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ABC News Features Cheshire's Madigan

Staff Reports

Bennie Madigan at the opening celebration for the Susan B. Anthony Museum in February.

Cheshire's own Bernice Madigan, better known as Aunt Bennie, will be featured in a segment of ABC World News on Thursday night, July 1.

Madigan, who will turn 111 on July 24, is the oldest citizen in Massachusetts and is listed 49th oldest in the world by The Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group, which tracks so-called "supercentenarians," or those age 110 and older.

Madigan's niece Elaine Daniels was contacted by Boston Medical last week to see if the state's "superwoman" would be willing to be interviewed by the news program. Madigan has been a part of the Boston University School of Medicine's New England Centenarian Study, which is researching why some people live so long — and so well. 

"She's used to all the interviews," said Daniels on Wednesday afternoon after alerting family and friends to Thursday's television appearance. Madigan, who is still active and alert, has been interviewed by local media and print publications, including iBerkshires, The Boston Globe and The Berkshire Eagle. She was recently interviewed for a feature in AARP Magazine and interviewed and filmed for the Center for Aging at the University of Chicago.


Cheshire Woman Celebrates 109th Birthday

Cheshire Resident Offers Lee Students Real Living History

Cheshire Woman Marks 110 Years

Anthony Celebration Marks Museum Completion

But the national television appearance had her a bit nervous, said Daniels. "She was worried her piano playing wouldn't be very good because she hasn't been playing much since being sick (recently). I told her not worry, they'd edit it."

A camera crew and an interviewer from Boston spent Wednesday afternoon at Madigan's home asking her about her life and to what she attributed her long life ("No kids, no stress" is her frequent rejoinder) and filmed her daily routine of walking, doing a puzzle, reading a paper and, of course, playing the piano.

Madigan will celebrate her 111th birthday with some 200 or so friends and relatives, many from her longtime home in Maryland. ABC World News airs at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 10.

Update: Madigan was featured in a story late in the broadcast about a new study by Boston University released Thursday that found 150 genetic variants particular to people age 100 older. Researchers believe clusters of these variants may indicate greater resistance, or delay, to the onset of age-related diseases. Madigan's been a participant in BU's aging study for a few years.

In the short video version of the story, the spotlight was stolen a bit by a younger woman of 104 in New Jersey who regularly drinks three glasses of beer and a shot of Black Label because "my doctor told me to." (News editors seem to love old people who drink and, especially, smoke cigars at advanced ages.) 

Madigan and her niece, Elaine Daniels, are featured as the video cover on the ABC World News page; they're walking down the long driveway of Rolling Acres Farm. And Madigan talks a little and plays the piano - quite well, we might add. She had nothing to worry about.

We're having trouble loading the video but the link is here. We'll try to have it posted Friday.

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Lanesborough Elm Given Lofty Name

Staff Reports

The Champion Elm stands more than 100 feet high and may be the biggest elm in New England.

 Submitted photo
Third-grader Troy Massaconi looks up at the tree he's named 'King Elmer.'

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The state's biggest elm tree now has a name suited to its majestic appearance: King Elmer.

Alice Spatz, co-chairman of the Lanesborough Tree and Forest Committee announced on Monday that the winner of the Name the Champion Elm Contest is Troy Massaconi.

Troy is a pupil in Anna Mello's third-grade class at Lanesborough Elementary School. The school's two third-grade classes participated in an Arbor Day event to measure the tree at the bottom of Summer Street to see if it could size up as New England's biggest elm. The committee awarded a book about trees to both of the classes that participated.

Each class submitted several names each to the committee, with Troy's being selected as the best fitting name for a champion.

According to the committee, "Therefore, from hence forth, this mighty Elm will be known as 'King Elmer.'"
 

 

 

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Projects Net $10.5M in Drinking Water Funds

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Three Berkshire County projects are listed among priority funding in 2010 from the state's Drinking Water Revolving Fund. No county projects are listed for Clean Water Revolving Fund.

The biggest is $6,418,000 for new water storage tanks in Pittsfield. 

Lenox will get $2,882,000 to improve water system connections with Stockbridge.

The Sheffield Water Co., which provides drinking water for parts of Sheffield, will receive $991,000 toward a new storage tank and system upgrades.

The revolving funds are being supplied through the state by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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Adams, Mount Greylock Featured On Boston.com

Staff Reports

A look at Mount Greylock's summit in the winter time.

Boston.com posted an informative article today, shedding some positive light on Adams' efforts to build a resort at the Greylock Glen.

The write-up provides some history of the various developmental plans that have been proposed for the Glen, dating back to the 1950s. Did you know that, in 1980, MGM Grand expressed interest in building a casino in the Glen?

The new project is said to include "a conference center and lodge, 140-site campground, and revamped trail system in the first phase, and possibly later an environmental education and Nordic ski center, and an outdoor performance amphitheater."

The Glen project took a giant step forward last month when state environmental regulators gave Adams the go-ahead to proceed with planning and development.

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Names From the Traveling Wall

Staff Reports

Susan Macksey, formerly of North Adams, sent us some photos of a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, better known as simply  "The Wall."

This particular 250-foot-long traveling replica is called "The Wall That Heals."  It was situated at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

She sent pictures of the names of five Northern Berkshire men that are engraved on the wall: Peter Foote of North Adams, Russell Roulier of Adams, Tristan Hayes and Francis Bissaillon of Williamstown, and Peter Cook, who is listed under North Adams but was actually from Clarksburg. The Clarksburg VFW Post is named for him.

"Last month, some friends and I rode down to Bethel Woods, N.Y. to see the "Wall That Heals" — the traveling Vietnam War Memorial," Macksey wrote us this weekend. "I'm sorry that they are a little late for Memorial Day but I hope you can use them for your website."

We told her we'd find a way to use them. After all, any day is Memorial Day. So here are the photos she sent:

  From top left clockwise, Francis H. Bissaillon, Peter A. Cook, Peter W. Foote, Tristan W. Hayes and Russell R. Roulier, all casualties of the Vietnam War. For more information about Massachusetts names on the wall, click here.  



 

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