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The Berkshire County Republican Association is hosting its inaugural President's Day Contest celebrating Abraham Lincoln.

Berkshires Beat: Contest Invites Youths to Celebrate Abraham Lincoln

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The Berkshire County Republican Association is hosting its inaugural President's Day Contest celebrating Abraham Lincoln. The contest will be open to all children attending public, private or parochial school as well as those who are home-schooled.

Five categories include: pre-K to grade three can draw a picture celebrating the greatness of Abraham Lincoln; grades four through six can express the accomplishments of Lincoln's legacy on today's society; grades seven through 10 can write no more than one page, single spaced in 12-point font, answering the question of how Abraham's principles in stopping slavery in the United States can be used to stop human slavery around the world; grades 11 and 12 can write no more than one page, single spaced in 12-point font answering the question of why we should preserve the memory of presidents, such as Lincoln after death, and how his thoughts are relevent today; and children with special needs can express the greateness of Lincoln in any form afforded by their Individualized Education Plan. (If an auditory submission is needed it should not exceed two minutes. Parents and teachers may assist, but the work should be the child's own masterpiece of original work.)

Submissions should include the student's name, school, grade and teacher, as well as parent/guardian contact information. All questions should be directed to chairperson of the contest, Christine Canning, who can be reached by email.  Submissions are due no later than Feb. 5, and winners will be presented at a ceremony on Feb. 12.

 

'Green Tweens Summit'

Berkshire Country Day School will host the inaugual "Green Tweens Summit" on the BCD campus at 55 Interlaken Road, Stockbridge, on Saturday, Feb. 1. The half-day, hands-on event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is free and includes a pizza lunch for all participants, but advance registration is required by Jan. 29 online.

The idea for the summit grew out of a salon-like discussion held earlier in the school year that centered on the question "How can children make a difference in saving Planet Earth?” With more than 30 participants at that event, including BCD current and past parents, students, community members, and representatives from local environment organizations such as Flying Cloud Institute, Greenagers, the Berkshire Botanical Garden, and the Columbia Land Conservancy, it became clear that children want to be involved in helping to solve problems related to climate change, pollution, and other environmental issues. With few opportunities for this age group, BCD has answered the call with the Green Tweens Summit.

The day will kick off with a presentation by Keely O'Gorman, BCD alumna and current Miss Hall's sophomore, who will talk about her activism around banning plastic straws — a passion and project that began for her when she was a student at BCD. Throughout the day, middle schoolers from Berkshire and Columbia Counties will act on their passion for the environment and be inspired, connect with other kids, and learn tangible skills to green our schools and communities. Workshops will be led by Maria Rundle of Flying Cloud Institute, Uli Nagel of Living the Change Berkshires, and Mary Stucklen from Berkshire Zero Waste.

 

Drug take-back boxes

Every day is a prescription drug take-back day at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, where a drug take-back box in the lobby has allowed members of the public to anonymously dispose of 1,145 pounds of unwanted medications since its installation in July 2017. Totals are growing each year: from 199 pounds in 2017 to 427 pounds in 2018 and 519 pounds in 2019.

The box looks like a mailbox, featuring a one-way medicine drop. It can be used to dispose of unused or expired controlled substances, non-controlled substances, and even over-the-counter medications. The specialized box is available to the public 24 hours each day. Several features ensure security, including a double-locked front panel. Medications can be removed for disposal only when both a member of the Bennington Police Department and a member of the hospital security staff are present. In addition, the box is monitored by video.

Disposing of unused and expired medications at a drug take-back location prevents the drugs from being abused or sold. In the past, people often flushed medications down a toilet or drain, which can cause pharmaceutical contamination of the water supply.

The program was made possible through The Collaborative; Regional Prevention Partnership, a grant from the Vermont Department of Health; and cooperation from the Bennington Police Department, notably Chief of Police Paul J. Doucette and Lieutenant David Dutcher. The Collaborative has facilitated the installation of several other permanent take-back boxes in Bennington County. They are located at the Bennington Police Department; the Bennington Sheriff’s Department; the Manchester Police Department; The Pharmacy, Inc. in Bennington; The Pharmacy-Northshire in Manchester; and the Winhall Police Department.

 

Berkshire County Survey

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has released the 2019 Berkshire County Survey report.  This report, which is an updated and expanded version of the 2015 Young Adult Survey report, was conducted in partnership with 1Berkshires and can be accessed online.

The survey examined the attitudes, preferences and needs of adults and was expanded to include adults of all ages as well as a section on the needs of the workforce in Berkshire County.  The key finding is that people overwhelmingly enjoy living in the Berkshires. People continue to reside in the county because of family, jobs and the scenic beauty of the region. The report has also found that overall attitudes of young adults are mostly similar to the 2015 Young Adult Survey.

 

Stand for the Arts

Ovation, America's only arts network, will join Spectrum to recognize and award Berkshire Museum $10,000 as part of their Stand for the Arts joint initiative, which is dedicated to supporting local arts, cultural and educational organizations. Ovation and Spectrum will highlight this award at a special invitation-only preview event for "The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons" on Friday, Jan. 24, at 5:30 p.m., at Berkshire Museum, 39 South St., in Pittsfield.



The initiative is part of the independent network's national arts advocacy platform called Stand for the Arts, which will commit $120,000 to support arts education in 12 of Charter's Spectrum markets across the country.

Stand for the Arts Awards are granted based on how well an organization empowers the community, builds strategic partnerships, drives engagement through volunteerism and delivers creative programming.

 

Beginning Beekeeping

The Bennington County Beekeepers Club will again offer a free five-week beginner course for beekeepers. Participants will be instructed on the remarkable life of honeybees, the skills and equipment needed to care for them, and the many challenges the honeybee face today.

The course will explore setting up a hive, where to get your bees, how to inspect your hive, caring for your bees, pests and predators of the bees, harvesting and extracting honey, plus all the products your hive can produce.  Class size is limited, so reservations are recommended.

Classes will meet on Thursdays at the Vermont Veterans Home, 350 North Street, Bennington, Vt., in the Crispe Room on Jan. 24 and 31 and Feb. 7, 14 and 28 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.  To sign up or for more information call Jeanne Davis 802-823-7955 or send an e-mail.

 

BCArc home donation

Berkshire County Arc received a donation from an out-of-state donor of a house in Adams, Mass., appraised at $135,000. The handicapped-accessible home was given to BCArc without restrictions. BCArc was selected after the donor explored several other qualified nonprofit organizations in Berkshire County.

"We are grateful for the donor’s generosity, and for selecting BCArc over the many other worthy non-profit institutions in the region," said CEO Kenneth W. Singer. "It is this kind of generosity that allows us to provide high-quality programs to individuals with developmental disabilities and brain injuries throughout Berkshire and Hampden Counties."

BCArc provides a broad range of services to 1,000-plus individuals with developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and autism throughout Berkshire and Hampden Counties in Massachusetts. With nearly 800 employees, the agency offers four day-programs, 42 residential programs, employment services, a mail business called Zip-n-Sort Mail Services, partly staffed by individuals with disabilities, and other related services.

 

'Book of Honor'

The Berkshire Athenaeum has received the "World War II Book of Honor" from the Charles A. Persip American Legion Post 68. The rolls bear the names of 5,686 Pittsfield men who served in the war. They begin alphabetically with Raymond W. Abare, an Army Air Corps sergeant at the time of his discharge in 1945, and ends with Walter Zuorski, an Army infantry private who lives on Pomeroy Avenue in Pittsfield.

For most of the servicemen, the listings include name, rank, serial number, branch of service, date of entry and date of discharge. The words "killed in action" are included for about 200 of the servicemen. Unfortunately, no women who served in the Women's Army Corps (WACS) or the United States Navy's Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) are listed.

These books were originally found in the Old Berkshire Athenaeum back in 1977 and moved to the American Legion Hall in December of that year. That building now houses Berkshire Probate and Family Court and The Berkshire Middle District Registry of Deeds. The Book of Honor is the latest edition to the library’s Local History Department materials, which include WWI and WWII enlistment records and clippings that were given to the library by the city’s former Veterans Service Director, James Clark.

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North Adams Committee Tweaking Solicitor Ordinance

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The General Government Committee is considering side-stepping a thorny problem about access to the city solicitor by rewriting an ordinance to more clearly spell out lines of communication. 
 
Chairwoman Lisa Blackmer said the wording in the ordinance had raised questions as to whether any single councilor has "unfettered access to the city solicitor." 
 
"I think, we thought that was not particularly good," she said. "So I'd like to take a shot at rewriting that ordinance."
 
The council had objected back in 2018 when the city switched over to KP Law as city solicitor, limiting council members' access to the Boston law firm. The council members had been used to contacting former City Solicitor John B. DeRosa, who'd been kept on retainer for 35 years before stepping down in March 2018.
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