Letter: Tom Bernard Best Bet to Move North Adams Forward

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To the Editor:

I am writing to voice my strong and enthusiastic support of Tom Bernard for mayor of North Adams. Truth be told, I had been hoping this would happen for years.

Despite my longstanding wish to see Tom take on this level of leadership, when I learned from him that he was running I asked him why. I wanted to know his reasons. I could not have been more excited about his response, which could be summed up as this: he believed he could be of use.

Among the many reasons people consider running for office or assuming other types of leadership, this is probably the one I value most. It is a public servant mentality that inspires those who hold it to approach their work collaboratively, to research deeply, to approach problems with an open and creative mind, to seek diverse perspectives, and to serve with humility. These are all strengths I can see Tom embodying as mayor.

I am equally excited about Tom's platform. While I believe most of us can agree that economic development is a central concern for North Adams, Tom's platform posits that economic development is deeply interconnected with three other key issues — education, public health, and infrastructure — that, if fully addressed, can help move the needle on economic development. This kind of comprehensive systems thinking is crucial for the next stages of development and growth in North Adams. And it is the kind of complex understanding of our issues that I expect from a person who is, I have said many times over the years, one of the smartest people I know.

I have known Tom for much of my life. In a roundabout way, I have him to thank for much of my taste in music (the older brother of one of my best friends, he produced some excellent mix tapes that we listened to endlessly). I anticipate that, as he moves into serving our city as Mayor, I will have so much more so thank him for than my appreciation for They Might Be Giants. I have every confidence that Tom is the right person to keep moving our city forward.

Kate Merrigan
North Adams, Mass. 

Merrigan is a North Adams city councilor.




Tags: 1st Berkshire,   election 2017,   endorsement,   

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Be Alert for Opportunities When Preparing for College Costs

Now that summer is winding down, it will soon be "back-to-school" time. When children are young, your logistics for the new academic year may involve little more than a trip to buy school supplies.

But if you would like to send your kids (or grandkids) to college someday, you need to plan far ahead to meet the financial demands. And, as part of your planning, you also need to be on the lookout for all opportunities to help pay those sizable college bills.

Specifically, you will need to be ready to take action in these areas:

Financial aid:
You should start thinking about financial aid at least a year before your child heads off to college. For example, you can begin submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on Oct. 1, 2019, for the 2020-21 academic year. And if the past is any guide, you will always need to remember that Oct. 1 date for the next school year. The FAFSA helps colleges and the U.S. Department of Education evaluate your financial need and determine how much financial support your child requires. And since a lot of financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, it's a good idea to submit your forms as soon as possible once the application period opens.

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