Sunday, May 17, 2009

Slow news day

So my Amherst “Institutional Memory” is like a point-and-shoot digital camera. There’s rock solid “optical zoom” and beyond that (pushing the envelope) enhanced, slightly blurry, “digital zoom”.

I realized this when I stretched my older Kodak camera to the limit to get a recognizable photo of former Select Board Czar Ann Awad (at the time an AMHERST town official) w-a-y off in her South Hadley garden, and it came out blurry.

Fortunately she has an oversized distinctive body, instantly recognizable (even from a good distance) and yeah; you don’t even want to see the few I did not publish.

My “institutional memory” (‘optical zoom’) dates back to 1982 the year I opened my small business in what was then called “The Dead Mall” in bucolic Hadley, the next town over.

Wal Mart moved in a dozen years or years ago after I relocated to my hometown ‘The People’s Republic of Amherst’ and these days that “dead mall” is about as lively as you can get.

But for pre-1982 events I rely on “old timers” I trust and—God forbid—the Gazette, and sister publication Amherst Bulletin. And of course the Amherst Record (a 200+ year old publication killed by the Amherst Bulletin)

Got an email this afternoon from a fellow Town Meeting member about a water outage at Puffton Village, the second one this year. But by the time I got there on my bike it was already repaired. The joys of dealing with the private sector.

My slightly foggy (“digital zoom”) memory reminds me that Puffton Village was constructed in the late 1960's early 1970’s in response to the dramatic growth of Umass/Amherst and received a pass from the Zoning Board of Appeals or Planning Board.

BUT, the Zoning Variance was only good for 25 or 30 years and the complex was originally envisioned as “temporary housing” and upon expiration the buildings would be terminated. So you can imagine the original infrastructure was not exactly constructed to the highest standards.

WELL of course once the vital housing owned by Steve Puffer, a famous long-time Town Meeting member, came into being and served a purpose (not to mention generated lots of money) …


Terry said...

So I guess it wasn't completely a wild goose chase. You did get a picture of the filled hole.

That is indeed the hole. And they did indeed finish the job in a couple of hours.

Still can't believe it was done so fast (and so well). But as you said, "private sector." I'm so used to watching government projects. Any hole like that -- once it's opened... they'll be fiddling with it for at least 6 months.

Terry Franklin

LarryK4 said...

Indeed, not a wild goose chase.

And I went out to Cherry Hill just down the road for a shot of their empty parking lot, and then over to North East Street for a shot of the historic Kimball House with Aircraft Carrier new house almost completed dominating the background.

Anonymous said...

Larry Shaffer does not own the Amherst fire fighting equipment. The legal residents of Amherst do own it.

If Shaffer thinks he has the prerogative to deny the retiring Fire Chief and honorary Parade Marshall the privilege of riding in town fire equipment (and at the same time authorize the showcasing of the same equipment in the parade) over a petty and mean-spirited old beef by protest advocates, then the SB should step in or the town should get a new town manager.

Who else has had enough of his petty and punitive policy making?

Shaffer owes the Amherst Area Boy Scouts $800. He can pay them back before he leaves.

Ed said...

I can't speak to Puffton, but since it is right next to North Village, the same thing probably applies: It is on filled land and literally goes up and down with the water table, which really isn't a water table as much as a swamp with a cap on top.

Well water pipes don't like this much.

But there is a larger issue here - ALL of the apartment buildings were built in the early '70s (North Village '73/'74 and was modular trailers) with a 30 year lifespan.

Puffton has put the money in for upkeep. Rolling Green to some extent has as well. As to the rest, no. And there is a major problem coming.