|By G. Michael Dobbs|
January 2, 2012
Oy. What a year.
According to Yahoo, the top five searched on the Internet were the iPhone, Casey Anthony, Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry and Jennifer Lopez.
Funny, I didn’t search for any of those subjects. My searches would probably have included Max Fleischer, Tom Tyler search for them yourselves various Scottish subjects and a host of story-related topics.
The top five news stories were, in order of searches, Casey Anthony, the earthquake in Japan, the British royal wedding, the death of Osama bin Laden and unemployment.
Casey Anthony received the greatest amount of attention from Yahoo users? What does that say?
If I were to list what the top five news stories would be for me from this past year, they would include the June 1 tornado, the blizzard, the Oct. 29 Nor’easter, the Holyoke High Speed Green Computing Center and, tied for fifth place, would be the reelection of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and the election of Alex Morse to be Holyoke’s mayor.
The reason I chose these stories is that they were the ones that affected the greatest number of people in our area in 2011.
The blizzard and the Nor’easter proved once gain just how fragile our society really is. Take away electricity and we can barely function. Many of our homes and most of our public and private buildings do not have a means to generate electricity or have back-up heating systems.
The tornado has made a lasting impression on the communities it ravaged. I know that my neighborhood is going to take years to recover. I’m curious to see what the rebuilding plan will look like, but even more curious to see how it will be financed.
The tornado underscored a disturbing but true-life lesson: through no actions of your own, your whole life can change in a moment. You might as well live your life the best you can because you really don’t know what is happening in the next five minutes.
The computing center in Holyoke promises to the catalyst for significant change in that city. It is already receiving attention from companies attracted to a place that has incentives for high tech companies. If I had any money to invest and I don’t, I’m a newspaper guy I’d buy a building in Holyoke.
The election of Alex Morse in Holyoke goes along with this new chapter in the city’s history. Coming out of nowhere, Morse built his support through time-tested grassroots tactics and a smart use of social networking. The pressure will be on him to deliver a different style of governing that will go hand-in-hand with new economic development.
Domenic Sarno’s challenge is also one of expectation. The issue that moved the four-year mayoral term forward was that mayors have to spend too much time campaigning in a two-year term. A four-year term gives them the time to get things done.
So now the focus will be on Sarno and what he finishes. A list of unresolved projects include the final use of the Old First Church, the completion of the Asylum building parking lot and building, getting Union Station finished or started and selecting a school superintendent.
Sarno goes into the New Year having irritated everyone with an entertainment license in the city in an effort to help the police deal with issues in the Entertainment District. It’s not the best way to start a new term. Hopefully, this plan will work.
I know that end of the year columns frequently feature various resolutions the writer hopes to keep.
I always have a list, but this year I will only publicize those that I know without a doubt I can keep. The ones that will have the greatest effect on me are the ones that are the most difficult to fulfill and I’m keeping those a secret.
So this year I will try:
Hey, agree with me? Disagree? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.
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