The Selectmen set a special town meeting for March and welcomed the town's new K-9 unit.
ADAMS, Mass. — Adams has enough salt and sand to get through the winter, say town officials.
"We are running low, but we have salt," Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said. "We have plenty to maintain safely the main roads, but we do ask people to be conscious of the fact that on some of our secondary roads and very small streets we are not using as much salt because we are trying not to exhaust our supply.”
Recent snowstorms that have dumped more than two feet across the Berkshires have left many communities struggling with salt supplies because of a regional salt shortage. Butler said salt plants in the Northeast are struggling to supply the many communities that have been effected by snowstorms.
"We are at a point after a pretty busy winter where every community in every state is requesting massive orders of salt," Butler said. He added that Adams has pending orders on salt and sand and is hoping to receive a new supply next week.
The shortage is exacerbated by ice and snowstorms in the south; International Salt, which delivers through the Port of Albany, has cut off sales to commercial plowers in an effort to keep municipalities supplied. The state of Massachusetts says it has enough on hand for time being.
Williamstown and North Adams are using more sand than salt in an effort to keep pace with supply. North Adams Superintendent of Public Service Timothy Lescarbeau said earlier this week he'd spent hours on the phone trying to track down more immediate salt supply with no luck.
After this current storm, Adams will have reached its budget for snow and ice and will most likely exceed it.
"We are going to be entering deficit for the last few weeks of winter, which has happened before, but we are expected to exceed our budget because of the number of storms," he said.
Police Chief Richard Tarsa introduced the board to Kumar, the canine half of the new K-9 unit, at the meeting. Tarsa explained that the dog originally worked for the Lee Police Department and has already received training. The dog has been assigned to Officer Curtis Crane.
"I can tell you the bond that these two developed since we received Kumar into our possession is tremendous," said Tarsa. "When they opened the kennel, the dog went right over and put his paws on Officer Crane's shoulders."
Although Kumar has already been through training, Crane must go through training with him again to acclimate Kumar to his new partner. The German shepherd is originally from The Netherlands, and Crane must learn Dutch words to command the dog.
Butler added that many police departments are incapable of having a K-9 unit because officers are unable to bring a dog into their homes.
"We are fortunate to have someone in our department who is willing to step up to the plate and take on this responsibility," said Butler.
The Police Department received a Stanton Foundation grant in December to purchase and train an animal. Lee Police had to give up the dog when its handler was promoted and there was no one else on the force prepared to partner with the K-9.
Kumar will be used as a multipurpose patrol dog. Crane added his jobs will include finding narcotics, missing persons, article searches, evidence recovery, and anything that has to do with human scent.
"As you can see he's a very well-mannered dog and will be a tremendous asset to the force," Tarsa said.
In other business:
• The board set a special town meeting for Monday, March 24, at 7 p.m. at C.T. Plunkett School that will include warrant articles related to the library renovation. The warrant closes March 3 at 3 p.m.; petitions must be submitted to the town clerk or town administrator's office before
• The Selectmen plan to discuss a program that will eliminate plastic bags in the community at a future meeting. Great Barrington will become the first Western Massachusetts town to ban plastic bags on March 1.