Author Archives: ktowle

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BERKSHIRE COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES APPOINTED TO COMMITTEE CHAIRMANSHIPS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17th, 2017
BOSTON – Representative Paul W. Mark (D- Peru) and Representative Gailanne Cariddi (D – North Adams) announce today that they have been named Chair of the House Committee on Redistricting and the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, & Agriculture, respectively, for the 190th General Court. Rep. Mark said, “I am grateful to Speaker DeLeo, the House leadership, and all of my colleagues for the opportunity to serve as chair of this important committee. It is a great honor to be chosen to serve as chair of a committee after only six years in the House. My district has not had a chairmanship since the 1980’s, and there aren’t many subjects more important to western Massachusetts than ensuring that our voices are properly represented at the State House and in Washington, DC.”
Representative Cariddi also expressed her gratitude to House leadership and is looking forward to commencing her Chairwoman duties for the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture, “This committee will be considering many important issues, especially relating to rural areas. It is important that Berkshire County and Western Mass have a voice on these issues. I’m honored to be chosen and excited to get to work.”. The Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, & Agriculture is responsible for considering all matters concerning the Division of Conservation and Recreation’ natural resources and the environment; air, water, and noise pollution and control; hunting and fishing; conservation; sewerage; agricultural and farming issues, and such other matters as may be referred.
“Conservation, recreation, and agriculture are part of the culture of Western Massachusetts. Decisions on this issues disproportionately affect the people of the region compared to other parts of the Commonwealth. I’m looking forward to being a voice for Western Mass.,” said Rep. Cariddi.
The Committee on Redistricting is charged with reviewing and implementing recommendations issued by the 2010 Special Joint Committee on Redistricting as well as preparing for and establishing best practices for the upcoming legislative division of the Commonwealth under the U.S. Constitution and under Article CI of Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution. The committee also serves in an advisory capacity to other joint committees that will consider legislation that could impact the redistricting process.
Rep. Mark added, “Redistricting directly impacts the voice of the people and how they will be represented in both the Massachusetts General Court and the U.S. Congress. It’s a process that must be undertaken fairly, deliberately, and with time for public comment in order to ensure that every region, and every person, has equal representation under the law.”
In the Massachusetts House, Democratic members are nominated for committee assignments and chairmanships by House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop). Those nominations are then considered and ratified by the members of the House of Representatives.
Representative Mark and Representative Cariddi are both commencing their fourth terms in the Massachusetts State Legislature.  Descriptions of all Joint Committees and Standing Senate Committees, as well as the matters pending before them, can be viewed online: https://malegislature.gov/Committee…
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POSTPONED: THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW IN ADAMS

UPDATE: Due to the inclement weather forecast for the area tonight, we are POSTPONING tonight’s “There Ought to be a Law” meeting scheduled at Adams Town Hall. The meeting will instead be held on MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6th in the Select Board Meeting Room at Adams Town Hall.


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BERKSHIRE EAGLE: BEACON SHINES ONCE AGAIN FROM WAR MEMORIAL ON MOUNT GREYLOCK

ADAMS – After three years of darkness, the Veterans War Memorial tower is shining anew.

At 11 a.m. on Veterans Day – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – the beacon at the summit of Mount Greylock was illuminated, said Mike Case, western regional director of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

And it has never burned so brightly.

There are now 12 banks of six light emitting diodes. Each diode emits 27,000 lumens, for a grand total of 1.9 million lumens. It is four times brighter than it was when it was shut down in 2013. Under the right weather conditions, the beacon is visible from 75 miles away.

Indeed, a ranger on Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire reported spotting the new beacon, Case said.

The lighting coincided with the seasonal shut down of the the largely completed, $2.8 million tower restoration project.

Case said there is still “about a week’s worth of cosmetic work to be done,” which will be completed after the roads reopen in the spring.

The tower looks “brand new,” he said. The rotunda is now easily accessible, and the moisture control system is effectively negating the water issues that had caused the tower to decay through decades.

After the reopening in the spring, Case said, “you’ll be able to walk right inside. Everything has been cleaned and polished. It’s absolutely gorgeous.”

The tower was closed in 2013 after water infiltration caused cracking of the exterior stonework and degradation of the interior walls, causing pieces to start falling from the walls and ceilings.

It has been plagued by chronic moisture problems caused by the endless freezing, expanding, thawing, contracting and condensation that comes with extreme weather and temperature changes.

Every winter, the south side of the tower is completely coated by ice, or hard rime frost, in a natural freezing and thawing cycle that is hard to protect against. Moisture creeps into the cracks in the granite stonework and freezes, causing the smaller cracks to grow and allowing moisture through to the interior.

The elevation at the summit of Mount Greylock is 3,491 feet – the highest point in the state. Mount Greylock’s summit is the only subarctic, or boreal, climate in southern New England.

Renovation work began in 2015. Before work stopped in October of that year, workers were able to remove interior finishes needing replacement, repoint masonry on terrace walls, clean the exterior masonry on the tower, and set new concrete on the terrace for the new handicapped-accessible front door.

Allegrone Construction of Pittsfield was the primary contractor on the project.

The 93-foot-tall granite stone tower was constructed in 1932. The water infiltration issues prompted a total reconstruction in the 1970s and major repairs in the 1990s.

This round of repairs includes the resealing of the exterior, repair of ventilation fans, and the installation of a new dehumidification system. In combination with sealants developed specifically for this project and applied between the exterior granite stones, moisture inside the tower will be significantly reduced, hopefully preventing further long-term damage.

Case said the moisture control apparatus is working quite well.

“After we got it running, there was not a drop of water in the tower and there hasn’t been any since,” he said.

There was also a cap installed on the railing of the spiral stairway leading to the observation deck at the top of the tower, as well as new lighting in the memorial and the stairwell.

The project is funded through an $800,000 federal grant, a $1.4 million commitment from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and nearly $600,000 from the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Not including the tower repairs, Mount Greylock has seen $22.5 million in improvements since 2006, including the rehabilitation of its historic parkways, the rehabilitation of its visitor center, and interpretive development.

The tower was built with granite blocks in 1931-32 for about $200,000. It was designed by Boston-based architects Maginnis & Walsh, and built by contractors J.G. Roy & Son of Springfield.

It was dedicated in 1933, according to the Mount Greylock State Reservation website, as “a tribute to courage, endurance, loyalty and self-sacrifice, wherever these qualities have been shown, by the state’s men and women in the uniform of the state or nation,”


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AG HEALEY ANNOUNCES PROGRAM TO PROVIDE LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO VETERANS

Program to Fund Legal Aid Groups and Nonprofits Focused on Helping Massachusetts Veterans
 
BOSTON – On Veterans Day, Attorney General Maura Healey announced a new grant program focused on providing legal assistance to veterans transitioning back into civilian life.
 
The Legal Assistance for Our Veterans Grant program will provide assistance to veterans seeking health benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system, housing and education assistance, discharge status upgrades, general legal representation and veteran-specific employment.
 
“Our veterans and service members have dedicated their lives to serving our country and keeping us all safe, and we need to do everything we can to make sure that they have the representation and tools needed to transition back into civilian life,” AG Healey said. “Our goal with this grant is to improve services for veterans and service members in Massachusetts and ensure access to all the benefits and protections they have earned.”
 
The grant program will utilize $355,000 from a judgment the AG’s Consumer Protection Division secured against Verizon and Sprint. The AG’s Office will give special consideration to applicants who can demonstrate that the grant will be used to serve underrepresented veteran populations including women, minorities and LGBTQ veterans.
 
The Legal Assistance for Our Veterans Grant is open to existing legal aid groups or nonprofit organizations with experience working with veterans, and with a focus on increasing access to services for veterans.
 
This is a two-year grant program that will start on Feb. 1, 2017 and will end on Jan. 21, 2019. Interested applicants can visit the AG’s website, www.mass.gov/ago/grants for more information and for application instructions. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.

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AG HEALEY ANNOUNCES NEW HOTLINE TO REPORT INCIDENTS OF BIAS-MOTIVATED THREATS, HARASSMENT AND VIOLENCE

Attorney General Maura Healey has announced the creation of a new hotline to report incidents of bias-motivated threats, harassment or violence.  Citizens can call the Attorney General’s office at 1-800-994-3228 to report an incident, or they can fill out a civil rights complaint form at this link, or contact the office through one of their social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter


Rep. Cariddi on Facebook