Thursday, July 16, 2015

Afternoon Golf Game

The course is just down the road, but I likely won't make it back to post later unless I hole out:

"Support for golf course dries up over water demand; Revamped Western Mass. country club, neighbors at odds" by Callum Borchers Globe Staff  July 16, 2015

HAMPDEN — Guy Antonacci has big plans for the newly renovated Hampden Country Club. Since buying the 18-hole course at auction three years ago, the Antonaccis have spent $45 million on the grand vision of a golf destination — one complete with flashy art and handsomely appointed lounges.

“The ultimate goal would be to have a US Open or very large professional event,” said Antonacci, 28, president of the club that his father and uncle, Jerry and Frank Antonacci, bought for $1.4 million in 2012.

Originally, the neighbors were excited by the venture, anticipating picturesque views out their back windows and a welcome bump in their property values. But for some residents of this small, middle-class town about 10 miles southeast of Springfield, the thrill turned to fear when they learned the project would also demand vast quantities of a precious resource: water.

Now, they worry that maintaining the lush course for the area’s well-to-do golfers could mean water shortages for nearby homes and a middle school across the street.

What's the worry? It's a richer's world.

The private club, now called GreatHorse, has asked the state for permission to occasionally use up to 820,000 gallons in a single day — roughly four times the amount of water needed daily to supply a town the size of Hampden.

Other championship-caliber courses sometimes use as much water as GreatHorse has requested, but that level of consumption is more typical of clubs in arid climates.


Concerns about water use at GreatHorse fit a national movement to rein in consumption by golf courses at a time when freshwater scarcity is climbing the public policy agenda.

I hate the game. Always viewed it as racist, anti-Semitic, and elitist. And yet it is celebrated by ma$$ media.

Amid a yearslong drought in California, Governor Jerry Brown this spring ordered golf courses to cut water use by 25 percent as part of statewide restrictions.

Here are some coins for the fountain.

More broadly, clubs all over the country are responding to the pressure to conserve as much as possible, but GreatHorse’s neighbors take little comfort in the state’s authority, because of what they consider the golf course’s history of flouting regulations.

Last year, a group of 12 nearby residents sued GreatHorse for allegedly violating zoning laws with the removal of a 100-foot tree buffer that protected homes from wayward golf balls. GreatHorse has agreed to replant trees.

During construction in 2013, the state fined the club $115,860 for encroaching on protected wetlands.

“There’s a level of distrust that we have because that’s their pattern of behavior,” said Dorothy Simonds, whose group reported spending about $20,000 to fight the golf club in court. “They do what they want to do without getting permits, and they wait for people to complain.” 

Maybe we could call John Kerry over and he could negotiate something.

The neighbors also fear getting little help from town government in the event that GreatHorse overdraws from its well. The chairman of Hampden’s Board of Selectmen, Vincent Villamaino, downplayed the club’s prior infractions and said the Antonaccis are honorable people.

Villamaino is a GreatHorse member, and his paving company is a club contractor.

Did the Antonaccis “make a few mistakes? Yeah,” Villamaino said. “What are you gonna do?”

I don't know. Bucket of tar and bag of feathers? What the Greeks are doing now? Walk like an Egyptian? French guillotine. Take your pick, you arrogant, $elf-$erving $hit.

Hampden residents, 80 of whom turned out for a recent public meeting about the water plan, fear their own wells could go dry. Every well in the area draws groundwater from the same source, the Connecticut River Basin....

That's what they did.


Time to hit the green$:

"Tom Brady poised to sue NFL if ban isn’t erased; Players union eager to limit league’s power" by Ben Volin Globe Staff  July 15, 2015

Tom Brady intends to challenge his four-game suspension in federal court if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t completely wipe out the punishment, according to an ABC News report and several other people familiar with the case who spoke with the Globe.

It has been 23 days since Goodell heard Brady’s appeal June 23 in New York, a hearing that lasted 11 hours and involved nearly 40 lawyers and witnesses. Goodell is expected to announce the outcome of the appeal before the Patriots begin training camp for the 2015 season July 30, although exactly when remains murky. In other recent appeals, Goodell has taken approximately five or six weeks to issue a ruling.

I'm on the edge of my seat and leaning in.

Brady is only the sixth quarterback in the NFL’s 50-year Super Bowl era to be suspended for reasons other than performance-enhancing drugs.

He was suspended for four games by the NFL on May 11 for being “generally aware” that the Patriots “more likely than not” intentionally deflated their footballs before the AFC Championship Game Jan. 18, according to Ted Wells, the attorney hired by Goodell to investigate the accusations.


Brady’s limited cooperation during Wells’s investigation — he declined to hand over electronic communications from his cellphone — also factored significantly into his punishment.

The popular sentiment around the NFL is that Goodell will most likely reduce Brady’s suspension from four to two games, especially since the league recently reduced the suspension of Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy for domestic violence from 10 to four games. It is also possible Goodell reduces Brady’s punishment to a combination of a suspension and the loss of game checks.

But according to ABC, Brady will go to court and seek full exoneration even if the suspension is reduced to one game.

It is unclear what Brady plans to do if Goodell reduces the penalty to a four-game fine but no suspension, an unlikely but plausible scenario.

Brady is set to make $8 million in 2015, or $470,588 per week. His current four-game suspension will cost him more than $1.88 million.

The NFL Players Association is eager to take the NFL to court over the Brady punishment as a chance to severely weaken Goodell’s disciplinary powers.

The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, signed in 2011 and effective through the spring of 2021, gives Goodell the right to serve as the hearing officer for disciplinary appeals. The NFL commissioner has held that power since the first CBA was signed in 1968.

Brady likely would have to prove that the NFL’s disciplinary system is inherently unfair and violates the “law of shop.” Among other points, Brady’s attorneys will argue that the $1.88 million fine is far too significant when compared with the $50,000 fine Brett Favre paid in 2010 for not cooperating with an NFL investigation.

A real kick in the crotch.

Although judges are generally hesitant to overturn the decisions of collectively-bargained arbitrators, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson won his lawsuit against the NFL in February.

Peterson’s suspension was vacated by US District Court Judge David Doty in Minnesota, who has typically sided with the NFLPA in its disputes with the NFL over the last two decades.

The NFL Network reported Tuesday that if Brady files a lawsuit, it would likely be in Minnesota (a labor-friendly court) or Massachusetts.

And in 2012, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s suspension for his role in the Bountygate scandal was overturned by a federal judge, allowing him to play in a total of 11 games during the season. Vilma later sued the NFL for defamation, but the lawsuit was thrown out of court.

Goodell typically allows other NFL executives to handle appeals, but he opted to personally handle the Brady appeal given the quarterback’s important stature in the league.

The other quarterbacks that have been suspended by the NFL in the Super Bowl era are: Art Schlichter (entire 1983 season for gambling), Jeff George (suspended for the 1996 season by the Falcons for fighting with his coach), Michael Vick (suspended for the 2007 and 2008 seasons for his role in a dog fighting ring), Ben Roethlisberger (four games in 2010 for violating the personal conduct policy), and Terrelle Pryor (five games in 2011 for violating eligibility rules while in college).

Time for me too suspend any further interest in this.


Both items must be critically important because they made the front page above the fold.

In fact, the paper has been swamped with stories regarding Tom's troubles, but fortunately he can spot holes in the defense and lead the team to final victory.

Did you see Tom's teammate?

What do you mean he's not a member?

Also see:

Tedy Bruschi talks Tom Brady at youth football event
Gisele Bundchen goes ziplining with her son

That should round out the foursome.

RelatedFootball Hall of Famers find trip to Israel rewarding

Did you know the school had to cancel its art programs to pay for Tom's speech?