April 2005

April 1st 2005

57 degrees at 3:15 pm. Sunny this afternoon, clear blue sky, beautiful day. Exxon on Sumner is $2.16 per gallon.

Picked up the litter on the front tree belt and raked out the tiger lilies in the corner. Lucius drove by and waved.

Called D'Amour Library at WNEC to speak with head librarian Barbara West but she and the reference librarian are at a meeting today. Spoke to another librarian who told me they have no rare book collection. This is what I looked like about 1947 in the First Grade with Flora Bacon.

I stopped by Wachogue Cemetery on Allen Street. It is extremely well maintained and between two very low flat-topped bushes there is a little granite monument with a small bronze plaque on it reading, "Founded 1813 - Restored by Outer Belt Civic Improvement Association 1981." Lots of Chapins and Cooleys. One very old brownstone grave has recently caved in.

Stephen Greenberg, the first openly gay American rabbi who came out in 1999 is speaking at Hillel in Amherst and Nielson Library in Northampton over the weekend. Graduate students at UMass demonstrated yesterday.

The Basketball Hall of Fame owes $150,000 in back taxes listed under Riverfront Development Corporation. Eamon has been calling around inquiring about speculation in the local media that Nike might open something at the Hall of Fame complex. He finally spoke to Margaret King of Nike who told him, "We know all about the Hall of Fame. We know all about Springfield. The Hall of Fame isn't even attracting flies. We have no interest."

April 3, 2005

47 degrees, heavily overcast but not raining.

Opening game the Yankees beat the Red Sox 9 to 2. Phooey.

Turned on Channel 40 and they are reporting that the Pope is dead. Glory be to God! The Wicked Wizard of the West is dead - but there will be another!

Monkey see monkey do: Now that Chief Scott has introduced street cameras in Holyoke, our Chief Meara wants to do the same.

Old friend Karen Powell has a letter in the paper saying needle exchange still a bad idea. I support it.

David Ciampi has withdrawn his candidacy for mayor.

Went to the Quad where Ed Lonergan was sitting at the information desk in Rice Hall. Portrait of Rice still hasn't been rehung in the Hall.

Frankie Keough had a deep blue Ford Explorer parked next to his house today on Vail. 7761 AD registration.

Eamon suspects that Mike Albano's house on Florentine Drive was fixed up with city money and connections. It was redone top to bottom including a new furnace. Also said that mayoral aide Anthony Ardolino was going out with one of Andy Scibelli's daughters and he was irate when he found her on a date with somebody else, went to his car and got a baseball bat and smashed the windshield of her car. Plus the time Ardolino was arrested for drunken driving he threatened the officer.

April 6, 2005

58 degrees.

Education maxim: What gets measured gets done.

Went to the Trade Show today. I have been to all of these fairs from the very start at the Marriott and then up to Chicopee in the Holiday Inn and then for many years at the Big E grounds in West Springfield. I went dressed goth in black cap with ARISE button in the middle, black shoes, jeans, jacket with political buttons over an orange correctional facility shirt. Arrived at the Big E at 9:59 and was aghast to be asked to fork over $5 for parking.

I heard this is the last year the Trade Show will be at the Big E. Next year it will be in the newly remodeled Springfield Civic Center. Parking will probably still be $5, but it will be a longer walk to and from parking than at the Big E.

Lots of freebies. The Springfield Republican had jumbo chocolate covered strawberries, free newspapers and white t-shirts imprinted with their logo. The Valley Advocate was in the show for the first time and had buttons reading, "I Get It Weekly." The Advocate booth was presided over by a woman who said she was from Hartford. They also had copies of the Advocate's advertising rate sheet, which I had never seen before. Channel 22 had a big double-booth with Sy Becker steering people into it. Channel 3 was there as well. Told Buendo at the Reminder booth that I have lately found big piles of their paper in trash cans. Buendo glad-handed me as he always does. I told the Hartford Courant how glad I was to see them and said the Springfield newspapers are just propaganda.

At the Hampden Savings Bank booth I spun the wheel and won a big Butterfingers candy bar. At the Mass Mutual exhibit I reached for a second free potato chip bag but the lady said just one! Spun a wheel at Holyoke Gas and Electric and won a little plastic shot glass. The Springfield Civic Center had a booth with postcards, brochures and destination Springfield stuff.

Russell Denver came up to me in an impeccably fitted suit and shook my hand with incredible politeness and said how nice it was to see me for the first time in a couple years. Actually, last year I left postcards for him at his office.

I venture to say the fair was perhaps a bit smaller than usual but it was overall of higher quality. Before leaving I told several Big E employees that $5 parking is too much.

April 8, 2005

Sunny, clear sky, calm, mild, 48 degrees.

While I was raking on the verge of Wilbraham Road somebody threw a little brown Seagrams VO bottle at me.

Efrem A. Gordon is the best lawyer in the city, period. He has two Harvard degrees and takes tough cases that help little people. Eugene B. Berman is another grand old man, the dean of Springfield bankruptcy lawyers. I am the foremost authority in the world on legal poetry and anecdotes in the Common Law tradition. My practice is limited solely to research in law and literature and legal bibliography but especially legal poetry and anecdotes.

So the Pope's funeral was a very handsome spectacle. They even mentioned that the World Methodist somebody was there. Too bad the American delegation contained no American Catholic such as, for instance, Senator Kennedy. At one point I saw Bush standing, shifting his weight from leg to leg, restless, a tomboy never taught proper behavior.

Eamon called to ask if I'd heard that Ryan is suing the museums. Eamon said that Linda Melconian had art on loan from the Quadrangle, the Mayor's Office had art on loan from the Quad, Superintendent Negroni had art on loan from the Quad. Does anybody know if it ever came back? Jack Hess says that the Science Building once had "a lot of Indian stuff piled up in the basement." Hess gave me the address of former Quad employee Melanie Solomon who "hated Carvalho because he didn't know what he was doing." Says that when they did the inventory in 2001 they "couldn't find half the stuff." When she sought information she was turned against as a troublemaker and boat rocker. I sent her a letter and postcards.

Hess claims the Concord Coach in the basement of the Connecticut Valley History Museum was "sawed apart and sold to a dealer named Martin" who sold it to somebody else. Bliss House had a replica of the Chapin statue in it and when the resident caretaker moved out it disappeared "along with a lot of other stuff." Collection of early 20th century art stamped Property of the City Library sold for $680,000 at Christies.

April 10, 2005

Wonderful sunny warm day, very thin clouds way up. Pride is down to $2.11, Mobil is $2.15.

"The foundation of every state is the education of the youth." - Diogenes

Wonderful piece on WFCR about Colin Powell and American values. I've always liked Powell.

I have 44 shares of Sears stock. The closing price yesterday was $1.38 per share. The lady who runs Edward's Bookstore downtown is good at self-promotion but the best bookstores are at Eastfield Mall and the Holyoke Mall.

Driving West on Wilbraham Road I noticed a nice new baseball cap lying in the road in front of WNEC. On the way back the cap had found its way into the gutter. I walked back from the Lewis & Clark lot and picked up the hat, surprisingly unsoiled, out of the gutter. The cap is white with eyes, mean-looking eyes, peering out of the front and back of it.

Left off some film at Walmart to be developed. While waiting I went to the snackbar and asked about getting a hot dog with mustard and onions. The woman running the place, who has terrible English, said the hot dogs were in the boiler so I sat down and read periodicals. Finally I asked about a half-hour later and she got the hot dogs but said they had no onions although they did have relish. But there was no relish either, even though there is relish in the picture over the serving area. Got my pictures 15 minutes early and took them over to show Ann Staniski, who was delighted.

Eamon got the number from Hess and called and spoke to Melanie Solomon, formerly of the Quadrangle, and described her as a "nice and most congenial lady." Sounds well educated. Told Eamon that the mismanagement of collections and personnel made public is only the tip of the iceberg, but they won't get any employees to talk because they like their jobs! Said she didn't get along with Joe Carvalho and said it's a terrible shame what happened and how "David Starr is always behind the scenes." She also thinks a lot of their records have been destroyed, and there are a lot of collections they can't account for.

April 12, 2005

Sunny, clear, rather breezy, 42 degrees at seven this morning.

My Social Security money, due the tenth, still hasn't arrived. Called and they said to expect it tomorrow.

There was significant radioactivity at Chapman Valve in the Orchard so now the people who worked there are eligible for compensation. In the 1940's they milled uranium for Brookhaven.

Trees all around the former Mulak Nursery have been cut down to the level of the fence nailed to them, looks like the place is no longer in use, in transition at least. Made lots of copies of my Smith and library articles at UPS. Had a brief chat with Brian Santaniello who says he has his PennyPincher printed at UPS.

1:57 I called ARISE and got Michael Windberg who connected me to Michaelann Bewsee who was friendly enough. She told me that confidentially they are engaging in discussions with the city to avoid a tent city like confrontation from developing. ARISE also had a big dinner honoring Kevin Noonan recently.

Eamon called and said Charlie Ryan is getting a lot of praise for taking on the library and museums. Eamon suspects there was a plan to get more money for the libraries by interrupting service at the Forest Park branch in hopes of causing an uproar, but somehow there was a revolt and rather than getting more money the city took the libraries. That left David Starr weeping and feeling double crossed. Eamon also said that Councilor Bill Foley "has no education" and that the Santaniello's are close to organized crime.

April 14, 2005

Feature on WFCR on how newspaper readership is declining.

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of McDonald's and I dined with a coupon on hotcakes and sausage and a bottle of chocolate milk at the Allen St. McDonald's.

I drove out at 1:08 and got the Valley Advocate and bought gas at Pride for $2.15 per gallon. They have the Advocate back at Lewis & Clark again, I saw the manager and thanked him.

Old Jim Dandy on Walnut is being refurbished. Present sign says Love at First Bite. The fine old residence at 387 Union Street is for sale again. Needs lots of fixing but nice view of cemetery out back. New large Pride station going in on the corner of E. Columbus and Union.

Arrived at the Basketball Hall of Fame for the Senior Life Enrichment Expo and the parking lot closest to the Hall was almost jam packed full, but I was able to find a space quite close. The plaza bricks are all white. The flagpoles are gone and Max's Restaurant is still open for business. Opposite the Columbus Avenue side of the door there is Stone Cold, a little ice cream shop.

So I went inside and thought I saw Frank Keough all dressed up scurrying down the corridor. No law firms were present, but lots of nice free pens, including one from Francine Kingsley of Granby who does Eamon's taxes for $40 bucks. Mayor's Office of Consumer Information had a table with a lot of Attorney General information and brochures from other agencies. Out of the Senior fair at 3:02.

They're thinking of hiring an outsider to run the Civic Center. Payroll is also being outsourced. That's where Anthony Ardolino's buddy M. Hutchison used to work. Now if only somehow Ardolino could be bounced from his hack teaching job at Holyoke Community College.

April 15, 2005

Dow down 191 points today, worst week in two years. IBM didn't meet expectations, people fear the economy may be slowing down.

Went to the Stop & Shop and got some dented can goods and a jug of OJ. Morning paper said that Stop & Shop's parent company lost 7 million dollars last year, which is bad because it would be awful if Big Y were the only grocer in town.

Left word on Wayne Phaneuf's answering machine that the story on the Germans was thin and the one on Swedes was really poor and the reporter should be told. Phaneuf went to Buckingham Junior High and I mentioned Elmer Hansen.

Jack Hess called and said of Juliette Tomlinson of the Quad, "I think she was as bad as the rest of them. When the Springfield Historical Society was founded Lawrence Wallace gave us a room in the Connecticut Valley History Museum but she fought us every day we walked in there. Lawrence Wallace had given us the room but she didn't want us in. She was an idiot. She sat herself in the back room on the second floor and locked the door. Wallace got rid of her and that was it."

Hess had kind words for Dorothy Mozley. She took all of Stark's paintings (small, very good paintings) to her house in Northampton. He says the Quad got the pictures returned, "The museum went after them and got them back." Jack's father was Frank W. Hess who was the President of the Connecticut Valley Mineral Club that got Leo Otis in at the Science Museum. Richard Stemberg of Chicopee was big in the Mineral Club.

April 16, 2005

Sunny, calm, 63 degrees. First dandalions coming in. Forsythia in bloom everywhere.

I folded up my winter cot and general winter picking up underway. One of the advantages of being back in the other room for the summer is that I get to use the old color TV that receives Channel 3 well. Unfortunately it does not have a remote control but I have decided that getting up and down to adjust the TV is about all the exercise I get and is good for me.

Jim Landers called and said he just got $1.75 per hour raise from STCC. I thanked him for the book he loaned me. Landers always calls me "Professor" and calls Eamon "Commissioner."

Name of the firm panel over Michaelman Law Offices is gone. Ripped off by somebody angry at them?

There are so many stupid buildings that have gone up in Springfield over the last 40 years: Courthouse, Civic Center, Baystate Waste, even the bus terminal. The Sovereign Bank building is attractive because it has imagination and lines. Monarch has lines. Sullivan Tourist Information Center is a glass and cement box.

Went to the Robin Huw Bowen Welsh Triple Harp Sanctuary Concert at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House on Porter Lake Drive. The place was well filled. I was in biker jacket with buttons and ARISE button cap and looked about right for a place populated with aging hip types with a few well-dressed folks. Durham Caldwell was there. No Lesniak. The Fellowship Hall was set up with a series of tables, including one with recordings by Bowen.

It was a nice concert and at half-time they served apple juice with lots of cinnamon in it, white cake with raisins and cookies with currants in them. The building appeared well-maintained although I didn't get to check the outside walkway which was rotting the last time I saw it. Very chubby lesbian lady in front of me dropped her knitting twice and behind me was a mother with two hyperactive kids who jumped and wiggled a lot. This wouldn't have gone on in the old days.

Afterward I dished out some copies of my article on Mary Waller, who was an old fashioned Universalist. I read their new booklet about their organ which mentions their regret over destroying their old downtown church and the Welsh material. They had a suggestion box by the church office and I left a note: "Sell everything you have and rebuild the Church of the Unity." They will always regret having ripped down their treasure.

April 18, 2005

Patriot's Day, lovely weather, dawning 52 degrees on the breezeway. Einstein died 50 years ago today.

In antique shop row along White, corner of Sumner is a new hat shop, The Brim and Crown.

Fox 61 now has former Springfield sportscaster Rich Coppola.

CBS had a story from Rome about all the "precious treasures" the Vatican holds but which "can never be sold" because the church holds them "in trust for humanity" and they are carried on the books at a value of one euro. Hit the Springfield Library people with that story!

Thursday I asked an employee at the Hall of Fame about leaks and he pointed to the Men's Room. When he understood what I was asking he said the leaks in the roof have been patched. Paper says yearly attendance projections have not been met.

Paper today says that the children of Richard Neal and Sheriff Ashe found jobs on Frankie Keough's payroll. Rep. Cheryl Rivera worked there part time before running for office. Jennifer E. Murphy, an aide to Val Barsom and Mike Albano, was also hired by Keough. Board members included Joseph Dougherty, Juan Gerena, James Asselin and Cornell Lewis.

Funny put-down of Ardolino in the Cries & Whispers column in the paper:

"Although the recent alleged confrontation between abc40 reporter Jim Polito and former top mayoral aide Anthony Ardolino was intriguing enough, the real mystery lies in the Registry of Motor Vehicles information attached to the application for the criminal complaint Polito filed in Hampden District Court last week. According to Ardolino's license, he is 5 feet 10 inches tall. The question Cries and Whispers has: Was the registry employee blind, generous or was Ardolino standing on a crate?"

April 20, 2005

This became a warm but not unpleasant day. Dandelions are coming out.

The media are flooded with medical stuff. Buy this pill or that. Ask your physician if it's right for you, and don't do this or that. Now they tell us they have a new food pyramid, get thirty minutes of exercise a day, and fat isn't so bad for you after all where just a short time ago we were told all the ways fat can shorten your life. Maybe it's a Social Security scheme to knock people off!

I found some forms my parents completed on October 9, 1974 to have their Social Security payments direct deposited. I noticed it went through the East Longmeadow office of the then First Bank which had been Safe Deposit Bank and Trust and later became Shawmut and then Fleet and now Bank of America. Isn't it disgusting?

Today was the Stanton Auction. My postcards fetched a preposterous $2,300 either because the buyers didn't know what they were doing or because there were some boring local cards in there which they dearly wanted. The immense copper kettle Gram Wilson used for doing her laundry brought only $200. A figurine of a male gathering sheaves of wheat brought $250. I paid only $95 for it so I did okay. Later in and out of Coin Exchange, very little in the way of medals and tokens.

The City will conclude this year with an enormous debt, says the Control Board.

April 22, 2005

Earth Day, but bad weather kept President Bush from the park where he had planned to celebrate. Big celebration here is Sunday on the Amherst Common with over 60 booths but rain is expected.

From time immemorial there has been a house surrounded by tall evergreens which would not sell out to the Five Town Mall. Now it has been demolished and the land is being cleared. It was between Laser Car Wash and the somewhat steep road from Cooley into the Mall.

Called the Rotary Club and spoke to Jean the receptionist and said I'd been promised I would get a reply for request of membership information and told her I got none. Turns out the president is none other than Steve Clay of the Y who is "away" presently. Very interesting, it would appear he has been avoiding me.

WFCR had a piece by Karen Brown on local activists, but no mention of Eamon or Devine. Did include Yusuf Muhammad, Dora D. Robinson, Elizabeth Cardoza, Belle Rita Novack and Karen A. Powell.

The 2006 Mass Democrats nominating convention will be in Worcester rather than at our new Civic Center. New York Times has a story about Republicans and depicts liberal Republicans with a tiny, tiny elephant amidst all the big ones.

Set about writing a letter and sending some postcards to the Springfield Conservatory of Music on Sumner Avenue and called Ann Staniski Flentje for information. Ann says she first studied at the Conservatory for only two weeks because her mother was angry that when the half hour was up the teacher would stop instantly and go on to the next student even if she was in the middle of a phrase.

In Junior High Ann studied for three years with Ben Kalman who "used to perform a lot for me, playing to inspire me." Of Charles Mackey the celebrated piano teacher she "did not have happy memories." She said he was terribly abusive and would always scream, "Ye gods and little fishes!" Said he "screamed, yelled and raged, I was terrified of him." She knew about his second wife. I told her that I remember that she bought recordings of the pieces she was learning and played along to the recordings. The idea for that came from Ben Kalman whose Music in the Round in the tower room of a building along Columbus Avenue near the old Peter Pan bus station was the best record shop in town in the 1950's.

Personally I started in music by taking clarinet lessons with Al Strohman, the grand old man of Springfield bandsters, in a little room in the back of his shop. I liked him and the instrument but being raised by Mother to be a wimp the switch to violin was natural. At the Springfield Conservatory I studied with Mae Hinckley, who had a butch haircut and was a reporter for the society page. Next I got Florence Duval Smith of Northampton, who I didn't like so I switched to Maurice Freedman and stayed with him until I went to college. Ruth Eckberg, the top singing teacher in the city taught there, and Eamon had sessions with her. Lessons were one dollar a week.

April 25, 2005

Rained all afternoon. High in the 40's. Mobil in the Acres is $2.17.

This is National TV Turnoff Week.

Arrived at the Boston Road Big Y at 10:54 and there were lots of empty spaces in their lot. Store had only a few customers rattling around in it, I got the eggs I'd forgotten to get last night.

Went to the liquor store at Northgate and got 24 bottles of Bristol Creme for $155, normally $175 but they gave me a discount for supporting the defeat of the baseball stadium Albano wanted to build there.

Lakeside is now Tequila's but I can't tell whether it is open or not. Stopped into Pam's Paperbacks. It is clean and well-lighted but not really a used book store despite the four or five Valley Advocate Best Used Bookstore awards in the window.

Eamon called and is recommending me for membership in the National Association of Scholars. He noted that Mayor Ryan in the past has called zero based budgeting a "sham" but that is what the Control Board is going to do; justify everything by the dollar value of the benefits it provides. Councilor Dominic Sarno says he may run for mayor in 2007, but not this year. Ryan still the only announced candidate.

Morning paper says Burke is looking for a superintendent job in Florida. East Longmeadow School Superintendent Costa, whose English I have corrected on previous occasions, has an essay on the school budget proposed for Town Meeting in the current Reminder and it is flawless. No doubt somebody cleaned it up.

Eamon to Attorney General - April 26, 2005

Dear Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly,

Sexual abuse pedophilia involving priests and children is certainly the worst kind of mortal sin, but it is a criminal act as well, and priests involved in these despicable acts should be arrested, prosecuted and if found guilty, sent to prison where they belong. I write to you about something worse; the murder of altar boy Daniel Croteau back in 1972, and this crime was improperly investigated by former District Attorney Matthew J. Ryan and covered up by Bishops McGuire, Duprey and present District Attorney for Hampden County William Bennett.

If ever there were a criminal case which should be reopened and thoroughly investigated, it is this murder case involving Father Richard Lavigne and altar boy Daniel Croteau. It's absolutely reprehensible how this dastardly murder could have been swept under the carpet. The hierarchy in the Springfield Diocese spent over two million dollars defending the well-known pedophile priest Richard Lavigne, who has a far worse record of pedophilia than Father Shanley in Boston.

Unfortunately, the Catholic Church has a long history of strange activities involving priests, monsignors, bishops and cardinals, and all of it has been conveniently covered up to protect the institution/business organization. There is a very long history of homosexuality and pedophilia among priests in the Springfield Diocese as they go along to get along, keeping the lid on while thousands upon thousands of children's lives have been destroyed.

Eamon T. O'Sullivan.

April 29, 2005

Clear blue sky with sun 54 degrees this morning.

Finding new innovations is the unending challenge. We need a device that makes it possible to microwave a frozen dinner in a car.

I was up in the middle of the night putting the finishing touches on organizing Father's Monarch papers. I didn't realize they promoted Max Anderson and Charlie Hunt ahead of Father. It must have been a source of sadness to him which he silently bore without talking about it. Later on when they made him chief underwriter he was still under Charlie Hunt who was very much his inferior. Father went along to get along.

Gary J. Plant called this morning and had some stuff for sale. Has the only known photo of Frank Ball the violin maker who worked at the Springfield Armory. I said Hess might be interested. He also had a lot of Bibles published in Polish but I explained that they are of no interest.

Hess called me later and laughed about how Plant had come out there and wanted $200 for the Frank Ball picture but he and Plant made a deal: Plant went to CVS and made a reproduction of the photo and Hess gave him $20 for it.

School Committeeman Thomas Ashe has announced he is running for mayor. Was on TV a day or two ago and sounds like an idiot. Eamon arranged an interview with the FBI for Will Rice and Art Gingras but they "chickened out."

Donald Trump says always focus on the goal, it's the sidetracking that kills you. Never forget Zonker's line: If you apply for a job you run the risk of getting hired!

Bush was on TV talking about our use of energy saying, "The math has changed." Pardon, but the math never changes! Congress has made promises it cannot keep, how about canceling wars we cannot afford?

The latest ARISE newsletter has the following open letter to Rep. Rivera:

Dear Cheryl Rivera,

I undertake to personally assume that you are disinterested in the forthcoming subject of homelessness. In other words, where in thunder are you, in your personal, analytical stance on homelessness?

We the homeless, have cried out to you for whatever tidbit of an idea you may have within your grasp.

Cheryl, just an idea - please?

Thank you,

Bruce and the rest of us.

P.S. You've got relatives out here.

April 30, 2005

It was overcast every bit of the day and drizzly much of the time.

The typical PHD in Shakespeare has never performed Shakespeare.

Football player Frank Webster has won over a million for brain damage as a player - there goes assumption of risk.

Ruth Kennedy was on the radio begging for support for WFCR. She is their marketing director. This is Breast Cancer Survivor Day. Susan Strempek Shea was on as a survivor.

Youth groups doing spring clean-up today and I saw groups along Bradley Road at several spots and also in the dingle across from the Acres Friendlys. Over to McDonald's and had a steak, cheese and egg bagel sandwich with a dollar off coupon, cost $1.36. There was a long line for the last day of their coupon specials and a long line when I departed. I decided to get a paper although as usual there was little in it. Up State Street and along Sunrise Terrace there are wire signs saying "Stop Chicopee Jail."

Salem Street Baptist Church has nice bushes flourishing in front of it, the first year their bushes were not properly watered and died. The present ones are in good shape. I arrived at the Quadrangle parking lot at 10:50 just as eight buses of kids were arriving from Granby. That's five hundred dollars a bus. So I went to the library and the tall Forest Park guy was on duty and there were 12 people using computers. Neither of the two photocopy machines were operative. When I left the Quad was jammed with little elementary school kids.

A few weeks ago Ashe said he wouldn't run for mayor but now he just said he will. Tom Ashe is considered a credible candidate to beat Ryan for mayor because Ashe's mother was a Lacey and this is Lacey country. Deezer Sullivan says Ashe calls him all the time and thinks that the city medical contract is rigged because Mary T. left Springfield and worked for Cigna and then came back to her fancy financial job and we gave them the contract. Also said there is supposed to be two Republicans on the Election Commission and Ryan has zero Republicans so everything they've done is illegal. Ryan is known to be in fine health but the health of Mrs. Ryan is in doubt and Ashe may know something. Years ago City Solicitor John Quirk told Eamon "watch out when you're dealing with Ryan" because he is sneaky and deceptive.

A poll indicates a great deal of support for P. Nicolai's tax repeal. Override was to improve police protection and schools and they haven't gotten better so the attitude is let's take our money back! Mayor Ryan was on 57's The State We're In and spoke very well. Says the Control Board members are getting along as a team, and making a number of improvements, corrections and changes. Then the Control Board can go back to the legislature and say this is the best we can do, and we still need so many millions to straighten things out, and Ryan expects to get it.


May 2005

May 3, 2005

A lovely but chilly morning, rain overnight, 48 degrees at 6am.

I have completed cleaning the basement, the breezeway and the redoing of the garage that was getting messed up. About to update the pink room. I also repainted the cellar stairs.

The Acres liquor store is still abandoned with fixtures and liquor inside but closed to business. Even the old prices are still posted outside. In Springfield Cemetery Sunday afternoon I stopped at the Milton Clyde Long monument and found the erroneous tablet is still there.

Debbie Gardner is the editor of Prime Magazine, a Reminder publication for the elderly. Lawyer Mark E. Salomone has a chess game commercial, first time I've seen it. 1-800-WIN-WIN-1. Heard a commercial on WFCR for the Whately Antiquarian Bookstore.

On Antiques Roadshow tonight they had on a descendant of one of John Brown's twenty children who had with her a letter Brown wrote from Springfield, Mass. Because of its rarity it was valued at $25,000.

Left word for Stas Rodosz at the Polish Center at Elms College inviting him to come and see what I have.

A new book on Colleges of Conscience includes Smith, Hampshire and UMass but not WNEC. Yesterday was the 24th annual gay pride march in Northampton. Also the Taste of Northampton has been canceled because the vendors were losing money. Later a TV news report had Judy Matt announcing the cancellation of The Taste of Springfield. Had Matt in red in front of her plaques saying, "Sometimes you have to look at things in a business fashion."

Called McDermott at the paper and said there's not much in the article on the R. C. Stevens Croteau investigation that Eamon couldn't have told him five years ago.

Drove out at 9:50 am, several cop cars pulled over on west side of Breckwood Boulevard. Carew Street is scraped down for refinishing. I dined on a 99 cent burger and 99 cent fries at Burger King at the Springfield Plaza. Found a very worn Indian penny in a crack in the pavement there. I like their burger with lettuce, tomato and onion better than McDonald's. Wish we still had a Burger King around here! Liberty Heights Stop & Shop gas is now $2.15. In Stop & Shop I found a package of 30 mild franks that had only 29 in it so the butcher gave me 50 cents off. Out at 12:04.

Roche Assoc. called inviting me to a seminar about planning my finances. I told her this is a telemarketing call and I'm on the don't call list and since they called earlier they have broken the law twice. She asked me my number and said they won't call again. I replied that I'm a lawyer and if I give her my number I'll have to charge her my hourly rate of $225. She politely said good-bye.

May 6, 2005

A sunny day, dandelions going to seed.

Blair won the British election, but a smaller victory than he would have had if he had not supported Bush. John H. Beauregard of Pioneer Reflections Barber Shop in Hadley is closing his shop because he's being sent to Iraq.

When the Sullivan Information Center opened I went in and asked, "I've heard that Springfield has three carillons, can you tell me where they are?" The reply I got, "Whatsa carillon?"

Got a letter from the IRS saying I got my taxes right this year and have applied my refund to all the money they claim I still owe them. Went to United Bank and took out $3,000 in bonds to pay the IRS if I have to. Then into the Newsstand and picked up Time, U.S. News and World Report and the Valley Advocate. Into Fleet and was waited on by Karen McCormick who cheerfully converted chickenfeed checks into a $100 bond. Going back to the car I passed Jozephczyk in his car and he waved. He is friendly, sometimes even smiles, but he is a quiet man who doesn't talk much and sometimes seems a bit moody.

I drove down to Sunoco and parked in front of the door as people often do. The Chinese clerk screamed not to park there. After I said I only wanted to get a paper she said, "I'll let you this time but there's a $100 fine." She is a problem, and I should have reported her last time. On a Jeep Wrangler at the Acres Garden Center, where prices are noticeably higher than at Home Depot: "Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way."

Jim Tillotson had a well attended fundraiser at the Chicopee Legion Hall last night. Eamon said there was about 400 there, Landers was all dressed up, Eamon went casually. Eamon got a four page letter from Paul Nicolai about a tax lowering referendum, and Eamon sent him $100. Eamon said that years ago during the first tax override vote he ran an ad in the paper opposing it for which he paid $800 and he had an awful tussle with the paper getting it printed.

From Atty. Nicolai - May 8, 2005

Dear Fellow Springfield Taxpayer:

Tired of paying increasing tax bills each quarter while the City gives you practically nothing?

There is something you can do. TAKE IT BACK.

We are launching a PROP 2 1/2 UNDERride. We will put a question on the ballot in November to REDUCE Springfield property taxes by $15,277,285 a year. This is a $250.00 tax reduction for the typical single-family home.

Why $15,277,285? In 1991, when our city leaders gave us our last "fiscal crisis" we voted a PROP 2 1/2 override. Every year since, we have been paying EXTRA property taxes. Since 1991 we have paid $193 MILLION in EXTRA taxes. The number is now $15,277,285 a year. We are taking back the override we gave them.

Why Take It Back? In 1991, we were promised that if we passed the override, we would get safe streets, good schools and a government that would see to it that there would be no more financial crisis. Did they keep any of those promises? No.

Springfield's Track Record:

The Police Chief was paid $136,433 in 2004 - $15,000 more than the head of the Mass State Police. She gave us the 18th most dangerous streets in America. A record 17 murders in 2004. For 2005, murders are running at the rate of 43 a year as of Feb. 18 even though we have the 3rd largest police department in the U.S. for a city our size! The FBI and MCAD are both investigating civil rights violations.

The School Superintendent was paid $163,246 in 2004 - only $1,500 less than the head of the Mass State Department of Education. He gave us one of the three worst school districts in Massachusetts. A district that gets more state aid than any other department in the state and still fails.

The former City Solicitor was paid $142,260 in 2004 - $20,000 more than the Massachusetts Attorney General. He gave us a corrupt city government by doing nothing. He did not prosecute tax violators costing us $52 million in unpaid taxes. Now he has a new job working for the School Department even though a Boston law firm has been hired to do the union contracts.

The City Clerk was paid $100,898 in 2004 - $7,000 more than the Worcester City Clerk. Worcester has 25,000 more people than Springfield.

Springfield has no job quality program. People get raises for "being there."

While policemen, firemen, teachers and DPW workers are laid off:

The Springfield City Council has five full time aides.

Every accountant who cooked Springfield's books is still on our payroll - and we have added more $100,000 a year accountants to clean up after them.

The city auditor who was supposed to stop people from cooking our books is still on our payroll.

The tax collector who GAVE AWAY $1.7 Million of our tax dollars to his friends did not collect $52 million in taxes and is still on our payroll.

The health insurance director who wasted $30 Million of our tax dollars by not bidding health insurance for at least seven years is still on our payroll.

"Reform" of Springfield government has meant adding $100,000 a year people to the bureaucracy faster than the U.S. Mint spits nickles.

What Taxpayer's Have Gotten - The Shaft.

These examples are the tip of the iceberg. Our "leaders" are far more interested in helping their friends collect fat salaries for doing nothing and committing fraud than they are in efficient government. While all this has been happening:

Every year since 1991 the City Council and Mayor have raised our taxes to the MAX.

We are the second poorest city in Massachusetts.

We have the second highest tax rate in Massachusetts.

We Should Pay Extra For This? TAKE IT BACK

You can TAKE IT BACK. All you need to do is share this letter with your friends. Get as many registered Springfield voters as you can to fill out and sign our petition. Mail it back to us even if it is not totally full. We'll take it from there.

We can do it. Together, we will do it.


Paul Peter Nicolai

May 9, 2005

52 degrees, overcast, raw. Lilacs coming out. Flowering trees in bloom everywhere.

It has to be a worn biker jacket or else you look like a phony.

Called Verizon and got Colleen Santos and asked her what Verizon means. She said, "It's the telephone company." I said well what does the word mean? She said "comes from a Greek word but I don't know what it means." Finally got me Nancy Povreca who said it is a combination of the words Veritas = Truth and Horizon = Looking Forward.

There was a rally in the Acres to renovate and reopen the Greenleaf Community Center. Ryan, Lees and Sean Curran were there. About 50 people attended in all.

Dominic Sarno announced he is running for a forth term on the City Council. Describes himself as "old school."

Main event today was the release of the Buracker Report on the Police Department. Rated a three out of ten but spoke well of the cops themselves. Chief Meara, with Kateri Walsh standing beside her, says she works hard and the report is political. Meara got her job by whining and now she is whining again.

Drove out at 11:27, light rain in progress, and headed downtown. Parked on Chestnut in front of the Olympic Restaurant and Deli. In the Hob Nob bar there was an immensely fat bartender behind a large rectangular bar. An L-shaped establishment with more space out back, at least two pool tables. Right inside the front door is a little alcove with a rack of the latest gay publications and a bulletin board of AIDS information. The whole place is dreary and disreputable looking. How long has it been catering to the gay crowd? Went to the City Library and saw Belle-Rita's green on ivory Farmer's Market poster, second one I've seen. The carriage house behind Classical now has the roofing all stripped off and is being replaced.

The Hob Nob was originally called My Place and presided over by a nice lady named Mary. In time she sold it to Amando "Codo" Felici who owned the Top Hat on Taylor Street with Nicholas Cavanza. Felici's father was a mobster. Nick's brother Billy Cavanza owned the Cattleman on Apremont. Billy ran the biggest illegal gun operation in New England.

Sheriff Ashe and Frankie Keough have been buddies for years, but now with all the trouble Keough is in Ashe has had to sever ties with him. Ex-mayor Mike Albano's home in Florentine Gardens has sold for about $300,000 after being extremely remodeled, some suspect with city labor and campaign contributions. Reportedly Albano's new place in East Longmeadow is costing about $600,000.

May 10, 2005

Weatherman says freezing Thursday night and likely cool all week. It has been cool for too long.

Morning news says the "quite expensive" green and gold leaf sign in front of the Wilbraham Town Hall has been stolen.

Russell's Restaurant has a big sign up saying they are having a tag sale on Saturday 8-2.

In Connecticut a couple were visited on their 24th wedding anniversary by uniformed military personnel to tell them that their son had been killed in Iraq.

Councilor T. Rooke wants Chief Meara to resign. Councilor Mazza-Moriarty says "we have to work as a team, come together, formulate a plan and most importantly work as a team." Typical teamwork mentality.

Headed downtown at 9:06 am, it was sunny. Parked in front of the Apremont porn shop, then up to Paul Nicolai's office at the top floor of the Tarbell-Waters building which he owns with the young Putnam. His office is on the southwest side of the building where I noticed that it is shaded by the Kimball Hotel across the street, southern exposure with no pesky sun.

You see two things when you get in the Nicolai office. The walls are plastered with certificates, all matted and framed. There are over a dozen of them, all different sizes. There are also lots of free Nicolai literature, newsletters and guides on specific legal topics. Wife apparently a partner. I also noticed first thing a certificate with a Harvard shield and squinting to read it I found that Nicolai had attended Harvard law Summer Institute one year and got the certificate for attending. Asked the receptionist where he went to law school and she said he went to AIC and WNEC law. I presented my card and said I was picking up stuff for Eamon. She gave me two of the publications for the tax repeal and a big pile of blank petitions to get on the ballot. I signed one there and then back to the car within fifteen minutes, having paid for an hour on the parking meter.

Tim Rooke said in the paper that if Nicolai's repeal passes "it would immediately put Springfield into receivership."

Drove directly to drop off the stuff from Nicolai at Eamon's. Eamon told me that the word now is that F. Keough had jail inmates help making campaign signs for several campaigns. Also said that when C. Asselin was the Purchasing Agent at the Vets Hospital that Keough got meat and other items out of there.

I looked in the phone book and it says Indian MotoRcycle Building, 837 State Street. So I called Verizon and told the girl that it is in fact MotOcycle. She thanked me for pointing out this error in the phone book. I also called TV40 and said I frequently correct their English so they should throw a testimonial banquet in my honor. She politely thanked me.

There used to be a brilliant lawyer named Arthur Leary who hung around the newspaper offices, an old friend of Sherman Bowles, who always marked up the papers with corrections. Eamon said Bowles told him he considered Leary "brilliant but a little crazy." The Repubican should hire me at $50 per hour to proof read for them, but I don't want the job, think of all the fun things I wouldn't have time to do.

May 11, 2005

Overcast some of the time.

Added a "Keep Abortion Free" button to my jacket.

Mother preferred the Ludlow Hospital and was served there by Dr. Stusick a couple of times but Father gave more to Mass. General even though we never used it. Just doesn't seem fair.

I drove down to Sunoco and put gas ($2.09 per gallon) in my two lawnmower cans. Politely told the assistant manager that the Oriental clerk is too conscientious and bossy. Was thanked.

Called Jim Landers and wished him a happy weekend. Told him how I applied for a job teaching English at STCC but never heard anything. Says Landers: "It's all nepotism."

Went to the Friendlys Annual Stockholder Meeting today. I wore my full troublemaker uniform: leather cap with ARISE button, doggie collar with padlock, black fleece, black leather jacket with all the buttons, black jeans and laced boots. Plus right hip pocket black and baby blue hankies.

Whereas for a few years the annual meetings were at the training facility in West Springfield, last year and this they were in a little building, newly constructed at the back of the lot in Wilbraham. Both years I have asked about a tour of the plant but they refuse citing sanitary considerations.

Arrived at 9:22 and had no trouble at the security gate. Wherever I went people smiled, especially young people, while the executives were all dressed in dark suits as if for a funeral (but then maybe a 45 cent a share loss for the year is something to wear dark suits about). Greetings very cordial as I entered.

Same layout as previous years. A pure white crowd of stockholders, the only non-white was Mr. Stephen James. Food the same as usual, featuring ice cream cakes. Recalled how at the last annual stockholder meeting Monarch had they had the fanciest spread of food, Gordon Oakes standing there and doubtless aware of the company's impending fate.

Heard some speeches. Priestly Blake spoke dressed in totally uncoordinated blues and had to be corrected several times. Peter of Savage Arms, dressed in tweed coat and geek shoes, talked too much but not offensively so. Lyman Wood came in and I gave him my card. I asked if I might have his address so I could send him a letter about the Quadrangle. Lyman Wood is a breezy, friendly fellow and told me his address - 95 Mountain Road, Hampden - with no hesitation and I disappeared. I don't like backing people into corners, it isn't my way.

On the way out I got served a scoop of pink lemonade ice cream from a girl who paused to admire my jacket and comment on the buttons.

May 14, 2005

Started out overcast, Acres gas prices unchanged.

My neighbor Colleen served me tea this afternoon and when I left I found a car counter consisting of two tubes across the street. The tubes are stapled across the street so that they are after Colleen's drive and before Mudry's. We have had similar devices here periodically for many years and, alas, someday we'll get stuck with a street light which is just what we don't want because waiting cars, either way, will increase the exhaust pollution.

9:30 this morning a chubby Latino girl delivered the new phonebook. I told her I did that job once and thanked her. Drove out and bought a grinder at Subway. Supposed to be a "foot long" but it measured only 11.75 inches. I made copies of my money order for the IRS at Copycat and the copies have a fat ink streak across them. I told Jeff I get copies at UPS for as little as three cents and at a dime his copies are not at an acceptable level of service. He apologized.

Eamon says he gets $400 a month from Social Security. He called Florida today and talked to Natalie Arbula of the Tampa Tribune about Burke, who it turns out is out of the running for the Florida job. Recent static on the line with Eamon, who thinks maybe his phone is tapped.

Went to the Pancake Breakfast at 10:43, held this year at the Eastfield Mall in their front parking lot. I parked in front of Lowe's at the T.J. Wright end. Girls were giving away t-shirts and crazy sun glasses.

The Pancake Breakfast was in my view a fabulous success because of the ample parking, the lack of crowding, the greater number of booths and all the special offers at the stores inside the mall. I got two pancakes that weren't that big and two pats of butter at the adult price of three dollars. There was orange juice and coffee or milk for those who wanted it. I had the feeling that the people cleaning up were doing a better job than in the past. Mall security people were taking pictures. I said I didn't want my picture taken but they took it anyway.

May 17, 2005

Saw M. Bewsee on television in her trademark jean farmer's bib uniform talking about the homeless. Today I came upon an old passport which I never used. The photo from it is laid in herewith.

Changed the beds today. I was at the Big Y checkout when some young fellow, some sort of manager, was kibitzing with the female checkout clerk and I remarked that I felt that the customer is entitled to the checkout person's undivided attention while checkout is in progress. They both agreed.

Stas Rodosz of Elms came over to visit to look at my material related to Pioneer Valley Polish history. After he saw my things I told Radosz that he should consider getting in touch with the following people to help him expand his Polish history collection.

Eugene Povirk of the Whately Antiquarian Book Center is one of my dearest friends and a great source for radical, Third World, minority, underground and Eastern European materials. Povirk lives in Conway, and we recently discussed the miserable fact that we are the last generation of people who take books seriously.

Jack Yeager Hess, vet and former police officer who makes cupolas that sell out of his hands before finished. He is turned off by some of our amateur historical types who are focused on self-promotion. Hess has the largest local postcard collection (I'm second) and is a massive collector of local industrial history. He's an expert on the Knox Auto and Fire Engine Company. Hess recently told me that all the Van Norman Co. records were destroyed. Also told me that the safe in the old Ludlow Manufacturing building complex is packed with company records that have never been let out. A concerted effort to go after that stuff would doubtless provide lots of info on Polish workers.

I also mentioned that for info on Polish workers he might see my Polish friend Irving Cohn. He ran one of the last hat factories in Massachusetts and was the last man in the Mass. Millinery Manufacturers' Association.

Finally I told him of the recordings of Prof. Belsky of American International College, although I know people he should have interviewed and I never knew anybody that he did. But I'm sure some were Polish.

At one point Radosz asked, "Are you a Methodist?" I replied that I'm an atheist committed to John Wesley's dedication to doing all the good I can. I told him that maybe the Sun is the eye of a glow worm of immense proportions! All cultures seem to build piles pointing heavenward and use their religions as an excuse for fighting with their neighbors. Religion is the most pernicious source of evil on the face of the Earth. I prefer doing to bickering, but I can bicker if I must.

In any case religions were invented by man not initiated by God. And if we free religion from religious associations and see it in a secular way then we can read religious literature, which is some of the greatest literature in existence, as literature. What if we read The Book of Mormon in the context of the literature of the period? It is a novel, a romance, a mixture of all.

I served refreshments to Radosz from one of my Springfield Beer platters and noted that the original Springfield Brewery was where Mass Mutual is now. We made polite chatter for a bit and then Radosz politely thanked me and then departed at 6:48 for his house in Amherst.

May 21, 2005

56 degrees at 7 am. Trash picked up at 6:45 am.

Buttercups in full bloom. In the Fall trees turn colors, but in the Spring they do too, although the colors are more subdued and not loud as in the Fall.

Road crew mending cracks in Wilbraham Road. Gas at the Breckwood Shell is $2.16 per gallon.

Springfield native Taj Mahal is 63 today.

David Earle arrived from Home Depot and took about an hour to quote me $27,330 to put vinyl siding all around my house. He quoted $7,332 to do just the back. The problem with vinyl siding is that it comes only in a very limited range of colors and contributes to making the housing landscape look boring. Late in the afternoon I called State Line Doors and to have a large garage door installed they want $1,259.

Russell's Restaurant is beautifully mowed but chained. Windows are boarded up.

Jim Landers got a letter printed in the paper using the fake name Pete Wilson.

The paper says St. Joseph's in the South End is closing because they only have 50 members left. There will be a recital on June 20th and their last Mass will be June 26. I intend to attend both.

Went out to Atkin's Farm and then to Hampshire College. Went to the Amherst Big Y and it is immense inside, the fanciest Big Y I know of. Arrived at UMass library at 11:13. They now have a snack bar right inside the front doors. Out of UMass at 12:11. Awful delay getting across the Coolidge bridge. Back in Springfield I noted that whereas there has been a light in Doyle the Twig Painter's for the last few months, now it is all dark in there.

I called and spoke to Marie Irzyk, the secretary to Western New England College President Caprio. She was quiet and pleasant, very polite. I identified myself and told her of my Springfield papers which cover 16 Acres in great detail for the past half century along with important information about WNEC which they might rather have there than someplace else. So Caprio has been given notice if he wants to do anything about getting my stuff and I'm not sending him another memo about it. WNEC has a business school which never said or did anything to straighten out the business operations of Springfield City Government.

May 25, 2005

55 degrees at 6am. An overcast day, I love overcast days. Tom Bevacqua said "rain on and off all weekend including Sunday, still notably chillier than usual." This is the third coolest May in the last hundred years.

Today a piece of my left upper back tooth fell out as I was chewing a soda cracker covered with smooth peanut butter.

It is Mental Health Month. Coming out in leather has improved my mental health.

WFCR e-pledge day is June 1st. Public radio is wonderful.

Being tough on crack is tough on the state budget because keeping so many in jail costs lots of greenies.

Bishop Dupre is in the news again, still getting his monthly stipend of $1,500. Also in the news it was suggested that the Mass Turnpike could save millions if they eliminated politically hired toll collectors. The legislature has proposed an $8.25 per hour minimum wage in Massachusetts, while others have replied that it would make us uncompetitive, make things more expensive, etc. especially if adjusted annually.

John Rixon telephoned and called Eamon "really cool." Then Eamon himself called saying not to miss Sixty Minutes on Channel 3 because they will be doing a special on Danny Croteau. Also said a reliable source told him that Mike Albano earned $150,000 last year in his consulting business.

Been talking to Landers about the many problems at Springfield Technical Community College. Everybody is a political hire and most arrive late and leave early and spend all their time when not in class on Red Sox or other nonsense. Many professors don't know their field. Computer course teachers (Landers has taken several for free) don't really understand the subject.

May 26, 2005

At first it looked like the sun would come out and I was depressed, but then it became cloudy and I was cheered. Fact is I do my best work on dreary days. I am energized by dreariness. Now figure that out.

I got up at 4am to do a million little chores. Washed the knobs on the stove and some dirt came off but now the center knob is cracked. They're made of shit plastic.

Bought a Big Y brand pizza with everything on it and it was quite good.

In the paper it says signoidoscopy, a common screening tool for colon cancer misses pre-cancerous tumors "in almost two-thirds of women." Mother died of colon cancer after various tests. Same paper has a picture of Court Square with the lion fountain removed and says they are fixing it up for the grand opening of the remodeled Civic Center.

The Sixty Minutes special on Croteau and Lavigne last night was superb, right down to suggesting that there was no trial because you couldn't find twelve jurors to convict a priest in this town.

Eamon called at 11:38 and had some interesting comments about the Basketball Hall of Fame. He met an ironworker on the project who says the building is going to be a long term problem. The Hall's geodesic dome has the wrong configuration of underlying metal, plus the covering membrane is not hooked up properly and they didn't calculate properly for the effects of changes in temperature. A serious hurricane could knock the whole dome out. The ironworker said the old Hall building was of far better construction. The new building is always going to need adjustments. The ironworker only had one thing to praise about the project: "Keeping the unions working is a priority."

A big crowd reportedly showed up for Ashe's mayoral announcement party last night. Councilors Tosado and Bud Williams were there. Frederick Hurst is Ashe's campaign manager, which must mean that Hurst wants to be City Solicitor!

May 29, 2005

Sunny and 64 degrees at 6:45 am

Heard on WFCR Beethoven piano sonata No. 22 "The Forest."

There is a Rep. George Miller from California, I have wanted to write to him but never have.

My neighbor Colleen M. has mowed her lawn, but not impeccably. She has Western taste in lawncare which is more like mine and unlike Longmeadow. Don't worry about the weeds or the long things on the edges, just mow them. Yet Colleen remains herself impeccable.

Dana Goodfield of Dana Chevrolet or whatever in Northampton has a chatty, congenial one to one style as he repeats the same commercial year after year. A lot of the discounts other dealers talk about are too good to be true but not so with him.

The Roman Catholic Diocese has chosen Coldbrook Realty Services to dispose of properties like Blessed Sacrament in Westfield and St. Joseph's in Springfield.

Arrived Boston Road McDonald's at ten and got a little salad and a wrap around sausage and egg. 11:46 arrived at the site of the old Basketball Hall of Fame. The lawn is mowed but the garden is a mess. The brick plaza all around the back of the old Hall is covered with gravel and maple keys. You'd think they would have swept it up by now. Then down to King Phillips Stockade, admission $2. May walk in for free. The front steps of Faith Church are being reset, it is a pretty church outside and has a good congregation but the sanctuary inside is boring. Cumberland Farms at the X is selling gas for $2.04. Went to Hillcrest Cemetery, an awful lot of flags on the graves. All veterans?

Nader the Hatter called and said the Cubans in Florida are behind a lot of political corruption. He says our whole country is one in which nobody accepts responsibility for anything. Nader still working on his hat projects and now he's starting a book on machinery. No idea when he'll be back up here. Says he wishes I had a computer.

Pam's Paperbacks in Wilbraham winning the Valley Advocate's Best Used Bookstore award is a joke, an incredible joke. She is a paperback place, not a used books place, with a few hardbound and quality kid's paperbacks. Troubadour Books in North Hatfield is in fact the best - better than Whately but Whately has more antiquarian. Raven is okay for downtown Northampton.

May 31, 2005

61 degrees, overcast. Gas at Breckwood Shell $2.11.

Went to the Holyoke Mall Ingleside to cash-in on my free J.C. Penny portrait coupon. Went dressed in laced boots, black jeans with hole in the left knee, white t-shirt, biker jacket with buttons, black cap with button: "If you're not making trouble, then what are you doing?"

On my way there I drove through downtown and the foundation hole for the new federal courthouse is pretty well dug but a truck was carrying out more dirt. The back of Tech High is all gone and the ground leveled. Hampden County Courthouse tower is enveloped in scaffolding, interesting because they did that about twenty years ago. So soon? Down by Memorial Square repaving created a mess. The once popular Valle's is all boarded up (it was an elegant place). There was a single rhododendron growing in front beautifully in bloom. Finally got across the bridge.

Arrived at Ingleside at 10:36. Sy Becker was snatching people to interview in front of Barnes & Noble but I didn't go in. Holyoke Mall dwarfs Eastfield but there were still a few unoccupied storefronts. I was in and out getting my portrait done fairly swiftly as there was no other photo business except for a little Latino girl dressed up for First Communion. Walked around the mall, and the store I liked best was Eastern Mountain Sports because of their nice catalog. Out at 12:14.

I offered to loan Eamon my postcards. For the second time lately he said, "You're very generous" but didn't want to see them because they would depress him. In his youth Eamon ran copy and proofs for the ads for all the merchants and nobody knows better than he how much has disappeared.

People don't remember that it was Charlie Ryan in his first go-around as mayor who presided over the urban redevelopment that dislocated 300 North End businesses and only a very few survived. When the Civic Center was built James Grimaldi said to Ryan, "Before you put a spade in the ground Mr. Ryan, you are creating a white elephant." Paul Goldberger said downtown Springfield is "banal in the extreme" and "you have destroyed some lovely historic buildings." Thurston Munson also complained about the historic buildings destroyed and how we'd never straighten out the relationship between the city and the river. Jane Jacobs complained of "the sacking of cities in the name of civic construction and development."


June 2005

June 2, 2005

Sweet pea bushes coming into bloom.

Love is a basic human need, we need love even as we need food.

In 7-Eleven I bought two jumbo hotdogs with onion and mustard on a roll for a dollar. Can't beat that anywhere.

Steve Power and his assistant were on 57 telling about doing tombstones and his kid's career as a drummer. He is my neighbor down the street and the owner of Venezian Monuments

Former Valley Advocate regular Shera Cohen is running the Taste of West Springfield, June 9-12.

Irving Cohn called and asked about Nader. Used the word "museum" referring to my house.

Grand opening of the Hartford Civic Center. Springfield Civic Center has the same architect. Not a word about Stuart Hurwitz in the feature story in either edition of The Reminder.

Excited that the morning paper says that Mass Mutual CEO Robert J. O'Connell has been fired, no reason given.

Herbie Flores is the big North End Latino. Would he be a good candidate for City Council? Eamon says he's shady. Eamon also noted the phone probe of city employees wasting time and money to make sex chatline calls. Landers says that since Bruce Fitzgerald used to work for the phone company he has known about these things for years. Related issues are Pelleran-Duck playing video poker and the people I saw doing the same thing in the city Consumer Affairs Office and in the Parking Authority.

June 4, 2005

72 degrees start of the day. Shell at the corner of Stony Hill Road is $2.15.

Old fashioned roses on the back of the house opening up. Mother loved them.

Channel 57 brought on The Dead rather than the London Symphony last night. Times change.

Eamon has a new message up about Mass Mutual that hits all the possible targets - extramarital sex, illegal campaign contributions and Charlie Ryan's involvement with the company. By not naming O'Connell's deficiency they open themselves to being reminded of all their weaknesses, some of which they probably haven't addressed. Eamon says that Mass Mutual has given money to local political campaigns for the last thirty to forty years.

News talked about mortgages and how 31% of new homes are interest free loans. Things have changed from the old days when Grandpa Wilson was scraping together money each year to pay the interest on his loan. However, these modern loans balloon into interest plus principle in a few years and if there were a crash people would be in a lot of trouble.

United Methodist Church is moving from Amherst to Hadley. Their church is failing and their goal should have been to evangelize every student at UMass Amherst by explaining that Methodism has a theology for the 21st century, a Christocentric theology that focuses on what Jesus would have done and Wesley's admonition to do good. Not Unitarian-Universalism, but a Christianity without a lot of lies and belief in stuff that could never have been. And a nice hymnal. Of course that chameleon Methodist/Episcopalian George W. Bush (Episcopalian for serious events; Methodist, preferably with a black, when he makes a latitudinarian appeal for popular support or political purposes) whose good little Methodist wife has not made him good, is an embarrassment.

Went to a tag sale at 1663 Wilbraham Road corner of Venture. These same people had a tag sale last year. There was a very jovial fat man sitting and a friendly little woman who buzzed around. Books for 50 cents and magazines for practically nothing. Boxes and boxes of very unusual ephemera, little booklets from long ago. Where do they get this stuff? Bought a Jimmy Carter button for a dollar. They also had a Nixon and a Mondale but I ignored them. I like Jimmy.

June 6, 2005

72 degrees at 6:30am, a lovely but hot day.

Big Y bananas went up to 79 cents a pound when there was a problem in Nicaragua, but the price has never gone back down!

On March 21, I left two dollars at Dream Studios for a poster but never heard back. This is why I have to swipe posters rather than ask because they won't send you one even if you pay for it.

Roy Scott was on TV, his voice somewhat changed, not quite as jovial. Maybe had an operation or got some teeth. Still Roy always does very well.

216 teachers left the Springfield School System over the summer. Cathedral just put out a glitzy alumni publication "The Connection." Their principal is named John Miller. Features enormous pictures and biographies of star alumni, one of whom is Susan Tatro Alfano, Cathedral '71 and an AIC grad.

Speaker Tom Finneran has been indicted. Eamon says that Rep. Tommy Petrolati of Ludlow "who sucked Finneran's ass all these years" ought to be indicted too. Last Sunday at Holy Name (Ryan's church) Gerry Phillips and his mother sat in the front row to one side.

I called Mass Mutual and heard "your call is being recorded for quality assurance" and I got Jennifer who got me Liz Gagne in the President's office. I told her I have never received an answer to my letter which I gave to a little guy in a dark suit who never gave me a receipt. I mentioned that my letter was about sex, discrimination and political contributions by goons in the living room with brown paper envelopes. Gagne said "I would agree with you" that I deserved acknowledgment to the letter I dropped off. I told her to paraphrase what I said and pass it along and she said, "All right. Thank you so much."

Last year Mass Mutual sponsored a golf tournament where there was a special tent with all the politicians eating fancy food including Mike Albano, Gerry Phillips and Charlie Kingston, giving very special treatment for politicians apart from the regular golfers.

June 8, 2005

74 degrees, trash picked up early. June is Rose Month.

Bought a Subway salad and the Norwegian girl really filled it up so I got maybe three times what you'd get in a Big Y salad.

Gingras is getting three thousand a month for working for the Springfield School Department all those years. It is necessary that Springfield convert its operations to computers as rapidly as possible. It is a disgrace that so little has been done with advanced technology in city departments. My father was a man who loved learning. He was always taking courses, earning certificates and diplomas. Had he been running a department that was ripe for computer conversion he would have taken a course or two or three and done what he could, whatever resources were available. But when you're already making $75,000 a year why bother? "Soft discrimination" is letting people get by with low standards.

In the Acres the House of Television building is being demolished, by which I mean the Carlisle's/Bernies building with the signboard atop it. The liquor store is also coming down for a parking lot and a bank and gas/convenience store will go in there. All that is good.

Clodo Concepcion of the 16 Acres Civic Association has announced he is running for City Council. Some dream of Springfield as a tourist mecca. We have some sites, but not enough to reach critical mass. Our entertainment district is unruly, noisy, coarse and low-end. The Basketball Hall of Fame is an overpriced house of stinky t-shirts and sneakers. The tourists at the Quadrangle tend to be children. We have fifth rate colleges that are just a bunch of diploma mills. We have business schools but no businesses.

Landers brought over a flyer on home security sent around the Atwater neighborhood where there have lately been an enormous number of break-ins. This is also the sixth consecutive week that car windows have been smashed all over the city.

Reminder editor Mike Dobbs in his column blasts the recent Hartford Courant article critical of Springfield. Also in The Reminder this week is word that Brenda Garton is going to have a radio show. You can bet that Dobbs and Tom Devine will be on the air all the time.

On the TV news Sen. Brian Lees reportedly said something to the effect that Boston wants to put Springfield into full receivership and a meeting to do so may be only days away. Mayor Ryan says he's heard nothing about it and in any case things have gotten better.

June 10, 2005

76 degrees at 6:15 am. Salvia is in full bloom.

I turned off the furnace for the summer this morning.

Sex chatlines cost $5 a minute.

It is common practice that when you are on the defense, you try to shift to the offense by changing the focus.

Proverb 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go.

Keough fired, Phillips had several charges tossed out (is the judge a friend?)

Maybe Bewsee looks so sour in the picture in the paper this morning because she and Kevin Noonan have grants to look after the homeless and if Mayor Ryan accepts responsibility for them then they'll be losing their funding and livelihood.

A. Gingras was at a Commerce retirement party for teachers and said "everything is out of control." He says the English Department is pretty much dismantled/shot and that "they'll hire just about anybody to fill those slots" but not me because I'm "over-qualified."

Eamon showed me the figures yesterday and his net worth is around $950,000. He says the mafia used to police the South End and kept out drugs and prostitution, but that's no longer the case. Eamon also told me that Tom Devine is off the air. He was on the radio with the AIC guy Tony Gill every Tuesday for about three years, but the word is that AIC President Courniotes didn't like the political talk and told them no more show.

Left the house at 12:02 and down the road before you get to Venture, where there was an accident where someone ran into a big tree, there is a little memorial. The tree is gone but a little decorated cross is there. On Breckwood a couple of houses before the old Devine place there is another of these small crosses. How long do these monuments last?

Stopped at Mass Mutual to deliver stuff to Schulz, Fancy and Reipold. The same lady was at the reception desk as last time but less slovenly and uniformed with the name tag Peggy Lance. "Can't accept anything at this desk," she said. A male guard, Carlos, was standing by. In due course Andy Canevarn, probably the security boss, came along in a grey suit and after asking me a number of questions said he'd x-ray the envelopes and then deliver them.

I stopped in Mason Square and parked by the Motocycle Building to gather some posters. I saw that two of the glass bricks in the medical center where Buckingham School used to be were smashed. Vandalism is everywhere. I stopped into the Mason Square McDonald's where there were eight customers, only one other white person besides me. Lawn around the old Byron's Funeral Home has been cut but the building itself is abandoned and getting increasingly rundown. One of the brick and stone gate posts are partly smashed.

Arrived at the Quadrangle at 12:40. Lots of school buses out back but plenty of parking in the inner Blake House lot. Went into the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum, where Moore greeted me cheerfully as usual. Humbertson had just left so her colleague dealt with me, a slender young woman who has just written a historical novel about Western Mass. I gave her a big box of Giroux stuff and said they can keep what they want and dispose of the rest as they please.

Then over to the Fine Arts Museum where the collages by Michael Metzger are simply super. Sue Davison is gone, following Marianne Gambaro. Two more empty slots doubtless saving the better part of a hundred thousand dollars a year. Finally to the library where in the Reference Room the Forest Park guy is always cordial. The photocopy machines are not working. Out at 2:13.

Heading downtown, I saw that there is an immense cellar hole where the new courthouse will be. The lunchroom on the corner of State and Main is now Crown Fried Chicken & Pizza.

Civic Center exterior is finished - It is ugly! Over $71 million spent on improvements and it is hideous.

June 11, 2005

Two Amherst Middle School eighth graders, Nathan C. Woodard and Nathaniel A. Gorlin-Crenshaw, were told that a science fair is no place for a BB gun. The rejection came after the teenagers spent seven months researching and testing their hypothesis that BB guns are deadly and shouldn't be used by children. Students said they were "insulted and offended" by the rejection of their project for safety reasons, so I sent this letter on their behalf to their Principal Jennifer D. Wellborn:


I won First Prize in the 1959 Massachusetts State Science Fair for my study of the acoustics of vibrating membranes - bells. I constructed a precisely tuned carillon of tubes of metal, which might have also been used as a blowpipe to propel a poisoned dart at my Latin teacher.

Innocent children are easily taken advantage of by pompous ass adults trying to cover up their mistakes and the poor children don't have the techniques for dealing with them. The teacher should have known the rules of the Fair and should have read them to the class.

Kids maybe can't do differential equations, but they can tell a turkey when they see one. In this case you educators bear a very heavy burden of embarrassment and shame over how Nathan and Nathaniel were screwed out of their science project. Don't tell me how lousy the students are, the teachers are to blame! Here in Springfield incompetent principals get promoted to do-nothing jobs in the School Department and are never heard from again. Nobody gets fired. We need a law of Academic Malpractice.

Yours very truly,

J. Wesley Miller III, AB, AM, JD, S0B, Esq.

June 12, 2005

77 degrees and overcast at 7:45 am. The peonies have gone by, but Mother's red rose bush in the garden is doing well.

Section one of my copy of The Republican newspaper today was totally ripped in half.

Went to the McDonald's on Bay Street where I tried their new salad: A bowl with half a green apple sliced and half a red apple sliced and maybe ten red grapes and a cup of sweet fruit dressing. No other fruit. It was good but, well, disappointing.

Lights are on in the Twig Painter's once again. Took a picture of the Carlisle's/Bernie's building, everything but the front is torn down. Pride is going to put an even bigger convenience/gas station there.

STCC has security cameras all over but Landers has discovered that a lot them don't work. The one watching his supervisors office hasn't worked for a couple of years, according to a security cop he calls "By-the-Book Bob."

Michael Jackson was acquitted today on all counts.

Victor Gagnon, husband of Francis, is retiring after 36 years as a public defender. Says he won't have to hear one of his least favorite sentences, "I don't want a public defender. I want a real lawyer."

Commonwealth is taking over the monies in Springfield's employee pension fund and that should get us 10 million dollars in extra earnings.

A janitor has been fired for unauthorized use of the phone and Pat Markey said "it is important that those individuals who are privileged enough to have employment with the city are actually working full-time." Right on.

Eamon called and said that when the North End was leveled for urban renewal all the rats in those old buildings moved to Hungry Hill. One night Eamon went into his bathroom and heard a strange noise. There was a rat in the toilet that had come up through the sewer. He ran out to the garage and got a baseball bat and beat it to death.

Eamon also recalled that his mother returned to Ireland for visits a couple of times, but his father never went back. Eamon says he himself would never go to Ireland now because he could never leave his dog behind. "The more I see of people," Eamon said, "the more I admire my dog."

June 14, 2005

64 degrees. Sunny, breezy, high cloudiness.

Long discussion on WFCR by Charlene Scott about the closing of the Hampden Public Library at the end of the month. Opened in 1891.

Went to Stop & Shop where they had a two for one special on orange juice. Never pay full price, let them plan your menu with their specials.

Heading down Parker to Boston Road, men were cutting down two big old oak trees. These are the trees that remember the farm people that are no more.

Channel 40 is always telling us to call their Cheap Gas Hotline. I called in the middle of the night and said if I know where there's cheap gas I'm not going to tell so everyone can flock there and cause the price to rise; I'm going to save it for myself.

Eamon is writing a letter to Mass Secretary of State Galvin about Mass Mutual to try to get him interested in their illegal political contributions and is mentioning the people involved like Gotterer and Kingston. Chicopee Alderman Tillotson told Eamon that the Springfield newspapers are "absolutely worthless."

I was surprised by front page story in the Reminder about how Atty. William Flanagan is thinking of running for mayor. It said he has a copy of the Baracker Report on the Police Department and has read it twice. I want a copy of it too so I called the Mayor's office and got a mayoral aide named Teshawn and asked about getting the report. Teshawn said the report "is not available to the public." So I asked to speak to R. Bruce Fitzgerald and fortunately got him. Fitzgerald says he has the postcard I sent him sitting on some ledge in his office.

We talked. I mentioned the story about Flanagan maybe running, and Fitzgerald said he was surprised because Flanagan loves West Springfield, where he currently lives, and he would have to move to Springfield to run. I remarked that it's too bad that with Ryan having such a mess on his hands that all the cranks are crawling out of the woodwork and Fitzgerald jovially laughed and agreed. He told me to call the Control Board at 784-1000 to see about the report. I did and a very friendly person named Ann told me they only have one copy of the report but said, "I can ask Phil Puccia." She will get back to me tomorrow.

From Eamon June 15, 2005

Eamon T. O'Sullivan

Attorney Miller:

I wonder if the abrupt and unusual firing of Mass Mutual executives under the guise of ethical standards, conduct and behavior has anything to do with Mass Mutual's longtime practice of giving large, illegal and unreported campaign cash contributions to city, state and federal politicians through Mass Mutual bagmen like Charlie Kingston, Barry Gotterer and others? I'm sure that Charlie Ryan, a longtime intermittent legal counsel to Mass Mutual and close friend of Mass Mutual executives can shed some light on this matter.

I find it hard to believe that Mass Mutual's Board of Directors would fire their CEO and other top executives for having casual sex (so common these days) outside of marriage. Maybe the CEO and his underlings were cooking the books covering up kick-backs and receiving additional monies to which they weren't entitled to. Hopefully investigators are looking into the large, illegal unreported campaign cash contributions given to local politicians.

Springfield's junk bond rated, corrupt, bad city government is a financial and personnel management mess caused by inept, weak mayors and an irresponsible monopoly rag daily paper which failed to hold these villainous profiteers accountable. Charlie Ryan knows a lot about the deep-rooted corruption that has gone on in this city and I hope he has reached out to the FBI in their current investigation. With District Attorney Bennett asleep at the switch and in bed with local politicians, it's good to know that the FBI is at least trying to do something about the corruption.

Charlie Ryan says he loves his job, and why not? He's receiving $95,000 dollars a year and has several administrative assistants and secretaries, all of them going through the motions with no job descriptions or responsibilities because the Control Board has taken over all of the financial and personnel duties of the city government. If they had any character, honor and integrity they would all relinquish their salaries until this financial fiasco is straightened out.

I have been talking and writing about the incompetence, corruption and mismanagement of the Springfield Police Department for years too many to count. This is a top heavy, overstaffed department which suffers from hardening of its administrative arteries and lacks accountability, supervision and personnel evaluations from the top down. The overwhelming evidence and staggering facts of the Buracker & Associates Report clearly shows that Paula Meara is way out of her depth. She was the political hack appointee of former Mayor Mike Albano, the most dishonest and corrupt mayor in Springfield's history. Wouldn't it be interesting for Albano, Chief Meara, Gerry Phillips and Kathy Pellegrino all to take polygraph tests?

We know about the former aide to Charlie Ryan, the late Stephen Pegram and his frequent use of the telephone Raven Sex Chatline. This is only the tip of the iceberg. How about the hundreds of city employees misusing computers on internet porn sites, not to mention those playing Solitaire or Hearts all day long. With no definitive job description they do what they want without fear of oversight. Let's see the telephone records of all departments and get to the bottom of this misuse of telephones and computers.

Good public relations is the successful promotion of quality product publicly appreciated. With a quality end product the public relations take care of itself. Springfield with its rampant crime, bad schools, blighted neighborhoods and mismanged, corrupt city government does not make for good public relations. All the fancy marketing promotions, glossy brochures and glitzy videos have failed to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

In this dumbed down City of Sheep where dishonest, inept career politicians are returned to office on a regular basis, the taxpayers are easily duped, misled and misinformed by the monoply rag Republican while the city slides deeper into debt on the brink of bankruptcy and receivership. The failed bulldozer mentality and bricks and mortar doctrine which leveled the North End and gave us the badly designed, misplaced white elephant Civic Center, Baystate West and Federal building did not revitalize or save a dull in the extreme downtown which makes no economic sense. The tragedy of all this is that the so-called planners and politicians never seem to learn from the stupidity of their mistakes.

You don't have to have a PHD in political science to recognize that even a relatively small city like Springfield can stagnate, decay and decline when the voters elect and re-elect people who appoint some of the worst people in society. Tony Ardolino has a low threshold to anger and violence, as proven when he threatened Officer Greer when Tony was arrested for drunk driving. Tony also smashed the windsheild of his former girlfriend Ms. Scibelli with a baseball bat. The wiseguys like Ardolino, Frankie DePergola and Dan Kelly are known for using baseball bats, clubs and pipes but in a fair fight they couldn't lick a postage stamp. Reminds me of the Springfield firefighter who once threatened to burn my house down.

Wouldn't you like to see the names of all the politicians, friends and associates of Frankie Keough and Sheriff Ashe throughout the city who had their lawns cut, walks shoveled, houses painted and other odd jobs and home renovations done by homeless shelter clients and county jail inmates? How about the political sign making operation conducted in Keough's garage over the past twenty years? But you can't blame entirely the Albano Pasta Sauce Gang for all of Springfield's corruption. They found the system already put in place by the likes of Neal, Catjakis and Asselin and simply enlarged upon it.

The Springfield City Clowncil just don't get it. The state appointed Control Board is here because they violated their fiduciary responsibilities, oath of office and public trust. Unsound municipal finance and personnel management has caught up with this former City of Homes, placing it beyond the point of no return. Improving Springfield's bad national image and reputation is impossible with the likes of self-serving opportunists like NoDoze Williams, Sinecure Foley, Suspenders Sarno, Plumber Puppolo and Mazza the Shrill Moriarty.

I'm afraid Springfield and its mismanaged, junk bond rated bad city government is beyond redemption. I don't believe that the Control Board can resolve the irreparable harm done by several mayors and city councils. In order for this city to solve its deep rooted unsound municipal finance practices, our dwindling tax base must be enlarged, but you can't retain or attract good people and businesses with an image and reputation of rampant crime, bad schools, and poor quality of life in drug-infested, blighted neighborhoods.

In the words of Dr. Seuss on his last visit to Springfield before leaving for California for good, "What have they done to my city?"

Eamon T. O'Sullivan

June 16, 2005

Gas $2.11 at Pine Point Racing Mart.

Eamon says Mark Wiernasz of 22 called him when the Buracker Police Report came out and said it was just what Eamon has been saying for years.

Mullan up at UMass said, "I know of no great city or even a good one that has a bad downtown." He ranks Providence first and Springfield last.

Saw on the public access channel Councilor Tim Rooke ask Mary T. what rate Springfield bonds were out at and she didn't know. She should have all those figures on a single sheet of paper on a clipboard in front of her - the amount of debt, the rates, when they pay off, etc.

Ann Marie called from the Control Board and said I can have a copy of the Buracker Report if I pay to have it copied. Got it from her and dropped it off at Sir Speedy to be copied, then wandered around downtown until it was done.

At the Springfield Newspaper building it looks like light fixtures have been taken down from the promenade out front. At the bus terminal there is a Peter Picknelly display along the inside wall. Morgan statue at Court Square has some sort of covering erected all around it, maybe because it is being sandblasted or chemically treated. Main Street was very clean. I went into the Crown Restaurant on the corner and got one chicken leg and a thigh and a container of coleslaw for $3.50. Finally back to Sir Speedy where the lady, Tracy, had my Buracker Report waiting for me. Well over 500 pages. I gave her $45 and told her to keep the change.

When I got home I wrote a thank-you letter:

Dear Phillip Puccia and Ann Marie:

Thank you so much for your unexampled graciousness in getting me a copy of the Buracker Police Report. I'm the guy that stuck the posters under your door - I am nationally known for collecting "street literature." I shall share the Buracker Report with Eamon T. O'Sullivan and several other activists who support what you are doing. We all have fields of expertise, Eamon's is in accounting, business and education. I am a traditional academic in the humanities and law, in both of which I publish.

You may or may not hear more from me, but thanks, and good luck.

J. Wesley Miller.

Letter from Solomon - June 17, 2005

Dear Mr. Miller,

Thank you for forwarding your packet. My particular favorite is the orange jumpsuit postcard! Say "hello" to Jack Hess from me; I've missed him.

I do remember your name from my days as curator. I had not, however, seen your Quadrangle articles. I am saddened to see the events at the Quad, but I cannot say I'm surprised. I'm sure Jack told you that I did not see eye to eye with the administration (actually, that's putting it mildly). My hope is that the museums outlast the detrimental management of this era. They certainly deserve to, and the region deserves such an amazing resource as well. It is a tragedy when civic-minded people like you, who have collections that would benefit many, have lost respect for the local institution and will not donate items.

Most disaccessioning at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum occurred before my time. In fact, I can recall disaccessioning only one set of items in my five-plus years there: giant framed photographs of non-local politicians, including John Kennedy. I recommended offering them to a public institution. I was overruled; I think the Kennedy portrait was given to the mayor's office (Mike Albano), but I may be mistaken. Of course there were many years in the distant past where record keeping was so spotty that no one really knew what came into the collection - which made it impossible to determine what went out!

There were many ethical and capable people working at the museums when I was there. Unfortunately, they had little to no say in how situations were handled. I doubt very much that has changed, since asserting oneself was a sure stepping stone on the path to losing one's job!

Anyway, I hope I have been of some help,

Melanie J. Solomon

June 18, 2005

Overcast, 64 degrees at 8.

Fred Krug is an elderly man always in a blue suit, white shirt and tie and a straw hat who is frequently over to the Boston Road Walmart at the photo counter when I am there. So I asked him for his card. He showed me a large color group picture he had just done (very nice).

Ratner, Meeropol and Newman are involved in a play Guatanamo to be read at the Academy of Music Sunday in Northampton. I should get a poster for that.

Eamon called and said he just came back from the farmer's market down at Steiger's Park. He parked for 50 cents on Dwight behind the telephone company. He found only four vendors and said that two told him they're not coming back. He talked with a guy selling berries, asparagus and pies who said he grew up in Springfield. They talked about what a mess the place has become. Eamon bought some Berkshire Mountain Bakery bread and left.

Went to see Hess and found him home watching TV. He gave me the two WNEC postcards he got from receptionist Alice Calabrese and he let me look at some of his recent acquisitions. Hess said that Blake of Friendlys, the car collector, borrowed the Knox car and "restored it" in a "shitty way," making it look good but applying paint where chrome should go.

Stopped at the William Sullivan Information Center near the riverfront and picked up their latest literature. They have a guest book and looking it over I found only one or two signatures for some days but some days had none at all. There were only two cars parked in the lot when I arrived. Not getting a lot of business.

On my way home I pulled into South Congregational Church which was having a tag sale. It was a mere shadow of their former tag sales. The sometime proprietor of Forest Park Antiques was presiding over a book counter. I bought The Complete Boating Guide to the Connecticut River, fat and full of maps.

At the intersection of Middlesex and Alden a gaggle of geese, four or five adults, probably twenty little ones, were waiting to cross. Reminded me of the pedagogical rhyme I taught at Heidelberg:

The old grey goose, I see, is loose.
By ones, by twos, our geese we lose.

June 20, 2005

Tuition at Cathedral is now $5,000. Orr Cadillac charges $88.00 per hour for repair services.

Down on Alden in the Bassett Boat & Bait complex there has been an unused storefront sitting there pristinely waiting to be occupied going way back to when I was a kid delivering the Shopping News. Now there is a market in there, Wholesale Kitchen Supply. Have to look into them.

The 24 Hour Store on Liberty is always being robbed. Guy working there is a Marine and his boss told him that he can't pack a gun but he is doing so anyway. Personnel turnover in these stores is high. Gingras' daughter got a job in such a place but reported most of those coming in were shoplifters so she quit.

Landers and his wife drove around the Hall of Fame yesterday and looked into the Sullivan Visitor Information Center and nobody was there.

Read my remarkable letter from Melanie Solomon to Hess over the phone. He noted that the last thing Solomon did before she left was to work on the display cases.

Went to the recital at St. Joseph's down on the corner of Union and East Columbus Avenue. Played the Haydn Missa Brevis. About 75 to 100 in the audience, all white, mostly old. It is a solid church with touches of elegance, but not a rich church. On leaving I noticed a car in the church parking lot with a bumpersticker that read, "I Love My German Shepard" with a picture of the new Pope in an oval at the right end.

Watched Swan Lake on 57 this evening. Lovely.

June 22, 2005

Sunny, warmer. First day of Summer. 64 degrees at 6:30am.

Mobil way up to $2.23.

Black-eyed Susans are emerging.

Jim Landers was rushed to Baystate with a ruptured appendix. It happened last night around 10:30, he had terrible pain following not feeling well for several days. A female doctor operated on him. I called the hospital and chatted with him for a few minutes this morning and he seemed cheerful.

Dentist's girl called to remind me of my appointment. I said, "Please tell the dentist not to bring up a lot of treatments to sell me. I don't have the money."

The crew from College Pro arrived to paint my house today. One of the painters is named Andrew and he is a tall, thin fellow who is majoring in business. He agrees with me that Burlington, Vermont is even better than Northampton.

Francis (Rozkuszka) Gagnon will give a talk to the Polish Genealogy Society of Massachusetts on June 23.

Eamon says the Monte Carlo Restaurant on Memorial Avenue listed as owned by Mrs. F.B. Pugliano is a place associated with the Mob. Eamon said he used to go over there with Jack Connolly to pick up back taxes owed to the Commonwealth.

Governor Mitt Romney has "publicly acknowledged" for the first time that he is thinking of a run for president, but says he loves his job as governor. I never had a reply from Romney to the letters I sent him at the start of his term. But he did send me requests for campaign funds to which I never replied. Now he may be running for President and this certainly could have an impact on the decisions he makes about Springfield because whatever he does will be scrutinized nationally.

June 24, 2005

A 3-H day: Hot, Hazy, Humid. It is meteorologist Tom Bevacqua's birthday.

Channel 40 poll says only two percent favor forced taking of property for economic development. 22 poll says more than half oppose their kids enlisting in the military.

Manny's Appliances says on their commercial, "A scratch, a dent, a discount." Does he scratch and dent stuff he can't get rid of?

Went to the Dentist at one and she said I'm due for a new set of x-rays. I said I have no pain or aches so why bother? She said I have an infected tooth that is draining and I said it's been that way for years. Out of dentist at 1:15.

I stopped by the dedication of the new Five Town Plaza Friendlys at 10:31. I saw Clodo Concepcion talking with Councilor Angelo Puppolo and drifted over. Clodo turned to me and held out his hand in a most friendly way and said, "Hello, Mr. Miller, how are you?" I thumbed my nose at him and walked away. Angelo saw it all. Sen. Lees couldn't make it and had a woman represent him. Ryan didn't make it but sent a proclamation read by somebody.

At the Boston Road Big Y they had frozen dinners offered at 50% off in one case, and the regular price in another case. I discussed it with Dwayne the clerk who was friendly enough and he got the manager, who was furious because he's had to deal with me before. However in the end I got one dinner for free and the others at the lower price.

Landers is home and back on his feet. Painters finished my house today. I had a picture taking session with the workers and then a little ceremony in which for their tip I gave everybody a poetry book and a bottle of Bristol Creme.

Sorry to read that Paul C. McDonald from the credit union has died. McDonald was a very nice man. I last ran into him at Louis & Clark one evening.

Mowed the lawn and then sat on my little chair in the garage doorway and contemplated all the many different shades of green around, reflecting on what a lovely day it was.

June 26, 2005

Lots of white moths around, milkweed coming into bloom.

Weatherman says it was 95 degrees yesterday, one degree short of the record of 96F.

Went to McDonald's on Allen Street and a little old lady in front of me had a flyer with a coupon in it and they refused to accept the coupon on the grounds that they're not a participating McDonald's. I asked to see the coupon and found on the back a list of participating restaurants and they were on the list as one. I showed them this and the old lady got her bargain and she thanked me as I went and sat and ate my Sausage McMuffin. I wonder if at that McDonald's it's a matter of policy to hassle people who come with special coupon offers. As I left McD's at 10:29 I noticed that there were no forms by their suggestion box.

The backs of street directional signs are a significant venue for stickers. You have NO LEFT TURN and NO U-TURN signs and so on at many spots, and people put stickers and posters on the backs of those signs because they are easily seen by the people rolling by.

Dobbs article in the Reminder on the Duryea car fails to mention Knox or Hess.

Ryan will hold a press conference tomorrow regarding dumping Chief Meara. He arranged for B. Fitzgerald to leak the deal because it wasn't good to have a lot of rumors floating around.

I went to the closing of St. Joseph's today and it was handled in a very dignified fashion. I think there was a missal marker with a string on it which I missed out on but would have gotten had I stayed until the very end, but I had to go to the toilet and couldn't stick around for people to go up for their wafers.

Arrived at St. Joe's at 2:37 and parked in a third slot inside the gate across the street. Misty out. Inside there were magnificent large bouquets of flowers in front of the main and side altars. Many candles were being lighted as I came in. Five minutes before it was to begin I counted 73 people present, but people continued to come throughout the proceedings and the place eventually filled up to nearly packed. I saw NO politicians present.

I was amazed when I turned around a few minutes before the Service began to find several pews behind, with his usual bright smile, Efrem Gordon Esq. in a lovely blue shirt and blue tie. Now what is the Gordon connection with that church? Given his father, any connection could go back many years.

The Bishop delivered a fine church closing homily. He noted that the French came to North America and initiated a presence in many communities and long before St. Joseph's in 1873 they were in Springfield where they grew and flourished. But he said things have changed, look at the neighborhood and the houses, and he seemed to suggest that things have gone to the dogs but he was polite and didn't say that. Instead he said the people have moved on, saying that it's a lovely church and he wishes he could have a helicopter come and "lift it away to some other location, but we can't and so we must say good-bye and be glad that what has been here has been the foundation of so many good things in so many places."

I left at 4:48 and arrived home at 5:03.

June 27, 2011

Make love of learning - Not war.

Paul M.H. Murphy called offering Forsych's Beauties of Scotland for $350, said it's on the internet in better condition for $1200. I said I'll take them. He said he would come over to deliver them, the only people he lets into his shop these days are Eugene Povirk and Sam Morrill of Boston. So Paul Murray arrived at 12:20 wearing love beads, red tank top, shorts and sandals but arrived in a car rather than a motorcycle. I bought the books for 367.50 with tax and I gave him a gift of 25 Atheneum Society cards. So we renewed our friendship.

Work has started on the Food Mart plaza in Agawam.

Former Mayor Bob Markel is selling his Springfield home on Florentine Gardens for $311,000.

Drove by Frank Keough's at 10:48 and saw a little Dodge Neon with a Florida licence I44 AJF. Yesterday there was a little blue and white Altima license # 25P519 in the driveway.

On the evening news it says the city will collect millions in outstanding parking fines. Why didn't Albano do this?

Mayor Ryan on TV saying he had to give the bribe to retiring Police Chief Meara because the Council wouldn't go along with taking the chief's job off civil service. He said it's "disingenuous" (a favorite word of Ryan's) to be complaining when the bribe to retire her was necessitated by their own failure to co-operate. P. Puccia talking very stern now about going ahead and mopping up the Police Department. Meara will retire on 80% of her salary plus $300,000 to get lost and $45,000 in accrued sick time. Fitchett is acting Police Commissioner. Councilor Rooke and others say let her retire but why the buyout when her performance was severely faulted?

June 29, 2005


Sunoco up to 2.21, Shell 2.23.

Front corner of 16 Acres Bernie's still up. Demolition of liquor store not started.

The Tavern Restaurant on Mill Street located in the old fire station is in trouble. Hess had his transportation museum upstairs and was paying $450 per month. They upped the rent to $500 and Hess said phooey and moved out. The restaurant was one of the businesses successfully relocated by Albano (maybe the only one) to make room for the Hall of Fame. It was originally run by John Bonavita, but Bonavita sold out and the new owners are losing their shirts, as Bonavita probably was. Several businesses along Columbus Avenue are out of business as the result of the ramp relocation construction work.

On the evening news we had a story on TV featuring Rep. Neal talking about economic development at a special party held on the 20th anniversary of the groundbreaking of Monarch Place. Young Picknelly was shown speaking and we heard Neal talk and in the background clearly visible was David Starr looking well. Also on TV I saw a mass being celebrated at St. Michael's with Ogulewicz visible in the background with Sr. Keating and Tourtelotte.

Jack Hess came over at 10:49 am. He mentioned just having paid around $175 to Schimke for a lot of nice Springfield postcards including photo cards. We looked at some of my medals and he has some but not all the ones I do. Gave him my copy of the Buracker report on the Police Department to read. Told him that Fitchett has no experience in management or administration. Paula Meara should have the decency to decline the $300,000 buyout. Indeed, she should have stepped down the moment she ascertained the nature and extent of the criticisms of herself in the Buracker Report.