Editorial: Monday Shorts: ‘Excellence and Opportunity’

  • Dr. Dean Singer at 146 Federal St. in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Published: 4/12/2021 2:52:52 PM

Here are some brief thoughts on recent happenings in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region.

Since 1962, Greenfield Community College has offered “Excellence and Opportunity,” as the title of Arthur W. Shaw’s history of its first 25 years puts it, to the residents of Franklin County and beyond. Readers with long memories will recall when the college was strung out across downtown Greenfield — the old Federal Street school, the Newell Court annex, the former Threadwell Tap & Die building on Arch Street, and probably other humble sites — even as its early leaders jockeyed for a permanent campus. But to its students, these makeshift quarters were a string of pearls because they felt like “college” — intellectually demanding yet always supportive of its students.

As reported in this paper, the GCC Foundation annual fund campaign kicked off with a student success story: Tylor Gosselin, 28, who related her experience as a beneficiary of the GCC Foundation’s financial support. The mother of triplets when she was 18, Gosselin came to GCC as a certified nursing assistant in 2017, earning $8 an hour. This spring, she graduates with an Associate Degree in Nursing, a crucial stepping stone to a high-paying career that she will continue to pursue at Westfield State University. It would never have been possible without the generosity of donors who keep financial support flowing, convincing Gosselin to stick with the program.

Since its beginnings, GCC has never shrank from big aspirations. This year, its fundraising arm has set its biggest goal ever: $1.3 million, necessary because state funding amounts to less than half of what it costs to provide a GCC education. The rest must come from tuition fees, grants and our community, including donors like you. To donate, go online to gcc.mass.edu/give, or send a check to GCC Foundation, 1 College Drive, Greenfield MA 01301, or contact the GCC Foundation at 413-775-1600 or email foundation@gcc.mass.edu.

Share your story while you’re at it: They are always eager to hear it.

A new doctor comes to town

The arrival of a new doctor setting up shop in Greenfield is like a shot in the arm to the community. As reported Friday, Dr. Dean Singer, a Greenfield native, opened Greenfield Primary Care, an independent practice, at 146 Federal St.

It sounds like the new practice will hark back to the traditional with a nod to the new. For example, Singer envisions a return to the “wrap-around style of care” that sees patients in the hospital, nursing home, anywhere they are. At the same time, Singer’s practice will also offer Telehealth visits over the phone or via video chats. “It’s amazing to think this stuff was not a thing, and now it’s mainstream,” he said.

As Singer pointed out, Franklin County has about half as many primary care providers as it should, based on population. It’s a need that Baystate Franklin Medical Center, which Singer is partnering with, is seeking to alleviate with its planned graduate school of family medicine. The hope is that one or more of its initial 12 resident doctors will want to stay in Franklin County.

Singer’s return affirms that to know Franklin County is to love Franklin County. “I was born in this town,” he said. “It’s been my goal for a really long time to do this. Even when I was a medical student, I knew I wanted to come back and work in Greenfield because I really love this community.”

We welcome Singer and hope more like him will follow.

See the connection?

A pair of stories in last week’s papers are surely linked. The first, on Tuesday, was headlined “Demand jacks up house prices.” The second, on Saturday, proclaimed, “Housing is out of control.” The common denominator, of course, is the lack of affordable housing in Franklin County.

In the first, we learned that the median sales price of single-family homes has jumped by more than 40 percent in the first two months of 2021, with a median sales price of $275,000. That’s if you can even find such a house.

Perhaps due to the pandemic, “The low inventory continues to get lower and lower,” Corinne Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald Real Estate in Greenfield said. “We’s seeing people coming from out of the area, so we have that adding to the competition for people locally.

In the second story, we learn that Franklin County needs about 1,200 affordable units to satisfy demand. This analysis comes from sessions two and three of a nine-session virtual forum, “Housing is a Human Right: We can Make It Happen,” the culmination of 18 months of research and study by the Forum Organizing Committee jointly formed by Greening Greenfield and Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution.

“We need to find creative solutions to affordable housing,” Gina Govoni, executive director of Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority said.

Actually, they have some solutions, like “Resident-Owned Communities,” which is the topic of their next forum set for Thursday at 7 p.m. on Zoom. For the link, visit housingishumanright.com.

Tune in to see what might work around here.


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