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In The Arena

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 don’t know what swayed people to vote for me, but I didn’t expect to do well.” Ricketts finished with 126 votes, followed by Rob Wainstein with 115. Retired firefighter John Lyford finished with 41 votes, a number I have to think might have been higher had he been more amenable to the televised debate proposed. The primary sets up what might be, with all due respect to … 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 scrubbed when candidate John Lyford decided not to participate. Candidate Rob Wainstein then also withdrew, … 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 that was one of the more even-tempered and respectful development-related gatherings in recent memory. That … 0

In the Arena: A very different place

Thursday, April 18, 2013

It was a typical Patriot’s Day weekend in New England, save for a rare, extended Saturday session of the Massachusetts Senate. At issue was a $500 million transportation package that was set to be included in the Senate version of the state budget, a plan that was expected … 0

In the Arena: Becoming a bigger mess

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I’m no expert on real estate transactions, but if you are planning to buy a property and you wind up banned from setting foot on it, that’s a pretty good indication that things aren’t going well. That is exactly the position Greenfield finds itself following last week’s U.S. … 0

In the Arena: Greenfield's poppin'

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Here’s a lot of political news popping in Greenfield on this April Fools week, and, as usual, not a lot of it is good. Winn loss? The town took a body blow when it was revealed that Fire Chief Michael Winn had been offered an opportunity to become … 0

Wrestling with decisions

Thursday, March 21, 2013

For fans of the drama that often accompanies the politics of public education, 2013 has been a bit of a push-back year for at least two local school committees. The Mohawk School Committee, in response to public pressure and despite the protest of a number of officials, restored … 0

Small town politics

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I’ve often said that the most intriguing political stories are often found in the smallest towns and that certainly seems to be the case these days in Franklin County. Montague Center School It looks like the next battle over the redevelopment of the Montague Center School will take … 0

More to uncover

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Caveat emptor. In Latin, it means “let the buyer beware,” two words that the town of Greenfield may soon become very familiar with, now that the Greenfield Town Council has pulled the trigger on a $1.5 million purchase of the former Lunt Silversmith’s property on Federal Street. “We … 0

Passing along the pain

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy Sequestration Day, newshounds. As I’m writing this, we still don’t know if our elected “leaders” in Washington have figured out a way to stave off the supposedly Draconian federal budget cuts that will “devastate” services and send several hundred thousand federal employees on unwanted vacations. But here … 0

Not in lockstep this time

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It’s never been a big ambition of mine to be inside Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin’s head, but I would have loved to have been there a little after eight Wednesday night when Town Council President David Singer looked across the desk and effectively handed His Honor the first … 0

Filled with possibilities

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I always get a little scared when government decides to get into the real estate business, but there is a big difference between a town just taking over a piece of otherwise taxable property and one that does so with a plan to put said property to use. … 0

Adding to his resume

Thursday, February 7, 2013

As he tells it, Franklin-Hampshire state Sen. Stan Rosenberg believed his career in the Senate leadership peaked 12 years ago when he served as the chair of the prestigious Ways and Means Committee. “I figured that would be the pinnacle of my legislative career, but it turns out … 0

Holding the line on taxes

Thursday, January 31, 2013

We often hear politicians crow about the need for “fiscal austerity” in tough economic times. Well, for at least one local politician, it seems to be more than just talk. Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin has informed the Town Council that the draft fiscal 2014 budget he is sending … 0

End in sight? Not quite

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I’ve always said that I will believe it when I’m shopping in it, but it would appear that Greenfield’s chances of ever seeing a discount retail store on the French King Highway were dealt a severe blow with last week’s court ruling that effectively sends the matter to … 0