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Council President Paul Hopkins with former City Clerk Deborah Pedercini after being sworn in in 2020. Within months, the council would switch to virtual meetings because of the pandemic.

North Adams Council President Hopkins Tenders Resignation

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The president of the City Council has submitted his resignation effective Friday.
 
Paul Hopkins, in is second term, said he is leaving the council for personal and professional reasons. Hopkins has had his home for sale for some months and had not intended to run for re-election this year.
 
"Things came together faster than I sort of had in my head," he said on Tuesday. "The time is now and I'm excited about a new direction."
 
Hopkins said he had informed Mayor Thomas Bernard and copied his council colleagues on his brief letter of resignation to the city clerk. It would be up to the council to determine whether to fill his seat or wait for the new government next January, he said.
 
"I thought about this quite a lot whether I should stay on the council until I had moved out of town," he said. "But I'm setting up a household in a different place and need to find a new career ... I would not be able to devote the mental energy to being a city councilor and that is not the right thing to do."
 
The former radio announcer has been a well-known figure in the community for more than 40 years and has served on a number of civic and community boards, including as vice chair of the Planning Board and chairman of the Redevelopment Authority. He's also served on the boards of the Louison House and Northern Berkshire Community Coalition.
 
Born in Wisconsin, the family followed his father to Belgrade, in what was then Yugoslavia, where he worked for the Voice of America and Hopkins attended the International School and American High School. He earned his degree at Middlebury College in Vermont, where, he said, "I decided that I was actually a New Englander." Fate brought him to WNAW Radio (formerly WMNB), and, he's said, he fell in love with the area and raised his four children here.
 
He also was director of community relations at the former Northern Berkshire Healthcare — calling it one of the best jobs he ever had — and later communications coordinator at Berkshire Health System's nursing home division.
 
Reflecting on his two terms on the council, including the last term as president, Hopkins said elected service is very different from being appointed or serving on organizational boards. 
 
"I think you walk into an election asking people to vote for you because you thought you had the answers," he said. "You find out very quickly you don't have the answers."
 
Hopkins had initially considered not running in 2019 and, on Tuesday, said he felt it was time to step aside anyway for others to run, joking he was looking like so many of the portraits of past councils — older, white and male.
 
"I'm encouraged by some of the people I see running for office now and I'm sure there will be more," he said. "There is a very diverse group of people who look like they want to serve."
 
Though he has no immediate family in the area, one of his children is considering moving back so Hopkins said he may be returning more often to see his many good friends. 
 
As of last week, 10 people have taken out nomination papers for City Council: Emily Daunis, Roger Eurbin, Raymond Moore, Barbara Murray, Heidi Shartrand-Newell, Michael Obasohan, Jesse Lee Egan Poirier, Bryan Sapienza, Ashley Shade and incumbent Jessica Sweeney.
 
Three have taken out papers for mayor: Aprilyn Carsno, Rachel Branch and Joshua Vallieres. Carsno and Vallieres have both returned papers.
 
David Sookey and incumbent Heather Boulger have taken out papers for School Committee and incumbent Gary Rivers has taken out papers for representative to the Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School Committee.

Tags: election 2021,   municipal election,   


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Juneteenth Celebrated as State, National Holiday

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Saturday is the first time that Juneteenth will be celebrated as state holiday but also as a national holiday. 
 
The date has long been celebrated in parts of the country, sometimes as Emancipation Day, the day in 1865 when Union Army Gen. Gordan Granger proclaimed freedom for enslaved people in Texas, completing the end of slavery in the areas of the United States after more than 300 years. Juneteenth has been a state holiday in Texas for nearly 40 years.
 
President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation nearly three years earlier but it would take the advance of the Union Army into the Confederacy to make freedom a reality. 
 
Former Gov. Deval Patrick had first signed a proclamation recognizing Juneteenth in 2007 and, last July, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill making Juneteenth a state holiday.
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