The Ahern Family - Newspaper Reports 2008

Mention of Aherns in
Newspaper Stories of 2008

Madras Commissioner Ahern runs for Dist. 56
Mike Ahern wants to be the next representative from House District 56. The Democrat visited The Dalles Tuesday from his home town of Madras. He described himself as a fiscal conservative. “I'm not interested in bigger taxes, with the possible exception of transportation,” Ahern said. “I think transportation needs greater than its current revenue.”

Ahern says he is running on his “experience, ability and vision.” He was raised in Jefferson County and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in political science. He is currently a Jefferson County commissioner in his second term. He also served on the Madras City Council in the 1980s. On the county commission, Ahern says he has been able to work successfully to get business done with two “tried-and-true, diehard Republicans.” Ahern is also a small businessman who owned and operated Ahern's Grocery for 21 years, then founded the Black Butte General Store. He is currently a Realtor and a member of several local service groups.

“Oregon is messed up,” Ahern said. “I think we don't really have a representative government.” He enjoys being a public servant. “I want to take that same attitude down to Salem,” he said. “I want to be a good representative for the people.” In addition to transportation, Ahern's priorities include economic development and land use planning. He sees education in community colleges and public schools as a key part of economic development. “Oregon will only prosper and thrive if we improve our combined efforts in education,” he said. The state has pulled back its regional economic development money, Ahern said, noting that the regional process helped draw individual counties into cooperative efforts, as Jefferson County has done with its neighbors, Crook and Deschutes counties. “We work together very, very well,” he said.

Ahern also wants to improve health care, but says he'll support the Democratic party line for systemic changes. “I really think America needs health care for everybody,” he said. “Whatever way we can pull in that direction, I will be working on it.” County payments remain an issue of concern, Ahern said. “Obviously, I'll keep working with the Senate and Congress to get the funding back,” he said. “I see it as a long-term Oregon problem.” Ahern says, with all its forests, Oregon should tout the national interest in global warming, and remind the nation that it's getting value from the forests. “Look at this wonderful bank of carbon-cleansing trees,” he said. “That's part of the pitch. We serve a national need.” Ahern also favors more aggressive salvage logging and forest thinning. “We can never cut trees back to economic health,” he noted, but Oregon isn't even able to cut the trees agreed upon in Clinton's forest plan. “I can see why people are frustrated,” he said. “They should be frustrated. They're not getting the deal that was brokered for them.”

While The Dalles and Madras are experiencing growth within District 56, Ahern sees a need to take steps to protect the economic viability of the district's smaller towns, including Condon, Fossil, Spray, Mitchell and others. “We've got to find a way.” Health care is another issue of concern, Ahern says, citing statistics suggesting that 23 percent of the gross national product goes to health care. “I think we're spending enough on health care ... We're just not playing our cards right. I think we need to reinvent health care,” he said. While Ahern looks to the national party for big reform measures, he sees himself as a incrementalist. “I'm always looking for ways to do it better,” he said. One example is health savings accounts, which he has come to support.

Ahern says, if he gets the Democratic nomination, he will be running against a “class act” in Republican John Huffman, who was appointed to the office last year when John Dallum resigned. “I just think I'm better,” he said.

The Dalles Chronicle 21 January 2008
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Student discovers perils of a stingy-dip
An impromptu swim in your underwear before school could be considered daring, but for one 16-year-old it turned out to be downright dangerous. For Suzannah Ahearn and her friend, Sarah Gates, also 16, a quick dip at a beach near Middle Park while walking the dog turned into something more serious. Suzannah, from Albert Park, was taken to the Royal Children's Hospital about 7am yesterday with a deep cut to her shin, believed to have been caused by a stingray barb.

The accident comes three weeks after young Western Bulldog Jarrad Grant was stung on his ankle at nearby Port Melbourne beach. Suzannah, a year 11 student at Melbourne Girls Grammar, said the pain was instant and overwhelming. "I was running in and I think I stepped on a stingray and it flicked around and it made me fall over," she said. "I was, like, 'Sarah, help me, something bit me.' I was really scared because stingrays cause harm — I was in a state of panic."

Later, an X-ray revealed there was no barb in her leg but she left hospital with eight stitches. Four men rushed to help the schoolgirl. "We saw the girl go in for a swim — all of a sudden she started screaming out in pain," said builder Bobby McGrath. "We thought it was jellyfish but when we saw the blood it looked like a ray barb, but there was no barb." Mr McGrath said Suzannah was going into shock and started talking about Steve Irwin, the TV naturalist who died in 2006 after being stung by a stingray. "She was yelling out 'Steve Irwin!' and we were saying, 'No, no, no — there's no barb and he got stung in the heart,"' he said.

The men applied a pressure bandage to the three-centimetre wound before an ambulance arrived. Age literary editor Jason Steger was on the beach and helped make the girl comfortable. "She was crying almost hysterically," he said. "I suggest anybody who encounters a stingray now thinks of Steve Irwin." Suzannah's mother, Annabel Ahearn, rushed to the beach following a call from her daughter's friend. "(My daughter has) been swimming down there forever — and it's never happened before," she said of the attack.

Melbourne Aquarium's Nick Kirby said unseasonably warm weather had probably brought the stingrays closer to the beach. "When it's warm (stingrays are) in the shallow water and are active," he said. "Stingrays are not prone to attack people, just when you stand on them."

The Age 14 March 2008
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Family join hunt for accountant lost in Sweden
A search is underway for an Irishman who disappeared in Sweden during the St Patrick's weekend. John Aherne (32), from Dodder Bank apartments on Milltown Road in Dublin, was last seen on Saturday night, when he enjoyed a few drinks in the Swedish capital of Stockholm with close friend Karl Lambert. Mr Lambert said: "The place was packed and we were watching the rugby. He got up and left. I had given him my address and a set of keys on the off-chance we might get separated." John, an accountant who is originally from Wicklow town, stopped off at a restaurant on the ground floor of the apartment building where his friends lives. He apparently walked out of the Orion restaurant to have a cigarette about midnight last Saturday leaving his jacket and mobile phone behind. He has not been seen since.

John was due to fly home on St Patrick's Day. His passport is still at his friend's apartment. Mr Lambert said his friend's bank card had not been used since Saturday night. Members of his family were due to arrive in Stockholm yesterday as the search for him continued. Posters of John have been put up around the city, including the Irish bars. John is about 5ft 10in tall with black hair and brown eyes. He was wearing blue jeans and a blue and white striped shirt under a light yellow wool jumper when he disappeared.

Irish Independent 20 March 2008
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Hopes fade for Wicklow man missing in Sweden
The family of John Aherne are bracing themselves for the worst as the search for the missing Wicklow man heads into a second week.The 32-year-old went missing over the St. Patrick's Day weekend after heading outside for a cigarette and hasn't been seen since. Yesterday, Tuesday March 25, Swedish Police continued their search of the waterways of the Norra Hammarby Hamnen area of Stockholm, having first started the search on Easter Sunday. However, heavy snow and a cold snap means part of the Norra Hammarby Hamnen area is frozen over with very low visibility underwater. As a result the local police have also called for assistance from the coastguard, and the use of their Remote Operated Underwater Vehicle in particular.

The whole of Wicklow Town was stunned to find that Mr. Aherne never returned home to Ireland after vanishing on the Saturday night leading up to St. Patrick's Day. He was due to fly home on Monday, March 17. There had been rumours that a body had already been found but a family source says this isn't the case. The accountant was in Sweden to visit a fiend who lived there, Karl Lambert, also originally from Wicklow town. Mr Lambert said, 'the place was packed and we were watching the rugby. He got up and left. I had given him my address and a set of keys on the off-chance we might get separated. 'He stopped off at a restaurant on the ground floor of the apartment building.' Mr. Aherne had a drink at the Orion Restaurant and left his coat and phone at the bar as he went outside for a cigarette about midnight. He hasn't been seen since. His passport is still at his friend's apartment. Mr Lambert said his friend's bank card had not been used since the night of his disappearance.

During the week the Mr. Aherne's mother Theresa and his brothers and sisters Frank, Sinead and Lindsey all arrived in Stockholm and remained there at the time of going to press. They are a highly regarded and popular family in Wicklow town from the Lakeview and Castle avenue areas. The head of the family, John, passed away a number of years back.

Wicklow People 27 March 2008
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Accountant's body found in Swedish river
The body of missing Irishman John Aherne was recovered from the waters of the River Norstrom in Stockholm by police yesterday afternoon. Mr Aherne's body was discovered using remotely operated underwater vehicles close to the area where he was last seen. The Swedish police say there is nothing suspicious about his death. His body was found close to where the Swedish police have centred their search since last Thursday, only 300 metres from the restaurant from where he was last seen.

The 32-year-old accountant, originally from Church Avenue in Wicklow town, but recently living in Milltown, Dublin, was last seen on March 15 when he left his friend Karl Lambert. The officer leading up the police search, Lars Brons, said: "There appears to be nothing suspicious about Mr Aherne's death, but his body has been removed to a city hospital for an autopsy." Mr Aherne and Mr Lambert had been socialising on the Saturday night of St Patrick's weekend when Mr Aherne decided to return to Mr Lambert's apartment, where he had been staying. On the way home Mr Aherne stopped off in the Orion restaurant underneath Mr Lambert's apartment block for a drink. He stepped outside the restaurant, saying he was going to have a cigarette, and was not seen after that moment.

Swedish police carried out an extensive search for Mr Aherne and last Thursday special search dogs focused on a site on the banks of the Norstrom. Police believe Mr Aherne accidentally fell into to the water. Mr Aherne's mother Teresa and sister Sinead have been in Stockholm since late last week assisting with the search. Mr Lambert and the family members were too upset to comment after the discovery.

Irish Independent 29 March 2008
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21-year-old woman identified as Marshfield crash victim
MARSHFIELD —A 21-year-old woman was killed today in a car crash near the intersection of Webster Street and Careswell Street in Marshfield. Police said Elizabeth Ahearn died at about 4 a.m. when her car struck a tree on Webster Street near the intersection of Careswell Street. She was pronounced dead at the scene, officer Michael DiGravio said. Ahearn lived on Hancock Street. She would have turned 22 on April 10. Ahearn was a 2004 graduate of Marshfield High School. "She was a very pleasant, nice girl," said Frank Terra, a neighbor who has the known the family for many years. She lived with her parents, James and Virginia Ahearn. She had a younger sister, Erin, and a younger brother, Sean.
The Patriot Ledger 4 April 2008
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Young Marshfield woman's death shocks neighbors
MARSHFIELD—:The pink bouquet of flowers was by itself amid shards of glass Friday afternoon —: contrasting reminders of the deadly crash that had occurred hours before. Elizabeth Ahearn, 21, of Marshfield, died early Friday morning when her car struck a tree on Careswell Street at the intersection of Webster Street, Marshfield Police Lt. Phil Tavares said. Tavares said Ahearn was apparently driving on Webster Street when the vehicle went through the intersection at Careswell Street and struck the tree sometime before 4 a.m. She was pronounced dead at the scene, Tavares said.

Ahearn was a 2004 graduate of Marshfield High School. She would have turned 22 on April 10, Tavares said. "She was a very pleasant, nice girl,'' said Frank Terra, a neighbor who has the known the family for many years. Ahearn's parents, James and Virginia Ahearn, live at the Hancock Street address. Terra said that Elizabeth was the oldest of three children, having a sister, Erin, and a brother, Sean.

Jim Kyanka, who lives at 627 Careswell St., close to the crash scene, said he was awakened after hearing a loud crash. "It sounded like someone was breaking into my house,'' or maybe that someone had hit his car, Kyanka said. Kyanka said he walked around inside his house, looking outside the windows, but did not see anything and went back to bed. When he woke up in the morning, he saw authorities at the scene and the car being towed. "There's always accidents around this intersection,'' Kyanka said. Terra said that he visited the family at their home Friday morning to offer his condolences. "This is tragic,'' he said.

The Patriot Ledger 5 April 2008
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Aspiring teacher dies in auto accident
Marshfield—Friends and relatives said Elizabeth Ahearn's passion was teaching children, and she was planning to embark on a career in preschool education. She recently got a job as a waitress at the new Halfway Café on Route 139 to save up money for school, and also worked at Kinder Care Learning Center in Marshfield. Ahearn, 21, died in an early morning car accident April 4, after her car struck a tree near the intersection of Careswell and Webster streets. She was pronounced on the scene. (See obituary on page 15.)

Ahearn's cousin, Catherine Mills of Rockland, said she had a million cherished memories of “Lizzy.” “She had a way of making everyone around her feel loved and cared for her whole life,” said Mills in an e-mail. “She always put her family and friends on a pedestal, doing whatever she could to help anyone who needed it. She had the most vibrant, carefree spirit. I will take that example with me every day of my life.” Marshfield resident Janet Penza said her children went to school with Ahearn since they were 3 years old. “They were talking about when they were younger, Lizzy was always the smallest one in the class, the baby of the class, and she was just a beautiful little girl. (My daughter) said that through school, everyone would take care of her. It's a very difficult thing.”

Kathy Jordan, assistant director of Kinder Care Learning Center, said Ahearn, certified to be a group leader for school-age classrooms, worked in the school-age program for before- and after-school children for a year. “Some of the kids don't get it yet, because they're in kindergarten, but some of the older ones do, and some cards have been made for Lizzy,” said Jordan. “Any time you lose a young lady from the community, it's going to affect people, and there are a lot of us affected by it. We'll miss her.”

Marshfield Mariner 8 April 2008
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Curfew order after councillor assault
A man has been handed a curfew order after attacking a councillor. Ricki Aherne, 21, of Serpentine Court, Bletchley, kicked Cllr. Jaime Tamagnini-Barbosa and hit his car in a drunken rage four days before Christmas. Cllr Tamagnini-Barbosa was driving home along Aylesbury Street in Fenny Stratford when he was forced to stop because a car was blocking the road. Aherne was talking to the driver but motorists who were stuck in the hold up began beeping their horns. Aherne turned on Cllr Tamagnini-Barbosa's car, stamping on it and shouting at the him and his wife, who was sitting in the passenger seat. After smashing a headlight and damaging the bonnet, Aherne began pushing the councillor, who had got out of the car. A struggle ensued and another driver came over to try and separate the pair. After being kicked in the hand, the councillor battled to keep Aherne at the scene while his wife called the police.

Cllr Tamagnini-Barbosa told MK NEWS: "He tried to beat me up but he failed due to too much drink! "I wasn't frightened at the time but my wife was panicking. "I was more concerned about her safety. "We had only been married for four weeks and she was thinking she wasn't going to see me again." Aherne was arrested but told police he could not remember the incident because he was so drunk. He later admitted charges of criminal damage and common assault and was sentenced at Milton Keynes Magistrates' Court last Wednesday. Magistrates handed him a three month curfew order preventing him from leaving his home in the evening, ordered him to pay £200 compensation and £60 costs.

Milton Keynes News 16 April 2008
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21st surprise for Daniel
Daniel Aherne from Applewood Heights, Greystones, had his two pals Claire Brennan and Ruth Ivory to thank for coming up with the idea of throwing a surprise party for his 21st.Their hard work paid off and the big night finally came around and was a roaring success last Friday in the Rugby Club, attended by over 100 people including family, friends, neighbours and relatives from as far as Clare. The two girls came up with the idea on a bus on the way to college last February and soon had Daniel's family and the rest of his friends on board and the ball set in motion.

They concocted an elaborate story to get him to the venue on the night, involving an imaginary 18th birthday in Dublin and the collecting of equipment from the rugby club. He arrived with Ruth and, taken aback by the crowd there to great him, attempted to retreat but was bowled over by confetti, party poppers, and his close friend and family converging on him en masse. Daniel, who didn't even think Claire was in the country, couldn't believe his eyes. He was joined on the night by his parents Joe and Jenny and older brother Christopher and his sister Leanne. A friend, Donnacha O'Toole, was DJ for the special night and ensured the dance floor was never empty.

Bray People 17 April 2008
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Thief pulls knife on car owner
A juvenile pulled a kitchen knife on a car owner when he was confronted by the owner inside the vehicle April 21 at 209 Overman Ave., according to the Salisbury Police Department. The juvenile didn't assault Chris Ahearn, but fled the scene with a bag of coins taken from Ahearn's vehicle. He was caught with the knife and coins along with a female juvenile who had watched the incident.
Salisbury Post 28 April 2008
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T'anks, Bertie
By Kevin Cullen
It is fitting and not a little poignant that Bertie Ahern's last day in America as Ireland's premier will be spent in Boston. For the better part of two centuries, Irishmen came here looking for a better life. But the economy improved so much on Ahern's watch that few come here anymore. And as it gets harder for those here illegally, many are going home. So is Ahern, tomorrow, after a talk at Harvard and a stop at the library named for one of his heroes, Jack Kennedy.

Yesterday, Ahern spoke to a joint session of Congress. It was a long way from Drumcondra, his neighborhood on Dublin's gritty Northside. "It was an honor," Ahern was telling me over the phone from Washington, after he thanked America for helping to end the war in his country and after he encouraged Americans to heed President Bush's desire to "find a sensible and humane way to deal with people here illegally, to resolve a complicated issue in a way that upholds both America's laws and her highest ideals."

After 11 years as taoiseach — it's pronounced tee-shock, and it means chief in Irish — Ahern is stepping down Tuesday. Questions about his personal finances forced him to leave sooner than he wanted. But to describe him as corrupt, as some of his critics have, is cynical and wrong. He took loans from friends when he was separated from his wife. Ahern said there was no quid pro quo, and I believe him. He didn't live the high life. His idea of a big night out is a few jars at Fagan's, his Northside local. We Irish are a curious tribe. We like nothing better than to build someone up to knock them down. It is called begrudgery and Bono defined it thusly: When an American sees a guy in a nice car, he says, "I'm gonna get one of those." When an Irishman sees a guy in a nice car, he says, "I'm gonna get him." His sloppy finances will be a footnote to Ahern's political history, and history itself will take a more measured view, and he will be remembered well. He will be remembered not even primarily as the taoiseach who presided over Ireland's stunning reversal of economic fortunes. Years from now, when all of us are dead, Bertie Ahern will be remembered as the taoiseach who presided over the end of the Troubles, Ireland's uncivil war.

The peace process in Northern Ireland was bigger than any individual, but Ahern did as much as anybody to make it work. He was especially good at persuading Protestant unionists who want to remain British that they had nothing to fear from closer ties to the Catholic south. He was able to do this because, rare among politicians, what you see with Bertie is what you get. Ulster Prods pride themselves on talking straight, and Bertie was straight with them. It is a great irony that unionists came to like and trust him more than they did Tony Blair, who was prime minister of the nation to which they swear undying fealty.

Ten years ago, on the day he buried his mother, Ahern flew to Belfast in the morning, went back to Dublin for the funeral, then right back to Belfast because the peace talks were at a critical juncture. It was more than diplomacy. It was heroic. That most unyielding of unionists, Enoch Powell, once said all political lives end in failure. He was only half right, because in political lives well lived, there is an afterlife, a legacy. Bertie Ahern's legacy is better lives for millions of people. "Do not underestimate the good you have done," he told Congress. "Do not forget the legacy you have forged. And if ever you doubt America's place in the world or hesitate about your power to influence events for the better, look to Ireland."

As they'd say on the Northside, where the H's are silent but nobody else is, "T'anks, Bertie. T'anks for everyt'ing."

The Boston Globe 1 May 2008
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Excuse me, but aren't you . . . Irish leader drops in for pint
by Kevin Cullen
So your man, Bertie Ahern, walks into the Eire Pub last night and Martin Nicholson, the greatest barman in the world, is waiting for him at the door. "Do you know Tommy Cooke?" Nicholson asked. "I do. I do," Bertie Ahern, the prime minister of Ireland, said. "He's a great man altogether." Bertie Ahern and Martin Nicholson, a Roscommon man, had never set eyes on each other before last night, but Ahern grew up with Tommy Cooke on the Northside of Dublin, and Nicholson's wife is related to Tommy Cooke, and that's all you need to know. This is how the Irish do business. The Democrats and the Republicans have been fighting over the Eire Pub in Dorchester for as long as anyone can remember. Ronald Reagan went there as president and declared it red territory. Bill Clinton went there as president and declared it blue territory. Bertie Ahern went there last night and ordered a pint of Bass. "How are yiz?" he asked the clot of young Irishmen sitting just to the left of the front door. Chris O'Neill answered in Dublinese. "You're welcome here, Taoiseach," O'Neill said, using the Irish that means "chief." Even Nigel Muldoon, a Galway man, was on his best behavior. "Good man," he said, shaking Ahern's hand.

Bertie Ahern is Ireland's longest serving leader. He is stepping down on Tuesday after 11 years at the helm, and this is his victory lap. On Wednesday, he spoke before a joint session of Congress, becoming only the fourth statesman in history to have addressed both Congress and the House of Commons in London. Yesterday, he spoke at Harvard and hobnobbed with the great and the good at the Boston College Club downtown. It was at the BC club that a fellow Dub, Aidan Browne, stepped up and whispered a little treason. Browne, a fellow Northsider who is now a lawyer with the Boston firm of Sullivan & Worcester, suggested Ahern visit a pub where he'd find some real Irish. "At the Eire," Aidan Browne told Bertie Ahern, "They're as sound as a pound." And so was Bertie. "Good luck, lads," he said, hoisting a jar over his head.

Larry McCann, an Antrim man, stepped forward and presented Ahern with a hurling jersey from a fledgling Gaelic Athletic Association youth club called St. Brendan's. The shirt was the dark blue of Tipperary, not the light blue of Bertie's beloved Dubs. But he accepted it with good grace and wished the new youth club well.

John Stenson, the owner of the Eire, was watching it all from the sidelines, as he is wont to do. But he did come forth just long enough to assure Ahern that there would be one more plaque going up next to the ones commemorating Reagan's and Clinton's visits. When Reagan came to the Eire, he took the pint of Ballantine that Martin Nicholson poured him and held it aloft for the photographers and put it down and left it there without so much as a sip. It was a photo prop. When he was running for president, Bill Clinton went to the Eire, took the pint of Guinness that Martin Nicholson poured, held it aloft for the photographers, and put it down and left it there without so much as a sip. It was a photo prop. Last night, Bertie Ahern took his pint of Bass from the bar and he couldn't give a toss about the photographers. He drank it.

The Boston Globe 2 May 2008
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Debra Ann Gelman and Robert David Ahern were married April 13 in a civil ceremony at Sapphire Manor in Sharon. Norman Silk, justice of the peace, performed the ceremony. The bride is the daughter of Jordan and Phyllis Gelman of Holbrook. The groom is the son of David and Margaret Ahern of Mason, N.H. Jennifer Conner of Dorchester, a friend of the bride, was matron of honor. Amanda Oexner of Warwick, R.I., and Melissa Haskell of Norton, both friends of the bride, were bridesmaids, as was Kathryn Ahern of Mason, N.H., the groom's sister. Victoria Defeo-Gelman of Avon, the bride's niece, was the flower girl. The groom's brother John Ahern of Falmouth was best man. Ushers were Richard Gelman of Brockton and Steven Gelman of Avon, the bride's brothers, along with Jeremy Rathburn of New Ipswich, N.H., a friend of the groom. Anthony and Thomas Defeo-Gelman of Avon, the bride's nephews, were ring bearers.

In keeping with the Red Sox-themed wedding, the bride wore a white satin apron-front gown trimmed in red. Her flowers were red tulips and white and blue hydrangeas with white ribbon. The bridesmaids bouquets were trimmed in red ribbon, and table centerpieces were made up of red and white tulips. The couple's four-tiered white cake was decorated with Red Sox logos and topped with a replica of the famous Citgo sign in Kenmore Square. The couple's first-dance song was "The Way You Look Tonight" by Frank Sinatra. The bride and her father danced to "I Loved Her First" by Heartland, and the groom and his mother danced to "Pass It On" by Debbie Smith. Wedding favors were red and white wrapped Hershey Kisses in a red net bag.

The bride graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. She is a customer service manager for BJ's Wholesale Clubs. The groom attended Johnson and Wales University and Providence College. He is a district manager for I.M. Wireless, a cellular communications company. The couple honeymooned in Playa Del Carmen in Mexico. They are at home in Pawtucket, R.I.

The Patriot Ledger 24 May 2008
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Parish priest faces inquiry
A CATHOLIC priest whose 20-year ministry includes being punched in the face by a school principal at Rutherford has been stood down from his Hunter parish pending investigation of a professional conduct matter. Father David O'Hearn, of St Michael's parish, Nelson Bay, was stood down on Wednesday. Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese confirmed in a short statement issued yesterday that the move concerned a professional conduct matter that required "independent investigation". The Herald understands police are involved in the investigation.

A diocese spokeswoman refused to discuss details, saying: "Due to the fact this matter requires independent investigation, we are unable to comment further." The diocese would not comment on the timing of the move, while Bishop Michael Malone is on a pilgrimage, or who initiated the investigation. Parishioners at weekend Masses at St Michael's Church tonight and tomorrow morning will be told the popular priest "will not be involved in his usual parish ministry at this time". One of his last major public services was at the funeral of former Port Stephens MP John Bartlett in February.

Father O'Hearn began his Hunter ministry at Muswellbrook in the late 1980s and moved to Toronto in the early 1990s. He became parish priest at St Paul's, Rutherford, in 1995, where a long dispute between Father O'Hearn and Catholic primary school principal Mike Stanwell ended in court after Mr Stanwell punched the priest in the face in March 1999. The dispute centred on the priest's opposition to Mr Stanwell's plan to extend Rutherford school to cater for an increase in enrolments of children from non-Catholic families. Bishop Malone backed the priest on the extension matter, saying Father O'Hearn was the "higher authority", but the priest resigned from the parish in April 1999 after Mr Stanwell faced court and was put on a bond. Father O'Hearn said in a letter to parishioners he was "not prepared to remain in a situation in which I have been abused and which I feel is a source of division in the community". He was priest in residence at St Columban's, Mayfield West, in 2000, moved to St Patrick's, Swansea, in 2001, was on leave in 2003 and became parish priest at St Michael's, Nelson Bay, in 2004.

In a letter of support for Mr Stanwell in November 1998, which was written at the height of tension between Father O'Hearn and Mike Stanwell, a senior teacher who knew both men called Father O'Hearn "charming to a fault" with a "great rapport with the children" but she said the priest "liked to get his own way". In its statement yesterday, the diocese spokeswoman said she could not comment on an independent investigation of a professional conduct matter concerning Father Peter Brock, because it remained "current". Father Brock was stood down from his ministry in the Maitland area in September. The Herald understands police are involved in that investigation.

Newcastle Herald 30 May 2008
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Diocese stands down second priest
THE Catholic diocese of Maitland-Newcastle has stood down a second parish priest to face a professional conduct investigation. Father David O'Hearn, of St Michael's parish, Nelson Bay, was stood aside last Wednesday. He is the second priest to be suspended from duty since September. Parishioners at St Michael's Church were told on the weekend that their priest of four years would "not be involved in his usual parish ministry at this time". His suspension concerned a matter that required "independent investigation". The diocese is refusing to specify why Father O'Hearn is under investigation, or how long the investigation will take. "The diocese follows clear protocols relating to such matters," its vicar-general, Father Tom Brennan, said in a statement to parishioners. " At this stage Father O'Hearn will live privately." Father Brennan said the matter had been discussed with the Bishop, Michael Malone, who was on pilgrimage. A separate investigation of a professional conduct matter concerning a Maitland priest, Father Peter Brock, who was stood down in September, remained "current". Father O'Hearn, who presided over the funeral of the former Port Stephens MP, John Bartlett, in February, was punched in the face by a Catholic primary school principal in March 1999 and resigned from the parish of Rutherford after the principal faced court and was placed on a bond.
The Sydney Morning Herald 3 June 2008
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The War on the Home Front
The yellow ribbon that has been on Marilyn O'Hearn's mailbox for more than a year is still there, tied in a bow. But the knot has finally left her stomach. "The anxiety is gone. My blood pressure has finally gone down, after a year," said O'Hearn, whose daughter Sarah returned in May from a tour of duty in Iraq. Spc. Sarah O'Hearn, 23, served in Iraq for nearly a year with the 772nd Military Police Company attached to Delta Company, 1st Battalion of the 181st Infantry Regiment of the Massachusetts National Guard. Before she left for training in Mississippi last summer, Sarah, her older sister Melissa and their mother talked about what was ahead. For the young soldier, there was excitement about putting her military training to the ultimate test, working with servicemen and women she had grown to trust with her life. For her sister and mother, there was pride, but also anxiety. And there were tears.

As the three women sat together again recently at their Marshfield home, their focus had completely changed. No sadness. No worry. No tears, except an occasional misty eye of joy. Melissa O'Hearn summed up what she felt in one word: "Relief." Sarah said she was happy to be home and satisfied with her accomplishments. "Everything you do in the military comes into play when you go to a combat zone. Everything you've ever learned, everything you train up on. That's when you put it to use, and that was very important to me," she said.

O'Hearn said it was difficult knowing her family was so worried. "That made me feel horrible. I just tried to comfort them, try to call them and e-mail them as often as I could," she said. O'Hearn expressed gratitude to all of the people who sent her items while she was in Iraq, many after reading about her and her family in The Patriot Ledger. "I had a lot of support. There were so many people who sent candy or food, and even strangers who sent a little 'hello,' which means a lot," she said. "I appreciate everything everyone did. It really helps you get through. When you're having a bad day, or when you just really want to go home, to have people send you things like that, it makes you know that at least everybody back home cares."

She said her adjustment to life back home has been smooth. "There's little habits that you get into while you're there. Like, when you're driving down the road, you're a lot more conscious when you're in Iraq, looking for little things like potholes. Because whatever's in the road over there can be life-threatening," she said. "When you come home, you're still in that state of mind. You're more situationally aware. You open your eyes a little wider, look around a little more. You're a little more careful."

Now she is focused on the future. She had been living with her mother before going to Iraq, but has her own apartment now. She wants to go to college, and is thinking about a career that involves working with troubled high school kids, helping them set their own sights on going to college. O'Hearn's mother and sister said she hasn't changed that much over the past year, and she agreed. "I didn't lose anything. If anything, I just gained from the experience." Meanwhile, that yellow ribbon that went on the mailbox when she headed off to war remains. It is there now to honor the troops still in Iraq. But when her mother looks at it today, she sees it in a different light. "I am just so glad that Sarah is home."

The Patriot Ledger 16 June 2008
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Inmate dies in Placer County jail cell
A Placer County jail inmate died in his cell Saturday of natural causes, according to a news release from the coroner-marshal in the Sheriff's Department. Authorities say Ronald Anthony Ahern, 44, a transient, had been in jail since Friday after being arrested on suspicion of assault and making criminal threats. They said Ahern had a long history of medical conditions. During a routine cell check at 12:50 p.m. Saturday, authorities said Aherne appeared well. When an officer came to his cell at 1:38 p.m. to transfer him, he was unresponsive. Jail medical staff pronounced him dead at 2:08 p.m. At the time of his death, Ahern was alone in his cell and did not have access to other inmates. Authorities have ruled out foul play, but are awaiting results of an autopsy later this week.
The Sacramento Bee 1 July 2008
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Cayuga County sheriff's deputies have identified the woman killed in a motor vehicle crash early this morning in Scipio. The victim is Katherine M. Gehring, 44, of Wyckoff Road, Scipio. She lived previously on Standart Avenue in Auburn. Deputies do not know when the accident occurred but said a passing motorist called the county 911 center at 4:14 a.m. to report the crash. They believe Gehring was alone, driving a 2000 Honda Odyssey north on Route 34B near Manchester Road. The minivan went off the road and rolled several times, ejecting Gehring. Deputies said it appears she was not wearing a seat belt. She was taken to Auburn Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Deputies have not released further details about the accident. The cause is still under investigation.
The Syracuse Post-Standard 24 July 2008
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African band closes summer concert series
Concord—Although they work in a setting where silence is golden, a couple of Concord librarians like to be loud. For more than a decade Karen Ahearn and Fayth Chamberland, children’s librarians at the Concord Free Public Library, have organized a summer concert series called Music on the Lawn. They started the series to fill the void left when the Concord Band concerts on the bridge were discontinued, Ahearn said. "We have the only piece of land, virtually, in Concord Center," she said. "I love music, and I know Fayth loves music."

Budgetless, but ambitious, Ahearn and Chamberland began their successful concert series, which through the years has brought an eclectic mix of artists to the library lawn. At some point along the way they picked up funding from the library trustees, Ahearn said. "What we're attempting to do is get something for everybody," Ahearn said. "You name it, we've had it." But they hadn't had any African music until this summer, and jumped at the chance to bring Koliba, an Afro-pop band that blends West African music with contemporary American melodies. The two other acts this year were renowned Boston-area reggae band Jah Spirit Reggae and bluegrass band Southern Rail. "The three groups we had this year were tremendous," Ahearn said, adding at least two of the three will be invited back next year. "When someone is rained inside, we try to bring them back."

Bad weather forced all three of this summer's shows into the auditorium at nearby Emerson Umbrella for the Arts, and Ahearn acknowledges that the change of venue takes away from the experience for attendees who picnic on the library lawn. But, on Wednesday, Koliba had the crowd dancing down the aisles to funked up dejembe jams with universal themes touching on politics, unity and happiness.

"It's a great family event," said Michele Laura of Concord, whose family was at the concert for her grandson's birthday. "It was a great time. Everybody danced — my husband, my daughter and her boyfriend, my nephew, stepdaughter and grandson. We were all dancing." Laura, who teaches African dance, believes the library is providing a valuable service to the town by bringing in musicians of diverse backgrounds for free performances. "I really hope they keep it going," she said.

Jane Torpie and her daughter, Sarah Hutchinson, did not miss a concert this summer, and try to attend as many as they can each year. "It's a great way to spend a week night," said Torpie, a member of the Friends of the Concord Free Public Library. "I'm delighted that we have such great acts who come to Concord, and are available to everyone who wants to come."

The Concord Journal 14 August 2008
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Lowell native bringing history of the Army to Worcester stage
John Ahern has come home to . . . blow stuff up. Ahern, a 24-year-old Lowell native and Army staff sergeant, is in charge of all the ammunition used in the Spirit of America, a production that celebrates and re-creates the 230-year history of the U.S. Army. The show, which is free but requires a ticket, is at Worcester's DCU Center for two shows tomorrow (10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.) and Saturday (2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.). "It's a great show," says Ahern, a 2002 graduate of Greater Lowell Technical High School. "Soldiers re-enact the battles. It's a great history lesson in what the military's gone through."

Ahern, a veteran of service in Kuwait and Iraq, is one of more than 300 soldiers from the U.S. Army District of Washington supporting the production. Every time a weapon fires, Ahern is responsible for its smoke and sound. It's his first tour with the show, which played Rochester, N.Y., last week, but has been around since 1975. There's military music, and re-creations of battles, including D-Day and the Civil War. "No live ammunition, no," Ahern said with a chuckle during a break from pre-production this week during which he had a chance to visit with family in Lowell while home.

Ahern joined the Washington District elite group, or "Old Guard," in March, after serving in Colorado. There, he is the noncommissioned officer in charge of ammunition. He is responsible for all ammunition transactions and movements within the command. The Old Guard is the official ceremonial unit and escort to the president, based in Fort Myers, Va. It is perhaps best known as the unit that oversees the military portions of funerals in Arlington National Cemetery. "All I knew about it before was that they did the changing of the guard at Arlington," said Ahern, who has worked with the Army's chief of staff and the secretary of defense "when they go out of the country." He joined the Army in 2002, hoping to earn money for college. "I joined before we decided to go to war," he said, "but I had a feeling something was going to happen." Ahern deployed to Kuwait in October 2004 and to Iraq in 2006-2007. His proudest accomplishment was bringing home safely all 11 soldiers in his section after a 14-month deployment.

The Lowell Sun 18 September 2008
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Samantha Lily Demartini, a daughter of Dr. Bette M. Demartini and Dr. Paul D. Demartini of Westport, Conn., was married Saturday to Matthew Sean Ahearn, a son of Dale Conron Ahearn and Richard J. Ahearn of Ridgefield, Conn. The Rev. Dennis Perkins, a Roman Catholic priest, officiated at Watch Hill Chapel in Westerly, R.I.

Mrs. Ahearn, 27, is a sales trader for international stocks in Stamford, Conn., with UBS, the Swiss bank. She graduated from Cornell. Her father is a vascular surgeon at Connecticut Vascular and Thoracic Surgical Associates in Fairfield and the chief of vascular surgery at Bridgeport Hospital, also in Connecticut. Her mother, a retired anesthesiologist, practiced at Stamford Hospital.

Mr. Ahearn, 29, is a project manager at Ahearn Holtzman, a commercial construction company in Port Chester, N.Y., of which his father is the president and chief executive. He graduated from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. His mother is a nurse at the Wooster School and at the Alternative Center for Education, both in Danbury, Conn., and was a trustee of Skidmore from 2001 to 2005.

New York Times 21 September 2008
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Family recalls tragic life of slain prostitute
For Emma O'Hearn, the suffering began long before the 25-year-old homeless woman became a prostitute, an occupation her family said led to her being savagely beaten in 2003. At the tender of age of ten, the woman described by family as kind and caring was raped by her grandfather during an overnight stay. "A nurse called me and said that somebody raped your niece, I just said, 'What?' recalls Emma's aunt, Ruth Pool. "She told a stranger on the street, and they called police." Police linked Emma's grandfather to the rape through DNA. The grandfather — who has since died — was convicted and sentenced to two years probation, but the heinous act pushed Emma on a path of self-destructive behavior and addiction from which she would never escape. "She was never the same after that, she was always angry, and in a lot of pain," Pool says. "She tried to kill herself several times."

Emma's mother, Joynce Heinonen, 47, can't forget the rape. "I think in a way she was angry with me, for leaving me with him," Heinonen says. "I don't know if she ever forgave us." Her daughter, she says, then turned to the streets. "I tired to warn her, I told her it was dangerous," says Heinonen sitting in her southeast Baltimore home. "But she would say, 'Mom, it's easy money.'" The day Emma was attacked Pool remembers gazing upon her dying niece lying unconscious in a hospital room. "There was a footprint on the side of her head, I was just beside myself," Pool recalled. "The police said someone had literally stomped her head into the stoop."

As Emma's brain swelled, doctor's removed a part of her skull and placed it in a refrigerator. The doctors hoped to relieve the pressure caused by swelling. On January 20, 2004 she died in the hospital after spending seven months in a coma. "The detectives were there when she died," Pool says. "That meant a lot to us."

Emma also had another side of her that showed her as a kind-hearted person. "One day she had ten dollars for crack but a little two-year-old boy needed new shoes," Heinonen says. "She went and bought the shoes for the little boy instead of buying crack," she said breaking down into tears. "She said, 'Mom, look, I bought him some shoes instead of getting high,'" Heinonen recalls. "That was Emma, always kind," Heinonen says. "I don't know why anyone would want to hurt her."

Nearly four years later, police charged William Vincent Brown, 41 of Gywnn Oak in the attack. Last week Brown pleaded not guilty to charges that he savagely beat her and then dumped her body behind Calverton Middle School. Brown also is facing charges in two other brutal attacks.

The Washington Examiner 30 September 2008
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Debra Dewitt Ahern of Dracut and James Dewitt of Mount Vernon, N.H., announce the engagement of their daughter, JESSICA DEWITT, to OGIEVA GUOBADIA, son of Isiaka and Joy Guobadia of White Plains, N.Y. The bride-to-be is a graduate of Dracut High School, Boston College and Loyola Law School. She is employed as a judicial clerk by the Los Angeles Superior Court, Calif. Her fiance is a graduate of Woodlands High School, Boston College and Clark University. He is employed as an investment banker by Herbert Sims. A November wedding is planned.
The Lowell Sun 15 November 2008
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The City Council on Tuesday is due to take a second vote on an amendment to a city ordinance regulating animals. The change, approved by the council last week on a first vote, allows no more than four chicken/hens or 10 pigeons to be kept on a property. They may not be released into the city. Fowl is not allowed to be kept within 50 feet of a residence. Pens, including chicken coops, must be kept outdoors, according to a copy of the amended ordinance. A person who does not have a $100 permit from the city's health department will face a $1,000 fine, according to the amendment. The new language is a compromise to a ban on farm animals proposed last fall when city health officials ordered Ryan Ahern to remove five chickens from the backyard of his Atlantic Street home, citing public health concerns. Ahern countered with a petition signed by 200 Lynn residents who supported Ahern's idea that the council should put limits on his chickens, not ban them. "Most of the stipulations are very reasonable, I feel," Ahern said. The amendment must be approved on a second vote by the 11-member council, which meets at 8 p.m. in the council chamber at City Hall.
The Boston Globe 14 December 2008
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