Sunday, February 28, 2010

City School Northampton: Week 4 - Education

I have been attending City School here in Northampton, Massachusetts. City School is a unique program where ordinary citizens like me learn the workings of local municipal government. I realize that it has been a while since I've updated you. In the interim we had two snow days and one class where we learned about public education which I will share with you shortly.

When local government calls a snow day - for it's schools, banning overnight parking, readying the snow plows, etc. - you can bet that they will also call off our class, which usually takes place after-hours in a city building with lectures usually delivered by a city employee who either should be doing something more important during a snowstorm or perhaps should be snug at home with her family. (I simply must be the king of the run-on sentence, the aside, and the digression. It is my destiny. It is my quest. More. I want more.)  If the public schools and local colleges are closed, then it is likely that City School will also be. I am lucky to pay nothing for the privilege of being educated in the ways our Libraries are funded by our Library Director and how our city Health Department works by its chief. Eventually, we will hear more about how the city operates from the Mayor and the innards of city finance from the Finance Director.

This week we learned about the two school districts within our city. Northampton is unique in this respect compared to the state. We have Northampton Public Schools and Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. Northampton Public Schools include four elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school. We met in the Library at Northampton High. It was chilly. It was school vacation week. Everyone who spoke to us that night was taking time from their own vacation.

Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School

Smith Voc, as it is fondly called, is one of the many important institutions in Northampton founded by a  19th century benefactor. In prior weeks, you heard about the Forbes and Lilly Libraries. Others that we are unlikely to address at City School include Smith College, Clarke School For the Deaf, and the Hill Institute. Each has its own colorful history. Each deserves their own essay. I'm sure that there are several more. Institutions like this make our city special. (Pause with me now to thank God for dead 19th century wealthy people. We are especially lucky when they have no heirs or have taken care in writing their wills. More on that shortly.)


Smith Voc was founded at behest of the will of Oliver Smith who died in 1845. The will was contested by his relatives, but defended by New England's own Daniel Webster for Northampton which was still a town (it incorporated into a city in 1884). It may be customary for the time, but the money eventually sat until 1905 when $50,000 was spent to buy land (81 acres for the school, plus 180 acres used by their forestry program). Finally in 1908 Smith Voc opened as the first Vocational School in Massachusetts. It was originally only private, but after UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture opened in 1918, Smith Voc had some local competition. It was after this that it joined forces with Northampton to become a Public-Private school. Northampton students can attend for "free" while out-of-district students "pay". In the bargain, the Mayor and the Northampton School Superintendent are on the board of trustees along with 3 publicly elected board members. In reality, students do not pay. Their respective school districts do. Due to its origins Smith Voc remains the only independent public school in the state.

We heard all this and more from John Cotton who became Chair of the Smith Voc Board of Trustees only the day before our class. He started as an instructor in 1977 and has been on the Board shortly after he retired from teaching. The board was shaken up last year after the death of longtime Trustee David Bourbeau last summer. We also heard from the Superintendent Arthur Apostolou who filled us in on academics and how the school operates.


Students at Smith Voc alternate weeks of academic classes and vocational classes. They choose one of twelve programs including agriculture, forestry, automotive, plumbing, cosmetology, and the like. When new students enter, they rotate between each of the programs, then try out four of them to narrow their choice down to one. Students will often focus their studies to match their programs. For instance, students studying veterinarian/animal science will learn Biology. Juniors and Seniors must intern in their field. When they graduate they receive a High School diploma as well as a Certificate of Occupational Proficiency. They are accredited, of course, and belong to High Schools That Work which is an association of vocational schools.

Smith Voc Students actually compete in Skills USA which is like an Olympics of vocational schools (Smith Voc has alumni who won the nationals in plumbing and autobody.) Students also compete through Future Farmers of America. Additionally, there is an advisory committee for each professional trade and academic area made up of community members. They serve to keep the school up tod ate and help place seniors.

I was much impressed with the school (as you can tell by my lack of digressions here), so I will give you a few more bits of information before pushing on. Last year 117 students graduated, next year there will be about 125 new 9th graders, there are 61 faculty members split about equally between academic and vocational. About one third of the students are from Northampton, the rest are from out-of-district. The school has not had a new building since 1977, but they have received a grant to build a new Agricultural and Science building; this is still in the planning stages.

Since Smith Voc teaches skills, they do real work. Local car dealers might loan them a new car or engines. They actually repair the city Police cruisers, and if you are patient, they will fix your car. You can arrange to get your hair cut at the school, and then actually luncheon at their restaurant (culinary program) during a weekdays.

Northampton Public Schools

We also heard about Northampton Public Schools (NPS) from Superintendent Isabellina Rodriguez, Barbara Black the Early Childhood Coordinator, Nathan Zieglar from Pupil Services, and Karen Jarvis from Health Services. Weeks earlier, we heard from School Committee chair Stephanie Pick about what they do.

I just know that I am going to short-change NPS here, but that is because some of the operations of a public school seems obvious to me because I attended them and have a child currently in school. Also, sadly, their story is more difficult. As you can see from the NPS speakers, none of them are direct educators. Teachers teach, Principals run schools. These people above make sure that things work and comply with laws and guidelines and curriculum and codes. They make sure the numbers add up, that students with problems do not fall through the cracks, that they are ready to enter school. And that our schools comply with onerous testing standards. There is so much to all this, it makes you wonder why government does not get out of the way and let schools educate students in peace. OK. Don't get me started. This is something I won't get into. Nope.

Northampton has an elected School Committee which hires and supervises the Superintendent. They also deal with the school budget. Rodriguez told us about the District Improvement Plan. Which narrows down priorities to set five goals for our schools along with metrics to see if they are being met. Each school has its own corresponding School Improvement Plan. The plans can be used as a basis to make data-driven decisions - something especially important when there are impending cuts and at best flat-lined budgets are on everyone's lips.

We heard about how the schools are trying to use consistency to add efficiency to the school day. For instance, from early on the students learn about "Do Nows" which are short assignments they should do as soon as they enter the classroom. Henry Ford would be proud. The schools plan on setting up advisor/advisee relationships between adults and children in school where they check in for 10 minutes 3 days a week and hopefully end up solving problems before they occur. I also heard the term "sub-groups" several times referring to at-risk students or student demographic groups which simply need more attention so they are successful in school - and often times outside of school.

We heard about Early Childhood education, Pre-School, and a little about the James House Comunity Learning Center which includes the Center for New Americans and the Literacy Project.  Clearly Northampton has grand plans for education at all levels.

Health Services

Karen Jarvis Vance, the Director of Health Services for NPS, spoke about what she and her department does. Health Services deals with the usual - immunizations and sick students. Jarvis reminded us of a quote:
"You cannot educate an unhealthy child and you cannot keep an uneducated child healthy." 
Dr. M. Jocelyn Elders, former US Surgeon General
Jarvis supervises the school nurses who all have Department of Education licenses and other certification. Jarvis herself is an RN and sometimes covers when a school Nurse is sick. Health Services also promotes good health, meets with Physical Education teachers, does health screening and now reports on BMI (body mass index) because of new regulations. Like all other school personnel, she writes grants and is on various committees. If that wasn't enough, she's also currently the sexual harassment and civil rights coordinator. She still loves her job.

Pupil Services

Lastly, we heard from Nathan Zieglar who is the head of Pupil Services. Zieglar was much more technical about education. Like it or not, he's the king of education acronyms. I could be wrong, but he is the master of regulations, compliance, remediation, special-ed, and testing. He was able to rattle off the 12 official disabilities which include autism, developmental delay, intellectual impairment, sensory impairment/hearing, sensory impairment/vision, sensory impairment/deafblind, neurological impairment, emotional impairment, communication impairment, physical impairment, health impairment, and specific learning disabilities. (I only wrote down two that he mentioned. These I just got off the web.) Good thing he's on our side.

Next Week

Actually, everyone who presented to our class to date is on our side. They have been asked to present to a small group of Northampton citizens a summary of what they do. They have an opportunity to boast, but were willing to admit limitations. Generally, the biggest obstacle to our education system is standardized testing from the diversion of time from regular education to the possible consequences should students not do well.

Thus concludes another week at City School. Next week, we will be finally be learning about City Finance, and we will be meeting at Smith Vocational High School. I'll tell you what happens.

And you? I have some homework for you. Please leave some feedback and tell me what you think.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Devil and Independence

Once again, the Spouse urges me to blog.

Even while the dead remained uncounted and unburied, Pat Robertson's claimed that Haiti made a "pact with the Devil", and that they continue to pay for it with their history of poverty and most recently with the devastation caused by last month's earthquake. His pact presumably allowed them independence in 1804. If you search for 'devil pact' on Google today, you will most assuredly get hits on Robertson's image and words. For me this of course begs the question of what pact Robertson himself made with the powers of evil to get where he is.

Today I joined my daughter as we watched the always refreshing and spine-tinglingly patriotic musical 1776. The musical, made a few years before our nation's bi-centennial, recreates the final weeks before the Declaration of Independence of the United States. It includes some real quotes from the likes of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. Being a musical, it contains some myth and of course a love story or two. It tips its hat to the famous painting by John Trumbull (here's an interactive version.) which hangs in the Capitol Rotunda. It includes the stories of the love and partnership between Adams and his wife Abigail (their letters are now famous and actually online), as well as more lusty relationship between Jefferson and his wife Martha. The musical ends with the history striking out of references to (the immorality of) slavery from the Declaration just before it passes.

Robertson says that Haiti made a pact with the devil (and left behind its origins in slavery) in order to become independent. The United States made its own pact with the devil to assert independence with slavery intact, and it has been paying for it ever since.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The I's Don't Quite Have It

My spouse pointed out a blog entry talking about over-analysis of Obama's speeches.

Fox news is now tracking the frequency of the use of the word "I" in speeches by President Obama.

I think I use "I" in many of my sentences, but I'm just me and allowed my opinion of myself. And of course everyone who has read a resume or been taught anything about parenting and civil and civic discourse has been advised to use I-messages e.g. "I am hurt when you speak to me that way."

I decided to do my own quick test. I would compare the frequency of words used in the acceptance speeches of both Barack Obama and John McCain. Neither were President yet. At that period they were pretty much equals with the same goal and probably on top of their egotistical games.

I used this free word frequency counter to measure word frequency in the speeches. I obtained both transcripts from the New York Times. I've listed variations on the use of the word "I" and for comparison the word "we". I included the use of contractions of these words. I've also included a few familiar words.

Below are the results. Judge for yourself. Clearly each has chosen their words carefully.

Obama Acceptance Speech. (transcript)
  • (Count / Word)
  • 77 we
  • 67 i
  • 24 america
  • 21 mccain
  • 18 american
  • 16 country
  • 9 i've
  • 8 i'll
  • 2 i'm
  • 1 we've
  • 1 we're
McCain Acceptance Speech. (transcript)
  • (Count / Word)
  • 115 i
  • 53 we
  • 28 country
  • 17 i'm
  • 17 americans
  • 16 we're
  • 16 i've
  • 14 we'll
  • 9 american
  • 6 obama
  • 5 america
  • 4 we've
  • 3 i'd
  • 2 i'll

Sunday, February 07, 2010

City School Northampton: Week 3

We're back again for another edition of City School where We The People get to learn from those who represent, work, or volunteer for us in city government. We are at Week 3 in a 10 week course in municipal civics. Last week, we learned about some of the Arts, Culture, Fun, and the Health Department. This week, we learn about resources for special populations in the city of Northampton, Massachusetts.

Previously, I speculated where this great idea for City School came from. It's mostly attributed to our Mayor, but I figured that she was too busy to start this totally voluntary program. And the cynic in me wonders why would any politician invest time in fostering an informed citizenry? It turns out that is came from conversations between Karen Bellavance-Grace , who is an aide to the Mayor and also organizes City School, and the Mayor. It is modeled on the Citizens Police Academy which my neighbor attended last year and totally raved about. Here's a story about the first City School from October, 2008. We'll be the second graduating class.

This week's class was held in our modern Senior Center where we met with members of the Northampton Youth Commission and the Directors of the Council on Aging and Veterans Services. I'll be sharing my class notes with you. I'll tell you a bit about the Senior Center and Senior services. About some really cool kids and what they are up to. And I'll amaze you with some information about what Northampton can do and is required to do for its Veterans.

Youth Commission

We met with two members of the Northampton Youth Commission as well as City Councilor Paul Spector who represents Ward 3 and is an advisor and City Council liason to the Youth Commission (YC). Spector has been liason for about 7 years since his child was on the YC. Another advisor is, you guessed it, the Mayor. Now I must confess (I think all good blog entries must have an earnest confession every now and then) that I did not record the names of the two Youth Commissioners. They were delightful young women who joined the YC as Sophmores and now are Seniors at Northampton High School.

There are 15 members of the Youth Commission all appointed. You have be 13 to 18 years old and to apply to serve, but then you are appointed, just like other official city Commissions. The YC was started back when there were some issues regarding police relations to youth congregating in front of local stores. As I have not been in Northampton that long, this is before my time. (OK, just about everything is before my time here.) They meet the first and third Wednesday of the month.

The YC advocates for teenage youths. They usually have a radio show on Valley Free Radio. Unfortunately, the show has not been produced recently, but getting it back on the air is in the works. They have fund-raisers - often to raise money for Northampton Public Schools. They've produced a youth card with the contact information for youth-oriented resources and services. Also, they have been able to award SPIFFY (Strategic Planning Initiative for Families and Youth) grants to the community that can benefit kids in the city. How cool is that?

Last year, during the budget crunch (as if it has gone away), the Mayor went through the budget line by line with the YC. I can remember when I was young I was on the Board of Education Citizens Budget Advisory Committee (or whatever it was called) in my home town. I made no decisions. The YC sounds better.

They discuss issues like Panhandling or more recently the fate of Bean Farm. The YCs goal may be to one day have a Youth Center, but first they will be developing a survey to see if our kids even want and need one.

Senior Center

As I said before, we met at the new Senior Center building. We heard from Patte Shaughnessy the Director of the Senior Center and the Council on Aging. She worked for the Council when they were in one room in Memorial Hall and before that she held city offices.

Since 2007, there has been an actual Senior Center which is a modern building that is LEED silver certified, meaning it is a so-called Green building. It is heated with geo-thermal energy, has computer-controlled lighting and heating, and used green materials in its construction. The building has a large kitchen, an exercise room, a computer room, a fitness room, a large room for events and meetings and can be rented, plus there are rooms to provide many services. In the last 3 months of 2009, 15,000 people made use of the building and services. Our Senior Center is simply lovely. (Our class had a tour at the end of the evening.) Drop in and check it out some weekday. Try the cafe.

The Council on Aging has a 15 member board, 50% seniors. Northampton has 5,000 seniors usually age 60 and older (some consider age 55-59 as well, but I won't get into that.) They provide many services. They will do home visits to check up on living situations, they provide an inexpensive handyman for home-repair to help people age in-place. They help provide loans and and grants through the CDBGs (Community Development Block Grants) for home repairs. They provide medical transportation and rely on volunteers (who are first checked out). They have an emergency food pantry. They have fun things to do. They have worked with the Youth Commission on fund raisers. They provide many many services including a social worker. Unfortunately, I'm not doing justice to all that they get accomplished here.

This year, the city will directly pay $133K toward salaries. The city also provides custodial services and other support. Much of their services are paid by grants, donations, and revenues from their ongoing book sale, their cafe (which is open to anyone), rentals of meeting rooms for events, and donations.

Northampton is supposed to be a great place to retire and grow old and our Senior Center and related services definitely contribute.
Veterans Services

Once again, I'll say right from the start that I will not do justice to all the things that the Department of Veterans Services does. Director Steven Connor spoke to us about Veterans Services and the role of a Veterans Services Officer (VSO). He a veteran, a requirement for a VSO.

Every municipality in Massachusetts has a VSO (no doubt there are 352 state-wide.) But Northampton is special because it's a city and has its own a VA. It is special also because we have Steven Connor and his co-workers. They assist 137 Veterans city-wide. There are way more Veterans in the city of course, and they definitely should contact The Northampton Department of Veterans Services if they need anything.

A common theme, if not a cliche, is that Veterans do not get the benefits and services they deserve. The have to get it from one of the largest bureaucracies on earth (with one of the smallest URLs - the Veterans Administration.  Connor said that the VA has a one million case backlog and it can take about 18 months to wait for a claim. As such, the municipalities of Massachusetts are required to assist Veterans by fronting them some funds which later be reimbursed by 75% from the state a year later. Often the other 25% is reimbursed at some level. Now I have a feeling that supporting Vets is a win-win for the city. First off, the Vets get benefits and services they deserve. Also, all this activity provides enormous economic activity for the city at relatively little direct cost.

The VSO can also give some immediate aid and loans as long as he has a good idea that the Veteran is eligible.The other theme is that if you are a Vet or a spouse or widow of a Vet, then you are probably entitled to a benefit that you do not even know about. If you know you are in need, then look into getting some help - be it money, healthcare, or other benefits or services.

Veterans Services handles Health, Housing and Food and Personal care. It helps Homeless, disabled and seniors. And works on local, state, and Federal level.

The VSO can also be in the Memorial Day and Veterans Day Parades. And unfortunately, this is often the extent of the Veterans Services that a smaller town is able to or believes it should provide.

Northampton has our Nation's oldest Memorial day Parade. It has been going since it was called Decoration Day (which does sound ever so much cheerier).

Next Week

I hope you have enjoyed this installment. Leave me a comment below and tell me what you think.

Next week we will be learning about City and School Finance and meeting at the Smith Vocational High School. While the US economy stinks, I can hardly wait. about the two public school districts within Northampton and meeting at Northampton High School.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

City School Northampton: Week 2

I had another exciting week at City School, here in Northampton, Massachusetts. We meet one night a week, and usually in a mostly vacant city building. As you might guess, in the middle of winter they can be a little cold. Especially, if it's one of our two libraries that's not open on Wednesdays and so probably not heated very much. If you haven't heard, City School, is a home-grown program where regular citizens like me get to learn about how local government works.

This week we covered Arts, Culture, Libraries, Health, and Recreation.


Our town has everything you can name, and perhaps I'll see them all, but it has simply everything: bowling alley, movie theater, concert hall, hospital, college, town hall, court house, jail, you name it, we have it. As I say to my spouse, Northampton is just like the town on the model train set. (Yes, we have the real trains too, and we are about to regain an Amtrak stop with our stimulus funds - Woo hoo!)

Our town has two wonderful old Libraries (one quaint and family-style, one more scholarly and architecturally magnificent). Around the time that Andrew Carnegie started running around passing out libraries like they were cigars (he actually built over 1,600 in the United States), two wealthy patrons each built a library in our town. The Forbes Library near Smith College and downtown Northampton and the Lilly Library in Florence.

Janet Moulding, Director of the Forbes Library, told us a great deal about the Forbes, about the Lilly too, and about how Massachusetts libraries work, as well as information on our regional library system. Rick Hart, the head of Reference for Forbes, showed us some of the features of the library website and spoke about some of the collections that they have at Forbes - some are online. Later, we spoke with Kim Evans-Perez, The Lilly Children's Librarian.

Here's a smattering of information about the Forbes which is available for all ages and abilities, for residents and researchers. It has a great deal of information not located anywhere else. It has books and references. It subscribes to several research services. It has electronic books - and even book readers. It has banjos, laptops and DVDs. It has music and more. About 800 people visit the library every day and about half the town residents have active library cards. I take it that these are good statistics for library use. The Forbes also has the papers of Calvin Coolidge who lived on Massasoit Street.

But here are some curious things about our Libraries. The Forbes library was given to the city by Judge Charles E. Forbes. You can see his will from 1893 online which endowed the library. The money is used to buy books. The Forbes library has 5 elected trustees. The town owns the building, but not the books. The town Northampton does not own the Lilly library either. It is owned by the board of trustees which reappoints its 9 members. Weird, eh? A town with two Libraries that it doesn't own? Plus the two Libraries are separate. They don't share books, but they do share some things, since the town has to maintain the libraries and fund these libraries to maintain state certification. Certification requires that they are open at least 59 hours a week, have weekend and evening hours, and spend 13% of their budget on books and materials. Thus they are treated as one Library from the state point of view. They can split the days that they are open for instance and share some of the costs of being part of the C/W Mars Regional Library System which lets me reserve a book online which might be in Williamstown and have it show up at the Children's desk at the Lilly library - and send me an email when it is ready.

Each city resident pays about $45 per year to fund our Libraries. About $50K comes from the state. They have their endowments, grants, gifts, donations, and each have their Friends of the Library group which supports their work. Do you might feel bad when your books are late? The only person you are hurting is the people who are waiting for your book to come back. The benefit is revenue for the library - the Forbes Library takes in a whopping $40K in overdue fines! The smaller Lilly Library is the third busiest library for inter-library loan. Hey, we read a lot here in Northampton.

Board of Health

Ben Wood is the director of the Northampton The Board of Health and Health Department. There is actually a difference, but I'll let you look that up. He's been on the job for about 2 months. But he's young and has big ideas and lots of energy. He had plenty of information for us. (And here, I'll try to speed up a little.)

In 1799, err.... I guess going back 200 years doesn't speed things up. Anway, in 1799 Massachusetts was the first state to establish a Health Department. I will have to consult, my father-in-law's book on Massachusetts history which I received today to verify this. The first Chair was none other than Paul Revere. In 1859, the Health Department became a non-political entity separate from City government. There are 352 local health entities in the state. The Board of Health  has the authority to enforce state and local law. Local laws can only be more strict than state laws. The Health Department is the staff of the Board.

Our Health department deals with disease, sanitation and inspection of mostly food establishments and housing, nuisances, and issues permits. There's a dichotomy between following mandated regulation vs. the promotion of public health. The Department spends most of their time dealing with regulation and less of their time making sure that we live healthy lifestyles. Often they are listening to complaints and doing mediation. As I warned you last week, there is a whole lotta mediation going on in city Government. Ben Wood said he'd like to do more health advocacy if he can, but right now he's spending most of his time and budget dealing with complaints and regulations.

Arts Council

In 1982, during the Massachusetts Miracle, the state was flush, so it established 352 arts councils with funding based on population and originally from Lottery revenue. This is no longer the case. In 1988, the city came up with a cultural plan, and Bob Cilman was there. He's well-known and well-linked from his position as director of the Young @ Heart Chorus. If any of you know anything about Northampton, you will know it is an artsy place and a place where you too, young and old, rich and usually poor, can become or at least see or hear an artist - or the work of one. The Northampton Arts Council does a lot. It produces Transperformance, which is Woodstock-like day-long concert of local people making music. Usually there is a theme and costumes and bad puns. Usually they are doing covers of well known songs. Here it is described in their words:

TRANSPERFORMANCE creates the opportunity for local performers to assume the personas of well-known and well-loved musicians. The performers are chosen for their talents and for the creativity they bring to such role-playing, regardless of whether their gender, race, age, ethnicity or sexual preference/orientation matches that of the musicians they choose to imitate.
TRANSPERFORMANCE is a humorous musical celebration of the diversity of our population and an acknowledgment of the profound influences various artists have had on each other and on the rest of our society. The Northampton Arts Council, who also shared in the profits from the past Transperformances, has been able to use the money raised to provide a second round of funding for local artists. These rounds of funding support the work of many, many artists and performing groups.
The Arts Council does many other programs over the year. Coming up is 4 Sundays in February and a Kids film festival.

Department of Recreation

We got a quick run-through from Ann-Marie Moggio, the Director of the Northampton Department of Recreation. We unfortunately were running out of time, just as I am running out of my time to write this. (Here, I must confess, that I'm about a week behind in telling you about City School.)

The Department does a lot of obvious things, mostly programming. It is located at Smith Vocational High School, employs 7 staff members, and has a $150K budget. It handles the town pool, built 11 years ago at JFK Middle School. A few years ago, they opened a skate park (for skateboarding, not ice-skating) which was about 10 years in the making. They run programs, manage the city community gardens and are overseen by a 9 member commission. During a typical year, they also employee 100-120 part time staff (think lifeguards), receive 2,600 hours in volunteer labor, run 3,700 practices and games on our ball fields.

Of course this is Northampton, so due to some weird history, the Department Of Recreation does not run our two largest parks. These parks, Look Park and Childs Park, are not run by the city at all. In fact, I'm told that the Childs Park is by name an oxymoron, since you cannot play frisbee or barbeque there. Childs Park is worth a stroll or a quiet picnic, and Look Park is worth a visit for a number of reasons.

The Rec Department does much more than I can list here. It has many programs going on this month. And more still this summer.


In the middle of the evening, Ann-Marie led us in a round of Northampton Jeopardy, where the topics were related to the subjects you have just learned about and the answers were created by each of the presenters. Prizes were old Department of Recreation swag. I won two plastic cups and a Dept of Rec mug from an event a few years back. Fun.

Next time, we shall visit the Northampton Senior Center and learn about agencies within our city to deal with special populations.