Best wishes and congratulations to our local graduates

Monday, June 04, 2018

Here are some brief thoughts on events making news from around Franklin County and the North Quabbin area:

June is here, and most of the county’s high school seniors have now commenced their new, post-secondary school lives.

We’re sure at their graduation ceremonies in recent days, and later among friends and relatives, they all got a good dose of sage advice, most of which they may only appreciate later in life or never at all.

Nonetheless, we extend our best wishes and hope they find a sure path to happiness and success in their lives, whether that path follows a straight line or a winding one.

Screen time

Some experts have warned us that we are engaged in a huge uncontrolled experiment with the minds of a whole generation of young people growing up immersed in an online world.

Until someone has made clinical sense of the effects on developing brains of smart phones, social media and the online world in general, it makes sense for parents in particular to be cautious and to be informed.

That’s why we were glad to see Frontier Regional School hosting a program called “Screenagers,” concerning the issue of screen time, followed by a parent-student panel discussion on June 12 at 6 p.m.

The goal is to bring the community together to explore the issues around screen time for teens and adults alike.

“Screenagers” is an award-winning film that probes the vulnerable corners of family life and depicts messy struggles over social media, video games and academics. The film offers ideas about how to help young people navigate the digital world.

Onscreen content worth watching?

Actual face time

We can’t get enough of old-fashioned social gatherings that occur all over Franklin County in the warm months. On June 24, for example, the Gill Church will host an old-fashioned church picnic on its property and the Town Common.

The event will begin with a church service from 10 to 11 a.m. with a Moldovan youth choir, followed by a picnic and then more music: gospel, spirituals, patriotic and American folk tunes. And don’t forget the children’s games.

Moldovans, spirituals, picnic baskets — as American as apple pie.

Home sweet home

South County EMS has a new home — next to the South Deerfield Fire Station on Routes 5 and 10. But it didn’t come without a good measure of political wrangling between Whately and Deerfield over how to most inexpensively house the shared ambulance fleet and where.

But with creative thinking by Deerfield officials and the financial generosity of Deerfield Academy, the ambulance service finally has a centrally located permanent home four years after it was formed.

We hope it has been worth the wait and will serve the residents of southern Franklin County well for years to come.

Wire me

Even the smallest towns in the Berkshire foothills like Hawley, Monroe, Florida and Savoy are finally entertaining serious proposals for construction of communitywide broadband service.

Years after larger and more centrally located communities received high-speed internet, we can see a time, soon now, when essentially everyone in Franklin will be wired and be able to enjoy the benefits of the 21st century wired world. It’s hard to deny that life today, even in the backwoods of Hawley, can be enhanced by the new essential utility.

It’s been a long time coming, and we hope the residents of our smallest towns won’t have to wait much longer.

Mohawk shows empathy

Some would say that the children of western Franklin County care more about the devastation left behind by hurricanes Maria and Irma in Puerto Rico than certain people in our nation’s capital.

Mohawk Trail Regional Middle School students overwhelmingly decided they wanted to get involved and help their peers on the island. As a result of several fundraising initiatives — along with donations by community members and Staples in Greenfield — the students raised $400 to purchase classroom supplies and recently shipped five boxes to a damaged Puerto Rican school.

Jana Purington, a student council adviser, said “We ask them to think globally because they’re part of a larger community; they’re part of something bigger.”

Lesson learned, apparently.