Home About Archives RSS Feed

Get Your Dogs Here!

Tammy Daniels

Neither rain nor sun keep Vinnie Melito, left, and David Lewis from serving up hot dogs to hungry tourists and residents alike.

If you've driven down Marshall Street the last few Saturdays, you might have caught the city's newest eatery — parked on the side of road.

It's a hot dog cart and one of the first in recent memory to be seen about the city. The entrepreneurs of this wheeling weinie roaster are Vincent Melito and David Lewis, both former educators who were looking to do something in the retirement.

We caught up with them last Saturday in front of Gramercy Bistro's old location but didn't get a chance to try any of their dogs — the rain had them closing up a little earlier than usual.

Melito and Lewis, who've dubbed their enterprise "Guys and Dogs," have gone through the ServeSafe course and received their state and local permits for being open for special events. In North Adams, that's pretty much every weekend at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art but they've also be at the Mayor's Downtown Celebration on Aug. 25 and for other regional and local events. They're also available for private events.

But what made Melito, a former city councilor, and Lewis, a longtime garage owner, decide to start grilling? The retirees said they wanted something to do.

Melito said he'd been thinking about a small business for awhile, and a hot dog cart is pretty small. He found a willing partner in Lewis and support from both their wives, Margo and Rhea.

Besides, said Melito, it brings life to an often empty city street and creates a reason walk toward the downtown.

"We obviously enjoy meeting people, promoting our city and creating a vibrant city image with our cart," he said. One of the important community benefits that occurs is that our location is close to Mass MoCA and our business, along with the information we provide, contributes to drawing more tourists to the downtown area."

Both men said they had received a lot of positive response about the cart. They've also received a permit to operate in Adams.

They may have started something. At this week's City Council meeting, Mayor Richard Alcombright introduced Adams' lengthy and recently enacted vendor bylaw and asked the council to consider adopting. The bylaw, which is now under review, was taken up in Adams because one successful vendor last year turned into four or more looking to set up shop this year in the Mother Town. 

Alcombright said Guys and Dogs wasn't the reason for the ordinance request, but rather a flurry of vendors looking to cash in on the upcoming Solid Sound Festival in August. The city's current ordinance is expected to suffice for now but the mayor wants to be ready for events in the future.

Meanwhile, you can catch the city's sole hot dog cart (for now, at least) on Marshall Street between the hours of 11 and 2 on Saturday and later in the evening on occasions when MoCA might have performances. The cart offers up all-beef Angus hot dogs, traditional condiments plus sauerkraut, chili and spicy cheese sauce, chips, soda, water and lemonade.

Tags: hot dog cart, Melito      

Heritage Park Eyed As New Greylock Gateway

Tammy Daniels

Heritage State Park is pretty — empty.

The former railyard in the heart of the city was once the gateway for all traffic moving west. Now it's targeted to become a gateway again, but not to the west. This time it will be a stopping point before going — up.

The city and the state Department of Recreation and Conservation are looking into revamping Western Gateway Heritage State Park into the northern gateway to the state's highest peak, Mount Greylock.

DCR Commissioner Richard Sullivan briefly touched on the subject on Wednesday during his talk at the Massachusetts Mayors Association's monthly meeting. "We're working closely with the mayor here in North Adams to turn Heritage Park into the new gateway, the northern gateway, to that facility and we expect that it's going to be big for tourists."

The state's already invested $23 million into rebuilding the roads to the peak in the state reservation; another $900,000 in federal funds is being spent for wayside stations, interpretative kiosks and regular signage.

Mayor Richard Alcombright said some of that signage money will be used to direct tourists to Heritage Park, much like the state directs people to the southern access point at the Mount Greylock Visitors Center on Rockwell Road in Lanesborough. Visitors will be encouraged to use Reservoir Road to the park's entrance rather than Notch Road. That street is off a busy, curved section of Route 2 with limited visibility for exiting.

Photos by Fredy Alvarez
Work on the Hadley Overpass hasn't helped the park's popularity.

"There's also hopes that the DCR will also put a visitors' center in there in Heritage State Park," said the mayor. "We do have some money in our Heritage State Park account and we can partner with them [on grants]. ... We're going to do a really nice facelift to Heritage State Park, painting, a whole new landscape design, try to put a little playground back there."

The revamp will include fixing the crumbling retaining walls, finding ways to better utilize the foot bridge and urging Pan Am Railways (Guilford) to clean up the weeds and foliage around the trestle.

"So, next year we do a facelift and coupled with this [sign] project, market the heck out of it," said Alcombright.

The park's seen its ups and downs. Its most popular tenant is the Freight Yard Pub; a quilt shop, the city's historical society, a DCR visitors center focused on trains and Northern Berkshire Community Television are also in there. But there's still plenty of empty space and the park can sometimes look bedraggled, with weeds popping up through the cobblestone walks.

The former railyard — once a seedy area whose buildings were used for railway storage and apartments not so long ago — has never quite lived up to its potential. Encouraging its use as pitstop on the way to the state's oldest park could well bring back a little of its glory days as the gateway to big things.

Tags: Mount Greylock      

Hadley Being Decked Out

Staff Reports
Photos by Fredy Alvarez
A giant crane that's been hovering over North Adams was being used  on Thursday to lift trusses for the decking on the north side of the Hadley Overpass.
Tags: Hadley      

Where's My Crosswalk?!

By The Editor

Who decided this plan?

Nevermind the trees. Now they're removing crosswalks!

We were a bit shocked to come back from vacation to find that the well-used crosswalk between Boxcar Media and Atef's Jeweler is being removed as part of the ongoing reconstruction of Main Street.

We're not sure why a crosswalk is being eliminated at the same time the city is trying to drive pedestrian traffic into the downtown. Was it something we said?

The walkway lies about midway between the intersection with Eagle and Ashland and the crosswalk in front TD Banknorth. We can attest to its usage - it's right outside our window.

Old habits die hard.

People park their cars to use the mailbox on the shady side of the street and then cross over to the bank. It's easier to use to get to Eagle Street or to the post office than crossing at the intersection, where you have to watch the lights at multiple stops and righthand-turning vehicles. There's no  "safe" centerpoint either at the intersection.

We don't understand the thinking behind the crosswalk's elimination (Do we really have too many points to cross the street? Did people complain?) but we're pretty sure it will mean more pedestrians crossing at the lights and faster speeds by our window.

Meanwhile, we're watching people navigating the just-installed granite curbing — and wondering what it's doing there.

Update: We talked to the mayor after Tuesday's City Council meeting. He said one of the strings attached to the federal grants by the EPA requires that crosswalks be a certain distance apart to reduce the number of vehicles stopping and idling out emissions. Our crosswalk isn't far enough away from the other two to qualify — so out it goes.

Hey, we're against over-idling and for reducing emissions, but this isn't the big city. There's no bumper-to-bumber traffic. We don't think the occasional car that has to stop/slow for 5 seconds is going to make that big of a difference. Not that the federal government cares about our opinion.

Tags: Main Street, crosswalk      

Trees Will Grow Again In North Adams

Tammy Daniels

New paving and pressed concrete are being installed along Main Street.

The trees around Main Street have been disappearing at a swift and alarming rate. Not to worry, says Mayor Richard Alcombright, the worst is over.

The trees are being removed as part of the $3.2 million downtown streetscape project. Some weren't healthy, to begin with, others were beginning to endanger the sidewalks and yet others were likely to be damaged from the ongoing construction.

It's all part of the regular construction process but citizens are wondering why the massacre; Alcombright addressed the topic at a recent DNA meeting and we asked him about again on Monday.

"Many of the corners had to be dug up to adhere to ADA requirements; ADA compliant ramps under the new requirements have to be wider and have less of an angle," said the mayor on Monday afternoon.  "Where they would be placed would damage the root balls anyways."

Several trees along what was once the grassy strip near Sleepy's weren't in good condition and were always going to be replaced. Two others in front of Jack's Hot Dog Stand on Eagle Street were removed because they were beginning to intrude into the sidewalk.

Trees and "ugly weeds" along American Legion will be removed and replaced with new trees as needed and ornamental grates similar to those on Main Street.

All of the trees will be replaced except two in front of the Mohawk Theater. "We're not going to being taking them down without putting them back up," said the mayor, but until the plans are finalized for the Mohawk, that section will be left bare of greenery.

The maples marked in front of Petrino's and the former Sports Corner at Holden Street aren't going anywhere, hopefully, despite their orange badges.

"I've asked them to dig gently around there," said Alcombright. It would have nicer to have leafier shade trees on the "sunny side of the street" and more ornamental on the south side, which has the most shade, he said.

But with plans for the streetscape finalized more than a year ago, the current administration was unprepared for how quickly the street's leafy denizens were being hacked and hauled away.

The mayor, administrative officer and other staff toured the construction areas with the engineers to ensure everyone was aware of the full plans.
   
"Some of the frustration was not having the full-scale understanding of the project," said Alcombright, who added "there will be no work on Eagle until Beach Party [on July 9] is through ... They are real sensitive to what's going to be done and they are halting when I see something I don't like."

The streetscape project won't be completed until summer 2011. It includes the laying of new conduit, sidewalks, lighting and traffic signals along River, Main, Eagle, Holden and Marshall streets, Route 2 and American Legion Drive.

Not all trees are attractive. The one in front of The Hub is skinny and another in front of Sleepy's looks half dead. Center, what's left of the tree in front of the Baptist Church's side door on Eagle Street. We didn't even see that one come down.

 

 

 

Not all trees are attractive. The one in front of The Hub is skinny and and another in front of Sleepy's looks half dead. Below, what's left of the tree in front of the Baptist Church's side door on Eagle Street. We didn't even see that one come down. 

 

     
Page 8 of 10... 3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  

Support Local News

We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires and community events. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about pivotal events that affect their communities and their lives.

How important is local news to you? You can support independent, unbiased journalism and help iBerkshires grow for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.

News Headlines
MCLA Undergraduate Research Conference to be held Virtually
Methuselah Closed Until Further Notice for COVID-19 Complaints
Great Barrington Police Arrest Man Hiding Under A Shed
Berkshire Roots Celebrates 4/20 With Music, Food, Garcia Line
SVHC: COVID-19 Update April 16
Be conscious of your investment environment
SVHC Welcomes Orthopedic Surgeon to Medical Matters Weekly
Clark Art Celebrates Earth Day
Cummings Opposes Those 'Trying to Tear Apart' Williamstown
BFAIR Learning Lab Open and Expanded

Voting Registration Deadlines

:: 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.


 

City Council

Returned Papers
As of 8/9 at 5 p.m.
 Lisa M. Blackmer* Yes
 Michael Bloom Yes
 Keith Bona* Yes
 David Bond* Yes
 Marie Harpin* Yes
 Alan Marden* Yes
 John Barrett Yes
 Eric R. Buddington Yes
 Nancy P. Bullett Yes
 Robert Cardimino Yes
 Catherine Chaput Yes
 Roland G. Gardner  
 Diane M. Gallese-Parsons  Yes
Shane Gaudreau  
 James B. Gyurasz  Yes
 Michael Hernandez  Yes
 Jennifer Breen Kirsch  Yes
Brian L. Flagg  
 Kellie A. Morrison  Yes
 Greg Roach  Yes
 Gail Kolis Sellers  Yes
18 candidates returned papers
 
 Mayor  
 Richard J. Alcombright*  Yes
 Ronald A. Boucher  Yes
 Robert Martelle  Yes
 Preliminary election will eliminate one
 
 School Committee  
 Mary Lou Accetta* Yes
 Lawrence K. Taft* Yes
 Leonard Giroux Jr.  Yes
 Tara J. Jacobs  Yes
 David Lamarre Yes
   
McCann School Committee  
 George M. Canales Yes

Polling stations

St. Elizabeth's Parish Center

Ward 1
Ward 2
Ward 3
Ward 5

Greylock Elementary School

Ward 4


Draft Budget FY2012

School Budget FY2012

Compensation Plan

Classification Schedule 

Fiscal 2011 Budget

Fiscal 2011 Tax Classification

North Adams Audit 2010

North Adams Single Audit 2010

North Adams Management Letters 2010

North Adams School Building Options



Categories:
Boards & Committees (58)
budget (17)
buildings (12)
City Council (47)
City Hall (8)
Courts (1)
Development (19)
DNA (4)
Downtown (48)
Events (29)
Fun Stuff (32)
Hadley Overpass (2)
Heritage State Park (5)
Housing (2)
Inspections (3)
Library (1)
Mayor (49)
MCLA (8)
MoCA (10)
People (30)
Planning Board (9)
projects (31)
Relations (2)
Schools (24)
Services (14)
stores (19)
Streets (21)
Archives:
Tags:
School Project Lue Gim Gong Budget Jobs Contest Sullivan Restaurants Wilco Agenda Tourism Finance Committee Windsor Lake Airport Master Plan Zoning Override Hometown Holidays Planning Board Ordinance Conte Election Armory Parking Hardman Industrial Park Transcript Insurance Main Street Trees Campground Water North Adams Ordinances Scarafoni Holiday Fall Foliage
Popular Entries:
Council Will Review Mayoral Term, Public Safety Post
Desperado's Returning to City
Alcombright Seeks Funds for Campground, Lake
North Adams Panel Takes Up Vendor Rules
North Adams Rejects Override Proposal
Conte School Option Prompts Protest
Mattress Maker Facing Foreclosure in N.Y.
Scarafoni Asks for Tax Deal on Transcript Building
City Still Pursuing Bedmaker
Fall Foliage Children's Parade Celebrates Heroes
Recent Entries:
Public Safety Committee OKs Montana Parking Ban
Eclipse Residents Query Mayor on Collapsing Neighbor
Walmart Expected to Submit Plans for New Store
School Committee Endorses 2-School Plan
North Adams Water Safe to Drink
City Questions Parking Ticket Revenue
City Council Agenda for Aug. 23, 2011
Planning Board to Look at Ordinance Change
Mattress Maker Picks Green Mountain Site
City Still Pursuing Bedmaker