I’m back from New England, so it’s time to get caught up on the latest items of note about New England.
But first, via a commenter on Matt Yglesias’s post about his soundtrack for a drive from D.C. to Maine, I’ve just discovered Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers’ song “New England.” Several years ago, a friend brought Richman’s “Roadrunner” to my attention, and it’s a fantastic song, with a lot of New England flavor (“Gonna drive past the Stop ‘n’ Shop…”), but of a Greater Boston-centric sort. “New England” is sparer but more catholic, consisting basically of the repeated couplet “Dum-de-dum-de-dum-dum-da-dum-day / Oh, New England” and a shout-out to Maine. When I one day teach my prospective course New England’s history and regional identity since the Civil War—which I really do mean to write more about here sometime—I’m definitely playing this on the first day of class. Until then, consider it the official anthem of these posts.
On to this week’s roundup:
- Could the New England states elect six Democratic governors in November? David S. Bernstein of The Boston Phoenix‘s Talking Politics blog considers the possibility.
- The AP examines the decline of New England’s fishing industry, particularly at the region’s smaller ports. The Times covers a related development: the debate in Portland over allowing non-marine businesses to expand their presence on the city’s wharves.
- Keying off of a new digitization effort by Historic New England (founded as the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities) to mark its centennial year, the Globe takes a somewhat cursory, but interesting, look at the digitized collections of Massachusetts’ historical institutions. You can find HNE’s nascent digitized materials here, and the Globe‘s website, as is its wont, has a slideshow of images as well. Meanwhile, HNE’s collections have helped inspire a new (non-digital) edited collection, Drawing Toward Home: Designs for Domestic Architecture from Historic New England.
- At the Council of State Governments/Eastern Regional Conference this week, Gordon van Welie of the electric utility ISO New England urged a regional approach to expanding wind power and fulfilling benchmarks set last year by the six states’ governors. Charles Colgan of the University of Southern Maine opened the conference by arguing that green energy could provide a foundation for economic growth in the region.
- Via USA Today, Yankee magazine has ranked New England’s top 25 foliage towns, based on “color, scenery, vistas, water reflections, drives, hikes, culture, farmers market, orchards, parks, covered bridges, being away from crowds, shopping, food and lodging,” and Kent, Connecticut, comes out on top. Local officials celebrate in Litchfield County’s Register Citizen.
- Poorly-reported, conflicting, and sensationalist dispatches from the AP, Globe, and Herald: law enforcement agencies arrest “47 alleged gang members and public safety threats” in Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, and possibly Rhode Island, some number of which are not U.S. citizens. Time perplexingly characterizes this development as indicating that “Illegal Immigration Issues Make Their Way to New England.”
- AP: “Heat brings early harvest in New England, Midwest.”
About this feature: Each week, I compile recent articles and other items relating to New England’s history, its regional identity, and its future. If you come across something interesting or relevant, please submit it for inclusion in a future post. Click here for previous roundups.