Voters approve appropriations for fire station By Chris Maza firstname.lastname@example.org
WILBRAHAM – Residents at the April 2 Special Town Meeting unanimously voted to pass two fund transfers in order to complete the expansion and renovation of the main fire station on Boston Road. The meeting featured two
articles, one requesting $336,860 from the Ambulance Fund and the other asking for $195,000 from the Capital Stabilization Fund to finance eight items that did not fit
within the original appropriation of $2.2 million from the Capital Planning Committee for the project. The Ambulance Fund, which
was founded in 1992, is a revolving account supplied by sources such as insurance companies after an ambulance transport and usually is utilized to fund the maintenance of the ambulances.
The Capital Stabilization Fund
was created in 2005 in response to a study of the town’s major projects. Prior to the approved transfer, it contained approximately $400,000
in funds that had not been used since the creation of the fund. The eight items, called
alternates, would be needed to fully complete the work planned by the committee overseeing the renovations and
Architecture. “Without the alternates we
would have a weather-tight shell and that’s all,” Fire Chief Francis Nothe said.
Those alternates include a “fit-
out” of the living quarters, the construction of the technology
infrastructure, an HVAC system upgrade, new glass and aluminum overhead doors, new cabinets, outdoor canopies and a heat-radiant floor in the apparatus bay and landscaping. “Now that the funding is
secured, the Board of Selectmen will award the project to the lowest responsible bidder,” Nothe said. The awarding of the bid is listed as an agenda item for the April 9 Board of Selectmen meeting, which will take place at 7 p.m. in the Board of Selectmen’s meeting
room. Nothe explained that once the
bid is awarded, the committee would enter into an agreement with the general contractor on a work schedule. “We want to get shovels in the
ground as soon as possible,” he said. “The architect said the work could take up to nine months to complete, but we hope to be able to get some of the trucks and equipment back in the garage bays by fall before any inclement weather.”
Falcetti Music to be honored at New England Music Festival
WILBRAHAM – Imagine a young bride heading home from her honeymoon in Montreal and being told by her husband she’s diverting to New Bedford for an accordion student performance festival. It was the start of a newlywed’s swoon becoming a swoon of quite a different kind. For 35 of the 50 years since,
Peggy Falcetti of Wilbraham has coordinated arrangements for what has grown into the mammoth New England Music Festival, and this year she and Sam – retired founder of the Falcetti Music stores in Western Massachusetts and Connecticut – will be among eight charter members of the festival’s sponsoring organization being honored at the weekend- long event.
The festival is run by the Accordion Teachers Association
of Massachusetts (ATAM), but it reaches far beyond accordion today. More than 800 students compete and are judged in voice, piano, guitar, bass, drums and combo categories, with other instruments coming on board as ATAM organizers look to the future. Players from music studios throughout New England crowd the sprawling Newton Marriott, its ballrooms and every available function space, for competitions in 170 categories. Their families pile into reduced-price rooms for the weekend and it’s all free and open to the public. This year it’s April 13 to 15,
and they’ve invited hundreds of past champions to come celebrate the 50th. Special guests are the Air Force Strolling Strings, entertainers to eight presidents. Yet arrangements for this
monster event spring from a bedroom-turned-office in the Falcettis’ Wilbraham home. Sam lines up professional musicians as judges and talks up the event as much as he can. Peggy is in the trenches processing every entry slip and attending to arrangements as small as the decorations going on the banquet dessert. “Sometimes I just have to
send everybody away so I can get work done,” Peggy said. But the Falcettis are charmed
by the hundreds of students, ages 6 to 22, who come to develop performance skills. Competitors include some 300 from Falcetti Music practice rooms this year. Their grown children now run
Falcetti Music; Tony, also of Wilbraham, is president and CEO, and Michael of Ludlow is vice president and director of
education, as well as president of ATAM. But they grew up performing and later directing orchestras and combos in the competition.
And Sam and Peggy’s
grandchildren are competing this year in multiple categories. “I love to stop in the middle
of everything going on and see our grandchildren perform,” Peggy said. “And all these families who come and spend their weekend feel just as proud.” Sam added, “Families are so
busy today, but people get a chance to unwind, support their kids and be together.” But despite organizing duties,
both still play accordion and will appear in the Springfield Accordion and Guitar Orchestra, which Sam started 40 years ago and in which all three Falcetti
generations appear. “At least I know my part
already,” Peggy said weeks ahead of time. “That’s one thing I don’t have to worry about.” For more information about
the New England Music Festival, visit the following website ww.atamnemusicfestival.com
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