Breaking down the headlines

Drug Ring [in Pittsfield] Toppled.

This is great stuff. Sorry, but these drug dealers are very bad people. Nothing is as harmful to our kids and our communities as the scourge of drugs. A few years back, we had an even bigger drug problem than we have now in Great Barrington.

I commended the Berkshire Drug Task Force and the district attorney for doing what they were paid to do. While things have improved, I have been told that there is still a drug problem in our town. Apparently, however, it’s nothing compared to what’s going on in Pittsfield.

One way the police hear about narcotics rings like this is from drug dealers themselves who want to get rid of the competition. There is a huge amount of money to be made in drugs and we have to be eternally vigilant that our policing efforts are rigorous and uncorrupted.

Police departments everywhere have to watch their own people very closely. The Serpico case happened a long time ago but the same obvious temptations exist to this very day.

From a political standpoint, the one thing that people demand from their government is protection. If I were mayor of Pittsfield I would be present at the scene of every drug arrest. Pittsfield is a very good little city with a small, but very bad, element. The folks who are running the city must do everything they can to protect their constituents from these terrible people.

MCLA sees future in site

The establishment of a new science building at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts is one of the most important things to happen in Berkshire County in a long, long time. A lot of people put their shoulders to the wheel on this one.

If this county and this country are to prosper, it will be the sciences leading the way. Unless we can compete with the Chinese, the Indians and the Japanese we will become a second- rate economy.

If Williams College needs something new on its campus, you had better believe that a good, well-heeled alumni person will come up with the money that is required. Hey, you can’t take it with you and there is only so much your kids really need.

If this country is to live up to the promise of equal opportunity for all, we absolutely need top-notch public colleges to pave the way. On the face of it, this new science building cost a lot of money. This is a proper use of public resources. Mary Grant, president of MCLA, had to use all of her considerable skills to get the job done.

Her work with the Berkshire delegation was exemplary. Her technique was one of inclusion and it was because she helped our legislators to understand that this was “our” project that she was able to succeed in a time of great economic uncertainty. I am sure that having the commitment of Berkshire resident Deval Patrick didn’t hurt this effort.

In addition to this being great for the students of MCLA, the venture will help recruit the kinds of science-oriented businesses that can take advantage of the research and science faculty at the college. Quite frequently, the basic scientific research that is being conducted in our academic institutions is adopted by entrepreneurial types who start and run businesses that employ people who might not otherwise have jobs.

If there is one thing that is much on the minds of people in our region it is jobs and even more importantly, jobs for our children so that they don’t have to move away.

New solar facility is pumping energy

Every month, the lovely Roselle looks at our fuel oil bill and turns the heat down just a little bit more. “Wear a sweater,” is a phrase I hear more often than I might like. Last week I did an hour on the radio with an old Fire Island friend, Richard Gottlieb, who has been in the solar-heating business in Vermont for quite some time.

I really want to put solar panels on my house and, if need be, in the yard next to our house. To do both might cost in the range of $30,000 once is all said and done but wouldn’t it be a great thing to know that as you go into your old age you might never have to pay another bill?

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 10/30/10

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