MassDOT Safe Routes to School Program Adds 1,000th School Partnership

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BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program has reached a milestone by adding the Belchertown School District as its 1,000th School District Partnership to the program. 
 
An event was held on Nov. 10 to highlight this milestone and present the Belchertown School District with a plaque commemorating this new record-breaking partnership.
 
MassDOT's SRTS program conducts outreach activities and safety sessions, and provides funding for infrastructure improvements that make it safer for students to walk and bike to school across Massachusetts with the goal of reaching every community and school district in the Commonwealth. The program currently serves more than 1,030 schools in over 260 communities. Through these partnerships, the Massachusetts SRTS Program highlights the importance of pedestrian and bicycle safety.
 
"The Safe Routes to School Program provides schools and communities with valuable tools and resources that can be used to help students safely bike and walk to and from schools, said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler. "The program continues to grow, and we look forward to the addition of even more schools in the future."
 
"Partnering with Safe Routes to School gives our students additional resources and makes learning about bike and pedestrian safety fun. Plus, our teachers will benefit from turnkey lesson plans and professional development courses. We had a great turnout for our first walk to school event on October 12th and we look forward to participating in many more," said Belchertown School Superintendent Brian Cameron.
 
MassDOT's SRTS Program, which is supported with funds from the Federal Highway Administration, promotes safer routes for students to actively get to and from school by fostering partnerships between community-led organizations, local law enforcement, education leaders, and public health departments.  SRTS also provides information, materials, and resources to support schools and communities with their local SRTS initiatives.

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Owner of Abandoned Cats Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A woman accused of abandoning more than a dozen cats during snowstorm a year ago has pleaded guilty. 
 
Kelly Hathaway of Pittsfield pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of animal cruelty in Central Berkshire District Court as part of a plea agreement. Following the plea agreement, she was ordered to have a mental health evaluation and follow any after care as instructed by the court.
 
She was placed on two years probation and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. She is not allowed to possess any animals and was ordered to surrender any she has in her care. She is also prohibited from volunteering with any animal groups.
 
Hathaway and another defendant were charged last March with abandoning 15 cats on back roads in Richmond and Lanesborough after an investigation by Lanesborough Police, Lanesborough Animal Control and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
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