EVEN WITH A PERSISTENT, DENSE FOG settling in over the hilltown highlands, over fifty people attended the Community Broadband Briefing Session held at the Hawlemont School Cafeteria on Thursday night, March 29. The meeting, which was sponsored by the Hawley Communications Committee with support from the Hawley and Savoy Selectboards, was devoted to a presentation of the regional broadband proposal put forth by WiValley, a Keene, NH – based network builder and internet services provider.
Pictured here are some of the 50+ people who attended the March 29 briefing session. Brian Foucher, President of WiValley, is presenting.
Those in attendance included residents and officials from the towns of Savoy, Hawley, Monroe, Charlemont, Middlefield and Florida.
► For more information on the WiValley proposal, click HERE.
► To request materials from the March 29 meeting, click HERE.
THURSDAY, MARCH 22 WAS A DAY OF interesting coincidences and not so cooperative weather non-events as Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito visited the Hawley Town Garage. The purpose of her visit was to inspect the work done to stabilize the Chickley River bank behind the garage that was performed under a Mass Works grant in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.
As can be seen in the picture just below, the snow melt didn’t cooperate, so there was very little for the Lieutenant Governor to inspect:
Pictured are Ms. Polito’s State Police Escort, Highway Sup’t Gary Mitchell, and Rep. Paul Mark’s aide.
Coincidentally, however, work was also underway on a project to replace Town Garage lighting with more efficient LED technology. This task is being performed by a group of students from Continue reading
FIRE SAFETY DEVICE MANUFACTURER KIDDE division of United Technologies has announced a recall to replace two of its Dual Sensor Smoke Alarms. This announcement was made March 21 in a joint statement by Kidde and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The two units in question are Models PI2010 and PI9010. While both of these units have all their components in place, a yellow “cap”
that should have been removed during the manufacturing process was left in place in some of them, rendering them ineffective.
Consumers are asked to inspect any such units installed in their homes or places of business to determine whether they can see a yellow cap inside. If so, they should call Kidde at (833) 551-773 for further instructions. Under no circumstances should they detach the units until they receive a free replacement from Kidde. Follow this LINK for detailed instructions, and click HERE for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Fire Services safety advisory.
This is the second time in six months that Kidde has issued recalls of fire safety products.
AT ITS FEBRUARY 20 MEETING, the Hawley Selectboard provisionally approved a motion to name WiValley of Keene, NH as “vendor of choice” for Broadband implementation in Hawley. The recommendation was unanimously voted by the Hawley Communications Committee on February 14, and then again by the Selectboard on February 20.
WiValley would implement its proposal using Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) flexible grant program monies, only — in Hawley’s case, $520,000 — with no need for long-term borrowing and zero impact on taxes.
This approval is “provisional” because more due diligence needs to be done via reference checks and other means before the selection is final. However, WiValley, working in conjunction with network design firm Interisle Consulting Group of Boston, has put forward the only proposal that meets all of the criteria established by the Communications Committee.
◊ Will Cosby reported that the new heat pump installation is now done at the Town Office. The unit is reportedly giving off “steady heat” and is much quieter than the old one.
◊ Next project is the replacement of Town Office lights with LED technology. Initial work will be accomplished by VocEd students — work to begin March 9.
◊ Will is also investigating a wood chip furnace system for the Town Garage.
◊ Highway Superintendent Gary Mitchell reported that the Town is at 85% of the Snow Roads Budget.
◊ Gary has published some interesting facts and observations about highways, sand, salt, snow, roads, plowing safety and plowing in general. View a copy HERE.
♦ BROADBAND: The meeting between the Town of Hawley Selectboard, the Communications Committee and MBI’s Peter Larkin and Cornell Robinson seemed to go well. With some caveats regarding further due diligence, the Town was given the go-ahead to negotiate with the vendor of its own choosing from among the three — Crocker, Westfield Gas/Electric and WiValley — who have submitted Broadband proposals encompassing the Town.
♦ CEMETERIES: After one minor revision, the regulations for Town-owned cemeteries are now complete, having passed muster with both the Selectboard and the Hawley Historical Commission. Downloadable copies are available for the RULES and PROCEDURES. For more information on burials and Town cemeteries, go to BURIAL AGENT.
♦ EFFICIENT HEATING/COOLING: Installation of the new heating and cooling system at the Town Office is nearly complete. You may have to look twice to find it, as the two units installed inside the building are high and unobtrusive. There’s also a compressor unit outside, just behind the end of the wheelchair ramp. While this unit is a little more visible, its “works” will soon be obscured by a protective lattice.
♦ SCHOOL ASSESSMENTS: Hussain Hamdan reported that Hawley’s assessments for Hawlemont and Mohawk Regional schools should be a combined approximation of $10,000 less than last year. This is assuming that current State estimates hold up.
Disclaimer (hover before clicking).
HVAC CONTRACTOR GATES PLUMBING, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and GeoThermal Systems will begin installing the Hawley Town Office’s new “Mini Split Heat Pump System” — a type of energy-efficient heat pump technology that uses air as its energy source for warmth in the winter and also for cooling in the summer — on Monday, February 5. This project, which is fully funded under the auspices of the Massachusetts Green Communities program, should be complete by the end of next week.
According to Administrative Assistant Cass Nawrocki, “The largest impact of the work is likely to be some disruption to the heating situation, mainly because of workers coming and going through the doors, and a brief time without power when the final electric hookup is completed. Our existing propane heater will continue to chug away as needed. There are no expected changes to staff hours.”
♦ Town Office Window Replacements: Bids are still under consideration. Final decision will be made at the next Selectboard Meeting (February 6).
♦ Electricity Aggregation Proposal: The Selectboard met with Bob Dean, Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) regarding an Electricity Aggregation project. After hearing his presentation, the Board voted to continue the investigation, appointing Will Cosby as Representative and Bob Root as Alternate for purposes of participating in meetings and reporting back to the Town.
♦ Animal Control Officer: Chris Tirone was reappointed to this position.
♦ Veterans Tax Options: Two options for Veterans were discussed and tabled.
Disclaimer (hover before clicking).
AT THE HAWLEY SELECTBOARD MEETING that followed the Special Town Meeting on December 12, project team member Will Cosby gave an update on several energy upgrade projects that are underway, or being contemplated, under the auspices of the state’s Green Communities program:
||The Solar Panel Installation at the Town garage is up, running, and producing at full power. However, one of the data sending units is not functioning properly, and will be replaced this week or shortly after Christmas. This sending unit is critical to the Town’s ability to receive cash reimbursements for energy production from the state. The unit in question is still under warranty.
||The bidding process for the Mini Split Heat Pump System to augment the existing blower at the Town office is complete. The “mini-split” is a type of heat pump technology which uses air as its energy source for warmth in the winter and also for cooling in the summer. Approval has been received, and the unit should be installed and operational by the end of February, latest. Continue reading
AFTER ALMOST FIVE YEARS of meetings, phone calls, interactions with MBI and thousands of email messages, the Hawley Communications Committee has finally received a proposal for Broadband that seems to meet all requirements. It is not likely to cost the Town any taxpayer money.
This proposal is from WiValley, a Keene, NH-based Internet network builder and services provider which has significant experience in designing, implementing and operating fiber, wireless and hybrid fiber-wireless Internet systems in New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts.
The proposal would involve a multi-town network. Four towns — Hawley, Savoy, Florida and Monroe — were all included in the proposal group. In addition, the Towns of Middlefield and Worthington would be joined in a similar network.
Here are some features that made the proposal interesting to the Committee: Continue reading