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Williams Student Dies in Avalanche

Staff Reports

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A Williams College junior was killed when he and other students in the college's Williams-Exeter Programme were caught in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps on Sunday.

According to a letter to the Williams community by President Adam Falk, 20-year-old Henry Lo of Franklin Square, N.Y., fell to his death and his classmate Amy Nolan of Williamstown, also a junior, suffered a blow to her head while hiking near Kandersteg, south of the capital Bern.

Falk wrote:

While walking yesterday, they were hit by an avalanche of snow, ice, and rocks. Henry Lo ’11 was swept to his death, and Amy Nolan ’11 suffered a blow to her head. Swiss rescuers responded quickly, retrieving Henry's body and taking Amy by helicopter to a hospital in Bern. We're told that she never lost consciousness. She was operated on yesterday, and the student who was allowed to visit her today reports that she was talking and smiling. Her parents, Cathy and Jim Nolan, professor of sociology, are now there with her.

There were five other Williams students and two Oxford University students in the party. No one else was injured and the rest of the students were taken back to Oxford, where the program is based. Lo was a math and religion major whom his classmates described as gregarious, hard working, competitive and fun loving.

"At this profoundly sad moment our hearts are first with Henry's family for their sudden and devastating loss," wrote Falk. "No plans have yet been set for any services."

The Swiss Avalanche Institute says an average two dozen people die each year in avalanches there.

For Falk's full letter, click here.

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Pet Food Pantry Seeks Donations

Staff Reports

The cupboard is bare again at the Adams Friends of Animals' Pet Food Pantry. The year-old group of volunteers has been providing pet food to families in distress in cooperation with the Berkshire Humane Society.

Board member Roy Thompson said the pantry serves up to a dozen pet owners each week, helping them ensure the four-legged members of their families are fed properly.

But the donations have dropped off even as the need has increased; people on fixed incomes or those out of work are having trouble caring for their pets.

"We run out every week now and when we get it, we get it in small doses," said Thompson of food donations. "We use to give it out every 30 days, now we're considering 60 days."

People can drop off food at 64 Summer St., the Berkshire Visitors Center or at the transfer station, where Thompson works part time.

"What we're finding out from the Berkshire Humane Society is a lot of people are turning in their animals because they don't have the money for food," he said. "They say they don't have time but it comes down to money."

Too often, people don't realize the costs associated with having a pet, said Thompson, especially dogs. "I have a TV show (on Northern Berkshire Community Television) and I tell them, 'don't take an animal unless you can do it.'  It's sad, it really is."

Those in need of food can pick it up at 64 Summer St. or at the Berkshire Humane Society on Barker Road in Pittsfield.

For more information about the Adams Friends of Animals can be found here.

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Be on the Lookout for Invasive Species

Staff Reports

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), wants boaters to know that they should "check to be sure they aren't giving a free ride to non-native aquatic plants or animals." According to MassWildlife's June newsletter, boats, motors, trailers, fishing equipment, anchors, bait buckets, live wells, swimming and diving gear, and other aquatic equipment can transport aquatic, exotic invasive species between water bodies.

Once established, invasive species can choke waterways, foul intake and discharge structures, lower lakefront property values, impede boating, swimming and fishing, and reduce biodiversity by crowding out native fish, insects, other animals and plants. After they've settled in their new homes, it's nearly impossible to eradicate them.

Last July, invasive zebra mussels were discovered in in Laurel Lake in Lee and Lenox, prompting the City of Pittsfield to coordinate a boat-ramp monitoring program, in an effort to prevent the spread of zebra mussels into its water bodies.

Zebra mussels are small 1-2" D-shaped mussels with alternating light and dark bands. They have a microscopic larval stage and can travel undetected in bait buckets, live wells and cooling water. According to Mass Wildlife, there are no known methods of control for zebra mussels once they've invaded a water body. To prevent an introduction of zebra mussels, boaters must empty all bait buckets, live wells and cooling water on dry land away from the shore.

This year, the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) wants to make boaters aware of new procedures that must be followed for any watercraft to be launched at Berkshire waterbodies determined to be at high or moderate risk for zebra mussel colonization. Anyone launching watercraft at Ashmere Lake, Cheshire Reservoir, Housatonic River, Lake Buel, Lake Garfield, Lake Mansfield, Laurel Lake, Onota Lake, Plunkett Reservoir, Pontoosuc Lake, Prospect Lake, Richmond Pond, Shaw Pond, and Stockbridge Bowl must fill out a Clean Boat Certification Form. The form is available at the boat ramp kiosks, or you can find it here.

For more information on preventing the spread of invasive non-native plants and other organisms, click here.

If you see a zebra mussel in a Massachusetts waterway, report it to Tom Flannery at tom.flannery@state.ma.us, call 617- 626-1250 or visit www.mass.gov/lakesandponds for fact sheets. DCR is seeking volunteers for its Weed Watchers Program; more information can be found here.

(Launching requirements are different in central Massachusetts; click here to find out more  or call the Quabbin Visitors Center at 413- 323-7221).

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Stockbridge Family Has Strong Ties to Heroic Sculptor

Tammy Daniels

We had a chance to meet G. Marie Bidwell Leuchs at the rededication of the Pittsfield war memorial on Monday. Leuchs is the niece of H. Augustus Lukeman, the sculptor who created the paen to the city's World War I veterans back in 1926.

Marie Bidwell Leuchs, left, Catherine Bohrman and David LaRocca in front of Lukeman's Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

She and her daughter, Catherine Leuchs Bohrman, were noted in the crowd who attended the ceremony as being a link to the well-known artist.

Leuchs is actually the niece of Lukeman's wife, Helen Bidwell, who died in 1971 at the age of 82. She outlived her husband by 36 years; he died in 1935 at age 64. The couple had no children, said Leuchs.

The Bidwell and Leuchs families appear to have adopted his legacy, and the Leuchs donated his papers to the Smithsonian Institute.

The Bidwell name has deep roots in New England (John Bidwell being a founder of Hartford, Conn.) and are descendants of the Rev. Adonijah Bidwell, Tyringham's first minister and namesake of Bidwell House and Museum.

(Oddly enough, when we popped Bidwell House into Google we got a link to another Bidwell House, named for a John who searched for gold at Sutter's Mill and married a Kennedy — not that one — from Massachusetts.)

Lukeman married into the old Berkshire family and also studied with Daniel Chester French. It's not surprising that he settled into Stockbridge and built a studio in Glendale, where French built Chesterwood, his summer home and studio.

Lukeman also sculpted the McKinley statue in Adams in 1903 and an old Berkshire Eagle article notes he was incorrectly described as a "Stockbridge native" at the time. He actually hailed from Richmond, Va., and would spend a few years working on the Stone Mountain memorial to the heroes of the Confederacy.

Leuchs stands to be recognized.

The Leuchs share the same zeal for artistry — Marie Leuch's late husband Frederick was a noted stained-glass expert who operated out of Lukeman's studio on Lukeman Lane for a time. Their daughter Catherine is a sculptor and works in bronze, although her pieces are far more abstract and intimate than Lukeman's heroic Beaux Arts works. You can see her collection here.

They were rightly proud of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and took a moment to have their photo taken in front of it with artist David LaRocca of Watertown. LaRocca sculpted the missing laurel leaves, rifle strap and bayonet lost through time and vandalism. It took about six months of careful fitting and crafting to integrate the pieces seamlessly into the work, he said.

"I wanted to please Augustus Lukeman," said LaRocca.

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