Brief thoughts on some of the events making news from around Franklin County and the North Quabbin region:
Dateline Greenfield: We know that Mayor William Martin’s recent pronouncement that the town should take control of the former First National Bank building on Bank Row had more than a few residents raising their eyebrows in surprise, especially with the plans to build a new high school and the drive to buy the former Lunt Silversmith property still in the works. People are asking where the money’s coming from — and it’s a legitimate question, one the mayor should explain in better detail. And if the mayor is in such an acquisition mood, the former Holy Trinity School seems like a building that could serve a number of purposes for the town. Meanwhile, the Town Council is scheduled to vote on the Lunt purchase next month. This purchase makes sense as long as everything but the playing fields makes its way back to the tax rolls.
Dateline Charlemont: Another successful chili cook-off has officially come and gone. The event is used by the Friends of the Charlemont Fairgrounds to help raise money for Yankee Doodle Days. Here’s an idea to help with the fundraising — put together a recipe book from the contestants. This could also include the recipes from the Chowder Fest.
Dateline south county: The towns of Deerfield, Sunderland and Whately continue to carefully examine the idea of creating a regional ambulance service. What the towns are finding is that in exchange for better coverage, the service would probably wind up costing more. Besides more specifics about finances, the three towns have to determine if the additional money makes sense. Service, especially when we’re talking about emergency medical help, has great, if not critical value. And we have to think that many residents of the three communities recognize this and would be willing to pay for it.
Dateline the state: Gov. Deval Patrick’s vision for Massachusetts was outlined ahead of the presentation of his next budget idea. That the governor was calling for more tax revenue via changes in the state income and sales taxes wasn’t a surprise, not given the boost he wants to give to education and public transportation. But his budget calls for a sales tax on candy and soda, an approach we’re not sure the public is willing to stomach. Once again, the devil is in the details.