Archive for News
By Andy McKeever
10:24PM / Wednesday, January 09, 2013
ADAMS, Mass. — A new strategic plan is set to be created to guide the town over the next years.
The Selectmen set Friday, March 22, and Saturday, March 23, as days for a massive brainstorming session involving a large number of town stakeholders.
The plan is for a day and a half of breakout sessions to plan the town’s future.
Selectman John Duval, who is leading the effort, said he has created a large list of stakeholders to participate.
Those are expected to include somewhere around 30 people ranging from business owners to town officials to residents — all representing a cross-section of opinions.
In the end, the town hopes to have a five-year plan to direct government functions. In the next month, Duval said he will be putting together a packet of information of town and school functions to give to all of the identified stakeholders prior to the meeting.
“We’ll start right away, prepared,” Duval said at Wednesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting.
The marathon meetings are expected to take place at the Adams Visitors Center and the final document is hoped to be completed by the end of the budget season.
Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said he is currently reaching outside the town to find an independent moderator.
“We want to get someone who is more removed from Adams,” Butler said, adding that he hopes to find someone with experience and knowledge of governmental functions to keep everyone on track and within bounds of what town government can do.
In other business, Butler updated the board on the middle school and the solar project at the landfill. He also said the Thunderbolt Ski Museum will be opened during the weekends leading up to the race on Feb. 9.
Butler said the town has engaged in negotiations with the owner of Ooma Tessoro’s to lease a portion of the middle school and hopes to have an agreement in place in the next few months.
The middle school is currently in a semi-mothballed state — meaning there is antifreeze in the pipes, the building is heated at 45 degrees and the water is off. But the security and fire systems are still active and public works employees are inspecting the building daily.
The long-delayed solar project is set to be under construction in March after Tecta Solar has finally settled its agreements with National Grid. The company has reapplied to the state Department of Environmental Protection for reauthorization.
“We have been assured by the developer that this would be under construction by March,” Butler said.
An event to ensure area workforce training and development unveils 2013 seminars
(Bennington, VT) –– The Workforce Training Series is a response to the growing need for strategic staff development in order to position the Bennington area as a workforce engine for the future. Designed to bring state-of-the-art training seminars to the local area for 2013, New Directions Consulting developed its Workforce Training Series using input and guidance from the Town of Bennington’s Office of Economic and Community Development, the Bennington Economic Development Taskforce, the Workforce Investment Board, and local employers, as a way to facilitate community engagement. The Workforce Training Series (WTS) kicked off Friday, December 7th with great success with a preview and information gathering session at Bennington’s Mount Anthony Country Club.
The event in early December gathered regional industry leaders together to discuss the initiative and the 2013 schedule of seminars for their staffs. Based on input and excitement from the 30 attendees, New Directions in coordination with Greg Van Houten, is excited to unveil the 2013 calendar of workforce seminars.
Starting in 2013, the WTS will hold 4 separate, day long seminars to help develop local employees and staffs. Starting on February 1st, seminar one will be, Dynamic Supervision: What Every Supervisory Should Know But Was Never Told. The second seminar on May 3rd will be Employee 101: Be The Employee Every Manager Wants, followed by the third seminar on September 6th entitled, Communication Skills: Crash Course On Getting Along With Othersin the Workplace. The first year of the WTS initiative finishes on November 1st with Dynamic Supervision 2: Taking Your Management Skills to the Next Level. Each session costs $150, but if purchasing four or more seats, the price drops to $125 per seat. All sessions will begin at 8:30am and finish at 4:30pm with a lunch break where attendees are encouraged to stay at the host site for the WTS seminars, the Mount Anthony Country Club.
To register or to learn more visit: http://info.
The Power Of People At Work -> Learn More
Integrated Economy Workshop Held
A set of public open house events was held in early December 2012 to prioritize and discuss the policy recommendations for the first three completed elements of the Sustainable Berkshires regional plan. Participants reviewed Goals and help set priorities for future actions in the areas of Economic Development, Conservation, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.
The summary from this Integrated Economy Workshop can be reviewed by clicking here.
If you weren’t able to participate in this workshop, please review the summary and provide your comments through this online survey: click here.
Conservation & Recreation Posted
The Conservation and Recreation chapter is ready for review! Please download here.
Economy & Business Goals Posted
Goals, policies and actions from the Economy and Business section are ready for review! Please download here.
For more information, please contact:
Amy Kacala, Project Manager & Senior Planner
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission
1 Fenn St., Suite 201
Pittsfield, MA 01201
413-442-1521, ext 12
WILLIAMSTOWN — Mount Greylock Regional School District is maintaining a proactive response to a “laundry list” of much-needed school improvements, a critical move in retaining its merit with its accreditation agency.
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) is a private, self-regulatory membership organization that provides accreditation services for more than 2,000 public and private institutions, from pre-kindergarten through higher education, in the six-state region.
Accreditation is a voluntary process in the United States, but it is also considered a standard practice in school quality assurance, which is monitored and acknowledged by state and federal education departments.
The NEASC accreditation cycle renews every 10 years. Mount Greylock is up for re-accreditation in 2015, and will begin what is known as a self-study phase in September 2014.
However, the regional public middle and high school has faced ongoing scrutiny by the NEASC, carrying a “warning” status since 2005.
“The commission has had an ongoing concern that it hasn’t seen a lot of progress [at Mount Greylock],” said Janet Allison, director of the NEASC Commission on Public Secondary Schools. She has been working directly with the district.
“We’ve been monitoring the school for several years for concern with its facilities,” Allison said.
“During those years, for a variety of reasons, mainly budgetary, repairs and maintenance has not been done,” said Mount Greylock Superintendent Rose Ellis, who has served as superintendent for the school since July 2010.
“We now have a proactive building subcommittee of the School Committee. It includes members of community with backgrounds in architecture and curriculum who can help us develop short-term and long-term goals,” Ellis said.
That committee, which is made up of about 15 members, is spearheaded by Mount Greylock School Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Greene.
The superintendent said that after being in contact with the NEASC in October, the district was given “a laundry list” of 16 items to address. The issues primarily deal with infrastructure, from outdated chemistry labs to bathroom and other public spaces that are out of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Ellis said the district will be “sending back a report with a response to each one [of the items]” this week.
Already, the district has begun to address some of these concerns. For example, the superintendent said the district is currently working to refurbish the out-of-code auditorium.
She said 100 percent of the school’s exterior doors have been repaired, replaced and ensured to function properly, as have 90 percent of the school’s interior doors.
The school also has begun putting a dent in chemistry lab upgrades by partnering with Clean Harbors, a Norwell, Mass.-based company, to help dispose of old and toxic chemicals. Ellis said the majority of chemicals found in the school’s labs were more outdated than dangerous, but all were removed from classrooms last month. Eventually, the school will also have to upgrade the labs’ water and gas lines and emergency wash stations.
In other efforts, Mount Greylock recently installed a new security system, which features a door buzzer-and-lock system and security cameras. Two restrooms were made ADA-compliant in 2012, and Ellis said the district will continue to work on the others this summer.
Allison said that because of regular communications, the NEASC commission is aware of the school’s efforts.
Ellis said in the meantime, Mount Greylock and its School Committee will continue to develop long-term goals for bettering the 53-year-old school, and estimating the expenses to do so.
“The challenge is taking a 20th-century school into the 21st century,” Ellis said.
To reach Jenn Smith:
or (413) 496-6239
On Twitter: @JennSmith_Ink
By Tammy Daniels
06:02PM / Thursday, January 03, 2013
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williamstown Medical Associates has entered into an affiliation with Berkshire Health Systems that its physicians hope will give the half-century-old practice more “horsepower” in serving patients and recruiting primary-care doctors.
The agreement includes the sale Monday of the practice’s medical building and property at 197 Adams Road for $2.5 million to Berkshire Health System’s realty arm BHS Management Services. The offices were built four years ago for about $2 million.
Grant funds are available for small businesses in Berkshire County to help them increase their use of the internet. A wide range of technology uses for the funds are possible that will help business owners improve the management, marketing and growth of their businesses, including:
- website creation or enhancements
- network development or upgrades
- acquisition of computer hardware and software
- training on the use of software programs or website maintenance
- broadband access, etc.
Businesses will work with the private technology consultant best suited to their needs.
Businesses are encouraged to apply prior to the January 31st deadline. Applications forms, eligibility requirements and further information may be obtained by calling Ann Dobrowolski at (413) 499-9371 or at the Loans/Grants tab on PERC’s website – PERCloans.com.
Other technical assistance grant programs are available from PERC for professional services for business support, such as financial advice, business management and marketing services. These grants may be used in conjunction with the technology grants.
Ann W. Dobrowolski
Community Development Specialist
Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation
70 Allen Street, Room 205
Pittsfield, MA 01201
(413) 499-9371 (tel.)
(413) 395-0152 (fax)
Custom Business Solutions has just taken on some exciting new projects and they are looking for one or two new team members. A couple of their clients are also searching for new talent.
The basic requirements are:
- A strong work ethic, attention to detail, self-motivation, thoroughness and analytical ability.
- Must demonstrate professionalism and the ability to maintain the highest levels of confidentiality and integrity.
- The ability to manage multiple projects and tasks with a high level of detail and accuracy.
- The ability to work well both as a team member and alone.
- Must be willing to travel to visit clients and in some cases, work from their offices.
- Must work well under pressure and have the ability to prioritize in a fast paced multi-project environment.
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
- High level of organization.
- Must possess the desire to figure things out, but know when to ask for help.
- Five years QuickBooks experience or equivalent.
- Proficiency in MS Word, Excel and Outlook.
- Must have some experience with small business or entrepreneurial culture, either personal or professional.
Their clients’ needs are heavier on the organizational side and lighter on accounting/QuickBooks, so a candidate with managerial or administrative experience for a busy non-profit or small business may be a good fit.
Please pass this along to anyone who may be interested. CBS works throughout Berkshire County and candidates for these position/s would not have to work primarily from Williamstown. They are wide open to central and south county-based applicants. Lucy and Carolyn will be reviewing résumés and scheduling interviews for early January. Have them email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Massachusetts: +3.1%
- Berkshire County: -2.8%
- Williamstown: -9.0%
Does this have you concerned? See chart here.
We’d love to see your comments below!
Last week, I met with Professor John Mullin from UMass to discuss what it would take to get started with an economic development agenda here in Williamstown/northern Berkshire County. While there are some points of light here locally, they struggle to illuminate the darkness created by the overall economy in Berkshire County, which all of the data that I can find shows is clearly lagging the rest of the state and the country overall. Read More→
CNBC released the results of their annual poll. States are scored on a variety of criteria.
Massachusetts fell from #6 in 2011 to #28 in 2012.
See the details here: http://www.cnbc.com/id/46414199/Top_States_for_Business_2012