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Scouts preventing bad spills and learning life skills


Monday, January 01, 2018

Hauling buckets of sand, it turns out, can be a charitable act and an important lesson in life skills that we all could stand to learn.

Troop 9 Boy Scouts 12-year-old Joseph Kirley and 11-year-old Otis Waggenbeek proved the point recently as they carried pails of sand to elderly Northfield residents who appreciated the help treating icy driveways and walkways this winter.

Northfield Council on Aging Director Heather Tower worked with the Scouts to deliver sand to about 30 households in December.

Tower considers the arrangement a win-win: the Boy Scouts engage with residents and perform community service, while the seniors feel comfortable knowing their driveways and walkways will be safe for not only themselves, but their visitors.

“It teaches us to be helpful and generous,” explained Joseph, adding, “It helps a lot of senior citizens.”

Joseph’s mother, Tracey, said when her son first got involved in the Boy Scouts, she thought it would be an outing club for boys, but discovered Troop 9 offered much more.

“I didn’t realize it taught these life skills, like how to be a good citizen ...,” she said. “We’re hooked. We love it.”

Yeah, Shea

The Shea Theater in downtown Turners Falls has completed “Light up the Shea,” the first phase of the capital funding campaign to rejuvenate the theater that was turned into a community arts space about four decades ago.

“Thanks to the support of the community, and business community, we were able to finish this first leg,” said Christopher “Monte” Belmonte, board president of the Shea Theater Arts Center.

“We wanted to make sure we had the theater and performance aspect in tip top shape. That’s why the phase is called ‘light up the Shea’,” Belmonte said.

Over the past year, the downtown theater in collaboration with the Turners Falls community raised about $400,000 toward capital improvements.

Notably, Berkshire Brewing Company recently created and sold 500 cases of “Shea Theater’s Rebellion,” raising almost $10,000.

Recent improvements to the Avenue A building, which is owned by the town, include a new sound system, speakers, and microphones. Currently, the theater is installing digital signs showcasing upcoming shows.

And looking ahead, Belmonte said, “we’ve pretty much secured the funding we need to install a screen and projector.”

That kind of support is what the community arts scene is all about.

Beautiful ugly

Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center has brought lots of different talent and entertainment to downtown Greenfield of late, but it has stretched the definition of arts with its first-ever ugly sweater party at the end of December.

Co-Manager Benjamin Goldsher, himself decked out in a sweater, said he has attended ugly sweater parties in the past and thought it would be something fun and different to bring to the Hawks & Reed.

“It’s kind of a classic holiday party,” he said, noting that he hopes the arts center will host ugly sweater parties annually. “Who doesn’t love an ugly sweater?”

Governor times 3

The three announced Democratic hopefuls for governor are scheduled to appear in a forum planned for Saturday at Greenfield Middle School, and we are happy to see them reaching out to this rural area so soon in the season.

The forum, scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m., is being sponsored by Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution along with the Democratic town committees of Ashfield, Colrain, Erving, Greenfield, Leyden, Montague, New Salem, Shelburne, Shutesbury and Sunderland.

Scheduled to take questions from the coordinating committee of the progressive political organization, as well as the audience, are Jay Gonzalez, Bob Massie and Setti Warren, who seek to challenge Republican incumbent Charlie Baker’s bid for a second term.

The forum is designed to draw distinctions among the gubernatorial candidates and to draw out the candidate best able to mobilize voters next November. As we have learned, voting is important.