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Allowing Old Dominion to build a trucking terminal on Medeiros Way is equivalent to selling the island of Manhattan for glass beads. This 24 hour operation will make the mornings of all of us on the North Side more stressful, especially those who have to get on I91. The truckers already treat Southampton Road as their own personal parking lot. They create traffic hazards particularly outside the Mobile station and the Cumberland Farms. The City has no right to allow this company to destroy our roads and to pollute our air and the water of Arm Brook. Terry Hutchins, vice president of field services and real estate for Old Dominion, said (as quoted from an article from September 7th 2018) “The air coming out of our trucks, for the most part, is cleaner than the air coming in,”. Hutchins and Old Dominion believe us to be stupid.
Our planet is in the midst of a mass extinction event caused by humans, and the proponents of this plan are willfully wasting unspoiled open green space when cleared land is already available. We live in one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Through its “Go Westfield” campaign to attract business, the city is destroying its own natural beauty. The petroleum based economy will not last forever. The planning applications call the land “unused woodland” but it is currently being used as a home by the plants and animals that live there and have less habitat every day. There are many different ways to make money but it takes a lifetime for a mature forest to grow.
Councilor John J. Beltrandi III said in an article from February 26, 2019 that “There are people who live in business zones who abut them, and they may not like it, but they live in business zones,”. These zoning changes were quiet and unannounced, inflicted upon us underhandedly behind closed doors while most of us were at our jobs. The City government of Westfield has been exploited by a small number of elites and turned into a tool to make themselves richer. To quote Henry David Thoreau, “Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resigns his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward.” Despite whatever legal loopholes and tricks used, you have no right to destroy people’s neighborhoods.
Westfield Public Schools wants $2 million more in the next budget? How can anyone in their right mind throw more money at our mediocre schools without demanding dramatic changes? US New & World Report just released high school rankings. Westfield schools didn’t fare well. See https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/massachusetts/districts/westfield/westfield-high-9556. Compare us to surrounding school districts and Massachusetts in general. Does anyone think paying the same people $2 million more is going to improve things for our students? It’s time for turnover in leadership and staff. The Westfield News reached out to The Westfield School Dept for clarification on this and received the following information: Unfortunately, U.S. News and World Report did not access accurate information when rating Westfield High School (WHS) in their recently released “Best High School Rankings”. For example, they listed WHS’s four-year graduation rate at 86%. A quick glance at the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website will tell you that the rate is actually 87.6%. After factoring in students that left school but passed the GED/HiSet or took summer classes to graduate, the adjusted four-year graduation rate rises to 92.7%. Also not included is 2018’s 1.6% dropout rate that was well below state average and the lowest for WHS since the state began collecting this data in 1993.
It’s also reasonable to question the reliability of U.S. News and World Report’s authority to determine which high schools are “best.” Not only do they place too much value on Advanced Placement (AP) exams, they also do not factor in students that are taking college courses on local campuses. While WHS has a healthy number of AP course offerings, 100 plus students participated in dual enrollment classes through Westfield State University’s Westfield Promise Program. In fact, our first cohort of students graduated a few weeks ago with as many as 15 college credits. These students are not factored into school rankings. Students at Westfield Technical Academy (WTA) are also taking advantage of these free college courses at Westfield State. But because the school does not offer Advanced Placement coursework, WTA did not even make U.S. News’s list.
Why is it that the Athenaeum can’t keep a director? Is there some bigger issue there than the citizens know?