Blog - Williamstown, MA
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Updates, Monday June 29th, 2020

It simply cannot be the end of June already can it…?

Don’t forget, there’s a Blood Drive at the Williamstown Historical Museum, tomorrow, Tuesday, June 30 from 9am – 2:30pm. They’re looking for healthy donors without Covid symptoms. They’d like participant donors to schedule in advance to avoid lines and congestion.  To schedule an appointment today call (413) 447-2597 x 2 or email camuso@bhs1.org

Speaking of the Museum, they’re in week 9 of 9 in the spring scavenger hunt and this time they’re talking about block houses, specifically the one which stood once upon a time in Williamstown. Do you know where this might be? Go find it!

Goodwill Industries tell us that despite the pandemic and all the associated mess they’re still dedicated to helping just a little differently. They’re hosting “Virtual Employability Workshops”  offered July 28-30, August 25-28 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. If you’re interested, email them here ; missionservices@goodwill-berkshires.org You could also make a phone call to  Kathy Anker at 413-442-0061 x19

The Goodwill Suit Your Self Program is now offering curbside service. If you, or someone you know has a job interview coming up, you can dress for success! Interested folks should contact their supporting agencies to be connected with the program or you can fill out an online application, here’s a link to the website; www.missionservices@goodwill-berkshires.org  

Speaking of job hunting, the North Adams Career Center is available for assistance with resumes, job search, and interview preparation. Email them at the mission services address above for information or call them at  413-442-0061 x14 to make an appointment to meet with someone.

Much to everyone’s dismay, or maybe I should say continued dismay,  the Covidization of the world has cancelled lots of opportunities all over including our hometown 4th of July fireworks. OK, as my mother would have said;”whatever”. Fear not, the holiday will not pass without some events and recognition. Check out the Chamber of Commerce website, Sue has posted all sorts of information on virtual and outside events happening this weekend in Williamstown. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t rain…

OK, here’s your food news for the week;

The  mobile food pantry from the FoodBank of Western Massachusetts, usually held in North Adams on the first and third Fridays each month is cancelled for this week. There is no plan to reschedule. Holiday you know?

Williamstown Farmers Market – Essentials!, the virtual market is accepting orders at www.WFMEssentials.org  weekly from 10:00  Monday  until 7PM on Wednesday . Pick up is from 11am until 1pm  on Saturday. Orders are pre-bagged, pre-sorted, you’ll find them in the parking lot behind the Williamstown Elementary School.

Berkshire Grown  has a link to  all sorts of different farms and food sources. Here’s that link: https://berkshiregrown.org/shop-local-now/

The North Adams Farmers market is open, here’s the link  with order information:-www.Facebook.com/NorthAdamsFarmersMarket/ 

The Salvation Army Food Pantry on  River Street in North Adams is in operation Tuesday-12:00-3:00. Please use the front door

The Al Nelson Friendship Center Food Pantry at the St. Elizabeth Parish Center on Holden Street is open  Wednesday, 10:00-2:00 and 3:30-5:30. Plenty of parking. Their phone message says that they’ll deliver if you don’t have access to transportation, call them between 9:30 and 1:30 on Wednesdays for delivery. Here’s the contact information; 413.664.0123 or via email at;

northernberkshireinterfaith@gmail.com  

 The Community Bible Church Food Pantry, 160 Bridges Road, Williamstown, has food and are happy to share. Call Phyllis Babcock (413) 663-6094 and she will meet you at church at your convenience.

The Williamstown Food Pantry at St Patrick/St Raphael Church, 9:00-12:00 Wednesday. Southworth St. Same procedure, circle the church,, stay in your car, someone will help. Walkers to the front of the line, you go first. 

Berkshire Food Project-take-out only on M-W-and F. Enter through the breezeway and exit from the dining room out to Summer Street. Wear a mask to participate and this includes while waiting in line and practice Social Distancing. BFP will provide a mask if you don’t have one. The number of folks allowed inside is currently limited, there will be a count. BFP staff will open the doors for you, you’ll only be touching your food. There are also no restroom facilities available for use at this time.. https://www.berkshirefoodproject.org/

Check out Jane’s Exercise Class # 12 now on Willinet. www.willinet.org 

Just a note to thank everyone for being courteous to their neighbors, wearing your masks and social distancing. The Covid numbers are on the rise in other places but fortunately not here. Keep up the good work!

Brian O’Grady

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

Thank you mask makers and shoppers!

The Lancet, an English medical journal was quoted recently by CNN  (in my iphone Apple news feed) as indicating that if people practice social distancing  without a facemask your chances of contracting Coronavirus is about 17.4% however…the study further indicates that transmission chances are reduced to 3.1% when a face mask is worn. The CDC now says that it’s pretty convinced that 40% of transmissions occur before people feel sick. 

So…are masks important? You betcha!

When this COVID-19  crisis started we had exactly 12 masks here in Harper. We purchased them a few years-yes, years-ago for use during random clinics along the way but never used them. Most of our friends and neighbors were in the same category. Who knew? While we set about looking to find masks, a serious number of community residents contacted us and asked if we could use their help in creating cloth face covers for the community. We were quite happy to accept their assistance. The people listed here represent the individuals who have taken the time and in some cases, used their own resources and in all cases, their personal skills to create face coverings which may have actually saved lives. When you see them, thank them for their efforts. 

Madeline Burdick

Alison Case

Bonnie Clark

Melissa Cragg

Jennifer Howlett

Mary Johnson

Mary King

Jeanne Marklin

Fern Murtaugh

Mercedes Nawrocki

Polly Macpherson

Nancy Sacco

Margo Sanger

Mary Strout

Anne Singleton

Sharron William

Then there are  the members of the Williams Mask Initiative who organized sewers within the Williams community to create face coverings, helped arrange collection, distribution and delivery of masks to where they were needed across the whole of Northern Berkshire;

Rachel Cross

Chole Henderson 

Julia Pham

And…

Thank you shoppers!

When this all started back in early March the majority of people who lived here in Williamstown managed shopping on their own. I mean, really, don’t you just want to go and look at everything yourself? Of course you do!

Then the Coronavirus came to Massachusetts and everything changed. While many elder Townies decided that they were not  staying home and continued to shop, some during designated hours, others whenever the need arose. Others opted for delivery or curbside. Have to eat right? 

Then there were other people who, generally due to limitations brought on by an organic something which weakened their immune system, couldn’t safely negotiate food shopping regardless of when. We asked for volunteers and into the mess isolation created stepped some very brave people who were willing to go “into the storm” as they say to shop for their homebound neighbors. So, when you see these people, thank them too!

Carolyn Brooks

Liz Costley

Trish Gorman

Kathleen Hakes

Valerie Hall

Carmel Kushi

Susan Mahler

Jim Mahon

Nicole Methot

Karyn O’Toole

Jennifer Swoap

We couldn’t do  it without you. Thank you very much!

Brain O’Grady

Updates, Monday June 22nd, 2020

Happy Summer!

The worst thing about summer is that the days get shorter going forward. Right?  Otherwise, it’s all good!

Here’s the food news for the week.

The Mobile Food Pantry sponsored by the FoodBank of Western Ma will be in Adams in the Visitor Center parking lot on Tuesday, tomorrow, June 23rd from 10-11:00. Stay in your car, they’ll come to you.

Williamstown Farmers Market – Essentials!, the virtual market is accepting orders at www.WFMEssentials.org  weekly from 10:00  Monday  until 7PM on Wednesday . Pick up is from 11am until 1pm  on Saturday. Orders are pre-bagged, pre-sorted, you’ll find them in the parking lot behind the Williamstown Elementary School, in front of the Youth Center entry. The market is pre-order and pickup, no on site shopping yet but they’re able to provide home delivery within a 7-mile radius of market orders – please, don’t use the delivery option unless you are unable to get to the market!  

Berkshire Grown  has a link to  all sorts of different farms and food sources. Here’s that link: https://berkshiregrown.org/shop-local-now/

The North Adams Farmers market is open, here’s the link  with order information:-www.Facebook.com/NorthAdamsFarmersMarket/ 

The Salvation Army Food Pantry on  River Street in North Adams is in operation Tuesday-12:00-3:00. Please use the front door

The Al Nelson Friendship Center Food Pantry is still in the St. Elizabeth Parish Center on Holden Street and open  Wednesday, 10:00-2:00 and 3:30-5:30. Plenty of parking. Their phone message says that they’ll deliver if you don’t have access to transportation, call them between 9:30 and 1:30 on Wednesdays for delivery. Here’s the contact information; 413.664.0123 or via email at;

northernberkshireinterfaith@gmail.com  

 The Community Bible Church Food Pantry, 160 Bridges Road, Williamstown, has food and are happy to share. Call Phyllis Babcock (413) 663-6094 and she will meet you at church at your convenience.

The Williamstown Food Pantry at St Patrick/St Raphael Church, 9:00-12:00 Wednesday. Southworth St. Same procedure, circle the church,, stay in your car, someone will help. Walkers to the front of the line, you go first. 

Berkshire Food Project  meals are still take-out only on M-W-and F. Enter through the breezeway and exit from the dining room out to Summer Street. Must wear a mask to participate and this includes while waiting in line. Practice Social Distancing while waiting. BFP will provide a mask if you don’t have one. The number of folks allowed inside is currently limited, there will be a count. BFP staff will open the doors for you, you’ll only be touching your food. There are also no restroom facilities available for use at this time.. https://www.berkshirefoodproject.org/

The Brown Bag monthly delivery will be this week, Friday, June 26th. They’ll be arriving at Harper sometime after one and then we’ll be distributing them to you so watch for us! If you’re not yet a Brown Bag participant and are interested call us here at Harper, 458.8250, for information. There is a brief application process and there are eligibility questions.

Check out Jane’s Exercise Class # 11 now on Willinet. Hope you’ve all been following along, eventually there will be a quiz!

By the way, since it’s actually summer, please wear your sunscreen and tick spray!

Brian O’Grady

Due to the COVID pandemic we have made some changes to the purchase of Transfer Station Stickers.  New Stickers will be available for purchase beginning July 1st.  Updates will appear at the end of June on the town website, at the Transfer Station and through public notification.

The suspension of the requirement for use of Town bags also continues. When the this suspension ends, we will be offering trash tags and will be similarly announcing availability of those in the same manner as stickers.

Updates, Friday June 19th, 2020

This week the Williamstown Historical Museum is in week 8 of 9 in the spring scavenger hunt . This week’s marker is not one of the original “official”  200th Anniversary site markers but marks a historical site nevertheless. It’s located in front of what’s called a “Regulation House”. Know what that is perchance? Well, I won’t tell you, you’ll have to visit the museum website at www.williamstownhistoricalmuseum.org  While you’re at it, check out their Facebook page too, www.Facebook.com/williamstownhistoricalmuseum

 Lots of good stuff there as well. It’s a public Facebook page so you don’t have to actually be a facebook subscriber to look.

Here are some notes from the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority, BRTA, which will have an impact on folks who ride the bus between here and Pittsfield. There are other changes as well heading south toward the Lee outlets and Great Barrington as well, these notes just reflect time changes for travel between here, North Adams  and Pittsfield. Routes and other information can be found on their website www.berkshirerta.com 

 Route 34: North Adams Loop – Transfer is now available with Route 3 from Williamstown on Main Street in North Adams at 12 minutes past the hour. – Weekday evening service has been expanded between 7:30 PM and 10:30 PM. Route 34 will connect with Route 1 at Walmart North Adams at 7:30 PM and 9:50 PM – Route 34 will service Brayton Hill and Greylock Apartments between 8:15 PM and 9:30 PM.  

Route 1: Pittsfield – North Adams – Weekday evening departures from the Intermodal Transfer Center-their headquarters building in downtown Pittsfield-  have been changed to 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM. – Weekday evening departures from Walmart North Adams have been changed to 7:30 PM, 9:50 PM, and 10:30 PM. 

Route 2: Pittsfield – Lee via Lenox – Service has been added to Big Y Lee in both the outbound and inbound directions. – Departures from Lee Premium Outlets have been changed to 30 minutes past the hour on both weekdays and Saturdays. Arrival times at the ITC have been changed to 20 minutes past the hour on weekdays and Saturdays. This change will allow customers to transfer at the ITC with other buses. 

Route 3: Williamstown – North Adams – Departure from Main Street North Adams has been amended to 12 minutes past the hour.If you’re a regular bus rider you’ll know what this means-and that it’s an expansion of hours which were reduced in the wake of COVID-19. Good news eh? Masks and social distancing are still in effect so take this into account before you hop on and pull out your Charlie Card!

There are 2 new Blood Drives coming up at the end of June, the first will be at the Adams Community Bank on Park Street in Adams on June 29th. The second event is slated for the Williamstown Historical Museum on June 30th.Healthy donors are needed to give blood during the best of times and these aren’t them. We all know what “healthy donors” mean as well, right?

To avoid long lines and clusters of people milling about appointments are suggested and can be made by calling 413.447.2593, extension 2, or electronically to camuso@bhs1.org

Now here’s a message (edited…) from our friends at the Coalition. It’s rather self explanatory;

“Every year nbCC’s Community Outreach Volunteer training tries to  address an identified northern Berkshire need through a community project. This year the 2020 COV capstone project: an intergenerational, inclusive, intergroup month of heart-to-heart connection. The PenPal Extravaganza connects letter writers, (phone callers, or emailers) with folks who are isolated, or who wouldn’t mind a pick-me-up in the form of well-wishes from a kind stranger. We’re hoping that you or someone you know might be interested in participating.

Throughout the month of June, the 2020 COV team will review applications, welcome folks to the project, and pair willing communicators with willing receivers. To help our participants feel comfortable and valued for this contribution to their community’s well-being, the group will provide suggestions and encouragement until the project pairing closes on June 30.

If interested in participating, please fill out the PenPal Extravaganza Application.  COV’s are also accepting applications from interested parties by phone at (413) 342-0376, please ask for Kenya. Also check out their page on Facebook for more information and updates on the project”.

Now a final note for this week. Another light is coming on as Tai Chi  formally returns to action beginning Monday, outside for the moment but active for the first time since early March. Folks who were engaged with the class will be contacted by Youlin and of course there are COVID rules; masks at all time, social distancing, no shared equipment no more than 10 people in the activity which means 9 students plus instructor. It’s a start right?

Brian O’Grady

Updates, Wednesday June 17th, 2020

Wednesday isn’t the same for me since this COVID pandemic caused the cancellation of my regular Wednesday softball match. I used to look forward to getting out there and dropping a couple balls. Now Wednesday is just another day ending in Y like all the rest of them. Moving on…

Beginning June 17th, well, today actually, Proprietors Field residents who were receiving meals delivered from the MGRHS this spring will have those meals delivered from the Harper Center. We’re not preparing food, we’re just delivering pre-packaged food from our friends at the Regional School District. You are welcome to pop over and get yours yourselves however. We’re distributing from the Proprietors Field entrance to the Center.

The Alzheimer’s Association is  announcing  a Facebook Live event this Friday, June 19th,  at noon (12-12:30) for families with questions about how to handle visits with their loved ones in nursing homes during the  COVID-19 pandemic. They’ll address the challenges and other issues and feelings families may feel as visits resume. Here’s a link; www.facebook.com/alzheimersmanh

We talked about this briefly during the food updates the other day but I’m going to mention it one more time. The Berkshire Food Project really needs  volunteers. After switching to the distribution of takeout meals on a M-W-F schedule, there has been a significant uptick in use.They’re distributing almost 500 meals on each of these three days. Lots of food folks, half of the meals are prepared onsite, the rest are purchased from local restaurants as part of the COVID -19 Emergency Fund. They’ve accomplished this with 3 staff members and some dedicated volunteers. As the world reopens, they’re losing volunteers but the demand driven by higher unemployment numbers remains high. Some of their regular volunteers have pre-existing conditions and aren’t able to help under the current situation so…they need help. If you, or anyone you know is looking for a volunteer slot, even a temporary on, let Kim know. Here’s the number; 413.664.7378

Finally, there are all sorts of people reporting bear sightings all over these days. I haven’t had one in my yard -yet-but I live at the edge of the woods and they’re neighbors. So be careful and bring your bird feeders in for the summer. And-speaking of bringing in,  I’m also hearing foxes nearby at night. They got one of my neighbors chickens recently and I have heard that they like cats too.  Might want to bring yours in as well.

Enjoy the afternoon!

Brian O’Grady

 Updates, Monday June 15th, 2020

June 15th, half way through June and almost into summer. Tempus Fugit!

Jane’s 10th recorded Exercise class is currently on Willinet, you can find it here; www.willinet.org 

Check it out and get moving!

The Williamstown Theatre Festival is hosting another Community Works live theatre workshop event on Facebook live Wednesday evening, June 17th, from 5-6. Everyone is invited, families are encouraged to participate and, oh yeah, it’s free! An audio-captioned recording of the workshop will also be available. Facebook RSVP is NOT required to attend!

Here’s the link https://www.facebook.com/wtfestival/

Email Hayley at community@wtfestival.org if you have any question

Now a more serious note. We all know that there have been protests all over recently with several here in Berkshire County including events in North Adams and Williamstown. While we certainly support and encourage peaceful demonstrations, we’re also aware that the Coronavirus is still out there lurking. COVID-19 can spread easily in large groups of people who are in close contact. People who are infected but not symptomatic can spread the contagion. If you, or someone you know for that matter, participated in a large gathering you should get tested

Massachusetts has arranged for anyone who has attended a large gathering in the past two weeks to get tested for COVID-19 this week, June 17 and 18. It’s confidential, free and there are two sites in Berkshire County where you can get tested  Here’s the link;

Get Tested for COVID-19: June 17th and 18th

Check it out for yourselves.

Here are the food updates for the week;

The mobile food pantry sponsored by the FoodBank of Western Ma will be in North Adams at the American Legion Post on American Legion Drive, right down the street from the Holiday Inn, Friday, June 19th from 10-11:00. That’s this coming Friday folks.

Williamstown Farmers Market – Essentials!, the virtual market is accepting orders at www.WFMEssentials.org  weekly from 10:00  Monday  until 7PM on Wednesday . Pick up is from 11am until 1pm  on Saturday. Orders are pre-bagged, pre-sorted, you’ll find them in the parking lot behind the Williamstown Elementary School, in front of the Youth Center entry. The market is pre-order and pickup, no on site shopping yet but they’re able to provide home delivery within a 7-mile radius of market orders – please, don’t use the delivery option unless you are unable to get to the market!  

Berkshire Grown  has a link to  all sorts of different farms and food sources, including people you’ll remember from the holiday markets. Here’s that link: https://berkshiregrown.org/shop-local-now/

The North Adams Farmers market is open, here’s the link  with order information:-www.Facebook.com/NorthAdamsFarmersMarket/ 

The Salvation Army Food Pantry on  River Street in North Adams is in operation Tuesday-12:00-3:00. Please use the front door

The Al Nelson Friendship Center Food Pantry is still in their temporary location in the Parish Center on Holden Street  (it’s across from the Big Y) Wednesday, 10:00-2:00 and 3:30-5:30. Plenty of parking. Their phone message says that they’ll deliver if you don’t have access to transportation, call them between 9:30 and 1:30 on Wednesdays for delivery. Here’s the contact information; 413.664.0123 or via email at;

northernberkshireinterfaith@gmail.com  

 The Community Bible Church Food Pantry, 160 Bridges Road, Williamstown, has food and are happy to share. Call Phyllis Babcock (413) 663-6094 and she will meet you at church at your convenience.

The Williamstown Food Pantry at St Patrick/St Raphael Church, 9:00-12:00 Wednesday. Southworth St. Circle around  the backside of church via Mission Park Drive, stay in your car, someone will help. Walkers to the front of the line, they’ll try to help you first. 

Berkshire Food Project  meals are still take-out only on M-W-and F. Participants  enter through the breezeway and exit from the dining room out to Summer Street. Participants must wear a mask to participate and this includes while waiting in line. Please practice Social Distancing while waiting. BFP will provide a mask if you don’t have one. The number of folks allowed in the building at the same time are limited for safety purposes, they’ll keep track at the door.BFP staff will open the doors for you, you’ll only be touching your food. There are also no restroom facilities available for use at this time.. https://www.berkshirefoodproject.org/

By the way, they’re looking for volunteers to help out, call them at 413.664.7378 if you’re interested.

The Bennington Farmers Market is open in Riverwalk Park, Depot Street-behind the former Bennington Station restaurant  every Saturday from 10-1 Pre orders, curbside pickup and In-Person shopping. Here’s their link; www.benningtonfarmersmarket.org

Brian O’Grady

Update, Friday June 12th, 2020

Williamstown Historical Museum is into week 7 of their scavenger hunt and this time it markes the site of the Riverbend farmhouse Tavern. You’ll have to look at the website at www.williamstownhistoricalmuseum.org to find out. I will tell you that I’ve been in the place, really a cool spot. You can really feel the history there, almost seeing the guys in their silly 3 corner hats and long clay pipes, a great spot and a true piece of Town history.

A few years ago, Director Currie tried to get me to wear one of those 3 corner hats in the 4th of July parade. Nope. Sorry Sarah, they ARE silly hats..

Like everything else, the Berkshire  Supergenarians Annual Forum has gone virtual. This year our friends from  Berkshire SuperGenarians and OLLI  have gotten together to host the annual  BSG Forum online and free.  It’s titled “Growing Stronger Together” It all happens on July 8th from 9:30 -11:30 AM via zoom or phone in. Pre-registration is required, you contact them and they’ll send you the link to the program.

And here’s the contact info for BSG; www.berkshireolli.org/events or call 413 236-2190

The speakers and their topics this year are;

Mark Pettus, MD, Berkshire Health Systems

      Health and the Application of Mind-Body Science

and

Maria Sirois, PsyD.

Positivity in Uncertain Times

www.mariasirois.com

It’s unfortunate that we find ourselves Covidized at this time-BSG were working on having a session up here in North County instead of their usual home in Pittsfield. Maybe next year!

Coyote Flaco has begun outside dining hours, they started yesterday, June 11th.  Outside dining hours are 4:00 – 9:00, they’ll still be doing curbside pickup and delivery. The parking lots are separate for pick up and eat on site, I’m sure that they are labelled appropriately. Here’s the website link for more information; www.coyoteflacomass.com 

The nbCC Bike Collective will be resuming open shop hours every Monday from 3:30-5:30pm at the Armory on Ashland Street in North Adams. The service is by appointment only and with the usual masking and social distancing protocols in place.They’re at the garage behind the building and will be outside if the weather spirits cooperate. They will have bikes for sale, can fix or give your bike a tuneup and they will accept donations of bikes as well. Got an old bike you don’t want…here you go. Email Amanda at the Coalition, achilson@nbccoalition.org to make an appointment. 

Finally, a warning from a neighbor; She tells me that she got a call from someone purporting to be from Social Security indicating that her account had been frozen and she could talk to an operator about it by pressing one…Social Security never calls. It’s a scam. Watch out, they’re out there!

Good Weekend all!

Brian O’Grady