May 14, 2008

News Dump

More of what's going on here and elsewhere.

First, a positive note on Maggie's blog. A surprisingly amicable exchange between neighbors. Perhaps that's what happens when you offer to pay for something for your neighbor. Still and all, good to see we can agree on something, even if it is the destruction of a mulberry tree. It's a male mulburry, so I wonder if the female next to it won't be so full of berries once this one is gone. I hear they wind-pollinate, so I guess it depends on whether there are any other male trees in the area. Since males are more common, we'll probably still see lots of berries.

Two Big Strikes

I was struck by this story. A local woman drives into a telephone pole. She complains "something's wrong" with her steering, but it turns out she can't pass the impairment test -- counting backwards from 86. Oops, looks like her car is full of bags of heroin. Eighty-three, to be precise. I wonder if that's one of the numbers she missed in the impairment test.

Fewer than 48 hours later, the police had to pry her fingers from around her husband's throat and arrest her again.

I can't say for sure my town is going downhill. You make your own conclusions. Credit for the assist in the arrest goes to the woman herself, for alerting police by driving into a telephone pole. That's good citizen self-policing, right there.


Somerset ousted a selectwoman. She says now she's free to speak her mind, so I'll be looking forward to some exciting issues of the Spectator. OK, not really. But possible future blogfodder anyhow.

Knife-Point Robberies

A Domino's Delivery guy was robbed at knife-point in New Bedford. It's the ninth reported food-delivery robbery this year for New Bedford. There was a mugging at knifepoint in the morning at the university recently. Crime in Fall River is up, as well. Massachusetts hasn't been hit as hard as many other states in this recession, but if crime is any indicator, it's hit this region of Massachusetts pretty badly.

Rail, Bus, what's the diff?

The governor made SouthCoast rail one of his top transportation goals. At the end of April we saw that one of the "rail" proposals has turned into a bus. That's right, instead of a rail, they'd get a bus driver to shuttle people up to South Station. It's one of five scenarios, but, really.

Posted by James at May 14, 2008 9:56 AM
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I heard about the bus. If the fare is cheaper than driving, I'll take it, because it will probably still be cheaper than driving the whole way, and faster AND cheaper than driving to Lakeville and picking up the train there.

But it's a total cop-out. I feel the bus is acceptable only in the short term, while they're constructing an actual rail route.

As for the recession, it's true that MA hasn't been the worst hit, but I heard today that it is #10 in foreclosures. Things typically have to get pretty dire by the time they're foreclosing on your house.

Posted by: Julie at May 14, 2008 10:51 AM

RI is the only New England state officially in recession.

The thing about crime too is that my guess is a huge, huge chunk goes unreported. When my car window got smashed and my GPS stolen, basically the insurance company wouldn't cover it (worth less than the deductible) and the cops said there was nothing they could/would do. So if I WANTED to, I could spend my time going down to the police station and filling out a report for no reason. I decided that actually getting my car window fixed was a higher priority.

So I wonder how often that happens. low-value crimes just go unreported because the cops don't/won't/can't do anything about them anyway.

Posted by: David Grenier at May 14, 2008 11:23 AM

It seems like as RI goes, so goes Southeastern Mass.

Posted by: James at May 14, 2008 11:46 AM

Hoo, boy, that is some story with the woman, the heroin, and the throttling. Don't think I'd invite her to your caroling party if I were you, my friend.

As for the story on the Commuter Rail may now be a bus/SoCo potentially gets the shaft story, I give you:

The Silver Line

Yes, it may be on all MBTA maps in all MBTA subway stations displayed with all the subway lines, but it is indeed a bus and no, it doesn't travel under ground.

And no matter how you slice it, street traffic will never be as fast and unhindered as subway traffic. A bus is a bus is a bus.

I wonder how many tourists have tried to find the silver line underground...

Posted by: Patti M. at May 14, 2008 12:40 PM

In my frustrating conversation with the superintendent, he pointed to "how well" students do in the high school as an indicator of middle school success. That sounded like a red flag to me to look at middle school MCAS scores, but it's going to be difficult and take time for me to come up with anything at all reasonable because each class is of course composed of different students, and it looks like students do better on middle school MCAS tests than elementary MCAS tests across the board. Maybe it's just an indicator he would like me to look at.

But in looking into that, one place I looked at was's website which describes towns in MA, and I was appalled by the crime rates in our little town. I looked at my sister's town and there was practically nothing -- lines so low they weren't registering on the graph. Our town was up around the average, and for such a small and relatively well-off town, with a police force that seems largely bored most of the time, I found that surprising.

Posted by: Maggie at May 14, 2008 2:05 PM

To get better mass transit access to our state capitol, I could move to Rhode Island.

On the Somerset Police: they recently got some sort of award for their work. It may well be that they're doing a bang up job of finding miscreants and that in other towns they go unfound. Some element of that may be in play.

Posted by: James at May 14, 2008 2:13 PM

It irritates me very much that there's a Providence train to South station. In the evening, it's usually on the track right next to the Middleboro train. I mean, I'm happy for the Providence people, but it's a constant reminder of just how much this area has been snubbed.

Last I heard, it was likely that Wareham would have a train to Boston before we do.

Posted by: Julie at May 14, 2008 3:06 PM

I did well in high school. That was an indicator of the high school's success, not the middle school's!

Posted by: Julie at May 14, 2008 3:07 PM

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