News & Notes: Olver, Bech Debate on Radio

By Larry KratkaBerkshire News Network
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House Candidates Meet in First Debate

PITTSFIELD — Area residents finally got a chance to hear both candidates for the region's U.S. House seat debate the issues.

U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, D-Amherst, and Republican challenger Nathan Bech of West Springfield got together for their only radio debate Tuesday at WBEC-AM 1420 in Pittsfield. 

The two candidates talked about a number of issues including the recent multibillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street. Olver said he voted for it and that it will be successful if the line of credit can be extended between banks and that would keep the economy working.

On the other hand, Bech said he would NOT have voted for the bill if given the opportunity and blamed the Democrats for adding millions of dollars of pork to the bailout bill. 

Olver responded by naming a few choice Republicans in the House who added their own pork to the bill. Bech did not reply to that.

They were questioned on the issues by Berkshire News Network Director Larry Kratka, Tom Conklin of WBEC and Jessica Michalski of WSBS.

Bech, 34, an Army Reserve veteran of Iraq who operates a property management business, has been trying to debate the eight-term congressman for months, inviting him to town hall-style meetings across the 1st Massachusetts District.

Olver, 72, a former professor, has declined or ignored the invitations, although his Democratic primary opponent, Robert Feuer, appeared at several of the town hall meetings. Olver easily defeated the Stockbridge attorney in September.

The radio debate will be rebroadcast Sunday morning in its entirety on WUPE-FM 100.1 from 7 to 8. It will also be broadcast in two parts on Sunday, Oct. 19, and Sunday, Oct. 26, on Live-95.9 FM at 7 a.m. each day.

Bech and Olver will record a debate with WGBY public television in Springfield on Friday and will appear at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner at 7 p.m. on Oct. 22.

The election is Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Haddad Ford/Mercury Sold To Vermont Dealership

NORTH ADAMS — Haddad Ford/Mercury has been sold for an undisclosed amount to Carbone Auto Group in Vermont.

It's just the latest in a series of dealership consolidations within the Berkshires over the past year.

Carbone Auto Group owns a number of new car and Harley-Davidson dealerships in central and eastern New York and in Vermont, including two dealerships in Bennington. Carbone Auto will keep the operation in North Adams as Carbone Ford and Mercury of Massachusetts, until a new Bennington facility is ready for occupancy, at which time the North Adams property will be vacated.

Second Year Without Greylock Ramble

ADAMS — For the second year in a row, the Greylock Ramble was cancelled because of the construction of roads that lead to the top of the state's highest peak.

One of the key reasons the Ramble was cancelled was because emergency vehicles could not get to the top in case of a medical emergency. And the town of Adams was told it could not obtain any permits or insurance for the one-day event.

The three-mile Ramble has been one of the most popular Columbus Day events over the years with an estimated 3,000 participants taking place from the very young to seasoned senior citizens and everyone in between. But not this year. Hopefully, the Ramble will return next year when road construction is completed.

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Portrait Exhibition on View at BCC

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College (BCC) presents "Countenance," an exhibition of portraits by artist Janna Essig, on view in Koussevitzky Gallery through April 28, 2023. 
The gallery is open Monday–Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Admission is free. 
"Countenance" features original paintings by the artist, who earned an associate degree in liberal arts from BCC and moved on to UMass Amherst to earn a bachelor of fine arts degree in art education and a master's degree in education with a focus on creativity.
"In most of my artwork I am working from memory and not using a model or photo," said Essig, who in 2008 started exploring using the face as an icon with a series of watercolor portraits. She painted the faces of seven people who were taken from their homes in Iran and imprisoned for practicing their Bahai faith. 
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