In the Arena: Fitting gifts for Greenfield news makers

Friday, December 22, 2017

I think it’s safe to say that this has not been the most pleasant year politically.

From the exploits of the new denizen of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, to the fall from grace of certain local politicos, to infighting between the various branches of Greenfield government, 2017 has been a year to forget, especially for those of the “progressive” persuasion.

But as bad as things may seem, they are far from hopeless, and in that vein, I offer a few holiday gifts for some of our favorite news makers to place under the tree Monday morning.

For Senator Stan Rosenberg and now-suspended Montague Police Chief Chip Dodge, redemption — or, barring that, the hope that the positive impacts they’ve had on the community won’t be forgotten.

For Turners Falls High School, a new mascot, and, for the school community, a way to live with whatever it ends up being.

For Greenfield School Superintendent Jordana Harper, a new contract and school committee chair, and a onesie for baby Rose.

For the workers digging the foundation for the new Greenfield Parking Garage, some back braces and Bengay to help soothe the wounds of moving those hideously huge foundation blocks no one apparently knew were there.

For Greenfield Community College President Bob Pura, a new surfboard and a successful run for political office once he gets sick of the retirement life.

For Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin, a new sandbox on the soon-to-be-expanded town common so he and his rivals on the Town Council can settle their differences the old-fashioned way.

For Greenfield “Director of Special Projects” John Lunt, some campaign signs and a new mayoral exploratory committee. For recently defeated Town Council candidate Andrew Killeen, the same thing.

For expected mayoral hopeful Patty Morey-Walker, a new gavel to help her get those long-awaited Youth Commission meetings going.

For Greenfield Democratic Town Committee member Nicole Letourneau Cavanaugh, a spot on the ballot in the next town election cycle.

For incoming Greenfield Town Council President Karen Renaud, some new boots, a whip and a chair, which I have a feeling will come in handy once budget meetings start up again in the spring.

For the town of Deerfield, a new sewer system, or, barring that, a way to fix the old one without bankrupting the town and its current sewer rate-payers.

For outgoing Greenfield Town Council President Brickett Allis, a new mobile to take around his daughter — who we pray continues to get stronger after a pretty tough entry into the world — and a camera with a zoom lens to take pictures of that little girl, and all the areas of town where selective parking enforcement is allegedly taking place.

For Greenfield Police Chief Robbie Haigh, a night at Terrazza for him and his no-nonsense lawyer, whose name we still do not know after his recent subpoenaed appearance in front of the Town Council.

For State Representative Paul Mark, a new electric razor — which he will probably never use — and an actual opponent to prove how much of a political force he has really become.

For my pal Corrine Fitzgerald and all of her fellow Realtors, a big bottle of scotch to drown their sorrows at the Republican tax cut bill’s removal of most real estate-related tax deductions, which would appear to remove a major incentive for people to buy homes in the first place

To new Chamber of Commerce Director Natalie Blais, some new tenants for vacant downtown Greenfield’s storefronts, which aren’t part of the medical, public service or nonprofit sectors.

For incoming At-Large Town Councilor Ashli Stempel, a return to the helm of the Ways and Means Committee and a new winter coat for her dog Brigham.

For her fellow Councilor Penny Ricketts, a new giraffe print coat and a cell phone number that automatically goes unlisted one week before a controversial vote.

For the newly-formed GCET Advisory Board, a new Zippo to light a fire under the butts of Beacon Hill lawmakers to pass the bill necessary to give them control of that agency.

For the Greenfield DPW, a big thank you bouquet for finally getting Silver Street finished, and a dependable weather service to help them better prepare for snow events.

For Tom and Ben Clark, some sort of acknowledgement that Clarkdale Apple Cider is the single best product this county produces, provided it doesn’t create such a run on the stuff that we locals are unable to obtain it when we need a fix.

And to all residents of our area, a link to the GCTV production of the most recent chamber holiday breakfast, and the Bob Pura speech, which reminds us all that we live in an incredibly special place, where what unites us is far greater than any element that seeks to divide us.

Merry Christmas.

Chris Collins is a former staff reporter for the Recorder, and is a Greenfield native. Over the years he has continued to keep his eye on local politics from a variety of perches for different news outlets.