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Building Berkshire East; A Senator in Need of a Home; Eat Well, Do Good

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Building Berkshire East

 

As the 2013/2014 ski season got into full swing last week, Berkshire East Ski Resort in Charlemont had plenty to show for its efforts over the summer, including a major expansion of its base lodge, which will open in January. The latest part of a multi-phase reinvestment in the mountain by the Schaefer family, the lodge expansion follows closely on the heels of significant increases in snow-making capacity and the development on site of wind and solar power. In addition to a number of local builders who worked on the project, many of the ski resort’s staff joined in, including Berkshire East’s race director Tyler Conrad (pictured swinging a mallet, right), who is also an expert in timber framing.

 

A Senator in Need of a Home

 

Percolating rumors that Scott Brown plans to run for the Senate from New Hampshire hit the boiling point last week, when Bloomberg News Service reported that the former Massachusetts senator has found a buyer for his Wrentham house and is moving to the Granite State, where his family owns a vacation home. Democrats have been in a tizzy for months over the prospect of the Republican Brown moving north to challenge incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. (Others have speculated that Brown might, in fact, have his sights set on a higher office, noting his recent visits to another state popular with presidential candidates, Iowa.) Shaheen has used the rumors that Brown is coming after her seat to boost her war chest; this fall, that effort was bolstered when her colleague, Sen. Elizabeth Warren—who replaced Brown as Massachusetts’ senator in 2012—appealed to her own supporters, asking them to donate to Shaheen: “Let’s show Scott Brown: If he decides to run against Jeanne Shaheen, we’ll be there once again to stop him.”

Now the Democratic National Committee has chimed in, posting a mock ad on Craigslist offering Brown’s senatorial services to any state that wants him: “Politician for Hire. (Boston. Or Manchester. Or Des Moines),” it reads.

“Need candidate to run for political offices? Scott Brown has you covered,” continues the ad, which goes on to list some of Brown’s job qualifications: “Interested in municipal, state, federal and/or national office. … Expertise in protecting the interests of the banking and financial services sector.” The ad also includes this caveat: “Unable to start within 30 days due to contract restrictions with Fox News.”

 

Eat Well, Do Good

 

Throughout 2013, CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) has invited supporters to celebrate its 20th anniversary by taking part in a series of monthly challenges, such not-especially-onerous tasks as visiting a sugarhouse, learning to make ice cream at home, visiting new farm stands, organizing a pot luck with a menu of local goodies.

Each step of the way, participants were helping work toward CISA’s ultimate goal: to double the amount of local food Valley residents eat by 2033.

Now, as CISA’s anniversary year comes to a close, the organization has released a new publication to help supporters continue that work. “Eat Up and Take Action for Local Food” suggests creative ways to support the local food system that go well beyond filling your grocery bag (the reusable cloth kind, of course) with local produce.

“Together, farmers and their customers have created a renaissance in our local food economy, one that promises long-term benefits to our health, our environment, and our communities,” writes the guide’s author, Margaret Christie, CISA’s special projects director. “To fully achieve this promise, we need to maximize the power we wield as consumers, and take action for local food in arenas beyond the marketplace—as citizens, workers, volunteers, parents, and community members.”

The guide’s suggestions range from lobbying to bring more local food to your kid’s school cafeteria to supporting programs that bring local food to low-income people to becoming better informed about how government policy affects local and small-scale food producers. The guide also highlights innovative programs that can serve as models, like a Cooley Dickinson Hospital program that allows workers to pay for a farm-share membership through payroll deductions and pick up their shares at work.

“The world’s problems can seem awfully big and impossible to impact,” Christie said in a press release announcing the guide. “Local food gives us a way to take concrete, hopeful action every day.”

“Eat Up and Take Action for Local Food” is available online at CISA’s website: www.buylocalfood.org.

 

 

Worth Quoting:

“@MGMSpringfield whining about town’s refusal to accept their ‘standard deal’ (cue violins and Wayne Newton)”

—Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, commenting via Twitter on a MassLive article about MGM’s stalled negotiations with the town of Longmeadow on a casino mitigation agreement

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