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.



November 26, 2013
By Mickey Friedman

Like so many others in The Best Small Town in America, I voted against the $56 million renovation of our high school.

With no room on the ballot for alternatives, the choice was simple. Raise Great Barrington’s real estate tax yet again to make some needed repairs, while adding a host of new features to the high school. Our $30 million plus $26 million from a state fund derived from taxes we pay for gasoline.

While the voters of Stockbridge and West Stockbridge said “yes,” the voters of Great Barrington said “no” 955 to 596. So the school board needs to decide what’s next.

I know they’ve worked hard to come up with a plan that would fix and improve our high school. But, for what it’s worth, I know why I voted “no” and I’ve spoken to others who voted “no.”

Good news, bad news for BHRSD

November 25, 2013
By David Scribner

Hard as it may be for some to believe, the Berkshire Hills Regional School District is about to save taxpayers money. A modest amount to be sure – only $1.7 million – a drop in the bucket compared to the $56 million Monument Mountain High School renovation school officials had hoped the district would approve – but still, $1.7 million is $1.7 million

Sharon Harrison, the district’s business manager, informed the School Committee last week that refinancing district’s indebtedness would decrease repayments by $1.7 million, or 9.8 percent of the amount remaining for the construction of Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School and Monument Valley Regional Middle School. READ MORE >>


November 22, 2013
By Mickey Friedman

I just learned that something I’ve been doing for decades actually has a word to describe it. Who knew that when I left a party without saying goodbye, I’d been ghosting. Or pulling a ghost.

For me, it’s just too much to go person to person, or worse yet, to make oneself the center of attention by announcing to everyone it’s time to hit the road.

Many people think it’s impolite but I’ve always been a ghost.

The older I get, the more ghosting I seem to do.

Searching for Peace and Falafel

By David Scribner
November 16, 2013

If you’ve noticed I haven’t been in Fuel lately, conferring with Mickey Friedman — and perhaps you haven’t — or if you’ve been curious why my scribblings haven’t appeared in the local rag for the past two weeks — and maybe you haven’t — the reason is I’ve been in Israel.

On a mission. Several, actually. As I’ll explain later.

But first I must tell you how fascinating a place Israel is, how surprising the landscape, how gregarious and engaging the people, once you get past the “sectual” politics. Aaahh, the politics! Especially in Jerusalem. It’s the Black Hats and the Head Scarves simmering in a cauldron. Such bitterness, in a city that defies comprehension.

Some Lettuce and Tomato

November 8, 2013
By Mickey Friedman

Mel was hoping he’d score some lettuce and tomato. And thanks to Guido’s, Mel and friends offered 108 people salad with the chicken dinner Ski Butternut donated.

I joined Mel Greenberg and Jürek Zamoyski on their weekly rounds to gather food for People’s Pantry and the Berkshires Bounty dinner.


More Than Enough

October 14, 2013
By Mickey Friedman

In The Best Small Town in America, it seems we never have enough. Year after year, we say goodbye to the old, then spend ever-larger amounts to build the new. This has happened many times.

The money we allocated to fix the old firehouse went elsewhere, the years passed, and we were told it was too dangerous to use, too foolish to hold onto.

We’ve now got a multimillion dollar brand new firehouse while we wait to reap the meager benefits of selling the old firehouse for a song.


A Horse Named Sue

October 12, 2013
By Mickey Friedman

If we lived in the Twelfth Best Small Town in America I probably wouldn’t say anything. But somehow here in The Best Small Town in America, a dollar starts out a dollar, but becomes a five in no time at all.

Considering the thirty million we’ll be spending to fix the new/old high school, ten thousand seems like chump change. But there’s something so odd about this ten grand, I can’t seem to let it go.

We’re giving this ten grand to the Pawa Law Group, a Boston-based law firm to negotiate with and/or sue GE over the cleanup-to-come of the Housatonic. Stockbridge, Lenox, Sheffield, Lee and Pittsfield will put in their ten to make sixty, and the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will coordinate the effort.


I Miss You, Martin

September 16, 2013
By Mickey Friedman

These are indeed great days for America. For as we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the historic March on Washington, there are everywhere the clear signs that the racial divide is dissolving before us.

Sing Hallelujah, I say. No business as usual, but rather the autumn of freedom and equality.

I speak first of this year’s MTV Awards, for surely there was no clearer example of the crumbling color line than Miley Cyrus’ spirited attempt to be as insulting to black women as some black men have been in recent years. The once Disneyette, enthusiastic tongue afloat, twerked with the best of them, smacking a black fanny like there was no tomorrow. The MTV Awards a clarion testament to the once bold notion that bad taste belongs to no one race, that excess and egocentrism can, with prolonged struggle, trump color. And so I say, Sing Hallelujah.


Jobs, Not Debt

September 1, 2013
By Mickey Friedman

For the past two Sunday mornings, I’ve gotten to Fuel several minutes before seven. When I’ve seen men from the Department of Public Works emptying the trash cans on Main Street.

They’re working hard while most of The Best Small Town in America sleeps, carting away what we have discarded the day and night before.

I remember this when I get cranky thinking about the money we’ve spent on engineering fees for Downtown Redevelopment and the money we’re being asked to spend to fix Monument Mountain High School.

Because this is the best of government, and it happens when most people aren’t watching.


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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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