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Old 01-14-2005, 10:36 PM   #136
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this is the sixth day in a row front page

http://www.salemnews.com/

concern on opiate useThe Salem News
Online Edition Saturday, January 29, 2005 Plus Edition Password

Click here for info

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Page One | For The Record: Obituaries, Police, Fire & Court | North Shore | Sports | Opinion | Lifestyle
Home | Classified | Opiates Series | Last Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday
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Opiates in our Towns:

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OxyContin leads Fenwick grad to heroin, then jail
MIDDLETON — Shawn Harnish never imagined trying a few pills on weekends with his Bishop Fenwick buddies — smart, middle-class kids like him — would turn him into a junkie behind bars.
Heroin, OxyContin use escalates among teens, even in the suburbs
A drug epidemic has hit the North Shore and the victims are not the usual suspects. They are middle-class kids from the suburbs who start experimenting with prescription drugs for fun, but before long are opiate addicts, desperate for the next fix.
Local voices
"I could give my aunt or my mother — someone who has not smoked a cigarette in her life — OxyContin for a week, and they are addicted."
Narcan has become a lifesaver
Baseball star Jeff Allison probably owes his life to a drug called Narcan, which brought him out of an overdose coma in July at the Union Hospital emergency room.
Faces of an Epidemic:
Chaplain: 'It was overwhelming'
SALEM — Even with God by his side, Daniel Velez-Rivera often was no match for child addicts who had been given drugs by their parents or locked up before turning sweet 16.
Psychiatrist sees new type of addict
LYNN — Dr. Patricia Walsh said the words 'heroin addict' should conjure up a new image in people's minds.
Class treasurer, honor student now struggling with addiction
PEABODY — Andrew Moskevich was an honor student, class treasurer, and student representative to the School Committee. His friends in the Class of 2002 pegged him as the future mayor of Peabody.
How illegal drugs hit the streets
Here's a look at how young people are getting their hands on heroin and OxyContin:
Robert Bradley: A son dies, and a father grieves
MARBLEHEAD — Robert Bradley sent his son to the best schools, went to his soccer games, and bought his family a $1.4 million house on Marblehead Neck with a basketball hoop in the driveway.
Superintendent almost lost son to OxyContin
PEABODY — Herb Levine knew his son Joel was using OxyContin and he knew how bad that could be. Yet he wanted to believe that this was one of those wrong turns people make, a mistake to be corrected with a little self-discipline.
Course of action: Parents, community must admit epidemic exists
Before he became district attorney two years ago, Jonathan Blodgett thought heroin was a city problem, and one mostly from decades past.
Drug education falls short in many local schools
Pictures of graveyards plaster the walls of Danvers High School.
Faces of an Epidemic:
Crime victim: 'We felt safer than we really were'
DANVERS — A year and a half ago, a drug-addicted burglar punched Patrice Underwood in the face three times in her own driveway, while her 9-year-old daughter looked on from the family car.
Counselor: 'A good day when no one dies'
DANVERS — Steven Chisholm has seen tens of thousands of opiate addicts.
Salem mother left to raise sister's son after heroin overdose
SALEM — When Elena Sorrento died at 28 from a lethal

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Old 01-14-2005, 10:41 PM   #137
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Re: this is the sixth day in a row front page

Quote:
Originally posted by cosmo
http://www.salemnews.com/

concern on opiate use
I had no idea that opiate use was back on the rise. Sad.
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Old 01-14-2005, 10:47 PM   #138
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Re: Re: this is the sixth day in a row front page

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Originally posted by Patrick
I had no idea that opiate use was back on the rise. Sad.
pat its been on the rise here since the drug oxicontin

was discovered by mis use ers its a twin to herion
they sell it for eighty dollars a pill on the street

we have rashes of drug stor hold up for that alone

drug stores have signs up telling how much is in the store at a single time to[ discourage roberies]
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Old 01-16-2005, 01:36 PM   #139
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Opiates in our towns: Hundreds pack forum, Levine touts drug tests
By Sean Corcoran
Staff writer


SALEM — The superintendent of schools will push to implement random drug testing in an attempt to prevent students from getting caught up in the region's growing heroin and OxyContin epidemic.

Superintendent Herbert Levine acknowledged last night that some people in the community would reject the initiative, saying it would send a message to children that they are not trusted. But Levine said society has to start thinking differently.

"I think it is time to take the bull by the horns and say, 'We're going to protect our kids,'" Levine said.

The superintendent announced his plan to form a task force to study the drug-testing plan at the tail-end of a well-attended school forum about the area's drug epidemic.

More than 1,200 people packed the Salem High School auditorium last night, filling every seat, leaning against walls and sitting on the floors. They came to hear more about how young people are using OxyContin and heroin and learn what they can do about it.

Speakers at the forum, including District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, said they were both surprised and overwhelmed by the attendance, and it filled them with hope. Blodgett recalled how last spring he attended a similar forum at Peabody High School, but only four parents showed up.

"Tonight, seeing this amount of parents and young people, I'm re-energized," Blodgett said.

Robert St. Pierre, the Salem police chief, said he has never seen such a turnout for a public discussion about drugs. The size of the crowd told him that "people are starting to get it."

Several parents said they came to the forum after reading a series in The Salem News last week about the area's growing drug problem. Those articles demonstrated that suburban young people are experimenting with highly-addictive prescription drugs such as OxyContin.

It only takes a few OxyContin uses to become physically and mentally hooked on the drug. Once that happens, the young users often are turning to heroin for relief from the pains of opiate withdrawal. The heroin on the streets today costs less than $10 a dose — compared to $80 for one OxyContin tablet — and it is so pure it can be sniffed.

"I don't think I realized the scope of the problem," said Mary Beth Boucher, the mother of two boys, ages 13 and 20. "I didn't really understand that OxyContin was so powerful, so addictive, and how it parallels heroin."

Detective Lt. Elaine Gill of the Massachusetts State Police said her statistics show 39 confirmed fatal opiate overdoses in Essex County last year, and 41 deaths that police are "99 percent certain" were due to opiate overdoses, but the toxicology reports are not completed yet.

That brings a total of 80 fatal opiate overdoses here in 2004. By comparison, in 2001, the last year for which state Department of Public Health statistics are available, there were 58 fatal opiate overdoses in Essex County. Ten years before that, the figure was 19.

"We are responding to every city and town" for fatal overdose calls, Gill said. "We are going to bedrooms in homes just like yours where a child has overdosed."

With young children in their laps, middle schoolers at their sides and the high school kids sitting in the back, parents listened to speakers discuss the warning signs of drug abuse. Joel Levine, the superintendent's son, also talked about his addiction to OxyContin, and as he spoke the room was completely silent.

It was Joel's experience that prompted Levine to both organize last night's forum and call for random drug testing in the schools.

"I want to talk to the kids in the audience for a moment," Levine said. "If you know a friend who is in trouble, or you know a person who is experimenting, do not put it aside and say things will get better. ... You've got to make the phone call."

To people already addicted, Levine pointed to his son's experience and said there is hope. "You can get better,"

he said. "You can beat this thing. But you must act."
Staff writer Sean Corcoran can be reached at (978) 338-2527 or by e-mail at [email protected]
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Old 01-16-2005, 02:45 PM   #140
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Sad.
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Old 01-17-2005, 09:14 PM   #141
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Cosmo

As a father I wish you all the best. Loosing a child is a tough thing to deal with, but unfortunatly death can come to any of us at any time. All my best to you and your loved ones.
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:51 PM   #142
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My family sends you and your loved ones our sincere regrets to what has occured.

I personally believe the very best of your son will live on forever in the loved ones he leaves behind.

JB
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Old 01-21-2005, 10:22 AM   #143
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Such sad news. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Warm best wishes.

- Susan
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Old 01-21-2005, 05:40 PM   #144
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thank you very much

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Originally posted by charlesangel
Such sad news. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Warm best wishes.

- Susan
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Old 01-22-2005, 02:47 PM   #145
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Page One | For The Record: Obituaries, Police, Fire & Court | North Shore | Sports | Opinion | Lifestyle | Classified
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How do we address the drug epidemic?




Tighter border security

Because drugs play a major role in society today, I believe there are numerous things we can do to get the drug epidemic under control.

We should have tighter security on the U.S. borders. After all, don't a lot of drugs come from other countries? If we tighten up security, less drugs will enter the country through other imported shipments.

For the criminals who are caught in illegal possession of narcotics, there should be harsher and stricter punishments. On average, anyone busted with drugs only gets sentenced to about a year or two behind bars. That is hardly enough to scare them straight.

There should also be more support for those seeking help. There are many drug rehabilitation centers in this country for people who have a drug abuse problem. But how efficient are these places when more often than not, the people who sought help relapse into drug addiction?

Drugs are indeed a big problem today. Addressing this issue is a big problem.

You know what they say about problems and such. If you can't beat it, join it. We could legalize each and every single drug and narcotic out there. People would be walking, talking, and acting like a total yahoo everywhere you look.

Christopher A. Pizzo

Salem



Better, earlier education

In regards to the disturbing epidemic of OxyContin/heroin use on the North Shore, I think it's time to take our heads out of the sand and develop a reactionary community antidote as gripping as the drugs are.

The attack has to be on all fronts — as a combined effort from law enforcement, with school departments, in conjunction with parental reinforcement to saturate kids from the earliest age that this stuff kills, period!

The mindset that it's not here yet, or, we haven't seen it, is textbook denial. The reality is, it's coming for your kids, in your cities, in your schools, in your house. It's a teenage cancer that's more ruthless than any biological illness we have ever seen. The answers are still being formulated.

Some suggestions:

1.) Establish with state and local funding detox facilities specializing in opiate issues, treatment and rehab.

2.) Begin at the earliest age an anti-opiate program in the schools. There may be an argument about innocence lost, but kids at that age listen. Reinforcing how deadly this is at an early age will arm them with the conviction they will need later on through repetition to resist that first, life-threatening mistake. Like other programs (about talking to strangers, etc.) the repercussions of not addressing serious subjects at elementary school levels are far more devastating than being honest about the dangers children face.

3.) Everyone from kids to parents, schools to law enforcement, hospitals to newspapers have to work together, communicate, address the problem head-on, full speed. I can't stress enough the importance, at the earliest ages, of changing the mindset of the kids about the acceptability of experimenting with these killers.

Hopefully, over a small period of time, the kids growing up through this type of program will be immune to the lure because of their early home and school reinforcement, making the reality the deterrent.

Eddie Lendall

Peabody


Attack on several fronts

It has become quite clear over the course of the past decade that the abuse of drugs is a clear and present danger to the safety of society in this United States.

We as a nation have an obligation to attack the sources of the drugs on all fronts, from increasing jail time for those who attack the innocent by procuring these drugs to an all-out law enforcement assault on the trafficking of this scourge that has afflicted so many people and their loved ones.

The next step is to find the producers of all classes of drugs from marijuana, cocaine and the rest of the opiates and bring them to justice even if it means using military force. We must apply pressure to those foreign governments who harbor those in the drug trade and we must show them that we will not allow them to look the other way.

We must also increase funding on securing our borders because this is a matter of national security. The educational effort must be placed in the hands of the parents. They are the ones who must shoulder the responsibility to teach their children the consequences of their actions when it comes to drug use and abuse.

I agree that hospitals should be required to report drug abuse to the proper authorities for the sole reason of getting help for those who need it. I believe that the penalties for marijuana use should be increased so much so that others will fear the consequences of even having the drug in their possession.

We cannot allow this drug abuse situation to continue. The cost to this nation and its citizens is far too costly to just look away.

Dean Burgess

Manchester-by-the-Sea


Parents key to this effort

First of all, thank you for your recent enlightening series on the drug epidemic which appears to have a strong hold here in Essex County.

Kudos to District Attorney Blodgett and Sheriff Cousins for tackling this difficult issue head-on. My thanks to both for all of their efforts to try to educate as many people as possible about this insidious and destructive problem.

In the recent article headlined "Education falls short in many local schools," it was obvious that many area school systems are in denial about the severity of this epidemic. As Blodgett stated, he is convinced that the only way to stop this is by a huge education effort. I certainly hope that all of the different agencies combined can work together for the benefit of the schoolchildren who are all, apparently, vulnerable, no matter what community.

Personally, I was shocked to read that my hometown of Danvers had the third-highest drug overdose rate out of 34 North Shore communities, with at least one fatality.

Parents are the most important part of this solution. It all does start in the home. We need to be involved in our children's lives — really involved. Hopefully, with everyone working together, we will be able to begin the fight to save our children's lives.

Question: What were the voters thinking when they voted to support decriminalization of marijuana last fall?

Susan Ortins

Danvers


No substitute for caring parents

I was surprised and disappointed by the manner with which you have framed the question, "What are we to do about 'educating' our children with regard to the scourge of drugs, most recently, things like OxyContin and heroin?"

You ask: Should law enforcement or schools take the lead in this effort?

Much of the problem of kids and drugs is implied in the question as you have posed it. We should see as primary neither cops nor teachers when in comes to something as personal and critical as drug use by our children. This is the domain first and foremost of mother and fathers, guardians, and other immediate family.

Our culture lets parents off the hook far too easily. What we hear is: "We both work. It is hard always to be there."

Well, I would say, that is a cop-out. Too many parents are too quick to assign the responsibility to others for doing their work. I am not prepared or inclined to let anyone be there except for me, as a parent. That is the responsibility I took on when I chose to become a parent. It goes with the territory. And if you don't accept that, you have no right being a parent.

I also hear arguments, or I would say excuses, that it is hard to read the face of a (normally) moody teenager; that teen-age behavior is erratic inherently. I simply don't buy this.

There is no substitute, I repeat, no substitute, for one or both parents sitting at the dinner table every night (or pretty close to it) talking candidly and openly to their kids about the perils of drugs. There is no substitute for parents really looking into the faces of their kids to detect something that might be going on, and then acting.

Is this a panacea? Of course not. Will there still be kids who get into trouble even using the formula I have described? Unfortunately, yes, there will be.

But if we are looking at maximizing the likelihood of bringing up drug-free children, and minimizing the stories of kids who go down the path of substance abuse, this is the best way, far and away, to bring about that outcome.

Call me old-fashioned, call me a traditionalist, call me an idealist. But show me a well-adjusted, drug free-child, and I will show you an involved and caring family.

Robert V. McGrath

Peabody


Legalize drug use

Because heroin is sold via an unregulated illicit market, its quality and purity fluctuate tremendously. A user accustomed to low-quality heroin who unknowingly uses near pure heroin will likely overdose. The inevitable tough-on-drugs response to overdose deaths threatens public safety.

Attempts to limit the supply of drugs while demand remains constant, only increases the profitability of trafficking. For addictive drugs like heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

While the United States remains committed to harmful drug policies modeled after alcohol prohibition, Europe has largely abandoned the drug war in favor of harm reduction alternatives. Switzerland's heroin maintenance trials have been shown to reduce drug-related disease, death and crime among chronic users.

Addicts would not be sharing needles if not for zero-tolerance laws that restrict access to clean syringes, nor would they be committing crimes if not for artificially inflated black-market prices. Providing chronic addicts with standardized doses in a clinical setting eliminates many of the problems associated with heroin use.

Heroin maintenance pilot projects are underway in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. If expanded, prescription maintenance would deprive organized crime of a core client base. This would render illegal heroin trafficking unprofitable and spare future generations addiction.

Putting public health before politics may send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Salem cops bust key heroin dealer
By Andrew Hickey
Staff writer


SALEM — A major heroin dealer, who detectives said supplied addicts from all over the North Shore, was behind bars yesterday after a chance encounter with plainclothes cops in the city's Point neighborhood.

Detectives said Noel Rentas-Vasquez, 23, worked business hours — strolling through the Point daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In fact, Detective William Jennings said Rentas-Vasquez rarely made a sale after 5 p.m., making him hard to locate for detectives who typically work nights.

Rentas-Vasquez would also carry very little heroin on him, allegedly meeting with customers on Congress Street, taking their orders and returning a short time later holding only the amount asked for.

"He was pretty elusive," Jennings said. "This guy's a mover."

Investigators have been trying to corner Rentas-Vasquez since a massive drug sweep that netted nearly 10 arrests in November in the Point, a densely populated, low-income neighborhood. They believe he's been dealing there since last summer, Jennings said.

In recent weeks, several heroin addicts arrested by Salem detectives reported getting their drugs from Rentas-Vasquez, who has been living on Park Street in Salem but also lists an address in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston. Users nabbed for shoplifting and other crimes have fingered Rentas-Vasquez as their main supplier and a key player in Salem's heroin trade.

Jennings said detectives from Gloucester have also called about him, saying addicts arrested in their city said they would come into Salem to buy from Rentas-Vasquez. Customers would also travel to the Point from Marblehead and Lynn, Jennings said.

"This guy's a major street-level dealer down there," Jennings said. "His name's been coming up a lot."

Yesterday morning around 9:30, undercover detectives were working early and scouring the Point for Rentas-Vasquez, Jennings said.

They stopped Jose Vega, 24, of 29 Perkins St., Salem, for information. Vega was allegedly found with a marijuana wrapped in dollar bill and was charged with possession.

After busting Vega, Jennings and Detective Sgt. Stephen Bona spotted Rentas-Vasquez walking toward their car, police said. The timing couldn't have been better, Jennings said.

"We saw him and we grabbed him," he said.

Rentas-Vasquez also was carrying marijuana, police said. He was arrested on a marijuana possession charge and on two Salem warrants for heroin distribution. The warrants stemmed from undercover heroin purchases detectives made in November.

Police said Rentas-Vasquez wasn't carrying any heroin at the time of his arrest. He is being held on $20,000 cash bail.

Jennings and Bona headed the investigation with assistance from Detective Thomas Brennan, Capt. Paul Tucker and Patrolmen Victor Ruiz and Thomas Pelletier


this slug looks like a bottom feeder to me
not a big player [could this be all they know]??

cosmo

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Old 01-24-2005, 01:41 AM   #146
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Jim from Chicago I'll be saying 4 prayers tonight as I go to bed.

1st is for Matt
2nd is for you and your family
3rd is for my 8 month old son and wife
4th is for eveyone I share this planet with.

God Bless Matt and may his love and goodness that he had live forever in your hearts

God Speed.
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Old 01-24-2005, 11:38 AM   #147
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again i want to thank all for your prayers and support

peg seems to be accepting the fact [but ill tell u its the first thought u wake up to ] iguess thats all part of it [i know were not the first., nor will we be the last . to have this happen ]

im happy i stumbled into D C [MY INITIALS ] im trying to use a little huemer lately feel like i forgot my lines at times ]

i want to get as back to normal as we can ., peg and i realy have a strong love for one and other /the two girls [our daughters .,and five grand children are a solid influance ]

enough for today thanx =don


rest in piece matt we love you and always did through it all[ dad & mom ]
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Old 01-24-2005, 11:50 AM   #148
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Re: again i want to thank all for your prayers and support

Quote:
[i]
i want to get as back to normal as we can ., peg and i realy have a strong love for one and other /the two girls [our daughters .,and five grand children are a solid influance ]

rest in piece matt we love you and always did through it all[ dad & mom ] [/B]

The love & support of your family, and the love you & Peg share for each other will, undoubtedly, give you strength that you never knew you had. You & yours continue to be in my prayers. What a beautiful angel Matt must be...

Wanted to share this:

What Matters

One hundred years from now,
It will not matter what kind of car I drove,
what kind of house I lived in,
how much I had in my bank account,
nor what my clothes looked like.
But the world may be a little better,
because I was important in the life of a child.

(author unknown)

Warm best wishes to you & Peg.

- Susan
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Old 01-24-2005, 12:21 PM   #149
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Drugs 101

Quote:
Originally posted by cosmo
...How do we address the drug epidemic? ...
We start by educating ourselves.

IMHO, the only rational approach to the drug epidemic is the Michael Levine (25 year DEA veteran) model.

As to legalization:

"Certain soft drugs may be legalized with no downside worse than alcohol, but I am convinced that the hard stuff like crack, coke, heroin, angel dust, methamphetamine, LSD, ecstasy and dozens of others simply cannot be legalized in a sane society."

Levine recommends changing the focus of law enforcement from going after dealers to going after users. "If the history of the drug war has shown us anything, it is that no matter how draconian the law, drug dealers are not impressed." It's far more effective to target the casual user.

Teachers, lawyers and salesmen were terrified when they were busted in a pilot program. However, Levine doesn't want to lock them up in prison. Mandatory treatment is the key. Going after casual users, he argues, really dries up demand.

Levine advocates a three strikes approach. Twice in rehab, third time is mandatory jail time, through away the key.

As long as we stick to the Federal model of putting small-time drug operators behind bars longer than murderers, nothing will change. The economics of drugs assures there are long lines of people waiting for the opportunity to replace those small-time dealers taken off the streets. Washington, and the communities involved, should be looking at what works and what doesn't.

A good start is reading everything you can get your hands on that Levine has authored to date. Attend his speaking engagements and contact his organization for more on A Community Anti-Drug Program That Really Works.

Michael Levine

JAT
D
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Old 03-13-2005, 06:42 AM   #150
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Better be late than never. My condolences to you. I've been a member here for a while now. How I miss this I do not know. Again, I'm sorry to here about your son.
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