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.

 

###

 

​SOURCE:
 

Bethann S. Steiner, Chief of Staff

Office of Senator Adam Hinds

State House, Room 309, Boston, MA 02133

Phone: (617) 722-1625 | Facebook.com/SenatorAdamHinds

 


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

Email: kshepard@williams.edu
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: Noelle.Lemoine@williams.edu


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.

END

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.

Online:

Williams.edu
Facebook.com/williamscollege
Twitter.com/williamscollege
Instagram.com/williamscollege


--

***************************
Noelle Lemoine
Williams College Office of Communications
phone: 413.597.4277
www.williams.edu

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(leah.thompson@bartcharter.org), 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.


Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Hoosic River Revival Receives Two Grants for South Branch Restoration Project

Contact: Judith Grinnell, Hoosic River Revival; (413) 212-2996; HoosicRiverRevival@gmail.com

North Adams, MA — The Hoosic River Revival (HRR), a non-profit organization whose mission is to revitalize the Hoosic River in North Adams while ensuring the safety of residents from flooding, has received two grants to advance their goal of making the South Branch a place with year-round recreational, environmental, and economic opportunities.
Patagonia, the world-wide outdoor clothing company, has provided the River Revival $8,000 to supplement the cost of soil testing for contaminants at Noel Field, the Phase One restoration site. Patagonia's World Trout Council supports small, innovative, grassroots groups working with provocative direct-action agendas.  
"We are honored to receive this support from Patagonia, and especially pleased to learn that we are one of only 17 grant recipients in Massachusetts," said Judy Grinnell, founder of the Hoosic River Revival.  In 2016 Patagonia donated over $7 million dollars to 825 environmental organizations around the world.
The River Revival has also received a $2,500 matching grant from the Berkshire Environmental Endowment Fund for a community art installation. David Buckley Borden, who was an Assets for Artists Resident at MASS MoCA in 2016, has been chosen by HRR to create a project at the Phase One river restoration area. During his artist residency, Borden developed a body of visual artwork focused on promoting the value of the Hoosic River watershed.
 
Borden will build on this work in the collaborative creation of an eye-catching, thought-provoking art installation to increase residents' knowledge and appreciation for the Hoosic River in North Adams. Reached in Cambridge, MA, where he lives, Borden shared this thoughts about the upcoming work: "As an artist focused on using accessible art to promote a shared environmental awareness, I am thrilled at the prospect of working with the Hoosic River Revival and making a contribution to the North Adams community and its appreciation of the Hoosic River.Borden's works can be viewed at http://davidbuckleyborden.com/.

The mission of the Hoosic River Revival is to reconnect the community to a healthy, scenic, accessible, flood-controlled river, which will enhance North Adams' recreational, cultural, and economic vitality. The Board of Directors meets monthly at North Adams City Hall on the second Monday of each month at 9 am and welcomes attendance from the public. Comments, questions, or inquiries about the Hoosic River Revival can be sent to HoosicRiverRevival@gmail.com or by telephone 413.212.2996.   #
Caption for attached photo: A digital print in a series created by Borden during his Assets for Artists residency at MASS MoCA in 2016.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

North Adams synagogue sets April 20 free, public discussion on refugees: "Welcoming the Stranger"


     

​Submitted by Tela Zazsloff. For more information contact 
Jack Hockridge, Administrator,
​ Congregation Beth Israel --
office@cbiweb.org    Phone 413 663-5830
​.​

              NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- ​

Congregation Beth Israel (53 Lois Street, North Adams), will present, on April 20, 7:30pm, an up close look at the current refugee crisis. 

Joanna Slater, an award winning journalist for the Toronto Globe and Mail, will discuss her first-hand account of the current flight of refugees across Europe. She will also reflect on the role of journalists in bringing the refugee crisis to light. 

Deirdre Griffin, director of the New American Program of the Jewish Family Service of Western MA, will review plans to bring 50 Syrian refugees to the Berkshires, and update us on where this program now stands.

Suzanne Graver, professor emerita of Williams College and chair of CBI's Speakers Committee, will discuss how rabbis, synagogues, and Jewish agencies and journals have been taking to heart the Torah's 36 commandments to welcome the stranger. 

 Discussion will follow.  The program is open to the community free of charge.

 


Saturday, April 01, 2017

Adams details spring construction plans for first two miles of Greylock Glen trail network

Peck's Falls (Paul Jahnige photo supplied by the state DCR)
This is a news release supplied March 31, 2017, by the Town of Adams.
For more information contact Donna Cesan, Community Development Director, Town of Adams: 413-743-8300 x 131; dcesan@town.adams.ma.us

ADAMS, Mass. – The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Town of Adams, Massachusetts have announced plans to begin construction of the renovated trail system at Greylock Glen.  This spring, DCR will commence construction of the 2-mile, Class 1 “Glen Meadow Loop” trail in the heart of the Glen.  Eventually, plans call for a 30-mile improved trail system for hiking, mountain biking, snowmobiling, and skiing.  Approximately half of the trails will be built over existing trails, and half are new trail construction in fields or woodlands.  “We are incredibly excited to begin on-the-ground trail construction at Greylock Glen as a part of this model for environmental conservation, active recreation, and economic development,” said DCR Commissioner Leo P. Roy. 

The $50 million Greylock Glen Resort, currently being developed by the Town, has been designed as an environmentally sustainable ecotourism destination that will include a lodge and conference center, a campground, an outdoor recreation center and environmental education facility, a performing arts amphitheater, an environmental art garden and dozens of miles of multi-use trails. The construction of the Class 1 trails will be the first phase of the project.  Donna Cesan, Community Development Director for the Town of Adams said, “Getting a jump start on construction of the trails system will not only be a boon for public enjoyment but help the Town attract private developer partners for the other components of the Glen resort development”.

The recreational opportunities and experiences that are anticipated at the Greylock Glen Resort include:
  • Hiking trails that will highlight scenic features of the Glen and include three hiking routes to Mount Greylock State Reservation and the Mount Greylock summit;
  • Mountain-biking trails that will wind through the forest and provide a variety of difficulties and destinations;
  • Cross-country ski trails for both skating and class styles that will provide for a variety of loops, difficulties, and distances;
  • Downhill back-country skiing, most notably the historic Thunderbolt Trail and a new proposed Thunderbolt Glade and Meadow route that recalls the original alignment from the 1930s;
  • Snowmobile connections that will allow snowmobilers to connect from adjacent properties to and across the Greylock Glen; and
  • Camping in the Greylock Glen campground, for which the Town is currently seeking a development partner.
In improving the Glen trail system, DCR and the Town are also working together to protect the wetlands and waterways on the property, and the many rare species that the Glen supports.  “There are beautiful streams, waterfalls, ponds and marshes at the Glen and many rare species.  Over the past few years, we have completed extensive mapping, planning and permitting to ensure that we avoid impacting the resources at the Glen that make it so magical,” said Paul Jahnige, DCR Director of Trails and Greenways.
One of the central pieces of this trail system is what is defined as Class 1 trail loops in the center of the Glen development area.  These trails are expected to be 8-10’ wide crushed stone surface with an appropriate sub-base and drainage.  In addition to walking, hiking, and biking, these wider trails are suitable for X-country skiing and even carriage and sleigh rides.

The entire Greylock Glen site is 1,063 acres, of which fewer than 50 will be developed. Approximately 95% of the site (1,008 acres) was permanently protected last year by the Baker Administration and announced by the Secretary of Energy and Environment, Mathew Beaton.  Greylock Glen is adjacent to the 12,500-acre Mount Greylock State Reservation which includes the tallest peak in southern New England.  Users of the Glen’s trails system will be able to enjoy hiking, climbing, backcountry skiing and boarding, snowshoeing, mountain biking, nature walks, birding and many other outdoor activities, while being only a short drive from the Berkshires’ world famous tourist destinations such as Tanglewood, Clark Art Institute and MASS MoCA.

Approximately 3 million people visit the Berkshires each year to attend its many cultural events and museums, as well as to enjoy its beautiful scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities.
# # #



Williamstown-born "Nandi Rose Plunkett’s Freewheeling Art Pop" - from The New Yorker

Contents below copyright, The New Yorker. Best to click on the link above to read it although this is provided as a non-profit application of fair use for analysis, comment and education. 

This article appears in other versions of the April 10, 2017, issue, with the headline "Follow Ahead."

It rained in New York last May 6, and music completists felt the downpour the heaviest. New albums from James Blake, Skepta, Death Grips, Anohni, and Kaytranada all came at once, a spread of vivid artists who had risen from self-contained music pockets as captains of focussed styles and subcultures. "Probable Depths" arrived more quietly that same day, and the cassette might have been lost in the spring shower if it hadn't been for the loyal followers of Nandi Rose Plunkett, a singer and producer known as Half Waif. College-radio jocks and B-side bloggers picked up "Turn Me Around," the record's agile second single, and dished out praise that the ethereal pop song wholly deserved but was too opaque to earn more widely; like Plunkett's path to performance, the track is a study of pivots. A mournful choral intro gives way to a hand-clap bounce fit for a Rihanna song—"I don't even know what I'm here for," Plunkett sings, never letting on where "here" may be.

The twenty-eight-year-old has rarely played it straight. The daughter of an Indian refugee from Uganda and an Irish-American, she grew up in Williamstown, Massachusetts, versed in traditional bhajans and Celtic pop. As a music major at Kenyon College, she inhaled varied forms—musical theatre, classical, folk, world music—and mastered few, instead working through her own experiments with upstart bands and nursing solo material by night. Her ideas jelled best with Evan Stephens Hall, and she joined his band Pinegrove. The group made their way to northern New Jersey after graduation, and became immersed in a close-knit music community that had produced bands like Ducktails and Real Estate—after crashing in Hall's childhood bedroom for a summer, Plunkett found the confidence to pipe up on her own once again.

With Pinegrove, Plunkett helps to broaden the band's blooming alt-country rooted deep in the New Jersey woodlands; as Half Waif, she makes room for globe-twirling prism pop in search of a home. At Silent Barn on April 6, she'll play songs from "form/a," the latest Half Waif EP (which she produced herself), swaying between the electronic bass of new tracks like "Night Heat" and the light step of "Turn Me Around," nudging everyone near her into motion.