A North Shore reporter’s untimely death

Talk about a bittersweet moment. On Wednesday, the Salem News reported that longtime staff writer Steve Landwehr had died after a brief, intense battle with cancer. Today, the News informs us that the paper has won a major-investigative reporting award recognizing Landwehr’s work. Landwehr was best-known for a Monday feature called “Lives,” extended obituaries about …

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A social compact on the verge of breakdown

Public employees are our friends, our neighbors and our family members. Police officers, firefighters and teachers are a necessary part of a well-ordered civil society. But in Massachusetts, the social compact is on the verge of breaking down because of paychecks and benefits for public employees that are grotesquely out of whack with what folks …

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Lawyering up to suppress public records

The ongoing outrage that is the Essex Regional Retirement Board continues. According to Salem News reporter Chris Cassidy, the board plans to increase its spending on legal fees by $150,000 in 2010. Why? To fight media requests for public records. Blaming the press for the spending increase, chief operating officer Lilli Gilligan is quoted as …

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Timothy Bassett, triple-dipper

Media Nation would like to apologize to Timothy Bassett, chairman of the Essex Regional Retirement Board, for calling him “a notorious double-dipper.” The old Lily Tomlin line comes to mind, because the Boston Globe’s Sean Murphy today reports that Bassett is actually a triple-dipper. It seems that, in addition to drawing a $41,000-a-year state pension …

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