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Longtime Lenox Memorial coach Fred Lafave is joined by his daughter, current girls basketball coach Nicole Patella, and her son Bailey, an assistant coach for the girls team.
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Fred Lafave and his family participate in the unveiling of a logo on the gym floor.
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A banner recognizing Fred Lafave long has hung on the wall in the Lenox gymnasium.
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Joe Carroll, the son of Lenox's former principal, represents his father at Saturday's ceremony.
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Steve Chessare serves as master of ceremonies for Saturday's event.
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Lenox alumni Tom Voisin and Mark Gilligan talk about Fred Lafave's impact at Lenox Memorial.
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Fred Lafave receives a citation from Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli.
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Fred Lafave's son Jeff speaks for the family during Saturday's ceremony.
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Fred Lafave watches the Lee-Lenox girls basketball game after Saturday's ceremony.

'Thanks, Coach:' Lenox Honors Lafave, Carroll

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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The basketball court at Lenox High now is named for retired coach Fred Lafave.
LENOX, Mass. – Lenox Memorial Middle High School could have recognized Fred Lafave just for the Western Massachusetts titles he won in boys basketball, girls basketball and baseball.
 
Or just for the 1,000-plus games he coached at the school.
 
Or just for state titles his teams won in boys and girls basketball.
 
But Lafave left an even more indelible mark on the Millionaires.
 
“His involvement in basketball goes on today, his influence, his imprint,” Lenox alumnus Mark Gilligan said on Saturday afternoon. “At Lenox High School right now, his daughter, Nicole Patella, is the girls basketball coach. [Her son] Bailey Patella is helping her also.
 
“I would also like to mention that Scott Sibley and Kevin Downer – Scott’s the high school basketball varsity coach and Kevin Downer is the high school baseball coach – both played for coach Lafave. So today those kids are learning a lot. I, of course, played for coach Lafave, and I was the golf coach this year.
 
“What we learned from him, as far as dealing with people, organizing practices and things like that, today kids continue to benefit.”
 
On Saturday afternoon, the Lenox community recognized Lafave and longtime Principal Joseph J. Carroll.
 
Gilligan was one of several alumni who shared their memories of the two civic leaders: Carroll, for whom the school’s gymnasium is named, and Lafave, who as of Saturday, is the namesake of the basketball court.
 
“This afternoon, we are honoring two men with a combined 67 years of service as educators, coaches, mentors and role models to generations of Lenox citizens,” said 1976 alum Steve Chessare, who served as master of ceremonies for the event. “The impact that their character, compassion and dedication permeates the fabric of the town of Lenox to this day and is evident in the tremendous outpouring of support that has resulted in this wonderful day of appreciation.”
 
Chessare credited Carroll, a World War II veteran and Boston College-trained educator, with helping Lenox Memorial meet the new challenges of the post-war era and Baby Boom generation.
 
“Joe recognized that his job and his job and the job of his faculty was not only to educate the student, but to guide and mentor each one of them along their proper, and oftentimes unique path to what would lead to a fulfilling life,” Chessare said. “His zeal for educational innovation was applied equally to math and science skills as well as to life skills – to liberal arts and fine arts as well as to industrial arts and technical arts.
 
“Joe personally launched the debate and drama programs that still exist today. He set in motion the expansion of sports programs that include soccer, cross country and golf. And in 1962, he hired a young man with no coaching experience as a science teacher and assistant basketball coach. In a few minutes, we will honor that young man [Lafave] for the impact he had on thousands of Lenox citizens.
 
“Joseph J. Carroll literally and figuratively laid the foundation for what is today’s Lenox Memorial Middle and High School.”
 
State Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli was on hand to present state house citations honoring both Carroll and Lafave. Carroll, who died in 1967, was represented by his son, Joe.
 
“The Massachusetts House of Representatives offers its sincerest congratulations to the Joseph J. Carroll family in recognition of the rededication of the Joseph J. Carroll Gymnasium at Lenox HIgh School,” Pignatelli read.
 
A Lenox High alumnus, Pignatelli was one of several to marvel at Lafave’s athletic accomplishments.
 
“Coach Lafave led both the boys and girls basketball teams to 17 Southern Berkshire titles, one Berkshire County title, five Western Mass titles and two state championship titles – one state title in 1974 for the boys, and the other in 1992 for the girls, making him the only coach in Massachusetts to win both the boys and girls state championships,” Pignatelli said.
 
“Coach Lafave also coached baseball for 17 years, with a Western Mass title in both basketball and baseball in 1971. Coach Lafave was the first high school basketball player himself in Berkshire County to score 1,000 points, long before the 3-point shot.”
 
Tom Voisin talked about the first time he met Lafave, in the much smaller gym at the old Lenox High School, and painted a picture of what the coach meant to his young student-athletes.
 
“If you’ve seen the movie ‘Hoosiers,’ we lived in a world like that back then,” Voisin said. “If you didn’t get to a Lee-Lenox basketball game and get your fannies in the seats by the JV game, you didn’t get in. There was no way you got in. Basketball was everything to us back then. We didn’t have cell phones and TikTok and those kinds of things. But we had basketball, and basketball was so important.
 
“And now we had a coach who was going to take us further down the Turnpike than we ever thought was possible. He was going to change the game completely. We’re here today because of this man, who has meant so much to our town, our community and, most importantly, to us, his players and students. Thanks, coach.”
 
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Antimony Brewing Works to Build Connections in the Community

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff

LENOX, Mass.—A little over a year ago, 51 Park Restaurant & Tavern, Rob Trask, tapped into a new type of restaurant with the opening of the brewery Antimony Brewing - Craft Brewery & Kitchen.

Following years of location scouting, renovating the space, and preparation, the restaurant opened with the mission to build connections through food, entertainment, and, of course, beer. 

Since its opening on Memorial Day last year, the brewpub, located at 55 Pittsfield Rd, seems to have been embraced by the community, garnering regulars and "a lot of compliments," Trask said. 

"A lot of the condo owners out back are very excited to have the building refurbished, turned around, and have something local for them to go to," he said. 

"We see a lot of regulars coming back. We have a mug club called the Wolfpack and a lot of Wolfpack members who joined when we first opened last year have rejoined for 2024. So that's a good sign."

For $200 a year Wolfpack members get "exclusive access to perks & benefits" including a free antimony brewing wolf pack t-shirt, 10 percent off merchandise, a free stein pour and meal on their birthday, early access to new beer releases, and more. The membership is limited to 100 members per year. More information here

"The community has given us nothing but praise, providing praise on an ongoing basis. They say that they love the fact that we're here being able to create craft beers here. We have a scratch kitchen. They're really, really excited that we're here and they've embraced us with open arms," General Manager Michael Brenes said. 

Building connections through beer and food is ingrained in the business from its name, business partnerships, and mission to bring people together through food, beer, and live entertainment. 

"The name, Antimony was a play on the restaurant name and [Trask's] background in chemical engineering, as it has the element has the atomic number 51," the website says. "Antimony means not alone so it also becomes a great connection for the vision of the brewery as we strive to bring the community together to share good times over great beer."

The logo of the two wolves further plays on this theme by referencing the atomic number's nickname "wolf of metals," which further demonstrates the pub's mission to build connections as "the wolf is a pack animal that thrives in the company of others," the website read. 

The pub brews all its beer in its seven-barrel brew house on site which can also produce 210 gallons of mead. Each batch can take two to three weeks to produce. 

The location being centrally located brings in people from all over the area, Trask said. Although they initially expected a certain age group to be interested in the restaurant, the demographic has been very widespread, from families with children, and seniors, to young professionals in their 20s and 30s.

"I think one of the things that really differentiates us is having a full-service restaurant. There are a couple other [breweries] that have restaurants, but the majority of them are strictly breweries. So I think that helps in bringing a lot of people in," Trask said

Trask said when they first opened a lot of people thought they were only going to serve beer but "pretty much everyone wanted food." He said this is typical which is why a lot of breweries are starting to bring in food trucks or temporary food offerings for their customers.

Antimony's serves pizza, seafood, steaks, and burgers. 

"The goal was to have a lot of great food that's, you know, good with beer. But trying to keep it like a good mix where  It's not just one focus. It's trying to serve as a large demographic," Trask said. 

"So, entrees as far as seafood and steaks. We have bought burgers. The most popular are burgers and chicken sandwiches, but we have pizzas and soups and specials each week. So, we're always trying to change it up and improve it."

Since introducing the pub's Antimony burger, it alone has received close to 10,000 orders, he said. 

Similar to its eclectic clientele, the craft brewery serves between 12 and 13 types of beer from its most popular Inner Displacements to its newest flavor Triple Chocolate Coldhead. 

The Triple Chocolate Coldhead was created in collaboration with Chocolate Springs Cafe,  located across the street at 55 Pittsfield Rd. 

"Basically, I use cacao husks in the mash, chocolate in the boil, and then nibs in the fermenter. So, that's where the triple-triple chocolate name comes from," Brewmaster Jeff Egan said. 

As for the mead, brewing it in-house allows them to fully control the quality of their product, Egan said. 

"When you're brewing in house, you have full control over everything that goes in from the water, to the grain, to the hops, to the yeast, and all the process steps," Egan said. 

"I'm big on if your process is good, that's what's going to make it better. So, that's where you get a huge advantage, you can control every step of the process."

To help build a community space the pub also holds events by partnering with local businesses and artists including a terrarium building class, a candle workshop, and more.

"Working for the company has been nothing short but amazing. The ambiance and atmosphere here is always exciting. We have live music that plays here on the weekends and the kind of commentary that we receive here on an ongoing basis is that customers are really, really happy that we are here," Brenes said. 

Full line up for musical events here

Prior to opening the location, which had been abandoned for four years, underwent a major renovation from the piping, to the plumbing, and installation of the brewery and the infrastructure for the brewery.

"Luckily, the kitchen was fairly intact, but all the bathrooms were redone. The dining room was totally reconfigured to have a different feel, a different vibe in the space," Trask said. 

Despite Trask's initial reservations, the pub brewery launched on Memorial Day last year.

Trask wanted to open in the dead of winter, when it is quiet to allot more time to work on training and to iron out the kinks.

One of their challenges was trying to hire a big enough staff, Trask said. 

"You see the staffing shortage in the Berkshires and everywhere,” he said. “So it was a hurdle."

Since opening they have been working on filling staff after the initial a large portion of staff went back to college in August. They have also been retraining to keep the service level up and maintaining the consistency of the food, he said. 

"We're working on that throughout this time. You know, things are feeling like they're really coming together. But it may take several months to kind of pull all the levers to get things where you want them to be" Trask said. 

More information on the pub here

 

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