In The Arena

In the Arena: Good day, Mr. Sunshine

Thursday, September 25, 2014

You can call him “Mr. Sunshine” now. That is the nickname Montague Selectman Michael Nelson bestowed upon himself this week, when he used yet another relatively innocuous board vote as a platform for a political stand, this time against what he views as out-of-control state spending. Nelson voted against spending $22,850 to cover “professional services” related to the $1 million state-funded project that will see new sidewalks, bus stops and … 0

In the Arena: Deja vu

Thursday, September 18, 2014

History does seem to have a way of repeating itself in local politics. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Montague, where reality is starting to take hold regarding the future — or lack of same — of the Strathmore Paper Company complex. “If something doesn’t happen soon, we’re going to have to take the whole mill down,” Selectman Mark Fairbrother said recently. … 1

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. … 0

In the Arena: Fires and their costs

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Anyone who has ever opened a property tax bill and wondered where all their money goes got part of the answer in abject terms this week. “They really got that thing just in time,” Greenfield Public Safety Commission Chairman Gary Longley said as we walked toward the scene … 0

In the Arena: More to this office closing

Thursday, December 5, 2013

From where I sit, this Western Massachusetts Electric Co. consolidation issue suddenly became about a lot more than just the closure of one Greenfield office. WMECO lineman and I.B.E.W. Local 455 Assistant Business Manager Bill Freeman revealed to the Greenfield Town Council recently that his company has eliminated … 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