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Mention of Aherns in
Newspaper Stories of 2012

Daniel and Karen Ahern of Rehoboth talk about the tragic death of their daughter Catherine Ahern Blakeney, whose body was found on Dec. 27 in her North Carolina home.
Rehoboth family mourns loss of daughter
The parents of a former Rehoboth woman found murdered in her Charlotte, N.C., home last month say their daughter was the tragic victim of domestic abuse.
The body of Catherine E. Ahern Blakeney, 34, was found Dec. 27, along with the body of her beloved dog, after her parents asked police to check on their daughter when they had not heard from her in three weeks. Her husband Brandon O. Blakeney, 30, who had been charged previously with assaulting his wife, is charged with her murder. Daniel and Karen Ahern of Rehoboth, Catherine's parents, are distraught over the loss of their only daughter. "She was our only baby," Karen Ahern said of her daughter, a 1995 Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School graduate who had lived in North Carolina since 2001. A funeral service has been scheduled for noon Saturday in the Cook Hathaway Funeral Home at 160 Park St. in Attleboro.

Daniel Ahern said his daughter had been married to Blakeney, her second husband, less than a year, when they separated last February. He said Catherine told her parents that Blakeney abused her even before their marriage, including throwing an ironing board at her and giving her a black eye. The Aherns said they thought Blakeney was out of their daughter's life. They were horrified when they learned that when police visited Catherine's home the day after Christmas, they were greeted by the 5-foot, 9-inch, 200-pound Blakeney, who told them Catherine was away on a "trip." "He wasn't supposed to be there," Karen Ahern said. "They were separated." A day later, police went back a second time and Blakeney allowed officers to search the house. They found Catherine's body in a second-floor bedroom. Karen Ahern said her daughter had been dead for as many as three weeks. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police homicide detectives, who investigated the case, did not provide details concerning how the former Rehoboth woman died. Catherine's Jack Russell terrier, Precious, was also killed. A second pet, a boxer named Medea, was found alive in the home.

Blakeney, who is being held without bond in Mecklenburg County Jail, is due back in court Feb. 9. According to online Mecklenburg County court records, Blakeney was charged in February 2010 with assaulting a woman. The court website did not give a disposition. Published reports indicate Catherine had also applied for a restraining order against her husband, but did not show up for a hearing. The Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office, which is prosecuting the case, did not return a phone call from The Sun Chronicle Thursday.

Catherine was born in Attleboro and was a member of Second Congregational Church. Her parents said she moved to North Carolina in 2001 as a result of a job transfer involving her then first husband. The couple eventually divorced. Catherine worked in the banking industry for several years before being laid off last year. A police report describing the murder investigation said officers were dispatched to the Blakeney home at 2024 Pheasant Glen Road shortly before 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 27. On arrival, police were greeted by Brandon Blakeney, who allowed them inside where they discovered the body. Blakeney was immediately taken into custody and charged with his wife's murder.

Catherine was described as an upbeat and friendly person by acquaintances in North Carolina. "She was a really sweet person who had a great personality. She was friendly to everyone," her friend Anita Richardson said in a North Carolina TV interview. Richardson told reporters she knew of incidents between Blakeney and her husband, but thought the trouble was over. Brandon Blakeney, reportedly a DJ in the Charlotte area, appears in a series of YouTube videos under the name Brandon Beanz Blakeney in which he interviews local artists. An essay posted on a literary blog by "Brandon Beanz Blakeney" is titled "The Sanctity of Marriage: What do You Believe?" and discusses difficulties in his marriage. "The mixture of variables we were exposed to as children and young adults led to us clashing, and bumping heads on numerous occasions," Blakeney wrote. "We both had serious trust issues! It took us clawing and scratching at one another, for months, for us to finally come to the general consensus that we both came from the same place. That was the turning point of our relationship."

The Aherns remember being shocked when Catherine called to say that she and Blakeney, whom she previously had accused of abusing her, had married. "My jaw dropped," said Daniel Ahern, who never met his son-in-law. Ahern said he told Blakeney on the phone, in as civil a voice as possible, that if Blakeney hurt Catherine, he would call the police "and it won't be pretty." Karen Ahern said her daughter was conflicted over her relationship with Blakeney, whom she loved, but also seemingly feared. "She would say, 'I love him, mom, but I can't live with him,'" Karen Ahern said. When she came home for a visit last February, Catherine said Blakeney was moving out. Her parents felt relieved. Karen said that in recent months her daughter seemed happy and even spoke of meeting someone new. Being laid off from her job last summer was a bump in the road for Catherine, but her parents helped by sending her money and food packages. She even spoke of coming home to Rehoboth. But the Aherns worried when, after Catherine last talked with her mother by phone on Dec. 7, she suddenly stopped answering calls. When she didn't call on Christmas, the couple became fearful. That's when they called the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. Since they learned of Catherine's murder two days after Christmas, Daniel and Karen Ahern's grief has been interrupted only by an upwelling of support from friends and neighbors. "People have been wonderful to us," Daniel Ahern said. "Our friends, the police, even the prosecutor's office have all been so supportive." Karen Ahern says she hopes telling her daughter's story will prompt others caught in abusive relationships to protect themselves — before it's too late. "Face the truth," she said. "If you're being abused, leave. You have to walk away."

The Sun Chronicle 13 January 2012
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A local detective camp involving a local mystery. The Historical Society of Cheshire County in Keene will offer a day-long Children's Detective Camp to solve "The Mysterious Disappearance of Martin Ahern" on Monday, Jan. 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Martin Ahern went missing in March of 1869. Although his body was discovered a month later, his disappearance and the circumstances surrounding his death have remained an unsolved mystery. A recent discovery of some older documents in the Historical Society's archive about Ahern and stolen bonds sheds new light onto this case. The society seeks detectives who are willing to review the evidence and use good detective investigative skills to finally solve the case of Martin Ahern's disappearance — and perhaps locate the stolen bonds.

Tom Haynes, the director of education, will lead this day-long camp open to all detectives in grades 4 through 8. Registration is limited to 12. The cost is $25 for historical society members and $35 for non-members. Each participant needs to bring lunch, drink, and snacks, along with warm outdoor clothing. To register or for more information, reach the Society at 352-1895 or

The Keene Sentinel 16 January 2012
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Meet Captain Brian Ahearn, assigned to the La Jolla area
Call us. That's the advice of San Diego Police Capt. Brian Ahearn, new commander of Northern Division, which includes La Jolla, when asked how people could best help officers do their jobs. "If something is suspicious, amiss, then give us a call and let us come out and take a look at it," he said citing an example of why calling is important. "Sometimes when bikes have been stolen people figure, 'I don't want to bother the police,' and they might be the 10th person in that one neighborhood who's had a bike stolen that hasn't called us." Ahearn noted the exchange of information "is huge for us," because it "helps identify the trends, figure out who's stealing these bicycles so we can put a stop to it."

Northern Division's beat is a 41-square-mile area of nearly 220,000 residents in Bay Ho, Bay Park, Clairemont Mesa East, Clairemont Mesa West, La Jolla, La Jolla Village, Mission Bay Park, Mission Beach, North Clairemont, Pacific Beach, Torrey Pines and University City. Each of the communities has its own special crime problems. In La Jolla, it's car break-ins, especially down by the ocean. Ahearn said those crimes are something local residents can take preventative measures against. "In La Jolla Shores, and all along the shoreline, people need to secure their valuables before they go in the water," he said. "Bring your keys with you when you go out swimming, scuba diving or snorkeling, don't leave them on a towel or in the bushes or on your tires where people may be watching or casing you."

La Jolla's geography, according to Ahearn, is an advantage in crime fighting. "We have one or two ways to go in and out, north through La Jolla Parkway and south through Bird Rock," he said. "It sets up nicely for us in setting up surveillance posts." Ahearn said the police department prides itself on its peacekeeping role out in the community, and a prime example of that is the ongoing situation at Children's Pool. "What we've tried to do is establish some ground rules for the competing sides and try to get them to be a little more civil to one another," he said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to create an environment where people will have the ability to express themselves there without being ridiculed or hurt because of it."

A policeman since 1986, the father of two teens whose wife of 27 years is a nurse, Ahearn considers himself blue collar. "I'm a worker," he said. "Like a lot of cops, we'll roll up our sleeves and get the job done." Ahearn said he is proud to be top cop in Northern Division noting, "The City of San Diego has offered me a satisfying position the likes of which I never imagined. I've enjoyed every day: It's not work, to serve the citizens of this great city — I look forward to doing it."

Northern Division Police Station
Where: 4275 Eastgate Mall
Phone: (858) 552-1700
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. Closed 11 a.m. to noon.

La Jolla Light 17 January 2012
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'She didn't deserve it': Family, friends, classmates gather at vigil to honor Dighton-Rehoboth grad Catherine Ahern Blakeney
Karen Ahern participates in a candlelight vigil at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School to honor her daughter, Catherine Ahern Blakeney, who was found murdered in her home in North Carolina on Dec. 27.
Dighton — About 40 friends, family and classmates gathered at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School Wednesday night to honor and celebrate the memory of Catherine Ahern Blakeney. Blakeney, 34, a Rehoboth native and 1995 graduate of D-R, was found murdered in her home in Charlotte, N.C. on Dec. 27. Her husband, Brandon Blakeney, 30, has been arrested and charged with her murder.

Wednesday night, those who knew Blakeney came out to remember a friend with a candlelight vigil. "It's just a sad thing," said Carolyn Bury, Cathy's cousin. "She was a beautiful person inside and out. She loved animals and never harmed a soul. She didn't deserve it." Many of her D-R classmates spoke to the gathered crowd, as well as some family members. The group also released balloons as "One Sweet Day" by Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey — a popular song for Blakeney in high school — played over speakers set up for the event. "She was just a wonderful girl," said Vanessa Smith, a classmate of Blakeney who helped put the vigil together. "We're here to support her family during this time and to remember a beautiful girl."

Blakeney's parents were also in attendance and appreciated the overwhelming support they've received. "Everybody has been 100 percent supportive," said Daniel Ahern, Blakeney's father. "I didn't think people would be like this. It's amazing." "People have been calling us all the time seeing how I was doing, bringing over food so I don't have to cook, and just telling me little things about Cathy, which is nice," said Karen Ahern, Blakeney's mother. "I'm so glad Cathy had friends, and we have friends and family, too."

A table was also set up with her ashes in an urn, photos of Blakeney and a donation jar for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA). Blakeney's beloved dog, Precious, was also found dead in her home. Ultimately, the night was meant to remember a life lost too soon. "As we go through tonight, we'll have ups and we'll have downs, but maybe some of the tears we shed should be tears of joy," said Shawn Urban, a classmate of Blakeney.

Taunton Daily Gazette 26 January 2012
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Sioux City Fundraiser planned for man with lymphoma
SIOUX CITY—A fundraiser is planned to help a man battling cancer. Proceeds will benefit Jon O'Hern, who is fighting a reoccurrence of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The fundraiser is planned for Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. at Nativity Parish Center, 4242 Natalia Way. Games, food and a raffle are planned. Call 712-252-1350 for more information.
Sioux City Journal 30 January 2012
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Jury Awards $20K to Man's Family
FAYETTEVILLE (AP) — A federal jury awarded $20,000 Thursday to the family of an Arkansas man who was shot and killed by a police officer after a high-speed chase. Jurors in Fayetteville found in favor of James Ahern's family, who had argued in a civil lawsuit that former Bella Vista police officer Coleman Brackney used excessive force when he shot Ahern six times in 2010. Doug Norwood, who represented Ahern's brother, Thomas Ahern, of Lavista, Neb., and Barbara Postert, of Omaha, Neb., said the family was glad to have their day in court but that he had hoped the jury would have valued James Ahern's life at more than $20,000. Brackney pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the shooting death of 41-year-old Ahern, the Northwest Arkansas Times reported. As part of the plea deal with prosecutors, he was sentenced to a month in jail and fined $1,000. Brackney testified that he fired the fatal shot because he thought the man was going to back over him in his car. A video from a dashboard camera gives no indication that the reverse lights on Ahern's car were on. Brackney's attorney, Drew Miller, said he was pleased and relieved with the jury's decision Thursday. "It's been a pretty long two-year ordeal," he said.
Baxter Bulletin 2 February 2012
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Chelmsford Youth Wrestling
Chelmsford—Coming off a very successful dual meet season (12-3), the Chelmsford Youth Wrestling Team placed second in the 5-6 grade division and first place in the 7-8 grade division respectively at the MYWA North Sectional Tourney held at Chelmsford High School last Sunday. The tourney was extremely competitive with 36 teams competing in two age divisions. CYW entered 31 wrestlers total into the tourney and qualified 20 to move onto the State Tourney at Algonquin High School in Northborough on Feb. 26. Wrestlers had to place in the top five of their respective weight class to qualify to go to the state tourney.

Wrestlers taking first place were Joe Vecchione, Griffin Murray, David Goodall and Ryan Cove. Second place finishers were Joe Goulart, Finn Murray, Lucas Cordio, Connor Clasen and Kyle McQuaide. Third Place was Matthew Kilmartin, Danny Bates and Tyronne Phett. In Fourth place were Zach Reynolds, Zach Jarnagin, DJ Fraser and Drew Pratraglia. Fifth Place finishers were Evan Goodall, Peter McCarthy, Aiden Ahern and Tim Scaplen.

Wrestlers also competing hard at the tourney were Isaac Blanchette, Carlos Urbina, Devon Giannino, Jack Stansfield, Joe Neylon, Jack Amaral, Connor Nunnery, Dylan Booth, Phillip Kimera, William Zouzas and Michael Kilmartin.

Chelmsford Independent 17 February 2012
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Looking Back
This photo was taken circa 1951 about where the bonfire is usually constructed on the grass above Back Beach in Rockport, according to Dennis J. Ahern of Acton who submitted it. "The kids are taking part in some sort of costume parade, put on, I think, by the town recreation department," he said. "The only ones I can identify are myself, dressed as a pirate, and Donny Dolloff as a drummer boy."
Gloucester Daily Times 18 February 2012
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WRESTLING: Hand runners-up at New England championships
Hand finished second in the New England championships at the Providence Career and Technical Center. Hand's William Crisco led a contingent of six Connecticut wrestlers that won New England titles last Saturday. Crisco won a 3-1 overtime decision against Glastonbury's Tyler Keane to capture the 120-pound championship. Westhill's Pascal (106), Newington's Chris Chorzepa (170), Middletown's Devon Carillo (182), Norwalk's Brandon Riggins (195) and Xavier's Sean Marinan (220) also captured New England crowns. Westbrook-Old Saybrook senior Dalton Ahern was the runner-up in the New England's 152-pound weight class. Ahern lost an 8-1 decision against Ryan Niven of Tyngsborough (Mass.).
Shoreline Times 4 March 2012
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Belmont 'Titanic Connection' lecture planned for March 25
Belmont, Mass.—When the world marks the centennial of the Titanic's sinking next month, most people will know of the ship's famous survivor, Mrs. Margaret ("Molly") Brown. But few will know the story of the other Mrs. Brown, Belmont resident and first class passenger. Caroline Lamson Brown, who survived the liner's ill-fated voyage in 1912 as the last passenger to board a life boat.

Historian and Lecturer Dennis Ahern will relate Caroline Brown's suspenseful story in his lecture, "Belmont's Titanic Connection," at Belmont Public Library on Sunday, March 25, at 2 p.m. in the Assembly Room. Admission to the lecture, presented by the Belmont Historical Society, is free and open to the public.

"Belmont residents are frequently at the center of historical events," said Belmont Historical Society President Philip Hughes, "and the Titanic tragedy is no exception. Two of Titanic's passengers had Belmont connections." The second passenger was third class traveler Henry Hart, a former coachman for the E. F. Atkins family. Hart was lost in the sinking.

Speaker Dennis Ahern became interested in the Titanic after reading Walter Lord's book, "A Night to Remember," at a young age. "Lord's ability to weave many small individual stories into the larger story drew me in," he said recently. "My talk on the 25th will focus on a few of these stories, most notably those of Belmont's Mrs. Brown and Mr. Hart." Ahern, who has lectured on historical and genealogical topics in the U.S., Canada, and Ireland, is a trustee of the Acton Memorial Library and a past vice-president of the Arlington Historical Society. For more information, call 617-484-4916.

Belmont Citizen-Herald 23 March 2012
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Belmont's Titanic Connection to Centennial Event
Belmont Historical Society's retelling of what happened
to two Belmont residents on the boat.
by Franklin Tucker
Scene 219: Exterior Boat Deck, Port. Jack Dawson (Leonardo DeCaprio), Rose (Kate Winslet) and others burst onto the boat deck from the crew stairs just aft of the third funnel. They look at the empty davits.
ROSE: "The boats are gone!"
She sees Colonel (Archibald) Gracie chugging forward along the deck, escorting two first-class ladies.
ROSE: "Colonel Are there any boats left?"
GRACIE: "(staring at her bedraggled state) "Yes, miss . . . there are a couple of boats all the way forward. This way I'll lead you." Jack grabs (Rose's) hand and they sprint past Gracie, with Tommy and Fabrizio close behind.

While the characters of Jack and Rose in the blockbuster movie, "Titanic," were fictional — there to add romance to the sinking of the great ship a century ago next month — many scenes and people in the movie were historic figures, actual men and women whose own stories were quite remarkable. Three such were Gracie (of the New York Gracie family which gave the city of New York it's mayoral residence) and the two women he was escorting, a pair who would go down in history for what occurred to them minutes after "Jack" and "Rose" rushed by. One of the women was Edith Evans, a 36-year-old spinster from New York, who had boarded in France after the White Star Line's lead ship had set sail from Southampton. The other woman was a wealthy widow traveling back to the United States after attending to and then burying her eldest sister, an English countess, who died in France. She was Caroline Lane (Lampson) [sic] Brown of Common Street in Belmont, the other Mrs. Brown on the RMS "Titanic." And it was at the insistence of Miss Evans that Mrs. Brown would survived the tragic sinking of the unsinkable "Titanic."

More than 50 residents and Titanic enthusiasts came out on a misty and cool Sunday, March 25, to attend a lecture by Dennis Ahern, Acton resident and former vice chairman of the Arlington Historical Society on Belmont's connection to the "Titanic" which sank on April 14, 1912. "There are a lot of human interest stories associated with the 'Titanic'," said Ahern on the enduring interest in the great ship and its tragic end. "It continues to be interesting because it's a story anyone can relate to," said Victoria Hasse of the Belmont Historical Society which sponsored the event at the Belmont Public Library.

An enduring story
"It's part of a great tradition. You have people who were brave, you have people who were lucky, you have heroes and you have evil doers," said Ahern, who also is a lecturer on genealogical subjects especially of the Irish in America. One aspect of the sinking of the boat after hitting an iceberg on a still, calm night off of Newfoundland was that many of those who drowned were poor, third-class passengers. And among them was a former Belmont resident, Henry Hart, who had been a coachman for the Atkins family. He had returned to Ireland with his wife, Emila McGillicutty, an servant for the Atkins, in August 1911 after being married in St. Joseph's on Common Street. [Henry Hart's wife's name was Delia, not Emila. -dja] For reasons unknown, Hart was on the "Titanic" with an itinerary of traveling to Marion, Mass., located near New Bedford. Ahern believes Hart was likely one of the first to die as the iceberg split open the area near the bow (front of the boat) where Hart would be located below decks. "He probably never knew what hit him," said Ahern.

For Brown — who was well-known in Belmont for helping to found All Saint's Episcopal Church also on Common Street — she was on board traveling with her two younger sisters, Charlotte Appleton and Malvina Helen Cornell, who had come to attend their sister's funeral. It was Gracie — who knew Evans, who happened to be Appleton's niece — who began escorting the "unattended" women to functions and dinners. And he would direct Appleton and Cornell to the second lifeboat and then bring Evans and Brown to the final lifeboat — a collapsible — to be casted off from the "Titanic." The two women were told there was only room for one more passenger and Evans told Brown — the widow of John Murray Brown, whose father founded Little, Brown & Co., the book publishers — to take the final spot as she had children (albeit grown) waiting for her. By all reports, Brown was the final passenger to board a lifeboat that faithful night, said Ahearn. [sic] (Gracie also survived the sinking, standing on an overturned lifeboat as many around him died. He would live another decade.) [While Col. Archibald Gracie survived the sinking, he did not "live another decade." His health was affected by his ordeal on the overturned collapsible and he died December 5, 1912. He had labored throughout the summer on what became one of the first survivor accounts to be published in book form. The book, "Titanic: A Survivor's Story" was published after his death and is available in the Minuteman Library network. -dja]

After being rescued the next morning, Brown — not to be confused with Margaret "Molly" Brown from Denver who became know as the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown (played by Kathy Bates in "Titanic") — Brown traveled to Concord to be with her daughter. During that time, Brown was a celebrity, quoted in numerous Boston newspapers on her experience, much of which Ahern calls "completely made up." Six years later, Brown sold the house on Common Street — situated near Royal Road and the rail tracks — and would live in Acton in a house that is today the Sprigs Restaurant until 1928 when she died.

— Belmont, 26 March 2012
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Real Estate Transactions
80 Kendall Lane Jean C. Sullivan to Paul Ahern and Pamela Ahern, $323,900
The Boston Globe 29 March 2012
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Sacrifice at sea
Nearly 100 years ago, a friend gave the last seat in the last lifeboat
to a Belmont woman, allowing her to survive the sinking of the Titanic
Artist Willy Stoewer visualized the April 15, 1912, sinking of the Titanic after the massive ocean liner struck an iceberg. A Lexington banker and a Belmont coachman were among more than 1,500 passengers who died when the "unsinkable'' vessel went down on its maiden voyage. (United Press International/file)
In the final minutes before the Titanic plunged into icy waters, one of the ship's first-class passengers tried to shepherd two women onto a lifeboat ready to be lowered into the sea. The younger of the women, Edith Evans, held back. "You go first, you have children at home,'' she urged her friend, Caroline Lamson Brown, a 59-year-old Belmont woman returning from her sister's funeral in England, according to accounts. Brown obliged, and became the last person to step off the deck of the Titanic into a lifeboat, according to numerous accounts. (Some passengers who jumped or were washed off the sinking ship managed to get into lifeboats and survived.) Evans, 36, perished, along with about 1,500 other passengers aboard the British luxury liner in 1912. Her body was never recovered. "It was a heroic sacrifice, and as long as life lasts I shall hold her memory dear as my preserver, who preferred to die so that I might live,'' Brown said at a memorial service for Evans in New York City's Grace Chapel, according to the New York Herald. April 15 marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most infamous maritime disasters in history, when the "unsinkable'' ship sank in the North Atlantic hours after striking an iceberg near Newfoundland.

An Acton genealogist, Dennis J. Ahern, has been observing the anniversary by speaking about Brown, who also lived in Acton after she returned home. He will give a talk, "Acton's Unsinkable Mrs. Brown,'' at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Acton Memorial Library, 486 Main St. Ahern learned about Brown soon after he became a trustee of the Acton library in 1982. He heard that an earlier trustee had been a Titanic survivor, and he began to research her. Jonathan Keyes, who lives in Concord with his wife, Judy, is Brown's great-grandson. So was his cousin, Stedman Buttrick Jr., also of Concord, who died last year. The family had never talked about their relatives aboard the Titanic, Judy Keyes said. (Brown was traveling with her two sisters, who also survived.) Judy Keyes discovered her husband's link to the ship within the last five years, while doing her own genealogical research. "There was virtually no talk about it,'' she said. "I wonder if it wasn't extremely traumatic.''

Another local family lost a loved one in the disaster. Lexington resident Arthur Webster Newell and his two daughters, Madeleine and Marjorie, were returning to the United States on the Titanic after a trip to the Middle East. Newell's wife, Mary, and a third daughter, Alice, still recovering from an earlier three-month trip to Europe, had stayed at home in Lexington. Newell, chairman of the Fourth National Bank of Boston, wanted to visit biblical cities, including Bethlehem and Jerusalem. When the Titanic began to sink, Newell, 58, led his daughters to one of the lifeboats and helped them aboard. He told them they would have to row around until the ship could be repaired. He stayed behind. Newell's body was later retrieved from the sea, and his gold watch and chain were given to his family. He was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. His wife and daughters would eventually be buried beside him. Newell's wife, Mary, never remarried and died in 1957, at the age of 103. She slept with her late husband's watch under her pillow, and never allowed the Titanic to be mentioned in her house.

Another Belmont resident, Henry Hart, also perished when the Titanic sank. Hart, who was born in Ireland, worked as a coachman for a wealthy family in Belmont. He married Delia McGillicuddy, another servant in the household, in 1911 at St. Joseph's Church in Belmont, Ahern said. The newlyweds returned to Ireland shortly afterward to meet her family, and when Delia became pregnant, she stayed behind. Hart booked passage on the Titanic to return to America. Hart, 27, was a third-class passenger. Only about 25 percent of the third-class passengers survived, and few of the survivors were men. Delia gave birth to a boy, and named him after his father.

The story of Edith Evans giving up her seat to Caroline Lamson Brown traveled around the world. But it is not clear why Evans didn't also climb into the lifeboat, which was not filled to capacity, Ahern said. A new book suggests that a member of the crew, William A. Lucas, did not fill the boat with passengers because he believed one of the plugs was missing, which would allow water to seep in. Lucas initially turned away both Evans and Brown, according to Andrew Wilson's book, "Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived,'' but Evans persuaded him to allow Brown into the boat. Lucas, who survived, remained haunted by the legion of dead passengers, Wilson wrote. He committed suicide in 1921, when he was 35. Some researchers have suggested Evans might have been afraid to be lowered to the ocean's surface, Ahern said. In the cold and dark, when it wasn't yet clear that the Titanic would sink, climbing into a small lifeboat was frightening. Another account said Evans had once been told by a fortuneteller to beware water, Ahern said. "There's no real good reason why Miss Evans wasn't loaded into the boat,'' he said.

When Brown returned to Massachusetts, the local newspapers wrote repeatedly about her. "Girl Went Down to Save Another,'' read a headline in the Boston Daily Globe on April 21, 1912. "This heroic young woman gave Mrs. Brown precedence in getting into the last boat to leave the steamship, simply because she knew Mrs. Brown was a mother," the article said. "When Mrs. Brown had been dropped into the lifeboat the little craft was immediately cast off and the Massachusetts woman called to her friend to follow her, but called in vain." In her interview with the Daily Globe, Brown described the Titanic's final minutes. "We had not been away from the Titanic's side more than 15 minutes," she said, "when the end came for the steamship. From the way she sank I feel positive she was practically broken in two. Her bow went under first and she seemed to settle. Then we heard the most awful roaring and rumbling that seemed as if it must be heard over the ocean for miles. "Next the stern of the once-magnificent vessel reared high in the air and seemed to stand upright in the water for some time before it went down with a long slanting plunge. Dark as it was at the time, we were near enough to see every feature of the ending of the great vessel."

Brown stayed with her daughter in Concord, and then with her son in Acton as she recovered. Nine days after the accident, her daughter told the Concord Enterprise newspaper that Brown "seemed to have recovered somewhat from the terrible shock, but was still very tired, and her pale face told the sufferings which she had undergone.'' Brown helped found All Saints Church in Belmont, Ahern said, but eventually sold her home in town and moved to her farm in Acton. She died in 1928, at the age of 75, and is buried with her family in Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Belmont woman last to leave Titanic on lifeboat
Caroline Lamson Brown of Belmont was returning home from her sister's funeral in England and was the last person to step off the deck of the Titanic into a lifeboat. She was traveling with her other two sisters and an unmarried friend, Edith Evans, who told Brown to take the lifeboat's last available seat because she had children. Evans died when the ship went down.
Arthur Webster Newell of Lexington was returning from traveling in the Middle East with his two daughters. They survived the sinking of the Titanic, but he did not. His watch was recovered and his wife, who had not been on the voyage, slept with it beneath her pillow every night. She would not allow any mention of the Titanic in her home.
A boatload of Titanic survivors pulled alongside the liner Carpathia, April 15, 1912.
Ahern (standing) addressed a group at the Westford Museum and Historical Society.
The Boston Globe 5 April 2012
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The Acton Memorial Library will present "Acton's Unsinkable Mrs. Brown: Titanic Survivor Carolyn [sic] Lamson Brown" on Tuesday, April 10, 7 p.m. Local historian and Acton Memorial Library trustee Dennis Ahern will tell the story of Caroline Lamson Brown, and how she came to be the last person to step off the deck of the Titanic into a lifeboat. The program is sponsored by the Acton Memorial Library Foundation.
Acton Beacon 5 April 2012
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Easter Sunday splendor
From left, Drew Diamantopoulos, his cousins, siblings Zack, Carleigh, and Lindsey Ahern, and sister, Lily Diamantopoulos, all of Lowell, arrive for Easter Sunday Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Lowell.
The Lowell Sun 9 April 2012
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Providence Day AD to resign
After just one year as the athletic director at Providence Day School, David Ahern will step down at the end of the school year. Ahern will be leaving at the end of his contract in June to become the national marketing director at Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company. Ahern said he wasn't looking for a new opportunity but couldn't pass this one up when it was presented to him. "I love it here at Providence Day, but at this time in my life you look at things," he said. "I'll probably never get this opportunity again so I've got to give this a shot."

Ahern, 50, whose youngest son, Patrick, is a sophomore on the junior varsity lacrosse team at Providence Day, said he would be staying in Charlotte and wants to stay involved with the school as a part of the booster club or the chain crew at football games. "I can be a parent now and watch my kid play," Ahern said. "I'll always be a Charger." Ahern took over the position last July when Barbara Fricke retired after 19 years as athletic director. Ahern came to Providence Day from St. Andrews School in Boca Raton, Fla., with 26 years of athletic director experience. He had also coached basketball, football, lacrosse and golf. "In the short period of time that David has been part of our community he has made significant contributions to our overall athletic program," Providence Day Director of Communications Jennifer Howe said in an email. "We wish David and his family the best in this new and exciting endeavor."

Under Ahern, Providence Day won its first football state championship in 25 years. The Chargers also won state championships in cross country, girls' tennis and girls' basketball this year. "I'm proud of being part of (Providence Day) for one year," said Ahern. "It has been great."

South Charlotte News 10 April 2012
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Seafood lovers swamp suppliers
Debbie's Seafood owner Debbie Ahern restocks fresh
fish supplies after an extremely busy Easter period.
MACKAY seafood suppliers were run off their feet over the Easter break. Residents favoured prawns over fish this year. Debbie's Seafood second-in-charge Mark Ahern said they were open over the Easter weekend except for Easter Monday. "We closed on Easter Monday to have a break, clean up and give the staff a rest," Mr Ahern said. "It's the busiest we've been since opening seven years ago. "We think we were 50% up this year compared to last year's sales. "We were busy since the week before Easter."

Mr Ahern said this year's sales were unusual. "This year was funny," he said. "Usually fish sales double but we sold an unbelievable amount of prawns. "Banana prawns were the most popular. "For fish, local barramundi and king salmon were the favourites." He said their supplies had been refreshed since the frenzy. "We got some stock yesterday (Tuesday)," Mr Ahern said. "Reef boats worked over Easter and the trawler will be back in the morning (today). "We're back on our feet as of today (Tuesday)."

Mr Ahern said this year's sales have prepared them for what to expect next year. "There's been rain at the right time suiting the season so fish and prawns have been in nice supply," he said. "We had rain at right time too." He said people were turning to seafood as a healthy alternative. "We're always busier leading up to public holidays as people like to have barbecue with friends and family," Mr Ahern said. "We'd like to thank the locals that supported us over Easter too."

Daily Mercury 12 April 2012
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Woman with Acton ties survived Titanic's sinking
By Christine Kenney
Acton, Mass.—Caroline Lamson Brown's life changed forever on April 14, 1912, when the luxury passenger liner, the Titanic, struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic ocean floor early in the morning of April 15. A subsequent report of the U.S. Senate's Committee on Commerce states that in all, 1,517 of the recorded 2,223 passengers and crew aboard the ship died in the sinking. Brown would be among those fortunate 706 recorded as saved.

Brown, the 59-year-old widow of John Murray Brown of Little, Brown, Publishing Co., was one of the very last people to step onto a lifeboat at the sinking. She was a first-class passenger. Brown lived in a large estate on the Belmont and Watertown line at present day 21 Common St., but she later moved to a farm in Acton. She was an active member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Belmont, and she was an Acton Library Trustee from 1918 to 1928, when she died at age 75.

According to [Dennis] Ahern, a listing of books purchased at the Acton library during Brown's term showed not one book about the Titanic was purchased for the library. Jonathan Keyes, a Concord resident, is Brown's great-grandson, although he only learned Brown was on the Titanic five years ago when his wife Judy was conducting family research. Her experience was never talked about, which Keyes suspects is related to the trauma of the event. "Nobody was hiding anything. It was just that the connection was not mentioned," Jonathan said. While Judy is the one interested in genealogy, Jonathan said learning about his connection did make him more interested in the ship's historic sinking. "I guess it's more interesting, indeed, when you think of somebody of a survivor of something so horrible," Jonathan said.

Brown's Titanic journey
Dennis Ahern, former vice president of the Arlington Historical Society and currently an Acton Memorial Library trustee, gave a presentation at the Belmont Public Library on March 25, detailing the events of the infamous tragedy. He has also had a longtime passion for the subject, and gave a presentation on Lamson's role recently at the Acton Memorial Library. According to Ahern, the Titanic was believed to be an unsinkable ship due to its waterproof compartments, but when the ship struck the iceberg, the compartments proved to be insufficient in height. "It's like filling an ice cube tray," Ahern said. In an effort to reduce the flooding, crewman closed watertight doors, which according to Ahern aggravated the problem further. If the crew had allowed the Titanic to fill with water on an even keel, Ahern said, the outcome might have been different.

"It was very difficult to coax everybody into the first lifeboats that had been launched," Ahern said. "Third-class passengers probably had the least hope of getting onto a lifeboat." Some first-class passengers wanted to bring their luggage onto the 16 lifeboats and four collapsible boats.

Brown had attended the funeral of one of her six sisters in England. She and two of her sisters boarded the Titanic in Southampton, England to come home to America. She was also accompanied by her sister's niece by marriage, Edith Evans, who is believed to have told Brown to take the last available "Collapsible D" lifeboat seat. Evans, 38, pushed Brown to go because she had children while Evans did not, Ahern said. "Miss Evans went to the other side looking for the other collapsible being launched," Ahern said. But no collapsible was available, leading Evans to her death.

In her own words
Brown, who had become separated from her two sisters during the commotion, reunited with them later. According to a newsletter released by the Belmont Historical Society in 1987, Brown found safety on the Carpathia, a ship that rescued many of the survivors. The historical society newsletter includes an excerpt from a Boston American newspaper from April 19, 1912, in which Brown recollected her experience. Ahern said the survivors' recollections were largely false due to the shock most experienced. In the article, Brown spoke about her experience on the lifeboat. The article recalls her words this way:

"We did not despair while floating among all those cakes of ice. We knew that the wireless operator on the Titanic had sent out calls for help and we felt that they would be picked up by someone."

Caroline Lamson Brown, who had ties to Acton,
survived the sinking of the Titanic.
About Caroline Lamson Brown, Titanic survivor:
  • Born on July 8, 1852 in New York City
  • Daughter of Charles Lamson and Elizabeth R. Marshall
  • Married John Murray Brown, who died in 1908
  • Boarded the Titanic at Southhampton, England when she was 59
  • Died on June 26, 1928 when she was 75 at Emerson Hospital in Concord
  • She had six children
Source: Belmont Historical Society
Acton Beacon 12 April 2012
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Two Belmont residents fated by the Titanic
By Christine Kenney
Belmont, Mass.—Two Belmont residents' lives changed forever on April 14, 1912, when the Titanic struck an iceberg and later sunk to the bottom of the North Atlantic ocean floor, killing more 1,517 people and traumatizing the 706 who were lucky enough to survive. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the tragedy at sea.

Caroline Lamson Brown, the 59-year-old widow of John Murray Brown of Little, Brown, Publishing Co., was one of the very last people to step onto a lifeboat before the Titanic sunk to its doom. She was a first-class passenger. Henry Hart, a 27-year-old father-to-be and third-class passenger, did not survive. It is believed he was asleep in a room at the starboard of the ship, on the E deck near the post office, when his room flooded. Dennis Ahern, former vice president of the Arlington Historical Society and currently an Acton Memorial Library trustee, gave a presentation at the Belmont Public Library on March 25, detailing the events of the infamous tragedy. According to Ahern, the Titanic was believed to be an unsinkable ship due to its waterproof compartments, but when the ship struck the iceberg, the compartments proved to be insufficient in height. "It's like filling an ice cube tray," Ahern said. In an effort to reduce the flooding, crewman closed watertight doors, which according to Ahern aggravated the problem further. If the crew had allowed the Titanic to fill with water on an even keel, Ahern said, the outcome may have been different. "It was very difficult to coax everybody into the first lifeboats that had been launched," Ahern said. "Third-class passengers probably had the least hope of getting onto a lifeboat." Some first-class passengers wanted to bring their luggage onto the 16 lifeboats and four collapsible boats.

"Henry Hart probably never had a chance or even knew what happened to him," Ahern said. According to Phil Hughes, president of the Belmont Historical Society, Hart was originally from Ballisdore, Ireland. Ahern said Hart worked as a coachman for the Atkins family in Belmont until about 1911, when Hart and his wife Delia McGillicuddy went to Ireland. Resident Anne Allen lives on the Atkins farm property on Concord Avenue. She is a direct descendent of the wealthy family. She recalls her mother, Katherine, talking briefly about Hart, who Allen said moved to Ireland so Delia could be with her family. "Delia became pregnant, and at some point Henry made the decision to come back to America," Ahern said. Hart's decision led him onto the Titanic at Queenstown, Ireland. Ahern does not believe Hart was heading back to Belmont. Delia did not accompany him on his trip.

Caroline Lamson Brown
Brown had attended the funeral of one of her six sisters in England. She and two of her sisters boarded the Titanic in Southampton, England to come home to America. She was also accompanied by her sister's niece by marriage, Edith Evans, who is believed to have told Brown to take the last available "Collapsible D" lifeboat seat. Evans, 38, pushed Brown to go because she had children while Evans did not, Ahern said. "Miss Evans went to the other side looking for the other collapsible being launched," Ahern said. But no collapsible was available, leading Evans to her death. Brown, who had become separated from her two sisters during the commotion, reunited with them later. According to a newsletter released by the Belmont Historical Society in 1987, Brown found safety on the Carpathia, a ship which rescued many of the survivors. The historical society newsletter includes an excerpt from a Boston American newspaper from April 19, 1912, in which Brown recollected her experience. Ahern said the survivors' recollections were largely false due to the shock most experienced. In the article, Brown spoke about her experience on the lifeboat. "We did not despair while floating among all those cakes of ice. We knew that the wireless operator on the Titanic had sent out calls for help and we felt that they would be picked up by someone," Brown said, according to the newsletter.

Jonathan Keyes, a Concord resident, is Brown's great-grandson, although he only learned Brown was on the Titanic five years ago when his wife Judy was conducting family research. Her experience was never talked about, which Keyes suspects is related to the trauma of the event. "Nobody was hiding anything. It was just that the connection was not mentioned," Jonathan said. While Judy is the one interested in genealogy, Jonathan said learning about his connection did make him more interested in the ship's historic sinking. "I guess it's more interesting, indeed, when you think of somebody of a survivor of something so horrible," Jonathan said.

Brown lived in a large estate on the Belmont and Watertown line at present day 21 Common Street, but she later moved to a farm in Acton. She was an active member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Belmont, and she was an Acton Library Trustee from 1918 to 1928. According to Ahern, a listing of books purchased at the Acton library during Brown's term showed not one book about the Titanic was purchased for the library. In 1928, Brown, 75, died of pancreatic cancer at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Ahern said.

About the Belmont passengers
Caroline Lamson Brown
  • Born on July 8, 1852 in New York City
  • Daughter of Charles Lamson and Elizabeth R. Marshall
  • Married John Murray Brown, who died in 1908
  • Boarded the Titanic at Southhampton, England when she was 59
  • Died on June 26, 1928 when she was 75 at Emerson Hospital in Concord
  • She had six children

Henry Hart

  • Worked for the Atkins family in Belmont before leaving for Ireland in 1911
  • Married Delia McGillicutty at St. Joseph's Church in Belmont in July 1911
  • Boarded the Titanic at Queenstown, Ireland without his pregnant wife
  • Believed to be among the first deaths on the ship
Belmont Citizen-Herald 12 April 2012
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With landmark ice cream stand, exec's dream becomes a reality:
Flavors are wild, treats homemade, and sales are good
Patrons lined up (left) at DownRiver. Amy Foster (right) of Hamilton enjoyed a treat with her son Henry, 5, and their dog, Max. Kassie Jernegan (top) scooped ice cream at DownRiver Ice Cream in Essex. Below, Grace Durey, 6, (left) and Evelyn Durey, 4, of Essex enjoyed their ice cream on chairs in back of the shop.
The word is out. Like a silent code understood by dedicated ice cream fans everywhere, the long, persistent, yet patient lines outside DownRiver Ice Cream, located on Route 133 at the Essex-Ipswich line, transmit a strong but silent message to those driving or bicycling by. S-t-o-p h . . .e . . .r . . . e.

Opened in May 2009, the homemade ice cream store slid open its two screened windows for business for the fourth season beginning March 29. Already off to a busy start — given the unusually warm spring weather and proximity to such popular places as Crane Beach, Castle Hill, and Russell Orchards — DownRiver's growing reputation just will not melt away. The business is a dream come true for Amy Ahearn, an Essex resident and former human resources executive, who co-owns the store with her husband, Joe, a headhunter for high-tech companies. "I'd been in high tech, making the commute into Boston, and just had it," Amy Ahearn said. "I had in mind a retirement plan to one d ay open an ice cream store." Not just any retirement whim, her dream of selling homemade ice cream dates back to 1976, when she bought some from a woman in Moscow's Red Square made with raw milk. "I can still remember the taste of it," said Ahearn, who was a Russian major in college. "I told the woman, 'I would love to do that.' She said to me, 'You will.' "

Fast forward to 2008 and a rough economy. A little red, ramshackle lobster shack that once stood on the site went up for sale. Meanwhile, one of Amy's sons, Colin, had written a business plan for a new venture while he was a student at Oberlin College. His research showed that ice cream sales are somewhat recession-proof. "I think it harks back to simpler times and simple pleasures, when, even if money was tight, a family would pile into the car for a family outing to get ice cream," Ahearn said. "It was five years earlier than the plan, but we decided let's go and buy it, not knowing, among many other things, that there was no water source," she said. It took more than a year to get it all off the ground, working with planning boards and boards of health in Ipswich and Essex. The couple's hard work and risk-taking paid off. Last season, more than 2,500 customers were served from late March through mid-October. Business is growing 15 to 20 percent each year since opening, said Amy Ahearn, and plans are underway for a second DownRiver in Rowley.

The ice cream store is a family affair. Most mornings before the store opens, Amy and her oldest son, Bennett, 26, make fresh batches of the creamy homemade ice cream using a custom-made mix from Bliss Brothers in Attleboro. Hannah, Colin's twin sister, often helps at the window. "Any ice cream you eat in my store is less than two to three weeks from the cow," Ahearn said. "It's not organic, but it's as close to 'all natural' as you can get." Large helpings of the creamy stuff, ranging from one scoop ($3.50) to three scoops ($4.75), are served in either paper cups or imported Frima Danish waffle cones. "There's 2½ inches across the top, so the ice cream fills the cone," Ahearn explains, "which makes for an entirely different experience than the typical sugar cone, which is 1 5/8 inches across, so ice cream just sits on top. "And guess what? Our ice cream melts. Have you ever noticed how sometimes ice cream [from a large manufacturer] just sits there?" Laughing at herself, she asked, "Can you tell I'm entirely obsessed by what I do?" Locals and visitors alike love the distinctive names in the 30 flavors that reflect the Cape Ann region, such as Greenhead (bright green mint with over-sized chocolate chips), Mill River Mix (a smooth chocolate ice cream with a river of chewy caramel), and, Ahearn's favorite, Snail Trail (a crisp vanilla with big chocolate chips and salty peanut butter swirls). Ahearn also makes sorbet and frozen yogurt. The raspberry and strawberry flavors are made using fruit picked fresh in season straight from the raised garden beds on the side of the store. There is also sugar-free ice cream. Though this is not made in the store, customer Leslie Dere from Gloucester, who has type 2 diabetes, says the sugar-free tastes "just as good as any of the other flavors" and suggests her favorite, the sugar-free caramel pecan. For their four-legged fans, DownRiver lists Rosie's Treat (vanilla ice cream topped with a dog biscuit for $2) "because our dogs like ice cream more than we do," Ahearn said. Flavors are also named in honor of three important people in Ahearn's life: Olivia's Chocolate Dream, for her mother-in-law, who provided financial support, but passed away their first year of business; Conrad's Rum Raisin, for her Polish hairdresser, who complained "there's never enough raisins in this country's rum raisin ice cream"; and Bobby's Pistachio, for her banker at Cape Ann Savings Bank in Gloucester.

Relaxing out back with his cone and some friends in colorful Adirondack chairs, Bryn Clark, who owns Harmony Center for Health & Wellness in Beverly, said he regularly surveys his patients who come from a 25-mile radius about their favorite ice cream place because "it's such a phenomenon." "Everybody, every town, has their favorite homemade ice cream place," Clark said. "Some patients swear by Richardson's, but DownRiver keeps getting the votes. They've got a reputation, and they've gotten it fast." Clark's favorite flavor? Black Moose (dark chocolate custard with walnuts). "I only have six ice cream cones a year, because I don't do sugar," he said, licking away the remaining evidence.

Last year, to show its appreciation of customers, DownRiver served free small cones. This year, on Tuesday, Ahearn said, there will be another giveaway "until we run out." Get ready to stand in line.

The Boston Globe 29 April 2012
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John Ahern resigns from Black Hawk College Board of Trustees
John Ahern of Silvis has submitted his resignation from the Black Hawk College Board of Trustees for health reasons. The resignation was effective immediately. Ahern was first elected to the board in 1995. He was re-elected in 2001 and 2007. Trustee terms are six years. During his tenure, he has served as the board's representative to the Black Hawk College Quad Cities Foundation and the Black Hawk College East Foundation. Most recently he has served on the board's audit committee. Ahern received the 2004 Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Trustee Leadership Award for the Central Region. He was nominated by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) after receiving the Ray Hartstein Trustee Achievement Award from the ICCTA in 2003. He also is a two-time recipient of the ICCTA's Trustee Education Award. This award is granted only to trustees who have participated in 15 or more ICCTA-sponsored seminars during their tenure as community college trustees. Ahern's current term expires in April 2013. The college board will meet soon to discuss his resignation and plans to fill the position.
Star Courier 17 May 2012
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Governor Quinn honors Illinois Silver Star recipients on Armed Services Day
Governor Pat Quinn joined Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Illinois National Guard Maj. General William Enyart to honor Illinois National Guardsmen Sgt. First Class Ryan Ahern of Glen Ellyn and Capt. Tom Bozzay of Wheaton with Silver Stars for valor. Gen. Dempsey presented the awards to Ahern and Bozzay for their heroic actions in Afghanistan in December 2009 while protecting a French military unit. "As we honor our military heroes on Armed Services Day, we must never forget their sacrifices," Governor Quinn said. "Sgt. First Class Ahern and Capt. Bozzay are genuine heroes and a shining example of Illinois' best."

Ahern and Bozzay are both assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group in Chicago. While deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and while under attack from a large enemy force, Bozzay moved under fire to provide medical care to five unit members who were seriously injured. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, Bozzay repeatedly used his body to shield wounded comrades from incoming fire. Ahern was unconscious when the unit received fire, which wounded him and four others. After regaining consciousness from the blast, Ahern identified and fired at the enemy long enough to allow other members of the unit to reinforce their positions. "The actions of Capt. Bozzay and Sgt. 1st Class Ahern prove they are not only heroes, but they are true protectors of this country," said Enyart. "They were selfless and fearless without hesitating to simply do their job. They are an inspiration to me and our fellow Illinois National Guardsmen." The Silver Star is the third-highest military decoration that can be awarded to any branch of the United States Military. . . . 

Examiner 20 May 2012
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A Memorial Day tribute to America's wounded heroes — and the heroic medics
On New Year's Eve 2010, Lt. Larkin O'Hern was leading an infantry platoon of the 101st Airborne Division, clearing a Taliban compound in southern Afghanistan when a cache of explosives detonated. The blast blew off O'Hern's left leg completely and shredded his right leg and arm. As darkness fell over the village of Howz-e-Madad, the only question appeared to be whether O'Hern — bleeding profusely — would be the final U.S. death in Afghanistan of 2010, or the first of 2011. In fact, O'Hern would survive — a tribute to the advances in American military medicine, to the skill of medics and medevac teams, and to his own fortitude. When I met him last May, the triple amputee had just stood up for the first time on prosthetic limbs after more than four months of surgeries at Brooke Army Medical Center and grueling rehabilitation at the Center for the Intrepid.

At the time, the West Point graduate had set a goal of flying to Fort Campbell, Ky., to greet his returning battalion — standing. Twelve months later, I visited with O'Hern again. He was walking — with a cane, but nonetheless walking, and carrying a backpack. Did he make it to Fort Campbell? "I was able to stand out on the flight line, see everybody come down off the aircraft and be one of the first people to welcome them home." For the returning soldiers, the homecoming was jubilant. For O'Hern and his wife, Rachel, their moment of joy sharing the return of this band of brothers was tempered by the weight of a lifetime of challenges ahead. "There's an appearance that homecoming day is like euphoria for everybody else. The world is exactly back the way it was a year ago, and everything is back on its axis." The O'Herns were left to wonder: "So when does this happen for us? When does the world get right?"

O'Hern went back a month later for the brigade memorial and the battalion ball. "That second trip to Fort Campbell allowed us to close out kind of on our own terms. I had both my legs by then. I was able to walk through the receiving line at the battalion ball. We went out and had a barbecue with my platoon." In July, O'Hern received a promotion — he's now Capt. O'Hern. He completed occupational therapy rehab in October and started driving in January, which freed up time for Rachel, who is in her second year working on a masters degree in social work from the University of Southern California's Virtual Academic Center and interning with Operation Homefront, a nonprofit that provides assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors.

In March, O'Hern returned to work, serving on the staff of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV, commander of U.S. Army North. Building on an outreach program begun by his predecessor, Caldwell seeks out wounded warriors who want to continue serving and can contribute to the Army's mission. "He still has a long way to go," Caldwell says of O'Hern, "but the adversity he's already overcome — he's a true inspiration." O'Hern has put in a request to transfer from infantry to Functional Area 59 — strategic plans and policy. And he's applied for the Army Congressional Fellowship, which would take him to Washington. He'll find out about the fellowship in September. "I'd like to get rid of the cane eventually. If not, it's not the end of the world. Still on my list, I'd like to try running," says the former high school track star. "I don't know if it's going to happen or not, if that's going to be possible, but I don't want to leave before I try."

A year ago, O'Hern could barely stand. Last month, he rode 59 miles on his handcycle in the Ride 2 Recovery to benefit rehabilitation programs for wounded warriors. No one should be surprised if, a year from now, he's running.

Houston Chronicle 28 May 2012
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Fallout from fire affects Flat Branch
Aquatic life in Flat Branch creek took another hit Sunday morning when as much as 2 million gallons of water used to extinguish a massive apartment fire drained into the creek. Thousands of fish died last month after the Columbia Fire Department used more than a million gallons of water to extinguish a blaze that destroyed the Loop 70 Plaza strip mall at Garth Avenue and Business Loop 70. Pollutants from that fire included petroleum products and chemicals that were suspected of causing the fish kill. Battalion Chief Steve Sapp of the Columbia Fire Department this morning cited data from the Columbia Water and Light Department that an estimated 2 million or more gallons of water were used to control and extinguish the Sunday morning fire that burned the Brookside Downtown apartment complex at College and Walnut.

Rebecca O'Hearn, a Department of Conservation resource scientist in Columbia, said the creek already was showing signs of recovery from the Loop Plaza fire-dousing effort. "We don't know exactly how it's going to impact the creek, other than it might hinder the recovery from that first strip mall fire," she said. O'Hearn had seen larger minnows, small sunfish and small crayfish in some areas of Flat Branch creek, "so there was some recovery." She had been planning to sample fish and other aquatic life again before Sunday's fire. "Unfortunately, this apartment fire threw a wrench in that," she said. O'Hearn said she surveyed the creek on Monday and saw small fish at the water's edge "kind of gasping for air at the surface." The next day, only a few fish were showing that behavior. "I can't definitely say those small fish were killed overnight," she said. Low levels of dissolved oxygen were causing distress for the fish. The Conservation Department and the Department of Natural Resources are both monitoring the creek, said O'Hearn, the fish kill program coordinator for the Conservation Department.

Columbia public works crews are not involved in the creek monitoring, spokeswoman Jill Stedem said. She said city staff put straw bales around storm drains the morning of the fire. Sapp said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Columbia Daily Tribune 31 May 2012
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Scout seeks site to honor shooting victims
Shooting victims would be honored with garden away from town's circle
COPLEY TWP: The idea was simple. Plant a memorial garden to remember the seven victims of a shooting rampage last August. But Eagle Scout candidate Brendan Ahern is encountering some difficulty finalizing his plans. Brendan's original plan was to plant the garden in the Copley Circle so the entire community can see it. Township leaders say they like the idea. It's the location that troubles them. Out of respect for the victims and their families, township trustees say they have turned down several requests to place memorials on the circle. They have allowed just one — a bench inscribed with the victims' names.

Trustees President Helen Humphrys said part of Ahern's plan that concerns her is planting bushes that when fully grown would reach a height of 8 feet. She said this would affect Copley Circle's open character. "Our policy on the circle is it is a place for joyous occasions," she said. Humphrys said Ahern's proposal includes a Spring Snow crabapple tree behind the bench, a pair of plant beds, one on either side of the bench, a pair of solar lights and memorial stones dedicated to the seven victims of the Aug. 7 shooting. Michael Hance, 51, went on a shooting spree in a Copley Township neighborhood. He shot his girlfriend, Rebecca Dieter, 49, who survived. He killed his neighbors, Russell Johnson, 67; Johnson's wife, Gudrun, 64; their son, Bryan Johnson, 44, and his daughter, Autumn Johnson, 16; her friend, Amelia Shambaugh, 16; and his girlfriend's brother, Craig Dieter, 51, and Dieter's son, Scott, 11. A Copley police officer shot and killed Hance.

Humphrys said a better site might be near the skating pond in Copley Community Park. She suggested a site on the west side of the skating pond in the Copley Community Park. Ahern, 16, a Life Scout with local Boy Scout Troop 382, said he is open to an alternative site. "The project should take a day at most," said Ahern. Troop members would provide the labor for the project estimated to cost $915.95. He received an offer of financial support for part of the project from Mike Kaplan, a former mayor of Peninsula who is running as a Democrat for state representative in the 38th District. Ahern is scheduled to meet again with trustees at 5 p.m. Wednesday prior to a board meeting with Copley's Zoning Board of Appeals and Zoning Commission. Ahern is slated to visit the new site with township Service Director Mark Mitchell. "I'd have to go out there and look at it," the teen said.

Akron Beacon Journal 7 June 2012
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Comedy night
Comedian Kenny Ahern will perform at 7 p.m. June 19 at the Two Harbors Public Library and June 20 at the Silver Bay Public Library. Ahern presents a comedy act with props, sound, and acting in a show that is appropriate for ages. Ahern has toured the world the past 25 years and has been featured on numerous television and radio shows. For more information about Ahern, visit Admission to the event is free thanks to sponsorship by the Arrowhead Library System Kids Stuff program and the local libraries.
Lake County News-Chronicle 8 June 2012
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Southlake doctor agrees to stop prescribing his own medicine
A Southlake doctor who bought "concerning" quantities of medications for his own use, including hydrocodone, steroids and a pregnancy hormone, has agreed to stop serving as a physician for himself for three years, according to Texas Medical Board documents. Dr. Charles John O'Hearn, who is listed as practicing on Southlake Boulevard, was also "angry and upset" when Drug Enforcement Administration investigators produced a warrant and searched his office, the board said. A phone number associated with O'Hearn was answered by a man who refused to confirm whether he was the physician. The man said he had no comment "at this time" and hung up.

A board order said that O'Hearn, listed as age 50, owned two emergency clinics from August 2009 until April 2010. During that time, he bought hydrocodone, anabolic steroids and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), as well as other medications that are not usually associated with emergency care, board documents say. O'Hearn used testosterone and HCG as part of his ongoing age-management treatment, board documents say. The Food and Drug Administration has approved HCG for treatment of female infertility and other medical conditions but has warned companies to stop marketing the drug for weight loss, saying such use is illegal. O'Hearn also took hydrocodone for documented injuries but for which no painkillers had been prescribed by another doctor, the board documents said.

In accusations in related administrative court documents, the board said O'Hearn had "repeatedly engaged in unprofessional conduct in the workplace by exhibiting hostility and engaged in angry outbursts toward patients and staff that could have impacted patient care." While the outbursts are not mentioned in the later order, the board required that O'Hearn be evaluated by a psychiatrist for anger issues, mental status, social history and background and other matters. The board also ordered him to no longer prescribe or dispense to himself controlled substances or dangerous drugs. O'Hearn had been disciplined in November for prescribing medications, including diet pills and anxiety medication, to five patients he knew without keeping adequate medical records or performing proper examinations, according to board documents. O'Hearn has owned clinical labs in Southlake and Coppell, though federal health officials took action against him to revoke a certificate needed to operate them, according to federal documents.

Star-Telegram 19 June 2012
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Alumnus' gift to Cheverus pays forward his success
PORTLAND—As the first recipient of the Ahern Scholarship for Cheverus High School graduates, Tom Yates feels the weight of high expectations. And he's OK with it. Leonard F. Ahern was a Cheverus alumnus and a longtime teacher who left $1 million to the private high school when he died in June 2008 at the age of 89. The gift was the second-largest in the school's history. It established a $40,000 annual scholarship to be awarded to a deserving senior who demonstrates Cheverus' principles of intellectual competence, personal growth, spiritual development, commitment to justice and community leadership.

Though Yates never met Ahern, the 18-year-old scholar and athlete aspires to be like his unexpected benefactor. "Mr. Ahern truly represents what a Cheverian should be: loving, caring, concerned about others," said Yates, who lives in West Baldwin. "This scholarship represents how much I've grown over my four years at Cheverus and how I'm developing as a leader and how much I have to contribute in the future." Yates, who will graduate in June, plans to use the scholarship to study business management and psychology at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass. The money will be awarded in $10,000 increments over four years. With a financial aid package provided by the college, his annual tuition, room and board of nearly $46,000 will be paid in full. "I'm pretty much set," Yates said. "Financially, the Ahern Scholarship took a lot of pressure off." Yates is an honor roll student, a senior class officer and a co-president of the student council at Cheverus, a Jesuit Catholic college-preparatory school for boys and girls. He's also an Eagle Scout, a jazz trumpet player, a member of the school's soccer, track and lacrosse teams, and a coach and third-degree black belt in tae kwon do. He started the Cheverus International Club, joined the Spanish and Haiti Solidarity clubs and was inducted into the National Honor Society. He volunteers regularly in a soup kitchen and works part time at a sushi restaurant. "In my mind, Tom Yates' name resonates with maturity and leadership," said Valerie Webster, a Cheverus guidance counselor. "He is an extraordinarily energetic young man with many interests and talents." Still, Yates was shocked to learn that he had won the scholarship. "The other six people who were nominated were top students," he said.

Yates is the son of Kenneth Yates, a small-business owner, and Yeong-Rae An, a home health aide who was an accountant in her native Korea. Yates speaks fluent Korean and attends the Rainbow United Methodist Church on Washington Avenue in Portland, which serves the small but tightly knit Korean community in southern Maine. "My Korean heritage is very important to me," Yates said, noting that respect for elders and others is emphasized in the Korean community, and friends are treated like family. Education is important to both of his parents, Yates said. His pending graduation from Cheverus will help ease his father's regret at turning down an opportunity to attend the private school when he was a teenager. Yates said he has chosen to study business largely because he shares his parents' aptitudes for the field.

It's fitting that a business major is the first recipient of the Ahern Scholarship, said Steven Ahern, Leonard's nephew. "My uncle was a financial wizard," said Ahern, who lives in Windham. "He was very frugal, and he learned to invest his money well. He pretty much taught himself." Leonard Ahern was born on Prince Edward Island and moved to Portland with his family when he was about 10. His father, Michael, came to work on the railroad but missed his livelihood as a fisherman back home. When his mother, Elizabeth, refused to return to Prince Edward Island, the couple separated, and Michael Ahern went back to Canada alone. Elizabeth Ahern stayed in Portland with her five children and worked in restaurants as a waitress and cook. Later, she ran her own restaurants in Portland, Ogunquit and Wells. "My uncle had a deep love and respect for his mother," Steven Ahern said. "That's why he dedicated the scholarship to her." After graduating from Cheverus in 1940, Ahern served in the Army during World War II, which is when he became a U.S. citizen, his nephew said. Afterward, he earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Maine and a master's degree from George Washington University. He worked briefly as a translator for the U.S. government in France and, after settling in Washington, D.C., taught French and Spanish for decades at a private school in Alexandria, Va. He also tutored high school and college students and worked as a waiter at French restaurants that catered to employees of and visitors to the French Embassy.

Leonard Ahern never married or had children. His ashes were interred in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington in a moving service that his nephew attended. In establishing a scholarship at Cheverus, Leonard Ahern ensured that his love of learning would live on. "He dedicated his life to education," Steven Ahern said. "He enjoyed going to Cheverus. I think some of the Jesuits who taught him really motivated him to learn."

Portland Press Herald 21 June 2012
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WILMINGTON—Cyclist Tim Ahearn cruised up New York state's fifth highest mountain to take first place in the Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race on Saturday, June 16. The 37-year-old from Woodstock, Conn. finished the 11-mile course that climbs more than 3,500 feet up Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway in 52 minutes and 45 seconds. The trip was Ahearn's first time up the 4,867-foot mountain. "I was told some of the steepest stuff was at the beginning but that doesn't seem true, at least the way I felt it," he said. "It seemed like the steepest stuff was in the middle. I've done Mount Washington and this isn't anywhere near as tough as that, but I was surprised a little bit toward the end that it was as tough as it was really." Ahearn said his strategy was not to overexert himself during the race at any particular point. "I tried to just do a steady effort as opposed to a lot of times you just go off really fast and then you die at the end," he said. "I just tried to be a little steadier throughout. That's how I approached it. It's a beautiful climb. I actually tried to look around when I was going up. I've never been up here. It's beautiful."
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A total of 273 people finished the race.
Lake Placid News 22 June 2012
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WARREN—A three-vehicle on June 20, left one driver with a leg injury and one of the three vehicles rendered inoperable. According to Township Police, Lisa Ahern, 51, of Bridgewater was the driver of a vehicle traveling in the area of Promenade Boulevard and Washington Valley Road at about 9:10 a.m. that crashed into the rear of a vehicle driven by Yasmin Rivera, 24, of Bound Brook, which was pushed into the rear of a vehicle driven by Ingrid C. Herrera, 42, of Somerset. Herrera was taken to Somerset Medical Center with a leg injury. Ahern's vehicle was towed by Bardy's. The others were driven from the scene. Police issued no summonses in the incident.
The Messenger-Gazette 23 June 2012
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Rocky Horror shadow-cast says goodbye
With Harvard Square's longtime Rocky outpost closing, Full Body Cast
will have to find a new home to do the Time Warp again.
Harvard Square's alt-goth scene took a major hit last week when Ryan Noonan, a spokesman for the Harvard Square AMC theater, announced via an e-mail that the cinema would close its doors on July 8. The theater has hosted weekly Saturday-night screenings of Richard O'Brien and Jim Sharman's cult film The Rocky Horror Picture Show for 28 years. Each showing is fronted by the Full Body Cast, a shadow-cast of live actors who mimic the on-screen antics of Dr. Frank N. Furter and the rest of the film's campy Transylvanians. Alex Savitzky, director of the Full Body Cast, hopes to soon find a new home for what he calls his "second family." "I joined the show back in 1994, met my wife there, and became director in 2000," says Savitzky. "I've met my best friends through this group, gotten almost every job I've ever had through contacts in the cast, and had a blast doing it."

Part of the Harvard AMC's charm was its small size and its single aisle, which allowed the actors to get up close and personal with the audience throughout the show. Those among us who grew up attending the Harvard AMC shadow-cast will miss the cozy feel that the venue provided, and more than that, the cast will miss the home they grew up in.

Denny Ahern, who's been the Full Body Cast's Riff Raff for just shy of 11 years, was shocked by the theater's closing. "I actually ended up taking the day off work because of it. One of the girls on the cast said this was the most heartbreaking thing she's experienced after the death of a loved one that she can think of, and I agree. . . . I think we all feel like Alex will find us a new home, and we will persevere, but until we know where we're going, we all feel a little lost."

When asked about the cast's future, Savitzky said he'd "rather not say which theaters we're looking at, but it's safe to assume all of the smaller independents as well as larger chains are on the table. We feel like we just walked into a showroom full of beautiful cars, and all we have to do is pick one. So that's the positive spin, I guess." The Full Body Cast will give two performances on their final Saturday/Sunday overnight, at 9:30 pm and 12:30 am. Visit

The Boston Phoenix 27 June 2012
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Ahern Graduates James Madison
Acton resident Andrew Ahern graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English from James Madison University during the May 2012 commencement exercises.
Acton Beacon 28 June 2012
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Assistant Chief O'Hearn graduates from FBI Academy
Lisa O'Hearn
Maysville Assistant Police Chief Lisa O'Hearn was one of 264 of the FBI's National Academy Program graduates. During her stay, O'Hearn underwent advanced investigative, management and fitness training alongside other law enforcement officers from 48 states, 24 international countries, four military organizations, and five federal civilian organizations. In order to attend the academy, O'Hearn had to submit an application, and was then selected to take part in the program by local representatives in Louisville. With the support of the city of Maysville, O'Hearn left for a 10-week journey at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., about 45 minutes from Washington D.C. "It's something I always wanted to do," O'Hearn said. A typical day at the academy began at 8 a.m., during which O'Hearn and the other students attended classes throughout the morning, and then following a lunch break, returned to classes until 5:30 p.m. A night of homework (lots of papers and presentations) followed. O'Hearn said adjusting to the college-like setting, along with letting go of her job in Maysville and her family while she attended was a bit overwhelming. "The first two weeks were very, very difficult," she said.

A large part of the academy program was physical fitness training. In their first week at the academy, the physical capabilities of all the participants was measured, and at the end of the 10 weeks measured a second time. With group fitness training at least three times a week and challenge runs that were held every Wednesday, O'Hearn said she was able to decrease her mile run time by two minutes. At the end of the program, O'Hearn and other participants also completed a run on the "Yellow Brick Road," a part of a 6.2 mile course on the Marine Corp base located near the academy. O'Hearn now has her own yellow brick to commemorate her success. Along with physical fitness training, O'Hearn also had the opportunity to take courses in interview strategies, leadership ethics, firearms and arson investigations, legal issues and forensic science. Through the forensic science course, O'Hearn said she was able to get a behind-the-scenes look at all of the resources available to the FBI, along with getting a deeper look into major court cases such as the O.J. Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey trials. "It was very action-packed and fast moving," she said.

On Wednesday evenings, the academy had enrichment nights hosting different speakers. One speaker was Bobby Smith, a Louisiana state trooper who was shot in the face, only later to lose his family. He spoke to the officers on the obstacles he had overcome and the value of living. Another speaker was Mike Durant, the pilot of the helicopter in the movie "Black Hawk Down." O'Hearn said one of her favorite experiences of her time at the academy was a weekend trip to New York City, where her group was hosted by the New York Police Department. She said she was impressed with the shear number of officers in the department, which reached 40,000. The NYPD gave O'Hearn's group a tour of their department, the communication center and the police museum, along with a Hudson River boat ride. While in New York, O'Hearn and her group also visited the 9/11 Memorial and the new World Trade Center, which is currently under construction. O'Hearn was actually able to go into the building to witness the view of New York City from the 71st floor. Because the group was under police escort, they were able to take in a week's worth of the city in about 48 hours, O'Hearn said.

Along with the trip to New York City, O'Hearn also had the chance to travel to Washington D.C., where she saw the sites of the nation's capital, and to Philadelphia, where she and her group toured the Philadelphia Police department and got a behind the scenes look at the Philadelphia Eagles' Stadium. O'Hearn said weekend trips such as these were much needed after spending a week in the classroom. Attending the academy gave O'Hearn the chance to communicate with different law enforcement from all over the world. "It was an international experience," she said. "Law enforcement is law enforcement. We're all sharing the same issues."

Along with receiving college credit from the University of Virginia, O'Hearn said she acquired new ideas and resources to bring back to Maysville. "It's an amazing experience," she said. Though she is now a graduate of the FBI's National Academy Program, O'Hearn said helping the people of Maysville remains her top priority. "This is where I belong," she said.

The Ledger Independent 29 June 2012
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Library gets an Irish limestone archway
Arizonans can enjoy their own little piece of Ireland — 22 tons of it — at the new Irish library downtown. Francis McCormack, a master stonemason from County Clare, Ireland, has traveled to Phoenix to install a 22-ton Irish limestone archway modeled after a 13th-century archway found preserved on Holy Island in Ireland. The arch marks one of the final touches on the $3.5 million McClelland Irish Library, modeled to look like a small castle.
Irish Cultural Center Library
The library, which is part of the Irish Cultural Center at 1106 N. Central Ave., will be open for limited hours in July and August, but the official grand opening is Sept. 29. Shipped overseas and trucked from Los Angeles, the stone archway is made of five small arches with detailed carving. It will mark the entryway of the building. Construction took about three months, said McCormack, who has worked as a stonemason for more than 40 years. "The stones were quarried, cut and carved in Ireland," said McCormack, managing director of Irish Natural Stone Ltd. He's worked on stone projects around the United States and across the globe, including the Irish Hunger Memorial in New York's Battery Park and stonework restoration at Ireland's Trinity College.

The library was funded by private donors and named in honor of the library's founder, Norman McClelland, chairman and CEO of Shamrock Foods Co. Created through a partnership with Phoenix and the non-profit Irish Cultural and Learning Foundation, the four-story building will house 6,000 books from Irish authors and poets, periodicals, music, manuscripts, photographs, traveling exhibits, movies and genealogical research tools. The building also will provide office space for the foundation and rehearsal space for musicians studying traditional Irish instruments. McCormack and his partner, John Dervin, have been working 12-hour days for the past two weeks to install the arch. The project has provided McCormack much-needed work, since business at home has flopped over the past two years, he said. With the euro crisis at home, and an influx of Chinese-imported headstones, demand for Irish-carved limestone and government restoration jobs have dwindled. "We're fighting the fight. We've survived. A lot of the companies just like me have gone," McCormack said. Why has he survived? "It's from coming out here looking for projects. Meeting the likes of Mr. McClelland," he said. McCormack added that by founding the library and providing support for traditional projects like these, McClelland isn't just helping his business, he's preserving a culture. "The carving of stone, all that art, is going to disappear unless people like Mr. McClelland are prepared to order a doorway now and then that they can get in Ireland," McCormack said. "I have to give him credit. They're giving something back, to not let our culture die, which is important."

Besides the arch, construction of the library has been a difficult but rewarding project, said John Paul Ahern, the architect who constructed the library and nearby cottage and great hall. The castlelike construction allowed him to build upward, using space more efficiently, Ahern said. "It amazes me at times that we were able to build as much as we have on that small site and make it all work," Ahern said, referring to the land just north of downtown Phoenix. Ahern has been working on the project for eight years, though momentum slowed early in the development and picked back up in 2007 when key zoning approval came from the city. "It was fun, it was long and grueling at times, but very rewarding for me as an architect to see this finally come to be and see people down here actually using the facility," Ahern said.

Ultimately, Ahern envisions the center as a place where people can hop off the light rail and explore. Zoning near the station allowed him to build higher, denser and with less parking as part of a city push to improve its light-rail corridor, Ahern said. He's planned a small scone-and-tea shop, as well. In all, the place contains an impressive amount of information and resources in addition to its Irish craftsmanship. "This is an amazing place," McCormack said. "If you want to find out about your Irish roots, you go up upstairs. Everything is there; it's a one-stop-shop. Anything you can imagine you would want to know." Reservations are required for the September grand opening. More information can be found at or by calling 602-307-5643.

The Arizona Republic 8 July 2012
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They dug the pit, long and deep, but there were no spuds or cabbages to be planted here. Only feet and heels. That morning Tim Ahearne cycled the 12 miles from Direen, near Athea, over the border into Kerry and on to school at St Michael's College in Listowel. He was around 14 at the time and was prevailed upon to try the new long-jump board. Tim landed two feet beyond the pit and by such deeds Olympic champions are found and made.

It was London 1908 and Tim was in the Olympic triple-jump final. It was probably the most keenly-contested triple jump in Olympic history. Ahearne was just 22 and a rank outsider. He was competing under a British flag and it was only when the Irish competitors insisted on the team being renamed Great Britain and Ireland that the Irish athletes agreed to take part. Indeed, at the opening ceremony, the Americans — mostly comprising athletes from the Irish-American Athletic Club — refused to dip their flag before King Edward VII at the behest of the competing Irish. The Irish-American Athletic Club went on to win as many gold medals as the entire haul of France and Germany.

Tim broke the Olympic record to go ahead of Edvard Larsen from Norway, who himself broke the old record that morning. Garfield MacDonald from Canada then broke the record again and went into the lead. Tim was last to jump. The official record states he was in a serene state. Not a nerve in his body. Tim was fast and hit the board with a thump. His hop from the left foot back on to his left was phenomenal, the step from left to right foot was only fair but from somewhere he produced an incredible jump to break the Olympic record again. He was the youngest gold medal winner at the 1908 Olympics.

Later, Tim told of how he jumped the flooded Gale river, a span of 22 feet, when he was a young boy and it was the memory of this feat that took him to the edge of the pit and into the gold medal position. He went on to win the British championship and won Irish titles at sprinting, hurdling and long jump. Tim cycled to Dublin from Direen and the 160 miles back home on a High Nelly bicycle, that very night. Ahearne was one of a number of Irish athletes who climbed the flagpole and replaced the Union Jack with an Irish flag at the medal ceremony. It is quite possible Ahearne was persona non grata with the establishment and, with no possibility of work at home, he emigrated to New York in 1909. There to meet him was his younger brother, Dan, who would go on to become the greatest triple jumper never to win an Olympic medal.

In 1910 Dan won the triple-jump title at the US championships and went on to win eight American titles and was world record holder for 14 years. He increased the record in the colours of the Irish-American Athletic Club at Celtic Park, Long Island, and became the first man in history to break 50ft. By 1911 the two brothers were one and two in the world, yet neither competed in the Stockholm Olympics of 1912. Tim would not jump again for Great Britain and Dan wasn't allowed to compete as he wasn't an American citizen. As an Irishman he would have to line out for Great Britain which he steadfastly refused to do. The pity is Dan would have won the Olympics on crutches. The winning jump was a long way behind Dan's world record. World War One meant that the 1916 Games were cancelled. Again Dan was easily the best in the world and again denied an almost definite gold medal.

Dan eventually competed in the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium. But he almost never made the Games as he was suspended for breaking a curfew. The entire US athletics team refused to compete unless the Irishman was reinstated. It is reputed the chairman of the US Olympic committee asked what the athletes would do if the committee resigned. Dan is said to have replied: "We'll elect a new one." The fact Dan was an emigrant may have weighed against him. He had to break the word record several times before it was acknowledged and even by 1920 it was a case of them and us. There was no way Dan would stand down and the committee gave second best. Dan finished sixth, but by then he was well past his prime.

Tim and Dan both died in the States. Gone, but not forgotten. Family and friends erected a simple but evocative bronze statue of 'winged feet' on the main street of Athea. Local woman Amina Parkes recalls how British Olympic champion Sebastian Coe told her the brothers were his childhood heroes and how upset he was when he read the story of Dan being denied certain gold in successive Olympics by political forces outside of his control. For many years it was thought the gold medal was either in the United Sates or lost, but then Tom Ahearne produced a fine book to mark the hundredth anniversary of 1908 and so the mystery was solved. Tim insisted his gold medal remained in his beloved Direen. It's in a simple glass case in the old family home. His 90-year-old niece Ellen is the custodian of the trophies and medals won by her uncles, who brought such honour and glory to a little village. Billy Keane won a Munster schools triple jump championship in the singlet of St Michael's College Listowel, the alma mater of the Aherne brothers.

Irish Independent 23 July 2012
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Memphis Hooper Troopers use passion for hooping
to help themselves and the community
By Jonathan Devin
Chloe O'Hearn found working out boring until something most people remember as a childhood toy put a new spin on exercise and stress relief. Now she hopes to make life better for the children of Youth Villages by giving them hope through hoops. "Hooping is something (the kids of Youth Villages) can carry with them as a coping skill or just a way to have fun," said O'Hearn, who volunteers twice a week at Youth Villages, teaching girls how to hoop. "A lot of the kids there don't really get an opportunity to just be kids." O'Hearn, 36, who lives in East Memphis and works for AutoZone, got into hooping while following her interest in dance to Mid-South World Dance Center, where she took belly dancing classes. At the time, members of a group called the Hooper Troopers were teaching hooping there as well.

She went to the Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, Tenn., and found hoopers there in the crowd performing stunts she'd never imagined. "There's a lot more to it than just waist-hooping," O'Hearn said. "People can do some really impressive and cool tricks. It's much more of a dancing form of art like ballet and a sort of circus performance as well." Pretty soon, she was taking her hoops to friends' backyards, to Overton Park during weekly drum circles and to concerts at the Levitt Shell. "In my first year, I would hoop in my backyard every night for two or three hours and listen to music or hang out with friends," said O'Hearn.

The Hooper Troopers avoid the term "Hula Hoop," which is the trademarked name of the toy by Wham-O that launched a nationwide craze in the 1950s. Now the hoop is making a comeback, said Adriene Holland, one-third of the Hooper Troopers along with Megan Simpson and Abbey Pommer. The group started as friends until Mack Edwards, a board member of the Memphis Farmers Market, invited them to hoop at the market in 2009. "So we went there, and all of these opportunities just started opening up for us to start hooping in the city," Holland said. "Now we hoop-walk in 5Ks like the Church Health Center's 5K and Race for the Cure. "Hooping inspires a sense of play. People see hoops, and they smile." And that's O'Hearn's favorite part of the health benefit of hooping. "Hooping is very relaxing," she said. "When I first started hooping, it was a really stressful point in my life, and hooping was a good way for me to relax and not think about things. It takes a lot of concentration to do things with hoops. Repetitive motion has a soothing effect on the brain."

But the physical health benefits are there as well. Hooping strengthens the core muscles and the arms when hoopers practice off-body hoop tricks. "It's very aerobic," O'Hearn said. "There are hoops in different weights and sizes. You want it heavy enough to keep the hoop up, but the aerobic aspect is where you get the most benefit. After about 15 minutes of hooping, even just waist-hooping, you break out in a sweat." And hooping is low impact and good for any age. O'Hearn said it's not necessary to be thin or well-coordinated to hoop, though patience is a must. "It is a little harder for adults, it seems, though some people pick it up naturally," she said. "Some people are lucky and pick up any physical activity naturally. I was not one of those people. It took a lot for me at first to learn the right way to hoop." Typically, after learning to waist-hoop, the next step is learning to raise the hoop over the head and onto the arms.

Melissa Wiggins, another friend of the Hooper Troopers, said hooping even inspires spiritual growth and the formation of hooping communities across America. To illustrate that point, the Hooper Troopers and O'Hearn, Wiggins and another hooping friend, Charity Novick, have coordinated a screening of the Span Productions documentary "The Hooping Life." from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Memphis Botanic Garden. Filmmakers spent six years traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast and through part of South Africa finding hoop communities and hearing their stories. "It really highlights how the hoop has aided in keeping these people out of harmful life experiences and how it's been an outlet from severe depression or life in the streets," Wiggins said. "It also recognizes the artistic path that the hoopers follow." The screening will be followed by music and a hoop jam session. Tickets cost $20 at the door or $15 in advance. They can be purchased online at The troopers recommend parents accompany children. Proceeds from the event will benefit Youth Villages.

The Commercial Appeal 30 July 2012
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Oklahoma teen in boat crash is noted runner
A boy whose foot was severed Sunday when the personal watercraft he was operating collided with a powerboat remained in critical condition Monday, according to Sacred Heart Hospital spokesman Mike Burke. Patrick Ahern, a 17-year-old from Norman, Okla., was injured at about 4 p.m. when his rented Seadoo hit a "glancing blow" off a 38-foot Go Fast Fountain vessel, according to Stan Kirkland, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Ahern continued forward, striking the boat's propeller and amputating his lower left leg below the knee.

Norman High School officials say Ahern was a member of the school's cross country and soccer teams. "He was actually going to be one of our captains on our cross country team this year," said Scott Monnard, an official at the school, in a statement. Monnard said the team was the defending cross country state champion in its division. "This is a kid of the highest caliber and his accident is a devastating blow not only (to) his family and team, but will be for the entire student body at Norman High School."

The personal watercraft the teen was operating was cutting across Joe's Bayou when it collided with the larger vessel, Kirkland said. Nathan Lambert, the Tennessee man operating the Fountain boat, told officials he saw the personal watercraft coming at him and tried to avoid it, Kirkland said. Lambert was not injured in the crash. His wife and infant, who were on the boat with him, were also unharmed. They rendered immediate first aid to Ahern and transported him to the Joe's Bayou boat ramp, where Emergency Medical Services personnel met them, according to the FWC. The personal watercraft was totaled beyond salvaging in the crash. The accident remains under investigation, Kirkland said.

Northwest Florida Daily News 5 August 2012
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Ahern ponders run for District 58 House seat
Brian Ahern says he wants other Democrats to take a shot at the Colorado House District 58 seat — and is considering a second run himself. Ahern, of Placerville, ran in 2006 against former Rep. Ray Rose. There's now a vacancy on the Democratic ticket for the 58th District seat held by Republican Don Coram of Montrose, as former Democratic candidate Greg Thornton withdrew from the race.
Montrose Daily Press 6 August 2012
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Norman cross country captain Patrick Ahearn
critically injured in jet ski accident
Youngster has part of left leg amputated,
suffers serious head injury while in Florida
Norman's cross country captain Patrick Ahearn
was critically injured in jet ski accident in Destin, Fla.
Norman High School cross country captain Patrick Ahearn has lost part of his leg and suffered a serious head injury after a jet ski accident in Destin, Fla., on Sunday. Ahearn's rented jet ski hit the stern of a 38-foot boat in the bay, where his foot was damaged as his watercraft continued going and crashed into the boat's propeller. Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Ahearn, 17, was airlifted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, where doctors amputated his left lower leg. Ahearn is in critical condition.

"He was actually going to be one of our captains on the cross country team this year," Norman cross country coach Scott Monnard said in a statement. "That is saying a lot, with a team of over 60 boys and are the defending Class 6A boys cross country state champions. "This is a kid of the highest caliber, and his accident is a devastating blow to not only his family and team, but will be for the entire student body at Norman High School." Monnard said cards, flowers and letters can be sent to Ahearn at Sacred Heart Hospital, Surgical ICU #42, 1515 N. 9th Ave., Pensacola, Fla. 32505. The crash is under investigation by the wildlife commission.

The Oklahoman 7 August 2012
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Okla teen injured in boat collision still critical
DESTIN, Fla. — Authorities say an Oklahoma teenager who lost a foot in a boating collision remains hospitalized in critical condition. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Stan Kirkland says 17-year-old Patrick Ahern of Norman, Okla., was injured Sunday when his rented personal watercraft hit a 38-foot boat. The boat's propeller cut off Ahern's left leg below the knee. The family aboard the boat was not injured. Kirkland says the boat's operator saw Ahern's watercraft coming toward him and in the waters off Destin and tried to avoid the collision. Norman High School officials tell the Northwest Florida Daily News that Ahern was set to be captain of the cross country team this year. Ahern also was a member of the school's soccer team.
The Sacramento Bee 7 August 2012
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Fund created for Patrick Ahearn
NORMAN — While Norman High cross country runner and soccer player Patrick Ahearn continues to recover from a water craft collision that resulted in the loss of his left foot and lower left leg in a Pensacola, Fla., hospital, a fund has been arranged locally in the hopes of offsetting some of the medical expenses Ahearn will be facing in the near and long term. The account is the "Patrick Ahearn Fund," located at Republic Bank and Trust in Norman. [ 401 West Main St., Norman, Oklahoma ] The collision occurred Sunday afternoon off the coast of the Florida Panhandle. Ahearn was thrown forward from his rented Sea-doo into the propeller of a powerboat after the two vehicles collided in what an official from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission called a "glancing blow." According to NHS cross country coach Scott Monnard, who has been in touch with Ahearn's family since the collision, Ahearn is out of the ICU ward at Sacred Heart Hospital and his return to Norman, though a date has not yet been decided, may come sooner than originally anticipated. "He is recovering well," Monnard said.
The Norman Transcript 9 August 2012
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Real Estate Transactions
29 Cushing Rd. Lisa M. Ahern to Paul Berry and Sarah Williams, $539,000
The Boston Globe 16 August 2012
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NHS student returns after losing his leg in an accident
By Michael Kinney
NORMAN—Patrick Ahearn just wanted to be there for his teammates. In the two weeks since the Norman cross country runner lost his leg in a jet ski accident, he hadn't been able to be around his friends and fellow runners. But Saturday, with the Tigers and Westmoore Jaguars having a practice meet at Irving Middle School, Ahearn made sure he was on hand to give his team moral support, even if the team captain could no longer run with them. "It feels really good," Ahearn said. "I like being out here. I love this group of guys and girls. They are all really great. I'm just excited to be out here supporting them." Ahearns' fellow runners were just as excited to see their friend and leader back with them after the ordeal he has been through. "It was great," Norman's Mackenzie Wahpepah-Harris said. "I was glad he got to come out here. It was pretty good motivation for me. I wanted to do good for him."

Two weeks ago, Ahearn thought he would be doing more than sitting in a wheelchair clapping and yelling as each NHS runner sprinted past by him. But Sunday, Aug. 5, the 17-year olds entire life changed while on vacation in Destin, Fla. According to reports, Ahearn was jet skiing and ran into a 38-foot boat. His leg was badly damaged and the jet ski floated into the boat's propeller, which cut through his leg. Ahearn was then taken to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, where his left leg was amputated. "I was in shock," Ahearn said. "I really didn't know what to do or how to react. I kind of just sat there for a minute thinking about it. I wasn't going to let it get me too down. I just kept my head up. I figured I was going to get over this and it was going to be all right eventually." When the news of Ahearn's accident reached Norman, it hit his coaches and friends like a hammer. "It was probably the hardest things in my 15 years of coaching," NHS coach Scott Monnard said. "I would have traded that state title last year to have that not happen to him. But it puts things in perspective. That's what we are trying to do. Use it as a positive. No matter how tough things are for our kids or us coaches, what are we really complaining about in the big scheme of things. You see Patrick out here and you just suck it up. He would do anything to be out here and be able to run today." Ahearn admits, it hasn't been easy. For someone who is used to being self reliant, having to now depend on others has been difficult to get used to. But the mental hardship has been just as challenging. "The physical part has been really tough to adapt to," Ahearn said. "I need a lot help doing a lot of things. I am used to doing stuff by myself. That's just how I like to do it. But the mental part is tough sometimes to. I try not to let it get me too down. But I sit and I just think I wish I could be out there running with these guys. Or what I could have done to prevent this accident."

It's a difficult time also for Ahearn's family. "It's hard to see your son like that," said his mother, Lisa Bogle. "He was just this young man at 17, up and getting everything on his own. Now he sits around not really able to take care of things. It's hard to watch your son do that." Yet, Ahearn said no matter how tough his days are, he doesn't allow himself to fall into the trap of self-pity. The senior, who plans to major in engineering at Oklahoma, has set goals for himself that will motivate him to get out of his wheel chair and back where he belongs. "It has been kind of tough just day to day," Ahearn said. "Little activities are getting hard to do by myself right now. It's going to get a lot easier the healthier I get. I am going to get a normal prosthetic leg for walking around. But I do hope eventually to get one I hope to use for running and get back out there running again. It's something I like to do and something I want to do again."

The Norman Transcript 19 August 2012
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Keeping the vision alive
Blood drive serves as memorial to passionate volunteer
by Ray Duckler
Debbie Sargent holds a photo of her daughter, at age 32, at her home in Epsom on Tuesday, August 21, 2012. Her daughter, Jen Ahern, passed away two summers ago at age 37 due to complications from congenital reflux. Sargent is holding an annual blood drive in memory of Jen tomorrow from 10a.m. to 4p.m. at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord

Jennifer Ahern never gave blood. Instead, she made sure others did. Her life's work continues today at the Grappone Conference Center, two years after her death at age 37 from complications related to kidney disease. Her mother, Deb Sargent of Epsom, is the new face of a local blood drive, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., that began 20 years ago. More recently, while keeping her daughter's vision alive, Sargent was diagnosed with breast cancer, leaving her too weak last summer to accomplish much of anything.

But more on that later. First, Ahern and the events leading up to today's blood drive. A 1991 Concord High graduate, Ahern emerged as an ambassador for the Red Cross, earning recognition last year for her work promoting blood drives. "As a parent, I'm really proud of Jen," Sargent said yesterday during an interview mixed with smiles and tears. "She spent most of her life not being able to work physically, even though she wanted to, but the work that she did do was so valuable in life." Ahern's story blends physical pain with triumph, hope with sudden loss. Born with congenital reflux, a flap in Ahern's kidneys would close too early, leaving urine trapped. By age 5, blood transfusions and trips to a Boston hospital were a regular part of Ahern's childhood. Over the next 30 years, more than 40 procedures to rework and reroute vessels leading to her heart were performed to filter out contaminated blood. There were also a pair of kidney transplants, dialyses, needles, constant fatigue, infections, fevers and back pain. But a funny thing happened on the way to self pity. There was none.

Instead, Ahern, a teen undergoing dialyses, watched children suffer in that Boston hospital. She had been warned against giving birth because of a sickness that would shadow her for her entire life. So something told her to think of others, to help during a time when she, herself, needed help. So that's what she did. "It was always with family and friends supporting her because she was really sick in those days," Sargent said. "But she realized the need for blood. Many of those kids she saw were young, and she was watching them. You establish a relationship with those kids and the babies. She had had so many surgeries, so kids became important." The blood drives followed, with Ahern's name attached to them. At one a few years ago at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, blood collection tripled from the average amount of 75 pints. Overall, Sargent said, her daughter helped collect 600 pints of blood in her lifetime. In later years, after marrying and learning how to ride a motorcycle and how to hunt (she once bagged a turkey and plucked it herself), Ahern gained strength and seemed to be on the right path following her second kidney transplant.

But the surgeries had taken their toll, eventually blocking heart vessels, unbeknownst to doctors. She died in her sleep Aug. 7, 2010. "During the day or when I was in front of people I always appeared okay," Sargent said. "But when I was with myself late at night, the bathtub would fill up with tears. I don't understand how she could have endured as many surgeries as she did and two transplants and all the transfusions and then to be doing so well and die in her sleep. I don't understand that." Then, less than a year later, during a routine mammogram, Sargent learned she had breast cancer. Chemotherapy and surgery to remove a tumor followed. "It was difficult," Sargent said, "because I got diagnosed right in the middle of the worst time in a parent's life."

Sargent appeared strong yesterday. She says she feels well, much better than last summer, when the chemo sessions slammed her hard, forcing her to sleep during daylight hours. Since Ahern's death, Sargent has combined with her husband, Leon, and Jen's husband, Bruce Ahern, to keep a spirit alive, the spirit of a young woman who helped others while suffering herself. The first blood drive the trio organized was at the local Heritage Harley-Davidson. Since then, the Grappone Conference Center has stepped up, hosting three more. No. 4 is today. The Dunkin' Donuts in Epsom is providing coffee and doughnuts, and Louis Smirnioudis, owner of the Windmill Restaurant, will donate grinders and sandwiches, just as he always has since Ahern first began her quest, all those years ago. "For people who email me and who I met at her funeral, they saw her as this little angel who helped so many people," Sargent said. "They knew her struggles, but she had these beautiful eyes and this beautiful smile, and no matter what your problem was, she made you feel like a million bucks while she was dying inside." Added Bruce, "I miss her dearly and I think about her all the time. I just remember the things she taught me through what we're doing today."

Concord Monitor 22 August 2012
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Real Estate Transactions
1 Thornton Lane William G. Ahern and Mary F. Travis to Thin Tran and Tham V. Tran, $330,000
The Boston Globe 23 August 2012
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Jenna Lafayette, Kimberly Ahern
Jenna Lee Lafayette and Kimberly Renee Ahern were married Saturday in Essex Junction, Vt. Christopher R. Blazejewski, a state representative in Rhode Island who received authorization from the State of Vermont to officiate, performed the ceremony at the Whitcomb House Bed & Breakfast. The couple met at Providence College, from which they graduated, Ms. Ahern magna cum laude.

Ms. Lafayette (left), 27, is the associate director for Shape Up Rhode Island, an organization in Providence that encourages residents to exercise and lose weight. She is the daughter of Melissa and Anthony Lafayette of Burlington, Vt. Her father retired as a residential sales broker in Burlington. Ms. Ahern, 28, is a special assistant attorney general in the criminal division of the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General in Providence. She received a law degree from Roger Williams University, where she was the editor in chief of the law review in 2008 and 2009. She is the daughter of Margaret and Michael Ahern of Swanton, Md. Her father retired as the executive director in Reston, Va., for real estate and administration at Global One, which was a joint venture of Sprint, Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom. Her mother retired as a supervisory grants officer for the State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in Washington.

New York Times 2 September 2012
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Barrow man's fundraiser tribute to wife
A Doting husband has raised more than £4,000
in memory of his wife who died on Valentine's Day from ovarian cancer.
Steve Ahern, 56, organised a charity fundraiser to show his appreciation for Furness General Hospital's oncology unit, where his wife was treated before she died. Mr Ahern, whose wife Kim died on February 14, aged 53, said hospital staff had given him "two more years" with his wife after she was diagnosed with cancer. As a thank-you to hospital staff, he organised the fundraiser, held in July at Hawcoat Park Sports and Social Club and raised more than £4,000. More than 200 family members and friends attended the night, including Mrs Ahern's children; Luke, 32, and Ross, 14, and two grandchildren Alacey, eight, and Diesel, seven.

The 56-year-old said: "I would like to thank family and friends for making it a successful evening, local businesses for their support and for generously donating to the auction and raffle prizes." The fundraiser included a raffle, offering prizes such as a trip to Liverpool's stadium, Anfield, a trip to Manchester United's stadium, Old Trafford, and a signed Manchester United match football from the 2011/2012 season. Mr Ahern added: "I can't thank the staff at the hospital enough. They do some great work and they were able to give me two important years with my wife." Mr Ahern, who said he met his wife in the former Whispers nightclub in Barrow, also thanked local band Rush Hour for providing the entertainment. He said he had been able to draw inspiration from previous charity nights he used to attend with Mrs Ahern.

North West Evening Mail 3 September 2012
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Real Estate Transactions
38 Russell St. Robert B. Ahearn to Lindsay E. Harrison, $295,000
22 Main St. Joseph B. Ahearn and Amy B. Ahearn to Anna M. Fullerton, $475,000
The Boston Globe 6 September 2012
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Mark Ahern jailed for at least six months for shooting
at Berwick home of Liberal MP Lorraine Wreford
A GUNMAN who fired shots at the home of a state Liberal MP over an alleged $5000 drug debt has been jailed for at least six months.
Mark Ahern outside Melbourne Magistrate' Court today.
The Berwick home of Mordialloc MP Lorraine Wreford was sprayed with bullets in the early hours of July 5 last year over the alleged debt owed by her son. Mark Ahern, 28, pleaded guilty to three charges including reckless conduct placing a person in danger of serious injury.

Three other men involved in the shooting have also pleaded guilty to charges related to the incident. The Melbourne Magistrates' Court heard today Ahern was armed with an unlicensed pump-action rifle when he fired up to eight shots into Ms Wreford's home and government car. Shots were fired through the front door and window of the home with one grazing a couch and another hitting a wall near Ms Wreford's bed. In a victim impact statement Ms Wreford, who was asleep inside at the time, said she had been left traumatised by the attack.

The court heard Ms Wreford fled her home in the days after the shooting. Prosecutor Peter Pickering told the court Ahern had discussed the idea of shooting at the home with several co-accused because of a "debt" owed to him. Details of the debt were not revealed in court today. But at a bail hearing for Ahern last year Detective Senior Constable Stephen Boyle claimed he had been chasing a $5000 drug debt from Ms Wreford's son, Adrian.

Ahern was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with six months suspended. He was also ordered to pay more than $2000 in compensation to Ms Wreford.

Herald Sun 10 September 2012
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Dorchester man charged with killing bicyclist
A Dorchester man charged with striking and killing a 63-year-old bicyclist last week has an "atrocious" driving record, according to prosecutors, who said he was drinking at the bar he co-owns before he sped down Morrissey Boulevard and hit he victim. Michael Ahern, 46, was ordered held on $25,000 bail and told not to drive while his case is pending following his arraignment today at Dorchester District Court on charges including drunken driving motor vehicle homicide, according to the Suffolk County district attorney's office.

Ahern — who prosecutors said was boozing at the Slate Bar and Grill, which he co-owns, before the deadly crash — has a seven-page driving record dating back to 1985 and lost his license for several years for being a habitual traffic offender in the 1990s, according to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. State officials stripped him again of his license in light of the accident. Ahern is charged with striking and killing Doan Bui shortly before 12:30 a.m., on Friday, as Bui rode his bike southbound on Morrissey Boulevard on his way home from a fishing trip, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at the scene, where Ahern stopped and called 911. "The only correct decision he made all night was calling 911," Assistant District Attorney Patrick Devlin said in court.

Authorities said Ahern was unsteady on his feet, incoherent and reeked of alcohol, and preliminary estimates had him going 50 mph in a 30-mph zone when he hit Bui. Ahern, who was arrested yesterday at his home, was treated for minor cuts and bruises at Boston Medical Center following the crash, but refused to give hospital staff a blood sample to determine if he had internal bleeding, authorities said. A message left with Ahern's lawyer wasn't immediately returned. Ahern, who is also charged with operating to endanger and speeding, is due back in court Nov. 21.

Boston Herald 17 September 2012
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Dorchester man charged in crash that killed bicyclist on Morrissey Boulevard

Michael D. Ahern was in the prisoner's dock in Dorchester Municipal Court today where he pleaded not guilty to charges of motor vehicle homicide while operating under the influence of alcohol, operating to endanger, and speeding. He allegedly struck and killed bicyclist Doan Bui, 63, of Dorchester on Sept. 14.
A 46-year-old Dorchester man who allegedly struck a bicyclist on Morrissey Boulevard last week and then stopped to call for help pleaded not guilty today to a charge of motor vehicle homicide while drunk. Michael D. Ahern was arraigned in Dorchester Municipal Court on the drunken driving charge along with operating to endanger and speeding. With relatives in the courtroom, Ahern pleaded not guilty to all charges, and bail was set at $25,000 cash.

According to Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Patrick K. Devlin and a State Police report, Ahern was driving his 2011 F150 pickup truck on William T. Morrissey Boulevard at 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 14 when he struck a bicyclist who was riding southbound near Malibu Beach. The bicyclist, identified by authorities as Doan Bui, 63, of Dorchester, was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency personnel. The impact threw the victim "a significant distance," Devlin said in court. Ahern stayed on the scene and called 911 for help on his cellphone, Devlin said. "That's the only correct decision he made that night," Devlin said describing Ahern's actions.

According to Devlin and a State Police report, Ahern acknowledged to State Police troopers that had one drink at a Boston restaurant before the crash. Later at Boston Medical Center where Ahern was taken at his request, his brother, Edward, told troopers his brother had hired an attorney. Trooper Thomas D. Canning wrote in the report because Ahern had a lawyer, he did not question him about the crash. Instead, he asked for identifying information and watched him as he moved about the hospital room where he was being examined by medical staff. "I did not ask him about the accident. I detected a strong odor of intoxicating beverage coming from his person," Canning wrote. "I observed his speech to be noticeably slurred and his tongue was thick and pasty" I observed Michael to be noticeably unsteady as he walked."

Another trooper reported that after examining Ahern's 2011 Ford F150 pickup truck he concluded the vehicle was moving at 50 miles an hour when Doan Bui was hit, while the posted speed limit is 30 miles an hour. There was no sign of braking on the roadway, the trooper concluded. In court today, Ahern's attorney, Stephen K. Clifford of Quincy, described the case against Ahern as "relatively weak." He said State Police noted that Ahern's eyes were bloodshot, but they did not report that the airbag deployed, nor that Ahern was wearing eyeglasses at the time the airbag hit his face. Clifford described his client as a successful businessman with interests in a Quincy bakery, real estate, and as a building contractor who is active in his community. Clifford also said Ahern was one of the many contractors who went to New York City and volunteered to help recover victims of the 9/11 attack from the destroyed twins towers at the World Trade Center.

According to both the defense and the prosecution, Ahern received a 20-year prison sentence in Suffolk Superior Court in 1989 for an arson conviction, the details of which weren't immediately available. Ahern has a multi-page driving history, according to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, which suspended his driver's license indefinitely as a result of the fatal crash, an RMV spokesman said today. Ahern is due back in court Nov. 21.

The Boston Globe 17 September 2012
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Doan Bui often rode his bicycle from his Sudan Street apartment to fishing spots on Castle Island or near the John F. Kennedy Library and probably was heading home Friday after some late-night fishing, neighbors said. He never made it. Authorities say the 63-year-old Dorchester man was struck by a speeding pickup truck on Morrissey Boulevard and thrown a significant distance, instantly killing him. The driver, identified by police as Michael D. Ahern, a 46-year-old cafe owner from Dorchester, was "clearly intoxicated" but stopped to call 911 from his cellphone, authorities said. "That was the only correct decision he made that night," Patrick Devlin, a Suffolk County prosecutor, said during Ahern's arraignment Monday in Dorchester Municipal Court on charges of motor vehicle homicide and operating under the influence of alcohol causing death.

Ahern appeared despondent as his attorney, Jeffrey K. Clifford, pleaded not guilty on his behalf, with Ahern's family sitting nearby. He was ordered held on $25,000 cash bail. Ahern is listed as proprietor of the Sweet Life Bakery and Cafe in Lower Mills, which recently opened, and as a partner in the Ledge Kitchen and Drinks restaurant, also in Lower Mills. Ahern told authorities he had one drink at a downtown Boston bar, but state troopers who responded at 12:30 a.m., to the scene, near Malibu Beach, said Ahern appeared drunk. Another trooper who responded to Boston Medical Center, where Ahern was taken at his request, also stated in his report that Ahern appeared inebriated. Trooper Thomas D. Canning wrote in the report that because Ahern had a lawyer, he did not question him about the crash. Instead, he asked for identifying information and observed the defendant move about the hospital room, where he was being examined by medical staff. "I did not ask him about the accident. I detected a strong odor of intoxicating beverage coming from his person," Canning wrote. "I observed his speech to be noticeably slurred and his tongue was thick and pasty. . . . I observed Michael to be noticeably unsteady as he walked."

Another trooper reported that after examining Ahern's 2011 Ford F-150 truck, he concluded the vehicle was traveling at 50 miles an hour when Bui was hit; the posted speed limit is 30. There was no sign of braking on the roadway, the trooper concluded. In court, Ahern's attorney described the case against Ahern as "relatively weak." He said State Police noted that Ahern's eyes were bloodshot but failed to report that the air bag deployed, or that Ahern was wearing eyeglasses when the air bag hit his face. Jake Wark, spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, said no breathalyzer test was given at the scene—because Ahern requested to be taken to the hospital and getting him there took priority. Despite troopers' observations that Ahern appeared intoxicated, no breathalyzer was administered at the hospital. Wark said that even without the voluntary breathalyzer test, the case against Ahern will be supported by evidence, including the troopers' observations.

Ahern, who had invoked his right to counsel, was allowed to go home. Because Ahern's vehicle was seized and authorities felt he was not a flight risk, Wark said, he was not arrested until Sunday night, when authorities had built their case. According to the defense and prosecution, Ahern received a 20-year suspended sentence in Suffolk Superior Court in 1989 for an arson conviction, the details of which were not immediately available. Records show that since 1985, Ahern has received multiple citations for failure to stop, speeding, and accidents, in several towns and cities. In 1992, his license was revoked as a habitual offender but reinstated two years later. The Registry of Motor Vehicles suspended his driver's license indefinitely as a result of the fatal crash, said a Registry spokesman. Ahern is due back in court Nov. 21.

The Boston Globe 18 September 2012
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Real Estate Transactions
108 Ash St. Ildolyn Ahearn T. and Ildolyn Ahearn to Victor W. Diune and Gina H. Diune, $470,000
The Boston Globe 27 September 2012
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Tinley police officer honored for key role in dozens of aggravated DUI cases
Michael O'Hearn is named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year
by American Legion Post No. 615
Working behind the scenes, Tinley Park Police Officer Michael O'Hearn has played a key role in charging 30 motorists with aggravated DUI and 15 with reckless homicide. O'Hearn, lead motor vehicle crash reconstructionist with his department's crash investigation unit since 1996, has also helped charge two people with murder and one with attempted murder. In one case, O'Hearn developed 3D animation that helped Illinois State Police convict a Hammond man of reckless homicide in the death of a Chicago Fire Department lieutenant. The 3D animation, used for the first time in a Cook County trial, showed Lt. Scott Gillen securing a routine crash site on the Dan Ryan Expressway and the intoxicated Carlando Hurt driving into the crash site, fatally injuring the 37-year-old father of five two days before Christmas 2000. Hurt, who was trying to get around traffic stopped for the first crash, was convicted in 2002 and is serving a 13-year sentence in the Danville Correctional Center.

A little more than seven years later, O'Hearn's skills were brought into play for a non-traffic case — the February 2008 killings of five women at the Lane Bryant store. In addition to reconstructing and documenting the scene, O'Hearn also served as liaison officer with the family of one of the victims. Sgt. Darren Persha said O'Hearn approached the family liaison role "with dignity and compassion." Like most officers, O'Hearn also has found himself in adrenaline-pumping situations, such as an attempted traffic stop on a suspect vehicle in 1998 that turned into a chase to Orland Park, where the driver and passenger abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot. The two suspects forced their way into the locked home of a young mother and her 1-year-old baby. As they attempted to restrain her, "Mike heard the young woman screaming and entered the home," Persha said in a written report of O'Hearn's activities. "The offenders were taken into custody with no injuries to the young woman or baby."

Seven years earlier, O'Hearn was cited for "his quick response and interviewing methods" in a local bank robbery that resulted in the arrest of two suspects, who were also implicated in a bank robbery that had occurred the week before, Persha said.

O'Hearn, who marked his 23rd year with the department on Sept. 25, was honored as Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by Tinley Park American Legion Post No. 615 during the Sept. 18 Village Board meeting. The Legion also honored Tinley Park Fire Department Lt. Robert Reynolds as Firefighter of the Year. Persha, in nominating O'Hearn for the recognition, cited his "tremendous dedication and passion to his job as a police officer and accident reconstructionist." O'Hearn is a part-time instructor at the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety. He teaches Tinley Park police accident investigation and DUI enforcement techniques, is an in-house instructor for the Suburban Major Accident Reconstruction Team and developed a training seminar on reckless homicide and aggravated DUI for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

In 2011, O'Hearn developed a voluntary consent form used by Tinley Park police to obtain samples from motorists involved in serious or fatal crashes where substance-use is not immediately suspected. So far, use of the forms has led to charging two motorists with aggravated DUI and reckless homicide, Persha said. "Neither of the drivers would have been charged without obtaining blood/urine samples from the use of the consent forms," he said.

Chicago Tribune 3 October 2012
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Ahern's building cleared for development
FAIRLAWN — Crews worked to tear down the former Ahern's Florist building starting Sept. 26. Fairlawn officials said the building, pictured standing below right at the corner of Trunko Road and West Market Street, was the oldest commercial building in the city. It was built in 1925 and over the years housed several businesses, such as Flowerland in the 1930s and '40s. It later was the site of Garver's Pancake House from about 1959 to the mid-1970s. Ahern's opened for business there in the late 1970s, according to Fairlawn officials, and that's when the greenhouse in back was added. The building has been vacant for a few years.

The site was razed, shown above, for the coming of a Giant Eagle GetGo gas station and convenience store. Trunko Road at the intersection had been closed for several weeks as work to widen it to add a turn lane was completed. The road reopened in September.

West Side Leader 4 October 2012
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Alameda County Sheriff plans to buy a surveillance drone
Drones aren't something most residents worry about on a day-to-day basis. But they may be flying over the skies of Alameda County soon if Sheriff Gregory Ahern gets his way. Ahern is looking at buying a surveillance drone, an unmanned aircraft system, for search and rescue missions, bomb threats, SWAT operations, marijuana grows, fires and natural disasters. But the proposal has already drummed up backlash from privacy advocates worried that drone technology is outpacing safeguards.

So far Alameda County has only tested them. Ahern is eyeing a unit weighing four pounds with a four-foot wing span in the $50,000 to $100,000 price range. He and his deputies will have the chance to test others next week at the Urban Shield regional disaster-preparedness exercises. The department, however, can't buy one until they receive Federal Aviation Administration authorization. The units can be outfitted with high-powered cameras, thermal imaging devices, license plate readers and laser radar. Police and sheriffs already use some of those tools. However, combined with a hard-to-detect drone, they offer authorities unprecedented capabilities for mass surveillance using militarized equipment.

"The law hasn't caught up with the technology," said Trevor Timm of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy rights group. "There are no rules of the road for how they operate these things." The units would be unarmed and, according to Ahern, are cheaper than a helicopter, which are not suited to hover low over a crime scene as drones are. The department offered no cost analysis or helicopter usage data. But Sgt. J.D. Nelson said the money would come [from] the Department of Homeland Security, one of the lead agencies pushing the expansion of domestic drones. Training is included in the price of the equipment, Nelson said. He said the department would consider using a drone during mutual aid operations on a "case-by-case basis."

The ambiguity alarmed Oakland resident Mary Madden. "I don't want drones flying over my backyard," she said Thursday on the steps of Oakland City Hall. Members of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Critical Resistance and the ACLU gathered there to challenge Ahern. Opponents said if Ahern does not reconsider, they will go to the courts, City Council members and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, which have to approve of grants received by the sheriff. Although the issue has not come before the supervisors yet, District 1 Supervisor Scott Haggerty said, especially with budget cuts, drones could be useful for policing rural unincorporated areas like Livermore. But he said in urban areas, particularly, there has to be a process in place to protect people's privacy that involves public input.

In the meantime, the ACLU filed a public records request with the sheriff's office seeking information about the department's proposed acquisition. The fundamental question is whether a drone is necessary, ACLU staff attorney Linda Lye said. Occupy Oakland protests showed that when law enforcement has powerful and dangerous tools, they will use them, said Lye, referring to the use of tanks and long-range acoustic devices, capable of intensely loud tones, for crowd control.

"The best practices on paper are meaningless if they are violated in the field," she said. About a dozen U.S. law enforcement agencies already have or are using a drone, including the Seattle Police Department. Ben Miller, the unmanned aircraft program manager for the sheriff's office of Mesa County, Colo., dismissed the privacy concerns but said his department tried to be transparent with their residents who worried about the use of their Draganflyer X6 and Falcon UAV. They use them in search and rescue missions, as well as in homicide investigations. "A bird's-eye view is huge," Miller said, reflecting pitches developed by the industry, which recognized early on they would have to sell the public on the advantages of domestic drones. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International formulated a code of conduct. The International Association of Chiefs of Police Aviation Committee also has recommended guidelines for the use of unmanned aircraft, which include community engagement, rules for use, search and seizure guidelines and how data will be retained.

Oakland Tribune 19 October 2012
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OSU biochem professor puts science to song
Kevin Ahern, senior instructor of biochemistry and biophysics, shares a light moment with Oregon State University students Oct. 2, 2012 in Corvallis, Ore.
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — It's a Tuesday morning, and Kevin Ahern is entertaining a room full of college students in an introductory class to biochemistry and biophysics with a voice that carries and a lesson that is positively lyrical. The class is full of young students, many of them in the second week of their first year of college. They have many reasons to be nervous; their course work is among the most difficult at the university. But Ahern, a senior instructor of biophysics and biochemistry at Oregon State University, has found a way to calm jittery nerves. Music.

After brief announcements and roll call — during which Ahern proves that he knows his class of about 50 students by name and face — he projects song lyrics on an overhead screen that contain words like "ribosome" and "DNA." Then, without hesitation, he begins to sing the scientific lyrics to the melody of "America, the Beautiful" — and the class follows his lead. This is Metabolic Melodies, one of Ahern's unconventional teaching methods to cut through the anxiety that new students often feel when first entering his class.

Ahern, who jokingly claims the title of "frustrated musician," began writing the melodies in 1990. "I originally conceived of the melodies because biochemistry itself is a pretty scary subject for students," he said. Metabolic Melodies have made a big enough impression on the student population that Ahern often has students enrolling in his courses because of the songs. But while they are entertaining and make the professor less intimidating, the melodies, like his other unusual teaching methods, serve a practical purpose as well. "Some have a purpose in teaching students to remember something," he said. "I know students who use the songs in remembering metabolic pathways."

Brynn Livesay, an OSU student in chemical engineering, met Ahern about a year ago. She said the melodies are examples of ways Ahern uses a dynamic teaching style to make "a complex and often dry subject relatable and entertaining to learn." Livesay recalled a particular lecture about estrogen receptors and the drug Tamoxifen. At the time, her mother had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. "Learning about one of the drugs that is keeping her in remission was very real and personal to me," she said.

Ahern said there was a time at the start of his teaching career when he worried about striking a balance between unorthodox and authoritative. "If you lose that authority, then you've really lost a great tool in teaching. It turned out that wasn't a big consideration," he said. As he teaches four online classes a term through OSU's e-campus, in addition to advising and instructing the introductory-level course, Ahern discovered yet another way to meet students' diverse needs: video lectures. "Students in e-campus classes are seeing exactly what students in class saw the previous year," he said. Thanks to a drive to make class material accessible, and a grant called the LL Stewart Award from OSU, Ahern and his wife, Indira Rajagopal, recently developed a textbook for the iPad called "Biochemistry free and easy" that is free for students. There also is a PDF version of the book available for students who don't own iPads. The ultimate goal of his unorthodox efforts, he said, is getting the information into people's heads and making them feel important. It comes as no surprise, then, that he has developed relationships with his students. "On the first day of class, I take all their pictures and I sit down and spend time memorizing them," he said. "You feel like you're somebody; you feel like you're important — and you should. I think students need to feel that way."

Corvallis Gazette-Times 20 October 2012
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Norman's Patrick Ahearn remains a runner
A jet ski accident over the summer cost the senior cross country runner a
part of his leg, but his focus hasn't changed: Ahearn vows to run again.
Patrick Ahearn hopes to get a racing prosthesis and continue competing
NORMAN—Patrick Ahearn surrounds himself with people who do what he no longer can. Run. Less than three months ago, the wiry kid was pushing his way up the Norman High cross country roster, running times that would've made varsity at many schools but fighting his way through the defending state champion's junior-varsity pack. He was showing up early to practice. He was following every instruction from the coach. He was doing everything possible to make the most of his senior season. Now, he can't even walk as fast as he did back then. Patrick lost part of his left leg in a jet ski accident.

On a weekend when Norman finished as the regional runner-up and qualified for next week's state cross country meet, Patrick was not among the Tigers' runners. He didn't race around the course. He didn't count toward the team score. And yet, even as he continues recovering from an accident that easily could have killed him, he is still very much a part of this team. He is a captain, a motivator, an inspiration.

"He's wanted no pity," Norman High cross country coach Scott Monnard said. "Who knows what happens behind closed doors, but not out here. He's always been upbeat." The accident took a chunk of his leg. Not his spirit. Patrick doesn't remember the moment of impact. In early August, his family decided to make one last summer escape before school started, driving to Destin, Fla., and staying in a beach condo. It's a spot they'd been before, but for the first time, Patrick and his stepbrother decided to rent Jet Skis for a couple hours. Patrick had never driven a Sea-Doo. They crept slowly through the harbor's no-wake zone, then passed under a bridge where they could increase their speed. But Patrick took it slow. He is a super smart, one of the brightest kids on a team known for its student-athletes. He dreams of going to OU to major in engineering, the sign of a young man who's calculated and meticulous. "I was focused on not hitting a wave too fast and flying off," he said of that August day on the Florida water. "That's kind of why I didn't see the boat."

Patrick only knows what happened next because of what others have told him. A 38-foot speedboat was coming from his left and heading toward an inlet on his right. As the two approached, Patrick's stepbrother realized that neither the boat nor Patrick saw the other, so he started yelling, trying to get someone's attention, hoping to alert them to the danger. The sound of the jet ski drowned out his cries. Just before impact, both Patrick and the boat's operator saw the other. Both turned and tried to avoid the collision, but it was too late. The jet ski hit the side of the boat, scraped down the side of it and ended up by the propeller, which caught Patrick's foot. He flew into the air and landed in the water, face down and unconscious. His stepbrother hurried to his limp body and pulled him from the water. The boat circled back, took Patrick on board and rushed him to shore. They saved his life but not his left foot. The propeller severed it between his ankle and knee.

Patrick woke up a couple days later in a hospital bed in Pensacola. He had no idea why he was there. "You were in an accident," his folks told him, "and you lost your leg." The words were as shocking to Patrick as you would imagine. Lost my leg? What does that mean? How is that possible? But he didn't shed any tears. Not then anyway. A few days later, Patrick woke up in the middle of the night and needed to use the bathroom. Even though he'd been through several surgeries, not only on his leg but also on a busted femur and a broken clavicle, he got out of bed and tried to walk to the bathroom. He fell instantly. In his groggy state, he had forgotten he no longer had two feet. Patrick needed help to get up and called for the nurses. As he lay on the floor, he dissolved into tears. "Oh, man," he thought, "I can't do this."

Those kind of dark moments have been few. Forrest Hair, one of Patrick's closest buddies and fellow cross country captain, went to Florida to visit him in the hospital, and what he saw even in those days following the accident amazed him. Yes, there were times Patrick was bitter, but Forrest never saw him angry. "And the crazy thing is, through that whole time, he was focusing on other people," Forrest said. "Even when he was in so much pain, he would say thank you to the nurses without fail." It was a sign of things to come.

Patrick spent 10 days in the hospital in Florida, then made the two-day trip back to Oklahoma. Less than 48 hours later, he was at a practice meet with his Norman High teammates. Not returning to the team was never an option. Patrick joined cross country as a sophomore. He'd played soccer but never given distance running much thought until one of the coaches convinced him to give it a shot. A year later, he was hooked. "I love to compete," Patrick said, "so I like races and trying to beat people down the final stretch, sprinting it out with someone next to you." But as much as anything, he loved how close the team was. The bond. The camaraderie. The fun. Even though he never made the varsity squad in either of his first two seasons, Patrick made a resolution last fall. He wanted to be a leader for this team and make sure everyone had as good of an experience as he'd had. His goal: to be a captain as a senior.

"Being a captain on this team is not about being fast," his buddy Forrest said. "It's not about being on varsity. "It's about being an influence." Patrick started showing up for 6:45 a.m. summer practices 20 or 30 minutes early. He welcomed newcomers. He encouraged everyone. "You know who I've really been impressed with?" Monnard, the head coach, told his assistants as the summer wound down. "Patrick." All of them agreed. Soon after, they decided Patrick would be one of the team captains. They planned to tell him when he got back from his trip to Florida.

The first month back home was tough for Patrick. Because of his broken clavicle, he couldn't support himself on crutches and had to use a wheelchair. He became almost completely reliant on others for help with just about everything. Not exactly popular with a teenage boy. "He hated the wheelchair," Monnard said. But . . . "He's handled (everything) better than I ever could've imagined." Once the clavicle healed a month ago, Patrick started using crutches. A few days later, he was fitted for his first prosthetic, a contraption that attaches just below his knee. For the past few weeks, he's been working at physical therapy and at home to improve his balance, to reduce his limp and to walk without a crutch. On Monday, he ditched his crutch midway through the school day and spent the entire afternoon walking without it for the first time. "I have this uneasiness sometimes that I might fall," he admitted. "I get tired a lot faster. I go a lot slower, so I was a little late to my fifth hour, but my teachers understand." Support, it seems, has come from everywhere.

There have been grand gestures; Laura Clay and her Westmoore High cross country team, one of Norman's biggest rivals, did a fundraiser to help defer some of Patrick's medical costs. There have been smaller moments, too. A student holding a door. A classmate carrying a book. A letter from another cross country team with notes of encouragement. Patrick is thankful for every bit of help. No one meant more, though, than his teammates. They were among the first people he saw when he returned to Norman as they gathered en masse at his house. But as much as anything, they treated him they way they always had, joking and laughing and encouraging. "They were always there," he said, "cheering me on." Just like old times.

Patrick Ahearn plans to run again. While he won't receive his permanent prosthetic for a couple more months - the process will wait until the shape of what's left of his leg stops changing - he already has designs on getting a running leg. It will cost more, as insurance only covers the expense of a primary prosthesis. But with several hundred donated dollars and foundations offering grants for such expenses — yep, Patrick has already looked into that — he hopes to make it happen. "After this, I'm like, he can do whatever he wants," his buddy Forrest said. "Running? Sure. Triathlon? Sure, Patrick can do it." His first goal: next year's Brookhaven Run. The 5K is a staple on the community's running calendar, and Norman High's cross country teams are heavily involved. This year, the entire team gathered for a photo after the race. Patrick is in front surrounded by his teammates, sitting in that wheelchair and smiling. Next year, there will be no sitting. "I just want to run and get out there again," he said. Even though he has surrounded himself with people who do what he can't, even though he has lost part of his leg, one thing about Patrick Ahearn has never changed. He is a runner.

The Oklahoman 22 October 2012
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Will Aldermen Get Patriotic?
If a former lawmaker gets her wish, New Haven's elected officials will start their City Hall meetings the way children start their days in school. Nancy Ahern, a former Westville alderwoman, has requested that aldermen recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the outset of full board meetings. Her request resulted in an official submission by board President Jorge Perez. Perez asked the board to consider Ahern's request, which would require a change of the rules of the board. The matter will be sent to committee for a public hearing, followed by a committee recommendation and then a vote by the full board.

Ahern described her request as a "very simple, entirely non-partisan, strictly patriotic idea." The Pledge of Allegiance, usually recited with one's right hand over one's heart, goes like this: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." "It's just a very simple patriotic act," Ahern said. "And it seems an appropriate way to start a public meeting in the United States of America." It's particularly important at a time when the United States is at war abroad and facing the threat of terrorist attacks at home, Ahern said. Board meetings currently open with an offering of "Divine Guidance," given by a different alderman each meeting. The speaker usually offers some sort of prayer or inspirational reading. Ahern said she thinks the Pledge of Allegiance should happen before Divine Guidance. The matter has been sent to the Aldermanic Affairs Committee for a public hearing. Ahern said she will offer testimony at the hearing, on Monday, Oct 29 in City Hall.

New Haven Independent 24 October 2012
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Real Estate Transactions
16 Fisher Rd. Maribeth Ahearn to John E. Kennedy and Laura S. Kennedy, $330,000
The Boston Globe 25 October 2012
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Gwinnett soccer coach arrested
A Gwinnett County soccer coach who allegedly was caught nude in the bedroom of one of his teenage players was charged with robbery after snatching a cell phone from the girl's father, who tried to take pictures of the incident for evidence, according to police. The Buford father wanted the coach, Patrick Ahern of Dacula, charged with rape in the Sept. 27 incident, but police determined that the teenager had not been raped and even if sex had occurred she was 16, the age of consent in Georgia.

Ahern instead was charged with "robbery by sudden snatching" on Oct. 25 after several weeks of investigation. Ahern turned himself in to police on Oct. 26, according to police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith, and he was released on bond later in the day. Efforts were made Friday to reach Ahern for comment. Ahern, 27, most recently coached an Atlanta Fire United girls' soccer team. According to the Georgia State Cup soccer website, Ahern also has coached a Dacula Soccer Club girls' team. To protect the identity of the teenager, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is not identifying her or her father.

According to police, the father caught Ahern with his daughter after walking into her bedroom. The father told police Ahern and his daughter were "engaged in physical contact. The suspect was completely nude," the report said. The report said the father grabbed his daughter's cell phone and tried to take a photograph of the incident but couldn't because Ahern snatched the phone from his hand and took it with him when he fled. The father said the soccer coach then threw the phone into a wooded area. The phone, however, was later recovered. The father wanted Ahern charged with rape, but Smith, the police spokesman, said the detective in the case determined that it wasn't a sexual assault case after several weeks of investigation.

"Ultimately, it was determined that he had not committed any wrongdoing in the eyes of the law," Smith said. "There was no actual sexual intercourse and whatever did occur was consensual — 16 being the age of consent for sexual activity in Georgia." Smith added that whatever people think of the relationship socially, "He's 27. She's 16. Legally, he hadn't done anything wrong." Police, however, said there was enough probable cause to pursue a charge of robbery by sudden snatching, which is equivalent to a purse-snatching charge. Ahern was arrested Oct. 26 and released later that night after posting $2,400 bond.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution 3 November 2012
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Woman found in water Thursday in Canton was Hopkins professor
Cause of death remains under investigation
The woman who died Thursday after being pulled from the water off a pier in Canton has been identified as a Johns Hopkins neurology professor. Dr. Elizabeth O'Hearn, 53, was found near the 2300 block of Boston St. in Canton. Police were called to the area about 4:45 a.m. by a witness who reported a woman floating facedown in the water, police said. The police marine unit pulled her out and she was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 8:18 a.m., according to Detective Vernon Davis, a Baltimore police spokesman. O'Hearn lived in the block where she was found, police said.

The cause of death is under investigation, and the body was to be taken to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy, Davis said. Kim Hoppe, a spokeswoman for the Johns Hopkins University, would say only that the university employed someone named Elizabeth O'Hearn but she did not know her job and could not confirm she was the person who died Thursday. But Marylisa Price, an administrator with the school's neuroscience department, confirmed the connection to the student newspaper, the Johns Hopkins News-Letter, and a public records search also confirmed the link. A profile page on the website LinkedIn showed that O'Hearn had been with the hospital since 1994.

O'Hearn was a 1985 graduate of the Hopkins School of Medicine, an assistant professor of neurology and neuroscience starting in 1997, and a collaborator with Dr. Mark E. Molliver on 15 research publications. O'Hearn's partner had been Molliver, a professor emeritus of neuroscience and neurology at Hopkins' School of Medicine. He died of complications after cardiac arrest May 10 at Johns Hopkins Hospital at the age of 75. While Molliver had children, he did not have any with O'Hearn, according to obituary records.

The Baltimore Sun 16 November 2012
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Bristol man dies in motorcycle crash in Washington Nov. 17
WASHINGTON — Connecticut State Police are investigating a collision that took place early Saturday afternoon at the intersection of routes 199 and 47 that resulted in the death of a motorcyclist. The crash involved a 1999 BMW motorcycle operated by Timothy Ahern, 65, of Bristol and a 2003 Lincoln town car owned by Kee Enterprises Inc. of New Milford and driven by Daniel Armentano, 68, of Danbury, according to the accident report issued by Troop L. Mr. Ahern was transported by Lifestar to St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury due to traumatic injuries and was pronounced dead upon arrival. Neither the driver nor the two passengers in the town car were injured. Both vehicles were towed from the accident scene by Titus Park Garage. Officer Andrew Fisher was the primary officer at the scene.
The Register Citizen 18 November 2012
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NORRIDGE — Allegretti's Bakery still serves as a local hangout, even if those milling about sport a little gray in their hair. In addition to a half dozen people coming to pick up orders one weekday were a few people standing around drinking coffee and sharing stories. The bakery, which next month will celebrate its 50th anniversary at 7717 W. Lawrence Ave. in Norridge, has served four generation of customers, said Linda Ahern, daughter of founder Anthony. "We grew up in the bakery," she said. "So did a lot of our friends. "On Sundays, after we did the baking and cleaned up, we used to have parties in the back with our family and our friends." Tom Jagusch remembers those times well. "I went to kindergarten with Ace," he said of Michael Allegretti, who took over the business after his father died in 1973. "I've known Ace forever." Allegretti said the recipes were hard to replicate at first because his father always seemed to leave out one ingredient.

And then there was the time with the pound cake. "It was a very precise recipe," Allegretti said. "You had to add the sugar at the right moment." Ahern didn't realize her brother already had done that step, so she added sugar. "It was looking good for a while," she said. "It was rising, and rising. Then we knew something was wrong. "We spent a lot of time scraping the oven," she said with a laugh.

Jagusch said the bakery still not only provides good food, but also good times. "I like the tastings," he said. Allegretti's opened shop in 1952 at Lexington and Kedzie avenues in Chicago. The family, which also includes Anthony Jr., Tom and Carol, moved to Norridge in 1962. "Since the day we opened, the town has been so receptive to an Italian bakery," Ahern said. "And we discovered how many of our old customers from Chicago were here. "We thrived on word-of-mouth." That and flyers left on cars parked at Divine Savior Catholic Church, so many years ago.

Back in those days, wedding cakes had six tiers, and the Allegrettis needed a ladder to cut the cake into serving pieces. Today, the bakery has expanded its services to include selling to grocery stores and also catering to the changing neighborhood desires. "We make onion bread, kolacke" Ahern said. The day before Ash Wednesday presents a challenge because many items are made to order, including paczki, the jam-filled delicacy also know as bismarcks or jelly doughnuts.

As the bakery gears up for its anniversary, Ace Allegretti noted the family ties still are strong. "The entire family helps," he said. "My brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews. And in a few years, my grandnephew." Ahern credited her father with giving the family the proper perspective. "Father was a gentle soul," she said. "He worked like a dog, but he instilled something in us."

Chicago Sun-Times 20 November 2012
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No evidence of foul play in Hopkins professor's death
Police awaiting toxicology results for woman found in Baltimore harbor
No evidence of foul play has been found in the death of Elizabeth "Liz" O'Hearn — the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine neurology professor found unresponsive in the Baltimore harbor last week — and it will not be ruled a homicide, according to city police. O'Hearn, 53, an accomplished neurologist who broke ground in the field of neurodegenerative disease and joined the medical school's faculty in 1997, was found unresponsive in the water near her Canton home in the 2300 block of Boston Street about 4:45 a.m. Thursday. She was pronounced dead hours later at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

An autopsy of O'Hearn's body has since been performed, but the results have not been released as the state medical examiner awaits a toxicology report that will show whether the neurologist had any drugs in her system, said Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman. A cause of death will be issued by the medical examiner once the toxicology results are known, and police will use that information as they continue their investigation, Guglielmi said. "We're investigating as to whether this was an accidental or self-inflicted death, but be mindful that that is all going to depend on what evidence we gather," Guglielmi said.

O'Hearn's sister, Deirdre O'Hearn, of New York, said it was "hard to say" what to think of the findings. "It's hard because she's just not here," she said. "I'm not sure if we're every going to know definitively what happened."

The Baltimore Sun 20 November 2012
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Eddie Ahern will carry on riding during BHA corruption investigation
British Horseracing Authority set to charge jockey
Rider will return to action at Lingfield on Wednesday
Eddie Ahern has vowed to carry on riding during a corruption investigation into him by the British Horseracing Authority.
Eddie Ahern will return to action at Lingfield on Wednesday for the first time since the news broke that he is being investigated by the British Horseracing Authority and is under suspicion of a serious but unspecified breach of its rules. The Newmarket-based jockey intends to pursue a "business as usual" policy according to his agent, who nevertheless feels that Ahern has been placed in a terrible position by news of the case leaking out before the BHA has decided whether or not to pursue charges.

"I'm not very happy about it," said Gavin Horne, who has booked Ahern's rides for the past three months and hopes that trainers will not now be reluctant to use the 34-year-old. "It caught me by surprise as much as anyone." Horne was annoyed at the suggestion in a report on Saturday that the jockey had "given up" his rides at Wolverhampton the previous evening rather than face the press. "He was signed off with flu," Horne said, "and then his only ride on Saturday was a non-runner. It was nothing to do with him giving up any rides. We're carrying on, business as usual, and he'll be at Lingfield on Wednesday."

Ahern has four booked mounts at the Surrey track, two of them trained by Sir Henry Cecil. One is the debutant Demonic, owned by Khalid Abdulla, whose racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe, said of Ahern: "If Henry's happy to use him, we're happy to use him." Ahern will also ride for Paul D'Arcy, whose wife, Sue, said: "He's been put in a difficult position. Innocent until proven guilty, I thought that was the general rule. He's never caused us any problems." James Fanshawe said he was "very happy" with the work Ahern has done for him this year, winning on six of 19 rides. While Fanshawe wouldn't comment on the investigation, knowing none of the relevant facts, he added: "It's unfortunate when these things get leaked in the press. Some people always seem to take a 'no smoke without fire' view of it."

News of the investigation broke after Ahern applied for a licence to ride in India this winter, prompting the local racing authorities to check his status with the BHA. Saturday's Racing Post quoted a spokesman for the Bangalore Turf Club as saying: "We got a communication from the BHA stating that he would probably be charged with a serious offence." The BHA refuses to comment, as is its policy on current investigations. However, it is understood that officials value their ability to trade information about cases with fellow racing authorities overseas. This is done on the understanding that any such news would not be shared with the press and the Bangalore Turf Club is likely to be reminded of that principle.

Weapon's Amnesty, a dual winner at the Cheltenham Festival but not seen in public for more than two years, is back in full training and may run in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting. "I'm happy enough," said his trainer, Charles Byrnes, whose first runner at Kempton became his first winner here when Knockfierna won a Listed prize on Monday. "We've had to feel our way slowly with him because he had quite a bad leg injury." Byrnes added that his classy hurdler Solwhit was also due to return to action at around the same time after an absence of almost two years.

There will be no turf racing in Britain on Wednesday, Fontwell and Wetherby having abandoned their cards. There is already significant doubt about Newcastle's ability to stage the Fighting Fifth card on Saturday.

The Guardian 26 November 2012
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Quincy man facing additional child sex charges
Additional charges were filed Tuesday against a Quincy man who was already facing an aggravated child pornography charge. Adams County State's Attorney Jon Barnard filed three more felony charges against Eric W. Ahearn, 40. Ahearn was charged with criminal sexual assault of a family member under the age of 18, which is a Class 1 felony, and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, which are Class 2 felony counts. "Additional investigation indicated that there were other victims," Barnard said.

Ahearn was arrested on Oct. 18 on a charge of production/possession of child pornography. According to the Quincy Police Department, officers launched an investigation of Ahearn on April 4, which resulted in his arrest. The victim was a Quincy resident under the age of 13, police said. Ahearn is being lodged in the Adams County Jail in lieu of $150,000 bond. A motion to reduce his bond earlier this month was denied by Judge Scott Walden. Ahearn was supposed to have a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, but it was postponed to 1:15 p.m. on Dec. 11.

Quincy Herald-Whig 27 November 2012
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Saab Building's new owner bullish on downtown Lowell
"With the judicial center coming, there should be more lawyers looking for office space," said Kevin Ahern, 39, of Lowell, during a telephone interview. "It made a lot of financial sense." Ahern purchased the 36,000-square-foot structure, at 147 Central St., for $700,000 from Saab Realty Corp. on Aug. 31, according to real-estate records. He said it was his first foray into commercial real estate, and termed it a "personal investment." The building includes 12 retail spots on the ground floor, all of which are filled, Ahern said. Tenants include the Reservations restaurant, two salons, a nail business, clothing store, beauty-supplies business and a dental office. He said a tax accountant has offices upstairs, but about half that space is currently vacant as Saab Realty Corp. business is gone.

For many years, the late Lowell lawyer and real-estate investor Louis Saab ran his business from the second floor of the building. Saab died in August 2010 at age 80, and his trust has gradually sold some of his properties since that time. Ahern is co-owner of The Beacon Group, a Tewksbury-based global logistics and engineering company. He is also a member of the Lowell Zoning Board of Appeals. The building was constructed in 1912 with elements of neoclassic and arts-and-crafts patterning, and was originally named "Bradley Block," according to Steve Stowell, administrator for the Lowell Historic Board. It underwent exterior rehabilitation in the early 1980s, he said.

In more recent years, the facade has read "Saab Building," as Saab had owned it and ran his legal and real-estate business from it since the early 1960s. "It has always been very prominent on Central Street, with shops on the ground floor and a combination of shops and offices on the second floor," Stowell said, adding that the upstairs is designed like an indoor mall, with a common hallway leading to shop space and professional offices. "It's great that it was bought by someone with his heart in the community." One tenant, Helen G. Roy, co-owner of H&F Beauty Supplies, hopes some of that concern will rub off on her business, which opened two months ago and is off to a slow start. "I moved here from Boston because I thought it would be better to be in a small city," she said during an interview at her store Monday morning. "In Boston the rents are so high and all the construction has really hurt businesses. "But it hasn't been very good so far (in Lowell). I hope it picks up."

Al-Hassan Mansaray, owner of Al's Clothing, a retailer of casual and hip-hop clothing, has run his store from the Saab Building since 2005. He hopes that his new landlord will continue the positive relationship Mansaray had built with Saab. "He is doing the little things to make the building look better, like cleaning the windows, getting rid of junk in the basement," Mansaray said. "He seems like a good guy. The thing about Louie, when I first came here and struggled, he gave me advice on how to build business. He was always positive, and that is tough to replace."

Ahern, who said he knew Saab on a professional level, said his immediate plans include general maintenance inside and outside and "sealing up the building." He said he has met all of his tenants, as well as with Stowell in the event that any potential renovation plans have historical implications. Ahern said The Beacon Group will remain at its present headquarters at 500 Clark Road in Tewksbury, although he has opened a temporary office in the Saab Building for his own property duties. The Central Street parcel that includes the Saab Building is assessed at $1,155,900, according to city records.

The Lowell Sun 27 November 2012
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Head check needed after dad gives up agency for sheep
AGENT OF CHANGE: Clifton's Brian Ahearn has been
a livestock agent, a horse trainer and is now turning off prime lambs.
When former Gayndah live-stock agent Brian Ahearn first touted the idea of retiring south, his son wondered aloud if he was losing it. When he actually bought a small Clifton property and shifted to one of the state's coldest regions, the same child shook his head and said "Dad's not thinking so well anymore". Then, when after a lifetime in the cattle industry, the retired agent ventured into sheep, his children threatened to get his head checked.

This week the affable landholder good naturedly retold the story as he savoured success at the Warwick saleyards. His pen of Dorper cross lambs averaged 47kg and sold for a near weekly high of $95. The lambs had been finished on the last of Mr Ahearn's oats, backed up by lucerne. He was more than satisfied with the saleyard's price. "I have always said you have to be prepared to accept the market as it is on the day," he said. The former Central Queenslander runs 150 ewes on a small fattening operation on Kings Creek, between Clifton and Nobby. He shifted south 12 years ago and these days runs a mix of cattle and prime lambs. "I try to turn off lambs in the 45-47kg range and sometimes they sell better than others."

Yet as a prime lamb producer, albeit one who insists it is very much a sideline, he remains frustrated by the difference between saleyard prices and supermarket shelves. "It's frustrating when consumers have to pay $18 to $22 a kilogram for lamb," Mr Ahearn said. "Particularly when you are well aware of what price they are making in the saleyards. "I think the high supermarket prices are affecting people's decision to choose lamb as a protein. "For many it is too dear." However on the upside he said when his pens sold well it went someway to disproving the criticisms of his children about his location and lifestyle choice.

Warwick Daily News 28 November 2012
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Windham man arrested in connection with donut shop robberies
Willimantic, Conn. — A 40-year-old Windham man was arrested Thursday in connection with two robberies at the same restaurant. Joseph Ahearn, of 21 Pond Way, was charged with first-degree robbery and sixth-degree larceny, state police said. Ahearn is suspected of robbing the Dunkin Donuts restaurant at 307 Boston Post Road on Tuesday and again on Thursday, police said. On Thursday, troopers responded to a report of a robbery which had just occurred during which the suspect stated he had a gun. Troopers were directed by witnesses to a nearby trailer park. Witnesses who were following the suspect pointed Ahearn out to arriving troopers. Ahearn was taken into custody without incident. Further investigation by the Eastern District Major Crime Unit revealed Ahearn is linked to a robbery at the same location two days before, police said.
Norwich Bulletin 30 November 2012
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Fla. principal accused of 'unprofessional, bizarre behavior'
Documents show Denise Ahearn sexually harassed a male co-worker
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An investigation by Duval County Public Schools has found that the Holiday Hill Elementary School principal displayed "unprofessional, bizarre behavior," including inappropriate sexual conduct in front of students. Documents from the investigation show that Denise Ahearn sexually harassed a male co-worker. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti is recommending to the School Board on Tuesday that Ahearn be suspended for 30 days and then reassigned to supervisor of supplemental educational services, a job headquartered at the district's main office. She is being paid more than $85,000 a year.

Some of her behaviors included walking into the school's intervention office, stating that she was reading "Fifty Shades of Grey" and then commenting that "if I keep reading this book, I'll be coming in here pinning someone against the wall." The person who filed the complaint also said Ahearn commented about his weight loss over the previous year and made specific remarks about the size of his buttocks, proclaiming, "You don't have a butt." During the investigation, the school district interviewed the complainant and many staff members at Holiday Hill. The staff told the investigator that Ahearn's behavior was "disturbing."

Vitti said Ahearn's discipline is setting a new precedent in the district. In the past, the 30-day suspension could be take[n] sporadically, but Vitti said Ahearn will serve those days consecutively. Vitti also said her new job, which would be a demotion, also shows more bite in the disciplinary action. "She won't be at the school site where the issues had occurred," he said. "We have to be more stringent about our disciplinary approach to curtail this type of behavior." School Board member Cheryl Grymes said she agrees with Vitti's decision to move Ahearn out of the elementary school. "Our first responsibility is to protect the students and the school environment," Grymes said. "I just think we need to be very conscious of our educators acting in a professional manner." Board Chairman Fel Lee was less clear about his stance on Vitti's recommendation. "We haven't had a chance to discuss this as a board," Lee said Monday. "But at the end of the day, this is the superintendent's employee. We need to hear from him before we cast our votes."

In the investigation documents, Ahearn denied having sexually harassed the complainant, adding that she "would never do that." The principal told the investigator that her staff had a misconception of her conduct. She admitted she was reading "Fifty Shades of Grey" and made those comments but said she was joking. Ahearn also confirmed that she was dancing in the presence of students but was using it as part of the arts and "what we are trying to develop this year."

Amarillo Globe-News 4 December 2012
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Chelmsford, Dracut off to undefeated starts
Chelmsford and Dracut each went 3-0 on Saturday as the local high school wrestling season busily swung into action with several quad-meets and tri-meets.

Chelmsford swept its opening three matches of the season, defeating Westford (53-19), Tyngsboro (41-25) and Melrose (58-12).

Going 3-0 on the day for the Lions were 106-pound freshman Griffin Murray (major decision, regular decision, pin), 132-pound junior Jake Ahern (major decision, 2 pins), 145-pound junior James Clasen (major decision, regular decision, pin) and 220-pound junior Brendan Flaherty (3 pins). Going 2-0 were Kyle McQuaide (technical fall, pin), 160-pound senior Adam Civinskis (2 pins), 182-pound senior Sean Sarault (decision, pin) and 195-pound sophomore Del Driscoll (2 pins). Senior 170-pounder Ben Melisi went 2-1, with his victories being by pin and major decision.

The Lowell Sun 9 December 2012
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Elementary parent upset over holiday concert cancellation
'Vague' reason from principal doesn't sit well with York mother
YORK — Jennifer Gates was preparing to make costumes for her son's holiday concert at Dare Elementary School when she got an email from her son's teacher to put a hold on the costume making. As it turned out, Dare Elementary Principal Mary Ahearn canceled the concert, unbeknownst to parents and apparently some teachers. In an email response to an inquiry from Gates about the cancellation, Ahearn said she asked the music teacher to "plan concerts for different times of the year due to the diversity of (the school's) population." "Activities at the school have to be planned so that all children, despite their religious beliefs, are able to participate," Ahearn said in the email.

Gates is frustrated Ahearn never directly communicated to parents that the concert had been canceled. Many parents as recently as this week didn't know the event was canceled, she said. Adding to Gates' confusion is that her son's class had rehearsed music for a holiday concert earlier in the school year. "Why reach out to your room moms? Why have the kids practicing the music then the principal decides not to move forward with it?" Gates said. Katherine Goff, coordinator of community and public relations for the York County School Division, said scheduling school events and performances is at the discretion of each school principal. Goff said neither Coventry Elementary nor Waller Mill Elementary are having concerts in December. Under school division regulations, Goff said school activities can have "attributes of a holiday" if there is "proper context" to assure "sensitivity to all students."

Goff said Dare Elementary had a school approved "Winter Choral" concert in December last year. In the two previous years, the school had an unofficial holiday concert with Mount Vernon Elementary that was offered as a before-school choral club where no class time was used, she said. For seven years before that, Goff said Dare Elementary did not hold a winter concert. In an email to the Daily Press, Ahearn said her decision regarding this year's holiday concert at Dare Elementary was to "ensure instructional time was utilized for balanced music education." The decision applies to this school year only, she said.

Gates feels like the explanation from Ahearn is vague and disagrees that diversity is the issue. "Why does diversity and an annual celebration, why would that need to be mutually exclusive of each other?" Gates said. "Plenty of schools have figured out how to have a December concert and be inclusive versus canceling it altogether."

Newport News Daily Press 17 December 2012
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Ahern among six facing BHA corruption charges
Jockey Eddie Ahern can expect to be warned off if found guilty of charges
EDDIE AHERN can expect to be warned off if found guilty after being charged following the BHA's latest corruption investigation. Former professional footballer Neil Clement, James Clutterbuck, the son of Newmarket trainer, Ken Clutterbuck, and former jockeys' agent and in-running punter, Martin Raymond are among five other people also facing charges. Ahern, who has ridden 1,020 winners in the UK since 1998, was forced to abandon plans to ride in India this winter after the Bangalore Turf Club contacted the BHA as a prelude to processing his licence application, and was alerted he was likely to be charged with a serious offence.

Ahern, who was riding at Lingfield on Wednesday, said: "I don't want to say anything at the moment and just want to find out first what I am meant to have done and then I will make a statement." Clement made 300 appearances for West Bromwich Albion, including four seasons in the Premiership, but was forced to retire in January 2010 due to a knee injury. Ahern is accused of conspiring with Clement and/or other persons to commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice over the laying of five horses he rode between September 2010 and February 2011.

In one of the races, Ahern is also charged with intentionally failing to ensure Judgethemoment was ridden on its merits at Lingfield on January 21, 2011. The sixth race in the case concerned the laying of the Adam Kirby-ridden Stoneacre Gareth at Lingfield on March 9, 2011, although in this instance there is no suggestion the jockey or trainer, Ken Clutterbuck, were involved in any wrongdoing.

James Clutterbuck, 23, has been left feeling deeply aggrieved and hit out at the BHA for the situation he finds himself in. He said: "I didn't know the layer, I knew Neil Clement obviously, and I knew Martin Raymond because he's a good friend of mine and its absolutely ridiculous that he's involved at all. "I backed the horse on the day on-course at Lingfield, and now this has all come about. I knew there was an investigation, but I didn't think it would go this far. "I haven't gained any reward whatsoever, I know Martin Raymond hasn't, none of us have, it is just ridiculous. They [the BHA] are just trying to get the little man at the end of the day, that's how it goes. They've got a load of people that can't afford to fight their corner. "The horse had no right to win at Lingfield, having gone up 18lb since winning at Kempton [two races previously], and he ran an honest race to finish fourth, but just wasn't good enough in that grade. There is nothing corrupt about that."

The disciplinary inquiry is set for April 29 to May 3 next year, although this could be subject to change.

Racing Post 19 December 2012
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Nigel O'Hearn terminates Palindrome Theatre after three years, just as planned.
Nigel O'Hearn
It's a Monday afternoon at Thunderbird Coffee, and Nigel O'Hearn is on the patio — there are no tables open inside. But even though it's the first cold day of December, he seems to have enough nervous energy to keep himself warm. In a little over four hours, his play The Attic Space will have its press preview, and despite a three-year run making theatre with his company, Palindrome, O'Hearn's never felt this tense about the opening of a show. "I don't know how this play is going to be received," he says. "I'm probably too close to it to understand, but it could be a catastrophe. Not only is theatre never surefire, but I feel more hanging-out-naked-in-the-wind than I have in a long time on a play."

O'Hearn has been the artistic director of Palindrome since its conception, but this is the first play that the company has produced that he's both written and directed. It'll also be the last. Part of the plan for Palindrome since its beginning was that it came with a self-destruct timer counting down from three years. After The Attic Space, it's set to go off. That's an unusual choice for a young company, but O'Hearn is an unusual guy. A native Austinite and St. Edward's University graduate — he received degrees in English composition and general theatre studies in an attempt "to cobble together a playwriting degree between the departments" — the 25-year-old O'Hearn started Palindrome as a three-year project explicitly to produce classic and canonical work in a town known for providing ample opportunities for young playwrights to have their work produced.

When you talk about unusual choices for Austin theatremakers, O'Hearn's decision to devote a lot of time, energy, and resources to developing the reputation of a company that he's planning to pull the plug on in three years certainly stands out. A guy who strung together two degrees in order to educate himself as a playwright has used his company's not-insignificant resources (Palindrome's recent revival of All My Sons cost $25,000) to produce the work of Arthur Miller, Samuel Beckett, and Henrik Ibsen, waiting until its last show to put on a play that he wrote. These are definitely unusual choices, but O'Hearn has some unusual ideas about what he wants to do in theatre.

Palindrome Theatre was co-founded in 2010 by O'Hearn and director/actress Kate Eminger. From the outset, they conceived it as something that they'd do for three years, though the reason was fairly common among young Austin theatremakers: They were planning to move at some point to a city where the young and ambitious have a better chance of making a career in the field. "We were young, we had just graduated from school, and I think that it was a way of doing work, and doing work that could take you to another city," O'Hearn explains. "That's what [Kate] wanted: a foundation of work. Out of that grew: 'We're not going to do this forever.'"

Early on in the company's life, though, Eminger found that even a three-year commitment to making theatre in Austin wasn't in line with her ambitions, and she moved to New York. Austin Sheffield, another founding member, moved into the producing director role, and the company expanded. The three-year plan remained in effect, though its purpose changed. "It became about trying to use that context of terminality to free up and explore work on more than just a production-by-production basis," O'Hearn says. "It felt just long enough to do a season like this for the final season. Three years felt like the right commitment time. If there was going to be terminality around it — [if it were] five years, you'd start to amass a certain infrastructure, and any less than three years would feel unfinished." O'Hearn, at this point, seems enamored of the options that the end of Palindrome provides him — while he has no definitive plans for what's next beyond staying in Austin for at least another year to help grow his family's pool-cleaning business, he likes the idea of focusing on his craft as a playwright and pursuing opportunities in New York or London — a dramatic change from producing and staging classic scripts in Austin for three years.

In its brief life, Palindrome has produced seven plays (eight, if you count the second staging of O'Hearn's adaptation of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, which the company took to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2011), and there's a commonality to all of its choices. The company has staged Samuel Beckett's Endgame, Sarah Ruhl's Melancholy Play, Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo, Hedda Gabler, Dario Fo's Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Arthur Miller's All My Sons, and now O'Hearn's The Attic Space. With the exception of O'Hearn's original, all are works that you might find on a high school drama teacher's shelf. Most young artists with O'Hearn's sensibilities — that is to say, those who drop phrases like "context of terminality" easily into a conversation — tend to want to set the world on fire, but for O'Hearn, setting the world on fire involved trying to find ways to bring out the urgency he felt when he read these established plays.

"When we started in 2010, I don't think we were the only company doing more canonical work, but you tended to find it at venues like Austin Playhouse," he explains. "I don't think they do bad work, but I think there's a real separation between the progressive Austin theatre that's celebrated on somewhat of a national level, and what feels more like a community theatre. We were trying to bring some of the tenets of that traditional theatre and bridge it with this progressive excitement."

Palindrome certainly sought to do that in its time producing that work. In addition to adapting Hedda Gabler, O'Hearn wrote a new ending for Accidental Death of an Anarchist in an attempt to tie the play's themes to the Austin Police Department's Justification of Force policy, and with All My Sons, focused on making Miller's points about the Military Industrial Complex resonate with contemporary audiences. Getting those themes across in the theatre is the reason that O'Hearn says he was determined to put on that work rather than his own. "I don't think my work is as good as Arthur Miller's work," he says with a self-aware laugh. "It would have been harder to make a case for theatre as social urgency, because I don't think I'm at a place where I'm writing work that has a stronger social message yet. A play like All My Sons, and especially a play like Hedda Gabler — those are the foundational documents of the theatre that invigorates this town. I think it would be hard to take my work and tie it to Palindrome's mission of taking classic work and showing it to have a social urgency."

Now, though, Palindrome's run is nearly finished, and it's time for O'Hearn to show what he's got as a playwright himself. So how did the six productions from the canon inform The Attic Space? "I don't think I could or should be writing a play like All My Sons," O'Hearn says. "That is not what it's taught me. Having a sense that those works can be done in an invigorated way is not the same as what I want to write as a writer. But I've learned that what I really want to do is provide people with just enough of what they're familiar with. Accessibility for the majority of the play is greater than confusion for the entirety for the sake of being explosive. An explosion is better used a couple of times."

O'Hearn doesn't claim that The Attic Space is as effective as other plays his company has produced or even that it manages to bring that social urgency — he's big on "We'll see if it works" and "I don't know" when he talks about it in those terms. But he's confident that, whether he succeeds or fails with the play, theatre is the medium that's uniquely situated to do what he's interested in — which is trying to bring a room full of people together as a community to reflect the world in which they live. "If you were to describe theatre to an alien from another planet," O'Hearn starts, by way of explaining why it was important to him to ensure that Palindrome's mission included a component about social relevance, "I think: 'A group of people agree to sit in a room while some other people pretend for a really long time — to the point where they're believing it — and neither party feels like it's about them. Each party feels like it's about the pretend story.' When it's at its best, something is manifested outside of the human mind. That sort of thing usually only happens in dreams."

The Austin Chronicle 21 December 2012
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My First Job: Darren Ahearn, fast-food worker
How did you get your first job? My first job was at Taco Bell on Kent Island. I got it because my girlfriend's mother was the manager. It pays to know people in high places.
What kind of company was it? Making tacos and Mexican food.
How long did you work there? About one year until I got a whopping 25 cents per hour pay raise to go to True Value Hardware Store.
Tell us a bit about the job. I worked some crazy long hours as a 16-year-old. We were located on U.S. 50, and, in the summer, we had lots of business. I remember never getting a break on a Saturday.
What did you love or hate about the job? I liked it because I was there the day it opened and got to help put in the tile floors. I learned quite a bit about customer service and how to run a fast-food joint. I did not like the long hours on weekends.
How much were you paid? Minimum wage back then was $3.25 an hour. We were rich since gas was only 79 cents a gallon.
What do you do now? I have been a real estate professional for almost 10 years. I have a team of three other agents and a marketing director. They are great to work with and make "The Ahearn Team."
If you could go back in time and give yourself a piece of advice, what would you say? Never stop serving people, no matter what it takes. You're just one customer away from an explosion in your business.
Frederick News Post 24 December 2012
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