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May 13, 2011

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POST-GAZETTE, MAY 13, 2011 Page 3 POST-GAZETTE Pamela Donnaruma, Publisher and Editor 5 Prince Street, P.O. Box 130135, Boston, MA 02113 617-227-8929 617-227-8928 FAX 617-227-5307 e-mail: Website: Subscriptions in the United States $30.00 yearly Published weekly by Post-Gazette, 5 Prince St., P.O. Box 130135, Boston, MA 02113 USPS 1538 - Second-Class Postage paid at Boston, MA POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the POST-GAZETTE - P.O. Box 130135, Boston, MA 02113 James V. Donnaruma Caesar L. Donnaruma Phyllis F. Donnaruma 1896 to 1953 1953 to 1971 1971 to 1990 Vol. 115 - No. 19 Friday, May 13, 2011 "SECURE COMMUNITIES" COMES UNDER FIRE IN CHELSEA by Sal Giarratani Critics of the "Secure Communities" program which allows federal authorities to check the immigrant status of all criminal suspects in the state clashed recently with supporters of the program at a forum hosted by the Patrick Administration at Chelsea High School. At the present time, this new program is active on a pilot basis in Boston and is scheduled to be imple- mented across the country in 2013. When the pro- gram becomes mandatory in two years, all suspects arrested will have their fingerprints sent by the state to federal authorities. Detainees could face deporta- tion if here illegally. Over 200 activists blasted the program in Chelsea. Franklin Peralta of Jamaica Plain said, "It's unfair. There are laws in place already to deport serious crimi- nals. This is deporting innocent people." However, Christen Varley, president of the Greater Boston Tea Party, disagreed saying, "These people here today don't understand the distinction (between targeted felons and the rest of the immigration population), and it's not in their interest to have criminals running around either." The meeting held at Chelsea High School was the latest in a series of meetings to disc.uss the program with communities around the state. Bob Cappucci of Medford said he backed the program. He said of the illegal immigrants living in this country, "all 12 mil- lion of them are criminals." However, Lyn Meza of Chelsea stated, "It's an attack on our community. Fi- nally, Gladys Vega from the Chelsea Collaborative which advocates for immigrants rights said Patrick should "opt out oF the program. Okay readers, what say you? MEGLIO TARDI CHI MAI. Better late than never. LETTERS POLICY The Post-Gazette invites its readers to submit Letters to the Editor. Letters should be typed, double-spaced and must include the writer's name, address and telephone number. Anonymous letters are not accepted for publication. Due to space considerations, we request that letters not exceed two double-spaced, type-written pages. This newspaper reserves the right to edit letters for style, grammar and taste and to limit the number of letters published from any one person or organization. Deadline for submission is 12:00 noon on the Monday prior to the Fbday on which the writer wishes to have the material published. Submission by the deadline does not guarantee publication. Send letter to: Pamela Donnaruma, Editor, The Post-Gazette, P.O. Box 130135, Boston, MA 02113 The opinions expressed by our columnists and contributors are not necessarily the same as those of The Postazette, its publisher or editor. Photo submis- sions are accepted by the Post-Gazette provided the are clear, original photos. There is a $5 charge for each photo submitted. Photos can be submitted via email: If you want your photos returned, include a self- addressed,  envelope. l The Federal Commission CalI1-8T/-FTC-HELP (17782-4357) t Peter Looney: A Living Legacy for Charlestown Charlestown Little League players presented Peter Looney with a team jer- sey and commemorative plaque honoring him on Peter Looney Day, August 30. I drove down Union Street passing by the children's park that soon would be "Peter Looney Park." I've known Peter going back to the seventies when he was already quite known for his community activism, especially with the youth of the neighbor- hood. He always saw drugs as a demon to be cast out to the netherworld. He has always been a valuable source of strength for parents seeking help for their kids. Back than when I lived across the street from Engine 50, I often thought that Peter, like St. Mary's Church, served Charlestown well. People outside Charlestown always miss- by Sal Giarratani identify this community. It is not build- ings and the beautiful architecture, it is not the Bunker Hill Monument it is not the brand-new City Square Park. These are things and things don't build a community. Charlestown's foundation is in its people and the commitment passed on generation to generation within families. When I lived in Charlestown my address was either Winthrop Street or earlier Pearl Street but when I think of Peter, his address is simply Charlestown. Certain people do extraordinary things for their community, Peter remains one of those people. These folks are the real foun- dation of Charlestown, past, present and future. The Monument was built with gran- ite from the Quincy quarries but Charles- town was built by Charlestown people. Everyone can't be a leader but for those who pick up that mantle, it becomes a full- time job like the real job you hold to pay your rent or mortgage. People can reside any- where but the real objective allusive to most is to "live" somewhere. I am not a "Townie" by birth but like my grandparents who came to "CharLEStown" (as they referred to it) from Beara Island in West Cork, it was easy falling in love with the place. "Peter Looney Park" on Union Street is within eyesight of my Uncle Jim's potato shed. Peter Looney without a doubt has taken his love for his community and turned it into a full-time occupation. What an honor to have a playground for tomorrow's community leaders named after one of today's community's leaders. Peter Looney is a living legacy for all that remains good about the Charlestown community. JACKIE COOPER: from Skippy to Perry White with Life in Between by Sal Giarratani Hollywood legend Jackie Cooper the kid, who became America's boy during the Great Depression and sur- vived the graveyard of child stars and flourished as an adult Hollywood actor, has passed away at age 88. Many of his earlier movies were nothing but tear-jerkers but in his passing, few can shed tears because Cooper also made us laugh much too. He overcame the demise suf- fered by many child actors and continued on in movies and in the '50s into the new medium of television. As a kid in the fifties, I would watch all those short comedies about kids .being in charge. There were the "Our Gang" com- edies, which were older than the "Little Ras- cals." The first series was connected to Jackie Cooper and the second to Spanky MacFarland. They both could make you laugh. The only better to me was "The Three Stooges," where adults acted like kids. Cooper was only nine when he was an Oscar nominee for "Skippy" in 1931. He still holds the record for youngest Oscar nominee. In the 1930s, he made five mov- ies that captivated America with his All- American boy looks. However, after WWII, he saw TV as the future and got into it quite well. I mostly remember him from the 'Our Gang' com- edies and from two sitcoms. One was 'The People's Choice," when he co-starred with a talking dog named Cleo or as a Navy doc- tor in "Hennesey." He was also involved behind the camera as an Emmy-winning director of "M*A*S*H." Between 1975 and 1987, he played the role of Perry White of the Daily Planet in four "Superman" movies. With his clean-cut looks and smile, he always played the good guy because he looked the part so well. Cooper according to his memoir "Please Don't Shoot My Dog" in 1981 was born in Los Angeles.. He was born John Cooper Jr. but he never knew his musician dad who went out for cigarettes one night and never came back. He was brought up by his mother and grandmother. The grandmother would drag him to movie studios from age three and he was often selected as an extra. He got his first big break as a member of the "Our Gang" then, it was Paramount and "Skippy" and the rest, as they say, was history. His career started to slide as he got older and those movies were pretty forgettable. However, as I already said, he saw TV as his future and jumped into it with both feet. He was married three times. His third marriage to Barbara Kraus proved to be the charm. They married in 1954 and had three children, Russell, Julie and Cristina. Julie died in 1997, his wife and Cristina died in 2009. In 1951, he almost met the father who abandoned him. He was traveling cross country and stopped at a garage. A me- chanic recognized him and said his father lived upstairs. When the mechanic said let me tell him you are here, Cooper said, "No, please don't. I don't need to be confused." Cooper was a great entertainer who brought much laughter to the screen espe- cially during the Great Depression. He came across like a real person. He came across like that from his earliest days as a little kid on the screen until those older days as Perry White trying to figure out a guy named Clark Kent. I'm sure during the filming of "The Peoples' Choice," you just had to laugh at yourself sharing top billing with a basset hound who loved to talk all the time. For Jackie Cooper, it wasn't a dog-eat-dog world. He got to race cars. He got to pick him- self back up after falling. He got to become a great actor who shared his passion with those who viewed his talent grow over the years. He always looked like the boy next door and then the guy next door. He became everyone's kind of friend. It was comfortable sitting there, laughing at the homegrown humor of his which served him so well so long andall of us too.