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More than 200 volunteers spent a few hours marking gravesites in preparation for the wreath-laying.
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North Adams Group Short 500 Wreaths for Veterans Ceremony

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Volunteers have been identifying and recording the graves of veterans for Wreaths Across America.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The organizers of the local Wreaths Across America effort knew they'd taken on a big challenge with their goal to place a wreath on the gravestone of every city veteran.
 
But they didn't know just how big a challenge it would be. 
 
Donna Engels and Donna Whitcomb were planning to raise $25,000 to put wreaths of remembrance on the graves of about 2,500 veterans. But when all the research and plotting was done, the full picture of the city's commitment to national service was revealed. 
 
The full number of graves: 3,218. 
 
Southview Cemetery alone has 2,867 at last count. So, the group's changed tactics to focus on Southview alone but it's still come up about 500 wreaths short. 
 
"We're trying to cover Southview," Whitcomb said. "What we're doing with the other cemeteries, we're going to have a member ... reading slowly the list of names of the veterans because we just don't have enough to do all of the cemeteries." 
 
The plan is to give Hill Side, St. Joseph's and Blackinton cemeteries one large wreath and then read the names of the nearly 400 veterans buried in those three cemeteries. The larger ceremony will take place at the Veterans Memorial on Dec. 15 at noon, the same time as the ceremonies taking place across the nation.
 
Whitcomb last week had been out trying to raise more funds to cover the final 500 wreaths for Southview. Each wreath sponsorship is $15; for every two purchased, the nonprofit Wreaths Across America provides a third.
 
"I'm optimistic," she said. "It's pretty amazing and I'm amazed at the generosity of the small businesses down here ... they hand you check of $250, $500, $1,000."
 
The deadline for donations is Friday, Nov. 30, to allow enough time to place the order for delivery. 
 
A dedicated group of volunteers has plotted all the graves over summer and placed all the markers in Southview in preparation for the wreath laying. Setting the wreaths on Dec. 15 is expected to take two to three hours.
 
Whitcomb said nearly two dozen teachers and students from McCann Technical School will be helping out. Drury High School students have also done a community service learning project to interview veterans. Their work will be on display in the lobby of MountainOne from 10 to noon on Dec. 15. 
 
"We've got a lot of volunteers pulling out to get this together," she said. However, "anyone's welcome to come to the setting out."
 
It is important that those wishing to donate should do so through the Facebook page or the North Adams page on Wreaths Across America.

Tags: cemetery,   recognition event,   veterans,   wreaths,   

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Clarksburg Town Meeting to Decide CPA Adoption, Spending Articles

CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Voters will decide spending items and if the town should adopt the Community Preservation Act at Wednesday's town meeting. 
 
Voters will also decide whether to extend the terms for town moderator and tree warden from one year to three years.
 
The annual town meeting will take place at 6 p.m. in the gym at Clarksburg School. The warrant can be found here.
 
The town operating budget is $1,767,759, down $113,995 largely because of debt falling off. Major increases include insurance, utilities and supplies; the addition of a full-time laborer in the Department of Public Works and an additional eight hours a week for the accountant.
 
The school budget is at $2,967,609, up $129,192 or 4 percent over this year. Town officials had urged the school to cut back more but in a joint meeting last week agreed to dip into free cash to keep the prekindergarten for 4-year-olds free. 
 
Clarksburg's assessment to the Northern Berkshire Vocational School District is $363,220; the figure is based on the percentage of students enrolled at McCann Technical School. 
 
There are a number of spending articles for the $571,000 in free cash the town had certified earlier this year. The high number is over several years because the town had fallen behind on filings with the state. 
 
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