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Cheshire seniors will now have access to the Adams Council on Aging car.

Cheshire Approve COA Vehicle Agreement With Adams

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — The town has officially entered into an agreement with Adams to utilize the Adams Council on Aging's Nissan Rogue.
The Selectmen signed an agreement Tuesday that will allow the town to use the sport-utility vehicle donated to the Adams Council on Aging by Fallon Health after hearing a presentation from Adams Council on Aging Director Erica Girgenti.
"I am really looking forward to this opportunity I think this will open the door and show the need in both communities," she said. "We are already seeing it. The car in Adams is already being used once a week."
The vehicle was donated to Adams in March by Fallon Health, a nonprofit provider based in Worcester. Girgenti said the Rogue can go places the normal COA vans can't.
"Some of the things that the county is needing is a vehicle that can get to someone's unpaved driveway, down a dirt road or up to one of the hill town communities," she said. "So this is an all-wheel drive that is more personable … and capable of getting folks to regular social outings."
Girgenti said the van already has traveled to out of state for medical visits but it also allows for more opportunities than that.
"We have a community member whose only family is four or five hours away and we were able to provide her a ride to the train station," she said. "The last time she took that ride to see her grandchildren, she was in a very severe car accident. If we just did medical she would have no way to go."
She said a trip like this could easily cost over $1,000 without the car, an amount many on a fixed income could not afford.
Selectwoman Carol Francesconi said she thought the vehicle would only be used for medical trips.
Girgenti said Cheshire can do whatever it wants.
"For Adams, we have never outlined it and we never outlined it because everybody is different, and every situation is different," she said. "What works for Adams may not work for Cheshire."
She said the town will be charged for mileage plus a $20 scheduling coordination fee.  
"A lot of work really goes into coordinating that transportation. We don't just book the ride, we really look at it … to see how else they could get there," she said. "We make sure we can provide the trip or if the van is available."
Council on Aging member Peter Traub said along with the $1,500 the town allocated for the program, Adams Community Bank also kicked in $1,500.
Girgenti said she also secured a $3,000 grant through Elder Services to support the program in both towns.
Girgenti said they have multiple volunteer drivers from both communities and volunteer Bruce Shepley added that it is a great experience.
"As a driver, it is not only a feel-good initiative it is a do-good initiative," he said. "It builds good relationships and is a good experience for those looking to do some volunteering and you become close friends with some of the clients in a very short matter of time."
He added that they are always looking for more volunteer drivers.
The Adams Board of Selectmen approved the agreement two weeks ago. Girgenti said they also plan to bring Savoy into the agreement. 

Tags: COA,   elder services,   transportation,   

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Cheshire Looks For Options For Road, Building Repairs

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Staff

The Cheshire Selectmen discuss the long-term infrastructure challenges that the town is facing. 
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Entering into a budget season that seems to start earlier and earlier lately, the Board of Selectmen is taking a hard look at the town's infrastructure. The majority of Tuesday night's meeting was spent discussing potential options for maintaining and improving the town's buildings and roads.
Selectwoman Michelle Francesconi raised the issue of the fire station, which recently had its roof repaired but is now experiencing some heating issues.
"The Fire Department heating system ... is actually the boiler from the State Police barracks when it was on Dalton Avenue. So it's not new obviously. I don't even remember the State Police barracks on Dalton Avenue," she said.
The board estimated the boiler to be at least 30-35 years old. Chairman Robert Ciskowski puts it at closer to 40.
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