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Rep. Neal, this Paper City is for you

By G. Michael Dobbs Managing Editor I've been painting a room in my house, which I thought would be a quick and easy task. I'm a slow learner. I've only been coping with this house for 19 years. Like anything in a house built in 1864, this room presented a few challenges and I'm happy to say I will be able to return to life as normal very soon. Or whatever "normal" is supposed to be. While painting, though, I had plenty of time for my mind to wander and it did: I had no idea that Brooke Shields, the professionally beautiful woman that she is, suffers from inadequate eyelashes and that there is now a drug treatment to encourage the growth of eyelashes. I'm amazed. How did they develop this drug? Were there testing it on patients with, let's say, some of cancer and discovered their tumors were unaffected but their eyelashes were gorgeous? And now the drug company is spending millions, I'd wager, on a national media campaign. And you wonder why prescription drugs are so expensive? The cost of such ads must be carried by something. I couldn't help but wonder if there is a drug which could discourage the growth of hair on my ears. Many middle age men would welcome that. My neighbors seem to have the squatters' mentality when it comes to garbage. If I've not filled up my bin by Wednesday, they will do it for me. That's because the landlord has only one bin for a two family home. Naturally, because neither family recycles anything despite the big yellow warning sticker the garbage guys attached to the bin they always have an overflowing horn of plenty. So now I'm hiding my bin. I'm thinking of a good place. Perhaps I'll lock it away in the garage. I've done this before when another neighbor stole my bin to assist in a home remodeling job. I love how many people have indistinctly attacked Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno over his effort to get a hot dog trailer to move from its parking spot on Worthington Street. Because Sarno's cousin is part-owner in a newly opened restaurant nearby too many of the public believe the attempt to evict the hot dog guy is politically motivated not so from my observations. The subject of the vendor and his near permanent position and his impact of serving the folks coming out of the bars at closing time has come up in Board of License Commission meetings well before Sarno even became mayor. Tarring him about this issue isn't right and is cheap politics. When I received a release that Gov. Deval Patrick was going to announce a new first time home buyers lending plan at 145 Florence St. on Tuesday, I sat and stared on my computer screen. "145 Florence St.," I wondered to myself. "Where's that?" Duh! It's about a block away from my house! I just didn't expect Patrick to come to my neighborhood. It was a tad surreal to have him there and I would have invited him over for a iced tea, but my house was very messy because of the paint job. Just as well, as he had to get up to Tanglewood to walk in a parade of some sort. *** Speaking of elected officials, I have to tip the summer Panama hat to Congressman Richard Neal. I also have to give him a dope slap. Neal took the opportunity of the high publicized "beer summit" between President Barack Obama, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley to write the president about serving an American-owned beer, specifically a brew from Sam Adams, at the meeting. His point is that breweries such as Anheuser Busch and Miller-Coors are now all owned by foreign corporations. Neal also sought Obama's support for legislation that would assist breweries such as Sam Adams who have grown out of the parameters for a tax benefit offered craft breweries. Okay, so far so good. Then Neal mentions other good Massachusetts brews, but he leaves out Paper City Brewery. He mentions Harpoon from Boston, but none of the fine beers from just across the border of his district. Consider yourself slapped across the back of your head. I can't indulge very often I'm not supposed to at all but when I do very often it's the local brew for Hampden County, a beer from Paper City. I'd be happy to buy you one, Congressman, the next time you've got time for a beer summit yourself. This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments to mdobbs@thereminder.com or to 280 N. Main St., E. Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.
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