To be..... or not to be..... INFORMED! Thoughts about the Special Town meeting of Wednesday November 20, 2013.

There is a Special Town Meeting for the voters of Holland on November 20th at 7:00 PM at the Elementary School. The warrant for this Special Town Meeting is 28 pages long! I hope people aren’t thinking there will be time to read each article before it is voted on. First, there is way too much information in some of these articles to be able to do that, and second, don’t lose sight of the fact that Special Town Meetings are all too often used by the town officials to slide things past the voters. It is easy to do when attendance is low, the audience is stacked, and no one has taken the requisite time to read and understand what they are actually being asked to vote on. Read more»

Posted on 10 Nov 2013, 23:06 - Category: Town Politics
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Holland Trails Committee Activities.

Meet at 8:30 at the canoe launch / trail head on Pond Bridge Road. The portion of the trail we will be working on has been scraped, the pavement pulverized, and grading completed. We will be applying the final surface of half inch process, basically a mix of stone dust and gravel. We need volunteers with tractors and dump trucks to do this work. Our next task is maintaining the existing trail with brush clearing, weed removal, etc.
Tools needed: a few shovel, rakes, loppers, trowels, and work gloves. Pizza will be provided!
Our next trail ride on October 19th. It is part of the Walktober celebration sponsored by The Last Green Valley. We will meet at the trail head on Pond Bridge Road. At 9:30 there will be a safety check & minor adjustments by a mechanic from Bicycle Concepts. The ride is from 10:00 - 12:00 with options for a shorter ride. It is mostly on trails, though a small part is on little-traveled public roads. Helmets are required. This is a great family activity!
Thanks,
Richard Haller Chairman Holland Trails Committee
hallerr@cox.net 413 245-7745


Posted on 9 Sep 2013, 20:51 - Category: The Town Common
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2013 Annual Town Election Results, Congratulations Mr. Kennedy!

A total of 572 voters made the annual trip to the town hall to exercise their constitutional right to participate in forming the government of their community. Re-elected Town Clerk Kristin LaPlante is the most popular town official with 484 votes this year; Dori-Anne Ference is the most unpopular elected town official this year with 396 votes. Only the two positions where there was an actual contest attracted less votes because the votes were divided among the opposing candidates. read more»

Posted on 25 Jun 2013, 11:07 - Category: Town Politics
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Liars, Tigers, and Malfeasance Oh My!

Don’t bother trying to serve the community unless you are part of the “in”-crowd, read more»

Posted on 23 Jun 2013, 18:11 - Category: Town Politics
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Who is the better candidate, incumbent Michael Kennedy or real estate dealer Lawrence Mandell?

Michael Kennedy defeated Raymond Korny in the race for the seat vacated by former member of the select board, Earl Johnson. During the last three years, residents of Holland had an opportunity to get to know Michael Kennedy. Selectman Kennedy showed the community that he is a man with integrity, common sense, and, most important, free of any personal agenda.
I admit, I had my reservations about Mr. Kennedy, but what I saw over the last three years proved my reservations to be unfounded. Even three years ago, I noticed Mr. Kennedy’s fiscal responsibility when he, as a member of the Tantasqua Regional Highschool committee, opposed a wage increase for their teachers. (I wrote about it in the piece, Tantasqua Teachers receive wage increase.)
Larry-Mandell-sign I do not really know Mr. Mandell other than the few Planning Board (PB) meetings I attended while he served on that Board.
Today, someone emailed me a copy of a campaign flyer Mr. Mandell circulates through town. His flyer made me pause... The flyer summarizes five “specific matters which I [Mr. Mandell] plan to stridently advocate for.” (Mandell uses big words, I had to look up “strident;” it means, loud, harsh, grating, or shrill; discordant; the first example which came up on the web was; “the cheap clock ticked stridently.”)

In the first paragraph, Mandell voices his interest in, “open meetings with the participation of all interested residents,” in developing an updated master plan for our town. Under the second paragraph, Mandell promises to, “Implement Managerial Best Practices:” and claims, “implement state of the art managerial practices will lead to greater efficiency and better service to residents. ”As clerk of the Planning Board, Mr. Mandell could have shown over the last four years with actions what he is all about. I don’t see any of it! The most basic service he as the clerk of the PB could provide, is to post PB meeting minutes on the town’s official website. There are no minutes posted, NONE! To see for yourself, click here! (screen shot taken today, June 15, 2013).

The third paragraph outlines the intention to “Implement Hiring Best Practices:” Mandell describes the policy he and other members of the “Government Study Committee” developed and which he intents to implement to, “insulate the process from individual political and personal agendas.” It is never a good idea if a committee developing policies consists of the same members as the board which applies said policies. It is imperative for any democratic society that the mechanisms of checks and balances work; this is only the case if as many different individuals as possible participate in town government. To elect Mandell would concentrate power even more than it already is.
Mr. Mandell is already a member of the Holland School Committee, Tantasqua School Committee, Green Community Planning Committee, Government Studies Committee, and the Planning Board. He obviously has already a full plate and is very busy, to busy to provide the most basic services to the community (posting PB meeting minutes,) and now he would like to take on even more and be one of the three selectmen too.
If his wish will be granted by the majority of voters, we will have two members of the Board of Selectmen serving also on the Planning Board! The Building Inspector for instance has the last word in certain applications submitted to the PB, it is his final decision to either issue a building permit or not. The building Inspector decides whether an applicant needs to get first a permit from the Planning Board. If Mandell serves on the Board of Selectman, Lynn Arnold and Lawrence Mandell together form a quorum and have the power to either re-appoint the Building Inspector or not.

But lets analyze Mandell’s next strident avocation promised on his flyer, “Enhanced Communication and Coordination Between Elected and Appointed Town Officials:” Mandell suggests to have all town officials meet once a year to “outline issues and challenges that each department is currently dealing with.” And, “[t]his meeting would be open to town residents where community input would be solicited as well.” The fact that Mandell needed to mention that the meeting would be “open to town residents” made me pause again...
(BTW, Don’t we have already such a meeting? The annual town meeting? The meeting during which the moderator and other town officials cry “out of order” if anything is said which is controversial?)

Here Mandell’s last (political) promise, verbatim: “Integrate Board and Committee Reviews when Appropriate: As issues arise that need to be reviewed by more than one board, procedures should be established so that the issue could be presented at a single integrated meeting involving all interested parties. Eliminating the situation where a resident must present their issue separately to various boards and committees would result in a much friendlier interface with town officials.”
It struck me as odd that this kind of review “would result in a much friendlier interface” when I read this paragraph. I think that more professionalism and independent minds are needed at the town hall; applications should be processed fair and equal, regardless who submitted them, and not as popularity contests. If board members would understand their obligations based on applicable regulations, laws and bylaws, and would apply them based on the facts and not based on popularity of the applicant, individuals who dare to question town officials would not feel that they are on the way to a colonoscopy each time they go to a board meeting to apply for a permit.

Lawrence Mandell’s campaign flyer is lacking sound sense and argument. Mandell’s attempt to replace Kennedy is a step in the wrong direction. Kennedy has proven that he deserves the trust of the community. To have less and less individuals involved instead of more is not conducive to a healthy town government. Mandell, in his campaign flyer, reveals that he is the president of the Sturbridge Rotary Club; let's do the right thing and prevent the town hall from turning into another Rotary Club.

June 15, 2013, Peter Frei

Posted on 15 Jun 2013, 14:48 - Category: Town Politics
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Trail Ride on Saturday, June 8th. 2013.

The Holland Trails Committee & Brimfield Trail Committee will be leading a Trail Ride on Saturday, June 8th (rain or shine). Meet at the kayak/canoe launch by the bridge on Pond Bridge Road in Holland.
9:30 safety & check & minor adjustments by a mechanic from Bicycle Concepts.
Ride: 10:00 - 12:00. About 10 miles (options for a shorter ride) mostly on trails, though a small part will be on little-traveled public roads.
Conditions: a few rough or sandy spots, but generally good. Helmets required. This is the 3rd ride we have sponsored. Come out and see what's been accomplished!
Thanks,
Richard Haller, Chairman Holland Trails Committee, hallerr@cox.net 413 245-7745

Posted on 30 May 2013, 21:23 - Category: The Town Common
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Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Holland Trails Committee is sponsoring a workday from 8:30 to 12:00 on Saturday, May 11th. Meet at the trailhead parking lot for Lake Siog Pass (20 Pond Bridge Road). Volunteers will spread gravel to complete the final surfacing of the trail. Meet at the trailhead parking lot for Lake Siog Pass (20 Pond Bridge Road). Spring is here, so let’s get the trail ready for the first ride of the year!
Thanks,
Richard Haller, Chairman Holland Trails Committee, 74 Sturbridge Road, Holland, MA 01521, hallerr@cox.net 413 245-7745

Posted on 25 Apr 2013, 23:32 - Category: The Town Common
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Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Holland Trails Committee is sponsoring a workday from 8:30 to 12:00 on Saturday, April 13th. Meet at the trailhead parking lot for Lake Siog Pass (20 Pond Bridge Road). Volunteers will spread gravel to complete the final surfacing of the trail. Signs will also be installed to welcome and guide the public.
Meet at the trailhead parking lot for Lake Siog Pass (20 Pond Bridge Road). Pizza will be provided. Completed-section-of-Lake-Siog
The section of Lake Siog Pass shown in the picture was completed last fall.
For additional information, contact Richard Haller at 413 245-7745.

Posted on 2 Apr 2013, 23:28 - Category: The Town Common
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Winter Storm Saturn.

Here some pictures submitted by readers of the Holland Blog:
School-Bus-on-UnionThis is what our buses are driving on???
Vicky D.

Click on any picture to download large image! Do you want to see your picture here? Just email it to me...


Posted on 8 Mar 2013, 15:38 - Category: The Town Common
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Speak out Holland! (no.31)

speak-out-speak-up speak-out-speak-up
We have not done this for a long time... everybody is invited to go of topic here. Do you have any questions or suggestions? Comment about anything that is amusing you or about anything that is bothering you, but do it in a civilized manner! I will delete obvious lies and offensive comments. To read previous comments under this category, click on “Speak Out Holland” on the left of this blog under the heading “Categories.”

Peter Frei

Posted on 6 Feb 2013, 21:15 - Category: Speak Out Holland
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Explore Holland Trails.

The Holland Trails Committee will be leading a Trail Ride on Saturday, October 6th (rain or shine). Meet at the kayak/canoe launch by the bridge on Pond Bridge Road in Holland at 9:30 for a safety check & minor adjustments by a mechanic from Bicycle Concepts. The ride is 10:00 - 12:00 and about 10 miles (options for a shorter ride), mostly on trails, though a small part will be on little-traveled public roads. Conditions: a few rough or sandy spots, but generally good. Helmets required.
For info: 413 245-7745
HR

Posted on 22 Sep 2012, 23:55 - Category: The Town Common
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