Great Barrington MA

Goodbye

April 21, 2015
By Mickey Friedman

We’re supposed to just get on with it. Embrace the future. Forsake sadness. As the past vanishes before our eyes. Exalt the instrument of transformation, the chainsaw.

But during a moment of daydream one almost killed me. And chainsaws attacking trees have claimed others I know.

Some trees resist the metal that tears through them. The wood not content with the often arbitrary and man-made determination to end its day.

Those of us who came to care for the Bradford Pear trees have lost. And of course those who were convinced they had to go will always celebrate their decision. Because they had to go. That’s the way it goes. Like our old Firehouse had to go for a pittance.
READ MORE >>

A Fence with a View

By Bill Shein
April 3, 2015

“The Town of Great Barrington is accepting letters of interest from legal residents/registered voters to fill the following vacancies: Fence Viewer (1) – Until 2015.”From “Jobs and Opportunities” on townofgb.org.

To the Great Barrington Select Board:

Greetings and salutations! I write in response to news of a vacancy in the Great Barrington Department of Rules, Weights, Measures and Lines, and humbly submit my name for consideration for the storied position of Fence Viewer.

Let me assume that the parenthetical “1” in “Fence Viewer (1)” means you are seeking a duly certified, experienced, and passionate Viewer of Fences, First Class, rather than a novice, apprentice, second class, or otherwise entry-level fence viewer.

If so, I congratulate you on your commitment to professional-quality fence viewing, and your desire to see this vital town responsibility met expertly, with the highest standards of world-class viewing. Of fences, in particular, but perhaps also of flower beds, historic barns, duck ponds, waterfalls, and maybe even supermodels, should there be a need. READ MORE >>

Starting Fresh

By Mickey Friedman
April 3, 2015

Some in the Berkshire Hills Regional School District (BHRSD) look down their educational noses at our neighbors of the Southern Berkshire Regional School District (SBRSD). But the administrators, School Committee, teachers, students, support staff, parents and taxpayers of the SBRSD are accomplishing in a short time what we failed to do. Prioritize. Compromise. And with the hoped-for YES vote in New Marlborough providing a new roof and energy efficient boiler for Mount Everett Regional High School.

I want to congratulate them all.

READ MORE >>

Before Yoga

By Mickey Friedman
February 12, 2015

You know you’re headed for your last rodeo when you can remember a time before yoga. I see the barber shops on Railroad Street, two saloons and the car parts store. The donut shop that turned into the falafel place that is now Martin’s. And the jewelry stores here in The Best Small Town in America.

There’s A&P and Aldo’s. But not a single yoga studio.

Yet nowadays people are either headed to yoga or on their way back.
READ MORE >>

Public Education

By Mickey Friedman
December 13, 2014

My friend Matthew, a recent graduate of Monument Mountain, reminded me of Give-to-Give, a program that enabled students here to help students in impoverished Haiti. So when he felt a slight chill at school, he added a sweater, compared his lot with others and soon felt grateful for what he had. Matthew imagined Haiti. I imagine Iraq.

READ MORE >>

A Singular Ray of Light

December 3, 2014
By Mickey Friedman

I drove with Jurek Zamoyski and Mel Greenberg to pick up and deliver food for Great Barrington’s four food pantries. There’s a pantry at the Calvary Christian Chapel on Route 41, one at the Women’s Infant and Children’s (WIC) office on Stockbridge Road, one at Railroad Street Youth Project, and one at the Senior Center.

Mel is always picking up spare food and making sure it gets to hungry people. A singular ray of light in this ever-darkening universe of ours, he is a small antidote to melting ice and mindless materialism.
READ MORE >>

Selfish, Greedy People

By Mickey Friedman
November 9, 2014

The debate about the Monument Mountain HS renovation has sent me back in time. Dreaming my five block walk from Webb Avenue to P.S. 86. A small army of kids streaming from our apartment buildings in rain, snow or shine to our home for the day. Built in 1926, it still stands, serving 1,700. I can’t help but imagine my mother’s reaction if I told her I didn’t like the lighting there. Frivolous complaints weren’t welcome when there was laundry, shopping, dishes, homework to be done. Both parents working, and money always tight.

My imaginary Congressman, Bill Shein, likes to remind me of the great failing of our civilization: conspicuous consumption. The constant waste of precious resources to make and sell things of dubious purpose. How many varieties of breakfast flakes? Cars? Phones? A demand fueled by a constant drone, and the occasionally artful commercial: LeBron James, the Jesus of Cleveland, returns to lead his basketball-loving black/white army of sad city-dwellers to a new glory. So buy Nike sneakers.

Those with money know their children deserve an indoor greenhouse. Those without tremble to see the fuel-oil truck arrive; rejoice when the gas pump reads less than $3.50 a gallon; scour the shelves for Buy One, Get One Free.
READ MORE >>

School Facts Not Fiction

By Mickey Friedman
October 27, 2014

Michael Wise of the Great Barrington Finance Committee says I’m “unhelpful.” Alan Chartock calls the 955 of his fellow town citizens who voted NO last November “selfish” and “un-American.”

They say the issue is simple: If you vote NO on their $51.2 million renovation of Monument Mountain High School you will pay more to fix the school as things break: “Fixing only essential repairs will cost taxpayers at least 20 percent more than a Renovation Project.” They say there is no practical alternative.

51.2 million dollars reimbursed by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) with $23.2 million. A reimbursement rate of 48.52 percent. It will cost the district only $28.02 million, and Great Barrington $19.4 million.

To convince you they made a chart: We need $38.6 million worth of necessary repairs. Claiming if we applied to the Accelerated Repair program of the MSBA we’d only get $4.9 million, a reimbursement rate of 12.7 percent. That’s $33.64 million with Great Barrington paying $21.4 million.

So why spend $21.4 million to fix things when for $19.4 million you get it all? Why trade a reimbursement rate of 48.52 percent for a measly 12.7 percent?

That’s the fiction. How about helpful American facts:
READ MORE >>

Love and Lies

By Mickey Friedman
October 20, 2014

I woke to learn from The Eagle that I’ve been instilling “anger and fear in the most financially vulnerable citizens of our community.” From the Berkshire Edge, I’m “short-sighted and selfish.” And “deceiving you.”

Mr. Bradway of Stockbridge, MA says I’ve been “conspicuously omitting data and facts that would provide for the opportunity of a circumspect and objective viewpoint.”

Quite the mouthful.

READ MORE >>

NO, then YES

By Mickey Friedman
September 30, 2014

I left the most recent meetings about the Monument Mountain High School renovation with heightened respect for Principal Marianne Young and Superintendent Peter Dillon, yet feeling sad that the School Committee had asked these dedicated educators, their employees, to front their “informational sessions.” Their jobs are difficult enough, and it’s one thing to come to Town Meeting to explain the annual costs of learning but quite another to explain, let alone justify, the strategic choices of the School Committee. Didn’t the School Committee ask to represent us in matters of public education?

And, even after Great Barrington’s overwhelming 955 to 596 NO vote, it’s the School Committee asking us to vote for a $51.2 million renovation of Monument.
READ MORE >>

Our New Fire-To-Farm-To-Table House

By Mickey Friedman
September 18, 2014

Remember being told the old firehouse was a serious hazard to the town employees who worked there and the citizens who came to consult them?

So why are our town employees are still working there?

Being told we should get rid of the building. So that we wouldn’t have to heat and maintain it?

Now we’re renting space there for $2,500 a month for at least five years. That’s $150,000.
READ MORE >>

One Man’s Significant

By Mickey Friedman
June 11, 2014

Significant. There are several definitions including “large enough to be noticed” and “very important.” So for one man, what’s significant is noticeable. For another, it’s an important change.

The Berkshire Eagle reported that at its May 22, 2014 meeting the Berkshire Hills Regional School Committee decided to “ask voters to approve a high school renovation project – one with a ‘significant’ reduction in the tax burden …”
READ MORE >>

Red Crow Everywhere

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook

Follow Red Crow News on Twitter

Support Red Crow

Donate to Red Crow News and support an independent source of news and commentary in western Massachusetts.

RED CROW NEWS

An online newsmagazine based in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts, Red Crow News covers what's happening and what we hope will happen.

Along with our slightly unconventional news coverage, you'll find musings and scribblings, and comments about what we care about.

Highly subjective, our C/V/ultures will be writing about culture or the lack thereof.

As always, we're guided by our founding principle: It's News To Us!

And if It's News To You, or you want to add your comment to any of our stories, please use our CONTACT RED CROW form on the left sidebar and send it along.

“A Red Family: Junius, Gladys & Barbara Scales” by Mickey Friedman

"An extraordinary set of reminiscences, beautifully put together by an extremely sensitive, even gifted interviewer. It is a jewel." --Glenda Gilmore, author of Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950

"Junius Scales is a fascinating character whose experiences tell us so much about his period, and Friedman's family approach opens up new angles on the story." --James R. Barrett, author of William Z. Foster and the Tragedy of American Radicalism

You can purchase the paperback edition of A Red Family for $25.00. Just click on the buy from amazon.com button:


CALENDAR

May 2015
M T W T F S S
« Apr    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Red Crow News

Meta