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In The Arena

In the Arena: Awaiting a chain reaction on HRC recommendations

Thursday, January 14, 2016

If it wasn’t before, the Dan McCarthy-Confederate flag flap is certainly now a political issue for the Greenfield Town Council and Mayor Bill Martin. That came this week courtesy of the Greenfield Human Rights Commission, which has recommended that the entire Greenfield Police Department undergo sensitivity and cultural awareness training, a proposal that grew out the recent public forum held in reaction to McCarthy’s decision to hang the flag in … 0

In the Arena: Rocky start for Town Council leadership

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Greenfield’s new Town Council president might just wind up having the shortest honeymoon in the history of that office. To no one’s surprise, Precinct 3 Councilor Brickett Allis was elected council president at Monday’s organizational meeting, and promptly ran into a political buzz saw less than 24 hours later when he released his first batch of committee assignments, containing moves that confused some … 0

In the Arena: As the year winds down

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas falls on a Friday this year, so this will be my last offering for 2015. For a while now, I’ve been tempted to write a Festivus column, a la “Seinfeld,” because, quite frankly, I’ve got a lot of problems with you people. Well, OK, not really. But since I’m not a big fan of feats of strength and I’m fresh out of … 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

In the Arena: I don't see a discount store getting built in Greenfield

Thursday, March 5, 2015

It’s time to face the painful truth, Greenfield — you are never getting your discount retail department store. The running joke used to be that I would only believe Greenfield had a big-box retail store when I was shopping in it. Now, I’m not even prepared to go … 5

In the Arena: Catching up with Warren

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I don’t know if Sen. Elizabeth Warren is going to be a candidate for president, but she sure sounded like it during last week’s visit to Greenfield Community College. “There was a time when our government viewed helping people pay for college as an investment,” Warren said during … 0