I hope you all had Thanksgivings that left you with feelings of peace and renewal. There is lots of news to share, especially the changes at the Ashfield Transfer Station. Read on……….
New Trash Protocol
Starting this Saturday, December 2, the Ashfield Transfer Station will no longer be taking cash for any reason. If you have been paying at the dump to use your own bags, you will need to purchase a punch card from me, Tinky. Each time you take your own bag, your card will be punched.
The dump will still accept the orange Ashfield bags, and I still have some at the Town Office to sell. However, I recommend the punch cards. The orange bags seem to get smaller and flimsier every year. This way, you can invest in larger, sturdier bags. The cards cost $10 for 10 bags’ worth.
I know that most of you will not see this message until AFTER the end of my office hours this week (Tuesdays, noon to 4). If you need a punch card before next Tuesday, please call me, Tinky, at home at (413) 339-4747 to arrange a time when I can meet you at the Town Office and sell you a punch card.
I will also be selling forms for disposal of other items at the dump: tires, furniture, etc. You will have to pay me, and I’ll sign the form for you to bring to Ashfield.
I apologize for the short notice! The folks in Ashfield meant to give us plenty of warning, but somehow things (like Thanksgiving) got in the way.
Meanwhile, please spread the news … particularly to neighbors who don’t get this newsletter.
On Sunday, December 10, at 4 p.m. the Sons & Daughters of Hawley will host their annual Illumination Party at the Hawley Meeting House (the old East Hawley Church, 332 East Hawley Road). This tribute to the season is full of magic. The Sons & Daughters light up the church, share cookies and warm drinks, and sing a carol or two. All are welcome to come rage against the dying of the light. Dress warmly!
Here is an essay I wrote about this event several years back. I adore it.
A Few Public Health Items
First, LifePath and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments have released their Age- and Dementia-Friendly Action Plan. Hawley is part of this effort, although not all its aspects apply to us. (We don’t have a lot of public spaces, for example, unless you count the State Forest.) As time goes by, our role in the plan will become clearer. Meanwhile, feel free to read the plan, which can be found here. More than half of Hawley’s population is over 60 so this is something our town plans to pursue.
COVID-19 is still with us, and we have a couple of tools to fight it. Vaccination is still important. Most pharmacies and doctors’ offices offer both COVID and flu shots. If you or a neighbor can’t make it to a pharmacy, Jackie Choate, Lisa White, and Meg Ryan of FRCOG are organizing and providing home visits for both COVID and flu vaccines. If this may be of interest to someone you know, please ask that person to get in touch with Meg and Lisa. Send joint emails to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Lisa at (413) 774-3167, extension 156. And remember, we still have lots of free home COVID tests at the Town Office. For more information on ways to battle the disease, visit https://frcog.org/project/covid-19/.
Finally, it’s important to keep warm in the winter. With rising costs, heating your home can be stressful. That’s where homeowners and renters can use fuel assistance. Because it can take six to eight weeks to process a no-cost application, it’s best to start now. You are eligible for fuel assistance if your household income is not more than 60 percent of the estimated state median income. For a single-person household, that’s $45,392. It’s $59,359 for two people, and it increases with household size. More information is available on the Community Action website, www.communityaction.us/fuel-assistance. Locally, Community Action is the agency that processes applications; the program itself is called LIHEAP in Massachusetts. If you have not used fuel assistance in the last two years, you’ll need to apply first and then have an intake. Apply over the phone (413-774-2310) or online.
Community Action wants people to know:
- From November 15 to March 15, a moratorium prevents utility companies from shutting off your gas or electricity if it heats your home.
- Fuel assistance can only pay for deliveries/heat usage from November 1 to April 30.
- This is an assistance program; you are still responsible for your bills.
- Separate from fuel assistance, Community Action has other programs for renters and homeowners, including free energy efficient and weatherization assessments, and programs for homeowners to fund repairs/replacements of heating systems. They also have an Older Adult Modification Program to help eligible homeowners age in place. If your income exceeds the income guidelines, the Massachusetts Good Neighbor Energy Fund could still help you heat your home this winter.
Don’t forget the upcoming events at the Tyler Memorial Library: an author talk with Joan Livingston this Saturday, December 2, at 3 p.m.; crafting next Thursday, December 7, at 5 p.m.; and Story Hour a week from Saturday, December 9, at 11 a.m.
As we enter the darkest month of the year, remember to reach out to your neighbors, some of whom may be feeling isolated. And don’t forget to take a few moments to savor the natural beauty around us. The trees may be bare, but there’s a subtle beauty to the grey landscape. And the color of the light in the afternoon is spectacular.
Town of Hawley
8 Pudding Hollow Road
Hawley, MA 01339