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Buying American saved local jobs

By G. Michael Dobbs Managing Editor I've written from time to time about the importance of re-building American manufacturing by buying as many products as one can that are made here. Amazingly enough, the concept of keeping Americans employed is one to which some people object short term corporate profits are more important than long-term growth and stability. This is horrifying to me. My wife and I just switched our brand of orange juice from one that uses juice from Brazil to one that exclusively sells juice from Florida. Can a "Buy American" policy make a difference? It has in Chicopee. At a meeting last week, Mayor Michael Bissonnette told a group of residents at the Litwin School that Callaway Golf will retain a workforce in Chicopee to make golf balls because some professional players have said they will not play with balls made outside of the country. Chicopee will be the only American plant for the well-known golfing brand. So to the naysayers who believe a "Buy American" plan isn't a good idea, let's go to Chicopee and explain that viewpoint to people who have maintained employment because of it.
My wife watches a lot of programming on HGTV, which creates a few problems as she has realized just how hopeless I am on many home improvement projects. One thing I've learned, though, by watching these shows with her is the importance of preparing a property for sale. You have to clean it up to the point that potential buyers can see their own vision for the property. Get rid of family photos, re-paint walls neutral colors and remove clutter. Obviously, some folks at the Springfield School Department had never heard that lesson. The former headquarters of the School Department on State Street was one of two buildings open for tours to the people who attended the third annual Developers Conference hosted by the city. City officials would like to sell the building to a private developer. People have seen the potential of a condo project there, similar to the Classical Condominiums next door. In the course of writing a story about the conference I dropped by the State Street building and was amazed it was filled with discarded desks, chairs, computers, file cabinets and other junk. It looked like the residents had taken their most valuable belongings and fled in light of an invading army or zombies or something equally horrible. This was not the right way to "stage" the building for potential buyers and I hope the School Department will actually clean up the historic building to facilitate a new use.
One of my comic idols, W.C. Fields, is alleged to have advised performers not to appear on stage with either children or animals. That good advice applies to elected officials as well. During the ceremony at which the city signed a new lease with the Zoo in Forest Park, City Councilor Clodo Concepcion was to speak. His words were drowned out by the exclamations of students from the Sumner Avenue School who turned their attention to a baby spider monkey held by John Lewis of the zoo. Politician speaking or a cute monkey? You know the winner. Take heart Clodo. I was paying attention. I had seen Lewis' charge before.
I really want to write about the elections, but I can't because of our printing schedule. This has been a tumultuous one and I can only hope the predictions of a low turnout were proven wrong. There are significant choices to be made by voters and those who don't vote as I've said before shouldn't complain about what has transpired. This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments online to news@thereminder.com or to 280 North Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028.
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