The Top Left Corner — 2021/03/31

Welcome to this week’s episode of the Top Left Corner! It’s the last day of the month, and for the past week or so March has been much more lion than lamb, as high winds have played havoc with the power lines here in Berkshire County. We hope by the time we hit the internet airwaves today our neighbors’ vital electric appliances are back online. Less sympathy, perhaps, if you’re frantic to recharge your dog fitbit, smart condom, or bluetooth toaster. But who are we to judge? 

If you’re here for the first time, the Top Left Corner is a locally focused weekly live internet radio show and podcast based in Williamstown, Mass. We do our best to wade through the spin and biases and cowardice and bring back the important stuff that most of us really care about. Every Wednesday, we’re going to tell you what we think about local current events and the national stories that directly affect the people of Williamston and Berkshire County. We also interview amazing guests.

–Jay and Steve

P.S. We want to hear from you! Participate live during the show by using the chat box on our show page or email us at


Today, we’re fortunate to have two guests on the TLC. Jeffrey Johnson is running for a three-year term on the Williamstown Select Board. As local election season swings into high gear here in Williamstown, we’ll be talking to Jeff, who is running against Tony Boskovich. Check out last week’s show to listen to our conversation with Tony. In addition, Amanda Tobin will be joining us to discuss the unionization effort underway at MASS MoCA in North Adams.


Amanda Tobinl submitted photo.

Amanda Tobin is a practicing museum educator working to support social justice through arts education. She currently works as the Associate Director of Education at MASS MoCA, where she has developed community and school engagement programs, particularly for area partner schools, since 2014. She holds a BA in art history and East Asian studies from Oberlin College and an MEd in arts in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Jeffrey Johnson, left, with his family; submitted photo.

Johnson, who grew up in Williamstown, has been married to his wife, Jessica, for 15 years. They are proud to be raising their daughter and son here, Jayden, age 18 and Jeffrey, age 14, both of whom attend Mt. Greylock. Johnson attended Williamstown Elementary and Mt. Greylock schools and earned a BA degree in Sociology with a minor in Religion from Middlebury

College. Johnson currently works as a Service Coordinator Supervisor in the Pittsfield/North Adams office at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Department of Developmental Services, where he has been a fixture for 14 years. Prior to that, Johnson served on the Board of Ecu- Health Care-Berkshire North.


It turns out the Washoe people who lived on the lands the infamous Donner Party got trapped in on their way to California tried to help them.

Scouts from the tribe kept tabs on the party as they passed through Washoe territory and brought them food, including fish and a deer carcass when they realized the group was starving. File this under “no good deed goes unpunished”: For their trouble, the Washoes were shot at.

Workers at a Dollar General in North Carolina finally called animal control to help them apprehend a persistent canine who kept sneaking into the store and stealing a stuffed unicorn toy.

Sisu, a pitbull mix, was finally apprehended and brought to a local shelter where a family has already been approved to adopt him. But the best part of this story may be the fact that he got to keep the stuffed unicorn.


If you’re eligible to be vaccinated in Massachusetts (we’re currently in Phase 2), the easiest way to get an appointment is by following @vaccinetime on Twitter and turning on notifications. When you get a notification that there are appointments available in your area, just click on the link provided to begin the sing-up process.


Ross Barkan is one of the sharpest political observers out there. We’ve been impressed by his coverage and commentary on scandal-plagued NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo. In this essay, Barkan lays out a thought-provoking taxonomy of the sub-groups that make up the “American left.”

Jason Velázquez

Jason Velázquez has worked in print and digital journalism and publishing for two decades.
Phone: (413) 776-5125

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