Multiple Successes . . .

HAWLEMONT SCHOOL HAS A LOT TO CHEER ABOUT as it reviews its 2016-17 season. In a recent flier sent to Hawley residents, the elementary school’s Principal Wayne Kemenski cited a list of achievements that were not only notable in themselves but also significant on a regional, state or national basis. Here are some items from his list:

Two fifth graders have been invited to the Junior National Young Leader’s Conference.
The fifth grade won first place in the state’s Green Team Project.
30 students from the surrounding towns decided to join the Hawlemont community, resulting a 10-year high in enrollment.
Kindergarten teacher Sue Mead won the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award.

The school is also planning two events that are sure to be of interest to students, teachers and community members alike. On Saturday, April 29, Hawlemont will be hosting its 2nd annual H.A.Y. Conference, featuring compelling hands-on workshops for people of all ages. And on Friday, May 19, it will present its 3rd annual All School Celebration, with exhibits, games, tours, crafts and dinner. For more of the particulars . . .

Download these items here: Letter to the Community
H-A-Y Conference Brochure (large file)
Hawlemont Celebration Flier

Green Community Options Aired . . .

HAVING QUALIFIED FOR GREEN COMMUNITIES FUNDING, the Town is now considering ways it can use those monies (up to $136,920) to help the Town conserve energy.  According to Lloyd Crawford, who has taken the lead on the funding application process, while several options are possible, three projects seem most practical and doable in the near future.  They are:

Adding insulation and improving seals on both the Town Office and the Highway Department garage; 
Upgrading the lighting to a higher effciency level in Town facilities; and,
Installing a solar power facility.

This third item — solar, or photovoltaic (PV) power, has some urgency.  Continue reading

FLT Sponsors Bike Ride, Small Grant Program . . .

THE FRANKLIN LAND TRUST (FLT) WILL BE SPONSORING its twelfth annual self-guided recreational bike ride – D2R2 – which is scheduled this year on Saturday, August 19, 2017.

At the same time, FLT has decided to make small grants available to community groups in towns situated along the bike ride routes (as is Hawley) to fund projects which support the environment, land conservation, farming, forestry, wildlife, outdoor recreation or environmental education.  Deadline for grant applications is May 15, and the grant amounts are for $500 or less.

Click HERE for more particulars or contact Town Administrative Assistant Cass Nowrocki @ 413-339-5518 or

MBI Relaxes Policy on Funding . . .

RESPONDING TO FEEDBACK FROM A HEARING that was held in Worthington, MA on February 16, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) has changed its policy on distribution of funds to Western Massachusetts Towns interested in creating Broadband networks.  According to a February 27 article in the Berkshire Eagle, “. . . the MBI will free up money until now earmarked for internal engineering use by the Institute. Instead, it will provide millions of dollars intended for ‘professional services’ as direct grants to towns that want to build and own their ‘last mile’ systems.”

It is not yet totally clear what percentage of the “Professional Services” moneys will actually be made available to the Towns, and for what uses.  For the Town of Hawley, given that its original allocation was . . . Continue reading

Hawley Achieves Official Green . . .

THE TOWN OF HAWLEY HAS BEEN AWARDED a Green Communities designation by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), according to Hawley Selectboard Chair John Sears.  He received an announcement letter via email dated February 1 from  Joanne Bissetta,  Deputy Director, Green Communities Division. The designation involves a commitment by the Town to take certain measures to effect increases in energy efficiency over time, and comes with a grant of up to $136,920 to make the Town’s buildings more economical. Continue reading

New Public Records Law Coming . . .

WHILE ITS IMPACT ON SMALL TOWNS LIKE HAWLEY may be minimal at first, a new Massachusetts State Law will go into effect on public-recordsJanuary 1 that will affect the way public information is handled, stored and made available by municipalities throughout the Commonwealth. Called “An Act to Improve Public Records,” Chapter 121 of the Acts of 2016 provides for:

The Establishment of a Records Access Officer (RAO) position for each Town, charged with providing help to residents who are seeking information, as well as oversight of how public records are processed, stored and accessed; Continue reading

MBI RFP Update . . .

MBI’s R-F-P FOR LARGE INTERNET PROVIDERS IS NOW OUT, and is available HERE for download.  While not enough time has passed to understand it fully, three things seem clear:

1.) Very little time has been allowed for large corporations to respond.  The timeframe from RFP posting (November 18) to when the Proposals are due at MBI on January 11 is less than 60 days.  That span does not make for thorough due diligence, and can cause major missteps and reversals, as was demonstrated quite clearly by the recent about-face by Axia.  Continue reading

Major Meeting on School Futures . . .

“BEST” COMMITTEE TO PRESENT RECOMMENDATIONS — Monday, December 12 is the date for the first public presentation ofone-room-school-house-layer sustainability recommendations for the Mohawk Trail  Regional School District (MTRSD) by the District’s “BEST” committee.  “BEST” stands for Building, Education, Sustainability and Trust, and is a committee of 14 members, all of whom have direct involvement in the dealings of the MTRSD. 

The meeting, which will convene at Mohawk Auditorium at 7:00 pm, will focus on recommendations developed over the course of the past 10 months as BEST and its various subcommittees have met to grapple with the issue of how to keep the schools alive, efficient, successful and thriving in the face of economic and population issues.

 Please Note

There will be a follow-up meeting for discussion of the particular impact of the “BEST” proposals on the towns of Hawley and Charlemont at 7:00 pm. on Thursday, January 5 at Hawlemont School.

Recommendations that will be aired at this meeting will include Continue reading

MEMA Issues Drought Bulletin . . .

THE MASSACHUSETTS EMERGENCY Management Agency (MEMA) has issued a bulletin regarding drought conditions throughout the Commonwealth.  Included in the bulletin are internet links to several references where more detailed information can be found  as well as explanations of various status levels and required water conservation actions for each.


Hawley’s current status is indicated at the “Warning” level, like most of the rest of the Commonwealth to the East of the Town. Towns just to the West of Harley are indicated at the “Watch” level.

The “Warning” level carries with it a very strong request to “eliminate outside water use.”  For more information on the drought situation and what to do about it, click HERE.

Axia Cancels Broadband Meeting, Proposal . . .

IT WAS ANNOUNCED WEDNESDAY EVENING THAT AXIA had withdrawn its proposal to build a regional Broadband network to help complete MBI’s “last mile” project, and that the meetings that had been scheduled at Berkshire East and the Town of Becket for the next day — Thursday, October 13 — had been cancelled. 

Axia is the Canadian-based company that built MBI’s “middle mile” network — the one that allowed the Hawley Town Office (among many others) to access high-speed Internet. According to Jordan Allred, Axia’s Director of Business Development for Enterprise & Continue reading