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Clarksburg Volunteer Firefighters stand with Leveque after the delivery.

Anheuser-Busch, Girardi Distributors Donate Water to Clarksburg Firefighters

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Anheuser-Busch and Girardi Distributors deliver 2,500 cans of water to the Clarksburg fire station.
 
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Anheuser-Busch and Girardi Distributors delivered canned emergency drinking water to the Clarksburg Volunteer Fire Department.
 
To a passerby Monday morning, it would appear as though Girardi Distributors was delivering cases of beer to the Cross Road fire station. The unknowing passerby would certainly become a concerned passerby.
 
But a closer look at the cans would tell a different story. 
 
"This is great," Lt. Matthew Boillat said. "This water will be used and is much appreciated."
 
Girardi was not delivering 2,500 cans of Budweiser to the volunteer firefighters but 2,500 cans of emergency water.
 
Anheuser-Busch has a long-standing partnership with the American Red Cross, dating back to 1906. The Anheuser-Busch brewery in Merrimack, N.H., will periodically halt beer production to can drinking water, specifically to donate to communities for when natural disasters and other crises arise.
 
Since 1988, Anheuser-Busch and its wholesaler partners have provided nearly 83 million cans of water to the communities throughout the country in need.
 
More recently, they developed a partnership with the National Volunteer Fire Council. To date, they have donated 2.6 million cans of water to fire departments.
 
"I think giving back is something we have always done at Anheuser-Busch and at the distributor level," Girardi Distributors General Manager Tom Leveque said. "Giving back to the community and trying to be a community partner. The Girardi family has been in business for over 75 years and we are the only beer distributor in Berkshire County." 
 
Leveque said they have delivered water in Dalton, Williamstown, and North Adams.
 
Boillat said he has seen the emergency water cans out in their field before, to his surprise at a structure fire.
 
"I had to do a double-take," he laughed. "Are we cracking a beer at 4 in the morning? It was water; it was kind of funny." 
 
He said he saw the initiative on Facebook and filled out an application for the Clarksburg Volunteer Fire Department.
 
"We applied and here it is," he said. 
 
Boillat said the water will be used in trainings as well as on calls. He said they can hand it out on their own calls as well as mutual aid calls.
 
"That is what is great about our community, we stick together," he said. "It is great that Anheuser-Busch and Girardi and can help us, especially in a time like this."
 
Leveque thanked the volunteers for doing what they do.
 
"They are going to do something really nice too, and they are going to share it with other people," he 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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