Blog - Williamstown, MA
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Updates, Friday September 25th, 2020

 The last weekend in September…wow!

As we head into the weekend, I want to call your attention to a statewide survey the Department of Public Health is conducting to solicit community , for lack of a better word, “feeling” about yourselves and how you’re managing in the midst of this really unprecedented (in most of our lifetimes) pandemic.I took it myself, it’s really straightforward and asks for information which really easy to ask, nothing complicated,  just straight up “tell us how you’re doing”.

Here are their words. I hope that you’ll respond to the survey.

“We write to call your attention to a survey that DPH is conducting that asks the question “How has COVID-19 Impacted You?” The details around the survey are found below as directly pulled from the DPH website. We have partnered with DPH and shared the survey with the AAA Planners as part of the wider effort to conduct the FFY2021 Needs Assessment Project. I should note that the survey is for anyone 14 and older living in MA, and allows for a “taker” to identify if they are completing the survey for another person – caregiver for older adults.

Right now, even people who have not become sick with COVID-19 are managing stress, uncertainty, and isolation during this challenging time. People of color and other communities who have been historically underserved are being hurt the most. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is committed to better serving these communities by learning about their experiences directly through this COVID-19 Community Impact Survey and using answers to create new solutions.

This survey is intended for anyone 14 and older who live in Massachusetts. MA-DPH specifically seeks to hear from communities who have suffered the most through this public health emergency. All answers are anonymous.

The survey is offered online by computer, phone, or tablet. It will take around 10 to 15 minutes to complete. You can choose to complete the survey in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Haitian Creole, and Vietnamese. All survey responses will be anonymous.

Here’s another bit of good news. You may or may not know that the Registry of Motor Vehicles requires everyone over the age of 75 to renew their driver’s license in person. That would be a problem if we North Berkshire people didn’t have a local registry to go to. But we do and starting in October, the RMV has designated Wednesdays to serve the older population. The North Adams RMV will be open every Wednesday to serve Elders whose licences expire in October. You need to make an appointment but really, providing this option in October results in a safer experience and actually, setting space aside for this cohort just makes good sense…says the Council on Aging Director

Can’t answer the question about what happens in November. I would assume that since they opened like this elsewhere in the state in September that November will follow suit. But please folks! Let’s not get to November yet, OK?

Here are the pertinent details;If you are a AAA member, you may make a reservation now to renew your driver’s license/ID at an AAA location. 

 If you are not a AAA member, visit www.Mass.Gov/RMV to make a reservation to renew at an RMV Service Center. Select the Seniors License Renewal option on the Make/Cancel a Reservation transaction.  

Call the RMV at 857-368-8005. 

Here’s another bit of news from our friend Linda at NBSWMD. You can get yourself  a No-Cost Virtual Home Energy Assessment through the Mass Save program.

A No-Cost Virtual home Energy Assessment will reduce your carbon footprint while helping you save on monthly energy costs. HomeWorks Energy  has lots of experience in the eco-friendliest ways you can save energy in your home- such as insulation and air sealing. 

Sign up for an energy assessment by September 30th and receive 100% off the cost of approved insulation through the Mass Save® program! The assessment must be scheduled by September 30th 2020, and performed by October 31st 2020.

Click the link below to schedule your No-Cost assessment>>

Or call: 781-492-0692

By the way, there’s still time to complete your 2020 Census if you haven’t done it yet. Here’s a link; 

Have a great weekend!


Updates, Tuesday September 22nd, 2020

Hey everyone, we’re in the 2020 Falls Prevention Awareness Week, September 21-25 That’s this week. We all know what falls do to a body and how to avoid them. This week is designed to teach people about falls avoidance  and highlight exercises geared  toward staying upright! Speaking of avoiding falls, we’ve added a new class to our Balance Class group, it happens here at Harper on Wednesday Morning at 11:00 on the back patio. Our numbers were growing and with more interested people asking about it, time to add on. So Jane’s classes are now Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 11:00.

Our friends at the Williamstown Theatre Festival,are currently seeking candidates for two full-time year-round positions: Assistant to the Artistic Director (NYC-based / MA in the summers) and Marketing and Public Relations Manager (MA-based). The link to the full job postings and application portal is here:

While we’re at it, Community Works is hosting another live workshop.tomorrow, Wednesday, September 23, 5 PM.  Ever wonder how a director honed their craft? Tune in for a workshop with Community Works Engagement Artist, Maya Davis, and learn some of the skills of directing! From working with actors, to blocking, to design, join this workshop to explore the director’s toolbox!

All ages welcome—no prior experience is required!

This free workshop will be streamed live on Facebook on Wednesday, September 23, 5:00–5:45 PM EDT. No Facebook login or profile is required to watch. A captioned recording of the workshop will also be available

 Residents of NBSWMD will have the opportunity to dispose/ recycle of televisions, furniture, mattresses, appliances, electronics, tires, propane tanks, even the old kitchen sink for the final time in 2020  at the 16th Annual Fall Clean-Up Bulky Waste Collection on Saturday, October 10, 2020. The event has been organized by our friend Linda at the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District with assistance from Carl McKinney, Board Commissioner & Clarksburg DPW.  

 Disposal fees cover the cost of the program. Of course there is a fee but really folks, it can be a small price to dispose of some of the items listed above, right? The price list can also be found here;,

Hey Farmers market fans! They’re late today, they had a computer glitch but Williamstown Essentials have fixed their problem and are back on line and you may now purchase your Saturday market goods at!

That’s all for now. Oh, and Happy Fall! The Autumnal Equinox happened officially at 9:30 this morning. So today you can say that you woke up in the summer and had lunch in the fall. 



Update, Friday September 18th, 2020

The last weekend of summer is upon us. Who would have thought that? Suddenly, boom, it’s time to start fall prepping our gardens and bringing our yard plants inside.Ah, the summer went too quickly  What an absolute bummer!

A bigger bummer is the impending retirement of our primary van operator Jackie Lemieux who leaves us today after more than 21 years service to the Town. She’s returning home to Maine and we wish her nothing but the best as she leaves us and begins a new life back where it all started!

Anyway, Northern Berkshire Habitat is looking for volunteers to help with the finish of the home they’re constructing on Cole Ave. They’ll provide any tools necessary to do the work, you bring a willingness to help out and your own mask.

They’re looking for help this Saturday and maybe beyond. It looks like it’s close to finished!

All tools are provided, masks required and willingness to pitch in to help. Skills are not necessary, a simple ability to follow directions and learn will be sufficient.There is a waiver document that needs to be signed as well.  Oh, and you’ll have to be able to have fun too.

If you’re not able to help them this weekend, there’s another opportunity to be involved next spring as they begin construction of the next new home!

Speaking of the end of summer and, on Saturday the Williamstown Garden Club is holding their annual Fall Houseplant Sale.  This year’s sale will be at the   Milne Public Library on the grounds outside. Lots of plants to choose from to bring home. As an added bonus, the Williamstown Community Chest “Sweet Treat September” continues -if you bring a non perishable food item to support our local food pantry, they”ll will give you a coupon for a “sweet treat” from one of our local businesses. Sounds like a great deal-support the food bank, bring home a plant and get an ice cream too!

For all of you Farmers Market fans,  Williamstown Farmers Market Board is cancellingWFM-Essentials for this week. One of their  on-site staff has had a possible exposure to Covid-19. They’ve been in contact with Jeff Kennedy, our Health Inspector, and have decided to do this with his guidance and,  in an “abundance of caution”. They will provide an update when available.

All orders placed with them  this week will be canceled, and thus there will be NO pick-up this Saturday.

WFM says that you’ll  be receiving a full refund of the amount you paid for food this week.They’ll notify you of the cancellation electronically. 

It’s not the same as sticking close to home here in Williamstown but the North Adams and Bennington Farmers Markets are open for in person shopping Saturday morning…

The need for donated blood is still out there so if you’re healthy and not hosting any plagues, there are a couple upcoming dates locally, in North County anyway, where you can help out in a big way. The Berkshire Health Systems Bloodmobile September dates for North County have been scheduled as indicated below;

9/21: Adams Community Bank, Park St, Adams, 9:00am -2:30pm

9/28: Walmart of North Adams, Curran Memorial Highway, North Adams, 9:00am-2:30pm

Both of these dates are Saturdays.

Appointments are needed so please call 413.447.2597 to sign up, I’m sure that they’ll be glad to hear from you.

Enjoy the last weekend of summer! And…watch for frost in your gardens!


Updates, Tuesday September 15th, 2020

September 15th is “Make a Hat Day”…eh?

I don’t know if you have all noticed the report or not but beginning in early October, I think on Monday the 5th, the Berkshire Eagle will be making some changes in the way they publish the newspaper. Looks like the Sunday paper will be combined with Saturday as a weekend edition and they won’t be doing a print edition on Monday anymore. I have heard that there will be paper editions Tuesday through Friday as usual. Regardless, it appears to be a move away from paper and more toward electronic media. Is anyone really surprised?

Well, the list of states it’s safe to visit or receive visitors from has changed once more. The current list of safe states to travel to and receive visitors from now includes; 

Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming. Now this is a fairly crazy list isn’t it? It’s changing so fast it’s scary. Anyway, in the way of a reminder, and we’re seeing lots of different licence plates here lately, here’s the “must do” list, which in itself hasn’t changed;

All visitors entering Massachusetts from outside the low risk states, including returning residents, who do not meet an exemption, are required to:

Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless you are visiting from a lower-risk state designated by the Department of Public Health.

Quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts. If your COVID-19 test result has not been received prior to arrival, visitors, and residents must quarantine until they receive a negative test result.Failure to comply may result in a $500 fine per day. Just saying…

And thanks for wearing your mask everyone!

 I was able to connect with the person who will be responsible for arranging the annual Flu Shot Clinic for 2020 and at this moment there is a large outdoor event scheduled for Saturday October 3rd on the grounds of Mt Greylock Regional High School, time and other details TBD.There will be an advanced registration process and they’re hoping to see as many people as possible on that day rather than doing a series of smaller clinics all over the place.That’s all I have at the moment so stay tuned.

Has everyone seen the shed parked on the Village Green on Main Street? Can’t miss it really…The shed is being offered for raffle by Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, it’s a raffle and tickets are available for purchase. One ticket is only $10, but you can buy five for $25 or ten for $40. Funds generated from the raffle will help Habitat in their mission to build affordable housing here in North Berkshire.  

Here’s a link to purchase tickets electronically;  here

Tickets may also be purchased at their office at 61 Main Street, Suite 246, North Adams from 9 am until noon (Mon-Fri). Need more information?Look here; or call 774-212-7863

Here’s a policy note from our friends at Williams. Those of you with swim passes, gym passes or walking people might note this…

Campus Visitors & Use of College Resources

We continue to maintain a no visitor policy at this time out of an abundance of caution.  This  policy includes family (e.g. partners, spouses, children, etc.) of faculty and staff, as well as community members.  Only faculty, staff, and students enrolled in on-campus instruction should be inside of campus buildings.

We also encourage everyone to respect the campus quarantine students are under regarding the use of outdoor facilities.  Given that students are restricted to a campus quarantine, except for hiking, running, or biking, for the month of September, we are prioritizing Athletic spaces for student use. The Athletics Department has published information on their website about outdoor recreation opportunities, as well as information on the use of facilities. Athletics staff will begin their structured activities starting on Monday, September 14th. You may see physical education classes and varsity cohort practices outdoors, signage will mark these designated areas for these activities. These facilities will be closed to other users during these classes and practices. Please check the schedule before heading to an outside venue, and be respectful if asked to leave.

That’s it for today.


 Updates,Friday September 11th, 2020

 Some of you remember a session we had a couple years ago with some friends from AARP Massachusetts which was called “home fit”.I was unable to attend the program but everyone who did raved about it and brought back lots of helpful information on home adaptations to make you “home fit”…get it?

Anyway, home fit has been a reliable guide and resource for elders looking to make modifications to improve safety in the home and subsequently enhance a person’s ability to remain independent.Now the guide has been updated to reflect changes and ideas which have occurred since the last iteration.

Here’s a link; The HomeFit Guide from AARP

The guide is also useful for elected officials, policymakers, planners and local leaders to learn about and advocate for the types of housing features and designs that communities need so their residents can live safely and comfortably in their own homes and not somewhere else.

The Williamstown Community Chest is hosting Sweet Treat September this Saturday, actually that’s tomorrow folks,  (with more dates tbd).  Here is an opportunity to support the local food pantries and have a sweet treat at the same time! You can find out about the Sweet treat event here;

Now here’s some news for renters….The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a federal order that prevents residential evictions for qualifying renters through December 31, 2020 to help to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. You can see a copy of this news with all the details in the Federal Register. I added a link to the information  for you to look at below..

 To be protected, qualified renters must provide a signed declaration to their landlord that they have experienced a loss of income, made best efforts to pay rent, attempted to obtain relevant government assistance, and have an annual income of no more than $99,000 for an individual, or $198,000 for a family. A little bit more that i may have expected , then again I don’t live in a city nor pay those expenses.

Declaration Form

[PDF – 58 KB]

Oh…Balance Class was rained out yesterday. At the moment we’ll be doing just 2 classes, one each on Monday and Thursday. Seems like included in lour current numbers are folks who can only come one day or the other. This might work for now, if not, drawing board.

Good weekend all.


Updates, Tuesday September 8th, 2020

What was it they used to say about Labor Day? Summer is over after Labor Day? Don’t wear white after Labor Day? Both? Who cares…it’s after Labor Day and it’s pretty nice out there today if you ask me!

SAGECents is a  collaboration between SAGE  and LifeCents,  a digital wellness platform made specifically for LGBT elders to increase financial stability and reduce economic stress.SAGE is a national organization  offering supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older people and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. They’re one of the players on the aging resources team. With support from the Wells Fargo Foundation, the program is intended to help ensure that LGBT elders have access to resources that will support their financial literacy and stability as they navigate the unprecedented economic environment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. With SAGECents, LGBT elders will receive accurate and current information and have access to helpful resources and tools personalized to their age, income, financial goals, and more. COVID-19 is impacting all of us, but it doesn’t need to impact your finances.Click here to sign up today!

And here’s a link to LifeCents 

Linda at NBSWMD has  an informative poster around what to do with latex paint now that there are no more paint collections. Unfortunately the link didn’t work for me but you can find it and more useful information on their website;

All right, this is an update to the update last week regarding  the Affordable Housing Trust. They’ve  decided to raise the grant ceiling on the town’s emergency rental assistance program and restart the DeMayo Mortgage Assistance Program.. Now, the maximum award from the WERAP, the Williamstown Emergency Rental Assistance Program, I supposed that you could call it the We-Rap program… is increased  this time from $2,500 to $4,000. This is the second time they have raised the available amount for grants since the program started back in the spring.

For more information: Please contact Liz Costley at 413-884-5383 or

Good news eh? 

OK, this is from the Housekeeping Department…

To request a Vote By Mail ballot, go to

 You can also track your ballot by using this ballot tracking link to make sure your ballot was accepted (

If you haven’t completed the 2020 Census yet, you can still respond online, by phone, or by mail. This is the link that provides you with different choices on how you can respond . Please remember that this Census is crucial to shaping the future of your community!

Talk again soon.


Updates, Wednesday September 2nd, 2020

September always gets the short end of the emotional “end of summer” thing that so many people have expressed across the years, you know, there’s a vague unease heralding September’s arrival. . September is, by and large, a summer month, most of its days fall in the season and there is generally a lot of really nice weather during the month, sometimes actually perfect, warm but not July heat. As an adult (most of the time) I think the September discomfort comes from hard wired  residual memories of summer crashing to a halt when the school bell rang long ago.I’ve outgrown that, the school bell no longer haunts me in any manner. September is a great month. I hope you enjoy it too!

So….the Balance Class has attracted a very large number of potential participants and subsequently not everyone will be able to attend every class. Jane and I will be conversing about this tomorrow before the class and there will be an announcement following. At the moment it looks like we will likely split the group into two separate clusters and add a class. That means half of you will be in 2 designated classes and the rest in a likely new arrangement. We won’t be offering the classic exercise class anytime soon, Cov-19 is spread by respiratory particles and some of the strenuous exercise routines produce, let’s say exacerbated breathing…This will allow us the temporary luxury of establishing a second set of Balance Classes. The added bonus in splitting is that when we come back inside later in the fall, spacing and size will fit within the state guidelines. Anyway, more details will follow between tomorrow and the next class,TBD as they say. There are no classes on Monday, it’s Labor Day and your friendly local COA friends are all staying home…

You’ll remember that I told everyone that if there was a need for meals assistance following the end of the meals from the School District that a referral to Elder Services for Meals on Wheels would be in order and that  we would be happy to help facilitate that. Here’s a link to their menu for the month of September so anyone who’s interested can see what they’re offering for lunch. You can call us here at Harper or better yet, send questions directly to them at 413.499.0524. Current Month’s Menu (PDF) When you wave your cursor over it, it appears to be saying August, ignore that, it comes up September when you click on it.

September is  National Preparedness Month.  Governor Baker has proclaimed September to be Emergency Preparedness Month in Massachusetts. Here’s a link;

I think we’ve all become experts on being prepared to respond personally to a pandemic. This community came out in force to help those who needed it and I just want us all to once again thank all those people from many different professions and services who came out every day, not knowing where Cov-19 was lurking and while potentially risking all, kept the wheels turning. We may not have been prepared for an invisible adversary, but we all came together and pitched in. Thanks for working every day, thanks for wearing masks and social distancing, thanks for everything!

Finally our friend Amanda at the nbCC has sent me a link to a pretty cool looking webinar on mobility options for older adults, safe walking, biking and transportation issues.

Might be an interesting program, it has been a rather big theme and topic of conversation around here in recent months. Check it out if you’re interested, it’s still a few weeks away . Time to think about it.

That’s it for the week I think, I’m away for a few days so we’ll talk again next week. Have a good weekend and a good holiday too.


Updates, Monday August 31st, 2020

August is over? Really?

It appears that things are starting to look up as the Governor has added to the states you can visit and accept visitors from without having to follow strict Coronavirus rules about travel and quarantine. Now, visitors and Massachusetts residents returning home from Colorado, Delaware, West Virginia and Pennsylvania are exempt from the Bay State’s travel order mandating a two-week quarantine period, according to the latest travel restrictions.

The updated order adds the four states to the list of those exempt from the order, according to the state website. If you look at the map attached to the link you’ll see Colorado out there all alone and surrounded by a sea of red, also note that it appears that Hawaii has been added to the restricted states.Rhode Island is still red…. The updated order and the new exemptions took effect Saturday.

Now here’s a bit of really interesting news for a Monday. I received an email from Linda Cernik at the NBSWMD this morning telling me that pizza boxes are recyclable! Apparently they have been for 2 years and…well…I didn’t know that! It would have been a lot less of a hassle if I had known that pizza boxes didn’t  have to be ripped apart and tossed before today! They take up too much room in the trash can right? 

Anyway, for a long time they told us that pizza boxes were too greasy to recycle and so into the rubbish bins they went. Now the recycling industry is saying that a little grease or pizza residue like cheese won’t affect anything. There was a study by some entity called West Rock to this effect and here’s a link to that study Grease on pizza boxes is not a problem! 

The recycling industry is now more than ever interested in recovering your pizza boxes because apparently there’s a shortage of cardboard. It’s part of the fallout from Covid-19. Think about it, there’s way more order and delivery arriving at our homes than there was last year because of the stay home associated with the pandemic. Here are some interesting links on the subject of pizza boxes and recycling them. Almost everybody likes a good pizza. Now that we don’t have to be ripping or crushing a box into the trash, all the better! Here are some interesting pizza box links Linda has shared with us.

Waste Advantage – Don’t Trash the Box: Domino’s and WestRock Partner to Encourage Customers to Recycle Their Pizza Boxes

Waste Advantage – AF&PA and Industry Partners Aim to Set the Record Straight – Pizza Boxes Are Recyclable, Grease and Cheese Not an Issue

Dominos – Recycle My Pizza Box

Food and Wine – Can Greasy Pizza Boxes Be Recycled or Not?

Fast Company – Your old pizza box isn’t actually too greasy to recycle 

The Recycling Partnership – Recycling Pizza Boxes (includes social media posts you can download)

Thanks for the fun, good Monday news Linda!

Alright then, on with the Monday food resource updates. I don’t think we’re going to run the same litany over and over again, the standing resources are the same as they were last week and you can find them in last Monday’s update report conveniently located on the Williamstown Municipal Website, in a teal box within the grey band right below the picture of Spring Street and the online services buttons. Any questions?

A couple of notes relative to this would be appropriate. The North Adams Mobile FoodBank Wesatern Mass  pantry is in the parking lot at the Brien Center this coming Friday at10:00. That’s on Ashland Street. 

The meals from the MGRHS have stopped, they’ve been over for a week and so far nobody has asked for a Meals on Wheels referral to Elder Services.Call us here at Harper if you need noon meal assistance with this. Or you can call them directly, 413.499.0524

Finally, we still have Farmer Market Coupons but I’ll be turning them back at the end of the week. Some of our usual recipients don’t want them this year because the Williamstown Market is electronic order only. That’s OK but remember, you can use them at the North Adams Farmers Market which is live outdoors Saturday morning on the grounds of the Armory on Ashland Street.

OK, the Balance Class.Monday and Thursday at 11:00 on the terrace here outside Harper weather permitting. There are 15 seven and a half foot square concrete slabs out there, perfect to keep everyone socially distanced. This means that we have room for a maximum of 15 total participants. If it’s too close, or people don’t stay in their square we’ll reduce the number of participants and think about adding another session. So you have to socially distance, and wear a mask..  It’s looking like there will be about 13 people per session. That will be a good number. 

Classes begin on Thursday September 3rd at 11 and will continue outside until the weather snaps. Then we’ll  see about inside configuration. This is all weather permitting of course. Questions call us here at 413.458.8250. If you want to join, email Jane at 

See you in September….


Updates, Friday August 29th, 2020

Yesterday we had a first ever event. For the first time in the history of the Williamstown Council on Aging we had a real rain out. The morning Tai Chi class was cancelled because of rain. Of course, the class is being held outside at the moment because of restrictions placed on us by the Coronavirus infections everywhere but Berkshire County.. The rain washed it away.And…unlike MLB, you won’t need a raincheck to enter the next class!

Massachusetts Sales Tax Holiday Weekend is upon us! Yes, despite the soft economy, Massachusetts will be observing the annual tradition of a tax free weekend, Saturday and Sunday August 29 & 30, 2020.   The sales tax holiday applies to individuals purchasing retail items for personal use only, sales are limited to items costing $2,500 or less.  Time to start thinking about your retail therapy trip to Williamstown

Here’s a calendar marker announcement; Residents of the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District, and that’s all of you folks reading this in Williamstown,  will have the opportunity to dispose of all that bulky stuff hanging around and needing to be replaced with space for something new..

Thus, items such as furniture, mattresses, appliances including refrigerators, electronics, etc.are all fair game for disposal. The collection is sponsored by the Town of Lanesborough’s Board of Selectmen and is being organized through the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District and it’s Director, Linda Cernik.. “Bulky Waste” is a term used to describe large household items that cannot be disposed of in regular household trash. No Hazardous Materials or construction debris accepted.You know what this is right?

Here’s a link to the District site-look under “special collections” for exact information on what can be disposed of at the collection and the cost per item to be disposed; 

Oh yeah. The event is being held on Saturday September 12th from 8:00AM to noon at the Lanesborough Highway Department yard at 10 Maple Court, which is on the right just before St Lukes Church.

Checks to NBSWMD or cash only. If paying with cash, please have small bills. .

For more information, call the NBSWMD at (413) 743-8208 and by the way, pre re- registration is NOT required.

Here’s another scam alert from one of our Williamstown neighbors…yup, they’re still out there. The latest is some idiot calling and claiming to be from Social Security telling folks who answer their phones that there is a warrant attached to their SS number and “unless you call this number by 5:00”  they will serve you with the warrant… So far, two people have  received this call and neither of them have bitten. Good for them. They know that Social Security never calls. You can smell a scammer a mile away.  Beware

And now the news you’ve waited for. The Balance Class will resume in person-outside- starting next Thursday, September 3rd, here at Harper. Jane has contacted all the participants by email, we think, and newly interested folks need to contact us here, 413.448.8250. We won’t have the final details in place until Monday’s updates so you’ll have to wait in suspense until then. Given the number of inquiries, we may have to split the class into half participating on Mondays, the rest on Thursdays as we go forward. We’ll know more Monday morning.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday August 26th, 2020

Today is officially “Women’s Equality Day” commemorating the 1920 adoption of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution prohibiting states and the Feds from denying the right to vote based on an individuals sex. One hundred years ago… The Williamstown Historical Museum is in week five of their Women Suffrage series and this week they’re highlighting someone a local summer space has been named for. Find these stories  here; 

Speaking of voting, here’s a link to an interesting pro vote organization; If it’s helpful, use it or pass it on. It came in an email to me from the National COA. I love the clock feature!

Last week the US Drought Service released information regarding the situation in Massachusetts  and we-western Berkshire County-are listed as “Abnormally Dry”. Seems pretty droughty to me and my gardens and burnt lawn will tell you that they’re really dry. Really warm summer has dried everything out and we all know that there are water use guidances out there now right? Anyway, lately I’ve been smelling smoke while out and about, fire pits, cook outs, all sorts of burning that I wouldn’t ordinarily notice, however, given the dry out there, please be careful! And watchful. We don’t want to have a fire situation here in Williamstown…

You might remember that we once talked about the Williamstown Affordable Housing Trust raising the ceiling on grants offered by the Williamstown Emergency Rental Assistance Program.They still have available funding and given the additional funds they received at the annual Town soiree at Weston Field last week, they have even more cash to share.  Grant amounts have increased  from $1,000 to $2,500 The criteria remain the same: applicants have to be at or below 100% of AMI (preference for 80% or below); adversely affected financially by COVID-19 and must be renting in Williamstown. Online applications are available from the Berkshire Housing website at or by calling 413.499.4887 to leave a message.They’ll definitely call you back.

Today when I went out in the yard with my morning coffee I noticed a distinct chill in the air. Uh-oh…Anyway, we’re approaching heating season and for those of you who are recipients of various types of fuel assistance, renewals have started. If you’re involved with the “consumables” program-using propane, wood (wood-I didn’t know that was covered) or oil for heat your renewals have already gone out so if you haven’t gotten anything, call them, the North Adams office number is 413.663.3014. Gas and electric heat program participants will be getting their renewal notices “in September”…which is next week. (September is next week!!?) look for it. New applications will also be processed in September and they tell me that it will be a telephone interview essentially where an individual’s eligibility for fuel assistance will be assessed. Apparently it’s a 10-15 minute process. Use the same number listed above to apply or ask questions.

Tomorrow, Jane and I will be talking about restarting the Balance Class outside. Stay tuned for more details.

That’s it for today.