, Salem, MA

April 25, 2013

Heard Around Town: Peabody’s blue line was on the scene in Boston

By Alan Burke
Staff writer

---- — PEABODY — Leather City police belonging to the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council were involved in multiple ways during the response to the Boston Marathon bombing.

In addition to joining the SWAT teams making house-to-house searches in Watertown, they were part of the security force guarding President Barack Obama during his appearance in Boston; they stood watch at hospitals, including where the body of the first suspect, Tamerlin Tsarnaev, was brought; and they were part of the security force both watching from rooftops during yesterday’s memorial for MIT officer Sean Collier and at his burial in the Puritan Lawn Cemetery. One Peabody officer was close enough to the capture of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to hear him surrender.

The marathon bombing also touched a number of Peabody residents, not including those police officers called to duty for NEMLEC. Mayor Ted Bettencourt reports, for example, that Patrolman Michael Nary was at the finish line when the bombs exploded on April 15 and could be seen responding to the injured.

“When people were running away from the blast, he was running toward it,” the mayor said.

Peabody High School photography teacher Emily Harney, who enjoyed a previous career photographing boxing matches, realized that she had covered some of the Golden Glove bouts involving Tamerlin Tsarnaev.

She was unable to find any photos of him, nor did she remember him specifically. But a review of her records indicated that Tsarnaev fought some top prospects, opponents who later turned pro. Moreover, she said, many of his matches involved boxers who later became police officers, likely including some of the men who hunted him down.

The mayor joined an interfaith service Tuesday night at St. John the Baptist Church, including choirs from the high school, area churches and local cantors.

“As we continue to grieve for those who were killed and injured during the Boston Marathon, we can find comfort together as a community of faith,” Bettencourt said.

Who says we only print bad news?

Superintendent Joe Mastrocola has informed the School Committee that he will end the fiscal year in June with a budget surplus of $115,000. It’s enough to throw a party.

A run of good news

Peabody High coach Jose Rocha has been named Cross Country Coach of the Year by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association.

“This award is for all the student-athletes who ran for me this past year,” he told the School Committee on Tuesday. His family, who attended the meeting, also got a thank-you from the coach, as did athletic director Phil Sheridan, who nominated him for the award.

Mastrocola described the award as “a great honor.”

Gone but still collecting money

That would be George Peabody, the 19th-century philanthropist who gave this city its name. He was dedicated to the value of learning, which is why the Peabody Education Foundation is honoring six people, folks dedicated to smartening up the city’s children, with the George Peabody Legacy Award.

The recipients this year are John E. Murtagh, John “Jack” Murtagh, Helen Apostolides, Thomas Hosman, Francis Hardy and Jim Geanoulis (posthumously).

They will be celebrated next Thursday night from 6 to 8 p.m. at City Hall’s Wiggin Auditorium. Tickets are $35, with the funds earmarked for the foundation. Expect a cash bar and enough tasty appetizers to make a meal, says organizer Dave Gravel.