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I Go To City Council Meetings #13

Mayor Narkewicz declares Sept 6 Usher Syndrome Awareness Day and requests funding for two local parks

by Blair Gimma

On Thursday, September 6, the Northampton City Council held their fourteenth meeting of the year. Approximately 6 people were present.

At the start of the meeting, Council President Ryan O’Donnell announced that there were now four assisted listening devices available to the public courtesy of Northampton Community Television.

Public Comment

Hannah Coyle asked the council to help end the economic oppression of women. She suggested  that city business owners should contribute 1-5% of their earnings to help fund residences for people living in rural areas, forest communities, and people living in their cars who may prefer to reside in a residential community.

Two councilors commented on the recent local elections. Councilor Marianne LaBarge (Ward 6) congratulated Lindsay Sabadosa on winning the primary for State Representative in the 1st  Hampshire District. Sabadosa is running uncontested in the general election and is expected to win. And councilor Gina-Louise Sciarra (Ward 4) thanked all those who worked to facilitate the voting process, and all those who ran. She specifically gave a special thanks to Council President O’Donnell for running an issues driven campaign and providing leadership on the council.

Usher Syndrome Awareness Day

Mayor Narkewicz designated Sept 6 Usher Syndrome awareness day in Northampton. Usher syndrome is a rare genetic disorder caused by a mutation of genes which causes hearing loss, visual impairment, and complications with balancing. 400,000 people are affected by the Usher Syndrome worldwide with 50,000 living in the U.S.

After the Mayor’s proclamation, a mother whose child lives with Usher Syndrome spoke about her son’s experience. She shared that because her son who lives at MacDonald House is deaf and blind, he has become socially isolated. Noting that DBCA (deaf and blind community access) visits are helpful, she hopes that bringing awareness to the syndrome could bring him and others some help. Quoting a popular phrase used by communities affected by Usher Syndrome, she concluded saying, “Shine a light on us before the darkness takes our light.”

Approved Finance Orders

The council approved a financial order to allow Greenfield Community College (GCC) to use Northampton’s fiber internet network. GCC is running a program at Smith Vocational School and will pay the city $780 a year to use the network there.

The council approved a financial order to provide an additional $5,000 for the construction of a new play structure at Arcanum Field. The previous play structure was destroyed by a fire whose cause is still under investigation. It also approved an order to allow the city to borrow $625,000 over 15 years to be spent on the Florence Recreation Field project. The order also allows the Mayor to apply to grants on behalf of the city to fund the project.
I left this meeting with a question:

What kind of fun shit are they building over at Florence Recreation Fields ?

Blair Gimma is a co-editor of The Shoestring. They are alive in Northampton, MA. 

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