Search billions of records on

Mention of Aherns in
Newspaper Stories of 2006

Volunteer Who Worked For Years To Restore Cemetery Finds It Vandalized
DAYTON—The head of the dainty concrete angel lay at the statue's feet, surrounded by other broken, smashed or uprooted headstones. Lisa O'Hearn tried not to cry on Monday each time she discovered new damage to old grave markers in the adjoining Kerr and Drill pioneer cemeteries, but after years of working to restore them, she couldn't hold back the tears.

"I can't imagine what would bring somebody to want to do this," O'Hearn said. "Where is the reverence?" O'Hearn helped to organize a clean-up of the cemetery after discovering it while doing a title search a few years ago. "I saw this tiny piece of land marked 'cemetery' on the map and I was curious," she said. The two cemeteries encompass little more than an acre tucked behind apartment complexes between Frederick Pike and Northcutt Place just off Needmore Road. About 30 of the cemetery's 50 gravestones had been intact when volunteers last visited in the fall. But now, nearly all the headstones lay scattered and broken. O'Hearn believes several are missing. "You'd need a sledge hammer to knock some of these down. I think this had to be planned," she said. "It's so discouraging when things like this happen. You just want to give up, but you can't give up."

The cemetery is so hidden by trees that Dayton Police officers said they didn't know it existed. Lt. M. J. Wilhelm said there was no evidence at the scene to indicate who had vandalized the burial ground used from 1835 to 1874. "I'll put something out to the troops and let them know it's here. Patrolling is about all we can do," he said.

There are a list of early Montgomery County pioneers buried in the two cemeteries including George Drill, who migrated to Ohio from Maryland in a four-horse wagon and a one-horse carriage called a rockaway. Today, you'll find the family name on Drill hill, off Ridge Avenue. James and Susanna (Lodge) Ensley, also buried there, too have a Dayton street named for them. The family left Bedford County, Penn., for Ohio in 1818 and would eventually own 300 acres in Montgomery County.

The cemetery clean-up had been an ongoing collaborative effort of ICU—Inspire, Create, Unite, a nonprofit organization founded by O'Hearn that brings together Dayton youth, city workers and neighbors. The adult and teen volunteers raked, planted flowers, picked up garbage and rubbed flour on the headstones, which highlighted the worn lettering. O'Hearn applied for grants and the group made an effort to maintain the property. "I'm upset because it took a lot of hard work to fix it up. It's [sic] shouldn't be trashed," said Christy Adkins, 18, a Belmont High School senior who helped with the task. "There are people resting there after all." Dick Rice, president of ICU, first found the cemetery, owned by the city of Dayton, about six years ago while researching his family's genealogy. "It was like walking into a forest. Basically, it had been ignored," he said. The discovery of the graves of his great-great-great grandparents James and Rebecca Rice was especially meaningful. "For me, when you find a headstone, it's like connecting with that family," Rice said. "My first ancestor to set foot here (in the Miami Valley) is buried there. I just wanted to tell them you're not lost. You're not alone." A hickory tree had separated the Rice's headstones, but over the years, the sapling had grown into a giant and closed the gap between the two grave makers. The stones would not yield, so the tree grew up around them. But, what nature didn't destroy, man did. One side of Rebecca's tombstone is lodged in the hickory tree, the other side was broken off by the vandals. "Headstones are part of a person's history, part of their past. That's sacred ground. For someone to go in and destroy this stuff is very disheartening," Rice said. Rice and O'Hearn aren't sure what their next step will be. With no funding and little help available from the city, they're not sure if the grave makers can be repaired. "If anyone has any suggestions, please call. We need funding. We need volunteers," she said.

Dayton Daily News 9 January 2006
Back to Index

Man arrested for drug possession
BRATTLEBORO—A Londonderry man was arrested in Brattleboro for possession of marijuana on Jan. 7. According to a report from the Vermont State Police, 32-year-old James G. Ahearn was stopped on Canal Street for a motor vehicle operation. According to the report, Ahearn was found to be in possession of marijuana. Ahearn was transported to the Brattleboro Barracks where he was processed and released with a citation to appear in Windham District Court at a later date.
Brattleboro Reformer 11 January 2006
Back to Index

Body identified; death ruled accident
YAKIMA—The man whose body was found in house that burned Tuesday has been identified as Mark Edward Ahearn, a 51-year-old transient. Yakima County Coroner Maury Rice said Ahearn's death has been ruled an accident after an autopsy showed he died from smoke inhalation and burns. Foul play is not suspected. Firefighters found Ahearn's body in the bedroom of a burning house that had been undergoing a remodel at 1202 E. Adams St. The cause of the fire has not been established, but it is not believed to be deliberately set. Candles or a portable outdoor propane heater are possible culprits.

Rice said he has not been able to locate any of Ahearn's relatives. Anybody with information on Ahearn may reach the coroner's office at 574-1610.

Yakima Herald-Republic 19 January 2006
Back to Index

Man Killed in House Fire
The body found inside a burning Yakima house is that of 51-year-old Mark Ahearn. According to the Yakima County Coroners Office Ahearn died of smoke inhilation. Fire fighters found him while fighting the fire yesterday morning. The transient was hired by the homes owners to watch over it while renovations were being done. The building did not have running water or electricity. A candle and portable heater were being used to heat the gutted home, but the cause of the fire has not been determined It is however believed one of these two are what caused the fatal blaze.
— KAPP-TV, 19 January 2006
Back to Index

A different kind of surrealist
By John Greenwald
Jack O'Hearn decided he wanted to paint when he was a senior at Lowell High School— in a Spanish class. His teacher had her students write a paper on a Spanish-speaking person. Among those she suggested was the famous Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali. O'Hearn was so fascinated by Dali's work that he took every senior art class he could. From Lowell High School, O'Hearn went to the Art Institute of Boston, where he received a bachelor of fine arts degree. That was only last year, but he has built up a small, impressive body of surrealistic paintings. Unlike Dali, with his melting watches, O'Hearn doesn't distort familiar objects. Instead, he juxtaposes different ones. For example, in one painting he has a hobo and Pinocchio sitting on the sidewalk in front of a wall covered with oversized floral wallpaper.

Though O'Hearn, 23, hasn't had a gallery exhibit yet, he has participated in student shows and an art festival, where he sold many pieces. All were surrealistic. Currently, he is working on a series of paintings involving freight trains, from boxcars to train switches. So many realistic painters create comforting images of landscapes and seascapes. You could do the same and be very successful. Why don't you? Landscapes and seascapes don't appeal to me. Most realists paint what they think is beautiful. At the moment, I find trains beautiful, but I want to do more than just a train, so I add other elements. I paint realistically, but I don't want my pieces to look like photographs. So I add things that make them paintings, not photos.

There are a lot of layers in "Switch," a painting of a train track and switch, which could also be a sheet of paper peeling off a wall. You paint the large graffiti, which could be someone's name, in the same colors as leaves behind the track. What were you trying do with this painting? I wanted to take a three-dimensional image of the trees, wall and train track and make it two-dimensional by adding the torn paper and graffiti. I wanted to challenge how viewers saw a realistic painting, so I created layers that both worked with each other but also separated from each other. Did "Switch" turn out as you first imagined? Not at all. I first started with the bricks, wanting the background mostly white and the painting abstract. But it wasn't working out, so I took a bunch of photos for inspiration. Among them was a train switch. It didn't have many vines, so I photographed a wall with a lot of vines. When I painted that, I knew what the rest would be—a large, clear space on the bottom with a large graffiti "tag." This painting required you to figure it out as you worked. Are all your paintings created that way? No. Sometimes I have a complete idea in my head, and I paint exactly what I imagined. It depends what the painting calls for. Some call for more than what I first thought and some don't.

The Lowell Sun 21 January 2006
Back to Index

Magician's death investigated
A popular local children's entertainer and former police officer was found dead Saturday in his home in an apparent suicide, two days after he was charged in connection with a blackmail scheme. Patrick O'Hearn, 42, of N6209 Schraven Circle, left a note in his home, according to Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Department authorities. "We are in the process of investigating the death," said Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Mick Fink. "There is nothing at this time to indicate foul play."

O'Hearn was accused of contacting a Green Lake County man on Nov. 3 and demanding cash in exchange for photos O'Hearn had in his possession that allegedly showed the man at a pornographic establishment, Lt. of Detectives Bill Flood said. O'Hearn, who was a member of the Fond du Lac Police Department from 1990 to 1999, was charged Thursday by the Green Lake County district attorney's office with "threats to communicate derogatory information," a felony. His initial appearance was scheduled Monday, Jan. 30. The charge carried a maximum penalty of 3½ years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The Reporter is not publishing the name of the intended victim to protect his identity.

O'Hearn promoted his children's show as "Magic With a Message." He performed across the region at day-care centers, libraries, schools, resorts and festivals—including Walleye Weekend and the Kids Expo in Fond du Lac. His show was peppered with lessons for children about tolerance, making good choices, avoiding drugs and alcohol and even bicycle helmet awareness. But the criminal complaint showed O'Hearn turning to crime amid financial and family problems. According to the criminal complaint, O'Hearn admitted in a Nov. 15 interview with a Green Lake County Sheriff's Department detective that he attempted to "extort $5,000 cash from (the man) to purchase compromising photographs, which Mr. O'Hearn later reported do not exist." That interview came just 12 days after first initiating contact with the man, and minutes after O'Hearn went to the man's office to apologize for his actions. "I said there was no excuse for me doing this," O'Hearn wrote in a statement. "I explained about my marriage falling apart, about money and property that was taken from me when my wife left, and this was a way of getting money." O'Hearn asked if there was some way he could make the situation right with the man. "To turn back time," the man said, according to O'Hearn's statement in the complaint. O'Hearn told the man to call whoever is handling the case. The detective arrived soon after. O'Hearn followed the detective back to the Green Lake Sheriff's Office, where he gave both a recorded and written statement. O'Hearn told the detective that he twice arranged for the man to drop off $5,000 behind a vacant building. O'Hearn said he didn't find the money on Nov. 5 and opted against trying to pick it up Nov. 11 because he thought he was being followed. Green Lake County District Attorney James Camp could not be reached for comment on the case.

According to O'Hearn's Web site promoting his educational magic show, O'Hearn worked for the Horicon Police Department in 1988, and joined the Fond du Lac Police Department in 1990, working as a DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) officer. He left the department in 1999 to concentrate full time on his magic show, according to the Web site.

Fond du Lac Reporter 24 January 2006
Back to Index

Without signal, Route 1 ramp is hazard
Doris Ahern of Beverly sent an e-mail to GlobeWatch recently to warn motorists who travel north on Route 1 about a missing signal on the exit ramp for Route 128, near the Bertucci's Brick Oven Pizzeria in Peabody. She would like state officials to replace the missing light. ''There used to be a [flashing] yellow light that was on at night to show the split in the road" at the Route 128 exit, Ahern wrote. ''That [light] has been down for quite a while and is very dangerous. If you aren't already familiar with the exit, you could end up between the guard rails, as the 128 north exit has a funny angle to it."
The Boston Globe 29 January 2006
Back to Index

Torrance seminar seeks domestic violence solutions
 . . . Batterers can be charming—it's how they won their victim's love in the beginning. Their goal, though, is control over their victim. They use isolation, guilt, jealousy, threats and other means to gain it. Haruko Ahearn warned her daughter that she didn't like her new boyfriend because he never looked her in the eye when he talked to her. Beyond that, though, Ahearn didn't know about the cruelty and brutality until after her daughter's murder.

Joan Brooks, 24, disappeared in 1988 from her Torrance home. Her husband, Cordis Brooks, was always a suspect, especially after neighbors reported witnessing a turbulent, violent marriage. Brooks finally admitted in 2003 that he killed his wife and dumped her body in the desert. He was sentenced to six years in state prison. Her body was never found. Before she died, Ahearn said her daughter told her she should have listened to her, but she was young, and Brooks was so smooth, she didn't see the danger at first. Ahearn watched her daughter go from happy and always giggling, to serious and solemn. She told her mom she wanted to go back to work to start saving money to care for herself and her toddler girl. "Three days later, he killed Joanie," Ahearn said. . . . 

Daily Breeze 30 January 2006
Back to Index

Hey, big spender—you're not alone
For the first time since the Great Depression, Americans are spending more than they earn. The Commerce Department reported yesterday that workers' expenses ran 0.5 percent above what they made in 2005—the first time that's happened since 1933. Commerce said Americans' inflation-adjusted spending rose 3.6 percent last year—almost three times the 1.4 percent gain in real, disposable income. "It's the so-called 'wealth effect,'" Commerce economist Kurt Kunze said, explaining that people spent more because—thanks to things like rising home prices—they felt richer.

Kunze said the wealth effect—caused first by the 1990s stock-market bubble, then by this decade's real estate boom—has depressed savings for years. Savings levels hit a recent high of 10.8 percent of income in 1984, but have generally fallen ever since. Tewksbury financial planner Stephen Ahern estimates 25 percent of his upscale clientele come to their first consultation spending everything they earn. "These people are used to tapping into stock options or gains in their stock portfolio or home equity," he said. "They get used to a certain standard of living, but then they no longer have stock options, or their home equity isn't going up as fast."

Emerson College student Nick Mueller doesn't own a house, but knows all about spending everything you make. "I find it very difficult to save money," said the 21-year-old, who spends all of his earnings from summer and part-time jobs. "Gas is expensive. Food is expensive. Rent is expensive."

How much money should a financially responsible person save? Ahern, who's also chairman of the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts, recommends setting aside at least 5 percent of your salary. "You don't want to pull the belt too tight, because you still have to have some enjoyment in life," he said. "But people have to recognize that life's a tradeoff: The more you spend now, the less you'll have later."

Boston Herald 31 January 2006
Back to Index

Memories revisited at historic Ballycroy show
It may have taken two decades to arrive but memories of Saturday night's boxing in Ballycroy will echo for generations. In 1986 Ballycroy Boxing Club folded after some wonderful years in the sport, five months ago the club was reformed and on Saturday night they announced their return in style. A huge crowd packed the local community centre from early evening and they weren't disappointed by a promotion that mixed top class skill, wonderful style and spine-tingling excitement. Five young boxers who have experienced the joy of being crowned national champion, represented the home selection as Leon Lynch, Shane Nicholas and Anthony Lynch sported the Ballycroy colours and Ray Moylette and Danny Cough-lan wore the blue of St Anne's. Mix that in with the fact that the opposition were bolstered by the magical Jamie Kyne from Monivea, Denis Ahern from Castlebar, Geesala's Justin Mills and Ardnaree's John Judge, and one can imagine the brilliance on view in the southern province of Erris.
 . . . 

The final bout of the night saw Castlebar's Denis Ahern, (who has strong Ballycroy links) take on the host's Anthony Lynch. When Ahern entered the ring the noise reached breaking point and when Lynch arrived moments later, the foundations shook. It was all action from the start as Ahern tore forward and Lynch used his experience to move away from danger and counter with telling shots. There was very little to separate them in the first two rounds but Lynch's counter-punching would have impressed the judges. The final round belonged to Ahern but a final flourish from Lynch in a sea of noise and excitement ensured victory for the Ballycroy youth and when the verdict was announced the roof almost lifted off. It was a night that took twenty years to arrive but it was well worth the wait.
Western People 1 February 2006
Back to Index

Ahern powers to gold
DUBLIN flyweight Conor Ahern won Ireland's first gold medal in the finals of the Four Nations Championships at the National Stadium last night with a third round victory over Welshman Chris Jenkins writes Thomas Myler. Ahern, from Baldoyle BC and a silver medallist in the corresponding match last year in Liverpool, kept the pressure on Jenkins from the opening bell and it was no surprise when the bout was stopped in the third round with Ahern ahead 19-3.
Irish Independent 5 February 2006
Back to Index

Elphin priest agrees to step down after allegations
Yet another priest has been asked to stand aside from his ministry while allegations against him are investigated. In a statement, the Bishop of Elphin Dr Christopher Jones confirmed that a priest from his diocese has agreed to step down pending an inquiry. Dr Jones says it relates to an allegation made against the clergyman about an event which happened in the late 1970s and that his co-operation doesn't connote guilt on his part. The allegation has been made against Canon Niall Ahern, the parish priest of Ransboro and Strandhill. He has also issued a statement saying there is no foundation whatsoever to the claims. Canon Ahern said the Church had been too slow in the past to take action on such matters—the price was the action he is taking now.
Sligo Champion 5 February 2006
Back to Index

Priest speaks out in support of colleague
A fellow priest has spoken out in support of Strandhill parish priest Canon Niall Ahern who stood down from his ministry at the weekend. Father Dominic Gillooley, parish priest of Saint Anne's, said that "personal integrity was no longer presumed. The accused has become the victim. There is now an immediate presumption of guilt."

The priest said that he deplored child abuse and the response to it in the past. But he said had serious reservations about a priest or a lay person being asked to step aside in the face of unproved allegations. Father Gillooley also asked; "How does one prove one's innocence and how long does it take? Justice delayed is justice denied." Father Gillooley made his comments at Mass in St Anne's on Monday.

Meanwhile, Father Ahern said on Monday said he was praying his ordeal would soon be over. Boyle native, Canon Niall Ahern told the Sligo Weekender he hoped that the investigation into a complaint against him from the 1970s would be speeded up. The parish priest of Strandhill is strongly denying the allegation. A clearly distraught Canon Ahern said: "I hope that matters can be expedited so that I can move on with my life". The parish priest said that messages of support continued to flow in for him yesterday from parishioners and throughout the diocese. It is believed the complaint is connected to an alleged incident in the 1970's.

The Canon has become the first priest in the diocese of Elphin to speak out publicly in advance of an investigation into an allegation made against him. In his statement he said there was "no foundation whatsoever in this. The truth is that our Church was in the past too slow to take action on such matters." He said this was one of the reasons why he felt he had to go public. "Part of the price we pay for this involves the approach that I am now taking and which is the recent practice of the Church. While the truth is being investigated and categorically determined I have decided to stand aside. It is tempting to feel some degree of injustice that any person—priest or lay—should effectively have to prove his innocence before he can resume normal life. We should not feel this." Parishioners in Strandhill were stunned when Bishop Christy Jones told them at 12.30pm mass on Sunday that it was his sad duty to announce that Canon Ahern was stepping aside.

Sligo Weekender 7 February 2006
Back to Index

Little Wheels Band rolls into spotlight
The Little Wheels Band has already rolled through the Coastside. The seven-piece ensemble regularly takes the stage at various local clubs to delight fans with its musical kaleidoscope of Americana, classic rock, folk, country and originals penned by guitarist/vocalist/songwriter and front man Michael John Ahern. "I write songs that explore the landscape of my life, love held and love lost, and the too-compelling dark side of mankind," said Ahern, who has shared the stage with Toad the Wet Sprocket, the Flying Other Brothers, Bob Weir and others.

The band, which has been together for three years, features Jon Mitguard, pedal steel; Lachlann Kane, honky-tonk piano, organ and vocals; Ahern, electric and acoustic guitars and vocals; Drew Pieros, percussion; Harold Ohashi, drums; Rob Wenig, six-string bass and Borden Putnam, harmonica and vocals. Ahern calls it "a creative group of musicians that truly enjoy playing music together, and have a lot to offer musically." That seems affirmed in a lot of ways. They will headline "Tie-Dye Saturday" this Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. Scheduled from 3 to 10 p.m., it will fire up with the Mystery Cats, a five-piece 1960s jam-style band from San Francisco.

The day will be colorful visually as well as musically. Those attending are invited to wear tie-dye attire, and there will be a contest for the best psychedelic tie-dye apparel. But what can you expect, from a band headed by a man who supervised the musical lineup for the October dedication of the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in McLaren Park in San Francisco? Ahern says he tapped connections with counterculture figure Wavy Gravy and members of the Jefferson Starship to put together a lineup that made him proud. "It was an amazing event, just fantastic," he said. "It really re-established that amphitheater on the map."

Next on Ahern's horizon is waiting to hear whether music submitted by his production team and the Pacifica-based Bruce Latimer Show for two categories in the 35th annual Northern California area Emmy awards got picked. Music was submitted in the categories of Best Live Music Performance and Best Audio from a December show that Latimer did with the Project X Band, with guitarist/mandolinist James Nash, bassist Michael Anderson and pianist Steve Shufton, which he put together for the gig. Little Wheels had a schedule conflict that day. Ahern should get an answer by April. Until then, he and Little Wheels continue to roll along their distinct musical groove. Fans will see local blues- and jazz-belting vocalist Robin Campbell join them for a few gigs in the near future.

"We're starting to weave her into the Little Wheels Band family," Ahern said. "I knew our voices to be compatible." But they're not in it for fame, Ahern said, but for love of music. He calls them a "hobby band" of musicians who "like to sleep in their own bed at night" and, with jobs and families, don't tour outside the Bay Area. "We honor our families and commitments to our employers. We don't go on the road." Instead, Ahern says he wants to get involved in his own back yard. "I want to be part of more things on the coast," he said. "I want people to know I'm available to help, to lend my creativity."

Half Moon Bay Review 15 February 2006
Back to Index

Expanding the scope of the hunt Some farmers want to include red deer, elk
One of the top breeders at Henry Ahern's red deer farm in Plymouth is a 9-year-old male named Titan. When it's time for a new breeder to take Titan's place, Ahern will have two options: Kill the animal himself and keep the meat, or send him to a slaughterhouse to be turned into a few hundred dollars worth of sausage. Ahern would rather let someone else come and shoot Titan to mount as a trophy. He thinks he could get $6,000 for the deer, depending on how his antlers grow. But the taking of red deer or elk by anyone but the animal's owner is prohibited in New Hampshire. A bill that will go before the House tomorrow would change that. It would allow a buyer to go to a farm and shoot the animals, either for a wall mount or for the meat, under the farmer's supervision. Ahern and other farmers call the practice "field harvesting."Steve Weber, wildlife chief for the Fish and Game Department, said most people would interpret it as penned hunting, because red deer and elk are game animals. He's worried about what impact shooting them inside a fence will have on the image of hunting.

Red deer are grazing herd animals, about twice the size of white-tailed deer. They don't live in the wild in New Hampshire but were brought here from New Zealand and Europe. The animals are dually classified by the state: the Department of Agriculture calls them livestock; Fish and Game calls them wildlife. To Ahern, who has been raising the deer with his partner Cindy Downing for 12 years, there is little that is wild about his herd of 280 deer, which includes Molly, a female that will give wet-nosed kisses by request. "This is not wildlife," he said. "This is farm-raised deer, and they're going to go to meat no matter what." The meat from females, or hinds, can remain tender until the animals reach 10 or 11 years old. Stags are slaughtered for restaurant-quality meat when they are between 18 and 36 months old. Older than that, their meat can be tough. Breeders are kept longer. Once they can no longer breed, they go to the slaughterhouse but are mostly "an economic loss" after shipping and processing costs, said Ahern, who is also a computer consultant.

Some owners of the 23 elk and red deer farms in the state say letting people shoot those stags could provide them with an added market in an industry that nearly crashed four years ago. That's when chronic wasting disease, fatal to elk and deer, was found for the first time east of the Mississippi River, causing states to close their borders to the import of the animals. The disease is similar to mad cow disease but is not transferable to humans. Before the scare, exporting animals to other farms and hunting preserves made up more than 50 percent of Ahern's business. When the borders closed, he had 20 animals ready to be shipped out for $1,500 each. Not only did he lose the business, but he had to pay the unexpected cost of feeding the animals through the winter, he said. Now Ahern's primary business is selling meat locally to restaurants and individuals. There is also a small local market for the velvet shaved off antlers, which is packed into capsules and sold as a supplement that's said to relieve inflammation and boost energy. Ahern said those sales don't cut it, especially with taxes on the 70 acres where his grandparents used to grow hay and raise dairy cows rising each year. "The meat will pay the bills, but the meat is not going to give you a profit," he said.

But officials at Fish and Game say selling trophy game animals isn't the kind of profit farms should be looking to make. Weber said it's a matter of perception. The department discourages any kind of "canned hunt" in which an animal's ability to escape is limited, because it goes against the principles of fair chase, the idea that hunting should be a match of wits between the hunter and the animal. Public support for hunting depends on those principles, Weber said. Allowing elk and red deer to be shot in the field would weaken that support, he said. The fact that people would shoot the animals for trophies and not just for meat makes it difficult to distinguish the harvest from the hunt, he said. "As soon as you let somebody who will pay up to $20,000 come and shoot a large elk in a pen, that kind of tips the scales way away from an agricultural activity because the products themselves would not be worth that much,"Weber said. Some farmers argue that red deer and elk are the only livestock species that can't be killed directly by a buyer. A 1935 law specifically prohibits the taking of those animals. Fish and Game officials weren't sure of the origin of the law, but farmers said it was enacted after elk released for a state-sponsored hunt caused problems in people's yards and gardens.

Ahern said many of the direct sales would be to people who want or need to kill the animal themselves for religious or personal reasons. But, undoubtedly, people would be interested in a stag with a big rack. "The reality is the antlers have value," he said. The red deer are his private property, Ahern said, and if he wants to sell them to a buyer with a gun, he should have that right. Julie Morse, who owns Kear-Wood Elk Farm in Wilmot with her husband, John, hopes the bill passes. "I don't want hunting on my farm, but I would like to be able to have customers come and procure their own animals," she said. The Morses bought their elk herd to sell velvet and had to change their marketing to cater to local meat buyers when the state borders were closed. They own 270 acres with a panoramic view of Mount Kearsarge and have denied offers from developers looking to subdivide the land in favor of keeping the it as open space. But the elk industry barely pays the bills. Morse said this change could help grow the business, "so we can raise our meat in peace."

Concord Monitor 21 February 2006
Back to Index

Edmund F. Ahern Jr. of Shrewsbury and Sharon L. Ahern of Brockton announce the engagement of their daughter, Katherine F.V. Ahern , to David J. Faucher. Miss Ahern is a graduate of Shrewsbury High School and is attending Assumption College, Worcester. She is employed by American Funds, Southboro. Mr. Faucher is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen R. Faucher of Shrewsbury. He is a graduate of Shrewsbury High School and Westfield State College. He is a high school representative for New England Institute of Technology, Warwick, R.I. A June wedding is planned.
Worcester Telegram & Gazette 26 February 2006
Back to Index

7 Days in Dance
CARRIE AHERN Choreographer Carrie Ahern, in collaboration with composer/soprano Kristin Norderval, presents a work of beautiful suffocation, a grand façade. Taking inspiration from Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" as well as the clean lines of St. Mark's Church, "Red" explores the machine of repression under the guise of supreme order and calm. At once aggressive and vulnerable, shrill and hushed, this timely piece exposes the chaos in the underbelly of every society. It recognizes every human being's capacity both for violence and acts of tenderness. Featuring an all female ensemble of ten, "Red" is created and performed in collaboration with Julie Betts, Donna Bouthillier, Christina Briggs, Jennifer A. Cooper, Eun Jung Gonzalez, Carolyn Hall, and Yoko Sugimoto. Composer Kristin Norderval and the dancers provide a live acoustic and electronic score, Naoko Nagata creates costumes, and Carol Mullins designs the lights. Feb. 23-26 at 8:30 p.m. $15 at 212-674-8194.
Gay City News 2 March 2006
Back to Index

It Was a Sailor's Life for Them, Back in 1812
Standing on the deck of the U.S.S. Constitution in a snapping breeze, hearing the halyards clank and looking skyward at the rigging, can make anyone feel like a sailor. Add in a maritime museum with cannons and hammocks, a World War II destroyer to explore and a panoramic view of Boston Harbor from the Bunker Hill Monument, and for both adults and children, a day at the Charlestown Navy Yard makes for a satisfying taste of going down to the sea in ships. . . . 

It's even edgier aboard the Cassin Young, a World War II destroyer that sits across the pier. An energetic park ranger rattled off statistics as a tour group snaked through the pilot house, tiny bathrooms where showers were limited to two minutes, slope-floored kitchens and the ship's command center, all painted, one child noted with a wrinkled nose, pistachio green. Although essentially the domain of men, the ships of World War II were often largely built by women, as some rangers note. A film on their role, "Rosie the Riveter," is shown at the Visitor Center upon request. And the Cassin Young's missile tracking system was designed by Grace Hopper, a mathematical wizard who became one of the United States' first female admirals.

Eleanor Ahern, a 5-year-old from Madison, Wis., may someday find Admiral Hopper inspirational. She was mesmerized in a room devoted to the Battle of Tripoli, tugging on the arm of her aunt Joan Ahern and reading from the displays. "She loved the cannon display," Ms. Ahern said with a grin. "She said, 'I'll fire—you say boom!' "

New York Times 17 March 2006
Back to Index

The Down Time column last Friday, about attractions for children at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, misidentified the hometown of Eleanor Ahern, a young visitor there. She was from State College, Pa. (Madison, Wis., was the home of the aunt who accompanied her.)
New York Times 24 March 2006
Back to Index

Ahern's Florists closes abruptly
Family-owned business shuts doors after 92 years.
Owners post message of appreciation for customers
Ahern's Florists, a 92-year-old, family-owned business that was once the largest retail floral operation in the Akron area, closed abruptly late last week. Although no signs were posted Monday outside the store on West Market Street in Fairlawn, the doors were locked and a note on the company's Web site suggested the business has no plans to reopen. "After many wonderful years in the floral business, Ahern's Florists has closed,'' the Web posting read. "We appreciate your loyalty over the years and regret any inconvenience this may cause you.'' The phone lines to the business and to the Richfield home of owner Michael Ahern and wife Mary Ellen were busy all weekend and Monday, said Luci Porco, owner of the Cavalier Cleaners next door to Ahern's. The Beacon Journal's attempts to reach the Aherns and Sean Ahern, a son of the couple and a principal in the business, also were unsuccessful.

The Aherns have been Porco's business landlord since she moved into the adjacent building in 1985. She said she's concerned about her future and about the Aherns. "They're the nicest people. I hope they're OK. And I don't know what's going to happen to us,'' she said. "As of Friday, they were just gone.'' Last week, Champaign Bank filed papers in Summit County Common Pleas Court claiming Ahern's Inc., Ahern's Florist of Hudson Inc., Michael Ahern and Sean Ahern owed it $134,500.37. The court granted the bank permission to garnish the deposits and other investments believed to be held at another area bank. Colin Skinner, attorney for the bank, referred all questions about the judgment to Ronald Waterman, credit adviser for Champaign Bank. Waterman said he did not know the shop had closed. He declined additional comment beyond confirming what was evident in court records.

Jack Gieck of Akron, a longtime customer, said he placed an order at Ahern's a week ago for flowers to be delivered to his wife last Saturday. On Friday, he received a call from Mary Ellen Ahern. "She was pretty broken up. She said she wouldn't be able to deliver the flowers because the bank came in and took the business,'' Gieck said. Ahern's in the Akron area dates to 1914, but the family's roots in the floral business go far deeper. In the 1880s, Michael Ahern's great-great-grandfather grew flowers in Ireland, according to previous interviews with the family. That ancestor's son moved to Mount Vernon in the late 1800s and opened a floral shop there. In 1914, Michael's grandfather William Francis "Frank'' Ahern, moved to Akron and opened a shop on Boulevard Street. Six years later, the business moved to 675 W. Exchange St., where it remained for more than 75 years.

In 1941, Michael's father, William Jr., opened his own floral shop called Flowerland at the West Market Street site. At the end of the 1950s, he merged Flowerland with the family business founded by his father. He rented the space on West Market to other businesses and worked out of the Exchange site. Michael Ahern joined the business in 1970 and took over in the late 1970s when his father retired. He was joined by wife Mary Ellen, a registered nurse by training. Sons Sean and Kevin often helped out, according to previous interviews with the family. At one point in the 1980s, Ahern's had four locations, including the one on West Market Street, as well as a landscaping business. A Hudson location Sean Ahern ran closed last year. Some insiders in the floral business have speculated that Rennick Andreoli, owner of the nearby Hilton Inn West, is buying the Aherns' West Market property, which includes the dry cleaners. But Andreoli said that although he has approached the Aherns several times about the issue, he hasn't talked to them about it in at least a year. He said Monday that he is still interested in the property.

Akron Beacon Journal 28 March 2006
Back to Index

Agent who headed probe of Lackawanna 6 retires
The federal agent who oversaw the Lackawanna Six investigation put in his last day Friday as special agent in charge of the Buffalo FBI office. Peter J. Ahearn, 50, is retiring from the FBI and taking a new job in Washington as senior adviser [sic] in the office of the director of National Intelligence. He took command of the Buffalo FBI office in May 2001. "It's been a great ride in Buffalo," said Ahearn. He said he was especially gratified earlier this week when the region's Muslim-American leaders hosted a dinner for him. "Out of difficult times came a friendship," he said.

Lori Bennett, an FBI agent who has specialized in counterterrorism and organized crime investigations, will take over the Buffalo office later this month. Veteran agent Karen Spangenberg will head the office until Bennett arrives.

Buffalo News 1 April 2006
Back to Index

Volunteers of the year recipients were honored at the annual meeting of the Greater Green Bay YMCA.
 . . . Dr. George O'Hearn was cited as the YMCA Camping Services Volunteer of the Year. He has been a Y's Men volunteer for the past 10 years, including two years as president. Under his leadership, the YMCA has held seven work weekends, three Good Humor-Breyers work days, purchased a Kawasaki Mule for camp and conducted two successful ski sales. He also has been a worker and team captain for the Partners program for six years.
Green Bay Press-Gazette 17 April 2006
Back to Index

Economy, green plans dovetail
CHICOPEE—Mayor Michael D. Bissonnette said yesterday his "Bosch to the Bridge" economic stimulus plan and an Urban Greening Study will dovetail into a long-term initiative focusing on infrastructure, roads, bridges, private development, the riverfront and bikepath. The mayor said he approached the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for the free eight-week ongoing study. "It's all part of the 'Bosch to the Bridge' plan and we need to incorporate the riverfront and the planned bike path. I don't want these done separately but as part of a complete plan over the next decade. "We also want to make sure the corridor into the city is attractive and user-friendly. That would include trees, plants, waterfront access and development of the bike path along the Chicopee River," said Bissonnette. "I looked at about 15 studies of Chicopee Center over the past 15 years. Now is the time to take all these studies and come up with a plan using the Greening study also."

Jack Ahern, professor of Landscape Architecture at UMass is leading the study and work with municipal departments developing an inventory of existing "green" resources such as street trees, parks, conservation areas, formal and informal trails, protected lands and wetlands. When completed, this city wide inventory will be analyzed to identify problems with green- area configuration or management and opportunities to connect existing areas into a "green network" that can support ecological, hydrological, recreational and other functions and services.

Staff from the UMass Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning will be working on the study assessing the east side of the Connecticut River from the Springfield/Chicopee line to the confluence of the Chicopee River and both sides of the Chicopee River from the confluence of the Connecticut to the Springfield/Chicopee as to the suitability of residential, commercial, agricultural, recreational and open-space development. Two public presentations will be offered for residents. The first is on April 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the community room of the Chicopee Public Library at 449 Front St. Preliminary findings and recommendations will be the focus of this hearing. Results and recommendations will be presented at the second hearing on May 18 at 6:30 p.m., with a draft report submitted to the city for review and comment. A final "Urban Greening for Chicopee" report will be prepared based on input and suggestions. On May 6, the research group will have a display and informational table at the library at Chicopee's Greenfest Environmental Festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Maps will be provided to allow public suggestions and input, and a handout will be available for public distribution. Public opinion surveys will be distributed by students to Chicopee residents.

Ahern has conducted similar studies statewide for the past 20 years, including a Chicopee River study at 1995. He believes Chicopee is well positioned to benefit from the study because of its special mix of rivers, escarpments and well-established and diverse neighborhoods. Potential funding sources for tree plantings and innovative stormwater management demonstration projects will be identified with graduate students working on the study. Bissonnette said the results will help city departments apply for grants and seek state funding for implementation, land protection or land acquisition.

The Republican 18 April 2006
Back to Index

Bail granted to brothers charged over Co Meath vodka raid
Two brothers charged with last week's €300,000 vodka raid in Co Meath have been granted bail. Simon Maxwell, from Killynon Cooke, Mullingar, and his brother Thomas, of Stonehall in Multyfarnham, are due back before the courts next week. A third defendant, Phillip Hickey, from Grennanstown, Athboy, County Meath has not applied for bail. The three are charged with handling 22 pallets of stolen vodka after gardaí foiled the hijacking of a lorry in Dunshauglin.

A cousin of the Maxwells, Brian Ahern, told the court on Tuesday that he was willing to offer independent surety of €30,000 to secure their bail. But Judge John Neilan adjourned the hearing until today because he wanted further details on how the funds were sourced. He was concerned about two substantial lodgements made into the account and the fact that it was jointly held with his wife. In court today, Mrs Ahern said she was happy for the joint account to be used.

Irish Independent 20 April 2006
Back to Index

Above and beyond the call of duty
Whether they involve rescuing lives or going the extra mile in their communities, police officers, like most public servants, perform duties on a daily basis that often go unheralded. But Chief of Police Jim Murphy wanted to make sure that three of his department's most outstanding officers got their due. Described by Murphy as shining examples of merit, valor and community service, the five officers honored for "going above and beyond the call of duty" last week, acted quickly, bravely and without compromise.

Life Saving Merit recipients Officer Frank Goode and Lt. Dan Ahern got word of a medical call on June 4, 2005, involving a man who was choking and went unconscious. Already on the road and relatively close to the scene, Ahern arrived first, finding the victim on the floor beginning to turn blue. Joined quickly by Goode, the two officers—with Ahern performing abdominal thrusts and Goode attempting to clear the victim's airway—formed a methodical tandem that was finally able to dislodge the piece of food. Breathing shallowly but steadily, the victim fully recovered after being taken to the hospital.

Murphy said the rescue was the result of quick coordination from the call to dispatch to the arrival of the ambulance, not to mention some great teamwork in between on the part of officers Goode and Ahern. "We don't typically get those kinds of calls," said Murphy, "but Lieutenant Ahern was the closest, and those life-saving skills are covered in basic training." . . . 

Chelmsford Independent 20 April 2006
Back to Index

Formerly of King Street, Harbour Row, and Newtown, Cobh
(formerly Queenstown), County Cork, Ireland
Born 12/02/1879 — Died 01/11/1950
Will any person having knowledge or information regarding the existence of nieces and/or nephews of the above deceased living at the date of death of his son, Patrick Sylvester Ahern, on the 24th July, 2003, please contact the undersigned. James Ahern was the son of Michael Ahern and Mary McCarthy who married in 1864. Michael Ahern died at Harbour Row, Cobh, County Cork, on 19/06/1911. To the best of our knowledge, the deceased James Ahern had the following brothers— John C. Ahern born 19/04/1868 (died unmarried 25/08/1908), Patrick Ahern born 02/09/1869 (possibly emigrated to USA in 1921), Charles Ahern born 1871 (possibly emigrated to USA in 1904), and Michael Ahern born 21/10/1875 (possibly emigrated to USA in 1908).
Lennon Heather,
24-26, City Quay,
Dublin 2
New York Times 30 April 2006
Back to Index

PITTSFIELD—John and Paula McDermott of Merriam Street announce the engagement of their daughter, Bree Erin McDermott, to Kevin Michael O'Hearn. He is the son of Edward and Patricia O'Hearn of Port Charlotte, Fla., and formerly of Pittsfield. A May 2007 wedding is planned in Negril, Jamaica.

Ms. McDermott is a correctional program officer for the Department of Corrections at Cedar Junction in Walpole. She earned a master of science degree in criminal justice in 1999 from Suffolk University in Boston and a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice in 1998 from Bay Path College in Longmeadow. She is a 1994 graduate of Wahconah Regional High School.

Mr. O'Hearn is a correctional officer at the Department of Corrections at Cedar Junction. He graduated in 1997 with an associate's degree in criminal justice from Massasoit Community College and in 1983 from Taconic High School. He served in the Marine Corps from 1985 to 1988.

Berkshire Eagle 30 April 2006
Back to Index

Viscum Water Gardens and Aquatics
Viscum Water Gardens has three shops in Yorkshire, and the Barnburgh branch has been running for over 25 years. Patrick Ahern of Viscum told Practical Fishkeeping: "We are South Yorkshire's biggest and longest running aquatic centre and are specialists in the fields of marine, Discus, cichlids, catfish, coldwater, pond, seahorses, inverts and corals, to ensure all our customers needs and demands are always met. "We stock brands such as Aqua Medic, Deltec, Seachem, Kent, TMC stock, Laguna, Atlantis, Waterlife, Fluval, Aqua One, Juwel, Nutrafin, Kingfisher and over the years of trading we have built strong relationships with suppliers and should have no problem obtaining any specific brand or model of anything in the aquatic industry.

"We pride ourselves on our extensive knowledge and wisdom and also our uncompromised customer- and after-sales service. We cater for everyone, from specialists to novices and our stock levels and running systems are second to none." The shop has over 300 tanks and a massive 74 ponds, so there are an enormous amount of fish on offer. Says Patrick: "We have a fully equipped 1000 gallon marine system housing a vast array of fish, ranging from common communal reef fish like clown fish to exquisite lion fish. This is accompanied by a 600 gallon invert and coral system to ensure we have the capabilities and resources to house the amount of livestock we have.

"We stock thousands of Koi and other coldwater fish in our 60,000 gallon system. We have hundreds of new fish imported every week from countries from all over the world to ensure we have the best variety, quantity and quality of fish available." Patrick says that Viscum's founder, Paul Ryan, travels around the world selecting fish and says that they are able to get some varieties of fish first and exclusively. Viscum Water Gardens is in Barnburgh, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

Practical Fishkeeping May 2006
Back to Index

Ahern to run for House seat
Brian Ahern is of the school of thought that dictates, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." The 29-year-old did not succeed at unseating District 3 County Commissioner Art Goodtimes in the 2004 race for that seat, but the experience did nothing to dampen his ardor for competing in the political arena. On April 28 he announced his candidacy for the District 58 Colorado House of Representatives post currently held by Republican Ray Rose. "I really do love politics," Ahern said. "And, I think this region needs a better voice." Ahern claims Rose has "lost touch with his constituents," and said there needs to be someone representing the six counties (Montrose, Delta, San Miguel, Montezuma, Ouray and Dolores) in the district who has a commitment to protecting the watersheds of the Western Slope and who will push hard for renewable energy. "We need to stop relying on foreign oil," Ahern said.

The eight and one-half year Telluride resident also wants to keep pressure on legislation that would jeopardize Telluride's attempt to acquire the Valley Floor acreage to the west of town through its powers of eminent domain. But bottom line, for Ahern, it's about the water. That issue, he said, is one in which his incumbent opponent has let down his constituents. "When you forget about representing the rural, ranching community, a lot of people will be adversely affected," Ahern said.

Ahern's declaration should come as no surprise to a long line of Aherns who have dedicated their lives to political activities and interests. When Ahern was 8 years old, he was at his father's side as the elder Ahern campaigned in Illinois area for judicial hopefuls. And Ahern was part of the campaign team that placed the U.S. Senate's first African American woman, Carol Moseley Braun, into power. "This just comes naturally to me," Ahern said.

Currently, Ahern is employed as a carpenter and is in the midst of work on the Las Montañas remodel in the space on Colorado Avenue formerly occupied by Eagles Restaurant. For the time being, that is his primary focus. But he has retained a campaign treasurer, Peter Decker, and will establish two offices and a Web site before too long. Becoming the District 58 representative in Denver, Ahern said, would be a dream come true. "I would get to do something I love," he said. "I really do love politics."

Tellerude Daily Planet 3 May 2006
Back to Index

Sheriff candidate Ahern charms crowds
SAN LEANDRO—There's no one blocking his path in the upcoming June election, yet Cmdr. Gregory Ahern—who is running unopposed for Alameda County sheriff—maintains an active campaign agenda. In the weeks since Sheriff Charles Plummer selected Ahern as his successor, Ahern has attended a number of speaking engagements in meetings designed to introduce him to the public. Just last Thursday, for example, Ahern—a 26-year veteran of the sheriff's office— was the keynote speaker at the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon at the San Leandro Library.

After witnessing Ahern in action, this much can be said about the man who will be sheriff: He certainly knows how to work a crowd. During his speech, Ahern demonstrated the stuff of a seasoned politician, flashing his more personable side and showcasing his refreshing sense of levity, which brought smiles and laughter from the modest group. In the end, it was clear that those in attendance were mesmerized by his charm and keen insight of the inner-workings of the 1,600-person sheriff's department. Ahern, 48, opened with a touch of self-deprecating humor, telling those in attendance: "The polls show me slightly ahead at this time. That's because no one is running against me."

"He added a lot of humor," said Sabrina Alamazan, a San Leandro resident and owner of Aloha Pet Services. "That was a different texture." Hayward City Councilman Kevin Dowling agreed, saying: "I've dealt with him in a business sense. I thought (his speech) was interesting. I don't think I've seen a lighter side of Greg." The engaging approach exhibited by Ahern is a genuine part of who he is. Ask any of his peers at the sheriff's office and all will say that the hard-nosed commander can be one of the more engaging and humorous people around. But they're also quick to juxtapose that observation by saying that Ahern is one of the most astute law enforcement officers they've worked with.

"I've grown up around people with a great sense of humor," said Ahern, who will be sworn in as sheriff when Plummer's term expires on Jan. 3, 2007. "That's always been a part of my personality. I try to make sure I have a human side to me as well as being serious and professional. When it's time to be competitive, I'll be competitive."

Since Feb. 22, when Plummer made public his plans to retire and announced that he tapped Ahern as his successor, Ahern has been spending six days a week holding down his responsibilities at the department while also working the campaign trail. "I just think it's important that . . . the people in the community have the opportunity to see who might be their new sheriff," said Ahern, whose name will appear on the ballot even though he's running unopposed. "I try to make myself available anywhere between three and four times a week. "It's been very enjoyable, to go out there and meet people in the community and to listen to their concerns."

Ahern's schedule is such that one wouldn't think he is running unopposed. But leaving nothing to chance, Ahern acknowledged he is campaigning not for the June 6 race, but also for future races. "I want to make sure the community knows that the sheriff's office and I will be responsive to better serve their needs and do what we can to make this a great county," he said.

As the June election approaches, Ahern plans to maintain his active schedule. He said he plans to hold a number of fundraisers "so I will have a strong campaign in the future." "I'll also be attending various events throughout the county, and hopefully, we'll have an election-night party on June 6," Ahern said.

Tri-Valley Herald 7 May 2006
Back to Index

Fix 'Suicide Bend'
"It's an accident waiting to happen." That's the opinion of Stuart Town resident Richard Eade, who is campaigning for the section of road known as 'Suicide Bend' to be fixed. "The community at large has identified it as an ongoing problem," he said. For three years, the dangerous stretch has been a concern for Richard and fellow community members Clare White and James Ahern. Their prayers were answered yesterday when delegates from Wellington Council, the Orana Police Local Area Command highway patrol and the RTA visited Stuart Town to hear the community's concerns.

According to local residents, the problem lies in the fact that, on the approach to town from Wellington, the road is a 100kmh zone and there is a school bus stop immediately after the bend which they describe as a 'blind spot.' The Stuart Town School is a mere 100m away and the zone changes from 100kmh to 60 then 40, then back to 60kmh before a 50 ahead when entering the residential part of town. Going the other way, the 100kmh zone only has an 85kmh advisory sign before the bus stop. While there is a 'Reduce Speed' sign directly before the bend as well as a 'School Bus Stop ahead' sign, the locals believe this is not enough.

"The bus stop sign is no indication there is a village here and vehicles are still travelling at 100kms," Mr Ahern said. Mr Eade said Wellington Council has previously listened to concerns about the road and have cooperated with the community on the issue. "The traffic committee put a reduce speed sign there but it has done nothing. The only thing that will make them slow down is a speed restriction." "Perhaps the police can make it a target area."

Mr Ahern pointed out that children alight from the school bus and must cross the road when cars are zooming around the corner, and no one is breaking the law. He made a suggestion to place the bus stop on a road reserve at the Wallaroi Rd intersection, directly across from the current stop, believing it to be a much safer location. "There is no danger here, it is out of the way."

Mrs White's home is directly situated on the bend, with her driveway in a 'very frightening' spot, Mr Ahern said. Mrs White said visitors to her house usually drive across her front lawn to enter the road to avoid a collision with an oncoming car. She believes that 'people have usually travelled a long distance when approaching town and have no time to react' to the warning signs before the bend.

Upon viewing the area, RTA representative Richard Dunbar said the issue would have to be raised at the next traffic committee meeting, to be held in August. Wellington Council Technical Services director Owen Johns said in the meantime, council would be looking at all the possibilities. Of the bus stop, he said there are 'always safety concerns.' "We will go away and look at consulting with the bus operators," he said. As for the 'Suicide Bend' and the approach near Mrs White's driveway, Mr Johns assured her that he 'would have a look and come back and talk about the issues.'

Wellington Times 8 May 2006
Back to Index

Neighbors tired of noise
Some of the residents just outside Independence's city limits want the sounds of heavy machinery to stop. A seven-acre parcel inside the city's southern border has been a construction eyesore for the past several years, some residents say. The property is behind houses on Madison Pike and Mapletree Lane about a half-mile from Simon Kenton High School. Behind Bill and Kristy Ahearn's Mapletree home, fill dirt, debris and several tractor-trailers rest on a hillside facing their home in an area zoned residential. The Ahearns say they have had to deal with the unsightly views and loud equipment for the past several years. Since December, trucks have been dumping fill and debris closer to their property, Bill Ahearn said. Hunters also have fired guns near their home on the property, he said.

"My daughter has grown up listening to bulldozers, dump trucks and gunshots," he said about their 7-year-old daughter Ceilidh. "She is frightened to go in our backyard." The owner and leasee of the property, however, say they haven't been bad neighbors. Since 1977, Morningview resident Bill Ferguson said he has used the property to rehab junked cars and store trucks he uses to haul scrap material. He said he uses the eight trailers on the property to store some of the scrap metal. Ferguson said he stores his cars near a barn there and doesn't dump scrap near homes. Nor does he hunt on the land, he said. "If there is any scrap up there, it is contained in the trailers," Ferguson said. "It is not a junkyard."

Ferguson leases the property from Ted Davidson of Covington. Davidson said the construction noise has only gone on for about a month as fill from a gas line installation in Elsmere is being used to level out a ravine on the property. "I am filling a ditch in," Davidson said. "Yes, I have a grading permit. It is an aesthetic issue there. I have no intention of building homes on it." Nearby residents, however, say they heavy machinery and fill dirt has been there for a long time.

"They have been dumping stuff in there for I don't know how long," said Gail Gill, a resident on Mapletree Lane. Bill Ahearn said they made sure when they moved to their home in 1996 the area was zoned residential. The land behind them was an empty field save for one cell tower, a few junk cars and a trailer. Now the trailers have multiplied to eight and the construction noise runs from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., he said. "This guy is allowed to keep coming and coming toward us," Bill Ahearn said. "It is ongoing. The trucks come and go with railroad ties, concrete chunks, various construction filler."

City officials say they are investigating whether the activity on the property violates any zoning ordinances. If Ferguson has stored material on the property since 1977, he may be grandfathered into the city's zoning ordinance, which wasn't passed until 1979, said Annie Wuestefeld, the city's zoning and building administrator.

Cincinnati Enquirer 8 May 2006
Back to Index

Couple engaged
Mr. and Mrs. Edward Russell of Great Falls, Mont., announce the engagement of their daughter, Elizabeth "Libby" Russell, to Adam Ahern, son of Wally and Carrie Ahern of Madison. The bride-to-be is a 2004 graduate of the College of St. Catherine's in St. Paul with a bachelor of science degree in business administration. She is employed as a personal banker at Wells Fargo in New Brighton. Ahern is a junior at Carlson School of Management in Minneapolis and is majoring in finance, economics and entrepreneurial studies. He will be working this summer with Provititi, a risk consulting firm based out of Chicago. The couple will be married at the groom's home in Madison on May 20. They will reside in Roseville, Minn.
Madison Daily Leader 9 May 2006
Back to Index

Former owner gets probation for theft
AKRON—The former owner of a Bath Township furniture store has been sentenced to probation for stealing child support and 401(k) payments from employees. Kevin Ahern, 34, former owner of Traditions Home Furnishings, was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months' probation by Summit County Common Pleas Judge James Murphy. Last month, Ahern pleaded guilty to two counts of theft counts. Two employees had Ahern withhold child support payments of $6,173 and $1,034, respectively, but the money was not paid to the county Child Support Enforcement Agency. Withholdings for two other employees of $1,228 and $3,475, respectively, were not sent to a 401(k) account. Prosecutors said Ahern has repaid $7,835. The store is under new ownership and has a new name, Dimitroff's Furniture & Design.
Beacon Journal 10 May 2006
Back to Index

Second stranded seal pup rescued on Sears Island
SEARSPORT (May 10): A 5-day-old seal harbor pup was rescued from Sears Island on Monday after it became clear her mother had not returned to feed the pup. The seal pup was reported Sunday to Searsport police when visitors to Sears Island noticed it lying on the seaweed strewn rocks on the causeway. Searsport police officer Jaeme Ahern responded to the call. "When I got there it was back in the water," said Ahern. "An hour later I got another call and he was back on shore. The tide was about half out and coming in, but the pup didn't seem to be in too much distress. He was just sunning himself."

It is normal behavior for newborn seals to haul out on rocks for periods of time while they wait for their mothers to return from fishing. "Everyone seems to think they need to be covered in seaweed and stay wet, but they don't," said Ahern. "People just need to stay away from them." It is possible the mother did not return because of the human activity on the causeway where the pup was basking, said Ahern. Ahern contacted Allied Whale which oversees marine mammal strandings from a base at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor. Rosemary Seton, coordinator of the stranding program, said Searsport veterinarian Yvette Lahaye assessed the pup and said it appeared active and alert Sunday afternoon. When the pup was still on the causeway Monday and appeared to be losing weight, Seton intervened, rescued the pup and drove it to Marine Animal Lifeline, a rehabilitation center in Westbrook.

"She was about 5 days old," said Seton. "We could tell by looking at her teeth. She was very thin and obviously undernourished, but she was quite active and alert." Seeton said the pup was given intravenous fluids and tube-fed before being tucked in with a teddy bear. "She was suckling away on the teddy bear," said Seton. "She's still just a little kid." A premature male seal pup rescued April 30, almost in the same location on Sears Island, is doing well, Seton said. The Marine Animal Lifeline staff named the preemie, Milo.

"There are a lot of hoops to jump through, well, swim through before they can be released," she said. "They have to learn to swallow fish and then have to be trained to go for live fish." It will be up to three months before the seal pups can be released back into the sea.

Village Soup 10 May 2006
Back to Index

What is happening to Cork-Kerry Tourism?
The enthusiasm surrounding the launch of a new image and marketing tool for Cork-Kerry was offset by the confusion surrounding the up-coming disbandment of Cork-Kerry Tourism. With hundreds of industry representatives already in Killarney for a trade event at the Gleneagle Hotel, there was a highly representative turn-out at the nearby Brehon Hotel, on Monday, for the launch of the new "Cork-Kerry Destination Brand" by the Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism, Mr. John O'Donoghue.

Apart from updating the forty-year-old logo used by Cork Kerry tourism interests, the new brand is high-tech and media friendly and can be applied in many different ways, allowing tourism groups to take "a more targeted approach" to promoting the area. The initiative—including a slick DVD showing the very best of Cork and Kerry—was well received, but as soon as the presentation by its creator Mr. Martin Gaffney of Designworks was over, the question everyone seemed to be asking was: "What is happening to Cork-Kerry Tourism?" Warning the media that some of his comments were speculative, the chairman of Cork-Kerry Tourism, Mr. John Ahern, began by explaining the company's present position; what is being proposed and the pros and cons of change. Using the analogy of "breaking a bone to fix it", Mr. Ahern said it has been decided that Cork-Kerry Tourism is to formally disband prior to July 1—a move that follows years of upheaval within the organisation, tensions and legal action. Change, however, is not confined to the Cork-Kerry region alone. The decision to disband this company, and others, follows the recommendation of a report on Ireland's tourism industry by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC).

The consultants recommended that the industry be streamlined by disbanding the existing structures throughout the country—with the exception of Dublin Tourism and Shannon Development—and forming five new boards with ten representatives on each. Each of these regional advisory boards will have a regional director and the director—who has yet to be appointed—will report to Failte Ireland, but ultimately, the boards will be responsible for drawing up their own marketing strategies and initiatives for their area. In the case of Cork-Kerry Tourism: the company currently has eighteen-members on its board, with representatives and feedback coming from the Cork County Tourism Committee and the Kerry County Tourism Committee.

It is believed that the new structure will mean less widespread representation because the ten-member board is likely to comprise of two county managers; two county councillors (one from Cork and one from Kerry); four industry representatives; and two Fáilte Ireland nominees. Most people working in the tourism industry including Tourism Officer, Mr. Michael Manning, believes that one of the main benefits of the proposed new structure is in the area of marketing. By co-ordinating marketing initiatives and significantly increasing the budget, both Mr. Manning and Mr. John Ahern acknowledged that there is real potential to increase Ireland's tourism numbers.

Ireland is said to have eight million visitors each year, but when the figures are adjusted to eliminate the number of Irish people going from A to B, the real number, according to Mr. Ahern, is 3.8 million tourists. By way of contrast, he said, "The leaning tower of Pisa, alone, gets six million visitors each year." Clearly, he said, there is a need to take a new look at promoting Ireland as a desirable holiday destination abroad. He maintained: "Tourism means so much to Ireland because, as a nation, we have lost farming, we have lost heavy industry and the main thing we have left to promote is our fresh air, beautiful scenery and the friendliness of Irish people."

Mr. Ahern said he is uncertain about the future of the proposed new tourism structure because he maintains it would need "ten heavy-hitters" sitting on the board to be able to properly plan, promote and advance tourism initiatives in the region. These ten people will, he said, have to be up to the challenge of devising first-rate marketing initiatives for the region, be able to pitch the proposal and show how it will be funded. In seeking funding for new plans, Mr. Ahern said, it is possible that one-third of the funding will have to come from people involved in the tourism industry; one-third from the local authorities; and one-third from Failte Ireland. "For such a scheme and a structure to work," Mr. Ahern said, "the trade has to buy into it. If they do, we will have a successful product, but if they don't and we will continue our fragmented ways and we will be in trouble as a tourist destination." Mr. Ahern said there is a clear need for change, but "sailing into uncharted waters" was enough to make anyone nervous. Either way, he said, "If we are to go from 3.8 million tourists to six million tourists we are all going to have to start working together."

The chairman of the Cork County Tourism Committee, Ms. Eileen O'Shea said the members of her organisation have a number of concerns and she expressed her annoyance at the lack of information that is being made available in the run-up to the July 1 deadline. She said that any attempt to break or broaden the Cork-Kerry brand to include areas such as Waterford, Wexford and Carlow could impact on the region. The chairman also highlighted the need to retain the Cork County Tourism Committee because of the key role it plays in highlighting local issues and planning future developments. A motion calling on the Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism to retain the Cork County Tourism Committee was unanimously supported at a meeting of Bantry Town Council on Tuesday night and Skibbereen Town Council adopted similar motions at their monthly meeting on Thursday.

The town councillors also addressed concerns that existing tourist information offices in the region could be hit under the new regional partnership structure. They said the tourist information offices are "of vital importance to tourists visiting the area" and should be kept open at all costs. Mr. John Ahern had, however, commented on this in an earlier interview. He maintained that with income from merchandising etc from the tourist information offices at approximately €600,000pa, the future of the information offices would be secure. He also said he did not believe the new structure would mean job losses. He said the PWC report was aimed at re-organising the mechanics of the administration and policy-making process. He said it was not a cost-cutting exercise.

The Mayor of Kinsale, Mr. Tomas O'Brien, also expressed his concerns about the general lack of information about the transition. He said tourism interests in the area did not wish to lose the Cork-Kerry brand because "it is well known and it has served us well." Mr. O'Brien said he found the lack of information about the new structure "very frustrating." He said the question everyone wanted an answer to was whether or not there will be representatives from the relative bodies, such as town councils, on the new board. He said: "We don't want decisions taken centrally that affect us locally."

The Southern Star 13 May 2006
Back to Index

Friends of Londiani
Four Peaks Four Countries for Kenya
Friends of Lonidiani are on the road again, this time they are climbing four mountains over one weekend to raise funds for their ongoing projects in Kenya. A strong team of 40 from all over Ireland will attempt to climb Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pyke in England, Snowdon in Wales and Carrauntohill, Ireland over the June Bank Holiday weekend. Participants from Cobh include, Maria Kidney, Brendan Kidney, Claire Murphy, Colette Rowe, Lee Barry, Brian Crowley, Kieran Curtis, Terry Murphy and Laura Ahern.

If you would like to make a donation to this challenge you can sponsor a participant or make a donation into the Permanent TSB Bank sort Code 990701, Account number 84666541. We are hoping to raise as much as possible during this challenge to continue our development projects in Kenya. Thank you again for your continued support for this very worthy cause.

Great Island News 13 May 2006
Back to Index

Missed Signs In Case of Cop Who Stole Drugs
Although former Berkeley Police Sgt. Cary Kent, who pleaded guilty in April to felony charges of grand theft and possession of heroin and methamphetamine was sentenced Friday to one year in county jail, he'll do no time behind bars. Friday, Superior Court Judge Don Clay, who said Kent "served the public very well" yet betrayed the public trust, offered the now-retired officer alternative sentencing, such as home detention or work furlough. Kent and his attorney Harry Stern will be back before the judge June 27 to propose specific sentencing.

Kent stole heroin, meth and pills from the police department evidence locker that he supervised, compromised at least one criminal drug case and caused one case to be dismissed, said Clay, who noted Kent was "very remorseful and accepts responsibility" and was enrolled in a "detox" program so that he could "move on in life."

Some 900 pages of Berkeley Police Department reports on the case, requested by the Daily Planet on April 17 and released Friday by the department a few hours after Kent's sentencing, paint a picture of a police department that apparently had great difficulty in acknowledging for more than a year that one of its own, the person responsible for overseeing narcotics evidence, had a serious drug problem. The reports show that Kent was able to convince colleagues that radical changes in behavior, appearance and work ethic were a result of a medical condition. It also shows that, while at least one commanding officer may have talked to Kent about poor work habits—not showing up on time to distribute drug evidence to officers going to court, missing meetings, not completing his work—no formal disciplinary action seems to have been proposed until he was put on administrative leave Jan. 6, after hard evidence came to light that he had tampered with drug evidence. The reports also show that some 280 drug envelopes had been tampered with, about 100 more than had previously come to light. These contained mostly heroin and methamphetamine, but also included ecstasy, rock cocaine, vicodin and oxycontine. Documents released were mostly transcripts of interviews conducted in January and early February by Berkeley Police Department Lt. Cynthia Harris and Inspector Mark Scarlett of the Alameda County District Attorney's office with 31 police officers, three informants and a private citizen. Interviews with "informants" indicate that Kent continued to buy heroin after his mid-January retirement; informants said they thought Kent was still on the force.
 . . . 
Another individual close to Kent, who did not recognize signs of drug abuse, was Lt. Dennis Ahearn, who described himself to investigators as "a personal friend." Ahearn told investigators he noticed changes in Kent about 18 months earlier. Kent responded to his concerns by speaking of an undiagnosed medical condition that he didn't want to talk about. Ahearn said he never suspected Kent of using either prescription or illegal drugs. As time went on, Kent was looking increasing unkempt and people in his unit talked about his poor work habits. Ahearn said he had conversations with Gustafson and Lt. Ed McBride about it, but they did not conclude he was using drugs until the very end of the process. "I knew that he was falling down at work and . . . I had just assumed that . . . was being addressed within his chain of command in . . . as far as his missing staff meetings and that kind of stuff," Ahearn told investigators.

This should have been handled differently, Ahearn said. "All of us I think are a little bit embarrassed that we didn't push him a little . . . harder earlier or confront him sooner. You know do something like that maybe we could have headed this off or (at) least brought it to light earlier . . . "

Berkely Daily Planet 16 May 2006
Back to Index

Still in the swing of things
BEVERLY BEACH—A roadside restaurant in a blink-and-you-passed it beachside community wasn't the kind of place where a Benny Goodman or Tommy Dorsey played. But the Shark House is a welcomed musical mecca in these hip-hop times for 80-year-old saxophonist Gil Surette and his 10-piece big band. The musicians, mostly retirees who decades ago dreamed of playing in big-city ballrooms, call these Tuesday night sessions "rehearsal," even though the 2-month-old band plays nowhere else, at least not yet.
 . . . 
Patrick Ahern, 72, didn't pick up a musical instrument until he moved to Flagler Beach six years ago, and his wife bought a used clarinet at a hock shop. Now he plays saxophone in Surette's band, as well as three others. "I wasted all my life making money. This is the best time of my life," said Ahern, a retired electrical engineer from New York City. "Most of these guys are pros. It's my privilege to play with them." . . . 
Daytona Beach News-Journal 17 May 2006
Back to Index

Golf And Pro-Am Tennis Outing
On June 12, the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island is hosting the Ninth Annual Golf & Pro-Am Tennis Outing and Dinner in honor of Charles M. Trunz III, regional chief operating officer at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System.
 . . . 
The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island provides a "home-away-from-home" for families who are caring for seriously ill children undergoing medical treatment in area hospitals. Located on the campus of Schneider Children's Hospital, the House accommodates families in a warm and supportive environment. Since opening in 1986, more than 9,000 families from the United States and more than 62 countries around the world have been served. Most families are from Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as from the five boroughs of New York City.

Teri-Ann and Gerard Ahearn of Holtsville have spent quite some time at the Ronald McDonald House after their 14-year-old son, Gerard Patrick, was diagnosed at the age of 13 with Ewings Sarcoma, also known as adolescent bone cancer. Although the year has been challenging for Gerry, his courageous, optimistic attitude has been inspiring to his family and friends. And according to both of his parents, the house has provided comfort for all of them during a critical time in their family's life.

"I'm always with Gerry at the hospital," said Gerard Ahearn. "When I get back to the house, I can unwind, take a long hot shower and get comfortable. My kids come here and can play in the lounge or playroom—it's more like a home with a nice atmosphere that makes you feel good."

"Being in a situation like ours is so world-encompassing that you need somewhere safe, nurturing and unobtrusive to collect your thoughts and re-energize, physically and emotionally," added Teri-Ann. "The House helps you effectively focus on family, which in turn gives you the tools to digest the entire situation and get through it." . . . 

Suffolk Life 17 May 2006
Back to Index

Triumphing over the odds
Ever since she was a little child, hampered considerably by her stuttering and stammering, she dreamed that one day she would not only conquer her impediment, but would help young children who were experiencing difficulty accepting their particular disabilities. Susan put her goals and her education on hold, however, when she met Frank Ahern, whom she married when she was in her early 20s. When she gave birth to Caitlyn and Jessica, her main priorities changed. She now wanted to make sure that her daughters received all the tender loving care that had eluded her when she was a child. Instead of going back to college to resume her education or becoming part of the work force, she remained at home, lavishing affection and devoted care on her two young children. Fulfilled in her role as parent, Susan nonetheless still kept her childhood dream alive. She wanted to bestow her special gifts on children with special needs. Convinced she could make a difference in their lives, she was determined to get the specialized education she would need to pursue her goal. Years passed, but Susan never lost her focus.

As soon as her children became young teens, she enrolled at Bridgewater State College to resume her education. Her major? Psychology and special education. She was meticulous in arranging her school hours so that she would be at home when her children were out of school. Her center of attention was always her husband, her children, and her home, so keeping abreast of her studies sometimes gave way to helping a child with homework or cooking dinner for the family. Susan is quick to admit that she could never have pursued her dream were it not for her understanding and supportive husband who eagerly filled in when it was impossible for Susan to be at home because of an exam or a practicum. Because Frank is a building contractor, he has some freedom in arranging his hours in the event of an emergency situation with their now teenage daughters.

Susan Ahern, who, at one time in her life was shy, reticent and taciturn due to her speech impediment, is now eager to share her new-found knowledge that just because someone has a learning disability, a developmental delay, or a deficiency like a stammer or a stutter, that individual should not shun the spotlight. It was not always thus. One of her big fears as an undergraduate at Bridgewater was a required public speaking course that she kept putting off because she dreaded exposing her perceived inadequacy to her classmates. Most of them were only a few years older than her daughters. Susan knew speaking before a class of students would be her bete noire. She would not do it. But how could she let this one course stand in the way of realizing her lifetime goal? For her exam speech, she wisely chose as her subject the limitation that had stalked her her whole life: stuttering and stammering. Taking her classmates by surprise, she talked about stammering, its roots and its affect on her and how it could impede achievement if the person so troubled, like Susan herself, did not pursue self improvement with determined effort. Who could give a dissertation on stammering or stuttering better than the person so afflicted? Instead of the failure she had envisioned for so long, Susan aced the public speaking course.

Susan is forthright with her students and her employer in admitting to what is now a sometime weakness, possibly in a panic situation. But having accepted her limitation, and despite it, having pursued her education, she is now close to realizing her dream: Susan, after finishing an eight-week student-teaching assignment in a substantially separate classroom in the Quincy Public School system has completed the last leg of her journey: student teaching as a K-5 inclusion teacher also in Quincy. Looking forward to receiving her baccalaureate degree from Bridgewater State College on Saturday, May 20, Susan is anticipating and preparing for full-time employment as a bona fide special needs teacher somewhere on the South Shore when school resumes in September.

Her proud husband, Frank, unabashedly sings Susan's praises. Because he is having difficulty keeping his admiration and enthusiasm to himself, it will be impossible for him tosurprise Susan with a graduation party. Were it up to him, he would invite the town. He would like the world to know how proud he is of this young woman who never gave up on her dream to pursue her education and to focus on special needs, so that she could help young people with disabilities who are so often the victims of taunts and jeers. Susan and Frank's daughters say that her students will be indeed fortunate to have Susan Ahern as their teacher. She empathizes. She cares. She understands the uneven and bumpy road one must travel first in acknowledging and accepting a limitation, then, not defining yourself by that problem, and, finally, making a genuine effort to triumph over the stumbling block—in Susan's case, a speech impediment.

Hingham Journal 18 May 2006
Back to Index

Birds of Fire experience big changes
Local instrumentalists Birds of Fire have also been making a name for themselves here for a couple years, yet will suffer the fate of so many bands formed around universities. The guitarist and chief songwriter, Matt Daugherty, recently agreed to manage Prairie Sun recording studio in the Bay Area and will be leaving the band behind. Bassist Zach Ahern said the band members were "a little shocked" when Daugherty decided that "at this point in his life a career was perhaps more important than continuing with the band."

"I was kind of bummed on two levels—losing a friend and losing an important piece of the puzzle for the band," Ahern said. Daugherty, who studied recording arts in Chico State University's music department, said the decision to relocate was a tough one, but the new job is something he's wanted to do for a very long time. "Not only playing music but the process of recording and producing music, the art of recording," he said. "I made the decision that at this point in my life this was a better choice to take. I love playing music with those guys; Birds of Fire has played on and off for five years. It was a hard choice. I hope they can see why I made the choice." Ahern said he and the band's two remaining members, keyboardist Teddy Omlor, and drummer Aaron Markus, will continue to create new music, leaving behind the songs and name they worked to build. They will try to play the shows they have already booked, including a June show at Off Limits and an early September gig at the new City Plaza.

Thus, another Chico band bids fond farewell with poignant finales, but just as the mythical bird of fire, the phoenix, rises from the ashes, these musicians will continue to make their impacts on the world.

Chico Enterprise-Record 18 May 2006
Back to Index

Congratulations to Senan and Lynda Ahern on the birth of their son Darragh, a little brother for Oisin.
Great Island News 18 May 2006
Back to Index

The garden of redemption
Some people garden for love. Others do it for money. Inmates working at the Barnstable County Farm, garden at the 62-acre facility on Route 6A because it's a chance to be outdoors. Many discover they enjoy nurturing tiny plugs into lavish plants. In the process they learn about responsibility, work ethics and growing. To be chosen for the horticultural program, an inmate of the Barnstable County House of Correction, must be deemed "compliant." Lt. Geoffrey Ahearn, a bear of a man with a gentle manner, who has supervised the program for the last 16 years says, "You have to be willing to do what you are told." Inmates must also meet the classification criterion: no violent crime in their background. Then, they must prove themselves trustworthy by working in the laundry or kitchen at the Barnstable House of Correction.

The average profile is that of a male in his 20s, who was found guilty of substance abuse. Inmates get assigned farm duty when they are nearing release and on their best behavior. They work in the fields, greenhouses, wait on the public and man the cash register. "They aren't going to do anything to jeopardize their release," says Lt. Ahearn, who is constantly training new inmates as he has a constant turnover. Ahearn worked inside the house of correction for seven years. When a position opened up at the 55-year old farm, he took it. "I had landscaping experience before. I also learned from my predecessor, Campbell Childs." When he began, they grew seedlings for the vegetable gardens. Today, they propagate and grow perennials and annuals in nine greenhouses. "We grow mostly ornamental plants. Four acres are used for vegetables; two for a tree farm. We grow an acre of chrysanthemums; a couple of acres of sweet corn, a couple of acres of pumpkins and fall produce. A couple of acres of hay—and an acre of Christmas trees. We grow poinsettias at Christmas."

Customers who shop at the farm often don't realize they are talking to prisoners. "We had a customer come up to one of our older inmates who was guarding the till, and say, 'Don't you think you should be wearing a gun?'" The story became an instant classic. At one time the farm provided food for the jail and house of correction. "We had 2,500 chickens and 16 to 18 milkers. But we couldn't guarantee what produce would be ready, and it cost more to grow a dozen eggs than buy them." The kitchen was privatized in the 80s because it was cheaper. Now everything is sold to the public at prices that are lower than upscale nurseries. They rely on the 6A traffic and on word of mouth for customers. They also donate produce to food pantries and work with civic groups like the Walkway to the Sea in Hyannis.

Inmates have an opportunity to learn a variety of skills. Later, many get landscaping jobs or work at nurseries. "From the feedback we get, 98 percent of them love it. They take it personally. They are proud of what they do," says Ahearn. Often they prefer to work seven days a week if they can. Inmate Edman Botelho, Jr., 52, says, "I like getting outside. I like seeing the plants grow from a plug to a full size plant. Everything I've learned I've learned from Lt. Ahearn. He's a nice guy. I got the watering job. I thought it would be easy but it's hard. If you miss one day, the plants dry up. Sometimes they get mold or diseases." Botelho checks for mold and disease, removes dead leaves and moves the plants so they are getting their share of sun. He tends impatiens, fuchsia and geraniums. "The geranium house is my favorite. I take care of 300 geranium plants. I pinch the buds so they won't come out all at once. And I water five greenhouses." Botelho, who is in for drunk driving and declined to be photographed, says, "Anything I can do here is better than jail. The money (from sales) goes to the canteen fund for outside food." He hopes to be released in July. "Me and my dad will have a garden. He has a green thumb and grows tomatoes up to here," he says holding a hand to his shoulder. He'll also start up his painting business again. "It cost me a lot of money to be in here."

David Neal, who works in community relations for the sheriff's office says, "Sheriff Cummings attitude is, 'I will provide as much training, rehabilitation and counseling for those inmates who are willing to accept it.' But he doesn't want to waste taxpayers' money on those inmates who don't want to try to help themselves."

Lt. Ahearn says, "Quite a few have become interested in nurturing plants and growing vegetables. When they first get here most are unstructured. It's part of being a young offender. We teach them patience. We instill a work ethic. Give them a purpose. We teach them what it means to work and take orders. They can see the rewards of their efforts. They are really proud of what they do. Customers compliment them and come back again. The inmates want the customers to realize they are not bad people.

Inmate Joseph Delancey, 23, who was convicted of drug abuse, had landscape experience before working at the farm. He hopes to be paroled in July. "I like the outdoors; the different scenery. I'm going back to it. I learned how to run tractor equipment here. I'll be plowing the rye grass in soon and growing tomatoes, peppers and leeks."

Major Roger Poire, assistant deputy superintendent, who spent 25 years working inside the jail, has been with the farm program for the past two years with Lt. Ahearn. His feelings sum it up for many: "It's a kinder and gentler place."

The Cape Codder 19 May 2006
Back to Index

Women's group to host fashion show, bake sale
Goshen—The Presbyterian Women's Association will hold its annual Memorial Day bake sale on Friday, May 26, in the Village Square beginning at 8:30 a.m. This year the proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Brian Ahearn Children's Fund (PO Box 550, Warwick, N.Y. 10990). The fund was established to provide financial assistance to children and their families in times of need. Brian Ahearn, a 13-year-old Warwick boy, was diagnosed with a brain tumor as he began the eighth grade, and he died in 1998. Since the fund's inception in 1999, many seriously ill children and their families have received help from the fund. Last year over $50,000 was donated to families with special needs.
The Warwick Advertiser 19 May 2006
Back to Index

DPP not to charge accused Sligo priest
A Sligo parish priest said he was looking forward to resuming his duties after being targeted by what he claimed was an untrue allegation of abuse. Canon Niall Ahern stepped down as parish priest of Strandhill last February at the request of his bishop but has now been informed that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has decided not to take a prosecution. He said he was relieved that this harrowing time was over.

"While the truth was being independently and categorically determined I stood aside from ministry. This is now concluded and I greatly look forward to resuming my work in the parish." The allegation of abuse dated back to the late 1970s. Gardaí in Sligo confirmed the DPP had informed them yesterday of the decision not to take a prosecution in the case. In a statement, Canon Ahern said he was conscious that he was neither the first nor the last person to suffer an untrue allegation. "Nonetheless these days, such an accusation can force a priest to abandon his normal life until he can positively prove his innocence." But he said that priests should not feel bitter about this. "Our Church was in the past too slow to take action on such matters. A part of the price we pay for this is that priests have to take the approach that I in conscience took and which is the recent practice of the Church in Ireland."

Canon Ahern, who is in his late 50s, is originally from Boyle in County Roscommon. He was ordained in 1973, and was instrumental in organising ceremonies to welcome Mother Teresa of Calcutta when she visited Sligo in 1993. After stepping down from his duties as parish priest at Strandhill parish, he moved to the administration section of the Elphin diocese in Sligo town. "There are exciting opportunities in pastoral ministry today and with God's help I will continue to make this my life's work," he said.

A spokeswoman for Bishop of Elphin, Christopher Jones, said he would be releasing a statement later today. The DPP's decision not to prosecute is certain to revive the controversy about the practice of requiring priests under investigation to stand down from their duties. A number of priests have criticised the church's policy in recent times, saying that there was now an immediate presumption of guilt. The Catholic church put its new child protection policy in place last year, after the publication of the damning Ferns inquiry into child sexual abuse by priests. Under the policy, the church's Director of Child Protection must inform the Gardaí of any allegations of abuse against a member of the clergy where there are reasonable grounds for concern. The director can recommend that the person in question step aside or take administrative leave. The guidelines state: "While a request to take administrative leave may cause significant distress, it may be an essential and precautionary process to protect children and to allow time to establish if there is a basis to an allegation or suspicion of child abuse. The right to natural justice and presumption of innocence must be preserved."

The Archbishop of Tuam Dr Michael Neary requested a priest in the diocese to step down last year after a woman made a rape allegation against him. Gardaí carried out an investigation and the DPP decided not to take a prosecution in the case.

Irish Examiner 26 May 2006
Back to Index

Bringing history out of the closet
Acton—In a small closet next to the Memorial Library's second floor conference room, the past remains safely locked up and preserved. Inside, a collection of the town's Civil War artifacts are carefully labeled and wrapped. Some have been there just a few months and others for dozens of years.

The Acton Memorial Library Trustees were granted $30,150 in Community Preservation Act funds at Town Meeting last year. The money is being used to create an exhibit displaying historical items from the Civil War, which the library has accumulated since it was established in 1890. The library itself is considered part of these archives as it was given to the town by William Allan Wilde to serve as memorial for Civil War veterans and was used regularly as a hangout for these former soldiers. The library trustees hope the display will show how life was in Acton during the Civil War years. "We want to know who carried [each artifact], where did it come from and what did [the soldier] do," said Dennis Ahern, one of the library's trustees. "The story about the stuff is the most crucial part." Three alcoves in the back section of the library's second floor will be the site for this exhibit, which will be sectioned in three parts. The first will display objects from the time before the war started. The second part will illustrate life during the war. And the last will focus on the post-war days in Acton. In the library conference room, Ahern this week gave a preview of what the trustees hope to have on display in the next few years. Ahern brought out a camp chest that belonged to former Acton resident Aaron Jones Fletcher. Inside, Fletcher's diary, a leather medical case with several glass vials and an almanac were among the box's many contents. Ahern—who has been traveling between Washington, D.C., and Acton to gather Acton Civil War veteran pension documents—said historians believe Fletcher was a medic of some kind during the war.

The exhibit will also include the Grand Army of the Republic Remembrance book, a leather-bound volume with accounts of soldiers' experiences from the Civil War period. The contributors were interviewed and asked what they did in the war, which regiment they were in and where they were located. Most of the book's content is hand-written. Ahern said one of his favorite entries was from a soldier who wrote "I came home" as his most significant accomplishment. The Remembrance book's contents were transcribed and are available on the library's website.

The Acton Historical Society will also contribute reproductions of documents it has concerning the Civil War, including a copy of the note a [colonel] delivered to call men of Acton to report to Lowell for military duty.

Tom Dunn, one of the library trustees working on the Civil War exhibit, said discussion about putting the archives into a display began four or five years ago. The archives are part of three-phase project that began in 2004, when Town Meeting approved community preservation funding for the restoration of what is known as the GAR Post 138 flag. "The flag project was the flagship, no pun intended, of a whole galaxy of plans," Dunn said. "[The trustees] considered going for funding for a [Civil War] display once we had a better idea of what we had in mind." The library Board of Trustees' funds contributed between $4,000 and $5,000 to the Civil War exhibit. The Civil War archives showcases are the final part, which will include resources for researchers pertaining to Civil War and the War of 1812. Ahern is currently working on gathering materials for the Civil War segment. Dunn said he is currently working on the Request for Proposal, the paperwork to appeal to professional companies to make competitive bids on doing the work for designing and actualizing the display. The community preservation funds must be used three years after they are granted, and Dunn hopes to have the project within the next year.

The Beacon 8 June 2006
Back to Index

Architect Patrick Ahearn's summer retreat takes its cues from Edgartown's historic houses
Architects can talk a good game about scale, context, and deftly fitting their handiwork into landscapes and neighborhoods. Most are fluent in the au courant rhetoric that applauds the scaled-down practical home and scoffs at the garish trophy house. But the true tests of all architects' core convictions are revealed in the homes they design for themselves. On this little swath of land between two Edgartown back streets, someone could have built a vaulted Colonial that stretched across the entire property like a cargo ship run aground. Someone could have raised a very unneighborly giant box that obliterated the view and overwhelmed the perfectly proportioned antique houses for which the town is famous. Someone could have built as high, wide, and wild as budget and building inspector allowed.

Someone could have. Patrick Ahearn chose not to. "Historical neighborhoods have no real blank canvas by their very nature," says the Boston- and Vineyard-based architect. "So, the ultimate client I design for is really the greater good of the neighborhood, and that applies when I am my own client." Ahearn's belief in designs that harmonize with the home next door may have come from an uncanny source: his childhood neighborhood in Levittown, New York. To some, the 17,000 cookie-cutter homes built on Long Island's potato fields in the 1950s are no more than the "Little Boxes" of the satirical ballad made famous by Pete Seeger. To the 55-year-old Ahearn, however, the post-World War II development embodies a design wisdom beyond providing affordable, practical shelter. "Levittown homes were designed to accommodate expansion across the years as families and income grew. And they did," says Ahearn. "So much so, that few are left that have not been expanded. And they fit together as well now as when first built." And therein Ahearn found not only a subject for his master's thesis at Syracuse University, but a guiding principle he brings to his home designs—including his own on a shaded lane in the heart of what was once a neighborhood of working whalemen. He calls his approach "scripting," whereby he imagines a history of architecture and buildings on the site that could have survived the centuries.

During the whaling era, Ahearn's neighborhood bustled with merchants and mariners. The homes were not the grand waterfront mansions of captains and shipmasters, but modest homesteads for blacksmiths and shipwrights. "So, for my own house, I imagined this was a 1700s Federal Colonial house that at one point had a barn built, which was later attached to the main body of the house. At some point in time, the owners converted the barn into living quarters as the family grew, and they built a livery stable and carriage house at the rear of the property as a means of income," says Ahearn. "And some 200 years later, I inherited the homestead and undertook a major renovation and restoration of this historic property."

Of course Ahearn's homestead is actually brand new—circa 2005, not 1720—a pod of structures with the deliberate patina of age combined with contemporary creature comforts, including a swimming pool, home theater, and gourmet kitchen. He designed the compound principally as a summer retreat for his blended family, which includes his wife, Marsha, their children, Conor, 12, and Taylor, 15, and Marsha's older children, Ted, 20, Robin, 21, and Ben, 23. Each has staked out a favorite area. Ted and Ben are out of earshot with their own bedrooms, bath, and laundry ("and, coincidently, with the big-screen televisions," says Ahearn) in the basement. Robin and her school friends have a second-story apartment over the carriage house. The two younger children have their bedrooms and bath on the third floor. The master suite, which includes a cozy sitting room, is on the second floor. "But," says Ahearn, "our favorite spot is a nook by the kitchen, where we can sit and look out to the pool and watch the kids gradually gather around in the morning."

Although the family's primary home is in Wellesley and the main office of Ahearn's firm, Ahearn Schopfer and Associates, is in Boston's Back Bay, his many Vineyard projects keep his Edgartown office buzzing and draw him to the island more and more in the off-season. "And the house works as wonderfully in those months, too," says Ahearn. The most understated building, the 2,000-square-foot carriage house, features brick floors with radiant heat, air conditioning, and an apartment on the upper level. "That's one floor for my antique cars and the other for my kids," says Ahearn. The carriage house also functions as a buffer between the back street and main house, creating a private patio garden and pool area. "Take out the cars and open the doors to the patio, and we can have a dinner party for 75," says Ahearn. In the 38-foot-wide main house facing Cooke Street, Ahearn has crafted 5,000 square feet of living space on four floors, including a full basement with a nine-seat home theater, recreation and media room, laundry, bath, and sleeping quarters. A 10-foot-high foundation allowed ample room to hide the ducts and conduits for the electrical, mechanical, and air conditioning systems above the 8-foot basement ceiling. At the rear of the main structure is Ahearn's showpiece of implied history, the attached "barn" that, according to his script, evolved into living space over the years. The massive exposed rafters, barn beams from an 1810 Connecticut teardown, support both the roof and the story line. The wing houses the informal living and dining area with a Rumford fireplace. Above the hearth, an oversized cupboard hides a plasma-screen television. A grand staircase Ahearn built with resawn lumber from the same Connecticut barn leads to the second floor, where there are two guest bedrooms with baths in addition to the master suite and a Juliet balcony that overlooks the great room.

"The best compliment I have when I take visitors through the house is the moment when I am invariably asked, 'When did you finish the restoration of this old house?' " Ahearn says. "And I have to convince them it's really brand new. Patrick Ahearn creates the patina of age without sacrificing the benefits of modern materials. Antique-looking bead board, for example, is composed of medium-density fiberboard, which is easy to install, holds paint well, and doesn't shrink and swell with changing temperature and humidity. What's more, it can be bought in lengths of up to 14 feet, painted off-site, and installed faster than wooden bead board. Fiberboard also replaces finicky wood-paneled doors. "In addition to looking virtually identical to old wood, the fiberboard has sound-deadening properties that are superior," says Ahearn. For historically accurate moldings that don't separate with the seasons, he uses composite materials.

In the kitchen, pantry, and bathrooms Ahearn seals cherry and other wooden countertops with catalytic finishes impervious to water and alcohol. "That way, a counter is as durable as stone but much more accurate to the historical period," says Ahearn. In what Ahearn calls his "tavern room," he simulated centuries of good drink and conversation on the walls. Before he fashioned the period paneling, he "distressed" quarter-sawn white-oak boards with deliberate floggings with a chain. A few randomly placed scorch marks and nail holes add to the illusion. Instead of finishing the result with urethane, he chose a natural, low-sheen wax. "Matched up against the actual 200-year-old timbers in the room, the paneling looks as if it's been there right along," he says.

Outside, simple details such as salvaged stone used as veneer on the foundation, wide corner boards, painted and distressed bricks on the chimney, and steps made of old granite slabs lend the feel of centuries. Even divided light windows with 21st-century insulating properties are available with wavy glass to suggest antique Colonial glazing. One bane of owning an antique home is the constant maintenance of wooden shutters. Often architects and homeowners either do away with shutters or opt for generic plastic or metal substitutes. David Pritchard, a neighbor of Ahearn in Edgartown, developed a solution. His Atlantic Shutters are made of high-tech composites and are painted at the factory with an industrial-grade sealant. They are historically accurate, need no upkeep, and even from a foot away, it's hard to tell they aren't wood.

The Boston Globe 11 June 2006
Back to Index

New sheriff exercises his opinions freely
Career law enforcer ran unopposed, has independent streak
Cmdr. Greg Ahern, the newly elected Alameda County sheriff, has some big shoes to fill. But when he takes over for longtime lawman Charles Plummer, there's no doubt that Ahern is his own man, friends and family say. "He's not a wallflower," Ahern's wife of 20 years, Kathleen, said with a laugh. "He definitely will speak his opinion." That will come in handy at 12:01 p.m. on Jan. 3, when Ahern, 48, of Livermore officially takes the reins from Plummer, a 54-year law-enforcement veteran who is known for his take-no-prisoners style and acerbic tongue. Ahern, whom Plummer had named his successor, ran unopposed for sheriff. He won last week with 99.3 percent of the vote.

In an interview, Ahern said he realizes people might be quick to compare him with Plummer. Asked whether he would be decidedly less outspoken than the man who handpicked him, Ahern said, "No, I wouldn't agree to that. I'm pretty well outspoken when it comes to talk about certain issues." Those "issues" are varied and complex for Ahern, who will be managing 1,000 sworn personnel and 600 professional employees. Those include bomb technicians, jailers, courtroom bailiffs, search-and-rescue divers, a gunboat crew, and K-9 and motorcycle units.

He will also oversee deputies who patrol the AC Transit and Peralta Community College District systems, McAfee Coliseum, the Oakland International Airport and unincorporated parts of Alameda County and cities with contracts with the sheriff. Ahern was in the headlines last month when he announced that sheriff's investigators had identified a suspect in the 1994 slaying of Jenny Lin in Castro Valley. He's also kept tabs on the unsolved 2003 killing of "Jane Doe," the teenager whose body was found dumped behind a Castro Valley restaurant.

Ahern said his mission is simple. "I try to lead by example and try to create a positive work environment so that other people can be successful," he said. "My goal is to try to assist them in their career path, make sure they have the tools, equipment and training to do their jobs." Ahern "was independent from the time he was 1," and was 5 when he proclaimed that he wanted to be a cop, said his father, Bill Ahern, 82, a former prosecutor whose work with police also piqued his son's interest in the field. An accomplished athlete, the sheriff-to-be attended schools in San Leandro before receiving a bachelor's degree in economics and business from St. Mary's College in Moraga. He attended the Alameda County sheriff's academy and joined the force in 1980, steadily rising up the ranks and earning respect for his work investigating the killing of Deputy John Monego in Dublin in 1998. Ahern is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and has received training in counterterrorism and homeland security at an institute in Jerusalem.

"He's very level-headed and easy to talk to. He doesn't panic," Lt. Danny Dill said. "He's a cop's cop," said Sgt. Tom Madigan, president of the Deputy Sheriffs' Association of Alameda County, which endorsed Ahern in the election. "That being said, any time there's a change in leadership it does cause us a bit of concern. If he's a fair and equitable guy, we support him." While off-duty, he enjoys working out in the gym, waterskiing, snow skiing and golfing. Put him in front of a microphone, and he can slay a crowd, friends say. He and his wife have an 18-year-old daughter. Ahern said he's up to the task of making a name for himself as the new sheriff in town. "I can't match a 54-year law-enforcement veteran," he said. "Fifty-four years is like a Cal Ripken baseball record. Everybody knew about Cal Ripken and everybody knew of his great work, and I challenge you to name the guy who replaced Cal Ripken. That's what I'm up against." But his colleague Cmdr. Steve Roderick said that won't be an issue. "He's one of those guys who's been around the block a few times," Roderick said. "He's supercompetitive. We play sports together, and he doesn't like to lose. He's going to fight tooth and nail, whether it's tiddlywinks, golfing, running, boxing, whatever the case may be."

San Francisco Chronicle 11 June 2006
Back to Index

Rock River pulled from list of impaired waters, fish advisory changed
The Rock River in Rock County has been removed from a government list of chemically impaired waters. But before you eat your fresh-caught fish with lemon and tartar sauce, you might want to spend a few minutes or weeks absorbing the state Department of Natural Resources' surprisingly specific advice on how much of which fish you should eat during which time periods.
 . . . 
Despite hating the taste of fish, Kevin Ahern fishes six to eight hours per day, he said. He gives the walleye he catches to his girlfriend, who won't eat them more than once or twice per week, he said. Ahern believes the river's cleanliness has improved. "Fifteen years ago, the river was just nasty," he said.
 . . . 
The Janesville Gazette 12 June 2006
Back to Index

Women pounce on West Catholic girls walking home
Administrators and seniors at West Catholic High School were running through graduation practice last Friday morning when an unnerving tip came in: A group of people was planning to attack a student. When underclassmen finished their final exams by about 10 a.m. and started leaving the school, at 45th and Chestnut streets, teachers and cops from the 18th District were out in full force and bracing for the worst. But nothing happened on the school's grounds, said West Catholic president Brother Tim Ahern.

School officials breathed sighs of relief—unaware that an angry mother and a group of her friends were sitting in a car about a block away, waiting to pounce. When a female freshman track star and a handful of other students walked down Ludlow Street near 47th about 10:15 a.m., the mom and her friends bounded out of their car and attacked. The freshman was pummeled and kicked when she fell to the ground, Ahern said. When the other students tried to come to her aid, they were also caught up in a flurry of fists.

A videotape of the attack was posted on the Internet yesterday and broadcast on local TV stations. Now, police and school officials are trying to track down the volatile perpetrators to figure what prompted their attack. "These weren't kids attacking kids. This was a carload of women waiting to ambush," Ahern said. "I'm sure when they drove up to our school, they saw the faculty and police and figured, 'Let's get further away.' It's very sad." Ahern said the daughter of the woman who led the attack was a sophomore or junior who was expelled from the school in December for fighting. "We don't know if there was bad blood between the victim and the [expelled student]," Ahern said. "Who knows how far it went back?"

Police said yesterday that their investigation was still in the early stages and that no suspects had been identified or arrests made. Ahern said the victim, whose name was not released, received facial lacerations and several bad bruises. The school was awaiting an update on the girl's condition from her family. "This is a very upsetting situation," said Donna Farrell, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. "Everything the school did demonstrates how much they care about the safety of the students." Ahern said last night that he had not had a chance to interview the other students who witnessed the attack. West Catholic, which has 600 students, was closed yesterday. Students will be back in class today to receive their report cards. "I hope the parents of our students will file charges against [the attackers] for assault and battery," Ahern said.

Philadelphia Daily News 13 June 2006
Back to Index

US Artist Exhibits At Celamar Gallery
Luanda, 06/13—An exhibition of nine paintings by North American plastic artist, Elizabeth Da costa Ahern, will be inaugurated this Tuesday at 6.00 pm, at Celamar gallery, in Luanda. The works will be on display for over a week and according to the artist, they portray what she calls "Anticipating Angola", reflections written on her diary. In the country since Saturday for a seven-day visit, Elizabeth's trip is part of the cultural exchange programme between the United States of America and the Southern Africa country.
Angola Press 13 June 2006
Back to Index

What Goes Down Drain Eventually Bobs Up Here
The best places to see the celebrated products of New York—its Broadway talent, its skyscraper architecture—are well known. But the best place to see Manhattan's byproducts —what is stuffed down its sinks, flushed down its toilets and washed from its gutters—cannot be found in tour guides. There is perhaps no better vantage point than the Manhattan Grit Chamber, which strains solids from much of the borough's sewage as it flows underground to the Wards Island Wastewater Treatment Plant.

"This is where it all winds up," said John Ahern, who oversees the chamber, a large building at the eastern end of 110th Street in Manhattan, next to Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive. The Manhattan chamber handles sewage from much of the Upper East Side and Upper Manhattan, which makes up about a third of the city's total. From the baby's bathwater to the dead rat washed down a curbside storm drain, from a slop sink at Gracie Mansion to a Washington Heights bodega bathroom, it all goes into the street sewers, which, in their intricate latticework, are laid out so that the sewage flows by gravity to one large main bound for a tunnel running under the East River to the plant on Wards Island, surrounded by Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx. There it is cleaned of toxins and released as purified water into the river. To keep the tunnel clear, grit and other solid materials must be strained before the sewage enters. That's where the chamber comes in. It was opened in 1937 along with the Wards Island plant and the city's other grit chamber in the Bronx and strains sewage from the west Bronx. It also feeds the Wards Island plant.

At the Manhattan chamber, sewage enters through a 12-foot-wide main and flows into a basement room, where it is split into four canals, slowing its flow so that solids settle to the bottom. The sediment is collected by an arm that sweeps the bottom of the canal and empties into buckets that automatically rinse the grit and lift it up to the ground floor, where it is deposited in metal bins. The detritus floating in the channels—yesterday, this included cigarette butts, bottle caps, plastic bottles, candy wrappers and plastic spoons—is skimmed out by a rake and pulled up an incline called a screen climber, which resembles an escalator, and is also deposited into bins. They sit at the foot of the elegant columns gracing the building's Art Deco lobby, one of the aging Art Deco features in the building that are being restored. The refined architecture is at odds with the omnipresent stench. The strained waste water proceeds along the canals and through sluice gates, then drops several hundred feet down a shaft into a nine-foot-wide tunnel running as much as 500 feet below the East River to the plant.

The bins of accumulated solids, called "screenings," are frequently dumped by forklift into larger ones for transport to Wards Island and are held there until they are shipped to landfills out of state. The whole process is costly, and might be less so if people paid more attention to what they flush down the drain, city officials say. The containers each hold 10 cubic yards. "We fill about two or three of those on a busy day," Mr. Ahern said.

A busy day comes when it rains. The chamber handles about 100 million gallons of sewage a day—more than double that when it rains and the storm drains and street sewers are flooded. The flow increases enormously, and the whole operation goes into overdrive. The sewage treatment workers head for higher ground upstairs. Yesterday, everything in the cavernous basement room was spattered with dried rags and detritus, reaching up to a high-water mark on the wall about eight feet up. "We haven't had any rain in a few days so the flow is a little slow," he said. "But when it rains, this whole room can get flooded out. It comes in like a deluge."

Mr. Ahern is the superintendent of the Wards Island plant, which, after Newtown Creek, is the largest of the city's 14 treatment plants. The list of things he has seen and seen strained from New Yorkers' sewage provide enough fodder for a one-man show. For starters, he pointed into a bin of screenings. There were mostly rags, soiled paper towels, condoms, rubber gloves, MetroCards, dental floss and tampon applicators—that and a dead rat. There is no demure way of describing other contents. "Sometimes you find money," he said, looking into the bins. "We get a lot of stuffed animals, anything kids throw down the toilet. We don't get much feces or toilet paper because it gets dissolved into the flow.

"We get a lot of turtles and fish. We got a carp this big," he said, holding his hands 15 inches apart. "We've had a canoe come in here; it got caught on the screen. We've had pieces of telephone poles, Christmas trees. Oh, you name it—mattresses, dead dogs. We got a live dog once. "Once we got this thing: it was a wire that started gathering rags and stuff in the sewer and just grew like a snowball and came washing in, a big ball of garbage," he said. "We called it the Volkswagen."

He stood on a catwalk between the canals and looked down at the dark gray waters, pocked with bubbles. "That's from the methane gas released by the sediment," he said. And yes, the sewers sometimes become a grave for the unfortunate. "We've had a few dead bodies," he said. "We got a homeless woman, but it's mostly men. Once we had a guy who was shot. The last one we had was a homeless guy, a few years ago in the Bronx. They go into the manholes to look for jewelry and money, and then they get overcome with gas, go unconscious and die down there. When we get a dead body, we shut down the operation and call the cops."

New York Times 23 June 2006
Back to Index

Real Estate Transactions
415-A Coral St, Kenneth Ahearn to John Joseph Bisaha and Katherine Mary Stika; 5/19/2006. $845,000
The Press of Atlantic City 9 July 2006
Back to Index

It's beginning to look a lot like summer. This week is blasting off on a high note with yesterday's temperature hitting 88 degrees. Christian Ahern, (above), made the most of the heat yesterday, leaping off the Chelsea Street Bridge into Little Mystic Canal in Charlestown. Plan for a chance of showers and thunderstorms this aftenoon. Humidity will continue to rise, and sticky, uncomfortable conditions are expected for the next couple days, according to Charlie Foley of the National Weather Service.
Boston Herald 10 July 2006
Back to Index

Ahern vehicle involved in city collision
TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern was caught up in a collision last night. He was involved in a minor traffic accident on Dublin's north inner city. He was on his way to Government Buildings for meetings when the accident happened at Ballybough. But neither he nor anyone else was injured and only material damage was caused to the two cars involved. Mr Ahern was not travelling in his official car but in a back-up vehicle, a Garda Camry. Traffic, including the Taoiseach's car, was stopped as another patrol car, lights flashing, tried to make its way through heavy traffic. The driver of the Taoiseach's car and others moved out of the way to allow the patrol car to pass. gardaí confirmed that, as vehicles moved to make way, a collision occurred between the car in which Mr. Ahern was travelling and another car, believed to have been driven by a woman. Mr. Ahern got out of the car with his security detail to check that the occupant of the other car was all right. Satisfied that nobody was injured, he was then taken back to Government Buildings in another Garda car. Mr. Ahern was said to be glad nobody was injured. The car in which the Taoiseach was travelling will now be examined by a Garda sergeant.
Irish Independent 21 July 2006
Back to Index

Following the Woodies concert Saturday night, the summer concert series will return Aug. 26 with the reggae, soca and calypso music of Dylan's Steel Band. Tickets are $5 for each show with children 10 and younger free. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at the San Marcos Community Center. Dylan's Steel Band member Adrian Ahearn said the venue is an intimate setting that blends well with his band's Caribbean style. "Last year we played and had the people up and dancing," he said. The concert series is sponsored by the city of San Marcos, the San Marcos Rotary Club, California Coastal Credit Union and Crake Team Realty.
North County Times 22 July 2006
Back to Index

Worcester County Probate and Family Court
Joint Petitions Granted
Ahearn: Scott K. Ahearn and Beth A. Ahearn, both of Paxton, married in North Brookfield June 6, 2003.
Worcester Telegram & Gazette 30 July 2006
Back to Index

Dancing Queen
ABION—Heather O'Hearn is probably a familiar face to many area dancers. She taught classes at a local studio for years, and she will continue to teach in Albion—only now, she will do it from her very own studio. "I've always wanted to teach," O'Hearn said. "Everything happens for a reason, and I think the time was just right for me." The 25-year-old Albion native has been dancing for 22 years and can do just about anything from tap and jazz to ballet, pointe and hip hop. She has seven years of teaching under her belt, as well as experience at various dance competitions around the state. O'Hearn continued to hone her craft in college, minoring in dance at SUNY Brockport before transferring to Roberts Wesleyan College, where she will complete a degree in elementary and special education this fall. O'Hearn will attend college during the day and teach dance at "Dance Reflections" in the evening. "It's going to be worth it," O'Hearn said of the full workload.

Once she made the decision to open her own studio, O'Hearn said she searched for just the right place to hold classes. She got some help from her father, Tom O'Hearn. As an Albion police officer, part of his duties on midnight shifts is to drive around town and inspect old buildings. After shining a light through the window of an empty building behind Pizza Hut, he saw a floor perfect for dancing and knew he'd struck gold. "He came home and said, ‘Heather, you need to look at this place,'" she said. "I saw the hardwood floor and said, 'I've got to have it, it's perfect.'" The O'Hearns are renting the space for now, and have been working non-stop getting the building ready to open. "All the people that have been helping are all friends and family," Tom O'Hearn said. "There's no labor costs at all."

The work began on June 21 and with the construction help of friend John Gurney and fellow police officer Gary VanWycke, along with many other volunteers, the building has been transformed. A roomy sitting area awaits dancers just through the front door, the bathrooms have been re-done and the large rehearsal room boasts mirrors, a high ceiling and the beautiful hardwood floor that used to be part of a roller-skating rink. O'Hearn said she already has a number of students lined up. "Where I taught before, I built up a clientele, and when I left I got numerous phone calls and e-mails from them," she said. She will be offering classes in tap, jazz, ballet, tumbling, hip hop and cheer. Along with children and adult instruction, O'Hearn will hold special classes for people with handicaps or disabilities, something she said is not offered anywhere else. The instructor also hopes to hold senior citizen Sundays and offer specialty classes. "I'm in the process of getting someone in here to do line dancing," she said.

Both Tom and Theresa O'Hearn are amazed at their daughter's ambition. "I'm very, very proud of her," Theresa said. "She's wanted to dance since she was three . . . It's been a lot of blood, sweat and tears. If we're not working during the day, we're here 12 hours." Heather O'Hearns boyfriend, Jared Hapeman, has also been helping out with the construction. "It's been hard work, but it's easy when it's something you're looking forward to," Hapeman said. O'Hearn said she could not have done it without the help of family and friends, and said she is prepared for more hard work after the studio opens. "I'm prepared for the challenge, and I'm so excited that it just overrides everything else," she said.

Journal-Register 1 August 2006
Back to Index

Breckenridge's Kelly Ahern, a cross country runner and skier at Northern Michigan University, won her second short-course race in three tries this season, finishing comfortably ahead of all other women. She won with a time of 39:37, followed by Summit High's No. 1 cross country runner, Briana Perkins (41:02), and Ashley Roach (44:28). "There's a few younger girls that are right on my tail," Ahern said, "but I usually just kinda go. Don't really focus on who's here."
Summit Daily News 2 August 2006
Back to Index

Three Cork teens free after beer barrel prank on railway line
Three North Cork teenagers who put a stolen beer keg in front of a packed passenger train carrying over 400 passengers on the main Cork-Dublin line in "a stupid teenage prank" have walked free from court after they were given the benefit of the probation act. Ethan Bowles (16) of Station Road, Buttevant, Shane Ryan (17) from Waterhouse, Buttevant and David Ahern (18) from Velvetstown, Buttevant each pleaded guilty to causing €1,000 worth of damage to an Iarnroid Eireann train and to endangering rail traffic on 6 June 2005. Bowles and Ryan also pleaded guilty to a third charge of stealing a beer keg worth €20 from a local pub in order to carry out the prank which happened at around 6pm on the day in question, Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard last week. Garda John Hurley told how Bowles and Ryan inveigled upon Ahern to help them carry the stolen beer keg to the railway line where they placed it on the track, believing that it would be knocked out of the way by an oncoming train. They put it on the track as the 17.30pm Cork-Dublin train with some 409 passengers and six staff came hurtling through Buttevant at 80mph and although the driver of the train spotted the something silver on the line, he wasn't able to stop in time and ran over the beer keg. The beer keg was crushed but damaged the brake hosing on the train which lost pressure and the train came to a halt. No one was injured and the crew was able to carry out temporary repairs at the scene and the train arrived at Heuston Station just 20 minutes late, said Garda Hurley.

The three teenagers all apologised through their barristers for their actions and also came up with a total of €1,000 in compensation for damage caused to the train. They didn't have any comprehension that the prank could have led to a derailment, the court heard. Judge Patrick Moran noted applications by the teenagers' barristers to be as lenient as possible including perhaps applying the probation of offenders act so that none would have a conviction and thus be prevented from traveling abroad. "This was a very serious teenage prank. I would add that it was a very stupid teenage prank which could have had very serious consequences. You put this beer keg in the way of one of the busiest trains in the country," said Judge Moran. "You were bored and looking for something to do. You decided to take this barrel and put it on the track," commented Judge Moran sternly before acknowledging that all were very young at the time of the offence. He noted that none had ever been in trouble before nor had been in trouble since and all had been chastised by their families and were unlikely to re-offend and he agreed to apply the probation act on condition they each donate €400 to the St Vincent de Paul in Buttevant.

The Corkman 3 August 2006
Back to Index

Facelift for Beautiful Old Union Chapel
Sunlight streamed through panes of yellow glass and bathed the interior of Union Chapel in bright radiance Wednesday, illuminating the worn wicker backs of antique chairs and nicked wood of the lacquered podium. Now those windows, along with the rest of the historic Oak Bluffs chapel, are getting a long overdue facelift. On Wednesday at the chapel, the Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust outlined plans for the restoration of the 135-year-old structure. The project cost is estimated at $500,000, half of which has already been collected through fund-raising. Restoration will take place over the next three years.

Edgartown architect Patrick Ahearn is in charge of design and planning for the project. Mr. Ahearn, who specializes in historic architecture, is already poring over photographs and old documents in an effort to recreate the exact appearance of the original chapel, right down to the exterior color: yellow, with a crimson trim. The chapel, which sits at the south end of Kennebec avenue, dates to 1870. As the popularity of the Methodist camp meetings grew during the 1860s, so too did the town of Oak Bluffs. Camp Ground residents grew concerned about the intrusion of the outside world and the effect on the quiet, religious atmosphere. A seven-foot fence was erected around the Camp Ground to screen it from the rambunctious and worldly newcomers. The burgeoning town was left without a place of worship. The Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Co. took on the task of building a new chapel, one that was dedicated to providing a place of worship for the entire Island. It was decided that the chapel should be nondenominational, the way it has stayed ever since.

Designed by the famed Boston architect Samuel Freeman Pratt, who designed more than 20 structures in Oak Bluffs, the chapel was constructed at a cost of $16,000 and officially dedicated on August 20, 1871. Eight clergymen from different faiths presided over the occasion. Since then people from all faiths, walks of life and parts of the world have worshipped in the unique octagonal chapel, noted for its sprawling, open interior and superb acoustics. "There is a spirit within this structure that truly inspires," said the Rev. John Schule. "I've preached in most places on Martha's Vineyard but there is something about this place that is truly inspiring. . . . For a century and a half, this place has beckoned people near and far." Time and age have taken their toll. Much of the structure's original character has worn away due to weather and use. The congregation, lacking necessary funds, has been forced at times to physically remove old or dilapidated pieces of the chapel. Concern for its decay prompted a dialogue in 2001 between the late James Bryan, former president of the Union Chapel Association, and Chris Scott, executive director for the preservation trust. They first discussed fund-raising, but soon realized the chapel would be better off if the preservation trust took over its care.

In September 2002 the preservation trust bought Union Chapel for one dollar. Since then, the preservation trust has been hard at work raising funds for the exhaustive rehabilitation. They have carefully studied sepia pictures and historic documents to see what it will take to restore the chapel to its former glory. The old photographs show a markedly different building. It originally had a magnificent bell tower, and the roof was topped with an ornate spire that stood 96 feet above the Oak Bluffs skyline. But over time the tower fell into disrepair and was removed, while the spire was lost in the 1938 hurricane. Gothic windows have given way to square panes and much of the ornate trim seen in original pictures have simply faded away.

Right now, the restoration project is in the planning and fund-raising stage. With $250,000 already in the bank, Paul MacCowatt, president of the preservation trust, said he expects public donations will quickly close the gap for the rest of the cost. Meanwhile, Mr. Ahearn continues in the detective stage of the process. Through the few photographs and drawings, he is trying to decipher exactly where the former bell tower was located. Underneath the modern gray linoleum is a hardwood floor of yellow pine, and under the current green interior, he hopes, is the original color of the chapel. He estimates it will take about a year to peel back the layers, draw up plans and place bids before construction can begin. Some upgrades have already started, and the building has been brought up to code with exit signs and alarms. Mindful of the congregation's needs, construction will take place around their schedule. "Now we find ourselves with a skeleton of the past," Mr. Ahearn. "The challenge of our time is to recreate the original."

Martha's Vineyard Gazette 7 August 2006
Back to Index

It's a season of reading
School may be out for summer, but Concord's youth pass their sunny summer days with chapter books, picture books and story time. Dressed in shorts, T-shirts, and sandals kids gain air-conditioned relief from the summer sun at the Concord Free Public Library, where they double up in oversized armchairs and older children read books to their siblings and friends. Karen Ahearn, one of the children's librarians at the library, led story time last Thursday. "I've been here for 30 years, so I see some of the kids whose parents came as children," she said.

As children gathered on the rug to listen to their stories, Ahearn captivated her audience with her clear voice and stressed syllables. Ahearn began story time with "What! Cried Granny: An Almost Bedtime Story," written by Kate Lum and illustrated by Adrian Johnson. For the little children in the crowd, Ahearn explained some of the story's pictures. As Ahearn read the story of a mission-tackling grandmother who sought solutions to her grandson's nighttime needs, late-comers trickled into the library to take their seats on the rug as well. Following her stories, Ahearn provided entertainment with a puppet show, a filmstrip and songs. She and the children danced to the Hokey-Pokey and used a felt board to tell the story of "It looks like spilt milk."

Dressed in pink and having a fun time decorated with smiles and giggles, 1-year-old Anna Rose Sweeney visited the library with her mother, Linda. "I like the idea of her listening to stories," said Linda, "and thinking of the library as a fun place." Maynard resident Melina Gosselin brings her daughter Sophia, 4, to story time once a week. "I want a literature rich environment for her," she said. This past week, Concord Recreation Junior Camp counselors brought their students to Ahearn's story time. "Some mornings, we like to just come and read," said camp counselor Coretta McGill. "With the heat, it's been tough to be outside." Fellow counselor Andy Brown said, "It's good to just come and relax in here and take some time away from running around all day."

Olivia Cassidy, 7, said she likes the Henry and Mudge series, written by Cynthia Rylant, because "they have easy words." She also enjoys reading "Curious George Flies a Kite," written by Margret Rey, because "the monkey makes a mess." "We take out a lot of library books especially during the summer," said Cassidy's mother, Audrey. Cassidy's brother Nathaniel, 11, enjoys reading chapter books, comic books and books from the Hardy Boys series. "You can see what life is in different places of the world," he said.

Bridget Walker also attended last week's story time. "We go through series," she said of the books she reads with her daughter Emma, 7. Lately, Emma has been writing stories about horses and she makes her own books with her babysitter. She wants to learn how to read "really hard" books. According to Walker, Emma reads to her 3-year-old sister Lily. "It's so cute," she said. Natalie Dussault, mother of 3-year-old Douglas, said coming to the library is "his all time favorite thing to do." Douglas likes to read books from the Berenstain Bears series. Douglas also likes to check out The Wiggles DVDs from the library.

Story time is not the only time the library has book-borrowing visitors. Allison Norris, mother of Carolyn, 3, said her daughter's favorite book is "Fancy Nancy," by Jane O'Connor. She also enjoys the character D.W. from the Arthur series, written by Marc Brown. "She quotes the books which is quite funny," Norris said. Norris and Siobhan Smith have a home daycare and come to the library often. Librarian Karen Ahearn said, "A lot of people come in to use the library for the children's room programming." This program includes a wide variety of activities, which can be found on the Concord Free Public Library web site at

Concord Journal 10 August 2006
Back to Index

Civil War Exhibition Being Created
Dennis Ahern, an Acton Memorial Library trustee since 1982, is back after spending seven weeks researching pension and service records of Acton's Civil War veterans at the Library of Congress and National Archives in Washington. This is the third trip he has taken, at his own expense, to gather information for a new exhibition planned for the 1890 wing of the library. Ahern said the library was built as a memorial to the town's Civil War veterans and has more than 150 Civil War artifacts, including muskets, swords, diaries, letters, and uniform parts. He said his research has netted information on 330 Civil War veterans who were from Acton or who came to town after the war. He estimates it will be another year or two before the exhibition is completed.
The Boston Globe 13 August 2006
Back to Index

Helping others is at heart of MAA's Walk
For Vickie Hunter, a 42-year-old mother of two, the prospect of walking five kilometers takes a lot of heart. Literally. When she was 29 and pregnant with her second son, Hunter came down with a virus that attacked her heart; six years later she received a heart transplant. Although she has had subsequent health problems, Hunter is planning to participate Sept. 16 in the annual MAA's Walk in Verona Park. She has been going to the fundraising event since it started four years ago and says it is an important way not only to get some exercise, but also to raise money for current transplant patients.

"MAA's Walk is for people who may find themselves in a situation they didn't expect," she said in a phone interview. "There are some people who might have a home — and they got sick out of the blue — who can't afford their medication. The more money that they can raise through MAA's Walk helps those people." The walk is named for Mary Anne Ahearn, who received a heart transplant in 1990 and lived for an additional 12 years before succumbing to lung cancer in 2002. Ahearn's husband and seven children started the event as a way to remember Ahearn, a virtual legend in New Jersey's heart transplant community for her can-do attitude, and to build awareness for the need for organ donation. The event is cosponsored by the Heart Failure Treatment and Heart Transplant Program at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, which is ranked seventh in the nation for heart transplant surgery.

"The Ahearns came to us after their mother passed away in 2002, and they said they were so happy that she lived for 12 years," said Beth Tepper, development coordinator at the NBIMC Foundation. "She got to see her children grow up and graduate from college, and share a lot of life with them that they never expected. The family wanted to give back and support the patients that are here. It's been a very inspirational event." After three years, the walk has raised a total of $96,000. This year over a hundred people are expected to attend. The numbers are increasing, but Jennifer Ahearn Murray, Ahearn's youngest daughter, says they are still struggling to get the event off the ground. "It's hard in one respect because there are so many worthy causes and so many events and so many walks like ours," she said. "Organ donation is hard because people don't like to think about it, because it means you're thinking about your death. People don't want to go there. So when you have an event like this, it's the people who are affected, but your goal is to get the message out to everybody."

Dr. Mark Zucker, head of the heart transplant program at Newark Beth Israel, treated Ahearn after a massive heart attack as one of his first dozen patients in the early days of the program. "She was part of our early history," he said at his office, showing a post-surgical picture of Ahearn hiking. For Zucker, the MAA's Walk helps dispel myths that transplant procedures are still experimental, but he says he finds the numbers of those attending somewhat disappointing. "The walk to cure breast cancer is not the walk to cure someone else, but for yourself," he said, explaining that many of the millions of people who support such breast cancer fundraisers either have had the disease, have a relative who has, or are at risk themselves. Still, Zucker says, it's important to support transplant causes. "You never know when it's going to affect you."

According to the New Jersey Organ & Tissue Sharing Network, a nonprofit which recovers organs and tissues for transplant surgery, close to 90,000 people in the United States are registered on the organ transplant list with the United Network of Organ Sharing. An estimated 6,000 die each year waiting for an organ. In 2004, more than 7,000 people donated organs after death, up from some 4,000 people in 1988. Over 2,000 people a year across the U.S. are heart transplant recipients. In New Jersey, about 15 people are currently waiting for a heart, among the close to 3,000 waiting for organs, according to the NJ Sharing Network. The organization, which provides information on donation at the walk, also receives some of the funds.

The long-term goals of the walk may be to increase the numbers of donors, but in the short term, the walk helps those who have had the procedure survive by simply plugging the gaps in insurance coverage. "It's my savior," said Patricia Skerko, a social worker at Beth Israel's heart transplant program who is in charge of distributing the donations from the walk. Heart transplant patients require an extensive cocktail of drugs, including antibiotics, autoimmune suppressants and blood thinners. The costs per year can range be as high as $45,000 per year. While insurance can cover much of the costs, Skerko says, thousands of dollars go uncovered. Many patients with Medicare coverage have to deal with new rules that can result in a so-called "doughnut hole" in prescription drug coverage. Under the new plan, known as Medicare Part D, the federal government stops paying for drugs after a person spends $2,250 in a year. Coverage picks up again after a Medicare recipient has spent over $5,100 in a year. Patients that did sign up with private companies offering the plan must pay thousands of dollars for medications. Skerko deals with these sorts of problems daily. "A woman from Passaic came to me crying and said, 'How do I get my medication?'" Skerko said. "So I took it out of the fund. If there's anyway I could get insurance to pay for it, I would. It's a couple of thousand dollars, but if you don't have it, it could be a million."

Skerko says that a majority of the patients having difficulty are middle-income earners with private insurance or Medicare. But the loss of medication coverage can also affect low-income patients on Medicaid. Suzanne Esterman, a spokesperson at the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services, said there is no "aggregate anecdote" to describe the situation of Medicaid medication coverage after a transplant procedure. "It's very individualized and depends on the eligibility factors," she said.

Funds from the walk also go to buying better equipment and funding the NJ Sharing Network's outreach programs. Although there is an increasing awareness of the importance of organ donations, the cause needs "ambassadors" that can better explain the issue, said Myra Burks-Davis, spokesperson for the organization. "Individuals latch onto the cause and become ambassadors; they see the value of trying to encourage other people to become donors," Burks-Davis said. "When people have a personal relationship, they're the most powerful ambassadors." People who've lost a family member and elected to donate their organs are often the most powerful ambassadors of all. When Christina Irizzary's younger brother Gabriel died after a violent attack at the age of 30, she made the decision to become Vicki Hunter's "donor sister." The two got connected through the sharing network and now Irizzary is thinking of walking in the upcoming 5K. For her, the walk will be about remembering her brother and celebrating a part of him that lives on. "It makes me feel like the organs of my brother that I donated didn't go in vain," Irizzary said. "To me, it's like keeping the memories of our loved ones alive, knowing that people out there are benefiting from something that would have just gone underground. To me, it means he's still alive."

Herald News 15 August 2006
Back to Index

Ahearn, Dapkas guide Bay State Magic AAU team
Marshfield's Bobby Ahearn and Derek Dapkas, who were selected from over 50 kids from Massachusetts to play for the Bay State Magic U11 AAU Basketball team, played in the AAU Nationals held in Lexington, Ken. The Bay State Magic Team finished 29th out of 60 teams. They played teams from North Carolina, Georgia, New York City, Washington D.C. and Kentucky. Ahearn, who is going into sixth grade at Furnace Brook Middle School this fall, led the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging a double-double (12 points and 14 rebounds per game). He is pictured here driving to the basket during a game played against the Long Island Lightening [sic] AAU team from New York City. Dapkas (#14) looks on.
Marshfield Mariner 16 August 2006
Back to Index

Trying to cope on Craycroft
Businesses dealing with disruption caused by lengthy road project
Businesses and neighbors have been active in meeting with county officials and voicing their concerns about ongoing construction along North Craycroft Road, yet the work has still affected local business traffic. "People do avoid the area sometimes because of the construction," said Richard Stern, manager of Annabelle's Attic at 5625 E. River Road, on the northeast corner of River and Craycroft. "But it's hard for us to say about its effect on our business because we only opened this location in May."

Jack Ahern, co-owner of Ric's Cafe at 5605 E. River Road, in the same shopping center as Annabelle's Attic, said he doesn't think the construction has done any damage to his business yet, "although dinner traffic has been off a bit, but it might be because of the summer." Ahern said construction reached the intersection of River and Craycroft about four weeks ago. "I know it will get worse," he said. "They're just starting to lay the utilities, but I expect heavier construction in the coming months to affect my business." . . . 

Arizona Star 17 August 2006
Back to Index

A lifelong friend
To Gary O'Hearn, "Friend of Youth" is more than just the slogan of the Optimist Club. The former Portage educator, principal and founding member of the Portage Optimist Club has made being a friend of youth his way of life. This fall, O'Hearn, who retired from the Portage School District in 1995, will be inducted into the Portage High School Hall of Fame.

When O'Hearn graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 1960, he remembers seasoned teachers telling him, "Kids have changed." "I heard it throughout my career, and I heard it just recently," O'Hearn. "I say that there were so many good kids then, and there are so many now. Most all of the kids I've encountered are great." A 1956 graduate of Melrose, Wis., High School, O'Hearn is fondly remembered by many in Portage as the teacher who started the district's annual safety patrol trip to Washington D.C. The tradition began in 1964 when O'Hearn, who was teaching sixth grade at the time, was charged by District Administrator Ludwig Petersen to take over the safety patrol program. "He said, 'Make it so kids want to be in it,'" O'Hearn said.

As a young teacher, convincing a Board of Education to allow a student trip across country was no small feat. "When you're 25 or 26, and you come in and want to do something, and people don't know if they want to trust you to do it," O'Hearn said. Petersen decided to allow O'Hearn to take one student, current Portage resident Mike Hurd, to the nation's capital. The trip was a success, and O'Hearn continued to take students to Washington D.C. until 1997. "He sells cars now, you know, and it's a good thing we took someone with an outgoing personality," said O'Hearn about Hurd, explaining that sometimes the group got as large as 200 students. "When we got back he talked it up to all of the fifth-graders and had them psyched up to go the next year."

One of O'Hearn's fondest memories about the D.C. trip comes from a student whose name he can no longer remember. The young man lived for one year in Portage with his mother while his father was in prison in Adams County. O'Hearn was impressed that the boy used his money from his paper route to help his mother pay the rent. O'Hearn decided that the district should pay the entire $165 fee for the student to take the trip. And even though the young man broke his leg just weeks before the trip, he still went and saw the sights with his classmates. Twenty years later O'Hearn received an unsigned note that read, "Thanks for taking me to Washington, D.C. I will never forget. Enclosed is a money order for $165 to help another student."

While O'Hearn remembers the Washington D.C. trips as something he "thoroughly enjoyed," he is proud of other things he achieved as a teacher and principal in the district. In 1965, O'Hearn wrote the first Head Start Grant for Portage, Pardeeville and Rio schools and ran the summer Head Start programs for the districts. Between 1966 and 1968, O'Hearn, who earned his master's degree in school administration from Winona State in 1966, wrote a similar grant for Columbia, Juneau , Sauk, Adams and Marquette counties.

In 1969, O'Hearn was a charter member of the Portage Optimist Club. "I would safely say Gary has recruited over half of our members," said member Dave Geltemeyer, who describes O'Hearn as a loyal friend. "He's done a great deal for youth in Portage. "He's just been a real, real good person for the community. He's always positive. What he feels is good for Portage is good for him." O'Hearn's teaching legacy in Portage began as a fourth-grade teacher in 1962, then a sixth-grade teacher in 1963. In 1967, he became a full-time elementary school principal, and by his own count has been in charge of the Portage pool, the K-12 talented/gifted program director, the principal of John Muir and Woodridge Schools as well as the rural schools in the district, a Little League coach and the director of a winter Saturday morning basketball league. O'Hearn has served as a member of various city of Portage committees since 1969 and is currently a member of the Planning Commission. O'Hearn gives the Portage community credit for much of his success as an educator. "Anything I ever did was because someone else plugged in," O'Hearn said. O'Hearn was born in Sparta in 1937. He currently resides in Portage with his wife, Barbara. O'Hearn has two sons, Patrick and Ryan, two step-daughters, Tammy and Jennifer, and four grandchildren, Caleb and Lucas, 9, Ryan, 5, and Isabelle, 3.

Portage Daily Register 20 August 2006
Back to Index

Book about Cardiff published
A book on the Livingston County coal mining town of Cardiff has just been published. "Cardiff: Ghost Town On The Prairie" was written Jim Ridings, of Herscher. Cardiff is located in northeast Livingston County, between Dwight and Kankakee. The hardcover book is nearly 300 pages and sells for $29. It is available at Campus State Bank, State Bank of Herscher, Walgreens in Kankakee and by mail from Ridings at P.O. Box 464, Herscher, IL 60941. Add $4 for postage if ordering by mail.

A hundred years ago, it was a town of 2,500 people. Today, a few houses and trailers are there, but nothing to let anyone know that this was once a booming town. Coal was discovered there in 1899 and a town sprang up almost immediately. After the mine closed in 1912, the wooden houses and businesses were dismantled and carted off almost as fast as they had been built. But it was those 13 years of prosperity that provide a fascinating story. Cardiff had two banks. It had two grain elevators. It had a soft-drink bottling plant and a candy factory. It had clothing stores, meat markets, bakeries, barber shops, livery stables, general stores, a pharmacy, blacksmith shops, and a real estate and insurance office. It had an automobile dealership at the time when automobiles were just invented. Cardiff had a pressurized water system, a gas works system, and an electric light plant. The town had cement sidewalks, in an era when most of the established towns in the area did not. It had a railroad depot, and two railroad lines, with passenger service. It had a first-class hotel with fine cuisine. Cardiff had more than three semi-pro baseball teams, with a first-class baseball diamond and grandstand and state-wide fame. And it was one of the first places in the state to have night baseball, with the diamond lit from the town's coal gas plant. There also was a racetrack behind the livery stables for weekend horse racing. Cardiff had a semi-pro football team. It had a bowling alley and tennis courts. It had 16 saloons, and two murders that went to trial.

The history of three other coal mining towns that have disappeared are chapters in the book: Clarke City and Tracy in Kankakee County, and Torino in Will County. Detailed accounts of mining tragedies at Diamond and Cherry are included, as well as a brief history of other coal mining towns of the era such as Braidwood, Braceville, Coal City, Carbon Hill, South Wilmington and Essex. The book was written by Jim Ridings of Herscher. He has written a dozen other books of local history in the past decade. His history of Western Kankakee County won an award from the Illinois State Historical Society in 2004.

The Cardiff book uses a lot of quotes from contemporary newspaper accounts because, Ridings said, "The accounts are so colorful, and because reading the language of the time breathes so much life into the story of Cardiff, and Clarke City, Tracy and Torino. One of my main goals has been to bring these towns to life for the reader." The book is full of interesting tales. There is Fred E. Ahern, the man who built the town of Cardiff and became rich, then ended up a pauper who is not even buried in his own grave. There is Doro Bertinetti, a Cardiff coal miner whose great uncle was the Italian ambassador who was with Lincoln at Gettysburg. Cardiff was a hard-working, hard-drinking coal town, where baseball games sometimes ended with the mayor drawing a revolver to keep the peace. In one saloon brawl, a man threw a beer glass at another man, knocking out an eye, into a spittoon. A 1912 train wreck had a locomotive fly off the tracks and through the depot. The coal stove was tossed across the room, burning down the depot and a hotel next door.

And there is the tragedy of Cardiff's own mine explosion in 1903, which killed nine miners. The mine superintendent at Cardiff left in 1909 to open a grocery store in a nearby town. It was Cherry, Illinois, and he went out of business when the mine disaster there killed 259 miners, many of whom owed him money.

The hardcover book is nearly 300 pages and sells for $29. It is available at Campus State Bank, State Bank of Herscher, Walgreens in Kankakee and by mail from Jim Ridings, PO Box 464, Herscher, IL 60941. Please add $4 for postage if ordering by mail.

Pontiac Daily Leader 5 September 2006
Back to Index

Candidate Brian Ahern is still on the stump
Candidate to go to trial on Oct. 18
Local Democratic candidate for the Colorado House District 58 seat Brian Ahern stuck his chin far enough out to get punched in Grand Junction last Saturday, Sept. 9, when Republican incumbent Ray Rose asked him point-blank how many times he had been arrested. The question arose during a Club 20-sponsored debate. Ahern did not answer the question. "Rather than explaining his voting record, he just looked at me and said: 'how many times have you been arrested, and what are the charges?'" Ahern said. "I was expecting that it would have come out, I just wasn't expecting for him [Rose] to stoop to that level."

Mountain Village police arrested Ahern on June 10 on charges of domestic violence, menacing and criminal mischief after an incident with his girlfriend, Andrea Joens. Ahern has since called the incident a "lover's quarrel," but a police report of the event paints a bleaker picture. The report attests that, among other things, the arresting officer had found a photograph of Joens that had been stabbed repeatedly with a knife and that there were several drops of blood on the photo. The report, filed by officer Daniel V. Covault, also states that Ahern had punched the windshield of the car Joens was driving after it "bumped" him, according to the report. The report also states that Ahern said Joens had punched him several times, though that story changed twice as to where and how many times he was struck, according to the officer. Ahern was not apprehended immediately. Ahern, the report states, was eventually arrested in the Placerville area, after telling officers he would turn himself in in Mountain Village.

Ahern did not address the issue in specificity, instead stating, "I don't want to have my trial in the papers. I want to have it in a court of law." A Tuesday, Sept. 12, article in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel addressed the arrest report in great detail. "I'm not a domestic abuser," he said. "I do not have a history of domestic abuse." Ahern's girlfriend, Andrea Joens, had previously gone on KOTO News in early August stating that Ahern has never physically harmed her during their two-year relationship. Ahern said she plans to testify in his favor in the October trial. "We're looking forward to presenting all the facts," said Ahern of he and his girlfriend. "I'm not a domestic abuser," he said. "I do not have a history of domestic abuse."

Ahern will appear in court on Oct. 18 and will face a domestic violence charge, among others. "We respect the judicial system and the D.A. [Thomas Raines] is only doing his job," he said. The Colorado Democratic Party headquarters did not return phone calls on Thursday. Ahern, 30, who considers himself a centrist, said in spite of the incident "it's going really well. I'm trying to keep this campaign as positive as I can," he added. He faults his opponent for what Ahern considers a "lack of representation" for area constituents. He said what drove him to run for office was House Bill 1203, an amendment that came to be known as the Telluride Amendment, which dealt with powers of eminent domain and was later found to be unconstitutional. "There was a lot of people who beat their fists on the table, but Ray Rose just wasn't there for us," Ahern said. Ahern also stressed other issues—such as alternative energy methods and water rights legislation—as reasons he's hoping to win the seat in November. Rep. Rose, who was unavailable for this story, was elected to the post in 2002. The seat of District 58 encompasses Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel, San Juan, Dolores and parts of Montezuma and Delta counties.

"They thought they had a knockout, and they've only been jabbing," Ahern said of Rose's question about his arrest record. "He's [Rose] only giving me an opportunity to get my message out loud and clear. I'm standing here saying, look, I made a mistake. I'm asking for forgiveness. I've got an arrest record. I've also got a dental record."

Telluride Daily Planet 14 September 2006
Back to Index

Gloves doffed on the W. Slope
The slings and arrows of a "pretty nasty" campaign
have included an online onslaught of name-calling.
There are dirty politics, and then there are nasty politics. Just ask the candidates in the state House District 58 race. As the election grows near, the race's normal debating and sign posting has been overshadowed by requests for restraining orders, allegations of slander and libel, the airing of arrest records, criminal investigations and an online war of words.

It all started with a debate this month at a Club 20 meeting in Grand Junction. Incumbent 58th District Rep. Ray Rose, R-Montrose, startled the crowd when he asked his opponent— Telluride Democrat Brian Ahern—about his arrest record. Ahern had been arrested in June— three weeks after he announced his candidacy—after a row with his fiancée. He had slashed her picture with a knife and broke out the windshield of her car. Ahern had also been arrested in 2005 after he argued with a Texas woman in Telluride. Charges were dropped against him, but the woman paid a fine for spraying him with Mace. Ahern was charged with harassment in 2001 when he had an altercation with a gondola operator in Mountain Village, but that charge was also dismissed. Eight years ago, he was nabbed for DUI. He was arrested again—briefly and mistakenly—last week when his fiancée (they have reconciled) was pulled over for speeding and Ahern was handcuffed and placed under arrest for violating a restraining order because he was in the car with her. He was released when a call to his attorney revealed the restraining order had been dropped in June.

Ahern said he didn't think all this messiness should be an issue in the race for a representative in a district that covers the southwestern corner of Colorado. His fiancée has asked that the charges be dropped. He said he expects them to be dismissed before his trial date Oct. 18. "I would think all that makes me a little more normal and a little more in touch with the trials and tribulations of a regular working man," said Ahern, a carpenter. Rose, a 62-year-old Montrose retiree who is running for a third term, begged to differ. "It has to do with the quality, integrity and character of a person who is going to represent this area as a lawmaker," he said.

The Grand Junction debate was the most polite part of the brouhaha, which has surpassed other San Miguel County political set-tos in venom. "It is pretty nasty. There are lots of grudges and some kind of nasty things have happened here," said San Miguel County Commissioner Art Goodtimes, caught in the crossfire. Al Heirich, a Telluride man who runs the Telluride Daily News website and blog, has been virulently attacking Ahern and his backers—including Goodtimes. In one of his most recent e-mails to Goodtimes, a Green Party member, Heirich called Ahern "a vile animal," a "piece of scum" and a "lying piece of (feces)." He also wrote on his website that Goodtimes "would sacrifice his mother to Islamic fascists to keep a Republican out of office." Heirich's missives, including more than 100 to Ahern, have been turned over to the Telluride Marshal's Office. Ahern has asked for a restraining order.

Telluride Marshal Jim Kolar also is looking into whether posters attacking Goodtimes that went up a month ago rise to the level of criminal harassment. The posters allege that Goodtimes regularly turns his children over to a child molester. On his site, Heirich has accused Ahern of putting those posters up. Ahern is pointing fingers at Heirich. Heirich did not return phone messages asking for comment. "The motto around here is, 'simply ignore him,"' said Suzanne Cheavens, former editor of the Telluride Daily Planet. "Emotions are running high here," Ahern said. "It's not all peaches and cream running for office."

Denver Post 24 September 2006
Back to Index

Advocating Atlatl
Early hunting tool OK'd for small game
Target practice for most people consists of firing a gun or bow and arrow at a bull's-eye, but for Victor Ahearne and a select few in Missouri, it means using a primitive tool called an atlatl to propel a dart, or spear. Ahearne, a Columbia resident, and other members of the Missouri Atlatl Association were the driving force behind a recent push to legalize atlatl hunting in Missouri. "I got into atlatl throwing because I was making bows and someone told me about dart-throwing with an atlatl," Ahearne said. "The first time I threw one, I was hooked, and have been making, selling and throwing them ever since."

This year's hunting seasons will be the last time that atlatl enthusiasts will have to go without being able to hunt small game. With the exception of deer and turkey, the Missouri Department of Conservation has legalized atlatl hunting, which will go into affect after the regulation book is updated in March. "The Department of Conservation was very supportive of hunting small game, given that there are no adverse effects of hunting with an atlatl," said John Smith, an assistant director of the department who chairs its regulations committee.

Victor Ahearne shapes an atlatl out of a piece of bloodwood and Osage at his home in Columbia. Ahearne has been teaching atlatl classes to adults and children for about 13 years and has been teaching the class unofficially in the Columbia Bass Pro Shop for the past two years. Over the span of four sessions, he teaches the history of the atlatl, its components and how to use it. "I demonstrate how to use it and I eventually teach them how to make one of their own," Ahearne said. "In the last session, they use their atlatl, that they made, to throw."

The atlatl is essentially a rod or narrow boardlike device, used to increase the speed and distance of a dart or lightweight spear when thrown by hand. The device is usually 20 to 30 inches long with a projection or socket on the far end to hook the dart into until it's released. The dart, or spear, is typically 5 to 8 feet in length and fletched with feathers or vanes. The atlatl includes a bearing surface, or weight, that allows the user to store energy, temporarily, during the throw to give the projectile more power. "With a rifle, you could shoot a deer a 100 yards away and with a bow, you can shoot 30 yards away," Ron Mertz of St. Louis, former World Atlatl Association president, said. "With an atlatl, you have to get much closer, within about 15 yards, for accuracy purposes and it's typically as powerful as a standard bow, with greater penetration power."

Mertz, a former anthropology teacher, said the first known spear throwers come from Spain and France between 10,000 to 40,000 years ago when the atlatl and spear were common tools for hunting. The atlatl predates the bow and arrow, he said, and seems to have been introduced to early Native Americans during the immigration across the Bering Land Bridge, a wide seabed that connected Asia and North America during the last ice age. "We don't know exactly when it was first used and it was gradually replaced by the bow in the last 2000 years," Mertz said. "The atlatl was the major tool used for hunting in American history."

The extensive history of the atlatl was the central motivation in creating the World Atlatl Association, which was founded in 1988, and why many people have been drawn to the tool for sport. "It's a natural thing for people studying anthropology or archaeology to become interested in the atlatl because they're interested in primitive technology," Mertz said. "Some people come to it through archery and it predates archery, so it has a natural link between them."

Many people, including Ahearne, only use the atlatl for accuracy competitions. The World Atlatl Association's Web site——posts scores from the International Standard Accuracy Contest, a target contest for atlatls. Fans of the atlatl hope to draw more interest as people learn of the approval for hunting small game. "This legalization has been long overdue because it's an effective means of hunting game," Ahearne said. "The lack of knowledge about what an atlatl is, is the reason that it's taken this long to legalize it for hunting."

Ahearne has been making and selling atlatls in the U.S. and other parts of the world for years. His atlatls range from modern to primitive types, using turkey feathers for fletching, native river cane or exotic woods from Central or South America for the shaft and antlers of deer for the cup, that the spear or dart rests on to propel the throw. "I've made over 700 of them and teach others how to make their own in my classes," Ahearne said. "My next classes are going to be on Oct. 28 and 29 at the Bass Pro Shop; we've been having more and more people ask about atlatls since the news of the approval surfaced." The process of legalizing atlatl hunting began about three years ago, when Mertz, Ahearne and Ray Madden put resolutions together, with the Conservation Federation of Missouri, to present to hunting and rules committees, who then recommended approval for legalization to the Missouri Department of Conservation. "Our original idea was to get atlatl hunting approved along the same lines as archery, including hunting deer and turkey," said Madden of Joplin. "The committee was worried about PETA and other animal activist organizations, so they only approved hunting small game, but atlatl is actually less cruel than the bow on animals."

Large game, like deer and turkey, have yet to be approved for atlatl hunting because of the fears that the weapon would only wound large animals, leaving them to wander injured in the wild. Alabama, Indiana and Iowa are some of the states where atlatl hunting of small game is allowed, and Pennsylvania is working towards allowing the hunting of deer and turkey. "The bigger question is how well the atlatl does in other states, where it's legal to hunt deer and turkey," Smith said. The Department of Conservation will be watching other states closely, Smith said. "Right now, we're just studying. There's no movement to allow the use of hunting large game in the immediate future."

Columbia Missourian 13 October 2006
Back to Index

Josie's 'roses' here in time for Michael
Send the roses while someone is alive, Sister Elizabeth Sheehy always told her students at Alemany High. "Don't be filling the coffers of florists after they're gone." Michael Heffernan's roses arrived from Ireland last week: Four nieces and one nephew—his late sister Josie Mulvihill's children. That's when the five, who had pooled their money, flew to Los Angeles to pay their only uncle on their mother's side a surprise visit. To tell him "thank you" in person for not forgetting them back in Ireland all the years after he came to America in 1960 in search of a future.

"Our mom died young and dear old Uncle Michael never forgot our birthdays," said niece Noreen Collins. "Not once. If we needed a helping hand, he was there for us. "When you're growing up in a poor country going through hard times, a birthday card with some money in it from America meant an awful lot." When Josie's children learned their 77-year-old uncle wasn't feeling well enough to travel to Ireland to see them for maybe the last time, they arranged with Michael's daughter, Michele, to pay him a surprise visit. "You should have seen his face when he saw us," said niece Ina Ahern. "It was so beautiful. All the memories came flooding out. We all cried like babies."

By Friday afternoon, a week of sightseeing and day tours were over. Josie Mulvihill's children had a plane to catch back to Ireland early Saturday morning. Friday night, they would sit at the dinner table with their uncle, his wife, Patty, and their two children, Michele and Brian. They would share stories, a lot of laughs and a few tears. Sister Elizabeth joined them. She spent 25 years teaching at Alemany High in Mission Hills and grew up across the street from Michael in the town of Clounamno in County Kerry, Ireland. "Liz was best friends with Josie, and I was friends with her two brothers," Michael said, breaking bread. "I always liked to give her a bad time growing up, but watch out for her. She's a real troublemaker, that one." Everyone laughs because Michael's right. She is a real troublemaker. When you've been a nun for 61 years, you've learned a lesson or two, and you'd better listen to what she has to say or she'll give you the "what for." Don't wait: Make sure the roses arrive before it's too late.

"Being in his home, together with his entire family right now in his life, was the greatest blessing Michael could have ever asked for," Sister Elizabeth would say later. And, of course, she was right. It was 1945 when she went off to a convent in Northern Ireland while Michael stayed in County Kerry with all the other young men—trying to scrape out a living in a poor country going through hard, violent times. "Everyone was poor, and there was no future any of us could see," Michael said. In 1960, he arrived in America to find that future, beginning a job that became a career as a lab technician in the motion-picture business—and marrying Patty, his wife of 43 years. All the while remembering every niece and nephew back home and making sure his sister Josie's kids always got what they needed, including that birthday card every year with some cash in it from America.

Sister Elizabeth had lost track of the kid she grew up across the street from in Ireland. She didn't realize he had followed her to America until one Saturday in late 1960, when she returned to the convent at St. Genevieve's Church in Panorama City. "A gentleman had come to see you," one of the other nuns said. "He had a box of chocolates with him. Said his name was Michael." Sister Elizabeth smiled as she looked around the dinner table at her old childhood friend and his family Friday night, laughing and having a wonderful time sharing their memories. Sending roses while someone is alive. Not filling the coffers of florists after they're gone.

Los Angeles Daily News 14 October 2006
Back to Index

Judge declares a mistrial in Ahern's case
Candidate for state seat sees case thrown out and wages on
Candidate for state legislature Brian Ahern finally had his day in court Wednesday. It went how no one expected. Ahern was facing domestic violence and other charges. The judge in the case, 7th Judicial District Judge Sharon Shuteran, declared a mistrial, because, she said, Ahern's lawyer, Robert Korn, inaccurately stated the law to the jury during opening statements, thus tainting the jury. "I believe that this jury is tainted at this point, based on everything that's gone on," she said. Wednesday's court decision will not end Ahern's current legal troubles. Mistrials result in the dismissal of current legal filings void of prejudice, and the burden of retrying the case now rests with the 7th Judicial District Attorney's Office, something District Attorney Tom Raynes said he plans to shoulder. "Our intention is to get a new trial date," he said. "We waited for this to be dismissed," said Ahern of himself and his girlfriend, Andrea Joens, after the mistrial.

The case stemmed from a June 10 incident that began in the Mountain Village and ultimately ended with Ahern's arrest in Placerville. Ahern had called the incident a "lover's quarrel," but the police report at the time painted a bleaker picture. The report attests that, among other things, the arresting officer had found a photograph of Joens that had been stabbed repeatedly with a knife and that there were several drops of blood on the photo. The report, filed by officer Daniel V. Covault, also states that Ahern had punched the windshield of the car Joens was driving after it "bumped" him.

The mistrial, though technically declared because of Korn's words to the jury, capped a bizarre, unpredictable day in the courtroom. The morning saw an intense jury selection that ended with five women and one man, setting the stage for the trial. But that's where standard practice ended. Seventh Judicial District Assistant District Attorney John Mehlig's opening statements adhered largely to the police report, though he did add that Joens had recently ended her relationship with Ahern and that she was "scared" and had planned to stay with a friend in Durango. Korn's opening statements, meanwhile, looked to place blame on local authorities and even the DA's office for the release of the police report to news outlets, although arrest reports are public documents in most instances. Mountain Village Police Department Chief Dale Wood said Thursday his agency has an obligation to release most records "I would be breaking the law myself if I prohibited the release of these records," he said. "We're not going to violate the law." Judge Shuteran interrupted Korn's statement, warning him that he was accusing a DA of prosecutorial misconduct. "You're making a serious accusation against an attorney," she said. "And you better have something to back it up. You can't just go around making accusations." Korn also said that arresting officer Covault took it upon himself to be "Judge, jury and executioner," in the manner he went about his investigation. "The officer was really into this," Korn told the jury. Next, Korn misstated the law to the jury, no small issue in court, prompting Mehlig to request a mistrial. Korn had misstated the notion of menacing to the jury when he said the offense required that one must have specific intent to commit an action of menacing, one of the charges Ahern faced, when the actual statute, C.R.S. 18-2-206, states that "a person commits the crime of menacing if, by any threat or physical action, he or she knowingly places or attempts to place another person in fear or of imminent serious bodily injury."

After Mehlig requested the mistrial on grounds of misstatement, he added that he would like to call Korn as a witness — something he couldn't do, as Korn was Ahern's counsel — for Korn's role in the arrest. Korn had spoken to Ahern on the phone just prior to his arrest on June 10, making him, in Mehlig's eyes, a potential witness. The jury then spent most of the afternoon in closed quarters as a course of action was deliberated between the lawyers and Judge Shuteran. The confusion arising from the definition of menacing could have been remedied by the judge reading the correct version to the jury, but the court thought it best to declare a mistrial. Mehlig, who was visibly irritated by Korn's approach and accusations, appeared tense throughout the proceedings and criticized Korn's approach. "He [Korn] chose to shoot from the hip," Mehlig said. "And he doesn't have anything to base that on." Mehlig also said the proceedings "absolutely" had to be declared a mistrial, calling Korn's statements "inflammatory." Mehlig took offense at the accusation that someone in the DA's office had intentionally released information to news outlets. "If I ever thought I was doing anything like that I would resign," he said. "It's outrageous."

After the court's decision, Ahern criticized state domestic violence statutes, which mandate that domestic violence offenders be arrested and taken to jail, even if alleged victims do not wish to press charges. He said the current "one-size-fits-all" approach was sexist because it allows no options for victims as far as pressing charges is concerned. He called the law "degrading" in that takes away freedoms of choice. Ahern has said he is for laws that protect women in the past and in the courtroom yesterday. He also said he would prefer to see the domestic violence statutes allow "case-by-case" procedures. Ahern said he had hoped to have his name cleared before Election Day, when he will face Montrose state Rep. Ray Rose in the battle for the District 58 seat. The political struggle for the seat has been ugly. At a debate in Grand Junction in September, Rose asked Ahern how many times he'd been arrested in front of an audience and regional media. Ahern said the case against him was political in nature but did acknowledge that something wrong happened on the day he was arrested. "There was something that went wrong," Ahern said. "But we're adults. We decided to get away from each other."

When the jury was dismissed on Wednesday, one juror asked if they were free too "speculate" on what happened. Judge Shuteran, at the request of Mehlig, did not elaborate on the nature of the mistrial, but she did say, "I guess I'm saying take everything with a grain of salt." A day after the mistrial, Korn expressed his discontent with its outcome and said the methodology of the DA's office, the court and that of the Mountain Village Police Department had been inappropriate. "This whole trial was political," Korn said. "It's just a perversion of the criminal process," he said. Korn said he was confidant Ahern would walk away from the trial vindicated. "I wanted to get an acquittal," he said. "I had an acquittal in my pocket," he said. Korn said that, should the DA file charges against Ahern again, that he would file for double jeopardy and that he would meet the challenge. "I will take it to them," he said. "It's all wrong," Korn said. "If he [Ahern] loses the election I want him to lose on his merits."

Telluride Daily Planet 20 October 2006
Back to Index

Talks begin on Route 2 overpass
A small group of interested individuals gathered Saturday afternoon at Concord-Carlisle High School to hear about the possibility of a wildlife overpass on Route 2. In 2004, the Federal Highway Administration awarded a Transportation, Community and System Preservation Program grant to fund a feasibility study of such an overpass. The project was initially proposed by the Walden Woods Project and is now managed by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. MAPC contracted with UMass Amherst to provide the study. Jack Ahern of the UMass Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning presented the basics of the study Saturday afternoon, saying he and his students and staff were "not advocates" for the project, but instead "trying to present regional alternatives." Ahern explained UMass is looking at the benefits and drawbacks of having an overpass somewhere on Route 2, between Crosby's Corner at the Lincoln-Concord line and the Sudbury River in Concord. The exact location has yet to be determined, but Ahern said there are "several alternative locations."

In 2005, a project was completed on Route 2 that placed not only jersey barriers in the middle of the road, but wildlife culverts underneath to allow deer, raccoons, squirrels and other animals to pass to the other side of the four-lane highway. Ahern said in the UMass study, wildlife use of those underpasses will also be studied. Passages such as the one proposed have been built in the Netherlands, Ahern said, and also in Ocala, Fla.

Dr. Paige Warren, lead scientist on wildlife issues for UMass, said she has a long laundry list of issues that affect wildlife in the area. Route 2, she said, separates many animals from vital habitats, such as vernal pools, and most animals are either scared to cross the road or are unsuccessful at doing so. This results in more isolated animal populations. "As the populations become smaller, they're more vulnerable to change, and that makes them more likely to become extinct," she said. "Depending on what species you're talking about, it has different effects." If an overpass were built, Warren said, several factors would determine whether or not animals would use it. These include its size, openness, light, hydrology, temperature, placement, noise and human use. Warren said the area along the Sudbury River has been identified as a habitat for moose.

Ahern said when determining location, the study will take into consideration the soil conditions of the area, its grade and the road's existing intersections. The study will also consider potential widening of Route 2, the vegetation that could be planted on the bridge and the material it is made from. Ahern said Saturday's meeting was the first of three with the community. On Jan. 27, a meeting will be held at a yet-to-be-determined location and more ideas about the passage, including ideas for its design, will be shared. For more information on the project, visit

Lincoln Journal 26 October 2006
Back to Index

Cross cruise to semis
Crossmaglen cruised into the semi finals of the Ulster Club championship after overcoming a tricky away tie in Donegal. The Western champions tried to outmuscle the south Armagh men and were quite apt at sticking the extra leg and arm out. That's not to say that they couldn't play football but from didn't seem all that interested in doing so. The Donegal men got off to a blistering start with a stunning goal before 30 seconds had elapsed. However, Crossmaglen, led by Oisin McConville, soon eased their way into the game.

Martin Ahern displayed the ability he promised as an underage player and certainly looks to be another class act from Cross. Crossmaglen were without All-Star nominee Aaron Kernan, but Paul Hearty (who married on Friday) was back between the posts in what was a busy weekend for the shot-stopper. McConville was a class above all else on the field. He lobbed, chipped and swung over numerous beauties and along with the industrious Mickey McNamee caused Gweedore a multiple of problems. It was a workman like performance from the south Armagh side but like the welloiled machine they are they never looked in trouble. The experienced Gareth O'Neill replaced the injured Aaron Kernan and he got well stuck in. McConville, Ahern and McNamee pulled the Armagh champions level before changing into cruise control.

John McEntee stayed strong in the middle and Stephen Kernan and John Donaldson kept pushing forward with the front men brightening the game up with the occasional classy score. Crossmaglen led 0-07 to 1-01 at break and after a shakey start the result never really looked in doubt. Ahern, McConville and substitute Johnny Hanratty each found the range in what was little more than a clock-killing exercise. Manager Donal Murtagh will be happy with the win in what was a professional performance from Cross. It may not have excited, but Crossmaglen proved they will be a tough team to beat.

Newry Democrat 1 November 2006
Back to Index

Open house features artwork of Carmelite Sisters
RENO—A colorful yet simply drawn design of Mary holding the baby Jesus is depicted on one of the many Christmas cards created by the Carmelite Sisters in Reno. Other cards show angels, Jesus as a man and other timeless Christmas scenes. All-occasion greeting cards are available as well, with some printed in Spanish. The Carmelite Sisters will hold its 28th annual open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Our Lady of the Mountains, 1950 La Fond Drive in Reno. "The open house is held to help us sustain our lives here," said Sister Maria Ahearn. "We do the printing as our primary source of income." A religious order brought to the United States in 1790 by descendants of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, the Carmelite Sisters became an order in 1207 in the Holy Land. "We were the first religious order of women in the U.S.," Ahearn added, who is in her 50th year as a sister.

Eight Carmelites came to Reno in 1954 from the Carmelite monastery in Indianapolis. There are now 18 sisters living in the Reno monastery, with "housemate" Cinder, a standard poodle. "We used to print everything we could," Ahearn said. "We were desperate to earn money. "We also do a lot of matted prints by the sisters. Ninety percent of our cards are done by the sisters here. Some of the sisters are fine artists and paint. Their works will be on sale as well."

An ATF Chief 15—an off-set printer, is used for all their cards. Ahearn said they produce about 100,000 Christmas cards and 50,000 all-occasion cards a year. "Everything we do here has to fit with our prayer life." The sisters stay within the monastery. A priest with the Reno Catholic Diocese celebrates Mass on Saturdays. The sisters' lives are simple—prayer and manual labor, solitude and community. The focus is on the rhythm of prayer alone and in common, care for one another and compassionate attention to those in need. "Our chapel is open to those in the area for morning and evening prayer," Ahearn said. "It is a way we share our Carmelite prayer tradition with the community. They can also participate in contemplative prayer groups facilitated by one of the sisters."

The sisters have catalogs available through their Web site, The monastery is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.

Nevada Appeal 3 November 2006
Back to Index

Local resident Brian Ahern went down swinging in the fight for Colorado State House District 58. He was defeated by incumbent Ray Rose 10,830 to 7,210, but he led among San Miguel County residents 1,407 to 1,052.
Telluride Daily Planet 9 November 2006
Back to Index

Opera's new diva: College Park
Squonk explores city in new show commissioned by the university
For the millions of Washingtonians outside College Park's city limits, only a few mental snapshots define the home of the state's flagship school. There's the University of Maryland and its pristine landscape. Then there are the Terrapins sports teams, along with the students who show their love for the Terps with fire and violence in the downtown area. And of course, there's Route 1. Ah, the majesty of Baltimore Avenue, with its non-stop traffic jams, dangerous sidewalks and general ugliness. The bane of the city government and the butt of countless student jokes, Route 1 is loved by few. Like any city, College Park has its downside, but today and Friday, residents, students and anyone intrigued by Maryland's college town can get a taste of its history, quirkiness and grandeur in "College Park: The Opera," at the university's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

Squonk Opera, headed by Pittsburgh-based duo Jackie Dempsey and Steve O'Hearn, begins its 2006-2007 "Your hometown name here: The Opera" tour with College Park. They team up with the university's dance department to bring the city to life with a carefully-concocted melding of dramatic imagery — including aerial photography — puppet shows, interviews with the city's and university's most important people and complex dance performances. And for those tireless college students who haven't had their fair share of downtown's Cornerstone Grille and Loft or Sante Fe Café, Squonk plans to host, "College Park: The Party," after the show. Of course, neighborhood folks are invited too.

After weeks of talking to city icons like Dervey Lomax — the first black mayor of College Park — officials such as Mayor Stephen Brayman and a throng of city residents and university professors, O'Hearn and Dempsey said the show has been shaped by College Parkers, not the Pittsburgh team. "The best way you can tell the story of a town is to let the people of the town speak about it, instead of us saying, ‘This is what the town is like. This is what College Park is,'" said Dempsey, whose background is in musical composition. "We let the people speak for themselves."

Squonk Opera also asked for the expertise — and drawing skills — of College Park's youngest generation. Last month, Dempsey and O'Hearn handed out maps of College Park to pupils at the city's north-side school, Hollywood Elementary. After 60 students drew their own versions of College Park on the maps, Squonk incorporated the drawings into the multimedia-driven show, offering another chance for city self-reflection. "The whole point of the project was to see more of the town," said O'Hearn, a commercial designer by trade. "We were more interested in the town on a more personal level. We want to make this intimate."

Americans are not so different, O'Hearn and Dempsey like to say, and their theory was reinforced by their time in College Park, chatting with working class families and Ivory Tower types alike. "With all the polarization in the world right now, between Christianity and Islam, Europe and America, blue state and red state, it's a particularly trying time in terms of thinking of us and them — of who we are patriotic to and why," said O'Hearn, stressing that "College Park: The Opera" was designed to highlight the everyday pleasance of little joys while examining what makes a city unique. "What touring has reinforced is that Americans are pretty much the same. We're not that different than each other."

Among those mined for info was Anne Turkos, the knower of all things Terp, the university's archivist since 1993 and an invaluable fountain of knowledge for Squonk, local media and the inquisitive student. Turkos, whose interview will be interwoven throughout the performance, said the usage of abstract music and imagery would give faculty, residents and students a chance to see College Park through a fresh lens. "It's a brand new way to look at the campus and the city of College Park," said Turkos, a Hyattsville resident. "The show seems like it could be really creative, unusual and thought-provoking." As a woman who has worn terrapin jewelry every day for more than a decade — "I feel unnatural without it on," she said — Turkos can provide a general or detailed history of just about every building, school, watershed event and high-profile person associated with the University of Maryland. "The adopted terrapin," as she calls herself, said Dempsey and O'Hearn have made good use of Maryland's seemingly endless archival collection. "Anytime someone can use that material, we feel it's an opportunity to get the word out about the campus," she said.

Squonk also sat down with three-term College Park Mayor Brayman, a one-time city councilman and a Maryland graduate, tapping his years of experience in the ins-and-outs of running a college town. O'Hearn and Dempsey's quest for College Park knowledge led them to interviews with the voice of Terp radio, the famed Johnny Holliday, College Park Airport manager Lee Schiek and author and longtime city resident Kathy Bryant, who penned a book detailing College Park's history. But few could offer a perspective like the man who has lived through the history of the city. Dervey Lomax, who served as mayor from 1973-1975, remains the only black mayor ever elected in College Park. Lomax, now 83, knew the city before it was a city — in the days before residents voted to incorporate the rural area in 1945. "I'm sort of a history buff on things I've seen change in the community," he said. "I've been everything from John Doe to an elected official."

The Squonk duo said Lomax provided invaluable insight into race relations throughout College Park's history — a history that will be used in O'Hearn's condensed history, read while the audience hears the thoughts of Dempsey, an unamused observer. "[Theatergoers] will here how bored I am with the history [of the city]," Dempsey said with a laugh. In their questioning of Lomax and city residents, O'Hearn said Squonk discovered the prevalence of the sometimes-strained relations between College Park and the giant campus that inhabits its city limits. "We have a strong sense of the town-gown tension, which was really apparent mostly on the town side" said O'Hearn, adding that the city-university up-and-down relationship will play a critical role in the opera.

Knowing that the Clarice Smith Center summoned Squonk after hearing of their town-to-town travels, Lomax said "College Park: The Opera" was a perfect way to ease the tension sensed by Dempsey and O'Hearn. "Anytime you can do something with the city and university, it'll be good for everybody," Lomax said. The 20-some-odd interviews with people of different races, genders, ages and backgrounds were fun, they said, but the professors always stand out. "They were always really interesting characters," O'Hearn said with a laugh, as Dempsey nodded in wholehearted agreement. "They were great interviews because they were so wacky and focused."

Incorporating Maryland's supply of young minds and able bodies, Squonk will use a dozen students from the dance department in the show, having them move gracefully through a downpour of pages from a history book. Using "College Park: The Opera," to teach students the finer points of improvisation, said visiting dance instructor Ed Tyler, would be invaluable to Squonk and the group of aspiring dancers. "No one gets this kind of experience in a dance department," said Tyler, a Mt. Rainier resident who last taught at the university in 2000. Watching a short video of "Pittsburgh: The Opera" convinced Tyler to dedicate some of his class time to the show. "When I saw the video, it reminded me of something that was so surreal and a spectacle," Tyler said.

After almost two months of reading about, talking about and observing College Park, O'Hearn and Dempsey said they feel confident about weaving a city's history into their abstract uses of images and music. Their heads packed with College Park knowledge, the duo realized they only had to make a short trip to the corner coffee shop to understand what really piqued people's interest in the home of the Terrapin. "We found out," Dempsey said with a smirk and a shrug, "that everyone here hates Route 1."

Maryland Gazette 9 November 2006
Back to Index

Beachgoers' efforts are not enough to save bird stranded in Spring Lake
SPRING LAKE—Two area residents spent several hours Thursday attempting to rescue an unusual sea bird stranded on a borough beach, and although their efforts were not enough to save the animal, they hope what they learned can help others who find ill or injured wildlife. Ann Valdes of Sea Girt was taking an early morning stroll when she noticed a large white bird roosting on the beach near Remsen Avenue. Valdes went down on the beach for a closer look. "It was huge; you couldn't miss it," Valdes later said. "I didn't know what it was, but I knew it wasn't a sea gull." Another man on the beach told her he'd seen the bird there the night before. Also out for a walk was Darby Besse of Point Pleasant Beach. Besse, who had photographed wildlife for an Irish tourism company, immediately identified the bird as a northern gannet, a species she'd seen living in colonies off the coast of Ireland. Valdes and Besse speculated that besides being out of its natural environment, the pelican-sized bird — with black-tinged white plumage, a sturdy pale yellow beak and eyes rimmed in bright blue — also was either injured or sick.

Using Besse's cell phone, they began making calls, hoping to find someone to rescue the bird. They started with the borough police and from there tried the Audubon Society and local area animal shelters — all to no avail. "We did get a couple numbers of people who would look at the bird, but you had to bring the bird to them. This bird was just too big to bring anywhere," said Valdes of the gannet, which has a wingspan of 5 to 6 feet. By early afternoon, one of the numbers Besse called led to Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research in Newark, Del. The group gave her the numbers of several trained volunteer bird rescuers. The only one at home was Cindy Ahern — in Bucks County, Pa.

"When she told me she would come get the bird, I couldn't believe it," Besse said. "She's a teacher. She had to make arrangements for her children. But she said she would come." Besse was advised to get the bird into water as soon as possible. A man carried the bird across the street to Lake Como in his shirt and set it down in a shallow corner. The gannet sat quietly, but then, without warning, slowly opened its wings, put its head to the side and went limp. "Oh, no, no," Besse moaned. Then she dialed Ahern's cell phone to let her know the bird had died. Ahern, who was on Interstate 195 in Jackson at the time, said it was sad but not surprising. "These are birds that get easily stressed," Ahern said later. "They're generally out at sea. They're not used to being around people." Ahern said the best thing people can do when they find a wild bird that appears to be sick or injured is to minimize the stress. "Put it in a covered box in a quiet place, and don't feed it," Ahern advised.

Besse said Ahern planned to wrap up the bird and to chill it so that it could be tested for a range of diseases by Tri-State Rescue. "But people should have this information about how to rescue a bird," Besse said, "so they don't have to make a million phone calls."

Asbury Park Press 10 November 2006
Back to Index

Reams narrowly holds onto post
EXETER—Edward "Sandy" Buck, of Hampton, was the only Republican Rockingham County official not re-elected Tuesday. Buck lost his position as county treasurer to Democrat David Ahearn, of Hampton Falls. Buck, who could not be reached for comment, won in Hampton by four votes, 2,636 to 2,632, won North Hampton 834 to 817, and in Hampton Falls, 482 to 330. He lost in Seabrook, 852 to Ahearn's 1,025. This was Ahearn's third bid for the position Buck has held for 12 years. "I was thrilled with the results," Ahearn said. "Personally, I'm not sure whether my election was the result of the Democratic tsunami, but it didn't hurt." Ahearn said he intends to follow through on his campaign promise to improve the county's bond rating. . . . 
Exeter News-Letter 11 November 2006
Back to Index

Bobby Sands biographer to speak at Mayo County Library
The author of a biography of hunger-striker and MP Bobby Sands, Denis O'Hearn is to speak at Mayo County Library in Castlebar next week. Mr O'Hearn is the author of Bobby Sands - Nothing But an Unfinished Song, a biography on the life and times of the Irish republican who died on hunger strike in the H-Blocks in 1981. O'Hearn's book has created much interest in this the 25th anniversary of the hunger strikes in which ten young men seeking political status died. Earlier this year several local authorities including Mayo County Council and Castlebar Town Council passed motions supporting the marking of the anniversary.

Denis O'Hearn arrived in Belfast during the late 1970s on a visit to deepen his understanding of the conflict. A half-native Alaskan, he currently lectures in sociology between sociology departments at Queen's University Belfast and Binghampton University New York. He will [be] at the County Library, Castlebar on Friday, November 24 at 7pm.

Mayo Advertiser 17 November 2006
Back to Index

Atlas & friends doing work that needs doing
SRO crowd, plenty of celebrities help foundation continue its good works
Do they do dinners at Madison Square Garden? That seems like the next logical step for the Dr. Theodore A. Atlas Foundation's Teddy Dinner. It was strictly SRO-plus last night for the 10th annual affair at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bloomfield. No one seemed to mind, though. Not the 40-odd celebrities shoulder-to-shoulder on the dais. Personalities ranging from actor Danny Aiello to Staten Island's Major League Baseball trio of Jason Marquis, Frank Menechino and John Franco to former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield to fellow former world champ Sugar Ray Leonard all spent the evening signing autographs. Not the crowd of 800-plus crammed into the dining room whom Teddy Atlas, the physician's son and boxing trainer/ESPN analyst, showed how they "helped make someone else's life better."

Alexis O'Hearn, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., told of the birth of her son, Max Olive, on March 24 "with stage four brain cancer. "He almost died," the single mother said, barely keeping her composure. "Two days later, he had brain surgery, but then the doctors found the cancer spread to other parts of the brain." Chemotherapy. Radiation treatment. "A month after Max was born, I had to work. When I went to work on the ESPN boxing show, the technical manager handed me Teddy's card. That night, before the show, Teddy came to me. He's been very generous. "In seven months, Max's had nine weeks of radiation," O'Hearn said. "It was supposed to be incurable, but now it looks like he's going to make a full recovery." The crowd rose as one for a standing ovation. . . . 

Staten Island Advance 17 November 2006
Back to Index

Program will review response to flu epidemic
The second lecture in the Arlington 200th Anniversary program series will be Dennis Ahern's illustrated lecture, "A Plague in Arlington: Coping with the Great Influenza of 1918" on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at the Town Hall Auditorium. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the lecture begins promptly at 7:30. Admission is free.

Ahern, an Arlington native who resides in Acton, is an engaging speaker and researcher of Irish genealogy. His previous lectures have include "The Unsinkable Mrs. Brown," "Up from Arlington's Goat Acre" and "Not All Engraved in Stone: West Cambridge in the Civil War." In this lecture, he will describe the impact of the Spanish Influenza epidemic, and Arlington's response to this major public health crisis. Many vintage images will complement this tale of Arlington confronting adversity in the last weeks of World War I. Christine Connolly, director of Health and Human Services for the town of Arlington, will provide the opening remarks at this special event, which is co-sponsored by the Arlington Historical Society and the Arlington 200th Anniversary Committee. For further information, call 781-648-4300 or visit

Arlington Advocate 22 November 2006
Back to Index

Size matters
Tucked away on the fourth floor of The Andy Warhol Museum is a tiny show in which little figures dressed in hazmat suits disrobe and climb on an apple core. Nearby, an angel can be seen on an apple peeler, waiting to descend on the hungry crowd. The whole thing takes place on a stage no bigger than a square foot. On top of the stage is propped a many-belled trumpet. Visitors are encouraged to peer at this small diorama through opera glasses while sitting in a cozy recliner. Appropriately titled "tiny show," the piece is the creation of Steve O'Hearn, who says of this rather Rube Goldberg-looking contraption: "It's actually a 30-second show."

Although it's not apparent in the gallery, the 48-year-old artist from Irwin says of the piece, which he operates himself: "What happens is, you sit down in the chair, and with the opera glasses you watch the little show as, very slowly, I spin it so that the little group of people whirl around slowly. Meanwhile, I slowly describe what's happening and how beautiful it is that (the viewer) can shed their inhibitions and finally be free. It's a pattern that lulls them into comfort. It's all very comforting for 20 seconds, and then I play the horn as the angel takes a dive, which never fails to outrage or surprise whoever is looking through the opera glasses. "The fun thing is not to be the viewer of the show," O'Hearn says. "The fun thing is to be the viewer of the viewer watching the show."

The piece itself is a show within a show. It's just one of seven works by O'Hearn on display that are the result of a Creative Heights initiative grant from The Heinz Endowments. Most of the works were created between last year and this past spring, when O'Hearn was an Artist-in-Residence at the Warhol. It's no surprise that "tiny show" would be a performance/interactive type of artwork. After all, O'Hearn is the co-founder of Squonk Opera, a Pittsburgh-based performing-arts group that mixes visual art, theater and music to create distinct shows that have wowed audiences in more than 200 venues throughout the United States, as well as in Scotland, Belgium and South Korea, since the group's inception in 1992. That's why visitors to the museum will not only see O'Hearn's work but also get a glimpse of Squonk Opera through two videos. "One is the raw video that we use onstage; the other is of the stage show," O'Hearn says.

But, as compelling as those videos are, O'Hearn's own work is just as, if not more, compelling. For example, "Bearing Island" is a sculptural mound made of steel ball bearings that looks just like an island but was modeled after the artist's wife's torso. Another piece, "blast furnace David," was modeled after Michelangelo's "David." But, instead of being marble, the legs are made from tree roots and the torso from a rearranged model railroader's model of a blast furnace. One eye-catching work in this show is "nine smiles, without lips and nine more smiles, without lips." Basically, the piece is just that: 18 sets of false teeth that the artist has arranged in a row on two steel bars. Not far way from that work is "between big and small," a vacuum-cast stainless-steel scale model of the Allegheny and Ohio River system arranged on a 35-foot railing that bisects the gallery. The original version of this work can be found on more than 800 feet of railing on the fourth-floor terrace of the David Lawrence Convention Center. Commissioned by The Pittsburgh Sports and Exhibition Authority in 2004, it is the Allegheny and Ohio River system scaled down to the length of the overlook. "Essentially, it's 1,500 miles of rivers scaled down to 800 feet," O'Hearn says.

Looking up from that piece, visitors will no doubt notice what looks like a bird clinging to one wall about a dozen feet above the floor. Titled "pipes feeding," it's actually a set of bagpipes that O'Hearn has altered with feathers so that it looks like a bird. It's a subtle nod to the artist's other main interest: music. Although he was formally trained in art, industrial design and theater at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he got his bachelor's degree, and Carnegie Mellon University, where he earned a master's, he learned to play several wind instruments informally in the pubs of Ireland before attending those institutions. In a way, that explains that awkward-looking trumpet on top of "tiny show," which is actually of Tyrolean origin. "It's a very rare instrument," O'Hearn says. "I've never met another American who played one. There used to be whole bands playing treble and bass Tyrolean trumpets in Tyrol, which is in Southern Germany. "It's like a giant party horn. It's a ridiculously crude instrument. Instead of having a horn with valves or holes that will give you all the notes that you want, it's got a different horn for every note and a metal reed that produces just one note."

Like the trumpet, O'Hearn himself is something of a rarity. Although he lives in our own backyard, this show may be the only public glimpse Pittsburghers will get of this nationally recognized artist's work until Squonk Opera performs here again in 2008. Check it out while you can.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 23 November 2006
Back to Index

Stories of readers' giving inspire start of Globe Santa's 50th year
by Michael P. Naughton
Ramona and Jacqueline lost their home, and the Christmas toys inside, when it was destroyed by a fire just weeks before the holiday. Tony didn't lose a house, but he lost both of his parents in the same year. He moved in with his older brother, a Vietnam veteran who received government assistance and couldn't afford to buy his younger sibling Christmas presents. Kristina's parents also couldn't afford Christmas presents because they had to pay for their daughter's medical bills as she was suffering from malignant thymoma.

These are just four of the more than 2.4 million children of Globe Santa, who for the past 49 years with the financial help of hundreds of thousands of Globe Santa Friends, has tried to make sure every child that sent him a letter asking for help was not forgotten. Thanksgiving Day has traditionally marked the official start of the annual Globe Santa fund-raising campaign. Again this year in October, however, Globe Santa staff members began processing letters from parents and children seeking his help this Christmas. But today as the fund-raising campaign gets underway Globe Santa is reflecting on the history of his mission to bring happiness over part of six decades to needy children in some 140 Eastern Massachusetts cities and towns.

The storied past of Globe Santa begins in 1910 at the Boston Post. Gertrude Buell Dunn, a Post reporter, discovered during an assignment that several families were living in the same neighborhood and suffering from the same desperate financial needs. It was a time before unemployment insurance and Social Security. The families could barely afford food and new clothes, and although Christmas was approaching, toys were going to be missing from the homes on Christmas morning. The Post's city editor at the time, Edward J. Dunn (no relation to Gertrude Dunn), assigned his reporter to write a series of stories about the families. The stories were published with a solicitation for donations that were used to help give the families a proper Christmas. With that, the Post Santa Claus Fund was born. Soon after its establishment, the Post Santa Fund expanded its reach to cover more families when a textile strike in Fall River lasted through the Christmas season. The loyal contributors to the fund helped Post Santa on his mission to bring Christmas joy to the children of the out-of-work textile employees and thus established a practice of visiting not just the children of Boston, but of Greater Boston.

Post Santa continued spreading Christmas cheer to many local children until World War II when the fund was put on hold. Supplies necessary to Post Santa's operation, including wrapping paper, could not be collected as the war effort continued. Soon after the war, the fund was restarted with the help of Boston Mayor John Hynes. However, in 1956, the financially-strapped Post closed it doors, but the Boston Globe stepped in to continue the tradition of Post Santa under the now-familiar name of Globe Santa.

The first Boston Globe Santa Claus Fund raised $51,103.81, which helped bring toys to 27,900 children Christmas morning. Since then, every year hundreds of letters seeking help have come in and so have hundreds of letters bearing contributions to the Santa fund. Despite the hardship and despair evident in many of the letters for help, the stories they reveal also provide rays of hope.

Leslie Ahern was one of Globe Santa's children in 1957. Ahern was 8 years old and her father had died a few years before Globe Santa paid her a visit. As she crawled into bed on Christmas Eve of 1957 she heard a knock at the back door of her family's home. When she peeked from behind her mother to see who was there, the man standing at the door filled her arms with presents and said "From Globe Santa." She wrote to the Globe 30 years later to explain how that Christmas made a lasting impression. "We were no longer alone and scared. There were people out there, people who had never even met us, but who cared about us. That was the very gift we needed most that Christmas," she wrote. "At 8 I learned that people do care and can make a wonderful difference in the lives of other people. I know that this helped lead me to a life of work in social services."

There are also countless other children of Globe Santa who do not need his assistance, but instead contribute to his cause. Since the fund's start, the students of the Boston public schools have demonstrated one of the most generous acts of the Christmas spirit Globe Santa has seen. For the first years of the fund, the pupils, teachers, and administrators of Boston public schools donated the largest total gift. In 1962, the group made Globe Santa history by donating $8,581 - the largest single gift ever donated to the fund at that time. Boston public schools have remained annual contributors to the fund, and donated $17,357.58 last year.

The $100,000 donation mark was broken in 1961. In 1977, contributors donated more than $500,000 for the first time in Globe Santa history and also helped to break the $1 million mark 10 years later. Santa Fund contributors made 2000 the most charitable year ever for Globe Santa when more than $1.46 million was donated. However, it was back in 1971, Globe Santa set the record for the highest number of children ever to receive his gifts, that number being 68,360. As he has for the past 49 years, Globe Santa wants to make sure again this year no child is forgotten on Christmas morning, but he can't do that alone. As history has proved, the fund relies on gracious contributors who realize that not every family is fortunate enough to afford Christmas presents and that no child deserves to miss out on the magic of Christmas.

The Boston Globe 23 November 2006
Back to Index

Photo society holds on to what made it great
In the grip of the Great Depression, when cameras were toys few people could afford, a local elite on the cutting edge of an art form chose to start a photographic society rather than a camera club. Same difference, members of the Springfield Photographic Society say today. Just as any technology trickles down over the years, cameras have become more accessible and more portable. But the society's mission remains unchanged. It's about not just freezing an image in time, but capturing it carefully and producing it well. "The difference," said J. Owen Santer of East Longmeadow, "is only a small nucleus of photographers are serious about the quality of what they take and try to get into a club." There are still about 80 such individuals in this 70-year-old club, always ready to learn and improve.

While local camera clubs in places like Ware and Wilbraham have fallen victim recently to the instant gratification available through digital photography, some of their members have helped buoy the ranks of a Springfield society that held annual international expositions until about 10 years ago. Membership peaked at about 200 about 25 years ago. "I think the evolution came a lot faster than this old guy thought it would," Harry Ahern of Belchertown said of digital photography during a recent sit-down with Santer and two other past presidents of the society. Ahern, 77, remains an accomplished hobbyist using film, saving the digital for family occasions. He joined the club in 1954 as a young wedding photographer. Their darkrooms disappearing fast, older members hark from times when strong black-and-white photography could stop viewers in their tracks.

Retired Wilbraham dentist George Nieske, 76, chose several examples of his widely recognized work to hang when he downsized his wall space by moving to Reeds Landing retirement community in Springfield a year ago. Yet twice-monthly meetings draw members averaging in age from their 30s to 40s, the long-timers said. Originally quartered in the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum at the Quadrangle, the photographic society now gets together at Reeds Landing's Longfellow Room, in the community building of the complex at 807 Wilbraham Road. People who want to learn more about photography are welcome to attend and, at alternate meetings, submit their work for club competitions and some constructive critiquing.

Ahern said people seem more sensitive to criticism today, although it is meant to help them improve. Beyond the relative affordability of cameras, another change today is the push-button ease with which special effects can be placed on some or all of an image. "If there was a branch behind his head in the old days, we'd either move the branch or move him," Ahern said. "Today —Photoshop." And the computer software makes the branch disappear.

The club started in 1936 in black-and-white photography, and for years, competitions were all based on slides. By the 1960s, Santer said, "creative photography" came into vogue, setting up artsy shots through colored or textured glass or using gels and even Karo syrup over lenses. Another staple of society membership years ago was bus trips, when up to 60 members would travel together to photograph nature or urban life, sharing experiences and building friendships along the way. Today the club divides its competitions into subject categories such as "Gotcha," "Faces," "Humor" or "Everyday Life." Guest photographers at other meetings discuss their work and tricks of the trade. The club trips have been gone for several years. The annual international competition became too much work. It was the state's largest and outlasted even the Boston society's, Santer said. The slide competition drew 3,000 entries from as many as 30 countries. "I think Springfield is a big enough community that the club won't die," Santer said.

Springfield Republican 29 November 2006
Back to Index

Lisa O'Hearn loves Christmas trees, all 6 of them
There's nothing like the excitement that fills a home when it's time to put up the family Christmas tree. Its presence marks the countdown to the day that Santa Claus will arrive and family and friends will come together to celebrate the meaning of Christmas. Picking out the right tree, whether real or artificial, to fit your home and accumulating ornaments throughout the years is also part of the fun of having a Christmas tree because it reflects your taste and the traditions of your family. When Maysville police officer Lisa O'Hearn decided four years ago it was time to buy a new tree because the one she had was beginning to show its age, and she had a larger room to put the tree in, she had no idea that decision would take her from having one Christmas tree in her home to having six. "I wanted a larger tree because I had cathedral ceilings in my home and the tree I had, which is now my family room tree, is 17 years old. I've had it since my son, Tyler was a little boy," Lisa said. The tree Lisa wanted was a 9 1/2 foot tree, so she and her mother, Edna Williams decided to go to shopping the day after Christmas to take advantage of sale prices on Christmas merchandise. They ended up at a Lowe's store that was offering 75 percent off and she came home with the tree she wanted along with an assortment of ornaments that were also marked down.

Each year since, the two women have gone shopping the day after Christmas to see what bargains they could find, spending the day going from one store to the next and each year Lisa has purchased additional trees. "She and I started buying discounted trees and ornaments," Lisa laughed as she went on to explain that her mother is also a collector of Christmas trees, from antique aluminum ones to a small tree made of red feathers that was given to her as a gift. The trees Lisa has purchased vary in width and height according to the room they occupy which include the formal living room, family room, dining room and the bedrooms of Lisa's two youngest children, Olivia and Cameron. Each tree has a theme but, according to Lisa, when she started buying the extra trees, the ornaments she purchased were meant to go with the room they would be used in rather than a specific theme. "I buy decorations on sale for what I think will fit a room. I love to shop, I love to get a good deal," Lisa said of her method of going from store to store to find the best bargains.

To get all six trees ready by Thanksgiving, Lisa and her husband, Chris O'Hearn starting putting the trees up the weekend following Halloween. The process is made a little easier since Lisa boxes up each tree with its corresponding strands of lights (which are all white), ornaments, ribbons, skirting and tree toppers when they are put away after Christmas. The largest tree is in the formal living room and is decorated with gold ribbons and bows, 9-inch pine cones, gold beads, white lights and an angel in gold and white as the topper and white skirting. Lisa added the large pinecones when her neighbor, Jackie Combess gave them to her saying that they "just made the tree look different." The smallest tree, which is also in the formal living room in a corner opposite the larger tree, is a 3 1/2 foot tree decorated in white lights, red bows accented with gold trim, narrow red tinsel with a red skirting.

In the dining room, the 7 1/2 foot tree has been decorated in shimmering, beaded ornaments shaped like apples, pears and plums in a variety of sizes and colors from burgundy and purple to gold. Burgundy ribbons fall in a spiral pattern from the top to the bottom. An angel in a gold dress adorns the top and the skirting is deep hunter green and burgundy. The trees in the children's rooms match the colors or theme of each. In her daughter's room, Lisa used shades of deep purple and lavender butterflies mixed with snowflakes, ball ornaments and velvet ribbons and bows to match the lavender walls. The 6-foot tree is topped with a deep purple bow and the skirting is deep purple velvet. In her son's room, Lisa has incorporated Cameron's newest interest; sports, into the theme. The 7-foot tree has an assortment of basketball, soccer and football ornaments together with a few Spiderman ornaments, candy canes and policemen and firemen ornaments from previous years accented with strands of red tinsel, red beads and a silver skirt. "It's really good," Cameron said of his tree.

The family room tree is just that, a family tree. The 6-foot tree, which Lisa has had since her son Tyler was born, is decorated with an assortment of ornaments collected over the years, including keepsake ornaments made by her children. The tree is also where Lisa displays the handmade ornaments given to her by her sister, Vicki. Candy canes made from yo-yo's, which are used for quilting; snowmen made from the gloves and even ornaments made of cinnamon sticks decorate the tree. Lisa and her family now exchange ornaments each year at Christmas, so her collection will continue to grow for this tree.

Lisa plans to go shopping with her mother again this year the day after Christmas but said she won't buy any more trees because "I don't have any more corners" to put them in. And as much as she admits to loving a good shopping spree, there's one other thing she loves more. "I love Christmas trees, it reminds me of being a child," she said.

The Ledger Independent 29 November 2006
Back to Index

Event benefits veterans
Boston Bruins legend Terry O'Reilly is among those expected to attend the third annual Army- Navy Football Luncheon on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Rack, 24 Clinton St., Boston. The Rack is located next to Fanueil Hall Marketplace. The luncheon, hosted by the Ahern Family Charitable Foundation, which was set up in November 2001 by Arlington native Bob Ahern, will raise funds to support veterans' assistance organizations. The event will begin at noon and the 107th annual Army-Navy football game will kick-off at approximately 2:30 p.m., viewable on large screens all across the venue.

"The Army Navy Game provides an opportunity for us to raise not only funds, but awareness of the challenges many young families face when one its members are sent off to war," said Ahern, president of the Ahern Family Charitable Foundation. "Our goal is to help those veterans past, present and future who may be in crisis and in need of assistance." The Ahern Family Charitable Foundation hosts two annual events each year as fund raisers to support both local and national veterans' assistance organizations, including Fisher House, Homes for Our Troops, New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans and Friends of National Guard and Reserve Families, among many others. To date, the foundation has raised more than $100,000 helping to provide services ranging from financial grants and scholarships to psychological treatment for families of deployed troops and lodging for families visiting their wounded and injured loved one.

"The Friends of the National Guard and Reserve Families was established as a result of financial support by the Ahern Family Foundation," said Collette Wickstrom, president of Friends of the National Guard and Reserve Families. "The foundation had the compassion, insight and understandings to know that families of citizen soldiers would be stressed financially as their loved ones were called to active duty."

Tickets include a buffet luncheon and free billiards. The event will also feature a silent auction and raffle. Tickets are $20 ($15 with military ID) and are available at The Rack, by calling 617-212-1508 or online at All proceeds raised from the event will benefit and support veterans' organizations.

Arlington Advocate 30 November 2006
Back to Index

With an Eye Cast to 2008, Pataki Hires A Chief Aide
Gov. George E. Pataki hired a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney yesterday as the chief fund-raiser for the political operation that is laying groundwork for Mr. Pataki's possible bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. Mr. Pataki, who will leave office at the end of the month, is now preparing to move into new offices in his hometown of Peekskill, N.Y., where he will oversee his political action committee, the 21st Century Freedom PAC. The new aide, Kara Ahern, is joining PAC as the national finance director to raise money for Republican allies of Mr. Pataki — and for the governor himself if he makes a bid for president or perhaps vice president.

Ms. Ahern worked with Mr. Pataki when she was the Northeast finance director for President Bush's campaign in 2004. Afterward, she was political director to Mr. Cheney, and this year she was a fund-raiser for the Republican nominee for governor of Massachusetts, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey. (Ms. Healey lost last month.) Mr. Pataki is viewed in Republican circles as a long shot for his party's nomination in 2008, given his moderate stance on social issues — he supports abortion rights, for instance — and given his unpopularity in New York as his third term winds down.

Even the newly elected chairman of the New York Republican Party, Joseph N. Mondello, has been openly skeptical of Mr. Pataki's prospects. While three top Republican operatives in Iowa recently resigned from the Pataki PAC, re-enforcing uncertainty about his 2008 chances, Ms. Ahern said in an interview that she was excited about Mr. Pataki's future, and added that she was drawn to his sunny nature. "What I like about him is he's very positive," she said. "He looks to what's right with the country, and the things we're doing right, and the things we need to change. He's very positive." Despite her work in Massachusetts, Ms. Ahern said she had not considered working for the state's governor, Mitt Romney, another presidential hopeful.

New York Times 2 December 2006
Back to Index

Taoiseach in town
The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern attended a reception in Kensington Town Hall. The reception was held to celebrate the success of the Irish in London and the historic links the borough's mayor has with Ireland. Mayor Tim Ahern also wanted the opportunity to introduce his daughter, Bertie Ahern, to her namesake, the Irish prime minister. The mayor said: "I am delighted that the Taoiseach has been able to find time to visit Kensington & Chelsea. There is a long tradition of links between the borough and Ireland. It is also great to introduce the two Bertie's to each other. I understand that at times they are surprised at airports when the Bertie Ahern that arrives isn't the one they expected." The reception last night was attended by successful Irish people from across London.
Kilburn Times 5 December 2006
Back to Index

John Carbone, 30, of Isabella Court, Brick, was charged by Sheriff's Detective Claudette Vazquez and Sheriff's Officer Michael O'Hearn on an Ocean County Superior Court Warrant for Failure to Pay Child Support in the amount of $994.94. Carbone was transported and lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending the payment of the cash purge.
Asbury Park Press 6 December 2006
Back to Index

Award winners play key role in city's appearance
Winners of the anti-litter poster competition sponsored by Hasbro Ireland, were Hannah Christie, St. Ursula's, Aaron Stephens, Mount Sion, Niamh Maher, St. Ursula's, Harry Donnelly, Gaelscoil Phortlairge, Jane Marshall, St. Ursula's, Niamh Ahearne, Good Counsel School, Dale O’Keeffe, Mount Sion, Alexandra Borla, St. Ursula's.

Niamh Ahearne, Good Counsel School, was also the winner of the Renewable Energy poster competition in association with Waterford Energy Bureau. She was joined on the winners rostrum by Julie Power, St. Ursula's.

Waterford News & Star 8 December 2006
Back to Index

McCann senior receives award
NORTH ADAMS—A Charles H. McCann Technical School senior with perfect attendance at the school, was awarded the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendent's Certificate of Academics at Thursday night's School Committee meeting. Ryan O'Hearn of Adams is the highest ranking member of the class of 2007. "It is a distinct pleasure for me every year to award the superintendent's certificate," Superintendent James Brosnan said during the meeting. "Ryan O'Hearn is an outstanding young man and student."

Principal Gary F. Rivers said O'Hearn, a senior in the Information Technology Program, is not only a dedicated student but extremely focused on his future. "His sole purpose during his tenure here was getting as much information and access to all the information our teachers were able to give him," he said. "He has also been extremely involved." Over the past four years, O'Hearn has been a member of the National Honor Society, SADD and Student Council, and has served as shop representative for the past two years. He has also been a member of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition's UNITY program and, for two years, a People to People Student Ambassador and participant in the school's Tech Prep program. He's taking college-level math classes at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. "Ryan is actively involved in SkillsUSA and has been a medal winner at the local, district and state levels," Rivers said. "He is planning to pursue a career in environmental studies after high school."

School Committee member James Gazzaniga of Williamstown congratulated both O'Hearn and his family on the achievement. His mother, Karen Kelly, his stepfather, Michael Lefebvre, and grandparents Dolores and James Kelly of Pittsfield also were at the meeting. "Right at this moment, you stand here accepting this award virtually alone," Gazzaniga said. "These four people who are here with you, have been standing by you for the past four years. It's been a team effort. My favorite saying is that the apple doesn't fall from the tree. Your mom and dad had an example for them, and they brought that example with them as they have guided you through the years."

He also congratulated O'Hearn on his perfect attendance over the course of 3 1/2 years. O'Hearn said his perfect attendance record goes back as far as the fifth grade. His mother said she was surprised by the award. "I didn't even know he was first in his class," Kelly said. "He's always good at achieving things. He's always working hard. I don't let the boys sit home and do nothing." O'Hearn is planning on attending Rochester (N.Y.) Polytechnical Institute next fall. His brother, Nathan O'Hearn, also a senior at the school, will join the Army after graduation.

North Adams Transcript 15 December 2006
Back to Index

Ex-UPS worker sentenced in drug thefts
LOWELL—A Merrimack, N.H., woman who pilfered painkillers with a street value of more than $70,000 from packages at the United Parcel Service facility in Chelmsford has been placed on probation for a year and ordered to be evaluated for drug treatment. After a three-month investigation earlier this year, state police investigators arrested Michelle Ahern, a 47-year-old UPS worker, after she admitted to stealing narcotics from packages marked Injury Workers Pharmacy, because she knew they contained drugs. Ahern would take the package and hide it her bin, then retrieve it after work. She admitted to police she had been stealing packages since November 2004. In Lowell Superior Court, Ahern, who has been fired from UPS, pleaded guilty to larceny under $250. Charges of theft of a controlled substance and larceny in a building were both filed without a change of plea.
The Lowell Sun 17 December 2006
Back to Index

Local man levels shotgun at rival, cops say
Man arrested for felony menacing
A Telluride man stood in the doorway of his house Saturday afternoon and pulled a shotgun on another man who was standing on his porch, police say. Al Heirich pointed his shotgun at Placerville resident Brian Ahern as Ahern was standing on Heirich's porch. Ahern told police that he was facing toward the street when he heard a shotgun being cocked, and then he felt the barrel pressed between his shoulder blades.

Heirich was arrested and charged with felony menacing, and police confiscated his two weapons—a Mossberg 12 gauge pump-action shotgun and a Taurus .45 caliber five-shot revolver. Heirich said he plans to plead not guilty. The pair said they have been involved in a feud for months, as Heirich vehemently opposed Ahern's recent run for the Colorado State House. The bad blood boiled over Saturday afternoon. Around 1:45 p.m., a caller told police a "man with a gun [was] pointing it at another man." The police arrived at the Heirich home and found Ahern standing in the gutter in front of the Heirich house. Heirich did not deny pulling the shotgun, but the two have conflicting stories of what happened, and why Ahern was on Heirich's porch. Ahern told police that Heirich called him on the telephone a number of times and argued with him before eventually saying "You want to settle this? You know where I live." So, Ahern told police, he went to Heirich's door and knocked. He said he stepped away from the door and then turned around to face the street. Heirich opened the door and poked Ahern sharply in the center of his shoulder blades with the barrel of the shotgun saying "Get off my property!", and knocked him off the porch, Ahern told police. Ahern said he walked off the property and turned to see Heirich take out a pistol and level it at him.

A witness told police that Heirich stood on his porch yelling "Come on to my property so I can shoot you . . . Don't you know the Make My Day Law!?" Ahern said he took cover behind a car and, a short while later, the police arrived. Heirich said he was "scared" of Ahern and was "defending himself, his family, and his property," according to the police. Heirich denied pulling his pistol on Ahern. He said it was Ahern who sought him out, looking for him at his wife's work. Heirich said Ahern was "belligerent and threatening" toward his wife. His wife told police that Ahern threatened them, saying that the Heirichs were "going to have an accident." Police are investigating Ahern's alleged threat.

In addition, Heirich claims that Ahern pushed him into the snow the previous night, when the two saw each other on Pacific Avenue. Ahern denies pushing Heirich or threatening his wife. In an interview yesterday, Heirich said he pointed the gun from inside his house, and that he was merely protecting his wife, home and property. He said his wife filed for a restraining order against Ahern yesterday. Meanwhile, Ahern said he filed for a restraining order against Heirich Sunday. Both admitted to a long-standing feud.

Heirich opposed Ahern's candidacy for the State House in the strongest terms, and printed up apparel that opposed Ahern. Heirich claims that Ahern responded by calling him vile names around town, and the two have exchanged heated e-mails for months. "Everybody knows we've been going back and forth," Heirich said yesterday. "During the campaign I fought him tooth and nail." Ahern said Heirich has threatened him over the past few months. "He's calling me and he's threatening me," Ahern said. "I'm not a person that runs and hides. If someone threatens me, I confront them."

Heirich was released from the San Miguel County Jail on a $2,500 bond at 5:24 p.m. Saturday, according to the San Miguel County Sheriff's Office.

Telluride Daily Planet 18 December 2006
Back to Index

Strike force: Bowling league draws nightspot workers to Kings
For most people, Monday isn't exactly a night out, unless it involves Monday Night Football. Or Monday Night Bowling. Bowling? Bartenders, waitresses, bouncers, chefs and managers at some of Boston's hot nightspots are spending their Monday nights bowling for fun and pride this winter at Kings in the Back Bay. Last year, Kings' "Industry Night" league revolved solely around fellow Lyons Group restaurants and clubs. In its second year, which kicked off after Thanksgiving, other bars and restaurants, such as Boston Beer Works and Clarke's Turn of the Century Saloon, have gotten into the act.

Mike Franciosa, who works the door at Clarke's, saw an ad for the league and fielded a team of fellow bouncers and bartenders. "I was kind of worried, because I signed the bar up before asking anybody," the 33-year-old from Brighton said. "Everybody was pretty fired-up about it, actually." Danielle Ahern, a bartender at Clarke's, said she had bowled only candlepin as a child before this. "They just asked me if I wanted to bowl. It sounded like fun," Ahern, 22, of Quincy said. "I'm not a good bowler, but I'm competitive."

Franciosa said he and his co-workers didn't really know the other bars in the league. But the folks from Lucky's Lounge, who competed against Clarke's on Nov. 27, certainly took notice when Franciosa rolled a 159 and a 180. Two lanes over, Josh Heller and his crew from Sweetwater Cafe and The Big Easy were taking their sweet time completing their two strings of play. "We get to relax, just like our weekend," said Heller, a 25-year-old from Southie and assistant general manager at Sweetwater. "We get excited about it. We talk about it all week."

There's some trash talk with the other clubs, too, but it's all in jest. "It's more about fun. There's definitely competitive spirit, but if someone's bad, we're not going to kick them off the team," he said. The league's winner gets a free party at Kings. But all the teams already treat Mondays as a party, ordering pizzas, appetizers and cocktails during play, as hit tunes bounce over the speakers and large-screen TVs showcase the Monday Night Football game. Kings league ringleader Lindsay Curtis said these specialty leagues—from the occasional college and corporate leagues to the media league that starts in January—help maintain camaraderie and teamwork. Curtis said sometimes the clubs "will bring down a cheering section" as their other co-workers get done with their Monday shifts. A summer softball league might have the same effect, right? "But it's bowling!" Curtis said.

Boston Herald 18 December 2006
Back to Index

Anger and tears over travel plan chaos
"That's it now. Our Christmas is cancelled." These were the words of Catherine O'Flynn as she and her family left Cork Airport in tears yesterday evening. They had given up on any hope of spending their Christmas on holiday together. Ms O'Flynn was one of 1,200 people who had their travel plans thrown into disarray by freezing fog across the country. Maureen Aherne from Killarney was due to fly to Lanzarote with Aer Lingus but her flight was cancelled and there were no other flights laid on. "This was supposed to be a treat for my kids. All we got was 8.25 for lunch. Aer Lingus have been no help at all. They had no plan B, some flights were bussed to Shannon but there was nothing for us. One minute the flight was delayed and then it was cancelled and we were expected to go home." The Ahernes had arrived at 11.30am, but by mid-afternoon they were among many who were forced to reconsider their Christmas.
Irish Examiner 20 December 2006
Back to Index

Murder trial begins in Albufeira
FIVE MEN have gone on trial in Albufeira more than a year after they were arrested, accused of the murder of 38-year-old Irishman Michael Ahern. Brian Murphy, Alan Sullivan, Brad Curtis and Kevin McMullen are all Irish citizens while the fifth man is English national David Figueira. The crime occurred in September 2005. Police arrested the five suspects on September 17, according to the Irish Embassy in Lisbon. Court proceedings began at the end of November and the second court session took place last week in Albufeira.

According to reports in the Correio da Manhã newspaper, Murphy pointed the finger at one of his accomplices. He said that Figueira shot Ahern in the head and stored his body in a large freezer in an apartment in Orada, Albufeira. Murphy told the court that they had consumed a great deal of alcohol and cocaine while watching a football match in a bar in Lagos, confessing that he and Ahern had snorted lines of cocaine together in the toilets of the bar. The court heard that after leaving the bar, a heated discussion ensued between Ahern and Figueira during the car journey to Albufeira. Murphy told judges that the argument concerned a miscarriage that Ahern's Brazilian girlfriend had suffered. In his anger, Ahern pulled a gun on Figueira, who managed to elbow Ahern and the weapon fell to the floor of the car. Murphy said that Figueira grabbed the weapon from the floor and fired one shot followed by another three at Ahern's head. However, according to the same newspaper report, the prosecution said it believes that Ahern sustained a number of blows to the head. His feet were bound together, before he was bundled into the trunk. Somewhere between Lagos and Albufeira, as Ahern was making a great deal of noise and could have potentially raised suspicion, they stopped the car and shot him on the roadside, before returning him to the trunk of the car.

The prosecution holds that Ahern was still alive at this point and when they arrived in Albufeira, he was lifted from the trunk and taken up to one of the defendant's apartments, where rope was tied around his neck. They fired three shots at his head and he died in the apartment, not in the car as the defence claims.

The men were arrested in the Algarve and interrogated before being transported to Portimão prison. The British Consul, Bill Henderson, told The Resident that Figueira was then transferred to a prison near Lisbon. Consular assistance was provided to all the men accused and the embassies are continuing to monitor the case, as well as arrange familial visitation rights to the prisoners. The Resident confirmed with both the Irish and the British Embassies that all five of the accused are being held in the Instituto Prisonal de Lisboa, Lisbon prison institute, and are transported to the Algarve on the days of the trial proceedings. Court has been recessed until after the New Year when the proceedings will continue.

The Algarve Resident 21 December 2006
Back to Index

Irish soul for 'night of magic'
The energy and excitement of Alan Parker's classic film The Commitments will be shifted to Valletta when the Irish band of the same name play at the Notte Magica on January 6. The Maltese audience will relive all the soul classics from film live in concert, featuring original stars Ken McCluskey and Dick Massey. The band has been lauded for their thrilling, unforgettable live experience packed with soul. Following a worldwide tour in 1991 to promote the global success of the film of Roddy Doyle's acclaimed novel, the band went their separate ways. There were so many requests for the band to reform that by 1993, several of the stars decided The Commitments should be reborn as a live, working, touring band and become "Dublin's Saviours Of Soul" for real. They have toured the world ever since and on many special occasions, their co-stars from the movie (including Michael Aherne, Robert Arkins and Johnny Murphy) all perform with the band.

The Commitments have played to sold-out audiences worldwide. On their recent American tour, they worked with Twentieth Century Fox promoting the US release of the new re-mastered Collectors' Edition DVD of The Commitments movie, which was released in the UK in 2005—on St Patrick's Day. Their live concerts feature all the great soul classics from the film and multi-million selling soundtrack and live albums: Mustang Sally, Try A Little Tenderness, Mr Pitiful, Destination Anywhere, Chain Of Fools, Take Me To The River and In The Midnight Hour. The Commitments is rated 33rd of the top 100 films of all time by the British Film Industry. The Commitments' first MCA Records soundtrack album has sold in excess of seven million copies, closely followed by the second, which has sold over five million. Music and trade will be fused for Notte Magica on Epiphany in Valletta between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Times of Malta 22 December 2006
Back to Index

'Really bad year' has silver lining
Community rallies behind family hit by cancer diagnosis, auto accident
Pat O'Hearn and his family have jumped over their fair share of heart-wrenching hurdles over the past several months, but the Herring Cove man says this has actually turned out to be one of the best years of his life. "My wife had cancer, my son was in a horrible accident, but they both survived," said Mr. O'Hearn, who was getting ready to retire at this time last year and promising his wife, Madeline, a wonderful 2006. "When you think about it, maybe I was saying that for a reason," he said during a recent interview, as he reflected on the emotional rollercoaster he has been riding since Madeline's lymphoma diagnosis in July. The rounds of chemotherapy and radiation often left her so ill she couldn't eat solid food. "It was a really bad year for us, but it turned out to be a good year because I didn't lose my son, I didn't lose my wife," he said. "She's getting better and he's getting better." Mrs. O'Hearn can now stomach Kraft Dinner and chicken noodle soup and is even gaining weight, he noted. Moreover, the community has rallied around the O'Hearns, raising thousands of dollars and giving back to a family well-known for their own kindness and generosity.

Mr. O'Hearn's 31-year-old son, Craig, suffered major head trauma when his car veered off the road Oct. 14 in heavy rain, rolling over twice and crashing into a wooded area in his Mount Uniacke neighbourhood. Craig has been out of the hospital for a month, but won't be back at work until at least March. It could be a year before the bruise on his brain fully heals. While he takes time off of his job as a construction worker to concentrate on getting better, Craig still has to support his young family and pay medical bills.

The financial and emotional strain on his loved ones shook Mr. O'Hearn to his core. But he hasn't had to face it all alone. Friends, acquaintances and others who have been touched by the story have reached out to help, raising more than $15,000 in six weeks to get Craig, wife Tabitha and three-year-old Taylor through this difficult time. Neighbour Jan Morehouse even spearheaded a charity auction Nov. 26 at the Jolly Mug Pub and Grill, which raked in more than $8,200 from generous community members. While some contributed through bidding on featured items, others donated goods ranging from rare sports memorabilia to gift baskets full of goodies. Local auctioneer Blain Henshaw volunteered his services for the event.

Mr. O'Hearn is touched. He calls Ms. Morehouse his "guardian angel." "I was slowly, slowly falling apart and I needed help," Mr. O'Hearn said. "And Jan helped me; . . . she gave me strength." Mr. O'Hearn credited Craig's sister, Jaime Lynn Ballie, 29, for being "a pillar of strength" for the family and sticking by her older brother's side. Ms. Morehouse said she simply follows the old mantra "love thy neighbour."

"It's so nice to have your faith in people reaffirmed," she said of how helping the O'Hearns, and having others join her along the way, has affected her. "The world is full of good people. . . . There were a lot of people who just made the decision they were going to do what was necessary." Mr. O'Hearn said despite all of the sadness in the world, there's plenty of good out there, too. "I can't even describe how big the support has been," he said. "Two words: God Bless."

The Halifax Chronicle-Herald 25 December 2006
Back to Index

Drivers rubberneck to see contortionist Frosty
A normally quiet street on East Hill has been seeing a slight increase in traffic over the last few days. The reason for all the cars driving slowly by is leering at motorists from Joe O'Hearn's front yard. Last week, O'Hearn and his grandchildren, Lakin and Landen Harison built a large snowman in the front yard of the home on 28th Crescent. Since Christmas, however, the snowman has lurched over to one side and is now leaning precariously over the ground. "It's defying the laws of gravity," O'Hearn said. "This is all solid snow, there are no poles or anything holding it in place." "It's a freak of nature," said son-in-law Marty Sarsfield, whose wife Dawn also helped build the snowman. The leaning snowman came as a surprise to the family who ran outside as soon as they noticed their unnaturally hunched creation. O'Hearn said he has never seen anything like it. "Everybody got up to go out and look at the snowman because it was tilting; by dinner it had tilted even more," O'Hearn said. But the family members are not the only ones who have come to take a peek. O'Hearn said cars have been slowing down and backing up to take a look at the unique snow statue. O'Hearn said that the family probably could not have created such a crooked snowman if they tried. He said he's not sure how long it will be before the leaning snow statue finally topples over.
Daily Courier 27 December 2006
Back to Index

Port Chester company restoring past glories
Michael Y. Ahearn didn't want his workers to make too much noise and upset the elephants. The elephants in question, along with rhinos, hippos and other African animals, were longtime residents of the Bronx Zoo's Elephant House. Ahearn's job was to replace the copper roof on the domed structure that was originally built in 1908. It was a major project for his family-owned company, Seaboard Weatherproofing and Restoration. As the roof replacement progressed over three months during a brutal winter four years ago, the contractors were sensitive to the peculiarities of working near giant creatures that weighed as much as 15,000 pounds. "The last thing you want to do is spook an elephant," said Ahearn, president of the company. "The animals always came first. So we were very conscious of the types of tools that we used. Noise levels were critical.  . . .  We had to check in with the zoo keepers every day and let them know what we were doing."

The work at the Bronx Zoo is not the only unusual project that Port Chester-based Seaboard has undertaken in recent years. At the New York Aquarium on Coney Island, Seaboard workers recoated a giant whale tank with a waterproofing sealant after the tank was drained and the whales temporarily relocated. A scarier project involved installing a new skylight over a shark tank at the aquarium. "The sharks were right in there when we were doing this work," Ahearn said. "I know the guys were very careful."

Seaboard also is known for restoration work on historic landmarks in New York City. Last year, it landed a contract on the 60-story Woolworth building in Lower Manhattan, originally completed in 1913. That work involved restoring damaged limestone on the first four floors and replacing or repairing more than 400 decorative terra cotta stones. Seaboard's workers typically perform such jobs from scaffolding attached to the skyscrapers. "This is a good time to be involved in historical renovations," said Jay Fiebich, Seaboard's general manager. "In past years, buildings were simply taken down and new ones put up. Now there is a very different approach that calls for saving and preserving these beautiful buildings."

Fiebich said that Seaboard landed more historical projects as the company's reputation grew. "Historical renovation requires a variety of talents that are not readily available on large projects," he said. "We have that. We can really come at the project from whatever angle is required.  . . .  You do one project well and it leads to two more. All of a sudden you have a name."

Other major Seaboard projects have included the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, an 1860 landmark in Brooklyn that was founded by abolitionists and acted as a stop on the Underground Railroad; and facade restoration on the Eldridge Street Synagogue, built on Manhattan's Lower East Side in 1887 as a major Jewish house of worship. Walter Sedovic, chief executive officer of Walter Sedovic Architects, the Irvington-based architect overseeing the synagogue project, praised Seaboard's performance. "They bring a great deal of enthusiasm," Sedovic said. "They bring a very well trained, very cordial and team-oriented spirit to the job. Every person from the top down is ready to do the best they can."

Seaboard's most complex project came in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. When the planes destroyed the World Trade Center, other nearby offices were heavily damaged. They included 90 West Street, a landmark, 24-story office tower originally built in 1907. Fire gutted much of the building's interior. Outside, there were gaping holes in the terra cotta façade. Exposed structural steel hanging off the sides of the building "looked like toothpicks," Ahearn said. Seaboard and other contractors spent two years making repairs. "We replaced 8,000 pieces of terra cotta on that building," Ahearn said. "We literally had to dismantle the granite from the first three floors on the north side of the building. That was all done with cranes and hoists and chains. It was very dangerous and required an exacting hand by the crane operator." At times, the company faced a shortage of skilled workers. "We couldn't find enough masons to do all the terra cotta work," Ahearn said. "So I said to the guys down there, 'If we don't have the people who know how to do it, let's teach them.' So we got a hold of the International Masonry Institute, which runs the union apprentice training program, and asked them if they could help us. And they were very accommodating." Working near Ground Zero also was a distraction because of the realization that so many people had died there. "You were always reminded of what happened because you looked down every day at the pit," Fiebich said. "It was so very different than every other project." The building has reopened as 410 rental apartments. "It was the first building to really come back from the ashes," Ahearn said.

Founded in 1944 by Ahearn's grandfather, Richard, Seaboard is now under the third generation of family management. Ahearn's brother, Richard, is also involved and oversees a general contracting side of the family business. Both parts of the business employ up to 100 workers during peak seasons. Historical projects account for about 60 percent of Seaboard's business. The rest is standard commercial work, often waterproofing work on area buildings, parking garages and skyscrapers. Ahearn said that Seaboard's sales have tripled during the past five years, partly because of the surge in historical projects and a New York City statute that requires facade inspections. "It was born after that young lady was killed at Columbia University from a piece of concrete falling off the building," Ahearn said. "They came up with this law that required any building over six stories or 100 feet high to have its facade inspected every five years and a report filed with the city. And anything that an architect or engineer finds on the facade of the building that is deemed dangerous or hazardous needs to be repaired immediately. So every five years, there is a cycle. And when all the buildings in New York get inspected, there is a ton of work that comes out."

Ahearn, 53, said that his interest in construction dates to his youth. "I grew up in high school and college working for the company every summer, whether I was knee-deep in concrete or up on a scaffolding," he said. "I was always working. And so was my brother. I decided at some point in college that this was what I was going to do."

A lot of family owned businesses don't reach the third generation of ownership. Why has Seaboard bucked that trend?
Because it is family and business, we try to keep the two as separate as possible. When the family gets together, that is family. And when we bang heads from a business standpoint, we try to work it out in a business-like manner.

Do you get satisfaction from helping to restore historic buildings?
They all have their own significance. One example is the Eldridge Street Synagogue, one of the oldest synagogues in New York.  . . .  Over the years, it kind of went into disrepair. Some of the people who attended that synagogue, as they got more successful, started moving uptown. The synagogue participants got fewer and fewer.  . . .  They brought us in to do the exterior restoration. There were a couple of old folks there when we were putting the finials on top of the building. One elderly gentleman was in his 90s. He was telling my project manager about when he used to go there as a kid. He was crying. He said it was so incredible to see it back and looking the way it did. Those kind of things make us feel good.

Talk about your work on the Woolworth building.
It was the tallest building in the world at one time.  . . .  It is a very significant part of the New York skyline. It is a privilege for us to be working on it and have the owners show confidence in us to help with the restoration.

What types of special challenges do historical restorations present?
We are a lot more conscious of using the correct materials as far as matching the stone, the mortar. At the Eldridge Street Synagogue, we used a lime mortar. That was the original mortar that was used to lay the brick down there. That type of mortar had not been used for many, many years.

Does the variety of work keep things interesting?
Absolutely. How cool is it to be working in a zoo? My brother Scott who runs our work at (Bronx Zoo) knows all the keepers in all the different buildings. I took my wife down there one day.  . . .  They took us behind the scenes. I saw a baby giraffe and it was the cutest thing I had seen in my life.

You also have an interesting story about falcons at one New York City building.
The building manager at 48 Wall Street called me probably 15 years ago and asked me if we would come down right away. She needed me to build a birdhouse. I said what are you talking about? She said, "Well. Apparently we have a falcon living in the tower." So I went down and I looked and there was a falcon circling the tower. And I told her I didn't know anything about falcons or building falcon birdhouses. I told her to get in touch with the Audubon Society. She did and they did provide a home for the bird.  . . .  If you came out of the stairwell onto the roof, they used to require you to wear a hard hat.  . . .  I was down there one day right after the baby falcons were out of the nest, and the papa falcon was giving them flying lessons. And when the babies were out flying, if anybody came out that door, papa would come down on them.

The Journal News 31 December 2006
Back to Index

Return to The Ahern Family HomePage

This page copyright © 2006-2013 by Dennis Ahern.
This page was last updated 30 March 2013.