Sunday, July 09, 2017

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

Charlemont’s Yankee Doodle comes to town, again.

This is good news for anyone who enjoys one of the charms of rural Franklin County: it’s country fairs like Yankee Doodle Days.

After a year’s hiatus, fresh town volunteers have joined organizer Jim Sinclair to revive the western Franklin County summer standby. Last June, organizers canceled the annual three-day fair because too many volunteers had burned out after years of service. This year’s Yankee Doodle event, once again sponsored by the Friends of the Charlemont Fairgrounds, will be held for one day only, July 22, at the Park Street fairgrounds on Route 8A. Sinclair said organizers decided to restart with a one-day fair because with so many new volunteers he wanted to start out slowly and build back up.

The community-driven fair evolved from an annual Charlemont Cattle Show that started in 1850. It died out in the early 1980s, but was resurrected in 1996, with the help of volunteers. And now it’s back again. Let’s celebrate.

Scary good news

The town of Orange and perhaps some of its residents will become the backdrop for a Stephen King-inspired video series expected to be filmed between now and the new year. How cool is that?

Hulu, a subscription video-on-demand service, has selected Orange as a filming location for “Castle Rock,” the upcoming production developing buzz in entertainment circles. Location managers have met with the town’s Selectboard as planning progresses. Filming of the psychological-horror drama is expected to begin by early August.

The production is looking for locations and extras, called “background actors.” The production crew will likely request that many storefronts be dressed in a way characteristic of the fictional Castle Rock during filming. Castle Rock is a fictional town in Maine, King’s home state. It has been used regularly in King’s work, including “Cujo,” “The Dark Half,” “IT” and “Needful Things,” as well as the novella “The Body,” and numerous short stories are either set there or contain references to Castle Rock.

Smart as a fox

The Greenfield-based Sandri Companies have made another hefty investment in Franklin County, this time with a million dollar update to its Crumpin-Fox golf course in Bernardston.

Improvements include installing a new deck off the clubhouse; adding sod to improve areas around the greens; adding new golf cart paths; installing a pavilion; and removing trees that had interfered with golfers’ games.

Tim Van Epps, CEO of Sandri Companies, said the past nine months of renovations are just the beginning of a five-year plan. Future improvements, he said, will focus on the tee boxes, bunkers, irrigation system and continuing to thin out trees.

The goal, Van Epps said, is to make Crumpin-Fox one of the top 100 golf courses in the country within those five years.

That would add another reason for visitors to spend time and money in Franklin County’s tourism economy.

It all adds up

When she started working for the town 23 years ago, Marjorie “Lane” Kelly was a part-time employee who entered data about dog licenses into a computer. By the time she left this summer, she oversaw management of the town’s overall finances as finance director and functioned as a sort of deputy mayor. At a very granular level she knew what was going on in town government.

She moved up through the ranks under the town’s two mayors, always handled herself professionally, and will be a hard act to follow.

We wish her well and thank her for her service.