Community Contra Dance in Williamstown

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — North Berkshire Community Dance will hold its monthly contra dance on Saturday, Feb. 10.  
 
Popular young caller Liz Nelson will teach every dance to live traditional fiddle music from the local band, Cider Mountain.
 
According to a press release, Contra dancing is a living tradition in New England; for hundreds of years, neighbors and friends have made their own social entertainment in this easy and highly collaborative dance form. All are welcome.  Come alone, or with friends -- most people change partners for each dance throughout the evening. New dancers and families with children are encouraged to arrive by 7:30 for instruction in the basics.
 
Liz Nelson, the caller, will teach all the dances in an inclusive and welcoming style, using gender-neutral phrasing. Liz believes that anyone and everyone can dance. Her goal is to help create evenings where music becomes movement and moving together becomes joy, just as natural as breathing.
 
The band, Cider Mountain, will be led by Tony Pisano on the accordion. Tony, Butch DeGiorgis (whistles and mandolin), Doone MacKay (fiddle), and Seamus Connor (guitar and mandolin) will be joined by Bill Matthiesen on piano.  Music will be the classic jigs, reels, and waltzes of New England and surrounding areas, played with joy and the camaraderie of decades.
 
The dance will run 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. in the Community Hall of the First Congregational Church, 906 Main St., Williamstown. Admission is pay-as-you-can:  $12 - $20 suggested, and barter is also welcome. 
 
Covid Policy: NBCD encourages masks, but no longer requires them. Be aware that, whoever your partner, you'll wind up dancing with everyone in the room. You may wish to bring a spare mask to change into for comfort throughout the evening.
 

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Williamstown Charter Proposal Sparks Concern over 'Separation of Powers'

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Select Board and Planning Board this week clashed over a proposal that would add to the town charter a mechanism to ensure compliance with the foundation of town government.
 
The Select Board on Monday night finalized the warrant for the annual town meeting.
 
Most of the 42 articles on the agenda for the Thursday, May 23, meeting were recommended by the Select Board for passage with little or no comment. The primary exception was Article 32, one of five articles to result from deliberations of the Charter Review Committee.
 
The review committee spent about a year and a half reviewing the 68-year-old charter, which has not received a major revision over the last seven decades.
 
In consultation with consultants from the Collins Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston and after reviewing best practices from municipalities around the commonwealth, the Charter Review Committee developed a number of recommendations to town meeting.
 
Most of the proposed revisions clarify existing charter language and bring the document in line with town practices that have evolved over the last half century (Article 30). Two of the articles resulting from the CRC are not actually charter changes at all but town bylaw proposals (Articles 33 and 34).
 
Two proposals would make substantive changes to the charter: adding a recall provision (Article 31) and creating a mechanism to enforce the charter (Article 32).
 
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