UPDATE: Because of the Senate Caucus and Formal Legislative Session to take place starting at noon Friday, Senator Hinds cannot participate in today's events as announced.The Senate is expected to vote on the FY18 conference budget this afternoon.
His staff will ride the BRTA from Pittsfield to North Adams and attend the Workshop. The design thinking exercises will be led by the MCLA Design Lab team. Senator Hinds plans to call into the event at 1 p.m. from the State House.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Adam Hinds is about to find out exactly how difficult it is to get around the county on public transportation.
On Friday, Hinds is taking a Berkshire Regional Transit Authority bus from Pittsfield to the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, a trip that will take more than an hour. Hinds is doing it as his commute to meet with MCLA's Dean Jake Eberwein as the two host a design thinking workshop on how to improve the county's public transportation system.
"We live in a large, geographically diverse region with concentrated downtowns and rural areas. We have services and economies separated by large swaths of space and an infrastructure system that is often outdated and without reliable cell phone coverage," the Pittsfield state senator said.
"Improving our public transportation system is central to addressing numerous challenges that I hear about often: reliable access to employment and services, the ability to move to a better job, thereby improving quality of life, connecting to other transportation options, and beyond. This is the start of an ongoing effort to improve rural transportation options throughout my district."
At MCLA, Hinds will spend four hours with the MCLA Design Lab, a curricular and co-curricular space, to "reimagine" what rural public transportation can be.
The workshop will include representatives from the Berkshire Community Action Council, Berkshire Interfaith Organizing, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, the BRTA, Lever, Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, Berkshire Community College, MCLA, Workers Cities Pittsfield, the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Williams College. Others involved include students, employers, and other stakeholders.
The challenges of transportation in the Berkshires isn't new. For years officials in various aspects of public life have wanted to improve it but the rural nature of the Berkshires poses a challenge. The BRTA hasn't had sufficient funding to run fixed-rate bus routes throughout the county and the populations make it difficult to maintain rider population on routes in rural areas.
Now the BRTA has limited hours at night and weekends. That's particularly a problem with the tourism economy because those are the times when employers need the most amount of staff possible.
Recently, Andrea Sholler, managing director of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, asked to be involved with public transit planning because it means so much to her company. Becket is not easily accessible and those without personal vehicles are unable to work there. Yet, she has 75 jobs, mostly minimum wage, low-skilled jobs, available during the summer. Many of those go unfilled.
Similar stories have been told by numerous employers, specifically those in the hospitality industry and those who are removed from the urban areas of the Berkshires, over and over again throughout the years.
Meanwhile, Berkshire Community College officials have lamented the lack of transportation to get to their campus on the outskirts of Pittsfield because many students either don't attend or drop out because of a lack of ability to work.
Those in the public health realm say the lack of reliable public transit is a barrier to accessing health care.
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'Hustlers': The Tacky Laps of Luxury
By Michael S. GoldbergeriBerkshires Film Critic
Am I that naïve? I sat there aghast as some took in stride the vengeance being meted out by former strip club employees upon their predominantly Wall Street clients in director Lorene Scafaria's "Hustlers," a scathing dramatization of Jessica Pressler's New York Magazine expose.
Said financiers are assembly line-style drugged and then fleeced of their reputedly ill-gotten gains following the implied and sometimes more than implied promise of sexual favors. Point of disclosure: While not a regular habitué of such dens of iniquity back in the day, my fires of spring were not unsullied. So why the shock? Function of age? Advancing Fuddy-Duddyism?
For starters, I never really liked the whole setup — the nuts and bolts of the mating process that has made leeway for such improvisational adjuncts to the main purpose — the possibility of advantage and/or profit thanks to the psycho-chemical phenomenon that commands the libido. What did I ever do to those hormones to be treated so offhandedly?
But the fact is, the drugs Jennifer Lopez's Ramona and her pulchritudinous gang of sirens employ to render helpless their lustful dupes merely kick start the potentially explosive elements that were planted in each one of those Johns the moment their male set of chromosomes aligned.
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And while the commissioners were supportive of the efforts being made by Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts in developing the empty lot into a park to entice its visitors to the downtown, they acknowledged they had no control over the 40-foot by 40-foot installation that's going to be facing... click for more
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The 50-year-old municipal camping site has had some upgrades in recent years but the next phase could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Administrative Officer Michael Canales informed the Windsor Lake Recreation Commission on Monday.
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