Photo of The Pittsfield Generating Plant at 235 Merrill Road, Pittsfield. Mass, owned by Hull Street Energy; still image from the short documentary, The Peaker Plant Problem, by Ben Hillman, via YouTube.
The Pittsfield Generating Plant at 235 Merrill Road, Pittsfield. Mass, owned by Hull Street Energy; still image from the short documentary, The Peaker Plant Problem, by Ben Hillman, via YouTube.

The Top Left Corner — 2021/07/29

Shutting down “peakers” to protect public health.

The Pittsfield Generating Plant at 235 Merrill Road, Pittsfield. Mass, owned by Hull Street Energy; still image from the short documentary, The Peaker Plant Problem, by Ben Hillman, via YouTube.

Above: The Pittsfield Generating Plant at 235 Merrill Road, Pittsfield. Mass, owned by Hull Street Energy; still image from the short documentary, The Peaker Plant Problem, by Ben Hillman, via YouTube.

Listen to the show live HERE Thursdays from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Eastern every week.

Send your questions and comments by e-mail to [email protected].

THE TOP LEFT CORNER for the week of Thursday, July 29, 2021

Welcome to this week’s episode of the Top Left Corner

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 bring back the important stuff that most of us really care about. Every week, we’re going to tell you what we think about local current events and the national stories that directly affect the people of Williamstown and Berkshire County. We also interview amazing guests.

You can listen live—and participate live. You’ll find a chat box you can use to comment live–anonymously if you wish. We do our best to read and address everyone’s comments on the air: 

–Jay and Steve


Stuff we might touch on during our opening banter.

Baker says Massachusetts is different as other states impose COVID-19 protocols

Governor Charlie Baker said that he sees no need for Massachusetts to reinstate restrictions in response to rising COVID-19 cases, striking a contrast with President Biden, who is urging Americans to mask up again and requiring many federal workers to get vaccinated. But the governor did say he is considering mandating masks in public schools this fall.


Can you turn and point to where Mt. Greylock is, generally? Then we’re talkin’ ’bout you.

Shutting down “peakers” to protect public health.

Rosemary Wessel


Sign the petition.

Rosemary Wessel is Program Director of No Fracked Gas in Mass, a program of Berkshire Environmental Action Team. No Fracked Gas in Mass offers acts as a website, information and action-plan clearing house for activists opposing fracked gas and other combustion-based infrastructure development in the Northeast: connecting and advising community activists on its impacts, resistance through the project approval process and reducing demand through efficiency and renewables. No Fracked Gas in Mass’ current focus is in pressuring peaker power plants to convert to grid scale storage and clean energy sources.

Rosemary is also Clean Energy Coordinator for Old Stone Mill Center Zero Waste Maker Space in Adams, MA, which has vowed to remain fossil fuel free in its development. She’s a graphic designer, managing her Three Salamanders Design Studio in Cummington. Her education includes a Master’s degree in Architectural Studies from UMass Amherst and a Bachelor’s in Fine Art from Castleton State University in Castleton, VT.

Williamstown Community Needs Survey, Cost Draws Ire
By Stephen DravisContinue reading →

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Select Board on Monday heard concerns from multiple residents about the cost and direction of a community needs assessment project that the town began earlier this year. The Williamstown Cares Community Assessment and Research project came under fire for what some alleged is an attempt to draw a “biased” sample of respondents to study the community’s public safety needs. It also was defended by residents who made the case that the town needs to hear from voices that historically have been ignored.

North Adams library eliminates overdue fines for nearly all items
By Greta Jochem, The Berkshire Eagle 10 hrs ago

NORTH ADAMS — In recent weeks, people were able to sit in the North Adams Public Library and read books or use the computers for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. As COVID-19 restrictions ease, there is one policy that is here to stay: no more late fees.

About 90 libraries in the Central and Western Massachusetts library system do not charge late fees, according to Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo, and she does not expect that the policy change will result in a significant loss of money for the library.

Williamstown renters, homeowners facing eviction can find help through Affordable Housing Trust
(The Berkshire Eagle)

WILLIAMSTOWN — As affordable housing advocates, renters and homeowners brace for expiration of federal and state coronavirus pandemic protections against evictions and foreclosures, the town’s Affordable Housing Trust is ready and able to help.


From our border with Pownal to the Race Point Lighthouse

Coalition seeks to force greater transparency on Beacon Hill

Michael Lavery

Michael obtained his Bachelor’s in Science, Computer Science, from Eastern Connecticut State University in Windham, CT and went on to get his Master’s in Arts, in Public Relations at Western New England University in Springfield, MA. He is a former Marine and has been a Selectboard member in the Town of Becket since 2017. He was recently elected the Communications Chair of the Berkshire Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). He works for Price Waterhouse Coopers in Albany as a DevOps Manager.”

Ella McDonald

Ella McDonald is Act on Mass’ Communications Director. Before joining Act on Mass, Ella spent 2020 working five different election cycles across the country to elect Green New Deal champions up and down the ballot. In 2019, as an organizer with Sunrise Movement, she coached middle school, high school and college students across the country to organize climate strikes on their campuses. Ella lives in Somerville.


Sometimes Canada. Maybe Mexico. Probably Greenland if we can annex it.

Teen who allegedly crumpled up ‘back the blue’ sign charged with hate crime

A Utah teen has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly stomping on and crumpling up a “back the blue” sign, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

Garfield County Sheriff’s Deputy Cree Carter said in a statement that when he was doing a routine traffic stop at a gas station, he saw a teen take a “back the blue” sign and stomp on it. 

“Back the blue” is a slogan that shows solidarity with law enforcement in the country, often used to counter Black Lives Matter protests, as well. 

The teen, identified as 19-year-old Lauren Gibson, allegedly crumpled the sign in a “destructive manner” and started to smirk at Carter in “an intimidating manner,” according to the officer’s statement. 


Also the Moon and nearby planets in the Sol System

Citizenship for sale: fugitives, politicians and disgraced businesspeople buying Vanuatu passports
(The Guardian)

A controversial “golden passports” scheme run by the Pacific nation of Vanuatu saw more than 2,000 people, including a slew of disgraced businesspeople and individuals sought by police in countries all over the world, purchase citizenship in 2020 – and with it visa-free access to the EU and UK, the Guardian can reveal.

The passport scheme allows foreign nationals to purchase citizenship for US$130,000 in a process that typically takes just over a month – all without ever setting foot in the country.

Homeless Resources

Some resources re: the situation in Massachusetts and our area:

Jason Velázquez

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

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