February 2004

February 3, 2004

18 degrees at 7am. A sunny but chilly day. Gas is $1.67 in the Acres.

The founder and former president of Springfield Technical Community College, Dr. Edmond P. Garvey, died February 24, 1991. He was born in Wilbraham and was a life-long resident of Springfield. In 1940 he taught at Springfield Trade High School.

Uncle George A. Giroux died August 23, 1966. He was born December 13, 1905 in Springfield. His father Eugene was a blacksmith born in 1873 and buried in Saint Michael's Cemetery. In 1938 Uncle George moved to 175 Poplar Street in the Feeding Hills section of Agawam, at that time way out in the country. He ran the Giroux Machine Company until 1962, serving regular customers like Savage Arms, A.G. Spaulding, Springfield Wire, Van Norman and Pratt & Whitney.

Eamon called and said Jim Landers made him a chocolate cake with white vanilla frosting. He says Lander's garage houses a Heidelberg press and a special paper cutter. He suggests I should stop by and see Lander's place sometime. City Clerk Metzger told Eamon that still-borns are not recorded. A baby has to live at least five minutes to get their birth listed in the city records.

Eamon told me he spent the day reading a new book by Tux Sullivan, Ireland: Smiling Through Tears. Tux is the brother of Eamon's father and Danny Sullivan, who was the personnel manager at the Boesh and Canteen. Eamon's father died early because while working at Fisk he was in a hit and run accident and lost a lung. Tux Sullivan has made twelve trips to Ireland and has been to the Blaskett Islands where Eamon's people are from, which is two and a half miles from the Irish coast! I've tried to get Eamon to write about his family but he won't. Eamon said Mayor Ryan is treating him as if he has taken for granted all that Eamon has done for him over the years, bitterly referring to the saying "Eaten bread is soon forgotten."

There is a Superbowl balloon bouquet flying above Colleen's mailbox.

I called Tassinari binders and spoke with Brian. He doesn't know when my books will be done. Called Larry McDermott at the paper and left a message praising him for the recent improvement in their coverage. I told him I always give credit where credit is due, but when you don't do the right thing you know what will happen.

I went over to East Longmeadow for the ungrand opening of their not quite finished new Public Library. No refreshments were served nor freebies offered. It is an interesting building with private areas where you can get away from it all. I told a librarian that they should have more potted plants. I also remarked that there was no bulletin boards and they should have at least two - one by the main door and another in the youth area. Their magazine section is skimpy. Sy Becker was there doing TV interviews and tonight I saw myself in the background putting a book away in my knit hat and motorcycle jacket.

After I left the library I went to the Coin Exchange and paid $35 for a 1902 Springfield medallion. I saw that Fancy That, which was in the antiques building at the corner of White and Sumner has moved to 887 Sumner by the railroad tracks in the former gas station.

The old location is for rent and I recognized the number to call as that of Mary Boland, the widow of the congressman. When I got home I dialed it, and sure enough there was Mary's voice on the tape and I left a message asking her if she received the photos I sent her of the dedication of her husband's statue and to call me if she did not. Later when I told Eamon about it he said that if she calls back I should ask her about the $350,000 commission she received for transferring the Tapley Street P.O. building to the Department of Public Works. I said of course I would not - it is rude to ask a lady a question you know in advance she will not answer.

February 5, 2004

34 degrees in the morning. Two inches of crusty snow last night. Gas in the Acres $1.59.

Kerry won big, Clarke got Oklahoma, Methodist country. Kerry is a machine Catholic Democrat with whom I have some sympathies. Anybody is better than Bush. Joe Lieberman, a fine gentleman, has bowed out.

Two pharmacies raided yesterday, Spring Street and Shoppers Drug on Fort Pleasant Street, for investigation into Medicare fraud. Cummings Memorial is to be used as an alternative homeless shelter for men when it gets to 10 degrees or below. There is a leak in the 16 Acres Greenleaf Community Center that will cost $50,000 to fix. Why do they put flat roofs on everything and then fail to maintain them?

Cooked up a Bosenberry pie. Karen of Punderson Oil called and rang only four times (hoping I wouldn't answer maybe, then they could say they were trying to reach me) but I called right back and they told me they "had some cancellations" and wondered if they could come over and clean my furnace earlier than scheduled. I said fine and then went out to shovel the snow in the driveway.

At 11:50 a young, slim, personable black person named Ken who spoke perfect English arrived from Punderson. He said he missed lunch so I offered him a bottle (unopened) of Oceanspray Cranberry Juice but he politely declined. He told me he went to Putnam High School and wanted to get into auto repair but it was all filled up, so he had to take oil burner repair which was his third choice (his second choice, printing, was also filled). Now he's glad for how it worked out because he has steady work at good pay without having to work as hard as an auto repairman. When he left he said my furnace "should last forever."

The day was winding down when the phone rang and it was Roger S. Manahan of the Gilman Health Sciences Library in Mercy Hospital on Carew Street. He said he had the William Blackwell book I wanted so I said I'd be over there in an hour.

As it was I got there sooner. The security people at the hospital front desk didn't know who Manahan was or where the library was, but finally someone led me to a section at the back of the main floor. The library is a tiny room, the whole complex no larger than the size of a small house. The far end has a framed engraving of the College of Surgeons from the 1700's. Manahan is one of those fat Irishmen you expect to find in political sinecures. He had a big Irish smile and was cordial in every way. He gave me the book and I gave him a copy of the John & Blanche Fernbank booklet inscribed to him from me. I told him he got exactly the book I wanted and he replied that getting people exactly what they want makes his day. On the way home I cruised past Eamon's and I saw that his lights were on.

Got some boxes at the liquor store, then on to the AIC library where I used the microfilm reader to access my lawsuit about Robert Garde. There are many details that I have forgotten. Mr. Utley the head librarian was leaving at the same time as me so I paused and saluted him as he walked past. He thanked me smiling.

February 7, 2004

31 degrees, a half inch of snow. Gas $1.65 at the Pond.

You need creativity, co-operation, courage plus communication and commitment to effect constructive change. - Eamon T. O'Sullivan

Kerry won Michigan and Washington State. Worcester has more famous poets in its history than Springfield does. Normand S. Loveland, a Springfield College alumnus from the class of 1924, and his wife Ruth, were the primary donors to the College's Loveland Center, dedicated in 1981.

Jack Hess called and thanked me for the Giroux material I sent him. Because he is a meticulously polite gentleman Hess said he'll "reciprocate" but I said it was unnecessary. He told me how Efrem Gordon once had a house on the corner of the intersection in downtown Hampden.

I called Virginia Shaw, Aunt Maria's niece, at 19 Carroll Drive in Westfield and found her polite but also bitter and ungracious. She said she visited Aunt Maria while Shirley Huang was there and claimed she made negative comments about me, that Aunt Maria "did not want you in her presence." Virginia described herself as "a person of little means" and accused me of "gloating that you got all that money." She added that "if you want to make a contribution to 19 Carroll Drive that would be wonderful." Virginia accused me of trying to make her jealous before hanging up on me. Phillip Giroux of Hampden is not in the phone book. I have given up on trying to reach the Giroux relatives.

Took a large can of Franco-American spagetti and added a half pound of hamburg, tomato soup, crushed tomatoes and a large quantity of pepper and onions. Then I dropped by to visit Fancy That in their new home. Hubby says Mary Boland was charging them $1800 a month so they decided to buy the former gas station at the corner of Dorset and Sumner. He said they are now paying $700 per month on their mortgage and getting $550 in rent from Atlantic Exterminating in the same building. As I left I said give my regards to the Mrs.

Then I stopped at 471-479 Boston Road, the Smiley's Variety strip mall where the little porn shop used to be. It no longer exists, and the partition has been taken down to create a combo convenience store, liquor shop which is also a KENO dive offering cheap bagged snacks. There were three people there playing. In the same strip is Holyoke Nails, Jen's Cutting Edge hairshop and a vacant space. Then I continued out to Stop & Shop where I cleaned up on dented cans. Maybe late Saturday is a good time to get dented cans and discarded veggies.

The paper says it will cost $81 million to fix Putnam High and Mayor Ryan says we haven't got the money. He said Springfield is $400 million in debt with a $35 million cost in debt service each year.

According to Eamon, Brian King, the brother of the newspaper editor, is now an old man selling suits at Yale-Genton. Eamon's phone call identifier shows that a Raymond L. Warren, listed as the Enfield Director of Economic Development, calls every few days to listen to his messages. Eamon recalled that his mother was cantankerous so none of the relatives would look after her, but when she died they all asked if there was any money. He also recalled that when he worked at the Health Department he often had morning coffee with Dr. Ayres and Dr. Michael O'Connor. He described those times as "wonderful years."

Eamon went with Antonette Pepe to tour Putnam High for three hours last Tuesday. Eamon said the wife of School Committeeman Ken Shea is some kind of guidance councilor there and Eamon wonders whether it is a violation of policy to have a school committee person's relative working for the school system. He says Munson's murals are still hanging in the cafeteria with a big mural elsewhere of Ed Garvey in his naval uniform.

Eamon claims that former Principal Ann Southworth was actually a failure at Putnam, not the success she was made out to be in the media. Bill Goodwin is the new principal. He reluctantly admitted to Eamon that there are no job descriptions for the principal or for the five vice-principals working under him. Eamon said he pounded Goodwin with question after question. He asked how often he sees Superintendent Burke and Goodwin replied that Burke had "been here a few times, but not in the past few months." When pressed for more information about Burke, Goodwin pleaded, "I don't know if I want to answer those questions, he's my boss!"

Eamon asked how many grade levels behind Putnam students are and he said three. Goodwin explained that former Superintendent Negroni had eliminated student retention in 1991, replacing it with social promotions designed to protect the student's self-esteem. Of course once the students knew it was impossible to fail they lost all incentive to work. Eamon asked if it was true that 50% of the students who entered Putnam in 9th grade don't graduate, to which Goodwin replied that it was "close to that number." Eamon told Goodwin that John Silber of Boston College once told him that he considered the public education system to be so far gone that it was beyond the point of no return. On their way out Principal Goodwin shook Eamon's hand and said, "Mr. O'Sullivan, I like your style."

February 10, 2004

25 degrees at 7:30 this morning. Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the Beatles arriving in America.

John Kerry beat John Dean in the Maine primary by a wide margin. Kerry also won in Virginia and Tennessee. Former Mayor Albano is on a six city tour promoting the legalization of prescription drugs from Canada that will include stops in Providence, Seattle and San Antonio.

Yolande Croteau and Jeanette Rivet, both of 439 Union Street in Springfield, are organizing a trip to see "The Passion Play 2004" in Union City, New Jersey in April. Citizens Bank is located at 1600 Boston Road. This morning a tractor trailer truck got stuck beneath the Parker Street railroad crossing over Indian Orchard way. That has happened before, the problem is that the sign says the clearance is so many feet but there is a grade down to the underpass and a grade up from the underpass so for a long truck the effective clearance is much less.

Steve Hays, the Executive Director of The Drama Studio Inc. was featured in the Local Spotlight section of the paper. Hays is the power behind the Boar's Head Festival at Trinity Church. I visited his home once on a house tour and I think well of him although I don't really know him. I am not involved with Trinity nor shall I be. In the People Profile Plus section Dr. K. Knowlton Utley, Director of the James J. Shea Library at AIC is featured. He is a tall, gentle, good natured man who is very competent and deserving of notice. Bishop Dupre of the Diocese of Springfield has an editorial in the Massachusetts Catholic Conference bulletin against gay marriage. St Joseph's sometimes refers to itself as St. Joseph. Which is it?

New strip clubs and pornography shops will be temporarily banned by a City Council vote recently. It was the result of a petition by Karen A. Powell of Mohawk Drive and Raymond N. Tuller of Chalmes Street. Downtown strip clubs are the Mardi Gras, Club 418, Teddy B's, Xstatic and the Fifth Alarm. I called Karen Powell and left a message urging her to vote for Efrem Gordon as best lawyer in the Valley Advocate "Best of" balloting.

I went to check on Fernbank, the land I'm donating to Wilbraham. On the way I saw that there is a new house going up on the corner of Wilbraham Road and Aberdale. Work on Fernbank has been suspended due to the snow. Donna Mickiewicz who lives in the red cottage on the other side of the bridge was out and we chatted for a bit. She said she likes to watch the wildlife on the river, which is now frozen over. She told me she has a degree in sociology from AIC and that her son Jerry majored in computers at WNEC. She said someone offered her $100,000 for her house, which she has lived in since 1973.

James H. Denver of Springfield has died at 77. He is the father of Russell Denver of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. I called Russell and offered my condolences and we had a short, pleasant conversation. Last night TV40 told about a stabbing involving three students at Hartford's Weaver High. I called the station and got Jamie and told her to tell Dave Madsen to forget about Hartford and tell us about the violence at Commerce and throughout the Springfield School System. She thanked me.

Eamon was up to the VA for dental work today. Eamon predicts there will be more scandals developing involving the Springfield Housing Authority and Hungry Hill Development Corporation. Karen Powell told him she is "pissed-off" about all the establishment types being appointed to positions by Mayor Ryan. She thinks that Rep. Cheryl Rivera has too much influence. Eamon says that supporters are being passed over, and gave as an example Bob Powell who he said "busted his ass for Charlie." Antonette Pepe told Eamon she saw Luisa Cardaropoli and R. Bruce Fitzgerald together in City Hall the other night. When Pepe later pointed out to Fitzgerald that she is under investigation Fitzgerald replied, "Oh, I didn't know that." Eamon claims Cardaropoli and Atty. Laura Merino are both "persons of interest" in the ongoing corruption probes.

February 11, 2004

37 degrees at 7am, faint snow flurries as I drove by Oak Grove Cemetery.

Big demonstration in Boston today against gay marriage. One protest sign shown on the news said, "God Created Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve." Rita Coppola Wallace of the Park Department was on TV22 explaining that the lights are on all night at King Phillips Stockade as a safety measure while renovations are going on.

This afternoon I attended the stockholders meeting of United Co-operative Bank at Peter Picknelly's Sheraton Hotel at One Monarch Place downtown. I arrived at the municipal parking garage under the I-91 overpass at 7:56am. I went inside where Picknelly's silver Rolls Royce is still on display in the hotel lobby. Hideous modern art is on the walls and the little bar along the lobby was closed. Through the blinds in the window of one of the rooms I saw Picknelly's son holding a meeting.

I spotted Jack Briggs of Longmeadow and introduced myself. He said he'd heard the name J. Wesley Miller before but couldn't recall where. I told him that Ben Jones had hired me to inventory the Monarch archives, and then he remembered who I was. We had a nice chat and I promised to send him some postcards. Judy Matt came along and said hello in a pleasant way. They served coffee and a generous spread of bagels and pastry.

I also met the bank president Richard B. Collins. A tall, pleasant man I told him that I like the interior decorating of his bank branches, but that his bank should pay higher interest. The meeting itself was quite dull, except when Atty. Peter J. Stass of Westfield politely complained that most of the recent changes at the bank do nothing for stockholders. When they asked at the end if there were any final suggestions, I stood up and suggested that they serve sausage and eggs at next year's meeting, which made everyone laugh. Arrived home at 10:33am.

By late afternoon the word was out that Bishop Thomas L. Dupre had resigned after being confronted with sex abuse allegations. Rev. James Scahill had tried to warn Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston about Dupre but O'Malley never returned his calls. In 2002 Dupre denied that an Amherst priest's ouster was retribution for the priest calling the police to report that the Rev. Richard Lavigne was spotted lurking around the church grounds. In 2003 Dupre was accused of making statements at a cleric's conference suggesting that the personnel records of Father Lavigne from the 1970's had been purposely destroyed. Monsignor Richard S. Sniezyk will run the diocese until an acting administrator is chosen. John Egan, the diocese's chief legal counsel had no comment. Friends described Bishop Dupre as an introvert and a sensitive man.

Eamon called and said that diversity and multiculturalism are nice but only if those filling the jobs are qualified. He says bagman Barry Gotterer is currently an insurance lobbyist in Washington D.C. and may still be on the payroll of Mass Mutual. He is a close friend of Charles Kingston. Gotterer's former role at Mass Mutual is now filled by John Abbott, who has been selected to co-ordinate the Mass Mutual executive volunteers program at City Hall. Eamon had a good phone message today:

Cities either prosper and grow like Providence, Worcester and Northampton or stagnate and decline like Hartford, Holyoke and Springfield. The only reason Springfield is not in bankruptcy is that every time it runs out of money it keeps going further into debt on the backs of the taxpayers. In private business that can't be done. Seldom has a catastrophe so great involving financial mismanagement had such little consequence for those responsible for causing it. The last time a competent administrator ran for the office of mayor in Springfield was Roger Putnam 50 years ago.

February 14, 2004

26 degrees at 7:30am. Sunny. All gas at 16 Acres $1.59.

I hate bossy people. Don't should on me and I won't should on you.

This is Valentine's Day and National Condoms Day. Melinda's Valentine present was a Tower of London toffee tin and a little heart shaped box of chocolates, both of which I mailed to her.

The Central Library has a new phone number. My hearing is better in my right ear than my left, and for some reason I can hear TV40 better than TV22. There was an ad on WFCR this morning for The Republican. Timothy T. Collins is the president of the Springfield Education Association. Joe Velez arranged the Community Music School of Springfield's production of "Peter and the Wolf."

Went to the Big Y today where I bought the specials and at the checkout I won a blue coin for the first time. I have a mountain of silver coins. A sign at the entrance of Five Town Mall says KB Toys are closing. I've had this old commercial jingle in my head all day:

Use Ajax the foaming cleanser
Floats the dirt right down the drain
You'll stop paying the elbow tax
When you're cleaning with Ajax!

Yesterday was Eamon's birthday and I played Happy Birthday over the phone to him on my cloisonne bells. He said Landers likes to cook and made him a frosted cake. Landers' son Sean is in town and plans to go on a hostel tour of Europe this summer. Eamon thinks that the scandal over the Bishop must be selling a lot of papers and that Larry McDermott probably feels this is his ticket to a Pulitzer Prize. Antonette Pepe told Eamon that she was in Bruce Fitzgerald's office and a secretary came in with a letter Mayor Ryan was sending to all department heads and was asking Bruce to approve it. She said he barely glanced at it and said okay. Pepe also said that Ryan told her that the city's finances are worse than he ever suspected.

Yesterday there was a fuss in the media about Sen. John Kerry being sexually involved with some intern who was then sent out of the country. However today it has been shown to be groundless. But Eamon says several years ago there was a widespread rumor locally that while on a visit to Springfield Kerry had been surprised in the backseat of a car with a Springfield campaign worker. Eamon said he was never able to determine whether the rumor was true, although just the fact that such a story is circulating locally is interesting. Eamon says that most male politicians treat women like bank accounts: Put it in, take it out and lose interest.

February 16, 2004

34 degrees at 2am in my breezeway, which is closed but not insulated. This is President's Day.

Sen. Kerry won Nevada and now has 579 convention delegates. John Dean has 188 and Edwards has 166. Wesley Clark is dropping out of the presidential race and endorsing Kerry. Clark seemed like a gentleman but I never really knew what he stood for except that he was against Bush.

Physician Fred M. H. Ziter of Mercy Hospital is listed in the 1958 City Directory. Kevin Rhodes is the director of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. Antique Roadshow had a section tonight on psychedelic posters. The ones they showed were worth $5,000 but I have never sold one for more than $100. They said a thumbtack hole in a poster can lower its value by 20 percent. Henry Winkler, the Fonz, was on TV Saturday morning wearing a sage green sweater. I was disappointed he wasn't wearing his motorcycle jacket.

Jack Hess called for the first time in a while and said he bought some Springfield postcards online, and that he discovered that the builder (not the architect) of Wesley Church was the same individual who built the Knox automobile plant. He told me he doesn't like the architecture of the new East Longmeadow Public Library and complained again about the attitude of the Wilbraham police.

Eamon called at 9:30am and said he had not had his paper delivered and Moore's Convenience store doesn't have any. He also checked at Cal's and they didn't have any either. It turns out the paper was having trouble with their new press. When the paper finally did come out it had a big article about the Feds raiding Frankie Keough's house in Rhode Island. A lot of local officials keep modest homes in Springfield while having lavish second homes in other states like Rhode Island or Maine. Of course one wonders how they afford these homes on their modest public salaries. Keough is a former City Councilor who has run the city's homeless shelter since 1994. His Springfield home is by Sumner Avenue.

Jim Landers told Eamon that he posted some transcripts from Eamon's phone messages on the Masslive Springfield Forum and they were quickly removed. Anything identified as coming from Eamon, even if he is not the one posting it, gets censored. Eamon was surprised to get a birthday card from Charlie and Joan Ryan. Eamon says he is confident Karen Powell will get a job.

Eamon ran into Mitch Ogulewicz at Gus & Paul's downtown. Ogulewicz told him that Mayor Ryan called and offered him a job as chairman of the School Building Committee (Bob McCollum's old job) but Mitch wasn't interested. Mayor Ryan told Ogulewicz that he was shocked when he discovered the real financial condition of the city.

Mitch Ogulewicz has sold his house on Bartels Street and is moving to a condo in Rockland, Connecticut near the bank where he works. Ogulewicz recalled how when Bill Bennett first ran for D.A. he repeatedly said that he only wanted to serve one term. Eamon said that Ogulewicz and Peter Jurzynski were the only ones who tried to fight corruption in Springfield in the 1980's, and in retaliation their political careers were destroyed.

February 17, 2004

24 degrees in the morning.

I think the kids of my generation were generally smarter than those of the present one and that is why we opposed the Vietnam War and they don't oppose the war in Iraq.

Eloy Perez is the manager of the Springdale Mall McDonald's. Roof work is being done on the original Grower's Outlet building on the corner of Wilbraham Road and Eastern Avenue.

Interesting column "Questions for Kerry" in the paper by George Will. Father Scahill of East Longmeadow was on TV22 accusing the Catholic Church of "stonewalling, denial and deceit" in its handling of the sex scandals. Larry McDermott had a column yesterday where he was angry at a former intern who criticized The Republican in the Columbia Journalism Review for buying a new press instead of hiring more reporters. McDermott said "the young man learned little or nothing about the basics of good journalism when he worked here." I wonder what the full story is.

Washing dishes and writing letters today. Called Gary Plant and told him I wanted to buy more of the Stusick archives if there is anything left. I'm afraid his sister's desire to burn the more private letters may have prevailed.

Eamon has lent me all of Linda Melconian and Charlie Ryan's campaign reports and they are quite interesting. Some wealthy people give very little and some give to both campaigns so they'll have influence either way! Angelo's Fruit Market charged the Ryan campaign $1,000 per month for the space next door to them. Of course listed as Ryan contributors were Eamon T. O'Sullivan and J. Wesley Miller.

Among the more interesting names listed as Ryan contributors were: Paul Sears, James H. Tourtelotte, Edna Ogulewicz, Antonette E. Pepe, Barbara J. Garvey, Janet M. Edwards, John J. Egan, Steve Hays, Kevin Sears, Peter Johnson, Russell Denver, Theodore Dimauro, Allen W. Blair, John Gormally, Marshall Moriarty, Ronald J. Abdow, Guy A. Cassanelli, Michael T. Kogut, Anthony Scibelli, Carlo A. Marchetti of Florida, William L. Putnam, Karen A. Powell, Rose Marie Coughlan, Patrick J. Markey, Rep. Cheryl Rivera, William A. Hurley, Joseph Napolitan, Leonard Collamore, Durham Caldwell and former Councilor Morris Jones.

Among the more intriguing contributors to the Melconian for Mayor campaign were: Donald E. Ashe, David M. Bartley, Stu Horowitz, Edward J. Keating, Mary E. Boland, Daniel M. Keyes, John J. Lyons, Peter Murphy, James D. Sullivan, RoseMarie Mazza-Moriarty, Anthony L. Cigoli, Peter Picknelly Sr and Jr, John Bonavita, Sean Cahallane, Emily B. Bader, Joseph Carvalho, Steven T. Clay, Charles D'Amour, Russell F. Denver (gave to both), Melinda M. Phelps, Peter Shrair, Daniel M. Walsh, William M. Christofori, Paul Kalill, Steven M. Roberts, Ronald J. Abdow (gave to both), Sen. Brian Lees, Rep. Stanley Rosenberg, Michael Walsh, Judith Matt, Donald Dowd, Rep. Fred Swan, Henry M. Thomas, Theodore E. Dimauro (gave to both), Martin T. Reilly, Heriberto Flores, Anthony Caprio, Anthony Ardolino and James J. Trelease formerly of the Springfield Newspapers.

February 20, 2004

27 degrees at 7am. Patty Hearst is 50 today.

Who says the U.S. can be trusted with weapons of mass destruction?

In the paper this morning it says a Wesley Donnell Miller of White Street in Springfield has died at age 31. Dined today at Ruby Tuesday where it turned out my waitperson was a tall fellow named Wesley. The salad bar was fresh and nice. When I departed I left a big tip and a note that said, "We Wesleys have to look out for each other. Have a nice life."

Got my first Arkansas quarter in my change. Susan Cogswell is Connecticut Insurance Commissioner. Any relation to Brad Cogswell of Monarch? The house at the corner of Aldrew is for sale again. Drove past the old Lakeside and it looks like they are turning it into a nightclub. Went to see Mrs. Staniski and she said Ann is coming this evening. I helped her fill out her Valley Advocate "Best of" ballot. She wanted to give me some cookies when I left but I declined and she said "I don't think I like you as much because you won't accept my cookies," but she was smiling.

Margaret Humbertson from the museum wrote me saying, "I'm very glad to add the George Giroux items which you sent to our collections." She also praised my postcard of Josiah Gilbert Holland's gravesite adding, "St Gaudens certainly created an elegant headstone for the "Dean of Springfield Men of Letters" and the accompanying information you provide on the back of the postcard is very enlightening, as always."

Bishop Dupre has hired a lawyer, Michael Jennings, who I'm told is a former law partner of District Attorney Bennett. Jacqueline Haskins Engel of Easthampton has a wonderful letter in the paper about the hypocrisy of gay priests preaching against homosexuality: "Housekeeping begins at home. A good starting point is with the closets."

Keith Korbut of the Duryea Transportation Society has a letter in the paper urging that the old Basketball Hall of Fame be turned into a car museum. Mayor Ryan has appointed restauranteur Rico C. Daniele and Milagros T. Rodriguez of the New North Citizen's Council to the Park Commission. Ryan was on the radio this morning saying that he is "grasping for nickles and dimes" to meet the city's expenses.

Eamon says he got a phone call from Nader the Hatter. He also saw the leather dealer Dick Feinstein who told him that the pedophile problem in the church is much worse in South America than it is here. Eamon currently has a very brave phone message saying that Mass Mutual has a reputation for doling out money to politicians and specifically names Gotterer, Abbott and Kingston as giving "cash filled envelopes that aren't reported on campaign finance reports." A very gutsy tape.

John Kerry won in Wisconsin with 40% of the vote. Dean is dead with 18% of the vote, even though he said earlier he would never quit. Dean had some good ideas but he came across as awkward and unpresidential. Kerry is the best of the dirty Massachusetts types but I wonder how prominent Mike Albano and other local crooks will be in his campaign. You can be sure Richie Neal will be trying to ride on Kerry's coattails to a plush Washington job.

February 24, 2004

35 degrees and sunny. Gas is $1.65 at the Pond.

The Bush dog Spot died today, leaving behind his pal Barney. Harry S. Truman said that if you want a friend in Washington buy a dog. Ralph Nader is running for president and the Democrats are mad. I say it's a free country and Ralph can do as he pleases. His 70th birthday was last week.

I went out at 3:22 and mailed some things at Lewis & Clark, and then over to the Boston Road Big Y where I bought enough canned vegetables to get a golden coin so now I have a complete set. I was surprised to run into Doyle the Twig Painter at the deli counter, looking very much like a street person but getting around and buying about as many groceries as I was. I said, "Hello there, Sir!" He turned and grunted hello but that was it. He is looking down and out but not as much of a mess as you might expect. Regardless of his appearance, Eamon says that Doyle is worth a good deal of money.

Headed up to the flea market in Holyoke, and on the way a guy zoomed by me through a red light in Mason Square. Robillard was there and tried to sell me some Springfield postcards but I said offer them to Hess first. I wasn't wearing my orange jumpsuit today. I bought a Springfield Brewery tray from young John Kelly for $40. Also for forty bucks I got an original dedication book for Springfield Hospital. Finally I bought two Perot for President buttons for a dollar apiece.

Eamon called and said his old friend Joey Greenberg who runs the pawnshop at the X on Sumner Avenue quit Fleet Bank because of all the fees they charge. Eamon spoke with Dr. Cohen in South Deerfield, a Dr. Seuss collector, and he told him that in 1927 Seuss left Springfield for New York City and returned to Springfield for the last time in 1986. Seuss died in 1991.

In the paper it says that a pellet from a BB gun shattered a window in the Children's Room at the Central Library. Joe Carvalho said if it happens again they "need to consider" installing bullet proof glass. Morning paper also says that Father Francis P. Lavelle of St Mary's in Longmeadow has been removed for sex abuse. He was a secretary to both former Bishop Weldon and former Bishop Maguire.

TV22 had an online poll showing that 80% believe the accusations against Bishop Dupre. The paper has reported that Bishop Dupre is being treated at St. Luke's Institute in Silver Springs, Maryland, an institution known for treating pedophile priests. Bishop Dupre's alleged victim has come forward because he said "he was moved to anger after the Roman Catholic Church and Dupre began a crusade against gay marriage in Massachusetts."

February 28, 2004

39 degrees, snow cover is thinning. Overcast in the morning, a raw wind in the afternoon.

Found a splotch of electric blue paint on my white garage door! Have I been marked for vandalism or something worse? I called Eamon and he said I should report it to the police. So I called promptly at 9am and an officer arrived within only a few minutes. I noticed his badge number was 63, which I told him was the same year I graduated from Colby. The cop said it was certainly an act of vandalism and probably done by kids. I suggested that since I'm a skinhead it might be a hate crime. The officer noted that a lot of cops are skinheads too so that people resisting arrest can't pull their hair.

I reported that I got home yesterday around 4pm and saw nothing, but I discovered the blue blotch this morning at 7am. I said I drove around the neighborhood but saw no other houses that had been attacked. My exchange with the cop was cordial and friendly and I thanked him for coming so promptly. Tomorrow I will go get a copy of the police report and will be on guard in the coming days for a pipe bomb or whatever else may be next.

Kerry won Utah, Hawaii and Idaho. Alan Greenspan is good but he won't live forever. Ted Kennedy gave a speech yesterday putting down Bush. Kennedy has mellowed into a wonderful public servant. Big story in the paper today about Cheryl Rivera coming out as a lesbian. No one was surprised.

Sarah Auchter Miller has been appointed a member of the Board of Directors of Goodwill Industries of the Springfield and Hartford Area Inc. Her father has served on the Board since 1952 and her grandfather was a founder of the Springfield Goodwill organization in 1925. I recently noticed in my archives a letter to the paper written in 1993 from a John R. Auchter titled, "United States is a Nation Under God."

WFCR says the roof leaks in the Hampshire House at UMass where they are located. Raymour & Flanagan outlets are far more prevalent in Connecticut than in Massachusetts. We have one in Springfield at 650 Boston Road in the old Topps.

Got my first Michigan quarter today. On TV they were discussing the signs of stroke and one of them was sudden dizziness. Mother complained of such symptoms towards the end and I wonder now if they were mini-strokes. Went to Newsstand to buy the paper and Mayor Ryan was on the front of BusinessWest magazine. As I was leaving an old man said to me, "Hello, Attorney Miller!" It was Frank Wapner who once owned the Cabrini place.

Back home Bob called from Tassanari Brothers saying that my 18th century papers had been bound. I went out there and the books were nicely done. I then drove down by Valley Cinema in East Springfield and dined at McDonald's on a Philly steak sandwich with a coupon. They are extremely greasy! I won't have another from them, but I might try the ones they're advertising at Friendlys. Stopped at the Pine Point Library and the parking lot was full but when I got to the door it was closed!

Dan Elias of TV22 was at the Silver Springs pedophile treatment center where Bishop Dupre is staying, showing the rear license plate of Dupre's car taken with a telescopic lens. I tried to call Mike Plaisance of the Editorial Department at the paper to praise him for their editorials on the church sex abuse scandal. Instead they referred me to Bill Zajac and he was very friendly and thanked me for my praise. When I got home I found that the paper had called giving me a four weeks free subscription starting March 15th. A coincidence?

Jim Landers closes tomorrow on the sale of his Miller Street property but he has to pay $18,000 in back taxes on it! Eamon contacted Efrem Gordon to discuss how his complaint was handled against the Springfield fireman Stephen F. Burke who threatened to burn down his house. Attorney Gordon told him, "It certainly appears clear that your rights as a victim were ignored." The case was disposed of by Judge David Ross without anyone ever contacting Eamon in any way.

Eamon talked to Dr. Tsai of the High School of Commerce and she is upset about the lack of response to her letter. He told her that Superintendents like Joseph Burke and Peter Negroni, with their inferior educational training and questionable degrees in the nebulous field of "education" couldn't carry her pencil box!

Unpublished Letter to The Republican
by Dr. Shiu-Fen Tsai

Imagine this scenario inside the High School of Commerce:

Friday, February 13th, the day before Valentine's, bouquets, balloons, chocolates, teddy bears and skippers were all over the hallways. Outside my classroom, a group of students hung out, kissed and fooled around. Some of them even threw themselves onto the window of my classroom door, making faces, sticking up their middle fingers and shouting obscenities. Most of the morning was like this. I called the office to report the chaos, but no one showed up to help. I opened the door and attempted to send the disruptive students away several times. This seemed to amuse them and provoked even more outrageous behavior, which excited them even more. Obviously, it was my Chinese accent. They told me to speak English and called me "Ching Chang."

Finally it was my lunch break. I was walking upstairs when a boy, with a hood and a dark robe covering his entire body and face approached. He looked like a character in the movie, "The Lord of the Rings." As he passed me, he shouted "f_cking Chinese." Then he ran down the hallway. I pursued him but was unable to catch up. Another student passed me and reported that my room had been blasted with raw eggs. I felt terrible. The first thought that came to my mind was that this was a hate crime, because of my Chinese background. I rushed down to my classroom only to find the custodian, Bob Mulcahey, kneeling down and wiping off the eggs dripping down the glass from the door to the floor. He told me that not only had my room been targeted. There were egg whites and yolks everywhere in the hallway, on the student lockers, on the walls and floor, and on the door of the attendance officer's office. It was a disgusting mess, Bob told me, shaking his head, but he also assured me that it was not aimed at me personally. I felt relieved, apparently, I was just being paranoid.

A moment later, in the same hallway, there was a loud bang. A fist cracked the window of the classroom next to mine into fine lines like a spider web. One teenager fled the scene followed by a small group of others. A Quebec officer and an assistant principal chased after them.

This was not an extraordinary day in the High School of Commerce. Nothing very different than previous days, except on this day there were fresh eggs. The day before, pepper spray in the boy's bathroom prevented student access. Last month, students in the halls repeatedly discharged fire extinguishers. A bulletin board was set on fire forcing school evacuation. The school was evacuated again when a girls room in the A building was set on fire. Small flames spring up all the time, so often that the school merely doused the fires and did not bother to report them to the fire marshal. Additionally, water fountains, bathroom fixtures and handrails have been ripped from the walls. One teacher on the first floor recently had his door kicked so hard that it cracked across the middle.

These events don't occur in isolation. Disorder is routine. A female student recently hit me as I was attempting to protect one girl from being viciously attacked by another. I have gone into the Principal's office to protest an administrator's disciplinary decisions. I sent a student who was striking a cigarette lighter in front of a bulletin board to the office. For two days, the administrator had taken no action because I had not provided an eyewitness. Ultimately, another eyewitness came forward, yet the punishment was minimal, in spite of a spate of fires. Of course, all my referrals for truants were left unattended due to "overwhelming problems in the hallway" as responded one administrator to my inquiry.

Superintendent Dr. Joseph P. Burke has categorized the situation at Commerce as a lack of communication between administrators and teachers. This year, some central office administrators and school committee members came to observe. They spent a few hours in the building as visitors. They suggested that the chaotic situation was the fault of irresponsible teachers. In fact, this is the message we constantly hear. A feeling of powerlessness overwhelms teachers. We have taken abuse that no professional should have to bear. Administrators continue to shift the blame for their inactivity onto teachers. As a teacher facing these issues daily, I am convinced that Commerce has serious problems with management. Unfortunately, teachers continue to be used as scapegoats.


Shiun-Fen Tsai, Ed.D

No comments:

Post a Comment