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Thursday, June 20, 2013
PHOTO COURTESY OF SPRINGFIELD ARMORY

Armory Day in Springfield

More than 2,600 men from Springfield fought for the Union during the Civil War, according to Springfield Technical Community College’s “Our Plural History” project—an impressive number, given that the city’s population totaled just about 15,000 at the time.

But Springfield sent more than just soldiers; the city’s federal armory, along with Smith & Wesson, was also a key source of firearms. “Springfield Armory was indispensable during the Civil War by manufacturing hundreds of thousands of rifle muskets for the Union army,” Joanne M. Gangi-Wellman, the armory’s chief of interpretation, says in a press release announcing Armory Day 2013, a free event that takes place this Saturday, June 22, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This year’s Armory Day focuses on the Civil War and will include the blank firing of cannon and rifles, period music and dancing at a recreated Civil War-era ballroom, and encampments of re-enactors who will talk to visitors about soldiers’ lives. 

Admission and parking is free, and food vendors will be on site. For more information, including tips about parking (shuttle service will be offered from nearby lots), call 413-734-8551 or go to www.nps.gov/spar.

 

Worth Quoting:

“In two weeks this House will consider a bill to cut $20 billion from SNAP—a bill that will take food away from 2 million Americans; a bill that will take 210,000 poor kids off the free school meal program; a bill that will reduce the monthly SNAP by $90 for another 850,000 people. And that’s on top of the automatic, across-the-board cuts to SNAP that will take place in November. That’s coldhearted and mean-spirited, and I will fight these cuts.”

— U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, Democrat from Massachusetts’ 2nd Congressional District, on June 5, delivering his 13th “End Hunger Now” speech before Congress.

 

By the Numbers

$17.72: That’s the average price a prisoner in the U.S. pays for a 15-minute phone call home, according to “Please Deposit All of Your Money: Kickbacks, Rates and Hidden Fees in the Jail Phone Industry,” a recent report by Easthampton’s Prison Policy Initiative. Those high costs, almost always borne by family members, make it harder for prisoners to stay connected to their homes, in turn making it harder for them to successfully reacclimate after release, the report notes. The Federal Communications Commission is looking into the issue of price gouging in the prison phone industry. 

 

Worth Knowing

Education: The Job Creator

UMass economics professor Bob Pollin asks why we’re cutting education budgets in a time of serious unemployment. Drawing on information from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Labor Department and other federal agencies, Pollin finds that a million dollars invested in education creates 27 jobs; invested in clean energy, it creates 17 jobs; in the military, it creates just 11 jobs; and in fossil fuel industries, only 5 jobs.

 

Bombs Bursting in Air

The Fourth of July fireworks season kicks off early this year with the Northampton Family Fourth celebration, Look Park, Saturday, June 22. With music, hot-air balloon rides, a dunking booth and more, the carnival begins at 5 p.m., fireworks at dusk. Rain date June 23.

Here’s a rundown of other July 4th celebrations in the Valley:

• July 3: Lions Club hot dog sale, music, games at 6 p.m. followed by fireworks at dusk. Michael Smith Middle School grounds, South Hadley. Rain date July 5.

• July 4: Star Spangled Springfield celebrates at Springfield City Hall steps with a concert at 7 p.m., followed by fireworks at 9:30 from Memorial Bridge.

• July 4: Old Sturbridge Village celebrates with 1830s patriotic celebration featuring fifes and drums, reading of the Declaration of  Independence, historical parade and oration, and fireworks. Gates open at 6 p.m.

• July 4: The Amherst celebration includes family games, races, pie-eating contest and food vendors at the UMass fields adjacent to the stadium beginning at 5 p.m. The Amherst Community Band concert begins at 8:15 p.m. followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Free; donations requested.

• July 4: The annual Chesterfield parade begins at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of Bryant and South streets with floats, fire truck, marching units and antique cars. Chicken barbecue, firefighters‘ muster, food stands, Hilltown Artisans Display, Heritage Pops concert, family baseball, magic show and balloon sculpting fill the day.

• July 4: Band Concert, Civil War Reenactors. 3 p.m., Memorial Hall Museum, Old Deerfield.

• July 4: Community reading of the Declaration of Independence, 3 p.m. Rose Footprint Theatre, Shakespeare and Company, Lenox. Barbecue, 1:30 to 5 p.m.

• July 6: Music, food, children’s activities and fireworks at 9:30 p.m., Beacon Field, Greenfield. Rain date July 7.

• July 6: Fireworks for Freedom, sponsored by the Rotary Club. Music, food and fireworks from 4 p.m., Stanley Park, Westfield. Free; rain date July 7.

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