Neighbors: Erving flamingos make it into N.Y. Times magazine

Hello neighbor.

My editor recently heard from our neighbor BJ Roche, who is a writer, Web publisher, senior lecturer in the Journalism Department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and, it appears, an amateur photographer.

She was driving along Route 2 in Erving as she headed to the North Shore late this past winter, when she noticed dozens of pink flamingos standing in the snow in someone’s front yard.

“It was a very funny scene,” BJ said in her email. “I shot the photo and later saw that (N.Y.) Times magazine was looking for pictures of front yards.”

Times magazine, along with Key, a mini-magazine about real estate and design, was asking readers to submit photos of front yards for an article, “Front Yards are the New Backyards.”

BJ sent her photo to the Times, and it became the lead photo of the magazine’s online slideshow.

“It made me laugh,” BJ said about the flamingos.

I drove by that house recently, and I guess the flamingos must go in for the spring and summer, because they weren’t there.

The cute, plastic birds must have been more of a reminder, or wishful thinking on the homeowner’s part, that spring was just around the corner.

Now on to what’s going on in the county, and there’s plenty this week.

JUST A LITTLE TIDBIT, before I go on.

The Recorder ran an Associated Press photo on its front page on April 25 of police officers who attended the memorial service for slain Massachusetts Institute of Technology officer Sean Collier, who was killed by the Boston Marathon bomber suspects.

The officer standing in that photo, just behind the officer adjusting his hat, is Sgt. Kent A. Hager of the Athol Police Department, and directly behind him is Athol Police Officer Peter Buck. I’m told Athol Police Sgt. Christopher Casella and officers Douglas Kaczmarczyk and Corey Brown were also at the service.

DAKIN PIONEER VALLEY HUMAN SOCIETY in Springfield is offering weekly low-cost vaccination clinics every Thursday from 9 to 10 a.m. No appointment is necessary, but dogs must be on leashes and cats must be in carriers. Services are limited to 40 animals and are for people who receive state or federal assistance.

The clinic is not replacement for veterinary care. Sick or injured animals cannot be treated at the clinic.

For more information, call 413-781-4019 or visit:

CATHY HEILIGMAN, a member of Rowe Historical Society, told me that a vintage train passed through Franklin County on April 13 on its way from Boston, via the Hoosac Tunnel, to Mechanicville, N.Y. She said it was operated by High Iron Travel and included a vintage PanAm Railways locomotive and dome cars. She said it was the first organized passenger trip in more than 20 years on a route that is now used mostly for freight.

For those of us who missed it, we can now see photographs of the trip at:

Thanks for sharing, Cathy.

GREENFIELD RESIDENT AND LOCAL ACTIVIST Penny Ricketts is asking people to support a program she feels strongly about.

The program began on Monday and ends on Friday — you spend no more than $1.50 a day on food and drink.

Penny is hoping, like so many others participating in the program this week, that the efforts will bring awareness about the people in our community, and beyond, who live this way every day of their lives.

For more information about the program, visit:

THE PERMACULTURE CLUB AT GCC is asking volunteers to join its members on Friday from noon to 3 p.m. for a community planting just outside the new greenhouse at the south wing of the core building. You will need to bring your gardening clothes, gloves and trowel, if you have one.

For more information, contact Abrah Dresdale at:

FRANKLIN COUNTY 4-H ADVISORY COUNCIL will sponsor a spaghetti supper on Friday at Bernardston United Church. Seatings will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Cost of the supper is $8 per person. The supper will benefit the annual 4-H fair, which will be June 22 at the Heath Fairgrounds this year.

NEIGHBOR LINDA BAKER, team captain of Dick’s Angels, which is rasing money for Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society, told me the team is holding a fundraiser on Saturday beginning at noon at Bernardston Veterans Club.

This time, the team is holding a Wii Bowling Tournament. Teams will be drawn from a hat. The cost to participate is $5 per person. There will be food available for purchase.

For more information or to sign up, contact Ruth Snow at 413-498-2819 or Linda at 413-772-2606.

“We had a blast last year,” Linda told me.

GREENFIELD HIGH SCHOOL MUSIC DIRECTOR Paul Calcari’s Music Family Reunion will finally happen Saturday at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. The program will consist of performances by Paul’s current band and chorus students, as well as an alumni band and chorus. Students from 1986 through today will perform.

For more information, visit Mr. C’s Music Family Reunion Concert on Facebook or:

MONTAGUE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH will hold a roast pork supper on Saturday at 5:30 p.m., with roast pork and gravy, mashed potatoes, Belgium carrots, applesauce, breads, coffee, tea, milk, and strawberry upside-down cake for dessert.

The price is $10 for adults and $6 for children.

To make reservations, call 413-774-7256.

Walk-ins will be seated as space allows. Take-outs will be allowed. Proceeds will benefit the steeple fund.

FRIENDS OF THE GREENFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY is holding its annual book and plant sale on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the library. There will also be a spring raffle drawn that day — prizes will include handcrafted bookends and gardening books. Tickets for the raffle are $1. All profits will benefit the library.

HOLY FAMILY CHURCH IN SOUTH DEERFIELD will hold a recycle day and bike collection on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the church parking lot. The church will accept electronics, appliances, and lawn machinery.

Recycle fees will start at $5 for computers, $10 for monitors and small televisions of 19 inches, $15 for larger televisions, and $25 for televisions 26 inches and over. Cell phones and car and truck batteries are free.

The church will also collect bikes, which will go to Ghana, Africa, where they are very much needed, I’m told.

PIONEER VALLEY INSTITUTE will present Patchwork Films’ documentary, “Out of the Storm: The Galford Lumber Company,” on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Dickinson Memorial Library in Northfield.

The showing of the documentary, which is about the hurricane of 1938, which was known as the “Long Island Express,” is free and open to the public. The hurricane swept away thousands of trees during the floods that followed.

Most of us don’t remember or weren’t alive, when the hurricane hit, so this would be a good way to learn more about it.

TRINITY CHURCH IN SHELBURNE FALLS will hold a chicken and biscuits public supper and raffle on Sunday at 6 p.m. Proceeds will help with the maintenance of the church’s exterior.

The dinner will be held in the church’s Community Hall on Severance Street. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children under $10.

To make reservations, call Sue Rice at 413-625-6421.

JUST ROOTS IN GREENFIELD will hold its Spring Farm Festival on Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. at Greenfield Community Farm, 34 Glenbrook Drive. Bring friends and family to the farm to help with a variety of projects, and attend workshops and a potluck dinner. There will be live entertainment and a plant sale and swap.

Just Roots will also be collecting tools for the community garden collection, so bring spare garden tools to donate.

For more information, call 413-376-8333 or email: You can also visit:

THERE WILL BE A CAREGIVERS TEA at The Corner House, 469 Main St. in Ashfield, on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. in honor of all who are or have been caregivers to others. There will be gifts, treats, refreshments, and a chance to share conversation with those who have walked the same path.

Nell Lake, author of an upcoming book on caregivers, and Jan Freeman of Paris Press, will share their work.

For more information, contact Sue Craft at 413-628-0289.

GREENFIELD HIGH SCHOOL THEATER CLASS AND THEATER CLUB will put on a night of performances in the high school auditorium on May 8 beginning at 5:30 p.m., when upperclassmen will perform scenes from “The Penny Dreadfuls” by Ray Sheers.

Then, at 6:45, underclassmen will take the stage with an adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by Don Quinn.

Admission is free, but donations will be accepted at the door.

It will be a night of comedy, drama and fun for all, and performed by our younger neighbors, so what could be better?

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: or call 413-772-0261, ext. 280 or call her cell at 413-388-6950. You can also reach Anita on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: up to noon on the day before you want it to run.

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