Play
FULL EPISODE: May 7, 2021

May 7, 2021

Play
The History of Mt. Tom’s Inclined Railroad (Digital Exclusive)

May 7, 2021

Saturday, May 8th is National Train Day, and we’re celebrating with a bit of local railroad history.  In the early 20th century, a trip on Mt. Tom’s inclined railroad in Holyoke gave visitors access to some spectacular views of the Pioneer Valley. The once-popular summer attraction fell victim to the Great Depression and was dismantled in 1938. Today, this land is part of the Mount Tom State Reservation, and Producer Dave Fraser brings us the sto

Saturday, May 8th is National Train Day, and we’re celebrating with a bit of local railroad history.  In the early 20th century, a trip on Mt. Tom’s inclined railroad in Holyoke gave visitors access to some spectacular views of th

Saturday, May 8th is National Train Day, and we’re celebrating with a bit of local railroad history.  In the early 20th century, a trip on Mt. Tom’s inclined railroad in Holyoke gave visitors access to some spectacular views of the Pioneer Valley. The once-popular summer attraction fell victim to the Great Depression and was dismantled in 1938. Today, this land is part of the Mount Tom State Reservation, and Producer Dave Fraser brings us the sto

Saturday, May 8th is National Train Day, and we’re celebrating with a bit of local railroad history.  

In the early 20th century, a trip on Mt. Tom’s inclined railroad in Holyoke gave visitors access to some spectacular views of the Pioneer Valley. The once-popular summer attraction fell victim to the Great Depression and was dismantled in 1938. 

Today, this land is part of the Mount Tom State Reservation, and Producer Dave Fraser brings us the story of this once vibrant era which is gone, but not forgotten. 

Read the full transcript:

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: Saturday, May 8th, is National Train Day, and we're celebrating with a bit of local railroad history.

In the early 20th century, a trip on Mount Tom's inclined railroad in Holyoke gave visitors access to some spectacular views of the Pioneer Valley. The once-popular summer attraction fell victim to the Great Depression and was dismantled in 1938.

Today, this land is part of the Mount Tom State Reservation, and producer Dave Fraser brings us the story of this once vibrant era, which is gone but not forgotten.

Robert Schwobe: This road went to the summit, it was the inclined railway that was owned by William Stiles Loomis and his Mt. Tom Railroad Company. And it transported people from the the lower station to the upper station in about seven to eight minutes.

Of course, everything was clear cut then. So, the view would have been spectacular.

That's the way you went out in those days. You went out dressed to the nines, whether it be male or female, you wore the wool suit and the wool dress. And it had to be uncomfortable, but they all did it. It was just the way you went out.

There was about a mile in distance, they were each on the end of a cable that made a single loop up around the upper station and there was an eight foot pulley up there that come back down. And that's created a situation where they always passed on exactly the same spot.

And people would take their picnics up there. The women would all together in the pavilion, the men would go out doing their manly things in the woods and they'd come back and have this great picnic all set up, spend the afternoon just enjoying the view in the shade, and then make the trip back down. It was twenty five cents round trip.

There was three summit houses, the first one was 1897 to 1900, and then from 1901 to 1929, from 1929 to 36, when they-- they first two burned; the last one, it was all steel construction, so it just really went to scrap.

The president and his wife came to Holyoke for the graduation of their granddaughter from Mount Holyoke College. And while they were here, they become the guests of William Loomis. And of course, his pride and joy was the summit houses and they got on the same car you and I would ride and rode to the summit.

We are at the summit now of Mount Tom, where the first, second and third summit houses once stood. You can see the view from here as you pan around off in the distance. Here, you see Easthampton. On a clear day, we can see Springfield, Amherst, and almost a Greenfield in some cases.

These stairways right here were the entrance to the first and second Summit House, and they are part of the original 1896 construction.

It all ended when the automobile come into vogue, the summit trade fell flat on its face. People started using their own cars and it was a moneymaking thing and it didn't go over. So, any good businessmen say close it up.

It's used today is for a service road to the towers or the antennas farm on the summit. It's mind boggling to think that you can take a wilderness like this and turn it into a functional thing like the inclined railway was.

And like I said, there was thousands of railroad ties, thousands of feet of of track. It was a big endeavor in the days it was built.

Saturday, May 8th is National Train Day, and we’re celebrating with a bit of local railroad history.  In the early 20th century, a trip on Mt. Tom’s inclined railroad in Holyoke gave visitors access to some spectacular views of the Pioneer Valley. The once-popular summer attraction fell victim to the Great Depression and was dismantled in 1938. Today, this land is part of the Mount Tom State Reservation, and Producer Dave Fraser brings us the sto

Play
Multimedia Exhibit Captures the Unique Stories of ‘Our Grandmothers’

May 7, 2021

Universally, grandmothers are held in high regard and play important roles in the lives of many families. Through a grant awarded by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Holyoke Media is exploring the unique stories of our grandmothers in a multimedia and multicultural exhibit titled Our Grandmothers.  With stories and photos submitted by adult grandchildren, Our Grandmothers celebrates the influence these grandmothers have both on

Universally, grandmothers are held in high regard and play important roles in the lives of many families. Through a grant awarded by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Holyoke Media is exploring the unique stories

Universally, grandmothers are held in high regard and play important roles in the lives of many families. Through a grant awarded by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Holyoke Media is exploring the unique stories of our grandmothers in a multimedia and multicultural exhibit titled Our Grandmothers.  With stories and photos submitted by adult grandchildren, Our Grandmothers celebrates the influence these grandmothers have both on

Universally, grandmothers are held in high regard and play important roles in the lives of many families. Through a grant awarded by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Holyoke Media is exploring the unique stories of our grandmothers in a multimedia and multicultural exhibit titled Our Grandmothers.  

With stories and photos submitted by adult grandchildren, Our Grandmothers celebrates the influence these grandmothers have both on their family’s lives and in their communities.  

Zydalis Bauer spoke with Waleska Santiago-Centeno, the Exhibit Curator, to learn more about this project and why it is so important to capture the stories of our matriarchs.  

Universally, grandmothers are held in high regard and play important roles in the lives of many families. Through a grant awarded by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Holyoke Media is exploring the unique stories of our grandmothers in a multimedia and multicultural exhibit titled Our Grandmothers.  With stories and photos submitted by adult grandchildren, Our Grandmothers celebrates the influence these grandmothers have both on

Play
Mahar Regional School Students Revamp the Rims

April 30, 2021

Students in The School for Applied Research, also know as the TSAR Program, at Mahar Regional School in Orange have a history of taking on projects that help improve the community they live in. Past projects include the creation of a student running club, development of a web site to help youth who are aging out of foster care, and starting a competition to help reduce cafeteria waste.  One of this year’s projects is the revitalization of a local

Students in The School for Applied Research, also know as the TSAR Program, at Mahar Regional School in Orange have a history of taking on projects that help improve the community they live in. Past projects include the creation o

Students in The School for Applied Research, also know as the TSAR Program, at Mahar Regional School in Orange have a history of taking on projects that help improve the community they live in. Past projects include the creation of a student running club, development of a web site to help youth who are aging out of foster care, and starting a competition to help reduce cafeteria waste.  One of this year’s projects is the revitalization of a local

Students in The School for Applied Research, also know as the TSAR Program, at Mahar Regional School in Orange have a history of taking on projects that help improve the community they live in. Past projects include the creation of a student running club, development of a web site to help youth who are aging out of foster care, and starting a competition to help reduce cafeteria waste.  

One of this year’s projects is the revitalization of a local basketball court. And as Producer Dave Fraser found out, this court is so much more than just a place to shoot hoops. 

Read the transcript:

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: Students in The School for Applied Research, or TSAR program, at Mahar Regional School in Orange have a history of taking on projects that help improve the community they live in. Past projects include the creation of a student running club, development of a website to help youth who are aging out of foster care, and starting a competition to help reduce cafeteria waste.

One of this year's projects is the revitalization of a local basketball court. But as producer Dave Frazier found out, this court is so much more than just a place to shoot hoops.

Siobhan Davis, Mahar Regional Senior: We basically grew up here on this court, so it's really important to us to make sure that we can give it the love that it's given us kind of thing.

Dave Fraser: Google it and it comes up 95 East River Street. But ask any kid in the town of Orange and they'll tell you this is Double Rims.

Lauren Cerillo, T.S.A.R Program: I was not as aware of Double Rims, as they affectionately call it, until this year. And this story has or this project has sparked so much interest in our school community because as it turns out, a large portion of our students come here. And this is like the rec area.

Dave Fraser: When senior Abbie Henne was thinking of a project for her School of Applied Research program, she wanted to keep it local and focus on a place that had been a big part of her life growing up.

Abbie Henne, Mahar Regional Senior: Ever since I was in elementary school, I would always come here with all my friends after school and we'd play basketball. But over the years the ground started deteriorating and everything was not as well as it was when we started here.

So, I thought, "oh, this would be a perfect opportunity. And I know a lot of the kids in my grade will appreciate it, too."

Dave Fraser: Hennie and three of her classmates met remotely with town select board members to explain their project called Revamp the Rims.

Abbie Henne: The basketball courts are deteriorating and in desperate need of repair. Do not let the wear and tear fool you. The condition of the court is a clear reflection of the lives so many of our community members have for the game of basketball. And this is evident to anyone who passed by the court on any given day.

Dave Fraser: The goal of the TSAR program is to get students away from the typical teacher-led AP and honors courses and get them out of the classroom, immersing themselves in a program that demands design thinking and intensive collaboration, all while helping to address solutions in their community and the world.

Lauren Cerillo: The students decide what it is that they are passionate about and what they want to dig into. And then we facilitate and help to lead them through the process of making change in their community.

Joh Speek, T.S.A.R. Program: Through two years with these kids have cultivated the idea that they can do this, that they that they can make their own decisions, and be responsible for those decisions themselves, both in their academic life and in this communal life.

Dave Fraser: Part of the project included getting their hands dirty, cleaning up the grounds, trimming bushes, building planter boxes and painting a mural that will line the court.

Hannah DuPont, Mahar Regional Senior: We want it to really grab people's attention while they're driving by, which is why we're putting it on the back fence. And they each symbolize something different. The two that we're going to focus on today, one is going to be a basketball, one is going to be a flower, because it's going to symbolize agriculture stuff around here, the growth, because we're going to implement planter boxes, things like that.

Siobhan Davis: I was involved because of my research with food insecurity and injustice in the community. My piece of it is I'm building a planter boxes over there, kind of bringing in food access in this area.

Christopher Venzina, Mahar Regional Senior: We're really just clearing out some of this area just so it'll it'll look a look a bit nicer and so we can start to clean it up a bit. We want to replace the backboards and stuff just to get some better stuff in here.

Dave Fraser: The town's community development director, Alec Wade, is working with the students to help them apply for a Parkland, Acquisitions and Renovations for communities, or PARC grant.

Alec Wade, Director of Community Development: It's really rare that you see especially a group of students approach you with a project on this scale.

Once I heard the background story of what they were proposing, the reasoning behind it, their history with the site, it was a no-brainer at that point.

Dave Fraser: And for Abbie Henne, the experience of managing this project for her class has been a tremendous one. She plans to go on to school for criminal justice, but says this project has definitely made an impact on her and her classmates.

Abbie Henne: Picking teams, interviewing my team members, all of that. And I actually kind of like the environment that I put myself in. So I'm actually going to minor in public relations, too, to be out there and be surrounded by people in this type of environment.

Siobhan Davis: I think that definitely working with the TSAR program, it kind of highlights the fact that kids are often underestimated. If you give us the time, you give us the kind of hope, and the backing and the support, we really can do a lot of amazing stuff.

 

Students in The School for Applied Research, also know as the TSAR Program, at Mahar Regional School in Orange have a history of taking on projects that help improve the community they live in. Past projects include the creation of a student running club, development of a web site to help youth who are aging out of foster care, and starting a competition to help reduce cafeteria waste.  One of this year’s projects is the revitalization of a local

Play
The First 100 Days of the Biden Administration

April 30, 2021

This week, President Joe Biden marked his first 100 days in the White House. Biden took office with an ambitious agenda that included getting ahead of the coronavirus, steering the massive economic recovery, and overhauling climate policy. All of this with a narrow Democratic majority in Congress and a deeply divided nation. So how did Joe Biden do in his first three months on the job?  Connecting Point’s Ray Hershel spoke with political consulta

This week, President Joe Biden marked his first 100 days in the White House. Biden took office with an ambitious agenda that included getting ahead of the coronavirus, steering the massive economic recovery, and overhauling climat

This week, President Joe Biden marked his first 100 days in the White House. Biden took office with an ambitious agenda that included getting ahead of the coronavirus, steering the massive economic recovery, and overhauling climate policy. All of this with a narrow Democratic majority in Congress and a deeply divided nation. So how did Joe Biden do in his first three months on the job?  Connecting Point’s Ray Hershel spoke with political consulta

This week, President Joe Biden marked his first 100 days in the White House. Biden took office with an ambitious agenda that included getting ahead of the coronavirus, steering the massive economic recovery, and overhauling climate policy. All of this with a narrow Democratic majority in Congress and a deeply divided nation. So how did Joe Biden do in his first three months on the job?  

Connecting Point’s Ray Hershel spoke with political consultants Ryan McCollum and Tony Cignoli to get their thoughts on what the President has accomplished in his first 100 days and what the outlook is moving forward. 

Read the full transcript:

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: President Joe Biden is just finishing his first 100 days in the White House. He took office with an ambitious agenda that included getting ahead of the coronavirus, steering the massive economic recovery, and overhauling climate policy. All of this with a narrow Democratic majority in Congress and a deeply divided nation.

So, how did Joe Biden do in his first three months on the job?

Connecting Point's Ray Hershel spoke with political consultants Ryan McCollum and Tony Cignoli to get their thoughts on what the president has accomplished in his first 100 days and what the outlook is moving forward.

Tony Cignoli, Political Consultant: It has been an extraordinary first 100 days by anyone's account. Certainly, Republicans and others, contrarians, might look at this and try to pick apart some of what he's done.

The eleven pieces of legislation he's signed, forty-two executive orders. That's a lot of accomplishment, a lot of work, but more important than anything else: making good on the promise -- kind of like Babe Ruth pointing out to the corner and saying, "I'm going to hit this home run for you"-- when it comes down to vaccinations on COVID, nothing else more important than that. And he can make the case for an aggressive first 100 days.

Ray Hershel, Connecting Point: Ryan wanted to get your thoughts as well. What are your takeaways from Joe Biden's first 100 days in office?

Ryan McCollum, Political Consultant: I agree with Tony. He mentioned Babe Ruth, but I almost I almost see Biden as that guy that you look at the box score after the game and you go, "wow, I didn't know he had 30 points," right? Like, he's kind of done it under the radar.

And coming off the heels of what people call a reality show president, he's doing it differently than Trump, you know? Like, some days you wake up and you don't -- you're not reminded the president. You can live a whole day without hearing about the president. And that's what things used to be like.

And so, he's more of the workhorse and not the show horse. And he's been doing that for the last hundred days. And I think he in his congressional address last night, he kind of laid out at home. Some of the critiques have been that it was boring. And I had a friend that said that politics is supposed to be boring. This is -- government's boring. Like this is when things are getting done correctly, sometimes it's not it's not all crazy and lights and glamor like Trump had to have it.

Ray Hershel: Now, when the president spoke before Congress, he unveiled some very ambitious initiatives beyond what he's already accomplished in his first 100 days in office.

The COVID-19 relief package, of course, was passed pretty much on a partisan vote. It was Democrats voting for it, Republicans voting against it.

As we move forward now, as these new initiatives are debated and brought before Congress, what do you see in terms of potential bipartisan agreement? Will there be any bipartisan agreement or is Joe Biden and the Democrats going to have to do it alone again?

Tony Cignoli: So much of what we see right now is the tip of the iceberg, the top 20 percent that we're allowed to see and the machinations of government, what's out there that the media is able to report back to us. There's a lot of behind the scenes going on.

Joe Biden and his team, Kamala Harris, these are political statisticians. They're sharp, the strategists. They know that the likelihood of any kind of a bipartisan deal coming together on all of these proposals is not going to be there.

There's got to be a perception for Republicans that they're going to get something out of this. And I don't think it's the members of the Republican House in Congress that are going to make the real movement here. I think it's finding those Republican leaders around America, those city managers, those mayors who may be Republicans, those county commissioners where county government is still powerful, like in the South, and can those individuals, then move Republican members of the Congress.

Ray Hershel: Will Joe Biden be able to get his infrastructure bill passed? Will he be able to get his proposal for helping children, families and education passed? Or will they look a lot different than they are that he's proposing?

Ryan McCollum: I think he'll get something passed. You know, getting 10 senators, which is kind of what you need on the GOP side, is going to be tough, right? Like we saw what happened with, you know, a moderate Democrat, Joe Manchin,and he was he was trying to go back and forth and he still didn't get any Republican senators.

But infrastructure, something that I think, you know, these folks' constituents are going to want to have. How we pay for it is a different story, but getting 10 GOP senators to jump on board is going to be difficult. But, you know, it can still get passed.

Ray Hershel: All right. A lot of the pundits are already looking ahead to the midterm elections in 2022. Can we read anything from Joe Biden's first 100 days in office in terms of how those midterms go?

Traditionally, of course, the sitting president's party does not fair that well in midterm elections. What are we looking at in 2022 as far as the Democratic Party is concerned?

Ryan McCollum: Yeah, it's I mean, it's hard to read from the first 100 days. Joe Biden hasn't done what you would call "spot" Congress much, he hasn't had them take too many difficult votes at all yet. And depending on what comes up over the next year or so, we'll see. And I don't I don't think he's going to have taken too many difficult votes that would hurt them in certain certain districts, right?

So, Tony mentioned how he's scoring low on immigration because they've kind of not touched it. It's always been a third rail and it's in a lot of reasons it's third rail because it's political.

And you don't want folks taking votes that are that are going to hurt them in their districts. And so I think they need to be mindful of that, but at the same time, get things done that they need to get done. And I think that if, you know, as things happen, like if you look at Obamacare, it was very unpopular and people had to take a tough vote. But as things happened over over the course of time, it wasn't a tough vote. It's been something that's great. And even folks on the other side agree with that.

So infrastructure, the rescue plan, making sure that the economy gets back on its feet. If he focuses on those things, it's not going to hurt Democrats chances in the midterm as much as if he does focus on those wedge issues or those social issues too much.

Ray Hershel: Tony, we've seen what Joe Biden has done in his first 100 days in office.

As he moves forward now and tries to sell his other initiatives to the American public, what are your expectations for the next hundred days? In three months?

Tony Cignoli: I think you'll see the same aggressiveness from the president and his cabinet. I think you'll see a bit of what Ryan's mentioned. There's that quiet, get it done, let's go do the work that comes along with Joe Biden. That's just who he is and who he's been for the four decades that he's been in government.

But there's another aspect of that with Joe Biden. It's not just the way that he goes about getting things done. It's the knowledge on his part that too much show, too much noise, too much telegraphing what's next isn't going to help you. Because before you can get to the House chamber, the Senate chamber to get the votes that you need, you don't want to have this already legislated by your opposition.

So, don't be surprised if we don't see a lot of show in the next hundred days. Let's be surprised if we don't see a lot of the Joe Go, so to speak. Watch Buttigieg, watch some of those others who will be out there on the ground trying to get infrastructure and other things passed in the quiet back room bipartisan way that's going to be a necessity to things done.

 

This week, President Joe Biden marked his first 100 days in the White House. Biden took office with an ambitious agenda that included getting ahead of the coronavirus, steering the massive economic recovery, and overhauling climate policy. All of this with a narrow Democratic majority in Congress and a deeply divided nation. So how did Joe Biden do in his first three months on the job?  Connecting Point’s Ray Hershel spoke with political consulta

previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow
Slider
Focus on Health

Remote Learning

The State We're In Logo

Divided: Scenes from Inauguration 2021

 

Coronavirus Coverage

 

Focus On: Economy

Focus On: Education

Focus On: Innovation

Connecting Point is a
NEPM logo white local production

WHEN TO WATCH

Fridays at 6pm
Sundays at 10am (repeat)