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November 1999

Vol. 8, No. 10


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CALENDAR

TUESDAYS, 6 to 8 p.m.: Men’s basketball at the Becket School gym.

WEDNESDAYS, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Parent-child playgroup at the Becket Town Hall.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 8 p.m.: Tax Classification Hearing at Town Hall.  

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 11 a.m.: Showing of the video “Discover Jacob’s Ladder Trail: the first of the great mountain crossovers” at the Becket Athenaeum itself.  The 45-minute video features Becket residents Rob Gorden and Bill Robinson as well as the Athenaeum. Says librarian Peg Goss, “If you didn’t love the Berkshires before, you would love them after seeing this.”

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2 to 4 p.m.: Roller Skating Party at the Becket Consolidated School sponsored by the PTO. 

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16: Book Fair at the Becket School.  Volunteers are needed; please contact Alice Bassen (243-4551).

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 8 p.m.: Meeting with Mass Highway to discuss options for the bridge replacement on Lower Valley Road.  The State will pay for new decking if Town provides equipment and some labor.

TUESDAY, November 30, 9 a.m.: “Our World and the Environment,” a Mobile Ed Production at the Becket Consolidated School.  The program teaches the importance of the three R’s of the environment: reduce, reuse, recycle.

OVER 100 ATTEND FIRST PUMPKIN WALK

By 6 p.m., the pumpkins and torches were lit, the candy distributed to the trick-or-treat stations and the Halloween revellers were arriving at Washington’s first Pumpkin Walk, held October 29.  With 40 pumpkins expertly carved by event organizers John and Georgette Keator lining the bike path, the Town Park was transformed to a magical party. 

For the next two hours, children from Washington, Becket, Hinsdale and Middlefield walked and ran the path collecting candy, while their parents strolled and paused to admire and appreciate the pumpkins--with designs ranging from werewolves to Garfield.  The roaring bonfire glowed toward the front of the park as families went for hayrides in the ball field.  Others congregated at the gazebo for hot cider and doughnuts.

And then the real fun began, according to John Keator.  After the younger crowd left and, presumably, went to bed, older children and adults arrived.  And the party continued until after midnight. 

This was the Keators 13th year creating a pumpkin walk, but their first here in Washington.  The tradition began when John Keator and a few friends got together in the woods behind his parents’ place in Lenox, carved a few pumpkins and had a party.  Over the years, the pumpkin carving became more elaborate, they made trails through the woods lit by pumpkins, and they partied into the wee hours.  But, as John Keator says, “We live here now, and so we wanted to do it here.”  Initially unsure how the event would go over, the Keators were very pleased with the turnout.  It was clear that everyone who came had a terrific time.  The Keators hope that next year--and there definitely will be a next year--more adults come, knowing now that this is more than just kid stuff. 

The Keators were helped by some local businesses as well as individual volunteers.  Says Georgette Keator, “a big thank you” goes to White Wolf Construction, North Becket Auto Body, Duquette Excavating and the Becket Fire Department.  Cubby LaFogg was so good at collecting candy donations at the Transfer Station that kids left the Pumpkin Walk with bags as full of candy as they wanted.  Thank you also to Craig Willis for building the bonfire and running the hayrides.  Trick-or-treat volunteers were Jen Duquette, Abby Reifsnyder, David and Nina Weiler and children, Allison Mikaniewicz, Kathy and Ian Casella and Gordon Fickett.  Thanks to those volunteers and to everyone who brought candy and pumpkins.

DOG OFFICER DISMISSED; AD HOC COMMITTEE FORMING

In the wake of September’s stormy Special Town Meeting in which funding for the Animal Control Officer was voted down, a meeting was held October 4 with the Selectmen, Highway Superintendant Craig Willis, Dog and Animal Control Officer John Connor and several residents to try to resolve the conflict.  Police Chief Rob Jarvie did not attend the meeting.  After some discussion, Selectman David Fish made a motion to dismiss Connor as Dog Officer.  The motion was seconded by Selectman William Cawley and passed unanimously by the Board. 

At the next Selectmen’s meeting, October 18 (there was no meeting October 11), Nancy Lamb and Susan Deacon, the Dog and Animal Control Officers for Becket, met with the Board to express their interest in filling the Dog Officer position.  The Selectmen decided to use their services while an Ad Hoc committee is formed to look into ways to structure the position and develop a plan to present at a Town Meeting.  The Becket Dog Officers can be reached at the Becket Town Hall (623-8934, extension 56).  If they are not there, their voice mail gives a number where one or the other can be reached.

At the October 25 Selectmen’s meeting, Connor asked the Selectmen to come to a decision about his position as Animal Control Officer.  The Selectmen noted that, without funding, there is effectively no position.  Connor said his position had not been eliminated.  After some further discussion, Fish made a motion to discontinue the position of Animal Control Officer at this time due to lack of funding.  The motion was seconded by Cawley and passed unanimously. 

ATHENAEUM’S ANTIQUES APPRAISAL FUNDRAISER FILLS LIBRARY COFFERS

Over 125 people came to the Becket Athenaeum’s Trash or Treasure? antiques appraisal fundraiser to see what those dusty old items were really worth.  The event proved to be worth a lot to the library which netted over $640, which, as librarian Peg Goss notes, “is wildly extravagant for us.”  There were people there from a number of different towns, says Goss, and there was “a lot of teaching as well as appraising” going on.  Appraisers Charles Flint and Scott Allessio have agreed to do another appraisal fundraiser for the library, possibly in the summer, says Goss, so the summer people can participate, too. 

NEW TOWN REPORTS AVAILABLE

Residents may pick up copies of this year’s Town Report at Town Hall.  With a beautiful cover by Julio Granda, including prose pieces by Paul Metcalf and Herman Melville, the report has been dedicated to Sibylle Baier for her vision and work making the Town Park the inviting place it now is and to Paul Metcalfe, a “writers’ writer,” according to Granda, who lived in and loved the hilltowns of the Berkshires and whose book “Genoa” has been selected for a best 100 books of the century list. 

TOWN AUTHOR PUBLISHES BOOK

Washington resident Peter Champoux’s first book has recently been published by Franklin Media (also of Washington).  “Gaia Matrix” explores the connections among geography, spirituality and culture.  It can be ordered from Champoux for $25 plus shipping and handling (another $5).  He can be reached at 623-2168.

WANT A GUN LICENCE? BE HONEST

Run-ins with the law as long ago as 25 years could mean being denied a gun licence--if the applicant isn’t honest on the application.  According to Police Chief Rob Jarvie, people run the risk of disqualification if they answer “no” for any arrest, but checks prove they were once arrested for, say, driving under the influence.  “The State has told us that anyone who falsely fills out an application they will prosecute,” says Jarvie.  The arrest itself is not the grounds for disqualification; it’s the false statement.  A restraining order--even one expunged from a person’s arrest record--will show up in order of protection checks.  There are now nine different checks that are run, according to Jarvie, as opposed to the two that used to be run in the past. 

Jarvie is getting on average three or four applications for licenses to carry and FID cards each week.  It takes about two months for the State to process all the checks and get the permits back to Jarvie.  His advice to gun licence applicants: just be honest, because if there ever was anything on a person’s record, the State will find it.

WINTER PREP TOPS DPW AGENDA

Having poured the concrete pads for the two recycling bins at the Transfer Station, the DPW is focussing its efforts on winter preparations.  The crew has filled pot holes and blown leaves off the dirt roads, clearing the ditches for drainage.  Patching, using the “drag box” (the paver), is continuing on Washington Mountain Road.  And they are getting the snow plows ready.  As Highway Superintendant Craig Willis says, “We’re keeping busy; staying out of trouble.”

LESS PACKAGING MEANS SAVINGS

Town resident Marilyn Wiley sent TRACKS this idea on how residents can help reduce their waste and some of the positive benefits of making some small changes in our buying habits.  The spring issue of “The ULS Report,” a newsletter devoted to “helping people Use Less Stuff by conserving resources and reducing waste,” reports on a study by the Michigan State University Packaging Department of the effects of reduced packaging.  The study’s findings indicate that buying products with less packaging not only reduces waste, but often saves the consumer money as well.  For example, buying toasted oat cereal in a bag would save a family about $65 a year versus the traditional bag-in-a-box choice. 

BITS & PIECES

A local emergency committee has been formed, according to Police Chief Rob Jarvie.  It will meet four times a year.  The next meeting is December 1 at the Pittsfield Fire Station.  Call Jarvie for details (655-2408).

Michele Beemer has been appointed Assistant Sexton to help Sexton Charlotte Williams who is unable to make inspections at the Town cemetaries. 

The Annual Harvest Dinner to raise funds for the restoration of St. Andrew’s Chapel was held Sunday, October 31, and netted $200 for the chapel.  “That brings us halfway to our goal of $2,000,” the amount needed to restore the next stained-glass window, says Sally Poland.  The terrific weather added to the “wonderful time” had by the 70 people who enjoyed the traditional turkey dinner.

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