Town Manager Report for March 22, 2021

Photo:amherstma.gov

Source: amherstma.gov

Editor’s note: Town Manager Paul Bockelman submits a comprehensive report to the Town Council at each of its regular meetings. The reports, usually 9 to 12 pages in length, provide up-to-date information on what is happening within and across Town departments. The Manager’s Report is usually one of the last items on the agenda and is often taken up late at night, leaving little time for the Manager to do more than mention a few highlights and this is usually all that gets entered into the Council minutes. What follows is a complete, unedited version of the Town Manager’s Report.

Town Manager Reports are also available on the Town’s website here: Town Manager Reports

Town Manager Update
  • COVID-19:
    • Vaccination:
      • The Governor has announced the eligibility schedule for all residents of Massachusetts to obtain the vaccine.
      • Working in conjunction with the Mayor and Health Director of Northampton, the Amherst Health Director and I have agreed to dedicate 25% of the vaccine receive by our respective communities to vaccinate educators and child care workers for the next four weeks. By agreement with the State, the two communities are permitted to dedicate 25% of the vaccine doses to local needs. This effort supports the School Committee’s decision to have students return to school in April. The letter we sent to Hampshire County Superintendents is attached.
      • The Town is able to offer this service to our local educators and child care workers because Amherst has partnered with the Northampton Health Department to serve as a regional collaboration to distribute COVID-19 vaccine to eligible Massachusetts residents. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) will provide up to 5,000 coronavirus vaccines a week to the region. Amherst will be operating at the Bangs Community Center. Sites are open to all Massachusetts residents who are currently eligible to receive the vaccine.
      • Our State Senator and State Representative are advocating on our behalf with the State. They note that weekly doses sent to Regional Collaboratives have varied widely, often resulting in delivery of significantly fewer vaccine doses to these settings. In turn, this has caused confusion, distrust, and disappointment at the local level.
    • Hot Line:
      • We continue to dedicate significant resources to answer the Hot Line which is staffed during the normal business hours and on weekends.
      • We have utilized the facilities of the Police Department to handle telephone calls on weekends. Our I.T. Department has implemented new telephone technology to facilitate accepting and returning calls remotely, as well.
    • Covid Outreach:
      • The Town has been coordinating efforts to reach homebound individuals in a commitment to ensure they have access to a vaccine. Amherst Public Health Director, Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, and Senior Center Director have been planning and organizing for a number of weeks to identify and serve homebound individuals in Amherst and eight other Eastern Hampshire County communities. It is expected to take several weeks to complete the plan to vaccinate the over 100 homebound individuals that have been identified.
    • Ambassadors:
      • The Ambassadors have been crucial in staffing the Hot Line, patrolling the streets, and serving as helpers all day at the vaccination site.
  • Racial Equity:
    • Statement on Violence Against Asian Americans:
      • The Superintendent of Schools, Chair of the Human Rights Commission, and I issued a statement decrying the killings in Atlanta. The statement is attached to the end of this report and can be found here: www.amherstma.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2843 with translations to Spanish and Mandarin. (But, a note, the Town’s website uses Google Translate which translates any item on the Town’s website to 160 languages.)
      • The Chief of Police also issued a separate statement on the killings. The statement is also attached and can be found here: www.amherstma.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2844
    • Community Safety Working Group:
      • The Working Group continues to meet weekly and move forward on its work.
      • Based on the advice of the Community Safety Working Group, I awarded the contract for outreach and research and report writing to 7 Generations Collective (https://7gencollective.com/) We now have a signed contract and work has begun. There will be regular reports to the Community Safety Working Group.
      • The Town’s FY21 budget commits $80,000 to “explore, plan, and implement strategies to confront systemic racism.” Specifically, the funds were intended to explore, identify, and implement strategies to move toward racial and social justice. I have earmarked these funds to support the initiatives of the Working Group, which is a Town public body that is comprised of a majority of members of the BIPOC community. The Working Group determined which services it needed from the Consultant and a contract has been signed for these services.
      • To date, the funds have been committed as follows:
        • $ 9,000: Stipends for members of the Community Safety Working Group (9 members @ $1,000)
        • $58,347: Contract for consultant to support the work of the Community Safety Working Group
        • $67,347: Total Committed
  • $12,653: Total Available
  • Outreach:
    • Coffee with Town Manager:
      • The next Cuppa Joe with Paul will be held on Friday with special guest Hampshire College President Ed Wingenbach. The most recent Cuppa Joe can be watched here: Cuppa Joe with Paul
      • The next Cuppa Joe is scheduled for April 9th.
    • Community Chats:
      • The Communications Manager and I continue to host our weekly Community Chats. Previous guests included Police Captain Gabe Ting and Officer Bill Laramee who spoke on the violence against Asian Americans and the outreach the Town does during the St. Patrick’s Day time; Planning Director Chris Brestrup and Building Commissioner Rob Morra discussing zoning; Planner Ben Breger to discuss the Wayfinding Signs; Superintendent of Public Works Guilford Mooring and the architects from Kuhn-Riddle on the North Amherst Library; Jones Library Project with Library Director Sharon Sharry, Library Trustee Alex Lefebvre, and fund-raising lead Kent Farber; and the Core Equity Team’s work with Jennifer Moyston.
      • The next Community Chat will be March 25th to discuss the Pomeroy Village MassWorks project with Town Engineer Jason Skeels and Public Works Superintendent Guilford Mooring.
      • All recordings of our Community Chats can be found here: Community Chats
    • Office Hours: I have established monthly virtual office hours via Zoom. This will allow individuals who would like to meet one-on-one with the Town Manager the opportunity to schedule a time during established office hours. The next set of office hours is on Friday, March 26th.
    • Engage Amherst: There is much interest in our community engagement platform, “Bang the Table”, that we will utilize to engage members of the public as an additional way for the public to learn about and comment on specific projects. We have released the platform for the North Amherst Library and the Four Capital Projects which can be found here: https://engageamherst.org/financing-the-future.
  • Town-Gown:
    • University of Massachusetts:
      • P-3: The University continues to proceed with plans to develop new undergraduate, graduate and family housing on campus and has selected Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions and Axium Infrastructure as the developer/investment team for the project subject to final approvals. The team will design the projects, develop the final deal terms and will then return to the UMass Board of Trustees and the UMBA Board for their review and final approval.
      • The project includes development along Massachusetts Avenue of approximately 600 beds of undergraduate apartment-style housing and approximately 200 beds of graduate student apartment-style housing. The project also includes the development of approximately 120 family housing units at the site of the former North Village Apartments. The targeted completion dates are fall 2022 for the family housing and fall 2023 for the Massachusetts Avenue housing.
      • A recent housing study shows that the Massachusetts Avenue site, originally identified in the U3 Advisors 2014 report commissioned by the Town of Amherst and the campus, is a favorite among undergraduate students. The development will serve as a bridge to downtown, with students having convenient access to Amherst businesses and supporting a thriving local business district.
  • UMass Amherst currently has 52 residence halls and apartment buildings on its campus, and the 13,500 students typically in residence make it the sixth-largest nationally in the number of students living on campus. Construction of new, contemporary housing will maintain the university’s competitiveness in recruiting students, and the new units will also allow UMass to take other, aging residence halls off-line to undertake much-needed modernization. The new housing will offer new on-campus choices to students who might otherwise consider off- campus locations.
  • Commencement: The University announced that Undergraduate Commencement will be held Friday, May 14, and will take the form of four smaller and shorter ceremonies in McGuirk Alumni Stadium. To maintain compliance with public health guidelines, the ceremonies will be limited to graduates only, with no guests allowed. Graduates must follow public health protocols including social distancing and mask wearing. Each ceremony will be live-streamed for those unable to attend or who wish to celebrate from a distance.
  • The University is developing plans to welcome the Class of 2020 to campus during Homecoming in November 2021.
  • Updates will be communicated to you and can be found on our Commencement website
  • The Town and University reopening working group continues to meet weekly with members of the State Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Public Health, and State Epidemiologist’s office participating during the increase in cases at the University.
  • The Town and University are monitoring and staffed for the spring and the traditional socializing that happens around March 17th.
Departments
  • Public Works:
    • Congratulations to the DPW staff for obtaining a $98,415 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (DFG) In-Lieu Fee Program (ILFP) for replacement of the culvert crossing of Potwine Lane over Plum Brook.
    • The objectives of this project are to replace two undersized round 36” corrugated metal stream culverts with a box culvert that meets the Massachusetts Stream Crossing Standards. The project will also include bank and wetland restoration in the vicinity of the new box culvert. The goal of this work is to restore stream continuity and health to enhance aquatic and terrestrial wildlife passage in the Plum Brook. The Plum Brook is a perennial, coldwater stream that flows from the Mount Holyoke Range to the Fort River. The Fort River is the longest free flowing (no dams) tributary of the Connecticut River in Massachusetts, and is the home to a number of anadromous fish, such as the sea lamprey, that are found in its tributaries
  • The current culverts are undersized and deteriorating. By limiting stream flow the culverts increase stream velocity and cause downstream erosion, and also limit wildlife passage. The culvert replacement is technically feasible. There are underground utilities beneath the current culverts; therefore, the box culverts would need to be open bottom.
  • This is a significant “win” for the Town to take care of a troubling situation at limited cost to the Town’s taxpayers.
  • The Public Works Department is preparing for and managing numerous projects now including:
    • Paving Henry Street from North East Street to Market Hill Road.
    • Reconstructing the sidewalk on Old North Pleasant Street
    • Constructing a sidewalk through Kendrick Park to connect with the new playground
    • Overseeing the design of the Pomeroy Village MassWorks construction project.
    • Overseeing the design of the Centennial Water Treatment Plant.
    • Overseeing the design of the gravity belt thickener at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
    • Reconfiguring the outdoor dining areas in the downtown area.
    • Kendrick Park playground construction.
    • Dog park construction.
  • Town Clerk:
    • The Town Clerk reminds Town employees – and elected and appointed officials – that they must complete the Ethics Commission’s Online Training Program within 30 days of becoming an employee, and every two (2) years thereafter within the Commission’s compliance cycle from December of every even-numbered year to the first week of the following April. Amherst employees are required to take the online training and submit Certificates of Completion of online training to the Town Clerk no later than April 5, 2021.
  • Public Safety:
    • Police:
      • Amherst Police Officer Rita Contardo-Curley has been nominated by the Massachusetts Association of Women in Law Enforcement (MAWLE) as their representative on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Special Commission to study the establishment of a statewide police cadet program. The goal of this program is to create a professional and diversified pool of applicants available to all law enforcement agencies across theCommonwealth.
  • This nomination is one of only 21 seats that will be filled by a variety of community organizations with a vested interest in this important matter.
  • Officer Contardo-Curley was awarded this nomination following a selection process that included an application containing a letter of intent, resume review and interview conducted by executive members of MAWLE. Her interview, resume, police experience and the professional and progressive reputation of the Amherst Police Department were all determining factors in her selection.
  • The work of this commission will help shape the future of policing in the Commonwealth and Officer Contardo-Curley, on behalf of MAWLE, will ensure that the unique perspective of women in law enforcement is both understood and accepted.
  • A special note that Officer Contardo-Curley was in competition with many officers from larger agencies including Boston and Worcester. Congratulations!
  • Sergeant Richard P. MacLean of the Amherst Police Department was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
    • Lieutenant MacLean was appointed as a patrol officer with the Amherst Police Department in 2001. In 2005, 2006 and 2007 Mothers Against Drunk Driving awarded him with the Drive for Life Award which is presented to select police officers from across the state for their excellence and leadership in the enforcement of drunk driving laws. As a detective he obtained extensive specialized training in criminal and narcotics investigations. During his tenure in the detective bureau Lieutenant MacLean became

an academy instructor for the Massachusetts Police Training Committee in multiple disciplines, a Drug Recognition Expert Instructor for the International Association of Chiefs of Police and a Breath Test Operator Instructor for the Massachusetts State Police. He also served as a member of the department’s bicycle patrol, warrant entry team, and was a property and evidence officer, field training officer and ropes course instructor.

  • In 2017 Lieutenant MacLean was awarded a Letter of Merit for his outstanding courage, teamwork and sound judgement in response to the double shooting of two men, one of them fatally on October 15, 2016.
  • Lieutenant MacLean graduated in 2002 from the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Academy in Agawam, a member of the 36th Municipal Police Officer Class. He received a bachelor’s degree with honors from Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA and a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Western New England University, Springfield, MA.
  • Police Department Detective Nicholas J. Chandler was promoted to the rank of sergeant.
    • This promotion fills the position that was vacated with the promotion of Lieutenant Richard P. MacLean.
    • Sergeant Chandler was appointed as a patrol officer with the Amherst Police Department in 2009. In 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 he was the recipient of the Mothers Against

Drunk Driving (MADD) Drive For Life Award for his dedication to the enforcement of the Commonwealths Drunk Driving Laws. In 2012, Chandler received a Letter of Merit for the outstanding teamwork and professionalism he and his fellow officers demonstrated that resulted in the apprehension of a suspect who had burglarized five houses on December 25, 2011. While assigned to the detective bureau Chandler obtained extensive specialized training in criminal and narcotics investigation. He attained certification from the International Association of Chiefs of Police as a Drug Recognition Expert. In addition, Chandler obtained professional certifications as a Sexual Assault and Crime Scene Investigator. During his tenure at the police department Sergeant Chandler has been a member of the Search and Rescue Team, Bicycle Patrol Unit, Warrant Entry Team and Crime Scene Investigation Unit. He was also a Field Training Officer, Sexual Assault Investigator, Evidence/Property Officer and in 2019 was a member of the Police Departments Accreditation Assessment Team.

  • Sergeant Chandler graduated in 2008 from the 2nd Municipal Police Officers Training Academy in Boylston, Massachusetts. In 2007 he received an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Mount Wachusett Community College. Chandler graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Fitchburg State University in 2015 and master’s degree in criminal justice from Lasell College in 2019.
    • Fire Department staff are working with the Health Director to develop and operate the Homebound Vaccination program.
    • Firefighter J.P. Kennedy was promoted to Captain. He fills the position of recently retired David Miner. Captain Kennedy has been a driving force behind our SAFE program for many years.
    • Fire Department paramedics have been instrumental in ensuring the Town can continue to provide vaccines to the general public and to specialized populations.

Much credit goes to the Chief and Assistant Chief for

their work in organizing, staffing, and overseeing these important operations.

  • Probationary Firefighters Forsaith and Lewis graduated from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s Recruit Program.

  • The Amherst Fire Department recognized International Women’s Day by honoring its female firefighters.
  • Human Resources:
    • Recreation Director Barb Bilz announced her retirement effective June 11th. I am meeting with staff of the department and members of the Recreation Committee to better understand the organization and skills needed in a new leader.
  • Finance:
    • On March 11th, the President signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. This bill includes billions of dollars for States and Local Governments. Since the signing of this bill, we have been awaiting additional information for what it means to Amherst. Preliminary estimates from the Massachusetts Municipal Association show Amherst receiving $11.7 million dollars. According to MMA, eligible uses include “ Funds may be used to replace revenue lost or reduced as a result of the pandemic, fund COVID-related costs, provide support to aid households and businesses impacted by the crisis, invest in economic recovery and renewal, and fund investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure. The funds will be provided in two blocks, in 2021 and 2022, and will be available for use through 2024.” We are still awaiting much more detailed guidance on our exact allocation and specific eligible uses. Another update will be sent out once this information is received and analyzed.
    • Four Capital Projects:
      • The Finance Director presented a model for moving forward on the four capital projects to the Finance Committee and full Town Council on February 16th. His presentation is available online.
      • The Finance Director presented the Capital Projects tool at two information sessions.
      • The Town has released a dedicated community engagement website which can be found here: https://engageamherst.org/financing-the-future.
    • Budget: Finance staff have been working with individual departments in developing budgets that fit within the constraints of available resources. There are, of course, many more needs and requests than there are resources. We are nearing completion of our second round of budget meetings which includes the Town Manager, finance staff, and individual departments. There is significant work to complete the budget to meet the Charter requirement of a budget presented to the Town Council by May 1st.
    • Capital Plan: The Finance Director continues to review the Capital Plan with the Joint Capital Planning Committee, which is now preparing to make its recommendation to the Town Manager.
  • Sustainability:
    • The Town has received delivery of its roll-off container truck which was funded by the

V.W. settlement grant. $140,438. Total vehicle cost was $180,500. The grant helped replace a large vehicle that is used daily with a more efficient vehicle.

  • The Sustainability Coordinator is moving toward the final draft of the Climate Action Adaptation and Resiliency Plan that was funded by the MVP grant program.
  • Energy efficient lighting is being installed in the Police Department, Town Hall, and Munson Memorial Library – all funded through the Green Communities Program.
  • Community Services:
    • Senior Center: The Senior Center is dedicating itself to answering questions about the availability of vaccinations. The Senior Center staff have been core members in helping to develop, staff, and promote the vaccination programs. The Senior Center is collecting names of seniors who want to be contacted when for seniors to sign when the vaccine is available. Seniors can call (413) 259-3038 to have their names added to the list.
    • Unhoused Population:
      • Staff are working to develop alternatives for meeting the needs of the unhoused. The Director of Senior Services has been the lead for the Town on all matters involving homelessness.
      • The Homelessness Advisory Committee charge includes:
        • Determine the Scope of Need for a homelessness shelter, review demographic and other data regarding unhoused individuals and inventory services in the Amherst area.
        • Determine Services Necessary to be included in a shelter location, gather input from guests and service partners for shelter services, case management and continuum of care necessary for rehousing unhoused individuals.
        • Review surplus Town buildings or land suitable to meet need and services.
        • Make a recommendation to the Town Manager regarding operation of a seasonal shelter and/or suitable sites for a permanent seasonal or year- round shelter.
        • Membership on the Advisory Committee will include representatives from key constituent groups including service providers, the faith community, and municipal representatives.
    • Recreation:
      • Amherst Recreation’s Recess Van has been very popular, visiting free-lunch delivery sites providing outdoor recreational activities and the opportunity to socialize safely with their K-6 peers. Many thanks to the Amherst Booster Club for its support of this program.
      • Due to maintenance issues with the Middle School pool, indoor aquatics has been postponed indefinitely.
      • The Recreation Department is planning to open the Mill River Pool a week earlier than usual, targeting June 19th.
    • Health Department: With everything being about the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Department must still deliver on its mission of monitoring and managing other communicable diseases. This work is led by the Public Health Nurse, for the most part.
  • Economic Development:
    • The Town of Amherst, in conjunction with the Amherst Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), has received a Local Rapid Recovery Program grant from the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI) under the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. Under the terms of the $60,000 grant, the Town will engage a firm to advise the Town on its reopening plans.
  • Conservation and Development:
    • The Town received a grant of $192,600 from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) as part of the “Winter Shared Streets and Spaces Program” to improve pedestrian access around the Bangs Center and to activate the plaza in Boltwood Garage. The project is anticipated to begin very soon. Specifically, the grant will be used to construct a new, fully ADA-compliant ramp and walkway system which connects the Boltwood Garage to the entrance of the Musante Health Center and improve the safety of a crosswalk in front of the Bangs Center, both of which serve to enhance access to the health center and to downtown for the hundreds of seniors who live in this area.
    • Town staff are preparing to relocate the Civil War tablets that are in storage. We will be re-crating these invaluable plaques and a company that specializes in moving stone will transport the plaques to the Pole Room in the Bangs Community Center. Specially construct steel frames will hold the plaques. A professional conservator will assess their condition to determine steps the Town needs to take for their preservation.
    • ADA Transition Plan: Consultants are finalizing a draft of the transition plan. This plan will be reviewed with the Disability Access Advisory Committee. We will then utilize the plan as a tool to prioritize ADA improvements in Town buildings and public spaces.
  • Information Technology (I.T.):
    • I.T. staff has secured a Cybersecurity Awareness Grant to provide end-user cyber-security training plus assessment and simulation tools. The purpose is to bolster the Town’s cyber- security by educating staff to the most likely dangers and threats.

Delegated Authority (March 2021):

  • Short-Term Event Uses of Town Commons: None
  • Short-Term Parking Requests: None
  • Short-Term Road or Sidewalk Closures: None
Major Capital Projects
  • DPW Building/Fire Building: A summary of the key dates for construction of the DPW and Fire buildings is below and in the memorandum submitted to the Town Council.
DateProjectTask/Request
March 2021DPWLocation RFP Released
April 2021DPW/FireTown Building Committee Recruited
May 2021DPW/FireOPM Selection Process Begins
May 2021DPWLocation Proposals Evaluated
June 2021DPWTown Council Approves Location
June 2021DPW/FireOPM Selection Process Applications Evaluated
June 2021DPW/FireTown Council Approves Borrowing Authorizations for OPMand Designer Services
July 2021DPW/FireSchematic Design Begins
October 2021DPW/FireSchematic Design Completed
June 2022DPWTown Council Approves Borrowing Authorization forConstruction Services
TBDFireTown Council Approves Borrowing Authorization forConstruction Services
  • Schools:
  • The Fort River Elementary School project was invited into the Feasibility Study phase of the project.
  • The Committee has submitted the Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) Request for Services (RFS) for review by the MSBA. The goal is to have the MSBA OPM Panel review the RFS at its June 7th meeting.
  • Library:
    • The Council hosted two public forums: one on March 3rd and one on March 6th.
Project Update
  • Kendrick Park Playground: The contractor has returned to work and is moving quickly with construction. We are hopeful to have this strong new addition to the downtown area ready for use this summer.
  • Dog Park: The contractor will be returning in the next week or so to continue work once the ground is thawed enough.
  • Performing Arts Shell on the Town Common: No developments.
  • Parking Structure on Town Land at North Pleasant Street Parking Lot: No developments.
  • North Common Restoration/Main Street Parking Lot: On the Town Council agenda for March 22nd.
  • Hickory Ridge: No new developments.
  • North Amherst Library:
  • Pomeroy Village MassWorks Grant: The TSO Committee reviewed the outreach plan. The outreach schedule includes:
  • Meeting with Town boards and committees including Design Review Board, Disability Access Advisory Committee, Planning Board, and Transportation Advisory Committee). The initial meetings with these groups are scheduled:
    • Disability Access Review Committee, March 9th
    • Planning Board, March 17th
    • Transportation Advisory Committee, March 18th
    • Design Review Board, late March
  • Public forums on March 25th at 6:00 p.m. (1-hour) and March 27th at 2:00 p.m. (2-hours). These forums will be convened by the Town Services and Outreach Committee, begin with a brief presentation by Town staff, provide prompts to the public for structured feedback, and include the opportunity for questions and answers.
  • EngageAmherst project page to consolidate information for the public and offer ways for the public to ask questions, and offer suggestions and opinions.
    • April 3 – Pop-up tent outreach onsite
    • April 8 – TSO Committee discussion
    • April 22 – TSO Committee vote
    • May 3 – TSO Committee report to Town Council
    • June 21 – Town Council vote
  • Solar on the Landfill: In the coming months, crews will be working on the Northern Landfill to mow, set the access road, and set preliminary sediment control. The “real” construction work is scheduled for August, along with the fence around the Southern Landfill. Below is the proposed project schedule:
EPC MilestoneAnticipated Completion
EPC RFP ReleaseNovember 2020 (completed)
EPC Contract NegotiationsJanuary/ February 2021
EPC Agreement SignedMay 2021
MobilizationAugust 2021
Placed in ServiceMarch 2022
Substantial CompletionMay 2022
Upcoming Meetings and Events
  • March 25th – Pomeroy Village Public Outreach meeting
  • March 27th – Pomeroy Village Public Outreach meeting
  • April 5th – Town Council meeting
  • April 12th – Town Council meeting
  • April 19th – Patriots Day holiday
  • May 3rd – Town Council meeting
  • May 17th – Town Council meeting
  • May 24th – Town Council meeting
  • May 31st – Memorial Day holiday



March 12, 2021

Dear Superintendents of Hampshire County:

As you know, the City of Northampton Regional Vaccination site in collaboration with the Town of Amherst Satellite Vaccination site has been working since January 11, 2021 to vaccinate thousands of eligible residents in our communities. We are pleased to welcome the newly eligible group of educators and school personnel into our clinics in order to vaccinate as many eligible individuals as safely and efficiently as possible.

In an effort to support our local educators, child care workers, and school staff, the Northampton and Amherst vaccination sites will allocate 25% of our current weekly vaccine allowance – the maximum allowed – for the next four weeks to these eligible educators in Hampshire County. We strongly encourage school districts to prioritize making these doses available to your employees who are over 65, have high-risk conditions, or who are already working in the buildings (i.e. working directly with special needs students). Dates and times for educator clinics are below and instructions on how to register for an appointment will be announced in a future communication to you. These clinic dates are contingent on receiving our weekly vaccine allocation from the State Department of Public Health.

  • Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 5-7 pm; Northampton
  • Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 6:30-8:00 pm; Amherst
  • Saturday, April 3, 2021, 1-3 pm; Northampton
  • Saturday, April 3, 2021, 11-12:30 pm; Amherst
  • Saturday. April 10, 2021, 1-3 pm; Northampton
  • Saturday. April 10, 2021, 11-12:30 pm; Amherst
  • Saturday, April 17th, 2021, 1-3 pm; Northampton
  • Saturday, April 17th, 2021, 2:30-4:00 pm; Amherst

In addition, as you know, beginning March 11th, K-12 educators, child care workers, and K-12 school staff may receive vaccines from any of the 170 public vaccine sites in Massachusetts, including the Northampton and Amherst clinics, retail pharmacy clinics, or clinics in other counties. Please visit https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine and select the group “Educators, Child Care Workers, and School Staff” to view the specific eligibility requirements for this group.

Appointments at the public vaccine sites may be scheduled here: https://www.maimmunizations.org/ or at either the Northampton or Amherst sites once appointments become available. We will provide you with a link when appointments specific to our Hampshire County Educators are available. Individuals should be prepared to provide proof of eligibility, such as a paystub or ID badge, at the time of their vaccination.

Lastly, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will host educator-only clinics for K-12 educators, child care workers, and K-12 school staff on March 27, April 3, April 10, and April 11 at the seven mass vaccination sites in the state:

  • Springfield, Eastfield Mall
  • Natick, Natick Mall
  • Foxboro, Gillette Stadium
  • Danvers, Doubletree Hotel
  • Boston, Fenway Park (Transitioning to Hynes Convention Center on 3/18)
  • Roxbury, Reggie Lewis Center
  • Dartmouth, Former Circuit City

We are excited to be given the opportunity to provide vaccinations to Hampshire County educators, child care workers, and K-12 school staff.

Sincerely,

David J. Narkewicz, Mayor of Northampton, 

Paul Bockelman, Amherst Town Manager

Merridith O’Leary, Northampton Health Director 

Emma Dragon, Amherst Health Director

Statement Denouncing Violence and Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders

March 18, 2021

As more information is released about the tragedy in Atlanta on Tuesday, we are disturbed and heartbroken. This horrific crime – a white man murdering mostly Asian-American women – occurs during a time in which acts of violence and other hate crimes against AAPI (Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders) have increased significantly over the past year. It is worth noting that violence and discrimination targeting the AAPI community predated the current pandemic, and that violence by men targeting women continues to be unacceptable.

Over the past few years, our district and town have denounced racism, anti-semitism, and xenophobia. These acts of hatred affect our entire community deeply. We believe it is important to condemn these acts of violence. We cannot allow racism, anti-semitism, xenophobia, and misogyny to be normalized.

While this crime occurred some distance from Amherst, we know our community is not free from prejudice and that members of our community experience discrimination. In Amherst, an important part of who we are, is due to the strength and contributions of our AAPI community. We want the AAPI staff members and students to know that our district and town have policies that address harassment, discrimination, and bullying. We will fully and fairly investigate any incidents of anti-Asian racism or bigotry.

Individually and collectively, we all play a role in how welcoming our community and schools are to our neighbors. With the celebration of the Lunar New Year fresh in our minds, both the Town and School District pledge to stand with the AAPI community in condemning the increase in violence and discrimination towards these members of our community. We encourage all members of the community to reflect on supporting colleagues, friends, and neighbors who may be hurting at this time. Additional information and resources can be found here and here. Families, please feel free to contact school counselors or principals regarding challenges that your child may be experiencing.

Sincerely,

Michael Morris, Superintendent of Schools 

Paul Bockelman, Town Manager

Ben Herrington, Human Rights Commission Chair

Amherst Chief of Police Statement

March 18, 2021

The recent and disturbing acts of violence targeting members of the Asian American and Pacific Island community are both appalling and disgusting. I join the men and women of the Amherst Police Department in strongly condemning these cowardly crimes of bullying, bigotry and violence. Our collective thoughts are with the victims and those traumatized by these senseless acts.

As your Police Chief, I know that hate crimes and incidents are acts that demand immediate attention and investigation. If a bias based crime is not recognized for its hatred, the perpetrators often feel as though their sentiments are shared or accepted which can lead to a pattern of additional crimes. All members of our community deserve to feel safe.

We encourage the entire community to stand together to protect one another. Please contact the Amherst Police Department to report any racist, anti-Semitic or xenophobic actions if you have been targeted, victimized or have witnessed such an incident.

Together we can overcome many obstacles and create a safer Amherst.

Sincerely,

Scott P. Livingstone Chief of Police

Amherst Police Department: 413-259-3000 Northwestern District Attorney: 413-584-9225

Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division: 617-963-2917

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