Monday shorts: Parade of friends, historic awning and a local cinema

  • Sharon Girard smiles after people parade by her residence. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Published: 7/15/2019 11:01:01 AM

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

Parade of friends

Imagine being quarantined from the public for a full year. That’s what happened to Sharon Girard, a Montague woman after she underwent a medical treatment that required her to avoid human contact that long.

So when the big day came, family and friends wanted to make it special — and a big surprise.

Girard thought she was going on a boat ride with her family. But when she stepped outside, a parade of well-wishers drove by her house.

First came a police car then a line of decorated vehicles honking their horns. Many were driven by colleagues from when she worked in the guidance office at Turners Falls High School. There were plenty of handmade signs with words of encouragement and affection.

Girard’s reaction? “I love people. This is what I’ve been waiting for. But I didn’t think there’d be this many.”

We, too, were touched by the display of support from her family and friends. We are also certain it is a day Girard will never forget.

Historic awning

It’s not your usual entrance to a town hall. But Montague’s has an antique awning that has an elaborate metal design and glass panels with a bit of a theatrical flair.

But after 120 years of being exposed to the elements, it needs some serious TLC.

The ornate metal awning requires repairs as its frame is bent and pieces of glass paneling are missing.

So the town is paying to restore the awning, which is mostly copper with some brass, according to Steve Smith, the Ashfield silversmith who will be doing the work this summer. Glass panels will come from Wilmark Studios in Shelburne Falls.

The Selectboard approved spending $8,975 for the project.

The actual history of the awning is unclear. Was it on another building first or was it an original part of the building that was once used as a social gathering place? We’d love to know more.

We commend the town for restoring the awning, which makes a unique entrance to where the town conducts its business.

No theatrics

The state Architectural Access Board has agreed to give Garden Cinemas more time to purchase and install a new chairlift that can handle motorized wheelchairs.

Not that long ago, the city’s only movie theater was under a decree to have the work done by July 18 or face fines of $1,000 a day. Owners George Gohl and Bill Gobeille said they needed more time.

Their request for an extension was boosted by an outpouring of letters to the board by movie-loving residents.

Garden Cinemas now has until Jan. 15 to get the work done.

We are pleased the Architectural Access Board was flexible in its stance on this project.

But we also recognize the purpose of the board — as well as the city’s Commission on Disability Access — is to make public buildings accessible to all. That includes people who use wheelchairs and want to go to the movies.

‘Exemplary care’

Congratulations are in order for Charlene Manor Extended Care Facility for being one of 23 long-term care facilities that has earned an award by the state.

The Greenfield care facility was recognized by the Massachusetts Senior Care Association for giving “exemplary care to its residents” with a 2019 Bronze Commitment to Quality Award.

Charlene Manor, which opened its doors in 1987, offers short-term rehabilitation, long-term nursing care and specialize dementia care. This award recognizes the quality of services it gives those who need them.


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