MassDEP Recognizes 'Green Teams' in Berkshire County​

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BOSTON — State environmental officials recognized students from 27 schools across the Commonwealth for outstanding environmental actions as members of the "Green Team," a statewide environmental education program sponsored by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).
 
Students of any age can participate in the Green Team program, an initiative composed of students that share the goals of reducing pollution and protecting the environment. 219 classes registered for the Green Team this school year, comprised of more than 40,000 students at 192 schools.
 
"The Baker-Polito Administration congratulates all of the Green Team teachers and students who showed outstanding leadership and initiative during the past school year to raise environmental awareness in their schools, homes, and communities," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. "Students and teachers were able to accomplish excellent work while recycling, composting, gardening, and learning both at school and in the home. These schools set a tremendous example for both their peers and their communities."
 
Participating classes entered in a drawing for prizes, and 27 classes received prizes for their efforts. Three schools won grand prizes for schoolwide participation in recycling and/or composting programs and will receive performances by environmental "edu-tainer" Jack Golden. Seven schools focused their efforts on composting and community gardens and received gift cards to local garden centers for trees and gardening supplies to further enhance their school or community garden. The other classes received prizes for their participating students such as pencils, wrist bands, key chains, seeded bookmarks, and coloring books.
 
In Berkshire County, Hoosac Valley High school students received wrist bands and the Youth Center Inc. received a garden certificate. Wahconah Regional High School students were awarded seeded bookmarks.
 
Students took part in a range of activities, including:
  • Expanding school recycling programs;
  • Collecting textiles for donation and recycling;
  • Starting a compost pile using organic waste from the school cafeteria and using the compost it generates to nourish a garden to grow fruits and vegetables;
  • Planting trees and native wildflowers to attract pollinators and songbirds;
  • Repurposing and reusing materials to make "new" items;
  • Promoting water conservation;
  • Making their school driveways "Idle-Free Zones;"
  • Increasing energy efficiency in their schools and communities; and,
  • Reducing their carbon footprint at school and at home.
These activities incorporated classroom disciplines from the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), reading, writing, art, and other non-classroom, interrelated projects. Participating teachers received either a digital or hard-copy Green Team Kit containing classroom posters, lesson plans, recycling tips, and access to a library of other resources. In addition, 21 schools received recycling and/or composting equipment from the Green Team to initiate or expand school recycling programs, and five schools received signs reading "Idle-Free Zone" from the Green Team that serve as a visual reminder to drivers to turn off their engines while waiting in the schoolyard.
 
"Green Team students take the concept of environmental stewardship right into their own schools and communities with practical approaches to energy conservation, recycling, composting, and pollution prevention projects," said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. "This year, many students were able to see the fruit of their own labor as a number of projects involved planting seeds and using compost from their own cafeterias to create a school vegetable and fruit garden."

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Adams Selectmen Approve Town Licenses

By Brian Rhodes

ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen has approved the renewal of all the licenses for the town. 

 

The board approved the licenses largely without issues at its meeting on Wednesday. Approved licenses include alcohol licenses, Sunday and Weekly entertainment licenses, common victualer licenses, auto sales, inn and lodging licenses. 

 

The board had a significant discussion about Mount Royal Inn, ultimately tabling its lodging license. Board Vice-Chair Christine Hoyt, a member of the board's Local Licensing Authority Subcommittee, said the business has not submitted any licensing paperwork, and is having other payment and inspection-related issues. 

 

"I know that in the last two years, especially for licensing, we've had to issue a certified letter to Mount Royal Inn about the process and deadlines and so forth," she said. "I ask that another letter be sent and that they be asked to come to our December 21 meeting to address concerns and answer any questions that we might have." 

 

Building Commissioner Gerald Garner said he and several other town staff have been monitoring multiple potential code violations, including guests staying too long, inadequate book keeping and issues with the fire system. 

 

"The building down there is not being utilized for the purpose that the license that has been issued is for," he said. "... I've been checking with the police department, and they're having just as much difficulty as I am trying to get information from the owner and the workers that are there." 

 

The town had similar problems with the Inn the last several years regarding licensing paperwork and other communication issues. Town Administrator Jay Green said the town and its employees have done everything possible to try and resolve these issues with the Inn's ownership.

 

"We had a variety of people with the motel management and tried to explain what our concerns were, a path forward to try to address it, and I think it's very clear that that's not being returned in good faith," he said.

 

Hoyt said timely approval of the alcohol licenses was important, as they have to be sent as a package to the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. 

 

"That does need to go to the ABCC following tonight's meeting to make sure that it goes through the ABCC's renewal process in time for January 1 for license holders to be able to operate come January 1," she said. 

 

In other business, the board approved the appointment of Board Member Joseph Nowak to the Woodlands Partnership of Western Massachusetts. Nowak had already been the town's representative in the partnership. 

 

  • The board discussed the board's meeting agenda topics. Nowak referenced agenda item reports from the Town Administrator and Town Counsel, which he said he's received calls about after their absence at recent meetings. 

 

"[Residents] want a little transparency. That's all I'm talking about, is transparency. I don't think it's asking too much for our town administrator and our town council are getting a salary to come in and talk to the people," Nowak said. 

 

Board Chair John Duval said general reports on the agenda are often confusing. He said he thinks Board members and community members asking for specific agenda items before the meeting is more helpful for everyone.

 

"If there's something that any member on this board would like to see on the agenda, please pass it forward and we'll put it on an agenda and we will research it and get the information and have a good, positive discussion," Duval said.  

 

  • The board approved the dog license fees for the upcoming licensing period. Green said the fees have not changed since last year. 

 

 

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