Eyes on the Plastic Prize

By Mickey Friedman
March 23, 2014

You. Yes, you. Put down that coffee cup for just a minute. And you — with the white wine spritzer. Take a moment, a deep breath. Now give yourself a hand. A heartfelt round of applause.

Because if you live in Great Barrington or just shop here, you have done something special. Yes, we of the Best Small Town in America have together banned the “thin film single-use plastic checkout bag.”

And thanks to God, our courageous powers-that-be, and our so-very-sensible voters, we won’t be seeing them anywhere around here anymore.

As Gandhi and Martin Luther King taught us, it’s all about keeping your eyes on the prize.

Do You Still Have My Back?

By Mickey Friedman
March 9, 2014

It’s not often I get a letter from President Obama. In big letters on the front of the envelope it asked: “Do you still have my back?”

My legal name is Michael but my parents insisted on Mickey. Until my 13th birthday, thinking I should transition to the more adult-sounding Michael. A little late for that, I told them.

I don’t think the President knows it’s usually a sign of trouble when someone calls me Michael.

Penguins Not Platitudes

February 16, 2014
By Mickey Friedman

Ever since I took the trolley to the Bronx Zoo, I have felt a deep connection to the penguins.

And I’ve always felt the penguins had much to tell, and much to teach me.

I’ve been thinking more about the proposed $56 million renovation of Monument Mountain Regional High School. The building is “educationally obsolete,” the School Committee believes, and a $56 million renovation will enable us to provide a “21st-century education.”

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Task Force on 21st Century Skills defines these skills as a mix between core subjects like English, World languages, Arts, Mathematics, Economics, Science, Geography, History, Government and Civics, and critical “21st century interdisciplinary themes.” These are “Global Awareness, Financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy, civic literacy, health literacy, and environmental literacy.”


The Best We Can Afford

February 9, 2014
By Mickey Friedman

I went to listen on Wednesday night, and many spoke about the Monument Mountain High School renovation project.

Clearly, the Superintendent, School Committee and teachers are committed to providing the best education they can for their students.

It’s also clear how overwhelmed some citizens are by the scope and cost of the project.

And so we have a 56 million dollar problem.

Marking Time

January 18, 2014
By Mickey Friedman

I was relieved to read in the New York Post that “George Clooney and Rande Gerber are throwing their annual Casamigos party Sunday in Cabo.” And that “Cindy Crawford, and other stars vacationing in Cabo, such as Jessica Alba and Ewan McGregor” would be able to make it.

Were you as worried as I was that George wouldn’t mark the end of the year without a party?

Because it’s important to party. And important to step back, take a big breath, and celebrate the passing of time.

Days of Wonder

December 24, 2013
By Mickey Friedman

The other day, Roland showed me his spiffy new blue hard plastic cover for his MacBook Air. It protects his laptop and has cute little plastic feet to lift the computer at an angle off the table. Fifteen bucks. A good deal.

Since I spend my days writing, and my MacBook Air is my baby, how could we have gone all these months without our own little hard plastic cover?

Thankfully, these are the days of wonder, and of good deals, and there is Amazon. Some more moments of hard plastic cover envy, and then my MacBook Air logged into Amazon.com and snagged us a red one.


Falafels R Us

By David Scribner

December 16, 2013

Last month, I went to Israel on what I thought was a two-week leave of absence from The Berkshire Record. I was with Americans for Peace Now, and we were learning about the potential for a two-state solution to the Palestinian conflict. The trip would also give me the opportunity to try out Israeli and Palestinian reactions to my neighbor Kurt Kruger’s notion of the Federation of Canaan whereby two independent states could coexist within one entity.

But I had another mission as well – one more local and, as it turned out, more imperative.  That was to find the perfect falafel – and if possible, its recipe. I had been encouraged in this quest by Mickey Friedman who raved about the falafels at the Farmer’s Market. READ MORE >>

Occupy Rome

By Mickey Friedman
December 8, 2013

I would have said my mother is rolling over in her grave except she has no grave to roll over in. I scattered her ashes where we had scattered my father’s ashes. But she’s probably amazed I’m writing about the Pope.

My mother had terrible luck when it came to nuns. No charming, orphan-loving Mother Theresas. Nope, my mom, sent to the nuns when her mother died young, was dealt the cruel, controlling, mean kind. They tried to beat the stutter out of her; and despised her independent spirit. As a boy, I could see her body tighten when she saw a nun.


Burning issue: The firehouse sale

By David Scribner

December 6, 2013

The firehouse, the bloody old Castle Street firehouse in Great Barrington.  And the town’s 21-month struggle to sell the 120-year-old historic structure. Aren’t you just sick and tired of this story? It’s like the brouhaha over the Dollar General store in Sheffield. Only worse and more prolonged. I mean, what’s wrong with items for a dollar? If it were named Tiffany’s, would there be the same controversy? READ MORE >>

Benefit dinner to support the needy

December 2, 2013

By David Scribner

There are a number of unheralded heroes in Great Barrington. One of them is Michael Ballon, owner of and chef at the Castle Street Café.

So when he asked me to help get out the word about his upcoming Community Holiday Benefit Dinner that raises money for the less fortunate members of our town, I was more than happy to do so.


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

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“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

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