Sheriff-Lew-Evangelidis-Dean-Tran-Charlie-Baker-and-friend
Sheriff-Lew-Evangelidis-Dean-Tran-Charlie-Baker-and-friend
Saturday Governor Charlie Baker spent the Day in Fitchburg Massachusetts stumping with longtime City Councilor Dean Tran who is running against even longer time city Councillor Steven Hay for the State Rep seat vacated by newly elected mayor Steve DiNatale.

The final stop on the governor’s trip where he would speak for Dean and meet voters was Destare gov 2 002 a small nightclub/bar at the corner of main and Cushing street where believe it or not 30 years ago at the ripe old age of 23 I opened a comic book/hobby shop which is now their downstairs storeroom.

Fitchburg didn’t have the reputation it does now but it seemed like every other month till I moved it my shop was broken into and robbed, so I asked the Owner if he had any trouble since opening up several years ago. He said quite the opposite he had seen no trouble at all which, along with good food, good drink and excellent wi-fi speed explains his success.

I arrived around 1 PM and set up laptop and mike where I would record the first two segments of DaTechGuy off DaRadio podcast (available by clicking the fedora in the corner or emailed directly if you subscribe). Within a few minutes sign holder for Dean Tran led by the indomitable Mary Lotze formerly of the Twin city Tea party and now head of the Fitchburg Republican Committee.gov 2 001

As time passed the number of sign holders grew outside while the club started to fill up. About 20 minutes before the governor arrived I noticed a group of well dressed men sitting by the window. It tuned out they were from a protestant church in the Cleghorn part of town which once housed the large French Canadian population who came down from Canada to work the now shuttered factories that once dominated Fitchburg when it was a hub of manufacturing from shoes to Machine Guns, but is now one of two sections of down where the Spanish population is concentrated. Minister George Rodriguez consented to an interview:

Alas the lith ion battery in my primary camera choose at the end of that interview to die o I switched to my broken (no stills, no zoom) but still functioning emergency backup camera for the rest of the day. I used that to record this interview with Ed Vargus who was in attendance promoting his program to get kids off the street using skateboarding which I recorded later in the day

but include here because it fits with the Minister’s talk about getting involved with the community.

Fifteen minutes after the interview with the Minister the Governor arrived.

The governor was accompanied by his wife and Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis one of the most popular elected republicans in the area and one of the few actually taller than Charlie Baker. Despite the recent squabbles concerning the state committee (more on that here) he warmly greeted, and was warmly greeted by, those standing out.

When the Governor and the Sheriff came in they worked the crowd greeting and talking to people who attended. It’s worth nothing that they gave time to the attendees rather than simply making perfunctorily statements.and shaking hands which is one of the reasons for his popularity.

After about 15 minutes of that the guests of honor took the stage, first the Sheriff, then the Governor and then Counselor Tran who was the object of today’s exercise.

The Sheriff emphasized in his speech public safety without which none of the other things that make a city great can be achieved and his work with Counselor Tran on that subject. The Governor stressed his own beginnings as a selectman where everybody knows where you live an knows when you’ve voted a way they dislike and let you know about it and talked of how Dean’s background would be of great use as a representative. When Counselor Tran took the stage he talked about bread and butter issues but two things stood out to me.

When talking about jobs he stressed how jobs in Fitchburg meant families could stay in Fitchburg echoing the Chris Christie “Grandparents” speech which in my opinion should be a staple of any GOP speech on fiscal responsibility.

But what really stood out to me was his American Dream story by which he could come from a 3rd world country, come to America, succeed at business, be the first minority counselor in Fitchburg and then run for state office with the endorsement of the most popular governor in the Entire United States.

There was some jocularity as well. Dean is of short stature and both the Governor and the Sheriff tower over him and there was some good natured ribbing along those lines but in terms of public service they all stand tall together.

I had hoped to ask the governor a few questions about his popularity (Is it a function of the no drama, get things done work ethic, the possibility of him being considered for a national ticket, an his efforts to slowly increase the number of elected republicans to at least get enough to sustain a veto in one house but Gov Baker took no questions and frankly didn’t give me a first look. Sheriff Lew was friendly but noting another commitment that he had to attend apologized leaving right after the speech. I had better luck with Counselor Tran himself.

.

I have a long memory , when we were fighting Planned Parenthood in Fitchburg Counselor Tran was sympathetic to use while his opponent was whole hog for Planned Parenthood so there is no question where my vote is going on Tuesday.

One oddity. This special election is the day of the Massachusetts primary (Supertuesday) so one might think the increased turnout and the Trump phenom would help Counselor Tran but it’s also worth noting that there are separate ballots for the presidential primary and the local election so it’s unclear how if at all, that will affect the outcome. This came out in my conversation with Mary Lotze in a segment which I recorded as part of my Podcast and include here

As I said before It’s a good sign that the governor is stumping for a social conservative despite the State committee kerfuffle it remains to be seen if he, the sheriff, the LT Gov (who attended an earlier event that I was unavailable to cover) and the increased turnout will be enough to give us our first GOP state rep out of Fitchburg in a while.

That dear voters is up to you.

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For the first times since I lost my job an Stacy McCain lost his Twitter right we’ve had a setback in our quest for $61 to make a living back here at the blog. Yesterday DaTipJar was completely and utterly silent. So as we find ourselves seeking a new $61 today our deficit for the year climbs back to 21 days and $1335 dollars.

In fairness my email blast went out late do to covering the Governor (post later today) an helping my son move so I didn’t spend the day promoting the blog, furthermore it was saturday and I suspect that our traffic consisted of our core readers who take a peek before going an enjoying the weekend.

yet if less than 1% of yesterday’s readers kicked in $15 each we would have made out goal for the day with ease.

Again I say to those who have kicked in thank you so much, for those who can’t afford it, don’t worry about it but I do ask you to promote the site.

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For all the talk about how the base needs to cooperate with the establishment more, it’s worth remembering that the base almost always does its part on Election Day. It’s the establishment that is less reliable in returning the favor.

Jonah Goldberg

Earlier this year just before the NH primary the popular Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker endorsed Chris Christie as his candidate for president. Despite an active robust campaign Christie went on to be decisively beaten in NH and dropped out of the race two days later.

Some wonder why Chris Christie did so poorly, too crowded a field, not enough money but one of the things that I think cost him was his record.

No not his record as Governor, given the situation in his state he’s actually done pretty well, no I mean his record as head of the NJ GOP

Since Christie is so popular and won re-election so decisively one would naturally expect he brought success for the party with him. After all , if he is the poster boy for the GOP nationally he would be the model to elect party members following his lead all over the state right?

Despite Christie’s 60 percent showing on Tuesday, Republicans didn’t make up any ground in the state Senate.

In an election where he got 60% of the vote and faced token opposition he had absolutely no coattails in his state, and furthermore at the same time he refused to campaign for Ken Cuccinelli who was in a close tough race that he would barely lose to Clinton confidant Terry McAuliffe.

I suspect more than a few Tea Party members took note.

And that brings us to Charlie Baker.

Charlie Baker has been a pretty good governor his handling of the big snowstorm last year, showed what competent leadership can do.  His no drama administration has been a welcome contrast to Deval Patrick and his approval ratings reflect that contrast.  It’s no wonder that the National Journal story about him was titled The Most Popular Politician in America.

Given the state of the GOP in Massachusetts and with 11% registration and a state house with veto proof majorities in both chambers for democrats (house 125-35 Senate 34-6) one would think Charlie Baker might use some of that political capital to build the party, recruiting GOP candidates across the state to contest these races and perhaps narrow those democratic supermajorities that he is facing.

And indeed the Governor is in fact getting involved in local races…in order to defeat conservative republicans

Strongly conservative factions of the Massachusetts Republican Party, a constituency that Charlie Baker courted in his 2014 gubernatorial race, are now the target of the governor and his political team in their campaign to take firmer control of a sharply divided state GOP.

Baker, in an unprecedented foray into an intraparty squabble, is using the March 1 balloting for the GOP’s governing state committee to muscle the conservatives out of any significant influence and to replace them with moderate Republicans.

And some of the people he is opposing are folks that he can directly link his narrow electoral victory to

For example, Baker and Polito endorsed 29-year-old Neil St. Clair, a newcomer to the party, for a committee seat now held by conservative activist Steven W. Aylward of Watertown.

Aylward, who did not want to comment, was a leader in the 2014 campaign to repeal automatic increases to the state gas tax, a battle that brought a swath of antitax, pro-Baker voters to the polls. Baker even credited Aylward with playing a key part in his razor-thin victory over Democrat Martha Coakley.

Adding to the insult is that Baker’s choice, St. Clair, recently moved to Boston’s Back Bay from New York, where in June 2011 he had registered as a Democrat. St. Clair, who registered as a Republican last fall, said he is drawn to Baker’s moderate Republican brand and has offered to help. He is vague about how the Baker endorsement came about.

So Charlie Baker is supporting a newly converted Democrat for state committee vs a GOP activist who is directly responsible for the defeat of the hated indexed gas tax.

No wonder the Globe endorsed him last time.

I’ve received one of those Baker mailers, they are supporting two people who I’ve never heard of over the local activists who have been working like dogs to advance the GOP in the area and stood by the party and defended it when conservatives were talking about staying home.

 

I can’t think of anything that would enrage the activists who have spent the last six years giving their time, effort and money to support the party than this effort to push them out of the way.  If these suggested committee people are such excellent choices why not instead use the strength of the party to run them for state rep and state senate.  After all if 19 of those 52 people managed to win seats currently held by Democrats in the house then the party would be able to sustain a Baker veto.

Furthermore let’s say Baker plans to recruit local candidates once he purges the grassroots activists from the party.  Once that happens who is going to do the grunt work that said activists did?  After all Jeb Bush has already demonstrated that big money can’t compete with committed volunteers.

On that subject we have a special election coming up in my district where Republican city councilor Dean Tran is facing Democrat Counsler Steven Hay for the seat vacated by Democrat Steve DiNatale.  At the state party site Kristen Hughes had this to say:

“Dean Tran has been a consistent and hard-working advocate for Fitchburg taxpayers for years, and will be a trusted leader for the 3rd Worcester on Beacon Hill. The MassGOP is ready to work with Dean as our nominee in this election, to send Governor Baker a strong partner from Fitchburg and Lunenburg.”

You might think that a popular sitting GOP governor might bother to say a good word Mr. Tran yet the mailer which talks about the March 1st election doesn’t say a word about the special election taking place that day or the candidacy of Consular Tran.

Back in 2013 I left the GOP after covering the party convention and seeing the ahem interesting tactics used by the party establishment to defeat a potential Tea Party chairman I left the GOP very publicly saying

If the party wants me and people like me they’ll have to earn me. When the GOP can convince me that they are serious about growing the party, when they convince me they are serious about treating the tea party et/al as valued members as opposed to a source of temp labor and occasional funds. I’ll be happy to return to the Republican Party in as public a fashion as I’ve just left it.

Apparently they are happy to keep people like me out and maybe throw a few other under the bus.  I guess Neil McCabe was right:

after he is elected, conservatives may think they won something. But, rather with Baker and his collaborator Republicans, it means all is lost.

And people in the GOP establishment wonder why Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are winning primaries and their candidates are not.

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I was laid off this week from my 3rd shift job so my plan to use said job to pay the mortgage while using the site to get out of debt in a couple of years is out the window unless we suddenly get 125 subscribers at $10 a month When I say I could use a hand right now I’m not kidding.

Since we all know the rosey description of the Obama economy by the MSM is BS to those who have kicked in (particularly subscribers), thanks much.

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Yesterday was election day and there are several stories to tell.

On the local level Steve Dinatale left the Massachusetts State Legislature to run for mayor of fitchburg and his choice was rewarded with 74% of the vote in a city that has not been shy about voting for republicans like Scott Brown.

I hope Dinatale stays in the Mayor’s office a while, he’s a sensible fellow who will do a good job plus any attempt to advance further in state government would require a choice between his Catholic faith and the Democrat party and I suspect that choice is the reason why the city will get the benefit rather than the entire state.

Their loss is our gain.

Andrew Couture is a good guy and I think he should consider running for city council.

In Kentucky in a race Democrats were expected to win Matt Bevin, Mitch McConnell’s favorite punching bag was expected to lose and the media already had their narrative written

Bevin, who polls show is trailing by a small margin, appears on the verge of joining the list of tea party-aligned candidates whom establishment operatives will blame for years to come for losing a winnable race. Like other Republicans damaged by the party’s Obama-era civil war, Bevin took untenable positions in the primary that Democrats have turned against him in the general. And the Republican businessman’s strategy and decisions throughout the campaign have baffled longtime political observers.

As you can guess they hedged his bets with a single line

They think pollsters might be missing the anger of rural conservatives who are most likely to vote, which is what happened in the media polling here in 2014.”

The polls showed him down five, but you know what, people forgot about, a person named Kim Davis

As he travels around the state, Bevin’s body man hands out postcards describing Bevin as “the only candidate for governor that has stood up for traditional marriage and religious liberty.” Bevin has also made appeals to born-again Christians, urging them to vote to counteract the political activism of “agnostics and atheists” and telling them to “stand firm” for their beliefs.

The Advocate made it very clear which sides the Democrat Conway & the Republican Bevin are on:

Conway, on the other hand, is so staunchly pro-[gay]marriage, Kentucky’s former top lawman got choked up when announcing in 2014 that he would not appeal a federal judge’s order recognizing same-sex marriages performed out of state. “If I did so I would be defending discrimination. That I will not do,” Conway said, which you can watch in the video below

Bevin visited Kentucky clerk Davis in jail, where she spent time this summer for refusing to grant marriage licenses to any couples, citing personal religious beliefs against same-sex marriage. Bevin’s support for Davis became a tentpole of his campaign strategy

Alas for our liberal friends the voters of Kentucky clearly knew which side they were on too and it wasn’t close

Bevin was able to defy pundits, political insiders and polling — including one released by his own campaign in October that showed him losing — and emerge a winner Tuesday night.

In the end, it wasn’t even close. Bevin won 107 of the state’s 120 counties on his way to a nine-point victory.

The real fun part are paragraphs like this gay blogs like this:

Kim Davis’s attorneys at the Liberty Counsel sent out a press release congratulating Bevin which included a statement from Davis herself:

“I congratulate Matt Bevin on his win. I am ecstatic. He is such a genuine and caring person. I will be forever thankful that he came to visit me while I was in jail. At a clerks’ meeting he hugged me and said he was praying for me. I am looking forward to his leadership as our new Governor.”

Liberty Counsel attorney Mat Staver clucked as well:

“The election was not even close. The lopsided victory for Matt Bevin stunned most political pundits. There is no question that the issue of religious freedom and same-sex marriage played a role in the results. The people favor traditional values and marriage, and they are tired of the political elites represented by Governor Beshear who are out of touch with ordinary, God-loving citizens. We look forward to working with Governor Elect Matt Bevin to accommodate the religious convictions of Kim Davis and other Kentucky clerks. Finally, we will have common sense and the Constitution prevail in Kentucky.”

Apparently Judge Bunning can jail a clerk for her faith but you can’t jail the electorate.

Expect the MSM to spin this result as having nothing to do with Kim Davis.

Update: Out of curiosity I did a google and yahoo for any comments Alison Grimes might have made on the Kim davis case. I didn’t find anything.

On what I’m sure is a totally unrelated note in a year while Bevin won the governor’s race Grimes managed to be re-elected Secretary of state by two point margin.

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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what most of them are worth.

On Tuesday, the feast of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary WQPH radio held the first of a series of events put on by WQPH over the next several days detailed here at the old Madonna of the Holy Rosary

There was a living rosary, a birthday cake and Ice cream to celebrate our lady’s birth and the exposition of the blessed sacrament.

But I thought one of the best parts of the event was this 15 minute talk by Fr. Joe Dolan the pastor of St Bernards Parish at St. Camillus church about the Rosary and it’s evolution over time.

Give it a watch and learn something about this most Catholic of prayers

If you’re interested in the rest of the events they follow:

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Saturday September 12th:

Feast of the Holy Name of Mary Madonna Holy Rosary Church, Fitchburg

10am – 3pm Day Retreat – Fr Leonard ($25 offering)
10am – 4pm
Festival in Church Hall
Catholic Book Fair
WQPH Radio-a-thon
3 – 3:45pm Confession – Fr Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN
4sandrpm Holy Mass – Fr Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN
Sunday September 13th:

Fatima Anniversary

9am HolyMass St Francis of Assisi Church, 441 Fellsway W. Medford

10:30am Breakfast Anthony’s, 105 Canal St, Malden

Susan Campbell Trainor (781) 391-7374 for tickets ($25 per person)

Special Guest: Fr. Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN

Monday September 14th:

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

St Bernards at St Camillus Church, Fitchburg

Noon Holy Mass with Fr. Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN

Luncheon to follow in lower church

Roland & Carol Vallee (978)343-4927 for tickets ($22 per person)

Tuesday September 15th:

Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows For lost children

St Joseph Church, 114 High St., Medford

6pm Living Rosary of the Seven Sorrows and Divine Mercy Chaplet

Followed by Mass celebrated by Fr. Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN . Contact Sandi Arjune (781) 333-4800

For more information or to volunteer to help

www.prayersforlife.org

info@wqphradio.org

781-218-2834

Intercessory Prayer

9/8/15 Living Rosary: Joan Conroy (978) 343-9278
9/12/15 Day Retreat: Chris Toloczko (508) 856-9416

opiate awareness 2 036Yesterday at the upper common of Fitchburg Ma a group of over 70 people turned out for an event highlighting Opiate Awareness and the people and families who are affected by them.

I arrived near the time things were about to start and talked to Lauren who seemed to be in charge.

There were several speakers, one of them was our state rep Steve DiNatale who is running for Mayor

And the Police Chief

The stress of the event was addiction as a disease and coping with it. Nobody talked better on the struggle between being firm and being kind than Tami Arguelles founder of the local group: Help for our Community.

The need to find the balance between loving and caring for a person, while not enabling or approving is for the families and friends of the addicted the hardest thing.

They had some ceremonial events the lighting of candles

The Releasing of Balloons

and a moment of silence

.

Some spoke about their loss like Ed.

Other were there simply to stand for their lost loved ones. I spoke to the police chief after the event:

and I spoke to two former addicts one before things started:

and the second after, this was Reverend Hollaway who had spoken before

What really truck me about both of them was their words about the Just Say No campaign from the 80’s. This type of thing was routinely laughed at by our friends of the left but both of these ex addicts noted that a direct statement, a solid “NO” makes a difference.

But the real story to me was that every police car in Fitchburg is equipped with Narcan which can be the difference between life and death for a person.

The other half of the coin of course is the prevention, the chief talked about getting old prescription drugs out of the house but the other part of the game is something quite simple and direct. If you see someone dealing drugs on your street corner in your neighborhood don’t just ignore it and figure it’s not your business: Say Something. Call the police, tweet the police, help them protect you.

If you don’t want the cost of the Drugs and Gangs, stand up and fight, even if it’s just a phone call. The harder you make it for the dealer, the more likely he’s going to at worst move on, or at best find themselves caught.

The event made the front page of the Sentinel, you can read it here.

opiate awareness 001If you go to the 5th street diner these days you’ll find a purple flag flying from the sandwich sign:

that flag symbolizes Opiate awareness. On Aug 31st 2015 you’ll be seeing a lot more of them on the Upper common of Fitchburg and around the state.

opiate awareness 008

I spoke to Ed Zannino about the event:

This is something that mean a lot to Ed and Tina as they’ve lost a son under these circumstances and given Fitchburg’s transformation in my lifetime from a manufacturing city to an illegal drug hub we’re going to see a lot more of this and the people of the city had better be prepared.

“First we must cross the river,” Benito was saying.  “Do you believe me now when I tell you that you must not attempt to swim it, or even get wet from it, or must you try that too?”

“What happens if I just dive in?”

“Then you will be as you were in the bottle.  Aware and unable to move.  but it will be very cold, and very uncomfortable, and you will be there for all eternity knowing that you put yourself there.”

Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle Inferno  1976

 

Well it’s official, a letter writing campaign by a clique at my parish managed to get our 20 something year old pastor removed and transferred to Winchendon and replaced by the 60 something Pastor currently there..

When I first heard about this effort several weeks ago I figured it was just the normal ruffled feathers that come with a big change. After all our previous pastor had been at our church for 14 years and was both a strong speaker and a powerful force.  Any person replacing him would have some problems so when our new pastor came in, only a few years past ordination it was likely quite a shock to some of the older families.

However when I talked to Fr. Mike I found out this was a lot more serious than I thought. Despite the lack of anything resembling wrongdoing a concerted effort was being made to remove him. He noted that I was welcome to write a letter supporting him to the Bishop (which I did) but remembering that there were a few feathers ruffled when Fr. Bob first came in 15 years ago I figured it was going to be a lot of noise that the Bishop wasn’t going to take note of.

Boy was I wrong.  The Parish and the Diocese has managed to shoot itself in the foot big time.  The number of losers in this sorry affair  is rather numerous:

1. Bishop McManus:   By giving into a clique he not only gives the impression that he can be swayed over minor disagreements over staff & spending but he makes himself vulnerable to this kind of pressure from cliques in other parishes in the future.

2. The Priests of the Worcester County Dioceses: If a priest is guilty of misconduct the it is incumbent on a bishop to act quickly and decisively to remove him, but if the priests of the parish get the idea that the Bishop is going to melt over a few letters concerning parish operations & spending that can’t be good for either morale or operations.

3. The Seminarians: What do you think young men studying to be priests in this Diocese are going to think hearing about this?  Will they dare to be dynamic and challenge their flock to get out of their comfort zone and follow Christ or will they be inclined to play it safe, intimidated, worried that any move that might make those with money or influence in a parish upset?

4. Vocations: It’s hard enough to generate vocations in the east these days.  This example of a young priest being chewed up and spat out by a parish isn’t going to make it any easier.

5. Steve DiNatale Mayoral Campaign:  Steve has been a good state rep for the city and to my knowledge has absolutely no knowledge or involvement in any of this, but the facts won’t matter.  He is a lector at this parish and one of our most prominent members so people will assume he does.   It’s a no win situation. If he comments on this in any way he is likely to divide the people in his parish base,  If he says nothing than people will make assumptions about what he thinks, what he did or didn’t do.  And that’s just inside the parish, the rumors going around the Catholic community in town certainly aren’t going to help and gives an easy in if any of those running against him choose to use it.

6. St. Anthony’s Knights of Columbus Chapter: Our council is barely a year old, a divide in the parish can’t be good for recruiting within the parish and certainly isn’t going to make Catholic men from other parishes without councils anxious to join us.

7. St. Anthony’s School: Our Elementary School will be trading a young dynamic priest, who was the chaplain of the Fitchburg Fire Department.  A priest from the video game, email and cell phone era for a priest in his 60’s. Boy that’s going to be a draw for young families choosing between the catholic schools in the area. And hey, if parents if you have a choice between enrolling your kid in a Catholic school where the parish is divided or a school where it is not, where are you going to go?

8. Our incoming pastor: I’ve met Fr. Leblanc & know him slightly.  He seems a nice enough man but not only does he gets thrown into a now divided parish but he’s on the spot. Does he make his own decisions on how to do things, or is he looking over his shoulder?  Does he make changes, does he stand pat?  It’s going to take a lot of effort and prayer to get things where they should be. And what if the folks who got rid of Fr. Clements decide they don’t like what HE does? What if the money doesn’t start coming in? Does he get the blame?

But the biggest loser of all is St. Anthony of Padua Parish:

Our reputation among priests is likely shot (what priest will want to go to a parish that makes trouble for them)?

Our reputation with the Diocese is likely shot (Nobody likes to deal with whiners and given that we escaped the last church closings by the skin of our teeth, if there is a future church closing in town we’ve likely moved to the front of the list)

Our reputation among potential parishioners is likely shot (what Catholic moving into town will want to jump in the middle of this high school clique nonsense?)

And our reputation among ourselves is shot.  Who is going to want to get involved in any group or club or activity that they aren’t already part of?  After all if a pastor who makes a decision that somebody doesn’t like can be replaced,  how much more expendable is a mere parishioner? Much easier to just show up on sunday, put in the envelope and go home, or just decide to head off to a parish without High School drama queens.

All of this is a distraction from the primary duty of the church. To Teach and preach the word of God and put it into action in the community.

It will take an awful lot of prayer, supplication and humility on the part of the parish to recover from this disaster & if it doesn’t the worst part will be the knowledge that the responsibility for the fall of the parish and the waste of the hard work of Generations of faithful Sicilians who built up St. Anthony’s doesn’t fall on some outsider.

It will be because we put ourselves there.

Saturday after doing Conservatively Speaking on WCRN AM 830 and a home show with DaWife we stopped by Dario’s Restorante on River Street Fitchburg a new restaurant that occupies the spot the French Marceau Diner & Variety did for decades.

KODAK Digital Still Camera Years ago this was an area of factories where the French & Greeks from the neighborhood worked with the Italians who came from the other end of town.

Today it’s a much tougher neighborhood than when location at the Corner of River Street & Sheldon street was an intersection point for Greektown, Cleghorn (the French Canadian Section) and Main Street. Most people who come to the street do so for the DQ ice cream stand less than a block away or to visit one of the half-dozen used car dealers in tKODAK Digital Still Camerahe small area.

But when you walk inside you will find an oasis amid an area past its prime. You will find two rooms a back area next to the parking with a mix of tables and wooden booths with a counter station and a Front area with a mixture of booth and a front area with a series of old-fashioned diner stools facing a classic soda dispenser and bar.

Now ambiance is always nice but when it comes down to it what matters is the food. The menu is not large but with more than enough variety to satisfy the hungry diner.

We started with an appetizer called Garlic Twists

The twists were delicious but just as good if not better were the greens that a person might mistake as a garnish but that came sprinkled with cheese and an oil/butter. It was almost a mini side salad that really complimented the twists & Marinara dip.

As it was lunchtime and my wife would be working in a few hours she decided to go with the steak sub.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

While I wanting to try from the dinner menu ordered the classic chicken parmigiana.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Now while the still images wets the appetite I think the video conveys things even better.

The side Salad with the steak was a surprise. The wife gave me a taste of the veggies and they were of a very high quality.

The pasta was baked rather than boiled, it had a good flavor. The Chicken Breast was a big as it looked and & I found it delicious. The only critique if any would be I’d have liked a bit more tomato sauce.

There were some good dessert selections but my wife did not have the time and after that prodigious chicken breast I had not the capacity for it.

Our meal came to $33 and was more than satisfied for my money.

Now there are a few drawbacks. The Restaurant is only open till 9 PM Mon-Thursday. Till 10 PM Friday & Saturday. (Closed on Sunday) Furthermore the amount of parking available is less that one might desire. The place is not open on Sundays

My verdict?

If Fitchburg is going to come back, we need to reward places like this willing to take a chance on the city and its neighborhood, particularly when they provide a high quality product for a reasonable price.

Dario’s a a good place, it deserves your patronage.

Today Fitchburg was in the news because of a fire on river street that took out a bunch of businesses.


There’s no word yet on what caused a four-alarm fire that gutted a strip mall in Fitchburg overnight.
Flames broke out in the complex on River Street around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday and quickly spread to the roof. Part of the building collapsed.

However there is a story from last month that is much more significant to my city:

The dream of making it in Fitchburg is over for Sky He, the owner of the Cheng Du Asian Bistro. Last week he shut down his Main Street Chinese restaurant after being open for only 84 days.

“I lost money every day,” said Sky, who opened the restaurant on Nov. 21

Mr. He opened his restaurant on Main Street in Fitchburg. Now there was a time in my youth when there were multiple restaurants, department stores and even a supermarket on main street.

However the culture changed, the state changed and cities became more concerned with “sensitivity” than contesting the drug gangs with predictable results:


The restaurant made the news last month after Sky pursued an armed robber who fled with about $300 on Jan. 19. The robber jumped off an embankment toward the Nashua River and broke his ankle in the fall. The fire department ended up rescuing the robber. Sky said he was able to get back $148 the robber had allegedly hidden under a rock while waiting to be rescued.

Sky said he’s seen other crime problems as well, such as customers caught by his security camera stealing the tip jar at the front desk, and street violence in the surrounding neighborhood.

He said he doesn’t know what he’s going to do next, but he will not open another restaurant in Fitchburg and sees the area as a difficult place to run a business.

If you’re city or state turns to liberalism, this will be your future.

You have been warned.

“Now now now…. Raquel, RA-quel. Now there’s something you have to understand here. It’s really simple. Now these are the people that BUY the TICK-ETS. And they’ve been waiting a LONG time to talk to ya’, and you should go right ahead and do that because this is part of the job.”

Jimmy Stewart as told by Raquel Welch 

 

This week the Politichicks put out their hot list of conservative men Ted Cruz was (deservedly so) the big overall winner.among choices that included Pol, Radio Talk Hosts, bloggers and authors.

The pool of voters was small and there was no category offered for Supermarket Chain owners but Monday at the Market Basket on Water Street Store number 14 a larger pool of voters left no doubt that the winner of their hot contest would be a short balding man by the name of Arthur T. Demoulas.

Less than three months after his removal as CEO of the Market Basket Chain and just 20 days after his successful purchase of the said chain from his cousin’s side of the family Mr. Demoulas was in Fitchburg visiting store #14 as part of his regular rounds to see first hand how things are at various locations.  Under normal circumstances it would be just another routine visit like all the other ones he has done over the decades.

That’s not exactly how it worked out.

The employees delight at seeing the man for who they had spent a summer risking their jobs fighting for could hardly be restrained.  He greeted them, spoke with them, shook their hands and posed for picture after picture.  One 20-year-old worker in between stocking shelves took great delight in taking out her smart phone to show me the her selfie taken with her CEO bursting with the enthusiasm of a person who just got a kiss from their favorite rock star.

Nor was that feeling confined to the workers on shift, text messages and phone calls exploded from the location alerting workers off duty, family and friends that Arthur T was in the building.  By the time I arrived, camera in cart, a sort of receiving line had formed between the butter & margarine section and the eggs where customers and employees lined for a chance to speak to the man and have a picture taken.  A manager on duty told me he had already spent over two hours speaking to every person who wanted some of his time.

I watched as person after person came up to him and he greeted them, not as a conquering king, nor as the richest man in the store, but as a man expressing gratitude,  Thanks to customers for their support, thanks to employees for their hard work as if they were responsible for every dollar he had ever made.

Finally after doing my own shopping and seeing a brief gap in the flow of people approaching him, I asked for a brief interview which he granted without hesitation.

 

and spent the entire time giving all the credit to others and stressing the importance  if approaching each day with an attitude of serving others.

We talked a bit more off camera, he talked of how giving the customer (in the form of low prices and good service), the employee (in the form of pay & benefits) and the owners (in the form of profit) a stake in the Business’ success helps make it successful but by then my brief window was gone as more customers came in to meet the man whose face they had seen on posters, signs and news reports for the last three months.

In the end he stayed till 7 PM giving four full hours to one of the 70+ stores in his chain just to say hello.

Some might consider that a waste of an owners time, but I suspect Mr. Arthur T Demoulas understands that those hours meeting his employees and customers will pay dividends for years to come because he knows the right thing is almost always the smart thing.

And in addition to everything else Arthur T Demoulas is one smart businessman.

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Olimometer 2.52

We remain 5 grand away from making our expenses for the year and a sold $1000 away from making them this month.

If you think the coverage and commentary we provide here is worth your support please consider hitting DaTipJar below to meet our annual expenses.

Consider the lineup you get In addition to my own work seven days a week you get John Ruberry (Marathon Pundit)  on Sunday Pat Austin (And so it goes in Shreveport)  on Monday  Tim Imholt on Tuesday,  AP Dillon (Lady Liberty1885) Thursdays, Pastor George Kelly Fridays,   Steve Eggleston on Saturdays with  Baldilocks (Tue & Sat)  and   Fausta  (Wed & Fri) of (Fausta Blog) twice a week.

If that’s not worth $20 a month I’d like to know what is?

Although you wouldn’t know as I had a pair of posts scheduled I spent most of yesterday offline leaving the house at around 7:30 and getting home after 4.

The reason for spending so many hours away from a computer was a civic duty. I was in Worcester testifying before a grand jury in a criminal matter.

Given my Sicilian ancestry and regular jokes along those lines, you might conjure visions of men in fedoras, people whose names end in vowels and something out of this Ally Bank commercial:

…in fact my testimony had to do with the events described in these two posts.

As a result of the execution of search warrants by police, three handguns, another type of firearm, and a bullet resistant vest were located and seized inside the apartments by the Fitchburg Police Department.

“another type of firearm?” that’s a pretty broad statement. I find the discovery of the vest significant as I presume it isn’t for safety when leaving a party with a metal detector per Chris Rock.

I never testified before a Grand Jury before. It was a much quicker procedure than you might think, You are called, sworn in, answer the questions as asked and then answer any questions that the jury decides to pose then you’re done.

The real time killer is the wait.  Got to the courthouse at 8:30 and I didn’t testify until almost noon and as cell phones and PC’s are not allowed you spend a lot of time doing very little.

They say one can indict a Ham Sandwich (although not apparently a Lunenburg mother) so given my testimony, that of others and the weapons and body armor discovered I would not be surprised if indictments come.

Based on the police report the Maximum sentence if convicted on all charges, & all sentences being consecutive rather than concurrent would be 15 years.  If convicted on all charges given the minimum or & all sentences being concurrent (served at the same time) on these charges is 18 months.

While that sounds cool when you write a story, the reality is unless the defendant has connections to somebody the authorities really want to nail, I suspect the most likely result is a plea bargain resulting in maybe a year in jail and some probation.

With the speed of justice odds are it will take a while before this plays out, months or maybe even years and given the light possible sentence one might wonder:  “Why bother testifying given that…

1.  In the end the defendant will be back in the neighborhood fairly quickly

2.  As the strict gun laws of Massachusetts didn’t prevent him from obtaining weapons illegally a year or two in the House of correction isn’t going to stop him from re-arming.

…why not just do the Sicilian thing and mind my own business?”

Well frankly if the guy just had his guns in his own house, legally or illegally I wouldn’t give a damn, nor would I have lost a lot of sleep over an argument even if it spilled over into the street a bit, on occasion people lose their temper, it happens, that’s not a problem.

But when you are in front of my house producing guns and all that’s between me and mine & a stray bullet is a glass window, then it’s my problem.

Something like that has gotta be nipped in the bud because once you surrender your street,neighborhood or city to this kind of thing, you sentence yourself to live in fear.

When I was born this was a Sicilian Neighborhood with shops, bakeries, restaurants, car dealerships and furniture stores. Fitchburg in general was a pretty quiet spot, even as recent as 30 years ago you could walk the street in the middle of the night and not worry.

The Sicilians are mostly gone from the neighborhood now and because the city was silent when the gangs and drugs moved in we’ve become a hub of the trade. Dealers and the sight of the state police in the immediate area have become a fact of life. I’ve reached a point where the audible sound of a gunshot in my neighborhood doesn’t phase me enough to give the police a ring. This is unlikely to be reversed in my lifetime and there isn’t a lot I can do about Fitchburg in general either.

But I’m damn well not going to keep my mouth shut and be scared to walk down the street in a neighborhood I’ve lived in for 20+ years.

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Thursday and the quest for the #350 to pay the pay Da Magnificent Seven and the less than magnificent mortgage needs 10 tip jar hitters at $25 each to succeed.

If you would to help Just click on DaTipJar below

Now there is another reason to kick in on a more permanent way

DaGuy low rez copy-psd

Please consider being a subscriber. Only 57 subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis AND if you so at the $25 level
you can receive one of several Exclusive Original Chris Muir high Res Graphics of original members of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven Gang. like the one on the right


Low res tha lotPlease specify which of the eight hi res (including myself you wish to receive) Subscribe at $50 a month and receive all eight. Subscribe at $100 a month and get all 8 wanted posters high res graphics plus the high res version of all of us exclusively created for subscribers of DaTechGuy blog by Chris Muir himself!

(DTG:  We welcome UnCommonCents the first of our “villagers” with this post Villagers will write on local topics to the cities & towns in the  area where I live.)

By UnCommonCents

I’m a resident of Fitchburg Massachusetts and like many I make an effort to avoid the downtown area as much as possible. Being a husband, a father, a homeowner and a law-abiding tax paying citizen, my time is spent juggling all these blessings and needless to say time is of the essence.

Last Sunday was different , I had some business at the fire departments headquarters downtown and afterwards I had the rare opportunity to drive and “smell the roses” so to speak. I made my way down main street and noticed all the vacant storefronts. Nearly half of all businesses are gone! There are massive abandoned buildings with plywood where windows once stood. I thought to myself this used to be a thriving city and now it resembles Detroit! As I continued I came to another building that’s been decorated with banners and flags and I realized it was the CONDEMNED CITY HALL.

The banners and flags placed there are to mark the 250 anniversary of the City of Fitchburg. The heart of every city/town is displayed on “main street”. Consider it a trophy of achievement or in this case the lack there of!  Fitchburg, a city that was once thriving with a busy main street, a place that was once SAFE to walk with your family  and loved ones is now nearly abandoned and condemned!

This begs the question HOW? Just look into the mirror and you’ll see why and how. It has nothing to do with partisan politics aka democrat or republican, it has everything to do with the individuals WE elect into public office and if they have OUR best interest. The majority seek office for their OWN interest whether it be to further their party’s agenda or use it as a stepping stone for a higher position. If you want to see how well our elected officials are representing their constituents (we the TAXPAYERS) just drive down Main street. Politicians can manipulate numbers, the media can deceive but neither one can alter REALITY!

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s a new week with a slight change to our goal.

With the first of our Villagers writing today this brings the number of paid writers here to 9 thus our new weekly goal to pay the mortgage and the writers is $350.

As we were short by $185 last week a five dollar higher goal might seem counter intuitive but given the record of the last three months and the last year I have faith that the readers will not only help us make the higher goal for this week 15 readers at $25 will do it

But will help make up last week’s shortfall to keep the monthly target in play

Olimometer 2.52

Your tip jar hit can help me do this. Please consider kicking in.

DaGuy low rez copy-psdOnly 55 3/4 more subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis. (one extra one will pay for our newest writer author Tim Imholt)

If you subscribe at the $25 level or more there is a new premium that you can receive one of several Exclusive Original Chris Muir high Res Graphics of the original members of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven Gang.


Low res tha lotPlease specify which of the eight hi res (including myself you wish to receive)   Subscribe at $50 a month and receive all eight.  Subscribe at $100 a month and get all 8 wanted posters high res graphics plug the  high res version of all of us exclusively created for subscribers of DaTechGuy blog  by Chris Muir himself!

You might recall some video from last Friday concerning armed men on Fulton Street Fitchburg and my initial report that day from the scene as things developed:

This week the Fitchburg Police department released the following Press release now available on Facebook


On Friday January 24, 2014 at approximately 10:40 p.m. members of the City of Fitchburg Police Department and a Massachusetts State Police K-9 Unit acted on information received and initiated a search of two separate apartments located at 21-23 Fulton Street Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

Here they searched for evidence involved in an alleged weapons incident that occurred at approximately 12:00 p.m. on that day.

That is consistent with my direct observations during the day, apparently they found something, the release continues


As a result of the execution of search warrants by police, three handguns, another type of firearm, and a bullet resistant vest were located and seized inside the apartments by the Fitchburg Police Department.

“another type of firearm?” that’s a pretty broad statement. I find the discovery of the vest significant as I presume it isn’t for safety when leaving a party with a metal detector per Chris Rock. The release continues announcing arrests connected with these searches.


As a result of this investigation, Friday January 24, 2014, Keno Berrick (09/29/1993) of 21 Fulton Street 1st floor was arrested at the Fitchburg Police Department and charged with discharging a firearm with 500 feet of a dwelling and carrying a firearm without a license.

Also arrested was Marquis A. Ford (01/05/1986) of 21 Fulton Street 1st floor at his residence and was subsequently charged with Assault with a dangerous weapon, use of body armor during a felony, and possessing a firearm without a license.

Oddly enough Massachusetts strict gun laws didn’t prevent these two young men being armed, the release continues with a new development.

A third suspect is currently being sought after by the Fitchburg Police Department’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations for their alleged role in the incident.

And concludes with this from the chief of police.


Chief Robert DeMoura said “the quick response by our patrol officers and dedication to this case by our detectives got these dangerous weapons off the street.”

The police certainly did a good job here, but I submit & suggest that the most dangerous weapons they got off the street that day were two legged.

A breaking story with armed principles in a Neighborhood in Fitchburg:

Expect updates

Update: At the request of police I will not be able to provide more updates at this time

Update 2: I can now provide some further updates including two videos shot at the time of the events in question.

In summary here is what we I know based on witnesses In the neighborhood I have interviewed and direct observation.

Between the hours of 9-10 AM three different people in the neighborhood reported the sounds of firecrackers or shots.

2-3 hours later neighbors saw two black men having a loud argument in the middle of the street, a woman ran out toward them screaming “please don’t”. At which time multiple people in the neighborhood called police.

After uploading the first video I returned to scene and shot this.

Multiple witnesses saw a weapon passed from one of the men to the other before they headed back toward 21 Fulton Street.

It is at this point where the first video was shot. When I returned outside I shot this

and then this:

After the third video a large amount of state police joined the Fitchburg police. Fulton street was closed from from Doane street to Caine street and no less that 14 marked & unmarked cars from both State and local police arrived.

Later in the afternoon a vehicle with armor arrived and several people address military style arrived and entered the address.

As of the time of this update 5:15 PM there are still three local police cars & officers on site on site. I can not confirm a motive for the dispute (domestic dispute, criminal activity?) although at least one neighbor stated that the sound of loud arguing from the multi-family building is common.

To my knowledge no official statements have been released to the press at this time.

Sheldon: You realize, Penny, that the technology that went into this arm will one day make unskilled food servers such as yourself obsolete.

Penny: Really? They’re going to make a robot that spits on your hamburger?

The Big Bang Theory The Robotic Manipulation 2010

Yesterday I had a late breakfast at the Moran Square Diner in Fitchburg and spoke to the owner Chris Giannetti

Moran square Diner has been there a long time and Chris has been running it for nearly 20 years. I had planned on a simple piece on the diner and the consistently good food 6 days a week from a flat-out Sunday to a slow Tuesday.

Then I saw this story:

Emboldened by an outpouring of support on social media, low-wage fast-food and retail workers from eight cities who have staged walkouts this year are calling for a national day of strikes Aug. 29.

Fast food workers planning to strike, their demands?

The workers are calling for a wage of $15 an hour and the right to form a union. Organizers of the walkout say cashiers, cooks and crew members at fast-food restaurants are paid a median wage of $8.94 an hour.

Two things instantly come to mind here comparing Chris situation and the fast food workers here.

For a strike to be successful there has to be a lack of alternatives to replace the workers in question. This is not the case here.

With unemployment as high as it there are dozens of people waiting in line to replace each and every one of the workers in question and doesn’t even count the number of high school or college students looking for part-time work or the robots waiting in the wings.

and that’s just the alternatives for the workers. If every one of those businesses closed tomorrow there would be plenty of break trucks, dog wagons, local diners and even 7/11’s just waiting to serve those customers.

and that brings us to point two

Chris works 60+ hours a week, constantly at the grill and when he’s not cooking he’s cleaning or doing prep work he’s been doing it for almost two decades.

He like other business owners bears all the responsibility and all the risk, before he sees a dollar from the business he has to pay the suppliers, the workers, and the fees/taxes assessed by the local state and federal government.

Only then, when all of these people are paid does he get his cut.

He’s not allowed a bad day either.  If he has a bad day at the grill or with a customer there are plenty of small Diners, Duncan Donuts, Chinese restaurants,  pizza places and yes, fast food places within a mile just waiting to welcome any dissatisfied customer.

Yet with all of this over his head I very much doubt Chris takes home anything near $15 an hour demanded by the strikers and that’s after 20 years on the job.

There is nothing wrong with the workers looking for a better situation and doing their best to achieve it, but I don’t see how any of these folks rate a higher pay than Chris.

and I’d be really shocked if they can make a tastier Sausage & eggs breakfast than he does.

I’ve already written about why I believe for the Market Basket Chain, keeping Arthur T Demoulas is the right thing now lets briefly talk about why it is the smart thing.

We’ve already established that disputes not withstanding Market Basket remains a successful and profitable business that has provided rich rewards for its owners and its employees but I have absolutely no idea how to run a grocery chain, what business do I have saying to the board of directors of Market Basket that Arthur T. Demoulas is better qualified than Arthur S. Demoulas.  What is the overriding argument that even though Arthur T has run the business with a steady profit that Arthur S wouldn’t do better?  What business do I have in signing a petition in support of Arthur T breaking my rule against signing petitions on any type except for nomination papers for candidates for office?

Well there are several things, lets look at them in order:

1. Debt:

“To have the lowest prices you have to have the lowest costs, that’s only Natural”

Ernie Boch Sr

Anyone who has followed the budget crisis in Washington knows that one big chunk of the budget problem is interest on the existing debt, before you spend a single dollar on any problem or cut a single dollar you have to budget for the interest on the existing debt and if you think it’s bad now wait till the artificially low interest rates go back up

The same goes in business, if you want to make a profit you have to keep costs down. What do the prospective new owners have planned?

His (Arthur T’s) attorney said that those opponents have repeatedly pushed for Market Basket to borrow heavily in order to finance payouts to shareholders of more than $1.5 billion. The company is owned by nine shareholders, all members of the Demoulas family.

The profit margin in a supermarket is not huge, it relies on volume

The average supermarket has a profit margin of about 1 percent, according to Stacey Vanek-Smith of National Public Radio. Some experts suggest this figure might be as high as 3 percent. Either way, supermarkets are a volume business. The extremely thin profit margin in the grocery business comes from the large amount of competition due to the low barrier of entry into the market. Thus, a grocery store must make up for its low margin by selling large quantities of product.

What happens if a big chunk of that profit margin is eaten up in interest payments? Well if you lived in Massachusetts over the last 40 years you might have heard a certain car salesman explain this basic economic fact to you:

If those prices go up, shoppers have plenty of other choices. The supermarket business is highly competitive. Within easy driving distance of the Market Baskets nearest to me there are several Hannafords, A Shaws, A BJ’s and a pair of Walmarts and more.

Market Basket shoppers have plenty of other options in the case of a price increase and if management wants to draw a larger share for themselves AND increase debut at the same time that money has to come from somewhere but where?

2. Labor:

George Washington McLintock: Gave? Boy, you’ve got it all wrong. I don’t give jobs I hire men.

Drago: You intend to give this man a full day’s work, don’tcha boy?

Devlin Warren:
You mean you’re still hirin’ me? Well, yes, sir, I certainly deliver a fair day’s work.

George Washington McLintock:
And for that I’ll pay you a fair day’s wage. You won’t give me anything and I won’t give you anything. We both hold up our heads….

McLintock! 1963

One possibility to make up such money comes from labor, but is that the wisest move? Let’s look at a relevant example.

In an Ironic twist Hostess Twinkees are about to re-appear on the shelves of Market Basket stores this week. The Hostess Company went through a series of bankruptcies and last year a last-ditch effort to save the company as it was voted down by one of their unions. The company was liquidated, the employees let go and the jobs that are now being offered pay considerably less:

He could have applied to get his old job back now that the plant is churning out Twinkies, Zingers and Ding Dongs in preparation for a July 15 return to store shelves. But he said the current starting salary of about $11 an hour, with the chance to bump it to $14, is “a slap in the face.”

“When I left, I was making $16.53 an hour, so I just didn’t see the point,” said Mr. Davis, who worked at the plant for almost 22 years.

How did it eventually get to that point? Well one might credibly argue that the Union demanded too much at the time of the strike

Some former Hostess workers who belonged to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters still blame the baker’s union for the company’s demise.

“We might still have our jobs if they didn’t go on strike in November,” says Scott Quenneville, a former Hostess delivery driver and Teamster in Detroit.

While others can reasonably argue the management was mor interested in their own bonus’ or in keeping agreements they had already made.

The former Hostess’ bakery union shouldered $100 million in labor concessions before being asked to take an immediate 8 percent pay cut last year amid tumbling profits. At the same time, Hostess’ acting CEO exempted his $1.5 million salary from the cuts.

In other words you had unions and management at each others throat. If the unions in days gone by had looked long term deals that were not sustainable might not have been pushed, meanwhile if management had treated the workers as a vital part of the business that provided financial rewards for both, the need for a union might not have existed at all.

At Market Basket that problem doesn’t exist. The company is not only making a solid profit but the non-union employees particularly the ones who have advanced in the company over the years, have gotten a share of it as I mentioned yesterday.

The protesting shareholders have been especially outraged by a profit-sharing plan that they believe has enriched rank-and-file employees at the expense of the family. Indeed, Arthur T. Demoulas proudly declares that some employees retire with well over $1 million in their profit-sharing plans.

and more

In one telling episode, one of the funds in which the profit-sharing money is invested suffered a $46 million quarterly loss during the 2008 financial meltdown. Arthur T. Demoulas says he insisted that the company immediately make up the loss to his employees’ accounts. That enraged his cousins, who maintained that no investment comes without risk.

Now that might seem like a big one time chuck of change and it is, but think about it, how much good will does that buy? How much labor trouble did that prevent?

How much is a workforce like that worth? How many problems and expenses did the company not experience because of this? How many smart people who might have gone on to other better jobs in good economic times stayed because they knew they could advance, make a living and perhaps even retire in some comfort if they stayed where they were? How many times do you think a union rep came down to Market Basket and the old Demoulas and tried to recruit saying “We can do better for you” and were laughed at by employees who could say: “Is your union willing to do for us what Arthur T did?” As one employee put it:

“The man has made a lot of money,” said Burke, a Market Basket employee for 41 years. “But he’s done a lot for the people along the way.”

How much would you pay for a workforce who don’t begrudge or complain about a group of 9 shareholders making a combined $214 million dollars in a horrible economy?

3. Experience:

Could Marconi have invented the radio if he hadn’t by pure chance spent years working at the problem? Are these amazing breakthroughs ever achieved except by years and years of unremitting study? Of course not. What I said earlier about accidental discoveries must have been wrong.

Monty Python A book at Bedtime 1973

I’ve never met Arthur S Demoulas or Arthur T. Demoulas at least not knowingly.  I know the two sides of the family apparently don’t get along as sometimes happens in families and if there are personal issues between the cousins I neither know or am qualified to settle these disputes.

But if you ask me which cousin is more qualified to run the business that’s not hard to figure out.  The one who has experience

the Demoulas family member facing removal is the one whose side of the family actually works in the family business.

of many decades:

Arthur T., who has worked at the company for 40 years, argued that he has worked closely with the often contentious board over the years to build one of the largest and most successful supermarket companies in New England, with more than 70 stores and 20,000 employees.

knows the customers:

He warmly greeted every member of the staff and seemed to know many of the customers too.

“How you doing?” he asked a butcher. “And how’s your wife?”

“She’s almost done with chemo,” the man replied. “We’re hanging in there.”

And has not slowed down just because he has a whole lot more money than I do:

Another long-tenured employee, meat manager Steve Burke, 60, said Arthur T. Demoulas has “kept his nose to the grindstone” even after becoming a successful businessman.

Now again I don’t know Arthur S. Demoulas he may be just as dynamic, just as hard working and just as successful in running the business as his cousin, but let me ask a basic question:  Arthur T. Demoulas has demonstrated the ability to produce a profit in the worst economic times in our lifetime in an industry that has a tiny profit margin.  How wise is it to replace an experienced CEO with hands on familiarity with a company who has demonstrated success with someone less experienced in an economic climate where one foot wrong can put you out of business in a hurry?

Conclusion:

Sheldon:   Hello, Penny. I realize you’re currently at the mercy of your primitive biological urges, but as you have an entire lifetime of poor decisions ahead of you, may I interrupt this one?

The Big Bang Theory  The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation 2009

One of the first rules I found from being in business if that there are two constant beliefs among people who have not been involved in it on a daily basis:

1. Your success, if any, came spontaneously.  You just declared your business open and the customers, readers and listeners and advertisers simply couldn’t wait to give you their business.

2. They likely could run your business better than you.

Right now Market Basket’s shareholders are making an excellent profit, but they think they can do better.  They have the right to make that conclusion and vote accordingly but I submit and suggest for all the above reasons: Debt, Labor and Experience the retention of Arthur T. Demoulas as the man in charge is not only the right thing for the company, it’s the smart thing to do.

And just as the free market rewards smart moves, it just as quickly punishes foolish ones.

Postscript:

The world runs on individuals pursing their self interest

Milton Freeman The Phil Donahue Show

You might notice in my 2000+ word argument above I didn’t answer the question I promised yesterday:  How is it in my own self interest if Market Basket keeps Arthur T. Demoulas?  After all I don’t know the man, none of my family works there and every single attempt I’ve made to contact the company for advertising over the years has been completely ignored despite my reach of my readership in the state.  In fact given that the board has the votes to get rid of Arthur it might seem in my best interest to back the other side thus increasing my chances of getting advertising.

Well there are two basic things:

1.  I live in Fitchburg Mass.  The city has come on some very hard times, and although there are other supermarkets only a few minutes away, in Leominster and Lunenburg.  The two Market Basket are the last supermarket still in Fitchburg, Victory Markets, Tom’s Food World, Iandolis, Piggly Wiggly and even Save a Lot have all closed and gone away.

If the board of directors makes a foolish move and puts the company in jeopardy the two Fitchburg locations, will be in jeopardy which means that many fewer entry level jobs for high school and college kids in one of the most depressed area in the state.

2.  As you know I make my living off my readers $305 a week for an awful lot of hours.  What you likely don’t know is I do almost all of the grocery shopping for the house.  While everyone knows I buy all of my meats at Romano’s Market I do my grocery shopping at Market Basket.

Why?  Because even though multiple Walmarts, Adli, Hannafords and Shaws are all within a 5-15 minute drive from my home none of them match Market Basket’s prices and it’s not close.

Let me tell you something.  When you’ve started your own business, empited your retirement accounts to keep the bills paid, when you are drawing your first pay in 5 years and that “check” its 37% of what you used to make with no benefits, no retirement and totally dependent on the mood of your readers and when you  don’t take a dime in food stamps, you learn in a hurry how to maximize your shopping dollars.

So yes I have a bias of self interest here.  Feel free to adjust your opinion of this piece based upon it. in any way you wish.

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Olimometer 2.52

I mentioned yesterday that the stats for Monday dictated that the best move for me was to lead with Trayvon Market yesterday.

What a lot of regular national readers might be surprised to hear is my single most popular post yesterday was my post on Market Basket, in fact though a local story it outdrew all my Trayvon posts combined.

Since the blog is my primary income and since it’s tip jar hits that pays the bills $305 weekly paycheck lets see if the local readers can finish the job.

5 readers kicking in $22 fills DaPayCheck for the week and means Thursday, Friday and Saturday are tip jar shaking free.

What could be better than that?

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Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other

Benjamin Franklin

As everyone knows I’m a big advocate of the Free Market. the Market free to make its own decision based on their own self-interest tends to create a stronger economy as all sides do their best to compete for the dollars of the customer base.

That’s why in the latest version of the great Demoulas wars pitting two Demoulas cousins,  Arthur T, vs Arthur S against each other , I would, if on the board of directors vote with Arthur T.

Let’s look at the facts. what is the case for removing Arthur T?:

Arthur S. and his allies have argued in court documents that Arthur T. has mismanaged the company and ignored the authority of its board.

Well if that’s the case the nine shareholders who all happen to be members of the Demoulas family must be doing pretty bad and the 71 stores must be in horrible shape.

documents indicate that Arthur S.’s family has received roughly $500 million in dividends over the past decade

$500 million?  That’s a hell of a chunk of change, but in fairness that’s over ten years, it’s easy to paint a pretty picture when you include the Bush years with the Obama years, how about right now in the worst economy that we have seen in our lifetimes?

In a recent interview, Arthur T. Demoulas said that Market Basket has performed well under his five-year tenure as chief executive, recording net income of $217 million in 2012 on $4 billion in revenue.

Do you mean to say that Arthur T as Chief Executive managed to produce a $217 million dollar profit last year? (over 5%). Can it actually be that during one of the roughest times in our nation Arthur T ran the company at a profit and managed to do so without massive debt?  I’m impressed and apparently I’m not alone:

“First and foremost, if you see what the company has done in the last five or six years, it’s nothing short of remarkable,” said former state Sen. Steven Panagiotakos, whose two daughters work for Market Basket part-time when not in school.

“It’s hard to understand why they’d want to change leadership in the midst of all this success they’re seeing right now,” Panagiotakos added.

Well he must be using an iron hand to wring out these kind of profits I mean the employees must really be exploited

While they were off the clock, Jake Barisano, 19, and Brent Gellerson, 18, rallied for Demoulas with posters, petitioning pages, and current articles on the family feud that has been stirring up recent headlines.

Since Saturday, Market Basket employees have been stationed outside the Somersworth store and as of Monday, 2,500 signatures had been gathered.

Market Basket staffers indicate they will be educating all who will listen until the decision is made this Thursday. Employees claim the removal of their current CEO will change their store, and its motto “more for your dollar.”

What? Well that’s just one store….

yesterday, employees outside Market Basket locations in Haverhill and Londonderry asked customers to sign a petition in support of Arthur T. Demoulas. A similar “Save Market Basket” petition boasts over 35,000 online signatures.

In fact I’ve seen the very same thing at the locations in Fitchburg that I’ve visited.  Every employee I’ve talked to, NON UNION employes mind you, seem to be banding together to support their CEO.

This doesn’t seem to make sense, after all aren’t we constantly told that without unions employes are abused. Why would these people at all these locations be so wiling to go to bat for the rich owner? Why take sides in a family feud? Well in fairness there are millions of reasons:

The protesting shareholders have been especially outraged by a profit-sharing plan that they believe has enriched rank-and-file employees at the expense of the family. Indeed, Arthur T. Demoulas proudly declares that some employees retire with well over $1 million in their profit-sharing plans.

In one telling episode, one of the funds in which the profit-sharing money is invested suffered a $46 million quarterly loss during the 2008 financial meltdown. Arthur T. Demoulas says he insisted that the company immediately make up the loss to his employees’ accounts. That enraged his cousins, who maintained that no investment comes without risk.

That’s a big chuck of change that normally would have been split among the 9 shareholders and they have a point about the normal risks of investments but what did that blip in the bottom line buy the company?

“This company has 25,000 employees working very harmoniously, who are happy,” Arthur T. Demoulas said. “Our customers are happy. Our vendors are happy. Then you have three or four shareholders who are unhappy.”

It would seem to me that if you have a company that is running smoothly, that is making a solid profit and has a loyal customer base and a loyal employee base.  It’s pretty foolish to punish success.

But this company is not mine, it belongs to the shareholders I may have an opinion on the matter but I don’t work there, my sons don’t work there and it’s been almost 30 years since my wife was a cashier there.

So why on earth did I Mr. Free market sign that petition to keep Arthur T on the board?  My own self-interest.

How on earth is preventing a change in control of the company in my self interest?  Well that’s a post for tomorrow.

 

Update:  Fixed repeated paragraph

Update 2: Two notes to local readers, If you see a plump fellow in a Doctor Who Scarf and a hat, odds are it is me, additionally you can find me Saturday’s Noon till 2 EST on the Money Matters Radio network. WBNW, WPLM, WESO. Odds are we will discuss this subject (along with the return of Twinkies 1st hour)

Fitchburg had its Annual 4th of July parade and like every year I found one particular moment the most emblematic of what America is:

and there was Annie DiMartino as well with Ginny’s food pantry’s float

I took a lot of photos…

and recorded several other videos of the start of the parade

If you don’t like police sirens you won’t like that video, but if you like classic cars you’ll like this one

bands

and Bagpipes and pols:

there was an odd pause

then the parade resumed, oddly enough there were not a lot of military groups, I didn’t see the Gold Star mothers this year, any tea party groups, or even the people who traditionally have shopping carriages of toys for kids, but there was one political group that showed the American Term Limits party.

I suspect we will see a lot more of these folks.

There are some minor updates to the story of the Body Found on Maverick Street Fitchburg a few days ago.

I’ve looked at the police logs, the police were notified of the body by a call from 100 Maverick about the vehicle in front of the house for an extended time with a person in the passenger seat.

This would explain the seeming nonchalance I observed from the residence while observing the police at work with a body right in front of the house.

I also have reason to believe the witness who claimed to see the deceased enter the residence may have been mistaken.

Secondly there seems to be an interesting amount of silence on this event. Fitchburg Police did not comment beyond the log entries referring me to the State Police and the State Police referred me to the Worcester DA’s office have not returned my calls concerning this event.

As police did not close off the street at the time nor was there signs of any kind of search of the surrounding area at the time this would seem to preclude death by the direct actions of another yet if this was a death by natural causes sudden heart attack or stroke I presume silence would not be so golden.

If you do a google search for “body maverick street” the top five results are my post and the videos I shot at the scene.

Nothing else.

Not a one liner in a local paper, not a blog post from a chat room, not a local weekly, not an interested , not a facebook entry or a photo of the truck and trailer like this one:

mv 001

Not even a cell phone image.

If this was 100 years, 50 years, 25 years or even 10 years ago that wouldn’t be odd, but 2013? The year everyone has a phone that takes pictures and video, where if you fart in Uganda the whole world knows about it not a blip, not a sausage not a peep except for me?

Does anyone else find that just a bit odd?

A body of an unknown individual was discovered this afternoon on Maverick Street in Fitchburg Massachusetts.

Multiple Fitchburg detectives are currently on the scene examining the Red Truck with commercial plates with a car carrier in tow (and a new red Mercedes on it) and have removed items from said vehicle. The body wearing white sneakers is currently lying covered perpendicular to the truck in question.

Police are keeping the curious away from the Maverick Street school where the body is currently laying but have not closed the street at this time. Police have spoken to at least two people in the area who have cooperated with police but declined to comment at this time to this reporter.

The street has not been closed to residents at this time but police have described this as an active scene.

More to come…

Update: Spoke to a witness who claims to have seen the driver of the truck with the trailer park in front of a white multi-family home at 100 Maverick and enter the premisses. The witness identified the driver of the truck as the deceased and said he was alone.

Update 2: In the process of uploading several videos I shot at the time I’ve talked to several neighbors and one eye-witness.

Between 3-4 PM the Red Ford Truck with a car carrier turned onto Fulton Street nearly striking another vehicle that had to swerve toward Romano’s to avoid it. The truck parked in front of 100 Maverick street. A witness who earlier spoke to police said a person in a black t-shirt got out of the cars and was speaking to someone on a cell phone. The odd thing was the person (the deceased) was standing in the middle of the street rather than on the sidewalk while making the call.

Witnesses who saw the truck assumed they might be delivering the Red Mercedes.

A different witness claimed the man entered the multi family at 100 Maverick.

At the same time a block away a large accident took place that drew police fire and ambulance and a large crowd from the area.

I arrived on the scene just after 6 PM

police had covered the body and were searching the van keeping people at least 5 yards away from the body.

Detectives examined the contents of the truck and removed several items from truck.

I don’t know if the car was incidental or not at this point but police didn’t shut down the street. At lease one car arrived at the house at 100 at that time, the people seemed strangely (at least to me) unconcerned about the body.

I then left, got my laptop and returned to the scene and talked to two witnesses that gave me the basis for the following report

I also noticed that several people arrived at the multi family during this time

A person living at 100 did not take kindly to my report claiming it was inaccurate but they declined to speak to me or elaborate.

After the body was removed a tow truck arrived but tow the pair but a second larger truck was needed to tow both the truck and the car carrier together. During this time I spoke to other neighbors and eyewitnesses who provided me with the information above and was the basis for this final video:

None of this information establishes a cause of death, suicide, heart attack, drugs, accident, but I was told that any further question would be handled by the Massachusetts State Police which has implication of its own

That is currently what I know

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Olimometer 2.52

News is news, world, national, state or local and if I’m aware of it and have access I’ll bring it to you.

If you think this reporting is worth your while then consider kicking into DaTipJar below. Nine more tip jar hitters will get me my full paycheck for the week.

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There is a lot more to the Blizzard of 2013 than the two videos you have seen so far. There is the prep of getting what you need:

Like Ice melt
Blizzard photos 003

shovels

Blizzard photos 002

and flashlights (which Bob tests before they go out).

Blizzard photos 001

There was the calm before the storm

The Fifth Street Diner proclaimed they would be open when the snow came

Proud words, but then the snow came

Blizzard photos 010

A lot of snow

Blizzard photos 011

So I went down to see if the 5th street diner folk made it in:

Blizzard photos 004
They did:

The Plow Drivers were in to eat

Blizzard photos 014

as were some people in the neighborhood

But the coolest person was Norma

Blizzard photos 015

I don’t know about walking in the snow to school years ago but she sure walked in snow to get breakfast.

When it comes down to it, Their business is how they pay the rent, if they aren’t open the bills aren’t paid so when people talk about Americans not willing to work, that certainly doesn’t include these folk.

I returned to the scene of the Blast at Victory Auto Parts in Fitchburg Today:

Victory Auto Blast Update Stills 002

The damage is more impressive in the light of day. The Blast took out the office on the left side of the building

Victory Auto Blast Update Stills 008

Dropped bits of it

Victory Auto Blast Update Stills 003

in the surrounding trees

Victory Auto Blast Update Stills 007

And blew out windows in the house next door

Victory Auto Blast Update Stills 004

As the building department meets with the owners (who normally would have been in that office that exploded).

Victory Auto Blast Update Stills 005

The question became why a gas explosion in a building heated by oil?

it appears the leak came from an old capped off gas line, and the gas built up and was set off by something. The explosion being under the office would also explain why the blast didn’t kill or seriously injure the people actually in the business at the time of the blast.

The Boston Networks are all over the place

Victory Auto Blast Update Stills 009

The Donut shop across the street is doing some business from the news people in town no word if Conquest video is as well.

Victory Auto Blast Update Stills 010

My final report

So two business closed, perhaps permanently but all things considered given strength of the blast there are a lot more blessings to count than costs in the light of day.

Update: MSM reports Fox, CBS Boston, 7 News, WCVB 5, NECN twice, the Globe, the Worcester Telegram and of course the Sentinel and Enterprise

According to Mayor Lisa Wong, the explosion broke every window in the Linwood Street home closest to the building, leaving its two occupants without a place to stay until the glass is cleaned up and the windows replaced.

Residents in the surrounding neighborhoods felt the force of the blast. Kristy Murphey, 23, was home dyeing her hair with her roommates when they felt the house move.

“We thought a car hit the house,” said Murphey’s roommate, Vanna Rawleigh, 28.

They ran outside to see what happened as a crowd gathered around the site.

The “car hit the house” was the common theme when talking to people about the event.

There was an explosion at the Victory Auto Parts in Fitchburg here is a quick summary and a gallery of photos

EXPECT UPDATES

Text summary:

At approx 5;20 PM an explosion took place at Victory Auto Parts in Fitchburg. Two gentlemen were inside the building at the counter of the business that was open at the time amazingly suffered no serious injuries. The blast broke open the building causing bricks to crumble off of it. Within minutes the fire department was on the scene, the two men were questioned inside an ambulance on the scene but the only visible injury was a small cut to the forehead of one of the men.

fitchburg explosion 002

The blast broke windows blocks away including at a gas station down the road. Witnesses at the local donut shop, tattoo parlor, Gas station and Pizzeria all said their buildings. People as far as winter street said they felt a building shake and one gentlemen in his garage two streets over thought someone had crashed into his place as did a business owner two full blocks away.

fitchburg explosion 007

Aldrich Auto Body across the street took damage as did the prime gas station a block & a half away. The clerk at a local Sunoco gas station said cigarettes fell off his wall and glass panes cracked in houses up and down the street.

fitchburg explosion 006

There are conflicting reports on if there was gas in the building but nobody saw any fire. Mayor Lisa Wong was on the scene being briefed and both local and state police joined fire and Unitil workers examining the area.

The lack of injuries was rather remarkable.

Mike’s Pizza report

My initial arrival

Interview with a person from Winter Street

Firemen at the scene

More reporting

The Patrons of the Donut shop nearby

Update 2: More videos

Attendant from Prime gas

Fitchburg Tattoo parlor

I’d hate to have the needle on me when that explosion took place bzzzzzz OOPS

And the clerk at the Sunoco

More information the next morning.

Wednesday Congresswoman Niki Tsongas came to the Fitchburg Public Library for her first event in Fitchburg since being sworn in as the representative in congress for the 3rd district.

tsongas 001

The event: “Congress on your Corner” consisted of one on one (or two on one) meetings with various constituents from the district.

tsongas 002

The format was surprise to most of the people who arrived expecting a town hall-style event. At least one person who came decided to leave thinking the format was not conducive the type of open public debate she was looking for.

Personally I think the one on one setup is a good idea. Most people don’t get a chance to meet their representative in congress let alone get private time face to face.

The event was announced through robo-calls (I received one myself), through the local paper. and via her site. I arrived about 30 minutes early and only a handful of people were waiting but by the time Congresswoman Tsongas arrived the crowd continued to grow until it was well over 35.

Local Pols were well represented no fewer than 4 members of the Fitchburg City Counsel attended. Mayor Lisa Wong was there, and State reps Jen Flanagan & Steve DiNatale also came.
tsongas 004

Congresswoman Tsongas met the local pols en mass near the start She commented those meetings are important because “…they are tasked with managing the affairs of the community.”

tsongas 008

Due to the number of people there about 3 minutes were allocated per person (or pair who choose to go in together) but even with a short period of time the I think it’s a good thing for voters to meet their member of congress one on one.

Local republicans were well represented. A regular guest to my show Mary Lotz had some time with the congresswoman and was unimpressed

People had different agendas, the Local Imam Bashir Uddin Mehmud & his son came to introduce himself and the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to the congresswoman while Robert Landry had a question concerning film-making in Devens. Both were interested in a local congressional office in the city.

The Press was well represented, the Worcester Telegram and the Sentinel & Enterprise were both there talking to both voters and Congresswoman Tsongas. When the event was over the Congresswoman gave me a few minutes of her time.

She did say she would be doing town halls both standard and electronic.

Her aides were very cooperative (one is a HUGE Dr. Who fan) and the Congresswoman took some time to speak to me as she left. As one of her constituents I stressed cutting spending first on the budget.

I’m sure over the next two years we will be disagreeing a lot and I’ll be calling her on those disagreements but as for this event, I think it was a proper use of her time. There is no more important thing a member of congress can do than meet with the people who elect them.

Because of my late night last night I didn’t get to the polls until 11:30

The lines were VERY long and had been all day.

According to the numbers my particular ward is seeing nearly triple the normal votes, I suspect this is due to the Brown Warren Race

Half this number due to two page ballot

Here is my live report

As always Annie DiMartino was outside the polls for the Democrats and as always she had something to say


I wish she was one of ours and she told me off camera (but on the record) if Rick Santorum had been the GOP nominee she would have crossed over and voted for him.

Three GOP wins in the congress? Which seats? She wouldn’t say

I also ran into Patti Buckley running for Register of deeds in her first ever race

And interviewed her

But the HUGE news of the day was this table

and this sign

This tells me the inactive voter rules, what I call the Massachusetts Voter ID law is being enforced, at least in Fitchburg. The dual table system is an excellent idea because it doesn’t hold up lines and allows people who have to produce ID’s etc to do so without any kind of embarrassment but if this law is being enforced all over the state this could be an epic change in Massachusetts from here on in. I’ll be checking on this as the day goes on.

Update: Talked to Rosemary Reynolds whose daughter is opposing Patti Buckley

At her voting area there were further tables for “inactive voters” I found such a thing at every location I went to, I checked at City Hall and they had been taking a continual round of calls trying to sort out people who had not sent in their city census, I’ll be checking other cities to see how this is being done.

Meanwhile in Ward 3 I saw something I have never seen before a CNN /ABC etc etc exit poll person:

I have never seen an exit pollster locally.

Oddest election day sight is this one:

What’s life without whimsy?
My plan next is to start hitting outlying towns on the way to Boston and the Romney event.

Update: Leominster reports long lines all day

The GOP office in Leominster

running at full steam calling up a storm for Justin Brooks & Scott Brown

Shirley: The lines for voting stretch out into the street

Ayer: Down the Aisle, the stairs and the corridor just to get in

I don’t know if anyone is staying home at all.

The Moran Square Diner has been a Fitchburg fixture for decades host


hosting locals. Years ago Senator Edward Kennedy put away a Cheeseburger and a dog at this corner booth during his visit.

With election day 24 hours away Senator Scott Brown Bus came to Fitchburg

and after speaking to the crowd

sat in that very same booth

The Kennedy booth becomes the People’s booth

greeting voters and talking to people at lunch turning the “Kennedy” seat into the “People” seat as he seeks re-election and a full six year term to represent the people of Massachusetts.

It’s not surprising he would find himself in Fitchburg, and not just for the incredible breakfasts and lunch that owner Chris Giannetti has been serving to hungry customers for years.

or the hot chocolate that his daughter enjoyed after a brief interview:

good reasons thought they are.

It was because Fitchburg was one of the key cities that took Brown over the top, shocking pundits nationally and locally with his special election win in January 2010 which was the harbinger of the electoral pounding the left received 10 months. Inspiring GOP challengers such as Jon Golnik running in districts like Ma-3 where once the left once ran unopposed.

His 2010 victory remains a driver as the nation heads for the polls in 2012.

Gail Huff, wife of Senator Scott Brown greets a voter

It’s not an easy road. Incumbency is one of the few advantages Senator Brown brings to the race in 2012, this time around. Massachusetts remains a deep blue state (+25 registration advantage for democrats), instead of a special election with only his race to be decided he faces democrats above and below his spot on the ticket all trying to drive the faithful to the polls and finally he faces in Elizabeth Warren a person with a national following and reputation and millions of dollars to back her from some of the biggest donors the Democrat party has.

GOP candidate for Ma-3 Jon Golnik greets voters in Fitchburg before the Arrival of Senator Brown

These are tough hills to climb for Senator Brown and a source of comfort for Elizabeth Warren

But alas for Professor Warren, Senator Brown counters with two other advantages she cannot match for all the Hollywood dollars she may have to spend. He comes bearing a record as one of the most moderate Senators in the congress at a time where gridlock is a dirty word and “bi-partisan” is the favorite phrase of the media. He spoke of this in his initial remarks:

It’s very hard to condemn your opponent as an “extremist” when he votes against his own party 40% of the time.

Secondly there is Senator Brown demeanor.

Senator Brown has a well-earned reputation for listening to the voters no matter if they agree with him or no and being there when the voters need him. For years people on the right who wondered how Ted Kennedy kept his seat never taking into account his legendary reputation for constituent services. It is no accident that after being elected Senator Brown retained a fair amount of that Kennedy staff and shares that same reputation for listening to and taking care of the voters who sent him to Washington.

Senator Brown with a family at Moran Square Diner

This is why every poll of voters in the state during this race shows him drawing Democrats in numbers that no Republican in the country could ever dream of and why Fitchburg a city where, as Counselor at large Marcus DiNatale notes, Democrats have a 35 point registration advantage can be one of the cornerstones of Senator Brown’s re-election plans.

National Democrats considered this race their linchpin to retain the US senate in 2012, But as the latest polls and Senator Brown’s dogged campaign shows millions of dollars from the biggest elite donors from around the country will be hard pressed to counter a hand shaken in person and an ear willing to listen to a voter, any voter no matter what the party affiliation.

Democrats were shocked at Scott Brown taking “the Kennedy Seat” but as Senator Brown finished his meal in the booth once graced by his illustrious predecessor the left’s shock in 2010 is slowing becoming their resignation of 2012.

“I don’t make that tax pledge to just Grover Norquist, I make that tax pledge to every hard working man and women in this room here today!”

Jon Golnik at yesterday’s debate

Yesterday Congresswoman Niki Tsongas and challenger Jon Golnik met for their third and final debate before the election next month at Fitchburg State University.

The Crowd outside was loud

And there was some Gary Johnson supporters in the crowd too:

And the Crowd inside was not bad either

And included some local pols

The Panel represented the Sentinel & Enterprise and the college:

As for the debate itself I thought Golnik has his best debate, helped by an active crowd, he pressed his advantage on several questions such as Libya

and Taxes:

and I thought his Are you better off than you were before theme continues to score point in a community that is frankly depressed:

Tsongas’ best moments were concentrating on her service, on Military students:

And Transportation:

There was real substance in this debate and a real contrast between the candidates. Golnik had the line of the night when challenged over signing the Norquist pledge

“I don’t make that tax pledge to just Grover Norquist, I make that tax pledge to every hard working man and women in this room here today!”

I think Golnik clearly won this round but his biggest problem is getting his message that has appeal in this district out there. Considering that Scott Brown took the district by 15 points that Brown’s name was not invoked AGAIN by him totally confuses me.

Golnik is underfunded by a National GOP that doesn’t see the opportunity in this district, he can win if properly backed in the home stretch to get his message out. Will they and can he will be the deciding factor in this race.

Here are the remaining questions from the debate: Continue reading “Golnik Tsongas Round 3 in Fitchburg the Video”

I haven’t done a Saturday Diner’s post in a while so lets catch up.

I went to the River City Diner yesterday before the show

It’s on airport road in the same building as the Dance Arts Studio.

It is rather lovely inside, my wife particularly likes these stencils

The menu features a “make your own omelet” but the real gems in the menu isn’t mentioned.

It’s in the Burgers & the Steak. All of burgers come from Romanos’ Market with a specific cut and when you get the steak and eggs as I did…

…you are eating Romano’s steaks and when it comes to quality, that’s all you need to know.

Here are the photos and videos from last week’s Madonna Della Cava festival

The Procession in:

The Entrance of the banners

The Food:

And the Honor guard

A few full size shots:

The Banner

A slightly damp procession

The Knights

The Band

And the New (“1933” Banner found this year).

You’ll note there are less pictures than last year, had to run some errands and had to grab some batteries for the camera in the middle of it.

The full gallery is below

After the debate between Tom Weaver & Jon Golnik I stopped by Espresso Pizza and ran into some young people who are participating in the YMCA Summer Basketball program:

I talked to the young men involved.

The most important line from this interview is the bit about staying out of trouble.

This is another example of the YMCA doing yeoman’s work.

One might think this is a minor thing, but from little things like this come bigger things later.

Yesterday I went to Fitchburg State University to cover the debate between GOP candidates Tom Weaver and Jon Golnik.

When I arrived it was clear which candidate had more organization as a large standout for Jon Golnik in front of the venue.

and a fair amount of signs as well:

I interviewed one of the people standing out:

The number at the standout increased as the night went on.

Tom Weaver had already arrived:

I interviewed him before the debate

The Panel asking questions represented Fitchburg State which hosted the event along with the Sentinel & Enterprise and the Fitchburg Republican City Committee which sponsored the event.

I interviewed Professor Weizer before the debate:

along with Steve DiNatale the Democrat rep for Fitchburg:

I then saw Jon Golnek and he gave me some time before things started:

FSU’s president moderated the debate:

Unfortunately due to water main break phones and internet is down but a reporter from the Sentinel/Enterprise with an air card was live tweeting

The candidates sat next to each other

I took a pan of the crowd

and things got underway

Continue reading “Ma-3 GOP Golnik/Weaver debate DaTechGuy Coverage”

Tom Weaver spoke and took questions at yesterday’s GOP committee meeting:

I asked him about Obamacare and Nikki Tsongas support of it but the best point he made was about getting Romney fired up:

“I don’t think there is anything we can say that not going to be classified as racist”

Once Republicans in General and the Romney campaign in particular figure this out, then they will be able to handle anything the MSM throw at him. And believe me considering how bad it’s going to be for these guys, they are going it’s going to get a lot worse.

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The DaTechGuy fundraiser is still in progress, We are a quarter of the way to my July 30th goal and any help would be appreciated.

For details click here for the progress check the thermometer to the right and to kick in hit DaTipJar”.





In my coverage of the Fitchburg July 4th Parade I had the chance to interview Congresswoman Nikki Tsongas as she marched.

In addition to her answer on the Swatting letter (she knew nothing about it) there was some news made concerning Obamacare

DaTechGuy: The president’s healthcare plan has been upheld as constitutional will you be campaigning on support for that plan?

Congresswoman Tsongas: Absolutely, I’ve been a strong supporter for it from the outset. We need to provide adequate healthcare for the millions of Americans who do not have it and we need to work very hard at bringing down the cost so that we can all afford to buy the insurance we need.

In an election where the result is going to decide if Obamacare remains the law of the land, this position, and props to her for not equivocating on it, could make a big difference come November.

Just to remind you Scott Brown won Fitchburg with 58.9% of the vote vs Coakley’s 39.9%. That 19 POINTS out of 9461 votes cast.

If I’m Nikki Tsongas, I’d be spending an awful lot of time here over the next 4 months.

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The DaTechGuy Fundraiser is in progress, our goal is $3000 and right now I’m doing worse than Martha Coakley did in Fitchburg in Jan 2010. Any help is appreciated. For details click here for the progress check the thermometer to the right and to kick in hit DaTipJar”.





Once again I present Fitchburg’s 4th of July parade

Hey Jeffreys advertises with me so their video goes up first….

Unlike previous years where I stayed pretty much in a one block area I started near the assembly point

Bagpipes in the shade

and then basically walked ahead of the parade during the route taking photos of the people watching it.

A good day for an old fashioned porch

It was a good day for having a front porch

or umbrellas

and umbrellas

and of course for the vendors

One of the things I noticed is that while the early sections of the parade where not as highly populated as normal as you went farther down the parade the crowd really thickened up

When I reached the end I turned around and walked back taking pictures and counting the people.

By the time I got to the end of the parade I had counted 4850 but there were three full blocks. as a full block where the people had already started leaving. Since I started there I’m I’d say we are talking 400 more So we are talking 5200 folks all together.

Here are a few highlights before the entire gallery. Congresswoman Nikki Tsongas marched in the Fitchburg for the first time as it has been added to her district:

I think it’s very good that she is backing Obamacare, it gives a solid contrast which is what elections are all about.

The GOP types were at the end

Gotta love bagpipes:

and of course the flag

talked to the Local Iman, the parade goes right by Fitchburg’s Mosque

If you want to see peaceful Islam, this guy is it.

The coolest float was Halloween costume world

And here are the photos after the jump: enjoy.

Continue reading “Photos from the Fitchburg July 4th Parade”

On Thursday the Fitchburg Republican Committee had its monthly meeting

and in addition to picking a new Chairman:

They entertained the two GOP candidates for congress in Ma-3 Jon Golnik:

and Tom Weaver:

Mr. Golnick spoke first

Followed by Mr. Weaver:

Both answered questions, Mr. Golnik on Hilary Rosen:

Mr. Weaver on Polls

Mr Golnik on the War on Religion:

and Mr. Weaver on the EPA

Both gave time to voters who wanted to ask question and it is by engaging with voters in this way that portends the best chance for either candidate to make the new Massachusetts 3rd district republican.

I went with my wife today to Romano’s Mkt to order a Ham for Easter Dinner when I struck up a conversation with Mike and his sons. Josh, his oldest was cutting meat for Hamburg and said they couldn’t keep it in the store since the news of Pink Slime, the meat by-product that has been in the news came out. I didn’t actually know what Pink Slime was so I asked and they said, well I’ll let you see what they said themselves:

As far as Mike and his sons are concerned there is only one place for that kind of stuff:

The parts that don't make it into a romano's steak or burger

If you aren’t buying your meat from Romano’s Mkt or someone like him, you oughta be.

Reminder sign, Shirley Mass

With SuperTuesday upon us here in Massachusetts the time had come to see exactly what the situation was at the polls today.

I started in Fitchburg in Ward 1.

The reports were of slow turnout both precincts were below 40 voters at 11:30.

My next stop was ward 4 in Leominster, I followed a Prius with an Obama 2008 bumper sticker to the polling place. Talk about your stereotypes.

Ward 4 is split between two different buildings B & C were in the Vets center and A is in the senior center. As in Fitchburg turnout was down although 4B had managed to break the 100 mark to Leominster. They had meticulous notes concerning past election days, hour by hour results for each year including the weather for each day. They really knew their trends and the trend was down.

My plan was to head west at this point but I received a call saying my son and his friend needed a ride home from school, so I hit the highway figuring to go to Ayer and backtrack. I hit route 2 East (to my surprise passing my 87 yr old mother on the highway) and took the exit bringing me to the Nashoba club, I ordered some lunch and ran down the street to the Town Hall as it was cooking:

The Town Hall looked pretty organized, as at the other locations turnout was down. There was some issue about some democrats being unclear if they could vote today, not that there was much of a choice to make.

From there I headed back to the Nashoba club, wolfed down lunch and then headed toward Lunenburg, when I pulled into the town hall I discovered that voting took place in the elementary school, as I didn’t have time to backtrack I headed to Townsend. It was the only parking lot I saw all day totally full.

However a lot of that was the poll workers. The most interesting thing about the Townsend numbers were the totals

Pct 1 -156 Pct 151, Pct 142.

It was a rather even turnout, the Warden told me they had just redrawn their lines and the numbers were pretty close, however as before the actual turnout was down, they hoped to get 1200, but figured they would be lucky if they did.

Townsend was also the first polling place where I saw a sign for a presidential candidate (Romney) planted in the snow.

From there I rushed back to Fitchburg arriving about 8 minutes late, grabbed the kids and we hit our ward in Fitchburg, Ward 6 where my son Daniel cast his very first vote.

He gets a lot of razzing for registering Republican in school (Repubicans are only 11% statewide) but the people at the polling place were delighted to see a young person voting for the first time, even diehard Democrat Anne DiMartino voiced her approval but said she wouldn’t ask who he voted for as she wouldn’t like the answer.

After dropping off the Crystal in Leominster I headed back to Lunenburg. Lunenburg was the only town where I wasn’t allowed in the room proper, but the warden went in and brought out the numbers for me. By this time is was about 3 p.m and the four precincts varied from 105 to 148 voters less that 10% of the 7000 registered voters in the town.

From Lunenburg I headed for Groton. On my way to ward 1 I noticed for the only time today people holding signs for a presidential candidate

Who would have thought the only people willing to hold signs I’d find today would be Obama people? Although they weren’t willing to be interviewed I commented on it when I stopped at the polling place.

I had heard reports of democrats taking ballots to write in candidates other than Obama, but there was none of that in this town, however like all the others the turnout was low.

From Groton it was off to Shirley. Shirley has the seemingly smallest area for the workers but they were extremely friendly. By 4 p.m. about 12% of registered voters had turned out.

Shirley also had the only other sign I saw near a polling place, one for Newt. I really expected to see more Ron Paul people out.

At this point it was getting late and I wanted to head home hoping to beat daWife to the house to get some dishes done before she got home but before I did I headed back to Ward 1 in Fitchburg to see if the crowd had increased as the day went on. Although nearly 5 hours had passed since my first visit and the weather was considerably warmer the numbers had not managed to even double.

So bottom line, 7 towns very little turnout. although one might think this would favor the underdogs who might be more motivated I suspect this is very good news for Gov Romney. The one hallmark of his campaign has been very good organization, I highly doubt his organization would not make sure his voters were out in the state where he will be speaking.

My guess as of 6 p.m. Mitt Romney managed to break the 50% mark here in Massachusetts.

The river street Dunkin Donuts in Fitchburg was apparently robbed today around 3 p.m. EST.

Dunkin Donuts River Street Fitchburg

Police responded quickly to the scene not far away from the center of town and closed off the coffee shop to visitors during their investigations

A fitchburg police car blocks access to the Dunkin donuts on River Street in Fitchburg

When I passed by two marked and one unmarked car was on the scene, while I was there a third marked car arrived

A third Fitchburg Policeman arrives at the Dunkin Donuts on River street Fitchburg

An officer I spoke to could not comment referring questions to his superiors. Unconfirmed reports suggest the robber fled in a waiting car, no word on if he was armed or if anyone was hurt at this time.

And again that is why you always carry a camera so you can be there when news breaks

Update:
scale command failed, fixed

It’s the day before thanksgiving, today the mob scene at Romano’s down the street is only minutes away from starting:

I had totally forgotten about St. Patrick’s day, it’s so busy because he corns tons of beef right on the premises as we documented a year ago.

I’ll head back later in the day to show you what a rush really looks like. And if you haven’t picked up your bird yet, they still have a few in stock.