July 2005

July 2, 2005

75 degrees at 7 am.

Colleen wants to contact Michaelann at ARISE.

News on 40 says it cost $8 million a week to run Springfield. I called Wiernasz at Channel 22 regarding their recent grammar error. He thanked me.

Arrived at the Quadrangle at 9:36. Whole side of St. Michael's roof has been ripped off. At the Quad trashcans were overflowing. Flags on four poles near back of Quad (red Seuss, blue art, yellow history, green science) are now badly faded. Inside the library photocopying machines are finally working. They have done away with keys to the johns. The doors are open, walk right in.

Wayne Phaneuf of the paper came into the Freedom Credit Union while I was there. Avoided looking my way. On my way home I stopped by St. Michael's cemetery at State and Boston Road. There were about ten memorial pots around the base of Peter Picknelly's monument.

Yesterday I ran into former State Rep. Fred Whitney. His judge son is "doing real well." His son with Parkinson's continues to decline but "he manages alright." Says his wife has been going downhill for three years, only goes out to go to the doctor. Agrees that the city is a mess.

Cops are mad that Meara got a $300,000 buyout but they have no contract. News had shots of Chief Meara's retirement party. One lady said Meara earned her buyout by "putting up with abuse."

Eamon called and mentioned how Carlo Marchetti was once fired by Third National Bank. He also said a cop told him that Meara has a double door refrigerator in her office filled with Twinkies and candy bars! Eamon heard a rumor that circulation at the Springfield Newspapers has fallen below 100,000.

Sandra Day O'Connor has resigned, a level-headed individual whom I trust and respect. I listened to George Bush's stupid speech last night, it was a jumble of cliches and ill-defined terms. Fascist.

July 4, 2005

A wonderful day. I watched the celebration in Washington D.C. at first but then found the Boston Pops, which I prefer. Liberty Mutual was both the sponsor and the fly in the ointment. We came to a commercial break and they said stay tuned because they were going to bring us the fireworks uninterrupted by commercials. There were about a dozen commercials followed by fireworks and nice music. But where was the 1812 Overture? Later, after hearing news accounts of the Boston Pops concert, I realized that Liberty Mutual had played theirs and the other commercials during the Overture! How stinking can you get?

Later on 57 on the Lehrer program good looking, articulate young soldiers talked about what it's like over in Iraq. One guy was extremely muscular. Another said he has 45 years of military service in his family. Why doesn't anyone ever boast of having 45 years of teaching English or social work in their family?

How to save gasoline: Turn the engine off, stupid. Plan your trip so you move in an oval. Make as many right-hand turns as possible so you're not wasting gas waiting to make left-hand turns. Teta's Automotive is the best auto repair guy in town now, has five full-time mechanics working for him. His dad was a doctor and his mother was a bigtime Republican. Teta says the Lexis is the best car on the road right now.

Eamon called and said his IQ was measured at 182. I said mine was about 145. He said when he was a kid his family was served by Lemire Ice and Oil Company. He said Miss Cowly from the North End came around selling "thread and needles." Hockney Gray on Ontario Street had some apple trees and came around selling apples, but they were sometimes rotten. Hockney Gray was "a scary guy."

July 5, 2005

Milkweed in full bloom.

Many search, but few know what to search for.

Eight to ten thousand dollars is missing from City Treasurer's Office, discovered some time ago but just reported in today's paper.

Two of my old teachers have died recently. Issac L. Padfield taught art at Chestnut, Buckingham and Duggan Junior High Schools. A gentle man who always wore a brown suit. One art project was to make an ashtray of clay. Mine was ugly, I smashed it long ago. Padfield was a Trinity Methodist and a nice man. Fred Geib from Colby has also passed on. You could learn something from him although not much. I will notify the Basketball Hall of Fame of his death, he was a friend of Bob Cousy.

Went to visit Jack Hess and he was working in his shop on yet another standard cupola. Suggested we sit on his patio. For the first time mentioned that now he's a Trustee of the City Library Association. I said nothing and let it pass. He asked me a lot of questions but I let nothing special come out. Exact quote from Hess: "I'm on the Board. They want my stuff." He told me how helpful Joe Carvalho was when he first knew him and expressed disgust at the way he turned out.

I departed and went over to the Longmeadow Shoppes which are having a sidewalk sale. Then into the Big Y at 2:03. Home at 2:39 just as the mailman was delivering the mail.

The Tuesday Morning Music Club began in 1901 and is headquartered at AIC. The Reminder has been publishing since 1962. Paul Chmura of Wilbraham has a great letter in the paper. Quote: "The Democrat Machine in the city has fostered corruption, poor fiscal management and an unhealthy alliance with the local education and civil service unions. It may have ended with the Albano Administration but everybody knows it didn't start there."

Wednesday 6 July 2005

Day was heavily overcast at the start, sun came out, end of day overcast again.

Colleen was pulling weeds out of the center strip in Wilbraham Road alongside Foster Memorial Church.

The word Woodbine has floated to the surface of my consciousness. Mother once said there was a woman who every springtime appeared in downtown Springfield selling Woodbine which she had gathered in the forest and brought to town to peddle.

Greenfield is instituting trash bag charges. Montague has been putting stickers on trash bags for a decade.

William and Kitty Broman-Putnam now live in Flagstaff, Arizona. Pynchon Award winners are Stephen Clay of the YMCA and Attorney Paul Doherty.

Called ARISE around 1:30 and told that Michaelann Bewsee "hasn't come in today." Efrem Gordon called and I mentioned seeing him at the St. Joseph's concert. He said he just went to hear the music and that neither he nor his father was counsel to the church in any way.

I'd like to see Police Chief Scott come to Springfield. In any case he's done a splendid job in Holyoke.

Back in the 60's Mayor Ryan was taking his cue from Mayor Richard Lee of New Haven when he demolished and failed to develop the North End.

The Reminder delivered today has a banner lead story by Natasha Clark "NCCJ Forum Promotes Race Relations." All the faces of the seven facing the camera in the picture are white. The National Conference for Community and Justice event ran at WNEC on 29 June. So I called Brenda Garton who answered "This is she." I didn't identify myself but said all the faces were white and it was an article about diversity. She said she hadn't seen it and shifted responsibility to the photographer. I said the issue is not the picture but the people that were there. She said to contact NCCJ and gave me their number in Connecticut. I was polite, but Garton is skilled at evasion and deflecting criticism by trying to confuse the critic.

Letter to Wisconsin Academy Review - July 7, 2005

My dear editor Joan Fischer:

You featured Joseph J. Ellis of Mount Holyoke in your publication and I am writing to say I did not appreciate seeing it. Because Ellis has misrepresented himself to his students and the public as a Vietnam War jock when he was actually far, far away he is viewed by many around here as a slimy coward of the worst sort who dishonors those who served and died as well as those of us who were anti-war activists.

I hate to think that some crony old boy network with your history department got him in the Review to prop up his sagging reputation, but what else can I think?

Yours very truly,

J. Wesley Miller.

Friday 8 July 2005

It was 68 degrees at 6:30 this morning.

On TV's Making it Here they had Peter Picknelly's son telling how he and his brother and cousins grew up in the Peter Pan bus business. He told of having to start at the bottom cleaning buses and handling baggage. His father said that if he would save half the money for a jazzy car his dad would give him the other half and he did. His advice to those seeking advancement: "If you see something that needs doing, do it."

Called newspaper Editor Wayne Phaneuf and got Marianna. She was pleasant. I told her Wayne didn't say hi to me the other day and she said maybe he didn't see me. When Wayne came on I told him that one of my friends sent a letter to the paper with a phony name but they printed it anyway. The Newhouse-run Springfield Newspapers have propped up the local crooks. I sent Gov. Romney a memo about David Starr and he was most discourteous in not thanking me in writing. I always read the Valley Advocate for their wonderful balancing viewpoint. The tragedy is that after all the Valley Advocate did to help Springfield, McDermott comes in, does an about face and blows off all the Springfield Newspaper's past wrongs. Most haven't even noticed and others will forget.

Eamon called at 9:59 this morning. He says he gets 85 to 90 calls a day on his community message, down from the couple hundred of a few years ago. He says Devine no longer calls to hear his recordings, or he calls in a way that makes his identity unknown to Eamon. Nicola called Eamon yesterday and invited him in Monday to do the paperwork on the tax initiative petitions they are handing in. Eamon also complained about it being "Russian Roulette" to get off of I91. Thurston Munson used those words.

Eamon mentioned how Superintendent Burke called "just ten minutes ago" and said Eamon "should have a heart attack." Eamon says that one day when he was out watering his lawn Burke "drove by and gave me the finger."

Letter to Muhammad - July 10, 2005

My Dear Reverend Yusuf Muhammad:

Here is a postcard of your Mosque back when it was Beaulieu Chevrolet. When I was a child it was a First National store.

Perhaps you don't remember but we met years ago when I was supporting Chelan Jenkins for Mayor. At a stand-out at Eastfield Mall when one of her posters blew away, I grabbed it and drove away with it. You folks were disappointed, but the poster is in my archival collection.

My Springfield archival collection goes back to 1970 and, for instance, Angela Davis spoke here twice and I have both the posters for her. One was pasted with glue onto a steel door downtown and I photographed it a number of times over the years as it deteriorated until finally the building was demolished.

Some people have their picture in the paper every other week. I am a low-profile individual but I presume to be a reputable scholar. I called you on the phone once and said I wished you would run for City Council. I feel that black clergypeople are some of our best citizens and I wish you and your colleagues would consider making yourselves available for public office.

Good luck in all your doings,

J. Wesley Miller

July 12, 2005

73 degrees at 6 a.m.

8:15 Jack Hess arrived and stayed until 8:45. He says he's "not giving anything" to the Quadrangle even though he is on the board.

Eamon says that Robert J. Underwood of 83 Cherelyn Street is a signatory to the call for a tax rollback by Peter Paul Nicolai.

Eamon gave me the details on the school cheating matter that is current in the news. Talmadge, Freedman and a couple of other schools are involved. A female teacher at Freedman told our favorite school committee person Antonette that she was afraid of losing her job but she saw the cheating with her own eyes and the Principal said, "Do whatever you can to pass these students." She replied that she couldn't go along with cheating. The Principal said, "Do whatever you have to." So scores have dramatically improved in a single year. And Superintendent Burke told Pepe he's not going to look into the matter until he has "written affidavits."

The Kelly and Ryan people hired to collect taxes - Eamon says these are relatives of Mayor Charles V. Ryan and of course this raises issues of circumspection. Ryan making his son chair of the Police Commission was itself an issue. Eamon now says the crooked Matty Ryan supported Charlie, conspicuously, for mayor. And then there is Mary Tzambazakis, or Mary T as she is called. Mary T. has held various financial jobs under several administrations. Left Albano when she saw it was a sinking ship and went to CIGNA and then when Ryan came in she came back as Chief Financial Officer and made the insurance deal for Springfield with CIGNA. Deezer Sullivan feels the CIGNA relationship was rigged for sure.

Colleen said asbestos was a problem with Steigers and that was why they ripped the place down.

July 14, 2005

Overcast all day, sun almost came out but didn't.

I have had no reply to my letter to the Pope in which I enclosed two John Wesley cards.

City Weights and Measures inspectors out to Pride checking the gas measure - gas selling at $2.47. Russell's Restaurant all mowed and flowers blooming so somebody is looking after it.

Eamon liked Maureen Turner's article in the Valley Advocate this week, supporting P.P. Nicolai and dumping on Ryan. Eamon says Nicolai has spent over $10,000 so far on his tax reduction referendum campaign.

Santaniello has a little sign out in front of his Pennypincher.

If Lyman Wood of Hampden can't look after his own town library, which is in danger of closing, why mucks he with ours?

At 6:10 Yusuf Muhammad called but I was watching the news so I missed it. Tom Ashe says he will support looking into financial bigshot Mary T. and Deezer says that if Ashe goes after Mary T. he will support him for mayor. Eamon told me that the Pynchon Medal comes with a $10,000 honorarium "on a silent basis." Eamon worked three summers for American Bosch and says they used to stamp the Pynchon Medals.

Privately Charlie Ryan calls government finance jobs "a sham and a scam."

July 16, 2005

94 degrees at 3:11 pm at United Bank.

I have a family of big black dragonflies buzzing around my lovely flowering weeds for the last few weeks.

Dropped off mail at Lewis & Clark and looked into the pub next door but their $14 special is too special for me.

The Acres Friendlys has a long history of sloppy housekeeping.

My neighbor Colleen Moynihan is at it again with a neighborhood crime watch. She needs tranquilizing.

Councilor Rosemarie Mazza-Moriarty is squawking in the paper about the Control Board. She wants publicity because an election is approaching. Mazza-Moriarty is thinking of voting for needle exchange which would pass it. TV coverage had a shot of Councilors at a meeting with a witch-like (I love it) Michaelann Bewsee vigorously explaining to them why needle exchange is a good thing.

Eamon added Deezer to the list of people he says can testify to Mass Mutual offering money to politicians. Eamon has been mentioning Deezer more lately so maybe they are talking more than formerly.

July 21, 2005

Approaching the end of the black raspberry crop.

Out at 8:51, overcast. I bought milk, OJ, three papers and donuts and went over to see Mrs. Staniski. She is reading Marcus Aurelius.

Spoke to Kyle at ABC40 and told him they have been incorrectly pronouncing Mater DOlorosa as Mater DElorosa. He replied, "OK, thank you very much."

I dined at the new Friendly's at Five Town Mall about 2:50 and had a Reuben sandwich that was well packed. The garden salad was fine but lacked onion. The total was $7.64 and I gave the girl the balance of $10. The place is boring and the decorator colors ugly. On the way out of Friendly's I pointed out to the guy at the soda counter that there was a bug crawling around in their freezer case and he said he'd address it.

STCC is going to create a science preparatory school. Gee, I thought Sci Tech High was supposed to do that. And college prep to me means English no matter what else you teach.

The local television stations are very self-congratulatory. We are told that 22 News is "working for you" but they never ask for a job evaluation. They run the same stories over and over again. When do I get to fill out a job performance for them?

22 speaks of their Storm Team. Why Storm? Why not Fair Weather?

A list has appeared in the paper of those who signed letters of support for corrupt public official Gerald A. Phillips, recently sentenced to prison. Some of the more interesting names are:

Alfred Zanetti of South End Civic Association, Teresa Regina who was an interim school superintendent, Sheriff Michael Ashe, Brian Ashe, former Spfld. personnel director Joseph Dougherty, Jose Tosado, Springfield Police Lieutenant John P. Lynch, former school superintendent Peter Negroni, former Commissioner of Community Development Thomas Haberlin, former school committee member Candace Lopes, former school committee member Robert McCollum, former school committee member Nicholas Fyntrilakis, Timothy Ryan of Ryan Mortgage Group, James Flahive, Atty. Roy H. Anderson, Atty. John Fitzgerald, political consultant Joseph Napolitan, Atty. Thomas D. Murphy and Phillips' ex-wife Cheryll Phillips!

July 29, 2005

Eleanor V. Johnson was one of my favorite teachers at Homer Street School. She was in Room 218 and was my 5th grade homeroom teacher. Had a new house in East Forest Park and geography was one of her special interests. Johnson is to be remembered also for her excellent penmanship.

Long chat with Eamon, he says the Picknelly family blames stress caused by Charlie Ryan for Peter's demise by heart attack, and the Picknelly's are no longer interested in developing the Court Square building into a luxury hotel.

A state vehicle has been seen over to Frankie Keough's house for several hours three times in the past week. Francis Gagnon wrote a letter to the paper critical of Phillip Puccia. Former Chief Meara is whining for a bigger pension.

Out at 10:41 to the Acres for the official announcement of the $200,000 renovation of Greenleaf Community Center. When I arrived city workers were trimming the grass and tidying up. Senator Brian Lees was there and so was Eamon's nephew Pat Sullivan, chatting with everyone including me. I told Lees that I'm a very liberal Republican and he said he is too. I congratulated Sullivan on the excellent work he is doing in the Park Department and he said there is a lot more to be done. Councilors Tosado and Sarno were there and Brenda Garton with some man. Total of 42 in attendance, almost all white.

Lees said, "This has been one of my major projects and this is going to be a great community center." Civic Association President Claudio Concepcion spoke at some length, announcing that he is running for City Council and how much he loves the Acres.

Concepcion, Sullivan, Lees.

Later at City Hall I asked a girl in the Collector's Office what they think of Ryan, whether they like him, and she replied, "We don't." I ran into Attorney Berman by the old Five Cent Savings Bank and we had a nice chat. I asked what he thinks of downtown Springfield now. He replied, "It's like attending a funeral."

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