Sunday, January 28, 2007

Food of Love two weeks and counting; how about dinner with Roger Rees?

The Food of Love, a celebration of Shakespeare, love, and chocolate, will take place on Friday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the Williams Inn in Williamstown.

At this third annual benefit for the Fall Festival of Shakespeare at Mt. Greylock Regional High School, costumed students and alums will perform the Bard's love scenes, songs, sonnets, and soliloquies.
The audience will enjoy a sumptuous chocolate buffet while Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Ophelia, Titania and Bottom, and other famous Shakespearean lovers declaim some of the most beautiful love poetry in the English language.

Renaissance and traditional music will be performed by bagpiper Nancy Tunnicliffe, violist Emily Baker-White, guitarist Davy Payne, and the Williams College Elizabethans, a madrigal ensemble.
The Fall Festival of Shakespeare is a ten-week residency by Shakespeare & Co. at Mt. Greylock Regional High School and other county and regional high schools.

Seating for The Food of Love is limited. Tickets are $15, available at Wild Oats and Where'd You Get That?! in Williamstown and Country Tack in Lanesborough. For more information, please call Deb Burns at 458-0925.

Raffle items as of Saturday included: dinner with Williamstown Theatre Festival Director Roger Rees, a pair of tickets to Shakespeare & Co. this summer, $25 gift certificate at Chocolate Springs, a basket containing Shakespeare's Songbook (CD) with a box of chocolate cherries, a Valentine's Day flower gift certificate/ chocolate combination, and some mystical Mountain t-shirts.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

UNH study documents decline of 25-34 age N.E. population

The population of young adults (25-34) in all New England states
declined much more sharply than the national average from 1990 to 2004, a
new fact sheet from the Carsey Institute at the University of New
Hampshire finds. During that time period, the population of young adults
in New England declined nearly 25 percent, compared to the national
average decline of 7 percent.


The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire supports research
on families and communities and also provides resources to University
faculty and students interested in interdisciplinary research.

Cynthia Mildred Duncan, director
73 Main Street , Huddleston Hall G05B
University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH 03824

Young adults flee Bay State

By Hillary Chabot
[North Adams] Transcript Statehouse Bureau
Published: 01/15/2007 11:55:55 AM EST
Monday, January 15

BOSTON -- Young adults are earning their college degrees in Massachusetts
and leaving town, taking their eager work ethic, vitality and young
families with them, according to a new study. Massachusetts' total
population has dwindled over the past 14 years but young adults between
the ages of 25 and 34 are disappearing the fastest, according to a study
out of the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

And they're not just leaving the Bay state. All six New England states
rank in the top 10 in the country when it comes to losing members of
Generation Y.

"It really effects the economic and social character of the region.
Businesses that are growing fast, such as technology fields, need the
energy of entry-level workers, and if there's a decline in this group they
may look to settle elsewhere," said Ross Gittell, author of the study.

Every single county out of the 67 across New England has lost young adults
since 1990 except for Nantucket, Gittell found. Berkshire County lost 34
percent, Worcester County lost 20 percent, and Windham County in Vermont
lost a whopping 41 percent.

The loss not only threatens the state politically in
terms of congressional representation, but also has more subtle
implications, said Sen. Steven Panagiotakos, D-Lowell.

"We have a very aging population and we have one of the best benefits
systems, but you need those young entrepreneurial working-class people to
support that system. Losing people in the 25 to 34 age group hurts us
today, but it hurts us even more 10 years from now when those people would
be getting into the prime of their business careers," Panagiotakos said.

Although universities and colleges in the state attract young adults, the
Bay State is unable to keep them, leading to a "brain drain" of skilled

"Our greatest resource is our highly skilled workforce, if that erodes we
will lose our competitive edge," Panagiotakos said.

Massachusetts could lose up to 40 percent of its young workers who have
bachelor's degrees by 2020, according to a study by the Nellie Mae

Once those young workers are gone, it gets harder to attract investors and
expand businesses and the area begins to be "branded as old and cold,"
said John Schneider, interim president at MassInc, a public policy think
tank. Communities are also losing out on the innovations and tolerance
younger generations bring into a community, said Schneider.

"Younger people bring new ideas and new ways of thinking about things and
more diversity and we lose that element. It's not just work force but also
to the contributions young people make to civic and cultural community,"
Schneider said.

State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lee, hopes to work with the new
governor to entice young adults to stay here, saying a creative job market
might keep them.

"We need to revitalize economy in Massachusetts region by region. The
market here in the Berkshires is very different than the market in
Boston," Pignatelli said.

Massachusetts has lost 20 percent of its young adults over the past 14
years, tying with Rhode Island. Vermont and New Hampshire lost even more
with 27 percent, followed by Maine at 29 percent and Connecticut with the
highest percentage of young adults at 30 percent.

Part of the loss is because the young adult generation isn't as big as the
baby boomer generation. But other states, such as Nevada and Utah, are
seeing increases in young adults by up to 60 percent.

The high cost of housing and an unstable job market have chased the
youngsters away, said Schneider.

Gov. Deval Patrick spoke about the state's population loss many times
during his campaign and plans on working to create more affordable
housing, said spokesman Kyle Sullivan.

"Governor Patrick has pledged to prioritize the integration of housing
opportunities with economic development and job creation to give these
young people a reason to stay put in the commonwealth and start a career
and raise a family," Sullivan said.

In addition to attracting jobs and lowering housing costs, Schneider
believes New England just has to market herself a little better.

"I don't think we've really branded ourselves or advertised that we're a
welcoming place with great recreational opportunities, nightclubs and
universities. I don't think we've done a good job reminding the rest of
country that Greater Boston and New England is a good place to live,"
Schneider said.


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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Williamstown pedaling toward 6% goal for green energy

The Williamstown COOL (CO2 Lowering) committee, in partnership with The Mountain Goat, is launching a campaign to sign up 60 new households for green power by March 31 through the New England GreenStart program. If the campaign is successful, Williamstown will have achieved a goal set by the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust for having 6% of households signed up for green power, and the town will earn a $3,000 bonus for reaching the goal. This money will be used towards renewable energy projects in town.

As an incentive to sign up and help Williamstown reach its goal, The Mountain Goat has donated a Trek 7100 “hybrid” aluminum-frame bike that can be ridden on the road or on trails. Households that are just signing up for New England GreenStart in Williamstown will be automatically entered into a raffle for the bike. The winner will be drawn on April 14 at a to-be-announced event held as part of “Step It Up 2007”, a nation-wide day of rallies for congressional action to cut carbon emissions.

When residents sign up for New England GreenStart, they pay a premium of 2.4 cents per kilowatt-hour on their National Grid electric bill to fund the purchase of energy from renewable sources that matches 100 percent of their electric usage. This premium amounts to approximately $10-12 per month for an average household. For households on a tight budget, there is a 50% option with a smaller premium of 1.25 cents extra per kilowatt-hour. Signing up for green power reduces the emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change and keeps air clean by creating new sources of renewable energy such as solar, wind, biomass, and low-impact hydroelectric. When renewable energy sources are added, the need for new “dirty” power sources is avoided, and eventually the reliance on fossil fuels may diminish.

“Given that 2006 was the warmest year on record for the continental United States, and the disconcerting weather we are having this winter, many people are pleased that they can sign up for green power and do something tangible to offset carbon emissions. More than 3% of Williamstown residents have already signed up for GreenStart. We are hoping for at least 60 more households to bring us a big monetary bonus to use towards a new renewable energy project in town,” says Williamstown resident Wendy Penner, a member of the COOL Committee. The COOL committee is working to implement the Williamstown Climate Action Plan, which has the goal of reducing Williamstown’s carbon emissions by 10% below 2000 levels by 2010. “The bike donated by the Mountain Goat is a great symbol for the GreenStart campaign” said Penner. “When we ride bikes instead of driving, that is another opportunity to reduce carbon emissions”

For each dollar residents pay toward the GreenStart program, the town of Williamstown earns 57 cents from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust toward renewable energy projects in town. These funds helped pay to install solar panels on Milne Public Library. Currently Williamstown has over $10,000 in funds available toward a renewable energy project and achieving the 6% goal would add $3,000 more to the total. A new renewable energy project for the town has yet to be identified, and the town is open to suggestions.

To sign up for GreenStart, National Grid customers simply fill out a form with contact information and their National Grid account number. Forms are available at The Mountain Goat, Milne Public Library, and Wild Oats Community Market, where the bike will also be on display over the coming months. It is also possible to enroll online at, or by calling 1-800-369-3333. Charges for New England GreenStart will simply appear on the monthly National Grid bill, and there is still just one electric bill to pay. 57% of the premium paid to the GreenStart program is deductible from federal income taxes.

The bike will be on display over the coming months at different locations around town including The Mountain Goat, Milne Public Library, Wild Oats Community Market, and Williamstown Savings Bank.

The Center for Ecological Technology (CET), a non-profit organization based in Pittsfield, is a partner in New England GreenStart and has worked to ensure that the premium households pay has helped support several solar energy projects in the Berkshires, including the Williamstown Elementary School, Williams College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, McCann Technical High School, Conte Community School, Simon’s Rock College and Gould Farm. For more information about GreenStart for all National Grid customers, contact Tomasin Whitaker at the Center for Ecological Technology, at (800) 369-3333 or at

Pictured above are (from left) Wendy Penner, Williamstown COOL committee, Amy Merselis (Mountain Goat owner) and children Charley and Grace, and Ed Joy (Mountain Goat general manager) with daughter Ryle Joy. Photo Christy Palmer.

Contacts: Wendy Penner Williamstown COOL committee 458-4708
The Mountain Goat: Amy Merselis and Ed Joy 458-8445