In The Arena

In the Arena: Montague gamesmanship

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Is Montague becoming the new Ashfield? It sure looks that way, because much like their friends to the west encountered recently during ongoing battles over the Ashfield House, Open Meeting Law complaints are flowing in Montague like water through the Strathmore canal. Most of the complaints, much like in Ashfield, are related to missing selectmen’s meeting minutes (which have since been caught up to date), and are largely coming from … 0

In the Arena: Not your typical choice

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin has never been one to shy away from an “out of the box” political move, but His Honor may very well have blown the box apart with his recent hiring of an interim DPW superintendent. Martin announced this week that he has offered the job to former Chicopee Mayor Mike Bissonette, who, somewhat ironically, was defeated for re-election a … 0

In the Arena: They can work it out

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I’m not usually in the habit of talking ideologues off the ledge, but I would urge any Democrats reading this to take a deep breath, a knee-bend or whatever calming measures may be necessary to fight off any lingering depression left over from Tuesday’s election. Though it may seem like it now, this is not the end of the world, especially as it … 0

Collins: Pipeline positions solidifying

Thursday, July 31, 2014

After several months of relative silence,Beacon Hill lawmakers are finally starting to take a stand against a proposal to string a natural gas pipeline through Franklin County. Late last week, 1st Franklin State Rep. Steve Kulik and 2nd Berkshire Rep. Paul Mark, Berkshire County Reps. Smitty Pignatelli and … 0

In the Arena: Back to the drawing board

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Maybe we should start referring to it as the “ordinance that will not die.” Seriously, there are cyborgs in “Terminator” movies that are easier to kill than Greenfield’s proposed noise control ordinance, which was sent back to committee this week after the Town Council voted to sustain Mayor … 0

In the Arena: Holding a winning hand in pipeline poker?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It appears that state lawmakers have a “constitutional ace” they may be able to play in the ongoing political poker game surrounding a proposed natural gas pipeline across the state, including Franklin County. “Article 97” of the Massachusetts Constitution mandates that any land with a conservation restriction — … 0

In the Arena: Every vote counts

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Still think your vote doesn’t count, newshounds? Try telling that to parents of students in the Pioneer Regional School District, where the budget has been thrown into limbo by Tuesday’s 262-262 tie vote that effectively kills the budget-balancing Proposition 21/2 override needed to ratify the Pioneer spending plan … 0

In the Arena: Not all say ‘nay’ to pipeline

Thursday, July 3, 2014

You’d be as likely to find a lynx walking down Main Street these days as a politician willing to say anything remotely positive about the gas pipeline being proposed for Franklin County. Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin broke that streak this past week when he told me that Greenfield … 1

In the Arena: Playing hardball with the MIAA

Thursday, June 26, 2014

If anyone is looking for a spare photo of 2nd Hampshire state Rep. John Scibak, you might want to check the dartboards in the executive offices of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. Scibak isn’t too popular with that organization these days, mostly because he had the audacity to … 1

In the Arena: His hat stays out of ring

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Now that Greenfield voters have had their say, the focus shifts to who will lead the “new” Town Council. But the one person who won’t be in the running is the senior member of that body. “I thought about it, but I really don’t want to divide the … 0

In the Arena: What did Greenfield voters say

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Well, news-hounds, did Tuesday settle anything for you? Obviously, the big stories from this week’s Greenfield’s Town Election were the victories of Penny Ricketts and Isaac Mass, two some would say rabidly pro-growth voices to replace dyed-in-the-wool smart-growthers David Singer, who did not run for re-election to the … 0

In the Arena: Why is Donelan still raising money?

Friday, May 30, 2014

One thought above all ran through my head as I snaked through the throng of Chris Donelan supporters crowded into the Greenfield Grille banquet room three Fridays ago — why are they having a fundraiser for a guy who is probably never going to have an opponent? “I … 0

In the Arena: A mind of its own

Thursday, May 22, 2014

When laypeople use words like “baffling and “illogical” to describe a school-related public policy decision, it is more likely than not to be greeted with a somewhat dismissive shrug by the policy’s architects. It’s a little harder to blow off those words, however, when they are being spoken … 0

In the Arena: Back in Con Com's hands

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Greenfield Town Council’s attempt to strike a compromise on a controversial wetlands ordinance amendment appears to be over before it ever really had a chance to get started. The council’s Appointments and Ordinances Committee this week voted to remove a proposed amendment to the town’s wetlands protection … 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