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Williamstown will celebration National Night Out with tours of its new station on Simonds Road. (Photo courtesy Williamstpwn Police Department)

Berkshires Beat: National Night Out to be Celebrated in North Adams, Williamstown

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National Night Out

On Tuesday, August 6, North Adams and Williamstown residents are invited to join forces with thousands of communities nationwide for National Night Out (NNO), an annual community-building event that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live.

The North Adams NNO event will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Noel Field Athletic Complex on State Street. The event is sponsored by North Adams Emergency Services, the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition (nbCC), United Neighborhood Organization (UNO), and Mohawk Forest.

The Williamstown Police Department is celebrating NNO by opening the doors to their new Police Station on 825 Simonds Road from 5 to 7 p.m. "We are excited to be able to host the National Night Out event in Williamstown this year and to show off the new Police Station. We are thankful to the nbCC and the Williamstown Chamber for their efforts in making this night possible, and especially thankful to the community for their continued support.  Please come out and get a tour of your new Police Station," said Chief Kyle Johnson of the Williamstown Police Department.

Residents are encouraged to come together to embrace community and build relationships with emergency service personnel. This event is free.  There will be food, safety activities, games, giveaways, and more at both events. Visit the 2019 National Night Out-Williamstown page for more information. Transportation will be available in North Adams only. Refer to the 2019 National Night Out-North Adams event page on Facebook for updates on transportation information.


Backpacks for kids

The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition is hosting its seventh annual back-to-school event for kids entering kindergarten through 12th grade for local northern Berkshire students. Students will receive a free backpack filled with school supplies.

The event for families living in Florida and Savoy will be located at Gabriel Abbott Memorial School, 56 North County Road, Florida on Tuesday, Aug. 13, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The event for families living in Williamstown, North Adams, Clarksburg, Adams and Cheshire will be located at The Green, 85 Main St., North Adams, on Thursday, Aug. 15, from 1 to 3 p.m.
This event requires advance registration to ensure that we have the backpacks ready for each child, as supplies are limited. Contact nbCC's The Family Place at 413-663-7588 between Monday, July 29, and Friday, Aug. 9, to register. Registrations cannot be taken before July 29 or after Aug. 9.


Rabbit rule

The Berkshire Youth Fair is happening on Aug. 17. Youths with rabbits should know there is a new regulation. All rabbits, whether purebred or pet, must have a health certificate signed off by a veterinarian. This is for all agricultural fairs in Massachusetts. Only one health certificate is needed for the entire show season. The state's full Animal Health Regulations can be found online.


Barrington Stage grant

Barrington Stage Company has received a $90,000 grant from The Shubert Foundation. The Shubert Foundation’s 2019 grant programs awarded a record-breaking total of $32 million to 556 not-for-profit performing arts organizations across the United States.

Granted in the category of Theatre, the award will support Barrington Stage Company's 2019 season. "The Shubert Foundation's support is vital to the success of Barrington Stage​.  We are honored to be receiving this grant and are thrilled that the Shubert Foundation has recognized the work we do," said Artistic Director Julianne Boyd.

Since the establishment of The Shubert Foundation grants program in 1977, more than $474 million has been awarded to not-for-profit arts organizations throughout the United States. Ranging from $10,000 to $325,000, the grants benefit a broad spectrum of arts organizations from large to small, covering a wide range of locations around the country, from urban to rural. The Shubert Foundation is especially interested in providing support to professional resident theatre and dance companies that develop and produce new American work.


BCC evaluation

Berkshire Community College (BCC) will undergo a comprehensive evaluation visit between Oct. 20-23 by a team representing the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education is one of seven accrediting commissions in the United States that provide institutional accreditation on a regional basis. Accreditation is voluntary and applies to the institution as a whole. The commission, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, accredits approximately 240 institutions in the six-state New England region.

BCC has been accredited by the Commission since 1964 and was last reviewed in 2009. Its accreditation by the New England Association encompasses the entire institution.

For the past year and a half, BCC has been engaged in a process of self-study, addressing the commission's Standards for Accreditation. An evaluation team will visit the institution to gather evidence that the self-study is thorough and accurate. The team will recommend to the commission a continuing status for the institution. Following a review process, the commission itself will take the final action.

The public is invited to submit comments regarding the institution to: Public Comment on Berkshire Community College, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education New England Association of Schools and Colleges, 3 Burlington Woods Drive, Suite 100, Burlington, MA 01803-4514. Public Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution. The commission cannot settle disputes between individuals and institutions, whether those involve faculty, students, administrators, or members of other groups. Comments will not be treated as confidential and must include the name, address and telephone number of the person providing the comments. Public comments must be received by Wednesday, Oct. 23.


Occupation therapy in Pownal

Occupational therapy patients in Pownal, Vt., and nearby Berkshire County can now schedule appointments closer to home. Occupational therapist Michaelia St. Jacques has begun seeing patients at SVMC’s Pownal Campus, a primary care office providing family medicine in Pownal, Vt.

St. Jacques offers most of the same services at the Pownal Campus that she currently offers at her office in Bennington, including evaluation and treatment of upper extremity injuries and cognitive deficits. Available treatment includes upper extremity range of motion, strengthening, modalities, therapeutic activities, and adaptive equipment training.

Drs. Barbara Raskin, Reija Rawle and Robert Tarnas, along with family nurse practitioner Jennifer Steinhoff provide primary care at SVMC Pownal Campus. The practice opened in October 2015 and is located less than one mile north of the Vermont-Massachusetts border. It includes 5,000 square feet, 10 exam rooms, X-ray, and lab testing. In addition, the space offers many features designed for patient comfort, including a covered drop-off entrance, a comfortable waiting area, and an architectural design that allows for natural light.

For information about becoming a patient at SVMC Pownal Campus, call 802-681-2780. Those interested in making an occupational therapy appointment should call 802-447-5140 to schedule.

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North Adams School Committee Votes for Remote Learning

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The School Committee on Tuesday rejected a hybrid school reopening model to vote 3-2 to go full remote. 
The decision to start school with the remote option was apparently influenced by a letter the School Committee members received from the North Adams Teachers Association expressing concern over re-entering the schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Committee member Tara Jacobs said she was not comfortable potentially exposing staff to the novel coronavirus in motioning to go with the remote option to start and later transition to a hybrid model. 
"There's no good scenario but the decision to open the school and have someone dying or having health conditions for the rest of their life ... ," she said, motioning to start the school year remotely.
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