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Berkshires Beat: CATA Publishes First Book
10:26AM / Monday, June 11, 2018
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Community Access to the Arts has published its first-ever collection of artwork and poetry, titled "You Can't Replace Yourself," featuring work by 46 artists and writers with disabilities.

CATA book

Community Access to the Arts has published its first-ever collection of artwork and poetry, titled "You Can't Replace Yourself," featuring work by 46 artists and writers with disabilities. CATA celebrates the release with a Book Launch event at the CATA Studio in Great Barrington on Tuesday, June 12, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

"You Can't Replace Yourself" is a window into the lyrical and deeply felt work of writers and artists with disabilities. It draws from 25 years of poems, paintings and drawings created in CATA's weekly arts workshops. From touching observations and fantastic dreams, to tender musings on love, life, and hairdryers, "You Can't Replace Yourself" is a moving collection that honors the individual voices of people with disabilities.

Poets included in the book take part in CATA's weekly Writers' Workshop. Since 2005, CATA writers have explored creative and expressive poetic forms, with prompts aimed at amplifying each individual's voice and unique perspective. CATA faculty offer an inventive curriculum to help writers tap into their own style, while CATA "scribes" work with some writers to help them commit their ideas to paper. The paintings and drawings throughout the book represent a small portion of the revelatory artwork created by CATA artists with disabilities during the past 25 years.

The book launch will include a reading of selections from the book, read by CATA writers with disabilities as well as CATA writing faculty and other supporters. A reception and book signing will follow. Books will be available for sale and several of the artists and writers will be in attendance to sign copies.

 

All's fair

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts has received an $11,500 grant from The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America’s Pittsfield office. This financial award not only will continue to support MCLA's annual Eighth Grade Career Fair, but also will fund a new 10th Grade Career Fair, which will take place for the first time in 2019.

MCLA, alongside the Berkshire Compact for Education, plans to host a 2019 Career Fair for eighth-graders and 10th-graders from nine local middle and high schools. The activities before, during, and after the career fair are designed to fuel students' aspirations by creating a sense of discovery and an awareness of possibilities for their future education and career.

Already, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America's Pittsfield office is a supporter of year's Eigth-Grade Career Fair, which took place on Thursday, May 31, and Friday, June 1, in Bowman Hall on the MCLA campus. Also sponsored by MCLA and the Berkshire Compact for Education, this fair will help eighth grade students learn about different types of jobs and careers so they can make informed decisions about course selection in high school and begin to think about higher education and a career. The fair included a motivational video from the state's "WOW Initiative," to introduce students to career opportunities within the, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.

 

Science center open house

Williams College invites the public to an open house at the recently completed South Science Building on Wednesday, June 13, from 4 to 6 p.m. The new building, located at Walden Street and Morley Circle in Williamstown, provides housing for research and teaching laboratories, shared equipment and shop support spaces, a microscopy suite, and faculty offices for the biology, chemistry, and physics departments. Visitors to the June 13 open house are encouraged to enter through the building's main entrance off Bank Street.

Designed by Payette Architects, the South Science Building aims for LEED Gold certification for design and construction. The building has advanced environmental controls that provide temperature and humidity precision required for many research efforts with reduced energy consumption along with the utilization of LED lighting throughout.

 

Walk to School Day

North Adams Public Schools will be celebrating "Walk to School Day" with students, parents, teachers, administrators and local "celebrities" on Wednesday, June 13. "Walk to School" events work to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, alleviating traffic congestion, concern for the environment and building connections between families, schools and the broader community.  

There will be the opportunity to walk with "walking school buses." There will also be “park and walk” sites for families that live outside the routes and/or farther from the schools. These sites are: Hoosac Hall Parking Lot at MCLA, Sullivan School Parking Lot, Flynn and Dagnoli-Montagna Home for Funerals on West Main Street and the old Price Chopper parking lot, departing these sites from 8 to 8:10. The "walking school bus" routes and park and walk sites are located on maps that are on the North Adams Public Schools website and Facebook page.

 

Wild idea

Starting in mid-June, Berkshire Natural Resources Council and the Berkshire Athenaeum will launch a joint initiative called "The Library in the Wilderness." This project provides free access to essential hiking supplies to facilitate a safe and engaging outdoor experience, as well as workshops on hiking, tracking, local flora and fauna, and land stewardship.

The initiative kicks off 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 16, with a hike at the Boulders. Mariah Auman, volunteer and outreach coordinator, will guide the group on a three-mile, easy-to-moderate stroll through the woods on the border between Pittsfield and Dalton. From Pittsfield: take Routes 8 and 9 east toward Dalton. Take a left onto Park Avenue, and then take another left onto Gulf Road. Trailhead parking is .25 miles ahead on the left.

Community members, with a library card in good standing, will be able to check out hiking backpacks equipped with field guides, Berkshire Natural Resources Council trail guides, a basic first-aid kit, a compass, binoculars, a magnifying glass, bug spray, two ponchos, and an observational journal. Hikers should bring a snack, water and appropriate footwear. The hiking packs, sponsored by council donors, will be available at the athenaeum for a one-week checkout, reservations required. For more information, call Auman at 413-499-0596 or Alexander Geller at 413-499-9480, ext. 202.

 

Half-price tickets

Barrington Stage Company and 1Berkshire in partnership kick off this year's "1/2 TIX" program on June 12. This popular program, in its 17th year, offers half-price tickets to residents and visitors throughout the Berkshires. Patrons can buy same-day half-price tickets to performances at three conveniently-located 1/2 TIX booths:  Barrington Stage Company Box Office at 30 Union St., Pittsfield; Lenox Chamber Visitors Center at 4 Housatonic St., Lenox; and the Triplex Cinema at 70 Railroad St., Great Barrington. The program runs through Sept. 8, Tuesday through Sunday from noon until 4:30pm. "1/2 TIX" booths are closed Mondays with ticket sales for Mondays sold on Sundays.

The cultural venues participating in the 2018 1/2 TIX Program this year are: Barrington Stage Company, Berkshire Theatre Group, Capitol Steps at Cranwell Resort, Chester Theatre Company, Mac-Haydn Theatre, Shakespeare & Company, Tanglewood, and The Theater Barn.

Patrons seeking information about daily performance availability and general 1/2 TIX information should call the 1/2 TIX hotline at 413-743-1339 or visit the website, where information is updated daily by 11 a.m. Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and all transactions are cash only. 

 

'Stream Team'

The Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) invites interested individuals to help form "Stream Teams" to complete Stream Assessments of the Williams and Konkapot Rivers this spring and summer. "Stream Team" volunteers will walk (sometimes in the river) or paddle along an assigned segment of the river and record information along the way. All of the information collected will be compiled into a final Stream Assessment Report, which will include conditions  and use of the river sections plus possible recommendations for future projects. These surveys help HVA better assess the health of the river and what is needed in that part of the watershed.

A training session is scheduled for Saturday, June 16, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Monterey Library (452 Main St., Monterey) and an optional in the field training from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the nearby Konkapot River. Funding for the River Assessments is provided by The Berkshire Environmental Endowment Fund, a fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. Those interested should call HVA at 413-298-7024 or email Alison.

 

Enriching experiences

The Lenox Education Enrichment Foundation ecently convened to review grant applications from various members of the community including educators, students and local organizations. Proposals ranged from learning about the environment and the world around us to innovative, creative initiatives to help children build self-esteem and grow.

After a thorough, thoughtful process, to assess application criteria such as excellence, impact and ability/feasibility, the following eight grant recipients were selected: Berkshire Pulse In-School Intro to Dance Program; Entrepreneurship & Marketing Education Project; Fifth Grade Family Book Club; How Does Wind & Water Shape the Land?; Lenox Mountain Biking Club; Community Access to the Arts (CATA); Mass Audubon/Housatonic Watershed Education Program; and Robotics Club.

LEEF’s mission is to enrich the education of students in the Lenox Public Schools by underwriting
programs that enhance the curriculum, encourage creativity and innovation, and grow the school and
community partnership.

 

Democrats to meet

The North Adams Democratic City Committee will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, June 14, at 6 p.m. in the Eclipse Mill Gallery on Union Street. On the agenda is a recap of the 2018 Democratic State Convention, old business, executive committee reports and new business.

Guest speaker Richard Dassatti will give an update on the North County Cares Coalition that was formed in response to the closing of North Adams Regional Hospital in 2014. The Coalition are advocates for the restoration of a full service hospital with inpatient beds to serve the needs of the 37,000 residents of northern Berkshire. All are welcome to attend.

 

Onota Lake closure

Onota Lake will be chemically treated with aquatic herbicides on Wednesday, June 13, to control invasive Eurasian watermilfoil and other nuisance aquatic vegetation.  The lake will be closed to all water uses (i.e., swimming, fishing and boating) on the day of treatment.

These uses may resume on Thursday morning, June 14. Use of the lake water for irrigation for watering lawns, gardens or plants of any kind is prohibited for 14 days post treatment. Printed posters warning of these and other temporary water use restrictions will be posted around the lake shoreline in advance of the treatment. For more information, call 413-499-9344.

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