Not a member? Become one today!
         iBerkshires     Williamstown Chamber     Williams College     Your Government     Land & Housing Debate
nbCC E-Zine - Oct. 15 - News and Events in Northern Berkshire
10:46AM / Thursday, October 15, 2020
Print | Email  

e-Zine: Weekly Updates for Northern Berkshire
October 15, 2020
Dear Tammy,
This edition of the e-zine offers updates about our upcoming programming, local events of interest, and agencies and resources available during the COVID-19 epidemic. As things are constantly changing, please call these agencies to get the most up-to-date information.
If you do not subscribe to our e-zine and would like to continue to get updates, please sign up below.
Want to read this email in your browser? View this as a web page.
Thank you and stay healthy,
The Staff at the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition
Upcoming nbCC Events & News
nbCC is offering a free parenting workshop, Dealing with Daylight Savings Time Stress, on Tuesday, October 19, from 2:00pm-3:00pm, in the nbCC Conference Room, 61 Main St. North Adams. Daylight Savings Time starts on Sunday, November 1! Learn how time change affects our bodies and minds and how to prepare our families for it. To register, contact Stephanie Puc at (413) 663-7588 or
nbCC's Family Place is teaming up with Childcare of the Berkshires to offer an Expectant Parents Group. New expectant parents will learn about what to expect during labor and delivery, what to ask during your child's monthly doctor appointments, developmental milestones, and more. It will run October 27-December 1; register now! Call Stephanie Puc with any questions at 413-663-7588. [Download PDF flyer]
Enrollment is open for three nbCC programs for young people in Northern Berkshire. The Youth Leadership Program is designed to give young people an opportunity to learn about themselves, build on skills that they possess, and find ways to impact their communities. This program is an opportunity for people ages 14-19. [Download PDF flyerThe Youth Empowerment Program is designed as a way for young people to explore and build their skills. This program is for students in grades 6-8. [Download PDF flyer] The Teen Writing Workshop lets participants write for the sake of writing, share their work with the group, and offers the opportunity for them to share their work at public reading events and in a printed literary journal. [Download PDF flyer] All three programs meet weekly and begin the last week of October. Call us at 413-663-7588 for more information.
Attention high school students or recent high school grads! nbCC is offering a peer mentorship opportunity in support of our new middle school program, Youth Empowerment Program (YEP). The position is three hours a week, runs from late October through June 2021, and offers a paid stipend. Full description of duties: For consideration, send your application to by October 19.
The Student Support Program at UNO Community Center is held on Tuesdays from 10:00am-11:00am, Wednesdays from 1:00pm-3:00pm, and Thursdays from 4:00pm-5:00pm, the purpose of this program is to provide guidance and support to students navigating remote learning. Any child under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Walk-ins are permitted if space is available. nbCC staff will be following all COVID safety protocols. Face masks are required for everyone. Space is limited. Please call to sign up a week in advance. Register with Stephanie Puc at 413-663-7533. Note: This program is staffed by community volunteers and nbCC staff, not trained tutors.
The North Adams Tree Initiative will be holding two upcoming public tree plantings. Church St.: October 15 from 9:00am-2:00pm. The planting will start focus on the area near the MCLA campus. Wearing a reflective vest will be necessary on this planting because of high vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Greylock Valley Apartments: October 24, from 9:00am-3:00pm. Planting will start on Sullivan St. and move north toward Angelis St. If you're interested in volunteering, RSVP to Bret Beattie at 413-663-7588 or Social distancing and COVID guidelines will be observed.
North Adams Downtown Circulation Plan Survey: In partnership, nbCC and the City of North Adams are working to develop a Downtown Circulation Plan. The Downtown Circulation Plan will provide a framework to support downtown businesses, visitors and residents in adjacent neighborhoods by enhancing the design of the City’s built environment. Design enhancements primarily seek to improve multi-modal connections (i.e., more walking and bicycling facilities) among neighborhoods, places of interest, and cultural attractions. Your responses to this survey will help guide the design. The results of this survey will be shared at upcoming public meetings.
It Takes a Village: It takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to raise and support a parent. The mission of this group is to create a space where parents can feel connected to a community of peers, to share interests, experiences, and challenges in childrearing. You can vent your frustrations or celebrate your successes in a judgement-free, confidential space. Held on the first and third Mondays of every month, our next meeting is Monday, October 19. Give Bri Rousseau a call for more information or to sign up at 413-663-7588.
Join our next Grandparents Raising Grandchildren meeting via ZOOM on Tuesday, October 20, from 1:00-2:00pm. Many grandparents find themselves in the position of raising their grandchildren. While this journey can of course be extremely rewarding, there are challenges that present themselves in doing so. This is a group for grandparents who are actively parenting their grandchildren, giving them a safe and confidential space to share similar experiences with other grandparents. For more information, call (413) 663-7588.
Keeping Kids Safe: Join The Family Center, nbCC, and North Adams Public Schools for a parent workshop on Thursday, October 29, at 4:00pm on Zoom. This workshop gives parents tools to confidently talk to their children about sexual abuse prevention. Call 413-664-4821 or email Emilee at to register.
“The Little Old Lady Who Isn’t Afraid of Anything” Story Walk October 3-November 1 on the Born Learning Trail in North Adams (near Steeple Cat field): A nbCC and the Family Center collaboration. Don’t forget to scan the QR code at the end – the first 20 families will received a free book!
nbCC is thrilled to announce the return of BRCC Open Hours at the Green (85 Main Street, North Adams) on Wednesdays, from 10am-12pm. This All-Recovery Meeting welcomes all who struggle with addiction, are affected by addiction, and/or support the lifestyle of recovery. All pathways of recovery are embraced and our meeting is nondenominational. We'll be taking COVID-19 safety precautions that we will go over in detail during orientation. The schedule will be as follows:
  • 10:00 - 10:30 Welcome, explanation of COVID-19 precautions, orientation to an All-Recovery meeting for newcomers
  • 10:30 - 11:00 All-Recovery Meeting
  • 11:30 - 12:00 Wind-down and time for questions
Here's what you will need to know ahead of coming in: We'll be practicing social distancing, and everyone should wear a mask (or face shield). If you forget yours at home, we will have some on hand. Additionally, to keep everyone safe, we won't be serving refreshments and we ask that you not bring outside food or drink with you. We know these changes to protocol can be difficult, but on the upside, we can't wait to see your faces in person again! If you have any questions, please call Susan at 413-663-7588.
We are also continuing our All-Recovery phone-in/ZOOM meetings, Monday-Friday, 1:30pm-2:30pm. The information for logging in follows:
MEETING ID #:  878 9287 2269
or call in via one of these numbers: 312 626 6799, 929 205 6099, 301 715 8592, 346 248 7799, 669 900 6833, 253 215 8782 
MEETING ID #: 878 9287 2269
If you have any questions about this meeting or other recovery resources available during these challenging days, please call 413-663-7588 or email
The nbCC Bike Collective has open shop hours every Monday from 3:30-5:30pm (by appointment only for now, and following COVID-19 guidelines and procedures!) at The Armory, 206 Ashland St., North Adams. Look for the garage in the back; we will be outside weather permitting. If you are in need of a bike, we have bikes to sell or that can be earned. If you are looking to fix, maintain or tune your bike, we can help with that too. We will also accept bike donations. Email Amanda Chilson at to make an appointment. All residents from Northern Berkshire are welcome! 
Area Events & News
UNO Park Temporarily Closed: The North Adams Department of Health has ordered UNO Park to close for two weeks as a precaution against the spread of parvovirus. Parvovirus is not dangerous to humans but is deadly to dogs.
UNO Park will reopen on Friday, October 16.
Berkshire Regional Transit Authority: The BRTA has launched a new video regarding riding the bus safely. Watch the videos in English and Spanish at the BRTA website.
The annual ROOTS Special Effects Halloween Makeup Workshop is back! This spooky DIY tutorial led by a professional makeup artist will teach participants how to make fake blood and wounds, blisters, and tears - and it's all foodsafe! This workshop will be held live on Zoom on October 17 & 24 from 1:00pm-3:00pm, with kits delivered to participants' homes. Please contact for information & registration.
Halloween Trick or Treat hours for the City of North Adams will be held Saturday, October 31, 2020, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. For more information and guidelines, visit the City of North Adams Website.
With a grant from the City of North Adams, Community Legal Aid has created three videos focusing on legal issues that impact low-income elders: financial resources for renters and homeowners; advance directives (durable power of attorney and healthcare proxies); and maximizing SNAP (Food Stamps) benefits. To view these informational videos, use the links below. Contact Jennifer Dieringer ( for more information. Community Legal Aid assists elders with a range of civil legal issues. If you are in need of services, you may apply for services online at or by calling 1-855-252-5342. FINANCIAL RESOURCES FOR RENTERS AND HOMEOWNERS: A CHECKLIST:
Crafternoon for Kids! - Weekly take home craft kits for kids age 4-10 exploring the season of Autumn. Available for pick up at the North Adams Public Library's curbside pickup on Wednesdays between 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM, September 23 - October 27. While supplies last. Sponsored by the Friends of the North Adams Public Library. Contact 413-662-3133 or for more information.   
Virtual Toddler Storytime - Beginning Tuesday, September 29, at 10:30 AM, Virtual Toddler Storytime will stream weekly on Facebook through the end of October. Best suited for ages 1.5 - 5, we will sings songs, read stories, play games, and more. Find our past videos and view live videos on the library's Facebook page @naplibrary and join the @NAPL Virtual Story Time Group.  Contact 413-662-3133 or for more information.   
Get Ready for the Next Step in Getting a Job! Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont is here to prepare you. Get certified by the National Custodial Training Institute. Scholarships are available and our facilitators are caring and experienced. This is a three-week program that meets three hours each day, three days a week. It will be held on October 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For more information and to register, visit the Goodwill website.
Build Your Armor, a nine-week FREE program to help build the immunity of the community, starts September 9 and runs through November 4. This online program offers weekly webinars, fitness classes, and email connections as well as the opportunity to participate in a 30-day Immunity Challenge. The Berkshire Health Systems Wellness at Work Team, along with special guests, will bring you Integrative Medicine topics such as: Nutrition, Sleep, Exercise, Stress Management, and proper hygiene along with the Power of Positivity, Spirituality, and Nature to protect yourself during the coronavirus pandemic and flu season. Registration is required; register here for the webinars and here for the fitness classes. Download the flyer for more details.
The Massachusetts Smokers' Helpline is offering an incentive program to help residents who use menthol tobacco products quit. Residents will receive a $10 gift card after completing the first coaching call, a $15 gift card after the second coaching call, and a $25 gift card after the third coaching call. While the incentive does not continue after the third call, the Helpline offers five free coaching calls. For more information, visit the Helpline website or call 1-800-Quit-Now to enroll. For more information on nicotine addiction contact Joyce Brewer at In addition to the incentive program, up to 8 weeks of free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges are also available to residents who speak with a coach (once screened for medical eligibility).
Sign up for BCAC's Elf Warm Clothing Program this fall. No child should be left out in the cold this winter. The program provides income-eligible children ages 12 and under with a brand new warm coat, boots, hat, mittens and scarves. Deadline to apply is October 29. Download and fill out this form to apply. Call BCAC's North Adams Office (413) 663-3014 with any questions.
The Family Center, a program of Child Care of the Berkshires, is offering virtual and in-person parent and child groups. Our building is still closed to the public at this time. The Family Center can still provide children's clothing sizes 0-10, diapers or formula through contactless pick up. Please contact the Family Center office by calling 413-664-4821 to arrange pick up. Visit the Family Center's Facebook page and Instagram page for updates on virtual programing. Here are some upcoming weekly events:
  • Baby Group: Join us on Mondays from 10:00-10:30 on Zoom to learn about raising an infant while connecting with other parents. Each week we will dive into a parenting topic pertaining to infants, sing songs and read a book. Call 413-664-4821 or email to register.
  • Facebook Live Storytimes: Join Miss Emilee at 10:30 on Thursdays and Fridays for a storytime in our parent group on Facebook. Can’t make it at 10:30? No worries, these storytimes stay up for a month and can be viewed at any time.
  • Act It Out: Weekend Storytime with Miss Emilee: Every Sunday at 2pm a new storytime will be posted in our Parent Group. This month we will be retelling the books we read in a different way.
  • Nature Walk: Join us for a nature experience at Windsor Lake on October 13 at 10:00am. We will safely explore nature and end with a circle. Face masks are required for children over 2. Call 413-664-4821 to register.
  • Starting Solids: Starting Solids can be daunting for parents of infants. Join us for the basics on how to promote happy, healthy eating habits from the beginning. This workshop is facilitated by Speech-Language Pathologist Heather Vroman, MS, CCC-SLP Call 413-664-4821, or email Emilee at to register.
  • Tree Book and Craft Bag. Pick up between 3 and 4:30 on Monday, October 5. Call 413-664-4821 to reserve your kit. For Northern Berkshire families with children 8 years old and under.
Black Lives Matter Vigils are held each Friday from 5:00-5:30pm at Field's Park (the rotary at Rtes 2 and 7), Williamstown. Bring a mask and a sign (no sticks). Rain or shine. Questions:
If you are concerned about being able to pay your rent or mortgage arrears when the eviction and foreclosure moratorium ends, services are available to help you, including tenant/landlord/homeowner housing counseling; dispute resolution; tenancy preservation; financial assistance if eligible; and much more! The first step is to complete the Assessment Form found here. The assessment is available in English and Spanish and can be submitted via PDF. If a household must print the form it can be faxed to 413-496-9831 or mailed to Berkshire Housing Development Corp./Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority; ATTN: HCEC Assessment, P.O. Box 1180, Pittsfield, MA 01202. If you do not have a computer or need additional guidance, please call (413) 499-1630, ext. 157, and leave a message. The phone line is checked multiple times during the week Monday through Friday.
COVID-19 Updates (newer submissions are at top)
For information on testing, visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website. To find a testing site near you, visit MDPH's interactive COVID-19 Test Site Locator map. To receive a test at Berkshire Health Systems sites around the county, call 855-262-5465. Many sites require pre-screening, a referral and/or an appointment; be sure to verify what you'll need ahead of going to the testing site.
COVID-19 Survey: 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 lives in Massachusetts. MA-DPH specifically seeks to hear from communities who have suffered the most through this public health emergency. The survey is offered online at 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. For additional information please visit the COVID-19 website.
Outdoor gatherings are now limited to 50 people in a single space. For any gathering of more than 10 people from more than a single household, all individuals over the age of 2 are required to wear a face covering, unless they have a medical condition or disability that prevents them from doing so. According to the order, both the indoor and outdoor gathering limits apply to private homes and backyards. For more information, visit
The Williamstown Affordable Housing Trust has raised the ceiling on grants offered by the new Williamstown Emergency Rental Assistance Program. 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.
The Baker-Polito administration has instituted a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all individuals entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, effective August 1. Certain exemptions apply, including travelers from lower-risk states or a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72 hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts. Failure to comply may result in a $500 fine per day. More details about this travel order are available on
Governor Charlie Baker extended the pause on evictions and foreclosures until October 17, 2020. Read more about the extension at Mass.govVisit Mass Legal Help for information regarding the moratorium for tenants, homeowners and landlords.  The statewide moratorium on evictions prohibits landlords from serving tenants with a notice to quit, which is the first step a landlord must take before proceeding to sue a tenant for eviction. The moratorium law expressly prohibits a landlord from "send[ing] any notice, including a notice to quit, requesting or demanding that a tenant of a residential dwelling unit vacate the premises." If you hear of a tenant receiving any such notice, they should speak with a lawyer before responding in any fashion. You may call, without charge, Douglas B. Mishkin, Esq. Of Counsel, Heisler, Feldman & McCormick P.C., 293 Bridge Street, Suite 322, Springfield, MA 01103 at or cell 202-361-8793.
All Berkshire Family YMCA facilities have reopened. Visit the website for more information.
Child Care of the Berkshires Inc. staff have returned to the office as of June 15. 
Community Legal Aid is now assisting low-income families and students in Berkshire County with educational issues. Our education law attorney will provide advice and assistance with COVID-related and other education issues families face now and in the future as schools reopen, including accessing technological devices and internet connection for remote learning; accessing materials and information in the parent's preferred language (information, notices, and academic materials); accessing special education instruction, accommodations, and services for students who are struggling, whether or not they have been diagnosed with a disability; disciplinary proceedings (such as suspensions and expulsions) or other removals from learning time; bullying; and barriers to school enrollment (such as lack of necessary documentation). Families can apply for services by calling 855-CLA-LEGAL (855-252-5342) or applying online at
Governor Baker announced the Administration's comprehensive plan to safely reopen the Massachusetts economy, get people back to work, and ease social restrictions while minimizing the health impacts of COVID-19. Visit or get key takeaways here.
The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA) has resumed normal hourly service starting June 1, 2020, for the following bus routes: Route 1, Route 2, and Route 21. For your health and the health of others, if you are sick, have a cough, fever, or other COVID-19 symptoms, do not ride the BRTA bus. All customers using the BRTA bus and/or paratransit must wear a mask or face covering over their mouth and nose, as recommended by the CDC, while onboard any BRTA vehicle. Also, practice social distancing while riding on the bus; maintain space when seating. For additional information, contact the BRTA at 413-499-2782 or visit
Community Legal Aid (CLA) is offering an Unemployment Project to help people apply for benefits, especially if they are encountering technology or language barriers, or if they are otherwise having trouble getting approved. Call 855-CLA-LEGAL or visit for help. Also, please contact us if your landlord is not following the new eviction moratorium law that prevents evictions in most cases. Click here for more information about the new law. Although CLA is closed to the public at this time, we are still open and taking cases involving public benefits, elder, housing, family, and immigration (through our subsidiary, Central West Justice Center). Please refer to our website at for a full list of what we do.
The Williamstown Affordable Housing Trust (AHT) and Berkshire Housing Development Corporation (BHDC) are partnering to distribute emergency rental assistance funding for eligible Williamstown residents who have suffered financial setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for details.
The Brien Center has formed a COVID-19 response team comprising Brien leadership and medical staff. They are meeting daily to respond to staffing, clinical and programmatic needs as they unfold. Their work is guided by our Continuity of Operations Plan, and the Department of Public Health regulations that they operate under. Managers are also attending state-wide meetings with BSAS and other stakeholders to ensure an informed and coordinated response to the pandemic. Click here to see the updates (current as of August 13).
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Berkshire County has announced the addition of a Warm Line, 413-445-1136,  a phone number that people can call to talk to  either a NAMI BC staff or a community trained volunteer having lived experience with mental health issues, trauma, and/or to assist individuals through a difficult time, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.  NAMI Berkshire County will provide support over the phone as well as resources as available. Calls will be accepted during the day and evening until 8 p.m. Callers experiencing isolation, fear, stress can speak to someone so they will not feel as isolated and find some coping strategies that have worked for the operators staffing the phone.  If operators are not available callers can leave their phone number and first name and they will be called back within 24 hours or sooner. The information is strictly confidential.
SafeLink is Massachusetts' statewide 24/7 toll-free domestic violence hotline. SafeLink hotline advocates are multilingual, and all calls to SafeLink are free, confidential and anonymous. Anyone can call for information, support and resources at 1-877-785-2020. For more resources, visit here.
The Northern Berkshire COVID-19 Operations Center serves as a centralized hub for the communities of North Adams, Adams, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Savoy, New Ashford, Florida, and Williamstown; Stamford, Vermont; as well as for MCLA and Williams College. The purpose of this Center is to coordinate efforts, resources, and information within the region. If individuals become aware of resources, needs or there are individuals who would like to volunteer, please call the Command Center at 413-662-3614 or email at to share information. 
BHS Helpline. People should contact their primary care physician if they have concerns. Testing must be authorized through the primary care. The Berkshire Health Systems helpline can answer many questions regarding finding a primary care, testing, or other health related issues. The Nurse Triage line has reduced its hours to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, still available seven days a week. The number remains 855-BMC-LINK, or 855-262-5465.
Northern Berkshire Adult Education has gone virtual! All classes are offered online, even the PCA class. Free to all adult learners. Brush up your skills to get your GED or to prepare to return to college from the comfort of your home. Contact Bob or AnnaMaria at 413-662-5330 or 413-662-5386.
nbCC Changes to Open Hours and Programs - The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition (nbCC), in an effort to help combat the spread of COVID-19, has made the following changes to open hours and programs:
  • nbCC remains committed to serving the community and the nbCC office will remain open, by appointment only. are Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 4:00pm with no Saturday hours. Call (413) 663-7588 to schedule an appointment, with any questions, or for support. 
  • The UNO Community Center open hours, programs, and rentals have been temporarily suspended. 
  • The Beacon Recovery Community Center (BRCC) will be reopening with limited hours and continuing ZOOM All Recovery meetings. See details at the top of this newsletter.
  • nbCC's Bike Collective open hours have returned on Mondays from 3:30-5:30pm, by appointment only.
All changes will be until further notice. nbCC's priority is to protect the safety and health of all nbCC staff, volunteers and visitors. For more information, contact Amber Besaw, Executive Director of nbCC at (413) 663-7588.
Al-ANON meetings will be held via Phone-In Meetings, Thursdays & Sundays at 7:00pm. The call-in information is 1-401-379-0339 PIN# 159328.
Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority's (BCRHA) Although BCRHA's physical office space will be closed to the public, BCRHA staff will continue to work with households in need of assistance through telephone and video conferences, when possible. You may leave a message at the following number (413) 443-7138. This number will be checked periodically throughout each weekday. You can also go to BCRHA's website to access the staff directory as well.
The Ecu-Health Care Office is currently closed to in-person appointments and drop-offs. Our staff is available to assist you over the phone during regular business hours of 8:30am-5:00pm Monday-Thursday and 8:30am-4:00pm on Fridays. For assistance please give us a call and we will do our best to help you. Should you need to drop off verifications to be forwarded to MassHealth or the Health Connector, please use the envelopes provided outside our office door and leave them in our drop box. To contact MassHealth directly, call 1-800-841-2900. To contact the Health Connector directly, call 1-877-623-6765. Thank you for your patience and cooperation. The Ecu-Health Care staff wishes you and your families all the best during this difficult time.
BCAC - If you were recently laid off, or experience a business slow down, contact BCAC for support with fuel assistance, utility bills, tax preparation, and more. Click here for flyer or call 413-663-3014 or visit
ROOTS Teen Center is closed to the public until further notice. Meals are available for pick-up by appointment. Contact Paula Buxbaum, Executive Director, at 413-663-0250. 
Adams Town Office Hours - Town offices will operate with essential staff on premises only from 9 to 1 Monday through Thursday via phone or email; the Community Development Office will operate remotely only through voicemail and email. The Adams Free Library is closed completely; parks are open but people are urged to remain at least 6 feet apart and be in groups of less than 10. 


More Featured Stories is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Sreet, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2011 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved