2015 July

The Attorney General’s Office is hosting a new round of information sessions on the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law, which went into effect on July 1st.


These online training sessions will provide guidance on implementation, explain employers’ and employees’ rights and responsibilities, and provide opportunities to get specific questions answered. Each information session is scheduled for 2 hours with the majority of time reserved for questions and answers. 


The first three online information sessions will be on July 21st, 23rd and 29th. Please RSVP through the links below and you will receive instructions on how to participate.


Online Information Sessions:


Tuesday July 21, 20152pm-4pm
RSVP: http://earnedsicktimeonlinejuly21.eventbrite.com 


Thursday July 23, 201510am-12pm
RSVP: http://earnedsicktimeonlinejuly23.eventbrite.com


Wednesday July 29, 20152pm-4pm
RSVP: http://earnedsicktimeonlinejuly29.eventbrite.com


Any questions on these information sessions and the Earned Sick Time Law may be directed to Morgan Callahan at earnedsicktime@state.ma.us or (617) 963-2024.


The earned sick time final regulations, notice to employees, a sample policy, and other materials are available at: http://www.mass.gov/ago/earnedsicktime.


Click on the link below to see WCVB's report on some of the businesses in our little part of paradise!  

Features the Mohawk Trading Post, and internationally acclaimed glass artist, Josh Simpson, as he makes magic from molten glass - and Salmon Falls Gallery!


Tickets went on sale Thursday, July 16, at the Village Information Center at 5:30pm for the 15th Annual Iron Bridge Dinner, brought to you by the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association (GSFABA).  Ticket may be purchased by phone (413-625-2526) anytime -- leave a message and your call will be returned in the order received -- or in person at 75 Bridge Street, Shelburne Falls, on Tuesdays and Fridays between 10am - 1pm.
The dinner will be held on Sunday, August 16th with seating at 5:30, dinner at 6:00.
Local restaurants and food providers prepare this elegant dinner 
for 400 people on the Iron Bridge at sunset. 
The Iron Bridge spans the two towns of Buckland and Shelburne, and this event celebrates all the connections between the two communities. It is an incredibly beautiful and well-known event with the $40.00 tickets selling out at within hours of becoming available. 

The event also serves as a fundraiser for the GSFABA and the Mohawk Athletic Association. Athletes from the Mohawk Athletic Association graciously serve the meal while local musicians serenade the diners. A hat is passed at the end of the evening which, coupled with their portion of ticket revenues, will
provide the athletes with over $2,000 for their programs. 
Mastercard, Visa, cash or checks are all acceptable forms of payment. Individuals are limited to purchasing eight (8) tickets.  All sales are final.
The event is held rain or shine!
The 37th Annual Bridge of Flowers Classic10k 
 & Steve Lewis Subaru 3k Charity Race 
 AUGUST 8, 2015
New this year!  
The First Annual Shelburne Falls Music Fest!
We could use your help!
Are you looking for a way to get involved?  The GSFABA needs you! 
Several big community events are coming up -- the Bridge of Flowers 10k Classic, the Iron Bridge Dinner, Moonlight Magic -- and we could use some extra hands to make them all happen.  
We also have several board committees that welcome new members: events, marketing, and public relations all meet monthly and help organize and promote the work of the organization.  

Please give us a call, shoot an email, or just drop by the office.  We'd love to see you and get you started!

Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante is sponsoring a bill proposing the establishment of a tax exemption for artisan products sold in cultural districts.  Were her bill to be enacted, it would provide much needed incentives for Cultural Districts, a stimulus for businesses located within these Cultural Districts and invigorate the market for our artists.

On July 21st, this bill will be heard by the Revenue Committee.  Your participation is needed in this first step – please consider writing a letter or an email to the committee to show your support. This is an amazing opportunity for us to help our artists and strengthen our communities – so please let our legislators know of your support.  (Note – it would also be a good idea to copy our own legislators on this letter.) 

Here’s the contact information for the committee chairs:

Senator Michael Rodrigues

Room 213B

Boston, MA 02133

Phone: 617-722-1114

Fax: 617-722-1498

Email: Michael.Rodrigues@masenate.gov

Representative Jay R. Kaufman

State House

Room 34

Boston, MA 02133

Phone: 617-722-2320

Fax: 617-722-2415

Email: Jay.Kaufman@mahouse.gov

State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) announced that the FY16 conference committee's budget report had been filed and was scheduled to be considered by both the House of Representative and the Senate on July 8, 2015.


"From expansion of the EITC to increased investments in emergency food assistance, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Gateway Cities and regional school transportation, this budget includes many western Mass. priorities," said Downing.  "I appreciate my colleagues' support and look forward to working with the Baker Administration to build on this good work throughout the fiscal year." 


The $38.1 Billion conference budget contains millions of dollars in spending championed by Downing during the Senate's budget debate, including: 

  • $17 Million for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP);
  • $14 Million for the Massachusetts Cultural Council; $6 Million for Regional Tourism Councils, and $400,000 to support the operation of 11 visitor information centers statewide between the Memorial Day and Columbus Day holidays;
  • $1 Million for the Transformative Redevelopment Fund to support downtown revitalization projects in the Commonwealth's Gateway Cities, including Pittsfield;
  • $400,000 to preserve employment-related transportation services in Berkshire County;
  • $300,000 for "Buy Local" efforts in central, western, northeastern and southern Massachusetts;
  • $150,000 for the coordination of  homeless shelter and housing services throughout Berkshire County;
  • $105,000 to support the operations and programming of model community coalitions such as the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition;
  • $100,000 for the Barrington State Company to expand its nationally recognized Playwright Mentoring Program;
  • $100,000 for the Berkshire Youth Development Project; and
  • $75,000 for Gallery 51, MCLA's art gallery, performance venue, community gathering place and economic development engine located on Main Street in downtown North Adams.

Downing also secured the adoption of several policy initiatives in the Senate budget, such as: 

  • The initiation of a feasibility study to consider a self-sustaining, Berkshire County-wide employment-based transportation program for low-wage earners;
  • A change in law authorizing municipalities to make their annual operating budgets available to residents online, instead of printing hard copies, thereby increasing local government transparency and achieving significant cost savings;
  • A new requirement that distribution companies provide refunds or credits to  consumers who received dramatically high electric bills last winter, upon switching to a competitive supplier for their basic service;
  • The creation of a Rural Policy Advisory Commission within the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, tasked with the enhancement of the economic vitality of rural communities (defined as municipalities with a population density of less than 500 persons per square mile) and the advancement of the health and well-being of rural residents; and
  • An increase in Massachusetts' Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) designed to help working families, paid for with the elimination of a corporate tax break known as FAS-109, which has never gone into effect. Under this compromise, the state's EITC will increase from 15 percent of the federal tax credit to  23 percent in tax year 2017.  

Downing notes that the FY16 conference budget prioritizes Local Aid to cities and towns, increasing unrestricted local aid by $34 Million and local education aid by $111.2 Million, while also funding regional school district transportation at $59 Million. 


The budget also pairs a new $2 Million incentive program for communities and municipalities engaging in the use of best practices as  determined by the  with a $3 Million multi-year competitive grant program intended to provide financial support to regionalization and efficiency initiatives proposed by municipalities, regional school districts, school districts who are considering forming a new regional school district or regionalizing services, regional planning agencies and councils of governments.  Downing believes these programs will be helpful locally as various options to share services and increase regionalization are considered throughout Berkshire County by school district and municipal officials.  


Once the conference budget report is enacted by the House and Senate, it will head to Governor Charlie Baker.  The Governor has 10 days to review and approve it, or make vetoes or reductions.  Under the state Constitution, the Governor may approve or veto the entire budget, or may veto or reduce certain line items or sections, but may not add anything. 



  •  Visits to Shelburne Falls website:  30,388 this year compare to 15,526 during the same period last year; almost twice as many visitors in the first six months!  
  • Our Face Book page reached almost 15,000 in the past 30 days
  • Remember to post your events on the calendar at Shelburnefalls.com!  

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