than John McCain does?  If you did, then you suffer from myopia.  Your vision is so limited that you can’t discern fact from fiction. 

I do not assume that the presidency of Barack Obama will be without problems.  Therefore, when those problems begin there will be those of us out here who will criticize the new president.  Will that be the cue for friends of the president to label us as racists, ageists, sexists, haters, or myopic?  I hope not because some of Barack’s apologists are already wearing those labels deservedly.

(Appeared as a letter-to-the-editor on November 17th in the Newburyport Daily News.)

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Underwhelmed by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

Hillary ClintonAre these two the best that the Democrats have?

Burger King should switch their headquarters from Fountainbleau (FL) to Chappaqua (NY).  After all, with Hillary Clinton in residence they truly are, “The Home of the Whopper.”

Hillary ClintonHillary has always had trouble telling the truth but in the past could count on many in the media to defend or ignore her actions.  Since Barack Obama has become the media darling the former first lady finds herself closely scrutinized after every utterance.

Therefore, she no longer gets a pass when she claims that she has experience in dealing with crises overseas – think Irish peace talks and Bosnian sniper.  Predictably, when the media does its homework and checks into her version of events they find irrefutable facts to disprove her stories.   Confronted with lies she answers with excuses.

Then there is Barack Obama. He went from prospect to suspect with his speech on March 18th.  You and I know that by not announcing that he was separating himself from Jeremiah Wright’s church he gave approval to what went on there. 

Barrack ObamaThe politically astute thing for Obama to do was to toss Reverend Wright and his church under the bus instead of his white grandmother.  Were his supporters then likely to switch over to Hillary or John McCain?  No chance!

Barack stayed with Trinity United Church of Christ even though it’s not politically advantageous because he doesn’t find Reverend Wright’s anti-American rhetoric as offensive as the rest of us do. 

Certainly, Reverend Wright’s rhetoric is indefensible and he should know better because he’s acquainted with the Bible.  Yes, there are places in the Bible where Jesus was angry at what he saw going on around him.  Reverend Wright seems to have this anger side covered but there are also places where Jesus insisted on the need to forgive others.  Somewhere during the 20+ years of listening to Reverend Wright, Barack should have clearly noted the imbalanced tone of Wright’s messages and moved elsewhere. 

There is an obvious shortage of bumper stickers for Obama or Hillary in Newburyport.  I guess that even the most ardent Democrat is in a quandary defending either of them.

George Bush leaves office on January 20, 2009.  Heaven help us if either Hillary or Barack is anywhere near the premises when it happens.

(Appeared in The Newburyport Daily News on April 2nd and Newburyport Current on April 4th)

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Newburyport’s “Greatest” Woman Driver?

I saw the title in the letters to the editor in the March 6 issue of the Newburyport Daily News and prepared myself for some explosive reading.

The title?  “Seeking information about ‘World’s Greatest Woman Driver’ “

I felt let down when I learned in the article that a woman from London (Deborah Cherry) was actually searching for information about another woman (Fay Taylour) who drove in car races quite a while ago.

I was expecting, based on the title, that some gentleman from the area would pour out some negative references to some of the driving habits of women he had observed on the streets of Newburyport.  I guess it was the “greatest” part that sent me down the wrong road.

I was anticipating some mention of a woman at a traffic light in town using her mirror to rearrange her facial appearance.  When the light changed, she failed to notice and instead continued with her cosmetic surgery.  How thoughtful of someone woman driverto honk their horn in appreciation of her improved looks!

I was also guessing that the young mother with the cell phone on the ear in one hand, steering wheel in the other, young kid in the backseat, and dog further back might appear in the letter.  When the light changed, around the corner she went with a one-hand turn, no directional, and little interest in the rate of speed.  There was no way that she was paying sufficient attention to driving.  Dangerous?  You bet.

Not so long ago describing someone as a, “woman driver,” referred to a person who was uncertain or cautious behind the wheel and usually that “someone” was a woman.  Not anymore!  There’s not a whole lot of caution and uncertainty around anymore by anyone. 

Many men are too aggressive behind the wheel and many women are too distracted.  My concern level regarding bad driving has not reached my fear of the possibility of Hillary or Obama being President but it is getting there. 

(This was sent as a letter-to-the-editor of The Newburyport Daily News on 3-11-08.)

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I Voted for Barack Obama

Barrack Obama

I am writing to congratulate myself for voting for Barack Obama and being part of his 28-vote victory in Newburyport in the Democrat primary.

My vote was not based on Mr. Obama’s skin color because I’m not a racist.  I do admit,however, that I do not watch BET (Black Entertainment Television) or support the United Negro College Fund because they’re racist.

My vote was not based on Barack’s middle name, “Hussein.” That middle name is part of his Moslem background.  If I let his background factor into my vote, I would be a racist and I’m not.  However, if I learned that his hand was going to be on the Koran instead of the Bible when he was sworn in to the presidency I would vote against him.  That’s not being racist. That is believing that the Bible, not the Koran, contains the truths that I want my leader to pledge allegiance to.

My vote was not based on Barack being against the war in Iraq.  Barack was in the State Senate, not the US Senate, when the vote for that war took place.  If he had been confronted with the same evidence that President Bush and Hillary Clinton were confronted with he would have voted to go ahead with the war. 

My vote was not based on Barack’s belief that abortion should be available in all nine months of pregnancy.  I am opposed to abortion and consider the slaughter of unborn children to be a horrific tragedy.

My vote is not based on Barack’s willingness to put an end to some of the tax cuts that have been enacted during the current administration.  I defy anyone to explain to me how sending me out into the buying world with less money is going to help the economy. 

My vote is not based on Barack’s talk of unifying the country.  I believe that his idea of “unity” is for me to change my previously held positions and switch to his.  I have a right to my opinion even if it disagrees with his opinion.  Labeling opinions that are different from his, “divisive,” is a step toward trying to shut off constructive dialogue. 

My vote is not based on the endorsements of Senator Kerry and Senator Kennedy.  Those two are the punch lines of jokes in any comic setting.  Kerry was offered $1 million to clear up the controversy surrounding his service in the Vietnam War.  He proved that either he didn’t need the money or he couldn’t clear his name by taking no action.  Kennedy looked out his ocean-side window and decided that his view was more important than a wind energy program that would lower electricity rates on the Cape.

So why did I vote for Barack Obama?  Quite simply it was a vote against Hillary Clinton. 

At a dinner party recently, I heard someone say that they were voting for Hillary because, “she was the only one that they could trust.”  You’re right, it stunned me too!  If past performance means anything, Hillary is the one that can’t be trusted.

Let me make a prediction: Barack Obama is going to get the Democrat nomination but during the trip to also-rans, the Clintons are going to tear that party apart.  It gives me pleasure to think that I may have had a hand in that process in a voting booth at the Brown School.

( Appeared in both the Newburyport Current and the Newburyport Daily News on February 15, 2008. )

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Former Clipper Ben Chase Stars at Emerson College

(Beverly) Ben Chase is having the time of his life.

Ben at medium size 

The former Newburyport Clipper basketball player is in his senior year at Emerson College in Boston and was an important part of a team that crushed Endicott College at Beverly on Wednesday evening, 85-53, in a nonconference game.

I spoke with Emerson coach Hank Smith prior to the game about Ben.  With no prompting, he paid the young man some significant compliments including;

“Ben is the only person in my 14 seasons as head coach to serve as captain for three years and we’ve had some great players at Emerson during that time.  He was not over his head in that position even as a young player.

“He has a serious approach to everything he does.  He is the type of role model you want for everybody.”

Coach Smith also added that, “Ben has always put himself in a position to succeed because his attitude and effort were always good.” 

In the game against Endicott, Ben poured in 21 of his game-high 27 points in the first half.  With the lead over 30 (76-44) Ben sat the last 6 ½ minutes or his totals might have been even higher.

Ben admitted afterwards that the 21-point first half was the best he had ever had.  Good time to have a big game since his parents, Robert and Lynn, were in attendance as well as his girlfriend Kim.  “This is the closest game we’ve had to Newburyport since I’ve been at Emerson so it was easier for them to see me play.”

At 6’1”, you might assume that Ben would be a guard.  You would assume wrong.  “He’s basically a 3 or 4 man because we play all small guys,” said Coach Smith.  “At times he’s our biggest player.”

Endicott was taller at every position than Emerson but it didn’t make an ounce of difference.  The Lions never pressed but still forced 26 turnovers in a relentless half-court, man-to-man defense.  On offense the Lions were in perpetual motion and made many successful darts to the basket.  When asked about his team’s quickness Ben said, “We don’t have any height.  All we have is quickness.”  That quickness has taken Emerson to an 11-1 start. 

Ben said that he grew up playing basketball in Newburyport.  “I learned so much from my high school coach and from Coach Lucey when I was younger.  Coach Lucey retired when I was in 8th grade but I played at youth camps he ran.  They started in me a love for the game that I haven’t lost.”

Coach Smith saw Ben play for Newburyport.  “He was a pretty good player in high school.  However, I wasn’t sure how he would do at the college level.  He could shoot the ball but what I liked the most about him was his attitude and the way he approached the game.”

Attending Emerson was a nice fit for Ben.  “It is a small art school and I figured that I could do film.  I also saw the opportunity to continue to play basketball.”

You get a sense of the “good” attitude that Coach Smith alluded to when Ben talks about his freshman season at Emerson.  “I barely played but we had some great senior leaders on that team.  I had the best seat in the house to learn from them.”

Ben has not been an all-league player in Emerson’s conference (Great Northeastern Athletic Conference) but that will almost certainly change at the end of this season.  Ben is scoring over 16 points per game with a number of outstanding performances in the mix.

“He has had a lot of memorable games this season,” recalled Coach Smith.  “He was MVP in the tournament at Vassar.  In the championship game, he had 25 points and was 11-for-13 from the field.  The two shots he missed he got his own rebound.  Against MIT, he was 9-for-10 and had 23 points in 21 minutes.  In a big win at Lasell he had 30 points.  He has been hitting at a very high percentage.”  Ben continued that high percentage versus Endicott making 11-of-17 shots. 

Ben has high praise for Coach Smith.  “He is fantastic.  He knows more about basketball than anyone I’ve met in my life.”  When asked specifically about what Coach Smith had taught him he replied, “To make a long story short – everything.”

Ben says that he still spends a lot of time in Newburyport visiting his mother, father, and sister at Parker Ridge.  However, that could end if things go as he hopes after graduation.  “An alumnus from the Emerson basketball program (Sam Presti) was named General Manager of the Seattle Supersonics last year.  With a little luck, I am hoping to get an internship position out there.  It would start out as a generic internship and then possibly move to player development and scouting.”

Blessed with a remarkable attitude and work ethic it is not difficult to picture Ben Chase leading the Emerson Lions to the best season they have ever had as well being highly successful in life after college.

( January 17, 2008 – appeared in the Newburyport Daily News )

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Senator John Kerry Won’t Release Records

Are you expecting Senator John Kerry to release unaltered copies of his service and medical records?  Santa entering your house via your chimney has a better chance of happening.

Big money Boone Pickens has given Senator Kerry yet another opportunity to clear the fog concerning the discrepancies surrounding the senator’s service in Vietnam by offering a $1 million gift if he can do it.  Kerry says he’s willing and able.  So far so good but now Mr. Pickens is requiring, among other things, that Senator Kerry release unaltered copies of his service and military records.  Trust me, that won’t happen.

Why?  If those records somehow exonerated Senator Kerry, he would have released them during the presidential campaign of 2004 when the Swift Boat Veterans first start attacking him with ads.  The Swift Boaters believed then, and still think now, that the records will prove their contention that Senator Kerry lied about what he experienced in Vietnam and will confirm that he should never have received some of the medals awarded to him.

I believe that if John Kerry had just gotten the medals, whether rightly or wrongly, and then returned to the United States and lived quietly ever after he wouldn’t have riled up the folks he served with in Vietnam.  However, to come back and talk about atrocities that he had apparently witnessed and go on to insist that his superiors knew what was going on and did nothing, really stirred up some that he had served with.  To many he was, and still is, just as evil as Jane Fonda is when it comes to the Vietnam War aftermath.

When John Kerry decided to run for President a golden opportunity for revenge presented itself to the Swift Boaters.  Through organization and significant financing, Senator Kerry’s military career began to come under attack through a series of advertisements. 

The Swift Boaters produced evidence, and eyewitnesses agreed that two of Senator Kerry’s three Purple Hearts shouldn’t have been given to him.  They also raised serious doubts about the Bronze Star he was awarded. 

If you look at the information that the Swift Boaters offer about those two questionable Purple Hearts you have to wonder if the senator wasn’t trying out for the part of Ensign Chuck Parker in McHale’s Navy. 

In one episode, that ends with a Purple Heart, the senator fires a grenade launcher and ends up with shrapnel in his own arm.  Later a doctor pulls out the shrapnel with tweezers and puts on a band-aid.

In another Purple Heart episode, the senator tosses a grenade onto a pile of rice. The resulting explosion sends out shrapnel, which makes unpleasant acquaintances with his left buttocks and right arm.  Now injured he earns a Bronze Star by taking part in a rescue after first abandoning others who had been thrown overboard from a nearby swift boat. 

If people were tossing around this sort of information about your military career, wouldn’t you want to prove that they’re wrong as quickly as possible?  Not our senator.  He writes his own version and has a few eyewitnesses as well.
John Kerry knows what is in his military and service records.  He has disparaged the eyewitness accounts against him and can thus expect the Swift Boaters to treat his eyewitness accounts the same way. 

What must he do to clear this whole thing up?  It seems obvious to me. 

Will he do it?  Not if it contains damaging (embarrassing) information. 

What will most likely happen?  He’ll offer “proof” that can’t be substantiated and insist that he’s proven his point.

(Appeared in Newburyport Daily News on December 6, 2007)

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