Charlemont’s Holly May Brown is going places!

“Go Big or Go Home” hit national and international radio this summer. A national and international tour is introducing Holly May to the world.
“Go Big or Go Home” hit national and international radio this summer. A national and international tour is introducing Holly May to the world.

CHARLEMONT—Holly May Brown started playing music when she was 3 years old. The first song she wrote by herself was “Tonight,” a love song.

Now she’s 17, a senior at Mohawk Trail Regional High School, and is becoming a country and pop music star. We spoke with her at Brooke’s church, West County Baptist, in Charlemont, where she was playing a benefit concert.

Holly got her start performing around Shelburne Falls and Vermont, and will be playing in New Jersey and Tennessee. She is also going to be touring Europe for two weeks.

She has music videos for her songs, “I’ve Been on the Run” and “Go Big Or Go Home,” which has more than a million views on YouTube [adjust volume; link opens video].

She said she looks up to Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan, who also sing country music.

She added that she does have stage fright but is getting over it.
When we saw her, somebody told her, “We need to buy you a new wardrobe,” because her pants were all ripped.

Trivia for her fans: she plays field hockey and rides horses; her favorite color is baby blue; she used to play flute and clarinet; and she is not double-jointed.

“It has always been my dream to sing and perform,” Holly said, “ I can’t wait to see where it takes me.”


— By Brooke Looman and Joy Bohonowicz.

‘Improve parking, street safety for sake of kids at BSE’

Kara logoDear Editor:

Watching the filming of an accident scene  for “The Judge” on Mechanic Street in Shelburne Falls was exciting, but a real accident there involving any of our children would devastate our community. The town of Shelburne would be on trial if such an accident happened.

Mechanic Street along the Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School property is a problem area posing danger to students, and the time to act is now:

There is no extra parking for families who live close to school. There is no safe winter street parking. There are no prominent road markings for school foot traffic.

Students living within a mile-and-a-half of school have no bussing provided by the Mohawk Trail Regional School District. Lack of bussing requires caregivers drive students to school. Were additional parking provided, the teacher and visitors’ parking lot would not become a parent parking lot.

As likely most of us have seen firsthand, and been part of, nearly all of the cars in this lot require the driver back out before exiting. This puts walking children in danger in the parking lot. This danger is aggravated when snow flies.

When snow piles up along Mechanic Street it is not being cleared from the curb. This problem forces drivers to park into the street or else find parking in the teachers’ parking lot.

How many of us have circled multiple times on these winter days in effort to find parking? The district forces children leaving the building and vehicles to walk into icy roads and parking lots — and out in front of cars, trucks, and busses.

Children attempting to reach parents or caregivers waiting in warm cars try to stop before reaching traffic but before sliding under cars. Parents must choose between children sliding under vehicles or walking out into the road.

Worse still, that’s a road not clearly marked as a school zone. The paint markings on the road meant to inform drivers of the school zone are faint at best. Yes, there is a crosswalk just south of the entrance to the school, but it’s barely noticeable, either by clearly defined paint or by a brightly lit sign.

The crosswalk at the post office intersection is newly painted. Why, then, is the crosswalk serving the school left with old, worn paint? The school signs at Mohawk are new and bright yellow. Why are BSE’s school signs aged and dull?

As a concerned parent, I urge the district and town to come together on this before winter. And before it’s too late.


YOUR TURN! The Flow invites brief letters to the editor of interest to our local readership, and prints a select few as a public service. Extra credit for kids who write. We reserve the right to edit or decline letters. Letters must have the author’s name and contact information so that we can verify authorship.

Massachusetts elects Baker next governor

Gov.-elect Charlie Baker campaigns for governor earlier this year. On his campaign website, he said, “We can have great schools across the Commonwealth that ensure opportunity for every single child, no matter where they live. We can and should replicate the innovative solutions developed in successful schools across the state to close the achievement gap and deepen the connections between schools and employers.”
Gov.-elect Charlie Baker campaigns for governor earlier this year. On his campaign website, he said, “We can have great schools across the Commonwealth that ensure opportunity for every single child, no matter where they live. We can and should replicate the innovative solutions developed in successful schools across the state to close the achievement gap and deepen the connections between schools and employers.”

Republican Charlie Baker takes office Jan. 8, 2015;
good voter turnout reported in Buckland, Shelburne

Bennett-mug

BOSTON—The next governor of Massachusetts is Charlie Baker. He won the state election on Tuesday, Nov. 4. The current governor is Deval Patrick.

My mom voted in Buckland. I went with her to Buckland Town Hall. We gave our name and address to the election tellers, they gave us a big ballot, my mom connected arrows on it, she gave the ballot to the tellers, they put it in a machine, and it sucked it up.

Buckland election tellers Sally LaBelle and Cheryl Faufaw help the town’s voters cast their ballots Tuesday, Nov. 4.
Buckland election tellers Sally LaBelle and Cheryl Faufaw help the town’s voters cast their ballots Tuesday, Nov. 4.
Democrat Steven Kulik represents 19 Western Massachusetts towns, including Buckland, Conway, and Shelburne, in the State Legislature.
Democrat Steven Kulik represents 19 Western Massachusetts towns, including Buckland, Conway, and Shelburne, in the State Legislature.

 

 

Our ballot number was 493. According to Town Clerk Janice Purington, 750 people from Buckland voted out of 1,325. According to Shelburne Town Clerk Joseph Judd, 811 people in Shelburne voted out of 1,273.

Charlie Baker takes over for Deval Patrick in January. His lieutenant governor is Karyn Polito.

There was also an election for state representative: Steven Kulik won for the 1st Franklin District. Ed Markey won State Senator. Richard Neal won Representative in Congress. Ben Downing won Senator in General Court.

—  With additional reporting by John Snyder

Kids Can: After-School food drive tops 70 pounds, helps feed the hungry

STANDING, L-R: Jackson Morey, James Nichols. SEATED L-R: Phinneas Tuttman and Morgan Raffa. The kids said helping is fun!
STANDING, L-R: Jackson Morey, James Nichols. SEATED L-R: Phinneas Tuttman and Morgan Raffa. The kids said helping is fun!

“We already know how to show compassion at school, so let’s spread the love and show compassion for our community too.”

That was the challenge Before- and After-school Director Raelene Lemoine, Doreen Nichols, and their crew set for themselves in working to collect 50 pounds of food for the Franklin Area Survival Center.

Non-perishable foods have been pouring in to the school and weighed daily. More than a week before reaching its Nov. 24 deadline, the team exceeded its goal. That’s compassion!

Left to right, Davin Ojala, Reuben Bassett, and Oscar Cassin. They helped make short work of an ambitious collection goal.
Left to right, Davin Ojala, Reuben Bassett, and Oscar Cassin. They helped make short work of an ambitious collection goal.

For more information or to donate, contact the Franklin Area Survival Center, 94 Fourth St., Turners Falls, at franklinareasurvivalcenter.org or 413-863-9549.

‘Rescue Genius’: Linda Rollins rocks

Linda Rollins, left, just placed little Dylan with Towner Smith, right.
Linda Rollins, left, just placed little Dylan with Towner Smith, right.

Kara logoMANY BELOVED DOGS in the Shelburne Falls Area have Linda Rollins and her pack of dog mentors to thank for life. She says that her one-woman rescue organization, Better Than Dead, has saved 154 dogs, “one at a time,” in 11 years.

These were dogs facing the end of the line, she explained in a recent interview with Flow staffers.

She said she named her business after her many exclamations to her pack of dogs as they’d run in the fields or play along the river banks: “Isn’t this better than dead?”

Rollins said rescue work with the Humane Society following Hurricane Katrina was traumatizing. She recovered with the realization that there was more work to do.

According to Rollins, dogs need to be allowed to be themselves and heal in their own time among a nurturing pack.

And she knows dogs. She has this down. When asked how she rehabilitates them, she says: “I just let them be dogs.” She says she learned this approach through God and intuition.

And she said she lives a dog’s life. Her pack goes out three times a day. They run no matter the obstacle to Rollins; she had a broken foot for months and still got on her bike and took the dogs out daily.

She lets shy and damaged dogs heal themselves instead of pushing them to try new things. She doesn’t hurry to fix them.

She said she got her start in rescue work as a “go-to person” but after Katrina she began partnering with the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society. She took in dogs that Dakin would have had to euthanize because, as she says, “they didn’t fit in with their program.”

Rollins brought 15 dogs to her home, rehabilitated them, and placed many with families in Shelburne Falls.

A Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School family (Bill Green, Catherine Fahy, and their children, Liam and Lilliana, spent four months working with Rollins in search of their perfect match. Bill was prepared to fly to Oregon to pick up a puppy. Rollins found them two puppies from Missouri: Lilac and Willy, who now are often seen around the school.

Rollins describes Lilac and Willy as spotted and adorable.

Surprisingly, the Northeast is short on dogs to adopt, as Green and Fahy discovered. Private adopters are getting dogs from the South, but without a safety net like Rollins provides, if it doesn’t work out … that gets to be tricky.

Rollins occasionally has to take a dog back that she places — this is no fault of the dogs, she says. She places them with new homes quickly, and it’s always worked out.

She said dogs face an uphill climb in escaping shelters. Dogs don’t present well in shelters, she says. “You don’t get the real dog. It’s stressful. When you get them from someone like me they come right out of the house.”

For those looking for ways to help, fostering is a short-term commitment with no financial obligation. Here’s how the business works: Rollins pays for food, supplies, and medical bills for dogs in her care. She finds her furry friends a foster home. The foster family meets the dog, takes the dog home, and stays in touch with Rollins.


With Brooke Looman and Joy Bohonowicz. For more information, write lindarollins38@comcast.net. You can also find Better Than Dead on Facebook.