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Mount Greylock Regional School ninth-graders Noelle Dravis, left, and Emily Johnson, are presenting a StoryWalk® on Spring Street in Williamstown and working with Wild Oats in Williamstown on a installing a Little Free Library as part of their Girl Scout Silver Award Project.

Berkshires Beat: Girl Scouts Present StoryWalk as Part of Silver Award Project

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Project W.I.L.D.

Two local Girl Scouts have launched a literacy and diversity project as they work to earn their Silver Award. Noelle Dravis of Williamstown and Emily Johnson of Lanesborough, both of whom will be ninth-graders at Mount Greylock Regional School this fall, created Project W.I.L.D. (Williamstown Inclusivity, Literacy and Diversity) to earn their Silver Award. The Girl Scout Silver Award is a project that Girl Scout Cadettes undertake to benefit their communities.

The project consists of three parts. The main part of the project is a StoryWalk® along Spring Street featuring the book "Just Ask: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You" by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. A StoryWalk® is a series of book pages along a specific route. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vt., and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Storywalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ferguson. From Friday, Aug. 7, through Monday, Sept. 7, the pages will be on display in windows of 15 Spring Street businesses; a map of all of the locations is available on Project W.I.L.D.'s Facebook and Instagram pages, @Girl Scout Project WILD. A limited number of printed maps will be available at each participating business.

The second part of the project is the Little Free Library the Scouts are helping install at Wild Oats Co-op in Williamstown. Nearly four years ago, their troop donated the current library at the store, and now they are helping replace it with a new structure. To help stock the library, they are accepting donations of new and gently used books to put into the library, especially books about diversity and social justice. Donations can be dropped off at Wild Oats; the new Little Free Library will be unveiled in August. The third part of the project is that the Scouts will be reading books about diversity and inclusion on WilliNet television for people to watch from their homes.

 

Bridge closure

The bridge located on Lakeway Drive over Onota Lake in Pittsfield will be temporarily closed to traffic on Monday, Aug. 17, to allow for the total bridge replacement which includes new precast abutments, precast beams, and railing and approach work.  It is anticipated that the newly replaced bridge will be open for travel in October 2020. A temporary signed detour will be in place during the bridge closure to re-route traffic to Lakeway Drive north, to Pecks Road, to Valentine Road, and then to Lakeway Drive south.

The cost of the bridge rehabilitation project is $2,688,888 and is anticipated to be completed in June 2021.  The contractor for the project is New England Infrastructure of Hudson, Massachusetts. MassDOT appreciates the patience of the traveling public during this necessary repair and maintenance work. Drivers who are traveling through the area should reduce speed and use caution. All scheduled work is weather dependent and may be impacted due to an emergency.

 

Records destroyed

All temporary cumulative school records for students who graduated from Hoosac Valley High School, 125 Savoy Road, Cheshire, Mass., with the class of 2013, will be destroyed after Friday, Sept. 25. Students interested in retrieving their records before they are destroyed are asked to contact the Main Office at 413-743-5200 or the Guidance Office at 413-743-5200, ext. 5006, between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. prior to Sept. 25t to make alternate    arrangements. High School official transcripts are maintained for 60 years following graduation.

Also, Hoosac Valley Regional School District is hereby notifying parents and students of the destruction of records of students who received special education services and withdrew, graduated, transferred or were released from services during the school year 2012-2013. All records will be destroyed after Friday, Sept. 25. For more information or to schedule an appointment to obtain these files, call 413-743-2939 Ext. 1107.

 

Census reminder

As Pittsfield’s response rate for the Census currently stands at 66 percent, compared to 73 percent in 2010, a final push is underway to keep the responses coming in through the end of September, according to local officials. The Census Bureau will be mailing the seventh and final notice to households that have not yet replied and have also begun the non-response follow up, said Mark Maloy, of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) and head of the Berkshire Complete Count Committee.

City Clerk Michele Benjamin reiterated this urgency and reminded residents that this is the federal census, not to be confused with Pittsfield’s local census, or annual street listing, which was mailed out in January. As part of the final outreach efforts, federal Census takers will be leaving a Notice of Visit form at city residences in which contact has not been established.

 

Williamstown Farmers Market

The Williamstown Farmers Market will continue operating as a pre-order e-market, WFM-Essentials (WFM-E), for the remainder of the season, through Oct. 17. WFM-E has been consistently meeting the needs of the community and its vendors while operating in a manner that is safe for both customers and vendors. Items can be pre-ordered and pre-paid every Tuesday and Wednesday. At the Saturday pickup, customers and volunteers alike must wear masks and follow the instructions set up to maintain traffic flow and social distancing.  

A new venture, WFM-Community Essentials Initiative, will allow the market to provide weekly donations of food to families in northern Berkshire County who are in need. Food is being purchased weekly with financial contributions made to the market. Berkshire Health Systems and Berkshire United Way have agreed to match donations 100 percent, thus doubling the amount of food that can be purchased. In addition, farmers are donating surplus items.  

To find out more about the online market, or to make a donation for the purchase of items for local food pantries, visit the WFM-Essentials website.  For more information, follow the WFM-E blog online or the Williamstown Farmers Market Facebook page.

 

Library Wi-Fi hotspot loans

The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s public library, has an expanded collection of Wi-Fi hotspots available for loan. The Wi-Fi hotspots are available at the library’s circulation desk for a one-week, nonrenewable loan with a library card and are to be returned to the Athenaeum at the end of the loan. Each hotspot supports a maximum of 10 device connections. The Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, an all-volunteer organization that supports library programs and services, provided funds to obtain the 26 Sprint mobile hotspots.

Those interested in borrowing a wifi hotspot can visit the library during its modified hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; and 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday. The first hour of each day, from 10-11 a.m., is intended for at-risk populations. All library visitors are required to wear a mask for the entirety of their visit, as well as follow social distancing and hygiene protocols.

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Mount Greylock School Committee Gets Report on Start of School Year

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School District on Tuesday evening plans a community forum on the start of the school year.
 
The School Committee last Thursday heard that things are going as well as can be expected as the PreK-12 district re-invents the way it teaches students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
"We are really appreciative of the fact that we've had a couple of weeks of remote learning actually, despite some challenges," said Joelle Brookner, who this summer transitioned from being principal at Williamstown Elementary School to being director of curriculum and instruction for the district.
 
"Bringing in small groups of people that we have in each of the student support centers in the schools has its own set of challenges, and it's allowed us to work out some kinks. It's allowing us to anticipate some of what the problems are probably going to be when we have more students in the building, such as distancing."
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