"Not eating chard. That's what all those weirdos eat at their stupid picnics on the Hungry Ghost lawn." -Nina

November 13, 2007

Community Notes In The News

--The Gazette has reported that "Police on Monday identified a homeless man found dead behind a King Street business as Craig S. Carpenter, 42."

Living on the streets, owning no property, suffering from alcoholism (at least), cast aside from society, and having died from freezing to death while completely alone, what did James F. Lowe, staff writer at the Gazette, have to say about this?

Carpenter's name appeared frequently in the Northampton Police log dating back to 2000, as he was repeatedly arrested on charges ranging from assault and battery to breaking and entering to trespassing to possessing open containers of alcohol on public ways.

Especially in the last two years, he occasionally would be picked up by patrol officers who spotted him drinking from a bottle of vodka or a beer can by the Main Street railroad bridge or on the Nagle Walkway.

He was also on the rolls of city sex offenders, having been convicted in Hampshire Superior Court in 1991 of raping a 14-year-old girl. He lived in Chesterfield at the time.

Carpenter was sentenced to two and a half years in jail after he pleaded guilty to the charge. His defense attorney said at the time that Carpenter had a serious drinking problem since the age of 17.
Thanks James, good job.

UPDATE:: James F. Lowe files another, more respectful report the following day, and speaks to those who knew Craig.

Over at MassLive's Northampton Forum, a question posed about people dying from exposure in Northampton leads to a discussion, and people are talking about Craig's death.

--The Gazette also reports on the imminent closing of the Pleasant St. Theater.
Owners of the Pleasant Street Theater - now on the verge of closing - are offering to donate or sell for $1 all equipment to a tenant who wants to continue running the city's sole venue for daily screenings.

Robert W. and Julie Lawton, who bought the theater nearly five years ago, said they are willing to negotiate with a nonprofit group and donate the equipment, or sell it all for a dollar to a private entity interested in keeping the two-screen movie house operating.

The offer comes as a sale of the building that houses the downtown theater nears. It appears to be a last-ditch effort by the Lawtons to save the movie house before they move on.

The Boston Globe reports on a chuckle inducing proposal sponsored by Governor Deval Patrick, in a "provision, buried deep in Patrick's bill to allow three casinos to the state,"
to clamp down on the explosion in Internet gambling by making it illegal for state residents to place a bet on line. He has proposed jail terms of up to two years and $25,000 fines for violators.

Patrick's provision, which is described in three paragraphs of the bill, applies to anyone in Massachusetts who places or receives a wager of any type using a telephone, cellphone, Internet, or local wireless networks. It also applies to anyone who knowingly installs equipment for transmitting wagers. The provision also specifically exempts the proposed casinos from the law.

Patrick officials declined yesterday to explain the governor's rationale for including the provision in the proposed legislation.

Also from the Globe, we learn that the Walden Chamber Players, lead by composer Augusta Read Thomas, performed her latest piece, Scat, in a world premier at the Hampshire County Jail in Northampton.
Speaking by phone from her home, Thomas says she and the Walden group had originally discussed premiering the piece at Smith. "We started talking about the fact that there was this prison right there in Northampton," about a mile from the campus, she says. It seemed like a chance to expand the idea of musical outreach. "Instead of just going to nursing homes or hospitals or into kindergarten classes and things of that kind," she says, why not work with a different segment of society?

It's an undertaking with which Thomas was already familiar. Years ago, while teaching at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., she made several visits to the nearby Albion Correctional Facility, a women's prison. "I was talking about contemporary women composers," she says. "This is not a subject people would know a lot about. But I remember the incredible eagerness - they wanted to talk and listen and learn. Here they are sitting in a prison, but you play them some music and it ignites that same spark we all have."

Patrick Cahillane, the prison's deputy superintendent: "Some day these prisoners might be our neighbors again. So it makes sense to educate, enlighten, and expose them to interesting and thought-provoking - maybe even attitude-changing? - ideas."

Cahillane amplifies the point by phone, noting that most people incarcerated in the United States go back into society. "The goal of people who run correctional facilities should be to help people do so in a positive way. And this project is of a piece with that aim."

MassLive does great video segments online, though they hide them under the 'multimedia' section, as opposed to just integrating the video with their regular news items. (note to The Republican via MassLive: You don't lay out your newspaper like that, do you? Are your news stories in your newspaper displayed under sections entitled 'photos' 'video' 'words'? So why is the news on your online site laid out like that?)

They have a video up now featuring Richard Giusto, discussing hot-air ballon rides, and the videographer tags along for one such ride, floating above Ward 3 and the Conneticut River Valley. Residents of Northampton, and particularly Ward 3, might recall the name Richard Giusto as the former owner of the Northampton Airport, and an outspoken citizen during Mayor Mary Ford's tenure.

LABELS: community notes, journalism media, massachusetts northampton airport