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In The Arena

In the Arena: Deja vu

Thursday, September 18, 2014

History does seem to have a way of repeating itself in local politics. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Montague, where reality is starting to take hold regarding the future — or lack of same — of the Strathmore Paper Company complex. “If something doesn’t happen soon, we’re going to have to take the whole mill down,” Selectman Mark Fairbrother said recently. “We just can’t just let it go … 1

In the Arena: A mess with diapers

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Who knew raising awareness about donating disposable diapers to poor families would be such a controversial issue? Actually, it wasn’t — until Montague Selectman Mike Nelson spoke up against a proclamation declaring Sept. 8-14 “Diaper Need Awareness Week” in Montague. “While I respect and applaud you for your work, on a greater philosophical level, it’s just getting to be too much,” Nelson said. … 0

In the Arena: ‘Unenrolled’ hold the key

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Massachusetts may not be quite as “blue” as we think it is and that may be good news for local candidates looking to take out a pair of entrenched incumbents this fall. According to numbers released this week by Secretary of State Bill Galvin, just over 35 percent of Massachusetts voters are registered Democrats, while fewer than 11 percent are registered Republicans. The … 1

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

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