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Kelly Ends Operations at North Adams Airport

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The Airport Commission are given an operations update on Tuesday.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Controversial skydiving instructor Alex Kelly has canceled his lease and will no longer operate at the airport.
 
Administrative Assistant Michael Canales informed the commission Tuesday that Kelly will no longer operate at Harriman-West Airport and has left the grounds.
 
"As of last week, Mr. Kelly has withdrawn from his lease of the airport classroom space and has withdrawn from operating at the airport effective now," he said. "We no longer consider him a tenant at the airport."
 
Canales did not provide the commission a reason for Kelly's exit nor did they ask.
 
The commission had voted to allow Kelly, a convicted rapist, to use the newly renovated city hangar in June over vocal protests from other tenants and airport users. 
 
The commissioners had taken several months to make their decision, saying it was because they were revamping the lease structures. Kelly has long alleged that the commission was dragging its feet to keep him out.
 
The vote did not come without controversy and meetings were highly attended with residents vehemently against Kelly's presence at the airport. The so-called "preppy racist" was charged with assaulting two women in the 1980s, although other women have also accused him, and then went on the run in Europe for nearly a decade before surrendering to authorities. He was convicted and later released early from his 17-year sentence. 
 
Kelly had been operating in Bennington, Vt., and sought to move to North Adams while that airport was under reconstruction. In October, his lease for Green Mountain Skydiving at William H. Morse State Airport was reportedly terminated by the Vermont Agency of Transportation because of a number of safety violations. 
 
Canales said Kelly has left no personal property in the classroom and it will be inspected.
 
Kelly had agreed to maintain the hangar while there and Canales said, for the time being, he will coordinate with the airport manager to make sure upkeep will continue through the winter.
 
"We will get that worked out," he said. "We will come up with a plan to get us through the next couple of months."
 
Canales said they will look at leasing out the space again when the weather improves, and the administrative building project is complete.
 
He said in the meantime the hangar will act as a manager's office.

Tags: airport commission,   skydiving,   

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State Declares 'Green Friday' in Support of Local Xmas Tree Farms

UXBRIDGE, Mass. — The Baker-Polito administration has declared Friday, Nov. 27, as "Green Friday" to encourage people across the commonwealth to visit their local farms and nurseries for Christmas trees, holiday plants, and holiday decorating needs.
 
To celebrate, state Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux participated in a Christmas tree-cutting ceremony at Arrowhead Acres in Uxbridge. In an effort to support the commonwealth's Christmas tree industry, the declaration of Green Friday encourages people throughout the state to visit their local Christmas tree farms to purchase their trees, holiday plants, ornamental swags, and wreaths to fulfill their holiday decorating needs.
 
"Our administration believes in the importance of supporting our farms by shopping locally and purchasing holiday decorations from one of the commonwealth's many family-operated Christmas tree farms," said Gov. Charlie Baker. "Now more than ever, it is a great time to spend quality time with your family while partaking in this outdoor activity which allows for proper social distancing."
 
Christmas tree season in Massachusetts provides hundreds of seasonal jobs at approximately 264 Christmas tree farms on approximately 2,801 acres of land from Cape Cod to the Berkshires. The sale of more than 82,524 state-grown Christmas trees contributes approximately $3.5 million to the commonwealth's economy each year. Christmas tree farms, which are often sited on soils that cannot support other crops, stabilize soil, which helps prevent erosion and protect water supplies. When chipped, the trees can be used as a renewable source of energy to be burned as fuel, used as mulch, or composted.
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