Neighbors: Doing good things for others

Hello neighbor.

I first told you about our young neighbor Ella Grace Bartlett of Montague when she and her parents went to Disney World thanks to Make-A-Wish Foundation earlier this past spring.

Well, now some local folks want to help the cute 5-year-old with long, blond, curly hair pay for some of her medical expenses.

You’ll remember that Ella has struggled most her five short years — her mother Jami says she has been unbelievably sick throughout her short life. She was born premature and her digestive system was seriously compromised, so Jami tells me that every day is a challenge for Ella, who eats mostly through a feeding tube and only gets small amounts of food by mouth.

Enter Chet Czernich, who read my story about Ella back in April and said it moved him so much that it pushed him to action.

Chet, who is a neighbor of Ella’s on Federal Street (Route 63) in Montague, is organizing a benefit golf tournament at Thomas Memorial Golf and Country Club in Montague City.

Chet, who is also on the club’s board, said he’d love to see all of Ella’s Franklin County neighbors help her and her family with the huge medical expenses they have incurred and are still incurring, so, he has also made it possible for people who won’t be at the tournament to make a donation.

The tournament, a four-person scramble, will be held Aug. 3 (the rain date is Aug. 4) with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. at the golf course.

The cost is $65 per person, which includes a cart. There will be free hotdogs on the course throughout the day and there will also be cash prizes and “skins” chances for cash (closest to the pin) — he tells me you golfers will know what “skins” means.

If you would like to donate, send your check, payable to Ella Grace Bartlett, to: Thomas Memorial Golf and Country Club, P.O. Box 16, Turners Falls, MA 01376.

For more information about the tournament or to play, contact Chet at 413-659-3061 or 413-863-8003.

BEFORE I GO ON, do you have a first-day-of-school photo you would be willing to share with readers? Supplements Editor Chris Harris is hoping you will so she can share them with readers in The Recorder’s Back To School supplement.

Call Chris at 413-772-0261, ext. 280 or email her at:

I JUST GOT WORD THAT OUR NEIGHBOR James M. Girard, a 1970 graduate of Turners Falls High School and son of Donald Girard of Turners Falls, has received the Legion of Merit Award. The longest serving commander in the Massachusetts National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 4, retired commander of the 215th Army Band, received the award at a ceremony at the state National Guard headquarters earlier this month.

The award is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.

James, an alum of the same high school I graduate from, served for 34 years in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard, commanding the 215th Army Band for 24 of those years, longer than any other officer in the state National Guard. He returned from a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan in 2012 and retired shortly after.

Congratulations James, and thank you for your service!

I’M STARTING TO HEAR FROM SOME OF YOU about your favorite places in Franklin County. Please keep them coming, so I can share information with your neighbors in a couple of weeks. I’d like to have a little time to visit them myself. We should all have the chance to enjoy some of the county’s best spots. Write me please:

I’M SURE WE’VE ALL SEEN an occasional raccoon scuttle across the road in front of our vehicle as we’re driving along at night, but Greenfield police received a couple of calls early last Sunday morning about a raccoon in the middle of the road on Cheapside Street that caused a traffic hazard at 1 a.m., because it was running in circles with a jar stuck on its head. The officer who was sent there said he was able to get the jar off of the little bandit’s head and it promptly ran into the woods. Guess it got more than it bargained for, the poor little thing.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT the people who worked in Franklin County factories over the years? If so, head to the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage on the Green River this summer. Admission is free, though donations are accepted.

Because it is located on the Green River, you could take a stroll along the river before or after your visit to the air-conditioned museum.

Summer hours from now until Sept. 1 are Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., but there will be a Summer Celebration on Aug. 4 from 1 to 4 p.m., where there will be demonstrations and entertainment for all ages. The museum at 2 Mead St. sits on the site of continuous industrial use for the past 300 years or more.

For more information, visit:

THE SWIFT RIVER VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY is holding an ice cream social on July 28 from noon to 5 p.m. on its grounds at 40 Elm St. in New Salem. The event is free and open to the public. Just bring a picnic lunch. Ice cream and toppings will be provided.

Chocolate ice cream topped with hot fudge, whipped cream and almonds is my favorite.

FOR ALL OF YOU DOG LOVERS OUT THERE, Pioneer Valley Kennel Club will hold its annual dog show on Aug. 3 beginning at 8 a.m.

Save the date and go see some of the valley’s best as they compete for top spot in breed, obedience and rally. There will also be a Stuffed Toy Dog Show for kids ages 3 to 8 — judges for that show will include Rep. Paul Mark. I’m told children who don’t have a stuffed toy dog will be able to borrow one when they get there.

For more information about the show, visit:

GREENFIELD WOMEN’S RESOURCE CENTER has created a Salasin Center survey to get people’s input on activities and programs the center offers. Believing that healing happens through mutually empowering relationships, the center provides a safe place to build community, support others and empower people to heal and help others heal. The Salasin Project was created to help people achieve a full and satisfying life free of violence and its consequences.

To take the survey, visit:

For more information about the center, visit: or

I TOLD YOU SEVERAL WEEKS AGO about the 500 Hats Project, which is trying to collect 500 warm winter hats by this fall. Well, the group has passed the 150 mark and is hoping that you knitters and crocheters here in Franklin County keep doing what you love to do, while helping those in need stay warm this coming winter.

For more information, email Liz Sorenson and John Nove at:

LAST WEEK I TOLD YOU ABOUT A SPECIAL adoption event at Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society, where 6-month-old cats and older could be adopted for just $5. Well, Candy Lash of Dakin told me that the event was very successful thanks to some of you. She said 112 animals found new homes, including 90 adult cats. The rest were kittens and bunnies, which weren’t included in the adoption special.

I’m sure all of the animal lovers in Franklin County and beyond, including me, really appreciate your kindness and caring.

Just remember, Dakin depends on foster care volunteers to help it save lives, and I’m told the need is critical right now.

There are many ways to foster, from bottle feeding orphaned kittens to helping socialize an underage litter to hosting a mom and her kittens. There are also opportunities to provide temporary care for adult cats and dogs that are too stressed in a shelter setting.

For more information, contact Dakin at 413-781-4000.

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.

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.