Editorial: Celebrating comic books’ role in promoting literacy

Published: 5/14/2017 4:18:21 PM

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

To satisfy their love of comic books, children and adults gathered in the Greenfield Public Library recently to celebrate Free Comic Book Day.

Event goers could draw their own comics with help from professional comic book artist Andrew DelValle, join a manga fan club, enter to win graphic novels and choose from a selection of free comic books.

In part, the event was intended to draw young people and young adults to the library, according to Steve Murphy, who organized the event with help from fellow Library Assistant Francesca Passiglia.

“We have a lot of younger kids come in, but we lose a lot of them as teenagers,” said Murphy, who now plans to hold the event annually.

Murphy said getting children interested in comic books gets them into the library and serves as a “great entry point with kids, to reading.”

How can we not like that.

If at first ...

Sunderland school officials say budget cuts are on the horizon after a Proposition 2½ override failed at the ballot box — although it had gained voter approval at an earlier town meeting.

This should not have been much of a surprise. The history of general tax cap overrides in Franklin County is they pass at town meeting, where the proponents turn out and speak out, only to fail at the ballot box where opponents can say ‘I can’t afford it’ in the privacy of the voting booth.

If the override had passed, tax rates would have gone up 86 cents from $14.34 to $15.20, expanding the town’s property tax income by $300,000 per year in anticipation of rising school expenses and declining rainy day funds.

Town officials had asked for the override because they felt the current level of taxation just isn’t enough to meet basic demand for school and municipal services.

If this is true, maybe a stronger argument can be made next year when the effect of a stingier budget will be easier to see.

ZIP-a-Dee-Doo-Dah

Buckland’s lament about its multiple ZIP code problems have been heard by the state, prompting the Department of Revenue to study if ZIP code-based data has affected calculations for state aid, school assessments and where excise tax bills are sent — both in Buckland and in other rural towns.

Finally.

This quirky but consequential problem has vexed the town — and some others around the county — for years.

In a recent email to town officials, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg says the state Department of Revenue is building a database, listing and summarizing areas in which agency measures or reports on income and other data “by geographic area, how that analysis is done, and whether the ZIP code issue is relevant.

“DOR has promised a full report, including recommendations for solutions, by early summer,” he wrote. “Several of you have brought to my attention problems created by the mismatch between ZIP code boundaries and municipality boundaries … I know this is especially a problem with the smaller towns in my district, and we have been working hard to address it.”

Thank you, Mr. President.

Young wisdom

At the 17th annual Peacemaker Awards Thursday night, students expressed the importance of listening to others — including the young.

One of the award winners, teenager Larkin Christie, said older folks often underestimate the value of what younger people have to say.

Christie is a co-founder of Youth Rise Together, a youth-led social action group for fellow teens in Franklin County.

The evening, hosted by the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice and the Interfaith Council of Franklin County, recognized six teens: Christie, Levi Baruch, Kailyn Patria, Kayden Richardson, Avery Davidson Carroll and Darian Myers.

“They’re role models both for younger children and for those older than them,” Jessie Cooley, the district affairs director for state Rep. Paul Mark who attended the event, said of the recipients.

“We have to agree that peace making and youth leadership are needed more than ever,” he said.

Second that.


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