Monday, December 22, 2008

Friends of Storrs Library

The Friends of Storrs Library is actively seeking new board members.

The Board meets once a month at the library. Enthusiasm and a love of our town library are the only requirements.

For more information contact :

Beryl Salinger Schmitt: or

Karen Jordan:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rejoice, MAC Users

While PC users have long been enjoying the digital audiobooks available through the OverDrive Media Console, MAC users have been waiting to download and transfer the files using their MACs. The wait is now over! Download MP3 audiobooks at The OverDrive MP3 Audiobook offers iPod®, iPhone™, and iPod Touch support! To download our MP3 content, please make sure you have OverDrive Media Console v3.0 (or newer) for Windows or OverDrive Media Console v1.0 (or newer) for Mac installed on your computer. Simple instructions are available when you click on DOWNLOADABLE DIGITAL BOOKS, AUDIO AND VIDEO at

Some of the more popular titles:

The story of two friends, Miles and Jack, going away together for the last time to steep themselves in everything that makes it good to be young and single: pinot, putting, and prowling bars. A raucous and surprising novel filled with wonderful details about wine, Sideways is also a thought provoking and funny book about men, women, and human relationships.

Master and Commander

This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R.N., and Stephen Maturin, ship’s surgeon and intelligence agent, against the thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars.

Murder on the Yellow Brick Road

It is November 1, 1940. In the famous sound stage ofThe WIZARD OF OZ on the MGM lot, a little man is lying face-up on the yellow brick road. Someone has murdered a Munchkin. Toby Peters is summoned to the scene of the crime by a very young and frightened starlet named Judy Garland. He begins to put together the scanty clues. Within an hour, he is hired by Lewis B. Meyer himself to keep the name of Judy Garland (and MGM) clean of the scandal, and to hold off the police and the newspapers.

We hope that MAC and IPOD users will enjoy this new service. If you have any questions, please call us at 413-565-4181. Farida Pomerantz

Friday, December 5, 2008

Notable Books 2008

The New York Times Book Review has released its list of notable books for 2008. The books are selected from titles reviewed since December 2, 2007. Visit the Storrs Library to see a display of these books or visit the online catalog to review individual titles and request your favorites. Also, don't miss the School Library Journal's best books for children 2008.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Annual Poinsettia Sale

The Longmeadow Gardeners' Annual Poinsettia Sale is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, December 5th and 6th at the Storrs Library. There will be a selection of red, pink and white poinsettias and peach, pink and white cyclamen for sale. All proceeds are used to beautify the grounds surrounding the Storrs House and Library. For questions or pre-order information call the Longmeadow Gardeners at 567-3816.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

An inspiring story....

“Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over age 60. It occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of the eye. Because the disease develops as a person ages, it is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Although macular degeneration is almost never a blinding condition, it can be a source of significant visual disability.” Source:

Jules Brenner, a long time resident of Longmeadow developed macular degeneration many years before his death in 2006. I met Julie for the first time when he attended a Internet class for seniors at Center School in Longmeadow about 10 years ago. In the years after the initial diagnosis, Julie was able to learn how to use a computer, play cards and other normal activities that we all take for granted.

In the 20 minute audio clip produced by Story Corps, his wife Ruth shares their life experiences together with this problem and Julie’s story of perserverance to overcome his vision handicap that allowed the two of them to live a close to normal life.

Please share this blog posting if you know someone who is developing this problem- Julie’s story might make a huge difference.

[For those who are interested… the software that Julie learned through the Veterans Administration educational program to conquer the computer in spite of his vision problems is called ZoomText and I would strongly recommend its use. The local VA contact is Jim Waldron in West Haven, CT at 1-800-645-6373.]

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves


I’ve just looked outside my window and see a 3-4” blanket of leaves that need to be removed…. and I wonder how many hours that it will take for me to accomplish the task this year.

Now that election day and all of its excitement has passed, many town residents are fully engaged in the fall ritual of leaf raking/ blowing and removal. For many years the town of Longmeadow provided a service to collect loose leaves at curbside but due to budget constraints, this service has been replaced with a fee based bagged leaves collection system (click here for program details).

As a long time resident of Longmeadow I remember that curbside leaf collection did not always work as planned. In some years, leaves did not always fall in a timely fashion and snowflakes arrived before all of the leaves were picked up…. as expected leaves and snow were plowed together resulting in one big mess. I even remember DPW “bucket loaders” + dump trucks removing frozen piles of leaves and snow from the streets in order to make them safe for both pedestrian and vehicle traffic. In addition, piles of leaves on both sides of some streets left one lane for traffic to pass- not a safe situation.

At the recent Special Town Meeting there was a warrant article aimed at reinstituting the service. Town meeting members speaking in favor of the article claimed that they were "entitled" to the service because they pay high real estate taxes. As the town navigated through past budget shortfalls, the leaf collection program was a casualty due to its lower priority as a town service.

The warrant article asked for the appropriation of $150,000 to reinitiate leaf collection starting next fall. Mike Wrabel- Director, Longmeadow DPW has provided estimates that suggest in excess of $300,000 (twice the proposed expenditure in the warrant article) may be required to reinitiate the program and that may not include the cost/rental of truck vacuum equipment that no longer exists in the DPW fleet.

I believe that curbside loose leaf collection is similar to other services needed by homeowners- driveway snowplowing, lawn service, etc. and to expect the town to provide this service as part of our normal property taxes is not justified given the other priorities of town services including police, fire and schools. The current bagged leaf approach is a user fee based system and makes good fiscal sense.

Here is a suggestion to property owners looking to regain the luxury of curbside loose leaf collection at a reasonable cost. Talk to your neighbors and work out a plan to have a group of 5-10 homes participating in a local curbside leaf pickup. With that number of participants you should have some negotiating power with local landscapers and be able keep the cost reasonable.

A “non binding” referendum or poll has been started on LongmeadowBuzz
. Take 30 seconds and voice your opinion on curbside leaf collection. Let’s not allow this topic to become a replacement for water fluoridation and waste of our valuable time at future town meetings.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Longmeadow High School Feasibility Study

On Tuesday, October 28th and Tuesday, November 4th, the voters of Longmeadow have an opportunity to responsibly plan for the future of our children and our town. This can only happen with a vote of YES on Articles 6 & 7 at Town Meeting and Question #4 on the election ballot to authorize a Feasibility Study to investigate renovation or new construction at the high school. I urge you to join me in voting yes for the following reasons:

1) The high school desperately needs to be renovated or rebuilt. As anyone who attended or watched the recent building tours or forums with the School Building Committee knows, the building does not help promote student learning. Our students are learning in spite of the building and thanks to their hard work and the dedication of the high school teachers. The town’s students and teachers deserve a building that facilitates their intellectual engagement and does not serve as a distraction.

2) This project demonstrates responsible stewardship of town resources. As our largest town owned building, upkeep of the high school is the responsibility of every adult resident in Longmeadow. In order to make a truly informed decision on the fate of the high school, we must complete this comprehensive Feasibility Study. Without it, we cannot proceed responsibly.

3) This is the only way we can receive state aid to help pay for the project. The state has committed $2.5 billion over five years to support school building projects. Thanks to the hard work of our town leaders, Longmeadow was one of only 49 schools (15 high schools) out of 423 submissions chosen by the state to proceed with the state funding process. If we fail to support the Feasibility Study, it is doubtful that we will become eligible for state funding for the high school in the near future.

4) The financial impact is minimal. We are voting to fund a $750,000 study which will cost the average Longmeadow taxpayer (home value of $370,000) $30 per year for five years (total of $150). This is an excellent investment in the future of the town. The Feasibility Study will both provide us with the information necessary to make an informed decision on renovation versus new construction and enable us to obtain millions of dollars in aid from the state once we make the decision. We need to take this first step in order to proceed further with the state.

5) This project will help keep Longmeadow an attractive place to live and work. Longmeadow’s outstanding reputation in the region is due, in part, to our long-standing commitment to high quality public education. Passage of funding for the Feasibility Study will continue this positive tradition and send a strong signal to families looking to move into the area and teachers looking for the best employment opportunities that Longmeadow is committed to quality facilities and the long term improvement of our high school.

In closing, I hope you will join me in supporting the future of our town; vote YES on Articles 6 & 7 and Question #4.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Longmeadow High School Facilities Tour

If you are not able to attend one of the remaining LHS facility tours (see schedule), please take 15 minutes to view the video below that was recently made through the efforts of the LCTV team. It spotlights some of the problems at Longmeadow High School and hopefully will be useful for town residents to become more informed about this important issue facing our town.

Longmeadow HS Facilities Tour

(click link to view video using your favorite viewer)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vote No on Question 1

Take the time to read the four questions for the upcoming election day ballot on November 4. A number of posters to the LongmeadowBuzz blog have urged voters to vote NO on Question 1.

A YES vote on Question #1 would reduce the state personal income tax rate to 2.65% for the tax year beginning on January 1, 2009 and would eliminate the tax for all years beginning after January 1, 2010. A NO vote would make no change in state income tax laws.

Given today's financial uncertainties, a YES vote on Question #1 might seem to be attractive to some people but the impact on cities and towns would be devastating. A group called "The Coalition for our Communities" has generated some numbers to help voters assess the financial impact and the results are shown below:

Here is a link to "The Coalition for our Communities" website which provides more information including the methodology used to generate the numbers.

In order to avoid major financial chaos for Massachusetts cities and towns, please vote NO on Question 1.

Question #1 Impact on Libraries

Question 1 on the November 4th ballot, if passed, would eliminate the state income tax. Visit the Coalition for Our Communities to see the estimated state aid cuts for Massachusetts cities and towns.

According to a Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners’ recent news release , the impact on libraries would be severe. Effects include the elimination of funding for automated networks, which allow borrowing of materials from other libraries, elimination of State Aid to Public Libraries in place since 1890, loss of all electronic resources currently funded by the state and the Regional Library Systems and much more. Commissioner Em Claire Knowles stated, “At a time when we are seeing library use surge, the repeal of the state income tax, would take us back to the library of 1890 and really hurt our residents.”

Friday, October 10, 2008

Financial matters on our minds

Confused about financial terms in the news? Eager to have reliable background information on the stock market, hedge funds, investment banks, commercial banks or the Federal Reserve? Visit the library and consult Gale's 2008 Everyday Finance. It is on display, together with several other up-to-date reference books on money matters.

The library subscribes to the print editions of the Value Line Investment Report, the Value Line Small and Mid-Cap Report and The Morningstar Report. As a subscriber to The Morningstar Report, the library provides in-house access to Morningstar Mutual Funds Online at each of the seven internet stations in the Adult Department. Users should consult the folder on the desktop labeled Morningstar Online to obtain username and password. Morningstar Mutual Funds Online is a PDF report service and all reports may be saved to a disk. Each month, updated full page reports appear on the website two weeks before the print issue arrives. Special reports are issued each quarter. Topics covered recently include Model Portfolios for Retirees and the Best Funds for Income.

In these uncertain economic times, these valuable resources, supported by tax dollars, are available to all

Monday, October 6, 2008

Important Voter Info on Question #1

The LCTV talkshow "Put Up Your Duqs" will have an in depth interview with a representative of the Committee for Small Government, which is pushing for the repeal of the state income tax in Massachusetts.

The one hour interview IS NOW ONLNE at www.JeroldDuquette.organd will air on LCTV Channel 12 starting Monday, October 13th at 6pm.

Leonard Cooperman, representing the Committee on Small Government, provided a thoughtful, if debatable, rational for the ballot measure.

An interview with opponents of the income tax repeal measure will be appearing on the show in the next couple of weeks. More information will be distributed on that interview as soon as it is "in the can," so to speak.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Become informed about the LHS Building Project

The Longmeadow School Building Committee is committed to providing the residents of our town with the information about LHS to make an informed decision. All residents are cordially invited to attend a tour and or public forum about the high school. Please read below:

This your opportunity to LISTEN, LEARN and ASK QUESTIONS! So please join the School Building Committee at one or more of these events! Now is the time to get involved!

The School Building Committee is committed to educating our Longmeadow Residents about the High School Building Project. In order to be an informed voter at the Town Meeting and on Election Day, the School Building Committee is asking for residents to attend one (if not both) of the following activities:

Tour the High School; See first hand the learning environment our children experience everyday.

When: October 18th
Two tours are scheduled/11:30am and 3:00pm

Where: Tours will begin at the front entrance of the school

How Long: Tours will last about 1 hour followed by a 30 minute gathering to answer questions.

Attend a Public Forum; Listen to members of the Building Committee discuss the project and ask them questions.

When: October 14th at 9:00am OR October 22nd at 7:00pm

Where: The October 14th Public Forum will take place in the High School Auditorium
The October 22nd Public Forum will be held in the Business/Technology Center (BTC) at the High School. (Directions to the BTC will be posted inside the school)

How Long: Each forum will consist of a 20 minute presentation followed by a 40 minute public discussion

Why is the School Building Committee scheduling these activities:

Fall town meeting will be held on October 28th at 7:00pm in the High School Auditorium.

This is a VERY IMPORTANT meeting for all residents who are concerned about the condition and future of the High School. There will be a warrant article to appropriate the funds needed to begin the study of a long term solution for the high school building.

If the warrant article passes at Town Meeting then we must turn our attention to November 4th. On the ballot there will be a debt exclusion question to raise the funds needed for the high school study. So please note that if the warrant passes at Town Meeting that does not mean we have the funds, it only means that we may use the funds if they are approved on November 4th.

If the warrant article fails at Town Meeting then the November ballot question is null and void and we do not have the choice to raise funds on that date. The Select Board will need to decide if they wish to hold a special town meeting and special election to raise the high school funding option to the town again. This second go around is not guaranteed and costs the tax payers money.

We simply cannot let this unique opportunity pass us by. If so, we will be giving up potentially millions of dollars in state reimbursement. Now is the time to get involved!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Something to Consider

As Longmeadow moves forward on the path toward the construction of a new high school, the newly formed Longmeadow School Building Committee should consider our new high school project being included in the Massachusetts School Building Authority's Model Schools Program.

This program considers use of existing designs in order to reduce the overall cost. According to a recent article in the Boston Globe the town of Norwood, MA which is ahead of Longmeadow with the new HS building process is considering this option. With this new program the state also provides financial incentives for towns involved to reduce the financial impact.

The picture above shows Whitman-Hanson High School in Whitman, MA built in 2005 which currently accommodates 1,250 students in grades 9 through 12 and is projected to meet the district’s needs for 50 years. The 232,000-square-foot school cost $49.2 million.

According to an article in the Patriot Ledger.... "the school is also a pilot project for the Massachusetts Green Initiative, a partnership between the School Building Authority and Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Natural light reduces consumption of electricity. The building is well insulated and has a 51-kilowatt solar electric array on the roof. A 20,000-gallon underground tank collects storm runoff from the roof; the water is used to flush the school’s toilets."

Perhaps, we might not end up with a "unique" building structure but the financial impact on our town might be significantly reduced.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Longmeadow High School Project

For all those interested in the future of our high school, please read the following, mark your calendar and forward to your fellow residents:

Historically fall Town Meetings are attended by less than 100 residents. These 100 or so residents vote on warrant articles that impact the entire town--all 15,000 of us.

This fall town meeting will be held on October 28th at 7:00pm in the High School Auditorium.

This is a VERY IMPORTANT meeting for all residents who are concerned about the condition and future of the High School. There will be a warrant article to appropriate the funds needed to begin the study of a long term solution for the high school building.

If the warrant article passes at Town Meeting then we must turn our attention to November 4th. On the ballot there will be a debt exclusion question to raise the funds needed for the high school study. So please note that if the warrant passes at Town Meeting that does not mean we have the funds, it only means that we may use the funds if they are approved on November 4th.

If the warrant article fails at Town Meeting then the November ballot question is null and void and we do not have the choice to raise funds on that date. The Select Board will need to decide if they wish to hold a special town meeting and special election to raise the high school funding option to the town again. This second go around is not guaranteed and costs the tax payers money.

We simply cannot let this unique opportunity pass us by. If so, we will be giving up potentially millions of dollars in state reimbursement. Let's not allow less than 100folks determine the fate of our high school. Now is the time to get involved!

So, lets vote YES on the warrant article for the High School Building Project at town meeting October 28th and YES on the Debt Exclusion ballot question on November 4th.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Longmeadow- One of the Top 10 Healthy Places to Retire

Longmeadow was selected this week as one of the "Top 10 Healthiest Places to Retire" by the online version of the US News and World Report.

Selection criteria was as follows:

"These are places way ahead of the healthy living curve—they provide numerous places to exercise, promote strong social support, and encourage healthy lifestyle habits. And each has a little something extra, too."

Read the full story on Longmeadow and don't miss the photo gallery .... you will see some familiar faces and names.

Some personal reflections...

My wife and I have lived in Longmeadow for 28 years- the last 5½ years after my retirement from Monsanto/ Solutia. In contrast to a number of our friends and my work colleagues who have moved elsewhere for warmer weather and other reasons, we consider Longmeadow our retirement home and are very happy with the lifestyle that we enjoy here.

If you have some comments about this US News and World Report, please take some time to share them on the LongmeadowBuzz blog.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Longmeadow's Primary, 16 September 2008

Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Democratic Primary:

US Senate Precinct A Prct B Prct C Prct D Prct E Total Total Voters %

Voters      467 408   298    350   333 1856 11563  16%

Kerry      237 261 165 203 219 1085 1856 58%
O’Reilly      226 144 131 143 111 755   1856 41%

Blanks       4     3      2     4     3   16    1856 01%

State Rep. Precinct A Prct B Prct C Prct D Prct E Total Total Voters %

Voters 467 408 298 350 333 1856 11563 16%

Ashe 248 233 174 208 220 1083 1856 58%
Walsh 202 168 114 130 104 718 1856 39%

Blanks/Other 17 7 10 12 9 55 1856 03%


Kerry carried every precinct. Kerry was strongest in E. O’Reilly was strongest in A.
Kerry’s biggest vote was in B. O’Reilly’s biggest vote was in A.
Ashe carried every precinct. Ashe was strongest in E. Walsh was strongest in A.
Ashe and Walsh got their biggest vote in A. More people blanked the State Rep. race than the US Senate race.
Ashe goes against Scibelli with 58% of the Democratic vote. Scibelli got 239/274 = 87% of the Republican vote. 274 people took a Republican ballot. There were 35 (blank/other) votes cast in the GOP primary for State Rep. 13% of GOP voters did not vote for Scibelli.
2132 people voted on Tuesday, 16 September 2008 in Longmeadow. 18.4% turnout.
Jeffrey K. Beatty unopposed in the GOP primary for US Senate got 195 votes. 79 (blank/other). 195/274= 71% of the GOP vote.

District Vote:  Ashe = 2,860 Walsh = 1,535 (Source: The Republican)

Compiled by John J. Fitzgerald, 19 September 2008, Town Clerk data.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Superintendent's Welcome Back to Staff

Longmeadow Public Schools
Opening Day
August 26, 2008


E. Jahn Hart, Superintendent of Schools
Longmeadow, Massachusetts

Good Morning and welcome back to school! I hope you had a chance to enjoy the breakfast pastries and coffee. It’s always a joy to arrive on Opening Day and reunite with friends as well as to meet new colleagues.

I would like to once again acknowledge and thank people who support the work of educating Longmeadow’s children.

I would like to thank the School Committee for volunteering their time to improve and advocate for our schools and to acknowledge the current members of the Longmeadow School Committee: Christine Swanson, Chair; Rob Aseltine, Vice-Chair; Gwen Bruns, Clerk; Mary Vogel; Geoff Weigand; John Fitzgerald; and Armand Wray. Thank you for all that you do on behalf of our students.

Thanks to all of the other volunteers who give of their time and resources to enrich the learning experiences of our students and staff. Special appreciation goes to LEEF, to the various PACs, PTOs, booster clubs, and other groups who do so much to enhance our educational environment.

I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the presence of Chris Halista, President of LEEF who has asked me to give you a few reminders:
In the past seven years, LEEF has raised over $1,000,000.00 and awarded over $562,000 for 144 teacher grant requests. Chris has asked me to urge you to start planning your LEEF grant requests NOW! She has provided flyers with information about LEEF, as well as her home phone number and the LEEF web site. Thank you, Chris, for all that you and LEEF do to support our schools.

I would like to extend thanks to the Town departments, boards, and community organizations who partner with us to provide essential services to the schools of Longmeadow.

Thank you to all of you who are here today: the educators, support staff, and all the many specialists and special people who work in our schools.

I want to extend my appreciation to the folks who worked all summer to clean and prepare our schools for today’s official opening. As was done last year, I convened a meeting in June with all of our building custodians and principals to invite them to set reasonable expectations for summer cleaning and to give feedback about areas for improvement. They identified three key cleaning priorities: (1) clean all carpets and rugs, (2) clean all floors, and (3) clean bathrooms thoroughly. Again, those priorities were met and exceeded! As you walk through your buildings, take a moment to admire the results of their hard work and be sure to thank them. Our maintenance workers were involved in multiple Capital Improvement projects throughout the schools, and the grounds crews are working hard this week to spruce up the landscaping. Kudos to the entire custodial and maintenance staff!

We should recognize our wonderful school secretaries who ordered materials, greeted families, answered phones, and met the many and assorted needs of students and parents during the summer. Thanks to my assistant, Dianne Georgantas, who took on the responsibility of centralizing student registration in our office – to increase consistency and efficiency and to reduce the burden on school secretaries. Dianne NEVER has a quiet moment and somehow manages to retain her patience, grace, and humor. We are truly blessed to have Central Office staff who continually look for ways to make improvements.

Kudos to the many teachers and other staff who worked on curriculum, procedural updates, and New Teacher Orientation this summer. You will reap the rewards of their curriculum improvement efforts over the next few days. . . . thanks especially to Maureen Wilson, Karla Zukowski, Joanne Paar, Karen Palazzi, Dale Skowera, and retiree Gail Meehan who continues to help with our New Teacher preparations.

I am thrilled to welcome all of the new staff this year, including Kim Stillwell and Chris Collins, our two new principals, who have been working hard all summer to meet and hire staff and to become immersed in the Longmeadow School cultureJ

I want to speak to you this morning about continuous improvement in Longmeadow: continuous improvement in (I) the operations and physical environment, (II) in teaching and learning, and (III) towards ensuring a safe, secure, and caring learning environment.

All of you, whether veterans or new employees, know that Longmeadow is committed to continuous improvement. Last year we made some substantial improvements to our operations and physical environment. We instituted the AESOP web-based/phone system for attendance reporting and substitute calling; the ConnectED communication system; new security measures and systems in every school and central office; and new phone systems. We also made substantial technology and budget improvements.

We made advances in teaching and learning last year by purchasing much-needed reading and social studies textbooks as well as math Investigations materials; and by continuing and expanding our use of John Collins writing and Lesson Study. Two other administrators, 6 teachers, and I took a graduate course in gifted education and we will establish a district committee to look at ways we can improve challenges and enrichment for all students.

Longmeadow High School was removed from warning status by the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC) and we received an invitation by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to conduct a feasibility study of the high school. Recently we were named as one of 8 schools in the state who appear to be a good match for the model schools project, which (if approved) would result in a new building (not a renovation), reduced building costs, increased reimbursement from MSBA, and a savings of about a year on the planning and construction timeline.

Goals this year include (I) the advancement of improvements in operations and the physical environment. Christine Swanson has already outlined the School Committee’s goals of Budget, Buildings, and Balance.

(II) Our teaching and learning goal this year is to advance our work in curriculum, instruction, and assessment to the persistent examination of these four critical questions:

  1. What do we want each student to learn? (What are the essential learning outcomes?)
  2. How will we know if or when each student has learned? (How and how often do we assess learning?)
  3. How will we respond when students experience difficulty in learning? (What intervention strategies do we have in place?)
  4. How will we respond when a student has mastered the learning? (How will we differentiate instruction and/or provide enrichment?)

Your administrators and I have been engaged in joint professional development this summer that will continue throughout the year as each principal advances building-level structures for collaboration in learning.

Our final goal of the year (III) is to ensure that we provide a safe, secure, and caring learning environment. Last year, I told you about some interesting research that concludes that superior learning takes place when classroom activities are enjoyable and relevant to students' lives, interests, and experiences. The primary aim of education is not to enable students to do well in school, but to help them do well in the lives they lead outside of school. The world is changing and, as Arthur Clarke said, “We need to educate our children for their future, not our past.” I proposed that we assure that our students are engaged in joyful, relevant learning. I want to reiterate that proposal and add to it. One of your colleagues lent me a book a few months ago: Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes. I confess that I didn’t want to read it. But I did. It is a frightening and relevant novel. Bullying has expanded to “cyber-bullying” and has affected the lives of many of our most vulnerable students. Last year, our secondary students heard Ed Garrity speak about this issue and I know that Longmeadow middle schoolers have been reading The Revealers this summer. When I looked at the student work that was sent to me this June, I was fascinated by the responses to the prompt regarding “The greatest thing a teacher or staff member did for me this year.” It was clear how the actions of one caring adult can make a lasting difference in the life of a child. Thank you for what you do already for our children and please continue to keep your eyes and hearts open.

It is with pleasure that I am now going to share with you samples of the student work that came to me from our wonderful schools. I was pleased to see evidence of

  • Essential student learning,
  • Assessments FOR and OF student learning
  • Teacher interventions and strategies to assist student learning
  • Challenge and enrichment for students who excel, and
  • A culture of caring by staff throughout the Longmeadow Schools!

Yesterday I filled two art display boards in the lobby with a small fraction of the many student feedback forms I had received. If you didn’t have a chance to look at them this morning, take a few moments to check them out. I will be posting this presentation on our web site (this file is quite large- 8.9 Mb so be patient if there are extended download times when viewing). Each of you – whether educational or support staff - has the opportunity to encourage and nurture children every day. Thank you for the many ways that you keep your “eyes on the child”! Have a great year!

E. Jahn Hart, Superintendent of the Longmeadow Public Schools

Friday, September 5, 2008

Exterior Painting at Storrs Library

On September 5, the Town began the project of painting the exterior of Storrs Library. It is estimated that workers will take approximately 5 or 6 weeks to complete the job which will consist of power washing, replacing rotten wood and painting the entire building. We expect to keep the library open throughout the process, and we anticipate that there may be only minor inconvenience in access to the building. Let us all look forward to our newly painted library building brilliantly white against the Fall foliage and bright blue autumn sky.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fall Hours at Storrs Library

Starting on Saturday, September 6th, Storrs Library will be open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. September is a lovely month to stop by and enjoy the inviting sun-filled spaces of our elegant reading rooms, to peruse our extensive collection of magazines, to select a book for weekend reading or pick out a DVD for a movie evening at home.

Now that school has started, the staff invites students to visit the library for help with school assignments. The library has trained staff, an extensive print and digital reference collection, periodicals, primary source materials and computers with broad-band internet connection. Color printers are also available and printouts cost .15 per page. The library hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 10-8, Thursday and Friday, 10-5 and Saturday, 10-4.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

25 minutes is too long!!

I consider myself very fortunate to have lived in Longmeadow for 28 years and not needed to call 911 for a family medical emergency and ambulance service.

The Longmeadow Fire Department has provided outstanding 24/7 ambulance service for our town residents for many years and it is one of our town services that is a critical resource for everyone.

Many towns in our area such as East Longmeadow engage private companies to provide this service and sometimes the service does not meet expectations.

As part of my Longmeadow- FSBO service on LongmeadowBiz I get to meet many people who are selling their Longmeadow home and moving out of town.

I spoke to one of my past clients who had sold her home in Longmeadow and moved to a condominium/town house in East Longmeadow earlier this year. I asked her how it was going and she told me that she missed the great services provided by our Longmeadow Fire Dept. Recently, her husband had an medical emergency and she promptly called 911 for help. When the 911 phone call was answered she was placed on “HOLD”. While she didn't elaborate on all of the details, the end result was that it took almost 25 minutes for the ambulance to respond to her home. The crisis ended well and her husband was OK but such a response is unacceptable.

I’m counting on our Longmeadow town leaders to provide the necessary budget resources for our Fire Dept for ambulance equipment, personnel and training so that when my wife or I or anyone else in town needs to call 911… it will not take 25 minutes!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Visit the Digital Bookmobile on August 28th

Have you been to and wondered about that link to Digital Books, Audio and Video? Would you like special help getting started with this new offering? Then come to a special event on Thursday, August 28th at the Agawam Public Library, 750 Cooper Street, sponsored by OverDrive Media and CWMARS. A 74-foot, 18-wheeled Digital Bookmobile will be there from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on its only stop in western Massachusetts! This traveling exhibit for public library download services allows readers of all ages to try out digital audiobook, ebook, and video downloads. Library staff will be on hand to help and advise regarding downloading free software, transferring to compatible portable devices and other matters. We invite you to participate in this unique opportunity and become a frequent user of this exciting new offering in Storrs Library services.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mass Ballot Question #1

This fall Massachusetts voters will be asked whether or not to eliminate the state's income tax. The issue, relentlessly pushed for years by the state's Libertarian Party is a perfect example of why the Framers of the Constitution sought to create a "representative" democracy at the national level and to guarantee it in each state.

While the will of the people is the basis for democratic government, the Framers understood the need to "refine" the peoples' will by filtering it through representative institutions. Direct democracy, of which a ballot measure is an example, is COMPLETELY absent in the US Constitution. Without mediating institutions the will of the people is much too easily manipulated and distorted for the advancement of particularized interests.

Eliminating the state income tax in Massachusetts would reduce state government revenue by more than 50%. While each citizen can be shown that they are personally benefiting from only a small percentage of government spending (making this measure individually attractive), a reduction of government spending by half would slash ALL government services to the bone.

Supporters of this measure assume that with only half the revenue, state government would only be able to do its most fundamental tasks. What they do not realize is that there is no clear consensus on which tasks are "most fundamental." Because eliminating the income tax will not eliminate electoral politics in the state, what is and is not appropriately provided or subsidized by the state will continue to be determined by politics and public opinion. The temptation to slash the revenues of a government that you think is over-taxing you is great, but the unintended consequences of such a radical move would produce a monstrous backlash as more and more citizens start to appreciate what has been lost.

If this ballot measure were to succeed, it would likely bring the end of the Libertarian Party in Massachusetts and hasten a populist movement to beat all populist movements. The best result for the measure's proponents is a narrow defeat, which would add fuel to their anti-government rhetorical fire, without forcing them to take responsibility for burning down the state with their rigid ideological dogma.

While I will certainly oppose the measure, I must admit to a quiet hope that it passes and serves to totally discredit its advocates. It's like when a parent is constantly nagged by children to give them something they want that the parent knows would harm them. I'm sure every parent is tempted (under duress) to give in and let the kids learn the hard way. Of course, better judgement prevails and the responsible parent accepts the "bad guy" label in exchange for the greater good. This ballot measure provides voters with a similar temptation. I hope and expect that voters will act responsibly and oppose the measure for the greater good, even though doing so will encourage the wrath and whining of the childish, anti-government zealots among us.

As a political scientist, I have long recognized the failure of most citizens to realize what the government does and how important its activities are to the daily lives of individuals. Americans take the good things government does for granted. Those who feel overly burdened by government have the greatest incentive to organize to make it look bad. The majority of us who get more than we give from government are not motivated to similarly organize in support of government. Eliminating the state income tax would radically change the incentive structure for political activism in a way that would soon horrify those supporting this measure. I have to admit, I wouldn't mind seeing that.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Have you seen the "new look" fire hydrants?

Driving around town I've noticed some fire hydrants covered by a green mesh- certainly not the traditional look. So I asked our Fire Chief and DPW Director a couple of questions about this situation and here are their answers.

How many hydrants are involved? Will they be repaired or is this part of the cost reduction program from the last town meeting?

According to Mike Wrabel, Director- Longmeadow DPW …

“There are 43 (of 1120) hydrants out of service. It is intended that they will all be replaced and the bagging is not part of a cost reduction program. The ‘out of service’ hydrants are ‘bagged’ and the Fire Department is notified. As long as the Fire Department knows the hydrant is out of service, they can connect to another hydrant some 400 feet away and not waste time connecting to a hydrant that is non-functional.

Most are very old hydrants that are difficult to obtain parts for. This year’s budget does not have sufficient funds to replace all 43 of the hydrants and we are prioritizing which hydrants we are replacing. We have identified about 350 hydrants that we wish to replace over the next several years at an average cost of about $3,000 per hydrant.”

Are there any risks to property owners where there is a non-functioning hydrant near their home?

According to Eric Madison, Longmeadow Fire Chief ….

“No. There is a greater risk if we have a fire and don’t know a hydrant is out of service. When the hydrant is “bagged” out of service, we quickly identify that and find another hydrant to use. Additionally, the water dept supplies us with a list of all hydrants undergoing repair, and tells us when they are back in service.

In my opinion the water department is doing a superior job identifying issues within our water system, and making repairs. In my opinion the system was neglected for the past 20+ years, and I strongly support the work the water department is now doing. It’s long overdue.”

Puzzled about something that is happening in town....
send us a email to and we will try to get you an answer.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Use a Massachusetts ParksPass

Did you know that the Storrs Library – Longmeadow is a participant in the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation Annual ParksPass program? The program provides passes for free admittance to one vehicle for day use of State parks, forests and beaches.

The library has two passes available for checkout. Library patrons can checkout a pass just like a book. The loan period for the pass is three days. There is a $1.00 per day late fee. Passes must be returned to the circulation desk (not deposited in the book drops). If lost, the patron will be responsible for the replacement cost of $35.00. Passes can be picked up at the circulation desk.

If you are planning a staycation – a stay at home vacation, this is a great way to enjoy area attractions and plan exciting day trips.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Longmeadow Real Estate in Trouble

If one simply listened to the national news and read the local newspaper, you might believe the title of this blog post. If you read the commentary printed in the today's Springfield Republican's MetroSouth Plus edition which was excerpted from MassLive's Longmeadow forum (see left insert), you would have no doubts about the state of Longmeadow's real estate.

However, your understanding would be wrong!

The quoted number of 19 foreclosures is an exaggeration of what is currently happening in Longmeadow. According to a FY2008 report issued by Donald Ashe, Hampden County Register of Deeds, there were only 8 foreclosures recorded in the year period ending June 30, 2008. This figure is an increase from 3 in the prior year. With over 5500 homes in Longmeadow, this is still a very low percentage (0.15%) of homes that have been foreclosed- certainly much lower than other regions of the US and not indicative of any major real estate problem in Longmeadow.

It is also not true that there are a extraordinarily large number of homes for sale in Longmeadow at this time. According to there are ~ 111 homes up for sale through MLS + another 15 homes via FSBO for a total of ~126 which is about normal for this time of the year- only about 2.3% of the total number of homes.

Here are some sobering facts....

1. 2008 YTD home sales in Longmeadow are ~ 23% lower than last year.
2. The median price of homes sold in Longmeadow has dropped from ~ $350,000 to $300,000 over the past year.
Both of these statistics reflect the national housing crisis.

However, there is some good news...

1. Median prices have stabilized for the past five months.
2. Home sales in July jumped to their highest level in almost a year.
Perhaps we are seeing the formation of a bottom in the Longmeadow real estate market.

No question that it is still pretty tough to sell a house in our town but Longmeadow is still a very desirable place to live and the Longmeadow real estate market reflects that value.

If you are interested in more information on this subject, visit Real Estate Buzz at LongmeadowBiz.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What’s for dinner?

If you haven’t visited the local blog- A Tasty Thought by JG or browsed through her family favorite recipes on her webpage on LongmeadowBiz, you are missing an opportunity to impress family, company or both.

The recipes are not difficult and most do not take very much time to prepare but they are sure to please.

If I were to create a list of a favorite entree, side dishes and dessert, here is the menu for tonight:

If you click on the above links, each menu item can be printed and cut out into a recipe card for use at a later date.

Bon Appetite

P.S. If you have a favorite blog (on any subject) that you would like to share with your Longmeadow neighbors, add a comment to this posting with its web address and we will consider adding it to our “blogroll”. Anonymous posts are now allowed but they will be subject to review prior to posting to avoid any attempts to make LongmeadowBuzz a Mass Live look-a-like.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Who do you want to see?

UConn Law professor and former Massachusetts Governor's Councillor Peter Vickery will be my next guest on "Put Up Your Duqs." We will be discussing the relevance of the US Constitution to our daily lives.

Who would you like to see on the show? Congressman Neal? Select board Chair Paul Santaniello? Mayor Dominic Sarno? School Committee Chair Christine Swanson?Candidates for State Representative? Issue-based activists? Current state legislators? Let me know who you want to see and tell me what questions you'd like to see asked by emailing me at

You can watch any episode of the show, or read my blog at

Monday, July 28, 2008

Storrs Library E-Mail Courtesy Notices Coming Soon

Does the Library have your e-mail address? For some time, patrons with a valid e-mail address on their library record have been receiving holds pickup notification and overdue notices via e-mail. E-mail addresses provided to the library are held in strict confidence and used only for legitimate library business. If you have an e-mail address and have not provided it to the library, now is the time to do it. Soon, the system will also be sending out courtesy notices. What is a courtesy notice? Every day, the CWMARS system will check materials about to become due within two days. The system will then generate and e-mail courtesy notices reminding patrons to renew or get the materials back on time in order to avoid late fees. Take advantage of this useful new service. Log in to your library record and enter your e-mail address or stop by the Library and fill out a form. Many thanks. Farida Pomerantz, Reference

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What do we value in Longmeadow?

At its last meeting I delivered a letter and spoke to the Select Board about the incident involving the confiscation of political signs from the Longmeadow Democratic Town Committee booth at this year's "Long Meddowe Days" event. The details of that incident were spelled out in a previous LongmeadowBuzz post.

A recent New York Times Editorial also sounds a similar alarm. Amazingly, as I was reading this editorial, I opened a fortune cookie. The fortune read; "Think of the danger while things are going smoothly."

The text of my letter follows:

Dear Chairman Santaniello:

I would like to alert the Select Board to the fact that concerned citizens will be coming forward in the next few days to request a full investigation of the incident of May 17, 2008 involving the confiscation of political signs on the green during Long Meddowe Days. I am supportive of that effort. A community-wide discussion of this incident, initiated and facilitated by the Select Board would provide valuable information and education to town residents.

The Select Board should review the relevant town by-laws to determine if political speech is receiving adequate protection. In particular, by-law 6-314, which was used to justify the suppression of political speech on May 17, 2008, needs to be clarified. In all likelihood, a new by-law that explicitly prevents political speech suppression should be considered. In addition, the Select Board should fully investigate the nature of the relationship between the town and the Long Meddowe Days Committee (and/or its parent organization, the Historical Society) and make the details of that relationship known to the whole community.

While no one believes that the Long Meddowe Days committee knowingly contributed to the suppression of constitutionally protected speech, the fact that they did so unintentionally is still a serious problem meriting a coordinated community response.

The regulation of political speech on a town green is a very significant issue and should not be made light of, or swept under the rug. Directly at issue is the question of when and how constitutionally protected speech can be regulated in a public space. The fact that this incident occurred on the town green, a space created explicitly for political speech, reveals how important it is to clarify the town’s policies and to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Please give this issue very serious and very public attention.

While this issue will not impact your property taxes or water and sewer bills, it is nonetheless a matter of great importance to our lives as individual Americans and as members of this community. The suppression of political speech on the Green over the Memorial Day weekend could be the plot of a Twilight Zone episode. Please don't under estimate the implications of this incident. At a bare minimum, it makes very clear the need for Longmeadow residents to come together as a community and reflect on the proper place of politics at community events. The confiscated signs were not controversial; they were candidate lawn signs meant to attract fair goers to the booth to chat with the people volunteering their time to run for public office.

Memorial Day is a day to remember the selfless public service of American military men and women who lost their lives standing up for our democratic institutions. Sincerely believing that it is okay, nay appropriate, to honor this sacrifice on one part of the Green, while dishonoring it on another, is no trivial matter.

Every citizen of Longmeadow ought to be eager to see and hear this matter explained and resolved. We need to at least take as much interest in this principled matter as we do in those matters related to our economic interests. If the trappings of free and fair democratic elections are prohibited on the Longmeadow Green over Memorial Day weekend, while at the same time on the same Green our town's official ceremony to honor America's fallen warriors is conducted amidst dozens of commercial signs and billboards, then I don't think it's a stretch to say that our priorities and principles could use some community-wide attention.

I hope everyone in Longmeadow will join this very important conversation.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Energy On the Agenda Tonight

If you've got a body, you can have a role as an audience member for about 15 minutes at the next Select Board meeting on July 21 at 7:55-8:10 pm (in the Police Dept. Community Room).

Longmeadow was one of the first communities in our region to have a task force in place to examine ways to save our town money by conserving energy and reduce our overall need for energy.

This group (the Renewable Energy Task Force, or RETF) served at the direction of the Town Manager. It was scheduled to give a status report highlighting some possible projects & cost savings our town could choose. Their 3-page executive summary is below.

At the next Select Board meeting, this group will request that the Select Board create a standing Commission so that their hard work can continue.


The reason WHY the RETF needs to be formed as a standing committee is because the Town Manager has found it necessary to disband the energy task force.

-Longmeadow still does not have renewable energy systems in place.

-We still can save money.

-The Commonwealth's new Green Communities Act is a source of funds for communities that are proactive in this area.

-Even the Select Board themselves "directed the Town to develop a local action plan for sustainability in conformance with ICLEI’s Cites for Climate Protection Campaign and this responsibility was added to the RETF."


Please join me in sitting in on the audience (if you wish you can speak at the public comment time at the start of the meeting, 7pm). All you need to do is show up, so that the Renewable Energy Task Force can point to your support as additional justification for continuing their efforts.

If you are unable to come to the meeting, please email your support to &/or contact a Select Board member directly:

Paul P. Santaniello (2009) Chair Person
Robert Barkett, (2011) Vice-Chair Person
William G. Scibelli (2010) Clerk
Kathleen E. Grady (2009) Member
Brian M. Ashe (2010) Member

Thanks for your consideration of this effort. With the rising prices for oil and gas, our town would be incredibly short-sighted to disband the renewable energy task force.

TO: Robin Crosbie, Town Manager

The Town of Longmeadow Select Board

FROM: Renewable Energy Task Force (RETF)


DATE: July 21, 2008

Convening History and Purpose:

Charge: In May of 2007, Robin Crosbie, Town Manager, convened a task force to study and recommend options for renewable energy use for the town that would help the town reduce its reliance of non-renewable energy sources such as oil and gas and improve economic efficiencies for the town.

In November of 2007, the Select Board directed the Town to develop a local action plan for sustainability in conformance with ICLEI’s Cites for Climate Protection Campaign and this responsibility was added to the RETF.


RETF focused its initial work on energy conservation and the study of existing renewable energy sources, with energy conversation opportunities given top priority. RETF determined that the most practical renewable energy source for Longmeadow is the solar panel/photovoltaic source. Because there is extremely limited wind source in the Pioneer Valley, the use of wind power is not appropriate. During this past year, RETF has begun work on four distinct projects that will have the immediate result of conserving energy and demonstrating the use of solar power for energy needs. Listed on the next page is an overview of these four projects; including anticipated costs and savings and, where appropriate, rebate information.


The field of energy conservation and renewable energy is one that is in current flux. By that it is meant that as of today there are new technologies available to help with conservation and implementation of non-fossil fuel energy sources. The field is one where both policy and research are creating changes in real time. The challenge for any municipality is to find the current best practices and make reasoned decisions for its residents and businesses, all the while recognizing that these cannot be static decisions; they must be re-evaluated at different points in time to make sure that changes capture best practices as the field evolves.


1) The four projects listed on the next page are recommended by the RETF for the town’s benefit. Taken as a whole, they begin to help the town realize significant reductions in energy use and save dollars and improve efficiencies.

Note: The work on the local action plan for sustainability is just beginning.

2) The RETF has been working for approximately one year now. In a relatively short period of time it is clear that it has begun finding ways for Longmeadow to save significant dollars through energy conservation. At this point, to continue its work, to help build more public awareness and gain community support, and to be ready to benefit from the new Green Communities Act (S.2768) in which municipalities will be able to receive financial assistance for energy conservation for its work, the RETF is requesting that the Select Board formally the acknowledge the importance of this work and create and an Energy Commission that will be opened to the public for greater participation and allow the current RETF members to continue their work on behalf of Longmeadow.

Projects include:
Install LED bulbs in all traffic lights in town .

Insulation of exposed walls of high school swimming pool.

The town currently rents the street lights from WMECO. George Woodbury has been hired as a consultant to create a complete inventory and map all existing street lights, with the goal of determining their condition and appraisal for purchase so that Longmeadow reduces its monthly utility costs and assumes responsibility for maintenance.

Installation of 10 kilowatt solar/photovoltaic (PC) array on Glenbrook Middle School Roof: This project shall serve (3) purposes:

(1): Develop experience with solar renewable energy;
(2): Demonstrate to both students and residents the manner in which this type of energy source works to help further knowledge of science and technology. Project includes a web-based monitoring system for continual data accessibility.
(3): provide electric power to supplement the needs of the middle school.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wild Reads At Your Library

It's been a wild time at the Storrs Library; click here to see slides. If you haven't already, there is still time to visit the Storrs Library and join our reading program. This statewide reading program promotes the value and fun of reading for ALL ages. The Wild Reads weekly raffle occurs at 2:30 p.m. every Friday. Adult raffle winners choose from a selection of prizes. The final program for the Adult Wild Reads is the History of Mountain Park lecture, scheduled for August 13th. Everyone attending will receive an additional raffle ticket.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Visit the library for your health!

Every day, all around the country, some of you approach library reference desks with health-related reference questions. Those of you who don't come to libraries often use magazines, TV or the Internet to research health matters. Some of the information you find on your own may be reliable and up to date; however, some can be positively unhealthy! How to tell the good from the bad? Perhaps it might be useful to share with you guidelines librarians follow when we evaluate health-related materials for our print or online collections. What is the source? If it is print , who is the author, publisher, editor, or editorial board? If it is electronic, who has put the information together or who is running the site? Is it a branch of government, a university, a health organization, a hospital? How thorough is the coverage? How current is the information? Is it updated frequently?

On a recent visit to MedlinePlus, the website of the National Library of Medicine, I came across a short online tutorial on evaluating Internet health resources. It runs for about 15 minutes and I would like to recommend it to anyone considering health-related research on the Web.

For those of you who visit Storrs Library on a regular basis, may I suggest the new 4th edition of Magill's Medical Guide, generously donated to the library by the Friends of Storrs Library. This 5-volume print resource has received high praise from every major reference reviewer for its depth and accessibility. Its 3,026 pages, full of illustrations, sidebars and graphs, expertly bridges the gap between a medical encyclopedia for the professional and popular self-help guides. The Guide includes an "In the News" section that both informs and provides users with a critical view of popular reports. Also noteworthy is the addition of a list of "Symptoms and Warning Signs" and a "Pharmaceutical List" surveying brand-name and generic drugs. But, perhaps, the most remarkable feature of Magill's Medical Guide is the online database that accompanies it. All of the content is available 24/7 to patrons with a Storrs Library card!

I hope that this information is useful. Please don't hesitate to visit us in person or online at
Farida Pomerantz/Reference

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Longmeadow High School Summer Reading

Don't wait til the end of the summer rush to request your Longmeadow High School summer reading book. Link to the Storrs Library catalog to locate a copy of the title of your choice. You can then place a request for the book to be delivered to the Storrs Library or visit a nearby library to check the book out directly using your Longmeadow library card. For additional assistance stop by the Storrs Library Reference Desk.

Fiction List
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn- Smith
The Hobbit-J.R.R. Tolkein
Cat’s Cradle-Kurt Vonnegut
The Five People You Meet in Heaven-Albom
Call of the Wild- London
A Lesson Before Dying-Gaines
Bee Season-Goldberg
The Red Pony-Steinbeck
The Alchemist-Paul Coelho
The Secret Life of Bees- Monk Kidd
The Joy Luck Club- Tan
Franny and Zooey-Salinger
This Side of Paradise-Fitzgerald
A Thousand Splendid Suns-Hosseini
Little Big Man-Berger
A Farewell to Arms-Hemingway
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest-Kesey
Silas Marner-Eliot
Bel Canto-Patchett
The Age of Innocence-Wharton
The Grapes of Wrath-Steinbeck
The Return of the Native-Hardy
Sense and Sensibility-Austen
Lonesome Dove-McMurtry
Native Son-Wright
Catch 22-Heller
The Poisonwood Bible-Kingsolver
Nonfiction List
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail- Bryson
Death Be Not Proud-Gunther
The Right Stuff-Wolfe
The Color of Water-McBride
The Road From Coorain-KerConway
Travels With Charley-Steinbeck
Up From Slavery-Washington
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek-Dillard
Lost in Place-Salzman
The Glass Castle-Walls
Tuesdays With Morrie-Albom

Honors or AP English students: additional book as follows:
Grade 9 The Once and Future King- T.H. White
Grade 10 My Antonia-Willa Cather
Grade 11 Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen
AP English A Prayer for Owen Meany- John Irving

Friday, June 27, 2008

Put Up Your Duqs With Jerold Duquette

There is a new bi-weekly TV show called Put Up Your Duqs on Longmeadow Community TV.

It is hosted by Jerold Duquette- the once controversial School Committee member, now prime time political commentator on LCTV.

The first airing on LCTV is Monday, June 30 at 6:30 PM (with a replay on Wednesday, July 2 at 6:30 PM).

If you prefer watching the show at your convenience and have high speed Internet, I would recommend the Web broadcast which is already available on the Put Up Your Duqs blog. The quality is quite good.

I've watched the first episode and found the show to be quite entertaining and educational. Professor Duquette and his new TV/ Internet venue promises to open much needed dialog in our town. There are plans to invite a local guest every week to discuss important issues of the day. I suspect that this show will become very popular and greatly increase the TV ratings of LCTV.

Check it out....

P.S. While his invited guest this week did have much to say, he was the hit of the show!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Storrs Library, old but also new!

It is hard to believe that the addition to Storrs Library is already more than 16 years old!! Those of us who were here at that time remember how cutting-edge the design seemed, featuring a centralized circulation desk, a separate Reference Desk, areas for computerized catalogs, a children’s room on the main level and an elevator to the second floor.
Little did we imagine that sixteen years later, we would have seven public access catalogs, eleven Internet stations, plus wireless capacity throughout the building. Our fiction and nonfiction collections have continued to grow, adding new titles to those already on the shelves and creating a depth and range difficult to find in bookstores oriented to stocking only the latest publications. In 1997, five years after the opening of our addition, we timidly launched our first web presence at Back then we had a few sections—a very basic computerized catalog, sections on library history and policies and a Web gateway with some favorite links. Eleven years later, how things have changed! We are now at with a newly designed enhanced library catalog. With a Storrs Library card not only can you search Longmeadow’s holdings from home, expand your search to all Massachusetts libraries and place online requests, but you can read summaries and reviews of most titles right from the catalog. High-quality reference databases include searchable, general interest periodicals, full-text, peer-reviewed academic and professional journals and newspaper backfiles such as the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Springfield Republican. The website provides access to full-length downloadable videos, like the Globe Trekker videos and hundreds of audiobooks that can be downloaded and played on portable devices. One of the databases, Academic Onefile, has free downloadable podcasts from NPR and the New England Journal of Medicine. Issues and Controversies and Issues and Controversies in American History contain excellent resources for students working on contemporary issues, while Science Online provides support to the middle and high school science curricula.
I am delighted to have been invited to participate in Longmeadow Buzz. Be on the lookout for news from the Library and in the meantime, don’t forget to visit at 693 Longmeadow Street or at Farida Pomerantz/Reference