Finalists Selected for Berkshire Sustainability Challenge

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. —Finalists have been selected for Lever's Berkshire Sustainability Challenge. 
Each of these selected finalists will receive a $3,500 scholarship provided by MassCEC, and during Lever's final pitch event on Dec. 3 an expert panel will award a $20,000 Lever Innovation Grant to a high-potential clean energy startup.
Over the next few weeks, these business owners will work with Lever to refine their business plans and goals. 
This Challenge is supported by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).  
"MassCEC is pleased to support these next-generation sustainability projects and companies in partnership with Lever," said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. "This challenge provides an opportunity to advance the development of small businesses providing solutions that aim to support the Commonwealth's climate goals."
Berkshire Sustainability Challenge Finalists
Arc Industries
ARC Industries designs and manufactures rooftop-mounted vertical axis wind turbines. The new cutting-edge turbine design addresses the many issues that have traditionally plagued small wind turbines. It is Arc Industries' mission to make renewable energy affordable and accessible to everyone. 
SolaBlock is a Vertical Solar Company that works with our customers to design renewable energy solutions using its Solar Masonry Unit (SMU).
Gencores, Inc.
Gencores, Inc. unlocks low-cost and scalable production of ultra-high-performance foam cores. Enabling radical improvement in core performance and manufacturability, Gencores enables high volume manufacturing of structural composites and OEMs to shed 900lb of steel per vehicle, increasing efficiency by 40 percent in the next decade.
Emerald Energy
Emerald Energy is equipping the next generation of climate tech workers using online education. Emerald uses primarily online education (and some in-person learning when necessary) to train blue-collar heat pumps and EVs technicians and will expand into the wind and solar sector as the company scales.
Sol Clarity
Sol Clarity helps increase solar panel output while saving water, manual labor, and time. SolClarity provides an environmentally conscious cleaning method for solar collectors through the electrodynamic screens (EDS) as overlays for solar panels that use electric fields to automatically remove dust and restore the energy yield/output power of solar panels without the need to wash the panels with water.
r-Steam's product is a compact hardware/software system (12ftx7ft footprint) that can sort high volumes of recyclables from trash by organizing a bulk deposit, conveying it, identifying it using machine vision and learning, then sorting it into the proper bin using controls for industrial automation
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Adams OKs Final $2.3M Borrowing for Wastewater Treatment Plant

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen has approved the final loan notes and other conditions for borrowing for the wastewater treatment plant project. 


The board's vote authorizes Treasurer/Collector Kelly Rice to work with bond counsel to issue loan documents. The loan is from the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust, which the board approved $5.49 million of borrowing from for the project in November last year. 


Town Administrator Jay Green said another vote was necessary for borrowing the remaining funds. Town meeting gave the OK to the $5.49 million for the plant in 2021 and approved the additional funds in November


"You approved the same type of document for that first batch of money. We're now being asked to do this again for that second batch of money at $2.3 million," Green said. "That will bring us to a full borrowing amount of $7.4 million that we have to use to pay the contractor for the $7.4 million worth of work," he said. 


The plant was built in 1968 and received a partial upgrade in 2006. Construction is already ongoing, as the project went out to bid last year. 


Green explained that the debt service for the borrowing will not be the entire $7.4 million. 


"I don't have that exact number for you tonight because the Clean Water trust needs to apply all of that loan forgiveness. And then the final amount that's calculated is the amount that the town will owe back to Clean Water Trust," he said. 


In other business: 


  • The Zerbini Family Circus, a circus that travels around the country, is coming to Adams from July 14 to 16 with several shows at Bowe Field. 


Joe Martin came before the board the inform them of the circus' arrival. He noted Berkshire County hosted the fair before, setting up in Dalton with help from the Dalton Lions Club. 


"We already have permission from the fairgrounds. We met with all the departments for Adams," he said. "There is no exotic animals in the circus. There's dogs and cats and donkeys and ponies. No lions, no tigers, no bears." 


The board also approved the facility use request for the Adams Street Fair and accompanying parade on June 24 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Martin attended on behalf of the fair as its committee chair. 


  • The board approved a 5 percent cost of living adjustment, a request by the Adams Retirement Board. 


Bill Flynn, the administrator for the retirement board, said special state legislation allows retirement boards to request a one-time 5 percent increase rather than the usual limit of 3 percent. 


"We, by statute, can only go to 3 percent. This was a special act of Legislature just to allow us to go up to 5," Flynn said. He noted that this will likely not affect the town budget, and if it did it would not be for several years. 


  • The board approved the ratification of Curtis Crane as a sergeant for the Adams Police Department. Crane is a lifelong Adams resident and is the handler for Kumar, the town's K9. 


"With Kumar's leadership, Curt has been involved in numerous drug seizures, evidence recoveries and tracking vulnerable persons, whether they be injured or missing," said Police Chief K. Scott Kelley. "I am extremely proud of Kurt's growth and his accomplishments. I see that he works every day to the best husband, father and police officer that he can, in that order. His dedication to the town shows, and I would be honored to have him as a sergeant." 


  • After numerous delays, the board approved the innholder license for the Mount Royal Inn. Board Vice Chair Christine Hoyt said Building Commissioner Gerald Garner, who could not attend the meeting, did complete his final inspection. 


  • The board approved the appointment of Barbara Ziemba to the Council on Aging. The COA Advisory Board voted to appoint Ziemba at its most recent meeting. 


  • The board approved the ratification of Seth Brooks as an assistant mechanic at the wastewater treatment plant. 
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