Heather Bellow covers a variety of local and regional issues including those that affect economic development and the environment. She covers local businesses, municipal hearings, and does investigative reporting on topics like broadband, pipelines and pollution. She lives with her two teenagers in Great Barrington, where she’s lived since 2002.
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Articles by Heather Bellow
Gov. Baker economic secretary ‘surprised’ by criticism of broadband strategy for rural Western Massachusetts
Saturday, 21 Jan 2017 - Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration is quietly flirting with massive private companies like Comcast to deliver what will likely be inferior and expensive service to rural towns. “It’s a slow-rolling tragedy that will blight Western Massachusetts for generations.” -- Susan Crawford, Harvard law professor and director of the Berkshire Center for Internet and Society
Wednesday, 18 Jan 2017 - In Berkshire County, we have a free indoor sister event in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington at the Colonial Theatre on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event was organized by a local steering committee that includes Kristen van Ginhoven of Lenox-based WAM Theatre, which focuses on work by female theater artists and stories for women and girls, and volunteers Jayne Benjulian, Lynn Festa and Mary Lincoln.
Tuesday, 17 Jan 2017 - Ward says he wants to stay alert to potential consequences of future remediation and construction work at 100 Bridge St. in case “disturbances to the site could lead to enhanced pollution” of the Sheffield water supply.
Monday, 16 Jan 2017 - “Do you know that most of the poor people in our country are working everyday? They are making wages so low that they cannot begin to function in the mainstream of the economic life of our nation. These are facts which must be seen. And it is criminal to have people working on a full-time basis and a full-time job getting part-time income.” -- Dr. Martin Luther King, in a speech to Memphis sanitation workers in 1968, just before his assassination.
Saturday, 14 Jan 2017 - Prana Bar owner Shelly Williams says restaurant work is not about “the bottom line” for her. “We want to make people happy,” she said. “Why else be in this business?”
Thursday, 12 Jan 2017 - Housatonic Railroad Company Associate General Counsel Matt Whitney said the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction section “so far...determined that the railroad did nothing wrong.”
Thursday, 12 Jan 2017 - Representatives from Stockbridge, West Stockbridge and Great Barrington, along with school committee members, were finally able to hash out something that could ease some of Great Barrington’s financial burden.
Tuesday, 10 Jan 2017 - Wheeler & Taylor owns the building and the bank on the corner of Bridge and Main streets, and construction may block access to a 30-foot right of way that it was deeded access to.
Monday, 9 Jan 2017 - Developer Jeffrey Cohen of Mill Renaissance LLC said he modified his roughly $70 million redevelopment plan somewhat after two “significant” real estate development and construction companies approached him with the idea of a partnership to build an 85-room hotel.
Saturday, 7 Jan 2017 - One of the women filed a civil suit against the Berkshire HIlls Regional School District in federal court last June against the district and, in September 2016, two more women joined the suit, haunting the district with sexual abuse claims from the events of more than a decade ago. Muir was found not guilty of the charges in 2014.
Thursday, 5 Jan 2017 - The highly contaminated site, having sat idle and an eyesore in a mostly residential area–and with groundwater contaminated with PCPs right next to the Housatonic River–is wearing patience thin.
Thursday, 5 Jan 2017 - That sacred Native American sites are along the path is just the latest controversy over the pipeline in Otis State Forest. Tennessee Gas is still tied up in court with environmental groups over potential harm to water and animal habitats; the company reneged on a deal to give the town of Sandisfield $1 million for wear and tear to its roads and reimburse legal fees.
Wednesday, 4 Jan 2017 - The 8-acre parcel on the Housatonic River has sat for more than 20 years, scraggly and undeveloped, and is still loaded with chlorinated organic compounds like dioxins and PCPs. The site’s owner, Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire (CDC), will hold a public information meeting at the Mason Librarytoday (Wednesday, Jan. 4), at 5:30 p.m. to provide current plans for the site and gather public input.
Tuesday, 3 Jan 2017 - “Maybe there’s someone out there at the 11th hour. I don’t want the community to lose their music store. It’s a turnkey business.” -- Claudia d’Alessandro, owner of The Music Store in Great Barrington
Monday, 2 Jan 2017 - “We would have absolutely nothing if it wasn’t for everyone’s generosity. This incredible outpouring of love and support has provided our family with much comfort while having to face this devastating loss.” -- Dianna and David Lupiani, on the funds established to help them recover from the destruction of their home
Friday, 30 Dec 2016 - The Paris-based Middle East editor of Newsweek, Janine di Giovanni has written about atrocities of war from the civilian perspective. She gave a reading from “Dispatches from Syria” at Griffin in Great Barrington on Wednesday (December 28).
Thursday, 29 Dec 2016 - The announcement said the easement for Tennessee Gas’ Connecticut Expansion Project will include environmental mitigation, recreational improvements and securing additional conservation land.
Tuesday, 27 Dec 2016 - Developer Jeffrey Cohen says the town should deal with the property no matter who eventually develops it since it will require the town’s capacities in both finding funding and shouldering liability for the legacy of dry cleaning chemicals that are still migrating across town in groundwater.
Saturday, 24 Dec 2016 - Some Great Barrington Selectboard members lit up in 2011 as they considered the restoration of a hamlet that had fallen on hard times, especially after a massive fire wiped out the Aberdale block in the 1960s. Board members were also starry-eyed at the much-needed tax revenue potential.
Thursday, 22 Dec 2016 - At least a half dozen offers to buy the property have come in over the nine years it has been on the market, but the offers were too low to clear debts to the town and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
Tuesday, 20 Dec 2016 - "I want to express my gratitude to our Selectmen and our Police Department for creating and unanimously passing the ‘Sanctuary’ resolution at their last meeting. You made me proud to be a citizen of Great Barrington." --- Local author Daniel Klein, addressing the Selectboard
Jazz star Craig Harris’ trombone band at MMHRS to honor African-American poet, civil rights leader James Weldon Johnson
Monday, 19 Dec 2016 - NAACP leader and author James Weldon Johnson wrote “God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse,” in a little cabin off Alford Road on the Alford Brook and at the Mason Library.
Friday, 16 Dec 2016 - In Housatonic Flag Rock resident Ariane Blanchard and her neighbor say systemic mold infestation has created a toxic building syndrome that has made them sick. Remedies ordered by the Board of Health can’t be used because, her physician says, they will increase airborne mold.
Wednesday, 14 Dec 2016 - In the Berkshires, however, a lot of work has been done to get towns organized for a rail line, like locating stations so there’s at least a good 10-mile run between stops for efficiency.
Tuesday, 13 Dec 2016 - At the top of Railroad Street, the town will see the old Pearl’s and Martin’s building, once home to NAPA auto parts, revamped into new storefronts with apartments and office space.
Sunday, 11 Dec 2016 - The Red Cross has temporarily placed the family at the Day’s Inn on Main Street, and Multicultural BRIDGE is helping the family with meals, transportation and services, explained Fire Chief Charles Burger.
Thursday, 8 Dec 2016 - The restaurant had to be gutted and the Lewises struggled with insurance adjustors in the meantime, trying to find a way to reopen. “The fire was a life changer. If the insurance process was easier and quicker, the outcome would have been better.” -- Martin Lewis, owner of Martin's Restaurant
Wednesday, 7 Dec 2016 - “Families are frightened, scared and beaten down. What the staff and I do is give them the strength to go to the other organizations, to get through this and get past this.” --- Michelle Derr, CHP director of WIC [Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program] Family Services
Wednesday, 7 Dec 2016 - The fire affected the “electrical, insulation, and the storage around [the oven],” but the the structure was untouched, said Fire Chief Charles Burger.
Tuesday, 6 Dec 2016 - “We don’t need more people from New York and Boston to come spend millions of dollars on houses....the town needs to be rejuvenated.....to function as a community. We need families.” -- Sally Underwood Miller, criticizing the proposed massive redevelopment of the former DeSisto School campus on Route 183
Saturday, 3 Dec 2016 - The circa 1870s building will in some way be transformed into a place to honor the area’s African American history. Friends of A.M.E. Zion had collected or been promised around $30,000, and needs a total of $100,000 to buy the building.
Thursday, 1 Dec 2016 - In 2008 Hazen Paper Company bought the building from Neenah Paper Company for $785,000 according to John Hazen, whose company has never had any dealings with GE but whose building is subject to the restriction allowing only industrial use for 12 more years.