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Sixth in the nation is a good thing, right?

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

The intersection of Federal and Worthington Streets used to be among the toughest neighborhoods in the city of Springfield. Just a block from Springfield Technical Community College, the group of apartment buildings at the corner and those along tiny Summit Street were classic examples of urban blight.

The fact that a developer would come in, buy most of the buildings and spend millions of dollars up-grading them should be a sign about the nature of Springfield there are plenty of signs of a turnaround.

Yes, there are very serious problems. No one is proud of the fact the city is ranked sixth in the nation for child poverty, for example.

This story, though, is one of hope, as are the new homes that are being built in the Old Hill and Maple-High Six Corners Neighborhood.

I'm not spreading the Chamber of Commerce line here. The simple truth is in the last few years, there has been much progress in implementing solutions for some of the city's problems.

I was happy to see a news crew from ABC40 covering the story of the Worthington Street apartments. I know that I'll get in trouble with some people, but basically it seems most of our local television news centers on the negative.

I sometimes wonder if crime diminishes locally, what would they cover?

I expect a beating from my electronic colleagues at any time now.


Here's something to ponder: the Associated Press distributed a story in which it revealed that 40 percent of today's Americans have never lived when there wasn't a Bush or Clinton in the White House.

Yikes! It's time to vote for someone else, unless you believe in dynasties. How would Hillary look in one of those funky headpieces pharaohs used to wear?


I received this press release recently: "Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles today announced a pilot project to introduce Plug-in Hybrid technology in the state vehicle fleet. Achieving up to 100 miles per gallon, plug-in hybrid cars advance the Patrick Administration's clean energy goals of saving energy costs, reducing emissions, and decreasing our dependence on foreign oil. The announcement was made at the AltWheels festival on Boston City Hall Plaza.

'"Massachusetts-developed clean energy research and development can lead us to breakthrough vehicle technology and respond to consumer demand with cars that get 100 miles per gallon,"' said Secretary Bowles.

"Secretary Bowles will be trading in his current state car a 2003 Ford Taurus that gets 20 miles per gallon for a Toyota Prius already in the state fleet that will be modified to become a plug-in electric/gasoline hybrid. Plug-in hybrids use the power stored on a rechargeable battery to reduce the use of gasoline in the hybrid engine, giving a motorist who drives 40 miles a day mileage of up to 150 miles per gallon.

"As part of its Leading by Example Program, the Commonwealth will retrofit 10 gasoline hybrids ranging from sedans to SUVs currently owned by state agencies to plug-in operation, in order to test and demonstrate the new technology. The conversions are expected to cost $8,000 to $10,000 per vehicle."

How much would it cost to convert my 2001 Hyundai Accent? I'll start saving my money.

This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments online to or to 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.