West County Notebook: Sept. 7, 2017

Wednesday, September 06, 2017
Ashfield OKs bridge engineers

ASHFIELD — The Selectboard has approved Gill Engineering Associates of Needham for the design work to replace a bridge on Apple Valley Road over the upper branch of Clesson Brook. The $87,000 engineering costs are to come out of the $500,000 state grant Ashfield received this spring through the Small Bridges Program. Highway Superintendent Thomas Poissant said the original cost estimate for the bridge replacement was about $800,000. The Selectboard hopes to have the engineering plans in time to go out to bid for next year’s construction season.

Ashfield board backs library fixes

ASHFIELD — The Belding Memorial Library Trustees are hoping to have library roof leaks repaired before snow flies this year, but are concerned that replacement of some asphalt shingles on the roof could bump up costs because of asbestos removal.

“It’s a small but complicated job,” said Trustees Chairwoman Marcine Eisenberg. Bids for the rear-roof repair, mainly along the seams in the back addition of the library, went out on Wednesday. The library has about $13,000 in its capital campaign funding, and another $17,000 in its donations account, but wanted the Selectboard to know the project could cost more if asbestos removal is involved. She said the plan is to have asphalt architectural shingles and anodized aluminum that is made to look like copper flashing. She said the roof joins, where different parts of the roof meet, are the main problems.

Meanwhile, the library has a downstairs room that appears to be a good space for the town’s future broadband equipment “hub.” Eisenberg said the space is currently used to store chairs and has never had problems with water leaks. The hub would require a better heating, venting, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system than the library now has. Eisenberg suggested that the town could consider putting in a new HVAC system for the building, in return for using the library space.

Ashfield gains money in drug seizure

ASHFIELD — About $1,156 was forfeited in a March 2017 drug seizure that took place in Ashfield, and the town stands to gain half that sum, providing a special account is opened to handle the money. Police Chief Beth Bezio told the Selectboard the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office will hold onto Ashfield’s share until the town can create a new account, which would be added to the town’s “revolving accounts” table during annual town meeting.

According to state law money and the proceeds from such a seizure are to be distributed equally between the prosecuting district attorney and the city, town or state police department involved in the seizure.

Comedy comes to Memorial Hall

SHELBURNE FALLS — “Later Life” by A. R. Gurney — a comedy about a middle-age couple in Boston finding love and contemplating taking a chance — will be performed by “Footlights at the Falls” local actors on Sept. 15, 16, 17, 22 and 23 at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls.

“It’s a funny and sweet story about a couple who meet at a party in Boston in 1992 and find they have a little bit of a shared history,” said Jackie Walsh, the show’s producer and founder of Footlights.

In this play, a couple in Boston try to recall their first meeting and start getting to know each other again. Five men and five women, each with their own quirks, take turns interrupting the two with ponderings about food, Boston and love.

The group’s most recent play, “Dixie Swim Club,” marked the return of theater to Memorial Hall last year after a 15-year hiatus, according to Walsh. West County Players put on plays in the hall in the 1990s and early 2000s, but very few plays have happened there since then, she said.

Grants from local cultural councils are supporting the production of “Later Life.”

Showtimes are 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Sept. 17. Tickets are $12 for all shows except the matinee, which is $6. Tickets may be reserved at shelburnejackieb@gmail.com and bought at the door.

Business After Hours at Apex Orchards

SHELBURNE — This month’s “Business After Hours” program takes place at scenic Apex Orchards, 225 Peckville Road, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. Sponsored by the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association, this is an opportunity for local business leaders to meet and network.

Besides the panoramic view from a summit and snacks on the patio, participants can ride through the orchard and meet with Tim Smith, the owner and operator of the orchard and the farm store. Cost is $5 for GSFABA members and $8 for non-members.