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Local activist raises awareness through Texas swim



Staff Writer
Friday, October 12, 2018

AMHERST — A recent 20-mile swim in Texas by an Amherst woman raised both money and awareness for an organization that is fighting institutional discrimination, including that faced by families and individuals crossing the southern border of the United States.

Sydne Didier recently completed a marathon swim on Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, a reservoir on the Colorado River near Austin, Texas.

The swim raised $3,410 through a Facebook fundraiser for the Texas Civil Rights Project, which has confronted the school to prison pipeline.

Didier, who has done other marathon swims, including one off the coast of Culebra, a tiny island near Puerto Rico, chose the Texas swim because of its proximity to her in-laws’ home and the government’s separation of children from parents at the border.

“I’ve watched the situation, I see my own son, and thought about what I could offer,” Didier said.

Didier said her swim went from Inks Lake Dam to Marble Falls Dam. Anything longer than a 10-kilometer swim is considered a marathon swim.

Prior to departing, Didier trained in her own pool and as part of the University of Massachusetts Aquatics Masters Team

During the swim, she could have no intentional contact with any vessel or land. Every 30 minutes, a bottle attached to a carabiner was thrown from a kayak, and she also got periodic chocolate goos and gummy bears as part of her regimen.

In a thank you note on Facebook to those who contributed, Didier wrote:

“At a time when it’s easy for so many of us to feel overwhelmed and helpless, organizations like the Texas Civil Rights Project give me hope. And all of you give me hope too.”

Halloween windows

Children will be decorating windows with Halloween and autumn themes at downtown businesses Saturday.

The annual event is sponsored by the Leisure Services and Supplemental Education department in advance of trick or treating and other events marking Halloween that will take place later in the month.

Tree plantings

The Amherst Public Shade Tree Committee’s Second Saturday Tree Planting will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon on the west side of Amity Street near Lincoln Avenue.

Volunteers are encouraged to drop by to assist and learn tips about planting. They should look for the yellow Department of Public Works truck.

Voter registration

Those interested in voting in the Nov. 6 state election, and the first Town Council election in Amherst, have until Oct. 17 to register to vote.

A voter registration session will be held at the town clerk’s office at Town Hall that day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In Pelham, the town clerk’s office will be open that day from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. for voter registration.

Voters can also go online until 11:59 p.m. Oct. 17 to register at https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ovr/.

Cuppa Joe

The next Cuppa Joe with Town Manager Paul Bockelman will be held at Jake’s in the Mill District, 68 Cowls Road, Oct. 19 from 7:30 to 9 a.m.

Bockelman will be joined by Department of Public Works Superintendent Guilford Mooring.

Residents are invited to make comments about town affairs, offer criticism and praise, and ask questions about Amherst-related topics.

Woman’s Club fundraiser

Roger Salloom, known for writing Americana music, will perform at a fundraiser for the Amherst Woman’s Club, 35 Triangle St., at 7 p.m. Oct. 19.

Refreshments will be served following the concert.

Tickets are $20 at the door, but can also be reserved in advance by calling 549-1199.

The Woman’s Club annually gives scholarships to Amherst Regional High School seniors, and distributes money to various agencies, including the Hospice of the Fisher Home in Amherst and Safe Passage in Northampton.

Meetings

MONDAY: Local Historic District Commission, 4 p.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall; Select Board, 6:30 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

TUESDAY: Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee, 6:30 p.m., high school library.

THURSDAY: Council on Aging, 9 a.m., Room 101, Bangs Community Center; Bylaw Review Committee, 9:30 a.m., IT Meeting Room, Town Hall; Four Boards Meeting, 5 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.