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In The Arena

In the Arena: Clearing the air

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It always amazes me how people can attend the same meeting and come out with a completely different version of what happened. The latest example occurred this week following a Greenfield Town Council subcommittee forum on home wood stoves and chimneys. The Monday night gathering was billed as a discussion on the environmental impacts of the use of home wood burning devices, something not addressed in the biomass waste-to-energy air … 0

In the Arena: Skipping debates

Thursday, September 24, 2015

It looks like 2015 is going to be the year of the “nonpolitician” in Greenfield. Greenfield School Committee candidates Jesse McMillian and Cameron Ward took to Facebook last week — and, Ward’s case, the pages of The Recorder — to announce that they would not be running traditional political campaigns as they seek two of the three, four-year school board seats up for … 0

In the Arena: On board with schools

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Somewhat lost in the histrionics of last week’s Greenfield School Committee meeting was the appointment of a new board member. Greenfield native Douglas Mayo was the lone applicant to serve out the unexpired term of Jeff Comenitz, who died recently after a brief bout with cancer. It’s the first board appointment for Mayo, who had applied twice unsuccessfully to fill vacancies on the … 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