, Salem, MA

December 28, 2012

Salem man helps catch assault suspect


---- — SALEM — A 26-year-old Salem woman was walking in downtown Boston last Thursday when she noticed a man walking behind her. She quickened her pace, and so did he.

When the woman reached the corner of High and Federal streets in the Financial District, the man shoved her from behind, causing her to fall and strike her forehead on an electrical box.

The assault was witnessed by Randy Clarke, a top security official from the MBTA who was dressed in a business suit and on his lunch break. Coincidentally, he is also from Salem.

Clarke chased the assailant for several blocks. Another witness joined in the pursuit.

Clearly a man with his wits about him, the 35-year-old Clarke gave police directions over his cellphone during the chase and, when the attacker turned to face him at one point, used his cellphone to snap a photo of the suspect.

The alleged assailant was eventually knocked to the ground by police, arrested, and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

The unidentified Salem woman was treated at the scene by an ambulance crew.

Clarke was on vacation this week and could not be reached for comment, but an MBTA spokesman confirmed that he’s a proud resident of Witch City.

World news

The story about the Archdiocese of Boston deciding not to rent the former St. Mary’s school building on Hawthorne Boulevard to a group trying to open an independent Catholic school in Salem went viral.

Well, maybe it didn’t go viral, but it did get picked up by Catholic World News, an independent news organization that covers the church all over the globe.

In case you missed the story, the archdiocese didn’t state directly why it didn’t want to lease the building, but did say it has “wonderful Catholic schools in the Salem area,” serving nearly 170 Salem students, that it is committed to “strengthening and enhancing.”

Boy Scout news

This week, the Los Angeles Times published about 1,200 files from the Boy Scouts of America listing volunteers and employees who were let go for suspected sexual abuse.

There were no Salem names, but there was a Salem listing.

All it said, however, was “1997” and “Pack 88.” That doesn’t reveal much of anything, especially since the date only indicates the year the file was created by the Boy Scouts. While some listings included a person’s name and a file document, this one had only an ID number.

So far, the Times has created a database with two decades of Boy Scout files released by order of an Oregon court. It also has summary information on more than 3,000 files from 1947 to 2005 that have not yet been made public.

Clam news

Arthur Francis, a longtime Salem resident and former weather and climate teacher at Salem State, attended Christmas Eve Mass at Ste. Anne Church this year.

At the end of Mass, the Rev. George Dufour, the pastor, mentioned something about the weather to his parishioners and then remarked that Francis, a well-known local climatologist, was sitting in the congregation.

As he exited the church, Francis was approached by a woman who wanted to share a story. She said her young grandson just asked her why Francis goes to the beach to get clams, or measure clams or something to that effect.

Her grandson, you see, thought the priest said Francis was a “clamatologist.”

Big Jose

Jose Santana of Salem received a Certificate of Achievement Award at the annual conference of the Massachusetts Association of Private Career Schools.

Santana graduated last year from the barbering program at the New England Hair Academy. He attended school in the evenings while working full time, never missing a class and earning high marks.

A good guy, Santana used some of his award to fund items for student use at the school.

He currently works at Big Sal’s Superior Barbershop in Salem.

Gift for heroes

Jack Walsh, a local glass artist, donated painted bottles with the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial logo etched into the glass for the organization’s recent auction at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

The beautiful bottles fetched $1,000 for the charity, which is raising funds to build a memorial to honor the Massachusetts men and women who have died since 9/11 serving in Iraq, Afghanistan or in other operations.

This charity, by the way, is dear to the heart of Christina Ayube of Salem, the mother of Army Sgt. James Ayube II, a medic who was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2010.

Walsh, a former automotive mechanic, owns DancingSand Custom Bottle Etching here in Salem.

Tom Dalton can be reached at