Monday Shorts: A new church, ice fishing, appreciation

  • Jordan Burnham drills into the ice during the annual Tully CCC ice fishing derby Saturday at Ellis Lake in Athol. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Attendees of the annual Tully CCC ice fishing derby warm up around a fire Saturday at Ellis Lake in Athol. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Jeff Marshall checks a line during the annual Tully CCC ice fishing derby Saturday at Ellis Lake in Athol. Staff Photo/Dan Little

Published: 2/19/2019 8:44:47 AM

Here are brief thoughts on some of the events taking place over the past week around the North Quabbin area:

Baptist door

We often hear that for every door that is shut to us, God opens another. So, while many main line Protestant churches are experiencing shrinking congregations, others are growing. And that’s just what we are seeing in Orange.

It took just over a year for a small Bible study group to morph into a full-fledged church with 160 members and, soon, a permanent place to worship.

The Crossroads Church, an independent Baptist church based out of Pelham, N.H., has purchased the former Elks lodge at 92 New Athol Road and is about to brace for more growth.

“We’re making a mark out here for the kingdom of God,” said pastor Don LeBel.

The new church’s roots extend back three years, when a Mahar Regional School student attended a service at Crossroad Church’s main New Hampshire location, and LeBel followed through with missionary work in the area.

“We’re getting people to show up, and lives are being changed,” he said.

New use

Petersham is still considering options for use of the town’s Nichewaug Inn & Academy property.

As many as 17 one-page conceptual proposals for the 6.6-acre property were submitted by residents in late November, and the Selectboard and others continue to sift through public opinions expressed at five public meetings. We hope this extremely thorough process will arrive at a consensus that makes the very best use of the landmark in the center of town.

Out on the ice

Nothing but good can come from getting youngsters out of their screens and into the cold outdoors. That’s why we love to see ice fishing derbies this time of year, like the one recently on Lake Ellis in Athol attended by a couple dozen local children.

The annual Tully City Council Club Fishing Derby saw adults and children fish for bass, perch and pickerel.

The 21 children and 48 adults who showed up pitched tents and grilled food — even played some impromptu ice hockey or snowmobiled — while waiting for the fish lurking in the dark waters below them to bite the bait.

The family friendly event has been going on for about three decades, and we hope it continues for another 30 years at least.

Appreciate response

The Athol Selectboard Tuesday proclaimed March 5 to be “First Responder Appreciation Day.”

And what’s not to appreciate?

The resolution recognizes individuals, both career and volunteer, including 911 dispatchers, police officers, firefighters, emergency medical responders, search and rescue personnel, and others in public safety who come together to protect and aid Athol residents in the event of any emergency.

The resolution properly declares that our first responders “do not hesitate to risk their own safety in the performance of their duties to protect citizens 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The community can never repay the sacrifices that the first responders make. Acts of kindness and appreciation from citizens provide encouragement and support as the first responders confront dangerous and uncertain situations every day.”

Growing market

The move of the Athol Farmer’s Market to the Millers River Environmental Center on Main Street last year proved to be a success, and as spring edges closer, the Athol Agricultural Commission is working on ways to continue building up the market by increasing membership and expanding promotion.

This year’s season will start May 25 and run through September on most Saturdays from 9 to noon. Interest in buying local vegetables and other locally produced foods like meat and cheese just seems to grow every year.

Farmers markets also can feature locally produce arts and crafts and value-added foods like salsas and sauces, all of which can potentially grow this market’s audience and its appeal. The commission is exploring ways to make the market’s offerings available to seniors and SNAP recipients, too, which would benefit farmers.

The commission has already heard from a few vendors interested in participating as growing season is just around corner.

Here’s to a fruitful season.


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