Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Martin Luther King Jr. Day food drive a success in South Hadley

A group of people who were instrumental in the overwhelmingly successful Bag the Community food collection for the Neighbors Helping Neighbors food pantry on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January were honored by the Select Board recently.

This year’s food drive, the third since its founding in 2011, collected 30,000 pounds of food for the pantry.

At the behest of board member Ira J. Brezinsky, the Select Board honored Susan Brouillette, food drive coordinator; food pantry director Carol Isakson, coordinator Kathy Camp, procurement director Debbie Carpenter, and outreach coordinator Pat Gouin; Tanya Kopec and Stephanie Viens of Count Me In, a community service organization; Ted McCarthy, assistant principal at South Hadley High School; and James Reidy, superintendent of the South Hadley Department of Public Works, who mapped out all the routes.

The board also recognized Mount Holyoke College students Sarah Chase and Caitlin Kidder, who recruited and organized more than 70 volunteers from the college who participated in the food drive for the first time. The college also donated use of vans to help collect food donations.

Select Board Chairman John R. Hine said Brouillette is “super-committed” to organizing the annual drive and praised Mount Holyoke students for participating in this year’s event.

“Due to Mount Holyoke’s involvement, we got double (of the food collections) we usually get,” Brouillette said. “I’m so glad it’s over,” she added, with a laugh.

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Donation boosts library effort

The South Hadley Public Library’s building fund received a major boost recently with the pledge of $15,000 from Florence Savings Bank to help construct the new $10.1 million new building in South Hadley Falls.

“We’re very grateful to FSB for their generous donation, and proud to partner with an organization that has such strong and historic ties to Hampshire County,” said Building Committee Chairwoman Susan Obremski-Crowther.

Photos and videos of construction work are posted on the South Hadley Public Library Building Project Facebook page. A ground breaking is scheduled for the spring, and fundraising efforts will continue as the Library Building Committee works towards its goal of raising $1 million to offset the cost of the new building.

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Seed starters

Master gardener Elaine Williamson will present a workshop titled “Starting Seeds Indoors” Wednesday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the South Hadley Police Department community Room. The free, public event is sponsored by the South Hadley Community Garden Committee.

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Garden plots available

South Hadley Community Garden plots are now being parceled out, assigned on a first-come, first served basis.

Gardeners can download application forms on the group’s website, which can be accessed through the town’s website, www.southhadleyorg, under the “board and committees” link.

The gardening group needs greenhouse space, to start seedlings. Volunteers who have greenhouse space to spare are asked to email GRO.sohadley@gmail.com with details.

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Absentee ballots ready

Town Clerk, Carlene C. Hamlin has absentee ballots for the April 1 annual election available in her office daily, to from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Applications must be made in writing; ballots can be obtained by voters who won’t be in South Hadley during poll hours or who have physical disabilities or religious beliefs that will keep them from the polls on voting day.

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Egg and hat parade

The Recreation Department’s annual Easter Egg Hunt and Hat Parade will be held March 30 at Buttery Brook Park. The parade begins at 11 a.m. and egg hunt at 11:30 a.m. The event is free. Registration is not required. Participants are urged to arrive early, as the Easter eggs go quickly.

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Neighborhood group
reaches out

The South Hadley Falls Neighborhood Association has launched its website, www.fallsneighbors.org.

Organizers Adam Roberts and Gillian report the group received more than 60 responses to its recent survey. Top priority listed by respondents is working with owners of vacant buildings and lots to find new uses for those locations. The group is starting on compiling a list of those properties.

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