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In The Arena

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. “And I think these low-income families — … 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: 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 claim violated their First Amendment Rights related to an alleged effort to remove a photograph … 0

In the Arena: What’s on my mind

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A few quick hitters as we clear the decks in preparation for yet another season of holiday shopping — and free parking — in downtown Greenfield. THAT SOUND you heard last Wednesday night was crickets chirping during the Greenfield Town Council’s so-called “debate” over a proposal to split … 0

In the Arena: ‘Everybody needs a hero’

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The newest Facebook fad these days involves listing “little known facts” about yourself to your friends. While I’ve yet to participate in this ritual, it seems appropriate, especially on this day, to reveal one of my own. For most of my life, I’ve been fascinated by the assassination … 0

In the Arena: Holiday walkout?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Monday may wind up being “D-Day” in terms of a second potential strike involving union nurses at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. Union representatives and management will go back to the bargaining table that day in the hopes of settling their two-plus-year-old contract dispute. And if a deal doesn’t … 0

In the Arena: No shelter from the issues

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The conversion of Greenfield’s rotary motels into de facto homeless shelters for displaced Boston-area families has been one of the more frustrating and heart-warming stories in recent memory. The heart-warming part took place this week, when a group of local residents began developing a strategy to help the … 0

In the Arena: Chance to change the tone

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I have no idea what the future holds for a new appointee to Greenfieid’s Planning Board or why anyone would even want the job. But I do believe it is time for the Greenfield Town Council to cough up the choke pear left behind by Mayor Bill Martin’s … 0

In the Arena: Council has plenty to chew on

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Now that the burning issue of the Issac Mass/Planning Board appointment is in the rear-view, the Greenfield Town Council can turn its attention to more pressing matters — like a growing laundry list of new ordinances that I’m guessing will provide fodder for lively debate over the next … 0

In the Arena: All about the politics

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It makes no difference now, but I defy anyone to watch the videotape from Wednesday night’s Greenfield Town Council meeting and make the argument that Isaac Mass is not qualified to occupy a seat on the Planning Board. For close to 45 minutes, Mass took questions from councilors … 0

In the Arena: Let the search begin

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I’m not sure many people were all that surprised by this week’s announcement of Greenfield School Superintendent Susan Hollins’ retirement. But the question now is, who will replace her? “It won’t be easy, that is for sure,” Greenfield School Committee member John Lunt said. “Susan has done a … 0

In the Arena: Martin & Mass

Thursday, October 3, 2013

We may be about to find out exactly what role ideo-logy plays in the Greenfield Town Council’s decision making regarding mayoral appointments. Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin announced this week that he is appointing former town councilor and Planning Board member Isaac Mass to the planning board seat left … 0

In the Arena: Mayor’s spin on park problem

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

If I opened this week’s column with the declaration that al-Qaida was responsible for the allegedly criminal activity occurring in Greenfield’s Hillside Park, you’d probably think I was crazy. But that would make about as much sense as saying that the responsibility for this problem lies with the … 0

In the Arena: One-woman show? Hardly

Thursday, September 19, 2013

If there has been one constant in my time covering Franklin County politics and government, it’s that no one is sans opinion when it comes to the Greenfield public school system. It doesn’t matter what town I’m in, whenever the subject of Greenfield’s schools comes up, people tend … 0

In the Arena: Offer they could refuse

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I was surprised and mildly hopeful this past week to hear of a potential settlement to the contract battle between union nurses and management at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. The Massachusetts Nurses Association issued a press release announcing that Baystate rank-and-file nurses had voted to accept a proposal … 0