Hinds helps to deliver $150K to support Hilltowns

  • Meaghan Dunphy, owner of the Williamsburg Snack Bar, poses with Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, with a ceremonial check representing the $15,000 her business was awarded by the Hilltown COVID-19 Relief Fund. Bera Dunau—

  • Meaghan Dunphy, owner of the Williamsburg Snack Bar, poses with Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, with a ceremonial check representing the 15,000 her business was awarded by the Hilltown COVID-19 Relief Fund. Bera Dunau

Staff Writer
Published: 3/30/2021 4:33:30 PM

WILLIAMSBURG — State Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, stopped by the Williamsburg Snack Bar to present a ceremonial check and highlight a program that provides money to Hilltown businesses and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had an opportunity in the budget this current fiscal year to be creative in how we try to support local businesses,” Hinds said.

Hinds helped to secure $250,000 for this purpose in the fiscal year 2021 state budget. The Hilltown Community Development Corp. was tasked with distributing $150,000 of this money, while the Greater Shelburne Falls Business Association was tasked with distributing the remaining $100,000 in its membership area.

“Rural areas have really suffered from this pandemic,” said Hilltown CDC Executive Director Dave Christopolis.

Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland, was also at the eatery for the presentation.

Businesses, nonprofits, artists and farmers in Blandford, Chester, Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Granville, Huntington, Middlefield, Montgomery, Plainfield, Russell, Williamsburg and Worthington were able to apply for the Hilltown CDC funding, which received 19 applications in less than two weeks. The Community Development Corp. is calling the program the Hilltown COVID-19 Relief Fund.

The application process for the funding has now closed, although Christopolis said it may reopen if there is money left over after the current applications are processed. He also noted that the Hilltown CDC’s Hilltown Micro-Enterprise Relief Program, which is open to businesses with five or fewer employees, is still taking applications.

Awards that have been given out so far from the Hilltown COVID-19 Relief Fund range from $4,500 to $15,000.

Meaghan Dunphy, who owns the Williamsburg Snack Bar, said the $15,000 received by her business by the program has helped her stay open.

“It’s made it so that we can basically get out of the hole,” Dunphy said.

Dunphy took ownership of the business in July of last year as the pandemic was in full swing. 

Cummington to hold town caucus

Cummington will hold its nonpartisan town caucus on Wednesday, March 31, to nominate candidates for office in this year’s town election. The town election is scheduled for May 18.

Social distancing and masking will be asked of caucus participants, and hand sanitizer will be available.

The caucus will be held at the Community House starting at 7 p.m. The positions that candidates will be nominated for are one selectman for three years, one assessor for three years, one moderator for one year, one Vocational School Committee member for three years, one Almoner of charitable funds for three years, one Commissioner of trust funds for three years, one water commissioner for three years, one trustee of the Bryant Free Library for five years, two Finance Committee members for three years, one Board of Health member for three years, one Planning Board member for one year, one Planning Board member for five years, three Cummington Recreation & Pettingill Memorial Field Committee members for three years, and two Municipal Light Plant Board members for three years.

Any registered voter in Cummington can be nominated for any of the positions. Longtime selectwoman Monica Vandoloski’s seat is up for election, but she will not be running again. 

“It’s time to let someone else learn,” Vandoloski said.

Hilltowns hit by internet outage

Residents in Ashfield, Colrain, Cummington, Plainfield and Rowe experienced phone and internet outages on Monday after a tree came down on utility lines.

The outage was from approximately 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., according to Lisa Stowe, the marketing, communications and customer experience manager for Whip City Fiber.

“It was a long day,” Stowe said. Whip City Fiber is the network operator for the high-speed internet networks in those communities.

The tree landing on a power line caused a fire that damaged the accompanying fiber cable.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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