Neighbors: Keep an eye on winter weather

Hello neighbor.

I thought I’d continue my “stay safe” theme this week.

This time, I’d like to talk about how we are all going to weather the winter.

The good news is that Daylight Savings Time begins March 9 and the first day of spring is only 91 days away — I’m counting.

The bad news is that we’ll definitely have more inclement weather before winter’s over, and maybe even into spring.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued a guide to advisories, watches and warnings, and I’d like to share some of the information with you, because I know it can be confusing.

First, an “outlook” is used to indicate that hazardous winter weather may develop, while a “watch” is used when the risk has increased and it’s probably going to develop.

An “advisory” is issued if conditions could cause significant inconvenience, while a “warning,” of course, is issued when conditions could pose a threat to life or property, so please pay special attention to that one.

Then, there is the “blizzard warning,” which means sustained or frequent gusts of wind at 35 mph or more, accompanied by falling or blowing snow, and visibility is typically reduced to less than a quarter-mile for three or more hours during a blizzard.

NOAA says the best way to avoid tragedy this winter is to always be aware of weather conditions and limit travel when hazardous weather conditions exist.

To keep safe, NOAA suggests the following:

∎  Keep your gas tank full to keep the fuel line from freezing.

∎  Always let someone know your destination, route and when you expect to arrive when you are traveling even a short distance.

∎  Keep a cell phone or other emergency communication device with you in your vehicle.

∎  Pack your vehicle with thermal blankets, extra winter clothes, a basic tool kit that includes a good knife and jumper cables, an ice scraper and shovel, flashlights and batteries, and high-calorie, nonperishable food and lots of water.

∎ Use sand or cat litter under your tires for extra traction — keep some in your vehicle at all times.

You can keep track of winter weather online, including current and future conditions, at the Eastern Region Headquarters of the National Weather Service, which is located in Tauton, at:

Now let’s see what’s happening in Franklin County:

WOULD YOU LIKE TO HONOR SOMEONE who is serving in the military? Visit the Trail Tok Diner at 1105 Mohawk Trail, and owner Bonnie Brown will allow you to write the person’s name on a colorful star made of construction paper and she will hang it on the diner’s Christmas tree — and you can have a nice breakfast or lunch at the same time.

What a nice way to remember and honor those serving our country.

A VOLUNTEER FROM HEIFER INTERNATIONAL will be in Green Fields Market on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to assist anyone who would like to give the “gift of giving” to the organization this holiday season. Heifer helps end hunger and poverty around the world by giving gifts of animals and training to the less fortunate.

If you make a donation on Saturday, you will receive an honor card to send to someone, showing that a gift has been made in their name. So, head to Green Fields Market, where you may buy a goat, a sheep or some bees.

GREENFIELD POLICE ASSOCIATION will be hosting a family dance on Saturday at noon in the Greenfield Middle School. All proceeds will benefit the Greenfield Family Inn. DJ Bobby C will provide the music, and Antonio’s will provide the pizza. Santa will make a quick stop. A donation of $5 per person is suggested. The association will match whatever is raised in donations.

THE UNITED CHURCH OF BERNARDSTON’S choir will be performing a cantata at the service on Sunday at 10 a.m. The church at 58 Church St. will also be holding Christmas Eve services on Tuesday at 6 and 11 p.m. I’m told families with young children typically attend the earlier service and mostly adults attend the later one, and you are all invited to share the spirit of Christmas with the congregation.

GREENFIELD ALLIANCE CHURCH, 385 Chapman St., will hold a free Christmas Eve Community Meal on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the church. All are welcome. The menu will include a ham dinner, appetizers, cookies and other treats. There will be free gifts for little ones. If you need a ride, call Linda at 413-768-9868.

THE DAYLILY, a mother-daughter-owned gift shop at 8A Sugarloaf St. in South Deerfield, will host an exhibit of paintings, “People, Places,” by local artist Gregory Stone beginning Jan. 2 . The show runs through Jan. 31. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Daylily is open Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 413-387-9830.

I’M TOLD THAT MONTAGUE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL has received a grant of $5,000 from the Massachusetts Cultural council to help support students in their endeavor to write strong, descriptive narratives by funding artist-in-residence and storyteller John Porcino.

John has been using his passion for storytelling to motivate and excite students to tell their own stories. This year, the school has implemented the Lucy Calkins Writers Workshop program to teach students about using words to create vivid images and engaging stories.

I’m sure a lot of nice stories will come out of the program. Thank you, John, for taking such an interest in the county’s children and their stories.

GREAT THINGS ARE HAPPENING AT GREENFIELD MIDDLE SCHOOL, I’m told. Recently, the fifth- and sixth-graders there held a food drive to help needy families throughout Franklin County. The effort was spearheaded by their teacher Julianne D’Eramo.

Congratulations to all who participated for the good work. What a wonderful way to begin the holidays.

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: or call 413-772-0261, ext. 280. 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 two days before you want it to run.

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