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First-graders from April Mazzeo's class at Hoosac Valley Elementary School receive a check from Big Y at the North Adams store on Thursday with Mazzeo, tech specialist Geoffrey Kondel and Principal Michelle Colvin.

Hoosac Valley Elementary Gets Robotics Lab 'Holiday Wish'

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — Hoosac Valley Elementary School children got a big gift on Thursday that will help make their robotics dreams come true. 
 
April Mazzeo's first-grade class traveled to the Big Y Supermarket in North Adams on Thursday morning to receive a "big check" of $5,000 to fund a robotics lab at the Commercial Street school. 
 
Mazzeo and Adams-Cheshire Regional School District's technology integration specialist Geoffrey Kondel worked with the children on a video application to Big Y's Holiday Wish program last December for schools in its area. 
 
"Our Holiday Wish was for a science lab at our school," explained Principal Michelle Colvin. "So we did not win the grand prize, but because all of these children did such a fantastic job in their video, in Big Y's words, our children 'touched their hearts' and they're giving us $5,000 toward the creation of our science lab."
 
Morgan Spencer, manager of marketing services at Big Y World Class Markets, said the Holiday Wish was part of the company's Education Express Program. Since 1993, the company has awarded more than $14 million to schools in its customer areas through the educational program that runs every few years. 
 
Schools were encouraged late last fall to apply for a grant for specific items by submitting a letter or video detailing what their holiday wish for their school was. 
 
"We were able to fill nearly every wish," Spencer said. Including the two grand-prize winners, nearly 40 schools were presented with grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000. Only two schools in Berkshire County were recipients — Hoosac Valley Elementary and its neighbor across the street, Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter School. 
 
Hoosac Valley's wish was for a science lab, particularly for robotics and the Lego educational series, although Mazzeo said it will be used for other science, technology, engineering, art and math activities. 
 
"I think we're going to start programming robots," said first-grader Chloe Dimitropolis. Her classmate Elias is ready, too. "I want to make robots and make it walk and talk," he declared.
 
Colvin said the logistics of where the lab would be located in the school still had to be worked out. 

Tags: big y,   education grant,   little hoosac,   robotics,   

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Adams Selectmen Hear From Ale House Owner

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Staff

Nate Girard explains his predicament to the Selectmen on Wednesday.
ADAMS, Mass. — Nate Girard and his longtime friend Erik Pizani decided to buy the Saint Stanislaus Kostka Hall in 2012. The property had a rich history in town and most people had memories of bowling, playing pitch, attending a wedding, or just sitting at an old red leather stool and enjoying a cheap beer.
 
The two partners, along with another investor, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars bringing the structure up to code and restoring the bar and kitchen. The Adams Ale House was born. Both of them ran the restaurant, bought houses, had kids, went into real estate together, and celebrated the boom and even the bust times. 
 
Pizani eventually left the restaurant business and left Girard as the sole owner of the building. Girard decided to lease the restaurant space to focus solely on real estate and his young family. The new operators didn't last long in a tough restaurant market and went out of business in December 2018.
 
The building on East Hoosac Street has sat unused since then. Girard has it listed it on several sources and is still hopeful he can find a taker. The idle liquor license he still holds, however, has become an issue for the town.
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