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Holiday Hours: Independence Day

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Above, the famous John Trumbull painting depicting the presentation of the Declaration to John Hancock. John Adams is standing on the right of the Committee of Five. Right, the Bill of Rights currently on display at Williams College.

Independence Day will be celebrated Thursday, July 4. It is a federal holiday marking the ratification of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Representatives from 13 original colonies, of which Massachusetts was a leader, actually voted on July 2 at the Second Continental Congress to declare their independence from Great Britain. The Declaration formalizing the decision — and giving the reasons for doing so — was written by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as the principal author. The others were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert Livingston of New York.

Adams, author of the Massachusetts Constitution, would write to his wife, Abigail: "The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival."

But it would be the adoption two days later that would live in the minds of his countrymen, helped by that large date inscribed at the top of the document. It would be signed the following month. One of the signers was Samuel Adams, for whom the town of Adams (and by extension, North Adams) is named.

Williams College holds one of the few original copies in existence and hosts a reading of the Declaration each Fourth of July.

Massachusetts would become the first state to recognize the day as a state celebration, in 1781. The Congress made it an unpaid holiday in 1870 and a paid federal holiday in 1938.

Both Presidents Jefferson and Adams, friends and political foes, would die on the 50th anniversary of the signing. In another bit of trivia, Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president and former governor of Massachusetts, is the only president to have been born on the Fourth of July.

Closed:


Federal, state and local offices; no mail delivery.
Banks
Public colleges and schools, most private schools
Public libraries
Most offices and businesses
BRTA is not running
Thursday trash pickup in Pittsfield delayed to Friday

 

 

Open:
Most retail outlets, groceries
Restaurants and bars, by choice
Convenience stores

Fireworks and other events listed here.
 

Free coffee will be served at the 18 MassDOT service plazas from 10 p.m., Thursday, July 4, through 5 a.m., Friday, July 5.  The plazas serving free coffee include 11 service plazas along I-90 plus plazas along Route 3 in Plymouth, Route 128 in Beverly, Route 128/I-95 in Newton and Lexington, Route 6 in Barnstable, and the Route 24 northbound and southbound plazas. All road work will be suspended July 3 and 4.


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Pittsfield School Committee Concerned With Teacher Retention

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The latest personnel report has the School Committee concerned about keeping teachers in the city schools. 
 
The reported was shared by Superintendent Jason McCandless at last Wednesday's meeting. School Committee member William Cameron noted that some of the exiting employees were only hired at the beginning of the school year.
 
"There was a group called Buffalo Springfield and they had a song called 'For What It's Worth' and the opening lines were 'There's something happening here, What it is ain't exactly clear,'" he said. "We have resignations here a month into the school year from a number of people that may have started at the beginning of the school year can you tell us what is going on here?"
 
McCandless said there are some retirees within the group of outgoing employees but there are also recent hires who found a better opportunity elsewhere or who were not up to some of the challenges the school district faces.  
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