NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — River Street was blocked off Friday morning for a short time after a cement truck backed into a utility pole at the corner of North Holden and River streets. Fire and police responded and the road was blocked for safety reasons until the broken pole could be fixed.
There was a quite a kerfuffle across from our office this afternoon. There were three cruisers and a tow truck to deal with one thing: a parking ticket. The car's owner apparently had a few outstanding tickets and ran down to City Hall to pay them to prevent the vehicle from being towed away. Parking Officer Mary Ann King got quite an earful — at least from what we could see — but the whole thing was settled within 30 minutes. It was an interesting afternoon diversion for our office.
Historic Eagle Street is next on the list for reconstruction and lighting replacement.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — We know everybody is tired of street construction after last year, but it's not over yet.
A message from Albert Brighenti, project manager for Gagliarducci Construction Inc., says street work will start on April 25 along Eagle Street.
The work will include removing street lights, bases and sidewalks and installing new bases and conduits followed by sidewalk replacement.
Finishing work from last year will be continued, including relocating the fire hydrant at American Legion Drive and Main Street and, running counterclockwise through the city, removing bituminous patches and installing concrete sidewalk panels as required.
The process is expected to take three weeks. Pavement milling and overlay will begin in June.
The $2.2 million refurbishment of lighting, roads and sidewalks in the downtown began last spring. The bulk of the work was done through last fall and is considered 75 percent complete by state Department of Transportation.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Community Development Committee rejected on Tuesday a proposal to name a street for a famous former resident and, instead, find a better way to honor him.
"I don't think we should rename streets except for to address public safety issues," said Chairwoman Lisa Blackmer. "It's costly."
Local historian Paul W. Marino had approached the City Council last November to consider renaming the section of Summer Street between Ashland and Church streets for Lue Gim Gong, a horticulturist who bred the late-maturing orange often named for him.
Lue had lived for a time in the Burlingame house on the corner of Summer and Church that is now better known as the offices of chiropractor Peter May.
Lue Gim Gong came to North Adams as a boy.
Blackmer acknowledged Lue's accomplishments, particularly the orange ("Which I guess is great for all mankind.") but didn't think changing street names was an option. Larry Murray, a resident of that section of Summer Street, said he, too, was opposed to the change because of the aggravation it would cause.
Fellow committee members David Lamarre and Michael Boland agreed that renaming the street should not be recommended to the council. Councilor Marie Harpin, also in attendance, thought her colleagues were right.
However, they were open to other possibilities of honoring Lue, who spent most of his life in the state of Florida but kept in contact with North Adams residents.
"I think something more in the spirit of his accomplishments," said Boland, who suggested renaming one of the planned pocket parks for him or possibly the greenhouse program at Drury High School. "Since his history is a horticulturist, maybe tie something into that."
Marino said, "monuments have a tendency to become invisible." He'd hoped for the street change and a marker at the private Burlingame house to reinforce name recognition.
Lamarre and Boland thought that might be accomplished at Western Gateway Heritage State Park — a path and/or garden area named for Lue and a display at the North Adams Museum of History and Science.
The committee voted to refer the matter to the Conservation Commission and the Historic Commission.
Doug and Manna Mason of the Party Place on Eagle Street hold up the gift certificates they won for the best-dressed holiday window. We caught them at supper in the new Desperados.
The Hometown Holidays' best-window contest resulted in not two, but three winners on Thursday night.
Manna Mason of the Party Place on Eagle Street won a night for two at the Porches and dinner at Gramercy Bistro for her Charlie Brown Christmas-themed windows.
The judges (Mayor Richard Alcombright, Rep. Daniel E. Bosley and Mass MoCA director Joseph Thompson) were quite taken with the fetching illustrations on the Party Place that were painted like stained glass. Thompson in particular liked the three-dimensional effect created by the grids inside the windows.
That's about as evocative as the judges were about the more than two dozen businesses and shops that decked their halls — and windows — with cheery and bright displays. Alcombright did step into nearly every open storefront to at least say hello. (Though our boasting over our own lovely windows fell on deaf ears.)
After the judges perused the windows, pointing out particularly interesting pieces, they graded each display based on creativity, effort, holiday festivity, wow factor and overall look. The Party Place was followed closely by I Got Goodies in second and Petrino's Cafe in third.
The runners-up, however, didn't lose out. They were the favorites of the more than 60 shoppers who voted; possibly their proximity to each other played a role, but the wins were well deserved. Both shops have some serious eye candy in the windows, literally in I Got Goodies' case.
Colleen Taylor of Taylor's Restaurant graciously offered a second gift certificate so both Mark Petrino of Petrino's Cafe and Janice Esoldi of I Got Goodies received a prize for People's Choice.
"It was definitely a success," said Jonathan Secor of MCLA's Gallery 51 and the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center. "It's a beginning ... It was great to see the lights and all the effort and everything. ... It looks like there's life on the street."
Janice Esoldi of I Got Goodies and Mark Petrino of Petrino's Cafe won People's Choice.
:: Preliminary Election: Deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 7. (Office open from 8 to 8.)
:: General Election: Deadline to register is Tuesday, Oct. 18
Registration can be completed at the city clerk's office at City Hall.
Absentee ballots are now available at the city clerk's office for the Sept. 27 preliminary city election. Voters may come in between the hours of 8 and 4:30 weekdays. Written reguests for mailed ballots can be sent to City Clerk's Office, 10 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Deadline for absentee ballots is Monday, Sept. 26, at noon.
The preliminary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, to narrow the field of three mayoral candidates to two. The general election to select nine city councilors and a mayor will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.