County Fare: Is your eye for history good enough to help a Lee man?


William "Bill" Basinait of Lee needs your eagle eye and historical expertise.

He recently brought in an old black and white photo he found while cleaning out the hope chest of his late mother. The scene depicts a bugle player, a man laying a wreath of flowers at some sort of boulder-size monument as a U.S. Navy man salutes. Also in the photo are the backs and side profiles of men dressed in suits in solemn stance.

"It looks like a military commemoration of some sort possibly in Pittsfield, North Adams, Williamstown or Adams. I almost threw it out until I took a second look," he said.

Basinait believes the photo dates back to the late 1940s to late '50s.

He added, "The only thing I know is that my late mom possibly picked this photo up at her mom's home when she passed away, on Dec. 31, 1963, and stuck it away in her hope chest from that time forward. I remember my mother telling me long ago that my grandmother met a young representative or Sen. John Kennedy during his early days starting as a politician. My grandmother was secretary to Col. William Eaton, director of Eaton Paper back then."

Basinait himself is a retired sergeant First Class, a decorated soldier and member of the Lee VFW 893.

If you have information about this photograph, contact reporter Jenn Smith at or 413-496-6239.

'Ordinary' trip turns heads

A father-daughter duo taking a cross-country trip on vintage high wheel bicycles recently rolled through the Berkshires, turning heads and drawing smiles along the way.

The trip, in part, was to make use of the maps laid out by the National Bicycle Greenway Project, an initiative to connect the West Coast and East Coast using bicycle-friendly highways and byways. It's also been an ultimate bonding experience for California's Amy Oleynik and her day, Randy Oleynik, who have been riding the 1880s-era high wheels — also known as "Ordinaries" — since the early 1990s.

The pair left San Francisco on Aug. 13, with the goal of riding some 3,400-plus miles to Boston in under 55 days, while simultaneously being filmed for a documentary and with Amy competing for a title in the "Guinness Book of World Records" as the fastest woman to complete the trip on a high wheel; she's only the second woman to make the trip.

This past Saturday, Oct. 1, Day 50 of their trek, the Oleyniks pedaled from Albany, N.Y., through New Lebanon, N.Y., then into Massachusetts. Amy blogged about arriving into Windsor on some slick roads and seeking out sustenance.

"We ended at a place called Friendly Fred's," she wrote, referring to a popular stop on Route 9. "A man who stopped us to take [a] picture told us this place had the best cookies. Fresh baked and BIG! Also only 75 cents! He said that they should sell them for more money. When we packed up our bikes, we went inside to get us some cookies. They must have taken his advice because now they cost 95 cents. Hahaha! We got one of each cookie - chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and M&M. They just had come out of the oven and boyyyy they were gooooood."

Being on a road trip budget, the daughter and her dad are often on the lookout for the next cheap meal, be it roadside diners or gas stations.

Wrote Amy of Pittsfield, "For dinner we went to a place called Hot Dog Ranch, where they are famous for little hot dogs, $1.30 each. We each got one to try — very good!"

On Tuesday afternoon, Day 53, they finally arrived in Boston, celebrating by dipping their front wheels in the Atlantic Ocean. Get a recap of their incredible journey at or and learn more about and support Amy's personal mission at


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