Photo of. September 21, 1999 - Algae on river below New Lenox Road at low water
September 21, 1999 - Algae on river below New Lenox Road at low water; photo courtesy EPA.

The Top Left Corner — 2021/08/05

September 21, 1999 - Algae on river below New Lenox Road at low water; photo courtesy EPA.

Listen LIVE Thursdays from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Eastern, and get in touch by e-mail at [email protected]

Special Guest Host: Joseph Smith, North Adams!

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

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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.

Facing Loss of Supporters, Cuomo Gains Attention From Prosecutors

District attorneys in Manhattan and Nassau and Westchester Counties separately announced that they were investigating Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s actions.

By Michael Gold and Jonah E. Bromwich, The New York Times

A day after the release of a devastating report concluding that he had sexually harassed 11 women, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo found himself increasingly isolated on Wednesday, with his most loyal supporters abandoning him and three prosecutors saying they would investigate his behavior.

By late afternoon, Mr. Cuomo had lost the backing of perhaps his closest political ally, Jay Jacobs, the head of the state’s Democratic Party, who has been the governor’s staunchest defender in recent months. In a statement, Mr. Jacobs said that the governor’s removal from office was “inevitable,” and that Mr. Cuomo’s refusal to step down ran counter to Mr. Jacobs’s advice.


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

Arguments over Housatonic PCB cleanup may be held by videoconference

by Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle

For the second time in four years, justices with the country’s top environmental court will hear arguments for and against a plan to pull toxins from the Housatonic River.

It’s a different plan this time. And the debate might play out online, rather than in person.

Two groups are asking the Environmental Appeals Board to allow Sept. 2 oral arguments by videoconference, citing the coronavirus pandemic and an attorney’s late-stage pregnancy.

Guest: Kevin Bartini

Kevin Bartini is the intelligently-silly funnyman for the every man. His like-able, laid back demeanor is often cast aside when his acerbic and irreverent impulse takes over. And then watch out! He has an infectious energy and a lightning fast wit that makes him a unique talent both on stage and off.
     After establishing his bona fides in the top comedy clubs of NYC and studying with the Upright Citizens Brigade, Kevin was discovered by Jon Stewart, who hired him to warm up his audiences at The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

In the subsequent years, having earned the respect of not only Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert but of their audiences, has made Kevin one of the most sought after Audience Warm-Up comics in television.     

Presented by the No PCB Dumps: Action Group

Cases Grow To 45, 2 Cases At Kimball Farms

by Josh Landes • August 3, 2021, WAMC

A COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow at a North Adams, Massachusetts nursing home – and the company that operates it says new cases have emerged at another facility in Lenox.

Berkshire Healthcare says the case count at the North Adams Commons is now at 45, with 40 residents and 5 staffers testing positive. Of that number, 2 residents and 2 staffers were confirmed to be unvaccinated before the outbreak. Spokesperson Lisa Gaudet says another facility the company operates in the Berkshires also has cases as of Tuesday.

North Adams Housing Gives OK on Free Internet for Tenants

by Jack Guerino,August 02, 2021, iBerkshires

NORTH ADAMS — The Housing Authority Board of Commissioners approved a $333,621 expenditure to install the infrastructure needed to provide base internet, free of charge, to all tenants. Information Technology Director Jason Morin told the commissioners last week that he has a proposal with Dojo, the contractor chosen to execute the installation, and he hopes to start the process in the coming months. “Everything is pretty solid,” Morin said. “We have the initial proposal.” Some months ago, the commissioners committed to providing internet to all tenants. They believed the internet was an essential utility that many tenants could not afford. 


From our border with Pownal to the Race Point Lighthouse

Report: People Face Barriers to Repairing Their Own Electronic Devices

Lily Bohlke, Commonwealth News Service

ROSLINDALE, Mass. – A new report finds Massachusetts residents would rather repair electronic devices than send them to landfills, but manufacturers often create barriers to making those repairs.

The report says seven of the 10 most popular manufacturers of phones, laptops, appliances and more restrict access to parts and service information – limiting consumers and even repair professionals, from accessing tools, parts, schematics or software.

Janet Domenitz, executive director of the Massachusetts Public Interest Group, said legislation has been pending in the General Assembly for years to ensure the digital “right to repair.”

“You know, when you purchase something, the idea is you own it,” said Domenitz. “But if you can’t fix it, you don’t own it, and that’s part of our case for passing this law. If you buy a device, you should get the instructions for how it’s made, and how you fix it.”

The report says in 2020, more than two million Massachusetts users went online to ‘’ to learn how to repair something. Domenitz noted it’s estimated that Commonwealth residents could have saved $870 million last year by repairing devices instead of buying new ones.

Alex Castillo owns Digitech Electronic Solutions, an electronics repair company based in Roslindale. He said bringing devices back to the manufacturer for repair can be time-consuming and expensive, especially for people who may not have transportation or time to take off work.

“Here, luckily, it could be done in fairly quicker time,” said Castillo. “And also the amount of money will be a huge discount, compared to going to one of those big manufacturers.”

Domenitz added electronic waste is one of the most prevalent and toxic sources of waste. She said it takes 165 pounds of raw material to produce one eight inch cellphone.

And Americans discard more than 415,000 cellphones per day, roughly 8,100 in Massachusetts.

“Disposing of stuff, putting things in landfills and incinerators,” said Domenitz. “I mean, that is polluting our air, water, taking up open space.”


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

The Collapse of Wild Red Wolves Is a Warning That Should Worry Us All

If the government is already struggling to protect iconic creatures like wolves from extinction in the wild, how will it handle the daunting future?

By Jimmy Tobias, The Nation

Red wolf (Canis rufus). Photo by ValerieCC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“Until the troubled summer of 2015, red wolves had been the protagonists of a stunning, if controversial, conservation success story. Once on the doorstep of extinction, extirpated from most of their range by varied forms of persecution—poisoning, shooting, trapping, and the destabilizing impacts of development—they had been like dinosaurs watching the asteroid arrive. There were fewer than 20 true red wolves left in the wild when the FWS swooped in to save them in the 1970s. A decades-long federal reintroduction effort boosted the wild population about tenfold, all of which lived in or around the 152,000-acre Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge on the North Carolina coast. The first major experiment in large carnivore restoration in US history, the red wolf program would ultimately inspire and inform the successful reintroduction of the gray wolf to Yellowstone National Park in 1995 (an effort now also under attack and facing a bleak future).

“But those achievements are now in ruin. This is the story of how and why the FWS, our country’s eminent conservation agency, walked away from its red wolf reintroduction program and let the wild wolf population collapse. The retreat started during the presidency of Barack Obama and continued under Donald Trump. Today there are maybe nine, maybe 20 true red wolves left rambling across the landscape.”

— The Nation


Also the Moon and nearby planets in the Sol System

Russia, China See Eye-to-Eye on Approach to End Israeli-Palestinian Fighting

Senior Russian and Chinese officials said their nations “have similar views on the current situation in the zone of the Palestinian-Israeli crisis.”

China Tells U.S. ‘Enough with Sanctions!’ and Pledges to Support Cuba

“The recent US sanctions against Cuba…demonstrate to the world the typical US-style double standard and bullyism,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Japan to Deploy Island Missile Defenses to Counter China Military Blockade

Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters on August 3 that the government would request funds for the additional deployment, which is expected to take place in 2022.

U.K. and Germany Don’t Have Power to Fight China, State Media Says

German frigate Bayern began its deployment to the Indo-Pacific on Monday, while the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group is in the Western Pacific.

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

A photo of the afternoon sun over a farm on Baldwin Hill in Egremont, Mass. photo by Isabel Costa.
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