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Turners Falls RiverCulture (TFRC): Corkboard

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RiverCulture - Thu, Sep 19, 2013, 4:18 P
RiverCulture job opening
The Town of Montague seeks a part-time Director to manage an established cultural economic development program in the village of Turners Falls. The Director will work with the RiverCulture steering committee to support existing cultural events and expand programming; create opportunities for local businesses to benefit from cultural activity; implement a marketing program; maintain a project website and assist with project administration. Details here. http://www.turnersfa...ems/were-hiring.html
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RiverCulture - Fri, Jun 22, 2012, 3:01 P
New RiverCulture website
Check out RiverCulture's new website. Lots going on in TFMA!
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RiverCulture - Fri, Jun 22, 2012, 2:24 P
Feast for the Arts: June 30th
Have a great meal donated by area restaurants, vote for and fund your favorite design for a new artistic crosswalk in the center of downtown Turners Falls! Meet area artists and listen to their proposed idea for a crosswalk design. At the end of the presentation, you have a chance to vote for your favorite submission and your full ticket price goes to fund the winning proposal. See call for proposals guidelines here. http://www.turnersfa...items/lisadavol.html

Saturday June 30, 6 pm at St Kaziemerz, 197 Avenue A, Turners Falls.
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RiverCulture - Mon, Jun 4, 2012, 12:44 P
Call to Artists
Turners Falls RiverCulture is requesting proposals from artists/designers to design a crosswalk at the main intersection in downtown Turners Falls. The crosswalk will be painted on the street using leftover paint the town cannot use in its current street sprayer. Current colors on hand are white, yellow and blue. If the artist chooses to use additional or other colors, they will have to be purchased separately by the artist using award money. There is the opportunity for the artist to sketch out the design on the street and work with RiverCulture on enlisting volunteers to help paint the design. Info details here. http://www.turnersfa...items/lisadavol.html
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Miryam - Thu, Mar 1, 2012, 9:42 P
Call for Artists
M.A.M (Montague.Art.Movement) is hosting it's 4th Annual May Day Fine Art Sale and Exhibit on Sunday, May 6th, 2012. This is a non-juried one day show. The show is open to Montague residents. We are looking for artists in any medium who create fine art. Artwork should be priced at $150 or less. The show is limited to 15 artists. Registration fee is $10.

Send email to by March 18th, 2012 for further information.
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RiverCulture - Thu, Oct 20, 2011, 1:52 P
Pumpkin Fest, Halloween Happenings, LOOT, Theater + More
Lots of spooky stuff going on, plus Pumpkin Fest and the coolest store around opening on Ave A! http://www.mainstree...20.3597&ref=facebook
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RiverCulture - Thu, Aug 18, 2011, 9:34 A
Tonight: TF industrial history talk by Frank Abbondanzio
Frank Abbondanzio is giving a talk on early industrial development of Turners Falls tonight at 7 at Disco Center. With such vast historical knowledge, he has been the the key mover in Turners' current development. Rare opportunity to get an essential perspective on this cool village.

August 18th, 7 pm, @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Turners Falls: A Planned Industrial Community- History of its Early Development (1866-1914)
Learn about the power of the Connecticut River on the location and formation of manufacturing and milling within the community. This program is free and is adult-oriented, but families are welcome to attend.
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RiverCulture - Fri, Jun 17, 2011, 2:16 P
Pass the Hat for Art + Culture
Support Art, Culture and History programming in Turners Falls on June 25th. Hard Hat event tix on sale now. http://www.montaguem...7&ID=301&success=yes
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RiverCulture - Thu, May 5, 2011, 5:20 P
Four proposals to vote on Saturday
Saturday's Feast for the Arts will feature 4 proposals received to the Producers Series for a temporary participatory public art project. Vote for your favorite and help make it happen. They are:

Doors & Windows into Turners Falls, By Daniel Hales
Pyramids of Hope, By Tony Palumbo
River of Lights by Kathryn Greenwood Swanson, Hunter Greenwood Swanson and Alexis Arcaro
River of Words Stream of Conscience, by Christine Destrempres

Full explanations are at this link:
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Maureclaire - Wed, May 4, 2011, 8:28 A
Awesome !!!
WAY to go, Quickchange !!! Hope to be back in TF soon !!!
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RiverCulture - Fri, Apr 22, 2011, 10:19 A
Do friends call you “beefy,” or “burly?” Are you the girl or guy they call when they need to move something heavy?
Are you employed in the construction industry? Or do people think you are?
Do you regularly wear hard hats? Are you told you look good in them?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then we want YOU to model in our fashion show.

A fund-raiser for RiverCulture. Featuring custom-designed wearable hard hat art from local artists.
Saturday, June 25
7pm cocktails, silent auction, fashion show, dance party
The Shea Theater
Turners Falls, MA

We’re also looking for area sponsors. Interested models and sponsors call 413-230-9910 or email
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RiverCulture - Thu, Apr 21, 2011, 11:21 P
You Choose Public Art at Feast for the Arts
RiverCulture invites you to come to the Feast for the Arts to vote on submissions to our latest call for proposals to the Turners Falls Producers Series! $10 minimum ticket donation gets you dinner, live music, schmoozing and a vote for your favorite proposal! All ticket proceeds will go to fund the winning proposal. The event is May 7th at 6 pm at the Montague Elks Lodge in Turners Falls. Come blow of some steam after town meeting.

MANY Thanks to Marge Levenson, Jeff Singleton, Nina Rossi, Amy Podlenski, Friends of Gill, Montague Elks Lodge, Laura Herbert, Rob Fletcher, Caleb Wetherbee, local restaurants and the many volunteers who made this event possible. Check out the list of contributing restaurants and buy tix here
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MikeNaughton - Sat, Dec 11, 2010, 9:05 P
RiverCulture Wins Commonwealth Award!
Very nice ... and well deserved! Congratulations!
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mickjen - Sat, Dec 11, 2010, 9:36 A
RiverCulture Wins Commonwealth Award!
Congrats, Lisa, you TOTALLY deserve it!

Also, a nice article in this week's Montague Reporter about the award!
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joelandry - Sat, Dec 11, 2010, 7:54 A
RiverCulture Wins Commonwealth Award!
River Culture is a shining star and all those who made it a winner are also. Good job Lisa.
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GGarrison - Fri, Dec 10, 2010, 9:15 P
RiverCulture Wins Commonwealth Award!

It is a well deserved award and I am very happy for you. Thank you for all the hard work, energy and passion you put into your work and to making our community vibrant and culturally rich.

bien fait Lisa...
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RiverCulture - Fri, Dec 10, 2010, 6:11 P
Upcoming Events
Here is a link to the latest newsletter of upcoming events. http://www.mainstree...&c=1594&message=1323
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RiverCulture - Fri, Dec 10, 2010, 6:05 P
RiverCulture Wins Commonwealth Award!
We are proud to announce that RiverCulture has won the Commonwealth Award. Presented every two years, it’s the state’s highest honor in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences. Join us for the award ceremony with Mad Men Star, John Slattery, on February 9, 2011 at the State House in Boston, where the Massachusetts Cultural Council will once again honor individuals and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to education, economic vitality, and quality of life in communities across the state. Save the date info here. http://www.masscultu...rence/comawards.html
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RiverCulture - Thu, Oct 14, 2010, 5:24 P
Solar sound and more
Turners Falls RiverCulture presents Sun Boxes: a Solar Sound Installation by Craig Colorusso. http://www.montaguem...?gpt=30&g=197&ID=259 Does this count as posting twice?
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LBD - Mon, Sep 27, 2010, 12:20 P
Fall events in the county
Here are some events going on in the rest of the county! http://www.mainstree...966e0fb3c904e30c0e87
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RiverCulture - Thu, Sep 23, 2010, 2:56 P
This week and beyond in the TF
This October is going to be awesome!! See this week's RiverCulture Newsletter here. http://www.montaguem...?gpt=30&g=197&ID=253
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RiverCulture - Fri, Sep 17, 2010, 4:37 P
Turners This Week
Lots going on this week! Make a film, watch a Soapbox Derby, catch a country art fest, mark your calendars for Confluence.... http://www.montaguem...7&ID=252&success=yes
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RiverCulture - Tue, Aug 17, 2010, 3:33 P
August 30th Producers deadline!
Turners Falls Producers Series has chosen its first award recipient: Craig Colorusso and his Sun Boxes solar sound installation. Details TBA. Next submission deadline is August 30th. Submit an idea. if we like it, we'll pay you to make it happen!
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RiverCulture - Fri, Aug 6, 2010, 3:00 P
Turners Falls Block Party!!!
TF Downtown summer bash! August 14, 2-8 pm on the Ave! All the details here.
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RiverCulture - Fri, Jul 23, 2010, 8:02 P
Latest RiverCulture Newsletter
Upcoming events in Turners Falls.
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RiverCulture - Thu, Jul 15, 2010, 1:48 P
Block Party Music Line-up Announced!
TF's biggest downtown summer bash of the year. Check out the music line-up, plus info on the rest of the packed day. August 14th. Downtown. Avenue A. http://www.turnersfa...rg/arts/block_party/
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RiverCulture - Wed, Jul 14, 2010, 10:34 A
Make Your Own Parade
Block Party is August 14th! One of the best parts of the event for the past 3 years has been our off beat and quirky Turners style parade. This year, if you want to take part, meet on the green at the corner of Ave A and 2nd Street (on the lawn of Gallery 38 - old cumbies building) at 1:30. Bring your pots and pans, bikes, lawn chairs, sculptures on forklifts, your best zombie outfit, disco roller gear, your noise band in back of a pickup, and any other personal forms of expression and get ready to start strutting at 2 pm!

Participants should be on foot/skates or pulling floats by bike. Well ok, if you are toting a 3,000 lb sculpture, you can have a forklift.

Respond to this post for more details or call Lisa Davol 413-230-9910 or check
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RiverCulture - Wed, Jul 14, 2010, 10:31 A
Call to Producers Deadline Tomorrow!
RiverCulture's call to producers deadline is July 15th. For details call Lisa Davol 413-230-9910 or check specs at
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RiverCulture - Thu, Jul 8, 2010, 11:09 A
Christmas in July Event
Always the last Saturday in July. This year it is July 31. Lighted boat parade and fireworks by the Franklin County Boat Club. Starts at dark. Viewing at the riverfront in Turners' Unity Park.
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RiverCulture - Wed, Jun 30, 2010, 5:08 P
Lots going on in Turners
Call to Producers, Block Party, Franklin County Biennial, Peskeomskut Park Festival, Footprints!
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RiverCulture - Fri, Dec 11, 2009, 11:47 A
Holiday happenings, art openings and more
Check out this week's festive lineup! http://www.mainstree...gcheck=42BJJhBFeCFg6
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RiverCulture - Sat, Aug 8, 2009, 6:59 A
Block Party Tables
In case you do not know where tables are, here is the list with approximate locations. Set up begins at noon. Find your number below and then find it marked on the street.

Below is the list with the storefronts tables are near
Table Numbers
Table Name Storefront it is near on the street
1. DCR Van – Pipiones
2. 2nd St Bakery – VFW
3. Round Here – Round Here
4. El Bohio – Seth + Evas
5. Rendezvous - Seth + Eva's
6. TF Pizza – TF Pizza
7. MCTV - Togniarelli
8. Barts Ice Cream –empty AV House storefront
9. Montague Reporter -empty AV House StoreFront
10. Donna Petersen – AV House
11. Sara Gallagher – Rist Insurance
12. TFHS Alumni – Rist Insurance
12A. NELCWIT - Rist Insurance
12B. Lotus of the Nile- Rist Insurance
13. Northstar – Booskas
14. Community Health Center – Booskas
15. Brick House Healthy Start – Dental Office
16. DiPaolo – DiPaolo’s
17. Dial Self – Powertown Near DiPaolo’s lot entrance
18. Rise – Powertown
19. Gill Mont School Partnership – Powertown office
19A G-M School Dist. - Powertown office
20. Julianne Rosewarn – Powertown office
21. Ayana Imports - Powertown office
22. Southworth - Powertown office
23. Sheffield sno cones corner of Powertown and 4th st
24. Riverculture/MBA Table - Right of Stage
25. Sweet Charlotte’s- Next to RiverCulture
26. N’field mountain - nxt to Sweet Charlotte’s in front of storefront apt - near 3rd st alley
27. Friends of Wissatinnewag – On 3rd alley on RC table block
28. Firemen’s BBQ next to 3rd st alley in front of Fabulous Hair
29. Skate park near Fabulous Hair
30. Grumpies – Arnies
31. MCSM – Arnie’s on corner
Call 413-230-9910 with questions
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annej. - Fri, Aug 7, 2009, 3:31 P
Lawn Chairs???
If you have any of the old fashioned, webbed kind to donate or loan, OR if you want to march with the Lawn Chair Brigade, please meet us in front of the old Cumbies where the parade will kick off. We'll be there at 1:15. For more info, you may contact Anne at 834-0777 or Thanks!
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PamK - Fri, Aug 7, 2009, 12:42 P
Mucho help needed for Block Party!
Hello All!
The TF Block Party will be held this Saturday from 2-8 p.m.

Come join the fun, the food and the music.

and.........we really need help with set up at noon and clean up after 8 p.m.

if you are able to help stop by the riverculture table and ask for Pam or Lisa.
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RiverCulture - Thu, Jul 23, 2009, 3:07 P
TFMA Culture Events this week
Great events lined up for this week including jazz at DiPaolo's, Photographer lecture at Discovery Center, Bastille Day BBQ parking lot party and more! http://www.montaguem...?gpt=32&g=197&id=193
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RiverCulture - Sat, Jul 18, 2009, 8:30 A
Fashion on the Ave
Listen to a little preview with Rachel Teumim and Monte Belmonte about the Fabrication fashion show at the Block Party here!

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RiverCulture - Fri, Jul 17, 2009, 4:22 P
Get involved with the Block Party!
Turners Falls Block Party is August 8th. We need volunteers, so if you are interested, please click here for ways you can help. http://www.turnersfa...y-and-Fashion-Show-/

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RiverCulture - Wed, Jul 1, 2009, 5:27 P
TFMA 7.1.09
Happy Independence Day! Check out this week's happenings. http://www.mainstree...gcheck=42woGehPfdxeY
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RiverCulture - Wed, Jun 24, 2009, 1:43 P
This week’s newsletter
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RiverCulture - Fri, Jun 12, 2009, 3:09 P
TFMA Culture 6.12.09
Here's this week's RiverCulture newsletter... . http://www.montaguem...?gpt=32&g=197&id=190
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RiverCulture - Thu, May 28, 2009, 6:24 P
Block Party - Reserve your spot
If artists, businesses or organizations would like to have a spot on the street at the block party, please reserve by June 25th for early bird discount. More info here http://www.turnersfa...s-Block-Party-2009-/

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RiverCulture - Thu, May 21, 2009, 5:58 P
Artists at Block Party
ATTENTION ARTISTS - Would you like to have a table/tent at the Turners Falls Block Party on August 8th? Would any of you like to coordinate the artist section? Please get in touch with me by emailing back or calling 413.230.9910 or getting in touch with via RiverCulture website
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RiverCulture - Mon, Apr 27, 2009, 12:59 P
Turners Falls Block Party 2009!
This year's party will be August 8th from 2-8 PM.

Music, food, art and more all on Avenue A in downtown Turners Falls. Stay tuned here for details on the music line up, street offerings and for opportunities to get involved! In the meantime, call Lisa for info. 413.230.9910 or email her.
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LBD - Tue, Dec 16, 2008, 7:46 A
Holiday Cheer with Steve & Lisa
Thursday December 18 at 8 PM.
Lisa Davol and Steve Alves host an evening of holiday songs at the Rendezvous in Turners Falls. Come join in the fun! Special quests include: Emily Brewster, Patricia Pruitt, JD Keating, Hillary Smith, and Captain Tim. Song lyrics will be provided.

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RiverCulture - Mon, Nov 10, 2008, 2:44 P
Call for public art proposals!
Deadline to submit proposals is December 4th

The Turners Falls RiverCulture Project is requesting proposals from artists/landscape designers/groups/persons to design and implement a temporary art installation (lasting up to 3 years) for a public walkway connecting downtown Turners Falls to the residential hill section of Turners Falls. Project budget is $4,500 including a $1,000 design fee and $3,500 for construction materials, labor, delivery, and assembly and installation requirements. All persons interested in applying should call Lisa Davol at 413-230-9910 or email her at Deadline to submit proposals is Thursday December 4th at 4:00 pm. The RFP can be viewed from the homepage of the RiverCulture website.

The Turners Falls RiverCulture Project is funded by The Massachusetts Cultural Council, The Town of Montague, Western Massachusetts Electric Co., Fostering the Arts and Culture Partnership, Hillside Plastics, and Greenfield Savings Bank.
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RiverCulture - Thu, Oct 23, 2008, 11:57 A
Halloween Performance?
Does anyone know anything about the performance that is supposed to be happening in peskeomskut park on halloween?
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RiverCulture - Wed, Aug 13, 2008, 4:43 P
Block party Photos
If anyone has photos of the block party, please send them my way so i can distribute and post them on the RiverCulture website. Here are some on Janel Nockelby’s Flickr page.
Lisa Davol
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RiverCulture - Thu, Aug 7, 2008, 2:16 P
Block Party: Help Needed and Wish List
It’s almost here! This year’s Turners Falls Block Party is only two days away. We hope to see you downtown on Saturday during the party, which will begin with a parade at 3pm and continue until 10 with live music, food, and fun for all ages on Avenue A and beyond.

Many people, businesses, and organizations have contributed to making this year’s party happen, but it’s not too late to pitch in. On Saturday, there will be lots of opportunities to help. Just show up at:

8am - to help set up the tents that will protect music and equipment (we need lots of hands)
9am (and after) - to set up stage & equipment + green room for performers
noon - to block off streets, hang signs, set up another tent, and help vendors get situated
2:30pm - to help with or be in the parade
3pm (and after) - to staff tables, assist with kids’ activities, and run last-minute errands (Come to the RiverCulture table for an assignment.)
10pm - to help break it all down and clean up

We would also like people to take photographs of the event to have on file and someone to estimate attendance at various points during the day.

We’re also still looking for a few important items:

* Stakes for attaching signs to
* A truck to hold full garbage bags and drive to the DPW after the party
* Non-toxic art supplies suitable for collage and painting
* Lots & lots of duct tape
* Good weather!!!

If you can help, please let me know -- or just come down to Avenue A and stop by the RiverCulture table on Saturday. See you there!

Lisa Davol
RiverCulture Coordinator

For more information about the 2008 Block Party and other events in Turners Falls, see
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RiverCulture - Thu, Jun 26, 2008, 5:35 P
MarKamusic Rain Location
In case of rain, RiverCulture’s MarKamusic concert this Saturday at 6 pm will will be held inside at St. Kazimierz. (across from Peskeomskut Park and Carnegie Library at the corner of Ave A and 7th Street in Turners Falls) Click here for details
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RiverCulture - Sun, May 18, 2008, 11:26 A
African Dance Performance Today!
African dance performance also today at the Great Hall of the Discovery Center at 2 pm.
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MontagueReporter - Fri, May 16, 2008, 12:21 P
Mead tasting at the Voo during Arts & Blooms this weekend
Yes, of course, the Sunday night poetry reading and music jam at the Rendezvous is open to the public. It’s a benefit for the Montague Reporter, and we want everyone to come.

Bring a poem, bring a friend, hoist a few, have a blast, support independent media in Montague. Open mic sign up from 7:45 on; music starts at 7:30 sharp with Banish Misfortune (Celtic traditional) followed by the lower case g’s and the Ghost Quartet. See you there.
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valleylocavore - Fri, May 16, 2008, 7:58 A
Mead tasting at the Voo during Arts & Blooms this weekend

is the sunday night event open to the public..? will you be there?
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RiverCulture - Wed, May 14, 2008, 2:07 P
Sense of Place Forum
You are invited to attend a community visioning for the Turners Falls Pathways Project
With Special Facilitator: Annaliese Bischoff

When: Tuesday, May 20, 2008, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Where: Great Hall, at the Discovery Center.

Why should I go? Be part of your community, meet new people, and positively contribute to our collective sense of place. Light refreshments & beverages provided

About the Turners Falls Pathways Project
The project aims to involve community members in a collaborative and creative process to redesign part of our community space. We will be transforming two town owned sidewalks into artistic and landscape designed pathways through the woods. The Pathways will serve as a unique and artistic feature of Montague as well as a pleasant and inspiring path to encourage people to walk downtown. The Pathways is a collaborative project of Turners Falls RiverCulture, Brick House, School Based Services and Franklin Hampshire Career Center

Ms. Bischoff is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and a Faculty Advisor with Commonwealth College with 28 years of teaching experience. Professor Bischoff has published numerous articles and book chapters on community and open space design. Her work has received merit awards in research and design from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the Boston Society of Landscape Architects (BSLA) Professional Awards Program. Her research focuses on the cultural influences that shape the landscape with an emphasis on historic identity and landscape character.

Questions? Contact Turners Falls RiverCulture, at 413-230-9910, Dianne Ellis at 863-9843, or Desiree at the Brick House, 863-9576
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thegarth - Wed, May 14, 2008, 9:17 A
Mead tasting at the Voo during Arts & Blooms this weekend
12-5pm on Sat (and likely Sunday as well). Your local neighborhood meadery (Green River Ambrosia) will be sampling our first release of our "Summer Sparkler" honey wine. Lightly effervescent with a nice honey bouquet (but not to thick or sweet...think champagne, not port).

Also remember the Montague Reporter fundraiser event at the Voo on Sunday night.

See you there!

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RiverCulture - Wed, Apr 16, 2008, 12:45 P
Block Party Meeting
Block Party meeting today at 5:30pm in the Responsive Classroom Center of Northeast Foundation for Children, which is 66 2nd Street, Turners Falls (across from the 2nd St. Bakery).

Come to this and other planning meetings if you want to help shape what this summer’s Block Party will be like! Or, if you can’t make it, be sure to let Lisa or me know of your interest.

If what you really want to do is just help out when the party happens in August, that’s fine, too. We need people like you, so let us know you’re out there! You don’t have to come to today’s meeting (unless you want to.)

Jen Audley

Saturday, August 9, 2008
3 p.m. to 10 p.m. – rain or shine
Downtown Turners Falls, MA
Avenue A between 3rd and 5th Streets
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RiverCulture - Mon, Mar 24, 2008, 4:03 P
Block Party Planning Meeting Thursday 27th
Turners Falls Block Party! August 9th. Help Make it Happen! Planning Meeting March 27th, 6 PM @ Montague Town Hall

We need help with: Entertainment, Kids activities, Marketing, Creative Fundraising, Food, Set up, Parade, Community Art Project, Signage

If you would like to be involved in any of the above categories please come to the planning meeting on the 27 th. If you would like to help in another way, please call Lisa 413.230.9910 or email
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LBD - Fri, Mar 14, 2008, 6:40 P
acoustic bass player
Amateur pianist/vocalist looking for acoustic/ upright bassist for casual (musical) fun. Jazz standards and such. If interested, please call Lisa 863-9296 or post or email back.
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RiverCulture - Wed, Nov 28, 2007, 7:24 P
Art Walk this weekend
Get a start on your holiday cheer. Come to Arts & Icicles and other Turners Falls events. More here: http://www.montaguem...?gpt=34&g=197&ID=150
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Laura - Sun, Sep 9, 2007, 9:49 A
Turners in Sunday Boston Globe
Wow, that is a very cool article ... beautiful photos too! I took that geology walk w/my sons last Columbus Day weekend (I think) ... highly recommended!! We really do live in a great area and LIsa, I know you have worked very hard to raise its profile. Thank you for all your hard work.
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RiverCulture - Sun, Sep 9, 2007, 8:11 A
Also in today’s Globe
Today there is also a Globe editorial about keeping Nestle out of Montague.
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RiverCulture - Sun, Sep 9, 2007, 6:24 A
Turners in Sunday Boston Globe
Check out the great travel piece on Turners Falls in today’s (Sunday) Boston Globe. Interesting to note is the "loiterers" were seen as adding vibrancy to the village as evidenced by the prominent picture of them in the print version. Here is the web version which includes a photo gallery. http://www.explorene..._but_not_traditional
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mamag - Wed, Aug 29, 2007, 2:23 A
Well said Jared!
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PCD - Tue, Aug 28, 2007, 6:48 P

I agree with some of what you say, but that type of cynical viewpoint isn’t healthy.

The Town is comprised of many different types of people, and for those that are proactive, no stance should be ignored. They should all be considered as we move forward towards positive development.

As for the folks by the Cafe, whatever it’s called, they might look back on these days with joy and longing as they become productive members of our taxpayer society who, in general, despises the concept of what they are doing because it appears bohemian or lazy.

I have made the argument off this site that the regenesis of this town will come at a price, an economic price, and that will be largely determined by the people that open their hearts and wallets to a new Montague, either by moving here, spending here, or by opening businesses here.

It doesn’t have to be NOHO, and will never be. But it might be a happy medium.

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holmesy - Tue, Aug 28, 2007, 6:20 P
It amazes me how out of touch the so-greatly-concerned citizens of Montague are. Turners Falls has all of a sudden become "a great cultural mecca" while at the same time turning into a typical Northampton where diversity is judged upon by the thickness of one’s wallet.
"Oh dear, what must we do of the loitering on the Avenue?" A funny question since most of those asking this come from the baby boomer generation that flocked to Haight-Ashbury back in the 60’s. Such a big disruption on my way to the Avenue A cafe hint hint Greenfield Recorder it’s no longer called Cup O’ Joe for those who only pass through downtown on your way to work you may have totally overlooked this.
I happen to be one of those kids who used to drum in downtown Greenfield. I played the same snare drum as I proudly paraded in the Block Part y parade. Alot of people seem to forget that in their teen years and early twenties people are going through the most experimental time of their lives. That’s why I don’t freak out about the kids loitering because I know in a year or two a majority of them will be productive taxpayers that will probably look down upon what they are doing right now. But people seem to forget what being a teenager is like.
Alot of the new breed moving into this community have this illusion that they are so open minded but at the same they are being selective in their ways of improving the town. Everyone complains about the VFW but no one cares to discuss how they went under in the first place or why no one owns the property yet. From what I heard the first people interested in buying the property backed out on it.
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lorena - Tue, Aug 28, 2007, 9:53 A
I like the idea of dialogue with the teens or with each other for that matter. When I drove by Cup o Joe’s the other day and saw a crowd of teens and adults together playing it warmed my heart. Teens are a wonderful asset to our community. My son started a trend in Greenfield of drumming on the common over 12 years ago. It was a place for them to gather, they were visible, and staying out of trouble. I know that my son has carried on the tradition on Nantucket Island where he now lives with his family. He still plays music and has an art studio. I am not sure that without the encouragement of the greater community that he would have continued along that path. While I know that it is important to not interfere with the business community’s ability to do their business, I also know that our young people are struggling and need to feel a part of our community. I like the idea of them having space in some of our lovely parks. I also like the idea that they are out in the open so that the community can assist in ensuring their safety. Everyone’s safety in our community is important, store owners, shoppers, and teens alike. In as much as teens rally against authority they are very much still in need of our support and guidance, to know that we care about them and that they are important.

I do love how downtown Turners is looking these days. I have been here all of my life and have seen it go through many transformations. I know that it is with caring, connection, and communication that our community is transforming to a safe and wonderful place to be/ live again. My Great Grandparents lived in Turners all of my life. My Great Grandfather (they called him Zephy) would "loiter" with his friends on the park benches that used be on Avenue A. He bought his "Chew" at Equie’s and brought us there for a treat every now and then. It was a great place to be as a kid, I played on the boardwalks. I think if Zephy were visiting downtown and ran accross the teens on the street he would stop and talk to them and offer them a pepermint (he always had them in his shirt pocket). I wish that I had more time to get to know my "neighbors". I work in downtown Turners now and am happy to be back here and impressed with what people are doing in terms of making the community a better place to be.

I also want to say that the block party was wonderful!!! Great Job on all who organized and all who attended!! It was a beautiful day and a wonderful event. I hope there are more to come.

I say, Yeah to everyone and what is being done for good. Yeah to peace and community. I love it here and hope it continues to move in a positive direction.
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mik - Tue, Aug 28, 2007, 9:28 A

I agree completely. 100%

So, as you say, back to square 1. How to get people to come to Turners and reignite the downtown?

Well, having something to go to is important. The eminent opening of the Rendezvous, with the later hours of the cafe, are very helpful. Hopefully David can do something with the old VFW to add to the mix.

What is downtown Turners missing? Another eatery would be great for people who work in town (as I sometimes do) or some other business that people would find useful in walking distance. If we all think about it, what else would be useful to have right there? A deli / minimart / bodega of some kind? A family-style restaurant?

Has anyone done a study of the current store-front businesses in Turners and compared it to other thriving downtowns? This is not rocket science.

Lastly, a nice friendly sign on Route 2 welcoming drivers to Turners, and perhaps a business listing sign touting some of the businesses? We need to market the strip to passers-by and remind residents and local workers what they have.

I think the bookstore missed the blob by a year.
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jaredlibby - Tue, Aug 28, 2007, 8:38 A
Many of you know me as the Youth Programs Coordinator at The Brick House on Third St. I’ve been following this thread since it started, and have read every single post. This is an issue very close to my heart since most of the loitering youths in question are frequent visitors of The Brick House. I have been both saddened and heartened by the comments on the issue of loitering.

First of all, cheers to Patrick for daring to take a minute to sit with these folks and talk to them. It is clear from his post, that a brief conversation was all that it took for him to learn that these individuals are respectful, thoughtful, talented, and kind. I have known many of these folks for years, and I am constantly impressed with how intelligent and articulate they can be. Most folks never get to know them in this way, since the first impression made by their appearance often keeps people away. If you politely ask them to move so you can walk down the street easier, they will be respectful and courteous, and apologize for blocking your way. If you sneer and look down your nose at them, they’ll give you the same looks in-turn. There is no need to fear them, they are friendly and by no means dangerous. Next time you walk past them, think about how you present yourself to them.

These youths are not a blight on Ave. A keeping businesses from thriving. I paid close attention to the streets of Northampton this past weekend and noticed far more loiterers, homeless people, people clearly under the influence, and folks generally matching the complaints posted about this group. Clearly that hasn’t affected Northampton businesses.

Back to the drawing what is it that keeps business from thriving in Turners? One thought is that Turners isn’t really on the way to anywhere, meaning that folks need to decide to go to Turners as opposed to just stopping by on their way through. Perhaps more could be done to encourage traffic from Route 2 to detour through. People need a reason to visit Turners, otherwise it’s just a scaled down version of Greenfield or Brattleboro--and why go to the scaled-down version when the full version is easier to get to? Local arts events are helping, Arts & Blooms, Arts & Leaves, etc. The Hallmark Museum is something else that folks can only find here. Businesses need to have a customer base as an incentive to open, or stay open; and customers need to have access to a variety of goods and services (preferably unique) as an incentive to come to town. Without one, we can’t have the other. Thus, we have a chicken-or-the-egg situation. I think that folks who are frustrated with this have chosen to lay some of the blame on these "loiterers," who really have nothing to do with the situation. After all, the book store certainly didn’t close because of folks hanging out on Ave. A, nor did the Bellybowl.

Thanks for reading,
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PCD - Sun, Aug 26, 2007, 9:59 P
I took the initiative today to stop by the Cup O’Joe and hang out with the kids on the street. The following are my observations and recollections of my conversation, which may be summarized.

10 young folk, dressed in alternative type garb, playing 2 guitars, a ukilalie (SP!) and some sort of drum.

Cigarettes in hand, drinking coffee and eating food clearly purchased from inside Joe’s....conservative estimate, 60.00 worth.

So I sit, and I ask, "So, is this loitering?"

The conversation ensues.

Bottom line: Good people, very intelligent and articulate; solid grasp of a world perspective, considerate and respectful.

They talk about the re-genesis of culture and arts in downtown Turners like it was their passionate! Committed to a greater sense of community awareness. No littering, no foul language, no drugs or anyone visibly impaired by the like. Very peaceful, tight knit group of friends, but open to outsiders as well.

Aware of the challenges of Downtown Turners; they point out the drug culture, alcohol abuse, poverty; just trying to make some music and bring some light and laughter to that "side" of the street.

Paints the "other" side of the street as negative, infested with drugs and violence. Thinks it’s wrong and a "shame".

Beg the question of why if, in places more developed culturally like NoHo or Bratt ("where it’s ok to hang out and drink coffee and play music") they get such a "hassle" by the local Police department.

90% college students; UMASS or GCC. Enrolled for fall semester.

Likes Hallmark and the new downtown vibe, like River Culture activities and a more communal sense of downtown.

PLEASED beyond control that I stopped to talk and ask...very discursive, engaging and honest; polite.

They asked me what I thought they could do to help, and responded:

Make a sign that says "positive change starts here" and put it up when you guys are downtown.

Continue to be respectful, but find new and more vocal ways to demonstrate that you are in fact so.

Become an active, vocal voice on this site and share your downtown experiences.

Campaign for aggressive change and monitoring of the negative parts of the culture of our downtown area.

Continue to contribute to the dialogue in a positive, cooperative manner, even when attacked or questioned.

Foster openness, play music, and pray for the the changes they all hope are happening.

Verdict: Good kids, artistic, and working hard to make a life for themselves. They love downtown TF, and hope to see it become everything they would like it to be.

Hearing some of those ideas, I’d like it to be so too.

I enjoyed my time today, and will be paying close attention in the future to what these kids do for our community.

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woseph - Sun, Aug 26, 2007, 5:49 P
ok here it goes i have lived in turners falls all of life. and there is alot worse then loitering. come on people take a freaking chill pill
Joe whitman
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clegg - Sun, Aug 26, 2007, 10:04 A
A few additional things have been going on along Avenue A these past two weeks while discussing loitering. Remember I brought up the problem at 118 Avenue A and the trouble that guy was causing. Well a criminal summons was issued to that resident and a visitor and all was quite this weekend. That problem got taken past this corkboard and the residents in the area took action. That is a positive, but the building for 60 & 62 Avenue A just changed hands and all residents are being evicted. Some have lived there 4 years and didn’t this just happen down the street from there where the acupuncture was? Evictions on Avenue A.
I hope there isn’t a trend to increase rental rates.
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blacksnake - Sun, Aug 26, 2007, 6:16 A
It’s comments like this that make people not want to post.

I think most people are silent , (not " whispering") because it is fairly obvious that the whole point about "loitering" turned into a "teen issue" instead of developing "downtown" issue.
If it ever turns back into a development issue, I’ll be glad to give my input, but I refuse to banter anymore with folks who are not interested in seeing the issue that I was speaking of, bringing back a more vibrant downtown.
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lithium - Sat, Aug 25, 2007, 7:45 P
I hate not being able to quick edit the posts. Sorry for the typos.

EDITED: Its funny how the thread dies out when the "rude" kids start coming on. Now that they are laying about the site, where are you people whispering?
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lithium - Sat, Aug 25, 2007, 7:42 P
Its funny how the thread dies out when the "rude" kids start coming on. Now that they are lay about the site, where are you people whistering?
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mik - Sat, Aug 25, 2007, 4:02 P
kids on the Avenue
School starts next week. Let them enjoy their summer off already.
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area10 - Sat, Aug 25, 2007, 3:48 P
kids on the Avenue
What happening to swimming/hiking/biking/camping/baseball/outdoor movies/
Don’t these kids have anything to do? How about a summer job? Helping out Seniors? There is so much to do in the summer why in the heck would they want to hang out on any street!
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cosbinator - Sat, Aug 25, 2007, 3:18 P
Hi there,
I am also one of the "loiterers" in front of the Cafe. I would like to bust a few myths I have seen posted about some of us. I have a full-time job painting houses, I do not use or sell hard drugs, I pick up my own trash as well as others, I respectfully step aside and tell others to when people are passing, I say friendly hellos to pedestrians and am respectful if they ask us to move, I spend 5-10 dollars daily at the Cafe and if I had the money I’d buy one of those pretty guitars at Seth and Evas, I don’t waste my whole day sitting there either. I am a relatively productive person. The reason i go to the Cafe is for good coffee, SUPER NICE PEOPLE, to see what people are doing that evening, check in with friends, and relax for awhile with friends after my 8-10 hour days at work.
In the defense of some of the people who do spend more time and less money there I would like to remind everyone that they are just kids. 12-17 year olds shouldn’t have to work if they don’t need to. Working sucks. Let kids be kids. These kids spend alot of their time at the brick house playing music, making art, participating in GSA, and many other productive things. Also some of them are still in High School... its summer break. Let them enjoy their time off!
I think if someone who passes by feels people are being rude or disrespectful they should speak up politely and say so. Corkboard isn’t going to solve your problems with this issue but respectful conversation might.
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budrew2 - Sat, Aug 25, 2007, 12:05 P
social or business? Turners Falls Massachusetts
in my opinion i think it is unfair to blame the youth that sit in front of cup o joe for our own towns problems. many people asked what our town should be, a place for flourishing business or a place of social hang out. well i say both. if we want a peaceful community both sides need to start working together. the blame shall stop here and now both parties need to come with an agreement to where both sides are happy
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clegg - Fri, Aug 24, 2007, 10:05 A
Nice to hear your comments to this community corkboard, don’t let it be the last time. Encourage others to join in. This conversation can now become more productive. Thankyou.
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CTE1987 - Wed, Aug 22, 2007, 2:22 P
Hello all. I am one of the "kids" that hangs out in front of the cafe. I would like to say first and foremost that I am here purely to defend myself (not argue) as it has been brought to my attention that are a lot of untrue things being said about us on this message board. First of all, none of us do hard drugs. Second, none of us sell drugs (however the same can’t be said about those who hang out on the other side of the Ave) and if we did, trust me, it wouldn’t be on the Ave. That’s just dumb. Third, I am certain that no one has harrassed any passersby. If you or anyone else was intimidated by any of us, then I’m sorry you or they can’t accept diversity and the fact most of us choose not to look like you average person(who ever heard of such a thing called individuality). Fourth, most of you (particulaly the ones who seem not to like us hanging out in front of the cafe) haven’t tried to bring any of this up with us although it seems to me like that would be the first place to start rather than on some message board that none of us were aware of until two days ago. That is all I have to say for now and please forgive me if I don’t respond to your comments immediately as I do not have a computer of my own.
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BF - Wed, Aug 22, 2007, 2:09 P
I went through about half the posts and didn’t see any from the youths that "loiter" downtown, so i decided, being that I am one of those youths I’ll put in my two cents worth. This comment is in no way directed at any one posters opinions. I see that we are blamed for many issues, or at the very least complaints about other issues are made with an accompaniment with complaints towards us. I can say without hesitation that drug deals, littering, and general disrruption of town proceedings were problems facing this town long before we began congregating on public side walks. I personally, long before many of my friends, have been spending long portions of my day at the cafe on the Ave for three years now and have witnessed many crack heads, drunks, disrespectful persons, etc. By the way, this was in between time i was going to school or working. The majority of the time we try hard to separate ourselves from such people. I personally have chastised those who conduct themselves selfishly, without any regard to etiquette. The littering is an issue I try hard to remedy, by cleaning the portion of the side walk we partially take up, adding plastic bags to the sides of trash cans when they become too full, and again, chastising those who are disrespecting the owners of the businesses surrounding us. As for the loitering subject, the majority of us are maintainting a fairly constant stream of business into the cafe, and a handfull are doing everything they can to provide seth and eva business. The last thing I’d like to say is that it is unfair to assume we do nothing else. Granted it appears that all the same people are there daily, all day long, but generally we are there for portions of the day to say hi, get coffe/food, and then we do things like hiking, fishing, walking, biking, skateboarding, working, playing music, and generally anything else you can come up with. I very much wish those who are angry with us would take time to talk to us and the many out of towners who have chosen to spend their time among us because frankly the town has little entertainment to offer.
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tfresident1951 - Wed, Aug 22, 2007, 1:59 P
I dare everyone of you who haven’t allready to go down to the coffee shop and a have a conversation with some of the kids who hang out there. It is very unfair of you all to judge them so harshly without knowing anything about them other than where they hang out. I mean, come on, let’s be reasonable here.
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lithium - Tue, Aug 21, 2007, 10:17 P
Exactly Bill. But the real situation is all the transplants coming in and trying to make over the area. Shelburne, Northfield, and all those other towns have no use for the all those local "artists" so they’ve taken refuge in Turners.

Worried about loitering yet push for public drinking? I walked past the kids at the VFW and recieved a friendly Hi. I walked until I hit that area roped off at the bar to allow the public drinking. The side walk was blocked and I had to walk in the road. From a patron I recieved not a Hi but a disgusted look.

I’ve heard the next big River Culture project is going to commission a giant nature painting and have it displayed in front of the RRSalvage building.
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Will - Tue, Aug 21, 2007, 8:09 A
blacksnake asks,

"do you want a downtown that brings business to Turners, or do you want a downtown that serves as a "social center" for various groups who could find other places to be social than on our downtown streets."

I vote for both. Having business downtown is important, but businesses are only one way to make the downtown a vibrant, social, welcoming place. A downtown that’s full of businesses but where people are discouraged from gathering and (yes) loitering would be a sterile, boring place. And a welcoming downtown is one where not all of us are necessarily going to like every type of person who spends time there.

Posters have commented favorably on Northampton. Northampton is appealing because of the social atmosphere. Businesses contribute to that social atmosphere, but "business" is not the sole reason people are drawn to Noho.
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BillBry - Mon, Aug 20, 2007, 8:36 P
Get a life people! These kids have rights and can sit around ANYWHERE THEY WANT! You people sit around writing about stuff that doesn’t matter!

This matters!!!!
Head of GAO Issues Dire Warning to President Bush: Learn From the Fall of Rome
Jeremy Grant

Financial Times

Aug 14, 2007

August 14, 2007 - The US government is on a ‘burning platform’ of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country’s top government inspector has warned.

David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country’s future in a report that lays out what he called “chilling long-term simulations”.

These include “dramatic” tax rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments of holdings of US debt.

Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were “striking similarities” between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government”.

“Sound familiar?” Mr Walker said. “In my view, it’s time to learn from history and take steps to ensure the American Republic is the first to stand the test of time.”

Mr Walker’s views carry weight because he is a non-partisan figure in charge of the Government Accountability Office, often described as the investigative arm of the US Congress.

While most of its studies are commissioned by legislators, about 10 per cent – such as the one containing his latest warnings – are initiated by the comptroller general himself.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Walker said he had mentioned some of the issues before but now wanted to “turn up the volume”. Some of them were too sensitive for others in government to “have their name associated with”.

“I’m trying to sound an alarm and issue a wake-up call,” he said. “As comptroller general I’ve got an ability to look longer-range and take on issues that others may be hesitant, and in many cases may not be in a position, to take on.

“One of the concerns is obviously we are a great country but we face major sustainability challenges that we are not taking seriously enough,” said Mr Walker, who was appointed during the Clinton administration to the post, which carries a 15-year term.

The fiscal imbalance meant the US was “on a path toward an explosion of debt”.

“With the looming retirement of baby boomers, spiralling healthcare costs, plummeting savings rates and increasing reliance on foreign lenders, we face unprecedented fiscal risks,” said Mr Walker, a former senior executive at PwC auditing firm.

Current US policy on education, energy, the environment, immigration and Iraq also was on an “unsustainable path”.

“Our very prosperity is placing greater demands on our physical infrastructure. Billions of dollars will be needed to modernise everything from highways and airports to water and sewage systems. The recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis was a sobering wake-up call.”

Mr Walker said he would offer to brief the would-be presidential candidates next spring.

“They need to make fiscal responsibility and inter-generational equity one of their top priorities. If they do, I think we have a chance to turn this around but if they don’t, I think the risk of a serious crisis rises considerably”.
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PamK - Mon, Aug 20, 2007, 10:09 A
I am reading all these posts regarding loitering and I am so frustrated with all the psychoanalysis that is going on regarding a business issue. I dont care what these people who loiter represent. I don’t care whether they are "good people" or "bad people". A large group that gathers in front of a business is not helping that business no matter what the group’s intentions are. It is wonderful that the residents of our fine village of Montague who post messages here are not intimidated by the large group of people who congregate in front of downtown TF businesses. Yes, we are a progressive community. Yes, we celebrate diversity, but the bottom line is that allowing people to overtake a sidewalk is not very inviting to customers from outside our fine village.

As I understand it , the goal of the TFRiver Culture, Arts Walks, Discovery Center events, is to invite people from outside our quaint little village to see all that this fine town has to offer. It is those "outsiders" or "tourists" that will decide whether or not they want to run the gauntlet of loiterers to get a cup o joe, or buy a fine piece of art or a guitar from Seth and Eva’s. My guess is that if they see the large crowd in front of a business, most will not take the time to see what these groups of people are all about. They will see this crowd sitting along the sidewalk, sitting in doorways, not allow people to pass by easily and keep on going, right across the bridge.

As a business owner on the avenue, I think it is up to the businesses in downtown TF to address this issue. I am further down the ave from Ave A Cafe and don’t have any problems with people loitering in front of my business because I don’t tolerate it. If the owner of Ave. A Cafe is satisfied with just having customers from our village and those who hang out in front of her store patronize her business, there is nothing more to say. I would never suggest to another business owner how they should run their business or what kind of clientele they should attract.

However, as I have said in my previous post, no matter who these people are that loiter, or what they represent, it just plain looks bad to have any large crowd gathered in front of a business for no apparent reason.
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PCD - Sun, Aug 19, 2007, 6:40 A
Don, I agree completely.

The realtionship between youth and their communities/adults/communitiy figures has changed considerably in this technology age.

I was speaking with a developmental psychologist from Hartford yesterday, who told me the level of anger and apathy she sees in average middle-class students in the school systems is overhwelming. Coupled with chnages in the way many families, specifically parents, relate and respond to their children, it is a difficutl issue to address as whole cloth. So many pieces.

So maybe Clark is right, we should address behavior. He makes a valid point that rejecting behavior, regardless of social or economic class is the right thing to do if it’s inappropriate.

This only issue I take with that argument is that behavior is the resultant of a lager, more complex nature/nurture process, which is a combination of an inidividual or group’s values, collecitve experiences, mores, opprotunity and upbringing. What then, as a community, can we do to stem the tide of inappropriate behavor?

The first step, I think, is by continuing to develop a community (or town) culture that does not accept the negative and inappropriate beaviors we are talking about. Real change doesn’t come from social "parenting" (through making a stand on behavior and demanding/expecting change through correction and punsihment); the real change comes from the development and sustainability of a new economic and social culutre whose membership is mroe vocal and present than the minority "misbehavers".

I think kids on Avenue A scare us more than they annoy or harm us. The knee jerk reaction is to reject them because they "loiter" or hang around all day somkin cigarettes. The guys dealing drugs in front of the 3rd Street Exxon, the people with guns, the out-of-town drug runners and dealers filtering through town, etc., scare me far more than the kids on Avenue A.

This is a complex issue, one which can be debated around and around until the cows come home.
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clegg - Sun, Aug 19, 2007, 4:59 A
I talk with the Youths that hang out on Avenue A fairly frequently and some writers to this post maybe interested to know or just plain be informed that some of this kids are going of to college in the fall and others work jobs that are off-shift hours and allow them to hang around during the day. How many of us even as adults have at times worked a job with odd hours and various days of the week? Did you ever find yourself with nothing to do and went to where you knew your friends hung out. Or did we just go to the local tavern to kill sometime.
I was thinking of printing out this entire corkboard dialoge on the loitering topic and pass it out amongst the kids and listen to their thoughts. Maybe I will even give a copy to the guy that lives at 118 Avenue A that makes more of a problem for many of us. If you didn’t get to see him and only focussed on the kids this weekend then you missed a tag sale with no permit, public drinking, foul language, loud music, and lots of his loud friends.
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JeffSingleton - Sun, Aug 19, 2007, 4:55 A
Loitering/police station:

I actually thought PCD’s first post, using comparisons between Northampton and Greenfield, was very well done! He touched on key issues including social class and its impact on development strategies that are very real and need to be considered seriously. He was not attacking teens or poor people or section 8 housing but he was saying that if you have too many people just loitering, drunk, doing drug deals, etc you reach a tipping point that undermines the social and economic life of the community.

On a more specific level, I thought that Mark1’s comments about some of the past policies of the town was very good. Allowing storefronts to be used for housing is a real loser, for example, and we should end it. It also seems to me that reducing the number of absentee landlords is important alhtough I am not sure what the government can do about it

Clegg’s comments about abusive behavior next to one ot the parks are appropriate. And I think Blacksnake’s concerns about loitering are also very appropriate. At some point if too much of this stuff goes on you reach a tipping point. If there is not one already, there should be some sort of downtown organization including small business, government, the social service agencies and activist residents (there are quite a few of those) that deals with these issues. I hate to propose another bunch of meetings for the same people to go to but I think this would be helpfull,

Finally, I am very concerned with the proposed new police station being moved to the top of the hill in Turners. It seems to be a done deal. Maybe it is the right thing but I feel the police station committee essentially made that decision outside the context of development strategies for downtown Turners and with little if any real public discussion of the pros and cons. The police station committee will be making a presentation to the Finance Committee this Wednesday tentativel at 6:30.
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Clark - Sat, Aug 18, 2007, 7:59 P

Patrick: I am somewhat appalled by your response. First of all it is NOT a Democrat/Republican thing what-so-ever in my mind. At the time I wrote my response it was not intended to be only to PCD’s comments but the general tenor of comments over the last 6 or 8 comments or so that were made.
However, Patrick, It really seems to me that some of your comments have been quite condecending and pompous.
Reasonable people ought to be able to disagree and be respectfull without "putting down" other people.
By the way, I DID read your post, and made a post based on my thoughts of the subject up to that point.
Best wishes, And I just hope that some behaviors can change for the good of all concerned.-----Clark
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PCD - Sat, Aug 18, 2007, 7:19 P

I never suggested we need to respond to anything class related.....

I wish folks would read more closely.

What I SAID, in effect, is that Turners faces unique challenges because of many of those socio-economic issues which face our downtown business district, not as a result of them being negative or undesirable. It’s just simple class-based economics, whether you like it or not, and as a Republican, I’m surprised you aren’t more sympathetic with my comments. I’m making a factual argument as a Democrat, looking at reality, and making a rational argument for some of the difficulties facing our downtown business district. It’s not a condemnation of the folks in our community, more an acceptance of a reality-under-change.

In the future as the business-cultural-economic climate changes, so too may the composition of the downtown area.

Realize, this is a community polarized by the comparison of Avenue A and "The Hill", which has held back the economic development of Turners Falls as long as I have been alive.

Greenfield has much of the same issue.

A vibrant business district can occur in spite of the residential climate of that district. It’s a cultural economic equation.

If you exclude the reality of what we face, no real novel development can occur.

It is in acceptance, collaboration and hard work that Montague may develop beyond the concept of limitation towards a collective culture of enrichment and success.

Do I have to AGAIN reiterate WHY I stated what I stated?

Calling me out as "responding to the subject in general, not PCD in particular" is accomplishing exactly what you say you are not doing.

You are a smart man, I have respect for you, and you have done a lot for this community over the years.

Behavior is 10% of climate and culture.

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blacksnake - Sat, Aug 18, 2007, 6:06 P
Well I take up the keyboard again because tonight I was accused of not mentioning what someone saw as a conflict of interest. I don’t see it that way, but because the subject is now part of the "Turners downtown gossip/drama" issue I want to make a comment, or should I say "statement" as I definitely feel like I am the "accused".
For over 25 years I have been interested in downtown Turners as a viable shopping area. I purchased a home on Ferry Rd, and a downtown building in 1982. That is 28 years ago. I had to deal with the issue of loitering even back then. I opened an Art Gallery in Greenfield and tried to deal with loitering issues there, many article in the Recorder quoted my attempts to get Greenfield to deal with the issue.
When 4-Direction Healing Center closed, my daughter and I thought we might want to reopen the Gallery I had in Easthampton for a year in that location. We went to that site three times trying to decide if it would work for us.
That is when we noticed the crowds starting to gather on Ave A. I recognized immediately the similarity to Greenfield and how that issue had escalated. We decided that a Gallery wouldn’t work there for the same reasons as the Greenfield one failed.
After that time, I noticed each time I drove by that it didn’t make Turners look good for shoppers. I began to talk to people about the issue in early Spring.
In August, months after I began to dicuss the situation, my ex-husband, who I have not been married to for over 25 years, without ANY MENTION OR DISCUSSION WITH ME, placed a bid on the VFW. I had no idea the place was even up for sale. I didn’t mention it on the net because it does not involve me.
Now the accusation is that because my ex-husband and his grown son, are trying to buy the building that I have taken it upon myself to fight the loiters downtown .
This gossip, and that is what it is, is so insulting to my right to have my own opinion. I have never discussed this issue with anyone in my family except the people who live in my house. My husband and my daughter.
I have no connection, either financially or decision wise to the VFW or any other building downtown. My opinion is not my ex-husband’s or my son’s. They are independent people with their own opinions and they do not mimic or mouth mine.
If knowing someone who owns a building downtown is criteria for not being able to have an independent opinion , then that will leave out an awful lot of people. ANd if a Mother cannot have an opinion without someone trying to drag the rest of her family into it, then what the heck am I doing trying to help Turners develope a downtown.
If I would have realized the consequences of my voicing concerns would be more "drama and gossip" for Turners, I would have kept my big mouth shut! I think I’ll put my energy somewhere else.
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Clark - Sat, Aug 18, 2007, 7:13 A
I,m responding to the subject in general, not PCD in particular.--------------------------- I believe we should be responding to the "behavior" we don’t feel is appropriate and NOT to the perceived "class" , "living situation" or "economic class" of the individuals doing it.
Inappropriate behavior to the greater public is inappropriate NO MATTER WHO is doing it.!!!
All classes of people are capable of inappropriated behavior!!!!! Period!! Paris Hilton----anyone!?!?

Clark Edwards
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madmaggie - Sat, Aug 18, 2007, 6:13 A
In response to Hermionejh’s submission, ’section 8’ does have a red flag to most that have dealt with a good majority of ’section 8 individual’s’. It is because that good majority have in some way or another, disrespected that and other social services in many ways...destroying properties, allowing unauthorized ’housemates’, not paying their porotion of the subsidy...the list goes on. Unfortunate stereotyping yes, but none the less, not without reason.

I think that by catering to ’youngsters’ that have nothing to do other than loiter will only prove them more entitiled. Putting a coffee shop next to a park, more litter and disrespect of a rather pretty area. And who’s responsibility will it be to yet still, clean up after the loitering litterers?

These people need something to ’do’ not someplace to loiter. And that should come from the family environment. The parents should be teaching their children to be more productive and not hang out on the street. So it’s not a question as to why they hang out on the street, the question is ’why not find something more socially exceptable’ to do?
I can’t remember a time that the adults in my childhood felt obligated to find me something to do however, I was brought up knowing that there is so much more to do than sit on the street drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and dreading hair...hiking, biking, picnicing, fishing, reading...yard work!... jobs...etc.

And hey, what about that awesome bike path. As I was riding my bicycle down by the canal, admiring what a wonderful idea this is and I come upon ’grafitti’ spray painted on the pavement and down further, a smashed glass liquor bottle...dam, what’s wrong with society?
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PCD - Fri, Aug 17, 2007, 10:18 P
AGAIN, for re-edification or for those who don’t read entire posts:

I have not slammed Section 8 or low income housing options.

The fact of the matter is, higher proportions of low income housing within a business district have a negative corrleation on business development. Ask your Senator, Congress-Person or Representative.

I have no negative feelings toward anyone who resides in Montague.....

Well, maybe against those who reply from the HIP! LOL!

Seriously....I wanted to make the point that these kids are most probably GOOD KIDS, no matter their station or living cirumstance.


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mamag - Fri, Aug 17, 2007, 8:19 P
Good word Lisa! Had to look it up on-line.
By all means, let the businesses plan together.
I met the new owner and she will tell the teens whether she wants them there or not.
I find Blacksnake’s concern for the village to be important. How can we not heed her wisdom?
I find the comments of section 8/low income housing to be ridiculous! Not all poor people sit around "loitering."
What if their parents say they are only allowed to be in that area? I know some teens that are brick house members too and they are harmless.
Also, it is summertime and warm out. Fall with school will start and we can all find something else to complain about no doubt.
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Mark1 - Fri, Aug 17, 2007, 5:57 P

I think I was pretty careful to talk about facts not people but I guess you only see things through your personal lens. Yes, anyone of us can be ’next’ but the mantle of noble suffering only gets you so far.

I think that the ’problems’ that face Turners, or any similar village - and Turners isn’t really that unique, there are lots of struggling communities in this country - require people to get beyond the ’think about ME and MY situation’ mentality.

The point I was trying to make, and I’ll make it one more time, is that there are significant structural barriers to progress in Turners, but if enough people get beyond their own situations and contribute to the solution, things will improve. People behaving better on the street, landlords being held accountable for their properties, and creative thinking by the select board and active citizens are part of the solution.

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pmar2 - Fri, Aug 17, 2007, 5:09 P
WOW!!!! I have never felt so bad about my situation as I do now, I was a person who worked hard all my life and together with my husband "earned" $120.000 a year, owned a home and had a great job.

It’s all tragic and simple, my life changed and now I am in section 8 housing. "There but for the grace of god go I" I believe is how it is put so be careful what you say out there, you could be next.

.....and to Mark1, I have nothing to say to you....and to PCD...Well said and I really mean that, your very articulate, To blacksnake...I understand that you didn’t mean it to go this far. Don’t worry it’s not you, just people who 20 years ago didn’t achieve their goals and now they have nothing better to do then throw stones under the guise of bringing change.
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Highlander - Fri, Aug 17, 2007, 11:38 A
Three cheers for blacksnake! I’ve been rooting for her all along. She has the right attitude.

One thing no one has mentioned and I think is very significant is the vacancy of the former VFW. Not for one moment would groups of anyone be allowed to congregate there if the members of the VFW still occupied that space. They were a no-nonsense group of people. After all, they fought in wars.

Some of the group that hangs out in front of the cafe and VFW are homeless; some are homeless wannabes (believe it or not). The fact that many of them occupy the sidewalk and force people, especially senior citizens, away from adjacent businesses (I have observed this) is unacceptable. It demonstrates their generally passive-aggressive behavior: no respect for others. This is my major issue with them. I don’t care about their age, class, or whatever, but I do care about the fact that they seem to enjoy intimidating people. The street and businesses thereon belong to everyone. This is a lesson they need to learn.. How to teach it? I thought loitering and vagrancy (like sleeping in the doorway of the VFW) were matters of law.

Dear blacksnake, don’t stop giving your opinion! I and many others need to hear from you. Yes.
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Mark1 - Fri, Aug 17, 2007, 8:02 A
When I moved here nearly 20 (!) years ago, I worked and lived on the Ave in Turners for five years. My job was to identify buildings that could be turned into tenant-owned cooperatives. That didn’t work for a variety of reasons but as part of that project I did a lot of primary research on property ownership patterns in downtown Turners.

What I learned is relevant to the discussion of loitering, business in downtown and yes, even Section 8 (the program, not the people).

1. I researched ownership of every single residential or mixed commercial/residential property located between the river and 7th St, the canal and L Street. At that time over 85% of rental housing was owned by absentee landlords, many from out of the region. That probably holds true (+/- a few points) today. This means that it is difficult to hold property owners accountable for the appearance of their properties and the behaviors of their tenants (loitering, messiness, vandalism, etc).

2. The town participated in decisions many decades ago that hamstrung the transformation of Turners from where it has been to the vibrant community many people want. Primary among these decisions was turning street-level storefronts into subsidized rental housing, much of it Section 8. Walk down Ave A and you will see a number of these properties on the west side of the street.

The town and low income housing developers effectively cut off any future growth in downtown business by doing this. It was an incredibly short-sighted decision, and one that is baffling today. It seems as though the town just gave up on a future of Turners beyond over-reliance on subsidized housing downtown. In many interviews with long time residents I heard of how the town strove to ’clean up’ the village by shutting down rowdy bars and converting storefronts to housing. Not a very visionary approach, but one born out of the wreck and ruin of deindustrialization and the closing of mills throughout the region.

Despite these barriers, Turners is starting to evolve. People are working to apply a veneer of arts and culture activities in the village and this is good. But for things to really turn the corner there needs to be more people willing and able to live in downtown properties that they own, so that the village has a better mix of renters and owners.

Continuing to squabble about teens, low income people, Section 8, etc just distracts from the structural problems inherent to the future evolution of Turners. A combination of approaches can help continue this transformation: community organizing (getting loiterers involved in other activities), enforcement (a downtown police beat; better building code enforcement) and incentives for property ownership (tax breaks for owner-occupied housing; see Holyoke for other potentially useful examples).

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PCD - Fri, Aug 17, 2007, 7:46 A
I want to make it abundantly clear that I am not passing judgement, in any way, regarding folks that utilize section 8 or low income housing. In fact, I have suggested in my previous post that our community can become polarized against certain "types" of perceived group on the basis of impression and not fact, which can be even more damaging and significant.

I am making the observation, simply, that from a socio-economic perspective, the types and quality of housing options in a given community (based on majority and proximity to a downtown business district) have an effect on the nature of that district.

Northampton has a downtown full of mid to up scale residential options, which fuel the City’s downtown economy, for example.

Turners does not, for example.

It’s just an observation, not a judgement.
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TF RiverCulture Calendar
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