Berkshires Beat: Local Community Radio Station WBCR Goes Live
Berkshire Radio Community Alliance is now broadcasting live from its new location on Main Street in Great Barrington. Passersby will now be treated to both veteran and newly trained volunteer programmers and their guests appearing “front and center” in the station’s storefront window. There, the resurrected and much-loved on-air mixing board’s red and yellow lights are lit to affirm that 97.7FM has come alive again.
"Live" programming — as differentiated from automated music and syndicated shows — requires a specialized, direct connection from the station's fully integrated, on-air mixing board at 320 Main St. to the radio tower atop Fairview Hospital. Since the community radio group left the Rosseter Street location, volunteers have carefully stored the mixing board and other valuable equipment, and have kept automated programming going 24/7 to meet FCC regulations, in anticipation of this day.
Proceeds from BCRA's successful 2019 Kickstarter campaign have provided steady source of income to cover overhead and new equipment purchases while the technical team jumped the hurdles at the new location. Training has begun at the studio for both veteran and new programmers with little or no radio experience, resulting in a diverse selection of new shows throughout the week.
BCRA members recently elected a new slate of board members who bring a diversity of talent and experience — and a passion for the medium of radio and audio in all its modern forms. The new board will steer the station through its current transition to Main Street and into the future. The long-term vision for the station includes becoming a podcast training and production hub for audio creation, broadcasting live and local performances, upgrading the studio to include one or two additional audio “pods” for taping and editing radio shows and podcasts and, eventually, buying a building to house BCRA for decades to come.
BCRA welcomes new programmers to submit their application online. Station leadership also encourages membership donations as live programming ramps up, to cover the cost of upgrades to equipment and day-to-day operations. Visit the website to donate.
Andrew Brown of North Adams, an Eagle Scout with Troop 38 in Adams, is helping out during the pandemic. He has made two trips to the Veterans Food Bank to help refill their dwindling stock at North Adams City Hall. He has been to Sweetbrook Nursing Home to deliver playing cards, word search books, and U.S. window flags for the veterans there and to thank them for their service to our country.
Brown also brought five-alarm pickled eggs, sausage, brats and kielbasa to the North Adams Fire Department, although he could not go inside. He also brought the same to North Adams Police Department. He also brought also 300 pairs of medical rubber gloves to help to protect them from virus. He also gave the staff at Colegrove Elementary School bags of sanitizer packets and bags of rubber medical gloves to use while handing out school lunches for students.
Community Service Award
The Scarborough Salomon Flynt Community Service Award Committee is accepting nominations for its fifth annual award. The Scarborough Salomon Flynt Award is a result of the merger of the Faith R. Scarborough Award and the Williamstown Community Chest Volunteer of the Year Award. The award honors Faith Scarborough and her dedication and efforts to the town as an active volunteer in the Visiting Nurses Association, St. John's Church, Williamstown Community Chest, League of Women Voters and as the first woman to chair the Board of Selectmen; Edith and Adolph Salomon, who came to Williamstown in 1939 after having fled Nazi Germany and the gratitude they exhibited to the community that provided them refuge and a home for more than 50 years; and Hank and Mary Flynt, whose numerous contributions to the town, both as volunteers and their generous bequests, have all made Williamstown the special place that it is.
The Scarborough Salomon Flynt Award recognizes a person's, persons' or civic group's demonstrated dedication, excellence and integrity to community service in order to make Williamstown a better place. Nominators should provide a narrative of accomplishments in support of their nominee. With many wonderful people nominated in a given year, much of the committee’s decision-making is based on the substance of the reasons given for the nomination and provides the content of the award recipient’s certificate. The committee will select a citizen who has demonstrated integrity, excellence, and dedication to community service.
The award will be presented at town meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, May 19, at 7 p.m., at Williamstown Elementary School. The deadline for nominations is April 17. Nominations should be submitted via the nomination form on the Williamstown Community Chest's website.
Lola Greene Legacy Scholarship
Applications are now being accepted for the Lola Greene Legacy Scholarship. A on-time grant of $250-$500 will be awarded to a graduating high school senior from Berkshire County who is planning to continue to study Latin and/or the Classics in college. The scholarship will be awarded based on scholastic achievement with emphasis on Latin study and related activities, future plans to continue Latin and Classics studies, and demonstrated leadership and good moral character. The deadline for submitting a scholarship application is April 27. For further information and application materials, please visit www.lolagreene.com or send an email inquiry.
Lola Greene taught at Mt. Greylock Regional High School from 1984 through 2000. During this time, she developed the school’s Latin program and Junior Classical League into one of the most successful programs in the state. She instituted toga and catapult contests, won numerous teaching awards, and has a place in the school’s Hall of Fame. Lola lived a life filled with integrity, compassion, and love for all those around her. She was a dynamic and dedicated educator who inspired her students to achieve to the best of their abilities.
Community Needs and Special Grants
Community Needs and Special Grants are intended to support one-time, short-term projects that address current community issues with the goal to impact the community for the better as a result. Collaborations are valued. Applications must be received at Northern Berkshire United Way by April 2. Funding decisions will be announced in June.
Applicants do not need to be member agencies of Northern Berkshire United Way but must be designated by the IRS as a charitable organization. Grants are for residents residing in towns served by Northern Berkshire United Way: Adams Cheshire, Clarksburg, Florida, North Adams, Savoy, Williamstown and Stamford, Vt. Projects that support safety net services, low- to moderate-income populations and that have not been previously funded are given priority.
The Community Needs and Special Grants Committee of Northern Berkshire United Way reviews community priorities each year. The committee takes into account the unique assets and needs in Northern Berkshire and evaluate all applications, with the funding available. Go online or contact Patti Messina by email for information.
Solarize Plus campaign
The Williamstown-North Adams Solarize Plus campaign invites members of northern Berkshire County to nominate a nonprofit organization to receive a free solar panel system. The campaign’s commercial partner, SolarFlair Energy, promised to donate a 5 kW photovoltaic system to a local nonprofit as a participation incentive. Thanks to the community’s enthusiastic response, the campaign has met and exceeded SolarFlair’s target of 400 kW of contracted solar panels.
By the end of the northern Berkshire campaign on January 31, 87 residents and small businesses had signed up for photovoltaic systems, for a combined total of 602 kW of new solar power, surpassing participation in Williamstown’s 2013 Solarize campaign. In addition, 23 households will be installing house electrical storage systems (also known as house batteries), for a total of 230 kW of new storage capacity.
The donated photovoltaic system will reduce the recipient organization’s operating cost by providing free electricity. The nonprofit should serve both North Adams and Williamstown and must occupy a building with a structurally sound roof and good solar exposure. To make a nomination, use the link at SolarFlair’s website or on the Solarize Facebook page to access the online nomination form.
Free LNA training
Over the past several years, Southwestern Vermont Health Care has trained hundreds of people to become licensed nursing assistants. Many have gone on to rewarding careers in the health system’s skilled nursing facilities or in the hospital’s inpatient units. The training typically costs as much as $1,400. Those who enter SVHC’s program agree to a one-year contract, receive free training, and earn the starting hourly rate while they train.
Those who are interested apply and are hired at SVHC in the care assistant role. From there, they may be considered for a slot in the class and are provided with time off to complete the 3-week training and study for the state licensing exam.
The next training section begins at 8 a.m. on Monday, June 29 at the Innovative Learning Center on the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center Campus in Bennington. The training schedule is Monday through Friday. Prospective students should apply to the care assistant position by May 11 to be considered. Visit the "Current Openings" link online and search for “care assistant” to get started. For additional information, contact Eileen Wood at 802-447-5457 or send an email.
Berkshire Country Day School has received the largest single private gift in the school's history. Philanthropist Emily Fisher, grandparent of current sixth-grader Emily Fisher, donated a transformational gift to support the school's already existing strong educational foundation and to provide for the future of BCD. Fisher's gift comes as the school prepares to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its founding.
Emily Fisher believes in the power education holds to improve lives and communities. In addition to Berkshire Country Day, her investments have nourished Simon's Rock and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. "What many people don't know is that BCD serves families from a wide-range of income levels across Berkshire and Columbia Counties. We are able to offer an affordable price point due to income from a variety of sources,” Head of School Jenifer Fox said. "A gift like the one Emily gave, allows us to strengthen our endowment so that we may actualize our mission to empower citizenship in all its forms. To accomplish that, we need represent all the kinds of citizens who make up our local population. We are good at that and this gift will allow us to get even better at it."