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Settling In -- Not For -- Downtown Springfield

Jul 17, 2017
Steve Shultis, in downtown Springfield.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

After living both in the Mountain West and Europe, commentator Steve Shultis, came back home to settle in his native Springfield. Out West, Shultis says, he observed a sprawling, suburbanizing, car-dependent way of life. He far preferred what he experienced in Europe -- walk-able, bike-able cities. So he and his then-wife put down stakes in the Springfield's downtown. He's had no regrets.

Who's Braver: Grandson or Grandfather?

Jun 28, 2017
Training wheels.
Emma Craig / Creative Commons

A three-year old doesn't realize it, of course, but at that age every day is a rite of passage, says commentator Robert Chipkin. And surely few can compare with the day that child leaves the tricycle behind and heads down the driveway on his very first bicycle.

A Four-Year-Old Helps Her Mother Speak Out

Jun 19, 2017
"Kite Fying" is a 2002 release from Grace Lin.
Courtesy / Grace Lin

Commentator and author Grace Lin recently heard her 4 year old daughter announce matter-of-factly, “I know a lot of things. I’m very smart.”

Lin agreed. But immediately added a word about the value hard work and compassion. Her daughter's response was not what Lin was expecting. 

A Six-Year-Old Encounters Greatness

Jun 13, 2017
Robert Floyd, holding the ball signed by Jimmy Piersall.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

Legendary Red Sox center fielder Jim Piersall died earlier this month at the age of 87. Commentator Robert Floyd had an encounter with the heralded player he'll never forget. 

Pondering A Country Without Libraries

Jun 8, 2017
Booth and Dimock Memorial Library, in Coventry, Conn.
Courtesy / Neal Hughlett

In President Donald Trump's proposed budget, he eliminates federal support for public libraries throughout the country. The White House has said these cuts -- and others -- are about fiscal responsibility, and an effort to "redefine the proper role of the federal government." But the move has commentator Erin Valentino thinking about what she sees as the crucially important places that libraries take us.

Hannah Tran-Trinh is a 2017 graduate of UMass Amherst.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

Commentator Hannah Tran-Trinh graduated last week from UMass Amherst. She says she learned a lot there, but the best lessons were hard-won.

I grew up in Boston. My friends were quite the colorful bunch, but I never thought twice about the fact that we were a diverse group of kids. I just loved feeling comfortable. Being a part of something I felt I belonged to.

But then I showed up in western Mass. and it was the whitest place I'd ever seen.

When Being Globally Positioned Doesn't Hit The Spot

May 15, 2017
A Sunoco road map of Boston, Mass.
photolibrarian / Creative Commons

For many drivers, GPS is the greatest thing since unleaded gas, anti-lock brakes and cup holders. But for commentator Martha Ackmann, not so much.

Finding Community, One Radio Variety Show At a Time

May 11, 2017
The last rehearsal before the first "Shad Ladder Radio Hour."  From left to right: Rae Ann Jenks, Holly Osborne, Gershon Eigner, Janet McKenna-Lowry, Carmela Lanza-Weil, Stephen Fruchtman, Christine Mirabal.
Submitted Photo / Sarah Kanabay

Finding cures for the blues can sometimes take some ingenuity. Commentator Sarah Kanabay wondered whether relief might come from putting together a radio variety show, a kooky Yankee cousin to "A Prairie Home Companion." She says it's worked wonders.

A Journalist's Challenge To Her Colleagues

May 10, 2017
Shaheen Pasha teaches international journalism at UMass Amherst.
UMass

Commentator and journalist Shaheen Pasha was a 19-year-old newsroom intern when a male colleague behaved in ways she felt crossed a line. As stories of sexual harassment in the media are surfacing more often these days, she's got some requests of her colleagues.

The Greatest Show On Earth Not So Great For Some

May 5, 2017
TV character Circus Boy as played by Micky Dolenz.
NBC / Creative Commons

Ringling Brothers' Greatest Show on Earth is slated to go dark at the end of May. Commentator Robert Chipkin says that in his childhood full of highways, malls and subdivisions, the annual appearance of elephants parading down Main Street, clowns piled into Volkswagens, acrobats and sword swallowers should have stirred his suburban heart, but there was serious competition. 

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