County Fare | Lambs, dignitaries and dogs among the latest signs of spring

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and First Lady Diane, returned to their Berkshires backyard on Saturday to hang with the kids, the chicks and the lambs. Here, Deval Patrick cradles a newborn lamb alongside Hancock Shaker Village President and CEO Jennifer Trainer Thompson and Ziggy, "the Village's tiniest kid."

Saturday was the living history site's opening day, during which events for the new season were touted. Among those happenings will be a "Food for Thought" speaker series, and Patrick will be the first presenter.

Coming up this Saturday, a new "Story Time with Ty" event will be held at 11:30 a.m., with local children's book author, Ty Allan Jackson.

Hot diggity-dog!

North Adams residents rabidly consumed hot dogs on Friday in a contest to raise money for the NAMAzing Eagle Street Initiative. Donning their finest competitive attire, dozens of dogs furnished by Jack's Hot Dog Stand were consumed by contestants for pledges. When all was said and done, the small group raised more than $1,000 toward the $25,000 goal to revitalize and beautify Eagle Street.

The campaign, spearheaded by the volunteer group NAMAzing, ends on May 25. If the city reaches its $25,000 goal, the funds will be matched by MassDevelopment, the state's economic development and finance agency. As of Tuesday evening, the campaign appeared to be closing in, with $23,522 raised. More about the project can be learned at

An early start to higher ed

Bard College at Simon's Rock Provost Ian Bickford presented on March 7, "Mind the Gap: Bridging High School & College" at the seventh annual SXSWedu Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas.

The session highlighted the nationwide Early College movement — for which Simon's Rock has been a principal — and efforts to provide a path from ninth grade to a bachelor's degree, free from the pressures and problems of the college admissions process.

"The Early College model is about more than acceleration to college," said Bickford. "It addresses inequities across secondary and higher education, with significant implications for who has access to college, when, and at what cost."

Want to learn more?

On Friday, The Bard Center for Early College will open for free to the public its third annual Early College Conference and Summit at Bard College at Simon's Rock. The theme of the two-day forum is "The Architecture of Partnership: Connection, Collaboration, Conviviality." The conference features panels and workshops focused on local and regional partnerships, as well as roundtable discussions.

More than 20 organizations will be represented at the conference, including: Miss Hall's School, Berkshire Hills Regional School District, Montessori School of the Berkshires, Berkshire Community College, Williams College, Bard College, Bard Prison Initiative Jobs For the Future, North Shore Community College, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, Ramp Education, Norman Rockwell Museum, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, Butterfly Leadership Academy, Shakespeare & Company, Multicultural Bridge, Railroad Street Youth Project, Falsework School, Disaster Recovery International, and Berskhire SURJ.

For a program and to register, visit Learn more about The Bard Center for Early College at


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