One thing that there’s no shortage of on social media is outrage. Democrats are outraged about Trump. Republicans are outraged about Hillary (and Trump).

And apparently everybody’s outraged about underground power lines.

Whether on social media or real life, sometimes it seems that there isn’t enough outrage where it’s truly warranted. That’s why it was encouraging recently to see some genuine outrage from the Board of Selectmen when they got the results of the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey for Wakefield.

Wakefield’s Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator Catherine Dhingra was at the selectmen’s meeting to go over the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey results.

There were a number of alarming statistics that came out of the 2017 YRBS, not the least of which is that regular marijuana use spiked 10 percent among Wakefield High School students in the past year. And 25 percent of WHS students admit to driving while stoned. Continue reading ‘Where’s the outrage?’


By about 11 p.m. Monday night, we should have a pretty good idea what Wakefield’s future will look like.

Will the town retain a semblance of the working-class normalcy that has been its hallmark for generations? Or will it veer off in the direction of more genteel communities fond of banning everyday useful items like plastic bags, Styrofoam coffee cups and plastic water bottles?

Will Wakefield remain the proud home of the Warriors? Or will it become a place where the word “selectman” is offensive and sports logos and team names are changed because a few suburban soccer moms think somebody might be offended?
Continue reading ‘Resist the bag-banning revisionists’

It’s almost time for that biannual funfest known as Town Meeting, so start dusting off your excuses now.

“Nobody told me about it.”

“I have to work that day.”

“I have kids.”

Wow, with extenuating circumstances like those, it’s a wonder anyone ever shows up.

All kidding aside, nobody gives a rodent’s hindquarters whether you show up or not, least of all me. The only reason the excuses come up at all is because somebody complains about something that resulted from a Town Meeting action.

Then someone else (like me) asks the obvious question: Which way did you vote when this came up at Town Meeting?

You know the responses (see above).
Continue reading ‘Town Meeting alibis’

As every kid in America used to know, it was on Oct. 12, 1492 that Columbus discovered America. Most kids also learned the little poem that began, “In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” I learned it in kindergarten at Miss Hope’s progressive Studio School on Montrose Avenue.

Do schools still teach that poem to kids? That’s a rhetorical question. As my education continued at the Greenwood School, I learned more details about Columbus’s heroic voyages. Continue reading ‘Happy traditional Columbus Day!’

Anyone at Town Meeting on that night last May could see that it was going to be close. Personally, I thought the plastic bag ban was going to fail narrowly if put to a YES/NO vote.

But before it came to that, a third option miraculously surfaced! “Let’s refer it back to the selectmen for more study!” As soon as I heard those words, I knew it was over. Some form of plastic bag ban was all but inevitable.

Any committee the selectmen appointed to study banning plastic bags was never going to recommend not banning them. So now we have what will be sold at the upcoming November 6 Town Meeting as the “new and improved” plastic bag ban.

And you thought the silliest thing on the Regular Town Meeting warrant was renaming the Board of Selectmen.
Continue reading ‘A ban for all seasons’

In the run-up to the Nov. 8, 2016 election that legalized pot in Massachusetts, how many times did you hear that legalizing recreational marijuana would never lead to increased pot use among youth?

I heard it dozens of times, in paid advertisements, in op-ed pieces and on social media. The level of denial that legalization would lead to more marijuana use by kids was wider and deeper than any river in Egypt.

“That’s a lie!” they’d scream.

“There’s no proof of that,” they’d howl.
Continue reading ‘Dear Wakefield High’

Name shaming


Wakefield’s inexorable slide from a proud, blue collar, working class town to the precious PC world inhabited by communities like Cambridge, Concord and Lexington accelerated just a bit this month when the Board of Selectmen decided that it would, after all, like to change its name to one that does not have the word “men” in it.

They say it’s a move toward “gender neutrality,” and that may be the intent locally. But what’s brought us to this day is rooted in a place much darker than that.
Continue reading ‘Name shaming’

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