Around Amherst: Bockelman salutes crews for getting the dirty work done

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 05-18-2023 4:17 PM

AMHERST — A weekend repair of a sewer break on South Whitney Street by the Department of Public Works, with crews spending their Saturday night and part of Mother’s Day on scene, is drawing praise from Town Manager Paul Bockelman.

“I admired the work they did, and to come in on Saturday night and Sunday to be there, I just appreciated that,” Bockelman told the Town Council this week.

Bockelman provided a running account of the workers’ service on Twitter, often using humor in his narrative:

“These @TownOfAmherst  DPW Highway and Wastewater guys know how to party. Thanks for giving us your weekend, (DPW Superintendent) Guilford (Mooring) and crew.”

He also posted short video clips of what was happening. Footage, for example, shows the amount of noise made to manually pump the system, accompanied by Bockelman writing, “Our DPW crew has been here all night pumping out the break. Sometimes joined by really nice students living in the rental houses nearby. We are pretty sure they slept fine …”

The work to fix and then replace the collapsed clay pipe, he pointed out, was necessary to not otherwise disrupt the lives of those in the neighborhood.

“This is our crew, they’re out there on Saturday night trying to repair a sewer main break, with a lot of rental houses, so they could continue to use their facilities.”

When Sunday dawned at 7 a.m., another crew came in, with one employee departing and informing Bockelman that, with a newborn baby, he didn’t want to miss his wife’s first Mother’s Day.

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“Credit to our highway, water and wastewater divisions who were all on site helping out,” Bockelman said. “It’s amazing how they step up.”

The work was done even as the DPW is down five employees and there are challenges in recruiting people who have the skill sets needed. and as the DPW and contractors have been doing significant work this week to resurface roads and get that work complete before the University of Massachusetts graduation.

District 2 Councilor Pat DeAngelis offered thanks on behalf of the Town Council for the hard work by Amherst employees.

Allyship

“Being an Ally, not a Savior” is the title of an allyship program being put on by the town’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on Saturday from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

At the event at the Bangs Community Center, with light refreshments offered, Amherst resident Jana McClure, a Truth School trainer , will answer questions that include what is the role of the white ally to Black and Black, Indigenous and people of color communities, and how one can shed the cape of savior to become a warrior ally.

A lifelong nonprofit human service administrator, McClure has worked in numerous positions supporting individuals with varied abilities and challenges.

For more information, send email to DEI Assistant Director Jennifer Moyston at moystonj@amherstma.gov.

Town government survey

The League of Women Voters of Amherst will be presenting results of its survey of town government Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Bangs.

In anticipation of the town's official review of the charter next year, required in any year ending in “4,” the League formed a Charter Review Task Force that used a survey of the community to gather information on how residents assess the council-manager form of government that replaced the Select Board-Town Meeting-manager system of the past.

In addition to being in-person attendence, the League is offering Zoom participation at lwvamherst.org

Generation Ratify benefit

Generation Ratify Amherst is holding a third anniversary celebration at the Munson Memorial Library on Sunday from noon to 2 p.m.

The event will feature live music, catering, speakers, presentations and an art auction. Suggested donation for tickets is $10, with a minimum of $5 per ticket.

Fashion show

The Amherst Woman’s Club is holding “The World of Fashion comes to the AWC” on Sunday at 3 p.m. at its Triangle Street home.

Members of the club will model fashions from the hospice of the Fisher Home Thrift Shop.

All clothing and accessories will be available for purchase, while a tea will follow the show.

Proceeds will benefit scholarships and community service grants.

Meetings

TUESDAY: Finance Committee, 5;30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY: Personnel Board and Elementary School Building Site Committee, both at 9 a.m., Elementary School Building Design Committee, noon.

FRIDAY: Finance Committee, 1 p.m.

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