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Editorial: Whately diner

Brief thoughts on some of the events making news from around Franklin County and the North Quabbin area:

Dateline Whately: We can understand the concern over the Whately Diner’s request to serve beer and wine to its customers. Anytime there’s a possibility of mixing alcohol and driving, there’s the potential for trouble. That said, it seems that the diner’s owner, F.L. Roberts, is willing to take several steps to mitigate the chances of an issue occurring. This includes reducing the hours that one can buy a beer or a glass of wine with one’s meal and limiting the number of drinks an individual can buy with their meal. As Paul Maleck, the attorney for the owners, said, “We have no intention of making this into a bar. Food and drink must go together. And there will be no alcohol outside the building.” The owners are also going to reconfigure the parking lot to better separate the small vehicles from the tractor-trailer trucks that frequent the stop just off Interstate 91. Will the change alter the atmosphere at the place? We sort of doubt it ... after all, there are plenty of “family” restaurants that serve beer and wine. It all depends how it’s managed and we suspect that the folks at the diner will do their best to make sure everyone feels comfortable.

Dateline Ashfield: It’s good to see the town is trying to find ways to save taxpayers’ money, including when it comes to energy use. The recent signing of a 20-year agreement with Nexamp, a solar energy producer, seems like a solid step. The town will be purchasing electricity at a 27 percent discount to provide power for Ashfield’s wastewater treatment plan and other town buildings. More and more, we suspect, finding the best energy deals, especially ones involving renewable energy, is something officials in Ashfield and other communities are going to have to spend more time exploring.

Dateline Rowe: We continue to think it’s a disservice to the community to delay offering information when it comes to action taken by a selectman regarding its employee. While we do understand the issues of privacy and the desire to avoid lawsuits and other legal entanglements, the question of whether an employee has been placed on leave, and whether he or she is still on the payroll, deserves a straightforward “yes” or “no” answer — and not the excuse that the town’s lawyer has advised selectmen not to comment. Five days is too long to go silent over such action. This isn’t good.

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