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Eagle Street Beach will be held Saturday, July 14.

Eagle Street Beach Returns for 20th Year on July 14

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Saturday, July 14, will mark the 20th year of artist Eric Rudd's annual "Eagle Street Beach" community beach celebration.

In celebration of the anniversary, an illustrated children's book by Rudd will be given as prizes and distributed to schools, libraries and to the city of North Adams.

The beach event, originated by Rudd in 1999, has become a summer staple for creative fun in the sand. The party, sponsored by the Berkshire Art Museum, fills the street with 500,000 pounds of sand, donated by Specialty Minerals and delivered and cleaned up by the City of North Adams Department of Public Works. A team of volunteers spreads it, curb to curb, filling the entire length of downtown Eagle Street.

Mildred Elley has donated 300 sand-pails and shovels – free for all participants to use and keep. Beach attire is recommended; smoking is prohibited. The First Baptist Church will be giving away free ice cream cones and the SteepleCats will be giving away 250 tickets to children 12 and under. Several not-for-profit groups will also be on hand with a variety of other giveaways.

Eagle Street merchants and businesses have contributed sand toys, as well as special prizes for the most creative sand castles or sand sculptures, for the event, which runs from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Food color dye is acceptable, but no spray paint. Prizes will be awarded primarily to children, but prizes to groups of children as well as families with adults and individual adults will also be awarded. For example, Jack's has donated gift certificates good for one hot dog. Other merchants have given gifts and certificates to their stores

After the beach party, the eighth annual "Mexican Fiesta," presented with the City of North Adams, will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Desperado’s will be selling cold beer and margaritas curbside, and there will be live msuc by singer Lita Williams. Food is available for sale within the restaurant. The designated 21+ area will be clearly marked and anyone younger will not be permitted within the roped-off boundaries.

There will be no parking allowed on Eagle Street or North Church Street after 11 a.m. on the day of the beach party. Cars that remain parked on these streets will be towed at the owner's expense.

Volunteers are needed to help spread the sand at starting at 1:30 p.m.; shovels are provided.

In case of rain, the event will be moved to Saturday, July 21.

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Northern Berkshire United Way Sets $480K Campaign Goal

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Christine and Peter Hoyt are this year's campaign co-chairs. Their goal is to raise $480,000 over the next year. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire United Way supports 20 member agencies in the work they do addressing social, health, youth and family services throughout the region. 
Two of those agencies — Louison House and Community Legal Aid — highlighted some of the efforts within the community at United Way's annual campaign kick on Wednesday morning at Norad Mill. 
The agency also announced its new slate of officers and board members, including President Kelly McCarthy and Vice President Tyler Bissaillon, and took a moment to remember the contributions of the late Stephen Green, a longtime community activist and former campaign co-chair with his wife, Susanne Walker.
"While our hearts in our community at large are at a loss for a man who truly embody all of the characteristics and traits that we acknowledge as Northern Berkshire, such as honesty, integrity, commitment, selfless service, dedication, we can be comforted in knowing that his legacy lives on," said Jennifer Meehan, vice chair of Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, of which Green was a board member and former president. 
Kathy Keeser, executive director of Louison House, described the history of the shelter that opened more than three decades ago after the closure of Sprague Electric and other local mills devastated the economy. Founded by Theresa Louison, the agency has expanded to provide emergency shelter, family housing, transitional housing, preventive services and, soon, a youth shelter facility. 
Housing is a growing need while at the same time, housing costs are rising, she said, and this effects particularly the people Louison House serves, people who don't have savings or credit — "who are at the last chance of an apartment."
"People are really struggling, but it's our community connections and it's our work with other agencies," Keeser said. "We do a piece of the puzzle. Ours is about getting them out to housing — working with mental health, substance abuse, all the other agencies around to help us do that. And the United Way has been a big part of that, along with Williamstown Community Chest, and so many other businesses and individuals that support us. So it is the community that helps us succeed and helps us do what we're doing."
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