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Ice harvesting returns to Nashawannuck Pond

An event Saturday at Nashawannuck Pond promises to take residents back in time to the turn of the century, when the ice covering the downtown pond was cut and stored to keep Easthampton’s ice boxes full year-round.

“Nashawannuck Pond was really prominent in the ice harvesting business way back,” said Paul Nowak, chairman of the Nashawannuck Pond Steering Committee. “They stored the ice in an ice house off of Water Street and... delivered it by horse and cart to everyone in Easthampton who had an ice box.”

The committee, with support from the Easthampton Cultural Council, is inviting the public to a “Historical Ice Harvest on Nashawannuck Pond,” a free event at the pond Saturday from noon to 3 p.m., held in conjunction with the annual Fire and Ice Art Walk.

West Springfield historian Denis Picard will lead the event, describing the ice-cutting industry in Easthampton in the late 19th and early 20th centuries while he cuts blocks of pond ice with antique tools. Although the city does not endorse anyone being on the ice for safety reasons, members of the public can try their hands at cutting ice at their own risk, or just watch from the observation deck at the edge of the pond, said committee member Elizabeth Provo.

In case of thin ice or inclement weather, Picard will do the demonstration at Popcorn Noir on Cottage Street.

Besides the ice harvesting event, the Fire and Ice Art Walk Saturday will feature luminaries and a bonfire at the pond at 5 p.m., poetry readings at storefronts and galleries around Easthampton from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Easthampton-themed valentine-making for children at the Old Town Hall.

Business awards

Business people from Fleury Lumber, Easthampton Savings Bank and the Nash Gallery were among the honorees at the Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards ceremony held Jan. 24 at the Southampton Country Club.

Easthampton Savings Bank President and CEO William S. Hogan, Jr., who has said he plans to retire before the end of the year, won the President’s Award.

“It was a pretty easy selection for me based on his contributions not just to the Easthampton, but also to Southampton and Westhampton and the Pioneer Valley in general,” Chamber President Patrick Brough said of Hogan, who he said has served on volunteer boards from Easthampton to Boston.

Chamber members voted Marlies Stoddard, owner of the Nash Gallery on Cottage Street, the Business Person of the Year. “Marlies does so many things throughout the community the people don’t know about; from simple things like decorating the fence around Nashawannuck Pond... to being a champion of Art Walk from the very beginning,” he said.

Business of the Year went to Fleury Lumber, a 64-year-old Main Street lumberyard owned by David Fagnand. “The award goes to the business that really goes above and beyond and gives back to the community. Fleury Lumber does it quietly,” Brough said. Fagnand is involved in the city’s Little League and his business supports a number of local causes, Brough added.

He said the recipient of the Community Service Award, Easthampton Savings Bank Senior Vice President Thomas W. Brown, has been involved in the city’s School Committee and Rotary Club and never says ‘no’ to a chance to help out.

“For our community clean-up day, we start at 5 a.m., and he’s out there every year with us without batting an eye,” Brough said.

Kinney catches up

Adam Kinney of Wilbraham, is settling in as the town’s new health agent. The 32-year-old started work Dec. 11, replacing former health agent Joshua Mathieu, who left to become Palmer’s full-time health agent in September.

“I’m catching up on things, getting things organized towards the way I like them so I can be efficient out in the field,” said Kinney, who is earning about $24,740 a year based on a 30-hour work week.

The Oneida, N.Y., native said he earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental forest biology from the State University of New York before going to work for the Erie County Health Department in Buffalo, N.Y., in 2005.

Before taking the job in Southampton, he worked for three years at the Institute for Environmental Education in Wilmington. “I did lead, radon and asbestos inspections and taught people how to do mold and lead work,” he said.

After speaking with concerned residents, Kinney said one of his first goals here is to establish a sharps disposal station in town where people, including diabetics, can safely dispose of used syringes.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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