Friday, March 30, 2007

Flynn Talks Crime - Collins Gets Time

March 30, 2007.

After a scheduled thirty minute "speak out" of citizens and the reading of the minutes, the public meeting of the Springfield Finance Control Board began with a brief discussion of city affairs. Springfield Police Commissioner Edward Flynn had been scheduled to speak first, but he was a bit tardy for his appearance there - perhaps because of his interview with Urban Compass blogger Heather Brandon concerning the ridiculously stupid letters to the editor that appeared in that day's (Friday) Springfield Republican, regarding a shoot-out police had gotten into with a violent criminal.

Mayor Ryan convenes the FCB meeting - 3/30/07

Upon his arrival, Flynn began his testimony before the Board with a comparison of crime statistics from 2006 and 2005. As most interested people already know, the stats include the following information: For the year 2006, murder was down 17%; Robbery was down 12%; and aggravated assaults were down 19%.

Flynn went on to say that of the aggravated assaults, they (the police) believed that approximately 40% of those reported were the result of domestic violence, and that a further "large number" involved persons already known to each other (non-domestic). He said about one-quarter to one-third of reported assaults were deemed to be by a stranger.

On reported rapes in the city, Flynn estimated that 90% of these crimes involved persons already known to each other, or were the result of prostitution or other accompanying crimes. (This is probably not a big surprise.)

Commissioner Flynn also took the time to discuss a new plan the Department had been working on. The plan would have newly released inmates (from area jails) visiting Police Headquarters (on Pearl Street) upon their arrival in Springfield. There, they would be introduced at the Headquarters' roll call, where they would have the opportunity to meet with the officers. The plan would of course have the dual purpose of allowing the officers themselves to have a good look at any potential repeat offender. Personally, I thought the idea was pretty good - and as a good citizen, a bit amusing, too. ("Welcome home, John. Come on over and meet the boys. We're here to "help" you if you should happen to lose your way again...")

Police Commissioner Flynn speaks - 3/30/07

Flynn also discussed the subject of robbery in the city. He asked the Board - and the public - not to read too much into wintertime statistics, since historically, incidents of robbery tend to go up in winter because of the longer periods of darkness and the greater ease of concealing weapons due to the wearing of heavier clothing.


For an inaugural "speak-out" event, this FCB meeting turned out to be somewhat of a dud as far as attendance goes. Only five people showed up to speak, and those people were still only allowed 3 minutes to talk. One of those speakers, though, was regular-attendee Timothy T. Collins, president of the Springfield Education Association.

Collins fit a lot of information into his brief three minute speech to the Board. His first two topics concerned public employee and SEA business, and he then went on to city business. He discussed the need for Springfield to find new sources of revenue. He said the city should support Deval Patrick's call for cities to have the ability to raise their own revenue, other than property tax, which would then allow Springfield to take advantage of the very large influx of young persons who frequent the city on weekends by introducing city taxes on beverages and meals. He went on to discuss the need for allowing an increase in property tax rates (beyond prop 2.5) for those property owners living outside of Springfield (property investors) via home rule legislation from the State.

The Urban Compass blog has the complete text of Collins' speak-out - which I thought was pretty entertaining and informative, as well as the text of the other speakers who showed up to have their voices heard.

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Missing Persons in New England

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The SPSA vs. FCB - March 30, 2007

The March 30, 2007, Finance Control Board (FCB) meeting held at City Hall in Springfield, MA, was preceded this time around by the introduction of a thirty minute “speak out” by citizens wishing to address their concerns and causes with the Board. On this occasion, five persons chose to take the speaker’s podium, including Springfield Police Lieutenant Edward H. Geier Sr., who serves as President of the Springfield Police Supervisors Association (SPSA), and the always illustrious and entertaining Timothy Collins, President of the Springfield Education Association.

Lt. Geier spoke to the Board – and to the attending press – of the need to resolve the City’s lone remaining unsettled contract dispute – that between the City and the SPSA. The sixty-eight members of the SPSA are the "only remaining city employees, amongst thousands, that continue [to work] under the provisions of a city-imposed wage freeze," said Gieir. A contract offer was put forward by the FCB - which the FCB has said is what the city can afford, but the SPSA stated that it fails to address the unfinished obligations of the previous (frozen) contract. Under that contract, the Association agreed to back-load its raises in order to assist the city in its financial crisis. Those back-loaded raises, however, never came to be following the implementation of the wage freeze. The SPSA is seeking a settlement of that (previous) contract before entering into a new contract with the City.

In regards to the frozen contract, Lt. Geier said, "It is truly not believable and clearly not an accepted practice for parties to just disregard the terms and provisions contained within [contracts]." He continued, "A contract is a dual ownership document. In this case the men and women of this Association have lived up to, honored, and continue to complete the terms of the agreement while the City of Springfield and the Springfield Finance Control Board has failed to act in kind. It is not fair that we should have to negotiate a contract twice and it defies basic logic and common sense that one would actively negotiate a new agreement with someone when they have not fulfilled their obligations under the terms of the first agreement."

SPSA members picket outside City Hall - 3/30/07

The debate regarding the negotiation of city contracts in Springfield is unique to this particular city, in that Springfield, unusually (and illegally, it turns out), had a wage freeze in effect that negated agreed-upon raises. In other words, the obligations in those previous contracts were not honored by the city. And while this matter was eventually addressed in separate contract negotiations with other city employees, the fact that the SPSA had agreed to delayed pay raises (that never materialized, due to the freeze) in their last contract - and that members also took unpaid furloughs - makes their dispute even more unique, still.

Regardless of where one may stand on this issue, it is pretty clear that this contract negotiation should not be considered the same as all the others. No contract discussion should be. The City, and the FCB, should perhaps also heed the advise of Timothy Collins, who took a brief moment to speak in support of the SPSA: If the FCB fails to properly address its obligations under the (frozen) SPSA contract now, then how can members of other unions trust that the City will honor its obligations with regard to their labor agreements in the future?

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Missing Persons in New England

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

So THAT'S Why I Can't Get a Date!

For years, I've struggled to find the answer for my continued status as a "single and searching" male of the human species. I used to think it might have been my bad breath. But I brush pretty regularly, and I chew on Altoids like some folks eat peanuts. (Hell, I even floss.)

Years ago, I used to write poems - even at the local bar. But that didn't get me anywhere, either. I've also suspected that perhaps my sparkling personality might be to blame. But honestly, there's just no real chance of that.

Now, at last, I have learned the reason for my predicament:

Apparently, I'm not Brad Pitt.

"A new study explains why we aren't all born with Brad Pitt’s perfectly chiseled features or Angelina Jolie’s pouty lips." says an article from

As the article explains, the general theory is that females tend to seek out the healthiest, most fit males with which to mate. With this being the case, over a long period of time, one would expect that these superior males would come to dominate, and that all the ugly guys would eventually die away.

But clearly, this does not happen. And now a group of scientists have narrowed down the reason why. The answer lies in our DNA's repair system - the so-called "DNA repair kit."

A cell’s DNA repair kit is not really a kit but a set of molecular processes that routinely repair the damage done to the cell’s DNA that result in genetic mutations, under normal conditions. Mutations can be harmful and cause tissue to degenerate, malfunction or develop cancers. Other mutations are beneficial, such as those in the part of the genome responsible for disease defense that make an individual more resistant to attacks from bacteria and viruses. Some mutations affect the repair processes themselves and make them less efficient which results in more mutations as the damage goes unrepaired.

"You can raise or lower your own mutation rate," [study team leader Marion] Petrie said.


A higher mutation rate creates more diversity in a population. Using a computer model, Petrie found that the greater genetic diversity created by mutations that affect DNA repair outweighed the decrease in diversity arising from sexual selection.

So, apparently, I've been brushing my teeth all these years for nothing!

[Read the entire article here.]

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Missing Persons in New England

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Visiting The Springfield Cemetery

A stroll around the Springfield Cemetery, in Springfield, Massachusetts. It was both a nice little walk and a little bit creepy, too. No ghosts, however, revealed themselves to my intruding camcorder lens.

Fellow blogger, Mark Alamed, over at Exploring Western Massachusetts, has said that cemeteries built back in the 1800s were designed to be visited much like public parks. And a quick view of Springfield Cemetery will show this to be true. It's really something to behold in person. This is without question one of the most beautiful cemeteries I've ever walked through, and will surely be more so when the grass has greened-up and the trees are in bloom. My pans with a camcorder just don't offer the same rich depth of vision that this cemetery provides as you look down from its slopes and terraces.

For more on the Springfield Cemetery, visit their website here.

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Missing Persons in New England


Friday, March 23, 2007


As if having two young female roommates wasn't enough. Sheesh.

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Man Taped Roommates in Shower, Police Say

MANCHESTER, Conn. (March 22) - A man landed in hot water after police say he hid a tiny camera in a shampoo bottle to watch two of his female roommates as they took showers.



Thursday, March 22, 2007

I'm Green Latern (yawn..)

How boring. I took this "Which Superhero Are You?" test, and it turns out that I'm NOT Superman, I'm NOT Batman, and I'm NOT Captain America. Hell, I'm not even Robin. (I would have settled for Underdog if they had him in the lineup.)

No, I'm Green Latern.

WTF? One of the few comicbooks I never read as a kid. I even thought he sucked on "Justice League of America."

"Look Mr. Mayor! Springfield is saved!! It's..... the Green Lantern!"


(see my results, below)

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Your results: You are Green Lantern

Green Lantern
The Flash
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
Hot-headed. You have strong will power and a good imagination.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

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Law & Ordinances

Springfield, MA, Has The Laws On Its Side

Cities and towns across the country and around the world bring order and stability to their numerous and sometimes [in the U.S.] diverse neighborhoods by use of local government, police and fire departments, public works, and established city or town ordinances. All of these together contribute to a safer, more functional society. Quality of life issues, in particular, can oftentimes be held up as an important measure by which not only a city judges itself, but also how it is viewed by others, including potential residents looking for new places to live...


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Missing Persons in New England

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Anonymously Speaking - Part Two

In relation to my previous post on anonymous online forums posters, I found this article and thought I'd pass it along. I remain almost entirely unsympathetic to the "anonymous" cause. I can see some limited excuses for certain people to need anonymity, but overall, I believe nearly all anonymous users of online forums choose to mask their identities just so that they can be abusive (with no repercussions). Many of their rantings and insults go far beyond childish. If these people ever actually met - face to face - with the people they were insulting, they would be red-faced and embarrassed beyond ever even admitting to.

An excerpt from the article: "There are examples everywhere of anonymous comments that cause harm. On even the most innocuous sites — a parenting message board, for example — anonymity often leads to the type of response that would hardly be likely if names were attached."

I agree. And I hope that in the future, more forums will be available that require the positive identification of those who choose to participate.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Incandescent Light Bulbs Must Go

Not even light bulbs can escape the movement to improve energy efficiency.

"The incandescent light bulb should go the way of outdated inventions like the coal-burning locomotive, says an energy coalition that advocates a widespread change to more energy efficient lights, compact fluorescent bulbs and light-emitting diodes."

Read The Story Here.



Monday, March 19, 2007

Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Parade 2007

So much footage, it took three clips! I journeyed to Holyoke this past Sunday to check out the St.Patrick's Day Parade held there. I wandered around for a couple of hours. It was cold out, but not unbearable (unless you were a marcher, I suppose, and had been out there since the morning). While most folks were lining the streets, others peered out from building windows or watched from inside their cars.

I drank a beer while trekking about - as did many folks who lined the streets as the parade passed by them. The crowd was pretty boisterous at times, including near the ending point, where a few young ladies were quite playful. (I'm sure I missed a few other rowdy moments, but what the hey - I couldn't be everywhere.)

I met some friends there who were marching in the parade. Even though it was cold, they all had a good time, and it looked to me as if everyone else did, too. They say everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, and it must be true, since I saw white folks, black folks, and Hispanics alike dressed in green & Irish costume. As a Springfielder, I was also glad to see that the Springfield Police Department was very well received by the crowd, who whooped it up loudly as the officers marched by (see the third video).

It was my first St. Patrick's Day Parade, and all and all, I'd have to say I'd go there again.

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Missing Persons in New England

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Video Tour: Downtown Springfield, MA

A brief video tour of some of the buildings along Court Square and Main Street in Springfield, Massachusetts. As a few folks know, I'm a big fan of old, well designed buildings, and Springfield has a bunch of them. This is a short video, about 4 minutes long.

Too many times in this day-and-age, builders focus far too much on economy over aesthetics. How many times have we driven along and seen these large, square, flat buildings and houses, completely devoid of any style or uniqueness? It's something that older cities like Springfield need to keep a careful balance of - creating the new while retaining the old. These historical buildings lend well to the character of these cities, and in many cases are a part of their souls.

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Missing Persons in New England

FLASH! - True Confessions?!

Terrorist Confesses at Guantanamo

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, captured in Pakistan in 2003, has reportedly confessed to killing American reporter Daniel Pearl, and to have masterminded the 9/11 attacks.

Not exactly shocking news for the rest of the country, word of his confession in Western Massachusetts, however - as well as certain parts of California, is sure to bring in rounds of condemnation and protest. Opinion stories and letters to the editor alike will insist that the poor man was brutally tortured at the hands of his heartless American overseers.

"This is an outrage! It's a conspiracy!" - Organization for 9/11 Truth Tellers.

"Only because of our naked depravity has this tragic confession been made." - Valley Progressives for Freedom Fighter Justice.

"It is not true. Khalid is a kind man. He was going to marry my 12-year-old daughter. This is an American trick." - Khalid's brother.

"We don't believe it. We totally reject this so-called confession. It is totally unacceptable." - marketing director for "The 9/11 - CIA Connection: How the Bush Administration Carried Out the 9/11 Attacks with the Aid of Space Aliens."

"No more confessions. Close Guantanamo now! Impeach Bush!" - Copy-and-paste e-mail distributed by the group, first sent out, July 2002.

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- MORE "Earth To Bill"

Monday, March 12, 2007

THANKS A LOT: Gorillas Gave Us "The Crabs" has the rather disappointing news that we humans more than likely first got "the crabs" - a kind of lice that take up residence in our pubic hair - from our old friends, the gorillas. That's just wonderful. Just when I was feeling good about trying to save them from extinction.

Of course, it wouldn't be the first time our simian friends have screwed us. Yes, it's true, other animals have sent us to both our hospitals and to our graves. Malaria and the West Nile virus come to us courtesy of the mosquito, for example. And rats have long been hazardous to our health, as well. But generally speaking, we don't like those animals very much (although I do have a particular liking for fancy rats), so there's not much of an effort to preserve their futures. Conversely, gorillas - along with other apes - are supposed to be like family to us humans. We want them to live. So, it's kind of like they're stabbing us in the back. Ain't it?

Well, maybe not exactly. They're not doing it on purpose, after all.

Or.... are they?

Something to ponder as you sip your morning coffee.


Those Silly Urban Fallout Shelters

Strolling downtown Springfield the other day, I stopped to check out the fallout shelter signs on the East Columbus Avenue side of Symphony Hall. Two of the shelters had an occupancy capacity of 1290 lucky persons. A third had a capacity of 145 (pictured below).

Across the street, an old bunker-like building had a fallout shelter sign that I had often looked at in passing but never closely examined. It's partially covered with vines, now-a-days. Unfortunately, it only has room for a mere 30 people.

I wondered if the shelters were even still functional. I doubt it. They'd be useless in a direct hit, of course, but I'm thinking the city planners were probably considering a Soviet strike on Westover Air Force Base, circa the 1960s. They could also be useful in the event of a so-called "dirty bomb" attack. They'd be neat, too, as secret getaways for city officials having affairs. That was probably their more likely use down through the years. Oh well. If anyone knows of their current status, feel free to post a comment here.

I checked out the Wikipedia page on fallout shelters, which apparently has been hacked into by someone with English language problems. Or a silly practical joker.

My only other memories of bomb shelters were the ones around our military bases in Germany, oh-so many years ago, and also the Happy Days episode (#16) where Mr. Cunningham wanted to build one. Funny stuff!

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Missing Persons in New England


Sunday, March 11, 2007

18 Adams Street

As I walked along the road while on one of my neighborhood walks yesterday, I heard the crackle of broken glass beneath my feet. I stopped and looked down. Sure enough, broken window glass. I looked to my right, at the house there at 18 Adams Street. The front porch door was open (indeed, there was no door). But the porch windows were intact. So I glanced upward, and there I saw the reason for the glass: Someone had tossed at least a few objects out the upstairs windows, sending glass flying to the front of the house and sidewalk area.

There must have been a fairly good-sized object thrown through the left-side window, because it nearly ripped off the gutter, below it.

The whole house is pretty dumpy looking. I snapped a few photos, then walked back to my house to call the police. I was fairly certain that someone had already notified the authorities by now - it was, after all, 3:30 in the afternoon when I came across the scene, and whatever happened there must have made a hell of a lot of noise. It was a beautiful day out, and there are houses to either side of 18 Adams, plus another directly across the street. Surely, someone had picked up a phone, aye?

But I called it in anyway, and lo-and-behold, the dispatcher said that there had been no previous call on it.

No one had bothered to call the police.

That's just great. This is why blighted neighborhoods remain blighted. These poor communities are never going to lift themselves out of their current decrepit states if they don't learn to open up their mouths and complain about what happens on their own streets. This is also why I believe that "affordable housing" projects in these neighborhoods are only going to give the bad people new homes to live in. Tear down these houses, leave them down, and build well-managed and secure apartment buildings in their place, if need be. I would rather walk down a street with buildings like those on High Street (which have transformed the look of the neighborhood, there, just off of Maple Street) than deal with the refuse of renter-occupied or owner-occupied pig sties like this.

It is very unfortunate that this kind of "I don't want to get involved" mentality plagues blighted neighborhoods. But that is, after all, why they are blighted in the first place.

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Missing Persons in New England

Friday, March 09, 2007

83 Maple St. - Inside & Out

In a follow-up to my original blog story, "I Need An Owner," I took a look inside this beautiful old house, built way back in the year 1841. Tagging along to take her own photos was intrepid Advocate blog reporter Heather Brandon.

Its former occupants left the interior of the house in somewhat of a shambles. Around the back, outside, there is a new porch. Some of the rear, upstairs rooms appeared to be much more modern in both structure and design. The video tour runs about 3-and-a-half minutes. I've also included several photographs that I took at the site.

March UPDATE: The realtor has been cleaning out much of the trash from inside the home this past month. This house, with its seven bedrooms, four bathrooms, two staircases, and modern kitchen, would make a very good bed & breakfast inn.

APRIL UPDATE: Heather Brandon now has over 80 photos of the property available at the click of this link.

The living room.

The dining room, with little cast iron stove.

The modern-looking kitchen.

The mysterious green room.

The attic.

One of two stairways in the house.

Newer upstairs hallway. Notice the ghostly spheres - photo artifacts from the light coming through the window.

Down in the basement, this ghostly mist greeted my camera. It kept asking me where Heather was. I told him I didn't know what the hell he was talking about.

The new back porch.

All-in-all, it was an interesting tour. It was a little disorientating going through all the rooms. There were some Halloween decorations in the basement, including a headless woman prop. I brought it upstairs and tossed it at Heather, but boringly, she didn't even flinch. It was extremely cold inside - colder than the outdoors. Some of the upstairs windows are broken, and the cold, wet air has adversely affected the paint in those rooms. The longer it takes to sell this house, the worse things are going to be for it. The exterior does need some work - the porch and balcony need repairing, the windows need replacing, and some of the framework & trimming needs to be replaced or repaired. The structure of the interior, however, appeared to be sound.

It was difficult getting the history of this house. It's been said that a former mayor of Springfield (Ansel Phelps, Jr - mayor, 1856-1858) once owned it, but that has not been verified. If anyone has any useful information on this house, leave a comment here or e-mail me at Anyone interested in purchasing this historical treasure can call Marty's Real Estate, at (413) 543-6766.

Home stats and price, as of 03/10/07:
MLS ID: 70521453
Price: $159000
City/State: Springfield, MA
Bedrooms: 7
Bathrooms: 4
Living Area: 4356 square feet
Lot Size: 0.2 Acres

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Missing Persons in New England

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Eastern Ave & The Waterfront Club

Another road trip through Springfield brings me to The Waterfront Club. On this adventure, I risk life and limb while traversing the city's notorious Eastern Avenue. The video, however, doesn't tell the story of this street. As I drove along, I looked down the side streets on either side. Most were in just as bad a shape as Eastern Avenue. The rest were in worse shape!

At the Waterfront Club, I explore the exterior of the building and the adjacent park. It was really cold out taking this video. It took about three takes to get it right, and even with gloves on, my hands were going numb.

I swear, they don't pay me enough to do these things :-\

(This blog post marks the first time I've ever written a post and had no misspellings after hitting the "spell check" thingy.)

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Missing Persons in New England

Monday, March 05, 2007

Central Street Apts. in the Spotlight

Okay, what the frick is this? This is the back of the rowhouse complex on Central Street currently being redeveloped by the "Northern Heights" folks. This is not a rare sight, unfortunately. Much of this trash will be blown off the tops of these Dumpsters, to litter the neighboring streets. I cannot believe that nobody who lives in these apartments has complained about this situation. But there it is.

I Need An Owner

Hello. How are you today?

Have you ever been to Springfield, Massachusetts?

How long have you lived here?

Me? I've been here for over one hundred sixty years. Yeah, that's right. When I was first built, the folks who lived here could stand on my balcony and look down to the river valley below. Unfortunately, a while back some Bad People put up a rowhouse building in front of me, spoiling the terrific view. Now you just look at lawyer offices.

See, that's me, below.

Ain't I pretty? Sure, I've seen some years go by. People who've lived here have read about the Mexican-American War, the American Civil War, the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War -- heck, I've been around for a whole lot of wars, I tell ya. But it's been an awful long time since I had a family living in my rooms. I really miss that. It's just not the same, being alone and unwanted. You know what I mean?

I gotta be honest with ya, I'm really feeling my age. Time has not been very kind to me these past several years. I could really use a break. You know, my porch and balcony need to be completely redone. My windows.... well, let's just say you might qualify for a bulk rate discount on replacements. And that's just the outside of me. Jeesh, I could tell ya...

But I don't have to! I've got my own representative who can fill you in on all my details. See, the bank took me back, and they've got Marty's Real Estate looking after me. You can reach Marty at (413) 543-6766. Oh yeah - I'm at 83 Maple Street, Springfield, MA (at the Union Street intersection).

I know it would be a lot of work to bring me back. I'm sorry for that. But most of the houses I grew up with are all gone, now. I don't want to go away, too. I'd like to have another shot. I think I've got a few more wars in me. You know? And I think I deserve it, too.

Well, what do ya say? Can you help me out? I'd really appreciate it. Please don't let me die.

Thanks for reading about me. Come around to see me sometime!

I could use the company :-)

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[A follow-up to this story, with interior photos, is available HERE.]


Missing Persons in New England

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Sunday, March 04, 2007


Springfield's Crime Rates

Well, it's 2007, and Springfield, MA, still appears to be alive and kicking. "Not so," insist many of the city's antagonists, who look to crime stats such as murder, rape, and robbery and see a city gone mad. But is their criticism really about Springfield having a lot of crime, or is their animosity more deeply rooted in their dislike of cities, period? It seems more likely the latter.

When comparing two cities, such as Springfield and Buffalo, NY, it is evident that Springfield's crime situation appears more average than outrageous. Buffalo, at 283,000, has nearly twice Springfield's population, but also had double our actual violent crime numbers for 2005. Their murder rate was over three times as high - 56 to our 18. So does that mean that Buffalo, too, is a city gone wild?

Hartford, CT, with a population of about 25,000 less than ours, compared rather well against us in 2005 - until the murder statistic is looked at. They whooped us on that number - and not in a good way, 25 to our 18. Should we bury Hartford, as well?

And these statistics were taken for 2005. Springfield's violent crime rate dropped in 2006. It's also likely, of course, that other comparable cities have also experienced drops in crime. But the point being, Springfield's crime rate is not as catastrophic as its bashers proclaim it to be. Their problem seems to be not that Springfield has a high crime rate for a city, but rather that it is a city.

High Street, Springfield, MA - 2006

The Springfield Police Department has the task of enforcing the city's laws. But oftentimes they also get a bad rap for not preventing more crimes - as if they should be anticipating a person's intent to rob, rape, or kill. Law enforcement can plan against, say, illegal gang or drug selling activities. But they can do nothing about a man who beats his girlfriend or a kid who puts a knife to your back to rob you - until after the fact, that is. (And having a catch-and-release court system has not helped matters, either.) Springfield reported a 16% decrease in violent crime for 2006. Now, us average folks don't get much from percentage statistics. We go by the actual numbers. Unfortunately, people tend to look at the numbers without comparing those figures to cities of like size (in population). Yes, there are unquestionably many more cities with less crime than Springfield. But Springfield is also a very poor city, with a very high percentage of families at or below the poverty level. So Springfield's crime problem is best addressed (in the long term) by elevating income levels via the bringing in of good paying jobs.

I get the feeling, however, that if and when better times do arrive, the bashers of Springfield are going to continue issuing their proclamations of doom and death.

It's so much easier to live the dream.

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Missing Persons in New England

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Friday, March 02, 2007

A Visit to the Former Chestnut Junior High

I stopped by the former Chestnut Junior High School the other day to check things out and snap a few photographs. The city announced big plans for its redevelopment. The building looks like it's in great shape - on the outside, anyway. The neighborhood is almost entirely made up of the same multi-family houses that are so typical of the older neighborhoods in Springfield - the kind which so many poor families now-a-days call home. There is a church nearby, on Prospect Street, where some churchgoers were just getting out as I finished up my visit. Mercy Hospital is just around the corner aways, and Baystate Medical Center is further north up Chestnut Street.

I wish Springfield would find buyers for its old buildings before building new ones. It's really hurt this city a lot.

For more on the redevelopment project, here's a link to Mark Alamed's blog post over at Exploring Western Mass.

Above: Taken on Prospect Street. The church is behind me, off to my left.

Above: Prospect Street and the north side of the former school.
(See the church.)

Above: Directly in front of the building.

Above: The south side of the building.

Above: Looking north up Chestnut Street.

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Missing Persons in New England

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