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New Agricultural Commissioners Megan Bantle, Natasha L. Bordeaux, Sonia McWhirt, Christina Satko and Loren Steins are sworn in by Town Clerk Haley Meczywor on Thursday night in Town Hall's Mahogany Room.

Revamped Adams Agricultural Commission Meets for First Time

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — After some time of inactivity, an entirely new board hopes to revitalize the town's Agricultural Commission. 


The five new members, Megan Bantle, Natasha L. Bordeaux, Sonia McWhirt, Christina Satko and Loren Steins, were sworn in by Town Clerk Haley Meczywor on Thursday night, who guided them through the process and rules for town boards. Selectman Joseph Nowak, a former commissioner, has worked to find volunteers to repopulate the board over the last several months. 


For its first actions, the commission named McWhirt its chair and Bordeaux its vice chair. Bantle will act as the commission recording secretary. 


The commission briefly discussed several topics during its first meeting, including grants, the town's right to farm bylaw, the Agricultural Preservation Program, and its mission statement as a commission. McWhirt read the Massachusetts Association of Agricultural Commissions' mission statement, saying it is a good starting point, which they can adapt for their needs.  


"Different ideas to stabilize or improve our farming future; I'd like to give a list of the farms and farm-related businesses in town," she said. 


Among the board's early goals is to update the commission's page on the town website, as well as other possible platforms, with resources for farmers and farming businesses. McWhirt highlighted Berkshire Grown, which seeks to support and promote local agriculture in the Berkshires, as a good resource. 


"The listing that they have in this Berkshire Grown is pretty big. Considering it tells you if they're on Facebook or any other social media, what their website is, address, phone number, if they go to any of the local farmer's markets," she said. 


Commissioner Loren Steins said the Northampton Agricultural Commission is inviting all the other commissions in the state to its meeting in February. She said some of the board could attend to get an idea of what other agricultural commissions are doing. 


"Basically, they invite all other ag commissions to come and it might be something to look to see what other people are getting together, and you can get some ideas and work off of other ag commissions, too," she said. 


The commission tentatively agreed to meet again on Feb. 8.

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Adams Free Library Celebrates Refinished Staircases

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

The oak and maple staircases had darkened over the years from use and age, and the treads were worn. 
ADAMS, Mass. — Attorney Emil George was sitting in the conference room at Adams Community Bank last year looking out the window at the Free Library, where he'd once studied as a student.
He thought to himself, "I'm gonna go across the street and just see if they need anything." And so he did. 
The result was the restoration of the elaborate twin staircases in the historic building that hadn't had more than a cleaning in the last 124 years. 
"This library's beautiful stairways have seen much foot traffic over the last century and it was time to see them restored," said Library Director Holli Jayko at Saturday morning's ribbon cutting of the refurbished steps. "We are very thankful for benevolent donors and talented people."
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