Friday, August 14, 2015

Service Aug. 21 at school gazebo for Freda Jean Campbell, 77

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Longtime resident Freda Jean Campbell, mother of Cassandra Cleghorn, died peacefully in her sleep early in the morning of August 13, 2015. She was 77. 
Born in Elizabethton, Carter County, Tenn., on July 26, 1938 to Fred Lamar Campbell and Hattie Lois (Yates) Campbell, Freda lived an uncommonly rich life that led her to St. Petersburg, Fla.; Manhattan, Glens Falls and Ithaca, N.Y.; Cape May, N.J.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Penn.; Wilmington, Del.; Seattle; Santa Barbara, Calif.; and, over 10 years ago, to Berkshire County.
In Williamstown, she took enormous delight in people, art, music, books and nature. Freda was a tireless volunteer at the Milne Public Library and the Clark Art Institute. 
She is survived by her older sister, Barbara Wouters; by her four children, Cassandra Cleghorn, Angela Bolan, Paul Ondrejka, Nick Ondrejka, and their spouses; and by her 10 grandchildren: Oliver, Ripley, Eve, Merrill, Zachary, Jasper, Vina, Lauren, Liam, and Beau; and many other beloved, extended family members. Freda loved to travel -- crisscrossing the United States by train many times, and adventuring by herself to Mexico, London and Paris. 
Freda touched countless lives with her gifts of ikebana flower arranging, drawing and painting, sewing and quilting, cooking and storytelling. She was an expert card-player, and an almost unvanquished champion of Scrabble and Bananagrams. 
Her ashes will be scattered in the Smoky Mountains, the Purple Valley and the Pacific Ocean. Donations for a memorial fund to purchase flowering trees to be planted in her honor in Williamstown may be sent to Flynn and Dagnoli Funeral Home, 521 West Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. 
An informal gathering to celebrate Freda’s life will be held at the Williamstown Elementary School gazebo on Friday, Aug.21 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

MGRHS building committee seeks public input Wed/Thurs. for "green" building; dinner included!

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Mount Greylock School Building Committee is urging the public to turn out for any one of three public meetings over the next week to help decide how a new high-school building could incorporate "green" construction techniques. The first meetings are Wednesday and Thursday afternoon at the school.


 “Green building” encompasses a wide variety of factors and “the Committee wants to tap the talent and creativity of community members,” according to Building Committee Chair Mark Schiek. The building project charrette meetings on Wed., July 22 and Thurs., July 23 will be facilitated by members of the architectural design team of Design Partnership of Cambridge.

  • Those in attendance on the 22nd will work in groups to brainstorm and vision design strategies that will contribute to building and site sustainability and efficiency. Discussion will focus on three broad topic areas: site/water strategies, indoor air quality, and passive/active energy systems.
  • The session on the 23rd will focus on refining and prioritizing the ideas generated in the first meeting. 

Because organizers of the public meetings are going to provide a light dinner and refreshments, they are asking that likely attendees email Wendy Penner  ( to help get a count.  Penner heads a "sustainability work group" of the larger committee. Penner is a former staff member and consultant to the Center for EcoTechnology. According to Penner “the Charrette will guide foundational decisions regarding which aspects of sustainability will get the greatest priority.”

Those who cannot attend one of the Charrettes are welcome to send their contributions and questions to Penner at The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), structures the process to ensure that schools meet a high standard for sustainability. The MSBA offers a higher level of reimbursement to projects that meet the LEED Silver standard. In some cases communities have found it worthwhile to exceed that standard.

On August 6, the Building Committee is expected to submit one of the options for development into a full schematic design and cost estimate. These documents are due to the MSBA in December. “We need public input in this early design phase to insure a successful project,” noted Building Committee Vice-Chair Paula Consolini.


  • July 22 4:30-8:30PM: Idea Generation Charrette, MG Meeting Room July 23 1-4PM: Prioritizing Charrette, MG Meeting Room
  • July 23 5:30PM: School Building Committee Meeting, MG Meeting Room
  • July 30 5:30PM: School Building Committee to vote final building design selection, MG Meeting Room
Contacts: Wendy Penner 413-441-2634 / Chairman Mark Schiek: 413-464-6724  / Vice-Chair Paula Consolini: 413-884-4283

Friday, July 03, 2015

Willamstown selectman Andy Hogeland proposes "analysis of costs, benefits and project scope for broadband"

Who owns the utility poles in Williamstown? 

Here is an exchange of email among Williamstown Selectman Andrew Hogeland, who also serves on the town's Economic Development Commission, Ben Greenfield, a tech expert hoping to bring high-speed broadband Internet to his Williamstown neighborhood, and others. 

On Fri, Jul 3, 2015 at 5:40 PM, Hogeland <> wrote:

Ben and Bill -

Just to clarify: At the last Selectmen's meeting I proposed that we take on some defined initiatives to focus on for the next 12 months. I don't recall Selectmen having adopted an annual agenda before, but my colleagues seemed receptive and we will be discussing it further at our next meeting. One of the items on my proposed list was to undertake an analysis of the costs, benefits and project scope for broadband so we can have a basis for deciding whether or not to proceed. I expect our list will get finalized during July. The EDC has heard numerous comments on broadband. We are now beginning the process of deciding what suggestions will be carried forward into the EDCs recommendations to the Selectmen. That effort will continue to develop over the summer and into the early fall.

Andy Hogeland

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 3 Jul 2015 18:02:36 -0400
From: Bill Densmore <>
To: Hogeland <>


Thanks to you and the rest of the selectmen for undertaking a deliberative inquiry about broadband. I am discouraged that Time Warner is not a part of the discussion, yet.

WAMC had a piece on the air yesterday which included this key quote:

Mayor Kathy Sheehan says broadband is "...becoming not just a want, but a need, as we look to expanding both educational opportunities, business opportunities and access to what is going on in
the city. We've become so dependent on communicating, using this technology, so we have to be sure that everybody has access."

Remember, broadband speeds, as defined by the FCC -- and as necessary for any reasonable level of quality for streaming video -- is not even offered by Verizon in Williamstown.  The broadband-classified services -- 20 mb or higher -- from Time Warner start I think at $69 a month and that does NOT include symmetrical upload-download speeds.

If we want to be a digital valley, a silicon village, a place that welcomes and embraces knowledge workers, we need to provide services that meet the needs of creators not just consumers of digital information and services. At this point, Time Warner is a monopoly -- unregulated -- supplier of broadband services which are inadequate for that purpose. Time Warner, like other cable suppliers, prices and designs their service to provide for passive consumption of content but no capability to serve or create and share content at broadband speeds.

That's why the town should be actively moving to create or foster competitive service -- or finding a way to regulate Time Warner to up the functionality and pricing of its services.

We are fortunate that in Massachusetts, the telecom duopoly has yet to lobby the Legislature into foreclosing municipal broadband. But they have succeeded elsewhere:

-- bill densmore, Williamstown, Mass.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Bill Densmore <>
Date: Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 4:17 PM
Subject: Fwd: Where's Williamstown utility pole right of way documented?
Cc: Bill Densmore <>

To Williamstown Selectmen: 

In exploring questions about broadband, I started asking a few weeks ago these three questions and am hoping the board might be able to forward this inquiry along to someone who can suggest answers or places to go for answers. These are questions that might to relevant to any plans for improving the town's provisioning of the public benefit of increased access to fast broadband.

1) Who controls access to utility poles in Williamstown? Does it depend on the pole? Would it be Verizon? Or National Grid? Or the town? Or the Prudential Committee?  Does the town -- or anyone
-- have a map showing who owns various poles?  Who grants permission to hang fiber wire on the polls? If it is done by an entity of the town, can it be done without payment of an "rent" to the poll owner?  After all, the polls sit on the town right of way at the pleasure of the town.

2) If for some reason Time Warner withdrew from providing services in Williamstown, what would happen to the physical plant on all these polls? Do they own it? Would they have the right to tear
it all down or otherwise disable it? Could they sell it to another operator (such as a town "Muncipal Lighting Plant"?) Might they just abandon it?

3) What would be involved in the town forming an MLP? What's an MLP?

--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Monica Webb <>
Date: Sat, Jun 27, 2015 at 7:46 AM
Subject: Re: BROADBAND: Ben Greenfield at work; a Chalmers resource; Time
Warner offer; what the FCC chairman says
To: Bill Densmore <>

Thanks for the update, ​Bill​.

I'm happy to provide guidance on the MLP statute, as WiredWest was the one who
first utilized the statute for telecom only.

Also one of the unfortunate effects of the expensive back haul pricing in our area is that the town of Leverett has to share a gigabit, even though their network is built for each premise to get their own gigabit. Getting more competitive pricing on the MBI middle mile is critical for us in Western Mass so we can afford to provide gigabit connectivity to all premises in our next generation networks.​
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ben Greenfield 
Date: Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 11:00 AM
Subject: Re: BROADBAND: Ben Greenfield at work; a Chalmers resource; Time Warner offer; what the FCC chairman says

Hello Bill and all,

I first want to say that I'm amazed how fast things are moving after years of waiting. I would like to point out that last Monday the Select Board of Williamstown stated that broadband planning has made it on to some sort of todo list. This is great!

Williamstown has an underutillized asset in it's Right of Way. This asset can be harnessed in combination with the new massBroadband123 fiber optic install to put Williamstown internet
infrastructure on par with Singapore.

I know that the select board is interested and I would say that if you want a town owned network where every resident has access I would reach to the people you know on the select board and let them know you think it is valuable effort. I would also point out that the Economic Development Committee hears that broadband could be better but hasn't heard it enough to be convinced it is an issue according to this iBerkshires article.

Friday, March 27, 2015

MCLA business student Steve Peltier takes over 44-year Anagnos family business -- Colonial Pizza

Constantine Anagnos, left, and Steve Peltier
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Colonial Pizza -- a 44-year family business has changed hands and the new owner is also a longtime Williamstown resident. 

Constantine and Eleni Anagnos announce they have retired from the Williamstown institution they opened in January 1971. They are pleased to announce that their children: Ted, Sia, and John, as well as all current employees, will remain indefinitely to carry on the tradition under the new operator, long-time family acquaintance and Williamstown resident, Steve Peltier.

"The Anagnos family built this business out of nothing and has run it for 44 years. It literally put food on their table and thousands of other tables," Peltier says. "I am incredibly honored and humbled that they have entrusted me to keep their dream going for at least another 44 years."

The couple traveled from Greece to the U.S. over four decades ago with a handful of cash, two small children, and one on the way. They settled in northern Berkshire County and opened the original Colonial Pizza in the Colonial Shopping Center. After operating in several locations over the years, including many years on Spring Street, they came full circle to the now Colonial Plaza at 234 Main Street (Route 2).

Peltier has worked in the food and beverage/hospitality industry in Williamstown for over 20 years. He holds a BA from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) in English / Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and is also a graduate of the Berkshire Enterprises entrepreneurial training program. He is currently a full-time employee at MCLA and is working toward his Master’s degree in Business Administration through MCLA’s Professional MBA program. 

Peltier lives in Williamstown with his daughter Cassie. His son, Sean, now resides in Rhode Island.  He said he was grateful for the opportunity.

"This is a dream come true for me as well and I appreciate the fact that the kids are planning to stay on indefinitely so we can work together to continue the tradition," said Peltier. "I also expect Constantine to visit from time to time, especially since I plan to have Eleni come in and make her family-recipe spanakopita, baklava, meatballs and other items.”


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

More than 40 Williamstown households interested in community solar project, Nylen says

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Center for Ecological Technology Associate Director Nancy Nylen says more than 40 Williamstown households are interested in possibly becoming co-owners of a "community solar" installation that would allow them to purchase a share of "clean", renewable electricity without having to install equipment on their own property.

Here is Nylen's email today:
Hello and happy Spring!  As the hours of sunlight continue to grow, we are writing to update you on where things are with our Community Solar initiative.

Lots of interest: Approximately 40 households have expressed interest in the project!

How much electricity do we hope to produce?  Thanks to all of you who have forwarded information about your electric usage. To-date we have received information from approximately 25 households. So far it looks like we need about 150 kilowatts of capacity. Please send us your usage if you haven't done that yet.

Where will we build the project(s)? We are working with solar contractors to evaluate a couple potential sites, and are still looking for additional options.  PLEASE let us know if you have any land that might be suitable or if you think your friends/neighbors might be interested in hosting a project. We are also beginning to explore possible parking lot locations -- and the cost of constructing parking canopies that could accommodate solar panels.

Solar bylaw  The Williamstown Planning Board has drafted a solar bylaw that addresses the size and location of ground-mounted solar arrays.  We think this will be a win-win for solar in our community. Let us know if you have any specific questions about the bylaw and we are happy to forward you a copy of the draft.  Residents will vote on the solar bylaw at Town Meeting on Tuesday, May 19th at 7 p.m.

How much will it cost and what are the financial arrangements? We are further refining the numbers (required investment) - and taking next steps to set up an LLC that will be enable us to take advantage of tax benefits. We are also talking with a firm with accounting, solar and tax expertise interested in potentially helping to set up and manage the project long term. Stay tuned...more on that soon.

When will we go on line? Our goal continues to be to break ground in the fall of 2015.

Next steps?  As soon as we have more details about the costs and requirements for participating in a community solar LLC we will be back in touch regarding terms for making a financial commitment to the project.

Thanks so much for your continued interest.  We continue to be encouraged and excited!  And, please let us know if you have any questions.

all best,
Charley, Jason, Stephanie and Wendy

Nancy Nylen | Associate Director
Center for EcoTechnology | 413-458-5688 | 413-884-4561 (cell) | Sign up for EcoUpdates!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Jay Walsh launches website to discuss banning styrofoam and plastic bags in Williamstown

Jay Walsh ( has written: 
We had a nice showing on Saturday in Williamstown, including our State Representative Gail Cariddi, who supports our efforts and wants to make her entire district polystyrene-free. For the benefit of those who were not able to come, I have made my powerpoint ("Greening Williamstown") available online on a new website:


The website is designed not only to help us decide what to do in WIlliamstown, but also to share resources with activists in other communities.  Included on the site are:
  • Information about the environmental and economic problems created by plastic bags and polystyrene
  • Information on vendors of alternative products, including reusable bags and compostable food service materials.
  • Copies of bylaws and ordinances from other municipalities that we might adapt for Williamstown.
As explained in the Powerpoint, and on MassGreen.Org, there are a number of decision points:
  • Should we seek to ban all polystyrene food containers (as Brookline has) or just foam (as Amherst has)?
  • Should we seek to ban single-use plastic bags outright (as other towns in Mass have) or impose a mandatory charge for each bag (as some towns in other states have)?
  • Should we impose a charge for paper bags too (as have many cities in California)?
If you have an opinion on these matters or would like to be involved in drafting the bylaws for Williamstown, please contact Brad Verter --

Thursday, March 19, 2015

BOOK NOTES: "Sustainable Happiness: Live Simply, Live Well, Make a Difference"

UPDATE: Book author in Williamstown on April 2, 2015


Sustainable Happiness: Live Simply, Live Well, Make a Difference
·         By Sarah van Gelder and the Staff of YES! Magazine
·         Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2015; paperback 168 pages

Sustainable Happiness: Live Simply, Live Well, Make a Difference is not your usual book on happiness. Nor is it a self-help book, although it includes science-based insights about how to achieve happiness in your own life. Its unique contribution is in showing how our own sense of joy and well-being is enhanced via the well being of others and the health of the planet. Through a series of eloquent voices from different parts of the world and various areas of expertise, Sustainable Happiness investigates the links between social equity, ecological health — and our individual happiness.

The book begins with an introduction by YES! Magazine co-founder and editor in chief, Sarah van Gelder, and features a host of notable contributors including Annie Leonard (“Story of Stuff”); restorative justice author and educator Fania Davis; author and biodiversity activist Vandana Shiva; poet Wendell Berry; and empathy researcher Roman Krznaric, among others.

The staff of YES! Magazine has been exploring the meaning of real happiness for close to 20 years. This volume brings together scientific research, in-depth essays and compelling personal stories. And the message it all leads up to? What makes us truly happy are the depth of our relationships, the quality of our communities, the contribution we make through the work we do, and the renewal we receive from a thriving world.

Author and environmentalist Bill McKibben describes it this way, “Somehow a working planet, a thriving society, and a satisfying personal life are hitched together—and this fine volume offers powerful clues on the search for those connections.”

And the Library Journal adds, "This work offers more depth as to why the gentler, simple way is better for everyone." 

About Sarah van Gelder:

Sarah van Gelder edited Sustainable Happiness and wrote an original introduction to the book. Sarah is cofounder and editor-in-chief of YES! Magazine. She writes articles and op-eds for The Guardian, Huffington Post, and American Forum, and speaks nationally on leading-edge innovations that show that another world is not only possible, it is being created today. Sarah is a regular guest on public radio and has also appeared on the PBS NewsHour program, Thom Hartmann’s Big Picture, Democracy Now!, The Laura Flanders Show, and Free Speech TV. In her recent conference appearances and broadcast interviews, Sarah is regularly invited to speak about solutions journalism, including this TEDx talk, “Is There Inspiration in Your Media Diet?” and a popular panel at the National Media Reform Conference, “Making Change: Journalism That Solves Problems.” Sarah also edited and wrote the introduction for the first substantive book on the Occupy movement, This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement.

About YES! Magazine
YES! Magazine, winner of the 2013 Utne Media Award for General Excellence, reframes the biggest problems of our time in terms of their solutions. Online and in print, YES! outlines a path forward with in-depth analysis, tools for citizen engagement, and stories about real people working for a better world. Project Censored calls YES! “the standard for solutions journalism.” Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman calls YES! a “vital voice of independent journalism.” named YES! the best green business and politics website of 2011.

About Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Berrett-Koehler Publishers was founded in 1992 by Steve Piersanti in San Francisco, CA. The mission-based publisher believes in “Creating a World That Works for All” and publishes an average of 40 titles per year that reflect that mission in the business, current affairs, and lifestyle categories. Berrett-Koehler Publishers is a Certified B Corporation.

For more information: Susan Gleason, Media & Outreach Manager, Yes! Magazine, 206-931-2613
skype - susan.gleason
twitter - @sgleason, @yesmagazine
 YES! Magazine -