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Ashfield, Massachusetts
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February 1, 2021     The Ashfield News
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February 1, 2021
 

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4 THE ASHFIELD NEWS FEBRUARY 2021 COVID- 19 Numbers Remain Low for Ashfield, Area Towns BY LARRY PARNASS Ianuary brought a handful of new positive COVID- 19 test results in Ashfield, according to state health officials, but the community and surrounding Hilltowns continue to show low risks for transmission of the coronavirus. Thréugh Ian. 19, Ashfield had seen 24 positive tests since the pandemic began. As of that date, 1,514 tests of town residents had been conducted, with 124 such tests in the last 14 days and three positive results. ' While other Franklin County towns are in the state Department of Public Health’s “red” zone on contagion, including Deerfield and Sunderland, communities around Ashfield are posting more optimistic results. Hawley, with 336 residents, had seen no positive results out of 90 tests taken during the pandemic, including seven tests in the previous two weeks. Data for other neighboring towns: Buckland: Twenty-nine positive cases to date, four in the last two weeks, out of 301 total tests. Conway: Twenty-one positive cases to date, seven in the last two weeks, out of 1,965 total tests. Goshen: Fifteen positive cases to date, two in the last two weeks, out of 577 total tests. Plainfield: Twelve positive cases to date, one in the last two weeks, out of 566 total tests. The picture is starkly different to the east, where Deerfield, Sunderland and Orange, in Franklin County, and Athol, in Worcester County, were in the state’s highest-risk category as of a Ian. 21 DPH report. Deerfield saw 32 new positive cases in the 14 days before Ian. 21 (and 127 to date), while Sunderland saw 29 (and 121 to date). A Stop the Spread COVID—19 testing site at Greenfield Community College continues to test asymptomatic people. Tests are by appointment only. To make a reservation, visit mass. gov/info—detailS/stop—the—spread. The flock inside the Carter family’s duck pen on Watson Spruce Corner Road includes Cayugas, Silver Appleyards and Gold Stars. guard goose named Killer Mike is a Pilgrim breed. Larder Ardor continued from page 1 As the chickens were settled in our lone stock tank, we kept the ducks and Killer Mike in the clawfoot tub of the downstairs bath- room for a month. When we would visit them they would nearly trample each other trying to get away from us. Not quite realizing that ducklings are basically piglets with wings who would demolish the bathroom, we set about building their “tractor,” a movable enclosure, at breakneck speed. Did I mention we didn’t know how to build anything, either? Breakneck was hardly figurative. Living out in the fields, the ducks were perfectly content. We could hear their burbles of satisfaction from the house. Nightly, though, we would struggle. The chickens were happy to go home to their cedar and hard- ware cloth redoubts each night of their own accord; the ducks had to be herded. We were taught to herd them by our infinitely patient neighbor Cori, who took pity on us as she saw us chasing ducks, like Benny Hill, into the wee hours. Picture, by contrast, our Watson Spruce Corner Road neighbor Tom McCrumm, who pulled up his van and turned the high beams on us, watching as I slid and dove through the mud. He laughed his moustache off, rightly. Being chased into a box every night does not endear you to your owner. Nor, as it turns out, does witnessing said owner swoop in to grab all the drakes to take them to the farm butcher. . Such are the lengths to Which I will go for duck eggs. I gather from Nancy and Laura at the hardware store, who know everything, that there is not great demand for duck eggs in town, save for a few bakers Who recognize their invaluable properties. Duck eggs are much richer, both in fat and complexity of flavor, than chicken eggs — their yolks are bigger and, well, yolkier. They make revelatory pasta dough. I would humbly suggest that duck egg skeptics give them a go, so I offer these two methods for cooking them, in hopes they might be converted. Fried Duck Egg, Two Ways 1 Crack your duck egg carefully into a little bowl — due to all the bugs they eat, their shells are hard, and you want to avoid shards. 2 Heat a small cast-iron skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. From here, I offer those two ways: Method #1: Add a knob of butter to the pan, and get a lid (or plate) ready. Once foam subsides, pour in your egg. As it starts to bubble, sprinkle on a pinch of salt, then flick in a teaspoon of water. Cover and cook, 1 minute, or until the white has set. Duck egg whites are less watery and spread less than hen eggs. Without steam the whites tend to stay uncooked near the yolk. Method #2, The Balinese Puffy Egg. I learned this method while living in Indonesia, where rice agriculture means ducks are often the preferred backyard poultry. Add roughly 1/2 inch of neutral oil to your pan (a wok is better still) and let it heat to shimmering. Pour in egg, which will begin to splutter and puff. Use a spoon to slosh oil over the top of the egg, which will puff the top and cook the yolk. Remove once golden brown and bubbly, with a soft set yolk, 45—75 seconds. Serve with fried rice, or anything. OOOIOIOUaloiooocnooococo-loloooolcaoI-ooooooolo New Leader Named for Mary Lyon Foundation The Mary Lyon Foundation has selected Kristen Tillona-Baker to succeed Sue Samor— iski, the nonprofit group’s founder, as execu- tive director. The foundation provides support to people in towns throughout western Franklin County, including Ashfield. Tillona—Baker started work January 1. Samoriski retired after 30 years of service. According to the foundation, Tillona-Baker has 26 years of experience as an educator and spent the last fourteen years as an administra- tor at independent schools. She lives in South Deerfield with her husband, Ronald. “It’s an honor to be entrusted with the responsibility of running the foundation, which has helped countless students, families and educators,” she said in a statement. “From the inception of an idea, S‘ue gathered generous donors and built an impressive foundation. I’m eager to carry that mission forward because the need is greater than ever before.” Laurie Benoit, who leads the foundation’s board, said Samoriski provided wise leader- ship for’three decades and called her role in Hilltown education “profound.” The foundation recently finished a five-year strategic plan and will launch a fund campaign to secure its future. I Samoriski said her successor is ready. “Kristen’s vast experience in educational leadership, fundraising and program develop- ment will be strong assets to the foundation,” V she said in a statement. “Under her direction, the foundation’s future will be bright and prosperous.” The foundation serves families and schools in Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield, Rowe, and Shelburne. RY PARNA Board of Health Every Citizen’s Duty When Medically Able: Getting Vaccinated BY EVELYN RESH At this stage of the pandemic, most of us fall into one of the following categories: a person who has been infected with COVID- l9, knows someone who has been infected, or knows someone (directly or indirectly) who lost their life because of the virus. The night before the inauguration, I found the ceremony commemorating the lives of the 400,000 people who have died of COVID-19 in the United States one the most sorrowful and moving events in my lifetime. As a nurse-practitioner who has logged thousands of hours of bedside care over my 35 years in practice, I have often thought of the dying and those who have been caring for them over the past year. My thoughts have also gone to their family members who have had to bid their farewells through FaceTime, Zoom or the telephone. How utterly tortur- ous this must have been for them. A friend of mine whose mother died in an extended care facility from COVID—19 described the experience as “unbearable.” I bring this up in this month’s column to remind us all of the responsibility we have as community members to be vaccinated. Folks who receive the vaccine can help build a protective hedge around those who can’t: people with certain allergies, cancer patients who are immunosuppressed,tfolks with various other conditions that make vaccina- > tion impossible. We must move through life with compassion for others. In my opinion, being vaccinated against COVID-19 is a Senior Center continued from page 1 been made and that the Senior Center Foundation had committed to funding 80 percent of the cost. Carter said that residents would likely prefer funding local services at a fraction of the capital cost instead of paying for a loan on a building in Shelburne Falls. Carter also expressed concern that the town would likely still be paying for the building 25 years in the future, but that the needs for seniors will likely be different. “That depends on how good your crystal ball is,” he said. Field said that he was worried that the letter implied that Ashfield might leave the ' threeetown Senior Center, but Gougeon said, “not a chance.” Nina Laurie, who serves on both the Council on Aging and the Senior Center Board of Directors, said that more and better services could be delivered through a larger group in multiple towns. Olanyk said that Ashfield was not fully divesting, but at the same time is not prepared to commit to the building expansion program. The Select Board and Finance Committee wrote in their letter to the Expansion Com- mittee, “We believe the best way to [meet the . needs of senior residents] is to continue to pay attention to what folks in Ashfield tell about their needs, which includes requests for more services and resources located in town. We want to provide services and resources in ways that strengthen our commitment to local services, encourage inclusivity of all residents in the life of our town, and protect our fiscal health now and for our future.” And in their letter to the Council on Aging they wrote, “our plan is intended to supple— ment what is currently available by providing additional resources and services for seniors in Ashfield, where they are convenient and . accessible to a larger proportion of our senior population.” Carter told Field and Laurie that the town would not be “going to a resting place, rather a busier place.” The Select Board agreed to deeply compassionate gesture towards. ourselves, others, and those on the frontlines who are doing bedside care-of the infected and dying. . The pandemic isn’t oVer. COVID- 19 now endemic in the worldwide population. This infection didn’t go away by Easter 2020 nor will it be gone by Easter 2021. If you are adamant about not being- vaccinated, then you must wear a mask everywhere, in case youare an asymptomatic carrier of COVID—19. Wearing a mask is especially protective of those who are uninfected from those who are asymptomatic carriers. When I used to assist in surgery, I always knew I was wearing a mask to protect. my patient from whatever infections I could pass onto them 4 not the other way around. Meanwhile, the Ashfield Board of Health is seeking a new member and we hope to have candidates for nomination prior to the March town caucus. We have an open seat that is ready to be filled by an eager and sincere volunteer. For further information about what this position means and its responsibili— ties, feel free to reach ,out to me or Duncan Colter for more information. I encourage you to‘ reference the Ashfield. org website for information about vaccination dates and sites. You can also access the Mass. gov website for more detailed information on the pandemic statewideI For now, wear your mask everywhere you go, follow the guidelines and recommenda- tions for social distancing, and limit your direct contact with others to the extent you are able. Look out for your neighbors. Keep writing letters and send Valentine’s Day messages this month to those you love. Spend as much time outdoors as you can. We are fortunate to live in such a beautiful place at such an ugly and difficult time. The natural beauty that surrounds us is a powerful, restorative tonic. Evelyn Resh writes on behalf of the Board of Health. = Sanderson . Academy 5 ‘Hybrid’ Learning Brings Students Back to Sanderson Sanderson Academy welcomed back into the building children whose families selected hybrid learning last month. Remote learning continues for all students in the morning, with hybrid students coming in the afternoon. It has been wonderful to have children in the building! The staff and students have been amazing at following all the safety protocols when we are together. We sincerely hope that we can continue to keep our doors open for in—person learning for the families who select the option. We would like to thank all the community members who have offered support, masks, materials and monetary donations to our school. If yOu would like to see more of what is happening at Sanderson Academy, please visit our website at sanderson.mohawktrail schools. org. Submitted by Emma Liebowitz form a committee to develop a needs assess- ment for Ashfield senior services. The officials wrote to the Council, “We intend to develop ‘a plan and budget, present them to Ashfield citizens for feedback, and hope to begin to implement some elements of the plan during the FY22 fiscal year.” “We are committed. . .for Ashfield to be a place where seniOrs remain integral, supported members of the community.” BRISSON LAWNCARE & V PROPERTY MAINTENANCE 41 3-339-478 'l , Spring Fall Clean-up FREE ESTIMATES Lawn mowing Weed whacking & Trimming Pressure washing Firewood: Cut, split & delivered Gutter Clean-out 9 Storm clean-up Snow Removal/Plowing Scrap metal removal FULLY INSURED OWNER-OPERATOR: JEFFREY BRISSON