Dalton Fire District Works to Improve Website

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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DALTON, Mass. — The Fire District is working on updating its website to improve community communication. 
 
The district is working with local branding, website design, and digital marketing agency Gemini Creative to update the current website to make it Americans with Disabilities Act compliant and user friendly. 
 
"We are light years ahead from where we need to be," Fire Chief Christian Tobin said during the Board of Water Commissioners meeting on Tuesday. 
 
Gemini Creative is located in Stockbridge and, according to its website, is currently working with the Dalton Recreation Association, Berkshire Housing, and Dovecote Homes. 
 
The website needs to be updated so that the district can upload and improve accessibility to meeting minutes, agendas, handbooks, and other documents for residents and staff, Tobin said. 
 
"We need an interactive website that's exciting, that draws people into the fire district," 
 
The district not only needs a platform for residents but also a website that helps with recruiting and retention. That way it can go out to local colleges and high schools, he said. 
 
The initial cost of the website's design is approximately $4,800. This may change depending on what the district wants to include in the design. According to a document from the agency there is a $200 an hour fee for work outside the scope. 
 
The Fire and Water Departments will be splitting the cost to kick off the project and have enough funds to cover it in this year's budgets. 
 
According to the agency's document, The yearly retainer for hosting, backup, and maintenance is projected at $600 a year. 
 
Gemini Creative will host the district's new website on its server and will be responsible for the website being available online. 
 
If anything goes wrong with the website, district employees can reach out to the agency to solve the issue. New versions of WordPress and any plugins will be installed when they become available. 
 
The website and database will be backed up every evening. 
 
The agency plans to design the website in April, develop it in May, and hopefully launch it sometime in July. 

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Dalton Board of Health Approves Green Burial Verbiage

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
DALTON, Mass. — The Board of Health approved wording for the green burial guidelines during its meeting on Wednesday. 
 
The guideline stipulates that "Ebola or any other diseases that the CDC or Massachusetts Department of Public Health deem unsuitable for green burials can not be approved by the town Board of Health." 
 
The board has been navigating how to include communicable diseases in its guidelines to prevent them from spreading.  
 
Town Health Agent Agnes Witkowski has been working to clarify the state's guidelines regarding infectious diseases and green burials. 
 
She attended a presentation on green burials and consulted with people from various organizations, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where it was determined that the state is behind in developing guidelines for green burials.
 
Currently, the only disease that would prevent someone from being able to have a green burial is ebola, board member Amanda Staples-Opperman said. Bugs would take care of anything else. 
 
The town running into situations surrounding an unknown disease would be a very rare occurrence, board members said. 
 
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