A new history book about Lowell by Richard P. Howe Jr and Chaim Rosenberg to be published on March 11, 2013. To order a copy and to learn about local readings and book signings, check out our Legendary Locals of Lowell page.
John Edward, a resident of Chelmsford who earned his master’s degree at UMass Lowell and who teaches economics at Bentley University and UMass Lowell, contributes the following column.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a government agency described as “the state’s venture capital firm.” I can’t put my finger on it, but something does not seem right about that.
Actually, I can put my finger on it. The state should not be in the business of picking winners and losers.
The Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) is one of many quasi-state agencies promoting economic development. It is referred to as quasi-state because it receives state (and federal) money, but neither the Governor nor the legislature directly control what it does.
During the 1980s, the state granted MTDC $4.2 million dollars to establish a venture capital fund. The state added economic stimulus money during the past decade.
MTDC uses the money to invest in a “portfolio” of Massachusetts-based companies. The companies operate in fields designated as growth opportunities. The portfolio currently includes a digital printing company in Chelmsford, an optical networking company in Andover, and a healthcare information technology company in Waltham. read more »
I was sad to see the obituary of Warren Christopher the other day. Christopher served our country in many capacities over the decades, from being a Naval officer in World War Two to Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration. Always exuding decency and dignity, Christopher was an admirable public servant. Still, I can’t help but associate him with some of the most troublesome national events in my adulthood. It was Christopher who, as Deputy Secretary of State in the Carter Administration, negotiated the release of the American hostages who had been captured at the Embassy in Iran. Christopher led Bill Clinton’s vice president selection process which yielded Al Gore (which was good) but also helped select Joe Lieberman as Gore’s VP (not so good). Worst of all, Christopher was Gore’s top representative in Florida in November 2000 in the disastrous election recount that handed us eight years of George W. Bush. That episode was depicted in an HBO movie called “Recount.” I’d never seen the movie, but after watching the trailer below, I’ve added it to my Netflix queue.
Out walking this morning with my brother in the middle zone of the Highands, looping around Penniman, outer Cupples Square, Liberty, Calvary Baptist Church, South Walker, Shaw, Eastern Electrical Repair, the Morey School, our one-and-only urban glacier monument, and the Donut Shack. Strong sunshine even with weather reports calling for some amount of snow tonight. Hard to believe. The Donut Shack owner said he’d put away his shovel and sand. Let it melt this time if it comes, he said.
Three-story maples blushed with buds, but most of the other trees and bushes have yet to make the seasonal turn. A few side gardens showed shoots of tulips and daffodils. For the rough winter the yards for the most part did not look like disaster zones. Dirty mounds of crusted snow persist in shady areas, but all but the iciest of snowbanks have leaked into the street drains. A couple of days of 65 degree sun will do that. We’ve got a pile at the end of our driveway that used to be six feet high; the last foot-and-a-half doesn’t want to go.
On these streets the houses line up like soldiers in ranks, shoulder to shoulder and with front doors commonly opening onto a patch of lawn and the sidewalk. Many old large houses have been converted to duplexes or multi-apartment places, but the majority are single-family homes, as far as I can tell. I’m always surprised at the lack of people on the streets when I walk different sections of the city. It’s usually a weekend morning when I’m walking, but it seems the odds would be in favor of more folks being on their property. Even the dogs were asleep. We saw a tiger cat dash across Hastings. Now, the Donut Shack did have steady business for the 20 minutes that my brother and I sat with coffee and a reward at a table near a spindly ancient cactus feeding on sun rays blasting through the front window. A dozen customers came and went.
We’d been through this sub-neighborhood before a few times, admiring gardens of every growing thing from roses to bamboo. With snow cover gone, we saw the launching pads for the next round of flowers and vegetables—rectangles of soil, platoons of empty pots, defrosted flower boxes. We’ll be back for the progress report.
Today’s Eagle Tribune has a major story about the work habits of Philip F. Laverriere Sr., the executive director of the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council since 1974. According to the story, this nonprofit agency is now a $30 million-a-year operation “funded almost entirely by federal and state tax dollars.” The investigation found that while Laverriere did show up to work each day by 9 am, he always left at noon and then spent the rest of the day at the Lawrence Elks, playing cards or video poker.
Scott Plath of Cobblestones has a blog called “SPLATH! Random Raves of a Restranteur” to which I’ve tardily added a link in our blogroll in the right hand column. Scott has a great post about last night at the restaurant. A night already busy due to the pre-concert crowd that arrived before seeing the Dropkick Murphys perform at the Tsongas Center became quite a bit larger when Micky Ward arrived for dinner along with the Dropkick Murphys themselves. Scott’s witty account of the evening is well worth reading.