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Local emergency responders and members of the State Police Bomb Squad confer on Hoxsey Street on Thursday afternoon during the investigation of a suspicious package reported at Williams College's Wachenheim Science Center, right.

Williams College Gives All-Clear After 'Suspicious' Package Found

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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Williamstown Fire and Northern Berkshire EMS stood by at the scene during the investigation of a suspicious package at Williams College's Wachenheim Science Center on Thursday.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A suspicious package that caused the evacuation of Williams College's Wachenheim Science Center on Thursday has been determined to be not dangerous. 
A post on the college website at 4 p.m. stated the "device was determined not to be a bomb or other danger."
The college said all buildings, residences and streets are reopened that no further updates will be made. 
In a message to the Williams community, President Maud Mandel said she could not speak to some particulars. 
"There are limits on what I can share due to the fact that police are continuing to investigate and some facts simply are not known to us," she wrote.
Mandel said a package was delivered just after noon to Wachenheim and the person who opened it immediately called campus safety, who called both the Williamstown Police and Fire Departments. 
"The nature and purpose of its contents were unclear and concerning to the people involved," said the president. "As a precaution, we promptly evacuated all academic buildings, residences and streets within a set perimeter. Given that we could not rule out the possibility that the contents were dangerous, the state bomb squad was called in. 
"This is a precautionary measure built into our standard safety protocols for such situations."
Hoxsey Street was blocked off by the Police Department and an alarm had been sounding in the neighborhood since at least 1:30 p.m. 
The State Police Bomb Squad arrived shortly before 3 p.m. and the alarms were shut off about 3:42 p.m. when the squad gave the all-clear.
A post on the college website said its ability to work with authorities and follow protocols "enabled prompt resolution" of the matter. Mandel said people were allowed to re-enter the buildings once the package was determined to be safe. 
She said there is no information indicating a threat to people at Williams and no basis for speculating on the source or intent of the package. 
Anyone with information that might be relevant should contact the Williamstown Police at 413-458-5733 or Campus Safety at 413-597-4444. 
Mandel expressed gratitude to the people whose "quick actions triggered our response" and to Campus Safety and local law enforcement and emergency responders.
"We are making resources available to anyone in our community who needs them after today's events and messages," she said. "If you or someone you know wants support, please reach out to Integrative Wellbeing Services, the chaplains, the cans, OIDEI, or any faculty or staff member to whom you feel comfortable talking. We are all here to help."
The college is wrapping up the spring semester and commencement is set June 2. 
Complete write-thru 8:50 p.m.

Tags: evacuation,   Williams College,   

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Bicycle Film Festival Comes to The Berkshires

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Bicycle Film Festival (BFF) has traveled to London, Tokyo, and Melbourne – in total 100 cities around the globe. 
Now, for the first time, this acclaimed festival celebrating the bicycle in all its forms lands in the Berkshires at The Stationery Factory in Dalton on June 16. 
Experience a day-long festival featuring two curated screenings of short films accompanied by family-friendly rides and bicycle-related vendors. The festival is hosted by the Pittsfield Community Design Center and the Berkshire Chapter of New England Mountain Biking Association (NEMBA). 
The festival's inaugural sponsor is Housatonic Heritage with more to come.
According to a press release:
BFF: Berkshires is designed to appeal to cyclists of all ages and interests from mountain bikers to long-distance racers and everyone in between. BFF: Berkshires offers an international window into the passionate cycling movement by presenting films of a caliber that speak to film connoisseurs and avid cyclists alike. These films celebrate what makes bicycling special and showcase why bicycling is attracting a growing following worldwide, including in the Berkshires.
"I wanted to bring the excitement I experienced watching the virtual Bicycle Film Festival over the past few years in person to my community in Western Massachusetts," BFF: Berkshires' co-producer and Pittsfield Community Design Center organizer Nick Russo said. "This festival promises to kick off a true bike renaissance that builds on work being done countywide from the expansion of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail to encouraging more students to bike to school."
With an Adventure Shorts screening at 2 pm and Select Shorts at 6 pm featuring 16+ films in total, BFF: Berkshires will bring local audiences a full range of documentaries, narratives, and animations by award-winning directors and emerging talents – all sharing equal billing. 
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