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December 1999

Vol. 8, No. 11


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CALENDAR

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 16, 6:30 p.m.: “Squeeze Play,” an opera, will be performed by fourth-grade students at the Becket School.  The performance is free and open to the public.

GRANTS SOUGHT FOR TOWN LAND

Finance Committee member Richard Spencer is looking into grant money available through the Department of Environmental Management to manage the 43-acre parcel of town-owned land behind the Town Park.  The Forest Stewardship grants are, says Spencer, small amounts--$2,000--but he feels such a grant would allow the Town to better manage and use the land.  Ideas Spencer is considering include creating interpretive trails, managing for wildlife habitats or logging.  This last option, he notes, doesn’t look promising based on his own walking of the land. 

The grants are contingent, in part, on significant local support for the project, so Spencer is eager to discover if there is any interest among residents to pursue a particular project. 

Spencer is not the only one eyeing this piece of land.  Recently, the Selectmen have begun investigating the possibility of installing windmills to generate power on this parcel.  Spencer says this use is not incompatible with the options he’s considering.  People interested in this project should contact Spencer or the Selectmen with their ideas. 

NEW DOG OFFICER SOUGHT

The Ad Hoc Dog Officer Committee formed in the wake of the dismissal of the previous dog officer is now seeking applicants for the position.  The committee’s research indicates that an increase in the annual stipend from $375 to $500 is warranted, says committee member Tricia Drugmand. The committee also feels that the guidelines for the job need to be clearer.  The dog officer would be expected to enforce the laws pertaining to dogs as outlined in the MSPCA/ARL Law Enforcement Handbook.  This means that, except in the case of emergencies, complaints about dogs must be submitted to the Selectmen in writing. The dog officer would be responsible for documenting all incidents, reporting to the Selectmen and filing all information at Town Hall.  According to Selectman and committee member Richard Grillon, the dog officer can expect between 10 and 20 calls a year.

As of April 1, 2000, there will no longer be a county animal control program.  This means, according to County Dog Officer Pete Wheeler, that fines the Town receives will no longer be passed on to the county, with the excess returned to the Towns to be spent on education or libraries.  The Town will need to establish its own by-laws to determine how those funds are used.  The Ad Hoc Dog Officer Committee suggests that at least some of that money should be used to compensate the Dog Officer for his or her efforts.

The Ad Hoc Committee will be meeting Monday, December 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall.  Interested parties should feel free to attend that meeting to get more details about the job. 

WASH CULTURAL COUNCIL ANNOUNCES GRANTS FOR 2000

With $3,000 left over from past years added to this year’s $3,300, the Washington Cultural Council found itself in the enviable position of being able to fully fund most of the grant applications it received this year.  Following is a list of this year’s grants (pending final approval by the State).

 

Richard Grillon: Oral History of Washington………….$350
Project Concern: Hip-Hop Dance Performance………..$600
Alicia Quintano: From Alaska to the Stars…………….$250
Miniature Theater of Chester………………………….$300
Becket Arts Center of the Hilltowns: Workshops………$300
Becket Arts Center: Music Together……………………$100
Becket Arts Center: Art with Nature…………………....$150
John Root: Gaslight Era Performance………………..…$200
John Root: Senior Citizen Concert………………….…..$400
Henry Lappen: Juggling Performance & Workshop……$325
Becket School: Underground Railway Theater……...$587.50
Becket School: Our World and the Environment……….$225
Becket School: Jim Douglas, Folk Singer……………….$175
Becket School: The Living Abe Lincoln……………...…$325
Erica Fay: Mathilda……………………………………..$300
Aubrey Waynelovich: King Phillip Dixieland Band…….$400
The Berkshire Museum: Amazing Microbes Day………..$75
Berkshire Opera Company: Arts Education Website……$400
Christy N. Butler: Restore & Archive Veterans Photos…$150
Pass Grant: Berkshire Museum……………………....$144.50
Pass Grant: Hancock Shaker Village…………………$132.50
Hancock Shaker Village: Berkshire Open House………..$100
Bob Thomas: Paul Bunyan’s Polka Party………………..$385
Nessacus Middle School: Roots of American Dance……..$20

BECKET SCHOOL BUILDING COMMITTEE SEEKS INPUT FROM PUBLIC

A detailed examination of the 60-year-old Becket Consolidated School and its 20-year-old addition has revealed that the building will need major renovations in the near future, according to a press release issued by the Building Committee.  An extensive engineering study, undertaken for the Building Committee, has highlighted several major deficiencies in the school building: a new roof is required; the well must be upgraded; the heating and ventilation system needs to be replaced; the exterior walls need extensive repair, replacement and repointing of brickwork; the electrical system needs to be upgraded; the surrounding lot and driveway need to be regraded for drainage and repaved to provide safer parking and bus access; the building must be upgraded to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The State found the educational space in the basement unacceptable due to health hazards and water drainage problems.  Furthermore, enrollment is expected to increase.

The cost to repair these items would be shouldered by the towns of Becket and Washington alone. 

The School Facilities and Management Bureau of the Massachusetts Department of Education has approved a preliminary project to renovate and repair the Becket School.  The State would refund approximately 64% of the total project.  This reimbursement is possible only if an addition to the school is made and if both Washington and Becket approve the building project.  The renovated school would meet all State requirements, including special education space, technology equipment and community space.

The Central Berkshire Regional School District School Committee has approved the recommendation of the Becket School Building Committee to employ Barry Architects, a local architectural firm, to provide the planning and design services required to submit architectural plans and specifications to the State of Massachusetts by June 2000.

Over the next few months, the Building Committee will be soliciting input and assistance at open meetings.  The most recent was held Tuesday, November 30.  To find out when the next meeting is, please contact the Becket School (623-8757).

TRANSFER STATION HOURS CHANGE FOR CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR HOLIDAYS

The Transfer Station will be closed Saturday, December 25, and again January 1 for Christmas and New Year’s Day, respectively.  To compensate for the lost hours, the Transfer Station will have extended hours--3 to 8 p.m.--on the Wednesdays preceding the two holidays.

SCHOOL SEEKS SENIORS TO READ WITH CHILDREN

The Becket school is launching a new reading program matching senior citizens with children to read.  Interested seniors should contact school principal Laura Dumouchel (623-8757). 

CALL ME. WRITE ME.

If you've got news, comments, critiques or photos to share, or you want to advertise, please write or call Abby Reifsnyder (623-6073). 

 

Send your comments and questions about Tracks at: tracks@town.washington.ma.us