Lever Seeks Applicants for Mohawk Trail Entrepreneur Challenge

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Lever is now accepting applications for the Mohawk Trail Entrepreneur Challenge.
The challenge seeks entrepreneurs building regional businesses that will create jobs in the Mohawk Trail region. It is now accepting applications and one business owner will receive $25,000 to advance their project.
To qualify, entrepreneurs or their businesses must be located in the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership member towns of Adams, Ashfield, Charlemont, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Conway, Heath, Leyden, Monroe, New Ashford, North Adams, Rowe, Shelburne, Peru, Windsor or Williamstown. 
Any entrepreneur seeking to establish and grow a sustainable, woodland-related business should apply. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until this challenge is filled, and entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply as soon as possible for priority consideration. 
Apply at www.Leverinc.org
A virtual information session for prospective applicants will be held at noon on Oct. 14. For more information about the MTEC, contact Lever Workforce Programs Manager Jade Schnauber at jschnauber@leverinc.org or 413-346-4840.
Examples of qualifying businesses include woodland-related tourism, woodcraft, and woodland-derived natural products. Preference will be given to business ideas that have the potential to attract revenues from elsewhere; the potential for swift scalability and rapid job creation; individuals or business ideas that can identify potential funding sources to support rapid scaling; and business plan ideas that incorporate resilience to climate change.
"The conservation of the commonwealth's forests is critical to meet our ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2050," Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides said. "We are pleased to support the work of Lever, Inc. to drive local economic development and job creation as we work toward our shared mission of preserving the unique natural resources within the Mohawk Trail region for future generations."
Funding for the challenge comes via a grant from the Baker-Polito administration, which awarded $225,000 in total grant funding to Lever and eight municipalities in the partnership's region. The partnership a grassroots-led program based on conserving forests and supporting their sustainable management in order to advance economic development in rural Massachusetts communities along the Vermont and New York border, provides funding to assist 16 member towns in the commonwealth's most rural and forested region to plan for the care of forests in the face of climate change, prepare forest offset projects and improve nature-based tourism.

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North Adams Fire Chief Meranti to Retire

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Fire Chief Stephen Meranti, center, with the late Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morocco on receiving the MEMA award in 2015. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Stephen Meranti had a particular goal in mind when he updated his resume in the mid-1990s: to become director of the city's fire services.
Early next year, he'll retire after 17 years leading the North Adams Fire Department and as the first "fire chief" to retire in nearly 40 years. 
"I've had a pretty good run I think, 33 years with the city and 17 as chief," said Meranti on Wednesday morning, as he sat in the mayor's office. "It's been a good run, we have great people working with the city, I've had made great relationships here. It's like the mayor said, bittersweet for me also. I love the job I but I had planned on my career retiring at 55 and here I am." 
Meranti and Mayor Thomas Bernard announced the chief's retirement after more than three decades working with the city. His last day will be Jan. 26, 2021.
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