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The living may not be easy, but exciting instead this summer


June 18, 2014

By G. Michael Dobbs
news@thereminder.com

Isn’t summertime supposed to be more laid back? Seriously. Shouldn’t we all be heading to vacation or to the backyard with a beverage in our hands, a loud shirt on our backs and a put off to tomorrow attitude in our heads? Shouldn’t we be packing our bags and heading to our vacation homes?

I’ve often heard that “no one” is around in the summer. “Everyone” is away. Who are these people? The independently wealthy?  Being the city-bound, lower middle class, ink-stained wretch that I am, I’m certainly not summering out of the city.

If I did, I’d miss all the fun.  This summer promises to be teaming with issues and controversies and it’s only June.

In the great Paper City of Holyoke there’s an on-going unresolved fight about a $45,000 payoff to the former city solicitor that apparently was authorized by Mayor Alex Morse. The City Council is screaming and they want to know the details. Why did she quit? Why did she get a nice parting gift? Morse is saying very little citing privacy concerns when it comes to personnel matters, which is infuriating people on the council.

This week Morse did go out of his way to make sure everyone knew the outside law firm hired for employment matters had extremely limited involvement in the matter.

This is, of course, another chapter in the on-going slap fest between the council and the mayor. The council is having to face cutting the mayor’s budget in order to bridge a $4.5 million shortfall, which I’m sure will also have long-lasting effects.

Another bone of contention has been the sale of the former Lynch School in Holyoke. In a city that has few available parcels for new tax-generating development Morse wants to sell the school to a retail company. The School Committee has said they want to the school, which has been closed for five years, back. The City Council must vote on the matter before the terms of sale in the Request for Proposals expire.

In Springfield we will have a summer of casino talk if the referendum question goes on the November ballot. I’m sure the screaming on both sides will be quite loud and border on the strident. It’s an important issue with much at stake. The question will be if voters will vote for the repeal of the legislation just because they are sick of the issue.

Of course we will have the election season get more and more revved up as the temperature goes up. We’ll see the various candidates for governor come out here occasionally pledging their undying love for western Massachusetts and interest in our situation.

We also will have some compelling local races, which will be determined by the Democratic primary in September. Although the First Hampden & Hampshire senate race has been dominated by conflict between Springfield City Councilor Tim Allen and Eric Lesser, there are other good candidates in the mix that I’m sure will add some spice.

Now really, doesn’t it look like we’ll have a great time this summer without lounging on a beach and sipping drinks with little umbrellas? I keep telling myself that!

Raise my hand and swear
Every year, we’re asked to make resolutions at New Year’s. Here are my summer resolutions.

I pledge to go to a farmers’ market every week. Generally I do this very often in the summer, but not every week.

I pledge to eat as much local corn as I can.

I will make reservations to have one summer weekend at Cape Cod. I have a real need to dunk my corpulent form in the Atlantic Ocean and I must eat at Seafood Sam’s.

I will grill much more often and try new things. I recently bought a gas grill that on its maiden use caught on fire – an event that made that barbeque so much fun. I didn’t assemble it, by the way. I’m back to charcoal and love it.

I pledge to pull more weeds.

I pledge to smoke more cigars on my back deck.

I pledge to call the cops every single time my idiot neighbors decide I need to listen to their music at 11 p.m.

I’m sticking to these resolutions.

Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at news@thereminder.com 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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