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In The Arena

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 Bill Martin’s veto of the measure deemed by some town officials to be unenforceable in its present form. “There are certain times … 0

In the Arena: Holding a winning hand in pipeline poker?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It appears that state lawmakers have a “constitutional ace” they may be able to play in the ongoing political poker game surrounding a proposed natural gas pipeline across the state, including Franklin County. “Article 97” of the Massachusetts Constitution mandates that any land with a conservation restriction — including a number that are set to be impacted by the Tennessee Gas pipeline project … 0

In the Arena: Every vote counts

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Still think your vote doesn’t count, newshounds? Try telling that to parents of students in the Pioneer Regional School District, where the budget has been thrown into limbo by Tuesday’s 262-262 tie vote that effectively kills the budget-balancing Proposition 21/2 override needed to ratify the Pioneer spending plan for the current fiscal year. “It’s unusual but it’s not unheard of,” Interim Northfield Town … 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

In the Arena: Short-handed board

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Even though there may be strong sentiment in some circles to do so, don’t expect Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin to try the “Tom Dehoyos-reappointment switcheroo” with former Planning Board member Jim Allen. Martin pulled a rabbit out of the hat at the most recent Town Council meeting, when … 0

In the Arena: A new appreciation

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I could feel my stomach tighten as I prepared to make the turn into the Bank of America parking lot, I was not at all looking forward to what awaited me across the street. Just last year, after Marty McGuane’s wake, I swore to myself the next I … 0

In the Arena: Not right time or choice

Thursday, August 22, 2013

When I read on the wire this week that former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown was considering running for president, I thought somebody in the media must have been playing an elaborate practical joke. When I realized that he was serious, it suddenly dawned on me not only how … 0

In the Arena: Initiatives no sure bet

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Even though we have this habit of electing the same legislators every two years, it appears there are some Massachusetts residents still interested in changing things. That was apparent earlier this month, when 33 proposed 2014 ballot questions were submitted to the attorney general’s office for constitutional review. … 0

In the Arena: Time finally seems right

Thursday, August 8, 2013

For the first time since the Nixon administration, western Massachusetts will have one of its own running the show in the state Senate. “This is definitely a culminating experience in terms of my time in elected office and I’m grateful to my constituents for sending me here, because … 0

In the Arena: Taking a special interest

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Some of the county’s political heavyweights have apparently joined the public relations battle to prevent a diversion of services from Baystate Franklin Medical Center to the company’s main facility in Springfield. Last week’s public demonstration at the Greenfield hospital drew the usual union and medical personnel, as well … 0

In the Arena: He’s walked in those shoes

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I’m guessing not too many people in public life today ever had to take a cold shower in the middle of winter for economic reasons. But, then again, not many public servants possess the working-class perspective 2nd Berkshire Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, brings to Beacon Hill every day. … 0