Monday, July 4, 2011

A hot July 4th Parade in Amherst

The Parade started exactly at 3:00 PM

The biggest crowd in our nine-year history disproved P.T. Barnum's theory that all publicity is good PR as long as they spell your name correctly. This year we managed to sidestep what seemed to be the inevitable controversy that comes with anything public in Amherst, avoiding the clash of egos and grandstanding for media attention that resulted in far less media coverage leading up to the B-I-G event; but still the crowds (especially children) came: to enjoy the show, and thank those who make our little piece of the world safer.
With military color guard in the lead

Berkshire Highlanders serenade the eager crowds

Town center was packed with parents and children

Our youngest performer

The Bucket Man plays to a big crowd
Kendrick Park provided plenty of shade

A long line of emergency vehicles

Thomas the Train

My home sweet home


Anonymous said...

nice pix larry! yeah it was hot but an enjoyable procession none the less.

one sticking point for me however: as i chatted with friends in front of the spoke afterwards it dawned on me there was little evidence that the parade was commemorating our independence day. did i miss something?! did i miss the men and women in period costumes, decorations and banners, hailing the occasion?

i personally enjoyed the scads of emergency vehicles, classic and antique automobiles, and the pipers(!) but i, perhaps foolishly, hoped an amherst parade would express a bit of pride in our nation's "birth." if just an afternoon.


Anonymous said...

I guess now that dissent is no longer the highest form of patriotism, Amherst is willing to let a July 4 celebration go ahead.

Anonymous said...

The boys and I had a great time it was fun to out and see everyone enjoying themselves, Kudo's to everyone involved!!!

Larry Kelley said...

Thanks. We're already working on next year, our actual 10th anniversary.

Anonymous said...

Your lower profile equalled bigger turn out? Hmm, perhaps less grandstanding equals more in grandstands. Look at that.

Larry Kelley said...

Don't blame the scorpion for being a scorpion.

Anonymous said...

It is fascinating how things have quieted down without a grandstanding town manager.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Kelley,

When you get around to it, please tell Steve Rivkin not to let the door hit him in the ass.

Good riddance.

Larry Kelley said...

"A little revolution now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. ..."

Anonymous said...

A wonderful celebration of the taking of the land from the people who already lived here. Yippee!

Anonymous said...

Whenever people tell you that they have a problem with an elected official's "arrogance", it's about something other than governing style, something they don't wish to be precise about.

With some of the bashing of Mr. Rivkin, I smell anti-Semitism.

The man tried to talk truth to power, especially about declining attendance rates in our schools and how they just might affect our perception of the status quo of fiscal crisis created about public education in town. For that, he was condemned, because we really don't wish to examine our assumptions about certain things.

End of discussion which is the way we want it.

So now the message is clear: Amherst schools. Either you love them or you leave them. There is no in-between.

Anonymous said...

I happen to think that Steve Rivkin's time on the school committee has been particularly damaging to the schools. Steve Rivkin has no interest in social justice in Amherst - he ran for the school committee to promote his own agenda and special interests. His impetus for running was to get rid of the 9th grade ecology class and trimesters. I for one am glad he has been totally frustrated in his efforts. He talks a good game about social justice but he has done nothing to close the achievement gap. Many new initiatives have been put into place in the Amherst schools in the last year or so to address social justice issues and the achievement gap and he has not supported any of them. Since he has been on sabbatical for the last 4 months I think he actually doesn't even know what some of those new programs are.

He talks a good game and yet, his first choice for Superintendent of Schools was a man who openly advocated shunning both teachers and students who don't measure up. What a forward-thinking guy Dr. Kohn was!!!! This is the man Steve Rivkin wanted to bring to our community! Just think for a moment how well shunning and social justice go together!!!

Steve Rivkin has been a disaster for our schools and I for one couldn't be happier to see him go. Now the schools can really move forward full steam ahead.

And finally, there is nothing anti-Semitic about my dislike for Steve Rivkin. I am Jewish. Playing the anti-Semitic card is like playing the race card. Steve Rivkin could be Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, agnostic, atheist, whatever. No matter his religious leanings, he has been an un-mitigated disaster for our schools and the students of Amherst will be far better off once he is gone!!!

Anonymous said...


the disaster for our schools is refusing to change course. At all cost 'must stay the course, but spend more money'. Next fall, when yet more record low elementary math MCAS scores are released, I hope you will be happy. Our math program is anything but social justice. We will continue to have no kids of color in middle school algebra. But hay, lets keep doing exactly what we've been doing, but pour more money into it. FAIL

I wonder what programs you think have been implemented that will promote socail justice? I personally think academic justice would best help our lowest performing kids.

But I agree Kohn was a poor choice.

Anonymous said...

If you don't think anything has changed in the schools in the last year then you have not been paying attention. Professional Learning Communities, Response to Intervention; Positive Behavioral Supports, everyone doing extensions; mapping of needs of our lower income communities; partnerships with Amherst College, UMASS and town businesses, the new math action plan, and on and on and on. Also, change does not happen over night - change takes time. But the schools are working toward many changes that will affect all students.

Anonymous said...

Yes Kohn was an awful choice- doesn't the fact that he was Steve Rivkin's first choice for Superintendent show us something about his judgement and his educational philosophy?

Ponziville roaches hate Rivkin said...

"Steve Rivkin has been a disaster for our schools and I for one couldn't be happier to see him go. Now the schools can really move forward full steam ahead."



Amherst roaches burn every last bridge said...

"I am concerned that the debate about the School Committee race thus far has largely consisted of highly personal attacks," she said in a statement. "I am concerned that teachers in our schools are leading some of these attacks, and that these attacks have been hurtful to my children."

Those children wont be in the Amherst school system next year.


Anonymous said...


all I can say is I hope you are right. BTW, response to intervention is simply a testing and monitoring tool, it is not the intervention itself. My view is that teachers already know what kids need intervention, in the classroom there is true real-time information gathered as opposed to the "real-time" (3 times a year) RTI testing. The real question is whether our interventions that we currently use (and will continue to use) are effective. RTI is just more useless testing for those kids that don't need RTI. No differential is going to result from kids doing well on these tests.

Our math plan is simply more of the same stuff we've had over the last 5 years or more...coaches, PD, curriculum director...and costs a fortune.

I didn't always agree with Steve but that doesn't mean I entirely dismiss everything he put forth, to do so would be very immature. I very much fear without SC members pushing and questioning (to the disgruntlement of teachers and staff) progress will be slow. Extensions is a fine example, without persistent efforts by parents made in the face of extreme resistance, there would have been no change. That kind of concerted effort is costly to those involved.

As for Professional Learning Communities, sounds like fun for the teachers, time will tell if it helps students. I worry about any initiative that pulls teachers out of the classroom (including math coaches).

There is pretty good evidence that Positive Behavioral Supports is effective and hope that future generations can benefit.

Anonymous said...

There aren't going to be any SC members "pushing and questioning". That's what the pushback against Sanderson and Rivkin has been all about: "we love things the way they are."

And, yes, when one hears criticism of "arrogance" and "body language", of an individual's motives to run in the first place, and not a peep on the substance, anti-Semitism is a part of it.

Anonymous said...

The idea that people are opposed to Steve Rivkin and all he stands for because they are anti-Semitic is just plain ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Steve Rivkin is Jewish?

(What does any of this have to do with the 4th of July parade?)

Larry Kelley said...

Good point.

No more off topic comments (especially when they are nothing but personal attacks)