Update, April 2nd, 2020
Today is the day after National Census Day so if you haven’t done it yet, get to it!
If you drive or know someone who does, effective April 1, 2020, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles says that all passenger and dealer plate registrations that expired in March and passenger plates that are expiring in April have been extended for 60 days. Registrations that expired in March have been extended until May 31 and registrations that expire in April have been extended until June 30. Registration renewals can continue to be performed online at Mass.Gov/RMV. There will be no in-person renewals at this time.
All Driver’s Licenses, ID cards, and Learner’s Permits, including Commercial Licenses and Permits that have expired or are expiring between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, have had a 60-day extension applied to the current expiration date and do not need to be renewed at this time.
This does not apply to customers whose end of stay in the United States is the same as the expiration date on their Driver’s License, ID card, or Learner’s Permit
The annual motor vehicle and emissions inspection stickers that expire on March 31 and April 30 have been extended 60 days and all motorcycle inspection stickers originally set to expire on May 31 must be inspected by June 30. The RMV is also extending the time during which newly registered vehicles must be inspected based on the purchase date.
Now they tell me….
More good news; The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced that Social Security beneficiaries who are not required to file tax returns will NOT need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an Economic Impact Payment. Instead, payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts. “Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return do not need to take an action, and will receive their payment directly to their bank account,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. That’s a quote folks. He said it.
The IRS will use the information from Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate $1,200 Economic Impact Payments to Social Security recipients who didn’t file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Recipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, whichever way you usually receive your Social Security.
Governor Baker made an appeal for Massachusetts residents who are able to donate, to donate blood to help save lives. There will be a blood drive at MountainOne Investment on 296 Main Street in Williamstown on Thursday, April 9th from 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM. That’s the site of the former Howard Johnson Restaurant, not the other one, FYI…Donors need to be healthy without any symptoms of cough, cold, fever…The drive is being facilitated by Berkshire Health Systems, appointments are appreciated, 414.447.2597, extension 2 is the number to call or you can reserve electronically at; firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaking of Berkshire Health Systems, if you have COVID-19 concerns, contact your primary health care physician., as only that individual can authorize testing at this moment. BHS has set up a helpline to answer any questions about this pandemic, or any other health care issues for that matter. Call them at 855.262.5465.
That’s it for today. Stay safe out there.
Wednesday April 1st, 2020
Today is National Walking Day! Get out there! Just stay away from other people!
Today is also National Census day. If you haven’t taken a moment to fill out the census, please do it now. It’s so critical for Williamstown and Berkshire County to have an accurate count of who lives here now. The census numbers determine future access to services and funding across many paths of life-health, education, business, government, infrastructure. We’re all going to have a lot of work ahead of us when the pandemic finally passes and an accurate population count will give us one more tool in the recovery process. Here’s the address to complete it:
Today we’ll share some at home exercises and yoga movements created by our friends Mary and Jane to help you stay in touch and limber at home! If you’re new to these programs, enjoy! If you’re already a member of the class, consider this to be homework. There may be a quiz someday..
Enjoy! We’ll talk again soon!
Yoga Sequence Using Hand/Arm Weights
Opening Sequence on a Chair
Keep moving with Jane Jezouit’s Harper Center Exercise Class– a whole body workout!
(Jane’s class is also on TV channel 1303 every Mon, Wed, Fri, & Sat at 11:15 am) or
Take the class anytime on willinet.org
Updates for Tuesday March 31st, 2020
Well now, here we are at the beginning of the third week of official social distancing. There have been lots of closures and shut downs necessitated by our need to aggressively flatten the COVID-19 curve and avoid spreading it around here. Yup, it’s hard. No doubt. Remember, we’re here to help, 413.458.8250 is the number, call us for information, assistance with referrals, if you’re looking for shopping assistance, medical transportation or need to talk to someone. We’ll see what we can do.
We’ve noticed an uptick this week in the number people looking for a bit of help with grocery shopping. We suspect that supplies stocked away may be running down, no worries. You can call the COA office at the Harper Center, 413.458.8250 and talk to us, we’ll tell you what we need to know and then connect you with a shopper to help out. You can also email your information, please include a phone number, to; email@example.com and someone will contact you.
The local food pantries, the Al Nelson Friendship Center Food Pantry in North Adams, temporarily located in the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish Center, 70 Holden Street, opposite the Big Y and the St. Patrick/St.Raphael Food Pantry are both in operation this Wednesday. The Friendship Center hours are from 10:00 to 2:00 and then again 3:30 to 5:30. They’re also looking for volunteers, if interested contact them through firstname.lastname@example.org St.Patrick/Raphael’s hours are 9:30-12:00. Use Mission Park Drive drive to enter the church lot, circle around behind the building, stay in your car and someone will assist you. Walkers go to the front of the line, they’ll try to help you first. Again, no one will be allowed into the building! Sorry.
The IRS website www.irs.gov has put up some interesting information regarding the “Economic Stimulus Payments”. They say that the distribution should begin within the next three weeks and will be done automatically. No action will be required for most people, however, individuals who normally do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the payment. The instructions to do this will be posted under IRS.gov/coronavirus as soon as the process becomes available.
If you’ve already filed taxes for 2018 or 2019, they’ll use this figure to calculate an amount and send it electronically. Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples will essentially receive $1200 each to be deposited directly into your bank account. There are adjustments for children and incomes above these amounts. The IRS will use the bank account information reflected on your tax return for deposits. If they don’t have your direct deposit information, the Treasury Department will be developing a web based portal to provide banking information enabling quick payment. These economic impact payments will be available through 2020 so if you are worried about timing, there are 9 months left.
Answers to other questions or information needs can be found on their website.
Just in case you were wondering, I do not have any other information regarding the currently suspended AARP Tax Aide program but if we hear something, it will be passed along.
The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) has launched a new online application portal which can help elders (and others) apply for benefits such as SNAP (Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program, formerly known as Food Stamps) or emergency aid to elders, disabled individuals and children. There are grandparents raising grandchildren out there right? Given the closure of just about everything subsequent to this virus, including local DTA offices, the site will enable quick applications without face to face contact. The address is;
Share it as needed.
That’s it for today. Stay safe out there.
Friday March 27th, 2020
As of today, Friday March 27th, all travelers arriving in Massachusetts are instructed to self quarantine for 14 days. Instructions will be posted at transit hubs, etc. Designated service workers will be exempted from this requirement.Know anybody coming back from somewhere else…snowbirds perhaps?
Buoy Health has launched an online symptom checker in Massachusetts. Find it at: www.buoy.com/mass
Earlier today Massachusetts announced that the date for filing state personal income taxes has been pushed ahead to july 15th. This makes it consistent with the Feds…
Berkshire Food Project is open for grab and go meals and emergency groceries on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11:30 -1:00. www.berkshirefoodproject.org for information.
The Friendship Food Pantry in North Adams will be open on Wednesday April 1st from 10:00 to 2:00 and from 3:30 to 5:30. They’re now being operated from the St. Elizabeth Friendship Food Pantry, www.friendshipfoodpantry.org for more information.
The Salvation Army Food Pantry is operating on Tuesdays from 12:00-3:00 PM. Meet at the front door. COVID emergency food supplies are available as well, contact Major Corno at 663.7987.
In Williamstown, the St.Patrick/St Raphael Food Pantry will begin weekly operations until further notice. 9:30 Am-noon.The same plan will be effective for the duration, cars utilize Mission Park Drive to circle around the church, stay in your cars and someone will attend to you. Walkers come to the front of the line and they’ll try to serve you first. Absolutely nobody will be allowed in the building.
The First Baptist Church in North Adams will be providing a HOT grab and go meal this Saturday, March 28, from 11:00 to 12:00 PM. There are also some groceries available.
Masshealth has also expanded eligibility and coverage in response to this pandemic. You can find out more at www.mass.gov/topics/masshealth
Helpful phone numbers for COVID-19 info and support;
Berkshire Health Systems Helpline, 855.262.5465
Mass 211 has established a COVID support line. Massachusetts residents can call 2-1-1 for real time COVID-19 information and referrals in multiple languages.