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The Historical Commission and the town's representatives Mark Paul and Benjamin B. Downing.
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Selectmen Chairman Brian Koczela speaks during the event.
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Historical Commission Chairman Deborah Balmuth presents the flag to Sen. Downing and Rep. Mark.
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Saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
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Windsor Town Flag to Hang at State House Hall

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Deborah Balmuth, left, Susan Edwards, a historical commissioner, Peter Menard and Sarah Zink share a laugh displaying the new flag.

WINDSOR, Mass. — Windsor will soon be represented in the Hall of Flags at the State House.

Historical Commission Chairwoman Deborah Balmuth presented the town's new flag to state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing and state Rep. Paul Mark on Sunday.

The flag, said the Rev. Alex Hunter of the Congregational Church, "will always symbolize we are one town, one people."

More than two dozen residents attended the short unveiling ceremony at Town Hall. The flag was designed by Susan Edwards, a retired artist and graphic designer.

The Historical Commission solicited ideas from local artists with the criteria they include elements of the town's topography, natural resources and — snow.

"The challenge was to come up with a design simple enough for a flag but also to include the name of our town and the incorporation date," said Balmuth. "And Sue did such a lovely job doing this."

The flag has three horizontal bars — blue on top to show the sky and the town's elevation, a layer of white for snow and green for its natural resources. Fir trees in shades of gray and the town's name and incorporation date complete the design.

"I designed it to be simple but timeless," said Edwards, who has studio in town. "I'm really honored ... the flag will be flying in the State House long after I'm gone."

Windsor was one of many far Western Massachusetts towns without a flag. Balmuth said longtime Town Clerk Evelyn Bird had advocated for years; Sandra Zink had joined the effort more recently to help push the idea through. Zink and Edwards also headed the campaign for donations to get two flags made — one for the State House and one for Town Hall.

"So many people here contributed to it," Balmuth said. "So it was all contributions from people in town and people who felt a connection to Windsor that made this flag possible."

Selectmen Chairman Brian Koczela described the town as a "do-it-yourself, donate kind of town."

The original name of the area had been "Ouschanpamaug," or "summer hunting ground and big hill."

"We thought how lovely it was the flag kind of captured that feeling," Balmuth said.

Windsor was incorporated in 1771, four years after it was settled. Historical Commissioner Peter Menard said the town's name was Gageborough then, after British General Thomas Gage, and changed to Windsor in 1778.

Mark said it had been sad to see how few Western Mass. flags were in the hall when he was elected.

"It's sad because these are small towns that often get forgotten," he said. "It's awesome to see such a beautiful flag ... I look forward to see it hanging."

Windsor will join Peru's recently designed flag, hanging in the order of incorporation.

Downing said the Hall of Flags is popular with citizens, who like to see their town flags.

"Each of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts has the same representation in that hall," he said, whether it's Boston with 700,000 people or town with 700.

More information can be found on the Windsor Historical Commission's Facebook page.

Tags: flags,   historical commission,   town flag,   

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Blackinton Mill Owners: City's Delays Put $17M Hotel Project in Peril

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Mayor Jennifer Macksey speaks at Tuesday's City Council meeting as Tourists owner Ben Svenson looks on. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The $17 million expansion plans for the Blackinton Mill are tripping over a 10-foot high pile hides that has been decaying for 60 years. 
The partnership that operates Tourists resort says the whole project — including a proposed bike path — is in danger of failing before it even begins if a November grant deadline to clean up the mess isn't met. 
But the Mayor Jennifer Macksey says more testing is needed before the city takes control of the one-acre site and is positing a February closing date.
On Tuesday, the partners were pleading with the City Council to use any tools it had to make the mayor abide by an agreement to close on the parcel before the deadline.
"I really don't want to say it will go away but we will not be able to sustain any longer unless we can resolve this issue," said principal Benjamin Svenson. "And so I appeal to you tonight to please — whatever tools you have — communicate to the mayor the urgency of resolving this matter."
The matter before the council was an authorization for the mayor to purchase the property, which would be for $1. The city would be able to apply for a U.S. Environmental Protection Act brownfield grant not available to the private entity. 
"We need this to secure our financing," said Svenson. "We can't get a bank loan until we resolve this matter. ... 
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