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Well, it’s been quite a year here at GSFABA. It was my first as the official chief cook and bottle washer  -- new challenges, opportunities, and ideas come across my desk every day and it’s been quite a ride!
 
It’s fun to look back at all we’ve done in 2016, beginning with 100% new staff (me, Shira, and our bookkeeper, ML), new board members, and a redesigned website with improved member options. Members can update photos, events, contact info, and – oh yeah – pay dues on-line! Shelburnefalls.com is THE go-to website for the region, with over 50,000 hits in 2016. We’re looking to increase traffic in 2017, so make sure your information is accurate and up-to-date!
 
GSFABA successfully produced the annual Auction, two ArtWalks, RiverWalk, the Bridge of Flowers 10K, the Iron Bridge Dinner, and Moonlight Magic, plus a host of behind-the-scenes activities including:
· Working with local Tourism Councils to leverage over $1 million (yes, million!) in regional advertising;
· Advocating for the region through participation in advocacy days on Beacon Hill and by sitting on economic development committees with FRCOG, the Franklin County Chamber, the Creative Economy Network in Springfield, and the Mohawk Trail Woodland Partnership Committee;
· Managing the banner program and the pole banners along Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls;
· Working with the towns of Shelburne and Buckland through the Shelburne Falls Area Partnership on place making activities, parking concerns, and the cultural district;
· Managing signage along the Trail; and
· Responding to frequent inquiries from businesses, tourists, and residents regarding almost anything!
 

New endeavors in 2016 included:

· Conducting a member survey to find out what we’re doing well and what we need to improve;
· Business After Hours:  Seven were held this year in direct response to members asking for more networking opportunities. We plan to continue these monthly networking   meetings in 2017. Let us know if you’d like to host one!
· HATCH (Hilltown Arts & Thriving Community Happenings) funded artists’ visions for community engaged art events (it was so successful that we just launched HATCH 2!); and
· Second Saturdays in Shelburne Falls instead of ArtWalks – again, in response to member feedback.
 

Looking forward to the new year:

The Board has embarked on a strategic planning process to guide our work in the next three to five years. Look for details in upcoming Business Bulletins.
 
Beginning in January, we’ll send this bulletin out to our entire email list of over 2,000 (instead of sending it just to members). With so many more eyes on the bulletin, we see this as a huge member benefit and encourage you to send items for inclusion in the listings. Please send your information with the subject title: Business Bulletin to info@shelburnefalls.com. 
 
We’re also going to begin a membership drive. We are stronger together than apart and to gain new members, we’ll offer a reduced fee for the first year of membership to new (to us) businesses for a limited time beginning February 1, 2017. Returning members that have been out of the organization for at least two years will also be eligible for the special introductory rate of $99.00.
 
Please help us spread the word and enlist new members so we can continue to maintain and upgrade the websites, buy advertising and market events, advocate on behalf of the region, produce arts & cultural events, become more active in promoting our natural resource-based economy (recreation and agriculture), and give the Northeast Berkshire region a voice statewide.
 
Our events calendar for 2017 includes:  HATCH events, Second Saturdays, Business After Hours, The Fabulous February Fringe Festival, the Auction, two membership breakfasts (April & October), the Bridge of Flowers 10K, the Iron Bridge Dinner, and Moonlight Magic.  GSFABA will not produce a RiverFest/Walk in 2017. 
 
June's Second Saturday may have a river appreciation theme (not definite as of this writing), but the traditional river festival has run its course.  Increased costs, combined with diminishing vendor interest and volunteer support, makes producing the event too costly.  If you know of individuals or community organizations who may be interested in taking it on, we're happy to share information. 
 
Additional events we're involved with or support in some way include the Winter Hoopla at The Art Garden, Piti Theater's Syrup Festival, Cider Days, and Crafts of Colrain. 
 
Thank you for your support throughout the year.  From all of us here at GSFABA, we look forward to working for and with you in 2017 and wish you a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year!

Tuesday, December 20, 12:30 pm - Showing of the classic movie "White Christmas"

Wednesday, December 21, 1:15 -  BSE preschoolers deliver their homemade cookies then at 1:30 p.m. Cribbage Tournament for all levels.

Thursday, December 22, 2:00 pm - Live interactive talk by guide at the FDR Museum in New York- Presenting how Franklin D. Roosevelt celebrated Christmas at the White House.

Monday, December 26 - Senior Center closed for the holiday.

Wednesday, December 28, Noon - free pizza, 12:30 Showing of the NEW  "Jungle Book." All ages welcome and free!

Thursday, December 29, Noon - music and a New Year's toast.

All programs free and open to all!  Please spread the word.

Reporting at the Fall Breakfast, Steve assured all that the last mile buildout was going to happen.  In recent days, some people have reported hearing something is amiss with the contract.  Below is Steve's response to that concern:
 "There is a firm contract with Comcast which includes a schedule, and it is progressing well. I (Rep. Kulik) am told by MBI that Comcast is scheduling individual meetings with each town to report on progress and review the coverage areas for buildout. The contracted completion date for the 9 towns remains mid-August, 2018. Premises will be connected and lit as buildout progresses. 
 The report I received from MBI tonight is very positive and there are no problems." So, rest assured!  Service is coming soon to a town near you!

 

Plan to join us at a reception to announce the winning projects from our second round of HATCH community art proposals.  After the Film Fest and before an exciting new program to be announced next month!
 
The reception will be held at The Art Garden, 14 Depot St, from 5 - 6:30 pm.  Don't miss it!
Thursday, January 19th
5-7 pm
 
We have a guest speaker from the Post Office who will share the latest technologies and packaging options for businesses. Now, we just need a host! 
 
Download the host form here and send to shira@shelburnefalls.com or mail it to the GSFABA.
 
Winter Class Schedule
 
Monday  
8:30-10:00 AM            Intermediate Kripalu Yoga (Kate)
4:00-5:00 PM              **Yoga for School Teachers (Kate) 
6:00-7:15 PM              **Introduction/Refresher Series,                                     
                                       dates TBA (Kate)                          
Tuesday
8:00-9:00 AM              YogaFitness (Cordelia) 
9:30-11:00 AM            **QiGong Series  (Collin)
6:00-7:00 PM              Yin Yoga /Gentle (Kate)
 
Wednesday
8:30-10:00 AM            Intermed./Advanced Vinyasa Yoga (Kate)  

Thursday
8:00-9:00 AM              YogaFitness  (Daniel)      
12:00-1:00 PM          **Easy Tai Chi (Steven)      
3:00-5:00 PM               Intro to Yoga 30 min. sessions (Kate)
6:00-7:15 PM              Slow Flow Moderate Yoga (Kate)                                        
 
Friday
8:30-10:00 AM            Gentle Kripalu Yoga  (Kate)  
12:00-1:00 PM            Co-op/Community Yoga (Rotating)                                                                            
 
Saturday
9:00-10:15 AM            Slow Flow Vinyasa (Melissa)                                                                  
 
Sunday
9:00-10:30 AM            Morning Yoga (Robin)                                                           

Please note the following updates for the holiday season:
 
-No Classes on Sunday 12/25 and 1/1 
 
-Anna Meyers will teach on Saturday 12/24 and Robin Mathiesen on Saturday 12/31.  Both are wonderful teachers~ come say hello!
 
-No Classes on Monday 12/26.
 
-All other classes will meet as usual.
 
And don't forget to check our schedule page for any weather-related cancellations- these will be posted at least one hour prior to the start of class time. 
 
Shelburne’s Piti Theatre is accepting registrations for the 2nd year of their “Shelburne Falls Youth Troupe” who will prepare a new play to be performed with national touring children’s recording artist and author Bill Harley.
Harley will headline Piti’s 8th Annual SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival at Memorial Hall in S.F. on March 18.
 
Youth Troupe members are ages 7 – 12 but children and adults of other ages who want to participate are encouraged to contact the theatre company. The troupe starts rehearsals on January 26 at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary school.
 
Piti is also crowd-sourcing character, setting and plot ideas for the Hilltown-inspired production titled “The Towns Around the Bend” after Harley’s album of stories “The Town Around the Bend.” Current ideas in the mix include Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, the painter Robert Strong Woodard and the High Ledges. Character and plot ideas can be emailed to info@ptco.org. Everyone who submits will be thanked in the SYRUP program.
 
Piti’s winter classes also include Soapstone Carving and Art’n’Nature. Piti launched the Shelburne Falls Youth Troupe last year with their musical “Olde Coleraine” featuring local actors of all ages. More information is available at ptco.org/classes, info@ptco.org or (413) 625-6569.
 
This year’s SFYT season is funded in part by HATCH, a grant program for local artists created by the Art Garden and the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association.
For a unique gift, the Buckland Historical Society is offering a beautiful, full color, 2017 Calendar of Robert Strong Woodward’s paintings, entitled, ‘New England Seasons’.
Woodward was a New England artist from Buckland, MA, 1885-1957, and sold his work to celebrities such as Jack Benny, George Burns, and Robert Frost.
The calendars are $20.00 and the proceeds benefit the Buckland Historical Society. 
They can be purchased at:
Andy’s & The Oak Shoppe, 352 Deerfield St., Greenfield;
Boswell’s Books and Sawyer News, Bridge St., Shelburne Falls; 
The Buckland Public Library, Upper St., Buckland 
They can also be viewed and ordered on line at http://store.bucklandmasshistory.org
The Art Garden is now accepting applications for our ARTeens Winter Session which begins January 17, 2017 and meets for 6 weeks (not during February vacation.) 
Applications are due December 30, 2016. 
ARTeens meets on Tuesdays* 
from 2:30pm - 6pm. 
Teens come from different schools (and homeschooling) and can arrive anytime between 2:30pm - 3:45pm.
*Please note: If they have enough teens, they will also offer the program on Thursdays, starting January 19th.Applications and information are available on their website.

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