January 26, 2012
The Berkshire Beacon
With Messana’s seat open, who will run in Lenox becomes the new question Bera Dunau Beacon Staff Writer
LENOX – Despite a marked dearth of formal announcements, speculation is already beginning as to who will run for election to Lenox’s Board of Selectmen this year. The Lenox Board of Selectmen is the chief governing body of the Town of Lenox. Its five members are elected to two-year terms, with at least one position being on the annual ballot every year. Being a Lenox selectman is a volunteer position, and selectmen receive no compensation for their work. Select Board members Claudia “Dia” Trancynger and Linda (Procopio) Messana will be up for re-election this April. When asked by The Beacon if she would be running for re-election Selectwoman Trancynger said that she was “undecided.” Selectwoman Messana could not be reached for comment, but Selectwomen Messana confirmed last week that she won’t seek a third two-year term. What is perhaps even more significant, is that no candidate has yet to formally announce their intention to seek the seats of the incumbent selectwomen. One person who is considering making a run is Lenox Marketing and Events Committee Chairwoman Kim Flynn, who has served on the Lenox Board of Selectmen in the past. Mrs. Flynn says she has had several people approach her about running, but is hesitant to do so. “I just don’t know whether I want to put myself back out there again,” said Mrs. Flynn. Mrs. Flynn says that she believes Lenox faces a number of substantial challenges, such as improving its infrastructure and working with neighboring municipalities on regionalization initiatives. Instead of seeing the select board tackle these issues, however, Mrs. Flynn says she has been dismayed by the amount of work
the select board has been forced to do on what she sees as frivolous matters. “All of their time has been taken up by such inconsequential nonsense,” said Mrs. Flynn. “It’s really frustrating to sit back and watch.” In particular Mrs. Flynn singled out those who have campaigned against the Kennedy Park Belvedere. “They’ve got to understand that there are a lot more important things that this town has to worry about right now,” said Mrs. Flynn, going on to say that many in Lenox were losing sight of the big picture. Asked by The Beacon whether or not Selectwoman Messana or Trancynger deciding to seek reelection would influence her decision, Mrs. Flynn said she didn’t think so. Instead, she said that whether or not she would run would be determined by whether she thought she could do substantive work for the town as opposed to being bogged down in controversies that were irrelevant in the greater scheme of things. Mrs. Flynn, who is also a member of the Lenox Democratic Town Committee, said that no one has yet approached the committee with the intention to run for select board, something she said was unusual. Likewise, Sonya Bykofsky, a member of the citizens group Citizens Advocacy for All, best known for its anti-Kennedy Park Belvedere work, said in comments to The Beacon that she knew of no one running for select board at this time. She also said that she had absolutely no intention of running for select board herself. Scott Laugenour, a prominent member of the Lenox Green Party who is currently running for the 4th Berkshire Massachusetts State House District, said that while he knew of some people who were considering running, he was not willing to divulge such information at this time.
Gov. Patrick aims to “turbo-charge” Mass. job growth through community colleges Catherine Krummey Beacon Staff Writer
During Governor Deval L. Patrick’s State of the Commonwealth address on Monday night, he announced a plan to unite Massachusetts’ 15 community colleges to fill 120,000 vacant jobs in the state and create additional openings for the 240,000 unemployed. Gov. Patrick called for an additional $10 million in funding and asked Massachusetts businesses to match that amount. Those funds will be allocated by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education to the state’s community colleges. The governor said that Massachusetts has jumped from 47th in job creation to fifth in the United States over the last six years, but that there is still 6.8 percent unemployment. “Many of the jobs that are open – 120,000 in total – are middle-skilled jobs,” Gov. Patrick said during a recent press conference call, adding that many employers are having a hard time finding qualified candidates for those positions. The Board of
Photo Credit : Kameron Z. Spaulding
Gov. Patrick will look to use community colleges to restart the economy. Higher Education will also establish new curriculum standards and guidelines for selecting community college presidents. Heather Johnson, Director of Communications for Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Education (EOE), said that these guidelines will not affect the current search for a new Berkshire Community College (BCC) president. As part of this plan to unify the community colleges, Gov. Patrick is asking them to build more robust relationships with businesses in their areas and also make transferring credits easier between the
colleges and to four-year colleges. Ellen Kennedy, BCC’s acting president, said that she is eager to see how the governor’s plans will work as well, adding that BCC already works closely with businesses in Pittsfield and Berkshire County. “A lot of what we do is based around workforce development and training for Massachusetts residents to make them employable based on the needs of employers,” Ms. Kennedy told The Beacon. “In the Berkshires, we’re making sure we’re providing every opportunity possible to our students.”
Becket school closed Friday after flooding Janel Harrison Beacon Staff Writer
BECKET - The Becket Washington School on Maple Street in Becket remained closed Wednesday due to water damage after a pipe burst, flooding the second and first floors. It occurred early Monday evening when ice inside the sprinkler system of one of the dropped ceilings of a second floor classroom subsequently increased water pressure. The amount of water flow triggered the system’s alarm, alerting Becket fire personnel, who immediately arrived on the scene. “It’s amazing the way the community of Becket rallies behind situations like this,” said Becket Washington School Principal Leslie Blake-Davis. “The fire de-
partment has spent hours here from both Becket and Hinsdale, along with the custodial staff from Central Berkshire Schools, our school secretary, Mrs. Lisa Grogan, and other members of the community.” Water flowed, affecting adjacent classrooms and through the ceiling to the first floor, causing further water damage. Central Berkshire School Superintendent William Cameron said, “The water damage will not require substantial reconstruction. Some wall boards need to be replaced. Our main concern is being able to function as a safe school. In working with our insurance company we believe that the cost to the district will be negligible.” On Wednesday, an electrician reported no electrical damage and
there has been no damage to any technology, however paper products will need to be replaced. A full cleaning crew from Service Master has been contracted and stationed at the school for two days, bringing in fans and equipment to dry walls, ceilings and rugs, as well and utilize products to inhibit mold and bacterial growth. Becket Health Department Board Member Ginger Connor inspected the school on Tuesday and recommended to keep school closed another day. Principal Blake-Davis said, “We are almost certain the school will be open on Thursday. As always the children’s well-being and a healthy learning environment is of the utmost importance.”
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