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Lanesborough Stands By Banning Dogs From Laston Park

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen on Monday held firm on its decision to not allow dogs at Laston Park.
 
The board had previously decided to allow dogs at the Narragansett and Bridge Street parks but cited safety concerns about Laston.
 
"I'd be a big pusher against putting them at Laston Park and one reason is directly opposite of what the rec committee is saying, that they want the dogs there with kids," said Chairman John Goerlach. "Dogs, unless they're trained, are unpredictable in my opinion."
 
This was in response to a question by Animal Control Officer Jason Costa as to why Laston Park was deemed inappropriate but the other two were not.
 
The board voted to allow dogs at the other two parks from dawn to dusk as long as they were kept away from the athletic fields and playgrounds and were leashed at all times and cleaned up after.
 
Costa and the Recreation Committee felt Laston park was a perfect destination for dogs citing the nearby river and the presence of children whom they felt would welcome the company of the dogs.
 
Goerlach brought up the possibility of pursuing a grant to fund a dog park on land the town owns across from the gas station on Route 7. 
 
Costa was not enthusiastic about the chances of receiving the grant.
 
"I know that's going to be a long and lengthy process," he said. "This is a private grant and it's nationwide so there would be a lot of competition for it."
 
He asked the board if they could open Laston Park to dogs until the grant process plays out.
 
"If we could keep Laston open until that's done, I think that would be sufficient," Costa said.
 
Board member Henry Sayers stood by the initial decision: "We voted last week and I'll stand with that."
 
In other business, Fire Chief Charles Durfee announced the town has received two Assistance to Firefighters Grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security totaling nearly $300,000. The money will fund 42 sets of turnout gear and 18 air packs. 
 
Town Manager Kelli Robbins cited the town's investment of the necessary 5 percent matching funds as a bargain.
 
"We got almost $300,000 worth of fire gear for $13,000."
 
The town is instituting a Visitors Code of Conduct for Town Hall. Town Manager Robbins said recent events have made this a necessity.
 
"We have had some very volatile experiences within the Town Hall recently that have prompted this," she said. "The staff here has a right to be safe and not to be accosted just because they're public servants. Our [tax] collector has been extremely diligent and efficient when collecting back taxes and she is pretty tough. But when she comes to my office shaking, there's an issue to be addressed. The majority of people that come in here are kind and considerate and even though they are upset, they're polite. And even though they're frustrated, they're respectful. Those are not the people we're talking about. "
 
The motion to adopt the code of conduct passed 3-0.
 
• Robbins said the town has received three bids for a needs assessment and feasibility study for a new or rehabbed police station. The board will interview the applicants in Executive Session.
 
The next Board of Selectmen meeting will be on Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. 
  

Tags: dogs,   public parks,   

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Thunderbolt Ski Trail Eroding

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Advisory Council has serious concerns with erosion on the Thunderbolt Ski Trail.
 
Advisory Council member Heather Lindscott relayed a message to the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and the rest of the council from the Thunderbolt Ski Runners who have noticed major erosion issues on the historical ski trail caused by over hiking. 
 
"They are just making trenches now," she said on Wednesday. "There are parts that are just rock and they are wearing it down."
 
Trail Coordinator Becky Barnes said the Thunderbolt is the quickest way up the mountain and one of the most popular trails. She said the erosion has been worsened by water cascading down the trenched trail.
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