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News Briefs: GB candidates’ forum; HeatSmart Great Barrington kickoff; area summer camps certified with Lyme disease safety standards

HeatSmart Great Barrington, a state-funded program to help Great Barrington residents save on their energy bills while reducing their carbon footprints, will kick off Tuesday, May 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church.

Candidates’ forum to be held at senior center

Great Barrington — The NEWSletter and the Great Barrington Democratic Town Committee will hold a public forum for all candidates, opposed and unopposed, running for office in Great Barrington’s town elections Wednesday, May 9, at 6:30 p.m. at the Claire Teague Senior Center, 917 Main St.

Paul Gibbons will serve as moderator and the audience may question the candidates. Refreshments will be available. The forum will be recorded by CTSB-TV for later broadcast.

Town elections will be held Tuesday, May 15, with polls open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Great Barrington firehouse, 37 State Road, for precincts A, C and D; and the Housatonic Community Center, 1064 Main St., Housatonic, for precinct B.

For more information, contact Great Barrington Democratic Town Committee Chair Michael Wise at (413) 854-1323 or

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HeatSmart Great Barrington to kick off program

Great Barrington — HeatSmart Great Barrington, a state-funded program to help Great Barrington residents save on their energy bills while reducing their carbon footprints, will kick off Tuesday, May 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 251 Main St., with a public event at which residents can learn about the program and the rebates and incentives available, meet the installer, and hear from neighbors who use the same clean heating and cooling systems in their homes.

In fall of 2017, a group of local volunteers teamed up with the town to apply for a unique opportunity from HeatSmart Massachusetts, a community-based education and group-purchasing program for clean heating and cooling technologies. Great Barrington was chosen as one of only four community grantees statewide that would participate in the first round, and subsequently chose cold-climate air-source heat pumps for promotion through the program. HeatSmart Mass is a partnership among the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Department of Energy Resources, local municipal officials and community volunteers.

With support from a team of technical experts, the town worked with its volunteer team to select Climate Heating & Cooling in Pittsfield as the installer for HeatSmart Great Barrington. Representatives from Climate Heating & Cooling will be on hand at the event to explain how the air-source heat pumps efficiently heat and cool a building, and to answer residents’ questions.

To participate in HeatSmart Great Barrington, residents are encouraged to sign up for a free home energy assessment through Mass Save; and also for sign up for a free, no-obligation site visit from the installer. For more information, contact the HeatSmart Great Barrington coach Michael Feldstein at


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Area summer camps certified with Lyme disease safety standards

Stamford, Conn. — While selecting a summer camp for children based on range of activities and reputation is important, two details that often escape parents’ attention are the understanding of the risk of disease-carrying ticks and the implementation of comprehensive tick-bite prevention programs. The Global Lyme Alliance, through its partnership with Ivy Oaks Analytics, is working to protect campers from the threats of tick-borne illnesses.

To protect campers and staff, 12 area camps have partnered with Ivy Oaks to implement a large-scale tick population monitoring and control certification program. So far this year, more than 100 camps in 14 states—double the number since last year—have signed on to receive certification.

Ivy Oaks provides ongoing tracking of tick populations, host-oriented tick control, landscape modification solutions, natural control methods and more. Staff members at each participating camp also receive tick-safety training through GLA’s “Be Tick AWARE” program. Each camp receives a kit that contains a “Check 4 Ticks” body check poster, a tick-remover tool, a tick identification card and a poster with prevention tips. GLA also makes the kits available to the public at

Camps that implement the program receive advanced public health safety certification from Ivy Oaks that is recognized by GLA. To date, there is no method for a parent to know how bad the ticks are at each individual summer camp. The Ivy Oaks certification is the lone credential available that indicates camp tick safety standards.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 329,000 people in the U.S. are infected with Lyme disease each year. The disease is spread by tiny deer ticks, each about the size of a poppy seed. Children aged 3 to 14 are at particularly high risk for tick bites and have the highest national incidence of Lyme disease. Ticks are found in many settings at outdoor camps including playing fields, shady wooded areas, woodland trails, tall grasses, stone walls, leaf litter, fallen logs and even wooden picnic tables.

Area camps certified include URJ Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, Massachusetts; URJ Crane Lake Camp in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts; Camp Mah-Kee-Nac in Lenox, Massachusetts; Camp Winadu in Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Camp Danbee in Peru, Massachusetts; Camp Pontiac and Berkshire Hills Eisenberg Camp in Copake, New York; Camp Scatico in Elizaville, New York; Camp Schodack in Nassau, New York; Vovcha Tropa-Plast Camp in East Chatham, New York; Brant Lake Camp in New York; and Camp Echo Lake in Warrensburg, New York.

An online list of Ivy Oaks-certified camps is available.


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