The Top Left Corner — 2021/03/03

Happy March, everybody! When we were wee lads, our teachers told us that March “comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” So far, things are looking pretty leonine around here. After high winds on Monday night, 600 or so of our neighbors here in the Berkshires woke up on Tuesday morning without power. We know the pain of trudging into the kitchen only to find the automatic coffee maker blinking “12:00.” Here’s hoping we’re all back online by the time this airs.

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 [email protected].


Bilal Ansari is a member of the DIRE (Diversity, Inclusion, and Racial Equity) committee in Williamstown that was formed last year in response to the scandal involving racism, discrimination, and sexual harassment at the Williamstown Police Department.
Bilal has dedicated the past three decades of his work to challenging systems of racial, gender, and religious inequalities as a chaplain in federal and state prisons, community organizer, activist, advisor at various colleges, and educator.

He is a first-generation college student, with an AS in liberal arts from Ohlone College, a BS in human services from Springfield College, an MA in Islamic studies and Christian-Muslim relations and graduate certificate in Islamic chaplaincy from Hartford Seminary, and a DMin from Pacific School of Religion. Bilal is Assistant Vice President for Campus Engagement at the Davis Center at Williams College.

With the resignation of Williamstown Town Manager Jason Hoch and the Chief of Police We’ve got an opportunity to adopt a new policing model.
With our old leadership departing, the Selectboard and Williamstown’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Racial Equity (DIRE) Committee have been looking at alternative policing models. Could the mayor of Ithaca, NY’s approach work here?


Take a seat, dexamethasone.
A 105-year old woman from New Jersey who survived both the 1918 flu and COVID-19 credits her health to gin-soaked raisins.
The latest mission to Mars is underway.
We think these images from the Perseverance lander are pretty cool.

Why do cats purr?
We’re always interested in new theories on this endlessly fascinating topic. We also have our own theory that explains the proliferation of studies like this, namely that scientists just really want to conduct innocuous research and hang out all day with lovable, non-judgmental animals. Let’s call it the cutified field theory of grant-writing and workplace satisfaction.


Scott Stafford writes in the Berkshire Eagle on Tuesday, Feb. 23 about how much the Williamstown Selectboard is going to miss Jason Hoch.

Jason Hoch (pronounced “hoke”) is the town manager who is leaving under a cloud in the wake of the Williamstown Police Department scandal. There’s a larger story here that’s not in this article, and we plan to get into it over the next several weeks. For now, let’s just say that Selectboard members scolding the citizens of Williamstown for forcing Hoch to resign is not a good look…


Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker just cannot stop tripping over his own balls during this pandemic.

Here in the Bay State, we have recently started to trend in the right direction on all the important pandemic metrics–new infections, test positivity rate, hospitalizations, and deaths–after the devastating surge earlier this year. So what is Charlie “BlueCross/BlueShield” Baker doing? He’s eliminating capacity restrictions at Massachusetts restaurants.


The predictive flooding maps the U.S. government uses to determine flood insurance premiums are pretty out of date.
In a new study, the First Street Foundation offers a detailed state-by-state analysis of the most flood-prone areas in the country. According to the study, we’re in pretty good shape here in the Berkshires. Boston not so much…

Episode #103

Jason Velázquez

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

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