NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire 2020 Summer Youth Works program went virtual this year with a seven-week virtual gardening Program.
The Northern Berkshire Summer Youth program typically places students in paid internships with local companies but, like most things this year, COVID-19 forced the Berkshire Workforce Board (BWB) to adapt.
Through funding from the First Congregational Church of Williamstown and MountainOne, the BWB converted programming to a seven-week virtual gardening program.
The Berkshire Workforce Board partnered with Greenagers, a youth environment group, who supplied each student with a container garden. Greenagers provided lessons and students learned about gardening and its impacts on food insecurity and social justice. Students also learned about cooking with vegetables.
North Adams Growing Healthy Garden Program also provided daily instruction, mentoring, and videos. Students learned gardening tips and tricks and tried a variety of new foods.
All vegetables harvested were delivered to the Berkshire Food Project.
The final service-learning project was at the Louison House where students built raised garden beds.
McCann students Ashlyn Belisle, Molly Boyer, and Camryn Belisle participated in the program as well as Abby Bird, Vernon Lewis, Talia Rehill, and Hanna Shea from Hoosac Valley. Mount Greylock student Madison Helm also participated.
Staff Heather Shogry-Williams, Kat Toomey, Michele Boyer-Vivori, and Molly Meczwor recruited, selected, and mentored students with continued support from the MassHire Berkshire Career Center who provided weekly stipends to the participants.
A socially distancing celebration was held on Aug. 6 at the Drury High School gardens. North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard gave congratulatory remarks. BWB Board members, Adams Selectwoman Christine Hoyt, funders, partners, parents, and grandparents were in attendance.
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The forecast for this week is "soggy and dreary," according to Accuweather, but don't worry, there's a snowstorm on the way as well.
A combination of a winter storm heading eastward and Tropical Storm Zeta moving up the coast will bring drenching rain and potential snow for the Berkshires and Southern Vermont.
"With a full changeover to snow now anticipated over the mountains, a moderate to heavy accumulation is appearing more likely over the higher terrain into Friday. Such a scenario could weigh down trees that still have a canopy of leaves and lead to power outages," according to Accuweather.
However, a high pressure system could push the wet weather farther east and out to sea by Saturday night, just in time for trick or treating. The rain may leave but the temperatures will still be chilly — 5 to 10 degrees below normal for the end of October.
The National Weather Service is predicting a 50 percent chance that more than 2 inches of snowfall will cover the Berkshires and Southern Vermont between Wednesday and Saturday, although most weather predictions are that the storm system will move out by Friday afternoon.
The administration had recommended the bid by Moresi Commercial Development LLC to transform the three-story school building into apartments and save the church for a Phase 2 project, which may also likely be housing.
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While this is good news for the state's most at-risk residents, the rising number of cases of the novel coronavirus in younger people is concerning, say public officials, pointing to numerous social and sports gatherings with lax protocols as propelling the increase.
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The City Council will be asked on Tuesday to approve the sale of the church and unattached school for $10,000 to developer Moresi & Associates. David Moresi is proposing to immediately secure both 19th-century structures and begin work on the school building by 2022.
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