Around Amherst: Stavros Center installs its 700th wheelchair

Staff Writer
Thursday, December 28, 2017

AMHERST — Stavros Center for Independent Living recently installed a wheelchair ramp at a Springfield home, marking the 700th wheelchair ramp the Amherst agency has built in the region as it continues efforts to make dwellings more accessible.

The Stavros Home Sweet Home program builds access ramps for people with disabilities who live in Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden counties, as well as providing durable medical equipment to safely access those homes.

“We have built them in the dead of winter, in the summer, it doesn’t matter. Whenever people need a ramp, Stavros will help them build one,” Angelina Ramirez, director of development and community relations, said in a statement.

During the holidays, Stavros has portable ramps that it lends to families.

Anyone who needs an access ramp or durable medical equipment can call 256-0473, ext. 201, for more information.

Upcoming ski, winter equipment sale to benefit Amherst Historical Society

The Amherst Historical Society’s Ski and Winter Gear sale takes place early next month.

On Jan. 5 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Jan. 6 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Crocker Farm Elementary School, 280 West St., the school’s cafetorium will be transformed into a winter market, selling skis and other equipment, with experts at hand to assist shoppers with selection and sizing advice.

“We’re pleased to bring this opportunity to our friends and neighbors here in the Amherst area, and the proceeds from the winter gear sale will allow us to carry out our mission to connect people to the town of Amherst, its history and its culture,” event organizer Bonnie MacCracken, who is also treasurer for the society, said in a statement.

Anyone wishing to consign or donate their lightly used equipment for the sale should drop it by the school on Friday, Jan. 5, from 4 pm.to 6:30 p.m.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Crocker Farm’s annual sixth grade field trip.

Manager suggests new method for handling capital-project requests

Town Manager Paul Bockelmam is creating a method for handling capital-project funding requests in response to the interest various groups have demonstrated for their infrastructure ideas, such as happened at fall Town Meeting with the Friends of the North Amherst Library seeking improvements at the 1893 building.

A capital project request form will allow ideas to be brought directly to the Joint Capital Planning Committee. These forms will ask for information, including a description and potential cost.

“The purpose is to provide a clear path for members of the community to submit capital requests for consideration,” Bockelman wrote in a memo to the Select Board.

There would also be a specific process and deadlines, so the committee can review projects in advance of annual Town Meeting.

Cellphone service to get boost in downtown Amherst

New technology that enhances cellphone service without building new towers is coming to downtown Amherst and the East Amherst village center.

By a 5-0 vote, the Select Board recently authorized Cellco Partners to work with Verizon Wireless to install a small antenna and an equipment box on existing Eversource poles on Pray Street and South East Street.

Jay LaTorre, radio frequency engineer for Verizon Wireless, said “small cell” technology, as it is known, will allow the company to rapidly create additional coverage and augment areas where there is high demand.

LaTorre said the additions to the network will meet the demand caused by the Kendrick Place and One East Pleasant mixed-use buildings downtown, and the numerous businesses located near South East Street, College Street and Belchertown Road.

ESL grant for Jones Library

The English as Second Language Center at the Jones Library recently received a $1,000 grant to help new immigrants achieve English literacy and proficiency.

Vernon Library Supplies of Norcross, Georgia, awarded the money, which will be used to help the ESL Center in its work to organize programs and services.

These include providing volunteers to do one-to-one instruction, organizing conversation groups, and offering assistance for citizenship applications.

“From our work with libraries for now well over three decades, we have seen the incredible work that libraries have done helping new Americans gain the English proficiency needed for both the workplace and the social sphere,” Vernon owner Shai Robkin said in a statement. “We owe our libraries a great debt of gratitude for this and for so many other things.”


WEDNESDAY: Recycling and Refuse Management Committee, 4:30 p.m., Room 101, Bangs Community Center

THURSDAY: Finance Committee, 5 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall