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The Fourth is more than just a day off

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

Needless to say not every story all of us writes winds up in every edition we produce which is why news junkies should make a habit of going to on a regular basis and there was a story which has regional interest that made it only into two of our editions.

If you're concerned about conditions teachers have in public schools and would like to help a teacher directly, jump onto the Web and go to and search for a teacher in your town.

The class of 1957 of Classical High School in Springfield decided to use as a way of avoiding the red tape and turf wars at the Springfield School Department to directly help teachers who have listed specific project needs on the site.

Frankly, all of us who care about public education should tip our hats to the class of '57 for making us aware of this great opportunity to help teachers in local communities.


The Valley Press Club of which I have the privilege of serving on the board recently awarded six local teenagers with $1,000 scholarships to help them with their studies in journalism.

The recipients were:

Terrance Smith of Holyoke, who received the Republican Scholarship for a student planning a career in print journalism. Smith will attend Holy Cross College.

Sean Peltier of Williamstown, who received the WWLP Scholarship for a student planning to go into broadcast journalism. He plans to go to Lyndon State College.

Margaret Boyle of Springfield, who plans to enroll in Boston University.

David Coffey of West Springfield who will attend the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

Mai Hedayat-Zadeh, a graduate of Minnechaug Regional High School, who will be also enrolling at UMass Amherst.

Christine Ryan of Wilbraham, also a graduate of Minnechaug Regional High School, who will be attending the University of Massachusetts in Boston.

Congratulations to all.


I'm an old fashioned kind of guy who actually can get choked up by the National Anthem, so indulge me a few moments to remind my gentle readership that the Fourth of July is not about picnics, fire crackers, getting popped, watching sports or going to the beach.

All of those activities are fine except getting popped, of course but they are not what the Fourth is all about.

It's about a bunch of people in a distant colony finally realizing they only way they could have the lives they wanted was to undertake a series of dangerous political and military moves to ensure their freedom and right to self-determination.

With corporate control of the media, the provisions of the Patriot Act and the questioning of the concept of habeas corpus, among other challenges, the American public still must defend the principles that guided the founders of this nation.

That is what the Fourth should be all about and the following as well:

"When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government."

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