Brief thoughts on some of the events making news from around Franklin County and the North Quabbin area:
Dateline Greenfield: The idea of a town facilities manager to run the Central Maintenance Department is a good one, providing that person has a key role in budgeting and in equipping town buildings during construction and renovation. Mayor William Martin hired George VanDelinder for that job earlier this month ... good timing, since a new $66 million high school is being designed and new energy management systems are being considered for town buildings. Making sure there is commonality of equipment and parts, as well as regular preventative maintenance, can save Greenfield taxpayers considerable money in the future. The failure to consider these factors during the renovation of the town’s elementary schools and its middle school are an example of how not to do this sort of work. We welcome VanDelinder to town.
Dateline Montague: We’re glad to see that the Board of Selectmen have approved a grant application for $40,000 in federal battlefield preservation money to study the Falls Fight, a bloody attack that took place during King Philip’s War in 1676. The battle ultimately gave the village of Turners Falls its name, and has been the subject of considerable debate in the centuries since. Originally hailed as a victory by the English in the war, it’s now seen by some as an unprovoked massacre of innocent and peaceful Indians. The truth, as usual, falls somewhere in between these extremes, and good historical research can only help us understand that turbulent time.
Dateline Sunderland: The Board of Selectmen is exploring the idea of sharing firefighting services with neighboring towns. That makes a lot of sense, since small town volunteer fire departments often suffer from a sparsity of calls and difficulty in daytime manning and paying for equipment. “This is a very preliminary correspondence to towns to see if they are interested in preliminary discussions to share on-call fire service and equipment,” Town Administrator Margaret Nartowicz told The Recorder. The town is now waiting for responses from Whately, Hadley, Leverett, Hatfield and Shutesbury. Currently, the town is talking to Whately and Deerfield about regionalizing EMS services, again, a great idea. We hope the towns can reach an accommodation on both issues.