If you think the public is entitled to know about the security arrangements (or lack thereof) for 15-year-old murder suspect Philip Chism, then you should thank The Salem News.
Chism, charged with murdering Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, recently attacked a female youth worker at a detention center in Dorchester. The News went to court and asked that documents related to the case be released.
Today the News’ court reporter, Julie Manganis, writes that prosecutor Kate MacDougall had expressed concerns ahead of time that Chism should not be left alone with female staff. We also learn that Chism allegedly attacked the youth worker with a pencil, then “choked and beat her about the head.”
Even more alarming, MacDougall recently raised concerns about serious security lapses at the state’s Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital, where Chism is now being held.
This is important public-interest journalism, and it wouldn’t be possible if the News hadn’t been willing to devote legal resources to arguing for the release of the documents. The First Amendment requires that court proceedings be open to all. Good for the News, and good for Superior Court Judge Howard Whitehead, who ordered that the information be made public.
U.S. Senate candidate Dan Winslow calls himself “the Dan with a plan.” I am the Dan without a plan. But I do follow Winslow on Twitter. So when I saw that he was heading for Danvers Square, I walked the block and a half from my house to see if we could connect.
Winslow, one of three Republicans running in the primary on Tuesday, was greeting voters and meeting supporters at New Brothers. We’ve conversed so much on Twitter that it was hard to remember that this was actually our first meeting.
Winslow is as ebullient in person as he is on social media, touting his endorsement by the Springfield Republican as representing a “clean sweep” of Massachusetts newspapers. (Most notably, Winslow has been endorsed by both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.)
Still, the polls suggest that Winslow — a state representative, former judge and a top adviser to Mitt Romney when he was governor — is running third, behind former U.S. attorney Michael Sullivan and venture capitalist Gabriel Gomez. The winner will square off against one of two Democratic congressmen, Ed Markey or Stephen Lynch, in a special election to be held in June.
Winslow’s hopes would appear to rest on low turnout (likely to be especially low given how little attention the campaign has received following the Boston Marathon bombing) and his get-out-the-vote effort. His profile as a fiscally conservative, socially moderate Republican is one that has traditionally appealed to independent voters in Massachusetts. But he’s not well known, and there are only a few days to go.
I was hoping this would go away so quickly that I wouldn’t have to write about it. But today Ethan Forman of The Salem News reports that local business leaders think a 24-hour, seven-day slots parlor in Danvers would just be a wicked awesome way of boosting the North Shore economy.
No surprise that our local Mr. Potters are excited about the idea of turning my town into Pottersville. But it looks as though those of us who oppose casinos and slots are going to have to mobilize — or at least get ready to mobilize.
As those of you who’ve been reading Media Nation for a few years know, I was a staunch opponent of plans to build a casino — at one time billed as the world’s largest — in my hometown of Middleborough. That plan collapsed, fortunately, and I hope this one will, too. At the very least, I find it hard to believe that the proposal would win a townwide referendum, no matter how many goodies the developers promise.
We vote at the Holten-Richmond Middle School in Danvers, home of Precincts 1 and 2. I cast my ballot at about 9:45 a.m., and was the 407th person in Precinct 1 to do so. The polls are open until 8 p.m. Get out and vote!
If you’re on the North Shore this weekend, I hope you’ll consider attending a program at the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers called “9/11 Ten Years Later: A Decade of Change for American Culture.”
The program, to be held Sunday at 2 p.m., will be moderated by Town Manager Wayne Marquis and will feature Danvers Police Chief Neil Oullette and Endicott College professors Amy Damico and Sara Quay, the editors of “September 11 in Popular Culture: A Guide.” I’ll be talking about how the media have changed over the past decade, for better and for worse.
You can find out more information about the event here. And here is an essay I wrote for the Boston Phoenix’s issue of Sept. 13, 2001. I haven’t re-read it yet, so I have no idea how well it’s held up.
Fallen branch by the side of Route 127 in Beverly. Click on image for more photos.
Even though we weren’t hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene on the North Shore, I thought it would be fun to drive around and take some pictures this afternoon. Nothing too dramatic. I started in Danvers and made my way to Beverly, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Magnolia before heading home.
The ocean off the coast in Manchester and Magnolia was by far the most visually interesting. Just slightly inland there was little wind. But by the shore it was still strong, as seagulls literally flew in place against the air currents.
I shot some video, too, but since it wasn’t as good as this, I decided not to post it.
Please join me next Wednesday, July 13, in welcoming my friend Donna Halper to the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers. Donna will be signing her latest book, “Boston Radio 1920-2010,” part of the “Images of America” series published by Arcadia.
Halper, a communications professor at Lesley University and a recently minted Ph.D., is admirably eclectic. She runs a radio consulting business, Donna Halper & Associates, and was always my go-to person for radio expertise when I was the media columnist at the Boston Phoenix. She teaches and writes (obviously). She also discovered the band Rush when she was working as a disc jockey in Cleveland in 1974, and was on hand when the band members were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010.
Donna will be speaking from 7 to 9 p.m., and I’ll have the honor of introducing her. You can sign up by clicking here. Hope to see you there.