Monday Shorts: Saluting top teens, welcoming a business, drawing thunder

Published: 12/16/2018 7:52:18 PM

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

Each year for many years now, the school superintendents of Franklin County have given special recognition to a top student from each high school. These are the type of teens who manage to get grade point averages above 4.0, which we guess is like an A-plus-plus. But their achievements don’t stop there. Usually these students are active in extra curricular events like sports and music and social service projects.

As they are feted at a dinner hosted by Franklin County Technical School, they make their teachers, principals and parents proud. And they do us all proud, as well, because while native intelligence and innate talent accounts for much of their success, so does the hard work and dedication they also exhibit.

Nothing to see here

A poultry processing plant will likely be up and running in Sunderland in March, as the town Selectboard approve a young entrepreneur’s innovative application that surprisingly didn’t arouse any opposition, and some praise.

Selectboard member Scott Bergeron applauded Peter Laznicka’s transparency and cooperation with the town moments before he and Vice-Chairman David Pierce approved the application.

Bergeron said Laznicka was open and informative with town officials and abutters who showed up for a tour of the facility built inside a 40-foot metal shipping container.

“I thought that the facility was very ingenious, it was very well thought out,” Bergeron said, adding that Laznicka made a shipping container “essentially food-safe for the processing of animals.”

Bergeron said the facility is so inconspicuous, anyone unfamiliar with Laznicka’s business plan would have no reason to suspect it is there.

“That’s the point,” said Laznicka, who lives in Leverett.

See the thunder

We didn’t think it could be done: to portray in visual form a school mascot or logo that is “thunder.”

But the Gill-Montague School Committee, following the guidance of its students, has settled on new imagery to represent the school teams and spirit – from about 26 submissions.

The school district is replacing its long-time “Indian” logo that was abandoned over complaints that it was racially insensitive to use Native American imagery for a high school sports mascot.

We love the image of a dark and foreboding thunderhead. Just what you need to intimidate those other teams.

Helping Haitians

A recent benefit concert was something of a party for those building a house for 14-year-old Peterson Volmar to live in with his seven siblings and parents.

The concert at All Souls Church on Main Street in Greenfield was all about Haiti and helping volunteers for an Athol-based organization build a concrete, earthquake-resistant house to replace the one largely destroyed by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in 2010. Tree of Hope Haiti volunteers will head to the impoverished island nation next March. Beset by natural disasters and political problems, Haiti is considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Easy on energy

Montague’s carbon footprint has been reduced by 20 percent since 2010, and the town is getting a justified pat on the back for the accomplishment – plus some practical reward.

The town has  reached its goal of reducing municipal energy use 23 percent in less than 10 years.

This allows the town to apply for renewable energy projects through the state’s Green Communities Program.

Since its designation in 2010, the Green Communities Program has brought in more than $400,000 in funding for 15 different energy efficiency projects in seven municipal buildings. Projects have included energy conservation measures in Town Hall, the Public Safety Complex, Carnegie Library, Shea Theater and Sheffield School.

Mohawk Flyer?

State Sen. Adam Hinds, who represents western parts of Franklin County, will join the state advisory committee for an East-West passenger rail study.

When we heard the news, it was nice to learn state planners are considering improving mass transit from one end of the state to the other. Unfortunately, the east-west rail line in mind would run from Pittsfield to Springfield by a southern route, not through Franklin County to Boston.

It will take years to launch such a service, if it ever happens. But if it does, can a passenger train from North Adams to Boston via Greenfield be far behind? How does the Mohawk Trail Express sound?

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