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West County Notebook

Toy drive in Ashfield today

ASHFIELD — The Ashfield Police Department will again host a “Stuff a Cruiser” toy drive, which will run through Dec. 21.

The cruiser to be “stuffed” with new, unwrapped toys will be parked at Nolan’s Neighbors convenience store on Main Street today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Our town continues to feel the effects of the recession,” said Police Chief Patrick Droney. “Some families are hurting. There are some that are much less fortunate than others. We are just trying to do a small part in helping families in the Ashfield area and give the kids a Christmas they might not otherwise enjoy.”

The program began about three years ago, Droney said. Last year, the town’s toy donations brightened the Christmases of six local families. Droney said the department has worked with local schools to identify families to be helped. New, unwrapped toys may also be dropped off at Town Hall during normal business hours: Monday and Tuesday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday 9 to 11 a.m. and Thursday 1 to 5 p.m.

Also, arrangements may be made by appointment, by calling the police department at 628-4441, ext. 1.

Auction proceeds to pay for library equipment

COLRAIN — Air-conditioning, wi-fi and e-readers will be coming to the Griswold Memorial Library, thanks to the success of Dec. 7’s “Home for the Holidays” auction. Proceeds of the auction and the pork dinner will help to restore the Colrain Historical Society’s damaged Joseph Goodhue Chandler portrait of Thomas Thompson as well.

Auctioneer Bill Pratt amused an audience of about 100 and kept a fast-paced bidding on paintings by Colrain artists, a variety of wood, metal and fabric objects by Colrain crafters, edibles fresh and canned as well as a host of services by local providers, many of them in the silent auction.

The return of the auction after a lapse of several years was prompted by the Colrain Historical Society and the Friends of Griswold Memorial Library as support for these organizations. Dinner for 80 people was provided by Sharon Call.

Although the town budget supports basic operating expenses,the library relies on fundraising by the Friends group for extras. Also, the Historical Society relies on fundraising to support its efforts to restore and maintain the hundreds of items in its collection donated from local homes.

Hawley planners to review solar bylaw

HAWLEY — The Planning Board will meet at 9 a.m. on Dec. 19 at the Town Office. The purpose is to discuss a draft bylaw related to the siting of large-scale, ground mounted solar panel arrays. Peggy Sloan of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments will be attending.

TEDx Falls talks are now online

SHELBURNE FALLS — “Preserving Special Places without Breaking the Bank,” “Dutch’s Wild Place” (High Ledges in Shelburne), and Josh Simpson’s “The Infinity Project and Beyond” were among the 22 topics discussed at this fall’s TEDxShelburne Falls conference in Memorial Hall. The overall theme of the talks was “A Sense of Place,” and all 22 videos from the Oct. 12 conference are available for free viewing online, according to Stacy Kontrabecki, who organized the event.

She said most of the videos are about 12 minutes each and together, they comprise about 3.5 hours of viewing time. They include 16 local speakers, and three local film makers have contributed to this project. According to Kontrabecki, the local-content talks have been viewed worldwide over 24,000 times since they were put online after Thanksgiving. To watch them online, go to:


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