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Circus School; Farr Gone; Education By the Numbers; Pro Football By the Numbers


Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Jeff Byrnes photo
Holyoke Winter Carnival

Circus School

Success is never final: the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro is celebrating the realization of its 10-year dream of buying a piece of property where it can consolidate its programs, now run at five different sites. But for the Center, which draws students from all over the U.S. and beyond, the next step is a $1 million fund drive to erect a 15,000-square-foot building, which, say Center founders Serenity Smith Forchion and her sister Elsie Smith, will be the first custom-built circus arts school in the country. It will house rooms and equipment specially adapted for instruction in aerial arts, juggling and other performance skills.

 

Face Winter Head On—With Chili and Poetry

Look, you can crawl into your little hidey hole and grumble about the cold and ice of this cruel winter. Or you can embrace the season and all it offers like a real New Englander. No judgment.

If you do opt for the latter course of action, well, what better place to do it than the third annual Holyoke Winter Carnival, a 10-day celebration of the season and the city alike?

The volunteer-run event, which runs from Feb. 7 to 16, will feature a diverse range of programs at venues around the city: skating and skiing events; a wine tasting and a quilt show; a domino tournament and a dog show; a chili cook-off and a cake-baking contest; a “polar bear” swim and a curling demonstration, plus numerous musical performances and a ton of kids’ events. One of many highlights: an open-mic poetry slam on Feb. 12 at El Mercado, 413 Main St. (Sign-ups begin at 6:30, the mic opens at 7, and the winner walks off with a $100 prize.)

For a full schedule and other information, go to www.holyokewintercarnival.org.

 

Farr Gone

 

Last week, a months’-long campaign by preservation-minded residents to save Holyoke’s historic Farr Mansion came to an unhappy end, when the Holyoke YMCA razed the building to make space for a parking lot. Neighbors had hoped to see the building preserved, even identifying a potential buyer who proposed turning the mansion into a café and office space, but Y officials maintained demolition was the best solution to solve their organization’s need for more parking.

The day the building came down, Daphne Board, a leader in the Save Farr Mansion campaign, called the demolition a “real shame and waste” and described the Y’s decision to knock down the building before obtaining the zoning change it will need for a parking lot as “sleazy.” On the positive side, she told the Advocate, the issue brought together residents and “spurred another local business to be forthcoming with the neighbors about its long-term plans.” And, she added, she eagerly awaits a change of leadership at the Y, suggesting, “Deciding to be a better neighbor would be an excellent new YMCA mission.”

 

Education By the Numbers

73

That’s the percentage of Americans who support charter schools, according to a report recently released by the advocacy group Center for Education Reform, which supports charters and school choice policies. Seventy-two percent of African-American respondents said they supported charters, as did 76 percent of Hispanics.

Four percent of respondents said their state legislatures are doing an “excellent” job on school-related issues; 20 percent said lawmakers were doing a “good” job. Thirty-five percent gave their legislators a mark of “poor.”

The full report, which also asked about school choice, teacher accountability and other topics, can be found at www.edreform.com.

 

Pro Football By the Numbers

69

That’s the percentage of those responding to a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll in December who said public funds should not be used to build stadiums for National Football League teams

71

The percentage of respondents who said no tax breaks should be offered to attract an NFL team or keep it in town

56

The percentage of respondents describing themselves as NFL fans

13

The percentage of respondents who were aware that the NFL is classified for tax purposes as a nonprofit

And the gender breakdown for respondents to the poll was surprisingly even: 49 male to 51 female.

 

© 2014 The Valley Advocate