Monday shorts: Mutts, influential mediums and miscreants

  • Attendees peruse raffle items during the seventh annual Mutts in Need fundraising event for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Regional Dog Shelter at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun Club. The event raised about $6,000 just through admission, which will pay for vet bills for the shelter’s dogs. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Published: 8/19/2019 11:04:05 AM

Here are brief thoughts on some of the events taking place around Franklin County and the North Quabbin area.

Harnessing the power of the written word

There’s a reason that people say “the pen is mightier than the sword.”

The written word is a powerful thing. It can educate, communicate, change opinions and, perhaps most significantly, inspire.

That’s exactly what the Greenfield-based Traprock Center for Peace & Justice is trying to do by sending books about peace and justice to students in West Africa.

It might seem like reading “The Lion Who Stole My Arm” or “I am Malala” wouldn’t do much to save a world facing climate change and threats to democracy. But Traprock board member Pat Hynes sees ways the book project can inspire young people to “dream behind their horizons” by opening their minds to role models fostering diversity and conflict resolution.

We couldn’t agree more.

Indeed, the book project is a small gesture with a big potential impact. In the same way that books can open doors to other worlds, they can also open doors to a better reality.

Shelter support goes a long way

Everybody loves a good fundraising story, especially when the effort benefits a furry recipient.

The approximately 200 people who attended the seventh annual Mutts in Need event to benefit the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Regional Dog Shelter proved just that.

According to organizer Leslee Colucci, each person paid $30 for admission, bringing in about $6,000 — not including more money that was raised through donations, raffles and auctions. That’s enough to cover the cost of vet care for all of the dogs that will pass through the shelter over the next year.

That’s certainly an accomplishment to be proud of.

Decking the halls ... with photography

No one wants to be hospitalized. And certainly no one wants to hear the sobering news that comes with a cancer diagnosis.

But the efforts of a devoted volunteer have raised the spirits of patients and their families at Baystate Franklin Medical Center.

For four years, Ginny Newton of Erving has decorated the oncology ward hall with photos by local artists. Not only do the exhibits give our area’s talented photographers the exposure they deserve, but they can also brighten someone’s day.

Seeing a beautiful photo on what may have been an emotionally trying day is by no means a cure-all, but at least for a moment, it might take that person’s mind away from the situation to somewhere that’s peaceful and safe.

We thank Newton for her service, and welcome her fellow artist Judy Cummings, who will take over managing the exhibits this fall.

If you’d like to see some of Newton’s own photos, they’ll be decorating the oncology ward hall for the next few months, without a specific end date. Her exhibit, titled “Here and Now,” pays homage to Newton’s two most cherished places: Franklin County and Martha’s Vineyard.

Teamwork pays off in Northfield

The police certainly had their work cut out for them when Christopher Shepherd, 23, allegedly injured an officer and led police on a foot chase through Northfield.

But the incident also served as a good example of town departments and townspeople working together.

When Shepherd — who had an outstanding warrant — was first spotted and fled, the ensuing Northfield officer and an off-duty Leyden officer worked together to subdue him.

Then, when Shepherd escaped police custody, Northfield Police called for assistance from State Police, as well as the police departments of Erving, Gill, Greenfield, Warwick and Wendell. Northfield Police Chief Robert Leighton also called on Fire Chief Floyd “Skip” Dunnell III to send out a “reverse 911 call” to all residents.

A final — and crucial — bit of assistance came from Chris Zukowski, 29, and Cody Snow, 28, who spotted Shepherd at the Northfield Golf Club, subdued him and called 9-1-1.

In the face of an obviously worrisome situation, this is effective teamwork at its finest.


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