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Dalton Approves New Solar Incentive for Low-Income Residents

By Joe DurwiniBerkshires Correspondent
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DALTON, Mass. — The Select Board acted unanimously on a new program Colonial Power says will incentivize solar development and bring savings to around 250 local households.

The change will come in the form of a discount for Dalton households already enrolled in the town's municipal aggregation program who meet the income guidelines. It is part of a 2020 expansion of the Department of Energy's SMART (Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target) program, and is "creating additionality while serving customers who have been left out for years," according to Mark Cappadona of Colonial Power.

Impacted customers will not need to do anything to receive the benefit of the program, Cappadona said.

"They'll receive a mailing informing them that they will begin receiving a discount. They can opt out if they wish."

In other news, the Select Board approved a new 4th of July race that will act as a replacement to the annual 5-kilometer preceding Pittsfield's Independence Day parade, which was canceled for a second year because of to COVID-19.

The 5K race route will begin and end at Wahconah Regional High School, said Town Manager Tom Hutcheson.

Registration is now open online or runners can register the day of the race from 7 to 7:30 a.m. The first 200 registered runners will receive a free hat. Bibs pickup prior to race day will be at Berkshire Running Center at 34 Depot St., Pittsfield on July 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hutcheson reported to the board that interviews for a new town planner are scheduled for this week, with subsequent interviews for an assistant town planner slated for the following week.

• A local state of emergency order issued by the Select Board in March 2020 will be rescinded, effective June 15, in conjunction with the withdrawal of the statewide state of emergency. Mask requirements in public buildings will be lifted for vaccinated persons (continued mask wearing is advised for the unvaccinated).

All town boards and committees will also resume in-person meetings, with a continuing option in place for remote participation.

Selectman Robert Bishop voiced concerns about the resumption of in-person meetings, and wondered if it might be possible to continue some meetings virtually. "Personally, I welcome it, but I am also sensitive to members of some of the smaller commissions who are concerned about going back to in person meetings."

Hutcheson explained that with the end of the governor's state of emergency on June 15, there will be no option for towns but to resume having a physical quorum in person, but that legislation currently in the works might make it an option in the future.

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Wahconah Grads Told to Remember Good Times, Create Joy

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
DALTON, Mass. — Members of the class of 2021 cannot be blamed for lamenting the athletic competitions, productions, parties and — yes — classes that they missed over the last 15 months.
But Wahconah Class President and salutatorian Shaun Thornton had a different message for his fellow graduates on Saturday afternoon.
"The circumstances of our senior year were far from ideal, this is true," Thornton said. "But is often too easy to narrowly focus on the things you don't have and, in doing so, overlook all that you do have.
"As we look back on our time here at Wahconah, my greatest wish is that we don't become discouraged by but we missed but instead appreciate what we had. We attended dances, pep rallies, field trips, sporting events, talent shows, Appolonian performances and senior assemblies. We read novels, wrote essays, solved problems, studied languages, played music, created art. We formed friendships.
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