Sunday, January 07, 2018

MUSIC: Americana lyics and a melodies both delicate and fierce mark New England / NY tour of Eliza Edens (Densmore) | Jan. 9-Jan. 19

Eliza Edens (Densmore) -- above   / left                   Siri Undlin ("Humbird") -- below/right
Ballads that conjur wistful Americana and alternately delicate and fierce melodies are promised by a couple of women guitar singer-songwriters who begin a 10-venue New England / N.Y. coffeehouse tour on Tuesday in Rochester, N.Y. -- then head east to Schenectady, Burlington, Vt., Cambridge, Mass., Nashua, N.H., Portland, Maine, Williamstown, Mass., Brooklyn, N.Y., and two Philadelphia venues.

The duo are Eliza Edens ​ Densmore, who performs as Eliza Edens,​ and ​​Siri ​Undlin​ , who performs as Humbird. Close friends ​ at their alma mater, The Colorado College​ , they perform separately on a split billing.  Humbird, who is  based in Minneapolis, uses guitar to conjur up wistful American with hits of wintry longing.   Edens, a Williamstown-born songsearcher, crafts delicate and fierce melodies also with voice and guitar. 

Their full schedule is below
​ and is also viewable at

After traversing 5 continents and 20 countries with only a guitar and a backpack, Humbird adds powerful lyrics to a mosaic of influences like Joni Mitchell, Bon Iver and Bill Frisell.  Combining a wintry longing with the warmth of a familiar folktale, Humbird stretches traditional genres of folk and Americana to embrace the unexpected. This music invites a refreshing dissonance into the house. Humbird relased a double EP "Elsewhere" and "Where Else" in Summer 2017. Find Humbird's music at:

Edens is a native of Williamstown who now lives and performs in Philadelphia. She has played in New York City and around small Berkshire County venues and opened for Sarah Lee Guthrie in July at Hancock Shaker Village. She uses her music to observe the natural world. Combining the adventurous fingerpicking of The Tallest Man on Earth, the calm resolve of Laura Marling, and the aching pulse of Bon Iver, Eliza writes tightly wound songs with wistful lyrics and winding melodies that belong somewhere between your tumbledown front porch stoop and a hazy bar in the big city – and leave a little extra space to linger. She is a grantee of Club Passim's 2017 Iguana Music Fund and is currently crafting a debut record. Her debut EP is at

​"We're thrilled to be heading out on an inaugural tour with Humbird," says Edens. "We're
 playing spots all around New England and the Northeast. Come listen & stay warm with us -- it's guaranteed to keep y​ou​r post-holiday blues at bay."

Their schedule includes​:
​Rochester, N.Y. /​

Burlington, Vt. ​​
(Radio Bean) | Fri., Jan. 12 | 9:30 p.m.

Cambridge, Mass.​ / 
Gallery 263  | Sat., Jan. 13 | 7:30 p.m.

Nashua, N.H. ​/ 
Riverwalk Cafe & Music Bar| Sun. Jan. 14 | 8 p.m.

Portland, Maine ​/ 
Empire Live Music & Events | Tues., Jan. 16 | 7 p.m. 

Williamstown, Mass. ​/ 
​house show at ​Caretaker Farm | Wed., Jan. 17 |  7 p.m.

Brooklyn, N.Y. ​/ 
Muchmore's| Thu., Jan.  18 | 8 p.m.

Philadelphia, Penn. ​ /  
Kung Fu Necktie w/ Dirty Bird​ | Fri. Jan. 19 | 7 p.m.

Hopewell, N.J.
 Hopewell Theater | Wed., Feb. 7 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Williams names Majumder interim president Jan. 1 pending search for Falk's successor


To the Williams Community, 
I hope you are all enjoying the last days of summer, and looking forward, as I am, to the new academic year. 
As you know, President Adam Falk recently announced that he will leave Williams at the end of December to become president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. In my role as chair of the college's Board of Trustees, I have been asked by the Board to lead our search for Adam's successor. I am writing today to inform you of our considerable progress in organizing the process, and to share with you our plan for interim college leadership beginning in January of 2018, which was approved by the Board of Trustees yesterday. 
First, I am pleased to inform you that Protik (Tiku) Majumder, Barclay Jermain Professor of Natural Philosophy and Director of the Science Center, has graciously agreed to serve as interim president, starting January 1, 2018, and continuing until the new president is in place. Tiku has an outstanding record as a Williams teacher and mentor, scientist, and faculty leader, and just as importantly has earned wide trust and respect across the Williams community. Our objective was to find an interim president with a keen understanding of our institution; a love of Williams, of its students, and of its faculty; enormous patience, tact, and insight; and an ability to respond with intelligence, compassion, and calm to the inevitable challenges that will arise from time to time. Tiku has each of these qualities, and many more. He will do a superb job of keeping Williams on track, and I ask you to join me in thanking him and supporting his leadership. 
Second, we have formed a Presidential Search Committee whose charge will be to present to the Board of Trustees one or more exceptional and thoroughly vetted candidates to become our next president, and to ensure that every member of the Williams community has an opportunity to give input with respect to qualities that we should be seeking, as well as to offer nominations. The Search Committee includes representatives from every sector of our community: students, staff, alumni, faculty, and trustees. Several members are also Williams parents. As their backgrounds indicate, each brings deep involvement with the College. Service on the committee will require significant time and effort, and I am personally grateful to the members for their dedication to Williams and their willingness to take on this essential task. 
The members of the committee are: 

Michael Eisenson '77, Trustee and Chair of the Search Committee 
O. Andreas Halvorsen '86, Trustee 
Clarence Otis, Jr. '77, Trustee 
Kate L. Queeney '92, Trustee 
Liz Robinson '90, Trustee 
Martha Williamson '77, Trustee 
Ngonidzashe Munemo, Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity and Associate Professor of Political Science 
Peter Murphy, John Hawley Roberts Professor of English 
Lucie Schmidt, Professor of Economics 
Tom Smith '88, Professor of Chemistry 
Safa Zaki, Professor of Psychology 
Chris Winters '95, Associate Provost 
Jordan G. Hampton '87, President, Society of Alumni 
Yvonne Hao '95, alumna and Trustee Emerita 
Ben Gips '19, student representative 
Sarah Hollinger '19, student representative 

Keli Gail, Secretary of the Board of Trustees and principal staff to the committee 
Third, the board has retained the firm Spencer Stuart as consultant, to help manage the search process. Spencer Stuart has been involved in numerous recent and successful academic searches at the highest levels, and is very well positioned to help the committee in its work. Searches like this are complex and sensitive, and we expect to benefit greatly from their expertise, specialized resources, and pool of outstanding candidates. 
The Search Committee will begin its work shortly, and we will announce opportunities for community input as these are developed. As a first step, we have created a website where you can find information and materials related to the search. We will add to the site as additional materials are available, as further process steps are scheduled, and as we have news to share. Our future email updates will link back to this site as the place of record for search news. 
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to again thank the members of the Presidential Search Committee for the work they are about to do, and Tiku Majumder for his service as interim president. I also want to convey to our entire community our enthusiasm and optimism as we set out to find the 18th president of Williams College. 

Michael Eisenson '77 
Chair, Williams College Board of Trustees



Noelle Lemoine

Communications Assistant
Williams College Office of Communications
phone: 413.597.4277

Monday, August 07, 2017

Author Pam Weintraub to speak Saturday, Aug. 12, at Berkshire Athenaeum about Lyme disease "epidemic"

he Lyme Alliance
​ of the Berkshires is hosting 
"Inside the Lyme Epidemic: Past, Present and Future" with Pamela Weintraub, author of the book Cure Unknown.

Nearly a decade after her beloved book was originally published, author Pamela Weintraub will tell her story and discuss what has changed in the world of Lyme since 2008 and what still needs to be done to help end the Lyme epidemic.

 will speak and then will interact with attendees and answer questions. We will have a door prize raffle as part of this event and refreshments will be available.

The event will be taking place in the Berkshire Athenaeum auditorium on 1 Wendell Avenue in Pittsfield, MA on Saturday, Aug
, 2017 from 1:30 to 4:30
​ p.m.​

Lyme disease is at epidemic levels in Berkshire County
​, according to Kenneth Mercure, organizer of the Lyme Alliance.

hat should be an easily treated and manageable infection is being left to become a serious and even life-threatening public health crisi
​s," he says. "
Lyme disease is under-reported, often misdiagnosed as something else and frequently suggested to be 
all in your head

Mercure says there's a great 
disparity between the reality and seriousness of tick-borne infections and what is being touted as the ultimate truth about Lyme and its related diseases.
​ His
based organization
 started in 2011, 
​helps Lyme-suffering individuals and conducts public-education work.
Kenneth Mercure
​ /
​ / 413-629-8484 ​


Thursday, June 01, 2017

Hinds hosting Senate President Rosenberg in Pittsfield or a day of meetings, events on Friday, June 2nd

SOURCE: Office of Sen. Adam Hinds 


BOSTON – State Senator Adam G. Hinds (D- Pittsfield) announces today that he will host Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D- Amherst) for a day of meetings and events  on Friday, June 2, 2017 in downtown Pittsfield.


"We face unique challenges, alongside tremendous assets, here in the Berkshires," said Hinds.  "Bringing the Senate President here means he can see our priorities firsthand, which is part of our effort to ensure the rest of the state understands our needs.  I am incredibly pleased to be able have the President here for an entire day and am looking forward to a full and productive day."


Rosenberg and Hinds are scheduled to meet with representatives of the local creative economy, business leaders, municipal officials and residents on June 2nd.   Together they will co-host a community forum, open to the public, from 3:30-5:00pm in the Large Meeting Room of the Berkshire Athenaeum, located at 1 Wendell Avenue. 


This edition of Hinds' monthly community forum series, Speak Up Western Mass, features an opportunity for Berkshire County residents to not only connect with their state Senator, but also with one of the three major leaders in state government – the Senate President.  Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions, share concerns or promote ideas and priorities in an open, unscripted forum.


"I always enjoy spending time in the Berkshires and hearing directly from residents about their concerns and issues that affect their everyday lives.  Thank you to Senator Hinds for hosting me for an entire day and I look forward to learning more from residents about the creative economy, municipal issues, and how the Massachusetts Senate can implement policies that will help the region," said Senate President Rosenberg.


From 2:00-3:00pm in the 1Berkshire Boardroom (66 Allen Street, Pittsfield) Hinds will convene a roundtable conversation focused on exploring current barriers that must be overcome in order to allow Berkshire County to fully participate in the Commonwealth's booming and nationally renowned Innovation Economy.  Led by Patrick Larkin, Pittsfield resident and director of the Innovation Institute at MassTech, this conversation will highlight recent efforts by local and state officials to draw new companies to the Berkshires and to strengthen existing workforce development opportunities.   Local economic development and labor and workforce development officials have been invited as have several innovative companies doing business in the region.


Since assuming office in January Senator Hinds has hosted or cohosted a number of government colleagues in his Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden District, including Congressman Richard Neal, several members of the Massachusetts Senate, Attorney General Maura Healey, Housing & Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash, Housing Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay, and Energy & Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton.  On June 5th the Joint Committee on Financial Services will hold a public hearing in Lenox Town Hall on short-term rental bills, and on June 19th the Senate Committee on Global Warming & Climate Change will bring its Clean Energy Future Tour to Berkshire Community College.


June 2nd Event Specifics:

Roundtable Conversation:  Challenges to the Innovation Economy in Berkshire County

Time:  2:00pm-3:00pm

Address:  1Berkshire, 66 Allen Street, Pittsfield

Description:  Massachusetts is consistently ranked the "Most Innovative State in the Nation" and yet Berkshire County and much of rural western Mass. does not benefit from the economic impact that the eastern part of the state derives from the booming tech sector.  The roundtable conversation, led by Patrick Larkin of the Innovation Institute at MassTech, will explore what barriers must be overcome to allow Berkshire County and western Mass. fully participate in the Commonwealth's innovation economy.  Senator Hinds will highlight recent efforts by local and state officials to draw new companies to the Berkshires and to strengthen existing workforce development opportunities.   Local economic development and labor and workforce development officials have been invited as have several innovative companies doing business in the region.  This event is open to the press.


Speak Up Western Mass Public Forum

Time: 3:30pm-5:00pm

Address:  Berkshire Athenaeum Large Meeting Room, 1 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield

Description:  Speak Up Western Mass is Senator Hinds' series of monthly community forums/office hours events, held in rotating locations across the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden District.  They are unscripted and offer constituents a chance to meet with their state Senator and his district staff and ask questions, share their concerns or promote ideas and priorities.  This Speak Up Western Mass forum will feature a special guest and co-host, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, offering Berkshire County residents a chance to share their ideas and ask questions directly to the Leader of the Massachusetts Senate.  This event is open to the public and the press.





Bethann S. Steiner, Chief of Staff

Office of Senator Adam Hinds

State House, Room 309, Boston, MA 02133

Phone: (617) 722-1625 |


Monday, May 01, 2017

Karen Shepard releases statement in her bid to unseat Chris Winters on the Williamstown Planning Board

Karen Shepard, third from right, with her husband, Jim, left, and two children
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., May 1, 2017 -- The following is a candidate statement supplied by Karen Shepard, who is running for a seat on the Williamstown Planning Board in a cost pitting her against incument Chris Winters.

I’m Karen Shepard, and I’d like to introduce myself and tell you a little about why I’m running for Planning Board:

"I’ve been back in town for twenty-five years (I graduated from Williams in 1987) and my husband Jim and I have raised our kids here and sent them to the town’s public schools.  I’m a novelist and a teacher and have been involved in the community in a variety of ways: I was co-president of the ABC House board; I’ve been active at Mount Greylock with the PTO, and on a variety of search committees, and on the building project there.  At Williams, I served on the building committees for the Bookstore and The Log renovation, and I chaired the Bookstore committee, all of which taught me about what needs to go into development of that kind.

"After the election last November, I encouraged my students and kids to get involved, and told them that it’s not just our right but our responsibility to take part in how our communities are shaped.  Now I figure it’s time to practice what I preach. I think to get involved, you have to: 
  • Be the kind of person who wants to listen and learn.  
  • Have to have common sense; you have to have the energy to try to make things happen, and, most importantly, it seems to me, you have to be able to put yourself in other people’s shoes.   
  • Listen to what everyone thinks they want and need, and then have open, honest, and civil discussions, and figure out first what needs to be done and second how to roll up your sleeves and do it. 
"Here’s some of what I’ve come to believe:

  • The Planning Board Should Represent the Town The Planning Board should represent and support the town’s vision for the future of our community; individual agendas should not outweigh public vision.
  • The Town’s Vision is an Achievable Vision. Economic development, encouraging growth, and the protection of open space can work with not against each other.
  • We Need Flexible Residential Areas.  Increasing the flexibility of residential areas through high density, mixed-income, multi-family, and affordable housing, and modified zoning in concentrated areas will promote a vibrant, populated residential center that will energize not just the tourist trade, but the local residents’ day-to-day life, and will also care for our growing elderly population and attract younger residents to town.
  • Concentrated Development is Good Development Concentrated development reduces sprawl, allowing for the protection of our valued natural resources in larger parcels on the outskirts of town.  We need zoning that encourages sustainable high-density, mixed-use development in certain districts.
  • Protecting Open Space is Pro-development It increases the value of abutting lots; it attracts tourists; protecting open space on the outskirts of town encourages development at the center.
  • An Educated Town is a More Prosperous Town Did you know, for example, that although our town is 83% open space, only 29% of that is protected, the smallest percentage among eight Northern Berkshire towns?   Or that when you apply absolute and partial constraints to the Limited Industrial and Planned Business districts, the amount of land available to develop more or less disappears?  The more we know, the more we can achieve. 
  • We Need Change on the Planning Board A town is only as strong as the number of people involved in the way it’s run.  Too often the same handful of people fill the same local government positions.  The incumbent has been on the Planning Board for ten years.  Someone who isn’t as familiar with “the way things have always been done” can bring fresh eyes to old problems. 

"If what I believe sounds like what you believe, I hope you’ll give me a chance to represent your values, to represent your desires, a chance to serve you in ways that make this town as strong as it can possibly be.  The election is May 9th at WES; polls are open 7:00am-8:00pm I hope to see you there.

Thank you for your time and attention,

Karen Shepard

Facebook: KarenShepardAuthor
Twitter: @karenlshepard"

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Anne Skinner Receives Fulbright Fellowship to Research in Brazil


Media contact:  Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email:

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., April 6, 2017—Anne Skinner, senior lecturer emerita in chemistry at Williams College, has been awarded a Fulbright fellowship to spend four months  doing research in Brazil in 2018.

Skinner's project, "Shining Light on the Early Human Occupation of Northeast Brazil: A Multi-Institutional and Multidisciplinary Approach," will combine excavations in the UNESCO Human Heritage region of Parque Nacional Serra da Capivara with lectures and demonstrations at four Brazilian institutions, using excavated material to improve inter-laboratory collaboration. Her research dates fossils by measuring the accumulation of radiation damage during burial. Her previous studies in Brazil have challenged the "Clovis First" paradigm of the settlement of the Americas.

"I feel fortunate to have international recognition of this type of work and my research," Skinner said. "And I am grateful for the opportunity to investigate the early occupation of Brazil in depth." 


Over the last 30 years, Skinner has been involved with determining the age of prehistoric sites on every continent except Antarctica. Her lab at Williams is the only one in the United States doing this type of work. She has received multiple grants, most recently a Dreyfus Foundation Senior Mentor grant. She has been featured on a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) program about the Homo erectus in Africa. Skinner involves students in her research, including presenting materials at international conferences.

A physical chemist by training, Skinner's work is multidisciplinary, combining chemistry, biology, geology, anthropology and archaeology.

Teaching at Williams since 1977, Skinner has a bachelor's degree from Radcliffe College and a master's degree and Ph.D. from Yale University.


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college's 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students' educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student's financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.



Noelle Lemoine
Williams College Office of Communications
phone: 413.597.4277

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

BART taps Southern Vermont College provost to replace Julia Bowen as head of Adams school

This news release was received from Leah Thompson, BART development directo r(, and lists Charles Swabey, board chair, as contact:  413-743-7311. 

ADAMS — The Board of Trustees of BART Charter Public School has named James "Jay" C. White II, Ph.D., as the school's Executive Director, starting June 19.

Trustee Chair Charles Swabey said White will bring to BART more than 30 years of teaching, administrative, and fundraising experience in a variety of settings, including middle and high school, colleges and universities, and national and international nonprofit organizations. White serves as Provost, Dean of the College, and Professor of Physics at Southern Vermont College in Bennington, Vt., which he joined in 2015.

Swabey said White was inspired to apply for the executive director position by a visit to BART last year, where he said the dedication of faculty and staff to student success was palpable to anyone entering the school. White's experience during the interview process at BART, which included classroom visits and meeting a variety of BART community members, increased his admiration for BART and further fueled his desire to lead the school as an advocate for the academic excellence and transformative education that BART provides for its students.

"The Board of Trustees is confident that Jay has the background and skills to lead BART to the next level of academic performance and student achievement, as well as strengthening the ability of BART graduates to thrive in college," Swabey said.

Swabey added that White has a track record of successful friend- and fund-raising, both of which are critical to BART. Swabey said the Board found White to be a collaborative leader and agreed that his description of administrative leadership as "facilitating the work of his peers" is the right approach for BART.

White said he is looking forward to joining BART because, "As a seasoned administrator, I enjoy working closely with colleagues to improve and advance programs and whole institutions and to make more evocative and powerful the education we provide."

Swabey said that White will succeed founding executive director Julia Bowen, who has led BART since 2003 and has resigned effective July to pursue new opportunities. Swabey added that the Board is pleased that between White's arrival and Bowen's departure, there will be an overlap during which the two will work together to facilitate a smooth transition for BART.

Prior to relocating to New England and joining Southern Vermont College as its Provost and Dean of the College, White has had a career concentrated within national and international education and has lived and worked within education at all levels. Highlights of White's career include:

  • From teacher of science and mathematics to head of school at Linden Hall, the nation's oldest boarding school for young women.
  • Chief academic officer and a physics professor for Washington & Jefferson College and Gettysburg College.
  • Executive director of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and program manager for the International Astronomical Union's science and education development programs in countries around the world.

An elected fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, White holds a bachelor's degree in physics from Birmingham-Southern College and master's and doctorate degrees in astronomy from Indiana University, Bloomington.

"My life has been one dedicated to exploration and education—for my own curiosity and, more importantly, for helping to create learning environments in which children and colleagues can explore." White stated. "BART Charter Public School is an important institution, and I am absolutely thrilled to help the teachers and families of the school's students help these children emerge as the great souls we know they are. Our nation and our global society need them, and BART is a perfect place to help prepare them before they are set loose on addressing the world's challenges."

Swabey said the Board of Trustees wished to thank the Executive Director Search Committee for its service. The nine volunteers – four BART trustees, a BART Foundation Board trustee, a teacher, parent, administrator, and community member —reviewed 29 applications for the position in a process that involved phone and in-person interviews, a full-day visit to BART for three applicants, and a final interview with the Board of Trustees. Swabey said the committee conducted a thoughtful and rigorous process that resulted in the successful recruitment of Jay White.

BART is a nationally recognized, award-winning, tuition-free public middle and high school focused on preparing students for college. In 2015, US News & World Report ranked BART the 7th best high school in Massachusetts. To date, 100 percent of BART's graduates have passed a college course and have been accepted into college prior to graduation. BART does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.