Details, details

Catching up on this and that.

Community Access:  Have I mentioned lately how fantastic and valuable I find the ACTV Meetings on Demand?  To be able to watch these meetings whenever I want, and to be able to skip around to the parts that I'm most interested in, is just a gift.  This feature hasn't gotten as much attention and promotion as it should, which is too bad, because I think it would allow way more people to be way more informed, if they knew about it.  In addition to meetings, there are special events like the Founders Day Celebration, the Empty Bowls Fundraiser and Winterfest, which are on the ACTV on Demand page.  Bravo and many thanks to the ACTV folks for this!

Sister City:  The annual visit by middle school students from Kanegasaki, Japan was this week.  I got to be part of the welcome reception at Town Hall, where the students met their host families, and introduced themselves with a series of well-practiced English sentences, about their interests, favorite food, birthday, and so forth.  It was delightful.  The students speak very little English, and the host families typically don't speak any Japanese (though they are provided with a sheet of useful words and phrases) and yet, the kids really bond, and I'm told there are often tears at the end of the three-night visit.   The Kanegasaki Sister City Committee does a great job with this program. 

Monday Nights at Town Hall:  The bulk of our Select Board meeting Monday night (3/23) will be Public Works issues.  We don't meet next week - 3/30 - because it is the night before the Town election, and by tradition, the SB does not meet then.  In April, our main focus will be taking positions on Town Meeting warrant articles.  We won't meet 4/20 due to the Patriots Day holiday, but we'll meet Wednesday of that week instead (4/22,) and that meeting will be in the Community Room at the Police Station, which should be a better environment than the First Floor Meeting Room to do the article presentations. 

Planning for Town Meeting:  There was a "Four Chairs" meeting (SB, School Committee, Library Trustees and Finance Committee) on Friday, as suggested at the last Budget Coordinating Group meeting, to discuss what the Town Meeting warrant and schedule might look like if the budget articles were delayed as late as possible.  With the State budget situation in so much flux, the thought is that waiting on our budget is best, so that we'll know as much as we can about State aid.  The proposal to BCG will be to do all the non-budget articles first (about 15,) then ease in to the financial articles with stuff like required assessments, FY09 budget amendments, and Community Preservation Act requests.  We would adjourn until June 1st, and then address the FY10 budget in earnest.  Assuming this proposal is approved, you'll be hearing more about it soon, at meetings and in the paper.

My Meeting Schedule for this Week:  Monday - Budget Coordinating Group, Amherst Housing Authority, Select Board; Tuesday - Public Transportation and Bicycle Committee; Wednesday - Conservation Commission; Thursday - Joint Capital Planning Committee; Saturday - Four Towns Meeting.   Will I get to all of them?  We'll see.

Coffee and Conversation:  I'm still doing "office hours" every non-holiday Monday morning at Black Sheep, from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.  Stop by and let me know what's on your mind.  (And I highly recommend the cheddar croissants.)    

Annual Town Election:  Tuesday 3/31 is the election.  For the contested races, the candidates are:  School Committee: Irv Rhodes, Steve Rivkin and Meg Rosa.  Library Trustee:  Carol Gray, John "Jock" McDonald, Sarah McKee and Lucy McMurrer.  Amherst  Redevelopment Authority: John Coull (yes, he's my Dad;) and Rob Kusner;  Oliver Smith Will Elector:  John Coull and David Farnham.  Names link to web sites where available, and you can read plenty more in this week's Bulletin.   Also, Town Meeting tally vote records are available at my husband's web site,  The folks who write the Amherst Center column in the Bulletin offer endorsements and ratings based on their criteria for preferred tally votes at    (I know, I know - not everyone appreciates their ratings.  Anyone can use the site to create their own.   Put it on the web, and I'll link to that too.) 

So how did we go from five candidates for two Select Board seats a year ago, to Aaron Hayden running unopposed for the single seat this year?  The more I learn about local politics, the less I know.    


Larry Kelley said:

Hwei-Ling Greeney was burned out and disappointed by her loss, Irv Rhodes is running for School Committee instead (with two seats open, so if everybody actually uses their two votes the odds are with him.)

And Dave Keenan probably figured if it was only he vs. Aaron Hayden the media would know he did not stand a chance and would give him way less ink.

Plus, Mr. Hayden is now an incumbent (albeit a rookie)

anom said:


i notice your blog has a link to larry kelly's only in the republic of amherst....if you read his latest posting it has some very anti-sematic remarks, which he agrress with...i hope you read it and comment on it and hope you will take the link to his blog away from yours....yes blogging is a freedom of speech but the blogger has a right to take down what he or she sees as offensive...please read and comment.
thank you

Larry Kelley said:

No, he doesn't agree with it.

The way to combat bad speech is with good speech, not censorship. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Maybe Stephanie should redo her settings to no longer accept "anonymous" comments.

I provide links to local sites that people may find valuable or informative. The link is not an endorsement of the views expressed there.

I have been challenged with judgment calls as to whether to keep or delete comments, so I understand that dilemma, and I understand that not everyone will agree with the decisions. I have never had any qualms about removing spam comments however, which is what I think Larry's situation really is. There's "freedom of speech," and then there's letting your site be an outlet for the general garbage floating around cyberspace. Next up: information on how to claim that British Lottery jackpot.

Anonymous said:

Yeah, my problem occurred when somebody jumped in with a response comment (that I think was tongue in cheek) before I saw it and then this particular Anon went nuts about deleting it, but in so doing also referred back directly to the original whacko's comment.

Anonymous said:

stephanie, how does it feel to be called into service as the SB chair and blog monitor for Larry's blog?

...Teacher, teacher! Tommy didn't do his homework and copied off of mine and then his friend said a bad thing about jews. Make him stop."

John Coull said:

To Anon, March 30, 7:37 AM. When I first saw mention of "Anti-Sematic" remarks, I read "Anti-Semantic" and was thrilled. Just to think, someone besides myself was appalled at some of the outlandish grammar and vocabulary rampant on Larry's blog. Alas, just another hate filled rant. English majors everywhere, lament.

Larry Kelley said:

Good luck tomorrow John--ESPECIALLY in the ARA race.

anonmmm... said:

thank you for your response...we do not need hatred or intolerance in this town....and yes "outlandish grammar and vocabulary rampant on Larry's blog" , shows what type of people listen to him and who he is. and by the way you have my vote

Larry Kelley said:

Funny, it seems like both of you visit on occassion.

And of course Anon, you are going to have to ID yourself when you report to the polls. Some things in life are NOT protected by a Romulan Cloaking Device



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