PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity held a dedication and groundbreaking ceremony for a new home they will be building in the city's Morningside area to help a low-income family achieve home ownership. Attendees of Saturday's groundbreaking at 94 Lincoln St. included Mayor James M. Ruberto, Ward 2 Councilor Peter White, members of the Morningside Advisory Committee and Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity’s Executive Director Carolyn Valli.
The Kehoes, a family of 11 (nine kids and two parents) will move into their new six-bedroom, two-bathroom home when work is completed. Members of the family have helped with the building of other families' homes in Pittsfield, learning such skills as installing sheetrock, framing, siding, insulating, and electrical work. Work on their home is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity is collaborating with community partner Taconic High School, whose carpentry students will be working on the home, along with Habitat for Humanity volunteers coming from as far away as New York City. See more photos, passed on to us by Kimberly Rawson and Dawn Carberry, on our Facebook page.
Next Saturday, mail carriers with routes in Pittsield, Dalton, Hinsdale and Lanesborough will be doing more than delivering and picking up mail.
Letter carriers will be collecting non-perishable donations for a food drive conducted by local branch No. 286 of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service and Berkshire United Way, on May 8. Donations will be distributed later to a number of local food pantries by volunteers from Berkshire United Way, Berkshire Community Action Council and Berkshire Youth United.
The NALC "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive is held nationwide and is the largest one-day food drive in the country. According to NALC, last year 73.4 million pounds of non-perishable donations were collected across the country, and this year the NALC expects to reach a record one billion pounds collected since the drive's inception in 1993.
The drive is held annually on the second Saturday in May in more than 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.
Residents interested in donating food should put their non-perishable items in bags and leave them by their mailbox.
Railroad Street Youth Project, an organization serving young people ages 14-25 in South Berkshire County, is getting ready to celebrate its 10th anniversary next month. Several activities, open to the public, are planned.
On Friday, May 14 at 7 p.m., RSYP'S board of directors will host a barbecue to honor former and current staff and youth outside the Schneider Youth Building, at the skate park in Great Barrington. Youth under 25 may attend for free; tickets are $10 for others.
On Saturday, May 15 from 1 to 7 p.m., there will be an afternoon full of free community events outside the Scheider Youth Building, including an art project work day at the skatepark, youth artwork market, planting a home garden with Greenagers, skate competition, basketball tournament, local food vendors, child-friendly activities, and music by young people. From 8 to 11 p.m., there will be a Higher Organix concert with youth performers and a supersonic dance party outside the building. Tickets for the concert and party are $10.
On Sunday, May 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be a brunch at Castle Street Cafe honoring RSYP's founding board chairman, Erik Bruun. Tickets are $100. Afterwards, from 1:30 to 2:30, the celebration moves to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, featuring an interactive presentation of past and present youth projects. Town of Great Barrington Manager Kevin O’Donnell and State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli will speak; the event honors RSYP founder Amanda Root. Tickets are $10.
From 2:45 to 4:30, the Mahaiwe will put on a performance of Eric Bogosian's play "SubUrbia." Tickets are $10, but anyone who attended the 1999 performance (the very first RSYP youth-inspired project) can see the play for free.
For more information, call 413-528-2475 or visit rsyp.org
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Center for Ecological Technology's hosting an information session on the new state building stretch code this Thursday, April 29, at 7 at the Williams Inn.
The town's looking to adopt the code as part of its pursuit toward becoming a Green Community. The code's been placed on the town warrant.
It calls for higher-energy efficiency standards in new construction, whether new homes or additions, and covers certain commercial buildings as well. Proponents say the extra cost (anywhere from $1,000 to $8,000) will be quickly paid back through energy costs.
About a third of the state's municipalities have indicated they will pursue adoption of the code this year. Pittsfield adopted it last week.
An overview of the new standards and the cost/benefits will be presented. The public is encouraged to attend. For information contact, Nancy Nylen of CET at 413-458-5688 or Lauren Gaherty of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission at 413-442-1521, Ext. 35.
Retiring Selectman Joseph R. Dean Jr. poses with current board members Arthur 'Skip' Harrington, left, Donald Sommer, Michael Ouellette, Jason Hnatonko and Town Adminstrator Jonathan Butler.
ADAMS, Mass. — Selectman Joseph R. Dean Jr. was lauded for his long service to the town at his next-to-last meeting on the board.
The Wednesday night session was the last televised one he was to be at, so his colleagues, including several former board members spent a few minutes at the end of the meeting to thank the longtime selectman for his efforts.
Dean, 72, joined town government in 1964 through appointment to the Planning Board, after losing his first campaign for office to that very board just months earlier. Through the years, he's rarely been out of service, toting up some three decades on the Board of Selectmen; this term concludes his fourth straight.
He's also served on the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste District, as a firefighter with the Alert Hose Company, on the board of the Adams Ambulance Service and other civic boards and committees. A mechanic, he still operates the business started by his father on West Road; one of his sons is a police officer, the other a teacher.
That service has had a direct affect on others, said his current and former board colleagues. "He was the inspiration for me getting on the board," said Edward Driscoll, a former selectman who followed in Dean's footsteps to the NBSWD board.
"It was such a pleasure working with you," said former Selectwoman Myra Wilk, who called Dean "a great leader."
Selectman Jason Hnatonko thanked Dean for encouraging him to run for office and setting an example not only for him but for his 2-year-old son.
George Haddad said their first meeting wasn't too friendly, but that changed when they met again in 1984 when Haddad was elected to the Selectmen.
"I have to say Mr. Dean's worked extremely hard for this community," said Haddad. "He has always shown extreme love and devotion in helping this town. ... and everything [he's] ever done was done because he felt it was in the best interests of the community."
"I hope the younger people in this community will be inspired to step up and run for these offices."
But Dean's not really stepping down, he's just moving to a new, less demanding position. He's running unopposed on May 3 for town moderator, to replace the retiring Anthony McBride. Chairman Donald Sommer presented Dean with a gift on behalf of the board to help in his new position: A gavel with the inscription "To Joe Dean for your years of service to the town of Adams 2010."
"We're glad you're not leaving office," said Sommmer. "We're glad you're going to be the town moderator."
Dean rapped the gavel a couple times to get the feel. "I couldn't have done it without your help," he told his fellow board members. "It's nice to have friends in high places."
Former Selectmen Edward Driscoll, Myra Wilk and George Haddad all served with Dean.