this issue as a PDF



this issue as a PDF
The 1876 fire that destroyed
the Buckland side ³ page 10
Holiday break
As has been our custom in years past, the
Independent will suspend publication for
the holidays to give our staff some time for
rest and renewal. The next issue will be dated
Thursday, Jan. 17. See you next year.
Your own property is concerned
when your neighbor’s house
is on fire. —HORACE
Vol. III No. 12 • Issue No. 87
Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008
Fire marshal concludes: arson
Stebbins Block
demolished as
a shaken village
pulls together
By Virginia Ray
[email protected]
wed and first surveying the flattened rubble that was once was
her hair salon in the Stebbins
Block on Bridge Street, Transitions hair salon owner Debra
(Finck) DeHoyos said Monday,
“the reality of it struck today; I
think I’m still in shock.”
At the same time, the state
fire marshal’s office is saying that
the Dec. 9 fire that destroyed the
33 Bridge St. building owned by
Fani and Nick Gitsis, who also
own the Buckand Pizza House,
is believed to have been deliberately set.
“It is an incendiary fire, a set
fire, arson,” said Trooper Gerald
D. Perwak of the state police
department’s Fire and Explosive
Investigation Unit in the State
Fire Marshal’s Office Monday.
“We’re going to be trying to
identify a person or persons of
interest — any suspects or persons with a motive — and try to
put a case together.”
Perwak is the lead investigator
on the case although Shelburne
Police Chief Steve Walker is
actively involved.
In fact, according to Shelburne
Falls Fire Chief Rick Bardwell,
a total of five fire investigators have examined the scene,
photographs and conducted
Investigators to date include
Perwak and two Alcohol, Tobacco
and Firearms agents, plus two
private fire investigators — one
representing Coffee Roasters’
insurance agency and one the
Gitsises’ agency.
The fire marshal’s office
through Massachusetts Fair
Plan, an insurance company, is
offering a reward of up to $5,000
for information leading to the
arrest or conviction of person
or persons responsible for the
fire. The Gitsises are offering
an additional $5,000 for the
same information. The state has
established arson tip hotline at
(800) 682-9229.
Making lemonade
Unlike many residents and
business owners who stood by
and watched the building burn,
DeHoyos and her husband, Tom,
who is working at the Anchorage
Nursing Home at present, were
between Freeport and Nassau
in the Bahamas on their honeymoon, when they first heard of
the fire that consumed the salon,
Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters, a T-shirt shop and Kathy
Reagey’s massage therapy practice, plus three apartments.
“My sister, Tammy [Dubuque],
owns the bowling alley and one
of her employees called,” DeHoyos said. “She had told him
only to call in an emergency, so
he did.”
With everything gone, DeHoyos said she isn’t quite sure
where she’ll relocate but intends
to and, she said, she believes
that her insurance company will
respond quickly to help.
For now, she and her employees will be working nearby.
“Ellie [Gancarz] at the Bridge
of Flowers Beauty Salon has
very graciously offered us two
chairs over there while we decide
what’s going to happen and what
we’ll do,” DeHoyos said.
“I have the space and she’s
more than welcomed,” Gancarz
said. “I’m sure she’d do the same
for me; I’m sure she would.”
Wherever the Transitions crew
ends up, DeHoyos, like so many
others who have been displaced,
is trying to be positive.
“No one was hurt,” she said,
“and as long as we’re all together, that’s what counts.”
She’s also grateful for the
Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley
employee who called her, Matt
Gilbert, whose quick thinking
has allowed her to get back to
business quicker and easier.
“The young man that works for
my sister — he went to the salon
with the fire marshal and he got
my appointment book, do you
believe it? DeHoyos said. “And
that boy’s gonna get a kiss from
After the fire, those who lived
SFI photo/Jeff Potter
Above: A Shelburne Falls
firefighter pauses sadly as
the shell of 33 Bridge St. is
prepared for demolition. In the
background is the neighboring
wood-frame building that
firefighters saved. Left:
Citizens watch somberly as the
firefighters work to keep the
fully-involved Stebbins Block
from spreading to adjoining
buildings. Below: The top
story of the block shows
the structure of the historic
building all too clearly. The
brick façade began crumbling
in the blaze, revealing the
characteristics of the old
balloon-style framing which
encouraged the fire’s rapid
spread through the walls
and between the floors..
SFI photo/Ted Blaszak
in the Italianate building —
Brian Lynch and Eric Meissner
— were offered shelter at the
nearby Dancing Bear Bed and
Breakfast. The Gitsises, who
live in Windham, Conn., also
maintained an apartment in the
building, which was constructed
in the 1870s.
Nearby businesses and upstairs apartments sustained se-
Rowe schedules recall election
of two Board of Health members
By Virginia Ray
[email protected]
ROWE—Two seats on the
Board of Health are being challenged in a recall election set
for Saturday, Jan. 5 at Town
Hall where polls are open from
8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Town legislation requires
that 20 percent of registered
voters sign a recall petition to effect an election. Rowe currently
has 285 registered voters. Sixtyseven registered voters signed
recall papers to recall Board of
Health member Angela Foshay
and 64 signed to recall Board
Chairwoman Danette ReynoldsGallaghar.
Recall petitions for both volunteers include the same alleged
grounds to do so, starting with
“abuse of authority by harassment of a longtime employee,
town nurse practitioner [Ruth
Loomis] . . . and subsequent
resignation of that employee
“to the detriment of town health
services. . . ”
The second reason stated is
“evasion of the rules and spirit
of the open meeting law, such
as scheduling board meetings
at inconvenient times for public attendance, such as 8 a.m.
on Memorial Day, resulting in
many citizen complaints to the
Mass. Ethics Board and other
The final reason given is
“abusive treatment of citizens,
engineers and others seeking
permits or helpful advice from
the board regarding compliance with sanitary or other
regulations” and “exhibiting a
continued on page 2
rious water and smoke damage.
Teams from Serv-Pro, a national
franchise specializing in such
cleaning, have been scouring the
village for the past week.
The Village Restaurant in the
Vice Block has yet to reopen but
Mocha Maya’s café in the same
building has. Mike Johnson’s
T-shirt business is gone for now,
continued on page 6
8 Deerfield Ave., Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
SFI photo/Jeff Potter
Permit #183
Greenfield, MA
page 2 • Shelburne Falls Independent • December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008 •
Shelburne Falls
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Rowe recall
general disregard for courtesy
when dealing with the public.”
Both Foshay and ReynoldsGallaghar have sent letters to
residents refuting claims in
the petition, first circulated in
writes that the allegations are
In her letter, she addresses
Loomis’s not being reappointed,
noting that reasons why the
Board asked the Town Nurse’s
help, including to ascertain best
times when the town nurse’s
office should be open, to look
at future needs and to evaluate
Loomis’s claim that she could
not finish her work within the
allotted 28 hours/week and her
request for added hours and a
higher salary.
At the time she last served as
town nurse, Loomis’s salary was
about $50,000/annually. Since
July, Heath resident Sheila Litchfield has been serving in that
capacity for five hours/week.
Reynolds-Gallaghar’s letter
to constituents goes on to note
that in June the Board of Health
met with Loomis and her lawyer
for four hours, at Loomis’s request. After the meeting, Board
members voted unanimously not
to reappoint her.
The letter addresses the
Memorial Day meeting as well,
noting that most Board meetings
Where to buy the paper: The Independent
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Mobil, Sawyer Newsroom, Shelburne Falls
Super Market, Good Spirit, McCusker’s
Market, and Neighbors; in Shelburne at
Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters (Mohawk
Trail store) and Black Beer; in Colrain at
Pine Hill Orchards and Colrain SuperGas; in
Charlemont at Planet Gas, Avery’s General
Store, and Curtis Country Store; in Ashfield
at Nolan’s Neighbors, Ashfield Hardware
& Supply, and Elmer’s Store; in Conway at
Baker’s General Store; and in Greenfield at
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— including the Tuesday, Dec. 18
meeting — are scheduled for 9
a.m. The Memorial Day meeting
was set, according to the chairwoman’s letter, due to members’
time constraints. Following subsequent questions to the state,
the local Board, she writes, was
within its legal rights to hold
that earlier, holiday meeting, but
it was cancelled.
Reynolds-Gallaghar’s letter
goes on to point out that the
Board of Health has never received any complaint of lack of
courtesy from any of those noted
in the petition as having been
treated badly and, in fact, has
letters of commendation from
many in the situations the recall
petition alleges Board members
treated discourteously.
She concludes that there is no
documentation to substantiate a
Foshay writes that the recall
petition issues enumerated “misrepresent the actions taken by
the Board of Health” and says
that the actions put into effect
by the petition resulted in at
least 11 signatures that would
not have been made had those
voters understood the ramifications of their signings.
She continues to note that the
recall option regards significant
legal infractions that do not pertain to the matter here.
“This recall is not truly about
actions by members of the Board
of Health,” Foshay writes. “It’s
an effort on the part of a few
citizens who have admitted that
the issue is dissatisfaction with
several of the present town officials, not only the two individuals being recalled from the Board
of Health.”
New town meeting date
have approved unanimously a
move to hold annual town meeting on Monday, June 2.
The panel has also authorized
Executive Secretary Kathy Reynolds to draft a warrant article to
change the town bylaw stating
that the meeting is to occur the
fourth Tuesday in May. Legal
counsel will then review the
Trail Regional School District
(MTRSD) Superintendent Michael Buoniconti will lobby with
state legislators and Department
of Education (DOE) officials in
an attempt to provide busing
for West County students living
within 1.5 miles of their respective schools. Owing primarily to
safety concerns, during a Dec.
12 meeting, MTRSD Committee
members agreed unanimously to
authorize Buoniconti to resolve
the recently discovered issue.
Following an audit of District
busing routes, Business Manager
Joanne Blier found that dozens
of students ineligible for state
transportation reimbursement
were riding buses. The DOE,
which reimburses the District
85-90 percent of busing costs,
provides funding only for those
pupils living beyond a 1.5-mile
Pat Beck, D.C.
5 State Street
Shelburne Falls, MA
25 Main Street
Northampton, MA
By Nikki Widner
[email protected]
For years, local food pantries
provide clients with traditional
staples through their special
holiday distribution. On Dec.
18, 19 and 20, clients will bring
home turkeys, squash, potatoes,
onions and more from the Good
Neighbors Pantry, West County
Emergency Food Pantry and the
Hilltown Churches Food Pantry,
all serving 12 Franklin County
radius of their schools.
During the November School towns.
Committee meeting, Blier said Hilltown Churches Food Pantry
that if the situation continued,
More than two decades ago,
the state might reduce Chapter
71 funding or financially penal- the Hilltown Churches Food
Pantry (HCFP) had 15 regular
ize the District.
After she described the situ- clients and ran the operation
ation, two Committee members out of a closet inside St. John’s
expressed concern for stu- Episcopal Church. Since then,
dents, many of whom would be the HCFP serves 120 families
on average — or 400 people —
compelled to walk
state highways to get to class if twice a month from its current
they didn’t ride District buses. location at the First CongreBuoniconti told the panel that gational Church in Ashfield.
he’d encouraged residents to con- Food is distributed every other
tact local legislators regarding Tuesday from 4-6 p.m. to clients
the matter. He added that he’d in Ashfield, Buckland, Conway,
been communicating with Dal- Charlemont, Colrain, Hawley,
ton Democrat State Rep. Denis Heath, Monroe, Plainfield, Rowe
Guyer to determine if the busing and Shelburne.
The HCFP receives food from
statute is a law or a regulation.
Heath representative Pam The Food Bank of Western MasPorter noted that officials in her sachusetts and supplemental
town are considering drafting support from community donors,
a legal document describing a farms, local businesses and 30
“situation of danger” in order volunteers.
Recently the HCFP received a
to indemnify the Heath School.
Transportation Subcommittee half ton of donated potatoes. The
Chairwoman Marguerite Wil- Pantry also receives regular dislis of Charlemont and Colrain counted rates for milk from Phil
representative Joe Kurland are and Doreen Nolan, who operate
editing a brief video destined for Nolan’s Neighbors convenience
state legislators that is intended store in Ashfield, and for apples
to provide a visual primer on from Ed Scott, who runs Scott’s
the realities of students walk- Orchard. Local support has also
ing to school in rural areas. The come from food drives held by
Mohawk District is the largest the Boy Scout troop in Ashfield
geographical school system in and the Hawlemont Regional
the state. Willis noted that the School in Charlemont.
In addition to holiday food
District busing contract is based
upon mileage and not the num- distribution, the HCFP offers
clients four gifts for children
ber of students transported.
“The reimbursement issue ages 16 and younger from their
shouldn’t cost the state any more Sharing Christmas Program.
money,” Buoniconti concluded. Each child receives two toys and
two clothing items. As many as
60 families and 140 children
The Independent makes a great gift participate in the program.
any time of the year. Subscribe online at Assistance comes from Smith
College’s SOS service
tion, Ashfield’s Congregational
Church, St. Joseph’s Church in
Shelburne Falls, St. Christo-
Taxes due
ROWE—The state Department
of Revenue has approved the
town’s split tax rate and assessors’ recommendation for 2008
of a Minimum Residential Factor
(MRF) of 0.5105 .
The MRF determines how
much of the tax burden is shifted
from residential to commercial/
industrial/personal and has
resulted in a residential rate
of $4.52/$1,000 of valuation
(up from $4.11/$1,000 for fiscal year 2007) and a commercial/industrial/personal rate of
$9.64/$1,000 of valuation (up
from $8.84/$1,000 this year).
The town’s industrial tax base
currently accounts for 92 percent
of Rowe’s revenue.
Tax payments are due within
30 days of bills being sent, which
was Thanksgiving. For more information, call Tax Collector and
Assessors’ Clerk Sandy Daviau at
(413) 339-5520.
Monday–Saturday, 7–7
Sunday, 10–5
pher’s Church in Charlemont,
St. John the Baptist’s Church in
Colrain, Mary Lyon Church in
Buckland, Plainfield Congregational Church, Shelburne Congregational Church, Shelburne
Grange, Mohawk Trail Regional
School and Whole Foods employees, along with many individual
donors in the community.
The HCFP has continued to
grow over the years in tandem
with the increasing need for food
assistance. According to HCFP’s
Bonnie Coleman, need has grown
even more dramatically in the
past four months.
Coleman relayed the story
about a client who recently
visited a food bank and found
the food supply to be sparse.
This is, apparently, a national
phenomenon. Due to cuts in
federal funds, food banks across
the nation have reduced supplies
of food to offer their clients.
“The government is no longer
offering subsidized foods like
they did in the past,” said Coleman, “We wish the government
would step up and offer more.”
To volunteer or donate, e-mail
[email protected]
The Good Neighbors
Food Pantry
The Good Neighbors Food Pantry serves Charlemont, Heath,
Hawley and Rowe residents.
Twenty-five years ago, the food
pantry began as a small group
who donated food to neighbors
in need around the holidays.
About 15 years ago, the food
pantry expanded from its smaller
beginnings by connecting with
the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts (FBWM) and moved to
a larger space inside the current
church location. Good Neighbors
was able to install a lift to carry
boxes of food from basement
storage area to the first floor
distribution center through the
help from a past FBWM grant.
With a support crew of 30
volunteers, Good Neighbors
bagged traditional holiday favorites for approximately 70 area
families this week. Housed in the
Charlemont Federated Church,
the Good Neighbors Food Pantry opens its holiday doors for
resident clients Thursday, Dec.
20 from 4:30-6 p.m. The pantry
offers an average of 100 pounds
of food, or four to five grocery
bags of nonperishable items,
along with one bag of produce
for a family of four.
“We’re all about sharing food
with people and not leaving
people out,” said Litchfield.
Funding for the organization
comes primarily from donations
Hawley, MA 01339
formerly Keystone Market
42-44 Bridge Street
Shelburne Falls
TUE., WED., THUR., FRI. open 11
Open SAT. noon, SUN. afternoon
32 Bridge St., upstairs
Shelburne Falls
To buy a photograph that’s appeared in
the newspaper: We offer color prints of
most of the photos you see in the paper for
personal (non-commercial) use. 5x7 prints
are $10; 8x10 prints are $15. Send a check
and a description of the photo.
To see photos that have not been
published, please make an appointment
to come take a look. Selected photos can
be purchased online.
Stopping by our office
If you’d like to find us: Our office is on
the basement level of 3–5–7 Bridge St.
(Coldwell Banker–Upton-Massamont and
MassOne Insurance), the first building on
the Shelburne side, but we’re around the
back by the river. You can see our door
from Deerfield Avenue if you look for the
Dumpster by the back of the buildings.
Our office is open by appointment or
chance. Please call ahead, and we’ll be
sure someone is here to help you.
panel studying the issue has
tentatively identified four sites
along the Deerfield River to
launch and take out boats and
other watercraft.
The proposed sites include the
Zoar picnic area, the Shunpike
area, the Old Willow and the
landing near Doc Streeter’s on
the Mohawk Trail. The group
is also working on regulations,
signage and pamphlets for the
Licenses are in
ROWE—New 2008 sporting,
hunting and fishing licenses
and stamps are now in the Town
Clerk’s office. Office hours are
Tuesday, 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. For
information, call (413) 339-5520
or (413) 339-8587 after hours.
made by individuals, churches
and local businesses. Long-term
relationships have also been
set up with Keystone Market in
Shelburne Falls to buy produce
and with Avery’s General Store
in Charlemont to buy meat at
discounted rates.
“We welcome folks to come
and volunteer,” said Co-director
Budge Litchfield. “You don’t
have to live in the four towns or
be part of the [organization’s]
churches. It’s a great thing to
Call Sheila or Budge Litchfield at (413) 337-4957 for donations and volunteer opportunities with the Good Neighbors
Food Pantry.
West Count Food Pantry
Unlike the Hilltown Churches
and the Good Neighbors food
pantries, the West County Food
Pantry (WCFP) is a mobile pantry, set up twice a month (on
third and fourth Wednesdays) in
the community room at the Shelburne Senior Center. This year
the WCFP has given food to 115
households or 228 individuals.
The WCFP allows its clients
to choose a designated amount
of food from four different categories. They include salvaged
food, such as canned goods, pasta
and rice from supermarkets and
wholesalers; U.S. Department
of Agriculture-provided items
contracted through the Western
Massachusetts Food Bank; donated food and produce from a
state assistance program, FBWM
and local growers in the Pioneer
“This way we’re 90 percent
guaranteed that [our clients]
will be eating the food we offer,”
said Coordinator Dino Schnelle
of Heath. “We strive really hard
to make sure the food we give is
Four years ago the WMFB
conducted a study and found
that western Franklin County
had the greatest need to provide
food for seniors and families with
children younger than 18 years
old. At the same time, the Mary
Lyon Foundation, a nonprofit,
educational support group in
the hilltowns, performed a study
that underscored how much West
County children required more
food in order to improve both
their educational and health
To donate food, clothing and
household goods for the West
County Food Pantry or to volunteer, contact Dino Schnelle at
(413) 773-5029, ext. 4.
Please pay
88 Plainfield Rd.
Potential new
sites for boating
Food pantries gear up to feed
the hungry for the holidays
Mohawk to lobby state
to allow bus pick-ups
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_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ from front page
>cY^Vc"HinaZIdnh[[email protected]^Yh
COLRAIN—Anyone interested in making a real estate tax
payment for end-of-year income
tax purposes may bring it to the
town office or send it to Town of
Colrain, 55 Main Rd., Colrain,
MA 01340.
The town office will be closed
Dec. 24, 25 and 31 and Jan. 1.
Eye Exams
Contact Lenses
Industrial Protective
Stop squinting!
Come in and choose
from a vast array
of sunglasses
“For People Who Value Their Vision”
27 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls
Shelburne Falls Independent • December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008 • • page 3
Our community has come together.
Now come to our community
Shop Shelburne Falls:
Great gifts, Great food, Great atmosphere!
These businesses offer unique gifts for everyone on your list
GA Brush With Fate
GAll Around Tile
GAnn Brauer Quilt Studio
GArcansus Gallery
GArrowhead Shops
GAubuchon Hardware
GBaker Pharmacy
GBald Mountain Pottery
GBerkshire Trading
GBoswell’s Books
GBuckland Pizza House
GCafe Martin
GCharlemont TV
GChristin Couture Studio
GChristopher’s Grinders
GCowan Auto Supply
GDavenports’ Service
GDick Muller & Co.
GEddie’s Wheels For Pets
GFoxtown Coffee Shop
GFranklin Land Trust
GGood Spirits Liquors
GGypsy Apple
GJ. H. Sherburne Fine Art
GLamson & Goodnow
Factory Outlet
GLaurie Goddard Studios
GLogan & Wallace Gallery
GMcCusker’s Market
GMetaphor Yarns
GMocha Maya’s Coffee Co.
GMohawk Trading Post
GMole Hollow Candles
GMolly Cantor Pottery
GMo’s Fudge Factor
GMother’s Pantry
GNancy L. Dole
Books & Ephemera
GNeighbors Convenience
GNotion to Quilt
GPlants for Pleasure
GSalmon Falls Artisans
GSawyer News
GShelburne Arts Co-Op
GShelburne Falls
Bowling Alley
GShelburne Falls
Coffee Roasters
GShelburne Falls
Super Market
GShelburne Falls
Wine Merchant
GShelburne Farm & Garden
GSingley Furniture
GStillwater Porcelain
GStillwaters Restaurant
GThe Optician
GThe Village Restaurant
GTregellys World
GTusk N Rattle Cafe
GWandering Moon
GWest End Pub
GWings of Light
GYoung Constantin &
Associates Glass
he Shelburne Falls Area Business Association would like to thank all of those who
participated in the valiant and expedient efforts that saved our downtown area from
being consumed by fire last Sunday. We also want to thank those that helped to swiftly
reopen the village during this holiday season. To all of the fire departments, police departments, emergency personnel, Shelburne and Buckland Selectmen, landowners and
their representatives, contractors, demolition teams, clean-up crews, volunteers and
fundraisers, we cannot express enough how the sense of community and the show of good
will extended to Shelburne Falls has blessed this holiday season. Many, many thanks.
To contribute to the Emergency Benefit Event (postponed from Dec. 18
due to weather; new date in January to be announced),
call Molly Cantor, 625-2870.
Up-to-date information about the fire and ways to help those who
lost shelter or livelihood:
page 4 • Shelburne Falls Independent • December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008 •
Jeff Potter, Editor and Publisher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [email protected]
Virginia Ray, Managing Editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [email protected]
Linda Rollins, Advertising . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [email protected]
Janet Lowry, Production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [email protected]
Opinion and Commentary • Memoirs • Essays • Dispatches • Letters from Readers
The Independent is committed to free exchange of ideas from the community. No matter what your politics,
we welcome thoughtful contributions, and we encourage further discussion on anything you read on these pages.
Holiday memories
We asked subscribers to share
recollections of the season
Photo/Jess Gauthier (Hallmark School of Photography)
The next afternoon
onday, Dec. 10:
I’m standing here
in the darkening
hours of the short, short day,
behind the fire line with a lot
of other people, all of us grimly looking at the ruins of one
of the buildings that made up
our village as a derrick crane
slowly chomps at the charred
It hasn’t even been a full
day since the fire started. One
day ago, things were normal.
So much has happened
since the home phone rang
with one of those calls that
take on a larger importance
in retrospect. A fire downtown,
I told Susi as I hung up and
pulled on my coat. I’m going
to go down there and see what
it’s all about.
What it’s all about.
Right. Like we can take the
concept of what our friends
and neighbors, and what we
as a community, have lost and
have it mean anything, like
we can wrap it up with a tiny
little bow and get back to life.
I think back to the previous
night. My mind snaps back to
random images and sounds.
Water cascading down toward
Deerfield Avenue. Freezing rain
glazing over the village. The
sound of breaking glass.
It just kept getting worse,
not better. It’s not supposed to
happen that way.
The hollow, constant whoosh
of water through the fire hoses.
The sizzle of water hitting the
flames coming out the top of
the building. Bricks falling,
over the years.
And that history in that
particular building has come to
a sad and abrupt end.
OF COURSE a fire won’t destroy
the heart of our town. That’s
just silly and even mildly
How many people standing insulting to those of us who
slow-motion, onto the sidewalk
here with me behind the yelbelow. The flashing strobes
have worked hard to create a
low tape grew up around here community around this village
of red and blue from the fire
engines and police cruisers. Red buying things from the Village and the surrounding towns.
Variety or Ben Franklin or
and white and red and white
Make no mistake — we will
any of the dozens of other
and blue and white and blue
come together. We will pass
and white and blue and red, as businesses that have come
the hat for our neighbors. We
and gone over the years?
the vehicles idled all through
will have fundraisers, bake
How many hundreds of
the long, long night.
sales, benefit bank accounts,
people have lived in those
And the quiet, subdued,
concerts. We will pour out our
somber looks as we stood there. apartments?
hearts because events like this
How many people have had make us realize how lucky we
Tom, smoking a cigar, comtheir hair cut or a massage
miserating with Missy about
are to have one another, and
their neighboring building. The in that building? Bought rehow very, very lucky we were
occasional laugh to cut through cords, ice cream cones there? that the fire did not spread.
Dropped off news to the West
the tension and the hurt and
We will come together and
County News there in the
the cold. The cell phones and
become a better community,
early 1980s?
digital cameras, capturing the
better people, for the effort.
How many coffees and
light into pixels, photos created
But that doesn’t mean we
pounds of beans and apple
out of a building destroyed.
aren’t grieving in the process
We all stand here this next puffs have gone out the door
— processing a world of hurt
that’s now a black hole in a
day, looking at the crane,
and damage, both physical and
charred wall?
trance-like, because there’s
How many people are
nothing else to be done right
heartbroken for this loss to
now that can help us process
the very continuum of our
the unreality.
ready to leave, processing this
small village, our wonderjumble of thoughts.
fully preserved architecture
“THE FIRE may have deA woman comes out of
stroyed a part of history, but it of the late 1800s? How many
Keystone Market holding her
hasn’t destroyed the heart of
of those same people still feel toddler, who lights up at the
this small town,” one reporter a sense of grievous loss when activity directly in front of the
earnestly concluded on a
we look at the nothingness
faraway television station
where the Swan block once
“Fire!” the toddler says, her
that pays attention to our tiny stood not so long ago?
face breaking into a smile as
village only when something
Every building here conshe points at the fire trucks
large and visual happens.
tributes to our overall sense
that still stand at the ready
A part of history. That hisof place. With each change of next to the crane.
tory is so the opposite of large tenant, each change of owner,
Yeah. Fire.
and visual. It’s subtle and
our history evolves. Our busiabstract.
ness community has evolved
Ashfield’s former K-9 unit thanks community
To the communities, residents,
and supporters of the now-disbanded K-9 unit from Ashfield:
Your support, your kindness, and
your willingness to give change
a chance have truly shown me
that you as community are willing to work together to create a
regional resource that benefited
us all.
I was very proud to be a member of the K-9 unit, and K-9 Syrus
and I were very honored to serve
wherever needed. The K-9 team
was responsible for multiple
narcotics arrest, tracking assignments, office safety-related
incidents, and public safety
presentations such as schools,
youth camps, and senior meetings located around the region.
The K-9 program was a success and was supported by you
throughout the region. You made
this program a success by understanding its need, helping raise
the funds to start it, and, through
your generous donations, kept
it moving right to the day it was
disbanded. This is proof that the
resource is truly needed and accepted in this region and should
continue under a different management system in the future.
Although I have not been given
any information about where my
partner Syrus was sent, I know
legendary Stan Smithers. It
was a Norman Rockwell moment. —Belden Merims, Colrain
and New York, N.Y.
IN THE MID-1950S my family
lived in an apartment above
what used to be Shirley’s Barber Shop. My brothers and I
shared a small bedroom which
overlooked Bridge Street.
A really fond memory I have
is one where each Christmas
season the Baker Pharmacy
would play Christmas music
on a speaker just above the
entrance door. I remember
listening to Gene Autry singing
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Here Comes Santa
Claus.” There were many other
songs of course, but those are
the two I remember the most.
I looked forward to the
Christmas season more than
any other because I knew that
Gene Autry would ride back
into town and sing once again.
Whenever I return to visit my
hometown, I always glance at
the pharmacy and am reminded of days long ago and the joy
of Christmas when I was young.
—David V. Smith, St. Albans,
By Jeff Potter
To the Editor of the Independent:
from a cold spot.
Before Pothole
Pictures and performances by
notable pop musicians, Memorial Hall was deserted, cold
and dark. Mole Hollow’s Peter
Curtis dreamed of a community Christmas concert to light
up the old hall. And for some
years in the 1990s on a Saturday in early December the hall
filled with families, light, and
the sound of music. Blasts from
huge heaters took the edge off
the cold between the acts.
Mohawk Trail Concerts
pulled together local professional musicians, talented
teens, and an all-ages orchestra
for a Musical Garland. But it
was a gaggle of munchkins,
some of them recent toddlers,
who nonchalantly tripped
across the stage with their
tiny violins and soberly played
their Suzuki Christmas selections all-together-now without
music who brought the house
I recall filing out into a
snowy night on Bridge Street
to sing Christmas carols holding luminaries and led by Rev.
David Neil and the Shelburne
Falls Military Band under the
firsthand how great police dog he
is and trust he will make a great
dog for someone else wherever
he ends up. I know he was very
happy here in our communities,
and I would bet he misses all of
As for me, I came to the town
of Ashfield to assist in reforming
a professional police department,
and I believe I have done that.
It was apparent that my services
were no longer needed and that
it was time for my departure. For
the multiple people who called
me, stopped by my residence,
and stopped me on the street to
show support for me and the K-9
program, I am forever grateful
and I encourage you to contact
your select board members and
let them know you support a
regional K-9 program.
Although not based in Ashfield, I will be pressing to bring
back a regional K-9 team for
our region that should have a
regional committee or board
that manages the team to ensure
its success. Until then, I will
be looking to continue my law
enforcement career in another
community, staying on as emergency management director in
Ashfield, and most of all, working with my regional community
in areas such as our youth, our
seniors, and how they both play
such an important part in the
success of our community.
On my behalf and on the behalf of K-9 Syrus, I say: “Thank
you, all.”
Buckland, Dec. 8
I read the article about Bob
Dean on the front page and was
a little taken aback that your
reporter did not realize that
the Franklin Regional Council
of Governments is not a government entity. His assertion
that Bob is looking forward to
working in county government
is incorrect.
County governments were
abolished several years ago in
Massachusetts. FRCOG is still
the self-serving special interest
group that it has always been,
accountable to nobody except
the payers of the hefty fees that
they bill for their usurpment of
the services which were once
provided by properly elected
government officials or their
property appointed designees.
It is articles like this, with
statements like his, that propagate the myth that FRCOG has
some official capacity in our
lives, and adds to the idea that
STILL for anyone, and,
for many, the holiday
season seems to come too
quickly before we are prepared. I wonder, however, if
many of us are ever fully prepared to face the ambivalent
feelings that arrive during this
time of year.
As a psychotherapist, I feel
privileged to hear people
speak about their hopes,
dreams, disappointments, and
expectations. In my experience, there is rarely a time of
year that seems to engender in
people as many feelings of joy
and anticipation, sadness and
dread, as the holidays.
As soon as Halloween takes
place, we are bombarded with
commercial messages of what
we “should” spend our money
on, how we “should” feel, or
what we “should” be doing
this time of year. External
pressures, combined with our
own internal pressures, may
result in stress, anxiety, or
For those who have experienced a recent loss, the
holidays can be particularly
difficult. Even those who may
have experienced a loss years
ago, and who thought they had
resolved their grief, may find
renewed feelings of sadness
WHAT CAN BE DONE to help us
navigate the holiday season
without needing a week’s
vacation after it is all over? To
begin with, an awareness that
the holidays can be difficult
for many people can be helpful. It is easy to imagine that
everyone else is surrounded by
family and friends as they bask
in their unconditional love for
We hope something in this
one another, having forgiven
issue of the Independent
all past grievances.
will move you to share your
In our hearts, we may in fact
thoughts. Send your letters
long for the realization of such
to [email protected] or
a vision, which may be one
to 8 Deerfield Ave., Shelburne
reason we can experience pain
Falls, MA 01370.
when our holidays fall short
of what we had hoped for. The
uncomfortable fact is that the
holidays, as well as bringing
us joy, may also have a way of
bringing to light family conflicts or hurts that need to be
when falsehoods are repeated healed.
enough in newspapers, they beDuring the holidays it is also
come realities in the minds of the
uneducated or undereducated
Last year at this time, I had
great hopes that the IndepenYou might protest that you do
dent would not go this route indeed cover these issues, and
and have watched from afar yes, you do, in the most superfiand online as you go the route cial manner; however, the total
of the rah rah Shelburne Falls lack of investigation and depth
rag and totally avoid the thorny is disappointing to me. But I am
contraversial issues of land use not in town any more and will
and real school reform.
hopefully be moving out soon,
FRCOG is not government
To the Editor of the Independent:
Surviving the
holiday season
By Caroline Chase
easy to become swept away by
the commercialism that surrounds us, which can leave us
feeling empty, alone, or “not
good enough.” Because financial constraints can also cause
stress during this time, finding
new ways to show our love and
caring can be helpful.
For instance, for those who
have friends with children, offering a night of babysitting so
that the parents can go out by
themselves might be one idea
that could convey caring without spending money, an idea
that can be put into practice
any time of the year.
Offering to make dinner for
someone who normally must
cook seven days a week might
be another gift that would take
more time than money. Writing
a letter expressing all we appreciate about a friend is yet
another idea that would mean
a great deal to someone.
It is tempting and seductive
to get caught up in the world’s
commercialistic version of the
holidays. It is important to
remember, however, that the
holidays are not just about how
many gifts we give or receive,
or how much money we spend.
Love can be shown by gifts
of the heart that will last not
just this time of year but far
beyond it.
Time might not stand still
for us to do all those things
we feel we “should” do during
the holidays. We can, however,
learn to be more accepting of
ourselves and of others if this
holiday season is not exactly as
we “expected.” For whatever
the reasons, what we end up
doing may be all we are able
to do at this particular time in
our lives.
Whether we know it or not,
that is “good enough.”
Caroline Chase has written
for several local publications,
including The Ashfield News and
the West County News, where
this piece first appeared in 1999.
so I guess it is no longer any of
my business.
Just thought, though, that
someone should remind you that
this is not what you started out
to do.
Buckland, Dec. 13
Shelburne Falls Independent • December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008 • • page 5
A whole new life, with Maggie leading the way
and began to
raise sheep, most of
our experiences with farm
animals were of the “petting
zoo” variety and those fat, stoic
critters didn’t interest us much
at all.
So how did it happen that
we ended up with a flock of
Icelandic sheep, a couple
dozen chickens and guinea
Well, it all started with Maggie, our intense little border
collie and farm namesake. It’s
her fault (and our good fortune) that we are here at all.
Maggie’s been with me
since before I met Dan, before
our three children were born,
before I had more than a
pickup-truck-full of furniture
to cart around with me. When
she was a puppy, Maggie and I
did some agility training. And,
as advertised, she was sharp
and focused and seriously highstrung.
Maggie — a bundle of
nerves, darting full speed in
whatever direction she was
headed — began “working” the
very day I brought her home to
my Boston apartment, fetching
a tennis ball within minutes
of arriving. Fortunately, I had
a lot more time on my hands
back then. I’d take her for an
hour long romp in the park
before work, bring her to work
with me, take her for a twohour-long walk after work.
And did she care to play the
way a lab or golden retriever
(or just about any self-respecting dog) might? Nooooooo! It
was always work. Work, work,
work for her. Playing was for
sissies. Frolicking was for pups
with less dignity and purpose.
She only had eyes for tennis
balls, sticks — anything that
could be fetched. This was
business! Also, she would circle
around the other (foolishly
playing) dogs in an effort to
keep them in line.
But then I met Dan and very
quickly, we were “serious.” I
also got a teaching assistantHERE
cal farms and the Cummington
Sheep and Wool Festival, we
settled on Icelandic Sheep, and
brought home the first four:
Gus, Franklin, Copper, and
By Perri Wexler
ship at the University of Colorado. So the three of us packed
up and headed out west. Things
went swimmingly.
But again, there was Maggie,
cooped up in our Longmont
apartment while Dan wrote his
dissertation and I went to class
and taught class and graded
papers and wrote poems. Our
walls were soon covered in
tennis-ball-shaped spots, evidence of Maggie’s incredible
persistence. She’d stand beside
us as we worked, nudging her
tennis ball at our feet until
we finally — finally! — gave
in tossed the thing. If we hid
the tennis balls, she’d bring
something else, anything else
— a piece of couch fluff, a twig,
a pencil. Walks around town or
in the park didn’t cut it. She
needed to work!
So, out of consideration —
and desperation! — we poured
our minuscule disposable
income into sheep-herding lessons. There really was no other
choice; Maggie craved activity
and she was, after all, a sheepdog. It was clearly what Maggie
needed to do and also we were
sort of fascinated by the idea.
Of course, Maggie took to
sheep right away. And, the really surprising thing is that we
did too.
We loved those Saturday lessons. We pestered our teacher,
Susan, with all sorts of questions — not about herding so
much as haying and shepherding and starting out.
So the lessons fired Maggie
up, and they also kindled some
interest in us. We eased a step
down the road. We began to
think that maybe, someday,
we might have a small flock to
work with and a chunk of land,
a different sort of life.
But then I became pregnant
and we moved to the Boston
area, and the herding and all
terrified of this alien creature. Would it hurt them? Why
wasn’t it inside some sort of
enclosure like the animals at
a house in the suburbs, three
the zoo or petting farm?
kids, and two full-time jobs.
That may have been the
We battled traffic to and from
last straw for me — that, and
work every day and struggled
the hours sitting in traffic
to pay for preschool and child
and drinking Dunkin’ Donuts
care. We didn’t know any of our coffee out of a Styrofoam cup.
neighbors, we barely had time
Also, there wasn’t any sort of
or energy to socialize with the
“community” in our commufew folks we did meet, and our nity. We were a nuclear family,
kids thought “nature” was the
isolated in all sorts of ways and
leafy place we’d walk through
from all sorts of things — famon our occasional hikes. During ily, community, nature, food.
this time, Maggie made do with And we didn’t want to continue
her backyard and tennis balls,
that way.
lots of tennis balls.
Something had to give.
Things were good, okay, just
We remembered the old
fine and dandy. But we didn’t
dream we’d had in Colorado;
want to live that life.
also, there was Maggie, still
We longed for our kids to
waiting patiently for the life
experience a different sort of
for which she was born. We
childhood, a more “connected” began to research the possibilchildhood. This became clear
ity of a move — real estate,
when we went for a walk in
sheep breeds, chickens. We
the Blue Hills and scared up a
(well, I) dove into all this stuff
deer. The kids were absolutely
head first. This is the general
it stood for was pretty much
way we operate around here —
head first and heedless. We try
things out and suffer or revel
in the consequences.
We started searching for
real estate in southeastern
Vermont and western Massachusetts and lucked into what
was then called Orchard View
Farm in Colrain after about
three months of serious looking. We made our break before
Micah, our eldest daughter, hit
kindergarten. Sheep were put
on the back burner for a while,
as we adjusted to our new setting, but as the grass grew long
in the pastures, our thoughts
returned to the Maggie’s old
We researched many breeds
and were faced with a bit of a
conundrum: The sheep we were
most interested in, the “primitive breeds” such as Shetlands,
Jacobs and Icelandics, weren’t
much good for herding. But by
then we were deep into the
idea, and so, after a visit to lo-
SO HERE WE ARE on Maggie’s
Farm. We don’t look back, can’t
imagine any other life. There
were glitches along the way —
many glitches. There are many
glitches now. But that’s the way
of the world, ain’t it?
So we have sheep. We enjoy
the fiber they produce, the
colors, their unparalleled a
ability to crop the grass around
the place, and their interesting
personalities. There is a certain
peace to hanging on the porch
and watching the ewes and
lambs graze.
We are developing an exemplary flock based on fiber quality and structure, and learning
something new every day.
People say sheep are stupid.
(We’ve heard this a lot!) But
ours must be sheep-geniuses
then, because they’ve got all
they need to know figured out!
We have other animals too:
chickens (I can’t say enough
good things about chickens)
and guinea fowl. This summer
we added an Icelandic sheepdog puppy to the mix.
And there’s Maggie, of
course. She’s ten now and fit
as could be. She spends most
of her time keeping an eye on
“her” flock, and she moves the
sheep, sort of. (They are big,
tough Icelandic sheep, after
all.) Always and forever, she
keeps an eye on them. She circles around, helps with feeding
and hoof trimming and every
other kind of farm activity.
With the same intensity she
had as a pup.
When not raising sheep with her
family, Perri Wexler is educational coordinator at Seaport
Campus in Charleston, Mass.
Maggie’s Farm can be found at
12/2, 10:30 p.m. — Officer
responded to request for an
officer regarding a domestic
12/3, 2:45 p.m. — Report of
plow trucks speeding on Main
St. causing property damage.
Report taken and officer sent.
4:30 p.m. — Welfare check of
Buckland Rd. resident. Contact
made; no emergency.
12/4, 9:30 p.m. — Officer responded to 911 hang-up at Lake
House. No emergency found.
7 p.m. — Welfare check of Baptist Corner Rd. resident. Contact
made; no emergency.
12/5, 12 p.m. — Report of
larceny by check over $250 and
larceny by false pretenses. Report taken; charges to be filed.
3:25 p.m. — Information provided to walk-in to station regarding obtaining restraining
order. Subsequently, trespass
notice issued to suspect; no
criminal charges filed.
12/7, 3 p.m. — Information
provided to walk-in to station
regarding obtaining restraining
order. Emergency restraining order subsequently obtained. Charlemont Police conducted in-hand
service of order to defendant.
12/8, 2 p.m. — Report of hunter trespassing on posted private
property, Bellus Rd., and deer
shot on private property. Officers
and environmental police sent;
hunter located; criminal and
civil charges pending.
5:45 p.m. — Report of motor
vehicle vs. bear accident, Ashfield Mountain Rd. Bear gone on
arrival; vehicle damage. Report
12/9, 1:45 p.m. — Report of
illegally parked vehicle blocking fire-bay access at fire station. Owner/operator contacted
and vehicle removed without
4:50 p.m. — Report of erratic operation of a motor vehicle, Main St. Vehicle gone on
5:10 p.m. — Report of shots
fired, Williamsburg Rd. Conway
police assisted officer checking
area. Responsible party gone
on arrival. Reporting party advised has been ongoing. Report
12/10 — 10:30 p.m. — Assisted
police with roadblock resulting
from Bridge St. fire.
3 a.m. — Report of vehicle off
road, Baptist Corner Rd. near
March Rd. Not found, but cruiser
off road due to ice. Cruiser
moved. Original vehicle operator
realized she was in Conway, not
3:10 a.m. — Female driver 911
call, unable to drive Bug Hill
Rd. due to ice. Party waited in
station after being picked up
by officer until road sanded and
4:20 a.m.- Officer responded
to report of car in snowbank,
Hawley Rd. Road impassable;
highway dept. treated area.
4:30 a.m. — Sander reported
off road, Hawley Rd. Vehicle
4:40 a.m. — Report of vehicle
off road, Hawley Rd. Highway
crew responded and vehicle
4:55 a.m. — Report of vehicle
stuck, March Cross Rd. Impassable; highway crew sanded.
5:07 a.m. — Report of several
vehicles off road, Baptist Corner
Rd. Road impassable; highway
crew sanded.
5:25 a.m.- Report of accident,
Baptist Corner Rd. by Conway
town line. Roadway impassable.
Conway police also responded.
Liebenow towed vehicle.
6:40 a.m. — Report of accident,
Hill Rd. Roadway impassable,
sanders treated, car removed.
9 a.m. — Information received
to support four counts of indecent assault and batter on child
younger than 14. Forwarded to
State Police Detective Unit.
11 a.m. — Report of restraining order violation; determined
to have occurred in Buckland.
Information forwarded Buckland
2:30 p.m.- Report of shots fired,
West Rd. No crime involved.
12/11 — 4 p.m.- Report male
slipped on ice and injured hip,
Meadow Ln. Officer sent; Ashfield Fire Department and Highland Ambulance responded
as well. Patient transported to
medical facility.
9:50 p.m. — Report of one-car
accident, West Rd. Highway crew
sanded and Liebenow towed
9:50 p.m. — Report of large
tree branch obstructing roadway.
Not found.
12/12 — 7 a.m.- Hazardous
conditions reported, West Rd.
Found passable.
1:45 p.m.- Report domestic
disturbance, Spruce Corner Rd.
Services rendered.
2 p.m. — Report two vehicles
operating erratically, Rte. 112.
Gone on arrival.
2:20 p.m. — Report residential propane leak, March Rd.
Determined to be stink bomb,
located inside pant pocket that
went through dryer.
7:30 p.m. — Report male shot
deer from vehicle on road in
Heath. Suspect identified and
report forwarded to environmental police.
12/13 — 12:30 p.m. — Report
of vehicle off road in Ashfield,
Conway or Deerfield. Not found
in Ashfield.
4:55 p.m. — Report of vehicle
off road, Conway Rd. at Main St.
Liebenow towed vehicle.
12/14 — 5:05 p.m. — Report
of ongoing issue regarding a
snowplow. Under investigation.
12/16 — 6 p.m. — Received 911
call, Spruce Corner Rd. Contact
made; no emergency.
11/29, 1:09 p.m. — Report of
theft of copper and hand trucks
from Charlemont Rd. business.
Under investigation.
12/4, 10:15 p.m. — Report of
disabled motor vehicle at intersection East Buckland and Nilman roads. Found not a problem;
owner to remove.
12/9, 7:37 p.m. — Responded
to fire reported at Shelburne
Falls Coffee Roasters, Bridge St.,
12/10, 10:30 a.m. — Assisted
East Buckland Rd. resident with
misdialed 911 call. No services
11:20 a.m. — One-vehicle
motor vehicle crash, ColrainShelburne Rd. No violation issued Property damage only.
12/11, 6:32 p.m. — Responded
to accidental 911 call from Pine
St. residence.
12/12. 4:32 p.m. — Assisted
Charlemont police with rollover
on North River Rd. Under investigation by Charlemont PD.
5:20 p.m. — Recovered jewelry
found 12/11 in back of Town
12/13, 1:50 p.m. — Responded
to Mohawk Trail Regional School
for out of control student.
9:50 p.m. — Assisted Howes
Rd. resident without heat in
her home. Contacted service
company to get it working.
12/14, 3 p.m. — Report of
past larceny and trespassing at
Mohawk Trail Regional School.
Under investigation.
5:37 p.m. — Responded to
East Buckland Rd. disturbance
between family members. One
person relocated for night.
SFI photo/Beth Bandy
Mohawk teachers Neale Gay and Scott Whitney, with students who plan to take to Italy.
Mohawk teachers, students plan trip
By Beth Bandy
[email protected]
trip, each student participating
had to complete special classes
at the high school. They each
had to take at least one course
in humanities, advanced humanities, or an advanced placement
course in world history. Despite
this requirement, the number of
students who signed up for the
trip was higher than expected.
Originally, Gay expected 10-12
students to participate, but many
more signed up eagerly.
Both teachers noted the increasing importance of international experience in education
today. Students need such experiences both at the high school
and college levels, they said.
“We’re giving them a foot up,”
Gay said of the upcoming Italian
trip. “I think we’re really helping
students in that regard.”
take students to the Boston area
to visit art museums and attend
the American Repertory Theatre.
In April, they will lead students
on a cultural exchange program
to the Netherlands. That trip,
Whitney said, will be focused on
the theme of national identity.
Noting that this part of western Massachusetts is both “idyllic and culturally isolated,”
Whitney stressed that these trips
offer cultural insights that local
students might not otherwise
Reading about world history
is one thing. Standing on the
ground where Mount Vesuvius
erupted during two days in August of 79 A.D. and feeling the
vibe of a city completely buried
under ash and pumice for nearly
1,700 years until it’s accidental
rediscovery in 1748 is quite another experience.
BUCKLAND—Reading about
world history is one thing. Standing on the ground where Mount
Vesuvius erupted during two
days in August of 79 A.D. and
feeling the vibe of a city completely buried under ash and
pumice for nearly 1,700 years
until its accidental rediscovery in 1748 is quite another
But that’s what 17 Mohawk
Trail Regional High School students will be feeling this month
when, led by English teachers
Neale Gay and Scott Whitney,
they spend 10 days learning
about medieval and Renaissance
Italy on the spot.
Gay and Whitney coordinated
the trip, which will be their first
Other travels near and far
opportunity to lead Mohawk students on an international advenThe Italian trip is just one of
ture. Gay said that the trip also several cultural expeditions lead
marks the first time in more than by these two teachers. Twice each
a decade that Mohawk students school year, Gay and Whitney
have had the chance to go to
Europe. If all goes well, he said,
more international study trips
will be planned in the future.
“We’re hoping to do it every
other year,” Gay said.
Leaving on Dec. 27, the group
will visit several sites in Rome
and Florence. The students will
also located here
also travel to the ruined city of
Fresh Picked Veggies!
Pompeii, near modern Naples.
Taking advantage of an extraHOURS:
long layover in London, they will
M–F 11-8,
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Fri. 11-9,
Sun. 12-7
get the chance to tour that city
for a day.
In order to take part in the
Stop by and see us
and get 10% off all
wines with this ad.
page 6 • Shelburne Falls Independent • December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008 •
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ from front page
but the Foxtown Coffee Shoppe,
in the Ott-Hosley Block building
owned by Rice Oil, reopened this
week after having lost 75 percent
of its inventory.
Next door, Tom Miner says he
hopes to reopen The Optician
Thursday. Miner said all his
stock was destroyed, and he has
ordered a new stock of frames.
Mother’s Pantry in the same
building is closed for cleaning,
but the Hicks family’s mailorder business of homemade
condiments and chilis remains
operative at
After the fire, Kevin Parsons,
the Gitsis family lawyer, wrote
on a blog devoted to publicizing
fire information and relief efforts
that the family “has not decided
whether they will rebuild or sell
the lot to a third party.”
“It is much too early,” Parsons
wrote, going on to note the family’s sensitivity to the business
community in the face of Building Inspector Jim Hawkins’
mandate that the building, assessed at $311,000 and placed
on the National Historic Register
of Places in 1988, be razed. DeSFI photo/Ted Blaszak
molition began the next day, by
excavator Ray Bourgeois and his Smoke and flames paint the village in an eerie glow as seen from
crew and Rob Mitchell, Tim Rich- across the river near Salmon Falls Marketplace.
ardson and Bob Cook. The first
story was left intact while the
fire investigation was ongoing.
In a subsequent press release,
Parsons wrote, “Nick and Fani
are saddened that their building was apparently targeted by
a third party. . .” The document
goes on to thank the firefighters
who kept the blaze from further
damaging neighboring buildings
while attempting to save theirs,
and to community members,
many of whom are planning
fundraising events.
What happened
It was at 6:07 p.m. that Sunday
night that the first tone came
in to the Shelburne Falls fire
Veteran firefighter and Chief
Rick Bardwell already knew the
possibilities given the construction of village buildings.
“Very often these downtown
buildings so close together can
be very hazardous and costly,
because it can extend to neighSFI photo/Jeff Potter boring buildings, but here, for
Shelburne Falls Fire District firefighter B.J. Schuetze and volunteer EMT Sara Terrill stand in front the most part, it was contained
of the Stebbins Block the afternoon after the fire tore through the building. A derrick crane looms to one building,” he said this
over the building ready to proceed once Building Inspector Jim Hawkins determined the structure week.
was unsafe and the block had to come down.
In fact, Perwak, the fire mar-
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SFI photo/Jeff Potter
Shelburne Falls Fire Chief Rick Bardwell on the scene the day
after the fire.
shal, credits firefighters for
isolating the fire to the Stebbins
Block building — no mean feat,
given the “balloon” construction
without any fire stops between
floors, as opposed “platform”
construction, which is constructed to slow progression of a fire.
Shelburne Selectmen’s Chairman Joe Judd called firefighters,
“nothing short of heroes.”
Bardwell said that when the
crew arrived, “we had smoke in
the Coffee Roasters side and, at
that point, we couldn’t quite see
any fire, but had a pretty good
idea that we were going to find
Indeed, flames were soon
discovered to the left of the
building, in the far back of the
“It was spreading fast,” said
Bardwell, noting the intensity
of the fire in that spot in back
of the counter and that the
imaging camera confirmed the
temperature reading as more
than 1500 degrees. At the same
time, firefighters noticed flames
in the ceiling over their heads.
“At that point, we pulled out
and regrouped,” Bardwell said.
“Instead of being a room and
contents issue, we knew we had
something big at that time. It was
already spreading in the building
and with balloon framing with
just brick veneer on the outside,
the fire spread fast.”
Soon firefighters from Shelburne Center, Buckland Center,
Colrain Charlemont, Ashfield,
Greenfield, Turners Falls and
South Deerfield were on the
scene. A second crew from Colrain covered the station here
and remained available for other
The fire, said Bardwell, spread
rapidly to the roof area, which
was protected by three towertype trucks, all discharging water
through aerial devices to protect
nearby rooftops.
But first, they had to maneuver
at least one behemoth truck onto
Memorial Avenue and into position between the bowling alley
and the building on fire, a move
not unlike passing an elephant
through the eye of a needle.
“Greenfield was protecting
the corner in the Vice Block, and
Shelburne Falls had its aerial on
the river side, the west corner,
protecting the Rice Oil Building,” Bardwell said. “We managed, while very difficult, to get
Turners Falls in the back of the
building. You know Memorial
Avenue . . . let alone get a car
in there. It’s the area of town
I’ve always had the biggest fear
about for access.”
Until the Turners truck arrived, Bardwell says that the
Shelburne Center crew took hose
lines by hand to the back exterior of the building, continually
pouring water on it.
“So essentially we had three
ladder trucks around it and the
South Deerfied ladder (truck)
protecting the top of the Vice
Block,” he said. “The way it
burned was through the central area of the building and
collapsed in the center. The
building roof was a rubber sort
of composition, and when that
collapsed, it basically hindered
some of the work getting water
down under it. There was a lot
of time spent hitting the edges
with water.”
While community members
and the Red Cross brought food
and drink to Memorial Hall and
the VFW Post (“it was just a fantastic outpouring of help from
the community,” Bardwell said)
firefighters labored throughout
the night, and Hawkins gave
the word that the building must
come down.
Bardwell called C. D. Davenport Trucking of Greenfield to
bring in a rig Sunday night to
maintain safety and ensure no
further collapse of the unsteady,
two-and-a-half-story-high façade
that remained. By Dec. 15, the
wrecking company finished the
job, filling in the gaping hole
with 30 tons of sand.
Bardwell noted that every fire
is unique, depending on where
it starts and the design of the
building that contains it.
Remembering the last big fire
continued on page 7
Shelburne Falls Independent • December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008 • • page 7
Mechanic Street work to address
stability of retaining wall near bank
That part of Mechanic Street
is adjacent to a retaining wall
in need of repair and Ryan said
that Shelburne town officials
are “partnering with” the Bank
of Western Massachusetts to
deal with the issue during road
construction work.
“They have a formal interest in the resolution of the wall
issue, rather than not do it and
hope that wall doesn’t collapse,”
Ryan said of the bank.
In response to SFABA Ex-
Build your biz
Community Development Corporation’s Economic Development Program announces new
business building workshops
beginning in January from 6-9
p.m. at the office.
The fee is $35/session, which
includes computer use and training materials. Tuition waivers are
available for low- and moderateincome hilltown residents. For
more information, visit www.
Classes are:
• Tax & Legal Aspects of Small
Business Ownership - Thursday, Jan. 10.
• Basic Computers - Monday,
Jan. 14.
• Using the Internet to Help
Your Business Succeed Wednesday, Jan. 16.
• Introduction to Photoshop Elements - Wednesday, Jan. 23.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ from facing page
here, at Bottle of Bread on Water
Street, he says the two are not
really comparable.
“This one had an interior
room going all the way up to the
second story to the left of the
coffee shop and to the right of
Transitions — there was a whole
other room, behind the front
stairs — and it was basically
unfinished, and, being a hidden
spot initially, the fire got good
headway,” the Chief said.
He also said that he’s “very
proud” of his crew, “and the rest
of the County that turned out.”
Determining arson
A determination that a fire has
been deliberately set comes after
painstaking review of evidence
and the fire scene, and after
ruling out most of the usual
causes of unintentional fires,
such as electrical or heating
“When investigators arrive
at a fire scene, this is how they
make sense out of what would
look like a pile of rubble to the
rest of us: They examine a scene,
going from the least amount of
burn or damage to the most,
with the presumption being
that where it had been burning
longest is where it started,” said
Jen Mieth, spokeswoman for the
State Fire Marshal’s Office.
“So their first goal is to determine the point of origin and
then, when they determine the
point of origin, they begin to
systematically eliminate all
possible ignition scenarios until
they’re left with only one. And
in conjunction with that, they
want to interview first-arriving
firefighters, people who are in
the building or who are normally
in the building. They want to
know what was there when it
started, where did the firefighters see the fire when they first
got there and they ask them lots
of questions about their attack
[on the blaze].
“Sometimes there are things
that are revealing, that help them
understand that,” she continued.
So the investigators “want to talk
to the people in the building
about what is normally there,
what was going on, did you have
any disgruntled employees, was
there anything happening, [and
ask,] did you have any electrical
problems, were you working on
any repairs? They want to know
all those things and they’ll want
to compare their witness interviews with their forensic scene
Helping hands
Judd said that town and business officials have already spoken with Dalton Democrat State
Rep. Denis Guyer and hope
to meet with him next week
about potential redevelopment
ideas. They’ve also talked with
Amherst Democrat Sen. Stan
Numerous fundraisers are
planned, a running list of which
is on the blog site.
At press time, they include:
• LaBelle’s Rest Home residents
donated $150, as did the facility’s owner.
• Margery Heins’s holiday recital raised $503 Dec. 14.
• McCusker’s Market is letting
musicians perform in its dining area, with contributions
from customers going into
a tip jar to benefit the fire
• Greenfield Savings Bank has
set up a fund for tax-deductible contributions; checks
made payable to “SFACBAFire Relief” can be deposited
at any branch.
• Due to snow, the community
gathering and multiple raffle
set for Dec. 16 at Buckland
Town Hall has been postponed
to an as-yet undetermined
date sometime in January.
Contribute items or services to
the raffle by calling Molly Cantor at (413) 625-2870/9963.
ecutive Director Art Schwenger’s
concern about the project’s
affect on traffic, Ryan said,
“Every project we’ve worked
on affects traffic, both local and
business, but I see the impact as
Fox joins newly formed
BMP-Greenfield Surgery
Medical Practices is pleased to
announce the opening of Greenfield Surgery in the medical office building at Baystate
Franklin Medical Center. Stephen Fox, MD, a general surgeon
SFI photo/Nikki Widner
who has been on staff at Baystate
Franklin since 2003, is the first Metaphor Yarns proprietor Meta Nesbit is in new quarters and is making her shop a regional desGreenfield-based physician in tination for devoted knitters.
the new practice, which will soon
also be operating in collaboration with surgeons from Baystate
Medical Center in Springfield.
One of the first BMC-based
surgeons scheduled to begin
seeing patients in the Greenfield
office will be Chief of Surgical
Oncology Richard Arenas, MD.
By Nikki Widner
time. (Nesbit obliged.)
“I will buy from her as much
[email protected]
Today knitters come to the as she can sell me,” Nesbit said.
store to buy yarns that range “It’s wonderful.”
SHELBURNE FALLS—At 9:30 from old standby acrylics to highNesbit supports the local
one recent Friday morning, while end cashmeres. In between they knitting community by hosting
many Shelburne Falls residents can choose from merino, alpaca, a free drop-in knitting circle
were still digging out from the lama and soy yarns.
Wednesday nights. Knitters start
SHELBURNE FALLS—The previous night’s snowstorm, Meta
Nesbit says she tries to keep arriving around 5 p.m., looking
Pioneer Valley Business Alliance Nesbit was selling yarn to a smil- enough of each yarn in stock to for company while continuing
for Local Living Economies (PV ing customer who had trudged construct a sweater, although on their latest works-in-progress.
BALLE) 4TH Annual Think Local through the snow and appeared most people tend to shy away People come and go throughout
First contest runs through Dec. at the door a half hour before from such large projects these the evening.
31, so there’s time to shop locally opening time.
days. She says that smaller proj“I start kicking people out
in the Pioneer Valley, save your
“Yarn people are addicts,” ects that can be finished more around quarter after 9,” she
receipts and be eligible to win Nesbit explained later. “If they quickly — scarves, mittens, hats, said.
myriad prizes.
see the word ‘yarn,’ they come and socks — now tend to be faIn turn, the knitting comThis year nearly 90 great local up.”
vored projects.
munity aids the larger commubusinesses have donated thouBecause she caters to such
nity. Along with members of the
Working in the community
sands of dollars’ worth of gift enthusiasts, it is not surprising
Wednesday night knitting circle,
certificates to serve as an incen- that Nesbit has attracted lots
The wares of local fiber farms Nesbit is coordinating knitting
tive for people to seek out and of new customers to Metaphor occupy a growing section of projects to benefit victims of the
shop at the local farms, stores, Yarns, in her new location where Metaphor Yarns’ stock.
recent Bridge Street fire. She is
and other independent busi- she moved in the fall on the sec“The more local I can do, the also supplying yarn for “1,000
nesses here in the Pioneer Val- ond story of the former Singley happier I’m going to be,” Nesbit Pairs of Socks,” a charitable
ley. Anytime you spend money Real Estate building on Deer- said during a tour of her shop. project of the Colrain PTA that
during the dates of this contest, field Avenue, near the Glacial
To that end, she features the will provide that footwear for
if you choose to shop with a Potholes.
rainbow-colored angora yarns local residents in need.
local business anywhere in the
Although she says the store of Colrain-based Moonshine
“Every devoted knitter wants
Pioneer Valley, for anything-save is now succeeding, Nesbit was Designs. She also has a large sup- to own a yarn shop,” Nesbit said.
your receipts and you will have not always sure that it would ply of Shelburne-based Barbara “I love doing it. It took me 63
a great shot at winning prizes take off. She spent more than Perry’s Foxfire Fiber yarn, each years to find the thing I really
worth hundreds and hundreds a year testing the viability of a skein in a deep earth tone.
wanted to do with myself.”
of dollars.
yarn business in Shelburne Falls
For details, visit www.pvballe. before opening her shop.
org and click “Contest.”
Building a business
would like to thank all of the loyal clients
Nesbit started by offering knitting classes in 2006. Working in a
and friends who have helped to make this a
rented space above McCusker’s
wonderful year and who have believed in me
• Donations to the Fire Restora- Market, the former meeting plantion Fund at the bank are also ner found a distributor who was
and my work. I thank you for your support.
being taken through the www. willing to sell her small blog, ties of yarn for students to use
Peace on earth, good health, and a Happy
with the technology courtesy in class projects.
New Year to all of you. —Hana Rosol
of Gill-based Starstruck Design and www.shopwesternmass. lease in the McCusker building
was about to expire and she was
• Buckland Public Library trust- ready to launch a full-service
ees will donate the profits yarn shop in a space with higher
from their Woolens and Wine visibility. She rented the former
fundraiser to the fire relief “Red Studio” on Deerfield Av102 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls
fund. The event is Sunday, enue next to Shelburne Falls
Jan. 27 at 4:30 p.m. at Stillwa- Yoga and upstairs from Notion
ters Restaurant for wine and to Quilt.
cheese, and a silent auction,
for business, however, Nesbit
followed by dinner at 6 p.m.
• Mocha Maya’s will host a says that she had signs it would
Christmas party Saturday, be a success. Renovation was still
Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m. and accept under way when the first knitters
donations to the fire benefit showed up looking for yarn.
Other knitters soon followed.
New knitters came to the shop
to take classes and then came
4 colors
back with relatives and friends
to choose from!
who wanted to learn knitting,
too. One woman decided she
needed to buy one of Nesbit’s
own knitting projects although
it was just half finished at the
Business finds niche in Falls
among diehard knitting fans
Shop local and win
Street reconstruction project is
completed and new work is next
planned at the head of Mechanic
Street, says the administrator of
the federal grant that funded the
School Street repairs.
At its Dec. 12 quarterly
meeting of the Shelburne Falls
Area Partnership, John Ryan of
Breezeway Farm Consulting in
New Salem, consultant to the
towns of Buckland and Shelburne, said that the School Street
project consumed $417,000,
which included a “substantial
contribution” from the town
of Buckland, $65,000 from the
Shelburne Falls Water District
and “$5,000 to $10,000 from the
sewer department.” The balance
came from Community Development Block Grant money.
“So far water’s not backing
up into our house,” said T. Will
Flanders, a School Street resident who sits on the board of the
Shelburne Falls Area Business
Association. “Every time I turn
up the street, I say, ‘Yes!’”
Ryan told the group, which
is comprised of Shelburne and
Buckland selectmen and members of the Shelburne Falls Area
Business Partnership’s board of
directors, that a little more than
$100,000 remains in the grant
budget for repairs to a small portion of Mechanic Street, from the
Bridge Street intersection to the
former site of the J.M. Blassberg
Corporation. Several years ago
most of Mechanic Street was
reconstructed and the upcoming
work will repair the rest of the
Reg. $
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Farm & Garden
Serving "West County" & beyond since 1934
page 8 • Shelburne Falls Independent • December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008 •
for the holidays... and all year long!
• Save time
• Save gas
• Avoid the crowds
Gifts for
at the
343 Main St.
Sheepskin Slippers,
Fine Leather Gloves &
Last-Minute Gifts
Muscle Therapy
Swedish Massage
Therapeutic Touch
Joyce Root
By appointment only
Julie Lowensberg, RN, LMT,
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sanding, snowblowing,
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Seasoned cordwood
$160 per cord
Yardscape Service
“Quality is the root of our business.”
Fully insured and very reliable.
625-9501 cell: 413-834-0465
A Full Service Salon
Lori Shulda
90-1 Main St., Charlemont
Drawing for a $50
gift certificate
for those who
purchase $5
or more
Fleece Quillows & Blankets
Boas & Headbands
Pillowcases, Baby Blankets & Gifts
Personalized Items
Holiday & Gift Items
Terri Peffer
Uncommon handcrafted jewelry
Diverse New Books
Objets d’Art
artful fashion and
home accessories
We have
Holiday hours: Monday–Saturday 10:30–5 • Sunday 11–4
59 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls • (413) 625-9667
and bangles
Eddie’s Wheels is now your source for
Bravo Raw Food Diet.
Four Seaso
Gift certificates available
Open daily 10 to 5
1385 Mohawk Trail
Shelburne, MA 01370
Call to make an appointment
Bridge of Flowers
Good Used Furniture
Variety of Cement Garden Ornaments
1204 Mohawk Trail, Shelburne, MA 01370
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along with training videos for
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When it
really matters,
Eddie’s Wheels is your local
FedEx Ship Center!
Ground pickup at noon
Express pickup at 3 p.m.
322 High St., Greenfield
269 Mohawk Trail, Shelburne Falls
Eddie’s Wheels for Pets
Ring in
the new
year in
young constantin galleries
Shelburne Falls
10" - 12" - 18" 24" - 36"
Decorated and
Small and
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Prices starting at $6.95
for 12" undecorated
We can custom decorate wreaths to
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Stuffed to the gills with new items!
Gifts Galore, including
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cards, chocolates and holiday baked goods
Pine, balsam and
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or by the foot
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Order your wine and cheese baskets for holiday
gifts. Let us do your holiday baking, including
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Gift certificates available
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Charlemont, MA
Light Up
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Gifts from more than 200 artists
Salmon Falls
Artisans Showroom
Ashfield Street,
Shelburne Falls
Open Mon - Sat
10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sun. noon to 5 p.m.
Shelburne Falls Independent
page 9 • December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008 •
SHELBURNE FALLS—With the holiday season upon us, there
is nothing like sharing tradition with family and friends, especially
at the dinner table. Holiday meals and traditions bring back old
memories and create new ones for us all. Here are a few favorite
holiday recipes by local chefs who share unique approaches to classic cuisine. Why not whip up a new holiday tradition, local-style,
for your next party menu?
Recipe by Michaelangelo Wescott
(chef/owner, Gypsy Apple Bistro)
Eight months ago the Gypsy
Apple Bistro began plating a
fusion of world and classicalFrench cuisine at 65 Bridge St.
Chef Michaelangelo Wescott
and his wife, Ami Aubin, own
the intimate 20-seat restaurant.
Their menu reflects a blend of
Wescott’s experience traveling
and working in Europe for 15
years, his Puerto Rican heritage
and the Italian-Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn where he grew
For the holidays, Wescott’s
family enjoyed making pasteles, which are Puerto Rican
savory cakes wrapped in banana
brown on the bottom, about 15-30
Stillwaters’ Holiday
Cheese Ball
Recipe by Mike Phelps (chef/
owner, Stillwaters)
Stillwaters Restaurant near
the Charlemont/Shelburne town
line offers homemade American
style cuisine with an Italian and
French flair. Chef Mike Phelps
and Joan Fitzpatrick co-own the
160-seat restaurant and banquet
Since they opened seven
years ago, Stillwaters has created several traditions in honor
of the Christmas holiday. Each
year Santa and Mrs. Claus visit
the restaurant, children make
their own gingerbread houses
from graham crackers, candy
• 5 green bananas
and frosting to bring home, and
• 2 green plantains
Phelps and
• 1½ lbs. yucca
his staff build a giant ginger• 1 large potato
bread house inside the restau• 3 Tbsp. vinegar
rant. More families are sharing
Peel all ingredients. Put in food in this annual event and making
processor. Purée until the consis- it a tradition of their own. This
tency is like oatmeal. Refrigerate year the holiday event was held
Sunday, Dec. 16.
Chef Phelps also has other
holiday foods in his repertoire,
• 2 Tbsp. oil
like Stillwaters’ Holiday Cheese
• 1 onion
Ball. You can try substituting
• 1 green pepper
dried cranberries, almonds,
• 2 lbs. pork butt
maple syrup or other dried fruits
• ½ bunch cilantro
and nuts.
• ½ cup tomato sauce
• water as needed
• ½ lb. whipped cream cheese
• dried oregano to taste
• 3 Tbsp. honey
• salt and pepper to taste
• ½ cup finely minced ginger
Cut pork into small cubes. Heat
oil in frying pan. Add pork to • ½ cup raisins
heated oil. Put all other ingre- • ½ cup walnuts
dients in the blender and purée. Place the cream cheese in the
Add the puréed ingredients to kitchen mixer bowl and whip
the browned pork and simmer with the paddle attachment until
1 hour.
light and fluffy. Use purchased
Michaelangelo Wescott ponders in the front window of the Gypsy Apple
Spicing up
the MENU
Local chefs offer some recipes
to make the holidays special
Story and photos by Nikki Widner
Gypsy Apple Bistro
65 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls,
Hours: Dinner Tue.-Sun. 5-9
p.m. (closed Christmas day)
Entrées: $19-$26
Reservations recommended
Tusk ‘n’ Rattle Cafe
• 10 Bridge Street, Shelburne
Falls, 413-625-0200; www.
Stillwaters Restaurant
• 1745 Route 2, Charlemont,
• Hours: Dinner Fri.-Sat. 5-9
p.m., Sun. 1:30-6:30 p.m.
• Breakfast Sun. 7:30 a.m.-12
• Entrées: $13-$19
• Reservations recommended
• Hours: Wed., Thurs., Sun 4-9
p.m.; Fri., Sat. 4-10 p.m.
• Closed Christmas Day; open
New Year’s Eve: 4-12 p.m.
• Entrées: $9.95-$23.95
• Reservations available for
parties of six or more
Elmer’s Store
396 Main Street, Ashfield,
Hours: Breakfast Mon.-Fri.
7-11 a.m., Sat. and Sun. 8
a.m.-12 p.m.
Lunch Sat. and Sun. 12-2
Dinner Fri. 5-9 p.m. (one meal
for the night)
• banana leaves
• wax paper
• twine
Lay out a piece of wax paper.
Brush oil lightly in the middle.
Scoop ½ cup of masa in the
middle of the wax paper. Add 3
Tbsp. of pork filling and fold like
tamales and tie with twine. Boil
for 1 hour.
Makes 12-15 pasteles.
Great Aunt Shirley
Curtis’ Scottish
Recipe from Joshua Rock (chef,
Tusk n’ Rattle)
For the past two years, chef
Joshua Rock has served a unique
blend of South Indian and Nuevo
Latin cuisine at The Tusk n’
Rattle in Shelburne Falls. Tapas,
salads and entrees are served
mild but can be spiced up with
homemade signature habeñero sauce. Fresh, homemade
ingredients are used in all the
restaurant’s dishes, except for
the dessert menu. Rock experiments with old favorite dishes,
including vegetable samosas,
tostones, grilled margarita tofu,
Spanish shrimp, fish tacos and
rosemary-and-adobo-grilled beef
Chef Rock shares a traditional
family recipe passed down from
his Great Aunt Shirley Curtis in Inverary in the Scottish
• 4 cups unbleached flour
• 1 lb. butter (salted, or add
• 1 cup white sugar
Preheat oven to 325° F.
Knead cold butter into the
sugar and 3 cups of flour. Gradually add remaining flour and
continue kneading until sugar
granules dissolve. Shape into
6 discs, 1-inch thick. Bake until
they rise and are golden brown
around the edges, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Prick the shortbread liberally with a fork, cut
and separate on the pan. Return
to the oven and continue baking
until the shortbread is golden
Ashfield. Elmer’s includes a
country store, art gallery and
restaurant; it typically fills up
for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Dion was graduated from the
Culinary Institute of America in
Hyde Park, N.Y. and now serves
food that keeps families coming
back each week for more.
Dion’s own holiday schedule
is typically fast-paced, making
it essential for the meals to be
“quick thinkers.” The following
two recipes are his “old standbys that usually can be made
as quickly as ripping apart the
final [Christmas] present rather
than enduring the entire hour of
Midnight Mass.”
• 1/2 cup eggnog
• 3 eggs
• 6 slices thick bread
• butter as needed
• maple syrup as needed
Mix the eggs and eggnog and
follow the standard procedure
for making French toast.
Baby Spinach Salad
Recipe by Jim Dion (chef, Elmer’s
The second recipe is a little more challenging but just
as good: Baby Spinach Salad
with Ranch Dressing, crumbled
chèvre (goat cheese), red onion,
walnuts and dried cranberries.
The salad’s colors capture the
white, green and red seasonal
• 6 oz. sour cream
• 6 oz. mayonnaise
• 4 oz. buttermilk
• ½ oz. lemon juice
• 1 oz. red wine vinegar
• 1 clove garlic, chopped
• ¾ oz. Worcestershire sauce
• ½ Tbsp. chopped parsley
• ½ Tbsp. chopped chives
• ½ Tbsp. chopped shallots
• ½ Tbsp. dijon mustard
• ½ tsp. celery seed
Combine all ingredients and
adjust seasoning with salt and
pepper; refrigerate for up to one
week. Yields 2 cups.
• baby spinach
• chevre (goat cheese),
• red
• onion, sliced thin
• walnuts
• dried cranberries (craisins)
How much of the remaining ingredient depends on how much
of each item you like on your
salad and how big a salad you
want to construct.
Pile the salad in the order
listed, minus the cranberries.
Drizzle the desired amount of
dressing over the salad, then
sprinkle with the cranberries.
Eggnog French Toast (The red of the cranberries pops
Recipe by Jim Dion (chef, Elmer’s out if they are not covered by the
Chef Jim Dion cooks up fresh,
local food at Elmer’s Store in
whipped cream cheese if you
don’t have a mixer with bowl
and paddle.
Next, peel and finely mince
ginger root until you have ½ cup
of end product; add to whipped
cream cheese. Crush the walnuts
and toast on a sheet pan in a 400°
oven about 5 minutes or until
slightly golden brown.
Cool the cream cheese mixture
for 1 hour in the fridge. Roll the
cooled cream cheese into a ball
and roll in the walnuts. Serve
with crackers.
Chef Joshua Rock of the Tusk ’n’ Rattle samples
his aunt’s shortbread recipe.
page 10 • Shelburne Falls Independent • December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008 •
The night half the village burned
In 1876, most of the Buckland side of Shelburne Falls
was turned into ‘a smouldering heap of ruins’ in hours
By Jeff Potter
[email protected]
BUCKLAND—“The village
for the past 10 years has been
remarkably exempt from damage by fire,” the anonymous
Shelburne Falls correspondent
for the Courier-Gazette in Greenfield wrote in 1874. “We trust our
people will be so careful that the
same thing may be true for years
to come.”
Those words proved tragically
ironic, as a good chunk of the
Buckland side was wiped out in
a fire July 22, 1876 — described
by the same newspaper as “the
most serious calamity that has
ever befallen the thriving village
of Shelburne Falls.”
The fire destroyed an inn, a
commercial building, the Methodist church and several private
residences and caused $100,000
of damage — almost $2 million
in the value of today’s dollar.
Like most tragedies, this
one followed a time of utter
On this hot Saturday — the
entire Northeast was gripped
in a heat wave and the Shelburne Falls news column said
the temperatures approached
“103 degrees in the shade and
122 degrees in the sun” several
days before —citizens were undoubtedly enjoying a cold treat
at George Chapman and Frank
Taylor’s ice cream saloon, which
had just opened in the block on
the Shelburne side belonging
to local dentist E. A. Stebbins.
(This is the block that was most
recently home to Transitions and
Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters
before the recent fire.)
The United States was gearing
up for its centennial that July 4
and a number of citizens were
coming and going to that year’s
Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia (which had opened that
7 Main St., Shelburne Falls
The last Sunday of the month
7:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Pancakes, Sausages,
Home Fries, & Eggs
$5 per person
$3 under 12
May), including “two deacons”
who had just returned “virtuous
and happy.”
Potatoes were in the news.
“Old potatoes sell at fifty
cents per bushel and new ones
are very slow about making
their appearance in market,” the
Shelburne Falls news reported.
Further along in the story, the
Courier-Gazette reported that
“Capt. Geo. R. Pierce has shown
us quite a novelty in the shape
of two perfectly formed new
potatoes of the size of walnuts,
which have grown inside of an
old potato which had never been
And “Thursday night, the
long wished for rain came,” the
column concluded. “Without it
our gardens would have been
worthless. One bolt of lightning
struck the telegraph wire at the
railroad crossing on the Ashfield
road and ran into the depot.
It knocked James Power over,
throwing him about twelve feet.
When he came to, he discovered
that the papers in the telegraph
office were on fire, which he
immediately proceeded to put
Two days later, James Power’s
plight would be the least of the
town’s worries.
Fire breaks out
At 8 p.m. Saturday it was
business as usual at the Newell
Brothers store in the Anawansett
Herbert and John L. Newell
were “wholesale and retail dealers in hardware, iron and steel,
groceries, provisions, crockery,
paper hangings, oils, paints,
stone and glass ware, agricultural implements, fertilizers,
seed, wooden ware, flour and
grain, drain pipe, tarred sheathing paper, wagon wheels and
carriage stock, blasting powder,
fuse, guns and pistols, circular,
mill and cross-cut saws, vices,
brass, copper and iron wire,
axles, springs, cordage, belting,
sheet lead and zinc, iron pumps,
game traps, coil and stake chains,
shovels, spades, sledge hammers,
steel and iron crow bars, pocket
and table cutlery, carpenters’
and blacksmiths’ tools, builders’
materials of every description,
locks, knobs, bolts, rivets, etc.,”
according to a playbill from that
previous March.
The store also sold
“It seems that H.J. Warner, a
L o g a n & Wa l l ac e G a l l e r y
Down to the Sea in Wooden Boats
Landscape photographer Jim Wallace portrays a disappearing way of life
Through February
Exceptional art
Fri & Sat, 11-5; Sun & Mon, 11–4; or by appointment: 413-625-0040/625-2494
Photos/courtesy Shelburne Historical Society
Above: The Woodward Hotel, the Anawansett Block and the Methodist church — all destroyed in a
fire July 22, 1876. Inset: A clearer view of the Anawansett Block, where the fire started.
clerk, had an order from a customer for spirits of turpentine.
He took a lamp and went into the
cellar to procure it,” the paper
reported. Warner tapped a new
cask and struck the faucet to
tighten the seal.
But the faucet broke, and “out
came a stream of turpentine
upon him. It was instantly ignited
by the lamp and Warner, covered
with flames, rushed to the store
above. Frank Baker, another
clerk, at once endeavored to assist Warner and finally took him
to a cistern, where he put the fire
out, but not until the man’s arms
were badly burned.”
In the meantime, 16 barrels of
oil, turpentine and other volatile
substances in the Anawansett
Block basement “rolled up a
volume of flame and smoke like
a volcano.”
Baker, returning to the store
after tending to Warner, “saw
the fire bursting through the
partition where the powder and
ammunition was kept.”
At that point, Herbert Newell,
knowing his brother, John, was
out of the village, went to rescue
his brother’s family from the
“very handsomely furnished”
living quarters on the second
Their brother Charles also
worked in the store and was
originally John’s partner; Herbert, youngest of eight Newell
siblings, worked in the store from
age 14 and was given full charge
of the accounts at age 16. At 22,
Herbert had bought Charles’s
interest in the store several years
Charles was working in the
store and fled, leaving behind all
the business records and $1,000
in the safe.
“In less time than it has taken
us to describe it, the whole struc-
The headline and lead from the Courier-Gazette in
ture was a mass of flames, roaring and seething upward in their
mad fury,” the paper reported.
Half an hour later, the gunpowder exploded as the fire
made its way into the upper
floors of the three-story, 1853
brick building, consuming the
Newell apartment and the office
of the Buckland Town Clerk and
destroying all the vital records
from the town’s incorporation.
The third floor of the
Anawansett Block served as
headquarters of the International Order of Odd Fellows’ (IOFF)
local Alethian Lodge. The IOFF
was a service organization, so
named because, as its modernday Web site explains, it was
“odd to find people organized for
the purpose of giving aid to those
in need and of pursuing projects
for the benefit of all mankind.”
Flames tore through the Odd
Fellows Hall, “which was fitted
up neatly and at considerable expense,” the newspaper reported.
The group lost “valuable paint-
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ings, all their records, symbolic
regalia and library,” the paper
later reported. “Not a single
article was saved.”
Then the fire spread.
The ‘smouldering
heap of ruins’
“The fire department of the
village” — ironically, right across
the street in the building that
now houses the West End Pub
— “was unable to cope with the
monster that was working such
speedy destruction,” the paper
Within 20 minutes, the Methodist church caught fire under
the cornice, “and it was soon in
a blaze.”
The church’s basement accommodated Sears and Tolman
(“dealer in choice family groceries, provisions and flour,” according to an 1876 ad), Andrew
Sauer’s clothing store and Lucas
March’s shoe and repair shop.
They all lost everything.
Flames from the burning
church reached Wellington
Street and ignited a large twostory house built by Major Ira
Arms (the wealthy benefactor
whose name remains on the old
school, the cemetery and the
library) and occupied by Lucius
Fife and his mother, who lived
in an apartment on the second
floor. The barn was destroyed as
“Fife’s furniture was mostly
saved, and his wife, in delicate
health, was carried to Dr. Canedy’s,” the paper reported.
To the south, the Newell storehouse ignited the old stable of
the Woodward House tavern,
killing six hogs and destroying
75 bushels of oats and three to
five tons of hay. Moments later
the Woodward House, built from
wood, went up in flames.
“Much of the liquor was rolled
out, but three billiard tables
were burned up,” the paper
Firemen did save Woodward’s
new barn.
“Had this gone, it is quite
probable that Chauncey Spear’s
house on Clement Street would
have caught from it,” the paper
read. “He escaped, however,
though the burning buildings
were uncomfortably near.”
Behind the hotel, Clarissa
S. Montague was not as lucky
as Chauncey Spear. Her house
and barn were “soon reduced to
ashes” and lost “but little.”
Many Shelburne Falls firemen belonged to the Greenleaf
Guards, a local militia based
in the Anawansett Block, and
were away from the village on a
picnic when the fire broke out. A
“From the ashes and
devastation”: Newell
Bros. quickly rebuilt
behind the main lot.
In 1895, Herbert
Newell added what’s
now known as the
Aubuchon block.
dispatch was also sent early on
in the blaze to Greenfield for aid
and an engine was loaded onto a
train car at the depot there.
“But the extra train could not
be given the road until after the
9:45 train had passed, and as that
was not on time, it was thought
to be too late to render any aid,
so the trip was given up,” the
paper reported.
It was, the paper said, a “sad
Sunday at the Falls, and the
sufferers from the fire and their
sympathizers could do little but
look upon the smouldering heap
of ruins.”
Selectmen and the Deputy
Sheriff recruited a number of
special police who maintained
order through the night, preventing “disgraceful rowdyism and
perhaps acts of violence,” despite the liquor that was “freely
imbibed by the crowd of railroaders and local roughs.”
In all, the fire — visible to
residents of Athol and “so intense was the heat that people
in the windows on the opposite
side of the river could feel it
upon their faces” — destroyed
$100,000 worth of property and
merchandise. Miraculously, no
one died in the blaze.
“The village wore the appearance of a holiday on the day after
the fire, except in the families
who were burned out,” the paper
reported, noting that hundreds
had visited the ruins on the
Buckland side. On Sunday morncontinued on page 11
Shelburne Falls Independent • December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008 • • page 11
Buckland fire of 1876
ing, Rev. Mr. Parkinson, pastor
of the Methodist church, “stood
upon its ruins and delivered a
very appropriate address to the
assembled multitude.”
For their part, the Baptists’ presiding elder Whittaker preached
on Sunday afternoon from the
Book of James: “What a great
matter a little fire kindleth.”
Picking up the pieces
The following week, while
the fire burned, displaced businesses, families and organizations found alternate arrangements. The Methodists began
meeting at the Baptist church
across the river. Sears and Tolman resumed selling groceries
in J. B. Frost’s barn, though that
was short-lived; by September,
the fixtures would be sold, and
by October, Tolman would open
his own grocery in the Stebbins
block. The Odd Fellows occupied
Masonic Hall on Main Street
“for the present.” (And although
Chauncey Spear’s house was
unscathed, the experience was
probably unnerving: the stagecoach operator promptly sold
his house to P. R. Woodward and
moved to Somerville.)
By August, as the drought
continued, the Newell Brothers
set up a temporary office in the
Niagara Engine House and made
plans to rebuild as they cleared
the rubble. They hired builders
Richmond and Merriam, who
were working “as rapidly as
possible” to create a building
on the site of the apartments
that burned. The Methodists
began raising money for a new
church on their site. Woodward
planned an addition to his home,
intending “to keep hotel on as
large a scale as his facilities
will permit.” The Odd Fellows
bought new ceremonial jewels
to replace the ones lost in the
fire and continued to search for
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ from facing page
suitable property on which to
On Sept. 11 a front-page advertisement announced the Sept. 20
reopening of Newell Bros.
By Sept. 25, the Odd Fellows
voted (40-15) to purchase the site
of the former Woodward Hotel,
although it wasn’t until the following February that they incorporated so “they can hold real
estate.” The lodge nonetheless
began building the three-story
building that is now McCusker’s
Market, with A. Gillman putting
in the foundation.
The frame of the Methodist
Church was raised and the roof
went on the following week.
“The new Woodward House accommodations are fast approaching completion, and Newell Bros.
store already has the appearance
of being an old established
place of business,” the paper
By Oct. 30, P. R. Woodward’s
new hotel was ready for guests
and offered 12-15 rooms. Within
a week, the hotelier added an
extra coach to transport guests
to and from the railroad depot.
Richmond and Merriam, who
built the Newell Brothers’ quarters, were also retained to build
the Odd Fellows Building. The
builders promptly framed the
building — maybe too promptly.
On Dec. 9 at 11 p.m. wind blew
the frame down.
“Farnsworth, the mason, lost
$100 worth of new chimneys by
the catastrophe,” the newspaper
“But the plucky contractors
were equal to the emergency,
and soon had the building up
again,” the paper later recounted. The builders assumed the
$1,000 loss and began framing
the building, perhaps more durably, as the Dec. 25 edition of the
Courier-Gazette assured readers
that “it would take more than an
ordinary tornado to floor it.”
By April 30, the “pleasant new
stores” in the Odd Fellows Building were ready to be occupied.
The Greenleaf Guards took possession of their “beautiful new
armory” there on the second
On the evening of Friday,
June 8, to the joy of 150 lodge
members, the building was dedicated in a ceremony that, as the
newspaper cryptically reported,
involved sprinkling water, sowing
seed, strewing flowers and — bizarrely — burning fire.
“There was a causeless alarm
at this point, on account of the
slight cracking of a timber, but
quiet was soon restored.”
At 10 p.m. members and guests
adjourned to the storefronts,
where banquet tables were
“bountifully laden” with food.
And then they danced all
The fire’s aftermath
Life, of course, continued.
With the exception of minor
updates to reconstruction efforts,
news of the fire’s aftermath, in
fact, gave way almost immediately to the small vignettes that
give such a vivid snapshot of life
in the village in the 1870s. (“We
want all ladies attending public
exercises to gather up their
skirts when leaving the building,” a reporter admonished
the week after the Odd Fellows
dedication. “Some day there
will be a panic, and the dresses
will get stepped on and torn to
The Buckland side continued
to evolve.
John Newell — perhaps already sick at the time of the fire,
for he traveled to Florida for
his health that following winter
— died in 1879 and Baxter H.
Newell, father of Charles, John
and Herbert, bought John’s stake
in the thriving hardware business. According to Biographical
Review, a book with biographies
of the most prominent citizens of
Franklin County, Herbert Newell
“now erecting a fine modern
brick building, 50x80 feet, two
stories high, on the site of the
one which was burned — that
is, opposite the river bridge.”
When the Newell Block was
completed, Buckland citizens
voted to make the second floor
the Town Hall and town meetings were accommodated in a
room that offered space for 300
That structure, still known
as the “Aubuchon building”and
built in 1895, now houses Mo’s
Fudge Factor and Buckland
Pizza and is owned by State
Street Group International, Inc.,
which has been renovating the
In 1905, with an increasing
membership, Methodist church
members purchased the lot on
the corner of State and Clement streets and the adjoining
property that had been the
rebuilt Woodward Hotel, to be
used as a parsonage. By 1907,
the church stood on the corner
and the town had purchased its
former home on the corner of
State and William streets. The
building remains the Buckland
Town Hall today.
The Odd Fellows suffered
another loss only 18 years later
when another fire destroyed the
upper two stories of the building and, once again, all records
and belongings. Lodge members
rebuilt the heavily damaged
structure and the building’s
current owner, Mike McCusker,
notes that when he removed the
door jambs to get a large piece
of equipment for his former
store over the threshold, he saw
evidence of that second fire inside the walls of the present-day
market building.
Today it’s unclear from news
reports whether the fire had
any bearing on the decision to
Remembering Grandpa at Christmas
I can’t enter into a
Christmas season
without remembering Grandpa
with great enthusiasm.
Grandpa was always there
for me. When my father grew
tired of the pitch-and-catch
games that the three of us
would play in the evenings,
Grandpa would still have a
few throws left in his arm. He
would always take the long way
home after a day’s hunt for
“pa’tridge” and hares, no matter how worn out he was, only
because he knew it pleased me
to be walking alone with him
in the woods after dark.
And he always had a smile
for me as I would sit at the
kitchen table and watch him
along with the rest of the deer
hunters leaving for the day.
I would watch their orange
hats and vests moving across
the north pasture in the early
morning light, and one by one
they would enter the woods.
One hunter would always
remain after the others disappeared. He would take off his
hat and wave it back and forth
toward the house.
That was Grandpa waving
for me, for he knew I would sit
in that window watching until
he waved . . . and he always did.
As a young boy growing up,
there was no one, outside of
Mother and Dad, whom I loved
more than that old man. Many
thoughts of him, and others we
have lost over the years, always
seem to come to the forefront
during deer season, and at
Christmastime my memories of
Grandpa come full circle.
He had a way about him that
By Joe Judd
[email protected]
seemed to make Christmas so
special. I can remember sitting
in front of the woodstove on
Christmas eve watching him
make chestnut men. He would
take a chestnut and cut a face
on it as you do with a pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern. That
would be the head. Then he
would take a bigger one and
cut two or three places in front
for buttons, then he would
stick toothpicks in for legs
and arms. He would fasten the
head to the body with a little
short piece, and there was your
chestnut man. He’d make them
until I fell asleep, and then he
would hide them all over the
house for me to find the next
morning. When they were all
found, I would play with them
for days.
always go out about 9 o’clock,
a little later than usual, to
do chores. They would come
back in around noontime, and
Grandpa would dump his armful of wood in the woodbox,
take my face into his huge,
cold hands, and rub my cheeks
until they hurt. I can still smell
his hands as though it were
yesterday. We would then sit
down in the living room, and
Grandpa would tell me stories
until it was time for the feast
that Mother had prepared.
We would linger over dinner, and I can remember how
Mother would smile when Dad
and Grampa remarked about
some delicious portion of the
meal that they had just taken
in. She was always so worried
about us all getting enough to
eat that I sometimes wondered
if she was getting enough
herself. One year I brought this
feeling to Dad’s and Grampa’s
attention, and they explained
to me that mothers, in general,
really weren’t happy unless
they were fretting over such
things as big as Christmas
meals and whether or not everybody was getting enough to
eat. They told me not to worry
about it, and just let Mother
enjoy herself.
Well, I took that advice
to heart, and to this day I
wouldn’t even think of not
letting the ladies enjoy themselves during the holidays and
special gatherings.
After the meal we would go
hunting, but it wasn’t hunting
as usual. We would just walk
and talk, and I would listen to
Dad tell Grandpa about things
that he wanted to do around
the place and about places
that he and Mother wanted to
visit and on and on. It wasn’t
hunting as usual, but after all,
it was Christmas, and we were
a family, like so many other
families, just enjoying being
together and being at peace
with one another on this, the
most glorious day of the year.
The feeling of being there
at that moment, just the three
of us, surrounded by God’s
nature, is a feeling that I wish
for over and over again every
year at this time. During the
evening we would gather with
neighbors and sing carols, play
games, eat popcorn, and just
do everything that was part of
the season.
I would fall asleep listening to the men talking about
hunting, and usually after dad
had carried me upstairs and
tucked me away for the night,
Grandpa would slip in and put
a candy cane into my hand
while saying, “This is for you,
but don’t eat it ’til tomorrow.”
Half asleep, I would smile and
say, “I love you, Grandpa.” And
I did.
Everyone has special
thoughts about Christmases
past, and as I cannot hear every one of your stories, I hope
mine will rekindle a special
memory in your mind. Enjoy
yourselves this holiday season;
enjoy one another and the family around you. Hug your kids,
kiss your wife, and make sure
she gets enough to eat.
And may this Christmas, and
all Christmases that follow, be
your best holiday seasons ever!
provide a water system to the
village, but in the months that
followed, the Shelburne Falls
Fire District installed the first
system that would pump water
into the village. On April 27,
1877, “the Fire District Committee [...] put in a new hydrant on
Bridge Street, from which clear,
beautiful, strong streams where
Several weeks later, the paper noted that, “every morning,
Pothole Pictures seeks entries
for 2nd annual film festival
SHELBURNE FALLS—Pothole Pictures, the 13-year-old,
volunteer-run, nonprofit community film program located
in historic Memorial Hall is
now accepting entries for its
Second Annual Pothole Pictures
Shelburne Falls Film Festival in
Films of any length and format
are welcomed, but preference is
given to films connected in some
way to western Massachusetts,
such as the location where the
film was shot, the hometown
of the filmmakers or films with
themes relating to the area.
The festival will focus primarily on short films (under 30
minutes) but longer films, even
feature-length films, will be
“Last year’s festival was tremendous fun and we drew big
crowds who seemed to really
enjoy the films we showed, so
we’ve decided to make it an annual event,” said Fred DeVecca,
Pothole Pictures’ coordinator.
Mohawk musicians
make it
Jeanne M.
Space heaters needed
have a space heater to loan or
give to a senior citizen in need,
the Shelburne Senior Center
would like to know.
To make a donation, call Jamie
at (413) 625-2502 before you drop
anything off.
For seniors who need help paying fuel bills, the Senior Center
suggests calling Community Action Energy Assistance Dept. in
Greenfield at (413) 774-2310, the
Good Neighbor Energy Fund in
Greenfield at (413) 773-3154 or
the Center at (413) 625-2502.
Unique Design • Satisfied Clients
Joseph Mattei & Associates, AIA
Licensed in MA, VT, CT, and NH
Cool winter fun
at school
5 State St.
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
William P. Ryan, PhD
5 State St.
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
24 Hour Drive-up ATM, 1229 Mohawk Trail, Shelburne
277 Federal St., Greenfield
63 Federal St., Greenfield
Reach All Locations
144 Main St., Northfield
(413) 772-0293
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Treating your pet’s needs with
dignity and compassion —
through all stages of their lives.
Send films for consideration
on DVD or VHS to Pothole Pictures, P.O. Box 368, Shelburne
Falls, MA 01370. Include brief
information about the film and
the filmmakers involved. There
is no fee for submitting films.
For more information, call (413)
Clubs after-school program at
the Mohawk Trail Regional High
School will offer a 10-week winter session of activities starting
Jan. 10.
Students may be able to study
a varied list of potential activities, from digital photography to
shelter building and from chess
magic to fencing, movie madness, creative writing, sports and
learning about other cultures.
Middle school math tutoring
will be available Tuesdays and
Thursdays and homework assistance will be available daily, depending on student schedules.
Registration is $20 for the
entire session, with unlimited
B U C K L A N D — M o h a w k activities. For more informaTrail Regional School students tion, call Joe Jabonaski at (413)
Timothy McCormick, Bethany 625-0192
Sterling, Cody Austin and C.J.
Wilkins have been accepted to
the Western Massachusetts District Chorus after auditioning for
the honor.
The four, with 250 other voices,
will perform in a concert at the
UMass Fine Arts Center Saturday, Jan. 12.
McCormick and Sterling also
received All-State recommendations and will try out for the
All-State Chorus at the end of
Bridge Street, from the bridge to
the silk factory, is thoroughly wet
down with water from the force
pump, which greatly pleases the
merchants and all residents on
the street.”
Looking back more than a
century later, one can only wonder how many fires — fires even
worse than the 1876 disaster —
that water system has prevented
over the years.
•••ask about our quick 3D design ••• 413-625-2584
page 12 • Shelburne Falls Independent • December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008 •
Amazing teamwork
Basketball team of
Mohawk Trail Regional
High School stumbled into the
gymnasium Saturday, Dec. 15
for a 6:30 a.m. practice, lacing
their shoes and yawning as
their morning warm-ups began.
Within 10 minutes, we
were flushed, determined and
sprinting from one end of the
gym to the other, the early
hour long forgotten. Not only
is it unusual to practice on
a Saturday, but also such an
hour was considered unheard
of until head coach Bill Buck
called it due to the impending
winter storm. Regardless, we
were there, willing and ready
to play.
After a great win against
Ware four days earlier, we
could not have displayed their
work ethic in a better way. It
was this that won them their
first game by such a large
margin, with a final score of
61-37. Such a work ethic can
come only from a unified team,
one which supports itself internally throughout hardships
and triumphs. A dedicated,
determined and defensive
team, the Lady Warriors have
one strength that sets them
By Ashley O’Brien
apart from other teams: their
“Our strength is being a
team,” says Buck. “We all have
different strengths and weaknesses but everything is a team
effort. No one player stands
AND AT 6:30 a.m. everyone
is equal. All of us cheer on our
teammates, high-fiving them
and calling our encouraging
advice almost every minute of
practice. We sprint, dribble,
shoot and pass their way easily with such a chorus behind
every move they make.
“We mesh,” Buck adds. “No
team can scout us because
if they stop one girl, another
steps up.”
The question is, how did
such a strong team arise in a
high school with a fluctuating
record for girls’ basketball?
In past years, the teams have
relied solely on the capabilities of individuals on the team,
but this year, the team itself
holds all the power. The team is
comprised largely of a group of
juniors, all of whom have been
playing basketball together in
the off-season as well as during
the regular season for more
than five years.
This does not mean, however,
that the other two members
of the team (a sophomore and
a senior) are alienated in any
way; by and large they, too,
have played with their teammates for just as long.
Starting at point-guard is
Kelsey Schmidt, junior and
varsity veteran of three years.
I’m next to her at off-guard, a
senior captain, and junior Johanna Miner at short forward.
Playing the low post positions are juniors Maddie
Hoeppener and April Sheldon,
both providing the team with
extensive height and skill under the boards. As the team is
so strong, the bench is a deep
one — any member of which
may start during any game of
the season.
Juniors Virginia Bromberg
and Kelly Johansmeyer provide the team with point- and
off-guard experience, while
fellow juniors Catherine Moore
and Khrystyna Mitchell and
sophomore Marissa Avery offer
the team talent and finesse in
the short- and power- forward
With such depth, the Lady
Warriors of Mohawk’s Varsity
Basketball team have both
lofty and realistic goals ahead
of them. In the past few years,
the team has qualified for the
Massachusetts state tournament, but has proceeded no
further than the first game.
The competition is always
tough and the stakes are
always high, but the girls
improve every year; last season, they lost by two points
to Commerce High School of
“This season we have a good
chance of having one of the
best records at Mohawk,” says
Buck. “We want to win our first
every tournament game.”
SFI photo/Ashley O’Brien
Tory Buck stares down a rival from Turners.
Boys Basketball squeaks by
with win over Turners, 62–57
By Ashley O’Brien
[email protected]
was this versatility that helped
them gain the confidence to take
the game from the hands of the
Their team is one peppered
with an array of experience and
age, each boy representing a
clear and important component
of the team. Starting at center
is Carter, a four-year veteran,
assisted in the post by forward
junior Feras Hamdan. Starting
at short forward is senior Kyle
Dougherty and at off-guard is
fellow senior Cory Silver. Buck
brings the ball up the court,
orchestrating the play with
strength and finesse.
The Warriors bench, however,
is one that is as important as
their starters.
Junior Ross Miner opened his
varsity career that night with 11
uncontested points. Joining him
on the bench are juniors Mike
Gutierrez and Riley Jones along
with sophomore Jordan Marcum
and freshman Scotty Mitchell, all
newcomers to the team with big
shoes to fill.
Last year the team lost its
leading scorer and many other
important members to the start-
BUCKLAND—The Boys Varsity Basketball team of Mohawk
Trail Regional High faced the
formidable Indians of Turner
Falls High School in Montague
in an inter-league opening basketball game Friday, Dec. 14. The
Indians, unexpectedly playing
on their home court (the backboard of Mohawk’s court being
temporarily out of commission),
started the game strong, taking a 10-point lead early in the
game. But the Mohawk players,
living up to the school’s Warrior
mascot, fought long and hard,
catching up to and eventually
surpassing their opponents.
“We were a little rough around
the edges,” says head coach John
Hickey, “but I’m pleased with the
overall outcome.”
The teams were well matched
with Turners being a wary opponent for the Warriors for many
years. But in the end, it was
Mohawk’s competitive edge that
gave the team the drive to win
the game.
“Turners is a hard place to
play,” said co-captain Tory Buck.
“They are always good on their
home court.”
The boys, who started the MOHAWK
game slowly, began to overtake SCOREBOARD
the home team by utilizing their
resources and sharpening their
Dec. 11
focus. While the change in loGirls
Basketball: Mocation “messed with our menhawk
Ware; Mohawk
tality,” said senior co-captain
Ed Carter, the Warriors pulled 61, Ware 37.
themselves up to offer the InDec. 14
dians an intense game. Led by
Boys Varsity Basketball: Mopoint-guard Buck, the boys fed
THIS IS A rare team with infi- the ball to center Carter for the hawk vs. Turners Falls @ Turners
nite possibilities. The fact that quick points and dished to the Falls; Mohawk 62, Turners Falls
we have all played together for guards for three-point shots. It 57.
many years is the key to our
success this year in the regular
as well as the post-season. It’s
amazing — every single one of
us sacrifices for the good of the
team, caring for one another.
Such compassion, especially
on a girl’s team, is unusual;
Service on all Cars and Trucks
such consideration is evident
both on and off of the court,
Mike & Tammy Schofield
whether or not it’s during
Mon.–Fri. 7:30–5:30
school, practice, or a game.
You simply cannot find a more
113 Main Road,Colrain
beneficial quality in a team.
If we keep morale up, I know
our chemistry will guide us to
Res. 413-339-8473
Such a goal is easily accessible, with such a determined,
close-knit group of girls who,
Beams, Boards &
for three months of their year,
Wide Pine &
Building Materials
spend 14 hours a week in the
Bark Mulch
gymnasium. This year will
Dry Hardwood &
surely be a successful one for
Custom Sawing
Softwood Slabs
us Lady Warriors, our first
game a likely indicator of the
rest of the season.
SFI photo/Peter O’Brien
Senior captain Ashley O’Brien vying against Ware.
ing as well as off-bench positions.
The causes varied from graduation to winter track, but overall
the boys concentrate little on
losses and the fresh talent sparks
the determination of the team’s
“I think the chemistry is inproving,” said Carter. “The new
players to varsity are pushing the
veterans and we are beginning to
“We have good chemistry,”
Hickey agreed. “The new kids
are fitting in and we continue to
With 19 regular-season games
left to play, there is certainly
time to work out the kinks. The
Warriors look to continue past
season traditions of tournament victory, already building
upon their last game mentally
and physically. It is their drive
and focus that will lead them to
“Our game overall is very
strong,” said Carter of the team’s
versatility. “We can accomplish
anything as long as we come to
play every night.”
Winter Trails Day
HAWLEY—In a collective
effort to expose new comers to
the joys of cross country skiing
and snowshoeing at little or no
cost, western Massachusetts
cross country ski areas will host
a “Winter Trails Day” this winter.
Dates and specific inforrmation
on what each area is offering can
be found on the events calendar
Timed to coincide with the
excellent early snows this year,
the first Winter Trails Day will be
held Saturday, Dec. 22 from 1-4
p.m. at Stump Sprouts. “If you
have never cross country skied
or tried snowshoeing, free rental
equipment, free trail passes and
beginning instruction will be
offered at this event,” co-owner
Lloyd Crawford notes.
Please call (413) 339-4265 to
reserve equipment.
• Neuromuscular therapy
• Craniosacral therapy
• Therapeutic massage
Stump Sprouts = Winter Fun!
Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing in West Hawley
Prime Time Passes only $39 !!!
Valid any time we are open
(weekends, school vacations)
We mail gift certificates!
Winter Trails Day
First Timers try
this Saturday!
West Hill Road, Hawley, Mass.
RFD Mohawk Trail, Shelburne Falls
Jay Healy (413) 625-9008
Jared Bellows (413) 834-1736
5 State Street, Office #7
(Above McCusker’s Market)
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
(413) 625-2648
[email protected]
Jonathan F. George Sr., CPA, CFP
89 Main Street
Shelburne Falls, MA
Ph: 625-9593
Taxes • Accounting • Financial Planning
The locally owned
drugstore where life is
simpler, they know you
by name, and there’s
still a soda fountain
Mondays–Fridays 8:30 a.m.–8 p.m.
Saturdays 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Closed Sundays
10 a.m. –5 p.m.
Seven days a week beginning June 1
Shelburne Falls, MA
Overlooking the Glacial Potholes
52 BRIDGE ST., SHELBURNE FALLS • (413) 625-6324
Shelburne Falls Independent • December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008 • • page 13
Trio: Jazz,
standards and blues. 6 -10 p.m.
Chandler’s Tavern, 25 Greenfield
Rd. Information: (413) 665-1277;
Calendar deadline for the next issue:
Friday, Jan. 11 at 5 p.m.
Please send to [email protected]
St. Information: (413) 625-6292;
Live music-Green
Island: 8 p.m. Free; tips appreciated. Mocha Maya’s, 47 Bridge
St. Information: (413) 625-6292;
Live Music-Swing
Caravan: Make
this New Year’s Eve a knockout—Gypsy jazz.
11 p.m.-1
a.m. No cover. Hope & Olive,
44 Hope St. Information: (413)
Discover the
Center: Exhibit tour, story time
or craft activity. 11 a.m., 1 and
2 p.m. Free. Great Falls Discovery
ShamathaCenter, 2 Avenue A. Information: SHELBURNE FALLS Vipashyana
(413) 863-3221; www.greatfallsma. meditation retreat: Welcome
the New Year with peace and
wisdom: a ten day residential
Psychic Fair: meditation retreat. . $120, regLAKE PLEASANT
D i v i n a t i o n ister by December 26. Shelburne
methods include astrology, I- Falls Shambhala Center, 71B
Ching, hand reading, vibration Ashfield St. Information: (413)
connection, and tarot cards. 11 625-2982; [email protected]
a.m.-4 p.m. Free. National Spitual net.
Alliance, Thompson Temple (across
from post office). Information:
(413) 774-4705;
Boston-area musician Joy Sumberg will perform at Mocha Maya’s Coffee Co. Friday, Dec. 28.
Sumberg honed her songwriting and performing skills as a street musician in Harvard Square,
Cambridge, in the mid-1990s. In the years that followed, she went on to perform with the bands Plank,
Buzzstar and Neptune Bay. In 2005, Sumberg came full-circle, performing once again as a solo artist. Her solo music combines rock, folk and soulfulness with a hint of mountain flavor — Northfield
Mountain to be exact — where Sumberg was raised. Sumberg starts performing at 8 p.m. at the cof- SHELBURNE FALLS Winter celebration:
fee house, 47 Bridge St. Admission is free, but tips are encouraged. For more information, contact
Mocha Maya’s at (413) 625-6292 or [email protected]
Celt band from Vermont, will
hold a family-friendly brunch/
lunch/cocoa-after-sledding performance of holiday, kids, and
Celtic tunes—a festive and
their behavior in the winter
Discover the relaxing break from holiday
moonlight. 3 p.m. Free. Great
D i s c o v e r y frazzle! 12-2 p.m. n/a. Mocha
Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue Center: Exhibit tour, story time Maya’s, 47 Bridge St. Information:
A. Information: (413) 863-3221; or craft activity. 11 a.m., 1 and (413) 625-6292;
2 p.m. Free. Great Falls Discovery mochamayas.
Center, 2 Avenue A. Information:
(413) 863-3221; www.greatfallsma. NORTHAMPTON Music-Swing
Drop-in & Sew:
Come use a sewGypsy jazz. 7:30 p.m. Sierra
ing machine ($8 per half hour),
Grille, 41 Strong St. Information:
the cutting tables (free). Spread
(413)584-1150; www.sierragrille.
out and get your project done
(free). Or just come and hang
out! 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Lucky
Feng Shui
Birds in WinDECEMBER
Stitches, The Brassworks, 132 Main TURNERS FALLS
Wo r k s h o p :
t e r- w h a t ’s
St. Information: (413) 695-3092;
Feng Shui is an ancient Oritheir dinner?: Learn how birds
survive the winter while buildDiscover the ental art used in the home to
ing a feeder. 10:30-11:30 a.m.
D i s c o v e r y create harmony with natural
Winter Solstice
Free. Great Falls Discovery Center, Center: Exhibit tour, story time energies and facilitate a more
Wo r k s h o p :
2 Avenue A. Information: (413) or craft activity. 11 a.m., 1 and positive life direction. In Feng
Through songs and stories learn
2 p.m. Free. Great Falls Discovery Shui, balances or imbalances
and celebrate the seasonal holiCenter, 2 Avenue A. Information: in a person’s living space affect
days of various faith traditions.
Fezzywig’s (413) 863-3221; www.greatfallsma. every aspect of a person’s life.
The workshop will be followed SHELBURNE FALLS
3 to 5 p.m. Free. National Spitual
2nd Annual org.
by a potluck sharing of finger
Alliance, Thompson Temple (across
Christmas Party: We’ll have a
foods. 7-9 p.m. Free. National SpiChristmas Party for everyone
Music: Swing Cara- from post office). Information:
tual Alliance, Thompson Temple
to come and enjoy, staff, famvan, gypsy jazz. 7 (413) 774-4705; www.thenational(across from post office). Inforily, friends, you name it! Come p.m. Cafe Evolution, 22 Chestnut
mation: (413) 774-4705; www.
join us during this festive time St. Information: (413) 586-0200;
of year. We may also have some
Christmas stories to share like
It is not too late
we did last year. 7:30 p.m. Free;
to register for Ytips appreciated. Mocha Maya’s,
Joy SumBasketball Leagues: The 6-8
47 Bridge St. Information: (413) berg: 8 p.m. Free; tips appreciyr. old league just meets on
625-6292; ated. Mocha Maya’s, 47 Bridge
Saturday mornings. The 9-12
St. Information: (413) 625-6292;
yr. old league has practices on
First Night Jr.: Loads
Tues./Thurs. evenings and games
of fun, music, balloon
on Saturday mornings. . YMCA
sculptors, entertainment, ball
Greenfield, 451 Main St. Infordrop and much more! 10 a.m.-3
mation: (413) 773-3646; www.
p.m. $5 advance; $6 door; free/inSATURDAY,
fants under 1. Children’s Museum
at Holyoke, 444 Dwight Street. InDECEMBER
It’s A Wonformation: (413) 536-7048; www.
derful Life:
The theme of
Not a huge hit with either critics NORTHAMPTON The Groove:
Live music:
or audiences when it debuted Gospel Arts Encounter: A
Dave Nooin December 1946, but was monthly offering of Biblically in- nan: Details on this show to
nominated for five Academy spired creations is “Pure Light.” come. 8 p.m. Free; tips appreciAwards including Best Picture, It will include a multi-artist ated. Mocha Maya’s, 47 Bridge
Best Actor (Jimmy Stewart), and visual faith exhibit and “What
Best Director (Frank Capra), was I thinking?”, a poignant
and is now a holiday classic. 7:30 exploration of Mary’s Christmas
p.m. Free; tips appreciated. Mocha Eve, awaiting the birth of Jesus,
Maya’s, 47 Bridge St. Information: featuring performance artist
(413) 625-6292; Jasmine Myers and the New
Song Ensemble Singers. 7-8:30
p.m. Free. Northampton Center for
32 Bridge Street • Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
the Arts, 17 New South Street. In413-625-6637 • fax: 413-625-6286 • [email protected]
formation: (413) 584-7327; www.
25-plus years of experience
Film-Svengali: John
Barrymore in the 1931 film
with discussion by National
Guild of Hypnotists. Music by
The Illiterati. 7 p.m. music; 7:30
p.m. film. $6/door; $4/kids under
Ja z z Tr i o :
Jazz, standards and blues. 6 p.m.
Chandler’s Tavern, 25 Greenfield
Rd. Information: (413) 665-1277;
Film-Svengali: John
Barrymore in the 1931 film
with discussion by National
Guild of Hypnotists. Music by
The Illiterati. 7 p.m. music; 7:30
p.m. film. $6/door; $4/kids under
12; $20/five tickets in advance.
Pothole Pictures, 51 Bridge St.
(Memorial Hall). Information:
(413) 625-2896;
Espresso Jazz
Trio: Jazz, standards and blues. 6 -9 p.m. Charlemont Inn, Route 2. Information:
(413) 339-5796;
2008 Elks Club
Hoop Shoot: For
girls and boys, ages 8 to 13 as
of April 1, 2008. 3 p.m.-girls; 4
p.m.-boys; free family supper at 5
p.m. YMCA Greenfield, 451 Main
St. Information: (413) 773-3646;
• Mini hydraulic excavators • Multi-terrain loaders • Genie boom lifts
• Challenger tractor backhoes • Skid steer loaders • Telehandlers
Many attachments available • Hydraulic hose repairs
12; $20/five tickets in advance.
Pothole Pictures, 51 Bridge St.
(Memorial Hall). Information:
(413) 625-2896;
413-625-6463 cell
residence 413-625-6387
Thomas A. Wilson, D.D.S.
Shelburne Falls’ Dentist since 1961
Handcrafted full dentures for 45 years
Get them while I last!
Phone 834-5683
Music: Holiday
concert: Northside Saxophone Quartet. 12-1
p.m. Free. Baystate Franklin
Medical Center, 164 High St.
Information: (413) 773-8557;
Third Friday
Open Poetry
and Prose: Refreshments will be
served. 7 p.m. Free. Arms Library,
Corner of Bridge and Main streets.
Information: 413-625-0306; [email protected]
Messiah sing:
The event will
feature four auditioned Massachusetts soloists leading
the chorus. They are soprano
Meredith Hansen of Boston,
tenor Michael Belle of Medford,
mezzo-soprano Lisa Woods of
South Deerfield, and bass Tom
O’Toole of South Hadley. Guest
conductor David Kidwell will
lead the Commonwealth Opera Chamber Orchestra. 7 p.m.
Free-will offering; nonperishable
food for Northampton Survival
Center. Commonwealth Opera of
Western Massachusetts, St. John’s
Episcopal Church, Elm St. (next
to Smith College). Information:
(413) 586-5026;
Seasonal Conc e r t : B a ch ’s
Cantata 150 and the Magnificat
by Buxtehude, “Lo! How a Rose
e’er Blooming,” “Ave Maria,”
Britten’s “Hymn to the Virgin,”
the lilting Mollicone “Lullaby”
and Gardner’s “Tomorrow Shall
be My Dancing Day,” and more.
8 p.m. Free; donations appreciated.
Da Camera Singers, St. Mary’s of
Live musicthe Assumption Church, 3 Elm SHELBURNE FALLS Susan SouSt. Information: (413) 549-576; za: 7 p.m. Free; tips appreciated.
[email protected]
Mocha Maya’s, 47 Bridge St. Information: (413) 625-6292; www.
Winter Moon
- Full Moon:
Learn how animals change
House calls for the elderly and homebound
• Real Estate • Elder Issues • Estate Settlement
• Wills and General Consultations
magazines, books, websites
[email protected]:KLI<J
On the big screen
in beautiful
Shelburne Falls
at the historic
51 Bridge St.
(above town hall)
or 1 prepurchased ticket
logos, ads, brochures, newsletters
$6 at the door
John W. Richardson
Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4 and 5 • 7:30 pm
A tale of unrequited love as a run-down music
teacher in Paris falls in love with a woman
who becomes a singing sensation while
under his hypnotic spell. This WORLD HYPNOTISM DAY,
seldom-seen mas- *!. s D eb orah Yaffee,
terpiece is THE president of the Western Mass.
lm that initiated Chapter of the National Guild
the image of the of Hypnotists, will introduce
“evil hypnotist” in the film both evenings. She
the movies. With and other guild members will
John Barrymore. answer questions after the film
1931; black and to help folks separate “movie”
white. Friday & hypnosis from “real” hypnosis.
Saturday 7pm • The Tom Nicoli, founder of World
Hypnotism Day, will speak at
Saturday’s show.
M k Z ] b m b h g Z e
M bf[^k ?kZf^
413-743-5430  413-743-7110
page 14 • Shelburne Falls Independent • December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008 •
Saturday, Dec.22, 4-6 PM
Optional Holiday Buffet
Open Christmas Eve
(Buffet 4-8)
Open Christmas Day
The Charlemont Inn
107 Main Street, Charlemont, MA 01339
1745 Route 2 E. Charlemont •
Serving Dinner
New Year’s Eve
from 5:00-9:00
Special menu!
Prime rib while it lasts
Call and reserve your piece
ahead of time!
Surf and Turf, Breast of Duck,
Homemade Pasta Dishes
and more!
Put your menu
in front of our
readers! Call
625-8297 or
e-mail [email protected]
Serving regular menu with sumptuous specials
Reservations required
Serving from 5 pm - whenever.
Homemade Soups, Breads, Desserts
Salads, Sandwiches, Steaks, Seafood, Pasta,
Vegetarian & More!
Sunday brunch ot$MPTFE.POEBZ
New Year’s Eve at
the West End Pub
$20 per person buffet,
not mandatory,
Call 625-6200 for information or reservations
no regular menu
7pm - 1am
No reservations required
Closed only on Tuesdays
At the West End of
the Bridges on the
Deerfield River
16 State St.,
Shelburne Falls
(413) 625-6216
You had the rest, now try the best
Just a 10-mile
ride from
Shelburne Falls!
Free up
deli miles
to 6
55 State St., Buckland
Visit our other location at
72 Main St., Charlemont
Buy 1 grinder,
get 1 FREE
Buy 1 wrap,
get 1 FREE
Outdoor Adventures for
Kids in the Hilltowns: A ten
week Monday afternoon adventure program for kids ages 5-7.
Through age appropriate activities, young kids can explore
their surrounding environment
and learn about our ecology
through indoor and outdoor
activities and games. . Hilltown
Families, Tekoa Mountain Outdoors, Base Camp, 27 Sugarhill
Rd. Information: (413) 296-424;
Catalyst 10th
show: Alumni who now dance
with Bill T. Jones Dance Company, Cats, Momix, and Disney
Cruise Lines will, together
with the current Catalyst company and guest company Kaz
DanceHuman Theater, present
a new evening of dance for one
weekend of shows. 2 p.m. $10;
$8/students, $5/PVPA students.
Pioneer Valley Performing Arts
Charter School, Northampton
Center for the Arts, 17 New South
St. Information: (413) 552-1590;
Catalyst 10th
show: Alumni who now dance
with Bill T. Jones Dance Company, Cats, Momix, and Disney
Cruise Lines will, together
with the current Catalyst company and guest company Kaz
DanceHuman Theater, present
a new evening of dance for one
weekend of shows. 7:30 p.m. $10;
$8/students, $5/PVPA students.
Pioneer Valley Performing Arts
Charter School, Northampton
Center for the Arts, 17 New South
St. Information: (413) 552-1590;
Who Killed the
Electric Car?:
The life and death of GM”s EV1
electric vehicle which mysteriously never made it to the public
market. 7:30 p.m. $7 (MassMOCA
members receive a 10% discount).
MassMOCA, 87 Marshall St. Information: (413) 662-2111; www.
Film-Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash
Movie: This documentary explores the concept of “peak
oil”--the idea that the world will
no longer be able to produce
enough oil to meet demand.
6:30 p.m. Pelham Library, 2 South
Valley Rd. Information: (413)
Catalyst 10th
show: Alumni who now dance
with Bill T. Jones Dance Company, Cats, Momix, and Disney
Cruise Lines will, together
with the current Catalyst company and guest company Kaz
DanceHuman Theater, present
a new evening of dance for one
weekend of shows. 7:30 p.m. $10;
$8/students, $5/PVPA students.
Pioneer Valley Performing Arts
Charter School, Northampton
Center for the Arts, 17 New South
St. Information: (413) 552-1590;
Third Friday
Open Poetry
and Prose: Refreshments will be
served. 7 p.m. Free. Arms Library,
Corner of Bridge and Main streets.
Information: 413-625-0306; [email protected]
Music-Mike Agranoff:
7:30 p.m. Echo Lake
Coffeehouse, Levertt Town Hall,
9 Montague Rd. Information:
Live Music-Jeffery
Foucault: . $15;
$7/children 12 & under. St James Therapist Open House: Learn
Coffeehouse, 8 Church St. Infor- more about the indications and
mation: (413) 772-2213; http:// benefits of animal massage,
stjamescoffeehouse.googlepages. see the newly repainted and
refurnished treatment room,
and observe demonstrations.
Catalyst 10th 2-4 p.m. Eddie’s Wheels for Pets/
Anniversary Animal Healing Arts, 140 State
show: Alumni who now dance St. Information: (413) 625-0033;
with Bill T. Jones Dance Com-
pany, Cats, Momix, and Disney
Cruise Lines will, together
with the current Catalyst company and guest company Kaz
DanceHuman Theater, present
a new evening of dance for one
weekend of shows. 7:30 p.m. $10;
Radio Free Earth
Slip ‘n’ Slide
with Swift Kicks
Dinner, 5–10
featuring lobster, prime
rib, surf and turf, free
champagne at midnight,
and much, much more.
No cover!
If you forgot it, lost it, need it, or just want it...Avery’s probably has it
General Merchants since 
Dinners 5–9 weekdays, until 10 weekends
Lunches Wednesday–Monday from 11:30 a.m., Tuesday from 3 p.m.
Children’s Menu • Open 7 nights a week
141 Buckland Rd. • Ashfield, MA • 628-0158
Visit us on the web at
Swimming Lessons: The lessons
are set up in 8-wk. sessions
during the school year and M-F
sessions in the summer. Registration begins the week of Dec.
17. . YMCA Greenfield, 451 Main
St. Information: (413) 773-3646;
Mark Nomad Band
New Year’s Eve
Winter hours: Fridays & Saturdays 5:00- 9:00
Sunday Breakfast 7:30-12 • Sunday Dinner 1:30-6:30
$8/students, $5/PVPA students.
Pioneer Valley Performing Arts
Charter School, Northampton
Center for the Arts, 17 New South
St. Information: (413) 552-1590;
Groceries • Meats • Plumbing
Electrical • Hardware • Sundries
Clothing • Tools • Gardening Supplies
Seasonal Goods • Automotive Supplies
Pet Food • Toys and more
127 Main St., Mohawk Trail • Charlemont
Shelburne Falls Independent • December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008 • • page 15
LeRoy Burley, 75
SFI photo/Jeff Potter
Shelburne Police Chief Steve Walker.
A year on the job
Walker finds his way in the role of police chief
BUCKLAND—LeRoy Burley,
75 of Shelburne Falls died Dec.
14 at Baystate Franklin Medical
Center in Greenfield.
Born Sept. 29, 1932 in Buckland, he was the son of William
and Mildred (Tyler) Burley.
LeRoy graduated from Arms
Academy and in later years attended Greenfield Community
College. He served in the army
during the Korean War.
On Dec. 30, 1955 he married
the former Jean MacKenzie in
Before his retirement he had
been employed with Besley Products. He was a Civil War buff and
was active with the Boy Scouts,
where he had been a leader for
31 years.
In addition to his wife of 52
years, survivors include one son,
Richard N. Burley; one daughter,
Mildred D. “Rindy” Burley; and
a brother, Richard W. Burley, all
of Shelburne Falls.
He also leaves three grandchildren, Stephanie M. and Jeffrey
I. Merriot and Nicholas K. Alletson, and several nieces and
There were no services. Burial
will be in the spring.
Donations in LeRoy Burley’s
memory may be made to The
Salvation Army,72 Chapman
St., Greenfield, MA 01301 or
Hospice of Franklin County 329
Conway St., Suite 2, Greenfield,
MA 01301.
Johnson Funeral Home
By Virginia Ray
[email protected]
SHELBURNE—It’s been nearly a year since former Buckland
Police Sgt. Steve Walker crossed
the Deerfield River to become
Shelburne Police Chief on New
Year’s Day 2007.
The year has brought a few
challenges and a lot of learning, says the 36-year-old chief,
who was born in Greenfield and
raised in Shelburne and Buckland, where he lives with his wife
Karen and two children. A third
is due in March.
“I feel there was an adjustment,” Walker says. “First things
first: I went from 17 years of
nights to the day shift. You
wouldn’t believe the number of
new people I know just being
around during the day and taking the time to introduce myself
and having people introduce
themselves to me. They’re people
I’ve seen, but I get to spend time
talking with them. It’s a nice
script. It fits well with me and I
love the job. It’s hard to believe
it’s been a year — and I’m still
learning. I’m looking at the past
as well as to the future, trying to
figure out a good direction.
One of the first things Walker
did here was to hone a mission
statement or philosophy of the
department. There had been
such a document previously,
but it was more generic. He also
initiated a Web site at and made changes
to the town’s cruiser design.
While longtime Sgt. Dana
Johnson has been out on injury leave for six months, and
Officer Michael Dekoschak
took Walker’s full-time post in
Buckland, Walker says his other
patrolmen have really stepped
up to the plate to cover shifts. He
is excited to have Greg Bardwell
at the Police Academy now full
time. Bardwell, expected to
graduate in April, will return
to the Shelburne force full-time
trained, but not to a full-time
Officers Clay Herbert, Dave
Grader, Mike Billiel, Jeff King
and Bob Manners, says Walker,
have all been “stepping up.”
“There are a lot of reserve
officers who have full-time jobs
during the day, but they’re coming in more,” he says. “Typically
reserve officers who are patrolmen would work weekends and
holidays. Now they’re still doing
that but they’re also coming
in Monday through Friday, so
there’s been a real step-up there.
The good thing is you can get a
lot of experience and I’ve been
able to have a lot of contact with
them, so we’ve created some
great working relationships.”
Department members have
also been doing a lot of volunteer
work, including participating in
Big Brothers/Big Sisters bowling, working at Trinity Church’s
Friday Night Community Meal
where Walker’s mother-in-law,
Nancy Stevens, is co-manager, and helping the Buckland
department raise money for
Franklin County Hospice at the
“We’re always on the lookout
for things we can do; it’s a good
interaction, and we really had a
ball,” says Walker, adding that
the annual basketball game of
local police against former Patriots football players, organized by
Buckland Police Chief Jim Hicks
and benefiting the BucklandShelburne Police Scholarship
Fund, will be Jan. 26.
The department remains in
several offices in Memorial Hall
on Bridge Street, where town
offices are located, although
Selectman Joe Judd has been
talking to Mohawk Trail Regional School District officials
about possibly moving the force
to the site of the band shell at
the Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School. But nothing is set in
“It’s not that it’s that that’s
the place,” Walker says. “It’s a
potential that starts a dialogue.
Nobody’s saying that should be
the place. Is it achievable, does
the town even want this? I’ve
said we’ll go wherever the town
wants us to go.”
The changing face
of police work
Walker, who was graduated
from Mohawk Trail Regional
High School in 1989, started
working for the Buckland Police
Department right after school,
then went on to graduate from
the Massachusetts State Police
Academy in 1990. He subsequently attended Greenfield
Community College and then
Western New England College
and received a bachelor’s degree
in criminal science in 2000.
During his tenure as a police
officer, Walker has noticed that
while some calls, such as drinking and domestic disturbances,
continue to be a part of the
police blotter, technology has
changed the nature of police
work in numerous ways.
“Technology’s made a big
change and there are a lot of
Internet issues,” he says. “In ’89
there wasn’t talk of that.”
Consequently, the Internet has
“created a new area where we
have to put our efforts for prevention of identity theft, e-mail
scams — anything for protection
on the Internet — being careful
with your credit cards and things
like that. If you heard something about credit cards when
I started, it was that somebody
lost [one], not identity theft.”
Along with that, Walker says,
come issues around e-mailing,
text messaging and cell phones,
“and that affects our high school
kids,” he says.
“They’re not talking on the
phone where a parent can hear
them, monitor them; they’re
on the Internet or texting, and
that should be a concern to
On the other hand, technological advances are a boon to police
work, too. The Shelburne department is in the process now of
going wireless in cruisers so that
officers can use laptops on the
spot to run plates without waiting for a radio report. Funding
for the effort has come through
grants and in conjunction with
other Franklin and West County
towns, with Greenfield serving as
“All the in-house all computers are networked to Greenfield
Police Department’s system,”
Walker says. “They’re the hub
for [storing] information to connected databases.”
Walker is clearly dedicated to
nurturing more old-fashioned,
person-to-person connections
among residents and police
“It’s really important that
residents have the ability to
approach an officer and have
that feeling of confidence, and
know that we’re working with a
progressive philosophy,” Walker
says. “We’re not just here to be
here. We want to effect change
in areas that need changing. We
want to be a presence in areas
that need monitoring.
“And we’ve only just begun.
I’m not out as much as I’d like to
be; there are a lot of areas where
I know we can be more effective
Respect, Integrity, Compassion . . .
40 Church Street, Shelburne Falls
(413) 625-2121
Pamela J. Kelleher
87 Franklin Street, Greenfield
(413) 773-8853
Timothy P. Kelleher
Evelyn leaving First
SHELBURNE—Pastor Phyllis
Evelyn is leaving after five years
serving the First Congregational
Church to be a spiritual care coordinator as a hospice chaplain
with a company called Vista
Care, which serves the Boston
Evelyn will receive five weeks
of training, starting the day after
Christmas, to begin her new job
caring for the terminally ill, and
says that specializing will expand
on work she’s been doing here.
“We had 21 deaths in the
five years I was here, it’s part of
the ministry,” said the former
stockbroker who wanted to be
an English-teaching missionary
to Africa as a teenager. “I just
wanted to try a specialty and
geographically it’s 20 minutes
from my grandchildren.”
The Shelburne church was the
first parish for Evelyn, who received her divinity degree from
Eden Theological Seminary in
St. Louis a bit later in life.
She says that her time here
has been good.
“I’ve enjoyed it very much.
It’s always a growing process
when you’re in a new career. . . I
wanted to be in faith work since
I was a teenager, but got married
and had kids and couldn’t do it,
so I had to wait until my kids got
married and had kids.”
but we’ve got to build that as we
go . . . in a manner that’s best for
the town.
“I speak to a lot of people and
hear some great feedback and
that’s always good and reinforces
what we’re trying to do is to have
the effect in a mind of a person
for that person to say our police
officers are here and yes, while
we are supposed to be seeking
out and patrolling and observant
for criminal infractions, we’re
also looking to do other work:
striking up a conversation, going
the extra in a situation that isn’t
in the job description — doing
something better and looking for
that effort to go a little further
for someone or some issue.
“Looking for ways to make it
better, trying to keep our eyes
open and enhance the community in whatever part the police
can play in that. There are a lot
Judd is his board’s liaison to
the police department and says
that in his first year Walker’s
service to the town has “been
beyond our expectations.”
“He’s taken what I would
consider a good department
and turned it into a department
with his vision for the future,
and I think this department has
a great future under his leadership,” Judd says.
“I think he’s doing a great job
to show us he’s the guy that can
lead us there. We hear positive
things every week about him. He,
without a doubt, distinguished
himself in one of the hardest moments he may have in his career
this past week [the Bridge Street
fire]. What I see, as a person not
educated in emergency or police work, is an individual who’s
growing in this job every day.”
"" #
!"#$$" $
!"#+ Maryann E.
Chadwick, 87
Maryann E. Chadwick, of West
Hartford, Conn., died suddenly
Dec. 7.
She “lived in the home she
loved until the end of her life,”
her family writes.
She was the widow of Leo
M. Chadwick, who died April 1,
Flying high
two-sided town flag, created by
Historical Commission Chairwoman Norma Coli and her husband, former Selectman Bill Coli,
has been given to the Hawlemont
Regional School.
The flags are for sale at $75/
each. Coli is also arranging a flag
dedication at the State House in
She is survived by her sisters,
Jean Bartose, of Kensington,
Conn., and Helen Kosakiewicz,
of Newington, Conn. She also
leaves her son and son-in-law,
Peter Chadwick and Robert
Gardiner, of Shelburne Falls.
A Buddhist memorial service
will be held at Valley Zendo, 263
Warner Hill Rd., Charlemont, at
noon Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008.
Molloy Funeral Home
Ann M. Taylor, 78
(Poissant) Taylor, 78, of 1689 Rt
2, East Charlemont, died Dec. 6,
at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in
She was born in North Adams,
June 26, 1929, the daughter of
Eugene and Mary (Markland)
She was a graduate of the former Charlemont High School.
Prior to retirement she was
employed by the former Village
Variety store in Shelburne Falls.
She also worked as a waitress at
the former Oxbow restaurant in
Ann enjoyed embroidery,
reading, playing cards, Bingo and
camping. She was an avid fan of
the Boston Red Sox as well as
the Boston Celtics.
She was the widow of Floyd
H. Taylor Sr. who died Dec. 9,
Survivors include three sons:
Floyd H. Jr. and his wife, Donna,
of Charlemont; Steven B. and
his wife, Nancy, of Ashfield, and
Harry W. and his wife, Cindy, of
She leaves three daughters:
Pearl M. Burrington and her
husband, Robert, of Charlemont; Norma J. Chirillo and her
husband, Michael, of Winchester,
N.H.; and Donna M. Rose and her
fiance, Timothy Holm, of Charlemont. She leaves a brother,
Eugene Poissant, of Ashfield, and
two sisters, Catherine Newell,
of Charlemont and Irene Wesolowski, of Charlemont.
She leaves 11 grandchildren
and 10 great-grandchildren. A
sister, Frances Dennis, died in
Funeral services will be held
Dec. 9, at Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home in Shelburne Falls
with Rev. Kate Stevens, pastor
of First Congregational Church
in Ashfield, officiating.
Burial will be in Leavitt Cemetery in Charlemont.
Donations in Ann Taylor’s
memory may be made in lieu
of flowers to Leavitt Cemetery
Association, in care of Marion
Noga, 1393 Route 2, Charlemont,
MA 01339.
Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home
page 16 • Shelburne Falls Independent • December 20, 2007–January 16, 2008 •
Seeking Ashfield/
Conway Farmland to Buy
Classified Ads • [email protected]
WORKHORSE: Free to a
sunny 1200 sq.ft.., 3 BR
units - $875. plus utilities.
Also, 1 BR separate/stand
alone unit, totally renovated,
new appliances. - $650.
plus utilities. Call (413)
625-2383 for application
and showing.
good, caring home. Jerry
has done a wide array of
farm tasks for many years,
first as a Amish workhorse
in Ohio, and then here on
our farm in Conway. He is
very gentle, rides and drives
very well, and is a very
handsome horse. Please S H E L B U R N E F A L L S : 1
call if you're interested bedroom, 2nd floor, very
(413) 369-4269, or email c l e a n , p r i v a t e p o r c h
overlooking the Deerfield
[email protected]
River and mountains in
quiet building. Heat, hot
water included in rent.
$675. Available Dec. 1.
Beautiful, spacious, sunlit 625-6147
studios in a great location.
N e a r t h e S h e l b u r n e / X FOR SALE
Greenfield town line in a
peaceful forested enclave C R O S S - C O U N T R Y S K I S ,
by a rushing stream. Only 4 snowshoes, snowboards,
miles from Greenfield and 7 racing, backcountry or touring
miles from Shelburne Falls. — best selection, best
$350-$400/month includes prices. 45 min. to Shelburne.
all utilities. 500 - 800 sq Berkshire Outfitters, Rt. 8,
feet. For information call Adams, 413-743-5900.
CARRIER — 6’ wide, 9’ long,
space for rent. Bridge and 2’ high, capable of hauling
Water St. approx 500 sq.ft. 2,500 lbs. Listed in Northern
$450/mo. starting 4/1/08. catalog. $300 or best offer.
11/1/07-3/31/08 free (413) 339-8357.
rent. Deposit required. USED 100,000 BTU REDDY,
portable kerosene heater.
Best offer. (413) 339-8357.
Independent classifieds are
perfect for what we don’t X FOUND
offer you. Your ad, right
here, nowhere else that Ads in this category are
doesn’t matter! And you published free as a public
can’t beat the price.
Perfectly working freezer.
22 inches X 36 inches, 36
inches tall. It’s just too big
for us. 652.2655
Independent classifieds are
perfect for what we don’t
offer you. Your ad, right
here, nowhere else that
doesn’t matter! And you
can’t beat the price.
Ads in this category are
published free as a public REPORTERS. The Shelburne
Falls Independent is growing
and needs enthusiastic and
thoughtful writers who
can report clearly and
accurately on the issues
(413) 625-2580
facing our beautiful and changing rural area. E-mail
letter of interest and
8:30-10 am/Gentle Yoga
writing samples to [email protected]
12-1 pm /Pure Pilates
6-7:30 pm / Hatha Yoga)
Portion with southerly exposure and
good solar window
Dave Locke, 413-634-0130, for a variety of companions,
a full range of marketing [email protected]
multiple visits, good walks,
and professional writing
play, feeding, meds, special
services. Special emphasis WISDOM WAY SELF STORAGE. n e e d s . I n - h o m e d o g
placed on identifying and Safe, clean, secure. We’ll boarding, housesitting,
promoting uniqueness keep your stuff buff! trips to vet, grooming, etc.
Vet tech experience. Call
i n i n s t i t u t i o n s a n d Greenfield, 775-9333.
Cheryl, 624-3616.
Grace Friary
at Green River Retreat
Independent classifieds
Public Relations
• T h e r a p e u t i c can be an affordable part
10 Bridge Street,
of any business’s marketing
Shelburne Falls.
•Emergy Medicine
program. Keep your
• Pettsitting those and message in the public eye
[email protected] barn calls
for the price of lunch.
Animals and their People
CONSULTANT offers clients
Independent classifieds are
7 Bridge St.,perfect
• 625-6366
for whatFalls
we don’t
So. Deereld665-3771
• Florence
• 586-8355
you. Your
ad, right
here, nowhere else that
doesn’t matter! And you
can’t beat the price.
8-9 am/Morning Fitness
9:30-11 /Qigong
4-5 pm / Yoga / Pilates
6-7:15 pm / Gentle Yoga
8:30-10 am /Vinyasa Yoga
6-7 pm/Belly Dance
st s
Ourayw greetinfgor the
holiedst wisheesar.
and bcoming y
Independently Owned and Operated
8-9 am/Morning Fitness
6-7:30 pm/Hatha Yoga
8:30-10 am/Gentle Yoga
12-1 pm/Pure Pilates
7-8 pm /Hula Hoop
To build/renovate passive solar house
and herb garden
Rest favorable lease(back) for farming
Linda Farmer/Kim Matland 413.244.8314
Seeking Ashfield/
Conway House to Rent
• With
• We Are
Gardening Space
Married Couple
Two Bathrooms
No Animals/Kids
Three Bedrooms
Start: April–July ‘08
Linda Farmer/Kim Matland 413.244.8314
8-9:15 am/ Yoga / Pilates
10-11:30 am/Kripalu Yoga
9-10:30 am/Hatha Yogally
Wanda Mooney
Carol Bolduc
Phil Pless
For Listings & Visual Tours Visit
Give the gift of
. . . and other local foods and products
Quality fresh farm products
Hager Bros. Farm
Porcelain gifts
Exquisite textures
of nature
Moonshine Design at Keldaby
Fabulous MOHAIR socks make
perfect holiday gifts
and so do all our other hand dyed
hand woven products
Call 624-3090 to visit our studio
knives, skinners,
Native American knives,
Soy wax apothecary jars,
tealights, cakes and votive candles
and reproductions of
Apple gift packages
Store 8-5:30 Mon-Sat; Sun, 9-5
248 Greeneld Rd.
Colrain, MA 01340
Woodpecker Hollow S T U D I O
Watercolor and oils,
commissions of homes
and pets. Studio open
upon request, just call.
Helen Hodges
44 State St., Shelburne Falls
413-625-6160 shop
413-625-6448 farm
50 State St.
Bowie knives, hunting
413 625-8250 Shelburne Falls
Handpoured in Colrain
Fair trade gifts from
all over the world
Handwoven items
Local soaps
Shea butter
George Sweeney
Indian weapons.
“Tender Love”
Women, Horses &
Harmony Collection
by: Danielle L. Sadowski, artist
with 18kt gold accent.
[email protected]
Molly Cantor
Classified rates
• $5/issue, prepaid
• $10/issue, billed.
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