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Berkshire County legal system comes under the gaze of court watchers

Berkshire County Courthouse, photo by Alexius Horatius; [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons.
Berkshire County Courthouse, Pittsfield, Mass., photo by AlexiusHoratius; [ CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

by Jason Velázquez

The public has had a fascination with justice, or at least the meting out of punishment, since at least as early as the Middle Ages. Gathering some rotten produce and taking the kids down to the local stocks, gallows, or executioner’s block is a sure way to turn any Saturday morning into memorable family time.

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TLC #70 — The Berkshire Music Project Launches with Lady Moon & The Eclipse

Lady Moon & The Eclipse released their debut EP, "Believe" in 2018, and are currently producing their full length album "Journey to the Cosmic Soul," due out in 2019; photo by Jose Cotto.
Lady Moon & The Eclipse released their debut EP, "Believe" in 2018, and are currently producing their full length album "Journey to the Cosmic Soul," due out in 2019; photo by Jose Cotto.

by Jason Velázquez

In this episode, we speak with Josh Bennett, founder of the Berkshire Music Project, which seeks to grow the area’s live music scene. The very first show features Afrobeat and R&B-influenced Lady Moon & The Eclipse at 7:00 p.m. Friday, April 26 at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret in Pittsfield.

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Stop & Shop Workers Strike across New England

North Adams Stop & Shop workers assemble in the early hours of the UFCW strike against the supermarket chain on Thursday, April 11, 2019. Union steward Bill Laviolette (front, giving the thumbs up) coordinated the location actions; photo by Jason Velázquez.
North Adams Stop & Shop workers assemble in the early hours of the UFCW strike against the supermarket chain on Thursday, April 11, 2019. Union steward Bill Laviolette (front, giving the thumbs up) coordinated the location actions; photo by Jason Velázquez.

Talks set to continue as union and company measure each other’s resolve from across parking lots.

NORTH ADAMS — Today is Saturday, April 13, 2019, I am your host, Jason Velazquez, and I’d like to welcome you to Episode #69 of our flagship podcast, the Top Left Corner.

What you heard coming into this program was the scene outside the Stop & Shop in Chicopee, Mass., as workers from that and other stores represented by United Food and Commerical Workers Local 1459 rallied near the tail end of a string of negotiations that began in the Autumn of 2018. Stop & Shop workers throughout New England have been working without a contract since February. All those heated talks between the Union and Dutch international retailer Ahold Delhaize reached a stalemate Thursday, and at about 1:15 p.m. local time, The UFCW texted their workers en masse to let them know that it was time to strike.

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The Pillar Profiles:
Lindsey Schmid

Editors Note: What does it mean when we say that someone is a “pillar of the community?” How you answer depends a lot on your experiences and intersections with the people who, in your mind, help support and strengthen the areas of local life that are most important to us. In this new series, we’ll surely tread some well worn paths in search of those personalities. We’ll blaze new trails looking for emerging leaders, as well as expand our vision of where to look for these pillars of our community. Know someone you think fills the bill? E-mail us.

When most of us Berkshires dwellers encourage friends to visit, we usually highlight the traveler’s trifecta of arts, culture, and outdoor recreation. But for Lindsey Schmid, tourism in the Berkshires is a lot more specific and varied. It’s about mindfulness and wellness. It’s about glamping and hotspots for watching wildlife. It’s the craft beverage trend, farm-to-table foods, and cannabis tours. And it’s about interactive experiences and behind-the-scenes tours of well-known venues—all the better to attract thrill seekers jonesing to be the first person to post on Instagram and say, “I did this!”

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Your lawn mower misses you. After a long winter, it’s hungry.

[source: Pexels]
[source: Pexels]

It’s a bright sunny Sunday morning with a bit of Spring chill in the air and the recent rains have worked well to wash away the curse of winter from our yards and our minds. There are random fallen branches to pick up, flower beds to rake out, and, of course, the lawnmower to get running. 

After being in the lawn mower repair business for the better part of thirty years, as both a mechanic and a shop owner, I can assure you that if you have neglected your lawn mower you are not alone — and there is certainly no shame in it.

Here, I will tell you how, with a basic set of hand tools and a little patience, you can carry out the process of getting your lawn mower ready for reliable service all year long.

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A View from the Tracks: Day Tripping in Chatham & Ghent, New York

A lonesome balloon glides silently above field and forest near Tice Hill in the Ghent dawn; photo by Zach Neven Creative, Columbia County New York.
A lonesome balloon glides silently above field and forest near Tice Hill in the Ghent dawn; photo by Zach Neven Creative, Columbia County, New York.

The morning sun reflects off the remnants of a hard crust of snow with a luminous quality that makes the towns of Ghent and Chatham, New York, appear suffused by stage lights. It’s been a long winter—about six months’ worth, by most people’s accounts, though they use much more colorful language; like the Inuit and their multiple words for snow, residents of upstate New York have a remarkable array of vivid, sometimes profane, epithets for the season. On this 50-degree day in March, the first hint that winter is finally releasing its skeletal grip on the region, people are emerging from their woodstove-warmed saltboxes and Cape Cods, primed and ready to enjoy the landscape and a sun no longer obscured by clouds heavy with the promise of more white stuff.

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Solo-preneur Spotlight:
Bell Bottom Bleus

Bell Bottom Blues, one of North Adams' emerging cottage industries, combines artisan sensibilities with a passion that make for a compelling local-girl-makes-good story; submitted image.
Bell Bottom Blues, one of North Adams' emerging cottage industries, combines artisan sensibilities with a passion that make for a compelling local-girl-makes-good story; submitted image.

By CASSIE LORD
Special to the Greylock Glass

NORTH ADAMS — It’s a cold spring morning as I enter a spacious Victorian home on the outskirts of North Adams. I’m welcomed in by a small, easygoing woman with a smile, and her well-behaved cats and dog. As we conversate throughout the house, we pass by antique rocking chairs and vintage furniture, wandering our way up to the second floor. The “work room,” the driving force of Bell Bottom Blues, is clearly the room she spends most of her time in. She gets to work as I take a seat and we continue talking.

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March 15, 2019:
International Youth Climate Strike

Members of the student group, R.E.V., at Mt. Greylock Regional School, Karen McComish, Sophie Jones, Maddy Art, and Ella Dudley speak at the Feburary 24 meeting of Greylock Together at the UNO Center in North Adams; photo by Jason Velázquez.
Members of the student group, R.E.V., at Mt. Greylock Regional School, Karen McComish, Sophie Jones, Maddy Art, and Ella Dudley speak at the Feburary 24 meeting of Greylock Together at the UNO Center in North Adams; photo by Jason Velázquez.

The youth of Earth have a message for its leaders today: You have failed to lead, so now you’ve forced us to.

By synchronizing worldwide demonstrations demanding action to reduce the human activities driving climate change, young people from elementary school on up through college are staging sit-ins, walkouts, marches, strikes, and town halls to make it clear to elected officials that they won’t sit by idly as the planet burns. Or floods. Or is ravaged by extreme weather. Or all of the above.

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May the Road Rise Up to Meet You: St. Patrick’s Day Festivities in Albany & Troy

Albany pulls out all the stops in their St. Patrick's Day festivities, including the parade, which starts at 2:00 p.m.; photo courtesy Discover Albany.
Albany pulls out all the stops in their St. Patrick's Day festivities, including the parade,
which starts at 2:00 p.m.; photo courtesy Discover Albany.

On a swell of immigration that began in the 1640s and continued all the way through (and beyond) the Great Famine of the mid-nineteenth century, Irish immigrants made a place for themselves in large Eastern United States port cities like New York and Boston. But as jobs became less plentiful, many branched out, heading up the Hudson River from New York City and landing in the newly prosperous manufacturing centers in Troy and Albany. According to Discover Albany, thanks to this influx, the city currently boasts the fourth-largest Irish population in the country.

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He Said, He Said: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at MASS MoCA

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo have been around for 45 years and performed in over 600 cities and towns, Kinda makes them a thing², right? image courtesy the company.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo have been around for 45 years and performed in over 600 cities and towns, Kinda makes them a thing², right? image courtesy the company.

The dance world has been slow to let go of certain stereotypes. Chief among them might just be that men shouldn’t dance en pointe, and that romantic love is best expressed by men and women dancing together.

Which is one of the reasons that Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the 45-year-old, New York City–based company of men in tights (and really, really large pointe shoes) has always been such a blast of fresh air. Not only are they game to get tarted up to play, often hilariously, all the women’s roles in classic ballets, but they also demonstrate serious dance chops that rouse the audience to standing ovation.

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The Immortal Material

Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials
Smith College Museum of Art

Aurora Robson, Isla, 2014; Plastic debris (PET + HDPE), aluminum rivets, tinted polycrylic, and mica powder; [Source: Aurora Robson].
Aurora Robson, Isla, 2014; Plastic debris (PET + HDPE), aluminum rivets, tinted polycrylic, and mica powder; [Source: Aurora Robson].

Plastic. In most cases it is imperishable, non-biodegradable, and close to everlasting. It is so ubiquitous in our life that we barely notice how much we use. According to the New York Times article, The Immense, Eternal Footprint Humanity leaves on Earth: Plastics (7.1. 2018) by Tatianna Schlossberg, 5 – 13 million metric tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year, and since the 1950s, 4.9 billion metric tons is in landfills or spread throughout the environment. With these facts in mind, it is well worth a trip to Smith College Museum of Art to view, Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials organized by Pennsylvania State University’s Palmer Museum of Art.

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17 Years Boy: Epilogue
Works by Dr. Imo Nse Imeh

Imo Nse Imeh, Ovation, mixed media/canvas, 2018; [Source: artist / Readywipe Gallery]
Imo Nse Imeh, Ovation, mixed media/canvas, 2018; [Source: artist / Readywipe Gallery]

“ To me, this new body of work symbolizes the challenging, yet beautiful journey down the path of healing, to transform the horror of unspeakable tragedy into a renewed sense of life and celebration, I wanted to make something new, I wanted it to be reflective of a dark past, but also hopeful for the future.  It needed to be about healing and the celebration of Black boys.”

Imo Nse Imeh

Following a disturbing rash of racially motivated incidents at Westfield State University, Dr. Imo Nse Imeh, an associate professor at the college, launched a live multi media performance that reexamined the travesty of the death of 17 year old, Trayvon Martin. Using the span of Martin’s life, Dr. Imeh painted a large scale portrait of Trayvon Martin as a video taped performance that culminated in the destruction of the portrait in the final 17th hour of the show. This final hour mirrored the life of a 17 year old boy whose life was cut short for no other reason other than racial hatred. Over the course of the next year, Dr. Imeh created 17 new works, each one integrating fragments from Trayvon Martin’s portrait saved from the first performance.

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