In The Arena

In the Arena: Thanks!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

This may seem hard to believe, but this week marks the 15th year I’ve been writing this column. During that time, a lot of political water has gone under the bridge, some dirtier than I’d care to admit. And I’ve been pretty blunt, at times, in my efforts, as the columnist’s creed goes, “to give comfort to the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable.” However, one thing I have managed to … 0

In the Arena: She loved Greenfield

Thursday, December 11, 2014

She loved Greenfield more than the town sometimes loved itself. Those were the words that kept running through my mind this week as I tried to conjure up a fitting epitaph for former Greenfield Town Councilor Barbara Tillmanns, who passed away Sunday at the age of 72. “Barbara did everything she could to make this town a better place,” Wilson Roberts, former council … 1

In the Arena: Resistant to change

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Greenfield taxpayers can nestle all snug in their beds this holiday season safe in the knowledge that the collective bargaining rights of public employees remain alive and well in their fair city. In what was clearly the most informative debate yet on the topic, the Greenfield Town Council last month, for the fourth time by my count, rejected a request by Mayor Bill … 0

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 … 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 … 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 … 0

Collins: Andrews’ stance baffles supporters

Thursday, August 7, 2014

“Dazed and confused.” That was one of the takeaway quotes this week from Franklin County Opioid Task Force Founder John Merrigan in reaction to Second Franklin State Rep. Denise Andrews’ vote to oppose increased mandatory minimum sentences for convicted drug traffickers. A more apt reaction might be, “we … 3

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