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Cromwell reinstatement is ‘injustice’

The selectmen of Shirley have committed a grave injustice against the town of Shirley. In a shameful act, Cappucci and Haase reinstated disgraced former officer Alfreda Cromwell. Not only did they reinstate her but they promoted her to lieutenant and gave her back pay.

This is outrageous. Ms. Cromwell was correctly demoted for dereliction of duty and then fired for lying under oath. What Haase and Capuccuci have done is send the signal it doesn’t matter how bad you screw up, we will keep you and reward you.

Ms. Cromwell has no business being a police officer. Her incompetence and dereliction of duty on TWO Child Abuse cases caused irreparable harm to the victims and their families. The report done by Alfred P. Donovan clearly shows everything she did wrong. Ms. Cromwell was given a tablet with graphic photographs and asked by the victim’s family to turn it over to the State Police Crime Lab. She did not take a statement, process the evidence or file a report. She did not turn over the tablet to the crime lab. The photos were irretrievable because she did nothing. She did nothing for 132 days until ordered to by the chief. During that time, she repeatedly failed to answer messages left by the family. She violated department rules, including 5.1 Neglect of Duty, 5.2 Incompetence, 9.0 Attention to duty, 9.19 Treatment of Evidence, 11.5 Care and Custody of Property 12.1 Filing reports. This wasn’t the only time she failed.

In the second case, she again failed to follow up on a case of child abuse. A mother reported her child was being abused to Ms. Cromwell. She again failed to document anything. She ignored the mother’s phone calls. She missed meetings with the district attorney’s office. She did not conduct any interviews or make any arrest. The case had to be assigned to another officer who had to start from scratch because there wasn’t any documentation. The mother described it as being victimized all over again. This is the kind of person the selectmen want as a police officer?

To this date Ms. Cromwell has never apologized to the victims and their families or even admitted she did something wrong. Her gross incompetence and dereliction of duty has permanently scarred the victims and their families. Her actions and that of Cappucci and Haase have shown there is absolutely no justice in Shirley!

Frank Devan


Democratic forum focuses on improving Medicare

The Lunenburg, Ayer, Shirley, and Sterling Democratic Town Committees invite the public to attend a free public forum on “Improved Medicare for All in Mass.” in the Ayer Town Hall, located at 1 Main Street, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

The panelists — State Senator Jamie Eldridge, State Rep. Jen Benson, and Dr. Jackie Wolf of Mass-Care — will discuss Eldridge’s and Benson’s proposed single-payer legislation, after which there will be plenty of time for questions.

Eldridge’s Bill S.619, “An Act Establishing Improved Medicare for All in Massachusetts,” would create a single-payer health insurance plan that calls for public financing to provide privately delivered health care to all Mass. residents. It would cover all medically necessary care, preventive health care, vision and dental care, and other benefits, but without premiums, deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance.

Benson’s Bill H.596, “An Act to Ensure Effective Health Care Cost Control,” calls upon the legislature to set up a commission to compare the actual health care costs in Mass., for three years, against a model of health care costs using a single payer plan. If the single payer plan were shown to be a better approach, the legislature would be required to start the process to enact legislation for a single-payer plan.

According to a recent survey of 1,003 physicians by physician recruitment firm Merritt Hawkins, 56 percent of doctors are now strongly or somewhat supportive of a single-payer health system. Billing and paperwork, which take time away from patients, are often cited by physicians as the main reasons for their support for such a simplified system.

In a single-payer system, a public entity, such as the government, pays all the medical bills for a certain population, rather than insurance companies doing that work. Patients do not have to deal with copayments, premiums, high deductibles, and co-insurance, and physicians and hospitals do not have to hire personnel to maneuver through masses of paperwork and billing that varies depending upon the patients’ insurance providers.

Single-payer is also now popular with a majority of Americans. According to a June 2017 Pew Research Center poll, 60 percent of Americans now say that the federal government should be responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all.

Single-payer, or “Medicare for All,” is not a pipe dream, but a real solution to many American families’ nightmare of paying, on average, 17% of their pre-tax income on healthcare-related costs. Many of us pay more than this. A New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation survey released in January 2016 found that roughly 20 percent of people under age 65 with health insurance nonetheless reported having problems paying their medical bills over the last year.

We hope that you can join us on Sept. 12, and that you will bring your questions to our panelists. The program is free, but preregistration is requested. To register, visit and search under “Improved Medicare for All” in Ayer for the event.

Dina Samfield

Shirley Democratic Town Committee

Check charities before donating

All people have a cause they care about. And with more than 1.2 million charitable organizations to choose from, finding one aligned with your values can be deeply rewarding.

While the vast majority of soliciting charities act responsibly and deserve your support, Americans must remember that not all organizations are created equal.

Case in point: In 2015, the Federal Trade Commission, all 50 states, and the District of Columbia, charged four sham cancer charities with bilking donors of $187 million over a five-year period. The New York Times reported these charity operators spent a significant portion of the money on personal expenses such as Caribbean cruises, college tuition and trips to Disney World for themselves and their healthy families. And they hired fundraisers who often received 85 percent or more of collected funds.

Charity fraud has consequences. Generous donors lose money, social issues stay unsolved, and the needful remain in need. But it can be avoided — scams have common signs.

If a charity solicits you, ask specific questions to get details; be on guard against aggressive fundraising tactics; and be cautious if they try tugging at your heartstrings.

Above all, check them out using a charity evaluator, such as BBB’s, which help donors of all kinds decide which charities to trust with their donations.

So, when you’re donating, do it with peace of mind by taking the time to check out the charity first. It just might make all the difference.

Art Taylor

president and CEO

of BBB’s

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