north adams | WAMC

north adams

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.

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 will deliver his annual State Of The City address tonight.

A North Adams fire hydrant
Josh Landes / WAMC

As North Adams, Massachusetts continues to struggle with malfunctioning fire hydrants, the city council heard a presentation on safety infrastructure Tuesday night.

A brutalist brick building sits past an American flag on a pole and a lawn.
JD Allen / WAMC

The North Adams, Massachusetts city council has rejected a proposal to turn a former school building into 75 units of affordable and market rate housing.

A red fire hydrant sits in a lawn.
By Xiaopihar - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=94551102

After a fire at a public housing complex last week, the Vice President of the North Adams, Massachusetts city council says the municipality is falling behind on maintaining its safety infrastructure. Jason LaForest tells WAMC that up to a quarter of the fire hydrants in the community are out of order, and that the city has been putting off repairing them for long enough.

A bespectacled man in a suit and tie stands in front of a podium on a small monitor
Josh Landes / WAMC

The North Adams, Massachusetts city council heard updates Tuesday from Mayor Tom Bernard about the COVID-19 vaccination effort and news of a bank closure.

The seal of the the city of North Adams, Massachusetts
North Adams

The North Adams, Massachusetts city council got a COVID-19 update from Mayor Tom Bernard this week.

Three men sit at at a desk in a carpeted, wood-lined meeting room.
Josh Landes / WAMC

North Adams, Massachusetts city councilor Benjamin Lamb says he won’t seek a fifth two-year term this fall. The former city council president says he’s stepping aside to encourage more diverse candidates to seek office. Lamb spoke with WAMC about his decision, and what he’s most proud of after almost a decade in office.

The seal of the the city of North Adams, Massachusetts
North Adams

Officials in North Adams, Massachusetts say a new wave of COVID-19 cases are connected to city restaurants.

The seal of the the city of North Adams, Massachusetts
North Adams

After months of disease and economic downturn, smaller municipal governments are hoping for an easier 2021 even as they await federal relief and the COVID-19 vaccine. WAMC caught up with North Adams, Massachusetts Mayor Tom Bernard to find out what Berkshire County’s second-largest community learned from 2020 – and what 2021 may hold.

A white man in a white shirt and khakis stands behind a podium in a park in front of a large campaign bus and a woman in a dress
Josh Landes / WAMC

Democratic Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey says additional federal coronavirus relief funding is needed for the state and cities.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker stands at a podium in front of a marble building with a row of people standing on either side of him
Josh Landes / WAMC

As Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker rolls back statewide reopening plans due to COVID-19 surges, Berkshire County municipal leaders are working on implementing the updated public health orders.

The seal of the the city of North Adams, Massachusetts
North Adams

The North Adams, Massachusetts fire chief is retiring at the end of January.

The seal of the the city of North Adams, Massachusetts
North Adams

The Vice President of the North Adams, Massachusetts City Council says Mayor Tom Bernard should take further action to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the community of around 13,000. Jason LaForest – who is a nurse – tells WAMC that table service at restaurants should be suspended and all of the city’s schools should move to remote learning.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker stands at a podium in front of a marble building with a row of people standing on either side of him
Josh Landes / WAMC

As new COVID-19 related public health orders from Governor Charlie Baker go into effect today across Massachusetts, Berkshire County communities are getting ready to implement them.

Pages