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In The Arena

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 ban on plastic bags and bottles, and tax break agreements for Argotech and New England Natural Bakers, among others. But one item … 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 reap what we sow.” The House recently voted 151-1 to override Governor Patrick’s veto of … 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 Gail Carriddi, and Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden State Senator Ben Downing issued a joint … 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

In the Arena: What’s on my mind

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nobody asked me but … I’m not sure it makes a lot of sense for the chairman of any board of selectmen to pick a fight with an organization that buys its ink by the gallon. From the “short memory” file — Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin says he … 0

In the Arena: Change the conversation

Thursday, July 11, 2013

One of my favorite guilty pleasures returns this weekend, when Season 2 of “The Newsroom” debuts on HBO. For those who haven’t watched it, the series focuses on the exploits of a fictional network cable news show anchored by Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels. The show has … 0

In the Arena: The gloves come off

Thursday, July 4, 2013

  So where do we go from here? That seems to be the big question now that Greenfield’s town attorney has ruled that Mayor Bill Martin did have the authority to retract the appointments of Wilson Roberts and George Touloumtzis as alternates to the Planning Board. Martin pulled those nominations when … 0

In the Arena: Teachable moments

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I ’ve always said that elections have consequences, but they can also be learning experiences, providing teachable moments both for the candid ates who ran and the people who came out to vote for them. Here are a few from this past week’s election. Going negative Congressman Ed … 0

In the Arena: Voter education

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Well, it appears Greenfield voters may have a reason to go the polls Tuesday after all. “Your only message seems to be that you want to ‘move forward’ without change. What? You offer your unquestioning allegiance to the current superintendent, who clearly loves such toadies. ... I’m running … 0

In the Arena: This is what you get

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I have three words for the pro-growth Greenfield residents who are wringing their hands at the prospect of Jim Allen being dumped from the Planning Board. Elections have consequences. The Greenfield Town Council next week is likely to go along with an Appointments and Ordinances subcommittee’s unanimous recommendation … 0

In the Arena: Jury duty eye-opener

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The older you get, the more you begin to realize that certain things in life just aren’t going to happen. For instance, I now know that I’m never going to play goal for the Boston Bruins or catch for Red Sox. I’m may never win the presidency or … 1

In the Arena: Council’s budget surprise

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I guess if you hang around long enough, you get to see a little bit of everything. I thought I had written every budget story possible — towns struggling on a yearly basis to balance budgets in the wake of shrinking state aid and communities torn apart by … 0

In the Arena: Pitiful Montague numbers

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Monday’s Montague annual town election was a big one for the incumbents, but not necessarily the democratic process. In a three-way race for selectman, incumbent Chris Boutwell won his second three-year term, easily outdistancing newcomers Jacobo Roque and Matthew McMullin. The three-way tussle for Gill-Montague School Committee was … 0