City and Town Profiles

Caught in a time warp

Caught in a time warp

The NAACP’s Will Singleton says Pittsfield’s municipal government doesn’t reflect the community’s changing demographics

Members of the Berkshire County NAACP, with Will Singleton in center in drawstring pants. Will singleton didn’t know what to make of it. The retired Pittsfield native had been back in town for years, and he never saw any African Americans working in City Hall. People of color account for nearly 15 percent of the(...)

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Booting up

Booting up

Can Holyoke’s massive, new high-speed computing center help turn the Paper City into a technology hub?

MICHAEL FELD IS moving his small tech company from Northampton to Holyoke. That’s not a big deal on its own for Holyoke, but it will be a very big deal if it’s a sign of things to come. Feld, the chief executive officer of VertitechIT, a 21-employee technology firm specializing in telecommunications, information technology services,(...)

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Springfield bets on sibling rivalry

Springfield bets on sibling rivalry

The Picknelly brothers, with dueling casino proposals, are at the center of Springfield’s push for gambling

THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE came to rest on the big money for Massa­chu­setts two years ago when Gov. Deval Patrick signed legislation ushering the Bay State into the casino era. After decades of attempts by gambling proponents, the plans are well underway for three resort casinos and one slot parlor. The gambling legislation divides the(...)

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Harboring ambition

Harboring ambition

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll often mentioned as candidate for higher office

HALLOWEEN IS A WORKING HOLIDAY for Kim Driscoll, so she comes to City Hall as herself. Clad in a simple dark business suit, she meets up with Police Chief Paul Tucker at her office to head down to the Essex Street pedestrian mall to check in with police posted around the area. By the time(...)

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Lowell teens lobby for the 17-year-old vote

When it comes to ranking the interests of teenagers, political activism would presumably come low on the list, somewhere between heeding good advice and doing the laundry. But teens in Lowell are defying such thinking, as they campaign to lower the voting age from 18 to 17 in their city’s municipal elections. The idea was(...)

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Study takes measure of Boston poverty

Study takes measure of Boston poverty

Boston Foundation report tells tale of two cities

A study released last month by The Boston Foundation delivered grim news about the state of racial inequality in the Hub, depicting alarmingly high levels of poverty within black and Latino neighborhoods across the city.  The report highlights the ever widening wealth gap between the rich and the poor, which has thousands of black and(...)

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Divining Devens

Divining Devens

As the former Army base searches for its identity, a group of residents wants to form the state's 352nd town

massachusetts hasn’t created a new municipality in nearly a century, since East Brookfield and Brookfield divorced in 1920. Five years ago, it looked like Devens would displace East Brook­field as the state’s newest town. Commercial construction at the old Army base on Route 2 had been speeding along for a decade, and it had recently(...)

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Turnaround artist

Turnaround artist

Mayor Lisa Wong is determined to revive Fitchburg. Will she stick around long enough to make it happen?

Lisa Wong became a rising superstar in Massachu­setts politics the moment she trounced a veteran Fitch­burg city councilor and catapulted into the mayor’s office at age 28. The wonky daughter of Chinese immigrants, a woman with a short résumé and no previous political experience, was suddenly on everyone’s must-meet list. She was invited to join(...)

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On second thought

On second thought

Smart-growth forces enjoy a reversal of fortune in Kingston

UPDATE: Kingston’s Place turned out to be far from a done deal. The developer pulled the plug on the project in 2010. kingston — Residential growth, smart or otherwise, is rarely an easy sell in the outer Boston suburbs. Townsfolk fear that too many new homes and residents will erode the quality of life that(...)

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Down town

Down town

Following one failed comeback scheme after another, Malden may finally get smart

smart-growth policies are often associated with leafy suburbs in commuter rail territory (see Town Meeting Monitor). So it’s easy to forget that there are older cities in Massachusetts that already have all the right elements—high density, mixed-use zoning, extensive public transit—and have still fallen short of the urban village ideal. The city of Malden, where(...)

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