Berkshires Beat: Clinton Church Restoration Awarded $75,000
Clinton Church Restoration is one of 22 sites and organizations dedicated to preserving African American history to receive grant support from National Trust for Historic Preservation's African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (Action Fund). As part of the second class of Action Fund grantees, Clinton Church Restoration was awarded $75,000 to continue its efforts to restore and repurpose the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in Great Barrington as an African American heritage site and cultural center.
"We are honored to receive this grant and be in the company of so many worthy projects," said Wray Gunn, former church trustee and chair of Clinton Church Restoration. "The Clinton AME Zion Church embodies the rich history of black life in Great Barrington, where W.E.B. Du Bois was born and raised. The grant will help us develop detailed plans for a heritage site and cultural center that will share the community's untold stories and interpret Du Bois's life and legacy in his hometown."
The Action Fund is a $25 million multi-year national initiative aimed at uplifting the largely overlooked contributions of African Americans by protecting and restoring African American historic sites and uncovering hidden stories of African Americans connected to historic sites across the nation. This year's grantees include the African Meeting House in Boston, the Langston Hughes House in Harlem, and God’s Little Acre, an African burial ground in Newport, R.I.
Clinton Church Restoration was chosen from a pool of more han 462 applications totaling over $40M in requests for support. The community-based nonprofit was formed in 2016 to save the vacant National Register property after it was deconsecrated and put on the market. The group subsequently purchased the historic church, developed its vision for a heritage site and cultural center, and commissioned a historic structure report. In January, the award-winning African American firm Huff + Gooden Architects was hired to restore and repurpose the church, which will include a performance space, fellowship hall and visitor center offering interpretive exhibits, tours and programming focused on African American history and the life and legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois. An initial phase of stabilization work is under way with funding from the National Park Service, the Massachusetts Historical Commission and a Great Barrington Community Preservation Act grant.
Cancer Center donations
The Cancer Center Community Crusaders (4Cs) received a donation of more than $1,400 from the Pinsonneault Family and Elks Lodge No. 567 in Bennington. Ed and Pat Pinsonneault and their children served countless meals to locals and visitors at the Vermont Steak House on Main Street in Bennington for 35 years. For the past four years, the siblings have used their famous hospitality and the restaurant's signature recipes to recreate their parents' restaurant to benefit local charities.
The Elks Lodge, the location for each of the past four years' dinners, graciously works with the Pinnsonneault family to host the event. This year's profit amounted to more than $4,000, which is divided among the three local causes: Silver Towers Camp for people with disabilities, Turning Point Club and the Cancer Center Community Crusaders, the donation to which is dedicated in loving memory to Shiela Pinsonneault Gore. The 2020 dinner will be held on Friday, April 24.
The 4Cs raised more than $54K in funds to provide financial and emotional support to members of the community and their families as they strive to obtain the best cancer care and treatment possible. The funds are administered through cooperation with the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center and the Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) Foundation. All funds raised by the 4Cs stay in the communities of Bennington and Windham counties in Vermont and nearby New York and Massachusetts. Patients need not receive treatment at Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center to be eligible for funds. For more information about the 4Cs and how to participate, call 802-447-5017 or send an email.
4-H Fair books
The Berkshire Youth Fair book is now available. Anyone ages 5 to 18 can enter, and anyone ages 8 to 18 could win money. Youth can enter anything they have made/raised/grown themselves over the last year in myriad departments, including photography, arts, baking, conservation, vegetables, crafts, flowers, home furnishings and livestock (including beef, dairy, goats, poultry, rabbits, sheep, swine, and working steer). There is also a horse gymkhana event.
The fair will take place on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Berkshire County 4-H Fairgrounds on Utility Drive, off Holmes Road, Pittsfield. The fair itself is a free, family event: no parking fee, no entry fee. To see a copy of the 2019 Berkshire County Youth Fair book, visit the website. Books are also available around the Berkshires at Tractor Supply stores, Joann Fabrics, and many libraries and craft stores. Contact the 4-H office at 413-448-8285.
Adams Wall of Recognition
The First Ladies Quilt, which bears a quote by the eminent 19th-century social reformer (and Adams native) Susan B. Anthony, is currently on display at the Adams Town Hall. In conjunction with that display, there will also be a Wall of Recognition to honor local women who have had a positive impact in Adams.
The public is invited to submit the names of honorees to be listed on the wall to Deb Dunlap at the Adams Town Administrator's office by phone (413-743-8300, Ext. 170), fax (413-743-8316), email, USPS (8 Park St., Adams, MA 01220) or in person. All entries must be received by Thursday, Aug. 1, at 5 p.m. to be considered.
A public reception to celebrate both the quilt and the wall will be held at the Adams Town Hall from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2. Pictures of Susan B. Anthony will also be distributed for children to color and have displayed. In addition, Adams Suffrage Centennial Celebration Committee ("ASCCC") members will be there to explain the work the ASCCC is doing and the events that it has planned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and bicentennial of Susan B. Anthony's birth in 2020.
Community radio programs
Since moving the station from Taconic High School to the offices of Pittsfield Community Television, WTBR-FM, Pittsfield Community Radio has added many new community-based shows. "This new programming is the fulfillment of the promise PCTV made to provide shows that reflect the character of the community," said Shawn Serre, executive director of PCTV. "Listeners are hearing the result of months of work on the part of our programming committee, which fielded proposals from producers, as well as hours of training provided by our staff. We knew that saving this radio station was going to be a worthwhile and rewarding experience, and now we’re starting to see the fruits of that labor-- and it’s fantastic to see it happen."
On Mondays from 6 to 8 p.m., the "Professor of Rock," Tim Petruzella, brings classic rock music with plenty of information, taking listeners behind the music. Tuesday morning brings "Radio Madewell," hosted by Lance Madewell. Madewell brings a mix of rock music and listener requests with a humorous twist airing from 10 a.m. until noon. A new show on Thursday mornings is "Stuff," with Bev Prentice and Lynn Arseneau. "Stuff" is a talk show featuring humorous life tips and conversation and airs from 8:30 to 9 a.m. Thursday nights brings another new program called "Deep Cuts," where host Hannah Provencher plays the rarely played songs from well-known albums from 6 to 8 p.m.
On Friday mornings WTBR-FM airs "Inside the PPD," hosted by Chief Michael Wynn and Lieutenant Gary Traversa of the Pittsfield Police Department. It’s an hour-long look into the Pittsfield Police Department with special guests airing each week at 9 a.m. Friday night brings another new program, Mundo Latino. Mundo Latino is the first and only radio program broadcast in the Berkshires entirely in Spanish. The show airs at 5 p.m. and hosts Martha and Deisy Escobar play a mix of Spanish music while discussing opportunities and services to the local community.
Saturdays feature "Casey's Last Broadcast" from 2 to 4 p.m. with host Todd Casey playing a fictional beloved DJ who because it's their last broadcast Casey can "play what I want!" Listeners can end their Saturday with the best of jazz music with "Berkshire Jazz" hosted by Phil Tierney from 8 to 10 p.m.
And on Sundays, listeners can hear "Sounds of Ireland," hosted by Kevin Cahill and "Farmer" Hughes. The show features Irish music and information and airs from 10 a.m. to noon. Immediately following on Sundays is another new program called "The Neon and the Rain," featuring classic country and hosted by Charlie Ostroskey. And "The Mix" airs from 10 p.m. to midnight with host Rob Dumais spinning electronic music hits.
WTBR-FM is heard in central Berkshire County on 89.7 FM. A complete programming schedule is available on WTBR's website. Community members with ideas for new programming can also utilize the website's "create" section to learn about the process of getting shows on the air.
Rides to hikes
This July through October, the Berkshire Natural Resources Council and the Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s public library, are offering free guided summer walks, with transportation provided from two Pittsfield locations. Participants will be picked up from either the Berkshire Athenaeum at 1 Wendell Avenue, or the Berkshire Dream Center at 475 Tyler St., and transported to the various event locations, with return to Pittsfield.
The outings take place on BNRC conservation reserves, and entail walks on well-marked trails at an easy pace. The series includes properties with ridgeline views, a riverside trail, wetlands birding and an urban forest. Two of the events take place on accessible walking paths. Each outing starts with pick-ups at 10 a.m. and dropoffs no later than 2 p.m. Actual walking time will be about two hours.
The schedule of dates is as follows: Saturday, July 27, nature hike at Hollow Fields, Richmond; Saturday, Aug. 24, boardwalk stroll at Parsons Marsh, Lenox; Saturday, Sept. 28; walk on The Old Mil Trail, Hinsdale/Dalton; and Saturday, Oct. 5, forest hike at The Boulders, Dalton/Pittsfield.
Sturdy footwear is advised, such as hiking boots or sneakers; please do not wear flip-flops. Participants are asked to please bring their lunch; trail snacks and water will be provided. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.