SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 14, 2014

Salem sailor part of search for missing plane

BY TOM DALTON
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — The USS Pinckney, a guided missile destroyer, joined the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 soon after it disappeared Saturday morning.

We have a connection to that search.

One of the more than 300 sailors aboard the Pinckney is Boatswain’s Mate Matthew Gifford, the 20-year-old son of police Sgt. Peter Gifford and his wife, Nancy.

“They just happened to be right there when this happened,” said Sgt. Gifford. “It’s the only ship the Navy had in the area.”

On Wednesday, the Pinckney was joined by the USS Kidd, another guided missile destroyer, in the search for a plane that went off the radar screens soon after taking off early Saturday with 239 passengers aboard. The plane departed Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.

The Pinckney left San Diego Jan. 7 for the western Pacific Ocean.

New York, New York

While most of us were getting our culture Friday night by eating a pepperoni pizza while watching mustachioed Tom Selleck in “Blue Bloods,” the Salem High School Concert Band took a higher road.

They were in New York City — all 92 of them — performing at Carnegie Hall.

If you don’t think Salem High has an absolutely incredible music program, think again.

Titillating Tierney

The Economist — the magazine for people with enough spare time to read a story about the country Kiribati — ran a provocative headline recently over an article on our local congressman, John Tierney.

“How to date a supermodel” was the headline. The brief article that followed had nothing to do with supermodels, but a lot to do with Tierney.

The article was about the National Republican Congressional Committee, which has acquired hundreds of Web addresses with the names of Democratic candidates. The websites appear supportive of the Democratic candidates but are far from it.

A campaign website called “John Tierney for Congress” calls the Salem Democrat “one of the most extreme and partisan members of Congress.”

There is even a “donate” button at the bottom of the website — but donations go not to Tierney, but to the Republican committee.

“If, perish the thought, anyone were to donate by mistake, the NRCC says it will return the cash,” The Economist wrote.

Honor students

With all that’s going on in the public schools, it’s nice when they take a moment to recognize the academic and artistic stars.

The Nathaniel Bowditch School did just that at the recent induction of 15 students into the National Junior Honor Society and the Junior Tri-M Music Honor Society.

Take a bow, gang.

Siren song

What a coincidence that a loud siren sounded Wednesday night around 6 p.m. just as the City Council was taking up Mayor Kim Driscoll’s controversial proposal to take the police and fire chief positions out of Civil Service.

The siren blasted away as the council proceedings began before a packed house of hulking police officers and firefighters.

We called out our crack flashlight team to investigate the incident, and they turned up one interesting fact. Hey, that’s good for them.

There was a medical call at 6:03 p.m. in North Salem. Could it have been a police cruiser, fire truck or ambulance racing to an actual emergency?

Or was it an orchestrated event?

We’ll let you be the judge.

Fountain of youth

They don’t give out an award for Most Amazing Citizen of Salem, but if they did, our nominee would be Judge Thaddeus Buczko.

The judge is not only a brilliant jurist, a beloved politician, a distinguished historian, a devout Catholic and a man about town. He also just turned 88.

Last night, Mayor Kim Driscoll nominated him to serve on the Salem Trust Fund Commission — with a term to expire in 2026.

When he finishes his term at age 100, the indefatigable judge will probably decide to run for the City Council seat he held in 1956. When he does, we plan to endorse him.

Tom Dalton can be reached at tdalton@salemnews.com.