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News and events in Williamstown, Mass.

One Weekend Left to Collect Nominating Signatures in Williamstown
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
08:40AM / Friday, March 18, 2022
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — With nomination papers due on Tuesday, seven of 10 offices on the spring's town election ballot have at least one candidate who has returned those papers.   So far, several potential contested races are shaping up.   Town Clerk Nicole Beverly on Thursday reported that three people have taken out papers for two three-year terms on the Select Board and two have taken out papers for one five-year seat on the Planning Board.   Bilal Ansari and incumbent Jane Patton each have returned completed papers for the Select Board race. Randal Fippinger, who currently serves on the town's Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity Committee, also has taken

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Medical Matters Weekly Welcomes Tracy Dolan
02:04PM / Thursday, March 17, 2022
BENNINGTON, Vt. — Southwestern Vermont Health Care's (SVHC) Medical Matters Weekly with Dr. Trey Dobson welcomes Tracy Dolan, the director of Vermont's Refugee Office, at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23.    The show is produced with cooperation from Catamount Access Television (CAT-TV). Viewers can see Medical Matters Weekly on facebook.com/svmedicalcenter and facebook.com/CATTVBennington. The show is also available to view or download a podcast on www.svhealthcare.org/medicalmatters.   Dolan manages day-to-day operations and expansion of services for Vermont's refugee program. She has more than 25 years of experience working in public health. For the past 11

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Letter: Williamstown Needs to Change to Diversify Housing
Letter to the Editor,
01:00PM / Thursday, March 17, 2022

To the Editor:

Williamstown cannot hope to become a community of diverse households while allowing only one type of house. Believing that it can relies on the notion that there are lots of folks just like the modal Williamstown household in key ways — affluent in income, two to five people in size, best suited to a three-bedroom house with a garage — yet are somehow, at the same time, in their 20s, and/or Black, interested in cohousing, and/or multigenerational households, physically disabled, and/or not car owners.

To diversify our community, we can hold our breath for several more decades, waiting for society to change, or we can act to change our housing stock

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SVMC Outpatient Rehabilitation Offers Dry Needling
09:13AM / Thursday, March 17, 2022
BENNINGTON, Vt. — Michael Fredette, a physical therapist in the Outpatient Rehabilitation department at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), has completed a 54-hour, two-part advanced certification for performing dry needling.   Dry needling, also known as trigger point dry needling and myofascial trigger point dry needling, helps patients who are experiencing pain in their muscles or connective tissues. Muscles sometimes develop knotted areas that are sensitive or painful when touched. The pain can be transferred to other parts of the body and sometimes change the way patients move.   Practitioners of dry needling

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Ansari Announces Run for Williamstown Select Board
08:45AM / Thursday, March 17, 2022
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Bilal Ansari is running for Select Board in a campaign based on "Accountability, Belonging, and Compassion," he announced in a news release on Wednesday.   His vision of Williamstown emphasizes accountability in all financial and management aspects of governance; enhanced quality of life for elders and our youth; and more support for low-income families and people who wish to acquire homes affordably.    "We need ideas from all the people of Williamstown," Ansari said. "If we all intentionally work together, we can better identify and solve public policy issues."   Ansari is running for one of the two open seats

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Clark Art Announces Summer Exhibitions
08:23AM / Thursday, March 17, 2022
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Clark Art Institute announced its summer 2022 exhibition schedule, featuring porgrams including a  survey of Auguste Rodin's sculpture.    “Each year, we try to present a range of exhibitions that offer new scholarship, spark new ideas, and introduce new concepts or artists to our audiences. But with every show, we also hope to inspire a moment of delight——pleasure in seeing something beautiful, learning something new, or seeing something different. We think that this year will be a summer full of delights at the Clark," said Olivier Meslay, Hardymon Director of the Clark Art Institute. “We will look at one of

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Letter: Comment to Ken Swiatek's Letter on Zoning Proposal
Letter to the Editor,
04:00PM / Wednesday, March 16, 2022

To the Editor:

Ready. Fire. Aim. That seems to be a common way of doing town business in Williamstown these days.

It may be a holdover from the Covid Crazy Days of Zoom-only discussion, where having an eye-to-eye, in-depth conversation was nearly impossible. And it is not just the Planning Board. Educating our townspeople on fact-based reasons for a proposal seems often to elude many of our public representatives. Opportunity for questioning and public comment BEFORE an idea or expensive new hire is officially put forth for a vote seems to have taken a back seat in town decision-making. And our out-dated town meeting is no place to hash out important issues. For many good reasons, the

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Williams Awarding 5 Honorary Degrees at 2022 Commencement
03:35PM / Wednesday, March 16, 2022
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and noted commentator, will be the principal speaker at Williams College's 233rd commencement exercise on Sunday, June 5.    The day before, the Rev. Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention, rehab and re-entry program in the world, will be the college's baccalaureate speaker. Both will receive honorary degrees at commencement, as will award-winning actor, director, dancer and choreographer Debbie Allen; Amherst College President Biddy Martin; and civil rights advocate and National Park Service ranger Betty Reid Soskin.   2022 Honorary Degree

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Letter: Williamstown Planning Board Should Consider Social, Economic, Environmental Impacts
Letter to the Editor,
03:25PM / Wednesday, March 16, 2022

To the Editor:

Williamstown is known as a desirable community characterized by an affluent, highly educated, and increasingly diverse population. At the same time, the town aspires to be more inclusive. We want to welcome individuals and families of all income levels and racial and cultural backgrounds. One roadblock to inclusivity is the high cost of housing in our town, and limited housing options.

To address these issues the Planning Board is proposing changes to the zoning code that would allow a single building to have up to four housing units in general residence (GR) district, that area of town served by public water and sewer system and characterized by relatively dense

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Williams College President Thanks Berkshires Healthcare Heroes
By Maud S. Mandel, Guest Column
11:51AM / Wednesday, March 16, 2022
In 2020, COVID-19 turned our lives upside down. Medical and public health experts rushed to treat the sick and contain the spread. At Williams, we closed our campus and helped students leave for their safety — a sad milestone in our 227-year history.    Today, the college is once again bustling with students, faculty and staff, learning, living and working on campus. Throughout the Berkshires, communities are starting to emerge and look to the future again.   Thursday, March 17, was the second anniversary of Williams' closure. Today, the college's senior staff and I want to thank the outstanding medical and public health professionals of Berkshire County and the

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Clark Art Imprinting Race Colloquium
08:11AM / Wednesday, March 16, 2022
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Clark Art Institute's Research and Academic Program (RAP) hosts two public events as part of its Imprinting Race Colloquium, a two-day program exploring the intersections between race and printmaking.   On Thursday, March 17 at 5:30 pm, RAP presents an artist's talk by printmaker Curlee Raven Holten. On Friday, March 18 at 3 pm, RAP hosts a roundtable discussion featuring a panel of colloquium participants. Each event will be held in the Clark's auditorium as well as livestreamed. These programs are free but advance registration to receive the livestream link is required.   Imprinting Race: Artist's Talk by Curlee Raven Holton March

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Mount Greylock Committee Defends Handling of Pandemic
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
08:01AM / Wednesday, March 16, 2022
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Several members of the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee last week defended the district's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic against criticism from one of their colleagues.   Following an announcement by Superintendent Jason McCandless that the district would stop requiring face coverings indoors as of March 14, Steven Miller again raised his concern about the way the district has been making decisions during the pandemic.   "I do not believe we are making decisions based on sound science at numerous junctions, and I think some of our policies in the past have been designed more to make us feel like things are being done than to actually

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