Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 195]: Charlie Baker deals drug peddlers a losing hand

When it comes to the lingering opioid crisis that has devastated families from coast to coast, Massachusetts remains at the vanguard of the battle to bring the scourge to an end.

Much of that fight has come straight from the top, marshaled by Gov. Charlie Baker, who has pushed new state laws, encouraged regional collaboration and been recognized for his efforts most notably by being chosen to serve on President Trump’s federal opioid task force.

Now he’s proposing manslaughter charges for dealers whose sales lead to a user’s death. With a topic like this, Hitch couldn’t “just say no.”

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 194]: Driving at trouble on Yawkey Way

There’s a lot going on at Fenway Park these days.

The youthful Red Sox are in the thick of a pennant chase. Billy Joel recently piano-manned center field for a bravura performance. An Irish hurling exhibition and college football series are also on the horizon.

But it’s Fenway’s past — seen through the prism of a present societal furor — that’s on the mind of Sox owner John Henry, Worcester’s favorite newspaper baron.

And from where Hitch is sitting, the multi-millionaire with the two-cent personality should probably stick to the boardroom.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 193]: On the campaign trail with Elizabeth Warren

The only thing Republicans love more than shoveling trillions of dollars into the gilded pockets of the military-industrial complex is dreaming up ways to rid themselves of the grand sorceress of fiscal accountability — and liberal nonsense — known as Elizabeth Warren.

We’re starting to think Hitch has a thing for Elizabeth Warren. Scroll down to find some their best “collaborations.”

In the Bay State, the GOP is already flush with candidates to vie for her Senate seat in 2018. Hitch does a little math for an early outlook on the race.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 192]: Worcester’s ‘statue of limitations’

Much has been made of the battle over our nation’s many monuments that salute people or ideas whose time has passed, or which many feel should never have been celebrated in the first place.

Advocates for protecting tributes to Confederate leaders fear, ostensibly anyway, that we’re erasing our history. If only inflamed rhetoric was the worst of it.

For his part, Hitch believes it’s high time Worcester dismantles one of its most monumental mistakes.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 191]: Catching Z’s with Worcester School Committee

It’s a topic school board members say they’ve been studying for years: how to navigate the logistical and financial hurdles between them and getting the city’s many restless high schoolers more precious sleep.

Forget parental — or even personal — discipline, the only solution is to start school later. Which of course will cost millions of dollars and likely force elementary school kids to bus home in the dark during the coldest days of winter.

Hitch, unsurprisingly, has thoughts.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 190]: A total eclipse of the Heart

So, Monday’s a pretty big deal. How big? Bonnie Tyler big.

The songstress will commemorate the first total solar eclipse to dawn over America since 1979 by singing her iconic 1983 hit right as the moon blots out the sun.

But while the fancypants will all their science tell us we’ll only see a partial eclipse, Hitch knows better.

Head to Kelley Square and bang a left, or a right, or a U-ey, and you’ll encounter a site to behold.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 189]: On pot, Mass. lawmakers show green thumb

Maybe it was an earnest and honest diligence that kept state lawmakers from finishing their rewrite of the voter-approved legal marijuana bill that wallowed behind closed doors for months.

Or maybe they just figured most of the interested parties were busy restringing their ukuleles and crushing it on the ultimate Frisbee course.

Either way, what the joint committee came up with finally earned the governor’s signature. But, Hitch wonders, does it leave any room to grow?

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 188]: Beetles, barely — and other rare Worcester species

News came earlier this month that the once pervasive Asian longhorned beetle has all but disappeared from the Burncoat-area neighborhoods they once ravaged.

Some 35,000 trees in North Worcester, Boylston and West Boylston fell victim before years of vigilance quelled the scourge. That persistence is certainly missing in other corners of the city.

For Hitch, there is, indeed, a certain political animal that could use a wake-up call.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 187]: Throwing the book at Worcester trash scofflaws

For years cynical visitors and disenchanted residents have called our fair city a dump.

And for far too long they all had a point, as jaded and/or careless folks turned hillside knolls, little-used parking lots and neglected street corners into their own private rubbish and recycling centers.

City officials, though, have had enough. Cameras are on the lookout and illegal dumpers are on notice.

Hitch, for one, thinks it’s about time offenders were put in their place.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 186]: What the dickens happened to sales tax holiday?

The first time Massachusetts gave businesses and consumers a tax-free weekend, in 2004, the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years.

Just sayin’ — maybe it has special powers.

More Hitch | What if … Worcester | Free to Read

Of course, these days the powers-that-be at the State House aren’t feeling so charitable under the pall of a murky fiscal future. So much for a discount on that new bedroom set … or a championship parade.

Hitch visits an old friend to get to the bottom of this.