The Heartland strikes back

  Center of town, Henryetta Oklahoma Natalia Munoz’a anguished opinion piece in the Gazette on November 10th stuck with me. Driving around Northampton doing her errands, she kept wondering which of her fellow motorists and the people who waited on her had voted for Donald Trump. Was it you, she wondered? Maybe the guy driving … Continue reading The Heartland strikes back

The news from Round Hill is not good.

Neighbors up there have a sinking feeling: Round Hill Road will continue to be fenced off for at least the next two weeks. The road is now two barricaded dead-ends, with no crosstown access for cars, pedestrians or bikers. In an email sent August 26th to Janet Gross, a Round Hill Road resident, in response … Continue reading The news from Round Hill is not good.

HAP’s development moves ahead, but Valley CDC’s lumberyard housing project stalls.

Out on the big stretch of open land off of Holyoke Street, the goldenrod is growing high on the Northampton Lumber land, sprouting through cracks in the asphalt. Time is passing. Northampton Lumber is dead, and its land lies fallow. Just what downtown Northampton needs, another vacant piece of land. Joanne Campbell of Valley CDC … Continue reading HAP’s development moves ahead, but Valley CDC’s lumberyard housing project stalls.

A low-tech solution to a low bridge problem

We are not the only town around with a low bridge problem. Worcester had a very expensive chronic problem with the Providence and Worcester railroad bridge that spanned a heavily travelled truck route. Using the God-like prowess of Google once again, I found a October 2014 clipping from the Worcester Telegram that told me that … Continue reading A low-tech solution to a low bridge problem

On cash cows, sacred cows, dog and pony shows and other animals of their ilk

Last year the Mayor hired the Matrix Consulting Group, a nationwide consulting group serving municipalities, to look at our Department of Public Works and do an analytical study of its organization and effectiveness. They produced a 133 page study dated January 2016. No grade was given, not a passing or failing rating, but they tell … Continue reading On cash cows, sacred cows, dog and pony shows and other animals of their ilk

Mayor dissolves Public Works Commission

On May 23rd, the Public Works Commission, barring any last minute changes, had its final meeting. There were only three things on the agenda: public comment, approval of the minutes, and “Discussion with Mayor Narkewicz regarding the Public Works Commission.” I don’t know what he said to them, since the minutes aren’t ready yet and … Continue reading Mayor dissolves Public Works Commission

HURRAY!

REFORM! I can’t remember this happening. (ever) The police and the Northampton Housing Authority putting the spotlight on active heroin and other drug dealing in our public housing.  The new director is putting her stamp on the organization. A Housing Authority that asks for help with drugs, that works with the police to make complexes like … Continue reading HURRAY!

Truck-Eating Bridge, Take Ten

So in case you missed it, another truck hit the bridge on Thursday night about 4:00 AM. Now he has a $500 dollar ticket, and is probably looking for a new job. The bridge holds nothing but rotting ties, so no one is worried about  its structural strength. They can hit it forever and nothing … Continue reading Truck-Eating Bridge, Take Ten

Stuck in the Heartland

I watched the first couple episodes of NARCOS, the Netflix series, and before it lost its documentary structure and took its all but inevitable plunge into the sewer of sex and mindless violence which is at the core of the Columbian drug business, it raised the usual questions that we ask ourselves about our strategy … Continue reading Stuck in the Heartland

Through the years with Wayne Feiden

Why he is the most powerful person in our city government?   Under four mayors Wayne Feiden has steadily amassed power. I remember Wayne Feiden when he was young, just out of college, I think.   Not the city planner, but an ambitious assistant to our planner Larry Smith. Some well-connected people wanted to get rid … Continue reading Through the years with Wayne Feiden