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In The Arena

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 — including a number that are set to be impacted by the Tennessee Gas pipeline project — cannot be encroached without a two-thirds … 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 for the current fiscal year. “It’s unusual but it’s not unheard of,” Interim Northfield Town … 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 may actually see a benefit from the pipeline, which he says would ensure a dependable … 1

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

In the Arena: Doing what you like

Thursday, February 6, 2014

“Bloom where you’re planted.” A science teacher wrote that in one of my school yearbooks 30 years ago. At the time, I didn’t know what he meant, but I now know it has something to do with being comfortable in your own skin. There is no one who … 0

In the Arena: Putting out a call to help

Thursday, January 30, 2014

It appears the concept of positive karma has been somewhat turned on its ear this week. A couple of former Turners Falls High School athletes head out for a snowmobile ride on a cold Saturday night and end up hitting a concrete barrier at the edge of the … 0

In the Arena: New front in contract fight

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The ongoing war of words between Baystate Franklin Medical Center management and its union nurses appears to be getting real ugly, real fast. Baystate management this week invoked the “nuclear option” in its two-plus-year contract negotiation with the Mass. Nurses Association, declaring the contract talks at an “impasse,” … 0

In the Arena: Attention-getting idea

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sometimes, it takes a seemingly outlandish idea to bring focus to a serious issue. That’s exactly what Mohawk Trail Regional School Superintendent Michael Buonoconti did when he proposed that the district examine the possibility of going to a four-day school week in an effort to reduce operating expenses. … 0

In the Arena: Next time, do the research

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Memo to Greenfield’s “anti-growth” faction: The next time you file a petition for a zoning amendment that would basically grind to a halt any large-scale development in town, you might want to make sure it is consistent with existing state law. Late last year, a petition was submitted … 0

In the Arena: A simple succession

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I can’t think of a better way to kick off the New Year than by being among the first to congratulate Greenfield Town Clerk Maureen Winseck on her decision to leave Town Hall and venture out into the dreaded private sector. And while we’re at it, I’d like … 0