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Editorial: Good news for UMass students

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

The decision by the University of Massachusetts to freeze tuition and mandatory fees for the second year running has to be seen as a plus for students and their families. Look practically anywhere else and you’re likely to see sizeable increases. As student trustee Megan Kingston, a UMass Amherst student said, “the second consecutive fee-freeze showcases the dedication of our elected officials to the noble cause of affordable public higher education ... This freeze advances our mission of accessibility and affordability.”

Hearing back from local lawmakers

In a recent Recorder editorial on the economic development plan put forth by the House, the point was made that more information was desired. In response to that, state Reps. Stephen Kulik and Paul Mark reached out to better explain what the thinking in the House was on decisions such as the sales tax holiday weekend, a proposed meals tax holiday and legislative control over the number of liquor licenses available. While the discussion may not change the Recorder’s stance on some of these issues, it does allow us to see that considerable thought goes into the process of making a decision, something that’s not always readily apparent. Their willingness to engage in a constructive dialogue is another example of the constituent service they, and the other lawmakers of the area, are committed to providing.

Orange Solstice Riverfest

Communities are always looking for new and interesting ways to celebrate their uniqueness. That’s why the first Orange Solstice Riverfest seems to us to have been a grand idea. With decorated canoes, kayaks and rowboats traveling down the Millers River past floating fire pits marking the route, it was a new and interesting idea for the region. Kudos to the Orange Lions Club and Orange Business Association for being willing to sponsor the fest. We’re looking forward to this happening again next year.

Roundabout short- and long-term impact

While the construction of a roundabout at the entrance to Greenfield Community College and Colrain Road will cause some short-term pain as far as traffic is concerned, we think the long-term improvement will provide for a safer intersection. Will it eliminate all speeding or accidents? Probably not. But over time this stretch of road will be safer because of the change, and it will undoubtedly speed traffic flow.

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