Sunday Funday at the Shutesbury Athletic Club

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Want to help veterans in need? How about pets in shelters? How about a fun place to bring the kids for a few hours? We have just the event for you! Sunday Fun Day at the Shutesbury Athletic Club! This great, family fun event happens on June 11 from 2-5pm. Bring your lawn chairs & blankets. Listen to live music, enjoy hot dogs, hamburgers, a raffle, and catch up with friends and neighbors. Kids can enjoy face painting and other fun activities!

How can you help veterans in need? Bring and donate any household items (see list below). We have partnered with Homeward Vets for this event. They have a simple mission: to help veterans in need. They do that by providing previously homeless veterans with home furnishings when they transition from homelessness and move into the community. They make a difference in every life they touch. You, too, can make a difference! Here is a sampling of the items needed:

Bed Frames – any size
Mattresses (NEW ONLY)
Night stands
Couch/ loveseat - clean and in very good condition and in move-in condition
Chairs – Dining room and living room
Kitchen Table with chairs
Pots and Pans                                                                                        
Cups/Plates (Dishes)
Curtains/ Shades                                                                                                                 
Shower Curtain (NEW ONLY)
Coffee Pot

If you would like to help animals at Dakin Humane Society, bring any of the following items to Sunday Fun Day and we will deliver to Dakin in Leverett.

Cats and Kittens

  • Canned cat food (cats prefer pate-style, rather than chunks-in-gravy)

  • Dry cat food (opened bags are okay; we give them to feral cat colony feeders)

  • Human baby food (chicken or turkey, meat & gravy-style only, no vegetables, please)

  • Cat litter (clumping and non-clumping)

  • Cat toys

  • Small ceramic cat bowls (busy kitties knock regular bowls over!)

Dogs and Puppies

  • Freeze dried beef liver (for training)

  • Kong rubber toys (to keep dogs busy)

  • Bully sticks (to keep dogs busy)

  • Hot dogs (for training)

Birds, Bunnies, and Other Small Animals

  • Large cages in excellent condition

  • Bird perches (varying sizes)

  • Washed greens

Maintenance Supplies

  • Large trash bags

  • Paper towels

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Dish soap

  • Bleach

  • Liquid laundry detergent

  • Facial tissues

Office Supplies

  • Postage stamps

  • Copy paper

  • Pens

The Shutesbury Athletic Club is located at 282 Wendell Road, Shutesbury, MA.




  1. Mary Godfrey. Athol. Mass 01331. on

    if we have none off the items you mentioned. Then can a monetary donation be giving to help buy the things you need. For the poor animals. Who do we make the check out to and where do we mail it. Thank you.
    • Debra Thompson on

      Hi as a volunteer at the Franklin county regional dog shelter in Turners Falls we are always looking for donations like Dakin Thank you

      Western Massachusetts Farmers Markets

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      It's finally that time of year for FRESH fruits and veggies! Why, oh why, would you buy from a grocery store that ships them in from across the country or across the globe? We have the freshest fruits and vegetables from farms right here in Western Massachusetts! Check out a farmer's market near you!

      Amherst Farmers Market
      Saturday: 8:00 AM to 1:30 PM
      April 22 to November 18, 2017

      Ashfield Farmers Market
      Saturday: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
      May 13 to October 28, 2017

      Belchertown Farmers Market
      Sunday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
      June 11 to October 28, 2017

      Bernardston Farmers Market
      Saturday: 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
      May 27 to September 30, 2017

      Conway Farmers Market
      Wednesday: 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
      June 7 to September 27, 2017

      Easthampton Farmers Market
      Saturday: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
      May 13 to October 28, 2017

      Florence Farmers Market
      Wednesday: 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
      May 3 to October 25, 2017

      Greenfield SATURDAY Farmers Market
      Saturday: 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM
      April 29 to October 28, 2017

      Northampton SATURDAY Farmers Market
      Saturday: 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM
      April 29 to November 11, 2017

      Northampton TUESDAY Farmers Market
      Tuesday: 1:30 PM to 6:30 PM
      April 25 to November 7, 2017

      Northfield Farmers Market
      Thursday: 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
      May 25 to October 5, 2017

      Shelburne Falls Farmers Market
      Friday: 2:00 PM to 6:30 PM
      May 26 to October 27, 2017

      Shutesbury Farmers Market
      Saturday: 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM
      May 20 to October 14, 2017
      1 Cooleyville Road, Shutesbury, MA

      South Hadley Farmers Market
      Thursday: 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
      June 1 to October 5, 2017

      Turners Great Falls Farmers Market
      Wednesday: 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
      May 3 to October 25, 2017


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        Buying A Home in the Digital Age

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        Last year I was a typical home buyer. I had a list of criteria. I went to online and searched for properties. I looked at sites with photos and home listings in the communities I was interested in. Then I contacted my Realtor and together we visited several of the homes I found online and fairly quickly, an offer was made, and accepted. 

        The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their 2017 Report on “Real Estate in a Digital Age.” The findings are not surprising, as each of us, more than likely carries a smartphone. You might be surprised, however, that the average cell phone users touch (type, tap, swipe) their phone 2,617 times per day, according to research firm Dscout. They also found that average users spend 145 minutes a day on their phones.

        According to the NAR, the typical home buyer is 44 years old, married without children living at home and has a median income of $88,500. Millennials (19-37 year olds) make up the largest group of first time home buyers at 66%, followed by Generation X (38-52 year olds) at 26%. 

        Roughly 77% of Americans own a smartphone*, so it’s no surprise that 72% of home buyers used a mobile device or tablet to search for a home.  99% of Millennials searched for a new home online, compared to 89% of Boomers (53-71 year olds). 

        Buying a home can be a complicated process and it may be the biggest financial decision a person makes, so using a Realtor only makes sense, which is why 92% of buyers used a Realtor in their home search. Realtors know the ins and outs and have the knowledge, expertise, and negotiating skills needed.

        The most difficult Step in the home buying process? Finding the right property was ranked #1 among all generations, followed by paperwork and understanding the process. Even the simplest real estate transaction involves paperwork. A Realtor will handle the contracts, disclosures, reports, and other technical documents. When navigating a real estate purchase buyers need an experienced professional who can negotiate the best purchase terms on their behalf, and stay on top of the process.

        My Realtor was there every step of the way, making sure all the nitty gritty details were taken care of.  That left me plenty of time to dream about the where to put that brand new sofa in my brand new home!






        Pamela Sclafani is the Marketing Manager for Coldwell Banker Upton Massamont. She lives in the Pioneer Valley and enjoys everything it has to offer, gorgeous scenery, hills and mountains for hiking, lakes for paddle boarding, the change of seasons, and the close proximity to Boston and New York.

        *According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in November 2016.



        Shelburne Falls & Piti Theatre

        Spring is not quite here yet, so if you're looking for something to do indoors, check out The Piti Theatre (pronounced pea-tea), out of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. They create new work for the stage and facilitate a unique connection between Switzerland and the United States by making shows in french and english and offering the possibility of artist/student exchange between the two countries. 

        Every March, the company produces an annual festival called SYRUP. This Saturday, March 18, and Sunday, March 19 is the 8th annual One Sweet Performing Arts Festival featuring a solo physical comedy performance, entitled Sammy and the Grand Buffet. Also performing is author, songwriter, storyteller, performing and recording artist Bill Harley in slice of life vignettes on growing up, schooling and family life.

        The Sammy and the Grand Buffet performance is at 2pm and Bill Harley performs at 4pm. Tickets can be purchased on their website



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          2017 Valley Home Expo & The Original Western Mass Home & Garden Show

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          I know, it's hard to believe, but spring is next week! It's time to start thinking about gardening, outdoor projects, and even indoor projects! It's also the start of a few expos, such as the Western Mass Home & Garden Show (, and the Valley Home Expo (

          The Valley Home Expo will be held at Smith Vocational High School Gymnasium in Northampton, MA on Saturday, March 18 from 10am-6pm and Sunday, March 19 from 11am-5pm. There are "How To" workshops on installing ceramic floor tile, choosing the best alternative heater for your home, installing faucets and toilets, and maintaining your wood or pellet stove. You can also learn about optimizing your solar investment, the right floors for your home, the flooring of the future, and home composting. On Saturday, March 18th the Northampton Winter Farmers Market is also taking place at Smith Vocational High School, so make sure to stop by there as well. Admission to both the Expo and the Farmers Market is free!

          The Original Western Mass Home & Garden Show takes place at the Eastern States Exposition grounds in West Springfield, MA on Thursday, March 23 from 1pm-9pm, Friday, March 24 from 1pm-9pm, Saturday, March 25 from 10am-9pm, and Sunday, March 26 from 10am-5pm. The show is located in the Better Living Center, the Young Building, and the outdoor area between the two buildings. Parking is $5 (cash) per vehicle and general admission is $10 per person, children under 12 are free. There is a special discount coupon available on their website (see above).

          In addition to the many vendors at the Original Western Mass Home & Garden Show there are cooking shows with some of the finest chefs in the Pioneer Valley. There is also a designated kids area with clowns, animals from the Zoo at Forest Park, arts and crafts activities, a butterfly display from Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory, and various other activities sure to amuse any child.




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            Amherst Restaurant Week

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            The second annual Amherst Restaurant week takes place Monday, March 13 through Sunday, March 19, 2017 in downtown Amherst, Massachusetts! The event takes place during UMASS spring break, when the college town is just a little quieter. Most participating restaurants  are offering a 3 course meal for $30 per person. Others offer an entree and drink special, or some other special to celebrate and participate in the event.

            Participating restaurants include:

            30 Boltwood - $30 for a 3-course meal

            Balance Amherst - 3 for $30 Special

            The Lumber Yard - 3 courses for $30

            Top Kabab - 3 course menu for $15

            Chez Albert - 3 course meal

            Osteria Vespa - 3 for $30 Special

            Johnny's Tavern - 3 course meal for $30

            Judie's - 3 course meal for $30

            Bistro 63 - 3 courses for $30

            Bertucci's - 3 courses for $15

            Other participating restaurants:


            Himalaya Friend's Corner

            It's a perfect time to visit Amherst and enjoy some of the great food they have to offer! For more information ~



            Coldwell Banker | Community Realtor Marcia Brooks Achieves Graduate, Realtor Institute Designation

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            Coldwell Banker | Community Realtors (Coldwell Banker | Community Realtors) would like to congratulate Realtor Marcia Brooks of the South Deerfield Coldwell Banker | Community Realtors office, for her recent designation of Graduate, REALTOR Institute (GRI) by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors President, Corinne Fitzgerald.

            The GRI designation signifies 90 hours of advanced in-class real estate education. Realtors who have passed the GRI examination are recognized as having attained one of the highest professional levels in residential real estate.

            Marcia has extensive knowledge of the Pioneer Valley.  A resident of Deerfield, she grew up in Shelburne Falls attending local schools and graduated from Bay Path College.  She and her husband, Charles, bought their first home, an 1840’s farmhouse in Shelburne and began extensive renovations while raising their two daughters, Elise and Hannah. Long active in civic organizations and community service, Marcia is a combined 25-year member of the South Deerfield Women’s Club as well as a past president of the Shelburne Falls Women’s Club, chairing various committees and fundraising events in both communities.  She also served two terms on the Deerfield School Committee.

            A full time Agent, Marcia has received Outstanding Sales and Service awards every year and is a Zillow Premier Agent.  As a member of local, state and national real estate organizations, she additionally takes advanced courses having recently earned both the ABR and GRI designations.

            Marcia is passionate about New England architecture, history, gardening, education and the arts.  She uses her background in visual arts and offers free staging advice to her sellers.  Buyers rely on her familiarity and expertise of the area when choosing a community in which to settle.



              1. EILEEN FOLAN on

                Congratulations to Marcia Brooks! She was the Coldwell Banker realtor who helped with the sale of my home in Colrain. Marcia was attentive to every detail relating to the sale. In addition to her professional attributes, Marcia is a wonderful, caring person.

                Steps to Take When You're Ready to Sell Your Home in the Pioneer Valley

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                Want to sell your house? You're not alone, as many home sellers in the Pioneer Valley and across the country will allocate significant time and resources to ensure that their properties stand out from the competition.

                Ultimately, the steps you take before you list your residence may dictate homebuyers' interest in your house. And if you prepare your home accordingly, you may be able to streamline the home selling process.

                So what does it take to get your house ready for the Western Massachusetts real estate market? Here are three steps that every home seller should follow.

                1. Remove Clutter

                Clutter is an eyesore that home sellers can live without. Thus, you'll want to spend some time getting rid of clutter before you add your house to the real estate market. Because if you don't, you risk alienating potential homebuyers as soon as they enter your house.

                To de-clutter effectively, place any personal belongings in storage. This will allow you to free up space quickly and effortlessly.

                Also, if you need to de-clutter in a hurry, you may want to consider hosting a garage sale. By doing so, you can sell excess items for a quick profit.

                2. Clean Up Your Living Space

                A clean home is a beautiful home, and a beautiful home is one that is ready to sell. Therefore, cleaning up your living space can make a world of difference in a competitive housing market, especially for those who want to accelerate the home selling process.

                When it comes to cleaning your living space, go above and beyond the call of duty. Mop the floors, wipe down the walls and ensure that your house looks great inside and out.

                Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression. But if you dedicate the necessary time and resources to clean up your living space, you should have no trouble generating substantial interest in your home as soon as it hits the real estate market.

                3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

                Let's face it – selling a home can be stressful. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available to help you alleviate stress and take the guesswork out of listing your residence.

                An experienced real estate agent understands what it takes to sell a house in any real estate market, at any time. This real estate professional will promote your home to the right groups of homebuyers, set up home showings and host open houses. Plus, he or she will go the extra mile to help you maximize the value of your residence.

                Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is a housing market expert. This professional will be able to keep you up to date about any offers on your home and provide recommendations and insights throughout the home selling process. Also, if you ever have questions about selling your home, your real estate agent will be happy to address your queries at any time.

                To get the most out of your home selling experience contact Coldwell Banker | Community Realtors! We have four offices serving the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts; Amherst, Northampton, South Deerfield, and Shelburne Falls.



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                  Thinking of Building a New Home?

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                  Build a house using custom specifications and you may get the house you've always dreamed about. To save money, you could also purchase a house that is being built to specifications developed by a previous buyer or developer. 

                  Unique costs associated with building a house – In addition to paying for the plot of land that you will build a house on, there's the cost of laying the house's foundation and building out the structure, including wiring, drainage, sewage and landscaping costs. You could also be responsible for the costs of repairs or renovations should initial floor plans need to be adjusted.

                  Meet the neighbors – Whether you build a house or buy an existing home, location is key. The neighborhood your home is located in will influence your property taxes, homeowners insurance and the value of your home.

                  Ethical builders - Check local licensing agencies and organizations like the Better Business Bureau for complaints on builders you're thinking about working with. Ask your real estate agent if he/she knows the builders. Do your homework. The skill level, professionalism and ethical standards of the builder that you go with could make your home building experience good or a nightmare.

                  Weather conditions – Some older homes may not be prepared to handle extreme weather conditions. If you’ve ever lived in a house that flooded following every hard rain, you know firsthand that just because a house looks good, does not mean that it’s built for harsh weather conditions. Building your own house could increase the likelihood that your home will withstand harsh climate changes and weather conditions.

                  Code standards – Build your own house and you could meet code standards to operate a business out of your house or turn a portion of your home into a rental property. You wouldn’t have to spend more money to renovate the property if you include these design requirements into the initial build.

                  Recreation – Add space to build an in ground swimming pool or an outdoor dining area into the blueprints and you could avoid having to pay to add these features to an existing home.

                  Building a new house could increase the likelihood that your house will be in excellent condition. It could also ensure that you get amenities that you want. Similar to shopping for an existing house, the more clearly you visualize your custom designed home, the better you will be able to work with a realtor to get the land plot that you need to build your dream house on.



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                    10 Home Amenities Contractors Love

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                    Rising numbers of creative artists, freelancers and contractors are working from home. The numbers are expected to increase. Leasing agents, employers and manufacturers of home amenities aren't the only people who have to accommodate for shifts that America's changing workforce will bring. Real estate agents, home builders, mortgage lenders and home buyers may also have to adjust to the changes.

                    Home amenities must keep up with changing times

                    The shifts that may have far reaching impact are expected to see half of America's workforce earning income from the contractor and freelancer ranks. According to Forbes, 53 million workers in the United States already freelance. By 2020, that number is expected to double. Many of these workers will work from home.

                    Add in telecommuters, and don't be surprised if members of the gig and freelance economy start looking for home amenities and home floor layouts that fit their work-from-home needs. Following are 10 home amenities that contractors may start looking for more and more in home designs.

                    1. Open floor plan - Houses that are designed with an open floor plan make it easier for contractors to multi-task. Whether they are working from their home office, the living room or the kitchen island, contractors can keep an eye on young children, pets or a meal that's cooking in the oven while they work.
                    2. Solar energy - Homes built with solar energy panels help to cut down on utility expenses for work-at-home professionals, and who doesn't love opening a utility bill and seeing that the costs has dropped?
                    3. Great outdoor views - Of all home amenities, this one is tops. Great views can keep freelancers from feeling isolated. Outdoor views help contractors feel connected to the world around them, even as contractors work for 8 or more hours a day from home.
                    4. Built-in bookcases - Apartment management companies are already designing apartment units with built-in bookcases. Not only are built-in-bookcases visually attractive, they are space savers.
                    5. Large home office - A large home office is a contractor's bread and butter. Contractors may start asking real estate agents to only show them houses that have a large home office. These rooms need to be big enough to fit a desk, chair, two filing cabinets, a printer and computer inside. The space shouldn't be cramped.
                    6. Indoor exercise space - A large extra room or a basement could serve as an indoor exercise space. Because contractors tend to be independent thinkers, they value and take care of their health.
                    7. Wifi access - This is a must when it comes to home amenities. Even houses in the country may need Wifi access to land a sale with freelancers.
                    8. Stylish home lighting - Task, accent and general or natural lighting are winners. Home offices should be designed with at least task and general lighting.
                    9. Wall computer stands and monitor stands - Similar to built-in bookcases, these home amenities computer and monitor stands are attractive space savers. Houses designed with these two home amenities also keep contractors from having to spend money on separate computer and monitor stands.
                    10. Finished basement - Documents, videotapes, artist equipment and supplies and additional filing cabinets can be stored in a finished basement. A portion of a finished basement could also serve as a home office, especially if both people buying the same house are contractors.

                    Location is also important to contractors and freelancers. Homes that these workers, particularly full-time contractors, live in come with real advantages if the homes are located within walking distance of public train and bus stations. If the houses are not within walking distance, contractors should not have to drive more than 10 to 15 minutes to reach public transportation facilities.

                    Until the shifts change, these home amenities may seem far fetched. Manufacturers, home builders and real estate agents who see and prepare for these shifts now, may find themselves ahead of the curve now and in the future.