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Community Meeting Set for Lift Ev'ry Voice

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — MCLA Gallery 51 is hosting a panel discussion and community meeting on Thursday, March 3, about the countywide Lift Ev'ry Voice summer arts festival.

Joining festival steering committee Chairmen Shirley Edgerton and Don Quinn Kelley will be Mayor Richard Alcombright.

The meeting starts at 6:30 at the Main Street gallery.

The monthlong festival will celebrate African-American history and culture both in the Berkshires and around the world. It will be held June 19 to July 2, and local cultural and civic organizations and businesses are encouraged to be part of it by planning appropriate programs.

Gov. Deval Patrick and first lady Diane Patrick of Richmond are the honorary co-chairmen. Many of Berkshire County's cultural and civic organizatinos will be programming events as part of Lift Ev'ry Voice, including Tanglewood, the Colonial Theatre, Barrington Stage Company, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Clark Art Institute, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and the Upper Housatonic Valley African-American Heritage Trail.

The festival kicks off with a Juneteenth celebration on June 19 and ends with Berkshire County's only traditionally African-American neighborhood festival, the Gather-in, on July 23 in Pittsfield. Other notable events include world premiere plays at both Berkshire Theatre Festival and Barrington Stage Company; Earth, Wind and Firehttp://www.earthwindandfire.com/'s 40th anniversary World Tour at Tanglewood, and a Youth Day at Mass MoCA.

Lift Ev'ry Voice founding partners include the Berkshire Visitors Bureau, the Women of Color Giving Circle, the City of Pittsfield, Upper Housatonic Heritage, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Women's Times.

For more information visit www.liftevryvoice.com.

Tags: African-American, festival      

Winterfest Comes and Goes

Tammy Daniels

Sarah Smith spoons up the winning lobster chowder her husband, Sandy Smith, made for Winterfest.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Hundreds roamed the downtown on Saturday looking for some good chowder.

More than a dozen restaurants and food service providers participated in this year's "Chowder Hop" with locations set up from Marshall to Eagle streets. There were no surprises this year; all the top chowders have won in the past. But surprisingly, there was little overlap of the judges' and People Choice selections.

Clockwise from left, Sandy Smith; Mayor Alcombright and The Hub's Kate Schilling; Rita Longworth and Kathy Sage with Jon Charbonneau's chowder.

This year's winner was Gramercy Bistro for its lobster chowder, the first time the restaurant's taken a title since it won People's Choice in 2009. The chowder had just the right flavor, consistency and appetizing look to make it the favorite of all three judges.

The judges — Mayor Richard Alcombright, City Councilor Lisa Blackmer and me, iBerkshires Managing Editor Tammy Daniels — were also impressed with the catfish chowder served up by Gramercy's new sister eatery RUB. Of course, they were both made by chef Alexander "Sandy" Smith.

Coming in second was The Hub, which took third last year, followed by North Adams Regional Hospital Dining Services. Both offered up creamy, traditional clam chowders with plenty of clams, potatoes and vegetables. The Hub's chowder was once again made by Matt Schilling and the NARH's by Jon Charbonneau, who last picked up a third in People's Choice in 2008.

We decided to give an honorable mention to Valerie Schwarz of the Berkshire Food Project for her spicy but not-too-over-the-top corn and clam chowder. Schwarz and kitchen manager Adam Quimby were having their own little competition by serving up two varieties at First Congregational Church. Sorry Adam, yours was good but we liked Valerie's better.

The People's Choice winners couldn't be more different: Gringo's got the most votes, a real coup for David Nicholas who reopened the Tex-Mex eatery in Adams this past fall as Gringo's Firehouse Cafe.

More pictures here.

Perennial favorite Boston Sea Foods took second and Aramark Services of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts was third.

Voting was done by ballot; ballots and maps were available at each location. They could be dropped off on Holden Street, where NARH and Red Herring were set up with the SteepleCats and Boy Scout booths.

"People were really taking time to make out their ballots and drop them off," said the city's tourism director Rod Bunt. "We had a decent amount of votes."

"It was a pretty nice spread," he said of the results of the 222 ballots that were submitted. "Other people got respectable votes, too."

Garnering enough votes for honorable mentions were Petrino's, Big Shirl's and NARH. Petrino's Cafe ran out early, but it was the easiest to find: Mark Petrino set up a table right on the sidewalk outside the cafe.

"If I could predict a nice day, I'd say for everybody get out on the street," said Bunt.

It was a nice day, compared to the some we've had this winter. Similar to last year, a severe storm swept into the region on Friday but left in time for Saturday's event, with exception of a few snowflakes for effect.

Last year, the event was moved to Main Street from St. Elizabeth's (St. Anthony's) Parish Center to encourage more outdoor activities and downtown traffic.

Dozens were lined up during the afternoon for a horse and carriage ride around Main Street; stores and eateries were offering specials, there were places to get hot cider and chocolate and, if you were sick of chowder, Girl Scout cookies and ice cream.

Ice blocks were carved into flowers and squirrels and people and First Congregational Church offered a guided tour of its beautiful stained-glass windows.

A list of all the activities and restaurants can be found here.

Tags: Winterfest      

Drury Video Brings Students Together

Staff Reports

In the 'How Cool Is That' Category
Drury High School students spent five weeks pulling together a lip-synch video to show at a recent bullying-prevention presenation at the high school Some 350 students were involved in the 7-minute clip that roves through the school in one continuous shot.

Tags: Drury, video      

Bosley To Be Next SteepleCats President

Tammy Daniels

NORTH ADAMS, Mass — The SteepleCats will name former state Rep. Dan Bosley as the team's new president Friday.

SteepleCats General Manager Sean McGrath held a press conference at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts Wednesday to make the official announcement.

"We are very excited about his leadership and look forward to Dan's leadership as we celebrate our 10th anniversary," McGrath said in an e-mail.

Bosley said on Sunday that he has had a long friendship with McGrath and the two always talk about baseball. With his connections to the community, Bosley seems to be a right fit for the positions, Bosley said.

Bosley will take over for City Councilor David Bond who led the team since 2009. Bond stepped down and Cats officials previously said the team would be run by committee, but then Bosley accepted McGrath's offer. Bond will serve on the team's Board of Trustees.

The SteepleCats will be welcoming its third president in three years. In 2009, local attorney John B. DeRosa left the presidency for a larger role as the president of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.

Tags: Steeplecats, Bosley      

Help Us Remember JFK's North Adams' Days

Andy McKeever

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Thursday is the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's inaugural address but we remember him from back in the day.

Attorney Richard Taskin and iBerkshires were talking about the upcoming anniversary when he brought us this picture from 1958 — when the scion of the Irish-American dynasty was referred to as U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy, D-Mass.

Taskin can't be seen because he's hiding behind the police officer in the back but his brother Howard and his mother Edith are in there. Edith is in the dark glasses next to the officer; Howard is in front of her to the left.

Taskin said Elias Sabin, a mailman, is in the light coat next to Kennedy. The Taskins have had the picture framed on their wall for decades.

The rest of the people? We don't know! Do any of our readers recognize anyone in the picture?

Here's what we've uncovered about the photo: It was taken by United Press photographer Ted Polumbaum on assignment for Life Magazine. Polumbaum documented Kennedy's 1958 Senate election campaign. The up-and-coming senator had already vied for a vice presidential slot in 1956 and was easily taking the national spotlight.

That photo ran in the magazine's inside pages on Feb. 23, 1959, with a story about Kennedy being a front-runner to be the Democratic candidate for the 1960 presidential election. It's on Page 102 if you're too impatient to look through the entire book. A slightly different shot in color can be found here

According to Berkshire Eagle and Transcript archives, JFK spent the weekend of Sept. 27 and 28 in the area. Some 500 people greeted him at Bousquet on Saturday night. On Sunday, he apparently greeted well-wishers at the Richmond Hotel. 

He walked in the Fall Foliage Parade and then flew (yes, flew) to Springfield from Harriman-West Airport. That was in Sprague Electric's heyday when the parade drew more than 10,000 people.

We don't know if this picture was taken during this trip but it seems likely, based on another picture from that day taken by Polumbaum.

Also of note, Edward "Ted" Kennedy was the campaign manager for the 1958 Senate election and walked in the parade, too. 

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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.

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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
 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

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