North Adams Seeks New Administrator
The city's on the hunt for a new chief administrative officer after Jay Green announced his departure for Amtrak by the end of this week.
Green, a self-proclaimed train enthusiast, will take a management position with the federal rail system in Albany, N.Y. He already rides the rails as volunteer conductor for the Berkshire Scenic Railway in Lee and sits on its board of directors.
His post works closely with department heads, and with community development issues, including overseeing permitting and ordinance matters that come before the Planning Board. In some ways, the position is similar to a town administrator or chief of staff since it not only oversees city operations but also acts as a liaison between the mayor and departments.
Green was hired two years ago under the former administration and stayed on after Mayor Richard Alcombright took office. He previously worked in the district attorney's office for three years. Green's predecessor was also an attorney, M. Katherine Eade, who left to work in the attorney general's utilities division.
The mayor has said he doesn't believe a law degree is prerequisite for the post.
In a posting for the job, the description states the "this position works under the direct supervision of the Mayor and provides support and direction to all City administrative functions falling under the authority of the Mayor."
It also includes "preparation of the annual budget, assists in the coordination of special projects for the City, assists the Mayor and Community Development Office with strategic and long-range planning for the City and will have frequent interaction with State and Local Governments and agencies."
The salary is posted at $60,000.
Qualifications include a master's degree in business administration or public policy or equivalent work experience. A background in public administration, law, accounting and engineering and related areas is a plus.
|Tags: administrative officer|
North Adams Library Closing for Rudnick Funeral
The North Adams Library will be closed on Friday, Nov. 19, from 10:30 to noon so staff can attend the funeral of the late Edna Rudnick, who lead the Friends of the North Adams Public Library as president for 20 years.
"Edna was a strong supporter of the library and helped raise the funds to complete the beautiful renovation of our library that she loved so much," said Library Director Rick Moon in explaining the closure.
Rudnick died this past Saturday at age 86. She was a longtime booster of the library and involved in other civic activities, including chairman of the city's Council on Aging and a longtime member of the Planning Board. Her participation in these committees was put on hold a couple months ago when she fell and broke her hip.
After surgery, she entered North Adams Commons for rehabilitation and was expected to return to her home in the High-Rise apartments, where she also was active with the tenants' association. Rudnick even posed for a testimonial on how well she was doing in rehab for Northern Berkshire Healthcare.
However, her health suddenly declined and she died at the nursing home this past Saturday. Her husband, Stafford Rudnick, who was a police officer in the city in his younger years, died in 1985. She left no immediate family in the area.
A calling hour for Rudnick will be held Friday, Nov. 19, from 10 until the funeral service at 11 a.m. at Flynn & Dagnoli-Montagna Home for Funerals, Central Chapels, 74 Marshall St., North Adams. Burial will follow in Southview Cemetery.
Memorial donations for Rudnick may be made to the North Adams Public Library or the Mary Spitzer Senior Center in care of the funeral home.
The library will re-open Friday at noon.
|Tags: Rudnick, funeral|
Historian Wants City to Honor 'Citrus Wizard'
Lue Gim Gong, who left North Adams to become the 'Citrus Wizard.'
Local historian Paul Marino thinks it's about time the city recognized a one-time resident who, unwittingly, has helped the Drury High band raise money each fall. Not to mention revolutionizing the citrus industry.
"This is the time of year to order your oranges and citrus fruit from the Drury band," he told the City Council on Tuesday night. "The reason we're able to do that in December is because of Lue Gim Gong."
Lue was born near Canton (Guangzhou) around 1860 and arrived in North Adams as a boy with the contingent of Chinese brought in by Calvin T. Sampson to break the strike at his shoe mill in 1870. Importation of these 75 Chinese workers — and another 50 who arrived the following year — had national connotations for unions and immigration, resulting in part in legislation in the following decade that banned Chinese immigration.
But Lue's participation in the shoe mill isn't the reason Marino wants to honor him; it's what he did later.
Lue was one of the handful of Chinese still living in the city a few years after the strike. He was taken in by the Burlingame family, who lived at the corner of Summer and Church streets. Fanny Burlingame, a Sunday school teacher, nursed him back to health when he came down with a fever and helped him become a citizen in 1877. In 1886, Lue moved to Deland, Fla., to live with Burlingame's sister and brother-in-law and look after their orange groves.
He became a well-known horticulturist and one of his experiments resulted in a late-growing orange, known as the Lue Gim Gong Orange or Strain. It's still sold as a Valencia orange.
"He is the man who years later perfected the orange that ripens over the summer rather than over the spring and avoids the frost," said Marino. It's why we can order Florida oranges and grapefruit in December."
Lue's work has been recognized in DeLand — a bust of the "Citrus Wizard" was commemorated in 2000 and he appears on a county mural with his beloved rooster. But nothing in North Adams, which not only brought Lue to the East Coast but whose brutal winters sent him south to his destiny.
"He lived in North Adams for many years and we've never done anything to honor him," said Marino, who suggested renaming what's left of Summer Street, where Lue lived, for the horticulturist. "I think it would be great if we could rename that street."
|Tags: Lue Gim Gong, Chinese, shoes, citrus|
City Council Looks at Zoning, Borrowing Issues
The City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 12, will be asked to authorize the borrowing of $650,000 to complete the airport project and $150,000 to renovate and construction bathrooms and a concession stand at Windsor Lake and its campground.
The Finance Committee heard both issues at its meeting Thursday. The committee has recommended adoption of the borrowing order for the airport and, while not formally endorsing the lake spending, reacted favorably to it. The lake spending had not been presented to the council nor referred to the committee to act on.
The council will also be asked to call a joint public hearing of the council and Planning Board at the behest of Planning Board Chairman Michael Leary. The city is pursuing a state Green Community designation that will require "by-right zoning" for certain green businesses. Leary said the city has by-right in three zones but still requires a special permit if a site plan approval is needed. New language would clarify a site plan review is not part of a special permit process.
Christopher Lamarre quit as chairman of the Board of Assessors to become the chief assessor in Great Barrington last month. In a letter to the council, Mayor Alcombright said that the qualifications for assessor made the position difficult to fill.
He is asking that the residency requirement for the full-time, chief assessor be removed. "It will always be my preference to hire a resident, if qualified," he wrote. The residency requirement would not change for the two part-time assessors.
|Tags: assessor, campground, lake, zoning, borrowing|
Mayor, Survivors Mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Mayor Alcombright and Donna Bernardi-Briggs took a bucket ride to hang the ribbons.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Today at noon, Mayor Richard Alcombright and members of the American Cancer Society marked October Breast Cancer Awareness month by hanging pink ribbons from a period light fixture on the south side of Main Street.
Among the participants were Traci Heath and Laura Baran, community executives of development for the American Cancer Society, New England Division; North Adams City Council Vice President Lisa Blackmer, whose mother died of cancer earlier this year; and survivors Donna Bernardi-Briggs, Shirley Wolfe and Bernice "Red" Alcombright, the mayor's mother.
Quadlands and Mount Williams Greenhouse donated bows for North Adams; The Flower Gallery and Zepkas donated bows for Adams.
"I encourage people to visit cancer.org for breast cancer information and want to stress the importance of mammograms," said Heath. There are local programs such as Look Good Feel Good and Reach to Recovery for breast cancer survivors, she said.
Heath also invited the public to attend the second annual Making Strides Toward Breast Cancer Walk, to be held on Sunday, Oct. 17, on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Adams. The walk begins at 11 a.m.; for more information contact Heath at 413-493-2127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the American Cancer Society, by the end of this year some 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women. About 54,010 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be found in American women (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer). This year, some 39,840 American women will die of breast cancer, second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in women.
The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is a little less than one in eight. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about one in 35. Breast cancer death rates have been going down, probably due to finding the cancer earlier and better treatment. There are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
Laura Baran, left, Lisa Blackmer, Traci Heath, Shirley Wolfe and Red Alcombright.