County Fare | 'American Pickers' may be interested in your valuables


Got cool old stuff? Then you have the potential to get "picked" for the 16th season of the popular History Channel documentary television series, "American Pickers."

Hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz and their crew will be swinging through Massachusetts and Vermont this fall, "as they hunt for America's most valuable antiques," according to the latest call for vintage and antique treasure trove holders.

The film crew has stopped in the northeastern states for previous seasons. The late Stephen Mirke, of Adams, his family and the Old Stone Mill, was featured in an episode that aired in 2015. Brothers Gregg and Mark Massini of the Massini Bus Co. in Sheffield were featured in a 2014 episode. Several other episodes have featured stops in neighboring upstate New York as well as Vermont.

If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the American Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, send your name, phone number, location and description of the collection with photos to: or call 1-855-OLD-RUST (653-7878).

Don't call him a tomb raider

Tyringham native Ben Schaefer, 23, spent his summer excavating a Peruvian tomb, not to mine for gold and gems, but to seek clues to a rich and also fractured history.

Schaefer, a 2011 graduate of Lee High School, since went on to study anthropology at Drew University in Madison, N.J., and is currently working on his master's degree in bioarchaeology (biological archaeology) and forensic anthropology at Georgia State University. His curiosity and his professor, he said, have led to his current research on Andean societies, specifically examining times of warfare, disease and trauma.

This Thursday at 7 p.m., Schaefer returns home to share a images and information in a presentation he calls, "Identity Crisis: Funerary Customs from Post-Tiwanaku Collapse," which will take place at Tyringham Town Hall, 116 Main Road, Tyringham. The talk is free and open to the public.

"The main thing," said Schaefer in a phone conversation with County Fare, "is that this burial site was formed post-collapse of a giant state. ... To translate, it's like if the American states fell, how do individuals still perform or identify as Americans. In this case, they channeled their remaining identity through burial practices."

Schaefer worked at an excavation site known as Tumilaca la Chimba (EstuquiƱa phase 1300-1400 A.D.), located in Southern Peru right outside the city of Moquegua. There, he said, people from the community come to be a part of the process.

"In Peru," said Schaefer, "the idea of the dead is a little bit different. There, the dead are still part of the social cultural world."

What he found in the tomb he worked on now presents an interesting case study. "The two individuals interred are facing each other."

Schaefer, his professor and another student, he said, will be developing and submitting a paper on their findings to the "International Journal of Paleopathology." The young researcher added, "We only did a partial excavation. We believe there are a lot more tombs underground that we can't see."

Their eyes are on the pies

The townspeople of Richmond think fall is a fine time for a picnic, so three local organizations invited residents last Saturday to attend the annual event at Hollow Fields, a preserved scenic area on Perry's Peak Road.

Traditional hamburgers and hot dogs were abandoned from the menu years ago, and the crowd now goes straight to the dessert: homemade pies from grasshopper to apple. Sponsored by the Richmond Land Trust, Historical Society and Civic Association, the event is now called the "pie-nic" or pie social. About 100 people attended last Saturday and made their choices from more than 40 pies.

A regular feature of the event is the presentation of the Charles and Mary Kusik Citizenship Award, accepted this year for the late Marguerite "Jackie" Rawson by her daughter, Kimberly Rawson. A selectman for more than 25 years, with her final term completed this year, Jackie Rawson also served with many other town committees and organizations, including the historical and land trust groups.

In other business, Cindy Iwanowicz was named to the Richmond Land Trust board. A moment of silence marked the recent death of her brother, Stanley, who was a member of the land trust board for several years.

John Keenum, president of the land trust, also announced that Berkshire Natural Resources Council and the Richmond Land Trust have completed acquisition of an additional 183 acres in the Perry's Peak area, more than doubling the size of the Hollow Fields reserve on that slope. Janet Robertson attended the event as representative of the donor family.

The pie-nic also featured a photo contest organized by land trust board member Wendy Laurin, who chaired the entire event.

'Walk & Roll' a success

Residents from across Western Massachusetts took to the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Cheshire on Sept. 10, for the annual "Walk & Roll" event, sponsored by the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) to help further their mission of creating a better future for brain injury survivors and their families.

The association advocates for people with a range of brain injuries, due to developmental disorders, trauma, diseases, toxins or other causes.

More than 200 people attended the event to cheer on 150 participants as they made their way down the 2-mile route, either by foot or by wheelchair. Afterward, participants enjoyed lunch by the lake as well as activities including balloon animals, made by Berkshire County Arc's own Ben Wibby.

Twenty-three people from Berkshire County Arc's Brain Injury Program participated on a team named "Wheels, Hearts and Hands," in memory of five individuals who had been members of Berkshire County Arc's Brain Injury Program over the years: Carrie, Beverly, Vincent, Michael and David. Staff members Amber Steele and Kara Rogers co-captained the team.

"I enjoyed seeing my friends," said team member Mark Paeone. "It was nice to raise awareness for brain injury."


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions