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Jeffrey Rodrigues and Jeffrey Tykot, with Fire Chief Brent Lefebvre and Deputy Chief Robert Patenaude, were sworn in on Tuesday.

North Adams Swears in New Firefighters

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Jeffrey Rodrigues and Jeffrey Tykot take the oath from City Clerk Tina Leonesio.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Two new firefighters were sworn in on Tuesday night during City Council
Jeffrey Rodrigues and Jeffrey Tykot graduated Jan. 26 from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in Springfield having completed the 50-day Career Recruit Firefighting Training Program.
Mayor Jennifer Macksey introduced the firefighters, noting Rodrigues, of Dorchester, is a veteran of the Army Reserve and holds a bachelor of arts with a concentration in criminal justice from the University of Massachusetts at Boston. 
Tykot, of Williamstown, was a member of the New Ashford Fire Department and is a licensed emergency medical technician with Northern Berkshire EMS. He holds a bachelor's degree in international affairs and criminology from Florida State University. 
The two were sworn in by City Clerk Tina Leonesio and pinned by Fire Chief Brent Lefebvre and Deputy Chief Robert Patenaude.
The council also heard two short presentations by City Councilor Andrew Fitch on painting crosswalks to improve safety and beautify the city and to paint electrical boxes for the same reason.
"My purpose here is to produce street crossings for pedestrians which are safe, visible and beautiful for our residents, students and guests, no matter how they get around the city, so that goes for drivers just as much as it goes for pedestrians," he said. 
Both were referred to the mayor's office and the Public Arts Commission; also to the Traffic Commission and the Public Safety Committee. 
The council passed to a second reading and publication the repeal of one ordinance related to noise and moved a second to the Planning Board for repeal. 
The repeals were endorsed by the General Government Committee and had been raised by Councilor Lisa Blackmer because they had different decibel levels (65 and 80) at the property boundary that could cause confusion for residents and enforcement. 
Councilor Ashley Shade, chair of General Government, said the committee had heard from police officers who said the ordinance actually hampered their ability to address disturbances. 
"Having a decibel level in ordinance, having a strict number in there was making it very difficult to enforce disturbing the peace in any meaningful way and also required that additional tools and training be provided in order to meet and measure those decimal numbers," she said. "The recommendation that came out of that meeting was to completely repeal the section in both sections of our ordinances and not have a set decibel level."
Not having a decibel level would give police officers more flexibility when responding to complaints of disturbance of the peace. 
Councilor Wayne Wilkinson, a member of General Government, gave the example of someone mowing their lawn at midnight. The lawnmower might not meet the decibel level but could certainly be regarded as a disturbance of the peace. 
"If the decibel level is not met, they can't do anything at all, which restricts them from other things that might be disturbing," Shade said.
The ordinance was voted to be repealed unanimously; the zoning ordinance had to be reviewed by Planning and a public hearing be held before could be repealed. 
In other business, the mayor presented a proclamation recognizing Black History Month in North Adams. 
The long delayed changes in city fines and fees was again delayed as the city solicitor had responded with a "couple dozen pages with a bunch of recommendations," said Councilor Keith Bona, who has been spearheading the issue. He expected Finance would need a month or two to review it and the matter was referred to come in the first meeting of March. 
• The council dispensed with a number council rule changes proposed by Council President Bryan Sapienza as redundant or unnecessary. All but two of the changes were not recommended by General Government. 
Blackmer motioned to not adopt one that specifically stated the council could reschedule a meeting falling on Christmas Eve by vote, saying the council could simply not set an agenda. 
"I think we start picking dates, we enter a zone I'm not comfortable with," she said. 
Shade supported the change because it allowed the council to decide and because Christmas Eve is a time when many people would be busy with family and holiday observances. 
"I don't think it's a good idea to hold a meeting on a day where the public is not available," she said.
Blackmer agreed that Christmas Eve would be problematic for many reasons but so could Dec. 26. 
"I feel more comfortable changing the ordinance and making it if there's no agenda item and then potentially not putting things on the agenda," she said, adding she would put it in ordinance form. 
Blackmer's motion to not adopt passed 5-4 with Shade, Keith Bona, Peter Oleskiewicz and Sapienza voting no. It was initially thought the motion failed as it did not receive six votes necessary to adopt but because it was to NOT adopt, it was considered passed. 
The council did adopt a rule change saying councilors "should" contact the city clerk, president and, on an amendment by Blackmer, the vice president if they could not make a meeting. It was acknowledged that it was more a reminder since it was unenforceable and passed 7-2 with Wilkinson and Peter Breen voting no. Wilkinson also voted no on the amendment, feeling the rule change was unnecessary. 
Blackmer and Shade both thanked Sapienza for the work he'd done on the rules as bringing out a lot of conversation. 
"I do appreciate all the work you've put into this President Sapienza," said Blackmer. "I know we're kind of cutting a lot of it, but it's given us something a lot to think about and to talk about and I think that's as important as whether or not we adopt everything."

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Annual Teen Invitational Draws More Than 300 Submissions

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Grand-prize winner this year is Owen Hindes, a student at Buxton School, for his drawing on black paper. See more photos here.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — More than 300 students from area high schools entered their work in 12th annual Teen Invitational at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. 
The event is a collaboration between the museum and high school art teachers to inspire young artists and stimulate their creativity.
"These students look to their teachers for that encouragement who say, 'keep going,' who say, 'yes, it is good enough to be seen, submit your work,' and we are so thrilled that they do this every day," Lisa Dent director of public programs. "Every year the participation is different, but we're excited to see that there was participation across all 10 schools and all 10 schools are going to be recognized for the work that they've done."
Participating were Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter School in Adams; Buxton School in Williamstown; Darrow School in New Lebanon, N.Y.; Drury High in North Adams; The Academy in Charlemont; Hoosac Valley High School in Cheshire; McCann Technical School in North Adams; Mount Greylock Regional School in Williamstown; Pine Cobble School in Williamstown; and Pittsfield High School. 
The student exhibition opened on Friday night with a reception, award ceremony and performance by the Drury band and ran through Sunday. There were five $100 awards and one grand prize of $200, sponsored by The Berkshire Eagle. Each recipient also was presented a book from the Artist Foundation for their classroom. 
"We do our best to also recognize individuals who really had the judges had spinning in a good way," said Dent. "These are artists, young artists who we felt like went above and beyond this year, who we felt like deserve a little bit more of the encouragement as we see the extraordinary way that they have moved their practices and presented their work this year."
The $100 winners were Ariel Lachman of McCann Technical School for his miniature version of E.J. Hill's "Brake Run Helix" that recently ended its run at the museum; Shayna Tarr of Darrow School for her textile work; Finn McCafferty of Mount Greylock Regional School for a landscape painting; Marlee Alpi, also from Mount Greylock, for her landscape painting; and Miles Boukalik of Buxton School for his ceramic pieces.
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