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News and events in Williamstown, Mass.

Williamstown Closes Town Hall for Cleanup on Wednesday
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:53AM / Wednesday, August 17, 2016
WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS. — Town Hall will be closed today, Wednesday, but on Thursday, it will have a little more open space.   As discussed at a Board of Selectmen meeting earlier this summer, Town Manager Jason Hoch decided to close the town's offices for one day to allow staff to do weed through some of the mountains of paperwork that have accumulated over the years.   "Some of the people who participated [in closures] in the past said it was a great way to get a handle on it, so I'm going to follow that advice," Hoch told the board at its June 13 meeting.   The task sounds daunting.   "One of the data points from the company that looked


Debates, Forums Slated for State House & Senate Candidates
01:55AM / Wednesday, August 17, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — There are several forums and debates being held over the next several weeks for candidates running for the state Legislature.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts hosts a debate at the Church Street Center beginning at 7 p.m. sharp on Wednesday for state Senate candidates.

The three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination — Rinaldo Del Gallo, Andrea Harrington and Adam Hinds — and the sole Republican candidate Christine Canning-Wilson have been invited to attend.

The moderator will be Margo Bowden, president of the Williamstown League of Women Voters, and questions will be asked by a panel of local journalists, including from,


Feeding the hungry
by buddy 04:12PM / Friday, February 21, 2014

Williamstown Community Preschool Installs New Signage
by Billsville 02:46PM / Tuesday, February 26, 2013

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Community Preschool began sprucing up its new home by hiring local sign maker Lindsay Neathawk,

Williamstown Youth Center Thanks Bedard Bros.
by Billsville 02:13PM / Friday, June 22, 2012
Bedard Brothers Chevrolet, through the Chevrolet Youth Soccer Program, has helped sponsor the Williamstown Youth Center's Soccer Program for the 2012 season. In addition to soccer equipment, this

Organ Recipients Speak to Need for Donations of Life
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:18PM / Tuesday, August 16, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Denise Swistak owes her life to a man from Oklahoma whom she'd never met.

And it's all because he had checked off the box to be an organ donor on his driver's license application.

"A man from Oklahoma saved my life. I'll never know him, I thanked his family for his generosity and for the unselfish gift they decided to give to me," said Swistak, tearing up at the memory. "They gave me a new life. I will be forever connected to that family in Oklahoma. I'll probably never meet them, maybe, god willing someday, I will."

Swistak's message was delivered on Tuesday at City Hall to raise awareness of the ease of signing up


Williamstown Elementary Creates Math Support Position
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
12:25AM / Tuesday, August 16, 2016

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Elementary School Committee on Thursday discussed the possibility of adding a part-time math support position for the 2016-17 academic year.

The administration asked for a special meeting of the committee to approve the creation of the position in case the school district realize a cost savings from unexpected turnover on its staff.

"We may have a retirement," Superintendent Douglas Dias told the committee in a meeting telecast on the town's community access television station, WilliNet. "When there are retirements, from a resource standpoint, you try to take advantage of that. When someone retires, typically, you replace at


Williamstown Man Sentenced in Child Sex Abuse Case
06:39PM / Monday, August 15, 2016

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A local man was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Springfield in connection with persuading a 16-year-old boy to travel to New York three years ago to engage in sexual activity.

Ronald S. Brown, 53, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to 15 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release.

In November 2015, he pleaded guilty to one count of interstate travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and one count of possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

Brown, a registered sex offender based upon a prior conviction for a sexual assault of a 14-year-old, engaged in thousands


Students Join Berkshire Community College’s 2016 STEM Starter Academy
03:17PM / Monday, August 15, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Twenty-six Berkshire County students have joined the 2016 STEM Starter Academy at Berkshire Community College, a program geared toward high school students who are interested in attending BCC to study STEM fields.

Part of a statewide Massachusetts Community College initiative, the program features a three-week Summer STEM Success Academy and a year-long Support Academy at BCC. The program aims to provide students with the tools they need to be STEM ready in college and the workplace including: academic support, tutoring, special field trips, guest speakers and a STEM Academy Success Kit.

The following students applied and were accepted into the program:



Berkshires Beat: Berkshire Bank Offers Free Admission to Hancock Shaker Village for Children
01:02PM / Monday, August 15, 2016

Free for kids: For the fourth consecutive year, Berkshire Bank is sponsoring Hancock Shaker Village's "Be Our Guest" program, a cultural access program that provides children ages 12 and under with free admission with a paid adult throughout its 2016 season. The museum is open daily through October and for an abbreviated schedule in November and December.

Through support from the bank’s charitable Foundation, the "Be Our Guest" program offers youth the opportunity to immerse themselves in an expansive, authentic, historic site and actively engage in the practices, culture, and values of the Shaker community. Kids learn about issues that are relevant in


Biz Briefs: Goodwill Leases Space in Great Barrington for New Retail Store, Donation Center
12:27PM / Monday, August 15, 2016

Growing again: Goodwill of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont is expanding again, having leased 2,000 square feet of retail space on Route 7 in Great Barrington, where it plans to open a new thrift store next month. This will be the second retail enterprise the Pittsfield-based non-profit organization has launched in 2016, following the opening of a Goodwill store in Rutland, Vt., in March.

The site, at 396 Stockbridge Road, is located next to Laramee Cleaners in the building that once housed the Caffrey Ford car dealership.

A grand opening of the Great Barrington retail outlet will be held on Saturday, Sept. 10. The site also has a donation center where people are encouraged to drop


Williamstown Using New Technique on Hancock Road Paving
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:45AM / Monday, August 15, 2016

A road sign alerts motorists on Hancock Road (Route 43) to a paving project this month.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The town paving project that began last week on Hancock Road will look a little different than residents are used to — at least while it is progressing.

For the first time, Williamstown is using a cold-in-place recycling technique that will result in a brief period when the road looks kind of paved but not really finished, Town Manager Jason Hoch explained last week.

"At the end of the project, it will look and feel like any other road," Hoch said. "But there's this sort of interim phase — it's that 'near-pavement' look.



Hancock Resident Having Fun With Politics, Launches Mock Presidential Campaign
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:35AM / Monday, August 15, 2016
HANCOCK, Mass. — A Polish proverb reads, "not my monkeys, not my circus" to essentially mean, it's not my problem.   For years that's how Hancock resident Barry Grauman has felt about politics. He's been an active voter, intent to make it to the polls every time. But, he's never liked his choices. He says he was voting out of hate, voting against a candidate and not for one he likes. He's sick of that, though, and he is trying to make it his circus.   Grauman has launched a mock presidential campaign. It is one of humor where his stance on gun control is "I feel that whenever I am around guns, I prefer they are under


Williams Grad, Olympian Swims Career Best in Rio
Williams College Sports Information,
09:33AM / Saturday, August 13, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Is there a better place and time to swim a lifetime best in your event?   Recent Williams College graduate Faye Sultan did that Friday, leaving the 2016 Summer Olympics with a beaming smile broadcast around the world.   Sultan competed in the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games and finished 48th with a time of 27.92 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle.    But in Rio, Sultan was not swimming under the Kuwaiti flag, but rather under the Olympic flag. Since the last Olympiad the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned the Kuwaiti Olympic Committee due to the government of Kuwait's interference with the operation of the Kuwait Olympic


Williamstown Planners Define Housing Issue for Consultants
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:33AM / Saturday, August 13, 2016
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Planning Board is moving forward on its objective of opening up housing options in the Village Beautiful.   Earlier this month, the panel developed a narrative outlining its concerns to submit to two Eastern Massachusetts consultants who hope to work with the town.   The Massachusetts Housing Partnership wants to hire Boston's CoUrbanize and Brookline's Civic Moxie to work with the town on potential zoning bylaw changes to address housing needs in the 21st century.   At Tuesday’s Planning Board meeting, Community Development Director Andrew Groff told the panel that MHP is developing the contracts with the consultants. He warned


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