Editorial: Recover Project fundraiser has an inspiring turnout

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Recover Project, a peer-to-peer support program for people with addictions, was feeling its oats last Saturday at, of all places, a pancake breakfast.

The maple-infused fundraiser hosted by St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield drew nearly twice as many people as expected, about 150.

The money will go toward this summer’s 14th annual Recover Jam Sober Music Festival on Sept. 30 at Camp Keewanee. That’s worthwhile enough, but the breakfast, the project’s first such fundraiser, also energized members who felt their 10-year-old addiction-fighting nonprofit is finally starting to gel.

“Groups are partnering up and supporting each other, creating a more tight-knit and conducive space for recovery,” was how one member put it.

In addition to members and their friends and families, Greenfield Deputy Police Chief Mark Williams and Regional Opioid Task Force Coordinator Debra McLaughlin attended.

“It’s always great to see an incredible community response to the work of the recovery community and the task force,” McLaughlin observed.

The more strength the recovery community, and the community at large, can muster in the fight against all addictions, is a good thing.

French King Highway

You may have thought a proposal to allow more development on French King Highway in Greenfield died on the table Wednesday night, but guess again.

While the Town Council declined to vote on the proposal, thus allowing that specific plan to die, its creator, Councilor Isaac Mass, plans to resurrect it after some more hearings and discussions.

At its core, the proposal would allow gas stations, takeout, drive-through and drive-in fast food restaurants along parts of the highway where they are forbidden now, most likely between Stop and Shop and farther north, near Route 2, where another big box store has been proposed.

Many people — including Greenfield big box foe and self-described “Sprawlbuster” Al Norman and residents of the road — oppose the move, which will require at least nine of the 13 town councilors to sign on.

Many had complained the council was being rushed into a hasty decision by Mass, and so we were glad to see it sent back to the drawing board for more thoughtful discussion.

Cross talks

Cameron’s Winery in Northfield looked more like a Bible study group on a recent Wednesday morning as the Rev. Julie Olmsted spoke passionately about sin and salvation. Olmsted’s words inspired murmurs and nods from the nearly 20 men and women in attendance.

There was no wine drinking that morning at “CrossTalks,” a series of discussions centering on topics like communion, baptism, prayer, sacrifice, sin and spiritual discipline led by Olmsted, pastor at Northfield’s Trinitarian Congregational Church.

“We like to be outside the four walls of the church,” Olmsted said of the weekly series that runs through Easter.

Olmsted hopes that through CrossTalks, attendees can have their assumptions challenged through open discussion.

Challenging assumptions and open discussions are always welcome, inside or outside the context of church or religion.

Healthy spring theatrics

Spring musicals came to a boil this weekend at three county high schools.

It’s always amazing to see live theater performed by a gang of teens who have spent hours preparing the show and who come together as a close-knit team to pull off the miracle of a staged musical.

Turners Falls High School and Great Falls Middle School have been preparing “Lion King Jr.” since January. Frontier Regional School hosted “Guys and Dolls” this year, the school’s first musical in more than a decade. Mohawk incorporated elementary school students in a kid-friendly “Shrek the Musical.”

A round of applause, please. These young people probably learned a lot about getting on in the world through their hours of extra-curricula theatrics this winter.