Monday shorts: Democracy, filmmakers and going green

  • court/crime Jason Morrison

Published: 5/13/2019 6:54:08 AM

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

Democracy in action

We want to congratulate those residents who showed up at their respective Annual Town Meetings to tend to their community’s business.

These civic-minded residents came and voted on a variety of issues — from money to fund the town, schools and capital improvements to more contentious issues such as regulating marijuana operations in Buckland, which passed, and the sale of a closed school to a marijuana business In Heath, which didn’t. 

Many voters spoke on Town Meeting floor about their views, letting their fellow townspeople know exactly where they stand on an article and to convince others to vote a certain way.

It’s all done in an orderly manner thanks to a moderator and long-established rules about how to conduct these meetings.

Some meetings took many hours. Others breezed through in a few — Colrain finished in under two hours.

Often their length depends on who attends and what’s on the agenda. Some meetings are held on Saturday, others in the evening.

Most towns in Franklin County have completed their Annual Town Meetings. A few more are still ahead.

Likewise spring is the time for annual elections. The ballots of some towns had one or two races and for a few, Proposition 2½ overrides to raise more taxes, but many had slates in which all the candidates ran uncontested. Still people headed to the polls to exercise their right to vote.

We commend those who take the time to be involved in their community this way.

In service

While we are on the topic of community service, we want to mention those who have decided to serve their towns by holding public office.

Looking at the advance stories and coverage that appeared in the Recorder these past few weeks, we read the names of people who believe they have something to offer. (Then there are the many, many residents who serve in appointed positions.)

These people obviously don’t do it for the money. In fact, many positions are unpaid.

We believe many feel they have something to offer their communities. So, thanks for stepping up.

Indie filmmakers

Kudos to sisters Joanna and Jill Pasiecnik aka J and J Productions for producing a 22-minute film “Unemployable.”

The film is semi-autobiographical, or as Joanna Pasiecnik says it’s “about the employment rate of baby boomers versus millennials.”

The siblings premiered their first film a couple of months ago in Atlanta or Y’allywood, where they live and returned north for a local premiere at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Friday.

The filmmakers got their start at Frontier Regional School’s production company before studying at UMass.

Here’s hoping for continued success for the millennial filmmakers.

Going Green

Five towns in Franklin and Hampshire counties are now officially Green Communities. The designation came from the state Department of Energy Resources, which also handed out a sizeable chunk of money — around $130,000 each — to undertake projects that improve energy efficiency within their borders.

The communities are: Charlemont, Colrain, Heath, Westhampton and Worthington.

They are now among 240 communities with Green Community status. (For those keeping count, there are 351 in the state.)

To qualify, a town or city must pledge to cut energy use by 20 percent over the next five years. The money will be used to do that.

For instance, Colrain will use its state grant to make the town’s elementary school more energy-efficient. Heath is planning to spend its money on such items as storm windows and energy-efficient lighting in municipal buildings.

We say this is taxpayer money well spent.


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