|By G. Michael Dobbs|
There are a lot of subjects floating around the office this week, so let's get to some.
Recently, American International College (AIC) sent me a copy of the President's Annual Report and it carried a lot of good news. Most folks remember that just a few years ago the future for AIC was pretty dim with stories concerning financial mismanagement. The management team, headed by President Dr. Vincent Maniaci, has now finished two consecutive fiscal years with balanced books and the student body has increased by 22 percent.
Colleges add much to our communities and it's excellent to hear that AIC has made such great progress in such a short length of time.
In the recent issue of "Boston Globe's Globe 100" magazine supplement, two Western Massachusetts businesses were highlighted in the "A Day in the Life" section. With the headline "Every working day in Massachusetts we produce." photographer Essdras M. Suarez took photos of the "$4.12 million worth of 'Monopoly' money at the Hasbro plant in East Longmeadow" and the "46,200 gallons of ice cream plus 796 gallons of fudge topping at the Friendly Ice Cream Corp. in Wilbraham."
Perhaps because I'm the son of an Air Force officer who served in three wars, I'm a little sensitive to such scenes, but I found it difficult not to tear up a bit when I was covering the return of a group of local Air Reservists last week who came back home after a deployment of over four months in Afghanistan.
I always find it a little intrusive to cover such events as I think families and friends should be able to celebrate the return of a loved one without a camera stuck in their faces or a reporter asking the stupid but typical question, "How does it feel to be back home?"
No one is going to say they'd rather be in a war zone.
I did ask the reservists I interviewed what their civilian job was and one told he was currently unemployed, having been laid off from his job last year.
There seemed to be a sort of injustice that someone who has willingly agreed to serve his nation must now face trying to find a job because his current tour of duty is over.
Don't we owe our service men and women help in finding decent civilian jobs?
And speaking of injustice, why do the programs serving victims of domestic violence have to go with hats in their hands to the Legislature and governor looking for more funding when the rates of murders at the hands of batterers have doubled in Massachusetts?
Last week, the members of the Jane Doe Coalition from Western Massachusetts met at the offices at Womanshelter/Companeras to discuss support for an amendment that would increase state support of programs to assist domestic violence victims.
In Massachusetts, only one in seven victims of domestic violence have the chance of finding a shelter program. That's a true shame.
Please contact your state representative and senator and urge them to support additional funding for these very vital programs.
This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments online to Reminderpublications.com or to 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.