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Williamstown Select Board Pivots to Teleconferencing

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Although several government meetings have been canceled in the last week because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Select Board will convene Monday as scheduled -- but via remote connection.
 
Town Manager Jason Hoch confirmed Thursday afternoon that the board will meet utilizing the Zoom videoconferencing platform.
 
The town's community access television station, Willinet, which regularly telecasts meetings from Town Hall, will transmit Monday's virtual meeting live and make it available for later viewing on the Willinet website.
 
Hoch said that Monday's meeting will be strictly a meeting of the five-member board. The planned joint meeting with the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee and Lanesborough Select Board to appoint someone to fill a vacant seat on the School Committee will be held at a later date.
 
"I think we're trying to make sure that we work the unanticipated bugs out before convening such a large group," Hoch wrote in response to an email asking about the town's plans.
 
Meanwhile, Williamstown has this week announced a few other coronavirus-related initiatives.
 
Starting Thursday, the town is suspending the requirement to use official trash bags at the Williamstown Transfer Station for anyone holding a current sticker. The  temporary suspension is meant to eliminate the need to visit town hall or other locations where residents normally acquire the bags.
 
The Council on Aging is offering early morning rides to the Stop & Shop in North Adams on Tuesdays and Thursdays to take advantage of the store's special 6 to 7:30 a.m. hours for shoppers age 60 and over. Call the COA at 413-458-8250 before 2 p.m. on the Monday or Wednesday before you plan to shop to reserve a place.
 
Williamstown will be sending out the second installment of its real estate and personal property tax bills as scheduled. But Treasurer/Collector Rachel Vadnais noted in a post on the town website that Town Hall realizes unforeseen circumstances can create hardships for taxpayers.
 
"I am happy to work with you to find an approach that can help," Vadnais wrote. "It is important, though, that we actually have a conversation prior to the eventual due date. While it is always more pleasant to have these conversations in person, email and telephone are our healthiest options in the near future."
 
She can be reached at 458-9342 or rvadnais@williamstownma.gov.

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Historical Echo, Irony in Williams College Cancellations

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — For the second time in school history, the classrooms at Williams College will be very quiet this spring.
 
In 1970, it was a two-week student strike to fight a war.
 
In 2020, it's a three-month closure ordered by the college to fight a global pandemic.
 
Paul Miller has ties to both stoppages and sees a parallel.
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