The Top Left Corner — 2021/04/07

Hey, Greylock Nation —

Welcome to this week’s episode of the Top Left Corner! It’s campaign season for local races here in Williamstown. Over the past two weeks we’ve interviewed both candidates for the 3-year seat on the Select Board, and we’re looking forward to interviewing the candidates for the 1-year seat in the coming weeks. We’ve had great audience participation during our candidate interviews. You can make comments or ask questions using the chat box on our show page, via email,, or our Twitter handle: @RadioFreeBerks.

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, our Twitter account @RadioFreeBerks, or email us at


Brood X is on its way–but will it invade Western Mass?
Billions of cicadas–winged bugs about an inch-and-a-half long–are about to emerge from the ground, with late April and early May to see the busiest activity. This time around, most of the action will happen south of New England, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Ohio. Cicada-philes need not fret, however, because we are on track to welcome Brood 14 in 2025.

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.

Pittsfield Attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo, III

Rinaldo Del Gallo is organizing a demonstration on Saturday in North Adams, and encourages all attendees to bring a “Thin Blue Line” or American Flag. From his press release:

Saturday, April 10, 2021, at 1:00 PM, the ad hoc group CAALM (Citizens Affirming All Lives Matter), will hold a vigil in support of fallen United States Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans, who died in the line of duty. Officer Evan death is a result of a hate crime targeting Officer Evan’s race and the fact that he was a police officer.

Officer Evans was a native of North Adams and a graduate of Drury High School. Officer Evans was white and the killer was a follower of the Nation of Islam, a well-known anti-white, racist organization. The event will be both an homage to Officer Evans service and a protest against all race based hate crimes, regardless of the race of the perpetrator or race of the victim. The event will also protest senseless anti-police violence.

Rinaldo Del Gallo

​Statement from the Family of USCP Officer Billy Evans

Billy was the best father, son, brother, and friend anyone could ever hope for.  His death has left a gaping void in our lives that will never be filled.

The absolute most important thing in his life was his two children, Logan and Abigail. His most cherished moments were those spent with them — building with Lego, having lightsaber duels, playing board games, doing arts and crafts, and recently finishing the Harry Potter series. He was always so eager to show how proud he was of everything they did. Any opportunity to spend time with his children brightened both their lives and his. Their dad was their hero long before the tragic events of last week.

While family was always first, Billy had the open, welcoming personality that led him to make friends with anyone he met. He relished bringing people together and making sure everyone felt included and had a good time. The countless testimonials that we have heard from people who knew him capture the warm, funny, and caring person we loved.

Billy was proud to be a United States Capitol Police Officer. His colleagues from the North Barricade were the people he spent so many hours with, and their friendship was one of the best parts of his job. We hold them in our hearts, as we know they acutely share our grief.

Our family is grateful for the immense level of support we have received from USCP in the darkest moment of our lives. The outpouring of support we have received from the law enforcement community from around the country and world both humbles us and serves as a testament to Billy’s sacrifice and dedication to the mission of which he was charged. 

We appreciate the level of privacy we have received so far and ask for your continued respect during this difficult time.


Pelosi, Schumer Announce U.S. Capitol Police Officer William ‘Billy’ F. Evans Will Lie in Honor in the United States Capitol Rotunda

Washington, D.C. – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer today announced that late U.S. Capitol Police Officer William ‘Billy’ F. Evans will lie in honor in the United States Capitol Rotunda.

Officer William Evans was an 18-year veteran of the Capitol Police, who died in the line of duty protecting the U.S. Capitol on April 2, 2021, Good Friday. 

“The United States Congress joins all Americans in mourning the tragic death of one of our Capitol Police heroes, Officer Billy Evans,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.  “In giving his life to protect our Capitol and our Country, Officer Evans became a martyr for our democracy.  On behalf of the entire Congress, we are profoundly grateful.”

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.

iBerkshires’ Stephen Dravis reports that the Mt. Greylock regional school committee has established new policies intended to enable students to return safely to in-person instruction. We’re skeptical. The CDC really dropped the ball early on in the pandemic when it refused to acknowledge the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2. We now know that aerosolized virus particles that can remain airborne for hours are the primary vector for transmission. The Harvard Chan School of Public Health has published a thorough guide to measuring the all-important air exchange rate in classrooms and provides a guide for purchasing equipment and implementing a ventilation program. We’d encourage Mt. Greylock’s committee and all school administrators to check it out.

Our local crackerjack print and radio reporters have been doing a great job covering the pandemic here in the Berkshires. The Berkshire Eagle’s Francesca Paris reported on Saturday that COVID cases among Pittsfield schoolchildren are on the rise even as the city’s public schools are moving toward resuming in-person instruction. WAMC’s Josh Landes reported on Thursday that the Southern Berkshire Regional School District has reverted to remote learning until April 12 due to three staff members testing positive for COVID.


In a March 16 column for the Boston Globe, Adrian Walker discusses the precipitous decline in Gov. Charlie Baker’s approval ratings, which peaked at 78% in August 2020. We’ve been highly critical of Charlie “Blue Cross/Blue Shield” Baker’s handling of the pandemic. It seems like our fellow citizens are finally catching on.


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.”

Episode #108

Jason Velázquez

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

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