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What about the families that <i>didn't </i>get picked?

Date: 6/29/2009

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

At the risk of being called a Western Massachusetts chauvinist I prefer "patriot" a curmudgeon or worse, allow me to first make the following statements:

1. I'm sure the family whose home in Suffield, Conn., qualified for an Extreme Makeover is very deserving.

2. I'm heartened that in this time of economic need so many Western Massachusetts businesses and so many people volunteered their time and resources to this project. They are to be congratulated.

3. This is the kind of event that helps put a community on the media map for at least one hour.

However, like many other people in Western Massachusetts, I'm a tad disappointed an understatement the project was described as being in "Greater Springfield," and it's not.

It's in greater Hartford, Conn. Dudes, do you need a map? Too late!

I can't help but wonder if the producers of the show did anything for the other families who had made the final cut. Do they get a call from Ty Pennington? A gift certificate to a home improvement store? A hearty handshake? A cookie? Or did they get nothing?

I'm willing to place a small wager on "nothing."

Here is what I'd like to do: let's see if the other families who were waiting for Pennington and his bullhorn on Sunday morning would be willing to give me a call at 525-3247 ext. 103. Perhaps something could be done for them.

And if they are all from Western Massachusetts wouldn't that be great?


Holyoke Police Chief Anthony Scott called off a protest last week that would have put a little pressure on area judges and how they treat repeat offenders.

A state law might have been interpreted by court officials in a way that could have resulted in the arrest of anyone who turned up carrying a sign.

Scott has long called attention in his press releases to how clerk magistrates and some judges pat repeat offenders on the hand and within hours they are back on the street.

Now, Scott has worked for judicial reform here and he has been a lone voice in the woods on it. Frankly, few politicians want to rock the boat, but I think his system has real merits and deserves being considered.


Note to Mayor Domenic Sarno: Sir, I know it's an election year, but c'mon, give me a break: three press conferences in one day? I think that is some sort of municipal record.

You don't have to be an over-achiever to impress me.

And to the other mayors I cover, let's not make this a competition.


Speaking of mayors, Holyoke Mayor Mike Sullivan takes his litter and trash issues in the Paper City very seriously and personally. I witnessed Mike last week asking a motorist who was dumping litter from his parked car in downtown Holyoke to clean up the mess. The driver reluctantly did.

It says something about Sullivan's character that he did this. It reminded me of the time I saw Chicopee Mayor Mike Bissonnette pull over a traffic violator. The car Bissonnette was driving was equipped with police lights.

Now these kind of interesting tidbits are what you're going to start to find on the Reminder Publications Facebook page.

If you're on Facebook, then consider becoming a fan of Reminder Publications. We post news stories there, but also this week we'll begin placing meaty little items that just don't fit into our stories as well.

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