Opinion: Candidate Convention is a terrific idea for Agawam

4/6/2017 | G. Michael Dobbs

Category: April 2017

William Clark has a good idea. the Agawam resident is interested in building more interest in people participating in local government.

On May 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the American Legion Post 185 at 478 Springfield St. in Feeding Hills, Clark and others will be staging the “Agawam Candidate Convention.”

He wrote, “Over the past year, Mike DeChristopher, Paul Jenny, and myself have been brainstorming ideas for a way to get more people involved in local Agawam politics. We were thinking about a large scale outdoor event, with live music, great food, and a local celebrity to draw out a big crowd and create excitement for the 2017 Agawam election season and encourage more people to take out nomination papers and get their names on the ballot.

“A few weeks ago, Mike said it was time to get something going. We thought of local places to have the event at. And what kind of event was feasible and would help others get on the ballot. It was staring us in the face, Bob Kaine Alves is running the Legion in Agawam, and he ran for City Council for the first time in 2015. Bob likes the idea the event is open to all and is not about opinion, but about fundamentals to help residents get on the ballot and support the candidates to achieve success.”

According to Clark, The program will include: Bob Kaine Alves will emcee the convention; Michael Ballway, “How to Write Press Releases & Media Relations” (editor of the Agawam Advertiser); James Cichetti, “How to Campaign Fundraise” (City Council President); Corinne Wingard, “Basics of CPA and Housing;” and Stephen Roth, “Overview of Growth and Sustainability of Agawam.”

There will be group discussions on schools/education moderated by Maria Botta Bruneau and information sheets distributed about fiscal budget fundamentals and How to get your name on the ballot.

There will be an open mic time.

Vendors, including sign makers, photographers and videographers will also be there to speak with potential candidates.

This is the kind of event every community should have.

Questions can be sent to william@secondwindyoga.com or call Clark at 363-2326 with any questions.

Honeybees aren’t the problem

Here is something that always irks me. You’re outside and a honeybee flies around. Almost every time this has happened there is  someone who panics. They wave their arms around, try to retreat to someplace “safe.” I could understand it if it was a child expressing an ignorant fear, but almost always it’s some adult who should know better.

Full disclosure: I thought seriously about being an entomology major at UMass lo those many decades ago. I took a beekeeping class. Guess what? No one was stung. We didn’t even wear gloves. If I could have a hive today I would.

Honeybees are not our enemies, even if you have an allergic reaction to their stings. Honeybees are making what we eat possible.

This is why the upcoming legislation that will be asking Longmeadow residents to allow the cultivation of honeybees only in agricultural zones in the town is inconceivable to me, especially at the time when the existence of the honeybee has been well documented to be in peril.

Okay, I can understand that people are afraid of bees, but when was the last time a honeybee, essentially as domesticated as chicken, sting you? A hive does not pose a danger to anyone unless they actively try to damage it.

Honeybees don’t make noise. They don’t generate manure. They don’t smell. The hives structures are not large.

Now consider what is really important: honey isn’t the main benefit we get from bees. At best, it’s pleasant byproduct.

According to the National Honey Board, bees are responsible for 80 percent of the pollination necessary for the production of fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts such as almond that make up one-third of the human diet.

So, take away the honeybee and you’ll take away the ability for people to cultivate many of the food items we take for granted.

While I understand that Longmeadow residents zealously take steps to preserve their lifestyle and town culture, I can’t believe that restricting a handful of beekeepers from having hives in town is important to that goal.

What is important is the support of those who are actively working to keeping honeybees alive and well and doing what they were put on this planet to do.

Not only do I hope this measure is rejected by voters at the Longmeadow Town Meeting, I also hope this kind of anti-bee sentiment doesn’t extend to other suburban communities.

We need honeybees. Now wasps and hornets are another matter.

What is the state waiting for?

I was the only reporter at a meeting at the Gerena School recently at which members of the Saron administration met with neighborhood residents and members of the City Council.

The subject was the ongoing water leaks through the roof the tunnel that is under the German Gerena Community School.

The reason the tunnel exists is to provide an access from one part of the city’s North End to the other aide that was cut off by I-91.

In theory it’s a great idea, but in practice the water coming through the roof of the tunnel has greatly alarmed residents for years.

It’s time for the legislative delegation to put some pressure of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to do what needs to be done: repair the roof membrane and stop the leaks.

Residents are rightly concerned about the long-term impact is on the ceiling of the tunnel that is used by school children every day as well as others.

Do you think such a situation would be tolerated in Boston? Ah, no.

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