Friday, June 21, 2024

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In Focus

THE OTHER SIDE: PCB YITBY — Yes, PCBs In Their Back Yard

It is not hyperbole to imagine that we are in the midst of a war on humanity—humanity, as in possessing the quality of being humane, of manifesting kindness and benevolence.

THE DEVELOPER (Part Six): A different Prospect Lake campground is coming into view. Does it matter whom it’s for?

In addition to his downtown Great Barrington projects, Alander Group’s Ian Rasch has set out to transform the century-old Prospect Lake Park campground in Egremont into an upscale "park model RV" resort. The change is a shock to those who spent summers there for years. Rasch says he has plans to make space for the community.

THE DEVELOPER (Part Five): If nothing else, a pivot to upscale apartments at 343 Main Street made good business sense. Here’s when and how...

As developer Ian Rasch’s negotiations with the BCC Foundation dragged on through 2020 and 2021, and some proposed tenants dropped out, the hot real-estate market and an unexpected expense may have combined to nudge the project from health-and-wellness center to large, luxury apartments. In part five of seven of this Edge In Focus series, more details about the evolution of this Alander Group project.

THE DEVELOPER (Part Four): A proposed ‘Sustainable Food Lab and Health and Wellness Center’ for 343 Main Street didn’t materialize. What happened?

In part four of a seven-part Edge In Focus series, plans for culinary training and a health-and-wellness center at the former BCC building were scuttled soon after the town awarded Alander Group a $250,000 grant to restore the historic façade. Instead, it will contain 13 large, upscale apartments including a few designated as affordable. Developer Ian Rasch says the original plan fell apart. The town committee that recommended the grant has questions.

THE DEVELOPER (Part Three): Ian Rasch is relocating his Mahaiwe Block residential tenants. What should other downtown tenants expect?

Now that he owns the historic Mahaiwe Block at the corner of Main and Castle streets, Rasch will shortly begin a significant two-year renovation project. He’s offered financial and relocation assistance to the few remaining tenants. What should other downtown tenants expect if their buildings go up for sale—like the Gorham & Norton building did this week?

THE DEVELOPER (Part Two): Alander’s Ian Rasch champions a ‘mixed-income’ downtown. But who’s likely to rent his upscale apartments?

Developer Ian Rasch says his formula for acquisition and redevelopment will enable Alander to contribute to a “mixed-income” downtown in Great Barrington. How accurate that is, and what it means for affordable and workforce housing, may depend in part on whether the town steps up soon with effective housing policy, financial resources, or both.

THE DEVELOPER (Part One): Ian Rasch has plans for Great Barrington. Do they include everyone?

As real-estate developer Ian Rasch builds luxury downtown apartments and transforms an Egremont campground to appeal to a much different clientele, how will his current and future projects impact a region facing a housing crisis and continuing gentrification? In this seven part Edge In Focus series, columnist Bill Shein takes an in-depth and revealing look.

THE OTHER SIDE: Orange Jesus took the Fifth

It seems Orange Jesus is now a new name of Donald John Trump, the once and, many Americans still pray, future President of the United States of America. I think the term has something to do with Q. And because he so successfully mobilized a veritable army of followers, including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. And because so many are impressed he steadfastly refused to acknowledge defeat at the hands of the Democratic Devil.

THE OTHER SIDE: Z is for Zelensky

"Z" has become omnipresent in Russia since its invasion of Ukraine. But there has been considerable debate as to what the "Z," a letter that does not exist in the Cyrillic Russian alphabet, stands for.

The Other Side: Our dark, deepest secrets

Only those who haven’t been watching can’t understand why he grabbed as many of our secrets as he could and stuffed them in his luggage. Only those who turn their backs on recent history can’t imagine the damage he might do.

The Other Side: COVID—What, me worry?

I hope you will at least consider putting aside the COVID "What, Me Worry?" advice for the near future, and think about a policy of care and concern (with, when necessary, some calculated worry).

The Other Side: Socially acceptable infectious insanity (SAII-22)

If you suspect you might have been exposed to SAII-22 at a Trump rally or a clandestine meeting of the Proud Boys or Girls, or maybe because you’ve been watching too much Tucker Carlson, make an appointment to see a professional.

The Other Side: Our pharma’s market

As Big Pharma’s CEOs are making money hand over fist, ordinary Americans are paying far more for a wide range of drugs than the people of other nations.

The Other Side: On burn pits and the loss of a friend

"Maybe it’s just me, but it seems all connected. The continuing criminal neglect for the mental and physical health of our service people. While Halliburton and KBR made billions. While the politicians continue to live off their blood money donations of the military-industrial complex."

IN FOCUS: Pending sale of downtown building may add to Great Barrington’s housing woes

Concerns regarding the affordability of living in Great Barrington continue amidst reports that the 117-year-old Mahaiwe Block at the corner of Main Street and Castle Street may be sold to real-estate developer Ian Rasch of Alander Group.

The Other Side: ‘Re-COVID’ should continue to concern us all

When a virus lays you low, keeps you from work, from seeing your friends and loved ones, or puts you in a hospital, or in the ICU, how exactly do you keep it from disrupting your life?

The Other Side: In the land of the Davids

In his latest column, Mickey Friedman lays out how the EPA and General Electric can clean up Housatonic River PCB contamination without relying on the proposed plan to create a toxic waste dump in Lee.