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Winter festival in South Hadley on Saturday

When Michael Tougias would hike past an old road that seemed to disappear

into the Quabbin reservoir, he wondered who lived where these now dead-end

paths once led.

It was this fascination that led him to write the book, “Quabbin: A History

and Explorers Guide,” on the four “lost towns” of Dana, Enfield, Prescott

and Greenwich that were flooded out in 1938 to create the Quabbin

reservoir, which provides drinking water to the Boston area.

Tougias will present a narrated slideshow on the lost towns, the

construction of the reservoir and its function today at the South Hadley

Public Library on July 31 at 6:30 p.m.

The “silver lining” to the loss of the towns, he said, is that today, the

Quabbin is left in its natural state. It is for this reason that in the

second part of his presentation, he will provide a visual tour of the

Quabbin with suggestions of “hidden” places to visit.

“It’s always great to surprise [viewers] with information or even a new

place to go for a walk or a bike ride,” he said. Having grown up in

Longmeadow, he first began hiking in the area with his father and brother.

Now a resident of Plymouth, several of his recent books have been true

stories of survival at sea. Also at the presentation, he will talk about

the book he co-wrote with Casey Sherman, “The Finest Hours: The True Story

of the Coast Guard's Most Daring Rescue” —which Disney is currently making

into a major motion picture. The book is about the Coast Guard’s mission to

rescue 84 men caught in a nor’easter off of the coast of Cape Cod in 1952.

Filming is expected to begin on Cape Cod this winter.

Tougias will also briefly discuss his most recent book, “A Storm Too Soon:

A True Story of Disaster, Survival and an Incredible Rescue,” released this

January, on a crew rescued after their sailboat capsized in a storm 225

miles off the coast of North Carolina.

Following his talk, which is free to the public, Tougias will be selling

and signing books.

For more information on Tougias, his books and the upcoming film on “The

Finest Hours: The True Story of the Coast Guard's Most Daring Rescue,”

visit his website at www.michaeltougias.com.


To keep kids entertained while parents pick up their fresh fruits and

vegetables, the South Hadley Farmers Market on the Village Commons Town

Green will be holding a “Kids’ Day” on July 25.

The free event will feature acts by two local musicians who will teach kids

about food and farming through songs and activities.

“It’s never too early to educate children food and farming and healthy

eating,” said market manager Nora Murphy.

When the market opens for the day at 1 p.m. Jay Mankita, of Amherst, will

perform his act “Eat Like A Rainbow,” where he sings songs about food and

ecology while strumming his guitar and tapping his “foot percussion”

contraption, which he assembled from broken down musical instruments, pans

and recycled materials. He will also bring a variety of percussion

instruments such as drums, triangles, tin cans and tambourines so children

can play along with him.

Mankita said he is donating this performance because he supports the

mission of the farmers market to bring local food to the community.

A father a five year-old, he said he believes going to the Farmers Market

is a whole lot more fun for kids than going to the supermarket.

“These days, going to a farmers market is more like going to a party than

going to a store,” he said.

From 3:30 p.m. until the market closes for the day at 6 p.m., Shiprock and

Anchordog, featuring local school teacher Evan Curran, will be singing

educational songs about food and farming, performing renditions of popular

kids’ songs and playing theater games with the children.

At 3 p.m., children can also make garden-related crafts at the Center

Nursery School’s arts & crafts table, which comes to the market every other


The South Hadley Farmers' Market is held on the Town Common every Thursday,

from 1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. from June through October. The market is

sponsored by Easthampton Savings Bank and Chicopee Savings Bank.


Book lovers soon might not have to carry two library cards to access both

libraries in town.

Trustees from the public library and the Gaylord Memorial Library have

gained the support of the select board in applying for a grant from the

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to help them move forward in

integrating the services of the two libraries, which could lead to both

libraries becoming part of the same access network.

At the select board meeting on July 16, the board passed a motion to write

a letter in support of the trustees receiving a grant of up to $10,000,

which would allow them to hire a consultant to evaluate and guide them in

their plans for further integration. The trustees will include the select

board’s letter in their application to the Massachusetts Board of Library


The trustees started working toward integrating the services of the two

libraries in March of last year. Ways the library could further work

together include a shared staff, joint web and social media pages, and

centralized cataloging, according to a handout from the library trustees.

“I think the two libraries have a lot of common interests. We share a lot

of the same patrons. I think we both contribute to the quality of life here

in the town,” said public library director Joseph Rodio in a phone


Rodio said he is looking forward to the two libraries doing more joint

programming, such as the book discussion program South Hadley Reads, which

the libraries have held for ten years.

In a phone interview, select board chairman John Hine said that integration

of services provides opportunities to improve the town libraries while

reducing costs.

“I think we owe it to the town to look at how we can provide services

better,” Hine said.

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