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News Briefs: Alford swears in MLP; Lenox land-use open houses; Rathbun-Briggs named ‘Credit Union Hero’; NSF award for Williams professor

The Lenox Land Use Department will look at existing conditions including demographic information, housing characteristics, economic characteristics, socio-economic characteristics.

Municipal lighting plant is official in Alford

Alford — Three members of the Town of Alford Municipal Lighting Plant (MLP) board — Tom Doyle, Jim Hall, and Jay Weintraub — were sworn in by Town Clerk Paula Doyle at Town Hall on Thursday, September 17. The initial meeting of the MLP Board was held following the ceremony. Board members Bob Lichter and Joe Nicolosi could not attend, and will be sworn in at a subsequent meeting.


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Lenox to host land-use open houses, gather feedback on zoning

Lenox — The Lenox Land Use Department will host two open houses this fall to gather public input on the community’s land-use policy and effects in an effort to diagnosis issue areas in the community’s zoning bylaw and implement zoning bylaw modifications.

The first open house will be on October 6 at 5:30 p.m. and the second open house will be on October 27 at 5:30 p.m. Both will take place in the auditorium of the Lenox Town Hall at 6 Walker St.

On October 6 community members will look at existing conditions including demographic information, housing characteristics, economic characteristics, socio-economic characteristics, land use patterns, and previous planning studies and reports and participate in small discussion groups based on specific geographic areas in the community. On October 27 staff will report back findings from the first open house and provide examples of how other similar communities have translated the opportunities and challenges highlighted at the first meeting into effective land use practice and policy, and again ask for community feedback on what seems most desirable and appealing.

The Town is working with consultant Judi Barrett, Director of Municipal Services at RKG Associates. Town Planner Gwen Miller has been coordinating the effort with a small working group composed of municipal staff and land use board representatives.

The open-house style means guests can drop by any time at 5:30 p.m. and beyond, and all are welcome and encouraged to attend. Both meetings will run until 7:30 p.m.

For questions about the open houses, contact Town Planner Gwen Miller at or (413) 637-5500 x1203.


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Greylock’s Rathbun-Briggs named ‘Credit Union Hero’

Pittsfield — Greylock Federal Credit Union announced that Vice President of Commercial Banking Jodi Rathbun-Briggs is a recipient of the 2015 Credit Union Heroes Award. The award recognizes “the brightest and most charitable credit union professionals,” and is given by Banker & Tradesman, a Massachusetts financial services and real estate publication. Rathbun-Briggs was one of 11 recipients honored on Tuesday, September 29 at the Courtyard Marriott in Boston.

Recipients were recognized for going above and beyond for their institutions and their communities. This award celebrates the exceeding community spirit and generous sense of service that in turn betters the industry for both professionals and non-professionals alike. Rathbun-Briggs has been with Greylock for 5 years, after a 10-year career at a local bank. She joined Greylock as Assistant Vice President of Risk Management and within a short time was promoted to the position of Vice President of Commercial Banking. Rathbun-Briggs serves in the Rotary Club of Pittsfield and the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce and is President of Community Health Programs. She recently went to Washington, D.C. to represent Berkshire County and the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce as a spokesperson on the subjects of health care reform and banking regulatory reform.


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Williams professor awarded $277,509 from the National Science Foundation to study coastal erosion

Williamstown — The National Science Foundation awarded Williams College geosciences professor Ronadh Cox a three-year, $277,509 grant to study effects of extreme near-shore wave events through mapping and modeling coastal boulder movements.

Cox has been surveying deposits on the Aran Islands of Ireland since 2008, and over the years she and her students have collected a database of precisely-located photographs and topographic data for large boulders along the islands’ Atlantic cliffs. During the summer of 2014, the group demonstrated that storm waves in the previous winter had moved extremely large rocks, some at startling heights above sea level and significant distances inland.

Cox and collaborators in Ireland are developing an interdisciplinary approach to the problem. Mathematician Frederick Dias at University College Dublin will create numerical models of storm wave behavior. Civil Engineer Björn Elsäßer at Queen’s University Belfast will build physical scaled models in a wave tank to check whether the team can replicate their findings and determine the causes of the boulder movement. Undergraduate students from Williams will be closely involved in the project: each year, two undergraduate research students will work in the field and in the wave-tank lab, helping collect the data and analyze the results.

“The work addresses a deficit in our understanding of the high-energy coastal environment,” says Cox. “As coastal populations grow, sea level rises, and climate models predict increasing storminess with greater coastal inundation levels, we require a better understanding of the geomorphologic expression of strong storm events. This analysis will be valuable for considering storm effects on walls, roads, and other coastal infrastructure.”


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