Housing Residents Give Boland Final Salute
They couldn't all make it to Bill Boland's funeral on Friday, but the people whom he helped during his nearly 30 years as head of the Housing Authority wanted to make they paid their respects.
They stood and sat along Ashland Street or under the shade of the porch at the high-rise apartments to watch the hearse bearing his casket pass on its way to Southview Cemetery at noontime.
The high-rise apartments were only a few years old when Boland was named director of the authority, a post he held until retiring in 2003. Boland, who died last Friday at age 72, has been eulogized at the City Council and the Northern Berkshire United Way breakfast for his many good deeds and efforts on behalf of the city's poor, disabled and elderly.
Mayor Richard Alcombright told us earlier this week that he'd come to know Boland when he served on the City Council with Alcombright's late father, Daniel. When the new mayor was seeking advice on appointing people to the Housing Authority board a couple months ago, he went to Boland for advice.
"He told me not to worry about finding people who understood housing," said Alcombright, in a story he'd repeat again. "He told me to get people who understood the need for housing."
Boland certainly understood the need for housing. Not only that, he appears to have understood housing, too. Since his retirement, the Housing Authority's had three directors - and he returned at least once in an interim.
|Tags: High-rise, Housing Authority|
Day of Service Eyed for This Fall
The Community Day of Service earlier this month included the work of some 250 to 300 volunteers, 9,000 pounds of trash being hauled to the transfer station and 25 pairs of mittens knitted and donated to charity. We call that a rousing success.
Those were the numbers given Tuesday night by organizers Glenn Maloney, Rod Bunt and Spencer Moser to the City Council and the viewing audience.
Maloney and Bunt said there was a huge increase in volunteers, some from out of town; Moser that a large number of organizations and groups were able to showcase their community committment, as well as students fulfilling their community service learning projects.
"We've been calling it the cleanup in past years and the volunteers have kind of dropped off," said Bunt, of the Mayor's Office of Tourism. "I don't have specific numbers and this is pretty anecdotal, but we had a whole lot more of the public that wanted to get involved and make it a successfull day."
The cleanup day may have started as a community event but MCLA has pretty much taken it over during the past decade and kept it going. This year, there was a renewed effort to join residents together with the college's efforts and expand it beyond picking up trash. The Develop North Adams group was instrumental in spearheading the collaboration. Volunteers - including city councilors - painted, cut brush, read to children, installed playground equipment, knitted and did other things.
MCLA's Moser said he would "challenge any of my colleagues in the commonwealth who have similar jobs to see if they have a relationship" that puts students to work solving real problems with the community. He's heard of the obstacles they've had to deal with. "I don't have a lot of challenges here. We work together real nicely."
Another community day is being considered for the fall but Moser said the main focus will continue to be on the spring event.
Mayor Richard Alcombright had a more prominent role this year as the "lemonade truck driver." Bunt said that last year, they "snuck him up to the landfill and let him do some work." Snuck him up? Who were they hiding him from. Hmmm ....
|Tags: cleanup, volunteer|
Skating Rink Rededication Slated Saturday
The city's rededicating the skating rink for a native son killed in Vietnam.
Peter W. Foote III, an Army sergeant, was only 21 when he was killed in combat in 1968, saving a comrade.
His name was added to the rink last year (Peter W. Foote III Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink) at the behest of former Mayor John Barrett III, who announced the effort in 2008.
The new mayor, Mayor Richard Alcombright, is inviting the public to attend the ceremony this Saturday, May 15, at 11 a.m. at South Church Street rink.
"Peter W. Foote III was one of many North Adams natives who bravely served our country in the Vietnam War," said Alcombright. "Peter was the only North Adams native who paid the ultimate sacrifice, as he gave his life while saving the lives of others."
There will be several speakers, color guard and musical selections by the Drury High School band. The ceremonies will take about an hour.
|Tags: skating rink, dedication|
New Cure for the Winter Blues?
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Winterfest returns to the city on Feb. 27 but it won't be at the St. Elizabeth's Parish Center — this time it's heading back to downtown.
The City Council's new Community Development Committee is taking a hand in the annual event that, to put it kindly, had degenerated into a chowder contest. Everyone sort of stood around in the hall eating chowder. When it was gone, they left.
Oh yeah, there were llamas at the library. Great for kids but, well, eh for many people. And there was a wagon ride — if you were willing to stand out on an often frigid Main Street to wait for it. Oh, and the Mayor's Skating Party down at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink. Again, nice, but late in the day and cut off from anything happening nearly six hours earlier.
The whole affair was a bit discombobulated
This year, there's a concerted effort to focus (like a laser beam) on bringing as many of those scattered activities as possible in close proximity to stimulate pedestrian traffic along the main drag.
The main event returns from noon to 2 but in two locations — 49 Main St. in the former Mohawk Gift Shop ( and Hudson's Antiques) and at 77 Main St. in the former Moulton's General Store. No standing around slurping up chowder; attendees will have to walk between the locations. It's good exercise!
To keep up participants' energy in between the chowder stations, there'll be marshmallow roasting on the sidewalks. Kids' activities will be going on at 107 Main St., which will also offer a place to warm up in-between carriage rides being sponsored by Hoosac Bank from 1 to 3.
Persnickety's Picky the Penguin will do a walkabout with other characters. At least one venue will be pouring hot chocolate.
The llamas will still be at the library for story time from 10 to 11; a tad further out, but still walking distance, will be a "Winter Shadow" light show and children's presentation being offered at 2 p.m. at Western Gateway Heritage State Park.
And, of course, the free skating party runs from 7 to 9 and the Royal Berkshire Improv Troupe tramps the Main Street Stage at 7:30.
Did we mention the ice? Yes, ice sculpting will be happening on Main Street with whichever artists want to get involved. More stuff, too, will be announced in the coming weeks.
Organizers are urging businesses and shops along Main Street to get in on the action. Want to be included? Let Rod Bunt at the Mayor's Office of Tourism know if you've got anything special planned at email@example.com.