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In The Arena

In the Arena: Health board chair out

Friday, June 26, 2015

Greenfield’s new tobacco regulations go into effect next week, on the same day one of its chief architects leaves office. Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin has announced that he will not reappoint current Board of Health Chairwoman Janina Thayer to the board, despite 17 years of service. “I’m shocked and disappointed,” Thayer said. “I thought we did some good work, and had hoped to continue serving.” Thayer said she initially received … 0

In the Arena: School Committee follies

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I’ve seen some pathetic displays in my time, but few to rival what occurred at the Greenfield School Committee meeting. I’m not going to rehash everything that happened — or, more appropriately, didn’t happen — in that nearly five-hour opus, but I highly recommend that voters take the time to watch it before November, because it my be the most abject example yet … 0

In the Arena: Mass lone voice on right to buy tobacco

Thursday, June 11, 2015

As anyone who has read this column knows, I don’t like to make predictions. However, I’m prepared to break that rule when it comes to Wednesday’s Greenfield Town Council vote on Isaac Mass’ proposed tobacco control ordinance. It’s not only going to lose huge, but Isaac will be the only one who votes in favor of it. I don’t think I’m exactly climbing … 0

In the Arena: A plea for candidates

Thursday, June 4, 2015

We’re inching closer to the July 27 deadline for returning nomination papers for the Greenfield town election and it looks like the “left flank” is starting to get a bit nervous. Progressive activist Louise Amyot this week circulated an email to several like-minded residents urging them to consider … 0

In the Arena: Kulik looks to tap into land-rich nonprofits

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My guess is state Rep. Steve Kulik probably won’t be getting many invitations to mixers on private school and college campuses in the foreseeable future. Kulik has filed “payment in lieu of taxes” legislation that would establish a mechanism for towns to charge nonprofit private institutions up to … 0

In the Arena: Election night disappointment

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The only thing missing from Montague Town Hall on Monday night was a boom box playing a continuous loop of “Garden Party” by the late Ricky Nelson. Just as Nelson was booed out of Madison Square Garden on that fateful night in 1971, Montague Selectman Mark Fairbrother has … 0

In the Arena: A happening committee

Thursday, May 14, 2015

If you are looking for political intrigue, the place to be these days seems to be the Greenfield Town Council’s Appointments and Ordinances Committee. Most times, covering a council subcommittee lands on the pleasantry scale somewhere between a root canal and an aggressive teeth cleaning appointment. Not so … 0

In the Arena: School budget battles

Thursday, April 30, 2015

It’s looking like a tough year for school budgets. Then again, I can rarely recall a year when there wasn’t some sort of political battle related to educational funding. But this seems to be an especially difficult budget cycle in a number of communities, as the cost of … 0

In the Arena: Center stage in Montague

Thursday, April 23, 2015

It looks like the “Mike Nelson era” on the Montague Board of Selectmen is finally about to begin. Some would argue that it actually began when “Mr. Sunshine,” as he is sometimes known, was elected to Pat Allen’s former seat with 85 percent of the vote. But there … 0

In the Arena: Building a reputation

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I no longer live in Greenfield, but if I did, Town Councilor Mark Maloni would get my vote every time. I don’t think I’ve ever said that about any elected town official before, but it’s a claim I make unabashedly, one that was reinforced after seeing and hearing … 0

In the Arena: Pay raise for mayor?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Don’t look now, but Greenfield’s mayor may be about to get a big raise. The Greenfield Town Council is considering a proposal to increase Mayor Bill Martin’s annual salary from $70,000 to $85,000, the push for which is coming from At-Large Councilor Patrick Devlin, who says he believes … 0

In the Arena: Back in Greenfield’s till

Thursday, April 2, 2015

How would you react if someone handed you $10,000 to spend on projects to improve your neighborhood? I’m assuming most people might be pretty psyched, which has not exactly been the reaction of a number of members of the Greenfield Town Council who were facing that very scenario, … 0

In the Arena: It gets hot in Montague

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I’ve experienced some tense moments covering local government, but few to rival what occurred at Monday’s Montague selectmen’s meeting. The topic was whether the board would sign a new contract with current cable access television provider, Montague Community Cable Incorporated, or issue a “request for proposals” for a … 0

In the Arena: Tobacco fight still smoldering

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Greenfield Board of Health may not have the last word when it comes to a series of proposed new tobacco regulations. The board last week voted to impose the regulations, which raises the minimum tobacco sales age from 18 to 21 while also banning the sale of … 0

In the Arena: Rosenberg using his pulpit

Thursday, March 12, 2015

It’s not taking long for new state Senate President Stan Rosenberg to exert his authority on Beacon Hill. The latest example came this past week, when Rosenberg made it clear that a committee looking to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to Boston can expect no financial help from … 0