Cummington is an idyllic small town about twenty miles northwest of Northampton up in the foothills of the Berkshires. You take Route 9 to get there. You leave citified liberals behind and get into old Yankee territory, where men are still men and know how to keep their chain saws running without running to the … Continue reading The Great Cummington Farms Disaster (more tales from the eighties)
Lately I have been reading nostalgic stuff about Honor Court; reading how the town was nice and clean and there was no graffiti in the old days when the guys from Honor Court and their push-broom brigades kept the town clean. Older Italians are nostalgic for Mussolini, who made the trains run on time. Some … Continue reading Dishonor Court
Stand in the backyards of Meadowbrook and you look up to Straw Avenue and the backyards of Florence. The complex was built in a low-lying swampy area. A number of small streams feed its pond, and under the ground flows another kind of river in a pipe. A regional supervisor for POAH (Preservation Of Affordable … Continue reading Flood at Meadowbrook caused by blocked city sewer line?
A confession: In the days that Hospital Hill still had a hospital on it, and design aspects seemed as if they could be talked about at public hearings, I got over-involved fighting to save Old Main. Too many meetings. Ask my wife. But even in the thick of it, I wondered if I and other … Continue reading We need a mid-course correction on Village Hill
“You know, I worked with Dick Covell and my impression was that he was a much more effective administrator when he was here in Northampton with NIS than he was at Holyoke. You see, he was very much of a ‘hands-on’ type of guy. When he was at 109 Main Street his office was right … Continue reading Part III: The Roof Falls In on Heritage Bank
The Plotters Northampton is a small town, and there is very little you can get away with without people noticing, and talking about it. The commercial and legal and political world is pretty well focused in about four or five city blocks in the downtown area. You can’t have an affair in Northampton, or if … Continue reading Part II: The Fall Guys
A wake-up call for western Northampton? This story began for me about six weeks ago when I ran into Garson Fields, owner of Berkshire Electrical Cable, coming out of Foster Farrar. “Did you hear about that fire up on Shepherds Hollow?” he says, “Did you hear that the house burnt to the ground, and the … Continue reading Not their finest hour: Questions raised by neighbors in the Shepherd’s Hollow blaze.
For some time, a number of tenants and former tenants of Meadowbrook have been after me to write something about the housing complex and the agency that runs it. As you may remember, a 2004 agreement preserved the development as affordable. Brokered by the Mayor, this deal sold the development to the Boston-based nonprofit, Preservation … Continue reading The Meadowbrook Chronicles: Part One
A month or so ago, I was sitting there in the fortified intake room at the police station. Behind dark aquarium glass, officers were working on dispatch and intake work. They will talk to you if you lift up the phone. On the wall is a bulletin board with a clipboard listing all the Level … Continue reading Power in a Small Town
This story began when I ran into Garson Fields coming out of Foster Farrar. “Did you hear about that fire up on Shepherds Hollow?” he says, “Did you hear that the house burnt to the ground, and the fire department never pumped from the swimming pool in back of the house? I heard it had … Continue reading Not Their Finest Hour