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The selectmen thanked the Council on Aging for assisting seniors throughout the vaccination process.

Vaccination Rates High Among Cheshire Seniors

By Jack GuerinoPrint Story | Email Story
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The town has received high marks from the Department of Public Health for its high COVID-19 vaccination rates.
 
Interim Town Administrator Mark Webber told the selectmen Tuesday that the Department of Public Health is happy with the town's vaccination rates among residents 65 and older.
 
"Cheshire is doing darn well with their vaccines… these figures put Cheshire on the upper end compared to other Berkshire communities," Webber said. "You are way past a lot of them."
 
Webber said 68 percent of Cheshire residents between the age of 65 and 74 have, at least, received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 98 percent of residents age 75 and older have received, at least, their first dose.
 
Webber thanked the Council on Aging for helping seniors navigate the vaccination process 
 
During the selectmen's continued budget review, they agreed to level funding the recreation budget.
 
Recreation Committee member Robin Poirot said the committee hasn't really supported any town events recently with COVID-19 grounding most events. She said they hope to be able to support some regular summer events
 
"I would like to keep some of the traditional things that we do in the summer...all depending on what we are able to do." she said. "....I would like to keep everything that we have done so far and just add something more...I would like to keep it [the budget] same if we could." 
 
This would include the hopeful return of the Cheshire Cheese Fest. 
 
She added that their budget is running a surplus and she saw opportunities to engage the community with town-wide projects such as planting flowers on the rail trail or improving park spaces.
 
She even felt some money could go towards installing a town beach, if possible.
 
Resident Eilleen Quinn called in and requested that the town use some of these funds, around $1000, to install a  privacy fence at the Appalachian Trail Campsite.
 
"It would promote safety and minimize the attraction to the site to anyone else besides the hikers," she said.
 
In open comment, resident Ben Garner alleged that the town clerk violated election law by allowing Michael "Mickey" Biagini Jr. to return election papers four days after the deadline.
 
"It is obvious to me that there seems to be some sort of questionable alliance between the town clerk and Biagini where election law may have been violated," he said. "...I just hope it is something you will look into." 
 
Biagini is running for selectmen. 
 
Garner suggested that questionable activity had also happened in past elections.
 
Chairwoman Michelle Francesconi said she contacted the election board as well as town counsel. She said it will be a regular agenda item until solved.
 
Selectman Mark Biagini, a relative, left the room during the conversation.
 
• The town will no longer pursue the senior/veterans tax work-off program because few town departments actually indicated that they would use it.
 
"It's done," Webber said. "I think it is done."
 
The program, which has been adopted by other Berkshire County municipalities, allows eligible seniors to work or complete tasks for their community. Instead of receiving payment, an earned amount is subtracted from their taxes.
 
• The board accepted the resignation of Zoning Board of Appeals alternate Sean Conley.
 
• The selectmen voted to return two military surplus generators to the government
 

Tags: COVID-19,   


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Cheshire Town Meeting to Vote on Appointing Clerk, Tax Collector

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
Updated with corrected quote from the Town Clerk and clarification from the Select Board Chairwoman
 
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The town will move toward making the town clerk and tax collector positions appointed instead of elected.
 
During a budget discussion Tuesday, the Selectmen voted to place an article on the town meeting warrant that would change some town clerical positions from elected to appointed.
 
The discussion arose from Town Clerk Christine Emerson's budget presentation. She added in a $10,000 line item to hire an assistant who she can train to replace her in the three remaining years she wishes to work.  
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