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Council on Aging Director Erica Girgenti informs the Board of Selectmen and the community that she is leaving for a new job in November.

Adams Council on Aging Director to Leave Position

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — Council on Aging Director Erica Girgenti is stepping down from the position after 11 years.
During public comment at the Selectmen's meeting on Wednesday, Girgenti said she will become the executive director of Sugar Hill Assisted Living in Dalton on Nov. 1. 
"Most of my adulthood has been spent in public service, and over the years, this role has provided me with many opportunities to affect the lives of others and the ability to share my experience and expertise with my community," she said. "It is a privilege to work for the town of Adams ... I am optimistic that my next chapter will be as rewarding." 
Her last day in Adams will be Oct. 31
"I mean it when I say it has been a gift to serve my community," she said. "I was not seeking other employment, I was not unhappy. I was however provided with an opportunity to shine. They proposed an opportunity where I could offer my skills at the next level."
Town Administrator Jay Green said he did not interact with the Councils on Aging in past municipal roles as much as he has done in Adams. He said he is in contact with Girgenti weekly and thanked her for being such a strong department head.
He said this was clear during the pandemic.
"When we got the vaccines, Erica became a resource not only for her demographic ... but for anyone who couldn't figure out how to access the bureaucratic machine," Green said. "It has been a pleasure working with her."    
Selectwoman Christine Hoyt said Girgenti was recognized by the Berkshire Business and Professional Women for these efforts.
"You have continued to put Adams on the map," she said. "You continue to shine, and I hope that you will continue to shine in your next role."
Chairman John Duval said the town was lucky to have Girgenti for so long.
"The town of Adams has been more than fortunate to have you as the Council on Aging director and as I saw you grow over the last 10 years in the program you developed, and the way you have worked with the members of the council of aging ... I thought we were lucky," Duval said. "I wasn't sure how long it would last, but there are no losers here, and we had 11 great years."
Girgenti leaves at a time of transition in the Council on Aging that will move it from the Visitors Center to the Memorial Building.
Girgenti said she is not leaving the area and will be an active member of the Friends of the Council on Aging. She said she plans to help with fundraising.
"This role has very much been a part of my identity," she said. "I live in Adams, I have always lived in Adams, and I will continue to live in Adams. Adams is an incredible place to live, and I would never dream of taking my family anywhere else."
Selectman Joe Nowak was happy to hear that Girgenti would remain in town and wished her luck in her new career.
"I wish you the best. As people leave and go onto bigger things you always say we will miss you but that is even more true with you," Nowak said. "I know you will do well. Best of luck, kiddo."
Girgenti said the position will be posted by the end of the week. She encouraged anyone interested to reach out to her to discuss the position.
"My team is strongly networked, and they go above and beyond for the folks that receive our assistance," she said. "If you are in the human services field please consider looking into this rewarding position. You will have a great team behind you that are supportive hard working and passionate."
Also in public comment, Library Director Holly Jayko announced that the Adams Free Library has eliminated late fees. 
"Our community is stronger and healthier when all people have access to programs and services and the materials they need to pursue their educational, career, family, and life goals," she said. "Regardless of their ability to pay for them. We hope this will encourage prior patrons to come back and attract new patrons."
She said at least 11 other libraries in Berkshire County have done the same and even some larger establishments like the Boston Public Library network. 
Other libraries have said the change has increased circulation and safely returned materials, she added.
She said fines are still on the books but once a patron returns late items, their fine history will be wiped clean.
"Come back, bring your items back," Jayko said. "There will be no fine."

Tags: Council on Aging,   resignation,   

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Mama's Place Bringing Pub-Style Home Cooking to Adams

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

Owner AnnMarie Belmonte says the community has been very supportive of her newest venture, Mama's Place. 

ADAMS, Mass. — Mama's Place at 85 Commercial St. is spooning up homemade fare made by veteran restaurateur Annmarie Belmonte.

"It's pub-style food with specials that are more of what you would see in a homemade style," she said. "But the center of it is pub-style food at affordable prices."

Nearly two months after opening, Belmonte said the eatery is doing well.

Mama's Place opened on Oct. 5 and operates from 2 to 8 Tuesday through Friday and noon to 8 on Saturday for winter hours. Belmonte said she wanted to offer Adams something that it didn't have with Mama's Place.

Her goal with Mama's Place was to provide Adams with homemade food and desserts while also keeping it at an economical price. She is active on the eatery's Facebook page, often posting about specials and deals for the restaurant.

"I do a soup every day. They're always homemade. It's not anything that's coming from a can. So basically, it was to offer something in town that was different and affordable," she said. "That's basically what the whole vibe is here. I do homemade whoopie pies and cookies. I also have homemade chocolates that I do."

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