Around Amherst: Former Amherst Select Board member remembered

Staff Writer
Saturday, July 14, 2018

AMHERST — A former Amherst Select Board member and teacher at Pelham Elementary School is being remembered by friends and acquaintances for her significant contributions to both communities over the past 40 years.

Judy Brooks, 74, died at her Amherst home last week.

“She was just a force, a beacon of light, a bridge,” says Andrea Battle, a retired teacher who moved to Amherst in 2011 to be closer to her grandchildren. “She wanted to help people; that was her mission in life.”

“Always ebullient, infectiously,” is how Adrienne Terrizzi said she will remember Brooks  “You couldn’t help be with her and not be hopeful, to be committed to the values that she was also committed to and espoused.”

Brooks and her husband, Barry, came to Amherst in the 1970s to be house parents at the A Better Chance home on North Prospect Street, and immediately became involved in the community.

Former Select Board member Carolyn Holstein, who served alongside Brooks on the Select Board in the late 1980s, recalls racial incidents at the time and Brooks having the ability to confront these problems in a positive manner.

“She was excellent in helping the board and the town to deal with it,” Holstein said. “She did it in such a loving and caring way.”

Brooks was also long active in politics. Growing up in Washington, D.C., she participated in the civil rights movement, assisting with Martin Luther King Jr.'s Poor People's Campaign and was on the National Mall on Aug. 28, 1963, the day King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. She supported Barack Obama for president in 2008 and was one of three western Massachusetts delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2012, representing the 2nd Massachusetts Congressional District.

“She’s a gentle and persistent giant in this community,” said Human Resources Director Deborah Radway, who worked with Brooks organizing Black History Month celebrations.

Brooks also taught for 31 years at Pelham Elementary, and was head of the Amherst-Pelham Education Association.

A memorial gathering is being planned for July 28 at 1 p.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church in Hadley.

Free concerts

Two free concerts in two downtown parks, both sponsored by the Amherst Business Improvement District, are taking place next week.

 In the Nick of Time and Mister G will be performing at Kendrick Park July 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. It is the first of four consecutive Thursdays where performers will be at the park.

The Amherst BID will have free cookies from Insomnia Cookies, water from TD Bank and balloon art done by Ed Popielarczyk's “Magical Moments.”

The following day, the Amherst Community Band performs a curated line up of music “The Moon and Stars,” at Sweetser Park. The music will honor the 49th anniversary of the Apollo landing on the Moon. That concert runs from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Amherst BID Marketing Director Ann Tweedy said last month’s Community Band concert brought over 200 people to Sweetser Park, which she described as being like “a mini-Tanglewood.”

Pool hall to close

Michael’s Billiards, the only dedicated pool hall in Amherst, closes Saturday after more than 30 years in business.

The closure comes with the retirement of long-time owner Cari Lo of Hadley.

Located on Belchertown Road, Michael's Billiards has several pool tables, an area for live bands and a bar area. It is expected to be renovated into a new restaurant that will open in the fall.

Money for Amherst and Pelham projects

An economic development bond bill adopted by the House of Representatives includes $175,000 in projects to promote jobs and community in Amherst and Pelham.

State Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose, I-Amherst, said he helped secure $75,000 to renovate the Enos Cook Memorial Fountain at Sweetser Park in Amherst, with $50,000 for sidewalk projects in Pelham’s new village center, and $50,000 to support a commercial kitchen at Pelham Community Hall.

“Bond bills can create a chance of viability for projects that would be nice but might not otherwise happen in the near future,” Goldstein-Rose said.

The Senate is taking up the same bill.

New staff member at Senior Center

Jennifer Reynolds, who had served as a town parking enforcement officer, was promoted to administrative assistant at the Senior Center.

Reynolds replaces Karen Erman, who recently retired.


MONDAY: Jones Library Budget Committee, 9:05 a.m., Goodwin Room, Jones Library; Fort River School Building Committee, 4:30 p.m., community room, police station.

TUESDAY: Bylaw Review Committee, 9:30 a.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall; Regional School District Planning Board, 9:30 a.m., Ramsdell Community Room, Pelham Library; Board of Registrars, 5:30 p.m., town clerk’s office, Town Hall.

WEDNESDAY: Planning Board, 7 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.