Editorial: Sober house funding shows positive change is worth supporting

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Here are some brief thoughts on some of the events making news from around Franklin County and the North Quabbin area:

Let’s hear it for Devon DeKorver, who for more than four years has been trying to establish a sober house in town for women who need that support in their recovery from addiction. DeKorver has managed to get a state grant of $75,000 to buy and renovate a house on Cedar Street.

With DeKorver’s organization, Sage Housing Inc., about $30,000 was raised through annual road races, which was enough to purchase a house on Cedar Street, but it was still going to be an uphill battle to fund the renovations. Now, he hopes to open a sober house for six women in the early spring, through this funding from MassHousing’s Center for Community Recovery Innovations. The issue of sufficient sober housing, mainly for those who have come out of a clinical program like a halfway house, is often a chief point of discussion among addiction recovery advocates in the region.

DeKorver also hopes to open a sober house for men down the line.

“It just gives you that feeling like change is possible,” DeKorver observed after he got the great news. Indeed.

More than fair news

The Franklin County Fair and the Heath Fair have won some 2017 awards from their state fair association for smart use of media to promote themselves, and by extension, local agriculture.

The Franklin County Fair received three second-place honors in the posters, premium books and television advertising categories, as well as a third-place award for newspaper advertising — all in the major fairs designation.

The Heath Fair received four first-place awards in the radio advertising, brochures, newspaper advertising and posters categories; second-place honors in website; and placed third for advertising specialties — all in the medium fairs designation.

Heath Fair also won the Judges’ Choice award for its poster.

The fairs themselves are appreciated by the public, but it’s nice to see their promotions earn kudos from their peers, as well.

How sweet it is

Maple syrup has long been a source of New England pride, and now state Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, has proposed a bill to make maple syrup the official sweetener of Massachusetts and designate March as Massachusetts Maple Month.

Kulik’s bill would establish March as Maple Month “in recognition of the vital role maple sugaring plays in the agriculture industry, as well as the culture, heritage and economy of the commonwealth.” Sugar-making is certainly a big part of life for many area farmers and for all of us who like “real” syrup in, on and around our food.

Vote Northfield

Monday was a good day for Northfield residents who wanted to get involved in their local governance. A special town meeting considered issues related to a proposed public safety complex. There are more votes needed later, but each step places the town farther along the path to a big commitment. Lots of local tax dollars are at stake, but so is how the town will support its fire, EMS and police services.

The Emergency Services Facility Committee, responsible for planning a public safety complex on the Fire Department’s lot, requested two articles asking voters to allocate $15,000 for a title research on the land and $68,825 for more detailed designs. So, attending meetings and speaking your piece is always important.