Hadley Drought Workshop; Bike 4 Food Sunday; Harvest Festival in Holyoke; Repaving of the main street

A workshop on coping with drought for farmers is scheduled for Thursday in Hadley

HADLEY – A workshop for farming communities in the Mill and Fort River watersheds, sponsored by the Friends of Lake Warner, is taking place Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at the Young Men’s Club, 138 East St.

“Drought Relief for Local Farmers: Water and Strategies for Our Changing Climate” is the title of the free event, where tips will be offered for conserving water and securing technical assistance and grants.

Speakers will include Jason Johnson, Executive Director of Friends of Lake Warner; Masoud Hashemi, a member of the University of Massachusetts Extension who has expertise in planning for landowners and agricultural producers; and Emad Mady, a graduate student in the Department of Environmental Conservation at UMass.

Refreshments will be available, with a full bar open at 4 p.m. and local food available for purchase at 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Johnson at [email protected]

Cyclists at ‘Bike 4 Food’ this Sunday

HATFIELD — Will Bike 4 Food, a charity cycling event benefiting the Western Massachusetts Food Bank, takes place Sunday from the Hatfield Lions Clubhouse at 15 Billings Way.

More than 350 cyclists have signed up to ride one of four routes through the region, the longest at 100 miles, to raise funds and awareness about food insecurity and hunger. The ride will benefit more than 90,000 people facing food insecurity in Western Massachusetts each month.

Since the first edition of Will Bike 4 Food in 2011, the event has raised over $1.3 million, providing the equivalent of over 5.2 million meals to neighbors in need.

The food bank is looking to raise $250,000 through this year’s Will Bike 4 Food, enough to provide one million meals.

Those covering 100 miles will depart at 7am, with those covering shorter distances departing at intervals throughout the morning and early afternoon. At 2 p.m., the after-party begins, with food and drink provided by Smithsonian Chowder House, Crooked Stick Pops, Berkshire Brewing Co., Headwater Cider and Black Birch Vineyard. Live music will be performed by Soul Keys and DJ Alex Rivera, and there will be lawn games for people of all ages.

Harvest Festival in Holyoke Saturday

HOLYOKE — Local organization Nuestras Raíces will celebrate three decades of supporting urban agriculture and improving the lives of residents of Holyoke and Western Massachusetts with its 30th Harvest Festival this Saturday.

The festival, from noon to 4 p.m., will feature an afternoon filled with food, dancing, a farmer’s market, kids’ activities, and live music performed by local bands Raquel y su Nuevo Impacto and Sensacion Urbana . The Harvest Festival will take place at La Finca, a 30-acre urban farm overseen by the organization.

Nuestras Raíces was formed in 1992 by a group of farmers who immigrated to the area from Puerto Rico, like so many other members of their community.

Living in a town with few opportunities for growth, they discovered abandoned land in South Holyoke that was covered in trash, used hypodermic needles, and frequented by criminal activity. They worked together to transform the land into the region’s first community garden. This batch sparked the birth and growth of urban agriculture in Holyoke under the umbrella of the organization.

Entrance to the festival is free. The rainy date is Saturday October 1st. The Finca is at 24 Jones Ferry Road in Holyoke.

Repaving of High Street at
start Thursday at Holyoke

HOLYOKE — The City of Holyoke will repave High Street beginning Thursday morning.

The High Street milling is due until Monday September 26. High Street, from Route 391 to Essex Street, will be closed on Thursday. Essex to Lyman will be closed on Friday. Some sections will be closed on Mondays. Detour signage will be in place.

There will be no parking on the High Street from Thursday morning from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., and again on Friday and the following Monday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Barrels will be placed with signage in no parking areas the day before. Paid parking will not be applied on Friday.

Mayor Joshua Garcia said people can park for free in the city parking lot during construction.

There will be traffic control officers at intersections. PVTA bus stops will be moved to Thursday and Friday. Residents will be allowed access to vehicles on the side streets of the blocks adjacent to the High Street. Pedestrian access will be permitted on the High Street for access to businesses and residences.

Paving and tracing will follow milling. The paving will be done between one and three weeks after the grinding. Parking bans and similar diversions will be in place at that time. Information will be communicated when a date is fixed.

$100 million available for improving air quality in schools

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced the availability of $100 million in grants for school districts to improve ventilation and indoor air quality. The grants will be targeted at schools with high concentrations of economically disadvantaged students, English language learners and communities disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding is available through the American Rescue Plan Act. The funds will be distributed according to a formula that ensures that the neediest districts receive the largest portion of the funding. More than 20 school districts are eligible for up to $1 million, and several districts are eligible for several million dollars.

School districts are encouraged to focus on efficient, environmentally friendly HVAC and air quality technologies when planning upgrades, in line with Governor Charlie Baker’s 2050 Net Zero Commitment. The grants will cover things such as a needs assessment of existing schools; feasibility studies to develop long-term indoor air quality plans; design, tender assistance and construction phase services for projects; and implementing plans to improve indoor air quality, securing outsourced services, creating in-house HVAC maintenance positions, and securing equipment to service, repair or install new HVAC systems.

Eligible schools can find more information here: doe.mass.edu/grants/2023/209/.

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