| G. Michael Dobbs
For years, there have been groups of young men who are illegally riding dirt bikes on the streets of my neighborhood. Many are clearly younger than 16 ½. They create not just a nuisance, but also a danger to public safety.
The other night I saw an adult driving at a high rate of speed on an ATV. He wasn’t even wearing a helmet as he sped down the middle of Florence Street.
This is not just an issue for Springfield, as reports in social media would indicate.
I’m never sure what to do, as if I called would this be considered an emergency or is it a non-emergency? If it’s a non-emergency, I know the emergency calls take precedent. Would the police be able to arrive before the riders disappear?
I now know I should call as a result of the following statement from Mayor Domenic Sarno, “Like the vast majority of law abiding citizens here in Springfield and around our country, I have no patience and/or use for these miscreants’ actions, who create dangerous public safety issues by harassing drivers and pedestrians, who are just going about their daily business. Acting Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood will be meeting with local, state and federal public safety officials to amp up an aggressive plan of attack. I have ordered this crackdown on these negative individuals’ disrespectful and very dangerous behaviors, to not only apprehend them, but also confiscate their dirt bikes and bicycles too. I have zero tolerance for their B.S. They not only put our public in harm’s way, but themselves too! I will continue to stand side by side with Acting Commissioner Clapprood and our Springfield Police Department urging our court system to send a strong message to eradicate this issue ASAP before someone gets hurt and/or killed.”
“Quality of life” is a term used a lot in cities denoting the behavior of people who just don’t care. Play my music too loud and too late? I don’t care. Throw trash onto the street? I don’t care. Operate an illegal auto business? I don’t care. Set off fireworks in front of your house? I don’t care.
I’ve had every one of those behaviors. Sometimes I’ve called the police. Sometimes I’ve known the behavior will subside before the police would arrive.
I appreciate the mayor and the police commissioner saying they intend to do something. Frankly, the confiscation of vehicles is the only real solution. I hope to see some soon.
MGM Springfield appears to be doing well
So for those people who have persisted in the narrative that MGM Springfield is failing, the new gaming figures might burst their balloon a little.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has released the latest figures for March and the gross gaming revenue is $25,684,173.99. In February the total was $21,500,878.30; and $19,698,053.88 for January.
This means the casino was almost back up to its all time high of $26,952,096.39 from last September.
Apparently MGM Springfield is doing well and as a Springfield taxpayer that makes me happy.
Seldom have I seen so many people who truly want a nearly $1 billion investment in the city and region fail.
Granted there are ways the casino could improve. I don’t think we need a celebrity burger restaurant, but a nightclub aimed at younger people would be a good thing, as would be a medium priced sit-down eatery besides Tap. More breakfast options would also be a good idea.
MGM has added much to our community at large. There is always room for improvement, but what is happening appears to be heading in the right direction.
I predict ...
As you read this column I will be coming back from several days on Cape Cod.
Color me Kreskin – here are my predictions for my vacation:
I will not be watching any national news. Sorry, I’ll catch up when I’m back.
I will not be watching local news. Sorry, I will catch up when I come back.
I intend to be completely unware of what’s going on unless I see something on Facebook.
I will immerse myself in seafood at Seafood Sam’s. I’m not sorry.
I will challenge my capacity for meat at the Brazillian Grill. I am not sorry for that one either. I probably should be.
I will have a bottle of bourbon and a cigar, if I need either. I will.
Life is too short not to indulge on vacation, especially when it’s four days!