Around Amherst: Town coming under state’s drought water rules

STAFF FILE PHOTOWEB ONLY

STAFF FILE PHOTOWEB ONLY STAFF FILE PHOTO

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 06-27-2024 7:29 PM

AMHERST — New water use restrictions in Amherst that will limit outdoor water use at times, mandated by the state during times when levels of drought are declared, are going into effect.

The Town Council was recently informed by Assistant Department of Public Works Superintendent Amy Rusiecki that the restrictions are requirements of public water registration and permits with the state.

“The state is requiring us, under certain circumstances, to follow their prescribed plan,” Rusiecki said.

When a Level 1, or mild drought, is declared, people can water lawns only one day a week, and outside the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daytime ban. During Level 2, or significant drought, all nonessential water uses are banned, with some carve-outs. At Level 3, or critical drought, all nonessential water uses are banned, with no carve-outs.

An enforcement mechanism with penalties will be in effect starting next April.

Rusiecki said essential water uses, including keeping splash pads open and watering golf courses, and maintenance of livestock and food production, will not be affected.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said the new rules will impact everybody and anticipates they will rile people up when can’t water gardens or their grass and that he wanted to alert councilors know before enforcement begins.

Firefighters graduate

Three Amherst firefighters, Danielle Barton, Audrey Bulger and Courtney Budreau, recently completed the 50-day Career Recruit Firefighting Training Program at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in Springfield. They were among 17 firefighters from nine area departments who graduated.

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“The hundreds of hours of foundational training they’ve received will provide them with the physical, mental and technical skills to perform their jobs effectively and safely,” State Fire Marshal Jon Davine said in a statement

Students receive classroom training in all basic firefighter skills. To graduate, students demonstrate proficiency in life safety, search and rescue, ladder operations, water supply, pump operation and fire attack.

Other local firefighters were part of the Call/Volunteer Recruit Training Class, including Leverett firefighter and EMT Jeremy Rice and Hadley firefighter Max Arvidson, who earned the Martin H. McNamara Outstanding Student Award to recognize their academic and practical skills, testing and evaluations over the course of the program.

Police Youth Adventure Academy

The Amherst and University of Massachusetts Police Youth Adventure Academy is being held July 22 to July 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Students entering sixth, seventh or eighth grades are eligible to attend the free academy, which is limited to 20 participants and features both classroom instruction and sessions held at the Amherst Adventure Based Ropes Course. Applications are due Monday.

For more information, contact Amherst Police Detective Yvonne Feliciano at 413-259-3311 or felicianoy@amherstma.gov, or UMass Officer Brian Kellogg at 413-545-9461 or bkellogg@admin.umass.edu

Welcoming event

The League of Women Voters is formally welcoming Police Chief Gabriel Ting and Community Responders for Equity, Safety and Service Director Camille Theriaque at an event Sunday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Mill River Recreation Area.

At around 3 p.m., a cake from the nearby Carefree Cakery will be cut and small cupcakes will also be served, including ones that are gluten-free. Get more details about the event at lwvamherst.org.

Host families

The UMass Civic Initiative is seeking families or individuals to participate in the Summer 2024 Homestay Program, in which one or two international undergraduate students live with local individuals or families in the Pioneer Valley. The students are from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan and Tunisia.

Those interested in learning about the program, and if host families are still needed for early July, should send email to Theresa Wodecki, the Civic Initiative financial and administrative assistant, at twodecki@donahue.umass.edu or 413-575-1709.

The Civic Initiative has been running exchange programs in the region since 2003, with more than 1,500 alumni from over 100 countries.

Retirements

Two long-term Amherst Regional Public Schools administrators are retiring this summer.

Debbie Westmoreland, director of communications and operations, and Faye Brady, director of student services, will both be leaving their positions. Brady will be succeeded by Doreen Reid, who has been an interim assistant principal at the Amherst Regional Middle School.

Mike Curtin, who has supervised emergencypolice dispatchers since 2009, also recently retired, closing out a career in Amherst public safety that began in March 1999.

Summer Music Concert Series

Harvest & Rust and SPF-4 will perform on the Town Common July 5 from 5 to 9 p.m. as the Amherst Business Improvement District concert series gets underway.

The concerts will be each Friday in July, with local market Aster + Pine offering picnic charcuterie and snack baskets that can be preordered online.