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In The Arena

In the Arena: Ham-handed protest

Thursday, August 28, 2014

An otherwise conciliatory primary race in the 2nd Franklin District took a somewhat ugly turn this week, thanks to what appears to be a case of mistaken political identity. A half-dozen protesters gathered outside Athol Town Hall ostensibly to protest Republican candidate Susannah Whipps Lee, whom the protesters claim violated their First Amendment Rights related to an alleged effort to remove a photograph on social media. The contention was that … 0

In the Arena: Sharing thoughts

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Nobody asked me but ... Greenfield Deputy Police Chief Mark Williams? Wow. I didn’t see that one coming. ∎ Sign of the times — Greenfield schools will have a truancy officer this year. An unfortunate, but necessary move. ∎ It looks like the Greenfield School Committee has decided to take a pass on the whole MCAS vs. PARCC issue. Pity they couldn’t have done the … 0

In the Arena: Further study required

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The “dog days” of summer are underway for the Greenfield Town Council. The “closer to your grandfather’s” council is going to be busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger over the next couple of months as it tackles a huge number of issues, including ordinances on parking and a ban on plastic bags and bottles, and tax break agreements for Argotech and New England … 0

In the Arena: Tensions continue to build

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Are David Jensen’s days as Montague’s building inspector numbered? It sure sounded like it at this week’s selectmen’s meeting, where Chairman Mark Fairbrother took Jensen apart over his refusal to issue a building permit to reconstruct two Hatchery Road barns destroyed by a March arson fire. At issue … 1

In the Arena: Pipeline politics

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The absolute worst position for any politician is to have accountability for an issue, but no power to change it. That may be exactly the situation local politicians find themselves in as the regulatory process moves forward regarding the Kinder Morgan Co.’s plan to string a natural gas … 1

In the Arena: Surprising primary

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The votes have been counted in Tuesday’s Greenfield Precinct 5 Town Council primary and I’m not sure anyone quite expected the final outcome — including the top vote-getter. “I really didn’t expect to finish first,” candidate Penny Ricketts said. “This precinct scared me a little bit, and I … 0

In the Arena: Was it something I said?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

From the “no good deed ever goes unpunished” file, the voters of Greenfield’s Precinct 5 will head into next week’s primary election without getting to see its three Town Council candidates debate the issues. A televised debate had been scheduled at the Greenfield Community Television studio, but was … 0

In the Arena: Unintended consequences

Thursday, April 3, 2014

There is a definite line between activism and leadership, one that the Greenfield Town Council appears to be straddling as it considers a proposed amendment to the Wetlands Protection Ordinance. The council’s Appointments and Ordinances Committee recently held a public forum on the wetlands issue, a well-attended event … 0

In the Arena: Changing tack on Lunt

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It would appear that Greenfield’s abortive efforts to purchase the former Lunt property on Federal Street are finally at an end. Or are they? The Greenfield Town Council appeared to be the final kibosh on Mayor Bill Martin’s efforts to buy the entire parcel Wednesday when it rescinded … 0

In the Arena: Connecting some faint dots

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ginning up concerns about potential tax increases can be an effective tactic when challenging an incumbent, something Greenfield Town Council candidate Isaac Mass clearly understands. Mass issued a press release earlier this week focusing on areas of tax policy where he and his opponent, Council President Mark Wisnewski, … 0

In the Arena: Erring on side of caution

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Greenfield residents concerned about the potential impact of proposed new ordinances regulating noise and nuisances and vacant properties shouldn’t get into a lather just yet. A pair of Greenfield Town Council subcommittees held separate public hearings on the two proposals, gatherings that are typically followed by a vote … 0

In the Arena: He may get burned

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fanning the flames of discontent is not a new concept in politics, especially when a candidate is challenging an incumbent with a pretty solid base of support. One of the inherent dangers, however, is that said strategy can backfire, especially if the challenger is too aggressive with his … 0

In the Arena: The race is on

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The marquee race of the 2014 Greenfield election season is in place and Isaac Mass, challenger for an at-large Town Council seat, has set an early tone with what might best be described as massive political overkill. Mass this week submitted nomination papers to the Greenfield Town Clerk’s … 0

In the Arena: Why it’s a big deal

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Some people simply don’t get it. I know that may seem like a blunt way to start off today, but I’m not sure how else to describe what we’ve seen, read and heard in the week since it was revealed that Albert Norman had been allowed to “red-line” … 0

In the Arena: Heavy hand in rewrite

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Those who believe that the current Greenfield Town Council is in Albert Norman’s back pocket got a big piece of ammunition this week. The Greenfield Conservation Commission recently submitted to the council a draft version of a wetlands protection ordinance, which, as is the custom, was forwarded to … 0