Bill Russell

The death of Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell is giant loss.

For those of us old enough to remember his heroics on the basketball court – and his heroics in life, Russell represented about the best in professional athletes and human beings on and off the court.

He didn’t put up with racism. He always spoke out. He was bitter about how he was treated in Boston for many years before he became a sports God.

Russell was about as good as a professional athlete could be in the time he played.

He has been voted the greatest player in professional basketball history.

We’re not sure what Michael Jordan or Lebron James would have to say about that.

Intellectually, Russell towered above all the rest playing during his time.

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Big Papi

The induction into Baseball’s Hall of Fame of David Ortiz was a giant moment for baseball and for the Boston Red Sox and for all of us who watched many of his finest moments during a long a grand career.

His first round induction into the Hall of Fame says a great deal about Big Papi’s stature as well as his popularity.

He was, in every way, what baseball fans and sports fans all over the world regard as a clutch ball player.

He wielded an explosive bat. He hit over 500 homeruns and he led the Red Sox to world championships.

Big Papi at bat during a critical moment of a big game rarely disappointed the fans or himself.

His unlikely rise from abject poverty in the Dominican Republic to become one of the greatest baseball players of his time should prove as an inspiration to many younger ballplayers trying to make it.

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Paulie Walnuts

The death of Tony Sirico, who played Paulie Walnuts on the Sopranos, is a moment for those of us who loved watching the Sopra- nos to say farewell to one its most compelling characters.

He died in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida last Friday.

He was 79.

He never graduated from high school.

He worked in construction as a younger man.

Then he got into “other things,” as he liked to recall.

The other things were armed robbery, extortion, coercion and felony weapon possession.

He served time at Sing Sing maximum security prison in Ossining, New York.

Then he got into acting.

When the Sopranos role came to him, he was 55 and “sleeping on my mother’s sofa,” he recalled during an interview about his life.

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Council Must Protect First Amendment

The city council should not complain about public speakers who have said what the council refuses to discuss about racism, discrimination and retaliation by the administration of Mayor Carlo DeMaria.

Instead of limiting public speaking by setting up boundaries, the city council should embrace it and learn something about the residents they are supposed to be representing.

The public speaking element of the city council’s meetings has overtaken the council’s inability to reign in the mayor, his city solicitor and the city’s CFO.

Now the city council has begun discussing how to streamline the public speaking portion of the meetings.

That is, how can they figure out a way to muzzle the public speakers with rules and regulations they don’t themselves follow?

How can they quiet the public speakers?

How can the council stop the political uprising now taking place in Everett instead of taking part in it for the better public good?

The city council appears more interested in getting out of the meetings early without having to discuss distasteful issues like racism.

This would make the meetings “better” and “quicker” they seem to be saying.

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The Pope John Question

The city has paid 10.5 million for the former Pope John High School assemblage in North Everett.

Now the city is giving it away to developers promising 140 affordable housing units in return.

This, at a time when the School Department is nearly out of viable options for added classroom space.

The administration has made its decision.

More affordable housing is more important than more classroom space for the city’s public school system.

Any way one chooses to weigh and measure this decision, it is wrong.

Providing an education and making space available for the children of this city to be educated is critical to the city’s well-being.

The city can get along without another 140 units of affordable housing.

It cannot get along if public school students do not have classrooms to be educated in.

Pope John was an educational institution for decades. The assemblage of buildings includes classroom space sufficient to meet the needs of Everett’s public school system.

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