Editorial: Monday Shorts: The big release

  • Colrain Central School Principal Amy Looman video records first-grade teacher Lena Jillson releasing trout fry into the East Branch of the North River. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Published: 6/28/2020 12:22:52 PM

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

The big release

Alas, there were no small fry of the student sort on hand to launch the small fry of the trout ilk into the east branch of the North River recently. It was the culmination of a service learning project to replace some of the trout that were killed as a result of an acid spill at Barnhardt Manufacturing Co. last fall.

Colrain Central School first-graders raised the trout from eggs and developed bonds as they hatched and grew. When the students were sent home in March due to the pandemic, staff members continued to care for the developing fingerlings until Teacher Lena Jillson and Principal Amy Looman gently tipped the buckets of fry into the river.

“My favorite thing to do with the trout was feeding them,” wrote one student. “I learned that it takes a long time for the fish eggs to grow up. I hope that our fish live for a long time.”

And we hope these new denizens of the river carry some vestigial memory of the small hands and smiling faces of the first-graders who fed and nurtured them.

That’s Black with a capital B

This newspaper follows the guidelines of The Associated Press Stylebook, comprising some 600 pages of style points intended to standardize spelling, language, punctuation, usage and journalistic style. It is the definitive resource for journalists.

For example, how do you abbreviate the name of our state? Answer: It’s not MA — that’s a postal code. It’s Mass.

Acronyms — those sets of initials such as BOH for Board of Health? Don’t use them. Spell out completely for first usage; on subsequent mentions, use generic terms such as “board.” Here at the Recorder, however, we have granted ourselves a special dispensation when it comes to the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition. After using its full name, we go with the abbreviated “NELCWIT.”

AP Styles are updated regularly and the latest is to capitalize Black in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense, “conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black.” The lowercase black is a color, not a person.

The AP said it expects to make a decision within a month on whether to capitalize the term white.

Every Recorder reporter gets an AP Stylebook, not (only) because we are nit-picky, but because our aim is to be inclusive and respectful in our reporting.

Orange votes for its schools

By a more than 2 to 1 margin last Monday (598-260), Orange voters ratified a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion for a new school they passed at the Annual Town Meeting the previous week.

“This begins the project,” Orange School Building Committee Chair Bruce Scherer said of Monday’s vote, adding, “I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep.”

It was an affirmation that hung on the cusp of defeat in the privacy of the voting booth. Just last year, in 2019, an override vote that would have benefited the schools failed, 676-295. Rejean Labbe voted in favor of that override. The main reason, he said at the time, aside from supporting the town, was to ensure public education is well-funded. Labbe added that his children attend Orange public schools. “We’re basically going to be in favor of anything that will help children in the town,” Labbe said.

One year later, enough others joined him to ensure passage of the debt exclusion override. That it succeeded is a testament to Orange residents’ faith in the future, a future in which new families will be attracted to a town with a new school. Two and a half years from now, Fisher Hill School’s youngest students will walk into a state-of-the-art facility.

Hopefully, Scherer has been sleeping better of late.

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