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Projects move ahead in Chicopee and Holyoke

By G. Michael Dobbs Managing Editor This has been a pretty big week in Holyoke and Chicopee. Clich s are occasionally true and especially in Holyoke's case, "everything old is new again." The high-speed computing center is being located in the city largely because of the availability of one major factor: the relatively inexpensive electrical supply from a green source. That fact, as well as the city's foresight in installing a fiber optic network, is serving Holyoke well in this development. The establishment of the high-speed computing center could change the economy of the Pioneer Valley as a whole, and while he has made some mistakes, Gov. Deval Patrick has shown some substantial commitment instead of the historical lip service we usually get from Beacon Hill to Western Massachusetts. And indeed, this development will be a lasting legacy for Holyoke Mayor Mike Sullivan. The announcement of the upcoming demolition of some of the buildings at the Uniroyal site in Chicopee should also be welcome news. The abandoned factory complex that has been literally rotting for decades will finally see new life. Mike Bissonnette has done what has stymied other mayors in the city and he should be congratulated for it. *** It has also been a big week in Springfield for the wrong reasons. With the recent shootings, it's clear the mayor's race might be determined on whether or not the public believes what Bud Williams is saying or what Domenic Sarno is saying about crime and crime prevention. The fact there is violence centered on gangs and drugs is undeniable. The question is whether or not the average person does or does not feel safe in Springfield and whether or not either man's plan to combat this kind of crime is capable of working. Can policing efforts stop the root causes of people joining gangs or seeking to buy drugs? For me, that is the question. If the actual reasons for the business of drugs could be affected, would we see real progress? With the announcement of a new industrial tenant in the city as well as the opening of the Berkshire Bank building, there is definitely good business news coming from the city. It isn't all gloom and doom as much as some critics of the city would like to see. There is significant private development. Crime must be brought under greater control. The question is whether or not more cops on the street is the answer. *** The announcement made by Nickelodeon that the company part of the Viacom empire has bought the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for $60 million from co-creator Peter Laird and Mirage Studios is the end of an era in the history of comic books. Laird and his creative partner Kevin Eastman forged not just a funky comic book poking fun at martial arts superheroes, but a genuine pop culture multi-platform phenomena embraced by two generations. And they did it right here in the Pioneer Valley. *** Ace salesman Matt "Mad Man" Mahaney came into my office last week and proclaimed with a certain element of glee, "G., someone on MassLive hates you." I explained to Matt his announcement isn't news to me. When I was on talk radio and being the house liberal during the Reagan years I received both hateful phone calls and nasty letters. During my almost 10 years here eight of them as managing editor I've received plenty of hate mail. I can predict when someone will send me a overly critical message: if I write something about former President Bush or conservatives in general; if I question something about East Longmeadow or Longmeadow; or if I write something favorable about President Obama. I don't mind a give and take. The exchange of opinion is part of American journalism. I've published critical letters. And receiving messages from readers that call me names is just part of the business. So, while I appreciated Matt's concern, it was no big deal except I wanted to make one point. Years ago I did post to MassLive occasionally, but I always used my own name. With the exception of two stories I wrote years ago when using a pseudonym was a necessity, I always use my name. So the person criticizing me on MassLive was assuming a post he or she didn't like was from me using a pen name. It wasn't. And I seldom read, much less post on, the forums on MassLive due to time constraints. So if you going to hate me, at least do it accurately. This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments online to news@thereminder.com or to 280 N. Main St.,East Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.
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