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 …”

For the Love of Government

By Kurt Kruger
June 11, 2014

In late March, 1999, I traveled to Tyumen, Siberia with my — now former — wife to adopt a baby boy. It was and remains the greatest thing I have ever done. Traveling to Siberia under any circumstances is, well, proverbial. Traveling to Siberia and returning with a baby…

Nonetheless, even such an extraordinary way of starting a family has some things in common with the more usual way. There’s still the announcement to friends and family, “We’re going to have a baby!” There are lots of visits to the doctor’s office (for both parents, when adopting). The time from our commitment with the adoption agency until placement lasted about seven months, not far off gestation, especially since my son was born about five weeks short of full-term. And, of course, there was that unforgettable moment when I saw my child for the first time. All these years later, I smell again the bleach and chicken soup that seemed to ooze from the walls of the orphanage whenever I recall the first time that I saw the little bundle in mismatched pajamas.

Missing The Point

By Mickey Friedman
June 1, 2014

If you want to know what’s wrong with us these days, take a look at the Berkshire Eagle of May 13th. There’s a big two-page story atop The Berkshires, Section B, about a Pittsfield guy. The headline: “Man allegedly accepts pot parcel.”

The Berkshire County Drug Task Force was at his apartment after he took delivery of a parcel addressed to someone who lived there. A package sent via the U.S. Mail, police and prosecutors said, “that the officers knew contained twenty-two pounds of marijuana.”

Big news. Then there’s a story about one-fourth its size on Page 3 about two new climate studies: “West Antarctic ice sheet beginning alarming collapse.”

So you’ve got your box filled with marijuana and then you’ve got your melting ice sheet, the oceans rising ten feet, and the end as we know it of Miami, Manhattan, and a whole bunch of low-lying nations.


The Bear on The Hill

By Mickey Friedman
May 13, 2014

I’ve got mice. A friend’s got rats. Congressman Bill Shein just lost a duck to a fox.

Mice, rats, tigers, lions, and bears. Everywhere it’s war.

Congressman Bill, the most nonviolent of men, had to restrain himself when I suggested sympathy for the fox. He’s still haunted by his loss.


Thanksgiving Thursday

By Mickey Friedman
May 7, 2014

We of The Best Small Town in America are more than lucky. Because, for us, Thanksgiving comes not just once each year but once a week. That is, if you make your way to Taft Farms for Thanksgiving Thursday.

Now I’ve made fun of the everywhere farm-to-table label but Taft Farms is the real deal. A real farm. With two tables.

My friend Bob is always looking for places to eat, to sit, and read. Once a week we try to go out for an affordable lunch. We’ve had terrific lunch specials at Route 7 Grill and the Marketplace Café in Sheffield.

Bob took me to Thanksgiving Thursday. He loves Tuna Tuesday, but knows I love turkey.


Me and My Yo-Yo Ma

By Mickey Friedman
April 8, 2014

I have a thing for purple. And pigtails. Hers were reddish-blonde. It was like I was in a movie. With a halo of light about her. And even though I was making my way through the parking lot of America’s Most Expensive Food Co-op, I heard cellos. Many cellos.

Not just purple, but red and pink and orange and blue. A Steiner School rainbow.

A big smile came from some long-lost, love is ever-present everywhere part of my now cold and bitter heart.


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.

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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

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