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Adams Ready For Stormwater Compliance

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The town is prepared to meet federal compliance in stormwater management and will officially begin the process next month.
The Selectmen met with Melissa Provencher of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission on Wednesday to go over the MS4 Storm Water Management Permit Program in which the town needs to submit its notice of intent to the state Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by Sept. 30.
"I just wanted to make sure that the board members felt comfortable and know that we ware paying attention to this," interim Town Administrator Donna Cesan said. "…I think people initially thought the sky was falling but I think because we have done some preparatory work and the DPW has already has good practices this is really manageable."
Provencher said the NOI will outline what the town intends to do to meet six best management items spelled out in the program: public education and outreach, public involvement and participation, illicit discharge detection and elimination, construction site stormwater runoff control, stormwater management in new development and redevelopment, and good housekeeping and pollution prevention.
Upon the submission, there will be a five-year window during which the town will have to execute other actions such as creating a stormwater management plan that embellishes on the NOI.
"There are definitely some things you are going to want to begin implementation on this year," Provencher said. "There are some things that are a bit easier to pick up then others and others will take a bit more time."
Cesan said much of this work has been done because the town thought it was going to be looped into a different tier of the program with earlier deadlines. She said much of what the town has to do to meet compliance they already do and for over a decade they have been preparing.
"There is going to be some cost to the town but because we already did so much of this work that cost will be minimal," Cesan said. "I don’t think we will need any new staff to implement this, I don’t think we will need $100,000 worth of mapping, and … I think this will have a minimal impact on both the town budget and the town staff."
Cesan said the town even received a DEP grant to create a Stormwater Strategic Plan that she believes with some tweaking could be used as the stormwater management plan that is due next year.
Provencher agreed and said the town is well on their way to compliance. 
"I think the town is in very good shape in a lot of ways and there is so much that you are already doing," she said. "I think there is going to be some additional steps - some bylaws that you haven’t tackled yet, but you do have time because you are new to the program."
Provencher briefly outlined what the town needs to do to hit more marks within the five years. She said the town will have to adopt a stormwater bylaw and do some mapping. She said much of the work is just designating groups or town boards to manage aspects of the program and follow up reporting.

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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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