, Salem, MA

August 26, 2013

Our view: Some cheers, jeers for recent newsmakers

The Salem News

---- — CHEERS to the city of Somerville for its show of respect for Sean Collier.

Collier was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer authorities say was shot and killed by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects in April, days after the attack on the nation’s most storied road race.

Collier, who was 26 when he was shot to death, had long strived to join the police force in Somerville, where he had served as an auxiliary officer from 2006 to 2009. In fact, Collier had accepted a position in Somerville before he was killed and was just weeks away from beginning his new job.

Thursday night, city officials followed through on the agreement, appointing him as an officer and assigning him badge number 310, which was immediately retired in his honor. The badge and a framed uniform were presented to his family as part of the ceremony.

Collier, a Salem State University graduate, was memorialized earlier this year on the campus of his alma mater. Salem State has established a criminal justice scholarship in his name and has planted a tree for him at the school’s newly opened library.

During a Salem State ceremony in his honor earlier this year, Kriten Kuehnle, chair of SSUs criminal justice department, called Collier “a person of great character.”

We agree and find it fitting that Somerville and Salem State continue to honor his memory.

JEERS to the state Ethics Commission ruling forcing state Sen. Dan Wolf from the governor’s race and, most likely, the Senate itself.

Late last week, Wolf, a Democrat, released a statement saying he would resign from the Senate Aug. 29 “under duress” after the commission ruled he was violating ethics laws because the company he founded and maintains an ownership stake in, Cape Air, has Logan Airport-related agreements with Massachusetts Port Authority. The Ethics Commission said Wolf could sell his stake in the company, cancel the agreements with Massport (thus crippling the company) or quit the Senate.

It was an absurd ruling.

“I have a hard time understanding the ruling of the Ethics Commission, at least with regard to his role in the Senate, because we don’t appoint the members of the Port Authority; we don’t oversee their budget,” said fellow state Sen. Richard Moore, an Uxbridge Democrat.

Senate President Therese Murray said Wolf “understands the needs of our growing and new businesses, how to support our statewide and local economies.”

Even many Republicans, including state Sen. Robert Hedlund of Weymouth, decried the decision.

“I hope we can resolve it,” Hedlund said. “I think there should be a legislative remedy.”

CHEERS to the efforts of families at the Winthrop Elementary School in Ipswich, who, with the help of local businesses, appear to be well on their way to providing their children and future generations with a top-of-the line playground.

The new playground looks like it will have it all — a tree house, an obstacle course, zip line, swings and a separate preschool area (one suggestion from the students — a human catapult — thankfully didn’t make the list). There will also be a natural element, staffer Jonathan Phelps reports, with slides built into hills, boulder climbs and garden beds.

The $250,000 cost of the project is coming from private money, with more than $200,000 raised so far. Local donors have included parent Doug DeAngelis ($50,000), the Institution for Savings ($50,000) and EBSCO ($10,000).

Winthrop School Principal Sheila McAdams said it best: “It’s a good example of how people come together and work together. It is a good example of democracy.”