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Windsor Lake will be the site of a one-day arts festival in April and the new home of disc golf course.
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Krystal Henriquez, right, explains what's she's done so far to Commissioner Nancy Bullett, Amanda Chilson and Mayor Richard Alcombright.
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Proposed locations for disc golf baskets at Fish Pond.
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A sample of a sponsored disc golf basket.

North Adams Figment Fest Taking Shape; Disc Golf Course Moving Forward

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city's first Figment festival is taking shape for April 30 at Windsor Lake. The event will be all-volunteer, family friendly, participatory and free.

The organizers are currently calling for artist proposals for the one-day event; the deadline is March 6. Artists and volunteers can find out more about the event at

Launched in 2007 with a one-day immersive event on New York's Governors Island, the platform for participatory art has grown to involve hundreds of communities across the country with events ranging from one to several days.

Krystal Henriquez, an MCLA arts management student who is organizing the festival, gave the Windsor Lake Recreation Commission an update on the plans last week.

She's set up a crowdfunding campaign to help raise $3,500 to offset costs and materials, and a Facebook page. A meet and greet for those interested in volunteering or participating as an artist will be held Friday, Feb. 19, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Parlor on Ashland Street. Representatives from the Figment global team are expected to attend.

"I can really feel it coming together," said Henriquez, who volunteered at Figment Boston last year.

She stressed that the North Adams event will have the same core values as past Figment festivals, based on ideas of "decommodification," "leave no trace" and "participatory."  

There will be no vendors but those attending are encouraged to bring food for a potluck picnic on the grounds at Fish Pond. There will be no alcohol or smoking allowed.

The event will run from 2 until 9:30 p.m., with a "Figment After Dark" beginning at 7:30.

"I want to have that distinction because some installations may not be used at night," she said.

She's also working with Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art on installations, cleanup and vans. MCLA's community service day is April 30 and the college has committed to helping with installing projects that morning. Henriquez anticipates clearing the site completely by 5 p.m. on Sunday, "leaving no trace."

"We've been working with Makers Mill," she said. "They've been really great they've donated materials to us."

The organizers are also reaching to local schools with Clarksburg already on board.

Henriquez said she is still looking for lights and a stage. Mayor Richard Alcombright said options could be asking a local business about borrowing a flatbed as well as the city's consideration of acquiring its own portable stage for the upcoming Levitt Amp Music Series.

He and the commissioners also were concerned about noise levels but Henriquez said they would work to alleviate any concerns and noted the festival would end at 9:30 p.m.

"There's so much MCLA involvement but it's really about getting the more community participation," she said. "I can't wait to have this at Windsor Lake."

The commissioners also heard from Erik Carlson of Dalton, a disc golf enthusiast who is working on plans for a course at Windsor Lake with the commission and mayor's permission.

He showed a short video to the mayor and said volunteers would do the minor clearing and maintaining of the wooded course.

"It's minimal maintenance depending on the course," he said. "The only thing you see is a basket, it's not an eyesore."

Installing the baskets and poles are the hardest part, and would require digging or, better, an augur.

Commissioner William St. Pierre, who did not attend, has asked for the specs and materials list to give to McCann Technical School to price out.

Carlson estimates the metal baskets would be about $300 or so, and believes that local families or businesses might be interested in sponsoring them. He showed several images with brands or logos on the baskets.

He touted the friendly atmosphere of disc golf courses and how they attract enthusiasts from around a region.

"There's a study that vandalism decreases where there are courses because there are people there more often and they're taking care of it," he said, adding that MCLA students might be very interested.

"I think it would be awesome for the school to make a course that's right there," he said.

In other business:

Administrative Officer Michael Canales said the three-year phragmite removal plan hit a snag because of the mild weather. The tall plants were treated in the fall and were to be cut to the ice line this winter, except the ice hasn't been strong enough to hold the equipment. The contracted company will continue with what it can do, he said.

The commission discussed the possibility of upgrading electrical for the campsites. It was suggested to determine the cost of electricity for a seasonal site and average it out to be incorporated into the daily cost of a campsite. Upgrading the infrastructure would be a significant project. The commission will get cost estimates for consideration for 2017.

Commissioner Nancy Bullett said Williams College students are interesting in marking the trails around the lake but a topographical will be required to ensure they don't stray onto private lands.

Tags: arts festival,   disc golf,   festival,   Fish Pond,   Windsor Lake,   

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Remote Work May Offer Financial Benefits

Submitted by Edward Jones
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have been forced to work from home. But once we've moved past the virus, many workers may continue working from home. More than one-third of companies with employees who started working from home now think that remote work will stay more common post-pandemic, according to a Harvard Business School study. This shift to at-home work can affect people's lives in many ways – and it may end up providing workers with some long-term financial advantages.
If you're one of those who will continue working remotely, either full time or at least a few days a week, how might you benefit? Here are a few possibilities:
  • Reduced transportation costs – Over time, you can spend a lot of money commuting to and from work. The average commuter spends $2,000 to $5,000 per year on transportation costs, including gas, car maintenance, public transportation and other expenses, depending on where they live, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. If you are going to work primarily from home, you should be able to greatly reduce these costs.
  • Potentially lower car insurance premiums – Your auto insurance premiums are partially based on how many miles you drive each year. So, if you were to significantly reduce these miles by working from home, you might qualify for lower rates.
  • Lower expenditures on lunches – If you typically eat lunch in restaurants or get takeout while at work, you could easily be spending $50 or more per week – even more if you regularly get coffee drinks to go. By these figures, you could end up spending around $3,000 a year. Think how much you could reduce this bill by eating lunch at home during your remote workday.
  • Lower clothing costs – Despite the rise in "casual dress" days, plenty of workers still need to maintain appropriate office attire. By working from home, you can "dress down," reducing your clothing costs and dry-cleaning bills.
As you can see, it may be possible for you to save quite a bit of money by working from home. How can you use your savings to help meet your long-term financial goals, such as achieving a comfortable retirement?
For one thing, you could boost your investments. Let's suppose that you can save $2,500 each year by working remotely. If you were to invest this amount in a tax-deferred account, such as an IRA or your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored plan and earned a hypothetical 6 percent annual return for 20 years, you'd accumulate more than $97,000 – and if you kept going for an additional 10 years, you'd have nearly $210,000. You'd eventually pay taxes on the amount you withdrew from these accounts (and withdrawals prior to age 59½ may be subject to a 10% IRS penalty), but you'd still end up pretty far ahead of where you'd be otherwise.)
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