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In The Arena

In the Arena: Greenfield's tax-rate reduction

Thursday, August 27, 2015

If I were a Greenfield taxpayer — and there’s many reasons why I’m not — the question I’d be asking in the wake of last week’s Town Council meeting is: What did my government just spend $1.4 million on? The council voted to go along with Mayor Bill Martin’s plan to use that money to reduce a tax rate, which His Honor freely admits doesn’t have a lot of connection … 1

In the Arena: Mitigating political issues

Thursday, August 20, 2015

One of the goals of any incumbent’s political campaign is to try to take away issues that could be exploited by the opposition, a lesson it would appear Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin is well aware. While I don’t get the sense that His Honor is necessarily sweating the challenge being posed by Patty Morey Walker, he sure seems to be doing his best … 0

In the Arena: New gauge for plastic bans

Thursday, August 13, 2015

It looks like Greenfield residents won’t be voting on a binding plastic bag ban question this fall, but that doesn’t mean the issue is going away. The Greenfield Town Council Wednesday will consider placing three, nonbinding questions on the November ballot asking voters if they favor a ban on single-layer plastic bags, small water bottles and Styrofoam food containers. It’s a “straw poll” … 0

In the Arena: The talk in Montague

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The First Amendment and the state Open Meeting Law weren’t on the agenda at this week’s Montague selectmen’s meeting, but they sure played a role in helping shape the conversation. The Montague board had scheduled what would have been its fourth executive session related to the sale of … 0

In the Arena: Coming down the pipeline

Thursday, October 2, 2014

It’s never to early to think about the holidays and I believe the management of the Kinder Morgan Co. should buy the biggest Christmas basket they can find and ship it over to their counterparts at National Grid, which has provided the best argument yet for construction of … 1

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 … 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, … 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 … 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 … 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 … 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