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The Berkshire Healthcare logo
Berkshire Healthcare / https://www.berkshirehealthcare.org/

The COVID-19 outbreak at a North Adams, Massachusetts nursing home has grown to 35 as of Monday. 

The Berkshire Healthcare logo
Berkshire Healthcare / https://www.berkshirehealthcare.org/

Three breakthrough COVID-19 cases have been confirmed at a North Adams, Massachusetts nursing home.

A municipal meeting in a city meeting room
Josh Landes / WAMC

The North Adams, Massachusetts city council modified its policies on payment for municipal employees on Tuesday.

The North Adams Public Library
https://www.facebook.com/naplibrary

The North Adams, Massachusetts Public Library will no longer charge fines on overdue materials. Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo says the move is an effort to join a national movement to eliminate barriers to what is a public resource. Galvanized by the COVID-19 pandemic, dropping fines across the board expands a 2018 decision to halt charges for children and young adults with overdue materials. WAMC spoke with Sanfilippo about the decision, and why she isn’t concerned about the institution taking a financial hit from the move.

A white woman in a red shirt kneels next to a sitting dog on a lawn
Jen Macksey / https://www.facebook.com/jen.macksey.3

A new candidate has entered the North Adams, Massachusetts mayoral race as another exits. North Berkshire School Union Assistant Superintendent Jen Macksey kicked off her campaign earlier this month, while 21-year-old MCLA student Josh Vallieres ended his campaign in favor of a bid for school board.

That leaves a historic all-female slate of four candidates for mayor in the fall election. WAMC spoke with the 48-year-old Macksey about her run against Lynette Bond, Aprilyn Carsno and Rachel Branch.

Lauren Mabry - Glazescape (Pink No. 2) - 2021
Ferrin Contemporary/Heller Gallery / https://ferrincontemporary.com/portfolio/melting-point/

Ferrin Contemporary in North Adams, MA, in partnership with Heller Gallery in New York City, is presenting “Melting Point,” a group exhibition of glass and ceramic artists whose use of the melting point is central to their practice.

Across two locations the exhibition features nearly 100 works by 22 artists. The artists, both established and emerging, explore the inherent physical qualities of materials that are formed and reformed by melting, as well as express their concern for the environmental melting point our planet seems to be approaching.

A material’s melting point is the degree at which solid becomes soft, eventually becoming liquid and a boiling point is reached. Glaze melts, clay and glass soften, surface and form become pliable. Used metaphorically, as the planet warms we are finding ourselves closer to the melting point both physically and socially.

We welcome Leslie Ferrin, founder and director of Ferrin Contemporary with ceramic artist Courtney M. Leonard and glass artist Tom Patti.

A white woman with brown hair and a blue shirt stands in front of pink flowers
https://www.facebook.com/LynetteBondForMayor/

Lynette Bond is the Director of Development For Grants and Research at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. The 44-year-old is the latest candidate to join the packed race for mayor. With incumbent Tom Bernard not seeking a third two-year term, Bond is the fourth hopeful to launch a bid. Bond spoke with WAMC about her vision for North Adams, and what issues are most pressing in the community of around 13,000.

A thick plume of smoke rises out of a landscape of green-leaved trees behind a brick building
Forrest Houghton

State officials say the scrapyard fire that blanketed North Adams, Massachusetts in thick black smoke last month was accidental. 

A white man with a beard and glasses stands in front of campaign signs wearing a red shirt
Bryan Sapienza for North Adams City Council / https://www.facebook.com/BKS4NA

The North Adams, Massachusetts city council has selected Bryan Sapienza to fill the seat vacated by former council President Paul Hopkins last month. The 58-year-old parts manager of K-M Toyota on West Main Street finished 11th in the 2019 race for the nine-member body. Sapienza is now running for a full two-year term in this year’s municipal election. Vice President Jason LaForest has assumed the council presidency with Hopkins’ departure. WAMC spoke with Sapienza about his plans for the rest of the term, and which mayoral candidate he’s backing this fall.

A thick plume of smoke rises out of a landscape of green-leaved trees behind a brick building
Forrest Houghton

Officials say a fire at a North Adams, Massachusetts scrapyard that sent black smoke above the city Tuesday is over. 

A thick plume of smoke rises out of a landscape of green-leaved trees behind a brick building
Forrest Houghton

Dramatic images came out of North Adams, Massachusetts today as a scrapyard fire sent thick black smoke into the air above the city. Over a dozen fire departments and state units responded, and North Adams sent multiple warnings to city residents about potentially dangerous air quality conditions. WAMC spoke this afternoon with Mayor Tom Bernard about what transpired over the course of the day, and when he expects the fire to be under control.

A brutalist brick building sits under a blue sky.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Massachusetts will lift key elements of its COVID-19 restrictions on Saturday — rescinding its face covering order, removing gathering limits, and fully reopening all industries. Governor Charlie Baker had originally set an August 1st target for full reopening, but says data on the pandemic show that the state is capable of making the move this month. For municipalities around the state, it’s another abrupt change amid more than a year of uncertainty. North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard says he has mixed emotions about the reopening. He spoke with WAMC about what it means for the city.

A smiling white bearded man with glasses and a red jacket stands before a green background.
North Adams

In yet another twist in North Adams, Massachusetts politics, city council president Paul Hopkins announced his resignation Tuesday, effective once accepted by the remaining members of the nine-person body. With Hopkins’ impending exit, the mayor’s office and at least two seats on the city council will be up for grabs this fall. The two-term councilor spoke with WAMC about his decision to step down, which he says comes as a result of changes in his personal and professional life.

A helicopter carries a container of water out of a lake
Josh Landes / WAMC

Massachusetts officials say an ongoing wildland fire in Northern Berkshire County is the state’s largest in over a decade.

A white woman with brown hair sits in a car
Aprilyn Carsno

This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Carsno was a Certified Nursing Assistant, not a nurse as originally reported.

A new candidate has entered the race for mayor of North Adams, Massachusetts. With Tom Bernard declining not to seek a third term this fall, there are now three official names in contention – as well as an expected run from city council Vice President Jason LaForest. Alongside MCLA student Josh Vallieres and perennial candidate Rachel Branch is Aprilyn Carsno. WAMC spoke with the 49-year-old former certified nursing assistant about why she’s entering the politics for the first time. One reason: the city’s broken fire hydrants.

A North Adams fire hydrant
Josh Landes / WAMC

At its virtual meeting Tuesday night, the North Adams, Massachusetts city council heard updates from Mayor Tom Bernard about the COVID-19 vaccination rollout as well as the city’s efforts to address malfunctioning fire hydrants. 

An older white woman sits in a television studio at a table
Josh Landes / WAMC

North Adams, Massachusetts resident Rachel Branch is running for mayor for the third consecutive election. Branch, who hosts a public access television program called Solutions Rising, has served on the North Adams Housing Authority as well as the Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District Committee.

Mayor Tom Bernard is not seeking a third term this fall.

Branch – whose father was once president of the city council – joins MCLA student Josh Vallieres in the field, though city council Vice President Jason LaForest intends to enter the race. Branch tells WAMC Berkshire Bureau Chief Josh Landes that public service, feminism and representing the community’s youth are at the core of her latest campaign.

A white man with glasses, pierced ears and dark hair wearing a black collared shirt under a beige sweater
www.facebook.com/JoshVforNA

As the North Adams, Massachusetts municipal election gears up, a new candidate has entered the fray. With incumbent Mayor Tom Bernard choosing to not seek a third two-year term, 21-year-old Josh Vallieres intends to run for the corner office. A former Boy Scout, a native of the Northern Berkshire community and a junior at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Vallieres tells WAMC that he wants to bring a new perspective to the city government.

A brutalist brick building sits under a blue sky.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Friday was Debbie Pedercini’s final day working for the city of North Adams, Massachusetts after more than 30 years. Pedercini, who spent much of her municipal career in the Community Development Office, served as city clerk since 2019 after working as an assistant city clerk. Pedercini tells WAMC that she’s moving on to become Executive Director of the Lee Housing Authority.

A brutalist brick building sits under a blue sky.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Last week, Democratic Congressman Richard Neal was in the Berkshires, taking a victory lap in the Massachusetts 1st district. $41 million of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan COVID relief package is coming to Berkshire County. While Pittsfield will receive the lion’s share of the money, North Adams – the county’s second city of 13,000 – will take home just under $4 million. WAMC spoke with Mayor Tom Bernard about what he wants to do with it.

This is a picture of the campus of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The Massachusetts College Of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Massachusetts has locked down a campus residence after 17 new COVID-19 cases emerged in the past week. 

A brutalist brick building sits under a blue sky.
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Mayor of North Adams, Massachusetts says he’s worried about the city’s short-term COVID-19 outlook.

A brutalist brick building sits under a blue sky.
Josh Landes / WAMC

North Adams, Massachusetts Mayor Tom Bernard has named the city’s new fire chief. 

This is a rendering of wayfaring signs North Adams unveiled in October 2015.
Facebook: North Adams Chamber of Commerce

A North Adams, Massachusetts city councilor is pushing the city to establish a Grants and Communications Coordinator in the fiscal year 2022 budget.

A North Adams fire hydrant
Josh Landes / WAMC

The city council in North Adams, Massachusetts has approved a $300,000 borrowing request from Mayor Tom Bernard to fix about 55 fire hydrants. 

A man sits in a chair wearing a suit and bow tie in an office with wooden walls
Josh Landes / WAMC

North Adams, Massachusetts Mayor Tom Bernard is presenting a new plan to deal with broken fire hydrants to the city council Tuesday night. It comes after two  recent fires underscored safety infrastructure problems. Bernard spoke with WAMC about the plan, as well as his opposition to the state’s plan to return to in-person education this spring.

A white man smiles in a blue button-down shirt and a blue blazer with a pin shaped like Massachusetts with the American flag over it on his lapel
Ben Mancino

An exchange in a North Adams, Massachusetts community Facebook page has led to allegations of misconduct against city council vice president and likely mayoral candidate Jason LaForest.

A white man smiles in a blue button-down shirt and a blue blazer with a pin shaped like Massachusetts with the American flag over it on his lapel
Ben Mancino

It’s a busy week for North Adams, Massachusetts municipal politics. On Monday, Mayor Tom Bernard delivered his State of the City address. The next morning, he told WAMC he won’t run for a third two-year term this year. Soon after, City Council Vice President Jason LaForest confirmed what he described as “an open secret,” telling WAMC that he will pull papers for the mayoral race in April.

A man sits in a chair wearing a suit and bow tie in an office with wooden walls
Josh Landes / WAMC

With municipal elections looming in the fall, North Adams, Massachusetts Mayor Tom Bernard tells WAMC he will not seek a third two-year term. One day after delivering his annual state of the city address, Bernard explained to WAMC why he’s stepping aside after four years leading the city of around 13,000.

A white man with a beard and glasses sits behind a desk in a suit in front of a wood and glass bookshelf.
North Adams, Massachusetts

In his virtual state of the city address Monday night, North Adams, Massachusetts Mayor Tom Bernard covered the COVID-19 pandemic, infrastructure concerns and the Black Lives Matter movement.

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