The mixing board at WBCR-LP in Great Barrington. Photo courtesy Berkshire Community Radio Alliance

Bits & Bytes: WBCR update; ‘Spring into Reading’; students advocate climate legislation; Mountainside telehealth screenings

“Spring into Reading” is the Great Barrington Libraries’ community-wide initiative to help residents whose experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has been coupled with economic and food insecurity.

WBCR programming despite difficulties brought on by COVID-19

Great Barrington — Berkshire Radio Community Alliance has overcome the technical snafus that have kept WBCR-LP from broadcasting from its new location on Main Street but, due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, live broadcasting has been put on hold.

Programming for the station is on the back burner, however. Since the community radio group left its former Rosseter Street location, volunteers have carefully stored the mixing board and other valuable equipment, and have kept automated programming going 24/7 to meet FCC regulations. WBCR’s technicians have made progress on uploading programs remotely in preparation for prerecorded shows to be broadcast. Online workshops will be held for those who want to learn how to prerecord at home. WBCR has also reached out to local emergency response organizations in order to craft ongoing updates for the community.

WBCR will hold a virtual town hall Saturday, April 4, from 5 to 6 p.m., during which members of the board of directors and operations team will provide updates on what is happening at the station now, and what plans are afoot for the immediate and long-term future. They will also ask participants how the station can help during this unusual time and discuss what sorts of online workshops would be beneficial. To sign up for the town hall meeting, contact Judy Eddy at judy@judyeddy.com.

–E.E.

*     *     *

Great Barrington Libraries hold ‘Spring into Reading’ community fundraiser

The Mason Library on Main Street in Great Barrington. Photo: Terry Cowgill

Great Barrington — “Spring into Reading” is the Great Barrington Libraries’ community-wide initiative to help residents whose experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has been coupled with economic and food insecurity.

For each book read by a community member, the Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries will donate $1 to the People’s Pantry, which will be matched and doubled by a grant from Anne G. Fredericks and Marc Fasteau for $2 each for a potential donation of $1,500. Participants can track their books using the Beanstack app. Individuals are also encouraged to donate to the People’s Pantry over and above participation in “Spring into Reading” (volunteer time, food and/or money), as well as to the Friends of the GB Libraries, whose support made the initiative possible.

Those wishing to be a matching donor for the initiative should contact Holly at hhamer3143@yahoo.com.

–E.E.

*     *     *

Miss Hall’s students urge elected officials to pass climate legislation

Pittsfield — Last month, members of Students for Climate Action’s Pittsfield chapter, located at Miss Hall’s School, met with Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, to discuss current and future state climate legislation. S4CA is a committee of high school students from across the country who are demanding climate change action from elected officials. By meeting with Hinds, the students gained insight into potential climate legislation while expressing their need for it to be passed. This legislation includes S.1923, An Act to Advance Electric Vehicle Adoption; S.2477, An Act Setting Next-Generation Climate Policy, which hopes to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; and S.2478, An Act Relative to Energy Savings Efficiency. The students have also been writing to letters to their representatives urging them to pass these bills. This legislation all supports S4CA’s mission as a nonpartisan climate action committee that mobilizes students to engage elected officials to act on climate change and be a part of the solution by supporting climate policies and 100% renewable energy initiatives.

–E.E.

*     *     *

Mountainside offering telehealth services during COVID-19 outbreak

Canaan, Conn. — Practicing social distancing, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, presents a new set of concerns for those struggling with addiction, many of whom depend on regular in-person interactions with a therapist, recovery coach or other members of a support network to reinforce commitment to sobriety. To “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus while continuing to support those with substance use and mental health disorders, Mountainside treatment center is now offering a telehealth option for its outpatient services and recovery coaching programs.

Mountainside also announced that its Connecticut facilities will now temporarily provide aid to individuals with mood disorders, including those who are not struggling with addiction, which means that family members of addicted individuals as well as community members struggling with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health concerns can meet virtually with credentialed counselors to work through challenges as they arise.

“Connections are an essential component of the human experience, and isolation — despite being necessary in the short term — can have a negative impact on anyone’s mental health over time,” said Mountainside chief operating officer Andre Basso. “We recognize that the need to communicate with others is more important than ever and encourage community members in need to reach out for assistance. Though many are confined to their homes, they do not have to feel emotionally trapped.”

–E.E.