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Berkshires Beat: BNRC Upgrades Popular Trails for 2019 Summer Season
12:25PM / Monday, June 17, 2019
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Trail facelifts

On Monday, June 10, state Rep. Smitty Pignatelli joined members of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) board of directors, volunteers, staff and nature trail enthusiasts to unveil a redesigned trailhead kiosk and enhanced on-trail signage at BNRC's flagship conservation reserve, Yokun Ridge South at Olivia's Overlook. Similar upgrades have also been completed at 16 other BNRC trail sites across Berkshire County. All 54 BNRC reserves are open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk, free of charge.

Each updated kiosk features a large map of the reserve and its trail system; notes on the natural, cultural, and ownership history of the protected lands; and suggested activities for each property.  Also available at the kiosks are free, newly revised paper trail maps for visitor use. Easier-to-read on-trail signage, mostly in the form of large brown signs with white letters, has also been installed on many trails. Among these are trails at The Boulders, a BNRC property used by many, which spans across parts of Dalton, Lanesborough and the City of Pittsfield in the center of Berkshire County.

"These kiosk and signage improvements, coupled with BNRC's new Berkshire Trails app, will help everyone explore the richness of the Berkshires' hiking trails and outdoor opportunities," said BNRC President Jenny Hansell. At Monday's unveiling ceremony, Pignatelli spoke to the crowd of the economic importance of conservation land and outdoor recreation opportunities in the Berkshires.

Established in 1967, the Berkshire Natural Resources Council’s mission is to protect and preserve the natural beauty and ecological integrity of the Berkshires for public benefit and enjoyment. There are 54 BNRC conservation reserves spread across Berkshire County, free to the public, open to everyone for non-motorized recreation, featuring over 55 miles of maintained trails.


Cheshire food pantry

The Cheshire Pantry opened on Saturday, May 26, from 11 a.m. to noon at the Cheshire Community Center. The pantry will be available the first Saturday of each month. Emergency food is available as well as delivery service.

People can call 413-329-2212 to schedule arrangements. Monetary and food donations are always welcome. The pantry is open to Cheshire residents.


Summer Street lot

The city of Pittsfield is opening the new Summer Street Loton Monday, June 17. The new lot replaces the demolished Columbus Avenue Garage and features new paving and lighting. The lot will be available for permit and metered parking. During the opening week, the city's parking attendants will be on hand throughout the day to assist patrons in navigating the lot.

As with other municipal lots in the city, metered parking at the Summer Street Lot is in 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there are several kiosks stationed around the lot. The first 30 minutes are free (this applies to both on-street and lot parking); parking in the lot costs 50 cents an hour. There is free parking after 4 p.m. on weekdays and parking is free all day on Saturdays and Sundays. Additionally, there are 19 free 90-minute spaces in the alleyway adjacent to the lot.

As a reminder, to get started with the parking meter, enter the license plate number in the meter. Once the number has been entered, follow the prompts for the expected time of stay and form of payment. Payment is accepted by coin, credit card or smartphone application (download the Passport Parking app from either the App Store or Google Play). Once the transaction is complete, the meter will produce a receipt. There is no need to display a ticket in the vehicle.


Free summer food

North Adams Public Schools are  participating in the Summer Food Service Program. Meals will be provided to all children without charge and are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.

All sites are closed July 4. Meals will be provided, at a first-come, first-serve basis, at the sites and times as follows:

Brayton Elementary School:
July 8-Aug. 2, breakfast 8 to 8:30 a.m., and June 24-Aug. 16, lunch 11:15-12:30 p.m.

Mohawk Forest Apartments: June 24-Aug. 12, lunch 11:30 a.m.-noon

Greylock Valley Apartments: June 24- Aug. 23, lunch 11:30 a.m.-noon

Noel Field-Splash Pad: June 24-Aug. 23, lunch 11:30 a.m. to noon

UNO Community Center: July 8-Aug. 16, lunch noon-12:30 p.m.


Telemedicine expansion

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Center for Connected Care have launched cardiology and urology care for children. Visits with these pediatric specialists are provided at the SVMC Medical Office Building in Bennington via telemedicine. These services use live, two-way, secure audio and video on a large format, high-definition mobile cart to connect providers at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) with SVMC Pediatrics patients who have the need for cardiac or urology care.

"Children with conditions that affect their hearts or urinary systems sometimes have to spend a lot more time than their peers traveling to medical appointments," said Dr. Meghan Gunn, a pediatrician and medical director of SVMC Pediatrics. "We are excited to offer this level of specialized care conveniently, and we believe this will help to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients and their families."

Pediatric cardiologist Dr, Norm Berman will evaluate cardiac concerns in pediatric patients at SVMC. Berman joined D-H in 1993 after completing his pediatric residency in New Mexico and his pediatric cardiology fellowship at Cincinnati Children's Medical Center in Ohio. He is board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric cardiology. In addition to providing direct patient care, Berman has been actively engaged in medical education at a national level.

Pediatric urologist Dr. David Chavez will provide care for pediatric patients with urinary or reproductive conditions. He earned his medical degree at Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire and bachelor's in biophysics from University of California at Berkeley. He completed two fellowships in pediatric urology and endourology at Duke University in North Carolina and Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, respectively. He also completed two residencies, the first in urology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the second in general surgery at Stanford University Hospital in California. In addition, he was a general surgery intern at Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital.

To access these services, parents of patients with these special medical needs should ask their pediatrician for a referral. The physicians' offices at CHaD will schedule the telehealth visits. For more information, call 603-653-9888 for telePediatricCardiology and 603-653-9882 for telePediatricUrology. 


Lenox road work

Route 7 and Route 20 will be restricted to one lane of travel in each direction at the Hubbard Street intersection between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. through Friday, June 21. Drivers who are traveling through the affected areas should expect delays, reduce speed, and use caution. All scheduled work is weather dependent and/or may be impacted due to an emergency situation.

For more information on traffic conditions, travelers are also encouraged to: dial 511 and select a route to hear real-time conditions; visit, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions; follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and traffic conditions; and download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.


Darrow award

The Darrow School has been awarded the 2019 Circle of Excellence Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for the Designing Darrow: The Campus Campaign. The "Designing Darrow" campaign has been awarded a silver recognition from the CASE judge's panel because of its ingenious approach to meeting the needs of a challenging fundraising opportunity. Not only has this program been wildly successful, but the materials are engaging and modern while still holding true the roots of The Darrow School, thanks to Pittsfield’s own Hammill Design, who created the graphics, logo, and brochure.

CASE commended Darrow for its bold, innovative work that epitomizes the profession's best practices. This work engages its important communities to advance education while transforming lives and society. More than 2,800 entries were submitted from throughout the world for this year's Circle of Excellence Awards. Winners were selected based on a number of factors, including overall quality, innovation, use of resources and the impact on the institution and its external and internal communities, such as alumni, parents, students, and faculty and staff.

Thanks to Designing Darrow: The Campus Campaign, The Darrow School in nearby New Lebanon, N.Y., can continue to thrive as a distinctive educational institution by providing improvements to living spaces, classrooms, and campus infrastructure that respect both our historical significance and programmatic mission. This multi-phase objective provided major improvements to a number of campus facilities, including a complete kitchen renovation, construction of a state-of-the-art performing arts center, development of a Campus Core Green Space, improved pathways, creation of a signature Fabrication Laboratory (the "Fab Lab"), and substantial upgrades to faculty housing.


Aquatic treatment on Onota Lake

Onota Lake will be chemically treated with aquatic herbicides on Wednesday, June 19, to control invasive Eurasian watermilfoil and other nuisance aquatic vegetation. The lake will be closed to all water uses, (including, swimming, fishing and boating) on the day of treatment.

These uses may resume on Thursday morning, June 20. Use of the lake water for irrigation (watering lawns, gardens or plants of any kind) is prohibited for five 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.

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