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News and events in Williamstown, Mass.

The Retired Investor: The Teacher Shortage
By Bill Schmick,
11:46AM / Friday, November 19, 2021
The U.S. labor shortage is hitting the public education sector hard. Yes, COVID-19 and its mutations have had a lot to do with the lack of teachers, but the problem predates the pandemic. In just the last two months, 65,000 public education employees left the industry.   Across the United States, in October 2021, there were 575,000 fewer state and local education employees than in February 2020, according to the latest employment report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The pandemic, in some ways, was simply the straw that broke this camel's back.   Stagnant wages, or worse, falling wages, have beset the teaching industry for years. In 2018, for example, the wage gap between

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Mount Greylock School Committee OKs Additional 90K for Storage Building
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:00AM / Friday, November 19, 2021
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee unanimously authorized using  up to $90,000 more of Williams College's capital gift funds for a storage building at the middle/high school.   The structure was originally intended to cost just $90,000 but bids were coming in significantly higher and Business Administrator Joe Bergeron had to ask the panel for doubled funding on Thursday.   "It is a nightmare scenario for me coming to you and asking for an additional $90,000 from the capital gift because I know how sensitive that topic is," he explained.   "But we also do not have good pockets of money to be able to tap into for

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SVMC Lab Receives National Accreditation
01:57PM / Thursday, November 18, 2021
BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Accreditation Committee of the College of American Pathologists (CAP) has awarded accreditation to the laboratory at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC).     The laboratory is staffed by a team of phlebotomists, technical laboratory technologists, medical technologist, cytologist, and pathologists who work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to deliver laboratory results to the patients of SVMC.   "Laboratory accreditation ensures accuracy,” said Karen Bond, the department's director. "CAP's vigorous inspection confirms that SVMC is delivering high quality results

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Williamstown Select Board Extends Interim Town Manager's Stay
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
10:37AM / Thursday, November 18, 2021
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.— The Select Board voted to keep current interim Town Administrator Charles Blanchard on the job with eyes on a more all-encompassing permanent search in the future.   The selectmen had even fewer choices Thursday with candidate Barry Del Castilho pulling his name from consideration and with a 4-1 vote, the selectmen slotted Blanchard back into the town manager seat.    "I am very comfortable with Charlie in the interim. I am comfortable that he doesn't want to be the permanent town manager," Board member Jane Patton said. "...I have a lot of faith in town hall, and I will continue to be vigilant in what we are looking for with the

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Williamstown's COOL Committee Pushes Fire District on Station Design Process
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:10AM / Thursday, November 18, 2021
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Members of an environmental action group Wednesday pressed the fire district to incorporate the advocates into the early planning for a new fire station on Main Street.   Stephanie Boyd and Susan Abrams of the Carbon Dioxide Lowering (COOL) Committee addressed the Prudential Committee at its monthly meeting to ask how COOL Committee members best can engage with the district's Building Committee and its designers to make sure the planned station is in line with the Net-Zero Carbon Emissions pledge overwhelmingly passed at this year's annual town meeting.   "We're saying that we have knowledge or services that might help you with your

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Letter: Williamstown Racial Justice & Police Reform Supports Bernard for Interim Town Manager
Letter to the Editor,
03:30PM / Wednesday, November 17, 2021

To the Editor:

Despite the enormous racial justice and police reform challenges facing Williamstown, the town has been operating with less than a full-time town manager for over seven months. We call on the Select Board to choose North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard as interim town manager.

We believe that Mayor Bernard is the unicorn that Select Board member Jane Patton hoped for when she asked for administrative and racial justice experience in a candidate. Mayor Bernard has hired a police chief, one of the key tasks for the next town manager. Furthermore, Mayor Bernard said "North Adams also has been part of an overdue national reckoning with the legacy of racism and white

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Williams Men Come Back for OT Win on Opening Night
08:21AM / Wednesday, November 17, 2021
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Cole Prowitt-Smith scored 16 points, and the Williams College men's basketball team overcame a seven-point half-time deficit to earn a 79-69 overtime win over SUNY-Oneonta in Tuesday's season opener.   Frankie Williams scored 17, and Michael Ortale had a double-double with 11 points and a team-high 13 rebounds for Williams, which outscored Oneonta (3-1), 10-0 in overtime.   Former Wahconah standout Brandon Roughley, who attended the Salisbury School, scored eight points, grabbed three rebounds and passed out a pair of assists in his debut for Williams.   Williams (1-0) hosts Curry College on Saturday evening in the opening round of the Purple

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Williamstown Parents Concerned by 'Picnic Style' Dining at School
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:00AM / Wednesday, November 17, 2021
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School District superintendent Tuesday said that he is confident the staff at Williamstown Elementary School have created a safe, sanitary environment for children to eat lunch while making necessary accommodations to allow for social distancing   Last week, parents concerned about a practice having children eat lunch on the floor of the cafeteria sent a letter to Superintendent Jason McCandless, the School Committee and the town's health inspector calling for a change to the current procedure.   "We were told this was a temporary thing in the spring to get our kids back in school and with warmer weather the kids

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Performing Artist in Residence Series Returns to the Clark
10:45AM / Tuesday, November 16, 2021
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — On Sunday, Nov. 21 at 2 pm, pianist Jeewon Park and cellist Edward Arron, co-artistic directors of the Performing Artists in Residence series at the Clark Art Institute return to resume their concert series, now in its ninth year.    The Sunday afternoon concert will be presented in the Clark's Michael Conforti Pavilion and features a program of music for piano and cello, offering Mendelssohn: "Sonata in B-flat Major for Cello and Piano," "Opus 45, Arvo Pärt: Spiegel im Spiegel" (1978), and Rachmaninoff: "Sonata in G Minor for Cello and Piano, Opus 19."   According to a press release, Korean-born pianist

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Williamstown Select Board Postpones Town Manager Decision
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
02:45AM / Tuesday, November 16, 2021
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Select Board postponed a decision on the next interim town manager until Thursday.    If it makes a decision.    Town officials were searching for an interim to replace current interim Charles Blanchard, who was expected to leave the post in December. He was hired last April.    But after interviewing North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard and former Amherst Town Manager Barry Del Castilho on Monday, some board members floated the idea of keeping Blanchard in place.    "Once we're just looking at interims it seems to me the person that's been doing it for the last six months is the fairly obvious choice,"

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December is the Start of Bird Feeding Season
04:14PM / Monday, November 15, 2021
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department recommends that people wait to put up bird feeders until Dec. 1 to avoid attracting bears.    "This may be a particularly good winter for attracting winter birds arriving from Canada, including Evening Grosbeaks and Purple Finches," Doug Morin, Vermont Fish and Wildlife's bird project leader said. "Black oil sunflower is a good seed choice that will attract a variety of birds, and folks may want to try other seeds or suet to attract certain species.  Thistle, for example, attracts many of the finches.  Gardeners will find leaving late-blooming flowers uncut provides seeds which can also attract

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SVMC is First in Vermont to Receive American Nurses Credentialing Center Practice Transition Accreditation
01:31PM / Monday, November 15, 2021
BENNINGTON, Vt. — The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) has granted a 4-year accreditation to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), for its Practice Transition Program.    It is the first program in the state and one of only 208 in the United States to have received the accreditation.   "This new distinction validates that SVMC is a wonderful place to start your career in nursing," said Pamela Duchene, the chief nursing officer and vice president for Patient Care Services at SVMC.  "It shows that we are following evidence-based practice to support our new nurses. That improves

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