A House Divided

This morning:
Husband: “I’m going to be really mad if they close Putnam Lane.”
Nicole: “Is it worth $30 million to you, really?”
Husband: (gives me that look that says, “Of course it is.”)
Nicole: “I never even heard of Putnam Lane before all this, and driving on that road is like taking your life into your own hands.”
Husband: “I use it all the time.

This is one of those moments when you have to decide that you’re not going to let a CSX rail yard split up your marital bliss.  And when you wonder why your husband is using a cross street on the other side of the city from where you live all the time.


Last night, though I was tired, so this all could be a hallucination.

Nicole: “Did you see that Mike Germain lost 25 pounds?”
Husband: “Did he look good?”
Nicole: “You know, I didn’t even notice at first, because I was so busy typing and talking to Jeremy, but yeah, he did.”
Husband: “Is Germain originally an Auburnite?  Because he’s very Auburn…”
Nicole: “You know, you’re right!”

We have a theory that each town in Central Massachusetts has its own distinctive character; so, residents of Auburn can be easily distinguished from, say, those of Millbury, and Paxton is nothing like Holden, and Boylston and West Boylston are like chalk and cheese.  (We also have a theory that every town in North County has its equivalent in South County; if I’m ambitious, I’ll try to create a graphic to describe it.)

Now, normally, I would turn this into an extended meditation on the Platonic universal of Auburnhood, but it’s really one of those I-know-it-when-I-see-it things.

So, instead, let me put in another plug for Nick K’s City Hall Notebook and discuss something that is inherently Worcester.  Here’s a quote from Leonard P. Ciuffredo, chairman of the Brown Square Crime Watch Group:

CSX wants to double the size of their freight yard and interrupt our neighborhood, but we have no idea what effect this will have on the tax base.

In Worcester, it’s perfectly reasonable to move into a neighborhood where college students live off campus and expect the students to never have parties and be as quiet as mice; it’s equally reasonable to put in a playground to appease residents (except, of course, that many didn’t want it in the first place) and ignore the basic needs of existing playgrounds

So, of course, it’s reasonable to live in a neighborhood overlooking a freight yard and consider any additional rail traffic to be an interruption of the neighborhood, and expect that the city (and the company in question) will cater to your every wish. 

Regional Dispatch

From the City Hall Notebook:

The City Council is being asked tonight to authorize the city to file for a state grant that would enable Worcester to establish a regional emergency communications center with the town of Leicester.

The state, through its Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, has made available funding incentive for municipalities to establish regional emergency communications centers, through the Regional Public Safety Answering Point Development Grant program.

By participating in the program, City Manager Michael V. O’Brien said Worcester would be eligible for significant grants to update technology, radio communications and dispatch infrastructure.

No city match is required from the grant funds.

Mr. O’Brien said the city has engaged several neighboring communities to discuss the feasibility of providing dispatch services, and that the town of Leicester was the only one to express an interest in joining the city on this.

Why were no other towns interested?  The answer might be in the May 6 and May 13 weekly dispatches from the Leicester police chief.  From the May 13 dispatch:

Q. – If the town decides to move to a regional dispatch center, can it reopen its dispatch center if the economic outlook for the town improves?

A. – No. The State 911 Department, which oversees the 911 system in Massachusetts, has made it very clear that once we remove the 911 answering system from the LPD and move it to a regional dispatch center, they will not permit it to be returned to LPD. If the regional dispatch center does not work out, the LPD can have the 911 system moved to another regional dispatch center.

So, if a town wants to leave a regional dispatch service, it cannot then go back to running its own 911 service.  It would need to join another regional dispatch service.  Joining a regional dispatch is a bit of a point of no return for a town with 911.