Thursday, May 25, 2006

Pownal, Vt., resident urgents region's families to consider hosting Russian students

POWNAL, Vt. -- Students from over 10 countries will be arriving in August to attend local high schools. The students have been chosen for their English skills, academic ability and maturity. Three kids who would like to have families in our area next year are scholarship students from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan,
sponsored by the U.S. Government Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX) and administered by PAX
(Program of Academic Exchange), a non-profit educational foundation. Kara Lozier, an experienced
host mom herself, serves as local director and invites families in this area to consider hosting a FLEX
student for the 06/07 school year.

Kara Lozier of Pownal, Vt., would like families to open their hearts and homes to a "son" or "daughter" in a
faraway country. Of her experience hosting Dong Baek from South Korea, she says, "He has become another
'son' to me in every way and considers this his home. The bond he shares with every family member is
precious and we have all benefited from having him in our lives."

FLEX students are between the ages of 15 and 18. They speak excellent English, have full medical insurance
and a monthly stipend. They arrive in August and are selected in a merit-based competition out of 50
thousand applicants. These students are eager to share their customs and culture with their American
hosts. As young "ambassadors", they hope to live like average American teens for one school year, joining
sports teams, studying for exams, and participating fully in American family life!

PAX families are asked to provide students with meals, a place to sleep and study, and a warm, supportive
environment. Private rooms are not required and all types of families are welcome to apply, including
single parents, young couples and retirees. For information, interested families should call Kara
Lozier at 802-823-5006 or the PAX national office at (800) 555-6211, ext. 302. Or you can contact Kara by
email at .

Monday, May 15, 2006

Williamstown warrant article provides excise tax rebate for high mileage vehicles

NOTE TO READERS -- The information below was compiled by the Williamstown COOL (CO2 Lowering) Committee: Irene Addision, Jane Allen, Hank Art, Lisa Gordon, Tim Kaiser, Betsy Kolbert, KC Manuel, Ashley Martinez, Pat McLeod, Nancy Nylen, Wendy Penner, & Mike Tillou.

The Williamstown Board of Selectmen has recommended for approval a warrant article that would provide excise tax grants to owners of fuel-efficient vehicles. To clear up confusion about what the article would-and would not-do, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:

1. Would the grants only go to owners of hybrid vehicles? I've heard that many hybrid cars don't get good gas mileage!
No. The Selectmen have rewritten the original warrant to include all fuel efficient vehicles manufactured in the past five years that have an EPA rating of greater than 30/35 miles per gallon (city/highway). This includes some, but not all, hybrids and many conventional cars that get good gas mileage. Among the cars that would be eligible for a rebate are some models of the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Echo, Toyota Scion, Hyundai Accent, as well as the Honda Insight, Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Prius.

2. Isn't this just subsidizing people who already have the money to buy expensive cars?
No. Several of the eligible vehicles are actually among the least expensive new cars on the market, including the Honda Civic and Kia Rio. Also, the grants are not just for new cars —but also used cars manufactured in the last 5 years (2003 and newer).

3. What good would the rebate do?
The Town of Williamstown is taking a leadership role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution produced in town and by our residents. Approximately 20 percent of our emissions are from the vehicles we drive. This warrant article encourages residents to reduce our emissions by purchasing energy efficient vehicles.

4. How much money will this cost the town?
A maximum of $10,000, which is just over 1 percent of the amount of automobile excise taxes collected in Williamstown. The Town might even see an increase in excise tax revenues when people replace less valuable old cars with new, fuel efficient cars that will owe higher excise tax bills.

5. When does this go into effect and how long will it last?
The grants would be for the 2007 motor vehicle excise tax bills that go out in January 2007. The program is limited to one year. Town Meeting will have to decide next year if it wants to continue the grant program.

The text of the warrant article is as follows:


To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for the Town to provide grants in the amount of seventy-five percent (75%) of the 2007 annual motor vehicle excise tax imposed on any passenger automobile, van or light truck manufactured in the five most recent model years with a USEPA fuel economy rating of 50 miles per gallon or greater for city driving and 50 miles per gallon or greater for highway driving, or fifty percent (50%) of the 2007 annual motor vehicle excise tax imposed on any passenger automobile, van or light truck manufactured in the five most recent model years with a USEPA fuel economy rating of 30 miles per gallon or greater for city driving and 35 miles per gallon or greater for highway driving, but not both.

URL to view letters to the editor supporting this warrant article:

North Adams Transcript, May 5, 2006, Williamstown Selectman Philip Guy:

North Adams transcript, May 13, 2006, Williamstown Town Manager Peter Fohlin:

Town Meeting time and location: 7 p.m. Tues., May 16. Williamstown Elementary School

Thursday, May 11, 2006

"Program Parentalia" on May 25 honors National Latin Exam award winners at MGRHS

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Parents of Latin scholars at Mount Greylock Regional High School will attend "Program Parentalia" on Thurs., May 25, at the school to honor the achievements of their teen-agers on the National Latin Exam, says teacher Majorie Keeley.

Keeley, one of two Latin teachers at the school, provided the following statement:

"During the second week of March, 135,000 Latin students from the United States, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, England, Poland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, China, and Zimbabwe took the National Latin Exam. This exam is sponsored by the American Classical League and is used to measure the success of Latin students all over the world.

"The Latin students at Mount Greylock participated in this worldwide assessment and 60 students received awards. Six of these Latin students won very prestigious awards from their participation in the National Latin Exam this year and in years past. Five Latin students have received gold medals for four consecutive years and have received the Oxford Classical Dictionary from the American Classical League for this amazing achievement. These outstanding students are juniors Grace Laidlaw, Tess McHugh, Zack Sheppard, Faith Shuker-Haines, and Shan Wang. 10th-grader Maria Dunlavey achieved a perfect score on the National Latin Exam. Maria is one of only 952 students who achieved this distinction.

"In addition to these outstanding awards, Mount Greylock Latin students earned many awards. There are four levels of awards going from prestigious to the most prestigious: cum laude, magna cum laude, maxima cum laude (silver medal), and summa cum laude (gold medal). 7th-graders have not completed a full year of high school Latin and are not eligible for gold medals, but 7th graders who excel received chievement Certificiates. The following 7th grade Latin students won Achievement Certificates: Cal Brooks, Leandro Sacco, Alyssa Tomkowicz, and Jake Verter.l Below are the rest of the results from the National Latin Exam for this school year.

cum laude awards

"Cleo Levin, Jackie Lemme, Harris MacDonald, Chelsea Neveu, Madison Newbound, cary White, Nick Fogel, Mitch Galli, Nick Edwards, Seth Kelley, and Amelia Richardson

magna cum laude awards

"Stephan Danyluk, Isaiah Day, Andrew Galusha, Roman Kleiser, Sam Sokolsky-Tifft, Jasmine Anderson, Chris Densmore, Eliza Dewey, Patrick Joslin, Ian Nesbitt, Greg Payton, Camille Robertson, Sam Beattie, Sofie Brooks, Dan Whateley, Jennifer Kodela, Kelly Johnson, Simon Reinhardt

SILVER MEDALISTS--maxima cum laude

"Sam Shuker-Haines, Max Reinhardt, Duane Bailey, Dylan Dethier, Jenay Haskins, Rachel Sheppard, Evan Dethier, Rachel Payne, Isa St. Clair, Kate Bailey, Jason Silberstein, and Libbie Weimer

GOLD MEDALISTS-- summa cum laude

"Patrick Madden, Amanda Karampatsos, Wesley Richardson, Maria Dunlavey, Lizzie Fox, Io Kleiser, David Rosenthal, Grace Laidlaw, Tess McHugh, Zack Sheppard, Faith Shuker-Haines, Shan Wang, Alex Karampatsos, Carl Kubler.


Contact Person: Marjorie Keeley, 458-9582, ext. 118

Slow Food promotes "wild side" walk as part of May 25 Housatonic River walk

For more information contact: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lori K. van Handel May 10, 2006

Slowfood hosts wild edible walk and tasting in Great Barrington, MA.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Slow Food Western
Massachusetts invites the public to "Take a Walk
on the Wild Side" on Thursday, May 25 at
5:00-6:30 PM on the Housatonic River Walk in
Great Barrington, MA.

Join Russ Cohen, expert forager and author of the
recently-published book Wild Plants I Have
KnownŠand Eaten, on a ramble to learn about
edible wild plant species, including ramps (wild
leeks). Participants may encounter some edible
wild ginger and wild mushrooms as well. Keys to
the identification of each species will be
provided, along with information on edible
portions, seasons of availability, and
preparation methods, as well as guidelines for
safe and environmentally-responsible foraging.
Extreme weather cancels. The group with gather
at the W.E.B. Dubois garden on Church Street in
Great Barrington. Room to see and listen is
limited so please call 413-443-4245 to reserve a

Between 6:30 and 7:30 Slow Food will host a
reception and wild food tastings at Rubiner's at
264 Main Street near Church Street. Russ Cohen
will be available to answer questions and sign
books, and Slow Food members can talk about this
growing world-wide volunteer movement dedicated
to protection of the land, ecologically sound
food production, supporting regional and
seasonal products and reviving the table as the
center of community and culture through a slower
more harmonious rhythm of life.

Russ Cohen is a professional environmentalist in
his 33nd year of teaching courses about wild
edibles. He received his bachelor's degree in
land use planning from Vassar College in 1978,
and received a masters in Natural Resources and a
law degree from Ohio State University in 1982. He
has been employed by the Riverways Program of the
Mass. Department of Fish and Game since 1988 and
has served as its Rivers Advocate since 1992.
Last year, he led over two dozen classes/walks
from May to October for over a dozen different
organizations, including the Massachusetts
Audubon Society, the New England Wild Flower
Society and the Appalachian Mountain Club.
During the "off-season", Russ writes articles on
foraging and gives slide presentations featuring
many of his favorite edible wild plants and
mushrooms found in New England. Russ'
recently-published foraging book, Wild Plants I
Have Known...and Eaten, came out in June of last
year. For more information about Russ:

See Russ's article in Yankee Magazine that (among
other things) talks about foraging for wild
edibles in New England. Direct URL to the

After a year off, festival celebrating Hoosic River environment returns May 27

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Hoosic River Watershed Association announced
that the "Riverfest" celebration of the river's environment is returning
after a one-year hiatus. Here's the announcement:


Saturday, May 27, 11 AM to 4 PM
Cole Field, Williamstown, MA

Riverfest 06 will start with a flotilla of decorated craft!

To enter YOURS, contact us in advance.

Admission: $6 Raffle Ticket*
Children 10 and Under: FREE
Rain or SHine under the tents

*Prizes: Sit-on-top Kayak (Berkshire Outfitters); 2-person Kayak (excellent condition!)
Mountain Bike (The Spoke)
GPS Unit (Mountain Goat)


Massachusetts Environmental Trust
Williamstown Savings Bank
And Other Community Businesses

Directions: Rte 2 to center of Williamstown, & follow signs.

For information contact HooRWA at 413-458-2742 or .

Monday, May 08, 2006

Pollock Symposium this weekend at Williams College filling up

Submitted by: Williamstown Chamber of Commerce

Jackson Pollock: Beneath the Surface, A Tribute to Kirk Varnedoe ’67

If you haven't already RSVP'd for the Pollock Symposium on Saturday, May 13, please do so today! The response has been overwhelming and we are starting to reach our maximum capacity. Please call or
email Judy Pellerin at, 597-2037.

Please also NOTE: the location HAS BEEN CHANGED!!!
The event will take place at the '62 Center for Theatre and Dance at Williams College

Jackson Pollock: Beneath the Surface, A Tribute to Kirk Varnedoe '67
Saturday, May 13, 2006
11:00 am Williams College Museum of Art, Kroh-McClelland Gallery
Jason Vrooman ’06, Judith M. Lenett Memorial Fellow and Graduate Student in the History of Art will be available in the gallery for questions.

2:00-6:00 pm
‘62 Center for Theatre and Dance
Welcome: Morton Owen Schapiro, President of Williams College

Introduction: Lisa Graziose Corrin, Director, Williams College Museum of Art and co-curator of the exhibition Jackson Pollock at Williams College

Opening remarks: Adam Gopnik, Essayist-at-large for The New Yorker

Guest speakers:
Pepe Karmel, Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Arts, New York University

Helen Harrison, Director, Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center

Tom Branchick, Director, Williamstown Art Conservation Center and co-curator of the exhibition Jackson Pollock at Williams College

Jason Vrooman ’06, Judith M. Lenett Memorial Fellow and Graduate Student in the History of Art

Ellen G. Landau, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, Department of Art History and Art, Case Western Reserve University

S. Lane Faison, Jr., ’29, Director Emeritus, Williams College Museum of Art in conversation with Steve Gordon ’55, former teacher and artist

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hancock Shaker Village director to give dinner talk in Williamstown on May 10

Submitted by: Williamstown Chamber of Commerce

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Ellen Spear, director of Hancock Shaker Village, is the after-dinner speaker on Wed., May 10, at the monthly meeting of the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce. The dinner at Mezze Bistro & Bar begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception and dinner at 6:30 p.m. The event is open to the public, by reservation, at $30; $25 for chamber members. Call the chamber office at 458-9077 to make reservations.

Spear's topic is: "What do Visitor's Want? The Reformation of the Traditional Visitor Experience in a High Tech World." She is also likely to talk about the Creative Economy Project, announced April 27 by the Berkshire Economic Development Corp. Spear cochairs the project's steering committee with Laurie Norton Moffatt, director of the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Spear says three factors are motivating change at outdoor living-history sites -- the 24/7 phenomenon, "togethering" and the need to control choice. She'll talk about how HSV is considering its response to these trends, while continuing to pursue its mission of bringing the Shaker story to life and preserving it for future generations.

For the first time this summer, Hancock Shaker Village is running a "School for Traditional Crafts and Trades." In August, its 900 acres of forests and fields will become more accessible with the opening of a Shaker Farm and Forest Trail. Open all four seasons and barrier-free, the trail will allow visitors to travel by foot, wheelchair, skis, wagon and sleigh. It was completed with part of a $215,000 federal grant. And on May 14, the village will open its latest exibit, "Handled with Care: The Function of Form in Shaker Craft." The village also recently won a $15,000 federal grant to install innovative audio guides.

"Hancock Shaker Village is a special place," she told the Berkshire Eagle in Nov., 2004, when her appointment was announced. "Its settings, buildings, collections and programs have important stories to tell about the American search for utopia and the Shaker influence on how we think about design, technology, ethics, justice and our relationship to the environment.”

Spear came to Hancock Shaker Village in February, 2005 from the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, where she was director of advancement. She has over 20 years of not-for-profit management experience working in organizations ranging from public broadcasting to museums. Earlier, she directed the U.S.S. Constitution Museum ("Old Ironsides") and the Boston Computer Museum.

She has a B.S. in Mass Communications from Virginia Commonwealth University. No stranger to the Berkshires, her husband Brad, was for many years a radio voice of the Boston Symphony Orchestra as an announcer at WCRB in Waltham. The Spears would spend summers near Tanglewood. They now live in Pittsfield.

SOURCE: Bill Densmore, for the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce
413-458-8001 (

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

ARTS: A murder mystery -- and swing-era dinner at Mount Greylock RHS this weekend

Submitted by Sabrina Goga ( ). Gogan is a co-director of the
Mount Greylock Regional High School spring play.


WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- "Ten little soldier boys going out to dine. One choked his little self and then there were nine."

Mount Greylock Regional High School will present the student-directed murder mystery, "And Then There Were None" in the Mount Greylock auditorium this Friday May 5th and Saturday May 6th at 8 p.m. Tickets are $4 for students and senior citizens and $6 for adults. On Friday May 5th a dinner party will precede the play beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Mount Greylock cafeteria for a ticket price of $15 (including both dinner and the play). Reservations are needed in advance for the dinner-please call Linda Callahan at (413) 458-9582 (ext. 162).

Come join our dinner party! A fine dining experience surrounded by 1940s entertainment-swing dance, big band music, singers, and instrumentalists! Enjoy a delicious pasta dinner provided by Eric Rock, while being introduced to mysterious guests who drop clues about the play throughout the night. Guess the murderer and his or her motive and be entered into a raffle for a grand prize.

"And Then There Were None" is a classic murder mystery written by the one and only, Agatha Christie. When the curtain rises, a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon are introduced. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal-and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder, and one by one they fall prey.

Sabrina Gogan, Amy Mendes, and Colin MacDonald are directing the performance and are advised by faculty member Thomas Ostheimer.

Proponents of labelling for genetically engineered foods advance warrant articles

Proponents of Town Meeting warrant articles in Williams and Sandisfield
which urge the Massachusetts Legislature to require disclosure labelling
of genetically engineered foods have released a statement describing their

The statement consists of the following email:

Date: Tue, 2 May 2006 14:09:34 -0400
From: S A Wyrrick < >
Subject: Press release for Williamstown Town Meeting GE Resolutions

Sandisfield and Williamstown to Discuss Genetic Engineering at May Town Meetings

Citizens in the towns of Sandisfield and Williamstown have put articles on the
warrant calling for new laws on agricultural genetic engineering (GE). "GMOs
have come to dominate US agriculture very quickly with little debate. We hope
that Williamstown will add its voice to a call to slow down and give people the
basic information they need to make their own choices, and to stop the
uncontrolled and unwise experimentation with our land and with our food," said
Sharon Wyrrick, an organic gardener and Wild Oats food co-op member who helped
put the articles on the warrant in Williamstown.

Lauren Paul who helped put the article on the warrant of the Sandisfield Town
Meeting said, "Hopefully, this resolution will bring this issue to people's
awareness. A lot of people still don't know about the issues involved with GE."

Since 2002, over one hundred towns in New England have passed resolutions
calling for major regulatory changes for the biotechnology industry, twelve of
which are in Massachusetts. This year, 9 new towns in Massachusetts have put
similar resolutions on their town meeting warrants. Organic gardener, Linda
Avis Scott, who is bringing forward a similar resolution in Shutesbury, said
"The resolution we put on the warrant in Shutesbury really taps into my
fundamental belief of what town meeting is about -- the true democracy that
allows us to express ourselves freely and to be heard."

The resolutions in both Sandisfield and Williamstown call for legislators to
enact mandatory labeling of GE food. Since 1992, the FDA has approved nearly
every new GE crop for which biotechnology companies have made a request, but
critics point out the lack independent, long-term testing. "I'm a chemist and I
know these companies have not done the research we need on the long term
effects of GE crops on the environment like cross pollination as well as the
effects on human health," said Roberta Myers who has grown organically for 30
years with her husband, Ron, at Cold Spring Farm in Sandisfield.

Ben Grosscup, who petitioned to put similar articles on the Amherst Warrant
added, "The Food and Drug Administration and each of the relevant federal
agencies have simply refused to regulate this technology. Town meeting is an
important place in which regular citizens can demand real accountability."

In Williamstown, a second article calls on legislators to "sponsor and support
legislation that would enact a moratorium on the further growing of GE crops
until there is credible and independent scientific evidence that these products
are not harmful to our health, the environment, and the survival of family
farms." In Sandisfield, a second part of the resolution resolves that the town,
"Encourage a local moratorium on growing genetically engineered crops until
there is credible and scientific evidence that these products are not harmful
to our health or our environment."

Petitioners say that a moratorium is the only way to fully address the threats
posed by genetically engineering in agriculture. Monsanto, which is the largest
biotechnology company, patents novel gene sequences in their GE crops, which
routinely contaminate non-GE crops through wind pollination and seed spillage
from trucks. John Hoffman, who runs an organic CSA (Community Supported
Agriculture) and filed similar articles in Charlemont said, "This issue affects
me directly because of the possible contamination of my corn crop. We know that
with wind pollinated crops like corn, GE pollen will cross with non-GE
varieties. For me, that means that my organically grown crop is no longer

The corporate patent rights that come with these novel gene sequences pose
liability threats that leave many farmers concerned. The Center for Food Safety
reports that, Monsanto has an an annual budget of $10 million, with which it
employs a staff of 75 lawyers devoted solely to investigating and prosecuting
farmers for patent infringement.

So far, Monsanto has filed 90 lawsuits against U.S. farmers, and the recorded
judgments it has been awarded have totaled over $15 million. But many farmers
settle with the company out-of-court, accepting court gag orders and leaving
scant information about their cases. Gloria Meluleni, an organic farmer who
runs Coyote Hill Farm and brought forth resolutions on GE to the Bernardston
Town Meeting said, "It is so unjust and ridiculous that Monsanto can sue people
when its GE pollen crosses over to someone else's crop."

These resolutions are coming on the heels of the recent passage of an
unprecedented farmer liability protection bill in the Vermont House of
Representatives. The bill passed the house on April 25 by 77-63 after long
debate in conference committee between the Vermont Senate and House. It still
faces possible veto by the governor. The Vermont bill, which has been
developing for years, was influenced by the resolutions that 85 towns in
Vermont have passed since 2000 calling for changes in policy on genetic

The Sandisfield Town Meeting is on May 13, and the Williamstown Town Meeting
takes place on May 16.

For Immediate Release: Tuesday May 2, 2006.
- Ron & Roberta Myers (413) 269-4928 Sandisfield
- Sharon Wyrrick (413) 458-0197 Williamstown
- Ben Grosscup, cell: (413) 658-5374 Amherst

Bill McKibben Talks: 1-Global Warming & 2-Caretaker Farm to air on WilliNet, Chan 17

Here, from WilliNet's Debby Dane, is the cablecast schedule for videotapes
of talks by environmentalist/writer Bill McKibben, who was in Williamstown
April 27-29.

WilliNet, Channel 17, Community Television for Williamstown will broadcast both
of Bill McKibben's talks on the following dates:

McKibben #1: "How Big Should We Be? Global Warming as a Moral Question"

airs: (speech given on April 27, 2006)
Weds, 7 - 8:30 PM: May 17 & June 1
Fri, 9 - 10:30 AM: May 19 & June 2
Tues, 9 - 10:30 PM: May 30 & June 13

McKibben #2: "Caretaker Farm: Case Study for a Deep Economy"

airs: (speech given April 28, 2006)
Weds, 7 - 8:30 PM: May 24 & June 8
Fri, 9 - 10:30 AM: May 26 & June 9
Tues, 9 -10:30 PM: June 6 & June 20

Debby Dane
Executive Director, WilliNet - CH 17
Community Television for Williamstown
34 Spring Street
Williamstown, MA 01267