Almost a New Record . . .

The Town Meeting on May 8 convened at  6:59 pm and adjourned at 7:25, with Moderator Lark Thwing at the helm. While there have been shorter meetings, according to Town Clerk Pamela Shrimpton, it was “almost” a record.  Some tidbits:

  • Budget-related Articles 12 and 13 were passed over, due to the fact that we did not have the “sum” amounts; and,
  • All other votes were unanimous.

Election Winners . . .

Town of Hawley, MA: 5/1/17 Election Results
(Winners are in Bold)
Office Candidate # of Votes
Selectman Robert Root   38
Town Clerk Pam Shrimpton 41
Assessor Rick Kean 40
Hawlemont School Committee Sarah Rich 37
Representative to K-12 Committee for MTRSD Write-In’s:
Hussain Hamden
Suzanne Crawford
Courtney Hoyt
Kim Orczechowsky

2

1
1
1
Moderator Write-In’s:
Lark Thwing
Scott Purinton
Chris Tirone

9

8
1
Auditor Write-In’s:
Carla Clark
Lorraine McCarthy

9

1
Congratulations to the Winners!

Note:  42 voters participated in the May 1 Hawley election.  Write-in winners would have to accept their respective positions.

PV Site Selected . . .

AT THE APRIL 18 SELECTBOARD MEETING, the Board approved a proposal by Will Cosby and Lloyd Crawford to focus on the Highway Department Garage roof as the potential site for a new Town solar power (PV) facility.  This addition would be funded under the provisions of a MA Green Communities grant.  The reasons cited for choosing that particular location included:

♦ Even though it is located in a narrow valley, that site has better total southern exposure to the sun than the others;
♦ The garage roof is an engineered structure that may be better suited to supporting a solar array than some of the others;
♦ The size of the roof may allow for an array that is
large enough to best support the Town’s power needs; and,
♦ There are no future plans to otherwise modify or add to that structure.

Other sites under consideration were the Firehouse and adjacent fields in East Hawley, and the Town Office.

Next steps will be for the Town to put out a bid request prior to submitting a specific proposal to the State.  For more information on the Green Communities program, click HERE.

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 info@townofhawley.com.

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