Mutual aid, astronauts and asylum seekers

  • Catherine "Cady" Coleman holds an enlarged version of her stamp, one of the four new Space Exploration stamps celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and U.S. astronauts with Irish ancestry. ZACK DELUCA

Published: 8/5/2019 2:00:18 AM

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

Mutual aid

Unfortunately, Franklin County has had two house fires this week. Fortunately, we can count on the help of nearby departments.

On Tuesday afternoon, firefighters from multiple towns battled a stubborn three-alarm house fire in Erving. A lightning strike is the suspected cause.

Then an early morning house fire Wednesday in Conway required a dozen departments to extinguish. If the blaze wasn’t enough, the firefighters, who wear heavy gear, also had to contend with hot weather. They worked in rotation to avoid exhaustion.

Many of the firefighters who serve Franklin County are volunteers. The departments are typically small and can’t do it all.

So we praise the coordination and cooperation of those who can be counted on for mutual aid.

Stamp of approval

With the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, outer space and the people who flew there have been in the news lately. That includes a nod by Ireland to four notable astronauts of Irish heritage, including Cady Coleman — a Shelburne Falls resident, retired Air Force colonel and UMass alum.

Coleman flew two space shuttle missions to tally 4,330 hours.

The other three honored astronauts are: Eileen Collins, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins.

The stamps, which were unveiled recently in Dublin, are only good for mail within Ireland, but we commend the gesture.

At the border

We hear and read about the troubles asylum seekers are having at the nation’s southern border. But Hally Giler, a Shelburne Falls resident did what she could to help.

Giler, an alum of Mohawk Trail Regional School and a Clark University grad student, traveled there along with six other students as part of an internship program offered by Clark’s International Development, Community and Environment Department. They worked in a respite center for migrants who have been released from a border detention center and have found a place in the U.S. to begin a new life. Typically, the center houses 400 to 1,000 people per night.

The three weeks she spent there were enlightening. “I’ve been able to learn a lot about the immigration system in general from all of the people around me,” she said.

We’d say this was a real life learning experience.


As of Aug. 1, Big Y Foods Inc. stopped the practice of single-use plastic bags at its more than 80 locations in this state and Connecticut. Customers will have to bring their own bags or pay 10 cents for a paper one.

Big Y has already done this in communities that passed regulations banning such plastic bags for five years now. But now it’s doing it for all of them.

Attention shoppers: you will have to plan ahead. But it’s all for a good cause.

Questions for candidates

Thank you to those readers who submitted questions for our mayoral forum, which be held Thursday, Aug. 8. We have a hefty collection.

Certainly, we got more than enough for the seven rounds of questions the three candidates running for Greenfield mayor — Brickett Allis, Sheila Gilmour and Roxann Wedegartner — will be asked that night.

A heads-up to those who may tune in, the wording of the questions will likely be changed to fit our format.

The forum, will be aired live starting 7 p.m. on GCTV. People can tune in at home or attend a free viewing party at Hawks and Reed Performance Center, where it will be live-streamed.

GCTV will re-broadcast the forum prior to the Sept. 10 primary, plus make it available on its website


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