Summer 2001

Summer 2001

Ode to New Englands mills reborn

Reused factories provide haunts for the ghosts of our industrial past In western Massachusetts, where I live, many rivers bear resonant names. A few conjure up attributes (the Swift, the Cold); some echo the oh-to-be-in-England titles of neighboring towns (the Deerfield, the Westfield); others recall fine, kinetic tribal names (the Housatonic, the Konkapot). But the(...)

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Home alone

The Connection Gap: Why Americans Feel So AloneBy Laura PappanoRutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ, 224 pages It’s as American as apple pie to fret over the state of the national psyche. When the frontier closed down, Americans worried about the demise of the independent man who could pull up stakes anytime he wanted and(...)

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Time to unclog water permits

Massachusetts municipalities that seek approvals for new water supplies are entering into an intensifying public policy debate and treacherous regulatory terrain (“Tapped Out,” CW, Fall ’00). The permitting process is becoming longer and costlier, more technically complex and politically controversial, with procedures that are often redundant and results that are unpredictable. As a consequence, many(...)

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Kerrys lean and hungry look

Kerrys lean and hungry look

Summer is here, and Democrats in Washington are smiling again. In the bleak days of late winter and early spring, many a dispirited Dem felt overwhelmed by an unexpectedly nimble Bush administration. Predictions that the quirky election that put him into office would make Bush an impotent leader fizzled fast. In his first 100 days,(...)

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Harry Spence turns his fixit skills toward schools

Harry Spence turns his fixit skills toward schools

Harry Spence has been reinventing government since before the term was, well, invented. Massachusetts’s pre-eminent public sector turnaround specialist, Spence has spent his adult life fixing dysfunctional public institutions. He took one obligatory private-sector turn, but developing suburban hotels just wasn’t the kind of challenge that could get his blood going. Give him a sclerotic(...)

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Hancock defends its civic honor

Pittsfield is often considered the farthest-flung outpost from Boston in the state, but the Berkshire County seat has nothing on its tiny neighbor to the west. Indeed, the only way to get to Hancock town center from Pittsfield is to drive west into New York State, winding around some mountains, then head back east into(...)

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Roads and Bridges

With nearly half the bridges in the Commonwealth rated as deficient and 42 percent of roads poor or mediocre, it’s not just Massachusetts drivers that make motoring here a challenge. Of the 4,976 bridges in the state, 668 are structurally defiecient, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers and The Road Information Program (TRIP),(...)

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Counterpoint

In 1995, welfare reform was signed into law in Massachusetts with a strong work requirement at the cornerstone of the sweeping reforms. Adults who were able to work were required to get a job or perform community service for 20 hours each week once their youngest child reached age six. When the law took effect,(...)

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Argument

A match between the area’s largest charity and the state’s leading fiscal watchdog may not qualify as a marriage of opposites, but it’s close. Boston Herald columnist Wayne Woodlief recently referred to the United Way of Massachusetts Bay as an organization with a “big heart and a keen eye for costs” and the Massachusetts Taxpayers(...)

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