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Cheshire to Paint Mural on Route 8 Rest Stop

By Gregory FournieriBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — A mural is being planned for the rest area off Route 8 to help beautify the town.

Maureen Riley-Moriarty presented the Selectmen on Tuesday with a minor update on the project, which is pending approval with the state of Massachusetts. The mural will be on a 438-foot-long concrete wall in a rest area off Route 8 near the Green Acres variety store.

Riley-Moriarty said the mural image has not been decided upon, but will likely have a natural theme. Some ideas she had included are wildlife or a reflection of the lake, which is just across Route 8 and the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail from the rest stop.

She plans to involve high school students in the painting of the mural. This would allow them to do something outside after the school year they have spent inside their homes, she said, "and also to build a sense of community for them." She hoped this latter point would deter any potential vandalism of the mural by other high school students.

Riley-Moriarty also assured the Selectmen that the mural would not be a distraction for drivers. Since it will be at a rest stop, drivers would have to pull over to really see it. Riley-Moriarty said this project will "make that shameful wall go away, and even uplift it,” as part of a beautifying project for the town.

In other business:

  • The town accountant asked to modify her hours so that she could work together with the treasurer outside of the office. This clashed with the Selectmen's previous decision to mandate that the accountant work 20 hours in-office in order to maintain compliance with the town's health insurance coverage. Eventually, the board compromised and allowed for more flexibility on the accountant's schedule.
  • Highway Superintendent Robert Navin reported that his custodian is out on medical leave. He is trying to find a substitute, but said doing so will likely be difficult because the term would likely only last for the duration of the medical leave, which could be as little as four months.

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Cheshire to Obtain Review of Financial Procedures

By Gregory FournieriBerkshires Staff

CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen has begun the process of cleaning up some of the town's procedures that will help the government run more smoothly.

This appears to be a result of new Town Administrator Jennifer Morse, who is a full-time employee with more time to manage the town's resources than Cheshire has had before.

At the meeting Tuesday, Morse presented some new or updated forms that were approved by the board. These included time sheets, a special permit application, and a purchasing policy.

She also presented a product from the Technical Assistance Bureau, which is part of the state's Division of Local Services. The product in question is a free financial management review, she said, which "really look[s] into the accounting, the treasurer, the collector, [and] the assessor's piece of how the town functions."

"You will find things that you're not happy about," Morse said. "But it's things that need some work."

Morse said she has worked with the bureau before in other communities, and has found it helpful. "They're great to work with," she said.

The board unanimously voted to join the waiting list for the bureau, which will come in October and issue a report to the town by the end of the year.

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