Brief thoughts on some of the events making news from around Franklin County and the North Quabbin area:
Dateline Rowe: Our first thought on reading the story of the painting stolen from the side of the home of Susan Wood and Russ Jolly was how brazen a crime it was. Whoever decided to do this had to use a crowbar to pull off the painting on a plywood sheet that was bolted onto the house. Our second thought was how sad it was, though it shouldn’t necessarily be seen as surprising. If people are willing to steal weathervanes from the top of houses and barns, why should they stop at a painting hanging on an exterior wall? As Wood said in The Recorder story, “It’s not just losing a painting; it’s about losing the whole (peacefulness) of living here.”
Dateline Charlemont and Rowe: It has be seen as a good move that Rowe elementary school students will continue to have a home at Hawlemont Regional School. After the fire destroyed Rowe’s elementary school last August, Hawlemont opened the school’s doors for Rowe to operate there. And while the intention is for Rowe to build a school, that takes time. Knowing that Rowe students have a place to go provides a degree of stability and comfort, no matter what might happen with the construction schedule.
Dateline Frontier, Union 38 school districts: The decision to hire Frontier Principal Martha Barrett as the new superintendent to replace Regina Nash, who is retiring at the end of June, has to be one of the more seamless hiring decisions we’ve seen in some time. That’s both a credit to the job that Barrett has been doing and the school committees to see that Barrett, who has been with the school since 2002, has the qualities they want in filling the post.
Dateline the state: A tip of the hat to William Gavin, Massachusetts secretary of state, for his response to what U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts had to say during oral arguments in a case over the federal Voting Rights Act. Roberts asked, “do you know which state has the worst ratio of white voter turnout to African-American voter turnout?” He then went on to say it was Massachusetts, though he didn’t cite where his information came from. Gavin came quickly to the commonwealth’s defense: “The concept of black communities in Massachusetts not voting is an old slur, and it’s not true,” Galvin said. “I guess the point (Roberts) is trying to make is Mississippi is doing so much better they don’t need the Voting Rights Act. He can still relay that conclusion, but he shouldn’t be using phony statistics. It’s deceptive, and it’s truly disturbing.” We agree.