Friday, May 11, 2007

SOURCE: Text of minutes of anti-teen-alchohol initiative

Here is a text of the minutes of the May 9, 2007 meeting of the
Williamstown Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol initiative, as suppied by
email by Ed Sedarbaum ( of the Northern
Berkshire Community Coalition. / 413-663-7588


On May 9, 2007, Laini Sporbert, David Lemieux, Sally Sussman, and Ed
Sedarbaum met for the May strategy team meeting of Williamstown Mobilizing
for Change on Alcohol. The agenda items were:

1. Update on TV commercials &lsqauo; feedback needed on script
2. Billboards
3. New England Institute of Prevention Studies
4. Greylock High School public forum
5. Assistance to After Prom Committee

* With two prevention consultants having given us differing advice on some
elements of the scripts for our TV commercials, which will begin shooting
Monday, May 14, the group searched for rationales to help us make a choice.

> * Regarding the question of whether there should be a beer can in the hand of
> the father being interviewed about whether he has done all he should to
> prevent his child from drinking, it was the group consensus that he should
> not. The rationale was not that it would stimulate youngsters to drink but
> that it might mislead the audience into thinking that the message of the
> commercial centered around the father¹s drinking as a problem behavior. In
> reality, the message is that parents should talk to their children, not that
> parents shouldn¹t drink.

> * It was also suggested that since our other commercial features a teenage
> boy, we should use a teenage girl for this commercial.

* Nobody had heard any public feedback yet on our billboards, which went up
on May 2. The group members will begin asking around. They themselves liked
how they looked and felt the message was very easy to get.

* So far, three people will be attending the New England School of
Prevention Studies June 11-13, including Ed and Liz Shiner. A few more names
were suggested &lsqauo; people who have not been involved in our team but who are
active in the community and might well work with us.

* The Greylock High School public forum, ³The Talk,² is set to go, Deborah
Cole-Duffy will moderate and speak about the school community¹s role in
prevention; the other speakers will be the Brien Center¹s medical director
and substance abuse educator, D.A. David Capeless, and Williamstown Chief of
Police Kyle Johnson. Ed will wrap up with a brief explanation about our
project and a pitch for people to (a) sign the Safe Homes pledge, if they
have not, and (b) join our Strategy Team for next year. This will be
followed by a Q&A that will not be televised, to maximize the comfort of
parents who might otherwise hestitate to speak up. Ed will be ordering
refreshments from Lickety Split and preparing display ads for the Transcript
and possibly the Eagle and the Advocate.

* We saw the wonderful design that Greylock H.S. students came up with for
the tee shirts we are sponsoring for After Prom. The message reads ³Dance
Through Life Sober, Mt. Greylock 2007.² Each student will get two tee shirts
&lsqauo; one to keep as a souvenir, the other to give as a gift to a YOUNGER
teenager in their life. We will also order shirts for the Strategy Team.

* Sally has prepared an long list of people who have been active in the
After Prom Committee over the years and has proposed to Lisa O¹Brien (this
year¹s chair) and Martha Elpern (a past chair) that we gather a meeting of
such ³alumni² to talk about ways to support the ³long-term survival and
success² of After Prom. Both Lisa and Martha are excited by the idea and
suggested that Ed call and moderate a first meeting of this group,
preferably in mid- to late June, after this year¹s event is over. Ed will
speak with Lisa and others and see about doing this.

* Two suggestions were made for ways to launch our work for the 2007-08
school year:

> * A gathering of both towns¹ strategy teams as well as new volunteers and
> people we would like to recruit, at which we would have a dinner, a training
> on prevention tactics, and a general goal-setting discussion

> * Sticker Shock. As the group said, ³If something was successful, there¹s no
> reason not to do it again.²

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

NEWS RELEASE: BFAIR Annual Meeting Held


Contact: Rich Weisenflue 413-664-9382 x 26 or Deborah Schneer x30


North Adams - Berkshire Family And Individual Resources, Inc. (BFAIR)
held an Annual Meeting of the corporation on April 27 at the Williams
Inn. Sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union, the meeting was led by
Peter West, Board Chairperson, and Rich Weisenflue, Executive Director.

Senator Benjamin Downing presented the keynote address to the more than
100 guests. His presentation focused on the changing economy and
regional initiatives like the Berkshire Compact and the Berkshire
Wireless Learning Initiative to meet the new needs. Quoting from
Charles Darwin, the senator said it is not the "strongest" or most
"intelligent" that survive, but rather, the most "adaptable." He noted
BFAIR's place in the new economy: "We say you do God's work, but you
also employ over 160 people," he said. Referring to the everyday
miracles performed by BFAIR employees and people in human services, the
senator said, "we want there to be more resources for you to do these
things. You do great work. Continue to push us-to let us know what you
need." He referred to BFAIR's Bottle and Can Redemption Center as one
of his favorite BFAIR initiatives, also noting its position as a "green"

The event included service awards for twelve current employees with five
or more years of service, and six special recognition awards in several
categories. Kathy Hinton, a Day Habilitation Specialist at the Center
in North Adams, was the recipient of the George A. Crosby Memorial
Award. James Sulzmann, Home Life Support Counselor and Human Rights
Advocate, received the Armand Quintal Award; the Leadership Award was
presented to Ethel Altiery, Director of Residential and Support
Services, and William Fuller, a person receiving services from BFAIR,
won the Self-Determination Award. Jiminy Peak received the Employer of
the Year Award for its impressive record of providing job opportunities
for people with disabilities.

BFAIR staff receiving service awards, grouped by years of service,

* 5-Years of Service: Theresa Biagini, Paul Boateng, Deanna
Burdick, Marie Goodermote, Gabriel Ortiz, Robert Tanguay
* 10-Years of Service: Susan Darling, Patricia Goodell, Laurie
* 15-Years of Service: Donna Rinaldi, Gloria Piner
* 20-Years of Service: Gail LaBonte

A member agency of the Northern Berkshire United Way, BFAIR is an
established provider of support services for adults, adolescents and
children with developmental disabilities and autism. Supports include
Arcadia Employment Services, a CARF accredited Day Habilitation Center,
Clinical Services, Community Residential Services and Individual and
Family Resources. For more information regarding BFAIR's programs or
services call (413) 664-9382.