Thursday, February 15, 2007

Monks for peace leave North Adams on Monday for cross-state walk

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Ten Japanese monks devoted to abolishing nuclear weapons leave this small Berkshire County city on Monday for a five-week, 200-mile education walk eastward across Massachusetts, according to Mary Ellen Cohane, an English professor helping set them on their way.

They will be visiting nineteen mayors of cities and towns who have signed on as "Mayors for Peace." These include Mayor Barrett of North Adams, and the mayors of Pittsfield, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Amherst, Springfield, West Springfield, Easthampton, Holyoke, Leverett and Westfield.

Cohane says the public is welcome to walk a part of the way with the Nipponzan Myohoji monks and nuns. She says Natalie Cain, and several members of the Women's House of Peace in North Adams, have already signed on to begin the walk on Monday.

The walk is called "Walk for a New Spring 2007," and will end on the first day of spring in Boston. Nun Sister Claire of Leverett writes that the timing of the walk symbolizes a move to nurture the seeds of hope during a time of fear and stress, caused by our living in a world that has become a nuclear arsenal.

The monks will leave at 9 a.m. from a city parking long beside St. Anthony's Church, proceeding up Church Street, through the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Campus St. Anthony's Church in North Adams, then to Ashland Street, then on Route 8 south through Adams to Pittsfield.

For more information, contact Cohane at: or (413) 664-8669.

STATEMENT: WFCR Now On the Air in Williamstown at 96.3 FM

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Five College Radio, the NPR-affiliated FM station operated by the University of Massachusetts, said today it has activated a "translator" from a location in Williamstown which will improve its signal. The translator is broadcasting at 96.3 FM.

Here's is the station's statement:

WFCR, NPR News and Music for Western New England, is now broadcasting in
Williamstown, Massachusetts at 96.3 FM.

The new station is the second of five translator stations slated for Berkshire County. "Translators" are low-powered stations that re-broadcast a distant station's signal to an area that could not receive the originating station well. The five translators will each re-broadcast WFCR's signal on a different frequency. In addition to the new station in Williamstown at 96.3 FM, WFCR is already on the air in Adams and North Adams at 101.1 FM. Three additional stations will bring WFCR's programming to Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Lee, Lenox and Pittsfield. When complete, WFCR will be heard across the major portion of Berkshire County.

Martin Miller, WFCR's General Manager, said in a statement, "WFCR is thrilled to be reaching the residents of the Berkshires at 96.3 and 101.1 FM. Already we have received e-mails and letters expressing delight over the prospect of having WFCR in the county, and we're working diligently to get the other three translators on the air. We particularly appreciate the praise we've received for our blend of locally-produced classical music and jazz programming, combined with our strong focus on Massachusetts news."

Due to the many hills in the area, there are spots where 96.3 is the stronger signal, and others where 101.1 comes in better. With a little experimentation, listeners can easily find the best frequency to tune to where they live and work, the station explained.

"As this expansion project continues," said Miller, "listeners elsewhere in the Berkshires should check frequently to see when their areas gain coverage." In addition, residents with Internet access may stream WFCR 88.5 FM and WFCR-HD2 online at

Berkshire residents who would like to support the expansion of WFCR's broadcast area throughout the Berkshires by making a contribution should write to Jerry S. Moore, Director of Development, WFCR at Hampshire House, UMass, Amherst, MA 01003, or send an email with their postal address to

88.5 FM WFCR, Public Radio for Western New England, is an affiliate of National Public Radio, American Public Media, and Public Radio International serving over 174,000 listeners in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire with regional news and information, and locally produced classical, jazz, folk, and world music programming at 88.5 FM and also on the FM band via HD Radio (TM) on WFCR HD2. The University of Massachusetts is the license holder for 88.5 FM WFCR, which operates with the advice and support of Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. For more information about WFCR's programs and services, call 413-545-0100 or visit WFCR online at

For more information contact: Jorge Luis Gonzalez, 413-545-1684,

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Trish Gorman of Williamstown ( is proposing the

"In WWII, there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every night at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace.

"There is now a group of people organizing the same thing. If you would like to participate: Each evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for PEACE ON EARTH.

"Anyone who would like to participate, please pass this along. Someone said if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.

"Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have. Together, we "CAN" make a difference!"

Friday, February 09, 2007

NEWS RELEASE: Report on Berkshire PDM Regional Meeting

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 7 Feb 2007 16:00:23 -0500
From: Michael F. Wilcox <>
Subject: Report on Berkshire PDM Regional Meeting

[Reminder: the regular monthly meeting of the south Berkshire chapter
of PDM (Berkshires for Progressive Change) will take place tonight at
the Friends Meeting House in Great Barrington from 7 to 8:30 PM. For
more details, see
{} ] The Progressive Democrats of
Massachusetts {} (PDM) Regional
Meeting in Pittsfield on January 27 was a great success, in my book.
About 40 people crowded into the Blue Iguana Room on North Street to
share conversation, camaraderie, refreshments, and our hopes for the
future. We left there with a new sense of what is possible, and with
plans to take concrete steps to work toward our shared goal of a
better, more progressive society. Those who wish to continue or join
the discussion on-line (or just listen in) are welcome to join our
Yahoo group by replying to this email with a request, or sending a
blank email to
{} After brief
introductions, several people shared their stories of hope, of how
and why they had gotten involved in the Deval Patrick campaign, and
what brought them to this meeting. We were then reminded, by PDM
Executive Committee member Peter Enrich (of Lexington), of the
guiding principles of PDM, to wit: electing progressive candidates to
public office providing leadership training in relational organizing
educating ourselves on issues so as to define the "progressive
agenda" (and to help identify candidates who support that agenda)
advancing that progressive agenda through public education and
initiatives to bring pressure on the legislative and executive
branches of state government To that end, we broke out into four
groups to brainstorm ideas about what we should be doing over the
next few months. Three groups were for general discussion, and one
group focused on how to involve minority communities. We reconvened
to get reports back from the breakout groups (see the bullet points
below), and to discuss what common themes had emerged from these
groups. There was general agreement that the most effective model for
us would be to hold regular town meeting style forums (probably in
Pittsfield), with our legislative delegation in attendance. We would
rotate issues, so that over time we can touch on the various
priorities that hold the group's attention. These meetings would be
open to the public and would offer action items for people interested
in the issue under discussion. In preparing for these meetings, we
would probably hold (at least) two preliminary meetings (one in south
county and one in Pittsfield) to invite various experts in the
relevant field to lay out the issues for us so that we can educate
ourselves and come up with an action plan to present at our public
forums. Although many issues were raised as possible topics (see the
list below the line), there was general agreement that the topic of
healthcare would be a good place to start. The arguments in favor of
this as our first issue include: healthcare affects everyone it is an
issue that involves youth a solution to the current crisis requires
collective action it also touches on other important issues, e.g.
lobbying jobs fairness We already have an active group (Berkshires
for Progressive Change) in south county, so our challenge will be to
establish a group in north/central Berkshire that will meet on a
regular (monthly?) basis (probably in Pittsfield) to compliment the
south Berkshire group and to collaborate on planning countywide
issue-oriented public forums (and the associated action agendas).
Several people expressed an interest in making that happen. All in
all, this meeting was a great way to keep alive the spirit of the
recent triumphant election cycle, as we move into the governing
phase. Our new Governor has asked us to stay involved and to help him
govern, and we plan to do exactly that. Many, many thanks to all who
participated or sent their good wishes. I know we have a strong core
of people who are committed to carrying on the work at hand. MFW
Reports from the breakout groups: Group 1 (Rinaldo reporting)
Short-term concerns: Universal healthcare Cure for apathy, especially
among youth (bring them into the process) Tools for grassroots
participation in government Shared parenting Publicizing PDM
Long-term goals: Taxes Transparency Fairness Environment Reform of
the referendum process Lobbying reform (fair elections) Energy
independence Group 2 (Vivian reporting) Healthcare implementation
Clean elections Repeal of Real ID Act Equal marriage Group 3 (Al
reporting) Healthcare Education Suggest PDM sponsor an educational
forum on healthcare Group 4 (Nakeida reporting) Lack of involvement
in political process among minorities Need for Civics education,
especially among youth and minorities Encourage minorities to run for
office Invisibility of minority cultures Other ideas that emerged from
the general discussion: Prepare legislation on issues of concern (e.g.
Al has done so on his idea for Land Value Taxation) Support WHEN's
efforts (they will meet on February 8 at Mazzeo's Restaurant at 7 PM)
Educational forum on how state government operates: how does it affect
us? what services are available? and how does one qualify/apply? how
can we influence our government? how can we politicize communities
that are underserved? Addressing and countering the drug culture in
Berkshire County jobs education transportation Other miscellaneous
issues: Affirmative action Connectivity (broadband internet and
cellphone coverage) public transportation, both within the county and
connecting beyond

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

WRLF winter lecture series begins Thursday night

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation Winter Lecture Series at Sheep Hill - Thursday February 8th at 7:30 PM, Sheep Hill. Staying Warm and Keeping COOL - If you've heard of the Williamstown COOL Committee but don't quite understand what they are about - here's a chance to learn more about their mission, and what you can easily do to minimize your energy consumption and increase your efficiency at home. Wendy Penner, Williamstown Selectman Jane Allen, Nancy Nylen, and other COOL Committee representatives will give the audience useful information and some free goods. For more information contact the WRLF at 458-2494 or