Editorial: Greenfield police officers get job done even after a fall

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Brief thoughts on some of the events making news around Franklin County and the North Quabbin this week:

Two Greenfield police officers were injured recently while chasing a 17-year-old suspected of stealing a car.

Officer Patrick Buchanan and Sgt. Stephen Westerling both fell while trying to arrest the suspect near Baystate Franklin Medical Center. They did end up nabbing the suspect, before heading to the conveniently nearby hospital under their own power.

“That’s what they do. That is their job and they did it well,” Police Chief Robert Haigh said. “Not every arrest is as easy as we’d like it to be.”

One policeman hurt his hand, while the other hurt his hand, shoulder and face. We wish them a speedy recovery.

Keep SHINE program

Local officials worry that a cut to a federal program that helps seniors navigate the world of health care could hurt the elderly in Franklin County.

LifePath, the region’s service provider for the elderly, houses the county branch of the statewide program, Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders (SHINE). The $1.1 million Massachusetts program serves roughly 3,700 people a year across 54 towns.

SHINE is on the chopping block in President Trump’s 2017 budget proposal.

Without SHINE, consumers are left to make decisions on their health care based on information provided by health care insurers, according to Executive Director of LifePath Roseann Martoccia. And that’s seldom a great idea.

We’re hoping Congress will see the value of a program that helps many seniors navigate a complicated health care system and keep it funded.

Say it ain’t so

The Deja Brew Cafe & Pub in Wendell is closing after nearly a dozen years of providing great food and entertainment in an out-of-the-way but memorable spot.

Owner Patti Scutari has some prospective buyers in the wings and meanwhile plans to rent the space for private parties and music festivals, but said that for her, operating the restaurant is no longer financially feasible.

Scutari, 63, fought back kidney cancer three years ago and has had to scale back her workload for health reasons.

“From the beginning, when I opened this place, all I wanted was for everybody that came into this place to feel like they were coming to my home,” she told The Recorder.

By all accounts, Deja Brew — sandwiched between the Wendell Country Store, and the post office — succeeded big time in this small town. We wish Scutari the best of luck.

One-room schoolhouse

The East Charlemont District School — also known as the “Little Red School” — sits alone in a field on Route 2, with a simple plaque explaining its 116-year-long school history. Travelers of the Mohawk Trail over the years have probably noticed the simple structure that harkens back to a simpler time, and now the federal government has recognized its significance in our New England heritage. The tidy, brick schoolhouse has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, apt recognition for another small reminder of our rural past.

Built in 1828, the Charlemont school is one of the few remaining, early 19th century, one-room schools in western Massachusetts to be made of brick. The school never had running water and was always heated by a wood stove. No lights until 1943 — it wasn’t long before it gave way to a modern, 20th-century school.

Still owned by the town, the building is furnished with period-appropriate wood-and-cast-iron student desks, and a teacher’s desk and remains as a field-trip destination for today’s schoolchildren.

We’re glad to see that it’s still being used to teach the town’s young people.