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The Board of Health discusses ticks, rats and reservoirs at its meeting.

Adams Secondary Reservoir Officially Out of Service

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The town's backup reservoir has been officially shut down by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Board of Health member David Rhoads read a letter from DEP at Tuesday's meeting that stated the Bassett Brook Reservoir was officially nixed as the towns back up water supply. However, Rhoads noted that the reservoir probably wouldn't be much help in an actual emergency anyways.
"Due to lack of functionality," he said. "If we needed it I don't think we could actually get that water."
Board member Bruce Shepley said the only way the town could utilize the water in an emergency situation would be with a portable filtration system – often utilized when the state or federal Emergency Management Agency are involved.
"There are portable means to do it," he said. 
Rhoads said the Bassett Brook Reservoir is actually in Cheshire as well as the wells in which Adams draws water from for its main supply.
He added that he was unsure if the town had to designate a new secondary water supply.
In other business, Rhoads said other departments have utilized its registry of abandoned properties and Assessor Donna MacDonald stopped in the office for a copy of the book.
"She was surprised to know there was a book and she came immediately," he said.
A few months ago, the Board of Health inquired about the registry and wanted it to be more available. 
Rhoads said MacDonald asked if there was a digital archive that Shepley thought may be a good thing to have.
"I don't think there is any urgency, but it would be ideal to have," he said. "It would be a good tool in various departments."
Rhoads went further to say he wanted to talk to some of the banks that may own the properties and get them on the market.
The board also discussed the problem of tick-borne illnesses and urged the public to utilize, a University of Massachusetts at Amherst initiative to gather information about the various pathogens ticks may carry.
"This identifies the pathogens the tick is carrying plus it gives UMass the ability to see what is out there," Shepley said.
Earlier in the meeting, Code Enforcement Officer Thomas Romaniak went over a few reports of rat issues in town. He said they seem to be focused in the Howland Avenue and Commercial Street areas.
He said it didn't seem to be a garbage issue in most of these cases.
"I don't know where they are coming from, but a lot of different people have been complaining about them," he said. "I don't know the answer. It's not like people are throwing garbage out … I think they are coming out of the river but I am not a rat expert so there is really not much that we can do."

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Three Berkshires Women Named 'Unsung Heroines'

Liz Mitchell and state Rep. John Barrett III at Tuesday's 2019 Unsung Heroine ceremony at the State House. 

BOSTON — Three Berkshires women were named Unsung Heroines for 2019 during a State House ceremony on Tuesday.

State Sen. Adam G. Hinds nominated Donna Cesan for this recognition because of her dedication to community, having served as Community Development Director and interim Town Administrator for the town of Adams for 19 years.

Elizabeth "Liz" Mitchell, a North Adams resident and advocate for domestic violance victims with the Elizabeth Freeman Center, was nominated by state Rep. John Barrett III and Marie Richardson of Pittsfield, a caseworker in the Pittsfield Public Schools, was nominated by state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier.

"Donna has selflessly given countless hours of her time to ensure Adams is moving in the right direction," said Hinds. "She is well-respected in her hometown of Lanesborough, and the town of Adams is well-served by her. She is absolutely an Unsung Heroine for her dedication to our region and her professionalism, which is effortlessly showcased in all of her projects."

Massachusetts Commission of the Status of Women annually celebrates "unsung heroines" who don't always make the news, but who make a difference. They are the women who use their time, talent and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others and make a difference in their neighborhoods, cities and towns. They are mentors, volunteers and innovators who do what needs to be done without expectations of recognition or gratitude. These women are the glue that keeps a community together and every community is better because of their contribution.   

Hinds said Cesan has dedicated her career to public service. As the director of community development, she has spearheaded economic development projects with big impact, like the construction of a platform for the Adams terminus of the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum's Hoosac Valley Service, the renovation of the Adams Visitor Center parking lot and implementing the community's vision for the Greylock Glen. Since 2014, she has been asked twice by the Board of Selectmen to also serve as interim town administrator, managing every aspect of municipal government for months, while also promoting community development initiatives in town.
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