Monday shorts: Alerts, exploration and activism

  • Charlotte Vickery, a member of the Girls Who Code club at Sunderland Elementary School, works with robots in the school’s library/media center. Staff Photo/Domenic Poli

Published: 1/12/2020 4:58:19 PM
Modified: 1/12/2020 4:57:35 PM

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

Spreading emergency information

A reverse 911 system — or a Code Red system, as it’s called in some towns — has proven to be a popular concept in our area, with many towns using it to alert residents to everything from downed power lines to road construction that might impact commutes to and from work.

Now, Leyden is seeking to join in, with Special Town Meeting voters deciding to appropriate an initial $3,000 to join the program through Rave Mobile Security for an initial one-year period. Police Chief and Emergency Management Director Daniel Galvis, who is also acting as Leyden’s field representative for Rave, said last week that he expects the system to be complete in late February or early March.

Bernardston Fire Chief Peter Shedd attested to how a reverse 911 system revolutionizes the way emergency information travels, following impactful storms in 2016.

“Time-wise, it’s much faster to (use the Code Red system) than to go door to door passing out flyers or going around town with a P.A. system,” Shedd said, which is something Bernardston’s emergency management team has done for emergencies in the past. “It takes several hours to do that,” Shedd continued, “and that’s on a small town.”

Being in the news business, we have similar goals as these emergency management directors: to disseminate information to our readers as fast as possible for their benefit. We support systems like reverse 911 that will help information travel for residents’ benefit, and are glad to see it being prioritized in Leyden.

Opening up other worlds

Sunderland Elementary School is thinking outside the box with its two popular clubs: Girls Who Code and Guys Read.

Librarian Rachel Kidder, who facilitates both clubs, said Girls Who Code aims to get more young women involved with computer science while also fostering friendships and demonstrating how to use technology for positive purposes. Meanwhile, Guys Read is a lunchtime book club for boys in sixth grade. Its humble beginnings involved two boys wanting to read “The Lord of the Rings,” and since then, the club has grown to include 20 children.

We can’t stress enough how significant it is for children to be exposed to concepts they might not otherwise be familiar with. In this case, Girls Who Code has the potential to spark a career interest in computer science. And certainly, reading a book has been equated time and time again to entering another world entirely. The worlds are endless in a club like Guys Read.

Recognizing our activists

As you may have noticed on the front page, today we’re starting a week-long series about female activists, specifically timed around the Women’s March this coming weekend.

The thread tying these women together will be that their names are well-known in our area due to their involvement in activism, which can take many forms. We intend to highlight residents from across the county to ensure our various territories are represented.

Still, a series like this can only highlight so many people and their work. We have no doubt that there are many other women in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region fighting for a cause or multiple causes that are close to their hearts, and who deserve recognition. That being the case, we encourage you to write in to to tell us about the activists who are making a difference in your communities.

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