Monday, January 14, 2013

Fire & Mist

75 Chmura Road, Hadley

The second major structure fire in nine days struck this home at 75 Chmura Road, Hadley, doing serious damage ... although of the kind that can be repaired, as no injuries were reported.

Amherst Fire Department along with Deerfield, Northampton, and South Hadley assisted Hadley Fire Department in snuffing out the flames.

AFD on scene Hadley fire (photo courtesy Amherst Firefighters local 1764)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Say it ain't so, Jackie

Jackie Chan 

I have never been a huge fan of Jackie Chan, having been spoiled by seeing the greatest martial artist of all time, Bruce Lee, up on the silver screen first.  And nothing compares to the speed, grace and animal magnitism of Bruce Lee taking a physical stand. Nothing.

But I always found Mr. Chan entertaining enough in a lighthearted way, although not nearly as much as my younger daughter.  Not any more.  

Last month in a Chinese TV interview only now seeing wider circulation Chan called the United States "the most corrupt (country) in the world."

Although statistics tell a different story:  The Corruption Perception Index ranks China 80th with the US coming in far better at #19 among 174 countries (with No. #1 being the country with the least perception of corruption.)

Sure Jackie has a First Amendment right to say whatever he wants.  Well, in the United States anyway.  In China, branding that nation as "most corrupt" will get you jail time -- or run over by a tank.  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

No Escape

 Equinox crossover with town seal

Since Ford discontinued the more politically correct hybrid Escape the town had to search elsewhere for a new set of wheels.  This crossover Chevy Equinox, with good gas mileage, fit the bill.  Either way, American made cars for our little all American town.

The Equinox looks a lot nicer as well than the more boxy Escape;  and the town seal -- a book and plow -- really radiates off a pristine white background.

Amherst town seal: a book and a plow

Although, the new town flag logo would also look nice.

Amherst Town Flag

Friday, January 11, 2013

Major Player Expands Empire

30 Gatehouse Road, Echo Village Apartments (24 units)

Jamie Cherewatti, aka Eagle Crest Management, branched out in a B-I-G way this week by purchasing #10 and #30 Gatehouse Road commercial complexes (business and residential) for $3 million using a new LLC, Echo Gatehouse Partners and $1.85 million in financing.

The price was well above their combined assessed value of $2.1 million, with the lions share being the 24 units of housing, a frequent destination for the Amherst Police Department.

James Cherewatti on left

 10 Gatehouse Road, commercial business condos

Cherewatti purchased the multi-use property from the original developer Gerry Gates, who with his long time business partner Dick Johnson (now deceased) built the sprawling development in the mid-1970s. 

Amherst Insurance Agency, #20 Gatehouse, is not included in the deal, although coincidentally enough that property was sold just sold last week by Ron Nathan for $700,000 to RAG Associates, aka Glenn Allan, a long time executive with the insurance business.

Amherst Insurance Agency: still your independent, locally owned full service insurance agency

At the Mercy of the Media

 Old Amherst Landfill, Belchertown Road, Planet Earth

The problem with involving the main stream media early on with an "unusual" story like a UFO sighting is that they don't really take it seriously.

It's soooo much easier to go with the cheap, quick, extraterrestrial angle; thus opening the door to sniping from the legions of anonymous critics Amherst has accumulated over the years.

There's no question something was spotted in the air over the old landfill early on Tuesday night.  The question is, was it indeed something unusual?  And if so, what are the possibilities?

I saw the twitter breaking news report almost immediately and went outside to take a look.  Both a C5A and a helicopter soon ambled overhead, but that is certainly not all that unusual considering the close proximity of Westover, Barnes and Bradley airfields, all of which host the military.

And we did have a Chinook helicopter drop in unexpectedly last June.

Which brings up an obvious question.  If the modus operandi  of the object (mainly the part about "silent") did not fit those usual suspects, could it have been something else military related, like a drone

These days drone technology is seeping its way into non military uses as well.  The Occupy folks used one as an eye in the sky to monitor police while police departments nationwide are also starting to use them for surveillance, although raising concerns about privacy.  And safety.

And no, Amherst Police Department does not have a drone.  Although ... that would be a convenient way to keep an eye on Party Houses this coming spring.   


What's wrong with this close?  (Umm, maybe the wrong month):

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

(Sad) Sign of The Times

Crocker Farm School Staff participated in a security drill this afternoon

Amherst schools have continued to tweak security protocols in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. But nothing radical, as they are not exactly reinventing the wheel.

According to ARPS Superintendent Maria Geryk, "We are fortunate that we have spent lots of time creating our safety plans over the years, so that we are not making major adjustments at the moment. We are just really tightening up some of our procedures."

She continues, "I expect that there will be additional changes over time as we spend more time updating our plans."

Today's exercise was a "school level drill" vs the more expansive district level "table top drills" orchestrated in conjunction with Amherst police and fire departments. Superintendent Geryk reports "Things are going well with these brief drills."

According to a pundit the Newtown massacre will do for school security what 9/11 did for airport security.  True enough.

Just as a gorgeous September morning with perfect temperatures under a deep blue cloudless sky, can never again be innocently enjoyed quite the same; neither will the sights and sounds of a room full of happy, chatty, first graders.

How Many Does It Take?

Workers adjust the BoA lighted sign on the most unrevered building in downtown Amherst