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The pond at Margaret Lindley Park remains unfilled as of Sunday.

Williamstown Continuing To Hold Off on Filling Swimming Hole

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A popular town-owned swimming hole remains dry as officials await updated guidance from the commonwealth on public beaches.
 
The pond at Margaret Lindley Park, which is drained each fall to prevent ice damage to the dam at the east end, was not filled this spring because of the closures of outdoor recreation areas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Although beaches like the one at the park now are allowed to operate during Phase 2 of the commonwealth's reopening plan, the town does not think the park near the junction of Routes 2 and 7 is large enough to allow adequate social distancing.
 
"The beach guidance right now requires 12 feet between beach going parties," Williamstown Community Development Director Andrew Groff said. "We didn't think we had enough beach to effectively meet that requirement and are waiting for it to be resolved."
 
In addition to the impact of the novel coronavirus on crowd sizes, an additional factor has entered the mix.
 
The pond at Margaret Lindley Park is fed by Hemlock Brook, which, like most area streams, is running lower than usual during a particularly dry spring.
 
According to the National Weather Service's preliminary data for Pittsfield, the area has recieved 1.09 inches of rain so far in June, a departure of 2.27 inches from the normal amount of precipitation for the period.
 
May's Pittsfield total of 1.62 inches of rain was 2.59 inches below the "normal" level of 4.21 inches.
 
While the pond is dry, the park remains open for hiking. 

Tags: lakes, ponds,   swimming,   

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Mount Greylock Committee Member Pushes to Reopen Schools

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff

Steven Miller participates in a recent meeting of the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee via Zoom.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The chair of the Mount Greylock School Committee's Education Subcommittee on Tuesday repeatedly pressed the district's interim superintendent to develop benchmarks that could be met in order to allow a return to full in-person instruction.
 
For now, school officials are planning to begin school in mid-September in a hybrid model that sees half the students in preK through ninth grade attending classes in person two days a week with the rest of their time on learning spent remotely; sophomores through seniors in high school would attend school one day a week under the current plan.
 
Several times during a more than two-hour virtual meeting, Steven Miller reiterated his contention that the Lanesborough-Williamstown district is uniquely situated to move to full, in-person instruction.
 
"We are in a wonderful situation where we are in a rural setting with people who are responsible, who are socially distancing and wearing masks," said Miller, who also referred to the county's low incidence of COVID-19 positive tests.
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