I’ve lived in a small town in western Massachusetts for over a decade, and seen its abandoned downtown buildings restored, a central parking lot built, and new shops move in. It’s got crowded streets and lots of restaurants, and even a substantial food coop in a renovated car dealership building. Tourists and newcomers, enjoying the clean air and views of the Berkshire hills, probably wouldn’t guess that this small town has been a center of innovation.

Great Barrington was the first town in the world to have an electrified street, thanks to local inventor William Stanley. In 2005, thanks to the Center for Ecological Technology in Pittsfield, Great Barrington will become the first town on the east coast to have public recycling bins in its downtown.

The recycling program will be launched on Earth Day, 22 April, when recycling bins (created at a small cost by town employees) will be placed along Main Street, Railroad Street and in the Triplex parking area. I’ll post a photo as soon as they’re up, with some Earth Day news.

karen christensen's corona typewriter on t s eliot's desk

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