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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Preliminary Sitework Begins at Greylock Glen

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — Preliminary sitework for the Greylock Glen Outdoor Center has started, and town officials hope to have an official groundbreaking ceremony later this month. 

 

Town Administrator Jay Green said some tree and utility work has already begun at the site, with concrete work coming during the next two weeks. He said contractors, engineers, and town staff frequently hold meetings to discuss the project. 

 

"There's a lot of work going on with it. If people drive up there, they can see it. Please stay away from construction site for safety, but work is ongoing and we'll hopefully stay on track for an opening sometime in fall '23," he said.

 

Green said the town should also be ready to submit requests for proposals to operate the outdoor center's cafe and campground by the end of the month. He said the official groundbreaking should also be near the end of August and had hoped there would be a time where both Gov. Charlie Baker and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal could attend. 

 

"Unfortunately, we weren't able to get both of their days to align, so we're probably going to choose a date last week of August for the ceremonial groundbreaking," he said. "We'll do some invitations and see if we can get people to show up, but we thought it was important to be celebrated for an hour, among ourselves, that we're finally under construction."

 

The town is the developer for the 54-acre glen, part of the Mount Greylock State Reservation, and the state has committed $7.3 million to the construction of the outdoor center. 

 

"It's important for people to know who are using the Glen walking trails, particularly the the gravel trail, that there are periodic disruptions to that as the site work is beginning to encroach slightly in that area," Green said. "It's not always closed. However, there's essentially supervisors, construction supervisors working in that area to alert walkers that there is some construction going on."

 

In other business, the Board of Selectmen once again heard about property concerns on the corner of Summer and Hoosac Streets. 

 

The concerns were brought forth by resident Lisa Mendel several meetings ago. She took issue with the number of unregistered cars and the property's condition, which she said had been in disrepair for some time. 

 

The property owners, Lisa and Francis Biros, said the issue had come up in the past and town officials told them that covering the unregistered vehicles would be enough to meet compliance with the bylaw. The bylaw allows for one unregistered vehicle, stating that any further unregistered vehicles must not be "within view" of any public way or abutting property. 

 

Police Chief K. Scott Kelley said he sent an officer to check and found two of the cars are unregistered. Mendel alleged there was a third unregistered vehicle, which the Biros' said should soon be removed from the property. 

 

The board read the bylaw, 125-17, aloud to help clarify the situation and debated the meaning of within view. Selectman Joseph Nowak suggested Town Counsel Edmund St. John III, who was not present, look at the bylaw so the town has clarity for future incidents.

 

Green said he feels the wording does not imply a simple cover meets compliance, but understood that the Biros' may have been told differently in the past. 

 

"I think Mr. Nowak is correct, in the sense that, it would be nice to have town counsel look at it," he said. 

 

Building Commissioner Gerald Garner said he would handle the situation further, noting is not an uncommon issue in Adams. 

 

"There are families here that have six vehicles in their driveway, because they have children that vehicles," he said. "So there's six vehicles that are registered in their driveway and then you'll see one unregistered vehicle on the property as well. So this is not an uncommon thing in the town, or anywhere." 

 

Selectman Howard Rosenberg said he empathizes with Mendel's complaint about the property and supports whatever action Garner deems necessary to uphold the bylaws. 

 

  • The board ratified the hire of seasonal Department of Public Works Employee David Shade. 

 

  • The board designated Kelley as the authority to assign officers to town polling places. A recent change made by the Legislature gave this authority to Boards of Selectmen. 

 

  • The board approved a one-day liquor license for St. John Paul Parish's Polka Festival. The event will be at the polka grounds on Sept. 11. 

 

  • The board approved a one-day liquor license for the Fall Run on Sept. 17.

 

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