Adams Picks Sarah Fontaine as New Council on Aging Director

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved the appointment of the new Council on Aging Director Sarah Fontaine at its meeting on Wednesday.

Fontaine graduated from Westfield State College with a bachelor of arts in social work and is a Massachusetts-licensed social worker. Fontaine previously worked for the Dalton Council on Aging, serving as administrative assistant and acting director.

"I am confident that Sarah will add tremendous value to our Council on Aging team and become an invaluable resource for members of our community," said Chairman John Duval in a letter to the board endorsing Fontaine. Duval was not present for the board's Wednesday meeting. "And is prepared to manage the departments execute the vision the town has for our Council on Aging in senior centers and tackle any challenges that may lie ahead."

In an interview following her appointment by the board, Fontaine said she is looking forward to getting to work with the council as its new leader.

"Adams is kind of the gold standard for councils on aging around here," she said. "Barb [Proper] is an excellent outreach worker, and I really wanted to work with a good team that is going to really address the needs of the senior population here in Adams."

Town Administrator Jay Green said Fontaine excels in knowledge of elder services, communication and management, which is why they felt she was the best choice for the job. He said there were eight applications, five of which led to interviews, but Fontaine stood out from the rest of the candidates.

"It was a tough decision. But I think myself, Bruce Shepley and Crystal [Wojcik] all agree that Sarah excelled in the interview," he said. "And she was able to easily masters the three areas that we were looking for."

Shortly before applying for the director position, Fontaine attended a grant writing course as part of Berkshire Community College's Workforce Development program. She said she took the course as a form of professional development and thinks the experience will help her in her new role.

"Programs need money to run," she said. "Municipalities don't always have the money to support the programs."

Fontaine said she is excited about the council's upcoming move to the former Memorial School building.

"I'm really looking forward to helping design a dedicated space for the Council on Aging," she said. "It is a staff of three full-time workers, the director, the outreach worker, the administrative assistant, part-time van drivers. And then, we rely heavily on volunteers. So it's kind of all hands on deck when you have a small department like that."

Also discussed at the meeting, the board voted on the annual license renewals discussed by the Local Licensing Authority Subcommittee on Monday.

With the exception of Mount Royal Inn and Victory Lounge, the board approved all licenses for renewal, some with inspection or payment stipulations. Mount Royal Inn has not submitted any renewal paperwork and Victory Lounge has been closed for a year and a half, pending building improvements.

The board unanimously approved to endorse the Mass in Motion Grant Partnership agreement with Northern Berkshire Community Coalition. The Mass in Motion Grant Partnership aims to help fund environmental and policy changes that positively impact healthy eating and active living.

"The town would not be directly receiving any funds," Green said. "However, the town would participate with the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition to achieve the overarching goals of Mass in Motion grants."

The board unanimously approved the installation of a Discover Books collection bin. David Rhoads, chairman of the Board of Health, requested the installation of the box at the Transfer Station and Recycling Center at the board's Nov. 15 workshop meeting.

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Adams' Valley Street Shed Still Needs Funding

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — Construction of the new shed at Valley Street Field may be delayed due to a lack of funding. 


Mike Benson of the Adams/Cheshire Little League attended Monday's Parks Commission meeting and said the league is still working on obtaining funds for the shed. The town appropriated $3,000 for the shed as part of the fiscal 2023 budget and asked the league to match. 


"I've done a ton of fundraising this year to try to keep the costs low for the kids," Benson said, noting he could probably contribute about half of the $3,000 needed right now.


The league, Benson said, is in the process of ordering a new scoreboard for the field, one similar to the one recently installed at Russell Field. He said financing the scoreboard came first, as it was in the works before planning for the new shed began. 


"We had started the scoreboard thing before we heard anything about the shed," he said. "... We haven't asked the town for anything to do to help with the scoreboard. We're doing it all on our own, it's $3,500." 


Mark Pizani, an equipment operator at DPW, said they would likely be able to get more time out of the old shed if the league needs more time for funding. Benson said he would happily work with the town to clean the shed. 


"We can work it out with what we have. If we need another year out of it, it's really not a big deal," Pizani said. "That's my personal feeling. It would have been nice to have." 


Commission Chair James Fassell agreed the current shed can keep being used and said the group will revisit the issue in the future. 


"I just want to make sure it's for the good of the league and for the good of Adams," he said. 


In other business, Pizani updated the board on a berm near Russell Field, which the group was concerned could overflow onto the field. He said a significant amount of brush and debris was removed from the water since the last meeting, making an overflow less likely. 


"We cleaned that whole river out," he said. "We cleaned it out; it's in good shape. We took truckloads of debris and stuff out of the river." 

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