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Shriners Robert Aubin, Kurt Haswell, Travis Sawyer and Les Rhinemiller stand with School Council members Grace Towler, Hope and Hannah Blake and Emma Marino.

McCann Students Collect Can Tabs For Shriners

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The students collected some 400,000 can tabs to donate to the Shriners.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – McCann students collected near 400,000 aluminum can tabs and donated them to the Shriners Hospital in memory of longtime Shriner Mark Feder. 
In just a quick three weeks, McCann students were able to collect approximately 225 pounds of aluminum can tabs to be donated and scrapped to help Shriners Hospitals continue their work.
"The students did a real nice job and I am really proud of them," Principal Justin Kratz said. "They stepped up, so we are looking forward to doing it again next year."
Mark Feder, who passed away in 2017, was a fixture in the community and was involved in multiple community clubs and organizations throughout the region. Many may have seen Feder in parades throughout Western Massachusetts driving a Shriner go-cart.  
Kratz said the collection was a competition among the shops that was organized by the school council. He said former chairman of the school committee and longtime friend of Feder Thomas Mahar recommended that the school take up this cause this year.
Kratz said the students took the challenge to heart and they quickly had to switch from collecting in soup cans to larger buckets.
The winners of the contest were given a pizza party at and Kratz said it was determined that because it was for the Shriners anything goes.
"There was a little bit of a controversy as to what constituted cheating but…at the end of the day the decision was made…that if it was for the Shriners there was nothing illegal," he said. "So if you could get tabs by any means it was fair game so we had kids going online and purchasing tabs with their own money."
Kratz said there was a tie between Computer-Aided Drawing and Information Technology who both collected just over 66 pounds of tabs.
School Council members Emma Marino, Hannah Blake, Hope Blake and Grace Towler said it was competitive and the losers were disappointed.
Marino added that beyond the competition part of the McCann spirit is to give back to the community.
"It is just important to help the community as much as we can and be involved in high school so we will do it when we get out of high school," she said.  
Shriner and Feder’s son in law Travis Sawyer did some quick math and estimated that the tabs, once recycled, would yield near $100. 
"The nice thing about the can tabs is you can still take the can and get your 5 cents without the tab," he said. "We get the recycled value, we take that check and to the hospital and find out what they need for equipment."
The Shiners have been running this program for near 30 years and to date have gathered over a billion tabs. 
"We hope that the student council can keep this up," Sawyer said. "If this is three weeks imagine what you could do in a school year."
Feder’s daughter Rebecca Sawyer and son Joel Feder were also at the school to accept the tabs and thanked the school council for their hard work.
"My dad would have been happy that is for sure," Feder said. "He loved helping the community."
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Coronavirus Outbreak Hits North Adams; Gov, Health Officials Urge Vaccination

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A significant outbreak of COVID-19 at a local nursing home is highlighting the dangers of the highly transmissible Delta variant. 
North Adams Commons reported three vaccinated residents with infections as of Friday morning; a leaked internal email from Berkshire Health Systems posted on Facebook ups that number to 20 infections in both residents and staff, all of whom are vaccinated. 
The email is signed by BHS' Dr. James W. Lederer, chief medical officer, who on Thursday stressed to iBerkshires that anyone who had not been vaccinated should do so immediately. 
The Delta variant has been moving across the state and there have been significant outbreaks in the eastern portion of the state, particularly parts of Cape Cod. While most of those vaccinated may only be slightly affected if at all, it may cause more serious illness particularly in those with compromised immune systems. Public health officials say vaccination is the best way to prevent spread; the majority of those hospitalized across the nation are unvaccinated. 
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