Quotable Quotes of 2023: Part 1

Published: 12-31-2023 10:01 AM

Editor’s note: Here’s a collection of quotes harvested from the front pages of the Greenfield Recorder in 2023. This is the first of three installments.

January

“So many of them just can’t get jobs; people just aren’t interested in working with them. My motto is, ‘I don’t really care what you’ve done, I care where you are now and where you want to be and who you want to become.’” — Liz Buxton, the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center’s director of operations, speaking about the center’s work to get inmates and formerly incarcerated people involved in food production.

“The technology of the radio may be over the airwaves, but it’s really about light — shining a light on the community.” — Radio personality Christopher “Monte” Belmonte, after accepting a new job at New England Public Media.

“As the Selectboard, you have considerable power over town facilities. With that power also comes responsibility to consider and maintain the well-being of the whole community. Names matter.” — Heath resident Jean Gran, following the Selectboard’s initial decision to rename the former elementary school the “Heath Community Center.”

“Who else has a handmade quilt [as a flag]? Our flag sticks out because it’s so unique. But if you don’t know the town, never been here, that stuff doesn’t mean much to you.” — Conway Selectboard Chair Philip Kantor on the town flag receiving an F grade in an online survey conducted by the North American Vexillological Association.

“In an organization that has not done their homework at all and is kind of a house of cards, if you will, we need to play Captain Obvious with these people.” — Northfield Selectboard member Alex Meisner, commenting on a need to outline expectations for organizers of a proposed Christian music festival that were considering the D.L. Moody Center for a venue.

“People are more than just a mental illness diagnosis or substance use diagnosis. … People are whole people, and in order to help heal and address whatever issues might be going on in someone’s life, we have to address everything at once.” — James Flood, program director of certified community behavioral health clinics for ServiceNet, which received a $4 million grant to extend and enhance its services.

“Imagine if you had one or two cotton blankets on your bed. You’d be kind of warm, but if you put 20 of those blankets on your bed, you’d feel kind of suffocated. Methane is like a down comforter each time it goes out to the atmosphere.” — Franklin County Solid Waste Management District Program Director Amy Donovan, providing an analogy to describe how methane contributes to climate change.

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“Winters with so many days above freezing would not be recognizable to generations that lived in the late 1800s when record keeping began in earnest. Particularly, year after year, we’re losing the frozen season. It’s contracting and becoming less intense.” — Climate System Research Center Associate Director Michael Rawlins, regarding 2022 being the sixth-warmest year on record in the state.

“It’s exposure, and I think exposure brings knowledge, and I think knowledge beats fear.” — Nathan Romanski-Monty, co-founder of the Morphs & Milestones herpetology education organization, who brought a collection of reptiles to a talk at Franklin County Technical School.

“I do want to say a dozen eggs is still cheaper than a large cappuccino, or whatever it is, at Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts.” — Anne Diemand Bucci, co-owner of Diemand Farm in Wendell, making a joke regarding skyrocketing egg prices.

February

“Simply put, students adored him — and for a while, I could never figure out why! He’d bark at them, tell them they were utterly confused about some issue, ridicule their temporary interests and basically delight tormenting them. But beneath that … his students loved him because his passion gave them something they couldn’t find in the other places of their college experiences — an unalloyed joy at chasing the sparks of curiosity without worrying about how it might fit into some career path.” — University of Massachusetts Amherst Classics Department Chair Anthony Tuck, speaking about late professor Marios Philippides, who was struck and killed in a Greenfield crosswalk.

“Government moves slowly, but this is super warp speed. We are doing everything we can to keep it moving.” — Randy Crochier, program manager of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments’ Cooperative Public Health Service District, regarding finding a solution for sewage processing in the Griswoldville section of Colrain following the closure of Barnhardt Manufacturing Co.

“I was one of the young and naive part of society that is kind of unaware of the struggles and things that veterans deal with when coming home from war. When I started sitting in front of these men and women, it was just a huge eye-opener for me.” — Matt Dallas, co-producer of “Sheepdog,” which was filmed in Turners Falls, Millers Falls and Greenfield.

“We do have some experience on the cannabis side and some on the nudity side. ... We want to replace this night club scene and alcohol with something that is harmless in comparison.” — Nick Spagnola, who owns Club Castaway in Whately with Julius Sokol, regarding their plans to transition their business into what could possibly be the nation’s first-ever topless marijuana dispensary.

“We are a small enough town that we are appreciated by people. The thankfulness is our pay.” — Warwick Buildings and Energy Committee member Janice Kurkoski, regarding the board’s volunteer work to reduce energy consumption in town.

“This group of elders has more needs. We were taught to be invisible.” — Donna Liebl, a volunteer with Rainbow Elders who attended the first meeting of the North County LGBTQIA+ group, which convenes monthly at the Bernardston Senior Center.

“To see yet again another winter with record or near-record warmth across New England is like an exclamation point on a warming trend.” — Climate System Research Center Associate Director Michael Rawlins, speaking on the warmest January on record for Massachusetts and New England.

“Libraries are places were people can connect with information in the form that is most helpful to them at any given time. ... This new library will really allow us to tap into that — the library as a community space.” — Greenfield Public Library Director Ellen Boyer, who retired in June after overseeing the process of getting a new building.

“What’s important is it’s a multi-generational community of people that reach out and invite people in. … You don’t have to be strong, you don’t have to be big. I have met more people on a pickleball court than I have in the five years before that.” — Mike Reddig, advocating for $300,000 of Community Preservation Act money to be put toward pickleball courts.

March

“The fact that the state has so much excess revenue right now, it’s frustrating fully funding rural schools isn’t on the table.” — Kristen Smidy, superintendent of the Huntington-based Gateway Regional School District, reacting to Gov. Maura Healey’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2024, which included $7.5 million in rural school aid, a $2 million or 36% increase from the previous year but still significantly less than the $60 million recommended by the Special Commission on Rural School Districts.

“She had a way she communicated with kids to make them feel special, loved, and like what they were doing with art was important. People loved her because her heart was always in the right place.” — Nate Hoffman, remembering his mother Mary Kay Hoffman, who was the longtime executive director of the Artspace Community Arts Center and the driving force behind the creation of the Pioneer Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra. She died Feb. 21 at 78 years old.

“Being able to speak someone’s language is a great way to welcome them in any space.” — Sunderland Public Library Director Katherine Umstot regarding the library hosting American Sign Language classes.

“Sugar makers are stewards of the planet.” — Winton Pitcoff, coordinator of the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association, speaking to the start of sugaring season.

“It’s like a game of Whac-A-Mole with different symptoms popping up all the time. There is currently no prognosis or cure, and any emotional, physical or mental situation that is overwhelming and stressful can bring on symptoms and lead to relapse.” — Colrain resident Julie Fallon, reflecting on what it’s like living with Long COVID.

“The statue isn’t even true to who we are. It’s a landmark that signifies what was taken from us.” — Jasmine Goodspeed, a member of the Nipmuc nation, speaking during a Charlemont Selectboard meeting that discussed the proposed removal or alteration of the Native American statue on Route 2.

“Just like the steel of this building, the Fire Department is the … strength of the community.” — Greenfield Fire Chief Robert Strahan, during a celebration of the new fire station being constructed on Main Street.

“The purpose of climate action, to me, is to invoke change on a systematic level. It’s all about invoking that mindset shift.” — Youth Climate Action Now leader Sasha Kracauer, speaking during a climate action panel at the Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew in Greenfield.

April

“There are some people that go to Mohegan Sun or Atlantic City or Las Vegas — some of us go into farming and … roll the dice. We’re at the mercy of what Mother Nature hands us and we have to try to bob and weave ... around it. It just seems like every [few] years something comes in and knocks you off your bicycle.” — David Pease, owner of Pease Orchard in Templeton, reacting to the loss of his peach crop to mid-February’s subzero temperatures.

“The extreme losses in staff plus the unprecedented trauma and lack of basic communication skills students are exhibiting equal one thing: a crisis.” — Mark Burnett, a sixth grade teacher at Erving Elementary School, mentioning how students’ needs have increased following the pandemic while speaking during an Erving Selectboard meeting about the coming fiscal year’s school budget.

“The fight is not with me; the fight is with our state Legislature to make sure our schools ... get the funding we deserve. I think us continuing to lobby serves us all better, not picking an enemy.” — Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner, after she released her $61.6 million budget proposal for fiscal year 2024 that included a $1.5 million cut to Superintendent Christine DeBarge’s proposed school budget of $21.25 million.

“We went from being cool to uncool to cool again. And we’re still here.” — Patrick Pezzati, owner and founder of Turn It Up! in Montague, on the increasing popularity of vinyl albums.

“‘We should go for a hike,’ he said, and took me to Mount Holyoke. He arrives with a walking stick and a flashlight and gives this running commentary about moss, trees and rock formations. Then I hear this groan — I thought he was having a heart attack. ‘Look!’ he shrieks. ‘What?’ I cried. ‘There! Where? THERE!’ Can that be sassafras at this height?!’ He knew everything — in excruciating detail.” — U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, remembering late Congressman John Olver, who died in February at age 86.

“When it is time to listen, I listen. When it is time to talk, I perform; I don’t leave space for others.” — Stoneleigh-Burnham School student and Shelburne native Stella Turowsky-Ganci, who competed in the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championship in South Africa.

“Rather than build giant massive zoos for those of us with gray hair, this is a great way to keep us all integrated as a multi-generational community.” — Deerfield Senior Housing Committee Chair Lili Dwight, speaking to the need to ease regulations governing accessory apartments.