Regional Notebook: March 8, 2023

Published: 03-08-2023 3:46 PM

Baystate Health offering virtual lectures on colorectal cancer

SPRINGFIELD — As part of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Baystate Health will hold a free virtual lecture on Thursday, March 9, from 6 to 7 p.m. titled “It Can Happen to Anybody: Colorectal Cancer.”

Presented by colorectal surgeons Dr. Holly Sheldon and Dr. Ziad Kutayli, the lecture will focus on the importance of early screening with the latest tests, and will discuss current research. Regular screening, now beginning at age 45, is key to preventing colorectal cancer.

To register, visit

March 17: Strategy session following hunger conference

A coalition of legislators and advocates will gather over Zoom on Friday, March 17, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. for a debrief and a Massachusetts-focused strategy session on the heels of the White House’s Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in September 2022.

This event is co-hosted and organized by the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Gardening the Community, Growing Places, Stone Soup Cafe, CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture), Massachusetts Food System Collaborative, and the western Massachusetts state delegation, including Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, and Rep. Mindy Domb, D-Amherst.

Attendees will include leaders from across the five-county western Massachusetts region, including anti-hunger agencies, food justice organizations, farm advocates, public health officials and health care providers. Congressman Jim McGovern will share what’s happening at the state and federal levels to support this work.

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“Our shared goal is to end hunger in the nation and in Massachusetts by 2030, to tackle diet-related disease, and to strengthen local farms and the food system,” McGovern said in a CISA announcement. “This meeting builds on the White House Conference and the urgent national conversation about hunger and health by focusing on the needs and opportunities here in western Massachusetts.”

“Local farms are vital partners in the fight against hunger, and farm viability is essential to building a local food system that is resilient, healthy and just,” Philip Korman, CISA’s executive director, said in a statement. “We’re proud to be part of this coalition, which is thinking so broadly about hunger, nutrition and food access.”

To register to receive the Zoom link, visit

Peacemaker Awards nominations due April 1

The Traprock Center for Peace and Justice and the Interfaith Council of Franklin County are now accepting nominations for the 2023 Peacemaker Awards, given to students in grades eight through 12 who have been leaders in reconciliation and justice initiatives.

Sue Bowman, planner of the Peacemaker Awards, said the awards came into being 23 years ago during a time of teen conflict and violence.

“Members of the Interfaith Council discussed ways in which positive motivation might offer alternatives,” Bowman said in a statement. “Young people contribute to peace and justice in our schools, communities and world. The Interfaith Council and Traprock Center honor teens throughout Franklin County for their contributions toward peacemaking. Their stories of what they’ve done inspire us all.”

Teachers, advisors and community members can nominate teens, individuals or groups for the Peacemaker Awards. Applications, which are available online at, are due April 1.

The awards ceremony will take place at Stoneleigh-Burnham School, 574 Bernardston Road in Greenfield, on Thursday, May 18, at 7 p.m.

Questions can be directed to or Interfaith Council of Franklin County, P.O. Box 117, Greenfield, MA 01302.

Legislative Coffee planned for April 1

TURNERS FALLS — The League of Women Voters of Franklin County will host a Legislative Coffee at the Five Eyed Fox restaurant, located at 37 Third St., on Saturday, April 1, from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

State Reps. Natalie Blais and Susannah Whipps (tentative) and state Sens. Jo Comerford and Paul Mark are expected to attend. The event is free and open to the public.

Organizers are looking for volunteer bakers or food purchasers to help supply breakfast items for the event. To help, email

Hold the foam: Styrofoam recycling offered in April

Special recycling collections for Styrofoam blocks will be held on the last four Saturdays in April (April 8, 15, 22 and 29) from 9 a.m. to noon for residents of Montague and Northfield. Advance registration is not required.

Only white blocks of Styrofoam, or expanded polystyrene foam (EPS or PS No. 6), will be accepted, according to the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District. These events no longer accept No. 4 LDPE foam packaging sheets or foam insulation board (XPS).

These collections will not accept Styrofoam items such as cups, plates, bowls, trays, clamshells, egg cartons, packing peanuts or wet/dirty materials. There are no recycling options for these foam materials, and they must go in the trash. (The UPS Store in Greenfield accepts clean, dry packing peanuts for reuse.)

The Northfield collection site, open only to Northfield residents, will be at the Northfield Transfer Station, 31 Caldwell Road. The Montague collection site, open to residents of any of Montague’s five villages, will be at the Montague Transfer Station, located at 11 Sandy Lane in Turners Falls.

Residents are advised that household recycling programs do not accept Styrofoam (EPS or PS No. 6) in any form. Foam blocks collected at these events will be recycled at Gold Circuit E-Cycling in Agawam.

FERC encourages productive public input during

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) held an online forum in February to discuss productive public commenting techniques.

The workshop, “a natural progression” from a similar event held last August, was intended “to empower, promote and support public voices,” according to Elin Swanson Katz, director of FERC’s Office of Public Participation.

“Given the size and scope of some of the proceedings, it is imperative that commenters or participants in our dockets have the most effective advocacy they possibly can,” said Commissioner James Danly.

Danly stressed that “FERC is obligated to respond to all substantive arguments when it makes a decision.” Public comments “absolutely matter,” he said, due to how they comprise a basis of “substantial evidence” that FERC must draw upon to make decisions.

Writing or scheduling in-person appointments with FERC officials is the most effective way to communicate with them, rather than by phone call, the panelists noted. Other key advice given to the public included encouragement of “forceful and passionate” arguments and an emphasis on brevity.

“I have seen many times where a short pleading of perhaps three pages is much more effective at conveying the legal and factual arguments that the commenter wants to convey to the commission ... than submissions that are 10 times as long,” Danly said.

Girl Scouts get $2K grant

The Million Dollar Round Table Foundation has awarded a $2,000 grant to the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts in support of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.

This year, the Million Dollar Round Table Foundation is awarding more than $1.6 million in member-endorsed grants to more than 300 charitable organizations. The Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts was nominated by Amy Jamrog, CEO of The Jamrog Group and a Girl Scouts board member.

“I absolutely love the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts,” Jamrog said in a statement. “I enjoy watching my 9-year-old niece earn her badges and grow in her confidence with my sister as her troop leader. I can see the impact GSCWM has had on my own family, not to mention the perspective I have regionally as a board member.”

The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a collection of activities for girls to develop a strong sense of self, display positive values, seek challenges, learn from setbacks, form and maintain healthy relationships, and learn to identify and solve problems in their community.

“The grant funds go toward helping girls find out who they are, what they care about and where their talents lie,” Jamrog said.