Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

March 7, 2013


The Andover Townsman

---- — It’s the least wonderful time of the year. The holidays are no longer even specks in the rear-view mirror. Forget about reaching spring, when the wind whips, even mud season still seems weeks away. We live surrounded by the blackening remains of sand-encrusted snow piles. Some of us could use a pick-me-up. So, below are a handful of items in this paper worthy of bringing a smile to your face.

RESPONSIBLE YOUTH: Nicholas Duda, an 11-year-old Chandler Road resident, is receiving praise this week for keeping his head and calling emergency professionals when family friend Corinne Keeler, who watches him after school, suffered serious complications suddenly as a result of a recent surgery. Keeler says, “I wouldn’t be here if not for Nicholas.”

Unfortunately, Nicholas has been around sickness before, when his father had a heart attack and when his mother was dealing with cancer.

“My parents have taught me to be strong when stuff like this happens and I try to do that,” Nicholas told reporter Judy Wakefield.

Here’s hoping there’s no need for Nicholas to show his obvious inner strength for a long time. But if there is a need, if another emergency arises, we suspect he’ll rise to the challenge again.

It’s a good reminder for adults that the kids we worry about are capable of some pretty great and mature accomplishments.

TEAM EFFORT: There was a strong showing of Andover police present to support the official vote to make Sgt. Patrick Keefe the incoming Andover police chief.

When current Chief Brian Pattullo became chief, he had to build the department back into a team because morale was quite low, and grievances were quite high. Keefe is inheriting a much stronger, more together department, and that’s good news for Andover residents who respect the law. We wish Patrick Keefe well as he prepares to assume command.

HELPING HANDS: As Andover seniors head toward their final months of school, many will compete for scholarship money. Fortunately there are many community organizations that help Andover students with the near overwhelming costs of advanced education.

On the Education page this week we note the five $2,000 scholarships offered by the Andona Society. Andona raises its cash through community events like the downtown carnival ClownTown that people enjoy anyway. In a real sense, they provide a double benefit for Andover youth. And they are not alone in doing so.

PERSONABLE TOUCH: Mary Leone, 87, has been working at what is now the Bank of America building at 23 Main St. for 65 years. She has been there to greet customers to Fleet Bank, Bank Boston, BayBank, Andover National and other banks dating back to her first job in the building in 1944. Her coworker, branch Assistant Manager Nancy Rubenstein who has worked with Leone for more than two decades, told reporter Dustin Luca that Leone keeps in touch with former coworkers and that people come into the bank looking for her.

Leone sounds like the type of woman who can help make a huge impersonal institution feel a bit more like the neighborhood establishments of old. That feeling keeps community alive and helps continue to drive people to the downtown.

Speaking of which, here’s a final cheer, this one for the 22 businesses taking part in this weekend’s Boutique Blowout, an organized effort to show what the downtown has to offer, while offering residents some deals. Such teamwork also will keep the downtown strong and attractive to customers, who in many cases are fellow townspeople.