|By G. Michael Dobbs|
You may have read in our East Longmeadow edition about the Wilbraham-based engineering firm, FloDesign Inc., receiving a state grant that will help the high tech company grow.
That's great, but along with that announcement came the news the company, seeking room to expand, rejected moving into Open Space in Holyoke the innovative mixed-use renovated factory space to go to Waltham.
Although the company said it was going to retain its local operations, the move to Waltham was justified with two reasons: there is a greater pool of engineering talent in eastern Massachusetts and it's easier to recruit people to work there.
"We're recruiting from all over the world, and recruiters have an easier time bringing people into Boston than Springfield," Stanley Kowalski III, vice president, founder and chairman of the board of FloDesign Inc., said.
This is very disheartening. Did the recruiters or the company consider the following? The cost of living is cheaper here than the Boston area. Western Mass-achusetts offers a variety of places to live country, suburban and city. The Springfield area is an hour from Vermont and New York State and less than a half-hour to Connecticut. The area is an hour to an hour and half drive from Boston and three hours from New York City. It has an airport and Amtrak service. There are a large number of colleges creating a great talent pool here including engineer-ing programs at UMass and Western New England College. There is a growing biotech presence here.
What the heck?
It's that time of year again. The peepers are chirping in the wetlands every evening. The trees are regaining their leaves. The flowers have begun to bloom.
And the politicians and the news people are at each other's throats in public and in jest.
That's right, once again the state's only press club, the Valley Press Club, is presenting for your entertainment its annual roast. Elected officials and candidates get to make fun of us and we get to make fun of them.
It's all for a good cause as the proceeds benefit the scholarship program.
You can never tell what exactly is going to happen or be said at a roast, but I know there will be some biting remarks from all sides. Because it is all off the record, anything goes.
The roast will be May 7, starting at 5:30 p.m., at the John Boyle O'Reilly Club, 33 Progress Ave., Springfield.
The roast satirizes the news and the newsmakers. Local and state politicians are expected to attend, and the event is open to the public.
The event includes a buffet, a raffle and a cash bar. The proceeds benefit the club's scholarship fund for journalism students. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. The advance tickets are available by sending a check made out to "Valley Press Club," mailed to the ROAST, Valley Press Club, P.O. Box 5475, Springfield, MA 01102.
The master of ceremonies for the evening will be my friend Jim Polito, who has proven life does exist beyond a career in Springfield television, as he has become the highly acclaimed morning host at WTAG in Worcester.
If you've never been to a roast before, please consider this to be your invitation. We are going to be making an extra special effort to see if we can lure some of the gubernatorial candidates to the event yes, you'll be allowed to say something as well as all the area mayors, candidates, etc.
I will let you all in on one secret. I'll be playing State Rep. Sean Curran in one sketch. Now that should ensure Sean showing up for equal time.
This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments online to firstname.lastname@example.org or to 280 North Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028.
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