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Berkshires Beat: Smoke Detectors Installed in Great Barrington Homes
01:08PM / Monday, March 06, 2017
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Chief Charles Burger, Lead American Red Cross Volunteer Sky Goodrich, Lt. Darrell Marks and American Red Cross Volunteer Dan Amuso prior to installing smoke and CO detectors throughout Great Barrington.

Stay safe: The Great Barrington Fire Department partnered with the American Red Cross to provide free smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors to residents in February. On Wednesday, Feb. 22, Great Barrington firefighters installed smoke and CO detectors in 18 houses throughout town as part of the American Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, which aims to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from fires by 25 percent by 2020.

Additionally, as part of the campaign, members of the American Red Cross worked with the Great Barrington Fire Department to educate residents about fire safety while firefighters installed the smoke and CO detectors. Since launching the campaign in 2014, the American Red Cross, working with fire departments throughout the country, has installed more than 700,000 smoke detectors.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, on average, seven people die in United States home fires per day, and three out of five home fire deaths happen in homes with no working smoke alarms.

The Great Barrington Fire Department will be installing more smoke and CO detectors throughout town in the near future. Residents who are interested in receiving a free device as part of the American Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign must have a house built prior to 1975 that does not have hard-wired detectors. Those who would like to set up an appointment should call the Great Barrington Fire Department at 413-528-0788.


Book it to the library: The clock is ticking for area residents who want to use their spring cleaning to support the Williamstown's library. The Friends of Milne Public Library are accepting donations through April 1 for the 2017 Friends Book Sale, which will be held Friday and Saturday, April 21 and 22, at Williamstown Elementary School.

The Friends accept new or gently used book and media donations. Donations may be made during regular library hours through April 1. Go online for more information about donation guidelines. For more information or to volunteer to work at the event, email The annual book sale generates funds to support children’s programming, staff development and technology at Williamstown’s public library.

Ready, aim, fire: The Western Massachusetts Police Academy will be conducting Firearms Training at the Pittsfield Police Department's Firing Range on Utility Drive for the next two weeks (March 6-10 and March 13-17). The training will take place Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. On the two Wednesdays (March 8 and 15), training will begin at 2 p.m. and end at 8 p.m.

This announcement is provided as a courtesy to residents of the area who may be impacted by the additional noise associated with the required training. The City of Pittsfield, Pittsfield Police Department, and Municipal Police Training Committee appreciate the community's support of this Recruit Officer Class, attended by Pittsfield's most recent police recruits.

Senior Center cleanup: Great Barrington's Claire Teague Senior Center and Council on Aging offices at 917 Main Street will be temporarily closed as cleanup crews get to work to repair damage caused by recent flooding. Flooding damage caused by a failed boiler in the first floor forced a closure of the building in late February, and the town estimates that repairs will take approximately three weeks, mostly due to the fact that water damage disturbed asbestos-based floor caulking materials. These kinds of materials are found in virtually all buildings of a certain age. The expected re-opening date is March 24.

Berkshire South Regional Community Center will be open to all Senior Center members daily from 11 a.m. with meals starting at 11:30.  Reservations for the meals must be made 24 hours in advance by calling 413-528-4118. Berkshire South Community Center is located at 15 Crissey Road in Great Barrington. Southern Berkshire Elderly Transportation Company will be providing free transportation to the lunch hour. Day passes will also be available for seniors who wish to take part in the regular classes, exercise programs, and pool services offered by Berkshire South.

The write stuff: The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home, located in the Berkshires of Western Mass, has announced the recipients of the 2017 Edith Wharton Writers-in-Residence: Christene Barberich, global editor-in-chief & co-founder of the lifestyle media company Refinery29; author and screenwriter Donna M. Lucey; and award-winning novelist Vanessa Manko.

 This is the second year of the Edith Wharton Writers-in-Residence program. The three finalists were selected from a pool of over 150 applications and will be "in-residence" at The Mount for several weeks this month. The writers will have the use of the house as a retreat each day during their stay. While in-residence, all three writers will participate in a public program, Writers in the House, on Wednesday, March 22, at 3 p.m., focusing on their current projects, careers, and Edith Wharton as a continuing influence on women writers.

The panel discussion will be moderated by novelist Claire McMillan. McMillan was a 2016 Edith Wharton Writer-in-Resident. Her second novel, "The Necklace," will be published this summer by Simon and Schuster.

Preschool time: Williamstown Community Preschool is now holding open enrollment for toddlers and preschoolers, ages 15 months to 5 years old, for September admissions at its 777 Main St. location in Williamstown. The school's dedicated teachers foster learning and skills development in children while focusing on independent learning, collaboration and cooperative social skills, problem solving and exploration, all within a developmentally appropriate and vibrant curriculum.  

Breakfast, lunch and a healthy snack are provided at the school, which has been serving children and parents from Northern Berkshire County and Southern Vermont since 1972. Contact Sue Hamblin at 413-458-4476 or email to set up a time to tour the center and meet the staff.

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