Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Party House of the Weekend

35 Tamarack Drive

Fortunately it has been a while since we had one of these.

The new "Off Campus Party Registration" joint program between UMass and APD has been very successful, but obviously it's the party hardy nitwits who don't bother to register their events and don't respond to police when they come knocking on the front door who need an attitude adjustment.

 Leonard Schwartz, age 24, arraigned before Judge Estes

Click to enlarge/read

In Eastern Hampshire District Court on Monday Mr. Schwartz showed a little more cooperation with the DA's office than he did with APD and took a plea deal where he will pay the town's $300 nuisance ordinance and promised to be a good boy over the next four months.

Early Success (Voting That Is)

Congressman John Olver is a tad tall for the early voting booths

As of 11:35 AM today 986 Amherst registered voters out of 22,257, have taken advantage of the state's brand spanking new "early voting." 

On Monday night Town Manager Paul Bockelman told the Select Board 300 voters did their civic duty on Monday, the first day of the program.  But the challenge would be Tuesday as both Town Hall and UMass Campus Center would host early voting.

Well the results are in and Tuesday went smoothly with a little less than 300 voting in Town Hall and 280 UMass students voting in the Campus Center (although with fewer hours of operation).

Town Clerk Sandra Burgess speculates that if things continue to go at this rate between 15 and 20% of Amherst voters could cast their ballots prior to November 8th. 

Treading Water

Town Manager Paul Bockelman

Town Manager Paul Bockelman gave the Select Board a drought update on Monday and the report was pretty much nothing new.

Our wells, which draw from groundwater, are doing their job.

The state is requesting all water bans stay in effect at least through the end of October.

Atkins Reservoir still only 37.5% of capacity
Quabbin Reservoir October 25,  82.5% of capacity

Atkins Reservoir, shut down since 9/21, is being "slow to respond" with water levels still down nine feet and 75 million gallons remaining out of 200 million when full.

Demand is still below average at just under 3 million gallons per day.

The water crisis has focused attention on water usage and the town is considering ways to give economic incentives for those who may conserve a tad more than their neighbor.  Currently everyone pays the same rate no matter how great or small the usage.

At one time the town did have a rate differential where higher volume users were charged a little more.  Interestingly the cut off for usage to fall into that catagory was so high it only impacted UMass/AMHERST.

1996 three year Strategic Agreement (Click to enlarge/read)

And they were unhappy about that so in the three year 1996 Strategic Agreement inserted a guarantee to keep it to 20 cents (the town was considering raising the differential) and then somewhere between the 1999 renewal and 2007 bump to a 5 year Strategic Agreement the differential was nixed altogether.

Just one of the many ways UMass steamrolled the town in those "Strategic Agreements".

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Drunk Meter Report

AFD has 5 ambulances but rarely enough on duty to staff all five

While things were somewhat slow for emergency responses to UMass/AMHERST over "family weekend" (the benefit of parents on scene no doubt) the ratio of drunk runs is still well over my target goal of 50%.

Four-out-of-five EMS runs to UMass were for ETOH, or a drunk scale of 80%.

Of course Amherst College was worse at 100% but we're only talking one transport and Hampshire College was zero percent but again only talking one transport.

Let's hope it rains this coming Halloween weekend.   

DUI Double Dishonor Roll

One way of guaranteeing a quick arrest for drunk driving is to crash your vehicle into a police cruiser, dead in the center of town no less. 

 Keith Cotnoir, 23, arraigned before Judge Thomas Estes
Click to enlarge/read

In Eastern Hampshire District Court on Monday Keith Cotnoir, age 23, instantly took a 24D disposition at his private attorney's advice.  So he will be off the road for next 45 days and out a fair amount of cash.

Cost of a standard 24D disposition

Timely Legislative Breakfast

The stately Lord Jeff Inn, Amherst Town Common (at least until Amherst College renames it)

The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting their annual networking breakfast of heavy hitters -- aka state & local legislators and business leaders -- at the Lord Jeff Inn this Thursday morning 7:15 AM to 9:00 AM to discuss public policy issues.

What better timing than a couple weeks before the epic November 8th election where federal, state and local issues will be voted on in perhaps the best local turnout in history.

Representatives Susannah Whipps Lee,  John Scibak and Ellen Story will be on hand as well as Senate President Stan Rosenberg, who recently endorsed a yes vote on the recreational marijuana ballot question.

But no, pot brownies are not on the menu.

Asian Invasion

Formosa reopening at Amherst Chinese location 62 Main Street

Three new Asian restaurants will be opening (or reopening) by the first of the year helping to maintain Amherst's downtown reputation as a destination spot for fine cuisine.

Last night the Select Board approved an all alcohol license for a Steam Seafood Japanese Restaurant opening in the former location of All Things Local.

The Select Board grilled attorney Tom Reidy over two liquor law violations the company had at their Longmeadow location three years ago but ended up unanimously supporting issuing the $3,500 license.
Attorney Tom Reidy being grilled (or steamed) by Amherst Select Board

Of course it would have looked a little odd if they rejected the petitioner over that since they cut such slack to Panda East over the past year.  

 Ichiban is Japanese for "number one"

Property owner Barry Roberts told the board an industrial strength dehumidifier is being installed in the 3,750 square foot location to handle the steam given off by the electrical steam pots that will be used at every table.

A short while later the Select Board unanimously approved a Common Victualler licene for LiLi's Chinese Restaurant opening in the former location of Baku's African Restaurant at 197 North Pleasant Street.

 Baku's closed last month after 11 years in operation