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September 2000

Vol. 9, No. 8

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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 8 p.m.: Presentation by the Westfield Wild and Scenic River Advisory Committee at Town Hall.  The Committee will explain what it does to see if Washington is interested in joining the coalition. 


            For a small town, Washington had more than its share of limelight at Pittsfield’s Fourth of July parade.  Here are just two of the locals spotted…


Michael Case rides the parade route.


Bagpiper Matthew Lawrence marches with the Berkshire Highlanders.


            The Becket Volunteer Firefighter’s Association is now taking orders from homeowners who would like to purchase reflective 911 home identification signs.  The signs are 8” x 12” and have 911 and your house number imprinted on both sides.  The signs will help emergency personnel find your home quickly.

            To order, please send a check for $20 (payable to the Becket Firefighter’s Association) along with your name, house number, full address and phone number to: Becket Firefighter’s Association, P.O. Box 94, Becket, MA  01223.

            A sample sign is on display at the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall.  The sign should be hung on the homeowner’s property so it is clearly visible from the road. 


            The temporary loss of the Gerhardt’s Labrador Retriever, Cash, has prompted the family to create a new web site to provide friends and neighbors with a place to let the whole community know all at once that a treasured pet is missing.  Please visit “berkshire-petwatch.com” if you need to list a missing pet or to see if you recognize any of the critters listed there to help them find their way home.  If you do not have online access but do have a missing or found animal, please call Mary Gerhardt at 684-6874. 


            Berkshire Veterans ShoeBox Photos is an ongoing project seeking the personal photograph albums that military veterans have stashed in closets and boxes that show their military experiences.  Christy Butler, a local photographer and Vietnam veteran, has developed this project and seeks contacts with any veteran or the relatives of deceased veterans in Washington who have such collections. This free project only asks that veterans who have any amount of photographs in any condition contact Butler either by phone (684-2418) or by e-mail (butts@bcn.net). 

            A web site (www.shoeboxphotos.net) already exists showing the present contributions from over 110 veterans from Berkshire County.  This collection includes thousands of images and not only presents the many experiences that veterans have during conflicts but includes as well the many peacetime activities that the military personnel are involved with around the world. 

            This “folk photography” already has many interesting images of vintage aircraft, past and present technologies, historical events, prominent personalities and the many varied environments or social cultures that veterans encounter.  A CD-ROM which mirrors the web site and includes a Power Point slide show will be donated to all public libraries of the local cultural councils that are participating.  (The Washington Cultural Council is one of 14 local cultural councils supporting this project.)  Butler invites any veteran, from any time or any where, to contact him about the project. 


            Washington Cultural Council grant applications are due October 15.  Grant applications can be obtained from Jeanette Roosevelt (623-8727) or the Selectmen’s office, and must be submitted to Washington Cultural Council, P.O. Box 335, Washington, MA 01223.

            There are five criteria applications must meet to be considered: 1. the funds must be for arts, humanities or interpretive sciences; 2. the project must have community benefit; 3. a continuing project must have other support; 4. public funding is not replaced; 5. it must provide equal access for all.

            Applications must be typed (hand-written applications are not accepted by the State).  All sections of the application must be completed and the application signed.  The budget section must be completed with correct arithmetic.  If there are supporting materials (resumes, publicity, etc.), they should accompany the application. 


Fire Chief Stephen Deloye reminds residents that cargo tank and transfer tank inspections expired on August 31, 2000.  To receive a new permit, tank owners must contact Deloye (623-6019) to set up an inspection. 


            Town Clerk Allison Mikaniewicz will have new Monday office hours at Town Hall.  Effective September 18, office hours will be from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.  She can also be reached at 623-2185. 


            In late July, Carol and Frank Kennedy of Washington Mountain Road received a surprise visitor.  He stayed long enough for some photos…


            “I was sitting at my desk painting one of my slates,” reports Carol Kennedy, “and I looked out of the window.  Looking back at me was a moose!  Frank grabbed his camera and was able to get a couple photos.”



            Washington’s recycling of bottles, cans, plastics, paper and cardboard has declined for FY 1999, the most recent year for which statistics are available.  The Town recycled 10.5 tons (or 21,000 pounds) less than the previous year.  From 1990 to 1993, Washington collected an average of 32 tons.  In 1994 and 1995, this figure rose to 40 tons.  In 1996 it was up even more to 57 tons.  In 1997, the Town dropped back to 41 tons, then rose again in 1998 to 57 tons and back down again to 46 tons for 1999.  Are residents slacking off in their recycling? Or have we been buying less packaging?  Recycling Coordinator William Cawley thinks it’s probably both.  People may not be sorting out their recyclables as well as they could be.  He hopes they are buying goods with less packaging.

            In other Transfer Station news, the used steel shipping box is being converted by the DPW to be a new swap center.  The DPW crew has cleaned, painted and electrified it for lighting.  This will allow townspeople who feel an item may have a second life with another family to leave it in a dry storage bin.  Rhodora “Cubby” LaFogg will allow items three weeks storage. 

            Cawley requests that people leave motorized items outside the metal bin.  He also reminds residents to put Goodwill, packing material and used florescent light bulbs in the Goodwill shed and metals in the metal bin.  He encourages all residents to increase their household recycling and participate in household composting.  Save hazardous waste for household hazardous waste collection day (see enclosed flier). 


            The Washington Board of Health reminds residents that septic systems need regular maintenance.  On average a four-person family needs to pump the septic tank every four years.  This maintenance ensures that subsurface and floating solids never connect with each other.  The area between is the liquid which runs into the leach field.  Solids must never run into the leach field as it would become plugged.  The only cure for a bound leach field is replacement.

            Other ways to extend the health of a septic system are to use bleach alternatives such as bluing and adding powdered culture to the system through each house drain once a month. 


            Dog Officer Victor Breen’s phone is 623-8345.  Breen is also the Assistant Police Chief.


            If you've got news, comments, critiques or photos to share, or you want to advertise, please write or call Abby Reifsnyder (623-6073) or send e-mail to tracks@town.washington.ma.us.


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