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In The Arena

In the Arena: Subdued party crowd

Thursday, October 30, 2014

It was a little after 7 when I pulled open the door at Greenfield’s Ocean Grille, prepared to break my own not-exactly-hard-and-fast rule about refusing to attend party fundraisers the week before a state election. I couldn’t resist because this was being billed a both a fundraiser for unopposed 2nd Berkshire Rep. Paul Mark, who always throws a good party, and a Democratic “unity” rally, which I viewed as an … 0

In the Arena: Free-cash management

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin likes to brag about not being a “politician,” but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have good political instincts. That became apparent two weeks ago, when Martin decided to ask each town councilor for suggestions on the best ways to use the town’s recent $3.29 million fiscal 2014 “free cash” windfall. “They added some new thoughts to the process,” Martin … 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 the former Montague Center School. Greenfield Developer Mark Zaccheo has been negotiating to purchase the … 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

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 — … 0