SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

August 12, 2013

Our view: Cheers, jeers for recent newsmakers

CHEERS to those involved in Little League baseball’s Challenger division for their continued efforts to make the country’s greatest sport available to all youths.

The Challenger program is designed to let kids with physical and mental difficulties enjoy the game of baseball. It’s especially popular in Danvers, where 9-year-old Jacoby Catanzaro was a participant.

“Jacoby had just started to like sports and was involved in the Special Olympics,” Jacoby’s father, David, told correspondent Jean DePlacido. “He had fun playing in a soccer program; then we found out about the Danvers Challenger program from some of the other parents. We weren’t sure he could do it, but he loved it.”

Boy, did he love it. Jacoby made the transition to the standard Little League division and recently helped Danvers National win the Manchester-Essex District 15 Invitational. Jacoby pitched and had a couple of big hits in the championship game. His success, and the genuine joy he takes in playing the game, speak well of the town’s Little League system.

“We never thought (Jacoby) would be able to play regular baseball, but Karen Devaney, who runs the Challenger program, worked hard to make his dream come true. I can’t say enough about people like Karen, who do so many kind things behind the scenes. What she has done to make this possible is nothing short of a miracle.”

JEERS to lawmakers’ continued celebration of the Bay State’s “sales tax holiday” as some special favor for lowly shoppers and businesses. Studies have show such holidays don’t do much for store owners. Shoppers don’t spend more overall — they put off shopping until the holiday arrives, meaning less business during the other 51 weekends of the year.

As for shoppers, it feels more than a little insulting to watch taxes rise throughout the year (enjoying that indexed-to-inflation gas tax hike yet?) before having some loose change tossed your way.

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