| By G. Michael Dobbs|
This time of year can be challenging for journalists as often the early weeks of August seem quiet.too quiet.
And then The Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth makes my day brighter by releasing a report that recommends placing a Western Massachusetts casino in Chicopee at the intersection of the Massachusetts Turnpike and Interstate 291.
The icing on the story cake is that prior to the release of the report Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette had announced an effort to place a non-binding question on the November ballot to see if Chicopee residents want a casino.
The aldermen in Chicopee denied the mayor's request, so now if people want the chance to vote on the subject, there must be a petition drive to get the question on the ballot.
Few things stir people up more than the issue of casinos. Of course the Legislature will ultimately be in charge of placing any casinos, but those communities that show a willingness to have one would be given more attention than those who don't want one?
A casino is like an elephant they're pretty damn cool to look at, but most people wouldn't want one in our backyard. The I-291/I90 location would have minimal impact on Chicopee with the exception of the Burnett Road section of town. I imagine that already busy intersection with the Pike would be even more frustrating for those residents.
Should Chicopee be the site for a casino? It should be up to the voters and I'm sorry to see the aldermen take the position they did.
At least no one has been advocating putting a casino in downtown Springfield. Maybe the proponents of that failed concept have learned their lesson.
Hey, I want to apologize because I may have been using bad language. Not that bad language if I don't drop some bombs here and there I would probably have a stroke.
No, I'm talking about a report from "The Journalists Exchange on Aging" that instructs reporters and editors to be aware of the insulting terms of "boomer," "elders," "middle-aged," "midlife," "older," and "seniors."
According to a survey of journalists these terms can be insulting to age-challenged people. Oops, was that one kosher?
Furthermore, I shouldn't use "baby boomers," "elderly" as a noun nor "senior citizen."
Writers shouldn't refer to age at all unless it's an essential part of the story. I'm advised to "avoid words or phrases that automatically date people or convey extraneous connotation such as 'of a certain age,' 'curmudgeon' or 'feisty.'
And I can't use one of my favorite words, "geezer." Since I'm a B-western fan, one of my idols is Gabby Hayes kids look him up on the Internet-thingy and I look forward to being as geezer-esque as he was dressing eccentrically, saying anything that came to mind and wearing hats. Hey, I'm there already!
Generally, we don't ask people their age and we don't make age part of a story unless it is actually part of a story. Have you read one of these words or phrases other than geezer and have been insulted? Let me know.
So the folks who run Spoleto's restaurant in East Longmeadow are in a wrestling match with the town over the number of seats they have for diners. It seems they were granted a permit for 140 seats but on a recent inspection there were 295 seats. Plus there is a full kitchen in the basement of the eatery that is not allowed by their permit.
The owners did not send a representative to the Planning Board meeting last week, and the town has sent them a letter detailing their violations and their options.
The food I've tasted from Spoleto's has been great, but this kind of unregulated expansion is just inexcusable and, frankly, ill advised in a small town where good will is important.
This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments online to Remiderpublications.com or to 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.