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Patti Francoeur, center, with Selectmen Joseph Nowak, Christine Hoyt, James Bush and John Duval at Sunday's ribbon cutting.
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The studio is located at 19 Hoosac St. in Adams.

Picture This Portrait Studio Has Reopened in Adams

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The studio has space for karaoke parties and plenty of accessories for aspiring divas. 
ADAMS, Mass. — Patti Francoeur is a photographer, an artist, and an entrepreneur. She also doesn't give up easily. 
Francoeur reopened her photography studio at 19 Hoosac St. this past weekend with plenty of deserved pomp. Town officials arrived with a red ribbon and giant scissors to celebrate her return after nearly six months battling illness. 
A stroke forced her to close Picture This Portrait Studio but after going through rehabilitation, she is ready to move her business forward. 
"I had been here a year and a half when this happened, and I had to close down," she said. "I couldn't walk for almost five months, I was in a wheelchair and I couldn't use my arm ... but now I am walking, and I am back."
Francoeur added that she has come back with some new ideas, and will resume hosting birthday parties with music, or what she calls "Diva Karaoke."
"There is just not a lot here for kids' parties," she said. "It dawned on me that kids do love karaoke and you can say 'not me I am not going to get up there' but by the end, everybody is on stage."
Francoeur said she has room for eight (one "diva" and seven backup singers) and after birthday cake or pizza the singing begins.
"We start with the cake and get all of that done because once they are on stage, that's where they want to stay," she said. "Then we do the makeup, the hair and they figure out what they want to wear then it is time for karaoke."
She will take photos and record the event, so the birthday girl can relive her party again and again. She added that every child gets a framed group picture. 
Oftentimes, the parents can't stay off of the stage, Francoeur said.
"They start off kind of shy but by the end, no one wants to leave," she said. "I have had moms here that got right involved ... they do get into it. ...
"I have been thinking about having 'Diva and Dude' parties and someone approached me and asked if they could have their 30th birthday here," she said. "So, it is not limited to girls."
She said she is willing to take the act on the road for home birthday parties and noted her service extends beyond just parties. She would like to have a weekly teenager karaoke night and, with her skills as a cosmetologist, she would like to do glamour photography.
Francoeur added that she would also like to extend her operation into the storefront's back room, which would allow for much more space and larger parties.
She said the front room would then be purely for studio photography.
"I was a manager at Sears photo studio 11 years ago and that is really where it all started, and I do families, pets and children," she said. "I do children with disabilities, which is sometimes difficult ... I have worked with children with disabilities for years."
Francoeur added that she offers a special rate to foster and adoptive parents.
"I was a foster child and we adopted," she said. "Our children adopted, so it is three generations of adopting ... it is wonderful."
Francoeur can be contacted at 413-664-1968 or through her Facebook page. 
"It is something different. It is nice to have it all in the studio," she said. "You don't have a mess, you don't have to deal with it, just bring your child and the party is here. It is different and fun, and they are totally occupied."
"There is no lull."


Tags: grand opening,   photography,   

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Suffrage Centennial Committee Kicks Off Yearlong Celebration

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent

Cassandra Peltier as Alva Belmont Vanderbilt, a prominent figure in the suffrage movement.
ADAMS, Mass. — About 75 people filled The Manor on Saturday afternoon for the kickoff event of a yearlong celebration of Susan B. Anthony and the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote.
The event at St. John Paul II Parish's Italianate mansion was organized by the Adams Suffrage Centennial Celebration Committee. The committee serves as an advisory committee to the Board of Selectmen. 
Anthony was born in Adams and was a social reformer best known for spearheading the women's suffrage movement. She was also involved in the anti-slavery movement, collecting signatures for petitions as a teen, the temperance (prohibition of alcohol) movement, and women's financial rights.
Retired school teacher Mary Whitman, committee member and host for the day, shared why Anthony's work was so important. 
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