SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

November 15, 2013

Our view: Cheers, jeers for recent newsmakers


The Salem News

---- — CHEERS to the legion of residents in Danvers who worked tirelessly — and up to the last minute — to create a permanent memorial to the town’s military veterans.

The memorial, a 3-foot-wide plaque set on a massive granite marker on the fields outside the Thorpe School, is a thing of simple, quiet beauty.

That it exists at all is credit to the hard work of a number of citizens who weren’t afraid to tackle obstacles large and small.

Finding a slab of granite large enough for the memorial took some time, said architect Robert Farley, the Army veteran and Danvers Rotary Club member who designed the plaque. Farley and Bruce Eaton, an Army Air Corps veteran and president of the Danvers Veterans Council, had long talked of the need for a proper, impressive memorial.

“To find a stone of that size, in granite, with a flat face on it” was no easy task, Farley said at the memorial’s dedication Monday. “I searched the fields and I searched the woods for five months.”

Then, Joe DeLorenzo, owner of the Danversport Yacht Club, stepped forward. There were plenty of stones on his property, he said, and Farley could help himself.

Farley found a 21/2-ton boulder, and J. Masterson Construction agreed to pull it from the ground and bring it to Thorpe School for free. Another Rotary member, Barry Kaplan, had the plaque cast through Mt. Pleasant Monuments in Gloucester, and it was made at a foundry outside Pittsburgh.

Then, just days before the memorial was to be unveiled, the plaque arrived — bent. The foundry rushed to redo the job, and on Monday, the citizens of Danvers were able to appreciate the fruits of the three-year project — and the sacrifice of the town’s veterans.

JEERS to the anti-science, anti-vaccine crowd who are making life more dangerous for the rest of us.

As doctors Ronald Dunlap and John O’Reilly note in their column on this page, more Massachusetts parents are opting out of vaccinations for their children; the opt-out rate in Essex County is 1.3 percent, which is roughly 120 children.

That doesn’t sound like a lot of children, but it doesn’t take much for an outbreak. One of the worst outbreaks in decades, the 2010 whooping cough outbreak in California, came after many parents refused to vaccinate their children. The result: 9,120 cases of whooping cough, with 10 deaths.

Vaccines have been controversial since a 1998 British study suggested some vaccines could be linked to autism. That study has long been debunked, and dozens of other studies have failed to find a link.

As Dunlap and O’Reilly note, “Vaccines are considered one of medicine’s greatest advances and should be an indispensible part of primary care. With them, we can easily, inexpensively prevent suffering, illness and death. Without them, our most vulnerable individuals are needlessly put at risk for disease, with the potential for future and lifelong complications.”

CHEERS and a get-well-soon to state Rep. Brad Hill. The Ipswich Republican is recovering from a bone-marrow transplant.

Hill, who was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2008, will be recuperating at home and has to limit his exposure to the public due to his weakened immune system. We know that will be a hardship for the amiable, dedicated 46-year-old, who has one of the best attendance records in the Legislature and a reputation for reaching across the aisle to solve problems for his constituents.

This would also be a good time for everyone to consider becoming a bone marrow donor; details can be found at bethematch.org, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program.