Hilltown Families 4th Annual Board Game Swap

Hilltown Families
Community Board Game Swap

A fun way to recycle old board games and to discover new ones. Board games make excellent holiday gifts for friends and family too. Surprise them with a new recycled game. This community swap is free and open to everyone.

On Saturday, December 7th, 2013 from 9:30-11am, Hilltown Families is sponsoring a free Board Game Swap in the community room at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA. All community members are invited to bring in complete board games they’d like to swap.

Swapping board games with other families gives the community a chance to come together and discover new games while rejuvenating their collection of board games. Having new board games to explore with our kids opens up opportunities for families to spend time together, while allowing children to practice skills and concepts.  Puzzles and card games are welcomed too.  Any leftover complete games, puzzles and card games will be donated to the Meekins Library Holiday Market.

What: Hilltown Families Board Game Swap
Where: Meekins Library Community Room (Route 9, Williamsburg, MA)
When: Saturday, December 7th, 2013
Time: 9:30-11am
Cost: Free
Who: All are welcomed!

Hilltown Families 3rd Annual Board Game Swap

Hilltown Families
Community Board Game Swap

A fun way to recycle old board games and to discover new ones. Board games make excellent holiday gifts for friends and family too. Surprise them with a new recycled game. This community swap is free and open to everyone.

On Saturday, December 1st, 2012 from 9:30-10:30am, Hilltown Families is sponsoring a free Board Game Swap in the community room at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA. All community members are invited to bring in complete board games they’d like to swap. New this year, incomplete games are welcomed and will be donated to the Northampton DPW’s ReUse Committee.

Swapping board games with other families gives the community a chance to come together and discover new games while rejuvenating their collection of board games. Having new board games to explore with our kids opens up opportunities for families to spend time together, while allowing children to practice skills and concepts.  Puzzles and card games are welcomed too.  Any leftover complete games, puzzles and card games will be donated to the Meekins Library Holiday Market.

What: Hilltown Families Board Game Swap
Where: Meekins Library Community Room (Route 9, Williamsburg, MA)
When: Saturday, December 1st, 2012
Time: 9:30-10:30am
Cost: Free
Who: All are welcomed!

Hilltown Families 2nd Annual Board Game Swap

Community Board Game Swap

A fun way to recycle old board games and to discover new ones. Board games make excellent holiday gifts for friends and family too! Surprise them with a new recycled game. This community swap is free and open to everyone.

On Saturday, December 3rd from 9:30-10:30am, Hilltown Families is sponsoring a free Board Game Swap in the community room at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA. All community members are invited to bring in complete board games they’d like to swap.

Swapping board games with other families gives the community a chance to come together and discover new games while rejuvenating their collection of board games. Having new board games to explore with our kids opens up opportunities for families to spend time together, while allowing children to practice skills and concepts.

What: Hilltown Families Board Game Swap
Where: Meekins Library Community Room (Williamsburg, MA)
When: Saturday, December 3rd, 2011
Time: 9:30-10:30am
Cost: Free

The Importance of Creative Play in a Commercialized World

Hilltown Families presents…

The Importance of Creative Play
in a Commercialized World
A Community Conversation with Dr. Susan Linn
Tuesday, Nov 15th from 7-9pm
Meekins Library • Williamsburg, MA

Co-sponsored by the Media Education Foundation and the Odyssey Bookshop.

Hilltown Families presents “The Importance of Creative Play in a Commercialized World” with Dr. Susan Linn, author of The Case for Make Believe and Consuming Kids on Tuesday, November 15th from 7-9pm in the Hawks~Hayden Community Room at the Meekins Library, 2 Williams Street in Williamsburg, MA (FREE).

In the critically acclaimed Consuming Kids, Dr. Linn, the nation’s leading advocate for protecting children from corporate marketers, provided an unsparing look at modern childhood molded by commercialism. In her book, The Case for Make Believe, Dr. Linn argues that while play is crucial to human development and children are born with an innate capacity for make believe, the convergence of ubiquitous technology and unfettered commercialism actually prevents them from playing.

In an era when toys come from television and media companies sell videos as brain-builders for babies, Dr. Linn lays out the inextricable links between play, creativity, and health, showing us how and why to preserve the space for make believe that children need to be happy and to become productive adults. Dr. Linn will speak about her book and help generate ideas for preserving non-commercialized creative play, especially around the holidays. - Join us on Tuesday, Nov 15th from 7-9pm for a community conversation with Dr. Susan Linn in Williamsburg . (FREE)

This talk is free and open to all adults and older students studying the effects of commercialization and childhood development. A Q&A session will follow along with a book signing.  Titles will be available for sale on site in limited quantities.

Book Giveaway: We’re giving away a couple of copies of The Case for Make Believe to our readers. Find out how you can enter to win below.  Deadline to enter to win is November 14th by 12noon.

ABOUT DR. SUSAN LINN

Susan Linn, Ed.D. is co-founder and director of The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. An award-winning producer, writer, and puppeteer, she is the author of The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World, and Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood and lectures internationally on reclaiming childhood from corporate marketers. She has been featured on Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, The Today Show, The Colbert Report and Good Morning America.  In 2006, she received the American Psychological Association’s Presidential Citation for her work on behalf of children. Dr. Linn lives in Brookline, MA.

ENTER TO WIN

A Q&A session will follow the talk and Hilltown Families invites the community to submit questions to Dr. Linn in advance about the importance of make believe and how to preserve creative play for our children. Submit your questions in the comment field below and be entered to win a copy of Dr. Linn’s book, The Case for Make Believe. Must include your full name and town to be eligible to win. We’ll randomly draw winners and will share the results below. Winner does not need to be present at the event to win.

Questions can also be submitted to hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

This is the first in a series of Community Conversations presented by Hilltown Families that invite the community to engage in conversations on the themes of helping children connect to the good inside each of them and their development of empathy for others and the world around them.


❤  Thank you ❤ to our co-sponsors of “The Importance of Creative Play in a Commercialized World,” the Media Education Foundation and the Odyssey Bookshop.

Annual Day of the Dead Community Altar & Celebration in Williamsburg

El Diá de los Muertos Honored at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA

Day of the Dead Altar at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA

Bring your Day of the Dead mementos to add to the community altar at the Meekins Libray in Williamsburg, MA between Oct 22- Nov 10. Day of the Dead is November 1st & 2nd. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Between October 22nd-November 10th, community members are invited to join in the celebration of the traditional Mexican holiday, El Diá de los Muertos, by bringing mementos in memory of friends, family and pets to add to the Meekins Library annual community altar. Photos, cards, sugar skulls and real or paper marigolds are welcomed.

On Monday, October 31st, the library will be open for treats and authentic Pan de Muertos (Day of the Dead Bread).

The Meekins Library is located at 2 Williams Street (Route 9) in Williamsburg and is opened Tues. 12Noon-5pm; Wed. 10am-8pm; Thurs. 3pm-8pm; and Sat. 9am-3pm. For further information, call the Meekins Library at 413-268-7472.

Find out more about the Day of the Dead (known as El Diá de los Muertos in Spanish) at El Diá de los Muertos (Video & Resources).

Opening Reception for “Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit” in Williamsburg

Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit
On Display in Williamsburg in September
Opening Reception: Sat., Sept 17th from 2:30-4:30pm

The Neil Hammer Gallery of the Hawks~Hayden Community Room at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg is currently hosting a photography exhibit by Hilltown Families’ founder and director, Sienna Wildfield. The photos tell stories of life in the Hilltowns and illustrate the culture and values of the area. Entitled, “Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit of Life and Landscape in Western MA,” the show features images of life in the Hilltowns (and how it changes) throughout the seasons.

OPENING RECEPTION:

There will be an opening reception on September 17th from 2:30-4:30pm at the Meekins Library (Route 9 in Williamsburg). Come see images of life and landscape from around Western MA while enjoying the company of friends and neighbors. Refreshments offered will include pastries donated by Hilltown Families sponsor, Bread Euphoria. – Sales of images from the exhibit benefit Hilltown Families, so bring your checkbooks!


Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit” is supported in part by grants from local Cultural Councils in Ashfield, Buckland, Chesterfield and Cummington — all local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Summer Music Series in the Hilltowns Features Local Musicians

Angel Park Outdoor Concert Series

Spend Thursday in Williamsburg. First stop, Burgy Thursday Market, followed by an evening concert on the lawn at Angel Park. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Williamsburg’s The Angel Park Summer Music Series begins its summer-long music series this Thursday, July 7th, showcasing the great talent that resides in Western MA on the intimate and lovely grounds of Williamsburg’s Quiet Reflections Garden (behind the Williamsburg Grange).

The series is free and all performances begin at 7pm, following the Burgy Farmers’ Market just across the street at the Meekins Library. Series coordinator, Tom Adams, writes, “I’m really happy with the lineup this year. There’s no shortage of great talent around the Pioneer Valley but to be able to gather these fine musicians for the people in town…for them to enjoy the music & relax in such a beautiful setting… it’s a real pleasure for me.”

Featured performances include:

“The word is spreading about this little musical/garden nook that has been created & maintained by the hard work of Nick Dines, Donna Baldwin and the Angel Park Committee, and this year the numbers should continue to grow, especially with the addition of Williamsburg’s Farmers’ Market, Burgy Thursday Market,” writes Adams. “It’s such a perfect combination… head to the Farmers’ Market for your fresh farm products and then stroll over to Angel Park to listen to some great music. It’s what summer’s all about!”

To find out more about the series visit www.angelparkmusic.info.

Hilltown Families Board Game Swap


On Saturday, December 18th from 9-10am, Hilltown Families is sponsoring a free Board Game Swap in the community room at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA. All community members are invited to bring in complete board games they’d like to swap.

Swapping board games with other families gives the community a chance to come together and discover new games while rejuvenating their collection of board games. Having new board games to explore with our kids opens up opportunities for families to spend time together, while allowing children to practice skills and concepts.

You can also bring in a donation for the Northampton Survival Center, Hilltown Pantry, and/or Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society … and do a little shopping at the Meekins Market.

What: Hilltown Families Board Game Swap
Where: Meekins Library Community Room (Williamsburg, MA)
When: Saturday, December 18th, 2010
Time: 9-10am
Cost: Free

Holiday Sharing and Caring at the Meekins Library

Join the Holiday Sharing and Caring at the Meekins Library now through December. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Daria D’Arienzo of the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA writes:

The Meekins Library in Williamsburg is the place to find a gift for someone special, donate a coat or sweater to keep someone warm, add some hearty food items to the Hilltown Food Pantry and Northampton Survival Center, and bring a treat for our furry friends at the Dakin Animal Shelter. Stop in for these gifting and giving opportunities.

The seasonal Meekins Market is back! Do your holiday shopping here. Look for the bright red and green signs as you enter the library. Children and adults will find lots of small, and not so small, inexpensive gifts to give friends and loved ones. Kids, don’t know what to give your parents or grandparents? Grandparents, want something for the grandkids? Looking for an idea for your best friend, but your budget is limited? Find it at Meekins Market. Most items are between $.05 cents and $5 dollars. Find stuffed animals, decorative objects, household items, jewelry, office supplies, holiday items and of course books! Perfect presents for family and friends—all lovingly donated to the Meekins Market. Think of it as the newest trend in recycling. Fun stuff and a good deal!

The Library is collecting warm clothes and food good for the Hilltown Pantry and the Northampton Survival Center. We are also collecting blankets, toys and food for our animal neighbors, who are looking for new homes, now living at the Dakin Animal Shelter. Help Meekins staff, volunteers and friends to the Meekins fill the big table in the Helen Bacon Rotunda to the brim. Drop off your donations soon. Let’s keep everybody warm and fed!

“Move it For Meekins” long sleeve and short sleeve T-shirts are always a big hit. They come in kids and adult sizes and in a range of colors, including blues and gray. They feature Sadie, the late Library cat—who won the hearts of all Meekins visitors. The Friends of the Williamsburg Libraries have them available sale.

Don’t forget to get and give the gift that keeps giving—a library card. It’s free and lasts a lifetime and is good for books, magazines, DVD’s, CD’s, provides access to the virtual world, serves as a passport to all library programs and so much more.

Explore the Meekins Library in Williamsburg this holiday season. Shirley Cranston’s Winter Wonderland Scene will be on display in the Hawks~Hayden Community Room during December. Read holiday classics on December 5, 2010. Check the website at www.meekins-library.org for our seasonal programs and stop by any time the library is open: Tuesdays from 12Noon-5pm; Wednesdays from10am-8pm; Thursdays from 3pm-8pm and Saturdays from 9am-3pm.

Bread and Books Benefit Hilltown Libraries

Bread and Books at Bread Euphoria: A Fundraising Benefit for the Williamsburg Libraries

Bread & Books, a benefit for the Meekins and Haydenville Libraries. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Join local writers and readers for good food and good conversation on Monday, November 8th, 2011, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Bread Euphoria, in Haydenville, MA to support the Meekins and Haydenville libraries. Enjoy hot soup and home-cooked casseroles and of course bread and treats provided by Bread Euphoria and friends, on a cold autumn evening for Bread and Books, a fundraising event.

Find out what Patricia Maclachlan, Ann Turner, Ellen Wittlinger, Rochelle Wildfong, Erica Verillo, Jack Barry and Jim Cahillane love to read. Talk with them about their books, your books and more books! Come to Bread and Books!

Do you have a beloved book that you read again and again? Is there a special book that you read to your child or grandchild each night? Have you ever wondered if your favorite author has a favorite book?

Enjoy hot soup and home-cooked casseroles and of course bread and treats provided by Bread Euphoria and friends. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Bring your favorite book and be among the first people to have your picture taken with your all-time favorite book and inaugurate the dynamic “Williamsburg Reads” portraits that will be on display in the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA.

This fundraising evening with our community authors will benefit the Meekins and Haydenville Libraries. Seating is limited.  Neighbors are ready to help with rides so everyone who wants to can come. For information call: 268-7472 or email ddarienzo@me.com.

Community Mapping Project: Building Community Resiliency in the Hilltowns

Transition Williamsburg Event: Are You on the Map?

Williamsburg and surrounding communities are welcomed to come learn more about The Transition Movement on Sunday, April 11th from 3-7pm at the Grange Hall in Williamsburg, MA.

  • From 3-4pm there will be a free screening of the movie, In Transition: From Oil Dependence to Local Resilience
  • From 4-5pm there will be a Community Mapping Project  & Clothing Swap
  • And from 5-7pm a community potluck
  • Child care will be available from 3-5pm

The film, In Transition: From Oil Dependence to Local Resilience is about change and hope, showing a practical vision for creating a post-consumer society, where ordinary people make a difference. To follow is a teaser of this film showing the first 8 minutes. Please come to the Grange on April 11th from 3-4pm to share in a free community screening and discussion:

A Community Mapping Project will following the screening to help identify resources and skills in the surrounding area. By gathering information we can encourage connections between individuals and coalitions -  and skills and needs of the community can be mapped out to make us more resilient during these times of transition.

There will be a clothing swap during the Community Mapping Project too. Bring your families clothes you don’t want or have outgrown (both children & adult clothing) and swap for clothes you do want!

A community potluck will follow from 5-7pm Bring a labeled dish to share.

For more informationl, contactl Marie Westburg 268-7899 or Laura Porter 268-3191
See www.transitionus.org for info. about this grassroots movement that is spreading worldwide!

Sponsored by Transition Williamsburg.

Speak Up Now to Save the Western Mass Regional Library System!

Hi families,

I just wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of the pending budget cuts for WMRLS, the Western Massachusetts Regional Library System.  Please take a moment to read what  Rochelle Wildfong (Children’s Librarian at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg), Lisa Wenner (Library Director of the Meekins Library in Williamsburg) and Liz Castro of Ashfield have shared about the proposed funding cuts (links below) … and TAKE ACTION.

Below are links to review with resources.  Please let others who value our local libraries know about the proposed dismantle of WMRLS.  And take a moment to let your reps know how you feel.  Lisa will be traveling to Boston on Thursday.  Please check in with her on how you can help.  Stop by the library this week!

  • Letter to our Legislators: Nothing Will Be Improved to Dismantle Western Massachusetts Regional Library System
  • Letter to our Legislators: Please Support Regional Library Funding 7000-9401
  • Speak Up Now to Save the Western Mass Regional Library System
  • Warm regards,
    Sienna Wildfield

    Letter to our Legislators: Nothing Will Be Improved to Dismantle Western Massachusetts Regional Library System

    Rochelle Wildfong, Children’s Librarian at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA writes:

    Dear Representative,

    I am writing in response to the news of reconfiguration of library systems in Massachusetts concerning Western Massachusetts where I have been a Children’s Librarian at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg for over 20 years.

    We in Western Mass have been witness to the evolution of WMRLS – Western Massachusetts Regional Library System and owe much gratitude for their unfailing service to all the little libraries stretched out, from Palmer to Lenox, from Ware to Leyden. We have been a part of the growth and change to library services in the energetic form of WMRLS, whose dedicated staff have doggedly worked to make themselves and their services available to all the struggling libraries with insufficient means. Many small libraries cannot afford larger collections, indeed, who do not have the room for larger collections and have had the best of all experiences; that being to borrow from the collections aboard the BOOKMOBILE. How better to enhance the literate world of small libraries than to have a rotating lending library. This felt like true democracy, the borrowing of books to communities by a deposit library, relatively close to their doors. The first big blow was the slashing of the BOOKMOBILE deposit collection. Now the BOOKMOBILE has been laid to rest.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Letter to our Legislators: Please Support Regional Library Funding 7000-9401

    Lisa Wenner, Library Director of the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA writes:

    Dear Legislators ,

    Thank you for all the good service you provide for those in your district as well as the hard work you and your colleagues perform for the people of the Commonwealth. I appreciate how difficult it is especially in hard years such as these. I am writing to you today about our Regional and town libraries, services they provide to the citizens of Massachusetts and the draft plan that would eliminate our important Western MA Regional Library System (WMRLS). I am also very concerned about the plan that could outsource our Regional delivery system beginning in FY2012.

    As you know, librarians and library patrons in the Western Region have been working hard to tell legislators the story of libraries, particularly in Western Massachusetts. I have heard that two of Governor Patrick’s priorities this year are putting people to work and making government work better. Libraries in Massachusetts are working towards these goals too.

    Each library, no matter how large or small, works with jobless people each day. We provide free computers with internet access as well as up to date materials on resume writing, networking and job search techniques. I was in the Northampton Job Center the other day and saw eight computers in use by folks looking for work. Here at the Meekins and other area libraries you will also find people doing the same. We provide a place where out of work people can come and stay all day if necessary, borrow books and other items for free and search and apply for jobs online.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Permaculture Takes Root at Hilltown School

    Course to Establish Forest Garden
    at Williamsburg Elementary School on May 28th-31st, 2010

    Climbing spinach

    The garden curriculum at Williamsburg’s Dunphy Elementary School will get a boost this year, when a special kind of garden, known as a Forest Garden, will be built on the school grounds. A Forest Garden includes perennials and annuals, and mimics the layered structure of a forest, utilizing trees, shrubs, vines, and ground covers. The garden will include common plants such as strawberries, and lesser-known species such as honeyberry, and perennial climbing spinach.

    Sally Loomis of Fertile Ground said, “For several years students and teachers from the Anne T. Dunphy School have been walking to the nearby James School for weekly gardening activities. But most at the Dunphy School have wanted a garden space at their school to expand outdoor learning opportunities beyond weekly lessons. The Dunphy School Forest Garden will provide that space and expand the gardening curriculum for 3rd – 6th grade students.”

    Dave Jacke, author of Edible Forest Gardens said, “Kids of all ages can learn so much from a forest garden: science, art, math can all be learned in a forest garden. A forest garden offers more learning opportunities above and beyond an everyday garden, because the focus is on designing specific ecological relationships between plants, insects, and wildlife into the garden. There has been a upsurge in interest in forest gardens all over the country since Edible Forest Gardens was published”

    A group of local permaculture teachers and their students will establish the garden during a 3-day Forest Garden Immersion Course, taking place at the Dunphy School over Memorial Day Weekend, May 29th – 31st, 2010. The course is offered to adults, who learn through a mix of classroom and outdoor time. Course participants spend 10 hours of classroom time learning Forest Garden theory and design, including how to design for beneficial ecological relationships between plants, insects, and wildlife. The work of course participants, and funds generated by the course make possible the Dunphy School garden installation.

    Benneth Phelps, local farmer and forest garden educator said, “The idea for the course came from an ongoing course at the Epworth Center in High Falls, New York. It’s clear from the interest in Permaculture and Forest Gardening around here, there was no question that we had to bring the course here this year.”

    On Friday May 28th at 7pm, the course kicks off with a special lecture, “Gardening Like the Forest: A Forest Garden Introduction,” with Dave Jacke, co-author of Edible Forest Gardens, at the Williamsburg Grange (Route 9). This lecture is a fundraiser for the Dunphy School Forest Garden and is open to the public. $10-$25 suggested donation.

    Find out more details about this course at www.mosaicfarm.com, or email Benneth at farmer@mosaicfarm.com, or Alisha at forestgardenimmersioncourse@gmail.com. To find out more about Forest Gardening, visit www.edibleforestgardens.com

    Course sponsors include Fertile Ground, School Sprouts, Food Forest Farm, Mosaic Farm and Sage Garden Designs.

    Photo credit: (ccl) Lilbenne

    Transition Towns Movement in the Hilltowns

    Transition Towns Informational Meeting
    In Williamsburg on Sunday, March 21st

    The Transition Towns Movement is a vibrant, grassroots movement that seeks to build community resilience in the face of such challenges as peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis. It represents one of the most promising ways of engaging people in strengthening their communities against the effects of these challenges, resulting in a life that is more abundant, fulfilling, equitable and socially connected. We believe that we can make the transition to a more sustainable world. We hope that you will join us!

    An informational meeting will take place at the Williamsburg Grange (Route 9) in Williamsburg, MA on Sunday, 03/21/10 from 3-5pm. Childcare is available. A community potluck will follow from 5-7pm. Please bring a labeled dish to share.

    This is a FREE event and all are welcomed! Donations to cover expense of childcare and renting the Grange are welcomed. Learn about Transition Towns and bring it to your community!

    For more information, contact Marie Westburg at amwestburg@verizon.net or call (413) 268-7899.  Please RSVP if you need childcare.


    Angie Gregory of Northampton, MA, owner of Mother Herb Diaper Service writes
    :
    The Transition Movement is something to take notice of. I highly recommend folks take the time out to hear what it’s all about and how amazing it would be to have in Williamsburg! There’s transition towns movements happening also in Amherst and Northampton, and folks are getting together to work on ways to materialize this amazing effort. Please join in if you’re a part of the community, you’ll be glad you did!

    Hilltown Challenge at the Meekins Library

    Meekins Faces a Happy Challenge

    Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    The Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA has a dedicated advocate! For the fourth year in a row, Goshen, MA resident Kay Warren is encouraging residents of surrounding communities to take her Hilltown Challenge and support the library that serves communities up and down the hills.

    Library Director Lisa Wenner says, “Warren has once again generously issued a $1500 challenge—asking residents who especially live outside of Williamsburg to donate to the library. Warren will match their gifts with her own, essentially doubling the power of a gift from Hilltown residents.” Wenner adds “This is such a thoughtful way to encourage support among people who don’t live in town but who love and use the library.”

    The current state of the economy and recent budget cuts have taken their toll on all libraries. Wenner says, “People understand this and want to help.” This year’s Hilltown Challenge is one part of the current annual appeal to Williamsburg and Haydenville residents and all Meekins and Haydenville Libraries users for the support that keeps the libraries’ collections and programs vital to the communities.

    Warren has long been a devotee of public libraries. She recalled that “As a kid, I remember spending wonderful afternoons at the local library. It was fun to be an explorer, to check out books and find moments to enjoy them, to travel in time and space to other places in the world of the imagination.” Because her of her childhood library experiences, Warren finds the Meekins’ service as the local elementary school library particularly important.

    The now familiar glass donation jar is in place at the Meekins. Wenner encourages patrons to stop by and adds that “donations to the annual fund from everyone in Williamsburg and our sister communities are welcome.”

    For more information call: 413-268-7472; contact Daria D’Arienzo at: ddarienzo@cwmars.org or visit Meekins online at: www.meekins-library.org

    Rootsongs: An Art Exhibit in the Hilltowns

    Rootsongs: Art Exhibit by Hilltown Artist, Nancy Mahoney
    at the Neil F. Hammer Gallery in Williamsburg

    Yesterday while visiting the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, their new art exhibit was all the buzz. Hilltown artist Nancy Mahoney’s art show Rootsongs is on exhibit in the Neil F. Hammer Gallery during the month of January, and it’s bewitching! I had noticed the poster up for her show with an image of what looked simply like the displayed root of a sapling. What I didn’t see in the poster that amazed me and my 7yo daughter when we saw the exhibit was the female images she extracts from these roots. I could see on my bedazzled daughter’s little face her mind trying to wrap itself around what she was seeing – a nature spirit, a fairy, sprung to life and form?

    Each tree root is unique, rhythmic and beautiful. It often taking Nancy decades to see the female figures singing to be released into form. She shares in her artist statement, “I look at the roots for weeks, even months. I listen to music. Without warning, a song melds with the root and the root comes to life. The music is the starting point. Sometimes it feels completely out of my control… I just let them happen. – It is all about the roots and the music.”

    The sculptures are made with polymer clay baked onto sapling roots and finished with mixed media. The proportions all accommodate themselves to the roots and each figure is flawed. “It has to be,” writes Nancy.

    ARTIST RECEPTION: 01/09/10 from 2-4pm

    There will be an artist reception at the library on Saturday, January 9th from 2-4pm. A great opportunity to have Nancy share with families her process of releasing the magic of female form in the roots she has gathered.

    Hilltown Awarded Clean Energy Choice Grant For Solar Collection

    Clean Energy Choice Grants Awarded to Green Leading Communities

    Local commercial resources are available to support solar energy development in Western Mass . Recently the governor visited the Greenfield Solar Store in Greenfield, MA. He was briefed by owner Mark Skinder on how he's making solar energy a reality in the Greenfield community. Click image to read more. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    Today, State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D – Pittsfield) announces Clean Energy Choice Grants awarded to the Towns of  Williamsburg and Williamstown by the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust. The grants, totaling $70,076, help fund solar projects which further the Commonwealth’s clean energy goals.

    “Recently state policymakers set dramatic renewable energy goals for the Commonwealth,” said Downing. “I am pleased these two communities chose to participate in programs such as this to generate clean energy on-site, save money and help preserve Massachusetts’ environmental assets.”

    WILLIAMSBURG

    The Trust is awarding the Town of Williamsburg, located in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, with a Clean Energy Choice grant of $21,775.13 for the installation of a 2.97 kW roof-mounted PV system at the Anne T. Dunphy School. This system will reduce the Town’s energy costs and will help educate residents about the power of clean energy technologies. The installation will also include a Data Acquisition System that will allow viewing of real-time data on any computer on the school’s local area network.

    WILLAMSTOWN

    Further, the Trust is providing the Town of Williamstown with a Clean Energy Choice grant of $49,011.49 to help fund the installation of a 16.38 kW photovoltaic array and Data Acquisition System on the Williamstown Department of Public Works salt storage facility. This system will reduce the Town’s energy costs and will help educate residents about the power of clean energy technologies.

    Program funding comes as a result of efforts by Massachusetts citizens to purchase clean energy through their electric utility bills, which generated matching funds from the Trust for use toward clean energy projects.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Manna Soup Kitchen Delivers Christmas Day Dinners to the Hilltowns

    Christmas Day Dinner Delivered to Williamsburg Families

    Photo credit: (ccl) kaytethinks.

    Manna Soup Kitchen Volunteers will deliver Christmas Day dinner to Hilltown families living in Williamsburg who cannot come to the Christmas Day Dinner at the Edwards Church, or get out and enjoy Christmas with others.

    This service is new this year to Williamsburg.  Other service areas include Northampton, Easthampton, Florence and Leeds.

    All deliveries must be pre-ordered.  To place an order, call Iris at the Salvation Army, Monday -Friday 9am-4pm. (413) 586-5299


    Other food/meal resources for families living in the hilltowns:

    • Trinity Church in Shelburne Falls (413) 625-9896
    • West County Emergency Food Pantry in Shelburne Falls (413) 774-7034
    • Hilltown Churches Food Pantry in Ashfield (413) 625-6086
    • Dalton Congregational Church in Dalton (413) 684-1715
    • Hinsdale Congregational Church in Hinsdale (413) 655-2670
    • Northern Hilltown Food Pantry in Goshen (413) 268-7578 (Serving: Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Haydenville, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg, and Worthington)
    • Food Pantry in Huntington (413) 667-3196 (Serving: Blandford, Chester, Huntington, Middlefield, Montgomery, Russell, and Worthington)

    Hilltown Library Invites Teens to Participate in the MA Teen Choice Book Award Logo Contest

    Massachusetts Teen Choice Book Award Logo Contest

    Are you a teen? Do you love to read? Do you love to draw? Join The Meekins Library (Williamsburg, MA) and The Massachusetts Teen Choice Book Award Committee in designing a new logo for the Teen Choice Book Awards!

    The Massachusetts Teen Choice Book Award was created as a response to the need to honor and recognize new Young Adult fiction. Modeled after the Rhode Island Teen Book Award, this award gives teens the opportunity to vote for their favorite YA author.

    Local teens are invited to create an original color drawing that represents the best in teen literature; a favorite book, or collection of books to be used at the logo for the Massachusetts Teen Choice Book Award.  The original logo will be used for their posters, bookmarks, flyers and more.  Here are the guidelines:

    • This contest is open to any teen between the ages of 12-18 years old who lives or goes to school in Massachusetts.
    • The contest runs from December 1st, 2009 to January 31, 2010.
    • Entries may be in either paper or digital form.
    • Paper entries can be no larger that 11”x17”.
    • Logos will be shrunk down to 2”x3” or 2”x2”.
    • Digital entries may be in .jpg, .gif, or .png formats.
    • One entry per person.
    • Each entry must be accompanied by a completed release form.

    For more information, and release forms please contact: Meg Anastasi at (413)253-9673, email meg.anastasi@gmail.com.

    December Public Hearings in the Hilltowns: Let Your Voice Be Heard!

    Offer your input at the Hilltown CDBG Public Hearings in December

    You can help your Town compete for the Federal CDBG grants that are needed to fund local community services by attending  one of these Public Hearing in December, and/or fill out the brief Survey below:

    Public Hearing Notice

    Thursday, December 10, 2009 7:00 pm
    Cummington Town Hall (Community House)
    Main Street, Cummington

    At this Public Hearing you will have the opportunity to discuss projects and services proposed for an FY10 regional CDBG funding application for the towns of Cummington, Peru, Plainfield and Worthington.

    Public Hearing Notice

    Monday, December 14, 2009 5:00 pm
    Chesterfield Town Offices
    (Davenport School Building)
    422 Main Road, Chesterfield

    At this public hearing you will have the opportunity to discuss projects and services proposed for an FY10 regional CDBG funding application for the towns of Chesterfield, Goshen, Westhampton and Williamsburg. The Town of Chesterfield will also review implementation of the FY08 and FY09 Northern Hilltowns regional CDBG grants that also include the towns of Cummington, Plainfield, and Worthington.

    If you have questions about either of these hearings or would like special accommodations to help you participate, please contact Andrew Baker at Hilltown Community Development Corp: (413) 296-4536 ext. 18 or andrewb@hilltowncdc.org

    Not able to attend? You can also help by filling out the very brief Survey below and/or forwarding this email to a friend or colleague who may need these community services. Click HERE to begin the Hilltown Program Assessment Survey. (There are 16 Yes/No statements you can respond to.)

    You can also find this survey and a survey on Housing Needs at the Hilltown CDC web site: www.hilltowncdc.org

    Thanks for your help!

    Visual Artists Wanted for School Workshops in Hilltowns

    Phoebe Shaw of Williamsburg, MA writes:

    Hi Friends,

    The Williamsburg Schools have Four Fridays in January coming up and need a teacher/artist to volunteer their time.  Four Fridays is a fundraiser for Arts Adventure Day.  We have two visual artists so far.  We need two more artists, especially in the performing arts!   The gig is three Fridays in January and one in February, 3pm- 4:30.    Any leads, please let me know-soon!

    Many thanks,
    Phoebe, shaw.phoebe@gmail.com

     

    WHAT IS FOUR FRIDAYS & ARTS ADVENTURE DAY?

    Four Fridays is a series of after-school, creative workshops available to Williamsburg school children. Teachers, parents and community members offer workshops in the creative arts. Examples of past workshops include dance, expressive yoga, digital photography & video production, theater, knitting and recycled crafts.  Proceeds received from this program are the main source of funding for the hugely successful “Arts Adventure Day” that typically takes place in March. The Williamsburg Cultural Arts Committee is proud to be able to provide financial support to the artists who contribute their substantial, varied and culturally diverse talents to Arts Adventure Day.

    The Williamsburg CAC is currently in need of new members to continue.  Their meetings are very casual and productive.  Please contact Tom Adams at tomadams@gmail.com if interested in joining the Williamsburg CAC.

    Day of the Dead is Celebrated in the Hilltowns

    El Diá de los Muertos Celebrated at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA

    Day of the Dead Altar at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA

    Bring your Day of the Dead mementos to add to the community altar at the Meekins Libray in Williamsburg, MA on Saturday, October 31st. Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 2nd. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    Hilltown Families and ArtStar in Williamsburg, MA have partnered up and joined the Meekins Library‘s Day of the Dead Community Celebration with the culinary folk art, Mexican Sugar Skulls.

    These sweet Mexican culinary folk art pieces were made at ArtStar, an art enrichment studio in Williamsburg, MA. Hilltown Families joined in and documented the craft of making sugar skulls by putting together a do-it-yourself post with photos and directions for people to follow here. The sugar skulls are now on display at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA as part of their annual Day of the Dead Altar (pictured here).

    On Saturday, October 31st, all community members are invited to join in the celebration of this traditional Mexican holiday by bringing mementos in memory of ancestors and lost loved ones to add to this annual community altar. Photos, cards, sugar skulls and real or paper marigolds are welcomed.

    The Meekins Library is opened Tues. 12Noon-5pm; Wed. 10am-8pm; Thurs. 3pm-8pm; and Sat. 9am-3pm. For further information, call the Meekins Library at 413-268-7472.

    Find out more about the Day of the Dead (known as El Diá de los Muertos in Spanish) at El Diá de los Muertos (Video & Resources).

    Teen Read Week & Local Teen Resource

    Teen Read Week & Meekin’s Teen Page

    Teen Read Week starts on Oct. 18! Get ready to celebrate at your library from Oct. 18-24. Teen Read Week is an annual event sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association during the third week of October each year. The 2009 theme is Read Beyond Reality @ your library, so libraries across the United States will do something special to encouraging teens to read something out of this world — like sci-fi, fantasy, or virtual reality — just for the fun of it.

    Local teens can check out the resource page over at the Meekin’s Library Teen Page.

    DIY: Mexican Sugar Skulls

    HOW TO MAKE MEXICAN SUGAR SKULLS
    A Culinary Folk Art for Day of the Dead
    By Sienna Wildfield

    Making Mexican Sugar Skulls-52.JPG

    In the studio with Hilltown Families Guest Artist Marie Westburg of ArtStar in Williamsburg, MA making Mexican Sugar Skulls for Day of the Dead.  (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    What better avenue for children to explore and discover different cultures than FOOD?!  Right? … We all eat.  And whether it’s a yearly birthday cake, fish on Friday, pancakes on Sunday, or a couple of loaves of challah on a Friday night, most of us routinely and joyfully participate in different food traditions.  The culinary experience of exploring food customs from around the world can bring families an integrated course of study on cultural traditions and arts.

    This time of year in Central and Southern Mexico, in preparation for the Mexican holiday El Diá de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), mounds of Sugar Skulls are sold in open air markets.  The Day of the Dead is on November 2nd and we’ve explored this Mexican holiday in a previous post: El Diá de los Muertos (Video & Resources).  Making Mexican Sugar Skulls with your kids is a creative hands-on project that can aid in the exploration of this traditional Mexican Folk Art while affording an opportunity to discuss and participate in one of the various customs of this Mexican celebration.

    Hilltown Families Guest Artist Marie Westburg of ArtStar, an art enrichment studio in Williamsburg, MA, recently invited us over to make this sweet Mexican culinary folk art.  In her cozy studio our kids got together and crafted skulls out of sugar and meringue powder and decorated them with bags of colorful icings, beads and sequins.  It’s a fun project to make with a group of friends, but give yourself enough time.  The skulls take 12-24 hours to harden before they can be decorated. To follow is a DIY for this fun seasonal activity:  Read the rest of this entry »

    Northern Hilltowns Invite Residents to Update Community Development Strategies

    Andrew Baker, Executive Director of the Hilltown CDC in Chesterfield, MA writes:

    Each year, residents of the seven Northern Hilltowns gather in public community meetings to dust off their community’s “to do” list, note what they have accomplished, and gather ideas for future community improvement projects. The Northern Hilltowns are Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg and Worthington. Their “to do” lists are also known as the town Community Development Strategy (CDS). And the annual review is a necessary part of each town’s participation in the Northern Hilltowns Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. This year a successful CDBG application secured over $1 million in federal funding to support programs and projects serving elders and families in the seven towns.

    To follow is the schedule of public meetings, which take place in the Select Board meeting room of each town: Read the rest of this entry »

    Good News For Hampshire County Hilltown Families!

    Northern Hilltowns Awarded $1.073 Million in Federal Block Grants

    On August 13, 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) awarded $1,073,340 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to support affordable housing, social services, and community facilities projects in five Hampshire County hilltown communities. Read the rest of this entry »

    Take Charge! – Hilltowns Raffle to Be Drawn July 4th, 2009

    Take Charge!
    Hilltowns Raffle to Be Drawn July 4th, 2009

    Take Charge! (April 25th, 2009)

    The community wide campaign Take Charge! by Cummington, Worthington, Plainfield, Williamsburg and Chesterfield wraps up on July 4! To take the pledge, fill out a Take Charge! brochure and pledge to take 1 or all 5 home energy savings steps, such as scheduling a home energy audit, switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, turning down your water heater, and using a clothesline. Everyone who drops off a pledge form will be entered into a raffle for one of 19 prizes donated by Hilltown businesses. Winners will be announced on July 4. For more information, contact Tomasin Whitaker at 413-586-7350 ext. 25.

    Hilltown Birdbrains: Local 4H Club Seeks New Members

    Hilltown Birdbrains (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    Hilltown Birdbrains (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    Jennifer Bak of Chesterfield, MA writes:

    The 4H club, Hilltown Birdbrains is always looking for new members. This 4H club is less than 1 year old and includes all feathered friends, including ducks, chickens and pigeons. Hilltown Birdbrains meets at the Burgy Bullets in Williamsburg, MA every other Tuesday and currently has 8 members (aged 8 to 12) who focus mostly on pigeons and chicken, but would love others to join. Please contact Jamie Bishop at 634-0324 or Jordan Bak at 296-4301 for more information

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