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North Adams Housing Authority Replaces Hydrants With CARES Act Funds

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The North Adams Housing Authority used CARES Act funding to replace out of service fire hydrants at the Greylock Apartments.

Housing Authority Director Jennifer Hohn said the topic came up at a recent board of commissioners meeting when Chairman Colin Todd, who works for the city's Water Department, noted that the hydrants at the Greylock Apartments in the West End were not in optimal condition. 
"I was shocked. This was the first I have heard this," Hohn said in an email exchange. "I assumed that when hydrants are no longer working, they are replaced as soon as possible. I panicked, thinking that the health and safety of our residents were at stake. Additionally, the lives of our firefighters were at risk if, God forbid, there were a major fire and no source of water immediately available to hookup to."
Hohn said four of the five hydrants at the Greylock Apartments were out of service and one was on its "last leg."
The city is only able to replace so many hydrants at a time so she tapped the authority's federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act money to purchase five hydrants. She said the total expenditure was $10,176.85
"NAHA is 100 percent federally funded by HUD," she said. "As a result, this will alleviate the city of some financial burden during difficult times when collaborating resources is so vital for the city and NAHA."
Hohn said the hydrants were installed in late December.
"The health and safety of our residents have always been, and will always be our number one priority," she said.
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State Education Board Approves Push for In-School Learning

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley explains the reasoning for getting students back in classrooms and off remote learning. 
BOSTON — Schools across the state are being ordered to resume in-classroom instruction as soon as possible, beginning with elementary grades on April 5. 
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 8-3 on Friday afternoon to accord DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley authority to change requirements for learning time that would not include remote learning.
Families would still have the ability to remain remote for the rest of this school year and some schools may be able to get waivers, but the state would have the ability to hold back Chapter 70 education funds for schools out of compliance. 
The vote followed hours of testimony from medical professionals, educators and parents that veered from strongly encouraging the return to school as an important to students' health, well-being and educational needs to cautions that many schools did not have the ability to provide adequate spacing or COVID-19 precautions and calls for school employees to be vaccinated prior to any return. 
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