In The Arena

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 certain tobacco products, including certain flavored varieties, ones that health experts say are geared directly toward younger consumers. Within hours of that … 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 the Legislature. “If they start talking about money out of the state budget, they’re going … 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 that far, especially in light of the recent state Appeals Court ruling that the Massachusetts … 5

In the Arena: Back in Con Com's hands

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Greenfield Town Council’s attempt to strike a compromise on a controversial wetlands ordinance amendment appears to be over before it ever really had a chance to get started. The council’s Appointments and Ordinances Committee this week voted to remove a proposed amendment to the town’s wetlands protection … 0

In the Arena: Tensions continue to build

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Are David Jensen’s days as Montague’s building inspector numbered? It sure sounded like it at this week’s selectmen’s meeting, where Chairman Mark Fairbrother took Jensen apart over his refusal to issue a building permit to reconstruct two Hatchery Road barns destroyed by a March arson fire. At issue … 1

In the Arena: Pipeline politics

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The absolute worst position for any politician is to have accountability for an issue, but no power to change it. That may be exactly the situation local politicians find themselves in as the regulatory process moves forward regarding the Kinder Morgan Co.’s plan to string a natural gas … 1

In the Arena: Surprising primary

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The votes have been counted in Tuesday’s Greenfield Precinct 5 Town Council primary and I’m not sure anyone quite expected the final outcome — including the top vote-getter. “I really didn’t expect to finish first,” candidate Penny Ricketts said. “This precinct scared me a little bit, and I … 0

In the Arena: Was it something I said?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

From the “no good deed ever goes unpunished” file, the voters of Greenfield’s Precinct 5 will head into next week’s primary election without getting to see its three Town Council candidates debate the issues. A televised debate had been scheduled at the Greenfield Community Television studio, but was … 0

In the Arena: Unintended consequences

Thursday, April 3, 2014

There is a definite line between activism and leadership, one that the Greenfield Town Council appears to be straddling as it considers a proposed amendment to the Wetlands Protection Ordinance. The council’s Appointments and Ordinances Committee recently held a public forum on the wetlands issue, a well-attended event … 0

In the Arena: Changing tack on Lunt

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It would appear that Greenfield’s abortive efforts to purchase the former Lunt property on Federal Street are finally at an end. Or are they? The Greenfield Town Council appeared to be the final kibosh on Mayor Bill Martin’s efforts to buy the entire parcel Wednesday when it rescinded … 0

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