It was just over a year ago that I began working with Mary Vilbon and the GSFABA. Last year's auction was my first event in 2015. As we wound up this year's auction, I reflected on all the events and happenings of the past year.  It's been a wonderful and challenging experience!  Working with so many dedicated, interesting, and creative people every day is a joy and I am so grateful for the opportunity. 

I'm very excited about the future and look forward to sharing some of our upcoming plans for better serving our members at the breakfast next week.
Please let us know if you can make it.

I look forward to seeing you there! 


Carmela Lanza-Weil
Executive Director

flower pancake

Friday, April 29th at Berkshire East
7:30 - 9:00am

Make your reservation today!

Representatives Steve Kulik & Paul Mark plan to attend and give us an update on doings on Beacon Hill so be sure and get your reservations in today.

$14 with advance reservation; $16 at the door

Email or call us at 413.625.2526 to make your reservation.


Over 120 attended the 20th annual auction bidding on over 100 items generously donated by area artists, farmers, businesses and individuals.

Thank you to all who came, to the band "Whistlestop," and to all our amazing volunteers especially Greenfield Savings Bank, Bridge Street Bazaar, and People's United Bank who all offered invaluable personpower to the event - THANK YOU!

The auction helps support our programs throughout the year including events, advertising, marketing, village beautification, and more. Thank you for your support.

Mike McCusker's Bridge of Flowers Business Center and McCusker's Market hosted this month's Business After Hours on Tuesday, April 12. Over 30 people made the trek up the somewhat intimidating staircase to see the beautiful space that over____ businesses call home. We spent the first hour getting mini-tours from Jill Connolly and viewing the village from the splendid heights! Then at 6:00, we moved downstairs to the front room in McCusker's for more treats and sweets -- plus everyone introduced themselves and their businesses. It was great to meet new people and hear about all the exciting things happening in the area.

The next Business After Hours will be held in Ashfield, place tba, on May 10th from 5 – 7pm. Please plan to attend and bring your business cards! Thank you to our sponsors Greenfield Savings Bank and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.








Jill and Carol share a laugh.

To help finance a $13 billion merger with a Houston-based pipeline group, TransCanada plans to sell its hydroelectric stations on the Connecticut and Deerfield Rivers, the company announced last week.

The properties include 30,000 acres of land associated with hydro facilities in New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. Three storage-only reservoirs are also part of the holdings.

TransCanada in 2005 purchased the 13 dams with 560 megawatts of capacity for $505 million from the bankrupt USGen New England.

TransCanada awaits shareholder approval to acquire Columbia Pipeline Group, with its 15,000 mile network of pipeline and storage assets, to create a 57,000-mile system and $23 billion natural gas transmission portfolio.

"At the same time, we will be well positioned to transport North America's abundant natural gas supply to liquefied natural gas terminals for export to international markets," said TransCanada president and CEO Russ Girling in a March 17 news release.

Proceeds from the sale of its northeast power generation assets, which include the dams, will help comprise the required funding for the Columbia merger, said TransCanada.

The five stations in Massachusetts are all on the Deerfield River. They are the Sherman Dam at Rowe and Monroe, a dam at Rowe and Florida; two in Buckland and Shelburne, and one dam at Conway and Shelburne. Vermont stations in the Deerfield basin are at Searsburg and the Harriman Reservoir.

The Connecticut River dams spanning Vermont and New Hampshire are at Vernon, Bellows Falls, Wilder, McIndoes, Comerford, and Moore Stations. The dam at Vernon has been in service since 1909.

The dam's owner, under its federal license, is responsible for raising and lowering water levels for energy production. There are requirements under a 40-year pact signed in 1994 for the dam owners to accommodate conservation and recreation, including whitewater paddling.

TransCanada's federal licenses for the Vernon, Bellows Falls and Wilder dams are set to expire in April 2019, and a relicensing process is underway before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Also up for renewal are hydro facilities on the Connecticut River in Massachusetts —€” Turners Falls Dam and the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project, both owned by FirstLight Power, a subsidiary of GDF Suez.

The Connecticut River Watershed Council is participating in the federal relicensing proceedings, saying "private hydropower operators must provide direct benefits to the public and the river, including recreational facilities, better fish passage and reducing damage to healthy river habitats."

The licenses issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are good for 30-50 years and "lock-in minimum flow requirements, impoundment levels, fish passage and operating regimes for generations to come," according to the non-profit river advocacy group.

TransCanada is a large taxpayer in its host communities, reports the New Hampshire-based Valley News. West Lebanon, New Hampshire assesses its dam property at $44.9 million, and Hartford, Vermont values its portion at $32.4 million. The Vernon, Vermont dam is assessed at $30.5 million and the dam in Rockingham, New Hampshire is valued at $108 million.

In addition, a January superior court decision settled a lawsuit between TransCanada and Newbury, Vermont, by establishing a value of $1.53 million for flowage easements on 1,860 acres that may be subject to flooding when water levels rise.

TransCanada proposed the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska. The U.S. State Department rejected the proposal in November, and TransCanada has appealed the decision.

By Mary Serreze | Special to The Republican


The Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association (GSFABA) and The Art Garden announce the launch of H.A.T.C.H. (Hilltown Art & Thriving Community Happenings), a pilot program designed to inspire, support, and help fund creative projects that engage the hilltown communities of western Franklin County. H.A.T.C.H. will support the development, refinement, and launching of projects brought forward by artists and other community members and is  funded, in part, by a Massachusetts Cultural Council Adams Grant awarded to the GSFABA last year.

Three free work sessions -- facilitated by working artists Jane Beatrice Wegscheider, Artist Director of The Art Garden, and Phyllis Labanowski, a regional artist and co-director of Art For A Change and ARTeens -- will be offered to help artists develop and receive feedback on their idea. At the end of each session, those interested in moving their projects forward may apply for the opportunity to present their vision at a community hatching event on Saturday, June 25 at the Buckland Town Hall.  Grants will be awarded to each project along with mentoring support and marketing assistance to help launch the projects. Applications will be available by May 1, 2016.

Work sessions will be held at The Art Garden on Monday, April 25; Thursday, May 5; and Wednesday, May 18, 2016. Applications for the hatching event are due Friday, May 27, 2016. Up to five projects will be selected through a juried process; projects moving forward will be notified in early June. All applicants will receive mentoring and support through the GSFABA.

The selection criteria includes:

·         Relevance to and/or based in one of GSFABA’s 10 towns (Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield, Rowe, and Shelburne);

·         Lead artist(s) lives or works in one of hilltown communities;

·         The project/event integrates the arts into the fabric of civic life and represents the distinct character and quality of our communities OR address challenges and priorities within our communities;

·         Comes from ideas within and/or engages the community in the making of the project or interaction after its made;

·         The project can be completed by May 2017; and

·         Has a realistic timeline and budget.

Creative projects, performances, or events including murals, sculpture, performance, spoken word, or street art as well as almost anything else you can imagine will be considered as long as the project meets the above criteria. Artists that create a performance or a community conversation with an artistic twist, an event, or a spectacle that is permanent or temporary, that engages residents and visitors are all encouraged to apply.

For more information contact:

Jane Beatrice Wegscheider, Artist Director of The Art Garden, 413-625-2782  email:

Phyllis Labanowski, 413.369.9985  email:

Carmela Lanza-Weil, Executive Director of GSFABA, 413-625-2526  email:

Arms Library: "New York Hustle: Pool Rooms, School Rooms and Street Corners" Reading from his book by Amherst author, Stan Maron, at the Arms Library, 60 Bridge St. in Shelburne Falls, Sunday, April 24 at 3 p.m.  


Information Session for Small Businesses to Start and Grow: 
April 6, Wednesday at the Franklin County CDC, Greenfield (offered first Wednesday each month)

Free! (preregister recommended but not required at For anyone interested in starting or growing a business looking to learn about business planning, financing, and available resources for small businesses and how the Franklin County CDC can assist.

“Shark Tank with a Heart”: 
Greenfield Mentorship Monthly Meeting with Valley Venture Mentors: April 7, Thursday 5:30-8pm, Arts Block, Greenfield. Free (pre-registration recommended but not required at (meets first Thursday monthly) Hear from the 10 business owners who have been mentored for 5 months present and learn how to apply for mentorship or assist start up businesses. Pizza from 5:00-5:30, program begins at 5:30pm.

Business Growth Seminar: 
Stabilize & Expand Your Business: April 12, 19, 26 and May 3 on Tuesdays, 
Franklin County CDC $175. Registration required at 
This workshop is geared toward established businesses seeking to increase their revenue. Topics presented by Amy Shapiro, Director of Business Development, and guest experts include operational efficiencies, financial management tools, employee hiring guidelines and sales and marketing strategies. Course materials will be 

Product Development Considerations: Beyond the Concept:
April 13, Wednesday, 9:00am-5:00pm, Franklin 
County CDC $200. Do you want help better understanding the food safety principles behind your process? Do 
you need help with product development for a current or future product? Propel your food business to the next 
level by delving into product development and food safety with Amanda Kinchla, of the UMASS Food Science 
Department, an expert on HACCP and product development. Register at

Learn About Food Product Development:
April 19, Tuesday, 10:00-11:30am FCCDC - Free
(Offered monthly on the third Tuesday) - preregister recommended but not required at 
For food producers looking to make or have their products co-packed at the Western MA Food Processing Center. Access the FCCDC’s expertise at a food focus session and facility tour.

Heading for the Exit: The realities and process of transitioning the ownership of your business: 
May 5, 5:00-7:00 pm, Cloud 85, 85 Main St., North Adams Free (pre-registration recommended at
May 12, 5:00-7:00 pm. Franklin County CDC. Free (pre-registration recommended at
Presenter Michael Vann, of the Vann Group has been assisting businesses for over 30 years develop business succession plans. One of the largest challenges facing business owners today is how to solve the question of “how do I get out of my business”. This overview seminar will cover: The current transition/succession 
landscape, Establishing transition expectations and objectives, Business valuation facts and realities, Family and partner dynamics, Exit options and structure considerations, Preparing the Company for transition, and Your advisors and the value they create.

A more in-depth multi session seminar will be offered Fall 2016 and Spring 2017.For more information contact Anita Eliason, Business Development Specialist 413-774-7204 ext 114

The Shelburne Falls Village Network (SFVN) has an easy-to-complete survey at businesses and meeting places around the community. Every resident in Shelburne Falls is encouraged to fill in the survey so the Network Steering Committee can build on the initial suggestions and recommendations it gathered at the February 21st "Talk About Town." More than 50 people attended the SFVN event to post ideas for the Village on a large wall-map, answer survey questions, and discuss what they like and don’t like about Shelburne Falls.

Results are preliminary, but in compiling the notes on the wall map most comments emphasized infrastructure needs – access to the river and green space and lack of parking – and economic development concerns – vacant (privately owned) or underutilized (town owned) buildings and wanting more cultural and recreational activities and programming for all ages.

Attendees gave the Network a glimpse as to what they want for the Village’s future by answering the survey that is now in businesses and gathering places. In compiling initial responses, residents suggested the following were most important to them:

  • Preserving the Deerfield River and community character;
  • Dealing with infrastructure issues;
  • Improving the economy and infrastructure for Village businesses and residents;
  • Shopping regularly in Shelburne Falls – only one resident of the 29 does not shop in Shelburne Falls at all, others say they shopped in the Village at least once a week;
  • Better than half of the respondents think businesses are struggling or just getting by;
  • Almost half attending said they are involved or want to be involved in helping the community; and
  • Many expressed appreciation for the opportunity to share their opinions about the future of Shelburne Falls.

By compiling, tallying and publishing public comments from residents, SFVN wants to encourage citizens to become active and vocal in Shelburne and Buckland by regularly attending town’s board meetings or serving on a town board; adopt projects on a volunteer basis to help improve our community; and support the Towns and area nonprofits to create a prosperous future for Shelburne Falls based on residents’ thoughts about how they might focus their energy and resources in revitalizing Shelburne Falls.

Please join your friends and neighbors for a second community forum on May 15 at 6:30 PM at the Buckland Town Hall on State Street in Shelburne Falls. Here, the Network Steering Committee will be sharing the specific results of all the surveys collected, identifying emerging themes, and discussing the conditions and actions needed to accomplish our goals as a community. We hope to see you there!

The Network is a forum for communication and discussion about the Village – its economic vitality and infrastructure. It promotes the sharing of ideas and is working collaboratively to establish a vision for the future of Shelburne Falls. To learn more, “like” us on the Shelburne Falls Village Network Facebook page or send thoughts via email at

Upcoming Events:

April 25
1st H.A.T.C.H. workshop
The Art Garden

April 29
Spring Membership Breakfast

May 1
Village Information Center Opens

May 7
First Art Walk of the Season * NEW TIME! 2-6pm

May 5 & 18
2nd & 3rd H.A.T.C.H. workshops at The Art Garden

Post An Event >>

We'd love to work with you!!

We invite you to contribute a few hours of your time to help keep Shelburne Falls and West County the desirable place to live, raise a family, and retire that it is -- and to make it even better!  

The Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association and the Shelburne Falls Visitor Information Center, located in the same building at 75 Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls, have been providing economic development programs and activities for decades with limited budgets, few paid staff, and a small group of dedicated volunteers.  We're ready to grow to the next level of effectiveness in service to our community. To continue to do this work, we seek a few volunteers  to contribute a small amount of time to help out.

 We'll strive to make the work fun and enjoyable and we will honor you and appreciate you for your service! 

Here are some of the ways you can help out - starting right now!


We’re working on updating our websites and email marketing software contacts and could use your help if you’re detail oriented and a little computer savvy (or we’ll train you).  Come for a few hours or sign-up for a recurring commitment.  Please contact Carmela if you’re interested and available.  Hours/days negotiable.

Membership Breakfast Volunteers:

Sound System Transporter

Task:  Pick up sound system at Greenfield Savings Bank in Shelburne Falls and then deliver the sound system to Berkshire East on Thursday, April 28th between 9 -11am.  Need a strong back and a car that can hold a large speaker and sound board.

Site Set up Helpers (One volunteer for 1-2 hours)

Task:  Help set up for the event; set up of tables, chairs & sound system.
When Needed: Thursday, April 28th at 9:00am at Berkshire East.


AND for the Visitor Information Center (VIC) Check Out these Volunteer Opportunities

Contact Person: Marian Taylor, 625-6306

Volunteer Staff (Many volunteers needed!)

Task: Staff the Village Information Center (VIC); welcome visitors, answer their questions, direct them to places of interest in the Village and West County
When Needed: The Center is open daily from May 1 - October 31, 2016  
Morning shifts: 10am-1pm
Afternoon shifts: 1-4pm.

Referral Information Coordinator

Task: Gather, organize, monitor and maintain all of the printed information provided at the VIC
When Needed: Initial Season Preparation April 1-14, 2016
During the Season:  1-2 hours, at least monthly (depends upon supplies and changes) during the season, May-Halloween

Pre-Season Cleaning and Maintenance Day (At least 10 volunteers)

Task: Clean, paint, set up, etc. the VIC in preparation for the season
When Needed: 10am-6pm, Thursday, April 28, 2016

Volunteer Cleaners (At least four-five volunteers)

Task: Vacuum the rug, clean the bathrooms, fill paper towel and toilet tissue containers, wash windows, etc. as necessary.
When Needed: 1 hour at least once per week during the season, May-Halloween. (If we have 4-5 volunteers, each person will only need to clean once per month.)

April 23-24, 2016 – Franklin County Better, Greener Living Show at Franklin County Fairgrounds

April 25, 2016 – Launch of Green Economy Innovation Hub in Franklin County at GCC

May 19, 2016 – FCCDC’s Hass Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls.

"Something Else" Oils, Watercolors and Photography by Candace Silver at the Shelburne Arts Cooperative; April 27 through May 30 Reception: Saturday, May 7 4 to 6 p.m. Hours:  Sunday-Thursday 11-5;  Friday and Saturday 11-7; closed Tuesdays. 










26 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls, MA


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