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Howard Street facility could work in Maple High Six Corners

Date: 1/15/2016

In Springfield a new location for the addiction program that was ousted from its former location on Howard Street by by the MGM casino is going to be discussed by members of the Maple High Six Corners neighborhood.

You may recall Sheriff Michael Ashe had wanted to relocate the program to a neighborhood in the North End and was met with a lot of community resistance, so much so the proposed move may be an issue for the candidates running for sheriff this year – especially if a noted non-candidate actually becomes a candidate.  

I’ll be at the meeting covering it for our Springfield Reminder and I take special interest in the story, as Maple High is my neighborhood.

The proposed location is a former nursing home building on Mill Street that has been used by the sheriff before to house a program several years ago. At the time there were fears expressed by some residents that turned out to be groundless.

The program was run well and there were no negative impacts on the neighborhood.

There are residences nearby as well as two charter schools across the street and according to some of the advance material I’ve seen the planning for the new facility, if it is located there, takes that in account.

As a 25-year resident of the neighborhood, I would welcome the facility being placed in this now-vacant building. Anyone who lives in a city understands vacant buildings are potential problems and having the sheriff’s program there would be welcomed. The program’s history of positively interacting with the neighborhood, as it did with the South End, would also be a plus.

I understand the concerns that were expressed by the North End residents and do not discount them. I think, though, the neighborhoods and the situations are different and this program would be a fine fit for my neighborhood.

I’ll be curious to see if the non-candidate makes this choice an issue.

Blah blah blah

Sometimes I watch the Sunday talking head shows and sometimes I just can’t bear it. This past Sunday’s “Meet the Press” had an interesting exchange between Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and host John Dickerson.

As you may know there have been many failed efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and Dickerson asked, “You said that you wanted the Republicans to offer an alternative to the president. One of the first things you did this year, though, was offer that [Obamacare] repeal. How is than an alternative?”

Ryan replied, “It’s not. It’s why we have to come up with an alternative. So, you’re right about that one.”

“Will you?” Dickerson asked.

Ryan replied, “Absolutely. My goal – I don’t know how far it will go given we have a filibuster and a guy named Obama who’s not going to replace Obamacare – but my goal is that, we as Republicans, if we don’t like these laws, don’t like the direction the country is going, I think we have to be more than just an opposition party.”

He then added, “We have to be a proposition party. So, if we don’t like this, we’ve got to show how we would do things differently. And we really think Obamacare is failing, whether it’s premiums, restricted access, high deductibles, families losing the insurance they wanted to keep.”

This is the best this guy can offer? The Republicans have had years to develop an alternative to the Affordable Care Act and have not. One would think this election year our health insurance system would be a premium topic for any prominent person in any party.

A resolution I’m keeping so far

I’ve come up with a New Year’s Resolution I can actually keep. I’ve pledged to read the unread books I’ve bought instead of buying new books. So far, it’s working, but then again I’ve not been in a bookstore this year as yet.

I would like to say I’ll do the same with the pile of unwatched DVDs on my shelf, but somehow I know I just can’t do that.

I am a weak, weak man.

Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.