WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Several dozen volunteers hit the streets on Saturday morning to help clean up the town.
The inaugural town pickup event was part of a statewide effort under the banner Keep Massachusetts Beautiful.
The first-year Williamstown version brought an army of volunteers to Field Park at the junction of Routes 2 and 7 to sign in and accept assignments at various locations around town.
"I've seen litter to lesser or greater degrees everywhere,” said organizer Anne O'Connor, who serves on the town's Board of Selectmen. "Sometimes, you have to look for it a little bit. From Field Park to Cole Avenue, it's not going to necessarily be laying out on someone's front lawn, but underneath the brush, it's there.”
Being a first-year event, O'Connor said organizers kept things low key, not seeking any kind of corporate sponsorship. The bags were provided by the town of Williamstown, which had a supply on hand from a community pickup held last year in South Williamstown.
Volunteers were asked to leave the bright yellow trash bags at the side of the road for pickup on Monday by the town's Department of Public Works.
Word of the event, which O'Connor hopes to make an annual activity, spread through word of mouth and emails directed to local non-profits like the Williamstown Community Chest. Girls from four different local Girl Scout troops also participated.
By the end of the day, more than 60 volunteers joined in, and about 30 bags of litter were collected.
Overall, participants ranged in age from preschoolers with their parents to retirees. Several Williams College students also were among the initial crews dispatched from the "command center” at Field Park.
O'Connor said some volunteers had expressed interest in being sent to a particular neighborhood. Others were assigned on an as-needed basis.
"Ideally, you want people to feel like they're stewards of their area or their street,” volunteer Shira Wohlberg said.
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North Adams Man Arrested in Williamstown Armed Robbery
By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A North Adams man was arrested Wednesday night and charged with armed robbery in an incident at the Cumberland Farms on Main Street, police said in a news release.
Joshua Piantoni, 41, of Whittesly Avenue, was held overnight and transported to court on Thursday morning, police said.
At about 11:30 on Wednesday night, police received a call from the clerk at Cumberland Farms reporting, "the store had just been robbed at gunpoint and the suspect had fled down Main Street towards North Adams in a four-wheeled ATV," the WPD news release reads.
The Williamstown Police notified North Adams, and police from both departments located a "male party" on an ATV, the news release read. After a short chase, police arrested Piantoni near the Ashton Avenue rail crossing in North Adams.
"Money taken from the store as well as a pellet gun were recovered on the suspect at the time of his arrest," police said.
Piantoni was charged with armed robbery, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, unsafe operation of recreational vehicle, operating an unregistered motor vehicle and a recreational vehicle helmet violation, according to the news release.
"We are thankful for the quick, professional actions of the involved officers of WPD and NAPD that this subject was taken into custody without incident," Williamstown Police Chief Michael Ziemba said in the news release.
The potential cuts in the project were presented to the School Committee last week on the heels of news that the low bid for the new eight-lane track and multi-purpose grass athletic field came back 40 percent over the district's estimate.
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She said the school uses athletic ticket sales mostly for expenses like equipment, supplies and uniforms. In the theater program, ticket revenue defrays the cost of costumes, props and rights fees for productions.
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Select Board member Stephanie Boyd has been advocating that the town consider adopting the commonwealth's residential tax exemption as a way to shift some of the tax levy away from owners of lower-priced homes and toward owners of higher-end properties.
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The 2.4-mile leg of that larger project was completed earlier this year by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which turned over ownership of the trail from Syndicate Road to the Spruces Park to the Town of Williamstown. click for more