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  • commented 2017-09-04 09:45:11 -0400
    Hi Tom,

    My family is sporting your sign in front of our house. We’re excited to have new candidates with fresh ideas enter into local politics. We’ve liked what we’ve heard so far from you with one exception. Health Care. In 2014 NARH closed illegally. 2 MA labor laws were violated when only 72 hours notice was given, MA General Laws Ch. 149 Sec. 182 and Ch. 151A Sec. 71B. The federal WARN law was also violated. No one stood up for the 530 employees that lost their jobs, my wife included. The AG’s office whitewashed their report, contradicting what Healey told a large crowd she would do at the VFW in ’14 while campaigning.

    We lost our access to health care in that catastrophe. BHS is NOT providing adequate services. Last Friday they closed the only Urgent Care facility within 20 miles of North Adams. With very limited hours, located miles from North Adams, not accessible by foot and not serviced by public transit it was doomed to fail. An Urgent Care facility on Main St in NA would have patients out the door. Deb had to use the Williamstown facility a couple of weeks ago because our primary care doctor left the area, leaving thousands without a doctor. Given her sinus infection hit her in the late afternoon, Deb’s only decision was Urgent Care or a $150 copay at the NA ER. And we are one of the lucky ones that carry good health insurance. At the Downtown Celebration we ran into a friend that has a serious auto immune disease. Starting this week she needs to find transportation to Pittsfield because her doctor is retiring and none of BHS’s 7 pulmonary doctors are replacing him in NA. She’s very sick and she’s poor. And she’s very angry. Also, almost all opioid treatment money is being spent in Pittsfield. We need in patient treatment in NA.

    Deb & I are unabashed supporters of Mass MoCA and the rail museum projects. Our economy is in transition. We were shocked after hearing Professor Shepard talk about 1,200 to 2,000 jobs being created, that BMC basically said all we need are museums and no mention of the potential to bring services back to our area. We get what he’s saying about the mental and health benefits of a better economy. But we have a great museum. We still get sick and have nowhere to go for local services. Deb and one of one of our daughters are MCLA alumni. If we lived out of the area we wouldn’t consider sending a student to MCLA given the dearth of health care during the 7 months of winter we get here. It’s likely part of the reason MCLA has a very low 1,300 student enrollment. The lack of local services can only hamstring the incredible potential of North Adams.

    BHS is now the caretaker of over $1.1 mil in endowment funds specifically earmarked for the former NARH. Their response was not to move Urgent Care to NA, but rather close it and maximize their profit. Who represents the residents of North Adams in these decisions? Hopefully you do as our new Mayor. We need politicians who will be strong advocates for their constituency. We don’t need any more politicians who simply accepts the crumbs BHS gives us. We understand David Phelps is the highest paid and most powerful executive in Berkshire County. But we need someone to represent us in negotiations with the BHS monopoly.

    Best of luck,

    Jim and Deb Lipa
  • commented 2017-06-06 14:26:35 -0400
    How do you feel about preserving North Adams’ history at Heritage State Park? Close museums? or find a way to blend new with the old?
  • commented 2017-06-05 14:30:27 -0400
    You have education as a key platform component. School ratings in North Adams are not good. You can see this on popular websites prospective home buyers use when researching places. If the ratings improved our affordable and plentiful housing stock would be a bigger draw. How do you plan to get the school ratings up, and quickly?
  • commented 2017-06-05 14:09:58 -0400